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CHAPTER XXVII

After some dialectical skirmishing, Socrates volunteers to give a continuous exposition of the poem.

6. ἰώμενος μεῖζον τὸ νόσημα ποιῶ. Socrates is thinking of the proverb κακὸν κακῷ ἰᾶσθαι.

8. ποιητοῦἐκτῆσθαι. The poet is not of course Hesiod but Simonides. Socrates nowhere said that in censuring Pittacus Simonides implies that it is easy to ‘keep virtue’, i.e. to be virtuous: the quotation from Hesiod was put in the mouth of Prodicus and ἄλλοι πολλοί (340C. At the same time Protagoras might fairly turn Socrates' fallacies (see on 331A against himself and say that if Simonides said it was ‘not difficult’ to be virtuous, he meant that it was ‘easy’ to be so.

12. κινδυνεύει γάρ τοι: the art of Prodicus (Socrates means) can lay as good claims to antiquity as yours: cf. 316D

13. θεία τις εἶναι πάλαι. Kroschel's reading εἶναι καὶ παλαιά would somewhat change the meaning, which is ‘has long been an art divine’: divine because practised by poets and the like, cf. Rep. I. 331E ἀλλὰ μέντοιΣιμωνίδῃ γε οὐ ῥᾴδιον ἀπιστεῖν: σοφὸς γὰρ καὶ θεῖος ἁνήρ: above 315Eand note. In ἤτοι ἀπὸ Σιμωνίδου there is an allusion to 316D

16. οὐχ ὥσπερ ἐγώ, sc. εἰμί. The idiom is frequent in Plato, e.g. Symp. 179E οὐχ ὥσπερ Ἀχιλλέαἐτίμησαν καὶ εἰς μακάρων νήσους ἀπέπεμψαν.

μαθητής. Socrates calls himself a disciple of Prodicus also in Crat. 384B, Meno, 96D, Charm. 163D.

18. τὸ χαλεπὸν τοῦτο. τό marks χαλεπόν as a quotation: see above on 331C

20. ἀλλ᾽ ὥσπερ κτλ. The application of the illustration follows in 341B ll. 27 ff. ἴσως οὖν καὶ τὸ χαλεπὸνὑπολαμβάνουσιν, where see note.

22. Πρωταγόρας σοφὸς καὶ δεινός ἐστιν. The ἄλλον τινά is neglected, and Πρωταγόρας takes us back to σέ: cf. note on ἐνδείξασθαι καὶ καλλωπίσασθαι in 317C The collocation σοφὸς καὶ δεινός is tolerably frequent in ironical characterisations, e.g. Theaet. 173B δεινοί τε καὶ σοφοὶ γεγονότες, ὡς οἴονται.

23. ἐρωτᾷ explains νουθετεῖ, whence the asyndeton explicativum: see on 335Aabove.

24. τὸ γὰρ δεινὸνκακόν ἐστιν. Prodicus' canon—which rests on the derivation of δεινόν from δέος—is not borne out by Greek usage, except to this extent, that when a man is called δεινός, it is generally implied that he is more clever than good.

25. δεινοῦ πλούτου κτλ. Genitives of exclamation in the Platonic dialogues are generally (as Turner remarks) preceded by an interjection, e.g. Euthyd, 303A πυππὰξ Ἡράκλεις καλοῦ λόγου and ibid. Πόσειδον δεινῶν λόγων. Here of course the exclamation is left out as irrelevant: the only relevant point is the use of δεινός.

27. ἴσως οὖν καὶ τὸ χαλεπόν. Sauppe remarks that we should expect οὕτω καὶ τὸ χαλεπόν to introduce the apodosis to the ὥσπερ clause (341A l. 20); καί is however enough to show that we have reached the application; οὖν is introduced on account of the parenthesis from τὸ γὰρ δεινόν to κακοῦ ὄντος; and ἴσως marks the suggestion as only tentative.

31. φωνήν: ‘dialect’ as often, e.g. Phaedo, 62A καὶ Κέβηςἴττω Ζεύς, ἔφη, τῇ αὑτοῦ φωνῇ εἰπών.

32. κακόν, ἔφη. Prodicus enters into the spirit of the joke: in view of C and D it would be absurd to take this seriously: see note on ἀλλὰ παίζειν in D below.

37. τὰ ὀνόματαὀρθῶς διαιρεῖν: cf. above, 340Aand below, 358Aτὴν δὲ Προδίκου τοῦδε διαίρεσιν τῶν ὀνομάτων παραιτοῦμαι. Prodicus pretends to regard Simonides (cf. 341 A) as a teacher like himself of ὀνομάτων διαίρεσις.

38. ἅτε Λέσβιος ὤν: had he been Κεῖος, he would have learnt ὀνομάτων διαίρεσις forsooth in its natural home.

39. ἐν φωνῇ βαρβάρῳ: a malicious exaggeration inspired by the odium philologicum.

47. ἀλλὰ παίζειν. The editors suppose that Socrates is here turning the tables on Prodicus, who it is supposed meant his criticism seriously, but the tone of the passage seems to imply that Prodicus is in league with Socrates to make fun of Protagoras, who is represented throughout the whole dialogue as lacking all sense of humour. It would not be wit, but sheer buffoonery, in Plato to represent Prodicus as seriously believing that Simonides had censured Pittacus for having said: ‘It is bad to be good.’

48. καὶ σοῦ δοκεῖν ἀποπειρᾶσθαι. δοκεῖν is not pleonastic after οἶμαι but means ‘think fit’—a very idiomatic use, cf. Aesch. Ag. 16 ὅταν δ᾽ ἀείδειν μινύρεσθαι δοκῶ. See Class. Rev. III, 148, where Mr Arthur Sidgwick discusses and illustrates this usage.

53. οὐ δήπου τοῦτό γε λέγων. οὐ δήπου goes with λέγων, which is ‘meaning’ not ‘saying’, and τοῦτο is explained by κακὸν ἐσθλὸν ἔμμεναι. For the asyndeton see on 335A and for the use of εἶτα cf. 311Aand Symp. 200A πότερον ἔχων αὐτὸ οὗ ἐπιθυμεῖ τε καὶ ἐρᾷ, εἶτα ἐπιθυμεῖ τε καὶ ἐρᾷ, οὐκ ἔχων;

54. τοῦτο γέρας. Heindorf reads τοῦτο τὸ γέρας as in 344C but γέρας may be regarded as predicative and going closely with ἀπένειμε, so that τοῦτοτοῦτο balance each other. Sauppe compares Symp. 179C εὐαριθμήτοις δή τισιν ἔδοσαν τοῦτο γέρας οἱ θεοί.

55. ἀκόλαστονοὐδαμῶς Κεῖον. This seems to be the earliest passage making allusion to the sobriety and uprightness of the Ceans, to which, perhaps, Aristophanes sarcastically alludes in Frogs, 970 (οὐ Χῖος, ἀλλὰ Κεῖος). In Laws, I. 638B (quoted by Sauppe) Plato cites the subjugation of the Ceans by the Athenians as a proof that victory does not always favour the more virtuous side. Strabo (X. 486) quotes from Menander the lines καλὸν τὸ Κείων νόμιμόν ἐστι, Φανία: μὴ δυνάμενος ζῆν καλῶς οὐ ζῇ κακῶς and explains them by saying that a Cean law required those above the age of 60 to take hemlock so as to make their country's produce suffice to feed the others.

59. σὺ λέγεις τοῦτο refers to περὶ ἐπῶν 338E For the idiom cf. the usual τὸ σὸν δὴ τοῦτο, e.g. Symp. 221B.

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hide References (25 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (25):
    • Plato, Laws, 638b
    • Plato, Republic, 331e
    • Plato, Phaedo, 62a
    • Plato, Cratylus, 384b
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 173b
    • Plato, Symposium, 179c
    • Plato, Symposium, 179e
    • Plato, Symposium, 200a
    • Plato, Symposium, 221b
    • Plato, Protagoras, 335a
    • Plato, Euthydemus, 303a
    • Plato, Meno, 96d
    • Plato, Protagoras, 311a
    • Plato, Protagoras, 315e
    • Plato, Protagoras, 316d
    • Plato, Protagoras, 317c
    • Plato, Protagoras, 331a
    • Plato, Protagoras, 331c
    • Plato, Protagoras, 338e
    • Plato, Protagoras, 340a
    • Plato, Protagoras, 340c
    • Plato, Protagoras, 341a
    • Plato, Protagoras, 341b
    • Plato, Protagoras, 344c
    • Plato, Protagoras, 358a
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