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Abstract–Palamedes’ Pharmacy

The fate of Palamedes fascinated classical Athens: unjustly accused by Odysseus, he was convicted of treason and executed by the Greek army in Troy. The paper explores this fascination in relation to the catalogues of benefaction that seem to have been a constant in depictions of the story. The catalogues describe Palamedes’ contributions to the war effort and broader collective, and take part in broader discussions of the origins of society and cultural progess. The versions of the catalogue, the paper argues, reveal conceptions of the role of the intellectual in a community, and are continuous with sophistic inquiries into the meaning of σοφία. Palamedes becomes a double for the philosopher, and like Socrates, is viewed with suspicion and ultimately executed for his wisdom.

About Joshua Billings

Joshua Billings (DPhil Oxford) is Assistant Professor of Classics at Princeton University. His research focuses on Greek literature and philosophy and modern intellectual history, with a particular concentration on tragedy. He has published one monograph, Genealogy of the Tragic: Greek Tragedy and German Philosophy (Princeton 2014) and two co-edited volumes, Choruses, Ancient and Modern (Oxford 2013) and Tragedy and the Idea of Modernity (Oxford 2015). At CHS, he will be working on a project on drama and intellectual culture at the end of the fifth century BC, provisionally entitled “Enlightenment on stage.”

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