Wednesday, June 24, 2020

M/M: The Army of Theban Lovers, Maximus of Tyre, Diss. VIII

Epamonidas amatorio stratagemate Thebas in liberatem a Lacedaemoniis vindicavit. Erant Thebis multi pulchri adolescentuli qui amabantur, multi pulchri iuvenes qui amabant. Utrisque arma in manum Epamonidas dat, et utrisque cohortem instruit amatoriam, quae mirae virtutis planeque inexpugnabilis cum esset, conferto simul agmine facile hostium impetum sustinuit. Qualem neque imperatorum solertissimus Nestor, in Troiano agro, neque in Peloponnesiaco Heraclidae, neque in Attico instruxere Peloponnesii. Necesse enim fuit amatores singulos, vel existimationis suae causa, quod in oculis adolescentulorum pugnarent, vel necessitatis, quod singuli amicissimum defenderent, strenue rem gerere. Vehemens rursus aemulatio adolescentulos pungebat, ut cum amatoribus sibi suis paria facerent: sicut in venatione catuli, qui maiores canes sequuntur. 

--Maximus of Tyre, Dissertations VIII., Translated from the Greek by Claudius Larjot


Epamonidas liberated Thebes from Sparta’s control by weaponizing love. In Thebes there were many teenagers (adolescentuli) who were loved, and many youths (iuvenes) who were loving them.  Epamonidas put weapons in their hands, and created a squadron of lovers who had incredible valor and were undefeatable; whether in battle line or in melee they easily repelled the enemy’s assault, the likes of which have never been seen, not even under the skillful leadership of the Trojan War hero Nestor, nor in the descendants of Heracles in the Peloponnesian campaign,  nor in the Peloponnesian campaign against Athens.
For each man had to prove themselves to their lover, either to fight well in their beloved’s eyes, or out of necessity, since each man had to defend his own sweetheart (amicissimum). And in turn, a rivalry spurred on their bravery, so they could perform equally as well as their lover, just as the puppies of hunting dogs follow the bigger dogs in the pack.

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