Ξενοφώντος Συμπόσιον ΣΤ

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

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Ἐκ δὲ τούτου οἱ μὲν τὰ νικητήρια φιλήματα ἀπολαμβάνειν τὸν Κριτόβουλον ἐκέλευον, οἱ δὲ τὸν κύριον πείθειν, οἱ δὲ καὶ ἄλλα ἔσκωπτον. ῾Ο δὲ Ἑρμογένης κἀνταῦθα ἐσιώπα. Καὶ ὁ Σωκράτης ὀνομάσας αὐτόν, ῎Εχοις ἄν, ἔφη, ὦ ῾Ερμόγενες, εἰπεῖν ἡμῖν τί ἐστὶ παροινία; Thereupon some members of the party called on Critobulus to accept the meed of victory in kisses (due from boy and girl); others urged him first to bribe their master; whilst others bandied other jests. Amidst the general hilarity Hermogenes alone kept silence.
Whereat Socrates turned to the silent man, and thus accosted him: Hermogenes, what is a drunken brawl? Can you explain to us?
Καὶ ὃς ἀπεκρίνατο· Εἰ μὲν ὅ τι ἐστὶν ἐρωτᾷς, οὐκ οἶδα· τὸ μέντοι μοι δοκοῦν εἴποιμ᾿ ἄν. He answered: If you ask me what it is, I do not know, but I can tell you what it seems to me to be.
᾿Αλλ᾿, ὃ δοκεῖ, τοῦτ᾿, ἔφη. Soc. That seems as good. What does it seem?
Τὸ τοίνυν παρ᾿ οἶνον λυπεῖν τοὺς συνόντας, τοῦτ᾿ ἐγὼ κρίνω παροινίαν. Her. A drunken brawl, in my poor judgment, is annoyance caused to people over wine.
Οἶσθ᾿ οὖν, ἔφη, ὅτι καὶ σὺ νῦν ἡμᾶς λυπεῖς σιωπῶν; Soc. Are you aware that you at present are annoying us by silence?
᾿Η καὶ ὅταν λέγητ᾿; ἔφη. Her. What, whilst you are talking?
Οὐκ ἀλλ᾿ ὅταν διαλίπωμεν. Soc. No, when we pause a while.
᾿Η οὖν λέληθέ σε ὅτι μεταξὺ τοῦ ὑμᾶς λέγειν οὐδ᾿ ἂν τρίχα, μὴ ὅτι λόγον ἄν τις παρείρειε; Her. Then you have not observed that, as to any interval between your talk, a man would find it hard to insert a hair, much more one grain of sense.
Καὶ ὁ Σωκράτης, ᾿Ω Καλλία, ἔχοις ἄν τι, ἔφη, ἀνδρὶ ἐλεγχομένῳ βοηθῆσαι; Then Socrates: O Callias, to the rescue! help a man severely handled by his cross-examiner.
῎Εγωγ᾿, ἔφη. ὅταν γὰρ ὁ αὐλὸς φθέγγηται, παντάπασι σιωπῶμεν. Call. With all my heart (and as he spoke he faced Hermogenes). Why, when the flute is talking, we are as silent as the grave.
Καὶ ὁ ῾Ερμογένης, ᾿Η οὖν βούλεσθε, ἔφη, ὥσπερ Νικόστρατος ὁ ὑποκριτὴς τετράμετρα πρὸς τὸν αὐλὸν κατέλεγεν, οὕτω καὶ ὑπὸ τοῦ αὐλοῦ ὑμῖν διαλέγωμαι; Her. What, would you have me imitate Nicostratus1 the actor, reciting his tetrameters2 to the music of the fife? Must I discourse to you in answer to the flute?
Καὶ ὁ Σωκράτης, ?nbsp;ρὸς τῶν θεῶν, ἔφη, ῾Ερμόγενες, οὕτω ποίει. Οἶμαι γάρ, ὥσπερ ἡ ?nbsp;δὴ ἡδίων πρὸς τὸν αὐλόν, οὕτω καὶ τοὺς σοὺς λόγους ἡδύνεσθαι ἄν τι ὑπὸ τῶν φθόγγων, ἄλλως τε καὶ εἰ μορφάζοις, ὥσπερ ἡ αὐλητρίς, καὶ σὺ πρὸς τὰ λεγόμενα. Then Socrates: By all that's holy, I wish you would, Hermogenes. How delightful it would be. Just as a song sounds sweeter in concert with the flute, so would your talk be more mellifluous attuned to its soft pipings; and particularly if you would use gesticulation like the flute-girl, to suit the tenor of your speech.
Καὶ ὁ Καλλίας ἔφη· ῞Οταν οὖν ὁ ᾿Αντισθένης ὅδ᾿ ἐλέγχῃ τινὰ ἐν τῷ συμποσίῳ, τί ἔσται τὸ αὔλημα; Here Callias demanded: And when our friend (Antisthenes) essays to cross-examine people3 at a banquet, what kind of piping4 should he have?
Καὶ ὁ ᾿Αντισθένης εἶπε· Τῷ μὲν ἐλεγχομένῳ οἶμαι ἄν, ἔφη, πρέπειν συριγμόν. Ant. The person in the witness-box would best be suited with a serpent-hissing theme.5
Τοιούτων δὲ λόγων ὄντων ὡς ἑώρα ὁ Συρακόσιος τῶν μὲν αὑτοῦ ἐπιδειγμάτων ἀμελοῦντας, ἀλλήλοις δὲ ἡδομέ νους, φθονῶν τῷ Σωκράτει εἶπεν· ᾿Αρα σύ, ὦ Σώκρατες, ὁ φροντιστὴς ἐπικαλούμενος; Thus the stream of talk flowed on; until the Syracusan, who was painfully aware that while the company amused themselves, his "exhibition" was neglected, turned, in a fit of jealous spleen, at last on Socrates.6

The Syr. They call you Socrates. Are you that person commonly nicknamed the thinker?7

Οὐκοῦν κάλλιον, ἔφη, ἢ εἰ ἀφρόντιστος ἐκαλούμην. Soc. Which surely is a better fate than to be called a thoughtless person?
Εἰ μή γε ἐδόκεις τῶν μετεώρων φροντιστὴς εἶναι. The Syr. Perhaps, if you were not thought to split your brains on things above us--transcendental stuff.8
Οἶσθα οὖν, ἔφη ὁ Σωκράτης, μετεωρότερόν τι τῶν θεῶν; Soc. And is there anything more transcendental than the gods?
᾿Αλλ᾿ οὐ μὰ Δί᾿, ἔφη, οὐ τούτων σε λέγουσιν ἐπιμελεῖσθαι, ἀλλὰ τῶν ἀνωφελεστάτων. The Syr. By heaven! no, it is not the gods above us whom you care for, but for matters void of use and valueless.9
Οὐκοῦν καὶ οὕτως ἄν, ἔφη, θεῶν ἐπιμελοίμην· ἄνωθεν μέν γε ὕοντες ?nbsp;φελοῦσιν, ἄνωθεν δὲ φῶς παρέχουσιν. Εἰ δὲ ψυχρὰ λέγω, σὺ αἴτιος, ἔφη, πράγματά μοι παρέχων. Soc. It seems, then, by your showing I do care for them. How value less the gods, not more, if being above us they make the void of use to send us rain, and cause their light to shine on us? And now, sir, if you do not like this frigid10 argument, why do you cause me trouble? The fault is yours.11
Ταῦτα μέν, ἔφη, ἔα· ἀλλ᾿ εἰπέ μοι πόσους ψύλλα πόδας ἐμοῦ ἀπέχει. Ταῦτα γάρ σέ φασι γεωμετρεῖν. Well, let that be (the other answered); answer me one question: How many fleas' feet distance is it, pray, from you to me?12 They say you measure them by geometric scale.
Καὶ ὁ ᾿Αντισθένης εἶπε· Σὺ μέντοι δεινὸς εἶ, ὦ Φίλιππε, εἰκάζειν· οὐ δοκεῖ σοι ὁ ἀνὴρ οὗτος λοιδορεῖσθαι βουλομένῳ ἐοικέναι; But here Antisthenes, appealing to Philippus, interposed: You are a man full of comparisons.13 Does not this worthy person strike you as somewhat like a bully seeking to pick a quarrel?14
Ναὶ μὰ τὸν Δί᾿, ἔφη, καὶ ἄλλοις γε πολλοῖς. Yes (replied the jester), he has a striking likeness to that person and a heap of others. He bristles with metaphors.
᾿Αλλ᾿ ὅμως, ἔφη ὁ Σωκράτης, σὺ αὐτὸν μὴ εἴκαζε, ἵνα μὴ καὶ σὺ λοιδορουμένῳ ἐοίκῃς. Soc. For all that, do not you be too eager to draw comparisons at his expense, or you will find yourself the image of a scold and brawler.15
᾿Αλλ᾿ εἴπερ γε τοῖς πᾶσι καλοῖς καὶ τοῖς βελτίστοις εἰκάζω αὐτόν, ἐπαινοῦντι μᾶλλον ἢ λοιδορουμένῳ δικαίως ἂν εἰκάζοι μέ τις. Phil. But what if I compare him to all the primest creatures of the world, to beauty's nonpareils,16 to nature's best--I might be justly likened to a flatterer but not a brawler.17
Καὶ νῦν σύγε λοιδορουμένῳ ἔοικας, εἰ πάντ᾿ αὐτοῦ βελτίων φῂς εἶναι. Soc. Why now, you are like a person apt to pick a quarrel, since you imply they are all his betters.18
᾿Αλλὰ βούλει πονηροτέροις εἰκάζω αὐτόν; Phil. What, would you have me then compare him to worse villains?
Μηδὲ πονηροτέροις. Soc. No, not even to worse villains.
᾿Αλλὰ μηδενί; Phil. What, then, to nothing, and to nobody?
Μηδενὶ μηδὲ τούτων εἴκαζε. Soc. To nought in aught. Let him remain his simple self--
᾿Αλλ᾿ οὐ μέντοι γε σιωπῶν οἶδα ὅπως ἄξια τοῦ δείπνου ἐργάσομαι. Καὶ ῥᾳδίως γ᾿, ἂν ἃ μὴ δεῖ λέγειν, ἔφη, σιωπᾷς. Αὕτη μὲν δὴ ἡ παροινία οὕτω κατεσβέσθη. Phil. Incomparable. But if my tongue is not to wag, whatever shall I do to earn my dinner?

Soc. Why, that you shall quite easily, if with your wagging tongue you do not try to utter things unutterable.

Here was a pretty quarrel over wine soon kindled and soon burnt.

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[1] See Cobet, "Pros. Xen." p. 53; and cf. Diog. Laert. iv. 3, 4; Polyaen. vi. 10; "Hell." IV. viii. 18.

[2] See Aristoph. "Clouds," where Socrates is giving Strepsiades a lesson in "measures," 639-646: {poteron to trimetron e to tetrametron}.

[3] Or, "a poor body," in reference to the elentic onslaught made on himself by Antisthenes above.

[4] {to aulema}, a composition for reed instruments, "music for the flute." Cf. Aristoph. "Frogs," 1302.
[5] Or, "motif on a scrannel pipe." See L. & S. s.v. {puthaules}. Cf. Poll. iv. 81, {puthikon aulema}, an air ({nomos}) played on the {puthois aulos}, expressing the battle between Apollo and the Python, the hiss of which was imitated.

[6] "The Syracusan is 'civil as an orange, and of that jealous complexion.'"

[7] Apparently he has been to see the "Clouds" (exhibited first in 423 B.C.), and has conceived certain ideas concerning Socrates, "a wise man, who speculated about the heaven above, and searched into the earth beneath, and made the worse appear the better cause." Plat. "Apol." 18 B, 19 C. "Clouds," 101, 360, {khair o presbuta . . . ton nun meteorosophiston . . . ta te meteora phrontistes}.

[8] Or, "if only you were held to be less 'meteoric,' less head-in- airy in your speculations."

[9] It is impossible to give the play on words. The Syr. {anophelestaton}. Soc. {ano . . . ophelousin}. Schenkl after Madvig emend.: {ton ano en nephelais onton} = "but for things in the clouds above."

[10] Cf. "Cyrop." VIII. iv. 22, 23.

[11] {pho parekhousin . . . pragmata moi parekhon}. Lit. "cause light . . . causing me trouble."

[12] See Aristoph. "Clouds," 144 foll.:

Cf. Lucian, ii. "Prom. in Verb. 6," and "Hudibras, the Second Part of," canto iii.:

[13] Like Biron, "L. L. L." v. 2. 854. Or, "you are a clever caricaturist." See Plat. "Symp." 215 A; Hug, "Enleitung," xiv.; Aristoph. "Birds," 804 (Frere, p. 173); "Wasps," 1309.

[14] Aristoph. "Frogs," 857, "For it ill beseems illustrious bards to scold like market-women." (Frere, p. 269); "Knights," 1410, "to bully"; "Eccles." 142: {kai loidorountai g' osper empepokotes, kai ton paroinount' ekpherous' oi toxotai.}

[15] Or, "a striking person."

[16] Lit. "compare him to those in all things beauteous and the best." With {tois pasi kalois kai tois beltistois} cf. Thuc. v. 28, {oi 'Argeioi arista eskhon tois pasi}, "The Argives were in excellent condition in all respects." As to Philippus's back-handed compliment to the showman, it reminds one of Peter Quince's commendation of Bottom: "Yea and the best person too; and he is a very paramour for a sweet voice."

[17] It is not easy to keep pace with the merryman's jests; but if I follow his humour, he says to Socrates: "If the cap is to fit, you must liken me to one who quits 'assault and battery' for 'compliments [sotto voce, "lies"] and flattery.'"

[18] When Socrates says {ei pant' autou beltio phes einai, k.t.l.}, the sense seems to be: "No, if you say that all these prime creatures are better than he is, you are an abusive person still."


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