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παρὰ καιρόν: ‘inopportunely,’ ‘improperly’: cf. Pol. 277 A and οὐ δέον 546 B. The phrase does not, as I once thought, imply that Nature has appointed certain periodic times or seasons in the life of men and women when their union will produce good offspring, but refers to unions of wrong couples, superabundance of marriages, and the like: cf. V 459 E ff. The notion that the number of the Great Year is to be used by the rulers as a means of determining at what time unions should take place, derives no support from the Greek, and ought not to be entertained. In point of fact, the number is not a nuptial but a secular number, being γεωμετρικὸς ὡς ἀληθῶς. The expression ‘nuptial number’ is not applied to it either by Plato or by Aristotle, and it is only in later writers that we meet with ὁ τοῦ λεγομένου γάμου τόπος (Nicom. Introd. Ar. p. 144 Ast), γαμήλιον διάγραμμα (Plut. de Is. et Os. 373 F) and γαμικὸς ἀριθμός (Iambl. in Nic. Ar. p. 82. 21 Pistelli). καταστήσονται. The active καταστήσουσι, found in v and two other MSS of little moment, is read by Hermann. Some may prefer it because καταστήσονται is passive just below: but Plato is careless about matters of this kind, and it is better to follow the best MSS. ἡμῶν κτλ.: ‘us they will first begin to neglect when they are Guardians’ (i. e. after they have come εἰς τὰς τῶν πατέρων δυνάμεις), ‘setting too little store by music first, and second by gymnastic.’ Political decay is constantly associated by Plato with neglect of ‘Music’: see on IV 424 C. In place of δεύτερον δὲ τὰ γυμναστικῆς, which is in all MSS, Baiter adopts Madvig's conjecture δεύτερά τε γυμναστικῆς. At first sight ὅθεν ἀμουσότεροι—νέοι would seem to favour such an alteration, as well as the fact that in the city which comes next in order Gymnastic is more esteemed than Music (548 C). But πρῶτον after ἡμῶν supports the MS tradition, and the decline of the ideal city, which, as we have seen, arises from inevitable organic deterioration, shews itself in a general lowering of vital energy, rather than in the exaltation of any one pursuit at the expense of another. In the Spartan city Gymnastic ranks higher than Music, because Music has fallen from the high position which she formerly occupied, and not because Gymnastic stands higher than before. ὅθεν -- νέοι: ‘and so our children will forget us.’ The Muses are speaking, and the children of Plato's Muse may well be called the Muses' children. This is the force of ἡμῖν, which is the reading of A, Ξ and some other MSS: Π and others have ὑμῖν. Schneider says ‘Μούσαις—ἄμουσον γίγνεσθαι nullo modo tolerabile est.’ That is true, only ἡμῖν does not go with ἀμουσότεροι, but is an ethic dative, and seems to me at least to be full of a strange beauty and pathos. As true Gymnastic educates the soul and not the body (III 410 C ff.), the neglect of Gymnastic in the ideal city itself contributes to ἀμουσία.
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