previous next

551C - 553A There are many grievous faults in the oligarchical city. It makes wealth instead of knowledge the qualification for ruling, is divided against itself, incapable, in all probability, of waging war, and false to our principle of ‘one man, one work.’ Worst of all, Oligarchy is the first constitution which permits a man to dispose of all his property by sale. From this cause springs up a large impoverished class resembling drones, some stingless and others stinging. The former are only poor, but the latter are criminals who have to be repressed by force.

πρῶτον μέν: sc. ἁμάρτημά (ἐστιν).

ὅρος -- ἐστιν: ‘terminus eius qualis sit.’ ὅρος is the limit or defining mark which separates it from all the other πολιτεῖαι: cf. I 331 D. Few will approve of Badham's conjecture τοῦτο αὐτὸ ὁρᾷς αὐτῆς οἷόν ἐστιν, especially as ὅρος echoes ὅρον in 551 A. οἷός ἐστιν, ἄθρει: εἰ γὰρ νεῶν κτλ. (Liebhold) is scarcely less unhappy. The text is above suspicion.

εἰ νεῶν κτλ. The illustration is a favourite one both with Socrates and Plato: cf. Xen. Mem. III 9. 11 and supra VI 488 A ff. notes There is probably no aposiopesis after ἐπιτρέποι: we should translate ‘Just consider if one were to choose pilots on the census principle and refuse to let a poor man steer though better qualified!’

πονηρὰν κτλ. “Adimantus quasi non videre, sed quid videat renuntiare iussus, πονηράν, inquit, τὴν ναυτιλίαν αὐτοὺς ναυτίλλεσθαι sc. ὁρῶ” (Schneider). Cf. VII 535 C note This explanation is, I think, easier than that of Stallbaum, who prints ἄθρει γάρ: εἰ νεῶν κτλ., understand ing (after ἐπιτρέποι) τί λέγοις ἂν περὶ τούτου; or the like, and λέγοιμι ἄν to govern the accusative with infinitive. J. and C.'s solution is in principle the same as Stallbaum's. The text may be corrupt, but no convincing emendation has hitherto been offered. The different proposals are εἰκός (Ast, Richards) and ἂν εἴη δέος (Liebhold) for δ᾽ ὅς: <φαίην ἂν> added after δ᾽ ὅς (Stephanus): πονηρὰ εἴη ἂν ναυτιλία αὐτοῖς ναυτίλλεσθαι (Ast): πονηρὰν <ἀνάγκη> κτλ. Richards—but it would surely be better to add the word after ναυτιλίαν. I have sometimes fancied that Plato wrote πονηράν, δ᾽ ὅς, τὴν ναυτιλίαν αὐτοῖς ναυτίλλεσθαι, taking the accusative as in apposition to the previous sentence (cf. in some respects Hipp. Mai. 291 E and infra 567 C); but, for a reason to be mentioned presently on 551 D, perhaps ναυτιλίαν <ἀνάγκη> is right.

περὶ ἄλλου κτλ. See cr. n. τινος is retained by Schneider, who takes it as neuter, and ὁτουοῦν as masculine. The words can hardly be anything except a gloss or variant on ὁτουοῦν: the corrections ἥστινος or ἡστινοσοῦν (Ast) are much less easy and probable. περὶ governs ἀρχῆς, on which ἄλλου ὁτουοῦν, which is neuter, depends. Cobet's περὶ ἄλλης οὕτως ὁτουοῦν ἀρχῆς (‘about any other ἀρχή whatsoever’) does not suit with πλὴν πόλεως (i.e. ἄλλου—not ἄλληςὁτουοῦν πλὴν πόλεως).

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 References (1 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: