Plutarch’s Moralia


7761. Σωρκανὸν1 ἐγκολπίσασθαι καὶ φιλίαν τιμᾶν καὶ μετιέναι καὶ προσδέχεσθαι καὶ γεωργεῖν, πολλοῖς Bμὲν ἰδίᾳ πολλοῖς δὲ καὶ δημοσίᾳ χρήσιμον καὶ ἔγκαρπον γενησομένην, φιλοκάλων ἐστὶ καὶ πολιτικῶν καὶ φιλανθρώπων οὐχ ὡς ἔνιοι νομίζουσι φιλοδόξων· ἀλλὰ καὶ τοὐναντίον, φιλόδοξός ἐστι καὶ ψοφοδεὴς ὁ φεύγων καὶ φοβούμενος ἀκοῦσαι λιπαρὴς τῶν ἐν ἐξουσίᾳ καὶ θεραπευτικός. ἐπεὶ τί φησιν ἀνὴρ θεραπευτικὸς2 καὶ φιλοσοφίας δεόμενος; Σίμων οὖν3 γένωμαι ὁ σκυτοτόμος ἢ Διονύσιος ὁ γραμματιστὴς ἐκ Περικλέους ἢ Κάτωνος, ἵνα μοι προσδιαλέγηται καὶ προσκαθίζῃ Cὡς Σωκράτης ἐκείνῳ4; καὶ Ἀρίστων μὲν ὁ Χῖος ἐπὶ τῷ πᾶσι διαλέγεσθαι τοῖς βουλομένοις ὑπὸ τῶν σοφιστῶν κακῶς ἀκούων “ὤφελεν,” εἶπε5, “καὶ τὰ θηρία λόγων συνιέναι κινητικῶν πρὸς ἀρετήν”· ἡμεῖς δὲ φευξούμεθα τοῖς δυνατοῖς καὶ


Philosophers and Men in Power

That a Philosopher Ought to Converse Especially with Men in Power

1. In clasping Sorcanus to your bosom, in prizing, pursuing, welcoming, and cultivating his friendship—a friendship which will prove useful and fruitful to many in private and to many in public life—you are acting like a man who loves what is noble, who is public-spirited and is a friend of mankind, not, as some people say, like one who is merely ambitious for himself. No, on the contrary, the man who is ambitious for himself and afraid of every whisper is just the one who avoids and fears being called a persistent and servile attendant on those in power. For what does a man say who is an attendant upon philosophy and stands in need of it? “Let me change from Pericles or Cato and become Simo the cobbler or Dionysius the schoolmaster, in order that the philosopher may converse with me and sit beside me as Socrates did with Pericles.” And while it is true that Ariston of Chios, when the sophists spoke ill of him for talking with all who wished it, said, “I wish even the beasts could understand words which incite to virtue,” yet as for us, shall we avoid becoming intimate with

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plutarch-moralia_that_philosopher_ought_converse_especially_men_power.1936