(/Ellhnej a)ei\ pai=de/j e)ste, ge/rwn de/ (/Ellhn ou)k e)/stin.

Plato's Timaeus


22B "You Hellenes are never anything but children, and there is not an old
man among you."

Socrates in a painting by Jacques-Louis
David, 1787, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Actual Text
This quotation is found in speech by Critias, in which he retells a story that befell Solon, "wisest of the Seven." Solon, while traveling in the Nile Delta, decided to tell the people the most ancient Greek myths. While he was doing so, one of the local priests came up to him and said, "O Solon, Solon, you Greeks are always children: there is no such a thing as an old Greek." Hearing this, Solon was naturally curious as to why he had been thus accused. The old priest explained to him that the Greeks are young in soul, for they do not "possess a single belief that is ancient and derived from old tradition, nor yet one science that is hoary with age."

P. Milekic, St. Paul's School, 2001