Sunday, May 1, 2022

Two Bodies, One Mind United In Love and Friendship: Lucian, Toxaris 62

Lucian uses imagery from the myth of soulmates in Plato's Symposium in his dialogue Toxaris.  In this dialogue, the Scythian Toxaris and the Greek Mnesippus discuss their own culture's perspectives and beliefs on friendship; the dialogue ends with the following speech, which unites the two in a bond of love and frienship.  

ἐπεὶ δὲ καὶ σὺ φιλίαν ἐπαινεῖν ἔδοξας, ἐγὼ δὲ οὐδὲν ἄλλο ἡγοῦμαι ἀνθρώποις εἶναι τούτου κτῆμα ἄμεινον ἢ κάλλιον, τί οὐχὶ καὶ ἡμεῖς συνθέμενοι πρὸς ἡμᾶς αὐτοὺς φίλοι τε αὐτόθεν εἶναι καὶ εἰσαεὶ ἔσεσθαι ἀγαπῶμεν ἄμφω νικήσαντες, τὰ μέγιστα ἆθλα προσλαβόντες, ἀντὶ μιᾶς γλώττης καὶ μιᾶς δεξιᾶς δύο ἑκάτερος ἐπικτησάμενοι καὶ προσέτι γε καὶ ὀφθαλμοὺς τέτταρας καὶ πόδας τέτταρας καὶ ὅλως διπλᾶ πάντα ; τοιοῦτόν τι γάρ ἐστι συνελθόντες δύο ἢ τρεῖς φίλοι, ὁποῖον τὸν Γηρυόνην οἱ γραφεῖς ἐνδείκνυνται, ἄνθρωπον ἑξάχειρα καὶ τρικέφαλον ἐμοὶ γὰρ δοκεῖν,^ τρεῖς ἐκεῖνοι ἦσαν ἅμα πράττοντες πάντα, ὥσπερ ἐστὶ δίκαιον φίλους γε ὄντας.

Aut si hoc crudele, quando tu amicitiam admirari visus es: ego nihilo secius puto, nullam esse mortalibus possessionem hac praestantiorem neque pulchriorem: quin ipsi quoque; in unum copulati, illud approbamus: ut ex hoc die in totam usque vitam simus amici, utrique, victores, utrique maximis potiti praemiis: videlicet pro unica lingua, unaque dextra, binas uterque habituri, atque insuper oculos quoque quaternos, pedesque quaternos, in summa, duplicia omnia eiusmodinamque quiddam est: cum duo tresque copulatur amici, qualem Geryonem scriptores depingunt, senis manibus, ternisque capitibus hominem. siquidem ut mea fert opinio) tres illi fuerunt, qui communiter omnia gererent: ut divinum est his, qui amicitia coniuncti sunt

--Lucian, Toxaris sive de Amicitia 62, Translated into Latin by Erasmus [1535]

You know how you seem to think that friendship is great?

Well, I too think that there is nothing else better or more beautiful than friendship!

So why not unite ourselves together as friends?

We can both be winners!

From this day forward, we can love one another forever, and both of us can receive the greatest benefits from it.

Instead of one tongue and one right hand, we can now have two!

We now can have four eyes and four feet and everything else is doubled, too!

You know how authors depicted Geryon, a person with six hands and three heads? Well, that’s how it goes when two (or even three!) friends come together, doing everything together synchronously, divinely united in friendship!



Name:  Lucianus Samosatensis

Date:  125 – 180 CE

Works: Dialogue of the Courtesans*

               True History, etc.


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



 Lucian was a Turkish-born Roman satirist who wrote in ancient Greek. His works are a mixture of sarcasm, wit, and biting social criticism. He is without a doubt one of the most popular authors of the later Roman empire.


ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); HELLENISTIC: (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)

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