« PreviousContinue »
those consulting well or ill, if they did not know what they were consulting about? Sis. Yes, I should.
Soc. Do not those then, who consult respecting things about to be, consult respecting things not in existence? Sis. Certainly.
Soc. It is not therefore possible for any person to hit the thing not in existence. For how does any one seem to you to be able to hit, what is not in existence?
Sis. Not at all.
Soc. Since then it is not possible to hit, what is not in existence, no one would be able to hit any thing1 of those not in existence by consulting. For things that are about to be belong to those not in existence. Is it not so?
Sis. So it seems at least to me.
Soc. He then, who does not hit things about to be, would be amongst men neither a good counsellor, nor a bad counsellor.
Sis. It seems he would not.
Soc. Nor is a person (said)2 to be either a better counsellor, or a worse counsellor, not even if he should be more successful or less successful in hitting, what is not in existence.
Sis. He is not.
Soc. Looking then to what circumstance men call certain persons by the name3 of good counsellors, or bad counsellors, is it not worthy, Sisyphus, to think again upon this matter?
Sis. (I say so).4
1 I have translated as if the Greek were av yk n, not hv iir— * As there is nothing on which itvai can depend, I suspect the author wrote oat \iytrai, not OiiSi ye—as I have translated.
3 To avoid the strange expression tiiroKakovoiv—tlvai, I have translated, as if the Greek were a7ro«raXo5<r<j'—dvo/iari—
4 The dialogue is generally thought to be imperfect; but it will be complete, if we suppose that fiipi has dropt out after Yiavipt—and so I have translated.
[1.] You are, Demodocus, requesting1 me to advise you on the matters about which you are come together to deliberate. But it has come into my mind to consider, what avails this meeting of yours, and the eagerness of those, who think to advise with you, and the vote, which each of you thinks of giving. For, in the first place, unless it be possible to advise correctly and skilfully on the points, respecting which ye are come to deliberate, how is it not ridiculous for you to come together to deliberate on points, respecting which it is not possible to advise correctly? And in the second place, if it be possible to advise correctly and skilfully upon matters of this kind, still the knowledge, by which it is possible to advise correctly on them, is none. How then is it not out of place? But if there be any knowledge, by which it is possible to advise correctly on such matters, is it not necessary that there should be certain persons skilled to advise correctly on matters of this kind? And if there are certain persons, skilled to advise on those points, about which you are come together to deliberate, is it not necessary for you likewise to know how to advise on these matters, or not to know? Or that some persons should know, and some not? If then all of you know, what need is there for you to come together to deliberate? for each of you is competent to advise. But if, on the other hand, all of you do not know, how will you be able to deliberate? Or what advantage would there be to you in this meeting together, if you are not able to deliberate? But if some of you know, and others do not know, but these are in want of counsel, whether it is possible for an intellectual person to advise
1 On this meaning of nKtiuv see Alcibiad. II. § n. 70.
the unskilled, even a single person is sufficient to advise with those of You, who do know. Or do not all, who know, advise the same thing? so that it is fitting, after you have heard that person, to separate. But now you do not this; but you wish to hear many giving their advice; for you do not take upon yourselves to know those, who are attempting to advise with you on points, on which they are advising. For if you had taken upon yourselves to know those, who were advising with you, it would have been sufficient for you to have heard one person alone. To come together then with the view of hearing those, who do not know, as if you were doing something of importance, how is it not a thing out of place? Respecting then this meeting of yours, I am in this way at a loss.
[2.] And that too is a thing of difficulty relating to the eagerness of those, who think they can advise with you. For if, while advising, they do not give the same advice upon the same points, how can they all advise correctly, when they do not advise what he, who advises correctly, would advise ?1 Or how can the eagerness of those, who are eager to advise on points, in which they are unskilled, not be out of place? for being skilled, they would not choose to advise incorrectly. But if, on the other hand, they advise the same, what need is there for them all to advise? for a single one' of them would, if advising the same, be sufficient. To be eager then on such matters, as would be of no importance, how is it not ridiculous? Neither then would the eagerness of the unskilled be not out of place, when it is of such a kind; nor would men of sense feel an eagerness on such matters, knowing that even one of them would do the same thing by advising what was fitting; so that I am unable to discover how the eagerness of those, who fancy they are advising, is not ridiculous.
[3.] But as regards the vote which you are thinking to give, I am the most at a loss, what it can avail. For whether are you giving a judgment upon those, who know how to advise? 2 But more persons will not advise at all any better
1 I have translated, as if the Greek were a av tvpfiovXtvoi— not a Zvn($ov\tvti.
*—* The Greek is at present a\\' oil irXt/ovec evoc Sv/ifiovXivoovtrai, obi's dWtog Kai oXXuie vtpi T6v ai/rov, which I cannot understand. I have therefore translated, as if it were originally a\\' ov Ti 7t\uov JtxeiOvis iv&g Kvpl3ov\iO(TOva' ih, ovi' fv aXXot aXXwc wfpi rov aiirov.
than one, nor some one way and others another correctly upon the same matter;2 so that respecting them there will be no need for you to give a vote. But are you giving a judgment 1 upon some, who are unskilled and who ought not to advise any persons ?1 Surely it is not fitting to intrust to such persons, a3 if they were madmen, to advise. But if you are to give a judgment upon neither the skilled nor the unskilled, upon whom are you to give it? But what need is there for other persons to advise with you at all, if you are competent to give a judgment upon such matters? But if on the other hand you are not competent, of what avail are your votes? Or how is it not ridiculous for you to come together, as if about to consult, when you yourselves are in want of advice, and are incompetent, and yet fancy that you ought to come together and give a vote, as if competent to form a judgment? For neither by being taken singly are you ignorant, and become sensible by being taken together; nor, on the other hand, are you at a loss individually, but by coming together are no longer at a loss. But do you become competent to see together what things are to be done by you? and this too, when you have neither learnt them from any one, nor discovered them yourselves; which is the most shocking thing of all. For being unable to see together, what is to be done, you will not be competent to give a judgment upon the party, who is advising you correctly upon these matters j 2nor, if a person, standing alone, as an adviser, should say this, that he himself will teach you what is to be done, is it in your power to form a correct judgment2 upon those, who are advising you correctly or not. Now this would be a state not less shocking than that. If then neither the meeting nor the (single) 3 adviser is able to make you competent to give a
1—1 In lieu of rai nig jii) M' Zvfi(3ov\ivovrac rpivtre, the sense seems to require, as I have translated, Kal, o8f Sil Zv/ifiovXtvuv riot, cpi'vtn—
'—* The Greek is at present oiS' av Tovto y ipiiilg £>v 6 Zvpfiov'Kti'mv i/uv Ovtos i/iag SiS&Keiv & irpaKTtov vjiiv iarl Kai tpivtiv—where I can discover neither sense nor syntax. Opportunely then do three MSS. offer £i£d£ci, which has led me to old' ti Tovto y tpu tig a»v 6 ZvpfiovXsvuv, Oti avrbc vfiag 8ida£ei, a irpaxTta iv vpXv Iffriv, iv Kpiveiv— what I have translated.
'For the sake of the antithesis I have translated as if the Groek were originally /i/jOEIXOSiju— not /«j0O2i'/u—
judgment, what need is there to you for voting? Or how is this meeting of yours not opposed to your votes, and the vote to the eagerness of those advising you? For this meeting of yours is that of persons not competent, but in need of advisers; while the votes are given as of persons not wanting advisers, but able to form a judgment, and to advise; and the eagerness of those advising you, is as of persons who know; but the votes are given by you, as if the persons advising did not know. Now if any one were to ask you, who have voted, and the person advising you, respecting the matters on which you have voted—do you know what will that be, for the sake of which you think of doing what you have voted? you would not, I think, be able to say. And even if that should take place, for the sake of which you have it in your thoughts to do every thing,1 do you know how it will benefit you? I think that neither you nor the party advising you would be able to tell this. But you conceive that some of those with intellect2 3 know somehow this. But if a person should ask you who is the party,3 I do not think you would agree on this point. When therefore both the things, about which you are consulting,4 are such as not to be manifest, and the persons likewise, who vote and advise, are unskilled, reasonably will you say that it often falls out that persons have no faith in, and repent of, those things, for which they have taken counsel and voted. Now such events it is not becoming to fall out to the sensible. For they know the things, about which they give advice, both of what kind they are, and that they exist firmly to the parties persuaded, for the sake of whom they give the advice, and that neither to themselves nor to the parties persuaded will there be a repentance for any thing senseless.5 On matters
1 In lieu of civ, omitted in two MSS., the author wrote, I suspect, irav, as I have translated. On the phrase wpdrmv irav and its frequent corruption see my note on .33sch. Eum. 995.
* I have translated, as if the Greek were Iwiav, not avmv. See my Poppo's Prolegom. p. 106.
*—3 The Greek is eiievai Ti roiruv; el rec— which I cannot understand; to say nothing of the want of connexion in the sentences. To meet both objections, I suspect the author wrote eidivai rt irov riva S A ric— what I have translated.
4 Correct Greek would require Zv/iPovXevioQe, not tZvii/SovXtvere—
5 From wtioBtlaiv airoie it is easy to elicit neiaBeXaiv dvov rivog— required by the sense, and to reject the repeated airoie, which it is impossible to understand.