Halcyon (dialogue)

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Halcyon (Greek: Ἀλκυών) is a short dialogue with the distinction of being attributed in the manuscripts to both Plato and Lucian, although the work is not by either writer.[1] Favorinus, writing in the early 2nd century, attributes it to a certain Leon.[2]

In the dialogue, Socrates relates to Chaerephon the ancient myth of the Halcyon, a woman transformed into a bird forever searching the seas in lament. The conversation is conducted in the port of Phaleron, also the narrative setting of Plato's Symposium. Socrates advocates epistemological humility for mortals in light of the gods' abilities.

The text was included in the 1st century CE Platonic canon of Thrasyllus of Mendes, but had been expunged prior to the Stephanus pagination and is thus rarely found in modern collections of Plato, although it appears in Hackett's Complete Works. It is often still included among the spurious works of Lucian.[3]


  1. A. E. Taylor, (2001), Plato: The Man and His Work, page 552. Courier Dover Publications
  2. Diogenes Laërtius, iii. 62
  3. D. S. Hutchinson in Plato Complete Works. Ed: John M. Cooper. Hackett Publishing, 1997, pg. 1714