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Πλάτωνος Ἡ Ἑβδόμη Ἐπιστολὴ

The Seventh Letter By Plato

Translated by J. Harward


Τεθέντων 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.
Ταῦτα 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. 
[7.337e] Τὰ δὲ νῦν ὑμεῖς πειρᾶσθε εὐτυχέστερον αὐτὰ ἀγαθῇ πρᾶξαι μοίρᾳ καὶ θείᾳ τινὶ τύχῃ. Do you now, with good fortune attending you and with Heaven's help, try to bring your efforts to a happier issue.
Συμβουλὴ 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.
Ὁ μὲν 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 ἀμφότεροι. 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.
Διονύσιος 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. Dionysios said 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.
Γενομένης 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.
Δίων 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 invitation.
Ἐγὼ δὲ 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. But though 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. 
Ἔοικεν 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· (34) After 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.
οἳ δοκοῦσί 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 views.
ὁ δὲ 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.
ἤρεσκέν 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 of it.
Δίκαιος 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.
Ἔπεμψε 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·  Dionysios now 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.
οὗτοι 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.
Ἔπεμψεν δὲ ἐπιστολὴν πάνυ μακράν, εἰδὼς ὡς πρὸς Δίωνα διεκείμην καὶ τὴν αὖ Δίωνος προθυμίαν τοῦ ἐμὲ πλεῖν καὶ εἰς Συρακούσας ἐλθεῖν· 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.
πρὸς 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." The letter 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."
Ταῦθ᾽ 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.
Ἐπιστολαὶ 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. Other letters 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.
Ταύτης 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 βίου· (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.
Δεῖν 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.
Πορεύομαι 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· So blindfolding myself with this reflection, I set out, with many fears and with no very favourable anticipations, as was natural enough.
ἐσώθην 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 ἐμὲ πραγμάτων. However, I 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.
[7.340b] Ἐπειδὴ 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.
Ἔστιν 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.
Δεικνύναι δὴ δεῖ τοῖς τοιούτοις ὅτι ἔστι πᾶν τὸ πρᾶγμα οἷόν τε [7.340c] καὶ δι᾽ ὅσων πραγμάτων καὶ ὅσον πόνον ἔχει. One should 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.
Ὁ γὰρ 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.
Μετὰ 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. After this 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.
[7.340d] Ταύτῃ 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 μισῶν διατελεῖ. 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.
Οἱ δὲ 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.
Ἡ μὲν 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. 
Οὕτω δὴ καὶ Διονυσίῳ τότ᾽ ἐρρήθη τὰ ῥηθέντα. Thus it came about that I said to Dionysios what I did say on that occasion.
Πάντα μὲν οὖν οὔτ᾽ ἐγὼ διεξῆλθον οὔτε [7.341b] Διονύσιος ἐδεῖτο· (38) I did not, however, give a complete exposition, nor did Dionysios ask for one.
Πολλὰ 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.
Ὕστερον δὲ καὶ ἀκούω γεγραφέναι αὐτὸν περὶ ὧν τότε ἤκουσε, συνθέντα ὡς αὑτοῦ τέχνην, οὐδὲν τῶν αὐτῶν ὧν ἀκούοι· οἶδα δὲ οὐδὲν τούτων. 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; 
Ἄλλους 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.
Τοσόνδε 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-
τούτους οὐκ ἔστιν κατά γε τὴν ἐμὴν δόξαν περὶ τοῦ πράγματος ἐπαΐειν οὐδέν. -that according to my view it is not possible for them to have any real skill in the matter.
Οὔκουν ἐμόν γε περὶ αὐτῶν ἔστιν σύγγραμμα οὐδὲ μήποτε γένηται· There neither is nor ever will be a treatise of mine on the subject.
ῥητὸν 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 ἤδη τρέφει. 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.
Καίτοι 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 most pained.
Εἰ δέ 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?
Ἀλλ᾽ 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.
τῶν τε 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.
Ἔτι δὲ 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.
Ἔστι 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. 
Ἔστιν 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.
Περὶ 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.
Κύκλος 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.
Λόγος 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. The second 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 everywhere equal.
Τρίτον δὲ τὸ ζωγραφούμενόν τε καὶ ἐξαλειφόμενον καὶ τορνευόμενον καὶ ἀπολλύμενον· ὧν αὐτὸς ὁ κύκλος, ὃν πέρι πάντ᾽ ἐστὶν ταῦτα, οὐδὲν πάσχει, τούτων ὡς ἕτερον ὄν. Third, comes 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 from them. 
Τέταρτον 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. Fourth, comes 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 mentioned before. 
Τούτων 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.


Αρχή σελίδας
Μικρός Απόπλους
Ιανουάριος 2001