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Author: Anna Motta


The aim of this paper is to show that an introductory step to the Neoplatonic exegesis of the dialogue was to redefine the figure of Socrates and Socratism, so as to offer aspiring Platonists a correct interpretation of Plato and of the Neoplatonic metaphysical system. In the final stages of a long tradition, Socrates became the teacher par excellence not only of Plato but of all Platonists. In particular, by focusing on the Prolegomena to Platonic philosophy I wish to highlight the fact that, when it comes to teaching, there is no Socrates but Plato’s teacher, a teacher whose many voices – universalised according to well-defined criteria – can also be attributed to Plato. If Plato came to be seen as polyphonic and always self-consistent, this is probably because it was possible to show that Socrates’ hallmark was his ability to remain consistent while expressing many different opinions in the dialogues.

In: Méthexis
Author: Anna Motta


This chapter deals with the Life of Plato which precedes the Alcibiades commentary. It focuses on the function of this biography within the context of the isagogical questions, as a preparation to the commentaries on Plato which follow. The author analyses how Olympiodorus worked on older material, giving it philosophical consistency. She discusses possible didactic strategies, implications for Olympiodorus’ view on ethical development and intratextual links between the biography and the preserved commentaries. The hypothesis put forward is that Olympiodorus reveals how and why Plato’s biography, influenced by Neoplatonic theories about the grades of excellence, served a protreptic function in Late Antiquity.

In: Olympiodorus of Alexandria
Authors: Lidia Palumbo and Anna Motta


In our paper we set out to discuss some pages of the Platonic corpus – also commented upon within the Platonist tradition – in which Plato argues that elements such as desires and appetites are not identical with reason, and describes thirst as an appetite for drink. As our aim is to better understand what kind of desire that for drink is, we start with the section of Republic IV where this desire is used to illustrate the motivational conflict within the soul through the well-known example of thirst. It will be argued that this example does not refer, as is commonly maintained, to the urge to imbibe some kind of liquid, nor – as is often argued – to the need to drink water, but rather that it refers to the specific urge to drink wine. Moreover, it will be evaluated how the Platonic masters engaged with the issue of emotional conflict presented in the dialogues, especially in certain passages from Republic IV.

In: Emotions in Plato
Volume Editors: Anna Motta and Federico M. Petrucci
This book explores how introductory methods shaped school practice and intellectual activity in various fields of thought of the Early Imperial Age and Late Antiquity. The isagogical crossroads—the intersection of philosophical, philological, religious and scientific introductory methods—embody a fascinating narrative of the methods regulating ancient readers' approach to authoritative texts and disciplines. The strongly innovative character of this book consists exactly in the attempt to explore isagogical issues in a wide-ranging and comprehensive perspective—from philosophy to religion, from medicine to exact sciences—with the aim of detecting connections, reciprocal influences, and interactions shaping the intellectual environment of the Early Imperial Age and Late Antiquity.