Page images





Plat. Op. Serrani, Vol. 2. p. 327.

THE scene of this dialogue lies at the house of Cephalus, a rich old Syracusan, father to Lysias the orator, then residing in the Piraeus, on the day of the Bendidea, a festival, then first celebrated there with processions, races, and illuminations in honour of the Thracian1 Diana. The persons engaged in the conversation, or present at it, are Cephalus himself, Polemarchus, Lysias and Euthydemus, his three sons; Glauco and Adimantus, sons of Aristo and brothers to Plato; Niceratus, son of Nicias; Thrasymachus the sophist of Chalcedon; Clitophon,2 son of Aristonymus, and Charmantides of Pæania, and Socrates.

As to the time of these dialogues, it is sure that

1 She had a temple in the Piraeus, called the Bendideum, (Xenoph. Gr. Hist. L. 2. p. 472.) founded perhaps on this occasion. See the Republ. p. 354. “Eioriao0w ev tois Bevdideiois:" the festival was celebrated in the heat of summer, (see Strab. L. 10. p. 471. Twv Bevdidiwv Iλatwv μεμvηтαι.) on the 19th day of Thargelion, as Proclus tells us, Comment. 1. ad Timæum.

2 An admirer and scholar of Thrasymachus, (See Clitophont. p. 406.) and friend of Lysias.

Cephalus died about Ol. 84. 1, and that his son Lysias was born fifteen years before Ol. 80. 2, consequently they must fall between these two years, and probably not long before Cephalus's death, when he was seventy years old or more; and Lysias was a boy of ten or twelve and upwards. Therefore I should place it in the 83d Ol. (Vid. Fastos Atticos Edit. Corsini, V. 2. Dissert. 13. p. 312.) but I must observe that this is not easily reconcileable with the age of Adimantus and Glauco, who are here introduced, as men grown up, and consequently must be at least thirty-six years older than their brother Plato. If this can be allowed, the action at Megara there mentioned must be that which happened Ol. 83. 2. under Pericles; and the institution of the Bendidea must have been Ol. 83. 3 or 4. It is observable also that Theages is mentioned in L. 6. p. 496 of this dialogue, as advanced in the study of philosophy. He was very young, when his father Demodocus put him under the care of Socrates, which was in Ol. 92. 3. and consequently thirty-five years after the time which Corsini would assign to this conversation.




The pleasures of old age and the advantages of wealth.

P. 335. The just man hurts no one, not even his enemies.

P. 338. The sophist's definition of justice; namely, that it is the advantage of our superiours,1 to which the laws of every government oblige the subjects to conform. Refuted.

P. 341. The proof, that the proper office of every art is to act for the good of its inferiors.

P. 343. The sophist's attempt to shew, that justice (πανυ γενναια ευηθεια p. 348.) is not the good of those who possess it, but of those who do not: and that injustice is only blamed in such as have not the art to carry it to its perfection. Refuted.

P. 347. In a state composed all of good men, no one would be ambitious of governing.

1 Το του κρειττονος συμφερον-Τιθεται γε τους νομους ἑκαστη ἡ αρχη προς το αυτῃ συμφερον δημοκρατια μεν δημοκρατικούς, τυραννις δε τυραννικούς, και αλλαι δυτω· θεμεναι δε απεφηναν τουτο-δικαιον τοις αρχομένοις ειναι το σφισι συμφερον. Vid. Plat. de Legib. L. 4. p. 714.

P. 349. The perfection of the arts consists in attaining a certain rule of proportion. The musician does not attempt to excel his fellows by straining or stopping his chords higher or lower than they; for that would produce dissonance and not harmony: the physician does not try to exceed his fellows by prescribing a larger or less quantity of nourishment, or of medicines, than conduces to health; and so of the rest. The unjust man therefore, who would surpass all the rest of his fellow-creatures in the quantity of his pleasures and powers, acts like one ignorant in the art of life, in which only the just are skilled.


P. 327. Kатεẞny xees.] Vid. Dionys. Halicarnass. de Colloc. Verborum.-Quintil. L. 8. c. ult. A remarkable instance of Plato's nice and scrupulous attention to the sound and numbers of his prose. "Nec aliud potest sermonem facere numerosum, quam opportuna ordinis mutatio; neque alio in ceris Platonis inventa sunt quatuor illa verba, (Κατεβην χθες ες Πειραία) quibus in ILLO PULCHERRIMO OPERUM in Piraeum se descendisse significat, plurimis modis scripta, quam quod eum quoque maxime facere experiretur.

Ib. Ty Ocw.] To Diana, and not to Minerva, as Serranus imagined. See De Republ. p. 354.

328. NoTeр Tiva odov.] V. Cicer. de Senect. c. 2. who here and elsewhere has closely imitated these admirable dialogues. 331. Imporрopos.] A fine fragment of Pindar, and another of Simonides. Tully (Epist. ad Attic. L. 4. E. 16.) has observed the propriety of Cephalus leaving the company, as it was not decent for a man of great age and character to enter into dispute with boys and sophists on such a subject, nor to have continued silent without any share in the conversation. Tully himself had imitated the conduct of Plato, in his books de Republicâ : the interlocutors were Scipio Æmilianus, Lælius, Scævola, Philus,

P. 351. The greatest and most signal injustices, which one state and society can commit against another, cannot be perpetrated without a strict adherence to justice, among the particular members of such a state and society: so that there is no force nor strength without a degree of justice.

P. 352. Injustice even in one single mind must set it at perpetual variance with itself, (De Republ. L. 8. p. 554.) as well as with all others.

P. 353. Virtue is the proper office, the wisdom, the strength, and the happiness of the human soul.


Manilius, and others. Philus there supported the cause of injustice, as Thrasymachus does here; and the whole concluded with a discourse on the Soul's immortality, and the Dream of Scipio, as this does with the Vision of Er, the Pamphylian. Vid. Cicer. de Amicitiâ, C. 5 and 7. and Macrob. in Somn. Scip. L. 1. c. 1.

P. 336. ПeрdikкOU.] The second of the name, often mentioned by Thucydides.

Ib. Iounviov.] This must probably be some ancestor of that Ismenias, who betrayed Thebes to the Spartans about eighteen years after the death of Socrates.

338. Polydamas a celebrated pancratiast, whose statue at Olympia was looked upon as miraculous in after-ages, and was believed to cure fevers. (Lucian. in Concil. Deor. Vol. 2. p. 714.)


« PreviousContinue »