i n P l a t o ' s C r a t y l u s
Hermogenes: Very well; what
shall we say of Demeter, Hera, Apollo, Athena,
Hephaestus, Ares, and the other Gods?
Plato Cratylus 406d (Loeb)
Hermogenes: Still there remains Athena, whom you, Socrates, as an Athenian, will surely not forget; there are also Hephaestus and Ares.
Socrates: I am not likely to forget them.
Hermogenes: No, indeed.
Socrates: There is no difficulty in explaining the other appellation of Athena.
Hermogenes: What other appellation?
Socrates: We call her Pallas, you know.
Hermogenes: Yes, of course.
Socrates: Those of us are right, I fancy, [406e] who think this name is derived from armed dances. For the elevation of oneself or anything else above the earth, or by the use of the hands, we call shaking (pallein), or dancing.
Hermogenes: Yes, certainly.
Socrates: So that is the reason she is called Pallas.
Hermogenes: And rightly called so. But what can you say of her other name?
Socrates: You mean Athena?
Socrates: That is a graver
matter, my friend. The ancients seem to have had the same belief about
as the interpreters of Homer have now; [407b] for most of these, in commenting
on the poet, say that he represents
as mind (nous) and intellect
(dianoia); and the maker of
names seems to have had a similar conception of her, and indeed he gives
her the still higher title of "divine intelligence"
noêsis), seeming to say:
Plato Cratylus 418a (Loeb)
Socrates: The word blaberon is that which is said to hinder or harm (blaptein) the stream (roun); [417e] but blapton means "seeking to hold or bind" (haptein), and haptein is the same thing as dein (bind), and dein is always a term of censure. Now to boulomenon haptein rhoun (wanting to bind the stream) would most correctly be called boulapteroun, but is called blaberon merely, as I think, to make it prettier.
Hermogenes: You bring out curious results, Socrates, in the use of names. Just now, [418a] when you pronounced boulapteroun, you looked as if you had made up your mouth to whistle the flute-prelude of the hymn to Athena.
Socrates: That is the fault of the makers of the name, Hermogenes; not mine.
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Copyright ©1999 Roy George