δὲ τῶν νόμων ἐν τούτῳ δὴ τὰ πάντα ἐστίν.
ἂν μὲν γὰρ οἱ νενικηκότες ἥττους αὑτοὺς
τῶν νόμων [7.337d] μᾶλλον τῶν νενικημένων
παρέχωνται, πάντ᾽ ἔσται σωτηρίας τε
καὶ εὐδαιμονίας μεστὰ καὶ πάντων κακῶν
ἀποφυγή· εἰ δὲ μή, μήτ᾽ ἐμὲ μήτ᾽ ἄλλον
κοινωνὸν παρακαλεῖν ἐπὶ τὸν μὴ πειθόμενον
τοῖς νῦν ἐπεσταλμένοις.
||(31) When laws
have been enacted, what everything then hinges on is this. If the conquerors
show more obedience to the laws than the conquered, the whole State will
be full of security and happiness, and there will be an escape from all
your troubles. But if they do not, then do not summon me or any other helper
to aid you against those who do not obey the counsel I now give you.
γάρ ἐστιν ἀδελφὰ ὧν τε Δίων ὧν τ᾽ ἐγὼ
ἐπεχειρήσαμεν Συρακούσαις εὖ φρονοῦντες
συμπρᾶξαι, δεύτερα μήν· πρῶτα δ᾽ ἦν
ἃ τὸ πρῶτον ἐπεχειρήθη μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ Διονυσίου
πραχθῆναι πᾶσιν κοινὰ ἀγαθά, τύχη δέ
τις ἀνθρώπων κρείττων διεφόρησεν.
||For this course
is akin to that which Dion and I attempted to carry out with our hearts
set on the welfare of Syracuse. It is indeed a second best course. The
first and best was that scheme of welfare to all mankind which we attempted
to carry out with the co-operation of Dionysios; but some chance, mightier
than men, brought it to nothing.
δὲ νῦν ὑμεῖς πειρᾶσθε εὐτυχέστερον
αὐτὰ ἀγαθῇ πρᾶξαι μοίρᾳ καὶ θείᾳ τινὶ
||Do you now,
with good fortune attending you and with Heaven's help, try to bring your
efforts to a happier issue.
μὲν δὴ καὶ ἐπιστολὴ εἰρήσθω καὶ ἡ παρὰ
Διονύσιον ἐμὴ προτέρα ἄφιξις· ἡ δὲ
δὴ ὑστέρα πορεία τε καὶ πλοῦς ὡς εἰκότως
τε ἅμα καὶ ἐμμελῶς γέγονεν, ᾧ μέλει
ἀκούειν ἔξεστι τὸ μετὰ τοῦτο.
||(32) Let this
be the end of my advice and injunction and of the narrative of my first
visit to Dionysios. Whoever wishes may next hear of my second journey and
voyage, and learn that it was a reasonable and suitable proceeding.
γὰρ δὴ πρῶτος χρόνος [7.338a] τῆς ἐν Σικελίᾳ
διατριβῆς μοι διεπεράνθη, καθάπερ εἶπον,
πρὶν συμβουλεύειν τοῖς οἰκείοις καὶ
ἑταίροις τοῖς περὶ Δίωνα· τὸ μετ᾽ ἐκεῖνα
δ᾽ οὖν ἔπεισα ὅπῃ δή ποτ᾽ ἐδυνάμην
Διονύσιον ἀφεῖναί με, εἰρήνης δὲ γενομένης--ἦν
γὰρ τότε πόλεμος ἐν Σικελίᾳ--συνωμολογήσαμεν
||My first period
of residence in Sicily was occupied in the way which I related before giving
my advice to the relatives and friends of Dion. After those events I persuaded
Dionysios by such arguments as I could to let me go; and we made an agreement
as to what should be done when peace was made; for at that time there was
a state of war in Sicily.
μὲν ἔφη μεταπέμψεσθαι Δίωνα καὶ ἐμὲ
πάλιν, καταστησάμενος τὰ περὶ τὴν ἀρχὴν
ἀσφαλέστερον ἑαυτῷ, Δίωνα δὲ ἠξίου
[7.338b] διανοεῖσθαι μὴ φυγὴν αὑτῷ γεγονέναι
τότε, μετάστασιν δέ· ἐγὼ δ᾽ ἥξειν ὡμολόγησα
ἐπὶ τούτοις τοῖς λόγοις.
that, when he had put the affairs of his empire in a position of greater
safety for himself, he would send for Dion and me again; and he desired
that Dion should regard what had befallen him not as an exile, but as a
change of residence. I agreed to come again on these conditions.
δὲ εἰρήνης, μετεπέμπετό με, Δίωνα δὲ
ἐπισχεῖν ἔτι ἐνιαυτὸν ἐδεῖτο, ἐμὲ
δὲ ἥκειν ἐκ παντὸς τρόπου ἠξίου.
||(33) When peace
had been made, he began sending for me; he requested that Dion should wait
for another year, but begged that I should by all means come.
μὲν οὖν ἐκέλευέ τέ με πλεῖν καὶ ἐδεῖτο·
καὶ γὰρ δὴ λόγος ἐχώρει πολὺς ἐκ Σικελίας
ὡς Διονύσιος θαυμαστῶς φιλοσοφίας ἐν
ἐπιθυμίᾳ πάλιν εἴη γεγονὼς τὰ νῦν·
ὅθεν ὁ Δίων συντεταμένως ἐδεῖτο ἡμῶν
τῇ μεταπέμψει μὴ ἀπειθεῖν.
||Dion now kept
urging and entreating me to go. For persistent rumours came from Sicily
that Dionysios was now once more possessed by an extraordinary desire for
philosophy. For this reason Dion pressed me urgently not to decline his
ᾔδη μέν που [7.338c] κατὰ τὴν φιλοσοφίαν
τοῖς νέοις πολλὰ τοιαῦτα γιγνόμενα,
ὅμως δ᾽ οὖν ἀσφαλέστερόν μοι ἔδοξεν
χαίρειν τότε γε πολλὰ καὶ Δίωνα καὶ
Διονύσιον ἐᾶν, καὶ ἀπηχθόμην ἀμφοῖν
ἀποκρινάμενος ὅτι γέρων τε εἴην καὶ
κατὰ τὰς ὁμολογίας οὐδὲν γίγνοιτο τῶν
τὰ νῦν πραττομένων.
I was well aware that as regards philosophy such symptoms were not uncommon
in young men, still it seemed to me safer at that time to part company
altogether with Dion and Dionysios; and I offended both of them by replying
that I was an old man, and that the steps now being taken were quite at
variance with the previous agreement.
δὴ τὸ μετὰ τοῦτο Ἀρχύτης τε παρὰ Διονύσιον
[πρὶν] ἀφικέσθαι--ἐγὼ γὰρ πρὶν ἀπιέναι
ξενίαν καὶ φιλίαν Ἀρχύτῃ καὶ τοῖς ἐν
[7.338d] Τάραντι καὶ Διονυσίῳ ποιήσας ἀπέπλεον--ἄλλοι
τέ τινες ἐν Συρακούσαις ἦσαν Δίωνός
τε ἄττα διακηκοότες καὶ τούτων τινὲς
ἄλλοι, παρακουσμάτων τινῶν ἔμμεστοι
τῶν κατὰ φιλοσοφίαν·
this, it seems, Archytes came to the court of Dionysios. Before my departure
I had brought him and his Tarentine circle into friendly relations with
Dionysios. There were some others in Syracuse who had received some instruction
from Dion, and others had learnt from these, getting their heads full of
erroneous teaching on philosophical questions.
μοι Διονυσίῳ πειρᾶσθαι διαλέγεσθαι τῶν
περὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα, ὡς Διονυσίου πάντα
διακηκοότος ὅσα διενοούμην ἐγώ.
||These, it seems,
were attempting to hold discussions with Dionysios on questions connected
with such subjects, in the idea that he had been fully instructed in my
οὔτε ἄλλως ἐστὶν ἀφυὴς πρὸς τὴν τοῦ
μανθάνειν δύναμιν φιλότιμός τε θαυμαστῶς·
||Now is not
at all devoid of natural gifts for learning, and he has a great craving
for honour and glory.
τε οὖν ἴσως αὐτῷ τὰ λεγόμενα ᾐσχύνετό
τε φανερὸς γιγνόμενος [7.338e] οὐδὲν ἀκηκοὼς
ὅτ᾽ ἐπεδήμουν ἐγώ, ὅθεν ἅμα μὲν εἰς
ἐπιθυμίαν ᾔει τοῦ διακοῦσαι ἐναργέστερον,
ἅμα δ᾽ ἡ φιλοτιμία κατήπειγεν αὐτόν--δι᾽
ἃ δὲ οὐκ ἤκουσεν ἐν τῇ πρόσθεν ἐπιδημίᾳ,
διεξήλθομεν ἐν τοῖς ἄνω ῥηθεῖσιν νυνδὴ
λόγοις-- ἐπειδὴ δ᾽ οὖν οἴκαδέ τ᾽ ἐσώθην
καὶ καλοῦντος τὸ δεύτερον ἀπηρνήθην,
καθάπερ εἶπον νυνδή, δοκεῖ μοι Διονύσιος
παντάπασιν φιλοτιμηθῆναι μή ποτέ τισιν
δόξαιμι καταφρονῶν [7.339a] αὐτοῦ τῆς φύσεώς
τε καὶ ἕξεως ἅμα καὶ τῆς διαίτης ἔμπειρος
γεγονώς, οὐκέτ᾽ ἐθέλειν δυσχεραίνων
παρ᾽ αὐτὸν ἀφικνεῖσθαι.
||What was said
probably pleased him, and he felt some shame when it became clear that
he had not taken advantage of my teaching during my visit. For these reasons
he conceived a desire for more definite instruction, and his love of glory
was an additional incentive to him. The real reasons why he had learnt
nothing during my previous visit have just been set forth in the preceding
narrative. Accordingly, now that I was safe at home and had refused his
second invitation, as I just now related, Dionysios seems to have felt
all manner of anxiety lest certain people should suppose that I was unwilling
to visit him again because I had formed a poor opinion of his natural gifts
and character, and because, knowing as I did his manner of life, I disapproved
δὴ λέγειν εἰμὶ τἀληθὲς καὶ ὑπομένειν,
εἴ τις ἄρα τὰ γεγονότα ἀκούσας καταφρονήσει
τῆς ἐμῆς φιλοσοφίας, τὸν τύραννον δὲ
ἡγήσεται νοῦν ἔχειν.
||(35) It is
right for me to speak the truth, and make no complaint if anyone, after
hearing the facts, forms a poor opinion of my philosophy, and thinks that
the tyrant was in the right.
μὲν γὰρ δὴ Διονύσιος τρίτον ἐπ᾽ ἐμὲ
τριήρη ῥᾳστώνης ἕνεκα τῆς πορείας,
ἔπεμψεν δὲ Ἀρχέδημον, ὃν ἡγεῖτό με
τῶν ἐν [7.339b] Σικελίᾳ περὶ πλείστου ποιεῖσθαι,
τῶν Ἀρχύτῃ συγγεγονότων ἕνα, καὶ ἄλλους
γνωρίμους τῶν ἐν Σικελίᾳ·
invited me for the third time, sending a trireme to ensure me comfort on
the voyage; he sent also Archedemos-one of those who had spent some time
with Archytes, and of whom he supposed that I had a higher opinion than
of any of the Sicilian Greeks-and, with him, other men of repute in Sicily.
δὲ ἡμῖν ἤγγελλον πάντες τὸν αὐτὸν λόγον,
ὡς θαυμαστὸν ὅσον Διονύσιος ἐπιδεδωκὼς
εἴη πρὸς φιλοσοφίαν.
||These all brought
the same report, that Dionysios had made progress in philosophy.
δὲ ἐπιστολὴν πάνυ μακράν, εἰδὼς ὡς
πρὸς Δίωνα διεκείμην καὶ τὴν αὖ Δίωνος
προθυμίαν τοῦ ἐμὲ πλεῖν καὶ εἰς Συρακούσας
||He also sent
a very long letter, knowing as he did my relations with Dion and Dion's
eagerness also that I should take ship and go to Syracuse.
γὰρ δὴ πάντα ταῦτα ἦν παρεσκευασμένη
τὴν ἀρχὴν ἔχουσα ἡ ἐπιστολή, τῇδέ πῃ
φράζουσα-- "Διονύσιος [7.339c] Πλάτωνι" --τὰ
νόμιμα ἐπὶ τούτοις εἰπὼν οὐδὲν τὸ
μετὰ τοῦτο εἶπεν πρότερον ἢ ὡς "ἂν εἰς
Σικελίαν πεισθεὶς ὑφ᾽ ἡμῶν ἔλθῃς τὰ
νῦν, πρῶτον μέν σοι τὰ περὶ Δίωνα ὑπάρξει
ταύτῃ γιγνόμενα ὅπῃπερ ἂν αὐτὸς ἐθέλῃς--θελήσεις
δὲ οἶδ᾽ ὅτι τὰ μέτρια, καὶ ἐγὼ συγχωρήσομαι--εἰ
δὲ μή, οὐδέν σοι τῶν περὶ Δίωνα ἕξει
πραγμάτων οὔτε περὶ τἆλλα οὔτε περὶ
αὐτὸν κατὰ νοῦν γιγνόμενα."
was framed in its opening sentences to meet all these conditions, and the
tenor of it was as follows: "Dionysios to Plato," here followed the customary
greeting and immediately after it he said, "If in compliance with our request
you come now, in the first place, Dion's affairs will be dealt with in
whatever way you yourself desire; I know that you will desire what is reasonable,
and I shall consent to it. But if not, none of Dion's affairs will have
results in accordance with your wishes, with regard either to Dion himself
or to other matters."
οὕτως εἶπεν, τἆλλα δὲ [7.339d] μακρὰ ἂν εἴη
καὶ ἄνευ καιροῦ λεγόμενα.
||This he said
in these words; the rest it would be tedious and inopportune to quote.
δὲ ἄλλαι ἐφοίτων παρά τε Ἀρχύτου καὶ
τῶν ἐν Τάραντι, τήν τε φιλοσοφίαν ἐγκωμιάζουσαι
τὴν Διονυσίου, καὶ ὅτι, ἂν μὴ ἀφίκωμαι
νῦν, τὴν πρὸς Διονύσιον αὐτοῖς γενομένην
φιλίαν δι᾽ ἐμοῦ, οὐ σμικρὰν οὖσαν πρὸς
τὰ πολιτικά, παντάπασιν διαβαλοίην.
arrived from Archytes and the Tarentines, praising the philosophical studies
of Dionysios and saying that, if I did not now come, I should cause a complete
rupture in their friendship with Dionysios, which had been brought about
by me and was of no small importance to their political interests.
δὴ τοιαύτης γενομένης ἐν τῷ τότε χρόνῳ
τῆς μεταπέμψεως, τῶν μὲν ἐκ Σικελίας
τε καὶ Ἰταλίας ἑλκόντων, τῶν δὲ Ἀθήνηθεν
ἀτεχνῶς μετὰ δεήσεως οἷον [7.339e] ἐξωθούντων
με, καὶ πάλιν ὁ λόγος ἧκεν ὁ αὐτός, τὸ
μὴ δεῖν προδοῦναι Δίωνα μηδὲ τοὺς ἐν
Τάραντι ξένους τε καὶ ἑταίρους, αὐτῷ
δέ μοι ὑπῆν ὡς οὐδὲν θαυμαστὸν νέον
ἄνθρωπον παρακούοντα ἀξίων λόγου πραγμάτων,
εὐμαθῆ, πρὸς ἔρωτα ἐλθεῖν τοῦ βελτίστου
||(36) When this
invitation came to me at that time in such terms, and those who had come
from Sicily and Italy were trying to drag me thither, while my friends
at Athens were literally pushing me out with their urgent entreaties, it
was the same old tale-that I must not betray Dion and my Tarentine friends
and supporters. Also I myself had a lurking feeling that there was nothing
surprising in the fact that a young man, quick to learn, hearing talk of
the great truths of philosophy, should feel a craving for the higher life.
οὖν αὐτὸ ἐξελέγξαι σαφῶς ὁποτέρως
ποτὲ ἄρα ἔχοι, καὶ τοῦτ᾽ αὐτὸ μηδαμῇ
προδοῦναι μηδ᾽ ἐμὲ τὸν αἴτιον γενέσθαι
τηλικούτου ἀληθῶς ὀνείδους, [7.340a] εἴπερ
ὄντως εἴη τῳ ταῦτα λελεγμένα.
||I thought therefore
that I must put the matter definitely to the test to see whether his desire
was genuine or the reverse, and on no account leave such an impulse unaided
nor make myself responsible for such a deep and real disgrace, if the reports
brought by anyone were really true.
δὴ τῷ λογισμῷ τούτῳ κατακαλυψάμενος--πολλὰ
δεδιὼς μαντευόμενός τε οὐ πάνυ καλῶς,
ὡς ἔοικεν--ἐλθὼν δ᾽ οὖν τὸ τρίτον τῷ
σωτῆρι τοῦτό γε οὖν ἔπραξα ὄντως·
myself with this reflection, I set out, with many fears and with no very
favourable anticipations, as was natural enough.
γάρ τοι πάλιν εὐτυχῶς, καὶ τούτων γε
μετὰ θεὸν Διονυσίῳ χάριν εἰδέναι χρεών,
ὅτι πολλῶν βουληθέντων ἀπολέσαι με διεκώλυσεν
καὶ ἔδωκέν τι μέρος αἰδοῖ τῶν περὶ
went, and my action on this occasion at any rate was really a case of "the
third to the Preserver," for I had the good fortune to return safely; and
for this I must, next to the God, thank Dionysios, because, though many
wished to make an end of me, he prevented them and paid some proper respect
to my situation.
δὲ ἀφικόμην, ᾤμην τούτου πρῶτον ἔλεγχον
δεῖν λαβεῖν, πότερον ὄντως εἴη Διονύσιος
ἐξημμένος ὑπὸ φιλοσοφίας ὥσπερ πυρός,
ἢ μάτην ὁ πολὺς οὗτος ἔλθοι λόγος Ἀθήναζε.
||(37) On my
arrival, I thought that first I must put to the test the question whether
Dionysios had really been kindled with the fire of philosophy, or whether
all the reports which had come to Athens were empty rumours.
δή τις τρόπος τοῦ περὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα πεῖραν
λαμβάνειν οὐκ ἀγεννὴς ἀλλ᾽ ὄντως τυράννοις
πρέπων, ἄλλως τε καὶ τοῖς τῶν παρακουσμάτων
μεστοῖς, ὃ δὴ κἀγὼ Διονύσιον εὐθὺς
ἐλθὼν ᾐσθόμην καὶ μάλα πεπονθότα.
||Now there is
a way of putting such things to the test which is not to be despised and
is well suited to monarchs, especially to those who have got their heads
full of erroneous teaching, which immediately my arrival I found to be
very much the case with Dionysios.
δὴ δεῖ τοῖς τοιούτοις ὅτι ἔστι πᾶν τὸ
πρᾶγμα οἷόν τε [7.340c] καὶ δι᾽ ὅσων πραγμάτων
καὶ ὅσον πόνον ἔχει.
show such men what philosophy is in all its extent; what their range of
studies is by which it is approached, and how much labour it involves.
ἀκούσας, ἐὰν μὲν ὄντως ᾖ φιλόσοφος
οἰκεῖός τε καὶ ἄξιος τοῦ πράγματος
θεῖος ὤν, ὁδόν τε ἡγεῖται θαυμαστὴν
ἀκηκοέναι συντατέον τε εἶναι νῦν καὶ
οὐ βιωτὸν ἄλλως ποιοῦντι·
||For the man
who has heard this, if he has the true philosophic spirit and that godlike
temperament which makes him a kin to philosophy and worthy of it, thinks
that he has been told of a marvellous road lying before him, that he must
forthwith press on with all his strength, and that life is not worth living
if he does anything else.
τοῦτο δὴ συντείνας αὐτός τε καὶ τὸν
ἡγούμενον τὴν ὁδόν, οὐκ ἀνίησιν πρὶν
ἂν ἢ τέλος ἐπιθῇ πᾶσιν, ἢ λάβῃ δύναμιν
ὥστε αὐτὸς αὑτὸν χωρὶς τοῦ δείξοντος
δυνατὸς εἶναι ποδηγεῖν.
he uses to the full his own powers and those of his guide in the path,
and relaxes not his efforts, till he has either reached the end of the
whole course of study or gained such power that he is not incapable of
directing his steps without the aid of a guide.
καὶ κατὰ ταῦτα διανοηθεὶς ὁ τοιοῦτος
ζῇ, πράττων μὲν ἐν αἷστισιν ἂν ᾖ πράξεσιν,
παρὰ πάντα δὲ ἀεὶ φιλοσοφίας ἐχόμενος
καὶ τροφῆς τῆς καθ᾽ ἡμέραν ἥτις ἂν
αὐτὸν μάλιστα εὐμαθῆ τε καὶ μνήμονα
καὶ λογίζεσθαι δυνατὸν ἐν αὑτῷ νήφοντα
ἀπεργάζηται· τὴν δὲ ἐναντίαν ταύτῃ
||This is the
spirit and these are the thoughts by which such a man guides his life,
carrying out his work, whatever his occupation may be, but throughout it
all ever cleaving to philosophy and to such rules of diet in his daily
life as will give him inward sobriety and therewith quickness in learning,
a good memory, and reasoning power; the kind of life which is opposed to
this he consistently hates.
ὄντως μὲν μὴ φιλόσοφοι, δόξαις δ᾽ ἐπικεχρωσμένοι,
καθάπερ οἱ τὰ σώματα ὑπὸ τῶν ἡλίων
ἐπικεκαυμένοι, ἰδόντες τε ὅσα μαθήματά
ἐστιν καὶ ὁ πόνος [7.340e] ἡλίκος καὶ δίαιτα
ἡ καθ᾽ ἡμέραν ὡς πρέπουσα ἡ κοσμία
τῷ πράγματι, χαλεπὸν ἡγησάμενοι καὶ
ἀδύνατον αὑτοῖς, οὔτε δὴ [7.341a] ἐπιτηδεύειν
δυνατοὶ γίγνονται, ἔνιοι δὲ αὐτῶν πείθουσιν
αὑτοὺς ὡς ἱκανῶς ἀκηκοότες εἰσὶν τὸ
ὅλον, καὶ οὐδὲν ἔτι δέονταί τινων πραγμάτων.
||Those who have
not the true philosophic temper, but a mere surface colouring of opinions
penetrating, like sunburn, only skin deep, when they see how great the
range of studies is, how much labour is involved in it, and how necessary
to the pursuit it is to have an orderly regulation of the daily life, come
to the conclusion that the thing is difficult and impossible for them,
and are actually incapable of carrying out the course of study; while some
of them persuade themselves that they have sufficiently studied the whole
matter and have no need of any further effort.
δὴ πεῖρα αὕτη γίγνεται ἡ σαφής τε καὶ
ἀσφαλεστάτη πρὸς τοὺς τρυφῶντάς τε
καὶ ἀδυνάτους διαπονεῖν, ὡς μηδέποτε
βαλεῖν ἐν αἰτίᾳ τὸν δεικνύντα ἀλλ᾽
αὐτὸν αὑτόν, μὴ δυνάμενον πάντα τὰ
πρόσφορα ἐπιτηδεύειν τῷ πράγματι.
||This is the
sure test and is the safest one to apply to those who live in luxury and
are incapable of continuous effort; it ensures that such a man shall not
throw the blame upon his teacher but on himself, because he cannot bring
to the pursuit all the qualities necessary to it.
δὴ καὶ Διονυσίῳ τότ᾽ ἐρρήθη τὰ ῥηθέντα.
||Thus it came
about that I said to Dionysios what I did say on that occasion.
μὲν οὖν οὔτ᾽ ἐγὼ διεξῆλθον οὔτε [7.341b]
||(38) I did
not, however, give a complete exposition, nor did Dionysios ask for one.
γὰρ αὐτὸς καὶ τὰ μέγιστα εἰδέναι τε
καὶ ἱκανῶς ἔχειν προσεποιεῖτο διὰ τὰς
ὑπὸ τῶν ἄλλων παρακοάς.
||For he professed
to know many, and those the most important, points, and to have a sufficient
hold of them through instruction given by others.
δὲ καὶ ἀκούω γεγραφέναι αὐτὸν περὶ
ὧν τότε ἤκουσε, συνθέντα ὡς αὑτοῦ τέχνην,
οὐδὲν τῶν αὐτῶν ὧν ἀκούοι· οἶδα δὲ
||I hear also
that he has since written about what he heard from me, composing what professes
to be his own handbook, very different, so he says, from the doctrines
which he heard from me; but of its contents I know nothing;
μέν τινας οἶδα γεγραφότας περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν
τούτων, οἵτινες δέ, οὐδ᾽ αὐτοὶ αὑτούς.
||I know indeed
that others have written on the same subjects; but who they are, is more
than they know themselves.
γε μὴν περὶ πάντων ἔχω φράζειν τῶν γεγραφότων
[7.341c] καὶ γραψόντων, ὅσοι φασὶν εἰδέναι
περὶ ὧν ἐγὼ σπουδάζω, εἴτ᾽ ἐμοῦ ἀκηκοότες
εἴτ᾽ ἄλλων εἴθ᾽ ὡς εὑρόντες αὐτοί·
||Thus much at
least, I can say about all writers, past or future, who say they know the
things to which I devote myself, whether by hearing the teaching of me
or of others, or by their own discoveries-
οὐκ ἔστιν κατά γε τὴν ἐμὴν δόξαν περὶ
τοῦ πράγματος ἐπαΐειν οὐδέν.
to my view it is not possible for them to have any real skill in the matter.
ἐμόν γε περὶ αὐτῶν ἔστιν σύγγραμμα
οὐδὲ μήποτε γένηται·
is nor ever will be a treatise of mine on the subject.
γὰρ οὐδαμῶς ἐστιν ὡς ἄλλα μαθήματα,
ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ πολλῆς συνουσίας γιγνομένης
περὶ τὸ πρᾶγμα αὐτὸ καὶ τοῦ συζῆν ἐξαίφνης,
οἷον ἀπὸ πυρὸς [7.341d] πηδήσαντος ἐξαφθὲν
φῶς, ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ γενόμενον αὐτὸ ἑαυτὸ
||For it does
not admit of exposition like other branches of knowledge; but after much
converse about the matter itself and a life lived together, suddenly a
light, as it were, is kindled in one soul by a flame that leaps to it from
another, and thereafter sustains itself.
τοσόνδε γε οἶδα, ὅτι γραφέντα ἢ λεχθέντα
ὑπ᾽ ἐμοῦ βέλτιστ᾽ ἂν λεχθείη· καὶ
μὴν ὅτι γεγραμμένα κακῶς οὐχ ἥκιστ᾽
ἂν ἐμὲ λυποῖ.
||Yet this much
I know-that if the things were written or put into words, it would be done
best by me, and that, if they were written badly, I should be the person
μοι ἐφαίνετο γραπτέα θ᾽ ἱκανῶς εἶναι
πρὸς τοὺς πολλοὺς καὶ ῥητά, τί τούτου
κάλλιον ἐπέπρακτ᾽ ἂν ἡμῖν ἐν τῷ βίῳ
ἢ τοῖς τε ἀνθρώποισι μέγα ὄφελος γράψαι
καὶ τὴν φύσιν εἰς φῶς [7.341e] πᾶσιν προαγαγεῖν;
||Again, if they
had appeared to me to admit adequately of writing and exposition, what
task in life could I have performed nobler than this, to write what is
of great service to mankind and to bring the nature of things into the
light for all to see?
οὔτε ἀνθρώποις ἡγοῦμαι τὴν ἐπιχείρησιν
περὶ αὐτῶν λεγομένην ἀγαθόν, εἰ μή
τισιν ὀλίγοις ὁπόσοι δυνατοὶ ἀνευρεῖν
αὐτοὶ διὰ σμικρᾶς ἐνδείξεως,
||But I do not
think it a good thing for men that there should be a disquisition, as it
is called, on this topic-except for some few, who are able with a little
teaching to find it out for themselves.
δὴ ἄλλων τοὺς μὲν καταφρονήσεως οὐκ
ὀρθῆς ἐμπλήσειεν ἂν οὐδαμῇ ἐμμελῶς,
τοὺς δὲ ὑψηλῆς καὶ χαύνης ἐλπίδος,
ὡς [7.342a] σέμν᾽ ἄττα μεμαθηκότας.
||As for the
rest, it would fill some of them quite illogically with a mistaken feeling
of contempt, and others with lofty and vain-glorious expectations, as though
they had learnt something high and mighty.
μακρότερα περὶ αὐτῶν ἐν νῷ μοι γέγονεν
εἰπεῖν· τάχα γὰρ ἂν περὶ ὧν λέγω σαφέστερον
ἂν εἴη λεχθέντων αὐτῶν.
||(39) On this
point I intend to speak a little more at length; for perhaps, when I have
done so, things will be clearer with regard to my present subject.
γάρ τις λόγος ἀληθής, ἐναντίος τῷ τολμήσαντι
γράφειν τῶν τοιούτων καὶ ὁτιοῦν, πολλάκις
μὲν ὑπ᾽ ἐμοῦ καὶ πρόσθεν ῥηθείς, ἔοικεν
δ᾽ οὖν εἶναι καὶ νῦν λεκτέος.
||There is an
argument which holds good against the man ventures to put anything whatever
into writing on questions of this nature; it has often before been stated
by me, and it seems suitable to the present occasion.
τῶν ὄντων ἑκάστῳ, δι᾽ ὧν τὴν ἐπιστήμην
ἀνάγκη παραγίγνεσθαι, τρία, τέταρτον
δ᾽ αὐτή--πέμπτον δ᾽ αὐτὸ [7.342b] τιθέναι
δεῖ ὃ δὴ γνωστόν τε καὶ ἀληθῶς ἐστιν
ὄν--ἓν μὲν ὄνομα, δεύτερον δὲ λόγος,
τὸ δὲ τρίτον εἴδωλον, τέταρτον δὲ ἐπιστήμη.
||(40) For everything
that exists there are three instruments by which the knowledge of it is
necessarily imparted; fourth, there is the knowledge itself, and, as fifth,
we must count the thing itself which is known and truly exists. The first
is the name, the, second the definition, the third. the image, and the
fourth the knowledge.
ἓν οὖν λαβὲ βουλόμενος μαθεῖν τὸ νῦν
λεγόμενον, καὶ πάντων οὕτω πέρι νόησον.
||If you wish
to learn what I mean, take these in the case of one instance, and so understand
them in the case of all.
ἐστίν τι λεγόμενον, ᾧ τοῦτ᾽ αὐτό ἐστιν
ὄνομα ὃ νῦν ἐφθέγμεθα.
||A circle is
a thing spoken of, and its name is that very word which we have just uttered.
δ᾽ αὐτοῦ τὸ δεύτερον, ἐξ ὀνομάτων καὶ
ῥημάτων συγκείμενος· τὸ γὰρ ἐκ τῶν
ἐσχάτων ἐπὶ τὸ μέσον ἴσον ἀπέχον πάντῃ,
λόγος ἂν εἴη ἐκείνου ᾧπερ στρογγύλον
καὶ περιφερὲς [7.342c] ὄνομα καὶ κύκλος.
thing belonging to it is its definition, made up names and verbal forms.
For that which has the name "round," "annular," or, "circle," might be
defined as that which has the distance from its circumference to its centre
δὲ τὸ ζωγραφούμενόν τε καὶ ἐξαλειφόμενον
καὶ τορνευόμενον καὶ ἀπολλύμενον· ὧν
αὐτὸς ὁ κύκλος, ὃν πέρι πάντ᾽ ἐστὶν
ταῦτα, οὐδὲν πάσχει, τούτων ὡς ἕτερον
that which is drawn and rubbed out again, or turned on a lathe and broken
up-none of which things can happen to the circle itself-to which the other
things, mentioned have reference; for it is something of a different order
δὲ ἐπιστήμη καὶ νοῦς ἀληθής τε δόξα
περὶ ταῦτ᾽ ἐστίν· ὡς δὲ ἓν τοῦτο αὖ
πᾶν θετέον, οὐκ ἐν φωναῖς οὐδ᾽ ἐν σωμάτων
σχήμασιν ἀλλ᾽ ἐν ψυχαῖς ἐνόν, ᾧ δῆλον
ἕτερόν τε ὂν αὐτοῦ τοῦ κύκλου τῆς φύσεως
τῶν [7.342d] τε ἔμπροσθεν λεχθέντων τριῶν.
knowledge, intelligence and right opinion about these things. Under this
one head we must group everything which has its existence, not in words
nor in bodily shapes, but in souls-from which it is dear that it is something
different from the nature of the circle itself and from the three things
δὲ ἐγγύτατα μὲν συγγενείᾳ καὶ ὁμοιότητι
τοῦ πέμπτου νοῦς πεπλησίακεν, τἆλλα
δὲ πλέον ἀπέχει.
||Of these things
intelligence comes closest in kinship and likeness to the fifth, and the
others are farther distant.