Platos cave, its all greek to me
October 8, 2005 9:53 AM   Subscribe

What would Plato have called his allegory of the cave in ancient greek?

Also what would that look like in ancient greek letters? I want to use this in a piece of art, and I think its one of the most profound thoughts in the history of mankind... so I feel as though it is a little important to know what Plato himself called it.
posted by pwally to Religion & Philosophy (10 answers total)
Here it is in Plato's Republic. You have to use the configure your browser tool to get the original Greek characters to appear.
posted by geoff. at 10:02 AM on October 8, 2005

The word for cave (if that's what you're looking for) is τό σπήλαιον. My Greek's pretty rusty, so maybe someone can confirm the accents.
posted by MarkAnd at 10:13 AM on October 8, 2005

Response by poster: So would this be it: katageiôi spêlaiôdei. On this page. Any idea on how to pronounce these words? Also, how would you say in greek: Plato's katageiôi spêlaiôdei?
posted by pwally at 10:13 AM on October 8, 2005

Response by poster: MarkAnd thats definitely what im looking for, if infact that does mean cave. Do you know how to say Plato in greek? or even Plato's cave???? thanks!
posted by pwally at 10:15 AM on October 8, 2005

"Plato" in Greek is "Platôn."

As for pronunciation, that depends. Do you want to know how modern Greeks would pronounce the words, how classics majors in America would pronounce them, how classics majors in Europe would pronounce them, or how linguists think the ancient Greeks would have pronounced them?
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:10 AM on October 8, 2005

Response by poster: I guess how linguists think the ancient Greeks would have prounced them. Also how would Platon be spelled in ancient Greek, ideally I would like to have "plato's cave" in ancient Greek. I think "τό σπήλαιον" is cave, so now I have "Platôn's τό σπήλαιον". But I want Platon to be translated I guess. Thanks
posted by pwally at 11:37 AM on October 8, 2005

Response by poster: I guess a good way to think about it is how would sophists back in the day spell Plato's cave after being fascinated by it and posting it in their blogs.
posted by pwally at 11:40 AM on October 8, 2005

Best answer: "Plato's" is του Πλάτωνος; the whole phrase would be το σπήλαιον του Πλάτωνος (to spēlaion tou platōnos). Modern Greeks would read this "to spileon tu platonos" (stressing spi- and pla-); in Plato's day they said "to spehleon tou platohnos" (where by eh and oh I'm trying to indicate long versions of the vowels in spell and gone respectively), with higher pitch on the same vowels that are stressed in Modern Greek. That's probably not too clear; let me know if there's something I should expand on.
posted by languagehat at 2:49 PM on October 8, 2005

Dammit, I messed that up. Plato would have said "spehlaion," with the -ai- like the vowel in high. Sorry about that.
posted by languagehat at 2:50 PM on October 8, 2005

Response by poster: No thats great, thanks a bunch.
posted by pwally at 5:00 PM on October 8, 2005

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