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386A - 389A So much for the doctrines by means of which we are to foster the sentiments of piety towards gods and parents and mutual friendship among the citizens.

In order to encourage Bravery, we shall require our poets to extol and not to decry the life which awaits us after death: otherwise their poetry will be not merely untrue, but detrimental to our future soldiers. Here again Homer deserves censure. Fearinspiring names like Cocytus must be discarded, as well as lamentations put into the mouths of famous men: for the good man has no cause to bewail the death of a good comrade, either for his comrade's sake or for his own. Homer offends against this canon when he represents Achilles and Priam as indulging in lamentations over their dead; and still more when he makes the gods, and even the greatest of the gods, give way to grief. Moreover, as excessive mirth is apt to rebound into the opposite extreme, our youths must not be laughterloving. Homer errs in depicting good men and gods as overcome with laughter.

τὰ μὲν δὴ περὶ θεοὺς κτλ. Rettig (Proleg. pp. 61 ff.) and others suppose that the virtue of ὁσιότης is alluded to here—a virtue which in the earlier dialogues is sometimes placed by the side of the four cardinal virtues (Prot. 329 C, Men. 78 D, Gorg. 507 B). But ὁσιότης is not specifically named (in spite of II 380 C), and it is clear from the words καὶ γονέαςποιησομένοις that Plato is thinking at least as much of duty to man as of duty to gods: cf. II 378 B C, 381 E, 383 C. See also App. I.

ἀνδρεῖοι. Plato has in view chiefly courage in war: hence the importance which he attaches to removing the fear of death. Cf. Tyrtaeus 10 (τεθνάμεναι γὰρ καλὸν κτλ.) and 12. 23 — 32. The poems of Tyrtaeus are not open to Plato's censure in this connexion. Pfleiderer (Zur Lösung der Pl. Fr. p. 23) wrongly represents the present passage as tantamount (or nearly so) to a denial of the immortality of the soul, which is affirmed in Book X. It is possible to criticise the popular conception of immortality without disbelieving in a higher form of the same doctrine, and this is just what Plato does here.

καὶ περὶ τούτων τῶν μύθων should be taken with ἐπιστατεῖν rather than with λέγειν (sc. αὐτούς, i.e. τοὺς μύθους). Hartman, connecting the words with λέγειν, would expunge τῶν μύθων “cum poetae non de fabulis τὰ ἐν Αἵδου describentibus λέγειν soleant, sed ipsi Orci territamenta narrent”—a just criticism, and conclusive in favour of the construction which Hartman rejects.

λοιδορεῖν. The traditional literary picture of the Greek Hades deserves what Plato says of it (see the quotations in Nägelsbach Hom. Theol. pp. 397 ff., Nachh. Theol. pp. 396—398), although a brighter prospect was held out in the Eleusinian mysteries and the Orphic theology (Nachh. Theol. pp. 398—407).

ἁπλῶς οὕτως. 11 377 B note

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Plato, Gorgias, 507b
    • Plato, Protagoras, 329c
    • Plato, Meno, 78d
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