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Pericles of Athens$
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Vincent Azoulay

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154596

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154596.001.0001

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Pericles and Eros: Caught between Civic Unity and Political Subversion

Pericles and Eros: Caught between Civic Unity and Political Subversion

(p.94) Chapter 7 Pericles and Eros: Caught between Civic Unity and Political Subversion
Pericles of Athens

Vincent Azoulay

, Janet Lloyd
Princeton University Press

This chapter examines two contradictory aspects of eros in Pericles' life. In the Greek world, eros did not correspond to any romantic sentiment, nor did it bear any similarity to the wishy-washy notion nowadays conjured up by “love.” Whether homosexual or heterosexual, eros was first and foremost a connective force or, at times, a disconnective one. As a connective force, eros linked individuals together. As a force for disconnection, it was capable of turning the normal functioning of social life upside down. The chapter explains how Pericles' life combined eros's power of connection and disconnection. It shows that Pericles was an ardent defender of a veritable civic eroticism and that his story testifies to the subversive power of eros. It also considers the erotic dimension of Pericles' authority, his behavior in matters of sexual love, and his relationship with Aspasia.

Keywords:   eros, Pericles, love, connection, disconnection, civic eroticism, authority, sexual love, Aspasia

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