translated by Benjamin Jowett
PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: CEPHALUS; ADEIMANTUS; GLAUCON; ANTIPHON;
PYTHODORUS; SOCRATES; ZENO; PARMENIDES; ARISTOTELES. Cephalus
rehearses a dialogue which is supposed to have been narrated in his
presence by Antiphon, the half-brother of Adeimantus and Glaucon, to
We had come from our home at Clazomenae to Athens, and met
Adeimantus and Glaucon in the Agora. Welcome, Cephalus, said
Adeimantus, taking me by the hand; is there anything which we can do
for you in Athens?
Yes; that is why I am here; I wish to ask a favour of you.
What may that be? he said.
I want you to tell me the name of your half brother, which I have
forgotten; he was a mere child when I last came hither from
Clazomenae, but that was a long time ago; his father's name, if I
remember rightly, was Pyrilampes?
Yes, he said, and the name of our brother, Antiphon; but why do
Let me introduce some countrymen of mine, I said; they are lovers of
philosophy, and have heard that Antiphon was intimate with a certain
Pythodorus, a friend of Zeno, and remembers a conversation which
took place between Socrates, Zeno, and Parmenides many years ago,
Pythodorus having often recited it to him.
And could we hear it? I asked.
Nothing easier, he replied; when he was a youth he made a careful
study of the piece; at present his thoughts run in another
direction; like his grandfather Antiphon he is devoted to horses. But,
if that is what you want, let us go and look for him; he dwells at
Melita, which is quite near, and he has only just left us to go home.
Accordingly we went to look for him; he was at home, and in the
act of giving a bridle to a smith to be fitted. When he had done
with the smith, his brothers told him the purpose of our visit; and he
saluted me as an acquaintance whom he remembered from my former visit,
and we asked him to repeat the dialogue. At first he was not very
willing, and complained of the trouble, but at length he consented. He
told us that Pythodorus had described to him the appearance of
Parmenides and Zeno; they came to Athens, as he said, at the great
Panathenaea; the former was, at the time of his visit, about 65
years old, very white with age, but well favoured. Zeno was nearly
40 years of age, tall and fair to look upon; in the days of his
youth he was reported to have been beloved by Parmenides. He said that
they lodged with Pythodorus in the Ceramicus, outside the wall,
whither Socrates, then a very young man, came to see them, and many
others with him; they wanted to hear the writings of Zeno, which had
been brought to Athens for the first time on the occasion of their
visit. These Zeno himself read to them in the absence of Parmenides,
and had very nearly finished when Pythodorus entered, and with him
Parmenides and Aristoteles who was afterwards one of the Thirty, and
heard the little that remained of the dialogue. Pythodorus had heard
Zeno repeat them before.
When the recitation was completed, Socrates requested that the first