Wednesday, July 1, 2020

M/M: A Praise of Patroclus: Maximus of Tyre, Diss. VIII

Et ecce statim in principio operis amatores introducit duos, qui de captiva una inter se certant, quorum alter audax est & furiosus: alter lenior quidem, huius tamen perturbationis haud immunis. Alter ex oculis flammam iacit, omnibusque maledicit, et minatur ordine: alter tacite recedit, humi lacrimans procumbit & anxius oberrat: discessurum denique se ait, cum maneat. Alia est impudici amoris imago, quam in Paride habes, qui proelio se subducit, thalamum intrat, et ubique moecho est similis. Invenies et castum amorem, qui utrinque mutuo respondet, quem in Hectore habes & Andromache: quae viro suo et amatori Hectori, patris fratrisque et si quae praeterea amicissima sunt tribuit nomina. Ille vicissim, ne de matre quidem sua se tam sollicitum esse ait, quam de illa. Habes et Venereum in concubitu Iunonis & Iovis. Et libidinosum, in procis: illecebrosum in Calypsone, veneficum in Circe, virilem in Patroclo: qui labore mutuo accenditur, et ad mortem usque constans manet. Quorum uterque iuvenis, uterque pulcher, uterque castus est. Alter instruit, alter instruitur, alter dolet, solatur alter, alter canit, auscultat alter. Affectum amatorium et hoc exprimit, quod cum pugnae potestatem sibi fieri optet Patroclus, lacrimetur tanquam non impetraturus hoc ab amante. Qui tamen et veniam illi concedit, et arma sua. Sed et cunctante eo metuit, et iam mortuo mori quoque optat, iramque suam deponit. Amatoriae sunt et nocturnae visiones, et somnia, et lacrimae illae: donum postremo ultimum quod sepulchro impendit, capillus. Haec sunt amatoria Homeri.

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

Right at the beginning of the Iliad, Homer presents us with two lovers who are fighting over a captive woman: one [Agamemnon] is bold and passionate, the other [Achilles] is soft spoken, but not impervious to feeling emotion. The one [Agamemnon] shoots daggers from his eyes, slanders everyone, and threatens each and everyone present; the other [Achilles] quietly leaves, throwing himself on the ground and weeping, lost; he says he will leave, but stays nonetheless.

Another type of love is shameful love, the kind that Paris has: he withdraws from the heat of battle to snuggle with his lover, and is an adulterer in every sense of the word.

You can also find perfect love [castum amorem], which is reciprocal, the kind that Hector and Andromache shared. Andromache called Hector her husband and lover, her husband and brother, and every other name shared with a loved one. In turn, he told her that he was more worried for her than for his own mother.

You can read about sexual love [Venereum] in the bedding scene of Juno & Jupiter.

You can read about lust in Penelope’s suitors; seductive love in the case of Calypso; loves brought about by love potions with Circe, and manly love [virilem] in the case of Patroclus. This love [between Patroclus and Achilles] is brought about by mutual effort, and remains steadfast even in death. It exists between two young men, both beautiful, both consensual [castus]. They both take care of each other. One grieves, the other consoles; one sings, the other enjoys the song.

The one expresses his feelings to the other: when Patroclus wants permission to join the fight, on the verge of tears if he wasn’t allowed by his lover. Yet when Achilles allows him to join the Greeks in battle, he gave both his blessing and even his own weapons. And Achilles is terrified while Patroclus is engaged in battle, and wishes to die when Patroclus is slain, and then resolves his anger. His nightly visions, his dreams, his tears are all proof of his love for Patroclus: even the lock of hair that he offers to his lover’s tomb in a final gift [is proof].

These are the types of love you find in Homer.

Name:  Cassius Maximus Tyrius
Date:  2nd c. CE
Works:  Dissertations

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

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.
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)