top of page
  • Voltaire Staff

Plato died listening to flute, ancient scroll reveals

Archaeologists have unearthed a papyrus scroll buried beneath layers of volcanic ash since the AD 79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy which provides insights into the last moments of Plato, a prominent figure in the Western philosophy.

The newly deciphered passages from the ancient scroll unveil a previously unknown narrative depicting Plato's final evening. According to the text, the Greek philosopher spent his last hours listening to music played on a flute by a Thracian slave girl.

Even as he grappled with a fever and approached death's door, Plato, renowned as a disciple of Socrates and a mentor to Aristotle, maintained enough clarity to offer critiques.

The newly uncovered account indicates that shortly before his passing in Athens around 348BC, Plato even managed to critique a musician for her rhythm deficiencies, reported the Guardian.

The text hints at Plato's final resting place within his cherished garden at the Academy of Athens, the renowned institution he established. While prior knowledge hinted at his burial within the academy, these newly decoded words offer a more precise understanding, shedding light on the intimate details of Plato's posthumous arrangements.

Prof Graziano Ranocchia ,from the University of Pisa, presented the research at the National Library of Naples, hailing the unearthing of the carbonised scroll as a remarkable advancement in ancient history understanding.

He said, "Thanks to the most advanced imaging diagnostic techniques, we are finally able to read and decipher new sections of texts that previously seemed inaccessible."

The text also reveals that Plato was once sold into slavery on the island of Aegina.

"Until now it was believed that Plato was sold into slavery in 387 BC during his sojourn in Sicily at the court of Dionysius I of Syracuse," Ranocchia said.

Ranocchia highlighted the significant advancement achieved in reassembling and virtually restoring the scroll's original textual flow, enabling the gathering of extensive information.

He  said that while the work was still in its early phases, its full impact would emerge over time.

The scroll was preserved in a lavish villa in Herculaneum and discovered in 1750.

Plato. Image Source: Wikipedia




bottom of page