Clouds by Aristophanes (Webinar)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Greek plays are an essential component of what it meant for the ancient Greeks to be Greek. They are essential reading for a classical education. They are tragic and comic. They are political and theological. They raise questions and offer tentative answers. 

Among the Greek playwrights is a man named Aristophanes. Among his several plays is a play called the Clouds. 

Clouds challenges the sophists of ancient Greeks, and chief among them is Socrates. This is a different view of the man than the one we find in Plato. Plato gives us a Socrates who challenges the sophists himself, who is trying to save the Greeks from the wiles of the sophists. Aristophanes numbers Socrates among them.

The Clouds paints Socrates as a man floating around in a basket inventing his own gods, making the weaker argument the stronger, and corrupting the youth of Athens. In fact, Clouds presents the Socrates that matches the accusations we find in Plato's Apology—the trial of Socrates in Athens. Socrates himself, in his trial, identifies Aristophanes as one of his longtime accusers. The Clouds was written almost 25 years before the trial.

In this webinar, we will consider the longstanding, mainstream view that Aristophanes is an accuser of Socrates and consider the Clouds as his greatest exemplar of accusation. We will also consider a highly suspect, highly unlikely, and highly implausible—practically conspiratorial—view that Aristophanes is actually a friend and a defender of Socrates, and the Athenians just missed it.

Join Matthew Bianco for 90 minutes discussing a play filled with anti-Socrates jokes and bathroom humor.

The seminar will be recorded; however, you must sign up before Nov. 19 to have access to it. Registration will be cut off at 2:00pm (EST) on Nov. 19.

Login information will be sent out one hour before the webinar.