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phaedrus   



the non-lover when he might have the lover, because the one is sane,

and the other mad. It might be so if madness were simply an evil;

but there is also a madness which is a divine gift, and the source

of the chiefest blessings granted to men. For prophecy is a madness,

and the prophetess at Delphi and the priestesses at Dodona when out of

their senses have conferred great benefits on Hellas, both in public

and private life, but when in their senses few or none. And I might

also tell you how the Sibyl and other inspired persons have given to

many an one many an intimation of the future which has saved them from

falling. But it would be tedious to speak of what every one knows.

There will be more reason in appealing to the ancient inventors of

names, who would never have connected prophecy (mantike) which

foretells the future and is the noblest of arts, with madness

(manike), or called them both by the same name, if they had deemed

madness to be a disgrace or dishonour;-they must have thought that

there was an inspired madness which was a noble thing; for the two

words, mantike and manike, are really the same, and the letter t is

only a modern and tasteless insertion. And this is confirmed by the

name which was given by them to the rational investigation of

futurity, whether made by the help of birds or of other signs-this,

for as much as it is an art which supplies from the reasoning

faculty mind (nous) and information (istoria) to human thought

(oiesis) they originally termed oionoistike, but the word has been

lately altered and made sonorous by the modern introduction of the

letter Omega (oionoistike and oionistike), and in proportion

prophecy (mantike) is more perfect and august than augury, both in

name and fact, in the same proportion, as the ancients testify, is

madness superior to a sane mind (sophrosune) for the one is only of

human, but the other of divine origin. Again, where plagues and

mightiest woes have bred in certain families, owing to some ancient

blood-guiltiness, there madness has entered with holy prayers and

rites, and by inspired utterances found a way of deliverance for those

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