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πρῶτον μὲν κτλ. πρῶτον μὲν—εἴδωλα (the lower ὁρατόν of the line) symbolizes the higher stages of Plato's προπαιδεία, and ὕστερον δὲ αὐτά—οἷός ἐστιν (the higher ὁρατόν) corresponds to the higher νοητόν. See 532 B, C notes αὐτά, τὰ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ—νύκτωρ and τὸν ἥλιον represent an ascending scale of Ideas up to the Good: cf. note on τοῦ ἀνυποθέτου VI 511 B. It may be doubted whether in point of fact the released prisoner would not be able to look on the heavens by night sooner than upon ‘objects themselves’ (αὐτά) by day. But the simile holds good in so far as the eye mounts ever higher: and the moon and stars are nearest to the sun (ἡλιοειδῆ, says Proclus in remp. I p. 294. 6 Kroll), which is the ultimate goal.
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