Sunday, August 23, 2020


Human and Divine Goods

Plato, Laws 1.631b-d (tr. Thomas L. Pangle):
They are correct laws, laws that make those who use them happy. For they provide all the good things. Now the good things are two fold, some human, some divine. The former depend on the divine goods, and if a city receives the greater it will also acquire the lesser. If not, it will lack both. Health leads the lesser goods; in the second place is beauty; third is strength, both in running and in all the other motions of the body; and fourth is Wealth—not blind but sharp-sighted, insofar as it follows prudence. Prudence, in turn, is first and leader among the divine goods. Second after intelligence comes a moderate disposition of the soul, and from these two mixed with courage comes justice, in third place. Courage is fourth. All of these last goods are by nature placed prior in rank to the first, and this is the rank they should be placed in by the legislator.

ἔχουσι γὰρ ὀρθῶς τοὺς αὐτοῖς χρωμένους εὐδαίμονας ἀποτελοῦντες· πάντα γὰρ τὰ ἀγαθὰ πορίζουσι. διπλᾶ δὲ ἀγαθά ἐστι, τὰ μὲν ἀνθρώπινα, τὰ δὲ θεῖα· ἤρτηται δ᾿ ἐκ τῶν θείων θάτερα· καὶ ἐὰν μὲν δέχηταί τις τὰ μείζονα, παρίσταται καὶ τὰ ἐλάττονα, εἰ δὲ μή, στέρεται ἀμφοῖν· ἔστι δὲ τὰ μὲν ἐλάττονα ὧν ἡγεῖται μὲν ὑγίεια, κάλλος δὲ δεύτερον, τὸ δὲ τρίτον ἰσχὺς εἴς τε δρόμον καὶ εἰς τὰς ἄλλας πάσας κινήσεις τῷ σώματι, τέταρτον δὲ δὴ πλοῦτος, οὐ τυφλός, ἀλλ᾿ ὀξὺ βλέπων, ἄνπερ ἅμ᾿ ἕπηται φρονήσει. ὅ δὴ πρῶτον αὖ τῶν θείων ἡγεμονοῦν ἐστὶν ἀγαθῶν, ἡ φρόνησις, δεύτερον δὲ μετὰ νοῦ σώφρων ψυχῆς ἕξις· ἐκ δὲ τούτων μετ᾿ ἀνδρίας κραθέντων τρίτον ἂν εἴη δικαιοσύνη, τέταρτον δὲ ἀνδρία. ταῦτα δὲ πάντα ἐκείνων ἔμπροσθεν τέτακται φύσει, καὶ δὴ καὶ τῷ νομοθέτῃ τακτέον οὕτω.
Simonides, fragment 451 (tr. David A. Campbell):
To be healthy is best for mortal man,
second is to be handsome in body,
third is to be wealthy without trickery,
fourth, to be young with one’s friends.

ὑγιαίνειν μὲν ἄριστον ἀνδρὶ θνητῷ,
δεύτερον δὲ φυὰν καλὸν γενέσθαι,
τὸ δὲ τρίτον πλουτεῖν ἀδόλως,
τέταρτον δὲ ἡβᾶν μετὰ τῶν φίλων.
See Susan Sauvé Meyer, Plato, Laws 1 and 2. Translated with an Introduction and Commentary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), pp. 108-114.

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