And if Phaedo exceeds him in size, that is not because Phaedo is
Phaedo, but because Phaedo has greatness relatively to Simmias, who is
That is true.
And therefore Simmias is said to be great, and is also said to be
small, because he is in a mean between them, exceeding the smallness
of the one by his greatness, and allowing the greatness of the other
to exceed his smallness. He added, laughing, I am speaking like a
book, but I believe that what I am now saying is true.
Simmias assented to this.
The reason why I say this is that I want you to agree with me in
thinking, not only that absolute greatness will never be great and
also small, but that greatness in us or in the concrete will never
admit the small or admit of being exceeded: instead of this, one of
two things will happen-either the greater will fly or retire before
the opposite, which is the less, or at the advance of the less will
cease to exist; but will not, if allowing or admitting smallness, be
changed by that; even as I, having received and admitted smallness
when compared with Simmias, remain just as I was, and am the same
small person. And as the idea of greatness cannot condescend ever to
be or become small, in like manner the smallness in us cannot be or
become great; nor can any other opposite which remains the same ever
be or become its own opposite, but either passes away or perishes in
That, replied Cebes, is quite my notion.
One of the company, though I do not exactly remember which of
them, on hearing this, said: By Heaven, is not this the direct
contrary of what was admitted before-that out of the greater came
the less and out of the less the greater, and that opposites are
simply generated from opposites; whereas now this seems to be
Socrates inclined his head to the speaker and listened. I like