The Memorabilia

Part 2 out of 5

complexion of her skin was embellished that she might appear whiter
and rosier than she really was, and her figure that she might seem
taller than nature made her; she stared with wide-open eyes, and the
raiment wherewith she was clad served but to reveal the ripeness of
her bloom. With frequent glances she surveyed her person, or looked to
see if others noticed her; while ever and anon she fixed her gaze upon
the shadow of herself intently.

[30] Reading {eleutherion phusei, . . .} or if {eleutherion,
phusei . . .} translate "nature had adorned her limbs . . ."

"Now when these two had drawn near to Heracles, she who was first
named advanced at an even pace[31] towards him, but the other, in her
eagerness to outstrip her, ran forward to the youth, exclaiming, 'I
see you, Heracles, in doubt and difficulty what path of life to
choose; make me your friend, and I will lead you to the pleasantest
road and easiest. This I promise you: you shall taste all of life's
sweets and escape all bitters. In the first place, you shall not
trouble your brain with war or business; other topics shall engage
your mind;[32] your only speculation, what meat or drink you shall
find agreeable to your palate; what delight[33] of ear or eye; what
pleasure of smell or touch; what darling lover's intercourse shall
most enrapture you; how you shall pillow your limbs in softest
slumber; how cull each individual pleasure without alloy of pain; and
if ever the suspicion steal upon you that the stream of joys will one
day dwindle, trust me I will not lead you where you shall replenish
the store by toil of body and trouble of soul. No! others shall
labour, but you shall reap the fruit of their labours; you shall
withhold your hand from nought which shall bring you gain. For to all
my followers I give authority and power to help themselves freely from
every side.'

[31] Or, "without change in her demeanour."

[32] Reading {diese}, or {dioisei}, "you shall continue speculating

[33] It will be recollected that Prodicus prided himself on {orthotes
onomaton}. Possibly Xenophon is imitating (caricaturing?) his
style. {terphtheies, estheies, euphrantheies}.

"Heracles hearing these words made answer: 'What, O lady, is the name
you bear?' To which she: 'Know that my friends call be Happiness, but
they that hate me have their own nicknames[34] for me, Vice and

[34] So the vulg. {upokorizomenoi} is interpreted. Cobet ("Pros. Xen."
p. 36) suggests {upoknizomenoi} = "quippe qui desiderio

"But just then the other of those fair women approached and spoke:
'Heracles, I too am come to you, seeing that your parents are well
known to me, and in your nurture I have gauged your nature; wherefore
I entertain good hope that if you choose the path which leads to me,
you shall greatly bestir yourself to be the doer of many a doughty
deed of noble emprise; and that I too shall be held in even higher
honour for your sake, lit with the lustre shed by valorous deeds.[35]
I will not cheat you with preludings of pleasure,[36] but I will
relate to you the things that are according to the ordinances of God
in very truth. Know then that among things that are lovely and of good
report, not one have the gods bestowed upon mortal men apart from toil
and pains. Would you obtain the favour of the gods, then must you pay
these same gods service; would you be loved by your friends, you must
benefit these friends; do you desire to be honoured by the state, you
must give the state your aid; do you claim admiration for your virtue
from all Hellas, you must strive to do some good to Hellas; do you
wish earth to yield her fruits to you abundantly, to earth must you
pay your court; do you seek to amass riches from your flocks and
herds, on them must you bestow your labour; or is it your ambition to
be potent as a warrior, able to save your friends and to subdue your
foes, then must you learn the arts of war from those who have the
knowledge, and practise their application in the field when learned;
or would you e'en be powerful of limb and body, then must you
habituate limbs and body to obey the mind, and exercise yourself with
toil and sweat.'

[35] Or, "bathed in the splendour of thy virtues."

[36] Or, "honeyed overtures of pleasure."

"At this point, (as Prodicus relates) Vice broke in exclaiming: 'See
you, Heracles, how hard and long the road is by which yonder woman
would escort you to her festal joys.[37] But I will guide you by a
short and easy road to happiness.'

[37] Hesiod, "Theog." 909; Milton, "L'Allegro," 12.

"Then spoke Virtue: 'Nay, wretched one, what good thing hast thou? or
what sweet thing art thou acquainted with--that wilt stir neither hand
nor foot to gain it? Thou, that mayest not even await the desire of
pleasure, but, or ever that desire springs up, art already satiated;
eating before thou hungerest, and drinking before thou thirsteth; who
to eke out an appetite must invent an army of cooks and confectioners;
and to whet thy thirst must lay down costliest wines, and run up and
down in search of ice in summer-time; to help thy slumbers soft
coverlets suffice not, but couches and feather-beds must be prepared
thee and rockers to rock thee to rest; since desire for sleep in thy
case springs not from toil but from vacuity and nothing in the world
to do. Even the natural appetite of love thou forcest prematurely by
every means thou mayest devise, confounding the sexes in thy service.
Thus thou educatest thy friends: with insult in the night season and
drowse of slumber during the precious hours of the day. Immortal, thou
art cast forth from the company of gods, and by good men art
dishonoured: that sweetest sound of all, the voice of praise, has
never thrilled thine ears; and the fairest of all fair visions is
hidden from thine eyes that have never beheld one bounteous deed
wrought by thine own hand. If thou openest thy lips in speech, who
will believe thy word? If thou hast need of aught, none shall satisfy
thee. What sane man will venture to join thy rablle rout? Ill indeed
are thy revellers to look upon, young men impotent of body, and old
men witless in mind: in the heyday of life they batten in sleek
idleness, and wearily do they drag through an age of wrinkled
wretchedness: and why? they blush with shame at the thought of deeds
done in the past, and groan for weariness at what is left to do.
During their youth they ran riot through their sweet things, and laid
up for themselves large store of bitterness against the time of eld.
But my companionship is with the gods; and with the good among men my
conversation; no bounteous deed, divine or human, is wrought without
my aid. Therefore am I honoured in Heaven pre-eminently, and upon
earth among men whose right it is to honour me;[38] as a beloved
fellow-worker of all craftsmen; a faithful guardian of house and
lands, whom the owners bless; a kindly helpmeet of servants;[39] a
brave assistant in the labours of peace; an unflinching ally in the
deeds of war; a sharer in all friendships indispensable. To my friends
is given an enjoyment of meats and drinks, which is sweet in itself
and devoid of trouble, in that they can endure until desire ripens,
and sleep more delicious visits them than those who toil not. Yet they
are not pained to part with it; nor for the sake of slumber do they
let slip the performance of their duties. Among my followers the youth
delights in the praises of his elders, and the old man glories in the
honour of the young; with joy they call to memory their deeds of old,
and in to-day's well-doing are well pleased. For my sake they are dear
in the sight of God, beloved of their friends and honoured by the
country of their birth. When the appointed goal is reached they lie
not down in oblivion with dishonour, but bloom afresh--their praise
resounded on the lips of men for ever.[40] Toils like these, O son of
noble parents, Heracles, it is yours to meet with, and having endured,
to enter into the heritage assured you of transcendant happiness.'"

[38] Reading {ois prosekei}, or if {proseko}, translate "to whom I am

[39] Cf. "Econ." v. 8.

[40] Or, "so true is it, a branch is left them; undying honour to
their name!"

This, Aristippus, in rough sketch is the theme which Prodicus
pursues[41] in his "Education of Heracles by Virtue," only he decked
out his sentiments, I admit, in far more magnificant phrases than I
have ventured on. Were it not well, Aristippus, to lay to heart these
sayings, and to strive to bethink you somewhat of that which touches
the future of our life?

[41] Reading {diokei}, al. {diokei} = "so Prodicus arranged the parts
of his discourse."


At another time, he had noticed the angry temper shown by Lamprocles,
the elder of his sons, towards their mother, and thus addressed
himself to the lad.

Soc. Pray, my son, did you ever hear of certain people being called

That I have (replied the young man).

Soc. And have you understood what it is they do to get that bad name?

Lamp. Yes, I have: when any one has been kindly treated, and has it in
his power to requite the kindness but neglects to do so, men call him

Soc. And you admit that people reckon the ungrateful among wrongdoers?

Lamp. I do.

Soc. And has it ever struck you to inquire whether, as regards the
right or wrong of it, ingratitude may not perhaps resemble some such
conduct as the enslavement, say, of prisoners, which is accounted
wrong towards friends but justifiable towards enemies?

Lamp. Yes, I have put that question to myself. In my opinion, no
matter who confers the kindness, friend or foe, the recipient should
endeavour to requite it, failing which he is a wrongdoer.

Soc. Then if that is how the matter stands, ingratitude would be an
instance of pure unadulterate wrongdoing?

Lamprocles assented to the proposition.

Soc. It follows, then, that in proportion to the greatness of the
benefit conferred, the greater his misdoing who fails to requite the

Lamprocles again assented.

Socrates continued: And where can we hope to find greater benefits
than those which children derive from their parents--their father and
mother who brought them out of nothingness into being, who granted
them to look upon all these fair sights, and to partake of all those
blessings which the gods bestow on man, things so priceless in our
eyes that one and all we shudder at the thought of leaving them, and
states have made death the penalty for the greatest crimes, because
there is no greater evil through fear of which to stay iniquity.

You do not suppose that human beings produce children for the sake of
carnal pleasure[1] merely; were this the motive, street and bordell
are full of means to quit them of that thrall; whereas nothing is
plainer than the pains we take to seek out wives who shall bear us the
finest children.[2] With these we wed, and carry on the race. The man
has a twofold duty to perform: partly in cherishing her who is to
raise up children along with him, and partly towards the children yet
unborn in providing them with things that he thinks will contribute to
their well-being--and of these as large a store as possible. The
woman, conceiving, bears her precious burthen with travail and pain,
and at the risk of life itself--sharing with that within her womb the
food on which she herself is fed. And when with much labour she has
borne to the end and brought forth her offspring, she feeds it and
watches over it with tender care--not in return for any good thing
previously received, for indeed the babe itself is little conscious of
its benefactor and cannot even signify its wants; only she, the
mother, making conjecture of what is good for it, and what will please
it, essays to satisfy it;[3] and for many months she feeds it night
and day, enduring the toil nor recking what return she shall receive
for all her trouble. Nor does the care and kindness of parents end
with nurture; but when the children seem of an age to learn, they
teach them themselves whatever cunning they possess, as a guide to
life, or where they feel that another is more competent, to him they
send them to be taught at their expense. Thus they watch over their
children, doing all in their power to enable them to grow up to be as
good as possible.

[1] Lit. "the joys of Aphrodite."

[2] "For the procreation of children." See below, IV. iv. 22; "Pol.
Lac." i.

[3] Lit. "to leave nought lacking."

So be it (the youth answered); but even if she have done all that, and
twenty times as much, no soul on earth could endure my mother's cross-
grained temper.

Then Socrates: Which, think you, would be harder to bear--a wild
beast's savagery or a mother's?

Lamp. To my mind, a mother's--at least if she be such as mine.

Soc. Dear me! And has this mother ever done you any injury--such as
people frequently receive from beasts, by bite or kick?

Lamp. If she has not done quite that, she uses words which any one
would sooner sell his life than listen to.

Soc. And how many annoyances have you caused your mother, do you
suppose, by fretfulness and peevishness in word and deed, night and
day, since you were a little boy? How much sorrow and pain, when you
were ill?

Lamp. Well, I never said or did anything to bring a blush to her

Soc. No, come now! Do you suppose it is harder for you to listen to
your mother's speeches than for actor to listen to actor on the tragic
stage,[4] when the floodgates of abuse are opened?

[4] See Grote, "H. G." viii. 457; Plut. "Solon," xxix.

Lamp. Yes; for the simple reason that they know it is all talk on
their parts. The inquisitor may cross-question, but he will not
inflict a fine; the threatener may hurl his menaces, but he will do no
mischief--that is why they take it all so easily.

Soc. Then ought you to fly into a passion, who know well enough that,
whatever your mother says, she is so far from meaning you mischief
that she is actually wishing blessings to descend upon you beyond all
others? Or do you believe that your mother is really ill disposed
towards you?

Lamp. No, I do not think that.

Soc. Then this mother, who is kindly disposed to you, and takes such
tender care of you when you are ill to make you well again, and to see
that you want for nothing which may help you; and, more than all, who
is perpetually pleading for blessings in your behalf and offering her
vows to Heaven[5]--can you say of her that she is cross-grained and
harsh? For my part, I think, if you cannot away with such a mother,
you cannot away with such blessings either.

[5] Or, "paying vows."

But tell me (he proceeded), do you owe service to any living being,
think you? or are you prepared to stand alone? Prepared not to please
or try to please a single soul? to follow none? To obey neither
general nor ruler of any sort? Is that your attitude, or do you admit
that you owe allegience to somebody?

Lamp. Yes; certainly I owe allegiance.

Soc. May I take it that you are willing to please at any rate your
neighbour, so that he may kindle a fire for you in your need, may
prove himself a ready helpmate in good fortune, or if you chance on
evil and are stumbling, may friendlily stand by your side to aid?

Lamp. I am willing.

Soc. Well, and what of that other chance companion--your fellow-
traveller by land or sea? what of any others, you may light upon? is
it indifferent to you whether these be friends or not, or do you admit
that the goodwill of these is worth securing by some pains on your

Lamp. I do.

Soc. It stands thus then: you are prepared to pay attention to this,
that, and the other stranger, but to your mother who loves you more
than all else, you are bound to render no service, no allegiance? Do
you not know that whilst the state does not concern itself with
ordinary ingratitude or pass judicial sentence on it; whilst it
overlooks the thanklessness of those who fail to make return for
kindly treatment, it reserves its pains and penalties for the special
case? If a man render not the service and allegiance due to his
parents, on him the finger of the law is laid; his name is struck off
the roll; he is forbidden to hold the archonship--which is as much as
to say, "Sacrifices in behalf of the state offered by such a man would
be no offerings, being tainted with impiety; nor could aught else be
'well and justly' performed of which he is the doer." Heaven help us!
If a man fail to adorn the sepulchre of his dead parents the state
takes cognisance of the matter, and inquisition is made in the
scrutiny of the magistrates.[6] And as for you, my son, if you are in
your sober senses, you will earnestly entreat your mother, lest the
very gods take you to be an ungrateful being, and on their side also
refuse to do you good; and you will beware of men also, lest they
should perceive your neglect of your parents, and with one consent
hold you in dishonour;[7] and so you find yourself in a desert devoid
of friends. For if once the notion be entertained that here is a man
ungrateful to his parents, no one will believe that any kindness shown
you would be other than thrown away.

[6] Lit. "the docimasia." See Gow, "Companion," xiv.

[7] "Visiti with atimia."


At another time the differences between two brothers named Chaerephon
and Chaerecrates, both well known to him, had drawn his attention; and
on seeing the younger of the two he thus addresed him.

Soc. Tell me, Chaerecrates, you are not, I take it, one of those
strange people who believe that goods are better and more precious
than a brother;[1] and that too although the former are but senseless
chattels which need protection, the latter a sensitive and sensible
being who can afford it; and what is more, he is himself alone, whilst
as for them their name is legion. And here again is a marvellous
thing: that a man should count his brother a loss, because the goods
of his brother are not his; but he does not count his fellow-citizens
loss, and yet their possessions are not his; only it seems in their
case he has wits to see that to dwell securely with many and have
enough is better than to own the whole wealth of a community and to
live in dangerous isolation; but this same doctrine as applied to
brothers they ignore. Again, if a man have the means, he will purchase
domestic slaves, because he wants assistants in his work; he will
acquire friends, because he needs their support; but this brother of
his--who cares about brothers? It seems a friend may be discovered in
an ordinary citizen, but not in a blood relation who is also a
brother. And yet it is a great vantage-ground towards friendship to
have sprung from the same loins and to have been suckled at the same
breasts, since even among beasts a certain natural craving, and
sympathy springs up between creatures reared together.[2] Added to
which, a man who has brothers commands more respect from the rest of
the world than the man who has none, and who must fight his own

[1] Cf. "Merchant of Venice," II. viii. 17: "Justice! the law! my
ducats, and my daughter!"

[2] Or, "a yearning after their foster-brothers manifests itself in
animals." See "Cyrop." VIII. vii. 14 foll. for a parallel to this

[3] Lit. "and is less liable to hostility."

Chaer. I daresay, Socrates, where the differences are not profound,
reason would a man should bear with his brother, and not avoid him for
some mere trifle's sake, for a brother of the right sort is, as you
say, a blessing; but if he be the very antithesis of that, why should
a man lay his hand to achieve the impossible?

Soc. Well now, tell me, is there nobody whom Chaerephon can please any
more than he can please yourself; or do some people find him agreeable

Chaer. Nay, there you hit it. That is just why I have a right to
detest him. He can be pleasing enough to others, but to me, whenever
he appears on the scene, he is not a blessing--no! but by every manner
of means the reverse.

Soc. May it not happen that just as a horse is no gain to the inexpert
rider who essays to handle him, so in like manner, if a man tries to
deal with his brother after an ignorant fashion, this same brother
will kick?

Chaer. But is it likely now? How should I be ignorant of the art of
dealing with my brother if I know the art of repaying kind words and
good deeds in kind? But a man who tries all he can to annoy me by word
and deed, I can neither bless nor benefit, and, what is more, I will
not try.

Soc. Well now, that is a marvellous statement, Chaerecrates. Your dog,
the serviceable guardian of your flocks, who will fawn and lick the
hand of your shepherd, when you come near him can only growl and show
his teeth. Well; you take no notice of the dog's ill-temper, you try
to propitiate him by kindness; but your brother? If your brother were
what he ought to be, he would be a great blessing to you--that you
admit; and, as you further confess, you know the secret of kind acts
and words, yet you will not set yourself to apply means to make him
your best of friends.

Chaer. I am afraid, Socrates, that I have no wisdom or cunning to make
Chaerephon bear himself towards me as he should.

Soc. Yet there is no need to apply any recondite or novel machinery.
Only bait your hook in the way best known to yourself, and you will
capture him; whereupon he will become your devoted friend.

Chaer. If you are aware that I know some love-charm, Socrates, of
which I am the happy but unconscious possessor, pray make haste and
enlighten me.

Soc. Answer me then. Suppose you wanted to get some acquaintance to
invite you to dinner when he next keeps holy day,[4] what steps would
you take?

[4] "When he next does sacrifice"; see "Hiero," viii. 3. Cf. Theophr.
"Char." xv. 2, and Prof. Jebb's note ad loc.

Chaer. No doubt I should set him a good example by inviting him myself
on a like occasion.

Soc. And if you wanted to induce some friend to look after your
affairs during your absence abroad, how would you achieve your

Chaer. No doubt I should present a precedent in undertaking to look
after his in like circumstances.

Soc. And if you wished to get some foreign friend to take you under
his roof while visiting his country, what would you do?

Chaer. No doubt I should begin by offering him the shelter of my own
roof when he came to Athens, in order to enlist his zeal in furthering
the objects of my visit; it is plain I should first show my readiness
to do as much for him in a like case.

Soc. Why, it seems you are an adept after all in all the philtres
known to man, only you chose to conceal your knowledge all the while;
or is it that you shrink from taking the first step because of the
scandal you will cause by kindly advances to your brother? And yet it
is commonly held to redound to a man's praise to have outstripped an
enemy in mischief or a friend in kindness. Now if it seemed to me that
Chaerephon were better fitted to lead the way towards this
friendship,[5] I should have tried to persuade him to take the first
step in winning your affection, but now I am persuaded the first move
belongs to you, and to you the final victory.

[5] Reading {pros ten philian}, or if {phusin}, transl. "natural

Chaer. A startling announcement, Socrates, from your lips, and most
unlike you, to bid me the younger take precedence of my elder brother.
Why, it is contrary to the universal custom of mankind, who look to
the elder to take the lead in everything, whether as a speaker or an

Soc. How so? Is it not the custom everywhere for the younger to step
aside when he meets his elder in the street and to give him place? Is
he not expected to get up and offer him his seat, to pay him the
honour of a soft couch,[6] to yield him precedence in argument?

[6] Lit. "with a soft bed," or, as we say, "the best bedroom."

My good fellow, do not stand shilly-shallying,[7] but put out your
hand caressingly, and you will see the worthy soul will respond at
once with alacrity. Do you not note your brother's character, proud
and frank and sensitive to honour? He is not a mean and sorry rascal
to be caught by a bribe--no better way indeed for such riff-raff. No!
gentle natures need a finer treatment. You can best hope to work on
them by affection.

[7] Or, "have no fears, essay a soothing treatment."

Chaer. But suppose I do, and suppose that, for all my attempts, he
shows no change for the better?

Soc. At the worst you will have shown yourself to be a good, honest,
brotherly man, and he will appear as a sorry creature on whom kindness
is wasted. But nothing of the sort is going to happen, as I
conjecture. My belief is that as soon as he hears your challenge, he
will embrace the contest; pricked on by emulous pride, he will insist
upon getting the better of you in kindness of word and deed.

At present you two are in the condition of two hands formed by God to
help each other, but which have let go their business and have turned
to hindering one another all they can. You are a pair of feet
fashioned on the Divine plan to work together, but which have
neglected this in order to trammel each other's gait. Now is it not
insensate stupidity[8] to use for injury what was meant for advantage?
And yet in fashioning two brothers God intends them, methinks, to be
of more benefit to one another than either two hands, or two feet, or
two eyes, or any other of those pairs which belong to man from his
birth.[9] Consider how powerless these hands of ours if called upon to
combine their action at two points more than a single fathom's length
apart;[10] and these feet could not stretch asunder[11] even a bare
fathom; and these eyes, for all the wide-reaching range we claim for
them, are incapable of seeing simultaneously the back and front of an
object at even closer quarters. But a pair of brothers, linked in
bonds of amity, can work each for the other's good, though seas divide

[8] "Boorishness verging upon monomania."

[9] "With which man is endowed at birth."

[10] "More than an 'arms'-stretch' asunder."

[11] Lit. "reach at one stretch two objects, even over that small

[12] "Though leagues separate them."


I have at another time heard him discourse on the kindred theme of
friendship in language well calculated, as it seemed to me, to help a
man to choose and also to use his friends aright.

He (Socrates) had often heard the remark made that of all possessions
there is none equal to that of a good and sincere friend; but, in
spite of this assertion, the mass of people, as far as he could see,
concerned themselves about nothing so little as the acquisition of
friends. Houses, and fields, and slaves, and cattle, and furniture of
all sorts (he said) they were at pains to acquire, and they strove
hard to keep what they had got; but to procure for themselves this
greatest of all blessings, as they admitted a friend to be, or to keep
the friends whom they already possessed, not one man in a hundred ever
gave himself a thought. It was noticeable, in the case of a sickness
befalling a man's friend and one of his own household simultaneously,
the promptness with which the master would fetch the doctor to his
domestic, and take every precaution necessary for his recovery, with
much expenditure of pains; but meanwhile little account would be taken
of the friend in like condition, and if both should die, he will show
signs of deep annoyance at the death of his domestic, which, as he
reflects, is a positive loss to him; but as regards his friend his
position is in no wise materially affected, and thus, though he would
never dream of leaving his other possessions disregarded and ill cared
for, friendship's mute appeal is met with flat indifference.[1]

[1] Or, "the cry of a friend for careful tending falls on deaf ears."

Or to take (said he) a crowning instance:[2] with regard to ordinary
possessions, however multifarious these may be, most people are at
least acquainted with their number, but if you ask a man to enumerate
his friends, who are not so very many after all perhaps, he cannot; or
if, to oblige the inquirer, he essays to make a list, he will
presently retract the names of some whom he had previously
included.[3] Such is the amount of thought which people bestow upon
their friends.

[2] Or, "Nor had he failed to observe another striking contrast." Cf.
Cic. "Lael." 17; Diog. Laert. ii. 30.

[3] i.e. "like a chess-player recalling a move."

And yet what thing else may a man call his own is comparable to this
one best possession! what rather will not serve by contrast to enhance
the value of an honest friend! Think of a horse or a yoke of oxen;
they have their worth; but who shall gauge the worth of a worthy
friend? Kindlier and more constant than the faithfullest of slaves--
this is that possession best named all-serviceable.[4] Consider what
the post is that he assigns himself! to meet and supplement what is
lacking to the welfare of his friends, to promote their private and
their public interests, is his concern. Is there need of kindly action
in any quarter? he will throw in the full weight of his support. Does
some terror confound? he is at hand to help and defend by expenditure
of money and of energy,[5] by appeals to reason or resort to force.
His the privilege alike to gladden the prosperous in the hour of
success and to sustain their footing who have well-nigh slipped. All
that the hands of a man may minister, all that the eyes of each are
swift to see, the ears to hear, and the feet to compass, he with his
helpful arts will not fall short of. Nay, not seldom that which a man
has failed to accomplish for himself, has missed seeing or hearing or
attaining, a friend acting in behalf of friend will achieve
vicariously. And yet, albeit to try and tend a tree for the sake of
its fruit is not uncommon, this copious mine of wealth--this friend--
attracts only a lazy and listless attention on the part of more than
half the world.

[4] "A vessel fit for all work indeed is this friend." Cf. Ar. "Ach."
936, {pagkhreston aggos estai}, like the "leather bottel."

[5] Or, "by dint of his diplomacy."


I remember listening to another argument of his, the effect of which
would be to promote self-examination. The listener must needs be
brought to ask himself, "Of what worth am I to my friends?" It
happened thus. One of those who were with him was neglectful, as he
noted, of a friend who was at the pinch of poverty (Antisthenes).[1]
Accordingly, in the presence of the negligent person and of several
others, he proceeded to question the sufferer.

[1] Antisthenes, "cynicorum et stoicorum parens." Cic. "de Or." iii.
17; "ad Att." xii. 38. See below, III. iii. 17; "Symp." passim;
Diog. Laert. II. v.; VI. i.

Soc. What say you, Antisthenes?--have friends their values like
domestic slaves? One of these latter may be worth perhaps two
minae,[2] another only half a mina, a third five, and a fourth as much
as ten; while they do say that Nicias,[3] the son of Niceratus, paid a
whole talent for a superintendent of his silver mines. And so I
propound the question to myself as follows: "Have friends, like
slaves, their market values?"

[2] A mina = L4 circ.

[3] For Nicias see Thuc. vii. 77 foll.; "Revenues," iv. 14; Plut.
"Nic." IV. v.; Lys. "de bon. Aristoph." 648.

Not a doubt of it (replied Antisthenes). At any rate, I know that I
would rather have such a one as my friend than be paid two minae, and
there is such another whose worth I would not estimate at half a mina,
and a third with whom I would not part for ten, and then again a
fourth whose friendship would be cheap if it cost me all the wealth
and pains in the world to purchase it.

Well then (continued Socrates), if that be so, would it not be well if
every one were to examine himself: "What after all may I chance to be
worth to my friends?" Should he not try to become as dear as possible,
so that his friends will not care to give him up? How often do I hear
the complaint: "My friend So-and-so has given me up"; or "Such an one,
whom I looked upon as a friend, has sacrificed me for a mina." And
every time I hear these remarks, the question arises in my mind: If
the vendor of a worthless slave is ready to part with him to a
purchaser for what he will fetch--is there not at least a strong
temptation to part with a base friend when you have a chance of making
something on the exchange? Good slaves, as far as I can see, are not
so knocked down to the hammer; no, nor good friends so lightly parted


Again, in reference to the test to be applied, if we would gauge the
qualifications of a friend worth the winning, the following remarks of
Socrates could not fail, I think, to prove instructive.[1]

[1] Or, "Again, as to establishing a test of character, since a friend
worth having must be of a particular type, I cannot but think that
the following remarks would prove instructive."

Tell me (said Socrates, addressing Critobulus), supposing we stood in
need of a good friend, how should we set about his discovery? We must,
in the first place, I suppose, seek out one who is master of his
appetites, not under the dominion, that is, of his belly, not addicted
to the wine-cup or to lechery or sleep or idleness, since no one
enslaved to such tyrants could hope to do his duty either by himself
or by his friends, could he?

Certainly not (Critobulus answered).

Soc. Do you agree, then, that we must hold aloof from every one so

Cri. Most assuredly.

Well then (proceeded Socrates), what shall we say of the spendthrift
who has lost his independence and is for ever begging of his
neighbours; if he gets anything out of them he cannot repay, but if he
fails to get anything, he hates you for not giving--do you not think
that this man too would prove but a disagreeable friend?

Cri. Certainly.

Soc. Then we must keep away from him too?

Cri. That we must.

Soc. Well! and what of the man whose strength lies in monetary
transactions?[2] His one craving is to amass money; and for that
reason he is an adept at driving a hard bargain[3]--glad enough to
take in, but loath to pay out.

[2] Or, "the money-lender? He has a passion for big money-bags."

[3] Or, "hard in all his dealings."

Cri. In my opinion he will prove even a worse fellow than the last.

Soc. Well! and what of that other whose passion for money-making is so
absorbing that he has no leisure for anything else, save how he may
add to his gains?

Cri. Hold aloof from him, say I, since there is no good to be got out
of him or his society.

Soc. Well! what of the quarrelsome and factious person[4] whose main
object is to saddle his friends with a host of enemies?

[4] "The partisan."

Cri. For God's sake let us avoid him also.

Soc. But now we will imagine a man exempt indeed from all the above
defects--a man who has no objection to receive kindnesses, but it
never enters into his head to do a kindness in return.

Cri. There will be no good in him either. But, Socrates, what kind of
man shall we endeavour to make our friend? what is he like?

Soc. I should say he must be just the converse of the above: he has
control over the pleasures of the body, he is kindly disposed,[5]
upright in all his dealings,[6] very zealous is he not to be outdone
in kindness by his benefactors, if only his friends may derive some
profit from his acquaintance.

[5] Reading {eunous}, or if {euorkos}, transl. "a man of his word."

[6] Or, "easy to deal with."

Cri. But how are we to test these qualities, Socrates, before

Soc. How do we test the merits of a sculptor?--not by inferences drawn
from the talk of the artist merely. No, we look to what he has already
achieved. These former statues of his were nobly executed, and we
trust he will do equally well with the rest.

Cri. You mean that if we find a man whose kindness to older friends is
established, we may take it as proved that he will treat his newer
friends as amiably?

Soc. Why, certainly, if I see a man who has shown skill in the
handling of horses previously, I argue that he will handle others no
less skilfully again.

Cri. Good! and when we have discovered a man whose friendship is worth
having, how ought we to make him our friend?

Soc. First we ought to ascertain the will of Heaven whether it be
advisable to make him our friend.

Cri. Well! and how are we to effect the capture of this friend of our
choice, whom the gods approve? will you tell me that?

Not, in good sooth (replied Socrates), by running him down like a
hare, nor by decoying him like a bird, or by force like a wild
boar.[7] To capture a friend against his will is a toilsome business,
and to bind him in fetters like a slave by no means easy. Those who
are so treated are apt to become foes instead of friends.[8]

[7] Reading {kaproi}, al. {ekhthroi}, "an enemy."

[8] Or, "Hate rather than friendship is the outcome of these methods."

Cri. But how convert them into friends?

Soc. There are certain incantations, we are told, which those who know
them have only to utter, and they can make friends of whom they list;
and there are certain philtres also which those who have the secret of
them may administer to whom they like and win their love.

Cri. From what source shall we learn them?

Soc. You need not go farther than Homer to learn that which the Sirens
sang to Odysseus,[9] the first words of which run, I think, as

Hither, come hither, thou famous man, Odysseus, great glory of the

[9] "Od." xii. 184.

Cri. And did the magic words of this spell serve for all men alike?
Had the Sirens only to utter this one incantation, and was every
listener constrained to stay?

Soc. No; this was the incantation reserved for souls athirst for fame,
of virtue emulous.

Cri. Which is as much as to say, we must suit the incantation to the
listener, so that when he hears the words he shall not think that the
enchanter is laughing at him in his sleeve. I cannot certainly
conceive a method better calculated to excite hatred and repulsion
than to go to some one who knows that he is small and ugly and a
weakling, and to breathe in his ears the flattering tale that he is
beautiful and tall and stalwart. But do you know any other love-
charms, Socrates?

Soc. I cannot say that I do; but I have heard that Pericles[10] was
skilled in not a few, which he poured into the ear of our city and won
her love.

[10] See above, I. ii. 40; "Symp." viii. 39.

Cri. And how did Themistocles[11] win our city's love?

[11] See below, III. vi. 2; IV. ii. 2.

Soc. Ah, that was not by incantation at all. What he did was to
encircle our city with an amulet of saving virtue.[12]

[12] See Herod. vii. 143, "the wooden wall"; Thuc. i. 93, "'the walls'
of Athens."

Cri. You would imply, Socrates, would you not, that if we want to win
the love of any good man we need to be good ourselves in speech and

And did you imagine (replied Socrates) that it was possible for a bad
man to make good friends?

Cri. Why, I could fancy I had seen some sorry speech-monger who was
fast friends with a great and noble statesman; or again, some born
commander and general who was boon companion with fellows quite
incapable of generalship.[13]

[13] Or, "Why, yes, when I see some base orator fast friends with a
great leader of the people; or, again, some fellow incapable of
generalship a comrade to the greatest captains of his age."

Soc. But in reference to the point we were discussing, may I ask
whether you know of any one who can attach a useful friend to himself
without being of use in return?[14] Can service ally in friendship
with disservice?

[14] Add, "Can service ally in friendship with disservice? Must there
not be a reciprocity of service to make friendship lasting?"

Cri. In good sooth no. But now, granted it is impossible for a base
man to be friends with the beautiful and noble,[14] I am concerned at
once to discover if one who is himself of a beautiful and noble
character can, with a wave of the hand, as it were, attach himself in
friendship to every other beautiful and noble nature.

[14] {kalous kagathous}.

Soc. What perplexes and confounds you, Critobulus, is the fact that so
often men of noble conduct, with souls aloof from baseness, are not
friends but rather at strife and discord with one another, and deal
more harshly by one another than they would by the most good-for-
nothing of mankind.

Cri. Yes, and this holds true not of private persons only, but states,
the most eager to pursue a noble policy and to repudiate a base one,
are frequently in hostile relation to one another. As I reason on
these things my heart fails me, and the question, how friends are to
be acquired, fills me with despondency. The bad, as I see, cannot be
friends with one another. For how can such people, the ungrateful, or
reckless, or covetous, or faithless, or incontinent, adhere together
as friends? Without hesitation I set down the bad as born to be foes
not friends, and as bearing the birthmark of internecine hate. But
then again, as you suggest, no more can these same people harmonise in
friendship with the good. For how should they who do evil be friends
with those who hate all evil-doing? And if, last of all, they that
cultivate virtue are torn by party strife in their struggle for the
headship of the states, envying one another, hating one another, who
are left to be friends? where shall goodwill and faithfulness be found
among men?

Soc. The fact is there is some subtlety in the texture of these
things.[15] Seeds of love are implanted in man by nature. Men have
need of one another, feel pity, help each other by united efforts, and
in recognition of the fact show mutual gratitude. But there are seeds
of war implanted also. The same objects being regarded as beautiful or
agreeable by all alike, they do battle for their possession; a spirit
of disunion[16] enters, and the parties range themselves in adverse
camps. Discord and anger sound a note of war: the passion of more-
having, staunchless avarice, threatens hostility; and envy is a
hateful fiend.[17]

[15] i.e. a cunning intertwining of the threads of warp and woof.

[16] Cf. Shelley, "The devil of disunion in their souls."

[17] The diction is poetical.

But nevertheless, through all opposing barriers friendship steals her
way and binds together the beautiful and good among mankind.[18] Such
is their virtue that they would rather possess scant means painlessly
than wield an empire won by war. In spite of hunger and thirst they
will share their meat and drink without a pang. Not bloom of lusty
youth, nor love's delights can warp their self-control; nor will they
be tempted to cause pain where pain should be unknown. It is theirs
not merely to eschew all greed of riches, not merely to make a just
and lawful distribution of wealth, but to supply what is lacking to
the needs of one another. Theirs it is to compose strife and discord
not in painless oblivion simply, but to the general advantage. Theirs
also to hinder such extravagance of anger as shall entail remorse
hereafter. And as to envy they will make a clean sweep and clearance
of it: the good things which a man possesses shall be also the
property of his friends, and the goods which they possess are to be
looked upon as his. Where then is the improbability that the beautiful
and noble should be sharers in the honours[19] of the state not only
without injury, but even to their mutual advantage?

[18] Or, as we say, "the elite of human kind."

[19] "And the offices."

They indeed who covet and desire the honours and offices in a state
for the sake of the liberty thereby given them to embezzle the public
moneys, to deal violently by their fellow-creatures, and to batten in
luxury themselves, may well be regarded as unjust and villainous
persons incapable of harmony with one another. But if a man desire to
obtain these selfsame honours in order that, being himself secure
against wrong-doing, he may be able to assist his friends in what is
right, and, raised to a high position,[20] may essay to confer some
blessing on the land of his fathers, what is there to hinder him from
working in harmony with some other of a like spirit? Will he, with the
"beautiful and noble" at his side, be less able to aid his friends? or
will his power to benfit the community be shortened because the flower
of that community are fellow-workers in that work? Why, even in the
contests of the games it is obvious that if it were possible for the
stoutest combatants to combine against the weakest, the chosen band
would come off victors in every bout, and would carry off all the
prizes. This indeed is against the rules of the actual arena; but in
the field of politics, where the beautiful and good hold empery, and
there is nought to hinder any from combining with whomsoever a man may
choose to benefit the state, it will be a clear gain, will it not, for
any one engaged in state affairs to make the best men his friends,
whereby he will find partners and co-operators in his aims instead of
rivals and antagonists? And this at least is obvious: in case of
foreign war a man will need allies, but all the more if in the ranks
opposed to him should stand the flower of the enemy.[21] Moreover,
those who are willing to fight your battles must be kindly dealt with,
that goodwill may quicken to enthusiasm; and one good man[22] is
better worth your benefiting that a dozen knaves, since a little
kindness goes a long way with the good, but with the base the more you
give them the more they ask for.

[20] "As archon," or "raised to rule."

[21] Lit. "the beautiful and good."

[22] Or, "the best, though few, are better worth your benefiting than
the many base."

So keep a good heart, Critobulus; only try to become good yourself,
and when you have attained, set to your hand to capture the beautiful
and good. Perhaps I may be able to give you some help in this quest,
being myself an adept in Love's lore.[23] No matter who it is for whom
my heart is aflame; in an instant my whole soul is eager to leap
forth. With vehemence I speed to the mark. I, who love, demand to be
loved again; this desire in me must be met by counter desire in him;
this thirst for his society by thirst reciprocal for mine. And these
will be your needs also, I foresee, whenever you are seized with
longing to contract a friendship. Do not hide from me, therefore, whom
you would choose as a friend, since, owing to the pains I take to
please him who pleases me, I am not altogether unversed, I fancy, in
the art of catching men.[24]

[23] "An authority in matters of love." Cf. Plat. "Symp." 177 D; Xen.
"Symp." viii. 2.

[24] See below, III. xi. 7; cf. Plat. "Soph." 222; N. T. Matt. iv. 19,
{alieis anthropon}.

Critobulus replied: Why, these are the very lessons of instruction,
Socrates, for which I have been long athirst, and the more
particularly if this same love's lore will enable me to capture those
who are good of soul and those who are beautiful of person.

Soc. Nay, now I warn you, Critobulus, it is not within the province of
my science to make the beautiful endure him who would lay hands upon
them. And that is why men fled from Scylla, I am persuaded, because
she laid hands upon them; but the Sirens were different--they laid
hands on nobody, but sat afar off and chanted their spells in the ears
of all; and therefore, it is said, all men endured to listen, and were

Cri. I promise I will not lay violent hands on any; therefore, if you
have any good device for winning friends, instruct your pupil.

Soc. And if there is to be no laying on of the hands, there must be no
application either of the lips; is it agreed?

Cri. No, nor application of the lips to any one--not beautiful.

Soc. See now! you cannot open your mouth without some luckless
utterence. Beauty suffers no such liberty, however eagerly the ugly
may invite it, making believe some quality of soul must rank them with
the beautiful.

Cri. Be of good cheer then; let the compact stand thus: "Kisses for
the beautiful, and for the good a rain of kisses." So now teach us the
art of catching friends.

Soc. Well then, when you wish to win some one's affection, you will
allow me to lodge information against you to the effect that you
admire him and desire to be his friend?

Cri. Lodge the indictment, with all my heart. I never heard of any one
who hated his admirers.

Soc. And if I add to the indictment the further charge that through
your admiration you are kindly disposed towards him, you will not feel
I am taking away your character?

Cri. Why, no; for myself I know a kindly feeling springs up in my
heart towards any one whom I conceive to be kindly disposed to me.

Soc. All this I shall feel empowered to say about you to those whose
friendship you seek, and I can promise further help; only there is a
comprehensive "if" to be considered: if you will further authorise me
to say that you are devoted to your friends; that nothing gives you so
much joy as a good friend; that you pride yourself no less on the fine
deeds of those you love than on your own; and on their good things
equally with your own; that you never weary of plotting and planning
to procure them a rich harvest of the same; and lastly, that you have
discovered a man's virtue is to excel his friends in kindness and his
foes in hostility. If I am authorised thus to report of you, I think
you will find me a serviceable fellow-hunter in the quest of friends,
which is the conquest of the good.

Cri. Why this appeal to me?--as if you had not free permission to say
exactly what you like about me.

Soc. No; that I deny, on the authority of Aspasia.[25] I have it from
her own lips. "Good matchmakers," she said tome, "were clever hands at
cementing alliances between people, provided the good qualities they
vouched for were truthfully reported; but when it came to their
telling lies, for her part she could not compliment them.[26] Their
poor deluded dupes ended by hating each other and the go-betweens as
well." Now I myself am so fully persuaded of the truth of this that I
feel it is not in my power to say aught in your praise which I cannot
say with truth.

[25] Aspasia, daughter of Axiochus, of Miletus. See "Econ." iii. 14;
Plat. "Menex." 235 E; Aesch. Socrat. ap. Cic. "de Invent." I.
xxxi. 51. See Grote, "H. G." vi. 132 foll.; Cobet, "Pros. Xen."

[26] Reading {ouk ethelein epainein}, or if {ouk ophelein epainousas}
with Kuhner transl. "Good matchmakers, she told me, have to
consult truth when reporting favourably of any one: then indeed
they are terribly clever at bringing people together: whereas
false flatterers do no good; their dupes," etc.

Cri. Really, Socrates, you are a wonderfully good friend to me--in so
far as I have any merit which will entitle me to win a friend, you
will lend me a helping hand, it seems; otherwise you would rather not
forge any petty fiction for my benefit.

Soc. But tell me, how shall I assist you best, think you? By praising
you falsely or by persuading you to try to be a good man? Or if it is
not plain to you thus, look at the matter by the light of some
examples. I wish to introduce you to a shipowner, or to make him your
friend: I begin by singing your praises to him falsely thus, "You will
find him a good pilot"; he catches at the phrase, and entrusts his
ship to you, who have no notion of guiding a vessel. What can you
expect but to make shipwreck of the craft and yourself together? or
suppose by similar false assertions I can persuade the state at large
to entrust her destinies to you--"a man with a fine genius for
command," I say, "a practised lawyer," "a politician born," and so
forth. The odds are, the state and you may come to grief through you.
Or to take an instance from everyday life. By my falsehoods I persuade
some private person to entrust his affairs to you as "a really careful
and business-like person with a head for economy." When put to the
test would not your administration prove ruinous, and the figure you
cut ridiculous? No, my dear friend, there is but one road, the
shortest, safest, best, and it is simply this: In whatsoever you
desire to be deemed good, endeavour to be good. For of all the virtues
namable among men, consider, and you will find there is not one but
may be increased by learning and practice. For my part then,
Critobulus, these are the principles on which we ought to go a-
hunting; but if you take a different view, I am all attention, please
instruct me.

Then Critobulus: Nay, Socrates, I should be ashamed to gainsay what
you have said; if I did, it would neither be a noble statement nor a

[27] {kala . . . alethe}.


He had two ways of dealing with the difficulties of his friends: where
ignorance was the cause, he tried to meet the trouble by a dose of
common sense; or where want and poverty were to blame, by lessoning
them that they should assist one another according to their ability;
and here I may mention certain incidents which occurred within my own
knowledge. How, for instance, he chanced upon Aristarchus wearing the
look of one who suffered from a fit of the "sullens," and thus
accosted him.

Soc. You seem to have some trouble on your mind, Aristarchus; if so,
you should share it with your friends. Perhaps together we might
lighten the weight of it a little.

Aristarchus answered: Yes, Socrates, I am in sore straits indeed. Ever
since the party strife declared itself in the city,[1] what with the
rush of people to Piraeus, and the wholesale banishments, I have been
fairly at the mercy of my poor deserted female relatives. Sisters,
nieces, cousins, they have all come flocking to me for protection. I
have fourteen free-born souls, I tell you, under my single roof, and
how are we to live? We can get nothing out of the soil--that is in the
hands of the enemy; nothing from my house property, for there is
scarcely a living soul left in the city; my furniture? no one will buy
it; money? there is none to be borrowed--you would have a better
chance to find it by looking for it on the road than to borrow it from
a banker. Yes, Socrates, to stand by and see one's relatives die of
hunger is hard indeed, and yet to feed so many at such a pinch

[1] i.e. circa 404-403 B.C. See "Hell." II. iv.

After he listened to the story, Socrates asked: How comes it that
Ceramon,[2] with so many mouths to feed, not only contrives to furnish
himself and them with the necessaries of life, but to realise a
handsome surplus, whilst you being in like plight[3] are afraid you
will one and all perish of starvation for want of the necessaries of

[2] An employer of labour, apparently, on a grand scale.

[3] Lit. "with your large family to feed." L. Dindorf would like to
read {su de oligous}, "you with your small family."

Ar. Why, bless your soul, do you not see he has only slaves and I have
free-born souls to feed?

Soc. And which should you say were the better human beings, the free-
born members of your household or Ceramon's slaves?

Ar. The free souls under my roof without a doubt.

Soc. Is it not a shame, then, that he with his baser folk to back him
should be in easy circumstances, while you and your far superior
household are in difficulties?

Ar. To be sure it is, when he has only a set of handicraftsmen to
feed, and I my liberally-educated household.

Soc. What is a handicraftsman? Does not the term apply to all who can
make any sort of useful product or commodity?

Ar. Certainly.

Soc. Barley meal is a useful product, is it not?

Ar. Pre-eminently so.

Soc. And loaves of bread?

Ar. No less.

Soc. Well, and what do you say to cloaks for men and for women--
tunics, mantles, vests?[4]

[4] For these articles of dress see Becker's "Charicles," Exc. i. to
Sc. xi. "Dress."

Ar. Yes, they are all highly useful commodities.

Soc. Then your household do not know how to make any of these?

Ar. On the contrary, I believe they can make them all.

Soc. Then you are not aware that by means of the manufacture of one of
these alone--his barley meal store--Nausicydes[5] not only maintains
himself and his domestics, but many pigs and cattle besides, and
realises such large profits that he frequently contributes to the
state benevolences;[6] while there is Cyrebus, again, who, out of a
bread factory, more than maintains the whole of his establishment, and
lives in the lap of luxury; and Demeas of Collytus gets a livelihood
out of a cloak business, and Menon as a mantua-maker, and so, again,
more than half the Megarians[7] by the making of vests.

[5] Nausicydes. Cobet, "Pros. Xen." cf. Aristoph. "Eccles." 426.

[6] Lit. "state liturgies," or "to the burden of the public services."
For these see Gow, "Companion," xviii. "Athenian Finance."

[7] Cf. Arist. "Acharnians," 519, {esukophantei Megareon ta
khlaniskia}. See Dr. Merry's note ad loc.

Ar. Bless me, yes! They have got a set of barbarian fellows, whom they
purchase and keep, to manufacture by forced labour whatever takes
their fancy. My kinswomen, I need not tell you, are free-born ladies.

Soc. Then, on the ground that they are free-born and your kinswomen,
you think that they ought to do nothing but eat and sleep? Or is it
your opinion that people who live in this way--I speak of free-born
people in general--lead happier lives, and are more to be
congratulated, than those who give their time and attention to such
useful arts of life as they are skilled in? Is this what you see in
the world, that for the purpose of learning what it is well to know,
and of recollecting the lessons taught, or with a view to health and
strength of body, or for the sake of acquiring and preserving all that
gives life its charm, idleness and inattention are found to be
helpful, whilst work and study are simply a dead loss? Pray, when
those relatives of yours were taught what you tell me they know, did
they learn it as barren information which they would never turn to
practical account, or, on the contrary, as something with which they
were to be seriously concerned some day, and from which they were to
reap advantage? Do human beings in general attain to well-tempered
manhood by a course of idling, or by carefully attending to what will
be of use? Which will help a man the more to grow in justice and
uprightness, to be up and doing, or to sit with folded hands revolving
the ways and means of existence? As things now stand, if I am not
mistaken, there is no love lost between you. You cannot help feeling
that they are costly to you, and they must see that you find them a
burthen? This is a perilous state of affairs, in which hatred and
bitterness have every prospect of increasing, whilst the pre-existing
bond of affection[8] is likely to be snapped.

[8] Or, "the original stock of kindliness will be used up."

But now, if only you allow them free scope for their energies, when
you come to see how useful they can be, you will grow quite fond of
them, and they, when they perceive that they can please you, will
cling to their benefactor warmly. Thus, with the memory of former
kindnesses made sweeter, you will increase the grace which flows from
kindnesses tenfold; you will in consequence be knit in closer bonds of
love and domesticity. If, indeed, they were called upon to do any
shameful work, let them choose death rather than that; but now they
know, it would seem, the very arts and accomplishments which are
regarded as the loveliest and the most suitable for women; and the
things which we know, any of us, are just those which we can best
perform, that is to say, with ease and expedition; it is a joy to do
them, and the result is beautiful.[9] Do not hesitate, then, to
initiate your friends in what will bring advantage to them and you
alike; probably they will gladly respond to your summons.

[9] Or, "with ease, rapidity, pleasure and effect."

Well, upon my word (Aristarchus answered), I like so well what you
say, Socrates, that though hitherto I have not been disposed to
borrow, knowing that when I had spent what I got I should not be in a
condition to repay, I think I can now bring myself to do so in order
to raise a fund for these works.

Thereupon a capital was provided; wools were purchased; the good man's
relatives set to work, and even whilst they breakfasted they worked,
and on and on till work was ended and they supped. Smiles took the
place of frowns; they no longer looked askance with suspicion, but
full into each other's eyes with happiness. They loved their kinsman
for his kindness to them. He became attached to them as helpmates; and
the end of it all was, he came to Socrates and told him with delight
how matters fared; "and now," he added, "they tax me with being the
only drone in the house, who sit and eat the bread of idleness."

To which Socrates: Why do not you tell them the fable of the dog?[10]
Once on a time, so goes the story, when beasts could speak, the sheep
said to her master, "What a marvel is this, master, that to us, your
own sheep, who provide you with fleeces and lambs and cheese, you give
nothing, save only what we may nibble off earth's bosom; but with this
dog of yours, who provides you with nothing of the sort, you share the
very meat out of your mouth." When the dog heard these words, he
answered promptly, "Ay, in good sooth, for is it not I who keep you
safe and sound, you sheep, so that you are not stolen by man nor
harried by wolves; since, if I did not keep watch over you, you would
not be able so much as to graze afield, fearing to be destroyed." And
so, says the tale, the sheep had to admit that the dog was rightly
preferred to themselves in honour. And so do you tell your flock
yonder that like the dog in the fable you are their guardian and
overseer, and it is thanks to you that they are protected from evil
and evildoers, so that they work their work and live their lives in
blissful security.

[10] See Joseph Jacobs, "The Fables of Aesop," vol. i. p. 26 foll.,
for "a complete list of the Fables given in Greek literature up to
the fall of Greek independence." Cf. Hesiod, "Works and Days," 202
foll.; Archilochus, 89 (60), Bergk; Herod. i. 141; Aesch.
"Myrmid." fr. 123; Aristot. "Rhet." II. xx.


At another time chancing upon an old friend whom he had not seen for a
long while, he greeted him thus.

Soc. What quarter of the world do you hail from, Eutherus?

The other answered: From abroad, just before the close of the war; but
at present from the city itself.[1] You see, since we have been
denuded of our possessions across the frontier,[2] and my father left
me nothing in Attica, I must needs bide at home, and provide myself
with the necessaries of life by means of bodily toil, which seems
preferable to begging from another, especially as I have no security
on which to raise a loan.

[1] Lit. "from here." The conversation perhaps takes place in Piraeus
404 B.C.

[2] Or, "colonial possession." Cf. "Symp." iv. 31.

Soc. And how long do you expect your body to be equal to providing the
necessaries of life for hire?

Euth. Goodness knows, Socrates--not for long.

Soc. And when you find yourself an old man, expenses will not
diminish, and yet no one will care to pay you for the labour of your

Euth. That is true.

Soc. Would it not be better then to apply yourself at once to such
work as will stand you in good stead when you are old--that is,
address yourself to some large proprietor who needs an assistant in
managing his estate?[3] By superintending his works, helping to get in
his crops, and guarding his property in general, you will be a benefit
to the estate and be benefited in return.

[3] Cf. "Cyrop." VIII. iii. 48.

I could not endure the yoke of slavery, Socrates! (he exclaimed).

Soc. And yet the heads of departments in a state are not regarded as
adopting the badge of slavery because they manage the public property,
but as having attained a higher degree of freedom rather.

Euth. In a word, Socrates, the idea of being held to account to
another is not at all to my taste.

Soc. And yet, Eutherus, it would be hard to find a work which did not
involve some liability to account; in fact it is difficult to do
anything without some mistake or other, and no less difficult, if you
should succeed in doing it immaculately, to escape all unfriendly
criticism. I wonder now whether you find it easy to get through your
present occupations entirely without reproach. No? Let me tell you
what you should do. You should avoid censorious persons and attach
yourself to the considerate and kind-hearted, and in all your affairs
accept with a good grace what you can and decline what you feel you
cannot do. Whatever it be, do it heart and soul, and make it your
finest work.[4] There lies the method at once to silence fault-finders
and to minister help to your own difficulties. Life will flow
smoothly, risks will be diminished, provision against old age secured.

[4] Or, "study to make it your finest work, the expression of a real


At another time, as I am aware, he had heard a remark made by Crito[1]
that life at Athens was no easy matter for a man who wished to mind
his own affairs.

[1] Crito. See above, I. ii. 48; Cobet, "P. X."; cf. Plat. "Rep."
viii. 549 C.

As, for instance, at this moment (Crito proceeded) there are a set of
fellows threatening me with lawsuits, not because they have any
misdemeanour to allege against me, but simply under the conviction
that I will sooner pay a sum of money than be troubled further.

To which Socrates replied: Tell me, Crito, you keep dogs, do you not,
to ward off wolves from your flocks?

Cr. Certainly; it pays to do so.

Soc. Then why do you not keep a watchman willing and competent to ward
off this pack of people who seek to injure you?

I should not at all mind (he answered), if I were not afraid he might
turn again and rend his keeper.

What! (rejoined Socrates), do you not see that to gratify a man like
yourself is far pleasanter as a matter of self-interest than to
quarrel with you? You may be sure there are plenty of people here who
will take the greatest pride in making you their friend.

Accordingly, they sought out Archedemus,[2] a practical man with a
clever tongue in his head[3] but poor; the fact being, he was not the
sort to make gain by hook or by crook, but a lover of honesty and of
too good a nature himself to make his living as a pettifogger.[4]
Crito would then take the opportunity of times of harvesting and put
aside small presents for Achedemus of corn and oil, or wine, or wool,
or any other of the farm produce forming the staple commodities of
life, or he would invite him to a sacrificial feast, and otherwise pay
him marked attention. Archedemus, feeling that he had in Crito's house
a harbour of refuge, could not make too much of his patron, and ere
long he had hunted up a long list of iniquities which could be lodged
against Crito's pettifogging persecutors themselves, and not only
their numerous crimes but their numerous enemies; and presently he
prosecuted one of them in a public suit, where sentence would be given
against him "what to suffer or what to pay."[5] The accused, conscious
as he was of many rascally deeds, did all he could to be quit of
Archedemus, but Archedemus was not to be got rid of. He held on until
he had made the informer not only loose his hold of Crito but pay
himself a sum of money; and now that Archedemus had achieved this and
other similar victories, it is easy to guess what followed.[6] It was
just as when some shepherd has got a very good dog, all the other
shepherds wish to lodge their flocks in his neighbourhood that they
too may reap the benefit of him. So a number of Crito's friends came
begging him to allow Archedemus to be their guardian also, and
Archedemus was overjoyed to do something to gratify Crito, and so it
came about that not only Crito abode in peace, but his friends
likewise. If any of those people with whom Archedemus was not on the
best of terms were disposed to throw it in his teeth that he accepted
his patron's benefits and paid in flatteries, he had a ready retort:
"Answer me this question--which is the more scandalous, to accept
kindnesses from honest folk and to repay them, with the result that I
make such people my friends but quarrel with knaves, or to make
enemies of honourable gentlemen[7] by attempts to do them wrong, with
the off-chance indeed of winning the friendship of some scamps in
return for my co-operation, but the certainty of losing in the tone of
my acquaintances?"[8]

[2] Archedemus, possibly the demagogue, "Hell." I. vii. 2. So Cobet,
"P. X.," but see Grote, "H. G." viii. 245.

[3] Lit. "very capable of speech and action"--the writer's favourite
formula for the well-trained Athenian who can speak fluently and
reason clearly, and act energetically and opportunely.

[4] Reading {kai euphuesteros on} [or {e os}] . . . {apo sukophanton}
[or {sukophantion}], after Cobet, "P. X." s.v. Archedemus. The
MSS. give {kai ephe raston einai}--"nothing is easier," he said,
"than recovering from sycophants."

[5] For this formula cf. "Econ." vi. 24. Cf. Plat. "Statesm." 299 A.

[6] {ede tote}. Cf. Plat. "Laws," vi. 778 C.

[7] Lit. the {kaloi kagathoi}, which like {khrestous} and {ponerous}
has a political as well as an ethical meaning.

[8] Lit. "must associate with these (the {ponerois}) instead of those
(the {kalois te kagathois}).

The net result of the whole proceedings was that Archedemus was now
Crito's right hand,[9] and by the rest of Crito's friends he was held
in honour.

[9] He was No. 1--{eis}.


Again I may cite, as known to myself,[1] the following discussion; the
arguments were addressed to Diodorus, one of his companions. The
master said:

[1] Or, "for which I can personally vouch."

Tell me, Diodorus, if one of your slaves runs away, are you at pains
to recover him?

More than that (Diodorus answered), I summon others to my aid and I
have a reward cried for his recovery.

Soc. Well, if one of your domestics is sick, do you tend him and call
in the doctors to save his life?

Diod. Decidedly I do.

Soc. And if an intimate acquaintance who is far more precious to you
than any of your household slaves is about to perish of want, you
would think it incumbent on you to take pains to save his life? Well!
now you know without my telling you that Hermogenes[2] is not made of
wood or stone. If you helped him he would be ashamed not to pay you in
kind. And yet--the opportunity of possessing a willing, kindly, and
trusty assistant well fitted to do your bidding, and not merely that,
but capable of originating useful ideas himself, with a certain
forecast of mind and judgment--I say such a man is worth dozens of
slaves. Good economists tell us that when a precious article may be
got at a low price we ought to buy. And nowadays when times are so bad
it is possible to get good friends exceedingly cheap.

[2] Hermogenes, presumably the son of Hipponicus. See I. ii. 48.

Diodorus answered: You are quite right, Socrates; bid Hermogenes come
to me.

Soc. Bid Hermogenes come to you!--not I indeed! since for aught I can
understand you are no better entitled to summon him that to go to him
yourself, nor is the advantage more on his side than your own.

Thus Diodorus went off in a trice to seek Hermogenes, and at no great
outlay won to himself a friend--a friend whose one concern it now was
to discover how, by word or deed, he might help and gladden Diodorus.



Aspirants to honour and distinction[1] derived similar help from
Socrates, who in each case stimulated in them a persevering assiduity
towards their several aims, as the following narratives tend to show.
He had heard on one occasion of the arrival in Athens of
Dionysodorus,[2] who professed to teach the whole duty of a
general.[3] Accordingly he remarked to one of those who were with him
--a young man whose anxiety to obtain the office of Strategos[4] was
no secret to him:

[1] {ton kalon} = everything which the {kalos te kagathos} should aim
at, but especially the honourable offices of state such as the
Archonship, Strategia, Hipparchia, etc. See Plat. "Laches."

[2] Dionysodorus of Chios, presumably. See Plat. "Euthyd." 271 C foll.

[3] A professor of the science and art of strategy.

[4] Lit. "that honour," sc. the Strategia.

Soc. It would be monstrous on the part of any one who sought to become
a general[5] to throw away the slightest opportunity of learning the
duties of the office. Such a person, I should say, would deserve to be
fined and punished by the state far more than the charlatan who
without having learnt the art of a sculptor undertakes a contract to
carve a statue. Considering that the whole fortunes of the state are
entrusted to the general during a war, with all its incidental peril,
it is only reasonable to anticipate that great blessings or great
misfortunes will result in proportion to the success or bungling of
that officer. I appeal to you, young sir, do you not agree that a
candidate who, while taking pains to be elected neglects to learn the
duties of the office, would richly deserve to be fined?

[5] i.e. "head of the war department, and commander-in-chief," etc.

With arguments like these he persuaded the young man to go and take
lessons. After he had gone through the course he came back, and
Socrates proceeded playfully to banter him.

Soc. Behold our young friend, sirs, as Homer says of Agamemnon, of
mein majestical,[6] so he; does he not seem to move more majestically,
like one who has studied to be a general? Of course, just as a man who
has learned to play the harp is a harper, even if he never touch the
instrument, or as one who has studied medicine is a physician, though
he does not practise, so our friend here from this time forward is now
and ever shall be a general, even though he does not receive a vote at
the elections. But the dunce who has not the science is neither
general nor doctor, no, not even if the whole world appointed him. But
(he proceeded, turning to the youth), in case any of us should ever
find ourselves captain or colonel[7] under you, to give us some
smattering of the science of war, what did the professor take as the
starting-point of his instruction in generalship? Please inform us.

[6] "Il." iii. 169, 170.

[7] Or, "brigadier or captain," lit. taxiarch or lochagos.

Then the young man: He began where he ended; he taught me tactics[8]--
tactics and nothing else.

[8] Cf. "Cyrop." I. vi. 12 foll.; VIII. v. 15.

Yet surely (replied Socrates) that is only an infinitisemal part of
generalship. A general[9] must be ready in furnishing the material of
war: in providing the commissariat for his troops; quick in devices,
he must be full of practical resource; nothing must escape his eye or
tax his endurance; he must be shrewd, and ready of wit, a combination
at once of clemency and fierceness, of simplicity and of insidious
craft; he must play the part of watchman, of robber; now prodigal as a
spendthrift, and again close-fisted as a miser, the bounty of his
munificence must be equalled by the narrowness of his greed;
impregnable in defence, a very dare-devil in attack--these and many
other qualities must he possess who is to make a good general and
minister of war; they must come to him by gift of nature or through
science. No doubt it is a grand thing also to be a tactician, since
there is all the difference in the world between an army properly
handled in the field and the same in disorder; just as stones and
bricks, woodwork and tiles, tumbled together in a heap are of no use
at all, but arrange them in a certain order--at bottom and atop
materials which will not crumble or rot, such as stones and earthen
tiles, and in the middle between the two put bricks and woodwork, with
an eye to architectural principle,[10] and finally you get a valuable
possession--to wit, a dwelling-place.

[9] A strategos. For the duties and spheres of action of this officer,
see Gow, op. cit. xiv. 58.

[10] "As in the building of a house." See Vitrivius, ii. 3; Plin. xxv.

The simile is very apt, Socrates[11] (replied the youth), for in
battle, too, the rule is to draw up the best men in front and rear,
with those of inferior quality between, where they may be led on by
the former and pushed on by the hinder.

[11] Cf. "Il." iv. 297 foll.; "Cyrop." VI. iii. 25; Polyb. x. 22.

Soc. Very good, no doubt, if the professor taught you to distinguish
good and bad; but if not, where is the use of your learning? It would
scarcely help you, would it, to be told to arrange coins in piles, the
best coins at top and bottom and the worst in the middle, unless you
were first taught to distinguish real from counterfeit.

The Youth. Well no, upon my word, he did not teach us that, so that
the task of distinguishing between good and bad must devolve on

Soc. Well, shall we see, then, how we may best avoid making blunders
between them?

I am ready (replied the youth).

Soc. Well then! Let us suppose we are marauders, and the task imposed
upon us is to carry off some bullion; it will be a right disposition
of our forces if we place in the vanguard those who are the greediest
of gain?[12]

[12] "Whose fingers itch for gold."

The Youth. I should think so.

Soc. Then what if there is danger to be faced? Shall the vanguard
consist of men who are greediest of honour?

The Youth. It is these, at any rate, who will face danger for the sake
of praise and glory.[13] Fortunately such people are not hid away in a
corner; they shine forth conspicuous everywhere, and are easy to be

[13] Cf. Shakesp. "seeking the bubble reputation even in the cannon's

Soc. But tell me, did he teach you how to draw up troops in general,
or specifically where and how to apply each particular kind of
tactical arrangement?

The Youth. Nothing of the sort.

Soc. And yet there are and must be innumerable circumstances in which
the same ordering of march or battle will be out of place.

The Youth. I assure you he did not draw any of these fine

He did not, did not he? (he answered). Bless me! Go back to him again,
then, and ply him with questions; if he really has the science, and is
not lost to all sense of shame, he will blush to have taken your money
and then to have sent you away empty.


At another time he fell in with a man who had been chosen general and
minister of war, and thus accosted him.

Soc. Why did Homer, think you, designate Agamemnon "shepherd of the
peoples"?[1] Was it possibly to show that, even as a shepherd must
care for his sheep and see that they are safe and have all things
needful, and that the objects of their rearing be secured, so also
must a general take care that his soldiers are safe and have their
supplies, and attain the objects of their soldiering? Which last is
that they may get the mastery of their enemies, and so add to their
own good fortune and happiness; or tell me, what made him praise
Agamemnon, saying--

He is both a good king and a warrior bold?[2]

Did he mean, perhaps, to imply that he would be a 'warrior bold,' not
merely in standing alone and bravely battling against the foe, but as
inspiring the whole of his host with like prowess; and by a 'good
king,' not merely one who should stand forth gallantly to protect his
own life, but who should be the source of happiness to all over whom
he reigns? Since a man is not chosen king in order to take heed to
himself, albeit nobly, but that those who chose him may attain to
happiness through him. And why do men go soldiering except to
ameliorate existence?[3] and to this end they choose their generals
that they may find in them guides to the goal in question. He, then,
who undertakes that office is bound to procure for those who choose
him the thing they seek for. And indeed it were not easy to find any
nobler ambition than this, or aught ignobler than its opposite.

[1] "Il." ii. 243. "The People's Paster," Chapman.

[2] "Il." iii. 179; cf. "Symp." iv. 6. A favourite line of Alexander
the Great's, it is said.

[3] Of, "that life may reach some flower of happiness."

After such sort he handled the question, what is the virtue of a good
leader? and by shredding off all superficial qualities, laid bare as
the kernel of the matter that it is the function of every leader to
make those happy whom he may be called upon to lead.[4]

[4] Cf. Plat. "Rep." 342.


The following conversation with a youth who had just been elected
hipparch[1] (or commandant of cavalry), I can also vouch for.[2]

[1] Cf. "Hipparch."

[2] Lit. "I know he once held."

Soc. Can you tell us what set you wishing to be a general of cavalry,
young sir? What was your object? I suppose it was not simply to ride
at the head of the "knights," an honour not denied to the mounted
archers,[3] who ride even in front of the generals themselves?

[3] Lit. "Hippotoxotai." See Boeckh, "P. E. A." II. xxi. p. 264 (Eng.

Hipp. You are right.

Soc. No more was it for the sake merely of public notoriety, since a
madman might boast of that fatal distinction.[4]

[4] Or, "as we all know, 'Tom Fool' can boast," etc.

Hipp. You are right again.

Soc. Is this possibly the explanation? you think to improve the
cavalry--your aim would be to hand it over to the state in better
condition than you find it; and, if the cavalry chanced to be called
out, you at their head would be the cause of some good thing to

Hipp. Most certainly.

Soc. Well, and a noble ambition too, upon my word--if you can achieve
your object. The command to which you are appointed concerns horses
and riders, does it not?

Hipp. It does, no doubt.

Soc. Come then, will you explain to us first how you propose to
improve the horses.

Hipp. Ah, that will scarcely form part of my business, I fancy. Each
trooper is personally responsible for the condition of his horse.

Soc. But suppose, when they present themselves and their horses,[5]
you find that some have brought beasts with bad feet or legs or
otherwise infirm, and others such ill-fed jades that they cannot keep
up on the march; others, again, brutes so ill broken and unmanageable
that they will not keep their place in the ranks, and others such
desperate plungers that they cannot be got to any place in the ranks
at all. What becomes of your cavalry force then? How will you charge
at the head of such a troop, and win glory for the state?

[5] For this phrase, see Schneider and Kuhner ad loc.

Hipp. You are right. I will try to look after the horses to my utmost.

Soc. Well, and will you not lay your hand to improve the men

Hipp. I will.

Soc. The first thing will be to make them expert in mounting their

Hipp. That certainly, for if any of them were dismounted he would then
have a better chance of saving himself.

Soc. Well, but when it comes to the hazard of engagement, what will
you do then? Give orders to draw the enemy down to the sandy ground[6]
where you are accustomed to manouvre, or endeavour beforehand to put
your men through their practice on ground resembling a real

[6] e.g. the hippodrome at Phaleron.

Hipp. That would be better, no doubt.

Soc. Well, shall you regard it as a part of your duty to see that as
many of your men as possible can take aim and shoot on horseback?[7]

[7] Cf. "Hipparch," i. 21.

Hipp. It will be better, certainly.

Soc. And have you thought how to whet the courage of your troopers? to
kindle in them rage to meet the enemy?--which things are but
stimulants to make stout hearts stouter?

Hipp. If I have not done so hitherto, I will try to make up for lost
time now.

Soc. And have you troubled your head at all to consider how you are to
secure the obedience of your men? for without that not one particle of
good will you get, for all your horses and troopers so brave and so

Hipp. That is a true saying; but how, Socrates, should a man best
bring them to this virtue?[8]

[8] {protrepsasthai}. See above, I. ii. 64; below, IV. v. 1.

Soc. I presume you know that in any business whatever, people are more
apt to follow the lead of those whom they look upon as adepts; thus in
case of sickness they are readiest to obey him whom they regard as the
cleverest physician; and so on a voyage the most skilful pilot; in
matters agricultural the best farmer, and so forth.

Hipp. Yes, certainly.

Soc. Then in this matter of cavalry also we may reasonably suppose
that he who is looked upon as knowing his business best will command
the readiest obedience.

Hipp. If, then, I can prove to my troopers that I am better than all
of them, will that suffice to win their obedience?

Soc. Yes, if along with that you can teach them that obedience to you
brings greater glory and surer safety to themselves.

Hipp. How am I to teach them that?

Soc. Upon my word! How are you to teach them that? Far more easily, I
take it, than if you had to teach them that bad things are better than
good, and more advantageous to boot.

Hipp. I suppose you mean that, besides his other qualifications a
commandant of cavalry must have command of speech and argument?[9]

[9] Or, "practise the art of oratory"; "express himself clearly and
rationally." See Grote, "H. G." VIII. lxvii. p. 463 note;
"Hipparch," i. 24; viii. 22.

Soc. Were you under the impression that the commandant was not to open
his mouth? Did it never occur to you that all the noblest things which
custom[10] compels us to learn, and to which indeed we owe our
knowledge of life, have all been learned by means of speech[11] and
reason; and if there be any other noble learning which a man may
learn, it is this same reason whereby he learns it; and the best
teachers are those who have the freest command of thought and
language, and those that have the best knowledge of the most serious
things are the most brilliant masters of disputation. Again, have you
not observed that whenever this city of ours fits out one of her
choruses--such as that, for instance, which is sent to Delos[12]--
there is nothing elsewhere from any quarter of the world which can
compete with it; nor will you find in any other state collected so
fair a flower of manhood as in Athens?[13]

[10] Cf Arist. "Rhet." ii. 12, {oi neoi pepaideuntai upo tou nomou

[11] {dia logou}.

[12] See Thuc. iii. 104; and below, IV. viii. 2.

[13] See references ap. Schneider and Kuhner; "Symp." iv. 17.

Hipp. You say truly.

Soc. But for all that, it is not in sweetness of voice that the
Athenians differ from the rest of the world so much, nor in stature of
body or strength of limb, but in ambition and that love of honour[14]
which most of all gives a keen edge to the spirit in the pursuit of
things lovely and of high esteem.

[14] See below, v. 3; Dem. "de Cor." 28 foll.

Hipp. That, too, is a true saying.

Soc. Do you not think, then, that if a man devoted himself to our
cavalry also, here in Athens, we should far outstrip the rest of the
world, whether in the furnishing of arms and horses, or in orderliness
of battle-array, or in eager hazardous encounter with the foe, if only
we could persuade ourselves that by so doing we should obtain honour
and distinction?

Hipp. It is reasonable to think so.

Soc. Have no hesitation, therefore, but try to guide your men into
this path,[15] whence you yourself, and through you your fellow-
citizens, will reap advantage.

[15] Or, "to conduct which will not certainly fail of profit to
yourself or through you to . . ."

Yes, in good sooth, I will try (he answered).


At another time, seeing Nicomachides on his way back from the
elections (of magistrates),[1] he asked him: Who are elected generals,

[1] Cf. "Pol. Ath." i. 3; Aristot. "Ath. Pol." 44. 4; and Dr. Sandys'
note ad loc. p. 165 of his edition.

And he: Is it not just like them, these citizens of Athens--just like
them, I say--to go and elect, not me, who ever since my name first
apepared on the muster-roll have literally worn myself out with
military service--now as a captain, now as a colonel--and have
received all these wounds from the enemy, look you! (at the same time,
and suiting the action to the word, he bared his arms and proceeded to
show the scars of ancient wounds)--they elect not me (he went on),
but, if you please, Antisthenes! who never served as a hoplite[2] in
his life nor in the cavalry ever made a brilliant stroke, that I ever
heard tell of; no! in fact, he has got no science at all, I take it,
except to amass stores of wealth.

[2] Cf. Lys. xiv. 10.

But still (returned Socrates), surely that is one point in his favour
--he ought to be able to provide the troops with supplies.

Nic. Well, for the matter of that, merchants are good hands at
collecting stores; but it does not follow that a merchant or trader
will be able to command an army.

But (rejoined Socrates) Antisthenes is a man of great pertinacity, who
insists on winning, and that is a very necessary quality in a
general.[3] Do not you see how each time he has been choragos[4] he
has been successful with one chorus after another?

[3] See Grote, "Plato," i. 465 foll.

[4] Choir-master, or Director of the Chorus. It was his duty to
provide and preside over a chorus to sing, dance, or play at any
of the public festivals, defraying the cost as a state service of
{leitourgia}. See "Pol. Ath." iii. 4; "Hiero," ix. 4; Aristot.
"Pol. Ath." 28. 3.

Nic. Bless me! yes; but there is a wide difference between standing at
the head of a band of singers and dancers and a troop of soldiers.

Soc. Still, without any practical skill in singing or in the training
of a chorus, Antisthenes somehow had the art to select the greatest
proficients in both.

Nic. Yes, and by the same reasoning we are to infer that on a campaign
he will find proficients, some to marshal the troops for him and
others to fight his battles?

Soc. Just so. If in matters military he only exhibits the same skill
in selecting the best hands as he has shown in matters of the chorus,
it is highly probable he will here also bear away the palm of victory;
and we may presume that if he expended so much to win a choric victory
with a single tribe,[5] he will be ready to expend more to secure a
victory in war with the whole state to back him.

[5] See Dem. "against Lept." 496. 26. Each tribe nominated such of its
members as were qualified to undertake the burden.

Nic. Do you really mean, Socrates, that it is the function of the same
man to provide efficient choruses and to act as commander-in-chief?

Soc. I mean this, that, given a man knows what he needs to provide,
and has the skill to do so, no matter what the deparment of things may
be--house or city or army--you will find him a good chief and
director[6] of the same.

[6] Or, "representative."

Then Nicomachides: Upon my word, Socrates, I should never have
expected to hear you say that a good housekeeper[7] and steward of an
estate would make a good general.

[7] Or, "economist"; cf. "Cyrop." I. vi. 12.

Soc. Come then, suppose we examine their respective duties, and so
determine[8] whether they are the same or different.

[8] Lit. "get to know."

Nic. Let us do so.

Soc. Well then, is it not a common duty of both to procure the ready
obedience of those under them to their orders?

Nic. Certainly.

Soc. And also to assign to those best qualified to perform them their
distinctive tasks?

That, too, belongs to both alike (he answered).

Soc. Again, to chastise the bad and reward the good belongs to both
alike, methinks?

Nic. Decidedly.

Soc. And to win the kindly feeling of their subordinates must surely
be the noble ambition of both?

That too (he answered).

Soc. And do you consider it to the interest of both alike to win the
adherence of supporters and allies?[9]

[9] In reference to the necessity of building up a family connection
or political alliances cf. Arist. "Pol." iii. 9, 13.

Nic. Without a doubt.


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