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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Plato : HIPPIAS (major)

Persons of the dialogue: Socrates - Hippias
Translated by Benjamin Jowett - 37 Pages - Greek fonts
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37 Pages

Page 5

Soc.: Then were you not able to persuade the young men at Lacedaemon that they would make more progress towards virtue by associating with you than with their own people, or were you powerless to persuade their fathers that they ought rather to hand them over to you than to care for them themselves, if they are at all concerned for their sons? For surely they did not begrudge it to their children to become as good as possible.

Hip.: I do not think they begrudged it.

Soc.: But certainly Lacedaemon is well governed.

Hip.: Of course it is.

Soc.: And in well-governed states virtue is most highly honored.

Hip.: Certainly.

Soc.: And you know best of all men how to transmit that to another.

Hip.: Much best, Socrates.

Soc.: Well, he who knows best how to transmit horsemanship would be most honored in Thessaly of all parts of Greece and would receive most money — and anywhere else where horsemanship is a serious interest, would he not?

Hip.: Very likely.

Soc.: Then will not he who is able to transmit the doctrines that are of most value for the acquisition of virtue be most highly honored in Lacedaemon and make most money, if he so wishes, and in any other of the Greek states that is well governed? But do you, my friend, think he will fare better in Sicily and at Inycus? Are we to believe that, Hippias? For if you tell us to do so, we must believe it.

Hip.: Yes, for it is not the inherited usage of the Lacedaemonians to change their laws or to educate their children differently from what is customary.

Soc.: What? For the Lacedaemonians is it the hereditary usage not to act rightly, but to commit errors?

Hip.: I wouldn't say so, Socrates.

Soc.: Would they, then, not act rightly in educating the young men better, but not in educating them worse?

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