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σκύλακος. A play on σκύλαξ and φύλαξ is intended. Analogies from the animal kingdom were freely employed by the historical Socrates: for the dog in particular cf. Xen. Mem. IV 1. 3 καὶ τῶν κυνῶν τῶν εὐφυεστάτων, φιλοπόνων τε οὐσῶν καὶ ἐπιθετικῶν τοῖς θηρίοις, τὰς μὲν καλῶς ἀχθείσας ἀρίστας γίγνεσθαι—, ἀναγώγους δὲ γιγνομένας μᾳταίους τε καὶ μανιώδεις καὶ δυσπειθεστάτας. Cf. note on φύεται 370 A.

αἰσθανόμενον: ‘the moment he perceives.’ The present (where one might expect the aorist) emphasizes the rapidity with which pursuit follows upon sight.

ἀνδρεῖος. For ἀνδρεῖος applied to beasts cf. Isocr. 15. 211 εἰ περὶ τοὺς ἵππους καὶ τοὺς κύνας καὶ τὰ πλεῖστα τῶν ζῴων ὁρῶντες τέχνας ἔχοντάς τινας, αἷς τὰ μὲν ἀνδρειότερα, τὰ δὲ πραότερα, τὰ δὲ φρονιμώτερα ποιοῦσι, περὶ τὴν τῶν ἀνθρώπων φύσιν μηδεμίαν οἴονται τοιαύτην ηὑρῆσθαι παιδείαν κτλ. See also Lach. 196 D— 197 B and Arist. Eth. Nic. III 11. 1116^{b} 33 ff.

θυμοειδής. The technical term θυμοειδής is here for the first time used in the Republic. Plato probably inherited the word from Socrates (see Xen. Mem. IV 1. 3 τῶν τε ἵππων τοὺς εὐφυεστάτους, θυμοειδεῖς τε καὶ σφοδροὺς ὄντας κτλ.): in practice he employs it as the adjective corresponding to θυμός (see e.g. III 411 A, B), as ἐπιθυμητικός corresponds to ἐπιθυμία. The usual translation ‘spirited’ probably expresses the meaning as nearly as can be done by a single word. For a full discussion of the word reference may be made to P. Meyer θυμὸς ap. Arist. Platonemque (1876), whose conclusion (p. 65) is “τὸν θυμὸν esse eam naturalem vim, qua ductus suam quisque propriam naturam explere studeat, quaque incitatus, quaecunque hanc naturam ipsi propriam tollere vel laedere conentur, fugiat, quae contra perfectiorem reddere possint, adpetat.” See also on IV 439 E.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Plato, Laches, 196d
    • Xenophon, Memorabilia, 4.1.3
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