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§ iii. The First Five Speeches.

1. Phaedrus, son of Pythocles, belonged to the Attic deme Myrrhinus. Lysias describes him as “impoverished” in circumstances, but respectable. In the Protagoras he is represented as a disciple of Hippias; while in the Phaedrus—named after him—his chief characteristic is his ardent interest in erotic oratory (λόγοι ἐρωτικοί), a specimen of which, by Lysias, he has learnt almost completely by heart. It is, then, in accordance with this character that we find Phaedrus, in the Symposium, made responsible for the theme of the series of speeches (viz. ἔπαινος Ἔρωτος, 177 D), and entitled πατὴρ τοῦ λόγον. We may gather also from certain indications contained both in the Phaedrus and in the Symposium that Phaedrus was neither physically strong nor mentally vigorous1. The ostensibly prominent position assigned to such a man in the Symposium is more natural if we assume that it is due to the desire to make him a link between this dialogue and the Phaedrus2.

Phaedrus's speech, although not without merit in point of simplicity of style and arrangement, is poor in substance. The moral standpoint is in no respect raised above the level of the average citizen; the speaker pays little regard to consistency, and the method of argument, with its want of logical coherence, savours much of the sophists. As examples of this self-contradiction we may point to the statement that Achilles, as younger than Patroclus, must be παιδικά not ἐραστής, whereas Alcestis, though younger than Admetus, is treated as the ἐρῶσα, not the ἐρωμένη; we may point also to the other inconsequence, that the self-sacrifice of Achilles, the παιδικά, is cited in support of the contention that οἱ ἐρῶντες μόνοι are capable of such self-sacrifice. The arbitrary handling of the Orpheus myth is another striking illustration of the sophistic manner.

What is, however, most characteristic of the speech of Phaedrus is its richness of mythological allusion. Lacking, it would seem, in native force of intellect, Phaedrus relies upon authority and tradition. He quotes Hesiod and Homer, Acusilaos and Parmenides: he builds his argument, such as it is, on the sayings of “them of old time,” and on the legendary histories of the son of Oeagrus and the daughter of Pelias; and when he can confute Aeschylus on a point of mythology his joy is great. As a lover of religious tradition, we may credit Phaedrus with a capacity for genuine religious feeling; certainly, in his rôle as high-priest of Eros, on the present occasion, he shows a strict regard for ritual propriety when he rebukes Socrates for interrupting the service of speech-offerings to the god (194 D)3.

In point of literary style we may notice the following features:—

a Rhetorical ornamentation: chiasmus (178 D), paronomasia (179 C), special compound verbs (ἀγασθέντες 179 C, ὑπεραγασθέντες 180 A; ἀποθανεῖν 179 E, ὑπεραποθανεῖν, ἐπαποθανεῖν 180 A);

b Monotony of expression (οὔτε...οὔτε 178 C (4), 178 D (2); οὕτως...ὡς 178 D (2), οὕτω...ὥστε 179 A, C, τοσοῦτον...ὥστε 179 C; καὶ μὴν...γε 179 A, B; οὕτω καὶ 179 D, τοιγάρτοι διὰ ταῦτα 179 D, ὅθεν δὴ καὶ 180 A);

c Anacolutha: 177 A (οὐ δεινὸν κτλ.), 179 A (καὶ μὴν...οὕτω κακός).

2. Of Pausanias, of the deme Κεραμῆς, little is known beyond what we are told in this dialogue4 and in Xenophon's Symposium, where also he appears as notorious for his love for the tragedian Agathon. Xenophon represents Pausanias as a vigorous champion of παιδεραστία5, and Plato here assigns to him a similar rôle, although he paints the fashion of the man in less crude colours.

The speech of Pausanias is a composition of considerable ability. Although, like Phaedrus, he starts by grounding his conception of the dual Eros on mythological tradition, yet when this conception is once stated the distinction is maintained and its consequences followed out with no little power of exposition. The manner in which the laws regarding παιδεραστία in the various states are distinguished, and in special the treatment of the complex Athenian νόμος, display the cleverness of a first-rate pleader. The general impression, in fact, given us by the speech is that it forms an exceedingly smart piece of special pleading in favour of the proposition καλὸν ἐρασταῖς χαρίζεσθαι. The nakedness of this proposition is cloked by the device of distinguishing between a noble and a base Eros, and by the addition of the saving clause ἀρετῆς ἕνεκα6. None the less, it would seem that the speaker's main interest is in the χαρίζεσθαι, rather than in the accruing ἀρετή, and that he is fundamentally a sensualist, however refined and specious may be the form in which he gives expression to his sensualism.

Pausanias is a lawyer-like person in his style of argumentation; and, appropriately enough, much of his speech is concerned with νόμοι. The term is noteworthy, since it inevitably suggests that antithesis νόμος )( φύσις which was so widely debated among the sophists and thinkers of the close of the fifth century. Is the moral standard fixed by nature (φύσει) or merely by convention (νόμῳ)? This was one form of the question; and closely connected with this was the other form: Is knowledge absolute or relative? Pausanias poses as a conventionalist, and a relativist, a champion of law as against nature (πᾶσα πρᾶξις αὐτὴ ἐφ᾽ ἑαυτῆς οὔτε καλὴ οὔτε αἰσχρά); and this is of itself sufficient to show that, in Plato's eyes, he is a specimen of the results of sophistic teaching.

Nor is it only in his adoption of this principle of moral indifference, as we might call it, and in his capacity τὸν ἥττω λόγον κρείττω ποιεῖν, that Pausanias stands before us as a downright sophist; his argumentation also is chargeable with the sophistical vices of inconsistency and self-contradiction7. For example, with what right, we may ask, does Pausanias condemn the νόμοι of other states than Athens regarding παιδεραστία, while laying down τὸ νόμιμον as the standard of morality? For such a distinction necessarily involves reference to another, superior, standard; whereas, by his own hypothesis, no such standard exists. Again, the section on the καλὴ ἀπάτη (181 E f.) stands out in curious contradiction with the section immediately preceding, in which fidelity and sincerity (τὸ βέβαιον) are put forward as the necessary conditions of a love that is fair (καλός) and irreproachable (οὐκ ἐπονείδιστος).

In literary style the speech of Pausanias displays, in a much higher degree than that of Phaedrus, the tricks and ornaments proper to the sophistical schools of rhetoric. Thus we find:—

Paronomasia: ἔργα ἐργαζομένῳ 182 E; δουλείας δουλεύειν 183 A; πράττειν τὴν πρᾶξιν 181 A, cp. 183 B.

Alliteration: ἐθέλοντες δουλείας δουλεύειν οἵας οὐδ᾽ ἂν δοῦλος οὐδείς (λ, δ, ο, ου).

Rhythmic correspondence of clauses and periods (εὐρυθμία, ἰσόκωλα): This is an important feature of Greek rhetoric8, the invention of which is ascribed to Thrasymachus; and it is especially characteristic of the style of Isocrates9. The following examples (as formulated by Hug) will serve to indicate the extent to which Pausanias makes use of these artifices:—

I. 1. πᾶσα γὰρ πρᾶξις ὧδ᾽ ἔχει:

2. αὐτὴ ἐφ᾽ ἑαυτῆς,

3. οὔτε καλὴ οὔτ᾽ αἰσχρά.

II. 4. οἷον νῦν ἡμεῖς ποιοῦμεν,

5. πίνειν ᾁδειν διαλέγεσθαι,

6. οὐκ ἔστι τούτων αὐτὸ καλὸν οὐδέν,

III. 7. ἀλλ᾽ ἐν τῇ πράξει,

8. ὡς ἂν πραχθῇ,

9. τοιοῦτον ἀπέβη:

IV. 10. καλῶς μὲν γὰρ πραττόμενον καὶ ὀρθῶς καλὸν γίγνεται,

11. μὴ ὀρθῶς δὲ αἰσχρόν,

12. οὕτω καὶ τὸ ἐρᾶν καὶ δ̔ Ἔρως οὐ πᾶς ἐστὶ καλὸς οὐδὲ ἄξιος ἐγκωμιάζεσθαι,

13. ἀλλὰ καλῶς προτρέπων ἐρᾶν. [180 E ad fin.—181 A.]

Here we have four περίοδοι of which the first three are τρίκωλοι, the fourth τετράκωλος: in the three τρίκωλοι, the κῶλα of each are approximately equal; while in the τετράκωλος, long and short κῶλα alternate.

Other instances of strophic correspondence are 184 D—E, 185 A ff. (see Hug ad loc.).

3. Eryximachus, son of Akumenus, is like his father a physician and a member of the Asclepiad guild (186 E); he is also a special friend of Phaedrus (177 A). Alcibiades alludes to Akumenus as “the most temperate sire” of Eryximachus, and he is mentioned also by Xenophon as an authority on diet. The same “temperance” (σωφροσύνη) is a marked characteristic of Eryximachus in our dialogue: he is the champion of moderation in drinking (176 B ff., 214 B), and when, near the close, the revellers enter and the fun waxes fast and furious, Eryximachus, together with his comrade Phaedrus, is the first to make his escape (223 B). Another characteristic of the man is his pedantic manner. He is incapable of laying aside his professional solemnity even for a moment, and he seizes every possible occasion to air his medicinal lore, now with a lecture on μέθη (176 D), presently with another on λύγξ (185 D, E).

Scientific pedantry is, similarly, the characteristic of Eryximachus's speech. He starts with a conception of Eros as a cosmic principle, from the standpoint of natural philosophy10. This conception he applies and developes with equal rigour in the spheres of medicine, music, astronomy and religion, so that definitions of a precisely parallel kind for each of these departments are evolved. The dogmatic manner appears also in his treatment of the dictum of Heraclitus (187 A), which corresponds to the treatment of Aeschylus by his friend Phaedrus. He resembles Phaedrus also in his fondness for displaying erudition: he knows his Empedocles and his Hippocrates11, as well as the experts in musical theory.

The theory of the duality of Eros Eryximachus takes over from Pausanias, but he naturally finds a difficulty in applying this concept to other spheres, such as that of music, and in attempting to elude the difficulty he falls into the sophistical vices of ambiguity and inconsistency. E.g. in 187 D the reference of δεῖ χαρίζεσθαι is obscure; and, in the same context, the substitutions of Οὐρανία Μοῦσα for Ἀφροδίτη Οὐρανία and of Πολυμνία for Ἀφροδίτη Πάνδημος are arbitrary12.

As regards literary style there is little to notice in the speech, beyond its plainness and lack of ornament. The monotony of expression (seen, e.g., in the recurrence of such formulae as ἔστι δὴ 187 B, ἔστι γὰρ 187 C, ἔστι δὲ 187 D) marks it as the product of a pedantic, would-be scientific mind, in which literary taste is but slightly developed and the ruling interest is the schematization of physical doctrines.

4. Aristophanes. The greatest of Greek comic poets, the author of the Clouds, was a pronounced anti-Socratic. None the less, Plato paints him here in no dark colours, but does justice to his mastery of language, his fertility of imagination, his surprising wit, his hearty joviality. In contrast to the puritanism of the pragmatical doctor, Aristophanes appears as a man of strength to mingle strong drink, who jokes about his “baptism” by liquor (176 B), and turns the scientific axioms of the “man of art” to ridicule (189 A). His rôle is, in fact, throughout that of a γελωτοποιός (189 A), and he supplies the comic business of the piece with admirable gusto13. Yet the part he plays is by no means that of a vulgar buffoon: he is poet as well as jester,—a poet of the first magnitude, as is clearly indicated by the speech which Plato here puts in his mouth.

That speech is a masterpiece of grotesque fantasy worthy of Rabelais himself. The picture drawn of the globular four-legged men is intensely comic, and the serious manner in which the king of gods and men ponders the problem of their punishment shows a very pretty wit. Their sexual troubles, too, are expounded with characteristic frankness. And it is with the development of the sexproblem that we arrive at the heart of this comedy in miniature,— the definition of Eros as “the craving for wholeness” (τοῦ ὅλου ἐπιθυμία 192 E).

This thought, which is the final outcome of the speech, is not without depth and beauty14. It suggests that in Love there is something deeper and more ultimate than merely a passion for sensual gratification; it implies that sexual intercourse is something less than an end in itself. But Aristophanes, while suggesting these more profound reflexions, can provide no solid ground for their support; he bases them on the most portentous of comic absurdities. Here, as so often elsewhere in the genuine creations of the poet, we find it difficult to determine where παιδιά ends and σπουδή begins15. How far, we ask ourselves, are the suggestions of an idealistic attitude towards the problems of life seriously meant? Does the cloke of cynicism and buffoonery hide a sincere moralist? Or is it not rather the case that the mockery is the man, and the rest but a momentary disguise? Certainly, the view maintained by Rettig that the chief purpose of Aristophanes is to impugn παιδεραστία, and to preach up legitimate matrimony as the only true form of love and the sole road to happiness, is a view that is wholly untenable. And while we may acknowledge with Horn (Platonstud. p. 261) that the speech of Aristophanes marks a great advance upon the previous λόγοι, in so far as it recognizes the difficulty of the problem presented by the phenomena of Eros and looks below the surface for a solution,—yet how far we are intended to ascribe this sagacity on the part of the speaker to superior reasoning power rather than to a lucky inspiration (θείᾳ μοίρᾳ) is by no means clear.

In connexion with this question as to the design of the speech there is one point which seems to have been generally overlooked by the expositors,—the topical character, as we might term it, of its main substance. This appears, obviously enough, in the jesting reference (193 B) to the love-affairs of Pausanias and Agathon; and obvious enough too are the allusions to Eryximachus and his much-vaunted “art” in the mention made, both at the beginning (189 D) and at the end (193 D), of the healing power of Love, the good “physician.” But in addition to these topical allusions which sautent aux yeux, we are justified, I think, in regarding the great bulk of the discourse as being neither more nor less than a caricature of the physiological opinions held and taught by the medical profession of the day. The Hippocratean tract περὶ φύσιος ἀνθρώπου is sufficient evidence that there raged in medical circles a controversy concerning the unity or multiplicity of man's nature: the author of the tract was himself an anti-unity man and assailed with equal vigour the views of all opponents, whether the unity they stood for was αἷμα or χολή or φλέγμαἓν γάρ τι εἶναί φασιν, ὅτι ἕκαστος αὐτέων βούλεται ὀνόμασας, καὶ τοῦτο ἓν ἐὸν μεταλλάσσειν τὴν ἰδέην καὶ τὴν δύναμιν. To this controversy Aristophanes, we may suppose, alludes when he speaks of man's ἀρχαία φύσις, which was a unity until by the machinations of Zeus it became a duality. But with this theory of primeval unity of nature the poet combines a theory of sex-characteristics. And, here again, even more definitely, we can discover traces of allusion to current physiological doctrines. Aristophanes derives the different varieties of sex-characters from the bisection of the three primitive ὅλα, viz. φίλανδροι women and φιλογύναικες men from the ἀνδρόγυνον, φιλογύναικες women (ἑταιρίστριαι) from the original θῆλυ, and φίλανδροι men from the original ἄρρεν. Thus we see that Aristophanes analyses existing sex-characters, classifies them under two heads for each sex, and explains them by reference to a three-fold original. If we turn now to Hippocrates περὶ διαίτης (cc. 28 f.) we find there also a theory of “the evolution of sex.” Premising that the female principle is akin to water and the male to fire, the writer proceeds thus: “If the bodies secreted by both parents are male (ἄρσενα)...they become men (ἄνδρες) brilliant in soul and strong in body, unless damaged by after regiment (i.e. by lack of ξηρῶν καὶ θερμῶν σίτων, etc.). If, however, the body secreted by the male parent is male and that by the female female, and the male element proves the stronger...then men are produced, less brilliant (λαμπροί), indeed, than the preceding class, yet justly deserving of the name of ‘manly’ (ἀνδρεῖοι). And again, if the male parent secretes a female body and the female a male body, and the latter proves the stronger, the male element deteriorates and the men so produced are ‘effeminates’ (ἀνδρόγυνοι). Similarly with the generation of women. When both parents alike secrete female elements, the most feminine and comely women (θηλυκώτατα καὶ εὐφυέστατα) are produced. If the woman secretes a female, the man a male body, and the former proves the stronger, the women so produced are bolder (θρασύτεραι) but modest (κόσμιαι). While if, lastly, the female element prevails, when the female element comes from the male parent and the male element from the female, then the women so produced are more audacious (τολμηρότεραι) than the last class and are termed ‘masculine’ (ἀνδρεῖαι).”

Here we find the sex-characters arranged under three heads for each sex, and explained by reference to four originals, two from each parent. Obviously, this theory is more complicated than the one which Aristophanes puts forward, but in its main lines it is very similar. According to both the best class of men is derived from a dual male element, and the best class of women from a dual female element (although the poet is less complimentary than the physician in his description of this class). The similarity between the two is less close in regard to the intermediate classes; for while Aristophanes derives from his ἀνδρόγυνον but one inferior class of men and one of women, Hippocrates derives from various combinations of his mixed (θῆλυ + ἄρσεν) secretions two inferior classes of both sexes. Yet here, too, under the difference lies a consentience in principle, since both theorists derive all their inferior sex-characters from a mixed type.

We may imagine, then, that Aristophanes, having before his mind some such physiological theory as this, proceeded to adapt it to his purpose somehow as follows. Suppose we take the male element latent, as the Hippocrateans tell us, in each sex, combine them, and magnify them into a concrete personality, the result will be a Double-man. A similar imaginative treatment of the female elements will yield us a Double-wife. While, if—discarding the perplexing minutiae of the physiological combinations assumed by the doctors—we take a female element from one parent and blend it with a male element from the other, and magnify it according to our receipt, we shall thereby arrive at the Man-wife as our third primeval personality. Such a treatment of a serious scientific theory would have all the effect of a caricature; and it is natural to suppose that in choosing to treat the matter in this way Aristophanes intended to satirize the theories of generation and of sex-evolution which were argued so solemnly and so elaborately by the confrères of Eryximachus.

If in this regard the topical character of the speech be granted, one can discern an added point in the short preliminary conversation between Aristophanes and Eryximachus by which it is prefaced. The latter gives a warning (189 A—B) that he will be on the watch for any ludicrous statement that may be made; to which the former replies: “I am not afraid lest I should say what is ludicrous (γελοῖα) but rather what is absurd (καταγέλαστα).” In view of what follows, we may construe this to mean that Aristophanes regards as καταγέλαστα theories such as those of Eryximachus and his fellow-Asclepiads. Moreover, this view of the relation in which Aristophanes' speech stands to the treatises of the medical doctrinaires—of whom Eryximachus is a type—helps to throw light on the relative position of the speeches, and on the incident by which that position is secured and emphasized. For unless we can discover some leading line of connexion between the two which necessitates the priority of the medico's exposition, the motive for the alteration in the order of the speeches must remain obscure.

It may be added that the allusions in 189 E (see notes ad loc.) to the evolutionary theories of Empedocles confirm the supposition that Aristophanes is directly aiming the shafts of his wit at current medical doctrines; the more so as Empedocles shares with Hippocrates the view that the male element is hot, the female cold, and that the offspring is produced by a combination of elements derived from both parents. Other references to Empedocles may be discerned in the mention of Hephaestus (192 D) who, as personified Fire, is one of Empedocles' “four roots,” and in the mention of Zeus (190 C), another of the “roots”; and the fact that these two deities play opposite parts, the one as bisector, the other as unifier, is in accordance with Empedoclean doctrine. Also the statement that the moon “partakes of both sun and earth” (190 B) is, in part at least, Empedoclean.

In point of style and diction, the speech of Aristophanes stands out as an admirable piece of simple Attic prose, free at once from the awkwardness and monotony which render the speeches of Phaedrus and Eryximachus tedious and from the over-elaboration and artificial ornamentation which mar the discourses of Pausanias and Agathon. In spite of occasional poetic colouring—as, e.g., in the finely-painted scene between Hephaestus and the lovers (192 C ff.)—the speech as a whole remains on the level of pure, easy-flowing, rhythmical prose, in which lucidity is combined with variety and vivacity of expression.

5. Agathon, the tragic poet, if born in 448 B.C., would be a little over thirty at the date of the Symposium (416). He was the παιδικά of Pausanias (193 B), and a man of remarkable beauty as well as of reputed effeminacy16. He appears in the dialogue as not only a person of wealth, position and popularity, but a man of refinement, education and social tact. The banquet itself is given by him to a select company of his friends in honour of his recent victory in the tragic contest, and throughout the dialogue he is, formally at least, the central figure— both as host and as victor, and, what is more, as the embodiment of external κάλλος alike in his person (εἶδος) and in his speech (λόγοι). His graceful politeness to his guests never varies, even when Socrates sharply criticises his oration, or when Alcibiades transfers the wreath from his head to that of Socrates (213 E); he himself shares in the admiration for Socrates, welcomes him most warmly and displays the utmost jubilation when Socrates promises to eulogize him (223 A). Finally, his consideration is shown in the social καρτερία with which he sticks to his post, drinking and talking, till all his guests, except Socrates, have either left or succumbed to drowsiness (223 D).

In his speech Agathon claims that he will improve on the method of his predecessors. In his attention to method he is probably taking a leaf out of the book of Gorgias, his rhetorical master and model. Besides the initial distinction between the nature and effects of Eros, another mark of formal method is his practice of recapitulation: at the close of each section of his discourse he summarises the results17. In his portrait of the nature of Eros—his youth, beauty, suppleness of form and delicacy of complexion—Agathon does little more than formulate the conventional traits of the god as depicted in poetry and art. His attempts to deduce these attributes are mere παιδιά (197 E), pieces of sophistical word-play. Somewhat deeper goes his explanation of the working of Eros upon the soul, as well as the body; but the thought that Eros aims at the beautiful (197 B) is his most fruitful deliverance and the only one which Socrates, later on, takes up and developes18.

We may observe, further, how Agathon, like Phaedrus, indulges in mythological references, and how—like most of his predecessors (cp. 180 D, 185 E)—he makes a point of criticising and correcting the views of others (194 E, 195 B). Cp. Isocr. Busir. 222 B, 230 A.

In style and diction the speech of Agathon gives abundant evidence of the influence of the school of Gorgias, especially in the preface (194 E—195 A) and in the 2nd part (197 C—E). Thus we find repeated instances of:—

Short parallel Kola19 with homoeoteleuton: e.g. 194 E |γὼ δὲ δὴ | βούλομαι | πρῶτον μὲν εἰπεῖν | ὡς χρή με εἰπεῖν | ἔπειτα εἰπεῖν: 197 D ἀλλοτριότητος μὲν κενοῖ, οἰκειότητος δὲ πληροῖ.

Homoeoteleuton and assonance: e.g. τῶν ἀγαθῶν ὧν θεὸς αὐτοῖς αἴτιος (194 E); τρόπος ὀρθὸς παντός...περὶ παντός...οἷος <ὢν> οἵων αἴτιος ὤν (195 A); πάντων θεῶν εὐδαιμόνων ὄντων (195 A).

These rhetorical artifices are especially pronounced in the concluding section, as is indicated by the sarcastic comment of Socrates (198 B τὸ δ᾽ ἐπὶ τελευτῆς, κτλ.); in fact, the whole of this section is, as Hug puts it, a “förmliche Monodie.” Another feature of A.'s style is his fondness for quotation, especially from the poets (196 C, E, 196 A, 197 B), and his tendency to break into verse himself—ἐπέρχεται δέ μοί τι καὶ ἔμμετρον εἰπεῖν (197 C). He has no clear idea of the limits of a prose style, as distinguished from verse; and the verses he produces are marked by the same Gorgianic features of assonance and alliteration. In fine, we can hardly describe the general impression made on us by the style of Agathon better than by adapting the Pauline phrase—“Though he speak with the tongues of men and of angels, he is become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal20.”

1 See Phaedrus 227 A, Symp. 176 C, 223 B, and, generally, his cultivation of medical friends. Also the probable word-play in the deme-name Μυρρινούσιος, Symp. 176 D, Phaedrus 244 A.

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 half-sophist, half-enthusiast.”

4 He is also mentioned in Protag. 315 D.

5 Xen. Symp. VIII. 32 ἀπολογούμενος ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀκρασίᾳ συγκυλινδουμένων.

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.”

8 Cp. Ar. Rhet. III. 9, 1409^{a} 25 λέξις κατεστραμμένη καὶ ὁμοία ταῖς τῶν ἀρχαίων ποιητῶν ἀντιστρόφοις.

9 A good example occurs in Helena 17: τοῦ μὲν ἐπίπονον καὶ φιλοκίνδυνον τὸν βίον κατέστησε τῆς δὲ περίβλεπτον καὶ περιμάχητον τὴν φύσιν ἐποίησε.

10 Cf. Eurip. fr. 839 τὴν Ἀφροδίτην οὐχ ὅρᾳς ὅση θεός; | ἣν οὐδ᾽ ἂν εἴποις, οὐδὲ μετρήσειας ἂν | ὅση πέφυκε κἀφ᾽ ὅσον διέρχεται. | ...ἐρᾷ μὲν ὄμβρου γαἶ,...ἐρᾷ δ᾽ σεμνὸς οὐρανὸς κτλ.

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.

13 Cp. Plut. Q. Conv. VII. 7. 710 C Πλάτων δὲ τὸν τ᾽ Ἀριστοφάνους λόγον περὶ τοῦ ἔρωτος ὡς κωμῳδίαν ἐμβέβληκεν εἰς τὸ συμπόσιον.

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᾽ , 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, 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.

17 See 195 E, 196 C, D, 197 C; and cp. Gorg. Hel. (e.g.) 15 καὶ ὅτι μὲν...οὐκ ἠδίκησεν ἀλλ᾽ ἠτύχησεν, εἴρηται: τὴν δὲ τετάρτην αἰτίαν τῷ τετάρτῳ λόγῳ διέξειμι. Cp. Blass, att. Bered. p. 77.

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 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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  • Cross-references from this page (18):
    • Isocrates, Busiris, 1
    • Plato, Phaedrus, 230a
    • Plato, Symposium, 177d
    • Plato, Symposium, 178d
    • Plato, Symposium, 179a
    • Plato, Symposium, 180d
    • Plato, Symposium, 183b
    • Plato, Symposium, 184d
    • Plato, Symposium, 185a
    • Plato, Symposium, 185e
    • Plato, Symposium, 187d
    • Plato, Symposium, 189e
    • Plato, Symposium, 194e
    • Plato, Symposium, 195b
    • Plato, Symposium, 196a
    • Plato, Symposium, 197b
    • Plato, Symposium, 197d
    • Plato, Symposium, 214b
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (11):
    • Plato, Phaedrus, 227a
    • Plato, Phaedrus, 244a
    • Plato, Symposium, 176c
    • Plato, Symposium, 176d
    • Plato, Symposium, 192c
    • Plato, Symposium, 195d
    • Plato, Symposium, 195e
    • Plato, Symposium, 196c
    • Plato, Symposium, 197c
    • Plato, Symposium, 223b
    • Plato, Protagoras, 315d
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