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ὅτι μὲν γὰρ κτλ. An anacoluthon. The apodosis which requires to be supplied is ‘that much is certain’ or the like: cf. V 465 A note I formerly thought the anacoluthon too harsh, and proposed to read τι μὲν γὰρ ἄνἐπιδεικνύμενος, κτλ., taking τι as the object of ἐπιδεικνύμενος, and ποίησιν (‘either poetry’ etc.) as in apposition to τι: but the text is better as it stands. Richards' proposal to read ἔστι for ὅτι is very unpleasing.

ποίησιν. Compare a striking passage in Laws 659 B, C, where Poetry is said to have deteriorated after she accepted οἱ πολλοί as her judge. See also Laws 700 E, 797 B, Gorg. 502 B ff. and infra X 605 A.

κυρίους αὑτοῦ. We should certainly (with Schneider and the majority of editors) read αὑτοῦ and not αὐτοῦ (which Stallbaum and others adopt, referring it to ποίησιν etc.). The MSS (except q) mostly read αὐτοῦ, but their authority in this matter is of no account. Cobet would read αὐτούς and eject τοὺς πολλούς—on what ground, it is difficult even to conjecture.

πέρα τῶν ἀναγκαίων. By coming forward in a public capacity as a poet or statesman or the like, he ‘makes the Many his masters more than is necessary.’ In a private station, he is, comparatively speaking, independent; but even then the Many are (in a certain sense) of necessity his masters: see 496 D. Ast and Stallbaum take the phrase with Διομήδεια ἀνάγκη. “Iungenda sunt verba sic: ἀνάγκη (ἐστὶναὐτῷ πέρα τῶν ἀναγκαίων (ultra necessaria quae progrediatur) Διομήδεια λεγομένη, ut vocabulis λεγομένη Διομήδεια istud πέρα ἀναγκαίων declaretur” (Stallbaum). If this is what Plato meant, he expresses it in a harsh and dangerously ambiguous way, and it would be preferable to cancel πέρα τῶν ἀναγκαίων (with Cobet and Herwerden). But there is fortunately no occasion for such drastic treatment.

Διομήδεια κτλ. Most of the MSS write Διομηδεία (sic), but Διομήδειά γε at the end of a line in Ar. Eccl. 1029 makes it clear that the word is proparoxyton, unless, as Schneider supposes (Addit. p. 47), Aristophanes shortens the final syllable by poetic license. The proverb, which is used of an overmastering necessity, is illustrated by Leutsch u. Schneidewin Paroem. Gr. I p. 59, II p. 367, and also by Blaydes on Ar. l.c. Two explanations of it were given. According to the first, which is adopted by the Scholiast on this passage, the phrase originated in the treatment meted out by Diomede to Odysseus, when they were returning from Ilium to the Greek camp after stealing the Palladium. Odysseus attempted to kill Diomede, but failed, and Diomede paid him out by tying his arms together and driving him home with blows from the flat of his sword. The Scholiast on Ar. l.c. explains differently. Διομήδεια: ὅτι Διομήδης Θρᾴξ, πόρνας ἔχων θυγατέρας, τοὺς παριόντας ξένους ἐβιάζετο αὐταῖς συνεῖναι ἕως οὗ κόρον σχῶσι καὶ ἀναλωθῶσιν οἱ ἄνδρες. ἃς καὶ μῦθος ἵππους ἀνθρωποφάγους εἶπεν. I agree with Schneider that the proverb is more likely to have originated from the first story than from a euhemeristic explanation of the man-eating mares of Diomede of Thrace.

αὐτῶν. The μισθαρνοῦντες ἰδιῶται, not ‘the Many.’ Plato is probably thinking of actual eulogies of the Athenians by Isocrates and others like him.

ἀναμνήσθητι. See V 475 E.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Aristophanes, Ecclesiazusae, 1029
    • Plato, Gorgias, 502b
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