Plato’s Phaedo

Translated by Gwenda-lin Grewal
© 2006, 2018


{57a} ECHECRATES: You yourself, Phaedo, were you present with Socrates on that day on which he drank the poison [2] in the prison, or did you hear from someone else?
PHAEDO: I myself, Echecrates.
ECHECRATES: So then, what exactly is it the man said before his death? And how did he come to his end (teleutan)? I would hear with pleasure—for, in fact, hardly any of the Phliasian citizens frequents Athens nowadays, nor has some foreigner (xenos) come for a long time {b} from that place who would be able to report to us anything distinct about these things, except that he drank the poison and died; but he was able [3] to indicate none of the other things.
{58a} PHAEDO: Did you not even find out the things about the trial (dikē)—the way it went? [4]
ECHECRATES: Yes, someone reported these things to us, and we were indeed wondering how, although it (the trial) came to be long ago, he appears to have died much later. Why, then, was this, Phaedo?
PHAEDO: A certain bit of luck came to him, Echecrates. For the stern of the ship, which the Athenians send to Delos, happened to have been crowned on the day before the trial (dikē).
ECHECRATES: And what exactly is this?
PHAEDO: This is the ship, as Athenians say, in which Theseus once went to Crete leading those “fourteen,” {b} and both saved (sōzein) <them> and himself was saved (sōzein). So, at that time, they vowed to Apollo, so it’s said, that if he should save <them>, each year they would lead a mission (theōriā) to Delos, which, indeed, always from that time, and now still, they send yearly to the god. Accordingly, whenever they begin the mission (theōriā), it is law (nomos) for them during this time to purify the city (polis) and for no one belonging to the city (polis) to be put to death until the ship arrives at Delos and comes back here; but this sometimes takes a lot of time, when the winds {c} happen to seize them. And the beginning of the mission (theōriā) is whenever the priest of Apollo crowns the stern of the ship; and this happened, just as I’m saying, on the day before the trial (dikē) occurred. [5] And, on account of these things, much time passed [6] for Socrates in the prison between the trial (dikē) and his death.
ECHECRATES: But what, then, are the things about the death itself, Phaedo? What were the things said and done, and who of those close [7] to the man were present? Or did the authorities not allow them to be present, but instead he came to his end (teleutan) bereft of friends (philoi)?
{d} PHAEDO: In no way, but some were present—indeed, many.
ECHECRATES: Be eager (prothumeisthai), then, to report these things to us as distinctly as possible, unless you happen to lack some leisure.
PHAEDO: But I do indeed have leisure and I shall try to go through them for you all. [8] For, in fact, remembering (memnēsthai) Socrates, both when I myself speak and also when I hear another, is for me at least always most pleasant of all.
ECHECRATES: Well really, Phaedo, you have those who are listening as others of this sort, too. So, try, insofar as you are able, to go through everything most precisely.
{e} PHAEDO: And really, I underwent (paskhein) wondrous things, being beside <him>. For not even that he might die while I was present moved me to pity for one close to me. The man appeared happy (eudaimōn), Echecrates, both in manner and in speeches, [9] so dreadlessly and nobly did he come to his end (teleutan), so that he occurred [10] to me as one who would not even go to Hades without a divine portion (moira), but also that, after arriving in that place, {59a} he would fare well, if indeed anyone else ever yet would. On account of just these things, nothing quite moved me to pity, as would seem likely in the presence of grief (penthos), nor again to pleasure, inasmuch as we were in philosophy, just as we had been accustomed to be—for, in fact, the speeches, too, were some of this sort—but rather, artlessly some absurd [11] feeling was present for me and some unusual mix from the pleasure and the pain having been mixed together, the moment at which I took to heart (enthumeisthai) that that <man> was going to come his end (teleutan). And, all of us who were present were disposed in nearly this way—at one moment laughing, at another crying—and one of us noticeably, Apollodorus—for you all know, I suppose (pou), [12] {b} the man and his manner.
ECHECRATES: For how not?
PHAEDO: Well now, that one was altogether in every way in this condition, [13] and I myself was troubled, and so were the rest.
ECHECRATES: But who happened to be present, Phaedo?
PHAEDO: Of the locals, this Apollodorus, of course, was present, and Critobulus and his father, and further, Hermogenes and Epigenes and Aeschines, and Antisthenes; and there was Ctesippus the Paeanian, Menexenus, and some others from among the locals. But Plato, I believe, was ill.
ECHECRATES: And were any strangers (xenoi) present?
{c} PHAEDO: Yes, Simmias the Theban at least, and Cebes and Phaedondes, and from Megara, both Euclides and Terpsion.
ECHECRATES: What? Weren’t Aristippus and Cleombrotus present?
PHAEDO: Surely not, for they were said to be in Aegina.
ECHECRATES: And was anyone else present?
PHAEDO: I believe these were nearly all the ones present.
ECHECRATES: Well, what then? What do you say the speeches were?
PHAEDO: I’ll attempt to go through everything for you from the beginning. {d} Indeed, always on the days before, we had been accustomed—both I and the others—to go back and forth to Socrates. We gathered at dawn at the court (dikastērion) in which the trial (dikē) also occurred, since it was near the prison. Then, we used to wait around on each occasion until the prison was opened, passing the time [14] with one another, for it did not open early. But right when it was opened, we used to go in to Socrates and spend much of the day with him.
And at that time in particular we had gathered early in the morning. For, on the day before, {e} when we went out of the prison in the evening, we found out that the ship from Delos had arrived. So, we gave word to one another to come as early in the morning as possible to the customary spot. And when we had come, the gatekeeper—the very one who was accustomed to receive us— came out to us, and said to wait around before going in, until he himself bid.
“For the Eleven [15] are releasing Socrates,” he said, “and they are giving the word that on this day he will meet his end (teleutan).”
But we didn’t wait much time, and he came and bid us to go in. {60a} Then, as we went in, we caught [16] Socrates just now being released, and Xanthippe—you know her—holding his son and sitting beside <him>. And as Xanthippe saw us, she cried aloud and said certain things of just the sort which women are accustomed to say—that, “Socrates, now is the very last <time> those close to you will address you and you them.” And Socrates, looking at Crito, said, “Crito, have someone take her home.” And she was led away by some of Crito’s people, wailing {b} and beating her breast.
Socrates, on the other hand, sitting up on the couch, bent his leg and rubbed [17] it hard with his hand, and while rubbing, [18] said, “How absurd, men, this thing seems to be which human beings call ‘pleasant’! How wondrously it is by nature related to the thing which seems contrary, the painful, [19] a pair itself [20] which does not wish to come to be present simultaneously for a human being, and, if someone should pursue the one and seize it, [21] it is almost always necessary to seize the other too, just as if the pair were fastened [22] from one head, {c} though they are two.”
“And it seems to me,” he said, “if Aesop had them in mind (ennoein), he would compose a story (muthos) that the god wanted to reconcile them in their war, and when he was not able, he fastened together their heads to the self-same point, [23] and on account of these things, in the one in which the one is present, the other also follows behind. So too, just as it seemed to me myself; when from the bond there was the painful [24] in my leg, so the pleasant appears to come following after.”
Then Cebes interrupted, [25] “By Zeus, Socrates,” he said, “you did well to remind me (anamimnēskein)! For, let me tell you, some others, too, were already asking me about the poems {d} that you made by stretching into <meter> the speeches of Aesop and the proem to Apollo. But Evenus, too, was asking lately, what ever were you thinking (dianoeisthai), when you came here and made them, though you had made nothing ever yet before. If, then, something in you cares about having me answer Evenus whenever he asks me again—and I know well that he will ask—tell me what I should say.”
“Well now, Cebes, speak to him truly (alēthē),” he said, “that I made these things not wanting to be a rival to him or his poems—{e} for I knew that wouldn’t be easy—but to make a trial of what some dreams mean, [26] and to expiate myself if perhaps many times they should enjoin me to make [27] this music. For there were some of the following sort: often the same dream frequented me in my passing life, at different times appearing in a different aspect, but saying the same things, ‘Socrates,’ it said, ‘make music and work.’
And, during the previous time at least, I was doing [28] this very thing, and I assumed [29] it was encouraging me {61a} and urging me, just as the ones who cheer on runners, and so, in my view I was doing the very thing that the dream urged, making music, since philosophy is the greatest music, and this I was doing. But now, just after the trial (dikē) occurred and the festival of the god prevented me from being put to death, it seemed necessary, if perhaps the dream might assign it to me to make this demotic (dēmōdē) music many times, not to be disobedient to it, but to make it; for it seemed to be safer not {b} to go away before I expiated myself, in making poems and being persuaded by the dream. So, then, first I made one to the god for whom the sacrifice was present. And after the god, I had in mind (ennoein) that a poet ought, if he were really going to be a poet, not to make speeches (logoi) but stories (muthoi). And I myself am not a storyteller (muthologikos). Because of these things then, from those stories (muthoi) I had at hand and knew, namely the ones of Aesop, I made <into verse> the first ones I happened upon. So, indicate these to Evenus, Cebes, and to keep well and, if he is moderate (sōphronein), to pursue me as quickly as possible. I, on the other hand, so it seems, am going away {c} today, for the Athenians bid it.”
And Simmias said, “Toward such a thing as this, Socrates, you are encouraging Evenus? Now, I’ve already happened upon the man often; and from what I’ve perceived he will barely—no, not even in any way whatsoever—be willing to be persuaded by you.”
“What?” said he, “Is Evenus not a philosopher?”
“He seems so to me at least,” said Simmias.
“Then, he will be willing—both Evenus and every man who is worthy of having a share of this affair. [30] Perhaps, [31] however, he will not do violence (biazesthai) to himself, for they say it is not lawful (themiton).” And, as he said these things, he placed {d} his legs down onto the ground, and conversed for the remaining time seated now in this way.
Cebes then asked him: “How do you mean this, Socrates, that it is not lawful (themiton) to do violence to oneself (biazesthai), but the philosopher wishes to follow the one dying?”
“What, Cebes? Have you and Simmias, who have been associating with Philolaus, not heard about such things?”
“Nothing certain at least, Socrates.”
“Well really, I, too, am speaking from hearing about them. So then, I have no reluctance to speak what I happen to have heard. For in fact, perhaps {e} it is most fitting for one who is going to go away to ‘that place’ to both examine thoroughly and tell stories (muthologein) about going abroad (apodēmia) there, namely, what sort we suppose it to be. For what else could one do in the time until sunset?”
“Well then, with respect to what do they ever say it is not lawful (themiton) for one to kill oneself, Socrates? Because I already heard from Philolaus, when he lived with us, the very thing you were asking just now, and already from some others too, how one ought not to do [32] this. But I have never yet heard anyone say anything certain about it.”
{62a} “But it is necessary to be eager (prothumeisthai),” he said, “since you may soon hear. Perhaps, however, it appears wondrous to you if only this out of altogether everything else is simple, and it never happens for a human being, just as with respect to other things, that it is better at times and for some to be dead [33] than to live, but for the ones for whom it is better to be dead, perhaps it appears wondrous to you if, for these human beings, it is not holy for them to do [34] themselves good, but they ought to wait around for another benefactor.”
And smiling, Cebes said softly, “Let Zeus know it,” speaking in his own dialect.
{b} “For in fact, it would seem,” said Socrates, “in this way at least to be irrational (alogon). However, perhaps it has some sense (logos). Now then, the speech (logos) that is said in the mysteries about them appears to me something great and not easy to see through, namely that we human beings are in some garrison and one really ought not release oneself from this or run away. But, to be sure, this seems to me at least to be said well, Cebes—that the gods are the ones who take care of us and we human beings are one of the possessions of the gods. Or doesn’t it seem so to you?”
“It seems to me at least,” said [35] Cebes.
{c} “Then,” said he, “if any of your possessions should kill itself, though you are not signaling (sēmainein) that you want it to die, wouldn’t you be angry with it, too, and, if you had some punishment (timōria), wouldn’t you punish it (timōreisthai)?”
“Totally,” he said.
“Perhaps, moreover, in this way it is not irrational (alogon) that one ought not to kill oneself before a god has sent some necessity, just as the <necessity> is present now for us, too.”
“Well, this appears likely at least,” Cebes said. “However, what you were just now saying, Socrates, that philosophers readily wish {d} to die, this seems like an absurdity, if indeed what we were just now saying holds sensibly (eulogōs), that a god is the one taking care of us and we are his possessions. For it doesn’t make [36] sense (logos) that the most thoughtful (phroniōtatoi) wouldn’t be vexed at going away from this service, in which the very best (aristoi) overseers, that is, gods, oversee them while they exist. For I don’t suppose (pou) at least that he himself believes he can take better care of himself when he comes to be free. But a mindless (anoētos) human being would quickly believe these things, {e} that one must flee to be away from the master, and he would not calculate that one ought not to flee—at least from the good (agathos) <master>—but rather, that one should stay around that one most of all, for which reason one would be fleeing irrationally (alogistōs). But one who has a mind (nous) should desire (epithumein), I suppose (pou), always to be near his superior. Although, Socrates, the contrary is thus likelier than what was just now being said, for it is fitting for the ones who are thoughtful (phronimoi) to feel vexed at dying, while for the others who are thoughtless (aphrones) to rejoice.”
After he heard this, then, it seemed to me Socrates took pleasure {63a} in the prosecution [37] of Cebes, and, looking attentively at us, he said, “Let me tell you, Cebes always investigates any speeches, and not at all immediately is he willing to be persuaded about whatever anyone says.”
And Simmias said, “But really, Socrates, now Cebes seems even to me myself to say something. For wanting what would wise (sophoi) men flee masters who are so truly (hōs alēthōs) better than they are and readily be released from them? And it seems to me Cebes aimed [38] the speech at you, because you so readily bear leaving behind both us and good (agathoi) rulers, as you yourself agree, gods are.”
{b} “You speak justly (dikaia),” he said. “For I imagine you all are saying that I must defend myself before these things just as in a court (dikastērion).”
“By all means,” said Simmias.
“Come then,” said he, “let me attempt to be more persuasive in defending myself before you all than I was before the judges (dikastai). For,” he said, “Simmias and Cebes, if I did not believe I that am going to go first to other gods who are wise (sophoi) and good (agathoi), and thereafter to human beings who have come to an end (teleutan) who are better than the ones here, I would be unjust (adikein) if I were not vexed with death. But now, know well that {c} with good (agathoi) men I hope to arrive—and this, on the one hand, I can’t quite rely on—but that, however, I will have altogether good (agathoi) masters from the side of the gods, know well that, if indeed I were to rely upon anything else among such things, it would be this. Consequently, on account of these things, I’m not similarly vexed, but I’m hopeful something exists for the ones who have come to an end (teleutan), too, just as indeed has been said for a long time—something much better for the good (agathoi) than for the bad (kakoi).”
“So, what then, Socrates?” said Simmias. “Do you yourself have in mind (ennoein) to go away, while having this thought (dianoia), or would you also give us a share? {d} It certainly seems to me at least common property, and that this is good (agathon) for us, too. And, at the same time it will be an apology for you, if you should persuade us of the very things you speak.”
“I shall try,” he said. “But first let’s examine what this thing is that Crito seems to me to have wanted to say for a long time.”
“What else, Socrates,” said Crito, “than what for a long time the one who is to give you the poison keeps telling me, that it should be indicated to you to converse as little as possible? He says that those conversing get more heated, and one ought to endure no such thing in addition to {e} the poison, otherwise sometimes the ones who do [39] such a thing are compelled to drink <it> twice or even thrice.”
And Socrates said, “Let him dismiss it, [40] only have him be prepared to give it twice and, if need be, thrice.”
“Well I nearly knew,” said Crito, “but he’s been giving me trouble [41] for a long time.”
“Let him be,” he said. “But now I want to return the speech to you, the judges (dikastai), since it appears to me likely that a man, as it is, [42] who has spent [43] his life in philosophy, is bold when he is going {64a} to die [44] and is of high hopes that in that place he will bear the greatest goods (agatha) whenever he should meet his end (teleutan). How, then, this would hold in this way, Simmias and Cebes, I shall try to indicate.
For as many as happen rightly to grasp [45] philosophy run the risk of escaping the notice of the rest, in regard to the fact that they themselves practice nothing other than dying and being dead. [46] If, then, this is true (alēthēs), it would surely be absurd to be eager (prothumeisthai) in all life for nothing other than this, and then, after it has come, to be vexed at what for a long time they were eager for (prothumeisthai) and were practicing.”
And laughing, Simmias said, “By Zeus, Socrates, {b} though I was not at all laughing just now, you have made me laugh. For I expect that the many, having heard this very thing, would be of the opinion [47] that it’s said quite well of those philosophizing—and the fellows [48] next to us would completely concur—that, as it is, the ones who philosophize deserve to die, and, indeed, it hasn’t escaped their notice that they are worthy of undergoing (paskhein) this thing.”
“And they would be speaking truly (alēthē), Simmias, except at least for it not escaping their notice. For that by which the ones who are in the true way (hōs alēthōs) philosophers deserve to die and are worthy of death and of what sort of death has escaped their notice. {c} But let’s talk amongst ourselves,” he said, “saying goodbye [49] those ones. Do we consider death to be something?”
“Totally,” said Simmias, answering. [50]
“Could it be something other than the releasing of the soul (psukhē) from the body? And this is being dead [51] —that the body has come to be separate, itself by itself, released from the soul (psukhē), while the soul, released from the body, is separate herself by herself? Could death be something other than this?”
“No, but it’s this,” he said.
“Examine then, my good <man> (agathos), whether, therefore, the very things seem to you too as seem to me. {d} For I imagine that we will know more from the following about what we’re examining. Does it appear to you to belong to a man who is a philosopher to be earnest about such so-called ‘pleasures’ as, for example, food and drink?”
“Least of all indeed, Socrates,” said Simmias.
“But what about the pleasures of sex?”
“No way.”
“But what about the other cares that concern the body? Does such a person seem to you to consider these honorable (entimos)? For example, going through cloaks and possessions and sandals and the other beautifications that concern the body, does he seem to you to honor (timan) <them> or dishonor (atimazein) <them>, {e} except insofar there is a lot of necessity to have a share of them?”
“He seems to me to dishonor (atimazein) them,” he said, “at least the one who is in the true way (hōs alēthōs) a philosopher.”
“Doesn’t it then wholly seem to you,” he said, “that the business [52] of such a person is not about the body, but, insofar as is he is able, to stand away from it, and to turn toward the soul (psukhē)?”
“To me at least.”
“So, first among such things, on the one hand, it is clear [53] that the philosopher above all other human beings, {65a} most of all lets the soul (psukhē) go from its communion with the body?”
“It appears.”
“And it seems, I suppose (pou), Simmias, to the many human beings, that living is not worth it [54] for the one for whom no such things are pleasant or who doesn’t even have a share of them. But rather, the one who is thoughtful (phrontizein) about none of the pleasures which exist via the body is pretty nearly stretched out toward being dead.”
“Now then, what you’re saying is quite true (alēthēs).”
“But what about the possession itself of thoughtfulness (phronēsis)? Is the body an impediment or not, if someone takes it along as a companion in the search? {b} For example, I mean the following: do both sight and hearing have some truth (alētheia) for the human beings, or are these the sort of things the poets, too, are always babbling about to us, that neither do we hear nor see anything precise? Although, if these very ones of the senses which concern the body are not in any way precise or distinct, the rest hardly are, since all of these, I suppose (pou), are rather meager. [55] Or don’t they seem so to you?”
“By all means,” he said.
“How ever, then,” said he, “does the soul (psukhē) grasp the truth (alētheia)? Since whenever, on the one hand, she attempts [56] to examine something with the body, it is clear that at that time she gets deceived by it.”
{c} “You speak truly (alēthē).”
“So, isn’t it in calculating, if indeed anywhere else, that something of the beings [57] becomes quite clear to her?”
“She calculates at that time, I suppose (pou), most beautifully, whenever none of these things is present that pains her, neither hearing nor sight nor pain nor some pleasure, but whenever, as much as possible she comes to be herself by herself, dismissing the body, [58] and to the extent that she can, not communing with it or even grasping it, she reaches out [59] for the being.” [60]
“These things are so.”
“Here too, doesn’t then the soul (psukhē) of the philosopher most of all {d} dishonor (atimazein) the body and flee from it, while she seeks to come to be herself by herself?”
“It appears.”
“But what about the following, Simmias? Do we claim that something is just (dikaion) itself or nothing?”
“Of course, we claim it, by Zeus.”
“And, further, that something is beautiful and something good (agathon)?”
“But, how not?”
“Now, then, have you ever yet seen with your eyes any of these sorts of things?”
“No way,” said he.
“But did you latch onto [61] them with a different sense than the ones via the body? And I am speaking about all things such as length, health, strength, and in a single speech, altogether all the rest—{e} about the ousia [62] which each happens to be. Is the truest (alēthestatos) of them beheld (theōreisthai) through the body? Or is it thus [63] —the one who most of all of us and most precisely should prepare each thing itself about which he examines for thinking through (dianoeisthai), this man would go nearest to recognizing each?”
“By all means.”
“Then wouldn’t that one do [64] this most purely, whoever as much as possible would go to each thing with thought (dianoia) itself, neither putting some sight in thinking (dianoeisthai) {66a} nor dragging any single other sense with the calculation, but using unadulterated thought (dianoia) itself by itself, he would attempt to hunt each of the beings unadulterated itself by itself, released as much as possible from eyes and ears and, to say it in a word (epos), [65] the entire body, because it stirs up trouble and does not allow the soul (psukhē) to obtain both truth (alētheia) and thoughtfulness (phronēsis), whenever it may commune with it? Isn’t it this guy, Simmias, if indeed anyone else, who will happen upon the being (what is)?” [66]
“Extraordinarily,” [67] Simmias said, “how truly you speak (alēthē), Socrates.”
{b} “Is there not a necessity then,” he said, “for the ones who are legitimately philosophers out of all of these to stand by some such opinion, so that to one another, too, they would say something such as this, that, ‘Let me tell you, there is probably [68] some shortcut that brings out the sense (logos) of the investigation, that, while we have the body and our soul (psukhē) has been kneaded together with such an evil (kakon), we will never possess sufficiently what we desire (epithumeisthai); and we claim this is the truth (alēthes). For countless times the body produces a lack of leisure in us because of {c} the necessity of nourishment. And still, if certain diseases befall it, they would thwart our hunt for the being (what is). And it fills us quite full of erotic loves and desires (epithumiai) and fears and all sorts of phantom-images and a lot of nonsense, so that, as the saying goes, how truly (alēthōs), in reality, [69] under the influence of it, it is not possible [70] for us to be thoughtful (phronein) in any way whatsoever. For in fact, nothing other than the body and its desires (epithumiai) produces wars and factions and battles. Since, because of the possession of money, [71] all wars come to be. But we are compelled to obtain money {d} because of the body, being enslaved to its service; and from this, because of all these things, we lack of leisure about philosophy.
But worst of all is that, if some leisure should come to be for us from it and we should turn toward examining something, it produces a confusion and disorder during our searches, which befalls us in every place and strikes out at us, so that we cannot look at the true (alēthēs) under its influence. But, as it is, it has been demonstrated to us that, if we are going to ever exist in some way purely, we must be released from it and behold (theōrein) {e} with the soul (psukhē) herself the things [72] themselves. And, at that moment, so it seems, there will be for us what we both desire (epithumeisthai) and claim to be lovers of, namely, thoughtfulness (phronēsis), whenever we should come to an end (teleutan), as the speech signals (sēmainein), but not while living. For if we are not able to recognize anything purely with the body, one of two things follows: either there is nowhere to obtain knowing, or it is <only> for the ones who come to an end (teleutan)—at that moment, the soul (psukhē) herself {67a} by herself will be separate from the body, but not before. And so, while we live, so it seems, we will be nearest to knowing, if as much as possible we are not in any way in company with the body or commune with it, unless it is an absolute necessity, nor fill ourselves full of its nature, but are purified from it, until the god himself lets us go. And so, in this way, we are pure, released from the thoughtlessness (aphrosunē) of the body, so it is likely we will be with such ones and recognize through ourselves {b} everything unadulterated, and this is perhaps the truth (alēthēs); for it is not lawful (themiton) for not pure to touch [73] pure.’
Such things I suppose, Simmias, all the ones who rightly love learning necessarily say to one another and think. [74] Or doesn’t it seem so to you?”
“More than anything, Socrates.”
“If then,” said Socrates, “these things are true (alēthē), comrade, I carry much hope for the one who has arrived there that, if indeed anywhere else, in that place he would sufficiently obtain that for the sake of which there has come to be a lot of trouble [75] for us in the past life, so that the {c} going abroad (apodēmia), which is now assigned to me, comes to be with good (agathos) hope, and for any other man who considers his thought (dianoia) prepared, as if purified.”
“By all means,” said Simmias.
“But doesn’t purification happen to be this, the very thing which long ago was said in the speech, namely, separating the soul (psukhē) as much as possible from the body and accustoming her to collect and gather herself by herself in all places out of the body, and also to dwell (oikein) insofar as it is possible in the present time and in the time {d} thereafter alone by herself, being let out of the body as if out of bonds?”
“By all means,” he said.
“Isn’t, then, this named, ‘death,’ releasing and separating soul from body?”
“In altogether every way,” said he.
“But only those who rightly philosophize are always eager (prothumeisthai) most of all to release her, so we claim, and the training of the philosophers is this itself, releasing and separating soul (psukhē) from body; or not?”
“It appears.”
“Wouldn’t, then, the very thing which I was saying in the beginning be laughable—for a man {e} preparing himself in his life to live in this way, being as near as possible to being dead, and thereafter, when <death> has come to him, to be vexed at this?”
“Yes, laughable—how not?”
“As it is, therefore, Simmias,” he said, “those who rightly philosophize are training to die, and being dead is fearful to them least of all of human beings. But examine it from the following: if they’ve been set at odds with the body in every place, but they desire (epithumein) to have the soul (psukhē) herself by herself, but after this comes to be, if they are afraid and are vexed, wouldn’t it be very irrational (alogia), if {68a} they were not to go to that place pleased, where there is a hope for the those who have arrived to hit upon what they were in love with throughout life—and they were in love with thoughtfulness (phronēsis)—released from the company of this with which they had been set at odds? Or, as to their human beloveds, on the one hand, both women and sons who have died, surely many are willing to go to Hades with them, being led by the hope of this, of both seeing and being with in that place the ones whom they were desiring (epithumein). But, as it is, will anyone who is in love with thoughtfulness (phronēsis), and who has seized to an extreme degree this same hope, when he will hit upon it in no other place in a way worthy of speech than in {b} Hades, be vexed and not pleased to go to that very place? It is necessary to suppose it at least, comrade, if at least he is, in reality, [76] a philosopher. Since these things will seem so to him in the extreme—nowhere else except in that place will he hit upon thoughtfulness (phronēsis) purely. And if this is so, [77] namely the very thing which I was presently saying, wouldn’t there be a lot of irrationality (alogia) if he is afraid of such a death?”
“Lots, certainly, by Zeus,” said he.
“Is this not then sufficient evidence for you,” he said, “of a man, whomever you may see being vexed that he is going to die, that not, therefore, was he {c} a philosopher but some lover of body? And this same person, I suppose (pou), happens to also be a lover of money and a lover of honor (philotimos), surely either one of these or both.”
“Entirely,” he said, “it is as you say.” [78]
“So, Simmias,” he said, “doesn’t also what is named ‘courage’ especially befit the ones who have been so disposed?”
“Surely in every way,” he said.
“Then, moderation (sōphrosunē) too, which even the many name, ‘moderation (sōphrosunē),’ not being aflutter about the desires (epithumiai) but making little of them and having an orderly (kosmiōs) condition, doesn’t it befit these alone, the ones who most of all make little of the body and live in philosophy?”
{d} “A necessity,” he said.
“For if you wish,” said he, “to have in mind (ennoein) both courage and moderation (sōphrosunē) for the others, it will seem to you to be absurd.”
“How exactly, Socrates?”
“You know,” said he, “that all the others consider death among the great evils (kaka)?”
“Very much,” he said.
“Don’t the courageous, then, whenever they await death, await it with a fear of greater evils (kaka)?”
“That’s so.”
“Everyone except the philosophers is therefore courageous by having feared and by fear. Yet it is indeed irrational (alogon) for someone to be courageous by fear and by cowardice.”
{e} “By all means.”
“But what about the orderly (kosmioi) among them? Have they not undergone (paskhein) this same thing? By some overindulgence they are moderate (sōphronein)? Although we claim that it is impossible, nevertheless, [79] the experience (pathos) that concerns this simple-minded moderation (sōphrosunē) turns out for them to be similar to this. For the ones who are afraid of being robbed of other pleasures, even while desiring them, keep away from some while being mastered by others. Although they call {69a} overindulgence being ruled by the pleasures, nevertheless it turns out for those who are mastered by pleasures that they master other pleasures. And this is similar to what was just now being said, that in some manner they have been moderate (sōphronein) because of overindulgence.”
“Yes, seems likely.”
“Blessed (makarios) Simmias, this may not be the right exchange for virtue (aretē), to exchange pleasures for pleasures and pains for pains and fear for fear, and greater for less, as if they were coins. But maybe that alone is the right coin, thoughtfulness (phronêsis), in place of which one ought to exchange all these things. {b} And for this and with this all things may be, in reality, [80] both bought and sold, and maybe courage and moderation (sōphrosunē) and justice (dikaiosunē) and, in sum, true (alēthēs) virtue (aretē), are whole <only> with thoughtfulness (phronêsis), though pleasures and fears and all the rest of such things come forth and depart. But, when they are separated from thoughtfulness and exchanged one for another, maybe such virtue (aretē) is some shadow-painting and, in reality, slavish and nothing healthy, and doesn’t even hold true (alēthēs), but, {c} in reality, maybe it is some purifying from all such things, and moderation (sōphrosunē) and justice (dikaiosunē) and courage, and thoughtfulness (phronēsis) itself are some purification.
And those who set down the initiation rites for us are probably not any low [81] sort, but, in reality, they have long been riddling (ainittesthai) that the one who would arrive in Hades uninitiated and incomplete (atelestos) will lie in mud, but the one who arrives in that place purified and initiated will dwell (oikein) with gods. For indeed, there are, so they claim in the initiation rites (teletai), {d} ‘Many wand-bearers, few Bacchae.’ But these are in my opinion no different from the ones who have philosophized rightly, among whom I am, too, because, insofar as in my power, I have left nothing behind in my life, but in every manner I have been eager (prothumeisthai) to come to be <among them>. And if I’ve been rightly eager (prothumeisthai) and we have accomplished something, when we have come to that place we will know for certain, if god is willing—a little later, so it seems for me.
These things then,” he said, “Simmias and Cebes, I say in defense, how in all likelihood I’m leaving you all behind and the masters here, {e} and I don’t bear it with difficulty nor am I vexed, since I believe in that place, too, no less than here, I will happen upon good (agathoi) masters and comrades. [82] If, then, I am in some way more persuasive to you all in my defense than to the Athenian judges (dikastai), it would hold well.”
As soon as Socrates said these things, Cebes interrupted, and said, “Socrates, the other things seem to me at least beautifully said, {70a} but the things about the soul (psukhē) produce much distrust in human beings, that, whenever she has been released from the body, she may no longer be anywhere, but is destroyed and perishes on that day on which the human being dies, straightway released [83] from the body, and stepping out of it, just like breath or smoke she is thoroughly scattered, and she is gone, having flown off, and is in no way any longer anywhere. After that, if indeed she might be somewhere (pou) herself by herself gathered together and released from these evils (kaka) which you just now went through, {b} there would be a lot of hope, and beautiful<hope>, Socrates, that the things you say are true (alēthē). But perhaps this is in need of no little consolation (paramuthia) and trust—that the soul (psukhē) exists after the human being is dead and keeps some power and thoughtfulness (phronēsis).”
“You speak truly (alēthē), Cebes,” said Socrates. “But what should we do? [84] Or do you want us to tell a more thorough story (diamuthologein) about these themselves, whether they are likely to hold in this way or not?”
“I, at any rate,” said Cebes, “would hear with pleasure whatever opinion you hold about them.”
“I don’t suppose then,” said Socrates, “someone would say, hearing now—{c} not even if he were a comic poet—that I talk idly and do not make speeches about what is appropriate. So, if it seems <good>, we must make a thorough examination.
Let’s consider it in this particular way: whether, therefore, the souls (psukhai) of human beings who have come to an end (teleutan) are in Hades or not. Now then, long ago there is some speech we do not remember (mimnēskesthai), that they have arrived in that place from here, and they come back here and come to be (are born) from the ones who’ve died, and if this is so, [85] that the living keep coming back from the ones who’ve died, {d} could our souls (psukhai) be anywhere other than in that place? [86] For they wouldn’t, I suppose (pou), come back again, after not existing; and this is sufficient evidence that these things are, if, as it is, it should become apparent that the living come to be from nowhere else than the ones who’ve died. But, if this is not <apparent>, there would be need of some other speech.”
“By all means,” Cebes said.
“Moreover, don’t examine this only on the level of human beings,” said he, “if you want to learn it more readily, but also on the level of all living animals and plants, and, in sum, let’s look at as many things as have a genesis {e} in order to see whether in just this way all things come to be, the contrary things from nowhere else than from the contraries, for as many as some such <contrariety> happens to exist. For example, the beautiful <happens to be> contrary to the ugly, [87] I suppose (pou), and just (dikaion) to unjust (adikon), and of course, countless other things hold in this way. So, let’s consider this, whether it is necessary, for as many as there exists something contrary, from nowhere else does it come to be than from the contrary to it. [88] For example, whenever something bigger comes to be, it is a necessity, I suppose (pou), that it comes to be from what is smaller before, thereafter bigger?” [89]
“Then, if a smaller thing comes to be too, from what is bigger before, {71a} it will come to be smaller later?”
“It is so,” he said.
“And surely, from stronger at least, the weaker, and from slower, the quicker?”
“But what about this? If something comes to be worse, does it not do so from better, and if more just (dikaioteron), from more unjust (adikōteron)?”
“Well, how not?”
“Do we have this sufficiently then,” he said, “that all things come to be in this way—the contrary things [90] from contraries?”
“But what more? Is there something such as this in them too: for example, in between both sides of all contraries, since as a pair they are two, [91] {b} two geneses exist, from the one to the other, and again the other back to the other. So since, in between a bigger thing [92] and a smaller is growth and decay, shall we also thus call one growing, and the other decaying?”
“Yes,” he said.
“Then, also to separate (diakrinesthai) and to combine (sugkrinesthai), and to cool and to heat, and all things in this way, even if we do not use the names in some places, in deed in every place doesn’t it necessarily hold thus—these come to be from one another and a genesis exists of each one into the other?”
“Totally,” said he.
{c} “What then?” he said, “Is something contrary to living, just as sleeping to being awake?”
“By all means,” he said.
“Being dead,” he said.
“So, don’t these things come to be from one another, if indeed they are contraries, and, since as a pair they are two, [93] the geneses between the pair of them are [94] two?”
“Yes, how not?”
“Moreover, I will tell you one joinder of those of which I was just now speaking and its geneses,” Socrates said, “and you tell me the other. So, I say sleeping, on the one hand, and being awake, on the other; and, from sleeping being awake comes to be {d} and from being awake sleeping, and the geneses of the pair of them are, on the one hand, falling asleep, and on the other hand, waking up. Is this sufficient for you,” he said, “or not?”
“By all means.”
“So, tell me, too, in just this way,” he said, “about living and death. Don’t you claim being dead is contrary to living?”
“I do indeed.”
“And <they> come to be from one another?”
“What thing, consequently, comes to be from the living thing?”
“What has died,” he said.
“And what from what has died?” said he.
“It is necessary,” [95] he said, “to agree that what lives <comes to be from it>.”
“From the ones who’ve died, therefore, Cebes, both the things living and the ones living come to be?”
{e} “It appears,” he said.
“Therefore, our souls (psukhai) are in Hades,” he said.
“It seems likely.”
“Then, does one of the pair of geneses concerning these things happen to be certain? For dying is surely certain, or isn’t it?”
“By all means,” he said.
“How then,” said he, will we do [96] it? Will we not give back the contrary genesis, but nature will be thus lame? Or is there a necessity to give back to dying some contrary genesis?”
“In every way, I suppose (pou),” he said. [97]
“What’s this?”
“Bringing back to life.”
“Then, if indeed it is bringing back to life,” said he, {72a} “would this genesis—bringing back to life—be from the ones who’ve died into the ones living?”
“It is agreed by us, therefore, in this way, too, the ones living from the ones who’ve died have come to be no less than the ones who’ve died from the ones living, and, since this is sufficient, I suppose (pou), there seemed to be evidence that it is necessary for the souls (psukhai) of the ones who’ve died to be somewhere (pou), from just the place where they come to be again.”
“It seems to me, Socrates,” he said, “from the things agreed that it necessarily holds in this way.”
“Look at it, [98] moreover, in this way, Cebes” he said, “<to see> that we have not unjustly (adikōs) agreed, as it seems to me. For if the ones which come to be should not always give back in return {b} to the others, just as if going around in a circle, but the genesis is straight from one alone into the opposition, [99] and it does not bend up again to the other nor does it even make a bend, do you know that all things that come to an end (teleutan) would have the same figure [100] and would undergo (paskhein) the same experience (pathos) and would have ceased to come to be?”
“How do you mean?” he said.
“It is not difficult to have in mind (ennoein) what I’m saying,” said he. “Well, for example, if falling asleep were to exist, but waking up didn’t give back in return a coming to be from being asleep, you know that {c} all things which come to an end (teleutan) would show forth Endymion as a trifle and nowhere would he appear on account of everything else undergoing (paskhein) the same thing as he, namely, being asleep. Even if everything were combined (sugkrinesthai), and not separated (diakrinesthai), soon the saying of Anaxagoras would come to be, ‘All things [101] together.’
But in the same fashion, dear (philos) Cebes, even if everything should keep dying, as many things as partake of living, but just when they died, the things which have died remain in this figure and aren’t brought back to life again, isn’t there much necessity that everything which comes to an end (teleutan) would be dead [102] and nothing would live? {d} For if from the others the living things come to be, but the living things die, what device would <prevent> everything from being used up in a state of being dead?”
“It seems to me not even a single one, Socrates” said Cebes, “but you seem to me altogether in every way to speak truly (alēthē).”
“Well, it is, Cebes,” he said, “as it seems to me, in this way more than anything, and we are not deceived in agreeing on these very things, but there is, in reality, [103] bringing back to life, and the living come to be from the ones who’ve died and the souls (psukhai) of the ones who’ve died exist. [104]
{e} “And really,” said Cebes, interrupting, “also according to that speech, Socrates, which you have been accustomed to say often, if it is true (alēthēs), that learning for us happens to be nothing other than recollection (anamnēsis), also according to this, there is a necessity, I suppose (pou), that we have learned in some previous time the things which we now recall (anamimnēskesthai). {73a} But this is impossible, unless the soul (psukhē) for us [105] was somewhere (pou), prior to coming to be in this human form. [106] Consequently, in this way, too, the soul (psukhē) seems likely to be something deathless.”
“But Cebes,” said Simmias, interrupting, “what sort <were> the demonstrations of these? Remind me (hupomimnēskein), since I really don’t remember (mimnēskein) at present.”
“In a single, very beautiful speech—” said Cebes, “that the human beings who are asked, if someone were to ask beautifully, they themselves say everything in the way it is. [107] And yet, unless knowledge and right logos [108] happened to be in them, they wouldn’t have been able to do [109] this. Further, if {b} someone should lead them through diagrams or some other such thing, here most certainly he proves that this holds in this way.”
“But if,” Socrates said, “you are not so persuaded, Simmias, consider if it also seems to you as an examiner in this particular way—do you distrust how so-called ‘learning’ is recollection (anamnēsis)?”
“For my part, I don’t distrust it,” said Simmias, “but rather,” he said, “I need to undergo (paskhein) this very thing, the thing about which the speech is, namely, to recollect (anamimnēskesthai). And almost from what Cebes attempted to say already, I am remembering (mimnēskein) and am persuaded. Nonetheless, I would hear now in what way you attempt to speak.”
{c} “I <was going to speak> in this way,” said he. “For surely we agree, if someone is going to recollect (anamimnēskesthai) something, he must have known this thing at some previous time.”
“Totally,” he said.
“So then we agree on this too, whenever knowledge comes to be present in such a manner, it is recollection (anamnēsis)? But what manner do I mean? This: if someone should recognize something other [110] either having seen or having heard or having seized it by some different sense, he’ll not only have in mind (ennoein) that one, but also the other, [111] of which the knowledge is not the same but different, and don’t we say justly (dikaiōs) that he did recollect (anamimnēskesthai) what {d} he seized in his mind (ennoia)?”
“How do you mean?”
“For example, the following: knowledge of a human being is, I suppose (pou), different from that of a lyre.”
“Yes, how not?”
“So then, you know that the lovers, whenever they see a lyre or a cloak or something else which their beloveds have been accustomed to use, they undergo (paskhein) the following— don’t they both recognize the lyre and in thought (dianoia) seize the form of the boy whose lyre it was? And this is recollection (anamnēsis); just as, too, someone who has seen Simmias many times would’ve been reminded (anamimnēskesthai) of Cebes, and countless other such things, I suppose (pou), would be, too.”
“Yes, countless, by Zeus!” said Simmias.
{e} “Isn’t such a thing, then,” said he, “a certain recollection (anamnēsis)—especially, however, whenever someone should undergo (paskhein) this about those things, which under the effect of time, and by not examining <them>, had already been forgotten?”
“By all means,” he said.
“But what about this?” said he, “Is it possible for one who has seen an inscribed horse and an inscribed lyre to recollect (anamimnēskesthai) a human being, and one who has seen Simmias inscribed to recollect (anamimnēskesthai) Cebes?”
“Also, then, if one sees Simmias inscribed, to recollect (anamimnēskesthai) Simmias himself?”
{74a} “But of course it is,” he said.
“Doesn’t it turn out, then, by all these things that recollection (anamnēsis) is, on the one hand, from similars, but also from dissimilars?”
“It turns out.”
“But whenever someone should recollect (anamimnēskesthai) something from the similars, is it not compulsory to undergo in addition (prospaskhein) this, to have in mind (ennoein) whether this thing leaves behind something with respect to the similarity of that which was recollected (anamimnēskesthai)?”
“A necessity,” he said.
“Examine then,” said he, “if these things are so. We claim, I suppose (pou), something is equal—I don’t mean stick equal to stick, or stone to stone, or anything else like that—but something other, [112] beyond all these things, the equal itself. Shall we claim it is something or nothing?”
{b} “Let’s indeed claim it wondrously, by Zeus,” said Simmias.
“Do we also know what it itself is?”
“Totally,” said he.
“From where do we get [113] the knowledge of it? Isn’t it from what we were just now saying, that, having seen sticks or stones or some other [114] equals, from these we have that thing in mind (ennoein), as being other than these? Or doesn’t it appear other to you? But examine it in the following way, too: don’t equal stones and sticks, which are sometimes the same, in one respect, on the one hand, appear as equals, but in another respect, they do not?
“By all means.”
{c} “What then? Is it <possible> that equals at times appeared to you unequal, or equality inequality?”
“Never yet at least, Socrates.”
“They are not the same, therefore,” said he, “these equals and the equal itself.”
“In no way do they appear to me, Socrates.”
“But from these equals,” he said, “which are other than that, the equal, haven’t you nevertheless had it in mind (ennoein) and gotten the knowledge of it?”
“You speak most truly (alēthestata),” he said.
“Then, either it is similar to these or dissimilar?”
“But it makes no difference,” said he, “as long as, if you’ve seen one thing, {d} you have in mind (ennoein) from this sight something else, [115] and, whether similar or dissimilar, it necessarily,” he said, “becomes recollection (anamnēsis).”
“By all means.”
“So what?” said he, “Do we undergo (paskhein) some such thing about the <equals> among sticks and the things which we were just now saying are the equals? Do they appear to us to be equals in this way, just as it itself—the thing which is equal—or are they lacking some of that thing, the sort that the equal is, or do they lack nothing?
“And indeed, they lack a lot,” he said.
“Don’t we agree, then, that whenever someone has seen something, and has it in mind (ennoein) that, ‘this thing which I now see wants to be the sort that some other of the {e} beings is, but it is lacking and is unable to be such as that one, but is lower,’ [116] the one who has this in mind (ennoein) must necessarily, I suppose (pou), have happened to have seen before that thing which he says it is like to, but, which is disposed in a way that lacks.”
“A necessity.”
“What then? Have we also undergone (paskhein) such a thing about the equals and the equal itself, or not?”
“Altogether in every way.”
“Therefore, we have necessarily seen the equal beforehand, before that {75a} time when first we saw the equals, and had in mind (ennoein) that all these things yearn [117] to be such as the equal, but are disposed in a way that lacks.”
“These things are so.”
“But really we agree on this, too, that it has not come to mind (ennoein) from elsewhere nor is it even possible to have it in mind (ennoein) except either from having seen or having touched [118] or from another one of the senses. And I mean all these things are the same.”
“They are the same, Socrates, at least in regard to what the speech wants to make clear.”
“But then, from the senses one ought to have in mind (ennoein) {b} that all things involved with the senses yearn for that thing which is equal, and lack it, or how do we mean?”
“Just so.”
“Before, therefore, we have begun to see and to hear and to perceive the other things, we must have happened to have gotten somewhere (pou) knowledge of the equal itself that is, if we are going to carry up the equals from the senses to that place, because all such things are eager (prothumeisthai) to be such as that one, but are lower [119] than it.”
“A necessity from the things said before, Socrates.”
“Then, after being born (coming to be), don’t we immediately see and hear and have the other senses?”
{c} “But we claim that we must have gotten knowledge of the equal before these?”
“Prior to being born, therefore, so it seems, it is a necessity for us to have gotten it.”
“It seems likely.”
“Then if, on the one hand, we have gotten it before being born, and we have come to be, while having it, did we know even prior to being born, and, straightway as we were born <we knew> not only the equal and the bigger and the smaller, but also altogether all such things? For the speech for us [120] is not now about the equal any more than it is also about the beautiful itself and {d} the good (agathos) itself and just and holy, as I say, about altogether everything upon which we put the seal, ‘that which is,’ while we question with questions and answer with answers. Consequently, we must have necessarily gotten the various knowledges of all these things before being born.”
“These things are so.”
“And if, on the one hand, we have gotten <them> each time, and have not forgotten, then we are born always knowing and always know throughout life. [121] For this is knowing: to have knowledge of something one has gotten, and not to have utterly lost it. Or don’t we say this is forgetting, Simmias, a throwing away of knowledge?”
{e} “Surely in every way, Socrates,” he said.
“And I suppose at least that if we have gotten <it> before we were born, and when we are born we have utterly lost it, but later, using the senses around them we take up [122] those various knowledges which we had once before, wouldn’t what we call ‘to learn’ be to take up kindred knowledge? And this, I suppose (pou), we would, speaking rightly, say is recollecting (anamimnēskesthai)?
{76a} “For this indeed appeared possible—perceiving something or seeing or hearing or getting it with some other sense, and from this having in mind (ennoein) another thing which one had forgotten, to which this drew near, being dissimilar or similar to it, so that, as I’m saying, one of two things follows: either we were born knowing them and we all know throughout life, or later, the ones whom we claim learn, these ones do nothing other than recollect (anamimnēskesthai), and learning would be recollection (anamnēsis).”
“It is [123] very much in this way, Socrates.”
“So which do you choose, Simmias? Have we been born knowing, {b} or do we later recollect (anamimnēskesthai) knowledge of the things we had gotten before?”
“I cannot, [124] Socrates, choose at present.”
“What about this? Are you able [125] to choose the following, and in some way does it seem to you about it? Would a man who knows about the things which he knows be able to give a speech about them or not?”
“There is much necessity <for him to be able to>, Socrates,” he said.
“Is it the case that everyone seems to you to be able to give a speech about these things which we were just now speaking?”
“I certainly wish,” said Simmias, “but instead, I’m afraid that tomorrow at this time there will no longer be anyone among human beings who is of the sort worthy to do [126] this.”
{c} “Therefore, not everyone seems to you to know them, Simmias,” he said.
“In no way.”
“Do they therefore recollect (anamimnēskesthai) what they once learned?”
“A necessity.”
“At what time did our souls (psukhai) get the knowledge of them? For certainly not from the time after we human beings are born.”
“Certainly not.”
“Therefore, before.”
“Therefore, the souls (psukhai) existed before, Simmias, and, before being in human form, they were separate from bodies, and had thoughtfulness (phronēsis).”
“Unless, Socrates, at the same time as we are being born we get these various knowledges—this time {d} is still left.”
“Well then, comrade, do we utterly lose them during some other sort of time? Surely we don’t come to be having them, as just now we agreed. Or do we utterly lose them at this very time when we also get them? Or do you have some other time to tell?”
“In no way, Socrates, but I myself was unaware [127] that I wasn’t saying anything.”
“Isn’t it so, [128] then, for us, Simmias?” he said. “If the things we are always babbling about exist—some beautiful and some good (agathon) and every such ousia, [129] {e} which belongs <to us> before we discover that it is [130] ours, and we refer everything from the senses to this, and we liken these things to that one, it is necessary that, in this way, just as also these are, so too our soul (psukhē) is before we are born. And if these things are not so, could this speech be spoken differently? Doesn’t it hold thus, and isn’t there an equal necessity both for these things to be and for our souls (psukhai) <to be> even before we are born, and if those things aren’t, neither are these?”
“Extraordinarily, Socrates,” said Simmias, “it seems to me that the same necessity exists, and the speech flees into a beautiful point—that {77a} our soul (psukhē) exists similarly even before we are born, and the ousia, too, of which you are now speaking. I don’t have anything that is as lucid [131] for me as this—all such things exist as much as they can, both beautiful and good (agathon) and all the rest of which you were just now speaking. And it seems to me at least it has been demonstrated sufficiently.”
“But what about for Cebes?” said Socrates. “We ought to persuade Cebes, too.”
“<He is> sufficiently <persuaded>,” said Simmias, “so I suppose for my part, and yet he is strongest of human beings at distrusting the speeches. But I suppose he is not in need of being persuaded of this, namely that {b} before we have come to be our soul (psukhē) existed. If, however, whenever we have died it will also still be, not even does it seem to have been demonstrated to me myself, Socrates,” he said, “but what Cebes was just now saying still stands, the statement of the many, how doesn’t the soul get dispersed at the same time as the human being dies, and this is for her the end (telos) of existing? For what prevents her from coming to be and being established from somewhere else where also she is before and from where she arrives into a human body, but, whenever she has arrived and is released from this, at that time also she comes to an end (teleutan) and is destroyed?”
{c} “You speak well, Simmias,” Cebes said, “and it appears as if half of what we need has been demonstrated, namely, that before we were born our soul (psukhē) existed, but it needs to be demonstrated in addition that it will also exist when we have died no less than before we were came to be, if the demonstration is going to have an end (telos).”
“Indeed, it has been demonstrated, Simmias and Cebes,” Socrates said, “now too, if you all are willing to put together [132] this speech with the same point that we agreed on before this, namely, that everything living is born (comes to be) from what has died (is dead). For if the {d} soul (psukhē) also exists previously, and if it is a necessity for her both when she goes and comes to be into the living that she comes to be from nowhere else than death and being dead, how is it not a necessity for her, too, whenever she may have died, to exist, since at least it is necessary for her to come to be again? So then, the very thing that you all now say has also been demonstrated. But, all the same, you and Simmias both seem to me to be working through the speech still further and with pleasure, and you’ve feared what children fear, that in truth (hōs alēthēs) the wind blows her in all directions as she steps out of the body, and disperses her, especially {e} whenever someone happens to die not in a calm, but in some big blow.” [133]
And smiling, Cebes said, “As ones who’ve feared, Socrates, try to convince <us>—or rather, not as if we have feared, but instead, as if there were some child in us who is afraid of such things. Try to change our minds about this, so that we don’t fear death as if it were hobgoblins.”
“But one must,” said Socrates, “sing to him each day until you sing <the fear> away.”
{78a} “From where, then, Socrates,” he said, “will we get ahold of a good (agathos) singer of such things, since you,” he said, “are leaving us behind?”
“There’s a lot of Greece, Cebes,” he said. “Somewhere (pou) in that place there are good (agathoi) men, but also among the many tribes (genē) of foreigners (barbaroi). It is necessary to examine all of them thoroughly, while searching for such a singer, and not to spare money or toils (ponoi), since there isn’t anything more critical [134] on which you all could spend money. And you yourselves must search among one another too, for perhaps you wouldn’t easily find anyone more capable than you all to do [135] this.”
“But indeed, these things will be done,” Cebes said. “But from where we left off, let’s go back, {b} if it’s pleasant for you.”
“But of course it’s pleasant—how could it not be?”
“You speak beautifully,” he said.
“Don’t we then need to ask ourselves again some such thing,” said Socrates, “for what sort of thing, consequently, is it fitting to undergo (paskhein) this experience (pathos), being dispersed, and for the sake of what sort of thing has one feared that one might undergo (paskhein) it, and for what sort? [136] And after this, moreover, <don’t we need to > examine which soul (psukhē) is, and from these things, whether we should be bold or have feared for our soul (psukhē)?”
“You speak truly (alēthē),” he said.
{c} “Then, is it by nature fitting for the thing which has been composed and the thing which is composite to undergo (paskhein) this, namely, to be divided up in the very way it was composed. On the other hand, if something happens to be non-composite, is it fitting for this alone not to undergo (paskhein) these things, if indeed <it is fitting> for anything?”
“It seems to me to hold in this way,” said Cebes.
“Aren’t the very things which are always the same and hold in the same way—aren’t these things especially likely to be the non-composite things, while the things that hold differently at different times and never in the same condition, these, on the other hand, are composite?”
“So it seems to me at least.”
“Then let’s go,” he said,” to the self-same [137] things in the previous {d} speech. Does ousia itself, of which we are giving an account (logos) of its being, [138] both questioning and answering, always in the same way keep [139] in the same condition, or <does it hold> differently at different times? Does the equal itself, the beautiful itself, and each itself that is—the being [140] —not ever admit change even in any way whatsoever? Or does each of them which is, being of a single form itself by itself, always in the same way keep in the same condition, and never yet in any way or any place admit any difference?”
“In the same way, it is a necessity for it to keep in the same condition, Socrates,” said Cebes.
“But what about the many beautiful things, such as human beings or horses or cloaks {e} or any other such things whatsoever, or equal things or all of the ones that have the same name as those? Do they keep in the same condition, or everything contrary to those, neither themselves to themselves nor to each other do they ever yet, to say it in a word (epos), in any way <keep> in the same condition?”
“In this way, again,” Cebes said, “these things; [141] never yet do they hold in the same way.”
{79a} “So then, wouldn’t you have touched and seen and perceived these with the other senses, but it isn’t <possible> that you would’ve gotten those that keep in the same condition by any other means than the calculation of thought (dianoia). But rather, such things are invisible and not seeable?” [142]
“In altogether every way you speak truly (alēthē), he said.
“Then, do you want us to posit two forms of the beings, one seeable, the other invisible?” he said.
“Let’s posit them,” he said.
“And the invisible always keeps in the same condition, but the seeable never in the same condition?”
“Let’s posit this, too,” he said.
{b} “Come then,” said he, “is something of ourselves body, while something else the soul (psukhē)?”
“Nothing else,” he said.
“And to which form do we assert the body would be more similar and kindred?”
“To everyone,” he said, “this is clear at least, that it is <more similar and kindred> to the seeable.”
“But what about the soul (psukhē)? A seeable thing or an invisible thing?”
“Not <seeable> by human beings at least, Socrates,” he said.
“Yes, but we meant the seeable things and the things not <seeable> by the nature of human beings; or do you suppose by some other nature?”
“By that of human beings.”
“So what are we saying about soul (psukhē)? Are we saying that she is a seeable thing [143] or unseeable?”
“Not seeable.”
“Invisible, therefore?”
“Soul (psukhē), therefore, is more similar to the invisible than body, but the <body> to the seeable.”
{c} “An absolute necessity, Socrates.”
“And weren’t we then saying this for a long time, that the soul (psukhē), whenever she should use the body in examining something either through seeing or hearing [144] or some other sense—for this is <examining> through the body, namely, examining something through sense— at that time, she is dragged by the body into things which never keep the same condition, and she herself wanders, is troubled, [145] and becomes dizzy, as if drunk, inasmuch as she latches onto such things?”
{d} “But whenever she examines herself by herself, she goes to that place—to what is both pure and always and deathless and holds in the same way—and, since she is akin to it, she comes to be [146] always with that, at the very time when she herself has come to be by herself and whenever it may be possible for her, and she has ceased from the wandering, and around those things she always keeps in the same condition in the same way, inasmuch as she latches onto such ones; and this experience (pathēma) of hers is called ‘thoughtfulness (phronēsis)’?”
“In altogether every way,” he said, “you speak beautifully and truly (alēthē), Socrates.”
“Then, to which form, in turn, from the things said previously {e} and now, does soul (psukhē) seem to you to be more similar and kindred?”
“Everyone, it seems to me,” said he, “would concede, Socrates, from this approach, even the one who is worst at learning, that soul (psukhē) is wholly and in every way more similar to what holds always in the same way than to what does not.”
“But what about the body?”
“<It is more similar> to the other.”
“Look [147] at in this way, too—that whenever soul (psukhē) and body may be in the same <thing/place>, {80a} nature assigns to the one to be a slave and to be ruled, [148] while to the other, to rule and to master. And, according to these things, [149] which seems to you to be more similar to the divine and which to the mortal? Or doesn’t it seem to you that the divine is such as by nature to rule and to guide, while the mortal to be ruled [150] and to be a slave?
“To me at least.”
“Which does the soul (psukhē) seem like?”
“Clearly, it’s clear, [151] Socrates, that the soul (psukhē) <is similar> to the divine, while the body to the mortal.”
“Then, examine, Cebes,” he said, “whether from everything that’s been said {b} the following results for us: on the one hand, soul (psukhē) is most similar to the divine, deathless, intelligible (noētos), single-formed, indissoluble and to what itself always in the same way keeps in the same condition, while body, in turn, is most similar to the human, mortal, many-formed, unintelligible (anoētos), dissoluble, and to what itself never keeps in the same condition. Do we have something else to say beyond these things, dear (philos) Cebes, by which they do not hold in this way?”
“We do not.”
“What then? Since these things hold thus, is it not fitting for body to dissolve quickly, but, for soul, in turn, to be altogether indissoluble or somewhat near to this?”
{c} “Well, how not?”
“So, do you have in mind (ennoein),” he said, “that whenever the human being should die, the seeable <part> of him, the body, which also lies in the seeable, just what we call a ‘corpse,’ for which it is fitting to dissolve and to fall apart and to get dispersed, that it doesn’t immediately undergo (paskhein) any of these things, but remains for a fairly long time— indeed quite a very long time—if someone who keeps the body gracefully (kharientōs) should come to an end (teleutan) and at the proper time (hōra). For the body, dried and embalmed, just as those in Egypt that have been embalmed, remains almost whole for {d} an unimaginable amount of time, and some parts of the body, even when it rots—bones and sinews and all such things—all the same, to say it in a word (epos), are deathless? Or not?”
“But the soul (psukhē), therefore, the invisible (aides), going into another such place, noble, pure and invisible (aidē), thus truly (alēthōs) into Hades (Haidēs), to the side of the good (agathon) and thoughtful (phronimon) god, where, god willing, straightway my soul (psukhē) too must go, but will this very <soul> being such and so by nature, when she is released from the body, be immediately dispersed and perish, as the many human beings claim? {e} It is in need of much indeed, dear (philos) Cebes and Simmias, [152] and rather, by far more does it hold as follows: if, on the one hand, she is released, pure, and drags along nothing of the body, inasmuch as she is in no way willing to commune with it in life, but rather, flees it and gathers herself together into herself, inasmuch as she is always training in this respect, which is nothing other than rightly philosophizing {81a} and, as it is, readily training for being dead. Or wouldn’t this be training for death?”
“In altogether every way.”
“Then, when she holds thus, does she go away to what is similar to her, the invisible—the godlike and deathless and thoughtful (phronimon)—where it belongs to her when she has arrived to be happy (eudaimōn), released from wandering, mindlessness (anoia), fears, wild loves, and the other human evils (kaka), and, just as it is said by the initiates, thus truly (hōs alēthōs) to spend the remaining time with gods? Should we claim in this way, Cebes, or otherwise?
“In this way, by Zeus!” Cebes said.
{b} “But if, I suppose, she is released from the body stained (miainesthai) [153] and impure, inasmuch as she was always with the body, servicing it, loving it, and being bewitched by it—by both desires (epithumiai) and pleasures—so that nothing else seems to be true (alēthes) but the bodily-form, with which one might touch, see, drink, eat and enjoy the pleasures of sex, while what is dark to the eyes, invisible, intelligible (noētos) and taken up by philosophy, this, on the other hand, she has accustomed herself to hate, tremble at, and {c} flee, when she is so disposed, do you imagine that soul (psukhē) herself by herself will be released unadulterated?”
“Not even in any way whatsoever,” he said.
“But I imagine <she’ll be> seized by the bodily-form, which the association and intercourse with the body, because she is always with it and because of a lot of training, has ingrained [154] in her?”
“But, my dear (philos), one must imagine that this is weighty, grave, earth-like, and seeable. And, such a soul (psukhē) gets weighed down when she holds such a thing, and she is dragged back into the seeable place by a fear of the invisible and Hades, [155] so it is said, and she rolls around {d} memorials (mnēmata) and tombs—just the places where certain shadowy apparitions of souls (psukhai) have also been seen, the sort of phantom-images such souls (psukhai) produce who haven’t purely been released, but have a share of the seeable, on account of which they, too, are seen.” [156]
“Likely at least, Socrates.”
“Likely indeed, Cebes. And not at all are these themselves among the good (agathoi), but rather, they are among the lowlifes [157] and are compelled to wander around such places, paying the penalty (dikē) for their former bad (kakon) upbringing. And they wander up to the point when, {e} by the desire (epithumia) of what follows closely along, [158] the body-like, they are bound into a body again. And they are bound, just as is likely, into such sorts of characters which they also happened to have been exercising [159] in life.”
“Exactly what sort do you say these are, Socrates?”
“For example, those who have exercised gluttonies, insolences, and inebriations, and who have not guarded against them, are likely to enter into the {82a} classes (genē) of asses and such beasts. Or don’t you suppose it?”
“Now then, you speak quite a likelihood.”
“And those who have preferred in honor (protiman) injustices (adikiai), tyrannies (turannides), and robberies <are likely to enter> into the classes (genē) of wolves, falcons, and hawks? Or to what other place do you claim such ones go?”
“Not to worry,” [160] said Cebes, “into such ones.”
“Clearly,” said he, “it’s also clear to where each of the rest would go, according to their likeness to their conditioning?” [161]
“Clearly, it’s clear,” he said, “and how not?”
“Aren’t the happiest (eudaimonestatoi),” he said, “also among these? And they are the ones who go to the best place, having pursued demotic (demotikos) and political (politikē) {b} virtue (aretē), just what they call ‘moderation (sōphrosunē)’ and ‘justice (dikaiosunē),’ which has come to be from habit and conditioning, [162] without both philosophy and mind (nous)?”
“In exactly what way are these happiest (eudaimonestatoi)?”
“That it’s likely they arrive back again into such a political (politikon) and gentle class (genos), either somewhere among bees, wasps, or ants, or back again into the same human class (genos), and that they come to be (are born) from them measured men.”
“And it is not lawful (themis) to arrive into a class (genos) of gods for one who has not philosophized and {c} who does not go away completely pure, but rather, for the one who loves learning. But, for the sake of these, comrade Simmias and Cebes, [163] the ones <who are> rightly philosophers keep away from altogether all the desires (epithumiai) in the body, and they are strong and do not give themselves over to them, and they do not at all fear squandering their house or poverty, as the many and the ones who love money do. Nor, moreover, have they feared dishonor (atimia) and disrepute for depravity, as the ones who love rule and honor (philotimoi), but they keep away from them.”
“Indeed, it wouldn’t be appropriate, Socrates,” said Cebes.
{d} “Of course not, by Zeus,” said he. “For that very reason, Cebes, as to those for whom there is some care for their own soul (psukhē), but who don’t live to mold [164] their bodies, say goodbye to altogether all these, and don’t go down the same path as the ones who don’t know where they’re going. But, they themselves think [165] that they ought not to do contrary to philosophy and to the release of it and by this purification they turn to that, following it to wherever that one leads.” [166]
“How, Socrates?”
“I will tell you,” he said. “For the ones who love learning recognize,” said he, {e} “that philosophy has artlessly arrested [167] their soul (psukhē), which has been thoroughly bound in the body and glued, and, which is compelled, as if through a cage, to examine the beings through this rather than herself through herself. And she is rolled around in every ignorance, and looks down on the terrible cleverness (deinotēs) of the cage, which is through desire (epithumia), so that especially the bound <man> himself would be bound as himself an accomplice. So, as I say, {83a} the ones who love learning recognize that philosophy has thus arrested the condition of their soul (psukhē), and gently encourages (paramutheisthai) and attempts to free her, showing that an inquiry through the eyes is full of deception, and also <full of> deception one through the ears and the other senses. And she [168] persuades a withdrawal from these, insofar as there is no necessity to use them, but she urges her to collect and rally herself into herself, and to trust herself to no one else but herself about whatever she herself by herself may conceive (noein) {b} of what is itself by itself. And whatever she examines through different means, which is different and among different things, she would consider in no way true (alēthes). But <she considers> such a thing to be both sensible and seeable, while she herself sees what is both intelligible (noēton) and invisible. The soul (psukhē) of the philosopher thus truly (hōs alēthōs) does not suppose she ought to be contrary to this release, and so keeps away from pleasures, desires (epithumiai), and pains [and fears] [169] to the extent that she can, and she calculates that, whenever someone should be extremely pleased or [or pained] [170] or made afraid or desire, in no way would he undergo (paskhein) so much evil (kakon) from them as someone might suppose, such as either {c} falling ill or spending a lot on account of the desires (epithumiai), but rather, that which is the greatest and the extremity of all evils (kaka), this he undergoes (paskhein) and he does not calculate it.
“What’s this, Socrates?” Cebes said.
“That every human being’s soul (psukhē) is compelled, at the same time that she is extremely pleased or pained with respect to something, to believe that this thing, around which she especially suffers (paskhein), is most lucid and most true, though it doesn’t hold in this way. And these most of all are seeable things, or not?”
{d} “Isn’t it especially in this experience (pathos) that soul (psukhē) is bound fast by body?”
“How exactly?”
“Because each pleasure and pain, just as if it is holding a nail, nails her to the body, pins her, and makes her body-like, while she opines that these things are true (alēthē), the very things that the body claims <are true>. Since from opining the same as the body and rejoicing [171] in the same, she is compelled, I suppose, to come to be the same in manner and same upbringing, and so, such as to not at any time arrive in Hades pure, but rather, always to depart quite full of the body, so that {e} she falls back again quickly into a different body and is implanted in it, just as if she were sown; and from these things she is without a portion (amoiros) of the divine, pure, and single-formed intercourse.”
“You speak most truly (alēthestata), Socrates,” Cebes said.
“Well then, for the sake of these, Cebes, the ones who justly (dikaiōs) love learning are orderly (kosmioi) and courageous, not for the sake of what the many <claim>. Or do you suppose it?”
{84a} “Certainly not, for my part.”
“For it’s not. But <the> soul (psukhē) of a man who is a philosopher would calculate it in this way, and she wouldn’t suppose that it is necessary for philosophy itself to release her, and when that one releases <her>, that she should give herself over to the pleasures and pains again so as to be bound and to enact [172] the unfinished task of Penelope, handling a web contrariwise; but instead, she prepares a stillness from these things, and follows calculation and is always involved in this, beholding (theasthai) the true (alēthes) and the divine and what isn’t a matter of opinion, and by {b} that she is nourished, and she supposes she ought to live in this way while she lives, and whenever she may come to an end (teleutan), she is released from human evils (kaka), and arrives at what is kindred and such as she. From just such an upbringing, and while she has practiced these things, she isn’t afraid of anything terrible (deinos), Simmias and Cebes—that she may be torn apart in the release from the body and blown by the winds, or that she may go away, fluttering off, and be nowhere any longer.”
{c} Silence then came to be for a great deal of time, after Socrates said these things. And Socrates himself was—as were most of us—engrossed in the speech spoken, or so he appeared to us looking on. But Cebes and Simmias were engaging in a bit of conversation between each other. [173] And Socrates seeing the pair of them, asked, “What?” he said, “Surely it doesn’t seem to you all that what’s been said is lacking, does it? Well, it’s still open to many suspicions and counterattacks, at least if someone is going to go through it sufficiently. Now then, if as a pair you are examining something else, I have nothing to say. But, if as a pair you are perplexed about these things, don’t hesitate, {d} but you yourselves speak and go through them, if in some way it appears it could be said better by you all. And further, don’t hesitate to take me along with you too, if you suppose you will be to some degree better off with me.”
And Simmias said, “Really, Socrates, I will tell you truly (alēthē). For a long while each of us has been perplexed, and egging the other on and urging the other to ask on account of desiring (epithumein) to hear, but hesitating to cause an uproar, lest it be unpleasant for you because of your present trouble.”
And, when he heard this, he laughed quietly, and said, [174] “Gee-whiz, Simmias, I suppose (pou) I sure would have difficulty {e} persuading other human beings that I don’t consider my present luck ‘trouble,’ when I can’t even persuade you all, but you are afraid that I’m now somewhat more discontented than in my previous life. And, so it seems, I seem to you all more meager [175] in prophecy (mantikē) than the swans, which, whenever they sense that it is necessary for them to die, {85a} though they sing at previous times too, at that very time they sing most and most beautifully, since they are expressing joy that they are going to go away to the very god whom they serve. But human beings, because of their dread of death, speak falsehoods about the swans. They claim that they sing out under the influence of pain, lamenting death, and they do not calculate that no bird sings when it is hungry or cold or when it is pained by some other pain—not even the nightingale herself, the swallow, and the hoopoe, the very ones which they claim sing in lament because of pain. But neither do these nor the swans appear to me to sing while pained, {b} but inasmuch as I expect they belong to Apollo, they are prophetic (mantikoi) and, since they know beforehand the good things (agatha) in Hades, they sing and delight on that the day more distinctively than in previous times. But I myself, too, consider myself to be the co-servant of the swans and a devotee of the same god, and to have the prophetic art (mantikē) on the side of the master no less than they do, nor will I be released from life more sad-heartedly (dusthumoteros) than they are. But, for the sake of this at least, it is necessary to speak and to ask whatever you want, as long as the men—the Athenian Eleven—allow it.”
“You speak beautifully,” Simmias said, “and I will tell you what {c} I’m perplexed about, and, in turn, this one here <will tell you> in what way he does not accept the things that were spoken. For it seems to me, Socrates, about such things, perhaps just as it does to you too, that to know what is certain in the current life is either impossible or something altogether difficult; then again, it belongs to quite a soft man not to test in every manner the things being said and to not desist before he has become exhausted in examining them from every side. For one ought, about these things, to accomplish some single one of them—either learning or discovering how they hold, or if these things are impossible, then at least getting ahold of the best and {d} most irrefutable of the human speeches, and being carried on this, as if on a raft, to sail through life, unless one could be carried more safely and risk-free on a more steadfast carrier—some divine speech. In particular, I for my part won’t be ashamed to speak now, since you are saying these things too, nor will I blame (aitiasthai) myself at a later time for not saying now what seems to me. In my view, Socrates, when I examine the things said, both with myself and with this one here, they don’t quite appear to have been said sufficiently.”
{e} And Socrates said, “Perhaps, comrade, true things (alēthē) appear to you, but say exactly how they aren’t <said> sufficiently.”
“In this way, according to me,” said he, “as someone might say the same speech about a harmony and a lyre with its strings, too—that, on the one hand, the harmony is not seeable and is bodiless, and that something altogether beautiful and {86a} divine is in the harmonized lyre, while the lyre itself and the strings are both bodies and body-like, and composite, earth-like, and akin to the mortal. Whenever, then, someone either shatters the lyre or cuts and breaks the strings, if someone should insist upon the same speech as you, that it is a necessity that that harmony still exist and not have perished—for there would be no contrivance for the lyre to still exist after the strings were broken, since the strings are mortal-like, and for the harmony, {b} which is of the same nature and kindred to both the divine and deathless, to have perished prior to the perishing of what is mortal—but necessity would claim that the harmony itself still exists somewhere (pou), and the wood and the strings will rot away sooner than that undergoes (paskhein) anything. In fact, Socrates, I suppose, for my part, that you yourself have also taken this to heart (enthumeisthai), that we assume that the soul (psukhē) is most of all some such thing, just as our body is strung and held together by heat and cold, and dry and wet, and some such things, {c} there is a blend and a harmony of these things themselves with respect to our soul (psukhē), whenever these things beautifully and measuredly are blended with one another—if, then, the soul (psukhē) happens to be some harmony, it is clear that, when our body is slackened without measure [176] or is arranged by diseases and other evils (kaka), a necessity immediately falls to the soul (psukhē) to perish, even though she is most divine, just as the other harmonies, too, which are in sounds and in all the deeds of the demiurges, but what remains of the body of each stays present for a lot of time, until it is either burned or {d} rots away—see, then, what we will say to this speech, if someone deems it worthy that the soul (psukhē), as a blend of what is in the body, is first to perish in so-called ‘death.’”
Then Socrates, glancing around with a smile, just as he was often accustomed, said, “Simmias certainly speaks justly (dikaia). If, then, one of you is better provided than I am, why not answer? For in fact, in no meager way does he seem to grasp the speech. However, it seems to me still necessary before giving an answer {e} to listen to Cebes—what further charge this one brings against the speech, so that, in the time that passes, [177] we can take counsel on what we will say, and after we’ve listened, concede to it, if it seems to sing the proper note, but if not, in that way then to advocate (huperdikein) for the speech. Come, Cebes,” said he, “say what was troubling you again.”
“Indeed, I’ll say it.” Cebes said. “In my view, it appears that the speech is still at the same point, and, the very same charge holds that we were saying before. {87a} On the one hand, I don’t take back that it was demonstrated quite gracefully (kharientōs) and—if it isn’t too exacting to say—quite sufficiently, that our soul (psukhē) existed even before it came into this form. On the other hand, that also, after we die, she still exists somewhere (pou), this doesn’t seem to me to be demonstrated in the <same> way. I don’t grant Simmias’ objection that soul (psukhē) isn’t stronger and more long-lasting than body—for she seems to me to be quite distinctive by far in all these respects. Why, then, the speech might claim, are you still distrusting, since, when you see a human being who has died, the weaker aspect at least still exists? {b} Doesn’t it seem to you that the more long-lasting is necessarily saved (sōzesthai) during this time?
Consider what I’d say to this, if anything, since it seems likely that I, too, am in need some likeness, just as Simmias was. These things seem to me to be said similarly to how someone might tell the following account [178] about an old fellow who died and who was a weaver: that the human being hadn’t perished but is safe (sōs) somewhere (pou), and he would provide as evidence the cloak which he used to wear, which he himself had woven—that it is safe (sōs) and hadn’t perished—and if someone were to distrust him, he would ask again {c} whether the class (genos) of a human being is more long-lasting than that of a cloak in its repeated use and wear. And, after someone answers that, ‘the class (genos) of the human by far,’ he would suppose he had demonstrated that, therefore, more than anything the human being is safe (sōs), since the less long-lasting thing at least had not perished.
But, I expect, Simmias, it isn’t so. [179] Yes, you too, examine what I am saying. Everyone would assume that the one who says this speaks simple-mindedly. For this weaver who wore out [180] and wove many such cloaks had perished later than those, though they were many, but {d} I suppose earlier than the final one (teleutaion), and not at all for this reason is a human being more common [181] or weaker than a cloak. And, I suppose that soul (psukhē) in relation to body would admit this same likeness, and anyone who says these very things about them would appear to me to speak within measure, that the soul (psukhē), on the one hand, is more long-lasting, while the body is weaker and less long-lasting. For in fact, he would claim that each of the souls (psukhai) wears out many bodies, especially if he should live many years—for if the body should be in flux and perish while the human being still lives, but the soul (psukhē) should always weave anew the thing which {e} wears out—it would be necessary, of course, whenever the soul (psukhē) should perish, for her to happen to have on the final (teleutaion) weave and to perish earlier than this one alone, since at the time that the soul (psukhē) perished the body would have already shown the nature of its weakness and, quickly rotting, would be quite gone. Consequently, one who trusts this speech does not yet deserve to be bold that whenever {88a} we die our soul (psukhē) still exists somewhere (pou).
For if someone were to concede to one who speaks still more than what you say, and to give it to him that not only do our souls (psukhai) exist even in the time before we were born (came to be), but also that, whenever we die, nothing prevents some from still existing, from existing in the future, and from coming to be and dying again many times—since it is by nature in this way strong, so as for the soul (psukhē) to withstand coming to be many times—and if one grants these things, one might concede that thing no further, that she doesn’t toil (ponein) in many geneses and come to an end (teleutan) in one of the deaths and in altogether every way perish. Rather, {b} no one would claim to know this death and dissolution of the body which brings destruction to the soul—for it is impossible for any one of us to perceive—and, if this is so, [182] it is fitting for anyone who is bold about death to be bold mindlessly (anoētos), whoever cannot show that soul (psukhē) is altogether in every way both deathless and indestructible. And unless he can, it is a necessity that the one who is going to die always fear for his soul lest in the present unyoking from the body she should perish in every way altogether.”
{c} All of us, then, having heard them speak, were disposed unpleasantly, as we were later saying to one other, because, after having been extremely persuaded by the previous speech, again they seemed to disturb us and cast us down into distrust—not only for the speeches said before, but also for the statements that would be uttered later—lest we might in no way deserve to be judges (kritai) or even that these matters [183] themselves might be untrustworthy.
ECHECRATES: By the gods, Phaedo, I indeed have sympathy for you all. In fact, it comes to me myself now hearing you {d} to say some such thing to myself: ‘So, what speech will we still trust? For one that is extremely persuasive, the speech Socrates was saying, has now fallen into distrust.’ Yes, wondrously this speech captivates [184] me—both now and always—that our soul (psukhē) is some harmony, since what was uttered reminded (hupomimneskein) me that even to me myself these things had before seemed so. And I am quite in need of some other speech again, as if from the beginning, which will persuade me that the soul (psukhē) of the one who has died will not die with him. Tell me, then, by Zeus, in what way did Socrates go after the speech? And {e} which one was he: was he just as you claim you were—did he become in some way clearly vexed—or not, but rather, did he gently come to the aid of the speech? And did he aid sufficiently or in a way that was lacking? Go through all these things for us as precisely as you can.
PHAEDO: And really, Echecrates, many times I’ve wondered at Socrates, but never yet more did I marvel than when I was present at that time. {89a} Now then, perhaps it wasn’t absurd that he would have something to say. But I at least, especially wondered at him firstly for this—how pleasantly, kindly, and with admiration he received the speech of the youths. Secondly, how sharply he perceived us in what we suffered (paskhein) under the influence of the speeches. Next, how well he healed us and, as if we were ones who had fled and been lessened, he called us back and turned us forward to follow and to examine the speech with him.
ECHECRATES: How exactly?
PHAEDO: I’ll tell you. Well, I happened to be sitting to the right of him {b} next to the couch upon some low stool, while he was upon one much higher. He stroked my head, and pressed the hair on my neck—for he was accustomed, on occasion, to tease me about my hair—
“Perhaps tomorrow, Phaedo,” he said, “you will cut these beautiful locks.”
“It seems likely, Socrates,” I said.
“Not at least, should you obey me.”
“But what?” I said.
“Today,” he said, “I will cut mine and you these, if indeed the speech comes to an end (teleutan) for us and we cannot bring it back to life. {c} And I, for my part, if I were you and the speech were to flee me, I would make an oath, just as the Argives did, not to grow my hair long until I was victorious in battling back the speech of both Simmias and Cebes.”
“But,” I said, “it is said that not even Heracles was able against two.”
“Well, call upon me as Iolaus,” he said, “while there is still light.”
“Well then, I will call upon you,” I said, “not as Heracles, but as Iolaus calling upon Heracles.”
“It won’t make a difference,” he said, “but first let’s beware we don’t undergo (paskhein) some experience (pathos).”
“What sort?” I said.
{d} “Let’s not become,” said he, “haters of speech, [185] just as those who become haters of human beings, [186] since it isn’t possible,” he said, ‘that someone could suffer (paskhein) a greater evil (kakon) than this—hating speeches. But both hatred of speech and hatred of human beings are born from the same turn. For the hatred of human beings enters from trusting some human being excessively and without art, and considering the human being to be completely and truly (alēthē) sound and trustworthy, but then, a little later discovering that this one is wicked and untrustworthy, and again, <this happens with> another. And, whenever someone suffers (paskhein) this many times and especially from those whom {e} one considers most kindred and most comrades, often colliding with them, one ends up (teleutan) hating everyone and considering no one sound at all. Or don’t you sense [187] how this comes to be?”
“Totally,” I said.
“Isn’t it, then, shameful,” said he, “and isn’t it clear that such a man attempts to deal with human beings without an art about human things? For, I suppose (pou), if he dealt with them with an art, he’d consider it in just the way that it holds—{90a} those who are extremely good [188] or wicked are few, while most are in between.”
“How do you mean?” I said.
“Just as,” said he, “about the extremely small and big. Do you suppose anything is rarer than to discover an extremely big or extremely small human being or dog or anything else whatsoever? Or again, extremely fast or slow or ugly or beautiful or white or black? Or do you not sense that, of all such things, the ones at the utmost extremities are rare and few, while the ones in between are bounteous and many?”
“Totally,” I said.
{b} “Don’t you suppose, then, he said, if a wickedness contest (agōn) were proposed, the first ones there would also appear quite few?”
“It’s likely at least,” I said.
“Yes, it is likely,” he said. “But speeches are not in this way similar to human beings—rather, I was just now following your lead—but in that way, where, whenever someone may trust that some speech is true (alēthes) without the art about speeches, and then a little while later it may seem to him to be false—sometimes it is, other times it is not, then one, then again the other—especially, you know that the ones who {c} spend time [189] around contradictory speeches suppose that they alone are perfect (teleutan), and have become wisest (sophōtatoi) and have understood (katanoein) that neither is any of the matters [190] sound or firm nor any of the speeches, but all the beings are artlessly, just as in the Euripus, turned upside down and remain in no place for any length of time.”
“Now then,” I said, “you speak quite truly (alēthē).”
“So, Phaedo, wouldn’t the experience (pathos),” he said, “be pitiable, if there were indeed some true (alēthes) and firm speech also capable of being {d} understood (katanoein), and then because of being nearby some such speeches—the same ones that sometimes seem to be true (alēthes), but at other times not—one doesn’t blame (aitiasthai) himself or even the artlessness of himself, but ends up (teleutan), because he is pained, being glad to thrust the blame (aitia) off of himself and onto the speeches, and he would continue (diatelein) his remaining life hating and reviling speeches, and he would have been robbed of both the truth (alētheia) and knowledge of the beings (the things which are).”
“By Zeus, it would be pitiable for sure!” I said.
“So, first, moreover,” he said, “we should beware of this, {e} and we should not allow into the soul (psukhē) that there is a risk that there is nothing sound in the speeches, but far more that we are not at all disposed soundly, but we must be courageous and eager (prothumeisthai) to be disposed soundly, for you and for the others and for the sake of the entire life thereafter, {91a} but for me for the sake of death itself, since I run the risk in the present situation not to be disposed philosophically about this very thing, just as those who are quite uneducated <are disposed> to love victory. In fact, whenever those ones dispute about something, they do not give a thought (phrontizein) to how it holds about the things which the speech is, but they are eager (prothumeisthai) for this, that these things that they themselves are positing will seem so to those present. And, in the present situation, I seem to myself to differ from them in such a thing alone—that I won’t be eager (prothumeisthai) for what I say to seem true (alēthē) to those present, unless as a byproduct, but rather, that what especially seems to me myself is also so. [191] {b} For I am calculating, dear (philos) comrade—behold (theasthai) how greedily—if what I am saying happens to be true, being persuaded <by it> is [192] beautiful. [193] And if nothing exists for the one who has come to an end (teleutan), well then, during this very time before my death I will be less unpleasant with lamenting to those present, and this mindlessness (anoia) won’t continue to the end (sundiatelein) with me—for that would be bad (kakon)—but a little later will perish. Prepared, then,” he said, “Simmias and Cebes, I come to the speech in this very way. You all, however, {c} should you be persuaded by me, giving little thought (phrontizein) to Socrates, and much more to truth (alētheia), agree, if I seem to you all to say something true (alēthes), but if not, strain against me with every speech, and be wary lest I should go away, under the influence of eagerness (prothumia), and simultaneously deceive both myself and you, just as a bee that leaves behind its stinger.
But we must go on,” he said. “First, remind (hupomimneskein) me what you all were saying, if I don’t appear to remember (mimnēskesthai). Simmias, on the one hand, as I suppose, distrusts and is afraid that the soul (psukhē), though it is more divine and {d} more beautiful than the body, all the same, may perish before it, as a harmony in form. Cebes, on the other hand, seemed to me to concede this to me, that soul (psukhē) is more long-lasting than body at least, but the following was altogether unclear—that, though bodies are many, and she has worn them out many times, the soul (psukhē) herself wouldn’t perish, leaving behind the final body, and that this very thing would be death, a destruction of soul, since body never ceases perishing. Therefore, other than these things, Simmias and Cebes, what is it necessary for us to examine?”
{e} The pair of them was agreeing these things were just so.
“Then,” he said, “do you all accept all the previous speeches or some but not others?”
“Some,” the pair said, “but not others.”
“What then,” said he, “do you all say about that speech in which we claimed that learning is recollection (anamnēsis), and, since this is [194] so, necessarily our soul (psukhē) is somewhere else earlier {92a} before it has been bound to the body?”
“Well I was wondrously persuaded by it at that time,” said Cebes, “and I now stand by it as by no other speech.”
“And really,” Simmias said, “I myself am in this condition as well, and I quite wonder if something different would ever seem to me about this.”
And Socrates said, “But there is a necessity for other things to seem to you, Theban stranger, if this supposition remains, that harmony is a composite thing, [195] and soul (psukhē) is composed as some harmony from the tension [196] in the body. {b} Surely, you won’t accept, I suppose (pou), yourself saying that a harmony was composed earlier than those things from which it was necessary for it to be composed. Or will you accept it?”
“No way, Socrates,” he said.
“Then, do you sense,” he said, “that it results for you to say this—whenever you claim the soul (psukhē) exists before she has even arrived into human form and body, she is composed from things which don’t yet exist? Surely harmony isn’t the sort to which you liken it, but instead, before the lyre, strings, and {c} the sounds come to be, they are still unharmonized, and last (teleutaion) of all, the harmony is established, and it perishes first. How, then, will this speech of yours sing together with that one?”
“In no way,” said Simmias.
“And really,” said he, “it is appropriate, if indeed with any other speech, for it to sing together with the one about harmony.”
“Yes, it’s appropriate,” said Simmias.
“Nevertheless,” he said, “this doesn’t sing in concert with you, [197] but see which of the speeches you choose, that learning is recollection (anamnēsis) or soul (psukhē) a harmony?”
“Far more the former, Socrates,” he said. For the latter came to be {d} for me without demonstration and with a certain likelihood and good fit, the place from which it seems so to many human beings, too. But I know that the speeches that make demonstrations through likelihoods are imposters, and if one isn’t on guard against them, they’ll deceive very well, both in geometry and altogether everything else. But the speech about recollection (anamnēsis) and learning is said to be accepted through a worthy hypothesis. For it was said, I suppose (pou), that so our soul (psukhē) exists even before arriving in body, just as she herself is the ousia which holds the name, {e} ‘that which is.’ I, on the other hand, so I am persuading myself, have accepted this both sufficiently and rightly. So, it is a necessity for me, as it seems, because of these things, to accept neither I myself nor someone else who says that soul (psukhē) is a harmony.”
“But what about in this way, Simmias?” said he. “Does it seem to you to befit a harmony or {93a} a different composition to be disposed somehow differently than how those are disposed from which it is composed?”
“In no way.”
“Nor really to do [198] or to undergo (paskhein) anything, so I suppose, other than what those do [199] or undergo (paskhein)?”
He assented.
“Therefore, it doesn’t befit a harmony to lead those things from which it is composed, but rather, to follow.”
It seemed so to him too.
“Therefore, it is in need of a lot for a harmony to be moved contrary, to sound contrary, or run contrary in some other way to the parts of it.”
“Certainly, <it’s in need> of a lot,” he said.
“What then? Isn’t each harmony by nature in this way a harmony, insofar as it is harmonized?”
“I don’t understand,” he said.
“On the one hand, wouldn’t it be,” said he, “if it is more and more fully harmonized—{b} if indeed it allows this to occur [200] —more and more fully a harmony, but if less and less fully harmonized, less and less fully a harmony?”
“Can this be, then, concerning soul (psukhē), so that a soul (psukhē) even by the smallest degree is more and more fully than another or less fully and less this very thing, a soul (psukhē)?”
“Not even in any way whatsoever,” he said.
“Come, then, by Zeus,” he said, “is one soul (psukhē) said to have both mind (nous) and virtue (aretē), and to be good (agathē), while another soul has both senselessness (anoia) and depravity, and is bad (kakos)? And are these things spoken truly (alēthōs)?”
{c} “Truly (alēthōs), of course.”
“Then, what will one of those who posits that soul (psukhē) is a harmony claim these beings—both virtue (aretē) and vice (kakia)—are in the souls (psukhai)? Is one, in turn, some different harmony and another lack of harmony? And the one, the good one (agathē), when harmonized, also has another [201] harmony within it, which is itself a harmony, while the other is disharmonized and does not have another <harmony> in it?
“I can’t say, for my part,” said Simmias. “But it is clear that one who hypothesizes the former thing might say things such as these.”
{d} “But it was agreed before,” he said, “that one soul is neither more nor less than another soul, and the agreement implies this: that one harmony is neither more or more fully nor less nor less fully than the other. [202] Right?”
“And the one at least, in being neither more or less a harmony, <is> neither more nor less harmonized; is it so?”
“It is.”
“And does that which is neither more nor less harmonized, share more or less in harmony or equally?” [203]
“Equally.” [204]
“So, isn’t a soul (psukhē)—since one soul is neither more nor less {e} than another [205] in this very thing, soul (psukhē)—neither more nor less harmonized?”
“It’s this way.”
“But indeed, since she has suffered (paskhein) this, she wouldn’t share any more in disharmony than harmony?
“No, she wouldn’t.”
“But then, in turn, since she has suffered (paskhein) this, could one <soul> share any more in vice (kakia) or virtue (aretē) than another, [206] if indeed vice (kakia) is a disharmony, while virtue (aretē) a harmony?
“No more.”
{94a} “But rather, I suppose (pou), Simmias, according to the right speech, no soul (psukhē) will have a share of vice (kakia), if indeed it is a harmony. For surely this thing, which is completely a harmony, would never share in disharmony.”
“Certainly not.”
“Nor surely would soul, in being completely soul (psukhē), <have a share of> vice (kakia).”
“How could it, at least from what was said before?”
“Therefore, from this speech of ours all souls (psukhai) of all living animals will be similarly good (agathai), if indeed in a similar way souls (psukhai) are by nature this very thing, souls (psukhai).”
“It seems to me at least, Socrates,” he said.
“So, does it seem beautifully spoken in this way,” said he, “and that the speech would undergo (paskhein) {b} these things if the hypothesis were right, that soul (psukhē) is a harmony?”
“Not even in any way whatsoever,” he said.
“Well, what <about this>?” said he. “Of all the things that are in a human being, what else do you say rules except soul (psukhē), especially if thoughtful (phronimos)?”
“Nothing else, in my view.”
“Which is it—does she concede to the experiences (pathē) with respect to the body or, indeed, run contrary to them? And I mean the following: for example, when she is in burning heat and thirsting, does she drag it toward the contrary—toward not drinking—and, when she is in a state of hunger, toward not eating, and we see countless other cases, I suppose, (pou) {c} of the soul running contrary to what belongs to the body? Or not?”
“By all means.”
“Haven’t we also agreed in the previous speeches that she wouldn’t ever, since she’s indeed a harmony, sing contrary to the things from which she happens to be, whether they are strung or relaxed or plucked or undergo (paskhein) any other experience (pathos) whatsoever, but rather, she would follow those and never lead.”
“We have agreed,” he said. “How could we not?”
“What then? Now doesn’t she appear to us to be working entirely contrary, both leading all those from which one claims {d} she is, and running contrary to nearly everything throughout her whole life, and being master over every manner, checking some with more difficulty and with pains, as in the gymnastic art or the art of medicine, while others more gently, and threatening some, while admonishing (nouthetein) others, conversing with the desires (epithumiai) and tempers and fears, as if she were different and in a different business? [207] For example, somewhere (pou) Homer, too, has put it poetically [208] in the Odyssey, where he says of Odysseus:
And smiting his breast, he reproached his heart with a word (muthos):
{e} Endure, heart; at another time you endured a thing even more fit for a dog. [209]
Do you suppose that he made these things thinking she is harmony and such as to be led by the experiences (pathē) of the body, but not such as to both lead these and to master them, since she is some far more divine thing [210] than in accordance with a harmony?”
“By Zeus, Socrates, it seems to me at least.”
“Therefore, best one (aristos), it is [211] in no way beautiful for us {95a} to claim that soul (psukhē) is a harmony, since we would neither agree with the divine poet, Homer, as it seems, nor ourselves with ourselves.”
“So it holds,” he said.
“Well then,” Socrates said, “the things belonging to Harmonia of Thebes are arising within measure as somehow propitious for us, so it seems. But what of the things belonging to Cadmus, Cebes,” he said, “how will we propitiate them and with what speech?”
“You seem to me to be going to discover it,” said Cebes. “At any rate, you’ve spoken this particular speech on harmony wondrously and beyond expectation. [212] For when Simmias said what perplexed him, I was altogether wondering {b} if someone was going to be able to deal with his speech. It seemed quite absurd to me that the initial inroad of your speech was not accepted immediately. So, I wouldn’t wonder if the speech of Cadmus should suffer (paskhein) the same.”
“My good (agathos) <man>,” said Socrates, “don’t boast, lest for us some sorcery twist around the speech that will follow. But surely these things will be a care for the god, while we, being nearly Homeric, shall test whether there is something to what you say. [213] And the heading of what you seek is just this: you think that our soul (psukhē) deserves to be demonstrated as being {c} indestructible and deathless, and that, if a man who is a philosopher is going to die—bold and considering that when he has died he will fare well in that place more distinctively than if he’d come to an end (teleutan) after having lived in a different life—he shouldn’t be bold with a mindless (anoētos) and silly boldness. But, showing forth the soul (psukhē) as something strong and which still existed before we were born as human beings, you claim that nothing prevents all these things from revealing not deathlessness, but instead that soul (psukhē) is both long-lasting and existed somewhere (pou) earlier for an unimaginably long time, and both knew and did [214] a great deal of things. {d} But no more was she a deathless thing, but rather, the beginning of her destruction was coming into a human’s body itself, just like a disease. And suffering hardship, both while living this life and coming to an end (teleutan), she would perish in so-called ‘death.’ And you claim that it makes no difference for each of us being afraid, whether she goes into a body once or many times. For it is appropriate—for one who doesn’t know and who doesn’t have an argument (logos) to give that she is deathless—to be afraid, unless one is mindless (anoētos).
{e} Some such things are, I suppose, Cebes, what you mean to say. And I purposely keep taking up these things many times, so that something doesn’t escape us, and, if you want, you may add or take away something.”
And Cebes said, “But I, for my part, don’t need to take away or add anything at present. But these are the things which I mean to say.”
After waiting a long time and examining something with himself, Socrates said, “It’s no common thing [215] you seek, Cebes. For, it is necessary to examine thoroughly the cause (aitia) concerning genesis and decay as a whole. {96a} So, if you want, I’ll go through my experiences (pathē) for you concerning them. Then, if something in what I say should appear useful to you, you may use it for persuasion with regard to just those things which you are saying.”
“Well, I really want you to indeed,” Cebes said.
“Listen, then, to what I’ll say,” he said. “Cebes, when I was young, how I wondrously desired (epithumein) this wisdom (sophia), just what they call an inquiry about nature. It seemed to me that it was magnificent to know the causes (aitiai) of each thing, on account of what each comes to be and on account of what it perishes and on account of what it exists. And many times, {b} I turned myself upside down while I was examining, first, in regard to the following: ‘Is it when the heat and the cold take on a certain fermentation, as certain people were saying, at exactly that time living organisms grow together? And is it the blood by which we are thoughtful (phronein), or is it air or fire? Or are these nothing, but it is what is in the head that provides the senses of hearing and seeing and catching a scent, and from these, memory (mnēmē) and opinion come to be, and from getting ahold of memory (mnēmē) and opinion a state of being at rest, and in accordance with these things, knowledge comes to be? And, in turn, examining the decay of these things, and the experiences (pathē) around {c} the heaven [216] and the earth, I ended up (teleutan) in this way—I seemed to myself with regard to this investigation to be almost of no use, in that I lacked a nature for it. And I’ll give you sufficient evidence: For what I knew for sure even earlier was that—as at least I was seeming to myself [217] and to others—at that moment by this investigation I was so extremely blinded that I unlearned even those things I kept supposing that I knew before—about many other things, and also on account of what a human being gets bigger. For this I supposed was clear above all else, that it’s on account of eating and drinking. When, from food {d} flesh comes to be added to flesh, and bones to bones, and in this way according to the same speech also what is akin to each comes to be added onto others—at one moment it is a little mass, while later it has become a lot, and so the small human being becomes big; so I supposed it at that time. Don’t I seem to you sensible?” [218]
“To me at least,” Cebes said.
“Well, consider the following things, too: I kept supposing that it seemed to me sufficient that, whenever some big human being appeared to stand next to a small one, {e} he was bigger by just this, by a head, and a horse <bigger> than a horse. And even still more lucid than these, ten things kept seeming to me to be more than eight because two was added onto them, and two-cubits bigger than one-cubit by exceeding itself by half of itself.”
“But now what seems to you about them?” Cebes said.
“By Zeus,” he said, “I suppose myself to be somewhere (pou) far from supposing that I know the cause (aitia) about any of these things, since I don’t even accept from myself that when someone adds one to one, either the one to which one was added has become two, or the thing added and {97a} that to which it was added, because of the addition of the one to the other, [219] became two. For I’m wondering—if, when each of them was separate from one another, each, therefore, was one and as a pair they were not then two, but since they came near to one another, this, therefore, became a cause (aitia) of them becoming two, the meeting from their being placed near one another. Nor indeed, if someone divides up one, am I yet able to be persuaded that this, in turn, has become a cause (aitia), the division, from which two {b} have come to be. For the cause (aitia) at the moment of becoming two becomes contrary—at one time, because they were being led near to one another [220] and were added one onto the other, [221] but now, because they are led away and separated one from the other. Indeed, neither do I still persuade myself that I know on account of what one comes to be, nor, in one speech, on account of what anything else comes to be or perishes or exists, according to this turn of approach. Instead, I myself randomly mix together some different way, and do not go near this one at all.
But I once heard someone reading aloud from a book of Anaxagoras, so he said, and saying {c} that mind (nous), therefore, is the one who both sets in order (diakosmein) and is responsible (aitios) for all things. And I was both pleased by this cause (aitia) and it seemed to me in some fashion to fare well for mind (nous) to be responsible (aition) of all things. So I considered that if this is so, [222] that the mind (nous), in ordering (kosmein) all things, would order (kosmein) and position each in the way in which it would be in the best condition. [223] If, then, someone should want to discover the cause (aitia) about each in what way it comes to be or perishes or exists, one ought to discover this about it, in what way it is best for it to exist or to undergo (paskhein) {d} or to do [224] anything else whatsoever. And from just this speech it is fitting for a human being to examine nothing else in addition about that thing itself and about the rest other than the best (aristos) and the most excellent. [225] And it is compulsory for this same person also to know the worse, since the knowledge about them is the same.
As I calculated these things, I fancied myself glad to find a teacher of the cause (aitia) concerning the beings (the things which are) according to my own mind (nous), namely, Anaxagoras, and that he would first point out to me whether the earth {e} is flat [226] or round, and after he indicated that, he would also explain the cause (aitia) and the necessity, saying what is better and why it was such as to be better. And if he claimed that it was in the middle, he would also explain how it was better that {98a} it was in the middle. And if he could make these things apparent to me, I was prepared to no longer yearn for another form of cause (aitia). And in particular, I was prepared to find out in the very same way about the sun, moon, and the other stars, both about their speeds in relation to one another and about their mannerisms [227] and their other experiences (pathēmata), in what way at what time it is better for each to do [228] and to undergo (paskhein) what it undergoes (paskhein). For I never would’ve imagined, when he claimed they had been ordered (kosmeisthai) by mind (nous), that he would confer some cause (aitia) upon them other than that it is best for them to be disposed in just the way they are disposed. {b} So, after he gave back the cause (aitia) to each of them and to all in common, I imagined that he would also explain the best for each and the common good (agathon) for all. And I would not rescind my great expectations, but instead, I got ahold of the books and with all haste I read them as quickly as I was able, in order that as quickly as possible I might know the best and the worse.
So, from a wonderful hope, comrade, I was carried away, when I went forward in my reading, and saw a man in no way using mind (nous) nor holding as cause (epaitiasthai) any causes (aitiai) {c} for ordering (diakosmein) the things, [229] but holding as cause (epaitiasthai) air, ether, water, and many other absurdities. And it seemed to me that he had undergone (paskhein) something most similar to if someone were to say that Socrates does [230] all such things he does with mind (nous), and then, when he attempted to say the causes (aitiai) of each of the things which I do, he might first say that on account of these things now I am sitting here, namely that my body is composed of bones and sinews, and the bones are solid and have natural breaks that separate them from one another, while the {d} sinews are such as to tense and relax, and they wrap all around the bones along with the flesh and skin that holds them together. Then, since the bones are lifted up in their joints, [231] while the sinews relax and tense, I suppose (pou), and make me such as to be able now to bend my limbs, and because of this cause (aitia) I sit here with them bent. And again, he might say other [232] such causes (aitiai) about conversing with you all, holding as cause (aitiasthai) voices, air, sounds that are heard, and countless other such things, {e} not caring to say the causes (aitiai) in the true way (hōs alēthōs), that, since it seemed better to the Athenians to vote against me, because of exactly these things it has seemed to me, too, better to sit here, and more just (dikaioteron) to remain held under the penalty (dikē) that they order. Since, by the dog, as I suppose, long ago these {99a} sinews and bones would be in Megara or Boeotia, carried by the influence of an opinion that it was best, if I didn’t suppose it to be more just (dikaioteron) and more beautiful to be held under whatever penalty (dikē) the city should assign before fleeing and running away.
But to call such things causes (aitia) [233] is too absurd; and if someone were to say that, without having such things as bones and sinews and as many other things as I have, I would not be such as to do [234] the things that seemed to me <good>, he might speak truly (alēthē). However, <if he said> that because of these things I do what I do, [235] and that I do [236] these things with mind (nous), but not by the {b} choice of what is best, the laziness of the speech would be great and tedious. For what if one couldn’t distinguish that it is one thing to be some cause (to aition) for what is, [237] but a different thing to be that without which the cause (to aition) would never exist as a cause (aition)! [238] This is exactly what the many appear to me <to do> when they grope about as if in darkness, and use a name belonging to something else, proclaiming it as if it were responsible (aition). And it is also why someone puts a whirlpool around the earth and makes the earth remain under the heaven, while someone puts a pedestal of air under it as a support, as if it were a flat [239] kneading-trough. {c} But the power of positioning them as best as one is able as they now lie, they neither seek this nor suppose it has any ingenious (daimonion) strength, but instead they believe they’ll discover an Atlas stronger, more deathless, and more able to hold together everything altogether than this one, and they don’t suppose that in the true way (hōs alēthōs) the good (agathon) and the binding bind together and hold together anything.
Now then, I would become most pleasantly a student of anyone whatsoever for such a cause (aitia)—in what way it holds. But, since I was robbed of this and neither did I myself discover it nor did I come to be able to learn it from another, {d} do you want me to make a demonstration for you, Cebes,” he said, “of the second sailing in search of the cause (aitia) with which I have busied myself?”
“Well then, extraordinarily,” he said, “I want you to!”
“Now, it seemed to me after these things” said he, “since I had given up on examining the beings (the things which are), that I must beware lest I might undergo (paskhein) the very thing which those ones undergo (paskhein) who behold (theōrein) and examine the sun during an eclipse. For, I suppose (pou), some destroy their eyes, if they do not look at the likeness of it in water or {e} in some such thing. I was thinking through (dianoeisthai) that sort of thing, and I feared that the soul (psukhē) would be altogether blinded in looking at the things [240] with the eyes and attempting to grasp them with each of the senses. Indeed, it seemed to me necessary to flee into the speeches for refuge, and to examine those for the truth (alētheia) of the beings. Now then, perhaps that to which I am likening it {100a} does not seem likely in any fashion. For I don’t quite concede that the one who examines the beings in likenesses in speeches examines them more so than the one who does so in deeds. But anyway, this is how I made a start—hypothesizing at each time a speech which I judge (krinein) to be strongest (errōmenos)—on the one hand, the things which seem to me to be consonant to this I posit as being true (alēthē), [241] both about cause (aitia) and about altogether all the rest. On the other hand, the things which <are> not <consonant>, <I posit> as not true (alēthē). But I want to tell you more distinctly what I mean. For I imagine you don’t understand now.”
“No, by Zeus,” Cebes said, “I really don’t.”
{b} “But,” said he, “I mean this—nothing novel—but the very things which I have not stopped talking about both always and at other times in the speech that just occurred. I am going to attempt to demonstrate to you the form of the cause (aitia) which I have busied myself with, and I am going back to those things that are much-spoken-of and I am beginning from them, hypothesizing that something is beautiful itself by itself and good (agathon) and big and all the rest. If you grant those things to me and concede them to be so, I hope to show you from them the cause (aitia) and to discover that soul (psukhē) is something deathless.”
{c} “But really,” Cebes said, “take it as if it were given to you, so you can make haste to finish.”
“Examine then,” he said, “whether what follows those things seems to you just it does to me. Since, it appears to me, if something else is beautiful except the beautiful itself, not even because of a single other thing is it beautiful than because it has a share of that, the beautiful. And I mean everything in exactly this way. Do you agree to such a cause (aitia)?”
“I agree,” he said.
“Well then,” said he, “I don’t understand any longer, nor am I able to recognize the other causes (aitiai)—those wise ones (sophai). But if someone should say to me {d} on account of what anything is beautiful, either because it has a blooming color or shape or anything other such thing, I say goodbye to the rest—for I’m thrown into confusion by all that—but simply, artlessly, and perhaps naively, I hold this close to myself, that no other thing makes something itself beautiful than the presence or communion with that beautiful—in whatever way or however it is addressed. So, I no longer confidently assert this, but instead, that by the beautiful all the beautiful things are beautiful, since this seems to me to be safest, both to answer to myself and someone else. And when I hold onto this {e} I don’t believe I’ll ever fall, but it is safe to answer me and anyone else whosoever that by the beautiful the beautiful things are beautiful. Or doesn’t it seem so to you, too?”
“It seems so.”
“And by bigness, therefore, the big things are big and the bigger things bigger, and by smallness the things littler are littler?”
“You wouldn’t, therefore, accept it if someone should claim that one is bigger than another [242] by a head, and a littler one is littler by this same thing, {101a} but you would protest that you’re saying nothing other [243] than that every bigger thing is bigger than another [244] in no way other [245] than by bigness, and because of this it is bigger, because of bigness, while the littler is in no other way [246] littler than by smallness, and because of this it is littler, because of smallness. And, I suppose you’d be afraid that you might be faced with some contrary speech, if you claim that someone is both bigger and littler by a head—first, that by the same thing the bigger is bigger and the littler is littler, then, by the head, which is small, the bigger is bigger, and this is surely {b} a monstrosity, that something is big by the small. Or wouldn’t you be afraid of these things?”
And laughing, Cebes said, “I would indeed.”
“Wouldn’t you be afraid then,” said he, “to say that ten things are more than eight by two, and that they exceed because of this cause (aitia), but not by multitude and because of multitude? And <wouldn’t you be afraid to say that> the double-cubit is bigger than the single-cubit by half but not by bigness? For the fear is the same, I suppose (pou).”
“Totally,” he said.
“And what about this? After one has been added to one {c} or divided up, wouldn’t you be wary of saying addition or division is the cause (aitia) of their becoming two? And you would shout big time that you don’t know how else each comes to be than by having a share of the particular being of each thing in which it shares, and among these you wouldn’t hold some cause (aitia) of their becoming two other than having a share of the dyad, and the things that are going to be two need to have a share of this, and what is going to be one, to have a share of a monad, and you would say goodbye to these divisions and additions and the other such fancies, passing them over to those wiser (sophōteroi) than you to answer. {d} And you would have dreaded, as the saying goes, the shadow of yourself and the inexperience, and so, you would answer, while holding onto that safe hypothesis. But if someone should hold onto the hypothesis itself, you would say goodbye and not answer until you considered the things that have been spurred on by that <hypothesis>—whether in your view they are consonant or dissonant with one another. And since it would be necessary for you to give a speech of that itself, you would give it in the same way—by hypothesizing another hypothesis, in turn, whichever of the higher ones appears best, until you came upon something sufficient. {e} At the same time, if indeed you should want to discover any of the beings, you would not mix things up, as the debaters [247] do, when you converse about the beginning and what is spurred on from that? For those ones, there is perhaps neither one speech nor thought (phrontis) about this. For they are so sufficient in their wisdom (sophia) that, though they confound all things together, nevertheless they are able to be satisfied with themselves. {102a} But I expect that you, if indeed you are among the philosophers, would do [248] as I say.”
“You speak most truly (alēthestata),” said both Simmias and Cebes at the same time.
ECHECRATES: By Zeus, Phaedo, in all likelihood! For it seems to me wondrous how lucidly he spoke these things—even to someone who has a small mind (nous).
PHAEDO: But of course, Echecrates, it seemed so to all those present, too.
ECHECRATES: And really, even to us, though we were absent, but hearing it now. And exactly what was said after this?
PHAEDO: As I imagine it, when these things had been conceded to him, {b} and it was agreed that each of the forms is something and the others which partake of these have their name after them, after that he asked this,
“If,” said he, “you mean these things this way, are you not, whenever you claim that Simmias is bigger than Socrates, but Phaedo is littler, saying that at that moment both are in Simmias, both bigness and smallness?”
“I am….”
“Ok, but,” said he, “do you agree that the statement that Simmias exceeds Socrates does not—when it is said in those words—in this way also have {c} truth (alēthes)? For Simmias does not by nature, I suppose (pou), exceed by this, by being Simmias, but by the bigness which he happens to have. Nor, again, does he exceed Socrates because Socrates is Socrates, but because Socrates has smallness in relation to the bigness of him?”
“True (alēthē).”
“Nor, in turn, is he exceeded by Phaedo because Phaedo is Phaedo, but because Phaedo has bigness in relation to the smallness of Simmias?”
“These things are so.”
“Therefore, Simmias, though he is in the middle of both, thus has a name for being both small and big, {d} since he submits the smallness to the bigness of the one to exceed it, while he provides the bigness to the other which exceeds the smallness.” And while grinning, at the same time he said, “I seem like I’m almost talking like a book, [249] but it is, [250] I suppose (pou), as I say.”
He assented.
“I am, then, speaking for the sake of the following—that I want the very thing to seem to you that seems to me. Since, it appears to me not only that bigness itself is never yet willing to be simultaneously big and small, but also that bigness is never yet willing to admit the small or willing to be exceeded, but one of a pair of two: either it flees and withdraws unnoticed, {e} whenever the contrary goes toward it, namely the small, or it perishes, when that thing approaches. On the other hand, what endures and has accepted smallness is not willing to be other than the very thing it was. Just as, if I’ve accepted and endured smallness, I am also still just as I am—this same small guy. But that thing has not dared, while being big, to be small. And, in the same way, the small in us, too, is never willing to become or to be big, nor <is> anything else among the contraries, inasmuch as it is still the very thing it was, <willing> at the same time as {103a} its contrary both to come to be and be, but rather, it either goes off or perishes in this experience (pathēma).”
“Altogether in every way,” Cebes said, “it appears so to me.”
And on hearing this, a certain one of those present—though whoever it was I don’t remember (mimnēskesthai) for certain—said, “By the gods, wasn’t the very contrary of the things being said just now agreed on in the previous speeches by us—that from the littler the bigger comes to be and from the bigger the littler, and that this is artlessly the genesis for the contraries, namely, from the contraries? But now it seems to me that it’s being said that this could never occur.”
And Socrates, who had turned his head towards him to listen, said, {b} “You have recollected (anamimnēskesthai) this courageously. However, you don’t have in mind (ennoein) the difference between what is now being said and what was said at that time. At that time, it was said that from the contrary thing [251] the contrary thing [252] comes to be, but now, that the contrary itself could never become contrary to itself, neither the one in us nor the one in nature. For at that time, friend (philos), we were speaking about the things that hold the contraries, naming them after the name of those, but now <we are speaking> about those very ones that are inside them, which have the name after which they are named. [253] {c} And we would never claim that we’d be willing to accept a genesis from one another with respect to those things themselves.” And, as he looked toward Cebes, at the same time he said, “I suppose (pou), Cebes,” he said, “something in what this guy said troubled you, too?”
“I’m not in this condition again,” Cebes said, “though I don’t at all mean that a lot of things don’t trouble me.”
“Have we agreed, therefore,” said he, “simply this: the contrary will never be contrary to itself.”
“In every way altogether,” he said.
“Yet consider,” he said, “whether you agree with me about this too. Do you call something hot and cold?”
“I do at least.”
“Is it the very thing you call snow and fire?”
{d} “No, by Zeus, it isn’t.”
“But the hot is something other than fire and the cold is something other than snow?” [254]
“Well, I suppose that this seems to you at least: snow won’t ever, while being snow at least, admit the hot, just as we were saying in the preceding <speeches>, and still be the very thing it was, snow and hot, but as it goes toward the hot, it will either withdraw from it or perish.”
“And fire, in turn, as it goes toward the cold will either go out from it secretly or perish; however, it will never dare to admit coldness, while still being the very thing it was, fire and cold.”
{e} “You speak truly (alēthē),” he said.
“It’s this way, therefore,” said he, “about some of this sort, that not only does the form itself deserve the name of it for all time, but also something else which is not that, but, whenever it may exist, has the shape of that one always. But still, perhaps in this way what I say will be more distinct: the odd always, I suppose (pou), must happen upon this very name we are now saying, or not?”
“Is it the only one of the beings—for I’m asking this—or is there also something else which, {104a} on the one hand, is not the very thing the odd is, but all the same, which it is necessary along with its own name to always call this <i.e., odd> because of its being by nature such that the odd is never left behind? And I mean it to be such as what the triad has undergone (paskhein) and many others. But make an examination about the triad. Doesn’t it seem to you it must always be addressed with both its own name and the name of the odd, though the odd is not the very thing the triad is? But nevertheless, it is somehow so by nature—the triad, the pentad and half of number {b} entire—so that they are not the very thing the odd is, though each of them is always odd. And, in turn, two things and four, and again, the entire other row of the number, while not being the very thing that the even is, each of them is nevertheless always even. Do you agree or not?”
“How could I not?” he said.
“Well then, observe what I want to make clear,” he said. “It’s this: that it appears that not only [255] do those contraries not admit one another, but also as many as always hold the contraries, [256] though they are not contrary to one another. These do not even seem likely to admit that idea which may be contrary to the idea that is in them, but when it comes toward them, {c} they either perish or secretly withdraw. Or won’t we claim three things will also perish before they undergo (paskhein) anything else whatsoever—before they endure becoming even, while still being three?” [257]
“By all means,” Cebes said.
“And surely,” said he, “a dyad is not contrary to a triad.”
“No, it’s not.”
“Not only, therefore, do the contrary forms not endure coming at one another, but also the contraries do not endure certain other things coming at them.”
“You speak most truly (alēthestata),” he said.
“So, do you want us,” said he, “if we are able, to mark off what sorts these are?”
{d} “Wouldn’t they be these things, Cebes,” he said, which not only compel whatever occupies them to contain the idea of itself, but also always, in turn, of something contrary to it?”
“How do you mean?”
“As were just now saying, for you surely know that the things which the idea of three occupies must of necessity be themselves not only three but also odd.”
“Towards such a thing, we claim, the contrary idea to that shape which works this effect would never come.”
“No, it wouldn’t.”
“But the odd works this effect?”
“And that of the even is contrary to this?”
{e} “Towards three things, therefore, the idea of the even will never come.”
“Surely not.”
“Three things, then, have no portion (amoira) of the even.”
“No portion (amoira).”
“The triad, therefore, is uneven.”
“Well then, I was saying I’d mark off this—the sort of thing that, while being not contrary to something, nevertheless does not admit it, the contrary. For example, now the triad, though it isn’t contrary to the even, none the more admits it, for it brings the contrary always against itself, as does the dyad against the odd {105a} and fire against cold and various other things. But see if this is the way you’d mark it off: not only does the contrary not admit the contrary, but also that which brings something contrary towards it, [258] towards whatever it comes, the thing itself bringing the contrariety will never admit the contrariety of what it is being brought towards. Then again, recollect (anamimnēskesthai)—for it is no worse to hear it many times—five things will not admit the <idea> [259] of the even, nor ten things—the double—the <idea> of the odd. So then, this too is contrary to something else, but nevertheless the <idea> of the {b} odd will not admit it, nor will the one-and-a-half nor the other things of that sort—the half, the <idea> of the whole—and, a third (tritēmorion), in turn, and everything of that sort, if indeed you follow and it seems so to you too.”
“Quite exceedingly it seems to me too,” he said, “and I do follow.”
“Back again, then, tell me from the beginning,” he said. “And don’t answer me what I’m asking, but imitate me (mimeisthai). I am speaking an answer beyond the one that I was first speaking, that safe one, since I see a different safety from the things now being said. If you should ask me by what will what comes to be in the body be hot, {c} I won’t tell you the safe answer, that unlearned one [260] —that it is by hotness—but instead a fancier one from what <we are saying> now, that it’s by fire. Nor even if you ask by what will what comes to be in body be sick, will I say that it is by sickness, but by fever. [261] Nor even if you ask by what will what comes to be in number be odd, will I say by oddness, but by a monad, [262] and the others in this way, too. But see if you already know sufficiently what I want.”
“But quite sufficiently,” he said.
“Then answer,” he said, “what comes to be in a body by which it will be living?”
“That by which <it will be living> is soul (psukhē),” he said.
“Isn’t [263] this thing, then, always so?”
“How could it not be?” said he.
“Soul (psukhē), therefore, always comes bringing life towards that thing, whatever she herself occupies?”
“Of course, she comes,” said he.
“But is there some contrary to life or nothing?”
“There is,” he said.
“So, will soul (psukhē) always never admit the contrary to the thing which she herself brings, as was agreed from the previous things?
“That’s very much the case,” Cebes said.
“What then? What did we just now name the thing that does not admit the idea of the even?”
“Uneven,” he said.
“And the thing that does not admit the just (dikaion) and what does not admit musical?”
{e} “Unmusical,” he said, “and the unjust (adikon).”
“Well, what do we call what does not admit death?”
“Deathless,” he said.
“So, doesn’t soul (psukhē) not admit death?”
“She doesn’t.”
“Therefore soul (psukhē) is a deathless thing.”
“Well,” he said, “do we claim this has really been demonstrated, or how does it seem?”
“Very sufficiently indeed, Socrates.”
“What then, Cebes?” said he. “If it was compulsory for the uneven {106a} to be indestructible, would three things be anything else than indestructible?”
“How not?”
“If it weren’t, then, also compulsory for un-hot to be indestructible, when someone brings heat towards snow, would the snow secretly withdraw, being safe (sōs) and unmelted? It wouldn’t have perished at least, nor, again, would it accept enduring hotness.”
“You speak truly (alēthē),” he said.
“But in the same way I suppose that if the un-cold were indestructible, too, when something cold came at the fire, it would never get extinguished or perish, but it would have gone away safe (sōs).”
“It’s a necessity,” he said.
{b} “Then, isn’t it also a necessity to speak about death in this way?” he said. “If, on the one hand, the deathless is also indestructible, it is impossible for soul (psukhē), whenever death comes at her, to perish. Since, on the one hand, from the things said previously <she> will not admit death nor will she be dead, [264] just as we were claiming that three things will not be even, nor indeed, again, <will the even be> the odd, nor indeed <will> fire <be> cold, nor indeed <will> hotness <be> in fire. ‘But what prevents,’ someone might assert, ‘the odd from coming to be even, when it comes at the even, just as {c} was agreed, and itself perishing when in place of it even has come to be?’ We wouldn’t have it in us to fight with the one who says these things by saying that it does not perish. For the uneven is not indestructible, since, if this had been agreed to by us, we could have easily fought with the notion that when the even approaches, the odd and three things go away and are gone. And about fire and the hot and the rest we would fight it out in this way. Or wouldn’t we?”
“By all means.”
“Then, about the deathless, too, if it is agreed by us also to be indestructible, soul (psukhē) would be in addition to being deathless {d} also indestructible. But if not, one would be in need of a different speech.” [265]
“But one needs nothing,” he said, “for the sake of this at least. For anything else would hardly have the leisure to admit decay, if the deathless at least, though it is everlasting, [266] will admit decay.”
“The god, I suppose,” said Socrates, “and the form of life itself and if there is anything else deathless, would be agreed by all never to perish.”
“By all, by Zeus, of course,” he said, “both by human beings, and still more, so I imagine, by gods.”
{e} “Because the deathless is also incorruptible, what else <could be the case> than soul (psukhē), if she happens to be deathless, would be indestructible too?”
“There is a great necessity.”
“Therefore, when death approaches the human being, his mortal <part>, on the one hand, so it seems, dies, but the deathless <part>, on the other hand, goes off and is gone, safe (sōs) and incorruptible, making way for death.”
“It appears.”
“More than everything, therefore,” he said, “Cebes, soul (psukhē) is a deathless and {107a} indestructible thing, and, in reality, [267] our soul (psukhai) will be in Hades.”
“For my part, Socrates,” he said, “I don’t have anything else aside from these things to say, nor do I in any way distrust the speeches. But if Simmias here or someone else has something to say, he would do [268] well not to keep silent, since I don’t know to what occasion one could put it off other than the one now present, if he wants to say or hear anything about such things.”
“But really,” said Simmias, “I myself don’t even have a way I could distrust from what has been said. However, under the influence of the magnitude [269] {b} of the things the speeches are about, and dishonoring (atimazein) human weakness, I am compelled to still keep distrust within myself about what’s been said.”
“You speak well, Simmias, not only with respect to these things,” Socrates said, “but also with respect to the first hypotheses, and if they are trustworthy to you all, nevertheless they must be examined more distinctly. And if you should go through them sufficiently, so I suppose, you will follow up the speech as much as is possible for a human being to follow it up. And if this itself comes to be distinct, you all will seek nothing further beyond.”
“You speak truly (alēthē),” he said.
{c} “But indeed, men,” he said, “it is just (dikaion) to think through (dianoeisthai) this—that, if indeed the soul (psukhē) is deathless, she is in need of care not only for this time during what we call ‘living,’ but for time in its entirety. And the risk right now would seem to be terrible (deinos), too, if someone should be careless about her. For if death were a release from everything, it would be a godsend for the evil (kakoi), who in dying would be released from the body at the same time as from their vice (kakia) which accompanies the soul (psukhē). But now, just when she appears to be deathless, no other {d} refuge from evils (kaka) would exist nor a safety (sōtēria) except becoming as good and as thoughtful (phronimōtaton) as possible. For the soul (psukhē) goes into Hades having nothing else except education and upbringing, just the things which are said in the greatest way to bring help or harm to the one who has come to an end (teleutan) straightway at the beginning of his passage to that place. And it is said thus, that the genius (daimōn) of each one who has come to an end, the very one which he had obtained by lot while living, this one attempts to lead him to some certain place, where it is necessary for the ones who’ve gathered for the judgment (diadikazesthai) to be conveyed into {e} Hades with that guide to which it has been assigned to convey them from here to there. But when they have hit upon there what they ought to hit upon, and have remained for the necessary time, a different guide escorts them back here over many long circuits of time. And the passage, therefore, is not as Aeschlyus’ Telephus says, {108a} since that one claims that a simple path carries one into Hades, but it appears to me to be neither simple nor single. For then there wouldn’t even be a need for guides. And I don’t suppose (pou) anyone would go astray in any way from a road that is one. On the other hand, it now seems likely that it has both divisions and many forks; [270] I speak, having as evidence the offerings and customs (nomima) in this place.
Now then, the orderly (kosmia) and thoughtful (phronimos) soul (psukhē) follows along and is not ignorant with regard to the present circumstances. But the one that has a desire (epithumētikōs) for the body, the very thing which I was saying before, flutters {b} around that thing and the seeable place for a lot of time, and with much straining and much suffering (paskhein), by force (bia) and with toil being led by the assigned genius (daimōn), she goes off. And, the <soul> arrives where the others are—the one, on the one hand, who is impure and who has done [271] a certain sort of thing, either having engaged in unjust (adika) man-slaughters or having carried out certain other sorts of deeds, deeds which happen to be both kindred to these and of kindred souls (psukhai), altogether everyone flees and turns away from this one, and neither is willing to become a fellow-traveler nor a guide, but she herself wanders and is disposed to {c} total perplexity until a certain amount of time has passed, after which she is carried by necessity into the dwelling (oikēsis) that becomes her. But the <soul> who has gone through life both purely and within measure, and who happens upon fellow-companions and guides who are gods, each one dwells (oikein) in the place that becomes her. But there are many wondrous places in the earth, and it itself [272] is not of the sort or size it is opined <to be> by the ones accustomed to speak about earth, so I’ve been persuaded by someone.”
{d} And Simmias said, “How do you mean these things, Socrates? Let me tell you, I myself have heard many things too about earth; not, however, these things which persuade you. So, I would hear them with pleasure.”
“But, Simmias, the art of Glaucus [273] at least does not seem to me to be <required> to go through what these things are. Since truly (alēthē), it appears to me too difficult for Glaucus’ art—partly, perhaps I would not even be able <to go through them>, but partly, even if I had the knowledge, my life seems to me, Simmias, not to suffice for the length of the speech. However, nothing prevents me from saying the sort of idea {e} I’ve been persuaded the earth is and the places in it.”
“But, even these suffice,” said Simmias.
“Well then, I’ve been persuaded,” said he, “that first, if it is in the middle of the heaven and is circular, nothing is necessary for it—neither {109a} air for not falling nor any different sort of necessity, but the similarity of the heaven itself to itself in every way and the equilibrium of the earth itself are sufficient to hold it. For a thing [274] in equilibrium placed in the middle of some similar thing will not be able to incline more or less to either side, but it remains similarly uninclined. Well then, first,” said he, “I’ve been persuaded of this.”
“And rightly indeed,” said Simmias.
“Yet furthermore,” he said, “it is something very big, and {b} we dwell (oikein) from the River Phasis up to the point of the pillars of Heracles, dwelling (oikein) in some small part around the sea, just as ants or frogs <dwell> around a pool, and many others elsewhere dwell (oikein) in many such places. For in every place around the earth there are many hollows of various looks [275] and sizes into which water, mist, and air flow together. But the earth itself lies pure in pure heaven in the very place where the stars are, which {c} the many, who are accustomed to talk about such things name, ‘ether.’ So, these things (water, mist, and air) are a sediment of this (ether), and they forever flow together into the hollows of the earth. And we who dwell (oikein) in the hollows of it are unaware, and imagine that we dwell (oikein) up on top of the earth, just as if someone dwelling (oikein) in the middle of the deep bottom of the sea might imagine he dwells (oikein) on top of the sea. And when he sees the sun and the other stars through the water, he might believe that the sea is heaven. But because of slowness and weakness {d} he has never yet arrived at the top of the sea nor has he seen, emerging and coming up out of the sea into this place here, by how much it happens to be purer and more beautiful than the spot near them; nor has he heard from anyone else who has seen it. We, too, have undergone (paskhein) this exact same thing—we dwell (oikein) in some hollow of the earth, but we imagine that we dwell (oikein) up on top of it, and we call the air ‘heaven’—it being heaven because the stars travel through it. But it is the same—{e} by weakness and slowness we are not able to go through to the outermost air; since, if someone should go to the top of it or fly up, after sprouting wings, and come up out to look down, just as the fishes coming up out of the sea there see the things here, so too someone would look down at the things there, and if nature might be sufficient to hold him up while he beholds it (theōrein), he would recognize that that one is the true (alēthōs) heaven and the truthful (alēthinon) light and thus {110a} truly (hōs alēthōs) the earth.
So this earth, the stones, and altogether every place here have been utterly destroyed and devoured, just as the things in the sea by the brine, and neither does anything worthy of speech grow in the sea, nor does anything perfect (teleion) exist, to say it in a word (epos), but caverns, sand and unimaginable mud and mire exist, wherever earth too may be, and in relation to the beauties near us they are in no way whatsoever worthy to be judged (krinesthai). But those things, in turn, would appear much more distinguished than the ones near us. {b} In fact, if to tell a story (muthos) is beautiful too, it is worth hearing, Simmias, the sorts of things that happen to be on top of the earth under the heaven.”
“But really, Socrates,” said Simmias, “we would indeed hear this story (muthos) with pleasure.”
“Well now, it’s said, comrade,” he said, “first off that this earth is such as to look, if someone should behold (theasthai) it from above, just as twelve-piece leather balls—mottled and divided up by colors, of which the colors here are just like samples that the {c} painters [276] apply. But in that place the entire earth is from such <colors>, and even brighter and purer ones than these by far. Now, the sea-purple <part> is wondrous in beauty, and the <part> that’s like gold, and as much as is white is whiter than chalk or snow, and in the same way one composed from different colors, and ones still greater in number and more beautiful than as many as we have seen. In fact, even these very hollows of it are full of both water and air, and provide some form {d} of color that glistens in the mottling of the other colors, so as to be made manifest as some single, continuous mottled form of it (earth). And in this sort of being, the things growing grow according to ratio (logos)—trees, flowers, and fruits. And, in turn, the mountains in the same way, and the stones have throughout them the same ratio (logos) in lightness, transparency and colors more beautiful. Of these, the pebbles there are the precious parts here—sards, jaspers, emeralds, and all {e} such things. But in that place, there is not one that is not such as to be still more beautiful than these. And the cause (to aition) of this is that those stones are pure and have not been devoured or utterly destroyed as the ones here are—by the rot and brine through which things flow together here, which produce deformities and diseases in stones, earth, and in the rest of the living animals and plants. And the same earth has been adorned (kosmeisthai) by altogether all these, and further, by gold {111a} and silver and, again, other such things. For these things are by nature apparent, since they are many in multitude, big, and in every place on earth, so that it looks to be a sight (theama) for happy (eudaimones) sightseers (theatai). And living animals are on it— many others and human beings, some who dwell (oikein) inland, others around the air, just as we <dwell> around the sea, while others <dwell> on islands around which the air flows, being near the mainland. And, in one speech, the very thing that from our perspective the water and the sea are for our {b} needs, the air is in that place, but what the air is for us, the ether is for those. And the seasons (hōrai) are in a mixed condition for them, such that they are without disease and they live for a much greater time than those here; and in sight, hearing, thoughtfulness (phronēsis), and all such things, they stand out from us in purity by the same distance (apostasis) that air stands out from water and ether from air. In particular, there are both groves and temples (hiera) for gods, where gods are really [277] dwellers (oikētai), and utterances, prophecies (manteiai), and perceptions of the gods, and such interactions [278] with them come to be {c} in the presence of them. And the sun, moon, and stars are seen by them such as they happen to be, and the rest of happiness (eudaimonia) follows after these.
So then, in this way the whole earth is by nature and also the things around the earth. But the places in it are many, down in its hollows in a circle around the whole; some are deeper and more spread out than in the place where we dwell (oikein), while others, though they are deeper, have a littler chasm than in the place near us; {d} and there are some that are shallower in depth than here and broader. [279] But all these under the earth are connected to one another in many places and have narrower and wider channels, where a lot of water flows from some into others just as into mixing bowls, and unimaginable magnitudes of ever-flowing rivers under the earth, and hot and cold waters, and a lot of fire and big rivers of fire, and many of liquid mud, purer and {e} more mired, just as the rivers of mud in Sicily, which flow ahead of the lava, and the lava itself. So, each of the places is filled with these, as the flowing round happens to come to be for each of them on each occasion. And all these things move up and down just as if there is some suspension in the earth. But, accordingly, there exists this very suspension because of the following sort of nature—one of the chasms of the earth happens to be especially big, and {112a} pierced through and through, through the whole earth, and this is the very thing which Homer spoke of, saying about it—
Very far off, in the deepest place under ground is a pit
—the thing which in other places too, that one and many others poets have called ‘Tartarus.’ For, into this chasm all rivers flow together and from this they flow out again. And each comes to be such as the sort of earth it also {b} flows through. But the cause (aitia) of all the streams flowing out and in from there is that this liquid does not have a bottom or base. It hangs suspended and billows up and down, and the air and the breath of wind around it do [280] the same. For they follow close to it and whenever they get spurred on toward the part of the earth over there or toward this part, just as those who breathe always blow out and in the flow of breath, so too in that place the breath that hangs suspended in the liquid produces some terrible (deinoi) and unimaginable winds, as it goes in and out.
{c} And so, whenever the water withdraws into the place, which is called the ‘below,’ it flows through the earth into the spaces down in those streams, and fills them, just as irrigators do. And, whenever, again, it leaves behind that place, and gets spurred on towards here, it straightway fills spaces here, while the spaces that are filled flow through the channels and through the earth, and each arrives at the places, into each of which each makes its way, and makes seas, lakes, rivers, and springs. And from there, again, they sink back down into the {d} earth—some that have gone around to more remote and more numerous places, others to ones that are fewer in number and closer—and empty back into Tartarus, some much farther below than where they were irrigated, others only a little. But everything down below flows into the outflow—some flow in straight down opposite to where they fell out, while others into the same part. But the ones that have gone completely around in a circle, once or more times coiled around the earth, just like snakes, go down as low as possible, and empty into it again. And it is possible {e} to go down to the middle point from either side, but not beyond. For the part on either side becomes steep for both streams.
Now then, there are many other streams, great and varied. But, accordingly, there happens to be among these many streams a certain four, of which the greatest and outermost, which flows around in a circle, is called ‘Oceanus.’ And this flows straight down opposite and contrary to Acheron, which flows through {113a} other desolate places, but in particular, it flows underground [281] and arrives at the Acherousian Lake, where the souls (psukhai) of the many who have come to an end (teleutan) arrive and certain ones stay, who have been allotted a portion (meiresthai) of time—some for a longer time, others for a shorter time, until they are sent back into the geneses of the living. And a third river among these empties down in the middle, and it falls out near the outflow into a big place burning with a lot of fire, and makes a lake greater than our sea, and boiling with water and mud. From there, it travels in a circle, {b} turbid and muddy, and as it snakes around the earth, it arrives elsewhere and at the outermost points of the Acherousian Lake, thought it doesn’t intermingle with the water. Then, after it has coiled around under the earth many times, it empties further down into Tartarus. And this is what they name ‘Pyriphlegethon,’ and whose lava blasts up in fragments, wherever it hits upon the earth. Again, straight down opposite from this, the fourth falls out, first into a place both terrible (deinos) and wild, so it is said, and a place that has a color that’s on the whole {c} a sort of dark blue, exactly what they name, ‘Stygian,’ and the lake which the river makes when it empties out, ‘Styx.’ After it has fallen there, and caught terrible (deinos) potencies in its water, it sinks below the earth, and snakes around and travels contrary to Pyriphlegethon, and meets it in the Acherousian Lake from the contrary side. And its water does not mix with any other, but this too has gone around in a circle, and empties into Tartarus contrary to Pyriphlegethon. And the name for this is, so the poets say, ‘Cocytus.’
{d} Now, since these things are so by nature, whenever the ones who’ve come to an end (teleutan) arrive at the place where each genius (daimōn) brings them, first they are given a judgment (dikazesthai)—both the ones who lived beautifully and reverently, and the ones who did not. But the ones who seem to have lived in the middle, after they have been carried to Acheron, and have gone up on the rafts for them there, on these they arrive at the lake, and in that place they dwell (oikein) and are let go, after they are purified of injustices (adikēmata) and pay the penalty (dikai), if any has done an injustice (adikein); {e} and they bear honors (timai) for acting well, according to what each deserves. But the ones who seem to have an incurable condition on account of the magnitude of their mistakes, either carrying out many great sacrileges (hierosuliai) or unjust (adikoi) murders, and many illegalities (paranomoi) or other things that happen to be of that sort, the fitting fate (moira) hurls into Tartarus, from where they never exit.
But the ones who seem curable, though they have made big mistakes—for example, after doing some violence (biaion) to a father or mother under the influence of anger, {114a} they live the rest of their life in repentance to them, or manslaughters that arise in some different sort of manner. These of necessity fall into Tartarus, and after they have fallen into it and have passed one year in that place, the swell throws them out [282] —the manslaughters down to Cocytus, while the patricides and matricides down to Pyriphlegethon. And whenever, carried down, they come to be at the Acherousian Lake, there they shout and call out—some to the ones they killed, others to those against whom they committed outrages (hubrizein). And, after they have called out, they supplicate and beg them {b} to allow them to go out into the lake and receive them, and if they are persuasive, they go out and cease from the evils (kaka), but if not, they are carried back again into Tartarus and from there, again, into the rivers; and they do not stop suffering (paskhein) these things until they have persuaded the ones against whom they did injustice (adikein). For this is the judgment (dikē) assigned to them by the judges (dikastai).
But, on the other hand, the ones who seem distinguished for living reverently, these ones are freed and released from these places here in the earth, {c} just as if from prisons, [283] and arriving up at the pure dwelling (oikēsis), they dwell (oikizesthai) on top of earth. And those of them who are sufficiently purified by philosophy, live on forever after without bodies, and arrive at dwellings (oikēseis) still more beautiful than these, which are neither easy to make clear nor is there sufficient time at present. But for the sake of these things we’ve gone through, Simmias, we must do [284] everything so as to have a share of virtue (aretē) and thoughtfulness (phronēsis) in life—for the prize (athlon) is beautiful and the hope is great.
{d} Now then, it isn’t appropriate for any man who has a mind (nous) to insist that these things hold in the way I’ve gone through them. However, that either these things are so or some other such things about our souls (psukhai) and their dwellings (oikēseis)—since indeed the soul (psukhē) appears to be deathless at least—this seems to me to be appropriate and worth the risk for one who supposes it is so, [285] for the risk is beautiful, and such things are necessary, just as singing to oneself, which is why I for my part, lengthened the story (muthos) for a while. But for the sake of exactly these things, a man must be bold for his own soul (psukhē)—{e} the man who in his life says goodbye to the other pleasures that concern the body and its adornments (kosmoi), as if they were alien, and believes that they have the opposite [286] effect, while he is earnest about the ones that concern learning and adorn (kosmein) the soul (psukhē), not with something alien but with her own adornment (kosmos)—moderation (sōphrosunē), {115a} justice (dikaiosunē), courage, freedom, and truth (alētheia)—and so he waits around for the passage into Hades, as if intending to pass over, whenever the fated (meiresthai) should call.
“So then, you all,” he said, “Simmias and Cebes, and the rest, will each, in turn, pass over at a certain time. But now the fated (meiresthai) soon calls me, as a tragic man might claim, and it is nearly the hour (hōra) for me to turn to the bath. For it seems better to drink the poison after bathing, and not to give the women the trouble [287] of bathing a corpse.”
{b} After he said these things, Crito said, “Well, Socrates, what are your instructions for these ones and for me concerning your children or anything else? What can we do [288] for you to especially do [289] homage (kharis) to you?”
“The very things I’m always saying, Crito,” he said, “nothing more novel—that by taking care of yourselves you will do [290] homage (kharis) to me, to mine, and to yourselves whatever you do, [291] even if you do not agree right now. However, if you do not take care of yourselves and do not wish to live, as if in the footsteps of what was now said and what was said in the previous time, not even if you should agree many times and {c} extremely in the present will you do [292] anything greater.”
“We will be eager (prothumeisthai), then, to do [293] these things in this way,” he said. “But in what manner should we bury you?”
“How ever you all want,” he said, “if indeed at least you get me and I don’t escape you.” And he laughed quietly (hēsukhēi), as he looked at us and said, “Men, I’m not persuading Crito that I am this Socrates, the one who just now converses and arranges each of the things said. Instead, he imagines that I am that one {d} he will see a little later as a corpse, and so he asks how exactly he should bury me. But as to a speech I made a while ago, that whenever I drink the poison, I won’t any longer remain present for you, but I shall be gone and go away into certain sorts of happiness (eudaimoniai) for blessed ones (makarioi), to me I seem to him [294] to be saying these things in a different way, telling stories (paramutheisthai) at once to you all and to myself. So, give a pledge to me for Crito,” he said, “a pledge contrary to the one he pledged to the judges (dikastai), since he pledged that I would remain present. But you all pledge that I won’t remain present whenever I die, {e} but will be gone and go away, in order that Crito may bear it more easily, and won’t, seeing my body being burned or buried, feel vexed on my behalf that I suffer (paskhein) terrible things (deina), and won’t say at the funeral that he is laying out Socrates or carrying Socrates or burying Socrates. For, know well, best (aristos) Crito,” he said, “not speaking beautifully is out-of-tune not only in regard to this very thing, but also makes something evil (kakon) in the souls (psukhai). But one must be bold and claim to be burying my body, and to bury it thus however {116a} it may be dear (philon) to you and however you believe that it is most of all customary (nomimon).”
After he spoke these things, he stood up and went into a sort of house (oikēma) for bathing, and Crito followed him, but he bid us to remain. So, we remained conversing amongst ourselves about the things said and examining them again, and at that time, again, going through how great a misfortune would come to be for us, artlessly believing our life thereafter would be just like that of orphans robbed of a father.
And after he bathed and his children had been brought to him—{b} two of his sons were small, and one big—and those woman of his house (oikeiai) had arrived, he conversed opposite to Crito [295] and instructed whatever he wanted, and then bid the women and the children to go away, and he himself came to us. The setting of the sun was already near—for he had spent [296] a lot of time inside. But after he had bathed, he came out and sat down, and not many things after these were conversed about, and then the servant of the Eleven had come and stood beside {c} him—
“Socrates,” he said, “I won’t convict you at least of the very thing I convict others, that they are angry with me and curse me whenever I bring the message for them to drink the poison under the compulsion of the authorities. But with you I’ve become differently acquainted during this time, as a man who is noblest, gentlest, and best (aristos) of those who have ever yet arrived here. And, in particular now, I know well that you are not angry with me, since you recognize the ones who are the causes (aitioi), [297] and are angry with them instead. So now—for you know what messages {d} I have come to bring—goodbye and try to bear these necessities as easily as possible.” And while shedding tears, he turned around and went away.
And Socrates looked up at him and said, “Goodbye to you, too, and we shall do [298] these things.” At the same time <he looked> toward us, and said, “How civilized that fellow is! Really, throughout all my time he used to come to me, and he sometimes used to converse, and was most agreeable of men. And now how nobly he cries for me! But come, Crito, let’s obey him, and have someone bring the poison, if it has been ground up. [299] And if not, let the fellow grind it up.”
{e} And Crito said, “But, Socrates, I expect there is still sun on the mountains and it has not yet set. And I also know others drink quite late, and whenever the message is brought to them, they have dined and drunk quite well, and some at least have been with whomever they happen to desire (epithumein). But don’t hurry, for there is still a ways to go.”
And Socrates said, “In all likelihood, Crito, those ones do [300] these things, the ones whom you say—for they suppose that they will gain (kerdainein) from doing [301] them—and in all likelihood, I, for my part, won’t do [302] them. {117a} Since, I don’t suppose I’ll gain (kerdainein) anything else by drinking a little later except incurring laughter in my own eyes by clinging to living and using it sparingly, when nothing is still in it. But come,” he said, “obey and don’t do [303] otherwise.”
And when Crito heard this, he nodded to the boy standing nearby. The boy went out, and spent [304] a long time away, and came back leading the one who was to give the poison, who was bringing it ground up [305] in a cup. When Socrates saw the fellow, he said, “Well then, best one, since you know about these things, what is it necessary to do?” [306]
“Nothing else,” he said, “than while you drink, walk around until a heaviness comes to be {b} in your legs, and then lie down. And so it will act [307] by itself.” At the same time, he stretched out [308] the cup to Socrates.
And he seized it—very propitiously too, Echecrates. He was afraid of nothing and didn’t even lose any of his color or composure, but just as he was accustomed, he looked at the fellow from under his brow like a bull, and said, “What do you say about this drink being poured by someone as a libation? Is it possible or not?”
“We only grind up so much, Socrates, as we expect is due measure to drink,” he said.
{c} “I understand,” said he, “but it is both possible and necessary, I suppose (pou), to pray to the gods that the change of dwelling (metoikēsis) from here to there comes to be fortunate. And I’m praying exactly this and would that it come to be in this way!”
And at the same time as he said these things, he held it up and drained it very coolly and with satisfaction. Meanwhile, most of us were fairly able to hold back our tears. But as we saw him drinking and having drunk, no longer <were we able>, but indeed even in spite of my restraint (bia) my own tears were issuing forth in floods, so that, though I covered my face, I kept bewailing myself—admittedly, not for him, but {d} for my own fortune, that I had been robbed of such a man as a comrade.
But even before me, Crito stood up to go, since he was not able to hold back his tears. While Apollodorus, who even during the previous time did not stop crying at any point, at that time in particular, bellowed aloud, wailing with such vexation that there was not even anyone of the ones present who did not break down—except, of course, Socrates himself.
And that one said, “What are you all doing, [309] you wonders? I certainly didn’t least of all send the women away for this reason, so that {e} they wouldn’t strike such false notes. And really, I’ve heard that one must come to an end (teleutan) with good karma. [310] So be quiet (hēsukhia) and control yourselves.”
When we heard this, we were ashamed of ourselves and held back our crying. But, he walked around, and when he said his legs were heavy, he lay down on his back—for so the fellow instructed—and at the same time, this one who had given the poison grasped him, and after letting an interval of time pass, he examined his feet and legs, and then putting extreme pressure on his foot he asked if {118a} he could sense it, but he said he couldn’t. And, after this, in turn, his calves. So, going up in this way, he showed us that he was getting cold and stiff. And as he himself touched him, he said that, when it came to be in his heart, at that moment he would be gone.
Already he was getting cold near and around his lower abdomen, and uncovering his head—for he was covered up—he spoke—the very thing last thing (teleutaion) he uttered—
“Crito,” he said, “we owe a cock to Asclepius. But give it back and don’t be careless.”
“But of course, these things will be,” Crito said. “But see if you have something else to say.”
When he was asked these things, he didn’t answer any longer, but letting a little interval of time pass he made a movement and the fellow uncovered him, and fixed the countenance. When Crito saw, he shut the mouth and the eyes.
This end (teleutē), Echecrates, came to be for our comrade, a man, so we would assert, who was the best (aristos) of the ones at that time with whom we had experience, [311] and besides, most thoughtful (phroniōtatos) and most just (dikaiotatos).


[ back ] 1. This translation uses the Oxford Greek text, edited by E. A. Duke, W. F. Hicken, and W. S. M. Nicoll, D. B. Robinson, and J. C. G. Strachan (Clarendon Press, 1995).
[ back ] 2. pharmakon can mean “poison” or “remedy.”
[ back ] 3. ekhein: “to have” or “hold” is here used as “to be able,” i.e., “to have it in you” or to “have the power.”
[ back ] 4. gignesthai: usually translated “to come to be” or “be born,” but, occasionally, “pass” or “occur.”
[ back ] 5. gignesthai. See footnote 4.
[ back ] 6. gignesthai.
[ back ] 7. epitēdeioi: “close,” “useful,” “serviceable,” or “friendly,” but not the same as philoi. E.g., Plato Crito 43c, 44c, e, 46a, 53b, 54b (vs. 54c).
[ back ] 8. “you all” indicates you plural (as opposed to the singular or dual).
[ back ] 9. logoi: “speeches.” But the word is broader—logos can mean many things from “sense” to “argument” to “ratio.” Where varying translations occur, I place logos in parentheses.
[ back ] 10. Here, paristasthai: “to cause to stand” or “put into one’s head.”
[ back ] 11. atopos: “absurd,” or literally, “placeless.”
[ back ] 12. I regularly indicate in parentheses the use of the word pou; it is sometimes quite difficult to tell if Socrates means it literally as, “somewhere,” or the figurative, “I suppose” (“somewhere in my thinking”).
[ back ] 13. ekhein—“was altogether in every way holding in this way.”
[ back ] 14. diatribein: “to rub the day away,” and so, “pass or spend time.” Tribein is also used to refer to Socrates’ “rubbing” of his leg (60b) and the “grinding up” of the poison (116d).
[ back ] 15. “The Eleven” were the Athenian men in charge of the prison and executions in Athens.
[ back ] 16. katalambanein: “to take in,” “seize,” or “comprehend” (i.e., seize with the mind).
[ back ] 17. ektribein. See footnote 14.
[ back ] 18. tribein.
[ back ] 19. lupēron: “painful,” “distressing,” often of mental pain. Cp. footnote 24.
[ back ] 20. “Pair” indicates the presence of the dual number in Greek.
[ back ] 21. lambanein: “to seize,” “grasp,” or “take.”
[ back ] 22. haptesthai: “to fasten,” “touch,” or “grasp.”
[ back ] 23. “The same (to auton),” is here (though not always) rendered “self-same” to capture the presence of autos in its emphatic sense as “self” (i.e., “you yourself, Phaedo…,” 57a).
[ back ] 24. algeinon: “painful,” “grievous.” Cp. footnote 19.
[ back ] 25. hupolambanein: “to interrupt,” “answer,” or “assume.”
[ back ] 26. legein: “to say,” “speak,” or “mean.”
[ back ] 27. poiein: “to make” or “do” (or maybe, “make out”), the word is here associated with Socrates’ poetic compositions; it is related to the Greek word poiētēs, “poet.”
[ back ] 28. prattein, “to do” or “fare” is different from poiein, “to make” or “do.” poiein is consistently translated as “make” (unless otherwise indicated in a footnote), while prattein is translated as “do” or “fare” (unless otherwise indicated in a footnote).
[ back ] 29. hupolambanein.
[ back ] 30. pragma: “thing,” “affair,” “issue”; in the plural, “troubles,” “problems.”
[ back ] 31. The first occurrence of “perhaps” as a translation “equally (isōs)” (equally this, equally that, and so, perhaps). I point this out because of the importance of “the equal (to ison)” later on.
[ back ] 32. poiein.
[ back ] 33. Here and in the next instance, literally, “to have died”; the verb is perfect tense, but one might well wonder whether a completed state of “having died” would really be understandable as “being dead.”
[ back ] 34. poiein.
[ back ] 35. Present tense—“says.”
[ back ] 36. ekhein—“hold sense (logos).”
[ back ] 37. pragmateia: “business,” “prosecution,” “occupation.”
[ back ] 38. teinein: “to stretch out,” “strain,” or at 60d, enteinein, “stretch into <meter>.”
[ back ] 39. poiein.
[ back ] 40. khairein: “to rejoice,” as at 62e, or “say hello” or “goodbye,” and so “dismiss.” I.e., “let him dismiss it (say goodbye to it) from his mind.” Or perhaps, “let <Crito> dismiss him.”
[ back ] 41. pragmata.
[ back ] 42. tōi onti, “in the being,” is in my translation, “as it is.” Other possible renderings include, “really and truly” or “in reality”; footnotes indicate instances where I use an alternative.
[ back ] 43. diatribein.
[ back ] 44. Or, “be put to death.”
[ back ] 45. haptesthai.
[ back ] 46. Literally, “having died.”
[ back ] 47. dokein: “to seem,” “to be of the opinion.”
[ back ] 48. Here and wherever it appears as a noun by itself, “fellows,” translates anthrōpoi, “human beings,” and “fellow,” anthrōpos, “human being.”
[ back ] 49. khairein. See footnote 40.
[ back ] 50. hupolambanein.
[ back ] 51. Again, “having died.”
[ back ] 52. pragmateia.
[ back ] 53. dēlos: “clear,” “evident.”
[ back ] 54. Or, “that he is not worthy to live.”
[ back ] 55. phauloterai—comparative of phaulos: “low,” “paltry,” “meager,” “common,” “trivial.”
[ back ] 56. epikheirein: “to put one’s hand on” or “attempt.”
[ back ] 57. Or, “the things which are.” See footnotes 60 and 62.
[ back ] 58. See footnote 40.
[ back ] 59. oregesthai: “to reach out,” “to yearn for,” “to desire.”
[ back ] 60. Or, “what is”; the Greek is to on. See footnote 62.
[ back ] 61. ephaptein.
[ back ] 62. ousia: “being,” as in “essence” or “substance,” rather than on, “a being.” Socrates appears to be identifying ousia with the substantive to on, “the being” or “what is.” But because of the difficulty of rendering the subtlety of this identification in English, I translate the few occurrences of ousia as ousia.
[ back ] 63. Here, the verb ekhein with an adverb (“so”) is translated as “is.” I indicate the translation of ekhein as “is” in footnotes.
[ back ] 64. poiein.
[ back ] 65. Or, more idiomatically, “so to speak.”
[ back ] 66. to on. See footnote 62.
[ back ] 67. huperphuōs: “preternaturally,” “extraordinarily.”
[ back ] 68. Or, “there runs the risk of being….”
[ back ] 69. tōi onti.
[ back ] 70. eggignesthai: “to be born in,” “take place in,” or, impersonally, “it is possible.”
[ back ] 71. khrēmata: “useful things,” but idiomatically, “money.”
[ back ] 72. pragmata.
[ back ] 73. ephaptein.
[ back ] 74. doxazein.
[ back ] 75. pragmateia.
[ back ] 76. tōi onti.
[ back ] 77. ekhein.
[ back ] 78. ekhein. This could also be rendered, “‘Entirely,’ he said, ‘he is as you say.’”
[ back ] 79. homōs: “nevertheless” or, more potently, “all the same.”
[ back ] 80. Here and in the next three instances I have translated tōi onti as “in reality” to highlight the frequency of its presence.
[ back ] 81. phauloi. See footnote 55.
[ back ] 82. βΤδ add., “but it holds distrust for the many.”
[ back ] 83. The verb is middle, and could also be read, “releasing (herself).”
[ back ] 84. poiein.
[ back ] 85. ekhein.
[ back ] 86. This could also be translated, “Could anything else be our souls in that place?”
[ back ] 87. aischron: “ugly” or “shameful.”
[ back ] 88. Or, “from nowhere else do they come to be than from the contrary to it.”
[ back ] 89. “Bigger” and “smaller” could also be translated “greater” and “less.”
[ back ] 90. pragmata.
[ back ] 91. Dual.
[ back ] 92. pragma.
[ back ] 93. Dual.
[ back ] 94. Plural.
[ back ] 95. anagkaion—with a sense of “compulsory.”
[ back ] 96. poiein.
[ back ] 97. This is one of the many interesting places where pou might equally be rendered “somewhere.”
[ back ] 98. Or, “see it.”
[ back ] 99. to katantikru: “the straight down opposite.” Cp. 112dff.
[ back ] 100. “… would have the same figure …” puns on schoiē (the optative form of ekhein, “to have”) and schēma (“figure”).
[ back ] 101. chrēmata.
[ back ] 102. “have died.”
[ back ] 103. tōi onti.
[ back ] 104. βδ add., “…and for the good ones at least, something better exists, but for the bad ones, something worse.”
[ back ] 105. Or, “our soul.”
[ back ] 106. The word eidos (“form”) is an important one in Plato; it is related to but more provisional than the word idea (“idea”)—a distinction Plato makes in Republic X. Both, however, are related to the verb eidenai, which is the perfect tense of the verb horan, “to see.”
[ back ] 107. ekhein.
[ back ] 108. Here logos seems to entail, “correct speech,” “right argument,” “right sense.” See footnote 9. A demonstration of this occurs in Plato’s Meno.
[ back ] 109. poiein.
[ back ] 110. heteron usually indicates the presence of a related other, i.e., heteron…heteron, “the one… the other.” On the other hand, allon indicates something which is wholly other, and so “different.”
[ back ] 111. heteron.
[ back ] 112. heteron.
[ back ] 113. As Socrates moves through the argument, “seize” (lambanein) moves from literal to metaphorical. I therefore opt to morph my translation from “seize” into the more ambiguous “get, got, gotten” (as opposed to what is “forgotten”) or “get ahold of” to show the slide from the act of apprehension to comprehension.
[ back ] 114. allon.
[ back ] 115. “one thing … something else” translates “allo allo.”
[ back ] 116. phaulos.
[ back ] 117. oregesthai. See footnote 59.
[ back ] 118. haptesthai—translated as “grasp,” “fasten,” or “touch,” unless otherwise noted. See footnote 22.
[ back ] 119. phaulos.
[ back ] 120. Or, “our speech.”
[ back ] 121. The verb translated “knowing” and “know” is eidenai, literally, “to have seen” (and hence, to know). This is interesting, because of Socrates’ sidelining of sense-perception. The verb itself expresses a connection between sight and knowledge.
[ back ] 122. analambanein: “to take up” or “recover.”
[ back ] 123. ekhein.
[ back ] 124. ekhein.
[ back ] 125. ekhein, here and in the next exchange.
[ back ] 126. poiein.
[ back ] 127. Or, “I myself forgot….”
[ back ] 128. ekhein.
[ back ] 129. There is initially some ambiguity as to whether Socrates means “the beautiful” and “the good” or “something beautiful” and “something good.”
[ back ] 130. “it being (ousan) ours….”
[ back ] 131. enarges: “palpable,” “lucid,” “clear” in the sense of “visible.”
[ back ] 132. Or, “compose.” Cp. 60c.
[ back ] 133. Or, “breath.” Cp. 112b-c.
[ back ] 134. kairos: “seasonable,” “at just the right time,” “critical.”
[ back ] 135. poiein.
[ back ] 136. This might mean “… and to what sort of person is it fearful,” or one could, as Heindorf does, add “not.”
[ back ] 137. ta auta, “the same,” is here rendered “self-same” to capture the presence of autos in its sense as “self.”
[ back ] 138. to einai: “being,” or “existing.”
[ back ] 139. ekhein—for both “keep” and “hold.”
[ back ] 140. to on: “the thing which exists,” “what is.”
[ back ] 141. tauta, “these things,” here rings with ambiguity, since it looks identical to tauta (ta auta), “the same things.”
[ back ] 142. Two words are used here—invisible (aides) and seeable (horatos). aides allows a pun on Hades (Haidēs).
[ back ] 143. Socrates is using a neuter adjective to characterize feminine soul; it is suggestive because body, to sōma, is neuter.
[ back ] 144. Seeing and hearing are now articular infinitives, not, as before, participles.
[ back ] 145. The verb is middle/passive and could be rendered “troubles” in such a way as to imply that she is troubling herself.
[ back ] 146. This is strange language for something that always is.
[ back ] 147. The verb is horan, “to see,” which Socrates has been regularly using to indicate seeing with the eyes.
[ back ] 148. arkhesthai, if read as middle, can also mean “to be first,” and hence (sometimes), “to rule” or “to be in a position of leadership”; this would complicate the clear division of duties.
[ back ] 149. kata tauta (“according to these things”) is indistinguishable from kata tauta (“in the same condition”).
[ back ] 150. Again, arkhesthai.
[ back ] 151. This is an over-translation in an attempt to render the pun dēla .
[ back ] 152. The singular vocative is used with te kai (“both…and…”) to refer to both Simmias and Cebes. See also 82c.
[ back ] 153. The perfect tense of the verb “to stain” (memiasmenē) stutters in the same way as the perfect tense of the verb used to refer to the “initiates” (memuēmenōn).
[ back ] 154. empoiein.
[ back ] 155. In Greek, the sentence reads: tou aidous te kai haidou.
[ back ] 156. Or, “on account of which they see.”
[ back ] 157. phauloi—here, one could almost say, “losers.”
[ back ] 158. I.e., following along in an attentive, acolyte-ish way.
[ back ] 159. meletan: previously translated, “training for.”
[ back ] 160. amelein, “to have no concern for,” “neglect,” as opposed to “be concerned with,” and so “exercise” or “train” (meletan).
[ back ] 161. meletē: “exercise,” “conditioning”; previously translated as, “training.”
[ back ] 162. meletē.
[ back ] 163. Cp. the other pairings of Simmias and Cebes at 63b, 64a, 69d, 77c, 77d, 84b, 91b, 91d, 102a, and 115a, but especially, 80e, 82c, 89c and 102a.
[ back ] 164. plattontes seems to be a pun on Plato’s name.
[ back ] 165. hēgeisthai: “to lead,” “conduct,” “consider,” “think,” “believe.”
[ back ] 166. huphēgeisthai: “lead to,” “show the way,” “indicate.” The pronoun, which I have translated “it,” is throughout this sentence feminine, and seems to refer to philosophia, though in some cases one might start to think it is the “soul.” “The release of it” could equally mean “release from her.”
[ back ] 167. paralambanein: “to arrest,” “apprehend,” “take over.”
[ back ] 168. Again, this seems to refer to “philosophy,” but could also refer to the “soul.”
[ back ] 169. βδ have “and fears”; add. in mg T2 vel T m. I: om. T Π2 Iambl.
[ back ] 170. “or pained or made afraid” PQVΛB2 Π2 Iambl.; “and pained or made afraid” W; “or made afraid or pained” T; “or made afraid” β.
[ back ] 171. khairein.
[ back ] 172. prattein.
[ back ] 173. Dual.
[ back ] 174. Present tense—“says.”
[ back ] 175. phauloteros.
[ back ] 176. I.e., “disproportionately,” or perhaps, “unmetrically.”
[ back ] 177. gignesthai.
[ back ] 178. Cebes uses the words legein and logos, but in English one could easily translate this, “how someone might tell this story about an old fellow….”
[ back ] 179. ekhein.
[ back ] 180. Here and in what follows, the word is katatribein: “to wear out,” “rub down,” “exhaust.”
[ back ] 181. phauloteros.
[ back ] 182. ekhein.
[ back ] 183. pragmata.
[ back ] 184. antilambanein: “to lay hold of,” “attack,” “apprehend,” “captivate.”
[ back ] 185. Or, “haters of argument”; “speech” translates the logoi in misologoi. See footnote 9.
[ back ] 186. misanthrōpoi: “misanthropes,” “haters of human beings.”
[ back ] 187. aisthanesthai: “to perceive” or “sense” is now being used to refer to intellectual comprehension.
[ back ] 188. khrēstoi: good in the moral sense of “useful,” “serviceable,” or “brave.”
[ back ] 189. diatribein.
[ back ] 190. pragmata.
[ back ] 191. ekhein.
[ back ] 192. ekhein.
[ back ] 193. Or “obeying it is beautiful.”
[ back ] 194. ekhein.
[ back ] 195. pragma.
[ back ] 196. Literally, “from the strained/stretched things according to the body.”
[ back ] 197. Or “for you.”
[ back ] 198. poiein.
[ back ] 199. poiein.
[ back ] 200. gignesthai.
[ back ] 201. allon.
[ back ] 202. “One… the other”: here, heteron…heteron.
[ back ] 203. Literally, “the equal (to ison).”
[ back ] 204. Literally, “the equal (to ison).”
[ back ] 205. “one… other” is allon… allon.
[ back ] 206. heteronheteron.
[ back ] 207. pragma.
[ back ] 208. poiein.
[ back ] 209. Homer Odyssey 20.17-18.
[ back ] 210. pragma.
[ back ] 211. ekhein.
[ back ] 212. para doxa.
[ back ] 213. Literally, “whether you are saying something.”
[ back ] 214. prattein.
[ back ] 215. phaulon pragma.
[ back ] 216. ouranos: “heaven” or “sky.”
[ back ] 217. The verb may also be translated, “they were seeming.”
[ back ] 218. netriōs—usually translated, “within measure.”
[ back ] 219. heteron…heteron.
[ back ] 220. allēlōn.
[ back ] 221. heteron…heteron.
[ back ] 222. ekhein.
[ back ] 223. beltistos—here and wherever aristos is not indicated in parentheses.
[ back ] 224. poiein.
[ back ] 225. beltistos.
[ back ] 226. plateia: “flat” or “broad,” and a homonym for Plato’s name.
[ back ] 227. tropos: “turn,” “manner,” “fashion.”
[ back ] 228. poiein.
[ back ] 229. pragmata.
[ back ] 230. prattein—here and in what follows.
[ back ] 231. sumbolai.
[ back ] 232. heterai.
[ back ] 233. aitia is here a neuter plural adjective (“things responsible”), and in what follows, the singular to aition is translated the same as the feminine singular noun, aitia, “cause.” Cp. the first appearances of the adjective at 97c.
[ back ] 234. poiein.
[ back ] 235. poiein.
[ back ] 236. prattein.
[ back ] 237. Interestingly, this is tōi onti, elsewhere adverbial.
[ back ] 238. Or, “that without which the cause would never be responsible!”
[ back ] 239. plateia. See footnote 226.
[ back ] 240. pragmata.
[ back ] 241. Or, “as true beings.”
[ back ] 242. “one…another”: heteron…heteron.
[ back ] 243. allon.
[ back ] 244. “one…another”: heteron…heteron.
[ back ] 245. allon.
[ back ] 246. allon.
[ back ] 247. antilogikoi: “contradictors.”
[ back ] 248. poiein.
[ back ] 249. suggraphikōs erein: “to talk like a book.”
[ back ] 250. ekhein.
[ back ] 251. pragma.
[ back ] 252. pragma.
[ back ] 253. “They are named” must refer to the things which are named after the contraries, and yet it could equally refer to the contraries themselves; this makes wonder which things are named after which.
[ back ] 254. heteron…heteron.
[ back ] 255. Here and in what follows, “not only (monon)… but also,” employs the Greek monon, “alone.”
[ back ] 256. Or perhaps, “hold in a contrary way.”
[ back ] 257. Or, “while still three beings.”
[ back ] 258. Literally, “that which brings the contrary against that.” The repetition of “that” to mean both sides of an opposite seems to point to a potential overlap.
[ back ] 259. Interestingly, the last feminine noun to which this definite article might refer was not “idea,” but “contrariety.”
[ back ] 260. Or, “that stupid one.”
[ back ] 261. puretos—related to pur, “fire.”
[ back ] 262. monas. See footnote 255.
[ back ] 263. ekhein.
[ back ] 264. Again, literally, “have died.”
[ back ] 265. Or, “she would be in need of a different speech.”
[ back ] 266. aidion.
[ back ] 267. tōi onti.
[ back ] 268. ekhein.
[ back ] 269. megethos—elsewhere translated as “bigness.”
[ back ] 270. triodoi: “triple-roads,” meaning a “crossroads,” a place where three roads meet. Cp. Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus 801-2.
[ back ] 271. poiein.
[ back ] 272. “she herself is not of the sort…,” i.e., the “earth,” which, like the soul, is feminine in Greek. In what follows, I use “it” and “itself.”
[ back ] 273. Cp. Plato Republic 611d. Glaucus was a fisherman who became sea-god; in the Republic, he is a metaphor for what cannot be seen, since his appearance was marred by the waves and accretions of seaweed and shells.
[ back ] 274. pragma.
[ back ] 275. ideai; elsewhere, idea is translated as “idea.”
[ back ] 276. graphēs: “painters,” but also, “writers.”
[ back ] 277. tōi onti.
[ back ] 278. sunousiai: “interactions,” “being-with,” elsewhere translated as “intercourse” (sexual, conversational, or didactic).
[ back ] 279. platuteros. See footnote 226, 239.
[ back ] 280. poiein.
[ back ] 281. Literally, “under the earth.”
[ back ] 282. Or, as of the waters, “empties them out.”
[ back ] 283. Cp. 99e.
[ back ] 284. poiein.
[ back ] 285. ekhein.
[ back ] 286. thateron: “the other” effect.
[ back ] 287. pragmata.
[ back ] 288. poiein.
[ back ] 289. poiein.
[ back ] 290. poiein.
[ back ] 291. poiein.
[ back ] 292. poiein.
[ back ] 293. poiein.
[ back ] 294. Or, perversely, “I seem to me myself.”
[ back ] 295. Or, “contrary to Crito.”
[ back ] 296. diatribein.
[ back ] 297. Or, “who are responsible.”
[ back ] 298. poiein.
[ back ] 299. Here and in what follows, tribein: “to grind up” or “rub.”
[ back ] 300. poiein.
[ back ] 301. poiein.
[ back ] 302. poiein.
[ back ] 303. poiein.
[ back ] 304. diatribein.
[ back ] 305. tribesthai.
[ back ] 306. poiein.
[ back ] 307. poiein.
[ back ] 308. oregesthai.
[ back ] 309. poiein.
[ back ] 310. The word is euphēmia. It means, “words of good omen,” “silence before a prayer,” or “abstinence from inauspicious language”; here, it is also a nice way of saying “shut up, so I can die in peace.”
[ back ] 311. peirasthai: “to try,” “attempt,” “make a trial of”—a potential undertone of judgment is hard to ignore in this context.