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χορῷ: 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.

τῷ: const. with πρόσθεν Πρωταγόρου after ἐν. See G. 141, N. 3. f.; H. 666.

ἐπήκοοι: 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, ib. 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 (332-414).

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