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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Plato Bilingual Anthology : SELF-KNOWLEDGE

from Alcibiades I, * 128e-129a, 132.b-133.c, translated by B. Jowett.

Greek Fonts / Plato Complete works / Plato Concept

OCRATES: But should we ever have known what art makes a shoe better, if we did not know a shoe?

ALCIBIADES: Impossible.

SO. Nor should we know what art makes a ring better, if we did not know a ring?

AL. That is true.

SO. And can we ever know what art makes a man better, if we do not know what we are ourselves?

AL. Impossible.

SO. And is self-knowledge such an easy thing, and was he to be lightly esteemed who inscribed the text on the temple at Delphi? Or is self-knowledge a difficult thing, which few are able to attain?

γνῶναι ἑαυτόν

ΣΩ. ῏Η οὖν ἔγνωμεν ἄν ποτε τίς τέχνη ὑπόδημα βέλτιον ποιεῖ͵ μὴ εἰδότες ὑπόδημα;

ΑΛ. Ἀδύνατον.

ΣΩ. Οὐδέ γε τίς τέχνη δακτυλίους βελτίους ποιεῖ͵ ἀγνοοῦντες δακτύλιον.

ΑΛ. Ἀληθῆ.

ΣΩ. Τί δέ; τίς τέχνη βελτίω ποιεῖ αὐτόν͵ ἆρ΄ ἄν ποτε γνοῖμεν ἀγνοοῦντες τί ποτ΄ ἐσμὲν αὐτοί;

ΑΛ. Ἀδύνατον.

ΣΩ. Πότερον οὖν δὴ ῥᾴδιον τυγχάνει τὸ γνῶναι ἑαυτόν͵ καί τις ἦν φαῦλος ὁ τοῦτο ἀναθεὶς εἰς τὸν ἐν Πυθοῖ νεών͵ ἢ χαλεπόν τι καὶ οὐχὶ παντός;

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