Sexuality and the body: using ancient sources to support modern ideas
Agathon - Probably the most significant Greek tragedian after Aeschylus, Sophocles, and He is the passive partner in a life-long relationship with Pausanias. Learn the important quotes in Symposium and the chapters they're from, including Unlike Phaedrus, who sees love as an essentially good force, Pausanias draws a later, more elaborate discussion of the relationship between love and beauty. As soon as Agathon's speech is over, Socrates will put this talent to use in. [b] For he is the eldest of the gods,” With this quote he acknowledges that love is not only 2) The second speaker in the Symposium was Pausanias. . 5) The last speaker with the exception of Socrates and Alcibiades was Agathon. The love with Alcibiades and Socrates can be described as a love hate relationship.
This procreation may be according to the body or according to the soul: This viewpoint is found once again in a passage e—e which opens with the opposition between procreation according to the body and procreation according to the soul: Yet the highest part of thought is situated in justice and moderation a7—b1.
Men who seek to be fruitful in this area become educators. They then seek out a young man whose body, and above all whose soul, shine with beauty, and they speak to him of virtue, that is, of the duties and occupations of a worthy man b2—c2.
The procedure is as follows: In other words, both the educator and the person being educated develop the fine discourses and perpetuate the fine actions that are their children.
Before it falls into a human body, the soul, in the company of other souls, ascends with the troop of gods and demons to contemplate the intelligible, situated somewhere beyond the sphere in which the body of the world consists.
Here, it contemplates Beauty in particular Phaedrus c—d. Thus, paiderastia, henceforth described by terms borrowed from the Mysteries, is completely reinterpreted. Although she is a woman, Diotima is aware of the social convention known as paiderastia. Yet she wants to transform it: We cannot rule out the existence of sexual relations between the lover and his beloved, but these relations must be transcended, and desire must be transferred to such incorporeal objects as the soul or the Forms.
It is the older partner who is pregnant, while the younger one, through the beauty of his body and especially of his soul, plays the role of trigger with regard to him. In order to educate the younger partner, the older one brings into the world and into broad daylight the fine discourses and actions he already carried within him. The divinity that presides over this birth that involves the two men is Beauty, who must be assimilated to a divinity who plays the role, in the world of generation, that is the appendage of the Moirai and of Eilithuia.
The image of pregnancy implies that of birth, and points in the direction of maieutics [ 81 ] which favors birth; that is, in this context, the re-appropriation of the knowledge that was already present in the soul, but only in a virtual way. Here, a difficulty could be raised. In what follows, however a—dthe relation may be generalized. An analysis of the speeches of Pausanias and Agathon, on the one hand, and of that of Diotima on the other, makes the following three oppositions stand out.
We witness here a complete reversal of perspective at all three levels, as is generally the case in Plato. Footnotes [ back ] 1.
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English translations are those in Cooperusually slightly modified. Especially for modern readers, who are familiar with psychoanalysis. On this subject, see Halperin It is not illegitimate to utilize a modern vocabulary and concepts to speak of sexuality in antiquity; however, when we do so, it is appropriate to take particular care not to force contemporary categories and ideologies onto attitudes and modes of behavior from the past.
Since problems obviously arise for the case of sexual relations between women, and even, as we shall see, for the case of intercrural penetrations. On which Aristophanes insists, perhaps because adultery was one of the favorite themes of the comic poets.
On the punishments inflicted on adulterers, see Hoffmann On the significance of these punishments, see Dover On this subject, see the remarkable Boehringerwhose jury included David Halperin.
On this subject, see Dover There is a description of the background of paiderastia in Sergent On this convention, see Halperin Some representations see Dover might allow us to think of younger men, but from the viewpoint of its definition, it is difficult to imagine that paiderastia could mean anything before the age of twelve. In Plato, we also find neaniskos Charmides d as an equivalent.
Clinias is qualified either as neaniskos Euthydemus a, a or as meirakion Euthydemus a—b.
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- 2. An inventory of sexual behaviors according to Aristophanes
At Lysis b—c, pais and neaniskos have the same referent. Because of his age. On this subject, see Golden See Protagoras a; Plutarch Dialogue on Love b—c.
Sexuality and the body: using ancient sources to support modern ideas
Compare the sordid side of the sexual activity of the sausage merchant Aristophanes Knights who has passed this age. This seems to have been the case for Agathon in particular, despite his fame, as we shall see. On all this, see Dover On the sexual meaning of these terms, see Dover See Symposium a, b, d, d, b, b, c, d, c, c, d. See Aristophanes Clouds —; Symposium d—a.
It is surprising to note that the hierarchical model, based on age difference, governed the qualifications of all relations between males in ancient Greece.
This model seems to have lasted from the Minoan period until the end of the Western Roman Empire. The Iliad does not say explicitly that Achilles and Patroclus maintained amorous relations, but it remains sufficiently vague on the subject for all authors of the classical period to be able to affirm that this was the case.
This is why an attempt has been made to connect paiderastia with a ritual of initiation supposed to be mentioned by Strabo On this subject, see Bethe On this aspect of the matter, that is, the uselessness and even the danger of love, see the paradoxical speeches of Phaedrus and Socrates in the Phaedrus, first at e—b, then a—d. See the scholium to Symposium i.
According to Morrison We must therefore remain prudent with regard to the date of the events and the age of the dramatis personae. How is this to be interpreted: The speakers are Socrates dAristophanes band Eryximachus e. Aristotle Eudemian Ethics 3. The Attic orator Antiphon belonged to the group, which, intook part in the conspiracy of the Four Hundred.
He was arrested, judged, condemned to death, and executed. The plot of the play is as follows. As they do every year in the month of Pyanepsion Octoberthe women are celebrating the Thesmophoria, in honor of Demeter and her daughter Persephone, in mysteries that are forbidden to men.
They must take advantage of the fact that they are among themselves to decide the fate of Euripides, on whom they want to take vengeance, because he has spoken ill of them in his tragedies.
Euripides knows this, and considers that he is lost unless someone takes his defense in the Assembly. He thinks of the tragic poet Agathon, who dresses like a woman and who, because of his effeminate appearance and habits, can pass for a woman.
He therefore goes to Agathon, but the latter refuses to do him this favor. Another example of an ideal pederastic couple was Zeus and Ganymede. Zeus was so taken by the beauty of the mortal Ganymede that he made the boy immortal: The pederastic relationship of Zeus and Ganymede was ideal because of their age difference, but more importantly it was a sign to the Greeks that it was okay for them to participate in the same kind of relationship.
After all, whatever was acceptable for the gods and especially for the king of the gods was also acceptable for mortals.
Their relationship was ideal in the sense that they differed in age by about 10 years, having started their relationship when Agathon was However, Agathon and Pausanias stayed together far longer than the typical pederastic couple. It seems from the evidence available that neither man ever took a wife or had children. In fact, when Agathon emigrated to Macedonia sometime between and to continue his career as a dramatist, Pausanias went with him Dover, II.
While not completely different from the ideal pederastic relationship, Agathon and Pausanias prove that there were forms of same-sex desire and interaction in ancient Greece that went outside the ideal. The evidence for the ideal pederastic relationship being the most common in Greece is overwhelming, but the case for atypical relationships is not completely lost.
There is documentation for the existence of same-sex couples who were of the same or similar ages when they were together. The ideal pederastic relationship was not the only type possible for the ancient Greeks.
The first major example of a pederastic couple that was not ideal was Achilles, the legendary Greek hero, and Patroclus. These two were similar in age, and there is much dissension as to which of them was the erastes and which was the eromenos.
Quite apart from the fact that he was more beautiful than Patroclus…and had not yet grown a beard, he was also, according to Homer, much younger. Another pederastic relationship featuring partners of similar ages was that of Alexander the Great and Hephaestion. For, observe that open loves are held to be more honourable than secret ones, and that the love of the noblest and highest, even if their persons are less beautiful than others, is especially honourable.
He expressed that love was two opposites that needed to co-exist with one another, like the Ying Yang theory. There are in the human body these two kinds of love, which are confessedly different and unlike, and being unlike, they have loves and desires which are unlike; and the desire of the healthy is one, and the desire of the diseased is another; and as Pausanias was just now saying that to indulge good men is [ c ] honourable, and bad men dishonourable: Symposium One of the best examples that Eryximachus gives to support his idea of this Ying Yang theory of love is the environmental analogies and the harmony comparison: Now the most hostile are the most opposite, such as hot and cold, bitter and sweet, moist and dry, and the like.
For harmony is a symphony, and symphony is an agreement; but an agreement of disagreements while they disagree there cannot be; you cannot harmonize that which disagrees.Tumblr Quotes - True love stories never have endings
As he said at first originally there was a union of two, but then they revolted against the gods. So as a punishment Zeus struck a thunderbolt and split the being in two and then Apollo composed a form for each halves of the being, as we know now as men and women. The sexes were not two as they are now, but originally three in number; there was man, woman, and the union of the two, having a name corresponding to this double nature, which had once a real existence, but is now lost, and the word "Androgynous" is only preserved as a term of reproach.
In the second place, the primeval man was round, his back and sides forming a circle; and he had four hands and four feet, one head with two faces, looking opposite ways, [ a ] set on a round neck and precisely alike; also four ears, two privy members, and the remainder to correspond. Should they kill them and annihilate the race with thunderbolts, as they had done the giants, then there would be an end of the sacrifices and worship which men offered to them; but, on the other hand, the gods could not suffer their insolence to be unrestrained.
At last, after a good deal of reflection, Zeus discovered a way. And when one of them [ c ] meets with his other half, the actual half of himself, whether he be a lover of youth or a lover of another sort, the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and will not be out of the other's sight, as I may say, even for a moment: His principle of love is Love is a God so it must be Good.
Also Love is not only a god among the rest of the gods of Olympus, but Love is the chief figure of the gods. And so Love set in order the empire of the gods -- the love of beauty, as is evident, for with deformity Love has no concern.
In the days of old, as I began by saying, dreadful deeds were done among the gods, for they were ruled by Necessity; but now since the birth of Love, and from the Love of the beautiful, has sprung every good in heaven and earth. And there comes into my mind a line of poetry in which he is said to be the god who "Gives peace on earth and calms the stormy deep, Who stills the winds and bids the sufferer sleep.
Goodness, Truth, and Beauty and the desire for immortality. When a man loves the beautiful, what does he desire? What is given by the possession of beauty? If he who loves loves the good, what is it then that he loves?