The Symposium
by Xenophon
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He answered: If you ask me what it is, I do not know, but I can tell you what it seems to me to be.

Soc. That seems as good. What does it seem?

Her. A drunken brawl, in my poor judgment, is annoyance caused to people over wine.

Soc. Are you aware that you at present are annoying us by silence?

Her. What, whilst you are talking?

Soc. No, when we pause a while.

Her. Then you have not observed that, as to any interval between your talk, a man would find it hard to insert a hair, much more one grain of sense.

Then Socrates: O Callias, to the rescue! help a man severely handled by his cross-examiner.

Call. With all my heart (and as he spoke he faced Hermogenes). Why, when the flute is talking, we are as silent as the grave.

Her. What, would you have me imitate Nicostratus (1) the actor, reciting his tetrameters (2) to the music of the fife? Must I discourse to you in answer to the flute?

(1) See Cobet, "Pros. Xen." p. 53; and cf. Diog. Laert. iv. 3, 4; Polyaen. vi. 10; "Hell." IV. viii. 18.

(2) See Aristoph. "Clouds," where Socrates is giving Strepsiades a lesson in "measures," 639-646: {poteron to trimetron e to tetrametron}.

Then Socrates: By all that's holy, I wish you would, Hermogenes. How delightful it would be. Just as a song sounds sweeter in concert with the flute, so would your talk be more mellifluous attuned to its soft pipings; and particularly if you would use gesticulation like the flute-girl, to suit the tenor of your speech.

Here Callias demanded: And when our friend (Antisthenes) essays to cross-examine people (3) at a banquet, what kind of piping (4) should he have?

(3) Or, "a poor body," in reference to the elentic onslaught made on himself by Antisthenes above.

(4) {to aulema}, a composition for reed instruments, "music for the flute." Cf. Aristoph. "Frogs," 1302.

Ant. The person in the witness-box would best be suited with a serpent-hissing theme. (5)

(5) Or, "motif on a scrannel pipe." See L. & S. s.v. {puthaules}. Cf. Poll. iv. 81, {puthikon aulema}, an air ({nomos}) played on the {puthois aulos}, expressing the battle between Apollo and the Python, the hiss of which was imitated.

Thus the stream of talk flowed on; until the Syracusan, who was painfully aware that while the company amused themselves, his "exhibition" was neglected, turned, in a fit of jealous spleen, at last on Socrates. (6)

(6) "The Syracusan is 'civil as an orange, and of that jealous complexion.'"

The Syr. They call you Socrates. Are you that person commonly nicknamed the thinker? (7)

(7) Apparently he has been to see the "Clouds" (exhibited first in 423 B.C.), and has conceived certain ideas concerning Socrates, "a wise man, who speculated about the heaven above, and searched into the earth beneath, and made the worse appear the better cause." Plat. "Apol." 18 B, 19 C. "Clouds," 101, 360, {khair o presbuta ... ton nun meteorosophiston... ta te meteora phrontistes}.

Soc. Which surely is a better fate than to be called a thoughtless person?

The Syr. Perhaps, if you were not thought to split your brains on things above us—transcendental stuff. (8)

(8) Or, "if only you were held to be less 'meteoric,' less head-in- airy in your speculations."

Soc. And is there anything more transcendental than the gods?

The Syr. By heaven! no, it is not the gods above us whom you care for, but for matters void of use and valueless. (9)

(9) It is impossible to give the play on words. The Syr. {anophelestaton}. Soc. {ano... ophelousin}. Schenkl after Madvig emend.: {ton ano en nephelais onton} = "but for things in the clouds above."

Soc. It seems, then, by your showing I do care for them. How value less the gods, not more, if being above us they make the void of use to send us rain, and cause their light to shine on us? And now, sir, if you do not like this frigid (10) argument, why do you cause me trouble? The fault is yours. (11)

(10) Cf. "Cyrop." VIII. iv. 22, 23.

(11) {pho parekhousin... pragmata moi parekhon}. Lit. "cause light ... causing me trouble."

Well, let that be (the other answered); answer me one question: How many fleas' feet distance is it, pray, from you to me? (12) They say you measure them by geometric scale.

(12) See Aristoph. "Clouds," 144 foll.:

{aneret' arti Khairephonta Sokrates psullan oposous alloito tous autes podas dakousa gar...}

Cf. Lucian, ii. "Prom. in Verb. 6," and "Hudibras, the Second Part of," canto iii.:

How many scores a Flea will jump Of his own length from Head to Rump Which Socrates and Chaerephon In vain essayed so long agon.

But here Antisthenes, appealing to Philippus, interposed: You are a man full of comparisons. (13) Does not this worthy person strike you as somewhat like a bully seeking to pick a quarrel? (14)

(13) Like Biron, "L. L. L." v. 2. 854. Or, "you are a clever caricaturist." See Plat. "Symp." 215 A; Hug, "Enleitung," xiv.; Aristoph. "Birds," 804 (Frere, p. 173); "Wasps," 1309.

(14) Aristoph. "Frogs," 857, "For it ill beseems illustrious bards to scold like market-women." (Frere, p. 269); "Knights," 1410, "to bully"; "Eccles." 142:

{kai loidorountai g' osper empepokotes, kai ton paroinount' ekpherous' oi toxotai.}

Yes (replied the jester), he has a striking likeness to that person and a heap of others. He bristles with metaphors.

Soc. For all that, do not you be too eager to draw comparisons at his expense, or you will find yourself the image of a scold and brawler. (15)

(15) Or, "a striking person."

Phil. But what if I compare him to all the primest creatures of the world, to beauty's nonpareils, (16) to nature's best—I might be justly likened to a flatterer but not a brawler. (17)

(16) Lit. "compare him to those in all things beauteous and the best." With {tois pasi kalois kai tois beltistois} cf. Thuc. v. 28, {oi 'Argeioi arista eskhon tois pasi}, "The Argives were in excellent condition in all respects." As to Philippus's back-handed compliment to the showman, it reminds one of Peter Quince's commendation of Bottom: "Yea and the best person too; and he is a very paramour for a sweet voice."

(17) It is not easy to keep pace with the merryman's jests; but if I follow his humour, he says to Socrates: "If the cap is to fit, you must liken me to one who quits 'assault and battery' for 'compliments (sotto voce, "lies") and flattery.'"

Soc. Why now, you are like a person apt to pick a quarrel, since you imply they are all his betters. (18)

(18) When Socrates says {ei pant' autou beltio phes einai, k.t.l.}, the sense seems to be: "No, if you say that all these prime creatures are better than he is, you are an abusive person still."

Phil. What, would you have me then compare him to worse villains?

Soc. No, not even to worse villains.

Phil. What, then, to nothing, and to nobody?

Soc. To nought in aught. Let him remain his simple self—

Phil. Incomparable. But if my tongue is not to wag, whatever shall I do to earn my dinner?

Soc. Why, that you shall quite easily, if with your wagging tongue you do not try to utter things unutterable.

Here was a pretty quarrel over wine soon kindled and soon burnt.


But on the instant those who had not assisted in the fray gave tongue, the one part urging the jester to proceed with his comparisons, and the other part dissuading.

The voice of Socrates was heard above the tumult: Since we are all so eager to be heard at once, what fitter time than now to sing a song, in chorus.

And suiting the action to the words, he commenced a stave.

The song was barely finished, when a potter's wheel was brought in, on which the dancing-girl was to perform more wonders.

At this point Socrates addressed the man of Syracuse: It seems I am likely to deserve the title which you gave me of a thinker in good earnest. Just now I am speculating by what means your boy and girl may pass a happy time, and we spectators still derive the greatest pleasure from beholding them; and this, I take it, is precisely what you would yourself most wish. Now I maintain, that throwing somersaults in and out of swords is a display of danger uncongenial to a banquet. And as for writing and reading on a wheel that all the while keeps whirling, I do not deny the wonder of it, but what pleasure such a marvel can present, I cannot for the life of me discover. Nor do I see how it is a whit more charming to watch these fair young people twisting about their bodies and imitating wheels than to behold them peacefully reposing.

We need not fare far afield to light on marvels, if that is our object. All about us here is full of marvel; we can begin at once by wondering, why it is the candle gives a light by dint of its bright flame, while side by side with it the bright bronze vessel gives no light, but shows within itself those other objects mirrored. (1) Or, how is it that oil, being moist and liquid, keeps that flame ablaze, but water, just because it is liquid, quenches fire. But no more do these same marvels tend to promote the object of the wine-cup. (2)

(1) Cf. "Mem." IV. vii. 7. Socrates' criticism of Anaxagoras' theory with regard to the sun.

(2) Lit. "work to the same end as wine."

But now, supposing your young people yonder were to tread a measure to the flute, some pantomime in dance, like those which the Graces and the Hours with the Nymphs are made to tread in pictures, (3) I think they would spend a far more happy time themselves, and our banquet would at once assume a grace and charm unlooked for.

(3) Cf. Plat. "Laws," vii. 815 C; Hor. "Carm." i. 4. 6:

iunctaeque Nymphis Gratiae decentes alterno terram quatiunt pede.

The Graces and the Nymphs, together knit, With rhythmic feet the meadow beat (Conington).

Ib. iv. 7. 5.

The Syracusan caught the notion readily.

By all that's holy, Socrates (he cried), a capital suggestion, and for my part, I warrant you, I will put a piece upon the stage, which will delight you, one and all.


With these words the Syracusan made his exit, bent on organising his performance. (1) As soon as he was gone, Socrates once more essayed a novel argument. (2) He thus addressed them:

(1) {sunekroteito}, "on the composition of his piece." Al. "amidst a round of plaudits."

(2) "Struck the keynote of a novel theme." Cf. Plat. "Symp." 177 E.

It were but reasonable, sirs, on our part not to ignore the mighty power here present, (3) a divinity in point of age coequal with the everlasting gods, yet in outward form the youngest, (4) who in magnitude embraces all things, and yet his shrine is planted in the soul of man. Love (5) is his name! and least of all should we forget him who are one and all votaries of this god. (6) For myself I cannot name the time at which I have not been in love with some one. (7) And Charmides here has, to my knowledge, captivated many a lover, while his own soul has gone out in longing for the love of not a few himself. (8) So it is with Critobulus also; the beloved of yesterday is become the lover of to-day. Ay, and Niceratus, as I am told, adores his wife, and is by her adored. (9) As to Hermogenes, which of us needs to be told (10) that the soul of this fond lover is consumed with passion for a fair ideal—call it by what name you will—the spirit blent of nobleness and beauty. (11) See you not what chaste severity dwells on his brow; (12) how tranquil his gaze; (13) how moderate his words; how gentle his intonation; now radiant his whole character. And if he enjoys the friendship of the most holy gods, he keeps a place in his regard for us poor mortals. But how is it that you alone, Antisthenes, you misanthrope, love nobody?

(3) Cf. Shelley, "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty":

The awful shadow of some unseen Power Floats, though unseen, among us....

(4) Reading with L. D. after Blomfield (Aesch. "Ag." p. 304), {idrumenou}, or if as vulg. {isoumenou}, transl. "but in soul is fashioned like to mortal man."

(5) "Eros."

(6) Or, "who are each and all of us members of his band." For {thiasotai} cf. Aristot. "Eth. N." viii. 9. 5; Aristoph. "Frogs," 327.

(7) Cf. Plat. "Symp." 177 D: "No one will vote against you, Erysimachus, said Socrates; on the only subject ({ta erotika}) of which I profess to have any knowledge, I certainly cannot refuse to speak, nor, I presume, Agathon and Pasuanias; and there can be no doubt of Arisophanes, who is the constant servant of Dionysus and Aphrodite; nor will any one disagree of those I see around me" (Jowett).

(8) Or, "has had many a passionate admirer, and been enamoured of more than one true love himself." See Plat. "Charm.," ad in.

(9) For Love and Love-for-Love, {eros} and {anteros}, see Plat. "Phaedr." 255 D. Cf. Aristot. "Eth. N." ix. 1.

(10) Lit. "which of us but knows his soul is melting away with passion." Cf. Theocr. xiv. 26.

(11) Lit. "beautiful and gentle manhood."

(12) Lit. "how serious are his brows."

(13) The phrases somehow remind one of Sappho's famous ode:

{phainetai moi kenos isos theoisin emmen oner, ostis enantios toi izanei, kai plasion adu phoneusas upakouei kai gelosas imeroen}.

But there we must stop. Hermogenes is a sort of Sir Percivale, "such a courtesy spake thro' the limbs and in the voice."

Nay, so help me Heaven! (he replied), but I do love most desperately yourself, O Socrates!

Whereat Socrates, still carrying on the jest, with a coy, coquettish air, (14) replied: Yes; only please do not bother me at present. I have other things to do, you see.

(14) Al. "like a true coquet." Cf. Plat. "Phaedr." 228 C.

Antisthenes replied: How absolutely true to your own character, arch go-between! (15) It is always either your familiar oracle won't suffer you, that's your pretext, and so you can't converse with me; or you are bent upon something or somebody else.

(15) See "Mem." III. xi. 14.

Then Socrates: For Heaven's sake, don't carbonado (16) me, Antisthenes, that's all. Any other savagery on your part I can stand, and will stand, as a lover should. However (he added), the less we say about your love the better, since it is clearly an attachment not to my soul, but to my lovely person.

(16) Or, "tear and scratch me."

And then, turning to Callias: And that you, Callias, do love Autolycus, this whole city knows and half the world besides, (17) if I am not mistaken; and the reason is that you are both sons of famous fathers, and yourselves illustrious. For my part I have ever admired your nature, but now much more so, when I see that you are in love with one who does not wanton in luxury or languish in effeminacy, (18) but who displays to all his strength, his hardihood, his courage, and sobriety of soul. To be enamoured of such qualities as these is a proof itself of a true lover's nature.

(17) Lit. "many a foreign visitor likewise."

(18) See the Attic type of character, as drawn by Pericles, Thuc. ii. 40.

Whether indeed Aphrodite be one or twain (19) in personality, the heavenly and the earthly, I cannot tell, for Zeus, who is one and indivisible, bears many titles. (20) But this thing I know, that these twain have separate altars, shrines, and sacrifices, (21) as befits their nature—she that is earthly, of a lighter and a laxer sort; she that is heavenly, purer and holier in type. And you may well conjecture, it is the earthly goddess, the common Aphrodite, who sends forth the bodily loves; while from her that is named of heaven, Ourania, proceed those loves which feed upon the soul, on friendship and on noble deeds. It is by this latter, Callias, that you are held in bonds, if I mistake not, Love divine. (22) This I infer as well from the fair and noble character of your friend, as from the fact that you invite his father to share your life and intercourse. (23) Since no part of these is hidden from the father by the fair and noble lover.

(19) For Aphrodite Ourania and Pandemos see Plat. "Symp." 180.

(20) Lit. "that is believed to be the same." See Cic. "De N. D." iii. 16. Cf. Aesch. "Prom." 210 (of Themis and Gaia), {pollon onomaton morphe mia}.

(21) e.g. to Aphrodite Pandemos a white goat, {mekas leuke}, but to Aphrodite Ourania a heifer, and {thusiai nephaliai}, offerings without wine, i.e. of water, milk, and honey. Schol. to Soph. "Oed. Col." 100; Lucian, lxvii. "Dial. Mer." 7. 1.

(22) Lit. "by Eros."

(23) Cf. Plat. "Prot." 318 A; Aristoph. "Thesmoph." 21, "learned conversazioni."

Hermogenes broke in: By Hera, Socrates, I much admire you for many things, and now to see how in the act of gratifying Callias you are training him in duty and true excellence. (24)

(24) Lit. "teaching him what sort of man he ought to be." This, as we know, is the very heart and essence of the Socratic (= {XS}) method. See "Mem." I. ii. 3.

Why, yes (he said), if only that his cup of happiness may overflow, I wish to testify to him how far the love of soul is better than the love of body.

Without friendship, (25) as we full well know, there is no society of any worth. And this friendship, what is it? On the part of those whose admiration (26) is bestowed upon the inner disposition, it is well named a sweet and voluntary compulsion. But among those whose desire (26) is for the body, there are not a few who blame, nay hate, the ways of their beloved ones. And even where attachment (26) clings to both, (27) even so the bloom of beauty after all does quickly reach its prime; the flower withers, and when that fails, the affection which was based upon it must also wither up and perish. But the soul, with every step she makes in her onward course towards deeper wisdom, grows ever worthier of love.

(25) Lit. "That without love no intercourse is worth regarding, we all know."

(26) N.B.—{agamenon, epithumounton, sterxosi}. Here, as often, the author seems to have studied the {orthoepeia} of Prodicus. See "Mem." II. i. 24.

(27) i.e. "body and character."

Ay, and in the enjoyment of external beauty a sort of surfeit is engendered. Just as the eater's appetite palls through repletion with regard to meats, (28) so will the feelings of a lover towards his idol. But the soul's attachment, owing to its purity, knows no satiety. (29) Yet not therefore, as a man might fondly deem, has it less of the character of loveliness. (30) But very clearly herein is our prayer fulfilled, in which we beg the goddess to grant us words and deeds that bear the impress of her own true loveliness. (31)

(28) Cf. "Mem." III. xi. 13.

(29) Lit. "is more insatiate." Cf. Charles Wesley's hymn:

O Love Divine, how sweet Thou art! When shall I find my willing heart All taken up by Thee?

(30) Lit. "is she, the soul, more separate from Aphrodite."

(31) Or, "stamped with the image of Aphrodite." Zeune cf. Lucr. i. 24, addressing Venus, "te sociam studeo scribendis versibus esse," "I would have thee for a helpmate in writing the verses..."; and below, 28, "quo magis aeternum da dictis, diva, leporem," "Wherefore all the more, O lady, lend my lays an ever-living charm" (H. A. J. Munro).

That a soul whose bloom is visible alike in beauty of external form, free and unfettered, and an inner disposition, bashful, generous; a spirit (32) at once imperial and affable, (33) born to rule among its fellows—that such a being will, of course, admire and fondly cling to his beloved, is a thesis which needs no further argument on my part. Rather I will essay to teach you, how it is natural that this same type of lover should in turn be loved by his soul's idol. (34)

(32) Cf. Plat. "Phaedr." 252 E.

(33) The epithet {philophron} occurs "Mem." III. i. 6, of a general; ib. III. v. 3 (according to the vulg. reading), of the Athenians.

(34) Or, "the boy whom he cherishes."

How, in the first place, is it possible for him to hate a lover who, he knows, regards him as both beautiful and good? (35) and, in the next place, one who, it is clear, is far more anxious to promote the fair estate of him he loves (36) than to indulge his selfish joys? and above all, when he has faith and trust that neither dereliction, (37) nor loss of beauty through sickness, nor aught else, will diminish their affection.

(35) Or, "perfection."

(36) Lit. "the boy."

(37) Reading {en para ti poiese}. Al. "come what come may," lit. "no alteration"; or if reading {parebese} transl. "although his May of youth should pass, and sickness should mar his features, the tie of friendship will not be weakened."

If, then, they own a mutual devotion, (38) how can it but be, they will take delight in gazing each into the other's eyes, hold kindly converse, trust and be trusted, have forethought for each other, in success rejoice together, in misfortune share their troubles; and so long as health endures make merry cheer, day in day out; or if either of them should fall on sickness, then will their intercourse be yet more constant; and if they cared for one another face to face, much more will they care when parted. (39) Are not all these the outward tokens of true loveliness? (40) In the exercise of such sweet offices, at any rate, they show their passion for holy friendship's state, and prove its bliss, continuously pacing life's path from youth to eld.

(38) For beauty of style (in the original) Zeune cf. "Mem." II. vi. 28 foll.; III. xi. 10.

(39) "Albeit absent from one another in the body, they are more present in the soul." Cf. Virg. "Aen." iv. 83, "illum absens absentem auditque videtque."

(40) Or, "bear the stamp of Aphrodite."

But the lover who depends upon the body, (41) what of him? First, why should love-for-love be given to such a lover? because, forsooth, he bestows upon himself what he desires, and upon his minion things of dire reproach? or that what he hastens to exact, infallibly must separate that other from his nearest friends?

(41) Or, "is wholly taken up with." Cf. Plat. "Laws," 831 C.

If it be pleaded that persuasion is his instrument, not violence; is that no reason rather for a deeper loathing? since he who uses violence (42) at any rate declares himself in his true colours as a villain, while the tempter corrupts the soul of him who yields to his persuasions.

(42) Cf. "Hiero," iii. 3; "Cyrop." III. i. 39.

Ay, and how should he who traffics with his beauty love the purchaser, any more than he who keeps a stall in the market-place and vends to the highest bidder? Love springs not up, I trow, because the one is in his prime, and the other's bloom is withered, because fair is mated with what is not fair, and hot lips are pressed to cold. Between man and woman it is different. There the wife at any rate shares with her husband in their nuptial joys; but here conversely, the one is sober and with unimpassioned eye regards his fellow, who is drunken with the wine of passion. (43)

(43) Lit. "by Aphrodite." Cf. Plat. "Phaedr." 240, "But the lover ... when he is drunk" (Jowett); "Symp." 214 C.

Wherefore it is no marvel if, beholding, there springs up in his breast the bitterest contempt and scorn for such a lover. Search and you shall find that nothing harsh was ever yet engendered by attachment based on moral qualities; whilst shameless intercourse, time out of mind, has been the source of countless hateful and unhallowed deeds. (44)

(44) Zeune cf. Ael. "V. H." viii. 9, re Archelaus king of Macedon, concerning whom Aristotle, "Pol." v. 10. 1311 B: "Many conspiracies have originated in shameful attempts made by sovereigns on the persons of their subjects. Such was the attack of Crataeus upon Archelaus," etc. (Jowett).

I have next to show that the society of him whose love is of the body, not the soul, is in itself illiberal. The true educator who trains another in the path of virtue, who will teach us excellence, whether of speech or conduct, (45) may well be honoured, even as Cheiron and Phoenix (46) were honoured by Achilles. But what can he expect, who stretches forth an eager hand to clutch the body, save to be treated (47) as a beggar? That is his character; for ever cringing and petitioning a kiss, or some other soft caress, (48) this sorry suitor dogs his victims.

(45) Phoenix addresses Achilles, "Il." ix. 443:

{muthon te reter' emenai, prektera te ergon}

Therefore sent he (Peleus) me to thee to teach thee all things, To be both a speaker of words and a doer of deeds (W. Leaf).

(46) See "Il." xi. 831; "Hunting," ch. i., as to Cheiron and his scholars, the last of whom is Achilles.

(47) {an periepoito}. "He will be scurvily treated." Cf. "Hell." III. i. 19.

(48) Cf. "Mem." I. ii. 29.

If my language has a touch of turbulence, (49) do not marvel: partly the wine exalts me; partly that love which ever dwells within my heart of hearts now pricks me forward to use great boldness of speech (50) against his base antagonist. Why, yes indeed, it seems to me that he who fixes his mind on outward beauty is like a man who has taken a farm on a short lease. He shows no anxiety to improve its value; his sole object being to take off it the largest crops he can himself. But he whose heart is set on loyal friendship resembles rather a man who has a farmstead of his own. At any rate, he scours the wide world to find what may enhance the value of his soul's delight. (51)

(49) Or, "wantonness"; and for the apology see Plat. "Phaedr." 238: "I appear to be in a divine fury, for already I am getting into dithyrambics" (Jowett).

(50) Lit. "to speak openly against that other sort of love which is its rival."

(51) Cf. Michelet, I think, as to the French peasant-farmer regarding his property as "sa femme."

Again, let us consider the effect upon the object of attachment. Let him but know his beauty is a bond sufficient to enthrall his lover, (52) and what wonder if he be careless of all else and play the wanton. Let him discover, on the contrary, that if he would retain his dear affection he must himself be truly good and beautiful, and it is only natural he should become more studious of virtue. But the greatest blessing which descends on one beset with eager longing to convert the idol of his soul into a good man and true friend is this: necessity is laid upon himself to practise virtue; since how can he hope to make his comrade good, if he himself works wickedness? Is it conceivable that the example he himself presents of what is shameless and incontinent, (53) will serve to make the beloved one temperate and modest?

(52) Or, "that by largess of beauty he can enthrall his lover."

(53) See Plat. "Symp." 182 A, 192 A.

I have a longing, Callias, by mythic argument (54) to show you that not men only, but gods and heroes, set greater store by friendship of the soul than bodily enjoyment. Thus those fair women (55) whom Zeus, enamoured of their outward beauty, wedded, he permitted mortal to remain; but those heroes whose souls he held in admiration, these he raised to immortality. Of whom are Heracles and the Dioscuri, and there are others also named. (56) As I maintain, it was not for his body's sake, but for his soul's, that Ganymede (57) was translated to Olympus, as the story goes, by Zeus. And to this his very name bears witness, for is it not written in Homer?

And he gladdens ({ganutai}) to hear his voice. (58)

This the poet says, meaning "he is pleased to listen to his words."

(54) Or, "I have a desire to romance a little," "for your benefit to explain by legendary lore." Cf. Isocr. 120 C; Plat. "Rep." 392 B.

(55) e.g. Leda, Danae, Europa, Alcmena, Electra, Latona, Laodamia (Zeune).

(56) See "Hunting," i.; "Hell." VI. iii. 6.

(57) See Plat. "Phaedr." 255 C; Cic. "Tusc." i. 26, "nec Homerum audio ... divina mallem ad nos," a protest against anthropomorphism in religion.

(58) Not in "our" version of Homer, but cf. "Il." xx. 405, {ganutai de te tois 'Enosikhthon}; "Il." xiii. 493, {ganutai d' ara te phrena poimen}.

And again, in another passage he says:

Knowing deep devices ({medea}) in his mind, (59)

which is as much as to say, "knowing wise counsels in his mind." Ganymede, therefore, bears a name compounded of the two words, "joy" and "counsel," and is honoured among the gods, not as one "whose body," but "whose mind" "gives pleasure."

(59) Partly "Il." xxiv. 674, {pukina phresi mede' ekhontes}; and "Il." xxiv. 424, {phila phresi medea eidos}. Cf. "Od." vi. 192; xviii. 67, 87; xxii. 476.

Furthermore (I appeal to you, Niceratus), (60) Homer makes Achilles avenge Patroclus in that brilliant fashion, not as his favourite, but as his comrade. (61) Yes, and Orestes and Pylades, (62) Theseus and Peirithous, (63) with many another noble pair of demigods, are celebrated as having wrought in common great and noble deeds, not because they lay inarmed, but because of the admiration they felt for one another.

(60) As an authority on Homer.

(61) Cf. Plat. "Symp." 179 E: "The notion that Patroclus was the beloved one is a foolish error into which Aeschylus has fallen," etc. (in his "Myrmidons"). See J. A. Symonds, "The Greek Poets," 2nd series, "Achilles," p. 66 foll.

(62) Concerning whom Ovid ("Pont." iii. 2. 70) says, "nomina fama tenet."

(63) See Plut. "Thes." 30 foll. (Clough, i. p. 30 foll.); cf. Lucian, xli. "Toxaris," 10.

Nay, take the fair deeds of to-day: and you shall find them wrought rather for the sake of praise by volunteers in toil and peril, than by men accustomed to choose pleasure in place of honour. And yet Pausanias, (64) the lover of the poet Agathon, (65) making a defence in behalf (66) of some who wallow in incontinence, has stated that an army composed of lovers and beloved would be invincible. (67) These, in his opinion, would, from awe of one another, have the greatest horror of destruction. A truly marvellous argument, if he means that men accustomed to turn deaf ears to censure and to behave to one another shamelessly, are more likely to feel ashamed of doing a shameful deed. He adduced as evidence the fact that the Thebans and the Eleians (68) recognise the very principle, and added: Though they sleep inarmed, they do not scruple to range the lover side by side with the beloved one in the field of battle. An instance which I take to be no instance, or at any rate one-sided, (69) seeing that what they look upon as lawful with us is scandalous. (70) Indeed, it strikes me that this vaunted battle-order would seem to argue some mistrust on their part who adopt it—a suspicion that their bosom friends, once separated from them, may forget to behave as brave men should. But the men of Lacedaemon, holding that "if a man but lay his hand upon the body and for lustful purpose, he shall thereby forfeit claim to what is beautiful and noble"—do, in the spirit of their creed, contrive to mould and fashion their "beloved ones" to such height of virtue, (71) that should these find themselves drawn up with foreigners, albeit no longer side by side with their own lovers, (72) conscience will make desertion of their present friends impossible. Self-respect constrains them: since the goddess whom the men of Lacedaemon worship is not "Shamelessness," but "Reverence." (73)

(64) See Cobet, "Pros. Xen." p. 15; Plat. "Protag." 315 D; Ael. "V. H." ii. 21.

(65) Ib.; Aristot. "Poet." ix.

(66) Or, "in his 'Apology' for."

(67) Plat. "Symp." 179 E, puts the sentiment into the mouth of Phaedrus: "And if there were only some way of contriving that a state or an army should be made up of lovers and their loves, they would be the very best governors of their own city, abstaining from all dishonour, and emulating one another in honour; and when fighting at one another's side, although not a mere handful, they would overcome the world. For what lover would not choose rather to be seen by all mankind than by his beloved, either when abandoning his post or throwing away his arms? He would be ready to die a thousand deaths rather than endure this. Or would desert his beloved or fail him in the hour of danger? The veriest coward would become an inspired hero, equal to the bravest, at such a time; Love would inspire him. That courage which, as Homer says, the god breathes into the soul of heroes, Love of his own nature infuses into the lover" (Jowett). Cf. "Hunting," xii. 20; "Anab." VII. iv. 7; "Cyrop." VII. i. 30.

(68) Sc. in their institutions. Cf. Plat. "Symp." 182, "in Elis and Boeotia"; "Pol. Lac." ii. 13; Ael. "V. H." iii. 12, xiii. 5; Athen. xiii. 2. For the Theban Sacred Band see Plut. "Pelop." 18, 19 (Clough, ii. 218).

(69) Or, "not in pari materia, so to speak."

(70) Is not Xenophon imputing himself to Socrates? Henkel cf. Plat. "Crito," 52 E. See Newman, op. cit. i. 396.

(71) Or, "shape to so fine a manhood that..."

(72) Reading {en te aute taxei}. Al. {... polei}, transl. "nor indeed in the same city." Cf. "Hell." V. iv. 33, re death of Cleonymus at Leuctra.

(73) Lit. "Aidos not Anaideia." See Paus. "Lac." xx. 10; "Attica," xvii. 1; Cic. "de Leg." ii. 11, a reference which I owe to M. Eugene Talbot, "Xen." i. 236.

I fancy we should all agree with one another on the point in question, if we thus approached it. Ask yourself to which type of the two must he (74) accord, to whom you would entrust a sum of money, make him the guardian of your children, look to find in him a safe and sure depositary of any favour? (75) For my part, I am certain that the very lover addicted to external beauty would himself far sooner have his precious things entrusted to the keeping of one who has the inward beauty of the soul. (76)

(74) He (the master-mistress of my passion).

(75) {kharitas} = "kindly offices," beneficia. Cf. "Ages." iv. 4; "Mem." IV. iv. 17. Al. = delicias, "to deposit some darling object."

(76) Or, "some one truly lovable in soul and heart."

Ah, yes! and you, my friend (he turned to Callias), you have good reason to be thankful to the gods who of their grace inspired you with love for your Autolycus. Covetous of honour, (77) beyond all controversy, must he be, who could endure so many toils and pains to hear his name proclaimed (78) victor in the "pankration."

(77) See "Mem." II. iii. 16; "Isocr." 189 C, {ph. kai megalopsukhoi}.

(78) i.e. "by the public herald."

But what if the thought arose within him: (79) his it is not merely to add lustre to himself and to his father, but that he has ability, through help of manly virtue, to benefit his friends and to exalt his fatherland, by trophies which he will set up against our enemies in war, (80) whereby he will himself become the admired of all observers, nay, a name to be remembered among Hellenes and barbarians. (81) Would he not in that case, think you, make much of (82) one whom he regarded as his bravest fellow-worker, laying at his feet the greatest honours?

(79) Cf. Theogn. 947:

{patrida kosmeso, liparen polin, out' epi demo trepsas out' adikois andrasi peithomenos}.

(80) Who in 421 B.C. were of course the Lacedaemonians and the allies. Autolycus was killed eventually by the Thirty to please the Lacedaemonian harmost. See Plut. "Lysand." 15 (Clough, iii. 120); Paus. i. 18. 3; ix. 32. 8. Cf. "Hell." II. iii. 14.

(81) Cf. "Anab." IV. i. 20; "Mem." III. vi. 2.

(82) {periepein}. Cf. "Cyrop." IV. iv. 12; "Mem." II. ix. 5.

If, then, you wish to be well-pleasing in his eyes, you had best inquire by what knowledge Themistocles (83) was able to set Hellas free. You should ask yourself, what keen wit belonged to Pericles (83) that he was held to be the best adviser of his fatherland. You should scan (84) the field of history to learn by what sage wisdom Solon (85) established for our city her consummate laws. I would have you find the clue to that peculiar training by which the men of Lacedaemon have come to be regarded as the best of leaders. (86) Is it not at your house that their noblest citizens are lodged as representatives of a foreign state? (87)

(83) See "Mem." II. vi. 13; III. vi. 2; IV. ii. 2.

(84) For the diction, {skepteon, skepteon, aphreteon, ereuneteon, epistamenos, eidos, philosopheras}, Xenophon's rhetorical style imitates the {orthoepeia} of Prodicus.

(85) See "Econ." xiv. 4.

(86) Or, "won for themselves at all hands the reputation of noblest generalship." Cf. "Ages." i. 3; "Pol. Lac." xiv. 3.

(87) Reading as vulg. {proxenoi d' ei...} or if with Schenkl, {proxenos d' ei...} transl. "You are their consul-general; at your house their noblest citizens are lodged from time to time." As to the office, cf. Dem. 475. 10; 1237. 17; Thuc. ii. 29; Boeckh, "P. E. A." 50. Callias appears as the Lac. {proxenos} ("Hell." V. iv. 22) 378 B.C., and at Sparta, 371 B.C., as the peace commissioner ("Hell." VI. iii. 3).

Be sure that our state of Athens would speedily entrust herself to your direction were you willing. (88) Everything is in your favour. You are of noble family, "eupatrid" by descent, a priest of the divinities, (89) and of Erechtheus' famous line, (90) which with Iacchus marched to encounter the barbarian. (91) And still, at the sacred festival to-day, it is agreed that no one among your ancestors has ever been more fitted to discharge the priestly office than yourself; yours a person the goodliest to behold in all our city, and a frame adapted to undergo great toils.

(88) Cf. "Mem." III. vii.

(89) i.e. Demeter and Core. Callias (see "Hell." VI. l.c.) was dadouchos (or torch-holder) in the mysteries.

(90) Or, "whose rites date back to Erechtheus." Cf. Plat. "Theag." 122.

(91) At Salamis. The tale is told by Herod. viii. 65, and Plut. "Themist." 15; cf. Polyaen. "Strat." iii. 11. 2. Just as Themistocles had won the battle of Salamis by help of Iacchus on the 16th Boedromion, the first day of the mysteries, so Chabrias won the sea-fight of Naxos by help of the day itself, {to 'Alade mustai}, 376 B.C.

But if I seem to any of you to indulge a vein more serious than befits the wine-cup, marvel not. It has long been my wont to share our city's passion for noble-natured souls, alert and emulous in pursuit of virtue.

He ended, and, while the others continued to discuss the theme of his discourse, Autolycus sat regarding Callias. That other, glancing the while at the beloved one, turned to Socrates.

Call. Then, Socrates, be pleased, as go-between, (92) to introduce me to the state, that I may employ myself in state affairs and never lapse from her good graces. (93)

(92) Lit. "as pander."

(93) So Critobulus in the conversation so often referred to. "Mem." II. vi.

Never fear (he answered), if only people see your loyalty to virtue is genuine, (94) not of mere repute. A false renown indeed is quickly seen for what it is worth, being tested; but true courage (95) (save only what some god hinder) perpetually amidst the storm and stress of circumstance (96) pours forth a brighter glory.

(94) See "Mem." I. vii. 1, passim; II. vi. 39; "Econ." x. 9.

(95) Cf. Thuc. ii. 42, {andragathia}, "true courage in the public service covers a multitude of private shortcomings."

(96) {en tais praxesi}. Cf. Plat. "Phaedr." 271 D, "in actual life."


On such a note he ended his discourse.

At that, Autolycus, whose hour for walking exercise had now come, arose. His father, Lycon, was about to leave the room along with him, but before so doing, turned to Socrates, remarking:

By Hera, Socrates, if ever any one deserved the appellation "beautiful and good," (1) you are that man!

(1) For {kalos ge kalathos} see "Econ." vii. 2 and passim.

So the pair departed. After they were gone, a sort of throne was first erected in the inner room abutting on the supper chamber. Then the Syracusan entered, with a speech:

With your good pleasure, sirs, Ariadne is about to enter the bridal chamber set apart for her and Dionysus. Anon Dionysus will appear, fresh from the table of the gods, wine-flushed, and enter to his bride. In the last scene the two will play (2) with one another.

(2) {paixountai}. The Syracusan naturally uses the Doric form. See Cobet, "Pros. Xen." p. 16, note 23. Rutherford, "N. Phrynicus," p. 91.

He had scarce concluded, when Ariadne entered, attired like a bride. She crossed the stage and sate herself upon the throne. Meanwhile, before the god himself appeared a sound of flutes was heard; the cadence of the Bacchic air proclaimed his coming.

At this point the company broke forth in admiration of the ballet-master. For no sooner did the sound of music strike upon the ear of Ariadne than something in her action revealed to all the pleasure which it caused her. She did not step forward to meet her lover, she did not rise even from her seat; but the flutter of her unrest was plain to see. (3)

(3) Lit. "the difficulty she had to keep so still was evident."

When Dionysus presently caught sight of her he loved, lightly he danced towards her, and with show of tenderest passion gently reclined upon her knees; his arms entwined about her lovingly, and upon her lips he sealed a kiss; (4)—she the while with most sweet bashfulness was fain to wind responsive arms about her lover; till the banqueters, the while they gazed all eyes, clapped hands and cried "Encore!" But when Dionysus rose upon his feet, and rising lifted Ariadne to her full height, the action of those lovers as they kissed and fondled one another was a thing to contemplate. (5) As to the spectators, they could see that Dionysus was indeed most beautiful, and Ariadne like some lovely blossom; nor were those mocking gestures, but real kisses sealed on loving lips; and so, (6) with hearts aflame, they gazed expectantly. They could hear the question asked by Dionysus, did she love him? and her answer, as prettily she swore she did. And withal so earnestly, not Dionysus only, but all present, had sworn an oath in common: the boy and girl were verily and indeed a pair of happy lovers. So much less did they resemble actors, trained to certain gestures, than two beings bent on doing what for many a long day they had set their hearts on.

(4) Or, "and encircling his arms about her impressed upon her lips a kiss."

(5) Or, "then was it possible to see the more than mimic gestures."

(6) Or, "on the tiptoe of excitement." Cf. "Hell." III. i. 14, iv. 2.

At last when these two lovers, caught in each other's arms, were seen to be retiring to the nuptial couch, the members of the supper party turned to withdraw themselves; and whilst those of them who were unmarried swore that they would wed, those who were wedded mounted their horses and galloped off to join their wives, in quest of married joys.

Only Socrates, and of the rest the few who still remained behind, anon set off with Callias, to see out Lycon and his son, and share the walk.

And so this supper party, assembled in honour of Autolycus, broke up.


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