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θεσπεσία καὶ ήδεῖα is almost a hendiadys: cf. IV 429 E note Democracy is political hedonism: see on 561 C. Hermann's θεσπεσία ὡς ἡδεῖα is inelegant and even questionable Greek: nor does θεσπεσία καὶ θεία (Stallbaum) merit praise.

τί δέ; πραότης κτλ.: ‘And is not the perfect good temper of some who have been tried exquisite? or have you never seen in such a State, when people have been condemned to death or exile, how none the less they remain and roam about in public, and the culprit saunters round as though unheeded and unseen like some spirit from another world?’ They bear the State no malice, and shew their good temper by stopping where they are—for the sentence remains unexecuted. See also App. II.

δικασθέντων has been thought to be neuter (Weil Rev. d. Phil. VIII pp. 171 ff.); but although the usage of the word in other passages of Plato (Critias 120 C, Laws 867 E, infra X 614 D, Crit. 50 B, Gorg. 523 C and elsewhere) favours this view, it yields no satisfactory sense, and πραότης is an attribute of persons rather than of things. The perfect passive—it is not the middle—of δικάζω is similarly used of persons in Lysias 21. 18 αἰσχρὰς δίκας δεδίκασμαι. The circumstances of Socrates' own imprisonment after his condemnation illustrate, though only imperfectly, what is said here, for the Athenians were not careful to prevent him from escaping: see Crit. passim and my Introduction to that dialogue pp. ix f.

ἀνθρώπων κτλ. The construction is extremely irregular. Perhaps the simplest and least unsatisfactory solution is to make καταψηφισθέντων a genitive absolute and regard μενόντων etc. as attracted by ἀνθρώπων καταψηφισθέντων (so also J. and C.). See App. II.

θανάτου φυγῆς κτλ. For the genitive Kühner (Gr. Gr. II p. 332) compares θανάτου κρίνεσθαι, ὑπάγεσθαι and the like, in which δίκην is probably understood. The genitive of the penalty seems not to occur elsewhere with καταψηφί- ζεσθαι, and we should perhaps, read θάνατον φυγήν. The pronoun αὐτῶν is half pleonastic: cf. IV 428 A note

καὶ ὡς κτλ. The change from plural to singular (cf. 1 347 A note) “rem magis insignem et imaginem evidentiorem reddit” (Schneider). The same effect is produced by making the clause independent—a common transition, for examples of which see Engelhardt Anac. Pl. Spec. III pp. 41—43.

περινοστεῖ κτλ.: i.e. ἀπὸ τόπου εἰς τόπον μεταβαίνει κτλ. (Schol. on Ar. Plut. 121). The word has a contemptuous ring—a rolling stone gathers no moss— and suggests a vagrant or loafer. Cf. Ar. l.c. and ib. 494 ἢν γὰρ Πλοῦτος νυνὶ βλέψῃ καὶ μὴ τυφλὸς ὢν περινοστῇ, with Lucian Tim. 24 ἄνω καὶ κάτω πλανῶμαι περινοστῶν. The comparison ὥσπερ ἥρως is suggested by ὁρῶντος οὐδενός. They excite no more notice and remark than an invisible ἥρως or circumambient spirit of one who has joined the happy or unhappy dead: see Rohde Psyche^{2} I pp. 146 ff. and especially p. 182 notes, or Roscher Lex. d. Myth. s.v. Heros. Weil (Rev. d. Phil. VIII pp. 171 ff.) seems to think there is a specific reference to such an invisible hero as sometimes rendered service in battle (cf. Paus. III 19. 12 with Frazer's note, and Hdt. VIII 64); but Plato's language is quite general. The meaning cannot be ‘parades like a hero’ (as Jowett translates), for ἥρως is not thus used in Greek, and a parading hero always excites popular attention. J. and C. think ‘there is an implied allusion to the νόστοι. “He is welcomed wherever he goes like one of the heroes returning from the siege of Troy”.’ But what of οὔτε φροντίζοντος οὔτε ὁρῶντος οὐδενός? It may be noted that the superstition of which Plato here avails himself was widely prevalent in Greece as elsewhere. Hence some of the Pythagoreans asserted ψυχὴν ε<*>ναι τὰ ἐν τῷ ἀέρι ξύσματα (Arist. de An. I 2. 404^{a} 18), and commanded τὰ πίπτοντα ἀπὸ τῆς τραπέζης μὴ ἀναιρεῖσθαι (Mullach Fr. Phil. Gr. I p. 507)—a precept on which Diogenes Laertius remarks Ἀριστοφάνης δὲ τῶν ἡρώων φησὶν εἶναι τὰ πίπτοντα (VIII 34). The famous passage in Cor. I 11. 10 looks like a relic of some similar idea. Cf. also Phaed. 81 C, Zeller^{5} I p. 452 notes, Rohde Psyche^{2} II pp. 320 note 1, 346 ff. notes, 361 notes, and Dieterich Nekyia pp. 88 f. notes For other views on the whole of this difficult sentence see App. II.

καὶ πολλούς γε. The reply differs somewhat in form from the question: cf. V 465 E note It is difficult not to believe that Plato is exaggerating, although the frequency of the δίκη <*>ξούλης in Athens shews that in civil cases at all events it was often far from easy to enforce the verdict.

συγγνώμη: ‘considerateness,’ viz. in making allowance for want of education in their demagogues, as the rest of the sentence shews. The irony is of the truly Platonic kind. Jowett's “forgiving spirit” misses the point.

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  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Aristophanes, Plutus, 121
    • Plato, Crito, 50b
    • Plato, Phaedo, 81c
    • Plato, Gorgias, 523c
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