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φημὶ γὰρ κτλ.: a formal declaration of Plato's political faith in the Panhellenic ideal, which Cimon— Πανελλήνων πρόμος, as Cratinus calls him (Archil. 1 ed. Meineke)—and Callicratidas (see Grote VII pp. 406—415) had striven to realise in fact, and which Isocrates as well as Plato constantly proclaimed in theory. See on I 336 A, and cf. Spengel Isokrates u. Plato pp. 7 ff. and Isocrates Panegyricus passim. The rallying points of Plato's Panhellenism are two—internally, the Delphic oracle (IV 427 B, C notes), and externally, hostility with Persia: cf. Menex. 245 C ff. See also on πολεμίους φύσει below.

πολεμεῖν μαχομένους. Hirschig and others transpose these words, on slight MS authority, including a marginal correction in A. But it is hard to see why they should have become displaced. By adopting the order in the text Plato restricts μαχομένους to πολεμεῖν: otherwise the participle would naturally go with πολεμίους φύσει too. The MS order also lays more stress on the emphatic πολεμεῖν than Hirschig's transposition would do. Cf. (with Stallbaum) Ap. 18 D.

πολεμίους φύσει. The universal Greek view: see e.g. Hdt. I 4 ad fin., Eur. Hec. 1199, Isocrates Paneg. 158 al., and Nägelsbach Nachhom. Theol. pp. 305— 307. “We should bear in mind,” says Bosanquet, “that Greek civilisation was to Plato much what white civilisation is to us.” This is, in part at least, true; but sentiments of chivalry and romance were far more powerful factors in fostering the ancestral feud with Persia than any apprehensions for the safety of Greek civilisation. The idea of a war against Persia always stirred the pulse of Hellas with a sense of continuity with the heroic past; and it was more than a meaningless ceremony when Agesilaus sacrificed at Aulis, and Alexander visited Achilles' tomb. See Grote IX p. 81 and XI pp. 395—397. None the less, in spite of his emphatic expression of the old Greek policy of splendid isolation, it is difficult to overestimate the effect of Plato's writings, and especially of the Republic, in breaking down the barrier between Barbarian and Greek. See on 470 E.

νοσεῖν κτλ. Compare the melancholy picture of the state of contemporary Greece in Isocr. Paneg. 115—117. Hartman would cancel καὶ στασιάζειν; but see 451 B note

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  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Euripides, Hecuba, 1199
    • Plato, Apology, 18d
    • Plato, Menexenus, 245c
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