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City and School in Late Antique Athens and Alexandria$
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Edward Watts

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520244214

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520244214.001.0001

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The Closing of the Athenian Schools

The Closing of the Athenian Schools

(p.111) Chapter 5 The Closing of the Athenian Schools
City and School in Late Antique Athens and Alexandria

Edward J. Watts

University of California Press

This chapter provides a historical account of the decline of Athenian philosophical schools, and describes the succession and transfer of authority of the heads of these schools. While the closing of the Athenian school was indeed an event with local implications that was caused by local concerns, the flight of Damascius and his colleagues to Persia resulted from central governmental policies. The prohibition of teaching was an institutional deathblow; it seems that the philosophers responded to this initial set of restrictions by keeping a low profile and waiting for circumstances to change. As the Athenian archeological evidence suggests, these laws would not have permitted the philosophers to survive simply by keeping a low profile. Perhaps sensing the inevitability of this fate, they left Athens for Persia. This was, for all practical purposes, the end of Athenian philosophy.

Keywords:   Athens, philosophy, professors, schools, law, Roman empire, government policies

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