17-22 SLL-V4N2-1045

The Influence of the Conception of Love in Plato’s Symposium on Virgil’s Aeneid and the French Eneas

Hassan Ali Abdullah Al-Momani1,*


1 Full-time Lecturer, Department of English Language and Literature, Tafila Technical University, Jordan.

*Corresponding author.


Received 23 January 2012; accepted 23 March 2012.


This paper explores the influence of the conception of love in Plato’s Symposium on Virgil’s Aeneid and the French Eneas through a comparative analysis methodology that highlights the shared thread and influence between Plato’s Symposium and Virgil’s Aeneid and the French Eneas. The study mainly focuses on showing the readers how the Greek concept of the spiritual and heavenly love is highly praised and favored by Virgil’s Aeneid and the French Eneas because it is an everlasting and healthy kind of love.

Key words: Earthly love; Spiritual love; Divine love; Greek concept of love; Plato’s Symposium; Virgil’s Aeneid; The French Eneas; Platonic love; Absolute love

Hassan Ali Abdullah Al-Momani (2012). The Influence of the Conception of Love in Plato’s Symposium on Virgil’s Aeneid and the French Eneas. Studies in Literature and Language, 4(2), 17-22. Available from URL: http://www.cscanada.net/index.php/sll/article/view/j.sll.1923156320120402.1045
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/j.sll.1923156320120402.1045

There is no subject which has been ever thought of or written about in literature, particularly in poetry, more than the subject of love. Apart from the universal interest of poets in love, the fact remains that almost all human beings, primitive or civilized, must have experienced a kind of love in one way or another. Many great men of letters such as Plato and Ovid tackled the theme of love because it is a vital phenomenon which preoccupies the minds and hearts of men and women as long as there is life on earth.

Virgil’s Aeneid and the French text Eneas depict the conception of love from different perspectives, in which there is clear evidence that Virgil’s Aeneid and the French text Eneas are highly influenced by the Greek conception of love represented in Plato’s Symposium. In this paper, I will trace this influence through studying both Plato’s Symposium and its influence on Virgil’s Aeneid and the French text Eneas.

There are some critics who studied the influence of Plato’s Symposium on Virgil’s Aeneid and the French text Eneas depending on the fact that Plato was born before Virgil. Plato, the greatest philosopher of ancient Greece, was born in Athens in 428 or 427 B.C.E. to an aristocratic family, wheras Publius Vergilius Maro was born on the 15th of October, 70 B.C.E., near Mantua. Dickinson (2002) claims that the morality of Virgil’s work, especially his ideas of good and evil are derived from the Platonic philosophy. The writer refers to Professor Jackson Knight’s claim that “the golden bough wherewith Aeneas gains entrance to the ‘Spiritual World beyond death’ as a symbolic reference to Plato…As embodied in Virgil’s poetry, the moral ideas are of profound value to Christian and pagan alike: there are the strongest grounds for saying that Virgil is the greatest creative genius of Western civilization” (377). Furthermore, Dickinson thinks that Aeneas was Augustus’ friend: “he was subsidized by him” (377). The critic states that “there is no question that Virgil was influenced by the times he lived in” (377). Finally, Dickinson asks “how can a great artist not be so influenced?” (377).

Additionally, Wardy (2007) claims that Virgil’s Aeneid is indirectly influenced by Plato’s Symposium. He thinks that this influence is represented in the “light of the purported intertextual allusion” (155). He challenges the critics who think that there is no influence of Plato on Virgil. The critic thinks that Virgil does to incorporate his Platonic material in his text. Wardy argues that Virgil “never specifically tosses in a citation or generates an echo for its own sake: for him, writing is rewriting, as he harmoniously or polemically engages with the multiple traditions which he so spectacularly enriches. His encounters with Homer, Hesiod, Callimachus, Ennius, Lucretius, Catullus, and others are intricate and subtly ambitious affairs; but his tacit dialogue with Plato is another sort of conversation altogether” (155).

Wardy thinks that Nisus and Euryalus episode in Aeneid IX draws an inspiration from Phaedrus’s speech in Plato’s Symposium. He argues that this relationship is not casual. He describes this similarity by saying: “a part of Symposium is a partial blueprint, model, or template for a section of the Aeneid” (155). Wardy provides a piece of evidence for his conviction that there is an influence of Plato on Virgil through saying: “Plato’s engagement with Homer is anything but superficial; and it is blindingly obvious that this is also true of Virgil’s. Virgil’s recognition and appreciation of the philosopher’s manifold Homeric interests would provide one very sound reason for his thoughtful reworking of Platonic texts. And there are proper grounds for discerning a tighter affiliation with the Symposium” (164). Regarding the influence of Plato’s Symposium on Eneas, it should be stated that this influence is not a direct one, but it is filtered through the Aeneid as we will see in the analysis.

The Greek conception of love can be divided into two kinds, earthly love and divine love, for the Greek mythology and beliefs in the existence of another world are influential. Plato’s belief in a world of ideas, or say his belief in the absolute love, is exceptional because it is natural for a philosopher to find a place for his concept of love within the framework of his systematic theory of ideas.

In this regard, we should differentiate between the three kinds of love in order to better understand the influence of Symposium on Virgil’s Aeneid and the French text Eneas. Trentadue (2006) argues that heavenly love in Plato’s Symposium is concerned “with the virtue of our partner”. He uses the fireplace analogy to explain the idea of heavenly love:

Heavenly love can be compared to the fire that occurs when the heavier logs ignite. If we not only have a sufficient quantity of kindling, but also truly care for our partner, it will produce enough heat over a period of time to ignite the heavier logs. The heat of the fire can be compared to the passion from being in love. In this state or condition, and under the right nurturing circumstances (such as warmth, caring, affection, integrity, and open, honest communication between both persons) the heat from being in love can ignite the logs of true love, which will burn for a very long time and provide a constant source of heat, warmth, and beauty. This is heavenly love, and it lasts longer than earthly love (11-12).


Trentadue defines the earthly love as “the desire of the body rather than of the soul”, in which this kind of love is not long-lasting and is related to the initial attraction when two lovers fall in love, and then it disappears. The critic provides a very interesting description of this kind of love by comparing it with fire:

A good fire requires a supply of wood, such as logs, and these logs need smaller pieces of wood, known as kindling, to heat the logs sufficiently so they can burn on their own. This kindling ignites readily and burns very hot, but, unfortunately, burns so quickly that the heat it produces is short-lived, much like the attraction of earthly love. This will not lead to a long-lasting fire or a long-lasting relationship (11).


Additionally, Trentadue explains the third kind of love which is the divine love. He claims that divine love is the highest type of love which leads to wisdom. It transcends all the earthly instincts and leads to the divine concepts, such as the existence of God. It is the kind of love that leads us to the end of knowing, “where knowledge becomes divine, is the state of Loving, in which the inherent beauty of all things is made clear. Eastern thought has called this condition Nirvana, and Judeo-Christian beliefs identify it as the universal love of God which extends through all things” (5).

Thus, we notice through looking at the definitions of the different kinds of love in Plato’s Symposium that earthly love is related to the idea of procreation. It is an important kind of love to save the humanity race on the earth. In contrast, the heavenly love is the type which goes beyond the physical appearance and comes from the deep soul. In other words, heavenly love is related to the virtues and harmony between the lovers’ souls. The divine love is the “the highest type of love: one devoid of personal interests that relishes in the success of its object. The greatest love encourages the best practices, characteristics, opportunities, and if at all possible, the best life. This love is necessarily selfless” (5).

The Roman conception of love can also be divided into earthly love and divine love for the Romans, like Greeks, believe in supernatural powers and have their own gods. For example, Venus, the Roman goddess of love, beauty, and fertility, corresponds to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess.

Plato’s Symposium reveals the natural personality of Socrates. It deals with the theme of love which is one of the most important interests of mankind. Probably this theme is closer to literature than philosophy simply because it is a traditional subject handled by almost all poets, old and new.

The term “symposium” has two meanings, old and new. To the Greeks and Romans, it is a drinking together after a banquet party during which a debate over a particular subject occurs. To the modern world, symposium means either a collection of brief articles dealing with an important topic, or a conference at which a certain topic is discussed by many writers or scientists.

Plato’s Symposium is a number of opinions given by many great men of letters and scholars on the art of love. Apollodorus repeats the discourse which he had heard from Aristodemus. Originally, the speeches were delivered at Agathon’s house where a banquet was held on the occasion of his winning of a prize for his first tragedy. The participants were: Phaedrus, Pausanias, Eryximachus, Aristophanes, Agathon, and Socrates. I am going to shed light on each one’s ideology on love and how it can be related to the concept of love in Aeneid and Eneas.

The issue of love has been initiated by Phaedrus and suggested by Eryximachus, a physician who also suggests that too many drinks should not be the features of the party. Phaedrus believes that the god of love is the eldest of the mighty gods and that it has no parents. In order to support his point of view, he quotes both Hesiod and Parenides who affirm that Earth and Love came into being after the Chaos (universe) (41-44).

Phaedrus’s second important argument is that love is “the source of the greatest benefits” to human beings. He believes that love is the source of all virtues and principles of morality. He also asserts that a state whose rulers and subjects love one another would be the best state, and that an army of lovers would overcome the world. Of course, the word “lovers” here is very general (41-44).

The significance of love, says Phaedrus, appears in the behavior of the lover whose life will be at the service of his beloved. He refers to Alcestis and Achilles, the former sacrifices her life for her husband, and the latter retaliates for the death of Patroclus, his lover, by slaying Hector. However, Phaedrus believes that love is the “giver of virtue in life and of happiness after death.”(41-44).

Phaedrus’s conception of love can be noticed in both Virgil’s Aeneid and the French text Eneas, in which Aeneas is motivated by his sense of love and loyalty for his people to battle the Greeks. It is true that he is influenced by the will of gods. His love for his people and his willing to found a new race in Italy that will eventually become the Roman Empire is more important. Additionally, Aeneas sacrifices himself for the sake of his people because he shares with them the suffering which motivates him to achieve his goal:

Sorrow too deep to tell, your majesty,

You order me to feel and tell once more:

How the Danaans leveled in the dust

The splendor of our mourned-forever kingdom---

Heartbreaking things I saw with my own eyes

And was myself a part of. Who could tell them,

Even a Myrmidon or Dolopian

Or ruffian of Ulysses, without tears? (II.3-10).


From the previous quotation we notice how Aeneas refers to the shared emotion and suffering between him and his people when he uses the possessive adjective “our”. It is clear that the kind of love Aeneas has for his people is the love of a ruler for his people which implies all senses of devotion and loyalty. Also, the people of Aeneas share with him this feeling of love which is represented by their following him in his battles against the Greeks and in all his decisions. Thus, Aeneas and his people win the battle at the end and rule Italy. They rule Italy because they are, as Phaedrus claims, an army of lovers who can overcome the world.

Additionally, Aeneas’s love for his father Anchises makes him determined to achieve his goal. The influence of his love for his father is clear throughout the poem, in which he says:

Did you suppose, my father,

That I could tear myself away and leave you?

Unthinkable; how could a father say it?

Now if it is please the powers above that nothing

Stand of this great city; if your heart

Is set on adding your own death and ours


To that of Troy, the door’s wide open for it (II. 857-863).


Thus, Aeneas’s ability of leadership is highly influenced by his sense of love for his father who encourages Aeneas to proceed in his quest.

Another influence of Phaedrus in the Aeneid is that Aeneas prefers his love for people to his love for Dido. He leaves her in a sorrowful situation because he has been reminded of his duty towards his people. In other words, Aeneas does not make the choice to leave Dido by himself. Although he indulges in a romance with her, he proceeds in his duty which is to found a new race in Italy. Thus, Aeneas’s love for his people is based on Phaedrus’s claim that a lover’s life will be at the service of his beloved people. As Proce (2006) describes him, Aeneas is “an idyllic Roman hero, who never abandons his “divine” duty. He, in contrast, forsakes his own desire and leaves Dido and Carthage to found what would become Rome. The Aeneid teaches that had Aeneas not followed his duty, Rome would never have existed” (23).

Dido’s love for Aeneas can be related to Phaedrus’s claim, in which she becomes as a slave of her desire for Aeneas. Apart from the claim that her love is sexual for him, she shows herself in the image of a lover who is at the service of her beloved. She abandons the construction of Carthage and indulges in a romance with Aeneas. She tries to be a loyal lover but she is faced with Aeneas’s love for his people and duty.

Proce (2006) describes Dido’s problem by saying that she is “a victim to her own passion. Due to this passion, she neglects her kingdom and forsakes her vow to remain faithful to her recently murdered husband, for a man who ultimately rejects her. Dido’s tragic tale is an example of Augustus’ social reform: it provides instruction to women through criticism of female behavior. Virgil draws attention to Dido’s emotional and moral weaknesses because she is a woman. Dido demonstrates this weakness by forsaking her country for the passion of a man” (22). Proce also describes the tragic consequence of Dido’s love by saying: “when Dido neglected her country’s needs, it led not only to her own demise through her suicide, but to the demise of Carthage as well” (23).

Thus, the type of love presented in Virgil’s Aeneid is influenced by Phaedrus’s conception of love which views love as the source of greatest benefits. Aeneas is motivated by the love for his people and his commitment to duty. His duty is related to the greatest benefits for his people, so he succeeds at the end, but Dido’s personal love does not bring any great benefits for her people because she is not interested in their benefits, so her love is destined to fail at the end.

Looking at the character of Eneas in the French text makes us relate it to the claim of Phaedrus that love is the source of all virtues and principles of morality. This claim is clear in Eneas’s love for Lavine which makes him a better character. He has all the characteristics of nobility, bravery, and beauty which are due to his love for Lavine. He perceives his courage and strength which make him a hero:

“This land is now much more beautiful to me, and this country pleases me greatly; yesterday became an extremely beautiful day when I stopped beneath the tower where I gained that love. Because of it I am much stronger and more high-spirited, and will very gladly fight for it” (Yunck, p.236).


Thus, Eneas’s love for Lavine makes him a moral person who devotes himself for the sake of his beloved. Turnus also fights to marry Lavine. He is not motivated by his true love for her, so he does not have good characteristics. He loses the battle with Eneas and is defeated by him because he does not love Lavine truly. After he is wounded, Turnus begs for his life, telling Eneas: “Everyone sees well that you have defeated me and conquered all with great strength” (Yunck, p.250). Thus, Turnus is a weak warrior who surrenders at the end because he does not love Lavine truly.

The second to speak in Symposium is Pausanias who rightly criticizes the generalities of Phaedrus’s conception of love. He divides love into two kinds, heavenly and earthly, for he believes that there are two goddesses, the heavenly Aphrodite and the earthly, and that the former has to be given great consideration. His argument is based on the idea that actions are either good or bad according to their performance. Similarly, love is an action which is either good or bad according to its purpose. He declares that foolish love affairs should be forbidden by law for they affect not only the future of the youth but also the whole nation (45-50).

Pausanias refers to the lover’s manner and the attitude of tradition towards it. Social conventions, he says, may allow the lover to do things otherwise unacceptable. Both bodily love and spiritual love are appreciated by Greek traditions, but the love of the soul is always given the first place because it is everlasting and is based on virtue and wisdom (45-50).

Clearly, Pausanias’s conception of love influences the concept of love in both Virgil’s Aeneid and the French text Eneas, in which the heavenly or spiritual love is given the priority. This is due to its usefulness for lovers and its eternal characteristics. For example, we notice that the kind of love between Aeneas and Dido in Virgil’s Aeneid is a bodily or earthly love, in that it is based on lust and bodily desires. It is also clear that this kind of love is not idealized, and it is associated with imagery linked to madness, fire, or disease. Love here is a force that brings violence and death to Dido; it makes her lose her self control. Virgil describes Dido’s love as a fire:

The queen, for her part, all that evening ached

With longing that her heart’s blood fed, a wound

Or inward fire eating her away.

The manhood of the man, his pride of birth,

Came home to her time and again; his looks,

His words remained with her to haunt her mind,

And desire for him gave her no rest (IV. 3).

Thus, Dido’s love is strongly based on a desire which is according to Pausanias’s conception an earthly love that is not everlasting. Virgil describes the tragic end of this kind of love by saying:

On Dido in her desolation now

Terror grew at her fate. She prayed for death,

Being heartsick at the mere sight of heaven.

That she more surely would perform the act

And leave the daylight, now she saw before her

A thing one shudders to recall: on altars

Fuming with incense where she placed her gifts,

The holy water blackened, the spilt wine

Turned into blood and mire (IV. 622-630).


Thus, in light of Pausanias’s claim that love is an action that might have a good or bad purpose, we can notice that Dido’s love to Aeneas is bad because of its purpose which is based on fulfilling Dido’s desires with Aeneas. It is not a heavenly love because it is related to lust, not to the soul. Also, it is depicted as a force which distracts its victims from their responsibilities, in which Dido abandons her construction of Carthage and Aeneas must move on because the time he spends with Dido only keeps him from his selfless task of founding an empire. Virgil depicts Dido’s tragedy and its influence on her people when he says:

Amid these words her household people saw her

Crumpled over the steel blade, and the blade

A flush with red blood, drenched her hands. A scream

Pierced the high chambers. Now through the shocked city

Rumor went rioting, as wails and sobs

With women’s outcry echoed in the palace

And heaven’s high air gave back the beating din,

As though all Carthage or old Tyre fell

To storming enemies, and, out of hand,

Flames billowed on the roofs of men and gods (IV. 920-929).


Therefore, it might be concluded that Virgil is highly influenced by Pausanias’s conception of love in terms of the negative and tragic consequences of the earthly love which is not related to the heavenly one.

Looking at the character of Eneas in the French text gives us clear evidence of Pausanias’s influence on it. Eneas’s love for Lavine is a heavenly one, in that it is not based on lust and on desires. It is a fully spiritual love which is also based on the rationality of lovers. Lavine firstly tries to speculate on the meaning of love and knows about the pains of earthly love which is based on lust and desires; she listens to the definition of irrational love from her mother who describes it as:

Love is painted there alone, holding two darts in his right hand and a box in his left;one of the darts is tipped with gold, which causes love, and the other with lead, which makes love alter. Love wounds and pierces often, and is thus painted figuratively to show clearly his nature. The dart shows that he can wound, and the box that he knows how to heal (Yunck, p.213).


Although Lavine’s mother warns her of the pains of love, Lavine wants to try love. She starts loving Eneas’s nobility and bravery. She loves him but she does not act on love, she says about her experience: “Now I know enough about love; my mother spoke the truth indeed; I could not learn about love from anyone else as well as I could from myself” (Yunck, p.217). Similarly, Eneas is motivated by Lavine’s love which changes him to be a noble and brave man. He does not indulge in a romance with her because he wants to know about love. When he knows about love, his character changes a lot, and he exerts his hard efforts to show Lavine that he loves her. Thus, they have both the responsible love and the harmony of their souls because their purpose is to love each other. The success of their love relationship is due to their ability to harmonize both the bodily love with the spiritual love, so “Never did Paris have greater joy when he had Helen in Troy than Eneas had when he had his love in Laurente” (Yunck, p.256). Thus, both Eneas and Lavine are physically and spiritually attracted to each other.

Pausanias’s speech is followed by Eryxiamachus’s idea of love. He insists that there are two kinds of love, divine and earthly, and that they are both found in the human body as healthy and unhealthy elements. He explains that the wise man is the one who can harmonize between these opposite elements. He believes that good and evil are present in the nature of love, and that love is the greatest power by which man can make friends on earth as well as in heaven. He utterly connects man’s earthly love with the bestial desires (53-57).

Eryximachus points out that contradictions such as right and wrong, good and bad, false and true, are found everywhere, not only in the nature of love but also in the nature of seasons and the revolutions of heavenly bodies where hot and cold are discerned. His concept of higher love is based on the harmony between the good and bad elements in the human relationship. This harmony is for the benefit of man on earth and in heaven. The greatest happiness, to Eryximachus, lies in the communion between gods and men. It is very clear that the physician, in his attempt, tries to find a link between earthly and heavenly love. Earthly desires are unhealthy. Man’s eagerness for heavenly communion is healthy. Heavenly love is the source of religion and happiness (53-57).

Eryximachus’s conception of love can be noticed in the love relationship between Aeneas and Dido which fails because it is based on the earthly love represented in Dido’s desires and lust. Adams (2005) comments on the problem of love in Aeneid and compares it to the love relationship in Eneas by saying:

The Eneas composer uses Dido and Lavine to demonstrate two responses to love. Dido cannot manage her desire, she does not know how to use the art of love, she succumbs to lovesickness, and her political status suffers. Lavine does know how to manage love: she manages her own desire and uses the art of love to solicit Eeneas’ desire (p.2).


Thus, the problem in the Aeneid is Dido’s inability to harmonize the earthly love with the heavenly one, whereas in Eneas the love relationship succeeds because it is rational and is not based on desires.

Aristophanes begins his discourse by going back to the origin of man whose nature seemed to be different from the present. Although Aristophanes’s picture of man’s origin is funny, the argument seems to be serious for the interference of gods and the disobedience of man. This is a religious argument which reveals earnestness (58-65).

The above argument is followed by another which speaks of the origin of love as a punishment. For the man who has been cut into two parts has the desire to go back to his earlier form. Aristophanes believes that man’s strong desire to reunite his separate parts and his pursuit of the whole is called love. The process of reproduction seems to be another punishment designed by Zeus (58-65).

In light of the above conception of love, we can say that Dido’s love for Aeneas is a kind of punishment. It is not based on finding her separate part but it is related to her desire to fulfill her sexual need. Additionally, it is clear that Aeneas does not find Dido as his separate part because there is no shared spiritual harmony between them because their love is based on physical attraction. Thus, Dido’s relationship with Aeneas is not a love one. On the contrary, it is a relationship based on fulfilling her sexual need which makes her leave her duty towards her people and be punished at the end.

Agathon’s conception of love is based on two arguments: firstly, the praise of love as a god; and secondly, the gifts bestowed by love upon man. Speaking of the qualities of the god of love, Agathon remarks that love is the fairest because he is the youngest, and youth is always beautiful. He is the tenderest for he walks not on earth but on the hearts and souls of gods and men. He is flexible and dwells among the flowers. Love’s virtue lies in the fact that he suffers nothing and does wrong to nobody. All gods and men serve him by their own free will. He uses no force; he is temperate and just. All pleasures are his servants. He is also the bravest for even the god of war yields to his control (67-72).

In his poetic conclusion, Agathon glorifies the god of love because he is the source of many virtues such as delicacy, tenderness, courtesy, and grace. He speaks of love’s magical power by using magical words to enchant the ears of his listeners. Agathon’s poetic approach can be noticed throughout all the discussion of his concept of love. He connects love with youth and beauty, ignoring the fact that love has nothing to do with either, age or beauty. He thinks that love is a heart’s endeavor as far as there are heart beatings in life. It is the warmth of feelings as long as there are warm affections and flaming passions in the human being. Love is a powerful authority which masters all kinds of hearts within a frame of pains and pleasures.

Agathon’s conception of love has influenced Eneas in the French text, in that we find Eneas’s character differs from that in Aeneid. He has the characteristics of nobility, beauty, and bravery because of the influence of love. Eneas states the influence of love on him and how it makes him braver in his battle with Turnus in order to gain Lavine’s favor. Additionally, the power of love makes Eneas look handsome; it makes him committed to the responsibility of love and to give up his greed and to work to fulfill his destiny which is to gain Lavine’ love, so he does not think about what might happen to him with Turnus; he thinks about gaining Lavine’s love which makes him stronger and more beloved. Eneas states the influence of love on him when he says: “Because of it I am much stronger and more high-spirited, and will very gladly fight for it” (Yunck, p.236). Thus, it is clear that these changes in Eneas’s character are due to what Agathon claims that love is the source of virtues and beauty.

Plato’s conception of love is based on three stages: earthly, heavenly, and absolute. His earlier arguments show his interest in the dialectical method of Socrates, his master. Socrates’s ideology of love is that love is neither mortal (man) nor immortal (god), but he is a great spirit, intermediate between god and man (75-95).

It will be useful in this discussion to summarize Platonic love because of its importance. It has three phases: firstly, the earthly love which is connected with the body; secondly, the spiritual love which is related to heaven; and thirdly, the absolute love which is connected with the mind and the abstract world, the world of ideas in the ideal world. Undoubtedly, the absolute love is the highest and the most beneficial to human beings for it teaches them the real meaning of truth and brings to them all happiness (75-95).

Clearly, Plato’s conception of love has its own influence in both the Aeneid and Eneas. In the Aeneid, love is represented in the form of earthly love which is based on desire. It is not a spiritual and absolute love because it is irrational. Dido’s love for Aeneas cannot be seen in the scope of absolute love because it is not controlled by mind and exists in the ideal world. Additionally, it is not beneficial to both Dido who leaves her duty to construct Carthage and Aeneas who does not proceed to achieve his duty to dominate Italy.

Eneas’s love for Lavine can be seen as a spiritual and partly absolute love. It is based on the rationality of Eneas and Lavine and the harmony between their souls. Also, it brings benefits and happiness for both of them and for their people.

Finally, it can be concluded that Plato’s Symposium has influenced the love conception in both Virgil’s Aeneid and the French text Eneas. The Greek conception of love is based on distinguishing between the earthly love which is based on the human’s desires and the heavenly or spiritual love which is based on the harmony between lovers’ souls. The Greek conception of love criticizes the earthly love negatively because it is unhealthy. This unhealthy love is what we notice in Virgil’s Aeneid, which is not an everlasting love. Additionally, the Greek conception also praises the heavenly and absolute kinds of love which are represented in Eneas’s love to Lavine, which is rational and brings a lot of virtues to the lovers.


Adams, T (2005). Violent Passions: Managing Love in the Old French Verse Romance. Studies in Arthurian and Courtly Cultures. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dicknson, Patrick (2002). The Aeneid. Signet Classic.

John Yunck (Trans.) (1974). Eneas: A Twelfth-Century French Romance. Columbia U. Press.

Plato (1951). The Symposium (W. Hamilton, Trans.). Britain: Penguin Books Inc.

Proce, Jennifer (2006). Roman Propaganda Women Admired and Condemned. Symposium, 4, 20-28.

Trentadue, Walter (2006). The Nature of Love Plato’s Symposium. Symposium, 4, 9-12.

Virgil (1990). The Aeneid (Robert Fitzgerald, Trans.). Vintage.

Wardy, Robert (2007). Speech and Aeneid IX. In D. Scott (Ed.), Maieusis: Essays in Ancient Phiolosphy in Honour of Myles Burnyeat. Oxford University Press.


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