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οἱ σοφοί. Simonides (σοφὸς γὰρ καὶ θεῖος ἀνήρ I 331 E) Fr. 76 Bergk. Plato himself sets no small store by a good name (coupled with virtue) in Laws 950 C.

πρόθυρα -- σχῆμα: ‘as my porch and trappings.’ The mixture of metaphors is thoroughly Platonic: cf. VII 527 D note With σχῆμα (any kind of external or adventitious means of impressing others or hiding one's own deficiencies) cf. Gorg. 511 E περιπατεῖ ἐν μετρίῳ σχήματι.

σκιαγραφίαν (‘perspective drawing’ VII 523 B, X 602 D) with its cognate words is continually used by Plato of things unreal, counterfeit, illusory: cf. infra IX 583 B note, 586 B al., and Wohlrab on Theaet. 208 E.

τοῦ σοφωτάτου κτλ. Archilochus seems to have canonized the fox as the embodiment of cunning in Greek literature: fragments are preserved of at least two fables of his in which the fox appears (86—88 and 89 ed. Bergk). In the second (89. 5, 6) occur the lines τῷ δ̓ (sc. πιθήκῳ) ἆρ᾽ ἀλώπηξ κερδαλέη συνήντετο | πυκνὸν ἔχουσα νόον. The κερδαλέαν καὶ ποικίλην of Plato corresponds in meaning to κερδαλέηπυκνὸν ἔχουσα νόον, and may have ended one of the iambics in this or another Archilochean fable: it is at all events clear that they are from Archilochus. ‘The crafty and subtle fox of Archilochus’ means simply ‘the crafty and subtle fox of which Archilochus speaks’: the rest of the imagery is due to Plato. With the general sentiment cf. St Matth. vii 15 ἔρχονται πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐν ἐνδύμασι προβάτων (this is the σκιαγραφία ἀρετῆς), ἔσωθεν δέ εἰσιν λύκοι ἅρπαγες: with ἑλκτέον ἐξόπισθεν (opposed to πρόθυρα μὲν καὶσχῆμα) Milton Samson Agonistes 358— 360 “Why are his gifts desirable, to tempt Our earnest prayers, then, given with solemn hand As graces, draw a scorpion's tail behind?” Unnecessary difficulty has been caused by an erroneous gloss of Timaeus (τὴν ἀλωπεκῆν: τὴν πανουργίαν), which seems to imply that he read ἀλωπεκῆν ‘fox's skin’ for ἀλώπεκα in this passage. Ruhnken (followed by Ast and Stallbaum) while retaining ἀλώπεκα explained it of the fox's skin; but it would be pointless to ‘drag behind a fox's skin.’ With ἀλώπεκα—‘fox’ for ‘foxiness’—cf. infra 382 D ποιητὴςψευδὴς ἐν θεῷ οὐκ ἔνι, Phaed. 77 E, and the well-known “astutam vapido servas sub pectore vulpem” Persius V 117.

ἀλλὰ γάρ ‘at enim,’ like ἀλλὰ δή (infra D, X 600 A al.), introduces an objection: cf. infra 366 A al.

οὐδὲ γὰρ -- μεγάλων: an audacious application of the proverb χαλεπὰ τὰ καλά.

ὡς -- φέρει. For ὡς we might expect (Ficinus has quâ). ταύτῃ must be taken as referring to what precedes, though further explained by ὡςφέρει. ἴχνη and φέρει shew that the metaphor is still the ὁδὸς βίου. The words ἴχνη φέρει may be from Archilochus. For the sentiment cf. III 394 D.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Plato, Phaedo, 77e
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 208e
    • Plato, Gorgias, 511e
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