previous next


Socrates points out that while Protagoras' theory would point to the conclusion that virtue is not teachable, he himself in trying to prove that virtue is knowledge goes near to maintaining that it is. Thus the interlocutors have as it were changed places. The dialogue ends with mutual compliments.

3. αὐτὸ ἀρετή: ‘virtue itself’, literally ‘virtue, the thing itself’. Cf. Crat. 411D εἰ δὲ βούλει, αὐτὸ νόησις τοῦ νέου ἐστὶν ἕσις, Theaet. 146E γνῶναι ἐπιστήμην αὐτὸ τί ποτ᾽ ἐστίν: ‘αὐτό (per se) substantivis et adiectivis adiunctum rei alicuius naturam acvim per se et universe spectatam significat’, says Ast. This use of αὐτός furnished Plato (as in αὐτοάνθρωπος and the like) with a convenient way of denoting his Ideas, but here of course αὐτό does not denote the Idea but is ipsum as opposed to τὰ περὶ τῆς ἀρετῆς.

13. πάντα χρήματα: exaggeration—as if Socrates held ἐπιστήμη to be the ἀρχή of the universe and said ἐπιστήμη πάντα as Heraclitus might say πῦρ πάντα.

18. ὅλον: i.e. ἀρετή—the gender is like αὐτό in line 3. Sauppe cites Meno, 79B ἐμοῦ δεηθέντος ὅλον εἰπεῖν τὴν ἀρετήν.

21. ἔοικεν σπεύδοντι: a frequent usage in Plato; see on Apol. 27A ἔοικεν γὰρδιαπειρωμένῳ.

23. ἄνω κάτω: see on 356Dabove.

26. ἐξελθεῖνἐπὶ. There is a slight hint of military metaphor: ‘fare forth against virtue also to see what she is’, ‘also attack the question what is virtue’: cf. Rep. II. 374A (στρατόπεδον) ἐξελθὸνδιαμαχεῖται τοῖς ἐπιοῦσιν: cf. the similar use of ἰέναι ἐπί in Rep. v. 473C ἐπ᾽ αὐτὸ δή, ἧν δ᾽ ἐγώ, εἶμι τῷ μεγίστῳ προσεικάζομεν κύματι. Here ἐξ- is appropriate, because the first campaign is as it were ended (ταῦτα διεξελθόντας): it is moreover natural to retain it, on account of the tendency noted on 311A A later hand in T has ἐλθεῖν, but the MSS. reading is unobjectionable, nor is there any need to read διελθεῖν or διεξελθεῖν τὴν ἀρετήν as Kroschel suggests. For the sentiment cf. Meno, 100B τὸ δὲ σαφὲς περὶ αὐτοῦ εἰσόμεθα τότε, ὅταν πρὶν ᾥτινι τρόπῳ τοῖς ἀνθπώροις ραπαγίγνεται ἀπετή, ρπότεπον ἐριχειπήσωμεν αὐτὸ καθ᾽ αὑτὸ ζητεῖν τί ποτ᾽ ἕστιν ἀρετή.

27. ἐπισκέψασθαι περὶ αὐτοῦ: Siebeck (in the treatise cited on p. 203) here and in 361Eεἰσαῦθιςδιέξιμεν finds a promise of the Meno and the Gorgias.

28. μἡ πολλάκις: ne forte, as often in Plato. What often happens may happen in a future case: so Lucretius uses ‘saepe’ for ‘ut saepe fit’.

31. Προμηθεὺςπρομηθούμενος. Puns on proper names are frequent in Plato: see Riddell's Digest of Idioms, § 323.

34. κατ᾽ ἀρχάς, viz. 348Cff., 320B

37. οὔτετε: see on 309B

40. ώ̂ν ἐντυγχάνω: a somewhat rare attraction, since in the unattracted form the relative would be in the dative and not in the accusative case: cf. Theaet. 144A ὧν δὴ πώποτε ἐνέτυχονκαὶ πάνυ πολλοῖς πεπλησίακαοὐδένα πω ἠ̣σθόμην κτλ., where Wohlrab cites also Gorg. 509A.

41. τηλικούτων: Socrates was about 36 at the date of action of the Protagoras.

46. ἔφην: 335C

Καλλίᾳ τῷ καλῷ: see on 336Babove. For καλῷ cf. Symp. 174A ταῦτα δὴ ἐκαλλωπισάμην ἵνα καλὸς παρὰ καλὸν (viz. Agathon) ἴω. Sauppe reminds us of the use of καλός on vases, and also cites Ar. Ach. 143 ἐν τοῖσι τοίχοις ἔγραφ᾽ Ἀθηναῖοι καλοί (of Sitalces) and the famous Κριτίᾳ τοῦτ᾽ ἔστω τῷ καλῷ of the dying Theramenes (Xen. Hell. II. 3. 56).

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide References (15 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (15):
    • Plato, Republic, 374a
    • Plato, Apology, 27a
    • Plato, Cratylus, 411d
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 144a
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 146e
    • Plato, Protagoras, 320b
    • Plato, Gorgias, 509a
    • Plato, Meno, 79b
    • Plato, Protagoras, 309b
    • Plato, Protagoras, 311a
    • Plato, Protagoras, 336b
    • Plato, Protagoras, 348c
    • Plato, Protagoras, 356d
    • Plato, Protagoras, 361e
    • Aristophanes, Acharnians, 143
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: