Capra, Andrea. 2015. Plato's Four Muses: The Phaedrus and the Poetics of Philosophy. Hellenic Studies Series 67. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_CapraA.Platos_Four_Muses.2014.
Chapter 3. Calliope and Ourania
- Calliope and Ourania lead the procession, the boundaries of which are marked by the signature of the potter (ΕΡΓΟΤΙΜΟΣΜΕΠΟΙΕΣΕΝ), running parallel with the horses’ forelegs. The two muses are thus framed by Zeus on Ourania’s left and, on Calliope’s right, by the author’s name, which marks the culmination of the procession. This gives the couple an exceptional emphasis, suggestive of author(ial)ity.
- Calliope is unique in that she is seen frontally. In contrast with the other Muses, who are arranged in two groups of four and three and represented as parallel “synchronized” figures, Ourania and Calliope diverge from (and potentially interact with) each other.
The Initiation to Dialogue
Mimêsis and Enthousiasmos: A Very Short Introduction
POET (“First ring”)
RHAPSODE (“Second ring”)
AUDIENCE (“Third ring”)
- Unhinged mind: ἐκπλήξῃς ~ ἐκπεπληγμένοι
- Palpitations: καρδία πηδᾷ ~ καρδία πηδᾷ
- Tears: δακρύων … οἱ ὀφθαλμοί ~ δάκρυα ἐκχεῖται
- Possession: κατεχόμενοι ~ κατεχόμεθα
- Corybantism: κορυβαντιῶντες ~ κορυβαντιώντων
These striking parallels are hardly ever noticed, let alone explained.  Just like Homer, Socrates is unique in his capacity to spark passion in his listeners, a passion that manifests the very same symptoms: ecstasy, palpitations, tears, Corybantic frenzy. More importantly, the same effects are provoked whenever people reproduce Socrates’ words at second hand, even if they do so imperfectly. Consequently, Socrates’ words result in a magical, or should we say magnetic, chain of effects. Remarkably, this is prefigured by the very structure of the Symposium, which features a famously complex narrative framework. The Symposium is, in fact, the narration of a narration of a narration: 
ARISTODEMUS (“Second ring”)
APOLLODORUS (“Third ring”)
x (ad infinitum)
LOVER (“First ring”)
BELOVED (“Second ring”)
Once again, differences are no less important than similarities. The flux is akin to the poetic chain of the Ion, but two things stand out in particular. Firstly, the process is triggered off by the beloved rather than by the lover. Secondly, it includes a kind of rebound effect: when the lover is struck, the flow of beauty “rebounds” as if from a mirror and strikes the beloved, who then goes through the same experience as the lover, albeit in a milder form.  This prefigures an endless process, which ultimately blurs the boundaries between the traditional roles of lover and beloved, as well as those of poet and audience.  Once again, the conclusion is that the “rings” take a clearly active role in the process. This is evident from the final pages of the Phaedrus, when Socrates emphasizes the superior quality of oral dialogue to fixed and written speech. Not on any papyrus scroll, but in the soul of the beloved does the philosopher write, and his speech germinates in that soul, producing new speech that will fecundate more souls. In other words, philosophy brings about a long, uninterrupted chain of erotic speech, all carefully fashioned for the soul of the beloved.
Averting Poetic “Termination”: Socrates and Thamyris
With its sole Platonic instance of the verb “to maim” (pêroô), the prayer expresses Socrates’ concern for his somewhat elusive ars amatoria.  As I noted in the first chapter, the maiming refers back to the blinding of Stesichorus. But this is not the whole story: Socrates also alludes to the archetypal “incident” of this kind. I am thinking of Thamyris, the Thracian poet who was famously maimed by the Muses and who became a very popular subject in classical Athens. 
ἀντόμεναι Θάμυριν τὸν Θρήϊκα παῦσαν ἀοιδῆς
Οἰχαλίηθεν ἰόντα παρ’ Εὐρύτου Οἰχαλιῆος·
στεῦτο γὰρ εὐχόμενος νικησέμεν εἴ περ ἂν αὐταὶ
Μοῦσαι ἀείδοιεν κοῦραι Διὸς αἰγιόχοιο·
αἳ δὲ χολωσάμεναι πηρὸν θέσαν, αὐτὰρ ἀοιδὴν
θεσπεσίην ἀφέλοντο καὶ ἐκλέλαθον κιθαριστύν
… where the Muses
met Thamyris the Thracian and made him cease from his song
as he was journeying from Oechalia, from the house of Eurytus the Oechalian:
for he vaunted with boasting that he would conquer, were the Muses themselves
to sing against him, the daughters of Zeus that bears the Aegis;
but they in their wrath maimed him, and took away
his wondrous song (ἀοιδὴν ≈ τέχνην), and made him forget his minstrelsy
It seems to me that the verbal similarities with Socrates’ prayer are striking.  With an apotropaic shift, Socrates depicts himself as a potential Thamyris, with two interesting qualifications. The first is that the Muses and song are replaced by Eros and erotic expertise. The replacement of song makes perfect sense: Socrates is promoting a form of erotic rhetoric in which speech is prompted by love—and it should be noted that in the Euripidean Rhesus, Thamyris is blinded, and song and tekhnê are mentioned together.  Moreover, by Plato’s time the myth had acquired sexual overtones, which made it even more suitable for the erotic context of the Phaedrus. Thamyris, who had since been credited with the discovery of pederasty, was unable to contain his sexual appetite, and so struck a bargain with the Muses: were he to prevail, they would let him lie with them all  —which, rather predictably, proved impossible.
The Gift of the Muses
A very familiar pattern is clearly evident here too. The cicada song is expected to inspire Socrates and Phaedrus just as Homer inspires Ion: they should be both alert and “carried away”; instead of “nodding off” (the same word used for Ion), they should be loquacious and yield to the power of their own Muses, just as Ion is carried away exclusively by Homer. However, the solar gift of the cicadas amounts to an ultimately positive paradigm, as should be clear from the following scheme:
1(b) Socrates suggests he and Phaedrus should dialogue (διαλεγομένους).
2(a) Cicadas ignore bodily needs.
2(b) Socrates suggests he and Phaedrus ignore sleep.
3(a) The cicadas’ perseverance earned them a gift (γέρας) from the Muses.
3(b) Socrates’ and Phaedrus’ perseverance may earn them a gift (γέρας) from the cicadas.
CICADAS (“First ring”)
SOCRATES-PHAEDRUS (“Second ring”)
- Man in the in countryside: a, b, c, d.
- Noontime: a? (as at Palatine Anthology 9.64  ), b, possibly c and d.  Cf. Aesop’s noon initiation. 
- Livestock animal present: a, b, c, d.
- Tree and/or rock present: a? (cf. the “riddle” at line 35  ), b, c, d.
- Man meets gods: a, b, c, d.
- Gods make fun of man: a, b, also vice versa in c.
- Metamorphosis, of either man or animal: c, d. Implicit in a, b?
- Man loses control: b, c. Implicit in d?
- Gods bestow a symbolic gift on man: a, c, d.
- Gods bestow inspiration on man: a, b, d.
Endnote: New “Facts”
- Scholars have on occasion suggested that the discourses of poetry and philosophy as developed in the Ion and the Symposium (when read together) reveal a number of surprising analogies. This chapter features a first comprehensive study of what has previously been suggested. Through a careful analysis of the vocabulary and structure of the Symposium, it can be shown that Socratic logoi share the following features with Ion’s poetry: an unhinged mind (ἐκπλήξῃς ~ ἐκπεπληγμένοι), palpitations (καρδία πηδᾷ ~ καρδία πηδᾷ), tears (δακρύων … οἱ ὀφθαλμοί ~ δάκρυα ἐκχεῖται), possession (κατεχόμενοι ~ κατεχόμεθα), and Corybantism (κορυβαντιῶντες ~ κορυβαντιώντων). The discourse of both philosophy and poetry is conceptualized as a chain of logoi, but in philosophic chains the rhapsodic distinction between performer and audience is collapsed: philosophy is an active engagement, which should be “performed” by everyone. The same image can also be seen at work implicitly in the Phaedrus.
- By examining a number of lexical peculiarities, including the Platonic hapax legomenon πηρόω (“to maim”), I have shown that Socrates’ prayer to Eros in the Phaedrus (257b–c) is composed in such a way as to evoke the story of the contest between Thamyris and the Muses, first attested in the Iliad, 2.594–560. Sophocles revived the story in his Thamyras, and a close examination of the relevant evidence allows me to conclude that Sophocles’ more eroticized version is also clearly discernible between the lines of the Phaedrus.
- The initiation scene in Hesiod’s Theogony exercised a considerable influence on Greek literature and may itself be an instance of a much more common mythologeme: roughly the same features can be found in the initiation stories of such diverse figures as Archilochus, Epimenides, Callimachus, and Aesop. The myth of the cicadas (Phaedrus 258e–259d) can be read, I argue, as yet another instance of this mythologeme, complete with a number of hitherto unnoticed echoes from earlier poetry. The encounter with the daemons, their disparaging comments, the magic gift of song, all these features make up the traditional pattern of the initiation scene, which is given a particularly epic flavor by means of allusions to Homer and Hesiod.