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Socrates professes to disbelieve that ἀρετή can be communicated by teaching. His arguments are twofold: (1) while in matters connected with the arts of building, ship-carpentry, and the like, the Athenians will listen only to the professional man, in politics they give ear to any and every one: (2) Athenian statesmen have not been able to communicate their political virtue to their sons.

2. εἴπερ κέκτησαι. Cobet's rule (Mnemos. XI, 168) ‘ubi praecedit vocalis, semper (Plato) κέκτημαι ponit, ubi consonans, promiscue κεκτῆσθαι et ἐκτῆσθαι’ represents the usage of the best MSS., but Schanz now writes ἐκτῆσθαι universally after consonants. See also Mnem. VIII, 336. ἐκτῆσθαι is in reality an old Ionic form: it is used by Aeschylus, Prom. 795 κοινὸν ὄμμ᾽ ἐκτημέναι.

4. οὐκ ἔχω ὅπως ἀπιστῶ. The MSS. reading ὅπως ἄν ἀπιστῶ was corrected by Heindorf, ὅπως ἄν with the subjunctive being only used in final clauses. The subjunctive is deliberative: cf. Euthyphr. 11B οὐκ ἔχω ἔγωγε ὅπως σοι εἴπω νοῶ.

5. οὐ διδακτὸνμηδὲ, οὐ negatives διδακτόν only, μηδέ the whole of its clause: a similar case is Eur. Andr. 586 δρᾶν εὖ, κακῶς δ᾽ οὔ, μηδ᾽ ἀποκτείνειν βίᾳ. μή after verbs of thinking and saying is tolerably common in Plato. See on Euthyphr. 6B ὁμολογοῦμεν περὶ αὐτῶν μηδὲν εἰδέναι.

7. ὥσπερ καὶ οἱ ἄλλοι Ἕλληνες, sc. φασί. Cf. 337D where Hippias calls Athens τῆς Ἑλλάδος αὐτὸ τὸ πρυτανεῖον τῆς σοφίας: a somewhat less favourable judgement is given in Laws, I. 641E τὴν πόλιν ἅπαντες ἡμῶν Ἕλληνες ὑπολαμβάνουσιν ὡς φιλόλογός τέ ἐστι καὶ ρολύλογος, Λακεδαίμονα δὲ καὶ Κπήτην, τὴν μὲν βπαχύλογον, τὴν δὲ πολύνοιαν μᾶλλον πολυλογίαν ἀσκοῦσαν.

10. μεταπεμπομένους is probably middle: Plato does not seem to use μεταπέμπειϝ in the sense of ‘send for’ (like Thucydides, e.g. I. 112. 3 Ἀμυρταίου μεταπέμποντος τοῦ ἐν τοῖς ἕλεσι βασιλέως: VI. 52. 1 et al.). The subject is τοὺς πολίτας to be supplied from τὴν πόλιν. Cf. Gorg. 455B ff. ὅταν περὶ ἰατρῶν αἱπέσεως τῇ ρόλει σύλλογος ρεπὶ ναυρηγῶν ρεπὶ ἄλλου τινὸς δημιουπγικοῦ ἔθνους, ἄλλο τι τότε π̔ητοπικὸς οὐ συμβουλεύσει; δῆλον γὰρ ὅτι ἐν ἑκάστῃ αἱρέσει τὸν τεχνικώτατον δεῖ αἱρεῖσθαι and Alc. I, 107A-C. Kroschel well remarks that the words περὶ τῶν οἰκοδομημάτων (which Hirschig wrongly rejects) are added to show that it is only about the actual buildings that the builders are consulted, ‘non de necessitate, utilitate, magnitudine’, as to which the orators advise: cf. Gorg. 455D.

15. κἂν πάνυ καλὸς κτλ. Imitated in Alc. I, 107B and C: ἐάν τέ γε σμικρὸς μέγας , ἐάν τε καλὸς αἰσχρός, ἔτι τε γενναῖος ἀγεννής, πῶς γὰρ οὔ;—ἀλλ᾽ ἄν τε πένης ἄν τε πλούσιος παραινῶν, οὐδὲν διοίσει Ἀθηναίοις, ὅταν ρεπὶ τῶν ἐν τῇ ρόλει βουλεύωνται, ρῶς ἂν ὑγιαίνοιεν, ἀλλὰ ζητοῦσιν ἰατρὸν εἶναι τὸν σύμβουλον.

19. οἱ τοξόται. The τοξόται (bowmen) or Σκύθαι (so called from their nationality) or Πευσίνιοι (from one Πευσίς who according to the schol. on Ar. Ach. 54 had the chief hand in establishing them) were the police. ἕλκω was regularly used of removing an offending orator: e.g. Ar. Knights, 665 κᾆθ᾽ εἷλκον αὐτὸν οἱ πρυτάνεις χοἰ τοξόται.

19. ἐξαίρωνται. So T (B has ἐξέρωνται): the present is perhaps due to tense-assimilation to κελευόντων. The active αἴρειν is used in the same connection by Ar. Eccl. 261 ἡμεῖς δέ γ᾽ ἢν αἴρωσ᾽ (sc. οἱ τοξόται), ἐᾶν κελεύσομεν, but no exact parallel for the use of the middle has yet been found—the nearest seems to be Eur. I. T. 1201 οὐ γάρ ποτ᾽ ἄν νιν ἠράμην βάθρων ἄπο: cf. Ar. Ach. 1140 τὴν ἀσπίδ᾽ αἴρου καὶ βάδιζ᾽ παῖ λαβών; ibid. 953.

21. περὶ τῶν τῆς πόλεως διοικήσεως. So B and T, but in both the copyist had doubts as to the text. It is usual to drop either τῶν or διοικήσεως: Kroschel transposes τῶν and περί. Sauppe retains the MSS. reading, making περὶ govern διοικήσεως—but this is very harsh. τὰ τῆς πόλεως διοικήσεως is a periphrasis for πόλεως διοίκησις (for the omission of the article with πόλεως cf. Polit. 296E τοῦτον δεῖ καὶ περὶ ταῦτα τὸν ὄρον εἶναι τόν γε ἀληθινώτατον ὀπθῆς ρόλεως διοικήσεως, ὃν σοφὸς καὶ ἀγαθὸς ἀνὴρ διοικήσει τὸ τῶν ἀρχομένων), ‘the city's administration’ being contrasted with τῶν ἐν τέχνῃ διοίκησις. The whole phrase περὶ τῶν τῆς πόλεως διοικήσεως corresponds to 318Eκαὶ ρεπὶ τῶν τῆς ρόλεως, ὅρως τὰ τῆς ρόλεως δυνατώτατος ἂν εἴη καὶ πράττειν καὶ λέγειν.

23. ἀνιστάμενος. The audience sat in the assembly: cf. Rep. VI. 492B ὅταν, εἶπον, ξυγκαθεζόμενοι ἁθρόοι πολλοὶ εἰς ἐκκλησίαςψέγωσι κτλ.

27. μαθών. Heindorf quotes many cases of the transition from plural to singular in Plato (e.g. below, 324B: the change is justified here because in each case the reproach would be addressed to a single person.

29. μὴ τοίνυν ὅτιἀλλὰ ἰδίᾳ. See on Apol. 40D οἶμαι ἂν μὴ ὅτι ἰδιώτην τινά, ἀλλὰ τὸν μέγαν βασιλέα κτλ.

31. οὐχ οιοί τε ἄλλοις παραδιδόναι. Plato comments on the inability of statesmen to teach their sons political sagacity in Meno, 93B ff., citing Themistocles, Aristides, Pericles and Thucydides as cases in point. Cf. Alc. I, 118E ff.

33. μὲν διδασκάλων εἴχετο. The phrase is used by Plato in the other passages where he deals with this topic: cf, below, 324D Meno, 93D and 94A.

36. νέμονται ὥσπερ ἄφετοι. νέμεσθαι is properly ‘to graze’, and ἄφετος is said de grege numini alicui consecrato (Heindorf): cf. Critias, 119D ἀφέτων ὄντων ταύρων ἐν τῷ τοῦ Ποσειδῶνος ἱερῷ. The same expression occurs in Rep. VI. 498C ὅταν δὲ λήγη̣ μὲν π̔ώμη, ρολιτικῶν δὲ καὶ στπατειῶν ἐκτὸς γίγνηται, τότε ἤδη ἀφέτους νέμεσθαι καὶ μηδὲν ἄλλο πράττειν. Here the object of νέμεσθαι is virtually the clause ἐάν πουτῇ ἀρετῇ ‘going to and fro by themselves they graze like creatures set apart upon whatever excellence etc.’: cf. (for the use of ἐάν) Rep. VII. 528A φθονοῖς μὴν οὐδ᾽ ἂν ἄλλῳ εἴ τίς τι δύναιτο ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν ὄνασθαι.

ἐάν που αὐτόματοι περιτύχωσιν τῇ ἀρετῇ. αὐτομάτω̣ (used as in Theaet. 180C, Polit. 271D δ᾽ ἤρου περὶ τοῦ πάντα αὐτόματα γίγνεσθαι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις) agreeing with ἀρετῇ would make the expression more pointed, and avoid the slight contradiction involved in the expression αὐτόματοι περιτύχωσιν (since one cannot spontaneously fall in with a thing), but αὐτόματοι is not to be pressed, and should be understood as equivalent to ἀπὸ τοῦ αὐτομάτου (cf. 323C.

37. Κλεινίαν. The author of the First Alcibiades makes Alcibiades himself speak of his younger brother as μαινόμενος ἄνθρωπος (118E).

39. μὴ διαφθαρῇ δή. δή adds a touch of irony to spare the feelings of Alcibiades.

41. καταθέμενος ἐν Ἀρίφρονος. According to Plutarch (Alcib. ch. 1) Ariphron shared with Pericles the guardianship of Alcibiades. Ariphron was Pericles' brother.

42. ἀπέδωκε τούτῳ, i.e. Pericles to Alcibiades. Pericles is humorously represented as restoring his ward in despair to the very man who was suspected of corrupting him: and Alcibiades is again appeased.

45. οὔτε τῶν ἀλλοτρίων. See Gorg. 515C ff., where it is argued that Pericles, Cimon and Miltiades made none of their fellow-citizens better.

48. κάμπτομαι. Stallbaum quotes Thuc. III. 58. I καίτοι ἀξιοῦμέν γεκαμφθῆναι ὑμᾶς καὶ μεταγνῶναι.

49. πολλῶν μὲντὰ δὲ αὐτὸν ἐξηυρηκέναι. It is implied that Protagoras' originality is not equal to his industry. The MSS. have ἐξευρηκέναι, but in the perfect as in past tenses generally initial ευ became ηυ: see on 315Babove.

52. ἀλλ᾽ ἐπίδειξον. See below on ἐπιδειξάμενος in 328D

53. ὡς πρεσβύτερος νεωτέροις. Gorg. 527A τάχα δ᾽ οὖν ταῦτα μῦθός σοι δοκεῖ λέγεσθαι ὥσπερ γραός.

54. λόγῳ διεξελθών. So BT: Cobet requires λόγῳ διεξέλθω, but λόγῳ διεξελθών contrasts with μῦθον λέγων, not with ἐπιδείξω, which belongs to both participial clauses. For the aorist participle (where we should expect the present) cf., with Sauppe, Theaet. 167D ἀμφισβήτει λόγῳ ἀντιδιεξελθών.

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hide References (24 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (24):
    • Aristophanes, Acharnians, 54
    • Aristophanes, Ecclesiazusae, 261
    • Aristophanes, Knights, 665
    • Plato, Laws, 641e
    • Plato, Republic, 498c
    • Plato, Republic, 528a
    • Plato, Apology, 40d
    • Plato, Euthyphro, 11b
    • Plato, Euthyphro, 6b
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 167d
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 180c
    • Plato, Meno, 93b
    • Plato, Meno, 93d
    • Plato, Protagoras, 323c
    • Plato, Protagoras, 337d
    • Plato, Gorgias, 455b
    • Plato, Gorgias, 455d
    • Plato, Gorgias, 515c
    • Plato, Gorgias, 527a
    • Plato, Protagoras, 315b
    • Plato, Protagoras, 318e
    • Plato, Protagoras, 324b
    • Plato, Protagoras, 324d
    • Plato, Protagoras, 328d
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