Eryximachus Conception Of Mantic Art

1507 Words7 Pages
It is following from this passage on mantic techne (188b6-d2) that Eryximachus is able to incorporate in his conclusion (188d4-e4) the theme of human good and virtues motivated by Eros, a theme that is central for Diotima/Socrates. This is because the aim of mantic art-- harmonious relations between gods-- necessarily entails certain demands and expectations of human behavior. Eryximachus concludes that it is the Eros which is concerned with the good actions (περὶ τἀγαθὰ) and is realized (ἀποτελούμενος) with temperance and justice (μετὰ σωφροσύνης καὶ δικαιοσύνης) that has the greatest power (τὴν μεγίστην δύναμιν ἔχει) and provides us with “πᾶσαν εὐδαιμονίαν” (187d8). Eryximachus’ passages on mantic art (188b6-e4) anticipate…show more content…
She spares no effort in giving direction and guidance to Socrates, trying to make sure that he would follow (210a3, “ἐρῶ μὲν οὖν, ἔφη, ἐγὼ καὶ προθυμίας οὐδὲν ἀπολείψω: πειρῶ δὲ ἕπεσθαι”). When Socrates first failed to understand Diotima’s idea of giving birth in a beautiful medium, he said he needed “μαντείας” (206b9) to understand what she said. Diotima’s account of Eros is not a perfectly logical, calmly stated analysis of Eros, but rather like flow of inspiration, especially her long monologue that extends from 208c to 212a. The way she presents the Erotic process also shows overall confidence that makes what she says seem “convincing and beyond doubt” to Socrates. For example, in her description of the progress towards true Beauty, all the major steps for the lover to take are put in the infinitive throughout 210a4-d6, governed by the “δεῖ γάρ” in 210a4. This passage also abounds with purpose clauses (210c3, ἵνα ἀναγκασθῇ; c5, c7, ἵνα), reinforcing the impression that she has thorough, unquestionable understanding of the erotic process, despite the fact that the absolute, true Beauty is ultimately beyond any definite description. Diotima is also described as wise (“σοφή” or possessing “σοφία”, 201d3, 206b5-6, 208b8) throughout Socrates’ report (but never as possessing “ἐπιστήμη”, as Eryximachus’ δημιουργός…show more content…
Diotima is insistent that this process be conducted correctly (210a4, a6, e3, 211b5, b7, ὀρθῶς), just as Eryximachus needs the δημιουργός to oversee and regulate Eros in all spheres to attain a state of health and harmony. Instead of a δημιουργός, a leader (210a, ὁ ἡγούμενος) is needed who guides the process in the right direction. Diotima does not name who this leader is, but from her account, it seems that the leader cannot be anyone else but someone who has gone through this process himself, i.e. an older lover. This leader is likened to a μυσταγωγός. (Bury 125) Those in love, therefore, are actively engaged in the process both as initiators and initiates, as contrasted with lovers in Eryximachus’ account, who are mentioned little except as overseen by mantic techne. Experience is crucial to the process of initiation. Diotima’s “Ladder of Love” accordingly centers on the lovers’ own experience, something to which Eryximachus gives little weight. In this process described by Diotima, the lovers start from loving the beauty of one person’s body, then, “realize” (210a, κατανοῆσαι), “reflect upon” (210b, ἐννοήσαντα) it all

More about Eryximachus Conception Of Mantic Art

Open Document