previous next
[495d] just as men escape from prison to take sanctuary in temples, so these gentlemen joyously bound away from the mechanical1 arts to philosophy, those that are most cunning in their little craft.2 For in comparison with the other arts the prestige of philosophy even in her present low estate retains a superior dignity; and this is the ambition and aspiration of that multitude of pretenders unfit by nature, whose souls are bowed and mutilated3 by their vulgar occupations4

1 Cf. the different use of the idea in Protag. 318 E.

2 τεχνίον is a contemptuous diminutive, such as are common in Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. Cf. also ἀνθρωπίσκοι in C, and ψυχάριον in 519 A.

3 Cf. 611 C-D, Theaet. 173 A-B.

4 For the idea that trade is ungentlemanly and incompatible with philosophy Cf. 522 B and 590 C, Laws 919 C ff., and What Plato Said, p. 663 on Rivals 137 B. Cf. Richard of Bury, Philobiblon,Prologue, “Fitted for the liberal arts, and equally disposed to the contemplation of Scripture, but destitute of the needful aid, they revert, as it were, by a sort of apostasy, to mechanical arts.” Cf also Xen.Mem. iv. 2. 3, and Ecclesiasticus xxxviii. 25 f. “How can he get wisdom that holdeth the plough and glorieth in the goad . . . and whose talk is of bullocks? . . . so every carpenter and workmaster . . . the smith . . . the potter . . . ”

Creative Commons License
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.

load focus Notes (James Adam)
load focus Greek (1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: