“Symposium” by Xenophon

Socrates and Xanthippe

“Socrates,” asked Antisthenes, “how does it come that you don’t practise what you preach by yourself educating Xanthippe, but live with a wife who is the hardest to get along with of all the women there are—yes, or all that ever were, I suspect, or ever will be?”

“Because,” he replied, “I observe that men who wish to become expert horsemen do not get the most docile horses but rather those that are high-mettled, believing that if they can manage this kind, they will easily handle any other. My course is similar. Mankind at large is what I wish to deal and associate with; and so I have got her, well assured that if I can endure her, I shall have no difficulty in my relations with all the rest of human kind.”

Love and Farming

For, to my way of thinking, the man whose attention is attracted only by his beloved’s appearance is like one who has rented a farm; his aim is not to increase its value but to gain from it as much of a harvest as he can for himself. On the other hand, the man whose goal is friendship is more like one possessing a farm of his own; at any rate he utilizes all sources to enhance his loved one’s worth.

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