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ἔτι -- συγγίγνεσθαι. These words are rejected by Hirschig, Cobet, and Hartman, but their genuineness is supported by the singular αὐτό in αὐτὸ ἀπέφυγον and by Plut. περὶ φιλοπλουτίας 5. 525 A Σοφοκλῆς ἐρωτηθεὶς εἰ δύναται γυναικὶ πλησιάζειν, Εὐφήμει, ἄνθρωπε, εἶπεν κτλ. In such matters Greek realism called a spade a spade. In spite of the anecdote here told, few writers have painted sadder pictures of old age than Sophocles: see for example O. C. 1235— 1238 and Fr. 684. More in keeping with the present passage is Fr. 688 οὐκ ἔστι γῆρας τῶν σοφῶν, ἐν οἷς νοῦς | θείᾳ ξύνεστιν ἡμέρᾳ τεθραμμένος.

ἀπέφυγον -- ἀποφυγών. The repetition adds a certain impressiveness to the sentence. Herwerden is in error when he ejects ἀποφυγών, which seems to have been read also by Plutarch (referred to in last note).

κατατείνουσαι is intransitive. If the meaning were (as Ast holds) transitive —man being conceived as the puppet of the desires cf. Laws 644 E—we should expect ἐπι- or συν- rather than κατατείνουσαι: see Phaed. 94 C and 98 D.

παντάπασιν κτλ. The impressive iteration is in keeping with the age and earnestness of the speaker: cf. 331 A, B.

ἐστι. Stallbaum and others eject this word, but it is not easy to see why a scribe should have inserted it, particularly in such an idiomatic position. The asyndeton before δεσποτων is regular in explanatory clauses. I read ἐστι (with A) in preference to ἔστι: the meaning ‘is possible’ does not suit, and would require ἀπαλλαγῆναι rather than ἀπηλλάχθαι. Translate ‘it is the deliverance once and for all from tyrants full many and furious.’ The grammatical subject, as in English, remains vague; it is involved in ἐπειδὰνχαλάσωσιν. For the use of ἐστι cf. Euthyphr. 2 D φαίνεταί μοιἄρχεσθαι ὀρθῶς: ὀρθῶς γάρ ἐστι τῶν νέων πρότερον ἐπιμεληθῆναι. The sentence-accent falls on πολλῶν and μαινομένων and not on ἐστι. The view of old age presented here recalls the μελέτη θανάτου of the Phaedo.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Plato, Euthyphro, 2d
    • Plato, Phaedo, 94c
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