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γελῶν ἀνήρ . ἀνήρ is said with a fine touch of scorn. It is difficult to read this passage without suspecting a personal reference, perhaps to some representative of the comic stage. J. and C. remark that jests of the kind objected to by Plato occur in Ar. Lys. 80—83. See also next note and App. I. Spartan precedents are cited by Hermann-Thumser Gr. Staatsalt. p. 180 note 3.

ἀτελῆ -- καρπόν: ‘plucking unripe fruit of laughter.’ Pindar (Fr. 209 Bergk) satirised physical speculation (τοὺς φυσιολογοῦντας) in the words ἀτελῆ σοφίας δρέπων καρπόν, where σοφίας is a defining genitive, denoting not the tree, but the fruit. Pindar means that their σοφία is ἀτελής or inconsummatc—misses its mark —is no real σοφία at all. More suo Plato adapts the Pindaric fragment to his own purpose. The object of his attack is Comedy, and Comedy cultivates, not σοφία, but τὸ γελοῖον. Hence—according to the reading of the text—Plato replaces Pindar's σοφίας by the words τοῦ γελοίου. The humour of his adversary is ἀτελές or inconsummate—no real humour at all: for οὐδὲν οἶδενἐφ᾽ ψ̔̂ γελᾷ οὐδ᾽ τι πράττει. Cf. 452 D μάταιος ὃς γελοῖον ἄλλο τι ἡγεῖται τὸ κακόν. This interpretation assumes that σοφίας in Plato is a gloss interpolated to complete the quotation. See cr. n. and App. III.

κάλλιστα κτλ. The doctrine of this famous sentence, which sounds like a manifesto, and was characteristically selected by Grote as one of the mottoes to his Plato, is essentially Socratic: see especially Xen. Mem. IV 6. 8, 9 and other passages quoted by Zeller^{4} II 1. pp. 149—153. Utilitarianism of this kind pervades the Republic, as Krohn has amply proved (Pl. St. p. 370), and asserts itself even in the highest flights of Plato's idealism ( τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ἰδέα δίκαια καὶ τἄλλα προσχρησάμενα χρήσιμα καὶ ὠφέλιμα γίγνεται VI 505 A). But even Socrates ennobles his utilitarianism by placing soul far above body in dignity and worth. In Plato utilitarianism becomes transfigured by Idealism and the doctrine of Immortality. Here it should be noted that καλόν combines, as often, the ideas of artistic fitness or propriety, and propriety of conduct. The moral sense of the Greeks lay in their appreciation of the beautiful.

457B - 458B Thus do we successfully evade one of the waves which threatened us, but a more formidable wave is now approaching. The women and children are to belong to all the guardians in common. No one shall know his father or his child. That such a state of society is both possible and beneficial, we shall have to prove; but for the present, we will assume its possibility, and try to shew that community of wives and children is the best of all policies for the city and its guardians.

ff. We now confront the second wave (see 449 A ff. note). The Platonic doctrine of community in wives and children, as a certain critic drily remarks, has been more often censured than understood. The object of the present note is not to sit in judgment upon Plato, but to endeavour to explain his attitude on this subject. In its general aspect, the theory should be regarded as an extreme development of the Naturalism prevailing in Books II—IV: see on II 370 A f. and supra 451 C ff. Several precedents have been cited from the institutions of various primitive peoples who were sometimes regarded by the Greeks as types of ‘natural’ societies, as for example the Scythians (see on 463 C and other references in Pöhlmann Gesch. d. antik. Kommunismus etc. pp. 121 ff., with Newman's Politics of Aristotle Vol. II p. 282 and especially Riese's interesting tract on Die Idealisirung der Naturvölker d. Nordens in d. gr. u. röm. Literatur 1875), and even Sparta, a State which was constantly extolled by Greek political theorists as a model of the κατὰ φύσιν οἰκισθεῖσα πόλις (Pöhlmann l.c. pp. 125 ff., Grote Plato III p. 209 f.), furnished some parallels to the Platonic communism in this respect (Plut. Lyc. 15. 9—11, Xen. Rep. Lac. 1. 8, 9). But Plato's real motive in advocating his theory is simply and solely the good of the commonwealth (462 A). On the one hand, he dreaded the effect of domestic ties in encouraging selfishness and weakening the bonds of civic obligation; and, with his customary disregard of the limitations of ordinary human nature, he expected his citizens to transfer the domestic affections, without surrendering aught of their intensity, from the family to the State. We may therefore truly say that Plato's intention was not to abolish the family, but rather to enlarge its borders and make it coincident with the State. “Die Sonderfamilie,” as Nohle remarks (die Statslehre Platos etc. p. 133), “wird nur aufgehoben, damit das Ganze eine grosse Familie sei.” On the other hand, he was profoundly impressed with the necessity of restricting the population, and at the same time maintaining and improving the breed of guardians, and the measures which he here prescribes are to a large extent devised with a view to securing these ends (459 A—461 E). In this respect Plato might fairly hope that his proposals would not be abhorrent to a nation whose idea of marriage was primarily only a legalised union for the procreation of legitimate children. It may be argued that Plato sacrifices more than he gains, even if we judge him from the standpoint of his own political idealism, but it shews a complete misapprehension of the situation to charge him with deliberate encouragement of vice: the community of wives and children “hat mit ‘freier Liebe’ nichts zu thun” (Pöhlmann l.c. p. 280). Finally, we should remember that it is only the Guardians and Auxiliaries who are subject to these rules (see on III 417 A), and that in the second-best city depicted in the Laws Plato revives the institution of marriage, as we understand the word, without, however, surrendering in the smallest degree his earlier ideal (807 B). Perhaps the wisest and most temperate discussion on Plato's conception of marriage and the family is that of Grote (Plato III pp. 220 —234). Some judicious remarks will also be found in Jowett Introduction pp. clxxxi—cxciv, and Nettleship Lectures and Remains II pp. 174—180: but Jowett goes beyond the province of the interpreter, and lays too much stress on the antagonism between the views of Plato and those of modern civilised communities. See also on 458 E and App. I ad fin.

διαφεύγειν. The present is less presumptuous than διαφυγεῖν conjectured by Herwerden. It is proved to be right by διαφεύγεις below, which Herwerden more suo ejects.

γυναικείου -- νόμου. If γυναικεῖος is equivalent only to περὶ γυναικῶν, it is strangely used. I suspect that Plato is playing on the musical sense of νόμος, as in VII 532 A: cf. IV 424 D, E notes γυναικείου νόμου—a melody sung by women— is thus exactly parallel to the γυναικεῖον δρᾶμα (451 C note), which it is clearly intended to recall.

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    • Xenophon, Memorabilia, 4.6.8
    • Aristophanes, Lysistrata, 80
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