By Leah Kronenberg

ISBN-10: 0521517265

ISBN-13: 9780521517263

During this ebook Professor Kronenberg exhibits that Xenophon's Oeconomicus, Varro's De Re Rustica and Virgil's Georgics are usually not easily works on farming yet belong to a convention of philosophical satire which makes use of allegory and irony to query the that means of morality. those works metaphorically attach farming and its similar arts to political lifestyles; yet rather than proposing farming in its conventional guise as a good image, they use it to version the deficiencies of the energetic existence, which in flip is juxtaposed to a well-liked contemplative lifestyle. even supposing those 3 texts are usually not often handled jointly, this ebook convincingly connects them with an unique and provocative interpretation in their allegorical use of farming. It additionally fills a big hole in our figuring out of the literary affects at the Georgics through exhibiting that it truly is formed not only by way of its poetic predecessors yet by means of philosophical discussion.

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Extra resources for Allegories of Farming from Greece and Rome: Philosophical Satire in Xenophon, Varro, and Virgil

Example text

For the Roman reader, the farmer embodied a very particular set of ideals: honest and unstinting toil, old-fashioned piety, the toughness and natural justice which made Rome great. ” As Cato writes in the preface to the De Agri Cultura: “But from farmers both the bravest men and the strongest soldiers are born” (at ex agricolis et viri fortissimi et milites strenuissimi gignuntur, pr. 4). Cicero’s writings emphasize the central role that agriculture played in the development of the Roman state, in both a literal and figurative sense.

From this evidence, it seems that Cicero interpreted the Oeconomicus as straight praise of farming and a practical manual on household management. On Cicero’s translation, see Alfonsi (1961–64). 109 Cicero also engages Varro in a strained friendship, depicted in Cicero’s letters (Fam. 1–8), in which Cicero alternately seeks Varro’s approval and chastises him for no longer being actively involved in politics. In one of the letters, he urges him to read and write Republics (Fam. 5); I would suggest that Varro responds with the De Re Rustica.

Brickhouse and Smith (2000) 43: “Xenophon’s ‘Socrates’ tends to accept uncritically conventional Athenian moral values and to preach to his friends about the importance of embracing those values. ” For a more even-handed assessment of the differences between Xenophon’s and Plato’s Socrates, see Dorion (2006), though Dorion still does not consider Xenophon’s Socratic writings “especially critical or speculative” (94). Of course, there are many inconsistencies within Plato’s depictions of Socrates, and not just between his and Xenophon’s.

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