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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Persons of the dialogue: Socrates - Alcibiades
Translated by Benjamin Jowett - 50 Pages - Greek fonts
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Page 3

Alc.: Your silence, Socrates, was always a surprise to me. I never could understand why you followed me about, and now that you have begun to speak again, I am still more amazed. Whether I think all this or not, is a matter about which you seem to have already made up your mind, and therefore my denial will have no effect upon you. But granting, if I must, that you have perfectly divined my purposes, why is your assistance necessary to the attainment of them? Can you tell me why?

Soc.: You want to know whether I can make a long speech, such as you are in the habit of hearing; but that is not my way. I think, however, that I can prove to you the truth of what I am saying, if you will grant me one little favour.

Alc.: Yes, if the favour which you mean be not a troublesome one.

Soc.: Will you be troubled at having questions to answer?

Alc.: Not at all.

Soc.: Then please to answer.

Alc.: Ask me.

Soc.: Have you not the intention which I attribute to you?

Alc.: I will grant anything you like, in the hope of hearing what more you have to say.

Soc.: You do, then, mean, as I was saying, to come forward in a little while in the character of an adviser of the Athenians? And suppose that when you are ascending the bema, I pull you by the sleeve and say, Alcibiades, you are getting up to advise the Athenians—do you know the matter about which they are going to deliberate, better than they?—How would you answer?

Alc.: I should reply, that I was going to advise them about a matter which I do know better than they.

Soc.: Then you are a good adviser about the things which you know?

Alc.: Certainly.

Soc.: And do you know anything but what you have learned of others, or found out yourself?

Alc.: That is all.

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