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Alcibiades Praises Socrates

ἄλλο ἄλλοθεν. “In a wrong order,” or “in promiscuous fashion”: cp. Il. II. 75, Aesch. Ag. 92, etc. Alcib. forestalls criticism by this apology for the “mixed” style of his reminiscences, on the ground of what he calls his “present condition” (ὧδ᾽ ἔχοντι=μεθύοντι, crapula laboranti).

οὐ γάρ τι ῥᾴδιον. For οὔτι, handquaquam, cp. 189 B.

ἀτοπίαν. Cp. Gorg. 494 D; 221 C infra. That Socrates is an “out-of-theway” character, a walking conundrum, is, in fact, the main theme of Alc.'s speech: it is a mistake to limit this ἀτοπία to the contradiction between his outer and inner man, as Susemihl does.

οὕτως...δἰ εἰκόνων. For οὕτως with an epexegetic phrase, cp. 193 C, Laws 633 D, Rep. 551 C οὕτω...ἀπὸ τιμημάτων. For εἰκόνες, “similes,” see Ar. Rhet. III. 4, where they are described as a kind of μεταφοραί (“A simile is a metaphor writ large, with the details filled in,” Cope ad loc.). εἰκασίαι (“conundrums”) were also “a fashionable amusement at Greek social gatherings” (Thompson on Meno 80 C), see for exx. Ar. Vesp. 1308 ff., Av. 804 ff.: cp. Rep. 487 E, Phaedo 87 B; Xen. Symp. VI. 8 ff.

ἐπὶ τὰ γελοιότερα. Sc. οὕτως ποιήσειν, or the like: cp. 214 E.

τοῖς σιληνοῖς κτλ. These were statuettes representing a Silenus playing a flute or pipe; the interiors were hollow and served as caskets to hold little figures of gods wrought in gold or other precious materials. But the precise fashion of their construction and how they opened (διχάδε διοιχθέντες) is by no means clear. (1) Hug thinks they were made with a double door (δικλίδες): similarly Stallb. and Hommel (“in contrariis Silenorum lateribus duobus duo foramina erant, quae epistomio quodam claudi poterant”). (2) Schulthess supposes that one section telescoped into the other (“Schiebt man sie auseinander, so erblickt man inwendig Götterbilder”). (3) Panofka, with Schleiermacher, supposes that the top came off like a lid. (4) Lastly, Rettig “denkt an ein Auseinandernehmen in zwei Hälfte,” though exactly how this differs from (3) he does not clearly explain. But—as Rettig himself observes—“mag es verschiedene Arten solche Gehäuse gegeben haben,” and in the absence of further evidence it would be rash to decide which of the possible patterns is here intended: the language (διχάδε διοιχθέντες) rather favours the idea that the figures split into two, either horizontally or vertically—possibly, also, with a hinge. Cp. Synes. Ep. 153, p. 292 B ὥσπερ ἐποίουν Ἀθήνησιν οἱ δημιουργοὶ Ἀφροδίτην καὶ Χάριτας καὶ τοιαῦτα κάλλη θεῶν ἀγάλμασι σιληνῶν καὶ σατύρων ἀμπίσχοντες: Maximus comm. in Dion. Areop. de div. nom. c. ix. t. II. p. 201 f. (ed. Cord.) ἐκεῖνοι γὰρ οἷά τινας ἀνδριάντας ἐποίουν μήτε χεῖρας μήτε πόδας ἔχοντας, οὓς ἑρμᾶς ἐκάλουν: ἐποίουν δὲ αὐτοὺς διακένους, θύρας ἔχοντας, καθάπερ τοιχοπυργίσκους: ἔσωθεν οὖν αὐτῶν ἐτίθεσαν ἀγάλματα ὧν ἔσεβον θεῶν κτλ. (cp. Etym. Magn. s.v. ἀρμάριον): Xen. Symp. IV. 19; Julian Or. VI. p. 187 A.

τοῖς ἑρμογλυφείοις. “The statuaries' shops,” apparently a ἅπαξ εἰρ.: cp. Luc. Somn. 2. 7.

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hide References (11 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (11):
    • Plato, Laws, 633d
    • Plato, Republic, 487e
    • Plato, Republic, 551c
    • Plato, Phaedo, 87b
    • Plato, Symposium, 187a
    • Plato, Symposium, 189b
    • Plato, Symposium, 193c
    • Plato, Symposium, 214e
    • Plato, Symposium, 221c
    • Plato, Gorgias, 494d
    • Plato, Meno, 80c
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