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Erôs in Ancient Greece$
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Ed Sanders, Chiara Thumiger, Christopher Carey, and Nick Lowe

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199605507

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605507.001.0001

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The Imagery of Erôs in Plato’s Phaedrus

The Imagery of Erôs in Plato’s Phaedrus

Chapter:
(p.233) 14 The Imagery of Erôs in Plato’s Phaedrus
Source:
Erôs in Ancient Greece
Author(s):

Douglas Cairns

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605507.003.0014

This chapter explores the debts owed by the account of erôs in the speeches of Socrates in Plato's Phaedrus to earlier (chiefly poetic) models of the concept. Three main points are made: (i) the use of pre-existing models, metaphors, and metonymies of erôs highlights Plato's debt not only to erotic, but also to philosophical poetry (especially Parmenides and Empedocles); (ii) this furthers the speeches' project of creating a model of erôs that presents the erotic in terms of the metaphysical; (iii) the various poetic, religious, and philosophical models that the speeches invoke serve to present a conception of erôs that is at once highly revisionary and yet also in some respects paradoxically traditional.

Keywords:   Plato, Socrates, Phaedrus, erôs, Platonic love, love in ancient literature, emotion, metaphor, symptomology

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