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translated by J. Harward
Oxord at T!e Clarendon Press" London #$%&'(
PLATO TO THE RELATIVES AND FRIENDS OF DION. WELFARE.
You write to me that I must consier !our "iews the same as those o#
Dion$ an !ou ur%e me to ai !our cause so #ar as I can in wor an
ee. &! answer is that$ i# !ou ha"e the same o'inion an esire as he
ha$ I consent to ai !our cause( )ut i# not$ I sha** thin+ more
than once a)out it. Now what his 'ur'ose an esire was$ I can
in#orm !ou #rom no mere con,ecture )ut #rom 'ositi"e +now*e%e. For
when I mae m! #irst "isit to Sici*!$ )ein% then a)out #ort! !ears
o*$ Dion was o# the same a%e as Hi''arinos is now$ an the o'inion
which he then #orme was that which he a*wa!s retaine$ I mean the
)e*ie# that the S!racusans ou%ht to )e #ree an %o"erne )! the )est
*aws. So it is no matter #or sur'rise i# some -o shou* ma+e
Hi''arinos ao't the same o'inion as Dion a)out #orms o# %o"ernment.
.ut it is we** worth whi*e that !ou shou* a**$ o* as we** as
!oun%$ hear the wa! in which this o'inion was #orme$ an I wi**
attem't to %i"e !ou an account o# it #rom the )e%innin%. For the
'resent is a suita)*e o''ortunit!.
In m! !outh I went throu%h the same e/'erience as man! other men.
I #ancie that i#$ ear*! in *i#e$ I )ecame m! own master$ I shou*
at once em)ar+ on a 'o*itica* career. An I #oun m!se*# con#ronte
with the #o**owin% occurrences in the 'u)*ic a##airs o# m! own cit!.
The e/istin% constitution )ein% %enera**! conemne$ a re"o*ution too+
'*ace$ an #i#t!0one men came to the #ront as ru*ers o# the
re"o*utionar! %o"ernment$ name*! e*e"en in the cit! an ten in the
Peiraeus0each o# these )oies )ein% in char%e o# the mar+et an
munici'a* matters0whi*e thirt! were a''ointe ru*ers with #u**
'owers o"er 'u)*ic a##airs as a who*e. Some o# these were re*ati"es
an ac1uaintances o# mine$ an the! at once in"ite me to share in
their oin%s$ as somethin% to which I ha a c*aim. The e##ect on me
was not sur'risin% in the case o# a !oun% man. I consiere that
the! wou*$ o# course$ so mana%e the State as to )rin% men out o# a
)a wa! o# *i#e into a %oo one. So I watche them "er! c*ose*! to see
what the! wou* o.
An seein%$ as I i$ that in 1uite a short time the! mae the
#ormer %o"ernment seem )! com'arison somethin% 'recious as %o*0#or
amon% other thin%s the! trie to sen a #rien o# mine$ the a%e
Socrates$ whom I shou* scarce*! scru'*e to escri)e as the most
u'ri%ht man o# that a!$ with some other 'ersons to carr! o## one o#
the citi2ens )! #orce to e/ecution$ in orer that$ whether he wishe
it$ or not$ he mi%ht share the %ui*t o# their conuct( )ut he wou*
not o)e! them$ ris+in% a** conse1uences in 're#erence to )ecomin% a
'artner in their ini1uitous ees0seein% a** these thin%s an others
o# the same +in on a consiera)*e sca*e$ I isa''ro"e o# their
'roceein%s$ an withrew #rom an! connection with the a)uses o# the
Not *on% a#ter that a re"o*ution terminate the 'ower o# the
thirt! an the #orm o# %o"ernment as it then was. An once more$
thou%h with more hesitation$ I )e%an to )e mo"e )! the esire to ta+e
'art in 'u)*ic an 'o*itica* a##airs. We**$ e"en in the new
%o"ernment$ unsett*e as it was$ e"ents occurre which one wou*
natura**! "iew with isa''ro"a*( an it was not sur'risin% that in a
'erio o# re"o*ution e/cessi"e 'ena*ties were in#*icte )! some
'ersons on 'o*itica* o''onents$ thou%h those who ha returne #rom
e/i*e at that time showe "er! consiera)*e #or)earance. .ut once more
it ha''ene that some o# those in 'ower )rou%ht m! #rien Socrates$
whom I ha"e mentione$ to tria* )e#ore a court o# *aw$ *a!in% a most
ini1uitous char%e a%ainst him an one most ina''ro'riate in his
case3 #or it was on a char%e o# im'iet! that some o# them 'rosecute
an others conemne an e/ecute the "er! man who wou* not
'artici'ate in the ini1uitous arrest o# one o# the #riens o# the
'art! then in e/i*e$ at the time when the! themse*"es were in e/i*e
As I o)ser"e these incients an the men en%a%e in 'u)*ic a##airs$
the *aws too an the customs$ the more c*ose*! I e/amine them an the
#arther I a"ance in *i#e$ the more i##icu*t it seeme to me to
han*e 'u)*ic a##airs ari%ht. For it was not 'ossi)*e to )e acti"e
in 'o*itics without #riens an trustworth! su''orters( an to #in
these rea! to m! han was not an eas! matter$ since 'u)*ic a##airs at
Athens were not carrie on in accorance with the manners an
'ractices o# our #athers( nor was there an! rea! metho )! which I
cou* ma+e new #riens. The *aws too$ written an unwritten$ were
)ein% a*tere #or the worse$ an the e"i* was %rowin% with start*in%
ra'iit!. The resu*t was that$ thou%h at #irst I ha )een #u** o# a
stron% im'u*se towars 'o*itica* *i#e$ as I *oo+e at the course o#
a##airs an saw them )ein% swe't in a** irections )! contenin%
currents$ m! hea #ina**! )e%an to swim( an$ thou%h I i not sto'
*oo+in% to see i# there was an! *i+e*ihoo o# im'ro"ement in these
s!m'toms an in the %enera* course o# 'u)*ic *i#e$ I 'ost'one
action ti** a suita)*e o''ortunit! shou* arise. Fina**!$ it )ecame
c*ear to me$ with re%ar to a** e/istin% cornmunities$ that the!
were one an a** mis%o"erne. For their *aws ha"e %ot into a state
that is a*most incura)*e$ e/ce't )! some e/traorinar! re#orm with
%oo *uc+ to su''ort it. An I was #orce to sa!$ when 'raisin% true
'hi*oso'h! that it is )! this that men are ena)*e to see what ,ustice
in 'u)*ic an 'ri"ate *i#e rea**! is. There#ore$ I sai$ there wi** )e
no cessation o# e"i*s #or the sons o# men$ ti** either those who are
'ursuin% a ri%ht an true 'hi*oso'h! recei"e so"erei%n 'ower in the
States$ or those in 'ower in the States )! some is'ensation o#
'ro"ience )ecome true 'hi*oso'hers.
With these thou%hts in m! min I came to Ita*! an Sici*! on m!
#irst "isit. &! #irst im'ressions on arri"a* were those o# stron%
isa''ro"a*0isa''ro"a* o# the +in o# *i#e which was there ca**e the
*i#e o# ha''iness$ stu##e #u** as it was with the )an1uets o# the
Ita*ian -ree+s an S!racusans$ who ate to re'*etion twice e"er! a!$
an were ne"er without a 'artner #or the ni%ht( an isa''ro"a* o# the
ha)its which this manner o# *i#e 'rouces. For with these ha)its
#orme ear*! in *i#e$ no man uner hea"en cou* 'ossi)*! attain to
wisom0human nature is not ca'a)*e o# such an e/traorinar!
com)ination. Tem'erance a*so is out o# the 1uestion #or such a man(
an the same a''*ies to "irtue %enera**!. No cit! cou* remain in a
state o# tran1ui**it! uner an! *aws whatsoe"er$ when men thin+ it
ri%ht to s1uaner a** their 'ro'ert! in e/tra"a%ant$ an consier it a
ut! to )e i*e in e"er!thin% e*se e/ce't eatin% an rin+in% an
the *a)orious 'rosecution o# e)aucher!. It #o**ows necessari*! that
the constitutions o# such cities must )e constant*! chan%in%$
t!rannies$ o*i%archies an emocracies succeein% one another$ whi*e
those who ho* the 'ower cannot so much as enure the name o# an! #orm
o# %o"ernment which maintains ,ustice an e1ua*it! o# ri%hts.
With a min #u** o# these thou%hts$ on the to' o# m! 're"ious
con"ictions$ I crosse o"er to S!racuse0*e there 'erha's )!
chance0)ut it rea**! *oo+s as i# some hi%her 'ower was e"en then
'*annin% to *a! a #ounation #or a** that has now come to 'ass with
re%ar to Dion an S!racuse0an #or #urther trou)*es too$ I #ear$
un*ess !ou *isten to the a"ice which is now #or the secon time
o##ere )! me. What o I mean )! sa!in% that m! arri"a* in Sici*! at
that mo"ement 'ro"e to )e the #ounation on which a** the se1ue*
rests4 I was )rou%ht into c*ose intercourse with Dion who was then a
!oun% man$ an e/'*aine to him m! "iews as to the iea*s at which men
shou* aim$ a"isin% him to carr! them out in 'ractice. In oin%
this I seem to ha"e )een unaware that I was$ in a #ashion$ without
+nowin% it$ contri"in% the o"erthrow o# the t!rann! which(
su)se1uent*! too+ '*ace. For Dion$ who ra'i*! assimi*ate m! teachin%
as he i a** #orms o# +now*e%e$ *istene to me with an ea%erness
which I ha ne"er seen e1ua**e in an! !oun% man$ an reso*"e to *i"e
#or the #uture in a )etter wa! than the ma,orit! o# Ita*ian an
Sici*ian -ree+s$ ha"in% set his a##ection on "irtue in 're#erence to
'*easure an se*#0inu*%ence. The resu*t was that unti* the eath o#
Dion!sios he *i"e in a wa! which renere him somewhat un'o'u*ar
amon% those whose manner o# *i#e was that which is usua* in the courts
A#ter that e"ent he came to the conc*usion that this con"iction$
which he himse*# ha %aine uner the in#*uence o# %oo teachin%$
was not *i+e*! to )e con#ine to himse*#. Inee$ he saw it )ein%
actua**! im'*ante in other mins0not man! 'erha's$ )ut certain*! in
some( an he thou%ht that with the ai o# the -os$ Dion!sios mi%ht
'erha's )ecome one o# these$ an that$ i# such a thin% i come to
'ass$ the resu*t wou* )e a *i#e o# uns'ea+a)*e ha''iness )oth #or
himse*# an #or the rest o# the S!racusans. Further$ he thou%ht it
essentia* that I shou* come to S!racuse )! a** manner o# means an
with the utmost 'ossi)*e s'ee to )e his 'artner in these '*ans$
remem)erin% in his own case how reai*! intercourse with me ha
'rouce in him a *on%in% #or the no)*est an )est *i#e. An i# it
shou* 'rouce a simi*ar e##ect on Dion!sios$ as his aim was that it
shou*$ he ha %reat ho'e that$ without )*ooshe$ *oss o# *i#e$ an
those isastrous e"ents which ha"e now ta+en '*ace$ he wou* )e a)*e
to introuce the true *i#e o# ha''iness throu%hout the who*e
Ho*in% these soun "iews$ Dion 'ersuae Dion!sios to sen #or
me( he a*so wrote himse*# entreatin% me to come )! a** manner o# means
an with the utmost 'ossi)*e s'ee$ )e#ore certain other 'ersons
comin% in contact with Dion!sios shou* turn him asie into some wa!
o# *i#e other than the )est. What he sai$ thou%h 'erha's it is rather
*on% to re'eat$ was as #o**ows3 5What o''ortunities$5 he sai$
5sha** we wait #or$ %reater than those now o##ere to us )!
Pro"ience45 An he escri)e the S!racusan em'ire in Ita*! an
Sici*!$ his own in#*uentia* 'osition in it$ an the !outh o# Dion!sios
an how stron%*! his esire was irecte towars 'hi*oso'h! an
eucation. His own ne'hews an re*ati"es$ he sai$ wou* )e reai*!
attracte towars the 'rinci'*es an manner o# *i#e escri)e )! me$
an wou* )e most in#*uentia* in attractin% Dion!sios in the same
irection$ so that$ now i# e"er$ we shou* see the accom'*ishment o#
e"er! ho'e that the same 'ersons mi%ht actua**! )ecome )oth
'hi*oso'hers an the ru*ers o# %reat States. These were the a''ea*s
aresse to me an much more to the same e##ect.
&! own o'inion$ so #ar as the !oun% men were concerne$ an the
'ro)a)*e *ine which their conuct wou* ta+e$ was #u** o#
a''rehension0#or !oun% men are 1uic+ in #ormin% esires$ which o#ten
ta+e irections con#*ictin% with one another. .ut I +new that the
character o# Dion6s min was natura**! a sta)*e one an ha a*so the
a"anta%e o# somewhat a"ance !ears.
There#ore$ I 'onere the matter an was in two mins as to
whether I ou%ht to *isten to entreaties an %o$ or how I ou%ht to act(
an #ina**! the sca*e turne in #a"our o# the "iew that$ i# e"er
an!one was to tr! to carr! out in 'ractice m! ieas a)out *aws an
constitutions$ now was the time #or ma+in% the attem't( #or i# on*!
I cou* #u**! con"ince one man$ I shou* ha"e secure there)! the
accom'*ishment o# a** %oo thin%s.
With these "iews an thus ner"e to the tas+$ I sai*e #rom home$ in
the s'irit which some ima%ine$ )ut 'rinci'a**! throu%h a #ee*in% o#
shame with re%ar to m!se*#$ *est I mi%ht some a! a''ear to m!se*#
who**! an so*e*! a mere man o# wors$ one who wou* ne"er o# his
own wi** *a! his han to an! act. A*so there was reason to thin+
that I shou* )e )etra!in% #irst an #oremost m! #rienshi' an
comraeshi' with Dion$ who in "er! truth was in a 'osition o#
consiera)*e an%er. I# there#ore an!thin% shou* ha''en to him$ or i#
he were )anishe )! Dion!sios an his other enemies an comin% to us
as e/i*e aresse this 1uestion to me3 5P*ato$ I ha"e come to !ou
as a #u%iti"e$ not #or want o# ho'*ites$ nor )ecause I ha no
ca"a*r! #or e#ence a%ainst m! enemies$ )ut #or want o# wors an
'ower o# 'ersuasion$ which I +new to )e a s'ecia* %i#t o# !ours$
ena)*in% !ou to *ea !oun% men into the 'ath o# %ooness an
,ustice$ an to esta)*ish in e"er! case re*ations o# #rienshi' an
comraeshi' amon% them. It is #or the want o# this assistance on
!our 'art that I ha"e *e#t S!racuse an am here now. An the
is%race attachin% to !our treatment o# me is a sma** matter. .ut
'hi*oso'h!0whose 'raises !ou are a*wa!s sin%in%$ whi*e !ou sa! she
is he* in ishonour )! the rest o# man+in0must we not sa! that
'hi*oso'h! a*on% with me has now )een )etra!e$ so #ar as !our
action was concerne4 Ha I )een *i"in% at &e%ara$ !ou wou* certain*!
ha"e come to %i"e me !our ai towars the o),ects #or which I as+e
it( or !ou wou* ha"e thou%ht !ourse*# the most contem'ti)*e o#
man+in. .ut as it is$ o !ou thin+ that !ou wi** esca'e the
re'utation o# cowarice )! ma+in% e/cuses a)out the istance o# the
,ourne!$ the *en%th o# the sea "o!a%e$ an the amount o# *a)our
in"o*"e4 Far #rom it.5 To re'roaches o# this +in what creita)*e
re'*! cou* I ha"e mae4 Sure*! none.
I too+ m! e'arture$ there#ore$ actin%$ so #ar as a man can act$
in o)eience to reason an ,ustice$ an #or these reasons *ea"in% m!
own occu'ations$ which were certain*! not iscreita)*e ones$ to 'ut
m!se*# uner a t!rann! which i not seem *i+e*! to harmonise with
m! teachin% or with m!se*#. .! m! e'arture I secure m! own #reeom
#rom the is'*easure o# 7eus 8enios$ an mae m!se*# c*ear o# an!
char%e on the 'art o# 'hi*oso'h!$ which wou* ha"e )een e/'ose to
etraction$ i# an! is%race ha come u'on me #or #aint0hearteness an
On m! arri"a*$ to cut a *on% stor! short$ I #oun the court o#
Dion!sios #u** o# intri%ues an o# attem'ts to create in the so"erei%n
i**0#ee*in% a%ainst Dion. I com)ate these as #ar as I cou*$ )ut with
"er! *itt*e success( an in the #ourth month or therea)outs$
char%in% Dion with cons'irac! to sei2e the throne$ Dion!sios 'ut him
on )oar a sma** )oat an e/'e**e him #rom S!racuse with i%nomin!.
A** o# us who were Dion6s #riens were a#rai that he mi%ht ta+e
"en%eance on one or other o# us as an accom'*ice in Dion6s cons'irac!.
With re%ar to me$ there was e"en a rumour current in S!racuse that
I ha )een 'ut to eath )! Dion!sios as the cause o# a** that ha
occurre. Percei"in% that we were a** in this state o# min an
a''rehenin% that our #ears mi%ht *ea to some serious conse1uence$ he
now trie to win a** o# us o"er )! +inness3 me in 'articu*ar he
encoura%e$ )iin% me )e o# %oo cheer an entreatin% me on a**
%rouns to remain. For m! #*i%ht #rom him was not *i+e*! to reoun to
his creit$ )ut m! sta!in% mi%ht o so. There#ore$ he mae a %reat
'retence o# entreatin% me. An we +now that the entreaties o#
so"erei%ns are mi/e with com'u*sion. So to secure his o),ect he
'roceee to rener m! e'arture im'ossi)*e$ )rin%in% me into the
acro'o*is$ an esta)*ishin% me in 1uarters #rom which not a sin%*e
shi'6s ca'tain wou* ha"e ta+en me awa! a%ainst the wi** o# Dion!sios$
nor inee without a s'ecia* messen%er sent )! him to orer m!
remo"a*. Nor was there a sin%*e merchant$ or a sin%*e o##icia* in
char%e o# 'oints o# e'arture #rom the countr!$ who wou* ha"e a**owe
me to e'art unaccom'anie$ an wou* not ha"e 'rom't*! sei2e me
an ta+en me )ac+ to Dion!sios$ es'ecia**! since a statement ha now
)een circu*ate contraictin% the 're"ious rumours an %i"in% out that
Dion!sios was )ecomin% e/traorinari*! attache to P*ato. What were
the #acts a)out this attachment4 I must te** the truth. As time went
on$ an as intercourse mae him ac1uainte with m! is'osition an
character$ he i )ecome more an more attache to me$ an wishe me
to 'raise him more than I 'raise Dion$ an to *oo+ u'on him as more
s'ecia**! m! #rien than Dion$ an he was e/traorinari*! ea%er
a)out this sort o# thin%. .ut when con#ronte with the one wa! in
which this mi%ht ha"e )een one$ i# it was to )e one at a**$ he
shran+ #rom comin% into c*ose an intimate re*ations with me as a
'u'i* an *istener to m! iscourses on 'hi*oso'h!$ #earin% the
an%er su%%este )! mischie#0ma+ers$ that he mi%ht )e ensnare$ an so
Dion wou* 'ro"e to ha"e accom'*ishe a** his o),ect. I enure a**
this 'atient*!$ retainin% the 'ur'ose with which I ha come an the
ho'e that he mi%ht come to esire the 'hi*oso'hic *i#e. .ut his
resistance 're"ai*e a%ainst me.
The time o# m! #irst "isit to Sici*! an m! sta! there was ta+en
u' with a** these incients. On a *ater occasion I *e#t home an a%ain
came on an ur%ent summons #rom Dion!sios. .ut )e#ore %i"in% the
moti"es an 'articu*ars o# m! conuct then an showin% how suita)*e
an ri%ht it was$ I must #irst$ in orer that I ma! not treat as the
main 'oint what is on*! a sie issue$ %i"e !ou m! a"ice as to what
!our acts shou* )e in the 'resent 'osition o# a##airs( a#terwars$ to
satis#! those who 'ut the 1uestion wh! I came a secon time$ I wi**
ea* #u**! with the #acts a)out m! secon "isit( what I ha"e now to
sa! is this.
He who a"ises a sic+ man$ whose manner o# *i#e is 're,uicia* to
hea*th$ is c*ear*! )oun #irst o# a** to chan%e his 'atient6s manner
o# *i#e$ an i# the 'atient is wi**in% to o)e! him$ he ma! %o on to
%i"e him other a"ice. .ut i# he is not wi**in%$ I sha** consier
one who ec*ines to a"ise such a 'atient to )e a man an a 'h!sician$
an one who %i"es in to him to )e unman*! an un'ro#essiona*. In the
same wa! with re%ar to a State$ whether it )e uner a sin%*e ru*er or
more than one$ i#$ whi*e the %o"ernment is )ein% carrie on
methoica**! an in a ri%ht course$ it as+s a"ice a)out an! etai*s
o# 'o*ic!$ it is the 'art o# a wise man to a"ise such 'eo'*e. .ut
when men are tra"e**in% a*to%ether outsie the 'ath o# ri%ht
%o"ernment an #*at*! re#use to mo"e in the ri%ht 'ath$ an start )!
%i"in% notice to their a"iser that he must *ea"e the %o"ernment a*one
an ma+e no chan%e in it uner 'ena*t! o# eath0i# such men shou*
orer their counse**ors to 'aner to their wishes an esires an to
a"ise them in what wa! their o),ect ma! most reai*! an easi*! )e
once #or a** accom'*ishe$ I shou* consier as unman*! one who
acce'ts the ut! o# %i"in% such #orms o# a"ice$ an one who re#uses
it to )e a true man.
Ho*in% these "iews$ whene"er an!one consu*ts me a)out an! o# the
wei%htiest matters a##ectin% his own *i#e$ as$ #or instance$ the
ac1uisition o# 'ro'ert! or the 'ro'er treatment o# )o! or min$ i# it
seems to me that his ai*! *i#e rests on an! s!stem$ or i# he seems
*i+e*! to *isten to a"ice a)out the thin%s on which he consu*ts me$ I
a"ise him with reainess$ an o not content m!se*# with %i"in% him a
mere*! 'er#unctor! answer. .ut i# a man oes not consu*t me at a**$ or
e"ient*! oes not inten to #o**ow m! a"ice$ I o not ta+e the
initiati"e in a"isin% such a man$ an wi** not use com'u*sion to him$
e"en i# he )e m! own son. I wou* a"ise a s*a"e uner such
circumstances$ an wou* use com'u*sion to him i# he were unwi**in%.
To a #ather or mother I o not thin+ that 'iet! a**ows one to o##er
com'u*sion$ un*ess the! are su##erin% #rom an attac+ o# insanit!(
an i# the! are #o**owin% an! re%u*ar ha)its o# *i#e which '*ease them
)ut o not '*ease me$ I wou* not o##en them )! o##erin% use*ess$
a"ice$ nor wou* I #*atter them or truc+*e to them$ 'ro"iin% them
with the means o# satis#!in% esires which I m!se*# wou* sooner ie
than cherish. The wise man shou* %o throu%h *i#e with the same
attitue o# min towars his countr!. I# she shou* a''ear to him to
)e #o**owin% a 'o*ic! which is not a %oo one$ he shou* sa! so$
'ro"ie that his wors are not *i+e*! either to #a** on ea# ears
or to *ea to the *oss o# his own *i#e. .ut #orce a%ainst his nati"e
*an he shou* not use in orer to )rin% a)out a chan%e o#
constitution$ when it is not 'ossi)*e #or the )est constitution to
)e introuce without ri"in% men into e/i*e or 'uttin% them to eath(
he shou* +ee' 1uiet an o##er u' 'ra!ers #or his own we*#are an
#or that o# his countr!.
These are the 'rinci'*es in accorance with which I shou* a"ise
!ou$ as a*so$ ,oint*! with Dion$ I a"ise Dion!sios$ )iin% him in
the #irst '*ace to *i"e his ai*! *i#e in a wa! that wou* ma+e him as
#ar as 'ossi)*e master o# himse*# an a)*e to %ain #aith#u* #riens
an su''orters$ in orer that he mi%ht not ha"e the same e/'erience as
his #ather. For his #ather$ ha"in% ta+en uner his ru*e man! %reat
cities o# Sici*! which ha )een utter*! estro!e )! the )ar)arians$
was not a)*e to #oun them a#resh an to esta)*ish in them trustworth!
%o"ernments carrie on )! his own su''orters$ either )! men who ha no
ties o# )*oo with him$ or )! his )rothers whom he ha )rou%ht u' when
the! were !oun%er$ an ha raise #rom hum)*e station to hi%h o##ice
an #rom 'o"ert! to immense wea*th. Not one o# these was he a)*e to
wor+ u'on )! 'ersuasion$ instruction$ ser"ices an ties o# +inre$ so
as to ma+e him a 'artner in his ru*e( an he showe himse*# in#erior
to Darius with a se"en#o* in#eriorit!. For Darius i not 'ut his
trust in )rothers or in men whom he ha )rou%ht u'$ )ut on*! in his
con#eerates in the o"erthrow o# the &ee an Eunuch( an to these
he assi%ne 'ortions o# his em'ire$ se"en in num)er$ each o# them
%reater than a** Sici*!( an the! were #aith#u* to him an i not
attac+ either him or one another. Thus he showe a 'attern o# what the
%oo *aw%i"er an +in% ou%ht to )e( #or he rew u' *aws )! which he
has secure the Persian em'ire in sa#et! own to the 'resent time.
A%ain$ to %i"e another instance$ the Athenians too+ uner their ru*e
"er! man! cities not #oune )! themse*"es$ which ha )een har hit )!
the )ar)arians )ut were sti** in e/istence$ an maintaine their
ru*e o"er these #or se"ent! !ears$ )ecause the! ha in each them men
whom the! cou* trust. .ut Dion!sios$ who ha %athere the who*e o#
Sici*! into a sin%*e cit!$ an was so c*e"er that he truste no one$
on*! secure his own sa#et! with %reat i##icu*t!. For he was )a*!
o## #or trustworth! #riens( an there is no surer criterion o# "irtue
an "ice than this$ whether a man is or is not estitute o# such
This$ then$ was the a"ice which Dion an I %a"e to Dion!sios$
since$ owin% to )rin%in% u' which he ha recei"e #rom his #ather$
he ha ha no a"anta%es in the wa! o# eucation or o# suita)*e
*essons$ in the #irst '*ace...( an$ in the secon '*ace$ that$
a#ter startin% in this wa!$ he shou* ma+e #riens o# others amon% his
connections who were o# the same a%e an were in s!m'ath! with his
'ursuit o# "irtue$ )ut a)o"e a** that he shou* )e in harmon! with
himse*#( #or this it was o# which he was remar+a)*! in nee. This we
i not sa! in '*ain wors$ #or that wou* not ha"e )een sa#e( )ut
in co"ert *an%ua%e we maintaine that e"er! man in this wa! wou* sa"e
)oth himse*# an those whom he was *eain%$ an i# he i not #o**ow
this 'ath$ he wou* o ,ust the o''osite o# this. An a#ter 'roceein%
on the course which we escri)e$ an ma+in% himse*# a wise an
tem'erate man$ i# he were then to #oun a%ain the cities o# Sici*!
which ha )een *ai waste$ an )in them to%ether )! *aws an
constitutions$ so as to )e *o!a* to him an to one another in their
resistance to the attac+s o# the )ar)arians$ he wou*$ we to* him$
ma+e his #ather6s em'ire not mere*! ou)*e what it was )ut man!
times %reater. For$ i# these thin%s were one$ his wa! wou* )e
c*ear to a more com'*ete su),u%ation o# the 9artha%inians than that
which )e#e** them in -e*on6s time$ whereas in our own a! his #ather
ha #o**owe the o''osite course o# *e"!in% attri)ute #or the
)ar)arians. This was the *an%ua%e an these the e/hortations %i"en
)! us$ the cons'irators a%ainst Dion!sios accorin% to the char%es
circu*ate #rom "arious sources0char%es which$ 're"ai*in% as the!
i with Dion!sios$ cause the e/'u*sion o# Dion an reuce me to a
state o# a''rehension. .ut when0to summarise %reat e"ents which
ha''ene in no %reat time0Dion returne #rom the Pe*o'onnese an
Athens$ his a"ice to Dion!sios too+ the #orm o# action.
To 'rocee0when Dion ha twice o"er e*i"ere the cit! an
restore it to the citi2ens$ the S!racusans went throu%h the same
chan%es o# #ee*in% towars him as Dion!sios ha %one throu%h$ when
Dion attem'te #irst to eucate him an train him to )e a so"erei%n
worth! o# su'reme 'ower an$ when that was one$ to )e his coa,utor
in a** the etai*s o# his career. Dion!sios *istene to those who
circu*ate s*aners to the e##ect that Dion was aimin% at the
t!rann! in a** the ste's which he too+ at that time his intention
)ein% that Dion!sios$ when his min ha #a**en uner the s'e** o#
cu*ture$ shou* ne%*ect the %o"ernment an *ea"e it in his hans$
an that he shou* then a''ro'riate it #or himse*# an treacherous*!
e'ose Dion!sios. These s*aners were "ictorious on that occasion(
the! were so once more when circu*ate amon% the S!racusans$ winnin% a
"ictor! which too+ an e/traorinar! course an 'ro"e is%race#u* to
its authors. The stor! o# what then too+ '*ace is one which eser"es
care#u* attention on the 'art o# those who are in"itin% me to ea*
with the 'resent situation.
I$ an Athenian an #rien o# Dion$ came as his a**! to the court
o# Dion!sios$ in orer that I mi%ht create %oo wi** in '*ace o# a
state war( in m! con#*ict with the authors o# these s*aners I was
worste. When Dion!sios trie to 'ersuae me )! o##ers o# honours
an wea*th to attach m!se*# to him$ an with a "iew to %i"in% a ecent
co*our to Dion6s e/'u*sion a witness an #rien on his sie$ he #ai*e
com'*ete*! in his attem't. Later on$ when Dion returne #rom e/i*e$ he
too+ with him #rom Athens two )rothers$ who ha )een his #riens$
not #rom communit! in 'hi*oso'hic stu!$ )ut with the orinar!
com'anionshi' common amon% most #riens$ which the! #orm as the resu*t
o# re*ations o# hos'ita*it! an the intercourse which occurs when
one man initiates the other in the m!steries. It was #rom this +in o#
intercourse an #rom ser"ices connecte with his return that these two
he*'ers in his restoration )ecame his com'anions. Ha"in% come to
Sici*!$ when the! 'ercei"e that Dion ha )een misre'resente to the
Sici*ian -ree+s$ whom he ha *i)erate$ as one that '*otte to
)ecome monarch$ the! not on*! )etra!e their com'anion an #rien$ )ut
share 'ersona**! in the %ui*t o# his murer$ stanin% )! his
murerers as su''orters with wea'ons in their hans. The %ui*t an
im'iet! o# their conuct I neither e/cuse nor o I we** u'on it.
For man! others ma+e it their )usiness to har' u'on it$ an wi**
ma+e it their )usiness in the #uture. .ut I o ta+e e/ce'tion to the
statement that$ )ecause the! were Athenians$ the! ha"e )rou%ht shame
u'on this cit!. For I sa! that he too is an Athenian who re#use to
)etra! this same Dion$ when he ha the o##er o# riches an man!
other honours. For his was no common or "u*%ar #rienshi'$ )ut
reste on communit! in *i)era* eucation$ an this is the one thin% in
which a wise man wi** 'ut his trust$ #ar more than in ties o# 'ersona*
an )oi*! +inshi'. So the two murerers o# Dion were not o#
su##icient im'ortance to )e causes o# is%race to this cit!$ as thou%h
the! ha )een men o# an! note.
A** this has )een sai with a "iew to counse**in% the #riens an
#ami*! o# Dion. An in aition to this I %i"e #or the thir time to
!ou the same a"ice an counse* which I ha"e %i"en twice )e#ore to
others0not to ens*a"e Sici*! or an! other State to es'ots0this m!
counse* )ut0to 'ut it uner the ru*e o# *aws0#or the other course is
)etter neither #or the ens*a"ers nor #or the ens*a"e$ #or themse*"es$
their chi*ren6s chi*ren an escenants( the attem't is in e"er! wa!
#rau%ht with isaster. It is on*! sma** an mean natures that are )ent
u'on sei2in% such %ains #or themse*"es$ natures that +now nothin% o#
%ooness an ,ustice$ i"ine as we** as human$ in this *i#e an in the
These are the *essons which I trie to teach$ #irst to Dion$
secon*! to Dion!sios$ an now #or the thir time to !ou. Do !ou
o)e! me thin+in% o# 7eus the Preser"er$ the 'atron o# thir
"entures$ an *oo+in% at the *ot o# Dion!sios an Dion$ o# whom the
one who iso)e!e me is *i"in% in ishonour$ whi*e he who o)e!e me
has ie honoura)*!. For the one thin% which is who**! ri%ht an no)*e
is to stri"e #or that which is most honoura)*e #or a man6s se*# an
#or his countr!$ an to #ace the conse1uences whate"er the! ma! )e.
For none o# us can esca'e eath$ nor$ i# a man cou* o so$ wou*
it$ as the "u*%ar su''ose$ ma+e him ha''!. For nothin% e"i* or %oo$
which is worth mentionin% at a**$ )e*on%s to thin%s sou**ess( )ut %oo
or e"i* wi** )e the 'ortion o# e"er! sou*$ either whi*e attache to
the )o! or when se'arate #rom it.
An we shou* in "er! truth a*wa!s )e*ie"e those ancient an
sacre teachin%s$ which ec*are that the sou* is immorta*$ that it has
,u%es$ an su##ers the %reatest 'ena*ties when it has )een
se'arate #rom the )o!. There#ore a*so we shou* consier it a *esser
e"i* to su##er %reat wron%s an outra%es than to o them. The co"etous
man$ im'o"erishe as he is in the sou*$ turns a ea# ear to this
teachin%( or i# he hears it$ he *au%hs it to scorn with #ancie
su'eriorit!$ an shame*ess*! snatches #or himse*# #rom e"er! source
whate"er his )estia* #anc! su''oses wi** 'ro"ie #or him the means
o# eatin% or rin+in% or %*uttin% himse*# with that s*a"ish an
%ross '*easure which is #a*se*! ca**e a#ter the %oess o# *o"e. He
is )*in an cannot see in those acts o# '*uner which are accom'anie
)! im'iet! what heinous %ui*t is attache to each wron%#u* ee$ an
that the o##ener must ra% with him the )uren o# this im'iet!
whi*e he mo"es a)out on earth$ an when he has tra"e**e )eneath the
earth on a ,ourne! which has e"er! circumstance o# shame an miser!.
It was )! ur%in% these an other *i+e truths that I con"ince
Dion$ an it is I who ha"e the )est ri%ht to )e an%ere with his
murerers in much the same wa! as I ha"e with Dion!sios. For )oth the!
an he ha"e one the %reatest in,ur! to me$ an I mi%ht a*most sa!
to a** man+in$ the! )! s*a!in% the man that was wi**in% to act
ri%hteous*!$ an he )! re#usin% to act ri%hteous*! urin% the who*e o#
his ru*e$ when he he* su'reme 'ower$ in which ru*e i# 'hi*oso'h!
an 'ower ha rea**! met to%ether$ it wou* ha"e sent #orth a *i%ht to
a** men$ -ree+s an )ar)arians$ esta)*ishin% #u**! #or a** the true
)e*ie# that there can )e no ha''iness either #or the communit! or
#or the ini"iua* man$ un*ess he 'asses his *i#e uner the ru*e o#
ri%hteousness with the %uiance o# wisom$ either 'ossessin% these
"irtues in himse*#$ or *i"in% uner the ru*e o# %o*! men an ha"in%
recei"e a ri%ht trainin% an eucation in mora*s. These were the aims
which Dion!sios in,ure$ an #or me e"er!thin% e*se is a tri#*in%
in,ur! com'are with this.
The murerer o# Dion has$ without +nowin% it$ one the same as
Dion!sios. For as re%ars Dion$ I +now ri%ht we**$ so #ar as it is
'ossi)*e #or a man to sa! an!thin% 'ositi"e*! a)out other men$ that$
i# he ha %ot the su'reme 'ower$ he wou* ne"er ha"e turne his min
to an! other #orm o# ru*e$ )ut that$ ea*in% #irst with S!racuse$
his own nati"e *an$ when he ha mae an en o# her s*a"er!$ c*othe
her in )ri%ht a''are*$ an %i"en her the %ar) o# #reeom$ he wou*
then )! e"er! means in his 'ower ha"e orere ari%ht the *i"es o#
his #e**ow0citi2ens )! suita)*e an e/ce**ent *aws( an the thin% ne/t
in orer$ which he wou* ha"e set his heart to accom'*ish$ was to
#oun a%ain a** the States o# Sici*! an ma+e them #ree #rom the
)ar)arians$ ri"in% out some an su)uin% others$ an easier tas+ #or
him than it was #or Hiero. I# these thin%s ha )een accom'*ishe )!
a man who was ,ust an )ra"e an tem'erate an a 'hi*oso'her$ the same
)e*ie# with re%ar to "irtue wou* ha"e )een esta)*ishe amon% the
ma,orit! which$ i# Dion!sios ha )een won o"er$ wou* ha"e )een
esta)*ishe$ I mi%ht a*most sa!$ amon% a** man+in an wou* ha"e
%i"en them sa*"ation. .ut now some hi%her 'ower or a"en%in% #ien
has #a**en u'on them$ ins'irin% them with *aw*essness$ %o*essness an
acts o# rec+*essness issuin% #rom i%norance$ the see #rom which a**
e"i*s #or a** man+in ta+e root an %row an wi** in #uture )ear the
)itterest har"est #or those who )rou%ht them into )ein%. This
i%norance it was which in that secon "enture wrec+e an ruine
An now$ #or %oo *uc+6s sa+e$ *et us on this thir "enture
a)stain #rom wors o# i** omen. .ut$ ne"erthe*ess$ I a"ise !ou$ his
#riens$ to imitate in Dion his *o"e #or his countr! an his tem'erate
ha)its o# ai*! *i#e$ an to tr! with )etter aus'ices to carr! out his
wishes0what these were$ !ou ha"e hear #rom me in '*ain wors. An
whoe"er amon% !ou cannot *i"e the sim'*e Dorian *i#e accorin% to
the customs o# !our #ore#athers$ )ut #o**ows the manner o# *i#e o#
Dion6s murerers an o# the Sici*ians$ o not in"ite this man to
,oin !ou$ or e/'ect him to o an! *o!a* or sa*utar! act( )ut in"ite
a** others to the wor+ o# resett*in% a** the States o# Sici*! an
esta)*ishin% e1ua*it! uner the *aws$ summonin% them #rom Sici*!
itse*# an #rom the who*e Pe*o'onnese0an ha"e no #ear e"en o# Athens(
#or there$ a*so$ are men who e/ce* a** man+in in their e"otion to
"irtue an in hatre o# the rec+*ess acts o# those who she the
)*oo o# #riens.
.ut i#$ a#ter a**$ this is wor+ #or a #uture time$ whereas immeiate
action is ca**e #or )! the isorers o# a** sorts an +ins which
arise e"er! a! #rom !our state o# ci"i* stri#e$ e"er! man to whom
Pro"ience has %i"en e"en a moerate share o# ri%ht inte**i%ence ou%ht
to +now that in times o# ci"i* stri#e there is no res'ite #rom trou)*e
ti** the "ictors ma+e an en o# #eein% their %ru%e )! com)ats an
)anishments an e/ecutions$ an o# wrea+in% their "en%eance on their
enemies. The! shou* master themse*"es an$ enactin% im'artia* *aws$
#rame not to %rati#! themse*"es more than the con1uere 'art!$ shou*
com'e* men to o)e! these )! two restrainin% #orces$ res'ect an
#ear( #ear$ )ecause the! are the masters an can is'*a! su'erior
#orce( res'ect$ )ecause the! rise su'erior to '*easures an are
wi**in% an a)*e to )e ser"ants to the *aws. There is no other wa!
sa"e this #or terminatin% the trou)*es o# a cit! that is in a state o#
ci"i* stri#e( )ut a constant continuance o# interna* isorers$
stru%%*es$ hatre an mutua* istrust is the common *ot o# cities
which are in that '*i%ht.
There#ore$ those who ha"e #or the time )ein% %aine the u''er
han$ when the! esire to secure their 'osition$ must )! their own act
an choice se*ect #rom a** He**as men whom the! ha"e ascertaine to )e
the )est #or the 'ur'ose. These must in the #irst '*ace )e men o#
mature !ears$ who ha"e chi*ren an wi"es at home$ an$ as #ar as
'ossi)*e$ a *on% *ine o# ancestors o# %oo re'ute$ an a** must )e
'ossesse o# su##icient 'ro'ert!. For a cit! o# ten thousan
househo*ers their num)ers shou* )e #i#t!( that is enou%h. These the!
must inuce to come #rom their own homes )! entreaties an the 'romise
o# the hi%hest honours( an ha"in% inuce them to come the! must
entreat an comman them to raw u' *aws a#ter )inin% themse*"es )!
oath to show no 'artia*it! either to con1uerors or to con1uere$ )ut
to %i"e e1ua* an common ri%hts to the who*e State.
When *aws ha"e )een enacte$ what e"er!thin% then hin%es on is this.
I# the con1uerors show more o)eience to the *aws than the
con1uere$ the who*e State wi** )e #u** o# securit! an ha''iness$ an
there wi** )e an esca'e #rom a** !our trou)*es. .ut i# the! o not$
then o not summon me or an! other he*'er to ai !ou a%ainst those who
o not o)e! the counse* I now %i"e !ou. For this course is a+in to
that which Dion an I attem'te to carr! out with our hearts set on
the we*#are o# S!racuse. It is inee a secon )est course. The
#irst an )est was that scheme o# we*#are to a** man+in which we
attem'te to carr! out with the co0o'eration o# Dion!sios( )ut some
chance$ mi%htier than men$ )rou%ht it to nothin%. Do !ou now$ with
%oo #ortune attenin% !ou an with Hea"en6s he*'$ tr! to )rin% !our
e##orts to a ha''ier issue.
Let this )e the en o# m! a"ice an in,unction an o# the narrati"e
o# m! #irst "isit to Dion!sios. Whoe"er wishes ma! ne/t hear o# m!
secon ,ourne! an "o!a%e$ an *earn that it was a reasona)*e an
suita)*e 'roceein%. &! #irst 'erio o# resience in Sici*! was
occu'ie in the wa! which I re*ate )e#ore %i"in% m! a"ice to the
re*ati"es an #riens o# Dion. A#ter those e"ents I 'ersuae
Dion!sios )! such ar%uments as I cou* to *et me %o( an we mae an
a%reement as to what shou* )e one when 'eace was mae( #or at that
time there was a state o# war in Sici*!. Dion!sios sai that$ when
he ha 'ut the a##airs o# his em'ire in a 'osition o# %reater sa#et!
#or himse*#$ he wou* sen #or Dion an me a%ain( an he esire
that Dion shou* re%ar what ha )e#a**en him not as an e/i*e$ )ut
as a chan%e o# resience. I a%ree to come a%ain on these conitions.
When 'eace ha )een mae$ he )e%an senin% #or me( he re1ueste that
Dion shou* wait #or another !ear$ )ut )e%%e that I shou* )! a**
means come. Dion now +e't ur%in% an entreatin% me to %o. For
'ersistent rumours came #rom Sici*! that Dion!sios was now once more
'ossesse )! an e/traorinar! esire #or 'hi*oso'h!. For this reason
Dion 'resse me ur%ent*! not to ec*ine his in"itation. .ut thou%h I
was we** aware that as re%ars 'hi*oso'h! such s!m'toms were not
uncommon in !oun% men$ sti** it seeme to me sa#er at that time to
'art com'an! a*to%ether with Dion an Dion!sios( an I o##ene )oth
o# them )! re'*!in% that I was an o* man$ an that the ste's now
)ein% ta+en were 1uite at "ariance with the 're"ious a%reement.
A#ter this$ it seems$ Arch!tes came to the court o# Dion!sios.
.e#ore m! e'arture I ha )rou%ht him an his Tarentine circ*e into
#rien*! re*ations with Dion!sios. There were some others in
S!racuse who ha recei"e some instruction #rom Dion$ an others ha
*earnt #rom these$ %ettin% their heas #u** o# erroneous teachin% on
'hi*oso'hica* 1uestions. These$ it seems$ were attem'tin% to ho*
iscussions with Dion!sios on 1uestions connecte with such
su),ects$ in the iea that he ha )een #u**! instructe in m! "iews.
Now is not at a** e"oi o# natura* %i#ts #or *earnin%$ an he has a
%reat cra"in% #or honour an %*or!. What was sai 'ro)a)*! '*ease
him$ an he #e*t some shame when it )ecame c*ear that he ha not ta+en
a"anta%e o# m! teachin% urin% m! "isit. For these reasons he
concei"e a esire #or more e#inite instruction$ an his *o"e o#
%*or! was an aitiona* incenti"e to him. The rea* reasons wh! he
ha *earnt nothin% urin% m! 're"ious "isit ha"e ,ust )een set #orth
in the 'recein% narrati"e. Accorin%*!$ now that I was sa#e at home
an ha re#use his secon in"itation$ as I ,ust now re*ate$
Dion!sios seems to ha"e #e*t a** manner o# an/iet! *est certain 'eo'*e
shou* su''ose that I was unwi**in% to "isit him a%ain )ecause I ha
#orme a 'oor o'inion o# his natura* %i#ts an character$ an )ecause$
+nowin% as I i his manner o# *i#e$ I isa''ro"e o# it.
It is ri%ht #or me to s'ea+ the truth$ an ma+e no com'*aint i#
an!one$ a#ter hearin% the #acts$ #orms a 'oor o'inion o# m!
'hi*oso'h!$ an thin+s that the t!rant was in the ri%ht. Dion!sios now
in"ite me #or the thir time$ senin% a trireme to ensure me
com#ort on the "o!a%e( he sent a*so Archeemos0one o# those who ha
s'ent some time with Arch!tes$ an o# whom he su''ose that I ha a
hi%her o'inion than o# an! o# the Sici*ian -ree+s0an$ with him$ other
men o# re'ute in Sici*!. These a** )rou%ht the same re'ort$ that
Dion!sios ha mae 'ro%ress in 'hi*oso'h!. He a*so sent a "er! *on%
*etter$ +nowin% as he i m! re*ations with Dion an Dion6s
ea%erness a*so that I shou* ta+e shi' an %o to S!racuse. The
*etter was #rame in its o'enin% sentences to meet a** these
conitions$ an the tenor o# it was as #o**ows3 5Dion!sios to
P*ato$5 here #o**owe the customar! %reetin% an immeiate*! a#ter
it he sai$ 5I# in com'*iance with our re1uest !ou come now$ in the
#irst '*ace$ Dion6s a##airs wi** )e ea*t with in whate"er wa! !ou
!ourse*# esire( I +now that !ou wi** esire what is reasona)*e$ an I
sha** consent to it. .ut i# not$ none o# Dion6s a##airs wi** ha"e
resu*ts in accorance with !our wishes$ with re%ar either to Dion
himse*# or to other matters.5 This he sai in these wors( the rest it
wou* )e teious an ino''ortune to 1uote. Other *etters arri"e
#rom Arch!tes an the Tarentines$ 'raisin% the 'hi*oso'hica* stuies
o# Dion!sios an sa!in% that$ i# I i not now come$ I shou* cause
a com'*ete ru'ture in their #rienshi' with Dion!sios$ which ha
)een )rou%ht a)out )! me an was o# no sma** im'ortance to their
When this in"itation came to me at that time in such terms$ an
those who ha come #rom Sici*! an Ita*! were tr!in% to ra% me
thither$ whi*e m! #riens at Athens were *itera**! 'ushin% me out with
their ur%ent entreaties$ it was the same o* ta*e0that I must not
)etra! Dion an m! Tarentine #riens an su''orters. A*so I m!se*# ha
a *ur+in% #ee*in% that there was nothin% sur'risin% in the #act that a
!oun% man$ 1uic+ to *earn$ hearin% ta*+ o# the %reat truths o#
'hi*oso'h!$ shou* #ee* a cra"in% #or the hi%her *i#e. I thou%ht
there#ore that I must 'ut the matter e#inite*! to the test to see
whether his esire was %enuine or the re"erse$ an on no account *ea"e
such an im'u*se unaie nor ma+e m!se*# res'onsi)*e #or such a ee'
an rea* is%race$ i# the re'orts )rou%ht )! an!one were rea**!
true. So )*in#o*in% m!se*# with this re#*ection$ I set out$ with
man! #ears an with no "er! #a"oura)*e antici'ations$ as was natura*
enou%h. Howe"er$ I went$ an m! action on this occasion at an! rate
was rea**! a case o# 5the thir to the Preser"er$5 #or I ha the
%oo #ortune to return sa#e*!( an #or this I must$ ne/t to the -o$
than+ Dion!sios$ )ecause$ thou%h man! wishe to ma+e an en o# me$
he 're"ente them an 'ai some 'ro'er res'ect to m! situation.
On m! arri"a*$ I thou%ht that #irst I must 'ut to the test the
1uestion whether Dion!sios ha rea**! )een +in*e with the #ire o#
'hi*oso'h!$ or whether a** the re'orts which ha come to Athens were
em't! rumours. Now there is a wa! o# 'uttin% such thin%s to the test
which is not to )e es'ise an is we** suite to monarchs$ es'ecia**!
to those who ha"e %ot their heas #u** o# erroneous teachin%$ which
immeiate*! m! arri"a* I #oun to )e "er! much the case with
Dion!sios. One shou* show such men what 'hi*oso'h! is in a** its
e/tent( what their ran%e o# stuies is )! which it is a''roache$
an how much *a)our it in"o*"es. For the man who has hear this$ i# he
has the true 'hi*oso'hic s'irit an that %o*i+e tem'erament which
ma+es him a +in to 'hi*oso'h! an worth! o# it$ thin+s that he has
)een to* o# a mar"e**ous roa *!in% )e#ore him$ that he must
#orthwith 'ress on with a** his stren%th$ an that *i#e is not worth
*i"in% i# he oes an!thin% e*se. A#ter this he uses to the #u** his
own 'owers an those o# his %uie in the 'ath$ an re*a/es not his
e##orts$ ti** he has either reache the en o# the who*e course o#
stu! or %aine such 'ower that he is not inca'a)*e o# irectin% his
ste's without the ai o# a %uie. This is the s'irit an these are the
thou%hts )! which such a man %uies his *i#e$ carr!in% out his wor+$
whate"er his occu'ation ma! )e$ )ut throu%hout it a** e"er c*ea"in% to
'hi*oso'h! an to such ru*es o# iet in his ai*! *i#e as wi** %i"e
him inwar so)riet! an therewith 1uic+ness in *earnin%$ a %oo
memor!$ an reasonin% 'ower( the +in o# *i#e which is o''ose to this
he consistent*! hates. Those who ha"e not the true 'hi*oso'hic tem'er$
)ut a mere sur#ace co*ourin% o# o'inions 'enetratin%$ *i+e sun)urn$
on*! s+in ee'$ when the! see how %reat the ran%e o# stuies is$ how
much *a)our is in"o*"e in it$ an how necessar! to the 'ursuit it
is to ha"e an orer*! re%u*ation o# the ai*! *i#e$ come to the
conc*usion that the thin% is i##icu*t an im'ossi)*e #or them$ an
are actua**! inca'a)*e o# carr!in% out the course o# stu!( whi*e some
o# them 'ersuae themse*"es that the! ha"e su##icient*! stuie the
who*e matter an ha"e no nee o# an! #urther e##ort. This is the
sure test an is the sa#est one to a''*! to those who *i"e in *u/ur!
an are inca'a)*e o# continuous e##ort( it ensures that such a man
sha** not throw the )*ame u'on his teacher )ut on himse*#$ )ecause
he cannot )rin% to the 'ursuit a** the 1ua*ities necessar! to it. Thus
it came a)out that I sai to Dion!sios what I i sa! on that
I i not$ howe"er$ %i"e a com'*ete e/'osition$ nor i Dion!sios
as+ #or one. For he 'ro#esse to +now man!$ an those the most
im'ortant$ 'oints$ an to ha"e a su##icient ho* o# them throu%h
instruction %i"en )! others. I hear a*so that he has since written
a)out what he hear #rom me$ com'osin% what 'ro#esses to )e his own
han)oo+$ "er! i##erent$ so he sa!s$ #rom the octrines which he
hear #rom me( )ut o# its contents I +now nothin%( I +now inee
that others ha"e written on the same su),ects( )ut who the! are$ is
more than the! +now themse*"es. Thus much at *east$ I can sa! a)out
a** writers$ 'ast or #uture$ who sa! the! +now the thin%s to which I
e"ote m!se*#$ whether )! hearin% the teachin% o# me or o# others$
or )! their own isco"eries0that accorin% to m! "iew it is not
'ossi)*e #or them to ha"e an! rea* s+i** in the matter. There
neither is nor e"er wi** )e a treatise o# mine on the su),ect. For
it oes not amit o# e/'osition *i+e other )ranches o# +now*e%e(
)ut a#ter much con"erse a)out the matter itse*# an a *i#e *i"e
to%ether$ suen*! a *i%ht$ as it were$ is +in*e in one sou* )! a
#*ame that *ea's to it #rom another$ an therea#ter sustains itse*#.
Yet this much I +now0that i# the thin%s were written or 'ut into
wors$ it wou* )e one )est )! me$ an that$ i# the! were written
)a*!$ I shou* )e the 'erson most 'aine. A%ain$ i# the! ha a''eare
to me to amit ae1uate*! o# writin% an e/'osition$ what tas+ in *i#e
cou* I ha"e 'er#orme no)*er than this$ to write what is o# %reat
ser"ice to man+in an to )rin% the nature o# thin%s into the *i%ht
#or a** to see4 .ut I o not thin+ it a %oo thin% #or men that
there shou* )e a is1uisition$ as it is ca**e$ on this
to'ic0e/ce't #or some #ew$ who are a)*e with a *itt*e teachin% to #in
it out #or themse*"es. As #or the rest$ it wou* #i** some o# them
1uite i**o%ica**! with a mista+en #ee*in% o# contem't$ an others with
*o#t! an "ain0%*orious e/'ectations$ as thou%h the! ha *earnt
somethin% hi%h an mi%ht!.
On this 'oint I inten to s'ea+ a *itt*e more at *en%th( #or
'erha's$ when I ha"e one so$ thin%s wi** )e c*earer with re%ar to m!
'resent su),ect. There is an ar%ument which ho*s %oo a%ainst the man
"entures to 'ut an!thin% whate"er into writin% on 1uestions o# this
nature( it has o#ten )e#ore )een state )! me$ an it seems suita)*e
to the 'resent occasion.
For e"er!thin% that e/ists there are three instruments )! which
the +now*e%e o# it is necessari*! im'arte( #ourth$ there is the
+now*e%e itse*#$ an$ as #i#th$ we must count the thin% itse*#
which is +nown an tru*! e/ists. The #irst is the name$ the$ secon
the e#inition$ the thir. the ima%e$ an the #ourth the +now*e%e. I#
!ou wish to *earn what I mean$ ta+e these in the case o# one instance$
an so unerstan them in the case o# a**. A circ*e is a thin%
s'o+en o#$ an its name is that "er! wor which we ha"e ,ust
uttere. The secon thin% )e*on%in% to it is its e#inition$ mae u'
names an "er)a* #orms. For that which has the name 5roun$5
5annu*ar$5 or$ 5circ*e$5 mi%ht )e e#ine as that which has the
istance #rom its circum#erence to its centre e"er!where e1ua*. Thir$
comes that which is rawn an ru))e out a%ain$ or turne on a *athe
an )ro+en u'0none o# which thin%s can ha''en to the circ*e
itse*#0to which the other thin%s$ mentione ha"e re#erence( #or it
is somethin% o# a i##erent orer #rom them. Fourth$ comes
+now*e%e$ inte**i%ence an ri%ht o'inion a)out these thin%s. :ner
this one hea we must %rou' e"er!thin% which has its e/istence$ not in
wors nor in )oi*! sha'es$ )ut in sou*s0#rom which it is ear that it
is somethin% i##erent #rom the nature o# the circ*e itse*# an #rom
the three thin%s mentione )e#ore. O# these thin%s inte**i%ence
comes c*osest in +inshi' an *i+eness to the #i#th$ an the others are
The same a''*ies to strai%ht as we** as to circu*ar #orm$ to
co*ours$ to the %oo$ the$ )eauti#u*$ the ,ust$ to a** )oies
whether manu#acture or comin% into )ein% in the course o# nature$
to #ire$ water$ an a** such thin%s$ to e"er! *i"in% )ein%$ to
character in sou*s$ an to a** thin%s one an su##ere. For in the
case o# a** these$ no one$ i# he has not some how or other %ot ho* o#
the #our thin%s #irst mentione$ can e"er )e com'*ete*! a 'arta+er
o# +now*e%e o# the #i#th. Further$ on account o# the wea+ness o#
*an%ua%e$ these ;i.e.$ the #our< attem't to show what each thin% is
*i+e$ not *ess than what each thin% is. For this reason no man o#
inte**i%ence wi** "enture to e/'ress his 'hi*oso'hica* "iews in
*an%ua%e$ es'ecia**! not in *an%ua%e that is unchan%ea)*e$ which is
true o# that which is set own in written characters.
A%ain !ou must *earn the 'oint which comes ne/t. E"er! circ*e$ o#
those which are )! the act o# man rawn or e"en turne on a *athe$
is #u** o# that which is o''osite to the #i#th thin%. For e"er!where
it has contact with the strai%ht. .ut the circ*e itse*#$ we sa!$ has
nothin% in either sma**er or %reater$ o# that which is its o''osite.
We sa! a*so that the name is not a thin% o# 'ermanence #or an! o#
them$ an that nothin% 're"ents the thin%s now ca**e roun #rom )ein%
ca**e strai%ht$ an the strai%ht thin%s roun( #or those who ma+e
chan%es an ca** thin%s )! o''osite names$ nothin% wi** )e *ess
'ermanent ;than a name<. A%ain with re%ar to the e#inition$ i# it is
mae u' o# names an "er)a* #orms$ the same remar+ ho*s that there is
no su##icient*! ura)*e 'ermanence in it. An there is no en to the
instances o# the am)i%uit! #rom which each o# the #our su##ers( )ut
the %reatest o# them is that which we mentione a *itt*e ear*ier$
that$ whereas there are two thin%s$ that which has rea* )ein%$ an
that which is on*! a 1ua*it!$ when the sou* is see+in% to +now$ not
the 1ua*it!$ )ut the essence$ each o# the #our$ 'resentin% to the sou*
)! wor an in act that which it is not see+in% ;i.e.$ the 1ua*it!<$ a
thin% o'en to re#utation )! the senses$ )ein% mere*! the thin%
'resente to the sou* in each 'articu*ar case whether )! statement
or the act o# showin%$ #i**s$ one ma! sa!$ e"er! man with 'u22*ement
Now in su),ects in which$ )! reason o# our e#ecti"e eucation$ we
ha"e not )een accustome e"en to search #or the truth$ )ut are
satis#ie with whate"er ima%es are 'resente to us$ we are not he* u'
to riicu*e )! one another$ the 1uestione )! 1uestioners$ who can
'u** to 'ieces an criticise the #our thin%s. .ut in su),ects where we
tr! to com'e* a man to %i"e a c*ear answer a)out the #i#th$ an! one o#
those who are ca'a)*e o# o"erthrowin% an anta%onist %ets the )etter o#
us$ an ma+es the man$ who %i"es an e/'osition in s'eech or writin% or
in re'*ies to 1uestions$ a''ear to most o# his hearers to +now nothin%
o# the thin%s on which he is attem'tin% to write or s'ea+( #or the!
are sometimes not aware that it is not the min o# the writer or
s'ea+er which is 'ro"e to )e at #au*t$ )ut the e#ecti"e nature o#
each o# the #our instruments. The 'rocess howe"er o# ea*in% with
a** o# these$ as the min mo"es u' an own to each in turn$ oes
a#ter much e##ort %i"e )irth in a we**0constitute min to +now*e%e
o# that which is we** constitute. .ut i# a man is i**0constitute
)! nature ;as the state o# the sou* is natura**! in the ma,orit!
)oth in its ca'acit! #or *earnin% an in what is ca**e mora*
character<0or it ma! ha"e )ecome so )! eterioration0not e"en
L!nceus cou* enow such men with the 'ower o# si%ht.
In one wor$ the man who has no natura* +inshi' with this matter
cannot )e mae a+in to it )! 1uic+ness o# *earnin% or memor!( #or it
cannot )e en%enere at a** in natures which are #orei%n to it.
There#ore$ i# men are not )! nature +inshi' a**ie to ,ustice an
a** other thin%s that are honoura)*e$ thou%h the! ma! )e %oo at
*earnin% an remem)erin% other +now*e%e o# "arious +ins0or i# the!
ha"e the +inshi' )ut are s*ow *earners an ha"e no memor!0none o#
a** these wi** e"er *earn to the #u** the truth a)out "irtue an "ice.
For )oth must )e *earnt to%ether( an to%ether a*so must )e *earnt$ )!
com'*ete an *on% continue stu!$ as I sai at the )e%innin%$ the
true an the #a*se a)out a** that has rea* )ein%. A#ter much e##ort$
as names$ e#initions$ si%hts$ an other ata o# sense$ are )rou%ht
into contact an #riction one with another$ in the course o#
scrutin! an +in*! testin% )! men who 'rocee )! 1uestion an
answer without i** wi**$ with a suen #*ash there shines #orth
unerstanin% a)out e"er! 'ro)*em$ an an inte**i%ence whose e##orts
reach the #urthest *imits o# human 'owers. There#ore e"er! man o#
worth$ when ea*in% with matters o# worth$ wi** )e #ar #rom e/'osin%
them to i** #ee*in% an misunerstanin% amon% men )! committin%
them to writin%. In one wor$ then$ it ma! )e +nown #rom this that$ i#
one sees written treatises com'ose )! an!one$ either the *aws o# a
*aw%i"er$ or in an! other #orm whate"er$ these are not #or that man
the thin%s o# most worth$ i# he is a man o# worth$ )ut that his
treasures are *ai u' in the #airest s'ot that he 'ossesses. .ut i#
these thin%s were wor+e at )! him as thin%s o# rea* worth$ an
committe to writin%$ then sure*!$ not %os$ )ut men 5ha"e
themse*"es )ere#t him o# his wits.5
An!one who has #o**owe this iscourse an i%ression wi** +now we**
that$ i# Dion!sios or an!one e*se$ %reat or sma**$ has written a
treatise on the hi%hest matters an the #irst 'rinci'*es o# thin%s$ he
has$ so I sa!$ neither hear nor *earnt an! soun teachin% a)out the
su),ect o# his treatise( otherwise$ he wou* ha"e ha the same
re"erence #or it$ which I ha"e$ an wou* ha"e shrun+ #rom 'uttin%
it #orth into a wor* o# iscor an uncome*iness. For he wrote it$
not as an ai to memor!0since there is no ris+ o# #or%ettin% it$ i#
a man6s sou* has once *ai ho* o# it( #or it is e/'resse in the
shortest o# statements0)ut i# he wrote it at a**$ it was #rom a mean
cra"in% #or honour$ either 'uttin% it #orth as his own in"ention$ or
to #i%ure as a man 'ossesse o# cu*ture$ o# which he was not worth!$
i# his heart was set on the creit o# 'ossessin% it. I# then Dion!sios
%aine this cu*ture #rom the one *esson which he ha #rom me$ we ma!
'erha's %rant him the 'ossession o# it$ thou%h how he ac1uire
it0-o wot$ as the The)an sa!s( #or I %a"e him the teachin%$ which I
ha"e escri)e$ on that one occasion an ne"er a%ain.
The ne/t 'oint which re1uires to )e mae c*ear to an!one who
wishes to isco"er how thin%s rea**! ha''ene$ is the reason wh! it
came a)out that I i not continue m! teachin% in a secon an thir
*esson an !et o#tener. Does Dion!sios$ a#ter a sin%*e *esson$ )e*ie"e
himse*# to +now the matter$ an has he an ae1uate +now*e%e o# it$
either as ha"in% isco"ere it #or himse*# or *earnt it )e#ore #rom
others$ or oes he )e*ie"e m! teachin% to )e worth*ess$ or$ thir*!$
to )e )e!on his ran%e an too %reat #or him$ an himse*# to )e rea**!
una)*e to *i"e as one who %i"es his min to wisom an "irtue4 For
i# he thin+s it worth*ess$ he wi** ha"e to conten with man! who sa!
the o''osite$ an who wou* )e he* in #ar hi%her re'ute as ,u%es
than Dion!sios$ i# on the other han$ he thin+s he has isco"ere or
*earnt the thin%s an that the! are worth ha"in% as 'art o# a
*i)era* eucation$ how cou* he$ un*ess he is an e/traorinar! 'erson$
ha"e so rec+*ess*! ishonoure the master who has *e the wa! in these
su),ects4 How he ishonoure him$ I wi** now state.
:' to this time he ha a**owe Dion to remain in 'ossession o# his
'ro'ert! an to recei"e the income #rom it. .ut not *on% a#ter the
#ore%oin% e"ents$ as i# he ha entire*! #or%otten his *etter to that
e##ect$ he no *on%er a**owe Dion6s trustees to sen him remittances
to the Pe*o'onnese$ on the 'retence that the owner o# the 'ro'ert! was
not Dion )ut Dion6s son$ his own ne'hew$ o# whom he himse*# was
*e%a**! the trustee. These were the actua* #acts which occurre u'
to the 'oint which we ha"e reache. The! ha o'ene m! e!es as to
the "a*ue o# Dion!sios6 esire #or 'hi*oso'h!$ an I ha e"er! ri%ht
to com'*ain$ whether I wishe to o so or not. Now )! this time it was
summer an the season #or sea "o!a%es( there#ore I ecie that I must
not )e "e/e with Dion!sios rather than with m!se*# an those who
ha #orce me to come #or the thir time into the strait o# Sc!**a$
that once a%ain I mi%ht
To #e** 9har!)is measure )ac+ m! course$
)ut must te** Dion!sios that it was im'ossi)*e #or me to remain
a#ter this outra%e ha )een 'ut u'on Dion. He trie to soothe me an
)e%%e me to remain$ not thin+in% it esira)*e #or himse*# that I
shou* arri"e 'ost haste in 'erson as the )earer o# such tiin%s. When
his entreaties 'rouce no e##ect$ he 'romise that he himse*# wou*
'ro"ie me with trans'ort. For m! intention was to em)ar+ on one o#
the train% shi's an sai* awa!$ )ein% ini%nant an thin+in% it m!
ut! to #ace a** an%ers$ in case I was 're"ente #rom %oin%0since
'*ain*! an o)"ious*! I was oin% no wron%$ )ut was the 'art! wron%e.
Seein% me not at a** inc*ine to sta!$ he e"ise the #o**owin%
scheme to ma+e me sta! urin% that sain% season. On the ne/t a! he
came to me an mae a '*ausi)*e 'ro'osa*3 5Let us 'ut an en$5 he
sai$ 5to these constant 1uarre*s )etween !ou an me a)out Dion an
his a##airs. For !our sa+e I wi** o this #or Dion. I re1uire him to
ta+e his own 'ro'ert! an resie in the Pe*o'onnese$ not as an
e/i*e$ )ut on the unerstanin% that it is o'en #or him to mi%rate
here$ when this ste' has the ,oint a''ro"a* o# himse*#$ me$ an !ou
his #riens( an this sha** )e o'en to him on the unerstanin% that
he oes not '*ot a%ainst me. You an !our #riens an Dion6s #riens
here must )e sureties #or him in this$ an he must %i"e !ou
securit!. Let the #uns which he recei"es )e e'osite in the
Pe*o'onnese an at Athens$ with 'ersons a''ro"e )! !ou$ an *et
Dion en,o! the income #rom them )ut ha"e no 'ower to ta+e them out
o# e'osit without the a''ro"a* o# !ou an !our #riens. For I ha"e no
%reat con#ience in him$ that$ i# he has this 'ro'ert! at his
is'osa*$ he wi** act ,ust*! towars me$ #or it wi** )e no sma**
amount( )ut I ha"e more con#ience in !ou an !our #riens. See i#
this satis#ies !ou( an on these conitions remain #or the 'resent
!ear$ an at the ne/t season !ou sha** e'art ta+in% the 'ro'ert! with
!ou. I am 1uite sure that Dion wi** )e %rate#u* to !ou$ i# !ou
accom'*ish so much on his )eha*#.5
When I hear this 'ro'osa* I was "e/e$ )ut a#ter re#*ection sai
I wou* *et him +now m! "iew o# it on the #o**owin% a!. We a%ree
to that e##ect #or the moment$ an a#terwars when I was )! m!se*# I
'onere the matter in much istress. The #irst re#*ection that came
u'$ *eain% the wa! in m! se*#0communin%$ was this3 59ome su''ose that
Dion!sios intens to o none o# the thin%s which he has mentione$ )ut
that$ a#ter m! e'arture$ he writes a '*ausi)*e *etter to Dion$ an
orers se"era* o# his creatures to write to the same e##ect$ te**in%
him o# the 'ro'osa* which he has now mae to me$ ma+in% out that he
was wi**in% to o what he 'ro'ose$ )ut that I re#use an
com'*ete*! ne%*ecte Dion6s interests. Further$ su''ose that he is not
wi**in% to a**ow m! e'arture$ an without %i"in% 'ersona* orers to
an! o# the merchants$ ma+es it c*ear$ as he easi*! can$ to a** that he
not wish me to sai*$ wi** an!one consent to ta+e me as a 'assen%er$
when I *ea"e the house3 o# Dion!sios45
For in aition to m! other trou)*es$ I was *o%in% at that time
in the %aren which surroun his house$ #rom which e"en the %ate+ee'er
wou* ha"e re#use to *et me %o$ un*ess an orer ha )een sent to
him #rom Dion!sios. 5Su''ose howe"er that I wait #or the !ear$ I sha**
)e a)*e to write wor o# these thin%s to Dion$ statin% the 'osition in
which I am$ an the ste's which I am tr!in% to ta+e. An i#
Dion!sios oes an! o# the thin%s which he sa!s$ I sha** ha"e
accom'*ishe somethin% that is not a*to%ether to )e sneere at( #or
Dion6s 'ro'ert! is$ at a #air estimate$ 'erha's not *ess than a
hunre ta*ents. I# howe"er the 'ros'ect which I see *oomin% in the
#uture ta+es the course which ma! reasona)*! )e e/'ecte$ I +now not
what I sha** o with m!se*#. Sti** it is 'erha's necessar! to %o on
wor+in% #or a !ear$ an to attem't to 'ro"e )! actua* #act the
machinations o# Dion!sios.5
Ha"in% come to this ecision$ on the #o**owin% a! I sai to
Dion!sios$ 5I ha"e ecie to remain. .ut$5 I continue$ 5I must as+
that !ou wi** not re%ar me as em'owere to act #or Dion$ )ut wi**
a*on% with me write a *etter to him$ statin% what has now )een
ecie$ an en1uire whether this course satis#ies him. I# it oes
not$ an i# he has other wishes an emans$ he must write 'articu*ars
o# them as soon as 'ossi)*e$ an !ou must not as !et ta+e an! hast!
ste' with re%ar to his interests.5
This was what was sai an this was the a%reement which was mae$
a*most in these wors. We**$ a#ter this the train%0shi's too+ their
e'arture$ an it was no *on%er 'ossi)*e #or me to ta+e mine$ when
Dion!sios$ i# !ou '*ease$ aresse me with the remar+ that ha*# the
'ro'ert! must )e re%are as )e*on%in% to Dion an ha*# to his son.
There#ore$ he sai$ he wou* se** it$ an when it was so* wou*
%i"e ha*# to me to ta+e awa!$ an wou* *ea"e ha*# on the s'ot #or the
son. This course$ he sai$ was the most ,ust. This 'ro'osa* was a )*ow
to me$ an I thou%ht it a)sur to ar%ue an! *on%er with him(
howe"er$ I sai that we must wait #or Dion6s *etter$ an then once
more write to te** him o# this new 'ro'osa*. His ne/t ste' was the
)ri**iant one o# se**in% the who*e o# Dion6s 'ro'ert!$ usin% his own
iscretion with re%ar to the manner an terms o# the sa*e an o#
the 'urchasers. He s'o+e not a wor to me a)out the matter #rom
)e%innin% to en$ an I #o**owe his e/am'*e an ne"er ta*+e to him
a%ain a)out Dion6s a##airs( #or I i not thin+ that I cou* o an!
%oo )! oin% so. This is the histor! so #ar o# m! e##orts to come
to the rescue o# 'hi*oso'h! an o# m! #riens.
A#ter this Dion!sios an I went on with our ai*! *i#e$ I with m!
e!es turne a)roa *i+e a )ir !earnin% to #*! #rom its 'erch$ an
he a*wa!s e"isin% some new wa! o# scarin% me )ac+ an o# +ee'in% a
ti%ht ho* on Dion6s 'ro'ert!. Howe"er$ we %a"e out to a** Sici*! that
we were #riens. Dion!sios$ now esertin% the 'o*ic! o# his #ather$
attem'te to *ower the 'a! o# the o*er mem)ers o# his )o! %uar. The
so*iers were #urious$ an$ assem)*in% in %reat num)ers$ ec*are that
the! wou* not su)mit. He attem'te to use #orce to them$ shuttin% the
%ates o# the acro'o*is( )ut the! char%e strai%ht #or the wa**s$
!e**in% out an uninte**i%i)*e an #erocious war cr!. Dion!sios too+
#ri%ht an concee a** their emans an more to the 'e*tasts then
A rumour soon s'rea that Herac*eies ha )een the cause o# a**
the trou)*e. Hearin% this$ Herac*eies +e't out o# the wa!.
Dion!sios was tr!in% to %et ho* o# him$ an )ein% una)*e to o so$
sent #or Theootes to come to him in his %aren. It ha''ene that I
was wa*+in% in the %aren at the same time. I neither +now nor i I
hear the rest o# what 'asse )etween them$ )ut what Theootes sai
to Dion!sios in m! 'resence I +now an remem)er. 5P*ato$5 he sai$
5I am tr!in% to con"ince our #rien Dion!sios that$ i# I am a)*e to
)rin% Herac*eies )e#ore us to e#en himse*# on the char%es which
ha"e )een mae a%ainst him$ an i# he ecies that Herac*eies must no
*on%er *i"e in Sici*!$ he shou* )e a**owe ;this is m! 'oint< to ta+e
his son an wi#e an sai* to the Pe*o'onnese an resie there$
ta+in% no action there a%ainst Dion!sios an en,o!in% the income o#
his 'ro'ert!. I ha"e a*rea! sent #or him an wi** sen #or him a%ain(
an i# he comes in o)eience either to m! #ormer messa%e or to this
one0we** an %oo. .ut I )e% an entreat Dion!sios that$ i# an!one
#ins Herac*eies either in the countr! or here$ no harm sha** come to
him$ )ut that he ma! retire #rom the countr! ti** Dion!sios comes to
some other ecision. Do !ou a%ree to this45 he ae$ aressin%
Dion!sios. 5I a%ree$5 he re'*ie$ 5that e"en i# he is #oun at !our
house$ no harm sha** )e one to him )e!on what has now )een sai.5
On the #o**owin% a! Eur!)ios an Theootes came to me in the
e"enin%$ )oth %reat*! istur)e. Theootes sai$ 5P*ato$ !ou were
'resent !estera! urin% the 'romises mae )! Dion!sios to me an to
!ou a)out Herac*eies45 59ertain*!$5 I re'*ie. 5We**$5 he
continue$ 5at this moment 'e*tasts are scourin% the countr! see+in%
to arrest Herac*eies( an he must )e somewhere in this nei%h)ourhoo.
For Hea"en6s sa+e come with us to Dion!sios.5 So we went an stoo
in the 'resence o# Dion!sios( an those two stoo shein% si*ent
tears$ whi*e I sai3 5These men are a#rai that !ou ma! ta+e stron%
measures with re%ar to Herac*eies contrar! to what was a%ree
!estera!. For it seems that he has returne an has )een seen
somewhere a)out here.5 On hearin% this he )*a2e u' an turne a**
co*ours$ as a man wou* in a ra%e. Theootes$ #a**in% )e#ore him in
tears$ too+ his han an entreate him to o nothin% o# the sort.
.ut I )ro+e in an trie to encoura%e him$ sa!in%3 5.e o# %oo
cheer$ Theootes( Dion!sios wi** not ha"e the heart to ta+e an!
#resh ste' contrar! to his 'romises o# !estera!.5 Fi/in% his e!e on
me$ an assumin% his most autocratic air he sai$ 5To !ou I 'romise
nothin% sma** or %reat.5 5.! the %os$5 I sai$ 5!ou i 'romise
that #or)earance #or which our #rien here now a''ea*s.5 With these
wors I turne awa! an went out. A#ter this he continue the hunt #or
Herac*eies$ an Theootes$ senin% messa%es$ ur%e Herac*eies to
ta+e #*i%ht. Dion!sios sent out Teisias an some 'e*tasts with
orers to 'ursue him. .ut Herac*eies$ as it was sai$ was ,ust in
time$ )! a sma** #raction o# a a!$ in ma+in% his esca'e into
A#ter this Dion!sios thou%ht that his *on% cherishe scheme not to
restore Dion6s 'ro'ert! wou* %i"e him a '*ausi)*e e/cuse #or
hosti*it! towars me( an #irst o# a** he sent me out o# the
acro'o*is$ #inin% a 'rete/t that the women were o)*i%e to ho* a
sacri#icia* ser"ice #or ten a!s in the %aren in which I ha m!
*o%in%. He there#ore orere me to sta! outsie in the house o#
Archeemos urin% this 'erio. Whi*e I was there$ Theootes sent #or
me an mae a %reat out'ourin% o# ini%nation at these occurrences$
throwin% the )*ame on Dion!sios. Hearin% that I ha )een to see
Theootes he re%are this$ as another e/cuse$ sister to the
're"ious one$ #or 1uarre**in% with me. Senin% a messen%er he en1uire
i# I ha rea**! )een con#errin% with Theootes on his in"itation
59ertain*!$5 I re'*ie$ 5We**$5 continue the messen%er$ 5he orere
me to te** !ou that !ou are not actin% at a** we** in 're#errin%
a*wa!s Dion an Dion6s #riens to him.5 An he i not sen #or me
to return to his house$ as thou%h it were now c*ear that Theootes an
Herac*eies were m! #riens$ an he m! enem!. He a*so thou%ht that I
ha no +in #ee*in%s towars him )ecause the 'ro'ert! o# Dion was
now entire*! one #or.
A#ter this I resie outsie the acro'o*is amon% the mercenaries.
Various 'eo'*e then came to me$ amon% them those o# the shi's6 crews
who came #rom Athens$ m! own #e**ow citi2ens$ an re'orte that I
was e"i* s'o+en o# amon% the 'e*tasts$ an that some o# them were
threatenin% to ma+e an en o# me$ i# the! cou* +et ho* o# me
Accorin%*! I e"ise the #o**owin% '*an #or m! sa#et!.
I sent to Arch!tes an m! other #riens in Taras$ te**in% them the
'*i%ht I was in. Finin% some e/cuse #or an em)ass! #rom their cit!$
the! sent a thirt!0oare %a**e! with Lamiscos$ one o# themse*"es$
who came an entreate Dion!sios a)out me$ sa!in% that I wante to %o$
an that he shou* on no account stan in m! wa!. He consente an
a**owe me to %o$ %i"in% me mone! #or the ,ourne!. .ut #or Dion6s
'ro'ert! I mae no #urther re1uest$ nor was an! o# it restore.
I mae m! wa! to the Pe*o'onnese to O*!m'ia$ where I #oun Dion a
s'ectator at the -ames$ an to* him what ha occurre. 9a**in% 7eus
to )e his witness$ he at once ur%e me with m! re*ati"es an #riens
to ma+e 're'arations #or ta+in% "en%eance on Dion!sios0our %roun
#or action )ein% the )reach o# #aith to a %uest0so he 'ut it an
re%are it$ whi*e his own was his un,ust e/'u*sion an )anishment.
Hearin% this$ I to* him that he mi%ht ca** m! #riens to his ai$
i# the! wishe to %o( 5.ut #or m!se*#$5 I continue$ 5!ou an others
in a wa! #orce me to )e the sharer o# Dion!sios6 ta)*e an hearth an
his associate in the acts o# re*i%ion. He 'ro)a)*! )e*ie"e the
current s*aners$ that I was '*ottin% with !ou a%ainst him an his
es'otic ru*e( !et #ee*in%s o# scru'*e 're"ai*e with him$ an he
s'are m! *i#e. A%ain$ I am har*! o# the a%e #or )ein% comrae in
arms to an!one( a*so I stan as a neutra* )etween !ou$ i# e"er !ou
esire #rienshi' an wish to )ene#it one another( so *on% as !ou
aim at in,urin% one another$ ca** others to !our ai.5 This I sai$
)ecause I was is%uste with m! mis%uie ,ourne!in%s to Sici*! an m!
i**0#ortune there. .ut the! iso)e!e me an wou* not *isten to m!
attem'ts at reconci*iation$ an so )rou%ht on their own heas a**
the e"i*s which ha"e since ta+en '*ace. For i# Dion!sios ha
restore to Dion his 'ro'ert! or )een reconci*e with him on an!
terms$ none o# these thin%s wou* ha"e ha''ene$ so #ar as human
#oresi%ht can #orete**. Dion wou* ha"e easi*! )een +e't in chec+ )!
m! wishes an in#*uence. .ut now$ rushin% u'on one another$ the!
ha"e cause uni"ersa* isaster.
Dion6s as'iration howe"er was the same that I shou* sa! m! own or
that o# an! other ri%ht0mine man ou%ht to )e. With re%ar to his own
'ower$ his #riens an his countr! the iea* o# such a man wou* )e to
win the %reatest 'ower an honour )! renerin% the %reatest
ser"ices. An this en is not attaine i# a man %ets riches #or
himse*#$ his su''orters an his countr!$ )! #ormin% '*ots an
%ettin% to%ether cons'irators$ )ein% a** the whi*e a 'oor creature$
not master o# himse*#$ o"ercome )! the cowarice which #ears to
#i%ht a%ainst '*easures( nor is it attaine i# he %oes on to +i**
the men o# su)stance$ whom he s'ea+s o# as the enem!$ an to '*uner
their 'ossessions$ an in"ites his con#eerates an su''orters to o
the same$ with the o),ect that no one sha** sa! that it is his
#au*t$ i# he com'*ains o# )ein% 'oor. The same is true i# an!one
reners ser"ices o# this +in to the State an recei"es honours #rom
her #or istri)utin% )! ecrees the 'ro'ert! o# the #ew amon% the
man!0or i#$ )ein% in char%e the a##airs o# a %reat State which ru*es
o"er man! sma** ones$ he un,ust*! a''ro'riates to his own State the
'ossessions o# the sma** ones. For neither a Dion nor an! other man
wi**$ with his e!es o'en$ ma+e his wa! )! ste's *i+e these to a
'ower which wi** )e #rau%ht with estruction to himse*# an his
escenants #or a** time( )ut he wi** a"ance towars constitutiona*
%o"ernment an the #ramin% o# the ,ustest an )est *aws$ reachin%
these ens without e/ecutions an murers e"en on the sma**est sca*e.
This course Dion actua**! #o**owe$ thin+in% it 're#era)*e to su##er
ini1uitous ees rather than to o them( )ut$ whi*e ta+in% 'recautions
a%ainst them$ he ne"erthe*ess$ when he ha reache the c*ima/ o#
"ictor! o"er his enemies$ too+ a #a*se ste' an #e**$ a catastro'he
not at a** sur'risin%. For a man o# 'iet!$ tem'erance an wisom$ when
ea*in% with the im'ious$ wou* not )e entire*! )*in to the character
o# such men$ )ut it wou* 'erha's not )e sur'risin% i# he su##ere the
catastro'he that mi%ht )e#a** a %oo shi'6s ca'tain$ who wou* not
)e entire*! unaware o# the a''roach o# a storm$ )ut mi%ht )e unaware
o# its e/traorinar! an start*in% "io*ence$ an mi%ht there#ore )e
o"erwhe*me )! its #orce. The same thin% cause Dion6s own#a**. For
he was not unaware that his assai*ants were thorou%h*! )a men$ )ut he
was unaware how hi%h a 'itch o# in#atuation an o# %enera*
wic+eness an %ree the! ha reache. This was the cause o# his
own#a**$ which has in"o*"e Sici*! in count*ess sorrows.
As to the ste's which shou* )e ta+en a#ter the e"ents which I
ha"e now re*ate$ m! a"ice has )een %i"en 'rett! #u**! an ma! )e
re%are as #inishe( an i# !ou as+ m! reasons #or recountin% the
stor! o# m! secon ,ourne! to Sici*!$ it seeme to me essentia* that
an account o# it must )e %i"en )ecause o# the stran%e an
'arao/ica* character o# the incients. I# in this 'resent account
o# them the! a''ear to an!one more inte**i%i)*e$ an seem to an!one to
show su##icient %rouns in "iew o# the circumstances$ the 'resent
statement is ae1uate an not too *en%th!.
the citizens by force to execution, in order that, whether he wished it, or not, he might share the guilt of their conduct; but he would not obey them, risking all consequences in preference to becoming a partner in their iniquitous deeds-seeing all these things and others of the same kind on a considerable scale, I disapproved of their proceedings, and withdrew from any connection with the abuses of the time. Not long after that a revolution terminated the power of the thirty and the form of government as it then was. And once more, though with more hesitation, I began to be moved by the desire to take part in public and political affairs. Well, even in the new government, unsettled as it was, events occurred which one would naturally view with disapproval; and it was not surprising that in a period of revolution excessive penalties were inflicted by some persons on political opponents, though those who had returned from exile at that time showed very considerable forbearance. But once more it happened that some of those in power brought my friend Socrates, whom I have mentioned, to trial before a court of law, laying a most iniquitous charge against him and one most inappropriate in his case: for it was on a charge of impiety that some of them prosecuted and others condemned and executed the very man who would not participate in the iniquitous arrest of one of the friends of the party then in exile, at the time when they themselves were in exile and misfortune. As I observed these incidents and the men engaged in public affairs, the laws too and the customs, the more closely I examined them and the farther I advanced in life, the more difficult it seemed to me to handle public affairs aright. For it was not possible to be active in politics without friends and trustworthy supporters; and to find these ready to my hand was not an easy matter, since public affairs at Athens were not carried on in accordance with the manners and practices of our fathers; nor was there any ready method by which I could make new friends. The laws too, written and unwritten, were being altered for the worse, and the evil was growing with startling rapidity. The result was that, though at first I had been full of a strong impulse towards political life, as I looked at the course of affairs and saw them being swept in all directions by contending currents, my head finally began to swim; and, though I did not stop looking to see if there was any likelihood of improvement in these symptoms and in the general course of public life, I postponed action till a suitable opportunity should arise. Finally, it became clear to me, with regard to all existing cornmunities, that they were one and all misgoverned. For their laws have got into a state that is almost incurable, except by some extraordinary reform with good luck to support it. And I was forced to say, when praising true philosophy that it is by this that men are enabled to see what justice in public and private life really is. Therefore, I said, there will be no cessation of evils for the sons of men, till either those who are pursuing a right and true philosophy receive sovereign power in the States, or those in power in the States by some dispensation of providence become true philosophers. With these thoughts in my mind I came to Italy and Sicily on my first visit. My first impressions on arrival were those of strong disapproval-disapproval of the kind of life which was there called the
and those disastrous events which have now taken place. which he himself had gained under the influence of good teaching. For Dion. For with these habits formed early in life. listened to me with an eagerness which I had never seen equalled in any young man. who ate to repletion twice every day. I fear. unless you listen to the advice which is now for the second time offered by me. on the top of my previous convictions. who rapidly assimilated my teaching as he did all forms of knowledge. and were never without a partner for the night. After that event he came to the conclusion that this conviction. Dionysios might perhaps become one of these. he thought it essential that I should come to Syracuse by all manner of means and with the utmost possible speed to be his partner in these plans. he saw it being actually implanted in other minds-not many perhaps. having set his affection on virtue in preference to pleasure and self-indulgence.life of happiness. remembering in his own case how readily intercourse with me had produced in him a longing for the noblest and best life. as his aim was that it should. and disapproval of the habits which this manner of life produces. and resolved to live for the future in a better way than the majority of Italian and Sicilian Greeks. no man under heaven could possibly attain to wisdom-human nature is not capable of such an extraordinary combination. was not likely to be confined to himself. Indeed. tyrannies. if such a thing did come to pass. and he thought that with the aid of the Gods. The result was that until the death of Dionysios he lived in a way which rendered him somewhat unpopular among those whose manner of life was that which is usual in the courts of despots. No city could remain in a state of tranquillity under any laws whatsoever. What do I mean by saying that my arrival in Sicily at that movement proved to be the foundation on which all the sequel rests? I was brought into close intercourse with Dion who was then a young man. It follows necessarily that the constitutions of such cities must be constantly changing. . and that. In doing this I seem to have been unaware that I was. contriving the overthrow of the tyranny which. and explained to him my views as to the ideals at which men should aim. Further. advising him to carry them out in practice. without bloodshed. Temperance also is out of the question for such a man. when men think it right to squander all their property in extravagant. he had great hope that. while those who hold the power cannot so much as endure the name of any form of government which maintains justice and equality of rights. And if it should produce a similar effect on Dionysios. subsequently took place. but certainly in some. I crossed over to Syracuse-led there perhaps by chance-but it really looks as if some higher power was even then planning to lay a foundation for all that has now come to pass with regard to Dion and Syracuse-and for further troubles too. With a mind full of these thoughts. in a fashion. oligarchies and democracies succeeding one another. the result would be a life of unspeakable happiness both for himself and for the rest of the Syracusans. loss of life. stuffed full as it was with the banquets of the Italian Greeks and Syracusans. and consider it a duty to be idle in everything else except eating and drinking and the laborious prosecution of debauchery. without knowing it. he would be able to introduce the true life of happiness throughout the whole territory. and the same applies to virtue generally.
and the probable line which their conduct would take. if ever anyone was to try to carry out in practice my ideas about laws and constitutions. What he said. we should see the accomplishment of every hope that the same persons might actually become both philosophers and the rulers of great States. but for want of words and power of persuasion. and the youth of Dionysios and how strongly his desire was directed towards philosophy and education. I pondered the matter and was in two minds as to whether I ought to listen to entreaties and go. which often take directions conflicting with one another. With these views and thus nerved to the task. which I knew to be a special gift of yours. and would be most influential in attracting Dionysios in the same direction. his own influential position in it. I sailed from home. My own opinion. and finally the scale turned in favour of the view that. or if he were banished by Dionysios and his other enemies and coming to us as exile addressed this question to me: "Plato. "shall we wait for. in the spirit which some imagined. And the disgrace attaching to your treatment of me is a small matter. now was the time for making the attempt. was as follows: "What opportunities. But philosophy-whose praises you are always singing. so far as the young men were concerned. would be readily attracted towards the principles and manner of life described by me. for if only I could fully convince one man. was full of apprehension-for young men are quick in forming desires. enabling you to lead young men into the path of goodness and justice. His own nephews and relatives. though perhaps it is rather long to repeat. so that. he also wrote himself entreating me to come by all manner of means and with the utmost possible speed.Holding these sound views. These were the appeals addressed to me and much more to the same effect. before certain other persons coming in contact with Dionysios should turn him aside into some way of life other than the best. greater than those now offered to us by Providence?" And he described the Syracusan empire in Italy and Sicily. I have come to you as a fugitive. or how I ought to act. I should have secured thereby the accomplishment of all good things. you would certainly have come to give me your aid towards the objects for which I asked . It is for the want of this assistance on your part that I have left Syracuse and am here now. If therefore anything should happen to him. Also there was reason to think that I should be betraying first and foremost my friendship and comradeship with Dion. but principally through a feeling of shame with regard to myself. lest I might some day appear to myself wholly and solely a mere man of words. who in very truth was in a position of considerable danger. so far as your action was concerned? Had I been living at Megara. he said. while you say she is held in dishonour by the rest of mankind-must we not say that philosophy along with me has now been betrayed. now if ever. one who would never of his own will lay his hand to any act. not for want of hoplites. But I knew that the character of Dion's mind was naturally a stable one and had also the advantage of somewhat advanced years." he said. nor because I had no cavalry for defence against my enemies. and to establish in every case relations of friendship and comradeship among them. Therefore. Dion persuaded Dionysios to send for me.
but with very little success. that he might be ensnared. With regard to me. there was even a rumour current in Syracuse that I had been put to death by Dionysios as the cause of all that had occurred. I combated these as far as I could. the length of the sea voyage. retaining the purpose with which I had come and the . and would not have promptly seized me and taken me back to Dionysios. in obedience to reason and justice. For my flight from him was not likely to redound to his credit. he now tried to win all of us over by kindness: me in particular he encouraged. Dionysios put him on board a small boat and expelled him from Syracuse with ignominy. so far as a man can act. nor indeed without a special messenger sent by him to order my removal. What were the facts about this attachment? I must tell the truth. or you would have thought yourself the most contemptible of mankind. and made myself clear of any charge on the part of philosophy. Perceiving that we were all in this state of mind and apprehending that our fears might lead to some serious consequence. to cut a long story short. and establishing me in quarters from which not a single ship's captain would have taken me away against the will of Dionysios. So to secure his object he proceeded to render my departure impossible. if any disgrace had come upon me for faint-heartedness and cowardice. I took my departure. Therefore. therefore. But when confronted with the one way in which this might have been done. and to look upon him as more specially my friend than Dion. and as intercourse made him acquainted with my disposition and character. and wished me to praise him more than I praised Dion. or a single official in charge of points of departure from the country. acting. By my departure I secured my own freedom from the displeasure of Zeus Xenios. which were certainly not discreditable ones. he did become more and more attached to me. bidding me be of good cheer and entreating me on all grounds to remain. On my arrival. and for these reasons leaving my own occupations. bringing me into the acropolis. he made a great pretence of entreating me. and in the fourth month or thereabouts. especially since a statement had now been circulated contradicting the previous rumours and giving out that Dionysios was becoming extraordinarily attached to Plato. fearing the danger suggested by mischief-makers. charging Dion with conspiracy to seize the throne.it. and he was extraordinarily eager about this sort of thing. he shrank from coming into close and intimate relations with me as a pupil and listener to my discourses on philosophy. and the amount of labour involved? Far from it. if it was to be done at all. I found the court of Dionysios full of intrigues and of attempts to create in the sovereign ill-feeling against Dion. But as it is. which would have been exposed to detraction. As time went on. And we know that the entreaties of sovereigns are mixed with compulsion. and so Dion would prove to have accomplished all his object. but my staying might do so. Nor was there a single merchant." To reproaches of this kind what creditable reply could I have made? Surely none. to put myself under a tyranny which did not seem likely to harmonise with my teaching or with myself. who would have allowed me to depart unaccompanied. do you think that you will escape the reputation of cowardice by making excuses about the distance of the journey. I endured all this patiently. All of us who were Dion's friends were afraid that he might take vengeance on one or other of us as an accomplice in Dion's conspiracy.
and if they are following any regular habits of life which please them but do not please me. providing them with the means of satisfying desires which I myself would sooner die than cherish. unless they are suffering from an attack of insanity. as. If she should appear to him to be following a policy which is not a good one. I would not offend them by offering useless. I do not take the initiative in advising such a man. Holding these views. I must first. or if he seems likely to listen to advice about the things on which he consults me. whenever anyone consults me about any of the weightiest matters affecting his own life. and if the patient is willing to obey him. and one who gives in to him to be unmanly and unprofessional. nor would I flatter them or truckle to them. or evidently does not intend to follow my advice. But when men are travelling altogether outside the path of right government and flatly refuse to move in the right path. The time of my first visit to Sicily and my stay there was taken up with all these incidents. while the government is being carried on methodically and in a right course.hope that he might come to desire the philosophic life. But before giving the motives and particulars of my conduct then and showing how suitable and right it was. whether it be under a single ruler or more than one. for instance. I advise him with readiness. is clearly bound first of all to change his patient's manner of life. On a later occasion I left home and again came on an urgent summons from Dionysios. To a father or mother I do not think that piety allows one to offer compulsion. and start by giving notice to their adviser that he must leave the government alone and make no change in it under penalty of death-if such men should order their counsellors to pander to their wishes and desires and to advise them in what way their object may most readily and easily be once for all accomplished. afterwards. he may go on to give him other advice. I should consider as unmanly one who accepts the duty of giving such forms of advice. in order that I may not treat as the main point what is only a side issue. it is the part of a wise man to advise such people. But his resistance prevailed against me. But if he is not willing. and would use compulsion to him if he were unwilling. The wise man should go through life with the same attitude of mind towards his country. the acquisition of property or the proper treatment of body or mind. and one who refuses it to be a true man. He who advises a sick man. In the same way with regard to a State. whose manner of life is prejudicial to health. it asks advice about any details of policy. he should say so. what I have now to say is this. to satisfy those who put the question why I came a second time. advice. and do not content myself with giving him a merely perfunctory answer. But if a man does not consult me at all. if it seems to me that his daily life rests on any system. give you my advice as to what your acts should be in the present position of affairs. I will deal fully with the facts about my second visit. and will not use compulsion to him. I shall consider one who declines to advise such a patient to be a man and a physician. provided that his words are not likely either to fall on deaf ears or to lead to the loss of his own life. if. But force against his native land he should not use in order to bring about a change of . even if he be my own son. I would advise a slave under such circumstances.
and had raised from humble station to high office and from poverty to immense wealth..constitution. for that would not have been safe. each of them greater than all Sicily. instruction. and maintained their rule over these for seventy years. so as to be loyal to him and to one another in their resistance to the attacks of the barbarians. he would do just the opposite of this. Not one of these was he able to work upon by persuasion. that. after starting in this way. and to these he assigned portions of his empire. for this it was of which he was remarkably in need. but in covert language we maintained that every man in this way would save both himself and those whom he was leading. and if he did not follow this path. if he were then to found again the cities of Sicily which had been laid waste. This we did not say in plain words. and. to give another instance. he would. which had been hard hit by the barbarians but were still in existence. and he showed himself inferior to Darius with a sevenfold inferiority. the Athenians took under their rule very many cities not founded by themselves. for he drew up laws by which he has secured the Persian empire in safety down to the present time. and was so clever that he trusted no one. Again. was not able to found them afresh and to establish in them trustworthy governments carried on by his own supporters. who had gathered the whole of Sicily into a single city. as also. For Darius did not put his trust in brothers or in men whom he had brought up.. when it is not possible for the best constitution to be introduced without driving men into exile or putting them to death. But Dionysios. we told him. but above all that he should be in harmony with himself. then. whether a man is or is not destitute of such friends. in the first place. only secured his own safety with great difficulty. in the second place. and making himself a wise and temperate man. This. because they had in each them men whom they could trust. I advised Dionysios. either by men who had no ties of blood with him. was the advice which Dion and I gave to Dionysios. but only in his confederates in the overthrow of the Mede and Eunuch. he had had no advantages in the way of education or of suitable lessons. seven in number. he should make friends of others among his connections who were of the same age and were in sympathy with his pursuit of virtue. and there is no surer criterion of virtue and vice than this. in order that he might not have the same experience as his father.. For his father. and they were faithful to him and did not attack either him or one another. And after proceeding on the course which we described. services and ties of kindred. make his father's empire not merely double what it was but many . having taken under his rule many great cities of Sicily which had been utterly destroyed by the barbarians. so as to make him a partner in his rule. and bind them together by laws and constitutions. These are the principles in accordance with which I should advise you. owing to bringing up which he had received from his father. Thus he showed a pattern of what the good lawgiver and king ought to be. or by his brothers whom he had brought up when they were younger. For he was badly off for trustworthy friends. jointly with Dion. since. he should keep quiet and offer up prayers for his own welfare and for that of his country. bidding him in the first place to live his daily life in a way that would make him as far as possible master of himself and able to gain faithful friends and supporters.
not from community in philosophic study. The guilt and impiety of their conduct I neither excuse nor do I dwell upon it. they have brought shame upon this city. and that he should then appropriate it for himself and treacherously depose Dionysios. when that was done. standing by his murderers as supporters with weapons in their hands. in order that I might create good will in place of a state war. when Dion attempted first to educate him and train him to be a sovereign worthy of supreme power and. to be his coadjutor in all the details of his career. but shared personally in the guilt of his murder. an Athenian and friend of Dion. which they form as the result of relations of hospitality and the intercourse which occurs when one man initiates the other in the mysteries. when they perceived that Dion had been misrepresented to the Sicilian Greeks. This was the language and these the exhortations given by us. caused the expulsion of Dion and reduced me to a state of apprehension. they not only betrayed their companion and friend. in my conflict with the authors of these slanders I was worsted. as one that plotted to become monarch. Dionysios listened to those who circulated slanders to the effect that Dion was aiming at the tyranny in all the steps which he took at that time his intention being that Dionysios.times greater. I. his way would be clear to a more complete subjugation of the Carthaginians than that which befell them in Gelon's time. should neglect the government and leave it in his hands. and this is the one thing in . but with the ordinary companionship common among most friends. It was from this kind of intercourse and from services connected with his return that these two helpers in his restoration became his companions. who had been his friends. For. he took with him from Athens two brothers. when his mind had fallen under the spell of culture. when Dion returned from exile. when he had the offer of riches and many other honours. Having come to Sicily. The story of what then took place is one which deserves careful attention on the part of those who are inviting me to deal with the present situation. But I do take exception to the statement that. because they were Athenians. but rested on community in liberal education. the conspirators against Dionysios according to the charges circulated from various sources-charges which. he failed completely in his attempt. whereas in our own day his father had followed the opposite course of levying attribute for the barbarians. For his was no common or vulgar friendship. they were so once more when circulated among the Syracusans. For I say that he too is an Athenian who refused to betray this same Dion. the Syracusans went through the same changes of feeling towards him as Dionysios had gone through. if these things were done. his advice to Dionysios took the form of action. Later on. and will make it their business in the future. To proceed-when Dion had twice over delivered the city and restored it to the citizens. and with a view to giving a decent colour to Dion's expulsion a witness and friend on his side. winning a victory which took an extraordinary course and proved disgraceful to its authors. But when-to summarise great events which happened in no great time-Dion returned from the Peloponnese and Athens. These slanders were victorious on that occasion. prevailing as they did with Dionysios. When Dionysios tried to persuade me by offers of honours and wealth to attach myself to him. whom he had liberated. For many others make it their business to harp upon it. came as his ally to the court of Dionysios.
and now for the third time to you. Greeks and barbarians. turns a deaf ear to this teaching. It is only small and mean natures that are bent upon seizing such gains for themselves. and it is I who have the best right to be angered with his murderers in much the same way as I have with Dionysios. they by slaying the man that was willing to act righteously. For the one thing which is wholly right and noble is to strive for that which is most honourable for a man's self and for his country. the patron of third ventures. if a man could do so. natures that know nothing of goodness and justice. which is worth mentioning at all. and looking at the lot of Dionysios and Dion. All this has been said with a view to counselling the friends and family of Dion. For none of us can escape death. and when he has travelled beneath the earth on a journey which has every circumstance of shame and misery. when he held supreme power. The covetous man. their children's children and descendants. but good or evil will be the portion of every soul. and he by refusing to act righteously during the whole of his rule. while he who obeyed me has died honourably. or if he hears it.which a wise man will put his trust. would it. the attempt is in every way fraught with disaster. For both they and he have done the greatest injury to me. and shamelessly snatches for himself from every source whatever his bestial fancy supposes will provide for him the means of eating or drinking or glutting himself with that slavish and gross pleasure which is falsely called after the goddess of love. he laughs it to scorn with fancied superiority. either while attached to the body or when separated from it. For nothing evil or good. and to face the consequences whatever they may be. belongs to things soulless. as though they had been men of any note. far more than in ties of personal and bodily kinship. and that the offender must drag with him the burden of this impiety while he moves about on earth. make him happy. So the two murderers of Dion were not of sufficient importance to be causes of disgrace to this city. it would have sent forth a light to all men. for themselves. impoverished as he is in the soul. as the vulgar suppose. And in addition to this I give for the third time to you the same advice and counsel which I have given twice before to others-not to enslave Sicily or any other State to despots-this my counsel but-to put it under the rule of laws-for the other course is better neither for the enslavers nor for the enslaved. And we should in very truth always believe those ancient and sacred teachings. Do you obey me thinking of Zeus the Preserver. first to Dion. These are the lessons which I tried to teach. in which rule if philosophy and power had really met together. which declare that the soul is immortal. of whom the one who disobeyed me is living in dishonour. It was by urging these and other like truths that I convinced Dion. and suffers the greatest penalties when it has been separated from the body. secondly to Dionysios. divine as well as human. He is blind and cannot see in those acts of plunder which are accompanied by impiety what heinous guilt is attached to each wrongful deed. establishing fully for all the true . and I might almost say to all mankind. in this life and in the next. nor. Therefore also we should consider it a lesser evil to suffer great wrongs and outrages than to do them. that it has judges.
or living under the rule of godly men and having received a right training and education in morals. his own native land. are men who excel all mankind in their devotion to virtue and in hatred of the reckless acts of those who shed the blood of friends. for good luck's sake. you have heard from me in plain words. These were the aims which Dionysios injured. The murderer of Dion has. inspiring them with lawlessness. and the thing next in order. he would then by every means in his power have ordered aright the lives of his fellow-citizens by suitable and excellent laws. . an easier task for him than it was for Hiero.belief that there can be no happiness either for the community or for the individual man. unless he passes his life under the rule of righteousness with the guidance of wisdom. let us on this third venture abstain from words of ill omen. without knowing it. that. or expect him to do any loyal or salutary act. this is work for a future time. and to try with better auspices to carry out his wishes-what these were. he would never have turned his mind to any other form of rule. also. which he would have set his heart to accomplish. summoning them from Sicily itself and from the whole Peloponnese-and have no fear even of Athens. so far as it is possible for a man to say anything positively about other men. if he had got the supreme power. after all. the seed from which all evils for all mankind take root and grow and will in future bear the bitterest harvest for those who brought them into being. I know right well. and given her the garb of freedom. And whoever among you cannot live the simple Dorian life according to the customs of your forefathers. but that. when he had made an end of her slavery. either possessing these virtues in himself. This ignorance it was which in that second venture wrecked and ruined everything. enacting impartial laws. to imitate in Dion his love for his country and his temperate habits of daily life. every man to whom Providence has given even a moderate share of right intelligence ought to know that in times of civil strife there is no respite from trouble till the victors make an end of feeding their grudge by combats and banishments and executions. And now. and of wreaking their vengeance on their enemies. but invite all others to the work of resettling all the States of Sicily and establishing equality under the laws. driving out some and subduing others. But if. if Dionysios had been won over. But. nevertheless. I might almost say. For as regards Dion. dealing first with Syracuse. his friends. done the same as Dionysios. clothed her in bright apparel. do not invite this man to join you. whereas immediate action is called for by the disorders of all sorts and kinds which arise every day from your state of civil strife. but follows the manner of life of Dion's murderers and of the Sicilians. If these things had been accomplished by a man who was just and brave and temperate and a philosopher. would have been established. for there. was to found again all the States of Sicily and make them free from the barbarians. They should master themselves and. the same belief with regard to virtue would have been established among the majority which. and for me everything else is a trifling injury compared with this. I advise you. godlessness and acts of recklessness issuing from ignorance. But now some higher power or avenging fiend has fallen upon them. among all mankind and would have given them salvation.
he would send for Dion and me again. but begged that I should by all means come. The first and best was that scheme of welfare to all mankind which we attempted to carry out with the co-operation of Dionysios. with good fortune attending you and with Heaven's help. These they must induce to come from their own homes by entreaties and the promise of the highest honours. mightier than men. a long line of ancestors of good repute. hatred and mutual distrust is the common lot of cities which are in that plight. try to bring your efforts to a happier issue. If the conquerors show more obedience to the laws than the conquered. must by their own act and choice select from all Hellas men whom they have ascertained to be the best for the purpose. brought it to nothing. After those events I persuaded Dionysios by such arguments as I could to let me go. and there will be an escape from all your troubles. and having induced them to come they must entreat and command them to draw up laws after binding themselves by oath to show no partiality either to conquerors or to conquered. respect. but some chance. Dion now kept urging and entreating me to go. Dionysios said that. then do not summon me or any other helper to aid you against those who do not obey the counsel I now give you. For this course is akin to that which Dion and I attempted to carry out with our hearts set on the welfare of Syracuse. and all must be possessed of sufficient property. I agreed to come again on these conditions. When peace had been made. There is no other way save this for terminating the troubles of a city that is in a state of civil strife. because they rise superior to pleasures and are willing and able to be servants to the laws. struggles. who have children and wives at home. and he desired that Dion should regard what had befallen him not as an exile. should compel men to obey these by two restraining forces. what everything then hinges on is this. those who have for the time being gained the upper hand. he began sending for me. when they desire to secure their position. When laws have been enacted. But if they do not. For persistent rumours came from Sicily that Dionysios was now once more possessed by an extraordinary desire for philosophy. because they are the masters and can display superior force. These must in the first place be men of mature years. but to give equal and common rights to the whole State. he requested that Dion should wait for another year. Therefore. the whole State will be full of security and happiness. that is enough. for at that time there was a state of war in Sicily. It is indeed a second best course. Do you now.framed not to gratify themselves more than the conquered party. and we made an agreement as to what should be done when peace was made. but a constant continuance of internal disorders. For this reason . when he had put the affairs of his empire in a position of greater safety for himself. For a city of ten thousand householders their numbers should be fifty. Whoever wishes may next hear of my second journey and voyage. respect and fear. but as a change of residence. My first period of residence in Sicily was occupied in the way which I related before giving my advice to the relatives and friends of Dion. and. and learn that it was a reasonable and suitable proceeding. Let this be the end of my advice and injunction and of the narrative of my first visit to Dionysios. as far as possible. fear.
and thinks that the tyrant was in the right. it seems. in the idea that he had been fully instructed in my views. Dion's affairs will be dealt with in whatever way you yourself desire. and of whom he supposed that I had a higher opinion than of any of the Sicilian Greeks-and. The real reasons why he had learnt nothing during my previous visit have just been set forth in the preceding narrative. Before my departure I had brought him and his Tarentine circle into friendly relations with Dionysios. none of Dion's affairs will have results in accordance with your wishes. knowing as he did my relations with Dion and Dion's eagerness also that I should take ship and go to Syracuse. which had been brought about by me and was of no small importance to their political interests. getting their heads full of erroneous teaching on philosophical questions. and . forms a poor opinion of my philosophy. He also sent a very long letter. It is right for me to speak the truth. and I offended both of them by replying that I was an old man. I disapproved of it. and he felt some shame when it became clear that he had not taken advantage of my teaching during my visit. in the first place." here followed the customary greeting and immediately after it he said. were attempting to hold discussions with Dionysios on questions connected with such subjects. as I just now related. and I shall consent to it. sending a trireme to ensure me comfort on the voyage. now that I was safe at home and had refused his second invitation. and others had learnt from these. There were some others in Syracuse who had received some instruction from Dion. if I did not now come. the rest it would be tedious and inopportune to quote. still it seemed to me safer at that time to part company altogether with Dion and Dionysios." This he said in these words.Dion pressed me urgently not to decline his invitation. other men of repute in Sicily. and he has a great craving for honour and glory. Dionysios seems to have felt all manner of anxiety lest certain people should suppose that I was unwilling to visit him again because I had formed a poor opinion of his natural gifts and character. he sent also Archedemos-one of those who had spent some time with Archytes. and his love of glory was an additional incentive to him. For these reasons he conceived a desire for more definite instruction. What was said probably pleased him. and the tenor of it was as follows: "Dionysios to Plato. I should cause a complete rupture in their friendship with Dionysios. But though I was well aware that as regards philosophy such symptoms were not uncommon in young men. I know that you will desire what is reasonable. Now is not at all devoid of natural gifts for learning. praising the philosophical studies of Dionysios and saying that. These all brought the same report. When this invitation came to me at that time in such terms. After this. The letter was framed in its opening sentences to meet all these conditions. But if not. Archytes came to the court of Dionysios. and make no complaint if anyone. with regard either to Dion himself or to other matters. Other letters arrived from Archytes and the Tarentines. knowing as I did his manner of life. and because. after hearing the facts. Accordingly. and that the steps now being taken were quite at variance with the previous agreement. "If in compliance with our request you come now. that Dionysios had made progress in philosophy. These. it seems. Dionysios now invited me for the third time. with him.
and relaxes not his efforts. I went. how much labour is involved in it. For the man who has heard this. and my action on this occasion at any rate was really a case of "the third to the Preserver." for I had the good fortune to return safely. thinks that he has been told of a marvellous road lying before him. should feel a craving for the higher life. come to the conclusion that the thing is difficult and impossible for them. and that life is not worth living if he does anything else. especially to those who have got their heads full of erroneous teaching. and reasoning power. but a mere surface colouring of opinions penetrating. because. a good memory. like sunburn. the kind of life which is opposed to this he consistently hates. if he has the true philosophic spirit and that godlike temperament which makes him a kin to philosophy and worthy of it. Thus it came about that I said to Dionysios what I did say on that . I thought therefore that I must put the matter definitely to the test to see whether his desire was genuine or the reverse. Also I myself had a lurking feeling that there was nothing surprising in the fact that a young man. with many fears and with no very favourable anticipations. which immediately my arrival I found to be very much the case with Dionysios. and for this I must. Those who have not the true philosophic temper. and are actually incapable of carrying out the course of study. though many wished to make an end of me. Now there is a way of putting such things to the test which is not to be despised and is well suited to monarchs. he prevented them and paid some proper respect to my situation. hearing talk of the great truths of philosophy. if the reports brought by anyone were really true. This is the spirit and these are the thoughts by which such a man guides his life. only skin deep. or whether all the reports which had come to Athens were empty rumours. So blindfolding myself with this reflection. However. and how much labour it involves. while some of them persuade themselves that they have sufficiently studied the whole matter and have no need of any further effort.those who had come from Sicily and Italy were trying to drag me thither. because he cannot bring to the pursuit all the qualities necessary to it. whatever his occupation may be. On my arrival. it ensures that such a man shall not throw the blame upon his teacher but on himself. when they see how great the range of studies is. After this he uses to the full his own powers and those of his guide in the path. and on no account leave such an impulse unaided nor make myself responsible for such a deep and real disgrace. that he must forthwith press on with all his strength. but throughout it all ever cleaving to philosophy and to such rules of diet in his daily life as will give him inward sobriety and therewith quickness in learning. carrying out his work. next to the God. quick to learn. I thought that first I must put to the test the question whether Dionysios had really been kindled with the fire of philosophy. what their range of studies is by which it is approached. it was the same old tale-that I must not betray Dion and my Tarentine friends and supporters. till he has either reached the end of the whole course of study or gained such power that he is not incapable of directing his steps without the aid of a guide. thank Dionysios. One should show such men what philosophy is in all its extent. and how necessary to the pursuit it is to have an orderly regulation of the daily life. I set out. as was natural enough. This is the sure test and is the safest one to apply to those who live in luxury and are incapable of continuous effort. while my friends at Athens were literally pushing me out with their urgent entreaties.
as though they had learnt something high and mighty. and the fourth the knowledge. it would fill some of them quite illogically with a mistaken feeling of contempt. points. and its name is that very word which we have just uttered. as fifth. The first is the name. Thus much at least.occasion. to write what is of great service to mankind and to bring the nature of things into the light for all to see? But I do not think it a good thing for men that there should be a disquisition. Third. nor did Dionysios ask for one. and that. past or future. I hear also that he has since written about what he heard from me. "circle. when I have done so. For everything that exists there are three instruments by which the knowledge of it is necessarily imparted. take these in the case of one instance. there is the knowledge itself. I can say about all writers. if they had appeared to me to admit adequately of writing and exposition. give a complete exposition. the image. very different. suddenly a light. and others with lofty and vain-glorious expectations. from the doctrines which he heard from me. I should be the person most pained. and so understand them in the case of all. but who they are. things will be clearer with regard to my present subject. If you wish to learn what I mean. second the definition. whether by hearing the teaching of me or of others. For he professed to know many. comes that which is drawn and rubbed out again. who say they know the things to which I devote myself. A circle is a thing spoken of. the. the third. composing what professes to be his own handbook. mentioned have reference. for perhaps. what task in life could I have performed nobler than this. however. for it is something of a different order from them. For that which has the name "round. but of its contents I know nothing." or. is kindled in one soul by a flame that leaps to it from another. fourth. is more than they know themselves. who are able with a little teaching to find it out for themselves. and to have a sufficient hold of them through instruction given by others. As for the rest." "annular. it would be done best by me. as it is called. it has often before been stated by me. if they were written badly. made up names and verbal forms. The second thing belonging to it is its definition. Again. on this topic-except for some few. we must count the thing itself which is known and truly exists. and. and it seems suitable to the present occasion. Yet this much I know-that if the things were written or put into words." might be defined as that which has the distance from its circumference to its centre everywhere equal. There is an argument which holds good against the man ventures to put anything whatever into writing on questions of this nature. On this point I intend to speak a little more at length. as it were. but after much converse about the matter itself and a life lived together. I did not. and those the most important. Fourth. I know indeed that others have written on the same subjects. or turned on a lathe and broken up-none of which things can happen to the circle itself-to which the other things. There neither is nor ever will be a treatise of mine on the subject. comes . so he says. For it does not admit of exposition like other branches of knowledge. or by their own discoveries-that according to my view it is not possible for them to have any real skill in the matter. and thereafter sustains itself.
no one. Now in subjects in which. these (i. We say also that the name is not a thing of permanence for any of them. beautiful. not less than what each thing is. but the greatest of them is that which we mentioned a little earlier. but the defective nature of . Further. we say. the four) attempt to show what each thing is like. a thing open to refutation by the senses.. each of the four. the just. For everywhere it has contact with the straight.e. intelligence and right opinion about these things. which is true of that which is set down in written characters. for those who make changes and call things by opposite names. and the others are farther distant. whereas there are two things. but are satisfied with whatever images are presented to us. who can pull to pieces and criticise the four things. not in words nor in bodily shapes. the quality). and that nothing prevents the things now called round from being called straight. every man with puzzlement and perplexity. that which has real being. presenting to the soul by word and in act that which it is not seeking (i. of those which are by the act of man drawn or even turned on a lathe. and to all things done and suffered. the questioned by questioners. any one of those who are capable of overthrowing an antagonist gets the better of us. and the straight things round. being merely the thing presented to the soul in each particular case whether by statement or the act of showing. one may say. when the soul is seeking to know. Every circle. is full of that which is opposite to the fifth thing. For in the case of all these. fills. the same remark holds that there is no sufficiently durable permanence in it. not the quality. But the circle itself. by reason of our defective education. But in subjects where we try to compel a man to give a clear answer about the fifth. for they are sometimes not aware that it is not the mind of the writer or speaker which is proved to be at fault. to fire. nothing will be less permanent (than a name). to the good. to every living being. on account of the weakness of language. we are not held up to ridicule by one another. the. to all bodies whether manufactured or coming into being in the course of nature. Under this one head we must group everything which has its existence. and all such things. but the essence. appear to most of his hearers to know nothing of the things on which he is attempting to write or speak. The same applies to straight as well as to circular form. if he has not some how or other got hold of the four things first mentioned. Again with regard to the definition.knowledge. to character in souls. especially not in language that is unchangeable. but in souls-from which it is dear that it is something different from the nature of the circle itself and from the three things mentioned before. that.. can ever be completely a partaker of knowledge of the fifth. And there is no end to the instances of the ambiguity from which each of the four suffers. Of these things intelligence comes closest in kinship and likeness to the fifth. water. to colours. of that which is its opposite. For this reason no man of intelligence will venture to express his philosophical views in language. if it is made up of names and verbal forms. Again you must learn the point which comes next. who gives an exposition in speech or writing or in replies to questions. and makes the man. we have not been accustomed even to search for the truth.e. has nothing in either smaller or greater. and that which is only a quality.
or to figure as a man possessed of culture. on that one occasion and never again. but men "have themselves bereft him of his wits. by complete and long continued study. which I have described. The process however of dealing with all of these. for it is expressed in the shortest of statements-but if he wrote it at all. great or small. the man who has no natural kinship with this matter cannot be made akin to it by quickness of learning or memory. After much effort. for I gave him the teaching. and would have shrunk from putting it forth into a world of discord and uncomeliness. will be far from exposing them to ill feeling and misunderstanding among men by committing them to writing. sights. neither heard nor learnt any sound teaching about the subject of his treatise. In one word. In one word. are brought into contact and friction one with another. if Dionysios or anyone else. though how he acquired it-God wot. For he wrote it. not gods. these are not for that man the things of most worth. is the reason why it . as the mind moves up and down to each in turn. For both must be learnt together. as the Theban says. if he is a man of worth. if men are not by nature kinship allied to justice and all other things that are honourable. if a man's soul has once laid hold of it. so I say. either putting it forth as his own invention. either the laws of a lawgiver. The next point which requires to be made clear to anyone who wishes to discover how things really happened." Anyone who has followed this discourse and digression will know well that.each of the four instruments. as names. then surely. it was from a mean craving for honour. not as an aid to memory-since there is no risk of forgetting it. otherwise. of which he was not worthy. when dealing with matters of worth. and other data of sense. he has. Therefore every man of worth. in the course of scrutiny and kindly testing by men who proceed by question and answer without ill will. then. But if these things were worked at by him as things of real worth. if his heart was set on the credit of possessing it. as I said at the beginning. though they may be good at learning and remembering other knowledge of various kinds-or if they have the kinship but are slow learners and have no memory-none of all these will ever learn to the full the truth about virtue and vice. Therefore. definitions. it may be known from this that. and together also must be learnt. and committed to writing. we may perhaps grant him the possession of it. for it cannot be engendered at all in natures which are foreign to it. but that his treasures are laid up in the fairest spot that he possesses. does after much effort give birth in a well-constituted mind to knowledge of that which is well constituted. But if a man is ill-constituted by nature (as the state of the soul is naturally in the majority both in its capacity for learning and in what is called moral character)-or it may have become so by deterioration-not even Lynceus could endow such men with the power of sight. he would have had the same reverence for it. with a sudden flash there shines forth understanding about every problem. the true and the false about all that has real being. or in any other form whatever. If then Dionysios gained this culture from the one lesson which he had from me. which I have. has written a treatise on the highest matters and the first principles of things. and an intelligence whose efforts reach the furthest limits of human powers. if one sees written treatises composed by anyone.
For my intention was to embark on one of the trading ships and sail away. He tried to soothe me and begged me to remain. not thinking it desirable for himself that I should arrive post haste in person as the bearer of such tidings. believe himself to know the matter. that once again I might To fell Charybdis measure back my course. thirdly. either as having discovered it for himself or learnt it before from others. his own nephew. he thinks he has discovered or learnt the things and that they are worth having as part of a liberal education. but must tell Dionysios that it was impossible for me to remain after this outrage had been put upon Dion. For your sake I will do this for Dion. as if he had entirely forgotten his letter to that effect. but on the understanding that it is open for him to migrate here. and who would be held in far higher repute as judges than Dionysios. and he must give you security. of whom he himself was legally the trustee. after a single lesson. and himself to be really unable to live as one who gives his mind to wisdom and virtue? For if he thinks it worthless. Now by this time it was summer and the season for sea voyages. and let Dion enjoy the income from them but have no power to take them out . in case I was prevented from going-since plainly and obviously I was doing no wrong. he no longer allowed Dion's trustees to send him remittances to the Peloponnese." he said. with persons approved by you. On the next day he came to me and made a plausible proposal: "Let us put an end. "to these constant quarrels between you and me about Dion and his affairs. But not long after the foregoing events. You and your friends and Dion's friends here must be sureties for him in this. whether I wished to do so or not.came about that I did not continue my teaching in a second and third lesson and yet oftener. how could he. me. Up to this time he had allowed Dion to remain in possession of his property and to receive the income from it. Does Dionysios. he devised the following scheme to make me stay during that sading season. They had opened my eyes as to the value of Dionysios' desire for philosophy. I will now state. but was the party wronged. I require him to take his own property and reside in the Peloponnese. These were the actual facts which occurred up to the point which we have reached. and has he an adequate knowledge of it. When his entreaties produced no effect. or does he believe my teaching to be worthless. being indignant and thinking it my duty to face all dangers. Let the funds which he receives be deposited in the Peloponnese and at Athens. if on the other hand. when this step has the joint approval of himself. he will have to contend with many who say the opposite. have so recklessly dishonoured the master who has led the way in these subjects? How he dishonoured him. or. to be beyond his range and too great for him. therefore I decided that I must not be vexed with Dionysios rather than with myself and those who had forced me to come for the third time into the strait of Scylla. Seeing me not at all inclined to stay. unless he is an extraordinary person. on the pretence that the owner of the property was not Dion but Dion's son. not as an exile. and you his friends. and this shall be open to him on the understanding that he does not plot against me. he promised that he himself would provide me with transport. and I had every right to complain.
as he easily can. to all that he not wish me to sail. on the following day I said to Dionysios. and would leave half on the spot for the son. suppose that he is not willing to allow my departure. and orders several of his creatures to write to the same effect. "I must ask that you will not regard me as empowered to act for Dion. and the steps which I am trying to take. makes it clear. Therefore. See if this satisfies you. Still it is perhaps necessary to go on working for a year. he will act justly towards me. after this the trading-ships took their departure. he would sell it. he writes a plausible letter to Dion. that. unless an order had been sent to him from Dionysios. at a fair estimate. stating the position in which I am. I shall be able to write word of these things to Dion. he said. I know not what I shall do with myself. "Suppose however that I wait for the year. and when it was sold would give half to me to take away. from which even the gatekeeper would have refused to let me go. Further. I was lodging at that time in the garden which surround his house. and at the next season you shall depart taking the property with you. telling him of the proposal which he has now made to me. he must write particulars of them as soon as possible. and without giving personal orders to any of the merchants. if you accomplish so much on his behalf.of deposit without the approval of you and your friends. perhaps not less than a hundred talents. but after reflection said I would let him know my view of it on the following day. was this: "Come suppose that Dionysios intends to do none of the things which he has mentioned." This was what was said and this was the agreement which was made. when Dionysios. and if he has other wishes and demands. was the most just. but that I refused and completely neglected Dion's interests. and to attempt to prove by actual fact the machinations of Dionysios. For I have no great confidence in him. I shall have accomplished something that is not altogether to be sneered at." Having come to this decision. leading the way in my self-communing. This course. will anyone consent to take me as a passenger. and enquire whether this course satisfies him. If it does not. when I leave the house: of Dionysios?" For in addition to my other troubles. he said." When I heard this proposal I was vexed. and you must not as yet take any hasty step with regard to his interests. "I have decided to remain. if he has this property at his disposal. making out that he was willing to do what he proposed. and it was no longer possible for me to take mine. and on these conditions remain for the present year. I am quite sure that Dion will be grateful to you. This proposal was a blow . but that. The first reflection that came up. but I have more confidence in you and your friends. And if Dionysios does any of the things which he says. if you please. for it will be no small amount. If however the prospect which I see looming in the future takes the course which may reasonably be expected. Well. but will along with me write a letter to him." I continued. We agreed to that effect for the moment. addressed me with the remark that half the property must be regarded as belonging to Dion and half to his son. for Dion's property is. and afterwards when I was by myself I pondered the matter in much distress. stating what has now been decided. almost in these words. But. after my departure.
both greatly disturbed. I with my eyes turned abroad like a bird yearning to fly from its perch. for I did not think that I could do any good by doing so. His next step was the brilliant one of selling the whole of Dion's property. He spoke not a word to me about the matter from beginning to end. Theodotes said. but what Theodotes said to Dionysios in my presence I know and remember." he continued. "at this moment peltasts are scouring the country seeking to arrest Heracleides. and if he decides that Heracleides must no longer live in Sicily. "I am trying to convince our friend Dionysios that. I have already sent for him and will send for him again. This is the history so far of my efforts to come to the rescue of philosophy and of my friends. and. however. and he must be somewhere in this neighbourhood. if I am able to bring Heracleides before us to defend himself on the charges which have been made against him. while I said: "These men are afraid that you may take strong measures with regard to Heracleides contrary to what was agreed yesterday. and those two stood shedding silent tears. and then once more write to tell him of this new proposal. and if he comes in obedience either to my former message or to this one-well and good. "Plato. you were present yesterday during the promises made by Dionysios to me and to you about Heracleides?" "Certainly. For it seems that he has returned and has been seen . now deserting the policy of his father. shutting the gates of the acropolis. For Heaven's sake come with us to Dionysios. but that he may retire from the country till Dionysios comes to some other decision. he should be allowed (this is my point) to take his son and wife and sail to the Peloponnese and reside there." I replied. and I followed his example and never talked to him again about Dion's affairs. but they charged straight for the walls.to me. we gave out to all Sicily that we were friends. and I thought it absurd to argue any longer with him. Dionysios took fright and conceded all their demands and more to the peltasts then assembled. and he always devising some new way of scaring me back and of keeping a tight hold on Dion's property. and being unable to do so. if anyone finds Heracleides either in the country or here. After this Dionysios and I went on with our daily life. declared that they would not submit." On the following day Eurybios and Theodotes came to me in the evening. yelling out an unintelligible and ferocious war cry. He attempted to use force to them. assembling in great numbers. Dionysios was trying to get hold of him. I said that we must wait for Dion's letter. no harm shall be done to him beyond what has now been said. addressing Dionysios. Heracleides kept out of the way. sent for Theodotes to come to him in his garden." So we went and stood in the presence of Dionysios. no harm shall come to him. But I beg and entreat Dionysios that." he replied. using his own discretion with regard to the manner and terms of the sale and of the purchasers. However. Do you agree to this?" he added. "Well. It happened that I was walking in the garden at the same time. "Plato. Dionysios. taking no action there against Dionysios and enjoying the income of his property. "that even if he is found at your house." he said. Hearing this. The soldiers were furious. "I agree. I neither know nor did I hear the rest of what passed between them. attempted to lower the pay of the older members of his body guard. A rumour soon spread that Heracleides had been the cause of all the trouble.
sister to the previous one. saying that I wanted to go. Theodotes. He consented and allowed me to go." With these words I turned away and went out. Theodotes. After this Dionysios thought that his long cherished scheme not to restore Dion's property would give him a plausible excuse for hostility towards me. falling before him in tears. Theodotes sent for me and made a great outpouring of indignation at these occurrences. while his own was his unjust expulsion and banishment. But for Dion's property I made no further request. throwing the blame on Dionysios. and assuming his most autocratic air he said. He also thought that I had no kind feelings towards him because the property of Dion was now entirely done for. was just in time. Hearing that I had been to see Theodotes he regarded this. where I found Dion a spectator at the Games. After this he continued the hunt for Heracleides. took his hand and entreated him to do nothing of the sort. "Well." continued the messenger. Calling Zeus to be his witness. if they could ket hold of me Accordingly I devised the following plan for my safety. and first of all he sent me out of the acropolis. and reported that I was evil spoken of among the peltasts. After this I resided outside the acropolis among the mercenaries. finding a pretext that the women were obliged to hold a sacrificial service for ten days in the garden in which I had my lodging. who came and entreated Dionysios about me. urged Heracleides to take flight." And he did not send for me to return to his house. and that some of them were threatening to make an end of me. Various people then came to me. as a man would in a rage. in making his escape into Carthaginian territory. telling them the plight I was in. my own fellow citizens. Dionysios will not have the heart to take any fresh step contrary to his promises of yesterday. among them those of the ships' crews who came from Athens. and he my enemy. I made my way to the Peloponnese to Olympia. "he ordered me to tell you that you are not acting at all well in preferring always Dion and Dion's friends to him." I said. by a small fraction of a day." "By the gods.somewhere about here. one of themselves. Dionysios sent out Teisias and some peltasts with orders to pursue him. he at once urged me with my relatives and friends to make preparations for taking vengeance on Dionysios-our ground for action being the breach of faith to a guest-so he put it and regarded it. and told him what had occurred. Sending a messenger he enquired if I had really been conferring with Theodotes on his invitation "Certainly." I replied. as though it were now clear that Theodotes and Heracleides were my friends. He therefore ordered me to stay outside in the house of Archedemos during this period. and that he should on no account stand in my way. and Theodotes. as another excuse. they sent a thirty-oared galley with Lamiscos. giving me money for the journey. for quarrelling with me. sending messages. as it was said. Finding some excuse for an embassy from their city. While I was there. nor was any of it restored." On hearing this he blazed up and turned all colours." Fixing his eye on me. "To you I promised nothing small or great. But Heracleides. But I broke in and tried to encourage him. I sent to Archytes and my other friends in Taras. "you did promise that forbearance for which our friend here now appeals. saying: "Be of good cheer. .
when dealing with the impious. And this end is not attained if a man gets riches for himself. that I was plotting with you against him and his despotic rule. also I stand as a neutral between you. call others to your aid. Again. his friends and his country the ideal of such a man would be to win the greatest power and honour by rendering the greatest services. For a man of piety. if he complains of being poor. This course Dion actually followed. took a false step and fell. But now. overcome by the cowardice which fears to fight against pleasures." I continued." This I said. He probably believed the current slanders. by forming plots and getting together conspirators. The same thing caused Dion's downfall. and invites his confederates and supporters to do the same. not master of himself. For if Dionysios had restored to Dion his property or been reconciled with him on any terms. and he spared my life. temperance and wisdom. I am hardly of the age for being comrade in arms to anyone. who would not be entirely unaware of the approach of a storm. but might be unaware of its extraordinary and startling violence. but it would perhaps not be surprising if he suffered the catastrophe that might befall a good ship's captain. with the object that no one shall say that it is his fault. his supporters and his country. but he was unaware how high a pitch of infatuation and of general . he nevertheless. because I was disgusted with my misguided journeyings to Sicily and my ill-fortune there. he unjustly appropriates to his own State the possessions of the small ones. whom he speaks of as the enemy. make his way by steps like these to a power which will be fraught with destruction to himself and his descendants for all time. Dion would have easily been kept in check by my wishes and influence. With regard to his own power. "you and others in a way forced me to be the sharer of Dionysios' table and hearth and his associate in the acts of religion. yet feelings of scruple prevailed with him. Dion's aspiration however was the same that I should say my own or that of any other right-minded man ought to be. when he had reached the climax of victory over his enemies. rushing upon one another. thinking it preferable to suffer iniquitous deeds rather than to do them. The same is true if anyone renders services of this kind to the State and receives honours from her for distributing by decrees the property of the few among the many-or if. if they wished to go. "But for myself. being all the while a poor creature. and so brought on their own heads all the evils which have since taken place. But they disobeyed me and would not listen to my attempts at reconciliation. would not be entirely blind to the character of such men. and might therefore be overwhelmed by its force. being in charge the affairs of a great State which rules over many small ones.Hearing this. nor is it attained if he goes on to kill the men of substance. while taking precautions against them. but. a catastrophe not at all surprising. they have caused universal disaster. For he was not unaware that his assailants were thoroughly bad men. with his eyes open. and to plunder their possessions. so long as you aim at injuring one another. if ever you desire friendship and wish to benefit one another. reaching these ends without executions and murders even on the smallest scale. none of these things would have happened. I told him that he might call my friends to his aid. For neither a Dion nor any other man will. so far as human foresight can foretell. but he will advance towards constitutional government and the framing of the justest and best laws.
This was the cause of his downfall.wickedness and greed they had reached. the present statement is adequate and not too lengthy. which has involved Sicily in countless sorrows. -THE END- . and if you ask my reasons for recounting the story of my second journey to Sicily. and seem to anyone to show sufficient grounds in view of the circumstances. As to the steps which should be taken after the events which I have now related. it seemed to me essential that an account of it must be given because of the strange and paradoxical character of the incidents. If in this present account of them they appear to anyone more intelligible. my advice has been given pretty fully and may be regarded as finished.