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ἐνταῦθα. “Here,” i.e. in the case of τὰ θηρία, as distinguished from that of humans.

τὸν αὐτὸν...λόγον. Adv. accus.; cp. 178 E.

κατὰ τὸ δυνατὸν. This implies (cp. 208 A ad fin., B) that only partial immortality, at the best, can attach to θνητὴ φύσις.

ἀεὶ τὸ εἶναι ἀθάνατος. I retain the reading of B rejected by recent edd. (see crit. n.): ἀεὶ goes with the preceding words, cp. Rep. 618 C τὸν βελτίω ἐκ τῶν δυνατῶν ἀεὶ πανταχοῦ αἱρεῖσθαι: and 206 A, B supra. If, with Burnet, we adopt the reading of T, we must suppose εἶναι to be doing double duty, “both to exist (εἶναι) always and to be (εἶναι) immortal.” For the desire of this mortal “to put on immortality,” cp. Eur. fr. 808 φιλόζωοι βροτοὶ... οὕτως ἔρως βρότοισιν ἔγκειται βίου: Browne Hydriot. c. 5 “Restless inquietude for the diuturnity of our memories unto present considerations seems a vanity almost out of date, and superannuated piece of folly.”

δύναται κτλ. This introduces the explanation of the saving phrase κατὰ τὸ δυνατόν. ταύτῃ is adverbial (equiv. to ταύτῃ τῇ μηχάνῃ in 208 B ad init.), and τῇ γενέσει, if genuine, is an epexegetic supplement. Possibly we should excise τῇ γενέσει, with Vermehren; or else alter to τῇ γεννήσει. But the use of τῇ γενέσει above (206 D) in the sense of “the process of generation,” combined with the emphasis, by repetition of its moods and tenses, laid on γίγνεσθαι in the sequel (207 D—208 A), may make us hesitate to adopt any change; cp. also the passage quoted in the next note.

ἀεὶ καταλείπει κτλ. Cp. Laws 721 C γένος οὖν ἀνθρώπων...τούτῳ τῷ τρόπῳ ἀθάνατον ὄν, τῷ παῖδας παίδων καταλειπόμενον ταὐτὸν καὶ ἓν ὂν ἀεὶ γενέσει τῆς ἀθανασίας μετειληφέναι: ib. 773 E (cited above). On this “conceit” of “a fruitful issue wherein, as in the truest chronicle, they seem to outlive themselves,” Sir T. Browne (Rel. Med. § 41) observes “This counterfeit subsisting in our progenies seems to me a mere fallacy” etc.

ἐπεὶ καὶ κτλ. We should expect this first clause to be followed by something like οὐκ ἔστι τὸ αὐτὸ ἀλλὰ νέον ἀεὶ γίγνεται, τὰ δὲ ἀπόλλυσι or οὐδέποτε τὰ αὐτὰ ἔχει ἐν ἑαυτῷ, but, affected by the parenthetic clause οἷον...γένηται, the sentence follows a different course. Cp. the cases of anacoluthon in 177 B, 182 D.

νέος...τὰ δὲ ἀπολλύς. For the omission of τὰ μὲν, cp. Theaet. 181 D, Protag. 330 A, Rep. 451 D. I think it not unlikely that for ἀλλὰ we should read ἅμα: the processes of growth and decay are synchronous. For the substance of this passage cp. Heraclitus fr. 41 δὶς ἐς τὸν αὐτὸν ποταμὸν οὐκ ἂν ἐμβαίης: (Heraclitus ap.) Plut. de EI Delph. c. 18 χθὲς (ἄνθρωπος) εἰς τὸν σήμερον τέθνηκεν, δὲ σήμερον εἰς τὸν αὔριον ἀποθνῄσκει. μένει δ᾽ οὐδείς, οὐδ᾽ ἔστιν εἷς, ἀλλὰ γιγνόμεθα πολλοὶ περὶ ἓν φάντασμα: Max. Tyr. diss. XLI. 4 μεταβολὴν ὁρᾷς σωμάτων καὶ γενέσεως ἀλλαγήν, ὁδὸν ἄνω καὶ κάτω κατὰ τὸν Ἡράκλειτον κτλ.: Plut. cons. ad Apoll. 10: Crat. 439 D ff.: see also Rohde Psyche II. 148.

The influence of “the flowing philosophers” is noticeable also in Epicharm. fr. 40. 12 ff. (Lorenz)— ὧδε νῦν ὅρη καὶ τὸς ἀνθρώπους: μὲν γὰρ αὔξεθ᾽ , δέ γα μὰν φθίνει. ἐν μεταλλαγᾷ δὲ πάντες ἐντὶ πάντα τὸν χρόνον. δὲ μεταλλάσσει κατὰ φύσιν κωὔποκ᾽ ἐν τωὐτῷ μένει, ἅτερον εἴη κα τόδ᾽ ἤδη τοῦ παρεξεστακότος. καὶ τὺ δὴ κἀγὼ χθὲς ἄλλοι καὶ νὺν ἄλλοι τελέθομες, καὖθις ἄλλοι κωὔποχ᾽ ωὑτοὶ καττὸν αὐτὸν αὖ λόγον.

Cp. Spenser F. Q. VII. 7. 19 And men themselves do change continually, | From youth to eld from wealth to poverty...Ne doe their bodies only flit and fly, | But eeke their minds (which they immortall call) | Still change and vary thoughts, as new occasions fall.”


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hide References (12 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (12):
    • Plato, Laws, 721c
    • Plato, Republic, 451d
    • Plato, Republic, 618c
    • Plato, Cratylus, 439d
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 181d
    • Plato, Symposium, 177b
    • Plato, Symposium, 178e
    • Plato, Symposium, 182d
    • Plato, Symposium, 206a
    • Plato, Symposium, 208a
    • Plato, Symposium, 208b
    • Plato, Protagoras, 330a
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