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τραχεῖα καὶ χαλεπή κτλ. The language (as Ast observes) is perhaps suggested by Hesiod OD. 290 ff. μακρὸς δὲ καὶ ὄρθιος οἶμος ἐς αὐτὴν | καὶ τρηχὺς τὸ πρῶτον: ἐπὴν δ᾽ εἰς ἄκρον ἵκηται, | ῥηιδίη δὴ ἔπειτα πέλει, χαλεπή περ ἐοῦσα. Cf. II 364 D note

ἐπὶ γήραος οὐδῷ. The phrase occurs first in the Iliad (XXII 60, XXIV 487) to denote the natural limit of the life of man. Cephalus is μάλα πρεσβύτης 328 B. The same meaning suits also in Od. XV 246 (οὐδ᾽ ἵκετο γήραος οὐδόν) 348 and XXIII 212, Hymn. Aphr. 106, Hes. OD. 331, Hdt. III 14 and elsewhere. Leaf can hardly (I think) be right in explaining οὐδῷ as=ὁδῷ in Il. XXII 60. γήραος is a descriptive genitive (like τέλος γήραος ἀργαλέου Mimn. Fr. 2. 6, τοῦ λογου in δόλιχον—not δολιχὸντοῦ λόγου Prot. 329 A), old age being itself the threshold by which we leave the House of Life. We enter as it were by one door and pass out by another. The idea underlying the phrase may be compared with Democritus' κόσμος σκηνή, βίος πάροδος: ἠλθες, εἶδες, ἀπῆλθες (Mullach Fr. Phil. Gr. I p. 356).

χαλεπὸν κτλ . χαλεπόν is neuter on account of τοῦτο in τί σοι φαίνεται τοῦτο, and τοῦ βίου is a simple partitive genitive: cf. Xen. Mem. I 6. 4 ἐπισκεψώμεθα τί χαλεπὸν ᾔσθησαι τοὐμοῦ βίου. I cannot agree with Tucker in rendering ‘disagreeable in respect of the sort of life.’ Ast takes χαλεπόν as masc. (comparing cases like III 416 B τὴν μεγίστην τῆς εὐλαβείας), but αὐτό shews that he is wrong. Translate simply ‘whether it is a painful period of life.’ It is needless to insert (with Hartman) τι after χαλεπόν: still worse is Liebhold's addition of τέλος.

ἐξαγγέλλεις: like the ἐξάγγελος in tragedy, Cephalus is the bearer of news from behind the scenes.

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hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Plato, Protagoras, 329a
    • Xenophon, Memorabilia, 1.6.4
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