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PLATO



“Plato —Son of Ariston son of Aristocles, and Perictione\ ... who was a descendant of Solon ... He was born in Aegina in the 88th Olympiad (428-5 B.C.), just after the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. He lived to be eighty-two, dying in the 108th Olympiad (348-5). His first lessons were given him by a certain Dionysius, and he learnt gymnastics of Ariston of Argos. Later, he learnt the art of petry, and wrote dithyrambs and tragedies, but in the end he threw this up in favour of philosophy, which he studied under Socrates for twenty years... Plato made three journeys to Sicily, to the courts of the two despots Dionysius, and was sold as a slave by one of them, being bought by Anniceris the Libyan, who set him free. He spent his life teaching in the Academy. His successors at that school were these, Speusippus, Xenocrates, Polemo, Crantor, Crates ... His genuine Dialogues number fifty-six...” Suidas

Inscriptions


“In the 4th Book of his Luxury of the Ancients Aristippus tells us that Plato became attached to a youth named Aster or Star with whom he studied astronomy, and also to the above-mentioned Dion (and as some say, to Phaedrus), the depth of his affection being revealed in the following ‘inscriptions’ or epigrams which he wrote upon them:

Thou gazest at the stars, my star; would I were Heaven, that I might gaze at thee with many eyes!1

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And this:

Even as you shone once the Star of Morn among the living, so in death you shine now the Star of Eve among the dead.2

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And on Dion this:

The Fates once decreed tears unto Hecuba and the women of Troy at their birth; thy widespread3 hopes, Dion, the Gods did spill upon the ground when thou hadst triumphed in the doing of noble deeds; and so in the spacious city that bare thee liest thou honoured by thy fellow-countrymen, O Dion who didst make my heart mad with love of thee.4

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This, according to Aristippus, was inscribed on Dion's tomb at Syracuse. It is also said that when enamoured of Alexis5 and Phaedrus6 he wrote in the following way:

Now, when I have but whispered7 that Alexis is fair, he is the observed of all observers; why, my heart, dost reveal the dogs a bone? Thou 'lt be sorry for it afterwards; was it not thus we lost Phaedrus?8

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He is said, too, to have had a mistress, Archeanassa, on whom he wrote thus:

My mistress is Archeanassa of Colophon, on whose very wrinkles there is bitter love. O hapless ye that met such beauty on its first voyage; through what a burning did ye pass!9

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There is this too on Agathon:10

When I kiss Agathon my soul is on my lips, whither it comes, poor thing, hoping to cross over.11

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And another:

I cast the apple at you, and if you truly love me, take it and give me of your maidenhood; but if your thoughts be what I pray they are not, then too take it and consider how short-lived is beauty.12

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<And this:>

I am an apple; one that loves you casts me at you. Say yes, Xanthippe; we fade, both you and I.13

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It is also said that the lines on the Eretrians who were swept into captivity14 are his:

We are Eretrians of Euboea, but we lie near Susa, alas, how far from home!15,

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Diogenes Laertius Lives of the Philosophers [Plato]

“And again:

One that found some gold left a halter, and he who did not find the gold he had left put on the halter he had found.16

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Diogenes Laertius Lives of the Philosophers [Plato]
“Plato; inscribed on a mirror dedicated by Lais:

She that laughed so disdainfully at Greece, she that once kept a swarm of young lovers at her door, Lais offers this mirror to the Paphian17 because she has no wish to see herself as she is, and cannot see herself as she was.18

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Planudean and Palatine Anthologies:
“Plato:

This man was pleasing to strangers and dear to his countrymen —Pindar, the servitor of the melodious Muses.19

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Palatine Anthology:
“Plato; on the Eretrians who lie at Ecbatana:

To lie here amidst the plains of Ecbatana we once left the sounding waves of the Aegean. Fare thee well renowned Eretria once our country, fare thee well Euboea's neighbour Athens, fare thee well dear Sea.20

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Palatine Anthology:
“Plato; on another lost at sea:

I am the tomb of a sailor;21 the tomb opposite is a farmer's; for the same death is beneath the land as beneath the sea.

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Palatine Anthology:
“Plato; on another lost at sea:

May ye be safe, ye seamen, both by sea and land; yet I would have you know that the tomb ye pass is a shipwrecked man's.

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Palatine Anthology:
“Plato; on Sappho:

Some say there are nine Muses; but they should stop to think. Look at Sappho of Lesbos; she makes a tenth.22

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Planudean and Palatine Anthologies:

When Cypris saw Cypris at Cnidus, ‘Alas!’ said she; ‘where did Praxiteles see me naked?’

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Planudean Anthology: 23
“Plato himself wrote the following ‘inscription’ on Aristophanes:

The Graces, seeking for themselves a shrine that would not fall, found the soul of Aristophanes.24

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Thomas Magister Life of Aristophanes:

1 cf. Apul. Apol. 10 (with the next), A.P. 7. 669 εις Α᾿στέρα τὸν μαθητήν , Plan. [ π. τοῦ φιλοσόφου ]; translated by Ausonius Ep. 144

2 cf. A.P. 7. 670

3 or, emending the Gk. firm-set, like (pointed-ended) amphorae in the soil of a wine-cellar, cf. Dem. 55. 24 ἀποκλιθῇναι

4 at Plato's first visit to Syracuse he was about 40 and D. about 20; cf. A.P. 7. 99, Suid. geiname/nais (1-2), Apul. Apol. 10

5 this might be the comic poet born c. 394 when Plato was 31

6 Ph. seems to have been a younger contemporary of Socrates rather than of Plato

7 lit. said just (o(/son, cf. the use with numerals) only nothing

8 cf. Apul. Apol. 10, A.P. 7. 100

9 cf. Ath. 13. 589 c, A.P. 7. 217 [ Α᾿σκληπιάδου ], Suid. ῥυτίς (2)

10 as A. was born 20 years before Plato, this poem, like the next but one, seems to have been written, like the Dialogues , by Plato personating Socrates: cf. Gell. 19. 11. 1, Macr. Sat. 2. 2. 15, A.P. 5. 77, Cram. A.P. 4. 384. 1

11 i.e. like a soul across the Styx into Elysium

12 cf. A.P. 5. 78

13 cf. A.P. 5. 79 ( Plan. φιλοδήμου )1

14 by the Persians in 490 B.C., cf. Hdt. 6. 101; the burial (if this is Plato's) is metaphorical

15 cf. A.P. 7. 259 [ εἰς τοὺς Εὐβοεῖς τοὺς ἐν Σούσοις τελευτήσαντας ], Sch. Hermog. Rh. Gr. 7. 1. 193 W, Cram. A.O. 4. 154. 10, Suid. Ι῾ππίας ; the next poem ascribed to Plato by Diog. (= A.P. 9. 39) cannot be his

16 cf. A.P. 9. 44 [ Στατυλλίου φλάκκου ]

17 this expression for Aphrodite makes the ascription doubtful

18 cf. Olymp. in [Plat.] Alc. i p. 31 (31-4); translated by Ausonius Ep. 65

19 Pindar died c. 440, Plato was born 427: cf. Plut. An. Procr. 33 Πλ. τῷ Πινδάρῳ ποιήσας ἐπικήδειον: (1)

20 cf. 9 and A.P. 7. 256, Philostr. Vit. Ap. i. 24

21 or, keeping the ms.-reading , shipwrecked man

22 cf. Auson. Ep. 32

23 after two on the same subject wrongly ascribed to Plato the lemma gives ‘unknown’; the ref. is to the famous statue by Praxiteles

24 cf. Olymp. Vit. Plat. i and ii

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