The Myth of Er as Told in Polyglot Pamphylia

Friday, October 7, 2022

5:00 pm


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Professor Nicholas Pappas, the CUNY Graduate Center

Linguistic geography helps us classify Plato’s myth of Er within the larger phenomenon, still insufficiently examined, of the conception of the philosopher entangling itself in the concept of the Hellenic and native. The myth, attributed to someone from Pamphylia, delivers one message about civic justice and another about philosophical justice. Pamphylia was polyglot, with both Greek and Anatolian languages spoken. And the story’s non-Greek afterlife reinforces civic justice, while the disembodied Greek heroes find justice only by philosophizing. The Pamphylian setting seems to let Plato distribute justice unequally among the world’s population.