"And when the other is beside him, he shares his respite from anguish; when he is absent, he likewise shares his longing and being longed for, since he possesses that counterlove which is the image of love, though he supposes it to be friendship rather than love, and calls it by that name" (from the Phaedrus).The nature of love and friendship and their varying manifestations have stimulated philosophical interest for centuries. How should we understand such concepts as: the beloved, physical beauty, the beauty that transcends the physical, and the power of love between men as the ancient Greeks understood it? In these three dialogues, the Lysis, Phaedrus, and Symposium, Socrates, the gadfly of Athens, searches for the truth about love and friendship. In doing so, he reveals how his Athenian contemporaries regarded homosexual love as an educative, aesthetic, and social force.
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