In this chapter I shall try to sketch what is in my view Aristophanes’ main
contribution to the history of Socratism.1 Aristophanes, I shall argue, provided
Socrates with a (literally) “iconic” status that proved a major influence for
Socratic writers and for Plato in particular, to the extent that it would be hard
to imagine Plato’s Socrates in the absence of Aristophanes’. In many ways,
Socrates’ aspect, behavior, and even views as they appear in Socratic literature
were ultimately shaped by Aristophanes’visual characterization.