Page images

of a youth just entering into the world, but ill-bred and impertinent to a man of forty years of age, who had passed through the highest dignities of the state and through the most extraordinary reverses of fortune. Plato himself may convince us of this, by what he makes Socrates say in the first Alcibiades; p. 127. Αλλα χρη θαρρείν: ει μεν γαρ αυτο ήσθου πεπονθως πεντηκονταετης, χαλεπον ην αν σοι επιμεληθηναι σαυτού νυν δε, ήν εχεις ηλικιαν, αυτη εστιν εν ή δει αυτο αισθανεσθαι.

The principal difficulties are, that he speaks of Pericles as yet living, who died Ol. 87. 4, and of the


dæmon who directed him, whom he calls his ETITPOTOS : or Socrates may here mean himself, as I rather think. Some Christian writers would give a very extraordinary turn to this part of the dialogue, as though Plato meant to prove the necessity of a Revelation : but I spy no such mysteries in it. Socrates has proved that we are neither fit to deal with man. kind, till we know them by knowing ourselves; nor to address ourselves to the Divine Power, till we know enough of his nature to know what we owe him : what that nature is, he defers examining till another opportunity, which is done to raise the curiosity and impatience of the young Alcibiades, and to avoid that prolixity, into which a disquisition so important would have naturally led him.

P. 151. Erepavov.] Alcibiades, as going to perform sacrifice, had a chaplet of flowers on his head, which was the custom for all present at such solemnities. Ib. Kpewv.] From the Phønissæ of Euripides, v. 886.

Οιωνον εθεμην καλλινικα σου στεφη"

Εν γαρ κλυδωνι κειμεθ', ώσπερ οισθα συ. Ib. Twv owv epastwv.] He here continues the same style to Alcibiades, which would be absurd to a man of forty years of age.


murder of Archelaus king of Macedon as a fact then recent, which did not happen 1 till Ol. 95. 1, the same year with Socrates's death, and near five years after that of Alcibiades.


According to Diodorus Siculus, L. 16. p. 266. who, though he may have rightly fixed the period of the reign of Archelaus, contradicts himself as to the duration of it. He says, that he reigned seven years, yet mentions him as king of Macedon (L. 13. p. 175.) ten years before his death. Ol. 92. 3. According to the Marmor Parium, he must have reigned still longer, for there he is said to have come to the throne, Ol. 90. 1. ; but that date is certainly false, as Thucydides speaks of his father Perdiccas, yet living four years afterwards. But let Diodorus be mistaken or not, it is sure, from this passage of Thucydides, that Archelaus came not to the crown till at least thirteen years after the death of Pericles. See also Athenæus, L. 5. p. 217.





DEMODOCUS of Anagyrus, an old Athenian who had passed with reputation through the highest offices of the state, and now, after the manner of his ancestors, lived chiefly on his lands in the country, (Euthydem. p. 291.) employed in agriculture and rustick amusements, brings with him to Athens his son 1 Theages, a youth impatient to improve himself in the arts then in vogue, and to shine among his companions who studied



i He actually became a friend and disciple of Socrates, and is mentioned by him as such, together with a brother of his called Paralus, in his Apology, p. 33. Theages was probably dead at the time of the condemnation of Socrates ; he is mentioned as of a weak and unhealthy constitution. See De Republ. L. 6. p. 496.


Plat. Op. Serrani, Vol. 1. p. 121. P. 124. Tov vewati Apxovta.] Archelaus was then just come to the throne, and consequently this year, in which Diodorus first mentions him, was, it is probable, the first of his reign. (V. Alcibiad. II.) Bacis, a prophet, often cited by Herodotus. The Scholiast on Aristophan. Equites, v. 123, says, there were three of the name. (Clemens Alexandr. Strom. L. 1, p. 398.)

Ib. Aupilutov.] The name of this Athenian prophet I do not elsewhere meet with,


eloquence, and practised politicks, as soon as ever their age would permit them to appear in the popular assemblies.

Socrates, at the father's desire, enters into conversation with the young man, and decoys him by little and little into a confession that he wanted to be a great man, and to govern his fellow citizens. After diverting himself with the naïveté of Theages, he proposes ironically several sophists of reputation, and several famous statesmen, who were fit to instruct him in this grand art: but as it does not appear that the disciples of those sophists, or even the sons of those statesmen, have been

Aristophanes ridicules this turn of the age in which he lived, in many places, particularly in Equitib. v. 1375. Reading, and the knowledge of the Belles Lettres, having more generally diffused itself through the body of the people, than it had done hitherto, had an ill effect on the manners of a nation naturally vain and lively. Every one had a smattering of eloquence and of reasoning, and every one would make a figure and govern ; but no one would be governed : the authority of age and of virtue was lost and overborne, and wit and a fluency of words supplied the place of experience and of common sense. See the character of Hippocrates in the Protagoras, p. 312: and Plato himself gives this as the characteristick of the Athenians in his time, “H παντων εις παντα σοφιας δοξα, και παρανομια. See de Legib. L. 3, p. 701.



Ρ. 125. Εις διδασκαλoν.] Perhaps Διδασκαλειον.-This poem

of Anacreon on Callicrete, the daughter of Cyane, is now lost. Dacier seriously imagines that she was a female politician, like Aspasia ; but it is more agreeable to Anacreon's gallantry, that we should suppose the seat of tyranny was only in her face.

128. Aaluovcov.] See Mr. Foster's note on the Euthyphro, ad p. 22, and Fraguier's Discourse on Socrates, Mém. de l'Acad, des Inscript. V. 6.

much the better for their lessons, both Demodocus and Theages intreat and insist that Socrates himself would admit him to his company, and favour him with his instructions. The philosopher very gravely tells them stories of his demon, without whose permission he undertakes nothing, and upon whom it entirely depends, whether his conversation shall be of any use, or not, to his friends; but at last he acquiesces, if Theages cares to make the experiment.

The scene of the dialogue is in the portico (described by Pausanias, L. 1. c. 3.) of Jupiter the Deliverer, in the Ceramicus, the principal street of Athens; and the time Ol. 92. 3-4, during the expedition of Thrasyllus, in which he was defeated at Ephesus by the Persians, and other allies of Sparta. Socrates was then sixty

years old.


P. 129. Klectouaxov epeo da..] This assassination of Nicias, the son of Heroscamander, by Philemon and Timarchus, and the condemnation of the latter with Euathlus, who had given him shelter, is not recounted in any other author.

130. Ooukudiònv.] Thucydides, the son of Melesias, was at the head of the Athenian nobility and of the party which opposed Pericles and Ephialtes: he was a near relation to Cymon, and banished by Ostracism about Ol. 83. 4, when Socrates was twenty-six years old. He had two sons, Melesias and Stephanus, the eldest of which was father to the Thucydides here mentioned.

130. Aristides, the son of Lysimachus, surnamed the Just, had a son, called after his grandfather, Lysimachus, whose son was also called Aristides, which interchange of names was common at Athens.

« PreviousContinue »