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λαμπὰς κτλ . λαμπάς was the official name for a torch-race: see Mommsen Heortologie pp. 170 note, 282.

τῇ θεῷ: see on 327 A and App. I.

λαμπάδια: Harpocratio remarks ἣν νῦν ἡμεῖς λαμπάδα καλοῦμεν, οὕτως ὠνόμαζον. But λαμπάς was used for ‘torch’ even in classical Greek. Plato chooses λαμπάδιον because he has just used λαμπάς in a different sense.

διαδωσουσιν κτλ. shews that—except for the novel substitution of mounted competitors for runners—the torch-race in question was of the kind alluded to in Hdt. VIII 98 and elsewhere as held in honour of Hephaestus. The competition was not between one individual and another, but between different lines of competitors, the torch being passed on from man to man. Victory fell to the chain whose torch, still burning, first reached the goal. The well-known figure in Laws 776 B καθάπερ λαμπάδα τὸν βίον παραδιδόντας ἄλλοις ἐξ ἄλλων refers to the same form of race. Plato nowhere mentions the simpler form described by Pausanias (1 30. 2), in which individuals contended against each other: see Baumeister Denkmäler d. kl. Altert. p. 522.

ἄξιον θεάσασθαι. Songs and dances were the leading features in a παννυχίς. See Soph. Ant. 1146—1152 and Eur. Heracl. 781—783 ἀνεμόεντι δὲ γᾶς ἐπ᾽ ὄχθῳ | (the Acropolis) ὀλολύγματα παννυχίοις ὑπὸ παρθένων ἰακχεῖ ποδῶν κρότοισιν (in honour of Athena at the Panathenaea).

ἐξαναστήσομεθα κτλ. The promise is nowhere fulfilled.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Euripides, Heraclidae, 781
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 1146
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