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ἄκλητος. The jester (γελωτοποιός) who frequents feasts as an uninvited guest seems to have been a stock character in Epicharmus; and in Xen. Symp. Philippus is a person of this type. Araros the comic poet was, apparently, the first to dub them παράσιτοι. Cp. also Archil. 78. 3 οὐδὲ μὴν κληθεὶς (ὑφ᾽ ἡμῶν) ἦλθες, οἷα δὴ φίλος; and Plut. Q. Conv. VII. 6. 1, p. 707 B τὸ δὲ τῶν ἐπικλήτων ἔθος, οὓς νῦνσκιὰςκαλοῦσιν, οὐ κεκλημένους αὐτούς, ἀλλ᾽ ὑπὸ τῶν κεκλημένων ἐπὶ τὸ δεῖπνον ἀγομένους, ἐζητεῖτο πόθεν ἔσχε τὴν ἀρχήν. ἐδόκει δ᾽ ἀπὸ Σωκράτους Ἀριστόδημον ἀναπείσαντος οὐ κεκλημένον εἰς Ἀγάθωνος ἰέναι σὺν αὐτῷ καὶ παθόντατι γελοῖον” (see 174 C, with note). In Lat. vocare is similarly used of “inviting” (aliquem ad cenam Ter. And. 2. 6. 22), and invocatus=ἄκλητος in Plaut. Capt. 1. 1. 2 (“invocatus soleo esse in convivio”).

διαφθείρωμεν μεταβάλλοντες . διαφθείρω is sometimes used of “spoiling” or “stultifying” a statement or argument, e.g. Gorg. 495 A, Prot. 338 D. And μεταβάλλειν of linguistic alteration (transposition, etc.), as in Crat. 404 C (Φερσεφόνη for Φερρέφαττα).

ὡς ἄρα κτλ. The force of ἄρα is to indicate that the proverb, when amended, “still, after all” holds good. Two forms of the proverb are extant, viz. (1) αὐτόματοι δ̓ ἀγαθοὶ δειλῶν ἐπὶ δαῖτας ἴασι (see Schol. ad h. l., Athen. IV. 27); and (2) αὐτόματοι δ̓ ἀγαθοὶ ἀγαθῶν ἐπὶ δαῖτας ἴασι. The latter form is vouched for by the poeta anon. quoted by Athen. I. 8 A (Bergk P. L. G. p. 704), ἀγαθὸς πρὸς ἀγαθοὺς ἄνδρας εἱστιασάμενος ἧκον: Bacchyl. fr. 33 (22 Blass) αὐτόματοι δ᾽ ἀγαθῶν δαῖτας εὐόχθους ἐπέρχονται δίκαιοι φῶτες [cp. Zenob. II. 19 αὐτόματοι δ᾽ ἀγαθοὶ ἀγαθῶν κτἑ.: οὕτως Βακχυλίδης ἐχρήσατο τῇ παροιμίᾳ, ὡς Ἡρακλέους ἐπιφοιτήσαντος ἐπὶ τὴν οἰκίαν Κήυκος τοῦ Τραχινίου καὶ οὕτως εἰπόντος]: Cratinus fr. 111 (Mein.) οἵδ᾽ αὖθ᾽ ἡμεῖς, ὡς παλαιὸς | λόγος, αὐτομάτους ἀγαθοὺς ἰέναι | κομψῶν ἐπὶ δαῖτα θεατῶν: also a number of post-Platonic passages cited by Hug, such as Plut. Q. Conv. VII. 6 ad fin. According to the Scholiast (1) is the original form, which was altered (μεταλλάξας) to (2) by Cratinus and Eupolis; and this is the view adopted by Stallbaum, Rettig and others. But Hug's elaborate investigation of the matter proves convincingly, I think, that the Scholiast is wrong and that the form with ἀγαθοὶ ἀγαθῶν was the original, of which the form with ἀγαθοὶ δειλῶν is a parody by Eupolis (or Cratinus). This view, first suggested by Schleiermacher, is also supported by Bergk (ad Bacchyl. fr. 33): “Schol. Plat. Sym. 174 B a vero aberrat cum dicit a principio δειλῶν ἐπὶ δαῖτας fuisse, quamquam fidem habuerunt cum alii tum Müller Dor. II. 481: neque enim par fuit Herculem tam gravi opprobrio hospitem laedere. Eupolis primus, ut videtur, ludibundus δειλῶν substituit. Locum difficilem Platonis, qui falso criminatur Homerum corrupisse proverbium quod ille omnino non respexit, nemodum probabiliter expedivit. Alia varietas, quam nostri homines commenti sunt, δειλοὶ δειλῶν, omni auctoritate destituta est.” The main difficulty in the way of accepting this view lies in the words διαφθείρωμεν μεταβάλλοντες. For even if (with most modern editors) we accept Lachmann's brilliant conjecture Ἀγαθων̓ι), the change thus involved is so slight that it could hardly be called a διαφθορά, nor could the alteration involved in the Homeric account be spoken of as a double one (διαφθεῖραι καὶ ὑβρίσαι). The former objection, if it stood alone, might be obviated by the device of inserting μή before διαφθείρωμεν: but in view of the passage as a whole this device is inadmissible. We seem forced to conclude that, whatever the original form of the proverb may have been (and as to this Hug's view is probably right), the form which Plato had here in mind was the form (1) given by Eupolis: and if Plato knew this form to be only a parody of the original (2), we must suppose further that the serious way in which he deals with it, as if it really were a “wise saw,” is only a piece of his fun—a playful display of Socratic irony. (Cp. Teuffel, Rhein. Mus. XXIX. pp. 141—2.)

Ἀγάθων̓...ἀγαθοί. For the dative cp. Prot. 321 C ἀποροῦντι δὲ αὐτῷ ἔρχεται Προμηθεύς. Similar exx. of paronomasia occur in 185 C, 198 C, Gorg. 513 B (δῆμος and Demus, son of Pyrilampes), Rep. 614 B (ἄλκιμος, Alcinous): cp. Riddell Digest § 323. Teuffel (loc. cit.) prefers to retain ἀγαθῶν, partly because of the plur. δαῖτας, partly to avoid the elision of the iota; but neither of these objections is serious, and as to δαῖτας, the feast in question lasted at least two days, which might in itself suffice to justify the plural. Jowett's transl. implies that he retains ἀγαθῶν and supposes (1) to have been the original form of the proverb “demolished” by Socr. and Homer.

Ὅμηρος μὲν γὰρ. The antithesis—ἡμεῖς δὲ μόνον διαφθείρομεν, or the like— is easily supplied from the context: for μὲν γὰρ, elliptical, cp. 176 C, and 173 D supra. The suggestion that Homer wilfully distorted a proverb which in his day was non-existent is, as Hug observes, obviously jocose.

ὑβρίσαι. The word may retain a flavour of its juridical sense—“liable to a criminal prosecution for assault and battery”: and if so, διαφθεῖρα too may hint at the crime of “seduction.” Homer is chargeable not only with seducing but with committing a criminal assault upon the virgin soundness of the proverb.

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hide References (11 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (11):
    • Plato, Republic, 614b
    • Plato, Cratylus, 404c
    • Plato, Symposium, 173d
    • Plato, Symposium, 174b
    • Plato, Symposium, 174c
    • Plato, Symposium, 176c
    • Plato, Symposium, 185c
    • Plato, Symposium, 198c
    • Plato, Gorgias, 513b
    • Plato, Protagoras, 321c
    • Plato, Protagoras, 338d
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