Book II

Now, if the effect of such discourses was, as I imagine, to deter his hearers from the paths of quackery and false-seeming,[1] so I am sure that language like the following was calculated to stimulate his followers to practise self-control and endurance: self-control in the matters of eating, drinking, sleeping, and the cravings of lust; endurance of cold and heat and toil and pain. He had noticed the undue licence which one of his acquaintances allowed himself in all such matters.[2] Accordingly he thus addressed him:

Tell me, Aristippus (Socrates said), supposing you had two children entrusted to you to educate, one of them must be brought up with an aptitude for government, and the other without the faintest propensity to rule--how would you educate them? What do you say? Shall we begin our inquiry from the beginning, as it were, with the bare elements of food and nutriment?

Aristodemus. Yes, food to begin with, by all means, being a first principle,[3] without which there is no man living but would perish.

Socrates. Well, then, we may expect, may we not, that a desire to grasp food at certain seasons will exhibit itself in both the children?

Aristodemus. It is to be expected.

Socrates. Which, then, of the two must be trained, of his own free will,[4] to prosecute a pressing business rather than gratify the belly?

Aristodemus. No doubt the one who is being trained to govern, if we would not have affairs of state neglected during[5] his government.

Socrates. And the same pupil must be furnished with a power of holding out against thirst also when the craving to quench it comes upon him?

Aristodemus. Certainly he must.

Socrates. And on which of the two shall we confer such self-control in regard to sleep as shall enable him to rest late and rise early, or keep vigil, if the need arise?

Aristodemus. To the same one of the two must be given that endurance also.

Socrates. Well, and a continence in regard to matters sexual so great that nothing of the sort shall prevent him from doing his duty? Which of them claims that?

Aristodemus. The same one of the pair again.

Socrates. Well, and on which of the two shall be bestowed, as a further gift, the voluntary resolution to face toils rather than turn and flee from them?

Aristodemus. This, too, belongs of right to him who is being trained for government.

Socrates. Well, and to which of them will it better accord to be taught all knowledge necessary towards the mastery of antagonists?

Aristodemus. To our future ruler certainly, for without these parts of learning all his other capacities will be merely waste.

Socrates. [6]Will not a man so educated be less liable to be entrapped by rival powers, and so escape a common fate of living creatures, some of which (as we all know) are hooked through their own greediness, and often even in spite of a native shyness; but through appetite for food they are drawn towards the bait, and are caught; while others are similarly ensnared by drink?

Aristodemus. Undoubtedly.

Socrates. And others again are victims of amorous heat, as quails, for instance, or partridges, which, at the cry of the hen-bird, with lust and expectation of such joys grow wild, and lose their power of computing dangers: on they rush, and fall into the snare of the hunter?

Aristippus assented.

Socrates. And would it not seem to be a base thing for a man to be affected like the silliest bird or beast? as when the adulterer invades the innermost sanctum[7] of the house, though he is well aware of the risks which his crime involves,[8] the formidable penalties of the law, the danger of being caught in the toils, and then suffering the direst contumely. Considering all the hideous penalties which hang over the adulterer's head, considering also the many means at hand to release him from the thraldom of his passion, that a man should so drive headlong on to the quicksands of perdition[9]--what are we to say of such frenzy? The wretch who can so behave must surely be tormented by an evil spirit?[10]

Aristodemus. So it strikes me.

Socrates. And does it not strike you as a sign of strange indifference that, whereas the greater number of the indispensable affairs of men, as for instance, those of war and agriculture, and more than half the rest, need to be conducted under the broad canopy of heaven,[11] yet the majority of men are quite untrained to wrestle with cold and heat?

Aristippus again assented.

Socrates. And do you not agree that he who is destined to rule must train himself to bear these things lightly?

Aristodemus. Most certainly.

Socrates. And whilst we rank those who are self-disciplined in all these matters among persons fit to rule, we are bound to place those incapable of such conduct in the category of persons without any pretension whatsoever to be rulers?

Aristodemus. I assent.

Socrates. Well, then, since you know the rank peculiar to either section of mankind, did it ever strike you to consider to which of the two you are best entitled to belong?

Yes I have (replied Aristippus). I do not dream for a moment of ranking myself in the class of those who wish to rule. In fact, considering how serious a business it is to cater for one's own private needs, I look upon it as the mark of a fool not to be content with that, but to further saddle oneself with the duty of providing the rest of the community with whatever they may be pleased to want. That, at the cost of much personal enjoyment, a man should put himself at the head of a state, and then, if he fail to carry through every jot and tittle of that state's desire, be held to criminal account, does seem to me the very extravagance of folly. Why, bless me! states claim to treat their rulers precisely as I treat my domestic slaves. I expect my attendants to furnish me with an abundance of necessaries, but not to lay a finger on one of them themselves. So these states regard it as the duty of a ruler to provide them with all the good things imaginable, but to keep his own hands off them all the while.[12] So then, for my part, if anybody desires to have a heap of pother himself,[13] and be a nuisance to the rest of the world, I will educate him in the manner suggested, and he shall take his place among those who are fit to rule; but for myself, I beg to be enrolled amongst those who wish to spend their days as easily and pleasantly as possible.

Socrates. Shall we then at this point turn and inquire which of the two are likely to lead the pleasanter life, the rulers or the ruled?

Aristodemus. By all means let us do so.

Socrates. To begin then with the nations and races known to ourselves.[14] In Asia the Persians are the rulers, while the Syrians, Phrygians, Lydians are ruled; and in Europe we find the Scythians ruling, and the Maeotians being ruled. In Africa[15] the Carthaginians are rulers, the Libyans ruled. Which of these two sets respectively leads the happier life, in your opinion? Or, to come nearer home--you are yourself a Hellene--which among Hellenes enjoy the happier existence, think you, the dominant or the subject states?

Nay,[16] I would have you to understand (exclaimed Aristippus) that I am just as far from placing myself in the ranks of slavery; there is, I take it, a middle path between the two which it is my ambition to tread, avoiding rule and slavery alike; it lies through freedom--the high road which leads to happiness.

Socrates. True, if only your path could avoid human beings, as it avoids rule and slavery, there would be something in what you say. But being placed as you are amidst human beings, if you purpose neither to rule nor to be ruled, and do not mean to dance attendance, if you can help it, on those who rule, you must surely see that the stronger have an art to seat the weaker on the stool of repentance[17] both in public and in private, and to treat them as slaves. I daresay you have not failed to note this common case: a set of people has sown and planted, whereupon in comes another set and cuts their corn and fells their fruit-trees, and in every way lays siege to them because, though weaker, they refuse to pay them proper court, till at length they are persuaded to accept slavery rather than war against their betters. And in private life also, you will bear me out, the brave and powerful are known to reduce the helpless and cowardly to bondage, and to make no small profit out of their victims.

Aristodemus. Yes, but I must tell you I have a simple remedy against all such misadventures. I do not confine myself to any single civil community. I roam the wide world a foreigner.

Socrates. Well, now, that is a masterly stroke, upon my word![18] Of course, ever since the decease of Sinis, and Sciron, and Procrustes,[19] foreign travellers have had an easy time of it. But still, if I bethink me, even in these modern days the members of free communities do pass laws in their respective countries for self- protection against wrong-doing. Over and above their personal connections, they provide themselves with a host of friends; they gird their cities about with walls and battlements; they collect armaments to ward off evil-doers; and to make security doubly sure, they furnish themselves with allies from foreign states. In spite of all which defensive machinery these same free citizens do occasionally fall victims to injustice. But you, who are without any of these aids; you, who pass half your days on the high roads where iniquity is rife;[20] you, who, into whatever city you enter, are less than the least of its free members, and moreover are just the sort of person whom any one bent on mischief would single out for attack--yet you, with your foreigner's passport, are to be exempt from injury? So you flatter yourself. And why? Will the state authorities cause proclamation to be made on your behalf: "The person of this man Aristippus is secure; let his going out and his coming in be free from danger"? Is that the ground of your confidence? or do you rather rest secure in the consciousness that you would prove such a slave as no master would care to keep? For who would care to have in his house a fellow with so slight a disposition to work and so strong a propensity to extravagance? Suppose we stop and consider that very point: how do masters deal with that sort of domestic? If I am not mistaken, they chastise his wantonness by starvation; they balk his thieving tendencies by bars and bolts where there is anything to steal; they hinder him from running away by bonds and imprisonment; they drive the sluggishness out of him with the lash. Is it not so? Or how do you proceed when you discover the like tendency in one of your domestics?

Aristodemus. I correct them with all the plagues, till I force them to serve me properly. But, Socrates, to return to your pupil educated in the royal art,[21] which, if I mistake not, you hold to be happiness: how, may I ask, will he be better off than others who lie in evil case, in spite of themselves, simply because they suffer perforce, but in his case the hunger and the thirst, the cold shivers and the lying awake at nights, with all the changes he will ring on pain, are of his own choosing? For my part I cannot see what difference it makes, provided it is one and the same bare back which receives the stripes, whether the whipping be self-appointed or unasked for; nor indeed does it concern my body in general, provided it be my body, whether I am beleaguered by a whole armament of such evils[22] of my own will or against my will--except only for the folly which attaches to self- appointed suffering.

Socrates. What, Aristippus, does it not seem to you that, as regards such matters, there is all the difference between voluntary and involuntary suffering, in that he who starves of his own accord can eat when he chooses, and he who thirsts of his own free will can drink, and so for the rest; but he who suffers in these ways perforce cannot desist from the suffering when the humour takes him? Again, he who suffers hardship voluntarily, gaily confronts his troubles, being buoyed on hope[23]--just as a hunter in pursuit of wild beasts, through hope of capturing his quarry, finds toil a pleasure--and these are but prizes of little worth in return for their labours; but what shall we say of their reward who toil to obtain to themselves good friends, or to subdue their enemies, or that through strength of body and soul they may administer their households well, befriend their friends, and benefit the land which gave them birth? Must we not suppose that these too will take their sorrows lightly, looking to these high ends? Must we not suppose that they too will gaily confront existence, who have to support them not only their conscious virtue, but the praise and admiration of the world?[24] And once more, habits of indolence, along with the fleeting pleasures of the moment, are incapable, as gymnastic trainers say, of setting up[25] a good habit of body, or of implanting in the soul any knowledge worthy of account; whereas by painstaking endeavour in the pursuit of high and noble deeds, as good men tell us, through endurance we shall in the end attain the goal. So Hesiod somewhere says:[26]

Wickedness may a man take wholesale with ease, smooth is the way and her dwelling-place is very nigh; but in front of virtue the immortal gods have placed toil and sweat, long is the path and steep that leads to her, and rugged at the first, but when the summit of the pass is reached, then for all its roughness the path grows easy.

And Ephicharmus[27] bears his testimony when he says:

The gods sell us all good things in return for our labours.

And again in another passage he exclaims:

Set not thine heart on soft things, thou knave, lest thou light upon the hard.

And that wise man Prodicus[28] delivers himself in a like strain concerning virtue in that composition of his about Heracles, which crowds have listened to.[29] This, as far as I can recollect it, is the substance at least of what he says:

"When Heracles was emerging from boyhood into the bloom of youth, having reached that season in which the young man, now standing upon the verge of independence, shows plainly whether he will enter upon the path of virtue or of vice, he went forth into a quiet place, and sat debating with himself which of those two paths he should pursue; and as he there sat musing, there appeared to him two women of great stature which drew nigh to him. The one was fair to look upon, frank and free by gift of nature,[30] her limbs adorned with purity and her eyes with bashfulness; sobriety set the rhythm of her gait, and she was clad in white apparel. The other was of a different type; the fleshy softness of her limbs betrayed her nurture, while the complexion of her skin was embellished that she might appear whiter and rosier than she really was, and her figure that she might seem taller than nature made her; she stared with wide-open eyes, and the raiment wherewith she was clad served but to reveal the ripeness of her bloom. With frequent glances she surveyed her person, or looked to see if others noticed her; while ever and anon she fixed her gaze upon the shadow of herself intently.

"Now when these two had drawn near to Heracles, she who was first named advanced at an even pace[31] towards him, but the other, in her eagerness to outstrip her, ran forward to the youth, exclaiming, 'I see you, Heracles, in doubt and difficulty what path of life to choose; make me your friend, and I will lead you to the pleasantest road and easiest. This I promise you: you shall taste all of life's sweets and escape all bitters. In the first place, you shall not trouble your brain with war or business; other topics shall engage your mind;[32] your only speculation, what meat or drink you shall find agreeable to your palate; what delight[33] of ear or eye; what pleasure of smell or touch; what darling lover's intercourse shall most enrapture you; how you shall pillow your limbs in softest slumber; how cull each individual pleasure without alloy of pain; and if ever the suspicion steal upon you that the stream of joys will one day dwindle, trust me I will not lead you where you shall replenish the store by toil of body and trouble of soul. No! others shall labour, but you shall reap the fruit of their labours; you shall withhold your hand from nought which shall bring you gain. For to all my followers I give authority and power to help themselves freely from every side.'

"Heracles hearing these words made answer: 'What, O lady, is the name you bear?' To which she: 'Know that my friends call be Happiness, but they that hate me have their own nicknames[34] for me, Vice and Naughtiness.'

"But just then the other of those fair women approached and spoke: 'Heracles, I too am come to you, seeing that your parents are well known to me, and in your nurture I have gauged your nature; wherefore I entertain good hope that if you choose the path which leads to me, you shall greatly bestir yourself to be the doer of many a doughty deed of noble emprise; and that I too shall be held in even higher honour for your sake, lit with the lustre shed by valorous deeds.[35] I will not cheat you with preludings of pleasure,[36] but I will relate to you the things that are according to the ordinances of God in very truth. Know then that among things that are lovely and of good report, not one have the gods bestowed upon mortal men apart from toil and pains. Would you obtain the favour of the gods, then must you pay these same gods service; would you be loved by your friends, you must benefit these friends; do you desire to be honoured by the state, you must give the state your aid; do you claim admiration for your virtue from all Hellas, you must strive to do some good to Hellas; do you wish earth to yield her fruits to you abundantly, to earth must you pay your court; do you seek to amass riches from your flocks and herds, on them must you bestow your labour; or is it your ambition to be potent as a warrior, able to save your friends and to subdue your foes, then must you learn the arts of war from those who have the knowledge, and practise their application in the field when learned; or would you e'en be powerful of limb and body, then must you habituate limbs and body to obey the mind, and exercise yourself with toil and sweat.'

"At this point, (as Prodicus relates) Vice broke in exclaiming: 'See you, Heracles, how hard and long the road is by which yonder woman would escort you to her festal joys.[37] But I will guide you by a short and easy road to happiness.'

"Then spoke Virtue: 'Nay, wretched one, what good thing hast thou? or what sweet thing art thou acquainted with--that wilt stir neither hand nor foot to gain it? Thou, that mayest not even await the desire of pleasure, but, or ever that desire springs up, art already satiated; eating before thou hungerest, and drinking before thou thirsteth; who to eke out an appetite must invent an army of cooks and confectioners; and to whet thy thirst must lay down costliest wines, and run up and down in search of ice in summer-time; to help thy slumbers soft coverlets suffice not, but couches and feather-beds must be prepared thee and rockers to rock thee to rest; since desire for sleep in thy case springs not from toil but from vacuity and nothing in the world to do. Even the natural appetite of love thou forcest prematurely by every means thou mayest devise, confounding the sexes in thy service. Thus thou educatest thy friends: with insult in the night season and drowse of slumber during the precious hours of the day. Immortal, thou art cast forth from the company of gods, and by good men art dishonoured: that sweetest sound of all, the voice of praise, has never thrilled thine ears; and the fairest of all fair visions is hidden from thine eyes that have never beheld one bounteous deed wrought by thine own hand. If thou openest thy lips in speech, who will believe thy word? If thou hast need of aught, none shall satisfy thee. What sane man will venture to join thy rablle rout? Ill indeed are thy revellers to look upon, young men impotent of body, and old men witless in mind: in the heyday of life they batten in sleek idleness, and wearily do they drag through an age of wrinkled wretchedness: and why? they blush with shame at the thought of deeds done in the past, and groan for weariness at what is left to do. During their youth they ran riot through their sweet things, and laid up for themselves large store of bitterness against the time of eld. But my companionship is with the gods; and with the good among men my conversation; no bounteous deed, divine or human, is wrought without my aid. Therefore am I honoured in Heaven pre-eminently, and upon earth among men whose right it is to honour me;[38] as a beloved fellow-worker of all craftsmen; a faithful guardian of house and lands, whom the owners bless; a kindly helpmeet of servants;[39] a brave assistant in the labours of peace; an unflinching ally in the deeds of war; a sharer in all friendships indispensable. To my friends is given an enjoyment of meats and drinks, which is sweet in itself and devoid of trouble, in that they can endure until desire ripens, and sleep more delicious visits them than those who toil not. Yet they are not pained to part with it; nor for the sake of slumber do they let slip the performance of their duties. Among my followers the youth delights in the praises of his elders, and the old man glories in the honour of the young; with joy they call to memory their deeds of old, and in to-day's well-doing are well pleased. For my sake they are dear in the sight of God, beloved of their friends and honoured by the country of their birth. When the appointed goal is reached they lie not down in oblivion with dishonour, but bloom afresh--their praise resounded on the lips of men for ever.[40] Toils like these, O son of noble parents, Heracles, it is yours to meet with, and having endured, to enter into the heritage assured you of transcendant happiness.'"

This, Aristippus, in rough sketch is the theme which Prodicus pursues[41] in his "Education of Heracles by Virtue," only he decked out his sentiments, I admit, in far more magnificant phrases than I have ventured on. Were it not well, Aristippus, to lay to heart these sayings, and to strive to bethink you somewhat of that which touches the future of our life?

[1] This sentence in the Greek concludes Bk. I. There is something wrong or very awkward in the text here.

[2] Cf. Grote, "Plato," III. xxxviii. p. 530.

[3] Aristippus plays upon the word {arkhe}.

[4] {proairesis}.

[5] Lit. "along of."

[6] [SS. 4, 5, L. Dind. ed Lips.]

[7] {eis as eirktas}. The penetralia.

[8] Or, "he knows the risks he runs of suffering those penalties with which the law threatens his crime should he fall into the snare, and being caught, be mutilated."

[9] Or, "leap headlong into the jaws of danger."

[10] {kakodaimonontos}.

[11] Or, "in the open air."

[12] Or, "but he must have no finger in the pie himself."

[13] See Kuhner ad loc.

[14] Or, "the outer world, the non-Hellenic races and nationalities of which we have any knowledge."

[15] Lit. "Libya."

[16] Or, "Pardon me interrupting you, Socrates; but I have not the slightest intention of placing myself." See W. L. Newman, op. cit. i. 306.

[17] See "Symp." iii. 11; "Cyrop." II. ii. 14; Plat. "Ion," 535 E; L. Dindorf ad loc.

[18] Or, "Well foiled!" "A masterly fall! my prince of wrestlers."

[19] For these mythical highway robbers, see Diod. iv. 59; and for Sciron in particular, Plut. "Theseus," 10.

[20] Or, "where so many suffer wrong."

[21] Cf. below, IV. ii. 11; Plat. "Statesm." 259 B; "Euthyd." 291 C; K. Joel, op. cit. p. 387 foll. "Aristippus anticipates Adeimantus" ("Rep." 419), W. L. Newman, op. cit. i. 395.

[22] Cf. "suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune."

[23] Cf. above, I. vi. 8.

[24] Or, "in admiration of themselves, the praise and envy of the world at large."

[25] See Hippocrates, "V. Med." 18.

[26] Hesiod, "Works and Days," 285. See Plat. "Prot." 340 C; "Rep." ii. 364 D; "Laws," iv. 718 E.

[27] Epicharmus of Cos, the chief comic poet among the Dorians, fl. 500 B.C. Cf. Plat. "Theaet." 152 E, "the prince of comedy"; "Gorg." 505 D.

[28] Prodicus of Ceos. See Plat. "Men." 24; "Cratyl." 1; Philostr. "Vit. Soph." i. 12.

[29] Or, "which he is fond of reciting as a specimen of style." The title of the {epideixis} was {'Orai} according to Suidas, {Prodikos}.

[30] Reading {eleutherion phusei, . . .} or if {eleutherion, phusei . . .} translate "nature had adorned her limbs . . ."

[31] Or, "without change in her demeanour."

[32] Reading {diese}, or {dioisei}, "you shall continue speculating solely."

[33] It will be recollected that Prodicus prided himself on {orthotes onomaton}. Possibly Xenophon is imitating (caricaturing?) his style. {terphtheies, estheies, euphrantheies}.

[34] So the vulg. {upokorizomenoi} is interpreted. Cobet ("Pros. Xen." p. 36) suggests {upoknizomenoi} = "quippe qui desiderio pungantur."

[35] Or, "bathed in the splendour of thy virtues."

[36] Or, "honeyed overtures of pleasure."

[37] Hesiod, "Theog." 909; Milton, "L'Allegro," 12.

[38] Reading {ois prosekei}, or if {proseko}, translate "to whom I am attached."

[39] Cf. "Econ." v. 8.

[40] Or, "so true is it, a branch is left them; undying honour to their name!"

[41] Reading {diokei}, al. {diokei} = "so Prodicus arranged the parts of his discourse."