Ξενοφώντος Συμπόσιον Γ

THE SYMPOSIUM or The Banquet by Xenofon, Translation by H. G. Dakyns

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Οἱ μὲν δὴ οἰνοχόοι οὕτως ἐποίουν. ᾿Εκ δὲ τούτου συνηρμοσμένῃ τῇ λύρᾳ πρὸς τὸν αὐλὸν ἐκιθάρισεν ὁ παῖς καὶ ᾖσεν. During this interval, whilst the cup-bearers carried out their duties, the boy played on the lyre tuned to accompany the flute, and sang.1
ἔνθα δὴ ἐπῄνεσαν μὲν ἅπαντες· ὁ δὲ Χαρμίδης καὶ εἶπεν· ᾿Αλλ᾿ ἐμοὶ μὲν δοκεῖ, ὦ ἄνδρες, ὥσπερ Σωκράτης ἔφη τὸν οἶνον, οὕτως καὶ αὕτη ἡ κρᾶσις τῶν τε παίδων τῆς ὥρας καὶ τῶν φθόγγων τὰς μὲν λύπας κοιμίζειν, τὴν δ᾿ ἀφροδίτην ἐγείρειν. ᾿Εκ τούτου δὲ πάλιν εἶπεν ὁ Σωκράτης· Οὗτοι μὲν δή, ὦ ἄνδρες, ἱκανοὶ τέρπειν ἡμᾶς φαίνονται· ἡμεῖς δὲ τούτων οἶδ᾿ ὅτι πολὺ βελτίονες οἰόμεθα εἶναι· οὐκ αἰσχρὸν οὖν εἰ μήδ᾿ ἐπιχειρήσομεν συνόντες ?nbsp;φελεῖν τι ἢ εὐφραίνειν ἀλλήλους; The performance won the plaudits of the company, and drew from Charmides a speech as follows: Sirs, what Socrates was claiming in behalf of wine applies in my opinion no less aptly to the present composition. So rare a blending of boyish and of girlish beauty, and of voice with instrument, is potent to lull sorrow to sleep, and to kindle Aphrodite's flame.
Then Socrates, reverting in a manner to the charge: The young people have fully proved their power to give us pleasure. Yet, charming as they are, we still regard ourselves, no doubt, as much their betters. What a shame to think that we should here be met together, and yet make no effort ourselves to heighten the festivity!2
᾿Εντεῦθεν εἶπαν πολλοί· Σὺ τοίνυν ἡμῖν ἐξηγοῦ ποίων λόγων ἁπτόμενοι μάλιστ᾿ ἂν ταῦτα ποιοῖμεν. Several of the company exclaimed at once: Be our director then yourself. Explain what style of talk we should engage in to achieve that object.3
᾿Εγὼ μὲν τοίνυν, ἔφη, ἥδιστ᾿ ἂν ἀπολάβοιμι παρὰ Καλλίου τὴν ὑπόσχεσιν. ἔφη γὰρ δήπου, εἰ συνδειπνοῖμεν, ἐπιδείξειν τὴν αὑτοῦ σοφίαν. Καὶ ἐπιδείξω γε, ἔφη, ἐὰν καὶ ὑμεῖς ἅπαντες εἰς μέσον φέρητε ὅ τι ἕκαστος ἐπίστασθε ἀγαθόν. ᾿Αλλ᾿ οὐδείς σοι, ἔφη, ἀντιλέγει τὸ μὴ οὐ λέξειν ὅ τι ἕκαστος ἡγεῖται πλείστου ἄξιον ἐπίστασθαι. ᾿Εγὼ μὲν τοίνυν, ἔφη, λέγω ὑμῖν ἐφ᾿ ᾧ μέγιστον φρονῶ. ᾿Ανθρώπους γὰρ οἶμαι ἱκανὸς εἶναι βελτίους ποιεῖν. Καὶ ὁ ᾿Αντισθένης εἶπε· ?nbsp;ότερον τέχνην τινὰ βαναυσικὴν ἢ καλοκἀγαθίαν διδάσκων; Nothing (he replied) would please me better than to demand of Callias a prompt performance of his promise. He told us, you recollect, if we would dine with him, he would give us an exhibition of his wisdom.
To which challenge Callias: That I will readily, but you on your side, one and all, must propound some virtue of which you claim to have the knowledge.
Socrates replied: At any rate, not one of us will have the least objection to declaring what particular thing he claims to know as best worth having.
Agreed (proceeded Callias); and for my part I proclaim at once what I am proudest of. My firm belief is, I have got the gift to make my fellow-mortals better.
Make men better! (cried Antisthenes); and pray how? by teaching them some base mechanic art? or teaching them nobility of soul?4
Εἰ καλοκἀγαθία ἐστὶν ἡ δικαιοσύνη. The latter (he replied), if justice5 be synonymous with that high type of virtue.
Νὴ Δί᾿, ἔφη ὁ ᾿Αντισθένης, ἥ γε ἀναμφιλογωτάτη· ἐπεί τοι ἀνδρεία μὲν καὶ σοφία ἔστιν ὅτε βλαβερὰ καὶ φίλοις καὶ πόλει δοκεῖ εἶναι, ἡ δὲ δικαιοσύνη οὐδὲ καθ᾿ ἓν συμμίγνυται τῇ ἀδικίᾳ. Of course it is (rejoined Antisthenes) the most indisputable specimen. Since, look you, courage and wisdom may at times be found calamitous to friends or country,6 but justice has no single point in common with injustice, right and wrong cannot commingle.7
᾿Επειδὰν τοίνυν καὶ ὑμῶν ἕκαστος εἴπῃ ὅ τι ?nbsp;φέλιμον ἔχει, τότε κἀγὼ οὐ φθονήσω εἰπεῖν τὴν τέχνην δι᾿ ἧς τοῦτο ἀπεργάζομαι. ᾿Αλλὰ σὺ αὖ, ἔφη, λέγε, ὦ Νικήρατε, ἐπὶ ποίᾳ ἐπιστήμῃ μέγα φρονεῖς. Well then (proceeded Callias), as soon8 as every one has stated his peculiar merit,9 I will make no bones of letting you into my secret. You shall learn the art by which I consummate my noble end.10 So now, Niceratus, suppose you tell us on what knowledge you most pride yourself.
Καὶ ὃς εἶπεν· ῾Ο πατὴρ ὁ ἐπιμελούμενος ὅπως ἀνὴρ ἀγαθὸς γενοίμην ?nbsp;νάγκασέ με πάντα τὰ ῾Ομήρου ἔπη μαθεῖν· καὶ νῦν δυναίμην ἂν ᾿Ιλιάδα ὅλην καὶ ᾿Οδύσσειαν ἀπὸ στόματος εἰπεῖν. He asnwered: My father,11 in his pains to make me a good man, compelled me to learn the whole of Homer's poems, and it so happens that even now I can repeat the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey" by heart.12
᾿Εκεῖνο δ᾿, ἔφη ὁ ᾿Αντισθένης, λέληθέ σε, ὅτι καὶ οἱ ῥαψῳδοὶ πάντες ἐπίστανται ταῦτα τὰ ἔπη; Καὶ πῶς ἄν, ἔφη, λελήθοι ἀκροώμενόν γε αὐτῶν ὀλίγου ἀν᾿ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν; Οἶσθά τι οὖν ἔθνος, ἔφη, ?nbsp;λιθιώτερον ῥαψῳδῶν; You have not forgotten (interposed Antisthenes), perhaps, that besides yourself there is not a rhapsodist who does not know these epics?
Forgotten! is it likely (he replied), considering I had to listen to them almost daily?
Ant. And did you ever come across a sillier tribe of people than these same rhapsodists?13
Οὐ μὰ τὸν Δί᾿, ἔφη ὁ Νικήρατος, οὔκουν ἔμοιγε δοκῶ. Nic. Not I, indeed. Don't ask me to defend their wits.
Δῆλον γάρ, ἔφη ὁ Σωκράτης, ὅτι τὰς ὑπονοίας οὐκ ἐπίστανται. Σὺ δὲ Στησιμβρότῳ τε καὶ ᾿Αναξιμάνδρῳ καὶ ἄλλοις πολλοῖς πολὺ δέδωκας ἀργύριον, ὥστε οὐδέν σε τῶν πολλοῦ ἀξίων λέληθε. Τί γὰρ σύ, ἔφη, ὦ Κριτόβουλε, ἐπὶ τίνι μέγιστον φρονεῖς; It is plain (suggested Socrates), they do not know the underlying meaning.14 But you, Niceratus, have paid large sums of money to Anaximander, and Stesimbrotus, and many others,15 so that no single point in all that costly lore is lost upon you.16 But what (he added, turning to Critobulus) do you most pride yourself upon?
᾿Επὶ κάλλει, ἔφη. On beauty (answered Critobulus).
᾿Η οὖν καὶ σύ, ἔφη ὁ Σωκράτης, ἕξεις λέγειν ὅτι τῷ σῷ κάλλει ἱκανὸς εἶ βελτίους ἡμᾶς ποιεῖν; What (Socrates rejoined), shall you be able to maintain that by your beauty you can make us better?
Εἰ δὲ μή, δῆλόν γε ὅτι φαῦλος φανοῦμαι. Crit. That will I, or prove myself a shabby sort of person.
Τί γὰρ σύ, εἶπεν, ἐπὶ τίνι μέγα φρονεῖς, ὦ ᾿Αντίσθενες; Soc. Well, and what is it you pride yourself upon, Antisthenes?
᾿Επὶ πλούτῳ, ἔφη. On wealth (he answered).
῾Ο μὲν δὴ ῾Ερμογένης ἀνήρετο εἰ πολὺ εἴη αὐτῷ ἀργύριον. Whereupon Hermogenes inquired: Had he then a large amount of money?17
῾Ο δὲ ἀπώμοσε μηδὲ ὀβολόν. Not one sixpence:18 that I swear to you (he answered).
᾿Αλλὰ γῆν πολλὴν κέκτησαι; Herm. Then you possess large property in land?
῎Ισως ἄν, ἔφη, Αὐτολύκῳ τούτῳ ἱκανὴ γένοιτο ἐγκονίσασθαι. Ant. Enough, I daresay, for the youngster there, Autolycus, to dust himself withal.19
᾿Ακουστέον ἂν εἴη καὶ σοῦ. Well, we will lend you our ears, when your turn comes (exclaimed the others).
Τί γὰρ σύ, ἔφη, ὦ Χαρμίδη, ἐπὶ τίνι μέγα φρονεῖς; Soc. And do you now tell us, Charmides, on what you pride yourself.
᾿Εγὼ αὖ, ἔφη, ἐπὶ πενίᾳ μέγα φρονῶ. Oh, I, for my part, pride myself on poverty (he answered).
Νὴ Δί᾿, ἔφη ὁ Σωκράτης, ἐπ᾿ εὐχαρίτῳ γε πράγματι. Τοῦτο γὰρ δὴ ἥκιστα μὲν ἐπίφθονον, ἥκιστα δὲ περιμάχητον, καὶ ἀφύλακτον ὂν σῴζεται καὶ ἀμελούμενον ἰσχυρότερον γίγνεται. Upon my word, a charming business! (exclaimed Socrates). Poverty! of all things the least liable to envy; seldom, if ever, an object of contention;20 never guarded, yet always safe; the more you starve it, the stronger it grows.
Σὺ δὲ δή, ἔφη ὁ Καλλίας, ἐπὶ τίνι μέγα φρονεῖς, ὦ Σώκρατες; And you, Socrates, yourself (their host demanded), what is it you pride yourself upon?
Καὶ ὃς μάλα σεμνῶς ἀνασπάσας τὸ πρόσωπον, ᾿Επὶ μαστροπείᾳ, εἶπεν. ᾿Επεὶ δὲ ἐγέλασαν ἐπ᾿ αὐτῷ, ῾Υμεῖς μὲν γελᾶτε, ἔφη, ἐγὼ δὲ οἶδ᾿ ὅτι καὶ πάνυ ἂν πολλὰ χρήματα λαμβάνοιμι, εἰ βουλοίμην χρῆσθαι τῇ τέχνῃ. Then he, with knitted brows, quite solemnly: On pandering.21 And when they laughed to hear him say this,22 he continued: Laugh to your hearts content, my friends; but I am certain I could make a fortune, if I chose to practise this same art.
Σύ γε μὴν δῆλον, ἔφη ὁ Λύκων τὸν Φίλιππον [προσειπών, ὅτι] ἐπὶ τῷ γελωτοποιεῖν μέγα φρονεῖς. Δικαιότερόν γ᾿, ἔφη, οἴομαι, ἢ Καλλιππίδης ὁ ὑποκριτής, ὃς ὑπερσεμνύνεται ὅτι δύναται πολλοὺς κλαίοντας καθίζειν. At this point Lycon, turning to Philippus: We need not ask you what you take the chiefest pride in. What can it be, you laughter-making man, except to set folk laughing?
Yes (he answered), and with better right, I fancy, than Callippides,23 the actor, who struts and gives himself such pompous airs, to think that he alone can set the crowds a-weeping in the theatre.24
Οὐκοῦν καὶ σύ, ἔφη ὁ ᾿Αντισθένης, λέξεις, ὦ Λύκων, ἐπὶ τίνι μέγα φρονεῖς; And now you, Lycon, tell us, won't you (asked Antisthenes), what it is you take the greatest pride in?
Καὶ ὃς ἔφη· Οὐ γὰρ ἅπαντες ἴστε, ἔφη, [ὅτι] ἐπὶ τούτῳ τῷ υἱεῖ; You all of you, I fancy, know already what that is (the father answered); it is in my son here.
Οὗτός γε μήν, ἔφη τις, δῆλον ὅτι ἐπὶ τῷ νικηφόρος εἶναι. And the lad himself (some one suggested) doubtless prides himself, beyond all else, on having won the prize of victory.
Καὶ ὁ Αὐτόλυκος ἀνερυθριάσας εἶπε· Μὰ Δί᾿ οὐκ ἔγωγε. At that Autolycus (and as he spoke he blushed) answered for himself:25 No indeed, not I.
᾿Επεὶ δὲ ἅπαντες ἡσθέντες ὅτι ἤκουσαν αὐτοῦ φωνήσαντος προσέβλεψαν, ἤρετό τις αὐτόν· ᾿Αλλ᾿ ἐπὶ τῷ μήν, ὦ Αὐτόλυκε; The company were charmed to hear him speak, and turned and looked; and some one asked: On what is it then, Autolycus?
ὁ δ᾿ εἶπεν· ᾿Επὶ τῷ πατρί, καὶ ἅμα ἐνεκλίθη αὐτῷ. To which he answered: On my father (and leaned closer towards him).
Καὶ ὁ Καλλίας ἰδών, ᾿Αρ᾿ οἶσθα, ἔφη, ὦ Λύκων, ὅτι πλουσιώτατος εἶ ἀνθρώπων; At which sight Callias, turning to the father: Do you know you are the richest man in the whole world, Lycon?
Μὰ Δί᾿, ἔφη, τοῦτο μέντοι ἐγὼ οὐκ οἶδα. To which Lycon: Really, I was not aware of that before.
᾿Αλλὰ λανθάνει σε ὅτι οὐκ ἂν δέξαιο τὰ βασιλέως χρήματα ἀντὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ; Then Callias: Why then, it has escaped you that you would refuse the whole of Persia's wealth,26 in exchange for your own son.
᾿Επ᾿ αὐτοφώρῳ εἴλημμαι, ἔφη, πλουσιώτατος, ὡς ἔοικεν, ἀνθρώπων ὤν. Most true (he answered), I plead guilty; here and now I am convicted27 of being the wealthiest man in all the world!
Σὺ δέ, ἔφη ὁ Νικήρατος, ὦ ῾Ερμόγενες, ἐπὶ τίνι μάλιστα ἀγάλλῃ; And you, Hermogenes, on what do you plume yourself most highly? (asked Niceratus).
Καὶ ὅς, ᾿Επὶ φίλων, ἔφη, ἀρετῇ καὶ δυνάμει, καὶ ὅτι τοιοῦτοι ὄντες ἐμοῦ ἐπιμέλονται. On the virtue and the power of my friends (he answered), and that being what they are, they care for me.
᾿Ενταῦθα τοίνυν πάντες προσέβλεψαν αὐτῷ, καὶ πολλοὶ ἅμα ἤροντο εἰ καὶ σφίσι δηλώσοι αὐτούς. ῾Ο δὲ εἶπεν ὅτι οὐ φθονήσει. At this remark they turned their eyes upon the speaker, and several spoke together, asking: Will you make them known to us?
I shall be very happy (he replied).
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[1] Cf. Plat. "Laws," 812 C; Aristot. "Poet." i. 4.

[2] See Plat. "Prot." 347 D; "A company like this of ours, and men such as we profess to be, do not require the help of another's voice," etc.--Jowett. Cf. id. "Symp." 176: "To-day let us have conversation instead; and if you will allow me, I will tell you what sort of conversation."

[3] {exegou}. "Prescribe the form of words we must lay hold of to achieve the object, and we will set to work, arch-casuist."

[4] Or, "beauty and nobility of soul" ({kalokagathia}). See "Mem." I. vi. 14.

[5] i.e. "social uprightness."

[6] See "Mem." IV. ii. 33.

[7] i.e. "the one excludes the other."

[8] Reading {emon}. Al. {umon}, "when you others."

[9] Lit. "what he has for which to claim utility."

[10] Or, "give the work completeness." Cf. Plat. "Charm." 173 A; "Gorg." 454 A.

[11] Nicias.

[12] Of, "off-hand." See "Mem." III. vi. 9; Plat. "Theaet." 142 D.

[13] Cf. "Mem." IV. ii. 10.

[14] i.e. "they haven't the key (of knowledge) to the allegorical or spiritual meaning of the sacred text." Cf. Plat. "Crat." 407; "Ion," 534; "Rep." 378, 387; "Theaet." 180; "Prot." 316. See Grote, "H. G." i. 564.

[15] See Aristot. "Rhet." iii. 11, 13. "Or we may describe Niceratus [not improbably our friend] as a 'Philoctetes stung by Pratys,' using the simile of Thrasymachus when he saw Niceratus after his defeat by Pratys in the rhapsody with his hair still dishevelled and his face unwashed."--Welldon. As to Stesimbrotus, see Plat. "Ion," 530: "Ion. Very true, Socrates; interpretation has certainly been the most laborious part of my art; and I believe myself able to speak about Homer better than any man; and that neither Metrodorus of Lampsacus, nor Stesimbrotus of Thasos, nor Glaucon, nor any one else who ever was, had as good ideas about Homer, or as many of them, as I have."--Jowett. Anaximander, probably of Lampsacus, the author of a {'Erologia}; see Cobet, "Pros. Xen." p. 8.

[16] Or, "you will not have forgotten one point of all that precious teaching." Like Sir John Falstaff's page (2 "Henry IV." ii. 2. 100), Niceratus, no doubt, has got many "a crown's worth of good interpretations."

[17] i.e. "out at interest," or, "in the funds," as we should say.

[18] Lit. "not an obol" = "a threepenny bit," circa.

[19] i.e. "to sprinkle himself with sand, after anointing." Cf. Lucian, xxxviii., "Amor." 45.

[20] Cf. Plat. "Rep." 521 A; "Laws," 678 C.

[21] Or, more politely, "on playing the go-between." See Grote, "H. G." viii. 457, on the "extremely Aristophanic" character of the "Symposium" of Xenophon.

[22] "Him, the master, thus declare himself."

[23] For illustrative tales about him see Plut. "Ages." xxi.; "Alcib." xxxii.; Polyaen. vi. 10. Cf. "Hell." IV. viii. 16.

[24] Or, "set for their sins a-weeping."

[25] Cf. Plat. "Charm." 158 C.

[26] Lit. "of the Great King." Cf. "Cyrop." VIII. iii. 26.

[27] "Caught flagrante delicto. I do admit I do out-Croesus Croesus."


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