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[451a] a fearful and slippery venture. The fear is not of being laughed at,1 for that is childish, but, lest, missing the truth, I fall down and drag my friends with me in matters where it most imports not to stumble. So I salute Nemesis,2 Glaucon, in what I am about to say. For, indeed,3 I believe that involuntary homicide is a lesser fault than to mislead opinion about the honorable, the good, and the just. This is a risk that it is better to run with enemies4

1 Cf. on 452 C-D, Euthydemus 3 C “To be laughed at is no matter,”Laws 830 Bτὸν τῶν ἀνοήτων γέλωτα, Euripides fr. 495.

2 Ἀδράστειαν: practically equivalent to Nemesis. Cf. our “knock on wood.” Cf. Posnansky in Breslauer Phil. Abhandl. v. 2, “Nemesis und Adrasteia”: Herodotus i. 35, Aeschylus Prom. 936, Euripides Rhesus 342, Demosthenes xxv. 37καὶ Ἀδράστειαν μὲν ἄνθρωπος ὢν ἐγὼ προσκυνῶ. For the moral earnestness of what follows cf. 336 E, Gorgias 458 A, and Joubert apudArnold, Essays in Crit. p. 29 “Ignorance . . . is in itself in intellectual matters a crime of the first order.”

3 γὰρ οὖν, “for in fact,” but often with the suggestion that the fact has to be faced, as e.g. in Timaeus 47 E, where the point is often missed.

4 Almost proverbial. Cf. my note on Horace, Odes iii. 27. 21. Plato is speaking here from the point of view of the ordinary man, and not from that of his “Sermon on the Mount ethics.” Cf. Philebus 49 D and Gorgias 480 E, where Gomperz, Greek Thinkers, ii. pp. 332 and 350, goes astray. Cf. Class. Phil. vol. i. p. 297.

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