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THE PHAEDO MYTH

CONTEXT OF THE MYTH

In the Phaedo, the disciple from whom the Dialogue takes its name tells some Friends what was said and done in the Prison on the day of the Master's death.

The conversation was concerning the Immortality of the Soul, and was continued up to the last hour.

Cebes and Simmias, the chief speakers, brought forward arguments tending to show that, even granted that the identity of Learning with Reminiscence is in favour of the Orphic doctrine of the pre-existence of the Soul, yet its after-existence, not to mention its immortality, is not proved.

Thereupon Socrates brought in the Doctrine of Eternal Ideasa doctrine which the company were already prepared to accept-and showed, in accordance with it, that Life--and the Soul is Life-eccludes Death.

Thus was the Immortality of the Soul proved.

Next came the practical question : How must a man live that it may be well with him both in this world and in the World Eternal ?

It was then that Socrates, standing in the very presence of death, was filled with the spirit of prophecy, and made able to help his friends before he left them : If, he said, they took to heart the Myth which he told them, they should know how to live, and it would be well with them both now and hereafter for ever.

When he had finished the telling of the Myth, and had varned his friends against a too literal interpretation of it, he gave directions about his family and some other private matters ; then the Officer came in with the Cup.

107 C

Phaedo 107 C-114 c 'Αλλά τόδε γ', έφη, ώ άνδρες, δίκαιον διανοηθήναι ότι, είπερ ή ψυχή αθάνατος, επιμελείας δή δείται ουχ υπέρ του χρόνου τούτου μόνον, εν ώ καλούμεν το ζην, άλλ' υπέρ του παντός, και ο κίνδυνος νυν δή και δόξειεν αν δεινός είναι, εί τις αυτής αμελήσει. ει μεν γάρ ήν ο θάνατος του παντός απαλλαγή, έρμαιον αν ήν τους κακούς αποθανούσι του τε σώματος άμα απηλλάχθαι και της αυτών κακίας

μετά της ψυχής. νύν δε επειδή αθάνατος φαίνεται ούσα, D ουδεμία αν είη αυτή άλλη αποφυγή κακών ουδέ σωτηρία

πλην του ως βελτίστην τε και φρονιμωτάτην γενέσθαι. ουδέν γάρ άλλο έχουσα εις "Αιδου η ψυχή έρχεται πλήν της παιδείας τε και τροφής, και δη και μέγιστα λέγεται ωφελεϊν ή βλάπτειν τον τελευτήσαντα ευθύς εν αρχή της εκείσε πορείας. λέγεται δε ούτως, ώς άρα τελευτήσαντα έκαστον ο εκάστου δαίμων,. όσπερ ζώντα ειλήχει, ούτος

άγειν επιχειρεί εις δή τινα τόπον, οι δεί τους ξυλλεγέντας και διαδικασαμένους εις "Αιδου πορεύεσθαι μετά ηγεμόνος

εκείνου, και δη προστέτακται τους ενθένδε εκείσε πορεύσαι. τυχόντας δ' εκεί ών δεί τυχεϊν και μείναντας δν χρή χρόνον άλλος δεύρο πάλιν ηγεμών κομίζει εν πολλαίς

χρόνου και μακραίς περιόδους. έστι δε άρα η πορεία ουχ 108 ως ο Αισχύλου Τήλεφος λέγει· εκείνος μεν γαρ απλών

οιμόν φησιν εις "Αιδου φέρειν, ή δ' ούτε απλή ούτε μία φαίνεται μοι είναι. ουδε γαρ άν ηγεμόνων έδει· ου γάρ που τις αν διαμάρτοι ουδαμόσε μιάς οδού ούσης. νύν δε έoικε σχίσεις τε και περιόδους πολλάς έχειν» από των οσίων τε και νομίμων των ενθάδε τεκμαιρόμενος λέγω. η μεν ουν κοσμία τε και φρόνιμος ψυχή έπεται τε και ουκ αγνοεί

τα παρόντα: η δε επιθυμητικώς του σώματος έχουσα, Β όπερ εν τω έμπροσθεν είπον, περί εκείνο πολύν χρόνον

επτοημένη και περί τον ορατόν τόπον, πολλά αντιτείνασα και πολλά παθούσα, βία και μόγις υπό του προστεταγμένου δαίμονος οίχεται άγομένη. άφικομένην δε όθιπερ αι άλλαι, την μεν ακάθαρτον και τι πεποιηκυίαν τοιούτον, ή φόνων

TRANSLATION

" It is meet, my friends, that we should take thought of this that the Soul, being immortal, standeth in need of care, not only in regard of the time of this present life, but in regard of the time without end, and that 'tis now, even to-day, that the jeopardy is great, if a man will still be careless of his Soul. Were death riddance of all, 'twould be good luck for the wicked man to die and be rid of body and soul and his wickedness; but inasmuch as the Soul is manifestly immortal, no other escape from evil hath she nor salvation save this —that she be perfected in righteousness and wisdom. For she taketh hence nothing with her to the House of Hades, save only her instruction and nurture—that, to wit, wherefrom they say the greatest profit cometh to the dead or greatest damage straightway at the beginning of their journey thither; for when a man dieth, his own Familiar Spirit, which had gotten him to keep whilst he lived, taketh and leadeth him to a certain place whither the dead must be gathered together; whence, after they have received their sentences, they must journey to the House of Hades with him who hath been appointed to guide thither those that are here; and when they have received there the things which are meet for them, and have sojourned the time determined, another Guide bringeth them again hither, after many long courses of time. The way, belike, is not as Aeschylus his Telephus telleth ; for he saith that a single path leadeth to the House of Hades. But, methinks, if it were single and one, there would be no need of guides, for no man would go astray. Nay, that it hath many partings and windings I conclude from the offerings which men use to make unto the dead.

" The Soul which ordereth herself aright and hath wisdom, understandeth well her present case, and goeth with her Familiar. But the Soul which lusteth after the body, having fluttered about it and the Visible Place for a long while, and having withstood her appointed Familiar with great strife and pain, is by him at the last mastered and carried away; and when she is come to the place where the other Souls are assembled together, inasmuch as she is impure and hath wrought that αδίκων ημμένην ή άλλ' άττα τοιαύτα ειργασμένην, & τούτων αδελφά τε και αδελφών ψυχών έργα τυγχάνει όντα, ταύτην μεν άπας φεύγει τε και υπεκτρέπεται και ούτε

ξυνέμπορος ούτε ηγεμών εθέλει γίγνεσθαι, αυτή δε πλανάται ο εν πάση έχoμένη απορία, έως αν δή τινες χρόνου γένωνται, ών εξελθόντων υπ' ανάγκης φέρεται εις την αυτή πρέπουσαν οίκησιν ή δε καθαρώς τε και μετρίως τον βίον διεξελθούσα, και ξυνεμπόρων και ηγεμόνων θεών τυχούσα, ώκησε τον αυτή εκάστη τόπον προσήκοντα.

Εισί δε πολλοί και θαυμαστοί της γης τόποι, και αυτή ούτε οία ούτε όση δοξάζεται υπό των περί γης ειωθότων

λέγειν, ως εγώ υπό τινος πέπεισμαι. Και ο Σιμμίας, Πώς D ταύτα, έφη, λέγεις, ώ Σώκρατες και περί γάρ τοι της γης

και αυτός πολλά δη ακήκοα, ου μέντοι ταύτα, και σε πείθει. ήδέως αν ουν ακούσαιμι. 'Αλλά μέντοι, ώ Σιμμία, ουχ ή Γλαύκου γέ μοι τέχνη δοκεί είναι διηγήσασθαι ά γ εστίν. ως μέντοι αληθή, χαλεπώτερόν μοι φαίνεται η κατά την Γλαύκου τέχνην, και άμα μεν εγώ ίσως ουδ' άν οιός τε είην, άμα δε, ει και ήπιστάμην, ο βίος μοι δοκεί ο έμός,

ώ Σιμμία, το μήκει του λόγου ουκ εξαρκεϊν. τήν μέντοι Eιδέαν της γης, οίαν πέπεισμαι είναι, και τους τόπους αυτής

ουδέν με κωλύει λέγειν. 'Αλλ', έφη ο Σιμμίας, και ταύτα αρκεί. Πέπεισμαι τοίνυν, ή δ' ός, εγώ, ως πρώτον μέν, ει

έστιν εν μέσω των ουρανώ περιφερής ούσα, μηδέν αυτη δεϊν 109 μήτε αέρος προς το μη πεσείν μήτε άλλης ανάγκης μηδεμιάς

τοιαύτης, αλλά ικανήν είναι αυτήν ίσχειν την ομοιότητα του ουρανού αυτού εαυτώ πάντη και της γης αυτής την ισορροπίαν ισόρροπον γαρ πράγμα ομοίου τινός εν μέσω τεθέν ουχ έξει μάλλον ουδ' ήττον ουδαμόσε κλιθήναι, ομοίως δ' έχον ακλινές μενεϊ. πρώτον μεν τοίνυν, ή δ' ός, τούτο πέπεισμαι. Και ορθώς γε, έφη ο Σιμμίας. "Έτι

τοίνυν, έφη, πάμμεγά τι είναι αυτό, και ημάς οικείν τους Β μέχρι Ηρακλείων στηλών από Φάσιδος εν σμικρώ τινι

μορίω, ώσπερ περί τέλμα μύρμηκας ή βατράχους, περί την

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which is impure, having shed innocent blood, or done like deeds which Souls that are her like use to do, her all flee and eschew, and none will be her companion or guide; wherefore she wandereth alone in great stress, until certain times have been accomplished; then is she constrained to go unto the habitation fit for her. But the Soul which hath lived all her days in purity and sobriety hath given unto her Gods to be her companions and guides, and she maketh her habitation in the place meet for her.

“ The Earth hath many and wondrous places, and it is of a fashion and greatness whereof those who use to tell concerning the Earth have no true opinion. There is one who hath persuaded me of this.”

Socrates," quoth Simmias, “ how sayest thou this ? for I also have heard many things concerning the Earth, but not this of which thou art persuaded. Wherefore I would gladly hear it.”

“Well, Simmias," quoth he, "methinks it needeth not the skill of Glaucus to set forth that which I have heard; but the truth thereof, which I wot it surpasseth the skill of Glaucus to find out, haply I should not be able to attain unto: nay, if I knew it, my life is too far spent, methinks, for the length of the discourse which should declare it: but my persuasion as touching the Earth and the places it hath nothing hindereth me from declaring unto thee.”

"That is enough,” said Simmias.

“ I am persuaded, then,” said he,“ of this first—that if the Earth, being a globe, is in the middle of the Heaven, it hath no need of air or any other like constraint to keep it from falling, but 'tis sufficient to hold it that the Heaven is of one substance throughout, and that itself is equally balanced : for that which is itself equally balanced and set in the midst of that which hath one substance, will have no cause at all of inclining towards any side, but will continue the same and remain without inclination. Of this first I am persuaded.”

"And rightly,” said Simmias.

"Moreover, I am persuaded that the Earth is very great, and that we who inhabit unto the Pillars of Hercules from the river Phasis dwell in a small part thereof, like unto ants or frogs round about a pool, dwelling round this Sea; and

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