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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Plato Bilingual Anthology : BIRTH IN GOODNESS AND BEAUTY

from Symposium, * 206c-207a, translated by B. Jowett

Greek Fonts / Plato Complete works / Plato Concept


ΗΕΝ if this be the nature of love, can you tell me further," she said, "what is the manner of the pursuit? what are they doing who show all this eagerness and heat which is called love? and what is the object which they have in view? Answer me." "Nay, Diotima," I replied, "if I had known, I should not have wondered at your wisdom, neither should I have come to learn from you about this very matter." "Well," she said, "I will teach you:-The object which they have in view is birth in beauty, whether of body or, soul." "I do not understand you," I said; "the oracle requires an explanation." "I will make my meaning clearer," she replied. "I mean to say, that all men are bringing to the birth in their bodies and in their souls. There is a certain age at which human nature is desirous of procreation-procreation which must be in beauty and not in deformity; and this procreation is the union of man and woman, and is a divine thing; for conception and generation are an immortal principle in the mortal creature, and in the inharmonious they can never be. But the deformed is always inharmonious with the divine, and the beautiful harmonious.

τόκος ἐν καλῷ

Ὅτε δὴ τοῦτο ὁ ἔρως ἐστὶν ἀεί͵ ἦ δ΄ ἥ͵ τῶν τίνα τρόπον διωκόντων αὐτὸ καὶ ἐν τίνι πράξει ἡ σπουδὴ καὶ ἡ σύντασις ἔρως ἂν καλοῖτο; τί τοῦτο τυγχάνει ὂν τὸ ἔργον; ἔχεις εἰπεῖν; Οὐ μεντἂν σέ͵ ἔφην ἐγώ͵ ὦ Διοτίμα͵ ἐθαύμαζον ἐπὶ σοφίᾳ καὶ ἐφοίτων παρὰ σὲ αὐτὰ ταῦτα μαθησόμενος. Ἀλλὰ ἐγώ σοι͵ ἔφη͵ ἐρῶ. ἔστι γὰρ τοῦτο τόκος ἐν καλῷ καὶ κατὰ τὸ σῶμα καὶ κατὰ τὴν ψυχήν. Μαντείας͵ ἦν δ΄ ἐγώ͵ δεῖται ὅτι ποτε λέγεις͵ καὶ οὐ μανθάνω. Ἀλλ΄ ἐγώ͵ ἦ δ΄ ἥ͵ σαφέστερον ἐρῶ. Κυοῦσιν γάρ͵ ἔφη͵ ὦ Σώκρατες͵ πάντες ἄνθρωποι καὶ κατὰ τὸ σῶμα καὶ κατὰ τὴν ψυχήν͵ καὶ ἐπειδὰν ἔν τινι ἡλικίᾳ γένωνται͵ τίκτειν ἐπιθυμεῖ ἡμῶν ἡ φύσις. τίκτειν δὲ ἐν μὲν αἰσχρῷ οὐ δύναται͵ ἐν δὲ τῷ καλῷ. ἡ γὰρ ἀνδρὸς καὶ γυναικὸς συνουσία τόκος ἐστίν. ἔστι δὲ τοῦτο θεῖον τὸ πρᾶγμα͵ καὶ τοῦτο ἐν θνητῷ ὄντι τῷ ζῴῳ ἀθάνατον ἔνεστιν͵ ἡ κύησις καὶ ἡ γέννησις. τὰ δὲ ἐν τῷ ἀναρμόστῳ ἀδύνατον γενέσθαι. ἀνάρμοστον δ΄ ἐστὶ τὸ αἰσχρὸν παντὶ τῷ θείῳ͵ τὸ δὲ καλὸν ἁρμόττον.

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