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[179a] in a mutual rivalry for honor; and such men as these, when fighting side by side, one might almost consider able to make even a little band victorious over all the world. For a man in love would surely choose to have all the rest of the host rather than his favorite see him forsaking his station or flinging away his arms; sooner than this, he would prefer to die many deaths: while, as for leaving his favorite in the lurch, or not succoring him in his peril, no man is such a craven that Love's own influence cannot inspire him with a valor that makes him equal to the bravest born; [179b] and without doubt what Homer calls a ““fury inspired””1 by a god in certain heroes is the effect produced on lovers by Love's peculiar power.

“Furthermore, only such as are in love will consent to die for others; not merely men will do it, but women too. Sufficient witness is borne to this statement before the people of Greece by Alcestis, daughter of Pelias, who alone was willing to die for her husband, though he had both father [179c] and mother. So high did her love exalt her over them in kindness, that they were proved alien to their son and but nominal relations; and when she achieved this deed, it was judged so noble by gods as well as men that, although among all the many doers of noble deeds they are few and soon counted to whom the gods have granted the privilege of having their souls sent up again from Hades, hers they thus restored in admiration of her act. [179d] In this manner even the gods give special honor to zeal and courage in concerns of love. But Orpheus, son of Oeagrus, they sent back with failure from Hades, showing him only a wraith of the woman for whom he came; her real self they would not bestow, for he was accounted to have gone upon a coward's quest, too like the minstrel that he was, and to have lacked the spirit to die as Alcestis did for the sake of love, when he contrived the means of entering Hades alive. Wherefore they laid upon him the penalty he deserved, and caused him to meet his death [179e] at the hands of women: whereas Achilles, son of Thetis, they honored and sent to his place in the Isles of the Blest,2 because having learnt from his mother that he would die as surely as he slew Hector,3 but if he slew him not, would return home and end his days an aged man, he bravely chose to go and rescue his lover Patroclus,

1 Hom. Il. 10.482; Hom. Il. 15.262

2 Pindar O. 2.78ff. (Hom. Od. 11.467ff., places him in Hades).

3 Hom. Il. 18.96.

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