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σίδηρον ἐμάλαξε κτλ. See on 387 C. Apparently then the first effect even of the μαλακαὶ ἁρμονίαι is good. This apparent inconsistency with 398 E ff. is emphasized by Krohn (Pl. St. p. 25), but Krohn fails to observe that Plato is here describing the facts of common experience, whereas before he was making laws of his own. It is quite possible to admit that the relaxing modes are beneficial in moderation, and yet forbid them, because moderation in them is difficult to maintain.

ὅταν -- τήκει. The object of κηλῇ, τήκει and λείβει is τὸ θυμοειδές: that of ποιήσῃ is τὴν ψυχήν. So much is, I think, certain; but ἐπέχων is less easy. The word has been interpreted as (1) ‘listening to’ (Schneider, comparing 399 B, where, however, ὑπέχοντα should probably be read), (2) ‘pressing on,’ ‘persevering,’ ‘continuing’: cf. Theaet. 165 D ἐπέχων καὶ οὐκ ἀνιείς (J. and C.). The sense which Schneider gives to ἐπέχων is ill-supported: and we must accept the second alternative. Morgenstern's emendation ἐπιχέων (accepted by Herwerden and Hartman) is attractive but not quite convincing (“when he ceases not to pour the music in” etc.). ἐπιχέων would preserve the metaphor, which is clearly intended (in καταχεῖν, χώνης, and σίδηρον ἐμάλαξε) to suggest the process of smelting, and of which an echo still survives in τήκει, λείβει and ἐκτήξῃ. See Blümner Technologie etc. IV pp. 108 ff. notes The θυμοειδές is the iron which music softens and may even dissolve: farther than this the comparison is not to be pressed.

κηλῇ: as one might charm or fascinate a snake: Euthyd. 290 A, Phaedr. 259 A.

καὶ λείβει -- αἰχμητήν. For λείβει thus used cf. Ar. Knights 327. μαλθακὸς αἰχμητής is said of Menelaus in Il. XVII 588.

ἐὰν -- λάβῃ: ‘if he has received,’ not ‘if he act upon’ (J. and C.). Plato means that if the individual in question received at the beginning a soul—ψυχήν is understood—naturally spiritless, he soon makes it a ‘feeble warrior.’ “Wenn er gleich eine von Natur zornlose Seele bekommen hat” (Schneider). The subject throughout is the τις with which the sentence began. For the usual Greek idiom, by which the person concerned is represented as acting on himself (ἐκτήξῃ τὸν θυμόν etc.) instead of being acted on, cf. Eur. I. A. 187 φοινίσσουσα παρῇδ᾽ ἐμὰν | αἰσχύνᾳ νεοθαλεῖ with Headlam's note: also V 462 C, D notes and IX 572 A note

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hide References (5 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (5):
    • Aristophanes, Knights, 327
    • Euripides, Iphigeneia in Aulis, 187
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 165d
    • Plato, Phaedrus, 259a
    • Plato, Euthydemus, 290a
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