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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Persons of the dialogue: Socrates - Critias - Timaeus - Hermocrates
Plato's Timaeus Bilingual (Greek/English) Version (without notes)
Translated by Benjamin Jowett - 37 Pages (Part 1) - Greek fonts
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TIMAEUS part 1 of 2

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Tim. Yes, Socrates; and what you said of it was very much to our mind.

Soc. Did we not begin by separating the husbandmen and the artisans from the class Plato notes @ Elpenor [original: γένους = generation; the difference is important, because a 'class' is a secondary distinction, while a generation belongs primarily and organically to the city as a living organism] of defenders of the state?

Tim. Yes. [17d]

Soc. And when we had given to each one that single employment and particular art which was suited to his nature, we spoke of those who were intended to be our warriors, and said that they were to be guardians of the city against attacks from within as well as from without, and to have no other employment; [18a] they were to be merciful in judging their subjects, of whom they were by nature friends, but fierce to their enemies, when they came across them in battle.

Tim. Exactly.

Soc. We said, if I am not mistaken, that the guardians should be gifted with a temperament Plato notes @ Elpenor [original: φύσιν ψυχῆς = nature of the soul; it is not a secondary property, but the very nature] in a high degree Plato notes @ Elpenor [original: διαφερόντως = distinctively; there is no objectively high degree, but a distinction in comparison with the others] both passionate and philosophical Plato notes @ Elpenor [notice, in the next sentence, how philosophy is viewed not as a rationalistic ability, but as the ground of a varying (mild or fierce) reference to friends and enemies ->]; and that then they would be as they ought to be, gentle to their Plato notes @ Elpenor [there is no "their" in the original, they are the friends or enemies of all the members of the city] friends and fierce with their Plato notes @ Elpenor [as above] enemies.

Tim. Certainly.

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