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Plato, Protagoras 322c-d

October 24, 2011

ἐρωτᾷ οὖν Ἑρμῆς Δία τίνα οὖν τρόπον δοίη δίκην καὶ αἰδῶ ἀνθρώποις· “πότερον ὡς αἱ τέχναι νενέμηνται, οὕτω καὶ ταύτας νείμω; νενέμηνται δὲ ὧδε· εἷς ἔχων ἰατρικὴν πολλοῖς ἱκανὸς ἰδιώταις, καὶ οἱ ἄλλοι δημιουργοί· καὶ δίκην δὴ καὶ αἰδῶ οὕτω θῶ ἐν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, ἢ ἐπὶ πάντας νείμω;”

“ἐπὶ πάντας,” ἔφη ὁ Ζεύς, “καὶ πάντες μετεχόντων· οὐ γὰρ ἂν γένοιντο πόλεις, εἰ ὀλίγοι αὐτῶν μετέχοιεν ὥσπερ ἄλλων τεχνῶν· καὶ νόμον γε θὲς παρ’ ἐμοῦ τὸν μὴ δυνάμενον αἰδοῦς καὶ δίκης μετέχειν κτείνειν ὡς νόσον πόλεως.”

So Hermes asked Zeus in what way he should give justice and shame to men: “As the other techniques have been distributed — should I distribute these ones that way too?  And they have been distributed in this way: there is one man who has a medical technique sufficient for many laymen — and the other craftsmen [are like that too].  Should I really also establish justice and shame among men in this way, or should I distribute them to everyone?”

“To everyone,” said Zeus, “and let everyone partake of them; for there would be no cities if a few should partake of them as of the other techniques.  And establish from me a lawto kill whoever is not able to partake of shame and justice as a plague on the city.”

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