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[453a] whether female human nature is capable of sharing with the male all tasks or none at all, or some but not others,1 and under which of these heads this business of war falls. Would not this be that best beginning which would naturally and proverbially lead to the best end2?” “Far the best,” he said. “Shall we then conduct the debate with ourselves in behalf of those others3 so that the case of the other side may not be taken defenceless and go by default4?”

1 Plato as elsewhere asks whether it is true of all, some, or none. So of the commingling of ideas in Sophist 251 D. Aristotle (Politics 1260 b 38) employs the same would-be exhaustive method.

2 ἀρχόμενος . . . τελευτήσειν: an overlooked reference to a proverb also overlooked by commentators on Pindar, Pyth. i. 35. Cf. Pindar, fr. 108 A Loeb, Laws 775 E, Sophocles, fr. 831 (Pearson), Antiphon the Sophist, fr. 60 (Diels).

3 This pleading the opponent's case for him is common in Plato. Cf. especially the plea for Protagoras in Theaetetus 166-167.

4 Apparently a mixture of military and legal phraseology. Cf.ἐκπέρσῃ in Protagoras 340 A, Iliad v. 140τὰ δ᾽ ἐρῆμα φοβεῖται, and the legal phrase ἐρήμην καταδιαιτᾶν or οφλεῖν.

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