In this course we will read and discuss Plato's Symposium, one of his most enduring and influential dialogues. NOTE: the text will be read in ancient Greek, not in translation. Since this work consists in large part of a series of speeches in praise of love made by characters from diverse walks of Athenian life, it can feed several interests: linguistic (various rhetorical styles are represented); social-historical (the speeches reflect the various professional and ethical viewpoints of the characters); philosophical (e.g. when Socrates's speech takes off into Platonic metaphysics). As a piece of writing it has great literary polish and its construction is unusually complex, so that it also makes a good case-study for Plato's aims as a writer of philosophy. In class we will translate the text, and discuss it in terms of all these aspects.
Prerequisites: Experience in Ancient Greek equivalent to three semesters of study.
Requirements: regular class participation, midterm, four-page term-paper, final exam.