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[122a] where he is hastening. I did for a time restrain him with good advice; but since I am no longer able to do so, I believe my best course is to comply with his request, in order that he may not resort, perchance, behind my back to somebody who will corrupt him. So I have come now on this very business of placing this youth with one of these sophists, or purveyors of wisdom, as they are held to be. It is a happy chance, therefore, that has thrown you in our way, as I should be particularly glad, with this plan of action in my mind, to ask your advice. Come, if you have any advice to give [122b] on what you have heard from me, you not only may, but should, give it.

Well, you know, Demodocus, they do say that advice is a holy thing.1 And so, if ever it is to be accounted holy, it must be in this instance, in which you now seek it. For there is no more divine matter on which a mortal could take counsel than the education either [122c] of himself or of his relations. Now, first of all, let you and me come to an agreement as to what we suppose that this thing can be, on which we are taking counsel; for it may happen that I conceive it to be one thing, and you another, and then when we have proceeded some little way in our conference, we may perceive how ridiculous we are, I the adviser and you the advised, in having no common ground in our notions.

Why, I think you are right there, Socrates, and we should do as you suggest.

Yes, I am right, but yet not entirely, because I have a slight change to make. For it occurs to me that [122d] this youngster may not be desiring the thing that we suppose him to desire, but something else, and there again we may be still more absurdly taking counsel on some other thing. Hence our most proper course, it seems to me, is to begin with the youth himself, and inquire of him what it actually is that he desires.

It does rather look, in fact, as though our best way would be thus, as you suggest.

Then tell me, what is the young person's goodly name: how are we to address him?

Theages is his name, Socrates. [122e]

Goodly is the name, Demodocus, and holy-sounding,2 that you have bestowed on your son. Tell me, then, Theages, do you say you desire to become wise, and do you require your father here to find out a school of some man who is qualified to make you wise?


And which sort of man do you call wise, those who have knowledge of such and such a thing, whatever it may be, or those who have not?

Those who have knowledge, I say.

Well now, has not your father taught and educated you in the subjects which form the education of everyone else here—all the sons of noble and honorable fathers—in letters, I mean, and harping and wrestling and the other sorts of contest?

1 i.e. something above and apart from the adviser's personal interests, and looking only to what is best.

2 “Theages” means “god-guided.”

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 356
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