A Problem in Greek Ethics - John Addington Symonds

A Problem in Greek Ethics

By John Addington Symonds

  • Release Date: 1893-01-01
  • Genre: Social Science


The first fact which the student has to notice is that in the Homeric poems a modern reader finds no trace of this passion. It is true that Achilles, the hero of the Iliad, is distinguished by his friendship for Patroclus no less emphatically than Odysseus, the hero of the Odyssey, by lifelong attachment to Penelope, and Hector by love for Andromache. But in the delineation of the friendship of Achilles and Patroclus there is nothing which indicates the passionate relation of the lover and the beloved, as they were afterwards recognised in Greek society. This is the more remarkable because the love of Achilles for Patroclus added, in a later age of Greek history, an almost religious sanction of the martial form of paiderastia. In like manner the friendship of Idomeneus for Meriones, and that of Achilles, after the death of Patroclus, for Antilochus, were treated by the later Greeks as paiderastic.