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When they beheld Hephaestus officiously puffing and panting.
”Hom. Il. 1.599-600—we must not accept it on your view.” “If it pleases you [389b] to call it mine,2” he said; “at any rate we must not accept it.” “But further we must surely prize truth most highly. For if we were right in what we were just saying and falsehood is in very deed useless to gods, but to men useful as a remedy or form of medicine,3 it is obvious that such a thing must be assigned to physicians and laymen should have nothing to do with it.” “Obviously,” he replied. “The rulers then of the city may, if anybody, fitly lie on account of enemies or citizens for the benefit4 of the state; no others may have anything to do with it, [389c] but for a layman to lie to rulers of that kind we shall affirm to be as great a sin, nay a greater, than it is for a patient not to tell physician or an athlete his trainer the truth about his bodily condition, or for a man to deceive the pilot about the ship and the sailors as to the real condition of himself or a fellow-sailor, and how they fare.” “Most true,” he replied. “If then [389d] the ruler catches anybody else in the city lying, any of the craftsmen“ Whether a prophet or healer of sickness or joiner of timbers,
”Hom. Od. 17.383-384he will chastise him for introducing a practice as subversive5 and destructive of a state as it is of a ship.” “He will,” he said, “if deed follows upon word.6” “Again, will our lads not need the virtue of self-control?” “Of course.” “And for the multitude7 are not the main points of self-control these—to be obedient to their rulers and themselves to be rulers8 [389e] over the bodily appetites and pleasures of food, drink, and the rest?” “I think so.” “Then, I take it, we will think well said such sayings as that of Homer's Diomede:“ Friend, sit down and be silent and hark to the word of my bidding,
”Hom. Il. 4.4129and what follows:“ Breathing high spirit the Greeks marched silently fearing their captains,
”Hom. Il. 3.810
1 It is a commonplace that the primitive sense of humor of the Homeric gods laughs at the personal deformity of Hephaestus, but they really laugh at his officiousness and the contrast he presents to Hebe. Cf. my note in Class. Phil. xxii. (1927) pp. 222-223.
2 Cf. on 334 D.
3 Cf. 382 D.
5 The word is chosen to fit both the ship and the state. Cf. 422 E, 442 B; and Alcaeus apud Aristophanes Wasps 1235, Euripides Phoen. 888, Aeschines iii. 158, Epictetus iii. 7. 20.
7 For the mass of men, as distinguished from the higher philosophical virtue. Often misunderstood. For the meanings of σωγροσύνη cf. my review of Jowett's Plato, A.J.P. vol. xiii. (1892) p. 361. Cf. Unity of Plato's Thought, p. 15 and n. 77.
8 In Gorgias 491 D-E, Callicles does not understand what Socrates means by a similar expression.
9 Diomede to Sthenelos.
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