Chapter 1. Introduction


Writing to a friend, Horace describes the man as fascinated by “the discordant harmony of the cosmos, its purpose and power” (Epistles 1.12.19). Horace refers to Empedocles’ doctrine of a world order in constant flux between cohesion and fragmentation, Love and Strife, harmony and discord. Compressed into a single concept, this flux represents, in Horace’s phrase, concordia discors, a dynamic tension whose meaning offers something for Horace’s friend to ponder.
I mention Horace’s concept of concordia discors because, as I argue in this book, it will help us understand the fit between text and context, representation and reality, in literature produced under the classical Athenian democracy. For that fit is, by its very nature, susceptible to destabilization in ways described by David Konstan:
Where society is riven by tensions and inequalities of class, gender, and status, its ideology will be complex and unstable, and literary texts will betray signs of the strain involved in forging such refractory materials into a unified composition. [1]
Texts will always bear the stamp of their social-cultural-political matrix. But when they actively engage tensions within that matrix, when they reflect on what throws their world off balance, then we often find “lapses in unity at the level of plot and characterization” [2] —ambient dissonance, one might call it, marring the harmonious unity of the literary Kunstwerk.
An example will help. Produced in 424 BCE, Aristophanes’ comedy the Knights could be described as a play with not one but two plots. [3] Of course, those are not really separate plots but different ways of “spinning” one, basic story line, the unlikely tale of a Sausage-Seller’s rise from humble street-vendor to democratic leader. But that one plot seems to end up in different places: on the one hand, with the ouster of the play’s demagogic villain and the restoration of the ancestral democracy; on the other, with all three main characters, comic stand-ins for politicians and the Athenian body politic, pursuing self-interest at its most unenlightened and narrowly defined. Again, those are not separate sub-plots, but discrepancies in the development of a single, master plot—discrepancies projecting ambivalence about democracy as a system in which the collectivity, the dêmos, has succeeded to the powers, perks, and vulnerabilities of an absolute monarch, [4] a system freeing individuals and groups to compete in a zero-sum game destabilizing the system. [5]
And through it all runs the theme of erôs, desire to possess and dominate love-objects—pleasure, power, honor, wealth—that in their turn possess and dominate the desiring subject. But what about the playwright’s ambition—his erôs—to win a favorable hearing for his play? [6] Is it not ironic that Aristophanes, to make his critique stick, avails himself of a rhêtôr’s trick in attacking tricky rhetoric, and goes in for some audience-bonding of his own when satirizing the audience-bonding of politicians? We see, then, our playwright fighting rhetoric with rhetoric and doubtless enjoying himself in the process. But to the extent that his play mirrors what its satire targets, does it not at some level bite its own tail? Does not any work that goes in for social or political commentary, yet voices its critique from within the frame of its focus?

Symptomatic Reading

Let me stress that those are not rhetorical questions, but genuine problems. How, then, to proceed? If our aim will be to take the pulse of attitudes and assumptions in the classical city, then “symptomatic reading” like that pursued by Konstan and others has much to offer. [7] What is symptomatic reading? We can think of it as interpretation sensitive to the symptoms of a text’s blind-spot to social, political, or other forces at work in its production—reading, in other words, that “palpates” texts for surface anomalies and deeper instabilities, for lapses in ideological coherence. This approach owes much to post-structural and psychoanalytic theory, [8] but its chief debt will be to philosopher Louis Althusser, who coined the term “symptomatic reading,” [9] and whose concept of ideology as “a system…of representations” with a “role” to play “within a given society” more or less describes what symptomatic reading is all about. [10]
Being a Marxist, Althusser understood that role chiefly within a modern, capitalist context, one very different from classical Athens. Yet Athens, a developed society reliant on a sizable citizenry’s acquiescence and participation in its institutions, ought to offer a proving ground as suitable as any for Althusser’s view that “ideology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence.” [11] Ideology supplies us, one might say, with a “backstory” to explain who we are and why we do what we do, a script for how we are to visualize ourselves as autonomous subjects. In so doing, it “interpellates” us; it beckons us to assume ready-made identities, and to fulfill pre-set roles, within the social matrix. [12] To illustrate, Althusser offers the image of a grand music lesson teaching us society’s songs, a score harmonizing our relationship to our “real conditions of existence.” With these themes swimming in our ears, we imagine that we are in control of our destinies, whereas the song actually controls us [13] —such is the music that finds its way into the texts we read, study, and teach. The symptomatic critic’s task will then be to help “listeners”—readers—snap out of it, to hear off-key notes, to become attuned to the feedback generated when texts try to encompass the social forces conditioning their production and reception.
What insights has symptomatic reading to offer? Important ones, I would suggest. For it shows just how much we can learn from writings whose “music,” though originally meant for ears very different from ours, still resonates with just that sort of feedback. So, for instance, Victoria Wohl brilliantly psychoanalyzes the mindset of an Athens “hopelessly smitten with far-off things,” as Thucydides’ Nicias puts it (6.13.1). In the process, she brings to light lapses in the historian’s telling of the tale, lapses that bespeak a kind of hubris on Thucydides’ part. Just as Athens would find itself tripped up by erôs to dominate other lands and peoples, so the historian’s ambition to produce a master narrative, a “possession for all time” (1.22.4), ultimately masters his efforts to capture city-erôs, that quintessentially irrational emotion, in rational discourse. [14]

Dialogical Reading

But I would still ask how rounded a view of the fit between text and context will come from stressing the latter as destabilizing in relation to the former. Even granting such instabilities, what can we learn by viewing them asymptomatically, as somehow integral to the structure of texts manifesting them? To find out, I follow an aesthetic approach—“aesthetic” not in the commonly understood sense of “beauty-related” nor in any purely formalist sense, but as Mikhail Bakhtin, the twentieth-century Russian theorist, uses the term. In “Author and Hero in Aesthetic Activity,” Bakhtin lays out a highly original phenomenology of authorship as the perceiving subject’s encounter with objects and subjects (fictitious, factual, in between) populating his or her purview, and of texts as records of that “seeing”—or one might say “hearing.” [15] Building on that, I argue that texts, as aesthetic artifacts, can register contextual instability as concordia discors, by which I mean an ideologically charged polyphony constitutive of a text’s Sturm und Drang on the analogy of musical dissonance in tonal harmony.
That way of thinking about polyphony, though it leans heavily on Bakhtin, will not have found favor with the critic who famously hailed Dostoevsky as the first truly “polyphonic” author. [16] But I do not mean by “polyphony” exactly what Bakhtin does, namely, a counter-hierarchical leveling of speaking voices, including the author’s. [17] Closer to what I mean is Bakhtin’s “heteroglossia,” the “socio-ideological contradictions” authors give “bodily form” to in their texts. [18] Closer still is Edith Hall’s notion of tragic dialogue as a polyphony of voices rising up to challenge assumptions cherished by tragedy’s target audience, yet constituting a discourse—that of tragedy—celebrating the very values tragedy put on trial. [19] Extending that idea to a whole range of genres and discourses, I ask whether dissonance like that described by Hall does not deserve to be included within a text’s aesthetic horizon.
I should, at this point, stress the dialogical dimension of the question I pose, one concerned with how voices—ideological perspectives—embodied in texts “address” (in more than one sense of the term) the worlds they observe, one another, and the audiences they speak to. For help, I turn to the work of Bakhtin and his circle, thinkers who laid the groundwork for dialogical theory almost a century ago. [20] What is dialogical theory? Premised on the notion that utterance does not simply express but responds, dialogical theory asks how utterance responds, among other things, to the objects and subjects within the field of a speaker’s or writer’s seeing. Texts provide, then, a record of that seeing, a record of authorial response. Here, the distinction between inner and outer seeing, imagination and reality, matters less than the process itself: how an author’s seeing supplies raw material for symbolic representation, for a narrative, a text. And it is in the process of individuating and identifying the elements populating one’s seeing, of making connections and of finding ways to communicate those connections, that texts take shape. [21]
But authors do not just respond to their seeing; they respond as well to audiences and readers. For all utterance, literary and otherwise, anticipates response, which shapes utterance already at its point of origin. Think of it this way: If thought can somehow affect other thought, influence it somehow, by whatever means, through whatever channels, then we can think of the word as the articulation of that interaction, as the shaping and reshaping of that interface—as thought in conversation with thought. But what if we allow ourselves to imagine the unimaginable: that all thought is locked up within itself, unable to make contact with its outside? For our purposes, what matters is not the reality of external consciousness, but its effect on internal consciousness, even at the purely imaginary level, where merely to imagine another is to be affected by that other. Thus when I express myself, that is, “push” thought “outward” (Latin exprimere), my effort, through its outward directedness, posits an outside and, in so doing, anticipates response. Whether or not anyone is actually listening or reading or ever will do so at whatever remove is not the point. It is, rather, that utterance, even if we view it as hermetically sealed within its own act, still feels around the edges of its act, still presses outward toward the world. For the word exists at the edge between the speaking/writing subject and that world. [22] And it is that kind of intentionality, the word as social gesture, a verbal “reaching forth” (Latin intendere) as if to shake hands, on which notions of the utterance as dialogical are founded.
Which is not to deny words semantic force. It is, rather, to assert the importance of social considerations along with semantics. Vološinov illustrates with the interjection “well!”—in Russian, tak. “Taken in isolation,” Vološinov writes, “the utterance ‘well!’ is void and quite meaningless.” [23] In context, though, it becomes something else: a potential point of contact and shared understanding between individuals, as when someone turns to a companion and, with his or her “well!,” conveys an attitudinal stance toward something within the purview of both. [24] Does that mean that words at their moment of use achieve a fixed, determinate meaning? It means that through communication, we negotiate our relationships with others, with our world, and, not least, with the meanings and values carried by the words we use.
Important here is the notion of the speech-act, a concept mostly associated with J. L. Austin, [25] but with a history going back to the work of Karl Bühler, whose Sprechakt consists of three stages, distinct only in the abstract: notification, representation, and triggering. To that correspond three positions of the utterance: speaker, state of affairs (i.e. subject matter), and hearer or responder. [26] Vološinov, influenced by Bühler, extends that schema in the direction of the social. Through dialogue, we set up between ourselves what Vološinov terms an “ideological chain”: we enact social bonds by sharing information, ideas, values, mindsets. [27] Meaning here is not illusory or evanescent, but neither is it stationary or absolute. Rather, it is continually re-transacted socially: it evolves. Through multiple speech-acts, a speech-community takes shape, and with that a shared consciousness grounding further dialogue. [28] Key to the process is evaluation, the attitudinal stance one takes to what one sees, hears, experiences, reads. Evaluation registered in speech Vološinov calls “evaluative accent.” Through these accents, whether expressed intonationally, lexically, or otherwise, speakers convey their response to—whether they “connect” or fail to connect with—something someone else has said or done. Evaluation thus underpins the sociality of language. And ideology is, at base, social evaluation expressed through signs: “Without signs there is no ideology.” [29]
This view of ideology is not so very different from Althusser’s. As Michael Gardiner notes, Bakhtin (but this applies as well to Vološinov and Medvedev) resembles Althusser and Gramsci because he “conceives of ideology not as epiphenomena, or as a distorted representation of the ‘real’, but as a material force in its own right.” [30] Even so, in the writings of Bakhtin and his circle, ideology presents us with a distinctively complex dimensionality, a force exerting itself along multiple vectors: top-down (monological discourse, “the word of the fathers”), down-up (carnival, popular culture), and across (dialogue). These multiple evaluative accents reflect multiple worldviews; they can crisscross through one and the same utterance, even a single word. [31] Conversely, that word can become the site for multiple practices to be sized-up against each other and treated as ideologically commensurable.

Dialogical and Deconstructive Reading

We have, then, this notion of an ideological chain that both enables and enacts dialogue. But one still wonders what it might mean if these connections were to prove more imaginary than real—whether, in other words, Vološinov’s ideological chain represents just another instance of what Derrida calls the “metaphysics of presence,” the habit of privileging certain modes of discourse as inherently more “true” than others, as better equipped to connect discursive subjects with one another and with their objects of thought. [32] Do, then, dialogical approaches fail to account for fissures that, according to Derrida’s way of thinking, accompany all communicative acts?
For Bakhtin and others of his circle, dialogue clearly represents a privileged discursive mode, a step up from the monological, normative discourses Bakhtin decried in life and art. But I am not sure it instantiates a metaphysics of presence. For when we reach out to forge a discursive connection, we necessarily gesture to the many gaps between us, [33] to the ruptures between verbal intention and verbal effect—to meaning as irreducibly differential. [34] Just as Derrida made it his mission to expose the flawed thinking behind what he also termed logocentrism, so, too, dialogue rejects the authority of the word as transparent, final, unambiguous. Yet whereas Derrida critiques notions of communication as unmediated transmission, Bakhtin celebrates mediated communication as “re-accentuation”: the reception, evaluation, and transformational diffusion of another’s word. [35] At no point does the word stay the same; at each link in the chain, words and texts pick up new spin, and from that, new life. Thus if Derrida indispensably reveals tears in the discursive fabric, Bakhtin and his circle no less indispensably remind us of forces holding it taught and responsive. Let me, then, propose for dialogue not a metaphysics but an erotics of presence: our longing to span the spaces between us through our signaling. [36]
So rather than contest the insights of an Althusser or Derrida, I hope to engage them dialogically: to explore the chemistry between discursive subjects without ignoring ruptures in the discursive continuum, to understand authorship as a process simultaneously structured and subverted by the concordia discors of social reality—as itself concordia discors. At times I shall focus on rhetoric, especially, its ideological grounding, at times, on substance. But one needs to be careful not to draw too strict a distinction; at best, rhetoric and substance are only different ways of looking at the same thing. So, too, the distinction between an author’s depiction of the world and that world’s intrusions into his or her text, between dissonance represented and dissonance reproduced, will not always hold, not if texts do neither more nor less than record an author’s struggle to grasp and convey what he or she sees.

Contextual Considerations: Erôs and polis

Politics and erôs have come up in the preceding and will figure prominently in what follows. It is, therefore, important to convey a basic sense of what erôs meant to classical Athenians, and how for them it could overlap or connect with politics. Let us begin, then, with erôs—what is it? It is desire, potentially, for anything: wealth, power, pleasures of all sorts. But its default association was with sexual lust. [37] That was not always the case. Early Greek seems to have distinguished between, on the one hand, erôs/erŏs, an “all-purpose” appetite of varying levels of intensity, for instance, for food and drink (Homer Iliad 1.468), and, on the other hand, himeros, “compulsive desire of external origin,” among other things, for sex. [38] Later, that distinction seems to have waned. Himeros could still refer to overpowering desire, but classical Greek (ca. 500–ca. 300 BCE), especially Attic prose, will prefer to call it erôs. Hence erôs as desire that seizes control of one from the outside, that afflicts one like a madness or disease—desire undiminished by fulfillment or frustration. [39]
What, then, to make of erôs as a specifically political emotion? Arguing that “eros is not merely a metaphor for politics but also its object and arena and part of the mechanism of its operation,” [40] Victoria Wohl aptly borrows from Lacan the term “quilting point” to describe how both erôs and politics cut across the same psychic territory, a plane on which dominance, subjection, and desire all come into play. [41] But I would return to a point to which Wohl alludes: that erôs provided Greeks with metaphors through which to talk about politics. I would expand that point as follows: erôs, sexual erôs especially, provided a shared consciousness upon which to ground political discourse, if not always the discourse of politics itself (we shall see that erôs-language shows up but little in assembly rhetoric and related evidence), then discourse about politics. Take, for instance, Socrates in Plato’s Gorgias. Commenting on shared emotion as a dialogical bridge, a point of recognition between speaker and listener, Socrates might as well be describing the forging of that first link in Vološinov’s ideological chain. As it turns out, Socrates is not just offering a random observation. For he uses erôs to open a channel to a skeptical Callicles. Both he and Callicles have loved, so Callicles must know what Socrates means. But Socrates also uses those commonalities as a way to accentuate areas of difference, to size up his—Socrates’—own love for philosophy against Callicles’ for politics (481c–d).
Of course, Socrates’ point is not just that he and Callicles love differently, but that Socrates, because he loves wisdom, not the Athenian body politic (the dêmos), loves better. Thus he uses erôs as an evaluative grid to show that Callicles’ conduct does not, in fact, measure up. But erôs here represents more than an instrument by which to gauge same and different, better and worse. Through erôs, Socrates taps into the Athenian imaginary, that great sea of images and feelings swimming within the Athenian unconscious. In so doing, Socrates exteriorizes and reifies feeling; he seeks to create a sense that all who share certain basic notions of masculine dignity and civic autonomy have their eye on Callicles and do not like what they see.
In this book, we shall view erôs as just such a grid, a way to charge the evaluative accents of political discourse with intense feeling—a touchstone, in other words, for a shared ideology. Have we, though, evidence for erôs as an image widely circulated in the social and political discourses of the classical city? We cannot, of course, go back and listen in on conversations in the agora. I would, however, suggest that we know enough to piece together a rudimentary sort of context. True, the texts we use to frame our target texts need their own framing, their own context. [42] But that larger framing comes from the whole into which all these parts fit. And it is that fit that interests us, the relationality of parts to whole and vice versa.
Allowing, then, relevant features of ancient culture to fill in needed background, we shall find what we are looking for in, among other places, the Tyrannicide legend: the story of how a pederastic couple murdered a tyrant and, through that violent act, founded the Athenian democracy in 514 BCE. Of course, no democracy was, in fact, founded that year. Nor did the historical “tyrant-slayers” in fact slay the reigning tyrant; they killed his brother. Indeed, revenge, not regime change, appears to have been foremost on their minds. [43] But that did not prevent the Athenian public from celebrating the killing as the single most important and symbolically resonant event in Athens’ march to democracy. [44]
Of interest to us will be the bond between the two friends, how it could connote two dynamics with wide resonance in the evidence: “self-assertive erôs,” the desire for personal autonomy, power, and self-actualization, and “communal erôs,” the collective desire to come together as one. But before discussing that, I would emphasize the pederastic, that is, sexual, nature of the bond obtaining between our two Tyrannicides. Thus Aristogeiton, the older of the two, was the erastês, which is to say, the desiring partner. He, not Harmodius, felt erôs—or at least, that was how pederasty was supposed to work. Along with that went a kind of senior rank in the relationship, and, under the protocols of pederasty in its more respectable, quasi-institutional aspect, the expectation that the senior partner would mentor the junior. [45] But there was a side to pederasty besides the pedagogical or sexual: the competitive side. A handsome youth like Harmodius could expect multiple admirers, all vying for the honor of the “conquest.” Rival lovers fought; [46] losers clearly felt the sting of defeat and might spitefully try to sabotage the boy’s reputation. [47]
Clearly, something like that occurs in the Tyrannicide narrative, in which Aristogeiton, a “middling citizen” and a “man of the people” (anêr tôn astôn, mesos politês), “held” Harmodius as a kind of possession (eikhen)—that in contrast to Hipparchus’ failure (Thucydides 6.54.2–3), symbolically, at least, a blow to tyranny itself. [48] Or, as Plato’s Socrates puts it, Aristogeiton, regarding Hipparchus as his “competitor” (antagonistên), prided himself in being the one to have “educated” the lad (Hipparchus 229c). Thus to ordinary Athenian men, themselves conventionally figured as mesoi politai, “middling citizens” like Aristogeiton, Harmodius’ lover would have represented a role model, an example of what the non-aristocrat could achieve against the forces of tyranny and in competition with aristocracy. [49] Politically, that would have meant a lot, to judge from a passage suggesting a close link between democratic freedom, self-determination, and individual motivation. According to Herodotus, Athenians, when they finally found themselves freed of their tyrants, fought better for the city because each man felt that he was fighting for himself. And it was “equality of speech” (isêgoria) that made them feel that way, the sense that each and every voting citizen, because empowered to speak his mind in the assembly, had a say in the city’s destiny. [50]

Self-Assertive erôs

We have seen that, for Athenian citizen-men, Aristogeiton’s victory over his rival could carry political resonance. But what if we reverse the terms? Does, in other words, this narrative and its reception suggest a sexual side to the average citizen’s sense of his autonomy, privileges, and powers? Since others have already argued as much (p. 11n43 above), I shall leave it at that. But I would still like to elaborate on the erotics of civic empowerment and self-actualization, though in contexts outside the Tyrannicide legend.
This idea that civic self-assertion could find erotic expression owes much to David Halperin, who detects in a variety of sources a sexually empowered Everyman, a “penetrator” of sexual, social, and political inferiors: women, slaves, foreigners. [51] But that schema’s varied articulations also reveal shifting evaluations: the closer to “home,” politically or socially, the object of domination, the more problematic. Nowhere do we see that more clearly than in the case of the tyrant’s erôs [52] —vividly, in fact, when aspiring tyrants and conquerors dream the Oedipal dream, where “mother” equals the land that gives one birth, and sex with her, conquest and rule. [53] On the one hand, that suggests connections between war, politics, and sex, as if they could in similar ways fulfill male fantasies of domination. But evidence seems also to transfer the transgressive character of incest (“unlawful” in Plutarch, a “violation” [stuprum] in Suetonius) to the inordinate power wielded by despots over their compatriots, their political “kin.” [54]
Put simply, tyranny posed a threat to the polis and to the citizen’s franchise—a threat from within. That schema, tyranny as systemic dysfunction, finds expression in one Presocratic thinker’s metaphor for bodily health. We are told that Alcmaeon described physical illness as “monarchy” (monarkhia, “rule by one”), where just one of the body’s elements or “powers” (the hot, the cold, etc.) rules over the others. Health, by contrast, he explained in terms of equality or isonomia, a balanced mixture of those same powers (fr. 4 D-K). Again, Alcmaeon will have been addressing bodily health, not politics. But his language—dunameis (“powers”), isonomia, monarkhia—suggests he was working from a political analogy.
What counts for us is that a similar schema structured how Athenians viewed tyranny as both a foil and a model for their democracy. As we have seen, the killing of a supposed tyrant marked for Athenians the beginnings of democracy, what they in their drinking songs called isonomia, “equality,” a balanced distribution of prerogatives once held by the city’s tyrant-rulers. [55] Thus democracy could in the popular imagination equate with a kind of collective tyranny. So long as everyone was tyrant, then no one was, and all was well. [56]
Yet even with democracy firmly in place, people could still fear that the process might turn back on itself, that powers, passions, and license might revert to a few or one. [57] That fear found plenty to feed it in Alcibiades, a charismatic orator and general who, at the height of his influence, was widely suspected of aiming at tyranny. [58] And, of course, that fear found fulfillment in the bloody revolutions of 411 and 404. But it also found expression in satire targeting leaders like Pericles, whose quasi-monarchial authority the comic poet Cratinus lampooned as the despotism of a Zeus-like tyrant. [59]
Tyranny could, then, figure as individualism run amuck, a threat to the polis from within. But so could excessive competition between political rivals. Thucydides writes about the post-Periclean democracy as a system beset by stasis, “factionalism” or “discord,” with one leader as bad as the next trying to claw his way to the top. [60] In a similar vein, Plato’s Socrates compares competition for office to the brawling of rival lovers (anterastai, Republic 521b), a comparison growing out of his characterization of politics-as-usual as shadow-boxing and stasis (520c). Those views, Thucydides’ and Plato’s, arguably reflect bias against radical democracy as polupragmosunê, the meddling of men unworthy to lead. But that sort of bias will not account for every such view, as when Thucydides presents ambition and greed as motivation for individuals and groups, oligarchs as well as democrats, to gamble the city’s wellbeing on the single-minded pursuit of personal or factional interests (3.82). Hence stasis as a manifestation of erôs—the erôs of those whose ambition (their “fierce erôs for renown”) threatens to plunge the city in stasis if it cannot find foreign enemies to keep it busy (Aeschylus Eumenides 861–866). No surprise, then, that erôs could itself be seen as inherently stasiastic. [61]
To sum-up, Aristogeiton, lover and supposed tyrant-slayer, became a touchstone for a civically and sexually empowered masculinity, a cynosure for social dialogue expressing male-Athenian desire. Still, desire as one might, to actualize empowerment in self-interested ways, to be seen using one’s right of free speech to push policy benefiting not the many but just a few or even one—that prospect summoned misgivings lest ambition develop into a rapacious kind of erôs. For individualism, once it entered the public sphere, found itself face to face with a rival value: communitarianism.

Communal erôs

It is, therefore, curious that communitarianism could likewise figure as erôs. Again, Harmodius and Aristogeiton will illustrate. Earlier, we examined Aristogeiton as model for democratic self-actualization, a socially and politically approved pattern so long as the well-being of the group was not threatened. But his collaboration with Harmodius, and its basis in erôs, for Athenians could also model the kind of unity that held the city’s enemies at bay, whether at home or abroad. It is important to keep in mind that this is not some new sort of erôs, different from the preceding. In distinguishing between “self-assertive” and “communal erôs,” I am distinguishing between different ways of inflecting the same thing. Self-interest persists, as does a sense of phallic victory. Only now, these reside in team effort, in the bond formed by lover and beloved fighting for the city [62] —in the desire to become part of a larger and stronger collective self. [63]
Crucial here is the power of love to draw people together, a power poets liken to a cosmic force. In Hesiod’s Theogony, Eros, one of the first-born, makes possible all the couplings whence come the gods, humans, everything. [64] So, too, Empedocles identifies a sexually inflected Love, variously labeled Philotes, Philia, Harmonia, Gethosyne (“Joy”), and Aphrodite, as the force drawing the universe into a harmonious whole out of the strife or neikos into which it periodically descends. [65] Aristotle remarks that “erôs seems to resemble philia”—affection or love—since the lover “hungers” for the pleasures of sharing his life with his beloved (Eudemian Ethics 1245a24–25). Hence erôs as a form of philia—“philia in the extreme.” [66]
This power of erôs to cement bonds—to promote philia—could prove useful militarily. At Thebes and Elis, entire detachments were formed of what can only be described as Harmodius-Aristogeiton pairings—that on the theory, one reportedly borne out in battle, that lover and beloved, if stationed side-by-side, would fight at their bravest, each to earn the other’s admiration and avoid disgrace. [67] Phaedrus in Plato’s Symposium speculates that not just armies but cities—collections of citizens—could benefit from that sort of camaraderie (178e). Sosicrates reports that Spartan and Cretan warriors forming ranks would sacrifice to Eros, the Spartans “in the belief that safety (sôtêria) and victory (nikê) depend on friendly feeling (philia)” (FGrH 462 F 7). Thus Zeno the Stoic made Eros god of friendly-feeling (philia), freedom (eleutheria), and concord (homonoia). For Eros, said Zeno, “is a god fundamentally concerned with helping to promote the safety (sôtêria) of the city” (Athenaeus 561c).
At Athens, an erotic side to civic cohesion seems to have found expression not just in commemorations of the Tyrannicides but in cult to Aphrodite. Late for our purposes is evidence for cult to Aphrodite as “Guide of the People”; [68] similar may have been cult to Aphrodite Pandemos in partnership with Peitho, “Persuasion” personified. Many have, in fact, argued that an Aphrodite “Of All the People” (pan + dêmos) must have played some role in safe-guarding the body politic or in promoting civic cohesion. [69] While etymology offers no decisive evidence, [70] the fact that Peitho was honored with public cult in the fourth century suggests that she, perhaps in association with Pandemos, held special meaning for Athenians in promoting civic homonoia (consensus) and persuasion-based government, especially after the nightmare of oligarchic stasis in 404/3. [71]
Prior to that, did Aphrodite or Peitho play a similarly political role? Whatever the official status of such cult in earlier times, by the early fifth century, Peitho was bridging the political and the sexual-matrimonial spheres in the city’s public poetry, which is to say, in its drama. Thus in Aeschylus’ Suppliants, the goddess makes two appearances: once as sponsor of persuasive speaking in the Argive assembly, once in the company of deities—Pothos (“Yearning”), Peitho, Harmonia (“joinery,” “harmony”), the Erotes (“Loves”)—assisting Aphrodite in her sponsorship of marriage. That dual appearance, suggests Froma Zeitlin, draws attention to parallel roles for persuasion, along with compromise and consent, in both marriage and politics. [72] In the same playwright’s Eumenides, a sexy sort of peithô helps Athena conciliate a disgruntled group of Furies threatening to inflict blight and discord on her favorite city. [73] So effective does Athena’s peithô prove that those same Furies, far from blighting Athens, pray instead for blessings on the city’s behalf—the blessings of civic harmony founded on mutual love and, interestingly, shared hate:
May faction (stasis), insatiate of ill, ne’re raise her loud voice within this city….Rather may they return joy for joy in a spirit of common love and may they hate with one accord; for therein lieth the cure of many an evil in the world.
Aeschylus Eumenides 977–987, trans. Smyth
Mutual love, shared hate for a common foe, “therein lieth the cure of many an evil”—or so Aeschylus’ Furies would have us believe. For when we think and feel alike, then are we liable to feel empowered to defeat our enemies and achieve our desires. Let us not, then, mistake this “spirit of common love” for some sort of philanthropic compassion. Again, it is just as aggressive as its self-assertive erôs counterpart. Only now, “team spirit,” consensus and cooperation, outweigh individualism.
But to place so high a premium on same-thinking, what the Greeks called homonoia, does that not amount to a self-imposed check on isêgoria, the “freedom of speech” that symbolized the citizen’s stake in his government (Herodotus 5.78)? Lysias writes, “The greatest consensus (homonoian) is the freedom of all” (2.18). Consensus, he means, is strongest when achieved without coercion. And democracy survives through consensus, specifically, collective acquiescence to the will of the many. But what about consensus as a political imperative, an end in itself? If everyone thinks, speaks, and votes alike as a matter of principle, where are free speech, dissent, and debate, the “reality check” enabling democracy to avoid or correct misguided groupthink (cf. Thucydides 2.40.2, 3.36.4)? “Paradoxically,” remarks Ober, “‘same-mindedness’ on a political plane threatened to tear society apart.” [74]
This tension between free speech and consensus, each treasured by the Athenian democracy, [75] seems mostly to have been ignored by Athenians, though not by every Athenian. In their respective accounts of the Sicilian Debate, deliberations leading to the invasion of the island in 415 BCE, Aristophanes and Thucydides address the power of a passionately felt consensus to control the discourse. In Thucydides’ version (6.8–26), as in Aristophanes’ (Lysistrata 387–398), an individual speaker plays a key role in swaying opinion. Yet that speaker ultimately proves no more than a conduit for something else: Aristophanes’ Demostratus, for an ecstatic mania that had assemblymen voting unreflectively for an unwise proposal; [76] Thucydides’ Alcibiades, for an “erôs to sail” that, like a hostile force or a fit of laughter, “fell upon (enepese)” its victims “all alike” (6.24.3). This erôs left Athenians feeling empowered and confident, but it also exercised power over them, a power so forceful that nothing Nicias could say would deter support for the invasion. On the contrary, his attempts at reverse psychology only reinforced the city’s resolve (Thucydides 6.24.2). Nor were those opposed to the motion willing to vote their convictions, since to do so would have involved appearing hostile to the city’s interests (kakonous…têi polei, 6.24.4; cf. 6.13.1). Thucydides’ point? Among other things, that consensus, when it gains the kind of momentum this “erôs to sail” did, can create a social-discursive atmosphere hostile to the free exchange of ideas, to dialogue.
This coercive side to consensus shows clear affinities with a dynamic Bakhtin terms “centripetal discourse,” speech that literally “seeks the center,” that tries to force the whole conversation onto one track—normative discourse intolerant of a plurality of views. Its opposite is “centrifugal” (center-fleeing) or pluralistic discourse, [77] a dynamic evident in the democratic exercise of free speech. Hence paradox underlying democratic consensus, where the discourse of the many effectively suppresses all discourses but one. Part of that has to do with the ideological environment, how it provides common ground necessary to dialogue, yet in so doing, limits dialogue, too. But we need also to keep in mind specifically political factors: politicians jockeying for power and influence over the dêmos. In such a setting, the whole idea is to win assent to one’s views, to create consensus. Thus in the moment of the persuasive act, to foster consensus and impose one’s will become objects of a single desire. But no democracy can allow every citizen to have his or her way all the time. In the end, individual voices and desires have to yield to a single voice like the one proclaiming, “The people have resolved” (edoxe tôi dêmôi) in Athenian decrees. That voice we may understand as notional or actual, however we please. [78] Either way, it shows how consensus, that indefinable point at which the many seem, but only seem, to coalesce into one, represents no fixed state but a dynamic process, a concordia discors.

Overview of Book

In what follows, we shall look at that process and its reflection in the literature of classical Athens. Our focus: the dissonance between communitarianism and individualism, consensus and conflict, in the works of authors for whom erôs, passionate, destabilizing desire, symbolized that dissonance with a powerful expressiveness. Thus in chapter two, we explore the Periclean Funeral Oration as response to a crisis in persuasion, a way to unite a fractious and fragmented citizenry behind a controversial war policy. To that end, Pericles bids listeners “gaze upon the city’s power and become lovers—erastai—of it.” But does he mean lovers of the city or of its power? That, I suggest, Pericles leaves unclear. And so this image of the citizen as lover, while it encourages patriotic self-sacrifice, also appeals to the self-centered motivations of citizens. But that dissonance works in the orator’s favor. In telling listeners to become lovers of the city (or of its power), Pericles calls on them to abandon the logic of day-to-day for the “logic” of erôs. That logic lifts them up and out from routine deliberation and puts them in touch with a higher discourse-community, the heroic dead, whose self-sacrifice becomes not just commendable but positively irresistible, the fulfillment of a citizen’s deepest desires.
Turning from funeral oratory to comedy, I argue in chapter three that the politician-as-lover conceit in Aristophanes’ Knights presents us with a comic twist on the “demophilia topos,” the charge that one’s opponent in court or assembly is trying to seduce listeners with specious claims of affection. Staging demophilic politics as sexual courtship, Aristophanes foregrounds tensions between benevolence and its “evil twin,” flattery, in the leadership-styles of the city’s politicians. But Aristophanes does not stop there. Demos, the Athenian people personified and a virtual prostitute complicit in his leaders’ efforts to con and “bugger” him, pursues self-interest no less passive-aggressively, cynically, or covertly than they do. Hence value-reversals suggesting stasis, “strife” or “discord,” in relations between leaders and led.
In chapter four, we consider how the “music” of democratic consensus, antidote to stasis, plays against that of civic-phallic autonomy, bulwark against antidemocratic hubris, in Aristophanes’ Assemblywomen. That counterpoint, I suggest, builds on similar themes in the same playwright’s Lysistrata, likewise a drama in which women take on the male establishment. Both comedies play the ideal of homonoia and koinônia, concord and fellowship, off against fears of civil strife and socio-political emasculation. And both press the dissonant implications of civic erôs—its integrative aspects versus its divisive aspects—to their illogical extreme.
In chapter five, we turn to Socrates’ literary portrait, how it models the dialogical self as a sort of boundary phenomenon, a negotiation between speaker and listener, teacher and pupil, leader and led. That view may come across as counterintuitive. Socrates’ apologists pay tribute to the sage as one-of-a-kind, a man so uncompromising in his morality and habits, a lover so resistant to the temptations of love, as to seem utterly apart, what the Greeks called atopos (“place-less,” “strange”), in relation to his fellow human being. Yet Alcibiades’ image of the man as god in a satyr’s skin (Symposium 215a–222b) suggests a more complex creature, one whose outer layers express connection with, as well as disconnection from, the outside world. That complexity, I argue, finds expression in works manifesting tension between the simple, singular Socrates privileged by Plato, Xenophon, and Aeschines Socraticus, and a more multi-faceted and ambivalent Socrates deviously working his way into Socratic apologetic.
In closing, I consider the methodological and ethical implications of my findings, and their relevance for today’s world.


[ back ] 1. Konstan 1995:5.
[ back ] 2. Konstan 1995:6.
[ back ] 3. So Brock 1986.
[ back ] 4. “Tyranny”-despotism of the people, “slavery” of tyranny: Aristophanes Knights 1111–1114, 1330; Wasps 518, 548–549; Thucydides 2.63.2; Plato Republic 572e–573b; Aristotle Politics 1292a11–17; Wohl 2002:105–123, 215–269; McGlew 1993:183–212.
[ back ] 5. Cf. Darius on the instabilities of oligarchy and democracy: Herodotus 3.82. Thucydides on the shape of Athenian democracy after the death of Pericles: 2.65.10, with Rusten’s note, 1989:211–212. Thucydides on stasis: 3.81–84. See also Rosenbloom 2004b; Rosenbloom 2004a on the stasiastic atmosphere at Athens in the post-Periclean period; chapter 3 below for Aristophanes’ Knights.
[ back ] 6. Aristophanes compares the challenges of comedy producing to “having a go at,” and seeking “gratification” from, a sexual love object: Knights 517, for which LSJ s.v. πειράω A.II.2 citing the scholiast ad loc.
[ back ] 7. Wohl 2002; Monoson 2000:21–50; Konstan 1995.
[ back ] 8. See Wohl 2002:20–29; Konstan 1995:3–11.
[ back ] 9. Althusser and symptomatic reading: Montag 2003:82–84; Payne 1997:74–75; Althusser 1977:28–30.
[ back ] 10. Quoting Althusser 1979:231.
[ back ] 11. Althusser 1972:162; also 127–186; Montag 2003:77–80; Althusser 1979:231–236.
[ back ] 12. Interpellation: Althusser 1972:170–186.
[ back ] 13. Althusser 1972:154–155.
[ back ] 14. Instabilities in Thucydides’ Sicilian and herm-mutilation narrative: Wohl 2002:21–25, 152–158, 203–214. Cf. Parry’s and Dover’s comments quoted p. 212n80 and p. 213.
[ back ] 15. Bakhtin 1990:4–256, where the term “aesthetics” (Russian estetika) draws close to Greek aisthêtika, “things pertaining to perception.” In an intertextual model of authorship, that “seeing” additionally involves an author’s confrontation with, and assimilation of, other texts; see Edmunds 2001.
[ back ] 16. Bakhtin 1981:178.
[ back ] 17. Polyphony: Morson and Emerson 1990:231–268.
[ back ] 18. Bakhtin 1981:291, describing language generally. Cf. ibid. on prose fiction, where today’s and yesterday’s ideological languages are often given “embodied representation…in unresolvable dialogues.” The preceding, from Bakhtin’s “Discourse in the Novel” (1934–1935), does not square with the same critic’s 1961 notes for the second edition of his Dostoevsky study: “Discord is poor and unproductive. Heteroglossia is more essential, in effect, it gravitates towards concord, where the voices are always preserved as different and unmerged” (trans. Plaza 2005:220). Bakhtin’s own dialogue with discord produced no satisfying resolution.
[ back ] 19. Hall 1997:118. Bakhtin himself was careful to distinguish polyphony from heteroglossia (raznorecie, literally “multi-speechedness”): Morson and Emerson 1990:232. In Hall’s “polyphonic tragic form,” the two ideas operate simultaneously yet independently.
[ back ] 20. Bakhtin 1990; Vološinov 1986; Bakhtin and Medvedev 1985; Vološinov 1983; Bakhtin 1981. The Bakhtin circle: Brandist 2002a; Brandist and Tikhanov 2000.
[ back ] 21. Dialogue and architectonics (the structuring of authorial seeing): Holquist 1990; Morson and Emerson 1990 passim.
[ back ] 22. All speech-acts, including monologue and “inner speech,” presume a respondent, notional or actual: Vološinov 1986:38, 95.
[ back ] 23. Vološinov 1983:10.
[ back ] 24. Brandist 2004:108–111; Brandist 2002a:62–66; Vološinov 1983:10–13.
[ back ] 25. Austin 1975.
[ back ] 26. Here I closely paraphrase the summary provided by Brandist 2002a:63–64.
[ back ] 27. “Ideological chain”: Vološinov 1986:11.
[ back ] 28. Edmunds 2001:23–34 questions whether literature generally, and poetry in particular “does things” in the Austinian sense (e.g. the marriage formula “I do!”). Dialogical theory holds that, at the social level, all speech does something: it reaches out. For speech-community, cf. “discourse community” in Schiappa 1992; Lakoff and Johnson describing the socio-linguistic maneuvering involved in bridging cultural divides, 1980:231–232.
[ back ] 29. Vološinov 1986:9 (author’s emphasis). See generally Neuman and Tabak 2003:266; Bakhtin 1990:15–16, 41, 103–104; Bakhtin 1986:69; Vološinov 1986; Bakhtin and Medvedev 1985. Language as social was Saussure’s breakthrough insight; meaning as social evaluation, that of the Bakhtin circle.
[ back ] 30. Gardiner 1992:7. Bakhtin and Gramsci: Brandist 1996.
[ back ] 31. “…each living ideological sign has two faces, like Janus. Any current curse word can become a word of praise, any current truth must inevitably sound to many other people as the greatest lie,” Vološinov 1986:23. Cf. revalorization of “bad,” “ill,” and “sick” in popular usage.
[ back ] 32. For an overview, Derrida 1991:3–139.
[ back ] 33. Absence as necessary precondition for communication: Derrida 1982:314–318.
[ back ] 34. See Derrida 1982:1–27.
[ back ] 35. Dentith 1995:98–99; Bakhtin 1981:417–422.
[ back ] 36. Dialogue versus deconstruction, de Man’s deconstruction of dialogue: Morson and Emerson 1990:324–325.
[ back ] 37. Cf. LSJ s.v. ἔρως; Dover 1989:43.
[ back ] 38. Weiss 1998:49–50; see also Ben 1986:10–11. Cf. himeros in the “Nestor’s Cup” inscription: SEG xiv 604; GHI #1, on which Weiss 1998:50–51; Faraone 1996.
[ back ] 39. Erôs overcoming one from the outside: Sappho 47 L-P; Ibycus 286 PMG; Aeschylus Agamemnon 341; Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis 808; Thucydides 6.24.3. Erôs = madness (mania): Plato Phaedrus 241a, 244a–245c, etc.; cf. Archilochus 191 West; Theognis 1231, for which Müller 1980:163, 149–199; Euripides Iphigenia at Aulis 1264–1265. Erôs (sexual and non-sexual) as pathological, incapacitating: Hippocrates De mulierum affectibus i–iii 177; De virginum morbis 1; De humoribus 9; Thucydides 3.45.5; Erasistratus 25–27 Garofalo; Winkler 1991:222–223. Erôs as fortified epithumia (“desire”): Xenophon Memorabilia 3.9.7; Prodicus fr. 7 D K; cf. Isocrates 10.55. Erôs sharpened by separation: Thucydides 6.13.1; Carson 1986:30. Satisfaction leads to intensification: Foucault 1990:49–50, 66. See generally Ludwig 2002:121–157; Wohl 2002; Thornton 1997; Dover 1989:42–49; Carson 1986.
[ back ] 40. Wohl 2002:26–27.
[ back ] 41. Wohl 2002:2.
[ back ] 42. The problem is well articulated in Dougherty and Kurke 1998:1–6; Derrida 1982:322–327.
[ back ] 43. Hipparchus, brother of the reigning tyrant Hippias, had courted, but was rebuffed by, Harmodius, already the beloved of Aristogeiton. The jilted lover insulted Harmodius and his family; Harmodius and Aristogeiton plotted against Hipparchus and (of necessity) Hippias. Hipparchus, Harmodius, and Aristogeiton were killed; Hippias and his tyranny survived. But there is no single, canonical version: Herodotus 5.55, 6.109.3, 123; Thucydides 1.20.2, 6.54.1–59.1; Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians 18; Plato Hipparchus 229b–d; Wohl 2002:3–10, 210–213; Monoson 2000:21–50; McGlew 1993:150–156; Pomeroy 1975:75–76.
[ back ] 44. E.g. 893–896 PMG; cf. Plato Symposium 182c. For these commemorations, including hero cult, a famous sculpture group in the Agora, and a grand tomb in the Ceramicus, Monoson 2000:22–28 with notes, citations, and bibliography.
[ back ] 45. Dover 1989 remains the chief source.
[ back ] 46. See passages collected and discussed in Dover 1989:54–57.
[ back ] 47. Aristophanes Wasps 1025–1027; Cohen 1991:196–197.
[ back ] 48. Herodotus states that both Aristogeiton and Harmodius came from the same aristocratic clan of Gephuraioi (5.55, 57.1, 62.1), but Thucydides’ version, in which only Harmodius appears to be aristocratic, arguably reflects popular tradition.
[ back ] 49. Wohl 2002:7–8. The mesos, the “middle-class” peasant farmer, from about the 420s on, seems to have been adopted as poster-child by moderate democrats and oligarchs: Euripides’ Suppliants 244–245; cf. the Herald’s abuse (implicitly suspect) targeting democratic bumpkins at Athens, 417–422; see Carter 1986:88–98.
[ back ] 50. Herodotus 5.78; cf. Eupolis fr. 316 PCG; Pseudo-Xenophon 1.6–7; Demosthenes 15.18; 60.28; Monoson 2000:56–60; Ober 1989:296–298.
[ back ] 51. Halperin 1990:88–112. Cf. the Eurymedon vase, ethnic-military dominance expressed sexually: Smith 1999; Davidson 1997:180–182; Cohen 1991:184; Dover 1989:105; Pinney 1984; Schauenberg 1975. Also Eupolis’ Poleis, where subject states figure as desirable women: Rosen 1997. Debate over the (a)symmetries and symbolics of ancient Greek sexuality, p. 54n41 below.
[ back ] 52. Erotics of tyranny: Archilochus 19.3 West; Sophocles Oedipus the King 587–8; Herodotus 1.96.2, 3.53.4; 5.32; Isocrates 8.65, 113; Plato Republic 572e–573c; Wohl 2002:215–269; McGlew 1993:183–212; Rothwell 1990:39.
[ back ] 53. Herodotus 6.107.1–2; Plutarch Caesar 32.9; Suetonius Julius 7.2. Cf. Artemidorus 1.78, where the dreamer arkhei (“rules”) over a “willing” partner in incest, just as he “will stand at the head of the affairs of his city.”
[ back ] 54. In Suetonius, Caesar’s mother—Mother Earth—is subiectam in his dream. subigere in sexual contexts ordinarily refers to the male-active role: Adams 1982:4, 155–156; cf. subegit in Suetonius Julius 49.4.
[ back ] 55. The catchphrase for the early democracy seems to have been isonomia, “equality”: frr. 893, 896 PMG; Herodotus 3.80.6; Ober 1989:74–75.
[ back ] 56. Tyranny and democratic sovereignty, tyrannical surfeit and lack: p. 2n4 above.
[ back ] 57. See pp. 73–74, 78 below.
[ back ] 58. See Wohl 2002:124–170.
[ back ] 59. Cratinus fr. 258 PCG; cf. Telecleides fr. 45 PCG; Thucydides 2.65.9; Plutarch Pericles 16.1–3; see Schwartze 1971:11n13.
[ back ] 60. Thucydides 2.65.10. For the post-Periclean stasis, Rosenbloom 2004a; Rosenbloom 2004b.
[ back ] 61. See pp. 65–66 below.
[ back ] 62. See especially Wohl 2002:5; Monoson 2000:25–26, 31–32 on the elements of erotic male bonding and democratic-phallic threat embodied in the fifth-century statuary group of the Tyrannicides.
[ back ] 63. As e.g. in Aristophanes’ famous myth in Plato’s Symposium (189c–193e), on which Ludwig 2002:27–118.
[ back ] 64. See West 1966:195 on Hesiod Theogony 120. Cf. Acusilaus 2 F 6 FGrH; Parmenides fr. 13 D K; Plato Symposium 178a–180b.
[ back ] 65. Empedocles frr. 17–36, 59 D K. Cf. the “bridal of Heaven and Earth”: Aeschylus fr. 44 Nauck; Euripides fr. 898 Nauck.
[ back ] 66. Aristotle Nichomachean Ethics 1171a11–12; cf. Euripides fr. 358 Nauck; Suppliants 1088.
[ back ] 67. Xenophon Symposium 8.32–34; cf. Plato Symposium 178e–179a. See Leitao 2002 (Theban Band’s erotic character as philosophical fiction); DeVoto 1992; Dover 1989:190–192.
[ back ] 68. “To Aphrodite Hêgemonê tou dêmou and to the Graces,” late third-century BCE dedication from an altar found near Aphrodite Ourania’s sacred area in the Athenian Agora: IG II2 2798; Pirenne-Delforge 1994:39.
[ back ] 69. See Rosenzweig 2004:13–28 with bibliography; also political, Pirenne-Delforge 1994:26–40. (Possibly) political Pandemos at Ionian Erythrae: Merkelbach 1986. On Cos: Dillon 1999.
[ back ] 70. See Scholtz 2002/3.
[ back ] 71. Peitho cult at Athens: Isocrates 15.249; Demosthenes Exordia 54. Peitho as goddess: Buxton 1982:31–48. Peithô and democracy: Lysias 2.18–19.
[ back ] 72. Aeschylus Suppliants 523 (goddess or quasi-personification?), 1040, on which Zeitlin 1988.
[ back ] 73. Aeschylus Eumenides 885–891, 970–972, on which Kambitsis 1973 (Athena’s love for Peitho’s eyes). Persuasion in Greek culture, politics, literature: Worthington 1994; Buxton 1982.
[ back ] 74. Ober 1989:298.
[ back ] 75. See Ober 1989:299 on homonoia and isêgoria as “good, valuable to state and society, and attainable” in popular ideology.
[ back ] 76. See Henderson 1987:117–120 on the passage from Aristophanes’ Lysistrata.
[ back ] 77. Bakhtin 1981:275–288.
[ back ] 78. Dêmos could mean “the voting collectivity as a whole,” “the assembly,” “the poor” (this implied by Aristotle Politics 1279b21–22). As cited in decrees, dêmos designated the collectivity as a whole, though that collectivity would not typically come together in its entirety for assembly meetings. See Ober 1994:109–110.