Abstract–Palamedes’ Pharmacy

Joshua Billings

The fate of Palamedes fascinated classical Athens: unjustly accused by Odysseus, he was convicted of treason and executed by the Greek army in Troy. The paper explores this fascination in relation to the catalogues of benefaction that seem to have been a constant in depictions of the story. The catalogues describe Palamedes’ contributions to the war effort and broader collective, and take part in broader discussions of the origins of society and cultural progess. The versions of the catalogue, the paper argues, reveal conceptions of the role of the intellectual in a community, and are continuous with sophistic inquiries into the meaning of σοφία. Palamedes becomes a double for the philosopher, and like Socrates, is viewed with suspicion and ultimately executed for his wisdom.




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