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θεοῦ μοῖραν is best explained by Men. 94 B ff. and 99 C, D. Distinguished statesmen like Pericles, Themistocles etc. are θεῖοι, just as much as the χρησμῳδοί, μάντεις, and ποιητικοί: they are ἐπίπνοικαὶ κατεχόμενοι ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ, ὅταν κατορθῶσι λέγοντες πολλὰ καὶ μεγάλα πράγματα (99 D). Education did not produce them, nor have they any scientific knowledge of statesmanship; for which reason also they cannot teach their sons to be statesmen (Men. 94 B, Prot. 320 A). It was by this theory that Plato accounted for the fact that good men appear from time to time even in corrupt States: εἰσὶ γὰρ ἐν τοῖς πολλοῖς ἄνθρωποι ἀεὶ θεῖοί τινες, οὐ πολλοὶφυόμενοι οὐδὲν μᾶλλον ἐν εὐνομουμέναις πόλεσιν καὶ μή (Laws 951 B). There is more than a touch of irony in the epithet θεῖος when Plato applies it to Themistocles, Pericles and other successful politicians with whom he had little sympathy, but θεοῦ μοῖραν is not ironical here (cf. 492 A), nor is Plato ever otherwise than grateful for the birth of statesmen who are truly θεῖοι. But they do not solve the difficulty, for the scientific knowledge of πολιτική is not only better and more stable in itself, but guarantees the permanent prosperity of a State, because it can be transmitted to posterity. Nor can we be sure that our statesmen ‘by grace of God’ will appear when they are most wanted. For a full discussion of θεία μοῖρα in Plato see Zeller^{4} II 1, p. 594 note 4.

ἕκαστος: sc. δοξάτω. Cf. I 334 B note and Phaed. 80 A, B, where ψυχή, the reading of the best MSS, should be retained. Baiter is certainly wrong in reading ἕκαστον (with Stephanus and v): for with personal subjects δοκεῖ is used personally. Dümmler (Chr. Beitr. p. 12) and Teichmüller (Lit. Fehd. I p. 104) suppose that Plato means Isocrates in particular. It is possible enough that he had Isocrates in his mind, but the description applies to many besides him: cf. IV 426 C note

δοξάζουσιν = ‘opine’ is technical: cf. V 479 E. With θρέμματος etc. cf. “The beast with many heads Butts me away” Shakespeare Coriol. IV 1; and a similar figure in Solon ap. Arist. Ath. Pol. 12 ad fin. and Theaet. 174 D.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Plato, Phaedo, 80a
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 174d
    • Plato, Protagoras, 320a
    • Plato, Meno, 94b
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