The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 251 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).
There were others, and they had their rise from Socrates, and then from his successor, Plato, who, looking more subtly, and seeing that in our actions it was possible to sin, and that one sinned in too much and in too little, said that our action, without excess and without defect, measured to the due mean of our own choice, is virtue, and virtue is the aim of man; and they called it action with virtue.  And these were called Academicians, as was Plato and Speusippus, his nephew; they were thus called from the place where Plato taught, that is, the Academy; neither from Socrates did they take or assume any word, because in his Philosophy nothing was affirmed.  Truly Aristotle, who had his surname from Stagira, and Xenocrates of Chalcedon, his companion, through the genius, almost Divine, which Nature had put into Aristotle, knowing this end by means of the Socratic method, with the Academic file, as it were, reduced Moral Philosophy to perfection, and especially Aristotle.  And since Aristotle began to reason while walking hither and thither, they were called, he, I say, and his companions, Peripatetics, which means the same as walkers about.  And since the perfection of this Morality by Aristotle was attained, the name of Academician became extinct, and all those who attached themselves to this sect are called Peripatetics, and these people hold the doctrine of the government of the World through all its parts:  and it may be termed a catholic opinion, as it were.  Wherefore it is possible to see that Aristotle was the Indicator and the Leader of the people to this mark.  And this is what I wished to prove.

Wherefore, collecting all together, the principal intention is manifest, that is to say, that the authority of him whom we understand to be the supreme Philosopher is full of complete vigour, and in no way repugnant to Imperial Authority.  But the Imperial without the Philosopher is dangerous; and this without that is weak, not of itself, but through the disorder of the people:  but when one is united with the other they are together most useful and full of all vigour; and therefore it is written in that Book of Wisdom:  “Love the Light of Wisdom, all you who are before the people,” that is to say, unite Philosophic Authority with the Imperial, in order to rule well and perfectly.  O, you miserable ones, who rule at the present time! and O, most miserable ones, you who are ruled!  For no Philosophic Authority is united with your governments, neither through suitable study nor by counsel; so that to all it is possible to repeat those words from Ecclesiastes:  “Woe to thee, O land, when thy King is a child, and thy Princes eat in the morning;” and to no land is it possible to say that which follows:  “Blessed art thou, O land, when thy King is the son of nobles, and thy Princes eat in due season, for strength and not for drunkenness.”

Ye enemies of God, look to your flanks, ye who have seized the sceptres of the kingdoms of Italy.  And I say to you, Charles, and to you, Frederick, Kings, and to you, ye other Princes and Tyrants, see who sits by the side of you in council, and count how many times a day this aim of human life is indicated to you by your councillors.  Better would it be for you, like swallows, to fly low down than, like kites, to make lofty circles over carrion.

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The Banquet (Il Convito) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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