Cratylus by Plato. - HTML preview

PLEASE NOTE: This is an HTML preview only and some elements such as links or page numbers may be incorrect.
Download the book in PDF, ePub, Kindle for a complete version.

Translated by Benjamin Jowett

And when I am anxious to have a further explanation he is ironical and mysterious, and seems to imply that PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: Socrates, Hermogenes, he has a notion of his own about the matter, if he would Cratylus.

only tell, and could entirely convince me, if he chose to be intelligible. Tell me, Socrates, what this oracle means; HERMOGENES: Suppose that we make Socrates a party or rather tell me, if you will be so good, what is your to the argument?

own view of the truth or correctness of names, which I would far sooner hear.

CRATYLUS: If you please.

SOCRATES: Son of Hipponicus, there is an ancient say-HERMOGENES: I should explain to you, Socrates, that ing, that ‘hard is the knowledge of the good.’ And the our friend Cratylus has been arguing about names; he knowledge of names is a great part of knowledge. If I says that they are natural and not conventional; not a had not been poor, I might have heard the fifty-drachma 3

Cratylus – Plato

course of the great Prodicus, which is a complete edu-that and give another, the new name is as correct as cation in grammar and language—these are his own the old—we frequently change the names of our slaves, words—and then I should have been at once able to and the newly-imposed name is as good as the old: for answer your question about the correctness of names.

there is no name given to anything by nature; all is But, indeed, I have only heard the single-drachma convention and habit of the users;—such is my view.

course, and therefore, I do not know the truth about But if I am mistaken I shall be happy to hear and learn such matters; I will, however, gladly assist you and of Cratylus, or of any one else.

Cratylus in the investigation of them. When he declares that your name is not really Hermogenes, I suspect that SOCRATES: I dare say that you may be right, Hermogenes: he is only making fun of you;—he means to say that let us see;—Your meaning is, that the name of each you are no true son of Hermes, because you are always thing is only that which anybody agrees to call it?

looking after a fortune and never in luck. But, as I was saying, there is a good deal of difficulty in this sort of HERMOGENES: That is my notion.

knowledge, and therefore we had better leave the question open until we have heard both sides.

SOCRATES: Whether the giver of the name be an individual or a city?

HERMOGENES: I have often talked over this matter, both with Cratylus and others, and cannot convince myself HERMOGENES: Yes.

that there is any principle of correctness in names other than convention and agreement; any name which you SOCRATES: Well, now, let me take an instance;—sup-give, in my opinion, is the right one, and if you change pose that I call a man a horse or a horse a man, you 4

Cratylus – Plato

mean to say that a man will be rightly called a horse by SOCRATES: Then in a proposition there is a true and false?

me individually, and rightly called a man by the rest of the world; and a horse again would be rightly called a HERMOGENES: Certainly.

man by me and a horse by the world:—that is your meaning?

SOCRATES: But is a proposition true as a whole only, and are the parts untrue?

HERMOGENES: He would, according to my view.

HERMOGENES: No; the parts are true as well as the whole.

SOCRATES: But how about truth, then? you would acknowledge that there is in words a true and a false?

SOCRATES: Would you say the large parts and not the smaller ones, or every part?

HERMOGENES: Certainly.

HERMOGENES: I should say that every part is true.

SOCRATES: And there are true and false propositions?

SOCRATES: Is a proposition resolvable into any part HERMOGENES: To be sure.

smaller than a name?

SOCRATES: And a true proposition says that which is, HERMOGENES: No; that is the smallest.

and a false proposition says that which is not?

SOCRATES: Then the name is a part of the true proposi-HERMOGENES: Yes; what other answer is possible?

tion?

5

Cratylus – Plato

HERMOGENES: Yes.

thing as everybody says that there are? and will they be true names at the time of uttering them?

SOCRATES: Yes, and a true part, as you say.

HERMOGENES: Yes, Socrates, I can conceive no correct-HERMOGENES: Yes.

ness of names other than this; you give one name, and I another; and in different cities and countries there SOCRATES: And is not the part of a falsehood also a falsehood?

are different names for the same things; Hellenes differ from barbarians in their use of names, and the several HERMOGENES: Yes.

Hellenic tribes from one another.

SOCRATES: Then, if propositions may be true and false, SOCRATES: But would you say, Hermogenes, that the names may be true and false?

things differ as the names differ? and are they relative to individuals, as Protagoras tells us? For he says that man HERMOGENES: So we must infer.

is the measure of all things, and that things are to me as they appear to me, and that they are to you as they SOCRATES: And the name of anything is that which any appear to you. Do you agree with him, or would you say one affirms to be the name?

that things have a permanent essence of their own?

HERMOGENES: Yes.

HERMOGENES: There have been times, Socrates, when I have been driven in my perplexity to take refuge with SOCRATES: And will there be so many names of each Protagoras; not that I agree with him at all.

6

Cratylus – Plato

SOCRATES: What! have you ever been driven to admit SOCRATES: But if Protagoras is right, and the truth is that there was no such thing as a bad man?

that things are as they appear to any one, how can some of us be wise and some of us foolish?

HERMOGENES: No, indeed; but I have often had reason to think that there are very bad men, and a good many HERMOGENES: Impossible.

of them.

SOCRATES: And if, on the other hand, wisdom and folly SOCRATES: Well, and have you ever found any very good ones?

are really distinguishable, you will allow, I think, that the assertion of Protagoras can hardly be correct. For if HERMOGENES: Not many.

what appears to each man is true to him, one man cannot in reality be wiser than another.

SOCRATES: Still you have found them?

HERMOGENES: He cannot.

HERMOGENES: Yes.

SOCRATES: Nor will you be disposed to say with SOCRATES: And would you hold that the very good were Euthydemus, that all things equally belong to all men the very wise, and the very evil very foolish? Would at the same moment and always; for neither on his view that be your view?

can there be some good and others bad, if virtue and vice are always equally to be attributed to all.

HERMOGENES: It would.

HERMOGENES: There cannot.

7

Cratylus – Plato

SOCRATES: But if neither is right, and things are not of them? In cutting, for example, we do not cut as we relative to individuals, and all things do not equally please, and with any chance instrument; but we cut belong to all at the same moment and always, they must with the proper instrument only, and according to the be supposed to have their own proper and permanent natural process of cutting; and the natural process is essence: they are not in relation to us, or influenced by right and will succeed, but any other will fail and be of us, fluctuating according to our fancy, but they are in-no use at all.

dependent, and maintain to their own essence the relation prescribed by nature.

HERMOGENES: I should say that the natural way is the right way.

HERMOGENES: I think, Socrates, that you have said the truth.

SOCRATES: Again, in burning, not every way is the right way; but the right way is the natural way, and the right SOCRATES: Does what I am saying apply only to the instrument the natural instrument.

things themselves, or equally to the actions which proceed from them? Are not actions also a class of being?

HERMOGENES: True.

HERMOGENES: Yes, the actions are real as well as the SOCRATES: And this holds good of all actions?

things.

HERMOGENES: Yes.

SOCRATES: Then the actions also are done according to their proper nature, and not according to our opinion SOCRATES: And speech is a kind of action?

8

Cratylus – Plato

HERMOGENES: True.

SOCRATES: And we saw that actions were not relative to ourselves, but had a special nature of their own?

SOCRATES: And will a man speak correctly who speaks as he pleases? Will not the successful speaker rather be HERMOGENES: Precisely.

he who speaks in the natural way of speaking, and as things ought to be spoken, and with the natural instru-SOCRATES: Then the argument would lead us to infer ment? Any other mode of speaking will result in error that names ought to be given according to a natural and failure.

process, and with a proper instrument, and not at our pleasure: in this and no other way shall we name with HERMOGENES: I quite agree with you.

success.

SOCRATES: And is not naming a part of speaking? for in HERMOGENES: I agree.

giving names men speak.

SOCRATES: But again, that which has to be cut has to HERMOGENES: That is true.

be cut with something?

SOCRATES: And if speaking is a sort of action and has a HERMOGENES: Yes.

relation to acts, is not naming also a sort of action?

SOCRATES: And that which has to be woven or pierced HERMOGENES: True.

has to be woven or pierced with something?

9

Cratylus – Plato

HERMOGENES: Certainly.

HERMOGENES: Certainly.

SOCRATES: And that which has to be named has to be SOCRATES: Suppose that I ask, ‘What sort of instrument named with something?

is a shuttle?’ And you answer, ‘A weaving instrument.’

HERMOGENES: True.

HERMOGENES: Well.

SOCRATES: What is that with which we pierce?

SOCRATES: And I ask again, ‘What do we do when we weave?’—The answer is, that we separate or disengage HERMOGENES: An awl.

the warp from the woof.

SOCRATES: And with which we weave?

HERMOGENES: Very true.

HERMOGENES: A shuttle.

SOCRATES: And may not a similar description be given of an awl, and of instruments in general?

SOCRATES: And with which we name?

HERMOGENES: To be sure.

HERMOGENES: A name.

SOCRATES: And now suppose that I ask a similar ques-SOCRATES: Very good: then a name is an instrument?

tion about names: will you answer me? Regarding the name as an instrument, what do we do when we name?

10

Cratylus – Plato

HERMOGENES: I cannot say.

HERMOGENES: Yes.

SOCRATES: Do we not give information to one another, SOCRATES: And when the weaver uses the shuttle, whose and distinguish things according to their natures?

work will he be using well?

HERMOGENES: Certainly we do.

HERMOGENES: That of the carpenter.

SOCRATES: Then a name is an instrument of teaching SOCRATES: And is every man a carpenter, or the skilled and of distinguishing natures, as the shuttle is of dis-only?

tinguishing the threads of the web.

HERMOGENES: Only the skilled.

HERMOGENES: Yes.

SOCRATES: And when the piercer uses the awl, whose SOCRATES: And the shuttle is the instrument of the work will he be using well?

weaver?

HERMOGENES: That of the smith.

HERMOGENES: Assuredly.

SOCRATES: And is every man a smith, or only the skilled?

SOCRATES: Then the weaver will use the shuttle well—

and well means like a weaver? and the teacher will use HERMOGENES: The skilled only.

the name well—and well means like a teacher?

11

Cratylus – Plato

SOCRATES: And when the teacher uses the name, whose HERMOGENES: The skilled only.

work will he be using?

SOCRATES: Then, Hermogenes, not every man is able to HERMOGENES: There again I am puzzled.

give a name, but only a maker of names; and this is the legislator, who of all skilled artisans in the world is the SOCRATES: Cannot you at least say who gives us the rarest.

names which we use?

HERMOGENES: True.

HERMOGENES: Indeed I cannot.

SOCRATES: And how does the legislator make names?

SOCRATES: Does not the law seem to you to give us and to what does he look? Consider this in the light of them?

the previous instances: to what does the carpenter look in making the shuttle? Does he not look to that which HERMOGENES: Yes, I suppose so.

is naturally fitted to act as a shuttle?

SOCRATES: Then the teacher, when he gives us a name, HERMOGENES: Certainly.

uses the work of the legislator?

SOCRATES: And suppose the shuttle to be broken in HERMOGENES: I agree.

making, will he make another, looking to the broken one? or will he look to the form according to which he SOCRATES: And is every man a legislator, or the skilled only?

made the other?

12

Cratylus – Plato

HERMOGENES: To the latter, I should imagine.

example, he ought to know how to put into iron the forms of awls adapted by nature to their several uses?

SOCRATES: Might not that be justly called the true or ideal shuttle?

HERMOGENES: Certainly.

HERMOGENES: I think so.

SOCRATES: And how to put into wood forms of shuttles adapted by nature to their uses?

SOCRATES: And whatever shuttles are wanted, for the manufacture of garments, thin or thick, of flaxen, HERMOGENES: True.

woollen, or other material, ought all of them to have the true form of the shuttle; and whatever is the shuttle SOCRATES: For the several forms of shuttles naturally best adapted to each kind of work, that ought to be the answer to the several kinds of webs; and this is true of form which the maker produces in each case.

instruments in general.

HERMOGENES: Yes.

HERMOGENES: Yes.

SOCRATES: And the same holds of other instruments: SOCRATES: Then, as to names: ought not our legislator when a man has discovered the instrument which is also to know how to put the true natural name of each naturally adapted to each work, he must express this thing into sounds and syllables, and to make and give natural form, and not others which he fancies, in the all names with a view to the ideal name, if he is to be a material, whatever it may be, which he employs; for namer in any true sense? And we must remember that 13

Cratylus – Plato

different legislators will not use the same syllables. For weaver who is to use them?

neither does every smith, although he may be making the same instrument for the same purpose, make them HERMOGENES: I should say, he who is to use them, all of the same iron. The form must be the same, but Socrates.

the material may vary, and still the instrument may be equally good of whatever iron made, whether in Hellas SOCRATES: And who uses the work of the lyre-maker?

or in a foreign country;—there is no difference.

Will not he be the man who knows how to direct what is being done, and who will know also whether the work HERMOGENES: Very true.

is being well done or not?

SOCRATES: And the legislator, whether he be Hellene or HERMOGENES: Certainly.

barbarian, is not therefore to be deemed by you a worse legislator, provided he gives the true and proper form SOCRATES: And who is he?

of the name in whatever syllables; this or that country makes no matter.

HERMOGENES: The player of the lyre.

HERMOGENES: Quite true.

SOCRATES: And who will direct the shipwright?

SOCRATES: But who then is to determine whether the HERMOGENES: The pilot.

proper form is given to the shuttle, whatever sort of wood may be used? the carpenter who makes, or the SOCRATES: And who will be best able to direct the leg-14

Cratylus – Plato

islator in his work, and will know whether the work is rudder, and the pilot has to direct him, if the rudder is well done, in this or any other country? Will not the to be well made.

user be the man?

HERMOGENES: True.

HERMOGENES: Yes.

SOCRATES: And the work of the legislator is to give SOCRATES: And this is he who knows how to ask ques-names, and the dialectician must be his director if the tions?

names are to be rightly given?

HERMOGENES: Yes.

HERMOGENES: That is true.

SOCRATES: And how to answer them?

SOCRATES: Then, Hermogenes, I should say that this giving of names can be no such light matter as you HERMOGENES: Yes.

fancy, or the work of light or chance persons; and Cratylus is right in saying that things have names by SOCRATES: And him who knows how to ask and answer nature, and that not every man is an artificer of names, you would call a dialectician?

but he only who looks to the name which each thing by nature has, and is able to express the true forms of HERMOGENES: Yes; that would be his name.

things in letters and syllables.

SOCRATES: Then the work of the carpenter is to make a HERMOGENES: I cannot answer you, Socrates; but I find 15

Cratylus – Plato

a difficulty in changing my opinion all in a moment, SOCRATES: Then reflect.

and I think that I should be more readily persuaded, if you would show me what this is which you term the HERMOGENES: How shall I reflect?

natural fitness of names.

SOCRATES: The true way is to have the assistance of SOCRATES: My good Hermogenes, I have none to show.

those who know, and you must pay them well both in Was I not telling you just now (but you have forgot-money and in thanks; these are the Sophists, of whom ten), that I knew nothing, and proposing to share the your brother, Callias, has—rather dearly—bought the enquiry with you? But now that you and I have talked reputation of wisdom. But you have not yet come into over the matter, a step has been gained; for we have your inheritance, and therefore you had better go to discovered that names have by nature a truth, and that him, and beg and entreat him to tell you what he has not every man knows how to give a thing a name.

learnt from Protagoras about the fitness of names.

HERMOGENES: Very good.

HERMOGENES: But how inconsistent should I be, if, whilst repudiating Protagoras and his truth (‘Truth’ was SOCRATES: And what is the nature of this truth or cor-the title of the book of Protagoras; compare Theaet.), I rectness of names? That, if you care to know, is the were to attach any value to what he and his book af-next question.

firm!

HERMOGENES: Certainly, I care to know.

SOCRATES: Then if you despise him, you must learn of Homer and the poets.

16

Cratylus – Plato

HERMOGENES: And where does Homer say anything about SOCRATES: Well, and about this river—to know that he names, and what does he say?

ought to be called Xanthus and not Scamander—is not that a solemn lesson? Or about the bird which, as he SOCRATES: He often speaks of them; notably and nobly says,

in the places where he distinguishes the different names which Gods and men give to the same things. Does he

‘The Gods call Chalcis, and men Cymindis:’

not in these passages make a remarkable statement about the correctness of names? For the Gods must clearly be to be taught how much more correct the name Chalcis supposed to call things by their right and natural names; is than the name Cymindis—do you deem that a light do you not think so?

matter? Or about Batieia and Myrina? (Compare Il. ‘The hill which men call Batieia and the immortals the tomb HERMOGENES: Why, of course they call them rightly, if of the sportive Myrina.’) And there are many other ob-they call them at all. But to what are you referring?

servations of the same kind in Homer and other poets.

Now, I think that this is beyond the understanding of SOCRATES: Do you not know what he says about the you and me; but the names of Scamandrius and river in Troy who had a single combat with Hephaestus?

Astyanax, which he affirms to have been the names of Hector’s son, are more within the range of human facul-

‘Whom,’ as he says, ‘the Gods call Xanthus, and men ties, as I am disposed to think; and what the poet means call Scamander.’

by correctness may be more readily apprehended in that instance: you will remember I dare say the lines to which HERMOGENES: I remember.

I refer? (Il.)

17

Cratylus – Plato

HERMOGENES: I do.

the men called him Astyanax, the other name of Scamandrius could only have been given to him by the SOCRATES: Let me ask you, then, which did Homer think women.

the more correct ofthe names given to Hector’s son—

Astyanax or Scamandrius?

HERMOGENES: That may be inferred.

HERMOGENES: I do not know.

SOCRATES: And must not Homer have imagined the Tro-jans to be wiser than their wives?

SOCRATES: How would you answer, if you were asked whether the wise or the unwise are more likely to give HERMOGENES: To be sure.

correct names?

SOCRATES: Then he must have thought Astyanax to be HERMOGENES: I should say the wise, of course.

a more correct name for the boy than Scamandrius?

SOCRATES: And are the men or the women of a city, HERMOGENES: Clearly.

taken as a class, the wiser?

SOCRATES: And what is the reason of this? Let us con-HERMOGENES: I should say, the men.

sider:—does he not himself suggest a very good reason, when he says,

SOCRATES: And Homer, as you know, says that the Tro-jan men called him Astyanax (king of the city); but if

‘For he alone defended their city and long walls’?

18

Cratylus – Plato

This appears to be a good reason for calling the son of rules, and owns, and holds it. But, perhaps, you may the saviour king of the city which his father was sav-think that I am talking nonsense; and indeed I believe ing, as Homer observes.

that I myself did not know what I meant when I imagined that I had found some indication of the opinion of HERMOGENES: I see.

Homer about the correctness of names.

SOCRATES: Why, Hermogenes, I do not as yet see my-HERMOGENES: I assure you that I think otherwise, and self; and do you?

I believe you to be on the right track.

HERMOGENES: No, indeed; not I.

SOCRATES: There is reason, I think, in calling the lion’s whelp a lion, and the foal of a horse a horse; I am speak-SOCRATES: But tell me, friend, did not Homer himself ing only of the ordinary course of nature, when an ani-also give Hector his name?

mal produces after his kind, and not of extraordinary births;—if contrary to nature a horse have a calf, then HERMOGENES: What of that?

I should not call that a foal but a calf; nor do I call any inhuman birth a man, but only a natural birth. And the SOCRATES: The name appears to me to be very nearly same may be said of trees and other things. Do you the same as the name of Astyanax—both are Hellenic; agree with me?

and a king (anax) and a holder (ektor) have nearly the same meaning, and are both descriptive of a king; for a HERMOGENES: Yes, I agree.

man is clearly the holder of that of which he is king; he 19

Cratylus – Plato

SOCRATES: Very good. But you had better watch me and value which the legislator intended—so well did he know see that I do not play tricks with you. For on the same how to give the letters names.

principle the son of a king is to be called a king. And whether the syllables of the name are the same or not HERMOGENES: I believe you are right.

the same, makes no difference, provided the meaning is retained; nor does the addition or subtraction of a letter SOCRATES: And may not the same be said of a king? a make any difference so long as the essence of the thing king will often be the son of a king, the good son or the remains in possession of the name and appears in it.

noble son of a good or noble sire; and similarly the offspring of every kind, in the regular course of nature, HERMOGENES: What do you mean?

is like the parent, and therefore has the same name. Yet the syllables may be disguised until they appear differ-SOCRATES: A very simple matter. I may illustrate my mean-ent to the ignorant person, and he may not recognize ing by the names of letters, which you know are not the them, although they are the same, just as any one of us same as the letters themselves with the exception of the would not recognize the same drugs under different dis-four epsilon, upsilon, omicron, omega; the names of the guises of colour and smell, although to the physician, rest, whether vowels or consonants, are made up of other who regards the power of them, they are the same, and letters which we add to them; but so long as we introduce he is not put out by the addition; and in like manner the meaning, and there can be no mistake, the name of the etymologist is not put out by the addition or trans-the letter is quite correct. Take, for example, the letter position or subtraction of a letter or two, or indeed by beta—the addition of eta, tau, alpha, gives no offence, the change of all the letters, for this need not interfere and does not prevent the whole name from having the with the meaning. As was just now said, the names of 20

Cratylus – Plato

Hector and Astyanax have only one letter alike, which SOCRATES: And what of those who follow out of the is tau, and yet they have the same meaning. And how course of nature, and are prodigies? for example, when little in common with the letters of their names has a good and religious man has an irreligious son, he ought Archepolis (ruler of the city)—and yet the meaning is to bear the name not of his father, but of the class to the same. And there are many other names which just which he belongs, just as in the case which was before mean ‘king.’ Again, there are several names for a gen-supposed of a horse foaling a calf.

eral, as, for example, Agis (leader) and Polemarchus (chief in war) and Eupolemus (good warrior); and oth-HERMOGENES: Quite true.

ers which denote a physician, as Iatrocles (famous healer) and Acesimbrotus (curer of mortals); and there are many SOCRATES: Then the irreligious son of a religious father others which might be cited, differing in their syllables should be called irreligious?

and letters, but having the same meaning. Would you not say so?

HERMOGENES: Certainly.

HERMOGENES: Yes.

SOCRATES: He should not be called Theophilus (beloved of God) or Mnesitheus (mindful of God), or any of these SOCRATES: The same names, then, ought to be assigned names: if names are correctly given, his should have an to those who follow in the course of nature?

opposite meaning.

HERMOGENES: Yes.

HERMOGENES: Certainly, Socrates.

21

Cratylus – Plato

SOCRATES: Again, Hermogenes, there is Orestes (the man cruelty to Thyestes are damaging and destructive to his of the mountains) who appears to be rightly called; reputation—the name is a little altered and disguised whether chance gave the name, or perhaps some poet so as not to be intelligible to every one, but to the who meant to express the brutality and fierceness and etymologist there is no difficulty in seeing the mean-mountain wildness of his hero’s nature.

ing, for whether you think of him as ateires the stub-born, or as atrestos the fearless, or as ateros the de-HERMOGENES: That is very likely, Socrates.

structive one, the name is perfectly correct in every point of view. And I think that Pelops is also named SOCRATES: And his father’s name is also according to appropriately; for, as the name implies, he is rightly nature.

called Pelops who sees what is near only ( o ta pelas oron).

HERMOGENES: Clearly.

HERMOGENES: How so?

SOCRATES: Yes, for as his name, so also is his nature; Agamemnon (admirable for remaining) is one who is SOCRATES: Because, according to the tradition, he had patient and persevering in the accomplishment of his no forethought or foresight of all the evil which the resolves, and by his virtue crowns them; and his con-murder of Myrtilus would entail upon his whole race in tinuance at Troy with all the vast army is a proof of remote ages; he saw only what was at hand and imme-that admirable endurance in him which is signified by diate, —or in other words, pelas (near), in his eager-the name Agamemnon. I also think that Atreus is rightly ness to win Hippodamia by all means for his bride. Ev-called; for his murder of Chrysippus and his exceeding ery one would agree that the name of Tantalus is rightly 22

Cratylus – Plato

given and in accordance with nature, if the traditions to express the nature. For there is none who is more the about him are true.

author of life to us and to all, than the lord and king of all. Wherefore we are right in calling him Zena and Dia, HERMOGENES: And what are the traditions?

which are one name, although divided, meaning the God through whom all creatures always have life ( di on SOCRATES: Many terrible misfortunes are said to have zen aei pasi tois zosin uparchei). There is an irrever-happened to him in his life—last of all, came the utter ence, at first sight, in calling him son of Cronos (who is ruin of his country; and after his death he had the a proverb for stupidity), and we might rather expect stone suspended ( talanteia) over his head in the world Zeus to be the child of a mighty intellect. Which is the below—all this agrees wonderfully well with his name.

fact; for this is the meaning of his father’s name: Kronos You might imagine that some person who wanted to quasi Koros (Choreo, to sweep), not in the sense of a call him Talantatos (the most weighted down by misfor-youth, but signifying to chatharon chai acheraton tou tune), disguised the name by altering it into Tantalus; nou, the pure and garnished mind (sc. apo tou chorein).

and into this form, by some accident of tradition, it has He, as we are informed by tradition, was begotten of actually been transmuted. The name of Zeus, who is his Uranus, rightly so called ( apo tou oran ta ano) from alleged father, has also an excellent meaning, although looking upwards; which, as philosophers tell us, is the hard to be understood, because really like a sentence, way to have a pure mind, and the name Uranus is there-which is divided into two parts, for some call him Zena, fore correct. If I could remember the genealogy of Hesiod, and use the one half, and others who use the other half I would have gone on and tried more conclusions of the call him Dia; the two together signify the nature of the same sort on the remoter ancestors of the Gods,—then God, and the business of a name, as we were saying, is I might have seen whether this wisdom, which has come 23

Cratylus – Plato

to me all in an instant, I know not whence, will or will SOCRATES: Then let us proceed; and where would you not hold good to the end.

have us begin, now that we have got a sort of outline of the enquiry? Are there any names which witness of them-HERMOGENES: You seem to me, Socrates, to be quite selves that they are not given arbitrarily, but have a natu-like a prophet newly inspired, and to be uttering oracles.

ral fitness? The names of heroes and of men in general are apt to be deceptive because they are often called SOCRATES: Yes, Hermogenes, and I believe that I caught after ancestors with whose names, as we were saying, the inspiration from the great Euthyphro of the they may have no business; or they are the expression of Prospaltian deme, who gave me a long lecture which a wish like Eutychides (the son of good fortune), or Sosias commenced at dawn: he talked and I listened, and his (the Saviour), or Theophilus (the beloved of God), and wisdom and enchanting ravishment has not only filled others. But I think that we had better leave these, for my ears but taken possession of my soul, and to-day I there will be more chance of finding correctness in the shall let his superhuman power work and finish the names of immutable essences;—there ought to have been investigation of names—that will be the way; but to-more care taken about them when they were named, and morrow, if you are so disposed, we will conjure him perhaps there may have been some more than human away, and make a purgation of him, if we can only find power at work occasionally in giving them names.

some priest or sophist who is skilled in purifications of this sort.

HERMOGENES: I think so, Socrates.

HERMOGENES: With all my heart; for am very curious to SOCRATES: Ought we not to begin with the consideration hear the rest of the enquiry about names.

of the Gods, and show that they are rightly named Gods?

24

Cratylus – Plato

HERMOGENES: Yes, that will be well.

HERMOGENES: Let me hear.

SOCRATES: My notion would be something of this sort:—

SOCRATES: You know how Hesiod uses the word?

I suspect that the sun, moon, earth, stars, and heaven, which are still the Gods of many barbarians, were the HERMOGENES: I do not.

only Gods known to the aboriginal Hellenes. Seeing that they were always moving and running, from their run-SOCRATES: Do you not remember that he speaks of a ning nature they were called Gods or runners (Theous, golden race of men who came first?

Theontas); and when men became acquainted with the other Gods, they proceeded to apply the same name to HERMOGENES: Yes, I do.

them all. Do you think that likely?

SOCRATES: He says of them—

HERMOGENES: I think it very likely indeed.

‘But now that fate has closed over this race SOCRATES: What shall follow the Gods?

They are holy demons upon the earth,

Beneficent, averters of ills, guardians of HERMOGENES: Must not demons and heroes and men mortal men.’

come next?

(Hesiod, Works and Days.)

SOCRATES: Demons! And what do you consider to be the meaning of this word? Tell me if my view is right.

HERMOGENES: What is the inference?

25

Cratylus – Plato

SOCRATES: What is the inference! Why, I suppose that mighty portion among the dead, and becomes a demon; he means by the golden men, not men literally made of which is a name given to him signifying wisdom. And gold, but good and noble; and I am convinced of this, I say too, that every wise man who happens to be a because he further says that we are the iron race.

good man is more than human ( daimonion) both in life and death, and is rightly called a demon.

HERMOGENES: That is true.

HERMOGENES: Then I rather think that I am of one mind SOCRATES: And do you not suppose that good men of with you; but what is the meaning of the word ‘hero’?

our own day would by him be said to be of golden race?

(Eros with an eta, in the old writing eros with an epsilon.)

HERMOGENES: Very likely.

SOCRATES: I think that there is no difficulty in explain-SOCRATES: And are not the good wise?

ing, for the name is not much altered, and signifies that they were born of love.

HERMOGENES: Yes, they are wise.

HERMOGENES: What do you mean?

SOCRATES: And therefore I have the most entire convic-tion that he called them demons, because they were SOCRATES: Do you not know that the heroes are demi-daemones (knowing or wise), and in our older Attic dia-gods?

lect the word itself occurs. Now he and other poets say truly, that when a good man dies he has honour and a HERMOGENES: What then?

26

Cratylus – Plato

SOCRATES: All of them sprang either from the love of a SOCRATES: Your faith is not vain; for at this very mo-God for a mortal woman, or of a mortal man for a God-ment a new and ingenious thought strikes me, and, if I dess; think of the word in the old Attic, and you will see am not careful, before to-morrow’s dawn I shall be wiser better that the name heros is only a slight alteration of than I ought to be. Now, attend to me; and first, re-Eros, from whom the heroes sprang: either this is the member that we often put in and pull out letters in meaning, or, if not this, then they must have been skil-words, and give names as we please and change the ful as rhetoricians and dialecticians, and able to put the accents. Take, for example, the word Dii Philos; in order question ( erotan), for eirein is equivalent to legein. And to convert this from a sentence into a noun, we omit therefore, as I was saying, in the Attic dialect the heroes one of the iotas and sound the middle syllable grave turn out to be rhetoricians and questioners. All this is instead of acute; as, on the other hand, letters are some-easy enough; the noble breed of heroes are a tribe of times inserted in words instead of being omitted, and sophists and rhetors. But can you tell me why men are the acute takes the place of the grave.

called anthropoi?—that is more difficult.

HERMOGENES: That is true.

HERMOGENES: No, I cannot; and I would not try even if I could, because I think that you are the more likely to SOCRATES: The name anthropos, which was once a sen-succeed.

tence, and is now a noun, appears to be a case just of this sort, for one letter, which is the alpha, has been SOCRATES: That is to say, you trust to the inspiration of omitted, and the acute on the last syllable has been Euthyphro.

changed to a grave.

HERMOGENES: Of course.

27

Cratylus – Plato

HERMOGENES: What do you mean?

the previous words.

SOCRATES: I mean to say that the word ‘man’ implies SOCRATES: You want me first of all to examine the natural that other animals never examine, or consider, or look fitness of the word psuche (soul), and then of the word up at what they see, but that man not only sees ( opope) soma (body)?

but considers and looks up at that which he sees, and hence he alone of all animals is rightly anthropos, mean-HERMOGENES: Yes.

ing anathron a opopen.

SOCRATES: If I am to say what occurs to me at the mo-HERMOGENES: May I ask you to examine another word ment, I should imagine that those who first used the about which I am curious?

name psuche meant to express that the soul when in the body is the source of life, and gives the power of SOCRATES: Certainly.

breath and revival ( anapsuchon), and when this reviv-ing power fails then the body perishes and dies, and HERMOGENES: I will take that which appears to me to this, if I am not mistaken, they called psyche. But please follow next in order. You know the distinction of soul stay a moment; I fancy that I can discover something and body?

which will be more acceptable to the disciples of Euthyphro, for I am afraid that they will scorn this ex-SOCRATES: Of course.

planation. What do you say to another?

HERMOGENES: Let us endeavour to analyze them like HERMOGENES: Let me hear.

28

Cratylus – Plato

SOCRATES: What is that which holds and carries and HERMOGENES: But what shall we say of the next word?

gives life and motion to the entire nature of the body?

What else but the soul?

SOCRATES: You mean soma (the body).

HERMOGENES: Just that.

HERMOGENES: Yes.

SOCRATES: And do you not believe with Anaxagoras, SOCRATES: That may be variously interpreted; and yet that mind or soul is the ordering and containing prin-more variously if a little permutation is allowed. For ciple of all things?

some say that the body is the grave ( sema) of the soul which may be thought to be buried in our present life; HERMOGENES: Yes; I do.

or again the index of the soul, because the soul gives indications to ( semainei) the body; probably the Orphic SOCRATES: Then you may well call that power phuseche poets were the inventors of the name, and they were which carries and holds nature ( e phusin okei, kai ekei), under the impression that the soul is suffering the pun-and this may be refined away into psuche.

ishment of sin, and that the body is an enclosure or prison in which the soul is incarcerated, kept safe (soma, HERMOGENES: Certainly; and this derivation is, I think, sozetai), as the name soma implies, until the penalty is more scientific than the other.

paid; according to this view, not even a letter of the word need be changed.

SOCRATES: It is so; but I cannot help laughing, if I am to suppose that this was the true meaning of the name.

HERMOGENES: I think, Socrates, that we have said 29

Cratylus – Plato

enough of this class of words. But have we any more ex-HERMOGENES: I think, Socrates, that you are quite right, planations of the names of the Gods, like that which you and I would like to do as you say.

were giving of Zeus? I should like to know whether any similar principle of correctness is to be applied to them.

SOCRATES: Shall we begin, then, with Hestia, according to custom?

SOCRATES: Yes, indeed, Hermogenes; and there is one excellent principle which, as men of sense, we must HERMOGENES: Yes, that will be very proper.

acknowledge,—that of the Gods we know nothing, either of their natures or of the names which they give SOCRATES: What may we suppose him to have meant themselves; but we are sure that the names by which who gave the name Hestia?

they call themselves, whatever they may be, are true.

And this is the best of all principles; and the next best HERMOGENES: That is another and certainly a most dif-is to say, as in prayers, that we will call them by any ficult question.

sort or kind of names or patronymics which they like, because we do not know of any other. That also, I think, SOCRATES: My dear Hermogenes, the first imposers of is a very good custom, and one which I should much names must surely have been considerable persons; they wish to observe. Let us, then, if you please, in the first were philosophers, and had a good deal to say.

place announce to them that we are not enquiring about them; we do not presume that we are able to do so; but HERMOGENES: Well, and what of them?

we are enquiring about the meaning of men in giving them these names,—in this there can be small blame.

SOCRATES: They are the men to whom I should attribute 30

Cratylus – Plato

the imposition of names. Even in foreign names, if you HERMOGENES: Why, Socrates?

analyze them, a meaning is still discernible. For example, that which we term ousia is by some called esia, SOCRATES: My good friend, I have discovered a hive of and by others again osia. Now that the essence of things wisdom.

should be called estia, which is akin to the first of these ( esia = estia), is rational enough. And there is reason in HERMOGENES: Of what nature?

the Athenians calling that estia which participates in ousia. For in ancient times we too seem to have said SOCRATES: Well, rather ridiculous, and yet plausible.

esia for ousia, and this you may note to have been the idea of those who appointed that sacrifices should be HERMOGENES: How plausible?

first offered to estia, which was natural enough if they meant that estia was the essence of things. Those again SOCRATES: I fancy to myself Heracleitus repeating wise who read osia seem to have inclined to the opinion of traditions of antiquity as old as the days of Cronos and Heracleitus, that all things flow and nothing stands; Rhea, and of which Homer also spoke.

with them the pushing principle ( othoun) is the cause and ruling power of all things, and is therefore rightly HERMOGENES: How do you mean?

called osia. Enough of this, which is all that we who know nothing can affirm. Next in order after Hestia we SOCRATES: Heracleitus is supposed to say that all things ought to consider Rhea and Cronos, although the name are in motion and nothing at rest; he compares them to of Cronos has been already discussed. But I dare say the stream of a river, and says that you cannot go into that I am talking great nonsense.

the same water twice.

31

Cratylus – Plato

HERMOGENES: That is true.

HERMOGENES: I think that there is something in what you say, Socrates; but I do not understand the meaning SOCRATES: Well, then, how can we avoid inferring that of the name Tethys.

he who gave the names of Cronos and Rhea to the ancestors of the Gods, agreed pretty much in the doctrine SOCRATES: Well, that is almost self-explained, being only of Heracleitus? Is the giving of the names of streams to the name of a spring, a little disguised; for that which both of them purely accidental? Compare the line in is strained and filtered ( diattomenon, ethoumenon) may which Homer, and, as I believe, Hesiod also, tells of be likened to a spring, and the name Tethys is made up of these two words.

‘Ocean, the origin of Gods, and mother Tethys (Il.—

the line is not found in the extant works of Hesiod.).’

HERMOGENES: The idea is ingenious, Socrates.

And again, Orpheus says, that

SOCRATES: To be sure. But what comes next?—of Zeus we have spoken.

‘The fair river of Ocean was the first to marry, and he espoused his sister Tethys, who was his mother’s HERMOGENES: Yes.

daughter.’

SOCRATES: Then let us next take his two brothers, You see that this is a remarkable coincidence, and all in Poseidon and Pluto, whether the latter is called by that the direction of Heracleitus.

or by his other name.

32

Cratylus – Plato

HERMOGENES: By all means.

SOCRATES: In spite of the mistakes which are made about the power of this deity, and the foolish fears which SOCRATES: Poseidon is Posidesmos, the chain of the feet; people have of him, such as the fear of always being the original inventor of the name had been stopped by with him after death, and of the soul denuded of the the watery element in his walks, and not allowed to go body going to him (compare Rep.), my belief is that all on, and therefore he called the ruler of this element is quite consistent, and that the office and name of the Poseidon; the epsilon was probably inserted as an orna-God really correspond.

ment. Yet, perhaps, not so; but the name may have been originally written with a double lamda and not HERMOGENES: Why, how is that?

with a sigma, meaning that the God knew many things ( Polla eidos). And perhaps also he being the shaker of SOCRATES: I will tell you my own opinion; but first, I the earth, has been named from shaking ( seiein), and should like to ask you which chain does any animal feel then pi and delta have been added. Pluto gives wealth to be the stronger? and which confines him more to the (Ploutos), and his name means the giver of wealth, which same spot,—desire or necessity?

comes out of the earth beneath. People in general appear to imagine that the term Hades is connected with HERMOGENES: Desire, Socrates, is stronger far.

the invisible ( aeides) and so they are led by their fears to call the God Pluto instead.

SOCRATES: And do you not think that many a one would escape from Hades, if he did not bind those who depart HERMOGENES: And what is the true derivation?

to him by the strongest of chains?

33

Cratylus – Plato

HERMOGENES: Assuredly they would.

HERMOGENES: Certainly not.

SOCRATES: And if by the greatest of chains, then by SOCRATES: And is not that the reason, Hermogenes, why some desire, as I should certainly infer, and not by ne-no one, who has been to him, is willing to come back to cessity?

us? Even the Sirens, like all the rest of the world, have been laid under his spells. Such a charm, as I imagine, HERMOGENES: That is clear.

is the God able to infuse into his words. And, according to this view, he is the perfect and accomplished Soph-SOCRATES: And there are many desires?

ist, and the great benefactor of the inhabitants of the other world; and even to us who are upon earth he HERMOGENES: Yes.

sends from below exceeding blessings. For he has much more than he wants down there; wherefore he is called SOCRATES: And therefore by the greatest desire, if the Pluto (or the rich). Note also, that he will have nothing chain is to be the greatest?

to do with men while they are in the body, but only when the soul is liberated from the desires and evils of HERMOGENES: Yes.

the body. Now there is a great deal of philosophy and reflection in that; for in their liberated state he can SOCRATES: And is any desire stronger than the thought bind them with the desire of virtue, but while they are that you will be made better by associating with an-flustered and maddened by the body, not even father other?

Cronos himself would suffice to keep them with him in his own far-famed chains.

34

Cratylus – Plato

HERMOGENES: There is a deal of truth in what you say.

not mistaken, only arises from their ignorance of the nature of names. But they go changing the name into SOCRATES: Yes, Hermogenes, and the legislator called Phersephone, and they are terrified at this; whereas the him Hades, not from the unseen ( aeides)—far other-new name means only that the Goddess is wise ( sophe); wise, but from his knowledge ( eidenai) of all for seeing that all things in the world are in motion noble things.

( pheromenon), that principle which embraces and touches and is able to follow them, is wisdom. And there-HERMOGENES: Very good; and what do we say of Demeter, fore the Goddess may be truly called Pherepaphe and Here, and Apollo, and Athene, and Hephaestus, and (Pherepapha), or some name like it, because she touches Ares, and the other deities?

that which is in motion ( tou pheromenon ephaptomene), herein showing her wisdom. And Hades, who is wise, SOCRATES: Demeter is e didousa meter, who gives food consorts with her, because she is wise. They alter her like a mother; Here is the lovely one ( erate)—for Zeus, name into Pherephatta now-a-days, because the present according to tradition, loved and married her; possibly generation care for euphony more than truth. There is also the name may have been given when the legislator the other name, Apollo, which, as I was saying, is gen-was thinking of the heavens, and may be only a dis-erally supposed to have some terrible signification. Have guise of the air ( aer), putting the end in the place of you remarked this fact?

the beginning. You will recognize the truth of this if you repeat the letters of Here several times over. People HERMOGENES: To be sure I have, and what you say is dread the name of Pherephatta as they dread the name true.

of Apollo,—and with as little reason; the fear, if I am 35

Cratylus – Plato

SOCRATES: But the name, in my opinion, is really most HERMOGENES: Very true.

expressive of the power of the God.

SOCRATES: And is not Apollo the purifier, and the washer, HERMOGENES: How so?

and the absolver from all impurities?

SOCRATES: I will endeavour to explain, for I do not be-HERMOGENES: Very true.

lieve that any single name could have been better adapted to express the attributes of the God, embracing SOCRATES: Then in reference to his ablutions and abso-and in a manner signifying all four of them,—music, lutions, as being the physician who orders them, he and prophecy, and medicine, and archery.

may be rightly called Apolouon (purifier); or in respect of his powers of divination, and his truth and sincerity, HERMOGENES: That must be a strange name, and I should which is the same as truth, he may be most fitly called like to hear the explanation.

Aplos, from aplous (sincere), as in the Thessalian dialect, for all the Thessalians call him Aplos; also he is aei SOCRATES: Say rather an harmonious name, as beseems Ballon (always shooting), because he is a master archer the God of Harmony. In the first place, the purgations who never misses; or again, the name may refer to his and purifications which doctors and diviners use, and musical attributes, and then, as in akolouthos, and their fumigations with drugs magical or medicinal, as akoitis, and in many other words the alpha is supposed well as their washings and lustral sprinklings, have all to mean ‘together,’ so the meaning of the name Apollo one and the same object, which is to make a man pure will be ‘moving together,’ whether in the poles of heaven both in body and soul.

as they are called, or in the harmony of song, which is 36

Cratylus – Plato

termed concord, because he moves all together by an easy-going way of behaving. Artemis is named from her harmonious power, as astronomers and musicians inge-healthy (artemes), well-ordered nature, and because of niously declare. And he is the God who presides over her love of virginity, perhaps because she is a proficient harmony, and makes all things move together, both in virtue (arete), and perhaps also as hating intercourse among Gods and among men. And as in the words of the sexes ( ton aroton misesasa). He who gave the akolouthos and akoitis the alpha is substituted for an Goddess her name may have had any or all of these omicron, so the name Apollon is equivalent to omopolon; reasons.

only the second lambda is added in order to avoid the ill-omened sound of destruction ( apolon). Now the sus-HERMOGENES: What is the meaning of Dionysus and picion of this destructive power still haunts the minds Aphrodite?

of some who do not consider the true value of the name, which, as I was saying just now, has reference to all the SOCRATES: Son of Hipponicus, you ask a solemn ques-powers of the God, who is the single one, the everdarting, tion; there is a serious and also a facetious explanation the purifier, the mover together ( aplous, aei Ballon, of both these names; the serious explanation is not to apolouon, omopolon). The name of the Muses and of be had from me, but there is no objection to your hear-music would seem to be derived from their making philo-ing the facetious one; for the Gods too love a joke.

sophical enquiries ( mosthai); and Leto is called by this Dionusos is simply didous oinon (giver of wine), name, because she is such a gentle Goddess, and so Didoinusos, as he might be called in fun,—and oinos is willing ( ethelemon) to grant our requests; or her name properly oionous, because wine makes those who drink, may be Letho, as she is often called by strangers—they think ( oiesthai) that they have a mind (noun) when seem to imply by it her amiability, and her smooth and they have none. The derivation of Aphrodite, born of 37

Cratylus – Plato

the foam ( aphros), may be fairly accepted on the au-this is derived from armed dances. For the elevation of thority of Hesiod.

oneself or anything else above the earth, or by the use of the hands, we call shaking ( pallein), or dancing.

HERMOGENES: Still there remains Athene, whom you, Socrates, as an Athenian, will surely not forget; there HERMOGENES: That is quite true.

are also Hephaestus and Ares.

SOCRATES: Then that is the explanation of the name SOCRATES: I am not likely to forget them.

Pallas?

HERMOGENES: No, indeed.

HERMOGENES: Yes; but what do you say of the other name?

SOCRATES: There is no difficulty in explaining the other appellation of Athene.

SOCRATES: Athene?

HERMOGENES: What other appellation?

HERMOGENES: Yes.

SOCRATES: We call her Pallas.

SOCRATES: That is a graver matter, and there, my friend, the modern interpreters of Homer may, I think, assist HERMOGENES: To be sure.

in explaining the view of the ancients. For most of these in their explanations of the poet, assert that he meant SOCRATES: And we cannot be wrong in supposing that by Athene ‘mind’ ( nous) and ‘intelligence’ ( dianoia), and 38

Cratylus – Plato

the maker of names appears to have had a singular no-HERMOGENES: Surely.

tion about her; and indeed calls her by a still higher title, ‘divine intelligence’ (Thou noesis), as though he SOCRATES: Ephaistos is Phaistos, and has added the eta would say: This is she who has the mind of God by attraction; that is obvious to anybody.

(Theonoa);—using alpha as a dialectical variety for eta, and taking away iota and sigma (There seems to be some HERMOGENES: That is very probable, until some more error in the MSS. The meaning is that the word theonoa probable notion gets into your head.

= theounoa is a curtailed form of theou noesis, but the omitted letters do not agree.). Perhaps, however, the SOCRATES: To prevent that, you had better ask what is name Theonoe may mean ‘she who knows divine things’

the derivation of Ares.

( Theia noousa) better than others. Nor shall we be far wrong in supposing that the author of it wished to iden-HERMOGENES: What is Ares?

tify this Goddess with moral intelligence ( en ethei noesin), and therefore gave her the name ethonoe; which, SOCRATES: Ares may be called, if you will, from his however, either he or his successors have altered into manhood ( arren) and manliness, or if you please, from what they thought a nicer form, and called her Athene.

his hard and unchangeable nature, which is the meaning of arratos: the latter is a derivation in every way HERMOGENES: But what do you say of Hephaestus?

appropriate to the God of war.

SOCRATES: Speak you of the princely lord of light ( Phaeos HERMOGENES: Very true.

istora)?

39

Cratylus – Plato

SOCRATES: And now, by the Gods, let us have no more us, ‘seeing that he is the contriver of tales or speeches, of the Gods, for I am afraid of them; ask about anything you may rightly call him Eirhemes.’ And this has been but them, and thou shalt see how the steeds of improved by us, as we think, into Hermes. Iris also ap-Euthyphro can prance.

pears to have been called from the verb ‘to tell’ ( eirein), because she was a messenger.

HERMOGENES: Only one more God! I should like to know about Hermes, of whom I am said not to be a true son.

HERMOGENES: Then I am very sure that Cratylus was Let us make him out, and then I shall know whether quite right in saying that I was no true son of Hermes there is any meaning in what Cratylus says.

(Ermogenes), for I am not a good hand at speeches.

SOCRATES: I should imagine that the name Hermes has SOCRATES: There is also reason, my friend, in Pan being to do with speech, and signifies that he is the inter-the double-formed son of Hermes.

preter ( ermeneus), or messenger, or thief, or liar, or bargainer; all that sort of thing has a great deal to do HERMOGENES: How do you make that out?

with language; as I was telling you, the word eirein is expressive of the use of speech, and there is an often-SOCRATES: You are aware that speech signifies all things recurring Homeric word emesato, which means ‘he con-

(pan), and is always turning them round and round, trived’—out of these two words, eirein and mesasthai, and has two forms, true and false?

the legislator formed the name of the God who invented language and speech; and we may imagine him dictat-HERMOGENES: Certainly.

ing to us the use of this name: ‘O my friends,’ says he to 40

Cratylus – Plato

SOCRATES: Is not the truth that is in him the smooth or of Gods—the sun, moon, stars, earth, aether, air, fire, sacred form which dwells above among the Gods, whereas water, the seasons, and the year?

falsehood dwells among men below, and is rough like the goat of tragedy; for tales and falsehoods have gen-SOCRATES: You impose a great many tasks upon me.

erally to do with the tragic or goatish life, and tragedy Still, if you wish, I will not refuse.

is the place of them?

HERMOGENES: You will oblige me.

HERMOGENES: Very true.

SOCRATES: How would you have me begin? Shall I take SOCRATES: Then surely Pan, who is the declarer of all first of all him whom you mentioned first—the sun?

things ( pan) and the perpetual mover ( aei polon) of all things, is rightly called aipolos (goat-herd), he being HERMOGENES: Very good.

the two-formed son of Hermes, smooth in his upper part, and rough and goatlike in his lower regions. And, SOCRATES: The origin of the sun will probably be clearer as the son of Hermes, he is speech or the brother of in the Doric form, for the Dorians call him alios, and speech, and that brother should be like brother is no this name is given to him because when he rises he marvel. But, as I was saying, my dear Hermogenes, let gathers ( alizoi) men together or because he is always us get away from the Gods.

rolling in his course ( aei eilein ion) about the earth; or from aiolein, of which the meaning is the same as HERMOGENES: From these sort of Gods, by all means, poikillein (to variegate), because he variegates the pro-Socrates. But why should we not discuss another kind ductions of the earth.

41

Cratylus – Plato

HERMOGENES: But what is selene (the moon)?

HERMOGENES: Very true.

SOCRATES: That name is rather unfortunate for SOCRATES: The moon is not unfrequently called selanaia.

Anaxagoras.

HERMOGENES: True.

HERMOGENES: How so?

SOCRATES: And as she has a light which is always old SOCRATES: The word seems to forestall his recent dis-and always new ( enon neon aei) she may very properly covery, that the moon receives her light from the sun.

have the name selaenoneoaeia; and this when hammered into shape becomes selanaia.

HERMOGENES: Why do you say so?

HERMOGENES: A real dithyrambic sort of name that, SOCRATES: The two words selas (brightness) and phos Socrates. But what do you say of the month and the (light) have much the same meaning?

stars?

HERMOGENES: Yes.

SOCRATES: Meis (month) is called from meiousthai (to lessen), because suffering diminution; the name of astra SOCRATES: This light about the moon is always new ( neon) (stars) seems to be derived from astrape, which is an and always old ( enon), if the disciples of Anaxagoras say improvement on anastrope, signifying the upsetting of truly. For the sun in his revolution always adds new light, the eyes ( anastrephein opa).

and there is the old light of the previous month.

42