317 (English, Jowett)

trans. Jowett (1871)

But that is not my way, for I do not believe that they effected their purpose, which was to deceive the government, who were not blinded by them; and as to the people, they have no understanding, and only repeat what their rulers are pleased to tell them. Now to run away, and to be caught in running away, is the very height of folly, and also greatly increases the exasperation of mankind; for they regard him who runs away as a rogue, in addition to any other objections which they have to him; and therefore I take an entirely opposite course, and acknowledge myself to be a Sophist and instructor of mankind; such an open acknowledgement appears to me to be a better sort of caution than concealment. Nor do I neglect other precautions, and therefore I hope, as I may say, by the favour of heaven that no harm will come of the acknowledgment that I am a Sophist. And I have been now many years in the profession-for all my years when added up are many: there is no one here present of whom I might not be the father. Wherefore I should much prefer conversing with you, if you want to speak with me, in the presence of the company.

As I suspected that he would like to have a little display and glorification in the presence of Prodicus and Hippias, and would gladly show us to them in the light of his admirers, I said: But why should we not summon Prodicus and Hippias and their friends to hear us?

Very good, he said.
Suppose, said Callias, that we hold a council in which you may sit and discuss.-This was agreed upon, and great delight was felt at the prospect of hearing wise men talk; we ourselves took the chairs and benches, and arranged them by Hippias, where the other benches had been already placed. Meanwhile Callias and Alcibiades got Prodicus out of bed and brought in him and his companions.

When we were all seated, Protagoras said: Now that the company are assembled, Socrates, tell me about the youngman of whom you were just now speaking.

One Response to 317 (English, Jowett)

  1. Adam Beresford says:

    A few minor things:

    (1) You seem to have left out the phrase ‘καὶ τοῦ ἐπιχειρήματος’, or at any rate dealing with it by putting the word ‘trying’ earlier in the sentence is not really enough. Notice that the ‘καὶ’ has a particular force here: it means “[this suggests] it’s really stupid EVEN to try. Just like in English “If you’re going to get caught, it’s not EVEN worth trying.”

    (2) ‘καὶ γὰρ καὶ’ can’t just mean ‘and’. It must be something more like “I mean, after all, let’s not forget I’ve got a good few years under my belt in total” That’s an exaggeration. But you certainly need to do something more with the particles here.

    (3) δυσμενεστέρους isn’t quite ‘angry’. ‘Hostile’.

    (4) ‘περὶ τούτων ἁπάντων ἐναντίον τῶν ἔνδον ὄντων τὸν λόγον ποιεῖσθαι’ You translate ‘to make a speech about all this’. That makes it sound like P is going to make a speech about the very things he’s just been talking about (i.e., sophists in disguise), which he isn’t. ‘τούτων’ here must refer back to the stated topic of the planned discussion – i.e., what Hippocrates is going to learn, and what P teaches. Also, note the article: ‘THE speech’, i.e. “I want to have THE discussion” (i.e., the one we talked about earlier). Also, it is almost certain that ‘ἁπάντων’ goes with the FOLLOWING phrase, not the preceding one. That is a perfectly standard word order for Plato, and gives the much better sense, ‘[rather than speaking in private] I’d like to have the discussion about this in front of EVERYONE who’s here…’ The position of ἁπάντων, at the head of its phrase, gives it the emphasis P wants – like English “Not in private: in front of EVERYONE.”

    (5) ‘council chamber’? That sounds really odd. Is your idea that Plato isusing an inappropriate word facetiously? I think the word can easily just mean a ‘circle of seats’.

    (6) αὐτοί τε ἀντιλαβόμενοι You’ve left the αὐτοί out of your translation. It must mean ‘we ourselves grabbed the chairs’. If that doesn’t make any sense, then there is a problem with the text, but I think Socrates means that THEY did it rather than the servants.

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