St. II p. 138

ΣΩ. Ὦ Ἀλκιβιάδη, ἆρά γε πρὸς τὸν θεὸν προσευξόμενος πορεύῃ;

ΑΛΚ. Πάνυ μὲν οὖν, ὦ Σώκρατες.

ΣΩ. Φαίνῃ γέ τοι ἐσκυθρωπακέναι τε καὶ εἰς γῆν βλέπειν, ὥς τι συννοούμενος.

ΑΛΚ. Καὶ τί ἄν τις συννοοῖτο, ὦ Σώκρατες;

ΣΩ. Τὴν μεγίστην, ὦ Ἀλκιβιάδη, σύννοιαν, Bὥς γ᾿ ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ. ἐπεὶ φέρε πρὸς Διός, οὐκ οἴει τοὺς θεούς, ἃ τυγχάνομεν εὐχόμενοι καὶ ἰδίᾳ καὶ δημοσίᾳ, ἐνίοτε τούτων τὰ μὲν διδόναι, τὰ δ᾿ οὔ, καὶ ἔστιν οἷς μὲν αὐτῶν, ἔστι δὲ οἷς οὔ;

ΑΛΚ. Πάνυ μὲν οὖν.

ΣΩ. Οὐκοῦν δοκεῖ σοι πολλῆς προμηθείας γε προσδεῖσθαι, ὅπως μὴ λήσει τις1 αὑτὸν εὐχόμενος μεγάλα κακά, δοκῶν δ᾿ ἀγαθά, οἱ δὲ θεοὶ τύχωσιν ἐν ταύτῃ ὄντες τῇ ἕξει, ἐν ᾗ διδόασιν αὐτοὶ ἅ τις εὐχόμενος τυγχάνει; ὥσπερ τὸν Οἰδίπουν αὐτίκα Cφασὶν εὔξασθαι χαλκῷ διελέσθαι τὰ πατρῷα τοὺς


Alcibiades II

Alcibiades II [or ON PRAYER: “Obstetric”]


Socrates, Alcibiades

soc. Alcibiades, are you on your way to offer a prayer to the god?

alc. I am, certainly, Socrates.

soc. You seem, let me say, to have a gloomy look, and to keep your eyes on the ground, as though you were pondering something.

alc. And what might one ponder, Socrates?

soc. The greatest of questions, Alcibiades, as I believe. For tell me, in Heaven’s name, do you not think that the gods sometimes grant in part, but in part refuse, what we ask of them in our private and public prayers, and gratify some people, but not others?

alc. I do, certainly.

soc. Then you would agree that one should take great precautions against falling unawares into the error of praying for great evils in the belief that they are good, while the gods happen to be disposed to grant freely what one is praying for? Just as Oedipus, they say, suddenly prayed that his sons might divide their patrimony with the sword: it

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plato_philosopher-alcibiades_ii.1927