60 Reading Passages: Classical

Classical Reading

 

To download this assignment as a pdf, click here: AGE Readings 19.

Plato’s dialogue Phaedo provides an account of the last day of Socrates’ life. It begins with a man named Echecrates, a Pythagorean who has been exiled from Italy and now in the Greek city of Phlius. He meets Phaedo and asks for information about Socrates’ final hours. Echecrates has just explained that in Phlius they have heard very little about how it all happened:

ΦΑΙΔΩΝ
Οὐδὲ τὰ περὶ τῆς δίκης ἄρα ἐπύθεσθε ὃν τρόπον ἐγένετο;

ΕΧΕΚΡΑΤΗΣ
Ναί, ταῦτα μὲν ἡμῖν ἤγγειλέ τις, καὶ ἐθαυμάζομέν γε ὅτι, [though the trial happened long ago, it appears he was put to death much later]. τί οὖν ἦν τοῦτο, ὦ Φαίδων;

ΦΑΙΔ.
Τύχη τις αὐτῷ, ὦ Ἐχέκρατες, συνέβη· ἔτυχεν γὰρ τῇ προτεραίᾳ τῆς δίκης ἡ πρύμνα ἐστεμμένη τοῦ πλοίου ὃ εἰς Δῆλον Ἀθηναῖοι πέμπουσιν.

ΕΧ.
Τοῦτο δὲ δὴ τί ἐστιν;

ΦΑΙΔ.
Τοῦτ’ ἔστι τὸ πλοῖον, ὥς φασιν Ἀθηναῖοι, ἐν ᾧ Θησεύς ποτε εἰς Κρήτην τοὺς “δὶς ἑπτὰ” ἐκείνους ᾤχετο ἄγων καὶ ἔσωσέ τε καὶ αὐτὸς ἐσώθη. τῷ οὖν Ἀπόλλωνι ηὔξαντο ὡς λέγεται τότε, εἰ σωθεῖεν, ἑκάστου ἔτους θεωρίαν ἀπάξειν εἰς Δῆλον· ἣν δὴ ἀεὶ καὶ νῦν ἔτι ἐξ ἐκείνου [χρόνου] κατ’ ἐνιαυτὸν τῷ θεῷ πέμπουσιν. ἐπειδὰν οὖν ἄρξωνται τῆς θεωρίας, νόμος ἐστὶν αὐτοῖς ἐν τῷ χρόνῳ τούτῳ καθαρεύειν τὴν πόλιν καὶ δημοσίᾳ μηδένα ἀποκτεινύναι, πρὶν ἂν εἰς Δῆλόν τε ἀφίκηται τὸ πλοῖον καὶ πάλιν δεῦρο· τοῦτο δ’ ἐνίοτε ἐν πολλῷ χρόνῳ γίγνεται, ὅταν τύχωσιν ἄνεμοι ἀπολαβόντες αὐτούς. ἀρχὴ δ’ ἐστὶ τῆς θεωρίας ἐπειδὰν ὁ ἱερεὺς τοῦ Ἀπόλλωνος στέψῃ τὴν πρύμναν τοῦ πλοίου· τοῦτο δ’ ἔτυχεν, ὥσπερ λέγω, τῇ προτεραίᾳ τῆς δίκης γεγονός. διὰ ταῦτα καὶ πολὺς χρόνος ἐγένετο τῷ Σωκράτει ἐν τῷ δεσμωτηρίῳ ὁ μεταξὺ τῆς δίκης τε καὶ τοῦ θανάτου.

Plato Phaedo 58a1-c5

 

ἄγων –ουσα –ον leading, bringing

ἀεὶ always

ἄν marks a hypothetical situation

ἄνεμος –ου ὁ wind

ἀπάγω send away

ἀποκτεινύναι = ἀποκτεῖναι

ἀπολαβών –οῦσα –όν taking away, diverting

Ἀπόλλων –ωνος ὁ Apollo

ἄρξωνται ~ ἄρξονται

ἀφίκηται ~ ἠφίκετο

γε emphasizes preceding word

γεγονός –οντος τό (neut. nom./acc. sg.) completed event

γενομένος –η –ον already happened

δεσμωτήριον –ου τό prison

δεῦρο here

δή now

Δῆλος –ου ἡ Delos (an island)

δημοσίᾳ by order of the people

δίς twice

ἑκάστου ἔτους [gen. of time within which]

ἐστεμμένος –η –ον wreathed

ἐσώθη < σῴζω

ἔτι still

ἔτυχεν < τυγχάνω; translate with ἐστεμμένη, “happened to be wreathed”; with γεγονός, “happened to have been completed”

κατ’ ἐνιαυτόν every year

ἐνίοτε sometimes

ἐπειδὰν = ἐπειδή when, after; since + ἄν

ηὔξαντο < εὔχομαι pray to

θεωρία –ας ἡ delegation

Θησεύς –εως ὁ Theseus

ἱερευς –εως ὁ

καθαρεύω keep pure

Κρήτη –ης ἡ Crete (an island)

μεταξύ between

ναί yes

νῦν now

ὅταν = ὅτε + ἄν

πάλιν back

πλοῖον –ου τό

ποτε at some time

πρίν before

προτεραίᾳ on the day before (+ gen.)

πρύμνα –ης ἡ rear or stern of a ship

στέψῃ ~ ἔστεψε < στέφω put wreaths or crowns on

σωθεῖεν ~ ἐσώθησαν < σῴζω

τότε then

τύχωσιν ~ τυγχάνουσιν; translate with ἀπολαβόντες:  “happens to be taking away/diverting”

ὦ (used when addressing someone)

ᾤχετο < οἴχομαι leave, depart

 

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