our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness Phaedr. 244a

2012/06/26

agalmata

(from Alcibiades) : ". . . Alcibiades speaks of Socrates by means of images. Socrates, he says, is like those figures of Silenus, made by craftsmen, which sit in carver's shops: the kind that portray the satyr with a pipe or flute in his hand, but are made so they can be opened, revealing images of gods within. . . . .

Here the word for 'image' is *agalmata*: originally, images specifically of the gods, though eventually coming to refer to statues generally. But it did so out of an original meaning of 'praise', 'exultation', 'rejoicing'. In other words, these images do not just stand there like our 'sta-tues', 're-presenting' their object. Instead, they glory the gods, they rejoice them. * It is out of this activity that the gods come to visibility in these images. *

 ~from Robert Lloyd Mitchell's Hymn to Eros A Reading of Plato's Symposium