In ancient Greece, as today, popular moral attitudes differed importantly from the theories of moral philosophers. While for the latter we have Plato and Aristotle, this insightful work explores the everyday moral conceptions to which orators appealed in court and political assemblies, and which were reflected in non-philosophical literature. Oratory and comedy provide the primary testimony, and reference is also made to Sophocles, Euripides, Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, and other sources. The selection of topics, the contrasts and comparisons with modern religious, social and legal principles, and accessibility to the non-specialist ensure the work's appeal to all readers with an interest in ancient Greek culture and social life.
A classic. It provides an invaluable aid to anyone seeking to understand Plato and Aristotle in their historical context. Dover uses a variety of literary sources to set out, with clarity and deep sensitivity, popular views on moral, political, and religious matters in fourth-century Greece. --Michael Morgan, Indiana University