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Do you mean that these things were unknown to the men of those days for thousands upon thousands of years, and that one or two thousand years ago some of them were revealed to Daedalus, some to Orpheus, some to Palamedes, musical arts to Marsyas and Olympus, lyric to Amphion, and, in short, a vast number of others to other persons—all dating, so to say, from yesterday or the day before?

Are you aware, Clinias, that you have left out your friend who was literally a man of yesterday?

Is it Epimenides1 you mean?

Yes, I mean him. For he far outstripped everybody you had, my friend, by that invention of his of which he was the actual producer, as you Cretans say, although Hesiod2 had divined it and spoken of it long before.

1 Cp. Plat. Laws 642d.

2 Hes. WD 640f. νήπιοι, οὐδὲ ἴασιν ὅσωι πλέον ἥμισυ παντός, οὐδ᾽ ὅσον ἐν μαλάχηι τε καὶ ἀσφοδέλωι μέγ᾽ ὄνειαπ. Hesiod's allusion to the “great virtue residing in mallow and asphodel” is supposed to have suggested to Epimenides his “invention” of a herbal concoction, or “elixir of life.”

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (2):
    • Hesiod, Works and Days, 640
    • Plato, Laws, 642d
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