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For there is not a thing, about which a person may consult, more divine, than about the instruction of himself and of those related to him. DEMODOCUS: Let us, by Zeus, then, Socrates, consult; for it appears to me that there is need of no despicable counsel in this affair.
In the first place then, let you and I agree together as to what we think that thing is, about which we are consulting; lest I may not perchance6 take it to be one thing, and you another; and we afterwards perceive, when the conference has proceeded far7, that we are an object of ridicule, both I who give, and you who request, advice, in not thinking the same upon any thing. Is it not for that, by which we know how to manage horses when yoked? SOCRATES: Is not then the pilot’s art wisdom likewise? SOCRATES: Is it not that, by which we know how to manage? SOCRATES: But what is the wisdom of which you are desirous? THEAGES: By it we know, it seems to me, how to govern men. SOCRATES: Permit us first, thou good man, to interrogate him sufficiently. SOCRATES: What then, Theages, if we should make use of Euripides? SOCRATES: What then, do you also desire the conversation of a man, who happens to be a fellow-artist with Callicrete the daughter of Cyane, and who knows the art of a tyrant, as the poet says she did, in order that you may become a tyrant over us and the city?
The same thing appears to take place with respect to human beings likewise.
I form this conjecture as regards other things from my own affairs.
For of this my son, whether one must call it the planting, or the procreating, it is the easiest of all things; but his education is difficult, and I am continually in fear about him.
On other points much might be said; but the desire which now possesses him alarms me very much.
DEMODOCUS: It appears very nearly to be the best to do as you say. SOCRATES: You have given your son, Demodocus, a beautiful and sacred-like name. THEAGES: My father knows it, Socrates; for I have often mentioned it to him. SOCRATES: But is the wisdom, of which you have now a desire, nameless, or has it a name? SOCRATES: Whether then do you know it, but not its name? SOCRATES: But what then, after all, is this which you desire?
SOCRATES: Tell me then what is the name of this handsome8 youth? Tell us, Theages, do you say that you desire to become a wise man? But he designedly says this to you, as if truly he did not know what I desire; for in this and other matters likewise he opposes me, and is unwilling to place me with any one. SOCRATES: And if you desired to be wise in that wisdom, by which persons direct11 chariots, and afterwards blamed your father, on my asking you what this wisdom is, what answer would you give me? Do you not say that you desire to rule over the citizens?
But when what has been planted is in a living state, the care of it becomes great and painful, and difficult.The dialogue is, however, reckoned amongst the genuine works of Plato by Diogenes Laertius, iii. But Stalbaum himself feels disposed to refer it to Antipater, who flourished about A. 150, and who was the teacher of Panaetius, and the disciple of Diogenes of Babylon, and who wrote, as appears from Cicero de Divinat. 3, a work on the wonderful divinations made by Socrates, of which there are some curious instances given in this dialogue; and as both Cicero, and Plutarch in his treatise, On the Daemon of Socrates, seem to have made use of the work of Antipater, so probably did the author of this dialogue.57, on the authority of Thrasyllus, a Platonist of the time of Tiberius, as we learn from Suetonius in Tiberius, 14, and the Scholiast on Juvenal, vi. Persons of the Dialogue DEMODOCUS: I want, Socrates, to speak with you in private1 about some matters, if you are at leisure; and if your want of leisure be not very great, for my sake however make leisure.Hence I am come for this very purpose, that I may place him with some one of those, who are considered to be sophists. For you appear to me to say it is not that, by which we know how to govern mowers, and grape-gatherers, and planters, and sowers, and threshers; for it is the husbandman’s art, by which we govern these. THEAGES: Of this wisdom, Socrates, I have for a long while ago been wishing to speak. SOCRATES: Can you tell me then, what appellation Bacis15, and the Sibyl16, and our countryman Amphilytus17, bore? But endeavour to give me an answer as to what appellation Hippias and Periander bore through the same kind of dominion? And have you for a long time blamed your father, because he did not send you to the school of some tyrant-teacher?Opportunely then for us have you appeared, with whom, as I am about to engage in affairs of this kind, I wished very much to consult. SOCRATES: Is it that then, by which we know how to regulate singers in choirs? SOCRATES: Can you say, that Aegisthus, who slew Agamemnon at Argos, had dominion over what you have mentioned, artificers skilled and unskilled, and men and women, all taken together, or over some other things? SOCRATES: What then, did not Peleus, the son of Aeacus, have dominion over those very kind of persons in Phthia? SOCRATES: And you have heard that Periander, the son of Cypselus, was a ruler in Corinth. SOCRATES: And did he not rule over the very kind of persons in his city? SOCRATES: What then, do you not think that Archelaus,13 the son of Perdiccas, who was lately14 the ruler in Macedonia, had dominion over the same kind of persons? SOCRATES: And over whom do you think that Hippias, the son of Pisistratus, ruled in this city? THEAGES: What else, Socrates, than oracle-chaunters? THEAGES: Tyrants, I think; for what else (could it be)? 18 And are not you, Demodocus, ashamed of yourself?
Special attention is paid to the relationship between Plato's written and unwritten doctrines. 2, 3, and 4 are devoted to individual studies of lives and doctrines of the three heads of the Academy after Plato: Speusippus, Xenocrates, and Polemo respectively. 5 discusses the contributions of four minor figures connected with the Academy: Philippus of Opus, Hermodorus of Syracuse, Heraclides of Pontus, and Crantor of Soli.