Plato, Gorgias 452d-e

Gorgias: Dear Socrates it is a thing which, in truth, is the greatest good and brings about both freedom for human beings, but at the same time is the source of individual command over others in each person’s city.

Socrates: And what is it of which you speak?

Gorgias: I say that it is the ability to persuade, with one’s words, the judges in court, and the advisers in a council chamber, and the people gathered in a public assembly, and in every other congregation which has to do with the city’s business. For indeed, by the power of persuasion, you will have both doctor and teacher as your slave. The businessman there will not be making money for himself, but for another – indeed, for you, who have the power to turn a good speech and persuade the masses.

ὅπερ ἐστίν, ὦ Σώκρατες, τῇ ἀληθείᾳ μέγιστον ἀγαθὸν καὶ αἴτιον ἅμα μὲν ἐλευθερίας αὐτοῖς τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, ἅμα δὲ τοῦ ἄλλων ἄρχειν ἐν τῇ αὑτοῦ πόλει ἑκάστῳ.

τί οὖν δὴ τοῦτο λέγεις;

τὸ πείθειν ἔγωγ᾽ οἷόν τ᾽ εἶναι τοῖς λόγοις καὶ ἐν δικαστηρίῳ δικαστὰς καὶ ἐν βουλευτηρίῳ βουλευτὰς καὶ ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ ἐκκλησιαστὰς καὶ ἐν ἄλλῳ συλλόγῳ παντί, ὅστις ἂν πολιτικὸς σύλλογος γίγνηται. καίτοι ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ δυνάμει δοῦλον μὲν ἕξεις τὸν ἰατρόν, δοῦλον δὲ τὸν παιδοτρίβην: ὁ δὲ χρηματιστὴς οὗτος ἄλλῳ ἀναφανήσεται χρηματιζόμενος καὶ οὐχ αὑτῷ, ἀλλὰ σοὶ τῷ δυναμένῳ λέγειν καὶ πείθειν τὰ πλήθη.

Leave a Reply