The Work Of Philosophy
(from Meditation On Being A Philosopher)
by Alice Koller
You would not have turned to look at Socrates. In the portrait sculptures that have come down to us,
he is short and balding, not fat but not lean and muscular either. His nose is broad and snub, upturned as though sniffing out those who do not know what they claim to know. His woolen cloak, the himation, drapes over his right forearm, leaving bare that shoulder and half his chest. The usual undergarment that Athenian men wore folded around the body, girdled at the waist, and pinned at the shoulders, the chiton, is absent in these statues. Poorer citizens, Socrates plainly among them, do not wear it.
He was my teacher.
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© Text, Alice Koller, 1983
© Graphic, Layout, Font, New York Times, 1983. Reproduced with permission, 2012.