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[68a] what they longed for all through life—and they longed for wisdom—and of escaping from the companionship of that which they hated? When human loves or wives or sons have died, many men have willingly gone to the other world led by the hope of seeing there those whom they longed for, and of being with them; and shall he who is really in love with wisdom and has a firm belief that he can find it nowhere else [68b] than in the other world grieve when he dies and not be glad to go there? We cannot think that, my friend, if he is really a philosopher; for he will confidently believe that he will find pure wisdom nowhere else than in the other world. And if this is so, would it not be very foolish for such a man to fear death?”

“Very foolish, certainly,” said he.

“Then is it not,” said Socrates, “a sufficient indication, when you see a man troubled because he is going to die, that he was not a lover of wisdom but a lover of the body? [68c] And this same man is also a lover of money and of honor, one or both.”

“Certainly,” said he, “it is as you say.”

“Then, Simmias,” he continued, “is not that which is called courage especially characteristic of philosophers?”

“By all means,” said he.

“And self-restraint—that which is commonly called self-restraint, which consists in not being excited by the passions and in being superior to them and acting in a seemly way—is not that characteristic of those alone who despise the body [68d] and pass their lives in philosophy?”

“Necessarily,” said he.

“For,” said Socrates, “if you care to consider the courage and the self-restraint of other men, you will see that they are absurd.”

“How so, Socrates?”

“You know, do you not, that all other men count death among the great evils?”

“They certainly do.”

“And do not brave men face death—when they do face it—through fear of greater evils?”

“That is true.”

“Then all except philosophers are brave through fear. And yet it is absurd to be brave through fear and cowardice.” [68e] “Very true.”

“And how about those of seemly conduct? Is their case not the same? They are self-restrained because of a kind of self-indulgence. We say, to be sure, that this is impossible, nevertheless their foolish self-restraint amounts to little more than this; for they fear that they may be deprived of certain pleasures which they desire, and so they refrain from some because they are under the sway of others. And yet being ruled by pleasures

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 716
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