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ξυγγενὴς -- ὄντι. Cf. Phaed. 79 A ff., especially 80 A, B and Laws 899 D, 959 B, Tim. 90 A, C. Here we have yet another expression of the profound conviction which inspires the teaching of Plato, that man is an οὐράνιον φυτόν, οὐκ ἔγγειον. Herwerden would omit τῷ before ἀεὶ ὅντι, but the article adds emphasis by making ἀεὶ ὄντι look like a different category from ‘the divine and immortal,’ which is treated as a unity. Cf. I 334 E note

οἵα ἂν γένοιτο -- ἐπισπομένη. In the light of 611 B, C we may suppose that when the soul altogether follows after the divine it shakes itself clear of the body and the lower parts of soul associated therewith, and appears in its true unity as pure λογιστικόν<*> Cf. Grimmelt l.c. p. 94 and 608 D note

τοῦ πόντου -- ἐστίν. The imagery, which is of course suggested by the comparison with Glaucus of the sea, reminds us of Phaed. 109 B—110 B.

περικρουσθεῖσα is used with exactly the same meaning and construction as περιεκόπη in VII 519 A. The word is particularly appropriate here, because it might well be used of striking a vessel of any kind in order to shake off the integuments with which it has become incrusted in the depths of the sea. Cf. also the metaphorical use of circumcisa in Cic. de Fin. I 44. παρακρουσθεῖσα (Morgenstern) gives a wrong meaning, and περικουφισθεῖσα, which Liebhold suggests, is tame and inadequate.

πέτρας -- ὄστρεα is bracketed by Herwerden and Richards, the latter proposing as an alternative to insert καί before νῦν. The image is scarcely bolder than τὰς τῆς γενέσεως ξυγγενεῖς ὥσπερ μολυβδίδας in VII 519 A, and the comparison with Glaucus easily carries it through. ‘Stripped of stones and shellfish—the numerous and wild accretions of earth and stone which in consequence of these “happy” feastings as they are called have fastened themselves about her in her present state, because it is on earth that she feasts.’ Liebhold's conjecture γῇ ἐνοικουμένῃ and Madvig's γῆν ἑστιουμένῃ or γῆν εἰσῳκισμένῃ may be taken as indications of how far these critics are qualified to deal with the text of Plato. Plato means of course that the soul which feeds on earth becomes of the earth, earthy. Man is an οὐράνιον φυτόν (Tim. 90 A) and should draw his sustenance from Heaven. The best commentary on the whole passage is VII 519 A, B, with the extracts from the Phaedo cited ad loc.: cf. also IX 586 A, B notes For the ‘happy feastings’ see on IV 421 B.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Plato, Phaedo, 109b
    • Plato, Phaedo, 79a
    • Plato, Timaeus, 90a
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