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The Berkeley PlatoFrom Neglected Relic to Ancient Treasure, An Archaeological Detective Story$
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Stephen Miller

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520258334

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520258334.001.0001

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The Berkeley Plato

Stephen G. Miller

University of California Press

The Plato at Berkeley has been shown to be a genuine ancient portrait herm that was probably created in the second quarter of the second century after Christ, and may be based directly upon an original of 370–365 B.C. The fine quality of the marble, the carving of the head and the inscription, and the verbal echoes of the written works of Plato suggest that the Berkeley Plato is a special creation that was associated with the portraits of the Seven Sages. The ribbon around the head and on the shoulders makes a direct connection with the world of athletics and the gymnasium-academy, but even more specifically with the Republic. The deformed left ear ties athletics and Plato's writings closely together, and the use of such allusions shows that the Berkeley Plato was the creation of someone who knew his Plato as a person and as a literary figure.

Keywords:   Berkeley Plato, Seven Sages, ribbon, athletics, Republic, deformed left ear

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