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TIMAEU

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    ?????à??Ö?ÖÎÁÆÐÂ?øÕ? TPGÁÆ??ÖÎÁÆ?ùÍ??à??Ö?ºä??Ò?Ñ???ÌÚÑ?Å?ÐÔ?? ????http://lady.qq.com/a/20121123/000215.htm TIMAEUS by Plato translated by Benjamin JowettTIMAEUS PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: SOCRATES; CRITIAS; TIMAEUS; HERMOCRATES Socrates. One, two, three; but where, my dear Timaeus, is the fourthof those who were yesterday my guests and are to be my entertainersto-day? Timaeus. He has been taken ill, Socrates; for he would not willinglyhave been absent from this gathering. Soc. Then, if he is not coming, you and the two others must supplyhis place. Tim. Certainly, and we will do all that we can; having beenhandsomely entertained by you yesterday, those of us who remain shouldbe only too glad to return your hospitality. Soc. Do you remember what were the points of which I required you tospeak? Tim. We remember some of them, and you will be here to remind usof anything which we have forgotten: or rather, if we are nottroubling you, will you briefly recapitulate the whole, and then theparticulars will be more firmly fixed in our memories? Soc. To be sure I will: the chief theme of my yesterday'sdiscourse was the State-how constituted and of what

    citizenscomposed it would seem likely to be most perfect. Tim. Yes, Socrates; and what you said of it was very much to ourmind. Soc. Did we not begin by separating the husbandmen and theartisans from the class of defenders of the State? Tim. Yes. Soc. And when we had given to each one that single employment andparticular art which was suited to his nature, we spoke of those whowere intended to be our warriors, and said that they were to beguardians of the city against attacks from within as well as fromwithout, and to have no other employment; they were to be mercifulin judging their subjects, of whom they were by nature friends, butfierce to their enemies, when they came across them in battle. Tim. Exactly. Soc. We said, if I am not mistaken, that the guardians should begifted with a temperament in a high degree both passionate andphilosophical; and that then they would be as they ought to be, gentleto their friends and fierce with their enemies. Tim. Certainly. Soc. And what did we say of their education? Were they not to betrained in gymnastic, and music, and all other sorts of knowledgewhich were proper for them? Tim. Very true. Soc. And being thus trained they were not to consider gold or silveror anything else to be their own private property; they were to belike hired troops, receiving pay for keeping guard from those who wereprotected by them-the pay was to be no more than would suffice for menof simple life; and they were to spend in common, and to live togetherin the continual practice of virtue, which was to be their solepursuit. Tim. That was also said. Soc. Neither did we forget the women; of whom we declared, thattheir natures should be assimilated and brought into harmony withthose of the men, and that common pursuits should be assigned tothem both in time of war and in their ordinary life. Tim. That, again, was as you say. Soc. And what about the procreation of children? Or rather not theproposal too singular to be forgotten? for all wives and children wereto be in common, to the intent that no one should ever know his ownchild, but they were to imagine that they were all one family; thosewho were within a suitable limit of age were to be brothers andsisters, those who were of an elder generation parents andgrandparents, and those of a younger children and grandchildren. Tim. Yes, and the proposal is easy to remember, as you say. Soc. And do you also remember how, with a view of securing as far aswe could the best breed, we said that the chief magistrates, maleand female, should contrive secretly, by the use of certain lots, soto arrange the nuptial meeting, that the bad of either sex and thegood of either sex might pair with their like; and there was to beno quarrelling on this account, for they would imagine that theunion was a mere accident, and was to be attributed to the lot? Tim. I remember. Soc. And you remember how we said that the children of the goodparents were to be educated, and the children of the bad secretlydispersed among the inferior citizens; and while they were all growingup the rulers

    were to be on the look-out, and to bring up from belowin their turn those who were worthy, and those among themselves whowere unworthy were to take the places of those who came up? Tim. True. Soc. Then have I now given you all the heads of our yesterday'sdiscussion? Or is there anything more, my dear Timaeus, which has beenomitted? Tim. Nothing, Socrates; it was just as you have said. Soc. I should like, before proceeding further, to tell you how Ifeel about the State which we have described. I might compare myselfto a person who, on beholding beautiful animals either created bythe painter's art, or, better still, alive but at rest, is seized witha desire of seeing them in motion or engaged in some struggle orconflict to which their forms appear suited; this is my feelingabout the State which we have been describing. There are conflictswhich all cities undergo, and I should like to hear some one tell ofour own city carrying on a struggle against her neighbours, and howshe went out to war in a becoming manner, and when at war showed bythe greatness of her actions and the magnanimity of her words indealing with other cities a result worthy of her training andeducation. Now I, Critias and Hermocrates, am conscious that Imyself should never be able to celebrate the city and her citizensin a befitting manner, and I am not surprised at my own incapacity; tome the wonder is rather that the poets present as well as past areno better-not that I mean to depreciate them; but every one can seethat they are a tribe of imitators, and will imitate best and mosteasily the life in which they have been brought up; while that whichis beyond the range of a man's education he finds hard to carry out inaction, and still harder adequately to represent in language. I amaware that the Sophists have plenty of brave words and fairconceits, but I am afraid that being only wanderers from one city toanother, and having never had habitations of their own, they mayfail in their conception of philosophers and statesmen, and may notknow what they do and say in time of war, when they are fighting orholding parley with their enemies. And thus people of your class arethe only ones remaining who are fitted by nature and education to takepart at once both in politics and philosophy. Here is Timaeus, ofLocris in Italy, a city which has admirable laws, and who is himselfin wealth and rank the equal of any of his fellow-citizens; he hasheld the most important and honourable offices in his own state,and, as I believe, has scaled the heights of all philosophy; andhere is Critias, whom every Athenian knows to be no novice in thematters of which we are speaking; and as to, Hermocrates, I am assuredby many witnesses that his genius and education qualify him to takepart in any speculation of the kind. And therefore yesterday when Isaw that you wanted me to describe the formation of the State, Ireadily assented, being very well aware, that, if you only would, nonewere better qualified to carry the discussion further, and that whenyou had engaged our city in a suitable war, you

    of all men livingcould best exhibit her playing a fitting part. When I had completed mytask, I in return imposed this other task upon you. You conferredtogether and agreed to entertain me to-day, as I had entertainedyou, with a feast of discourse. Here am I in festive array, and no mancan be more ready for the promised banquet. Her. And we too, Socrates, as Timaeus says, will not be wanting inenthusiasm; and there is no excuse for not complying with yourrequest. As soon as we arrived yesterday at the guest-chamber ofCritias, with whom we are staying, or rather on our way thither, wetalked the matter over, and he told us an ancient tradition, which Iwish, Critias, that you would repeat to Socrates, so that he mayhelp us to judge whether it will satisfy his requirements or not. Crit. I will, if Timaeus, who is our other partner, approves. Tim. I quite approve. Crit. Then listen, Socrates, to a tale which, though strange, iscertainly true, having been attested by Solon, who was the wisest ofthe seven sages. He was a relative and a dear friend of mygreat-grandfather, Dropides, as he himself says in many passages ofhis poems; and he told the story to Critias, my grandfather, whoremembered and repeated it to us. There were of old, he said, greatand marvellous actions of the Athenian city, which have passed intooblivion through lapse of time and the destruction of mankind, and onein particular, greater than all the rest. This we will now rehearse.It will be a fitting monument of our gratitude to you, and a hymn ofpraise true and worthy of the goddess, on this her day of festival. Soc. Very good. And what is this ancient famous action of theAthenians, which Critias declared, on the authority of Solon, to benot a mere legend, but an actual fact? Crit. I will tell an old-world story which I heard from an aged man;for Critias, at the time of telling it, was as he said, nearlyninety years of age, and I was about ten. Now the day was that dayof the Apaturia which is called the Registration of Youth, at which,according to custom, our parents gave prizes for recitations, andthe poems of several poets were recited by us boys, and many of ussang the poems of Solon, which at that time had not gone out offashion. One of our tribe, either because he thought so or to pleaseCritias, said that in his judgment Solon was not only the wisest ofmen, but also the noblest of poets. The old man, as I very wellremember, brightened up at hearing this and said, smiling: Yes,Amynander, if Solon had only, like other poets, made poetry thebusiness of his life, and had completed the tale which he brought withhim from Egypt, and had not been compelled, by reason of thefactions and troubles which he found stirring in his own countrywhen he came home, to attend to other matters, in my opinion hewould have been as famous as Homer or Hesiod, or any poet. And what was the tale about, Critias? said Amynander. About the greatest action which the Athenians ever did, and whichought to have been the most famous, but, through the lapse of time andthe destruction

    of the actors, it has not come down to us. Tell us, said the other, the whole story, and how and from whomSolon heard this veritable tradition. He replied:-In the Egyptian Delta, at the head of which the riverNile divides, there is a certain district which is called the districtof Sais, and the great city of the district is also called Sais, andis the city from which King Amasis came. The citizens have a deity fortheir foundress; she is called in the Egyptian tongue Neith, and isasserted by them to be the same whom the Hellenes call Athene; theyare great lovers of the Athenians, and say that they are in some wayrelated to them. To this city came Solon, and was received therewith great honour; he asked the priests who were most skilful insuch matters, about antiquity, and made the discovery that neitherhe nor any other Hellene knew anything worth mentioning about thetimes of old. On one occasion, wishing to draw them on to speak ofantiquity, he began to tell about the most ancient things in ourpart of the world-about Phoroneus, who is called "the first man,"and about Niobe; and after the Deluge, of the survival of Deucalionand Pyrrha; and he traced the genealogy of their descendants, andreckoning up the dates, tried to compute how many years ago the eventsof which he was speaking happened. Thereupon one of the priests, whowas of a very great age, said: O Solon, Solon, you Hellenes arenever anything but children, and there is not an old man among you.Solon in return asked him what he meant. I mean to say, he replied,that in mind you are all young; there is no old opinion handed downamong you by ancient tradition, nor any science which is hoary withage. And I will tell you why. There have been, and will be again, manydestructions of mankind arising out of many causes; the greatesthave been brought about by the agencies of fire and water, and otherlesser ones by innumerable other causes. There is a story, whicheven you have preserved, that once upon a time Paethon, the son ofHelios, having yoked the steeds in his father's chariot, because hewas not able to drive them in the path of his father, burnt up allthat was upon the earth, and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt.Now this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination ofthe bodies moving in the heavens around the earth, and a greatconflagration of things upon the earth, which recurs after longintervals; at such times those who live upon the mountains and indry and lofty places are more liable to destruction than those whodwell by rivers or on the seashore. And from this calamity the Nile,who is our never-failing saviour, delivers and preserves us. When,on the other hand, the gods purge the earth with a deluge of water,the survivors in your country are herdsmen and shepherds who dwellon the mountains, but those who, like you, live in cities arecarried by the rivers into the sea. Whereas in this land, neither thennor at any other time, does the water come down from above on thefields, having always a tendency to come up from below; for

    whichreason the traditions preserved here are the most ancient. The fact is, that wherever the extremity of winter frost or ofsummer does not prevent, mankind exist, sometimes in greater,sometimes in lesser numbers. And whatever happened either in yourcountry or in ours, or in any other region of which we are informed-ifthere were any actions noble or great or in any other wayremarkable, they have all been written down by us of old, and arepreserved in our temples. Whereas just when you and other nationsare beginning to be provided with letters and the other requisitesof civilized life, after the usual interval, the stream from heaven,like a pestilence, comes pouring down, and leaves only those of youwho are destitute of letters and education; and so you have to beginall over again like children, and know nothing of what happened inancient times, either among us or among yourselves. As for thosegenealogies of yours which you just now recounted to us, Solon, theyare no better than the tales of children. In the first place youremember a single deluge only, but there were many previous ones; inthe next place, you do not know that there formerly dwelt in your landthe fairest and noblest race of men which ever lived, and that you andyour whole city are descended from a small seed or remnant of themwhich survived. And this was unknown to you, because, for manygenerations, the survivors of that destruction died, leaving nowritten word. For there was a time, Solon, before the great delugeof all, when the city which now is Athens was first in war and inevery way the best governed of all cities, is said to have performedthe noblest deeds and to have had the fairest constitution of any ofwhich tradition tells, under the face of heaven. Solon marvelled at his words, and earnestly requested the priests toinform him exactly and in order about these former citizens. You arewelcome to hear about them, Solon, said the priest, both for yourown sake and for that of your city, and above all, for the sake of thegoddess who is the common patron and parent and educator of both ourcities. She founded your city a thousand years before ours,receiving from the Earth and Hephaestus the seed of your race, andafterwards she founded ours, of which the constitution is recordedin our sacred registers to be eight thousand years old. As touchingyour citizens of nine thousand years ago, I will briefly inform you oftheir laws and of their most famous action; the exact particulars ofthe whole we will hereafter go through at our leisure in the sacredregisters themselves. If you compare these very laws with ours youwill find that many of ours are the counterpart of yours as theywere in the olden time. In the first place, there is the caste ofpriests, which is separated from all the others; next, there are theartificers, who ply their several crafts by themselves and do notintermix; and also there is the class of shepherds and of hunters,as well as that of husbandmen; and you will observe, too, that thewarriors in Egypt are

    distinct from all the other classes, and arecommanded by the law to devote themselves solely to military pursuits;moreover, the weapons which they carry are shields and spears, a styleof equipment which the goddess taught of Asiatics first to us, as inyour part of the world first to you. Then as to wisdom, do you observehow our law from the very first made a study of the whole order ofthings, extending even to prophecy and medicine which gives health,out of these divine elements deriving what was needful for human life,and adding every sort of knowledge which was akin to them. All thisorder and arrangement the goddess first imparted to you whenestablishing your city; and she chose the spot of earth in which youwere born, because she saw that the happy temperament of the seasonsin that land would produce the wisest of men. Wherefore the goddess,who was a lover both of war and of wisdom, selected and first of allsettled that spot which was the most likely to produce men likestherself. And there you dwelt, having such laws as these and stillbetter ones, and excelled all mankind in all virtue, as became thechildren and disciples of the gods. Many great and wonderful deeds are recorded of your state in ourhistories. But one of them exceeds all the rest in greatness andvalour. For these histories tell of a mighty power which unprovokedmade an expedition against the whole of Europe and Asia, and towhich your city put an end. This power came forth out of theAtlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; andthere was an island situated in front of the straits which are byyou called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libyaand Asia put together, and was the way to other islands, and fromthese you might pass to the whole of the opposite continent whichsurrounded the true ocean; for this sea which is within the Straits ofHeracles is only a harbour, having a narrow entrance, but that otheris a real sea, and the surrounding land may be most truly called aboundless continent. Now in this island of Atlantis there was agreat and wonderful empire which had rule over the whole island andseveral others, and over parts of the continent, and, furthermore, themen of Atlantis had subjected the parts of Libya within the columns ofHeracles as far as Egypt, and of Europe as far as Tyrrhenia. This vastpower, gathered into one, endeavoured to subdue at a blow ourcountry and yours and the whole of the region within the straits;and then, Solon, your country shone forth, in the excellence of hervirtue and strength, among all mankind. She was pre-eminent in courageand military skill, and was the leader of the Hellenes. And when therest fell off from her, being compelled to stand alone, after havingundergone the very extremity of danger, she defeated and triumphedover the invaders, and preserved from slavery those who were not yetsubjugated, and generously liberated all the rest of us who dwellwithin the pillars. But afterwards there occurred violentearthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of

    misfortuneall your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the islandof Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea. Forwhich reason the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable,because there is a shoal of mud in the way; and this was caused by thesubsidence of the island. I have told you briefly, Socrates, what the aged Critias heardfrom Solon and related to us. And when you were speaking yesterdayabout your city and citizens, the tale which I have just beenrepeating to you came into my mind, and I remarked with astonishmenthow, by some mysterious coincidence, you agreed in almost everyparticular with the narrative of Solon; but I did not like to speak atthe moment. For a long time had elapsed, and I had forgotten too much;I thought that I must first of all run over the narrative in my ownmind, and then I would speak. And so I readily assented to yourrequest yesterday, considering that in all such cases the chiefdifficulty is to find a tale suitable to our purpose, and that withsuch a tale we should be fairly well provided. And therefore, as Hermocrates has told you, on my way home yesterdayI at once communicated the tale to my companions as I remembered it;and after I left them, during the night by thinking I recovered nearlythe whole it. Truly, as is often said, the lessons of our childhoodmake wonderful impression on our memories; for I am not sure that Icould remember all the discourse of yesterday, but I should be muchsurprised if I forgot any of these things which I have heard very longago. I listened at the time with childlike interest to the old man'snarrative; he was very ready to teach me, and I asked him again andagain to repeat his words, so that like an indelible picture they werebranded into my mind. As soon as the day broke, I rehearsed them as hespoke them to my companions, that they, as well as myself, mighthave something to say. And now, Socrates, to make an end my preface, Iam ready to tell you the whole tale. I will give you not only thegeneral heads, but the particulars, as they were told to me. Thecity and citizens, which you yesterday described to us in fiction,we will now transfer to the world of reality. It shall be theancient city of Athens, and we will suppose that the citizens whom youimagined, were our veritable ancestors, of whom the priest spoke; theywill perfectly harmonise, and there will be no inconsistency in sayingthat the citizens of your republic are these ancient Athenians. Let usdivide the subject among us, and all endeavour according to ourability gracefully to execute the task which you have imposed upon us.Consider then, Socrates, if this narrative is suited to the purpose,or whether we should seek for some other instead. Soc. And what other, Critias, can we find that will be better thanthis, which is natural and suitable to the festival of the goddess,and has the very great advantage of being a fact and not a fiction?How or where shall we find another if we abandon this? We cannot,and therefore you must

    tell the tale, and good luck to you; and I inreturn for my yesterday's discourse will now rest and be a listener. Crit. Let me proceed to explain to you, Socrates, the order in whichwe have arranged our entertainment. Our intention is, that Timaeus,who is the most of an astronomer amongst us, and has made the natureof the universe his special study, should speak first, beginningwith the generation of the world and going down to the creation ofman; next, I am to receive the men whom he has created of whom somewill have profited by the excellent education which you have giventhem; and then, in accordance with the tale of Solon, and equally withhis law, we will bring them into court and make them citizens, as ifthey were those very Athenians whom the sacred Egyptian record hasrecovered from oblivion, and thenceforward we will speak of them asAthenians and fellow-citizens. Soc. I see that I shall receive in my turn a perfect and splendidfeast of reason. And now, Timaeus, you, I suppose, should speaknext, after duly calling upon the Gods. Tim. All men, Socrates, who have any degree of right feeling, at thebeginning of every enterprise, whether small or great, always callupon God. And we, too, who are going to discourse of the nature of theuniverse, how created or how existing without creation, if we be notaltogether out of our wits, must invoke the aid of Gods andGoddesses and pray that our words may be acceptable to them andconsistent with themselves. Let this, then, be our invocation of theGods, to which I add an exhortation of myself to speak in suchmanner as will be most intelligible to you, and will most accordwith my own intent. First then, in my judgment, we must make a distinction and ask, Whatis that which always is and has no becoming; and what is that which isalways becoming and never is? That which is apprehended byintelligence and reason is always in the same state; but that which isconceived by opinion with the help of sensation and without reason, isalways in a process of becoming and perishing and never really is. Noweverything that becomes or is created must of necessity be createdby some cause, for without a cause nothing can be created. The work ofthe creator, whenever he looks to the unchangeable and fashions theform and nature of his work after an unchangeable pattern, mustnecessarily be made fair and perfect; but when he looks to the createdonly, and uses a created pattern, it is not fair or perfect. Was theheaven then or the world, whether called by this or by any othermore appropriate name-assuming the name, I am asking a questionwhich has to be asked at the beginning of an enquiry aboutanything-was the world, I say, always in existence and withoutbeginning? or created, and had it a beginning? Created, I reply, beingvisible and tangible and having a body, and therefore sensible; andall sensible things are apprehended by opinion and sense and are ina process of creation and created. Now that which is created must,as we affirm, of necessity be created by a cause. But

    the father andmaker of all this universe is past finding out; and even if we foundhim, to tell of him to all men would be impossible. And there is stilla question to be asked about him: Which of the patterns had theartificer in view when he made the world-the pattern of theunchangeable, or of that which is created? If the world be indeed fairand the artificer good, it is manifest that he must have looked tothat which is eternal; but if what cannot be said without blasphemy istrue, then to the created pattern. Every one will see that he musthave looked to, the eternal; for the world is the fairest of creationsand he is the best of causes. And having been created in this way, theworld has been framed in the likeness of that which is apprehendedby reason and mind and is unchangeable, and must therefore ofnecessity, if this is admitted, be a copy of something. Now it isall-important that the beginning of everything should be accordingto nature. And in speaking of the copy and the original we mayassume that words are akin to the matter which they describe; whenthey relate to the lasting and permanent and intelligible, theyought to be lasting and unalterable, and, as far as their natureallows, irrefutable and immovable-nothing less. But when theyexpress only the copy or likeness and not the eternal thingsthemselves, they need only be likely and analogous to the realwords. As being is to becoming, so is truth to belief. If then,Socrates, amid the many opinions about the gods and the generationof the universe, we are not able to give notions which arealtogether and in every respect exact and consistent with one another,do not be surprised. Enough, if we adduce probabilities as likely asany others; for we must remember that I who am the speaker, and youwho are the judges, are only mortal men, and we ought to accept thetale which is probable and enquire no further. Soc. Excellent, Timaeus; and we will do precisely as you bid us. Theprelude is charming, and is already accepted by us-may we beg of youto proceed to the strain? Tim. Let me tell you then why the creator made this world ofgeneration. He was good, and the good can never have any jealousy ofanything. And being free from jealousy, he desired that all thingsshould be as like himself as they could be. This is in the truestsense the origin of creation and of the world, as we shall do wellin believing on the testimony of wise men: God desired that all thingsshould be good and nothing bad, so far as this was attainable.Wherefore also finding the whole visible sphere not at rest, butmoving in an irregular and disorderly fashion, out of disorder hebrought order, considering that this was in every way better thanthe other. Now the deeds of the best could never be or have been otherthan the fairest; and the creator, reflecting on the things whichare by nature visible, found that no unintelligent creature taken as awhole was fairer than the intelligent taken as a whole; and thatintelligence could not be present in anything

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