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57 A-59 C, cc. i, ii. Prologue. Echekrates, the Phliasian, begs for information respecting the last moments of Sokrates.
Phaedo assents, and, after explaining the circumstances which delayed the execution, gives a list of the friends who were present at that last meeting, where sorrow and gladness were so strangely mingled.
I. αὐτός] Echekrates merely desires to know whether he can depend upon the account of Phaedo as that of an eye witness This remark would have been needless, but for the strange comment of Hermogenes the rhetorician: ὁ μὲν γὰρ ἤρετο ὡς θαυμάζων καὶ μακαρίζων τὸν παραγενόμενον, ὁ δὲ ἀπεκρίνατο σεμνυνό μενος καὶ μέγα φρονῶν.
Φλιασίων] in apposition to τῶν πολιτῶν. The insertion of τῶν is altogether needless; the article is continually omitted before national names by all Attic writers. Stallbaum compares Apology 32 B, and Meno 70 B.
őOTIS dv] who would have been able to tell us? In a phrase of this sort, I conceive that no definite protasis is in the mind of the writer.
I cannot see what is gained by supplying ‘si venisset’ with Rückert, or ‘wenn er gefragt wor den wäre’ with Wohlrab. The words that follow show that communication between Athens and Phlius did exist, for some Athenian visitors brought the news of Sokrates’ death.
It seems needless therefore to speculate whether intercourse was suspended by the war with Elis (Stallbaum), which ended in the year Sokrates died; or by the Corinthian war (C. F. Hermann), which began five years later.
τοιούτους ἑτέρους] i. e. they take equal pleasure in the recollection of So krates: compare below 59 A καὶ γὰρ οἱ λόγοι τοιοῦτοί τινες ἦσαν, referring to ὡς ἐν φιλοσοφίᾳ ἡμῶν ὄντων: and 79 c καὶ αὐτὴ πλανᾶται καὶ ἰλιγγιᾷ ὥσπερ με θύουσα, ἅτε τοιούτων ἐφαπτομένη.
εὐδαίμων γάρ] Here the keynote of the dialogue is struck. Its express object is to show ὡς εἰκότως ἀνὴρ τῷ ὄντι ἐν φιλοσοφίᾳ διατρίψας τὸν βίον θαρρεῖ μέλλων ἀποθανεῖσθαι: and at the very outset we are introduced to Sokrates as a living illustration of his own belief.
παρόντι πένθει] ‘as would seem natural for one who was present at a scene of mourning’. For the two datives com pare Phaedrus 234 C τῷ λόγῳ λαμβάνοντι, ‘to one who takes a rational view’.
ἐν φιλοσοφίᾳ] The nearest parallel in Plato to this remarkable phrase seems to be Protagoras 317 C καίτοι πολλά γε ἤδη ἔτη εἰμὶ ἐν τῇ τέχνῃ: cf. ibid. 319 C, Phaedo 84 A, Republic 581 E.
But in all these passages the phrase expresses devotion to some particular pursuit; not, as here, the occupation of a certain time.
Πλάτων δέ] There is but one other passage in which Plato mentions himself, Apology 38 B; Πλάτων δὲ ὅδε, ὦ ἄνδρες ᾿Αθηναῖοι, καὶ Κρίτων καὶ Κριτόβουλος καὶ ᾿Απολλόδωρος κελεύουσί με τριάκοντα μνῶν τιμήσασθαι, αὐτοὶ δ᾽ ἐγγυᾶσθαι.
Forster suggests that the present language implies that Plato’s sickness was due to excessive grief. I see nothing however to justify the inference: but doubtless Plato was anxious to explain his absence.
Φαιδώνδης] I have retained this form on the analogy of other Theban names and the authority of Nenophon mem. I ii 48: Perhaps too the Theban termination should be restored.
οὐ παρεγένοντα] οὐ τις not in the best mss. but is inserted by Schanz after Cobet. St. and Z. omit it. 8. ἐν Αἰγίνῃ] This has usually been considered to convey a reproach: see Diog. Laert. II1 36, cf. I 65.
59 C-6o C, c. iii. On the morning after the return of the sacred vessel from Delos, the friends meet earlier than usual at the courthouse near the prison.
After some delay, they are admitted and find Sokrates relieved of his fetters and in company with his wife and child.
Nan thippe, unable to control her grief, is led out; and Sokrates chafing his cramped leg falls to moralising on the intimate union of pain and pleasure, which he says would have made a good subject for Aesop.
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