Socrates the Homer-lover as portrayed in Plato, Xenophon and Aristophanes

Yamagata, Naoko (2022). Socrates the Homer-lover as portrayed in Plato, Xenophon and Aristophanes. Synthesis, 29(1), article no. e118.




Socrates is portrayed as a Homer-lover in Plato’s dialogues, both explicitly through his expression of love and respect for Homer since his childhood (Republic 595b9-10) and implicitly through his numerous Homeric quotations and references. Similarly, Socrates frequently uses Homeric references in the dialogues that Xenophon wrote to preserve his memories. The comparative study of these authors so far suggests that the historical Socrates did use Homer often in his conversation. However, we should also consider whether that portrait matches the Socrates depicted in Aristophanes’ Clouds, a more contemporary source than Plato and Xenophon’s works. This paper examines the portrayal of Socrates in the Clouds and argues that here, too, we can find a reflection of his love of Homer, especially in his invocation of the Clouds in lines 265-74. It will also consider how that portrayal of Socrates can affect our view of Socrates.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions