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there is such a thing as a general idea; and that, before we can dispute on any subject, we should give a definition of it.
The time of the conversation seems to be after Ol. 89. 2, for the war had permitted no intercourse between Athens and Elis before that year, and we see in the Protagoras that Hippias was actually at Athens Ol. 90. 1, so that it seems to fall naturally between these two years.
P. 289. Passages of Heraclitus: Πιθηκων ὁ καλλιστος αισχρος αλλω γενει συμβαλειν. --Ανθρωπων ὁ σοφωτατος προς Θεον πιθηκος φανείται. This latter passage is undoubtedly the original of that famous thought in Pope's Essay on Man, B. 2;
"And shewed a Newton, as we shew an ape,"
which some persons have imagined that he borrowed from one Palingenius, an obscure author, who wrote a poem called "Zodiacus Vitæ."
290. Tns A0nvas.] The colossal figure of Minerva in the Acropolis at Athens, described by Plutarch in his life of Pericles.
[* Pope, who was versed in the modern Latin poets, might have taken it from Palingenius, and Palingenius from Plato.-MATHIAS.]
Platon. Op. Serrani, Vol. 1. p. 363.
THE time of this dialogue is after the Hippias Major, with which it may be ranked.
P. 363. Evdikos.] Mentioned in the Hippias Major, p. 256, as an admirer of this sophist.
P. 368. Hippias appeared at Olympia in a dress of his own weaving, buskins of his own cutting out and sewing, with a ring on his finger, and a seal engraved by himself, and a beautiful zone of his own embroidery. He brought with him epick poems, dithyrambicks, tragedies, and orations, all of his own composition.
Ib. Tyv ¿wvnv.] The Greeks therefore girt their under-garment (XiTwviσkos) with a cincture.
Plat. Op. Serrani, Vol. 1. p. 309.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE DATE OF THIS DIALOGUE.
PLATO, in this dialogue, one of the noblest he ever wrote, has fallen, through negligence, into some anachronisms, as Athenæus has remarked, (L. 5. p. 218.) though some things in reality are only mistakes of his own, and others he has omitted, which are real faults. Dacier undertakes wholly to justify Plato. We shall shew that neither of them are quite in the right.
There are two marks which fix the time of this conversation, as it is generally thought, and as Athenæus has shewn. The one, that Callias is mentioned in it, as then master of himself, and in possession of his father Hipponicus's estate: 1 now Hipponicus was slain in the battle of Deli, Ol. 89. 1, so that it must be after that year.
Secondly, the Aypioi, a comedy of Pherecrates, is said to have been played the year before; but that play was brought upon the stage in the magistracy of
1 Εν οικηματι τινι, ὡ προτου μεν ὡς ταμιειω εχρητο Ιππονικος, νυν, ύπο του πληθοῦς των καταλυοντων, Καλλιας και τουτο εκκένωσας ξένοις καταλυσιν πεποιηκη. Protag. p. 315.
Aristion, Ol. 89. 4, consequently this must happen Ol. 90. 1.
There is yet a third circumstance which may ascertain the time of the dialogue. Athenæus produces it as an instance of Plato's negligence, but has only discovered his own by it. Hippias the Elean (he says) and others of his countrymen are (Protag. p. 315.) introduced, as then present at Athens, whereas it is impossible they could be there during the Peloponnesian war, while the Eleans were confederates with Sparta against the Athenians; for though a truce was agreed upon for one year, under Isarchus, (Ol. 89. 1,) yet it was broken through presently, and no cessation of arms ensued. But in reality Hippias might be at1 Athens any year after Isarchus's magistracy, since though the war broke out afresh afterwards with Sparta, yet the Allies of Sparta entered not into it, as at first, but either continued neuter, or joined the Athenians, and Elis particularly entered into a defensive league with them this very year, (see Thucyd. L. 5. sect. 47) so that when Athenæus says, μη της εχεχειρίας αυτης μενούσης, it is plain that he did not know but that Sparta entered the war again with all the confederates which she had at first, and consequently had read 2 Thucy
1 Dacier, while he vindicates Plato on this head, has only considered Athens with regard to Sparta: but the question turns solely upon Elis, of which he takes no notice.
2 What is no less strange, Casaubon neither attempts to justify Plato in this matter, nor did he know, that the Eviavolai Zπovdαι under Isarchus were mentioned, very much at large, by Thucydides, L. 4. sect. 117. See Casaubon's Annotations ad Athenæum, L. 5. c. 18.
dides very negligently. This very thing then may fix it to Ol. 90. 1, at least it will prove that it could not be earlier than Ol. 89. 1.
Athenæus further remarks, that Eupolis in his Kolakes, which was played Ol. 89. 3, speaks of Protagoras as then present at Athens, and that Ameipsias in his Kovvos, acted two years before, has not introduced him into his chorus of Pрovтural, or philosophers; so that it is probable that he arrived at Athens in the interval between the representation of these two dramas, which is three or four years earlier than the dialogue, in which Plato nevertheless says that he had not been three days come; and that after many years' absence. Dacier attempts to answer this, but makes little of it; and indeed it was impossible to do better, since both the comedies are lost, and we do not know to what parts of them Athenæus alludes, as he cites nothing.
But in truth there are other circumstances inconsistent with the date of the dialogue, of which neither Athenæus nor Dacier have taken any notice. 1. Alcibiades is represented as just on the confines of youth and manhood, whereas in Ol. 90. 1, he was turned of thirty. 2dly. Criso of Himera, celebrated for gaining three victories successively in the course at Olympia (the first of which was1 Ol. 83.) is here spoken of (p. 335.) as in the height of his vigour. Now it is scarcely possible, that one, who was a man grown at the time I have mentioned, should continue in full strength and agility twenty-nine years afterwards: but
1 Pausanias, L. 5. c. 23, and Diodorus.