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 4. The Muses and the Tree
- “The pyxis divides into two panels. In the first a cowherd and a draped female figure flank a cow, whose four legs are still just visible. The female figure framing this composition to the right holds a plektron and a strap in her hand. Turn the vase and the scene that next appears represents a poet seated on a diphros holding a lyre. He is flanked by two Muses […] Archilochos is shown in the first panel as young cowherd: in the second he is shown holding the Muses’ gift of a lyre, flanked by two Muses. To the right of this grouping are two more Muses.” (Clay 2004:14 and 55).
The Academy and the Heroization of Socrates
Praying to Pan: The Riddle
The Gift of Poetry
The answer to the above question is, of course, in the negative: the lawmakers are themselves tragedians and “authors of the most beautiful tragedy,” i.e. the laws, and, by extension, Plato’s dialogue itself, the Laws. My immediate purpose in quoting the above words, however, is to draw attention to the phrase “traffic our poetry” (τὴν ποίησιν φέρωμέν τε καὶ ἄγωμεν), which proves Gaiser wrong, for this is the same pair of verbs we encounter in Socrates’ prayer, and they certainly cannot mean loot or anything similar in this passage.  Of particular interest too, is that the object of the two verbs is “poetry,” which, in the context of Socrates’ prayer, reminds one of Pindar’s Nemean Ode 8.36–39: some men pray for gold, but the poet’s prayer is that he may give pleasure to his fellow citizens by “praising things worthy of praise while blaming the wicked,”  that is, by practicing poetry.
Heroism in the Making
χρυϲαλύρεω καθαροῖϲ οὔαϲιν ἐκλ[ύ]ετε
Παρνηϲοῦ νιφόεντοϲ ἀνὰ πτύχ[α]ϲ ἢ παρ’ Ὀλύμπωι
Βάκχωι τὰς τριετεῖϲ ἀρχόμεναι θυμέλα[ϲ
νῦν δὲ Ποϲε[ι]δίππωι ϲτυγερὸν ϲυναείρατε γῆραϲ
γραψάμεναι δέλτων ἐν χρυϲέαιϲ ϲελίϲιν.
λιμπάνετε ϲκοπιὰϲ Ἑλικωνίδαϲ, εἰϲ δὲ τὰ θήβηϲ
τείχεα Πιπ[λ]ε̣ί̣ηϲ βαίνετε, Καϲταλίδεϲ.
καὶ ϲὺ Ποσείδιππόν ποτ’ ἐφίλαο; Κύνθιε, Λητοῦϲ
υἵ’ ἑ̣κ̣ά̣ε[ργ]ε̣, β̣έ̣λ̣ο̣ϲ̣ (vacat)
φήμη τιϲ νιφόεντ’ οἰκία τοῦ Παρίου·
τοίην ἐκχρήϲαιϲ τε καὶ ἐξ ἀδύτων καναχήϲαι[ϲ
φωνὴν ἀθανάτην, ὦ ἄνα, καὶ κατ’ ἐμοῦ
ὄφρα με τιμήϲωϲι Μακηδόνεϲ, οἵ τ’ ἐπὶ ν̣[ήϲων
οἵ τ’ Ἀϲίηϲ πάϲηϲ γείτονεϲ ἠϊόνοϲ.
Πελλαῖον γένοϲ ἀμόν· ἔοιμι δὲ βίβλον ἑλίϲϲων
ἄφνω λαοφόρωι κείμενοϲ εἰν ἀγορῆι.
ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ μὲν Παρίηι δὸϲ ἀηδόνι λυγρὸν ἐφ.[
νῆμα κατὰ γληνέων δάκρυα κε̣ι̣ν̣ὰ̣ χ̣έ̣ω̣[ν
καὶ ϲτενάχων, δι’ ἐμὸν δὲ φίλον στόμα [ ‒⏖ ‒⏑
μηδέ τιϲ οὖν χεύαι δάκρυον· αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ
γήραϊ μυϲτικὸν οἶμον ἐπὶ Ῥαδάμανθυν ἱκοίμην
δήμωι καὶ λαῶι παντὶ ποθεινὸϲ ἐών,
ἀσκίπτων ἐν ποϲϲὶ καὶ ὀρθοεπὴϲ ἀν’ ὅμιλον
καὶ λείπων τέκνοιϲ δῶμα καὶ ὄλβον ἐμόν.
If, Muses of my city, you have with pure ears
heard anything beautiful, either from Phoebus of the golden lyre,
in the glens of snowy Parnassus, or near Olympus,
as you start for Bacchus his triennial ceremonies,
now help Posidippus to bear the burden of hateful old age,
writing down the song on the golden columns of your tablets.
Leave your Heliconian peaks, and come to the walls
of Piplean Thebes, Muses of Castalia.
You also loved Posidippus once, Cynthian god, of Leto
the far-shooting son […] a dart [… … …]
an oracle to the snow-white house of the man from Paros.
May you send forth and sound out from your holy shrine
such an immortal voice, O Lord, even for me,
so that the Macedonians may honor me, both the [islanders]
and the neighbours of all the Asiatic shore.
Pellaean is my family. May I find myself unrolling a book,
placed  all at once in the crowded marketplace.
For the Parian nightingale grant […] a mournful
thread, with empty tears streaming down the eyelids,
and groaning, while through my friendly mouth [… … …]
and let no one shed a tear. But in old age
may I travel the mystic path to Rhadamnthys,
longed for by my people and all the community,
on my feet without a stick, sure of speech among the crowd,
and leaving to my children my house and my wealth.
The Cult of Socrates in the Academy
Interestingly, this authorial statement fulfills Socrates’ prayer to Pan, since it was Socrates’ precise request to become beautiful (καλῷ γενέσθαι). In the general Conclusion, we shall see how the Phaedo provides us with firm evidence for a construal of the dialogues as a monument designed to host the hero Socrates. Before moving on to Socrates’ prison, however, I shall conclude this chapter with a further suggestion regarding Socrates’ prayer to Pan.
Socrates is envisaged as a statue, and we know that Socrates did in fact receive such an honor. Scholars have long recognized that ancient portraits of Socrates are of two different types, conventionally called “A” and “B”: “B” portraits are likely to derive from an official statue made by Lysippus, whereas “A” can be traced to a privately sponsored work, which has been identified with a bust of Socrates erected by Plato and his associates.  In type “B,” Socrates is “normalized” and portrayed as a good citizen, whereas type “A” is more Silenus-like and wild. Paul Zanker has interpreted the latter as a deliberate provocation aimed at the ideal of the good citizen, by definition “good and beautiful” (kalokagathia). As he sees it, it was a paradoxical “example not of the confirmation of collective norms, but of their denial, in paying honors to Socrates.”  The point is worth developing briefly.
Κῷοι χάλκειον στῆσαν ὑπὸ πλατάνῳ
Βιττίδα μολπάζοντα θοήν, περὶ πάντα Φιλίταν
ῥήματα καὶ πᾶσαν τρυόμενον λαλιήν.
You also know, (Leontion) for whom the townsmen of Eurypylus,
the Coans, raised a bronze statue under a plane-tree,
Philetas, who sang his love for tall Bittis,
whilst rescuing all the love terms and all the rare words.
This statue is probably the same as that described in one of Posidippus’ “new” epigrams, where the idea of heroic status is clearly implied,  and scholars have argued that the context must have been that of a Mouseion.  Philitas himself seems to have suggested preemptively the placing of his statue under a plane-tree, since a fragment of his poetry has a curious reference to “the sitting under a plane-tree.”  His pupil may well have made sure that his master’s wish for a heroic statue under a plane-tree was fulfilled. 
ἡδυεπής, τέττιξιν ἰσογράφος, οἵ θ’ Ἑκαδήμου
δένδρει ἐφεζόμενοι ὄπα λειριόεσσαν ἱεῖσιν.
And a plate-fish was leading them all, though it was a speaking one,
and sweet-voiced at that! In his writings, he matches the cicadas,
pouring out their lily song from the tree of Academos.
τὰϲ βύβλουϲ δείξαϲ τὰϲ παρὰ ταῖϲ πλατάνοιϲ
ἡμᾶϲ δὲ φρουρεῖν· κἂν γνήϲιοϲ ἐνθάδ’ ἐραϲτὴϲ
ἔλθῃ τῷ κιϲϲῷ τοῦτον ἀν[α]—στέφομεν.
Say that this grove is sacred to the Muses,
show the books that lie by the planes,
and add that we guard them. And if a true lover
comes by, we crown him with heather.
Endnote: New “Facts”
- Socrates’ prayer to Pan is a notorious riddle, which can be better understood in the light of certain neglected data. Firstly, the article in the expression τὸ δὲ χρυσοῦ πλῆθος emphasizes the negative connotations of gold throughout the Phaedrus. Secondly, an examination of the use of χρυσοῦ πλῆθος reveals that it carries equally negative overtones, usually in contrast to other good ones. Thirdly, contrary to Gaiser’s widely accepted interpretation, the hendiadys ἄγω-φέρω may mean something quite different from looting: in the instance found in Laws 817a, it signifies the practice of poetry. Fourthly, the local divinities Socrates prays to are mentioned earlier as capable of conferring poetic inspiration. All this suggests that Socrates is really asking the gods to grant him the status of poet. Socrates’ request for heroic status may be fruitfully compared to those made by other poets, such as that found in Posidippus 118 AB.
- A new reading of PHerc 1021 has confirmed that a statue representing Socrates was placed in the Academy’s Mouseion between 385 and 359–358 BCE, possibly near a plane-tree. Comparative material such as Hermesianax 75–78 (which mentions the statue of Philitas under a plane-tree) suggests that the Phaedrus’ references to the envisaged erection of a statue to celebrate Socrates’ rhetorical accomplishments (235d–e; 236b) should be read against that historical background. Specifically, the fifth-century setting of the Phaedrus (Mouseion and plane-tree) prefigures the fourth-century cult of Socrates within the precinct of the Academy. Additional evidence (IG XIV 1011) suggests that a plane-tree within the Academy was likely to be the natural place where the book rolls containing Plato’s dialogues were preserved as part of an ongoing cultic tradition.