The grammatical puzzles of Socrates' last words

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Abstract
Socrates says "we owe" in the last words as head of his οἶκος, a collectivity owing a debt for the recovery from disease of one of Socrates' young sons. Socrates addresses Crito in the plural as head of his οἶκος, whose servants will perform the sacrifice as their master directs. Socrates had instructed that the youngest son be brought to the prison. The baby's presence is not adventitious, for had Socrates primarily summoned Xanthippe, the baby would have been left at home in the care of the οἰκεῖαι γυναῖκες. The dying Socrates instructs that the debt be paid for the baby who recovered from a bout of illness and did not die. The rhetorical arrangement of the facts that inform the instruction (dying/speaking versus not yet talking/living) is Plato's invention.
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Archival date: 2017-09-12
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