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The Symposium Reviews
There was a reason I wasn't a classics major. I struggled to get through this, and I could not recall any of what I read if asked to do so tomorrow.
Rarely do I read such a classic text, but it did remind me I once read Plato's Symposium (which I remember as more fun - maybe it was the fun stories of the origins of love).This text is less philosophical, though the esteemed gentlemen lying around the table are having discussions - it's more of a light party, with undertones of how to be a good & beautiful man - from a moral perspective, not just looks, even though that is discussed, and the reason for the party is the host's love of a young man who just won a wrestling competition. That and the fact that it is discussed openly in front of them both AND the boy's father does seem a bit odd to this modern reader, but that can you expect from a text from around 360 BC. Other things such as the discussion of how men shouldn't wear perfume, as they smell better rubbed in oil after doing gymnastics make perfect sense today :PPS: This was another one of those "things I wouldn't have read if not for a silly Goodreads challenge" - I needed an author beginning with X for my annual A-Z Author challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...It seems odd when you scour the library catalog for the odd missing book, but then it makes me read thing I wouldn't otherwise have read. Oh and it's a two'fer - fit nicely into the Classics Bingo challenge as well: https://www.goodreads.com/challenges/...
I must thank Nietzsche for delivering me this "Epic Shove" (http://doubleleaf.deviantart.com/art/...) into Antiquity literature! This vast subject is now literally becoming my first aid kit: whenever I feel too depressed, a dose of Ancient Greek or Ancient Roman writing would fix everything! Thanks Nietzsche! You saved my life, bro!Xenophon's style is so elegant and playful, and his Socrates is just, simply soooooo adorable! Very different from Platonic Socrates who could make you want to punch him in the face! The beginners might appreciate Plato's description because his is more "philosophical" or "deep" -- but then, true great philosophers are "beautiful and good", whose charm could be irresistible even when they are being dumb. I read this now because my recent reading has been torturing for me in many ways, and Xenophon is my life saver. I was roaring in excitement when I reached the end: Dionysus and Ariadne!Thus Spoke Zarathustra! How surprising that these people are coming together and referring to each other!Still, speaking of Nietzsche ... back then, philosophers also had 6 pack abs instead of positive-curvature belly. "Ah, modernity."
Socrates makes the point in this dialog that to love someone's soul is better than to love their body. A physical attraction is fine, but will not last, whereas to truly love someone you will seek always that which is best for that person. There are some pretty funny lines getting to this conclusion, and a quite erotic part right at the end. The dinner breaks up at this point as everyone rushes home to his wife or really wishes he had a wife.What's nice about Xenophon's Socratic dialogs is that they are more humorous and of a more practical bent than Plato's. Thus you can actually read them in bed. Which I did.
Much better than his Apology. The Symposium has hints of ideas one might expect in Platonic Socratic dialogues and if not rising to the heights of Plato's Symposium, it is interesting as a source on Socrates, on Symposia, on attitudes towards homosexuality and how these differed across Greece (Boeotia - Athens - Sparta). The discussions of different sorts of love, which is far less a theme of this than Plato's, is reminiscent of Plato's in its ideal of a less sexual love, but does not have all the ideas of love of wisdom etc.Well worth a read, perhaps in conjunction with Plato's.
The best thing about this book was its brevity. I'm writing an essay on this book so I may post it here later, but I'll just say this was a group of sexist rich men talking a bunch of highfalutin nonsense about love who didn't know the first thing about it. Go home and observe your wives fellas and maybe you'll learn a thing or two if you can get off your high horse long enough to open your eyes to the everyday humble truths that surround you.
Interesants antīkās literatūras piemērs, kas ļauj iepazīt, kā sabiedrība atzīmēja svarīgus notikumus - šajā gadījumā tā ir uzvara spēka sacensībās - un rīkoja dzīres. Šo svinību galvenais tēls ir Sokrats, kurš dzīru dalībniekiem liek domāt ne tikai par miesiskām baudām, bet arī garīgiem prāta vingrinājumiem. Vērtīga lasāmviela no kultūrvēsturiskā viedokļa.
Socrates is hilarious.
Not very interesting.