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ἐκ τῶν τεχνῶν κτλ. It has been supposed that Plato has in view Antisthenes and the Cynic Diogenes, the latter of whom apparently started life as a moneychanger (D. L. VI 20). But the description which follows applies to sophists and sophistical rhetoricians rather than to the Cynic philosophers. The poet Gray says “this seems to be aimed at Protagoras, who was an ordinary countryman and a woodcutter” (see Gellius Noct. Att. V 3 and other authorities cited by Frei Quaest. Prot. pp. 6 ff.). Hermann (Gesch. u. Syst. p.628) cites Euthydemus and Dionysodorus as cases in point (cf. 496 A note). Each of these sophists had formerly taught the art of fighting in full armour (Euthyd. 271 C— 272 B, 273 E). As speech-writing and rhetoric generally were counted among the arts, we may think also of Isocrates, who loved above everything to call himself a φιλόσοφος (Antid. 271 ff.). But although these and other examples may be quoted in illustration of what Plato here says, the tone of the whole passage shews that Plato is describing a familiar phenomenon of his own times, when clever and ambitious young men were in the habit of forsaking their handicrafts and devoting themselves to ‘culture.’ Cf. Prot. 318 E τὰς γὰρ τέχνας αὐτοὺς πεφευγότας ἄκοντας πάλιν αὖ ἄγοντες ἐμβάλλουσιν εἰς τέχνας (sc. Hippias etc.), λογισμούς τε καὶ ἀστρονομίαν καὶ γεωμετρίαν καὶ μουσικὴν διδάσκοντες, and my article in Cl. Rev. XV p. 220.

ἐφιέμενοι κτλ. is an anacoluthon. The natural flow of the sentence is interrupted by the question οὐκ ἀνάγκη; which is intended to obtain Adeimantus' assent to τὰς ψυχὰςτυγχάνουσιν. On resuming, Plato interposes a comparison, and to this the general idea which forms the logical predicate to πολλοί is accommodated in ποἶ ἄτταφαῦλα. The sentence was thus understood by the editor of q; for τυγχάνουσιν, which seems a difficulty on this theory, is in q τυγχάνοντες. But τυγχάνοντες would be extremely inelegant; and Plato writes τυγχάνουσιν to correspond to λελώβηνται. Even in other cases a finite verb sometimes replaces a participle in the second of two contrasted clauses, e.g. Ap. 21 E. J. and C. explain the passage in nearly the same way, as well as (apparently) Schneider and Stallbaum. It is impossible for many reasons to connect τυγχάνουσιν with ἐφιέμενοι and so escape the anacoluthon. I formerly suspected the text, and proposed <ἀπο> τυγχάνουσιν (‘miss the mark,’ i.e. fail to win the distinction which they covet). Another solution might be to place the troublesome τυγχάνουσιν after πολλοί. But neither change is in any degree probable; and it is better to acquiesce in the reading of the MSS. Plato's anacolutha are a device for imparting life and reality to his dialogues. A careful translation should preserve them all.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Plato, Apology, 21e
    • Plato, Euthydemus, 271c
    • Plato, Protagoras, 318e
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