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Socrates also desired for his friends an acquaintance with certain branches of practical knowledge; but urged them to observe moderation even in these. Geometry, astronomy, and arithmetic are to be studied only so far as they will subserve some useful purpose in life; and we should not be diverted by them from other more needful things. Health should always be carefully conserved. Whatever cannot be solved by human insight should be referred to the gods for advice.

This chapter forms a sequel to i. 1. 6-9.


ὅτι μὲν οὖν ἁπλῶς κτλ.: cf. ἁπλούστατα ἐξηγεῖτο iv. 2. 40.

αὐτοὺς εἶναι ἐπεμελεῖτο: “strove to have them,” a rare const. with ἐπιμελέομαι, instead of ὅπως εἶεν or ἔσονται, or τοῦ εἶναι.

ὧν δὲ εἰδέναι: equivalent to τούτων δὲ εἰδέναι.

ἦγεν (sc. περὶ τούτων): “in regard to these matters he directed them.”


μέχρι ὅτου: quo usque.

αὐτίκα: for example; a peculiar use of the adv., perhaps a condensed expression for αὐτίκα λέξω I will at once mention. Cf. Plato Prot. 359 E; Rep. 420 c.

ἔργον ἀποδείξασθαι: “to prove the correctness of a calculation in land surveying.”

ἀπιέναι: see on ποιῶν i. 2. 61. Cf. the Lat. discedere victorem.


δυσσυνέτων: hard to comprehend.

οὐκ ἄπειρός γε αὐτῶν ἦν: see on Θεόδωρος iv. 2. 10. In the Clouds, Aristophanes represents geometry as being taught in the school of Socrates.

ἱκανά: “calculated.”


ἀστρολογίας: does not differ from ἀστρονομίας. Cf. iv.2.10.

καὶ ταύτης μέντοι: and yet this too (like geometry).

μέχρι τοῦ δύνασθαι: so far as to be able.

ὥραν: with νυκτός, equivalent to hour; with μηνός, equivalent to day; with ἐνιαυτοῦ, equivalent to season or month.

νυκτός (with πράττεται): for the gen. of time, see on ἀγορᾶς i. 1. 10.

τεκμηρίοις: as signs, sc., as obj. of χρῆσθαι, the observed facts of ἀστρολογία.

τῶν εἰρημένων: i.e. νυκτός, μηνός, ἐνιαυτοῦ.


τὸ μανθάνειν: obj. of ἀπέτρεπεν.

μέχρι τοῦ κτλ.: in appos. with μέχρι τούτου, with emphatic repetition of the μέχρι.

καί (in line 31): even.

τὰ μὴ ἐν τῇ αὐτῇ περιφορᾷ: i.e. planets, comets, etc., having motions in a different plane from the general apparent movement of the stars; cf. the ‘cycle and epicycle, orb in orb’ of Raphael's speech to Adam in Milton's Paradise Lost, viii. 84.

πλάνητας: planets, lit. wanderers.

ἀσταθμήτους ἀστέρας: prob. comets, as having no apparent fixed place.

ζητοῦντας κατατρίβεσθαι: to wear ourselves out investigating. For the supplementary participle, see G. 1580; H. 983.

ἰσχυρῶς ἀπέτρεπεν: he strongly dissuaded from.

οὐδὲ τούτων ἀνήκοος ἦν: Archelaus, a pupil of Anaxagoras, is said to have taught Socrates astronomy.

ἱκανά: as in 3.


οὐρανίων: objective gen. with φροντιστήν. Obs. the ‘prolepsis.’

θεός: but θεοῖς without the art. just below. See on iv. 3. 13.

ταῦτα μεριμνῶντα: see on φροντίζοντας τὰ τοιαῦτα i. 1. 11.

Ἀναξαγόρας: of Clazomĕnae, a contemporary of Pericles (about 440 B.C.), famous as a physical philosopher. He taught that the sun was a mass of incandescent matter and that the moon was made of earth. Accused of impiety, he was banished and retired to Lampsacus. Cf. Plato Apol. 26E, where Socrates characterizes as ἄτοπα these views of Anaxagoras.


τὸ αὐτὸ εἶναι πῦρ τε καὶ ἥλιον: for τὲ καί, see on iii.4.3. Cf. οὗτος (Ἀναξαγόρας) ἔλεγε τὸν ἥλιον μύδρον εἶναι διάπυρον ῾ωας α γλοωινγ μασς οφ ρεδ-ηοτ μεταλ̓ καὶ μείζω τῆς Πελοποννήσου Diog. Laert. ii. 8.

ἠγνόει ὡς: ignored the fact that.


λογισμούς: the art of reckoning, i.e. practical arithmetic.

τούτων: objective gen. with πραγματείαν.

ὁμοίως τοῖς ἄλλοις: equally with the other subjects.


μανθάνοντας: circumstantial participle of manner with ἐπιμελεῖσθαι τοὺς συνόντας.

ἐνδέχοιτο: was possible.

ἑαυτῷ ἕκαστον προσέχοντα: each individual by observing his own case.τί βρῶμα κτλ.: objs. of μανθάνοντα understood.—τοῦ γὰρ οὕτω κτλ.: for he said that it would be a difficult matter to find a physician who could tell better than a man that had thus attended to himself what was conducive to his health. τοῦ προσέχοντος is gen. of comparison with μᾶλλον, and is placed at the beginning as involving the main question. For the thought, cf. Tiberius solitus erat eludere medicorum artes, atque eos qui post tricesimum aetatis annum ad internoscenda corpori suo utilia vel noxia alieni consilii indigerent (availed themselves of) Tacitus Ann. vi. 46.


σημαίνουσι: as in i. 1. 9. The thought serves as an introduction to the concluding chapter.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Plato, Apology, 26e
    • Xenophon, Memorabilia, 4.2.10
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