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Menexenus (dialogue)

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Title: Menexenus (dialogue)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Lysis (dialogue), List of speakers in Plato's dialogues, Dialogues of Plato, Plato, Andrew Downes (scholar)
Collection: Dialogues of Plato, Funeral Orations, Socratic Dialogues
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Menexenus (dialogue)

The Menexenus (; 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.


  • References 1
  • Translations 2
  • Further reading 3
  • External links 4


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


  • Plato, Appendix, Introduction, & English translation by  
  • Plato, Annotated English translation by Walter Rangeley Maitland Lamb, Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 9 (1925), Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. – Perseus Digital Library, Tufts University (English)
  • Plato, Computer Generated Audio Book(s) – English translation by Benjamin Jowett, – Internet Archive, Community Audio, mp3 (64kp/128kp/Ogg Vorbis) (English)
  • Plato, Ancient Greek, – Poesia Latina, Greco interattivo (Ancient Greek)
  • Schofield, Malcolm (edt); translations by Tom Griffith (2009). Plato: Gorgias, Menexenus, Protagoras (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought). Cambridge University Press. p. 264.  

Further reading

  • Collins, Susan D.; Stauffer, Devin (1999). "The Challenge of Plato's Menexenus". The Review of Politics 61 (1): 85–115.  
  • Coventry, Lucinda (1989). "Philosophy and Rhetoric in the Menexenus".  
  • Kahn, Charles H. (1963). "Plato's Funeral Oration: The Motive of the Menexenus". Classical Philology 58 (4): 220–234.  
  • Monoson, S. Sara (1998). "Remembering Pericles: The Political and Theoretical Import of Plato's Menexenus". Political Theory 26 (4): 489–513.  
  • Rosenstock, Bruce (1994). "Socrates as Revenant: A Reading of the Menexenus". Phoenix (Classical Association of Canada) 48 (4): 331–347.  
  • 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.  

External links

  • Works related to Menexenus at Wikisource
  • at GutenbergMenexenusText of
  • translated by Benjamin Jowett (LibriVox)MenexenusFree Audiobook version of
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