This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
And what do you say is the right way?Athenian
I will tell you: for in truth, my friends, matters of this sort deserve a hearing.Clinias
Oedipus, when he was dishonored (so our story runs), invoked upon his children curses2 which, as all men allege, were granted by Heaven and fulfilled; and we tell how Amyntor in his wrath cursed his son Phoenix,3 and Theseus cursed Hippolytus,4 and countless other parents cursed countless other sons, which curses of parents upon sons it is clearly proved that the gods grant; [931c] for a parent's curse laid upon his children is more potent than any other man's curse against any other, and most justly so. Let no man suppose, then, that when a father or a mother is dishonored by the children, in that case it is natural for God to hearken especially to their prayers, whereas when the parent is honored and is highly pleased and earnestly prays the gods, in consequence, to bless his children—are we not to suppose that they hearken equally to prayers of this kind, and grant them to us? For if not, they could never be just dispensers of blessings; and that, as we assert, would be [931d] most unbecoming in gods.Clinias
Let us maintain, then,—as we said a moment ago—that in the eyes of the gods we can possess no image more worthy of honor, than a father or forefather laid up with old age, or a mother in the same condition; whom when a man worships with gifts of honor, God is well pleased, for otherwise He would not grant their prayers. For the shrine which is an ancestor is marvellous in our eyes, [931e] far beyond that which is a lifeless thing; for while those which are alive pray for us when tended by us and pray against us when dishonored, the lifeless images do neither; so that if a man rightly treats his father and forefather and all such ancestors, he will possess images potent above all others to win for him a heaven-blest lot.5Clinias
Every right-minded man fears and respects the prayers of parents, knowing that many times in many cases they have proved effective. And since this is the ordinance of nature, to good men aged forefathers are a heavenly treasure
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.