previous next


[19arg] That Plato attributes a line of Sophocles to Euripides; and some other matters of the same kind.

THERE is an iambic trimeter verse of notorious antiquity:
By converse with the wise wax tyrants wise.
This verse Plato in his Theaetetus 1 attributes to Euripides. I am very much surprised at this; for I have met it in the tragedy of Sophocles entitled Ajax the Locrian 2 and Sophocles was born before Euripides.

But the following line is equally well known:

I who am old shall lead you, also old.
And this is found both in a tragedy of Sophocles, of which the title is Phthiotides, 3 and in the Bacchae of Euripides. 4

I have further observed that in the Fire-bringing Prometheus of Aeschylus and in the tragedy of Euripides entitled Ino an identical verse occurs, except for a few syllables. In Aeschylus it runs thus: 5

When proper, keeping silent, and saying what is fit.
In Euripides thus: 6
When proper, keeping silent, speaking when 'tis safe.
But Aeschylus was considerably the earlier writer. 7

[p. 463]

1 Really Theages 6, p. 125 B.

2 Fr. 13, Nauck2.

3 Id. 633.

4 193.

5 Fr. 208, Nauck2 (Coeph. 576).

6 Id. 413.

7 According to tradition Euripides was born on the day of the battle of Salamis (480 B.C.), Aeschylus took part in the fight, and Sophocles, then about sixteen years old, figured in the celebration of the victory. Christ, Griech. Lit., assigns Euripides' birth to 484.

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.

load focus Introduction (John C. Rolfe, 1927)
load focus Latin (John C. Rolfe, 1927)
hide References (11 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: