previous next

331E - 332B The second half of the definition of Justice which Socrates deduced from Cephalus' remarks is now taken up and discussed in the form in which it was expressed by Simonides— ‘rendering to each man his due.’ In the present section Socrates confines himself to eliciting the meaning of ‘due.’ As between friends, it is something good; as between enemies, something evil; in general terms it is that which is suitable or appropriate. Simonides in fact meant that Justice consists in doing good to friends and ill to foes.

ff. By δικαιοσύνη, it should be noted, is here meant man's whole duty to his fellows, as ὁσιότης is right conduct in relation to the gods. In this wide sense the word was commonly understood by the Greeks (cf. Theog. 147 ἐν δὲ δικαιοσύνῃ συλλήβδην πᾶσ᾽ ἀρετὴ ἔνι); and even in the scientific study of ethics, the word still retained the same wider connotation, side by side with its more specific meanings (Arist. Eth. Nic. v 3. 1129^{b} 11 ff.). The view that Justice consists in doing good to friends and harm to enemies, is a faithful reflection of prevalent Greek morality (Luthardt Die Antike Ethik p. 19). It is put into the mouth of Simonides as a representative of the poets, on whose writings the young were brought up: cf. Prot. 316 D, 325 E, 338 E ff. As typical illustrations we may cite: Hes. OD. 707 ff.; Solon 13. 5; Theog. 337 f.; Archilochus Fr. 65; Pindar Pyth. 2. 83— 85; Aesch. P.V. 1041 f.; Soph. Ant. 643 f.; Eurip. Med. 807—810; Meno in Plat. Men. 71 E αὕτη <*>στὶν ἀνδρὸς ἀρετή, ἱκανὸν εἶναι τὰ τῆς πόλεως πράττειν, καὶ πράττοντα τοὺς μὲν φίλους εὖ ποιεῖν, τοὺς δ̓ ἐχθροὺς κακῶς: cf. also Crito 49 B, Xen. Cyr. I 6. 31 ff. and Hiero II 2. Socrates himself in Mem. II 3. 14 represents the same principle as generally accepted in Greece: καὶ μὴν πλείστου γε δοκεῖ ἀνὴρ ἐπαίνου ἄξιος εἶναι, ὃς ἂν φθάνῃ τοὺς μὲν πολεμίους κακῶς ποιῶν, τοὺς δὲ φίλους εὐεργετῶν: cf. also ibid. II 6. 35. These references, which might easily be multiplied, shew that Plato is not, as Teichmüller supposes (Lit. Fehd. 1 p. 22note), specifically refuting Xenophon, but rather criticising an all but universal view. See Nägelsbach Nachhom. Theol. pp. 246 ff. It is seldom that a voice is raised in protest, as by Pittacus (according to D. L. I 4. 78) in the memorable words φίλον μὴ λέγειν κακῶς, ἀλλὰ μηδὲ ἐχθρόν. Plato was the first Greek who systematically protested against the doctrine, and supported his protest with arguments drawn from a loftier view of man's nature and work.

τοῦ λόγου κληρονόμος. See on παῖδες ἐκείνου τοῦ ἀνδρός II 368 A.

τὰ ὀφειλόμενα -- ἐστι. Probably some current saying attributed to Simonides: there is nothing like it in his fragments. The words do not profess to be a definition of justice: if they did, τό would appear before δίκαιον. It is not likely that Simonides himself explained this particular saying as Polemarchus does, although he would not have disapproved of the explanation. In Xen. Hier. II 2 he is represented as saying that tyrants are ἱκανώτατοικακῶσαι μὲν ἐχθρούς, ὀνῆσαι δὲ φίλους. The words of Socrates σὺ μέν, Πολέμαρχε, ἴσως γιγνώσκεις, ἐγὼ δὲ ἀγνοῶ tend to fix the responsibility of the explanation on Polemarchus alone. Probably Simonides (if the saying is his) meant no more than that we should ‘render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's.’ Plato virtually confesses in 332 B that his interpretation is forced.

ἔμοιγε: said with confidence, as Σιμωνίδῃ γε with emphasis and some mockery: with you one might disagree, but not with Simonides.

σοφὸς -- θεῖος. Cf. Prot. 315 E. σοφός and θεῖος were fashionable words of praise: in the mouth of Socrates they are generally ironical. Plato's own connotation of the word θεῖος is given in Men. 99 C οὐκοῦν, Μένων, ἄξιον τούτους θείους καλεῖν τοὺς ἄνδρας, οἵτινες νοῦν μὴ ἔχοντες πολλὰ καὶ μεγάλα κατορθοῦσιν ὧν πράττουσι καὶ λέγουσιν; Ὀρθῶς ἂν καλοῖμεν θείους τε, οὓς νῦν δὴ ἐλέγομεν χρησμῳδοὺς καὶ μάντεις καὶ τοὺς ποιητικοὺς ἅπαντας: καὶ τοὺς πολιτικοὺς οὐχ ἥκιστα τούτων φαῖμεν ἂν θείους τε εἶναι καὶ ἐνθουσιάζειν, ἐπίπνους ὄντας καὶ κατεχομένους ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ, ὅταν κατορθῶσι λέγοντες πολλὰ καὶ μεγάλα πράγματα, μηδὲν εἰδότες ὦν λέγουσι.

ἀνήρ. I formerly read ἁνήρ, but ἀνὴρ (in the predicate) is satisfactory enough: cf. Men. 99 D θεῖος ἀνήρ, φασίν, οὗτος.

παρακαταθεμένου κτλ. Xen. Cyr. I 6. 31 ff. καὶ ἔτι προβὰς (sc. ἐπὶ τῶν ἡμετέρων προγόνων γενόμενός ποτε ἀνὴρ διδάσκαλος τῶν παίδωνταῦτα ἐδίδασκεν ὡς καὶ τοὺς φίλους δίκαιον εἴη ἐξαπατᾶν, ἐπί γε ἀγαθῷ, καὶ κλέπτειν τὰ τῶν φίλων, ἐπί γε ἀγαθῷ: Mem. IV 2. 17 ff.

ὁτῳοῦν is to be taken with παρακαταθεμένου and not with ἀπαιτοῦντι.

καίτοι γε ὀφειλόμενον. There is the same dispute about καίτοι γε as about μέντοι γε and ἀλλά γε (see on 329 E, 331 B). καίτοι γε has the best MS authority in its favour here and in IV 440D: elsewhere in Plato it is not well-attested except in the νοθευόμενοι, where it occurs Min. 318 E, Axioch. 364 B, 368 E. καίτοι γε is also found occasionally in Aristophanes, Xenophon, Aristotle, and the orators: see Blaydes on Ar. Ach. 611, and the Lex. Arist. Many distinguished critics would emend the idiom everywhere; but the instances are far too numerous for such a drastic policy. The difference between καίτοι ὀφειλόμενόν γε που (which Hoefer de part. Plat. p. 38 would read) and καίτοι γε ὀφειλόμενον would seem to be that in the former more stress is thrown on the word ὀφειλόμενον, in the latter on τοι. καίτοι γε is ‘and surely’ rather than ‘quamquam’ (as Kugler holds de part. τοι eiusque comp. ap. Pl. usu p. 20), cf. IV 440 D note The periphrasis ὀφειλόμενονἐστι is used of course to correspond to τὰ ὀφειλόμενα in E above: such periphrases (the principle of which is explained in Euthyph. 9 E ff.) are extremely common in Plato. See W. J. Alexander in A. J. Ph. IV pp. 299 ff.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide References (12 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (12):
    • Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, 1041
    • Plato, Euthyphro, 9e
    • Plato, Protagoras, 315e
    • Plato, Protagoras, 316d
    • Plato, Meno, 71e
    • Plato, Meno, 99c
    • Plato, Meno, 99d
    • Plato, Minos, 318e
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 643
    • Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 1.6.31
    • Xenophon, Hiero, 2.2
    • Aristophanes, Acharnians, 611
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: