7 December 2023 Start
7 December 2023 End
5pm (GMT) / 7pm (GR) Time

Chilon and the Tradition of the Seven Wise Men

Thursday, December 7, 2023

The Centre for Spartan & Peloponnesian Studies at the University of Nottingham and the Municipality of Sparti are pleased to invite you to this week’s Sparta Live! webinar with Professor Delfim Leão (University of Coimbra) on Chilon and the Tradition of the Seven Wise Men.

Summary of talk

The tradition of the Seven Wise Men attracted much legendary amplification, regarding biographical details of the ‘sophoi’ portrayed or of the personalities they interacted with. Even though, many of these figures had as well some consistent historical background. This is the case of Thales, Solon, Bias, Pittacus, Periander, Cleobulus, Chilon or even Croesus, just to mention those names that occur more often. Therefore, taking as a possible reference the historical context in which some of these figures were active, it seems quite probable that the tradition began to take shape during the Archaic period, more specifically between the seventh and sixth centuries. However, the first literary expression of the configuration of a legend concerning the ‘sophoi’ occurs only in Herodotus, and the first complete list of the Seven Wise Men as a group appears only in Plato’s ‘Protagoras’ (342e-343b). In this passage, the ‘sophoi’ are portrayed as sympathetic or even as a result (as in the specific case of Chilon) of the Spartan education, whose brevity of speech (‘brachylogia’) is praised. This pro-Spartan approach may even provide the explanation why Periander was left out, as a representative of the tyrannical government traditionally opposed by the Spartans. Taking this background as reference, I propose to address how Chilon’s characterisation evolved in the literary characterisation of the Seven Sages, focussing on the dialogical relationship he established with other ‘sophoi’, with particular emphasis on the Athenian Solon, whom it is sometimes claimed that he would rival in importance.

The webinar will take place on Thursday, December 7, 2023 at 5pm (GMT) / 7pm (GR).

Attendance is free but you must register in advance via this link:

The event will also be broadcasted live via  and