Page images

allowed, but very moderately, to men under thirty; after that age, with less restraint: the good effects of it in old age are mentioned.

P. 667. The principles and qualifications which are required in such as are fit to judge of poetry, and of the other imitative arts.

P. 669. Instrumental musick by itself (which serves not to accompany the voice) is condemned, as uncertain and indefinite in its expression. The three arts of poetry, of musick, and of the dance (or action), were not made to be separated.

P. 671. The regulation of entertainments, with the manner of presiding at them is enforced; without which the drinking of wine ought not to be permitted at all, or in a very small degree.


P. 665. ПeдwvασкηкOTES.] The singers in these chorusses were subjected to a course of abstinence and of physick, for a considerable time before they put their voices to the trial. (Vid. Antiphont. Orat. de cæde Choreutæ.)

669. An expression of Orpheus: Aaxeiv ¿pav tep¥ios.

672. Όταν αποκτεινη τις αυτο, or, ακταινωση ἑαυτο--a false reading; perhaps, όταν ανακινη τις, οι ανακινη τι αυτο.




P. 676. The immense antiquity of the earth, and the innumerable changes it has undergone in the course of ages. Mankind are generally believed to have been often destroyed (a very small remnant excepted) by inundation and by pestilence.

The supposition of a handful of men, probably shepherds, who were feeding their cattle on the mountains, and were there preserved with their families from


Ρ. 677. Ο, τι μεν γαρ μυριακις.] Perhaps we should read ουτι μεν γαρ. I imagine he means to say, as follows; "For (taking the great antiquity of the earth for granted) without supposing some such destruction as this, how can we account for all the useful arts among mankind, invented as it were but yesterday, or at farthest, not above two thousand years old? It is impossible that men in those times should have been utterly ignorant of all which had passed so many thousand ages, unless all records, and monuments, and remains of their improvements and discoveries, had perished."


Quo tot facta virûm toties cecidere? nec usquam
Eternis famæ monumentis insita florent?"
Lucret. L. 5. v. 329.

a general deluge, which had overwhelmed all the cities and inhabitants of the country below.

P. 677. The destruction of arts and sciences, with their slow and gradual revival among this infant society, is nobly described.

P. 680. The beginnings of government: the paternal way first in use, which he calls the justest of all monarchies. Assemblies of different families agree to descend from the mountain tops, and to settle in the hill-country (ev тais vπwρerais) below them; and as each of them has a head or a prince of its own, and customs in which it has been brought up, it will be


Ρ. 677. Χιλια δ' αφ' οὗ γεγονεν, η δις. ] From Ol. 108. 1. the year of Plato's death, to the age of Marsyas (a contemporary of Midas) is usually computed about thirteen hundred years, to that of Amphion, eleven hundred, to that of Dædalus and Orpheus, not quite one thousand, and to that of Palamedes, who lived about the siege of Troy, nine hundred and sixty.

Ib. Τα δε περι Μουσικην.] Perhaps we should add, Αυλη


Ib. XOES TE Kαι πрwηv.] See Gorgias, p. 471.

Ib. Ο λόγω μεν Ησιοδος.] I know not what lines in Hesiod are here alluded to, unless it be these:

Οὗτος μεν παναριστος, ός αυτος παντα νοήσει,

Φρασσάμενος τα κ' επειτα και ες τελος εσσετ' αμείνω.

Oper. et Dies. v. 293.

nor do I clearly see, whether this is said seriously, or by way of irony on Epimenides and on the art of divination.

680. Τοις ξενικοις ποιημασι.] Homer was but little known or read in Crete, even in Plato's time. The Cretans, as they closely adhered to their ancient customs, did so likewise to the compositions of their own countrymen.

necessary to describe certain laws in common, and to settle a kind of senate, or of aristocracy.

P. 683. The causes of the increase and declension of states, are exemplified in the history of Sparta, Messene, and Argos. The original league between the three kingdoms founded by the Heraclidæ, and the mutual engagements entered into by the several kings and by their people, are stated.

P. 684. The easiness of establishing an equality of property in a new conquest, which is so difficult for a


P. 681. Tρiтov тolvvv eiπwμev.] See what Strabo (L. 13. p. 592. 3.) says on this subject: whence I should suspect that there was something deficient here in the text of Plato concerning the third migration of mankind, at which time Ilus is supposed to have founded Ilium in the plain.

682. Την εις Λακεδαιμονα κατοικησιν.] This happened eighty years after the taking of Troy. See the history in Pausanias.

Corinthiac. L. 2. p. 151. and Messeniac. p. 285.

683. 'H Eк Оeрivwv.] The time of the dialogue was one of the longest days in the year, soon after the summer-solstice.

684. Γην τε αναμφισβητητως.] The equal distribution of lands is, however, by all attributed to Lycurgus, who lived at least two hundred and thirty years after the return of the Heraclidæ, nay Plato himself (in the Minos, p. 318.) brings him near four hundred years lower still. Erastosthenes and Apollodorus (ap. Plutarch. in Lycurgo) place Lycurgus a little earlier. Xenophon alone makes him a contemporary with the Heraclidæ, who first settled in Peloponnesus: (Respubl. Lacedæm. p. 399.) at least so Plutarch interprets the passage.

Ib. Βασιλειαι τρεις—ωμοσαν.] This was performed at Sparta every month. Ο δε όρκος εστι τω μεν βασιλεΐ, κατα τους της πόλεως κειμενους νομους βασιλεύσειν, τη δε πολει εμπεδορκουντος εκείνου αστυφελικτον την βασιλειαν παρέξειν. (Xenoph. Lacedam. Respubl. p. 402.)



legislator to accomplish, who would give a better form to a government already established.

P. 688. States are destroyed, not so much for the want of valour and of conduct, as for the want of virtue, which only is true wisdom. The greatest and the most pernicious of all ignorance is, when we do not love what we approve.

P. 691. Absolute power, unaccountable to any and uncontrolled, is not to be supported by any mortal man.


Ρ. 685. Της αρχης γαρ εκεινης ην μοριον.] This is a singular passage. The kingdom of Troy (he says) was a part of the great Assyrian empire, ην γαρ ετι της αρχης εκείνης σχημα το σwjoμevov ov μкpov. According to Herodotus, the empire of Assyria had continued five hundred and twenty years in Upper Asia, when the Medes revolted from it; but this happened near five hundred years after the fall of Troy, so that Troy was taken about the twentieth year of the Assyrian dominion, and, if so, the words of Plato, τῆ περι Νῖνον γενομενῆ, might be taken literally, as though Ninus were then on the throne. But, in truth, Plato (from the words cited above, Hv yap eтɩ, &c.) appears to have given the Assyrian power a much longer duration, as Ctesias has done, who makes it seven hundred and eighty-six years older than Herodotus. Diodorus, who follows the authority of Ctesias in these matters, says, that Troy depended on the Assyrians, and that Teutamus, or Tautanes, who then reigned over them, sent ten thousand men and two hundred chariots to the assistance of Priam, under the command of Memnon son to the governor of Susiana.

Ib. To devтepov.] Troy had been taken by Hercules and Telamon about a hundred years before its final destruction: but perhaps TO DEUTЄpov may signify, afterwards, in process of time, that is, in the reigns of Darius and of Xerxes.

689. Proverb, Μητε γραμματα, μητε νεῖν, επιστασθαι, for a person completely ignorant,

« PreviousContinue »