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[216a]

Theodorus
According to our yesterday's agreement, Socrates, we have come ourselves, as we were bound to do, and we bring also this man with us; he is a stranger from Elea, one of the followers of Parmenides and Zeno, and a real philosopher.

Socrates
Are you not unwittingly bringing, as Homer says, some god, and no mere stranger, Theodorus? He says [216b] that the gods, and especially the god of strangers, enter into companionship with men who have a share of due reverence1 and that they behold the deeds, both violent and righteous,2 of mankind. So perhaps this companion of yours may be one of the higher powers, who comes to watch over and refute us because we are worthless in argument—a kind of god of refutation.

Theodorus
No, Socrates, that is not the stranger's character; he is more reasonable than those who devote themselves to disputation. And though I do not think he is a god at all, [216c] I certainly do think he is divine, for I give that epithet to all philosophers.

Socrates
And rightly, my friend. However, I fancy it is not much easier, if I may say so, to recognize this class, than that of the gods. For these men—I mean those who are not feignedly but really philosophers—appear disguised in all sorts of shapes,3 thanks to the ignorance of the rest of mankind, and ““visit the cities,””Hom. Od. 17.485-7 beholding from above the life of those below, and they seem to some to be of no worth and to others to be worth everything. And sometimes they appear disguised as statesmen [216d] and sometimes as sophists, and sometimes they may give some people the impression that they are altogether mad. But I should like to ask our stranger here, if agreeable to him, what people in his country thought about these matters,


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