Cratylus by Plato, Benjamin Jowett

By Plato, Benjamin Jowett

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Sample text

You might imagine that some person who wanted to call him Talantatos (the most weighted down by misfortune), disguised the name by altering it into Tantalus; and into this form, by some accident of tradition, it has actually been transmuted. The name of Zeus, who is his alleged father, has also an excellent meaning, although hard to be understood, because really like a sentence, which is divided into two parts, for some call him Zena, and use the one half, and others who use the other half call him Dia; the two together signify the nature of the God, and the business of a name, as we were saying, is to express the nature.

HERMOGENES: I do not know. CRATYLUS 43 Cratylus SOCRATES: How would you answer, if you were asked whether the wise or the unwise are more likely to give correct names? HERMOGENES: I should say the wise, of course. SOCRATES: And are the men or the women of a city, taken as a class, the wiser? HERMOGENES: I should say, the men. SOCRATES: And Homer, as you know, says that the Trojan men called him Astyanax (king of the city); but if the men called him Astyanax, the other name of Scamandrius could only have been given to him by the women.

They are distributed on the right hand and on the left by men, de, alla, kaitoi, kai de and the like, or deduced from one another by ara, de, oun, toinun and the like. In English the majority of sentences are independent and in apposition to one another; they are laid side by side or slightly connected by the copula. But within the sentence the expression of the logical relations of the clauses is closer and more exact: there is less of apposition and participial structure. The sentences thus laid side by side are also constructed into paragraphs; these again are less distinctly marked in Greek and Latin than in English.

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