Friendship in the Classical World (Key Themes in Ancient History)

Friendship in the Classical World (Key Themes in Ancient History)

David Konstan

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 0521459982

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This book is a history of friendship in Greece and Rome, from the warrior society of the Homeric epics to the time of the Christian Roman Empire. It demonstrates how ancient friendship resembles modern conceptions, and how it evolves in different social contexts. The book sheds new light on such questions as friendship and democracy, the importance of friends in government and in philosophical communities, women's friendships, and the transformation of friendship under the influence of Christian ideas of brotherhood.














Steve Duck (1983: 67) affirms: "The main feature that stabilises, establishes and develops relationships of all types is proper and dexterous control of self-disclosure', that is, the revelation of personal layers of one's self, personal thoughts, or even one's body." Acquaintanceship falls short of friendship precisely because it "is not a relationship of intimacy or exchange of confidences," even though "a great amount of information may be passed between those who are acquaintances" (Bell

Books Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010 Sappho and women's friendships 47 that the addressee is an eromenos or boy love, which does not necessarily exclude a symposiastic context; in a drinking song, he addresses an axles, a Doric or Thessalian term for friend or beloved (cf. Alcman fr. 34). In another poem he appears to reproach friends who fail him (fr. 130a); writing, perhaps, from exile, he adapts the Homeric formula, "far from dear ones" (pile ton philon, fr. 148, as restored). on Thu May 20 13:45:06 BST 2010. Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010 Aristotle on the grounds of friendship grounds of attraction; thus Sadler (1970: 201) observes: "When interpreted from within the perspective of love, the experience of loneliness is transformed into an awareness of our singular identity. This identity is accepted and affirmed by a true friend." We speak mysteriously of the chemistry that draws

only hint that friendship somehow comes from love of self apart from the idea that being lovable to oneself bespeaks a character that will be appreciated by others too - is in the opening statement in the section on self-love, in which Aristotle affirms that signs of friendliness (philika) in regard to others and the qualities by which philia is defined "seem to come from those toward oneself" (9.4, n66ai-2). Since Aristotle immediately thereafter mentions the views adopted by others, perhaps

often in relationships based on advantage than in those based on pleasure or respect (8.13, n62b5-2i), Aristotle proceeds to distinguish two sorts of utilitarian philia, one according to character (ethike), the other legal or conventional (nomike). Conventional philia occurs on stipulated terms, whether the exchange is on the spot (Aristotle says "hand to hand") and strictly commercial or with a view to a future date agreed upon before a witness. Either way the amount owed is unambiguous, though

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