Aristotle on the Art of Poetry. An Amplified Version with Supplementary Illustrations for Students of English. Lane Cooper

Roy C. Flickinger
1916 Classical Philology  
Babylonian tradition influenced the various Orphic doctrines of the worldegg and its division into male and female parts, which in turn suggested the cutting apart of the double men in the Symposium (pp. 560 ff.). So the double men of Aristophanes are microcosmoi (p. 566); as the world is divided, so are they.' Thus Professor Ziegler distinguishes two influences exercised upon the Symposium myth, that of Empedocles and that of the Orphics, and in order to explain how this came about he
more » ... e about he postulates the existence of the Empedoclean-Orphic Anonymus mentioned above, who combined features of both systems and was Plato's immediate source. Aristophanes, who twice in his extant plays satirizes Orphism, would more properly be represented as jesting at the Orphics than at Empedocles (p. 570). This of course is only a conjecture, and an argument might be made against its necessity; granting that the material Plato uses is not original but even very old, must we assume that Plato was not capable of himself mingling in one context for comic effect the ideas of many men-the more incongruous the better? Professor Ziegler's arguments are all interesting and suggestive, some of them convincing; but to secure the complete concurrence of scholarly opinion throughout the complexities of so involved a subject, calling often for conjectural explanation, would be well-nigh impossible. The use of fragmentary text material, over-ready assumption of the existence of real literary parallels, and the nice distinction between actual sources and the far less tangible ancestry of those ideas which filter down from age to age and finally become incorporated in literature-all these have their perils for the investigator. Professor Ziegler, I think, has for the most part avoided these pitfalls, and thus presents in this monograph a valuable study of an important question.
doi:10.1086/358814 fatcat:absqu3bqvndonbddydxeibr55q