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The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours (Hours 22-24): Plato and Beyond

Focusing on transformation of the hero into the logos , or word of philosophical dialogue, this is the fifth of five modules on the Ancient Greek Hero as portrayed in classical literature, song, performance, art, and cult.

Cost: Free


The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours (Hours 22-24): Plato and Beyond's Full Profile



About this Course HUM 2.5x. The fifth and final module in The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours, “Hours 22-24: Plato and Beyond” challenges the idea that Socrates was a hero, just as Plato’s Socrates himself challenges that same idea. And yet, as we will see from reading Plato’s Apology of Socrates and Phaedo, the idea of the hero is very much present in Plato’s works – just as it persists in works beyond Plato, whether or not these works adopt Plato’s project of trying to substitute philosophy for literature (especially for poetry). Just as poetry serves as a primary representative for the idea of the hero, we will discover though our close readings that the philosophical prose of Plato likewise represents this same idea - though now the hero is no longer some superhuman human. Rather, the real hero now becomes the word of philosophical dialogue, which is brought back to life much as a cult hero is brought back to life ever time a heroic life is narrated or dramatized. In Plato’s works, the narration and the dramatization show not the life of the hero but the life of the word that survives the speaker of the word, provided that the word engages in dialogue – a philosophical dialogue that contemplates the eternal truths of the cosmos. See other courses in this series: Module 1, “Hours 1-5: Epic and Lyric” Module 2, “Hours 6-11: Signs of the Hero in Epic and Iconography” Module 3, “Hours 12-15: Cult of Heroes” Module 4, “Hours 16-21: The Hero in Tragedy” HarvardX pursues the science of learning. By registering as an online learner in an HX course, you will also participate in research about learning. Read our research statement to learn more. WAYS TO TAKE THIS EDX COURSE FOR FREE: Audit this Course Audit this course for free and have complete access to all the course material, activities, tests, and forums. If your work is satisfactory and you abide by the Honor Code, you'll receive a personalized Honor Code Certificate to showcase your achievement. WAYS TO TAKE THIS COURSE FOR A FEE: Earn Harvard Credit Optionally, you can enroll in the traditional, semester-long course at Harvard Extension School. Courses are offered in fall or spring semesters, or both. You have the option to enroll for undergraduate or graduate credit and will receive grades on a Harvard transcript. Learn more about the course on the Harvard Extension School website.


  • Days of the Week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Level of Difficulty: Beginner
  • Size: Massive Open Online Course
  • Instructors: Natasha Bershadsky, Jeff Emanuel, Claudia Filos, Thomas Walsh, Joel Christensen, Graeme Bird, Keith Stone, Kevin McGrath, Leonard Muellner, Gregory Nagy
  • Cost: Free
  • Institution: EdX

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About EdX: EdX offers interactive online classes and MOOCs from the world’s best universities. Topics include biology, business, chemistry, computer science, economics, finance, electronics, engineering, food and nutrition, history, humanities, law, literature, math, medicine, music, philosophy, physics, science, statistics and more. EdX is a non-profit online initiative created by founding partners Harvard and MIT.

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