The other Aphrodite

Her name is Diotima of Mantinea. Who?

Diotima of Mantinea is a female philosopher and seer from ancient Greece. She plays an important role in Plato’s Symposium and her ideas are the original concept of Platonic love. There are no other historical records of the seer except for Plato’s metaphysical hocus-pocus, it is uncertain whether she was real or a fictional creation. However, Plato has the reputation to refer to real persons living in ancient Athens. This is one of her portraits.

In Symposium, the party goers discuss the meaning of love. Socrates, Plato’s teacher, says that in his youth he was taught “the philosophy of love” by Diotima of Mantinea, who successfully postponed the plague with her magical weapon: LOVE. In Socrates’ view  love represents the feminine wisdom.

For the ancient Greek, god is love. The Celestial Aphrodite and the Vulgar Aphrodite. Although the Celestial love is deemed the purest, any love may become a stepping stone to the Divine form whether it be romantic love, maternal love, or the love of friends. All are ruled by Aphrodite and all may be forms of Diotimic or Platonic love.

* I thank my friend Jerin Tahapary who brought me to Diotimic matters as we discussed ancient female philosophers inclucing Hypathia of Alexandia.

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1 Comment

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One response to “The other Aphrodite

  1. Hypathia, THAT’S HER NAME! Thank you, Julie, I was trying to remember who this women was, but forgot. Now 2012 will be better… Pim

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