Plato, Cratylus

LCL 167: 70-71

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Eαὐτὸν βαδίζοντα ἐπέσχεν ἡ τῆς θαλάττης φύσις καὶ οὐκέτι εἴασεν προελθεῖν, ἀλλ᾿ ὥσπερ δεσμὸς τῶν ποδῶν αὐτῷ ἐγένετο. τὸν οὖν ἄρχοντα τῆς δυνάμεως ταύτης θεὸν ὠνόμασεν Ποσειδῶνα, ὡς ποσίδεσμον ὄντα· τὸ δὲ ε ἔγκειται ἴσως εὐπρεπείας ἕνεκα. τάχα δὲ οὐκ ἂν τοῦτο λέγοι, ἀλλ᾿ ἀντὶ τοῦ σῖγμα δύο λάβδα τὸ πρῶτον ἐλέγετο, 403ὡς πολλὰ εἰδότος τοῦ θεοῦ. ἴσως δὲ ἀπὸ τοῦ σείειν ὁ σείων ὠνόμασται· πρόσκειται δὲ τὸ πῖ καὶ τὸ δέλτα. τὸ δὲ Πλούτωνος, τοῦτο μὲν κατὰ τὴν τοῦ πλούτου δόσιν, ὅτι ἐκ τῆς γῆς κάτωθεν ἀνίεται ὁ πλοῦτος, ἐπωνομάσθη· ὁ δὲ Ἅιδης, οἱ πολλοὶ μέν μοι δοκοῦσιν ὑπολαμβάνειν τὸ ἀειδὲς προσειρῆσθαι τῷ ὀνόματι τούτῳ, καὶ φοβούμενοι τὸ ὄνομα Πλούτωνα καλοῦσιν αὐτόν.


ΕΡΜ. Σοὶ δὲ πῶς φαίνεται, ὦ Σώκρατες;

20. ΣΩ. Πολλαχῇ ἔμοιγε δοκοῦσιν ἄνθρωποι διημαρτηκέναι περὶ τούτου τοῦ θεοῦ τῆς δυνάμεως καὶ φοβεῖσθαι αὐτὸν οὐκ ἄξιον ὄν.1 ὅτι τε γάρ, ἐπειδὰν ἅπαξ τις ἡμῶν ἀποθάνῃ, ἀεὶ ἐκεῖ ἐστιν, φοβοῦνται, καὶ ὅτι ἡ ψυχὴ γυμνὴ τοῦ σώματος παρ᾿ ἐκεῖνον ἀπέρχεται, καὶ τοῦτο πεφόβηνται· τὰ δ᾿ ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ πάντα ἐς ταὐτόν τι συντείνειν, καὶ ἡ ἀρχὴ τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὸ ὄνομα.

ΕΡΜ. Πῶς δή;


ΣΩ. Ἐγώ σοι ἐρῶ ἅ γέ μοι φαίνεται. εἰπὲ γάρ μοι, δεσμὸς ζῴῳ ὁτῳοῦν ὥστε μένειν ὁπουοῦν, πότερος ἰσχυρότερός ἐστιν, ἀνάγκη ἢ ἐπιθυμία;

ΕΡΜ. Πολὺ διαφέρει, ὦ Σώκρατες, ἡ ἐπιθυμία.

ΣΩ. Οἴει οὖν τὸν Ἅιδην οὐκ ἂν πολλοὺς ἐκφεύγειν, εἰ μὴ τῷ ἰσχυροτάτῳ δεσμῷ ἔδει τοὺς ἐκεῖσε ἰόντας;



restrained him as he was walking and hindered his advance; it acted as a bond (δεσμός) of his feet (ποδῶν) So he called the lord of this power Poseidon, regarding him as a foot-bond (ποσί-δεσμον). The e is inserted perhaps for euphony. But possibly that may not be right; possibly two lambdas were originally pronounced instead of the sigma, because the god knew (εἰδότος) many (πολλά) things. Or it may be that from his shaking he was called the Shaker (ὁ σείων), and the pi and delta are additions. As for Pluto, he was so named as the giver of wealth (πλοῦτος), because wealth comes up from below out of the earth. And Hades—I fancy most people think that this is a name of the Invisible (ἀειδής), so they are afraid and call him Pluto.

her. And what do you think yourself, Socrates?

soc. I think people have many false notions about the power of this god, and are unduly afraid of him. They are afraid because when we are once dead we remain in his realm for ever, and they are also terrified because the soul goes to him without the covering of the body. But I think all these facts, and the office and the name of the god, point in the same direction.

her. How so?

soc. I will tell you my own view. Please answer this question: Which is the stronger bond upon any living being to keep him in any one place, desire, or compulsion?

her. Desire, Socrates, is much stronger.

soc. Then do you not believe there would be many fugitives from Hades, if he did not bind with the strongest bond those who go to him there?

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plato_philosopher-cratylus.1926