Monday, July 20, 2015



Lewis Campbell (1830-1908), ed., Sophocles, The Plays and Fragments, Vol. I (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1871), p. 459 (on Antigone 795 βλεφάρων ἵμερος):
The modern poet speaks of love 'engendered in the eyes, with gazing fed:' the ancients rather spoke of an influence passing from the eye of the beloved (τὸ ἐρωτικὸν ὄμμα, Plat. Phaedr. 253 E) to the soul of the lover. Desire, like vision, was viewed as an emanation from an object. Hence Plato's account of ἵμερος, Phaedr. 251 B, C, δεξάμενος γὰρ τοῦ κάλλους τὴν ἀπορροὴν διὰ τῶν ὀμμάτων, ἐθερμάνθη ᾗ ἡ τοῦ πτεροῦ φύσις ἄρδεται .. ὅταν μὲν οὖν βλέπουσα πρὸς τὸ κάλλος, ἐκεῖθεν μέρη ἐπιόντα καὶ ῥέοντ᾽, ἃ δὴ διὰ ταῦτα ἵμερος καλεῖται, δεχομένη τὸν ἵμερον ἄρδηταί τε καὶ θερμαίνηται, λωφᾷ τε τῆς ὀδύνης καὶ γέγηθεν.
Translation by Harold N. Fowler of the passage quoted from Plato's Phaedrus:
for as the effluence of beauty enters him through the eyes, he is warmed; the effluence moistens the germ of the feathers .. Then when it gazes upon the beauty of the boy and receives the particles which flow thence to it (for which reason they are called yearning), it is moistened and warmed, ceases from its pain and is filled with joy.

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