IOLÄUS: AN ANTHOLOGY OF FRIENDSHIP
Greece and Rome
The full text of IOLÄUS is available.
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[Introduction: Edward Carpenter's Ioläus is
an attempt to provide a historical context for male friendship.
One should not be misled, however. Carpenter, one of the earliest
English homosexual activists, is writing about homosexual relationships
and trying to provide a historical grounding for them. As such
his work is of interest not only for its references, but also
as evidence of the strategies of the early gay movement .]
I: FRIENDSHIP-CUSTOMS IN THF. PAGAN
AND EARLY WORLD
WITH regard to Greece, J. Addington Symonds has some interesting
remarks, which are well worthy of consideration; he says:
" Nearly all the historians of Greece have failed to insist
upon the fact that fraternity in arms played for the Greek race
the same part as the idealization of women for the knighthood
of feudal Europe. Greek mythology and history are full of tales
of friendship, which can only be paralleled by the story of David
and Jonathan in the Bible. The legends of Herakles and Hylas,
of Theseus and Peirithous, of Apollo and Hyacinth, of Orestes
and Pylades, occur immediately to the mind. Among the noblest
patriots, tyrannicides, lawgivers, and self-devoted heroes in
the early times of Greece, we always find the names of friends
and comrades received with peculiar honor Harmodius and Aristogeiton,
who slew the despot Hipparchus at Athens; Diocles and Philolaus,
who gave laws to Thebes; Chariton and Melanippus, who resisted
the sway of Phalaris in Sicily; Cratinus and Aristodemus, who
devoted their lives to propitiate offended deities when a plague
had fallen on Athens; these comrades, staunch to each other in
their love, and elevated by friendship to the pitch of noblest
enthusiasm, were among the favorite saints of Greek legend and
history. In a word, the chivalry of Hellas found its motive force
in friendship rather than in the love of women; and the motive
force of all chivalry is a generous, soul-exalting, unselfish
passion. The fruit which friendship bore among the Greeks was
courage in the face of danger, indifference to life when honor
was at stake, patriotic ardor, the love of liberty, and lion-hearted
rivalry in battle. Tyrants,' said Plato, ' stand in awe of friends."'
Studies of the Greek Poets. By J. S. Symonds, Vol. I, p.
 THE customs connected with this fraternity in arms, in Sparta and in Crete, are described with care and at considerable
length in the following extract from Muller's History and Antiquities
of the Doric Race, book iv., ch. 4, par. 6:
" At Sparta the party loving was called eispnelas and
his affection was termed a breathing in, or inspiring (eispnein); which expresses the pure and mental connection
between the two persons, and corresponds with the name of the
other, viz.: aitas i.e., listener or hearer. Now it appears
to have been the practice for every youth of good character to
have his lover; and on the other hand every well-educated man
was bound by custom to be the lover of some youth. Instances of
this connection are furnished by several of the royal family of
Sparta; thus, Agesilaus, while he still belonged to the herd (agele)
of youths, was the hearer (aitas) of Lysander, and himself
had in his turn also a hearer; his son Archidamus was the lover
of the son of Sphodrias, the noble Cleonymus; Cleomenes III was
when a young man the hearer of Xenares, and later in life the
lover of the brave Panteus. The connection usually originated
from the proposal of the lover; yet it was necessary that the
listener should accept him with real affection, as a regard to
the riches of the proposer was consid ered very disgraceful; sometimes,
however, it  happened that the proposal originated from the
other party. The connection appears to have been very intimate
and faithful; and was recognized by the State. If his relations
were absent. the youth might be represented in the public assembly
by his lover; in battle too they stood near one another, where
their fidelity and affection were often shown till death; while
at home the youth was constantly under the eyes of his lover,
who was to him as it were a model and pattern of life; which explains
why, for many faults, particularly want of ambition, the lover
could be punished instead of the listener."
"This ancient national custom prevailed with still greater
force in Crete; which island was hence by many persons considered
as the original seat of the connection in question. Here too it
was disgraceful for a well-educated youth to be without a lover;
and hence the party loved was termed Kleinos, the praised;
the lover being simply called philotor. It appears that
the youth was always carried away by force, the intention of the
ravisher being previously communicated to the relations, who,
however, took no measures of precaution and only made a feigned
resistance; except when the ravisher appeared, either in family
or talent, unworthy of the youth. The lover then led him away
to his apartment (andreion), and afterwards, with any chance
companions, either to the mountains or to his estate. Here they
remained two months (the period prescribed by custom), which 
were passed chiefiy in hunting together. After this time had expired,
the lover dismissed the youth, and at his departure gave him,
according to custom, an ox, a military dress, and brazen cup,
with other things; and frequently these gifts were increased by
the friends of the ravisher. The youth then sacrificed the ox
to Jupiter, with which he gave a feast to his companions: and
now he stated how he had been pleased with his lover; and he had
complete liberty by law to punish any insult or disgraceful treatment.
It depended now on the choice of the youth whether the connection
should be broken off or not. If it was kept up, the companion
in arms (parastates), as the youth was then called, wore
the military dress which had been given him, and fought in battle
next his lover, inspired with double valor by the gods of war
and love, according to the notions of the Cretans; and even in
man's age he was distinguished by the first place and rank in
the course, and certain insignia worn about the body.
" Institutions, so systematic and regular as these, did not
exist in any Doric State except Crete and Sparta; but the feelings
on which they were founded seem to have been common to all the
Dorians. The loves of Philolaus, a Corinthian of the family of
the Bacchiadae, and the lawgiver of Thebes, and of Diocles the
Olympic conqueror, lasted until death; and even their graves were
turned towards one another in token of their affection; and another
person of the same name was  honored in Megara, as a noble
instance of self-devotion for the object of his love."
For an account of Philolaus and Diocles, Aristotle (Pol.
ii. 9) may be referred to. The second Diocles was an Athenian
who died in battle for the youth he loved.
" His tomb was honored with the enagismata of heroes,
and a yearly contest for skill in kissing formed part of his memorial
J. A Symonds" A Problem in Greek Ethies, privately
printed, 1883; see also Theocritus, Idyll xii. infra.
HAHN, in his Albanesische Studien, says that the Dorian
customs of comradeship still flourish in Albania "
just as described by the ancients," and are closely entwined
with the whole life of the people-though he says nothing of any
military signification. It appears to be a quite recognized institution
for a young man to take to himself a youth or boy as his special
comrade. He instructs, and when necessary reproves, the younger;
protects him, and makes him presents of various kinds. The relation
generally, though not always ends with the marriage of the elder.
The following is reported by Hahn as in the actual words of his
informant (an Albanian):
 "Love of this kind is occasioned by the sight of a beautiful
youth; who thus kindles in the lover a feeling of wonder and causes
his heart to open to the sweet sense which springs from the contemplation
of beauty. By degrees love steals in and takes possession of the
lover, and to such a degree that all his thoughts and feelings
are absorbed in it. When near the beloved he loses himself in
the sight of him; when absent he thinks of him only." These
loves, he continued, " are with a few exceptions as pure
as sunshine, and the highest and noblest affections that the human
heart can entertain."
Hahn, vol. I, p. 166.
Hahn also mentions that troops of youths, like the Cretan and
Spartan agelae, are formed in Albania, of twenty-five or thirty
members each. The comradeship usually begins during adolescence,
each member paying a fixed sum into a common fund, and the interest
being spent on two or three annual feasts, generally held out
THE Sacred Band of Thebes, or Theban Band, was a battalion
composed entirely of friends and lovers; and forms a remarkable
example of military comradeship. The references to it in later
Greek literature are very numerous, and there seems no reason
to doubt the general truth of the traditions concerning its formation
and its complete annihilation by Philip of Macedon at the
battle of Chaeronea (B.C. 338). Thebes was the last stronghold
of Hellenic independence, and with the Theban Band Greek freedom
perished. But the mere existence of this phalanx, and the fact
of its renown, show to what an extent comradeship was recognized
and prized as an institution among these peoples. The following
account is taken from Plutarch's Life of Pelopidas, Clough's translation:
" Gorgidas, according to some, first formed the Sacred Band
of 300 chosen men, to whom as being a guard for the citadel the
State allowed provision, and all things necessary for exercise;
and hence they were called the city band, as citadels of old were
usually called cities. Others say that it was composed of young
men attached to each other by personal affection, and a pleasant
saying of Pammenes is current, that Homer's Nestor was not well
skilled in ordering an army, when he advised the Greeks to rank
tribe and tribe, and family and family, together, that so 'tribe
might tribe, and kinsmen kinsmen aid,' but that he should have
joined lovers and their beloved. For men of the same tribe or
family little value one another when dangers press; but a band
cemented together by friendship grounded upon love is never to
be broken, and invincible: since  the lovers, ashamed to be
base in sight of their beloved, and the beloved before their lovers,
willingly rush into danger for the relief of one another. Nor
can that be wondered at since they have more regard for their
absent lovers than for others present; as in the instance of the
man who, when his enemy was going to kill him, earnestly requested
him to run him through the breast, that his lover might not blush
to see him wounded in the back. It is a tradition likewise that
Ioläus, who assisted Hercules in his labors and fought at
his side, was beloved of him; and Aristotle observes that even
in his time lovers plighted their faith at Ioläus' tomb.
It is likely, therefore, that this band was called sacred on this
account; as Plato calls a lover a divine friend. It is stated
that it was never beaten till the battle at Chaeronea; and when
Philip after the fight took a view of the slain, and came to the
place where the three hundred that fought his phalanx lay dead
together, he wondered, and understanding that it was the band
of lovers, he shed tears and said, ' Perish any man who suspects
that these men either did or suffered anything that was base.'
" It was not the disaster of Laius, as the poets imagine,
that first gave rise to this form of attachment among the Thebans,
but their law-givers, designing to soften whilst they were young
their natural fickleness, brought for example the pipe into great
esteem, both in serious and sportive  occasions, and gave
great encouragement to these friendships in the Palaestra, to
temper the manner and character of the youth. With a view to this,
they did well again to make Harmony, the daughter of Mars and
Venus, their tutelar deity; since where force and courage is joined
with gracefulness and winning behavior, a harmony ensues that
combines all the elements of society in perfect consonance and
" Gorgidas distributed this sacred Band all through the front
ranks of the infantry, and thus made their gallantry less conspicuous;
not being united in one body, but mingled with many others of
inferior resolution, they had no fair opportunity of showing what
they could do. But Pelopidas, having sufficiently tried their
bravery at Tegyrae, where they had fought alone, and around his
own person, never afterwards divided them, but keeping them entire,
and as one man, gave them the first duty in the greatest battles.
For as horses run brisker in a chariot than single, not that their
joint force divides the air with greater ease, but because being
matched one against another circulation kindles and enflames their
courage; thus, he thought, brave men, provoking one another to
noble actions, would prove most serviceable and most resolute
where all were united together."
 STORIES of romantic friendship form a staple subject of Greek
literature, and were everywhere accepted and prized. The following
quotations from Athenaeus and Plutarch contain allusions to the
Theban Band, and other examples:
" And the Lacedaemonians offer sacrifices to Love before
they go to battle, thinking that safety and victory depend on
the friendship of those who stand side by side in the battle array....
And the regiment among the Thebans, which is called the Sacred
Band, is wholly composed of mutual lovers, indicating the majesty
of the God, as these men prefer a glorious death to a shameful
and discreditable life."
Athenaeus, bk. xiii., ch. 12.
Ioläus, above-mentioned, is said to have been the charioteer
of Hercules, and his faithful companion. As the comrade of Hercules
he was worshipped beside him in Thebes, where the gymnasium was
named after him. Plutarch alludes to this friendship again in
his treatise on Love (Eroticus, par. 17)
" And as to the loves of Hercules, it is difficult to record
them because of their number; but those who think that Ioläus
was one of them do to this day worship and honor him, and make
their loved ones swear fidelity at his tomb."
And in the same treatise:
" Consider also how love (Eros) excels in warlike feats,
and is by no means idle, as Euripides called him, nor a carpet
knight, nor ' sleeping on soft maidens' cheeks.' For a man inspired
by Love needs not Ares to help him when he goes out as a warrior
against the enemy, but at the bidding of his own god is ' ready
' for his friend ' to go through fire and water and whirlwinds.'
And in Sophocles' play, when the sons of Niobe are being shot
at and dying, one of them calls out for no helper or assister
but his lover.
" And you know of course how it was that Cleomachus, the
Pharsalian, fell in battle.... When the war between the Eretrians
and Chalcidians was at its height, Cleomachus had come to aid
the latter with a Thessalian force; and the Chalcidian infantry
seemed strong enough, but they had great difficulty in repelling
the enemy's cavalry. So they begged that high-souled hero, Cleomachus,
to charge the Eretrian cavalry first. And he asked the youth he
loved, who was by, if he would be a spectator of the fight, and
he saying he would, and affectionately kissing him and putting
his helmet on his head, Cleomachus, wlth a proud joy, put himself
at the head of the bravest of the Thessalians, and charged the
enemy's cavalry with such impetuosity that he threw them into
disorder and routed them; and the Eretrian infantry also fleeing
in consequence, the Chalcidians won a splendid  victory. However,
Cleomachus got killed, and they show his tomb in the market place
at Chalcis, over which a huge pillar stands to this day."
Eroticus, par. 17, trans. Bohn's Classics.
And further on in the same:
" And among you Thebans, Pemptides, is it not usual for the
lover to give his boylove a complete suit of armor when he is
enrolled among the men ? And did not the erotic Pammenes change
the disposition of the heavy-armed infantry, censuring Homer as
knowing nothing about love, because he drew up the Achaeans in
order of battle in tribes and clans, and did not put lover and
love together, that so ' spear should be next to spear and helmet
to helmet' (lliad, xiii. 131), seeing that love is the only invincible
general. For men in battle will leave in the lurch clansmen and
friends, aye, and parents and sons, but what warrior ever broke
through or charged through lover and love, seeing that when there
is no necessity lovers frequently display their bravery and contempt
THE following is from the Deipnosophists of Athenaus (bk.
xiii., ch. 78):-
" But Hieronymus the peripatetic says that the loves of youths
used to be much encouraged, for this reason, that the vigor of
the young and their close agreement in comradeship have led to
the overthrow of many a tyranny. For in the  presence of his
favorite a lover would rather endure anything than earn the name
of coward; a thing which was proved in practice by the Sacred
Band, established at Thebes under Epaminondas; as well as by the
death of the Pisistratid, which was brought about by Harmodius
"And at Agrigentum in Sicily the same was shown by the mutual
love of Chariton and Melanippus-of whom Melanippus was the younger
beloved, as Heraclides of Pontus tells in his Treatise on Love.
For these two having been accused of plotting against Phalaris,
and being put to torture in order to force them to betray their
accomplices, not only did not tell, but even compelled Phalaris
to such pity of their tortures that he released them with many
words of praise. Whereupon Apollo, pleased at his conduct, granted
to Phalaris a respite from death; and declared the same to the
men who inquired of the Pythian priestess how they might best
attack him. He also gave an oracular saying concerning Chariton.
' Blessed indeed was Chariton and Melanippus, Pioneers of Godhead,
and of mortals the one most beloved (*)"'
*This curious oracle seems purposely to confuse the singular
Epaminondas, the great Theban general and statesman, so
we are told by the same author, had  for his young comrades
Asopichus and Cephisodorus, " the latter of whom fell with
him at Mantineia, and is buried near him."
THESE are mainly instances of what might be called "military
comradeship," but as may be supposed, friendship in the early
world did not rest on this alone. With the growth of culture other
interests came in; and among the Greeks especially association
in the pursuit of art or politics or philosophy became a common
ground. Parmenides, the philosopher, whose life was held
peculiarly holy, loved his pupil Zeno (see Plato Parm,
" Parmenides and Zeno came to Athens, he said, at the great
Panathenaean festival; the former was, at the time of his visit,
about 65 years old, very white with age, but well-favored. Zeno
was nearly 40 years of age, of a noble figure and fair aspect;
and in the days of his youth he was reported to have been beloved
Pheidias, the sculptor, loved Pantarkes, a youth of Elis,
and carved his portrait at the foot of the Olympian Zeus (Pausanias
v. II)~ and politicians and orators like Demosthenes and Aischines
were proud to avow their attachment. It was in a  house of
ill-fame, according to Diogenes Laertius (ii. 105) that Socrates
first met Phaedo:
" This unfortunate youth was a native of Elis. Taken prisoner
in war, he was sold in the public market to a slave dealer, who
then acquired the right by Attic law to engross his earnings for
his own pocket. A friend of Socrates, perhaps Cebes, bought him
from hls master, and he became one of the chief members of the
Socratic circle. His name is given to the Platonic dialogue on
immortality, and he lived to found what is called the Eleo-Socratic
School. No reader of Plato forgets how the sage on the eve of
his death stroked the beautiful long hair of Phaedo, and prophesied
that he would soon have to cut it short in mourning for his teacher."
J. A. Symonds, A Problem in Greek Ethics, p. 58.
The relation of friendship to the pursuit of philosophy is a favourite
subject with Plato, and is illustrated by some later quotations
(see infra ch. 2).
I CONCLUDE the present section by the insertion of three stories
taken from classical sources. Though of a legendary character,
it is probable that they enshrine some memory or tradition of
actual facts. The story of Harmodius  and Aristogeiton at
any rate is treated by Herodotus and Thucydides as a matter of
serious history. The names of these two friends were ever on the
lips of the Athenians as the founders of the city's freedom, and
to be born of their blood was esteemed among the highest of honors.
But whether historical or not, these stories have much he same
value for us, in so far as they indicate he ideals on which the
Greek mind dwelt, and which it considered possible of realization.
Harmodius and Aristogeiton
" Now the attempt of Aristogeiton and Harmodius arose out
of a love affair, which I will narrate at length; and the narrative
will show that he Athenians themselves give quite an inaccurate
account of their own tyrants, and of the incident in question,
and know no more than other Hellenes. Pisistratus died at an advanced
age in possession of the tyranny, and then, not as is the common
opinion Hipparchus, but Hippias (who was the eldest of his sons)
succeeded to his power.
" Harmodius was in the flower of his youth, and Aristogeiton,
a citizen of the middle class, became his lover. Hipparchus made
an attempt to gain the affections of Harmodius, but he would not
listen to him, and told Aristogeiton. The latter was naturally
tormented at the idea, and fearing that Hipparchus, who was powerful,
would resort to violence, at once formed such a plot as a man
in his station might for the overthrow of the  tyranny. Meanwhile
Hipparchus made another attempt; he had no better success, and
thereupon he determined, not indeed to take any violent step,
but to insult Harmodius in some underhand manner, so that his
motive could not be suspected. [Digression in praise of the
political administration of the Pisistratids.].
" When Hipparchus found his advances repelled by Harmodius
he carried out his intention of insultmg him. There was a young
sister of his whom Hipparchus and his friends first invited to
come and carry a sacred basket in a procession, and then rejected
her, declaring that she had never been invited by them at all
because she was unworthy. At this Harmodius was very angry, and
Aristogeiton for his sake more angry still. They and the other
conspirators had already laid their preparations, but were waiting
for the festival of the great Panathenasa, when the citizens who
took part in the procession assembled in arms; for to wear arms
on any other day would have aroused suspicion. Harmodius and Aristogeiton
were to begin the attack, and the rest were immediately to join
in, and engage with the guards. The plot had been communicated
to a few only, the better to avoid detection; but they hoped that,
however few struck the blow, the crowd who would be armed, although
not in the secret, would at once rise and assist in the recovery
of their own liberties.
" The day of the festival arrived, and Hippias went out of
the city to the place called the  Ceramicus, where he was
occupied with his guards in marshalling the procession. Harmodius
and Aristogeiton, who were ready with their daggers, stepped forward
to do the deed. But seeing one of ,he conspirators in familiar
conversation with Hippias, who was readily accessible to all,
they took alarm and imagined that they had been betrayed, and
were on the point of being seized. Whereupon they determined to
take their revenge first on the man who had outraged them and
was the cause of their desperate attempt. So they rushed, just
as they were, within the gates. They found Hipparchus near the
Leocorium, as it was called, and then and there falling upon him
with all the blind fury, one of an injured lover, the other of
a man smarting under an insult, they smote and slew him. The crowd
ran together, and so Aristogeiton for the present escaped the
guards; but he was afterwards taken, and not very gently handled
( i.e., tortured ) . Harmodius perished on the spot."
Thuc: vi. 54-56, trans. by B. Fowett.
Orestes and Pylades
" Phocis preserves from early times the memory of the union
between Orestes and Pylades, who taking a god as witness of the
passion between them, sailed through life together as though in
one boat. Both together put to death Klytemnestra, as though both
were sons of Agamemnon; and Egisthus was slain by both. Pylades
suffered more than his friend by the punishment which pursued
Orestes. He stood by him when condemned, nor did they limit their
tender friendship by the  bounds of Greece, but sailed to
the furthest boundaries of the Scythians-the one sick, the other
ministering to him. When they had come into the Tauric land straightway
they were met by the matricidal fury; and while the barbarians
were standing round In a circle Orestes fell down and lay on the
ground, seized by his usual mania, while Pylades 'wiped away the
foam, tended his body, and covered him with his well-woven cloak
'-acting not only like a lover but like a father.
" When it was determined that one should remain to be put
to death, and the other should go to Mycenae to convey a letter,
each wishes to remain for the sake of the other, thinking that
if he saves the life of his friend he saves his own life. Orestes
refused to take the letter, saying that Pylades was more worthy
to carry it, acting more like the lover than the beloved. ' For,'
he said, ' the slaying of this man would be a great grief to me,
as I am the cause of these misfortunes.' And he added, ' Give
the tablet to him, for (turning to Pylades) I will send thee to
Argos, in order that it may be well with thee; as for me, let
any one kill me who desires it.'
" Such love is always like that; for when from boyhood a
serious love has grown up and it becomes adult at the age of reason,
the long-loved object returns reciprocal affection, and it is
hard to determine which is the lover of which, for - as from a
mirrr0r-the affertion of the lrover is  reflected from the
Trans. from Lucian's Amores, by W. J. Baylis.
Damon and Pythias
" Damon and Phintias, initiates in the Pythagorean mysteries,
contracted so faithful a friendship towards each other, that when
Dionysius of Syracuse intended to execute one of them, and he
had obtained permission from the tyrant to return home and arrange
his affairs before his death, the other did not hesitate to give
himself up as a pledge of his friend's return.[For the two
men lived together, and had their possessions in common., Iamblichus.
de Vita Pythgore, bk. i. ch. 33] He whose neck had been in danger
was now free; and he who might have lived in safety was now in
danger of death. So everybody, and especially Dionysius, were
wondering what would be the upshot of this novel and dubious affair.
At last, when the day fixed was close at hand, and he had not
returned, every one condemned the one who stood security, for
his stupidity and rashness. But he insisted that he had nothing
to fear in the matter of his friend's constancy. And indeed at
the same moment and the hour fixed by Dionysius, he who had received
leave, returned. The tyrant, admiring the courage of both, remitted
the sentence which had so tried their loyalty, and asked them
besides to receive him in the bonds of their friendship, saying
that he would make his third place in their affection agreeable
by his utmost goodwill and effort. Such indeed are the powers
of friendship: to breed contempt of death, to overcome the sweet
 desire of life, to humanize cruelty, to turn hate into love,
to compensate punishment by largess; to which powers almost as
much veneration is due as to the cult of the immortal gods. For
if with these rests the public safety, on those does private happiness
deDend; and as the temples are the sacred domiciles of these,
so of those are the loyal hearts of men as it were the shrines
consecrated by some holy spirit."
Valerius Maximus, bk. iv. ch. 7. De Amicitiae Vinculo.
II THE PLACE OF FRIENDSHIP IN GREEK
LIFE AND THOUGHT
 THE extent to which the idea of friendship (in a quite romantic
sense) penetrated the Greek mind is a thing very difficult for
us to realize; and some modern critics entirely miss this point.
They laud the Greek culture to the skies, extolling the warlike
bravery of the people, their enthusiastic political and social
sentiment, their wonderful artistic sense, and so forth; and at
the same time speak of the stress they laid on friendship as a
little peculiarity of no particular importance-not seeing that
the latter was the chief source of their bravery and independence,
one of the main motives of their art, and so far an organic part
of their whole polity that it is difficult to imagine the one
without the other. The Greeks themselves never made this mistake;
and their literature abounds with references to the romantic attachment
as the great inspiration of political and individual life. Plato,
himself, may almost be said to have founded his philosophy on
Nothing is more surprising to the modern than  to find Plato
speaking, page after page, of Love, as the safeguard of states
and the tutoress of philosophy, and then to discover that what
we call love, i.e., the love between man and woman, is not meant
at all-scarcely comes within his consideration-but only the love
between men what we should call romantic friendship. His ideal
of this latter love is ascetic; it is an absorbing passion, but
it is held in strong control. The other love-the love of women-is
for him a mere sensuality. In this, to some extent, lies the explanation
of his philosophical position.
But it is evident that in this fact-in the fact that among the
Greeks the love of women was considered for the most part sensual,
while the romance of love went to the account of friendship, we
have the strength and the weakness of the Greek civilization.
Strength, because by the recognition everywhere of romantic comradeship,
public and private life was filled by a kind of divine fire; weakness,
because by the non-recognition of woman's equal part in such comradeship,
her saving, healing, and redeeming influence was lost, and the
Greek culture doomed to be to that extent one-sided. It will,
we may hope, be the great triumph of the modern love (when it
becomes more  of a true comradeship between man and woman
than it yet is) to give both to society and to the individual
the grandest inspirations, and perhaps in conjunction with the
other attachment, to lift the modern nations to a higher level
of political and artistic advancement than even the Greeks attained.
BISHOP THIRLWALL, that excellent thinker and scholar, in his History
of Greece (vol. I, p. 176) says:
" One of the noblest and most amiable sides of the Greek
character is the readiness with which it lent itself to construct
intimate and durable friendships; and this is a feature no less
prominent in the earliest than in the latest times. It was indeed
connected with the comparatively low estimation in which female
society was held; but the devotedness and constancy with which
these attachments were maintained was not the less admirable and
engaging. The heroic companions whom we find celebrated, partly
by Homer and partly in traditions, which if not of equal antiquity
were grounded on the same feeling, seem to have but one heart
and soul, with scarcely a wish or object apart, and only to live,
as they are always ready to die, for one another. It is true that
the relation between them is not always one of perfect equality:
but this is a circumstance which, while it  often adds a peculiar
charm to the poetical description, detracts little from the dignity
of the idea which it presents. Such were the friendships of Hercules
and Ioläus, of Theseus and Pirithöus, of Orestes and
Pylades: and though these may owe the greater part of their fame
to the later epic or even dramatic poetry, the moral groundwork
undoubtedly subsisted in the period to which the tradition referred.
The argument of the Iliad mainly turns on the affection of Achilles
for Patroclus-whose love for the greater hero is only tempered
by reverence for his higher birth and his unequalled prowess.
But the mutual regard which united Idomeneus and Meriones, Diomedes
and Sthenelus - though, as the persons themselves are less important,
it is kept more in the background - is manifestly viewed by the
poet in the same light. The idea of a Greek hero seems not to
have been thought complete, without such a brother in arms by
The following is from Ludwig Frey (Der Eros und die Kunst,
p. 33 ):-
" Let it then be repeated: love for a youth was for the Greeks
something sacred, and can only be compared with our German homage
to womensay the chivalric love of mediaeval times."
 GLOWES DICKINSON, in his Greek View of Life, noting
the absence of romance in the relations between men and women
of that civilization, says:
"Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to conclude, from these
conditions, that the element of romance was absent from Greek
life. The fact is simply that with them it took a different form,
that of passionate friendship between men. Such friendships, of
course, occur in all nations and at all times, but among the Greeks
they were, we might say, an institution. Their ideal was the development
and education of the younger by the older man, and in this view
they were recognized and approved by custom and law as an important
factor in the state."
Greek View of Life, p. 167.
" So much indeed were the Greeks impressed with the manliness
of this passion, with its power to prompt to high thought and
heroic action, that some of the best of them set the love of man
for man far above that of man for woman. The one, they maintained,
was primarily of the spirit, the other primarily of the flesh;
the one bent upon shaping to the type of all manly excellence
both the body and the soul of the beloved, the other upon a passing
pleasure of the senses."
The following are some remarks of J. A. Symonds on the same subject:-
 "Partly owing to the social habits of their cities,
and partly to the peculiar notions which they entertained regarding
the seclusion of free women in the home, all the higher elements
of spiritual and mental activity, and the conditions under which
a generous passion was conceivable, had become the exclusive privileges
of men. It was not that women occupied a semi-servile station,
as some students have imagined, or that within the sphere of the
household they were not the respected and trusted helpmates of
men. But circumstances rendered it impossible for them to excite
romantic and enthusiastic passion. The exaltation of the emotions
was reserved for the male sex."
A Problem in Greek Ethics, p. 68.
And he continues:
"Socrates therefore sought to direct and moralize a force
already existing. In the Phaedrus he describes the passion
of love between man and boy as a ' mania,' not different in quality
from that which inspires poets; and after painting that fervid
picture of the lover, he declares that the true object of a noble
life can onlv be attained by passionate friends, bound together
in the chains of close yet temperate comradeship, seeking always
to advance in knowledge, self-restraint, and intellectual illumination.
The doctrine of the Symposium is not different, except
that Socrates here takes a higher flight. The same love is treated
as the method whereby the soul may begin her mystic  journey
to the region of essential beauty, truth, and goodness. It has
frequently been remarked that Plato's dialogues have to be read
as poems even more than as philosophical treatises; and if this
be true at all, it is particularly true of both the Phaedrus and the Symposium. The lesson which both essays seem intended
to inculcate, is this: love, like poetry and prophecy, is a divine
gift, which diverts men from the common current of their lives;
but in the right use of this gift lies the secret of all human
excellence. The passion which grovels in the filth of sensual
grossness may be transformed into a glorious enthusiasm, a winged
splendor, capable of soaring to the contemplation of eternal verities."
IN the Symposium or Banquet of Plato (B.C. 428-B.C.
347), a supper party is supposed, at which a discussion on love
and friendship takes place. The friends present speak in turn-the
enthusiastic Phaedrus, the clear-headed Pausanias, the grave doctor
Eryximachus, the comic and acute Aristophanes, the young poet
Agathon; Socrates, tantalizing, suggestive, and quoting the profound
sayings of the prophetess Diotima; and Alcibiades, drunk, and
quite ready to drink more;-each in his turn, out of the fulness
of his heart, speaks; and thus in this most dramatic dialogue
we have love discussed from every point of view. and with 
insight, acumen, romance and humor unrivalled.
Phaedrus and Pausanias, in the two following quotations, take
the line which perhaps most thoroughly represents the public opinion
of the day as to the value of friendship in nurturing a spirit
of honor and freedom, especially in matters military and political:
Speech of Phaedrus
"Thus numerous are the witnesses who acknowledge love to
be the eldest of the gods. And not only is he the eldest, he is
also the source of the greatest benefits to us. For I know not
any greater blessing to a young man beginning life than a virtuous
lover, or to the lover than a beloved youth. For the principle
which ought to be the guide of men who would nobly live-that principle,
I say, neither kindred, nor honor, nor wealth, nor any other motive
is able to implant so well as love. Of what am I speaking? of
the sense of honor and dishonor, without which neither states
nor individuals ever do any good or great work. And I say that
a lover who is detected in doing any dishonorable act, or submitting
through cowardice when any dishonor is done to him bv another,
will be more pained at being detected by his beloved than at being
seen by his father, or by his companions, or by any one else.
The beloved, too, when he is seen in any disgraceful situation,
has the same feeling about his lover. 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 dishonor, and emulating
one another in honor; and when fighting at one another's side,
although 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 who 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."
Symposium of Plato, trans. B. Fowett.
Speech of Pausanais
" In Ionia and other places, and generally in countries which
are subject to the barbarians, the custom is held to be dishonorable;
loves of youths share the evil repute of philosophy and gymnastics,
because they are inimical to tyranny; for the interests of rulers
require that their subjects should be poor in spirit, and that
there should be no strong bond of friendship or society among
them, which love above all other motives is likely to inspire,
as our Athenian tyrants learned by experience."
 ARISTOPHANES goes more deeply into the nature of this love
of which they are speaking. He says it is a profound reality-a
deep and intimate union, abiding after death, and making of the
lovers "one departed soul instead of two." But in order
to explain his allusion to " the other half " it must
be premised that in the earlier part of his speech he has in a
serio-comic vein pretended that human beings were originally constructed
double, with four legs, four arms, etc.; but that as a punishment
for their sins Zeus divided them perpendicularly, " as folk
cut eggs before they salt them," the males into two parts,
the females into two, and the hermaphrodites likewise into two-since
when, these divided people have ever pursued their lost halves,
and " thrown their arms around and embraced each other, seeking
to grow together again." And so, speaking of those who were
originally males, he says:
Speech of Aristophanes
" And these when they grow up are our statesmen, and these
only, which is a great proof of the truth of what I am saying.
And when they reach manhood they are lovers of youth, and are
not naturally inclined to marry or beget children, which they
do, if at all, only in obedience to the law, but they are satisfied
if they may be allowed to live with one another unwedded; and
such a nature is prone to love and ready to return love, always
embracing that which is akin to him. And when one of them finds
his other half, 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 one will not be out of the other's sight, as
I may say, even for a moment: they will pass their whole lives
together; yet they could not explain what they desire of one another.
For the intense yearning that each of them has towards the other
does not appear to be the desire of lovers' intercourse, but of
something else which the soul of either evidently desires and
cannot tell, and of which she only has a dark and doubtful presentiment.
Suppose Hephaestus, with his instruments, to come to the pair
who are lying side by side and say to them, ' What do you people
want of one another?' they would be unable to explain. And suppose
further that when he saw their perplexity he said: ' Do you desire
to be wholly one; always day and night to be in one another's
company? for if this is what vou desire, I am ready to melt you
into one and let you grow together, so that being two you shall
become one, and while you live, live a common life as if you were
a single man, and after your death in the world below still be
one departed soul instead of two-I ask whether this is what you
lovingly desire, and whether you are satisfied to attain this?'-there
is not a man of them who when he heard the proposal would deny
or would not  acknowledge that this meeting and melting in
one another's arms, this becoming one instead of two, was the
very expression of his ancient need."
SOCRATES, in his speech, and especially in the later portion of
it where he quotes his supposed tutoress Diotima, carries the
argument up to its highest issue. After contending for the essentially
creative, generative nature of love, not only in the Body but
in the Soul, he proceeds to say that it is not so much the seeking
of a lost half which causes the creative impulse in lovers, as
the fact that in our mortal friends we are contemplating (though
unconsciously) an image of the Essential and Divine Beauty; it
is this that affects us with that wonderful " mania,"
and lifts us into the region where we become creators. And he
follows on to the conclusion that it is by wisely and truly loving
our visible friends that at last, after long, long experience,
there dawns upon us the vision of that Absolute Beauty which by
mortal eyes must ever remain unseen:
Speech of Socrates
" He who has been instructed thus far in the things of love,
and who has learned to see the beautiful in due order and succession,
when he comes towards the end will suddenly perceive a  nature
of wondrous beauty . . . beauty absolute, separate, simple and
everlasting, which without diminution and without increase, or
any change, is imparted to the evergrowing and perishing beauties
of all other things. He who, from these ascending under the influence
of true love, begins to perceive that beauty, is not far from
This is indeed the culmination, for Plato, of all existence-the
ascent into the presence of that endless Beauty of which all fair
mortal things are but the mirrors. But to condense this great
speech of Socrates is impossible; only to persistent and careful
reading (if even then) will it yield up all its treasures.
IN the dialogue named Phaedrus the same idea is worked
out, only to some extent in reverse order. As in the Symposium the lover by rightly loving at last rises to the vision of the
Supreme Beauty; so in the Phzdrus it is explained that in reality
every soul has at some time seen that Vision (at the time, namely,
of its true initiation, when it was indeed winged)-but has forgotten
it; and that it is the dim reminiscence of that Vision, constantly
working within us, which guides us to our earthlv loves and renders
their effect  upon us so transporting. Long ago, in some other
condition of being, we saw Beauty herself:
"But of beauty, I repeat again that we saw her there shining
in company with the celestial forms; and coming to earth we find
her here too, shining in clearness through the clearest aperture
of sense. For sight is the keenest of our bodily senses; though
not by that is wisdom seen; her loveliness would have been transporting
if there had been a visible image of her, and the same is true
of the loveliness of the other ideas as well. But this is the
privilege of beauty, that she is the loveliest and also the most
palpable to sight. Now he who is not newly initiated, or who has
become corrupted, does not easily rise out of this world to the
sight of true beauty in the other; he looks only at her earthly
namesake, and instead of being awed at the sight of her, like
a brutish beast he rushes on to enjoy and beget; he consorts with
wantonness, and is not afraid or ashamed of pursuing pleasure
in violation of nature. But he whose initiation is recent, and
who has been the spectator of many glories in the other world,
is amazed when he sees any one having a god-like face or form,
which is the expression of Divine Beauty; and at first a shudder
runs through him, and again the old awe steals over him; then
looking upon the face of his beloved as of a god he reverences
him, and if he were not afraid ot being  thought a downright
madman, he would sacrifice to his beloved as to the image of a
The Phaedrus of Plato, trans. B. Fowett.
"And so the beloved who, like a god, has received every true
and loyal service from his lover, not in pretence but in reality,
being also himself of a nature friendly to his admirer, if in
former days he has blushed to own his passion and turned away
his lover, because his youthful companions or others slanderously
told him that he would be disgraced, now as years advance, at
the appointed age and time, is led to receive him into communion.
For fate which has ordained that there shall be no friendship
among the evil has also ordained that there shall ever be friendship
among the good And when he has received him into communion and
intimacy, then the beloved is amazed at the goodwill of the lover;
he recognizes that the inspired friend is worth all other friendships
or kinships, which have nothing of friendship in them in comparison.
And when this feeling continues and he is nearer to him and embraces
him, in gymnastic exercises and at other times of meeting, then
does the fountain of that stream, which Zeus when he was in love
with Ganymede named desire, overflow upon the lover, and some
enters into his soul and some when he is filled flows out again;
and as a breeze or an echo rebounds from the smooth rocks and
returns whence it came, so does the  stream of beauty, passing
the eyes which are the natural doors and windows of the soul,
return again to the beautiful one; there arriving and quickening
the passages of the wings, watering them and inclining them to
grow, and filling the snul of the beloved also with love."
For Plato the real power which ever moves the soul is this reminiscence
of the Beauty which exists before all worlds. In the actual world
the soul lives but in anguish, an exile from her true home; but
in the presence of her friend, who reveals the Divine, she is
loosed from her suffering and comes to her haven of rest.
"And wherever she [the soul] thinks that she will behold
the beautiful one, thither in her desire she runs. And when she
has seen him, and bathed herself with the waters of desire, her
constraint is loosened, and she is refreshed, and has no more
pangs and pains; and this is the sweetest of all pleasures at
the time, and is the reason why the soul of the lover will never
forsake his beautiful one, whom he esteems above all; he has forgotten
mother and brethren and companions, and he thinks nothing of the
neglect and loss of his property; the rules and proprieties of
life, on which he formerly prided himself, he now despises, and
is ready to sleep like a servant, wherever he is allowed, as near
as he can to his beautiful one, who  is not only the object
of his worship, but the only physician who can heal him in his
The Symposium of Xenophon
AT another time, in the Banquet of Xenophon, Socrates is
again made to speak at length on the subject of Love-though not
in so inspired a strain as in Plato:
"Truly, to speak for one, I never remember the time when
I was not in love; I know too that Charmides has had a great many
lovers, and being much beloved has loved again. As for Critobulus,
he is still of an age to love, and to be beloved; and Nicerates
too, who loves so passionately his wife, at least as report goes,
is equally beloved by her.... And as for you, Callias, you love,
as well as the rest of us; for who is it that is ignorant of your
love for Autolycus? It is the town-talk; and foreigners, as well
as our citizens, are acquainted with it. The reason for your loving
him, I believe to be that you are both born of illustrious families;
and at the same time are both possessed of personal qualities
that render you yet more illustrious. For me, I always admired
the sweetness and evenness of your temper; but much more when
I consider that your passion for Autolycus is placed on a person
who has nothing luxurious or affected in him; but in all things
shows a vigor and temperance worthy of a virtuous soul; which
is a proof at the same time  that if he is infinitely beloved,
he deserves to be so. I confess indeed I am not firmly persuaded
whether there be but one Venus or two, the celestial and the vulgar;
and it may be with this goddess, as with Jupiter, who has many
different names though there is still but one Jupiter. But I know
very well that both the Venuses have quite different altars, temples
and sacrifices. The vulgar Venus is worshipped after a common
negligent manner; whereas the celestial one is adored in purity
and sanctity of life. The vulgar inspires mankind with the love
of the body only, but the celestial fires the mind with the love
of the soul, with friendship, and a generous thirst after noble
actions.... Nor is it hard to prove, Callias, that gods and heroes
have always had more passion and esteem for the charms of the
soul, than those of the body: at least this seems to have been
the opinion of our ancient authors. For we may observe in the
fables of antiquity that Jupiter, who loved several mortals on
account of their personal beauty only, never conferred upon them
immortality. Whereas it was otherwise with Hercules, Castor, Pollux,
and several others; for having admired and applauded the greatness
of their courage and the beauty of their minds, he enrolled them
in the number of the gods.... You are then infinitely obliged
to the gods, Callias, who have inspired you with love and friendship
for Autolycus, as they have inspired Critobulus with the same
for Amandra; for real and pure  friendship knows no difference
Banquet of Xenophon # viii. (Bohn).
PLUTARCH, who wrote in the first century A.D. (nearly 500
years after Plato), carried on the tradition of his master, though
with an admixture of later influences; and philosophized about
friendship, on the basis of true love being a reminiscence.
" The rainbow is I suppose a reflection caused by the sun's
rays falling on a moist cloud, making us think the appearance
is in the cloud. Similarly erotic fancy in the case of noble souls
causes a reflection of the memory from things which here appear
and are called beautiful to what is really dlvine and lovely and
felicitous and wonderfut But most lovers pursuing and groping
after the semblance of beauty in youths and women, as in mirrors,
[cf. "For now we see by means of a mirror darkly (lit. enigmatically);
but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know
even as also I am known." I Cor. xiii. 12.] can derive nothing
more certain than pleasure mixed with pain. And this seems the
love-delirium of Ixion, who instead of the joy he desired embraced
only a cloud, as children who desire to take the rainbow into
their hands, clutching at whatever they see. But different is
the behavior of the noble and chaste lover: for he reflects on
the divine beauty that can only be felt, while he uses the beauty
of the visible body only  as an organ of the memory, though
he embraces it and loves it, and associating with it is still
more infiamed in mind. And so neither in the body do they sit
ever gazing at and desiring this light, nor after death do they
return to this world again, and skulk and loiter about the doors
and bedchambers of newly-married people, disagreeable ghosts of
pleasure-loving and sensual men and women, who do not rightly
deserve the name of lovers. For the true lover, when he has got
into the other world and associated with beauties as much as is
lawful, has wings and is initiated and passes his time above in
the presence of his Deity, dancing and waiting upon him, until
he goes back to the meadows of the Moon and Aphrodite, and sleeping
there commences a new existence. But this is a subject too high
for the present occasion."
Plutach: Eroticus # XX. trans. Bohn's Classics.
ARISTOTLE (Ethics, bk.viii.) says:
"Friendship is a thing most necessary to life, since without
friends no one would choose to live, though possessed of all other
advantages." . . . " Since then his own life is, to
a good man, a thing naturally sweet and ultimately desirable,
for a similar reason is the life of his friend agreeable to him,
and delightful merely on its own account, and without reference
to any object beyond it; and to live without friends is to be
destitute of a good, unconditioned, absolute, and in itself desirable;
 and therefore to be deprived of one of the most solid and
most substantial of all enjoyments."
" Being asked ' What is Friendship ? ' Aristotle replied,
'One soul in two bodies."'
EPAMINONDAS and Pelopidas, the Theban statesmen and generals,
were celebrated for their devotion to each other. In a battle
(B. C. 385) against the Arcadians, Epaminondas is said to have
saved his friend's life. Plutarch in his Life of Pelopidas relates
"Epaminondas and he were both born with the same dispositions
to all kinds of virtues, but Pelopidas took more pleasure in the
exercises of the body, and Epaminondas in the improvements of
the mind; so that they spent all their leisure time, the one in
hunting, and the pelestra, the other in learned conversation,
and the study of philosophy. But of all the famous actions for
which they are so much celebrated, the judicious part of mankind
reckon none so great and glorious as that strict friendship which
they inviolably preserved through the whole course of their lives,
in all the high posts they held, both military and civil.... For
being both in that battle, near one another in the infantry, and
fighting against the Arcadians, that wing of the Lacedaemonians
in which they were, gave way and was broken; which Pelopidas and
Epaminondas perceiving,  they joined their shields, and keeping
close together, bravely repulsed all that attacked them, till
at last Pelopidas, after receiving seven large wounds, fell upon
a heap of friends and enemies that lay dead together. Epaminondas,
though he believed him slain, advanced before him to defend his
body and arms, and for a long time maintained his ground against
great numbers of the Arcadians, being resolved to die rather than
desert his companion and leave him in the enemy's power; but being
wounded in his breast by a spear, and in his arm by a sword, he
was quite disabled and ready to fall, when Agesipolis, king of
the Spartans, came from the other wing to his relief, and beyond
all expectation saved both their lives."
POLEMON and Krates were followers of Plato in philosophy,
and in their time (about 300 B. C.) leaders of the Platonic School.
They were, according to Hesychius, devoted friends:
" Krates and Polemon loved each other so well that they not
only were occupied in life with the same work, but they almost
drew breath simultaneously; and in death they shared the same
grave. On account of which, Archesilaus, who visited them in company
with Theophrastus (a pupil of Aristotle), spoke of them as gods,
or survivors from the Golden Age."
 ALEXANDER, the great World-Conqueror, was born B.C.
356, and was King of Macedonia B. C. 336-323. His great favorite
was Hephaestion, who had been brought up and educated with him.
"When Hephaestion died at Ecbatana (in 324) Alexander placed
his weapons upon the funeral pyre, with gold and silver for the
dead man, and a robe-which last, among the Persians is a symbol
of great honor. He shore off his own hair, as in Homeric grief,
and behaved like the Achilles of Homer. Indeed he acted more violently
and passionately than the latter, for he caused the towers and
strongholds of Ecbatana to be demolished all round. As long as
he only dedicated his own hair, he was behaving, I think, like
a Greek; but when he laid hands on the very walls, Alexander was
already showing his grief in foreign fashion. Even in his clothing
he departed from ordinary custom, and gave himself up to his mood,
his love, and his tears."
Aelian's Varia Historia, vii, 8.
III: POETRY OF FRIENDSHIP AMONG GREEKS
 THE fact, already mentioned, that the romance of love among
the Greeks was chiefly felt towards male friends, naturally led
to their poetry being largely inspired by friendship; and Greek
literature contains such a great number of poems of this sort,
that I have thought it worth while to dedicate the main portion
of the following section to quotations from them. No translations
of course can do justice to the beauty of the originals, but the
few specimens given may help to illustrate the depth and tenderness
as well as the temperance and sobriety which on the whole characterized
Greek feeling on this subject, at any rate during the best period
of Hellenic culture. The remainder of the section is devoted to
Roman poetry of the time of the Caesars.
It is not always realized that the Iliad of Homer turns upon the
motive of friendship, but the extracts immediately following will
perhaps make this clear. E. F. M. Benecke in his Position of
Women in Greek Poetry ( p. 76 ) says of the Iliad:
 " It is a story of which the main motive is the love
of Achilles for Patroclus. This solution is astoundingly simple,
and yet it took me so long to bring myself to accept it that I
am quite ready to forgive any one who feels a similar hesitation.
But those who do accept it cannot fail to observe, on further
consideration, how thoroughly suitable a motive of this kind would
be in a national Greek epic. For this is the motive running through
the whole of Greek life, till that life was transmuted by the
influence of Macedonia. The lover-warriors Achilles and Patroclus
are the direct spiritual ancestors of the sacred Band of Thebans,
who died to a man on the field of Chaeronaea"
The following two quotations are from The Greek Poets by
J. A. Symonds, ch. iii., p. 80 et seq.:
" The Iliad therefore has for its whole subject the passion
of Acnilles-that ardent energy or menis of the hero which
displayed itself first as anger against Agamemnon, and afterwards
as love for the lost Patroclus. The truth of this was perceived
by one of the greatest poets and profoundest critics of the modern
world, Dante. When Dante, in the Inferno, wished to describe
Achilles, he wrote, with characteristic brevity:
"Achille/ Che per amore al fine combatteo."
("Achilles/ Who at the last was brought to fight by love.")
" In this pregnant sentence Dante sounded the whole depth
of the Iliad. The wrath of Achilles for Agamemnon, which prevented
him at first from fighting; the love of Achilles, passing the
love of women, for Patroclus, which induced him to forego his
anger and to fight at last; these are the two poles on which the
After his quarrel with Agamemnon, not even ail the losses of the
Greeks and the entreaties of Agamemnon himself will induce Achilles
to fight -not till Patroclus is slain by Hector-Patroclus, his
dear friend " whom above all my comrades I honored, even
as myself."Then he rises up, dons his armor, and driving
the Trojans before him revenges himself on the body of Hector.
But Patroclus lies yet unburied; and when the fighting is over,
to Achilles comes the ghost of his dead friend:
" The son of Peleus, by the shore of the roaring sea lay,
heavily groaning, surrounded by his Myrmidons; on a fair space
of sand he lay, where the waves lapped the beach. Then slumber
took him, loosing the cares of his heart, and mantling softly
around him, for sorelv wearied were his radiant limbs with driving
Hector on by windy  Troy. There to him came the soul of poor
Patroclus, in all things like himself, in stature, and in the
beauty of his eyes and voice, and on the form was raiment like
his own. He stood above the hero's head, and spake to him:
" Sleepest thou, and me hast thou forgotten, Achilles? Not
in my life wert thou neglectful of me, but in death. Bury me soon,
that I may pass the gates of Hades. Far off the souls, the shadows
of the dead, repel me, nor suffer me to join them on the river
bank; but, as it is, thus I roam around the wide-doored house
of Hades. But stretch to me thy hand I entreat; for never again
shall I return from Hades when once ye shall have given me the
meed of funeral fire. Nay, never shall we sit in life apart from
our dear comrades and take counsel together. But me hath hateful
fate enveloped-fate that was mine at the moment of my birth. And
for thyself, divine Achilles, it is doomed to die beneath the
noble Trojan's wall. Another thing I say to thee, and bid thee
do it if thou wilt obey me:-lay not my bones apart from thine,
Achilles, but lay them together; for we were brought up together
in your house, when Menetius brought me, a child, from Opus to
your house, because of woeful bloodshed on the day in which I
slew the son of Amphidamas, myself a child, not willing it but
in anger at our games. Then did the horseman, Peleus, take me,
and rear me in his house, and cause me to be called thy squire.
So then let one grave also hide  the bones of both of us,
the golden urn thy goddess-mother gave to thee.'
" Him answered swift-footed Achilles:
'Why, dearest and most honored, hast thou hither come, to lay
on me this thy behest? All things most certainly will I perform,
and bow to what thou biddest. But stand thou near: even for one
moment let us throw our arms upon each other's neck, and take
our fill of sorrowful wailing.'
" So spake he, and with his outstretched hands he clasped,
but could not seize. The spirit, earthward, like smoke, vanished
with a shriek. Then all astonished arose Achilles, and beat his
palms together, and spake a piteous word:
" ' Heavens ! is there then, among the dead, soul and the
shade of life, but thought is theirs no more at all? For through
the night the soul of poor Patroclus stood above my head, wailing
and sorrowing loud, and bade me do his will; it was the very semblance
" So spake he, and in the hearts of all of them he raised
desire of lamentation; and while they were yet mourning, to them
appeared rose-fingered dawn about the piteous corpse."
Iliad, xxiii. 59 et seq.
PLATO in the Symposium dwells tenderly on this relation between
Achilles and Patroclus:-
 [And great] " was the reward of the true love of Achilles
towards his lover Patroclus-his lover and not his love (the notion
that Patroclus was the beloved one is a foolish error into which
AEschylus has fallen, for Achilles was surely the fairer of the
two, fairer also than all the other heroes; and, as Homer informs
us, he was still beardless, and younger far). And greatly as the
gods honor the virtue of love, still the return of love on the
part of the beloved to the lover is more admired and valued and
rewarded by them, for the lover has a nature more divine and worthy
of worship. Now Achilles was quite aware, for he had been told
by his mother, that he might avoid death and return home, and
live to a good old age, if he abstained from slaying Hector. Nevertheless
he gave his life to revenge his friend, and dared to die, not
only on his behalf, but after his death. Wherefore the gods honored
him even above Alcestis, and sent him to the Islands of the Blest."
Symposium, speech of Phedrus, trans. by B. Fowett.
And on this passage Symonds has the following note:-
" Plato, discussing the Myrmidones of AEschylus, remarks
in the Symposium that the tragic poet was wrong to make Achilles
the lover of Patroclus, seeing that Patroclus was the elder of
the two, and that Achilles was the youngest and  most beautiful
of all the Greeks. The fact however is that Homer raises no question
in our minds about the relation of lover and beloved. Achilles
and Patroclus are comrades. Their friendship is equal. It was
only the reflective activity of the Greek mind, working upon the
Homeric legend by the light of subsequent custom, which introduced
The Greek Poets, ch. iii. p. 103
From the time of Homer onwards, Greek literature was full of songs
" And in fact there was such emulation about composing poems
of this sort, and so far was any one from thinking lightly of
the amatory poets, that AEschylus, who was a very great poet,
and Sophocles too introduced the subject of the loves of men on
the stage in their tragedies: the one describing the love of Achilles
for Patroclus, and the other, in his Niobe, the mutual love of
her sons (on which account some have given an ill name to that
tragedy); and all such passages as those are very agreeable to
Athenaeus, bk. xiii. ch. 75.
ONE of the earlier Greek poets was Theognis (B.C. 550)
whose Gnoma or Maxims were a series of verses mostly addressed
to his young friend Kurnus, whom by this means he sought to 
guide and instruct out of the stores of his own riper experience.
The verses are reserved and didactic for the most part, but now
and then, as in the following passage, show deep underlying feeling:
"Lo, I have given thee wings wherewith to fly
Over the boundless ocean and the earth;
Yea, on the lips of many shalt thou lie
The comrade of their banquet and their mirth.
Youths in their loveliness shall make thee sound
Upon the silver flute's melodious breath;
And when thou goest darkling underground
Down to the lamentable house of death,
Oh yet not then from honor shalt thou cease,
But wander, an imperishable name,
Kurnus, about the seas and shores of Greece,
Crossing from isle to isle the barren main.
Horses thou shalt not need, but lightly ride
Sped by the Muses of the violet crown,
And men to come, while earth and sun abide,
Who cherish song shall cherish thy renown.
Yea, I have given thee wings! and in return
Thou givest me the scorn with which I burn."
Theognis Gnomai, lines 237-254,
trans. by G. Lowes Dickinson.
AS Theognis had his well-loved disciples, so had the poetess Sappho (600 B. C.). Her devotion to her girl-friends and companions is
"What Alcibiades and Charmides and PhCedrus were to Socrates,
Gyrinna and Atthis and Anactoria were to the Lesbian."
Max Tyrius,quoted in H. T. Wharton's Sappho, p. 23.
Perhaps the few lines of Sappho, translated or paraphrased by
Catullus under the title To Lesbia, form the most celebrated
fragment of her extant work. They may be roughly rendered thus:
" Peer of all the gods unto me appeareth
He of men who sitting beside thee heareth
Close at hand thy syllabled words sweet spoken,
Or loving laughter"
That sweet laugh which flutters my heart and bosom.
For, at sight of thee, in an instant fail me
Voice and speech, and under my skin there courses
Swiftly a thin flame;
" Darkness is on my eyes, in my ears a drumming,
Drenched in sweat my frame, my body trembling;
Paler ev'n than grass-'tis, I doubt, but little
From death divides me."
SEVERAL of the odes of Anacreon (B.C. 5 20) are addressed
to his young friend Bathyllus. The following short one has been
preserved to us by Athenaeus (bk. Xiii. #17)
"O boy, with virgin-glancing eye,
I call thee, but thou dost not hear;
Thou know'st not how my soul doth cry
For thee, its charioteer."
Anacreon had not the passion and depth of Sappho, but there is
a mark of genuine feeling in some of his poems, as in this simple
" On their hindquarters horses
Are branded oft with fire,
And any one knows a Parthian
Because he wears a tiar;
And I at sight of lovers
Their nature can declare,
For in their hearts they too
Some subtle flame-mark bear"
The following fragment is from Pindar's Ode to his young
friend Theoxenos-in whose arms Pindar is said to have died (B.
" O soul, 'tis thine in season meet,
O pluck of love the blossom sweet,
When hearts are young:
 But he who sees the blazing beams,
The light that from that forehead streams,
And is not stung;
Who is not storm-tossed with desire,
Lo! he, I ween, with frozen fire,
Of adamant or stubborn steel
Is forged in his cold heart that cannot feel."
Trans. by J. Addington Symonds, The Greek Poets, vol. I,
PLATO'S epigrams on Aster and Agathon are r well known.
The two first-quoted make a play of course on the name Aster (star).
"Thou wert the morning star among the living,
Ere thy fair light had fled;
Now, having died, thou art as Hesperus, giving
New splendor to the dead."
To the same:
"Thou at the stars dost gaze, who art my star
-O would that I were
Heaven, to gaze on thee, ever with thousands of eyes."
"Thee as I kist, behold ! on my lips my own soul
For, bold one, she had come, meaning to find
her way through."
 There are many other epigrams and songs on the same subject
from the Greek writers. The following is by Meleager (a
native of Gadara in Palestine) about 60 B. C., and one of the
sweetest and most human of the lyric poets:
"O mortals crossed in love I the Southwind, see I
That blows so fair for sailor folk, hath ta'en
Half of my soul, Andragathos, from me.
Thrice happy ships, thrice blessed billowy main,
And four times favored wind that bears the youth,
O would I were a Dolphin! so, in truth,
High on my shoulders ferried he should come
To Rhodes, sweet haunt of boys, his island- home."
From the Greek Anthology, ii. 402.
Also from the Greek Anthology:
O say, and again repeat, fair, fair-and still I will say it
How fair, my friend, and good to see, thou art;
On pine or oak or wall thy name I do not blazon
Love has too deeply graved it in my heart."
" Perhaps the most beautiful [says J. A. Symonds of the sepulchral
epigrams Is one by an  unknown writer, of which I here give
a free paraphrase. Anth. Pal., vii. 346:
"' Of our great love, Parthenophil,
This little stone abideth still
Sole sign and token:
I seek thee yet, and yet shall seek,
Tho' faint mine eyes, my spirit weak
With prayers unspoken.
"Meanwhile best friend or friends, do thou,
If this the cruel fates allow,
By death's dark river,
Among those shadowy people, drink
No drop for me on Lethe's brink:
Forget me never I "'
The Greek Poets, vol 2, p. 298.
THEOCRITUS, though coming late in the Greek age (about
300 B. C.) when Athens had yielded place to Alexandria, still
carried on the Greek tradition in a remarkable way. A native of
Syracuse, he caught and echoed in a finer form the life and songs
of the country folk of that region-themselves descendants of Dorian
settlers. Songs and ballads full of similar notes linger among
the Greek peasants, shepherds and fisher-folk, even down to the
The following poem (trans. by M. J.  Chapman, 1836) is one
of the best known and most beautiful of his Idyls:
"Art come, dear youth? two days and nights away I
(Who burn with love, grow aged in a day.)
As much as apples sweet the damson crude
Excel; the blooming spring the winter rude;
In fleece the sheep her lamb; the maiden in sweetness
The thrice-wed dame; the fawn the calf in fleetness;
The nightingale in song all feathered kind
So much thy longed-for presence cheers my mind.
To thee I hasten, as to shady beech,
The traveller, when from the heaven's reach
The sun fierce blazes. May our love be strong,
To all hereafter times the theme of song!
' Two men each other loved to that degree,
That either friend did in the other see
A dearer than himself. They lived of old
Both golden natures in an age of old.'
" O father Zeus I ageless immortals all !
Two hundred ages hence may one recall,
Down-coming to the irremeable river,
This to my mind, and this good news deliver:
'E'en now from east to west, from north to south,
Your mutual friendship lives in every mouth.'
This, as they please, th' Olympians will decide:
 Of thee, by blooming virtue beautified,
My glowing song shall only truth disclose;
With falsehood's pustules I'll not shame my nose.
If thou dost sometime grieve me, sweet the pleasure
Of reconcilement, joy in double measure
To find thou never didst intend the pain,
And feel myself from all doubt free again.
" And ye Megarians, at Nisaae dwelling,
Expert at rowing, mariners excelling,
Be happy everl for with honors due
Th' Athenian Diocles, to friendship true
Ye celebrate. With the first blush of spring
The youth surround his tomb: there who shall bring
The sweetest kiss, whose lip is purest found,
Back to his mother goes with garlands crowned.
Nice touch the arbiter must have indeed,
And must, methinks, the blue-eyed Ganymede
Invoke with many prayers-a mouth to own
True to the touch of lips, as Lydian stone
To proof of gold-which test will instant show
The pure or base, as money changers know."
The following Idyl, of which I append a rendering, is attributed
" They say, dear boy, that wine and truth agree;
And, being in wine, I'll tell the truth to thee
.es, all that works in secret in my soul.
'Tis this: thou dost not love me with thy whole
Untampered heart. I know; for half my time
Is spent in gazing on thy beauty's prime;
The other half is nought. When thou art good,
My days are like the gods'; but when the mood
Tormenting takes thee, 'tis my night of woe.
How were it right to vex a lover so?
Take my advice, my lad, thine elder friend,
'Twill make thee glad and grateful in the end:
In one tree build one nest, so no grim snake
May creep upon thee. For to-day thou'lt make
Thy home on one branch, and to-morrow changing
Wilt seek another, to what's new still ranging;
And should a stranger praise your handsome face,
Him more than three-year-proven friend you'llgrace,
While him who loved you first you'll treat as cold
As some acquaintanceship of three days old.
Thou fliest high, methinks, in love and pride;
But I would say: keep ever at thy side
A mate that is thine equal; doing so,
The townsfolk shall speak well of thee alway,
And love shall never visit thee with woe-
Love that so easily men's hearts can flay,
And mine has conquered that was erst of steel.
Nay, by thy gracious lips I make appeal:
Remember thou wert younger a year agone
 And we grow grey and wrinkled, all, or e'er
We can escape our doom; of mortals none
His youth retakes again, for azure wings
Are on her shoulders, and we sons of care
Are all too slow to catch such flying things.
Mindful of this, be gentle, is my prayer,
And love me, guileless, ev'n as I love thee;
So when thou hast a beard, such friends as were
Achilles and Patroclus we may be."
BION was a poet of about the same period as Theocritus,
but of whom little is known.
The following is a fragment translated by A. Lang:
"Happy are they that love, when with equal love they are
rewarded. Happy was Theseus, when Pirithous was by his side, yea
tho' he went down to the house of implacable Hades. Happy among
hard men and inhospitable was Orestes, for that Pylades chose
to share his wanderings. And he was happy, Achilles AEacides,
while his darling lived,-happy was he in his death, because he
avenged the dread fate of Patroclus."
Theocritus, Bion and Moschus, Golden Treasury series, p.
The beautiful Lament for Bion by Moschus is interesting
in this connection, and should be [80 compared with Shelley's
lament for Keats in Adonais -for which latter poem indeed
it supplied some suggestions:
"Ye mountain valleys, pitifully groan!
Rivers and Dorian springs for Bion weep!
Ye plants drop tears I ye groves lamenting moan !
Exhale your life, wan flowers; your blushes deep
In grief, anemonies and roses, steep!
In softest murmurs, Hyacinth I prolong
The sad, sad woe thy lettered petals keep;
Our minstrel sings no more his friends among
Sicilian muses now begin the doleful song."
M. F. Chapman trans. in the Greek Pastoral Poets, 1836.
The allusion to Hyacinth is thus explained by Chapman:
"Hyacinthus, a Spartan youth, the son of Clio, was in great
favor with Apollo. Zephyrus, being enraged that he preferred Apollo
to him, blew the discus when flung by Apollo, on a day that Hyacinthus
was playing at discus-throwing with that god, against the head
of the youth, and so killed him. Apollo, being unable to save
his life, changed him into the flower which was named after him,
and on whose petals the Greeks fancied they could trace the notes
of grief. [Seen within the flower we call Larkspur'].A festival
called the Hyacinthia was celebrated for three  days in each
year at Sparta, in honor of the godand his unhappy favorite."
Note to Moschus, Idyl ii:.
The story of Apollo and Hyacinth is gracefully told by
Ovid, in the tenth book of his Metamorphoses:
" Midway betwixt the past and coming night
Stood Titan [the Sun] when the pair, their limbs unrobed,
And glist'ning with the olive's unctuous juice,
In friendly contest with the discus vied."
[The younger one is struck by the discus; and like a fading flower]
" To its own weight unequal drooped the head
Of Hyacinth; and o'er him wailed the god:-
Liest thou so, OEbalia's child, of youth
Untimely robbed, and wounded by my fault-
At once my grief and guilt?-This hand hath dealt
Thy death I 'Tis I who send thee to the grave!
And yet scarce guilty, unless guilt it were
To sport, or guilt to love theel Would this life
Might thine redeem, or be with thine resigned!
But thou-since Fate denies a god to die-
Be present with me everl Let thy name
Dwell ever in my heart and on my lips,
Theme of my lyre and burden of my song;
And ever bear the echo of my wail
Writ on thy new-born flowerl The time shall come
When, with thyself associate, to its nameThe mightiest of the
Greeks shall link his own.
Prophetic as Apollo mourned, the blood
That with its dripping crimson dyed the turf
Was blood no more: and sudden sprang to life
Ovid's Metamorphoses trans. H. King, London, 1871
IN Roman literature, generally, as might be expected, with its
more materialistic spirit, the romance of friendship is little
dwelt upon; though the grosser side of the passion, in such writers
as Catullus and Martial, is much in evidence. Still we find in Virgil a notable instance. His 2nd Eclogue bears the marks
of genuine feeling; and, according to some critics, he there under
the guise of Shepherd Corydon's love for Alexis celebrates his
own attachment to the youthful Alexander:
" Corydon, keeper of cattle, once loved the fair lad Alexis;
But he, the delight of his master, permitted no hope to the shepherd.
Corydon, lovesick swain, went into the forest of beeches,
And there to the mountains and woods-the one relief of his passion
With useless effort outpoured the following art less complainings:
Alexis, barbarous youth, say, do not my mourn ful lays move thee
Showing me no compassion, thou'lt surely compel me to perish.
Even the cattle now seek after places both cool and shady;
Even the lizards green conceal themselves in the thorn-bush.Thestylis,
taking sweet herbs, such as garlic and thyme, for the reapers
Faint with the scorching noon, doth mash them and bray in a mortar.
Alone in the heat of the day am I left with the screaming cicalas,
While patients in tracking thy path, I ever pur sue thee, Beloved."
Trans. by J. W. Baylis.
There is a translation of this same 2nd Eclogue, by Abraham Fraunce
(1591), which is interesting not only on account of its felicity
of phrase, but because, as in the case of some other Elizabethan
hexameters, the metre is ruled by quantity, i.e., length of syllables,
instead of by accent. The  following are the first five lines
of Fraunce's translation:
"Silly shepherd Corydon lov'd hartyly fayre lad Alexis,
His master's dearling, but saw noe matter of hoping;
Only amydst darck groves thickset with broade-shadoe beech-trees
Dayly resort did he make, thus alone to the woods, to the mountayns,
With broken speeches fond thoughts there vaynly revealing.
CATULLUS also (b. B.C. 87) has some verses of real feeling:
"Quintius, if 'tis thy wish and will
That I should owe my eyes to thee,
Or anything that's dearer still,
If aught that's dearer there can be;
" Then rob me not of that I prize,
Of the dear form that is to me,
Oh I far far dearer than my eyes,
Or aught, if dearer aught there be."
Catullus, trans. Hon. F. Lamb, 1821.
" If all complying, thou would'st grant
Thy lovely eyes to kiss, my fair,
Long as I pleased; ohl I would plant
Three hundred thousand kisses there.
"Nor could I even then refrain,
Nor satiate leave that fount of blisses,
Tho' thicker than autumnal grain
Should be our growing crop of kisses."
" Long at our leisure yesterday
Idling, Licinius, we wrote
Upon my tablets verses gay,
Or took our turns, as fancy smote,
At rhymes and dice and wine.
" But when I left, Licinius mine,
Your grace and your facetious mood
Had fired me so, that neither food
Would stay my misery, nor sleep
My roving eyes in quiet keep.
But still consumed, without respite,
I tossed about my couch in vain
And longed for day-if speak I might,
Or be with you again.
" But when my limbs with all the strain
Worn out, half dead lay on my bed,
Sweet friend to thee this verse I penned,
That so thou mayest condescend
To understand my pain.
" So now, Licinius, beware!
And be not rash, but to my prayer
A gracious hearing tender;
 Lest on thy head pounce Nemesis:
A goddess sudden and swift she is-
Beware lest thou offend her."
The following little poem is taken from Martial:
"As a vineyard breathes, whose boughs with grapes are bending,
Or garden where are hived Sicanian bees;
As upturned clods when summer rain's descending
Or orchards rich with blossom-laden trees;
So, cruel youth, thy kisses breathe -so sweet -
Would'st thou but grant me all their grace, complete ! "
HTML, Paul Halsall, some subtitles have been added [they were
supplied by page headings in the original]
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