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[27a] keep silence in my turn and hearken.

Critias
Consider now, Socrates, the order of the feast as we have arranged it. Seeing that Timaeus is our best astronomer and has made it his special task to learn about the nature of the Universe, it seemed good to us that he should speak first, beginning with the origin of the Cosmos and ending with the generation of mankind. After him I am to follow, taking over from him mankind, already as it were created by his speech, and taking over from you [27b] a select number of men superlatively well trained. Then, in accordance with the word and law of Solon, I am to bring these before ourselves, as before a court of judges, and make them citizens of this State of ours, regarding them as Athenians of that bygone age whose existence, so long forgotten, has been revealed to us by the record of the sacred writings; and thenceforward I am to proceed with my discourse as if I were speaking of men who already are citizens and men of Athens.

Socrates
Bounteous and magnificent, methinks, is the feast of speech with which I am to be requited. So then, it will be your task, it seems, to speak next, when you have duly invoked the gods. [27c]

Timaeus
Nay, as to that, Socrates, all men who possess even a small share of good sense call upon God always at the outset of every undertaking, be it small or great; we therefore who are purposing to deliver a discourse concerning the Universe, how it was created or haply is uncreate, must needs invoke Gods and Goddesses (if so be that we are not utterly demented), praying that all we say may be approved by them in the first place, and secondly by ourselves. Grant, then, that we have thus duly invoked the deities; [27d] ourselves we must also invoke so to proceed, that you may most easily learn and I may most clearly expound my views regarding the subject before us.

Now first of all we must, in my judgement, make the following distinction. What is that which is Existent always


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