Cratylus by Plato
Cratylus

Plato Cratylus

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[1]        PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: Socrates, Hermogenes, Cratylus.
[2]        
[3]        
[4]        HERMOGENES: Suppose that we make Socrates a party to the argument?
[5]        
[6]        CRATYLUS: If you please.
[7]        
[8]        HERMOGENES: I should explain to you, Socrates, that our friend Cratylus
[9]        has been arguing about names; he says that they are natural and not
[10]       conventional; not a portion of the human voice which men agree to use; but
[11]       that there is a truth or correctness in them, which is the same for
[12]       Hellenes as for barbarians. Whereupon I ask him, whether his own name of
[13]       Cratylus is a true name or not, and he answers 'Yes.' And Socrates?
[14]       'Yes.' Then every man's name, as I tell him, is that which he is called.
[15]       To this he replies--'If all the world were to call you Hermogenes, that
[16]       would not be your name.' And when I am anxious to have a further
[17]       explanation he is ironical and mysterious, and seems to imply that he has a
[18]       notion of his own about the matter, if he would only tell, and could
[19]       entirely convince me, if he chose to be intelligible. Tell me, Socrates,
[20]       what this oracle means; or rather tell me, if you will be so good, what is
[21]       your own view of the truth or correctness of names, which I would far
[22]       sooner hear.
[23]       
[24]       SOCRATES: Son of Hipponicus, there is an ancient saying, that 'hard is the
[25]       knowledge of the good.' And the knowledge of names is a great part of
[26]       knowledge. If I had not been poor, I might have heard the fifty-drachma
[27]       course of the great Prodicus, which is a complete education in grammar and
[28]       language--these are his own words--and then I should have been at once able
[29]       to answer your question about the correctness of names. But, indeed, I
[30]       have only heard the single-drachma course, and therefore, I do not know the
[31]       truth about such matters; I will, however, gladly assist you and Cratylus
[32]       in the investigation of them. When he declares that your name is not
[33]       really Hermogenes, I suspect that he is only making fun of you;--he means
[34]       to say that you are no true son of Hermes, because you are always looking
[35]       after a fortune and never in luck. But, as I was saying, there is a good
[36]       deal of difficulty in this sort of knowledge, and therefore we had better
[37]       leave the question open until we have heard both sides.
[38]       
[39]       HERMOGENES: I have often talked over this matter, both with Cratylus and
[40]       others, and cannot convince myself that there is any principle of
[41]       correctness in names other than convention and agreement; any name which
[42]       you give, in my opinion, is the right one, and if you change that and give
[43]       another, the new name is as correct as the old--we frequently change the
[44]       names of our slaves, and the newly-imposed name is as good as the old: for
[45]       there is no name given to anything by nature; all is convention and habit
[46]       of the users;--such is my view. But if I am mistaken I shall be happy to
[47]       hear and learn of Cratylus, or of any one else.
[48]       
[49]       SOCRATES: I dare say that you may be right, Hermogenes: let us see;--Your
[50]       meaning is, that the name of each thing is only that which anybody agrees
[51]       to call it?
[52]       
[53]       HERMOGENES: That is my notion.
[54]       
[55]       SOCRATES: Whether the giver of the name be an individual or a city?
[56]       
[57]       HERMOGENES: Yes.
[58]       
[59]       SOCRATES: Well, now, let me take an instance;--suppose that I call a man a
[60]       horse or a horse a man, you mean to say that a man will be rightly called a
[61]       horse by me individually, and rightly called a man by the rest of the
[62]       world; and a horse again would be rightly called a man by me and a horse by
[63]       the world:--that is your meaning?
[64]       
[65]       HERMOGENES: He would, according to my view.
[66]       
[67]       SOCRATES: But how about truth, then? you would acknowledge that there is
[68]       in words a true and a false?
[69]       
[70]       HERMOGENES: Certainly.
[71]       
[72]       SOCRATES: And there are true and false propositions?
[73]       
[74]       HERMOGENES: To be sure.
[75]       
[76]       SOCRATES: And a true proposition says that which is, and a false
[77]       proposition says that which is not?
[78]       
[79]       HERMOGENES: Yes; what other answer is possible?
[80]       
[81]       SOCRATES: Then in a proposition there is a true and false?
[82]       
[83]       HERMOGENES: Certainly.
[84]       
[85]       SOCRATES: But is a proposition true as a whole only, and are the parts
[86]       untrue?
[87]       
[88]       HERMOGENES: No; the parts are true as well as the whole.
[89]       
[90]       SOCRATES: Would you say the large parts and not the smaller ones, or every
[91]       part?
[92]       
[93]       HERMOGENES: I should say that every part is true.
[94]       
[95]       SOCRATES: Is a proposition resolvable into any part smaller than a name?
[96]       
[97]       HERMOGENES: No; that is the smallest.
[98]       
[99]       SOCRATES: Then the name is a part of the true proposition?
[100]      
[101]      HERMOGENES: Yes.
[102]      
[103]      SOCRATES: Yes, and a true part, as you say.
[104]      
[105]      HERMOGENES: Yes.
[106]      
[107]      SOCRATES: And is not the part of a falsehood also a falsehood?
[108]      
[109]      HERMOGENES: Yes.
[110]      
[111]      SOCRATES: Then, if propositions may be true and false, names may be true
[112]      and false?
[113]      
[114]      HERMOGENES: So we must infer.
[115]      
[116]      SOCRATES: And the name of anything is that which any one affirms to be the
[117]      name?
[118]      
[119]      HERMOGENES: Yes.
[120]      
[121]      SOCRATES: And will there be so many names of each thing as everybody says
[122]      that there are? and will they be true names at the time of uttering them?
[123]      
[124]      HERMOGENES: Yes, Socrates, I can conceive no correctness of names other
[125]      than this; you give one name, and I another; and in different cities and
[126]      countries there are different names for the same things; Hellenes differ
[127]      from barbarians in their use of names, and the several Hellenic tribes from
[128]      one another.
[129]      
[130]      SOCRATES: But would you say, Hermogenes, that the things differ as the
[131]      names differ? and are they relative to individuals, as Protagoras tells us?
[132]      For he says that man is the measure of all things, and that things are to
[133]      me as they appear to me, and that they are to you as they appear to you.
[134]      Do you agree with him, or would you say that things have a permanent
[135]      essence of their own?
[136]      
[137]      HERMOGENES: There have been times, Socrates, when I have been driven in my
[138]      perplexity to take refuge with Protagoras; not that I agree with him at
[139]      all.
[140]      
[141]      SOCRATES: What! have you ever been driven to admit that there was no such
[142]      thing as a bad man?
[143]      
[144]      HERMOGENES: No, indeed; but I have often had reason to think that there
[145]      are very bad men, and a good many of them.
[146]      
[147]      SOCRATES: Well, and have you ever found any very good ones?
[148]      
[149]      HERMOGENES: Not many.
[150]      
[151]      SOCRATES: Still you have found them?
[152]      
[153]      HERMOGENES: Yes.
[154]      
[155]      SOCRATES: And would you hold that the very good were the very wise, and
[156]      the very evil very foolish? Would that be your view?
[157]      
[158]      HERMOGENES: It would.
[159]      
[160]      SOCRATES: But if Protagoras is right, and the truth is that things are as
[161]      they appear to any one, how can some of us be wise and some of us foolish?
[162]      
[163]      HERMOGENES: Impossible.
[164]      
[165]      SOCRATES: And if, on the other hand, wisdom and folly are really
[166]      distinguishable, you will allow, I think, that the assertion of Protagoras
[167]      can hardly be correct. For if what appears to each man is true to him, one
[168]      man cannot in reality be wiser than another.
[169]      
[170]      HERMOGENES: He cannot.
[171]      
[172]      SOCRATES: Nor will you be disposed to say with Euthydemus, that all things
[173]      equally belong to all men at the same moment and always; for neither on his
[174]      view can there be some good and others bad, if virtue and vice are always
[175]      equally to be attributed to all.
[176]      
[177]      HERMOGENES: There cannot.
[178]      
[179]      SOCRATES: But if neither is right, and things are not relative to
[180]      individuals, and all things do not equally belong to all at the same moment
[181]      and always, they must be supposed to have their own proper and permanent
[182]      essence: they are not in relation to us, or influenced by us, fluctuating
[183]      according to our fancy, but they are independent, and maintain to their own
[184]      essence the relation prescribed by nature.
[185]      
[186]      HERMOGENES: I think, Socrates, that you have said the truth.
[187]      
[188]      SOCRATES: Does what I am saying apply only to the things themselves, or
[189]      equally to the actions which proceed from them? Are not actions also a
[190]      class of being?
[191]      
[192]      HERMOGENES: Yes, the actions are real as well as the things.
[193]      
[194]      SOCRATES: Then the actions also are done according to their proper nature,
[195]      and not according to our opinion of them? In cutting, for example, we do
[196]      not cut as we please, and with any chance instrument; but we cut with the
[197]      proper instrument only, and according to the natural process of cutting;
[198]      and the natural process is right and will succeed, but any other will fail
[199]      and be of no use at all.
[200]      
[201]      HERMOGENES: I should say that the natural way is the right way.
[202]      
[203]      SOCRATES: Again, in burning, not every way is the right way; but the right
[204]      way is the natural way, and the right instrument the natural instrument.
[205]      
[206]      HERMOGENES: True.
[207]      
[208]      SOCRATES: And this holds good of all actions?
[209]      
[210]      HERMOGENES: Yes.
[211]      
[212]      SOCRATES: And speech is a kind of action?
[213]      
[214]      HERMOGENES: True.
[215]      
[216]      SOCRATES: And will a man speak correctly who speaks as he pleases? Will
[217]      not the successful speaker rather be he who speaks in the natural way of
[218]      speaking, and as things ought to be spoken, and with the natural
[219]      instrument? Any other mode of speaking will result in error and failure.
[220]      
[221]      HERMOGENES: I quite agree with you.
[222]      
[223]      SOCRATES: And is not naming a part of speaking? for in giving names men
[224]      speak.
[225]      
[226]      HERMOGENES: That is true.
[227]      
[228]      SOCRATES: And if speaking is a sort of action and has a relation to acts,
[229]      is not naming also a sort of action?
[230]      
[231]      HERMOGENES: True.
[232]      
[233]      SOCRATES: And we saw that actions were not relative to ourselves, but had
[234]      a special nature of their own?
[235]      
[236]      HERMOGENES: Precisely.
[237]      
[238]      SOCRATES: Then the argument would lead us to infer that names ought to be
[239]      given according to a natural process, and with a proper instrument, and not
[240]      at our pleasure: in this and no other way shall we name with success.
[241]      
[242]      HERMOGENES: I agree.
[243]      
[244]      SOCRATES: But again, that which has to be cut has to be cut with
[245]      something?
[246]      
[247]      HERMOGENES: Yes.
[248]      
[249]      SOCRATES: And that which has to be woven or pierced has to be woven or
[250]      pierced with something?
[251]      
[252]      HERMOGENES: Certainly.
[253]      
[254]      SOCRATES: And that which has to be named has to be named with something?
[255]      
[256]      HERMOGENES: True.
[257]      
[258]      SOCRATES: What is that with which we pierce?
[259]      
[260]      HERMOGENES: An awl.
[261]      
[262]      SOCRATES: And with which we weave?
[263]      
[264]      HERMOGENES: A shuttle.
[265]      
[266]      SOCRATES: And with which we name?
[267]      
[268]      HERMOGENES: A name.
[269]      
[270]      SOCRATES: Very good: then a name is an instrument?
[271]      
[272]      HERMOGENES: Certainly.
[273]      
[274]      SOCRATES: Suppose that I ask, 'What sort of instrument is a shuttle?' And
[275]      you answer, 'A weaving instrument.'
[276]      
[277]      HERMOGENES: Well.
[278]      
[279]      SOCRATES: And I ask again, 'What do we do when we weave?'--The answer is,
[280]      that we separate or disengage the warp from the woof.
[281]      
[282]      HERMOGENES: Very true.
[283]      
[284]      SOCRATES: And may not a similar description be given of an awl, and of
[285]      instruments in general?
[286]      
[287]      HERMOGENES: To be sure.
[288]      
[289]      SOCRATES: And now suppose that I ask a similar question about names: will
[290]      you answer me? Regarding the name as an instrument, what do we do when we
[291]      name?
[292]      
[293]      HERMOGENES: I cannot say.
[294]      
[295]      SOCRATES: Do we not give information to one another, and distinguish
[296]      things according to their natures?
[297]      
[298]      HERMOGENES: Certainly we do.
[299]      
[300]      SOCRATES: Then a name is an instrument of teaching and of distinguishing
[301]      natures, as the shuttle is of distinguishing the threads of the web.
[302]      
[303]      HERMOGENES: Yes.
[304]      
[305]      SOCRATES: And the shuttle is the instrument of the weaver?
[306]      
[307]      HERMOGENES: Assuredly.
[308]      
[309]      SOCRATES: Then the weaver will use the shuttle well--and well means like a
[310]      weaver? and the teacher will use the name well--and well means like a
[311]      teacher?
[312]      
[313]      HERMOGENES: Yes.
[314]      
[315]      SOCRATES: And when the weaver uses the shuttle, whose work will he be
[316]      using well?
[317]      
[318]      HERMOGENES: That of the carpenter.
[319]      
[320]      SOCRATES: And is every man a carpenter, or the skilled only?
[321]      
[322]      HERMOGENES: Only the skilled.
[323]      
[324]      SOCRATES: And when the piercer uses the awl, whose work will he be using
[325]      well?
[326]      
[327]      HERMOGENES: That of the smith.
[328]      
[329]      SOCRATES: And is every man a smith, or only the skilled?
[330]      
[331]      HERMOGENES: The skilled only.
[332]      
[333]      SOCRATES: And when the teacher uses the name, whose work will he be using?
[334]      
[335]      HERMOGENES: There again I am puzzled.
[336]      
[337]      SOCRATES: Cannot you at least say who gives us the names which we use?
[338]      
[339]      HERMOGENES: Indeed I cannot.
[340]      
[341]      SOCRATES: Does not the law seem to you to give us them?
[342]      
[343]      HERMOGENES: Yes, I suppose so.
[344]      
[345]      SOCRATES: Then the teacher, when he gives us a name, uses the work of the
[346]      legislator?
[347]      
[348]      HERMOGENES: I agree.
[349]      
[350]      SOCRATES: And is every man a legislator, or the skilled only?
[351]      
[352]      HERMOGENES: The skilled only.
[353]      
[354]      SOCRATES: Then, Hermogenes, not every man is able to give a name, but only
[355]      a maker of names; and this is the legislator, who of all skilled artisans
[356]      in the world is the rarest.
[357]      
[358]      HERMOGENES: True.
[359]      
[360]      SOCRATES: And how does the legislator make names? and to what does he
[361]      look? Consider this in the light of the previous instances: to what does
[362]      the carpenter look in making the shuttle? Does he not look to that which
[363]      is naturally fitted to act as a shuttle?
[364]      
[365]      HERMOGENES: Certainly.
[366]      
[367]      SOCRATES: And suppose the shuttle to be broken in making, will he make
[368]      another, looking to the broken one? or will he look to the form according
[369]      to which he made the other?
[370]      
[371]      HERMOGENES: To the latter, I should imagine.
[372]      
[373]      SOCRATES: Might not that be justly called the true or ideal shuttle?
[374]      
[375]      HERMOGENES: I think so.
[376]      
[377]      SOCRATES: And whatever shuttles are wanted, for the manufacture of
[378]      garments, thin or thick, of flaxen, woollen, or other material, ought all
[379]      of them to have the true form of the shuttle; and whatever is the shuttle
[380]      best adapted to each kind of work, that ought to be the form which the
[381]      maker produces in each case.
[382]      
[383]      HERMOGENES: Yes.
[384]      
[385]      SOCRATES: And the same holds of other instruments: when a man has
[386]      discovered the instrument which is naturally adapted to each work, he must
[387]      express this natural form, and not others which he fancies, in the
[388]      material, whatever it may be, which he employs; for example, he ought to
[389]      know how to put into iron the forms of awls adapted by nature to their
[390]      several uses?
[391]      
[392]      HERMOGENES: Certainly.
[393]      
[394]      SOCRATES: And how to put into wood forms of shuttles adapted by nature to
[395]      their uses?
[396]      
[397]      HERMOGENES: True.
[398]      
[399]      SOCRATES: For the several forms of shuttles naturally answer to the
[400]      several kinds of webs; and this is true of instruments in general.
[401]      
[402]      HERMOGENES: Yes.
[403]      
[404]      SOCRATES: Then, as to names: ought not our legislator also to know how to
[405]      put the true natural name of each thing into sounds and syllables, and to
[406]      make and give all names with a view to the ideal name, if he is to be a
[407]      namer in any true sense? And we must remember that different legislators
[408]      will not use the same syllables. For neither does every smith, although he
[409]      may be making the same instrument for the same purpose, make them all of
[410]      the same iron. The form must be the same, but the material may vary, and
[411]      still the instrument may be equally good of whatever iron made, whether in
[412]      Hellas or in a foreign country;--there is no difference.
[413]      
[414]      HERMOGENES: Very true.
[415]      
[416]      SOCRATES: And the legislator, whether he be Hellene or barbarian, is not
[417]      therefore to be deemed by you a worse legislator, provided he gives the
[418]      true and proper form of the name in whatever syllables; this or that
[419]      country makes no matter.
[420]      
[421]      HERMOGENES: Quite true.
[422]      
[423]      SOCRATES: But who then is to determine whether the proper form is given to
[424]      the shuttle, whatever sort of wood may be used? the carpenter who makes, or
[425]      the weaver who is to use them?
[426]      
[427]      HERMOGENES: I should say, he who is to use them, Socrates.
[428]      
[429]      SOCRATES: And who uses the work of the lyre-maker? Will not he be the man
[430]      who knows how to direct what is being done, and who will know also whether
[431]      the work is being well done or not?
[432]      
[433]      HERMOGENES: Certainly.
[434]      
[435]      SOCRATES: And who is he?
[436]      
[437]      HERMOGENES: The player of the lyre.
[438]      
[439]      SOCRATES: And who will direct the shipwright?
[440]      
[441]      HERMOGENES: The pilot.
[442]      
[443]      SOCRATES: And who will be best able to direct the legislator in his work,
[444]      and will know whether the work is well done, in this or any other country?
[445]      Will not the user be the man?
[446]      
[447]      HERMOGENES: Yes.
[448]      
[449]      SOCRATES: And this is he who knows how to ask questions?
[450]      
[451]      HERMOGENES: Yes.
[452]      
[453]      SOCRATES: And how to answer them?
[454]      
[455]      HERMOGENES: Yes.
[456]      
[457]      SOCRATES: And him who knows how to ask and answer you would call a
[458]      dialectician?
[459]      
[460]      HERMOGENES: Yes; that would be his name.
[461]      
[462]      SOCRATES: Then the work of the carpenter is to make a rudder, and the
[463]      pilot has to direct him, if the rudder is to be well made.
[464]      
[465]      HERMOGENES: True.
[466]      
[467]      SOCRATES: And the work of the legislator is to give names, and the
[468]      dialectician must be his director if the names are to be rightly given?
[469]      
[470]      HERMOGENES: That is true.
[471]      
[472]      SOCRATES: Then, Hermogenes, I should say that this giving of names can be
[473]      no such light matter as you fancy, or the work of light or chance persons;
[474]      and Cratylus is right in saying that things have names by nature, and that
[475]      not every man is an artificer of names, but he only who looks to the name
[476]      which each thing by nature has, and is able to express the true forms of
[477]      things in letters and syllables.
[478]      
[479]      HERMOGENES: I cannot answer you, Socrates; but I find a difficulty in
[480]      changing my opinion all in a moment, and I think that I should be more
[481]      readily persuaded, if you would show me what this is which you term the
[482]      natural fitness of names.
[483]      
[484]      SOCRATES: My good Hermogenes, I have none to show. Was I not telling you
[485]      just now (but you have forgotten), that I knew nothing, and proposing to
[486]      share the enquiry with you? But now that you and I have talked over the
[487]      matter, a step has been gained; for we have discovered that names have by
[488]      nature a truth, and that not every man knows how to give a thing a name.
[489]      
[490]      HERMOGENES: Very good.
[491]      
[492]      SOCRATES: And what is the nature of this truth or correctness of names?
[493]      That, if you care to know, is the next question.
[494]      
[495]      HERMOGENES: Certainly, I care to know.
[496]      
[497]      SOCRATES: Then reflect.
[498]      
[499]      HERMOGENES: How shall I reflect?
[500]      
[501]      SOCRATES: The true way is to have the assistance of those who know, and
[502]      you must pay them well both in money and in thanks; these are the Sophists,
[503]      of whom your brother, Callias, has--rather dearly--bought the reputation of
[504]      wisdom. But you have not yet come into your inheritance, and therefore you
[505]      had better go to him, and beg and entreat him to tell you what he has
[506]      learnt from Protagoras about the fitness of names.
[507]      
[508]      HERMOGENES: But how inconsistent should I be, if, whilst repudiating
[509]      Protagoras and his truth ('Truth' was the title of the book of Protagoras;
[510]      compare Theaet.), I were to attach any value to what he and his book
[511]      affirm!
[512]      
[513]      SOCRATES: Then if you despise him, you must learn of Homer and the poets.
[514]      
[515]      HERMOGENES: And where does Homer say anything about names, and what does
[516]      he say?
[517]      
[518]      SOCRATES: He often speaks of them; notably and nobly in the places where
[519]      he distinguishes the different names which Gods and men give to the same
[520]      things. Does he not in these passages make a remarkable statement about
[521]      the correctness of names? For the Gods must clearly be supposed to call
[522]      things by their right and natural names; do you not think so?
[523]      
[524]      HERMOGENES: Why, of course they call them rightly, if they call them at
[525]      all. But to what are you referring?
[526]      
[527]      SOCRATES: Do you not know what he says about the river in Troy who had a
[528]      single combat with Hephaestus?
[529]      
[530]      'Whom,' as he says, 'the Gods call Xanthus, and men call Scamander.'
[531]      
[532]      HERMOGENES: I remember.
[533]      
[534]      SOCRATES: Well, and about this river--to know that he ought to be called
[535]      Xanthus and not Scamander--is not that a solemn lesson? Or about the bird
[536]      which, as he says,
[537]      
[538]      'The Gods call Chalcis, and men Cymindis:'
[539]      
[540]      to be taught how much more correct the name Chalcis is than the name
[541]      Cymindis--do you deem that a light matter? Or about Batieia and Myrina?
[542]      (Compare Il. 'The hill which men call Batieia and the immortals the tomb of
[543]      the sportive Myrina.') And there are many other observations of the same
[544]      kind in Homer and other poets. Now, I think that this is beyond the
[545]      understanding of you and me; but the names of Scamandrius and Astyanax,
[546]      which he affirms to have been the names of Hector's son, are more within
[547]      the range of human faculties, as I am disposed to think; and what the poet
[548]      means by correctness may be more readily apprehended in that instance: you
[549]      will remember I dare say the lines to which I refer? (Il.)
[550]      
[551]      HERMOGENES: I do.
[552]      
[553]      SOCRATES: Let me ask you, then, which did Homer think the more correct of
[554]      the names given to Hector's son--Astyanax or Scamandrius?
[555]      
[556]      HERMOGENES: I do not know.
[557]      
[558]      SOCRATES: How would you answer, if you were asked whether the wise or the
[559]      unwise are more likely to give correct names?
[560]      
[561]      HERMOGENES: I should say the wise, of course.
[562]      
[563]      SOCRATES: And are the men or the women of a city, taken as a class, the
[564]      wiser?
[565]      
[566]      HERMOGENES: I should say, the men.
[567]      
[568]      SOCRATES: And Homer, as you know, says that the Trojan men called him
[569]      Astyanax (king of the city); but if the men called him Astyanax, the other
[570]      name of Scamandrius could only have been given to him by the women.
[571]      
[572]      HERMOGENES: That may be inferred.
[573]      
[574]      SOCRATES: And must not Homer have imagined the Trojans to be wiser than
[575]      their wives?
[576]      
[577]      HERMOGENES: To be sure.
[578]      
[579]      SOCRATES: Then he must have thought Astyanax to be a more correct name for
[580]      the boy than Scamandrius?
[581]      
[582]      HERMOGENES: Clearly.
[583]      
[584]      SOCRATES: And what is the reason of this? Let us consider:--does he not
[585]      himself suggest a very good reason, when he says,
[586]      
[587]      'For he alone defended their city and long walls'?
[588]      
[589]      This appears to be a good reason for calling the son of the saviour king of
[590]      the city which his father was saving, as Homer observes.
[591]      
[592]      HERMOGENES: I see.
[593]      
[594]      SOCRATES: Why, Hermogenes, I do not as yet see myself; and do you?
[595]      
[596]      HERMOGENES: No, indeed; not I.
[597]      
[598]      SOCRATES: But tell me, friend, did not Homer himself also give Hector his
[599]      name?
[600]      
[601]      HERMOGENES: What of that?
[602]      
[603]      SOCRATES: The name appears to me to be very nearly the same as the name of
[604]      Astyanax--both are Hellenic; and a king (anax) and a holder (ektor) have
[605]      nearly the same meaning, and are both descriptive of a king; for a man is
[606]      clearly the holder of that of which he is king; he rules, and owns, and
[607]      holds it. But, perhaps, you may think that I am talking nonsense; and
[608]      indeed I believe that I myself did not know what I meant when I imagined
[609]      that I had found some indication of the opinion of Homer about the
[610]      correctness of names.
[611]      
[612]      HERMOGENES: I assure you that I think otherwise, and I believe you to be
[613]      on the right track.
[614]      
[615]      SOCRATES: There is reason, I think, in calling the lion's whelp a lion,
[616]      and the foal of a horse a horse; I am speaking only of the ordinary course
[617]      of nature, when an animal produces after his kind, and not of extraordinary
[618]      births;--if contrary to nature a horse have a calf, then I should not call
[619]      that a foal but a calf; nor do I call any inhuman birth a man, but only a
[620]      natural birth. And the same may be said of trees and other things. Do you
[621]      agree with me?
[622]      
[623]      HERMOGENES: Yes, I agree.
[624]      
[625]      SOCRATES: Very good. But you had better watch me and see that I do not
[626]      play tricks with you. For on the same principle the son of a king is to be
[627]      called a king. And whether the syllables of the name are the same or not
[628]      the same, makes no difference, provided the meaning is retained; nor does
[629]      the addition or subtraction of a letter make any difference so long as the
[630]      essence of the thing remains in possession of the name and appears in it.
[631]      
[632]      HERMOGENES: What do you mean?
[633]      
[634]      SOCRATES: A very simple matter. I may illustrate my meaning by the names
[635]      of letters, which you know are not the same as the letters themselves with
[636]      the exception of the four epsilon, upsilon, omicron, omega; the names of
[637]      the rest, whether vowels or consonants, are made up of other letters which
[638]      we add to them; but so long as we introduce the meaning, and there can be
[639]      no mistake, the name of the letter is quite correct. Take, for example,
[640]      the letter beta--the addition of eta, tau, alpha, gives no offence, and
[641]      does not prevent the whole name from having the value which the legislator
[642]      intended--so well did he know how to give the letters names.
[643]      
[644]      HERMOGENES: I believe you are right.
[645]      
[646]      SOCRATES: And may not the same be said of a king? a king will often be the
[647]      son of a king, the good son or the noble son of a good or noble sire; and
[648]      similarly the offspring of every kind, in the regular course of nature, is
[649]      like the parent, and therefore has the same name. Yet the syllables may be
[650]      disguised until they appear different to the ignorant person, and he may
[651]      not recognize them, although they are the same, just as any one of us would
[652]      not recognize the same drugs under different disguises of colour and smell,
[653]      although to the physician, who regards the power of them, they are the
[654]      same, and he is not put out by the addition; and in like manner the
[655]      etymologist is not put out by the addition or transposition or subtraction
[656]      of a letter or two, or indeed by the change of all the letters, for this
[657]      need not interfere with the meaning. As was just now said, the names of
[658]      Hector and Astyanax have only one letter alike, which is tau, and yet they
[659]      have the same meaning. And how little in common with the letters of their
[660]      names has Archepolis (ruler of the city)--and yet the meaning is the same.
[661]      And there are many other names which just mean 'king.' Again, there are
[662]      several names for a general, as, for example, Agis (leader) and Polemarchus
[663]      (chief in war) and Eupolemus (good warrior); and others which denote a
[664]      physician, as Iatrocles (famous healer) and Acesimbrotus (curer of
[665]      mortals); and there are many others which might be cited, differing in
[666]      their syllables and letters, but having the same meaning. Would you not
[667]      say so?
[668]      
[669]      HERMOGENES: Yes.
[670]      
[671]      SOCRATES: The same names, then, ought to be assigned to those who follow
[672]      in the course of nature?
[673]      
[674]      HERMOGENES: Yes.
[675]      
[676]      SOCRATES: And what of those who follow out of the course of nature, and
[677]      are prodigies? for example, when a good and religious man has an
[678]      irreligious son, he ought to bear the name not of his father, but of the
[679]      class to which he belongs, just as in the case which was before supposed of
[680]      a horse foaling a calf.
[681]      
[682]      HERMOGENES: Quite true.
[683]      
[684]      SOCRATES: Then the irreligious son of a religious father should be called
[685]      irreligious?
[686]      
[687]      HERMOGENES: Certainly.
[688]      
[689]      SOCRATES: He should not be called Theophilus (beloved of God) or
[690]      Mnesitheus (mindful of God), or any of these names: if names are correctly
[691]      given, his should have an opposite meaning.
[692]      
[693]      HERMOGENES: Certainly, Socrates.
[694]      
[695]      SOCRATES: Again, Hermogenes, there is Orestes (the man of the mountains)
[696]      who appears to be rightly called; whether chance gave the name, or perhaps
[697]      some poet who meant to express the brutality and fierceness and mountain
[698]      wildness of his hero's nature.
[699]      
[700]      HERMOGENES: That is very likely, Socrates.
[701]      
[702]      SOCRATES: And his father's name is also according to nature.
[703]      
[704]      HERMOGENES: Clearly.
[705]      
[706]      SOCRATES: Yes, for as his name, so also is his nature; Agamemnon
[707]      (admirable for remaining) is one who is patient and persevering in the
[708]      accomplishment of his resolves, and by his virtue crowns them; and his
[709]      continuance at Troy with all the vast army is a proof of that admirable
[710]      endurance in him which is signified by the name Agamemnon. I also think
[711]      that Atreus is rightly called; for his murder of Chrysippus and his
[712]      exceeding cruelty to Thyestes are damaging and destructive to his
[713]      reputation--the name is a little altered and disguised so as not to be
[714]      intelligible to every one, but to the etymologist there is no difficulty in
[715]      seeing the meaning, for whether you think of him as ateires the stubborn,
[716]      or as atrestos the fearless, or as ateros the destructive one, the name is
[717]      perfectly correct in every point of view. And I think that Pelops is also
[718]      named appropriately; for, as the name implies, he is rightly called Pelops
[719]      who sees what is near only (o ta pelas oron).
[720]      
[721]      HERMOGENES: How so?
[722]      
[723]      SOCRATES: Because, according to the tradition, he had no forethought or
[724]      foresight of all the evil which the murder of Myrtilus would entail upon
[725]      his whole race in remote ages; he saw only what was at hand and immediate,
[726]      --or in other words, pelas (near), in his eagerness to win Hippodamia by
[727]      all means for his bride. Every one would agree that the name of Tantalus
[728]      is rightly given and in accordance with nature, if the traditions about him
[729]      are true.
[730]      
[731]      HERMOGENES: And what are the traditions?
[732]      
[733]      SOCRATES: Many terrible misfortunes are said to have happened to him in
[734]      his life--last of all, came the utter ruin of his country; and after his
[735]      death he had the stone suspended (talanteia) over his head in the world
[736]      below--all this agrees wonderfully well with his name. You might imagine
[737]      that some person who wanted to call him Talantatos (the most weighted down
[738]      by misfortune), disguised the name by altering it into Tantalus; and into
[739]      this form, by some accident of tradition, it has actually been transmuted.
[740]      The name of Zeus, who is his alleged father, has also an excellent meaning,
[741]      although hard to be understood, because really like a sentence, which is
[742]      divided into two parts, for some call him Zena, and use the one half, and
[743]      others who use the other half call him Dia; the two together signify the
[744]      nature of the God, and the business of a name, as we were saying, is to
[745]      express the nature. For there is none who is more the author of life to us
[746]      and to all, than the lord and king of all. Wherefore we are right in
[747]      calling him Zena and Dia, which are one name, although divided, meaning the
[748]      God through whom all creatures always have life (di on zen aei pasi tois
[749]      zosin uparchei). There is an irreverence, at first sight, in calling him
[750]      son of Cronos (who is a proverb for stupidity), and we might rather expect
[751]      Zeus to be the child of a mighty intellect. Which is the fact; for this is
[752]      the meaning of his father's name: Kronos quasi Koros (Choreo, to sweep),
[753]      not in the sense of a youth, but signifying to chatharon chai acheraton tou
[754]      nou, the pure and garnished mind (sc. apo tou chorein). He, as we are
[755]      informed by tradition, was begotten of Uranus, rightly so called (apo tou
[756]      oran ta ano) from looking upwards; which, as philosophers tell us, is the
[757]      way to have a pure mind, and the name Uranus is therefore correct. If I
[758]      could remember the genealogy of Hesiod, I would have gone on and tried more
[759]      conclusions of the same sort on the remoter ancestors of the Gods,--then I
[760]      might have seen whether this wisdom, which has come to me all in an
[761]      instant, I know not whence, will or will not hold good to the end.
[762]      
[763]      HERMOGENES: You seem to me, Socrates, to be quite like a prophet newly
[764]      inspired, and to be uttering oracles.
[765]      
[766]      SOCRATES: Yes, Hermogenes, and I believe that I caught the inspiration
[767]      from the great Euthyphro of the Prospaltian deme, who gave me a long
[768]      lecture which commenced at dawn: he talked and I listened, and his wisdom
[769]      and enchanting ravishment has not only filled my ears but taken possession
[770]      of my soul,and to-day I shall let his superhuman power work and finish the
[771]      investigation of names--that will be the way; but to-morrow, if you are so
[772]      disposed, we will conjure him away, and make a purgation of him, if we can
[773]      only find some priest or sophist who is skilled in purifications of this
[774]      sort.
[775]      
[776]      HERMOGENES: With all my heart; for am very curious to hear the rest of the
[777]      enquiry about names.
[778]      
[779]      SOCRATES: Then let us proceed; and where would you have us begin, now that
[780]      we have got a sort of outline of the enquiry? Are there any names which
[781]      witness of themselves that they are not given arbitrarily, but have a
[782]      natural fitness? The names of heroes and of men in general are apt to be
[783]      deceptive because they are often called after ancestors with whose names,
[784]      as we were saying, they may have no business; or they are the expression of
[785]      a wish like Eutychides (the son of good fortune), or Sosias (the Saviour),
[786]      or Theophilus (the beloved of God), and others. But I think that we had
[787]      better leave these, for there will be more chance of finding correctness in
[788]      the names of immutable essences;--there ought to have been more care taken
[789]      about them when they were named, and perhaps there may have been some more
[790]      than human power at work occasionally in giving them names.
[791]      
[792]      HERMOGENES: I think so, Socrates.
[793]      
[794]      SOCRATES: Ought we not to begin with the consideration of the Gods, and
[795]      show that they are rightly named Gods?
[796]      
[797]      HERMOGENES: Yes, that will be well.
[798]      
[799]      SOCRATES: My notion would be something of this sort:--I suspect that the
[800]      sun, moon, earth, stars, and heaven, which are still the Gods of many
[801]      barbarians, were the only Gods known to the aboriginal Hellenes. Seeing
[802]      that they were always moving and running, from their running nature they
[803]      were called Gods or runners (Theous, Theontas); and when men became
[804]      acquainted with the other Gods, they proceeded to apply the same name to
[805]      them all. Do you think that likely?
[806]      
[807]      HERMOGENES: I think it very likely indeed.
[808]      
[809]      SOCRATES: What shall follow the Gods?
[810]      
[811]      HERMOGENES: Must not demons and heroes and men come next?
[812]      
[813]      SOCRATES: Demons! And what do you consider to be the meaning of this
[814]      word? Tell me if my view is right.
[815]      
[816]      HERMOGENES: Let me hear.
[817]      
[818]      SOCRATES: You know how Hesiod uses the word?
[819]      
[820]      HERMOGENES: I do not.
[821]      
[822]      SOCRATES: Do you not remember that he speaks of a golden race of men who
[823]      came first?
[824]      
[825]      HERMOGENES: Yes, I do.
[826]      
[827]      SOCRATES: He says of them--
[828]      
[829]      'But now that fate has closed over this race
[830]      They are holy demons upon the earth,
[831]      Beneficent, averters of ills, guardians of mortal men.' (Hesiod, Works and
[832]      Days.)
[833]      
[834]      HERMOGENES: What is the inference?
[835]      
[836]      SOCRATES: What is the inference! Why, I suppose that he means by the
[837]      golden men, not men literally made of gold, but good and noble; and I am
[838]      convinced of this, because he further says that we are the iron race.
[839]      
[840]      HERMOGENES: That is true.
[841]      
[842]      SOCRATES: And do you not suppose that good men of our own day would by him
[843]      be said to be of golden race?
[844]      
[845]      HERMOGENES: Very likely.
[846]      
[847]      SOCRATES: And are not the good wise?
[848]      
[849]      HERMOGENES: Yes, they are wise.
[850]      
[851]      SOCRATES: And therefore I have the most entire conviction that he called
[852]      them demons, because they were daemones (knowing or wise), and in our older
[853]      Attic dialect the word itself occurs. Now he and other poets say truly,
[854]      that when a good man dies he has honour and a mighty portion among the
[855]      dead, and becomes a demon; which is a name given to him signifying wisdom.
[856]      And I say too, that every wise man who happens to be a good man is more
[857]      than human (daimonion) both in life and death, and is rightly called a
[858]      demon.
[859]      
[860]      HERMOGENES: Then I rather think that I am of one mind with you; but what
[861]      is the meaning of the word 'hero'? (Eros with an eta, in the old writing
[862]      eros with an epsilon.)
[863]      
[864]      SOCRATES: I think that there is no difficulty in explaining, for the name
[865]      is not much altered, and signifies that they were born of love.
[866]      
[867]      HERMOGENES: What do you mean?
[868]      
[869]      SOCRATES: Do you not know that the heroes are demigods?
[870]      
[871]      HERMOGENES: What then?
[872]      
[873]      SOCRATES: All of them sprang either from the love of a God for a mortal
[874]      woman, or of a mortal man for a Goddess; think of the word in the old
[875]      Attic, and you will see better that the name heros is only a slight
[876]      alteration of Eros, from whom the heroes sprang: either this is the
[877]      meaning, or, if not this, then they must have been skilful as rhetoricians
[878]      and dialecticians, and able to put the question (erotan), for eirein is
[879]      equivalent to legein. And therefore, as I was saying, in the Attic dialect
[880]      the heroes turn out to be rhetoricians and questioners. All this is easy
[881]      enough; the noble breed of heroes are a tribe of sophists and rhetors. But
[882]      can you tell me why men are called anthropoi?--that is more difficult.
[883]      
[884]      HERMOGENES: No, I cannot; and I would not try even if I could, because I
[885]      think that you are the more likely to succeed.
[886]      
[887]      SOCRATES: That is to say, you trust to the inspiration of Euthyphro.
[888]      
[889]      HERMOGENES: Of course.
[890]      
[891]      SOCRATES: Your faith is not vain; for at this very moment a new and
[892]      ingenious thought strikes me, and, if I am not careful, before to-morrow's
[893]      dawn I shall be wiser than I ought to be. Now, attend to me; and first,
[894]      remember that we often put in and pull out letters in words, and give names
[895]      as we please and change the accents. Take, for example, the word Dii
[896]      Philos; in order to convert this from a sentence into a noun, we omit one
[897]      of the iotas and sound the middle syllable grave instead of acute; as, on
[898]      the other hand, letters are sometimes inserted in words instead of being
[899]      omitted, and the acute takes the place of the grave.
[900]      
[901]      HERMOGENES: That is true.
[902]      
[903]      SOCRATES: The name anthropos, which was once a sentence, and is now a
[904]      noun, appears to be a case just of this sort, for one letter, which is the
[905]      alpha, has been omitted, and the acute on the last syllable has been
[906]      changed to a grave.
[907]      
[908]      HERMOGENES: What do you mean?
[909]      
[910]      SOCRATES: I mean to say that the word 'man' implies that other animals
[911]      never examine, or consider, or look up at what they see, but that man not
[912]      only sees (opope) but considers and looks up at that which he sees, and
[913]      hence he alone of all animals is rightly anthropos, meaning anathron a
[914]      opopen.
[915]      
[916]      HERMOGENES: May I ask you to examine another word about which I am
[917]      curious?
[918]      
[919]      SOCRATES: Certainly.
[920]      
[921]      HERMOGENES: I will take that which appears to me to follow next in order.
[922]      You know the distinction of soul and body?
[923]      
[924]      SOCRATES: Of course.
[925]      
[926]      HERMOGENES: Let us endeavour to analyze them like the previous words.
[927]      
[928]      SOCRATES: You want me first of all to examine the natural fitness of the
[929]      word psuche (soul), and then of the word soma (body)?
[930]      
[931]      HERMOGENES: Yes.
[932]      
[933]      SOCRATES: If I am to say what occurs to me at the moment, I should imagine
[934]      that those who first used the name psuche meant to express that the soul
[935]      when in the body is the source of life, and gives the power of breath and
[936]      revival (anapsuchon), and when this reviving power fails then the body
[937]      perishes and dies, and this, if I am not mistaken, they called psyche. But
[938]      please stay a moment; I fancy that I can discover something which will be
[939]      more acceptable to the disciples of Euthyphro, for I am afraid that they
[940]      will scorn this explanation. What do you say to another?
[941]      
[942]      HERMOGENES: Let me hear.
[943]      
[944]      SOCRATES: What is that which holds and carries and gives life and motion
[945]      to the entire nature of the body? What else but the soul?
[946]      
[947]      HERMOGENES: Just that.
[948]      
[949]      SOCRATES: And do you not believe with Anaxagoras, that mind or soul is the
[950]      ordering and containing principle of all things?
[951]      
[952]      HERMOGENES: Yes; I do.
[953]      
[954]      SOCRATES: Then you may well call that power phuseche which carries and
[955]      holds nature (e phusin okei, kai ekei), and this may be refined away into
[956]      psuche.
[957]      
[958]      HERMOGENES: Certainly; and this derivation is, I think, more scientific
[959]      than the other.
[960]      
[961]      SOCRATES: It is so; but I cannot help laughing, if I am to suppose that
[962]      this was the true meaning of the name.
[963]      
[964]      HERMOGENES: But what shall we say of the next word?
[965]      
[966]      SOCRATES: You mean soma (the body).
[967]      
[968]      HERMOGENES: Yes.
[969]      
[970]      SOCRATES: That may be variously interpreted; and yet more variously if a
[971]      little permutation is allowed. For some say that the body is the grave
[972]      (sema) of the soul which may be thought to be buried in our present life;
[973]      or again the index of the soul, because the soul gives indications to
[974]      (semainei) the body; probably the Orphic poets were the inventors of the
[975]      name, and they were under the impression that the soul is suffering the
[976]      punishment of sin, and that the body is an enclosure or prison in which the
[977]      soul is incarcerated, kept safe (soma, sozetai), as the name soma implies,
[978]      until the penalty is paid; according to this view, not even a letter of the
[979]      word need be changed.
[980]      
[981]      HERMOGENES: I think, Socrates, that we have said enough of this class of
[982]      words. But have we any more explanations of the names of the Gods, like
[983]      that which you were giving of Zeus? I should like to know whether any
[984]      similar principle of correctness is to be applied to them.
[985]      
[986]      SOCRATES: Yes, indeed, Hermogenes; and there is one excellent principle
[987]      which, as men of sense, we must acknowledge,--that of the Gods we know
[988]      nothing, either of their natures or of the names which they give
[989]      themselves; but we are sure that the names by which they call themselves,
[990]      whatever they may be, are true. And this is the best of all principles;
[991]      and the next best is to say, as in prayers, that we will call them by any
[992]      sort or kind of names or patronymics which they like, because we do not
[993]      know of any other. That also, I think, is a very good custom, and one
[994]      which I should much wish to observe. Let us, then, if you please, in the
[995]      first place announce to them that we are not enquiring about them; we do
[996]      not presume that we are able to do so; but we are enquiring about the
[997]      meaning of men in giving them these names,--in this there can be small
[998]      blame.
[999]      
[1000]     HERMOGENES: I think, Socrates, that you are quite right, and I would like
[1001]     to do as you say.
[1002]     
[1003]     SOCRATES: Shall we begin, then, with Hestia, according to custom?
[1004]     
[1005]     HERMOGENES: Yes, that will be very proper.
[1006]     
[1007]     SOCRATES: What may we suppose him to have meant who gave the name Hestia?
[1008]     
[1009]     HERMOGENES: That is another and certainly a most difficult question.
[1010]     
[1011]     SOCRATES: My dear Hermogenes, the first imposers of names must surely have
[1012]     been considerable persons; they were philosophers, and had a good deal to
[1013]     say.
[1014]     
[1015]     HERMOGENES: Well, and what of them?
[1016]     
[1017]     SOCRATES: They are the men to whom I should attribute the imposition of
[1018]     names. Even in foreign names, if you analyze them, a meaning is still
[1019]     discernible. For example, that which we term ousia is by some called esia,
[1020]     and by others again osia. Now that the essence of things should be called
[1021]     estia, which is akin to the first of these (esia = estia), is rational
[1022]     enough. And there is reason in the Athenians calling that estia which
[1023]     participates in ousia. For in ancient times we too seem to have said esia
[1024]     for ousia, and this you may note to have been the idea of those who
[1025]     appointed that sacrifices should be first offered to estia, which was
[1026]     natural enough if they meant that estia was the essence of things. Those
[1027]     again who read osia seem to have inclined to the opinion of Heracleitus,
[1028]     that all things flow and nothing stands; with them the pushing principle
[1029]     (othoun) is the cause and ruling power of all things, and is therefore
[1030]     rightly called osia. Enough of this, which is all that we who know nothing
[1031]     can affirm. Next in order after Hestia we ought to consider Rhea and
[1032]     Cronos, although the name of Cronos has been already discussed. But I dare
[1033]     say that I am talking great nonsense.
[1034]     
[1035]     HERMOGENES: Why, Socrates?
[1036]     
[1037]     SOCRATES: My good friend, I have discovered a hive of wisdom.
[1038]     
[1039]     HERMOGENES: Of what nature?
[1040]     
[1041]     SOCRATES: Well, rather ridiculous, and yet plausible.
[1042]     
[1043]     HERMOGENES: How plausible?
[1044]     
[1045]     SOCRATES: I fancy to myself Heracleitus repeating wise traditions of
[1046]     antiquity as old as the days of Cronos and Rhea, and of which Homer also
[1047]     spoke.
[1048]     
[1049]     HERMOGENES: How do you mean?
[1050]     
[1051]     SOCRATES: Heracleitus is supposed to say that all things are in motion and
[1052]     nothing at rest; he compares them to the stream of a river, and says that
[1053]     you cannot go into the same water twice.
[1054]     
[1055]     HERMOGENES: That is true.
[1056]     
[1057]     SOCRATES: Well, then, how can we avoid inferring that he who gave the
[1058]     names of Cronos and Rhea to the ancestors of the Gods, agreed pretty much
[1059]     in the doctrine of Heracleitus? Is the giving of the names of streams to
[1060]     both of them purely accidental? Compare the line in which Homer, and, as I
[1061]     believe, Hesiod also, tells of
[1062]     
[1063]     'Ocean, the origin of Gods, and mother Tethys (Il.--the line is not found
[1064]     in the extant works of Hesiod.).'
[1065]     
[1066]     And again, Orpheus says, that
[1067]     
[1068]     'The fair river of Ocean was the first to marry, and he espoused his sister
[1069]     Tethys, who was his mother's daughter.'
[1070]     
[1071]     You see that this is a remarkable coincidence, and all in the direction of
[1072]     Heracleitus.
[1073]     
[1074]     HERMOGENES: I think that there is something in what you say, Socrates; but
[1075]     I do not understand the meaning of the name Tethys.
[1076]     
[1077]     SOCRATES: Well, that is almost self-explained, being only the name of a
[1078]     spring, a little disguised; for that which is strained and filtered
[1079]     (diattomenon, ethoumenon) may be likened to a spring, and the name Tethys
[1080]     is made up of these two words.
[1081]     
[1082]     HERMOGENES: The idea is ingenious, Socrates.
[1083]     
[1084]     SOCRATES: To be sure. But what comes next?--of Zeus we have spoken.
[1085]     
[1086]     HERMOGENES: Yes.
[1087]     
[1088]     SOCRATES: Then let us next take his two brothers, Poseidon and Pluto,
[1089]     whether the latter is called by that or by his other name.
[1090]     
[1091]     HERMOGENES: By all means.
[1092]     
[1093]     SOCRATES: Poseidon is Posidesmos, the chain of the feet; the original
[1094]     inventor of the name had been stopped by the watery element in his walks,
[1095]     and not allowed to go on, and therefore he called the ruler of this element
[1096]     Poseidon; the epsilon was probably inserted as an ornament. Yet, perhaps,
[1097]     not so; but the name may have been originally written with a double lamda
[1098]     and not with a sigma, meaning that the God knew many things (Polla eidos).
[1099]     And perhaps also he being the shaker of the earth, has been named from
[1100]     shaking (seiein), and then pi and delta have been added. Pluto gives
[1101]     wealth (Ploutos), and his name means the giver of wealth, which comes out
[1102]     of the earth beneath. People in general appear to imagine that the term
[1103]     Hades is connected with the invisible (aeides) and so they are led by their
[1104]     fears to call the God Pluto instead.
[1105]     
[1106]     HERMOGENES: And what is the true derivation?
[1107]     
[1108]     SOCRATES: In spite of the mistakes which are made about the power of this
[1109]     deity, and the foolish fears which people have of him, such as the fear of
[1110]     always being with him after death, and of the soul denuded of the body
[1111]     going to him (compare Rep.), my belief is that all is quite consistent, and
[1112]     that the office and name of the God really correspond.
[1113]     
[1114]     HERMOGENES: Why, how is that?
[1115]     
[1116]     SOCRATES: I will tell you my own opinion; but first, I should like to ask
[1117]     you which chain does any animal feel to be the stronger? and which confines
[1118]     him more to the same spot,--desire or necessity?
[1119]     
[1120]     HERMOGENES: Desire, Socrates, is stronger far.
[1121]     
[1122]     SOCRATES: And do you not think that many a one would escape from Hades, if
[1123]     he did not bind those who depart to him by the strongest of chains?
[1124]     
[1125]     HERMOGENES: Assuredly they would.
[1126]     
[1127]     SOCRATES: And if by the greatest of chains, then by some desire, as I
[1128]     should certainly infer, and not by necessity?
[1129]     
[1130]     HERMOGENES: That is clear.
[1131]     
[1132]     SOCRATES: And there are many desires?
[1133]     
[1134]     HERMOGENES: Yes.
[1135]     
[1136]     SOCRATES: And therefore by the greatest desire, if the chain is to be the
[1137]     greatest?
[1138]     
[1139]     HERMOGENES: Yes.
[1140]     
[1141]     SOCRATES: And is any desire stronger than the thought that you will be
[1142]     made better by associating with another?
[1143]     
[1144]     HERMOGENES: Certainly not.
[1145]     
[1146]     SOCRATES: And is not that the reason, Hermogenes, why no one, who has been
[1147]     to him, is willing to come back to us? Even the Sirens, like all the rest
[1148]     of the world, have been laid under his spells. Such a charm, as I imagine,
[1149]     is the God able to infuse into his words. And, according to this view, he
[1150]     is the perfect and accomplished Sophist, and the great benefactor of the
[1151]     inhabitants of the other world; and even to us who are upon earth he sends
[1152]     from below exceeding blessings. For he has much more than he wants down
[1153]     there; wherefore he is called Pluto (or the rich). Note also, that he will
[1154]     have nothing to do with men while they are in the body, but only when the
[1155]     soul is liberated from the desires and evils of the body. Now there is a
[1156]     great deal of philosophy and reflection in that; for in their liberated
[1157]     state he can bind them with the desire of virtue, but while they are
[1158]     flustered and maddened by the body, not even father Cronos himself would
[1159]     suffice to keep them with him in his own far-famed chains.
[1160]     
[1161]     HERMOGENES: There is a deal of truth in what you say.
[1162]     
[1163]     SOCRATES: Yes, Hermogenes, and the legislator called him Hades, not from
[1164]     the unseen (aeides)--far otherwise, but from his knowledge (eidenai) of all
[1165]     noble things.
[1166]     
[1167]     HERMOGENES: Very good; and what do we say of Demeter, and Here, and
[1168]     Apollo, and Athene, and Hephaestus, and Ares, and the other deities?
[1169]     
[1170]     SOCRATES: Demeter is e didousa meter, who gives food like a mother; Here
[1171]     is the lovely one (erate)--for Zeus, according to tradition, loved and
[1172]     married her; possibly also the name may have been given when the legislator
[1173]     was thinking of the heavens, and may be only a disguise of the air (aer),
[1174]     putting the end in the place of the beginning. You will recognize the
[1175]     truth of this if you repeat the letters of Here several times over. People
[1176]     dread the name of Pherephatta as they dread the name of Apollo,--and with
[1177]     as little reason; the fear, if I am not mistaken, only arises from their
[1178]     ignorance of the nature of names. But they go changing the name into
[1179]     Phersephone, and they are terrified at this; whereas the new name means
[1180]     only that the Goddess is wise (sophe); for seeing that all things in the
[1181]     world are in motion (pheromenon), that principle which embraces and touches
[1182]     and is able to follow them, is wisdom. And therefore the Goddess may be
[1183]     truly called Pherepaphe (Pherepapha), or some name like it, because she
[1184]     touches that which is in motion (tou pheromenon ephaptomene), herein
[1185]     showing her wisdom. And Hades, who is wise, consorts with her, because she
[1186]     is wise. They alter her name into Pherephatta now-a-days, because the
[1187]     present generation care for euphony more than truth. There is the other
[1188]     name, Apollo, which, as I was saying, is generally supposed to have some
[1189]     terrible signification. Have you remarked this fact?
[1190]     
[1191]     HERMOGENES: To be sure I have, and what you say is true.
[1192]     
[1193]     SOCRATES: But the name, in my opinion, is really most expressive of the
[1194]     power of the God.
[1195]     
[1196]     HERMOGENES: How so?
[1197]     
[1198]     SOCRATES: I will endeavour to explain, for I do not believe that any
[1199]     single name could have been better adapted to express the attributes of the
[1200]     God, embracing and in a manner signifying all four of them,--music, and
[1201]     prophecy, and medicine, and archery.
[1202]     
[1203]     HERMOGENES: That must be a strange name, and I should like to hear the
[1204]     explanation.
[1205]     
[1206]     SOCRATES: Say rather an harmonious name, as beseems the God of Harmony.
[1207]     In the first place, the purgations and purifications which doctors and
[1208]     diviners use, and their fumigations with drugs magical or medicinal, as
[1209]     well as their washings and lustral sprinklings, have all one and the same
[1210]     object, which is to make a man pure both in body and soul.
[1211]     
[1212]     HERMOGENES: Very true.
[1213]     
[1214]     SOCRATES: And is not Apollo the purifier, and the washer, and the absolver
[1215]     from all impurities?
[1216]     
[1217]     HERMOGENES: Very true.
[1218]     
[1219]     SOCRATES: Then in reference to his ablutions and absolutions, as being the
[1220]     physician who orders them, he may be rightly called Apolouon (purifier); or
[1221]     in respect of his powers of divination, and his truth and sincerity, which
[1222]     is the same as truth, he may be most fitly called Aplos, from aplous
[1223]     (sincere), as in the Thessalian dialect, for all the Thessalians call him
[1224]     Aplos; also he is aei Ballon (always shooting), because he is a master
[1225]     archer who never misses; or again, the name may refer to his musical
[1226]     attributes, and then, as in akolouthos, and akoitis, and in many other
[1227]     words the alpha is supposed to mean 'together,' so the meaning of the name
[1228]     Apollo will be 'moving together,' whether in the poles of heaven as they
[1229]     are called, or in the harmony of song, which is termed concord, because he
[1230]     moves all together by an harmonious power, as astronomers and musicians
[1231]     ingeniously declare. And he is the God who presides over harmony, and
[1232]     makes all things move together, both among Gods and among men. And as in
[1233]     the words akolouthos and akoitis the alpha is substituted for an omicron,
[1234]     so the name Apollon is equivalent to omopolon; only the second lambda is
[1235]     added in order to avoid the ill-omened sound of destruction (apolon). Now
[1236]     the suspicion of this destructive power still haunts the minds of some who
[1237]     do not consider the true value of the name, which, as I was saying just
[1238]     now, has reference to all the powers of the God, who is the single one, the
[1239]     everdarting, the purifier, the mover together (aplous, aei Ballon,
[1240]     apolouon, omopolon). The name of the Muses and of music would seem to be
[1241]     derived from their making philosophical enquiries (mosthai); and Leto is
[1242]     called by this name, because she is such a gentle Goddess, and so willing
[1243]     (ethelemon) to grant our requests; or her name may be Letho, as she is
[1244]     often called by strangers--they seem to imply by it her amiability, and her
[1245]     smooth and easy-going way of behaving. Artemis is named from her healthy
[1246]     (artemes), well-ordered nature, and because of her love of virginity,
[1247]     perhaps because she is a proficient in virtue (arete), and perhaps also as
[1248]     hating intercourse of the sexes (ton aroton misesasa). He who gave the
[1249]     Goddess her name may have had any or all of these reasons.
[1250]     
[1251]     HERMOGENES: What is the meaning of Dionysus and Aphrodite?
[1252]     
[1253]     SOCRATES: Son of Hipponicus, you ask a solemn question; there is a serious
[1254]     and also a facetious explanation of both these names; the serious
[1255]     explanation is not to be had from me, but there is no objection to your
[1256]     hearing the facetious one; for the Gods too love a joke. Dionusos is
[1257]     simply didous oinon (giver of wine), Didoinusos, as he might be called in
[1258]     fun,--and oinos is properly oionous, because wine makes those who drink,
[1259]     think (oiesthai) that they have a mind (noun) when they have none. The
[1260]     derivation of Aphrodite, born