317 (Greek)

July 5, 2010

ἐγὼ δὲ τούτοις [317a] ἅπασιν κατὰ τοῦτο εἶναι οὐ συμφέρομαι· ἡγοῦμαι γὰρ αὐτοὺς οὔ τι διαπράξασθαι ὃ ἐβουλήθησαν—οὐ γὰρ λαθεῖν τῶν ἀνθρώπων τοὺς δυναμένους ἐν ταῖς πόλεσι πράττειν, ὧνπερ ἕνεκα ταῦτ’ ἐστὶν τὰ προσχήματα· ἐπεὶ οἵ γε πολλοὶ ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν οὐδὲν αἰσθάνονται, ἀλλ’ ἅττ’ ἂν οὗτοι διαγγέλλωσι, ταῦτα ὑμνοῦσιν—τὸ οὖν ἀποδιδράσκοντα μὴ δύνασθαι ἀποδρᾶναι, ἀλλὰ καταφανῆ εἶναι, πολλὴ μωρία καὶ τοῦ ἐπιχειρήματος, [317b] καὶ πολὺ δυσμενεστέρους παρέχεσθαι ἀνάγκη τοὺς ἀνθρώπους· ἡγοῦνται γὰρ τὸν τοιοῦτον πρὸς τοῖς ἄλλοις καὶ πανοῦργον εἶναι. ἐγὼ οὖν τούτων τὴν ἐναντίαν ἅπασαν ὁδὸν ἐλήλυθα, καὶ ὁμολογῶ τε σοφιστὴς εἶναι καὶ παιδεύειν ἀνθρώπους, καὶ εὐλάβειαν ταύτην οἶμαι βελτίω ἐκείνης εἶναι, τὸ ὁμολογεῖν μᾶλλον ἢ ἔξαρνον εἶναι· καὶ ἄλλας πρὸς ταύτῃ ἔσκεμμαι, ὥστε, σὺν θεῷ εἰπεῖν, μηδὲν δεινὸν πάσχειν διὰ [317c] τὸ ὁμολογεῖν σοφιστὴς εἶναι. καίτοι πολλά γε ἔτη ἤδη εἰμὶ ἐν τῇ τέχνῃ· καὶ γὰρ καὶ τὰ σύμπαντα πολλά μοί ἐστιν— οὐδενὸς ὅτου οὐ πάντων ἂν ὑμῶν καθ’ ἡλικίαν πατὴρ εἴην —ὥστε πολύ μοι ἥδιστόν ἐστιν, εἴ τι βούλεσθε, περὶ τούτων ἁπάντων ἐναντίον τῶν ἔνδον ὄντων τὸν λόγον ποιεῖσθαι.
καὶ ἐγώ—ὑπώπτευσα γὰρ βούλεσθαι αὐτὸν τῷ τε προδίκῳ καὶ τῷ Ἱππίᾳ ἐνδείξασθαι καὶ καλλωπίσασθαι ὅτι ἐρασταὶ [317d] αὐτοῦ ἀφιγμένοι εἶμεν— τί οὖν, ἔφην ἐγώ, οὐ καὶ πρόδικον καὶ Ἱππίαν ἐκαλέσαμεν καὶ τοὺς μετ’ αὐτῶν, ἵνα ἐπακούσωσιν ἡμῶν;
πάνυ μὲν οὖν, ἔφη ὁ Πρωταγόρας.
βούλεσθε οὖν, ὁ Καλλίας ἔφη, συνέδριον κατασκευάσωμεν, ἵνα καθεζόμενοι διαλέγησθε;
ἐδόκει χρῆναι· ἅσμενοι δὲ πάντες ἡμεῖς, ὡς ἀκουσόμενοι ἀνδρῶν σοφῶν, καὶ αὐτοί τε ἀντιλαβόμενοι τῶν βάθρων καὶ τῶν κλινῶν κατεσκευάζομεν παρὰ τῷ Ἱππίᾳ—ἐκεῖ γὰρ προϋπῆρχε τὰ βάθρα—ἐν δὲ τούτῳ Καλλίας τε καὶ Ἀλκιβιάδης [317e] ἡκέτην ἄγοντε τὸν πρόδικον, ἀναστήσαντες ἐκ τῆς κλίνης, καὶ τοὺς μετὰ τοῦ Προδίκου.
ἐπεὶ δὲ πάντες συνεκαθεζόμεθα, ὁ Πρωταγόρας, νῦν δὴ ἄν, ἔφη, λέγοις, ὦ Σώκρατες, ἐπειδὴ καὶ οἵδε πάρεισιν, περὶ ὧν ὀλίγον πρότερον μνείαν ἐποιοῦ πρὸς ἐμὲ ὑπὲρ τοῦ νεανίσκου.

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

317 (English, original)

July 5, 2010

An original translation

“But I don’t put any stock in the method used by all these men, because I don’t think they achieved what they wanted. It never escaped the powerful people in the cities what these disguises were in service of. Of course, the common people barely notice anything and just recite the handful of things the powerful tell them. Now, running away, but not managing it and getting caught red-handed is really stupid and makes people even more hostile, so it’s not even worth trying. They just end up thinking that a guy like that is a crook on top of everything else. So, I’ve gone the totally opposite way: I admit that I’m a sophist and educate people, and I find that making the admission is better protection than denial. I’ve taken other precautions besides this, too, so that, god willing, nothing awful happens to me because I admit to being a sophist. What’s more, I’ve spent quite a few years in the business, and, as you can see, I’m pretty old: there’s not a single man here too old for me to be his father. That’s why I’d prefer to make my speech about these things, with your permission, in front of everyone in the house.”
I suspected he wanted to put on a show in front of Prodicus and Hippias and bask in the fact that we had come as big fans of his. I said, “OK, why don’t we call over Prodicus and Hippias and the others they’re with to come and listen to us?”
“By all means,” said Protagoras.
“If it suits you,” Callias added, “shall we draw up the chairs council-style, so you can have the discussion sitting down?”
We thought that was a good idea. Since we were so glad that we were going to get to listen to wise men, we helped with the chairs and couches ourselves. We set up by Hippias since the chairs were around him. Meanwhile, Callias and Alcibiades came together leading Prodicus – they’d managed to get him out of bed – and his entourage.
When we were all sitting down together, Protagoras resumed, “Now, since everyone’s here, could you repeat what you told me a moment ago on the young man’s behalf.”


317 (English, Jowett)

July 5, 2010

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.


316 (Greek)

July 4, 2010

περὶ δὲ ὧν διελέγοντο οὐκ ἐδυνάμην ἔγωγε μαθεῖν ἔξωθεν, καίπερ λιπαρῶς ἔχων ἀκούειν τοῦ Προδίκου—πάσσοφος γάρ μοι δοκεῖ ἁνὴρ [316a] εἶναι καὶ θεῖος—ἀλλὰ διὰ τὴν βαρύτητα τῆς φωνῆς βόμβος τις ἐν τῷ οἰκήματι γιγνόμενος ἀσαφῆ ἐποίει τὰ λεγόμενα. καὶ ἡμεῖς μὲν ἄρτι εἰσεληλύθεμεν, κατόπιν δὲ ἡμῶν ἐπεισῆλθον Ἀλκιβιάδης τε ὁ καλός, ὡς φῂς σὺ καὶ ἐγὼ πείθομαι, καὶ Κριτίας ὁ Καλλαίσχρου. ἡμεῖς οὖν ὡς εἰσήλθομεν, ἔτι σμίκρ’ ἄττα διατρίψαντες καὶ ταῦτα διαθεασάμενοι προσῇμεν πρὸς τὸν Πρωταγόραν, [316b] καὶ ἐγὼ εἶπον· ὦ Πρωταγόρα, πρὸς σέ τοι ἤλθομεν ἐγώ τε καὶ Ἱπποκράτης οὗτος.
πότερον, ἔφη, μόνῳ βουλόμενοι διαλεχθῆναι ἢ καὶ μετὰ τῶν ἄλλων;
ἡμῖν μέν, ἦν δ’ ἐγώ, οὐδὲν διαφέρει· ἀκούσας δὲ οὗ ἕνεκα ἤλθομεν, αὐτὸς σκέψαι.
τί οὖν δή ἐστιν, ἔφη, οὗ ἕνεκα ἥκετε;
Ἱπποκράτης ὅδε ἐστὶν μὲν τῶν ἐπιχωρίων, Ἀπολλοδώρου ὑός, οἰκίας μεγάλης τε καὶ εὐδαίμονος, αὐτὸς δὲ τὴν φύσιν δοκεῖ ἐνάμιλλος εἶναι τοῖς ἡλικιώταις. ἐπιθυμεῖν δέ μοι [316c] δοκεῖ ἐλλόγιμος γενέσθαι ἐν τῇ πόλει, τοῦτο δὲ οἴεταί οἱ μάλιστ’ ἂ γενέσθαι, εἰ σοὶ συγγένοιτο· ταῦτ’ οὖν ἤδη σὺ σκόπει, πότερον περὶ αὐτῶν μόνος οἴει δεῖν διαλέγεσθαι πρὸς μόνους, ἢ μετ’ ἄλλων.
ὀρθῶς, ἔφη, προμηθῇ, ὦ Σώκρατες, ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ. ξένον γὰρ ἄνδρα καὶ ἰόντα εἰς πόλεις μεγάλας, καὶ ἐν ταύταις πείθοντα τῶν νέων τοὺς βελτίστους ἀπολείποντας τὰς τῶν ἄλλων συνουσίας, καὶ οἰκείων καὶ ὀθνείων, καὶ πρεσβυτέρων καὶ νεωτέρων, ἑαυτῷ συνεῖναι ὡς βελτίους ἐσομένους διὰ [316d] τὴν ἑαυτοῦ συνουσίαν, χρὴ εὐλαβεῖσθαι τὸν ταῦτα πράττοντα· οὐ γὰρ σμικροὶ περὶ αὐτὰ φθόνοι τε γίγνονται καὶ ἄλλαι δυσμένειαί τε καὶ ἐπιβουλαί. ἐγὼ δὲ τὴν σοφιστικὴν τέχνην φημὶ μὲν εἶναι παλαιάν, τοὺς δὲ μεταχειριζομένους αὐτὴν τῶν παλαιῶν ἀνδρῶν, φοβουμένους τὸ ἐπαχθὲς αὐτῆς, πρόσχημα ποιεῖσθαι καὶ προκαλύπτεσθαι, τοὺς μὲν ποίησιν, οἷον Ὅμηρόν τε καὶ Ἡσίοδον καὶ Σιμωνίδην, τοὺς δὲ αὖ τελετάς τε καὶ χρησμῳδίας, τοὺς ἀμφί τε Ὀρφέα καὶ Μουσαῖον· ἐνίους δέ τινας ᾔσθημαι καὶ γυμναστικήν, οἷον Ἴκκος τε ὁ Ταραντῖνος καὶ ὁ νῦν ἔτι ὢν οὐδενὸς ἥττων σοφιστὴς [316e] Ἡρόδικος ὁ Σηλυμβριανός, τὸ δὲ ἀρχαῖον Μεγαρεύς· μουσικὴν δὲ Ἀγαθοκλῆς τε ὁ ὑμέτερος πρόσχημα ἐποιήσατο, μέγας ὢν σοφιστής, καὶ Πυθοκλείδης ὁ Κεῖος καὶ ἄλλοι πολλοί. οὗτοι πάντες, ὥσπερ λέγω, φοβηθέντες τὸν φθόνον ταῖς τέχναις ταύταις παραπετάσμασιν ἐχρήσαντο.

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

316 (English, original)

July 4, 2010

An original translation

I couldn’t make out what they were discussing from outside, though I was really eager to listen to Prodicus. He’s a genius, I think, a phenomenon. Unfortunately, his voice is so deep that the room rumbled, making his words indistinct. As soon as we had made it inside, the beautiful Alcibiades – as you say, and I have to agree he is – and Critias the son of Callaeschrus came in after us. Once we were inside, we spent a little time taking a good look about, but then, we went up to Protagoras and I said, “Protagoras, you’re the man Hippocrates here and I are after.”
“Would you rather talk in private or in front of others?”
“It makes no difference to us. Listen to why we’ve come and you can decide.”
“So, why have you come?”
“Hippocrates here is a local, Apollodorus’ son, from an influential and prosperous family, and a match for any his age in talent. I get the impression he wants to become a public figure in the city, and he thinks the best way is by spending time with you. So what do you think now? Should we discuss this in private or with others present?”
“You’re right, for my sake, to be cautious, Socrates. A foreigner who visits powerful cities and persuades the best of their young men to abandon the company of all others – from one’s own family or another, young or old – and to spend time with himself instead in order to be the better for it – a man who does these things has to be careful. After all, doing so provokes no small amount of envy not to mention ill-will and plotting. I claim that sophistry is ancient, but because its earliest practitioners were afraid of the stigma, they tried to disguise it and pass it off as something else. Some did so as poetry, like Homer and Hesiod and Simonides, and others as mystical rites and prophecy, like the followers of Orpheus and Musaeus. I’ve heard some even pass it off as athletics, like Iccus from Tarentum as well as Herodicus the Selymbrian (an ex-Megarian), who’s still around and a sophist nonpareil. Your own Agathocles used music as a cover, although he was a great sophist, not to mention Pythocleides from Ceos and lots more. All of them, as I say, have used such professions as screens out of a fear of envy.”


316 (English, Jowett)

July 4, 2010

trans. Jowett (1871)

I was very anxious to hear what Prodicus was saying, for he seems to me to be an all-wise and inspired man; but I was not able to get into the inner circle, and his fine deep voice made an echo in the room which rendered his words inaudible.
No sooner had we entered than there followed us Alcibiades the beautiful, as you say, and I believe you; and also Critias the son of Callaeschrus.
On entering we stopped a little, in order to look about us, and then walked up to Protagoras, and I said: Protagoras, my friend Hippocrates and I have come to see you.
Do you wish, he said, to speak with me alone, or in the presence of the company?
Whichever you please, I said; you shall determine when you have heard the purpose of our visit.
And what is your purpose? he said.

I must explain, I said, that my friend Hippocrates is a native Athenian; he is the son of Apollodorus, and of a great and prosperous house, and he is himself in natural ability quite a match for anybody of his own age. I believe that he aspires to political eminence; and this he thinks that conversation with you is most likely to procure for him. And now you can determine whether you would wish to speak to him of your teaching alone or in the presence of the company.

Thank you, Socrates, for your consideration of me. For certainly a stranger finding his way into great cities, and persuading the flower of the youth in them to leave company of their kinsmen or any other acquaintances, old or young, and live with him, under the idea that they will be improved by his conversation, ought to be very cautious; great jealousies are aroused by his proceedings, and he is the subject of many enmities and conspiracies. Now the art of the Sophist is, as I believe, of great antiquity; but in ancient times those who practised it, fearing this odium, veiled and disguised themselves under various names, some under that of poets, as Homer, Hesiod, and Simonides, some, of hierophants and prophets, as Orpheus and Musaeus, and some, as I observe, even under the name of gymnastic-masters, like Iccus of Tarentum, or the more recently celebrated Herodicus, now of Selymbria and formerly of Megara, who is a first-rate Sophist. Your own Agathocles pretended to be a musician, but was really an eminent Sophist; also Pythocleides the Cean; and there were many others; and all of them, as I was saying, adopted these arts as veils or disguises because they were afraid of the odium which they would incur.


315 (Greek)

July 3, 2010

ἐπειδὴ δὲ εἰσήλθομεν, κατελάβομεν Πρωταγόραν ἐν τῷ προστῴῳ περιπατοῦντα, ἑξῆς δ’ αὐτῷ συμπεριεπάτουν ἐκ μὲν τοῦ ἐπὶ θάτερα Καλλίας ὁ Ἱππονίκου καὶ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ [315a] ὁ ὁμομήτριος, Πάραλος ὁ Περικλέους, καὶ Χαρμίδης ὁ Γλαύκωνος, ἐκ δὲ τοῦ ἐπὶ θάτερα ὁ ἕτερος τῶν Περικλέους Ξάνθιππος, καὶ Φιλιππίδης ὁ Φιλομήλου καὶ Ἀντίμοιρος ὁ Μενδαῖος, ὅσπερ εὐδοκιμεῖ μάλιστα τῶν Πρωταγόρου μαθητῶν καὶ ἐπὶ τέχνῃ μανθάνει, ὡς σοφιστὴς ἐσόμενος. τούτων δὲ οἳ ὄπισθεν ἠκολούθουν ἐπακούοντες τῶν λεγομένων τὸ μὲν πολὺ ξένοι ἐφαίνοντο—οὓς ἄγει ἐξ ἑκάστων τῶν πόλεων ὁ Πρωταγόρας, δι’ ὧν διεξέρχεται, κηλῶν τῇ φωνῇ ὥσπερ [315b] Ὀρφεύς, οἱ δὲ κατὰ τὴν φωνὴν ἕπονται κεκηλημένοι— ἦσαν δέ τινες καὶ τῶν ἐπιχωρίων ἐν τῷ χορῷ. τοῦτον τὸν χορὸν μάλιστα ἔγωγε ἰδὼν ἥσθην, ὡς καλῶς ηὐλαβοῦντο μηδέποτε ἐμποδὼν ἐν τῷ πρόσθεν εἶναι Πρωταγόρου, ἀλλ’ ἐπειδὴ αὐτὸς ἀναστρέφοι καὶ οἱ μετ’ ἐκείνου, εὖ πως καὶ ἐν κόσμῳ περιεσχίζοντο οὗτοι οἱ ἐπήκοοι ἔνθεν καὶ ἔνθεν, καὶ ἐν κύκλῳ περιιόντες ἀεὶ εἰς τὸ ὄπισθεν καθίσταντο κάλλιστα.
τὸν δὲ μετ’ εἰσενόησα, ἔφη Ὅμηρος, Ἱππίαν τὸν [315c] Ἠλεῖον, καθήμενον ἐν τῷ κατ’ ἀντικρὺ προστῴῳ ἐν θρόνῳ· περὶ αὐτὸν δ’ ἐκάθηντο ἐπὶ βάθρων Ἐρυξίμαχός τε ὁ Ἀκουμενοῦ καὶ Φαῖδρος ὁ Μυρρινούσιος καὶ Ἄνδρων ὁ Ἀνδροτίωνος καὶ τῶν ξένων πολῖταί τε αὐτοῦ καὶ ἄλλοι τινές. ἐφαίνοντο δὲ περὶ φύσεώς τε καὶ τῶν μετεώρων ἀστρονομικὰ ἄττα διερωτᾶν τὸν Ἱππίαν, ὁ δ’ ἐν θρόνῳ καθήμενος ἑκάστοις αὐτῶν διέκρινεν καὶ διεξῄει τὰ ἐρωτώμενα.
καὶ μὲν δὴ καὶ Τάνταλόν γε εἰσεῖδον—ἐπεδήμει [315d] γὰρ ἄρα καὶ Πρόδικος ὁ Κεῖος—ἦν δὲ ἐν οἰκήματί τινι, ᾧ πρὸ τοῦ μὲν ὡς ταμιείῳ ἐχρῆτο Ἱππόνικος, νῦν δὲ ὑπὸ τοῦ πλήθους τῶν καταλυόντων ὁ Καλλίας καὶ τοῦτο ἐκκενώσας ξένοις κατάλυσιν πεποίηκεν. ὁ μὲν οὖν Πρόδικος ἔτι κατέκειτο, ἐγκεκαλυμμένος ἐν κῳδίοις τισὶν καὶ στρώμασιν καὶ μάλα πολλοῖς, ὡς ἐφαίνετο· παρεκάθηντο δὲ αὐτῷ ἐπὶ ταῖς πλησίον κλίναις Παυσανίας τε ὁ ἐκ Κεραμέων καὶ μετὰ Παυσανίου νέον τι ἔτι μειράκιον, ὡς μὲν ἐγᾦμαι καλόν τε [315e] κἀγαθὸν τὴν φύσιν, τὴν δ’ οὖν ἰδέαν πάνυ καλός. ἔδοξα ἀκοῦσαι ὄνομα αὐτῷ εἶναι Ἀγάθωνα, καὶ οὐκ ἂν θαυμάζοιμι εἰ παιδικὰ Παυσανίου τυγχάνει ὤν. τοῦτό τ’ ἦν τὸ μειράκιον, καὶ τὼ Ἀδειμάντω ἀμφοτέρω, ὅ τε Κήπιδος καὶ ὁ Λευκολοφίδου, καὶ ἄλλοι τινὲς ἐφαίνοντο·

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