The Table Of Cebes  

Posted by Stella Clark

The Table Of Cebes Image
There is a legend to the effect that the Tablet of Cebes, a dialogue between Cebes and Gerundio, was based upon an ancient table set up in the Temple of Kronos at Athens or Thebes, which depicted the entire progress of human life. The author of the Tablet of Cebes was a disciple of Socrates and lived about 390 B.C. The world is represented as a great mountain. Out of the earth at the base of it come the myriads of human creatures who climb upward in search of truth and immortality.

Above the clouds which conceal the summit of the mountain is the goal of human attainment—true happiness. The figures and groups are arranged as follows: (1) the door of the wall of life; (2) the Genius or Intelligence; (3) deceit; (4) opinions, desires, and pleasures; (5) fortune; (6) the strong; (7) incontinence, venery, insatiability, flattery; (8) sorrow; (9) sadness; (10) misery; (11) grief; (12) rage or despair; (13) the house of misfortune; (14) penitence; (15) true opinion; (16) false opinion; (17) false doctrine; (18) poets, orators, geometers, et al.; (19) incontinence, sexual indulgence, and opinion; (20) the road of the true doctrine; (21) continence and patience; (22) the true doctrine; (23) truth and persuasion; (24) science and the virtues; (25) happiness; (26) the highest (first) pleasure of the wise man; (27) the lazy and the strays.

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