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A Sophist ‘in disguise’: a reconstruction of Damon of Oa and his role in Plato’s dialogues

Tosca Lynch


This article presents a new examination of the Platonic passages that feature Damon of Oa, the famous musical theorist who was exiled from Athens apparently because of his close relationship with Pericles. The interpretation presented in this article contrasts sharply with the mainstream scholarly representation of Damon as a conservative musicologist with some vague ‘Pythagoreanising’ leaning, who allegedly personified in Plato’s view the ‘ideal’ authority with regard to musical matters. This representation does not seem to stand up to a close reading of the Platonic texts if all the extant evidence is taken into account, without preconceptions based on the supposedly ‘real’ meaning of the relevant passages of the Republic (3.400a-c, 4.424b-d).
Instead, a complete examination of the Platonic passages mentioning Damon shows that he is consistently characterised as a ‘sophistic’ type of intellectual: an attractive companion for young men, capable of teaching them very useful linguistic and musical skills. But, as the texts show, his sophistic intellectual activity did not entail only educational practices: on the contrary, this research led him to achieve true expertise in the classification of musical means and their psychagogic effects. However, given that Damon’s ‘scientific’ approach to the question did not aim at determining a stable hierarchy of ethical value, in the Republic Plato could not merely take his results as a ready-made solution for the music-related educational needs of the ideal city. Instead Plato seems to select some modes and rhythms from the whole set of results obtained by Damon, on the basis of the ethical stimuli that he deemed appropriate for the children of kallipolis.
Plato seems to follow the same approach also in Book 4 of the Republic, where Socrates quotes Damon’s aphorism concerning the mutual correlation of musical and political nomoi. Differently from what is often stated by the interpreters, Damon’s words do not imply the complex argument presented by Socrates in the previous sections of the text, and especially not the indictment of musical innovation: Damon’s expression reflects simply a psycho-sociological observation. All the additional ethical implications stated by Socrates, which derive from the idea that musical and political changes imply some kind of dangerous modifications in the city and the souls that inhabit it, are nothing else than the result of Plato’s use of Damon’s theories.

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  • 1 Plut. Per. 4.2: ὁ δὲ Δάμων ἔοικεν ἄκρος ὢν σοφιστὴς καταδύεσθαι μὲν εἰς τὸ τῆς μουσικῆς ὄνομα πρὸς (...)
  • 2 Plut. Per. 4.3-4: οὐ μὴν ἔλαθεν ὁ Δάμων τῇ λύρᾳ παρακαλύμματι χρώμενος, ἀλλ᾽ ὡς μεγαλοπράγμων καὶ φ (...)
  • 3 Cf. Arist. Ath. Pol. 27.4, Plut. Per. 4, Arist. 1, Nic. 6, Liban. Socr. Apol. 1.157 with Wallace (2 (...)

1In a well-known passage of Plutarch’s Pericles, Damon is distinctively depicted as a ‘first-rate sophist (ἄκρος ὢν σοφιστής)’ who ‘found refuge behind the name of music in order to disguise his cleverness before the multitude, while he associated with Pericles, as if he were the trainer and teacher of this champion of politics’.1 Plutarch continues by observing that Damon’s attempt to ‘employ the lyre as a veil’2 turned out to be extremely unsuccessful, as he was ostracised and became the object of the satirical verve of comic poets: a double rejection, physical and cultural, seems to be the ultimate destiny for this important member of Pericles’ circle.3

  • 4 For recent examples of this approach, cf. Delattre (2007), Delattre (1994) and Ritoók (2001), who b (...)

2Plutarch’s testimony stands in sharp contrast to the mainstream scholarly representation of Damon: a conservative musicologist with some vague ‘Pythagoreanising’ leaning4 who, in Plato’s view, personified the ‘ideal’ authority with regard to musical matters. But what if Plutarch’s testimony presents a historically legitimate alternative? And, on the other hand, what if the image of Damon that is generally attributed to Plato should be regarded as not such a ‘pure’ and historically reliable one as many scholars seem to believe?

  • 5 Cf. the aforementioned Ritoók (2001), Ryffel (1947), Lasserre (1954) and Koller (1954). A different (...)

3In order to assess this last point, it is worth examining what Plato actually wrote about Damon, since many reconstructions of Plato’s views on this historical character seem to be based on fairly imaginative and partial readings of the musical passages in Books 3 and 4 of the Republic.5

The Characterisation of Damon in Plato

4There are nine explicit mentions of Damon in the Platonic corpus: in addition to the well-known passages of the Republic, four references appear in the Laches, one in the First Alcibiades and one, finally, in the opening section of the pseudo-Platonic Axiochus.

  • 6 The question of this dialogue’s authenticity has widely been discussed: cf. the recent assessments (...)

5I would like to start from the First Alcibiades,6 a text that has often been overlooked in previous works on Damon. However, in my view it provides a fresh starting point to reconstruct Damon’s intellectual profile and the perspective opened by this apparently ‘minor’ passage allows us to avoid the risk of interpreting all the Platonic references to Damon on the basis of what is regarded as the ‘real’ meaning of the ‘Damonian’ passages of the Republic. While these texts certainly contain very important information for our purposes, they need to be contextualised precisely within Plato’s own agenda in order to be understood correctly and, for these reasons, they will be examined in later sections of this essay.

6First of all, we should look at the context of the relevant passage of the First Alcibiades, 118c. Socrates has just forced the young Alcibiades to admit a critical fault in his own intellectual preparation: he has not mastered the type of self-knowledge that, in Socrates’ view, represents the necessary prerequisite for someone who desires to engage actively in politics. This kind of knowledge will be later defined as ‘taking care’ (ἐπιμέλεσθαι/ἐπιμελεῖσθαι) of one’s own soul (Alc. 1 133d-134a), that is to say knowing how to govern one’s own thoughts and emotions before moving on to take the lead in public and political affairs. Immediately after exposing Alcibiades’ ignorance, Socrates adds that this lack of knowledge is common to almost all contemporary politicians, admitting only the possible exception of Pericles (Alc. 1 118c). At this point Alcibiades, hurt in his pride by this unfavourable comparison with his relative and guardian, replies bluntly as follows:

Λέγεταί γέ τοι, ὦ Σώκρατες, οὐκ ἀπὸ τοῦ αὐτομάτου σοφὸς γεγονέναι, ἀλλὰ πολλοῖς καὶ σοφοῖς συγγεγονέναι, καὶ Πυθοκλείδῃ καὶ Ἀναξαγόρᾳ· καὶ νῦν ἔτι τηλικοῦτος ὢν Δάμωνι σύνεστιν αὐτοῦ τούτου ἕνεκα. (Alc. 1 118c4-7)

It is said, Socrates, that he [scil. Pericles] did not become wise spontaneously, but kept the company of numerous wise men, such as Pythocleides and Anaxagoras: and these days he still spends time with Damon for the exact same reason.

  • 7 Cf. Podlecki (1998), 17-34. See as well Arist. Ath. Pol. 27.4, where both the close connection betw (...)
  • 8 On the musical activities of Pythocleides, especially in relation to Damon, cf. section 4: ‘Music, (...)

7In just a few lines, Alcibiades presents a very interesting outline of the characters that populated the intellectual environment of Pericles’ youth and maturity: Anaxagoras, Pythocleides and Damon, all generically included in the category of σοφοί.7 Strikingly enough, in such a short description Damon is not explicitly associated with any musical element, the aspect that is generally regarded as the most important feature of this historical character. Instead, the value of his presence is openly associated with his capability to make Pericles a ‘wise man’ (σοφός), just as Pythocleides8 and Anaxagoras allegedly used to do when he was younger.

  • 9 The exact same expression (διδάσκαλος μουσικῆς) is used to describe Damon in the pseudo-Platonic Ax (...)

8Bearing in mind the apparently simple, yet rarely emphasised testimony of the Alcibiades, let us move on to the Laches. Damon’s intellectual figure is evoked in numerous passages of this dialogue but, in itself, the abundance of references to him is pretty unsurprising, given that this dialogue is mainly concerned with the educational needs of two well-born young boys, the sons of Lysimachus and Melesias. In contrast with the unusual characterisation of the First Alcibiades, here Damon is presented in a more predictable way, primarily as a teacher of music.9 However, as Nicias subsequently observes, Damon is not only a teacher of music:

Καὶ γὰρ αὐτῷ μοι ἔναγχος ἄνδρα προυξένησε τῷ ὑεῖ διδάσκαλον μουσικῆς, Ἀγαθοκλέους μαθητὴν Δάμωνα, ἀνδρῶν χαριέστατον οὐ μόνον τὴν μουσικήν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τἆλλα ὁπόσου βούλει ἄξιον συνδιατρίβειν τηλικούτοις νεανίσκοις. (Lach. 180d1-5)

For he [scil. Socrates] recently introduced to myself a teacher of music for my son: Damon, the pupil of Agathocles, the most accomplished of all men not only so far as music is concerned, but also in every other respect as worthy to associate with as you could wish for young people of that age.

  • 10 Cf. Soph. 234b1, Resp. 4.426e5, Phaedr. 230b6, Prot. 309b1, Prot. 320c7. Interestingly, in Philod. (...)
  • 11 In relation to this, cf. Plato Apol. 20b4-5, the only passage of this text where Socrates uses the (...)

9First of all, we are told that it was Socrates who recommended and introduced Damon to Nicias as a teacher of music for his son. Once more, an apparently minor observation is very precious for our analysis, since the fact that Socrates and Damon knew each other and that Socrates appreciated Damon’s skills, at least to the extent of recommending him as a teacher, is presented as a fairly unproblematic detail of the historical context of the dialogue – a characterisation that would not make much sense if this were not a pretty well-known piece of information. Moreover, in this passage Damon is characterised as being χαριέστατος (‘the most accomplished and graceful’), a very rare adjective in the superlative form in Plato’s prose,10 not only with regard to music but also for some other ‘mysterious’ kind of expertise, which makes him a generally valuable companion for young men who are looking for advanced education.11

  • 12 Lach. 199e13-200a3.

10Damon’s special skills are explicitly evoked again later in the dialogue, for instance when Laches, making fun of Nicias’ inability to define what courage is, ironically refers to the big hopes he had in him and in ‘the wisdom he acquired from Damon (τῇ παρὰ τοῦ Δάμωνος σοφίᾳ)’.12 Once more this passage refers to the enigmatic knowledge that Damon transmitted to his associates and pupils, but we again have no specific indications about its nature.

  • 13 Cf. Gorgias DK 82 B 11.1.1-3: Κόσμος πόλει μὲν εὐανδρία, σώματι δὲ κάλλος, ψυχῇ δὲ σοφία, πράγματι (...)

11Luckily, the content of Damon’s σοφία is explicitly examined in the immediately preceding passage, where we are presented with another of Laches’ attempts to make fun of Nicias for his subtle conceptual distinctions, in this case concerning the differences between the notions of fearlessness and courage (Lach. 197b-c). The precise words used to describe Nicias’ ability are illuminating: Laches labels his expertise in playing on subtle abstract nuances as being able to ἑαυτόν κοσμεῖν τῷ λόγ (Lach. 197c2-3), an expression that perhaps evokes some Gorgianic echoes.13 But this is not the only reason to think of Damon’s σοφία as a type of ‘sophistic’ wisdom; Socrates himself makes this association explicit in his own following statement, as he tells off Laches for his negative attitude towards Nicias:

καὶ γάρ μοι δοκεῖς οὐδὲ ᾐσθῆσθαι ὅτι ταύτην τὴν σοφίαν παρὰ Δάμωνος τοῦ ἡμετέρου ἑταίρου παρείληφεν, ὁ δὲ Δάμων τῷ Προδίκῳ πολλὰ πλησιάζει, ὃς δὴ δοκεῖ τῶν σοφιστῶν κάλλιστα τὰ τοιαῦτα ὀνόματα διαιρεῖν. (Lach. 197d1-6)

For it seems to me that you have not realised that he [scil. Nicias] received such wisdom from our friend Damon, and Damon actually spends lots of time with Prodicus, who is regarded as the best of the sophists in dividing these kinds of names.

  • 14 See e.g. Plato Prot. 341c7-8. Cf. Kerferd (1981) chap. 7 for a very useful overview on the subject.
  • 15 Cf. Crat. 391b-c and Crat. 384b. Prodicus, in particular, is associated with this theme in numerous (...)
  • 16 Cf. the aforementioned Edmunds (2006), as well as the slightly different position defended by Tell (...)

12Finally Damon’s wisdom is given some content: it is clearly associated with Prodicus’ investigations into the correctness of names (ὀνομάτων ὀρθότης) and into the related question of establishing accurate terminological distinctions (ὀρθῶς διαιρεῖν), both well-known sophistic preoccupations.14 As Plato tells us in the Cratylus, a dialogue entirely devoted to these questions, sophists of the calibre of Protagoras and Prodicus were famous experts in this τέχνη and expensive teachers of this skill.15 However, in apparent contrast with the recurrent Platonic critical attitude towards the so-called ‘sophists’,16 here Socrates depicts Damon as ‘friend of ours’ (ὁ ἡμέτερος ἑταῖρος): why does he choose this expression?

  • 17 Hipp. maj. 282c1-6 and Resp. 6.496b (Theages). On Socrates’ use of vocatives in Plato’s dialogues, (...)
  • 18 Cf. Halliwell (1995), 95: ‘the force of the term hetairos on Socrates’ lips, or on those of his ass (...)

13While, on the one hand, this remark could be interpreted simply as an ironic note that warns the reader not to take the content of Socrates’ words at face value, it does not seem plausible to reduce it just to this function, given that the role attributed to his expertise does not seem completely and obviously negative; moreover, it is worth noting that the expression ὁ ἡμέτερος ἑταῖρος is quite rare in Plato’s dialogues and is always used by Socrates to designate a character that somehow manages to make a positive contribution to the development of the dialogue.17 Still, why does Damon belong to the category of ‘friends’ or even to that of ‘companions’18? And, also, why does Socrates distinguish between sophistic ‘friends’ and ‘enemies’?

  • 19 Personal prestige and wealth in the case of the sophists; the case of Theages is more complex: cf. (...)

14In my view, it is possible to find an answer to these questions by focusing on the actual quality of the intellectual results achieved respectively by the two ‘categories’ of sophists mentioned in Plato. In fact, the Platonic Socrates seems to accept as ‘friends’ those intellectuals who, although ultimately aiming at different ends,19 actually managed to provide some kind of valuable contribution to intellectual research. Despite the fact that, in the case of many sophists, these theoretical achievements were exploited in order to increase one’s prestige and power, Plato seems to think that the quality of the achievements themselves, independently of their actual use, should be recognised and praised.

  • 20 Cf. Aristoph. Nub. 360-ff., where the Clouds state that, among the contemporary meteorosophistai, t (...)
  • 21 Interestingly, in these passages Socrates undertakes a type of literary analysis of Simonides’ ode (...)
  • 22 Prot. 341a1: κινδυνεύει γάρ τοι, ὦ Πρωταγόρα, ἡ Προδίκου σοφία θεία τις εἶναι πάλαι, ἤτοι ἀπὸ Σιμων (...)
  • 23 Prot. 341a5: ἐγὼ ἔμπειρος διὰ τὸ μαθητὴς εἶναι Προδίκου τουτουΐ.
  • 24 Cf. Plato Charm. 163d, Meno 96d and Crat. 384b-c: here Socrates specifies that he could afford only (...)
  • 25 Prot. 341d6-9: Ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐγὼ οἶμαι, ἔφην, ὦ Πρωταγόρα, τοῦτο λέγειν Σιμωνίδην, καὶ Πρόδικόν γε τόνδε (...)
  • 26 Cf. Symp. 177b4, where ὁ βέλτιστος Πρόδικος is defined as a χρηστὸς σοφιστής and his Encomium of He (...)

15This attitude is attested also in the characterisation of another ‘good’ sophist20 in Plato’s writings, Prodicus – precisely the person who is presented as Damon’s regular associate in the Laches. Mentioned over forty times in the dialogues, Prodicus is often praised for his interventions and, in general, his character appears to be valuable for the overall development of the philosophical analysis undertaken in the contexts where he is mentioned or appears in person; however, at the same time Plato seems to feel the need to highlight the potential danger of his philosophical approach, if taken entirely seriously, by accompanying these flattering remarks with a light touch of irony. This ambiguity in Plato’s approach to Prodicus’ intellectual figure is demonstrated clearly in a passage from the Protagoras, 339e-342a. Here Socrates, in calling upon Prodicus to help him in interpreting the real meaning of Simonides’ poem,21 describes his linguistic σοφία as ‘divine’ (θεία)22 and even calls himself a disciple of his23 – a declaration that is repeated also in other dialogues and that is never associated with any other sophist.24 This surprising statement is soon clarified by Socrates, as he highlights one aspect of Prodicus’ sophia which is strikingly similar to his own method of inquiry: Prodicus knows how to ‘play’ (παίζειν) with his interlocutors on the subtle differences between near-synonyms, sometimes even concealing what his real opinion is on some specific matter, as happens for instance in this passage of the Protagoras, in order to ‘test’ (ἀποπειρᾶσθαι) other people’s ability to support their own statements (τῷ λόγῳ βοηθεῖν):25 this technique certainly strikes us as very much ‘Socratic’. Therefore, while the definition of Prodicus’ wisdom as ‘divine’ is clearly excessive, nonetheless it represents a sort of first step that helped Socrates to acquire the linguistic skills that subsequently he was to employ in an ethically ‘correct’ way in his quest for virtue.26

  • 27 It is also worth noting that in this passage the ‘sinister’ aspect of Prodicus’ skill seems to be r (...)

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    ll d">Bs="iogrlahie class=26span> Lach. Anderson, W.D. (1955) ‘The importance of Damonian theory in Plato’s thought’ in Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 86: 88-102.

    Anderson, W.D. (1966) Ethos and education in Greek music – The evidence of poetry and philosophy. Cambridge (Mass.).

    Barker, A. (1989) Greek Musical Writings II – Harmonic and Acoustic theory. Cambridge.

    Barker, A. (2005) ‘Damone e i sofisti’ in Meriani, A. (ed.), Psicomusicologia nella Grecia Antica. Napoli: 57-74.

    Barker, A. (2007) The Science of Harmonics in Classical Greece. Cambridge.

    Brancacci, A. (2008a) ‘I Tropoi di Damone (37 B 2 e B 10 DK)’ in Brancacci, A., Musica e Filosofia da Damone a Filodemo. Firenze: 7-19.

    Brancacci, A. (2008b) ‘Protagora, Damone e la musica’ in Brancacci, A., Musica e Filosofia da Damone a Filodemo. Firenze: 21-33.

    D’Angour, A. (2011) The Greeks and the New – Novelty in ancient Greek imagination and experience. Cambridge.

    Deiters, H. (1870) De Aristidis Quintiliani doctrinae harmonicae fontibus. Düren.

    Delattre, D. (1994) ‘Damon’ in Goulet, R. (ed.), Dictionnaire des Philosophes Antiques, vol. 2. Paris: 600-607.

    Delattre, D. (ed.) (2007) Philodème de GadaraSur la musique. Livre IV. Paris.

    Denyer, N. (ed.) (2001) PlatoAlcibiades. Cambridge.

    Hagel, S. (forthcoming) ‘Shaping characters: an ancient science of musical ethos?’ in Eichmann, R., Howell, M. & Lawson, G. (eds.), Sound, Political Space and Political Condition in the Ancient World. Berlin.

    Halliwell, S. (1995) ‘Forms of Address: Socratic Vocatives in Plato’ in de Martino, F. & Sommerstein, A. (eds.), Lo spettacolo delle voci, parte seconda. Bari: 87-121.

    Halliwell, S. (2002) The Aesthetics of Mimesis. Princeton.

    Jirsa, J. (2009) ‘Authenticity of the Alcibiades I: some reflections’ in Listy filologicke/Folia philologica 132 (3-4): 225-244.

    Joyal, M. (2000) The Platonic Theages – An Introduction, Commentary, and Critical Edition. Stuttgart.

    Kerferd, G.B. (1981) The Sophistic movement. Cambridge.

    Koller, H. (1954) Die Mimesis in der Antike. Bern.

    Lasserre, F. (ed.) (1954) Plutarque de la musique. Olten – Lausanne.

    Lord, C. (1978) ‘On Damon and Music Education’ in Hermes 106.1: 32-43.

    LSJ = Liddell, H.G., Scott, R. & Jones, H.S. (eds.) (1996), A Greek-English Lexicon. Oxford.

    Nails, D. (2002) The People of Plato – A Prosopography of Plato and Other Socratics. Indianapolis.

    Podlecki, A. (1998) Perikles and his circle. New York.

    Powers, H.S. (ed.) (2001), The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Vol. XVI. London.

    Rhodes, P.J. (1981) A commentary on the Aristotelian Athenaion Politeia. Oxford.

    Ritoók, Z. (2001) ‘Damon: sein Platz in der Geschichte des ästhetischen Denkens’ in Wiener Studien 114: 59-68.

    Ryffel, H. (1947) ‘Eukosmia. Ein Beitrag zur Wiederherstellung des Areopagitikos des Damon’ in Museum Helveticum 4: 23-38.

    Schäfke, R. (1937) Aristides Quintilianus – Von der Musik. Berlin.

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    Tell, H. (2011) Plato’s counterfeit sophists. Washington D.C.

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    Wallace, R. (1995), ‘Music theorists in fourth-century Athens’ in Gentili, B. & Perusino, F. (eds.), Mousike: Metrica, Ritmica e Musica Greca in memoria di Giovanni Comotti. Pisa –Roma: 17-39.

    Wallace, R. (2004) ‘Damon of Oa: A Music Theorist Ostracized?’ in Wilson, P. & Murray, P. (eds.), Music and the Muses. Oxford: 249-267.

    Wallace, R. (2005), ‘Performing Damon’s harmoníai’ in Hagel, S. & Harrauer, C. (eds.), Ancient Greek Music in Performance. Wien: 147-157.

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    Winnington-Ingram, R.P. (1968) Mode in Ancient Greek Music. Amsterdam.

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    1 Plut. Per. 4.2: ὁ δὲ Δάμων ἔοικεν ἄκρος ὢν σοφιστὴς καταδύεσθαι μὲν εἰς τὸ τῆς μουσικῆς ὄνομα πρὸς τοὺς πολλοὺς ἐπικρυπτόμενος τὴν δεινότητα, τῷ δὲ Περικλεῖ συνῆν καθάπερ ἀθλητῇ τῶν πολιτικῶν ἀλείπτης καὶ διδάσκαλος. All the English translations of Greek texts used in this study are my own. On the Plutarchan passage, see Stadter (1989), Introduction §3 and ad loc. On the term σοφιστής, cf. the illuminating analysis presented in Edmunds (2006), who demonstrates how the 5th-century uses of the term ‘show a surprisingly wide range of meanings’ (418), while it was only in the 4th century that it ‘became the standard term for the professional teachers of rhetoric and the art of speaking in fifth-century Athens’ (422). In this perspective, cf. Plato com. PCG 149, where Bacchylides is included among the sophists portrayed in his play Σοφισταί.

    2 Plut. Per. 4.3-4: οὐ μὴν ἔλαθεν ὁ Δάμων τῇ λύρᾳ παρακαλύμματι χρώμενος, ἀλλ᾽ ὡς μεγαλοπράγμων καὶ φιλοτύραννος ἐξωστρακίσθη καὶ παρέσχε τοῖς κωμικοῖς διατριβήν. Cf. with Plut. Arist. 1.7: καὶ Δάμων ὁ Περικλέους διδάσκαλος, ὅτι τὸ φρονεῖν ἐδόκει τις εἶναι περιττός, ἐξωστρακίσθη.

    3 Cf. Arist. Ath. Pol. 27.4, Plut. Per. 4, Arist. 1, Nic. 6, Liban. Socr. Apol. 1.157 with Wallace (2004), 249-267, and Wallace (1991). The literary evidence has been confirmed by ostraka from V sec. B.C. which bear the name Damon; the ostracism probably took place around 442-440 (cf. e.g Wallace 2004, 252). For different views on the date, see e.g. Rhodes (1981) on Ath. Pol. 27.4 and Nails (2002), 122.

    4 For recent examples of this approach, cf. Delattre (2007), Delattre (1994) and Ritoók (2001), who build on positions previously presented by Ryffel (1947), Lasserre (1954) and Koller (1954); see as well Deiters (1870), 13-ff., and Schäfke (1937), 100-112. A different and more accurate perspective, though not always convincing, is outlined in Anderson (1955) and Anderson (1966), esp. 75-80. Cf. also Brancacci (2008a) and Brancacci (2008b): while these essays offer thorough and valuable examinations of the Damonian passages in Plato, their conclusions are not entirely persuasive – cf. below, footnotes 45 and 52. On the relation between Damon and the sophists and on the sophistic character of his intellectual research, cf. the illuminating analysis presented in Barker (2005). For a very productive and subtle examination of the use of Damon’s authority in Aristides Quintilianus, see Hagel (forthcoming).

    5 Cf. the aforementioned Ritoók (2001), Ryffel (1947), Lasserre (1954) and Koller (1954). A different case is that of Lord (1978): while his overall approach to Aristides Quintilanus and Aristotle is generally productive, at page 41-42 the author argues that τὸ πρέπον is a ‘fundamental category of Damonian theory’, inadvertently taking Plato’s version as a historically reliable source.

    6 The question of this dialogue’s authenticity has widely been discussed: cf. the recent assessments offered in Denyer (2001), 1-26, and Jirsa (2009). It is worth remembering that the authenticity of this dialogue was first questioned by Schleiermacher in 1809, but his point of view was intrinsically biased, since his underlying presupposition maintained that the Phaedrus was the first dialogue to be read in order to approach Plato’s philosophy, i.e. exactly the role that was traditionally attributed to the First Alcibiades.

    7 Cf. Podlecki (1998), 17-34. See as well Arist. Ath. Pol. 27.4, where both the close connection between Pericles and Damon and its political implications are attested.

    8 On the musical activities of Pythocleides, especially in relation to Damon, cf. section 4: ‘Music, Politics and Masks: Damon and his masters’.

    9 The exact same expression (διδάσκαλος μουσικῆς) is used to describe Damon in the pseudo-Platonic Axiochus, 364a4.

    10 Cf. Soph. 234b1, Resp. 4.426e5, Phaedr. 230b6, Prot. 309b1, Prot. 320c7. Interestingly, in Philod. De Mus. 4. col.147.39-40 Delattre, we are told that the practice of music is appropriate to τοὺς χαρίεντας and, a few lines later (which are unfortunately destroyed), Philodemus mentions Damon and his discourse to the Areopagus.

    11 In relation to this, cf. Plato Apol. 20b4-5, the only passage of this text where Socrates uses the word σοφιστής, significantly in so far as he refers to the fact Evenos of Paros was hired as a teacher of ‘human and political excellence’. Cf. Edmunds (2006), 418.

    12 Lach. 199e13-200a3.

    13 Cf. Gorgias DK 82 B 11.1.1-3: Κόσμος πόλει μὲν εὐανδρία, σώματι δὲ κάλλος, ψυχῇ δὲ σοφία, πράγματι δὲ ἀρετή, λόγῳ δὲ ἀλήθεια· τὰ δὲ ἐναντία τούτων ἀκοσμία. See as well Plato Phaedr. 277c and Menex. 239c.

    14 See e.g. Plato Prot. 341c7-8. Cf. Kerferd (1981) chap. 7 for a very useful overview on the subject.

    15 Cf. Crat. 391b-c and Crat. 384b. Prodicus, in particular, is associated with this theme in numerous Platonic passages: cf. Charm. 163d, Lach. 197d, Prot. 314c, 315c-316a, 317c-e, 336d-337c, 339e-342a, 347a, 357e-359a, Hipp. Maj. 282c, Meno 75e, 96d, Apol. 19e, Symp. 177b; Phaedr. 267b, Resp. 10.600c, Euthyd. 277e, 305c, Theaet. 151b, Theag. 127e8. See also [Plato] Axioch. 366c and [Plato] Eryx. 397d-e, 398b-399b.

    16 Cf. the aforementioned Edmunds (2006), as well as the slightly different position defended by Tell (2011), 26-27.

    17 Hipp. maj. 282c1-6 and Resp. 6.496b (Theages). On Socrates’ use of vocatives in Plato’s dialogues, cf. Halliwell (1995), esp. 94-96; with regard to the form ἑταῖρε, Halliwell concludes that ‘Socrates uses this locution not to mark a necessarily pre-existing or objective relationship between himself and another person […], but to express a willingness and desire to engage in a common pursuit of philosophical collaboration with his interlocutor’ (95-96).

    18 Cf. Halliwell (1995), 95: ‘the force of the term hetairos on Socrates’ lips, or on those of his associates’ reflects ‘a specifically philosophical conception of companionship’. Both Plato and Aristotle employ similar expressions in relation to Socrates: cf. Plato Phaedo 118a15 (τοῦ ἑταίρου ἡμῖν) and Arist. Rhet. 1398b30-31(ὁ ἑταῖρος ἡμῶν).

    19 Personal prestige and wealth in the case of the sophists; the case of Theages is more complex: cf. Joyal (2000), 58-60 and 112-114.

    20 Cf. Aristoph. Nub. 360-ff., where the Clouds state that, among the contemporary meteorosophistai, they listen only to Socrates and Prodicus. Interestingly, they add that the reason why they listen to Prodicus is his σοφία καὶ γνώμη, while the reason for their loyalty towards Socrates is much more prosaic, i.e. the harsh conditions he must endure for their sake.

    21 Interestingly, in these passages Socrates undertakes a type of literary analysis of Simonides’ ode that is very similar, technically speaking, to those developed by the sophists, an affinity that is underlined by Plato a few pages later when Hippias enthusiastically approves of Socrates’ speech and actually offers to deliver one himself, significantly calling it a demonstration (Εὖ μέν μοι δοκεῖς, ἔφη, ὦ Σώκρατες, καὶ σὺ περὶ τοῦ ᾄσματος διεληλυθέναι· ἔστιν μέντοι, ἔφη, καὶ ἐμοὶ λόγος περὶ αὐτοῦ εὖ ἔχων, ὃν ὑμῖν ἐπιδείξω, ἂν βούλησθε, Prot. 347a-b).

    22 Prot. 341a1: κινδυνεύει γάρ τοι, ὦ Πρωταγόρα, ἡ Προδίκου σοφία θεία τις εἶναι πάλαι, ἤτοι ἀπὸ Σιμωνίδου ἀρξαμένη, ἢ καὶ ἔτι παλαιοτέρα.

    23 Prot. 341a5: ἐγὼ ἔμπειρος διὰ τὸ μαθητὴς εἶναι Προδίκου τουτουΐ.

    24 Cf. Plato Charm. 163d, Meno 96d and Crat. 384b-c: here Socrates specifies that he could afford only a cheap course with him.

    25 Prot. 341d6-9: Ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐγὼ οἶμαι, ἔφην, ὦ Πρωταγόρα, τοῦτο λέγειν Σιμωνίδην, καὶ Πρόδικόν γε τόνδε εἰδέναι, ἀλλὰ παίζειν καὶ σοῦ δοκεῖν ἀποπειρᾶσθαι εἰ οἷός τ᾽ ἔσῃ τῷ σαυτοῦ λόγῳ βοηθεῖν. It is worth noting that the same expression (λόγῳ βοηθεῖν) denotes at Phaedr. 276c8 the incapability of written discourse to ‘defend’ its real meaning and to teach the truth: οὐκ ἄρα σπουδῇ αὐτὰ ἐν ὕδατι γράψει μέλανι σπείρων διὰ καλάμου μετὰ λόγων ἀδυνάτων μὲν αὑτοῖς λόγῳ βοηθεῖν, ἀδυνάτων δὲ ἱκανῶς τἀληθῆ διδάξαι.

    26 Cf. Symp. 177b4, where ὁ βέλτιστος Πρόδικος is defined as a χρηστὸς σοφιστής and his Encomium of Heracles is referred to (cf. Xen. Mem. 2.1.21-ff.); see as well Phaedr. 267b, where Socrates remembers how Prodicus laughed at the other sophists’ ability to make both long or short discourses on the same question, claiming to have been the first to discover the ‘true’ criterion of λόγων τέχνη: how to make a discourse μετρίων (267b3).

    27 It is also worth noting that in this passage the ‘sinister’ aspect of Prodicus’ skill seems to be related to the fact that, by speaking at the council and by delivering epideictic speeches in private, he became well-known for his skills (eudokimesen) and gained significant sums of money by associating with young boys.

    28 Ἁρμονία is a concept that we tend to link to our idea of tonality, though it would be more correct to associate it with the concept of mode. Cf. Powers (2001), s.v. Mode: ‘Mode is essentially a question of the internal relationships of notes within a scale, especially of the predominance of one of them over the others as a tonic, its predominance being established in any or all of a number of ways: e.g. frequent recurrence, its appearance in a prominent position as the first note or the last, the delaying of its expected occurrence by some kind of embellishment. […] Mode may be defined as the epitome of stylized song, of song stylized in a particular district or people or occupation; and it draws its character partly from associations contracted in its native home, reinforced perhaps by the sanctions of mythology’.

    29 On the malleable nature of young minds, cf. Resp. 2.377a11-b5, 2.377c1-6; on the role of μίμησις in the formation of the soul, cf. Resp. 3.394e-397b, esp. 3.395c-d, with the illuminating interpretation presented in Halliwell (2002). On the pre-rational, almost instinctual appreciation that the children of kallipolis will have of the beauty of logos, acquired through a correct musical education, cf. Resp. 3.401d-402a and 4.402d. The almost magic effect of music is explicitly highlighted in the Laws (e.g. Leg. 2.659d), where is underlined also the influence that music, together with wine, exerts on older souls: it makes them softer and therefore more malleable (μαλακώτερον ἐκ σκληροτέρου τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς ἦθος […] καὶ οὕτως εὐπλαστότερον, Leg. 2.666b-c), as those of young people are naturally (cf. Leg. 7.789a-790e).

    30 3.400a3-4.

    31 This kind of classification divides the fundamental rhythms on the basis of thesis-arsis pairs (feet), generating three gene, or types: the ison-type (‘equal’, as the elements of each foot stand to a relationship of 1:1 – e.g. dactyl, spondee and anapaest feet), the diplasion-type (‘double’, with a compound structure of 2:1 – e.g. iambic and trochaic feet) and the hemiolion-type (featuring a 3:2 structure, such as the paeonic feet).

    32 3.400a7-8. Cf. also Wallace (2005), which contains many useful observations, although some of the author’s assumptions seem to me unwarranted – see e.g. 155: ‘he [scil. Damon] could not have categorised the ethos of each individual harmonia because that ethos varied from song to song’; however in itself the fact that the ethos changed in different songs does not imply that it is not possible to examine its variations and therefore, in principle, Damon could have tried to examine the different ways in which each harmonia could be used and the effects it would elicit.

    33 Cf. Edmonds (2006), 420: ‘The sophist is the type of the expert and, in particular, someone who is good at inventing or discovering things’.

    34 This idea certainly seems to resemble the Gorgianic theory of the effects of logoi on the soul – Cf. DK B 82 B 11.8-10: λόγος δυνάστης μέγας ἐστίν, ὃς σμικροτάτῳ σώματι καὶ ἀφανεστάτῳ θειότατα ἔργα ἀποτελεῖ· δύναται γὰρ καὶ φόβον παῦσαι καὶ λύπην ἀφελεῖν καὶ χαρὰν ἐνεργάσασθαι καὶ ἔλεον ἐπαυξῆσαι. ταῦτα δὲ ὡς οὕτως ἔχει δείξω· (9) δεῖ δὲ καὶ δόξῃ δεῖξαι τοῖς ἀκούουσι· τὴν ποίησιν ἅπασαν καὶ νομίζω καὶ ὀνομάζω λόγον ἔχοντα μέτρον· ἧς τοὺς ἀκούοντας εἰσῆλθε καὶ φρίκη περίφοβος καὶ ἔλεος πολύδακρυς καὶ πόθος φιλοπενθής, ἐπ᾽ ἀλλοτρίων τε πραγμάτων καὶ σωμάτων εὐτυχίαις καὶ δυσπραγίαις ἴδιόν τι πάθημα διὰ τῶν λόγων ἔπαθεν ἡ ψυχή. φέρ΢mωςας εἰσῆλθε κB 11.8-10: λs s im does ]" id=eus>τ iCrat εὐτυχίαις καὶ δυσ (10)line;">δύναται γὰρ καὶ φάἱσαι καὁ΢mὦ Σμὲν αὑτοραιλ, ὦ έρὑϳοῦ cla to lω,text-deρὑϳοῦ χαρἴθημ φρίι, ἔφη,ητριτα μιοϦσαι μματκο὇] καὶ οὕτως Ρ βον κα/p> ως ραι ως Δ΢mϻ· α.

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