Logoi and Muthoi

Further Essays in Greek Philosophy and Literature

Edited by William Wians

Subjects: Ancient Greek Philosophy, Philosophy, Literature, Plato, Aristotle
Series: SUNY series in Ancient Greek Philosophy
Hardcover : 9781438474892, 378 pages, June 2019
Paperback : 9781438474885, 378 pages, January 2020

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

List of Illustrations

From Logos and Muthos to . . .
William Wians

1. Xenia, Hiketeia, and the Homeric Language of Morals: The Origins of Western Ethics
Kevin Robb

2. The Muses’ Faithful Servant: Moral Knowledge in Homer, Hesiod, and Xenophanes
William Wians

3. How Philosophy is Rooted in Tradition: Stories Describing the Appearance of Man and Woman in Ancient Greece
Luc Brisson

4. Muthos and Logos on New Year’s Day: Trial and Error in Anaximander’s Seasonal Sundial
Robert Hahn

5. Tragic Values in Homer and Sophocles
Lawrence J. Hatab

6. Sketches of Oedipus in Sophocles’s Play about Tyranny
Marina Marren

7. Helen and the Divine Defense: Homer, Gorgias, Euripides
Ruby Blondell

8. The Hero and the Saint: Sophocles’s Antigone and Plato’s Socrates
Roslyn Weiss

9. Myth and Argument in Glaucon’s account of Gyges’s Ring and Adeimantus’s Use of Poetry
Marina McCoy

10. Myth Inside the Walls: Er and the Argument of the Republic
Pierre Destrée

11. Priam’s Despair and Courage: An Aristotelian Reading of Fear, Hope, and Suffering in Homer’s Iliad
Marjolein Oele

12. Poets as Philosophers and Philosophers as Poets: Parmenides, Plato, Lucretius, and Wordsworth
A. A. Long

About the Contributors

Essays on Greek philosophy and literature from Homer and Hesiod to Aristotle.


In Logoi and Muthoi, William Wians builds on his earlier volume Logos and Muthos, highlighting the richness and complexity of these terms that were once set firmly in opposition to one another as reason versus myth or rationality versus irrationality. It was once common to think of intellectual history representing a straightforward progression from mythology to rationality. These volumes, however, demonstrate the value of taking the two together, opening up and analyzing a range of interactions, reactions, tensions, and ambiguities arising between literary and philosophical forms of discourse, including philosophical themes in works not ordinarily considered in the canon of Greek philosophical texts. This new volume considers such topics as the pre-philosophical origins of Anaximander's calendar, the philosophical significance of public performance and claims of poetic inspiration, and the complex role of mythic figures (including perhaps Socrates) in Plato. Taken together, the essays offer new approaches to familiar texts and open up new possibilities for understanding the roles and relationships between muthos and logos in ancient Greek thought.

William Wians is Professor of Philosophy at Merrimack College. His books include Logos and Muthos: Philosophical Essays in Greek Literature, also published by SUNY Press, and Reading Aristotle: Argument and Exposition (coedited with Ron Polansky).


"…this interesting book brings together works that address, from very present-day perspectives, various aspects of the complex relations between muthos and logos; and shed light on areas of confluence and differentiation between these two essential manifestations of Greek culture, manifestations that are more complex than some reductionist proposals would allow." — Aestimatio

"…Logoi and Muthoi is to be welcomed as a worthy and important sequel." — Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"Rich with anthropological, political, and religious context, these … essays reset the philosophical cornerstones laid by Plato." — CHOICE

"This is a stellar effort. The essays are all of extremely high quality and interest. The scholarship is rigorous and the content is innovative. The conception of the book is highly original, well-grounded, and well-thought-out. William Wians's work as a scholar and as an editor has been consistently first-rate, and with this volume he has surpassed himself." — Rose M. Cherubin, George Mason University