if you had some special license to amuse yourselef. . . . That is why I pity and compassionate you, fearing lest some irremediable mischief overtake you, and you find yourself in desperate straits. As for me, if I ever stood in need of anything, I am sure you know I have friends who would assist me. They would make some trifling contribution-- trifling to themselves, I mean--and deluge my humble living with a flood of plenty. But your friends, albeit far better off than yourself, considering your respective styles of living, persist in looking to you for assistance.

[2] See Dr. Holden ad loc., Boeckh [Bk. iii. ch. xxiii.], p. 465 f.

[3] Cf. Lycurg. 'c. Leocr.' 139.

[4] Al. 'presidential duties.'

[5] {trierarkhias [misthous]}. The commentators in general 'suspect' {misthous}. See Boeckh, 'P. E. A.' p. 579.

[6] See Boeckh, p. 470 f.; 'Revenues,' iii. 9, iv. 40.

[7] Or, 'to childish matters,' 'frivolous affairs'; but for the full import of the phrase {paidikois pragmasi} see 'Ages.' viii. 2.

Then Critobulus: I cannot gainsay what you have spoken, Socrates, it is indeed high time that you were constituted my patronus, or I shall become in very truth a pitiable object.

To which appeal Socrates made answer: Why, you yourself must surely be astonished at the part you are now playing. Just now, when I said that I was rich, you laughed at me as if I had no idea what riches were, and you were not happy till you had cross-examined me and forced me to confess that I do not possess the hundredth part of what you have; and now you are imploring me to be your patron, and to stint no pains to save you from becoming absolutely and in very truth a pauper.[8]

[8] Or, 'literally beggared.'

Crit. Yes, Socrates, for I see that you are skilled in one lucrative operation at all events--the art of creating a surplus. I hope, therefore, that a man who can make so much out of so little will not have the slightest difficulty in creating an ample surplus out of an abundance.

Soc. But do not you recollect how just now in the discussion you would hardly let me utter a syllable[9] while you laid down the law: if a man did not know how to handle horses, horses were not wealth to him at any rate; nor land, nor sheep, nor money, nor anything else, if he did not know how to use them? And yet these are the very sources of revenue from which incomes are derived; and how do you expect me to know the use of any of them who never possessed a single one of them since I was born?

[9] Cf. Aristoph. 'Clouds,' 945; 'Plut.' 17; Dem. 353; and Holden ad loc.

Crit. Yes, but we agreed that, however little a man may be blest with wealth himself, a science of economy exists; and that being so, what hinders you from being its professor?

Soc. Nothing, to be sure,[10] except what would hinder a man from knowing how to play the flute, supposing he had never had a flute of his own and no one had supplied the defect by lending him one to practise on: which is just my case with regard to economy,[11] seeing I never myself possessed the instrument of the science which is wealth, so as to go through the pupil stage, nor hitherto has any one proposed to hand me over his to manage. You, in fact, are the first person to make so generous an offer. You will bear in mind, I hope, that a learner of the harp is apt to break and spoil the instrument; it is therefore probable, if I take in hand to learn the art of economy on your estate, I shall ruin it outright.

[10] Lit. 'The very thing, God help me! which would hinder . . .'

[11] Lit. 'the art of administering an estate.'

Critobulus retorted: I see, Socrates, you are doing your very best to escape an irksome task: you would rather not, if you can help it, stretch out so much as your little finger to help me to bear my necessary burthens more easily.

Soc. No, upon my word, I am not trying to escape: on the contrary, I shall be ready, as far as I can, to expound the matter to you.[12] . . . Still it strikes me, if you had come to me for fire, and I had none in my house, you would not blame me for sending you where you might get it; or if you had asked me for water, and I, having none to give, had led you elsewhere to the object of your search, you would not, I am sure, have disapproved; or did you desire to be taught music by me, and I were to point out to you a far more skilful teacher than myself, who would perhaps be grateful to you moreover for becoming his pupil, what kind of exception could you take to my behaviour?

[12] Or, 'to play the part of {exegetes}, 'legal adviser,' or 'spiritual director,' to be in fact your 'guide, philosopher, and friend.''

Crit. None, with any show of justice, Socrates.

Soc. Well, then, my business now is, Critobulus, to point out[13] to you some others cleverer than myself about those matters which you are so anxious to be taught by me. I do confess to you, I have made it long my study to discover who among our fellow-citizens in this city are the greatest adepts in the various branches of knowledge. [14] I had been struck with amazement, I remember, to observe on some occasion that where a set of people are engaged in identical operations, half of them are in absolute indigence and the other half roll in wealth. I bethought me, the history of the matter was worth investigation. Accordingly I set to work investigating, and I found that it all happened very naturally. Those who carried on their affairs in a haphazard manner I saw were punished by their losses; whilst those who kept their wits upon the stretch and paid attention I soon perceived to be rewarded by the greater ease and profit of their undertakings.[15] It is to these I would recommend you to betake yourself. What say you? Learn of them: and unless the will of God oppose,[16] I venture to say you will become as clever a man of business as one might hope to see.

[13] Al. 'to show you that there are others.'

[14] Or, 'who are gifted with the highest knowledge in their respective concerns.' Cf. 'Mem.' IV. vii. 1.

[15] Lit. 'got on quicker, easier, and more profitably.'

[16] Or, 'short of some divine interposition.'


Critobulus, on hearing that, exclaimed: Be sure, Socrates, I will not let you go now until you give the proofs which, in the presence of our friends, you undertook just now to give me.

Well then,[1] Critobulus (Socrates replied), what if I begin by showing[2] you two sorts of people, the one expending large sums on money in building useless houses, the other at far less cost erecting dwellings replete with all they need; will you admit that I have laid my finger here on one of the essentials of economy?

[1] Lincke [brackets as an editorial interpolation iii. 1, {ti oun, ephe}--vi. 11, {poiomen}]. See his edition 'Xenophons Dialog. {peri oikonomias} in seiner ursprunglichen Gestalt'; and for a criticism of his views, an article by Charles D. Morris, 'Xenophon's Oeconomicus,' in the 'American Journal of Philology,' vol. i. p. 169 foll.

[2] As a demonstrator.

Crit. An essential point most ceertainly.

Soc. And suppose in connection with the same, I next point out to you[3] two other sets of persons:--The first possessors of furniture of various kinds, which they cannot, however, lay their hands on when the need arises; indeed they hardly know if they have got all safe and sound or not: whereby they put themselves and their domestics to much mental torture. The others are perhaps less amply, or at any rate not more amply supplied, but they have everything ready at the instant for immediate use.

[3] 'As in a mirror, or a picture.'

Crit. Yes, Socrates, and is not the reason simply that in the first case everything is thrown down where it chanced, whereas those others have everything arranged, each in its appointed place?

Quite right (he answered), and the phrase implies that everything is orderly arranged, not in the first chance place, but in that to which it naturally belongs.

Crit. Yes, the case is to the point, I think, and does involve another economic principle.

Soc. What, then, if I exhibit to you a third contrast, which bears on the condition of domestic slaves? On the one side you shall see them fettered hard and fast, as I may say, and yet for ever breaking their chains and running away. On the other side the slaves are loosed, and free to move, but for all that, they choose to work, it seems; they are constant to their masters. I think you will admit that I here point out another function of economy[4] worth noting.

[4] Or, 'economical result.'

Crit. I do indeed--a feature most noteworthy.

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