Monday, June 22, 2020

Sappho & Socrates: A Comparison, Maximus of Tyre, Dis. VIII

Sapphus vero (si quidem antiquiora cum recentioribus conferre fas est) quid est aliud quam amatoria ars Socratis? Videntur enim mihi idem spectare uterque, hic cum virorum, illa cum mulierum celebrat amorem. Uterque plurimos se amare fatetur, et ab omnibus formosis facillime capi. Quod enim Alcibiades illi & Charmides, et Phedrus, hoc Sapphoni Lesbiae Gyrinna, Athis, et Anactoria: et quod Socrati aemuli illi Prodicus, Gorgias, Thrasymachus, et Protagoras, hoc Sapphoni Gorgo et Andromeda. Interdum namque increpat illas, interdum arguit, tum ubique urbana illa Socratis elucet dissimulatio. Ionem salvere iubeo, ait Socrates. Plurimum salvere Polyanactis filium iubeo, ait Sappho. Negat se Alcibiadem quem diu ante amarat, priusquem e coloquiis suis fructum haurire posset, accedere voluisse Socrates. Parva mihi puella videre, nec adhuc matura, ait Sappho. Ille habitum alibi & discubitum sophistae perstringit: ila alibi canit, Quaedam rustica tunica induta. Amorem ait Diotima apud Socratem, non filium, sed pedissequum esse Veneris & famulum. Venus alibi apud Sapphonem in oda quadam ait, Et tu pulcherrime famule amor. Rursus Diotima ait, florere amorem cum abundat, mori cum eget. Illa utrumque coniungit: cum Amorem dulceamarum vocat, et dona aid dare, sed molesta. Socrates Amorem sophistam vocat, Sappho verborum architectum. Phaedri amore tanquam Bacchico furore concitare se ait Socrates. Illa vero, Amore mihi mentem, inquit, impulit, venti instar qui montanis incidit arboribus. Socrates Xanthippen perstringit, cum mortem eius dolet: illa filiae suae scribit, Nefas in poetica domo luctum esse; neque id nobis sit dignum. 

--Maximus of Tyre, Diss. VIII, Translated into Latin by Claudius Larjot

Well, if it's appropriate to compare ancient literature with modern, what is Sappho's poetry except the Socratic art of love? For it seems to me that they both sought after the same thing: Socrates enjoyed the love of men, Sappho enjoyed the love of women.
  • Both confessed that they loved many people, and were captivated by the most beautiful. 
    • And the relationship that  Alcibiades, Charmides, and Phaedrus had with Socrates, 
    • so too did Gyrinna, Athis and Anactoria have with Sappho. 
  • And Prodicus, Gorgias, Thrasymachus and Protagoras were Socrates' rivals, 
    • Gorgo and Andromeda were Sappho's rivals. 
  • Sometimes Sappho blew off her lovers, sometimes she yelled at them, sometimes she would blow them away with the charm of Socratic wit.
  • Socrates said: "Io, protect me!"
    • Sappho said, "Protect me, son of Polyanax!"
  • Socrates said that he did not date Alcibiades (whom he had a crush on for a while) until he could handle advanced conversations. 
    • Sappho said, "you're just a little girl, way too immature.
  • Socrates criticized the body language and how sophists sat down; 
    • Sappho sang, "the woman wearing a country-style dress." 
  • Diotima said to Socrates that Cupid was not the son but the slave and attendant of Venus. 
    • Sappho says the same thing in one of her poems: "You, too, o Cupid, you most beautiful slave." 
  • Diotima said  that love flourishes in good times, and dies in bad times. 
    • Sappho says the same thing: she calls love "bittersweet" and that it  gives troublesome gifts
  • Socrates calls love a sophist; 
    • Sappho called it a architect of words
  • Socrates said that his love of Phaedrus put him in a Bacchic rage; 
    • Sappho said that love shakes her mind like the winds shake the mountain treetops.   
  • Socrates chided Xanthippe when she was sad about his impending death; 
    • Sappho wrote to her daughter that "Grief wasn't appropriate (nefas) in the house of the muses, and it certainly isn't appropriate for us."

MAXIMUS OF TYRE
MAP:
Name:  Cassius Maximus Tyrius
Date:  2nd c. CE
Works:  Dissertations

REGION  5
Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans

BIO:
Timeline:
Maximus of Tyre was listed as one of the most influential people in the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius’ life. Maximus spent most of his life in scholarly pursuits; his Dissertations were a collection of philosophical treatises based on the thought of Plato.
 ROMAN GREEK LIT
ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); ALEXANDRIAN: (4th c. BCE - 1st c. BCE); ROMAN: (1st c. BCE - 4th c. CE); POST CONSTANTINOPLE: (4th c. CE - 8th c. CE); BYZANTINE: (post 8th c CE)