Plato, Meno 81a-c = Orph. 424 + 443 + 666 Bernabé
M = reading of the whole MS tradition
m = reading of part of the MS tradition
P = reading on a papyrus
ΣΩ. ἔγωγε· ἀκήκοα γὰρ ἀνδρῶν τε καὶ γυναικῶν σοφῶν περὶ τὰ θεῖα πράγματα…
ΜΕΝ. Τίνα λόγον λεγόντων;
ΣΩ. ἀληθῆ, ἔμοιγε δοκεῖν, καὶ καλόν.
ΜΕΝ. Τίνα τοῦτον, καὶ τίνες οἱ λέγοντες;
ΣΩ. Οἱ μὲν λέγοντές εἰσι τῶν ἱερέων τε καὶ τῶν ἱερειῶν ὅσοις μεμέληκε περὶ ὧν μεταχειρίζονται λόγον οἵοις τ’ εἶναι διδόναι· λέγει δὲ καὶ Πίνδαρος καὶ ἄλλοι πολλοὶ τῶν ποιητῶν ὅσοι θεῖοί εἰσιν. ἃ δὲ λέγουσιν, ταυτί ἐστιν· ἀλλὰ σκόπει εἴ σοι δοκοῦσιν ἀληθῆ λέγειν. φασὶ γὰρ τὴν ψυχὴν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου εἶναι ἀθάνατον, καὶ τοτὲ μὲν τελευτᾶν—ὃ δὴ ἀποθνήισκειν καλοῦσι—τοτὲ δὲ πάλιν γίγνεσθαι, ἀπόλλυσθαι δ’ οὐδέποτε· δεῖν δὴ διὰ ταῦτα ὡς ὁσιώτατα διαβιῶναι τὸν βίον· οἷσιν γὰρ ἂν οἷσιν γὰρ ἂν M: οἷσι δὲ Boeckh—
Φερσεφόνα ποινὰν παλαιοῦ πένθεος
δέξεται, εἰς τὸν ὕπερθεν ἅλιον κείνων ἐνάτωι ἔτεϊ
ἀνδιδοῖ ψυχὰς ψυχὰς Boeckh: ψυχὰν Plat., Stob. πάλιν,
ἐκ τᾶν βασιλῆες ἀγαυοὶ
καὶ σθένει κραιπνοὶ σοφίαι τε μέγιστοι
ἄνδρες αὔξοντ’ αὔξοντ’ Boeckh: αὔξονται Plat., Stob.· ἐς δὲ τὸν λοιπὸν χρόνον ἥρωες ἁ-
γνοὶ ἁγνοὶ m: ἀγανοὶ m πρὸς ἀνθρώπων καλεῦνται.
Ἅτε οὖν ἡ ψυχὴ ἀθάνατός τε οὖσα καὶ πολλάκις γεγονυῖα, καὶ ἑωρακυῖα καὶ τὰ ἐνθάδε καὶ τὰ ἐν Ἅιδου [καὶ] [καὶ] Struve πάντα χρήματα, οὐκ ἔστιν ὅτι οὐ μεμάθηκεν· ὥστε οὐδὲν θαυμαστὸν καὶ περὶ ἀρετῆς καὶ περὶ ἄλλων οἷόν τ’ εἶναι αὐτὴν ἀναμνησθῆναι, ἅ γε καὶ πρότερον ἠπίστατο.
Socrates. I indeed have heard from men and women who are wise about matters divine…
Meno. What doctrine do they speak of?
S. A true and fine one, in my opinion.
Meno. What is it and who are the people telling it?
S. The people telling it are those of the priests and priestesses who are concerned to be able to give an account of the rites which they practice. And Pindar too tells it and many other of the poets who are godlike. And what they say is this. But consider whether they seem to you to speak the truth. For they say that the soul of man is immortal and sometimes reaches its end—which they call dying—and sometimes is born again, but is never destroyed. On account of this, to be sure, it is necessary to live one’s life as piously as possible. For to those
from whom Persephone receives compensation for her ancient grief, in the ninth year she sends their souls back up to the sunlight above and from them illustrious kings and men swift in strength and greatest in wisdom grow up. And, for all time, they are called by men holy heroes.
Seeing then, that the soul is immortal and has been born many times and has seen all things that are here and in Hades, there is nothing which it has not learned. So it is not at all remarkable that, concerning both wisdom and other things, it is able to remember things which it knew on a previous occasion.