Soc. And you admitted that being different they would have different
subjects of knowledge?
Soc. Then upon your own showing the rhapsode, and the art of the
rhapsode, will not know everything?
Ion. I should exclude certain things, Socrates.
Soc. You mean to say that you would exclude pretty much the subjects
of the other arts. As he does not know all of them, which of them will
Ion. He will know what a man and what a woman ought to say, and what a
freeman and what a slave ought to say, and what a ruler and what a
Soc. Do you mean that a rhapsode will know better than the pilot what
the ruler of a sea-tossed vessel ought to say?
Ion. No; the pilot will know best.
Soc. Or will the rhapsode know better than the physician what the
ruler of a sick man ought to say?
Ion. He will not.
Soc. But he will know what a slave ought to say?
Soc. Suppose the slave to be a cowherd; the rhapsode will know better
than the cowherd what he ought to say in order to soothe the
Ion. No, he will not.
Soc. But he will know what a spinning-woman ought to say about the
working of wool?
Soc. At any rate he will know what a general ought to say when
exhorting his soldiers?
Ion. Yes, that is the sort of thing which the rhapsode will be sure to
Soc. Well, but is the art of the rhapsode the art of the general?
Ion. I am sure that I should know what a general ought to say.
Soc. Why, yes, Ion, because you may possibly have a knowledge of the
art of the general as well as of the rhapsode; and you may also have a
knowledge of horsemanship as well as of the lyre: and then you would
know when horses were well or ill managed. But suppose I were to ask
you: By the help of which art, Ion, do you know whether horses are
well managed, by your skill as a horseman or as a performer on the
lyre- what would you answer?
Ion. I should reply, by my skill as a horseman.
Soc. And if you judged of performers on the lyre, you would admit that
you judged of them as a performer on the lyre, and not as a horseman?
Soc. And in judging of the general's art, do you judge of it as a
general or a rhapsode?
Ion. To me there appears to be no difference between them.
Soc. What do you mean? Do you mean to say that the art of the rhapsode
and of the general is the same?
Ion. Yes, one and the same.
Soc. Then he who is a good rhapsode is also a good general?
Ion. Certainly, Socrates.
Soc. And he who is a good general is also a good rhapsode?
Ion. No; I do not say that.
Soc. But you do say that he who is a good rhapsode is also a good
Soc. And you are the best of Hellenic rhapsodes?
Ion. Far the best, Socrates.
Soc. And are you the best general, Ion?
Ion. To be sure, Socrates; and Homer was my master.
Soc. But then, Ion, what in the name of goodness can be the reason why
you, who are the best of generals as well as the best of rhapsodes in
all Hellas, go about as a rhapsode when you might be a general? Do you