: the tragic chorus, as it entered the theatre, was generally arranged in three rows (στοῖχοι
, cf. στίχοι
), each consisting of five choreutae, the middle choreut in the row nearest to the spectators being the Coryphaeus. Similarly, here Protagoras is in the middle of a row of seven, the others walking behind these.
Socrates ironically admires the skill shown in keeping out of Protagoras's way.
: const. with πρόσθεν Πρωταγόρου
. See G. 141, N. 3. f.; H. 666.
: mere silent listeners.
εἰς . . . κάλλιστα
: took their positions in the rear in the most graceful manner.
τὸν δὲ μετ᾽ εἰσενόησα
: these familiar words, and also καὶ Τάνταλον εἰσεῖδον
, would instantly, in the minds of Plato's contemporaries, shift the scene to Hades; for in the Homeric Νέκυια
Odysseus recounts, with these words, that he saw in Hades, among other shades, those also of Hercules and Tantalus. Cf. Hom. λ
601 τὸν δὲ μετ᾽ εἰσενόησα βίην Ἡρακληείην
582 καὶ μὴν Τάνταλον εἰσεῖδον χαλέπ᾽ ἄλγἐ ἔχοντα
. So then we are in the realm of shades; Protagoras, Hippias, Prodicus are famous names,—rather an outward form than a reality. The comparison to Tantalus is applied to Prodicus because of his sickly condition, in which he appeared χαλέπ᾽ ἄλγἐ ἔχων
. To find, however, an allusion to Prodicus's greed or love of luxury, to see in Hippias a Hercules by reason of his combativeness, or to seek to find in the wise Protagoras a Sisyphus, would be frivolous, and would impair the humor of the comparison. Timon of Phlius had also parodied the Νέκυια
, as have Schiller, and Goethe in the Xenia