Reading Plato’s Phaedo in the light of the Apology, I was struck by the relationship between perceived fate and perceived wisdom. One of the things that captured my thoughts was the symbolism of the number 30. Was that fate, only fate, or was that a more accurate knowledge, the attribute of the sophos? It is related to oracles and dreams and daimones of course and maybe goes beyond these simple facts.
When the oligarchy of the Thirty was in power Socrates almost died, because he opposed unrighteousness and followed the higher moral code of behavior;
In 399 B.C. Socrates is found guilty by a vote of 280 to 220/or 221 (? according to different sources) and he is impressed by the fact that he needed “thirty votes gone over to the other side” in order to have been acquitted;
In his proposal for his own sentence he asks to be fined thirty coins, with his friends being the sureties;
In Xenophon’s Apology (Mem., IV, 8, 2, cf. Phaidon edited in 1994 in my country) the ship sent for the annual pilgrimage (theōria) to Delos took thirty days to return. It was a gift to Apollo. The ship re-enacted Theseus’s mythical voyage.
Socrates obeys to a recurrent dream which always gave him the same advice and first he composes a hymn in honor of the god of the festival. (Apollo’s name does not appear in that fragment). My conclusion is that the number 30 is somehow related to the synodic month, by chance the length of the lunar cycle as seen from Earth. And this is also a kind of theōria/ initiatic travel. Am I right?
Right now, continuing my study, I found that the Theseus’ ship had thirty oars (Plutarch, Thes, XXIII) a thing that was known to Athenians in Plato’s times. I think this is also an important example in this context. Nowadays Christians, whose religion is also based on ancient rituals in its beginnings, know well that Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver…