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XV. Alcibiades' eulogy of Socrates: 215 A-222 C.

Prologue: My eulogy will take the form of parables—aiming not at mockery but at truth. Socrates resembles a Silenus-statuettes which serve as caskets for sacred images; b the Satyr Marsyas.

I. In form he resembles both a the Sileni, and b the Satyr.

II. (In character) he resembles (b) the Satyr, being (1) a mocker, (2) a flute-player. As to (2) he excels Marsyas, since his words alone, without an instrument, fascinate all, old and young. Me he charms far more than even Pericles could, filling me with shame and selfcontempt, and driving me to my wit's end.

III. He resembles a the Sileni in the contrast between his exterior and interior. (α) Externally he adopts an erotic attitude towards beautiful youths: (β) but internally he despises beauty and wealth, as I know from experience. For I tried to bribe him with my beauty, but all my many attempts came to nothing. Private conversations, gymnastics together, a supper-party à deux, even a night on the same couch—all was of no use. Against my battery of charms he was armed (by his temperance) in “complete steel”; and I charge him now before you with the crime of ὕβρις. His hardihood was shown in the Potidaea campaign, where none could stand the cold like him. His valour was displayed in the battle where he saved my life, and in the retreat from Delium. Especially amazing is his unique originality, which makes it impossible to find anyone else like him—except Satyrs and Sileni.

IV. His speeches too, I forgot to say, are like the Silenus-statuettes, in outward seeming ridiculous, but in inner content supremely rational and full of images of virtue and wisdom.

Epilogue: Such is my eulogy, half praise, half blame. Let my experience, and that of many another, be a warning to you, Agathon: court Socrates less as an “erastes” than as an “anterastes”!

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