Plato: The Republic:
Book 10 

THE MYTH of ER

Tr. Benjamin Jowett (New York: P. F. Collier & Son, 1901). TLG 59.030 Respublica cit Stephanus ser. Platonis opera, vol. 4, ed. J. Burnet (Clarendon Press, Oxford 1902, rpr. 1968) cit. Stephanus 612.b-621.d      .

THE MYTH;    HELL for the TYRANTS;   THE SPHERES and the FATES;    EACH SOUL MUST CHOOSE;
MEDITATION on the CHOICES  STRANGE CHOICES of HEROIC & FAMOUS;   CHOICES RATIFIED - FORGETFULNESS


Socrates

And now, Glaucon, there will be no harm in further enumerating how many and how great are the rewards which justice and the other virtues procure to the soul from gods and men, both in life and after death.

612.b  ¨ Αρ' οὐν,̈
ἦν δ' ἐγώ, ὦ Γλαύκων, νῦν ἤδη ἀνεπίφθονόν ἐστιν πρὸς ἐκείνοις
καὶ τοὺς μισθοὺς τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ τῇ 612.c ἄλλῃ ἀρετῇ ἀποδοῦναι, ὅσους τε καὶ οἵους τῇ ψυχῇ παρέχει παρ' ἀνθρώπων τε καὶ θεῶν, ζῶντός τε ἔτι τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ ἐπειδὰν τελευτήσῃ;

Certainly not, he said.

Παντάπασι μὲν οὖν, ἦ δ' ὅς.

Will you repay me, then, what you borrowed in the argument?

 Αρ' οὖν ἀποδώσετέ μοι ἃ ἐδανείσασθε ἐν τῷ λόγῳ;

What did I borrow?

Τί μάλιστα;

The assumption that the just man should appear unjust and the unjust just: for you were of opinion that even if the true state of the case could not possibly escape the eyes of gods and men, still this admission ought to be made for the sake of the argument, in order that pure justice might be weighed against pure injustice. Do you remember?

   Εδωκα ὑμῖν τὸν δίκαιον δοκεῖν ἄδικον εἶναι καὶ τὸν ἄδικον δίκαιον· ὑμεῖς γὰρ ᾐτεῖσθε, κἂν εἰ μὴ δυνατὸν εἴη ταῦτα λανθάνειν καὶ θεοὺς καὶ ἀνθρώπους, ὅμως δοτέον εἶναι τοῦ λόγου ἕνεκα, ἵνα αὐτὴ δικαιοσύνη πρὸς ἀδικίαν αὐτὴν 612.d κριθείη. ἢ οὐ μνημονεύεις;

I should be much to blame if I had forgotten.

̓Αδικοίην μεντἄν, ἔφη, εἰ μή.

Then, as the cause is decided, I demand on behalf of justice that the estimation in which she is held by gods and men and which we acknowledge to be her due should now be restored to her by us; since she has been shown to confer reality, and not to deceive those who truly possess her, let what has been taken from her be given back, that so she may win that palm of appearance which is hers also, and which she gives to her own.

 ̓Επειδὴ τοίνυν, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, κεκριμέναι εἰσί, πάλιν ἀπαιτῶ ὑπὲρ δικαιοσύνης, ὥσπερ ἔχει δόξης καὶ παρὰ θεῶν καὶ παρ' ἀνθρώπων, καὶ ἡμᾶς ὁμολογεῖν περὶ αὐτῆς δοκεῖσθαι οὕτω, ἵνα καὶ τὰ νικητήρια κομίσηται, ἀπὸ τοῦ δοκεῖν κτωμένη ἃ δίδωσι τοῖς ἔχουσιν αὐτήν, ἐπειδὴ καὶ τὰ ἀπὸ τοῦ εἶναι ἀγαθὰ διδοῦσα ἐφάνη καὶ οὐκ ἐξαπατῶσα τοὺς τῷ ὄντι λαμβάνοντας αὐτήν. 612.e

The demand, he said, is just.

Δίκαια, ἔφη, αἰτῇ.

In the first place, I said --and this is the first thing which you will have to give back --the nature both of the just and unjust is truly known to the gods.

Οὐκοῦν, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, πρῶτον μὲν τοῦτο ἀποδώσετε, ὅτι θεούς γε οὐ λανθάνει ἑκάτερος αὐτῶν οἷός ἐστιν;

Granted.

)Αποδώσομεν, ἔφη.

And if they are both known to them, one must be the friend and the other the enemy of the gods, as we admitted from the beginning?

Εἰ δὲ μὴ λανθάνετον, ὁ μὲν θεοφιλὴς ἂν εἴη, ὁ δὲ θεομισής, ὥσπερ καὶ κατ' ἀρχὰς ὡμολογοῦμεν.

True.

)/Εστι ταῦτα.

And the friend of the gods may be supposed to receive from them all things at their best, excepting only such evil as is the necessary consequence of former sins?

Τῷ δὲ θεοφιλεῖ οὐχ ὁμολογήσομεν, ὅσα γε ἀπὸ θεῶν 613.a γίγνεται, πάντα γίγνεσθαι ὡς οἷόν τε ἄριστα, εἰ μή τι ἀναγκαῖον αὐτῷ κακὸν ἐκ προτέρας ἁμαρτίας ὑπῆρχεν;

Certainly.

Πάνυ μὲν οὖν.

Then this must be our notion of the just man, that even when he is in poverty or sickness, or any other seeming misfortune, all things will in the end work together for good to him in life and death: for the gods have a care of any one whose desire is to become just and to be like God, as far as man can attain the divine likeness, by the pursuit of virtue?

Οὕτως ἄρα ὑποληπτέον περὶ τοῦ δικαίου ἀνδρός, ἐάντ' ἐν πενίᾳ γίγνηται ἐάντ' ἐν νόσοις ἤ τινι ἄλλῳ τῶν δοκούντων κακῶν, ὡς τούτῳ ταῦτα εἰς ἀγαθόν τι τελευτήσει ζῶντι ἢ καὶ ἀποθανόντι. οὐ γὰρ δὴ ὑπό γε θεῶν ποτε ἀμελεῖται ὃς ἂν προθυμεῖσθαι ἐθέλῃ δίκαιος γίγνεσθαι καὶ ἐπιτηδεύων 613.b ἀρετὴν εἰς ὅσον δυνατὸν ἀνθρώπῳ ὁμοιοῦσθαι θεῷ.

Yes, he said; if he is like God he will surely not be neglected by him.

Εἰκός γ', ἔφη, τὸν τοιοῦτον μὴ ἀμελεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τοῦ ὁμοίου.

And of the unjust may not the opposite be supposed?

Οὐκοῦν περὶ τοῦ ἀδίκου τἀναντία τούτων δεῖ διανοεῖσθαι;

Certainly.

Σφόδρα γε.

Such, then, are the palms of victory which the gods give the just?

Τὰ μὲν δὴ παρὰ θεῶν τοιαῦτ' ἄττ' ἂν εἴη νικητήρια τῷ δικαίῳ.

That is my conviction.

Κατὰ γοῦν ἐμὴν δόξαν, ἔφη.

And what do they receive of men? Look at things as they really are, and you will see that the clever unjust are in the case of runners, who run well from the starting-place to the goal but not back again from the goal: they go off at a great pace, but in the end only look foolish, slinking away with their ears draggling on their shoulders, and without a crown; but the true runner comes to the finish and receives the prize and is crowned. And this is the way with the just; he who endures to the end of every action and occasion of his entire life has a good report and carries off the prize which men have to bestow.

Τί δέ, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, παρ' ἀνθρώπων; ἆρ' οὐχ ὧδε ἔχει, εἰ δεῖ τὸ ὂν τιθέναι; οὐχ οἱ μὲν δεινοί τε καὶ ἄδικοι δρῶσιν ὅπερ οἱ δρομῆς ὅσοι ἂν θέωσιν εὖ ἀπὸ τῶν κάτω, ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν ἄνω μή; τὸ μὲν πρῶτον ὀξέως ἀποπηδῶσιν, τελευτῶντες 613.c δὲ καταγέλαστοι γίγνονται, τὰ ὦτα ἐπὶ τῶν ὤμων ἔχοντες καὶ ἀστεφάνωτοι ἀποτρέχοντες· οἱ δὲ τῇ ἀληθείᾳ δρομικοὶ εἰς τέλος ἐλθόντες τά τε ἆθλα λαμβάνουσιν καὶ στεφανοῦνται. οὐχ οὕτω καὶ περὶ τῶν δικαίων τὸ πολὺ συμβαίνει; πρὸς τὸ τέλος ἑκάστης πράξεως καὶ ὁμιλίας καὶ τοῦ βίου εὐδοκιμοῦσί τε καὶ τὰ ἆθλα παρὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων φέρονται;

True.

Καὶ μάλα.

And now you must allow me to repeat of the just the blessings which you were attributing to the fortunate unjust. I shall say of them, what you were saying of the others, that as they grow older, they become rulers in their own city if they care to be; they marry whom they like and give in marriage to whom they will; all that you said of the others I now say of these. And, on the other hand, of the unjust I say that the greater number, even though they escape in their youth, are found out at last and look foolish at the end of their course, and when they come to be old and miserable are flouted alike by stranger and citizen; they are beaten and then come those things unfit for ears polite, as you truly term them; they will be racked and have their eyes burned out, as you were saying. And you may suppose that I have repeated the remainder of your tale of horrors. But will you let me assume, without reciting them, that these things are true?

̓Ανέξῃ ἄρα λέγοντος ἐμοῦ περὶ τούτων ἅπερ αὐτὸς ἔλεγες 613.d περὶ τῶν ἀδίκων; ἐρῶ γὰρ δὴ ὅτι οἱ μὲν δίκαιοι, ἐπειδὰν πρεσβύτεροι γένωνται, ἐν τῇ αὑτῶν πόλει ἄρχουσί τε ἂν βούλωνται τὰς ἀρχάς, γαμοῦσί τε ὁπόθεν ἂν βούλωνται, ἐκδιδόασί τε εἰς οὓς ἂν ἐθέλωσι· καὶ πάντα ἃ σὺ περὶ ἐκείνων, ἐγὼ νῦν λέγω περὶ τῶνδε. καὶ αὖ καὶ περὶ τῶν ἀδίκων, ὅτι οἱ πολλοὶ αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐὰν νέοι ὄντες λάθωσιν, ἐπὶ τέλους τοῦ δρόμου αἱρεθέντες καταγέλαστοί εἰσιν καὶ γέροντες γιγνόμενοι ἄθλιοι προπηλακίζονται ὑπὸ ξένων τε 613.e καὶ ἀστῶν, μαστιγούμενοι καὶ ἃ ἄγροικα ἔφησθα σὺ εἶναι, ἀληθῆ λέγων–εἶτα στρεβλώσονται καὶ ἐκκαυθήσονται– πάντα ἐκεῖνα οἴου καὶ ἐμοῦ ἀκηκοέναι ὡς πάσχουσιν. ἀλλ' ὃ λέγω, ὅρα εἰ ἀνέξῃ.

Certainly, he said, what you say is true.

Καὶ πάνυ, ἔφη· δίκαια γὰρ λέγεις.

These, then, are the prizes and rewards and gifts which are bestowed upon the just by gods and men in this present life, in addition to the other good things which justice of herself provides.

Α μὲν τοίνυν, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, ζῶντι τῷ δικαίῳ παρὰ θεῶν τε 614.a καὶ ἀνθρώπων ἆθλά τε καὶ μισθοὶ καὶ δῶρα γίγνεται πρὸς ἐκείνοις τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς οἷς αὐτὴ παρείχετο ἡ δικαιοσύνη, τοιαῦτ' ἂν εἴη.

Yes, he said; and they are fair and lasting.

Καὶ μάλ', ἔφη, καλά τε καὶ βέβαια.

And yet, I said, all these are as nothing, either in number or greatness in comparison with those other recompenses which await both just and unjust after death. And you ought to hear them, and then both just and unjust will have received from us a full payment of the debt which the argument owes to them.

Ταῦτα τοίνυν, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, οὐδέν ἐστι πλήθει οὐδὲ μεγέθει πρὸς ἐκεῖνα ἃ τελευτήσαντα ἑκάτερον περιμένει· χρὴ δ' αὐτὰ ἀκοῦσαι, ἵνα τελέως ἑκάτερος αὐτῶν ἀπειλήφῃ τὰ ὑπὸ τοῦ λόγου ὀφειλόμενα ἀκοῦσαι. 614.b

Speak, he said; there are few things which I would more gladly hear.

Λέγοις ἄν, ἔφη, ὡς οὐ πολλὰ ἄλλ' ἥδιον ἀκούοντι.

 

The Myth of Er

 

Socrates

 

    Well, I said, I will tell you a tale; not one of the tales which Odysseus tells to the hero Alcinous, yet this too is a tale of a hero, Er the son of Armenius, a Pamphylian by birth. He was slain in battle, and ten days afterwards, when the bodies of the dead were taken up already in a state of corruption, his body was found unaffected by decay, and carried away home to be buried.

̓Αλλ' οὐ μέντοι σοι, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, Ἀλκίνου γε ἀπόλογον ἐρῶ, ἀλλ' ἀλκίμου μὲν ἀνδρός, Ἠρὸς τοῦ Ἀρμενίου, τὸ γένος Παμφύλου· ὅς ποτε ἐν πολέμῳ τελευτήσας, ἀναιρεθέντων δεκαταίων τῶν νεκρῶν ἤδη διεφθαρμένων, ὑγιὴς μὲν ἀνῃρέθη,
And on the twelfth day, as he was lying on the funeral pile, he returned to life and told them what he had seen in the other world. κομισθεὶς δ' οἴκαδε μέλλων θάπτεσθαι δωδεκαταῖος ἐπὶ τῇ πυρᾷ κείμενος ἀνεβίω, ἀναβιοὺς δ' ἔλεγεν ἃ ἐκεῖ ἴδοι.

He said that when his soul left the body he went on a journey with a great company, and that they came to a mysterious place at which there were two openings in the earth; they were near together, and over against them were two other openings in the heaven above.

ἔφη δέ, ἐπειδὴ οὗ ἐκβῆναι, τὴν ψυχὴν πορεύεσθαι 614.c μετὰ πολλῶν, καὶ ἀφικνεῖσθαι σφᾶς εἰς τόπον τινὰ δαιμόνιον, ἐν ᾧ τῆς τε γῆς δύ' εἶναι χάσματα ἐχομένω ἀλλήλοιν καὶ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ αὖ ἐν τῷ ἄνω ἄλλα καταντικρύ.

    In the intermediate space there were judges seated, who commanded the just, after they had given judgment on them and had bound their sentences in front of them, to ascend by the heavenly way on the right hand; and in like manner the unjust were bidden by them to descend by the lower way on the left hand; these also bore the symbols of their deeds, but fastened on their backs.

δικαστὰς δὲ μεταξὺ τούτων καθῆσθαι, οὕς, ἐπειδὴ διαδικάσειαν, τοὺς μὲν δικαίους κελεύειν πορεύεσθαι τὴν εἰς δεξιάν τε καὶ ἄνω διὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, σημεῖα περιάψαντας τῶν δεδικασμένων ἐν τῷ πρόσθεν, τοὺς δὲ ἀδίκους τὴν εἰς ἀριστεράν τε καὶ κάτω, ἔχοντας καὶ τούτους ἐν τῷ ὄπισθεν σημεῖα πάντων ὧν 614.d ἔπραξαν.

He drew near, and they told him that he was to be the messenger who would carry the report of the other world to men, and they bade him hear and see all that was to be heard and seen in that place.

ἑαυτοῦ δὲ προσελθόντος εἰπεῖν ὅτι δέοι αὐτὸν ἄγγελον ἀνθρώποις γενέσθαι τῶν ἐκεῖ καὶ διακελεύοιντό οἱ ἀκούειν τε καὶ θεᾶσθαι πάντα τὰ ἐν τῷ τόπῳ.

    Then he beheld and saw on one side the souls departing at either opening of heaven and earth when sentence had been given on them; and at the two other openings other souls, some ascending out of the earth dusty and worn with travel, some descending out of heaven clean and bright.

ὁρᾶν δὴ ταύτῃ μὲν καθ' ἑκάτερον τὸ χάσμα τοῦ οὐρανοῦ τε καὶ τῆς γῆς ἀπιούσας τὰς ψυχάς, ἐπειδὴ αὐταῖς δικασθείη, κατὰ δὲ τὼ ἑτέρω ἐκ μὲν τοῦ ἀνιέναι ἐκ τῆς γῆς μεστὰς αὐχμοῦ τε καὶ κόνεως, ἐκ δὲ τοῦ ἑτέρου καταβαίνειν ἑτέρας ἐκ τοῦ 614.e οὐρανοῦ καθαράς.

And arriving ever and anon they seemed to have come from a long journey, and they went forth with gladness into the meadow, where they encamped as at a festival; and those who knew one another embraced and conversed, the souls which came from earth curiously enquiring about the things above, and the souls which came from heaven about the things beneath.

καὶ τὰς ἀεὶ ἀφικνουμένας ὥσπερ ἐκ πολλῆς πορείας φαίνεσθαι ἥκειν, καὶ ἁσμένας εἰς τὸν λειμῶνα ἀπιούσας οἷον ἐν πανηγύρει κατασκηνᾶσθαι, καὶ ἀσπάζεσθαί τε ἀλλήλας ὅσαι γνώριμαι, καὶ πυνθάνεσθαι τάς τε ἐκ τῆς γῆς ἡκούσας παρὰ τῶν ἑτέρων τὰ ἐκεῖ καὶ τὰς ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ τὰ παρ' ἐκείναις.

    And they told one another of what had happened by the way, those from below weeping and sorrowing at the remembrance of the things which they had endured and seen in their journey beneath the earth (now the journey lasted a thousand years), while those from above were describing heavenly delights and visions of inconceivable beauty.

διηγεῖσθαι δὲ ἀλλήλαις τὰς 615.a μὲν ὀδυρομένας τε καὶ κλαούσας, ἀναμιμνῃσκομένας ὅσα τε καὶ οἷα πάθοιεν καὶ ἴδοιεν ἐν τῇ ὑπὸ γῆς πορείᾳ–εἶναι δὲ τὴν πορείαν χιλιέτη–τὰς δ' αὖ ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ εὐπαθείας διηγεῖσθαι καὶ θέας ἀμηχάνους τὸ κάλλος.

    The Story, Glaucon, would take too long to tell; but the sum was this: --He said that for every wrong which they had done to any one they suffered tenfold; or once in a hundred years --such being reckoned to be the length of man’s life, and the penalty being thus paid ten times in a thousand years.

τὰ μὲν οὖν πολλά, ὦ Γλαύκων, πολλοῦ χρόνου διηγήσασθαι· τὸ δ' οὖν κεφάλαιον ἔφη τόδε εἶναι, ὅσα πώποτέ τινα ἠδίκησαν καὶ ὅσους ἕκαστοι, ὑπὲρ ἁπάντων δίκην δεδωκέναι ἐν μέρει, ὑπὲρ ἑκάστου δεκάκις – τοῦτο δ' εἶναι κατὰ ἑκατονταετηρίδα 615.b ἑκάστην, ὡς βίου ὄντος τοσούτου τοῦ ἀνθρωπίνου – ἵνα δεκαπλάσιον τὸ ἔκτεισμα τοῦ ἀδικήματος ἐκτίνοιεν,

     If, for example, there were any who had been the cause of many deaths, or had betrayed or enslaved cities or armies, or been guilty of any other evil behaviour, for each and all of their offences they received punishment ten times over, and the rewards of beneficence and justice and holiness were in the same proportion.

καὶ οἷον εἴ τινες πολλοῖς θανάτων ἦσαν αἴτιοι, ἢ πόλεις προδόντες ἢ στρατόπεδα, καὶ εἰς δουλείας ἐμβεβληκότες ἤ τινος ἄλλης κακουχίας μεταίτιοι, πάντων τούτων δεκαπλασίας ἀλγηδόνας ὑπὲρ ἑκάστου κομίσαιντο, καὶ αὖ εἴ τινας εὐεργεσίας εὐεργετηκότες καὶ δίκαιοι καὶ ὅσιοι γεγονότες εἶεν, κατὰ ταὐτὰ 615.c τὴν ἀξίαν κομίζοιντο.

I need hardly repeat what he said concerning young children dying almost as soon as they were born. Of piety and impiety to gods and parents, and of murderers, there were retributions other and greater far which he described.

τῶν δὲ εὐθὺς γενομένων καὶ ὀλίγον χρόνον βιούντων πέρι ἄλλα ἔλεγεν οὐκ ἄξια μνήμης.

 εἰς δὲ θεοὺς ἀσεβείας τε καὶ εὐσεβείας καὶ γονέας καὶ αὐτόχειρος φόνου μείζους ἔτι τοὺς μισθοὺς διηγεῖτο.

 

 HELL for the TYRANTS

 

    He mentioned that he was present when one of the spirits asked another,

Εφη γὰρ δὴ παραγενέσθαι ἐρωτωμένῳ ἑτέρῳ ὑπὸ ἑτέρου

    ‘Where is Ardiaeus the Great?’

ὅπου εἴη Ἀρδιαῖος ὁ μέγας.

(Now this Ardiaeus lived a thousand years before the time of Er: he had been the tyrant of some city of Pamphylia, and had murdered his aged father and his elder brother, and was said to have committed many other abominable crimes.) The answer of the other spirit was: ‘He comes not hither and will never come.’

ὁ δὲ Ἀρδιαῖος οὗτος τῆς  Παμφυλίας ἔν τινι πόλει τύραννος ἐγεγόνει, ἤδη χιλιοστὸν ἔτος εἰς ἐκεῖνον τὸν χρόνον, γέροντά τε πατέρα ἀποκτείνας 615.d καὶ πρεσβύτερον ἀδελφόν, καὶ ἄλλα δὴ πολλά τε καὶ ἀνόσια εἰργασμένος, ὡς ἐλέγετο. ἔφη οὖν τὸν ἐρωτώμενον εἰπεῖν, "Οὐχ ἥκει," φάναι, "οὐδ' ἂν ἥξει δεῦρο.

 ‘And this,’ said he, ‘was one of the dreadful sights which we ourselves witnessed. We were at the mouth of the cavern, and, having completed all our experiences, were about to reascend, when of a sudden Ardiaeus appeared and several others, most of whom were tyrants; and there were also besides the tyrants private individuals who had been great criminals:

ἐθεασάμεθα γὰρ οὖν δὴ καὶ τοῦτο τῶν δεινῶν θεαμάτων· ἐπειδὴ ἐγγὺς τοῦ στομίου ἦμεν μέλλοντες ἀνιέναι καὶ τἆλλα πάντα πεπονθότες, ἐκεῖνόν τε κατείδομεν ἐξαίφνης καὶ ἄλλους– σχεδόν τι αὐτῶν τοὺς πλείστους τυράννους· ἦσαν δὲ καὶ ἰδιῶταί τινες τῶν 615.e μεγάλα ἡμαρτηκότων –

they were just, as they fancied, about to return into the upper world, but the mouth, instead of admitting them, gave a roar, whenever any of these incurable sinners or some one who had not been sufficiently punished tried to ascend; and then wild men of fiery aspect, who were standing by and heard the sound, seized and carried them off; and Ardiaeus and others they bound head and foot and hand, and threw them down and flayed them with scourges, and dragged them along the road at the side, carding them on thorns like wool, and declaring to the passers-by what were their crimes, and that they were being taken away to be cast into hell.’

οὓς οἰομένους ἤδη ἀναβήσεσθαι οὐκ ἐδέχετο τὸ στόμιον, ἀλλ' ἐμυκᾶτο ὁπότε τις τῶν οὕτως ἀνιάτως ἐχόντων εἰς πονηρίαν ἢ μὴ ἱκανῶς δεδωκὼς δίκην ἐπιχειροῖ ἀνιέναι. ἐνταῦθα δὴ ἄνδρες, ἔφη, ἄγριοι, διάπυροι ἰδεῖν, παρεστῶτες καὶ καταμανθάνοντες τὸ φθέγμα, τοὺς μὲν διαλαβόντες ἦγον, τὸν δὲ Ἀρδιαῖον καὶ ἄλλους συμποδί 616.a σαντες χεῖράς τε καὶ πόδας καὶ κεφαλήν, καταβαλόντες καὶ ἐκδείραντες, εἷλκον παρὰ τὴν ὁδὸν ἐκτὸς ἐπ' ἀσπαλάθων κνάμπτοντες, καὶ τοῖς ἀεὶ παριοῦσι σημαίνοντες ὧν ἕνεκά τε καὶ ὅτι εἰς τὸν Τάρταρον ἐμπεσούμενοι ἄγοιντο."

    And of all the many terrors which they had endured, he said that there was none like the terror which each of them felt at that moment, lest they should hear the voice; and when there was silence, one by one they ascended with exceeding joy.

ἔνθα δὴ φόβων, ἔφη, πολλῶν καὶ παντοδαπῶν σφίσι γεγονότων, τοῦτον ὑπερβάλλειν, μὴ γένοιτο ἑκάστῳ τὸ φθέγμα ὅτε ἀναβαίνοι, καὶ ἁσμενέστατα ἕκαστον σιγήσαντος ἀναβῆναι.

    These, said Er, were the penalties and retributions, and there were blessings as great.

καὶ τὰς μὲν δὴ δίκας τε καὶ τιμωρίας τοιαύτας τινὰς 616.b εἶναι, καὶ αὖ τὰς εὐεργεσίας ταύταις ἀντιστρόφους.

 

THE SPHERES and THE FATES

 

 

 

    Now when the spirits which were in the meadow had tarried seven days, on the eighth they were obliged to proceed on their journey, and, on the fourth day after, he said that they came to a place where they could see from above a line of light, straight as a column, extending right through the whole heaven and through the earth, in colour resembling the rainbow, only brighter and purer;

ἐπειδὴ δὲ τοῖς ἐν τῷ λειμῶνι ἑκάστοις ἑπτὰ ἡμέραι γένοιντο, ἀναστάντας ἐντεῦθεν δεῖν τῇ ὀγδόῃ πορεύεσθαι, καὶ ἀφικνεῖσθαι τεταρταίους ὅθεν καθορᾶν ἄνωθεν διὰ παντὸς τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς τεταμένον φῶς εὐθύ, οἷον κίονα, μάλιστα τῇ ἴριδι προσφερῆ, λαμπρότερον δὲ καὶ καθαρώτερον·
 

another day’s journey brought them to the place, and there, in the midst of the light, they saw the ends of the chains of heaven let down from above:

εἰς ὃ ἀφικέσθαι προελθόντες ἡμερησίαν ὁδόν, καὶ ἰδεῖν αὐτόθι κατὰ 616.c μέσον τὸ φῶς ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ τὰ ἄκρα αὐτοῦ τῶν δεσμῶν τεταμένα –

for this light is the belt of heaven, and holds together the circle of the universe, like the under-girders of a trireme.

εἶναι γὰρ τοῦτο τὸ φῶς σύνδεσμον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, οἷον τὰ ὑποζώματα τῶν τριήρων, οὕτω πᾶσαν συνέχον τὴν περιφοράν –

From these ends is extended the spindle of Necessity, on which all the revolutions turn. The shaft and hook of this spindle are made of steel, and the whorl is made partly of steel and also partly of other materials.

ἐκ δὲ τῶν ἄκρων τεταμένον Ἀνάγκης ἄτρακτον, δι' οὗ πάσας ἐπιστρέφεσθαι τὰς περιφοράς· οὗ τὴν μὲν ἠλακάτην τε καὶ τὸ ἄγκιστρον εἶναι ἐξ ἀδάμαντος, τὸν δὲ σφόνδυλον μεικτὸν ἔκ τε τούτου καὶ ἄλλων γενῶν.

Now the whorl is in form like the whorl used on earth; and the description of it implied that there is one large hollow whorl which is quite scooped out,

τὴν δὲ 616.d τοῦ σφονδύλου φύσιν εἶναι τοιάνδε· τὸ μὲν σχῆμα οἵαπερ ἡ τοῦ ἐνθάδε, νοῆσαι δὲ δεῖ ἐξ ὧν ἔλεγεν τοιόνδε αὐτὸν εἶναι, ὥσπερ ἂν εἰ ἐν ἑνὶ μεγάλῳ σφονδύλῳ κοίλῳ

and into this is fitted another lesser one, and another, and another, and four others,

καὶ ἐξεγλυμμένῳ διαμπερὲς ἄλλος τοιοῦτος ἐλάττων ἐγκέοιτο ἁρμόττων, καθάπερ οἱ κάδοι οἱ εἰς ἀλλήλους ἁρμόττοντες, καὶ οὕτω δὴ τρίτον ἄλλον καὶ τέταρτον καὶ ἄλλους τέτταρας.

making eight in all, like vessels which fit into one another; the whorls show their edges on the upper side, and on their lower side all together form one continuous whorl. This is pierced by the spindle, which is driven home through the centre of the eighth.

ὀκτὼ γὰρ εἶναι τοὺς σύμπαντας σφονδύλους, ἐν ἀλλήλοις ἐγκειμένους, 616.e κύκλους ἄνωθεν τὰ χείλη φαίνοντας, νῶτον συνεχὲς ἑνὸς σφονδύλου ἀπεργαζομένους περὶ τὴν ἠλακάτην· ἐκείνην δὲ διὰ μέσου τοῦ ὀγδόου διαμπερὲς ἐληλάσθαι.

    The first and outermost whorl has the rim broadest, and the seven inner whorls are narrower, in the following proportions --the sixth is next to the first in size, the fourth next to the sixth; then comes the eighth; the seventh is fifth, the fifth is sixth, the third is seventh, last and eighth comes the second.

τὸν μὲν οὖν πρῶτόν τε καὶ ἐξωτάτω σφόνδυλον πλατύτατον τὸν τοῦ χείλους κύκλον ἔχειν, τὸν δὲ τοῦ ἕκτου δεύτερον, τρίτον δὲ τὸν τοῦ τετάρτου, τέταρτον δὲ τὸν τοῦ ὀγδόου, πέμπτον δὲ τὸν τοῦ ἑβδόμου, ἕκτον δὲ τὸν τοῦ πέμπτου, ἕβδομον δὲ τὸν τοῦ τρίτου, ὄγδοον δὲ τὸν τοῦ δευτέρου.

    The largest (of fixed stars) is spangled, and the seventh (or sun) is brightest; the eighth (or moon) coloured by the reflected light of the seventh; the second and fifth (Saturn and Mercury) are in colour like one another, and yellower than the preceding; the third (Venus) has the whitest light; the fourth (Mars) is reddish; the sixth (Jupiter) is in whiteness second.

καὶ τὸν μὲν τοῦ μεγίστου ποικίλον, τὸν δὲ τοῦ ἑβδόμου λαμπρότατον, τὸν δὲ 617.a τοῦ ὀγδόου τὸ χρῶμα ἀπὸ τοῦ ἑβδόμου ἔχειν προσλάμποντος, τὸν δὲ τοῦ δευτέρου καὶ πέμπτου παραπλήσια ἀλλήλοις, ξανθότερα ἐκείνων, τρίτον δὲ λευκότατον χρῶμα ἔχειν, τέταρτον δὲ ὑπέρυθρον, δεύτερον δὲ λευκότητι τὸν ἕκτον.

    Now the whole spindle has the same motion; but, as the whole revolves in one direction, the seven inner circles move slowly in the other, and of these the swiftest is the eighth; next in swiftness are the seventh, sixth, and fifth, which move together; third in swiftness appeared to move according to the law of this reversed motion the fourth; the third appeared fourth and the second fifth.

κυκλεῖσθαι δὲ δὴ στρεφόμενον τὸν ἄτρακτον ὅλον μὲν τὴν αὐτὴν φοράν, ἐν δὲ τῷ ὅλῳ περιφερομένῳ τοὺς μὲν ἐντὸς ἑπτὰ κύκλους τὴν ἐναντίαν τῷ ὅλῳ ἠρέμα περιφέρεσθαι, αὐτῶν δὲ τούτων τάχιστα μὲν ἰέναι τὸν ὄγδοον, δευτέρους δὲ καὶ ἅμα 617.b ἀλλήλοις τόν τε ἕβδομον καὶ ἕκτον καὶ πέμπτον· [τὸν] τρίτον δὲ φορᾷ ἰέναι, ὡς σφίσι φαίνεσθαι, ἐπανακυκλούμενον τὸν τέταρτον, τέταρτον δὲ τὸν τρίτον καὶ πέμπτον τὸν δεύτερον.

    The spindle turns on the knees of Necessity;

στρέφεσθαι δὲ αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς τῆς Ἀνάγκης γόνασιν.

and on the upper surface of each circle is a siren, who goes round with them, hymning a single tone or note.

ἐπὶ δὲ τῶν κύκλων αὐτοῦ ἄνωθεν ἐφ' ἑκάστου βεβηκέναι Σειρῆνα συμπεριφερομένην, φωνὴν μίαν ἱεῖσαν, ἕνα τόνον·

The eight together form one harmony; and round about, at equal intervals, there is another band, three in number, each sitting upon her throne: these are the Fates, daughters of Necessity, who are clothed in white robes and have chaplets upon their heads, Lachesis and Clotho and Atropos, who accompany with their voices the harmony of the sirens

ἐκ πασῶν δὲ ὀκτὼ οὐσῶν μίαν ἁρμονίαν συμφωνεῖν. ἄλλας δὲ καθη 617.c μένας πέριξ δι' ἴσου τρεῖς, ἐν θρόνῳ ἑκάστην, θυγατέρας τῆς Ἀνάγκης, Μοίρας, λευχειμονούσας, στέμματα ἐπὶ τῶν κεφαλῶν ἐχούσας, Λάχεσίν τε καὶ Κλωθὼ καὶ Ἄτροπον, ὑμνεῖν πρὸς τὴν τῶν Σειρήνων ἁρμονίαν,

--Lachesis singing of the past, Clotho of the present, Atropos of the future; Clotho from time to time assisting with a touch of her right hand the revolution of the outer circle of the whorl or spindle, and Atropos with her left hand touching and guiding the inner ones,

Λάχεσιν μὲν τὰ γεγονότα,  Κλωθὼ δὲ τὰ ὄντα, Ἄτροπον δὲ τὰ μέλλοντα. καὶ τὴν μὲν  Κλωθὼ τῇ δεξιᾷ χειρὶ ἐφαπτομένην συνεπιστρέφειν τοῦ ἀτράκτου τὴν ἔξω περιφοράν, διαλείπουσαν χρόνον, τὴν δὲ Ἄτροπον τῇ ἀριστερᾷ τὰς ἐντὸς αὖ ὡσαύτως·

and Lachesis laying hold of either in turn, first with one hand and then with the other.

τὴν δὲ Λάχεσιν 617.d ἐν μέρει ἑκατέρας ἑκατέρᾳ τῇ χειρὶ ἐφάπτεσθαι. σφᾶς οὖν,

 

EACH SOUL MUST CHOOSE

 

    When Er and the spirits arrived, their duty was to go at once to Lachesis; but first of all there came a prophet who arranged them in order; then he took from the knees of Lachesis lots and samples of lives, and having mounted a high pulpit, spoke as follows:

ἐπειδὴ ἀφικέσθαι, εὐθὺς δεῖν ἰέναι πρὸς τὴν Λάχεσιν. προφήτην οὖν τινα σφᾶς πρῶτον μὲν ἐν τάξει διαστῆσαι, ἔπειτα λαβόντα ἐκ τῶν τῆς Λαχέσεως γονάτων κλήρους τε καὶ βίων παραδείγματα, ἀναβάντα ἐπί τι βῆμα ὑψηλὸν εἰπεῖν–

      ‘Hear the word of Lachesis, the daughter of Necessity. Mortal souls, behold a new cycle of life and mortality. Your genius (daimōn) will not be allotted to you, but you choose your genius (daimōn); and let him who draws the first lot have the first choice, and the life which he chooses shall be his destiny. Virtue is free (adespotōn), and as a man honours or dishonours her he will have more or less of her; the responsibility is with the chooser - God is justified.’

"Ἀνάγκης θυγατρὸς κόρης Λαχέσεως λόγος. Ψυχαὶ ἐφήμεροι, ἀρχὴ ἄλλης περιόδου θνητοῦ γένους θανατηφόρου. 617.e οὐχ ὑμᾶς δαίμων λήξεται, ἀλλ' ὑμεῖς δαίμονα αἱρήσεσθε. πρῶτος δ' ὁ λαχὼν πρῶτος αἱρείσθω βίον ᾧ συνέσται ἐξ ἀνάγκης. ἀρετὴ δὲ ἀδέσποτον, ἣν τιμῶν καὶ ἀτιμάζων πλέον καὶ ἔλαττον αὐτῆς ἕκαστος ἕξει. αἰτία ἑλομένου· θεὸς ἀναίτιος."

     When the Interpreter had thus spoken he scattered lots indifferently among them all, and each of them took up the lot which fell near him, all but Er himself (he was not allowed), and each as he took his lot perceived the number which he had obtained.

Ταῦτα εἰπόντα ῥῖψαι ἐπὶ πάντας τοὺς κλήρους, τὸν δὲ παρ' αὑτὸν πεσόντα ἕκαστον ἀναιρεῖσθαι πλὴν οὗ, ἓ δὲ οὐκ ἐᾶν· τῷ δὲ ἀνελομένῳ δῆλον εἶναι ὁπόστος εἰλή618.a χει.

Then the Interpreter placed on the ground before them the samples of lives; and there were many more lives than the souls present, and they were of all sorts.

μετὰ δὲ τοῦτο αὖθις τὰ τῶν βίων παραδείγματα εἰς τὸ πρόσθεν σφῶν θεῖναι ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν, πολὺ πλείω τῶν παρόντων. εἶναι δὲ παντοδαπά·

     There were lives of every animal and of man in every condition. And there were tyrannies among them, some lasting out the tyrant’s life, others which broke off in the middle and came to an end in poverty and exile and beggary;

ζῴων τε γὰρ πάντων βίους καὶ δὴ καὶ τοὺς ἀνθρωπίνους ἅπαντας. τυραννίδας τε γὰρ ἐν αὐτοῖς εἶναι, τὰς μὲν διατελεῖς, τὰς δὲ καὶ μεταξὺ διαφθειρομένας καὶ εἰς πενίας τε καὶ φυγὰς καὶ εἰς πτωχείας τελευτώσας·

and there were lives of famous men, some who were famous for their form and beauty as well as for their strength and success in games, or, again, for their birth and the qualities of their ancestors; and some who were the reverse of famous for the opposite qualities.

εἶναι δὲ καὶ δοκίμων ἀνδρῶν βίους, τοὺς μὲν ἐπὶ εἴδεσιν καὶ κατὰ κάλλη καὶ τὴν ἄλλην ἰσχύν 618.b τε καὶ ἀγωνίαν, τοὺς δ' ἐπὶ γένεσιν καὶ προγόνων ἀρεταῖς, καὶ ἀδοκίμων κατὰ ταῦτα,

And of women likewise; there was not, however, any definite character there, because the soul, when choosing a new life, must of necessity become different. But there was every other quality, and the all mingled with one another, and also with elements of wealth and poverty, and disease and health; and there were mean states also.

ὡσαύτως δὲ καὶ γυναικῶν. ψυχῆς δὲ τάξιν οὐκ ἐνεῖναι διὰ τὸ ἀναγκαίως ἔχειν ἄλλον ἑλομένην βίον ἀλλοίαν γίγνεσθαι· τὰ δ' ἄλλα ἀλλήλοις τε καὶ πλούτοις καὶ πενίαις, τὰ δὲ νόσοις, τὰ δ' ὑγιείαις μεμεῖχθαι, τὰ δὲ καὶ μεσοῦν τούτων.

 

MEDITATION on the CHOICES

 

    And here, my dear Glaucon, is the supreme peril of our human state; and therefore the utmost care should be taken. Let each one of us leave every other kind of knowledge and seek and follow one thing only, if peradventure he may be able to learn and may find some one who will make him able to learn and discern between good and evil, and so to choose always and everywhere the better life as he has opportunity.

ἔνθα δή, ὡς ἔοικεν, ὦ φίλε Γλαύκων, ὁ πᾶς κίνδυνος ἀνθρώπῳ, καὶ διὰ ταῦτα μάλιστα 618.c ἐπιμελητέον ὅπως ἕκαστος ἡμῶν τῶν ἄλλων μαθημάτων ἀμελήσας τούτου τοῦ μαθήματος καὶ ζητητὴς καὶ μαθητὴς ἔσται, ἐάν ποθεν οἷός τ' ᾖ μαθεῖν καὶ ἐξευρεῖν τίς αὐτὸν ποιήσει δυνατὸν καὶ ἐπιστήμονα, βίον καὶ χρηστὸν καὶ πονηρὸν διαγιγνώσκοντα, τὸν βελτίω ἐκ τῶν δυνατῶν ἀεὶ πανταχοῦ αἱρεῖσθαι·

    He should consider the bearing of all these things which have been mentioned severally and collectively upon virtue; he should know what the effect of beauty is when combined with poverty or wealth in a particular soul,

ἀναλογιζόμενον πάντα τὰ νυνδὴ ῥηθέντα καὶ συντιθέμενα ἀλλήλοις καὶ διαιρούμενα πρὸς ἀρετὴν βίου πῶς ἔχει, εἰδέναι τί κάλλος πενίᾳ ἢ πλούτῳ κραθὲν καὶ 618.d μετὰ ποίας τινὸς ψυχῆς ἕξεως κακὸν ἢ ἀγαθὸν ἐργάζεται,

and what are the good and evil consequences of noble and humble birth, of private and public station, of strength and weakness, of cleverness and dullness, and of all the soul, and the operation of them when conjoined;

καὶ τί εὐγένειαι καὶ δυσγένειαι καὶ ἰδιωτεῖαι καὶ ἀρχαὶ καὶ ἰσχύες καὶ ἀσθένειαι καὶ εὐμαθίαι καὶ δυσμαθίαι καὶ πάντα τὰ τοιαῦτα τῶν φύσει περὶ ψυχὴν ὄντων καὶ τῶν ἐπικτήτων τί συγκεραννύμενα πρὸς ἄλληλα ἐργάζεται, ὥστε ἐξ ἁπάντων αὐτῶν δυνατὸν εἶναι συλλογισάμενον αἱρεῖσθαι,

he will then look at the nature of the soul, and from the consideration of all these qualities he will be able to determine which is the better and which is the worse; and so he will choose, giving the name of evil to the life which will make his soul more unjust, and good to the life which will make his soul more just; all else he will disregard. For we have seen and know that this is the best choice both in life and after death.

πρὸς τὴν τῆς ψυχῆς φύσιν ἀποβλέποντα, τόν τε χείρω καὶ τὸν ἀμείνω 618.e βίον, χείρω μὲν καλοῦντα ὃς αὐτὴν ἐκεῖσε ἄξει, εἰς τὸ ἀδικωτέραν γίγνεσθαι, ἀμείνω δὲ ὅστις εἰς τὸ δικαιοτέραν. τὰ δὲ ἄλλα πάντα χαίρειν ἐάσει· ἑωράκαμεν γὰρ ὅτι ζῶντί τε καὶ τελευτήσαντι αὕτη κρατίστη αἵρεσις.

    A man must take with him into the world below an adamantine faith in truth and right, that there too he may be undazzled by the desire of wealth or the other allurements of evil, lest, coming upon tyrannies and similar villainies, he do irremediable wrongs to others and suffer yet worse himself;

ἀδαμαντίνως δὴ 619.a δεῖ ταύτην τὴν δόξαν ἔχοντα εἰς Ἅιδου ἰέναι, ὅπως ἂν ᾖ καὶ ἐκεῖ ἀνέκπληκτος ὑπὸ πλούτων τε καὶ τῶν τοιούτων κακῶν, καὶ μὴ ἐμπεσὼν εἰς τυραννίδας καὶ ἄλλας τοιαύτας πράξεις πολλὰ μὲν ἐργάσηται καὶ ἀνήκεστα κακά, ἔτι δὲ αὐτὸς μείζω πάθῃ,

but let him know how to choose the mean and avoid the extremes on either side, as far as possible, not only in this life but in all that which is to come. For this is the way of happiness.

ἀλλὰ γνῷ τὸν μέσον ἀεὶ τῶν τοιούτων βίον αἱρεῖσθαι καὶ φεύγειν τὰ ὑπερβάλλοντα ἑκατέρωσε καὶ ἐν τῷδε τῷ βίῳ κατὰ τὸ δυνατὸν καὶ ἐν παντὶ τῷ ἔπειτα· οὕτω γὰρ 619.b εὐδαιμονέστατος γίγνεται ἄνθρωπος.

    And according to the report of the messenger from the other world this was what the prophet said at the time: ‘Even for the last comer, if he chooses wisely and will live diligently, there is appointed a happy and not undesirable existence. Let not him who chooses first be careless, and let not the last despair.’

Καὶ δὴ οὖν καὶ τότε ὁ ἐκεῖθεν ἄγγελος ἤγγελλε τὸν μὲν προφήτην οὕτως εἰπεῖν· "Καὶ τελευταίῳ ἐπιόντι, ξὺν νῷ ἑλομένῳ, συντόνως ζῶντι κεῖται βίος ἀγαπητός, οὐ  κακός. μήτε ὁ ἄρχων αἱρέσεως ἀμελείτω μήτε ὁ τελευτῶν ἀθυμείτω."

 

    And when he had spoken, he who had the first choice came forward and in a moment chose the greatest tyranny; his mind having been darkened by folly and sensuality, he had not thought out the whole matter before he chose, and did not at first sight perceive that he was fated, among other evils, to devour his own children.

Εἰπόντος δὲ ταῦτα τὸν πρῶτον λαχόντα ἔφη εὐθὺς ἐπιόντα τὴν μεγίστην τυραννίδα ἑλέσθαι, καὶ ὑπὸ ἀφροσύνης τε καὶ λαιμαργίας οὐ πάντα ἱκανῶς ἀνασκεψάμενον ἑλέσθαι, ἀλλ' 619.c αὐτὸν λαθεῖν ἐνοῦσαν εἱμαρμένην παίδων αὑτοῦ βρώσεις καὶ ἄλλα κακά·

    But when he had time to reflect, and saw what was in the lot, he began to beat his breast and lament over his choice, forgetting the proclamation of the prophet;

ἐπειδὴ δὲ κατὰ σχολὴν σκέψασθαι, κόπτεσθαί τε καὶ ὀδύρεσθαι τὴν αἵρεσιν, οὐκ ἐμμένοντα τοῖς προρρηθεῖσιν ὑπὸ τοῦ προφήτου·

for, instead of throwing the blame of his misfortune on himself, he accused chance and the gods, and everything rather than himself. Now he was one of those who came from heaven, and in a former life had dwelt in a well-ordered State, but his virtue was a matter of habit only, and he had no philosophy.

οὐ γὰρ ἑαυτὸν αἰτιᾶσθαι τῶν κακῶν, ἀλλὰ τύχην τε καὶ δαίμονας καὶ πάντα μᾶλλον ἀνθ' ἑαυτοῦ. εἶναι δὲ αὐτὸν τῶν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἡκόντων, ἐν τεταγμένῃ πολιτείᾳ ἐν τῷ προτέρῳ βίῳ βεβιωκότα, ἔθει 619.d ἄνευ φιλοσοφίας ἀρετῆς μετειληφότα.

    And it was true of others who were similarly overtaken, that the greater number of them came from heaven and therefore they had never been schooled by trial,

ὡς δὲ καὶ εἰπεῖν, οὐκ ἐλάττους εἶναι ἐν τοῖς τοιούτοις ἁλισκομένους τοὺς ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἥκοντας, ἅτε πόνων ἀγυμνάστους·

whereas the pilgrims who came from earth, having themselves suffered and seen others suffer, were not in a hurry to choose. And owing to this inexperience of theirs, and also because the lot was a chance, many of the souls exchanged a good destiny for an evil or an evil for a good.

τῶν δ' ἐκ τῆς γῆς τοὺς πολλούς, ἅτε αὐτούς τε πεπονηκότας ἄλλους τε ἑωρακότας, οὐκ ἐξ ἐπιδρομῆς τὰς αἱρέσεις ποιεῖσθαι. διὸ δὴ καὶ μεταβολὴν τῶν κακῶν καὶ τῶν ἀγαθῶν ταῖς πολλαῖς τῶν ψυχῶν γίγνεσθαι καὶ διὰ τὴν τοῦ κλήρου τύχην·

For if a man had always on his arrival in this world dedicated himself from the first to sound philosophy, and had been moderately fortunate in the number of the lot, he might, as the messenger reported, be happy here, and also his journey to another life and return to this, instead of being rough and underground, would be smooth and heavenly.

ἐπεὶ εἴ τις ἀεί, ὁπότε εἰς τὸν ἐνθάδε βίον ἀφικνοῖτο, ὑγιῶς φιλοσοφοῖ 619.e καὶ ὁ κλῆρος αὐτῷ τῆς αἱρέσεως μὴ ἐν τελευταίοις πίπτοι, κινδυνεύει ἐκ τῶν ἐκεῖθεν ἀπαγγελλομένων οὐ μόνον ἐνθάδε εὐδαιμονεῖν ἄν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὴν ἐνθένδε ἐκεῖσε καὶ δεῦρο πάλιν πορείαν οὐκ ἂν χθονίαν καὶ τραχεῖαν πορεύεσθαι, ἀλλὰ λείαν τε καὶ οὐρανίαν.

 

STRANGE CHOICES of the HEROIC and FAMOUS

 

 

 

    Most curious, he said, was the spectacle - - sad and laughable and strange; for the choice of the souls was in most cases based on their experience of a previous life. There he saw the soul which had once been Orpheus choosing the life of a swan out of enmity to the race of women, hating to be born of a woman because they had been his murderers;

Ταύτην γὰρ δὴ ἔφη τὴν θέαν ἀξίαν εἶναι ἰδεῖν, ὡς ἕκασται 620.a αἱ ψυχαὶ ᾑροῦντο τοὺς βίους· ἐλεινήν τε γὰρ ἰδεῖν εἶναι καὶ γελοίαν καὶ θαυμασίαν. κατὰ συνήθειαν γὰρ τοῦ προτέρου βίου τὰ πολλὰ αἱρεῖσθαι. ἰδεῖν μὲν γὰρ ψυχὴν ἔφη τήν ποτε Ὀρφέως γενομένην κύκνου βίον αἱρουμένην, μίσει τοῦ γυναικείου γένους διὰ τὸν ὑπ' ἐκείνων θάνατον οὐκ ἐθέλουσαν ἐν γυναικὶ γεννηθεῖσαν γενέσθαι·

he beheld also the soul of Thamyras choosing the life of a nightingale; birds, on the other hand, like the swan and other musicians, wanting to be men. The soul which obtained the twentieth lot chose the life of a lion, and this was the soul of Ajax the son of Telamon, who would not be a man, remembering the injustice which was done him the judgment about the arms.

ἰδεῖν δὲ τὴν Θαμύρου  ἀηδόνος ἑλομένην· ἰδεῖν δὲ καὶ κύκνον μεταβάλλοντα εἰς ἀνθρωπίνου βίου αἵρεσιν, καὶ ἄλλα ζῷα μουσικὰ ὡσαύτως. 620.b εἰκοστὴν δὲ λαχοῦσαν ψυχὴν ἑλέσθαι λέοντος βίον· εἶναι δὲ τὴν Αἴαντος τοῦ Τελαμωνίου, φεύγουσαν ἄνθρωπον γενέσθαι, μεμνημένην τῆς τῶν ὅπλων κρίσεως.

    The next was Agamemnon, who took the life of an eagle, because, like Ajax, he hated human nature by reason of his sufferings. About the middle came the lot of Atalanta; she, seeing the great fame of an athlete, was unable to resist the temptation: and after her there followed the soul of Epeus the son of Panopeus passing into the nature of a woman cunning in the arts; and far away among the last who chose, the soul of the jester Thersites was putting on the form of a monkey.

τὴν δ' ἐπὶ τούτῳ Ἀγαμέμνονος· ἔχθρᾳ δὲ καὶ ταύτην τοῦ ἀνθρωπίνου γένους διὰ τὰ πάθη ἀετοῦ διαλλάξαι βίον. ἐν μέσοις δὲ λαχοῦσαν τὴν Ἀταλάντης ψυχήν, κατιδοῦσαν μεγάλας τιμὰς ἀθλητοῦ ἀνδρός, οὐ δύνασθαι παρελθεῖν, ἀλλὰ λαβεῖν. μετὰ 620.c δὲ ταύτην ἰδεῖν τὴν Ἐπειοῦ τοῦ Πανοπέως εἰς τεχνικῆς γυναικὸς ἰοῦσαν φύσιν· πόρρω δ' ἐν ὑστάτοις ἰδεῖν τὴν τοῦ γελωτοποιοῦ Θερσίτου πίθηκον ἐνδυομένην.

    There came also the soul of Odysseus having yet to make a choice, and his lot happened to be the last of them all. Now the recollection of former tolls had disenchanted him of ambition, and he went about for a considerable time in search of the life of a private man who had no cares;

κατὰ τύχην δὲ τὴν Ὀδυσσέως λαχοῦσαν πασῶν ὑστάτην αἱρησομένην ἰέναι, μνήμῃ δὲ τῶν προτέρων πόνων φιλοτιμίας λελωφηκυῖαν ζητεῖν περιιοῦσαν χρόνον πολὺν βίον ἀνδρὸς ἰδιώτου ἀπράγμονος,

he had some difficulty in finding this, which was lying about and had been neglected by everybody else; and when he saw it, he said that he would have done the had his lot been first instead of last, and that he was delighted to have it.

καὶ μόγις εὑρεῖν κείμενόν που καὶ παρημελημένον 620.d ὑπὸ τῶν ἄλλων, καὶ εἰπεῖν ἰδοῦσαν ὅτι τὰ αὐτὰ ἂν ἔπραξεν καὶ πρώτη λαχοῦσα, καὶ ἁσμένην ἑλέσθαι.

    And not only did men pass into animals, but I must also mention that there were animals tame and wild who changed into one another and into corresponding human natures --the good into the gentle and the evil into the savage, in all sorts of combinations.

καὶ ἐκ τῶν ἄλλων δὴ θηρίων ὡσαύτως εἰς ἀνθρώπους ἰέναι καὶ εἰς ἄλληλα, τὰ μὲν ἄδικα εἰς τὰ ἄγρια, τὰ δὲ δίκαια εἰς τὰ ἥμερα μεταβάλλοντα, καὶ πάσας μείξεις μείγνυσθαι.

 

THE CHOICES ARE RATIFIED; THEY DRINK FORGETFULNESS

 

    All the souls had now chosen their lives, and they went in the order of their choice to Lachesis, who sent with them the genius whom they had severally chosen, to be the guardian of their lives and the fulfiller of the choice:

̓Επειδὴ δ' οὖν πάσας τὰς ψυχὰς τοὺς βίους ᾑρῆσθαι, ὥσπερ ἔλαχον ἐν τάξει προσιέναι πρὸς τὴν Λάχεσιν· ἐκείνην δ' ἑκάστῳ ὃν εἵλετο δαίμονα, τοῦτον φύλακα συμ620.e πέμπειν τοῦ βίου καὶ ἀποπληρωτὴν τῶν αἱρεθέντων.

this genius led the souls first to Clotho, and drew them within the revolution of the spindle impelled by her hand, thus ratifying the destiny of each;

ὃν πρῶτον μὲν ἄγειν αὐτὴν πρὸς τὴν Κλωθὼ ὑπὸ τὴν ἐκείνης χεῖρά τε καὶ ἐπιστροφὴν τῆς τοῦ ἀτράκτου δίνης, κυροῦντα ἣν λαχὼν εἵλετο μοῖραν·
and then, when they were fastened to this, carried them to Atropos, who spun the threads and made them irreversible, whence without turning round they passed beneath the throne of Necessity; ταύτης δ' ἐφαψάμενον αὖθις ἐπὶ τὴν τῆς Ἀτρόπου ἄγειν νῆσιν, ἀμετάστροφα τὰ ἐπικλωσθέντα ποιοῦντα· ἐντεῦθεν δὲ δὴ ἀμεταστρεπτὶ ὑπὸ τὸν τῆς 621.a Ἀνάγκης ἰέναι θρόνον,

and when they had all passed, they marched on in a scorching heat to the plain of Forgetfulness, which was a barren waste destitute of trees and verdure;

καὶ δι' ἐκείνου διεξελθόντα, ἐπειδὴ  καὶ οἱ ἄλλοι διῆλθον, πορεύεσθαι ἅπαντας εἰς τὸ τῆς Λήθης πεδίον διὰ καύματός τε καὶ πνίγους δεινοῦ· καὶ γὰρ εἶναι αὐτὸ κενὸν δένδρων τε καὶ ὅσα γῆ φύει.

and then towards evening they encamped by the river of Unmindfulness, whose water no vessel can hold; of this they were all obliged to drink a certain quantity, and those who were not saved by wisdom drank more than was necessary; and each one as he drank forgot all things.

σκηνᾶσθαι οὖν σφᾶς ἤδη ἑσπέρας γιγνομένης παρὰ τὸν Ἀμέλητα ποταμόν, οὗ τὸ ὕδωρ ἀγγεῖον οὐδὲν στέγειν. μέτρον μὲν οὖν τι τοῦ ὕδατος πᾶσιν ἀναγκαῖον εἶναι πιεῖν, τοὺς δὲ φρονήσει μὴ σῳζομένους πλέον πίνειν τοῦ μέτρου· τὸν δὲ ἀεὶ πιόντα 621.b πάντων ἐπιλανθάνεσθαι.

    Now after they had gone to rest, about the middle of the night there was a thunderstorm and earthquake, and then in an instant they were driven upwards in all manner of ways to their birth, like stars shooting. He himself was hindered from drinking the water. But in what manner or by what means he returned to the body he could not say; only, in the morning, awaking suddenly, he found himself lying on the pyre.

ἐπειδὴ δὲ κοιμηθῆναι καὶ μέσας νύκτας γενέσθαι, βροντήν τε καὶ σεισμὸν γενέσθαι, καὶ ἐντεῦθεν ἐξαπίνης ἄλλον ἄλλῃ φέρεσθαι ἄνω εἰς τὴν γένεσιν, ᾄττοντας ὥσπερ ἀστέρας. αὐτὸς δὲ τοῦ μὲν ὕδατος κωλυθῆναι πιεῖν· ὅπῃ μέντοι καὶ ὅπως εἰς τὸ σῶμα ἀφίκοιτο, οὐκ εἰδέναι, ἀλλ' ἐξαίφνης ἀναβλέψας ἰδεῖν ἕωθεν αὑτὸν κείμενον ἐπὶ τῇ πυρᾷ.

    And thus, Glaucon, the tale has been saved and has not perished, and will save us if we are obedient to the word spoken; and we shall pass safely over the river of Forgetfulness and our soul will not be defiled.

Καὶ οὕτως, ὦ Γλαύκων, μῦθος ἐσώθη καὶ οὐκ ἀπώλετο, 621.c καὶ ἡμᾶς ἂν σώσειεν, ἂν πειθώμεθα αὐτῷ, καὶ τὸν τῆς Λήθης ποταμὸν εὖ διαβησόμεθα καὶ τὴν ψυχὴν οὐ μιανθησόμεθα.

Wherefore my counsel is that we hold fast ever to the heavenly way and follow after justice and virtue always, considering that the soul is immortal and able to endure every sort of good and every sort of evil.

ἀλλ' ἂν ἐμοὶ πειθώμεθα, νομίζοντες ἀθάνατον ψυχὴν καὶ δυνατὴν πάντα μὲν κακὰ ἀνέχεσθαι, πάντα δὲ ἀγαθά, τῆς ἄνω ὁδοῦ ἀεὶ ἑξόμεθα καὶ δικαιοσύνην μετὰ φρονήσεως παντὶ τρόπῳ ἐπιτηδεύσομεν,

Thus shall we live dear to one another and to the gods, both while remaining here and when, like conquerors in the games who go round to gather gifts, we receive our reward. And it shall be well with us both in this life and in the pilgrimage of a thousand years which we have been describing.

ἵνα καὶ ἡμῖν αὐτοῖς φίλοι ὦμεν καὶ τοῖς θεοῖς, αὐτοῦ τε μένοντες ἐνθάδε, καὶ ἐπειδὰν τὰ ἆθλα 621.d αὐτῆς κομιζώμεθα, ὥσπερ οἱ νικηφόροι περιαγειρόμενοι, καὶ ἐνθάδε καὶ ἐν τῇ χιλιέτει πορείᾳ, ἣν διεληλύθαμεν, εὖ πράττωμεν.