Page images

professes never to have written any thing on philosophy; and all that has been published in his name he attributes to Socrates. As I am not initiated, it is no wonder if this passage is still a riddle to me, as it was designed to be. Thus much one may divine indeed; namely, that it is a description of the Supreme Being, who is the cause and end of all things, which is an answer to Dionysius's first question; the second seems to be concerning the origin of evil, which Plato does not explain, but refers to a conversation which they had had before.

P. 314. Þidiotiwv.] Philistio was a Syracusan,1 famous for his knowledge in physick: Eudoxus of Gnidos, a person accomplished in various kinds of learning, was his scholar in this art. Diog. Laert. L. 8. c. 86.

Ib. Eπevσππw.] Speusippus had accompanied his uncle Plato into Sicily, and continued there after him; where (as Plutarch2 says) he thoroughly acquainted himself with the temper and inclinations of the city, and was a principal promoter of Dion's expedition.

Ib. Τον εκ τῶν Λατομιῶν.] This was some prisoner of state, as it seems, who was confined in those horrid

εστι, καλου και νεου γεγονοτος : which is a remarkable passage. This is alluded to by Theodoret, Serm. 1. Vol. 4. ed. Simondi. See Epist. 7. p. 341. Ουκουν εμον γε περι αυτων εστι συγγραμμα ουδε μηποτε γενηται, &c. See also Athenæus, L. 15. p. 702.

1 Athenæus, who cites him L. 3. p. 115. calls him a Locrian, as does Plutarch, Sympos. L. 7. Quæst. 1. Maрrvρwv тw IIλatwvi, προσκαλοῦμαι Φιλιστίωνα τον Λοκρον, ευ μαλα παλαιον ανδρα, και λαμπρον απο της τεχνης ύμων γενομενον. See also Rufus Ephesius, p. 31. so that this seems the more probable.

2 Plutarch in Dione.

caverns, the Latomiæ, which was the publick dungeon of the Syracusans, being a vast quarry in that part of the city, called the Epipola. Thucydides L. 7. and various other1 authors speak of this place. Tully particularly describes it in the fifth oration against Verres. See Cluverii Sicilia Antiqua. L. 1. p. 149.


01. 105. 4.

Plat. Op. Serrani, Vol. 3. p. 315.

This epistle, like those to the friends of Dion afterwards, was apparently written to be made publick; and is a justification of Plato's conduct, as well as an invective against the cruelty and falsehood of Dionysius. The beginning of the letter is a reproach, the more keen for being somewhat disguised; and in the rest of it, he observes no longer any measures with the tyrant whence I conclude, that it was written after that Dion's expedition against him was professedly begun, and perhaps after his entry into Syracuse, particularly from that expression, p. 315. Nûv de Alva διδασκοιμι δρᾶν αυτα ταυτα, και τοις διανοήμασι τοις σοις την σην αρχην αφαιρούμεθα σε, κτλ.


Р. 315. Еν πρаTTEL.] This address of letters was first used by Plato instead of Xaipei, the common form of salutation.

Ib. Τας δε Ελληνίδας πολεις οικιζειν.] The Greek

1 Elian. Var. Hist. L. 12. c. 44.

cities, which had been either totally destroyed, or dismantled, and miserably oppressed by the Carthaginians and by the elder Dionysius, were Himera, Agrigentum, Gela, Camerina, Messana, Naxus, Catana, and Leontini.

P. 315. Yo Piridov.] I doubt not but it should be read itov. Philistus, who had married a natural daughter of Leptines, the king's uncle, and commanded his fleet, was an inveterate enemy of Plato. He had been recalled from his banishment in Italy, on purpose to oppose Dion and his friends. (Plutarch in Dione.) Ib. Χαιρε και ἡδομενον.] Delphick Apollo, as well as his answers, were often in verse. This of Dionysius seems to have been sent on account of Dion's first successes in Sicily.

The addresses to the

Ρ. 316. Νόμων προοιμια.] Syracuse had been. governed ever since Ol. 91. 4. by the laws of Diocles, whose history and character Diodorus gives us. (L. 13. c. 33. and 35.) Plato began to form a new body of them, but his quarrel with Dionysius, and afterwards the murder of Dion, and the tumults which followed, hindered his system from being brought to any degree of perfection. Timoleon was happier in his great attempt; he restored Syracuse to its liberty, and, with the advice of Cephalus the Corinthian, supplied and amended the laws of Diocles: and afterwards, in the reign of Hiero, they were again revised or corrected by Polylarus. Yet these were only looked on as Εξηγηται των Νόμων; Diocles alone bore the title of Noμοerns, and had publick honours paid to him as to a hero. His laws were adopted by several other cities in the island, and continued in use down to the times

of Julius Cæsar (which is about three hundred and sixty-eight years) when the Sicilians received the Jus Latii.

Ρ. 316. Εν ἡλικιᾳ δε οντος μεση και καθεστηκυία.] Cornelius Nepos tells us that Dion was fifty-five years old at his death, so that he must have been about fortyone when Plato came the second time into Sicily. See also Epist. 7. p. 328. Ηλικιας τε ηδη μετρίως έχον.

Ib. Σpospa veov.] Dionysius was, I suppose, at least twenty years younger than Dion.

Ib. Πλευσαι μεν οικαδε εμε.] I defer examining into the time of Plato's voyages into Sicily, and his stay there, that I may do it all at once when I come to the seventh epistle.

P. 317. Tηv λkiav.] Plato was then about sixty-seven years old.

Ρ. 318. Ξυνεχης.] Read, ξυνεχη τω νυν γενομενίω· this is his apology to the first accusation; he has said in the beginning, προς δυω δη μοι διττας αναγκαιον ποιησασθαι απολογίας.

Ρ. 319. Ουκουν παιδευθεντα (εφησθα) γεωμετρειν ; η πως;] I do not understand the meaning of this insult at all: it relates, however, to the advice which Plato had ventured to give him, that he should lighten the load of the Syracusans, and voluntarily limit his own power.

EPISTLE IV. TO DION. Ol. 105. 4.

Plat. Op. Serrani, Vol. 3. p. 320.

This was written probably the same year with the former, or the beginning of the next, on account of those differences which Dion had with Heraclides and his uncle Theodotes, who at last drove him out of Syracuse their history may be seen in the seventh epistle, and in Plutarch.


P. 320. Tηv eunν проОνμιaν.] Рlato, after all his ill usage from Dionysius, expressed some backwardness to join in the expedition against him, as appears Ep. 7. p. 350. where he expresses some little tenderness which he retained for him, when he reflected on their former familiarity; and that the king amidst all his anger and suspicions, had attempted on his life: however, when he saw Dion engaged, he joined in the cause with great zeal, and assisted him with all his power.

Ib. Avaιpe@evтos.] This seems to fix the time to Ol. 106. 1. for when Dionysius had sailed away to Locri, and his son Apollocrates had surrendered the citadel, it was natural to imagine that his empire was at an end.

Ρ. 320. Ενδεεστέρως του προσηκοντος θεραπευτικος.] Plutarch cites this passage in Dion's life; and another in the same epistle.

Ib. To de vôv vπарɣоν ñeрɩ σe, &c. as above.

« PreviousContinue »