The Symposium is a philosophical text by Plato dated c. 385–370 BC. It depicts a group of men, partying, drinking and talking about their love of cock.The men include the philosopher Socrates, the general and political figure Alcibiades, and the comic playwright Aristophanes. The speeches are to be given in praise of Eros, the god of love and desire. The participants will be drinking wine, meaning that the men might be induced to say things they wouldn’t say elsewhere or when sober. They might speak more frankly, or take more risks, or else be prone to hubris – they might even be inspired to make speeches that are particularly heartfelt and noble. The speeches revolve around same-sex love, specifically pederastic relationships between adult and adolescent males. Philosopher Alexander Nehamas said it is “a remarkable fact that the Symposium, the first explicit discussion of love in western literature and philosophy, begins as a discussion of homosexual love”. Queer studies professor Louis Crompton says that the speakers all assume that “serious love will usually mean love between men, generally love of an older for a younger male” but noted that the book reflected mixed opinions in ancient Greek society about whether such male love should be physical.

Symposium (Plato)

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