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Περιάνδρου κτλ. Periander, Xerxes and Perdiccas are taken as types of tyrants, and no tyrant is σοφός (Rep. IX 587 D). It is noticeable that Periander does not appear in the list of the seven wise men in Prot. 343 A. The expedition of Xerxes against Greece is cited by Callicles in Gorg. 483 D in connexion with the doctrine that might is right. In Περδίκκου the allusion is to Perdiccas II, father of Archelaus (Gorg. 471 B): he died late in 414 or early in 413, three years before the probable date of action of the Republic (Introd. § 3), after proving himself a fickle friend and foe to the Athenians during the Peloponnesian war. Ismenias is mentioned again in Men. 90 A as having become rich δόντος τινός—<*> νῦν νεωστὶ εἰληφὼς τὰ Πολυκράτους χρήματα. There can be no doubt that he is to be identified with the Ismenias who (see Xen. Hell. III 5. 1) in 395 took money from Timocrates the Rhodian, envoy of the Persian King, in order to stir up war against Sparta, and who in 382, when the Spartans had seized the Cadmea, was condemned on this charge among others (Xen. Hell. V 2. 35; Plut. Pelop. 5. 2). Plato implies that Ismenias kept enough Persian gold to enrich himself. he was no true Greek if he did not. But what is meant by saying that he had received the money of Polycrates? This question has been much discussed. Possibly ‘the money of Polycrates’ (with allusion, of course, to the riches of the Samian tyrant) was a sarcastic expression current in Athens for ‘the money of Timocrates’: this is perhaps the more likely as we are informed that the Athenians got no share of it themselves (Hell. III 5. 2). Plato would naturally avail himself of such a political gibe to express his dislike of a man who took gold from the natural enemy of Greece (Rep. V 470 C) to stir up not war, but sedition (ib. 470 B), and withdraw Agesilaus from fighting with the barbarian: for his political ideal in foreign policy was that of Cimon. See also on V 471 B. It is not however likely, I think, that the present passage was written after Ismenias' death, for Plato is not given to reviling his contemporaries after their death. That the other three persons cited by Plato were already dead would only make his reproof of the living more marked and scathing. The present passage—so far as it goes—is on the whole in favour of Teichmüller's view (Lit. Fehd. I p. 25) that the first book of the Republic was written soon after 395, when the disgraceful affair was still fresh in men's minds. See Introd. § 4.

οἰομένου is to be pressed (as in III 395 D, 409 C: cf. IV 431 C): their power is fancied, not real: they cannot even do the thing they want: cf. Gorg. 467 A ff. πῶς ἂν οὖν οἱ ῥήτορες μέγα δύναιντο οἱ τύραννοι ἐν ταῖς πόλεσιν, ἐὰν μὴ Σωκράτης ἐξελεγχθῇὅτι ποιοῦσιν βούλονται;— οὔ φημι ποιεῖν αὐτοὺς βούλονται. He alone (says Plato) is truly powerful who wills what is good and has the power to obtain it.

336A - 337B Introduction of Thrasymachus.

On Plato's representation of Thrasymachus in the Republic, see Introd. § 2.

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hide References (7 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (7):
    • Plato, Gorgias, 467a
    • Plato, Gorgias, 471b
    • Plato, Gorgias, 483d
    • Plato, Protagoras, 343a
    • Plato, Meno, 90a
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 3.5.1
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 5.2.35
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