From Villain to Hero: Odysseus in Ancient Thought
Praise for Silvia Montiglio
"[A] brilliant and important book. . . . "
---Journal of Religion, on Silence in the Land of Logos
"[A]n invigorating reevaluation of both the ancient symbolic landscape and our preconceptions of it."
---American Journal of Philology, on Wandering in Ancient Greek Culture
Best known for his adventures during his homeward journey as narrated in Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus remained a major figure and a source of inspiration in later literature, from Greek tragedy to Dante's Inferno to Joyce's Ulysses. Less commonly known, but equally interesting, are Odysseus' "wanderings" in ancient philosophy: Odysseus becomes a model of wisdom for Socrates and his followers, Cynics and Stoics, as well as for later Platonic thinkers. From Villain to Hero: Odysseus in Ancient Thought follows these wanderings in the world of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, retracing the steps that led the cunning hero of Homeric epic and the villain of Attic tragedy to become a paradigm of the wise man.
From Villain to Hero explores the reception of Odysseus in philosophy, a subject that so far has been treated only in tangential or limited ways. Diverging from previous studies, Montiglio outlines the philosophers' Odysseus across the spectrum, from the Socratics to the Middle Platonists. By the early centuries CE, Odysseus' credentials as a wise man are firmly established, and the start of Odysseus' rehabilitation by philosophers challenges current perceptions of him as a villain. More than merely a study in ancient philosophy, From Villain to Hero seeks to understand the articulations between philosophical readings of Odysseus and nonphilosophical ones, with an eye to the larger cultural contexts of both. While this book is the work of a classicist, it will also be of interest to students of philosophy, comparative literature, and reception studies.
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accusation Achilles admiration for Odysseus admires Odysseus Agamemnon Ajax Ajax’s Alcinous allegory Antisthenes appearance argues Aristotle Aristotle’s beggar behavior Buffière Calypso century chapter character choice Cicero Circe claim contemplation contrast criticism Cyclops Cynic daring Dio Chrysostom Diogenes Diomedes discussion Dorat enduring Epictetus Epicurean episode essay Euripides Eustathius flatterer goal Greek Hades heart Heracles Heraclitus hero hero’s Höistad Homer human idealization of Odysseus Iliad image of Odysseus instance interpretation of Odysseus Ithaca journey king knowledge Lesser Hippias Lévystone 2005 Lucian Maximus of Tyre meaning mind moral Neoptolemus Nestor Odysseus Odysseus-like one’s Palamedes parasite passage Penelope Phaeacians Philoctetes Philodemus philosopher’s philosophical picture of Odysseus Plato’s play pleasure Plutarch poetry praise reading of Odysseus reference role Seneca Sirens Socrates song Sophists Sophocles soul speak speech Stanford Stoic thinks tion toil Troy versatility virtue wanderer whereas wisdom wise Xenophon καὶ μῆτις πολύτροπος σοφία σοφός σωφροσύνη φρόνησις