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575B‑588B

This webpage reproduces a portion of the
De Genio Socratis

by
Plutarch

published in Vol. VII
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1959

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


[image ALT: link to next section]
594A‑598F

(Vol. VII) Plutarch, Moralia

De Genio Socratis
(continued)

p449 (588B) 20 1 They were already well along in an inquiry of no trivial scope, the one Galaxidorus and Pheidolaüs had engaged in shortly before, when they raised the problem of the nature and mode of operation Cof the so‑called sign of Socrates.88 Simmias' reply to Galaxidorus' argument we did not hear; speaking for himself, however, he said that he had once asked Socrates about the matter without receiving an answer and had therefore never asked again; but he had often heard Socrates express the view that men who laid claim to visual communication with Heaven were impostors, while to such as affirmed p451that they had heard a voice he paid close attention and earnestly inquired after the particulars. "It thus occurred to us," Simmias went on to say, "as we examined the question in private among ourselves, to surmise that Socrates's sign was perhaps no vision, Dbut rather the perception of a voice or else the mental apprehension of language that reached him in some strange way. So in sleep, where no sound is uttered, we fancy, as we receive the impression or notion of certain statements, that we hear people speaking.

"But whereas some men actually have this sort of apprehension in dreams, hearing better asleep, when the body is quiet and undisturbed, while when they are awake89 their soul can hear the higher powers but faintly, and moreover, as they are overwhelmed by the tumult of their passions and the distractions of their wants, they cannot listen or attend to the message; Socrates, on the other hand, had an understanding which, being pure and free from passion, and commingling Ewith the body but little, for necessary ends, was so sensitive and delicate as to respond at once to what reached him. What reached him, one would conjecture, was not spoken language, but the unuttered words of a daemon, making voiceless contact with his intelligence by their sense alone.90 p453 For speech is like a blow91 — when we converse with one another, the words are forced through our ears and the soul is compelled to take them in —; whereas the intelligence of the higher power guides the gifted soul, which requires no blows, by the touch of its thought; and the soul on its part yields to the slackening and tightening of its movements by the higher intelligence. FNo constraint is exerted, as no passion pulls the other way, and the movements of the soul respond easily and gently, like reins that give. This should occasion no surprise, when we observe that large merchantmen are brought round by small tillers, and that potters' wheels whirl about evenly at the touch of the finger tip; for these, though inanimate, nevertheless, being constructed to revolve easily, move so smoothly that they respond to the mover at the slightest pressure. But the soul of man, which is strung with countless inward movements, as with resilient cords,92 is, when rationally dealt with, by far the most sensitive of all instruments,93 moving at a slight impulse toward the goal conceived by the understanding. 589 For here it is in the understanding, to which they are made fast and taut, that the passions and inward movements have their origins; and when that is struck, these are pulled and thereby exercise traction on the man and give him tension. Indeed, it is most of all by this that we are enabled to comprehend the great power of an idea. For insensate bones and thews and flesh saturated with humours, and the inert and prostrate mass they constitute, the instant the soul conceives p455 a purpose in the understanding and sets its movement going for that end, arise as a whole, tense and co-ordinate in all its parts, and fly as if winged to carry the idea to execution.94

"Moreover, it is no hard or hopeless task to understand by what manner of impact, co-ordination, and suggestion Bthe soul receives a thought and thereby with its movements draws after it the corporeal mass.95 But if the body is moved with so little trouble by a notion that enters the understanding without the help of spoken language, it cannot be hard, I think, to believe that the understanding may be guided by a higher understanding and a diviner soul, that lays hold of it from without by a touch, which is the way in which it is the nature of thought to impinge on thought,96 just as light produces a reflection. For in very truth our recognition of one another's thoughts through the medium of the spoken word is like groping in the dark; whereas the thoughts of daemons are luminous and shed their light on the daemonic man. Their thoughts have no need of verbs or nouns, Cwhich men use as symbols in their intercourse, and thereby behold mere counterfeits and likenesses of what is present in thought, but are unaware of the originals except for those persons who are illuminated, as I have said, by some special and daemonic radiance. Even so the phenomenon of speech serves in a way p457to allay the doubts of the incredulous. For on receiving the impression of articulate sounds, the air is fully changed to language and speech and conveys the thought to the soul of the hearer. Need we then feel surprised that the air, with its ready susceptibility, should also be transformed by the mere ideas of higher beings and thereby indicate to divine and exceptional men the meaning of him who conceived the idea? For just as the sound of sappers' blows is detected by bronze shields,97 Dwhich re-echo it as it rises from the depths of the earth and strikes them, whereas through everything else it slips unnoticed; so the messages of daemons pass through all other men, but find an echo in those only whose character is untroubled and soul unruffled, the very men in fact we call holy and daemonic. In popular belief, on the other hand, it is only in sleep that men receive inspiration from on high; and the notion that they are so influenced when awake and in full possession of their faculties is accounted strange and incredible. This is like supposing that a musician uses his lyre when the strings are slack, but does not touch or play it when it has been adjusted to a scale and attuned. This belief arises from ignorance of the cause of this insensibility: Ethe inner lack of attunement and the confusion in the men themselves. From this my friend Socrates was free, as is shown by the oracle delivered to his father when Socrates was yet a boy. It bade him let the child do whatever came into his p459 mind, and not do violence to his impulses or divert them, but allow them free play, taking no further trouble about him than to pray to Zeus Agoraeus98 and the Muses, surely implying by this Fthat he had a better guide of life in himself than a thousand teachers and attendants.

21 1 "Such was the notion, Pheidolaüs, that we for our part held about Socrates' sign while he was alive and still hold now he is dead; we have scant use for those who account for it by chance remarks overheard or sneezes or the like. The story I had about it from Timarchus of Chaeroneia, as it more resembles a myth or fiction than an argument,99 I had perhaps better leave untold."

"Do no such thing," said Theocritus, "but let us have it; for myths, too, despite the loose manner in which they do so, have a way of reaching the truth. But first tell us who this Timarchus was, 590as I do not recognize the name."

"And little wonder, Theocritus," said Simmias, "for he died very young, after asking Socrates' leave to be buried beside Lamprocles,100 Socrates' son, his friend and agefellow, who had died a few days p461 before. Timarchus, then, in his desire to learn the nature of Socrates' sign, acted like the high-spirited young initiate in philosophy he was: consulting no one but Cebes and me, he descended into the crypt of Trophonius, first performing the rites that are customary at the oracle.101 He remained underground two nights and a day, Band most people had already given up hope, and his family were lamenting him for dead, when he came up in the morning with a radiant countenance.102 He did obeisance to the god, and as soon as he had escaped the crowd, began to tell us of many wonders seen and heard.

22 1 "He said that on descending into the oracular crypt his first experience was of profound darkness; next, after a prayer, he lay a long time not clearly aware whether he was awake or dreaming. It did seem to him, however, that at the same moment he heard a crash and was struck on the head, and that the sutures parted and released his soul. As it withdrew and mingled joyfully with air that was translucent and pure, it felt in the first place that now, after long being cramped, Cit had again found relief, and was growing larger than before, spreading out like a sail; and next that it faintly caught the whir of something revolving overhead with a pleasant sound.103 p463 When he lifted his eyes the earth was nowhere to be seen; but he saw islands illuminated by one another with soft fire, taking on now one colour, now another, like a dye, as the light kept varying with their mutations. They appeared countless in number and huge in size, and though not all equal, yet all alike round; and he fancied that their circular movement made a musical whirling in the aether, Dfor the gentleness of the sound resulting from the harmony of all the separate sounds corresponded to the evenness of their motion. In their midst lay spread a sea or lake,104 through whose blue transparency the colours passed in their migrations; and of the islands a few sailed out in a channel and crossed the current,105 while many others106 were carried along with it, the sea itself drifting around, as it were, smoothly and evenly in a circle. In places it was very deep, mainly toward the south, but elsewhere there were faint shoals and shallows;107 and in many parts it overflowed and again receded, never extending p465 very far.108 ESome of it was of the pure hue of the high seas, while elsewhere the colour was not unmixed, but turbid and like that of a pool.109 As they crested the surge110 the islands111 came back, without, however, returning to their point of departure or completing a circle; but with each new circuit they advanced slightly beyond the old, describing a single spiral in their revolution.112 FThe sea containing these was inclined at an angle of somewhat less than eight parts of the whole113 toward the midmost and largest portion of the surrounding envelope,114 as he made out; and it had two openings receiving rivers of fire emptying into it across from one another, so that it was forced far back, boiling, and its blue colour was turned to white.115 All this he viewed with enjoyment of the p467 spectacle. But looking down he saw a great abyss, round, as though a sphere had been cut away; most terrible and deep it was, and filled with a mass of darkness that did not remain at rest, but was agitated116 and often welled up. From it could be heard innumerable roars and groans of animals, the wailing of innumerable babes, the mingled lamentations of men and women, and noise and uproar of every kind, coming faintly from far down in the depths, 591 all of which startled him not a little.117

"After an interval someone he did not see addressed him: 'Timarchus what would you have me explain?'

" 'Everything,' he answered; 'for what is here that is not marvellous?'

" 'Nay,' the voice replied, 'in the higher regions we others118 have but little part, as they belong to gods; but you may, if you wish, inquire into the portion of Persephonê, administered by ourselves; it is one of the four,119 and marked off by the course of the Styx.'

" 'What is the Styx?' he asked. 'It is the path to Hades,' came the answer; 'it passes across from you here, cleaving the light with its vertex; it extends upward, as you see, from Hades below, and p469 where in its revolution it also touches the world of light, it bounds the last region of all.120 BFour principles there are of all things: the first is of life, the second of motion, the third of birth, and the last of decay; the first is linked to the second by Unity at the invisible,121 the second to the third by Mind at the sun, and the third to the fourth by Nature at the moon.122 A Fate, daughter of Necessity, holds the keys and presides over each link: over the first Atropos, over the second Clotho, and over the link at the moon Lachesis. The turning point of birth123 is at the moon. CFor while the rest of the islands belong to the gods, the moon belongs to terrestrial daemons and avoids the Styx by passing slightly above it; it is caught, however, once in a hundred and seventy-seven secondary measures.124 As the Styx draws near the souls cry out125 in terror, for many slip off126 and are carried away by Hades; others, whose cessation of birth127 falls out at the proper moment, swim up from below128 and are rescued by the Moon, the foul and unclean excepted.129 These the Moon, with lightning and a terrible roar, forbids to approach, and bewailing their p471 lot they fall away and are borne downward again to another birth, as you see.'130

D" 'But I see nothing,' said Timarchus; 'only many stars trembling about the abyss, others sinking into it, and others again shooting up from below.'

" 'Then without knowing it,' the being replied, 'you see the daemons themselves. I will explain: every soul partakes of understanding; none is irrational or unintelligent. But the portion of the soul that mingles with flesh and passions suffers alteration and becomes in the pleasures and pains it undergoes irrational.131 Not every soul mingles to the same extent: some sink entirely into the body, and becoming disordered throughout, are during their life wholly distracted by passions; Eothers mingle in part, but leave outside what is purest in them. This is not dragged in with the rest, but is like a buoy attached to the top, floating on the surface in contact with the man's head, while he is as it were submerged in the depths; and it supports as much of the soul, which is held upright about it, as is obedient and not overpowered by the passions. Now the part carried submerged132 in the body is called the soul, whereas the part left free from corruption is called by the multitude the understanding, who take it to be within themselves, as they take reflected objects to be in the mirrors that reflect them; but those who conceive the matter rightly call it a daemon,133 as being external. Thus, Timarchus,' the voice pursued, 'in the stars that are apparently extinguished, Fyou must understand that you see the souls that sink entirely into the body; in the stars p473that are lighted again, as it were, and reappear from below, you must understand that you see the souls that float back from the body after death, shaking off a sort of dimness and darkness as one might shake off mud; while the stars that move about on high are the daemons of men said to "possess understanding."134 See whether you can make out in each the manner of its linkage and union with the soul.'

"Hearing this, he attended more carefully and saw that the stars bobbed about, some more, some less, 592 like the corks we observe riding on the sea to mark nets; a few described a confused and uneven spiral, like spindles as they twist the thread, and were unable to reduce their movement to a straight and steady course. The voice explained that the daemons whose motion was straight and ordered had souls which good nurture and training had made submissive to the rein,135 and whose irrational part was not unduly hard-mouthed and restive; whereas those which were constantly deviating in all directions from a straight course in an uneven and confused motion, Bas though jerked about on a tether, were contending with a character refractory and unruly from lack of training, at one moment prevailing over it and wheeling to the right, at another yielding to their passions and dragged along by their errors, only to resist them later and oppose them with force. For, exerting a contrary pull on the tie, which is like a bridle inserted into the irrational part of the soul, the daemon p475 applies what is called remorse to the errors, and shame for all lawless and wilful pleasures — remorse and shame being really the painful blow inflicted from this source upon the soul as it is curbed by its controlling and ruling part — Cuntil from such chastening the soul, like a docile animal, becomes obedient and accustomed to the reins, needing no painful blows, but rendered keenly responsive to its daemon by signals and signs. 'These souls indeed,' the voice pursued, 'are brought to their duty and made firm in it late and gradually; but from those other souls, which from their very beginning and birth are docile to the rein and obedient to their daemon,136 comes the race of diviners and of men inspired. Among such souls you have doubtless heard of that of Hermodorus137 of Clazomenae — how night and day it used to leave his body entirely and travel far and wide, Dreturning after it had met with and witnessed many things said and done in remote places, until his wife betrayed him and his enemies found his body at home untenanted by his soul and burnt it. The story as thus told is indeed not true: his soul did not leave his body, but gave its daemon free play by always yielding to it and slackening the tie, permitting it to move about and roam at will, so that the daemon could see and hear much that passed in the world outside and return with the report. The men who destroyed his body as he slept are still atoning for the deed in Tartarus. EOf these matters,' the voice p477 said, 'you will have better knowledge, young man, in the third month from now; for the present, depart.'

"When the voice ceased Timarchus desired to turn (he said) and see who the speaker was. But once more he felt a sharp pain in his head, as though it had been violently compressed, and he lost all recognition and awareness of what was going on about him; but he presently recovered and saw that he was lying in the crypt of Trophonius near the entrance, at the very spot where he had first laid himself down.

23 1 "Such then is the myth of Timarchus. When he had come to Athens and died in the third month, as the voice had foretold,138 Fwe were amazed and told Socrates the story, who censured us for recounting it when Timarchus was no longer alive, as he would have been glad to hear it from Timarchus himself and question him about it more closely.

"My statement is now complete, Theocritus, and you have the myth along with the argument. But consider whether we should not also invite the stranger to join in the inquiry, for it is one most fitting and appropriate to inspired men."

"Why does not Epameinondas make his contribution?" asked the stranger. "He draws upon the same doctrines as I."

"That is his way, sir," said my father with a smile: "to be silent and chary of speech, but insatiable of learning and listening. On this account Spintharus139 of Tarentum, who was long associated with him here, p479keeps saying, as you know, that nowhere in his generation has he met 593 a man of greater knowledge and fewer words. You must accordingly present your views about what has been said yourself."

24 1 "I say, therefore," he said, "that the story of Timarchus, as sacred and not to be profaned, should be dedicated to the god.140 As for Simmias' own statement, I should be surprised if any should find it hard to accept, and when they call swans, serpents, dogs, and horses sacred, refuse to believe that men are divine and dear to God, and that too holding him no lover of birds, but of men.141 As, then, a man that loves horses does not devote the same care to all members of the species, Bbut always singles out and sets apart some one horse that is best, training and rearing it by itself and cherishing it above the rest, so too our betters take the best of us, as from a herd, and setting a mark on us, honour us with a peculiar and exceptional schooling, guiding us not by rein or bridle, but by language expressed in symbols quite unknown to the generality and common herd of men. So too it is not the generality of hounds that understand the hunter's signals, or of horses the horseman's; it is only such as have been taught Cthat readily take their orders from a mere casual whistle or clucking of the tongue and do what is required. Homer too, p481 it is evident, knew the distinction142 of which we others speak, as he calls some diviners 'consulters of birds'143 and 'priests,'144 but thinks that others indicate the future from an understanding and awareness of the actual conversation of the gods. These are his words:

That counsel Helenus in his heart perceived,

The son of Priam, which the gods had reached

In their deliberation145

and

Such speech of the immortal gods I heard.146

For as outsiders perceive and recognize the intention of kings and generals from beacons and the proclamations of heralds and the blare of trumpets, Dwhereas to confidants and intimates it is imparted by the kings and generals themselves, so heaven consorts directly with but few, and rarely, but to the great majority gives signs, from which arises the art called divination. The gods, then, order the life of but few among men, such as they wish to make supremely blessed and in very truth divine; whereas souls delivered from birth and henceforth at rest from the body — set quite free, as it were, to range at will — are, as Hesiod147 says, daemons that watch over man. For as athletes who from old age have given up training do not entirely lose their ardour and their love of bodily prowess, but look on with pleasure as p483others train, and call out encouragement and run along beside them, Eso those who are done with the contests of life, and who, from prowess of soul, have become daemons, do not hold what is done and said and striven after in this world in utter contempt, but are propitious to contenders for the same goal, join in their ardour, and encourage and help them to the attainment of virtue than they see them keeping up the struggle and all but reaching their heart's desire. For daemons do not assist all indifferently, Fbut as when men swim a sea, those standing on the shore merely view in silence the swimmers who are still far out distant from land, whereas they help with hand and voice alike such as have come near, and running along and wading in beside them bring them safely in, such too, my friends, is the way of daemons: as long as we are head over ears in the welter of worldly affairs and are changing body after body, like conveyances, they allow us to fight our way out and persevere unaided, as we endeavour by our own prowess to come through safe and reach a haven; but when in the course of countless births a soul has stoutly and resolutely sustained a long series of struggles, and as her cycle draws to a close, she approaches the upper world, bathed in sweat, 594 in imminent peril and straining every nerve to reach the shore,148 God holds it no sin for her daemon to go to the rescue, but lets whoever will lend aid. One p485 daemon is eager to deliver by his exhortations one soul, another another, and the soul on her part, having drawn close, can hear, and is thus saved; but if she pays no heed, she is forsaken by her daemon and comes to no happy end."


The Editor's Notes:

88 Cf. K. Reinhardt, Poseidonios, pp464 ff.

89 Cf. Cicero, De Div. I.49 (110): "Sed vigilantes animi vitae necessitatibus serviunt diiunguntque se a societate divina vinclis corporis inpediti"; ibid. I.53 f. (121 f.) and 57 (129 f.).

90 Cf. Chalcidius, chap. cclv, p288 (ed. Wrobel): "Now the voice that Socrates heard was not, I think, of the sort that is made when air is struck; rather it revealed to his soul, which was, by reason of his great purity, unpolluted and therefore more perceptive, the presence and society of his familiar deity, since only the pure may meet and mingle with the pure. And as in dreams we fancy that we hear voices and words of spoken language, and yet here there is no voice, but only meaning, doing duty of voice; so the mind of Socrates, by the token of a vivid sign, could divine in waking moments the presence of the deity."

91 For definitions and descriptions of "speech" or "voice" (phonê) as a "blow on the air" cf. Plato, Timaeus, 67B, and Aristotle, De Anima, II.8 (420 B29).

92 Hyspleges (rendered "resilient cords") are probably here the twisted cords that supplied the motive power in certain ancient automata (cf. Hero, Automata, II.8).

93 Cf. Mor. 163E.

94 Cf. Mor. 442C‑E.

95 Cf. Life of Coriolanus, chap. xxxii.7‑8 (229D‑E).

96 "Thought" (logos) can mean notion or the rational soul.

97 Cf. Herodotus, IV.200.2‑3; Aeneas Tacticus, chap. xxxvii.6‑7.

98 That is, "Zeus of the Market-Place"; cf. Mor. 789D, 792F. For Socrates' conversations in the market-place cf. Plato, Apology, 17C.

99 For the contrast of "myth" and "argument" cf. Mor. 561B and note.

100 Lamprocles, the eldest of Socrates' children, was presumably alive at the time of his father's death (cf. Zeller, Die Phil. der Griechen, II.14, pp54, note 2 and 56, note). This unhistorical detail may have been added to warn the reader that Timarchus, like his story, is a fable.

101 Those who wished to consult the oracle of Trophonius, at Lebadeia in Boeotia, descended into a cave and waited there for the divine message to be revealed in a dream: cf. Pausanias, IX.39.5‑14.

102 And so belying the proverb εἰς Τροφωνίου μεμάντευται "he has consulted Trophonius' oracle," used of persons with a gloomy countenance (cf. Leutsch and Schneidewin, Paroem. Gr. I, p72.1 and note).

103 This is the music of the spheres. Aristotle (De Caelo, II.9) argues that the sound would be excruciatingly loud. For a smooth motion producing a smooth sound cf. Plato, Timaeus, 67B.

104 The sea and its circular movement represent the celestial sphere and its apparent diurnal motion. Von Arnim, "Plut. über Dämonen u. Mantik," in Verh. d. kon. Ak. v. Wet., Afd. Lett. Nieuwe Reeks, Deel XXII, Amsterdam, 1921, p34, takes the sea to represent the Milky Way.

105 The current is the celestial equator (the part of the celestial sphere which has the most rapid apparent motion); the islands that cross it are the planets; the channel is the zodiac.

106 The fixed stars.

107 The shoals and shallows may represent nebulae and the Milky Way. The great deep in the dinner was suggested by the starless space around the invisible pole in Greek globes.

108 The overflow and recession may represent the various distances separating the stars from the surface of the sphere: cf. Aëtius, II.15.1‑2, and Geminus, chap. i.23 with Manitius' note. Or they may have been suggested by the Pythagorean theory of the breathing universe (cf. Aristotle, Physics, IV.6, 213 B22‑24). Von Arnim (op. cit. pp34 f.) takes them to represent the variations in breadth of the Milky Way.

109 The clouded colour belongs to the region below the moon.

110 The "surge" may be the belt bounded by the tropics, so called from its rapid motion, or the tropics themselves, as being the shores of the planetary sea mentioned in the following sentence.

111 The planets.

112 The spiral (for which cf. Life of Phocion, chap. ii.6, 742D, and Plato, Timaeus, 39A) represents the apparent paths of the planets, which result from their own motion combined with the apparent diurnal motion of the sphere.

113 The sea is the zodiac. "Eight parts" of the whole are eight sixtieths of a meridian (for the division into sixtieths cf. Strabo, II.5.7, pp113 f.; Manilius, I.561‑593; Geminus, chap. v.46; Achilles, Isag. chap. xxvi; and Hyginus, Astron. I.6). This is 48°, only slightly in excess of the figures given by the astronomers for the distance between the tropics (cf. Sir T. L. Heath, Aristarchus of Samos, p131, note 4).

114 The celestial equator, which "surrounds" the ecliptic; cf. Plato, Timaeus, 36C, with Cornford's discussion. A certain mystery (appropriate in a myth) results from counting both the arcs intercepted by the ecliptic and the equator on the solstitial colure in reckoning the inclination. The words "as he made out" hint that the error is Timarchus' own. We have found no ancient measure corresponding to 3°.

115 The reference is doubtless to the Milky Way; the openings are at the intersections of the zodiac and the galactic circle.

116 F. Cumont, Recherches sur le symbolisme funéraire des Romains (Paris, 1942), p136, note 3, points out that ektarattomenou ("agitated") contains a common etymology of Tartaros. In Mor. 940F it is said that if an inhabitant of the moon should hear Homer's description of Hades and Tartarus (Il. XX.65, VIII.16) he would take them to be in the region of the earth. Cf. also Mor. 948E.

117 The abyss is Hades or the earth (cf. 591A, infra), which is a place of punishment and opposed to the world of eternal light. Cumont (op. cit. p56) takes the "sphère coupée" to be the lower hemisphere of the universe.

118 The speaker is presumably a daemon: cf. 591C, infra.

119 The first lies outside the surface of the celestial sphere; the second between that and path of the sun; the third between the paths of the sun and of the moon; and the fourth, "the portion of Persephonê," below the path of the moon, that is, of the earth's shadow, which is dissipated beyond the moon. The earth is "Hades" (cf. Mor. 942F; the etymology is "unseen"), and its shadow is the "Styx."

120 Cf. Stobaeus, vol. I, pp198.10‑12, 448.12‑16 Wachsmuth.

121 The surface of the celestial sphere.

122 In Mor. 943A earth provides man's body, the moon his soul, and the sun his intellect.

123 Cf. Mor. 568E, 745B, 945C. The ultimate source is Plato, Phaedo, 72B.

124 A primary measure is a "day" in Geminus' first sense (chap. vi.1, p68.13 f. Manitius), the time from sunrise to sunset; a secondary measure is "day" in Geminus' second sense (chap. vi.1, p68.15 f. Manitius), the tie between two successive risings of the sun (cf. also Priscianus Lydus, Solut. ad Chosroem, p65.22‑26 Bywater). One hundred and seventy-seven days of this latter kind make six lunar months. For lunar eclipses at intervals of six lunar months cf. Mor. 933D‑E, 942E‑F and R. Flacelière in Revue des Études Anciennes, vol. LIII (1951), pp203‑221.

125 Cf. Mor. 944B.

126 Cf. Mor. 943D.

127 The "cessation of birth" is the release from the cycle of birth and death.

128 Cf. Mor. 944B.

129 Cf. Mor. 942F.

130 Cf. Mor. 943D.

131 Cf. Mor. 943A.

132 For "submerged" cf. Plato, Phaedrus, 248A.

133 Cf. Plato, Timaeus, 90A.

134 The common expression noun echein, meaning "to be sensible," is here taken in its literal sense, "to possess understanding." All souls, strictly speaking, possess understanding, but the daemon is explaining a popular expression (cf. 591E, supra).

135 Cf. Mor. 943D and 445B‑D.

136 Cf. Mor. 445B.

137 The story is elsewhere told of Hermotimus of Clazomenae: cf. J. H. Waszink's note on Tertullian, De Anima, chap. xliv (Amsterdam, 1947), pp475 f.

138 The visionary often hears a prediction of his own death: cf. Mor. 566D and note.

139 Cf. Mor. 39B.

140 G. M. Lattanzi, Il "De genio Socratis" di Plutarco, p64, note 2, quotes Pausanias, IX.39.14: "Those who have made the descent into the cave of Trophonius must write what they have seen or heard on a tablet and set it up as a dedication."

141 Cf. Life of Numa, chap. iv.4 (62A‑B), and [Plato], Minos, 319A.

142 That is, the Stoic distinction between "artificial" divination, which interprets omens, and so‑called "artless" or "untaught" divination, which is found in dreams and inspiration. Cf. Pseudo-Plutarch, De Vita et Poesi Homeri, II.212, and Cicero, De Div. I.6 (11) with Pease's note.

143 Cf. Il. I.69, VI.76.

144 Cf. Il. I.62, XXIV.221.

145 Il. VII.44 f.

146 Il. VII.53.

147 Works and Days, 122 ff; quoted also in Mor. 361B, 431E.

148 The word ekbasis, translated "shore," but literally "egress," was suggested by Homer, Od. V.410.


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