Protreptic in the Socratics: In Search of a Genre
The scope of this paper is to enquire into the nature of the so called ‘Socratic protreptic’. P. Harlich (1889) and K. Gaiser (1959) suggested that the ‘Socratic protreptic’ was a kind of transitional form from sophistic presentations to early Plato’s dialogues. Diogenus Laertius only mentions the protreptics of Antisthenes (VP VI. 2) and Aristippus (VP II. 85), but there are two texts that came to be considered as protreptics as a result оf Gaiser’s Protreptik und Paränese bei Platon: Xenophons’ Memorabilia 4.2 and the Alcibiades of Aeschines. These texts, along with the spurious First Alcibiades, were included into the protreptic corpus by S.R. Slings (1999). We argue that Gaiser’s approach is somewhat problematical, since the influence of Aeschines is not beyond any doubt. In the end, we focus on differences (both in structure and in content) between the ‘Socratic protreptic’ and those texts that were explicitly marked as protreptic in the IV century BC (Euthydemus, Clitiphon), which brings us to the problem of genre-definition.