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Table of Contents:
§ i. Summary of the Argument.
§ ii. The Framework of the Dialogue.
§ iv. Socrates and Diotima.
2 Cf. P. Crain, p. 7: Vera causa, cur Plato sermonis in Symposio Phaedrum parentem praedicaverit, haec mihi videtur esse: rediens ad eas cogitationes quas in Phaedro dialogo instituerat, eundem quoque auctorem colloquii reduxit.
3 Hug sums up the position of Phaedrus thus (p. xlvi): “Phädros stellt den gewöhnlichen athenischen Bürger dar, den eine rastlose Neugierde zu den rhetorischen und philosophischen Kreisen hindrängt, der da und dort etwas aufschnappt und sich aneignet, jedoch ohne tieferes Verständnis, aber mit desto grösserem Selbstbewusstsein.” Cp. Jowett (Plato I. p. 528): “The discourse of Phaedrus is half-mythical, half-ethical; and he himself...is half-sophist, half-enthusiast.”
6 We must, of course, bear in mind that, as Jowett puts it (Plato, vol. I. p. 529), “the value which he attributes to such loves as motives to virtue and philosophy, (though) at variance with modern and Christian notions, is in accordance with Hellenic sentiment.” Nor does the Platonic Socrates, in the sequel, fail to take account of them. For some judicious observations on the general question of the Gk. attitude to paederastia, see Jowett, op. cit. pp. 534 ff.; Gomperz, Gk. Thinkers (E. Tr.) II. pp. 380 ff.; for Eros in Gk. religion, see Miss J. E. Harrison, Prolegom. pp. 630 ff.; for Plato's and Xenophon's theories of Love, see I. Bruns, Vorträge etc., pp. 118 ff.; P. Crain, pp. 23 ff.
7 So Jowett (Plato I. p. 529) writes: “(The speech of Pausanias) is at once hyperlogical in form and also extremely confused and pedantic.”
11 Pfleiderer (Sokr. u. Plato, pp. 551 ff.) broaches the theory that Eryx.'s speech is intended as a parody of (Pseudo-) Hippocr. περὶ διαίτης, and that the real author of that work was Eryx. himself. There are, certainly, a number of similarities, but hardly sufficient to prove the case. Obviously, it is a parody of the style of some one or more medical writers, but more than that cannot safely be said: some Hippocratean parallels in matters of detail will be found in the notes. See also my remarks on the next speech (Aristophanes'). Teuffel drew attention to the etymological significance of the name (ἐρυξί-μαχος); this, however, cannot be an invention of Plato's, although it may partly account for the introduction of the λύγξ incident.
12 The doctrine of Love as a harmony of opposites, which plays so large a part in Eryx.'s discourse, may be illustrated from Spenser (“Hymn to Love”): “Ayre hated earth and water hated fyre, Till Love relented their rebellious yre. He then them tooke, and, tempering goodly well Their contrary dislikes with loved meanes, Did place them all in order,” etc.
14 Cp. Zeller (n. on 192 C ff. ἀλλ᾽ ἄλλο τι, κτλ.) “Diese Stelle, in welcher der ernsthafte Grundgedanke unserer Stelle am Deutlichsten zu Tage kommt, gehört wohl zu dem Tiefsten, was von alten Schriftstellern über die Liebe gesagt ist.”
15 See Jevons, Hist. of Gk. Lit. pp. 258 ff. for some judicious criticisms of the view that “behind the grinning mask of comedy is the serious face of a great political teacher.”
16 Ar. Thesm. 191-2 σὺ δ᾽ εὐπρόσωπος, λευκὸς, ἐξυρημένος, γυναικόφωνος, ἁπαλὸς, εὐπρεπὴς ἰδεῖν. ib. 200 ff. καὶ μὴν σύ γ᾽ , ὦ κατάπυγον, εὐρύπρωκτος εἶ οὐ τοῖς λόγοισιν, ἀλλὰ τοῖς παθήμασιν, κτλ And Mnesilochus' comments on Agathon's speech and womanish appearance in 130 ff. ὡς ἡδὺ τὸ μέλος, ὦ πότνιαι Γενετυλλίδες, καὶ θηλυδριῶδες καὶ κατεγλωττισμένον, κτλ. In estimating the value of Aristophanes' abuse of his contemporary—in the case of Agathon as in the case of Euripides—we must make due allowance for Ar.'s comic style. As Jevons well observes (Hist. of Gk. Lit. p. 274): “In polemics, as in other things, the standard of decency is a shifting one. Terms which one age would hesitate to apply to the most abandoned villain are in another century of such frequent use as practically to be meaningless....The charges of immorality which Ar. brings against Eur. and his plays are simply Ar.'s way of saying that on various points he totally disagrees with Eur.” Probably the same holds good of his treatment of Agathon.
18 Jowett is somewhat flattering when he writes (Plato I. p. 531): “The speech of Agathon is conceived in a higher strain (sc. than Aristophanes'), and receives the real if half-ironical approval of Socrates. It is the speech of the tragic poet and a sort of poem, like tragedy, moving among the gods of Olympus, and not among the elder or Orphic deities....The speech may be compared with that speech of Socrates in the Phaedrus (239 A, B) in which he describes himself as talking dithyrambs.... The rhetoric of Agathon elevates the soul to ‘sunlit heights’.” One suspects that “the approval of Socrates” is more ironical than real. Agathon's speech belongs to the class condemned by Alcidamas, de Soph. 12 οἱ τοῖς ὀνόμασιν ἀκριβῶς ἐξειργασμένοι καὶ μᾶλλον ποιήμασιν ἢ λόγοις ἐοικότες: cp. ib. 14 ἀνάγκη...τὰ μὲν ὑποκρίσει καὶ ῥαψωδίᾳ παραπλήσια δοκεῖν εἶναι.
19 Distinguish this from the more Isocratean style of the speech of Pausanias with its more developed ἴσα and εὐρυθμία of periods. Cp. Aristoph. frag. 300 καὶ κατ᾽ Ἀγάθων᾽ ἀντίθετον ἐξυρημένον, “shaved Agathon's shorn antithesis.”
20 Horn summarises thus (Platonstud. p. 264): “Die ganze Rede mit ihrem anspruchsvollen Eingang, ihrem nichtigen Inhalt, ihren wolklingenden Phrasen und Sophismen und insbesondere mit dem grossen Schlussfeuerwerke von Antithesen und Assonanzen ist demnach nichts anderes als ein mit grosser Geschicklichkeit entworfenes Musterstück der...gorgianisch-sophistischen Rhetorik.” See also the rhythmic analysis (of 195 D ff.) worked out by Blass, Rhythmen, pp. 76 ff.
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