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[408a] themselves good fighting-men and practised medicine as I described it? Don't you remember1 that in the case of Menelaus too from the wound that Pandarus inflicted “‘They sucked the blood, and soothing simples sprinkled?’”Hom. Il. 4.2182 But what he was to eat or drink thereafter they no more prescribed than for Eurypylus, taking it for granted that the remedies sufficed to heal men who before their wounds were healthy and temperate in diet [408b] even if they did happen for the nonce to drink a posset; but they thought that the life of a man constitutionally sickly and intemperate was of no use to himself or others, and that the art of medicine should not be for such nor should they be given treatment even if they were richer than Midas.3” “Very ingenious fellows,” he said, “you make out these sons of Asclepius to be.”

“'Tis fitting,” said I; “and yet in disregard of our principles the tragedians and Pindar4 affirm that Asclepius, though he was the son of Apollo, was bribed by gold [408c] to heal a man already at the point of death, and that for this cause he was struck by the lightning. But we in accordance with the aforesaid principles5 refuse to believe both statements, but if he was the son of a god he was not avaricious, we will insist, and if he was greedy of gain he was not the son of a god.” “That much,” said he, “is most certainly true. But what have you to say to this, Socrates, must we not have good physicians in our city? And they would be the most likely to be good who had treated the greatest number of healthy and diseased men, [408d] and so good judges would be those who had associated with all sorts and conditions of men.” “Most assuredly I want them good,” I said; “but do you know whom I regard as such?” “I'll know if you tell,6” he said. “Well, I will try,” said I. “You, however, have put unlike cases in one question.” “How so?” said he. “Physicians, it is true,” I said, “would prove most skilled if, from childhood up, in addition to learning the principles of the art they had familiarized themselves with the greatest possible number of the most sickly bodies, [408e] and if they themselves had suffered all diseases and were not of very healthy constitution. For you see they do not treat the body by the body.7 If they did, it would not be allowable for their bodies to be or to have been in evil condition. But they treat the body with the mind—and it is not competent for a mind that is or has been evil to treat anything well.” “Right,” he said. “But a judge, mark you, my friend,

1 Cf. the Homeric οὐ μέμνῃ;

2 Plato is quoting loosely or adapting Hom. Il. 4.218.αἷμ᾽ ἐκμυζήσας ἐπ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἤπια φάρμακα εἰδὼς πάσσε is said of Machaon, not of Menelaus.

3 Proverbial and suggests Tyrtaeus. Cf. Laws 660 E.

4 Cf. Aeschylus Agamemnon 1022 ff., Euripides Alcestis 3-4, Pindar, Pyth. iii. 53.

5 Cf. 379 ff., also 365 E.

6 Slight colloquial jest. Cf. Aristophanes Eq. 1158, Pax 1061.

7 Cf. Gorgias 465 C-D.

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