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Therefore if you hear names such as are used in this country, you must not be surprised, for I have told how they came to be introduced. TIMAEUS    We remember some of them, and you will be here to remind us of anything which we have forgotten: or rather, if we are not troubling you, will you briefly recapitulate the whole, and then the particulars will be more firmly fixed in our memories? And when they were gathered together they consulted about their common interests, and enquired if any one had transgressed in anything and passed judgment and before they passed judgment they gave their pledges to one another on this wise: There were bulls who had the range of the temple of Poseidon; and the ten kings, being left alone in the temple, after they had offered prayers to the god that they might capture the victim which was acceptable to him, (119e) hunted the bulls, without weapons but with staves and nooses; and the bull which they caught they led up to the pillar and cut its throat over the top of it so that the blood fell upon the sacred inscription. 3.5 The Atlantis myth. SOCRATES    The city and citizens, which you yesterday described to us in fiction, we will now transfer to the world of reality. For as regards the exposition you gave, what man in his senses would attempt to deny its excellence? Well, then, do you remember the extent and character of the subjects which I proposed for your discussion? It was excavated to the depth of a hundred, feet, (118d) and its breadth was a stadium everywhere; it was carried round the whole of the plain, and was ten thousand stadia in length. How shall I establish my words? timaeus and critias atlantis. Here was Poseidon's own temple (116d) which was a stadium in length, and half a stadium in width, and of a proportionate height, having a strange barbaric appearance. In this mountain there dwelt one of the earth born primeval men of that country, (113d) whose name was Evenor, and he had a wife named Leucippe, and they had an only daughter who was called Cleito. For it is easier, Timaeus, to appear to speak satisfactorily to men about the gods, (107b) than to us about mortals. (17a) Were they not to be trained in gymnastic, and music, and all other sorts of knowledge which were proper for them? Two springs, one warm and one cold. But in its former extent, at an earlier period, it went down towards the Eridanus and the Ilissus, and embraced within it the Pnyx; and had the Lycabettus as its boundary over against the Pnyx; and it was all rich in soil and, save for a small space, level on the top. Marvellous, indeed, is the way in which the lessons of one's childhood �grip the mind,� as the saying is. TIMAEUS    and breaking the ground, inclosed the hill in which she dwelt all round, making alternate zones of sea and land larger and smaller, encircling one another; there were two of land and three of water, which he turned as with a lathe, each having its circumference equidistant every way from the centre, (113e) so that no man could get to the island, for ships and voyages were not as yet. Now Solon�as indeed he often says himself in his poems�was a relative and very dear friend of our great-grandfather Dropides; and Dropides told our grandfather Critias as the old man himself, in turn, related to us�that the exploits of this city in olden days, the record of which had perished through time and the destruction of its inhabitants, were great and marvellous, the greatest of all being one which it would be proper (21a) for us now to relate both as a payment of our debt of thanks to you and also as a tribute of praise, chanted as it were duly and truly, in honor of the Goddess on this her day of Festival. SOCRATES    But at that epoch the country was unimpaired, and for its mountains it had (111c) high arable hills, and in place of the �moorlands,� as they are now called, it contained plains full of rich soil; and it had much forestland in its mountains, of which there are visible signs even to this day; for there are some mountains which now have nothing but food for bees, but they had trees no very long time ago, and the rafters from those felled there to roof the largest buildings are still sound. And they placed therein golden statues, one being that of the God standing on a chariot and driving six (116e) winged steeds, his own figure so tall as to touch the ridge of the roof, and round about him a hundred Nereids on dolphins (for that was the number of them as men then believed); and it contained also many other images, the votive offerings of private men. But I should like to make my meaning clearer, if Timaeus, you will follow me. Let us give the precedence to Athens. And therefore, as Hermocrates has told you, on my way home yesterday I at once communicated the tale (26b) to my companions as I remembered it; and after I left them, during the night by thinking I recovered nearly the whole it. One kind was white, another black, and a third red, and as they quarried, they at the same time hollowed out double docks, having roofs formed out of the native rock. How, then, is this statement plausible, and what residue of the land then existing serves to confirm its truth? And round about it, on this side and on that, were barracks for the greater part of the spearmen; but the guard-house of the more trusty (117d) of them was posted in the smaller circle, which was nearer the acropolis; while those who were the most trustworthy of all had dwellings granted to them within the acropolis round about the persons of the kings. SOCRATES    And when we had given to each one that single employment and particular art (17d) which was suited to his nature, we spoke of those who were intended to be our warriors, and said that they were to be guardians of the city against attacks from within as well as from without, and to have no other employment; they were to be merciful in judging their subjects, (18a) of whom they were by nature friends, but fierce to their enemies, when they came across them in battle. We cannot, and therefore you must tell the tale, and good luck to you; and I in return for my yesterday's discourse (27a) will now rest and be a listener. They all of them by just apportionment obtained what they wanted, and peopled their own districts; and when they had peopled them they tended us, their nurselings and possessions, as shepherds tend their flocks, excepting only that they did not use blows or bodily force, (109c) as shepherds do, but governed us like pilots from the stern of the vessel, which is an easy way of guiding animals, holding our souls by the rudder of persuasion according to their own pleasure;-thus did they guide all mortal creatures. Such were the ancient Athenians, and after this manner they righteously administered their own land and the rest of Hellas; they were renowned all over Europe and Asia for the beauty of their persons and for the many virtues of their souls, and of all men who lived in those days they were the most illustrious. CRITIAS    Friend Hermocrates, you, who are stationed last and have another in front of you, have not lost heart as yet; the gravity of the situation will soon be revealed to you; meanwhile I accept your exhortations and encouragements. In the first place the Acropolis was not as now. Of the combatants on the one side, the city of Athens was reported to have been the leader and to have fought out the war; the combatants on the other side were commanded by the kings of Atlantis, which, as was saying, was an island greater in extent than Libya and Asia, and when afterwards sunk by an earthquake, became an impassable barrier of mud (109a) to voyagers sailing from hence to any part of the ocean. �In the Delta of Egypt,� said Critias, �where, at its head, the stream of the Nile parts in two, there is a certain district called the Saitic. Timaeus introduces the idea of a creator God and expounds the structure and composition of the physical world. SOCRATES    There is a story, which even you have preserved, that once upon a time Paethon, the son of Helios, having yoked the steeds in his father's chariot, because he was not able to drive them in the path of his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth, and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt. And what was the tale about, Critias? I forewarn you, however, my dear Critias, of the mind of your audience,�how that the former poet won marvellous applause from it, so that you will require an extraordinary measure of indulgence if you are to prove capable of following in his steps. (17a) SOCRATES    One, two, three; but where, my dear Timaeus, is the fourth of those who were yesterday my guests and are to be my entertainers to-day? Quarried white, black and red stone built walls, towers and buildings. Certainly the genealogies which you related just now, Solon, concerning the people of your country, are little better than children's tales; for, in the first place, you remember but one deluge, though many had occurred previously; and next, you are ignorant of the fact that the noblest and most perfect race amongst men were born in the land where you now dwell, and from them both you yourself are sprung and the whole (23c) of your existing city, out of some little seed that chanced to be left over; but this has escaped your notice because for many generations the survivors died with no power to express themselves in writing. Undoubtedly, and we shall do our best not to come short; (17b) for indeed it would not be at all right, after the splendid hospitality we received from you yesterday, if we�that is, those who are left of us�failed to entertain you cordially in return. I had then the greatest pleasure and amusement in hearing it, (26c) and the old man was eager to tell me, since I kept questioning him repeatedly, so that the story is stamped firmly on my mind like the encaustic designs of an indelible painting. (116a) The island in which the palace was situated had a diameter of five stadia. And when he had called them together, he spake as follows - The rest of the Dialogue of Critias has been lost. There were also in the interior of the temple other images which had been dedicated by private persons. A further feature is the character of their equipment with shields and spears; for we were the first of the peoples of Asia to adopt these weapons, it being the Goddess who instructed us, even as she instructed you first of all the dwellers in yonder lands. In the first place, then, according to the account, the whole region rose sheer out of the sea to a great height, but the part about the city was all a smooth plain, enclosing it round about, and being itself encircled by mountains which stretched as far as to the sea; and this plain had a level surface and was as a whole rectangular in shape, being 3000 stades long on either side and 2000 stades wide at its center, reckoning upwards from the sea. and what part of it can be truly called a remnant of the land that then was? It was stated that this city of ours was in command of the one side and fought through the whole of the war, and in command of the other side were the kings of the island of Atlantis, which we said was an island larger than Libya and Asia once upon a time, but now lies sunk by earthquakes and has created a barrier of impassable mud (109a) which prevents those who are sailing out from here to the ocean beyond from proceeding further. And now, friend Critias, I will announce to you the judgment of the theatre. To the elder of the third pair of twins he gave the name Mneseus, and Autochthon to the one who followed him. Zeus, the god of gods, who rules according to law, and is able to see into such things, perceiving that an honourable race was in a woeful plight, and wanting to inflict punishment on them, (121c) that they might be chastened and improve, collected all the gods into their most holy habitation, which, being placed in the centre of the world, beholds all created things. (113b) My great-grandfather, Dropides, had the original writing, which is still in my possession, and was carefully studied by me when I was a child. Timaeus describes the creation of the world and explains natural phenomena while Critias talks of a lost island, its people and ancient Athenians. And now, in the next place, listen to what my feeling is with regard to the polity we have described. And the city with its citizens which you described to us yesterday, as it were in a fable, (26d) we will now transport hither into the realm of fact; for we will assume that the city is that ancient city of ours, and declare that the citizens you conceived are in truth those actual progenitors of ours, of whom the priest told. (18c) SOCRATES    Neither did we forget the women; of whom we declared, that their natures should be assimilated and brought into harmony with those of the men, and that common pursuits should be assigned to them both in time of war and in their ordinary life. There were of old, he said, great and marvellous actions of the Athenian city, which have passed into oblivion through lapse of time and the destruction of mankind, (21a) and one in particular, greater than all the rest. The names they were willing enough to give to their children; (109e) but the virtues and the laws of their predecessors, they knew only by obscure traditions; and as they themselves and their children lacked for many generations the necessaries of life, (110a) they directed their attention to the supply of their wants, and of them they conversed, to the neglect of events that had happened in times long past; for mythology and the enquiry into antiquity are first introduced into cities when they begin to have leisure, and when they see that the necessaries of life have already been provided, but not before. And what of their training? For many generations, (120e) so long as the inherited nature of the God remained strong in them, they were submissive to the laws and kindly disposed to their divine kindred. As for the southward parts, when they vacated their gardens and gymnasia and mess-rooms as was natural in summer, they used them for these purposes. And I pray the being who always was of old, and has now been by me revealed, to grant that my words may endure in so far as they have been spoken truly and acceptably to him; (106b) but if unintentionally I have said anything wrong, I pray that he will impose upon me a just retribution, and the just retribution of him who errs is that he should be set right. In order, then, that for the future we may declare the story of the birth of the gods aright, we pray that he will grant to us that medicine which of all medicines is the most perfect and most good, even knowledge; and having made our prayer, we deliver over to Critias, in accordance with our compact, the task of speaking next in order. Timaeus and Critias Item Preview remove-circle Share or Embed This Item. (106a) It is there where an extremely old priest tells Solon about an empire that existed 9,000 … Wherefore, Socrates, we must consider whether this story is to our mind, or (26e) we have still to look for some other to take its place. For in truth the story that is told in your country as well as ours, how once upon a time Phaethon, son of Helios, yoked his father's chariot, and, because he was unable to drive it along the course taken by his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth and himself perished by a thunderbolt,�that story, as it is told, has the fashion of a legend, but the truth of it lies in (22d) the occurrence of a shifting of the bodies in the heavens which move round the earth, and a destruction of the things on the earth by fierce fire, which recurs at long intervals. (114c) Of the fourth pair of twins he called the elder Elasippus, and the younger Mestor. We hope you find them convenient to view, copy or print for your studies, especially if you are just becoming familiar with these ancient classics. Critias is the second of a projected trilogy of dialogues, preceded by Timaeus and followed by Hermocrates. Many great deluges have taken place during the nine thousand years, for that is the number of years which have elapsed since the time of which I am speaking; (111b) and during all this time and through so many changes, there has never been any considerable accumulation of the soil coming down from the mountains, as in other places, but the earth has fallen away all round and sunk out of sight. TIMAEUS    It shall be the ancient city of Athens, (26d) and we will suppose that the citizens whom you imagined, were our veritable ancestors, of whom the priest spoke; they will perfectly harmonise, and there will be no inconsistency in saying that the citizens of your republic are these ancient Athenians. And now having offered my prayer I deliver up the argument to Critias, who is to speak next according to our agreement. (118c) I will now describe the plain, as it was fashioned by nature and by the labours of many generations of kings through long ages. Each zone wall is coated; The outside most wall in brass, the next with tin, and the third (citadel wall) with orichalcum which is thought to be a gold-copper alloy tumbaga. The opening conversation (17a1–27d4) introduces thecharacters—Socrates, Timaeus, Critias and Hermocrates—andsuggests that the latter three would contribute to a reply toSocrates’ speech allegedly given on the previous day, whichpresented an ideal political arrangement strongly reminiscent of the Republic. It was for the most part rectangular and oblong, and where falling out of the straight line followed the circular ditch. And now, making no more excuses, I will proceed. For it stood pre-eminent above all (25c) in gallantry and all warlike arts, and acting partly as leader of the Greeks, and partly standing alone by itself when deserted by all others, after encountering the deadliest perils, it defeated the invaders and reared a trophy; whereby it saved from slavery such as were not as yet enslaved, and all the rest of us who dwell within the bounds of Heracles it ungrudgingly set free. Thither also they brought year by year from all the ten allotments their seasonable offerings to do sacrifice to each of those princes. Again, as to the class of Sophists, although I esteem them highly versed in many fine discourses of other kinds, yet I fear lest haply, seeing they are a class which roams from city to city and has no settled habitations of its own, they may go wide of the mark in regard to men who are at once philosophers and statesmen, and what they would be likely to do and say, in their several dealings with foemen in war and battle, both by word and deed. SOCRATES    And what did we say of their education? The extremity of Atlantis facing the country of Gadeirus. All surrounded by a level plain, surrounded by mountains descending toward the sea, oblong in shape. And thus, receiving from the earth all these products, they furnished forth (115c) their temples and royal dwellings, their harbors and their docks, and all the rest of their country, ordering all in the fashion following. And do you recollect further how we said that the offspring of the good were to be reared, but those of the bad were to be sent privily to various other parts of the State; and as these grew up the rulers should keep constantly on the watch for the deserving amongst them and bring them back again, and into the place of those thus restored transplant the undeserving among themselves? Moreover, the land reaped the benefit of the annual rainfall, (111d) not as now losing the water which flows off the bare earth into the sea, but, having an abundant supply in all places, and receiving it into herself and treasuring it up in the close clay soil, it let off into the hollows the streams which it absorbed from the heights, providing everywhere abundant fountains and rivers, of which there may still be observed sacred memorials in places where fountains once existed; and this proves the truth of what I am saying. The fourth pair of twins he called one Ampheres, and all outside... 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