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[394a] A king's son will probably be a king, a good man's good, a handsome man's handsome, and so forth; the offspring of each class will be of the same class, unless some unnatural birth takes place; so they should be called by the same names. But variety in the syllables is admissible, so that names which are the same appear different to the uninitiated, just as the physicians' drugs, when prepared with various colors and perfumes, seem different to us, though they are the same, but to the physician, [394b] who considers only their medicinal value, they seem the same, and he is not confused by the additions. So perhaps the man who knows about names considers their value and is not confused if some letter is added, transposed, or subtracted, or even if the force of the name is expressed in entirely different letters. So, for instance, in the names we were just discussing, Astyanax and Hector, none of the letters is the same, except T, [394c] but nevertheless they have the same meaning. And what letters has Archepolis (ruler of the city) in common with them? Yet it means the same thing; and there are many other names which mean simply “king.” Others again mean “general,” such as Agis (leader), Polemarchus (war-lord), and Eupolemus (good warrior); and others indicate physicians, as Iatrocles (famous physician) and Acesimbrotus (healer of mortals); and we might perhaps find many others which differ in syllables and letters, but express the same meaning. Do you think that is true, or not? [394d]


To those, then, who are born in accordance with nature the same names should be given.


And how about those who are born contrary to nature as prodigies? For instance, when an impious son is born to a good and pious man, ought he not, as in our former example when a mare brought forth a calf, to have the designation of the class to which he belongs, instead of that of his parent?

Certainly. [394e]

Then the impious son of a pious father ought to receive the name of his class.


Not Theophilus (beloved of God) or Mnesitheus (mindful of God) or anything of that sort; but something of opposite meaning, if names are correct.

Most assuredly, Socrates.

As the name of Orestes (mountain man) is undoubtedly correct, Hermogenes, whether it was given him by chance or by some poet who indicated by the name the fierceness, rudeness, and mountain-wildness of his nature.

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