12 Ekim 2015 Pazartesi

The Ring of Gyges



The Ring of Gyges 


The story of Gyges the Lydian is part of Glaucon's initial speech in book II of the Republic. Glaucon steps in when Thrasymachus has been silenced by Socrates to defend the opinion that people don't practice justice for itself, but only for fear of what would befall them if they don't. Here goes the story.
"That those who practice it [justice], practice it constrained by want of power to act unjustly, we might better perceive if we do the following in thought : granting each one of them both, the just and the unjust, license to do as he wishes, let us then follow them closely to observe whither his desire (è epithumia) will lead each. We should then catch the just man in the act of following the same path as the unjust man on account of the advantage that every nature is led by its very nature to pursue as good, being diverted only by force of law toward the esteem of the equal. The license I am talking about would be supremely such if they were given the very same power as is said to have been given in the past to the ancestor of Gyges the Lydian. 
For he was a shepherd laboring for the then ruler of Lydia and some part of the earth was shattered by a violent thunderstorm developing along with an earthquake and a chasm appeared at the place where he was pasturing. Seeing this and wondering, he went down and the fable says that he saw, among other wonders, a hollow bronze horse having openings, through which, peeping in, he saw that there was a corpse inside, as it seemed, greater than is usual for men, and wearing nothing else but a golden ring at his hand, that he took off before leaving. When time came for the shepherds to hold their customary assembly in order to prepare their monthly report to the king about the state of the flocks, he came too, wearing this ring. While he was sitting with the others, it chanced that he moved the collet of the ring around toward himself into the inside of his hand ; having done this, he disappeared from the sight of those who were sitting beside him, and they discussed of him as of someone who had left. And he wondered and once again feeling for the ring, he turned the collet outwards and, by turning it, reappeared. Reflecting upon this, he put the ring to the test to see if it indeed had such power, and he came to this conclusion that, by turning the collet inwards, he became invisible, outwards, visible. Having perceived this, he at once managed for himself to become one of the envoys to the king ; upon arrival, having seduced his wife, with her help, he laid a hand on the king, murdered him and took hold of the leadership." (Republic, II, 359b-360b)
In the plans of the Republic I propose, I suggest that there is a relationship between this story, the allegory of the cave at the beginning of book VII and the myth of Er the Pamphylian at the end of book X. This page is intended to explore this relationship and to "decipher" the meaning of the story of Gyges in that perspective. More specifically, I'd like to show that the story of Gyges (or of whomever is the hero of the above tale) is the exact antithesis of the ascending movement depicted in the allegory of the cave, in that it describes the downward movement of a man seeking in the laws of nature an excuse to escape responsibility in social life. Then, I'll explore the relationship of these two stories with the myth of Er that concludes the Republic.
The hero of the first story is a shepherd, a man who spends most of his time in the midst of nature, with very little social organization. He starts where the ascent of the prisoner from the cave ends, that is, in the open air and in the sunlight. And it is not under the leadership of some human teacher, as is the case with the prisoner of the cave, or as a result of a thought out act of his will, that he starts his investigation, but by mere chance. It is nature itself which plays the role of a teacher to lead him downward inside a chasm in the earth opened by cosmic forces "at the place where he was pasturing". And once his curiosity is aroused by the forces of nature, not by the lasting order of the kosmos that he may enjoy every day, but by some exceptional event of momentous proportion, he goes down alone inside "matter".
Inside the cave, sure enough, he sees and at last "wonders (thaumasanta)" (2). But this wonderment, as we'll find out, is not of the kind that, according to Socrates in the Theætetus, is the beginning of philosophy (Theætetus, 155d). What he sees is a horse : not a puppet held by a man and casting shadows on the wall of the cave, but a horse large enough to hold the body of a man inside his hollow belly, the body of a man himself larger than usual. To understand what this horse stands for, we should remember the image of the winged chariot in the Phædrus, with its two horses depicting the two lower parts of the soul. Here, there is only one horse, the symbol of a monolithic materialistic soul unable to move and as dead as the body that is inside it. This horse that plays the role of a soul around the body of man may also remind us of the Trojan horse, that instrument of deceit and war that gave the Greeks victory over the Trojan in the legendary war that was at the root of Greek pseudo-unity and at the heart of their culture and education. It stands for the purely external "soul" that defines man in a society which cares only for social behavior and external appearance, which finds pride only in its wars and victories and is not ashamed of the evil means it uses to reach its goals. "Inside" that empty soul opened at all winds, which is not the product of nature, but the work of human "art" and yet doesn't look like a man, inside that lifeless monster deprived of logos, there lies a dead body, naked and larger than nature, symbol of what science may find under its scalpel and show of man. Man may indeed look great when science explains to us the wonders of its complex organism, but science will never explain what the "spirit" is, the spirit that makes man capable of "knowing" purely intelligible beings and sharing in "eternal" truths, the soul that holds together a material body and an immaterial logos and brings life to the whole ; most important, science will never tell us what this sophisticated machine should become, what his true good is. There is no sun inside the cave.
The only thing that may be seen on the dead body, naked as on the day of his birth, is a golden ring (daktulion) at his hand. This ring, unlike the chain the prisoners of the cave have to get rid of, which is a consequence of their very nature, is a man-made sign of external wealth, but a wealth that amounts to almost nothing in the face of death. It is the ring of culture that binds together men of succeeding generations, one of the many rings (3) of a chain which, according to Socrates in the Ion (see Ion, 533d, ssq and 535e-536a), brings the inspiration of the poets, those founding fathers of Greek civilization, like the magnetic force that stems from the Heracleian stone, down to the spectator of the reciter's show, in what was one of the staples of Greek education in Plato's time and that he fought so hard because, to him, that chain of inspiration doesn't lead us all the way up to "Zeus, the god of gods, who reigns by laws" (Critias, 121b), but stops at the Muses, who could only inspire the first part of Socrates' first speech in the Phædrus, a speech which speaks to our feelings rather than to our reason. It is the ring that Hippias had manufactured for himself, as everything he was wearing at Olympia (see Hippias minor, 368b-e), the first item in the long list of his works detailed by Socrates, the first proof of his supposedly universal knowledge, a scientific and technical knowledge that doesn't make him capable of telling good from evil, or even of explaining what beauty is. It is the signet whose mark (sèmeion) in the wax of the soul might stand for the bearer, Theodorus or Theætetus (or Gyges or one of his ancestors), if only our soul were a wax tablet (see Theætetus, 191d and 193b-c). It is the ring which, in Socrates' discussion with young Alcibiades, should not be confused with the hand and even less with the true self (4) when deciding how we should go about taking care of ourselves (Alcibiades, 128a and 128e).
And the ring that Gyges or his ancestor, turned into a tomb looter, steals from the dead body and deliberately puts on his finger, like a newly found truth about himself unearthed in physics and history, will turn him, when he returns where he came from, into a leader enslaving his fellow men, not into a teacher freeing them from their natural chains. Yet, to reach this point, some more testing is needed to find the true "power" of the ring, the newly found truth about man, in social life. But here again, the test will come, not from a deliberate attempt to use reason, but as a result of mere chance. And what the holder of the ring will find, and what will lead him to a new level of wonderment, is that, by looking at himself with this new tool, he becomes invisible, in other words, he can escape responsibility ! If man is only what science shows of him, nothing but a highly sophisticated bunch of cells whose behavior is the result of chemical processes resulting from impressions of the senses, then he is not responsible for his acts. If the soul is no more than some sort of Freudian unconscious conditioned by his environment and past history, where is his free will ?... Back from the depth of the earth and in full light, wearing his new find, the shepherd is not even a shadow on the wall in the midst of the assembly of men. His fellow shepherds won't even ridicule him, as do the prisoners in the cave with the returning freed man blinded by the light of the sun outside (Republic, VII, 516e-517a), they simply don't see him as soon as he becomes the focus of inquiry (by turning the collet of the ring toward himself) : he no longer "exists" as a man, a responsible man, that is. And yet, he has no trouble convincing them to let him represent them to the king, whereas the man returning to the cave after having "seen" the truth outside is in high risk of getting killed by his fellow prisoners if he tries to compete with them. Most people prefer the illusions they themselves build around them to the hard seen truth from a far away "place".
It is only at this stage of the story, at the very end of a quest that was from beginning to end the work of chance, that eros, love, comes into the picture : physical love and hunger for power have now free rein in the "invisible" man, and they lead him to the top. This is certainly not the kind of love Socrates is advocating in the Symposium, and it looks much more like the disguised love of Lysias trying to seduce Phædrus, if it is love at all : we are only told that the shepherd "seduced" the queen (5) and, if it implies at least physical intercourse, it may well be no more than cunning on the part of the shepherd to reach his end. More ! the end result of such "love" is adultery and crime, death for the king and usurpation of power by one of his subjects. Sure ! the knowledge that you get from the depth of matter makes you better armed to (temporarily) win in the struggle for life on earth than the light you receive from outside the cave, from seeing the good itself. But then, you too end up like anybody else, a dead corpse beneath the earth, naked as on the day of your birth, and someone else steals the ring...
And if we remember that not long ago, in the midst of his discussion with Socrates, Thrasymachus used shepherds as an image of rulers, when claiming that rulers seek their own interest, not that of their "flock" (Republic, I, 343b), we may want to see in the shepherds of Gyges' story an image of selfish rulers, and then, in the king, an image of the demiourgos, the god who created the kosmos, and in the queen an image of "matter" he "espoused" for such a creation . Then, the final usurpation is that of a ruler who embraces materialistic views to kill the gods and make himself god in front of men. It reminds us of Critias, Plato's cousin, both sophist and tyrant, who, in one of the few extant fragments of his works, talks of the gods as the invention of some shrewd man to hold his fellow-men in check through fear and the sentiment of guilt (DK, fr. B, XXV).
Even the name of Gyges shows that he is bound to the earth : it is built around the word , which means "earth" . Thus, in a sense, Gyges is something like Mr. Earthling or Mr. Roundearth !... And his origin doesn't plead in his favor : he is a Lydian, as are some musical modes of which the least we can say is that they were not Plato's favorite, if we are to judge by what he has Socrates say about them at Republic, III, 398e. They are modes not even fit for women, let alone for guardians of the city, leading to drunkenness, softness and laziness.
Indeed, the names of Gyges and Lydia, a country once renowned for its abundance of gold and life of luxury, might ring another bell : at the beginning of his Histories, written sometime during the second half of the Vth century BCE, Herodotus seeks the origin of the Medean wars in the story of Croesus, the wealthy king of Lydia whose dynasty started with the usurpation of no other than Gyges. The story of Gyges as told by Herodotus (Histories, I,7,1-I,12,2) widely differs from that of Plato. In it, Gyges is no longer a shepherd, but the favorite bodyguard of the king. It is the king himself, so proud of his beloved wife's beauty, who arranges for Gyges to see her naked in their bedroom so that he may judge by his own eyes that she is the most beautiful woman in the world. Unfortunately, the queen, unnoticed to Gyges, catches sight of him when he tries to surreptitiously leave the room, but says nothing at the time. The following day, she summons him and offers him the choice either to kill the king, marry her and take his place, or to get killed for having seen her naked. In order to save his own life, Gyges accepts to kill the kind, and, once again, this time with the help of the queen, becomes invisible in the royal bedroom to take advantage of the king's sleep to dispose of him.
Though, from a literal standpoint, these are two quite different stories, it might be possible to see how Plato reworked Herodotus' tale of a singular event to give it a more universal meaning . The king of Lydia of Herodotus' story gives way, in the first part of Plato's story, to the king of the universe and his most beautiful wife becomes his created world, that Gyges is induced to admire by the power of the king's might leading him to a naked body. The ring that he steals is the bond that ties him to the queen as soon as she catches sight of him fleeing. Once you have started investigating the laws of matter, you are faced with two choices from mother nature : either you accept your mortal condition and death when it pleases her, or else you try to get rid of the gods and enjoy life so long as it lasts. But whether he submits to the king's will (who tempts him into watching his naked wife) or to the queen's (who induces him to kill the king to save his life), so long as he renounces his own free will, Gyges soon finds himself "invisible" in the royal bedroom...
Yet if Plato starts his inquiry into justice by the story of a man who tries to escape responsibility for his acts, then, after showing us, in the body of the discussion, how, far from plunging into deeper chasms inside the earth, we should ascend on the path of education from the chasm we live in  up the hill toward the only truth that can free us from the invisible chains binding us to our cave and make us responsible leaders of others, he concludes his inquiry by putting us in front of the existential choice that awaits us. The myth of Er (Republic, X, 614b-621b) is meant to show us that whatever we become in life is our free choice ; the only obligation we are subjected to by necessity is to choose.
Indeed, the myth of Er may be viewed as another reversal of the story of Gyges in more than one way, not only because it depicts many bodiless souls facing their own responsibility with regard to their whole earthly and heavenly life in opposition to one soulless body evading his own responsibility to better his material earthly life. One starts with the many deaths in battle of brave warriors that induce a flock of souls to walk toward a marvelous (daimonion) meadow where preexist four everlasting chasms (chasmata) leading toward and coming from both the heaven above and the depth of the earth below to end with an earthquake (seismon) that sends souls back to life like shooting stars, whereas the other starts with an earthquake (seismou) that opens a single new chasm (chasma) at the feet of a shepherd in the very meadow where he is pasturing his flock of sheep and induces him to go down into an underground tomb full of wonders (thaumasta) to end with the single death of a king that sits the shepherd turned murderer in his throne. But, at first glance, the myth of Er might also seem to reverse the allegory of the cave : men living under the sun are supposed to learn from someone coming back from the kingdom of the shades .
The fact is, the whole story of Er needs to be read with care and turned upside down in more than one way. Spatially, it nowhere says that it takes place in the "underworld", and only implies it by talking about the dead. In fact, it takes great care to avoid naming the place (11) and to describe a location which, for all practical purposes, seems to be on the surface of the earth, halfway between heaven and the underworld : this is quite obvious in the description at the beginning of the four chasms, of which two open in heaven and two in the earth (Republic, X, 614c) and nowhere else in the ensuing story does it become more specific. The location is not even described as a high mountain (close to heaven) or a deep valley (near under the earth), but as a huge meadow (ton leimôna, 614e ; tô leimôni, 616b) and then as a plain (pedion, 621a). If anything, we might even feel closer to heaven as the story spends quite some time describing what looks like the whole universe under the form of the spindle of Necessity. The only description of what may properly be called the underworld comes as a story inside the story, with the answer to the question about Ardiæus the tyrant (615d-616a). Thus, we should not have to make a great effort to see this world as our world and all these souls as more living than dead.
Another indication that the story might not be about the underworld after all comes at the very beginning. Before starting the myth, Socrates warns us, with a play on words, that he is not about to tell "a tale to Alcinous (Alkinou apologon), but that of a brave man (alkimou andros)" (Republic, X, 614b). The pun may be read at several levels : on the surface, the expression "tale to Alcinous", referring to books IX-XII of the Odyssey, had become proverbial for a lengthy tale, and there is some irony on the part of Plato, at the end of the ten dense books of discussion that make up the Republic, to warn the reader that what is to come should not be too long ! But, if we dig a little deeper and remember what is in the original "tale to Alcinous" in the Odyssey, we'll find that a good deal of it tells the story of Odysseus' trip into Hades and evocation of the souls of the dead, a story Plato refers to to criticize it and its likes at the start of book III (see note 10). Thus, after more criticism of Homer in the first part of book X, Plato subtly warns us that he is not writing another such tale. Somehow, he is not talking about the dead, but about the living, and for the living, and he expects us to do a bit of "decoding" homework : it is not before our birth that we choose once and for all the sort of life we will live but during it, otherwise education would be of no avail... One way of seeing this is to start at the end, that is at birth and read the myth backward toward death. And that's not all yet ! It is only if we look at the meaning of the name Alcinous that we can get the full import of the pun and realize how "serious" Plato may be even when joking : Alki-nous indeed means "strong mind" and, by opposing the strong mind (alki-nou) to the brave man (alkimou andros), Plato is warning us that this story of dead souls is not about disembodied minds floating in the air, strong as they may be, or about some Anaxagorean nous (12) ruling the whole cosmos, but about whole men, body and soul, mind and matter, brave guardians ready to fight for their lives and defend their cities, be it in war or in everyday's life.
Another hint that, from a temporal standpoint, we should read the story backwards comes in the middle of it. As usual with Plato, the center of the story holds the key to it. In the myth of Er, the center (Republic, X, 617b-e) introduces the three daughters of Necessity (Anagkè), the Fates (Moiras, whose name also means "shares") about to distribute "models of lives (biôn paradeigmata)" (shares to choose from, not fates to be imposed upon us). The central section splits in two parts : first, the presentation of the three Fates and their place in the overall structure of the universe as a conclusion of the description that preceded ; second, the proclamation of a prophet initiating the choice of lives that is to follow. Both parts are meant to show that men alone, not gods or laws of nature, are responsible for their own fate. This is said in plain words at the end of the prophet's proclamation : "the responsibility is in he who chooses, god is not responsible (aitia elomenou, theos anaitois)" (Republic, X, 617e), but the purpose of the description of the structure of the universe that ends with the introduction of the Fates is to show that the laws of necessity are only meant to maintain order and harmony into the created world (13), not to deny man's freedom. And as if to prove it, the first act of the prophet at the service of the Fates is to "arrange the souls in orderly intervals (en taxei diastèsai)" (Republic, X, 617d, which is almost the exact middle of the myth). In all that order, there is only one slight problem : the role of each of the three Fates doesn't fit with the meaning of each one's name in respect with all that is said everywhere else in the myth ! Lachesis, whose name means "destiny" is telling the past ("ta gegonota, the things that have become") while Atropos, whose name means "unchangeable", is telling the future ("ta mellonta, the things that must happen"). Clotho alone, whose name means "spinster", seems to be at her place, standing in the middle and telling the present ("ta onta, the things that are"). To give each Fate her due role, we only have to reverse the order so that Lachesis, Destiny, who in effect presides over the choices of lives, will tell the future while Atropos seals the past to make it unchangeable. Or we may decide that, in this tale where the dead are living and the living dead, the future is the past and vice-versa, which amounts to reading the story backwards !
Read this way, the story starts at dawn (eôthen, 621b) with birth, that is, with the embodiment of souls that come with a heavenly dimension in them (they look like shooting stars, asteras, 621b, that is, they have something godly in their look, and we know this to be their logos). The messenger that is supposed to give them hope goes by the name of Spring (14) and in fact, as seen by the name of his kin, Pamphylia, is any one of us (15). All our efforts in life should tend to "remember" the things from "above", with the help of the daimôn assigned to us (617e, 620d), that divine "share" (moira) within our soul, in order to help us make the right choices in life, the right choice of life ; to "remember" the things from above or, in fact, as the allegory of the cave shows us, to move toward them, not to dig the earth for a truth about ourselves that we won't find there, as the story of Gyges shows. Destiny only decides when we live (the casting of the lots in front of Lachesis), not how we live. Then, as we grow older, we may come to realize that the laws of nature are not a "ring" that "frees" us from any responsibility in our acts, but a model of order and harmony that we should strive to imitate, and this is the first step in getting rid of the chains that bind us in the "cave". The man-made horse than surrounds a dead body in the story of Gyges gives way to the celestial spheres that surround our world and Gyges' ring gives way to the lot that sets the time each one has to face his responsibility in choosing his "model" of life. Eventually, when comes the time of death and judgment, we will raise or fall according to our own behavior in life.
Now, if we look at the structure of each of these three stories, the story of Gyges, the allegory of the cave and the myth of Er, we'll find more grounds for wanting to read the myth of Er both ways :
Unearthing the ring
359d-e (9)
State of the prisoners in the cave
514a-515c (31)
Origin and judgment of the souls
614b-616b (77)
Uncovering the power of the ring
359e-360a (12)
Structure of the universe
616b-617d (65)
The journey toward the sun
515c-516b (32)
Principles of choice of life
617d-619b (60)
Using the power of the ring
360a-b (4)
Judgment and trip back
516b-517a (31)
Choices of lives and birth of the souls
619b-621b (76)
Note : the numbers in parenthesis after the references give the number of lines in the Greek text of the Budé edition for comparison of sizes.
All three stories may be divided in three parts : one deals with phusis, nature, some sort of "inital state" ; another one deals with logos, the rationale, the explaining power, of what is to happen ; and a third one deals with krisis, judgment, action, choice, that is, the change in state that results from applying the power found in the logos section.
In the story of Gyges, the three sections follow in that order, but they are unbalanced. First comes the description of Gyges initial state, of the nature he lives in and of the trip he is led to make in the depths of it. Then, we see him uncovering the power of his find brought back from the cave/tomb, the ring that makes him invisible at will. This section is the longest of the three and, in it, we find, at the exact center of the whole story, the keyword of Gyges' "logos" : tukein, the verb meaning "to happen by chance", used to describe how he came about finding the power of the ring ! Everything that happens to Gyges to improve his condition happens by chance until he becomes invisible ! The third part of the story is quite short : having found the power to seemingly evade responsibility, Gyges decides to become king and soon reaches his goal.
In the allegory of the cave, the three sections follow in the same order but, in this story, they are in perfect balance. The first part describes the "natural" state of the prisoners, that is, us, in the cave before the educative process. The second part describes the educative process that leads us all the way up to the "sun", that is, to the idea of the good that provides the true rationale for all our acts. The middle of the story falls at the point where the prisoner is "forced" to leave the cave and starts climbing the hill outside. In comparison with the story of Gyges, the keyword of this process is no longer "chance" but "force (bia, 515e)", constraint, pain ; the verb anagkazein, to force, built on the word anagkè, necessity, which is the name of the mother of the Fates we see at length in the myth of Er, occurs three times in this section (515c6, d5 and e1) which opens and closes on replies by Glaucon reinforcing this feeling of necessity ("pollè anagkè, quite necessarily", 515c3 ; "anagkaion, necessarily", 516b8). But this necessity has very little to do with fate and a lot to do with the rational requirement that we get the proper education and come to see the truth. And the force that has to be used to compel the prisoner to turn toward the light and climb is as much moral strength as it is bodily constraint ; it is as much the act of the teacher as it is the effort of the will under the leadership of the logos to tame the passions and desires that satisfy themselves with the cave. Once the prisoner has seen the sun itself, the third part describes the effects of this sight, the judgment that the educated freed man lays on his fellow prisoners, and the judgment that they lay on him when he gets back to the cave.
With the story of Er, things are not so simple. The central section on logos occupies almost half of the whole story and splits in two parts of equal length to present two orders of explanation : the order of the laws of the cosmic nature, the laws of the universe, the laws of Anagkè and her three daughters the Moirai, on the one hand ; the order of the laws of humankind, the laws that preside over man's choice of his way of life, on the other hand. The first order is an answer to what Gyges was looking for : not a phusis that deprives man of responsibility and makes him invisible, but a cosmic harmony that provides man with a world to live in and a model to imitate. The second order details the practical implications of the educative process depicted in the central section of the allegory of the cave, in terms of ways of choosing a lifestyle. And the central subsection (that is, the concluding lines of section 2 and the opening lines of section 3 that make up the center of the myth), already analyzed above, makes it clear that these two orders of reasons don't interfere with one another, that the laws of nature don't deprive man of his freedom of choice and of his responsibility in his choices. Gyges may think he has become invisible once he puts himself under the scalpel of science, and he may be for his fellow prisoners who don't care for the light of the sun, but he is not for the judges above, who will some day seal his fate and turn his "chance" around.
On either side of this dual section on logos, we may read the two surrounding sections two ways, depending on which way we read the whole story, and which order of explanation we give precedence to. Reading the story forward, we will see in the first section another myth about the nature of the soul, reminiscent of the myth of the Phædrus in Socrates' second speech : what will become of the souls depends in large part upon what they have seen in their travel before birth, either in the heaven or under the earth. Then the last section depicts the judgment that results from this in the choice of life. But, taken literally, this way of looking at things amounts to another sort of fatality : for us down on earth, we are only playing a movie whose script has been written already, maybe by our own soul, but it was before she drank the water of carelessness in the plain of oblivion (Republic, X, 621a). The end result is that there is little if anything we can do to change the script, education in this life is of no use and we may be technically responsible of our fate but it takes some believing, and fate it remains for all practical purposes ! Such a reading lay the stress on the first order of reasons, ill understood.
But if, once again, we read the story backwards, then the various "models" of life men choose from in the last section become first depict the different "natures" they may be born with, and the initial section become last describes the judgment of the souls at the end of their lives, not by themselves, but by the judges up above. In the reading, the order of reasons given in section 3 (the principles of choice of life) become prevalent and the educative process called for by the allegory of the cave is paramount. In this reading alone does man's freedom find its due place.
Or rather, it is only if we accept both readings, both orders of explanations, if we understand that it is not because there is something in us that binds us to the "earth" that it prevents the other part in us that comes from "above" to play its role, if we realize that the laws of nature don't deprive us from our freedom of choice, that we may properly play the part that is expected from us. All what's required is that we find the glitch in between the two parts that must be fixed to turn a destiny around from a past already sealed into a future to be built. But, with the Republic, we are only halfway through the journey of the dialogues, the climb depicted in the allegory of the cave. The two orders of explanations shortly alluded to here will eventually be developed at length in the last trilogy, which opens with a reminder of the Republic : the Timæus develops the understanding of the laws of the universe in what still gives itself for a myth, and details the respective role of anagkè and rational thinking in the order of the kosmos, while the Laws provide a comprehensive description of the organization of a well behaved city of men, a city in which men can live worthy lives, no matter what their lot was to begin with. But to move from one to the other, we must find the glitch which leads to the Critias' interruption, we must use our judgment, raised by the long journey with Socrates and the dialogues, to come to see that Critias is not about to build a future along the lines of Socrates' ideal from the Republic, but that he is rewriting a mythical past in a new Iliad to better defuse Socrates' revolutionary proposals : he is turning time around the wrong way !...

(1) The Greek text in the manuscripts reads : "tô Gugou tou Ludou progonô", which translates "to the ancestor of Gyges the Lydian". Yet, at Republic, X, 612b, Plato mentions "the ring of Gyges". I won't try to reconcile these two texts for the time being, but I feel authorized by Plato's later reference to call the holder of the ring Gyges. (back)
(2) The verb thaumazein, to wonder, and the word thaumasta, wonders, are found three times in a few lines in this story : thaumasanta (359d5), thaumasta (359d6), thaumazein (360a2). (back)
(3) In all of the instances mentioned in this paragraph, it is the same word, "daktulios", which is used by Plato to designate whatever I call "ring". The only other place where he uses this word is toward the end of the Republic (Republic, X, 612b4 et b5), just before telling the story of Er, to refer the reader, in the conclusion of the discussion on true justice that got started by Glaucon's speech, to "the ring of Gyges". (back)
(4) The confusion between the ring and the hand is easier in Greek where the word for ring, daktulios, differs from the word for finger, daktulos, by only one letter. And the hand might easily be viewed as an apt "summary" of man from a "naturalistic" standpoint, in that it is the nature-provided tool that enables man to "manufacture" (from a Latin word that etymologically means "to build with hands") a world of his own, to turn the concepts of his mind into visible artifacts. Indeed, according to Aristotle (Parts of Animals, 687a7), "Anaxagoras says that it is by virtue of having hands that man is the most intelligent of animals" ; and he himself says elsewhere (On the Soul, 432a1) that "the soul is like a hand ; for the hand is a tool (organon) for tools, and the mind a form (eidos) for forms, and sensation a form for sensations." Thus, the ring is the product of the hand for the hand, that may turn into a symbol of absolute power when it becomes a signet at the hand of a king. (back)
(5) The verb that is used, moicheuein, means "to commit adultery" and is found nowhere else in the dialogues. (back)
(6) This would be in keeping with the common view at the time, still advocated by Aristotle, that, in the process of generation, man provides the "formal" element and woman the "matter". (back)
(7) The first part of his name might even give a shape to this earth, if we are willing to see in gu- the same root as in guros, circle, and guès, a name that designates the curved piece of wood in a plough. (back)
(8) And this might help explain why, if the text of our manuscripts are not corrupt (see note 1), Plato talks about "the ancestor of Gyges the Lydian", and not of Gyges himself. It is and is not the same story, and, by pushing it even further back in the past, that is, closer to the "origins", he gives it a broader bearing. But the link with Gyges' story must be kept through Gyges' name, to help us draw the parallel with the beginning of Herodotus' Histories. Plato is not writing the history of one unjust war that was at the root of Athens' glory, he is writing the "history" of justice itself... (back)
(9) The same word, chasma, used by Plato to describe the opening in the earth in which Gyges plunges, is also used by Socrates in the myth at the end of the Phædo to describe the openings in the earth where men live their mortal lives (Phædo, 111c8, 111e6, 112a5). (back)
(10) The same Greek word, skia, designates the shadows on the wall of the cave and the shadowy souls of the dead that, for instance, Odysseus evokes in book XI of the Odyssey (Odyssey, X, 495), a verse that Plato quotes in book III of the Republic (Republic, III, 386d) as an example of wrong ideas about death found in the works of poets. (back)
(11) And beware of translators that are not always as careful ! At Republic, X, 614b, we are told that Er came back to life and "related what he had seen there (ekei ; Shorey's translation in Loeb : "in the world beyond")" ; a few lines later, at 614d, Er is told by the judges "that he was to become a messenger to men of things from there (tôn ekei ; Chambry translation in French in Budé : "les nouvelles de ce monde souterrain")" and is instructed "to listen and observe everything in the place (en tô topô)". It is true that the word ekei is often used as euphemism for "in Hades", but Shorey himself, in a note ad loc., points at a reference in the allegory of the cave (516c) where the same word ekei refers to the cave (again at 520c), and to another in book VI (500c) where it refers to the "world of the ideas". Thus, it is better to keep the ambiguity in the translation that was probably deliberate on the part of Plato. (back)
(12) See Phædo, 97b-99d for the story of Socrates' disillusion about Anaxagoras' nous. (back)
(13) The mention of Sirens singing in harmony with the Fates (Republic, X, 617b-c) may be another reminder of "the tale to Alcinous" : it is in this part of the Odyssey that Odysseus tell of the encounter with the Sirens (Odyssey, XII, 37-200). But Plato's Sirens are not there to get men out of their way but to induce them to copy their harmony in their lives. (back)
(14) The name of Er (èr, contracted form of ear) means "spring" (the season). But this name, whose only mention, at 614b, is the genitive form èros, evokes much more than that. It looks like the masculine form of Hera, the name of Zeus' wife, except for the smooth breathing replacing the rough one. And if we look at what Plato has to say about the etymology of Hera in the Cratylus (Cratylus, 404b-c), we see that he associates it with love (eros) through the adjective "lovable (eratè)", but also with air (aer), which, applied to Er, opposes him to Gyges the earthling : hope is not in our material, earthly nature, but in our celestial, godly power of thought and understanding, and in the power of love that sets it on the move.
 Panphulos, the name of Er's tribe, means "of all tribes or races". Shorey suggests in a note that he might as well have translated "to genos Pamphulou" by "of the tribe of Everyman". And while we are at names, the name of Er's father, Armenius (tou Armeniou) is a close call for Harmony (armonia), a concept dear to Plato and central to the whole Republic, as well as to the myth of Er, with the "harmony of the Sirens" mentioned at its center (617c).


In The Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche argues  that  "the  mind  of early man  was preoccupied  to such  an extent  with  price-making ...   that  in a certain  sense  this  may be said to have  constituted  his thinking."!  A fundamental change  in price-making constitutes a fundamental change in thinking.   The development  of money  was  such a change.  Although minting  was  not  a great  technological innovation,  money  informed   a powerful   revolution  in  economic and  verbal  media.>  The  genealogy of the  money   form  is the  study  of a new  logic  that  is the  money  of the  mind.   In  this  chapter,   we  shall  study   the  "constitutional"   rela­ tionship   between   the  origin  of money  and  the  origin  of philosophy itself.
To the  Greeks  the exact place  and  time  of the  introduction  of coin­
age was  uncertain.  Their  genetic  explanations  of coinage  do  not  de­ pend,   however,   on  exactitude of chronological and  geographic data. They  focus instead  on hypothetical  or mythical  periods   during  which they  suppose   money   to have  originated.  Wishing   to discuss   the  ef­ fects  of coinage  and  the  relationship  between   money  and  the  mind, the  ancient   Greeks   chose  many   different   birth   places,   times,   and events."   Their  quarrel  about  the  origin  of coinage,  however,   is a de-

1.  Friedrich Nietzsche, "Zur  Genealogie der Mora),"  in Werke in drei Bdnden (Munich,
1955), 2: 811; trans.  F. Golffing, The Birth of Tragedy and the Genealogy of Morals (New
York,  1956), p.  202.
2.  Coined  money  was  not  a technological breakthrough,  but  rather  the  culmination of several  developments  (Babylonian credit,  metal-stamping,  etc.).  Cf. other  important inventions  during   this  period,   such  as the  alphabet and  the calendar.
3.  In his  Onomasticon, Julius  Pollux  refers  to  the  following statement  of Colophon:
"Perhaps  some  would   think  it ambitious  to investigate  this  question,  whether   coins were  first issued  by Pheidon   of Argos  or by the Cymaen  Dernodice, wife  of the Phry­ gian Midas,  who was the daughter of Agamemnon,  king of Cyme,  or by the Athenians, Erichtonius and  Lycus,  or by  the  Lydians,  as  Xenophon  asserts,   or  by  the  Naxians, according to the view  of Agloasthenes"  (Onom. 9.83). Ephorus   and  the Parian  Chroni­ cle both  agree  that  the  first  man  to mint  coins  was  Pheidon   of Argos.

Herodotus  argued   that coinage  was born  in Lydia  during  the  reign of Gyges  or his  son."  (Modern   research   has  shown   that  Herodotus was  probably  correct.)> The  assumption  of Lydia  as the birthplace of coinage  shaped   much  ancient  thought.   Whether   or not  Gyges  or his descendant  was  in fact the first  man  to mint  coins,  he was  associated in the  minds   of the  Greeks  with  minting.   Like  Midas,  his  neighbor who  turned  all things  into gold  with  a touch,  Gyges  turned   all things into gold by his ability  to purchase   them  with  gold minted  into coins.
As  coinage  was  associated with  the  Lvdians,   so  too  was  political
tyranny,   "a phenomenon   no  less  important  in the  history  of culture than  in the development  of the Greek  state."6  The very  word  tyrannos is Lydian  in origin." Many  Greeks   believed  that  Gyges  was  the  first tyrant,  and  often  associated him  with  tyranny;   he was the  archetypal

4. Herodotus 1.94. Quotations from Herodotus are adapted  from the Loeb edition (Herodotus, trans.   A.  D.  Godley,   4 vols.  (London,  1931-38)  or,  less  often,   from  The Histories of Herodotus,  trans.  H.  Cary  (New  York,  1904).
5.  Very little is known  about  Lydia.  The evidence is almost  all archeological. (See G. M.A.  Hanfmann  in Bulletins of the American Schools of Oriental Research [1961~6].)   "For literature  we  have   no  evidence  at  all,  since  the  stone   inscriptions  which   we  have written  in the  Lydian  language do not date  earlier  than  the fifth century,   and  the poet Aleman, writing  at the end  of the seventh   century  B.C.,  left Sardis.  Literature was not highly  regarded at the  Lydian  court"  (john  Griffiths Pedley,  Sardis in the Age of Croesus [Norman,  Okla.,   1968],  p.  113; d.   John  Griffiths Pedley,   Ancient  Literary Sources on Sardis [Cambridge, Mass.,  1972]). The standard  but  outdated  history  of Lydia is that of F. A. Radet.  La Lydie et le monde grec au temps des Mermnades (Paris,  1893). Most  modem scholars  agree  that  coinage  began  in Lydia  (see William J. Young,  "The  Fabulous Gold of the  Pactolus Valley,"  Boston Museum  Bulletin  70, no.  359 (1972J, p.  7).
Authorities on  ancient   China  claim that  coins  circulated there  as early  as the  twen­ tieth  century  B.C., but  there  is no archeological evidence of coinage  in China  before  the seventh   century   B.C.  Coinage   in  India   developed  during   the  first  half  of  the  sixth century  B.C. (Cf. R. A. G. Carson,  Coins of the World (New York, 1962], pp.  499, 537; and Lien-sheng Yang,  Money and Credit in China  [Cambridge, Mass.,   1952].)
6.  Werner   Jaeger,   Paidea,  trans.   Gilbert   Highet,    3  vols.   (Oxford,  1945),  1:  223.
Scholars of Greek  history  agree  that  there  occurred in the sixth century   a revolution in the  ways  of thinking   about  nature.   Jean-Pierre Vernant   (My the et pensee chez les Grecs [Paris,  1966],  pp.  296-97,  307-8,  311) argues   that  this  revolution  was  related   to  the development  of money.  Jaeger  allies the  revolution to tyranny,   "an  intermediate  stage between   the  rule  of the  nobility  and  the  rule  of the  people"   (Iaeger.  Paidea, vol. 1, p.
7.  On  the  word   tyrant,   see  Roberto   Gusmani,  Lydisches  Worterbuch  (Heidelberg,
1964); and Radet,  who  tries to show  the relationships between   tyrannos, Tyra (the name of a Lydian  village  where   Gyges  tried  to rule),  Tyrrhenos (a great  hero),  and  Tiera (the Lydian  word  for "strong   fort").  Radet  suggests that  Greek  grammarians  believed that the word  did  not  enter  Greek  vocabulary until  Gyges'   seizure  of power  in Lydia.

tyrant  as he was  the archetypal minter. 8 Indeed,  the frequent  associa­ tion of tyranny   and  minting  with  one  man  suggests that  they  may be mutually reinforcing and  interdependent.  9
It is not  easy  for us,  who  have  used  coinage  for some  twenty-five hundred    years,   to imagine  the  impression  it made  on  the  minds  of those  who  first used  it in their city-states. The introduction  of money to  Greece  has  few  useful  analogies."? Tales  of Gyges  associate him with  founding  a tyranny   in Lydia  and  with  a power  of being  able to transform  visibles   into  invisibles  and   invisibles into  visibles.   This power,  as we shall  see, is associated with  new  economic and  political forms  that shattered  the previous world  and its culture.  11 The story of Gyges,   however hypothetical  or mythical, is a great  explanation  of the  genesis  of a political, economic, and  verbal  semiology.
Many men  pretend   to dislike  money  and  tyranny.   Golden  tyranny, though,   may  be  the  correspondent  or  foundation  of much   that  we pretend   to  love.  The  myth  of  Cvges   helps   to  reveal  the  origin  of modem   thought   and  to call that  thought   into  question.  As with  the study  of other   apparently  historical origins  (those  of sin,  language,

8.  See  C.  Muller,  Fragmenta Historicorum  Graecorum, 5 vols.  (Paris,  1841-70),  3:72, Euphorion of Chalcis,  frag.  1; quoted  by Rader,  Lydie, p.  146.
9.  The relationship  between   coinage  and  tyranny   has been  studied   by Peter  N. Ure (The Origin of Tyranny  [New York, 1962]), who  argues  that  the rise of tyrants  is directly related   to  the  rise  of  coinage   (d.   Radet,   Lydie,  p.  163).  He  offers  many   examples, including Peisistratus  (Athens), Polycrates (Sames). Gyges  (Lydia),  Midas  (Phrygia), Pheidon   (Argos), and  Cypselus (Corinth). "Coinage,"  he insists,   "is  the  most  epoch­ making   revolution  in  the  whole  history   of commerce"  (p.  1). Those  states  in  which money  was  not introduced  (Sparta  and  Thessaly, for example) did  not  develop  tyran­ nies  (pp.  22 ff. ). Victor  Ehrenberg (From Solon to Socrates [London, 1968], p.  24) dis­ agrees  with  Ure,  arguing   that  it is a "mistake  to attribute   the  social  upheavals  of the later  seventh   century   to  the  introduction  of coinage."  Ehrenberg is probably correct that  the largest  commercial effects of the introduction  of coinage  were  not felt until  the fifth century.   In this  chapter,   however, we  are  interested  in the  relation  between   the rise  of coinage  and  the  rise  of certain  forms  of thought,    and  the  ways  in which  the Greeks   thought   about  this  relation.   (Ehrenberg  merely  says  that  "the   parallelism of minds   and  the  exchange of ideas  were  equalled on  the  material   side"   [From Solon to Socrates, p. 108].)
10.  A visitor  to  a state  in  which  coins  circulated might  have  experienced  surprise
similar to that  of Marco Polo when  he visited  the city of Cambaluc (China),  where  paper money  circulated. Polo was  fascinated by (and  his European contemporaries  incredul­ ous about)  the printing  and  circulation of such  monies.  The mystified Polo even  argued that  the  Emperor  had  a  power   like  that  of  a  "perfect   alchemist"  (Marco  Polo,  The Description  of the World, trans.  A. C. Moule and  Paul Pelliot [London, 1938], pp.  237-40).
11.  On  the  shattering  of the  archaic  Greek  culture,   see  Chapter   2,  "Esthetics and



The  tale  of the  rise  to power   of the  archetypal   minter   and  tyrant plays  an important   role in the  thought   of Herodotus   and  of Plato.  By interpreting  their  versions  of the  tale we can begin  to understand   an economic   and  cultural   revolution   that  corresponds   to  the  origin  of money  and  of philosophy. 12
In  Book  1 of  his  Histories, Herodotus    relates   the  tale  of  Gyges'
taking  the  royal  power   from  Candaules    in  gold-rich   Lydia.  Gyges does  not  actively  seek  the kingdom,   but  is rather  a pawn,   first of the king  and  then  of the queen.  During  the  first part  of the  story,  Gyges obeys  the orders  of King Candaules,  whose  need  to have  a witness  to the beauty  of his queen  is the occasion  of the plot.  Candaules   tries to persuade   Gyges  (his courtly  confidant)   of the queen's   beauty:   "Can­ daules  fell in love with his own  wife,  so much  that he supposed   her to be by far the fairest woman  in the world;  and  being  thus  persuaded   of this,  he raved  of her beauty  (eidos) to Gyges"  (Hdt.  1.8). In this tale of erotic  intrigue   the  master  seems  able  to define  the  value  of himself and  his possessions  only by the esteem  of his slaves.  Moreover,   Can­ daules  does  not believe  that the verbal  testimony   he gives to Gyges  is sufficient  for Gyges  to appraise   his "property,"   and  he seeks  to pro­ vide  ocular proof.  Candaules   insists  that  Gyges  become  a voyeur  and spy  on his wife  naked  in the  bedroom:   "I think,  Gyges,   that  you  do not believe  what  I tell you of the beauty  (eidos) of my wife; men  trust their ears less than  their eyes"  (Hdt.  1.8). Candaules   contrasts   spoken words  with  things  seen.  He seems  to agree  with  Heraclitus   that  "eyes

12.  Ancient  writers  about  Gyges  include  Xanthos,   Anacreon,   Plutarch,   Cicero,  Ar­ chilochus,   and  Horace   (cf.  Pedley,  Sources on  Sardis).  Modem   writers   include   Hans Sachs,  Montaigne,   La Fontaine,   Rousseau,   Saint  Jerome,  Friedrich  Hebbel,  Quevedo   y Villegas,   Theophile    Gautier,    Addison,    Beaumont    and   Fletcher,    Hugo    von   Hof­ mannstahl,    and  Gide.  Modem   critics  include   Ernst  Bickel (Ilbergs [ahrbucher [Berlin,
1921], 47: 5.336 ff. ), who  presents   a short  history  of works  of literature   about  Gyges; Karl Reinhardt   ("Gyges   und  Sein  Ring,"  in Yermiichtnis der Antike  [Gottingen,  1966]), who  presents   an  interpretation   of  the  Platonic   and  Herodotean    versions;   and  Kirby Flower  Smith  ("The  Tale of Gyges  and  the King of Lydia,"  American Journal of Philology
23, no.  3 [1902]).

are more  accurate   witnesses   than  ears."13  A man's  word  is not  suffi­
cient  testimony-one     must  see.
The  act  of  seeing   articulates   Herodotus's   plot,   in  which   making something   perfectly   believable  means   making  it visible  or removing its clothing.  The  Lydians,  significantly, had  very  strict  taboos  against nakedness.v'  Gyges  is therefore   frightened   at Candaules'  suggestion that  he break  the law: "Master!  What  a pestilent  command   is this that you  lay upon  me ...   that  I should   see her  who  is my mistress  naked! With  the  stripping    off of her  tunic  a woman   is  stripped   of all the honour/shame  (aid6s) due  to her"  (Hdt.  1.8). The  sight  of the queen's beauty  (eidos) by anyone  other  than  the  king  would  be a violation  of the queen's   honor  (aid6s, almost  a homonym   ofeidos).15 Gyges  tries to remind  the king  that  "men  long ago made  wise rules  for our learning, and  one  of these  is, that  we,  and  none  other,   should   see what  is our own"  (Hdt.  1.8). The queen  is the property   not of just any man,  but of the king.  Gyges  is being  asked  by the spokesman  of political power  to violate  not  just  any  law, but  law  itself.  He  senses  danger   for himself (and,  perhaps,    for the  insecure,   enamoured  king)  and  begs  that  the king  not  force  him  to break  the  ancient   commandment:   "I  fully be­ lieve  that  your   queen   is  the  fairest   of  all  women;   ask  not  lawless (anom6n) acts of me,  I entreat  you"  (Hdt.  1.8). Gyges'  appeal  to nomos fails. The master   Candaules   himself  plans  to introduce   his servant  to the  queen's   chamber:

I will so contrive  the whole  business   that  she shall never  know  that  you have  seen  her.  I will bring  you into  the chamber  (oikema) where  she and I lie and  set  you  behind   the  open   door;  and  after  I have  entered,   my
wife too will come  to the bed.  There  is a chair  set near  the  entrance   of the room;  on this  will she lay each part  of her raiment  as she takes it off, and  you  will be able to gaze upon  her  at your  leisure.  Then,  when  she

13.  Heraclitus,  frag. 12, in H. Diels, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, 5th ed.  (Berlin, 1934). The opposition   between   sound  and  sight  is related  to that  between   oral and  witnessed contracts  (which,  as we shall see, was  an important   one  in the sixth and  fifth centuries B.C.).  In the Essai sur /es origines des langues «(Paris, 1970], p. 503), Jean-Jacques Rousseau approves   the  Horatian   judgment,    saying  "on  parle  aux yeux  bien  mieux  qu'aux  oreil­ les."  Rousseau  fears .. however,   that  invisibles  (e.g.,  words  heard)  have  a more  power­ ful effect on the human   heart  than visibles  (e.g.,  things  seen).  Rousseau,   who  considers the  power  of Gyges  in  another   work  (see  n.  44),  suggests   that  one's   interest   is very much  excited  by words  (e.g.,  those  which  Candaules   speaks  to Gyges  or those  which Herodotus   writes  to us) but  that  exact  testimony   requires   a witness   or seer.
14.  Among   the  Lydians  it is held  a great  shame  to be  seen  naked.   Cf. Thucydides
(1.6.5-6);   Plato  (Rep. 457a-b);   and  Seth  Benardete   (Herodotean Inquiries  (The  Hague,
1969), pp.  11-14) on  the  tale of Gyges.
15.  Benardete   (ibid.,  p. 12) remarks   that  "aido» occurs  nowhere   else in Herodotus."

goes from  the chair to the bed,  turning   her back upon  you,  do you look to it that  she  does  not  see you  going  out  through   the  doorway.   (Hdt.

That  night  Candaules'  plan  is put  into  effect.  Gyges  sees  the  naked queen  and  so violates  her  aidos.
If the  plan  of Candaules  to make  Gyges  invisible  to the queen  had been  successful, then  Gyges  would   have  had  for one  night  a power (in relation  to Candaules' queen)  like that  of the Platonic  Gyges  (who, by virtue  of his ring,  could see without  being  seen).  Unfortunately for the outlaw  king,  the  plan fails: the queen  sees Gyges  as he slips out of the room.  (The thoughts   of the queen  on seeing  Gyges  may have been the  subject  of ancient  plays.>   Herodotus,  however,   does  not  concern himself  with  the queen's   thoughts,   but concentrates on the bare  struc­ ture  of the  plot.) The queen  does  not  let it be known  that  she has per­ cieved Gyges.  In the morning,  however,  she assures  herself  of those  of her household (oiketeia,  Hdt.  1.11) who are faithful,  and calls the unsus­ pecting   Gyges  to  her.  The  queen   demands   that  either  the  violator (Gyges) or he who  enabled  such violation  to take place (Candaules) be killed: "You  must  either  kill Candaules and  take  me for your  own  and the throne  of Lydia, or yourself be killed now without  more ado ....   That will prevent  you from seeing (ides) what you should  not see" (Hdt. 1.11). Only  one  seer  of her  naked  beauty   (eidos) and  shame  (aidos) can live, and  that  person   must  be king.  The  threatened  Gyges  chooses  to kill Candaules,  thus   ceasing  to be  the  pawn  of the  king  and  becoming that  of the  queen.   Now  the  queen   plots  to render   Gyges  invisible  to the  king,  so  that   he  can  commit   the  unlawful   murder   at  the  same place  (the  chamber   or oikema) where   Gyges  saw  the  naked   queen: "You shall come at him from the same place whence  he made  you  see me naked"   (Hdt.  1.11). As Gyges  wished  to be lawful  when  the king commanded him  to spy on the queen,   so he again  wishes  to be lawful when   the  queen   commands  him  to  kill  the  king.   He  commits   the murder,   however,    because  "he  could  not  get  free  or by  any  means escape  but  either  he  or Candaules  must  die"  (Hdt.  1.12).
Gyges'   murder   of Candaules,  his  marriage   to the  queen,   and  his seizure  of power   mark  a change   in  the  nomos of the  ruling  oikos: an "economic" revolution.  Gyges'  power  as tyrant  is different  from that of Candaules.  Gyges'  violation  of the queen's   shame  and  knowledge

16.  The thoughts   of the espied  queen   may  be the  subject  of a play  of the  fourth  or third  century   B.C.   In this  play,  the  queen   first  fears  for the  life of the  king  when   she espies   a strange   man  in  the  bedroom.  Later  she  guesses   the  truth.   She  waits  until morning   and  then  orders  Gyges  to kill her  husband   (whom  she  calls tyrannos). See D. L. Page,  A  Chapter in the History of Greek Tragedy (Cambridge,  1951), p.  3.

THE   RING   OF  GYGE5                                                                                                                             17

of her beauty  depends   on sight  alone.  He will not  seek  confirmation of her beauty  from others  (as did the insecure  Candaules) but,  servant become  master,   will rule  as a tyrant,   making  even  himself  invisible.
Herodotus's  account  of Gyges'  rise  to power  emphasizes  reversals
of visibility and  invisibility. One  reason  for this  emphasis  is the  Ly­ dian   prohibition  of  nakedness-an     extreme   form  of  being   visible. Neither   a ruler  nor  his  queen   may  be  seen.   The  emperor   must  be clothed.   A tyrant  maintains power  by using  this nomos against  being seen  to  punish   enemies   who  "see,"   and  by  ensuring  that  he  him­ self be invisible when  it is prudent   to be so. Gyges,  for example, uses the  law  against   seeing  the  ruler  in  order   to trap  one  of his  former enemies,  Lixos,  who  presents   a potential  threat   to  Gyges'   new  re­ gime.  According to Xanthos, Gyges commanded Lixos never  to look at him,  swearing  to bury  Lixos in  the  same  spot  if he  did  see  him.!? Gyges  the  servant  killed king  Candaules  in the  same  place  where  he had  seen  the  naked   queen;   Gyges   the  king  now  wishes   to  kill an enemy  who  has seen  him.  In order  to do this legally,  Gyges  contrives a meeting   with  Lixos in a bad  part  of town,  where  Lixos would  not expect  the king to go. Here  the king is, so to speak,  naked  or perfectly visible.  Gyges  surprises Lixos, who,  unable  to avert his eyes,  commits the  capital  offense  of seeing  the  king.
One  of  the  foils  to  Gyges  in  Herodotus'  Histories  is  Deioces  the
Mede,  who  became  invisible to his subjects  by establishing one of the first great  bureaucracies in Western  civilization. Indeed,   Deioces  was as successful at being  invisible as the  neighboring  Lydian  ruler.  The development  of a bureaucracy supposes  two fundamental  social con­ ditions:  the  development  of forms  of symbolization,  such  as money and   writing,   and   the  relative   invisibility  of  the  ruler.   Max  Weber argues  that  money,   the  invention  of  which  Herodotus  discusses in book  1, is the  basis  of any bureaucracy. 18 In Herodotus's  description

17.  Page  (Greek Tragedy, pp.  18-19) summarizes   the version  of Xanthos:  "Gyges  was sent  to fetch  the  King's  bride,  a lady  named   Toudo.   On  the  way  home  he  fell in love with  her himself,  violently  but in vain.  The virtuous   princess  complained   to her bride­ groom  the  King,  who  swore  that  he  would   execute   Gyges  tomorrow.    So  during   the night,  Gyges,   warned   by an amorous   maidservant,   murdered   the  King."  The  version of Xanthos  is reported   by Nicolas  of Damascus   (Muller,  F.H.G.,   vol.  3, frag.  49, pt.  2, pp.  383-86).
18.  The relationship   between  money  and  bureaucracy   (suggested   by Radet) has been
studied   by Max Weber,  who  writes  that  "the  development  of the  money  economy,   in so far as a pecuniary   compensation  of the  officials is concerned,   is a presupposition   of bureaucracy"  (Max Weber,  Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft [Tubingen,   1922], pt. 3, ch. 6; ed. and  trans.  H.  H.  Gerth   and  C. Wright  Mills in From Max Weber (New  York,  1958], p.
204). "Even  though   the  full development  of a money  economy  is not  an indispensible precondition  for bureaucratization,   bureaucracy   as a permanent   structure   is knit to the

of the politics  of the  Medes,  an  "invisible  hand"   (with  which  money has  often  been  associated) plays  a major  role.
According   to Herodotus,  Deioces  began  his  political  career  as an ordinary  judge.  By seeming  to judge  well, he made  himself  respected among  the Medes.  When  he refused  to judge  any longer,  the people, who  had  become   dependent    on  his  judgments,   begged   him  to  be king.  Once  king,  Deioces  wished   to conceal  his unjust   motives  from the  people,   and   accordingly  he  built  the   seven-walled   city  of  Ec­ batana.  The walls  were concentric  circles, the innermost   of which  was made  of gold,  the  medium  of exchange   (Hdt.  1.98).  Inside  this  wall Deioces  lived  and  reigned.
From  within  his  golden  walls  Deioces  set what  Herodotus    consid­ ers  to be  precedents    in  the  history   of politics:  "And   when   all was built,  it was  Deioces  first who  established  the rule that  no one  should come into the presence  of the king,  but all should  be dealt  with by the means  of messengers;  that the  king  should  be seen by no man"  (Hdt.
1.99).  Deioces  established  himself   as  the  source  of  the  law,  in  the same relation  to his subjects  as money  (misunderstood  as measure)  is to commodities.  One  interpreter   writes:  "As  the  unjust   source  of all justice,  Deioces  could  not  be  seen;  he  was  the  measure   of without being  himself  measurable by right  and  wrong."19  Herodotus   explains the  attempt   to  rise  above  ordinary   men:  "He  was  careful  to  hedge himself  with  all this  state in order  that  the  men  of his own  age (who had  been  bred  up  with  him  and  were  as  nobly  born  as  he  and  his equals  in manly  excellence), instead   of seeing  him and  being  thereby vexed  and  haply  moved  to plot  against  him,  might  by reason  of not seeing  him  deem  him to be changed   from what  he had  been  (or to be different  from  themselves)"  (Hdt.  1.99). This  invisible  being  (an an­ cient Wizard  of Oz) introduced   written  communications  to protect  his position.   "When   he  had  established  himself  in the  tyranny,   he  was very  severe  in the  distribution  of justice.  And  the  parties  contending were  obliged  to send  him their  cases  in writing,  and  he having  come to a decision  on  the  cases  so laid before  him,  sent  them  back  again" (Hdt.   1.100).  Not  only  did  Deioces   thus   make  himself   invisible   to others,  but  he  also  made  others   visible  to him:  "If  he received  infor­ mation  that  any  man  had  injured   another,   he  would  presently   send for  him,  and  punish   him  in  proportion    to his  offence;  and  for this

one  presupposition    of a constant   income   for maintaining   it"  (p.  208). Though   Weber mentions   certain  exceptions   to this general  rule (Egypt is one),  the bureaucracies   of the Eastern  satraps  (such  as those  of Croesus  and  Deioces)  are among  his most  important examples   (p. 205).
19.  Benardete, Herodotean Inquiries, p. 25.

THE RING  OF GYGES                                                                                                            19

purpose he had  spies  and  eavesdroppers  in every  part  of his domin­
ions"  (Hdt.  1.100).
The employment  of money  and  writing  enabled Deioces to estab­ lish both  bureaucracy and  tyranny.  The concentric walls  of Ecbatana were  "ring-walls,"  which  served  to distinguish the  invisible, private realm  of the  house  (oikos) or household  (oikia) from the visible,  public realm   of  the  polis.P?  The  dislocating  effects  of  the  new   media   of exchange-writing   and money-helped   him to found  the kind of government  the  Greeks  most  feared.  Aristotle says  that  the  true  ty­ rant  has  spies  (or political Peeping Toms),  as powerful as Gyges  (the voyeur), who  make  others  visible  to him,  and  that  he makes  himself invisible. Deioces, like Gyges,  was  a true  tyrant.
According to Herodotus's Histories, the descendants of Gyges  must
pay  for his  crime.F'  The oracle  declares that  "the  Heraclidae should have  vengeance  on  Gyges'   posterity  in  the  fifth  generation"  (Hdt.
1.13). Herodotus tells how  Croesus, the  fifth descendant of Gyges,  is conquered by Cyrus,  the fifth descendant of Deioces (Hdt.  1.80 ff.).22

20.  Hannah   Arendt   (The Human  Condition  [Chicago, 1958], esp.  pp.  63-64)  argues that  "the  law of the city-state [which  distinguishes  the  visible  from  the  invisible] was quite  literally  a ring-wall."  Following the  Hegelian Fustel  de  Coulanges  (The Ancient City  [New  York,  1956]; d. R. B. Onians,   The Origins of European Thought  [Cambridge,
1954],p.  444, n. 1), Arendt  notes that  words  such  as polis, urbs, town,  and Zaun express the  notion   of a circle.  Cf.  Heraclitus, frag.  44: "The  people   should   fight  for  the  law (nomos) as for a wail."
21.  They   must   pay   as   surely   as   Alberich  (in  Richard   Wagner's  Der  Ring  des Nibelungen)   must   pay   for   forging   into   a  ring   the   gold   that   he   stole   from   the Rhinemaidens.   The   slavish   Alberich,  like   Herodotus's   Cyges,     has   to   forswear Candaules-Iike love in order  to win golden  mastery. The Lydian  tyrant  Gyges  (whose source  of power  was  the  gold  of the  Pactolus River)  and  the  Athenian  tyrant  Peisis­ tratus   (whose   source  of  power   was  gold  mined   by  slave  labor)  may  have  inspired Wagner's  Das Rheingold.  The  latter  deals  with  both   the  gold  of  the  Rhine  River  (a principal source  of wealth  in medieval Germany,  according to Marc Bloch's "The  Prob­ lem of Gold in the Middle  Ages,"  in Land and Work in Medieval Europe [Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1967], pp.  186 ff.) and  the  tyrannical enslavement  of the  Nibelung  people. George   Bernard   Shaw   (The Perfect Wagnerite,  in  Selected Prose, ed.  Diarmuid  Russel [London, 1953]), discussing the  "sociological aspect  of The Ring [of the Nibelung Cyc­
le]"  (p.  207),  notes  that  "Fafnir  in  the  real  world  becomes a capitalist; but  Fafnir  in
[Wagner's] allegory  is a mere  hoarder"  (p. 289).
22.  What  is known  about  Croesus  and  Cyrus  supports  the notion  that  there  is more than  historical reason   for  Herodotus  to  pit  them   against   each  other   in  book  1. The ancients   told  a  story  about  Croesus   ("the   Midas  of Lydia")   and  Pittacus,  in  which Pittacus  accepts  Croesus's  invitation to come  to Lydia:  "You  bid me come  to Lydia in order  to  see  your  prosperity;  but  without   seeing  it I can  well  believe  that  the  son  of Alyattes  is the most  opulent   of kings.  There  will be no advantage to me in a journey  to Sardis,  for I am not in want  of money,  and  my possessions are sufficient for my friends as well as myself.  Nevertheless,  I will come,  to be entertained by you and  to make your

After the defeat  of Croesus,   the oracle  speaks:  "The  god himself  even cannot  avoid  the decrees  of fate; and  Croesus  has atoned  the crime of his ancestor  in the  fifth generation  who,  being  one  of the bodyguard of the Heraclidae, was induced  by the artifice of woman  to murder  his master   and   to  usurp   his  dignity   to  which  he  had   not  right"   (Hdt.
The oracle's  explanation of why  Croesus  is punished   is inadequate. As already  explained,  the pawn  Gyges  can  hardly  be held  accounta­ ble for his violation  of the nomos. His rise to power  was due  not only to the  artifice  of a woman  but  also to a power  to become  invisible  (as he  was  to  the  king)  and   to  see  things   that   are  invisible   to  other men.  It is this  frightening power,   shared  by other  rulers  of the time, for which  Croesus,   the  richest  man  in the  world,  is punished.
To  the  Herodotean   inquiry   into   how   Gyges   won   the   wife  and tyranny   of  Candaules,  a  commentator  added   a  note  mentioning  a poem  of Archilochus,  "who  lived  in about  the  same  time  as Gyges" (Hdt.  1.12). "I care not for the wealth  of golden  Gyges,  nor ever have envied   him;  I am  not  jealous  of the  works  of gods,   and  I have  no desire  for lofty  tyranny;   for  such  things  are  far beyond   my  sight."23
Gyges'  wealth,   the  works  of the  gods,  and  lofty  tyranny   are beyond the sight of most  men.  Although the  wealth  of Gyges  was proverbial, nothing  explicit  in Herodotus's  tale associates Gyges  with  wealth.  As we shall see in the following section,  however,   Gygean   tyranny   may be  associated  with  economic relations   between   visible  and  invisible property    and   with   the  Lydian   invention   of  coinage   about   which Herodotus  tells  us  (Hdt.  1.94).
Herodotus's  story of Gyges  is an "oriental"  tale fashioned into a po­
litical  weapon   spying   on  the  workings   of  tyranny.   In his  Histories,
Herodotus  himself   spies  on,  or makes   naked   to  the  Greek  people,

acquaintance"   (Diogenes  Laertius   1.  81-83).   Pittacus   is  as  unwilling  to  inspect   the wealth   of Croesus   as  Gyges  was  unwilling  to inspect   the  nakedness  of  the  queen. (Diogenes Laertius   suggests   elsewhere  that  Alyattes  was  the inventor   of coins.)
Cyrus,  who  later conquers   Croesus,   was not  afraid  of Lydian  customs,   such  as those
of retailing,  to which  Herodotus  allies the use of money.  Herodotean  Cyrus  says "I was never  yet afraid  of those  who in the midst  of their cities have  a place  set apart  in which they  collect and  cheat  one  another   by false  oaths"   (Hdt.  1.152).
23.  Archilochus, frag.  25, in Greek Elegy and Iambus with Anacreontea, ed. and  trans.  J.
M. Edmonds (Cambridge, Mass.,  1968), 2: 111. On the probability that  the reference  to Archilochus is an interpolation,  see the critical note to Hdt.  1.12 in Herodotus,  Histoires, ed.  and  trans.   Ph.-E.   LeGrand   (Paris,  1964),  bk.  1: Clio. Aristotle   (Rhetoric 1418.42b) suggests  that Archilochus makes Charon  (a carpenter) speak  the lines of the poem,  and Plutarch   argues   that  Archilochus  speaks  in propria persona. Archilochus's  fragment   is the locus classicus for similar  protests   against  Gyges.  (See Anacreonta 8, in Greek Elegy and Iambus with  Anacreonta, 2:27-28.)

nomoi different  from their own.  The Greeks  did not have the same pro­ hibitions   against   nakedness  of the  human   body  as  did  the  Lydians. There  is a counterpart  in some  Greek  thought,   however,   to the aid6s and/or  eidos of Candaules'  queen.   In the works  of Plato,  for example, the politically crucial sight of the queen  is lifted to the level of the eidos (Idea),  which  most  men cannot  see, but that  Socrates  wishes  to make visible to the best  men.  By most  men  Socrates'  seeing  and  teaching  of the naked  truth  is condemned,  although,   as we shall see, Plato is care­ ful to distinguish the truly damnable tyrant  (e.g., Gyges) from the philosopher  (e.g.,  Socrates).


Plato's  tale  of  Gyges'   rise  to  power   elucidates  both   Herodotus's account   and  various   problems   raised   in the  Republic. In  Plato's  dia­ logue,  Gyges  is an archetype of one  who  seems  to be but is not good. His tyrannic  power  of invisibility is a hypothetical device  that  neatly defines  one  of the  extreme  positions   in the  debate   about  virtue  and justice.
Book 1 of the Republic prepares   the  context  within  wich the  signifi­
cance  of the  tale  of Gyges  must  be  understood.   A preview   of the arguments    about    the   relative    desirability   of   wealth    (for   which Cephalus   argues)  and  philosophy (for which  Socrates  argues),  book 1 describes   how   Socrates   and   his  acquaintances   go  to  the  home   of Polemarchus. Cephalus, Polemarchus's  rich father,  tells the assembly that  he believes  money  to be good  because  with  it one  can  act justly by paying  one's  debts  to men  and  gods.  He gives  credence   to "tales told about  what  is in Hades,  that  the  one who  has done  unjust  deeds here   must   pay   the   penalty    there."24    Like   many    other    Greeks, Cephalus   trusts   that  his  wealth   will  save  him  from  punishment   or from committing the wrongs  that entail  punishment.  He hopes  that it will make the vengeful  Hades  (Haides) unable  to see (idein) him,  and he believes   that   his  money   is  in  this   sense   an  agent   of  invisibility.w

24.  Plato, Rep. 330d. Quotations  from Plato  are adapted   from Plato in Twelve Volumes, trans.  H. N. Fowler,  W. R. M. Lamb,  Paul  Shorey,  and  R. G. Bury (Cambridge,  Mass. and  London,   1914-37); and  The Republic of Plato, trans.  with  an interpretative  essay  by Allan  Bloom (New  York,  1968).
25.  In the  Cratylus,  Socrates  addresses   himself   to the  error  of those  men  who,  like
Cephalus,   are good  out of fear. He offers an ironic etymology  of Pluto (who is supposed to rule  over the  invisible  region  below)  and  Plutus:  "As  for Pluto,  he was  so named  as the giver of wealth  (ploutos) because  wealth  comes  up from below out of the earth"  (Cra.
403a). (Cf. Sophocles'   Fragment  273 and Aristophanes'  Pluius 727). The double  meaning of aeides as both "unseen"   and "Hades"   (the realm over which  Pluto  is supposed   to rule)

Socrates knows   that  such  beliefs,  though   untrue,   are  serviceable to the  normal  functioning of society. Any  objection he  might  make  to these  beliefs,  therefore, might  be  subversive to the  polis.  Neverthe­ less,  Socrates does  object  to Cephalus's  assumption  that  it is just  to pay  all one's  debts:  "Everyone would   surely  say  that  if a man  takes weapons  from  a friend   when   the  latter  is of sound   mind,   and  the friend  demands  them  back when  he is mad,  one  shouldn't  give back such  things,  and  moreover, one  should  not be willing  to tell someone in this state  of mind  the whole  truth"   (Rep. 331c).26Socrates' example should  convince one who is not mad  that justice  is not  simply  paying one's  debts.  Even  if there  were  a Hades,   money  (or an ability  to pay) would  not  ensure   that  one  would   escape  unpunished  by just  gods. Unable   to  defend   his  beliefs,   old  Cephalus  takes   his  leave  of  the assembly, saying  that  he  must  offer  sacrifices to  the  gods  and  pay them  their  due  (Rep. 331d).
Polemarchus,  heir   to  his  father   Cephalus's  argument  as  to  his wealth  (Rep. 331d), attempts to defend  a version  of his father's   defini­ tion of justice.  He quotes  the poet  Simonides, "It is just to give to each what  is owed"   (Rep. 331e), and  interprets  this in a purely  commercial sense.  In disagreeing with  Cephalus,  Socrates had  used  the  example of the  deposit   of a weapon.  Disagreeing with  Polemarchus,  he uses the more  abstract example of monetary deposits (Rep. 332a). Socrates demonstrates  that  a banker  with  whom   a deposit   is left may  some­ times  justly  withhold  a deposit   from  the  depositor  not  only  for his own  sake but also for the sake of that  depositor. Polemarchus, recog­ nizing  the  problem implicit in  a law  that  demands  the  return   of all deposits,  offers   a  new   interpretation   of  the  poet.   He   states   that Simonides meant  that  justice  requires one  to help  friends  and  injure enemies (Rep. 334b). Polemarchus also argues  that  one  "is  most  able to help  friends  and  injure  enemies"  while  making  war  and  being  an ally in battle  (Rep. 332e) and,   during   peacetime, by  keeping money deposits (Rep. 333bc). Socrates points  out,  however, that  such  a defi­ nition  of justice  would  make  it a neutral   art.  The artisan  of justice  (as

provides Socrates with  the  opportunity  to expand   his consideration  of false  opinions and  etymologies: "And  as for Hades,  I fancy  that  most  people  think  that  his is a name of the Invisible (aeides), so that  they  are afraid  and  call him Pluto"  (Cra. 403a). Socrates, however, objects to this interpretation.  He argues  that  "thename  of Hades  is not in the least derived  from the invisible (aeides), but far more probably from  knowing (eidenai) all noble  things"   (Cra. 404b). Knowledgeable men  do not fear going  to Hades  denuded  of their  bodies  and  are  good  not  because   they  fear  but  because   they  know.   (See  also Phaedo 80d.)
26.  Aristotle seems  to agree  with  the  Socratic  argument  against   simple  reciprocity. See Nicomachean Ethics 1133a.

defined  by Polemarchus) would  be as clever at guarding money  as at stealing  it (Rep. 334c). One  interpreter  writes  that  "instead   of being the  model  of reliability, the  just  man  becomes the  archetype  of un­ trustworthiness,   the  possessor of power   without   guiding   principle. He is a thief  and  a liar, the contrary   of the  debt-paying,  truth-telling (seemingly) just man  defined  by Polemarchus'  father."27 True justice, then,  must  also inform  us about  who  are friends  and  who  (if any) are enemies   and  about  what  is the  meaning  of benefiting friends.   Soc­ rates'  argument focuses  not  only  on  (the friendliness 00  the  transac­ tors but  also on the  nature  of what  is owed.  He suggests throughout that  Simonides "meant   that  the  owed  is the  fitting"   (Rep. 332c) and that  the  deposition  itself is finally  unimportant.
Polemarchus, however, maintains his definition of justice  as loyalty
to  friends   and  taking   advantage  of  enemies.  In  order   to  show  his mistake, or at least  mock his position, Socrates takes this definition to an  extreme  by  extending Polemarchus's  argument  to the  individual who believes  that  he has no friends  and is loyal only  to himself.  Such an individual is or would  be a tyrant.   Socrates implies  that  Polemar­ chus's  definition of justice,  even  though   it seems  gentlemanly,  is that of  a tyrannical  rich  man  (Rep. 336a).  Polemarchus  is  an  unwitting ideologue for rich men like his father  Cephalus. Socrates thus  exposes the  contradictions in Polemarchus's  love of property.  Moreover, the youth's   heretofore facile acceptance of the law is undermined,  as that of Cephalus was  not.  The company finally agrees  that  Polemarchus's interpretation  of  Simonides'  sentence  was  unwise   (Rep. 335e),  and Socrates even  suggests that  the  doctrine   Polemarchus  had  been  ex­ pounding was  merely  that of some  "rich  man who  has a high  opinion of what  he can  do"  (Rep. 336a).
At this  point  in  the  dialogue, the  maddened  Thrasymachus  inter­ rupts   (Rep. 336b).  He  tries  to  "capitalize"  on  Polemarchus's  love  of property and  Socrates' proof  of the  potential injustice of conventional law. Thrasymachus dismisses the Polemarchean conception of justice as an art or technique  for harming   one's  enemies   and  helping   one's friends.  He tries,  moreover, to destroy  the  Socratic  hypothesis  of the existence of true  justice  by arguing   that  the  law lends  an appearance
"                                                                                                 of justice  to whatever  is done,  and  by arguing  that  appearance  is all.
j                          He  states  that  justice  is "the  advantage  of the  stronger"  or "the  ad­
vantage   of the  established ruling  body,"   which,  whether   democratic
or tyrannical, rules  by threatening  to punish   lawbreakers (Rep. 338c­
d). This position  is taken  to one extreme  in Clitophon's argument that

27.  Allan  Bloom,  "An   Interpretative  Essay,"   in  The Republic of Plato,  trans.   Allan
Bloom  (New  York,  1%8),  p. 320.

justice  is what  appears   to the  stronger   man  to be his own  advantage (Rep. 340b).  Thrasymachus  himself   does  not  understand   any  other reasons  why  a man  would  want  to be a ruler  than  for selfish  gain or money-making.  He believes  that  a ruler  is like a shepherd  who  serves not as protector of sheep but  as their  exploiter. Thrasymachus attacks the  naive  position   (which  he believes  Socrates to have  adopted) that rulers  rule  for  the  sake  of  the  ruled.   "You  do  not  even  recognize sheep  or shepherd ....   You suppose   shepherds  consider the  good of the sheep  and  take care of them  looking  to something other  than  their master's   good  or  their  own.  You  also  believe  that  the  rulers  in  the cities, those  who  truly rule,  think  about  the ruled  differently from the way  a man  would   regard   sheep"    (Rep. 343b).  Socrates points   out, significantly,  that   Thrasymachus's   shepherd   is  not   essentially  a shepherd but a moneymaker. "[Thrasymachus's  shepherd], insofar  as he  is a shepherd,  fattens  the  sheep,   not  looking  to what  is best  for the  sheep,  but,  like a guest  who  is going to be feasted,  to good  cheer, or in turn,  to the  sale,  like a money-maker  and  not  a shepherd.  The art of the shepherd,  as shepherd,  surely  cares for nothing  but  provid­ ing the best  for what  it has been  set over"  (Rep. 345d).2BThe distinc­ tion between   "looking to what  is best  for the  sheep"   and  "looking to the sale of the sheep"  arises from the important distinction in Platonic thought  between   economics and  chrernatistics.P?  or between   the vari­ ous crafts and  money-making.  "Every  artisan  practices two  arts-the one  from which  he gets his title,  and  the  wage-earner's  art.  With the latter  art  he  cares  for  himself;   with  the  former,   for  others.t' '? The architectonic and  ubiquitous  principle  of wage-earning  is exchange value  or  money.   Seen  from  Thrasymachus's  point  of view,  money seems  to provide   an architectonic principle for all the  arts.
By exposing how  money  informs  Thrasymachus's  argument,  Soc­
rates  offers an ideological critique  of its sophistry, laced with  sugges­ tions  that Thrasymachus  seeks  not  wisdom  but  gold.31  That  to which Thrasymachus  appeals   is pure   chrematistics,  the  tyrannical  art par excellence.
Money  is one  of two competing architectonic principles in the Re-

28.  Socrates also considers the relationships between shepherd  and  master  and  be­
tween  shepherd  and  dog.
29.  The   distinction  between  shepherd   and   wage   earner    is  like   that   between chrematist and  economist (i.e.,  steward) in the economics of Aristotle (Pol.,  bk. 1). See below,  Chapter  3.
30.  Bloom,  "An  Interpretative  Essay,"   p. 332.
31.  See Rep. 336d,  and  also  Claucon's  suggestion  that  Thrasymachus  speaks   "for money's sake"  (337d).

public; the   other   such   principle  is  philosophy. 32     Philosophy  and money  both  order  the  "other"   arts  and  are about  "worth"    (although in different senses).   Wage-earning is the  tyrant's   substitute  for phi­ losophy.   A  man   cannot   be  both   philosopher   and   wage   earner. Cephalus,    Polemarchus,    and     Thrasymachus     cannot     become philosophers  and  continue to believe  in conventional debts  and cred­ its.
Book 1 of  the  Republic ends  with  Thrasymachean  economics, the
extreme  form  of Cephalean economics, "liberated"  (with  the  help  of Socrates himself)   from  inhibitions  about   friendship,  punishment  in Hades,   and  erroneous  ideas  about   the  nomoi. Socrates himself  has presented  no  adequate  definition of justice  but  has  thoroughly  and subversively debunked the convention of returning deposits  or parathekai.  Moreover, he has  not  yet  explained why,  when,   or if it is just  to keep  deposits   belonging to another   man,  or why  men  should not become  Thrasymachean tyrants.   Book 1 is a politically subversive book: belief in the old Cephalean gods has been removed and nothing has replaced it. In the following books  of the Republic, Socrates hopes to teach  Adeimantus  and  Glaucon (Plato'S  brothers,  who  have  been disturbed by Thrasymachus's  argument) that  it is better  to be than  to seem  good,  that  is, it is better  to be a philosopher  than  a clever  and wealthy  tyrant.

Book 1 of the Republic began  with  Cephalus's  (mistaken but service­ able) argument  that  men  should  be "just."   His argument  was  based on  tales  about  punishment  in Hades.   Book 2 begins  with  a tale  in­ tended   not  to  make  men  just  but  rather   to demonstrate  (as  would Thrasymachus) that  men  are and  should  be unjust.   This tale has  the effect of removing ("in thought"  only,  Rep. 359 b) the threat  that  men will be punished  for wrong-doing.  The tale gives to, or deposits  with, a man  a hypothetical power  almost  as great  as that  of the  Helmet  of Hades   (Rep. 612b).  This  helmet   renders   the  wearer   invisible to  the

32.  Philosophy  and  money-getting  confront   each  other  throughout   Plato's   works. Plato  writes  typically: "From   the  moral  standpoint,   it is not  the  right  method   to ex­ change  one degree  of pleasure  or pain  or fear for another,   like coins of different  values. There  is only one currency  for which  all these  tokens  of ours  should  be exchanged, and that  is wisdom"    (Phd. 69a).  In  the  Laws (913 ff.),  he  compares  justice  in  the  soul  to money  in the purse.  Thomas  Aquinas,  interpreting  Aristotle's Politics, suggests   that the Platonic  and  Aristotelian  argument  about   the  architectonic characters  of money   and philosophy   holds    true   in   the   [udaeo-Christian    religion.    "Money,"   he   reads   in Ecclesiastes (10:19), "answers   for everything"  (Thomas  Aquinas,   "Commentary  on the Politics  of Aristotle,"  trans.   Ernest  L. Fortin,   para.   86). The  preacher   also  said,  "The protection  of wisdom   is like the protection  of money"   (Ecclesiastes 7:12).

gods  and  so ensures  him protection from punishment  in Hades  simi­ lar to the  protection that Cephalus   believed  money  made  available  to him.  The  Helmet   of Hades,   like  money,   can  make  wrong-doers  in­ visible  to a vengeful  Hades.   Glaucon  wonders   whether   or not such  a power,   if it did  exist,  might  justify  or make  inevitable a decision  to become  tyrannical. Fence-sitting between  the love of wisdom (Philosophia)  and  the  love  of profit  (philokerdeia),  he  tells  the  tale  of Gyges  (for which  he  disclaims authorshipr.P   This  tale  provides   the stimulus   needed   for  further   exploration  of problems   introduced  in book  1.
Glaucon  beings  the  tale  with  a hypothesis:

That  those  who  practice  [justice]  do  so unwillingly  and  from  want  of power  to commit  injustice-we    shall be most  likely to apprehend   that if we entertain   some  such  supposition  as this  in thought:   if we  grant  to each,  the  just  and  the  unjust,   license  and  power   to  do  whatever   he pleases,  and  then  accompany them  in imagination and  see whither   his desire  will conduct   each,  we should  then  catch the just  man  in the very act of resorting   to the same  conduct   as the  unjust  man  because   of the self-advantage  which  every  creature   by its nature  (Physis) pursues   as a good,  while  by the  convention of laws  (nomos) it is forcibly  diverted   to paying  honour   to  "equality."   (Rep. 359b-c)

The  hypothetical  grant  of such  a power   has  the  limited   purpose   of catching  men  and  enabling  us to see them  as they  truly  are,  or at least as they would  be if all restraints   from the nomoi were  removed.   In this sense,  we  see men  morally  naked.  The tale gives us the  same  power, in  relation   to those  who  have  the  power   of which   Glaucon   speaks, that  Herodotus's   Gyges   had  in  relation   to  the  king  and   queen   of Lydia.  Glaucon   grants   the  license  to  the  supposedly  historical   per­ sonality  Gyges.  Such  a license,  he  says,  "would   be most  nearly  such as would  result  from  supposing  a man  to have  the  power  which  men say once came to (the ancestor  of) Gyges  the Lydian"  (Rep. 359c-d).34
The  power   is that  of invisibility. By being  granted   the  power   of in­ visibility, and  hence  the  power   to  do  evil  without   harm  to his  own person  andior  reputation,  a man  is supposedly  made  free of all social restraints   and  able  to  do  (without   fear  of punishment)  anything   he wants.  This  makes  him morally  visible  to those  who  hypothesize  his existence. He  is on  the  same  level  as the  souls,  stripped   and  naked,

33.  The Hipparchus  (which was  probably not  written by Plato)  is about   the  tension between philosophia and  philokerdeia.
34.  Glaucon refers  to an ancestor of Gyges  rather  than  to Gyges  himself. There  may be  an  error  in  the  text  (as  some  have  argued)  or  there  may  have  been   an  ancient controversy about  the  name  that  has been  lost  to us.

brought  before  Zeus  on  the  day  of judgment.  In  this  tale,  Gyges, invisible to  his  felJow  Lydians, will  be  morally naked   (or  perfectly visible) to us,  who  see him acting  out  his intentions.t"  We will be able to judge  his justice  and  his happiness.
Gyges  in  Claucon's  tale  is not  an  aristocrat (as in  the  versions of
Herodotus  and  Xanthos), but  a shepherd:  'They   relate  that  he was  a shepherd  in the  service  of the  ruler  at that  time  in  Lydia....  "  (Rep.
359d).  Why  does   Plato  make  Gyges   a  shepherd?  In  book  1 of the Republic, the shepherd is an archetype of the ruler  as well as the ruled. A  shepherd  "rules"    his  sheep   and   is "ruled"    by  his  king.  He  is  a king-in-training,  who  serves  a king.  A shepherd  who  is essentially a wage  earner,  said  Socrates, will serve  neither  his sheep  nor  his mas­ ter, but only himself. We wonder   whether Gyges,  if given  the oppor­ tunity,   will remain   a shepherd  or become a pure  wage  earner.
The rise to power  of Plato's  Gyges  begins  when  he sees something.

After a great  deluge  of rain and  an earthquake,  the ground   opened  and a chasm  appeared    in the  place  where   he was  pasturing;  and  they  say that  he  went  down  and  wandered  into  the  chasm;  and  the  story  goes that he beheld  other  marvels  there  and  a hollow bronze  horse  with  little doors,  and  that  he peeped  in and  saw  a corpse  within,   as it seemed,   of more  than   mortal   stature,   and   that  there  was  nothing   else  (aUo men Duden) but  a gold  ring  on its hand,   which  he  took  off and  went  forth. (Rep. 359d-€)

Gyges  is  said  to  see  (idein) several   things   in  the  cave,  including  a corpse,  apparently larger than  an ordinary man,  wearing a ring. 36  Alia men auden implies  both  that  Gyges  saw  nothing else,  and  that  there was  nothing  else  upon   the  corpse,   so  that   Gyges   saw  the  corpse naked.   Seeing  naked  a man  who  is larger  than  life is (as the  Lydians might  say about  seeing  a naked  queen)  a hubristic step  toward  becom­ ing  an isoiheos. 37   Gyges  takes  the  initiative to steal  the  ring  from  the finger  of  the  corpse.P"  He  is  no  apparently  fearful   pawn,    as  was Herodotus's  Gyges,  who  acted  almost  unwillingly. Plato's  Gyges  de-

35.  Eva Brann,  Agon 1, no.  1, p.  6. Cf. Gorgias 523c.
36.  Some  things  seen,  which  I do not  here  discuss,  include  the  horse,  which  Pierre Maxime  Schuhl  (La Fabulation platonicienne [Paris,  1968], pp.  66 ff.) links  to the story  of the  Trojan  horse  in Homer.   The  art  of hollow-casting   (by which   alone  such  a statue could  have been  constructed)   was founded   in Sames,  an island  neighbor   of Lydia and home  of Polycrates   (who  tried  unsuccessfully   to rid  himself  of a ring).
37.  The concept   of isotheos (the  one  who  is equal  to the  gods  or godlike)   plays  an
important    role  in  the  Republic (e.g.,   568a-b).   Compare   Gorgias (509a)  to  Glaucon's description   of Gyges.
38.  This ring  of Gyges  was famous  throughout    antiquity.   See Suidas' Lexicon (ed. G.
Bernhardy   [Halle,  1853]) on Gyges'  ring.

cides of his own  accord  to take the illegal step that changes  the course of Lydian  history.  Herodotean  Gyges'  violation  of the law began  with stealing  a sight  of Candaules'  queen.  Platonic  Gyges'  violation  begins with  stealing  the  ring  from  the  king.  (According to Greek  and  other law,  all buried  treasure  belongs  to the  king of the land  and  not to him who  may  discover  it.)39
Some  time  after  this  theft,  Gyges  and  the  other  shepherds  met  to consider   their  monthly   reports   to  the  king  about  the  flocks.  Gyges comes  wearing   the  ring.

As he sat there  it chanced that  he turned   the  collet of the  ring  towards himself, towards the  inner  part  of his hand,   and  when  this  took  place they  say that he became invisible (aphanes) to those  who  sat by him and spoke  of him  as absent;  and  that  he was  amazed, and  again  fumbling with   the   ring,   turned    the   collet   outwards   and   so  became  visible (phaneros). On  noting   this  he  experimented  with  the  ring  to  see  if it possessed this virtue  and  he found  the result  to be that  when  he turned the collet inwards he became invisible and  when  outwards visible.  (Rep.

The ring makes  the  wearer  visible  or invisible.  Invisibility enables  the wearer  to become  a perfect  spy,  making  others  visible  and  thus  vul­ nerable   to him.  This  power  and  the  description  of it in terms  of the opposition  between   the aphanes  and  the phaneron  provide   us  (as we shall  see in the  following section)  with  important  clues  to the  social character   of the  license  that  Claucon's  tale  grants  to Cyges."?
Herodotean  Gyges  became  unjust  when  he saw  that  which  should have  remained   invisible.:" Platonic  Gyges,  after his theft  of the ring, is enabled   by  its  powers   to act even  more  unjustly.   The  ring  helps Gyges  to precipitate a revolution in the  state  and  in the  household  of the king.  "Learning that  the ring made  him invisible,  he immediately contrived to be one  of the messengers  of the king.  When  he arrived, he  committed adultery   with  the  king's  wife  and,  along  with  her,  set upon   the  king  and  killed  him.  And  so he  took  over  the  rule"  (Rep.

39. Blackstone's Commentaries, W. D. 1. Lewis,  ed.  (Philadelphia, 1898), bk.  1, ch. 8, pt.  3, sect.  9, "[Treasure] found  hidden  in the  earth  ...   belongs  to the king."   Cf. Plato (Leg., 913a ff.): "Take  not up what you  laid not down."   Plato would  guard  against  men stealing  treasures that  neither  they nor their  ancestors deposited. Wardens in the agora guard  against  such  Gygean  thieves.
40.  Herodotus  does  not  use the words  aphanes and phaneros in his tale of Gyges.  As
we  shall  see,  Plato  is  pursuing  a  different  tack  in  the  exploration  of  visibility and invisibility.
41.  Benardete, Herodotean Inquiries, p.  26.

360a).  Gyges   the  "ringleader"42 overcomes or  seizes  control  of  the nomos. He  even  has  the  economic power   "to  take  what   he  wishes from the market-place," "to enter into houses  (oikiai) and lie with whomsoever he chooses," and  "to  slay and loose  from bonds  whom­ soever he would"  (Rep. 360b). He has the power  to seem to be good and to keep  his  wickedness hidden.
Why  not  become  a Gygean   tyrant?   Herodotus's  account   gives  an
answer    in   the   form   of  an   oracular    history   whereby   Croesus   is punished  for the crime  of his ancestor. This punishment  is paralleled in  Plato's   account   by  the  fine  philosophic  argument  of  Socrates in which  it is almost  proven  that the tyrant  Gyges  is neither  enviable nor happy.  In this argument (which  we shall interpret in the  section  enti­ tled "Plato  and  the Money  Form"),   Socrates opposes   tyranny   (which motivated  Gyges)   to  the   love   of  wisdom    (which   motivates  the philosopher) and concludes that  Gyges,  even if he had  not only a ring to make  him  invisible to men  but  also a Helmet   of Hades  (Haides) to make  him  invisible to the gods,  could  not be happy  or enviable: "We have  met  all the ...   demands  of the  argument  and  we  have  not  in­ voked  the  rewards   and  reputes   of justice  as you  said  [the poets]  do, but we have  proved  that justice  in itself is the best thing  for the soul in itself, and  that  the soul ought  to do justice  whether  it possess  the ring of Gyges  or not,  or the  Helmet  of Hades   to boot"  (Rep. 612b). Here Socrates answers   Glaucon's questions about  whether   any man would be  happy   to  have   the  ring  of  Gyges   and   whether    all  men  would inevitably be corrupted by it. The philosophical trial of Gyges,  during which   he  has   been   made   truly   visible   to  us,   is  supposed   to  be ended.v'
The  conclusion  that  the  ring  of  Gyges  is finally  a bad  thing  and ought    (if   found)    to  be   thrown    away   influenced   many   political philosophers  after  Plato.v'  The  ring  of Gyges  is a hypothesis  that  is

42.  "Ringleader"  is the  Anglo-Saxon term  for kings  who  ruled  by virtue  of rings. Rings  have  often  been  associated with  seizures   of power.   See  William  Jones,  Finger­ Ring Lore (London,   1877); and  Carl  Heinz  Klosterhalfen,  Ringe und Kreise; Macht und Magie (Emsdetten,  1967).
43.  In a court case (significantly, about  bank  deposits), Isocrates  writes:  "Judges,   pay attention   to  my  arguments!  I  shall  render   the  dishonesty  of  the  defendant   visible (phanera) to you"  (Discours, ed. and trans.  G. Mathieu  and  Emile Bremond  [Paris,  19281, no.  17). It is the  goal  of thought   to make  men  such  as Gyges  visible  to mankind.
44.  In Les Reveries du promeneur solitaire (in Oeuvres completes de Jean-JacquesRousseau, 4
vols.  [Paris,  1959-1) Rousseau hypothesizes  that  he is offered  the  ring of Gyges,  which makes  a man  invisible  as a god:  "Si j'eusse  ete invisible  et tout-puissant  comme  Dieu, j'aurois   ete  bienfaisant  et  bon  comme   lui.   C'est   la  force  et  la  liberte   qui  font  les

discarded in the  philosophical course  of the Republic.  Though   philos­ ophy  seems  thus  to escape  the  power   of the  ring,  we  shall  see that particular  powers   of  the   ring  are  actually   internalized  in  Socratic thought   and  philosophy itself.


The Herodotean  and Platonic  versions  of Gyges'  rise to power  both assign  the  ability  to make  things  visible  or invisible a crucial  role.  In Greek  thought   in  general,   the  concepts  of visibility and  invisibility involve  definitions  of political  orders   (tyranny,  for  example) and  of economic forms  (money   and  real  estate,   for example) upon   which political  orders   are  often  founded.  We shall  see  that  in  the  Platonic account   of the  accession of Gyges,   the  particular  opposition  of the invisible  (to  aphanes) to  the  visible   (to phaneron)   (Rep.   35ge-360a) suggests  an  interpretation  of the  story  and  of  the  Republic  itself  in political  and  economic terms.

Invisibility  and  Tyranny

Several  ancient  critics tried  to interpret  the tales of Gyges  by focus­ ing  on  the  problem   of vision.   Tzetzes   notes  that  the  queen   (in the version  by Herodotus)  was  successful in making  Gyges  invisible. He suggests  that  she  was  actually  the  owner   of the  magic  ring  (which appears  only in Plato) and  that  she  gave it to Gyges.45  That  the queen could  see Gyges  in the bedroom indicates that she possessed not only a power  to make  things  invisible but  also  a corresponding  power  (as invisible spy)  to  make  visible  to herself  things  that  were  invisible to other  people.   Ptolemaeus Chennus  writes  that  the  eyes  of "the  wife of [C]andaules ...   had  double  pupils,   and  she  was  extremely sharp-

excellens hommes ....    Si j'eusse   ete  possesseur  de  l'anneau    de  Gyges,   il m'eut   tiree de  la dependance  des  hommes  et  les eut  mis  dans   la  mienne"  (1: 1057).  Rousseau pretends   for  a  moment    that  such   a  power   would   enable   him  to  see  men   as  they are-"[voirJ   les hommes  tels qu'Ils  sont."   The  ring,  in fact,  would  seem  to grant  him the  power  to accomplish the goal  that  he  sets  himself  (1: 1047). Rousseau recognizes. however, that  the ring  is necessarily corrupting,  even  to a social utopian.   "Celui  que  sa puissance met au dessus  de l'homrne doit  etre  au dessus  des  foiblesses de  I'humarute.
sans  quoi cet exces de force ne servira  qu' a Ie mettre  en effet au dessous  des  autres  et de
ce qu'il  eut ete lui-rnerne s'il fut reste  leur egal."  Rousseau would  throwaway  the ring of  Gyges:   "Tout   bien  considere,  je  crois  que  je  ferai  mieux  de  jetter   mon  anneau magique avant  qu'il  m'ait  fait faire quelque   sotise"   (1: 1058).
45.  Johannes Tzetzes,  Chiliades 1: 162 if.  and  7: 195 if. (cited  by Page,  Greek Tragedy,

sighted,   being   the  possessor  of the  dragon-stone.   This  is how  she came  to see  Gyges  as  he  passed   through   the  door."46  The  dragon­ stone  has  an  opposite   effect  from  the  magic  ring.   In  one  case  the talisman   makes  people  invisible;  in  the  other  case,  it makes  people visible:  taken  together,   their  power  makes  things  visible  or invisible. This  is the  power   of Platonic  Gyges.   It is also  the  power   of the  ar­ chetypal   tyrant.
Aristotle  describes  two methods,   in polar  opposition to each other,
by which  a tyrant  seizes  and  maintains  power.  The first method  is to ensure   that   the  people   of  his  city  always   be  visible  (phaneroi, Pol.
1313b7)to him,  by the use of spies  and  rules  against  secret  meetings. (This  is the  method   employed  by  the  bureaucratic  Deioces  and  by Candaules'  queen  in the account  of Ptolernaeus.) The second  method of gaining  tyrannical sway  is for the  tyrant  to make  himself  invisible to the  people.   They  are thus  unable  to see his true  nature,   and  think (like Deioces'   former   associates) that  the  tyrant   is  something  other than  what  he  really  is. The  tyrant   acts  the  part  of a good  king  (Pol.
1314b}:47he pretends   that  he is an honest  businessman  (like the albeit sincere  Cephalus   of Plato's  tale) or an economic steward   of the  state. To this end  the  tyrant  renders   accounts  of receipts  and  expenditures, adorns  the  city as if he were  a trustee   and  not a tyrant,   and  behaves "as  if he were  a guardian   of a public  fund  and  not  a private  estate" (Pol. 1314b). "It is necessary to appear   (phainesthai) to the  subjects  to be  not  a  tyrannical  ruler  but  a  steward   and  royal  governor"  (Pol.
1314b42). The  tyrant   makes  others   visible  to him  and  is himself  in­
visible  to them.

Invisibility  and Economic Transactions

Visibility and   invisibility are  associated  by  some   Greek   thinkers with  something at times believed  to be more  insidious  than  tyranny­ namely,   money.  The  tyrant  depends   upon  money  for his material  or economic base,  and  it is money  that  precipitated  in the  Greek  world changes  in the organization and  understanding  of visible and  invisible estates.   The distinction between   visible  and  invisible  things  in Greek thought   includes  the opposition  of ousia phanera (visible substance) to ouisa aphanes (invisible substance). Greek  economic theory  and practice suggests  two meanings of this opposition.  One meaning  involves  wit-

46.  Ptolemaeus  Chennus,  NI?W History,  cited  by  Page  (Greek Tragedy,  p.  19),  who refers  to Photius,   Bibliotheca 150 B 19.
47.  For Aristotle, tyranny   is a deviation from,  or perversion of, monarchy (Pol. 3.5.4
and  5.8.3).

nesses:  ousia phanera is property   whose  transfer   was  seen  by others, and ousia aphanes is property   whose  transfer  was not seen.  (In a visible transfer,  the buyer  and seller might exchange  a symbolic deposit  not as part of the purchase  price but as a visible sign of their agreement.)   The second  meaning   of the  opposition   involves  money:  ousia phanera is a nonmonetary  commodity  (such as land or "real"  estate)  andousia  apha­ nis is money  (such as a coin). These  two meanings   ofousia  phanera and ousia aphanes are not mutually  exclusive.  For the sake of a simple  expo­ sition,  however,   we  shall  discuss  them  separately.

Ousia  Aphanes   as Money
The argument   that ousia aphanes is coined  money  has been  put  for­ ward   by  P.  M.  Schuhl:   "La  langue   grecque  ...    oppose   la  fortune visible,  c'est-a-dire   mobiliere  (ousia aphanes) aux richesses  manifestes, c'est-a-dire    immobilieres  (ousia phanera) aux  biens   fonds."48   Louis Gernet   also  argues   that  money   is  usually   "le  type  des  biens  'non­ visibles.'  "49 Although   he  recognizes   certain  problems   with  this  in­ terpretation,     he  concludes   nevertheless    that  the  distinction    is  one between   fiduciary   and  real  estate   values.   "Entre   une   propriete   au sens   vraiment    'patrimonial'     et   une   propriete    au   sens   purement economique,  iln'y  a pas commune   mesure  ....   11Y a ...   une  antithese majeure  ...   entre   les biens  qu'on   apprehende    materiellement   et  les creances  de tous ordres.v"?  This distinction   between  ousia aphanes and ousia phanera suggests  that  the ring  of invisibility  in Plato's  tale grants to its possessor   a monetary   science  or license.  Though   the  distinction is overly  simple,   it does  help  to  explain   why  certain   thinkers   have intuited   that  the  real source  of the  Platonic  Gyges'  power  was  a "sci­ ence  economique.">'

Ousia  Aphanes   as Property  Transferred without Witnesses
Before  the  invention   of money  in  archaic  Greece,   contracts   of ex­ change    required    witnesses    and/or    visible   symbola. Symbola were pledges,   pawns,   or covenants   from  an earlier  understanding   to bring

48.  P. M. Schuhl,  "Adela," Annales publiees par la Faculte des Lettres de Toulouse. Homo, Etudes philosophiques, 1: 86-93,  esp.  n. 2.
49.  Louis  Gernet,   "Choses   visibles  et choses  invisibles." in Anthropologie de la Grece
antique (Paris,  1968), p. 408.
50.  Gernet,   "Choses   visibles," p. 411.
51.  Rader,  Lydie,  pp.  155 ff. Cf.  Ure,  Origin of Tyranny,  p.  26. On  money   as ousia aphunes,  see  also  A.  R. W. Harrison,  The Law of Athens  (Oxford, 1968), vol.  1; and  J. Walter  Jones,  The Law and Legal Theory of the Greeks (Oxford, 1956), esp.  pp.  217, 219,
230. For  "money   in the  bank"  as ousia phanera, see Isocrates, Discourse no.  17, para.
7 n.

together  a part  of something that had  been  divided  specifically for the purpose   of later  comparison. 52    "Some   small  article,  such  as  a ring (sphragis), sufficiently specific to relate  back to the original  pact,"  was exchanged as a token  of the  agreement. 53In  many  Greek  contracts, such  as that  of bank  deposition,  the  symbolon was  essential:

The deposit   was  shown  to the  depositor   only  or to his  agents,   if they expressed  this  wish,  and  to  nobody   else.  The  agents   had  to  show  a symbolon, a means  of recognition ....    The most  usual  symbolon was  the signet  ring  which   had  been   used   to  seal  the  deposit.   However,  the depositor  could  instead  take one half of a broken  coin or of a clay token with  him  while  the  other  half  was  kept  in  the  temple   or  the  bank  to prove  his  identity   by joining  the  two  fragments. 54

A coin  could  be  a symbolon.  Indeed,   symbola were  often  "halves   or corresponding  pieces  of  [a bone   or]  a  coin,  which   the  contracting parties  broke  between   them,  each  keeping  one  piece."55 As a symbo­ lon,  the  broken   coin  did  not  function   as  money,   which   derives  its worth   from  the  material   of  which   it  is  made   or  which   transactors suppose  that it represents. Not itself one of the goods  transferred,  the coin  as symbolon  merely   provided  a  necessary  symbol   of  credit   or trust.   After  the  widespread  development  of  coinage,  the  symbolon might  amount   to a substantial portion   of the price,  but  it was  never legally a part  of that  price.56  It was  not  a deposit  (or down-payment) in  our  modern   (Roman) sense  of  the  word,   but  only  a symbol  of a contract. 57
In Roman  law,  cash  exchange and  transfer  of ownership  of prop-

52.  SymboLa means arrae or tesserae hospitales. The etymology  of the Greekarrabon  is the Semitic  word  eravon. The eravon exchanged   between   Judah  and  Tamar  is a signet  ring that  is both  pledge  and  token  of recognition   (Genesis  39). See E. Cassin,  "Syrnboles   de cession  imrnobiliere  dans  l'ancien  droit mesopotarnien,"   L'Annee sociologique (1952), pp.
107-61.  Ludovic  Beauchet  (Histoire du droit priue de La republique aihenienne  [Paris,  1897;
reprint  ed.,  Amsterdam,    1969], pp.  12 ff.) discusses   two ancient  treatises  on the symbo­ Ion or contract:  Lysias, Peri symbolon; and  Philocrates,   Symbolaiou apologia. On contract  in general,  see  Aristotle   (Rhetoric, 1.15.21),  who  conceives  contract   in the  widest  sense.
53. Jones,  Law and Legal Theory, p.  217. Symbola were  often  rings,  but  other  objects were  also used.   Lysias  (19, 25) refers  to a gold  cup.
54.  F. M. Heichelheim,  An  Ancient  Economic History,  trans.  Joyce  Stevens   (Leyden,
1964),2:  76.
55.  Adapted   from  "symbolon,"  H.  G. Liddell   and  Robert  Scott,  A Greek-English Lexi­
con (Oxford,  1940). On  bones  and  coins,  see  note  85.
56.  Jones,  Law and Legal Theory, p. 230.
57.  The  accord  of  two  contractors   was  not  sufficient  to  establish   a contract.   Nuda pactio obligationem non parit (Beauchet,  Histoire du droit priue, p.  17). For this  reason  and others  the  words  contract and  pact are  not  sufficient   to  translate   the  Greek  symbolon (Beauchet,  Histoire du droit priue, pp.  15-16).

erty are separated.  Ownership can be transferred by means  of a "con­ tractual"   obligation or credit  without   exchange of cash  or symbol.  In Greek law, on the other hand,  cash sales and sumboia are the only proofs of exchange or ownership.  "Sale  is for the  Greeks  identical  with  ex­ change  of money   against  goods.   They  cannot   imagine   sale  without payment    of  the  price ....    Transfer   depended   on  payment,    not  on delivery.r '" In archaic  Greek  law,  barter  necessitated payment   in the sight  of witnesses:  "Visibility of the  act is the  decisive  element,   real and  formal at the same time."S9 The symbolon is a kind  of "witness"  to a transaction. 60
Ousia phanera refers,  then,  to "property  which  is in sight  of every­ body  and  cannot  be concealed" or be made  invisible.v' In a monetary econom y,  in visible  exchanges  (of ousia aphanes) are  easily  effected. Not the presence  of money  but rather  the absence  of witness  or symbo­ Ion  makes   such   transactions  "invisible."62  Money,   certainly,    does facilitate contract  without  witness  (or symboIon) and  hence  contributes to  the  development   of  the  importance  of  invisible   property    (ousia aphanes, second  definition), of which  money  (ousia aphanes, first defi­ nition)  is also  one  possible  example.   As money  became  increasingly important,  all symboia became  down-payments;   the  visible  symboion seemed  to become  part  of the  invisible  price.63 Replacing the  archaic

58.  Fritz Pringsheim,  The Greek Law of Sale (Weimar,  1950), pp.  90-91.
59.  Pringsheim,  Greek Law of Sale, p. 68. Cf. Pringsheim's  remark  that  "sale  in Greece means  cash  sale.  Cash  sale is not  a contract,   but  barter"   (p. 98).
60.  Disputes  about  whether   an exchange  has taken  place  are often  resolved  by refer­ ence  to a witness   or a symbolan. Pringsheim  (Greek Law of Sale, p.  190) reminds   us that "in  the  Choephori    of  Aeschylos   Electra  says  that  her  mother   has  sold  her  and  her brother   and  ...   that   she  has  exchanged    Aigisthos   for  them   [v.  132 ff.]." The  theme recurs   in  a  speech   of  Orestes    (v.  915).  "The   popular    feeling   in  Athens,"    writes Pringsheim,  "was  that  without  the receipt  of the price  sale is out  of the question"   (pp.
61.  "The  phaneron  reminds   us  of the  distinction   between  phanera ousia and  aphanes ousia, property   which  is in sight  of everybody   and  can therefore   not be concealed,   and invisible  property.   If the second  category  contains   in the main  debts  the parallel  would
be complete:  in both  cases  there  is a contrast   between   visible  things  and  mere  obliga­
tions"   (Pringsheim,  Greek Law of Sale, p.  69).
62.  "It is not wrong  to translate  phaneron  with  'in cash'  or with  'il recoit de bel et bon argent.'   But  the  main   and  most  simple  meaning   'visible,   manifest'   is better.   Visible money  is given  and  taken.  Of course  it is given  in cash.  But above  all it is visibly given and  taken,  i.e. publicly,  in the presence  of witnesses"   (Pringsheim, Greek Law of Sale, p.
63.  As  money   transactions  became   more  common   in  Greece,   so  too  did  written contracts.   Neither   money  nor  writing  require   witnesses.   Both are "invisible."  Written contracts   (like those   probably  issued   by  Deioces)  could  not  easily  replace   the  Greek preference  for witnesses.   Pringsheim  (Greek Law of Sale, p. 43) writes:  "The  Greeks  had been  a writing  people  since the 9th century.   Nevertheless  for a long time they  preferred

symbolon, money   (like writing) changed  Greek  economy and  culture in ways  difficult for us (who  are now  accustomed to Roman  law and "symbolization")  to  understand.v" It is  certain,   however,  that   the Greeks    (and   especially  the   landed    aristocracy)  feared    the   ousia aphanes. To them,   the development of money  seemed  to threaten not only the material basis of their  wealth  but  also their  mode  of thought.

Invisibility   and the Ring

The ring of Gyges  controls the opposition of visibility to invisibility, which  concerns the  definitions of  tyranny  and  economic exchange, especially during   the transition from barter  to money.   Why  did  Plato choose  a ring  as the talisman of the  person  whose  way of life he tries in the Republic? If Plato did  adopt  the ring  from  previous accounts of the reign of Gyges,  he did  so with  reason.   Rings played  several  roles in the economic development of money  and in the opposition of ousia phanera to ousia aphanes. First,  rings  were  among   the  most  common symbola before  the  introduction of coinage. Second, some  of the  first coins  were  ring-coins.v"   Third,   the  die by which  coins  were  minted was  originally the  seal of the  ring  of the  king  (or sumbolon, as Pliny calls the  royal  seal).66To some  Greeks, a coin  (as money) may  have appeared to play the same role as a symbolon. 67In fact, however, coins

witnessed  oral  transactions  to documents ....    The  preponderance  of witnesses,  espe­ cially in Athens,   may  be attributed  to a predilection for publicity  which  is congenial to the ideas  of the polis. Even private  agreements  have  to be made  publicly." In Athens  it became  common  to commit  the terms of a contract  to a syngraphe only in the second  half of  the  fourth  century   B.C.    (jones,  Law and Legal Theory,  p.  219).  Sometimes  written contract  and  witness   were  combined  (Pringsheim,  Greek Law of Sale, pp.  43-44).  The general  relation  of visible to invisible  changed   with  the introduction of written  contracts as with  the  introduction  of money.
64.  Even the symbolical or contractual significance of dividing  a ring is foreign  to us. Hegel  writes  that  "when   friends   part  and  break  a ring  and  each  keeps  one  piece,  a spectator   sees  nothing   but  the  breaking  of a useful  thing  and  its division  into  useless and  valueless  pieces;  the mystical  aspect  of the pieces  he has failed to grasp"   (G. W. F. Hegel,   "The  Spirit  of Christianity,"  in  Early Theological Writings, trans.   T. M.  Knox, intro.  and  frags.  trans.  Richard  Kroner  [Chicago, 1948; reprint  ed.,  Philadelphia,  1971), p. 249). There  is more  to the  ring  than  the  spectator   sees.
65.  Cf. Charles  Seltmann, Greek Coins: A History of Metallic Currency and Coinagedown to the Fall of the Hellenistic Kingdoms,  2nd  ed.  (London,   1955),  pp.  4-5.  There  is dis­
agreement about  whether   the  first "coins"   were  ring-coins; we  can at least  be certain that  some  rings  were  also pieces  of money.
66.  Pliny,  Naturalis Historia, 33.10.
67.  Some  ancient   coins  were  impressed  with  legends   that  suggest   the  artist  mis­ takenly  believed  that  coins were identical  to the older  symbola. See, for example,  "Tess­ era Fati,"  cited by Stuart  Mosher,  "Coin  Mottoes  and Their  Translation,"  Numismatist, December 1948, p.  818.

36                            THE ECONOMY OF LITERATURE

and  symbola (and  the  economic classes  whose  interests   they  served) were  quite  different. Plato knew  that  the ring  which  once had  served to  symbolize a  peaceful  pact  had   become   a  great   and   dangerous power  affecting both  economic and  verbal  symbolization and  logic.68
We should  not  underestimate  the  significance of the  development  of money  for  the  study   of other  media  of symbolization and  transfer, such  as verbal  metaphor.  Symbolon,  in fact,  meant   not  only  pactual token  but also word:"? and,  as Plato knew,  the development  of money corresponds  to the  development  of a new  way  of speaking.


Logic is  the  money  of mind,  the speculative or thought-value  of man  and nature-their    essence grown totally indifferent to all real determinateness, and hence their  real essence; logic is  alienated thinking,  and  therefore thinking which  abstracts from  nature and from  real man: abstract thinking.   -Marx, "Critique of the Hegelian Dialectic and Philosophy as a Whole"70

The  Sophists

There is a ring of Gyges  secretly  at work within  the minds  of men: it is the  money   of the  mind.   Sometimes  Plato  studies   that  money   by considering his original  metaphor that  the  seal of a ring impresses the waxen  or metallic  minds  of men."!  More  often  he studies   the  money of the mind  directly,  by considering the thought   of the sophists. Plato

68.  Another   reason  for Plato's  choice of a ring as Gyges'  talisman  is that  Plato means to  compare   justice  itself  with  a ring.  In  The  Republic,  Socrates   calls  justice   "a  thing which  rolls"  (Rep. 432d; d. Rep. 479d), and  those  who  seek justice  stand  in a circle (Rep.
69.  Symbolon means   "watch-word"   in Euripides;  it means   "coin"  in Onom.  9. 48 ff. (on Aristotle's  frag.  44) and  Hermippus.  Plato's  Aristophanes  says  that  we are  tallies (symbola) of men  (Symposium 191d and  193a) and  that  it is a priceless  boon  (Symp. 193d) we  ask  of the  gods  when   we  ask  them  to  hold  us  together   again.   On  symbolon as  a metaphor  in  ancient   Greek,   see  j.  Hangard,    Monetaire en daarmee verwante  metaforen (Groningen,  1963), pp.  48 ff. and  73.
70.  In this  sentence   Marx is referring  directly  to the first part  of Hegel's  Enzuklopddie
der philosophischen Wissenschaften im Grundrisse,  which  is devoted   to the  study  of logic. Marx's  suggestion  that  Hegel's   logic,  as  it  appears   there,   is  the  money   of the  mind refers   indirectly   to   the   thought    of   Plato   and   Heraclitus,   although     the   ancient philosophers  lacked  the  Hegelian  perspective  of "Absolute  Knowledge,"  which  Marx (and  in another   sense  Feuerbach) attacked.
71.  Cf. Theaetetus (191-94),  where  the metaphor  is finally discarded  as an unsatisfac­ tory explanation of memory  and false belief; Aristotle,  Interpretation 16a; and below notes BO,95,  and  146.

attacked  sophists   (like Thrasymachus)  because  they  changed   money for  wisdom   (selling  their  wares  and  altering   them  according to  the conditions  of  the   market)   and  because,  like  the  rhetoricians,  they made   convention,   as  exemplified  in  language  and   money,    their universal  measure.V  Gyges  the  tyrant   had  the  power   to  make  the unreal  appear   real.  The sophist,   according to Aristotle, is "one  who makes  money  out  of an apparent  but  unreal  wisdom."?" The  words "make  money"   and  "unreal"   define  the  special  art  of the  sophist   in Greece.  Like the tyrant,  the sophist  is purely  a wage  earner.  74"Soph­ ists are those  who  sell their  wisdom   for money  to anyone  who  wants it."7s  With  irony  Plato  praised  Protagoras,  the  first  to accept  money for teaching, because  Protagoras taught  virtue  (arete) for money,  thus making  money   an  architectonic measure. 76 Sophists made  it appear that wisdom  could  be bought  and  sold or measured by money.   While the Good is the architectonic principle of the true philosopher,  money is that  of the  wage-earning  sophist   who  would  rule  the  world  as  a Gygean  tyrant.
The  sophist   subordinates  wisdom   to money  either  by persuading others  that  persuasion is the only important political  art or by arguing that  rhetoric  or language,  which  he teaches,   is the  master  art.?? The cleverest sophists,  such  as Gorgias, "refused  to be  included among

72. Rep. 337d; d. 336d  ff. Plato  often  suggests   that  the  philospher    alone  is the  ar­ chitectonic  knower   and  that  sophists   are  only  apparent    jacks-of-all-trades,   who  set forth  their  wisdom   just  as moneychangers   set  forth  their  gold  and  who  brag  about works  of their  own  manufacture.  In the Platonic  Lesser Hippies (286b), Socrates  offers as one  example  of such  works  the  ring(s)  of Hippias:   "I  know  in most  arts  you  are  the wisest  (soph6tatos) of men,  as I have  heard  you boasting  in the agora at the tables of the moneychangers,   when   you  were  setting   forth  the  great  and  enviable   stores  of your wisdom,  and  you  said upon  one occasion  all that you had  on your  person  was made  by yourself.   You began  with  your  ring,  which   was of your  own  workmanship,   and  you said  you  could  engrave   rings,  and  you  had  another   seal  that  was  also  of your  own workmanship ....   "
73.  Aristotle,   Nicomachean Ethics 1164a30.
74.  The  sophists   were  among  the  most  highly  paid  of all professional  workers   in Greece.   See  Plato,   Meno  91d,  and   W.  Drumann,    Die Arbeiter  und  Communisten  in Griechenland und  Rom  (Konigsberg,  1860),  esp.   pp.   86 ff.  Cf.  Marcel  Detienne,   Les Maftres de verite dans la Grece archutque (Paris,  1973), esp.  p.  106, n. 4--6.
75.  Xenophon,   Memorabilia  1.6.13.   Cf.   similar   statements    of  Aristophanes   (The Clouds, where   Socrates  seems  to be a sophist)   and  Lucian  (The Sale of Philosophers, in which  philosophers  are  put  on  the  auction   block).
76.  Plato, Protagoras (349a et passim).  See also Meno (91b). "Money,"   says  Lysias,  "is the  glue  of  society"   (K.  J.  Dover,  Lysias and  the Corpus Lysiacum  [Berkeley  and  Los
Angeles,  1968], pp.  28 ff.). Lysias is said  to have  been  the brother  of Polemarchus  and
77.  See W.K.C.  Guthrie,   A History of Greek Philosophy, 4 vols. (Cambridge, 1969). 3:35

38                                                                    THE ECONOMY OF LiTERATURE

the teachers  of arete, [holding] that  rhetoric  is the master-art to which all  others   must   defer."?"  Plato   (and   to  a  lesser   extent   Aristotle) doubted   that language could be architectonic or even  truthful.  79  Plato called  the  sophists   imitators of those  who  know. 80The  sophist,   like Theuth,   the inventor   of writing, 81is interested not in the  original  but only in its tokens.   Critics of the  sophists   often  seized  on their  appar­ ent  belief in the  architectonic nature   and  interchangeability  of verbal and  economic tokens,   and  made  clever  statements  and  jokes  about their  attitude   toward  language and  money:  "It is possible  to stop  the sophist's  tongue   with  a coin  in  his  mouthr"?   "Gold   weighs   more with  men  than  countless words;//83 "Sophists  are  money-coiners  of words.//84 The metaphorical association of money  and  words  is as old as Zeno,  to whom,   however, it seems  to have  posed  no  threat. 85To Plato,  on the other  hand,  the sophists  or "philosophical tyrants  of the

78.  Ibid.,  3:39.
79.  On  the  debate  between   the  sophists  and  Plato about  the nature  of language,  see E. L. Harrison   (Phoenix [1964], pp.  271 H.  on  Gorgias); and  Jacob  Klein  ("Speech,  Its Strength   and  Its Weaknesses,"  College [July 1973]), who  discusses   (p. 4) the  five kinds of word  merchantry  that  play  an important  role in the Sophist (for example,  231d). See Meno 95c and  Grg. 456c--e,460a.
80.  mimetes tau sophou, Soph. 268c. The  mind  of the sophist  is like a lump  of wax or metal  ingot into which  original  impressions are poorly  stamped.   Jacques  Derrida  writes (La Dissemination  [Paris,  1972], p.  121) that  "le  sophiste   vend  donc  les  signes  et  les insignes    de   la  science:   non   pas   la  rnernoire   elle-rnerne  (mneme),   seulement   les monuments  (hypomnemata)  ....   " Socrates  accuses  Hippias  of not employing  his mem­ ory  (368a-d).
81.  On  Theuth   and  writing,   see Phdr.  274.
82.  Cf. Aristophanes, Plutus 379, Peace 645. Victor Ehrenberg (The People of Aristophanes
[New York, 1962],p.  226) notes that it was customary to walk with coins in one's  mouth.
83.  Euripides, Medea 965. Cf. frag. 44. (See Ehrenberg, People of Aristophanes,  p. 226).
84.  Cratinus   226. The phrase   is a comic counterpart  to Agamemnon  437. (See Ehren­
berg,  People of Aristophanes,  p. 234).
85.  "To  those   who  reproached  his  [Zeno's]   incorrect   elocution   he  answered  that well-ordered  discourses  resembled  the  coins  of Alexander which,   although   beautiful and  well stamped,   were  nevertheless  made  of a bad  alloy, and  that  propositions  badly expressed  but  full of reason   resembled  the  Attic  coins  of four  drachmas"   (Diogenes Laertius  7. 18). Cf.  Diogenes Laertius  7. 33, where   it is reported   that  Zeno  said  that there  should  be a coinage  of bones  or stones.   (See The Fragments of Zeno and Cleanthes, ed.  A. C. Pearson   [London,   1891], esp.  frags.  81 and  202.) Zeno  of Elea was  a compa­ triot  of Parmenides  and,   like  him,  originally  a follower   of Pythagoras  (who  minted coins  in Southern   Italy).  Zeno's   comparison  between   words  and  coins  is the  first of many  similar  descriptions  of language.  Lucian,   for  example,   speaks   of debasing   the established "currency"  (nomisma) (Lexiphanes, para.  20); Horace  insists  it is permitted  to issue  "current"   words  (licuit semperque licebit signa tum praesente nota producere nomen, Ars Poetica 58); Juvenal  speaks  at length  of the poet  as "minter"   of money  (moneta) (Satire 7:
54 H.). See J.E.B. Mayor's  note  to Satire 7: 54 H., in his edition  of Juvenal  (Thirteen Satires of Juvenal [Cambridge,  1853]).

world"   did  pose  a profound   threat.   For him,  money  (wage-earning) and  language   (sophistry) were  finally  in necessary   opposition   to the Good  (philosophy),  which  must  overcome  them.  In his critique  of the sophists   and  in  his  own  thought,   therefore,   Plato  purposefully  and critically  internalized   the  money   form.   Indeed,    Plato's   critique   of political,  verbal,  and  economic  tyranny  probes  even  into the theory  of the  Ideas  and  into  the  hypotheses  of the  dialectic.

The Ideas

One  precondition  for the  development  of philosophy  may  be the existence  of an economic  surplus   and  a leisure  class.w  Another   may be a supposedly  natural  tendency   in the  human   mind  (for example, the  inclination   to simplify  and  reduce   the  world  to unity).   In them­ selves,  these  preconditions  cannot  explain  the genesis  of philosophy, since  they  existed   or  are  supposed    to  have  existed   both  in  Greece before  the  development  of philosophy  and  in other  geographic  areas where   that  development  did  not  occur.  The  student   of the  origin  of philosophy,  then,  must  study  not  only  its preconditions  but  also the actual  conditions   under  which  it did  develop.
In   an   ingenious    variation    of  class   analysis,    George   Thomson suggests   that  philosophy  depends   on  the  growth   of a new  class  of merchants   for  whom   objects  were  divested   of their  qualitative   use­ value  and  retained   only  an  abstract   exchange-value.  That  all goods could  be measured   (so to speak)  by one  good  he  supposes   to be not only  a precondition   for  the  development   of  philosophic  modes   of thought   but  also  a  direct  link  between   Being  and  Money,   both  of which  seem  to define  things.  Thomson   argues  that  the  development of a concept   of oneness   (to on) from  multiplicity  (ta onta)  is a direct reflection   of changes   in  the  symbolization  of the  economic   system: "The  ...   One,  together   with  the  later  idea  of 'substance,'   may ...   be described    as  a  reflex  or  projection    of  the   substance    of  exchange value."87  Thomson's  thesis  only  appears   to satisfy  the  requirements of ideological analysis,   which  sometimes   demonstrates  relations   be­ tween  material  and  intellectual conditions.  For many  ancient  Greeks,

86.  Aristotle  himself  argues  that one  of the  social preconditions    for the development of philosophy   is an economic   surplus.   See  George  Thomson,   Studies in Ancient  Greek Society, 2 vols,  (London,   1949-55),2:   175-79; and  Vernant,   "La formation   de la pen see positive  dans  la Crece  archaique,"    p.  297.
87.  Thomson,   Ancient  Greek Society, p.  300-301.  Cf. Kenneth   Burke,  who  discusses money   as  an  agent  of reduction   (A Grammar of Motives  [Berkeley  and  Los  Angeles,
1969], pp.  91-96; d. pp.  503 ff. on metonymy   as reduction)   and  as a substitute   for God
(pp.  108-13; d. pp.  4, 355-56).

money  may indeed  have seemed  to be a logical category  (like an Idea) embracing   all   commodities   within    its   scope.    Thomson's    easy metaphor  between   One  and  Money,   however,   confuses   philosophy with  ordinary   "false  consciousness,"  and  ignores  the  dialectical rela­ tionship   between   philosophy  and  that  from  which  it may  be  said  to arise.s"  Indeed,   Thomson unwittingly  pursues   one  of the  directions suggested by Plato, who had recognized and feared the ideological perceptions  or misperceptions  of monied   man.  For Plato,  money  can appear  to some  men  to be as lofty as the Idea is, but  money  is not  the Idea.  The  good  that  is money  is not  the  Good.
Plato studied  the  "false  consciousness"  in which  money  appears   to
be  that  which   it  is  not.  In  the  monetary  theories   of many   idealist philosophers,  value  is as  radically   separated  from  the  material   (for example,  gold) of money  (a supposed   "symbol") as ideas  are radically separated  from  sensible   things.   Jean-Joseph  Goux  notes  this  partial
error   of  idealist   thought.    "L'illusion  doptique     idealiste   consiste   a
considerer  le monde   visible  et  materiel   comme  le reflet  des  equiva­
lents  generaux,  tan dis que  ce sont  les equivalents  gene raux  qui  for­ ment  le reflet  acheve,   la speculation  focalisee, de  ce  monde   visible multiple   et  differencie.vv? Goux   confuses   simplistic  "optics"    with

88.  Thomson   writes  that  "the  Parmenidean    One  represents    the  earliest  attempt   to formulate   the  idea   of  'substance'  .. "   What   was  the  origin   of  this  conception?     .. Civilised  thought   has  been  dominated   from  the earliest  times  down  to the  present   day by  what  Marx  called  the  fetishism   of commodities,    that  is,  the  'false  consciousness' generated   by the social relations  of commodity   production.    In early  Greek  philosophy we  see  this   'false  consciousness'     gradually    emerging   and   imposing    on  the   world categories  of thought   derived  from commodity   production,    as though   these  categories belonged,   not  to society,  but  to nature"   (Thomson,   Ancient  Greek Society, pp.  300-301; see also p.  315).
Thomson's    ignoring   the  possibility   of a dialectical  relationship    between   philosophy
and  political economy   is merely  the reflection  of Engels'  claim that  "when   men  created money  they  did  not  realize  that  they  were ...   creating   a new  social power  ...   before which  the whole  of society  must  bow"  (F. Engels,  Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State  [London,   1940], quoted   by  Thomson,    ibid.,  p.  196). Vernant   (My the et pensee, esp.  pp.  296-97,  307--8, 311, on  money)   criticizes  Thomson,   but  is not  himself able  to offer a rigorous   analysis  of the  relationship    between   money  and  thought.
89.  Jean-Joseph   Goux,  Economie et symbolique (Paris,  1973), p.  182. Goux  argues  that all idealists  (he believes  Plato  to be one)  share  a theory  of the  arbitrariness   of the sign. "Pour  Platon,   la valeur  est done  radicalernent   separee   de la matiere  monetaire-s-et    le
philosophe   defend  la notion  d'un  arbitraire  de la monnaie.   qui restera  caracteristique,  a
travers  Berkeley  et  Steuart,   de  la tendance    idealiste   en  philo sophie   et  en  economie politique,-tandis     que   Aristote,   tout   en   main tenant   Ie  caractere    legis latif,  'numis­
matique.'    de  la  valeur   monetaire,    attribue    cependant    une   valeur   intrinseque    a  sa matiere   metallique.    On  voit  comment   Ie  reproche   qu'Aristote    fait  a  Platon,   d'avoir

Plato's  theory  of Ideas:  Plato  consciously incorporated such  "optics" into  his  economics and  tried  to  overcome the  mistaken illusions of idealism.  In  the  thought  of  Plato,   the  Idea   (especially that   of  the Good)   plays   a  role  at  once  visible  and   invisible, unreal   and   real. Aware  of the  chimera of the  money   form  and  of the  power   of the Gygean ring  to affect  even  his  own  thought,  Plato  responds  to the terrifying talisman not  with  a simple  wish  that  it  return   whence it carne."? but rather  with  an attempt  to explain  and overcome its power to misinform the  mind.
The  talismanic  ring  of  Gyges,   which   transforms  invisibles  into visibles and  visibles into invisibles, must  have  appeared to many  (for
instance, Thrasymachus or even  Glaucon at the beginning of book 2) to  be  the  only  reality  in  the  world.   Friedrich Engels  suggests  that metallic money  must  have  appeared  to the  Greeks  to be "a  talisman, which  could  at will transform itself into  any  desirable or desired  ob­ ject"  and  in comparison with  which  "all  other  forms  of wealth  were only   simple   appearances."91  Like  Thomson,  Engels   considers  the power   of  money   only   at  the  most   superficial level  of  ideological analysis. There is, however, a sense  in which  money  not only appears to transform but  actually does  transform  the  world.   This  more  sub­ versive  aspect  of the  money  form  is considered by Karl Marx.

Being the  external, common medium and  faculty  for turning   an image into  reality  and  reality  into a mere  image  (a faculty  not  springing from man  as man  or from  human   society  as society), money  transforms the real essential powers   of man  and  nature   into  what  are  merely  abstract conceits and  therefore imperfections-into    tormenting chimeras-just
as  it  transforms real  imperfections  and   chimeras-essential     powers

'separe  les idees:   s'expose fidelernent dans  les conceptions monetaires respectives des deux  philosophes"  (Coux,  Econornie et syrnbolique, p.  183).
Goux  is mistaken in believing that the Platonic  Idea is an arbitrary sign with  no value as commodity. Nevertheless,  he does suggest  interesting correspondences  between  the verbal  and  economic representations  of later  thinkers.  Even  Ezra  Pound   realized  the correspondence  between   economics and  Berkeleyan linguistics. He  wrote   that  "the moment   a man  realizes  that  the  guinea  stamp,   not  the  metal.  is the  essential compo­ nent  of the  coin,  he has  broken  with  all materialist philosophies"  (Hugh  Kenner,   The Pound Era [Berkeley and  Los Angeles, 1971]. p.  412).
90.  See  above,  n.  44. PoIycrates, tyrant   of Samos,   threw  his  royal  signet  ring  (the work  of the famous  sculptor  Theodorus) into  the  sea (Hdt.  3: 39 ff.). C. H. V. Suther­ land (Art in Coinage [New York, 1956], pp.  21-23) interprets this ring as the seal or die of coins.
91.  F.  Engels,   Der Ursprung  der Familie, des Privateigenturns  und des Staats  (Berlin,
1928), p.  173. My translation.

which  are   really impotent,  which  exist   only   in   the   mind   of  the individual-into   real  powers and  faculties.92

Marx's  insight   is crucial  to any  understanding   of the  ring  of Gyges. Lead,  touched   by  Midas,  is changed   alchemically to gold.  Thought and  art,  touched   by  Gyges'  lapis invisibilitatis,  are  changed   into  tor­ menting    chimeras    supporting   that   which   their   uncomprehending creators  would  destroy.   It is this deeper  power  of money  to affect the human   mind  that  Plato  addresses  in his  philosophy.

In the Republic, Plato  tries  to lift the  debate  about  visibles  and  in­ visibles  onto  a supposedly  higher   level  at  which  not  the  tyrant  but rather   the  philosopher  is master.   Between   the  telling  of  Glaucon's version   of  the  tale  of Gyges  (Rep.  359) and  Socrates'   verdict   on  or rejection  of the life of the tyrant  (Rep. 612b) occur arguments in which Cephalean,   Polemarchean,   and   Thrasymachean   economic  theories are  subjected  to  careful  (if indirect)   analysis.   Socrates,   who  has  at­ tacked  the  traditional,  but  mistaken, beliefs  that  make  men  act justly (such  as the  belief  in punishment  in Hades),   wishes  to convince  his listeners  that  they  should  be just  men.  At one  stage  in his argument, Socrates  presents   a metaphysics that  purports   to explain  the  doctrine of the  Ideas.  The  pedagogic devices  that  he uses  to explain  this  doc­ trine  include   the  epistemological divided   line  and  the  political  alle­ gory  of the  cave.
The Ideas  cannot  be separated  from  problems   of visibility. Eide, in
fact,  is cognate  with  idein (to see).  Socrates'   opinion   is that  Ideas  are invisible,   whereas   things   themselves  are  visible:  "And   we  say  that things   are  seen  (horasthai) but  not  intellected  (noeisthai),  while   the Ideas  (eide) are intellected but not seen"  (Rep. 507b). The impossibility of seeing  (idein) Ideas  is the  tropic  center  of the  doctrine  of the Ideas.
Socrates  introduces  the  illustrative metaphor  of the  divided  line in
order  to explain  what  he means  by the  invisible  Idea.  In the  divided line the Ideas  are the highest  objects  of contemplarion.v'  The relation between   eide and  horaton is significant. Although  the  two  words  are grammatically related.?" the eide (the object of the  philosopher's  sight or  intellection)  are  opposed    to  to horaton  (the  object  of  the  sharp-

92.  Karl Marx,  The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts  of 1844, ed.  Dirk J. Struick, trans.  Martin  Milligan  (New  York,  1964), p.  169.
93.  The  diagram   is  adapted   from  Bloom  ("An  Interpretative    Essay,"   p.  464) and describes  Rep. 509 and  534.
94.  Cf. horae, opsomai, eidon, heoraka, opthin.

The intelligible
(to noeton)

Mathematical objects  (ta mathematika)


The  visible
(to horaton)


(Pistis )


Figure 1.    Diagram  of the  Divided  Line

eyed  tyrant's   sight).95 The  tyrant   can  see  to horaton, but  he  cannot see the eide. Only  the  intellect, the  philosophical faculty  or power  of sight, can make theeide  visible.  The intellectual philosopher, therefore, has  a power   like,  but  superior   to,  that  of  the  ring  of  the  spying, tyrannical  Gyges.   The   divided   line   is  a  "put-down"    of  Gygean tyranny.  96
Philosophy  seeks   to  make   the   Idea  visible.   As  the  Herodotean Gyges  is said  to see (idein)the beauty  (eidos) and  shame  (aidos) of the queen,  or as Cephalus's Hades  (Haides) is said to see the corrupt  souls of the  damned,  so,  at a higher   level,  the  philosopher  sees  the  Idea (eidos). The story  of Gyges,  as reported   by Herodotus,  depends   on the

95.  The distinction between  visible and  invisible is similar in other  works  of Plato.  In the Timaeus (52 a-c),  Plato  writes  that  "we  must  acknowledge that  one  kind  of being  is the  form  which   is  always   the  same,   uncreated  and   indestructible,  never   receiving anything into  itself from  without,   nor itself  going  out into any  other,  but  invisible and imperceptible  by  any  sense,   and  of  which   contemplation  is  granted   to  intelligence only."   Plato  divorces  the  things   of the  world   from  the  invisibles.  "The  reality  after which  an image  is moulded does  not belong  to it"  (Ti. 52c) any  more  than  the  die from which  a coin  is cast  belongs   to it. In the  Phaedo (79a), Plato  again  addresses  the  two classes  of things:   "So  you  think  that  we  should   assume   two  classes  of  things,   one visible  and  the  other   invisible ...   the  invisible being  invariable and  the  visible  never being  the  same."   See  also Parmenides (133c ff.)  on visibles  and  invisibles.
96.  At the same  time,  Plato derogates or puts  way down  on the divided  line all Greek
"science"  (dianoia) that  attempts to make  the  invisible visible.  As Schuhl  ("Adela,"  p.
89) writes,  "Toute  la methodologie scientifique est en cause  dans  la maniere   d'aller  du visible a I'invisible."

unnatural   Lydian  nomos  against  nakedness.  Cephalus's    morality  de­ pends   in  part  on  an  equally  conventional  belief  about  Hades.   Plato had  contempt   for  the  (Lydian)  prohibition  against   nakedness?"  and for Cephalus's   fear, examples  of the delusions   from which  men  suffer who  are  bound   to  the  lower  part  of  the  divided   line.  Despite  their serviceable political  functions,   such  nomoi  are those  of blind  men  liv­ ing in the  "cave"  of shadowy   images  and  mistaking   those  images  (to horaton)   for reality  (eide).
Like the  divided   line,  the  allegory  of the  cave  elucidates   the  doc­ trine  of the  Ideas,  setting  that  doctrine  within  a political  context.  The cave  is like human   society,  and  the  sun  (in the  visible  world)  is like the Idea of the Good  (in the intelligible world).  The men  who  sit in the cave  mistake  images  for reality.  They  are  men,  like Herodotus's  Ly­ dians  or Plato's  Cephalus,   who  do not  see things  (even to horaton)  the way  they  are.  In  Socrates'   story  about   the  cave,  one  man  ascends from the cave and  concludes  "that  the  sun is the source  of the seasons and  the years,  and  is the steward  of all things  in the visible  place,  and is in a certain  way the cause of all those  things  he and  his companions had  been  seeing."98  The man  descends   back into the cave and  impru­ dently  reports  what  he has  seen.  His former  associates  judge  that  he is a lunatic  or a dangerous   subverter   of the nomoi.  They would  silence or even kill him (as the Athenians   killed Socrates).  Such is the fate of a potential   philosopher-king.
The allegory  of the  cave repeats  at the  level of to horaton   the  tale of
Gyges.  Gyges  ascends  from  the  chasm  where  he found  the  ring  and comes  to the  court  of Candaules.  This  court,  in which  men  are blind not  only  to  the  eide  but  even  to  Gyges,   is like  the  allegorical  cave. Gyges  does  not  see  the  eide,  but  as  perfect  spy,  he  can  see  and  kill what   his  former   associates   cannot   see  and   kill.  He  is  their   epis­ temological and  political  superior.   Not  telling  the  people  about  what he has seen,  he conquers   them  and  establishes a tyranny.   The tyrant, then,  may  seem  to rise  a little from  the  cave of conventional  opinion and  to see more  than  his fellows.  He lacks  the  intellect,   however,   to see the sunnyeide.     Although   the tyrant  (as perfect  spy) has a power  to

97.  Socrates suggests  that  both  men  and  women   ought  to be naked   (Rep. 457a-b). Benardete (Herodotean Inquiries, p. 12) suggests that clothes  are like the nomoi, since they conceal  from us the  way we are. Plato writes:  "The  women  guardians must  strip,  since they'll  clothe  themselves  in virtue  instead   of robes."   See above,  n.  14.
98.  Socrates says that  "in  the knowable the  last thing  to be seen,  and  with  consider­ able effort,  is the Idea of the Good; but once seen it must  be concluded that  this is in fact the cause of all that  is right  and  fair in everything-in    the visible (horatoi) it gave birth  to light  and  its sovereign; in the intelligible (noetoi), itself sovereign, it provided truth  and intelligence" (Rep. 517c).

see invisibles,  only  the  philosopher    has  the  similar but  loftier  power to see the  sunny  ousia aphanes  itself. 99
Plato's  Republic is a trial intended   in part  to prove  the  superiority   of the  life of the  philosopher    to that  of the  tyrant.   In the  Sophist, Plato seems  to recall  a fragment   of Heraclitus:   "The  hidden   (aphanes) har­ mony   is  superior    to  that  which   is  not  hidden   (phanere)."lOO Plato probably   does  not  mean  to imply  that  ousia aphanes  (as money  or as transaction   without   witnesses)   is better  than ousia phanera (as land,  or as property   transferred   with  witnesses),   although   he might  have con­ sidered   this  meaning.   He  means  only  that  the  eidos (the  Idea  that  is invisible   to all except  the  perfect  philosopher    who  is its  witness)   is better  than  to horaton.  In the Republic  he  describes  philosophy   in ap­ parent   opposition    to economic   tyranny.   The  economics   of visibility and  symbolization,    however,   playa    formal  role  within   the  dialectic

Hypothesis   and Hypothecation

Several critics have noted and most have misunderstood    Plato's comparison   between   the  money  form  and  the Idea.  None  has  noted another   comparison   between   economic  and  intellectual   life to which Plato also tries to direct  the reader's   attention.   Plato suggests   that  the dialectic  is  informed   by  the  act  of  depositing    money   and   drawing interest  on the principal.   A hypothesis   is a logical correspondent    to a hypothec."?'    Not itself subject  to questioning,    it is that  principle  from which  knowledge    can  be  drawn.   The  problem   of deposition    in  the military  and  economic  world,  with  which  the Republic begins,  is thus an  internal   problem   for  philosophy    itself.  The  deposit   or  hypothec

99.  On  the  word  ousia in  Plato,   see  H.  H.  Berger,  Ousia in de dialogen van Plato,
(Leiden,  1961).
100. Heraclitus, frag. 54, in Diels, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker.  In the Sophist (232c),Plato opposes  divine  invisible  things  (aphane) to mere  appearances  (phanera). Cf. Ti. 52a,c. In Ephesian  law "credit"   means  "invisible."  (See the laws of Ephesus  in Inscr. juv. gr., no.
5, 1.42; Gernet,   "Choses   visibles,"   p.  411).
101.  Hypothecation   is  the  act  of  making   a  hypothec.   "Hypothec"   derives   from hypotheke ("deposit,"  "pledge,"   or "mortgage;"  literally  "a putting   down").   According to some  theorists   of Roman  law,  a hypothec   is "an  improper   pledge  ...   of a thing  not delivered,  which  is made  and  perfected  by covenant   onelie"  (William West,  Symbolaeo­ graphy,  which may be termed the Act,  Description, or Image of Instruments,  Exiraiudicial, as Covenants,  Contracts ...    Wills,  etc.  [London,    1592],  para.   18c).  Hence,   a hypothec   is directly  related  to the problem  of symbolization and  deposition. The association of the single  word  hypotheke with  both  economic and  intellectual deposition  is not  unlike  the similar associations of anaireo (in Platonic  and  Aristotelian logic) and aufheben (its Hege­ lian translation  into  German).

about  which  Socrates  spoke  with  Cephalus   and  Polemarchus  in book
1 (e.g.,  Rep. 332a-b)   is  an  original   basis  for  the  hypothesis    about
which  he  speaks  in book  6.
Before he begins  his crucial  discussion   of the  Ideas  in book  6, Soc­ rates  suggests  that  the Idea of the Good  has been deposited   with  him. "I could wish  that  I were  able to pay and  you were  able to receive  [the Good]   itself,   and  not  just  the  interest   (takas), as  is  the  case  now. Anyhow,    receive  this  interest   and  child  of the  Good  itself.  But  be careful  that  I don't  in some way unwillingly deceive  you  in rendering the  account  of the interest  fraudulent"   (Rep. 507a). Socrates  indicates that  he  is  a banker-philosopher,    distributing  takas (interest   or  off­ spring).  In book 1 Socrates  had  argued  that  deposits  of weaponry   and money  should  only be dispensed   with  care.  In the allegory  of the cave he suggested   that  those  who  have  seen  the  sun  should  only  tell their companions  about  it with  prudence,   lest  they  be convicted   of lunacy or treason.   In this  preface  to his telling  about  the divided  line and  the allegory  of the cave,  Socrates  hints  that he will carefully  suit his ability to give  the  truth   to his  companions'  ability  to receive  it.102   Socrates dispenses    the  interest   (takas) of  the  principal   that  is the  Good.   He trusts   that  the  effect  of the  interest   will  be  homogeneous   with  the Good  in  the  same  way  that  a child  (takas) is homogeneous   with  its parent.  103 The divided  line and  the  allegory  of the cave are such  tokoi of the  good.
Dialectic,  the  art  of Socrates,   depends   initially  on  hypothesis    (for example,    the   ring   of   Gyges).    The   dialectician  ultimately    sheds

102.  The  problem   arises  for the  philosopher  as for the  banker   that  it is not  always "just"   to  return   "deposits."   Properly  dispensing   to  others   the  truth   that  has  been deposited  with  oneself   is  the  principal concern   of  the  doctrine   of  the  "economy  of truth."   The lies of the philosopher are partial  of and  partial  to the truth.  The lies of the philosopher-king  serve  the  public  good.  The  lies of the tyrant,  who  may  know  a little more  than  some  other  men  and  who  wishes  to keep  even  this little hidden   from  them, serve  what  he believes  to be his private  good.  Voltaire  and  Cardinal Newman consider Plato  to have  been  a good  economiste or economist (steward) of the  truth.   (See below, Chapter   3.)
103.  On tokos (as interest  and  offspring) see below.  The concept  of offspring plays an important role in the description of the sun  (the counterpart  to the Idea of the Good  in the  allegory  of  the  cave).  Socrates speaks:   "The   sun  is  the  offspring  of  the  good  I mean-an    offspring of the  good  begot  in proportion  with  itself:  as the  good  is in the intelligible region  with  respect  to intelligence and  what  is intellected,  so the  sun  is in the visible region  with  respect  to sight and  what  is seen"  (Rep. SOSc).Sight, as Socrates argues,   depends   on light:  "The  sun  not  only  provides what  is seen  with  the  power  of being  seen,  but  also with  generation,  growth,   and  nourishment  although  it itself isn't generation"  (Rep. S09b).  The  sun,  like  the  Good,   is a kind  of  principal  from  which interest   may  be  drawn.   Glaucon reminds   Socrates later  in  the  dialogue  that  he  still owes  him  what  is due  on  the  father's   narrative.

hypotheses,  which  belong  to the  second-to-highest  level  (dianoia) in the divided  line.  As the interlocutors in book 1question  the justice  of economic deposition,  so the dialectician must  question,   or rather  rise above,  the  (visible)  hypotheses  that  initially  inform  and  generate   his own  arguments.t?'  In ridding   the  dialectician of  hypotheses,   Plato institutes   a new  kind of symbolization, or relation  between  things  and that  which  represents  them  (language or money,   for example). This idealist   symbolization  operates    without    the   supposed     "material" guarantees (or hypothecs) in the bank,  like those  the ironic (and often too-much-credited)   banker   Socrates   tells  his  interlocutors  the  gods have  deposited  invisibly  with  him. lOS
Plato  indicates   that  Socrates   disliked   wage-earning.  His  Socrates does  engage,  however,   in philosophical chrematistics in which  depo­ sit  and  interest   are  important.  Certain   writers  of the  ancient   world actually  accused   him  of engaging   in profiteering.  11Aristoxenus,   the son  of  Spintharus,   says...     that   he  made   money;   he  would   at  all events  invest  sums,  collect the interest  accruing,  and  then,  when  this was  expended,  put  out  the  principal   again."106 Aristoxenus's  state­ ment  may be historically inaccurate; it is not likely that  Socrates  was a wage  earner.    However,  he  did  incorporate  into   his  philosophical method   the  investment  of sums,   the  collection of  interest,   and  the reinvestment of funds.  Socrates,  who  attacked  the sophists,   purpose­ fully internalized  the  money  form  into  his  thought   as  a dialectic  of hypothecations.
Plato  felt the  possible  contradiction  between   Socrates'   reliance  on
hypothesization   and  his  attack  on  money-making.  For  this  reason Plato's  Socrates   appeals   powerfully from  hypothesis  and  dialectic  to the  Ideas,   which   are  supposed    to  rise  above  hypotheses.   Socrates knows,    however,    that   the   ideas   of  most   men   are   pervaded    by money-thinking.  He often  remarks   that  men  divide  wholes  into parts or the Idea  into its genuses  and  species  as if they  were  traders  chang­ ing a coin of large  denomination  into coins of smaller  denominations.

104.  Among   those   who  use  hypotheses  or  visible  forms  (eidt, Rep. SlOd)  are  the mathematicians.
105. Just  as  Socrates  seems  to hope   that   some  men  (for instance,  Cephalus)  will continue to believe  in the customary laws of deposition, so he seems  to hope  that some men  will continue  to  believe  in  (what  the  Greek  rhetoricians  call) "the   hypothetical gods."   Cf. Isocrates,  Discourse no.  17.
106.  Diogenes  Laertius   2.  19-21.   Aristoxenus   was   a  scandalmonger.   Critics   of
philosophers,  however,  have  long  noted   that  the  operations  of the  philosophic mind are not  unlike  those  of money.  Thales,  for example, is often  credited   with  being  both the  first philosopher  (manipulating language in a new  way)  and  a clever  employer of the power  of the economic arra or symbolon (manipulating capital  in a way profitable to himself  and  new  to the  Greeks  of his  native  city).  (See Aristotle, Pol. 12S9a.)

In  the  Platonic   dialogues,   kermatidzein  means   both   "to  make   small change"   and   "to  divide  by  dialectically improper   (and  in  the  later dialogues,   perhaps,   proper)  diairesis. "107One  commentator  notes  that in Platonic  dialectic  "the eidos puts  a seal [-ring] on a class (episphragid­ zesthai), classes  are divided  into small change  (katakermatidzesthai), and each  class  must  take  a certain  impression ....    Because  money  is still money  no matter  what  its value  may  be, it resembles   the  set of eide in their  all being  eide, no matter  how  they  may  differ  in rank."108  Even the way of the Ideas  does not always  lead away from the money  of the mind.  The  internalization  of money-thinking   into  Plato's  thought   fi­ nally  takes  the  form  of a desperate   attempt   to rise  above  monetary hypothecation  and  Gygean   chrematistics.  In the  last  analysis,   how­ ever,  the  vehemence  with  which  Plato  attacked   the  sophists   cannot be separated   from  his awesome  critique  of Socrates  and  his pupils,  of whom   Plato  himself  was  one.  Socratic  thought,   feared  Plato,  is the money  of the  mind.

107.  In the Republic (395b, 525)and  Meno (78b-d,  79a-<:),for example,  Socrates  warns his interIocuters not to divide  the One  as though   it were a coin. Jakob Klein (A Commen­ tary on Plato's Meno [Chapel  Hill, 1965],p.  81) discusses  Socrates'  objection  that  "all that Meno has done  is to break  virtue  into parts,  as if he were changing  a big piece of money into  small  coins."   In the  later  dialogues  (Prm. 142e,  144b, 144e; Statesman 266a; etc.), however,     Socrates    is   silent   about    and    perhaps     resigned    to   the   conflation   of moneychanging  and  dialectical division.   In the Sophist (257c), the  Stranger   states  that "the   nature   of the  other   seems  to  me  to  be  all broken   up  (katakermatisthai) just  like knowledge  (itself)."  In the Timaeus (62 a; d. 58b), Heraclitean fire,  or pyr (which  Hera­ clitus's  Fragment  90 allies with  golden  money  or chrysos), is discussed  in terms  of the power  to divide  (kermatidzein), which  is essential   to Platonic  diairesis.
The  relationship  between   change-making  and  mathematical  division   and  unity  is noted   by  Greek  mathematicians.  They  write,   for  example,   that  one  can  understand units   (or monads)   by  understanding   how  one  can  hypothesize  a drachma   as  being indivisible (i.e.,  as a single member  of the multitude of drachmas) and  as being  divisible (i.e.,  as a coin  [nomismal) (Hero  of Alexander, Opera, W. Schmidt,   L. Nix,  H.  Schone,
and  J. L. Heiberg,  eds.  [Leipzig,  1899-1914], 4: 98, 24-100, 3; discussed by Jakob Klein,
Greek Mathematical Thought and the Origin of Algebra, trans.   Eva  Brann   [Cambridge, Mass.,  1968], p.  41). On  the  relationship  between   money  theory  and  number   theory,
see below,  Chapter   2, note  11.
108.  Seth  Benardete, "Eidos  and  diairesis  in Plato's  Statesman," Philologus 108 (1963):
212. Kenneth   Burke  (Grammar of Motives, p.  94) argues   that  "dialectically,  [money]  is
the 'homogenizing'  principle  that,  in compensating  for heterogeneity,  so permits  much heterogeneity  to arise  without   disaster."   Plato,  however,   does  not  allow  for any  easy substitution  of the  money  form  for the  Idea,  and  Sophocles and  Aristotle   (as we shall see in Chapter  3) consider  monetary homogenization  to be disastrous and disintegrative. Cf. Burke's  consideration  (Rhetoricof Motives, pp.  244 ff.) of "the  Kierkegaardian dialec­ tic"  as "changing  finite  species  into  the  currency   of the  infinite."


We have ...  to consider exchange from a formal point of view; to investigate the change of form or metamorphosis of commodities which effectuates the ...  circu­ lation of matter.  -Marx, Capital

Nietzsche's argument that  the thinking  of early man constituted his price-making derives  some  support   from  the  infinite  generalizability of the concept  of exchange. In ancient  Greek,  for example, ameibo  and allasso  apply  not  only to "the  closure  of a commercial transaction, like barter,   sale,  or  loan  and  to  the  satisfaction of  justice"   but  also  to "physical sequences where  one event  was regularly followed by (and thus  'exchanged  for') its reciprocal. ...   The uniformity of nature  as a whole  could  be  construed  as  a  reciprocity among   its  basic  compo­ nents."  109  Such   a  universal  concept   of  exchange  informed  Anaxi­ mander's  theory  of justice,  in which  "the  underlying  principle is that of an exchange: equal  value  rendered  for value  taken."  110
Plato  questioned  the  various   pre socratic  theories   of exchange and also  the  relevance of theories  of physis to social theory  about  justice. For instance, in the Republic Socrates tries to show  that  indiscriminate exchange of equal  deposits   is not  truly  just.   He  implies   that  much early thought   was like the thought   of Cephalus (which  he condemns), except  that  Cephalus  considered  only  the  commercial aspect  of the theories  of universal exchange and justice.  Plato sought  an Idea above these   physical    theories    and   tried   to  show   the   unimportance   of barter-equality  in  an age  in  which   monetary  exchange was  secretly

109. Gregory   Vlastos,  "Equality   and  Justice  in Early  Greek  Cosmologies,"  Classical Philology 42 (luly  1947): 173-74. Vlastos  includes   several  examples  of these  sequences: "the  cycle  of birth  and  death  ...   waking   and  sleeping  ...   the  succession   of day  and night ...    the  cycle  of  the  seasons  ...    hoofs   that   strike  the  ground   in  turn  ...   land plowed   and  left fallow  in turn ....    Scientific  thought   used  this  pattern   to join  events which  had  either  been  left unconnected  (like evaporation  and  precipitation  ...  ) or else had  not been  clearly  grasped   as strict equations   by the popular   mind  (like breathing   in and  breathing   out ...   or  the  stretching   of  a lyre  string  and  the  vibration   when   re­ leased ...  )."
110.  Ibid.  Simplicius's  version  of Theophrastus's   account  of Anaxirnander's  origina­ tive  substance   includes   this  statement:   "And   the  source  of coming-to-be  for existing things   is that  into  which  destruction,   too,  happens,    'according   to  necessity   (kata to chre6n);' for  they  pay  penalty   and  retribution    (diken kai tisin)  to each  other   for their injustice  (adikias) 'according   to the assessment  of Time (kata ten tau chronou taxin),'  as he [Anaximander[  describes   it in  these   rather   poetical   terms"   (Simplicius,  Phys.  24.13,
trans.   G.  S. Kirk and  J. E. Raven,  The Presocratic Philosophers [Cambridge,  1971], pp.

invading  language   and  thought  itself. The Greek  concept  of exchange includes  not only commercial transactions and physical  sequences but also such transfers   as metaphor  and  dialectic. Aniamoibe, for example, refers to verbal or logical as well as economic exchanges. Plato himself calls  the  dialectic  an antamoibe. A conflict  about  economic exchange usually   produces    (at  least   implicitly)  a  corresponding   discussion about  linguistic  exchanges.
The importance  of metaphorization,  therefore,  must  not  be under­ estimated  when   we  study  those  philosophers  of exchange  who  are also  poetic  seers  (or see-ers).   Metaphor  enables  them  to see. 111  The eye,  says Plato,  must  be turned  tropically in order  to see that  which  is: "The  eye must  be turned  around   from that which  is coming  into being (ta gignomena) together   with  the  whole  soul  until  it is able  to endure looking  at that  which  is (to on) and  the brightest   part  of that  which  is (to on)"  (Rep. 518c).  The  correct  mode  of metaphorization   or  tropic turning,   like the  correct  mode  of physical  and  commercial exchange, was  a key  problem   for early  philosophers. 112
In Plato's  writings,   Heraclitus is as much  the target  of philosophical diatribe  as Gyges  is the target  of political  diatribe.  Gyges  was a master of  monetary  exchange  and  Heraclitus  was  a master   of  the  kind  of linguistic  exchange Plato most  disliked.   The Platonic  attack  on Hera­ clitus  usually  takes  the  form  of mocking  the  Heraclitean  doctrine   of motion   and  exchange.  For  Plato,   all motion   "culminates  in  the ... idea,  which   is  the   highest   object   of  knowledge."   In  grammatical terms,  "this  means  that  the  'ideality'   peculiar  to the  verb  is hardened [by Plato] into a concrete  substantial concept,  whence  it is expected  to satisfy  more  exacting  tests  of intelligibility."113Plato makes  ousia into a substantial concept   that,  he  hopes,   will lift the  philosopher  out  of the  mire  of economic exchange.  What  Plato  dislikes  in  Heraclitus's philosophy  is the  lack of a concept   of metaphysical  stillness  and  of a concept   of  justice   above  the   supposedly   escapable  movements  of cornmodities.t>   Heraclitus  studies   those  changes   that  never  "hard-

111.  Bruno  Snell  (The Discovery of the Mind  [New  York, 1960], pp.  218-9)  maintains that  the  Greeks "discovered"  the  human   mind  by reading it comparatively into  their myths.   Thales' teaching  that  "the   earth   floats  on  water   like  a  log  of  wood"   is the beginning of this  comparative, scientific thinking. The form of such  thought is its true content.
112.  Aristotle  (Rh.  1411b) refers   to   "smart    sayings  derived  from   proportional
metaphor and  expressions which  set things   before  the  eyes"  and  argues   that  "things are  set before  the eyes  by words  that  signify actuality."
113.  Snell,  Discovery of the Mind,  p.  222.
114.  See Cra. (439-40) and  Phd.  (79 ff.).  The Platonic fear  that  wisdom itself  might come  to be  measured  by  commerce is dramatized  in  Lucian's satiric  dialogue Sale of

en."   His  medium   is the  copulative   verb  rather   than  the  substantial noun  ousia. Although   he  was  as much  the  enemy  of money  and  the monied   classes   as  was  Plato,115 Heraclitus   internalized   the  money form into his thought  differently, focusing on metaphorization  and symbolization themselves. If Plato  studies  the metaphor   of still Being, Heraclitus    studies    the  activity   of  metaphorization   itself.   Into   the energetic    metaphorization    of  Heraclitus    (and   into   his   particular metaphors)  are  internalized  formal  metamorphoses   of  thought   as­ sociated  (by him) with the money  form. 116Heraclitus's  thought  is that critical  money   of  the   mind   that   Plato   incorporated   into   his  own thought   and  over  which  he  tried,  unsuccessfully  if not  unwisely,   to leap.

Heraclitus   was a student  of both  economic  exchange  and  language. In Fragment  90 he speaks  of the  money  form  and  its significance as a new  kind  of metaphorization  or exchange.

Philosophers,  in  which   Heraclitus is  set  on  the  auction   block.  No  one,   however,  is willing  to exchange property  for him,  so he  remains   unsold.   (See ameibomena in Sale, sect.  14.)
115.  "May  you  have  plenty  of wealth   (ploutos), you  men  of Ephesus,  in order  that you  may be punished  for your  evil ways"   (Heraclitus, frag.  125).
116.  In  the  Cratulus,   Plato  offers  a  subtle   critique   of  the  thought    of Cratylus  (an
epigone    of  Heraclitus),  in   which   money    and   language  are   compared   implicitly. Cratylus insists  that  "Hermogenes is not the name  of the man  called Hermogenes even if all mankind call [him]  so"  (Cra. 383b). Socrates responds  by hinting  ironically that  his own   knowledge  of  naming   is  inadequate   because   he  could   not  purchase  enough knowledge from a series  of lectures  (given  by Prodicus who  charged  fifty drachmas for his course).  Nevertheless,  he  suggests that  one  reason  for Cratylus's insistence is that Hermogenes seems  unable  to make  money:  Hermogenes  is no  son (genos) of Hermes, the  patron   deity  of traders  and  bankers.
Later in the dialogue Socrates suggests ironically another  reason  for Cratylus' strange insistence:  "Hermes  seems   to  me  to  have   to  do  with   speech;   he  is  an  interpreter (hermeneus) and  a messenger,  is wily and  deceptive in speech,   and  is oratorical" (Cra.
408b). Hermogenes is compared first with  a hermetic banker  and  then  with  a hermetic
speaker.   Socrates implies  that  both  money  and  language must  be considered from the points  of view of nature  and convention. The serious  question of the possibility of true and false names  arises  principally in connection with  Hermogenes: "And  when  anyone says that  our  friend  is Hermogenes,  is he  not  even  speaking falsely?" (Cra.  429c). The apparent possibility of speaking that-which-is-not  presents   Socrates with  an opportu­ nity  to criticize  the  Heraclitean theory  of flux and  to seem  to praise  his own  theory  of still Ideas.  (On Hermes  and his relation  to money  and  language, see H. V. Prott  and W. Kolbe,  Mitteilungen   des  Kaiserlich Deuischen  Archaologischen lnstttuts,   Athenische  Ab­ teilung, Band 27 [19()2],esp. pp.  86 ff.; N.  O. Brown, Hermes the Thief [New York, 1947); and  R. Raingeard, Hermes psychagogue [Rennes, 1934), esp.  pp.  217 ff.).

All  things   are  an  equal  exchange   (antamoibe)  for  fire  and   fire  for  all things,  as goods  ichremata) are for gold  (chrysou) and  gold  for goods. 117

The  metaphors  (or  content)   of the  fragment  are  commercial. More significantly, its  metaphorization  (or form)  is also  commercial. The fragment is not only  about  the exchanges of fire or gold but  also about its  own  exchanges of meanings  or metaphorization.  The  interpreter must  consider the  tropes  of the language of this  fragment,  as Hera­
clitus  elsewhere  considers  the  "tropes"    of  fire  (pyros tropaii.v" To
understand  Heraclitean exchange is to understand  Fragment 90 as a series  of formal  exchanges.
The fragment comprises four metaphors,  two  statements,  and  one simile.  The  metaphors  are:
(a) all things  are  an  exchange for fire
(b) fire is an  exchange for all things (c)  goods  are  an exchange for gold (d) gold  is an  exchange for goods.
Metaphor  is itself  an  exchange. In  each  of the  four  metaphors,  the
relation   between    the  two   terms   is  defined   as  an  exchange.  "Ex­ change"   not  only  expresses  the  relation  between   the  terms  of each metaphor but  also names  the  metaphorization  itself.  As we shall see, the  fragment defines  a kind  of exchange (or metaphor)  that  did  not exist  in the  world  much  before  the  time  of Heraclitus.
There  are  two  statements  in the  fragment:
(1) there   is  an  exchange  of  all  things   for  fire  and  fire  for  all things
(2) there  is an exchange of goods  for  gold  and  gold  for goods. The metaphors  within  each  statement cannot  be separated  from  each other  without  destroying the meaning of the statement or of either  one of its metaphors.  Each statement is composed of two  metaphors  that are  in polar  opposition to each  other.  In  statement  (1), for example, metaphor  (a) and  metaphor (b)  are polar  opposites like the North  and South  Poles and like sale and purchase. The relation  between  the terms of each  metaphor,  moreover, is similar  to  the  relation   between   that metaphor  and  its  polar  opposite.  In  metaphor  (a),  for instance,  "all things"   and  "fire"  depend   on each other  in the same  way as do meta-

117.  Heraclitus, frag.  90, in Heraclitus, the Cosmic Fragments, trans.  G.  S. Kirk (Cam­ bridge,  1952), p. 345. There  is some  dispute  about  whether  exchange is a noun  or verb.  I think  that it does  not make  any difference  for my analysis.  Most  critics (including   Kirk) argue  that  it is a noun.
118.  Heraclitus,  frag.  31.  Cf.  Rep.  400d,  where   Plato  uses  trope with   reference   to language   as well  as fire.

phors  (a) and  (b). Such  metaphorization,  as we shall  see,  is a unique and  decisive  contribution  by Heraclitus to the  history   of thought.
Fragment  90 contains   one  simile,  which  compares  the  two  state­ ments  that  comprise  the four metaphors.  This simile extends  the polar opposition from the physical  or natural  universe,   statement (1), to the social or economic world,  statement (2), or vice versa.  The simile helps, but  is not  necessary,  to explain  the  meaning   of either  statement.
In  Heraclitus's  fragment,  simile  serves  a  different   function   from
metaphor.  Metaphors (a) and  (b)-or    metaphors  (c) and  (d)-are    inter­
dependent,  but  together  they  compose  the independent  statement (1)
-   or statement (2). Each statement is half of the simile that is the whole fragment, but it is a half with a meaning  whole  in itself. The two terms of the  simile  that  compose   the  whole  fragment-statements     (1) and (2}--are  similar,   yet  independent.   The  terms  of  the  metaphors,   on the  other  hand,   are  in polar  opposition  to each  other  and  are  inter­ dependent.
Fragment  67 uses  simile  and  metaphor  in  a similar  way.  Of con­ stancy  and  change  Heraclitus wrote,   "God  is day  and  night,   winter and  summer,   war  and  peace,  satiety  and  want.  But God  undergoes transformations,  just  as ...   x, when   it is mixed  with  a fragrance,  is named  according to the particular savor  [that is introduced  to itJ."119
The substance similar  to God  could  be fire, olive oil, air, gold,  or any pure  substance able to receive  many  bodies.P? Is the substance  itself transformed by the reception? Fragment 67 makes ambiguous whether or not God  is transformed into  the predicate(s) of the first sentence.   It also leaves  unanswered  whether   that  predicate  can be "day"  alone  or "night"   alone,  or only  the opposites "day  and  night"  taken  together. When  God  is transformed  into  the predicate,  moreover,  does  he  re­ main  heterogeneous  or does  he become  homogeneous  with it? Is God immanent in, transcendent  to, or himself  the exchanges of, the predi­ cate? The substance x, to which  Heraclitus refers in Fragment 67, gives a clue not only to the answer  to these  questions but also to their signifi­ cance.   In  the  Timaeus,  Socrates   describes   a  substance-gold-that plays  the  same  role as x. 121 Gold  has  a universal   nature  that,  like the

119. Heraclitus, frag. 67, translation adapted  from Philip Wheelwright, Heraclitus (Princeton,  1959; reprint   ed.,  New  York,  1964),  p.  102.  (The  word   that  signifies the substance similar  to God  is not  extant  in the  text;  it is here  represented  by x.) Similar similes  occur  in frags.  73 and  124.
120.  Wheelwright, Heraclitus, p.  155.
121.  "Suppose  a person   to make  all kinds   of figures  of gold  and  to be  always  re­ modeling each  form  into  all the rest; somebody points  to one of them  and  asks  what  it is.  By far the  safest  answer   is: That  is gold,  and  not  to call ...   the  figures   which  are

sculptor's   metal or the stamper's   wax, can become  something   else and yet  still remain   itself.  Gold  minted   into  a coin,  for example,   is both homogeneous   with  itself  (as gold)  and  heterogeneous   with  itself  (as numismatic   sculpture   or as money).
Fragment  90 demands   an interpretation  of homo-  and heterogeneity in  which  gold  is  considered   as  commodity,    as  coin,  and  finally  as money.  Statement   (2) in Fragment   90 confuses  students   of Heraclitus who do not understand    the relationship   of gold to goods,  or the oppo­ sition of metaphor   (c) to metaphor   (d). G. S. Kirk, for example,  accuses Heraclitus   of an  "unavoidable  looseness   of speech"   in statement   (1) because  Kirk does  not understand    statement   (2). "Fire is said to be an exchange  for 'all things;'  but  fire must  itself be one  constituent   of 'all things,'   if this means  all the individual  things  in the world ....   We can­ not properly  elucidate  this difficulty; but probably  it is simply  due to an unavoidable   looseness   of speech."l22   Kirk's  erroneous   interpretation of the fragment   is itself avoidable.   Fragment   90, in fact, explains  pre­ cisely how fire both  is andis  not one constituent   of "all things"   (that is, how it can be both  homo-  and  heterogeneous  with  "all things").   Gold (the analogue   to fire in the first  statement)   is both  one  constituent   of "goods"    (the  analogue   to  "all  things")   and  not  one  constituent    of "goods."   Insofar  as gold is considered   as a metal,  it is a good  (or com­ modity)   like  all  other   goods.   Insofar   as  it  is  considered    as  coined money,   it is a good  unlike  any  other  goods;  perhaps,    according   to Heraclitus,   it is not a good at all but rather  a mere  token  or measure.  123
Gold is thus  both  a good and  a nongood,   as fire is both a thing  and an

formed  in gold  'these,'   as though   they  had  existence, since  they  are in the  process  of change  while  he  is  making   the  assertion ....    And  the  same  argument  applies   to the universal nature   which  receives  all bodies-that    must  be always  called  the  same,  for inasmuch  as  she  always   receives   all things,   she  never   departs   at  all  from  her  own nature  and  never  ...   assumes  a form like that  of any of the things  which  enter  into her. She  is like wax,  the  natural  recipient of all impressions"  (Plato,  Ti. 50a-b,  52).
122.  Kirk, Heraclitus, p. 348.
123.  Kirk,  Heraclitus,  (pp.  345 ff.)  misunderstands   why  one  side  of  the  exchange
seems  homogeneous  (namely,  gold fire)  and  the  other   side  heterogeneous   (namely, chrematalall things).  He also misunderstands  why "Heraclitus did  not fully integrate his opposite-doctrine  with  his doctrine  of fire,  though   the  two  are connected  by the doc­ trine  of metron"  (p. 348). To understand  properly the doctrine  of measure   in Fragments
29 and 122, it is necessary to understand  the apparent measure  that  is money  and  those fragments in which  metron plays  an implicit  role  (e.g.,  frag.  31, about  pyros tropai and the  measured  divisions  of the  elements).  Heraclitus  closely  associates measure   (e.g. money)  and  that  which  it measures (e.g.  commodity). Citing  E. L. Minar  ("The  Logos of Heraclitus," Classical Philology 34 [1939): 323), Vlastos  writes  that  logos indicates not "computation"  or  "reckoning"  but  rather   "value"   in  the  double   senses   of  "worth" ipleion logos) and  "measure  of worth"   ("Equality and  Justice," pp.  164, 166). (Cf. Ger­ net.  "Choses  visible,"  p. 411.) Harold  Chemiss  ("The  Character of Pre-Socratic Philos-

exchange  for all things.  Gold/fire has at least three ontological statuses: commodity,  coin,  and  money.P"    In  the  fragment,   the  word  chrysos (and in some ways even chrematai suggests  this triple  meaning  of gold! fire.
Antamoibe, about  which  Fragment   90 seems  to revolve,  can signify the monetary   and  the barter  forms  of exchange.   That  the exchange  of meanings   that  constitutes   Fragment   90 is or involves   monetary   ex­ change  can be indicated  by comparing  figures in which  simple barter  is
involved.   Archilochus,  for example,   sometimes   exchanges   meanings
in the same  way  that  goods  are exchanged   in barter.  In one poem,  he uses a surprising   metaphor   (orantamoibe of meaning)  to describe  an ex­ change  (antamoibe ) of qualities  or possessions.

There is nothing  in the world  unexpected,  nothing   to be sworn  impos­ sible nor  yet  marvellous,  now  that  Zeus  the  Father  of  the  Olympians hath  made  night  of noon  by hiding  the light  of the shining  Sun  so that sore fear came upon  mankind.   Henceforth is anything   whatsoever  to be believed  or expected.   Let not one of you marvel,  nay,  though  he see the beasts  of the  field exchange pasture   with  the  dolphins   of the  deep,  and the  roaring   waves  of the  sea  become  dearer   than  the  land  to  such  as loved  the  hil}.l25

The  transformation   of noon  into  night   (by  solar  eclipse)  is like  the exchange  of pasture   for sea.  The land  and  sea animals  exchange  their abodes  (possibly  their  properties)  without   an intervening  third  term or concept  of all things.   Archilochus  barters  without   money.
In Heraclitus's  Fragment  90, one  thing  is not  simply  exchanged   for another   thing;  rather  it is first exchanged   for all things.  The  purpose of  Archilochus's  figurative   exchange   or  metaphor    would   not  have been  furthered   by having  the  animals  re-exchange  their  abodes.   But for  Heraclitus,  the  double  exchange   within   the  statements    of Frag­ ment  90 is necessary.   He considers  exchange  binocularly as one action in which  two  polar  opposite   transferences  occur.  In barter  economy,

ophy."  Journal of the History of Ideas 12 [1951J: 331; cited by Wheelwright, Heraclitus,  p.
122) argues  that  fire in Heraclitus is neither  a mere  symbol  of the universal process  nor a substrate persisting  as identical throughout  its qualitative alterations.  He speaks  of it both  as a token  for exchange, like gold  in trade,   and  as involved in change   itself.
124.  Konrad  Axelos  tHeradite et la philosophie  [Paris,  1968J, p.  94) believes  that  it is
significant that  "l'or  a la couleur  ...   du  feu."   Oswald   Spengler suggests  interestingly that  the abstract  operations of gold as money  are paralleled by its supposedly  abstract color  (The Decline of the West [New  York,  1926], 1:247-49);  see also  Oswald   Spengler, Der Metaphysische Grundgedanke der Herakliiischen Philosophie [Halle,  1904J. Such  specu­ lations  are not necessary to understand  the  form of the fragment or the  significance of
"golden   fire."
125.  Archilochus, frag.  74. Italics  mine.

one actor gives X to a second  actor  and this second  actor gives Y to the first  actor.  Marine   pastures   can  be bartered   for  land  pastures.    In  a barter  economy,   no commodity  (not  even  gold)  attains   the  status  of money.   Heraclitus,  however,   considers   gold  not  only  as commodity but  also as money.   Statement   (2) describes   the  exchange   of gold  for goods  in polar  opposition   to the exchange  of goods  for gold.  He splits the barter  transaction  into  two opposite   operations,  namely,   sale and purchase.     This   split   presupposes    an   intermediating    third    term, money,  which  acts first as agent  of the seller and  then  as agent  of the buyer.   The  first  actor  sells  and  the  second   actor  buys  by  means   of money.  In a money  economy,   one  thing  is not exchanged   directly  for another,  but is first exchanged  for money  which  seems  to represent   or be  all things.   The  form  of monetary   exchange,   then,   is X-Money-Y except  in the  one  case where  Money  and  either  X or Yare  materially identical,  that  is, where  both  the coin and  one of the commodities are made  of gold.
In a monetary   economy  it sometimes   appears   to the actors  that  sale
and  purchase   are  separate  operations.  This appearance  is deceptive, for there  is no  sale without   purchase.   (As we have  seen,  the  Greeks believed  there  was no sale without   payment.   ) This truth  was becom­ ing  invisible   to  the  Greeks   who  were  already   exposed   to  the  new money   form.  X-Money   and  Money-Y   seemed   to be  separate   oper­ ations,   and   an  ideological  fetishization   of  the  money   form   made money  appear   to be a mere  token  or measure.   Heraclitus's  fragment would  explain  the  relation  between   the barter  and  money  forms  and hence  limit the  power  of money  (or Gyges'  ring) to transform   images into  realities  and  realities  into  images.  126
Heraclitus's  interpretation   of  the  money-symbol   considers,    from the   point   of  view   of  the   dialectic    problems    both   of  deposition (hypo thecal   and   hypothetical)   and   of  philosophical   symbolization (whereby   a thing  both  is and  is not  itself).  In Capital,  Karl Marx pre­ sents  a theory  of exchange  similar  to that  which  constitutes   the  con­ tent  and  form  of Heraclitus's  Fragment   90. Studying   the  formal  ex­ change   of commodities  into  use-value    from  nonuse-value   and  into nonuse-value  from  use-value,   Marx  suggests   a Heraclitean  theory  of metaphor   or exchange  of meanings   that  distinguishes  between   gold as mere  commodity  and  gold  as  the  money   form.  In a short  genetic analysis  of the development  of money  from commodity,  for example, Marx refers  implicitly  to the  Heraclitean  analysis.
Commodities,   first of all, enter  into  the process  of exchange  just  as they are. The process  then  differentiates   them  into  commodities   and  money,

126.  See Chapter 1, "The  Ideas."

and  thus  produces an external  opposition corresponding to the internal opposition  inherent   in  them,   as being  at once  use-values  and  values. Commodities as use-values now  stand  opposed   to money  as exchange­ value.  On the other  hand,  both  opposing sides are commodities, unities of use-value and  value.  But this  unity  of differences manifests itself  at two  opposite poles,  and  at each  pole  in  an opposite way.  Being  poles they  are as necessarily opposite as they  are connected. On  the one  side of the  equation we  have  an ordinary commodity,  which  is in reality  a use-value. Its value  is expressed only  ideally  in its price,  by which  it is equated   to  its  opponent,  the  gold,  as  to  the  real  embodiment  of  its value.  On  the  other  hand,  the  gold,  in its metallic  reality,  ranks  as the embodiment  of value,  as money.   Gold,  as  gold,  is exchange-value  it­ self. As to its use-value, that  has only an ideal existence, represented  by the series  of expressions of relative  value  in which  it stands  face to face with  all other  commodities, the  sum  of whose  uses  makes  up  the  sum of the  various   uses  of gold.  These  antagonistic forms  of commodities are  the  real  forms  in which  the  process   of their  exchange moves  and takes  place. 127

Throughout  Capital, Marx  regards   money   as  the  hero  of  a  great historical   drama.   In the  "act"   about   "the   metamorphosis   of  com­ modities,"  for example,   he  describes   the  "scene   of action,   the  mar­ ket,"  in which  "the  exchange becomes  an  accomplished  fact by two metamorphoses   of opposite   yet  supplementary   character-the    con­ version   of the  commodity into  money,   and  the  re-conversion  of the money  into  a commodity.v P" As he suggests  in a footnote,   the act of exchange of which  Marx  here  speaks   elucidates  that  of Heraclitus's Fragment 90.129The  two metamorphoses  are considered  (as by Hera­ clitus) in one  vision,  so that  "the  exchange of commodities is accom­ panied    by   the   following  changes    in   their    form:   Commodity­ Money-Commodity."13o   Marx's  "Money"   is the  combination  of Ml and M2 in the equation  that expresses barter  exchange: X -Ml -M2 -X.  It is the  third  term  in many  theories   of metaphor.

127.  Karl  Marx,  Capital,  ed.  Frederick   Engels,   trans.   Samuel   Moore   and  Edward
Aveling  (New  York,  1967), 1: 104-5.
128.  "Let us now accompany the owner  of some commodity-say,    our old friend  the weaver  of linen-to     the  scene  of action,  the market.  His 20 yards  of linen  has a definite price,  £2. He exchanges  it for the £2, and  then,  like a man of the good  old stamp  that  he is, he parts  with  the £2 for a family Bible of the same  price. The linen,  which  in his eyes is a mere commodity,  a depository   of value,  he alienates  in exchange   for gold,  which  is the  linen's  value-form,  and  this  form he  again  parts  with  for another   commodity,  the Bible, which  is destined   to enter  his house  as an object of utility  and  of edification  to its inmates"   (Marx, Capital, p.  105).
129. lbid., p. 105n. Elsewhere, Marx compares   the Heraclitean act of exchange  to the
act of translation   in  Goethe's   Faust.
130. Ibid.,  p.  105.

Both  Marx  and  Heraclitus focus  on  money  not  as fetishized  form but  as the  activity  of transformation.  In Herr Bastiai-Schulze von De­ litzsch, however,   the  Hegelian  Lassalle  erroneously  interprets  golden money  (in Fragment 90 and  in reality)  to be a mere  symbol  of abstract value.P!  As  Marx  argues,    Lassalle   makes   the   same   error   in  Die Philosophie Herakleiios  des Dunkeln, 132 Hegel  had  offered  an interpreta­ tion  of Heraclitus's  fire as the fundamental  element,   but  he  had  ne­ glected   Fragment  90.133   Relying   on  the  Hegelian   interpretation   of Heraclitean fire,  Lassalle makes  gold a mere  idealist  symbol  of value. "Wenn  Heraklit  das Geld als Tauschmittel zum  Gegensatz aller in den Tausch   kommender  reellen  Producte   machte   und  es an  diesen  erst sein  wirkliches Dasein  haben   lasst,  so ist  also  das  Geld  als  solches nicht  selbst  ein  mit einem  selbstandigen,  stofflichen Werthe  bekleid­ etes Product,   nicht  eine  Waare  neben  andern   Waaren  ...   sondern   es ist  nur  der  idee lIe Reprasentant  der  umlaufenden   reellen  Producte, das  Werthzeichen  derselben,  das  nur  sie bedeutet."134      Lassalle's in­ terpretation  of Heraclitean fire interprets  gold  only  as abstract  mea­ sure in its most  alien form, and  assumes  the idealist  position  whereby money  can be completely separated  from its role as commodity. Las­ salle ignores  the  polar  opposition  of money  and  commodity  that  in-

131. F. Lassalle,  Herr Bastiat-Schulze von Deliizsch, der okonomischeJulian, oder Kapital und Arbeit (Berlin,  1864-67),  p. 222.
132.  Marx,  Capital, pp.  7-8n.,   referring   to F. Lassalle,  Die Philosophie Herakleitos des
Dunkeln (Berlin,  1858), pp.  222-23.
133. Hegel  argues   that  Heraclitean   fire  is a "logical  symbol"   and  suggests   that  the reason  Heraclitus   chose  fire as the fundamental    element   is that  fire (unlike  earth,  air, and  water) is an ideal fluctuating  element  and is, perhaps,   even  fluctuation   itself (G. W. F. Hegel,  Lectures on the History of Philosophy,  ed.  and  trans.   E. S.  Haldane   [London,
1892) 1: 278-97).   Lassalle  applies  this  interpretation   of fire  to Fragment   90. His  easy translation   of chrysos as Geld assumes   that  money  is the ideal,  or abstract  representa­
tive,  of wares.   In  his  history  of philosophy,    Hegel  considered    most  of the  available fragments  of Heraclitus,   the first known  dialectician.   No one fragment,   he claimed,  was omitted.  Hegel did,  however,   omit explicit  consideration  of Fragment   90; perhaps  it did not  suit his interpretation   of the  other  fragments.
134. Lassalle,  Herakleiios, p.  224n.  (cited  in  Marx,  Capital, 1: 105n.).   Lassalle  also
writes:  "Heraklit   beschreibt   in  diesern   Vergleiche   tiefer,  als  es  auf  den  ersten   Blick scheint,  die wirkliche  Function  des Celdes"   (p. 222). Lassalle  offers his own  interpreta­ tion  of the  ideelle Einheii of Geld and  then  continues   to explain  how  gold  represents things.    "Das   Geld   ist  somit   qua   Tauschagent    nur   der   peesonificirte   Werth,   die herausgesetzte   abstracte   Einheit   der   wirklichen    und   als  wirkliche   eine   unendliche Vielheit  von bestimmten   sinnlichen   Dingen  bildenden   Producte  ....    Nach Heraklit  war also alles Geld  nur  dee Gegensatz   und  die  herausgesetzte   ideelle  Einheit  aller Dinge. aller umlaufenden   Producte;   diese ihrerseits   wieder  nur  die dadurch   in die Mannigfal­ tigkeit der sinnlichen   Unterschiede  aufgeloste   Wirklichkeit jener  ideellen  Wertheinheit, des  Geldes"   (p. 223).

forms  Fragment  90,  of which  he  claims  to be  offering  a close  read­
Other  students   of Fragment 90 interpret gold only as material commodity.  They  argue  that  chrysos means   "the   commodity  gold" and   that  chremaia  (which  is  usually   translated  as  "wares,"   "com­ modities,"  or  "goods")  means   "coins."    Ingeniously,  though   incor­ rectly,  they  interpret the exchange of chrysos for chremata either  as the purchase of coins or small change  for gold or as the  minting  of coins. According to  Karl  Gobel,  for  example,  "Einerseits  sind  aile  Dinge Aquivalent  des   Feuers   und   anderseits   Feuer   Aquivalent  fur   alle Dinge,  wie  Waren  fur Gold  und  Gold  fur  Waren.  Vielleicht sind  hier unter  chremata im  Gegensatz zu  den  Goldmtinzen  oder  Goldbarren die  Scheidernunzen  zu verstehen. "136  Gobel  interprets  metaphor  (d) in Fragment 90 as referring to an exchange of small change ("Scheidemunzen")   for gold.  Such  an  exchange occurs  both  at  the agora (where  coins change  hands)  and  at the mint  (where  a gold bar or ingot   "purchases,"   or  is  transformed  into,   gold  coins).   Insofar   as small coins  are themselves commodities,  Gobel's  far-fetched transla­ tion  of chremata  as  "small  change"   is unnecessary  and  misleading. Gobel  focuses  myopically on  only  one  metaphor-(d)-of      Fragment
90,  but  it is  crucial  to  the  articulation  of  Heraclitus's  statement  (2)
about  commerce  that  this  metaphor  have  an  interdependent   polar opposite-(c).    Ignoring  the  dialectical relationship  between   chrysos and  chremaia,  Gobel  misinterprets  Fragment 90. Heraclitus does  not consider  minting   alone,   although  he  does  refer  in  part  to  the  ex­ change   of the  good  that  is gold  for  golden   coins.  In  only  a partial sense,  however,  can Fragment 90 be interpreted  correctly in terms  of the  minting   and  purchase  of coins,   which  do  not  fully  express   the money  form.
In a sentence of the Laws about  exchange in the  marketplace, Plato mimics   unmistakably   the   form   of  statement   (2)  in  Fragment  90. "There  shall be an exchange of coins  (nomisma) for goods  (chrematon) and  goods  for coins,  and  no man  shall  give up  his share  to the other without  receiving its equivalent; and  if any  does  thus  give it up,  as it

135.  Olof  Gigon   (Untersuchungen zu Heraklit [Leipzig,  1935]) argues,   like  Lassalle, that  in Fragment 90 there  is a wholly  abstract   notion  of an invisible  fire hidden   in the appearance of other  forms.  He fails to consider   the  polar  opposition  between   what  is hidden  and what  is not hidden  (frag. 54). The idealist  interpretation  fails to understand the  material  of gold/fire  and  tries  to make  Heraclitus  into  more  of a "Platonist"  than Plato  himself  would   have  allowed.
136.  Karl Gobel,  Die vorsokratischePhilosophie (Bonn,  1910), pp.  49-50.  Gobel  also
writes  that "das Feuer  istauch  die Kraft die diesen  Umtausch durch  sich selbst bewirkt."

were  on credit,  he  shall make  the  best of his bargain,   whether   or not he  recovers  what  is due  to him,  since in such  transactions  he can no longer   sue."I37   By chremata  Plato   means   goods   and   not  coins.P" Money  transactions  pose  a special  threat  to Plato.  He would  carefully enforce  the  rules  of the marketplace so that  what  is due  a person   (by justice  or dike) will not be lost. 139 The lawmaker seems  to agree  with Cephalus   that  purchase   or sale must  be according to the law (kata ton nomon); transactions  must  be scrutinized  by law-wardens  and  agora­ stewards.   Such precautions in the marketplace (where  Socrates  and the moneylenders carry out their  social intercourse and  where  Gyges  was said to have had  special powersj+'? will ensure  that  "no  man shall give up his share to the other without  receiving its equivalent." Although he tries to banish  the problem  of indiscriminately returning   deposits  (both hypothetical  and  hypothecal)  from  his  philosophy,  Plato  seems   to admit  that the  problem  cannot  be abolished from the marketplace. He tries,  therefore,  to control  by law those  Heraclitean exchanges which he dislikes  and  over  which  he fears  that a man like Gyges  might  seize control.
The monetary  form of exchange, which  Plato feared,  informs  many fragments  of Heraclitus.!+'  Of  these,   one  of the  most  telling  is the simple  fragment   that  reads,  "The  way up  and  the  way  down  are one and  the same."142 Heraclitus of Ephesus   refers  not  only to the  trans-

137. Leg. 84ge.
138. In  this   statement   from   the  Laws, chremattm  could   not   mean   Scheidemiinzen (coins).  Aristotle   writes   that  "we  call goods   (chremata) all those  things   of which  the value  is measured  in  money"   (Eth. Nic. 1119.b.26). Vemant   (My the et pensee, p.  310)
insists  that  the  history  of the meaning  of chremaia followed  the  development  of money in the  same  way  that  Thomson insisted   that  Being  or Idea  followed   it.  "C'est   en  un autre  terme  [a term  other  than ousia] que  se reflete  l'effort  d'abstraction  qui se poursuit
it travers  l'experience commerciale et la pratique   monetaire. Ta chremata designe  it la fois les choses,   la realite  en  general   et  les  biens,   specialernent  sous  leur  forme  d'argent liquide."
139. Leg. 84ge.  See n.  39 above.
140.  "He  [a man  such  as  Gyges]  might   with  impunity   take  what  he  wished   even from  the  market-place"  (Rep. 360b).
141. On Fragments  12,29,  31,44,  54, 67, 73, 90, 122, 124, and  125, see above  pages, and  notes  20, 115, 118, 119, 123, and  135. On  Fragment 93 (the  epigraph   to the  Intro­ duction),   see  below.   On  Fragment  22,  see  Ch.  5,  n.  8. Heraclitus  also  writes:  "The phases  of fire are craving  and  satiety"   (frag.  65); "It is hard  to fight  against  impulsive desire,  (for) whatever   it wants  it buys  at the  expense  of soul"  (frag.  85; cited  Aristotle Eth. Nic. 2.3.10); and"   An ass would  prefer  chaff to gold"  (frag.  96; cited  Aristotle  Eth. Nic. 10.5.8). In Fragment  96, Heraclitus suggests   (as does  Aristotle) that  gold as com­ modity  is as useless  to men  as chaff is useful  to donkeys,   but  that  gold as money  is the (human)  "function"  par excellence for men  such  as Midas.
142. Heraclitus,  frag.  60.

formations of fire (pyros tropai) but also to its monetary exchanges (chrysou  antamoibaii.   The way  up and  the  way  down  refer  to sale and purchase. Ephesus, a port on the Mediterranean,  was a trading  center between   Sardis  (the  capital  of Lydia,  where   gold  was  minted)   and major   trading   nations    (such   as  Phoeniciaj.v'?  The   way   to  which Heraclitus refers  is (in part)  a road  like that  between   Sardis  and  its port,  Ephesus.



'---          DOWN      -/

The road  between   Lydia and  Ephesus   was one,  but the goods  moved in  both  directions.  Many  commodities moved  from  Ephesus   to  Sar­ dis. From Sardis  to Ephesus, gold moved.  There  was no movement in one   direction  unless   there   was  also  movement  in  the  other.   One direction  is  the  way  of  sale,  the  other   is  the  way  of  purchase.  In Greek,   "up"   and"   down"   have  meanings  that  substantiate  this  in­ terpretation of the fragment. Kato (down)  refers  to the road  to the sea; ana (up) refers  to the  road  from  the  sea. Ana is used,  for example, by Herodotus  to  mean   the  inland   road  from  the  sea  up  to  Heliopolis (Hdt.  2.8).144
Plato's  Republic begins  with  the  words,   "I went   down   [kateben] to the  Piraeus  [that  is,  along  the  road  from  Athens   to its port  city]."  It

143.  Heraclitus was  acquainted with  a monetary  economy. Ephesus   had  close rela­ tions  with  Lydia  (having   been  conquered  by  the  Mermnadae).  and  the  history   and coins  of Ephesus   bear  testimony  to  the  impact  of the  numismatic  economy.  Certain critics,  however,   argue   that  Ephesus   had  a different   kind  of economy.  For  example, Vernant  writes  that  Fragment 90 "ne  nous  parait  pas  se situer  encore  sur ce plan  d'un rationalisme mercantile"  (My the et pensee, p. 310n). Vernant,   depending  on an  unsub­
stantiated  argument   of Clemence Ramnoux   iHeraclite. au l'homme  entre les chases et les
mots [paris,   1959J,  pp.   404-5),   believes   that   the   Ephesian    economy    was   one   of
"thesaurization:"  thus,  there  exists for Heraclitus a fire in the invisible  state and  a fire in circulation, one corresponding  to gold in coffers  and  the other  to "liquid"   gold. Such an interpretation   fails  to  take  into  consideration   the   dialectical form  of  the  fragment. Another  critic, George  Thomson (Ancient Greek Society, 2: 282), argues  that  Heraclitus's "concept  of a self-regulating cycle of perpetual   transformations  of matter  is the ideolog­ ical reflex of an economy  based  on commodity  production."   Both Vernant   and  Thom­ son  are probably   mistaken   about  the  historical   facts  and  are certainly   mistaken   about the  monetary   (in)form(ation) of the  fragment.
144.  This interpretation   of Fragment 60 is suggested  by Clemence  Ramnoux  (Hera­
elite, pp.  404-5).

ends  with  a mythic  upward   way beyond  earthly  extremes of good  and evil (Rep. 621c;d. 614b-621b). The change  from being  good  for fear of the  gods  of Hades   (Haides) to  being  good  for  the  sake  of  the  Idea (eidos) of the Good  is a movement "from  Hades  up  to the  gods"  (Rep. S21c). The  dialectic itself  is supposed  to  rise  above  hypothesis  and deposit   (kata-theke).  For Plato,  the  upward   way  (whether  "up  out  of the  cave"  or  "up   the  divided   line")  does  not  depend   finally  on  its opposite,  the  downward  way.  Plato  pretends  that  the  etymology of aletheia (truth)  is not  "the  unconcealed"  but  rather  the  unidirectional "way  of the  god,"   which  does  not  imply  any  negation. 145  For Hera­ clitus,  on the other  hand,  the upward   way depends   on the downward way. Ana is the  polar  opposite of kat» as purchase is the  polar  oppo­ site of sale.
The different interpretations  in Plato and  Heraclitus of the ways  up and  down  affect  their  symbolic representation  and  metaphorization. Kata and ana refer  directly  to the lower and  upper  orders  in a descend­ ing  or  ascending  series  of genera   and  species.>"  Metaphorization, which  depends   on such a series,  is affected  by whether   or not there  is an  upper   genus   beyond   all other   genera,   namely,   the  Idea.  Hera­ clitus,  who incorporated the money  form into his thought   as an active, changing rather  than  as a still, substantial concept, metaphorizes  dif­ ferently   from   Plato.   Both  Heraclitus  and   Plato,   nevertheless,   en­ counter  and  try to account  for the internalization of economic form in their  own  thinking.  Their  thought-philosophy-confronts        the  eco­ nomics  of thought   itself.
As Nietzsche argues  in The Genealogy of Morals,  the price-making of early man  was not so different from our own.>?   Modern  man returns
to  Greek  philosophy  with  nostalgia,  but  he  finds  therein   described only the origin  or discovery of himself.  The economics of thought,   set down  by Greek  dialecticians at the  origin  of critical thinking, has  not ceased  to influence us.

145.  Plato,  era. 421b. On aletheia and  the opposition  of unseen   or unknown   things  (ta adela) to apparent   things  (ta phanera),  see  P. M.  Schuhl,   "Adela."
146.  Socrates  suggests  the analogy  between  classification and  minting.   "We ought  to do  our  best  to collect  all such  kinds  as  are  torn  and  split  apart,   and  stamp   a single charakter on  them"   (Philebus, 25a).
147.  Nietzsche,  Werke 2: 811 ff.

The legends

Gyges of Lydia was a historical king, the founder of the Mermnad dynasty of Lydian kings. Various ancient works—the most well-known being The Histories of Herodotus[2]—gave different accounts of the circumstances of his rise to power.[3] All, however, agree in asserting that he was originally a subordinate of King Candaules of Lydia, that he killed Candaules and seized the throne, and that he had either seduced Candaules's Queen before killing him, married her afterwards, or both.
In Glaucon's recounting of the myth (which is clearly not based on historical fact), an unnamed ancestor of Gyges[4] was a shepherd in the service of the ruler of Lydia. After an earthquake, a cave was revealed in a mountainside where he was feeding his flock. Entering the cave, he discovered that it was in fact a tomb with a bronze horse containing a corpse, larger than that of a man, who wore a golden ring, which he pocketed. He discovered that the ring gave him the power to become invisible by adjusting it. He then arranged to be chosen as one of the messengers who reported to the king as to the status of the flocks. Arriving at the palace, he used his new power of invisibility to seduce the queen, and with her help he murdered the king, and became king of Lydia himself.

The role of the legend in Republic

In Republic, the tale of the ring of Gyges is described by the character of Glaucon who is the brother of Plato. Glaucon asks whether any man can be so virtuous that he could resist the temptation of being able to perform any act without being known or discovered. Glaucon suggests that morality is only a social construction, the source of which is the desire to maintain one's reputation for virtue and justice. Hence, if that sanction were removed, one's moral character would evaporate.
Glaucon posits:
Suppose now that there were two such magic rings, and the just put on one of them and the unjust the other; no man can be imagined to be of such an iron nature that he would stand fast in justice. No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market, or go into houses and lie with any one at his pleasure, or kill or release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a god among men.
Then the actions of the just would be as the actions of the unjust; they would both come at last to the same point. And this we may truly affirm to be a great proof that a man is just, not willingly or because he thinks that justice is any good to him individually, but of necessity, for wherever any one thinks that he can safely be unjust, there he is unjust.
For all men believe in their hearts that injustice is far more profitable to the individual than justice, and he who argues as I have been supposing, will say that they are right. If you could imagine any one obtaining this power of becoming invisible, and never doing any wrong or touching what was another's, he would be thought by the lookers-on to be a most wretched idiot, although they would praise him to one another's faces, and keep up appearances with one another from a fear that they too might suffer injustice.
— Plato's Republic, 360b–d (Jowett trans.)
Though his answer to Glaucon's challenge is delayed, Socrates ultimately argues that justice does not derive from this social construct: the man who abused the power of the Ring of Gyges has in fact enslaved himself to his appetites, while the man who chose not to use it remains rationally in control of himself and is therefore happy. (Republic 10:612b)

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