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λεγόμενοι. Though called kings and potentates, they are so in nothing but the name: cf. I 336 A note True kingship belongs only to the scientific ruler: Euthyd. 291 B ff. It is probable that Plato was already thinking throughout this passage of the hopes which he seems to have formed of the Syracusan dynasty: see Epp. VII and XIII with note on VI 499 B.

τοῦτο κτλ.: ‘unless this coalition of political power and philosophy come to pass,’ lit. ‘unless this coalesce,’ i.e. unless there be this coalescence, viz. ‘political power and philosophy.’ For a somewhat similar idiom see VII 527 B note δύναμιςφιλοσοφία is in explanatory apposition to the whole phrase τοῦτοξυμπέσῃ, rather than to τοῦτο alone. Otherwise we must suppose that τοῦτο is virtually for ταῦτα, the singular number emphasizing by anticipation the union of political power and philosophy (so J. and C.). But on this explanation the singular τοῦτο goes ill with εἰς ταὐτὸν ξυμπέσῃ, and with ἑκάτερον; nor are we justified in writing ταῦτα (with Richards). The dual τούτω might easily have been corrupted into τοῦτο, but τούτω ξυμπέσῃ is hardly defensible, in spite of εἰ ἔστι τούτω διττὼ τὼ βίω (Gorg. 500 D): cf. Kühner Gr. Gr. II p. 57.

τῶν δὲ νῦν κτλ.: ‘while the numerous natures who at present pursue either to the exclusion of the other are forcibly debarred,’ sc. from exclusively pursuing either. The genitive τῶνπορευομένων is not partitive (Schneider, Stallbaum, and others), but rather possessive, and depends on φύσεις. Had Plato meant to say ‘most of those who pursue’ he would have written οἱ πολλοί instead of α<*> πολλαὶ φύσεις, as Hartman points out. There is moreover no reason to suppose that Plato wishes to allow any exceptions whatever to his rule. Nor is πολλαί ‘volgares’ (Baiter), or ‘commoner’ (Jowett), but simply ‘numerous,’ ‘plentiful’: cf. the usage of ό πολύς in II 376 E τῆς ὑπὸ τοῦ πολλοῦ χρόνου ηὑρημένης (παιδείας) and τὸν πολὺν λεών 458 D. Exclusive devotion either to politics or φιλοσοφία was common, but by no means universal, as the examples of Pythagoras, Solon, and many others sufficiently attest: see Arist. Rhet. II 23. 1398^{b} 16—19. Various emendations have been proposed for πολλαί, such as χωλαί (Madvig), πονηραί (Liebhold), and πολιτικαί (Apelt), but the above explanation removes the difficulty. As regards the sentiment, it should be noted that Plato refuses to sanction the exclusive pursuit of knowledge as well as of politics. He holds “that a specialised study of merely abstract questions unfits a man for the true grasp of life and character which is the centre of real philosophy” (Bosanquet), and on this ground he would probably have condemned the one-sided enthusiasm which many persons now profess for what is usually called by them ‘research.’ Cf. VI 497 A note and 499 B.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Plato, Euthydemus, 291b
    • Plato, Gorgias, 500d
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