PLUTARCH’S LIFE OF ARISTEIDES
Aristeides (ca. 528-468) was an Athenian statesman and general so renowned for honour and fairness that he was known as “the Just”.
The Greek biographer and essayist Plutarch wrote a biography of him at the beginning of the second century AD, but using much earlier lost works, as one of his Parallel Lives. Here follows the only passage in it relating to pederasty, which Plutarch also recounted in his Life of Themistokles.
The translation is by Bernadotte Perrin in the Loeb Classical Library volume XLVII (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1914). Latinised names have been replaced by romanisations of the Greek.
On the great enmity between Aristeides and his rival statesman Themistokles:
|But Ariston of Keos says that this enmity of theirs, which came to be so intense, had its origin in a love affair. They were both enamoured of Stesileos, who was of Keian birth, and in beauty of person the most brilliant of youths; and they cherished their passion so immoderately, that not even after the boy’s beauty had faded did they lay aside their rivalry, but, as though they had merely taken preliminary practice and exercise in that, they presently engaged in matters of state also with passionate heat and opposing desires.||[ii] Ἀρίστων δ᾿ ὁ Κεῖος ἐξ ἐρωτικῆς ἀρχῆς γενέσθαι φησὶ καὶ προελθεῖν ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον τὴν ἔχθραν αὐτῶν. [iii] Στησίλεω γάρ, ὃς ἦν γένει Κεῖος, ἰδέᾳ τε καὶ μορφῇ σώματος πολὺ τῶν ἐν ὥρᾳ λαμπρότατος, ἀμφοτέρους ἐρασθέντας οὐ μετρίως ἐνεγκεῖν τὸ πάθος οὐδ᾿ ἅμα λήγοντι τῷ κάλλει τοῦ παιδὸς ἀποθέσθαι τὴν φιλονεικίαν, ἀλλ᾿ ὥσπερ ἐγγυμνασαμένους ἐκείνῃ πρὸς τὴν πολιτείαν εὐθὺς ὁρμῆσαι διαπύρους ὄντας καὶ διαφόρως ἔχοντας.|
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