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Ingratitude is an offense, the more heinous in proportion to the benefits received. Ingratitude towards parents, therefore, is a very grave offense, punished with ignominy by the state and with contempt by all men. These thoughts are brought out in a conversation between Socrates and his son Lamprocles.


τὸν πρεσβύτατον: acc. to Suidas (s.v. Σωκράτης), the two other sons of Socrates, Sophroniscus and Menexenus, were by Myrto, a second wife. But Plato (Phaedo 60 A), in the well-known prison- and deathscene, describes Xanthippe as sitting beside Socrates with their child (παιδίον). Cf. also ibid. 116 B. Perhaps Myrto was his first wife; but there is no contemporary evidence for more than one, and that one Xanthippe. On the violent temper of Xanthippe, cf. χρῇ (you are provided with) γυναικὶ τῶν οὐσῶν, οἶμαι δὲ καὶ τῶν γεγενημένων καὶ τῶν ἐσομένων, χαλεπωτάτῃ Sym. ii. 10. They were an ill-assorted couple, and each had doubtless much to complain of.

τοὺς τί ποιοῦντας, ἀποκαλοῦσιν: i.e. τί ποιοῦσιν οὗτοι, οὓς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦτο καλοῦσιν; For the interr. depending on a participle or other dependent word, cf. i.4.14; i. 3. 10; An. iii.1.14

τοὺς εὖ παθόντας: those who have received favors. Cf. ἀνθ᾽ ὧν εὖ ἔπαθον ὑπ̓ ἐκείνου An. i.3.4

οὐκοῦν: as in ii. 1. 2.


εἰ ἄρα: whether possibly.

ὥσπερ: followed by a simple καί, instead of οὕτω καί. Cf. ὥσπερ σύ, καὶ ἐγώ iv. 4. 7. Cf. also Oec. xviii. 9.

ἄδικον, δίκαιον: wrong, right.

ὑφ᾽ οὗ ἄν τις (equivalent to ἐάν τις ὑπό τινος) κτλ.: whoever has received favors from any one, whether friend or foe, and does not attempt to return them.


εἰλικρινής τις: a clear kind of, the adj. followed by the indef., as in Lat. by quidam with the same signification. G. 1016; H. 702.

ἂν εἴη: potential opt. in apodosis. See G. 1421, 1; H. 901 b.

τίνας, ὑπὸ τίνων: two questions in one clause. G. 1601; H. 1013. The same usage is found in Latin; cf. “difficile est enumerare quot viri quanta scientia fuerintCic. de Or. i. 3. 9.

ἐκ μὲν οὐκ ὄντων, εἶναι: out of non-existence into being. Cf. ἐκ θεῶν ii. 1. 31. “We owe to our parents all the blessings of life, the possession of which is regarded as the greatest happiness, and their loss (through death) the greatest misfortune.”

θάνατον: without the article. See on i. 2. 62, where ζημία has the art., which here it lacks.

ὡς ... παύσαντες: rati metu mali, quo gravius nullum esset, iniuriam coercere se posse. See on ὡς προσημαίνοντος i. 1. 4. The participle, by a constructio ad sensum, refers to οἱ πολῖται implied in αἱ πόλεις. See on θιάσου, οἱ ii. 1. 31.


τούτου, τῶν ἀπολυσόντων: for the position of the art., see on i.6.13; and for the sing. τούτου (sc. τοῦ τῶν ἀφροδισίων ἐπιθυμεῖν), see on iii.4.5. ἀπολυσόντων is neuter, as in ii. 1. 5.

βέλτιστα: finest.

αἷς: equivalent to καὶ ταύταις. Cf. the conversation between Ischomachus and his wife, Oec. vii. 10 ff.


ὑποδεξαμένη τε φέρει: to this corresponds καί τρέφει below.

διενεγκοῦσα: sc. in the period of pregnancy.

γιγνῶσκον τὸ βρέφος: best const. as obj. of τρέφει τε καὶ ἐπιμελεῖται taken as one idea (τρέφει ἐπιμελῶς). Kühner suggests that Xenophon composed the passage rhetorically, and wrote γιγνῶσκον τὸ βρέφος in the nom. as a substitute for the gen. abs., in order to preserve ‘concinnity’ in the constructions. On the connection of the two participles (προπεπονθυῖα, γιγνῶσκον), one in the nom., the other in the acc., by οὔτε, οὔτε, cf. ii.7.8.

οὐδέ: and not.ἀλλ̓ αὐτὴ κτλ.: from here the const. becomes freer, in order to avoid the obscurity resulting from too many participles.


θρέψαι μόνον: an unusual position. See on i. 4. 13.

πέμπουσι: sc. τοὺς παῖδας. The education of an Athenian boy included the study of (1) γράμματα (reading and writing); (2) μουσικὴ τέχνη (poetry and music); (3) γυμναστικὴ τέχνη (physical culture). Cf. Aristophanes Clouds 961 ff., and esp. Plato Prot. 325 ff.; and for a fuller account, see Becker, Charicles (Eng. translation), p. 226 ff., and Guhl and Koner, Life of the Greeks and Romans, §§ 50, 51.

πάντα: everything possible.


ἀλλά τοι κτλ.: said in a somewhat grumbling tone.

πεποίηκε: the subj. is readily supplied from the connection.

μητρός: or that of a mother. Lamprocles, who has his own mother in mind, answers with the article, τῆς μητρός, τῆς γε τοιαύτης the mother's, if she be such a one as mine.

δακοῦσα, λακτίσασα: for the aor. participle expressing time coincident with that of the main verb, see GMT. 150; H. 856 b.


ἐπὶ τῷ βίῳ παντί: for his whole life, i.e. for all that life could bring him. Cf. ἐπὶ πόσῳ ἂν ἐθέλοις τὴν γυναῖκά σου ἀκοῦσαι ὅτι σκευοφορεῖς Cyr. iii. 1. 43. G. 1210, 2 c; H. 799, 2 c.—[δυσάνεκτα]: found only here, is perhaps an interpolation suggested by ἀνασχέσθαι above.

εἶπα: the rare first pers. sing. of the Ionic aorist. The second pers. is much more common. Of εἶπα only six instances in Attic are cited by Veitch (Greek Verbs, p. 205 ff.).

πόσα: cognate accusative.


ἀλλήλους, ἔσχατα: for the two accs. with one verb, see on i.2.12.

τῶν λεγόντων οὔτε τόν: that of those uttering (such things) either he who.

ἐλέγχειν: does so (i.e. utters abuse).

ἵνα ζημιώσῃ: in order to do harm.

εὖ εἰδώς: designedly stronger than οὐκ οἴονται in the previous sentence.

ἀγαθά: good things.


ὅπως ὑγιάνῃς, ἔσῃ: subjv. and fut. indic. in close connection, with ὅπως. G. 1374; H. 885 b. Kühner suggests that the change to the indic. implies that the supplying of the child's wants is more in the mother's power than is the maintenance of his health.

εὐχομένην ἀγαθά: praying for blessings.

εὐχὰς ἀποδιδοῦσαν: paying her vows.

εἰ δύνασαι: see on i.2.13.


ἄλλον τινά: obj. of θεραπεύειν.

παρεσκεύασαι: are you prepared?

πείθεσθαι: depends on παρεσκεύασαι.


ἵνα σοι πῦρ ἐναύῃ: that he may kindle a fire for you, i.e. not refuse you a light. Cf. “ex quo sunt illa communia: non prohibere aqua profluente; pati ab igne ignem capereCic. de Off. i. 16. 52.

συλλήπτωρ: cf. συλλήπτρια ii. 1. 32.

ἄν τι σφαλλόμενος τύχῃς: “if you fall into any misfortune.”

ἐλλύθεν βοηθῇ σοι: being at hand may aid you.οὐδὲν ἄν σοι διαφέροι: would it make no difference to you?

τῆς παρὰ τούτων εὐνοίας: the good will (emanating) from these.


εἶτα: as in i. 2. 26.

ἐπιμελεῖται: takes cognizance of.

ἀποδιδόντας: supplementary participle with περιορᾷ.

ἐὰν δέ τις: correl. to ἄλλης μέν above.

ἄρχειν: to serve as archon, technical term. Cf. βουλεύσας i. 1. 18. A law of Solon provided for a rigid examination into the ‘record’ of a candidate for the archonship, and if it was found that he had been guilty of violence or neglect toward his parents (εἰ τὸν πατέρα τύπτει, τὴν μητέρα, μὴ παρέχει οἴκησιν) he was excluded from all public office.—ὡς οὔτε ἂν τὰ ἱερὰ κτλ.: on the ground that the sacrifices would not be offered piously on behalf of the state if this man officiated. For the participle with ὡς, see on 3 and i. 1. 4. Obs. the emphatic repetition of τούτῳ, τοῦτον, τούτου.

οὐδὲν ἄν: sc. πραττόμενον, to be const. like θυόμενα above.

ἐξετάζει: investigates.

δοκιμασίαις: on this whole subject, see Schömann, Antiq. of Greece, p. 403 ff. Cf. Pollux viii. 44.


ἂν σωφρονῇς: if you are wise.

μὴ οὐκ ἐθελήσωσιν: in Attic, the use of μὴ οὐ with the subjv. is generally confined to clauses after verbs of fearing. See GMT. 305, 306; H. 1033.

εἶτα: and then, without καί, as often. Cf. i.2.1; iv. 5. 3, and καὶ αὐτοὶ πολλάκις ἐμὲ μιμοῦνται, εἶτα ἐπιχειροῦσιν ἄλλους ἐξετάζειν Plato Apol. 23C.

ἐν ἐρημίᾳ φίλων: without ὤν. So after ὁρᾶν, cf. ἐν εὐδίᾳ (security) γὰρ ὁρῶ ὑμᾶς An. v.8.19; and after καταλαμβάνειν, cf. κατελαμβάνομεν τοὺς μὲν ἡμετέρους ἐν φόβῳ Demosthenes de Cor. § 211.

γονεῖς: this form of the acc. pl. of nouns in -εύς is not rare in Xenophon. Cf. ἱππεῖς iii. 5. 19, γναφεῖς, σκυτεῖς, χαλκεῖς iii. 7. 6, δρομεῖς iii. 10. 6.

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hide References (9 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (9):
    • Plato, Apology, 23c
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 1.3.4
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 3.1.14
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 5.8.19
    • Xenophon, Memorabilia, 1.2.1
    • Xenophon, Memorabilia, 1.4.14
    • Xenophon, Memorabilia, 2.7.8
    • Cicero, On Oratory, 1.3
    • Cicero, De Officiis, 1.16
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