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THE persons in this dialogue are men of distinguished rank and figure in the state of Athens.

1. Lysimachus,1 son to the famous Aristides, surnamed, The Just.

2. Melesias, son to that Thucydides who was the great rival of Pericles in the administration.

1 Vid. Menonei. p. 93. 94. Both he and Melesias were persons little esteemed, except on their father's account.


Platon. Op. Serrani, Vol. 2. p. 178.

P. 178. Tov Avdpa.] Stesilaus, as it afterwards appears, an Athenian.

179. Παππω οντε.] Perhaps we should read, Παππου και ουτος ονομ' εχων, τοῦμου πατρος.

180. Ovта dпμony.] Both Socrates and Lysimachus were of Alopecæ.

Ib. ▲auwva.] Damon the sophist and musician, scholar to Agathocles (see the Protagoras, p. 316.) who excelled in the same professions, had been banished by the faction opposite to Pericles, on account of his intimacy with that great man, in whose education Plutarch (in Vit. Pericl.) would make one imagine he had a principal share; but, in reality, their intimacy did not begin till Pericles was an old man, as Plato (in Alcib. I. p. 118.) expressly tells us; and accordingly we find here, that Laches had as yet never seen Damon, who probably, after the ten years of his ostracism were expired, was returned to Athens, while Laches commanded in Sicily.

3. Nicias,1 so often the general in the Peloponnesian war, celebrated for his goodness, for his conduct, and for his success, till the fatal expedition to Syracuse in which he perished.

4. Laches, son of Melanopus of the district Exone, and tribe Cecropis,2 commander of the fleet sent to the assistance of the Leontines in Sicily, Ol. 88. 2, in which expedition he defeated the Locrians, reduced Messene, Mylæ, and other places, and after his recall, seems to have been prosecuted by Cleon for corruption in this very year; whence it appears, that he was in the battle of Delium.4

1 Thucydides passim. - Plutarch in Vitâ Nicia - Lysias contra Poliuchum, p. 318.

2 Thucydides in multis locis. Laches was also among the commanders of the troops sent into Peloponnesus to assist the Argives. Ol. 90. 3. (See Diodorus, L. 12. p. 126. edit. Rhodomanni, 1604.

3 Aristophanes in Vespis, et Scholia; which drama was played Ol. 89. 2; see verse 890, where he is called Aaßns Αιξωνευς, as Cleon is called, Κνων ὁ Κυδαθηναιους.

4 He was one of the generals of the Athenians in the battle near Mantinea, Ol. 90. 3, and was slain in that action. See Thucydides, L. 5. p. 334, and Androtion in Schol. ad Aves Aristophanis, v. 13.


P. 180. Пaтpikos piλos.] Sophroniscus, therefore, though in low circumstances, was a man of good character, and known to the principal citizens.

182. Ov yap ayŵvos.] The war with Sparta. It is plain, that this was not one among the usual exercises of their gymnasia, and the teachers of it were but lately introduced in Athens. 183. Τραγωδίας ποιητης.] Α satire on the Athenians who were devoted to these entertainments. See de Republ. L. 2.

p. 376, L. 3. p. 390, and L. 8. p. 568.

Two youths under

5. Thucydides, son to Melesias.1

6. Aristides, son to Lysimachus.

twenty years of


7. Socrates, then in his forty-seventh year. The two first of these persons, being then very ancient, and probably about seventy years of age, and sensible of that defect in their own education, which had caused them to lead their lives in an obscurity unworthy the sons of such renowned fathers, were the more solicitous on account of their own sons, who were now almost of an age to enter into the world. They 4 Vid. Menonem, p. 94. et Theagem, p. 130. et Theætetum, p. 151.


P. 183. Aßarov lepov.] Like the temples and groves of the Σεμναι Θεαι, the Furies, Χωρος αθικτος ουδ' οικητος, &c. Soph. (Ed. Col. v. 39.

Ib. ETEрwo.] In the Sicilian expedition.

Ib. Aoрudрeπavov.] A long halbard, whose head was fashioned like a scythe or broad sickle. They were used to cut the rigging of ships down, and in sieges to pull down the battlements of walls, such as Livy, L. 38, calls, "Asseres falcati ad detergendas pinnas." Vid. Fragm. Polybii, v. 2. ed. Gronov. p. 1546.

184. Επιφανεστερος γενοιτο, η οίος ην.] Perhaps we should read olos ην, and omit the η.

185. Αλλ' ου περι του, οὗ ἕνεκα αλλο εξητει.] Perhaps we should read, ὁ ενεκα αλλου εζήτει.

188. Δωριστι, αλλ' ουκ Ιαστι.] A satire on the Athenians, and a compliment to Sparta (V. de Republ. L. 3. p. 398.) which Plato seldom omits, when he finds an opportunity. (Vid. Hippiam Major, p. 283 and 4.-Protogoram, p. 342.—Symposium, p. 209, where he calls the laws of Lycurgus, Σwrnpas τns Ελλαδος.

therefore invite Nicias and Laches, men of distinguished abilities and bravery, but some years younger than themselves, to a conference on that subject; and after having been spectators together of the feats of arms. exhibited by Stesilaus, a professed master in the exercise of all weapons, they enter into conversation. Socrates, who happened to be present, is introduced by Laches to Lysimachus, as a person worthy to bear a part in their consultation. The first question is occasioned by the spectacle which they had just beheld, namely, "whether the management of arms be an exercise fit to be learned by young men of quality?" Nicias is desired first to deliver his opinion, which is, that it may give grace and agility to their persons, and courage and confidence to their minds; that it may make them more terrible to their enemies in battle, and more useful to their friends; and at the same time may inspire them with a laudable ambition to attain the higher and more noble parts of military


P. 189. El de vEWTEρos, &c.] Socrates does not seem to have attained a great reputation and esteem till about this time of his life, when Aristophanes also first introduced him on the stage, Ol. 89. 1, in his Nepeλai.

194. Των δεινών και θαῤῥαλεων.] Which he afterwards defines, Δεινα μεν, ά και δεος παρεχει. θαῤῥαλεα δε, ἃ και μη δεος παρέχει.

195. Ποτερον ὁμολογεῖς μαντις ειναι.] Dacier explains well this piece of raillery on the supposed timidity and superstition of Nicias's character: but when he carries it still farther, and supposes it a part of Nicias's religion to believe in the bravery of the Crommyonian wild-sow (p. 196.), he grows insipid, and interprets the meaning of Socrates quite wrong.

knowledge. Laches has a direct contrary opinion of it he argues from his own experience, that he never knew a man, who valued himself upon this art, that had distinguished himself in the war; that, the Lacedemonians, who valued and cultivated military discipline beyond all others, gave no encouragement to these masters of defence; that, to excel in it, only served to make a coward more assuming and impudent, and to expose a brave man to envy and calumny, by making any little failing or oversight more conspicuous in him.

Socrates is then prevailed upon to decide the difference, who artfully turns the question of much greater importance for a young man of spirit to know, namely, "what is valour, and how it is distinguished from a brutal and unmeaning fierceness." By interrogating Laches and Nicias, he shews, that such as had the highest reputation for courage in practice, were often very deficient in the theory; and yet none can communicate a virtue he possesses, without he has himself a clear idea of it. He proves, that valour must have


P. 197. Aaμaxov.] See his character in Plutarch in Nicias's life, and in Thucydides, and in Aristophanes in Acharnens : he was remarkable for his bravery and his poverty; he went to Sicily with Nicias and Alcibiades, as their colleague, Ol. 91. 1, and died there.

Ib. Καλλιστα τα τοιαυτα ονοματα διαιρειν.] Prodicus is accordingly introduced in the Protagoras, p. 337, accurately distinguishing the sense of words, and defining all the terms he uses; and again in the Protagoras, p. 358, and in the Meno, p. 75, and in the Charmides, p. 163. See also the Euthydemus, p. 277, and this seems to have been the subject of his EwideığıS πενтηкоνтаðρажuos. Vid. Cratylum, p. 384.

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