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The Memorabilia by Xenophon

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Soc. And does it not closely concern them both to be good guardians of
their respective charges?

Nic. Very much so.

Soc. Then it equally concerns them both to be painstaking and prodigal
of toil in all their doings?

Nic. Yes, all these duties belong to both alike, but the parallel ends
when you come to actual fighting.

Soc. Yet they are both sure to meet with enemies?

Nic. There is no doubt about that.

Soc. Then is it not to the interest of both to get the upper hand of

Nic. Certainly; but you omit to tell us what service organisation and
the art of management will render when it comes to actual fighting.

Soc. Why, it is just then, I presume, it will be of most service, for
the good economist knows that nothing is so advantageous or so
lucrative as victory in battle, or to put it negatively, nothing so
disastrous and expensive as defeat. He will enthusiastically seek out
and provide everything conducive to victory, he will painstakingly
discover and guard against all that tends to defeat, and when
satisifed that all is ready and ripe for victory he will deliver
battle energetically, and what is equally important, until the hour of
final preparation has arrived,[10] he will be cautious to deliver
battle. Do not despise men of economic genius, Nicomachides; the
difference between the devotion requisite to private affairs and to
affairs of state is merely one of quantity. For the rest the parallel
holds strictly, and in this respect pre-eminently, that both are
concerned with human instruments: which human beings, moreover, are of
one type and temperament, whether we speak of devotion to public
affairs or of the administration of private property. To fare well in
either case is given to those who know the secret of dealing with
humanity, whereas the absence of that knowledge will as certainly
imply in either case a fatal note of discord.[11]

[10] Lit. "as long as he is unprepared."

[11] L. Dindorf, "Index Graec." Ox. ed.; cf. Hor. "Ep." II. ii. 144,
"sed verae numerosque modosque ediscere vitae," "the harmony of
life," Conington.


A conversation held with Pericles the son of the great statesman may
here be introduced.[1] Socrates began:

[1] Or, "On one occasion Pericles was the person addressed in
conversation." For Pericles see "Hell." I. v. 16; vii. 15; Plut.
"Pericl." 37 (Clough, i. 368).

I am looking forward, I must tell you, Pericles, to a great
improvement in our military affairs when you are minister of war.[2]
The prestige of Athens, I hope, will rise; we shall gain the mastery
over our enemies.

[2] "Strategos."

Pericles replied: I devoutly wish your words might be fulfilled, but
how this happy result is to be obtained, I am at a loss to discover.

Shall we (Socrates continued), shall we balance the arguments for and
against, and consider to what extent the possibility does exist?

Pray let us do so (he answered).

Soc. Well then, you know that in point of numbers the Athenians are
not inferior to the Boeotians?

Per. Yes, I am aware of that.

Soc. And do you think the Boeotians could furnish a better pick of
fine healthy men than the Athenians?

Per. I think we should very well hold our own in that respect.

Soc. And which of the two would you take to be the more united people
--the friendlier among themselves?

Per. The Athenians, I should say, for so many sections of the
Boeotians, resenting the selfish policy[3] of Thebes, are ill disposed
to that power, but at Athens I see nothing of the sort.

[3] "The self-aggrandisement."

Soc. But perhaps you will say that there is no people more jealous of
honour or haughtier in spirit.[4] And these feelings are no weak spurs
to quicken even a dull spirit to hazard all for glory's sake and

[4] Reading {megalophronestatoi}, after Cobet. See "Hipparch," vii. 3;
or if as vulg. {philophronestatoi}, transl. "more affable."

Per. Nor is there much fault to find with Athenians in these respects.

Soc. And if we turn to consider the fair deeds of ancestry,[5] to no
people besides ourselves belongs so rich a heritage of stimulating
memories, whereby so many of us are stirred to pursue virtue with
devotion and to show ourselves in our turn also men of valour like our

[5] See Wesley's anthem, Eccles. xliv. 1, "Let us now praise famous
men and our fathers that begat us."

Per. All that you say, Socrates, is most true, but do you observe that
ever since the disaster of the thousand under Tolmides at Lebadeia,
coupled with that under Hippocrates at Delium,[6] the prestige of
Athens by comparison with the Boeotians has been lowered, whilst the
spirit of Thebes as against Athens had been correspondingly exalted,
so that those Boeotians who in old days did not venture to give battle
to the Athenians even in their own territory unless they had the
Lacedaemonians and the rest of the Peloponnesians to help them, do
nowadays threaten to make an incursion into Attica single-handed; and
the Athenians, who formerly, if they had to deal with the Boeotians[7]
only, made havoc of their territory, are now afraid the Boeotians may
some day harry Attica.

[6] Lebadeia, 447 B.C.; Delium, 424 B.C. For Tolmides and Hippocrates
see Thuc. i. 113; iv. 100 foll.; Grote, "H. G." v. 471; vi. 533.

[7] Reading {ote B. monoi}, al. {ou monoi}, "when the Boeotians were
not unaided."

To which Socrates: Yes, I perceive that this is so, but it seems to me
that the state was never more tractably disposed, never so ripe for a
really good leader, as to-day. For if boldness be the parent of
carelessness, laxity, and insubordination, it is the part of fear to
make people more disposed to application, obedience, and good order. A
proof of which you may discover in the behaviour of people on ship-
board. It is in seasons of calm weather when there is nothing to fear
that disorder may be said to reign, but as soon as there is
apprehension of a storm, or an enemy in sight, the scene changes; not
only is each word of command obeyed, but there is a hush of silent
expectation; the mariners wait to catch the next signal like an
orchestra with eyes upon the leader.

Per. But indeed, given that now is the opportunity to take obedience
at the flood, it is high time also to explain by what means we are to
rekindle in the hearts of our countrymen[8] the old fires--the
passionate longing for antique valour, for the glory and the wellbeing
of the days of old.

[8] Reading {anerasthenai}, Schneider's emendation of the vulg.

Well (proceeded Socrates), supposing we wished them to lay claim to
certain material wealth now held by others, we could not better
stimulate them to lay hands on the objects coveted than by showing
them that these were ancestral possessions[9] to which they had a
natural right. But since our object is that they should set their
hearts on virtuous pre-eminence, we must prove to them that such
headship combined with virtue is an old time-honoured heritage which
pertains to them beyond all others, and that if they strive earnestly
after it they will soon out-top the world.

[9] Cf. Solon in the matter of Salamis, Plut. "Sol." 8; Bergk. "Poet.
Lyr. Gr. Solon," SALAMIS, i. 2, 3.

Por. How are we to inculcate this lesson?

Soc. I think by reminding them of a fact already registered in their
minds,[10] that the oldest of our ancestors whose names are known to
us were also the bravest of heroes.

[10] Or, "to which their ears are already opened."

Per. I suppose you refer to that judgment of the gods which, for their
virtue's sake, Cecrops and his followers were called on to decide?[11]

[11] See Apollodorus, iii. 14.

Soc. Yes, I refer to that and to the birth and rearing of
Erectheus,[12] and also to the war[13] which in his days was waged to
stay the tide of invasion from the whole adjoining continent; and that
other war in the days of the Heraclidae[14] against the men of
Peloponnese; and that series of battles fought in the days of
Theseus[15]--in all which the virtuous pre-eminence of our ancestry
above the men of their own times was made manifest. Or, if you please,
we may come down to things of a later date, which their descendants
and the heroes of days not so long anterior to our own wrought in the
struggle with the lords of Asia,[16] nay of Europe also, as far as
Macedonia: a people possessing a power and means of attack far
exceeding any who had gone before--who, moreover, had accomplished the
doughtiest deeds. These things the men of Athens wrought partly
single-handed,[17] and partly as sharers with the Peloponnesians in
laurels won by land and sea. Heroes were these men also, far
outshining, as tradition tells us, the peoples of their time.

[12] Cf. "Il." ii. 547, {'Erekhtheos megaletoros k.t.l.}

[13] Cf. Isoc. "Paneg." 19, who handles all the topics.

[14] Commonly spoken of as "the Return." See Grote, "H. G." II. ch.

[15] Against the Amazons and Thracians; cf. Herod. ix. 27; Plut.
"Thes." 27.

[16] The "Persian" wars; cf. Thucyd. I. i.

[17] He omits the Plataeans.

Per. Yes, so runs the story of their heroism.

Soc. Therefore it is that, amidst the many changes of inhabitants, and
the migrations which have, wave after wave, swept over Hellas, these
maintained themselves in their own land, unmoved; so that it was a
common thing for others to turn to them as to a court of appeal on
points of right, or to flee to Athens as a harbour of refuge from the
hand of the oppressor.[18]

[18] Cf. (Plat.) "Menex."; Isocr. "Paneg."

Then Pericles: And the wonder to me, Socrates, is how our city ever
came to decline.

Soc. I think we are victims of our own success. Like some athlete,[19]
whose facile preponderance in the arena has betrayed him into laxity
until he eventually succumbs to punier antagonists, so we Athenians,
in the plenitude of our superiority, have neglected ourselves and are
become degenerate.

[19] Reading {athletai tines}, or if {alloi tines}, translate "any one

Per. What then ought we to do now to recover our former virtue?

Soc. There need be no mystery about that, I think. We can rediscover
the institutions of our forefathers--applying them to the regulation
of our lives with something of their precision, and not improbably
with like success; or we can imitate those who stand at the front of
affairs to-day,[20] adapting to ourselves their rule of life, in which
case, if we live up to the standard of our models, we may hope at
least to rival their excellence, or, by a more conscientious adherence
to what they aim at, rise superior.

[20] Sc. the Lacedaemonians. See W. L. Newman, op. cit. i. 396.

You would seem to suggest (he answered) that the spirit of beautiful
and brave manhood has taken wings and left our city;[21] as, for
instance, when will Athenians, like the Lacedaemonians, reverence old
age--the Athenian, who takes his own father as a starting-point for
the contempt he pours upon grey hairs? When will he pay as strict an
attention to the body, who is not content with neglecting a good
habit,[22] but laughs to scorn those who are careful in this matter?
When shall we Athenians so obey our magistrates--we who take a pride,
as it were, in despising authority? When, once more, shall we be
united as a people--we who, instead of combining to promote common
interests, delight in blackening each other's characters,[23] envying
one another more than we envy all the world besides; and--which is our
worst failing--who, in private and public intercourse alike, are torn
by dissension and are caught in a maze of litigation, and prefer to
make capital out of our neighbour's difficulties rather than to render
natural assistance? To make our conduct consistent, indeed, we treat
our national interests no better than if they were the concerns of
some foreign state; we make them bones of contention to wrangle over,
and rejoice in nothing so much as in possessing means and ability to
indulge these tastes. From this hotbed is engendered in the state a
spirit of blind folly[24] and cowardice, and in the hearts of the
citizens spreads a tangle of hatred and mutual hostility which, as I
often shudder to think, will some day cause some disaster to befall
the state greater than it can bear.[25]

[21] Or, "is far enough away from Athens."

[22] See below, III. xii. 5; "Pol. Ath." i. 13; "Rev." iv. 52.

[23] Or, "to deal despitefully with one another.

[24] Reading {ateria}. See L. Dindorf ad loc., Ox. ed. lxii. Al.
{apeiria}, a want of skill, or {ataxia}, disorderliness. Cf. "Pol.
Ath." i. 5.

[25] Possibly the author is thinking of the events of 406, 405 B.C.
(see "Hell." I. vii. and II.), and history may repeat itself.

Do not (replied Socrates), do not, I pray you, permit yourself to
believe that Athenians are smitten with so incurable a depravity. Do
you not observe their discipline in all naval matters? Look at their
prompt and orderly obedience to the superintendents at the gymnastic
contests,[26] their quite unrivalled subservience to their teachers in
the training of our choruses.

[26] Epistatoi, i.e. stewards and training-masters.

Yes (he answered), there's the wonder of it; to think that all those
good people should so obey their leaders, but that our hoplites and
our cavalry, who may be supposed to rank before the rest of the
citizens in excellence of manhood,[27] should be so entirely
unamenable to discipline.

[27] {kalokagathia}.

Then Socrates: Well, but the council which sits on Areopagos is
composed of citizens of approved[28] character, is it not?

[28] Technically, they must have passed the {dokimasia}. And for the
"Aeropagos" see Grote, "H. G." v. 498; Aristot. "Pol." ii. 12;
"Ath. Pol." 4. 4, where see Dr. Sandys' note, p. 18.

Certainly (he answered).

Soc. Then can you name any similar body, judicial or executive, trying
cases or transacting other business with greater honour, stricter
legality, higher dignity, or more impartial justice?

No, I have no fault to find on that score (he answered).

Soc. Then we ought not to despair as though all sense of orderliness
and good discipline had died out of our countrymen.

Still (he answered), if it is not to harp upon one string, I maintain
that in military service, where, if anywhere, sobreity and temperance,
orderliness and good discipline are needed, none of these essentials
receives any attention.

May it not perhaps be (asked Socrates) that in this department they
are officered by those who have the least knowledge?[29] Do you not
notice, to take the case of harp-players, choric performers, dancers,
and the like, that no one would ever dream of leading if he lacked the
requisite knowledge? and the same holds of wrestlers or pancratiasts.

[29] {episteme}. See below, III. ix. 10.

Moreover, while in these cases any one in command can tell you where
he got the elementary knowledge of what he presides over, most
generals are amateurs and improvisers.[30] I do not at all suppose
that you are one of that sort. I believe you could give as clear an
account of your schooling in strategy as you could in the matter of
wrestling. No doubt you have got at first hand many of your father's
"rules for generalship," which you carefully preserve, besides having
collected many others from every quarter whence it was possible to
pick up any knowledge which would be of use to a future general.
Again, I feel sure you are deeply concerned to escape even unconscious
ignorance of anything which will be serviceable to you in so high an
office; and if you detect in yourself any ignorance, you turn to those
who have knowledge in these matters (sparing neither gifts nor
gratitude) to supplement your ignorance by their knowledge and to
secure their help.

[30] Cf. "Pol. Lac." xiii. 5.

To which Pericles: I am not so blind, Socrates, as to imagine you say
these words under the idea that I am truly so careful in these
matters; but rather your object is to teach me that the would-be
general must make such things his care. I admit in any case all you

Socrates proceeded: Has it ever caught your observation, Pericles,
that a high mountain barrier stretches like a bulwark in front of our
country down towards Boeotia--cleft, moreover, by narrow and
precipitous passes, the only avenues into the heart of Attica, which
lies engirdled by a ring of natural fortresses?[31]

[31] The mountains are Cithaeron and Parnes N., and Cerata N.W.

Per. Certainly I have.

Soc. Well, and have you ever heard tell of the Mysians and Pisidians
living within the territory of the great king,[32] who, inside their
mountain fortresses, lightly armed, are able to rush down and inflict
much injury on the king's territory by their raids, while preserving
their own freedom?

[32] For this illustration see "Anab." III. ii. 23; cf. "Econ." iv.
18, where Socrates ({XS}) refers to Cyrus's expedition and death.

Per. Yes, the circumstance is not new to me.

And do you not think (added Socrates) that a corps of young able-
bodied Athenians, accoutred with lighter arms,[33] and holding our
natural mountain rampart in possession, would prove at once a thorn in
the enemy's side offensively, whilst defensively they would form a
splendid bulwark to protect the country?

[33] Cf. the reforms of Iphicrates.

To which Pericles: I think, Socrates, these would be all useful
measures, decidedly.

If, then (replied Socrates), these suggestions meet your approbation,
try, O best of men, to realise them--if you can carry out a portion of
them, it will be an honour to yourself and a blessing to the state;
while, if you fail in any point, there will be no damage done to the
city nor discredit to yourself.


Glaucon,[1] the son of Ariston, had conceived such an ardour to gain
the headship of the state that nothing could hinder him but he must
deliver a course of public speeches,[2] though he had not yet reached
the age of twenty. His friends and relatives tried in vain to stop him
making himself ridiculous and being dragged down from the bema.[3]
Socrates, who took a kindly interest in the youth for the sake of
Charmides[4] the son of Glaucon, and of Plato, alone succeeded in
restraining him. It happened thus. He fell in with him, and first of
all, to get him to listen, detained him by some such remarks as the

[1] Glaucon, Plato's brother. Grote, "Plato," i. 508.

[2] "Harangue the People."

[3] See Plat. "Protag." 319 C: "And if some person offers to give them
advice who is not supposed by them to have any skill in the art
[sc. of politics], even though he be good-looking, and rich, and
noble, they will not listen to him, but laugh at him, and hoot
him, until he is either clamoured down and retires of himself; or
if he persists, he is dragged away or put out by the constables at
the command of the prytanes" (Jowett). Cf. Aristoph. "Knights,"
665, {kath eilkon auton oi prutaneis kai toxotai}.

[4] For Charmides (maternal uncle of Plato and Glaucon, cousin of
Critias) see ch. vii. below; Plato the philosopher, Glaucon's
brother, see Cobet, "Pros. Xen." p. 28.

[5] Or, "and in the first instance addressing him in such terms he
could not choose but hear, detained him." See above, II. vi. 11.
Socrates applies his own theory.

Ah, Glaucon (he exclaimed), so you have determined to become prime

[6] {prostateuein}.

Glauc. Yes, Socrates, I have.

Soc. And what a noble aim! if aught human ever deserved to be called
noble; since if you succeed in your design, it follows, as the night
the day, you will be able not only to gratify your every wish, but you
will be in a position to benefit your friends, you will raise up your
father's house, you will exalt your fatherland, you will become a name
thrice famous in the city first, and next in Hellas, and lastly even
among barbarians perhaps, like Themistocles; but be it here or be it
there, wherever you be, you will be the observed of all beholders.[7]

[7] "The centre of attraction--the cynosure of neighbouring eyes."

The heart of Glaucon swelled with pride as he drank in the words, and
gladly he stayed to listen.

Presently Socrates proceeded: Then this is clear, Glaucon, is it not?
that you must needs benefit the city, since you desire to reap her

Glauc. Undoubtedly.

Then, by all that is sacred (Socrates continued), do not keep us in
the dark, but tell us in what way do you propose first to benefit the
state? what is your starting-point?[8] When Glaucon remained with
sealed lips, as if he were now for the first time debating what this
starting-point should be, Socrates continued: I presume, if you wished
to improve a friend's estate, you would endeavour to do so by adding
to its wealth, would you not? So here, maybe, you will try to add to
the wealth of the state?

[8] Or, "tell us what your starting-point will be in the path of

Most decidedly (he answered).

Soc. And we may take it the state will grow wealthier in proportion as
her revenues increase?

Glauc. That seems probable, at any rate.

Soc. Then would you kindly tell us from what sources the revenues of
the state are at present derived, and what is their present magnitude?
No doubt you have gone carefully into the question, so that if any of
these are failing you may make up the deficit, or if neglected for any
reason, make some new provision.[9]

[9] Or, "or if others have dropped out or been negligently overlooked,
you may replace them."

Glauc. Nay, to speak the truth, these are matters I have not
thoroughly gone into.

Never mind (he said) if you have omitted the point; but you might
oblige us by running through the items or heads of expenditure.
Obviously you propose to remove all those which are superfluous?

Glauc. Well, no. Upon my word I have not had time to look into that
side of the matter either as yet.

Soc. Then we will postpone for the present the problem of making the
state wealthier; obviously without knowing the outgoings and the
incomings it would be impossible to deal with the matter seriously.

But, Socrates (Glaucon remarked), it is possible to enrich the state
out of the pockets of her enemies!

Yes, to be sure, considerably (answered Socrates), in the event of
getting the better of them; but in the event of being worsted, it is
also possible to lose what we have got.

A true observation (he replied).

And therefore (proceeded Socrates), before he makes up his mind with
what enemy to go to war, a statesman should know the relative powers
of his own city and the adversary's, so that, in case the superiority
be on his own side, he may throw the weight of his advice into the
scale of undertaking war; but if the opposite he may plead in favour
of exercising caution.

You are right (he answered).

Soc. Then would you for our benefit enumerate the land and naval
forces first of Athens and then of our opponents?

Glauc. Pardon me. I could not tell you them off-hand at a moment's

Or (added Socrates), if you have got the figures on paper, you might
produce them. I cannot tell how anxious I am to hear your statement.

Glauc. No, I assure you, I have not got them even on paper yet.

Soc. Well then, we will defer tending advice on the topic of peace or
war, in a maiden speech at any rate.[10] I can understand that, owing
to the magnitude of the questions, in these early days of your
ministry you have not yet fully examined them. But come, I am sure
that you have studied the defences of the country, at all events, and
you know exactly how many forts and outposts are serviceable[11] and
how many are not; you can tell us which garrisons are strong enough
and which defective; and you are prepared to throw in the weight of
your advice in favour of increasing the serviceable outposts and
sweeping away those that are superfluous?

[10] See "Econ." xi. 1.

[11] Or, "advantageously situated." See the author's own tract on

Glauc. Yes, sweep them all away, that's my advice; for any good that
is likely to come of them! Defences indeed! so maintained that the
property of the rural districts is simply pilfered.

But suppose you sweep away the outposts (he asked), may not something
worse, think you, be the consequence? will not sheer plundering be
free to any ruffian who likes? . . . But may I ask is this judgment
the result of personal inspection? have you gone yourself and examined
the defences? or how do you know that they are all maintained as you

Glauc. I conjecture that it is so.

Soc. Well then, until we have got beyond the region of conjecture
shall we defer giving advice on the matter? (It will be time enough
when we know the facts.)

Possibly it would be better to wait till then (replied Glaucon).

Soc. Then there are the mines,[12] but, of course, I am aware that you
have not visited them in person, so as to be able to say why they are
less productive than formerly.

[12] Again the author's tract on "Revenues" is a comment on the

Well, no; I have never been there myself (he answered).

Soc. No, Heaven help us! an unhealthy district by all accounts; so
that, when the moment for advice on that topic arrives, you will have
an excuse ready to hand.

I see you are making fun of me (Glaucon answered).

Soc. Well, but here is a point, I am sure, which you have not
neglected. No, you will have thoroughly gone into it, and you can tell
us. For how long a time could the corn supplies from the country
districts support the city? how much is requisite for a single year,
so that the city may not run short of this prime necessary, before you
are well aware; but on the contrary you with your full knowledge will
be in a position to give advice on so vital a question, to the aid or
may be the salvation of your country?

It is a colossal business this (Glaucon answered), if I am to be
obliged to give attention to all these details.

Soc. On the other hand, a man could not even manage his own house or
his estate well, without, in the first place, knowing what he
requires, and, in the second place, taking pains, item by item, to
supply his wants. But since this city consists of more than ten
thousand houses, and it is not easy to pay minute attention to so many
all at once, how is it you did not practise yourself by trying to
augment the resources of one at any rate of these--I mean your own
uncle's? The service would not be thrown away. Then if your strength
suffices in the single case you might take in hand a larger number;
but if you fail to relieve one, how could you possibly hope to succeed
with many? How absurd for a man, if he cannot carry half a
hundredweight, to attempt to carry a whole![13]

[13] Lit. "a single talent's weight . . . to carry two."

Glauc. Nay, for my part, I am willing enough to assist my uncle's
house, if my uncle would only be persuaded to listen to my advice.

Soc. Then, when you cannot persuade your uncle, do you imagine you
will be able to make the whole Athenian people, uncle and all, obey
you? Be careful, Glaucon (he added), lest in your thirst for glory and
high repute you come to the opposite. Do you not see how dangerous it
is for a man to speak or act beyond the range[14] of his knowledge? To
take the cases known to you of people whose conversation or conduct
clearly transcends these limits: should you say they gain more praise
or more blame on that account? Are they admired the rather or
despised? Or, again, consider those who do know what they say and what
they do; and you will find, I venture to say, that in every sort of
undertaking those who enjoy repute and admiration belong to the class
of those endowed with the highest knowledge; whilst conversely the
people of sinister reputation, the mean and the contemptible, emanate
from some depth of ignorance and dulness. If therefore what you thirst
for is repute and admiration as a statesman, try to make sure of one
accomplishment: in other words, the knowledge as far as in you lies of
what you wish to do.[15] If, indeed, with this to distinguish you from
the rest of the world you venture to concern yourself with state
affairs, it would not surprise me but that you might reach the goal of
your ambition easily.

[14] Or, "to talk of things which he does not know, or to meddle with

[15] Or, "try as far as possible to achieve one thing, and that is to
know the business which you propose to carry out."


Now Charmides,[1] the son of Glaucon, was, as Socrates observed, a man
of mark and influence: a much more powerful person in fact than the
mass of those devoted to politics at that date, but at the same time
he was a man who shrank from approaching the people or busying himself
with the concerns of the state. Accordingly Socrates addressed him

[1] See last chapter for his relationship to Glaucon (the younger) and
Plato; for a conception of his character, Plato's dialogue
"Charmides"; "Theag." 128 E; "Hell." II. iv. 19; "Symp." iv. 31;
Grote, "Plato," i. 480.

Tell me, Charmides, supposing some one competent to win a victory in
the arena and to receive a crown,[2] whereby he will gain honour
himself and make the land of his fathers more glorious in Hellas,[3]
were to refuse to enter the lists--what kind of person should you set
him down to be?

[2] In some conquest (e.g. of the Olympic games) where the prize is a
mere wreath.

[3] Cf. Pindar passim.

Clearly an effeminate and cowardly fellow (he answered).

Soc. And what if another man, who had it in him, by devotion to
affairs of state, to exalt his city and win honour himself thereby,
were to shrink and hesitate and hang back--would he too not reasonably
be regarded as a coward?

Possibly (he answered); but why do you address these questions to me?

Because (replied Socrates) I think that you, who have this power, do
hesitate to devote yourself to matters which, as being a citizen, if
for no other reason, you are bound to take part in.[4]

[4] Or add, "and cannot escape from."

Charm. And wherein have you detected in me this power, that you pass
so severe a sentence upon me?

Soc. I have detected it plainly enough in those gatherings[5] in which
you meet the politicians of the day, when, as I observe, each time
they consult you on any point you have always good advice to offer,
and when they make a blunder you lay your finger on the weak point

[5] See above, I. v. 4; here possibly of political club conversation.

Charm. To discuss and reason in private is one thing, Socrates, to
battle in the throng of the assembly is another.

Soc. And yet a man who can count, counts every bit as well in a crowd
as when seated alone by himself; and it is the best performer on the
harp in private who carries off the palm of victory in public.

Charm. But do you not see that modesty and timidity are feelings
implanted in man's nature? and these are much more powerfully present
to us in a crowd than within the cirlce of our intimates.

Soc. Yes, but what I am bent on teaching you is that while you feel no
such bashfulness and timidity before the wisest and strongest of men,
you are ashamed of opening your lips in the midst of weaklings and
dullards.[6] Is it the fullers among them of whom you stand in awe, or
the cobblers, or the carpenters, or the coppersmiths, or the
merchants, or the farmers, or the hucksters of the market-place
exchanging their wares, and bethinking them how they are to buy this
thing cheap, and to sell the other dear--is it before these you are
ashamed, for these are the individual atoms out of which the Public
Assembly is composed?[7] And what is the difference, pray, between
your behaviour and that of a man who, being the superior of trained
athletes, quails before a set of amateurs? Is it not the case that you
who can argue so readily with the foremost statesmen in the city, some
of whom affect to look down upon you--you, with your vast superiority
over practised popular debaters--are no sooner confronted with a set
of folk who never in their lives gave politics a thought, and into
whose heads certainly it never entered to look down upon you--than you
are afraid to open your lips in mortal terror of being laughed at?

[6] Cf. Cic. "Tusc." v. 36, 104; Plat. "Gorg." 452 E, 454 B.

[7] Cf. Plat. "Protag." 319 C. See W. L. Newman, op. cit. i. 103.

Well, but you would admit (he answered) that sound argument does
frequently bring down the ridicule of the Popular Assembly.

Soc. Which is equally true of the others.[8] And that is just what
rouses my astonishment, that you who can cope so easily with these
lordly people (when guilty of ridicule) should persuade yourself that
you cannot stand up against a set of commoners.[9] My good fellow, do
not be ignorant of yourself![10] do not fall into that commonest of
errors--theirs who rush off to investigate the concerns of the rest of
the world, and have no time to turn and examine themselves. Yet that
is a duty which you must not in cowardly sort draw back from: rather
must you brace ourself to give good heed to your own self; and as to
public affairs, if by any manner of means they may be improved through
you, do not neglect them. Success in the sphere of politics means that
not only the mass of your fellow-citizens, but your personal friends
and you yourself last but not least, will profit by your action.

[8] {oi eteroi}, i.e. "the foremost statesmen" mentioned before. Al.
"the opposite party," the "Tories," if one may so say, of the
political clubs.

[9] Lit. "those . . . these."

[10] Ernesti aptly cf. Cic. "ad Quint." iii. 6. See below, III. ix. 6;
IV. ii. 24.


Once when Aristippus[1] set himself to subject Socrates to a cross-
examination, such as he had himself undergone at the hands of Socrates
on a former occasion,[2] Socrates, being minded to benefit those who
were with him, gave his answers less in the style of a debater
guarding against perversions of his argument, than of a man persuaded
of the supreme importance of right conduct.[3]

[1] For Aristippus see above, p. 38; for the connection, {boulomenos
tous sunontas ophelein}, between this and the preceeding chapter,
see above, Conspectus, p. xxvi.

[2] Possibly in reference to the conversation above. In reference to
the present dialogue see Grote, "Plato," I. xi. p. 380 foll.

[3] For {prattein ta deonta} cf. below, III. ix. 4, 11; Plat. "Charm."
164 B; but see J. J. Hartman, "An. Xen." p. 141.

Aristippus asked him "if he knew of anything good,"[4] intending in
case he assented and named any particular good thing, like food or
drink, or wealth, or health, or strength, or courage, to point out
that the thing named was sometimes bad. But he, knowing that if a
thing troubles us, we immediately want that which will put an end to
our trouble, answered precisely as it was best to do.[5]

[4] See Grote, "Plato," ii. 585, on Philebus.

[5] Or, "made the happiest answer."

Soc. Do I understand you to ask me whether I know anything good for

No (he replied), that is not my question.

Soc. Then for inflammation of the eyes?

Aristip. No, nor yet that.

Soc. Well then, for hunger?

Aristip. No, nor yet for hunger.

Well, but (answered Socrates) if you ask me whether I know of any good
thing which is good for nothing, I neither know of it nor want to

And when Aristippus, returning to the charge, asked him "if he knew of
any thing beautiful,"

He answered: Yes, many things.

Aristip. Are they all like each other?

Soc. On the contrary, they are often as unlike as possible.

How then (he asked) can that be beautiful which is unlike the

Soc. Bless me! for the simple reason that it is possible for a man who
is a beautiful runner to be quite unlike another man who is a
beautiful boxer,[6] or for a shield, which is a beautiful weapon for
the purpose of defence, to be absolutely unlike a javelin, which is a
beautiful weapon of swift and sure discharge.

[6] See Grote, "H. G." x. 164, in reference to Epaminondas and his
gymnastic training; below, III. x. 6.

Aristip. Your answers are no better now than[7] when I asked you
whether you knew any good thing. They are both of a pattern.

[7] Or, "You answer precisely as you did when . . ."

Soc. And so they should be. Do you imagine that one thing is good and
another beautiful? Do not you know that relatively to the same
standard all things are at once beautiful and good?[8] In the first
place, virtue is not a good thing relatively to one standard and a
beautiful thing relatively to another standard; and in the next place,
human beings, on the same principle[9] and relatively to the same
standard, are called "beautiful and good"; and so the bodily frames of
men relatively to the same standards are seen to be "beautiful and
good," and in general all things capable of being used by man are
regarded as at once beautiful and good relatively to the same standard
--the standing being in each case what the thing happens to be useful

[8] Or, "good and beautiful are convertible terms: whatever is good is
beautiful, or whatever is beautiful is good."

[9] Or, "in the same breath." Cf. Plat. "Hipp. maj." 295 D; "Gorg."
474 D.

[10] Or, "and this standard is the serviceableness of the thing in

Aristip. Then I presume even a basket for carrying dung[11] is a
beautiful thing?

[11] Cf. Plat. "Hipp. maj." 288 D, 290 D; and Grote's note, loc. cit.
p. 381: "in regard to the question wherein consists {to kalon}?"

Soc. To be sure, and a spear of gold an ugly thing, if for their
respective uses--the former is well and the latter ill adapted.

Aristip. Do you mean to assert that the same things may be beautiful
and ugly?

Soc. Yes, to be sure; and by the same showing things may be good and
bad: as, for instance, what is good for hunger may be bad for fever,
and what is good for fever bad for hunger; or again, what is beautiful
for wrestling is often ugly for running; and in general everything is
good and beautiful when well adapted for the end in view, bad and ugly
when ill adapted for the same.

Similarly when he spoke about houses,[12] and argued that "the same
house must be at once beautiful and useful"--I could not help feeling
that he was giving a good lesson on the problem: "how a house ought to
be built." He investigated the matter thus:

[12] See K. Joel, op. cit. p. 488; "Classical Review," vii. 262.

Soc. "Do you admit that any one purposing to build a perfect house[13]
will plan to make it at once as pleasant and as useful to live in as
possible?" and that point being admitted,[14] the next question would

[13] Or, "the ideal house"; lit. "a house as it should be."

[14] See below, IV. vi. 15.

"It is pleasant to have one's house cool in summer and warm in winter,
is it not?" and this proposition also having obtained assent, "Now,
supposing a house to have a southern aspect, sunshine during winter
will steal in under the verandah,[15] but in summer, when the sun
traverses a path right over our heads, the roof will afford an
agreeable shade, will it not? If, then, such an arrangement is
desirable, the southern side of a house should be built higher to
catch the rays of the winter sun, and the northern side lower to
prevent the cold winds finding ingress; in a word, it is reasonable to
suppose that the pleasantest and most beautiful dwelling place will be
one in which the owner can at all seasons of the year find the
pleasantest retreat, and stow away his goods with the greatest

[15] Or, "porticoes" or "collonades."

Paintings[16] and ornamental mouldings are apt (he said) to deprive
one of more joy[17] than they confer.

[16] See "Econ." ix. 2; Plat. "Hipp. maj." 298 A; "Rep." 529; Becker,
"Charicles," 268 (Engl. trans.)

[17] {euphrosunas}, archaic or "poetical" = "joyance." See "Hiero,"
vi. 1.

The fittest place for a temple or an altar (he maintained) was some
site visible from afar, and untrodden by foot of man:[18] since it was
a glad thing for the worshipper to lift up his eyes afar off and offer
up his orison; glad also to wend his way peaceful to prayer

[18] e.g. the summit of Lycabettos, or the height on which stands the
temple of Phygaleia. Cf. Eur. "Phoen." 1372, {Pallados
khrusaspidos blepsas pros oikon euxato} of Eteocles.

[19] See Vitruvius, i. 7, iv. 5, ap. Schneid. ad loc.; W. L. Newman,
op. cit. i. 338.


Being again asked by some one: could courage be taught,[1] or did it
come by nature? he answered: I imagine that just as one body is by
nature stronger than another body to encounter toils, so one soul by
nature grows more robust than another soul in face of dangers.
Certainly I do note that people brought up under the same condition of
laws and customs differ greatly in respect of daring. Still my belief
is that by learning and practice the natural aptitude may always be
strengthened towards courage. It is clear, for instance, that
Scythians or Thracians would not venture to take shield and spear and
contend with Lacedaemonians; and it is equally evident that
Lacedaemonians would demur to entering the lists of battle against
Thracians if limited to their light shields and javelins, or against
Scythians without some weapon more familiar than their bows and
arrows.[2] And as far as I can see, this principle holds generally:
the natural differences of one man from another may be compensated by
artificial progress, the result of care and attention. All which
proves clearly that whether nature has endowed us with keener or
blunter sensibilities, the duty of all alike is to learn and practise
those things in which we would fain achieve distinction.

[1] Or, "When some one retorted upon him with the question: 'Can
courage be taught?'" and for this problem see IV. vi. 10, 11;
"Symp." ii. 12; Plat. "Lach."; "Protag." 349; "Phaedr." 269 D; K.
Joel, op. cit. p. 325 foll.; Grote, "Plato," i. 468 foll., ii. 60;
Jowett, "Plato," i. 77, 119; Newman, op. cit. i. 343.

[2] Or, "against Thracians with light shields and javelins, or against
Scythians with bows and arrows"; and for the national arms of
these peoples respectively see Arist. "Lysistr." 563; "Anab." III.
iv. 15; VI. VII. passim.

Between wisdom and sobriety of soul (which is temperance) he drew no
distinction.[3] Was a man able on the one hand to recognise things
beautiful and good sufficiently to live in them? Had he, on the other
hand, knowledge of the "base and foul" so as to beware of them? If so,
Socrates judged him to be wise at once and sound of soul (or

[3] But cf. IV. vi. 7; K. Joel, op. cit. p. 363.

[4] Reading {alla to . . . kai to}, or more lit. "he discovered the
wise man and sound of soul in his power not only to recognise
things 'beautiful and good,' but to live and move and have his
being in them; as also in his gift of avoiding consciously things
base." Or if {alla ton . . . kai ton . . .} transl. "The man who
not only could recognise the beautiful and good, but lived, etc.,
in that world, and who morever consciously avoided things base, in
the judgment of Socrates was wise and sound of soul." Cf. Plat.

And being further questioned whether "he considered those who have the
knowledge of right action, but do not apply it, to be wise and self-
controlled?"--"Not a whit more," he answered, "than I consider them to
be unwise and intemperate.[5] Every one, I conceive, deliberately
chooses what, within the limits open to him, he considers most
conducive to his interest, and acts accordingly. I must hold therefore
that those who act against rule and crookedly[6] are neither wise nor

[5] For the phrase "not a whit the more" see below, III. xii. 1;
"Econ." xii. 18. Al. "I should by no means choose to consider them
wise and self-controlled rather than foolish and intemperate."

[6] "Who cannot draw a straight line, ethically speaking."

He said that justice, moreover, and all other virtue is wisdom. That
is to say, things just, and all things else that are done with virtue,
are "beautiful and good"; and neither will those who know these things
deliberately choose aught else in their stead, nor will he who lacks
the special knowledge of them be able to do them, but even if he makes
the attempt he will miss the mark and fail. So the wise alone can
perform the things which are "beautiful and good"; they that are
unwise cannot, but even if they try they fail. Therefore, since all
things just, and generally all things "beautiful and good," are
wrought with virtue, it is clear that justice and all other virtue is

On the other hand, madness (he maintained) was the opposite to wisdom;
not that he regarded simple ignorance as madness,[7] but he put it
thus: for a man to be ignorant of himself, to imagine and suppose that
he knows what he knows not, was (he argued), if not madness itself,
yet something very like it. The mass of men no doubt hold a different
language: if a man is all abroad on some matter of which the mass of
mankind are ignorant, they do not pronounce him "mad";[8] but a like
aberration of mind, if only it be about matters within the scope of
ordinary knowledge, they call madness. For instance, any one who
imagined himself too tall to pass under a gateway of the Long Wall
without stooping, or so strong as to try to lift a house, or to
attempt any other obvious impossibility, is a madman according to
them; but in the popular sense he is not mad, if his obliquity is
confined to small matters. In fact, just as strong desire goes by the
name of passion in popular parlance, so mental obliquity on a grand
scale is entitled madness.

[7] See K. Joel, op. cit. p. 346; Grote, "Plato," i. 400.

[8] Or, "they resent the term 'mad' being applied to people who are
all abroad," etc. See Comte, "Pos. Pol." i. 575; ii. 373 (Engl.

In answer to the question: what is envy? he discovered it to be a
certain kind of pain; not certainly the sorrow felt at the misfortunes
of a friend or the good fortune of an enemy--that is not envy; but, as
he said, "envy is felt by those alone who are annoyed at the successes
of their friends." And when some one or other expressed astonishment
that any one friendlily disposed to another should be pained at his
well-doing, he reminded him of a common tendency in people: when any
one is faring ill their sympathies are touched, they rush to the aid
of the unfortunate; but when fortune smiles on others, they are
somwhow pained. "I do not say," he added, "this could happen to a
thoughtful person; but it is no uncommon condition of a silly

[9] Or, "a man in his senses . . . a simpleton"; for the sentiment L.
Dind. cf. Isocr. "ad Demonic." 7 D.

In answer to the question: what is leisure? I discover (he said) that
most men do something:[10] for instance, the dice player,[11] the
gambler, the buffoon, do something, but these have leisure; they can,
if they like, turn and do something better; but nobody has leisure to
turn from the better to the worse, and if he does so turn, when he has
no leisure, he does but ill in that.

[10] See above, I. ii. 57; and in ref. to these definitions, K. Joel,
op. cit. p. 347 foll.

[11] For "dice-playing" see Becker, "Charicl." 354 (Engl. trans.); for
"buffoonery," ib. 98; "Symp."

(To pass to another definition.) They are not kings or rulers (he
said) who hold the sceptre merely, or are chosen by fellows out of the
street,[12] or are appointed by lot, or have stepped into office by
violence or by fraud; but those who have the special knowledge[13] how
to rule. Thus having won the admission that it is the function of a
ruler to enjoin what ought to be done, and of those who are ruled to
obey, he proceeded to point out by instances that in a ship the ruler
or captain is the man of special knowledge, to whom, as an expert, the
shipowner himself and all the others on board obey. So likewise, in
the matter of husbandry, the proprietor of an estate; in that of
sickness, the patient; in that of physical training of the body, the
youthful athlete going through a course; and, in general, every one
directly concerned in any matter needing attention and care will
either attend to this matter personally, if he thinks he has the
special knowledge; or, if he mistrusts his own science, will be eager
to obey any expert on the spot, or will even send and fetch one from a
distance. The guidance of this expert he will follow, and do what he
has to do at his dictation.

[12] Tom, Dick, and Harry (as we say).

[13] The {episteme}. See above, III. v. 21; Newman, op. cit. i. 256.

And thus, in the art of spinning wool, he liked to point out that
women are the rulers of men--and why? because they have the knowledge
of the art, and men have not.

And if any one raised the objection that a tyrant has it in his power
not to obey good and correct advice, he would retort: "Pray, how has
he the option not to obey, considering the penalty hanging over him
who disobeys the words of wisdom? for whatever the matter be in which
he disobeys the word of good advice, he will fall into error, I
presume, and falling into error, be punished." And to the suggestion
that the tyrant could, if he liked, cut off the head of the man of
wisdom, his answer was: "Do you think that he who destroys his best
ally will go scot free, or suffer a mere slight and passing loss? Is
he more likely to secure his salvation that way, think you, or to
compass his own swift destruction?"[14]

[14] Or, "Is that to choose the path of safety, think you? Is it not
rather to sign his own death-warrent?" L. Dind. cf. Hesiod, "Works
and Days," 293. See Newman, op. cit. i. 393-397.

When some one asked him: "What he regarded as the best pursuit or
business[15] for a man?" he answered: "Successful conduct";[16] and to
a second question: "Did he then regard good fortune as an end to be
pursued?"--"On the contrary," he answered, "for myself, I consider
fortune and conduct to be diametrically opposed. For instance, to
succeed in some desirable course of action without seeking to do so, I
hold to be good fortune; but to do a thing well by dint of learning
and practice, that according to my creed is successful conduct,[17]
and those who make this the serious business of their life seem to me
to do well."

[15] Or, "the noblest study."

[16] {eupraxia, eu prattein}--to do well, in the sense both of well or
right doing, and of welfare, and is accordingly opposed to
{eutukhia}, mere good luck or success. Cf. Plat. "Euthyd." 281 B.

[17] Lit. "well-doing"; and for the Socratic view see Newman, op. cit.
i. 305, 401.

They are at once the best and the dearest in the sight of God[18] (he
went on to say) who for instance in husbandry do well the things of
farming, or in the art of healing all that belongs to healing, or in
statecraft the affairs of state; whereas a man who does nothing well--
nor well in anything--is (he added) neither good for anything nor dear
to God.

[18] Or, "most divinely favoured." Cf. Plat. "Euthyphro," 7 A.


But indeed,[1] if chance brought him into conversation with any one
possessed of an art, and using it for daily purposes of business, he
never failed to be useful to this kind of person. For instance,
stepping one time into the studio of Parrhasius[2] the painter, and
getting into conversation with him--

[1] {alla men kai} . . . "But indeed the sphere of his helpfulness was
not circumscribed; if," etc.

[2] For Parrhasius of Ephesus, the son of Evenor and rival of Zeuxis,
see Woltmann and Woermann, "Hist. of Painting," p. 47 foll.;
Cobet, "Pros. Xen." p. 50 (cf. in particular Quint. XII. x. 627).
At the date of conversation (real or ideal) he may be supposed to
have been a young man.

I suppose, Parrhasius (said he), painting may be defined as "a
representation of visible objects," may it not?[3] That is to say, by
means of colours and palette you painters represent and reproduce as
closely as possible the ups and downs, lights and shadows, hard and
soft, rough and smooth surfaces, the freshness of youth and the
wrinkles of age, do you not?

[3] Reading with Schneider, L. Dind., etc., after Stobaeus, {e
graphike estin eikasia}, or if the vulg. {graphike estin e
eikasia}, trans. "Painting is the term applied to a particular
representation," etc.

You are right (he answered), that is so.

Soc. Further, in portraying ideal types of beauty, seeing it is not
easy to light upon any one human being who is absolutely devoid of
blemish, you cull from many models the most beautiful traits of each,
and so make your figures appear completely beautiful?[4]

[4] Cf. Cic. "de Invent." ii. 1 ad in. of Zeuxis; Max. Tur. "Dissert."
23, 3, ap. Schneider ad loc.

Parrh. Yes, that is how we do.[5]

[5] Or, "that is the secret of our creations," or "our art of

Well, but stop (Socrates continued); do you also pretend to represent
in similar perfection the characteristic moods of the soul, its
captivating charm and sweetness, with its deep wells of love, its
intensity of yearning, its burning point of passion? or is all this
quite incapable of being depicted?

Nay (he answered), how should a mood be other than inimitable,
Socrates, when it possesses neither linear proportion[6] nor colour,
nor any of those qualities which you named just now; when, in a word,
it is not even visible?

[6] Lit. "symmetry." Cf. Plin. xxxv. 10, "primus symmetriam picturae
dedit," etc.

Soc. Well, but the kindly look of love, the angry glance of hate at
any one, do find expression in the human subject, do they not?[7]

[7] Or, "the glance of love, the scowl of hate, which one directs
towards another, are recognised expressions of human feeling." Cf.
the description of Parrhasius's own portrait of Demos, ap. Plin.
loc. cit.

Parrh. No doubt they do.

Soc. Then this look, this glance, at any rate may be imitated in the
eyes, may it not?

Undoubtedly (he answered).

Soc. And do anxiety and relief of mind occasioned by the good or evil
fortune of those we love both wear the same expression?

By no means (he answered); at the thought of good we are radiant, at
that of evil a cloud hangs on the brow.

Soc. Then here again are looks with it is possible to represent?

Parrh. Decidedly.

Soc. Furthermore, as through some chink or crevice, there pierces
through the countenance of a man, through the very posture of his body
as he stands or moves, a glimpse of his nobility and freedom, or again
of something in him low and grovelling--the calm of self-restraint,
and wisdom, or the swagger of insolence and vulgarity?

You are right (he answered).

Soc. Then these too may be imitated?

No doubt (he said).

Soc. And which is the pleasanter type of face to look at, do you think
--one on which is imprinted the characteristics of a beautiful, good,
and lovable disposition, or one which bears the impress of what is
ugly, and bad, and hateful?[8]

[8] For this theory cp. Ruskin, "Mod. P." ii. 94 foll. and indeed

Parrh. Doubtless, Socrates, there is a vast distinction between the

At another time he entered the workshop of the sculptor Cleiton,[9]
and in course of conversation with him said:

[9] An unknown artist. Coraes conj. {Kleona}. Cf. Plin. xxxiv. 19;
Paus. v. 17, vi. 3. He excelled in portrait statues. See Jowett,
"Plato," iv.; "Laws," p. 123.

You have a gallery of handsome people here,[10] Cleiton, runners, and
wrestlers, and boxers, and pancratiasts--that I see and know; but how
do you give the magic touch of life to your creations, which most of
all allures the soul of the beholder through his sense of vision?

[10] Reading after L. Dind. {kaloi ous}, or if vulg. {alloious},
translate "You have a variety of types, Cleiton, not all of one
mould, but runners," etc.; al. "I see quite well how you give the
diversity of form to your runners," etc.

As Cleiton stood perplexed, and did not answer at once, Socrates
added: Is it by closely imitating the forms of living beings that you
succeed in giving that touch of life to your statues?

No doubt (he answered).

Soc. It is, is it not, by faithfully copying the various muscular
contractions of the body in obedience to the play of gesture and
poise, the wrinklings of flesh and the sprawl of limbs, the tensions
and the relaxations, that you succeed in making your statues like real
beings--make them "breathe" as people say?

Cleit. Without a doubt.

Soc. And does not the faithful imitation of the various affections of
the body when engaged in any action impart a particular pleasure to
the beholder?

Cleit. I should say so.

Soc. Then the threatenings in the eyes of warriors engaged in battle
should be carefully copied, or again you should imitate the aspect of
a conqueror radiant with success?

Cleit. Above all things.

Soc. It would seem then that the sculptor is called upon to
incorporate in his ideal form the workings and energies also of the

Paying a visit to Pistias,[11] the corselet maker, when that artist
showed him some exquisite samples of his work, Socrates exclaimed:

[11] Cf. Athen. iv. 20, where the same artist is referred to
apparently as {Piston}, and for the type of person see the
"Portrait of a Tailor" by Moroni in the National Gallery--see
"Handbook," Edw. T. Cook, p. 152.

By Hera! a pretty invention this, Pistias, by which you contrive that
the corselet should cover the parts of the person which need
protection, and at the same time leave free play to the arms and
hands. . . . but tell me, Pistias (he added), why do you ask a higher
price for these corselets of yours if they are not stouter or made of
costlier material than the others?

Because, Socrates (he answered), mine are of much finer proportion.

Soc. Proportion! Then how do you make this quality apparent to the
customer so as to justify the higher price--by measure or weight? For
I presume you cannot make them all exactly equal and of one pattern--
if you make them fit, as of course you do?

Fit indeed! that I most distinctly do (he answered), take my word for
it: no use in a corselet without that.

But then are not the wearer's bodies themselves (asked Socrates) some
well proportioned and others ill?

Decidedly so (he answered).

Soc. Then how do you manage to make the corselet well proportioned if
it is to fit an ill-proportioned body?[12]

[12] Or, "how do you make a well-proportioned corselet fit an ill-
proportioned body? how well proportioned?"

Pist. To the same degree exactly as I make it fit. What fits is well

Soc. It seems you use the term "well-proportioned" not in an absolute
sense, but in reference to the wearer, just as you might describe a
shield as well proportioned to the individual it suits; and so of a
military cloak, and so of the rest of things, in your terminology? But
maybe there is another considerable advantage in this "fitting"?

Pist. Pray instruct me, Socrates, if you have got an idea.

Soc. A corselet which fits is less galling by its weight than one
which does not fit, for the latter must either drag from the shoulders
with a dead weight or press upon some other part of the body, and so
it becomes troublesome and uncomfortable; but that which fits, having
its weight distributed partly along the collar-bone and shoulder-
blade, partly over the shoulders and chest, and partly the back and
belly, feels like another natural integument rather than an extra load
to carry.[13]

[13] Schneider ad loc. cf Eur. "Electr." 192, {prosthemata aglaias},
and for the weight cf. Aristoph. "Peace," 1224.

Pist. You have named the very quality which gives my work its
exceptional value, as I consider; still there are customers, I am
bound to say, who look for something else in a corselet--they must
have them ornamental or inlaid with gold.

For all that (replied Socrates), if they end by purchasing an ill-
fitting article, they only become the proprietors of a curiously-
wrought and gilded nuisance, as it seems to me. But (he added), as the
body is never in one fixed position, but is at one time curved, at
another raised erect how can an exactly-modelled corselet fit?

Pist. It cannot fit at all.

You mean (Socrates continued) that it is not the exactly-modelled
corselet which fits, but that which does not gall the wearer in the

Pist. There, Socrates, you have hit the very point. I see you
understand the matter most precisely.[14]

[14] Or, "There, Socrates, you have hit the very phrase. I could not
state the matter more explicitly myself."


There was once in the city a fair woman named Theodote.[1] She was not
only fair, but ready to consort with any suitor who might win her
favour. Now it chanced that some one of the company mentioned her,
saying that her beauty beggared description. "So fair is she," he
added, "that painters flock to draw her portrait, to whom, within the
limits of decorum, she displays the marvels of her beauty." "Then
there is nothing for it but to go and see her," answered Socrates,
"since to comprehend by hearsay what is beyond description is clearly
impossible." Then he who had introduced the matter replied: "Be quick
then to follow me"; and on this wise they set off to seek Theodote.
They found her "posing" to a certain painter; and they took their
stand as spectators. Presently the painter had ceased his work;
whereupon Socrates:

[1] For Theodote see Athen. v. 200 F, xiii. 574 F; Liban. i. 582. Some
say that it was Theodote who stood by Alcibiades to the last,
though there are apparently other better claimants to the honour.
Plut. "Alc." (Clough, ii. p. 50).

"Do you think, sirs, that we ought to thank Theodote for displaying
her beauty to us, or she us for coming to gaze at her? . . . It would
seem, would it not, that if the exhibition of her charms is the more
profitable to her, the debt is on her side; but if the spectacle of
her beauty confers the greater benefit on us, then we are her

Some one answered that "was an equitable statement of the case."

Well then (he continued), as far as she is concerned, the praise we
bestow on her is an immediate gain; and presently, when we have spread
her fame abroad, she will be further benefited; but for ourselves the
immediate effect on us is a strong desire to touch what we have seen;
by and by, too, we shall go away with a sting inside us, and when we
are fairly gone we shall be consumed with longing. Consequently it
seems that we should do her service and she accept our court.

Whereupon Theodote: Oh dear! if that is how the matter stands, it is I
who am your debtor for the spectacle.[2]

[2] In reference to the remark of Socrates above; or, "have to thank
you for coming to look at me."

At this point, seeing that the lady herself was expensively attired,
and that she had with her her mother also, whose dress and style of
attendance[3] were out of the common, not to speak of the waiting-
women--many and fair to look upon, who presented anything but a
forlorn appearance; while in every respect the whole house itself was
sumptuously furnished--Socrates put a question:

[3] Or, "her mother there with her in a dress and general get-up
({therapeia}) which was out of the common." See Becker,
"Charicles," p. 247 (Eng. tr.)

Pray tell me, Theodote, have you an estate in the country?

Theod. Not I indeed.

Soc. Then perhaps you possess a house and large revenues along with

Theod. No, nor yet a house.

Soc. You are not an employer of labour on a large scale?[4]

[4] Lit. "You have not (in your employ) a body of handicraftsmen of
any sort?"

Theod. No, nor yet an employer of labour.

Soc. From what source, then, do you get your means of subsistence?[5]

[5] Or, Anglice, "derive your income."

Theod. My friends are my life and fortune, when they care to be kind
to me.

Soc. By heaven, Theodote, a very fine property indeed, and far better
worth possessing than a multitude of sheep or goats or cattle. A flock
of friends! . . . But (he added) do you leave it to fortune whether a
friend lights like a fly on your hand at random, or do you use any
artifice[6] yourself to attract him?

[6] Or, "means and appliances," "machinery."

Theod. And how might I hit upon any artifice to attract him?

Soc. Bless me! far more naturally than any spider. You know how they
capture the creatures on which they live;[7] by weaving webs of
gossamer, is it not? and woe betide the fly that tumbles into their
toils! They eat him up.

[7] Lit. "the creatures on which they live."

Theod. So then you would consel me to weave myself some sort of net?

Soc. Why, surely you do not suppose you are going to ensnare that
noblest of all game--a lover, to wit--in so artless a fashion? Do you
not see (to speak of a much less noble sort of game) what a number of
devices are needed to bag a hare?[8] The creatures range for their
food at night; therefore the hunter must provide himself with night
dogs. At peep of dawn they are off as fast as they can run. He must
therefore have another pack of dogs to scent out and discover which
way they betake them from their grazing ground to their forms;[9] and
as they are so fleet of foot that they run and are out of sight in no
time, he must once again be provided with other fleet-footed dogs to
follow their tracks and overtake them;[10] and as some of them will
give even these the slip, he must, last of all, set up nets on the
paths at the points of escape, so that they may fall into the meshes
and be caught.

[8] See the author's own treatise on "Hunting," vi. 6 foll.

[9] Lit. "from pasture to bed."

[10] Or, "close at their heels and run them down." See "Hunting"; cf.
"Cyrop." I. vi. 40.

Theod. And by what like contrivance would you have me catch my lovers?

Soc. Well now! what if in place of a dog you can get a man who will
hunt up your wealthy lover of beauty and discover his lair, and having
found him, will plot and plan to throw him into your meshes?

Theod. Nay, what sort of meshes have I?

Soc. One you have, and a close-folding net it is,[11] I trow; to wit,
your own person; and inside it sits a soul that teaches you[12] with
what looks to please and with what words to cheer; how, too, with
smiles you are to welcome true devotion, but to exclude all wantons
from your presence.[13] It tells you, you are to visit your beloved in
sickness with solicitude, and when he has wrought some noble deed you
are greatly to rejoice with him; and to one who passionately cares for
you, you are to make surrender of yourself with heart and soul. The
secret of true love I am sure you know: not to love softly merely, but
devotedly.[14] And of this too I am sure: you can convince your lovers
of your fondness for them not by lip phrases, but by acts of love.

[11] Or, "right well woven."

[12] Lit. "by which you understand."

[13] Or, "with what smiles to lie in wait for (cf. 'Cyrop.' II. iv.
20; Herod. vi. 104) the devoted admirer, and how to banish from
your presence the voluptary."

[14] Or, "that it should be simply soft, but full of tender goodwill."

Theod. No, upon my word, I have none of these devices.

Soc. And yet it makes all the difference whether you approach a human
being in the natural and true way, since it is not by force certainly
that you can either catch or keep a friend. Kindness and pleasure are
the only means to capture this fearful wild-fowl man and keep him

Theod. You are right.

Soc. In the first place you must make such demands only of your well-
wisher as he can grant without repentance; and in the next place you
must make requital, dispensing your favours with a like economy. Thus
you will best make friends whose love shall last the longest and their
generosity know no stint.[15] And for your favours you will best win
your friends if you suit your largess to their penury; for, mark you,
the sweetest viands presented to a man before he wants them are apt to
prove insipid, or, to one already sated, even nauseous; but create
hunger, and even coarser stuff seems honey-sweet.

[15] Or, "This is the right road to friendship--permanent and open-
handed friendship."

Theod. How then shall I create this hunger in the heart of my friends?

Soc. In the first place you must not offer or make suggestion of your
dainties to jaded appetites until satiety has ceased and starvation
cries for alms. Even then shall you make but a faint suggestion to
their want, with modest converse--like one who would fain bestow a
kindness . . . and lo! the vision fades and she is gone--until the
very pinch of hunger; for the same gifts have then a value unknown
before the moment of supreme desire.

Then Theodote: Oh why, Socrates, why are you not by my side (like the
huntsman's assistant) to help me catch my friends and lovers?

Soc. That will I be in good sooth if only you can woo and win me.

Theod. How shall I woo and win you?

Soc. Seek and you will find means, if you truly need me.

Theod. Come then in hither and visit me often.

And Socrates, poking sly fun at his own lack of business occupation,
answered: Nay, Theodote, leisure is not a commodity in which I largely
deal. I have a hundred affairs of my own too, private or public, to
occupy me; and then there are my lady-loves, my dear friends, who will
not suffer me day or night to leave them, for ever studying to learn
love-charms and incantations at my lips.

Theod. Why, are you really versed in those things, Socrates?

Soc. Of course, or else how is it, do you suppose, that
Apollodorus[16] here and Antisthenes never leave me; or why have Cebes
and Simmias come all the way from Thebes to stay with me? Be assured
these things cannot happen without diverse love-charms and
incantations and magic wheels.

[16] For Apollodorus see "Apol." 28; Plat. "Symp." 172 A; "Phaed." 59
A, 117 D. For Antisthenes see above. For Cebes and Simmias see
above, I. ii. 48; Plat. "Crit." 45 B; "Phaed." passim.

Theod. I wish you would lend me your magic-wheel,[17] then, and I will
set it spinning first of all for you.

[17] Cf. Theocr. ii. 17; Schneider ad loc.

Soc. Ah! but I do not wish to be drawn to you. I wish you to come to

Theod. Then I will come. Only, will you be "at home" to me?

Soc. Yes, I will welcome you, unless some one still dearer holds me
engaged, and I must needs be "not at home."


Seeing one of those who were with him, a young man, but feeble of
body, named Epigenes,[1] he addressed him.

[1] Epigenes, possibly the son of Antiphon. See Plat. "Apol." 33 E;
"Phaed." 59 B.

Soc. You have not the athletic appearance of a youth in training,[2]

[2] {idiotikos}, lit. of the person untrained in gymnastics. See A. R.
Cluer ad loc. Cf. Plat. "Laws," 839 E; I. ii. 4; III. v. 15;
"Symp." ii. 17.

And he: That may well be, seeing I am an amateur and not in training.

Soc. As little of an amateur, I take it, as any one who ever entered
the lists of Olympia, unless you are prepared to make light of that
contest for life and death against the public foe which the Athenians
will institute when the day comes.[3] And yet they are not a few who,
owing to a bad habit of body, either perish outright in the perils of
war, or are ignobly saved. Many are they who for the self-same cause
are taken prisoners, and being taken must, if it so betide, endure the
pains of slavery for the rest of their days; or, after falling into
dolorous straits,[4] when they have paid to the uttermost farthing of
all, or may be more than the worth of all, that they possess, must
drag on a miserable existence in want of the barest necessaries until
death release them. Many also are they who gain an evil repute through
infirmity of body, being thought to play the coward. Can it be that
you despise these penalties affixed to an evil habit? Do you think you
could lightly endure them? Far lighter, I imagine, nay, pleasant even
by comparison, are the toils which he will undergo who duly cultivates
a healthy bodily condition. Or do you maintain that the evil habit is
healthier, and in general more useful than the good? Do you pour
contempt upon those blessings which flow from the healthy state? And
yet the very opposite of that which befalls the ill attends the sound
condition. Does not the very soundness imply at once health and
strength?[5] Many a man with no other talisman than this has passed
safely through the ordeal of war; stepping, not without dignity,[6]
through all its horrors unscathed. Many with no other support than
this have come to the rescue of friends, or stood forth as benefactors
of their fatherland; whereby they were thought worthy of gratitude,
and obtained a great renown and received as a recompense the highest
honours of the State; to whom is also reserved a happier and brighter
passage through what is left to them of life, and at their death they
leave to their children the legacy of a fairer starting-point in the
race of life.

[3] Or, "should chance betide." Is the author thinking of a life-and-
death struggle with Thebes?

[4] e.g. the prisoners in the Latomiae. Thuc. vii. 87.

[5] It is almost a proverb--"Sound of body and limb is hale and
strong." "Qui valet praevalebit."

[6] e.g. Socrates himself, according to Alcibiades, ap. Plat. "Symp."
221 B; and for the word {euskhemonos} see Arist. "Wasps," 1210,
"like a gentleman"; L. and S.; "Cyr." I. iii. 8; Aristot. "Eth.
N." i. 10, 13, "gracefully."

Because our city does not practise military training in public,[7]
that is no reason for neglecting it in private, but rather a reason
for making it a foremost care. For be you assured that there is no
contest of any sort, nor any transaction, in which you will be the
worse off for being well prepared in body; and in fact there is
nothing which men do for which the body is not a help. In every
demand, therefore, which can be laid upon the body it is much better
that it should be in the best condition; since, even where you might
imagine the claims upon the body to be slightest--in the act of
reasoning--who does not know the terrible stumbles which are made
through being out of health? It suffices to say that forgetfulness,
and despondency, and moroseness, and madness take occasion often of
ill-health to visit the intellectual faculties so severely as to expel
all knowledge[8] from the brain. But he who is in good bodily plight
has large security. He runs no risk of incurring any such catastrophe
through ill-health at any rate; he has the expectation rather that a
good habit must procure consequences the opposite to those of an evil
habit;[9] and surely to this end there is nothing a man in his senses
would not undergo. . . . It is a base thing for a man to wax old in
careless self-neglect before he has lifted up his eyes and seen what
manner of man he was made to be, in the full perfection of bodily
strength and beauty. But these glories are withheld from him who is
guilty of self-neglect, for they are not wont to blaze forth

[7] Cf. "Pol. Ath." i. 13; and above, III. v. 15.

[8] Or, "whole branches of knowledge" ({tas epistemas}).

[9] Or, "he may well hope to be insured by his good habit against the
evils attendant on its opposite."

[10] Or, "to present themselves spontaneously."


Once when some one was in a fury of indignation because he had bidden
a passer-by good-day and the salutation was not returned, Socrates
said: "It is enough to make one laugh! If you met a man in a wretched
condition of body, you would not fall into a rage; but because you
stumble upon a poor soul somewhat boorishly disposed, you feel

To the remark of another who complained that he did not take his foot
with pleasure, he said: "Acumenus[1] has a good prescription for
that." And when the other asked: "And what may that be?" "To stop
eating," he said. "On the score of pleasure, economy, and health,
total abstinence has much in its favour."[2]

[1] A well-known physician. See Plat. "Phaedr." 227 A, 269 A; "Symp."
176 B. A similar story is told of Dr. Abernethy, I think.

[2] Lit. "he would live a happier, thriftier, and healthier life, if
he stopped eating."

And when some one else lamented that "the drinking-water in his house
was hot," he replied: "Then when you want a warm bath you will not
have to wait."

The Other. But for bathing purposes it is cold.

Soc. Do you find that your domestics seem to mind drinking it or
washing in it?

The Other. Quite the reverse; it is a constant marvel to me how
contentedly they use it for either purpose.

Soc. Which is hotter to the taste--the water in your house or the hot
spring in the temple of Asclepius?[3]

[3] In the Hieron at Epidauros probably. See Baedeker, "Greece," p.
240 foll.

The Other. The water in the temple of Asclepius.

Soc. And which is colder for bathing--yours or the cold spring in the
cave of Amphiaraus?[4]

[4] Possibly at Oropos. Cf. Paus. i. 34. 3.

The Other. The water in the cave of Amphiaraus.

Soc. Then please to observe: if you do not take care, they will set
you down as harder to please than a domestic servant or an invalid.[5]

[5] i.e. "the least and the most fastidious of men."

A man had administered a severe whipping to the slave in attendance on
him, and when Socrates asked: "Why he was so wroth with his own
serving-man?" excused himself on the ground that "the fellow was a
lazy, gourmandising, good-for-nothing dolt--fonder of money than of
work." To which Socrates: "Did it ever strike you to consider which of
the two in that case the more deserves a whipping--the master or the

When some one was apprehending the journey to Olympia, "Why are you
afraid of the long distance?" he asked. "Here at home you spend nearly
all your day in taking walks.[6] Well, on your road to Olympia you
will take a walk and breakfast, and then you will take another walk
and dine, and go to bed. Do you not see, if you take and tack together
five or six days' length of walks, and stretch them out in one long
line, it will soon reach from Athens to Olympia? I would recommend
you, however, to set off a day too soon rather than a day too late. To
be forced to lengthen the day's journey beyond a reasonable amount may
well be a nuisance; but to take one day's journey beyond what is
necessary is pure relaxation. Make haste to start, I say, and not
while on the road."[7]

[6] {peripateis}, "promenading up and down."

[7] "Festina lente"--that is your motto.

When some one else remarked "he was utterly prostrated after a long
journey," Socrates asked him: "Had he had any baggage to carry?"

"Not I," replied the complainer; "only my cloak."

Soc. Were you travelling alone, or was your man-servant with you?

He. Yes, I had my man.

Soc. Empty-handed, or had he something to carry?

He. Of course; carrying my rugs and other baggage.

Soc. And how did he come off on the journey?

He. Better than I did myself, I take it.

Soc. Well, but now suppose you had had to carry his baggage, what
would your condition have been like?

He. Sorry enough, I can tell you; or rather, I could not have carried
it at all.

Soc. What a confession! Fancy being capable of so much less toil than
a poor slave boy! Does that sound like the perfection of athletic


On the occasion of a common dinner-party[1] where some of the company
would present themselves with a small, and others with a large supply
of viands, Socrates would bid the servants[2] throw the small supplies
into the general stock, or else to help each of the party to a share
all round. Thus the grand victuallers were ashamed in the one case not
to share in the common stock, and in the other not to throw in their
supplies also.[3] Accordingly in went the grand supplies into the
common stock. And now, being no better off than the small
contributors, they soon ceased to cater for expensive delicacies.

[1] For the type of entertainment see Becker, "Charicles," p. 315
(Eng. tr.)

[2] "The boy."

[3] Or, "were ashamed not to follow suit by sharing in the common
stock and contributing their own portion."

At a supper-party one member of the company, as Socrates chanced to
note, had put aside the plain fare and was devoting himself to certain
dainties.[4] A discussion was going on about names and definitions,
and the proper applications of terms to things.[5] Whereupon Socrates,
appealing to the company: "Can we explain why we call a man a 'dainty
fellow'? What is the particular action to which the term applies?[6]--
since every one adds some dainty to his food when he can get it.[7]
But we have not quite hit the definition yet, I think. Are we to be
called dainty eaters because we like our bread buttered?"[8]

[4] For the distinction between {sitos} and {opson} see Plat. "Rep."
372 C.

[5] Or, "The conversation had fallen upon names: what is the precise
thing denoted under such and such a term? Define the meaning of so
and so."

[6] {opsophagos} = {opson} (or relish) eater, and so a "gourmand" or
"epicure"; but how to define a gourmand?

[7] Lit. "takes some {opson} (relish) to his {sitos} (food)."

[8] Lit. "simply for that" (sc. the taking of some sort of {opson}.
For {epi touto} cf. Plat. "Soph." 218 C; "Parmen." 147 D.

No! hardly! (some member of the company replied).

Soc. Well, but now suppose a man confine himself to eating venison or
other dainty without any plain food at all, not as a matter of
training,[9] but for the pleasure of it: has such a man earned the
title? "The rest of the world would have a poor chance against
him,"[10] some one answered. "Or," interposed another, "what if the
dainty dishes he devours are out of all proportion to the rest of his
meal--what of him?"[11]

[9] Lit. "{opson} (relish) by itself, not for the sake of training,"
etc. The English reader wil bear in mind that a raw beefsteak or
other meat prescribed by the gymnastic trainer in preference to
farinaceous food ({sitos}) would be {opson}.

[10] Or, more lit. "Hardly any one could deserve the appellation

[11] Lit. "and what of the man who eats much {opson} on the top of a
little ({sitos})?" {epesthion} = follows up one course by another,
like the man in a fragment of Euripides, "Incert." 98: {kreasi
boeiois khlora suk' epesthien}, who "followed up his beefsteak
with a garnish of green figs."

Soc. He has established a very fair title at any rate to the
appellation, and when the rest of the world pray to heaven for a fine
harvest: "May our corn and oil increase!" he may reasonably ejaculate,
"May my fleshpots multiply!"

At this last sally the young man, feeling that the conversation set
somewhat in his direction, did not desist indeed from his savoury
viands, but helped himself generously to a piece of bread. Socrates
was all-observant, and added: Keep an eye on our friend yonder, you
others next him, and see fair play between the sop and the sauce.[12]

[12] Lit. "see whether he will make a relish of the staple or a staple
of the relish" ("butter his bread or bread his butter").

Another time, seeing one of the company using but one sop of bread[13]
to test several savoury dishes, he remarked: Could there be a more
extravagant style of cookery, or more murderous to the dainty dishes
themselves, than this wholesale method of taking so many dishes
together?--why, bless me, twenty different sorts of seasoning at one
swoop![14] First of all he mixes up actually more ingredients than the
cook himself prescribes, which is extravagant; and secondly, he has
the audacity to commingle what the chef holds incongruous, whereby if
the cooks are right in their method he is wrong in his, and
consequently the destroyer of their art. Now is it not ridiculous
first to procure the greatest virtuosi to cook for us, and then
without any claim to their skill to take and alter their procedure?
But there is a worse thing in store for the bold man who habituates
himself to eat a dozen dishes at once: when there are but few dishes
served, out of pure habit he will feel himself half starved, whilst
his neighbour, accustomed to send his sop down by help of a single
relish, will feast merrily, be the dishes never so few.

[13] {psomos}, a sop or morsel of bread (cf. {psomion}, N. T., in mod.
Greek = "bread").

[14] Huckleberry Finn (p. 2 of that young person's "Adventures")
propounds the rationale of the system: "In a barrel of odds and
ends it is different; things get mixed up, and the juice kind of
swaps around, and the things go better."

He had a saying that {euokheisthai}, to "make good cheer,"[15] was in
Attic parlance a synonym for "eating," and the affix {eu} (the
attributive "good") connoted the eating of such things as would not
trouble soul or body, and were not far to seek or hard to find. So
that to "make good cheer" in his vocabulary applied to a modest and
well-ordered style of living.[16]

[15] {euokheisthai}, cf. "Cyrop." IV. v. 7; "Pol. Ath." ii. 9; Kuhner
cf. Eustah. "ad Il." ii. p. 212, 37, {'Akhaioi ten trophen okhen
legousin oxutonos}. Athen. viii. 363 B. See "Hipparch," viii. 4,
of horses. Cf. Arist. "H. A." viii. 6.

[16] See "Symp." vi. 7; and for similar far-fetched etymologies, Plat.
"Crat." passim.



Such was Socrates; so helpful under all circumstances and in every way
that no observer, gifted with ordinary sensibility, could fail to
appreciate the fact, that to be with Socrates, and to spend long time
in his society (no matter where or what the circumstances), was indeed
a priceless gain. Even the recollection of him, when he was no longer
present, was felt as no small benefit by those who had grown
accustomed to be with him, and who accepted him. Nor indeed was he
less helpful to his acquaintance in his lighter than in his graver

Let us take as an example that saying of his, so often on his lips: "I
am in love with so and so"; and all the while it was obvious the
going-forth of his soul was not towards excellence of body in the
bloom of beauty, but rather towards faculties of the soul unfolding in
virtue.[1] And these "good natures" he detected by certain tokens: a
readiness to learn that to which the attention was directed; a power
of retaining in the memory the lessons learnt; and a passionate
predilection for those studies in particular which serve to good
administration of a house or of a state,[2] and in general to the
proper handling of man and human affairs. Such beings, he maintained,
needed only to be educated[3] to become not only happy themselves and
happy administrators of their private households, but to be capable of
rendering other human beings as states or individuals happy also.

[1] Or, "not excellence of body in respect of beauty, but of the soul
as regards virtue; and this good natural disposition might be
detected by the readiness of its possessor to learn," etc. Cf.
Plat. "Rep." 535 B.

[2] Cf. above, I. i. 7.

[3] Or, "A person of this type would, if educated, not only prove a
fortune-favoured invididual himself and," etc. Al. Kuhner, "Eos,
qui ita instituti sunt, ut tales sint."

He had indeed a different way of dealing with different kinds of
people.[4] Those who thought they had good natural ability and
despised learning he instructed that the most highly-gifted nature
stands most in need of training and education;[5] and he would point
out how in the case of horses it is just the spirited and fiery
thoroughbred which, if properly broken in as a colt, will develop into
a serviceable and superb animal, but if left unbroken will turn out
utterly intractable and good for nothing. Or take the case of dogs: a
puppy exhibiting that zest for toil and eagerness to attack wild
creatures which are the marks of high breeding,[6] will, if well
brought up, prove excellent for the chase or for any other useful
purpose; but neglect his education and he will turn out a stupid,
crazy brute, incapable of obeying the simplest command. It is just the
same with human beings; here also the youth of best natural endowments
--that is to say, possessing the most robust qualities of spirit and a
fixed determination to carry out whatever he has laid his hand to--
will, if trained and taught what it is right to do, prove a
superlatively good and useful man. He achieves, in fact, what is best
upon the grandest scale. But leave him in boorish ignorance untrained,
and he will prove not only very bad but very mischievous,[7] and for
this reason, that lacking the knowledge to discern what is right to
do, he will frequently lay his hand to villainous practices; whilst
the very magnificence and vehemence of his character render it
impossible either to rein him in or to turn him aside from his evil
courses. Hence in his case also his achievements are on the grandest
scale but of the worst.[8]

[4] Or, "His method of attack was not indeed uniformly the same. It
varied with the individual."

[5] Or, "If any one was disposed to look down upon learning and study
in reliance upon his own natural ability, he tried to lesson him
that it is just the highly-gifted nature which stands," etc. See
Newman, op. cit. i. 397.

[6] Cf. Aristot. "H. A." ix. 1; and "Hunting," iii. 11.

[7] Or, "and the same man may easily become a master villain of the
most dangerous sort."

[8] Kuhner ad loc. after Fr. Hermann cf. Plato. "Crito," 44 E; "Hipp.
min." 375 E; "Rep." vi. 491 E; "Gorg." 526 A; "Polit." 303 A.

Or to take the type of person so eaten up with the pride of riches
that he conceives himself dispensed from any further need of education
--since it is "money makes the man," and his wealth will amply suffice
him to carry out his desires and to win honours from admiring
humanity.[9] Socrates would bring such people to their senses by
pointing out the folly of supposing that without instruction it was
possible to draw the line of demarcation[10] between what is gainful
and what is hurtful in conduct; and the further folly of supposing

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