Menexenus (dialogue)

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The Menexenus (/ˌməˈnɛksənəs/; Greek: Μενέξενоς) is a Socratic dialogue of Plato, traditionally included in the seventh tetralogy along with the Greater and Lesser Hippias and the Ion. The speakers are Socrates and Menexenus, who is not to be confused with Socrates' son Menexenus. The Menexenus of Plato's dialogue appears also in the Lysis, where he is identified as the "son of Demophon",[1] as well as the Phaedo.

The Menexenus consists mainly of a lengthy funeral oration, referencing the one given by Pericles in Thucydides' account of the Peloponnesian War. Socrates here delivers to Menexenus a speech that he claims to have learned from Aspasia, a consort of Pericles and prominent female Athenian intellectual.

Menexenus is unique among the Platonic dialogues in that the actual 'dialogue' serves primarily as exposition for the oration. For this reason, perhaps, the Menexenus has come under some suspicion of illegitimacy, although Aristotle's invocation of the text on multiple occasions seems to reinforce its authenticity.[2] Much of the interest in the Menexenus stems from the fact that it is one of the few extant sources on the practice of Athenian funeral oratory, even though it parodies the medium.


  1. Plato, Lysis, 207b
  2. John M. Cooper in Plato, Complete Dialogues. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2002


Further reading

  • Collins, Susan D.; Stauffer, Devin (1999). "The Challenge of Plato's Menexenus". The Review of Politics. 61 (1): 85–115. doi:10.1017/S003467050002814X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Coventry, Lucinda (1989). "Philosophy and Rhetoric in the Menexenus". Journal of Hellenic Studies. The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies. 109: 1–15. doi:10.2307/632028. JSTOR 632028.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Kahn, Charles H. (1963). "Plato's Funeral Oration: The Motive of the Menexenus". Classical Philology. 58 (4): 220–234. doi:10.1086/364821.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Monoson, S. Sara (1998). "Remembering Pericles: The Political and Theoretical Import of Plato's Menexenus". Political Theory. 26 (4): 489–513. doi:10.1177/0090591798026004003.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Rosenstock, Bruce (1994). "Socrates as Revenant: A Reading of the Menexenus". Phoenix. Classical Association of Canada. 48 (4): 331–347. doi:10.2307/1192572. JSTOR 1192572. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |journal= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Engels, David (2012). "Irony and Plato's Menexenus". Antiquité Classique 81, 2012: 13–30.
  • Pappas, Nickolas; Zelcer, Mark (2015). Politics and Philosophy in Plato's Menexenus: Education and Rhetoric, Myth and History. Routledge. p. 236. ISBN 978-1-84465-820-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links