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Privatissimum Greek: Sources for Protagoras


Admission requirements

This course is open to MA and research MA students in Classics and Ancient Civilizations (specialization Classics).

The course will be taught in Dutch or English, depending on the first language of participating students.


In this privatissimum students participate in preparing the edition and translation of the sources for the sophist Protagoras of Abdera. Apart from Diogens Laërtius’ Vitae philosophorum and Plato’s Protagoras and Theaetetus, the material comprises passages from (for instance) Aristoteles, Epicurus, Cicero, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Plutarch, Aelius Aristides, and Sextus Empiricus.

Texts and translations already included in the first draft of the Sources for Protagoras (National Protagoras Society, Leiden 2007) will be checked, revised, and annotated. In addition we will collect (edit, translate, and annotate) new material, mainly from various commentaries on Plato and Aristotle (e.g. by Proclus, Olympiodorus; Syrianus, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Asclepius, Philoponus) and scholia (on Aristophanes, Plato, and Aristotle).

Study of secondary literature on Protagoras, his cultural and philosophical context, and on the nature of the sources involved will be part of the activities.

Course objectives

  • The competence to collect, edit, analyze, and translate primary Greek (sometimes Latin) texts from different genres and periods and to annotate this material for a general public, in full awareness of the complications involved and the choices to be made. The interpretation of these texts requires a certain familiarity with the idiom involved and the cultural (including philosophical) context;

  • Oral and written presentation of a part of the material;

  • Students cooperate in preparing portions of the material and offer constructive criticism on the material produced by other participants.


See timetables Classics and Ancient Civilizations

Mode of instruction

Privatissimum (seminar & independent research)

Assessment method

For 10 EC:

  • Oral presentation(s) (40%);

  • Active participation in class (10%);

  • Paper (50%).

When this class is taken for 5 EC, no final paper is required.


Distribution of material and communication between participants will be facilitated by the use of Blackboard

Reading list

First draft of ‘Sources for Protagoras’ (2007) will be made available.

In the first two weeks of this course students are expected to read W. K. C. Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy (available in the University Library):

  • Vol. III ( The Fifth-Century Enlightenment. Cambridge 1969) pp. 44–84, 135–47, 164–92; 204–25; 234–35; 250–69;

  • Vol. IV ( Plato, the Man and His Dialogues: Earlier Period. Cambridge 1975), pp. 213–35;

  • Vol. V ( The Later Plato and the Academy. Cambridge 1978), pp. 61–122.


Via uSis


Mw. Dr. M. van Raalte
Mw. Drs. M.L. Bartels