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343A - 344C Thrasymachus with much insolence of tone now abandons the idealistic point of view, and takes an example from experience. The shepherd does not, as a matter of fact, seek the good of his flock, but fattens them for his own or his master's advantage. In like manner it is their own advantage that is aimed at by rulers who deserve the name. Justice is ‘other men's good’ (ἀλλότριον ἀγαθόν), whereas Injustice is one's own: the just man comes off second best everywhere, alike in commercial and in political transactions. That it is far more to one's interest to be unjust than to be just, we may see from the case of tyrants, who represent Injustice in its most perfect form. All men envy them. Finally, Thrasymachus reiterates his original theory with the remark that Injustice on a sufficiently large scale is at once stronger, more worthy of a freeman, and more masterly and commanding than Justice.

ff. It should be noted that Thrasymachus has in no way changed his theory, but only reverts to his original standpoint, that of experience. In the panegyric on Injustice in the present chapter, the new and important point is the appeal to the evidence of tyranny and the emotions which it roused in the mind of the Greeks. See on 344 B.

εἰς τοὐναντίον. Justice has now become τὸ τοῦ ἥττονος (rather than κρείττονος) συμφέρον.

κορυζῶντα: ‘snivelling,’ μωραίνοντα, μυξάζοντα: κόρυζα γὰρ μύξα, ἣν οἱ Ἀττικοὶ κατάρρουν φασίν (Schol.). Ruhnken on Timaeus Lex. s.v. quotes among other passages Lucian Alex. § 20 ἦν δὲ τὸ μηχάνημα τοῦτο ἀνδρὶ μὲν οἵῳ σοι, εἰ δὲ μὴ φορτικὸν εἰπεῖν, καὶ οἵῳ ἐμοί. πρόδηλον καὶ γνῶναι ῥᾴδιον, τοῖς δὲ ἰδιώταις καὶ κορύζης μεστοῖς τὴν ῥῖνα τεράστιον καὶ πάνυ ἀπίστῳ ὅμοιον, and Horace Sat. I 4. 8 (of Lucilius) emunctae naris.

ὅς γε αὐτῇ κτλ. “Apte αὐτῇ interpositum; nam ipsi nutrici Socratis insipientiam opprobrio esse, Thrasymachus vult significare” Ast. Richter (Fl. Jahrb. for 1867 p. 140) ought not to have suggested ὅς γε αὐτός. The sense is ‘for she cannot teach you to recognise even sheep or shepherd,’ not ‘you do not know either sheep or shepherd’ (J. and C.), which would require οὔτεοὔτε. The phrase is clearly a half-proverbial expression borrowed from the nursery.

ὅτι οἴει τοὺς ποιμένας κτλ. Thrasymachus gives a new turn to the nursery saying. The illustration from the shepherd and his sheep (which is now for the first time introduced) was used by the historical Socrates to justify the opposite conclusion (Xen. Mem. III 2. 1) ἐντυχὼν δέ ποτε στρατηγεῖν ᾑρημένῳ τῳ, Τοῦ ἕνεκεν, ἔφη, Ὅμηρον οἴει τὸν Ἀγαμέμνονα προσαγορεῦσαι ποιμένα λαῶν; ἆρά γε ὅτι, ὥσπερ τὸν ποιμένα ἐπιμελεῖσθαι δεῖ, ὅπως σῶαί τε ἔσονται αἱ ὄϊες, καὶ τὰ ἐπιτήδεια ἕξουσιν, οὕτω καὶ τὸν στρατηγὸν ἐπιμελεῖσθαι δεῖ, ὅπως σῶοί τε οἱ στρατιῶται ἔσονται, καὶ τὰ ἐπιτήδεια ἕξουσι, καὶ οὗ ἕνεκα στρατεύονται τοῦτο ἔσται; So also Arist. Eth. Nic. VIII 13. 1161^{a} 12 ff. εὖ γὰρ ποιεῖ τοὺς βασιλευομένους, εἴπερ ἀγαθὸς ὢν ἐπιμελεῖται αὐτῶν, ἵν᾽ εὖ πράττωσιν, ὥσπερ νομεὺς προβάτων: ὅθεν καὶ Ὅμηρος τὸν Ἀγαμέμνονα ποιμένα λαῶν εἶπεν. In Plato Pol. 271 D ff. the deities of the golden age are compared to shepherds, and the comparison of a good ruler to a shepherd is very frequent in Plato: see Ast's Lex. Plat. s. v. νομεύς. In Socrates' view ‘the shepherd careth for his sheep.’ With Thrasymachus' attitude should be compared the picture of the tyrant in Theaet. 174 D as a συβώτην ποιμένα τινα βουκόλονπολὺ βδάλλοντα (he squeezes as much milk as he can out of his flock): also Solon ap. Arist. Rep. Ath. ch. 12 εἰ γάρ τις ἄλλος ταύτης τῆς τιμῆς ἔτυχεν, οὐκ ἂν κατέσχε δῆμον οὐδ᾽ ἐπαύσατο, | πρὶν ἀνταράξας πῖαρ ἐξεῖλεν γάλα. In the word ἀμοργοί or ἀμολγοί used by Cratinus in the sense of πόλεως ὄλεθροι (Meineke Fr. Com. Graec. II 1, p. 140) the image is the same. Compare the eloquent words of Ruskin in Sesame and Lilies § 43 and Milton's Lycidas 113—129.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 174d
    • Xenophon, Memorabilia, 3.2.1
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