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.














to his personal bond with Achilles, is comparable to the intimate friends of Meleager. The embassy, of course, fails in its purpose, and Achilles does not begin to yield until Patroclus himself pleads with him (book 16). It has been suggested that Patroclus thus occupies the place of the wife in the Meleager story: her name, Cleopatra, puns on Patroclus by reversing the roots pater, "father," and kleos, "fame." 33 Patroclus dies in the armor of Achilles, and there are hints in the Iliad that the

gods, participated in wars between imperial powers as nationals and hired troops (the term xenos in this period had as its primary meaning "mercenary soldier"), committed their lives to philosophical doctrines and communities, built libraries and museums, consulted astrologers, farmed as ever, traded, paid taxes, and maintained the traditions of the classical city-state both in cult and political institutions to a remarkable degree. In these conditions, friendship served new needs and was

life and death, support a friend's unjust aspirations provided that serious disgrace will not ensue (Cic. De amic. 17.61, cit. Gell. 1.3.13). Gellius complains that this advice is too vague. That one must not bear arms against one's country (contra patriam: Cic. De amic. 11.36, cit. Gell. 1.3.19) for a friend is obvious. Pericles, Gellius continues, put the limit at swearing falsely.13 Theophrastus, for his part, calculated that moderate dishonor might be balanced by an important service to a

must be read as such. But the word Idea is not an arbitrary X, and it bears a traditional burden that continues Plato's system in Hegel's system. Hegel was aware that the expression "idea" was transliterated from the Greek. In the case of friendship, where the signifiers philos, amicus, and friend are distinct, Derrida (1993: 366-7) affirms more cautiously: "we should not forget that we are speaking first of all from within the tradition of a certain concept of friendship, within a given culture

83 q. 71.6, cit. McNamara 1958: 204. Seneca's epistles: see Graver 1995; philosophical therapy: cf. Nussbaum 1994b. Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010 Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online by IP on Thu May 20 13:45:49 BST 2010. Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press, 2010 152 Christian and pagan the other side of the coin is to be open about one's own faults.6 The English words "frankness" or

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