Site Moved

July 11, 2010

After a number of comments, I’ve decided to migrate the site to a wiki: http://openprotagoras.wikidot.com/. You can point your RSS readers here: http://openprotagoras.wikidot.com/feed/pages/tags/translationpage/. The main motivation for the move is that the WordPress archives are difficult to use, since the advantages of the three-column side-by-side view are lost, and will get increasingly difficult to use as we get further into the dialogue. Each page of the text is displayed in the same three-column format as before, but instead of the three versions of the text living in separate blog posts, they share a page in the wiki, making navigation much simpler.

Almost all the content currently here (posts & recent comments) is now there, plus some more, in particular, a single page with a running version of just the translation, which will be updated more seldom than individual pages. Comments work just as before (no log-in required). For the most recent pages of the text, I’ve recreated the back and forth of the discussion in the comments section; for older pages, I’ve linked back to the WordPress comments.

I hope you’ll join me in making the move. If you can’t get something to work on the wiki or want to request a feature or just find the whole thing intolerable, please send me an e-mail (d dot jagannathan at gmail dot com).


319 (Greek)

July 10, 2010

τὸ δὲ μάθημά ἐστιν εὐβουλία περὶ τῶν οἰκείων, ὅπως ἂν ἄριστα τὴν αὑτοῦ οἰκίαν διοικοῖ, [319a] καὶ περὶ τῶν τῆς πόλεως, ὅπως τὰ τῆς πόλεως δυνατώτατος ἂν εἴη καὶ πράττειν καὶ λέγειν.
ἆρα, ἔφην ἐγώ, ἕπομαί σου τῷ λόγῳ; δοκεῖς γάρ μοι λέγειν τὴν πολιτικὴν τέχνην καὶ ὑπισχνεῖσθαι ποιεῖν ἄνδρας ἀγαθοὺς πολίτας.
αὐτὸ μὲν οὖν τοῦτό ἐστιν, ἔφη, ὦ Σώκρατες, τὸ ἐπάγγελμα ὃ ἐπαγγέλλομαι.
ἦ καλόν, ἦν δ᾽ ἐγώ, τέχνημα ἄρα κέκτησαι, εἴπερ κέκτησαι: οὐ γάρ τι ἄλλο πρός γε σὲ εἰρήσεται ἢ ἅπερ νοῶ. ἐγὼ γὰρ τοῦτο, ὦ Πρωταγόρα, οὐκ ᾤμην διδακτὸν [319b] εἶναι, σοὶ δὲ λέγοντι οὐκ ἔχω ὅπως [ἂν] ἀπιστῶ. ὅθεν δὲ αὐτὸ ἡγοῦμαι οὐ διδακτὸν εἶναι μηδ᾽ ὑπ᾽ ἀνθρώπων παρασκευαστὸν ἀνθρώποις, δίκαιός εἰμι εἰπεῖν. ἐγὼ γὰρ Ἀθηναίους, ὥσπερ καὶ οἱ ἄλλοι Ἕλληνες, φημὶ σοφοὺς εἶναι. ὁρῶ οὖν, ὅταν συλλεγῶμεν εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, ἐπειδὰν μὲν περὶ οἰκοδομίας τι δέῃ πρᾶξαι τὴν πόλιν, τοὺς οἰκοδόμους μεταπεμπομένους συμβούλους περὶ τῶν οἰκοδομημάτων, ὅταν δὲ περὶ ναυπηγίας, τοὺς ναυπηγούς, καὶ τἆλλα πάντα οὕτως, [319c] ὅσα ἡγοῦνται μαθητά τε καὶ διδακτὰ εἶναι: ἐὰν δέ τις ἄλλος ἐπιχειρῇ αὐτοῖς συμβουλεύειν ὃν ἐκεῖνοι μὴ οἴονται δημιουργὸν εἶναι, κἂν πάνυ καλὸς ᾖ καὶ πλούσιος καὶ τῶν γενναίων, οὐδέν τι μᾶλλον ἀποδέχονται, ἀλλὰ καταγελῶσι καὶ θορυβοῦσιν, ἕως ἂν ἢ αὐτὸς ἀποστῇ ὁ ἐπιχειρῶν λέγειν καταθορυβηθείς, ἢ οἱ τοξόται αὐτὸν ἀφελκύσωσιν ἢ ἐξάρωνται κελευόντων τῶν πρυτάνεων. περὶ μὲν οὖν ὧν οἴονται ἐν τέχνῃ εἶναι, οὕτω διαπράττονται: ἐπειδὰν δέ τι περὶ τῶν τῆς [319d] πόλεως διοικήσεως δέῃ βουλεύσασθαι, συμβουλεύει αὐτοῖς ἀνιστάμενος περὶ τούτων ὁμοίως μὲν τέκτων, ὁμοίως δὲ χαλκεὺς σκυτοτόμος, ἔμπορος ναύκληρος, πλούσιος πένης, γενναῖος ἀγεννής, καὶ τούτοις οὐδεὶς τοῦτο ἐπιπλήττει ὥσπερ τοῖς πρότερον, ὅτι οὐδαμόθεν μαθών, οὐδὲ ὄντος διδασκάλου οὐδενὸς αὐτῷ, ἔπειτα συμβουλεύειν ἐπιχειρεῖ: δῆλον γὰρ ὅτι οὐχ ἡγοῦνται διδακτὸν εἶναι. μὴ τοίνυν ὅτι τὸ κοινὸν τῆς [319e] πόλεως οὕτως ἔχει, ἀλλὰ ἰδίᾳ ἡμῖν οἱ σοφώτατοι καὶ ἄριστοι τῶν πολιτῶν ταύτην τὴν ἀρετὴν ἣν ἔχουσιν οὐχ οἷοί τε ἄλλοις παραδιδόναι:

Greek text courtesy of the Perseus Project from J. Burnet (1903), ed., Platonis Opera, vol. 3, Oxford Classical Text (Oxford).

319 (English, original)

July 9, 2010

An original translation

What I teach is good judgment in personal affairs, so he can best manage his own household, as well as in city affairs, so he can both act and speak powerfully when it comes to his city.”
I said, “Do I follow what you’re saying? I get the feeling you’re talking about the art of politics and that you’re claiming to be in the business of turning men into good citizens.”
“That’s exactly what I’m advertising.”
“Now, that’s certainly a nice trick to have up your sleeve … if you have it. Now, I won’t tell you anything I don’t really think, Protagoras. You see, I didn’t think this skill could be taught. Yet I can hardly disbelieve you when you say that you do. So it’s up to me to tell you where I got the idea that it can’t be taught or even passed on from person to person. Now, like everyone else in Greece I claim that the Athenians are wise. I’ve also noticed that when we gather in the Assembly and the city has to do something relating to building, they get the builders to come as building consultants. When it relates to shipbuilding, they get the ship-builders to come, and the same thing for everything else they think can be taught and learned. But if someone they don’t consider an expert tries to give them advice, no matter how beautiful or rich or upper-crust he is, they won’t have any of it. Instead, they boo him and shout him down, until the would-be speaker either leaves himself when he gets shouted down, or when the executive council gets the archers to drag or carry him away. So that’s what they do when they think it’s a technical matter. But when they have to decide on something to do with managing the city, on these questions, anyone who stands up advises them on the same footing, whether he’s a carpenter, a metal-worker, a shoemaker, a retailer, or a ship-owner, rich or poor, big-shot or nobody. Unlike before, no one chews them out and says, ‘This guy hasn’t studied anywhere, he doesn’t even have a teacher, and here he is trying to give advice.’ Clearly that’s because they don’t think it’s teachable. Not only is this true in the public affairs of the city, but also in private, where our wisest and best citizens can’t pass on this goodness they have to others.”

Compare W.R. Lamb’s 1924 translation at the Perseus Project (Greek text and commentary also available)


319 (English, Jowett)

July 9, 2010

trans. Jowett (1871)

And this is prudence in affairs private as well as public; he will learn to order his own house in the best manner, and he will be able to speak and act for the best in the affairs of the state.

Do I understand you, I said; and is your meaning that you teach the art of politics, and that you promise to make men good citizens?

That, Socrates, is exactly the profession which I make.
Then, I said, you do indeed possess a noble art, if there is no mistake about this; for I will freely confess to you, Protagoras, that I have a doubt whether this art is capable of being taught, and yet I know not how to disbelieve your assertion. And I ought to tell you why I am of opinion that this art cannot be taught or communicated by man to man. I say that the Athenians are an understanding people, and indeed they are esteemed to be such by the other Hellenes. Now I observe that when we are met together in the assembly, and the matter in hand relates to building, the builders are summoned as advisers; when the question is one of shipbuilding, then the ship-wrights; and the like of other arts which they think capable of being taught and learned. And if some person offers to give them advice who is not supposed by them to have any skill in the art, even though he be good-looking, and rich, and noble, they will not listen to him, but laugh and hoot at him, until either he is clamoured down and retires of himself; or if he persist, he is dragged away or put out by the constables at the command of the prytanes. This is their way of behaving about professors of the arts. But when the question is an affair of state, then everybody is free to have a say-carpenter, tinker, cobbler, sailor, passenger; rich and poor, high and low-any one who likes gets up, and no one reproaches him, as in the former case, with not having learned, and having no teacher, and yet giving advice; evidently because they are under the impression that this sort of knowledge cannot be taught. And not only is this true of the state, but of individuals; the best and wisest of our citizens are unable to impart their political wisdom to others:

Compare W.R. Lamb’s 1924 translation at the Perseus Project (Greek text and commentary also available).


318 (Greek)

July 7, 2010

[318a] καὶ ἐγὼ εἶπον ὅτι ἡ αὐτή μοι ἀρχή ἐστιν, ὦ Πρωταγόρα, ἥπερ ἄρτι, περὶ ὧν ἀφικόμην. Ἱπποκράτης γὰρ ὅδε τυγχάνει ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ ὢν τῆς σῆς συνουσίας: ὅτι οὖν αὐτῷ ἀποβήσεται, ἐάν σοι συνῇ, ἡδέως ἄν φησι πυθέσθαι. τοσοῦτος ὅ γε ἡμέτερος λόγος.
ὑπολαβὼν οὖν ὁ Πρωταγόρας εἶπεν: ὦ νεανίσκε, ἔσται τοίνυν σοι, ἐὰν ἐμοὶ συνῇς, ᾗ ἂν ἡμέρᾳ ἐμοὶ συγγένῃ, ἀπιέναι οἴκαδε βελτίονι γεγονότι, καὶ ἐν τῇ ὑστεραίᾳ ταὐτὰ ταῦτα: καὶ ἑκάστης ἡμέρας ἀεὶ ἐπὶ τὸ βέλτιον ἐπιδιδόναι. [318b]
καὶ ἐγὼ ἀκούσας εἶπον: ὦ Πρωταγόρα, τοῦτο μὲν οὐδὲν θαυμαστὸν λέγεις, ἀλλὰ εἰκός, ἐπεὶ κἂν σύ, καίπερ τηλικοῦτος ὢν καὶ οὕτως σοφός, εἴ τίς σε διδάξειεν ὃ μὴ τυγχάνοις ἐπιστάμενος, βελτίων ἂν γένοιο. ἀλλὰ μὴ οὕτως, ἀλλ᾽ ὥσπερ ἂν εἰ αὐτίκα μάλα μεταβαλὼν τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν Ἱπποκράτης ὅδε ἐπιθυμήσειεν τῆς συνουσίας τούτου τοῦ νεανίσκου τοῦ νῦν νεωστὶ ἐπιδημοῦντος, Ζευξίππου τοῦ Ἡρακλεώτου, καὶ ἀφικόμενος παρ᾽ αὐτόν, ὥσπερ παρὰ σὲ [318c] νῦν, ἀκούσειεν αὐτοῦ ταὐτὰ ταῦτα ἅπερ σοῦ, ὅτι ἑκάστης ἡμέρας συνὼν αὐτῷ βελτίων ἔσται καὶ ἐπιδώσει, εἰ αὐτὸν ἐπανέροιτο: “τί δὴ φῂς βελτίω ἔσεσθαι καὶ εἰς τί ἐπιδώσειν;” εἴποι ἂν αὐτῷ ὁ Ζεύξιππος ὅτι πρὸς γραφικήν: κἂν εἰ Ὀρθαγόρᾳ τῷ Θηβαίῳ συγγενόμενος, ἀκούσας ἐκείνου ταὐτὰ ταῦτα ἅπερ σοῦ, ἐπανέροιτο αὐτὸν εἰς ὅτι βελτίων καθ᾽ ἡμέραν ἔσται συγγιγνόμενος ἐκείνῳ, εἴποι ἂν ὅτι εἰς αὔλησιν: οὕτω δὴ καὶ σὺ εἰπὲ τῷ νεανίσκῳ καὶ ἐμοὶ ὑπὲρ [318d] τούτου ἐρωτῶντι, Ἱπποκράτης ὅδε Πρωταγόρᾳ συγγενόμενος, ᾗ ἂν αὐτῷ ἡμέρᾳ συγγένηται, βελτίων ἄπεισι γενόμενος καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἡμερῶν ἑκάστης οὕτως ἐπιδώσει εἰς τί, ὦ Πρωταγόρα, καὶ περὶ τοῦ;
καὶ ὁ Πρωταγόρας ἐμοῦ ταῦτα ἀκούσας, σύ τε καλῶς ἐρωτᾷς, ἔφη, ὦ Σώκρατες, καὶ ἐγὼ τοῖς καλῶς ἐρωτῶσι χαίρω ἀποκρινόμενος. Ἱπποκράτης γὰρ παρ᾽ ἐμὲ ἀφικόμενος οὐ πείσεται ἅπερ ἂν ἔπαθεν ἄλλῳ τῳ συγγενόμενος τῶν σοφιστῶν. οἱ μὲν γὰρ ἄλλοι λωβῶνται τοὺς νέους: [318e] τὰς γὰρ τέχνας αὐτοὺς πεφευγότας ἄκοντας πάλιν αὖ ἄγοντες ἐμβάλλουσιν εἰς τέχνας, λογισμούς τε καὶ ἀστρονομίαν καὶ γεωμετρίαν καὶ μουσικὴν διδάσκοντες—καὶ ἅμα εἰς τὸν Ἱππίαν ἀπέβλεψεν—παρὰ δ᾽ ἐμὲ ἀφικόμενος μαθήσεται οὐ περὶ ἄλλου του ἢ περὶ οὗ ἥκει.

Greek text courtesy of the Perseus Project from J. Burnet (1903), ed., Platonis Opera, vol. 3, Oxford Classical Text (Oxford).

318 (English, original)

July 7, 2010

An original translation

I said, “I’ll start in the same place I did just now, Protagoras, and say what I came for. Hippocrates here really wants to spend time with you. He says he would like to know what he’ll get out of doing that. That’s all we’ve said so far.”
Protagoras responded, “Young man, if you come and learn from me, that same day, you’ll go home better, and the same thing the next day. And every day after, you will make progress towards betterment.”
I said in turn, “Protagoras, what you’re saying is no surprise; it’s only to be expected. Even you, despite your age and wisdom would become better if someone taught you something you happened to not know. So don’t just give us that; think of it this way: say Hippocrates here had a change of heart and longed instead to spend time learning from this young man who’s new in town, Zeuxippus from Heraclea. Say Hippocrates came to him, like he’s come to you now, and heard the same things from Zeuxippus that he has from you: that every day he’s with him, he’d become better and make progress. What if Hippocrates asked further, ‘Now, what exactly will I get better at and what am I going to make progress toward?’ Zeuxippus would tell him, ‘At painting.’ Now let’s say he went to study with Orthagoras the Theban, heard the same things he’s heard from you, and asked him what exactly he’d get better at by spending every day with him, Orthagoras would tell him, ‘At playing flute.’ Now, in the same way tell the young man – and me, since I’m asking for him – if Hippocrates here spends time learning from Protagoras, he’ll go home and be better on the first day he spends time with you and make progress every other day after that, but better in what, Protagoras? Better in what area?”
Protagoras listened to all this and said, “Excellent question, Socrates. I enjoy answering people who ask good questions. If Hippocrates comes to me, he won’t suffer what the other sophists would put him through. They treat young people disgracefully. Their students have managed to escape technical subjects, and then they’re thrown back into them unwillingly when their teachers make them do arithmetic, astronomy, geometry, and music” — here, he looked over at Hippias. “But if he comes to me, he’ll learn nothing but what he came for.”

Compare W.R. Lamb’s 1924 translation at the Perseus Project (Greek text and commentary also available).


318 (English, Jowett)

July 7, 2010

trans. Jowett (1871)
I replied: I will begin again at the same point, Protagoras, and tell you once more the purport of my visit: this is my friend Hippocrates, who is desirous of making your acquaintance; he would like to know what will happen to him if he associates with you. I have no more to say.

Protagoras answered: Young man, if you associate with me, on the very first day you will return home a better man than you came, and better on the second day than on the first, and better every day than you were on the day before.

When I heard this, I said: Protagoras, I do not at all wonder at hearing you say this; even at your age, and with all your wisdom, if any one were to teach you what you did not know before, you would become better no doubt: but please to answer in a different way-I will explain how by an example. Let me suppose that Hippocrates, instead of desiring your acquaintance, wished to become acquainted with the young man Zeuxippus of Heraclea, who has lately been in Athens, and he had come to him as he has come to you, and had heard him say, as he has heard you say, that every day he would grow and become better if he associated with him: and then suppose that he were to ask him, “In what shall I become better, and in what shall I grow?”-Zeuxippus would answer, “In painting.” And suppose that he went to Orthagoras the Theban, and heard him say the same thing, and asked him, “In what shall I become better day by day?” he would reply, “In flute-playing.” Now I want you to make the same sort of answer to this young man and to me, who am asking questions on his account. When you say that on the first day on which he associates with you he will return home a better man, and on every day will grow in like manner,-In what, Protagoras, will he be better? and about what?

When Protagoras heard me say this, he replied: You ask questions fairly, and I like to answer a question which is fairly put. If Hippocrates comes to me he will not experience the sort of drudgery with which other Sophists are in the habit of insulting their pupils; who, when they have just escaped from the arts, are taken and driven back into them by these teachers, and made to learn calculation, and astronomy, and geometry, and music (he gave a look at Hippias as he said this); but if he comes to me, he will learn that which he comes to learn.

Compare W.R. Lamb’s 1924 translation at the Perseus Project (Greek text and commentary also available).


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