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Laches 665, whether this was a genuinely Socratic idea or not he and the two generals. find difficulties in it that they seem to see no immediate way to resolve and. the discussion breaks off, LYSIMACHUS You have seen the man fighting in annor Nicias and Laches 178. In Greek the subject of this dialo ue is andreia literally manliness a per When Melesias and I invited you to see him with us we neglected to give. so a qualzty of wIde scope coverlng all the sorts of unwavering active leader the reason why but now we shall explain because we think it especially. shIp In nd on behalf of the community that were traditionally expected in right to be frank with you Now there are some people who make fun of. Greek Clt eS of true men Its special connotation of military prowess makes frankness and if anyone asks their advice they don t say what they think b. courage a suitable even inevitable translation but its broader scope should but they make a shot at what the other man would like to hear and say. be borne In mind Here Socrates probes the traditional conception of such cour something different from their own opinion But you we considered capa. age as the primary quality a young man should be brought up to possess His ble not only of forming a judgment but also having formed one of saying. fellow discussants include two distinguished Athenian generals Laches and exactly what you think and this is why we have taken you into our. Nicias active in the Peloponnesian War Nicias was captured and put to death confidence about what we are going to communicate to you Now the 179. i the disastrous Athenian withdrawal from Sicily in 413 The other two par matter about which I have been making such a long preamble is this we. lies to the d SCUSSIon are elderly and undistinguished sons of distinguished have these two sons here this one is the son of my friend Melesias here. statesmen and generals of earlier times Lysimachus son of Aristides the and he is called Thucydides after his grandfather and this one is my son. lust a famous le der during the Persian War and Melesias son of Thucyd who also goes by his grandfather S name we call him Aristides after my. Ide son of Meleslas a princIpal early opponent of Pericles in his policy of im father We have made up our minds to take as good care of them as we. perial expansIOn Laches has an unusually full and extensive prologue before possibly can and not to behave like most parents who when their children. Socrates lakes over the reins of the discussion and seeks and refutes first La start to grow up permit them to do whatever they wish No we think. ches and Ihen Nicias ideas about Ihe nature of courage Its function is at least that now is the time to make a real beginning so far as we can Since we b. In part to provide opportunities for these four representatives of the traditional knew that both of you had sons too we thought that you if anyone would. concepti n to give it some preliminary arliculation thus bringing out some of have been concerned about the sort of training that would make the best. the tensIOns and divergent ways of thinking about courage and related matters men of them And if by any chance you have not turned your attention. that the tradition harbors and that Socrates exploits in his own questioning to this kind of thing very often let us remind you that you ought not to. later on neglect it and let us invite you to care for your sons along with ours How. As always in Plato s Socratic dialogues neither general s answers to Socra we reached this conclusion Nicias and Laches you must hear even if it. tes queslion What is courage prove satisfactory Much of the discussion frr means my talking a bit longer Now you must know that Melesias and I c. cuses upon the element of knowledge of reasoned nuanced responsiveness to take our meals together and the boys eat with us We shall be frank with. the detailed circumstances for action that on reflection Laches and Nicias you exactly as I said in the beginning each of us has a great many fine. both agree is an essential though perhaps somewhat submerged part of the tra things to say to the young men about his own father things they achieved. dItIOnal conceptIOn to whIch they themselves are committed It is because of both in war and in peace in their management of the affairs both of their. thIS that N las and Socrates agree Laches is slow to accept the point but it is allies and of the city here But neither of us has a word to say about his. clearly Implzed In what he has already said about courage s involving wis own accompliShments This is what shames us in front of them and we d. dom that no dumb animal and not even children can correctly be called cou blame our fathers for allowing us to take things easy when we were. rageous however much people may ordinarily speak lhat way Nicias indeed growing up while they were busy with other people s affairs And we. wanls to define courage simply as a kind of wisdom wisdom about what is to point these same things out to the young people here saying that if they. be feared and whal on the contrary to be buoyed up by and made hopebll as are careless of themselves and disobedient to us they will turn out to be. one pursues one s objectives He intimates that this fits well with thing he has nobodies but if they take pains perhaps they may become worthy of the. heard Socrates sayan other occasions and in fact toward the end of Protago. ras Socrates does adopt just this formulation of courage Here however Translated by Rosamond Kent Sprague. 666 Laches Laches 667, names they bear Now the boys promise to be obedient so we are looking often mention Socrates and praise him highly but I ve never thought to. into the question what form of instruction or practice would make them ask if they were speaking of the son of Sophroniscus Tell me boys is this 181. e turn out best Somebody suggested this form of instruction to us saying the Socrates you spoke of on those occasions. that it would be a fine thing for a young man to learn fighting in armor BoYS Certainly father this is the one. And he praised this particular man whom you have just seen giving a LYSIMACHUS I am delighted Socrates that you keep up your father S. display and proceeded to encourage us to see him So we thought we good reputation for he was the best of men nd I am es ially pleased. ought to go to see the man and to take you with us not only as fellow at the idea that the close ties between your family and mme will be renewed. spectators but also as fellow counsellors and partners if you should be LACHES Don t under any circumstances let the man get away Lysima. 180 willing in the care of our sons This is what we wanted to share with you chus because I have seen him elsewhere keeping up not only his father s b. So now is the time for you to give us your advice not only about this reputation but that of his country He marched with me in the retreat fro. form of instruction whether you think it should be learned or not but Delium and I can tell you that if the rest had been Willing to behave m. also about any other sort of study or pursuit for a young man which you the same manner our city would be safe and we would not then have. admire Tell uS too what part you will take in our joint enterprise suffered a disaster of that kind. NICIAS I for one Lysimachus and Melesias applaud your plan and am LYSIMACHUS Socrates the praise you are receiving is certainly of a high. ready to take part in it And I think Laches here is ready too order both because it comes from men who are to be trusted and because. b LACHES You are quite right Nicias As for what Lysimachus said just of th qualities for which they praise you Be assured that I am delighted. now about his father and Melesias father I think that what he said applied to hear that you are held in such esteem and please consider me among. very well to them and to us and to everyone engaged in public affairs those most kindly disposed towards you You yourself ought to have c. because this is pretty generally what happens to them that they neglect visited us long before and considered us your friends that would have. their private affairs children as well as everything else and manage them been the right thing to do Well since we have recogmzed each other. c carelessly So you were right on this point Lysimachus But I am astonished resolve now starting today to associate both with us and the young m n. that you are inviting us to be your fellow counsellors in the education of here and to make our acquaintance so that you may preserve the family. the young men and are not inviting Socrates here In the first place he friendship So do what I ask and we in tum shall keep you in min o. comes from your own deme and in the second he is always spending his your promise But what have you all to say about ourongmal question. time in places where the young men engage in any study or noble pursuit What is your opinion Is fighting in armor a useful subject for young men. of the sort you are looking for to learn or not, LVSIMACHUS What do you mean Laches Has our friend Socrates con SocRATES Well I shall try to advise you about these things as best I can d. cerned himself with any things of this kind Lysimachus in addition to performing all the thi ngs to which you call my. LACHES Certainly Lysimachus attention However it seems to me to be more SUItable SInce I am younger. NICIAS This is a point I can vouch for no less than Laches since he only than the others and more inexperienced in these matters for me to listen. d recently recommended a man to me as music teacher for my son The man s first to what they have to say and to learn from them But if I should have. name is Damon a pupil of Agathocles and he is the most accomplished of something to add to what they say then will be the time for me to teach. men not only in music but in all the other pursuits in which you would and persuade both you and the others Come Nicias why doesn t one of. think it worthwhile for boys of his age to spend their time you two begin. LYSIMACHUS People at my time of life Socrates Nicias and Laches are NICIAS Well there is no reason why not Socrates I thmk that knowledge e. no longer familiar with the young because our advancing years keep us of this branch of study is beneficial for the young in all sorts of ways For. e at home so much of the time But if you son of Sophroniscus have any one thing it is a good idea for the young not to spend their time in the. good advice to give your fellow demesman you ought to give it And you pursuits in which they normally do like to s en it when they ar at. have a duty to do so because you are my friend through your father He leisure but rather in this one which necessanly Improves their bodies 182. and I were always comrades and friends and he died without our ever since it is in no way inferior to gymnastiCS exercises and no less strenuous. having had a single difference And this present conversation reminds me and at the same time this and horsemanship are forms of exercise espe. of something when the boys here are talking to each other at home they cially suited to a free citizen For in the contest in which we are the. 1 On the boys future see Theaetetus l50e ff where we are told that Aristides became 2 The Athenians were defeated by the Boeotians at Delium in November of 424 the. an associate of Socrates but left his company too soon Both Aristides and the young eighth year of the Peloponnesian War Alcibiade refers to the conduct of Socrates in. Thucydides are mentioned in Theages 130a ff the retreat to the detriment of Laches at SymposIum 220e ff. 668 u ches u ches 669, contestants and in the matters on which our struggle depends only those thing to do But I observe that those who fight in armor regard Lacedaemon.
are practiced who know how to use the instruments of war And again as forbidden ground and keep from setting foot in it They give it a wide. there is a certain advantage in this form of instruction even in an actual berth and prefer to exhibit to anyone rather than the Spartans in fact. battle whenever one has to fight in line with a number of others But the they take pains to select people who themselves admit that plenty of others. greatest advantage of it comes when the ranks are broken and it then surpass them in warfare Then again Lysimachus I have encountered. b becomes necessary for a man to fight in single combat either in pursuit quite a few of these gentlemen on the actual field of battle and I have seen. when he has to attack a man who is defending himself or in flight when what they are like This makes it possible for us to consider the matter at. he has to defend himself against another person who is attacking him A first hand In a manner which seems almost deliberate not a Single prac. man who has this skill would suffer no harm at the hands of a single titioner of the art of fighting in armor has ever become renowned in war. opponent nor even perhaps at the hands of a larger number but he would And yet in all the other arts those who are well known in eac are those. have the advantage in every way Then again such a study arouses in us who have practiced the various ones But the men who practice thIS art. the desire for another fine form of instruction since every man who learns seem to be those who have the worst luck at it For instance this very. to fight in armor will want to learn the subject that comes next that is man Stesilaus whom you and I have witnessed giving a display before d. c the science of tactics and when he has mastered this and taken pride in such a large crowd an. an associate of Socrates but left his company too soon Both Aristides and the young Thucydides are mentioned in Theages 130a ff Laches 667 often mention Socrates and praise him highly but I ve never thought to ask if they were speaking of the son of Sophroniscus Tell me boys is this 181 the Socrates you spoke of on those occasions

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