The Symposium that Xenophon wrote has lived in the shadow of the more famous one by Plato, so much so that it has not received a full commentary in English for well over a hundred years. Yet it is a work as useful for its Greek as it is precious for its content. Socrates is the hero of each Symposium, but most of our understanding of him is usually owed to Plato; we risk assuming that his portrait of Socrates is right. Xenophon saw the man differently: his picture is independent and it is the only significant surviving alternative view. Moreover, the scene that Xenophon paints in his Symposium has a vigour and wit of its own. The work is a document of prime importance for the classical Greek society which we study most and know best: it is set at the male heart of it. Thirdly, Xenophon’s Greek is lucid and unforced. The editor has been using the text for a number of years to help students bridge the gap between what they learn from their beginners’ courses and the richer Greek of more fashionable texts. Hence an unprecedented amount of help with the language, and a large vocabulary, as well as the notes usual in this series on the content. Greek text with facing-page English translation, introduction and commentary.
Parallel-text edition of Xenophon’s Symposium. Greek text, with facing-page English translation, introduction and commentary.
A. J. Bowen is an Emeritus Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge. From 1993 to 2007 he was Orator of the University. His publications include Aeschylus: Suppliant Women and Plutarch: The Malice of Herodotus in the Aris & Phillips Classical Texts series.