Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level



World Languages, Literatures and Cultures


Levine, Daniel B

Committee Member/Reader

Fredrick, David C

Committee Member/Second Reader

Byron-Smith, Joshua

Committee Member/Third Reader

Plavcan, Joseph M


I will be examining the Theognidean corpus for contexts relating to eroticism. These include an examination of the use of the words Eros (love), Aphrodite, Philos (dear/friend), Hate, and Boy. I will keep in mind a number of cross-contextual questions during my examination. These include: Which ideas for love are used in relation to Boy? What is the difference between using masculine Eros and feminine Aphrodite as evidenced by the context of the poetry? I will first examine poems that use the word Eros and its cognates, and see that Eros occupies on the spectrum of love positions in the extremities, positions not only harmful to one’s social station but also those that one is sometimes forcibly driven to engage in. In the next section, we will see that the use of Aphrodite in the selected Theognidean poetry indicates that Aphrodite occupies a position that is neither extreme nor external; her effects being felt internally when refused or resisted are not so great that they cannot be overcome or dealt with. After a comparison of references to Eros and Aphrodite, I will show that Aphrodite is a passive element, not a true agent, and that Eros is active and an agent. Following this, we will see that Philos in the Theognidea occupies thematic space that keeps itself from overpowering and overwhelming boundaries, as they exist between humans and are not resultant of the intervention of gods. The next section concerns itself with Hate, where we will see that hate relationships are not divinely inspired but caused by human interaction; where human transgression caused by human action is grounds for hate, but human transgression caused by divine action is not. Finally, I will examine poems that use Boy, where we will see that the erotic boy is of great interest to the Theognidean poet in physically erotic contexts.


Literature, Classical||Language, Ancient