previous next

διὰ τὸ ἐξαρκεῖν κτλ. See 544 A note With ἀμήχανον δὲ κτλ. cf. IV 443 D, E note

548D - 550C The character of the timarchical man is now described in close analogy with that of the timarchical State (548 D—549 B). In origin (continues Socrates) he was the son of a good father living in an ill-regulated city and abstaining from public life. Drawn by his father's precepts and example towards the higher life, and by maternal and other influences towards the lower, he finally surrendered himself to the dominion of the intermediate principle in the soul, and thus became timarchical.

πῶς τε γενόμενος: ‘how did he arise?’ Richards proposes γιγνόμενος: but the past tense is in harmony with ἔμπεσε 545 D, with είλκέτην, ἠγέτην, ὡμολόγησαν 547 B, and indeed with the whole of Plato's exposition, which is deliberately arrayed in the vesture of a historical narrative or epic poem: see on 543 A, 544 C. It appears to be the custom to translate most of the aorists of this kind in Books VIII and IX by the present, but in some cases the effect is much more realistic and picturesque if we make them past, and I think that Plato intended some of these aorists to be understood in that way. The instances in point are 550 B ἦλθε, παρέδωκε, ἐγένετο, 550 E ἀπειργάσαντο, 551 B κατεστήσαντο, 555 D ἠνάγκασαν, 560 A—C ὑπεχώρησε, διεφθάρησαν, ἐξέπεσον, κατεκοσμήθη, ἐγένοντο, εἵλκυσαν, ἐνέτεκον, κατέλαβον, κατέσχον, 565 B ἔσχον, 566 E ἠλευθέρωσε, διένειμε. Except in 550 E, 551 B, 555 D, 565 B, and 566 E, in which the aorists are no doubt the so-called gnomic aorists “used in animated language to express general truths” (Goodwin MT. p. 53), each of these tenses is in my opinion correctly translated by a past in English. Plato of course repeatedly employs the present also, not only where he is painting a scene (e.g. 549 B ff., 553 A ff., 555 C ff.), but also when he is describing the actual genesis of a particular sort of commonwealth or individual (e.g. 550 D, 551 A, B al. and many instances of γίγνεται), and in such cases the appearance of historical narration is not preserved, for it would be pedantic to view all these presents as merely examples of the praesens historicum. See also on 549 C.

φιλονικίας: ‘desire to excel.’ The translations ‘party-spirit’ (D. and V.), ‘spirit of contention’ (Jowett) are misleading: see 548 C note On Glauco's φιλονικία see Introd. § 2.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: