Greek Philosophers Starting XI

screen shot from Monty Python’s philosophers world cup skit


With my German starting XI set ahead of their Euro2012 quarterfinal match with Greece, I give you my Greek side, a veritable dream-team so stocked with Dionysian hedonists that one may rightly wonder if, by the end of the match, Nietzsche will take it upon himself to defect. Ecce:

Greek Philosophers Starting XI:

Manager – Epicurus / It makes sense that one of the pillars of Greek materialism (and, consequently, of the scientific method as we know it) should captain the squad, since the attainment of a happy and tranquil life is something that every coach should encourage.

GK – Aeschylus / While it may seem counterintuitive to have the father of Greek tragedy between the sticks, Aeschylus would be able to recognize the furies if they ever should gather, and prevent his teammates from running and shrieking wildly—a useful skill for a goalie, I should think.

RB – Democritus / Any enemy of Plato is a friend of mine.

CB – Zeno of Elea / His understanding of paradoxes would equip him fittingly for the cruel and unusual game of football.

CB – Carneades / While it’s typically not good for a defender—or any player, really—to doubt her senses, any player who conversely believes in intrinsic justice is just setting herself up for catastrophic and demoralizing disappointment, no? Better to have a realist in the backfield, in my opinion.

LB -  Pyrrho / He travelled with Alexander the Great on his smash-and-grab tour of the East, learning from thinkers in India and Persia. If it worked for the Beatles…

RM – Thrasymachus / You may remember him from such works as Plato’s Republic, where his character wins several arguments against Socrates. I’d want someone like that on my team, without a doubt. Plus, if Spain has taught us anything, it’s that you need a few deceptively clever players in in the midfield. If they go by one name only, hey, even better (cf. Xavi).

CM – Pythagoras of Samos / Who would better understand passing triangles than Pythagoras?

CM – Protagoras / He could connect well with fellow Sophist Thrasymachus, and his insistence that man is the measure of all things would give him the confidence needed to move forward and pressure the defense.

LM - Sophocles / His impressive track record in Dionysian festivals could only be an asset.

F – Zeno of Citium / Every team needs at least one stoic striker (and at least two players named Zeno, apparently).

F – Socrates (if he existed) / All we are is dust in the wind.