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Ion Trans. by Benjamin Jowett - Plato

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by Plato

Translated by Benjamin Jowett


The Ion is the shortest, or nearly the shortest, of all the writings which
bear the name of Plato, and is not authenticated by any early external
testimony.  The grace and beauty of this little work supply the only, and
perhaps a sufficient, proof of its genuineness.  The plan is simple; the
dramatic interest consists entirely in the contrast between the irony of
Socrates and the transparent vanity and childlike enthusiasm of the
rhapsode Ion.  The theme of the Dialogue may possibly have been suggested
by the passage of Xenophon's Memorabilia in which the rhapsodists are
described by Euthydemus as 'very precise about the exact words of Homer,
but very idiotic themselves.'  (Compare Aristotle, Met.)

Ion the rhapsode has just come to Athens; he has been exhibiting in
Epidaurus at the festival of Asclepius, and is intending to exhibit at the
festival of the Panathenaea.  Socrates admires and envies the rhapsode's
art; for he is always well dressed and in good company--in the company of
good poets and of Homer, who is the prince of them.  In the course of
conversation the admission is elicited from Ion that his skill is
restricted to Homer, and that he knows nothing of inferior poets, such as
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