previous next

X. The Discourse of Agathon: 194 E-197 E.

Prologue: The method of previous speakers needs amendment. The correct method, which I shall adopt, is to laud first the character of Eros, and secondly his gifts to men.

(A) The attributes of Eros are (1) supreme felicity, (due to) (2) supreme beauty and (3) goodness.

(2) Eros is most beautiful, since he is a the youngest of gods (all tales to the contrary being false), witness his aversion to old-age; b most tender, witness his choosing soft souls for his abode; c supple, witness his power to steal unnoticed in and out of souls; d symmetrical, because comely as all allow; e fair-of-skin, for he feeds on flowers amid sweet scents.

(3) Eros is supremely good, since he is a most just, having no lot in violence or injustice; b most temperate, for he is the master of pleasure since no pleasure is greater than love; c most courageous, as holding sway over Ares, the most courageous of the gods; d most wise, being expert (α) in both musical and creative poesy, and (β) in the practical arts, as instructor of Zeus, Apollo and Athene in their respective crafts (he, too, inspired the gods with love of beauty and dethroned Necessity).

(B) The blessings conferred by Eros are, like his attributes, beauty and goodness. He produces peace and pleasantness in all spheres of life: he is the object of universal admiration, the author of all delights, best guide and captain for gods and men alike, whose praises it behoves all to chant in unison.

Epilogue: Such is my tribute of eulogy, not wholly serious nor wholly playful.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: