Talk:Symposium (Plato)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Greece (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Greece, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Greece on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
Checklist icon
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome (Rated B-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is part of the WikiProject for Classical Greece and Rome, a group of contributors who write Wikipedia's Classics articles. If you would like to join the WikiProject or learn how to contribute, please see our project page. If you need assistance from a classicist, please see our talk page.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Philosophy (Rated C-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Philosophy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of content related to philosophy on Wikipedia. If you would like to support the project, please visit the project page, where you can get more details on how you can help, and where you can join the general discussion about philosophy content on Wikipedia.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Books (Rated B-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Books. To participate in the project, please visit its page, where you can join the project and discuss matters related to book articles. To use this banner, please refer to the documentation. To improve this article, please refer to the relevant guideline for the type of work.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
WikiProject LGBT studies (Rated B-class)
WikiProject icon This article is of interest to WikiProject LGBT studies, which tries to ensure comprehensive and factual coverage of all LGBT-related issues on Wikipedia. For more information, or to get involved, please visit the project page or contribute to the discussion.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.

From a Classicist's Perspective...[edit]

This is a really terrible summary. There are several fatal flaws here. Where is there any mention of Socrates having sex with boys in the Symposium? The only time him having a near sexual encounter with a boy is mentioned is in Alcibiades' speech, and there Alcibiades denies that they actually did it. And yet the whole entry revolves around this question. Why? I have to think the author has some misconceptions about pederasty and Socrates. Commonly, Americans tend to think that the charge of "corrupting the youth" on which Socrates was charged had to do with his sexual relationships with young men. That's nonsense. Pederasty was the rule rather than the exception in Athens. In Aristophanes' Clouds, for instance, Socrates is criticized for making boys less attractive to men by getting them interested in philosophy rather than sports. The corrupting the youth charge had to do with turning young men against their fathers, encouraging them to avoid business ventures in favor of theoretical inquiry, that sort of thing. If Socrates just wanted to rodger boys, no one would have cared.

Other problems with this entry: as far as I know--and I'm only a Greek scholar here--the Symposium is not one of the most controversial dialogues of Plato, nor is it the one most concerned with pederasty (How about the Phaedrus, or the Lysis?); pederasty was common in Boeotia and Elis, but illegal in Sparta (cf. Xenophon, Constitution of the Spartans); Diotima is a fictional character; there's no mention of the myth in Aristophanes' speech, which is the most influential section of the dialogue; there are no descriptions of any of the speeches other than Socrates and Alcibiades, and even the summary of Socrates' speech has no mention of the poros-penia myth; this entry is listed under Symposium simpliciter rather than Symposium (Plato), which means there is no entry in wikipedia about the symposium as a Greek convention.

If no one raises objections to me before the weekend, I'm rewriting this whole entry, religating everything about pederasty to one bullet point, relisting this under "Symposium (Plato)", and writing an entry for the symposium as such.

You are certainly right that the meaning of the charge of "corrupting the youth" had nothing to do with sex. I believe that one of the concerns (among those you mention) was that Socrates was exerting an antidemocratic influence on his youthful followers, (of which there were apparently quite a few). As for the rewrite I'd say go for it. Paul August 05:43, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)
Consider this hearty encouragement to go ahead with your proposed edits. From the little knowledge I have of classics or of The Symposium, I can say that the current page does not do it justice. --STGM 06:39, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)
It seems to me that this article focuses way too much on pederasty. From this article you would get the impression that the historical interest in The Symposion stems only from its describtion of Socrates being involved in pederasty. Why not focus more on the philosophical or historical aspects of The Symposion? Aenar 02:50, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Also the article implicitly assumes that it hurts Socrates reputation that he was involved in pederasty. This is POV, especially considering that pederasty was prevalent in ancient greece. Aenar 03:02, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I actually came to this page hoping to see someone making this exact point. The introduction and conclusion focuses on the question of "was Socrates a pederast?" This is what you get when modern academia's interests are polluted with silly political ends. (unsigned comment by: User:

If your question was "was Socrates a pederast" that information should be placed on the page dedicated to Socrates, or perhaps a new page dedicated to the debate specifically. This page, then, could mention it in a bullet point towards the end, and link over to that debate. This debate was not the overwhelming point of Plato's work. The opening paragraph should be about the work in its totality, and while it is important that you be able to find what you were looking for, it is also important that people looking for general and complete information about Plato's work (which would be the majority of people who look it up) find what they're looking for. --FashionNugget 01:36, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Urgent changes needed[edit]

This is indeed not a good summary.

  • The style of having a banal statement followed by an exclamation point as in "Our first view of Socrates as he is about to join the second day of revels in the artist's honor, has him washed and primped up and "even" wearing shoes!" or "Socrates speaks. He actually recounts a story!" is not encyclopedic.
  • The climax is usually considered to be Aristophanes's speech about the double people and how everyone is looking for his or other half. That is actually the part that glorifies male couples and admits the existence of female couples, while considering them inferior.
  • This dialogue is actually often seen as being unusual by the way someone other than Socrates, i.e. Aristophanes, is given the most memorable speech.
  • There should be a least a short summary of every one of the speeches.

I'm not sure I am qualified to write about this, but if no one else does, I might.

Eje211 17:00, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Yes, I agree, a lot of changes do need to be made. But be careful about putting too much emphasis on Aristophanes' speech. It is true that it has been the most influential, and is very beautiful, but the most philosophically interesting speech is Socrates'. Aristophanes' speech is great oratory, and a very fine metaphor for love, but Plato would surely hold a philosophical account in higher esteem. This, coupled with the fact that Socrates' speech is the finale, makes it more likely, I think, that Socrates is given the climactic speech.--Dast 18:15, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
I have concerns about your second and third suggestions. the dramatic climax, in the least, is when alcibiades walks in; i would have to agree with Dast as to Socrates' speech being the most philosophically interesting. Socrates' speech is the focus of the dialogue- a dialogue on love, which Socrates explains to be truly philosophy when properly carried out. Focusing too much on Aristophanes glosses over the dramatic and philosophical aspects.
Not to say there shouldn't be a lot more on it in here. This article certainly needs major reworking. But i don't beleive that the speech of aristophanes should be the focal point of the article. --Heah (talk) 23:55, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

Also, under the SOCRATES heading, the statement: "Diotima's explanation of Love entails how to become a Philosopher, or a Lover of wisdom, and by doing so one will give birth to intellectual children of greater immortality than any conceived through procreation" is not only un-cited, but it misses a very important point. Diotima's philosophy is "...that life above all others which man should live, is the contemplation of beauty absolute". While the argument against procreation of the flesh versus that of the soul is indeed made, this at best a sub-point of a larger theme of "all things beautiful" or "all things good". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:15, 19 June 2011 (UTC)


The introduction needs to mention the dialogue's controversiality, it's discussion of homosexuality, and pederastic relationships. It's very thin on the ground currently.--Knucmo2 23:01, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

They aren't controversial. If anything, it was common during the time period.

The word behavior is spelled wrong.

Actually, it isn't. --D. Webb 03:32, 13 February 2007 (UTC)


Are the counter arguements credible enough to be mentioned in the opening paragraph? The text quite clearly states Socrates as having a taste for young men. --Oldak Quill 23:45, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)


It has been suggested that he is anerotic and is merely feigning a taste for young men as a part of his pedagogical strategy. (Alcibiades' speech) EmileNoldeSinclair 12:20, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Climax and Counterpoint[edit]

The section on 'Climax and Counterpoint' has been around since the earliest complete version of the page, but it's hard for me to see the climax as being Alcibiades' accusation of Socrates stealing away the young men. I don't pretend to be an expert in Greek literature, but it seems that the focus of Symposium is the praise and nature of Eros. Consequently, it would seem that the climax is either the conclusion of Socrates' speech or the great revelation of the nature of love by Diotima to Socrates. Alcibiades seems more like a ribald anti-climax, a sort of comic relief after the serious philosophical work has been accomplished by Socrates. Rather than go on my intuitions on my first reading of the text, though, I'm trying to turn up some criticism to substantiate what should be considered the climax, either way. This section of the article has been here too long without substantiation... --JECompton 01:48, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

i wouldn't call it comic counter releif- its very important to the whole thing, the nature of the path that socrates has outlined- but it isn't the climax, either. well, the whole alcibiades thing, not just the "stealing away young men" comment . . .--Heah (talk) 18:38, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

Clean up?[edit]

Should this article be nominated for a clean up? The above comments have made it clear why. --Dast 16:38, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

Ok. Honestly, i wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing was cut and pasted from somewhere.--Heah (talk) 23:45, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
Done, this article isn't much of a credit to wikipedia - PotatoKnight 02:37, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

Ok, i've removed the cleanup tag, as i don't think it really needs a clean up tag anymore. Still needs some work, of course . . . --Heah talk 02:38, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

It's common sense.[edit]

The Phaedrus mentioned in the Socratic dialogues was not, I'm fairly certain, the Roman fabulist (born in 15 B.C.E.). I'm just saying.

"This article needs to be cleaned up" is putting it rather mildly. Firebreeze 01:55, 21 October 2005 (UTC)


i'm currently rewriting the article; as it may take me a couple days, i'm doing it on a user subpage, User:Heah/symp. so you can see my progress there and are more than welcome to leave comments on that talk page or on my talk page. --Heah talk 04:45, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Okay its here. I've briefly outlined each speech; in a text of this length and importance doing so seemed proper. The "interpretations" section at the end isn't cited or anything. I wouldn't quite call it original research, as i tried not to say anything that isn't clear and indisputable from a reading of the text, and at the very least its a whole hell of a lot better than the previous "interpretation" which just said that Plato thought loving boys was preferable to homosexuality or heterosexuality. But my point is that that section still needs a rewrite with proper citations from secondary sources. It should be longer, as an outline of the dialogue is kinda pointless in an encyclopedia article without some discussion of what all of this might mean. --Heah talk 02:26, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

Well done with the rewrite btw.--Ncosmob 00:05, 30 July 2006 (UTC)


'The identity of this Glaucon is uncertain; it may be either the same Glaucon as in the Republic or Plato's brother, who was named Glaucon.'

I thought Glaucon was Plato's brother in the Republic? Am I reading this wrong?Sjjb 11:37, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Whoa my bad, you're completely right. eek! thanks for noticing that. Its been a while since i looked at the first books of or any commentary on the republic, and cooper's intro to the symposium mentioned only that glaucon was also a character in the republic. I'll fix it. thanks again and apologies for the mistake . . . --Heah talk 22:37, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Here is some reason for doubting that the Glaucon of the Symposium is the same as the Glaucon of the Republic (which was clearly Plato's brother): Apollodorus is speaking to Glaucon in 407 BC or shortly thereafter. (After all, Glaucon asks Apollodorus to relate to him the conversation between Socrates, Agathon, Alcibiades, et al., which Glaucon believes took place "recently"; but Alcibiades had not been in Athens to have had such a conversation, since 415, when (as Apollodorus points out) Glaucon and Apollodorus were still "children" (and by 406 Alcibiades was again away, not to return before his 404 BC death).) This means that Glaucon here cannot be Plato's brother: if he was a child in 416, then it would have been impossible for him to have participated as a young man in a conversation depicted in the Republic, whose dramatic date can be no later than 421. Isokrates 03:09, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Frame narrative and opening of the main narrative[edit]

I've tried to make these sections clearer, successfully I hope. I have expanded both the summary of the opening pages, and the discussion of what these opening pages are doing. On the matter of the oral tradition that is being described, I've footnoted my own book, but if anyone has a more appropriate reference please substitute it! Andrew Dalby 20:44, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

References in pop culture?[edit]

As uneducated as it reveals me to be, I found Aristophanes through the song The Origin of Love in the film Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Perhaps there could be room for a section on where culture has drawn from the classics. 12:43, 21 October 2006 (PST)

spelling errors fixed and rewrite of summary needed[edit]

I have fixed some errors in spelling in English and have fixed the error in "eromenos" Attic Greek for "beloved" or "object of desire." I am currently reading "Symposion" in the Classical Attic Greek. The generalizations about homosexual love being regarded as purer to male and female love aren't necessarily the intention of Plato and may even in some cases been meant to discredit the other speakers at the Symposion, who may be in a way ridiculing their intellects. During Socrates' speech he draws a comparison between poetry or physical creation being somehow a mimesis of the ideal creation. In the same way he talks about love or desire, making the desire or love of the good the ultimate love. There seem to be sexual dynamics involved among some of the different speakers at the Symposion. This dialogue is set within a social framework where men seeing the nude bodies of other men, being nude in the sense of not needing clothes rather than being bereft of them, was commonplace. "Paidika" or "eromenos" do not necessarily refer to what we would call "a boy." They could be more like "boyish" or "younger." They could just refer to a younger man.

--The problems start with the very first sentence: It's highly inaccurate to state the men were "of the same mind" about Eros, regardless of what follows this clause (and even regarding Athenian pederasty, subtle and not so subtle differences exist between the men's perspectives). We wouldn't have speeches so varied in tone, subject manner, and approach if they could be summarized aptly as coming from the "same mind." M.S. 28.1.07

Recent changes[edit]

The recent changes made by Brenda maverick are by and large not an improvement. The summary exaggerates the "scandalous" aspects of the dialogue at the expense of philosophical content. I'm not reverting, because I think there may be a few sentences worth preserving, but mostly because the summary needs to be rethought. It's far too long, in my opinion. --Akhilleus (talk) 15:38, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

I've removed Brenda maverick's signatures on each section, added today. I have also put a cleanup tag on the article because (I think) it no longer represents a fair and "encyclopedic" view of the Symposium. What do others think? Andrew Dalby 18:36, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
The summaries were far too long, yes; editing has never been my strong suite. but i really do think that the new version is quite poor, for all the reasons akhilleus gave. it's now about pedophilia instead of philosophy. i personally am inclined to revert it all, as i do think the summaries were better than what's there now. certainly a few sentences in the new one worth keeping . . . but, for instance, socrates' speech is virtually entirely absent from the new write up . . . and it may be easier to go back to the summaries and edit that down, adding in other stuff where relevant . . .
but as i'm the author of those long-winded summaries, i may be biased, so perhaps someone else should do it? or i'll at least wait for objections and further conversation . . .
sorry for coming to this conversation so late, i haven't been here at wikipedia much at all the last few months.
--heah 23:29, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

A "Fictional" Dialogue?[edit]

The article states in rather strong POV terms: "Plato warns his reader that the story must be taken as fictional. The reader hears it third hand from a current young disciple of Socrates, who was in the nursery when the party allegedly took place. This disciple, Apollodorus, is now "refreshing" his memory by retelling it some unspecified years after he first heard about it from Aristodemus. Apollodorus repeatedly says that he is telling it to the best of Aristodemus' memory (178a)."

It is true that Plato in some cases seems to go out of his way to represent conversations within his dialogues as reports made at two or even three times removed from the originals (the main dialogue of the Theaetetus is Euclides’ report of Socrates’ report; that of the Parmenides is Cephalus’ report of Antiphon’s report of Pythodorus’; and that of the Symposium is Apollodorus’ report of Phoenix’s report of Aristodemus’). But, in the very same passages in which he describes the ancestry of the reports, Plato takes the same pains to represent how greatly the reporters were committed to being faithful to the original conversations and how both reporters and listeners had a fairly scrupulous concern for the reliability of sources (see Symposium 173b, 172bc; Theaetetus 143a; Parmenides 126c (remember that Antiphon was Plato’s half-brother); Phaedo 57a). We are given the distinct impression that the followers of Socrates shared a appetite for exact details (Phaedo 58cd, 88e), which would have led to the cultivation of an ability to relate “the speeches” accurately and in detail. Also, Socrates is represented as being quite willing to remind his interlocutors of the details of a past conversation (Symposium 173b, Lysis 211b, Theaetetus 143a). So, the mere fact that the conversation is a third-hand report isn't sufficient reason for concluding that "Plato warns his reader that the story must be taken as fictional..." Isokrates 03:25, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Yes, it's a slanted oversimplification (like many things in the article, in my opinion). Do you want to try rewriting this? Andrew Dalby 10:17, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

The current article is a summary outline that highlighlights the entertaining elements of the dialog. Plato was a masterful wit. Why do we want a summary that dulls him down? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Brenda maverick (talkcontribs).

I read that the reason for having the symposium at Agathons' told third hand is not that it is fictional but it is rather a situation in the text to illustrate that the truth is hard to find and always veiled. I think it is from a Penguin Classics Introduction to the Symposium. Byron B. MaizYCocoa 00:24, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Aristophanes' Speech[edit]

Interpretation aside, I find there to be some minor problems in the section on the speech by Aristophanes. For instance, "Zeus thought about just blasting them to death with thunderbolts," does not in any way sound like it belongs in a discussion on a philosophical text. Also, it seems to me to be wrong. To my limited understanding, it was not Zeus that wanted to "blast them to death" but rather it was the celestial councils of gods that considered annihilating the race. Zeus had the more humane idea of merely splitting each person into two (as opposed to "chopping them in half" as the current article states). Further, it was not Zeus that turned their faces and tightened their skin. Zeus bade Apollo to heal their wounds and reform their flesh. I'm also not sure about the reference to clowns earlier in the section either.

I have not made any changes to the article because I do not know how much variation there is between different translations. If the difference is large, then mine could conceivably be innacurate. Either way, I wanted to bring these small details to the general attention. Hopefully someone can pay them closer attention. If I persue this text further, perhaps I will have more to contribute than a few minor details. Physicsd00d 07:35, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I added a little more information about the women split from women and men split from men. I also added how Aristophanes claimed that when two halves found each other they never wanted to be seperated. Feel free to change around what I wrote. I just thought they should be a little more info. Let me know your thoughts. --LittleDuck17 (talk) 23:46, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

article emphasizes sensationalism at the expense of philosophy[edit]

This article, as has already been observed on this talk page, focuses on the sensual and sensational at the expense of giving a good account of the dialogue. Problems start in the introduction, which has this sentence: "Love between men and women is disparaged as procreant and lewd, and love between men and boys is praised as conducive to courage and wisdom. This dialogue cannot be overestimated as the source of the notion that "educational pederasty" was respectable among the educated classes in fifth century BCE Athens."

This is fairly inaccurate, and unsupported by citations. An IP editor deleted it, only to be reverted; in this case, I think the anonymous editor had the right idea. I'm inclined to delete the sentence, but since there's already been one revert I'd like to hear what other editors think. --Akhilleus (talk) 03:40, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

I am the IP editor who deleted the intro yesterday, and I'm appalled to see that the change was reverted. I deleted the intro because it's a ridiculous mischaracterization of the importance of this dialogue, and does more harm than good -- like having the introductory paragraph for the American Declaration of Independence speak only about slavery. Homosexual love in ancient Greece may be important background knowledge for understanding the Symposium, but it's hardly the reason why this document is still widely read and taught over 2000 years after it was created. Glance briefly at Rebecca Stanton's plan for teaching this dialogue at Columbia University, for example: Then look at the way it's introduced at DePaul: Or look at this brief summary from a Harvard conference on the Symposium: Why on earth is this misleading, weirdly sexually fixated characterization allowed to remain? Tempest67 19:06, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

I have now added a sentence on this topic, which I think is important enough to be mentioned at the outset. It's a different sentence, however. Andrew Dalby 14:09, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Some wikifying[edit]

I am doing some wikifying and other tidying right now. Andrew Dalby 17:15, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

I took this out because it doesn't seem close enough to be comparable either to seven wise men or to Plato's symposiasts. If anyone wants to put it back, better get the details right (not Athenians; not Greeks; not the Persians' guests).
The ancient storyteller Herodotus tells a story of seven Persian envoys who come to Macedonia to demand concessions from the Greeks. (Book 5: 17-21) When the Persians try to grab at the wives of their Athenian guests, the Greeks play a trick on them and stab them to death. Andrew Dalby 18:45, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Haven't done much yet. More to come. Andrew Dalby 19:49, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

great to see your enormously helpful edits so far -- thanks! Tempest67 22:35, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

I took this out:
There is another problem with Phaedrus' using the Achilles-Patroclus affair as evidence of his claim that man-boy lovers make the most effective fighters. Achilles never fights "shoulder to shoulder" with Patroclus. When Patroclus insists on going into battle, Achilles sends his lover in to fight alone (Iliad 16.41-43), and Patroclus is soon killed. Achilles stages a gigantic funeral for Patroclus (Iliad 23.296-7), but it cannot be said that his "love" for Patroclus advanced the war effort. The funeral games set it back for a full two weeks.
because his claim seems to be not about pairs of man-boy lovers fighting side by side, but rather a collection of men, older halves of these partnerships, fighting side by side: if I have read correctly, this creates no contradiction (whatever other problems there may be with Phaedrus's argument!) Andrew Dalby 15:07, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
I took this out:
From here on, the only hint that females even exist in the world is made by Socrates, who says he learned from his sorceress friend Diotima that having children is a way to achieve the glory of immortality that all men seek.
In the outline of Pausanias's speech it is an interruption, but maybe it should go back in at another point. It is exaggerated, though. Aristophanes, to name one, also hints that women exist. Andrew Dalby 15:34, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Article is unbalanced[edit]

Why, after all this discussion, and all the valid points made, is the Introduction still so poorly written and strangely skewed toward (homo)sexuality? The first paragraph ends with "It is largely taken for granted in the conversation (and is stated explicitly by some of the speakers) that the most noble form of love is that between a man and a boy; other forms of love, including heterosexual love, are discussed more briefly and generally with less favour." I haven't read the Symposium in many years, but my memory seems to very strongly suggest that this is an outright falsification. As I remember, one comes away from the Symposium with the distinct impression that what Plato is trying to tell us, through the dialectical development of the conversation of his dramatis personae, is that the highest form of love is not a form of physical or romantic love at all, for either a male or a female, but rather, that through a series of psychological transformations, what a 21st Century person versed in modern psychology might call "sublimation" or "canalization of libido," the seeker comes to the highest form of love, which is a love of the Good, the True and the Beautiful, the three of which are seen to be, in these higher states of consciousness, brought about through contemplation as well as dialectical discourse, synonymous.

The sexual politics is picked up once again in the second and final paragraph of the introduction, making it seem to anyone coming in on it that this is the most important issue that the Symposium addresses, or perhaps at least the most important reason this dialogue should command our attention. This is a philosophical discourse by Plato, not some titillating piece of soft porn. I am new as a member to Wikipedia, so I don't have my sea-legs yet, but please, somebody, change this terrible Introduction!! Kairon Paideia 01:57, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

I made a few small changes to begin to address your concerns, including eliminating the sentence you objected to. --Akhilleus (talk) 05:13, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Diotima, prostitute?[edit]

I was curious about the line that describes Diotima as a well-known prostitute, when the article about her says she is a seer/priestess. Is this true? Or is this some form of vandalism. I would appreciate a source if anyone knows this. (I am not particularly well-versed in philosophy/history so forgive me if this is an obvious or stupid question.) Thanks.P337 23:41, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Diotima is described in the Symposium as being a priestess (or a wise woman). There are contradictory opinions on whether she was a real person or an imaginary 'foil'. You might want to get hold of Mary Ellen Waithe's book, "Diotima of Mantinea," History of Women Philosophers, Volume I/600 BC- 500 AD, 83-116. (Waithe thinks Diotima was a real person.) For what it is worth, I have found no references whatsoever that claim that she was a prostitute. Anarchia 05:28, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
So, I recommend that that part be removed. Does anyone disagree? I was also unable to find any other source that corroborates this.P337 20:22, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

The climactic speech?[edit]

Just because Aristophanes' speech is the most remembered doesn't mean that Plato INTENDED it that way. That are numerous examples in literature about a work of art coming out other than the author intended. Two examples from Shakespeare: Henry IV part 1 was supposed to be about the king, with Falstaff as a minor character who commented on the action from the sidelines. However, it very soon became "The Falstaff Play" and nobody cared who played the king. In "Much Ado About Nothing" the story was supposed to be Claudio's unjust accusation against Hero, but nowadays it is the comic Beatrice-and-Benedict subplot that gets everybody's attention. Plato intended for Socrates to dominate the discussion, but it did not turn out that way. CharlesTheBold (talk) 03:37, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

What about the later history of the dialoge?[edit]

The article is sorely missing a section on how the symposium was understood and interpreted in the time after it was written, up to today. -- (talk) 23:58, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

"Context" section[edit]

The content of this section as it is, may produce the impression that what we are reading in the Symposium is a real conversation that took place in a real historical symposium. I have read the Walter Hamilton translation, and this scholar says "that the conversation which takes place at it is fictitious cannot seriously be doubted". If there is not any contrary opinion based in a reliable secondary source, I will proceed to change this section in a way that reflects this position.--Auró (talk) 17:51, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

I have modified the content in a way that the two theories, fictitious content/historical content are exposed, because the reference from Andrew Dalby seems to be a serious one. (I have realized that this comment I made in October 2012 is unsigned, so I proceed to sign.)--Auró (talk) 16:49, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Literary form/context sections[edit]

The second paragraph of the "Context" section deals with the oral tradition. This is in fact more related to literary form than context. My proposal is to migrate this paragraph to the "Literary form" section, which I will do if there are no objections.--Auró (talk) 17:05, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Done.--Auró (talk) 16:25, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Participants/context sections order[edit]

It seems to me that "context" is a more general concept than "participants", and then its relative order should be reversed, which I will do if there are no objections.--Auró (talk) 16:30, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

I have been more ambitious. I have changed the former section title from "context" to "introductory narrative", and added a new section "Historical context".--Auró (talk) 20:06, 14 July 2013 (UTC)