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[312d] So much, then, about this subject.

As to the globe,1 there is something wrong with it; and Archedemus will point it out to you when he arrives. There is also another matter—much more valuable and divine than the globe—which he most certainly must explain, as you were puzzled about it when you sent him. For, according to his report, you say that you have not had a sufficient demonstration of the doctrine concerning the nature of “the First.”2 Now I must expound it to you in a riddling way in order that, should the tablet come to any harm “in folds of ocean or of earth,” he that readeth may not understand.

The matter stands thus: Related to

1 Apparently some form of orrery, devised to illustrate the motions of the heavenly bodies; cf. Cicero,De Rep. i. 14;De nat. deor. ii. 34.

2 For this phrase cf. Plat. Laws 886c. The explanation of “the Three” (principles) which follows is a piece of wanton mystification, of which it is impossible to suppose that Plato could ever have been guilty. For attempts to solve “the riddle” see Prefatory Note.

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