Diotima of Mantinea

By all means, marry.  If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; otherwise, you’ll become a philosopher. ~Socrates

Socrates was married.  We know that from several sources.  Socrates had more than one child.  That is also mentioned in several sources (re: The Apology of Socrates).  Yet, when Socrates is moved to talk about love, he quotes, not his wife or another male philosopher, but Diotima of Matinea.  Unfortunately for the reader, the definition for love is never truly nailed down by the interlocutors, left confidently by Socrates as a painted canvas of wispy, enduring, natural/divine yearnings.

Socrates understood explicitly…

To our detriment, he fails to transfer that knowledge to us.

Years, maybe decades, after their initial encounters, it was obvious Socrates’ interaction with Diotima had been a deep and permanent one.  Female philosophers were exceedingly rare, back in the day, and to have a male quote a female during a male drinking party would have been “interesting” to the listener.

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