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Plato

Bνεωστὶ ἔλεγεν, ὅτι ἡ σελήνη ἀπὸ τοῦ ἡλίου ἔχει τὸ φῶς.

ΕΡΜ. Πῶς δή;

ΣΩ. Τὸ μέν που σέλας καὶ τὸ φῶς ταὐτόν.

ΕΡΜ. Ναί.

ΣΩ. Νέον δέ που καὶ ἕνον ἀεί ἐστι περὶ τὴν σελήνην τοῦτο τὸ φῶς, εἴπερ ἀληθῆ οἱ Ἀναξαγόρειοι λέγουσιν· κύκλῳ γάρ που ἀεὶ αὐτὴν περιιὼν νέον ἀεὶ ἐπιβάλλει, ἕνον δὲ ὑπάρχει τὸ τοῦ προτέρου μηνός.

ΕΡΜ. Πάνυ γε.

ΣΩ. Σελαναίαν δέ γε καλοῦσιν αὐτὴν πολλοί.

ΕΡΜ. Πάνυ γε.

ΣΩ. Ὅτι δὲ σέλας νέον τε καὶ ἕνον ἔχει ἀεί, CΣελαενονεοάεια1 μὲν δικαιότατ᾿ ἂν τῶν ὀνομάτων καλοῖτο, συγκεκροτημένον δὲ σελαναία κέκληται.

ΕΡΜ. Διθυραμβῶδές γε τοῦτο τοὔνομα, ὦ Σώκρατες. ἀλλὰ τὸν μῆνα καὶ τὰ ἄστρα πῶς λέγεις;

ΣΩ. Ὁ μὲν μεὶς ἀπὸ τοῦ μειοῦσθαι εἴη ἂν μείης ὀρθῶς κεκλημένος, τὰ δ᾿ ἄστρα ἔοικε τῆς ἀστραπῆς ἐπωνυμίαν ἔχειν. ἡ δὲ ἀστραπή, ὅτι τὰ ὦπα ἀναστρέφει, ἀναστρωπὴ ἂν εἴη, νῦν δὲ ἀστραπὴ καλλωπισθεῖσα κέκληται.

ΕΡΜ. Τί δὲ τὸ πῦρ καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ;

D

ΣΩ. Τὸ πῦρ ἀπορῶ· καὶ κινδυνεύει ἤτοι ἡ τοῦ Εὐθύφρονός με μοῦσα ἐπιλελοιπέναι, ἢ τοῦτό τι παγχάλεπον εἶναι· σκέψαι οὖν ἣν εἰσάγω μηχανὴν ἐπὶ πάντα τὰ τοιαῦτα ἃ ἂν ἀπορῶ.

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Cratylus

years the recent doctrine of Anaxagoras, that the moon receives its light from the sun.

her. How is that?

soc. Σέλας (gleam) and φῶς (light) are the same thing.

her. Yes.

soc. Now the light is always new and old about the moon, if the Anaxagoreans are right; for they say the sun, in its continuous course about the moon, always sheds new light upon it, and the light of the previous month persists.

her. Certainly.

soc. The moon is often called Σελαναία.

her. Certainly.

soc. Because it has always a new and old gleam (σέλας νέον τε καὶ ἕνον) the very most fitting name for it would be Σελαενονεοάεια, which has been compressed into Σελαναία.

her. That is a regular opéra bouffe name, Socrates. But what have you to say of the month (μήν) and the stars?

soc. The word “month” (μείς) would be properly pronounced μείης, from μειοῦσθαι, “to grow less,” and I think the stars (ἄστρα) get their name from ἀστραπή (lightning). But ἀστραπή, because it turns our eyes upwards (τὰ ὦπα ἀναστρέφει), would be called ἀναστρωπή, which is now pronounced more prettily ἀστραπή.

her. And what of πῦρ (fire) and ὕδωρ (water)?

soc. Πῦρ is too much for me. It must be that either the muse of Euthyphro has deserted me or this is a very difficult word. Now just note the contrivance I introduce in all cases like this which are too much for me.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plato_philosopher-cratylus.1926