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So the Syracusan withdrew amid applause. Socrates now opened up another new topic for discussion. “Gentlemen,” said he, “it is to be expected of us, is it not, when in the presence of a mighty deity that is coeval with the eternal gods, yet youngest of them all in appearance, in magnitude encompassing the universe, but enthroned in the heart of man,—I mean Love,—that we should not be unmindful of him, particularly in view of the fact that we are all of his following? [2] For I cannot name a time when I was not in love with some one, and I know that Charmides here has gained many lovers and has in some instances felt the passion himself; and Critobulus, though even yet the object of love, is already beginning to feel this passion for others. [3] Nay, Niceratus too, so I am told, is in love with his wife and finds his love reciprocated. And as for Hermogenes, who of us does not know that he is pining away with love for nobility of character, whatever that may be? Do you not observe how serious his brows are, how calm his gaze, how modest his words, how gentle his voice, how genial his demeanour? That though he enjoys the friendship of the most august gods, yet he does not disdain us mortals? Are you the only person, Antisthenes, in love with no one?” [4]

“No, by Heaven!” replied he; “I am madly in love—with you.”

And Socrates, banteringly, pretending to be coquettish, said: “Don't pester me just now; I am engaged in other business, as you see.” [5]

“How transparent you are, sir procurer of your own charms,” Antisthenes rejoined, “in always doing something like this; at one time you refuse me audience on the pretext of your divine sign,1 at another time because you have some other purpose in mind.” [6]

“In Heaven's name, Antisthenes,” implored Socrates, “only refrain from beating me; any other manifestation of your bad temper I am wont to endure, and shall continue to do so, in a friendly spirit. But,” he went on, “let us keep your love a secret, because it is founded not on my spirit but on my physical beauty. [7] But as for you, Callias, all the city knows that you are in love with Autolycus, and so, I think, do a great many men from abroad. The reason for this is the fact that you are both sons of distinguished fathers and are yourselves in the public eye. [8] Now, I have always felt an admiration for your character, but at the present time I feel a much keener one, for I see that you are in love with a person who is not marked by dainty elegance nor wanton effeminacy, but shows to the world physical strength and stamina, virile courage and sobriety. Setting one's heart on such traits gives an insight into the lover's character. [9] Now, whether there is one Aphrodite or two, ‘Heavenly’ and ‘Vulgar,’ I do not know; for even Zeus, though considered one and the same, yet has many by-names. I do know, however, that in the case of Aphrodite there are separate altars and temples for the two, and also rituals, those of the ‘Vulgar’ Aphrodite excelling in looseness, those of the ‘Heavenly’ in chastity. [10] One might conjecture, also, that different types of love come from the different sources, carnal love from the ‘Vulgar' Aphrodite, and from the ‘Heavenly’ spiritual love, love of friendship and of noble conduct. That is the sort of love, Callias, that seems to have you in its grip. [11] I infer this from the noble nature of the one you love and because I see that you include his father in your meetings with him. For the virtuous lover does not make any of these matters a secret from the father of his beloved.” [12]

“Marry,” quoth Hermogenes, “you arouse my admiration in numerous ways, Socrates, but now more than ever, because in the very act of flattering Callias you are in fact educating him to conform to the ideal.”

“True,” he replied; “and to add to his pleasure, I wish to bear testimony to him that spiritual love is far superior to carnal. [13] For we all know that there is no converse worth the mention that does not comprise affection. Now affection on the part of those who feel admiration for character is commonly termed a pleasant and willing constraint; whereas many of those who have a merely physical concupiscence reprehend and detest the ways of those they love. [14] But suppose they are satisfied on both scores; yet the bloom of youth soon passes its prime, and as this disappears, affection also inevitably fades away as fast; but the soul becomes more and more lovable the longer it progresses toward wisdom. [15] Besides, in the enjoyment of physical beauty there is a point of surfeit, so that one cannot help feeling toward his favourite the same effect that he gets toward food by gratification of the appetite. But affection for the soul, being pure, is also less liable to satiety, though it does not follow, as one might suppose, that it is also less rich in the graces of Aphrodite; on the contrary, our prayer that the goddess will bestow her grace on our words and deeds is manifestly answered. [16] Now, no further argument is necessary to show that a soul verdant with the beauty of freeborn men and with a disposition that is reverent and noble, a soul that from the very first displays its leadership among its own fellows and is kindly withal, feels an admiration and an affection for the object of its love; but I will go on to prove the reasonableness of the position that such a lover will have his affection returned. [17] First, who could feel dislike for one by whom he knew himself to be regarded as the pattern of nobleness, and, in the next place, saw that he made his favourite's honour of more account than his own pleasure, and beside this felt assured that this affection would not be lessened under any circumstances, no matter whether he suffered some reverse or lost his comeliness through the ravages of illness? [18] Moreover, must not those who enjoy a mutual affection unavoidably take pleasure in looking into each other's faces, converse in amity, and trust and be trusted, and not only take thought each for the other but also take a common joy in prosperity and feel a common distress if some ill fortune befall, and live in happiness when their society is attended by sound health, but be much more constantly together if one or the other become ill, and be even more solicitous, each for the other, when absent than when present? Are not all these things marked by Aphrodite's grace? It is by conducting themselves thus that men continue mutually to love friendship and enjoy it clear down to old age. [19] But what is there to induce a favourite to make a return of affection to a lover who bases his feeling solely on the flesh? Would it be the consideration that the lover allots to himself the joys he desires but gives the favourite only what excites the deepest contempt? Or that he conceals, as best he can, from the favourite's relatives the ends that he is bent on attaining? [20] As for his using entreaty rather than coercion, that is all the stronger reason for detestation. For any one who applies force merely discovers his rascality, but he who uses persuasion corrupts the soul of the one upon whom he prevails. [21] Once more, how will he who traffics in his beauty feel greater affection toward the buyer than he who puts his produce up for sale and disposes of it in the open market? For assuredly he will not be moved to affection because he is a youthful companion to one who is not youthful, or because he is handsome when the other is no longer so, or because he is untouched by passion when the other is in its sway. For a youth does not share in the pleasure of the intercourse as a woman does, but looks on, sober, at another in love's intoxication. [22] Consequently, it need not excite any surprise if contempt for the lover is engendered in him. If one looked into the matter, also, he would descry no ill effect when people are loved for their personality, but that many shocking results have come from companionship lost to shame. [23] I will now go on to show also that the union is servile when one's regard is for the body rather than when it is for the soul. For he who inculcates right speech and conduct would merit the honour given by Achilles to Cheiron and Phoenix;2 but the man who lusts only after the flesh would with good reason be treated like a mendicant; for he is always dogging the footsteps of his favourite, begging and beseeching the favour of one more kiss or some other caress. [24] Do not be surprised at my plain speaking; the wine helps to incite me, and the kind of love that ever dwells with me spurs me on to say what I think about its opposite. [25] For, to my way of thinking, the man whose attention is attracted only by his beloved's appearance is like one who has rented a farm; his aim is not to increase its value but to gain from it as much of a harvest as he can for himself. On the other hand, the man whose goal is friendship is more like one possessing a farm of his own; at any rate he utilizes all sources to enhance his loved one's worth. [26] Furthermore, the favourite who realizes that he who lavishes physical charms will be the lover's sovereign will in all likelihood be loose in his general conduct; but the one who feels that he cannot keep his lover faithful without nobility of character will more probably give heed to virtue. [27] But the greatest blessing that befalls the man who yearns to render his favourite a good friend is the necessity of himself making virtue his habitual practice. For one cannot produce goodness in his companion while his own conduct is evil, nor can he himself exhibit shamelessness and incontinence and at the same time render his beloved self-controlled and reverent. [28] My heart is set on showing you, Callias, on the basis of olden tales, also, that not only humankind but also gods and demi-gods set higher value on the friendship of the spirit than on the enjoyment of the body. [29] For in all cases where Zeus became enamoured of mortal women for their beauty, though he united with them he suffered them to remain mortal; but all those persons whom he delighted in for their souls' sake he made immortal. Among the latter are Heracles and the Sons of Zeus;3 and tradition includes others also. [30] And I aver that even in the case of Ganymede, it was not his person but his spiritual character that influenced Zeus to carry him up to Olympus. This is confirmed by his very name. Homer, you remember, has the words,“He joys to hear;4Perhaps Homeric Poems that is to say, ‘he rejoices to hear;’ and in another place,“‘harbouring shrewd devices in his heart.’ ” Perhaps Iliad, 7.278, 17.325, 18.363, 24.88, 282, 674 or Odyssey, 2.38, 11.445, 19.353, 20.46. This, again, means ‘harbouring wise counsels in his heart.’ So the name given Gany-mede, compounded of the two foregoing elements, signifies not physically but mentally attractive;5 hence his honour among the gods. [31] Or again, Niceratus, Homer pictures us Achilles looking upon Patroclus not as the object of his passion but as a comrade, and in this spirit signally avenging his death. So we have songs telling also how Orestes, Pylades, Theseus, Peirithous, and many other illustrious demi-gods wrought glorious deeds of valour side by side, not because they shared a common bed but because of mutual admiration and respect. [32] Moreover, take the splendid feats of the present day; would not a person discover that they are all done for glory's sake by persons willing to endure hardship and jeopardy, rather than by those who are drifting into the habit of preferring pleasure to a good name? Yet Pausanias, the lover of the poet Agathon, has said in his defence of those who wallow in lasciviousness that the most valiant army, even, would be one recruited of lovers and their favourites! [33] For these, he said, would in his opinion be most likely to be prevented by shame from deserting one another,—a strange assertion, indeed, that persons acquiring an habitual indifference to censure and to abandoned conduct toward one another will be most likely to be deterred by shame from any infamous act. [34] But he went further and adduced as evidence in support of his position both the Thebans and the Eleans, alleging that this was their policy; he stated, in fine, that though sharing common beds they nevertheless assigned to their favourites places alongside themselves in the battle-line. But this is a false analogy; for such practices, though normal among them, with us are banned by the severest reprobation. My own view is that those who assign these posts in battle suggest thereby that they are suspicious that the objects of their love, if left by themselves, will not perform the duties of brave men. [35] In contrast to this, the Lacedaemonians, who hold that if a person so much as feels a carnal concupiscence he will never come to any good end, cause the objects of their love to be so consummately brave that even when arrayed with foreigners and even when not stationed in the same line with their lovers they just as surely feel ashamed to desert their comrades. For the goddess they worship is not Impudence but Modesty. [36] We could all come to one mind, I think, on the point I am trying to make, if we were to consider the question in this way: of two lads, the objects of the different types of love, which one would a person prefer to trust with his money, or his children, or to lay under the obligation of a favour? My own belief is that even the person whose love is founded on the loved one's physical beauty would in all these cases rather put his trust in him whose loveliness is of the spirit. [37] In your case, Callias, I deem it meet that you should thank Heaven for inspiring you with love for Autolycus. For his ardour for glory is manifest, inasmuch as he undergoes many toils and many bodily discomforts to ensure his being proclaimed victor in the pancratium. [38] Now if he were to believe that he is going not merely to shed lustre on himself and his father but also to acquire through his manly virtue the ability to serve his friends and to exalt his country by setting up trophies of victory over its enemies, and for these reasons draw the admiring glances of all and be famous among both Greeks and barbarians, do you not suppose that he would esteem and honour highly any one whom he looked upon as the best partner in furthering these designs? [39] If, then, you would be in his good graces, you must try to find out what sort of knowledge it was that made Themistocles able to give Greece liberty; you must try to find out what kind of knowledge it was that gave Pericles the name of being his country's wisest counsellor; you must reflect, further, how it was that Solon by deep meditation established in his city laws of surpassing worth; you must search and find out what kind of practices it is that gives the Lacedaemonians the reputation of being pre-eminent military commanders; for you are their proxenus,6 and their foremost citizens are always being entertained at your house. [40] You may regard it as certain, therefore, that our city would be quick to entrust itself to your hands, if you so desire. For you possess the highest qualifications for such a trust: you are of aristocratic birth, of Erechtheus' line,7 a priest serving the gods who under the leadership of Iacchus took the field against the barbarian;8 and in our day you outshine your predecessors in the splendour of your priestly office in the festival;9 and you possess a person more goodly to the eye than any other in the city and one at the same time able to withstand effort and hardship. [41] If what I say appears to you gentlemen to be too grave and earnest for a drinking party, I beg you again not to be surprised. For during practically all my life I have been at one with the commonwealth in loving men who to a nature already good add a zealous desire for virtue.” [42]

The rest of the company now engaged in a discussion of the views propounded by Socrates; but Autolycus kept his eyes fixed on Callias. And Callias, addressing Socrates, but looking beyond him and returning the gaze of Autolycus, said: “So you intend acting the procurer, do you, Socrates, to bring me to the attention of the commonwealth, so that I may enter politics, and the state may always look upon me with favour?” [43]

“Assuredly,” was the reply, “that is, if people see that you set your heart on virtue, not in pretence, but in reality. For false reputation is soon exposed when tried by experience, whereas true manly virtue,—barring the interposition of Providence,—confers ever more and more brilliant glory when put to the test of actual deeds.”

1 See footnote on page 494 of the Defence.

2 Cheiron, the just Centaur, and Phoenix, an exile who was received into the household of Peleus; both were tutors to the young Achilles.

3 Castor and Pollux.

4 Nothing like the first expression, except the bare occurrence of γάνυται (“he joys”), is to be found anywhere in the extant Homeric poems. The second phrase, also, is not in these poems, although several different expressions much resembling it are to be seen in the Iliad, vii. 278, xvii. 325, xviii. 363, xxiv. 88, 282, 674 and the Odyssey, ii. 38, xi. 445, xix. 353, xx. 46. Either Xenophon's memory is faulty or he is quoting from some of the lost epics.

5 Socrates takes the name Ganymede to be a compound of the two archaic words γάνυται “he joys,” “exults” and μήδεα “devices,” “thoughts”.

6 In the absence of regular consular representation, any Greek city-state could secure commercial and political agentsin other cities only by getting influential citizens there to consent to use their good offices, as occasion might arise, in its behalf or in behalf of its citizens when abroad. Such a local native representative of another state was called a proxenus.

7 Callias's family belonged to the priestly clan of the Ceryces, who traced their lineage back to Ceryx, son of Hermes and Aglaurus. The latter, however, was not a descendant of Erechtheus, but one of his nurses.

8 Herodotus (VIII, 65) and Plutarch (Life of Themistocles, XV) report the tradition that while the Greek fleet was at anchor near Salamis just before the critical sea-fight, great elation was caused at sight of a big cloud of dust (or, in the later version, a brilliant light) off toward Eleusis, and a wonderful sound as of the Eleusinian festival with its cries to Iacchus, followed by a cloud that drifted directly toward the fleet.

9 In addition to being one of the priestly Ceryces, Callias was an hereditary torch-bearer in the Eleusinian festival.

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    • Herbert Weir Smyth, A Greek Grammar for Colleges, THE CASES
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