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CHAPTER XXIII

Alcibiades defends Socrates, and together with Critias and Prodicus hopes that the conversation will be continued.

1. οὐ καλῶς λέγεις, Καλλία. The jingle is intentional: Handsome is that handsome says. Plato loves to play upon the names of his interlocutors ( λῶ̣στε Πῶλε in Gorg. 467B): see Riddell's Digest of Idioms, § 323, and cf. the Editor's notes on Euthyphr. 2E, 4E, 5C.

5. λόγον τε δοῦναι καὶ δέξασθαι. We should expect τε to follow δοῦναι: see on 316D

10. ἐκκρούων. ‘Vox ducta a pugilatu, cuius proprium κρούειν de rep. IV. p. 422B οὐδ᾽ εἰ ἐξείηὑποφεύγοντι (τῷ πύκτῃτὸν πρότερον αἰεὶ προσφερόμενον ἀναστρέφοντα κρούειν etc.’ Heindorf. The simple verb is used metaphorically in Theaet. 154E of beating arguments with arguments, ἤδη ἂνσυνελθόντες σοφιστικῶς εἰς μάχην τοιαύτην ἀλλήλων τοὺς λόγους τοῖς λόγοις ἐκρούομεν, and the compound in Phaedr. 228E ἐκκέκρουκάς με ἐλπίδος. Here the idea is of beating off, staving off by force, i.e. here by μακρηγορία: ἐκκρούειν δίκην is used by Demosthenes of staving off a trial by συκοφαντία and the like.

14. οὐχ ὅτι: ‘not but what’. The idiom (as if οὐ λέγω ὅτι, omitto quod) is tolerably common in Plato, e.g. Gorg. 450E οὐχ ὅτι τῷ ῥήματι οὕτως εἶπες, Theaet. 157B τὸ δ᾽ εἶναι πανταχόθεν ἐξαιρετέον, οὐχ ὅτι ἡμεῖςἠναγκάσμεθαχρῆσθαι αὐτῷ.

16. χρὴ γὰρ κτλ.: said apologetically.

20. φιλόνικος. The MSS. read φιλόνεικος and presently συμφιλονεικεῖν. It is however clear that the word comes from φιλο- and νίκη, not from φιλο- and νεῖκος (in which case the form would be φιλονεικής: compare φιλοκερδής, φιλοκυδής, but φιλότιμος, φιλόδοξος, φιλόθηρος and the like). Schanz has found only two traces of the original spelling with iota in Plato's MSS. (A, B, T): viz. in Laws, XI. 935B, where Paris A has ἀριστείων πέρι φιλονικήσῃ, and Alcib. I, 122C, where φιλονικίαν appears as a correction for φιλονεικίαν in T. We might in consequence be tempted to suppose that Plato himself wrote φιλόνεικος through the influence of a false etymology, were it not that the derivation from νίκη alone suits the meaning, and that in more than one passage he shows himself conscious of the connection of the word with νίκη, notably in Rep. IX. 586C τί δέ; περὶ τὸ θυμοειδὲς οὐχ ἕτερα τοιαῦτα ἀνάγκη γίγνεσθαι, ὃς ἂν αὐτὸ τοῦτο διαπράττηται φθόνῳ διὰ φιλοτιμίαν βίᾳ διὰ φιλονικίαν (φιλονεικίαν Α) θυμῷ διὰ δυσκολίαν, ρλησμονὴν τιμῆς τε καὶ νίκης καὶ θυμοῦ διώκων ἄνευ λογισμοῦ τε καὶ νοῦ; Cf. also ibid. 581A-B. The orthography of this word is an old subject of dispute (see Stallbaum on Rep. VIII. 545A); Schanz (Preface to vol. VI, p. X) declares himself, after a full discussion, for φιλόνικος.

24. Πρόδικοςἔφη. Prodicus contrives to make his remarks an ἐπίδειξις on ὀρθότης ὀνομάτων, which was his leading subject of instruction: see Euthyd. 277E and cf. above on 314C The distinctions drawn by Prodicus are on the whole sound if somewhat wiredrawn and pedantic. The carefully balanced style of the speech finds a parallel in the story of Heracles in Xen. Mem. II. I. 21 ff.: cf. especially §§ 31-3.

26. κοινοὺςἀκροατάςἴσους. κοινός and ἴσος are found as epithets of ἀκροατής in the orators: e.g. Dem. De Cor. 7 τὰ τοῦ λέγοντος ὑστέπου δίκαια εὐνοϊκῶς ρποσδέξεται καὶ ραπασχὼν ἑαυτὸν ἴσον καὶ κοινὸν ἀμφοτέποις ἀκποατὴν οὕτω τὴν διάγνωσιν ποιήσεται περὶ πάντων, and Andoc. in Alcib. § 7 δέομαι δ᾽ ὑμῶν, τῶν λόγων ἴσους καὶ κοινοὺς ἡμῖν ἐπιστάτας γενέσθαι (Heindorf).

29. τῷ μὲν σοφωτέρῳ πλέον κτλ. In other words ἰσότης γεωμετρική and not ἰσότης ἀριθμητική should be observed by the audience (Gorg. 508A): the regard paid to the speakers should be in proportion to their merit.

33. ἀμφισβητεῖνἐρίζειν. Cicero's translation of this sentence is preserved by Priscian (Nobbe's Cicero, p. 1313): ‘Nunc a vobis, a Protagora et Socrate (leg. o Protagora et Socrates), postulo, ut de isto concedatis alter alteri, et inter vos de huiuscemodi rebus controversemini, non concertetis.’

38. εὐδοκιμοῖτε καὶ οὐκ ἐπαινοῖσθε. Heindorf suggests that ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ should be written for καὶ οὐκ, or καί omitted; but καί is occasionally used in this way.

39. ἄνευ ἀπάτης is opposed to παρὰ δόξαν ψευδομένων: εὐδοκιμεῖν implies that he with whom one εὐδοκιμεῖ is sincere. ἐν λόγῳ as opposed to παρὰ ταῖς ψυχαῖς suggests Shak. ‘Mouthhonour, breath, which the poor heart would fain deny, but dare not’.

42. εὐφραίνεσθαι is connected by Prodicus with φρόνησις (φρονήσεως μεταλαμβάνοντα): for a fantastic derivation of the kindred εὐφροσύνη see Crat. 419D παντὶ γὰρ δῆλον ὅτι ἀπὸ τοῦ εὖ τοῖς ρπάγμασι τὴν ψυχὴν ξυμφέπεσθαι τοῦτο ἔλαβε τὸ ὄνομα, εὐφεροσύνην, τό γε δίκαιον: ὅμως δὲ αὐτὸ καλοῦμεν εὐφροσύνην. Cf. Ar. Top. II. 6, p. 112b. 22 Πρόδικος διῃρεῖτο τὰς ἡδονὰς εἰς χαρὰν καὶ τέρψιν καὶ εὐφροσύνην. The Greek usage of this word hardly conformed to the rule laid down by Prodicus.

44. αὐτῇ τῇ διανοίᾳ: αὐτῆ̣ is ‘by itself’, i.e. without the body, as αὐτῷ in αὐτῷ τῷ σώματι is without the mind. ἡδύ is introduced to give the derivation of ἥδεσθαι.

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hide References (12 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (12):
    • Plato, Laws, 935b
    • Plato, Republic, 545a
    • Plato, Republic, 586c
    • Plato, Cratylus, 419d
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 157b
    • Plato, Phaedrus, 228e
    • Plato, Euthydemus, 277e
    • Plato, Gorgias, 450e
    • Plato, Gorgias, 467b
    • Plato, Gorgias, 508a
    • Plato, Protagoras, 314c
    • Plato, Protagoras, 316d
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