Decisions, decisions, decisions…

Since the draft of my monograph Plato and Pythagoreanism (Oxford University Press) is now complete and we’re hoping to go to press relatively soon – did anyone wonder where I’ve been for a while? – I thought I’d take a page out of Adrienne Mayor’s book (who did this on Facebook with her Poison King) and solicit the opinion of my readers and friends regarding ideas for the cover of my book.  The book is essentially about the ways in which Plato and the Pythagoreans engaged in understanding the mathematicization of the universe and of things in it, including human beings – in particular, how something can at one time be one and many, how it can retain its numerical identity while being subject to many predicates.  Here are the three finalists:

1. Sublimate XIII by Antony Gormley (2007)

2. Fragmentary Bronze Head of a Philosopher (4th Century BCE)

3. Ancient of Days by William Blake (1794)

Of course, each one has its own value, and much can be read into each image.   I won’t tell you my reasons for selecting these, because I want to hear what people think first.   So I’m going to try something new and put up a poll to see how the vote turns out.  Comments that give rationales for your votes would be much appreciated.  I can’t promise that the press will agree with me (or you), but hey, that’s the fun of the internet, right?  You get to express your opinion whether or not it matters!



Filed under Ancient Philosophy, Classics General, Intellectual History, Uncategorized

9 responses to “Decisions, decisions, decisions…

  1. Mike

    I voted for Sublimate XIII because it is visually stunning, seems to capture your topic nicely, and it bridges the ancient with the modern (well, contemporary). I voted against Blake mostly because that piece has been used before in thousands of places.

  2. Voted for Sublimate. Mostly because the buff is a little boring and the Blake piece looks like something that belongs on a Pink Floyd t-shirt. Excited for the book!

  3. Sublimate is the most arresting image

  4. Carol Atack

    Gormley all the way! Saw this Sublimate’s brother Sublimate IV at Benesse House a couple of weeks ago. But might one of the Standing Matter series (which tend to be made of balls, not blocks) illustrate your book better?

  5. Zenon

    Ja, Sublimate XIII gets my vote for the reasons already stated. I especially like, as Mike said, that it fits well with your topic. It would also be a good cover for a book on Hume on personal identity (any connection or contrast with this in your book?). Also, if you’re interested, here’s a link to a similar piece, at SFMOMA:


    I vote for William Blake: very original and very suitable for your subject!

  7. Blake’s “Ancient of Days” is to be used in a volume on gnostic philosophy that is about to be published by Cambridge. See So, as I intend to buy both your book and van den Broek’s, that might confuse me somewhat.

  8. The votes are all in, and Sublimate XIII is the clear winner! Good news is I’ve been in contact with Gormley’s studio, and they are going to allow me permission to use the image for the book cover; and OUP is on board for it too. Thanks for your help everyone!

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