Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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1.135

And just here I understand he is going to carry the war into my territory, and ask me if I am not ashamed on my own part, after having made a nuisance of myself in the gymnasia and having been many times a lover, now to be bringing the practice into reproach and danger. And finally—so I am told—in an attempt to raise a laugh and start silly talk among you, he says he is going to exhibit all the erotic poems I have ever addressed to one person or another, and he promises to call witnesses to certain quarrels and pommellings in which I have been involved in consequence of this habit.

1.136

Now as for me, I neither find fault with love that is honorable, nor do I say that those who surpass in beauty are prostitutes. I do not deny that I myself have been a lover and am a lover to this day, nor do I deny that the jealousies and quarrels that commonly arise from the practice have happened in my case. As to the poems which they say I have composed, some I acknowledge, but as to others I deny that they are of the character that these people will impute to them, for they will tamper with them.

1.137

The distinction which I draw is this: to be in love with those who are beautiful and chaste is the experience of a kind-hearted and generous soul; but to hire for money and to indulge in licentiousness is the act of a man who is wanton and ill-bred. And whereas it is an honor to be the object of a pure love, I declare that he who has played the prostitute by inducement of wages is disgraced. How wide indeed is the distinction between these two acts and how great the difference, I will try to show you in what I shall next say.

1.138

your fathers, when they were laying down laws to regulate the habits of men and those acts that inevitably flow from human nature, forbade slaves to do those things which they thought ought to be done by free men. “A slave,” says the law, “shall not take exercise or anoint himself in the wrestling-schools.” It did not go on to add, “But the free man shall anoint himself and take exercise;” for when, seeing the good that comes from gymnastics, the lawgivers forbade slaves to take part, they thought that in prohibiting them they were by the same words inviting the free.

1.139

again, the same lawgiver said, “A slave shall not be the lover of a free boy nor follow after him, or else he shall receive fifty blows of the public lash.” But the free man was not forbidden to love a boy, and associate with him, and follow after him, nor did the lawgiver think that harm came to the boy thereby, but rather that such a thing was a testimony to his chastity. But, I think, so long as the boy is not his own master and is as yet unable to discern who is a genuine friend, and who is not, the law teaches the lover self-control, and makes him defer the words of friendship till the other is older and has reached years of discretion; but to follow after the boy and to watch over him the lawgiver regarded as the best possible safeguard and protection for chastity.

1.140

and so it was that those benefactors of the state, Harmodius and Aristogeiton, men pre-eminent for their virtues, were so nurtured by that chaste and lawful love—or call it by some other name than love if you like—and so disciplined, that when we hear men praising what they did, we feel that words are inadequate to the eulogy of their deeds.

1.141

But since you make mention of Achilles and Patroclus, and of Homer and the other poets—as though the jury were men innocent of education, while you are people of a superior sort, who feel yourselves quite beyond common folks in learning—that you may know that we too have before now heard and learned a little something, we shall say a word about this also. For since they undertake to cite wise men, and to take refuge in sentiments expressed in poetic measures, look, fellow citizens, into the works of those who are confessedly good and helpful poets, and see how far apart they considered chaste men, who love their like, and men who are wanton and overcome by forbidden lusts.

1.142

I will speak first of Homer, whom we rank among the oldest and wisest of the poets. Although he speaks in many places of Patroclus and Achilles, he hides their love and avoids giving a name to their friendship, thinking that the exceeding greatness of their affection is manifest to such of his hearers as are educated men.

1.143

For Achilles says somewhere in the course of his lament for the death of Patroclus, as recalling one of the greatest of sorrows, that unwillingly he has broken the promise he had given to Menoetius, the father of Patroclus; for he had promised to bring his son back safe to Opus, if he would send him along with him to Troy, and entrust him to his care. It is evident from this that it was because of love that he undertook to take care of him.

1.144

But the verses, which I am about to recite, are these: “Ah me, I rashly spoke vain words that day
When in his halls I cheered Menoetius.
I told the hero I would surely bring
His famous son to Opus back again,
When he had ravaged Ilium, and won
His share of spoil. But Zeus does not fulfil
To men their every hope. For fate decrees
That both of us make red one spot of earth.”
Hom. Il. 324-329



Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 1.129 Aeschin. 1.139 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 1.149

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