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EPISTLE V. To PERDICCAS. Ol. 103. 4.
Plat. Op. Serrani, Vol. 3. p. 321.
Perdiccas, the second son of Amyntas, succeeded to the crown of Macedon, after the death of his brother in law, Ptolemy of Alorus, Ol. 103. 4. There seem to have been ancient ties of hospitality and of friendship between the royal family of Macedon, from Archelaus's time, and the principal literati of Athens. Plato here recommends his friend and scholar, Euphræus, a native of Oreus in Euboea, to be of Perdiccas's council, and his secretary. He grew into the highest favour with Perdiccas, and was trusted with the entire management of all his affairs. He used his power arbitrarily enough. Caristius,1 of Pergamus, gives the following instance of it; that, he would not suffer any one to sit at the king's table, who was ignorant of geometry or of philosophy. And yet to Plato and to Euphræus did the great Philip of Macedon owe his succession to the kingdom, (as 2 Speusippus writes in a letter to Philip reproaching him with his ingratitude,) for by them was his brother Perdiccas persuaded to bestow on him some districts as an appanage, where, after his death, Philip was enabled to raise troops, and to recover the kingdom. Euphræus, upon the death of his master, having rendered himself hateful to the principal Macedonians, was obliged, as it seems, to retire into his own country; where, soon
1 Ap. Athenæum, L. 11. sub fin. p. 506. and 508.
2 Ap. Athenæum, ut supra.
after Philip was settled on the throne, Parmenio was ordered to murder him.
Ficinus and H. Stephanus, finding in the margin of some manuscripts this fifth epistle ascribed to Dion, and not to Plato, seem inclined to admit that correction, but without reason. Plato has in his other undoubted epistles spoken of himself, as he has done in this, in the third person. He is here apologising for
his recommendation of a man, who was to have a share in the administration of a kingdom. Some may object (says he), "How should Plato be a competent judge, he who has never meddled in the government of his own country, nor thought himself fit to advise his own citizens?" He answers this by shewing his reasons for such a conduct; but the last sentence, Tavrov En par Spâσai, &c. is not at all clear. The thought is the very same with that in the famous seventh epistle to Dion's friends, (Εγω τον συμβουλευοντα ανδρι καμνοντι, &c. p. 330.) but some principal word seems to be omitted; perhaps after Spaσai av should be inserted ιατρικον άνδρα, οι ιατρον αγαθόν.
EPISTLE VI. TO HERMEIAS, Erastus, and CoRISCUS. The date not settled.
Plat. Op. Serrani, Vol. 3. p. 322.
This letter, cited by Clemens Alexandrinus (Strom. L. 5.) and by Origen (contra Celsum, L. 6.), Menage 1 tells us is no longer extant among the epistles of Plato,
1 Ad. Diog. Laertium, L. 3. c. 57. See also Card. Quirini Decas Epistolarum Romæ 1743. 4to. p. 23.
and is supposed to be a fiction of the Christians. Bentley had reason to wonder at the negligence of that critick, who did not know that the epistle was still preserved and he adds, that there is no cause to believe the letter not to be genuine, as there are passages in the Dialogues themselves as favourable to the Christian opinions, as any thing in this epistle. The passage, which those Fathers cite, is at the end of the letter, and has indeed much the air of a forgery. I do not know any passages in the Dialogues 2 equally suspicious; nor do I see why it might not be tacked to the end of an undoubtedly original letter: there is nothing else here but what seems genuine.
Erastus and Coriscus were followers of Plato, and born at Scepsis,3 a city of Troas, seated on mount Ida, not far from the sources of the Scamander and of the Æsepus: they seem to have attained a principal autho
1 Bentley in Phileleuthero Lipsiensi.
2 Vid. de Republ. L. 6. p. 506. Εκγονος τε του Αγαθου, και ὁμοιοτατος εκεινω ὁ τοκος. By which he means the idea of Himself, which the Sovereign Good has bestowed on us, and which is the cause of knowledge and of truth. The Supreme Good itself he calls 'O IIarnp, and compares him to the sun, ¿ Kupios TOU OWTOs. Vid. et ibid. L. 7. p. 516.
3 Vid. Strabonem, L. 13. p. 602. and 607. The Coriscus here mentioned had a son called Neleus, a follower of Aristotle and a particular friend of Theophrastus, who left his library (in which was contained all that Aristotle had ever written, in the original manuscript) to him, when he died. It continued in the possession of his family at Scepsis, about one hundred and fifty years, when Apellicon of Teos purchased and transferred it to Athens, whence, soon after, Sylla carried it to Rome. (Strabo, L. 13. p. 602. and 607; Plutarch in Sylla, and Diog. Laert. in Theophrasto.)
rity in their little state, and Plato recommends to them here to cultivate the friendship of Hermias their neighbour, and sovereign of Assus and Atarneus, two strong towns on the coast of the Sinus Adramyttenus near the foot of Ida. Coriscus had also been scholar to Plato,1 though an eunuch, and slave to Eubulus, a Bythynian and a banker. His master having found means to erect a little principality in the places before mentioned, made Hermias his heir. He gave his niece Pythias in marriage to Aristotle, who lived with him near three years, till Ol. 107. 4. about which time Memnon 2 the Rhodian, general to the Persian king, by a base treachery 3 got him into his hands, and sending him to court he was there hanged. (Strabo, L. 13. p. 610. and Suidas.) Aristotle wrote his epitaph, and a beautiful ode 5 or hymn in honour to his memory, which are still 6 extant.
1 So Strabo tells us; but Plato himself says, that he had never conversed with him. 'Oσa μŋπw §vyyeyoνOTɩ, &c. infra. 2 Or Mentor, his brother, according to Diodorus, L. 16. c. 52. which is right. See Aristot. Economic. ap. Leon. Aretinum, L. 2. c. 38.
3 Probably he had taken part in the grand rebellion of the Satrapæ against the Persian king (which caused their indignation), and had shaken off his dependency.
4 See Antholog. Gr. p. 526. Ed. H. Stephani. It was inscribed on a cenotaph erected to him and Eubulus jointly by Aristotle; for which piece of gratitude Theocritus of Chios has abused him in a satirical epigram: Antholog. ib. p. 523.
Ερμειου ευνουχου ηδ' Ευβουλου ἁμα δουλου
Σημα κενον κενοφρων τευξεν Αριστοτελης.
5 Vid. Athenæum, L. 15. p. 696. and Diog. Laert. L. 5. in Aristotele.
6 After the words, μαλιστα μεν αθρόους ει δε μη, insert κατα duo кown, from the Vatican MSS. (See Montfaucon Bibl. Bibliothecarum, p. 2.)
NOTE ON THE GREEK TEXT.
P. 323. 'O EσTi dikalov.] There I take the true epistle to end; as what follows is very extraordinary as to the sense and the expression: Του τε ἡγεμονος και αιτιου Πατερα Κυριον, ὁν—εισομεθα σαφως, εις δυναμιν ανθρωπων ευδαιμονων.
EPISTLE VII. TO THE FRIENDS AND RELATIONS OF DION. Ol. 105. 4.
Plat. Op. Serrani, Vol. 3. p. 323.
Callippus, after the treacherous murder of Dion, was attacked in Syracuse by the friends of that great man, but they were worsted by him and his party; and, being driven out, they fled to the Leontini, and he maintained his power in the city for thirteen months, (Diodor. Sic. L. 16. c. 36.) till 1Hipparinus, nephew to Dion, and half-brother to Dionysius, found means to assemble troops; and while Callippus was engaged in the siege of Catana, he, at the head of Dion's party, re-entered Syracuse, and kept possession of it for two years. At the end of which time Hipparinus, in a drunken debauch, was assassinated, but by whom I do not find; and his younger brother, Nysæus, succeeded to his power, and made the most arbitrary use of it for
1 See Theopompus ap. Athenæum, L. 10. p. 435. and 436. where we should correct the mistake of Athenæus, and of Ælian, who call Apollocrates son to the elder Dionysius; for he was (as Plutarch often repeats) the eldest son of the younger Dionysius.