The purpose of this talk is to address a normally overlooked aspect of Xenophon’s corpus, namely, his treatment of humor. Studies of ancient Greek theories on humor primarily engage with Plato and Aristotle. This is understandable, as both philosophers overtly discuss their perspectives on various forms of humor, its potency and appropriateness in various social contexts, and its potential dangers, but their contemporary and fellow acolyte of Socrates, Xenophon, has much to say on humor as well, albeit in a more subtle fashion. In this paper, I will use the character of Xenophon in Anabasis 3 as a jumping off point for an attempted reconstruction of Xenophon’s humor theory. I will demonstrate that the character of Xenophon in Anabasis 3 serves as an avatar which embodies and puts into practice Xenophon the author’s perspectives on the efficacy of humor and how it is a valuable tool for leaders to consolidate power and manage subordinates.
Join us on Zoom at the following link: https://unc.zoom.us/j/93804978257?pwd=VExmQU5OQnlFSi81SjZxRlRBemRvZz09
Meeting ID: 938 0497 8257