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Headword: *pla/twn
Adler number: pi,1709
Translated headword: Plato
Vetting Status: high
[Plato] the philosopher was a pauper[1] and possessed only the garden in the Academy, which was a very small part of the property of the succeeding heads of the Academy; for the garden brought in close to three gold coins [sc. annually], but the whole revenue later was nearly a thousand or even a little more. It increased in later times as devoted and learned men died at one time or another and in their wills left to those practicing philosophy a resource for the philosophic life of leisure and calm.
Plato in Laws[2] says that the soul is free and mistress of the passions. To conquer oneself is the first and best of all conquests, whereas for one to be defeated by oneself is the most shameful and worst [of defeats]. We know that the passions, like certain sinews and cords that are in us, draw us and drag us contrary to one another, certain actions being opposed to opposite actions. Precisely in this respect virtue and vice [do not][3] lie distinguished from one another, for the logic of our argument says each person ought, following always one of the powers that attract and never leaving, to resist the other impulses; and this is the leading of reason. The sage moreover has shown how he has assigned to the will of the soul the power to distinguish between the better and the worse. The selfsame Plato has said as he discoursed on divine matters:[4] "What is that which always has being, though it has no beginning, and what is that which is always beginning, but never has being? The one is comprehensible by the understanding of reason, for it is always the same, the other, accessible through conjecture by irrational perception, becoming and passing away, but never really existing. All of these are a portion of time, that which was and is and will be which we unwittingly apply to the invincible essence, but erroneously; you see we say that it was, is, and will be. The term 'is', in accordance with true reasoning, is only applicable to God, whereas 'was' and 'will be' are fittingly spoken of that which comes about in time, whereas that which is eternally, immovably the same ought not be called either newer or older. And that which is eternally and precedes [all] is superior to all coming into being, whereas that which comes into being and is subject to many alterations," he reasonably said, "never exists." And again the same Plato said, "God is good in reality and must be said to be responsible for good things but not responsible for any evils." He himself, having showed us in the Laws the presidency of the whole, said that God has taken the tillers[5] of all things; God, you see, holding the beginning, middle, and end of all things, advances straight on as he proceeds around according to nature, and justice always accompanies him as a chastiser of those who depart from the divine law. The one who is going to be happy adheres [to it] and follows humble and orderly, but the one arrogantly exalted, elevated either by wealth or public offices or by beauty of body, burns alike with impetuosity and senselessness accompanied by pride, as though not in need of someone to control him or lead him but rather as though he were able to lead others, is abandoned devoid of God, yet, though abandoned, taking others like himself, bounds along confusing everything and has seemed to many to be somebody, but after a time has provided no trifling penalty to justice and overthrown himself and his house and his city. On this account the philosopher has shown both the guardian of the whole and the his long-suffering regarding certain ones and the disgrace that attaches to the senseless and the utter ruin that later is brought upon them. He himself in the Gorgias[6] reveals the causes of the punishment, speaking thus: "It is befitting for someone subject to punishment at the hands of one who rightly punishes him either to become better and to profit really in some respect or or to become an example to others, so that they, seeing him suffer what he suffers, out of fear will become better. Those who are helped by paying the penalty at the hands of God and men commit sins that are curable. Through sufferings and pains benefit accrues to them alike here and in Hades, for it is not otherwise possible for them to be rid of injustice. However those who commit extreme acts of injustice and become incurable, become examples here, and these no longer profit at all, since they are incurable, but others profit by seeing them undergoing the most painful and fearful sufferings on account of these sins and simply and being held up as accessible through conjecture by irrational perception examples continually." These concepts he seems to have plundered from the divine scriptures, spoken by Moses under divine inspiration to Pharoah: "I have roused you up to this, so that I may show in you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth."[7] For God inflicted all sorts of punishments on him since he was utterly evil, not so that he could make him better [for he knew that his mind was stubborn and his illness incurable], but so that the tales about him would be examples, just as cities maintain executioners, not that they commend their vocation but that they tolerate their services because of necessity, and so forth as is manifest [from what has been said]. The very same man says in the Phaedo[8] concerning the assignment and apportionment by lot of souls: "The one who is uninitiated and unpurified, on arrival in Hades, lies in mire, whereas the one who has been initiated and purified upon moving there will dwell with the gods." And elsewhere: "The one who has passed through life justly and innocently upon death will go to the Isles of the Blessed to dwell in all happiness free of evil, but the one who has lived unjustly and godlessly will go to the dungeon of judgment and retribution, which they call Tartarus." These things he learned from the Egyptians.
Greek Original:
*pla/twn o( filo/sofos pe/nhs h)=n kai\ mo/non to\n e)n *)akadhmi/a| e)ke/kthto kh=pon, o(\s me/ros e)la/xiston h)=n tw=n diadoxikw=n: o( me\n ga\r kh=pos e)ggu/s ti xrusw=n triw=n nomisma/twn a)pedi/dou, h( de\ o(/lh pro/sodos u(/steron xili/wn h)\ kai\ pleio/nwn o)li/gon. hu)ch/qh de\ au(/th kata\ tou\s newte/rous xro/nous, a)nqrw/pwn i(erw=n te kai\ filolo/gwn a)/llote a)/llwn a)poqnhsko/ntwn kai\ kata\ diaqh/kas a)poleipo/ntwn toi=s filosofou=sin a)formh\n th=s e)pi\ tw=| filoso/fw| bi/w| sxolh=s kai\ galh/nhs. o(/ti o( *pla/twn e)n *no/mois fhsi\n e)leuqe/ran ei)=nai th\n yuxh\n kai\ de/spoinan tw=n paqw=n. to\ me\n nika=n au)to\n e(auto\n pasw=n nikw=n prw/th kai\ a)ri/sth, to\ de\ h(tta=sqai au)to\n u(f' e(autou= ai)/sxisto/n te kai\ ka/kiston. i)/smen ga\r o(/ti ta\ pa/qh ta\ e)n h(mi=n oi(=on neu=ra h)\ mh/rinqoi/ tines e)nou=sai spw=si/ te h(ma=s kai\ a)llh/lais a)nqe/lkousin, e)nanti/ai ge ou)=sai e)p' e)nanti/as pra/ceis. ou) dh\ diwrisme/nh a)reth\ kai\ kaki/a kei=tai: mia=| ga/r fhsin o( lo/gos dei=n tw=n e(/lcewn e(po/menon a)ei\ kai\ mhdamh=| a)poleipo/menon e)kei/nhs a)nqe/lkein toi=s a)/llois me/trois e(/kaston, tau/thn de\ ei)=nai th\n tou= logismou= a)gwgh/n. a)pe/deicen ou)=n o( sofo\s w(s th=| boulh=| th=s yuxh=s a)pe/neime th\n tw=n kreitto/nwn kai\ xeiro/nwn diai/resin. o( au)to\s *pla/twn fhsi\ qeologw=n: ti/ to\ o)\n me\n a)ei/, ge/nesin de\ ou)k e)/xon, kai\ ti/ to\ gino/menon a)ei/, o)\n de\ ou)de/pote; to\ me\n dh\ noh/sei tou= lo/gou perilhpto\n a)ei\ kata\ to\ au)to\ o)/n, to\ de\ ai)sqh/sei a)lo/gw| docasto\n gino/menon me\n kai\ a)pogino/menon, o)/ntws de\ ou)de/pote o)/n. tau=ta de\ pa/nta me/ros xro/nou to\ h)=n kai\ e)/stai, a(\ dh\ fe/rontes lanqa/nomen e)pi\ th\n a)i/+dion ou)si/an, ou)k o)rqw=s: le/gomen ga\r dh/, w(s h)=n, e)/sti te kai\ e)/stai. to\ de\ e)/sti mo/non kata\ to\n a)lhqino\n lo/gon prosh/kei qew=|, to\ de\ h)=n kai\ e)/stai peri\ th\n e)n xro/nw| ge/nesin ou)=san pre/pei le/gesqai, to\ de\ a)ei\ kata\ tauto\n a)kinh/tws ou)/te new/teron ou)/te presbu/teron xrh\ le/gesqai. kai\ ga\r to\ a)ei\ o)\n kai\ proo\n gene/sew/s e)stin a(pa/shs u(pe/rteron, to\ de\ gino/menon kai\ a)lloiw/seis polla\s u(podexo/menon ei)ko/tws e)/fhsen ou)de/pote ei)=nai. kai\ pa/lin o( au)to\s *pla/twn fhsi/n: a)gaqo\s me\n o( qeo\s tw=| o)/nti kai/ ge lekte/on ai)/tios tw=n a)gaqw=n, tw\n de\ kakw=n a(pa/ntwn a)nai/tios. o( au)to\s e)n toi=s *no/mois deiknu\s h(mi=n to\n tw=n o(/lwn pru/tanin tw=n tou= panto\s oi)a/kwn e)peilhmme/non fhsi/n: o( me\n dh\ qeo\s a)rxh\n kai\ teleuth\n kai\ me/sa tw=n pa/ntwn e)/xwn eu)qe/a perai/nei kata\ fu/sin periporeuo/menos, tw=| de\ a)ei\ cune/petai di/kh tw=n a)poleipome/nwn tou= qei/ou no/mou timwro/s: h(=s o( me\n eu)daimonh/sein me/llwn e)xo/menos cune/petai tapeino\s kai\ kekosmhme/nos, o( de/ tis e)carqei\s u(po\ megalauxi/as h)\ xrh/masin e)pairo/menos h)\ timai=s h)\ kai\ swma/twn eu)morfi/a| a(/ma neo/thti kai\ a)noi/a| fle/getai meq' u(/brews, w(s dh\ ou)/t' a)/rxontos ou)/t' au)= h(gemo/nos deo/menos, a)lla\ kai\ a)/llois i(kano\s w)\n h(gei=sqai, katalei/petai e)/rhmos qeou=, kataleifqei\s de\ kai\ e)/ti toiou/tous a)/llous labw/n, skirta=| tara/ttwn pa/nta a(/ma kai\ polloi=s tisin e)/docen ei)=nai/ tis, meta\ de\ xro/non u(posxw\n timwri/an ou) mempth\n th=| di/kh| e(auto/n te kai\ oi)=kon kai\ po/lin a)/rdhn a)na/staton e)poi/hse. dia\ tou/twn o( filo/sofos kai\ to\n tou= panto\s e)/deice khdemo/na kai\ th\n e)pi/ tinwn makroqumi/an kai\ th\n e)nteu=qen toi=s a)noh/tois prosginome/nhn lw/bhn kai\ th\n e)s u(/steron au)toi=s e)piferome/nhn panwleqri/an. o( au)to\s e)n tw=| *gorgi/a| kai\ th=s timwri/as dhloi= ta\s ai)ti/as le/gwn w(di/: prosh/kei de\ panti\ tw=| e)n timwri/a| o)/nti u(p' a)/llou o)rqw=s timwroume/nou h)\ belti/wn gi/nesqai kai/ ti tw=| o)/nti o)ni/nasqai h)\ para/deigma a)/llois gi/gnesqai, i(/n' e)kei=noi o(rw=ntes pa/sxonta a(\ pa/sxei, fobou/menoi belti/ous gi/gnwntai. ei)si\ de\ oi( w)felou/menoi me\n kai\ di/khn dido/ntes u(po\ qeou= kai\ a)nqrw/pwn ou(=toi, oi(\ a)\n i)a/sima a(marth/mata a(marta/nwsin. o(/mws de\ di' a)lghdo/nwn kai\ o)dunw=n gi/netai au)toi=s h( w)fe/leia ka)nqa/de kai\ e)n a(/|dou. ou) ga\r oi(=o/n te a)/llws a)diki/as a)palla/ttesqai. oi(\ d' a)\n ta\ e)/sxata a)dikh/swsi kai\ dia\ ta\ toiau=ta a)dikh/mata a)ni/atoi pa/mpan ge/nwntai, e)nteu=qen ta\ paradei/gmata gi/nontai, kai\ ou(=toi me\n ou)ke/ti o)ni/nantai ou)de/n, a(/te a)ni/atoi o)/ntes, a)/lloi de\ o)ni/nantai oi( tou/tous o(rw=ntes dia\ ta\s toiau/tas a(marti/as o)dunhro/tata kai\ foberw/tata pa/qh pa/sxontas kai\ to\n a)ei\ xro/non a)texnw=s paradei/gmata a)nhrthme/nous. tau=ta de\ e)/oike sesulhke/nai e)k tw=n qei/wn grafw=n, dia\ *mwse/ws u(po\ tou= qeou= pro\s to\n *faraw\ lexqe/nta: ei)s au)to\ tou=to e)ch/geira/ se, o(/pws e)ndei/cwmai e)n soi\ th\n du/nami/n mou: o(/pws diaggelh=| to\ o)/noma/ mou e)n pa/sh| th=| gh=|. pamponh/rw| ga\r gegenhme/nw| e)kei/nw| pantodapa\s kola/seis e)ph/negken o( qeo/s, ou)x w(/ste a)pofh=nai belti/ona [h)/|dei ga\r au)tou= kai\ to\n nou=n a)nti/tupon kai\ to\ pa/qos a)nh/keston], a)ll' o(/pws ta\ peri\ e)kei/nou dihgh/mata pa=sin w)felei/as ge/nwntai paradei/gmata kaqa/per ai( po/leis tre/fousi tou\s dhmi/ous, ou)k e)painou=sai me\n au)tw=n th\n proai/resin, a)nexo/menai de\ th=s tou/twn u(phresi/as dia\ th\n xrei/an kai\ ta\ loipa\ dh=la. o( au)to\s peri\ tw=n lh/cewn kai\ a)poklhrw/sewn tw=n yuxw=n e)n tw=| *fai/dwni/ fhsin: o( me\n a)te/lestos kai\ a)ka/qartos ei)s a(/|dhn a)fiko/menos, e)n borbo/rw| kei/setai, o( de\ tetelesme/nos kai\ kekaqarme/nos e)kei= metaxwrh/sas meta\ qew=n oi)kh/sei. kai\ au)=qis: to\n me\n ga\r dikai/ws to\n bi/on dielhluqo/ta kai\ o(si/ws, e)peida\n teleuth/sh|, ei)s maka/rwn nh/sous oi)kei=n e)n pa/sh| eu)daimoni/a| kakw=n e)kto/s, to\n de\ a)di/kws kai\ a)qe/ws ei)s to\ kri/sew/s te kai\ di/khs desmwth/rion, o(\ dh\ *ta/rtaron kalou=sin, i)e/nai. tau=ta e)k tw=n *ai)gu/ptou mema/qhke.
For the principal Plato entry see pi 1707.
The first paragraph of the entry, as far as 'leisure and calm', follows Damascius of Damascus’ Philosophical History (102 Athanassiadi). Thereafter the source becomes George the Monk, Chronicon: 82.14-83.7, 84.12-85.6, 85.17-88.4. 88.16-24, cf. 89.12.
[1] That Plato was a pauper is a notion entirely contradicted by the body of contemporary evidence assembled by Davies [below] 335 -- and indeed, more broadly, by Davies' inclusion of Plato's family there as a 'propertied' [= rich enough to perform liturgies] one. Perhaps the tradition Damascius transmits was based on a comparison of the annual receipts for the Academy in Plato’s day (4th Century BCE) with those of the Academy at the time of its forced closing in the 6th Century CE, when the cumulative endowments had enriched it.
[2] In the ultimate source of this passage, Laws 644E, the philosopher had used the simile of a human as a puppet of the gods, the controlling strings pulling in various directions but the puppet having the freedom to follow some, those of reason, and resist the others, those of the passions. Following George (see above), the Suda omits the referend of the comparison.
[3] The Suda follows the text of George but reverses the meaning of the clause by getting the diacritical marks wrong, having ou) 'not' instead of ou(=, 'here', 'in this respect'. George, either directly or indirectly quoting Plato, Laws 644E, correctly has, 'Precisely in this respect virtue and vice lie distinguished from one another'.
[4] Ultimately Timaeus 27D.
[5] Laws 755E. The tillers are the twin steering oars of an ancient ship. See web address 2 below.
[6] 525B.
[7] Exodus 10:1-2 LXX, approximately.
[8] 69C.
C. de Boor, 'Die Chronik des Georgius Monachus als Quelle des Suidas', Hermes 21 (1886), 1-26
Damascius, The Philosophical History, ed. and trans. Polymnia Athanassiadi. Athens: Apamea Cultural Association, 1999. Pp. 403. See review at web address 1.
J.K. Davies, Athenian Propertied Families 600-300 B.C. Oxford, 1971
Georgius Monachus, Chronicon ed. C. de Boor. B.G. Teubner, 1978
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: biography; Christianity; chronology; daily life; economics; ethics; geography; historiography; history; imagery; mythology; philosophy; religion
Translated by: Oliver Phillips ✝ on 19 May 2003@21:34:43.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (minor augmentation of notes; added keyword; cosmetics) on 20 May 2003@03:18:14.
Oliver Phillips ✝ on 20 May 2003@07:13:45.
Oliver Phillips ✝ (Changed "Genesis" to "Exodus." Amended translation.) on 20 May 2003@07:27:54.
Catharine Roth (added keyword) on 19 October 2005@11:41:12.
Catharine Roth (added keyword) on 22 November 2005@12:07:46.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 23 November 2005@03:08:22.
Catharine Roth (tweaks) on 22 September 2013@00:14:42.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 6 October 2013@06:25:54.
David Whitehead (coding) on 23 May 2016@07:24:28.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticules, coding) on 15 September 2021@01:07:54.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation) on 16 September 2021@01:07:56.
Catharine Roth (tweaklet) on 16 September 2021@18:09:23.


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