Page images

that historian mentions none but the commanders in chief on any of these occasions, and often only one or two of the principal of these : but probably Alcibiades and Laches might then only serve as private men.

P. 221. Bρενθυομενος.] Alluding to the Nubes of Aristophanes.

Ib. “Οι λογοι αυτου.] Every one who would read the Socratick dialogues of Plato, Xenophon, &c. should first consider this passage : it is put below in a note.1

P. 222. Ευθύδημος.] Probably the same youth whom Xenophon calls Ευθύδημος ο καλος (Memorabil. L. 4. c. 1.), a different person from Euthydemus, the Chian.

This dialogue (particularly the end of it), the Protagoras, the Gorgias, the Euthydemus, &c. are strong instances of Plato's genius for dramatick poetry in the comick kind. Κωμωδειν γαρ ηθελε Πλατων, says Athenaeus, L. 5. p. 187, speaking of the character of Aristophanes in this place. See also Olympiodor. in Vitâ Platonis. The Phædo is an instance of Plato's power in the tragick kind.

1 Οι λογοι αυτου ομοιοτατοι εισι τοις Σειληνοις (see note above on p. 215.) τοις διοιγομενοις. Ει γαρ εθελει τις των Σωκρατους ακουειν λογων, φανείεν αν πανυ γελοιοι το πρωτον τοιαυτα και ονοματα και ρηματα εξωθεν περιαμπεχονται Σατυρου αν τινα υβριστου δοραν. Ονους γαρ καντηλιους λεγει, και χαλκεας τινας, και σκυτοτομους, και βυρσοδεψας, και αει δια των αυτων τα αυτα φαινεται λεγειν· ώστε απειρος και ανοητος ανθρωπος πάς αν των λογων καταγελασειε διοιγομενους δε ιδων αν τις, και εντος αυτων γιγνομενος, πρωτον μεν νούν εχοντας ενδον μονους ευρησει των λογων, επειτα θειοτατους, και πλειστα αγαλματα αρετης εν αυτοις εχοντας, και επι πλειστον τεινοντας, μαλλον δε επι πάν όσον προσηκει σκοπειν τω με

καλω κάγι γενεσθαι. Ταυτεστιν, α εγω ΣωκραSympos. p. 221.

τους επαινω.


About Ol. 89. 4.

Platon. Op. Serrani, Vol. 1. p. 271.

THERE is a good deal of humour, and even of the vis comica, in this dialogue. Its end is to expose the vanity and weakness of two famous sophists, and to shew, by way of contrast, the art of Socrates in leading youth into the paths of virtue and of right reason.


P. 271. Ov tolv TL TNV Vdeklav.] See the Symposium of Xenophon ; Ουκ ορας οτι τουτω παρα τα ωτα αρτι Ιουλος καθερπει: Κλεινια δε προς το οπισθεν ηδη αναβαινει; p. 515. From whence it appears, that the time of this dialogue cannot be long after Ol. 89. 4.

Ib. Εντευθεν ποθεν εκ Χιου.] The Chians being an Ionian colony from Athens.

P. 272. Κοννω, τω Μητροβιου.] Whether the same with the Tibicen mentioned in the Equites of Aristophanes, v. 531, called Connas, who lived at this time?

P. 273. KTOTO.] See the Lysis of Plato.

P. 275. Alcibiades, the elder, had two sons, Clinias and Axiochus : the first (who was slain at the battle of Artemisium, Ol. 75. 1.) left behind him two sons, the famous Alcibiades, and Cleinias, his brother. The latter had a son, also called Cleinias, who is the youth here mentioned.

P. 277. Όπερ οι εν τη τελετή.] The ceremony of seating in a chair, and dancing round, a person who is to be initiated in the mysteries of the Corybantes, called θρονωσις.

P. 278. Αρα γε παντες ανθρωποι.] This example of a Λογος προτρεπτικoς, or exhortation to philosophy, is as noble as the moral it would convey, a truth which Plato had always at heart. Των μεν αλλων ουδεν ειναι ουτε αγαθον ουτε κακον· τουτοις δε δυοιν οντoιν, ή μεν Σοφια αγαθον, η δε Αμαθια κακον. Ρ. 285. Εις ασκον.] The skin of Marsyas was said to

] be preserved in the castle of Celænæ (in the greater Phrygia) even in Xenophon's time, Ol. 94. 4, (Cyri Anab. L. 1. p. 146.) and hung there in a grotto, whence the rivulet Marsyas took its rise. It was said to put itself in motion at the sound of a flute.

Ib. Ως οντος του αντιλεγειν.] See Diog. Laert. L. 9. s. 53, de Protagora. We see here that this sophism was older than Protagoras.

Ρ. 287. Ουτως ει Κρονος.] Αρχαιοτροπος, simple and old-fashioned. It is scarcely possible to see with patience Plato seriously confuting these childish subtleties, as low as any logical quibbles, used by our

1 Plato himself shews, p. 278, that he perfectly understood the just value of them. Παιδιαν δε λεγω δια ταύτα, οτι ει και πολλα τις, η και παντα τα τοιαυτα, μαθοι, τα μεν πραγματα ουδεν αν μαλλον ειδειη, πη εχει, προσπαιζειν δε οιος τ' αν ειη τους ανθρωποις, δια την ονοματων διαφοραν υποσκελιζων και ανατρεπων.


scholastick divines in the days of monkery and of deep ignorance. But he best knew the manners of his own age, and doubtless saw these things in a graver light than they of themselves deserve, by reflecting on the bad effects which they had on the understandings and on the morals of his countrymen, who not only spent their wit and their time in playing with words, when they might have employed them in inquiring into things; but, by rendering every principle doubtful and dark alike, must necessarily induce men to leave themselves to the guidance of chance and of the passions, unassisted by reason. Whereas if, in reality, there be no certain truth attainable by human knowledge, both the means and the end of disputation are absolutely taken away, and it becomes the most absurd and the most childish of all occupations.

P. 299. Euthydemus appears to have had a colossal statue erected to him at Delphi.

P. 302. The Athenians, and their colonies, worshipped not Jupiter under the name of Ilatpoos in their houses (as all other Greeks did), but Apollo. To Jupiter they gave the name of “Ερκειoς and Φρατριος, and to Minerva of patpia : and these three divinities were the household gods of every Ionian. How then could Dionysidorus, a Chian, be ignorant of this?

P. 305. Μεθορια φιλοσοφου.] This seems to be aimed at Lysias or at Antipho.


WE learn from this dialogue in how poor a condition the art of reasoning on moral and abstracted subjects was, before the time of Socrates; for it is impossible that Plato should introduce 1 a sophist of the first reputation for eloquence and knowledge in several kinds, talking in a manner below the absurdity and weakness of a child ; unless he had really drawn after the life. No less than twenty-four pages are here spent in vain, only to force it into the head of Hippias, that

1 He always appeared at the Olympick games, and in the temple of Jupiter discoursed on all subjects, and answered all questions proposed to him. (V. Hipp. Min. p. 363.)



Platon. Op. Edit. Serrani, Vol. 3. p. 281. Ρ. 281. Πιττακου τε και Βιαντος.] This is very extraordinary, as Pittacus was continually busied in publick affairs, and both Bias and Thales occasionally.

Ib. It was acknowledged therefore, that the sculptors, painters, and architects of latter times, had far surpassed the ancients.

P. 286. Erreion ý Tpoca.] The beginning of an oration, pronounced at Sparta, by Hippias, in the character of Nestor, addressed to the young Neoptolemus. It is remarkable, what is here said of the Lacedæmonians, that the generality of them did not even know common arithmetick.

« PreviousContinue »