KYDATHINEI (Ancient demos) ATHENS
Aristophanes, judged in antiquity to be the foremost poet of the 'old' Attic comedy, was the son of one Philippos, of the urban deme Kydathenaion. He was born ca. 447/6 and died probably between 386 and 380. Aside from his theatrical career little is known about his life. By his twenties his hair had thinned or receded enough that he could be called bald; early in the fourth century he served as a councillor; and he had two sons, Araros and Philippos, both of whom had careers as comic poets in the mid-fourth century. In his dialogue Symposion, Plato portrays Aristophanes as being at home among the social and intellectual elite of Athens, but the historical veracity of this portrayal is uncertain.
Aristophanes' first comedy was produced in 427 and his last in 386 or later. At least once he produced a comedy in the theater at Eleusis. Forty-four comedies ascribed to him were known to Alexandrian scholars (four of these they thought spurious); from the Alexandrian edition(s) eleven complete comedies and some 1000 brief fragments of the lost comedies survive. In competition Aristophanes won at least six first prizes and four second prizes, and only two last-place finishes are attested. After his victory with Frogs in 405, the people voted him an honorific crown of sacred olive for the advice he had given in the parabasis and decreed that the play should have the unique honor of being performed a second time. Aristophanes? eleven extant plays are: Acharnians (Lenaea 425), Knights (Lenaia 424), Clouds (Dionysia 423; the surviving version is an incomplete and never-staged revision dating from 419-17), Wasps (Lenaea 422), Peace (Dionysia 421), Birds (Dionysia 414), Lysistrata (Lenaea 411), Women at the Thesmophoria (Dionysia 411), Frogs (Lenaea 405), Ecclesiazusae (ca. 391), Plutus (388).
Aristophanes' early career was enlivened by a four-year legal and political battle with his fellow-demesman, Cleon, who from ca. 428 until his death in 422 was the most influential politician in Athens. Attacked in Aristophanes' play Babylonians (Dionysia 426), Cleon unsuccessfully denounced the poet to the council for having slandered the magistrates, councillors and the people of Athens in the presence of foreigners. In Acharnians the following year, Aristophanes both defended his critique and announced that he was preparing a new attack on Cleon in his next year's play, Knights. That play, which savagely caricatured Cleon and bitterly condemned his public career, inaugurated a novel type of political comedy, which singled out the new-style popular politicians like Cleon for portrayal as dishonest 'demagogues' and which has deeply influenced the verdict of posterity about this period of Athenian history. After Knights, Cleon again tried to prosecute Aristophanes (on what charge is unclear), and this time the case was settled out of court. Evidently Aristophanes promised to mitigate subsequent attacks, but the attacks continued nevertheless in both Clouds and Wasps, where the poet boasted about his failure to live up to his agreement.
Aristophanes created influential portrayals of at least two other major contemporaries as well. In Clouds, the philosopher Socrates is made to stand for everything intellectually and socially threatening about the sophistic movement in Athens; in Apology, a re-creation of Socrates' defense-speech at his capital trial in 399, Plato has the philosopher say that Aristophanes' portrayal created a public prejudice against him that was more dangerous than his accusers' actual charges. In Acharnians, Women at the Thesmophoria and Frogs, Aristophanes portrayed Euripides and his tragic art as degenerate and as harmful to the polis, but at the same time he incorporated the sophisticated Euripidean spirit so thoroughly into his comic modes that his old rival, Cratinus, could coin the word 'euripidaristophanizer' to describe modish theatergoers. As in the case of Cleon (but not Socrates, who was lucky enough to have Plato and Xenophon to establish his good name for posterity), Aristophanes' judgment on Euripides (especially in Frogs) has done much to establish his status among literary historians as a tragedian inferior to Aeschylus and Sophocles.
Aristophanes was a sharp observer of the social and political life of Athens, but his plays reveal no systematic or original political credos. In Acharnians and Lysistrata the sympathetic characters denounce the folly and greed of Athens' wartime leaders and urge that more should be done to negotiate a peaceful settlement, but Birds supports vigorous prosecution of the war-effort, particularly the expedition against Sicily. In Knights and Wasps the wickedness of popular leaders like Cleon is vehemently exposed, but at the same time the people are criticized for their ignorance and gullibility in following such leaders. On the whole, Aristophanes compares contemporary Athens, which he sees as being in decline, unfavorably with the Athens that had defeated the Persians and built a great empire, while at the same time he urges his countrymen to recapture the ideals, policies and leadership that had made Athens great. To judge from the kinds of people he satirizes and does not satirize, Aristophanes thought that democracy worked best when the ordinary citizens deferred to the well-born, wealthy and educated citizens, though he never suggests the adoption of an oligarchic arrangement to accomplish that goal.
Aristophanes reacted in a similar way to contemporary morality, education and the arts. Although he was fully a part of his own generation and thoroughly versed in its latest fashions, Aristophanes was also a nostalgic student of the past and thought that Athenian culture had been sounder, grander and stronger in the old days. In Clouds he trenchantly skewers what was hidebound about the old education, and in Frogs he makes telling criticisms of Aeschylus' tragic art, but we are meant to come away with the feeling that modern educators and artists, like their contemporaries, were not accomplishing what their counterparts in the good old days had accomplished.
As a playwright, Aristophanes was resourceful and ingenious in creating lively drama, especially in creating efficient devices (like Socrates' Thinkery in Clouds or the House of Demos in Knights) for the expression and exploration of complex ideas. As a stylist, he is graceful, urbane, consistently witty and humorous, with a fine ear for speech (human or otherwise!) and a great gift for parody.
This text is cited Oct 2003 from Perseus Project URL bellow, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Aristophanes, the greatest comedian of his age, and perhaps of
all the ages, history contains few notices, and these of doubtful credit. Even
the dates of his birth and death can only be inferred from his works, the former
being estimated at 456 B.C. and the latter at 380. Many cities claimed the honor
of giving him birth, the most probable story making him the son of Philippus of
Aegina, and therefore only
an adopted citizen of Athens.
On this point some confusion has arisen from an attempt of Cleon to deprive Aristophanes
of his civic rights, on the ground of illegitimacy, in revenge for his frequent
invectives. The charge was disproved, thus pointing to the Athenian parentage
of the comic poet, though as to this there is no trustworthy evidence. He was
doubtless educated at Athens, and among other advantages is said to have been
a disciple of Prodicus, though in his mention of that sophist he shows none of
the respect due to his reputed master.
It was under the mighty genius of Aristophanes that the old Attic comedy received its fullest development. Dignified by the acquisition of a chorus of masked actors, and of scenery and machinery, and by a corresponding literary elaboration and elegance of style, comedy nevertheless remained true both to its origin and to the purposes of its introduction into the free imperial city. It borrowed much from tragedy, but it retained the Phallic abandonment of the old rural festivals, the license of word and gesture, and the audacious directness of personal invective. These characteristics are not features peculiar to Aristophanes. He was twitted by some of the older comic poets with having degenerated from the full freedom of the art through a tendency to refinement, and he took credit to himself for having superseded the time-honored can can and the stale practical joking of his predecessors by a nobler kind of mirth. But in boldness, as he likewise boasted, he had no peer; and the shafts of his wit, though dipped in wine-lees and at times feathered from very obscene fowl, flew at high game. He has been accused of seeking to degrade what he ought to have recognized as good; and it has been shown by competent critics that he is not to be taken as an impartial or accurate authority on Athenian history. But, partisan as he was, he was also a genuine patriot, and his very political sympathies--which were conservative--were such as have often stimulated the most effective political satire, because they imply an antipathy to every species of excess. Of reverence he was, however, altogether devoid; and his love for Athens was that of the most free-spoken of sons. Flexible, even in his religious notions, he was in this, as in other respects, ready to be educated by his times; and, like a true comic poet, he could be witty at the expense even of his friends, and, it might almost be said, of himself. In wealth of fancy and in beauty of lyric melody he ranks high among the great poets of all times.
It has been said that Aristophanes was an unmannerly buffoon, and so, indeed, he was, among his other faults. Nor was he at all justified in stooping to this degradation, whether it were that he was instigated by coarse inclinations, or that he held it necessary to gain over the populace, that he might have it in his power to tell such bold truths to the people. At least he makes it his boast that he did not court the laughter of the multitude so much as his rivals did, by mere indecent buffoonery, and that in this respect he brought his art to perfection. Not to be unreasonable, we should judge him from the standpoint of his own times, in respect of those peculiarities which make him offensive to us. On certain points, the ancients had quite a different morality from ours, and certainly a much freer one. This arose from their religion, which was a real worship of Nature, and had given sanctity to many public ceremonies which grossly violate decency. Moreover, as in consequence of the seclusion of their women, the men were almost always together, a certain coarseness entered into their conversation, as in such circumstances is apt to be the case.
The strongest testimony in favor of Aristophanes is that of Plato, who, in one of his epigrams, says that "the Graces chose his soul for their abode." The philosopher was a constant reader of the comedian, sending to Dionysius the elder a copy of the Clouds, from which to make himself acquainted with the Athenian republic. This was not intended merely as a description of the unbridled democratic freedom then prevailing at Athens, but as an example of the poet's thorough knowledge of the world, and of the political conditions of what was then the world's metropolis.
In his Symposium, Plato makes Aristophanes deliver a discourse on love, which the latter explains in a sensual manner, but with remarkable originality. At the end of the banquet, Aristodemus, who was one of the guests, fell asleep, "and, as the nights were long, took a good rest. When he was awakened, toward daybreak, by the crowing of cocks, the others were also asleep or had gone away, and there remained awake only Aristophanes, Agathon and Socrates, who were drinking out of a large goblet that was passed around, while Socrates was discoursing to them. Aristodemus did not hear all the discourse, for he was only half awake; but he remembered Socrates insisting to the other two that the genius of comedy was the same as that of tragedy, and that the writer of the one should also be a writer of the other. To this they were compelled to assent, being sleepy, and not quite understanding what he meant. And first Aristophanes fell asleep, and then, when the day was dawning, Agathon."
The words applied by Goethe to a shrewd adventurer, "mad, but clever," might also be used of the plays of Aristophanes, which are the very intoxication of poetry, the Bacchanalia of mirth. For mirth will maintain its rights as well as the other faculties; therefore, different nations have set apart certain holidays for jovial folly, and such as their saturnalia, their carnival, that being once satisfied to their hearts' content, they might keep themselves sober all the rest of the year, and leave free room for serious occupation. The old comedy is a general masquerade of the world, beneath which there passes much that is not allowed by the common rules of propriety; but at the same time much that is amusing, clever, and even instructive is brought to light, which would not have been possible but for the demolition for the moment of these barricades.
However corrupt and vulgar Aristophanes may have been in his personal propensities, however much he may offend decency and taste in his individual jests, yet in the plan and conduct of his poems in general, we cannot refuse him the praise of the carefulness and masterly skill of the finished artist. His language is infinitely graceful; the purest Atticism prevails in it, and he adapts it with great skill to all tones, from the most familiar dialogue to the lofty flight of the dithyrambic ode. We cannot doubt that he would have also succeeded in more serious poetry, when we see how at times he lavishes it, merely to annihilate its impression immediately afterward. This elegance is rendered the more attractive by contrast, since on the one hand he admist the rudest expressions of the people, the dialects, and even the mutilated Greek of barbarians, while on the other, the same arbitrary caprice which he brought to his views of universal nature and the human world, he also applies to language, and by composition, by allusion and personal names, or imitation of sound, forms the strangest words imaginable. His versification is not less artificial than that of the tragedians; he uses the same forms, but otherwise modified, as his personages are not to be impressive and dignified, but of a light and varied character; yet with all this seeming irregularity he observes the laws of metre no less strictly than the tragic poets do.
As we cannot help recognizing in Aristophanes' exercise of his varied and multiform art, the richest development of almost every poetical talent, so the extraordinary capacities of his hearers, which may be inferred from the structure of his works, are at every fresh perusal a matter of astonishment. Accurate acquaintance with the history and constitution of their country, with public events and proceedings, with the personal circumstances of almost all remarkable contemporaries, might be expected from the citizens of a democratic republic. But, besides this, Aristophanes required from his audience much poetic culture; especially they had to retain in their memories the tragic masterpieces, almost word by word, in order to understand his parodies.
The old comedy of the Greeks would have been impossible under any other form of government than a complete and unrestricted democracy; for it exercised a satirical censorship unsparing of public and private life, of statesmanship, of political and social usage, of education and literature, in a word, of everything which concerned the city, or could amuse the citizens. Retaining all the license, the riot and exuberance which marked its origin, it combined with this an expression of public opinion in such form that neither vice, misconduct, nor folly could venture to disregard it. If it was disfigured by grossness and licentiousness, this, it must be remembered, was in keeping with the sentiment of Dionysian festivals, just as a decorous cheerfulness was expected at festivals in honor of Apollo or Athena. To omit these features from comedy would be to deprive it of its most popular element, and without them the entertainment would have fallen flat.
Greek literature was immeasurably rich in this department: the names of the lost comedians, most of whom were very prolific, and of their works, so far as we are acquainted with them, would alone form a bulky catalogue. Although the new comedy unfolded itself, and flourished only for some eighty years, the number of plays certainly amounted to a thousand at least; but time has made such havoc with this superabundance of works that nothing remains except detached fragments in the original language, in many cases so disfigured as to be unintelligible, and in the Latin, a number of translations or adaptations of Greek originals.
For a comic poet who was unquestionably at the head of the fraternity, and in sentiment was intensely patriotic, the consciousness of his recognized power and the desire to use it for the good of his native city must ever have been the prevailing motives. At Athens such a man held an influence resembling rather that of the modern journalist than the modern dramatist; but the established type of comedy gave him an instrument such as no public satirist ever wielded, before or since. He was under no such limitations as to form or process, allusion or emphasis, as is the modern dramatist, and could indulge in the wildest flights of extravagance. After his keenest thrust or most passionate appeal, he could at once change his subject from the grave to the burlesque, and, in short, there was no limit to his field for invective and satire.
"Aristophanes," as one of his critics remarks, "is for us, the representative of old comedy." But it is important to notice that his genius, while it includes, also transcends the genius of the old comedy. He can denounce the frauds of Cleon, he can vindicate the duty of Athens to herself and to her allies with a stinging scorn and a force of patriotic indignation which make the poet almost forgotten in the citizen. He can banter Euripides with an ingenuity of light mockery which makes it seem for the time as if the leading Aristophonic trait was the art of seeing all things from their prosaic side. Yet it is neither in the denunciation nor in the mockery that he is most individual. His truest and highest faculty is revealed by those wonderful bits of lyric writing in which he soars above everything that can move laughter or tears, and makes the clear air thrill with the notes of a song as free, as musical and as wild as that of the nightingale invoked by his own chorus in the Birds. The speech of True Logic in the Clouds, the praises of country life in the Peace, the serenade in the Eccleziazusae, the songs of the Spartan and Athenian maidens in the Lysistrata, above all, perhaps the chorus in the Frogs, the beautiful chant of the Initiated--these passages, and such as these, are the true glories of Aristophanes. They are the strains, not of an artist, but of one who warbles for pure gladness of heart in some place made bright by the presence of a god. Nothing else in Greek poetry has quite this wild sweetness of the woods. Of modern poets Shakespeare alone, perhaps, has it in combination with a like richness and fertility of fancy.
A sympathetic reader of Aristophanes can hardly fail to percieve that, while his political and intellectual tendencies are well marked, his opinions, in so far as they color his comedies, are too definite to reward, or indeed to tolerate, analysis. Aristophanes was a natural conservative. His ideal was the Athens of the Persian wars. He disapproved the policy which had made Athenian empire irksome to the allies and formidable to Greece; he detested the vulgarity and the violence of mob-rule; he clave to the old worship of the gods; he regarded the new ideas of education as a tissue of imposture and impiety. How far he was from clearness or precision of view in regard to the intellectual revolution which was going forward appears from the Clouds, in which thinkers and literary workers who had absolutely nothing in common are treated with sweeping ridicule as prophets of a common heresy. Aristophanes is one of the men for whom opinion is mainly a matter of feeling, not of reason. His imaginative susceptibility gave him a warm and loyal love for the traditional glories of Athens, however dim the past to which they belonged; a horror of what was offensive or absurd in pretension. The broad preferences and dislikes thus generated were enough not only to point the moral of comedy, but to make him, in many cases, a really useful censor for the city. The service which he could render in this way was, however, only negative. He could hardly be, in any positive sense, a political or a moral teacher for Athens. His rooted antipathy to intellectual progress, while it affords easy and wide scope for his wit, must, after all, lower his rank. The great minds are not the enemies of ideas. But as a mocker--to use the word which seems most closely to describe him on this side--he is incomparable for the union of subtlety with the riot of comic imagination. As a poet, he is immortal; and, amont Athenian poets, he has for his distinctive characteristic that he is inspired less by that Greek genius which never allows fancy to escape from the control of defining, though spiritualizing reason, than by such ethereal rapture of the unfettered fancy as lifts Shakespeare or Shelley above it,--
"Pouring out his full soul
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art."
Alfred Bates, ed.
This text is cited July 2003 from the TheatreHistory URL below.
Aristophanes . The greatest writer of Greek comedy. He lived at Athens, B.C. 444-388.
His father, Philippus, is said to have been not a native Athenian, but a settler
from Rhodes or Egypt, who afterwards acquired citizenship. However this may be,
the demagogue Cleon, whose displeasure Aristophanes had incurred, tried to call
in question his right to the citizenship. His first comedy appeared in B.C. 427,
but was not performed under his own name because of his youth; and several more
of his plays were brought upon the stage by Callistratus and Philonides, till
in 424 he brought out The Knights in his own person. Forty-four of his plays were
known to antiquity, though four of them were considered doubtful. Of these we
possess eleven, the only complete Greek comedies which have survived, besides
the titles and numerous fragments of twenty-six others.
The eleven are:
(1) The Acharnians (Acharneis), which gained him the victory over Cratinus and Eupolis, B.C. 425, written during the great Peloponnesian War to induce the Athenians to make peace.
(2) The Knights (Hippeis) mentioned above, B.C. 424, also crowned with the first prize, and aimed directly against the demagogue Cleon.
(3) The Clouds (Nephelai), B.C. 423, his most famous and, in his own opinion, his most successful piece, though when played it only won the third prize. We have it now in a second, and apparently unfinished, edition. It is directed against the pernicious influence of the Sophists, as the representative of whom Socrates is attacked.
(4) The Wasps (Sphekes), brought out in B.C. 422, and, like the two following, rewarded with the second prize; it is a satire upon the Athenian passion for lawsuits.
(5) The Peace (Eirene), of the year B.C. 421, recommending the conclusion of peace.
(6) The Birds (Ornithes), acted in B.C. 414, and exposing the romantic hopes built on the expedition to Sicily. This is unquestionably the happiest production of the poet's genius, and is marked by a careful reserve in the employment of dramatic resource.
(7) The Lysistrate (Lusistrate), B.C. 411, a Women's Conspiracy to bring about peace; the last of the strictly political plays.
(8) Thesmophoriazusae (Thesmophoriazousai), probably to be dated B.C. 410. It is written against Euripides's dislike of women, for which the women who are celebrating the Thesmophoria drag him to justice.
(9) The Frogs (Batrachoi), which was acted in B.C. 405, and won the first prize. It is a piece sparkling with genius, on the decay of tragic art, the blame of which is laid on Euripides, then recently deceased.
(10) Ecclesiazusae (Ekklesiazousai), or The National Assembly of Women, B.C. 392. It is levelled against the vain attempts to restore the Athenian state by cut-and-dried constitutions.
(11) Plutus (Ploutos), or The God of Wealth. The blind god is restored to sight, and better times are brought about. This play was acted first in B.C. 408, then in 388 in a revised form suitable to the time, and dispensing with chorus and parabasis. This play marks the transition to the Middle Comedy. See Comoedia.
In the opinion of the ancients, Aristophanes holds a middle place between Cratinus and Eupolis, being neither so rough as the former nor so mild as the latter, but combining the severity of the one with the grace of the other. What was [p. 128] thought of him in his own time is evident from Plato's Symposium, where he is numbered among the noblest of men; and an epigram attributed to that philosopher says that the Graces, looking for an enduring shrine, found it in the soul of Aristophanes. He unites understanding, feeling, and fancy in a degree possessed by few poets of antiquity. His keen glance penetrates the many evils of his time and their most hidden causes; his scorn for all that is base, and his patriotic spirit, burning to bring back the grand days of Marathon, urge him on, without respect of persons or regard for self, to drag the faults he sees into daylight, and lash them with stinging sarcasm; while his inexhaustible fancy invents ever new and original materials, which he manipulates with perfect mastery of language and technical skill. If his jokes are often coarse and actually indecent, the fact must be imputed to the character of the Old Comedy and the licentiousness of the Dionysiac festival, during which the plays were acted. No literature has anything to compare with these comedies. Ancient scholars, recognizing their great importance, bestowed infinite pains in commenting on them, and valuable relics of their writings are enshrined in the existing collections of scholia.
This text is cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Aristophanes, the only writer of the old comedy of whom any entire works are left.
His later extant plays approximate rather to the middle comedy, and in the Cocalus,
his last production, he so nearly approached the new, that Philemon brought it
out a second time with very little alteration.
Aristophanes was the son of Philippus, as is stated by all the authorities for his life, and proved by the fact of his son also having that name, although a bust exists with the inscription Aristophanes PhilippidoW, which is, however, now generally allowed to be spurious. He was an Athenian of the tribe Pandionis, and the Cydathenaean Demus, and is said to have been the pupil of Prodicus, though this is improbable, since he speaks of him rather with contempt. We are told (Schol. ad Ran. 502), that he first engaged in the comic contests when he was schedon meirakiskos, and we know that the date of his first comedy was B. C. 427: we are therefore warranted in assigning about B. C. 444 as the date of his birth, and his death was probably not later than B. C. 380. His three sons, Philippus, Araros, and Nicostratus, were all poets of the middle comedy. Of his private history we know nothing but that he was a lover of pleasure (Plat. Symp.), and one who spent whole nights in drinking and witty conversation. Accusations (his anonymous biographer says, more than one) were brought against him by Cleon, with a view to deprive him of his civic rights (xenias graphai), but without success, as indeed they were merely the fruit of revenge for his attacks on that demagogue. They have, however, given rise to a number of traditions of his being a Rhodian, an Egyptian, an Aeginetan, a native of Camirus or of Naucratis.
The comedies of Aristophanes are of the highest historical interest, containing as they do an admirable series of caricatures on the leading men of the day, and a contemporary commentary on the evils existing at Athens. Indeed, the caricature is the only feature in modern social life which at all resembles them. Aristophanes was a bold and often a wise patriot. He had the strongest affection for Athens, and longed to see her restored to the state in which she was flourishing in the previous generation, and almost in his own childhood, before Pericles became the head of the government, and when the age of Miltiades and Aristeides had but just passed away. The first great evil of his own time against which he inveighs, is the Peloponnesian war, which he regards as the work of Pericles, and even attributes it (Pax, 606) to his fear of punishment for having connived at a robbery said to have been committed by Phidias on the statue of Athene in the Parthenon, and to the influence of Aspasia (Ach. 500). To this fatal war, among a host of evils, he ascribes the influence of vulgar demagogues like Cleon at Athens, of which also the example was set by the more refined demagogism of Pericles. Another great object of his indignation was the recently adopted system of education which had been introduced by the Sophists, acting on the speculative and inquiring turn given to the Athenian mind by the Ionian and Eleatic philosophers, and the extraordinary intellectual development of the age following the Persian war. The new theories introduced by the Sophists threatened to overthrow the foundations of morality, by making persuasion and not truth the object of man in his intercourse with his fellows, and to substitute a universal scepticism for the religious creed of the people. The worst effects of such a system were seen in Alcibiades, who, caring for nothing but his own ambition, valuing eloquence only for its worldly advantages, and possessed of great talents which he utterly misapplied, combined all the elements which Aristophanes most disliked, heading the war party in politics, and protecting the sophistical school in philosophy and also in literature. Of this latter school--the literary and poetical Sophists--Euripides was the chief, whose works are full of that meteorosophia which contrasts so offensively with the moral dignity of Aeschylus and Sophocles, and for which Aristophanes introduces him as soaring in the air to write his tragedies (Ach. 374), caricaturing thereby his own account of himself (Alc. 971). Another feature of the times was the excessive love for litigation at Athens, the consequent importance of the dicasts, and disgraceful abuse of their power; all of which enormities are made by Aristophanes objects of continual attack. But though he saw what were the evils of his time, he had not wisdom to find a remedy for them, except the hopeless and undesirable one of a movement backwards; and therefore, though we allow him to have been honest and bold, we must deny him the epithet of great.
We subjoin a catalogue of the comedies of Aristophanes on which we possess information, and a short account of the most remarkable. Those marked (E) are extant.
427. Daitaleis, Banquetters. Second prize. The play was produced under the name of Philonides, as Aristophanes was below the legal age for competing for a prize. Fifth year of the war
426. Babylonians (en astei).
425. (E) Acharnians. (Lenaea.) Produced in the name of Callistratus. First prize
424. (E) Hippeis, Knights or Horsemen. (Lenaea.) The first play produced in the name of Aristophanes himself. First prize; second Cratinus.
423. (E) Clouds (en astei). First prize, Cratinus; second Ameipsias.
422. (E) Wasps. (Lenaea.) Second prize.
Geras (?) (en astei), according to the probable conjecture of Suvern. (Essay on the Geras, translated by Mr. Hamilton.)
Clouds (second edition), failed in obtaining a prize. But Ranke places this B. C. 411, and the whole subject is very uncertain
419. (E) Peace (en astei). Second prize; Eupolls first
414. Amphiaraus. (Lenaea.) Second prize
(E) Birds (en astei), second prize; Ameipsias first; Phrynichus third. Second campaign in Sicily
Georgoi (?). Exhibited in the time of Nicias. (Plut. Nic. c. 8.)
411. (E) Lysistrata
(E) Thesmophoriazusae. During the Oligarchy
408. (E) First Plutus.
405. (E) Frogs. (Lenaea.) First prize; Phrynicus second; Plato third. Death of Sophocles.
392. (E) Ecclesiazusae. Corinthian war.
388. Second edition of the Plutus
The last two comedies of Aristophanes were the Aeolosicon and Cocalus, produced about B. C. 387 (date of the peace of Antalcidas) by Araros, one of his sons. The first was a parody on the Aeolus of Euripides, the name being compounded of Aeolus and Sicon, a famous cook. The second was probably a similar parody of a poem on the death of Minos, said to have been killed by Cocalus, king of Sicily. Of the Aeolosicon there were two editions.
In the Daitaleis the object of Aristophanes was to censure generally the abandonment of those ancient manners and feelings which it was the labour of his life to restore. He attacked the modem schemes of education by introducing a father with two sons, one of whom had been educated according to the old system, the other in the sophistries of later days. The chorus consisted of a party who had been feasting in the temple of Hercules; and Bp. Thirlwall supposes, that as the play was written when the plague was at its height (Schol. ad Ran. 502), the poet recommended a return to the gymnastic exercises of which that god was the patron (comp. Eq. 1379), and to the old system of education, as the means most likely to prevent its continuance.
In the Babylonians we are told, that he "attacked the system of appointing to offices by lot." (Vit. Aristoph. Bekk. p. xiii.) The chorus consisted of barbarian slaves employed in a mill, which Ranke has conjectured was represented as belonging to the demagogue Eucrates (Eq. 129), who united the trade of a miller with that of a vender of tow. Cleon also must have been a main object of the poet's satire, and probably the public functionaries of the day in general, since an action was brought by Cleon against Callistratus, in whose name it was produeed, accusing him of ridiculing the govermment in the presence of the allies. But the attack appears to have failed.
In the Acharnians, Aristophanes exhorts his countrymen to peace. An Athenian named Dicaeopolis makes a separate treaty with Sparta for himself and his family, and is exhibited in the full enjoyment of its blessings, whilst Lamachus, as the representative of the war party, is introduced in the want of common necessaries, and suffering from cold, and snow, and wounds. The Knights was directed against Cleon, whose power at this time was so great, that no one was bold enough to make a mask to represent his features; so that Aristophanes performed the character himself, with his face smeared with wine-lees. Cleon is the confidential steward of Demus, the impersonation of the Athenian people, who is represented as almost in his dotage, but at the same time cunning, suspicious, ungovernable, and tyrannical. His slaves, Nicias and Demosthenes, determine to rid themselves of the insolence of Cleon by raising up a rival in the person of a sausage-seller, by which the poet ridicules the mean occupation of the demagogues. This man completely triumphs over Cleon in his own arts of lying, stealing, fawning, and blustering. Having thus gained the day, he suddenly becomes a model of ancient Athenian excellence, and by boiling Demus in a magic cauldron, restores him to a condition worthy of the companionship of Aristeides and Miltiades. (Eq. 1322.)
In the Clouds, Aristophanes attacks the sophistical principles at their source, and selects as their representative Socrates, whom lie depicts in the most odious light. The selection of Socrates for this purpose is doubtless to be accounted for by the supposition, that Aristophanes observed the great philosopher from a distance only, while his own unphilosophical turn of mind prevented him from entering into Socrates' merits both as a teacher and a practiser of morality; and by the fact, that Socrates was an innovator, the friend of Euripides, the tutor of Alcibiades, and pupil of Archelaus ; and that there was much in his appearance and habits in the highest degree ludicrous. The philosopher, who wore no under garments, and the same upper robe in winter and summer,--who generally went barefoot, and appears to have possessed one pair of dress-shoes which lasted him for life, who used to stand for hours in a public place in a fit of abstraction--to say nothing of his snub nose, and extraordinary face and figure--could hardly expect to escape the license of the old comedy. The invariably speculative turn which he gave to the conversation, his bare acquiescence in the stories of Greek mythology, which Aristophanes would think it dangerous even to subject to inquiry (see Plat. Phaedrus), had certainly produced an unfavourable opinion of Socrates in the minds of many, and explain his being set down by Aristophanes as an archsophist, and represented even as a thief. In the Clouds, he is described as corrupting a young man named Pheidippides, who is wasting his father's money by an insane passion for horses, and is sent to the subtlety-shop (phrontisterion) of Socrates and Chaerephon to be still further set free from moral restraint, and particularly to acquire the needful accomplishment of cheating his creditors. In this spendthrift youth it is scarcely possible not to recognise Alcibiades, not only from his general character and connexion with the Sophists, but also from more particular traits, as allusions to his traulismos, or inability to articulate certain letters (Nub. 1381; Plut. Ale.), and to his fancy for horse-breeding and driving. (Satyrus, ap. Athen. xii.) Aristophanes would be prevented from introducing hint by name either here or in the Birds, from fear of the violent measures which Alcibiades took against the comic poets. The instructions of Socrates teach Pheidippides not only to defraud his creditors, but also to beat his father, and disown the authority of the gods; and the play ends by the father's preparations to burn the philosopher and his whole establishment. The hint given towards the end, of the propriety of prosecuting him, was acted on twenty years afterwards, and Aristophanes was believed to have contributed to the death of Socrates, as the charges brought against him before the court of justice express the substance of those contained in the Clouds (Plat. Apol. Soc.). The Clouds, though perhaps its author's masterpiece, met with a complete failure in the contest for prizes, probably owing to the intrigues of Alcibiades; nor was it more successful when altered for a second representation, if indeed the alterations were ever completed, which Suvern denies. The play, as we have it, contains the parabasis of the second edition.
The Wasps is the pendant to the Knights. As in the one the poet had attacked the sovereign assembly, so here he aims his battery at the courts of justice, the other stronghold of party violence and the power of demagogues. This play furnished Racine with the idea of Les Plaideurs. The Peace is a return to the subject of the Acharnians, and points out forcibly the miseries of the Peloponnesian war, in order to stop which Trygaeus, the hero of the play, ascends to heaven on a dung-beetle's back, where he finds the god of war pounding the Greek states in a mortar. With the assistance of a large party of friends equally desirous to check this proceeding, he succeeds in dragging up Peace herself from a well in which she is imprisoned, and finally marries one of her attendant nymphs. The play is full of humour, but neither it nor the Wasps is among the poet's greater works.
Six years now elapse during which no plays are preserved to us. The object of the Amphiaraus and the Birds, which appeared after this interval, was to discourage the disastrous Sicilian expedition. The former was called after one of the seven chiefs against Thebes, remarkable for prophesying ill-luck to the expedition, and therein corresponding to Nicias. The object of the Birds has been a matter of much dispute; many persons, as for instance Schlegel, consider it a mere fanciful piece of buffoonery--a supposition hardly credible, when we remember that every one of the plays of Aristophanes has a distinct purpose connected with the history of the time. The question seems to have been set at rest by Suvern, whose theory, to say the least, is supported by the very strongest circumstantial evidence. The Birds--the Athenian people--are persuaded to build a city in the clouds by Peisthetaerus (a character combining traits of Aleibiades and Gorgias, mixed perhaps with some from other Sophists), and who is attended by a sort of Sancho Panza, one Euelpides, designed to represent the credulous young Athenians (euelpides, Thue. vi. 24). The city, to be called Nephelokokkugia (Cloudcuckootown), is to occupy the whole horizon, and to cut off the gods from all connexion with mankind, and even from the power of receiving sacrifices, so as to force them ultimately to surrender at discretion to the birds. All this scheme, and the details which fill it up, coincide admirably with the Sicilian expedition, which was designed not only to take possession of Sicily, but afterwards to conquer Carthage and Libya, and so, from the supremacy of the Mediterranean, to acquire that of the Peloponnesus, and reduce the Spartans, the gods of the play (Thuc. vi. 15; Plut. Nic. 12, Alc. 17). The plan succeeds; the gods send ambassadors to demand terms, and finally Peisthetaerus espouses Basileia, the daughter of Zeus. In no play does Aristophanes more indulge in the exuberance of wit and fancy than in this; and though we believe Siivern's account to be in the main correct, yet we must not suppose that the poet limits himself to this object: he keeps only generally to his allegory, often touching on other points, and sometimes indulging in pure humour; so that the play is not unlike the scheme of Gulliver's Travels.
The Lysistrata returns to the old subject of the Peloponnesian war, and here we find miseries described as existing which in the Acharnians and Peace had only been predicted. A treaty is finally represented as brought about in consequence of a civil war between the sexes. The Thesmophoriazusae is the first of the two great attacks on Euripides, and contains some inimitable parodies on his plays, especially the Andromeda, which had just appeared. It is almost wholly free from political allusions; the few which are found in it shew the attachment of the poet to the old democracy, and that, though a strong conservative, he was not an oligarchist. Both the Plutus and the Ecclesiazusae are designed to divert the prevailing mania for Dorian manners, the latter ridiculing the political theories of Plato, which were based on Spartan institutions. Between these two plays appeared the Frogs, in which Bacchus descends to Hades in search of a tragic poet,--those then alive being worthless,--and Aeschylus and Euripides contend for the prize of resuscitation. Euripides is at last dismissed by a parody on his own famous line he gloss' homomoch', he de phren anomotos (Hipp. 608), and Aeschylus accompanies Bacchus to Earth, the tragic throne in Hades being given to Sophocles during his absence. Among the lost plays, the Nedoi and Georgoi were apparently on the subject of the much desired Peace, the former setting forth the evils which the islands and subject states, the latter those which the freemen of Attica, endured from the war. The Triphales seems to have been an attack on Alcibiades, in reference probably to his mutilation of the Hermes Busts; and in the Gerutades certain poets, pale, haggard votaries of the Sophists,-- Sannyrion as the representative of comedy, Melitus of tragedy, and Cinesias of the cyclic writers, visit their brethren in Hades. The Geras appears from the analysis of its fragments by Suvern, to have been named from a chorus of old men, who are supposed to have cast off their old age as serpents do their skin, and therefore probably to have been a representation of vicious dotage similar to that in the Knights. From a fragment in Bekker's Anecdota it is probable that it was the 9th of the Aristophanic comedies.
Suidas tells us, that Aristophanes was the author, in all, of 54 plays. We have hitherto considered him only in his historical and political character, nor can his merits as a poet and humorist be understood without an actual study of his works. We have no means of comparing him with his rivals Eupolis and Cratinus (Hor. Sat. i. 4. 1), though he is said to have tempered their bitterness, and given to comedy additional grace, but to have been surpassed by Eupolis in the conduct of his plots. Plato called the soul of Aristophanes a temple for the Graces, and has introduced him into his Symposium. His works contain snatches of lyric poetry which are quite noble, and some of his chorusses, particularly one in the Knights, in which the horses are represented as rowing triremes in an expedition against Corinth, are written with a spirit and humour unrivalled in Greek, and are not very dissimilar to English ballads. He was a complete master of the Attic dialect, and in his hands the perfection of that glorious instrument of thought is wonderfully shewn. No flights are too bold for the range of his fancy : animals of every kind are pressed into his service; frogs chaunt chorusses, a dog is tried for stealing a cheese, and an iambic verse is composed of the grunts of a pig. Words are invented of a length which must have made the speaker breathless,--the Ecclesiazusae closes with one of 170 letters. The gods are introduced in the most ludicrous positions, and it is certainly incomprehensible how a writer who represents them in such a light, could feel so great indignation against those who were suspected of a design to shake the popular faith in them. To say that his plays are defiled by coarseness and indecency, is only to state that they were comedies, and written by a Greek who was not superior to the universal feeling of his age.
The first edition of Aristophanes was that of Aldus, Venice, 1498, which was published without the Lysistrata and Thesmophoriazusae. That of Bekker, 5 vols. 8vo., London, 1829, contains a text founded on the collation of two MSS. from Ravenna and Venice, unknown to former editors. It also has the valuable Scholia, a Latin version, and a large collection of notes. There are editions by Bothc, Kuster, and Dindorf : of the Acharnians, Knights, Wasps, Clouds, and Frogs, by Mitchell, with English notes (who has also translated the first three into English verse), and of the Birds and Plutus by Cookesley, also with English notes. There are many translations of single plays into English, and of all into German by Voss (Brunswick, 1821), and Droysen (Berlin, 1835--1838). Wieland also translated the Acharnians, Knights, Clouds, and Birds; and Welcker the Clouds and Frogs.
This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
The Lysistrata of Aristophanes
The most remarkable of Aristophanes' comedies are those in which the main characters, the heros of the story as it were, are women, who use their wits and their solidarity with one another to compel the men of Athens to overthrow basic policies of the city-state. Most famous of Aristophanes' comedies depicting powerfully effectual women is the Lysistrata of 411 B.C., named after the female lead character of the play. It portrays the women of Athens as teaming up with the women of Sparta to force their husbands to end the Peloponnesian War. To make the men agree to a peace treaty, the women first seize the Acropolis, where Athens' financial reserves are kept, and prevent the men from squandering them further on the war. They then beat back an attack on their position by the old men who have remained in Athens while the younger men are out on campaign. When their husbands return from battle, the women refuse to have sex with them. This sex strike, which is portrayed in a series of risque episodes, finally coerces the men of Athens and Sparta to agree to a peace treaty.
The Lysistrata presents women acting bravely and aggressively against men who seem bent both on destroying their family life by staying away from home for long stretches while on military campaign and on ruining the city-state by prolonging a pointless war. In other words, the play's powerful women take on masculine roles to preserve the traditional way of life of the community. Lysistrata herself emphasizes this point in the very speech in which she insists that women have the intelligence and judgment to make political decisions. She came by her knowledge, she says, in the traditional way: "I am a woman, and, yes, I have brains. And I'm not badly off for judgment. Nor has my education been bad, coming as it has from my listening often to the conversations of my father and the elders among the men". Lysistrata was schooled in the traditional fashion, by learning from older men. Her old-fashioned training and good sense allowed her to see what needed to be done to protect the community. Like the heroines of tragedy, Lysistrata is literally a reactionary; she wants to put things back the way they were. To do that, however, she has to act like a revolutionary. Ending the war would be so easy that women could do it, Aristophanes is telling Athenian men, and Athenians should concern themselves with preserving the old ways, lest they be lost.
This text is from: Thomas Martin's An Overview of Classical Greek History from Homer to Alexander, Yale University Press. Cited June 2005 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
Aristophanes on Socrates
The feeling that Socrates could be a danger to conventional society gave the comic playwright Aristophanes the inspiration for his comedy Clouds of 423 B.C., so named from the role played by the chorus. In the play Socrates is presented as a cynical sophist who, for a fee, offers instruction in the Protagorean technique of making the weaker argument the stronger. When the protagonist's son is transformed by Socrates's instruction into a rhetorician able to argue that a son has the right to beat his parents, the protagonist ends the comedy by burning down Socrates's Thinking Shop, as it is called in the play.
Andocides. The second in order of time in the roll of great Attic orators. He was born B.C. 439, and belonged by birth to the aristocratic party, but fell out with it in B.C. 415, when he was involved in the famous trial for mutilating the statues of Hermes, and, to save his own and his kinsmen's lives, betrayed his aristocratic accomplices. Having, in spite of the immunity promised him, fallen into partial loss of civic rights, he left Athens, and carried on a profitable trade in Cyprus. After two fruitless attempts to recover his status at home, he was allowed at last, upon the fall of the Thirty Tyrants and the amnesty of B.C. 403, to return to Athens, where he succeeded in repelling renewed attacks, and gaining an honourable position. Sentto Sparta in B.C. 390, during the Corinthian War, to negotiate peace, he brought back the draft of a treaty, for the ratification of which he vainly pleaded in a speech that is still extant. He is said to have been banished in consequence, and to have died in exile. Besides the above-mentioned oration, we have two delivered on his own behalf, one pleading for his recall from banishment, B.C. 410; another against the charge of unlawful participation in the mysteries, B.C. 399; a fourth, against Alcibiades, is spurious. His oratory is plain and artless, and its expressions those of the popular language of the day.
This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Andocides (c. 440-c. 390 BC), an Athenian aristocrat and political figure, is
best known for his role in the scandal of 415, when, apparently, a band of young
men one night mutilated sacred Herms (stylized statues of the god Hermes) and
revealed information about the secret rites, or mysteries, of Demeter. In the
ensuing uproar Andocides was forced to leave Athens. Two of his surviving speeches
are connected with this exile: one pleads for his return and another argues against
a second period of exile. All of Andocides' speeches were written for his own
delivery; to our knowledge he was not a logographer writing speeches for others.
Andocides' significance is that his speeches are the earliest surviving examples
of political oratory (since only fragments of his predecessor Antiphon's political
speeches survive) and that they give us the fullest contemporary account of the
affair of the mutilation of the Herms, which had a dramatic impact on Athens just
before the departure of the fateful expedition to Sicily.
Andocides came from an old distinguished family. He was presumably raised and educated in traditional, aristocratic fashion; we know nothing of his education, but his speeches show little sign of the influence of the sophists. In 415, when he was about twenty-five, his role in Athens' greatest religious and political scandal changed the course of his life. The mutilation of the Herms and the profanation of the mysteries occurred shortly before the Athenian fleet was to set sail for Sicily. It is not certain exactly who was behind the incident or what political motives (if any) the perpetrators had, but in any case, Andocides and other members of a prominent social club were implicated. In order, he tells us, to gain immunity and save his father, Andocides gave a complete account of the affair and confessed to his role in it. Despite being granted immunity, however, he could no longer participate in public life, and so he left Athens and lived in exile, becoming a successful merchant. He returned briefly to Athens during the aristocratic takeover in 411 but failed to persuade the oligarchs to restore his rights. He tried again a few years later to persuade the restored democracy, but his speech, On His Return (2), was unsuccessful. He finally was able to return to Athens after the general amnesty in 403. In 399 he was accused of violating a prohibition against participating in religious ceremonies after having confessed to his earlier impiety. Lysias' Against Andocides (6) was written for this prosecution, but Andocides successfully defended himself in On the Mysteries (1), his most famous and most highly regarded speech. He remained in Athens at least until 391, when he delivered On the Peace (3) urging (unsuccessfully) acceptance of peace terms that had been negotiated with Sparta. We know nothing of his life thereafter.
Andocides' most important speech by far is On the Mysteries (see MacDowell 1962). In 399 he was accused of violating a decree enacted in 415 prohibiting anyone who had been convicted of impiety from entering a temple or the agora. Andocides argued (a) that he was not guilty of impiety (and he reviews the whole affair of the Herms in making this argument); (b) that the decree of 415 had been invalidated by the amnesty of 403; and (c) that an acquittal would be in the best interest of Athens, especially in view of his recent public service. He was acquitted by the jurors, and his publication of the text of this speech may have been intended to improve his reputation in the court of public opinion.
In addition to this and Andocides' two other speeches mentioned above, a fourth speech attributed to him, Against Alcibiades (4), is often assumed to be a later forgery, since it was apparently written for an occasion earlier than 415 and gives a list of the speaker's accomplishments that would have been impossible for a man in his early twenties. But Raubitschek and Furley have presented strong arguments that the speech was written by Andocides for delivery by a certain Phaiax. Finally, a few fragments of Andocides are preserved, which may all come from one speech, To His Friends. If so, this speech together with the three complete speeches may represent all that Andocides ever published, and perhaps all the speeches he ever delivered.
Andocides evidently did not study rhetoric per se or pursue a career as a speaker. Gildersleeve aptly called him a "gentleman orator" (cited by MacDowell 1962: 19n1), and MacDowell sees him as a transitional figure from the time when all speakers were amateurs to the growing professionalization of public speaking. Andocides was a well-to-do merchant and minor public figure, who spoke in public only to defend himself or (once) to support a specific cause. In this he is a more typical Athenian than the better known logographers who wrote speeches for others, for there must have been dozens, even hundreds of others who occasionally participated in debates in the assembly or became involved in legal cases, but generally avoided these activities and would certainly see no reason for any extensive study of rhetoric. Thus Andocides' speeches lack the complexity of Antiphon's or the sophistication of Lysias', and (though it needs qualification) Kennedy has a valid point in saying that Andocides' language "illustrates what pure Attic prose would be like if the sophists had never lived" (Kennedy 1985: 504). There is, to be sure, an increase in Andocides' use of logical arguments during the nearly twenty years from On His Return to On the Peace (Kennedy 1958), but in general he seems to rely more on a natural, direct approach to his speeches. The effect can be powerful, especially in his vivid narratives, but his arguments can also become awkward and confused. In sum, Andocides is primarily read today not for his style, but for his participation in one of the most significant and least understood events in Athenian history.
This text is cited August 2004 from Perseus Project URL bellow, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Andocides (Andokides), one of the ten Attic orators, whose works were contained
in the Alexandrine Canon, was the son of Leogoras, and was born at Athens in B.
C. 467. He belonged to the ancient eupatrid family of the Ceryces, who traced
their pedigree up to Odysseus and the god Hermes (Plut. Vit. X. Orat. 5, Alcib.
21; comp. Andoc. de Redit.26; de Myster.141). Being a noble, he of course joined
the oligarchical party at Athens, and through their influence obtained, in B.
C. 436, together with Glaucon, the command of a fleet of twenty sail, which was
to protect the Corcyraeans against the Corinthians (Thuc. i. 51; Plut. Vit. X.
Orat. l. c.). After this he seems to have been employed on various occasions as
ambassador to Thessaly, Macedonia, Molossia, Thesprotia, Italy, and Sicily (Andoc.
c. Alcib.41); and, although he was frequently attacked for his political opinions
(c. Alcib.8), he yet maintained his ground, until in B. C. 415, when he became
involved in the charge brought against Alcibiades for having profaned the mysteries
and mutilated the Hermae. It appeared the more likely that Andocides was an accomplice
in the latter of these crimes, which was believed to be a preliminary step towards
overthrowing the democratical constitution, since the Hermes standing close to
his house in the phyle Aegeis was among the very few which had not been injured
(Plut. ll. cc. ; Nepos, Alcib. 3; Sluiter, Lec. Andoc. c. 3). Andocides was accordingly
seized and thrown into prison, but after some time recovered his liberty by a
promise that he would reveal the names of the real perpetrators of the crime;
and on the suggestion of one Charmides or Timaeus (de Myst.48; Plut. Alcib. l.
c.), he mentioned four, all of whom were put to death. He is said to have also
denounced his own father, but to have rescued him again in the hour of danger.
But as Andocides was unable to clear himself from the charge, he was deprived
of his rights as a citizen, and left Athens (De Red. 25). He now travelled about
in various parts of Greece, and was chiefly engaged in commercial enterprises
and in forming connexions with powerful and illustrious persons (De Myst.137;
Lys. c. Andoc.6). The means he employed to gain the friendship of powerful men
were sometimes of the most disreputable kind; among which a service he rendered
to a prince in Cyprus is particularly mentioned (Comp. Plut. l. c.; Phot. Bibl.;
Tzetz. Chil. vi. 373).
In B. C. 411, Andocides returned to Athens on the establishment of the oligarchical government of the Four Hundred, hoping that a certain service he had rendered the Athenian ships at Samos would secure him a welcome reception (De Red. 11, 12). But no sooner were the oligarchs informed of the return of Andocides, than their leader Peisander had him seized, and accused him of having supported the party opposed to them at Samos. During his trial, Andocides, who perceived the exasperation prevailing against him, leaped to the altar which stood in the court, and there assumed the attitude of a suppliant. This saved his life, but he was imprisoned. Soon afterwards, however, he was set free, or escaped from prison (De Red. 15; Plut. l. c. ; Lysias. c. Andoc. 29).
Andocides now went to Cyprus, where for a time he enjoyed the friendship of Evagoras; but, by some circumstance or other, he exasperated his friend, and was consigned to prison. Here again he escaped, and after the victory of the democratical party at Athens and the abolition of the Four Hundred, he ventured once more to return to Athens; but as he was still suffering under the sentence of civil disfranchisement, he endeavoured by means of bribes to persuade the prytanes to allow him to attend the assembly of the people. The latter, however, expelled him from the city (Lys. c. Andoc. 29). It was on this occasion, B. C. 411, that Andocides delivered the speech still extant "on his Return" (peri tes heautou kathodou), in which he petitioned for permission to reside at Athens, but in vain. In this his third exile, Andocides went to reside in Elis (Plut. Vit. X. Orat., a.; Phot. l. c.), and during the time of his absence from his native city, his house there was occupied by Cleophon, a manufacturer of lyres, who had placed himself at the head of the democratical party (De Myst.146).
Andocides remained in exile till the year B. C. 403, after the overthrow of the tyranny of the Thirty by Thrasybulus, when the general amnesty then proclaimed made him hope that its benefit would be extended to him also. He himself says (de Myst. 132), that he returned to Athens from Cyprus, from which we may infer, that although he was settled in Elis, he had gone from thence to Cyprus for commercial or other purposes; for it appears that he had become reconciled to the princes of that island, as he had great influence and considerable landed property there (De Red.20, De Myst.4). In consequence of the general amnesty, he was allowed to remain at Athens, enjoyed peace for the next three years, and soon recovered an influential position. According to Lysias (c. Andoc.33, comp.11), it was scarcely ten days after his return that he brought an accusation against Archippus or Aristippus, which, however, he dropped on receiving a sum of money. During this period Andocides became a member of the senate, in which he appears to have possessed great influence, as well as in the popular assembly. He was gymnasiarch at the Hephaestaea, was sent as architheorus to the Isthmian and Olympic games, and was at last even entrusted with the office of keeper of the sacred treasury. But these distinctions appear to have excited the envy and hatred of his former enemies ; for in the year B. C. 400, Callias, supported by Cephisius, Agyrrhius, Meletus, and Epichares, urged the necessity of preventing Andocides from attending the assembly, as lie had never been formally freed from the civil disfranchisement. But as Callias had but little hope in this case, he brought against him the charge of having profaned the mysteries and violated the laws respecting the temple at Eleusis (De Myst. 110). The orator pleaded his case in the oration still extant, "on the Mysteries" (peri ton musterion), and was acquitted. After this attempt to crush him, he again enjoyed peace and occupied his former position in the republic for upwards of six years, at the end of which, in B. C. 394, he was sent as ambassador to Sparta respecting the peace to be concluded in consequence of Conon's victory off Cnidus. On his return he was accused of illegal conduct during his embassy (parapresbeias). The speech "On the peace with Lacedaemon" (peri tes pros Lakedaimonions eirenes), which is still extant, refers to this affair. It was spoken in B. C. 393. Andocides was found guilty, and sent into exile for the fourth time. He never returned afterwards, and seems to have died soon after this blow.
Andocides appears to have left no issue, since at the age of seventy he had no children (de Myst. 146, 148), though the scholiast on Aristophanes (Vesp. 1262) mentions Antiphon as a son of Andocides. This was probably owing to his wandering and unsteady life, as well as to his dissolute character (De Myst. 100). The large fortune which he had inherited from his father, or acquired in his commercial undertakings, was greatly diminished in the latter years of his life (De Myst. 144; Lys. c. Andoc. 31). Andocides has no claims to the esteem of posterity, either as a man or as a citizen. Besides the three orations already mentioned, which are undoubtedly genuine, there is a fourth against Alcibiades (kata Alkibiadou), said to have been delivered by Andocides in B. C. 415; but it is in all probability spurious, though it appears to contain genuine historical matter. Taylor ascribed it to Phaeax, while others think it more probable that it is the work of some of the later rhetoricians, with whom the accusation or defence of Alcibiades was a standing theme. Besides these four orations we possess only a few fragments and some very vague allusions to other orations (Sluiter, Lect. And.) As an orator Andocides does not appear to have been held in very high esteem by the ancients, as he is seldom mentioned, though Valerius Theon is said to have written a commentary on his orations (Suidas, s. v. Theon). We do not hear of his having been trained in any of the sophistical schools of the time, and he had probably developed his talents in the practical school of the popular assembly. Hence his orations have no mannerism in them, and are really, as Plutarch says, simple and free from all rhetorical pomp and ornament (Comp. Dionys. Hal. de Lys. 2, de Thucyd. Jud. 51). Sometimes, however, his style is diffuse, and becomes tedious and obscure. The best among the orations is that on the Mysteries; but, for the history of the time, all are of the highest importance. The orations are printed in the collections of the Greek orators by Aldus, H. Stephens, Reiske, Bekker, and others. The best separate editions are those of C. Schiller, Leipzig, 183.5, 8vo., and of Baiter and Sauppe, Zurich, 1838. The most important works on the life and orations of Andocides are : J. O. Sluiter, Lectiones Andocideae, Leyden, 1804, pp. 1-99, reprinted at Leipzig, 1834, with notes by C. Schiller; a treatise of A. G. Becker prefixed to his German translation of Andocides, Quedlinburg, 1832, 8vo.; Ruhnken, Hist. Crit. Orat. Graec. pp. 47-57; Westermann, Gesch. der Griech. Beredt-samkeit, §§ 42 and 43.
This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Birth of Andokides.
The life of Andokides has, in one broad aspect, a striking analogy to the life of Antiphon. Each man stands forth for a moment a conspicuous actor in one great scene, while the rest of his history is but dimly known; and each, at that moment, appears as an oligarch exposed to the suspicion and dislike of the democracy. The Revolution of the Four Hundred is the decisive and final event in the life of Antiphon. The mutilation of the Hermae is the first, but hardly less decisive event, in the known life of Andokides; the event which, for thirteen years afterwards, absolutely determined his fortunes, and which throws its shadow over all that is known of their sequel.
Andokides was born probably about 440 B.C.(1) The deme Kydathene, of which he was a member, was included in the Pandionian tribe. His family was traced by Hellanikos the genealogist through Odysseus up to the god Hermes(2) , and had been known in Athenian history for at least three generations. Leogoras, his great grandfather, had fought against the Peisistratidae . Andokides the elder, his grandfather, was one of ten envoys who negotiated the Thirty Years' Truce with Sparta in 4454 ; and had commanded with Perikles at Samos in 4405 , and with Glaukon at Corcyra in 4356 . Leogoras, father of the orator, was, to judge from Aristophanes, famous chiefly for his dinners and his pheasants.
Affair of the Hermae.
The only glimpse of the life of Andokides before 415 B. C. is afforded by himself. He belonged to a set or club, of which one Euphiletos was a leading member(3) , and with which his address ?To His Associates? (pros tous hetairous), mentioned by Plutarch, has sometimes been connected . It was in May, 415, when he was about twenty-five, when the Peiraeus was alive with preparations for the sailing of the fleet to Sicily, and all men were full of dreams of a new empire opening to the city, that Athens was astonished by a sacrilege, of which it is hard now to realise the precise effect upon the Athenian mind. When it appeared that the images of Hermes throughout the town--in the marketplace, before the doors of houses, before the temples--had been mutilated in the night, the sense of a horrible impiety was joined to a sense of helplessness against revolution; for to an Athenian it would occur instinctively that the motive of the mutilators had been not simply to insult, but to estrange, the tutelar gods of the city. This terror, while still fresh, was intensified by the rumoured travesties in private houses of the innermost sacrament of Greek religion, the Mysteries of Eleusis. In order to understand the position of Andokides, it is necessary to keep these two affairs distinct. There is nothing to shew that he was in any way concerned, as accomplice or as informer, with the profanation of the Mysteries. As a matter of course, the author of the speech against him asserts it ; but his own denial is emphatic and clear , and agrees with what is known from other sources. It was in the affair of the Hermae alone that he was implicated. The first important evidence in this matter was given by Teukros, a resident-alien, who had fled to Megara, and who was brought back to give information under a promise of impunity. This man denounced twelve persons as guilty in regard to the Mysteries, and eighteen as mutilators of the Hermae. Among the eighteen were Euphiletos and other members of the club to which Andokides belonged; of whom some were at once put to death, and others fled .
But there was a very general belief that the bottom of the matter had not been reached, and that the conspiracy had been far more widely spread; a belief which the commissioners of enquiry, especially Peisandros, seem to have encouraged. As usual in such cases, the demand for discoveries created the supply. Diokleides, the Titus Oates of this plot, came forward to state that the conspiracy included no less than three hundred persons. Fortytwo of these were denounced, among whom were Andokides, his father, his brother-in-law and ten other of his relatives. They were imprisoned at once; Diokleides was feasted as a public benefactor at the Prytaneion; and the whole town spent the night under arms, panic-stricken by the extent of the conspiracy,--not knowing whence, when, or in what strength they might be attacked by the enemies of gods and men . Andokides has described the first night in prison. Wives, sisters, children, who had been allowed to come to their friends, joined in their tears and cries of despair. Then it was that Charmides, one of his cousins, besought him to tell all that he knew, and to save his father, his relations and all the innocent citizens who were threatened with an infamous death. Andokides yielded. He was brought before the Council, and stated that the story of Teukros was true. The eighteen who had died or fled were indeed guilty. But there were four more whom Teukros had left out, and whom Andokides now named. These four fled.
Decree of Isotimides.
The deposition of Andokides, confirming as it did the testimony of Teukros, and at the same time supplementing that testimony, was accepted, at least at the time, as the true and complete account. The affair of the Hermae was dropped, and attention was fixed once more upon the affair of the Mysteries. At some time not much later, Leogoras, the father of Andokides, gained an action which he brought against the senator Speusippos, who had illegally committed for trial Leogoras and the other persons accused by the slave Lydos of having profaned the Mysteries in the house of his master Pherekles. Andokides himself was less fortunate. He had given his information under a promise of personal indemnity guaranteed by a decree of the ekklesia. After his disclosures, however, a new decree, proposed by Isotimides, cancelled the former. It provided that those who had committed impiety and confessed it should be excluded from the marketplace and from the temples; a form of 'disgrace' (atimia) virtually equivalent to banishment. Andokides was considered as falling under this decree, and was accordingly driven to leave Athens.
This closes the first chapter of his life. Two questions directly arising out of it suggest themselves for consideration here.
The speech on the Mysteries.
First: Does the speech On the Mysteries give the story which he really told before the Council at Athens in 415? In that speech, he represents himself as having stated that the mutilation of the Hermae had been proposed by Euphiletos at a convivial meeting of their club; that he had strenuously opposed it; and that, while he was confined to his house by illness, Euphiletos had seized the opportunity of executing the scheme, telling the others that Andokides had become favourable to it. Now it is a suspicious fact that in the speech On his Return, spoken in 410--that is, eleven years before the speech On the Mysteries--Andokides distinctly pleads guilty to certain offences committed in 415, and excuses them by his youth, his folly, his madness at the time. It is suspicious, also, that not merely the author of the speech against him, but also Thucydides in terms which can hardly be explained away, and Plutarch still more explicitly, represent him as having accused himself along with the rest. It can hardly be doubted that, in 415, he told the Council that the mutilation of the Hermae had been a mad freak committed by the club of young men to which he belonged, and by himself among the number. Probably he felt that it would be useless to make a reservation of his own innocence. No one would believe him; and at the same time it would seriously damage the plausibility of his alleged acquaintance with the plans of the conspirators. It is very likely, however, that he did make excuses for himself, such as that his active part in the affair had been small, or that he had been drawn into it against his will, or in a moment of excitement. At the distance of sixteen years such excuses might easily grow into a denial of his having been concerned at all.
It is a further question whether, supposing that the story which he told at the time inculpated himself, this story was true. Was he really guilty? It ought to be remembered that the eighth book of Thucydides was probably written before the speech On the Mysteries had been delivered, or the exiles of 415 had returned; and that, therefore, we have perhaps larger materials than Thucydides himself had for forming a judgment on an affair which (as he says) had never been cleared up5 . Great weight ought surely to be allowed to the circumstance that the Hermes before the house of Andokides was one of the very few6 which had not been mutilated. The explanation of this given by Andokides himself in 399 is at least plausible. Euphiletos, he says, had told the other conspirators that Andokides had himself undertaken the mutilation of this particular image; and so it escaped, Andokides being ill and ignorant of the whole matter. Now if Euphiletos had a spite against Andokides for having condemned his proposal, he could not, in fact, have taken a more effectual revenge. The sparing of this Hermes was just the circumstance, which, in the event, turned suspicion most strongly upon Andokides. Had he been out himself that night and engaged in the sacrilege, he could scarcely have failed to think of a danger so evident, and would have taken care that his own house should not be marked out by its immunity. If the number of mutilators was as small as he states, the neglect of such a precaution is altogether inconceivable. The conjecture to which we should incline is that the Hermae were mutilated by the small club of young men to which Andokides belonged, but that, for some reason or other, he had no hand in it; that, however, when he gave his evidence at the time, he accused himself of having been actively concerned, thinking that otherwise the rest of his story would be disbelieved. It would follow that the version of the matter given in his speech On the Mysteries is, on the whole, true in itself, but is untrue as a representation of what he stated in 415.
Life of Andokides from 415 to 402.
The second chapter in the life of Andokides covers the years from 415 to 402. It is the history of his exile.
On leaving Athens in 415 he appears to have adopted a merchant's life. Archelaos, king of Macedonia, a friend of his family, gave him the right of cutting timber and exporting it. In Cyprus, according to the author of the speech against him, he was imprisoned by the king of Citium on account of some treachery; a story from which it would be unsafe to infer more than that Andokides had visited the island. When, after the Sicilian disaster, Samos became the headquarters of the Athenian fleet, he endeavoured to conciliate his countrymen there by supplies of corn and cargoes of oar-spars and of bronze, which his mercantile connexion enabled him to get for them at a cheap rate. In the spring of 411 he made His first return to Athens. his first attempt to re-establish himself at Athens. He was unaware, at the moment of his return, that the revolution of the Four Hundred had taken place. The hatred of the oligarchical clubs, incurred by his denunciation of his own associates, and the enmity of Peisandros, whose desire to keep up a panic had been thwarted by his reassuring disclosures, would have been enough to have prevented him from expecting any other reception than that which he actually experienced. He was instantly denounced to the Council by Peisandros for supplying oars to the hostile democracy at Samos, and was thrown into prison. Released by the downfall of the oligarchy, he again visited Cyprus,--where, according to his accuser he was once more imprisoned 'for a misdeed'--this time by Evagoras king of Salamis; but we may hesitate whether to recognise here the monotony of fate or of invention.
In Cyprus Andokides found a new opportunity to serve the interests of Athens. The loss of her power in the Propontis had cut off her corn-trade with the Euxine; and Andokides procured the despatch of corn-ships from Cyprus to the Peiraeus. His second return to Athens. It must have been in the spring or summer of 410, before the results of the victory at Kyzikos had removed all fear of famine, that Andokides was again at Athens, and in a speech in the ekklesia pleaded for the removal of the disabilities under which the decree of Isotimides was held to have placed him. He expresses penitence for his errors in 415; and lays stress upon certain information which he had given to the Senate, as well as upon his services in procuring a supply of corn8 . His application was rejected; and for the third time he went into exile. During the next eight years he is said to have visited Sicily, Italy, the Peloponnesus, Thessaly, the Hellespont, Ionia and Cyprus. In Cyprus he had received, perhaps from Evagoras, a grant of land; and the fortune which afterwards enabled him to discharge costly offices at Athens, although his patrimony had been wrecked, appears to show that he had been active and successful as a merchant.
Andokides readmitted to citizenship
The general amnesty of 403 at last gave him the opportunity which he had so long sought in vain. He returned to Athens from Cyprus, probably about the beginning of 4022 ; and for three years was not only unmolested, but was readmitted to the employments and honours of an active citizen. He was a choregus, and dedicated in the Street of Tripods the prize which he had won with a cyclic chorus; he was gymnasiarch at the Hephaestia--head of sacred missions to the Isthmian and Olympian games--and steward of the sacred treasure; he is heard of as speaking in the Senate and preferring accusations in the law-courts. At length, in 399(4), the zeal of his enemies--stimulated, perhaps, by his prosperity--appears to have revived. After one attempt which seems to have been abortive, he was brought to trial, in the autumn of 399, on a charge of impiety. He had attended the Greater Mysteries at Eleusis; and his enemies contended that he had thereby violated the decree of Isotimides, by which he was excluded from all temples. Before the Eleusinian festival was over, an information to this effect was laid before the Archon Basileus. The accusers were Kephisios, Epichares and Meletos, supported by Kallias and Agyrrhios. The fact that Andokides was supported in court by Anytos and Kephalos, two popular public men, as well as by advocates chosen by his tribe, shows that his assiduous services to the State, and perhaps the persevering malice of his adversaries, had at last produced their effect upon the general feeling towards him. He speaks like a man tolerably confident of a verdict; and he was acquitted.
Little is known of the life of Andokides after 399. From the speech On the Mysteries it appears that he was at that time unmarried and childless. His uncle Epilykos had died leaving two daughters, whom Andokides and Leagros, as the nearest kinsmen, had claimed in marriage before the Archon. The girl claimed by Andokides had died before the claim was heard; the other was now claimed by Kallias, who had induced Leagros to retire in his favour, and Andokides, to defeat this intrigue, had entered a counter-claim; but in 399 the case was still undecided. If Andokides died without legitimate issue, his family became extinct.
The first reappearance of Andokides in public life is marked by the speech On the Peace with Lacedaemon, which belongs to 390, the fourth year of the Corinthian War. Athens, Boeotia, Corinth and Argos were at this time allied against Sparta. The success of Agesilaos in 391 had led the Athenians, probably in the winter of 391--90, to send plenipotentiaries, among whom was Andokides, to treat for peace at Sparta. According to the terms proposed by the Lacedaemonians, Athens was to retain her Long Walls--rebuilt three years before by Konon --and her fleet; she was also to recover Lemnos, Imbros and Skyros: and Boeotia was to be gratified by the withdrawal of the Spartan garrison from Orchomenos. The plenipotentiaries did not use their powers, but requested that the Athenian ekklesia might have forty days in which to consider these proposals; and returned, accompanied by Spartan envoys, to Athens. It was in the ensuing debate --early in the year 390--that the speech of Andokides was made.
This, his only recorded utterance on a public question, is temperate and sensible. He points out that it is idle to wait either for the prospect of crushing Sparta in war, or for the prospect of recovering by diplomacy all the possessions abroad which Athens had lost in 405; her ships and walls are now, as they always were, her true strength, and she ought to accept thankfully the secured possession of these. The soundness of this view was proved in the sequel. By the Peace of Antalkidas three years later Athens got only what she was offered in 390; and she got it, not by treaty on equal terms with a Hellenic power, but as part of the price paid by the Persian king for the disgraceful surrender of Asiatic Hellas. The advice of Andokides probably lost something of its effect through the suspicion of ?laconism? attaching to all statesmen of oligarchical antecedents; and, though he had long cast in his lot with the democracy, a certain odour of oligarchy must have clung to him still. At any rate his advice was not taken. The story that he was not only disobeyed, but banished, probably represents merely the desire to add one disaster more to a history so full of repulses.
Character of Andokides.
A fair estimate of Andokides is made difficult by the fact that he was first brought into notice by a scandal, and that the memory of this scandal runs through nearly all that is known of his after-life. At the age of twenty-five he is banished for the Hermae affair; he is defeated, on the same ground, in two attempts to return; at the end of sixteen years he is brought to trial for impiety; and his acquittal is the last thing recorded about him. At that time he was only forty-one; already, since his return in 402, he had discharged public services; and now, formally acquitted of the charges which had so long hung over him, he might hope for a new career. His speech On the Peace shows that in 390 he was sufficiently trusted by his fellow-citizens to have been sent as a plenipotentiary to Sparta; and proves also, by its statesmanlike good sense, his fitness for such a trust. But, except in this speech, nothing is recorded of his later and probably brighter years. History knows him only under a cloud. It was, moreover, his misfortune that while the informations which he laid in 415 made him hateful to the oligarchs, his hereditary connexion with [p. 86] oligarchy exposed him to the continual suspicion of the democrats. One year he is imprisoned by the Four Hundred; the next he is repulsed by the ekklesia. It would be an easy inference that there must have been something palpably bad and false in the man to whom both parties were harsh, did not a closer view show that one party may have been influenced by spite and the other by prejudice. Many of those who believed that Andokides was concerned in the mutilation of the Hermae must have regarded him with sincere horror. But on the other hand it should be remembered that such horror is never so loudly expressed, and is never so useful to personal enmity, as at a time when a popular religion, still generally professed, is beginning to be widely disbelieved. Diagoras and Sokrates were accused of impiety with the more effect because the views ascribed to them resembled the real views of many who seemed orthodox. Besides those who hated Andokides as an informer, as an oligarch, or as an iconoclast, there were probably many who regarded him with that special kind of dislike which attaches to a person who drives the world into professing angry conviction on matters to which it is secretly indifferent. Viewed apart from the feelings which worked on his contemporaries, the facts of his life seem to warrant severe blame as little as they warrant high praise. His youthful associates were dissolute; through them he was involved, rightly or wrongly, in the suspicion of a great impiety; and this suspicion clung to him for years. But it was never proved; and when he was at last brought [p. 87] to trial, he was acquitted. As an exile he conferred on Athens services which, if not disinterested, were at all events valuable; after his return he discharged costly public services, and represented the State on an important mission.
To judge from his extant works he had not genius, but he was energetic and able. Hard and various experiences had sharpened his shrewdness; he had a quick insight into character, and especially the triumphant skill of a consciously unpopular man in exposing malignant motives. There was no nobleness in his nature, except such as is bred by selfreliance under long adversity; but he had practical good sense, which his merchant's life in exile must have trained and strengthened. If the counsel which he gives to Athens in his speech On the Peace with Lacedaemon may be taken as a sample of his statesmanship, he was an adviser of the kind rarest in the ekklesia; not only clearsighted in the interests of the city, but bold enough to recommend to Athenians a safe rather than a brilliant course.
1. According to [Lys.] in Andok. § 46, he was in 399 B.C. pleon e tettarakonta ete gegonos. He speaks of his 'youthfulness' in 415 B.C.: de Red.7. His father, Leogoras II., may have been born about 470: Andokides I. about 500: Leogoras I. about 540. The pseudo-Plutarch puts his birth in the archonship of Theagenides, Ol. 78. 1, 468 B.C.: probably on the assumption that the orator was the Andokides of Thuc. I. 51.
2. [Plut.] Vit. Andok. genous Eupatridon, hos de Hellanikos, kai apo Hermou: kathekei gar eis auton to Kerukon genos. The pseudo-Plutarch seems to have inferred from the fact that the descent of Andokides was traced from Hermes, that he belonged to the priestly family of the Kerukes, who represented their ancestor Kerux as the son of Hermes (Paus. I. 38. 3). But Plutarch (Alkib. c. 21) tells us that Hellanikos traced Andokides up to Odysseus; the line from Hermes, then, was not through Keryx, but through Autolykos, whose daughter Antikleia was mother of Odysseus.
3. De Myst. 61--63. Euphiletos is there described as proposing the sacrilege at a convivial meeting of the club (eisegesato... pinonton hemon § 61). Its members were intimate associates (epitedeioi 63: cf. hois echro kai hois sunestha 49). There is nothing to show that this club of young men was anything so serious as a political hetaireia.
4. Three years after his return to Athens: de Myst. 132. The date 399 is confirmed by another consideration. In de Myst. § 132 the offices which he had held are enumerated in apparently chronological order:--proton men gumnasiarchon Hephaistiois, epeita architheoron eis Isthmon kai Olumpiaze, eita de tamian en polei ton hieron chrematon. Now the Olympic festival at which he was architheoros must have been that of Ol. 95. 1, 400 B.C. After this architheoria he had been tamias; but clearly was so no longer at the time when the speech On the Mysteries was spoken.
This text is cited June 2005 from Perseus Project URL bellow, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Andokides not an artist
Andokides differs in one important respect from all the other Attic orators of the canon. He is not an artist. Each of the rest represents some theory, more or less definite, of eloquence as an art; and is distinguished, not merely by a faculty, but by certain technical merits, the result of labour directed to certain points in accordance with that theory. Among these experts Andokides is an amateur. In the course of an eventful life he spoke with ability and success on some occasions of great moment and great difficulty. But he brought to these efforts the minimum of rhetorical training. He relied almost wholly on his native wit and on a rough, but shrewd, knowledge of men.
This accounts for the comparatively slight attention paid to Andokides by the ancient rhetoricians and critics. Dionysios mentions him only twice; once, where he remarks that Thucydides used a peculiar dialect, which is not employed by 'Andokides, Antiphon, or Lysias'; again, where he says that Lysias is the standard for contemporary Attic, 'as may be judged from the speeches of Andokides, Kritias and many others'. Both these notices recognise Andokides as an authority for the idiom of his own day; and it is evident that he had a philological interest for the critic. On the other hand it is clear that Dionysios discovered in him no striking power; for Andokides does not occur in his long list of men foremost in the various departments of oratory. Quintilian names him only in one slighting allusion. Who, he asks, is to be our model of Attic eloquence? 'Let it be Lysias; for his is the style in which the lovers of 'Atticism' delight. At this rate we shall not be sent back all the way to Andokides and Kokkos.
'Andokides aims at being a political orator, but does not quite achieve it. His figures want clear articulation; his arrangement is not lucid; he constantly tacks on clause to clause, or amplifies in an irregular fashion, using parentheses to the loss of a distinct order. On these accounts he has seemed to some a frivolous and generally obscure speaker. Of finish and ornament his share is small; he is equally deficient in fiery earnestness. Again, he has little, or rather very little, of that oratorical power which is shown in method; general oratorical power he has almost none'.
The phrase 'political oratory' as used by Hermogenes has two senses, a larger and a narrower. In the larger sense it denotes all public speaking as opposed to scholastic declamation, and comprises the deliberative, the forensic, the panegyric styles. In the narrower sense it denotes practical oratory, deliberative or forensic, as opposed not only to scholastic declamation but also to that species of panegyric speaking in which no definite political question is discussed. Here, the narrower sense is intended. When Hermogenes says that Andokides does not succeed in being a 'political' speaker, he means that Andokides does not exhibit--for instance, in the speech On his Return and in the speech On the Peace--the characteristic excellences of deliberative speaking; nor--for instance in the speech On the Mysteries--the characteristic excellences of forensic speaking. What Hermogenes took these excellences to be, he explains at length in another place; the chief of them are these three;--clearness; the stamp of truth; fiery earnestness.
The first and general remark of Hermogenes upon Andokides implies, then, that he is wanting in these qualities. The special remarks which follow develop it. They refer partly to his arrangement of subject-matter, partly to his style of diction. He is said to have little power' (or 'cleverness') 'of method'; that is, little tact in seeing where, and how, each topic should be brought in; he 'amplifies'unnecessarily, by detailing circumstances unnecessary for his point; he obscures the order of his ideas by frequent parentheses, or by adding, as an afterthought, something which ought to have come earlier. As regards diction, in the first place his 'figures' are said to be 'wanting in clear articulation' (adiarthrota). Hermogenes elsewhere10 enumerates thirteen 'figures' of rhetoric, which are either certain fixed modes of framing sentences, such as the antithesis and the period; or (in the phrase of Caecilius) 'figures of thought', such as irony and dilemma. Hermogenes means that Andokides does not use 'figures' of either sort with precision; he does not work them out to an incisive distinctness; he leaves them 'inarticulate'--still in the rough, and with their outlines dull. Again Andokides has little 'finish' (epimeleia)--a term by which his critic means refinement and smoothness in composition. Lastly, Andokides is said to be wanting in 'fiery earnestness'. The word gorgotes, which we have attempted thus to paraphrase, plays a very important point in the rhetorical terminology of Hermogenes: it describes one of the three cardinal excellences of 'political' oratory. Perhaps no simple English equivalent can be found for it. But Hermogenes has explained clearly what he means by it. He means earnest feeling, especially indignation, uttered in terse, intense, sometimes abrupt language. It is to a strong and noble emotion what 'keenness' (oxutes) and 'tartness' (drimutes) are to a lower kind of eagerness. The lofty invectives of Demosthenes against Philip supply Hermogenes with his best examples of it.
We have now seen the worst that can be said of Andokides from the point of view of the technical Rhetoric; and it must be allowed that, from that point of view, the condemnation is tolerably complete. Now the canon of the Ten Attic Orators was probably drawn up at the time when scholastic rhetoric was most flourishing, and when, therefore, the standard of criticism used by Hermogenes and Herodes was the common one. It may seem surprising, then, that Andokides was numbered in the decad at all. Kritias, his contemporary, whom so many ancient writers praise highly, might be supposed to have had stronger claims; and the fact that the memory of Kritias as a statesman was hateful, is not enough in itself to explain his exclusion from a literary group. Probably one reason, at least, for the preference given to Andokides was the great interest of the subjects upon which he spoke. The speech on the Mysteries, supplying, as it does, the picturesque details of a memorable event, had an intrinsic value quite apart from its merits as a composition. The speech On the Peace with Lacedaemon, again, gives a clear picture of a crisis in the Corinthian War; and is an illustration, almost unique in its way, of Athenian history at the time just after the rebuilding of the walls by Konon, when, for the first time since Aegospotami, Athenian visions of empire were beginning to revive. As Lykurgos seems to have owed his place among the Ten chiefly to his prominence as a patriot, so Andokides may have been recommended partly by his worth as an indirect historian. Again, Dionysios, as we have seen, recognised at least the philological value of Andokides. It is further possible that even rhetoricians of the schools may have found him interesting as an example of merely natural eloquence coming between two opposite styles of art; between the formal grandeur of Antiphon and the studied ease of Lysias.
General tendency of ancient criticism upon oratory: unjust to Andokides.
It is a result of the precision with which the art of rhetoric was systematized in the Greek and Roman schools that much of the ancient criticism upon oratory is tainted by a radical vice. The ancient critics too often confound literary merit with oratorical merit. They judge too much from the standpoint of the reader, and too little from the standpoint of the hearer. They analyse special features of language and of method; they determine with nicety the rank of each man as a composer; but they too often forget that, for the just estimation of his rank as a speaker, the first thing necessary is an effort of imaginative sympathy. We must not merely analyse his style; we must try to realise the effect which some one of his speeches, as a whole, would have made on a given audience in given circumstances. As nearly all the great orators of antiquity had been trained in the rudiments of the technical rhetoric, the judgment upon their relative merits is not, as a rule, much disturbed by this tendency in their critics. It may often, indeed, be felt that the judgment, however fair in itself, is based too much upon literary grounds. But, in most cases, so far as we can judge, no great injustice is done. Criticism of this kind may, however, happen to be unjust; and it has certainly been unjust in the case of Andokides. Others far excel him in finish of style, in clearness of arrangement, in force and in fire; but no one can read the speech On the Mysteries (for instance) without feeling that Andokides was a real orator. The striking thing in that speech is a certain undefinable tone which assures even the modern reader that Andokides was saying the right things to the judges, and knew himself to be saying the right things. He is, in places, obscure or diffuse; he sometimes wanders from the issue, once or twice into trivial gossip; but throughout there is this glow of a conscious sympathy with his hearers. He may not absolutely satisfy the critics; but he was persuading, and he felt with triumph that he was persuading, the judges.
Four epithets given to the style of Andokides by the author of the Plutarchic Life.
It is somewhat difficult to analyse the style of a speaker whose real strength lay in a natural vigour directed by a rough tact; and who, in comparison with other Greek orators, cared little for literary form. An attempt at such an analysis may, however, start from the four epithets given to Andokides in the Plutarchic Life. He is there said to be 'simple' (haplous); 'inartificial in arrangement' (akataskeuos); 'plain' (apheles); and 'sparing of figures' (aschematistos). The first two epithets apparently refer to the order in which his thoughts are marshalled; the last two, to the manner in which they are expressed. We will first speak of the latter, and then come back to the former.
The sense in which the diction of Andokides is 'plain' will be best understood by a comparison with Antiphon and Lysias. Antiphon consciously strives to rise above the language of daily life; he seeks to impress by a display of art. Lysias carefully confines himself to the language of daily life; he seeks to persuade by the use of hidden art. Andokides usually employs the language of daily life; he is free, or almost free, from the archaisms of Antiphon, and writes in the new-Attic dialect, the dialect of Lysias and his successors. On the other hand, he does not confine himself to a rigid simplicity. In his warmer or more vigorous passages, especially of invective or of intreaty, he often employs phrases or expressions borrowed from the idiom of Tragedy. These, being of too decidedly poetical a colour, have a tawdry effect; yet it is evident that they have come straight from the memory to the lips; they are quite unlike prepared fine things; and they remind us, in fact, how really natural a speaker was Andokides,--neither aiming, as a rule, at ornament, nor avoiding it on principle when it came to him. The 'plainness' of Lysias is an even, subtle, concise plainness, so scrupulous to imitate nature that nature is never suffered to break out; the 'plainness' of Andokides is that of a man who, with little rhetorical or literary culture, followed chiefly his own instinct in speaking. Lysias had at his command all the resources of technical rhetoric, but so used them towards producing a sober, uniform effect that his art is scarcely felt at any particular point; it is felt only in the impression made by the whole.
Andokides had few of such resources. As his biographer says, he is 'sparing of figures'. Here the distinction already noticed between 'figures of language' and 'figures of thought' must be kept in mind. Andokides uses scarcely at all the 'figures of language': that is, he seldom employs antitheses --aims at parallelism between the forms of two sentences--or studies the niceties of assonance. His neglect of such refinements--which, in his day, constituted the essence of oratorical art, and which must have been more or less cultivated by nearly all public speakers--has one noticeable effect on his composition. There is no necessary connection between an antithetical and a periodic style. But, in the time of Andokides, almost the only period in use was that which is formed by the antithesis or parallelism of clauses. Hence, since he rarely uses antitheses or parallelisms, Andokides composes far less in a periodic style than Thucydides or Antiphon or even Lysias. His sentences, in the absence of that framework, are constantly sprawling to a clumsy length; they are confused by parentheses, or deformed by supplementary clauses, till the main thread of the sense is often almost lost. But while he thus dispenses with the ornamental 'figures of language', Andokides uses largely those so-called figures of thought' which give life to a speech;--irony--indignant question, and the like. This animation is indeed one of the points which most distinguish his style from the ordinary style of Antiphon, and which best mark his relative modernism.
As Andokides is 'plain' in diction and avoids ornamental figures, so he is also 'simple' in treatment of subject-matter, and avoids an artificial arrangement. His two speeches before the ekklesia-- that On his Return and that On the Peace--shew, indeed, no distinct or systematic partition. In his speech On the Mysteries he follows, with one difference, the arrangement usually observed by Antiphon and more strictly by Lysias. There is a proem, followed by a short prothesis or general statement of the case; then narrative and argument; lastly epilogue. But the narrative as a whole is not kept distinct from the argument as a whole. Each section of the narrative is followed by the corresponding section of the argument. Dionysios notices such interfusion as a special mark of art in Isaeos. In Andokides it is rather a mark of artlessness. He had a long story to tell, and was unable, or did not try, to tell it concisely. The very length of his narrative compelled him to break it up into pieces and to comment upon each piece separately. He has not effected this without some loss of clearness, and one division of the speech is thoroughly confused. But it should be remembered that a defective ordering of topics, though a grave fault, was less serious for Andokides than it would have been for a speaker in a different style. The main object of Andokides was to be in sympathy with his audience--amusing them with stories, however irrelevant--putting all his arguments in the most vivid shape--and using abundant illustration. Lucid arrangement, though always important, was not of firstrate importance for him. His speeches were meant to carry hearers along with them, rather than to be read and analysed at leisure.
Andokides has little skill in the commonplaces of rhetorical argument.
But it is not merely in special features of diction or of arrangement that Andokides is seen to be no technical rhetorician. A disciple of the sophistical rhetoric learned to deal copiously and skilfully with those commonplaces of argument which would be available in almost any case. His education taught him to prefer general argument to argument from particular circumstances, unless these were especially easy to manipulate. We see this in Antiphon's First Tetralogy: it is a model exercise in making the utmost of abstract probabilities as inferred from facts which are very slightly sketched. In the speech On the Murder of Herodes the statement of the facts is hurried over, and there is no attempt at a close and searching analysis of them. But for a speaker unskilled in rhetorical commonplace the particulars of any given subject would be everything. Picturesque narration, shrewd inference from small circumstances, lively illustration of character would naturally be his chief resources. And so it is with Andokides. His strength is in narrative, as the strength of Antiphon is in argument. Andokides relies on his case, Antiphon on his science; it is only Lysias who hits the masterly mean, who makes his science the close interpreter of his case, who can both recount and analyse. But, although the narrative element in Andokides exceeds the just proportion always observed by Lysias, it is, from a literary point of view, a great charm. The speech On the Mysteries is full of good bits of description, lively without set effort to be graphic. For instance, the scene in the prison, when Andokides was persuaded to denounce the real mutilators of the Hermae:
'When we had all been imprisoned in the same place; when night had come, and the gaol had been closed; there came, to one his mother, his sister to another, to another his wife and children; and there arose a piteous sound of weeping and lamentation for the troubles of the hour. Then Charmides (he was my cousin, of my own age, and had been brought up with me in our house from childhood) said to me:--'Andokides, you see how serious our present dangers are; and though hitherto I have always shrunk from saying anything to annoy you, I am forced by our present misfortune to speak now. All your intimates and companions except us your relations have either been put to death on the charges which threaten us with destruction, or have taken to flight and pronounced themselves guilty. If you have heard anything about this affair which has occurred, speak it out, and save our lives--save yourself in the first place, then your father, whom you ought to love very dearly, then your brother-inlaw, the husband of your only sister,--your other kinsmen, too, and near friends, so many of them; and me also, who have never given you any annoyance in all my life, but am most zealous for you and for your interests, whenever anything is to be done'. When Charmides said this, judges, and when the others besought and entreated me severally, I thought to myself,--'most miserable and unfortunate of men, am I to see my own kinsfolk perish undeservedly--to see their lives sacrificed and their property confiscated, and in addition to this their names written up on tablets as sinners against the gods,--men who are wholly innocent of the matter,-- am I to see moreover three hundred Athenians doomed to undeserved destruction and the State involved in the most serious calamities, and men nourishing suspicion against each other,--or shall I tell the Athenians just what I heard from Euphiletos himself, the real culprit?'
Another passage in the same speech illustrates the skill of Andokides in dramatising his narrative. He delighted to bring in persons speaking. Epichares, one of his accusers in this case, had been an agent of the Thirty Tyrants. He turns upon him.
'Speak, slanderer, accursed knave--is this law valid or not valid? Invalid, I imagine, only for this reason,--that the operation of the laws must be dated from the archonship of Eukleides. So you live, and walk about this city, as you little deserve to do; you who, under the democracy, lived by pettifogging, and under the oligarchy--lest you should be forced to give back all the profits of that trade--became the instrument of the Thirty.
?The truth is, judges, that as I sat here, while he accused me, and as I looked at him, I fancied myself nothing else than a prisoner at the bar of the Thirty. Had this trial been in their time, who would have been accusing me? Was not this man ready to accuse, if I had not given him money? He has done it now. And who but Charikles would have been cross-examining me? ?Tell me, Andokides, did you go to Dekeleia, and enforce the hostile garrison on your country's soil?'--'Not I'.--'How then? You ravaged the territory, and plundered your fellow-citizens by land or sea?'--'Certainly not'. --'And you did not serve in the enemy's fleet, or help to level the Long Walls, or to abolish the democracy?'--'None of these things have I done'.-- 'None? Do you think, then, that you will enjoy impunity, or escape the death suffered by many others?'
' Can you suppose, judges, that my fate, as your champion, would have been other than this, if I had been caught by the Tyrants? I should have been destroyed by them, as they destroyed many others, for having done no wrong to Athens'.
The love of Andokides for narrative, wherever it can be introduced, is strikingly seen in his mode of handling his legal argument in the speech On the Mysteries. Instead of simply citing and interpreting the enactments upon which he relies, he reviews in order the events which led to the enactments being made. The same tendency appears in his habit of drawing illustrations from the early history of Attica. These references are in many points loose and confused. Andokides, however, is hardly a worse offender in this respect than (for instance) Aeschines; and has more excuse. In the time of Andokides written history was a comparatively new invention, and most men knew the events even of their grandfathers' days only from hearsay. Nor does the apparent inaccuracy of Andokides in regard to earlier history affect his authority as a witness for events with which he was contemporary. The value of his testimony for the years 415--390 is unquestioned.
Love of Andokides for gossip.
Andokides sometimes shows his taste for narrative in a special form which deserves notice. He is a master of shrewd and telling gossip. He diverges from the main thread of his argument into anecdotes which will amuse his hearers, and either directly damage the adversary, or at least strike some chord favourable to himself. A part of the speech On the Mysteries is, in fact, made up of such stories (110--136). Speaking, for instance, of the son of his accuser Kallias, he reminds the judges that there was once a certain Hipponikos at Athens whose house was haunted by an avenging spirit--so said the children and the women: and the saying came true, for the man's son proved a very demon to him. Well, the house of Kallias is haunted by a fiend of the same kind (130--131). In this trait Andokides resembles one, and one only, of the other Greek orators: it is precisely the impudent, unscrupulous cleverness of Aeschines. There is the same shrewd perception of what will raise a laugh or a sneer; the same adroitness, unchecked by self-respect, in making a point of this kind whenever the opportunity offers; the same command of coarse but telling abuse; the same ability and resolution to follow the workings, and profit by the prejudices, of low minds. Akin to this taste for gossip is a certain proneness to sink into low comedy. There is a fragment of Andokides, describing the influx of country-people into Athens in 431 B. C., which will illustrate this. It has exactly the tone of the Acharnians:--
'Never again may we see the colliers coming in from the hills to the town--the sheep and oxen and the waggons--the poor women and old men-- the labourers arming themselves! Never more may we eat wild greens and chervil'.
In passing judgment upon Andokides, it must be allowed that he possesses neither literary merit nor properly oratorical merit which can entitle him to rank with the greatest masters of Greek rhetorical prose. His language has neither splendour nor a refined simplicity; he is not remarkably acute in argument; and, compared with his contemporaries, he is singularly without precision in the arrangement of his ideas. His extant works present no passage conceived in the highest strain of eloquence; he never rises to an impassioned earnestness. On the other hand, his naturalness, though not charming, is genuine; he has no mannerisms or affectations; and his speeches have a certain impetus, a certain confident vigour, which assure readers that they must have been still more effective for hearers. The chief value of Andokides is historical. But he has also real literary value of a certain kind: he excels in graphic description. A few of those pictures into which he has put all the force of a quick mind-- the picture of Athens panicstricken by the sacrilege --the scene of miserable perplexity in the prison --the patriotic citizen arraigned before the Thirty Tyrants --have a vividness which no artist could easily surpass, combined with a freshness which a better artist might possibly have lost.
This text is cited June 2005 from Perseus Project URL bellow, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Four speeches ascribed to Andokides are extant, bearing the titles
?On the Mysteries:? ?On his Return:? ?On the Peace with the Lacedaemonians:? ?Against
Alkibiades.? The speech On the Mysteries, as the chief extant work of its author,
stands first in the manuscripts and the editions. But the second oration relates
to an earlier passage in the life of Andokides, and may conveniently be considered
Speech 'On his Return'.
The speech of Andokides 'On his Return' affords no further internal evidence of its own date than that it was spoken later than 411 and earlier than 405 B. C., Blass places it in 409. But a circumstance which he has not noticed seems to us to make it almost certain that the speech cannot have been delivered later than the summer of 410. Andokides lays stress upon the service which he has rendered to Athens by securing a supply of corn from Cyprus. There had been a disappointment about this supply; but he states that he has overcome the difficulty,-- that fourteen corn ships will be in the Peiraeus almost immediately, and that others are to follow. Now the event which had made this supply a matter of anxiety to Athens was the stoppage of the usual importations from the south coast of the Euxine. In 411 she had lost the command of the Bosphorus by the revolt of Chalkedon, and the command of the Hellespont by the revolt of Abydos. But, in 410, the battle of Kyzikos was followed by the reestablishment of Athenian power in the Propontis and in its adjacent straits. The corn-trade of the Euxine once more flowed towards Athens; and, in the autumn of 410, Agis, from his station at Dekeleia, saw with despair the multitude of corn-ships which were running into the Peiraeus. The benefit, therefore, for which Andokides claims so much credit; would have been no great benefit, had it been conferred later than the middle of the year 410. The Four Hundred were deposed about the middle of June, 411; and it would have been natural that Andokides should have endeavoured to return at least in the course of the following year.
As a speech on a private matter before the public assembly, this oration belongs to the same class as that which Demosthenes is said to have written for Diphilos in support of his claim to be rewarded by the State. Andokides is charged, in the speech of the pseudo-Lysias, with having gained admittance to the ekklesia by bribing its presidents. It is unnecessary to believe this story. But the emphasis which he himself lays on the valuable information which he had previously given to the Senate suggests that, without some such recommendation, he would have found it difficult to obtain a hearing from the people.
The object of the speech is to procure the removal of certain disabilities under which he was alleged to lie. His disclosures in 415 were made under a guarantee of immunity from all consequences. But the decree of Isotimides, passed soon afterwards, excluded from the marketplace and from temples all ?who had committed impiety and who had confessed it; and his enemies maintained that this decree applied to him.
In the proem he points out the malice or stupidity of the men who persist in rejecting the good offices which he is anxious to render to Athens; and refers to the importance of the communications which he has made in confidence to the Senate (1--4). His so-called crimes--committed in 'youth' and 'folly'--are, he contends, his misfortunes. For the disclosures which he was driven to make five years before he deserves pity--nay, gratitude--rather than hatred (5--9).
He then speaks of his life in exile; of his services to the army at Samos in 411; of his return to Athens in the time of the Four Hundred; and of his imprisonment at the instance of Peisandros, who denounced him as the friend of the democracy (10--16). Statesmen and generals serve the State at the State's expense; he has served it at his own charge. Nor has the end of these services been yet seen. The people will be soon in possession of the secrets which he has imparted to the Senate; and will soon see supplies of corn, procured by his intercession, enter the Peiraeus (17--21). In return for so much, he asks but one small boon--the observance of the promise of impunity under which he originally laid his information, but which was afterwards withdrawn through the influence of his enemies. (22--23)
The peroration opens with a singular argument. When a man makes a mistake, it is not his body's fault: the blame rests with his mind. But he, since he made his mistake, has got a new mind. All that remains, therefore, of the old Andokides is his unoffending body (24). As he was condemned on account of his former deeds, he ought now to be welcomed for his recent deeds. His family has ever been patriotic; his great-grandfather fought against the Peisistratidae; he, too, is a friend of the people. The people, he well knows, are not to blame for the breach of faith with him; they were persuaded to it by the same advisers who persuaded them to tolerate an oligarchy. They have repented of the oligarchy; let them repent also of the unjust sentence. (25--28)
There is a striking contrast between this defence before the ekklesia and that which Andokides made on the same charges, some eleven years later, before a law-court. There he flatly denies that he is in any degree guilty; he turns upon his adversaries with invective and ridicule; he carries the whole matter with a high hand, speaking in a thoroughly confident tone, and giving free play to his lively powers of narration. Here it is quite otherwise. He speaks with humility and remorse of the 'folly'--the 'madness' of his youth; he complains feelingly of the persecution which he has suffered; he implores, in return for constant devotion to the interests of Athens, just one favour--a little favour, which will give his countrymen no trouble, but which will be to him a great joy. In 399 he is defiant; in 410 he is almost abject. In 410 the traces of guilt to which his enemies pointed were still fresh. Before his next speech was spoken, they had been dimmed, not by lapse of time only, but by that great wave of trouble which swept over Athens in 405, and which left all older memories faint in comparison with the memory of the Thirty Tyrants. Andokides the wealthy choregus, the president of the sacred mission, the steward of the sacred treasure, supported on his trial by popular politicians and by advocates chosen from his tribe, was a different person from the anxious suitor who, in the speech On his Return, implored, but could not obtain tolerance.
In the style of the speech there is little to remark except that its difference from that of the speech On the Mysteries exactly corresponds with the difference of tone. There the orator is diffuse, careless, lively; here he is more compact--for he dared not treat a hostile assembly to long stories-- more artificial--and decidedly more dull. Once only does the dramatic force of his natural style flash out--where he describes his appearance before the Council of the Four Hundred. 'Some of the Four Hundred learned that I had arrived; sought me at once; seized me; and brought me before the Council. In an instant Peisandros was at my side:--'Senators, I impeach this man for bringing corn and oar-spars to the enemy'.(14)
Speech On the Mysteries.
The events with which the speech On the Mysteries is connected have been related in the life of Andokides. After his return to Athens, (probably early in 402 B. C.,) under favour of the general amnesty which followed the overthrow of the Thirty Tyrants, he had spent three years in the discharge of various public offices. At length, in 399 B. C., his enemies renewed their attack. During the festival of the Great Mysteries, which Andokides attended, in the autumn of that year, Kephisios laid an information against him before the Archon Basileus.
Mode of legal procedure.
Some obscurity hangs over the form of the accusation; we will give the account of it which appears most probable. When, in 415 B. C., Andokides made his disclosures, he did so on the guarantee of impunity (adeia) which a special decree of the ekklesia had given to all who should inform. Subsequently, however, Isotimides proposed and carried a decree that all who had committed impiety and had confessed it should be excluded from the marketplace and from the temples. The enemies of Andokides maintained that he came under this decree. This was the immediate cause of his quitting Athens in 415. In 409 he was unsuccessful in applying to have the sentence of disfranchisement cancelled. On his return in 402, however, nothing had been said at first about his disabilities.
His accusers now contended that he had broken the decree of Isotimides by attending the Mysteries and entering the Eleusinian Temple. To attend the festival or enter the temple unlawfully would, of course, be an impiety. The information which they laid against him charged him, therefore, on this ground, with impiety. It was an endeixis asebeias. But, in order to prove it, it was necessary to show that he came under the decree of Isotimides. It was necessary to show that he had committed impiety, as well as given information, in 415 B. C.
His defence is therefore directed to showing, in the first place, that he had not committed impiety at that time either by profaning the Mysteries or by mutilating the Hermae. The speech takes its ordinary title from the fact that the Mysteries form one of its prominent topics. But a more general title would have better described the range of its contents. It might have been more fitly called a Defence on a Charge of Impiety.
This view of the matter explains some difficulties. Andokides says (de Myst. 1), 'Kephisios has informed against me according to the existing law, but bases his accusation on the decree of Isotimides'. That is, Kephisios laid against Andokides an ordinary endeixis asebeias. But the charge of asebeia rested on the assumption that he had broken the decree of Isotimides. He was not directly charged either with profaning the Mysteries or with mutilating the Hermae; his guilt in one or both of these matters was assumed. He proceeds to prove that this assumption is groundless; and that, therefore, the decree does not apply to him.
The charge, like all connected with religion, was brought into court by the Archon Basileus. Since details connected with the Mysteries might be put in evidence, the judges were chosen exclusively from the initiated of the higher grade. Kephisios, the chief accuser, was assisted by Meletos, who had been implicated in the murder of Leon under the Thirty, and by Epichares, who had been a member of their government. On the same side were Kallias and Agyrrhios, each of whom had a private quarrel with the accused. Andokides was supported by Anytos and Kephalos, both politicians of mark, and both popular for the part which they had taken in the restoration of the democracy. Advocates chosen for him by his tribesmen were also in court. It is remarkable if, as there is reason to believe, two men engaged on different sides in this trial were, in the same year, united in preferring a more famous charge of impiety. Anytos undoubtedly, Meletos probably, was the accuser of Sokrates.
The speech On the Mysteries falls into three main divisions. In the first, Andokides shows his innocence in regard to the events of 415 B. C. In the second he shows that, in any case, the decree of Isotimides is now obsolete. In the third he deals with a number of minor topics.
I. §§ 1--69.
1. (Proem.) §§ 1--7. Andokides dwells on the rancour of his enemies; insists on the fact of his having remained to stand his trial--instead of withdrawing to his property in Cyprus--as a proof of a good conscience; and appeals to the judges.
2. §§ 8--10. He is perplexed as to what topic of his defence he shall first approach. After a fresh appeal to the judges he resolves to begin with the facts relating to the Mysteries.
3. §§ 11--33. The Mysteries Case. He neither profaned them himself, nor informed against others as having profaned them. Four persons, on four distinct occasions, did, in fact, so inform: viz.:--(i) Pythonikos, who produced the slave Andromachos, § 11: (ii) Teukros, § 15: (iii) Agariste, § 16: (iv) Lydos, § 17. Lydos implicated Leogoras the father of Andokides. Leogoras, however, not only cleared himself, but got a verdict in an action which he brought against the senator Speusippos, §§ 17, 18. (This occasions a parenthesis, in which Andokides defends himself against the imputation of having denounced his father and relations: §§ 19--24.) The largest reward for information (menutra) was adjudged to Andromachos; the second, to Teukros: §§ 27, 28. Andokides calls upon the judges to recognise his innocence as regards the Mysteries: §§ 29--33.
4. §§ 34--69. The Hermae Case. In this matter the chief informants were (i) Teukros: §§ 34--35: (ii) Diokleides, whose allegations caused a general panic: §§ 36--46: (iii) Andokides himself. The circumstances, motives and results of his disclosure are stated at length: §§ 47--69.
II. §§ 70--91.
It is argued that the decree of Isotimides is now void, because it has been cancelled by subsequent decrees, laws and oaths, §§ 70--72. These are next enumerated, as follows.
1. §§ 73--79. During the siege of Athens by the Lacedaemonians in 405 B. C. the decree of Patrokleides was passed, reinstating all the disfranchised.
2. § 80. After the truce with Sparta in 404, when the Thirty Tyrants were established, all exiles received free permission to return.
3. § 81. After the expulsion of the Thirty in 403 a general amnesty was proclaimed.
4. §§ 82--89. At the same time, in accordance with the decree of Tisamenos, a revision of the laws was ordered. This revision having been completed, four new general laws (nomoi) were passed:--viz. (i) That no 'unwritten' law should have force: (ii) That no decree (psephisma) of ekklesia or senate should overrule a law (nomos): (iii) That no law should be made against an individual (ep' andri, § 87): (iv) That decisions of judges or arbiters, pronounced under the former democracy, should remain valid; but that, in future, all decisions should be based on the code as revised in the archonship of Eukleides in 403 B. C. [This is expressed by the phrase chresthai nomois ap' Eukleidou archontos, § 87.]
5. §§ 90, 91. Returning to the subject of § 81, Andokides recalls the terms of the oath of amnesty taken in 403 B. C. He then quotes the official oath of Senators and the official oath of Judges.
III. §§ 92--150 (end).
1. §§ 92--105. He shows that, if the amnesty is to be violated in his case, it may be violated to the cost of others also. The accusers, Kephisios, Meletus and Epichares, as well as others, would, in various ways, be liable to punishment.
2. §§ 106--109. He illustrates the good effect of general amnesties by two examples from the history of Athens: (i) the moderation shown after the expulsion of the Peisistratidae: (ii) an amnesty in the time of the Persian Wars.
3. §§ 110--136. He answers a charge made against him by Kallias. Kallias asserted that Andokides, terrified by the accusation hanging over him, had laid a suppliant's bough (hiketeria) on the altar in the temple at Eleusis during the festival of the Great Mysteries. To take sanctuary, or to place a symbol of supplication, in that temple at that season, was a capital offence (as implying the approach of guilt to the temple at a holy season). Andokides explains the motive of this false charge. Kallias was seeking for his son an heiress whose hand was claimed by Andokides (§§ 110--123). This leads to a digression about a scandal connected with the birth of this son (§§ 124--131). He then attacks the abettors of Kallias in this slander--especially Agyrrhios, a fraudulent tax-farmer who had a grudge against Andokides (§§ 132--136).
4. §§ 137--139. He ridicules the assertion made by the accuser, that the gods must have preserved so great a traveller from the dangers of the sea because they reserved him for the hemlock.
5. §§ 140--150. Peroration, on three topics chiefly:-- (i) the credit which Athens has gained by her policy of amnesties--credit which the judges are bound to sustain: (ii) the public services of the ancestors of Andokides: (iii) his own opportunities for usefulness to the State hereafter, if he is acquitted.
Andokides was acquitted. Before speaking of the method and style of his speech, it is due to its great historical interest to notice some of the disputed statements of fact which it contains.
Historical matter in the Speech.
1. Does the speech represent that account of his own conduct which Andokides gave in 415 when he made his disclosures before the Council of Four Hundred? Next--had he, as a matter of fact, taken part in the mutilation of the Hermae? These two questions have been shortly discussed in Chapter IV. Some reasons are there suggested for believing (1) that, in 415, Andokides had criminated himself as well as others: (2) that he was, in fact, innocent.
2. In § 11 Pythonikos, who brought forward the evidence of the slave Andromachos, is named as the first denouncer of Alkibiades. 'Some residentaliens and slaves in attendance on their masters' (akolouthon) are said by Thucydides (VI. 28) to have been the first accusers; and Plutarch adds that these were brought forward by Androkles. Androkles is mentioned by Andokides only in § 27, as claiming the reward (menutra) from the Senate. In order to reconcile Andokides with Thucydides, it must be supposed either (1) that the 'resident-aliens and slaves' of Thucydides (VI. 28) were the witnesses of Pythonikos, and not, as Plutarch states (Alkib. 19), of Androkles: or (2) that they were the witnesses, some of Pythonikos, some of Androkles; and that those brought forward by Androkles did not criminate Alkibiades, although Androkles afterwards found witnesses who did so. The former supposition, which makes Plutarch inaccurate, seems the most likely.
3. In § 13 it is stated that, on Pythonikos making his accusations, Polystratos was at once arrested and executed, and that the other accused persons fled. It is certain, as Grote observes, that Alkibiades was accused, but neither fled nor was brought to trial; and it would seem more probable, therefore, that the charge was dropped, for the time, in reference to the others also. On this point, however, it does not seem necessary to assume inaccuracy in Andokides. The position of Alkibiades, as a commander of the expedition on which the hopes of the people were set and which was about to sail, was wholly exceptional. The evidence against him may also have been of a different nature.
4. In § 13 there is an oversight. Among those denounced by Pythonikos was Panaetios. And it is said that all persons so denounced--except Polystratos, who was put to death--fled. But in § 68 Panaetios appears as leaving Athens in consequence of the later denunciation of Andokides. As the list in § 13 contains ten names in all, the speaker might easily have made a mistake about one of the number. Or the evidence against Panaetios--who is named last of the ten--may have been so weak that he was acquitted upon this first charge.
5. In § 34 it is said that some of the persons accused by Teukros were put to death. To this Mr Grote opposes the fact that Thucydides (VI. 60) names as having suffered death only some of those who were denounced by Andokides. It seems unsafe, however, to conclude that the orator has made a wrong statement. The language of Thuc. VI. 53, xullambanontes katedoun, hardly warrants the inference that imprisonment was the utmost rigour used in other cases. The statement of Andokides in § 34 is incidentally confirmed by the words which he ascribes to Charmides in § 49.
6. In § 38 Andokides quotes, without comment, the statement of Diokleides that he had seen the faces of some of the conspirators by the light of a full moon. Now Plutarch says that one of the informers (he does not give the name), being asked how he had recognised the faces of the mutilators, answered, 'by the light of the moon'; and was thus convicted of falsehood, it having been new moon on the night in question. Diodoros (XIII. 2) tells the same story, without mentioning any name; but his account does not apply to Diokleides. Mr Grote is unquestionably right in treating the new-moon story as a later fiction. Andokides would not have failed to notice so fatal a slip on the part of Diokleides; nor is it likely that the informer would have made it.
7. In § 17 the action brought by Leogoras against Speusippos is mentioned directly after the evidence of Lydos. But it should be observed that it is mentioned parenthetically; and that the indefinite kapeita does not fix its date at all. Leogoras was in the prison with his son (§ 50); and the action was doubtless not brought until after the disclosures of Andokides.
8. In § 45 the panic, during which the citizens kept watch under arms through the night, is placed in immediate connection with the informations of Diokleides, who caused this panic by representing the plot as widely spread. It is said, also, that the Boeotians took advantage of the alarm at Athens to march to the frontier. Now Thucydides (VI. 60) states that, during one night an armed body of citizens garrisoned the Theseion; but he puts this after the disclosures of Andokides, and connects it with the appearance of a Spartan force at the isthmus. Bishop Thirlwall justly remarks that, unless there were two or more occasions on which the citizens kept armed watch, Andokides, who goes into minute detail, is more likely than Thucydides to be right about the time of it.
9. In § 106 the expulsion from Athens of the tyrants--that is, Hippias and his adherents--is described as following upon a battle fought epi Pallenioi, which seems to mean 'at the Pallenion', the temple of Athene Pallenis at Pallene, about 10 miles E.N.E. of Athens. Now it was near this temple that Peisistratos, on his third return, won the victory which led to the final establishment of his tyranny, probably in 545 B. C. But no battle at the same spot, or anywhere near it, is mentioned by any other authority in connexion with the expulsion of of the Peisistratidae. According to Herodotos, the Lacedaemonians sent, in 510, an expedition under Kleomenes. Kleomenes, on entering Attica from the isthmus, met and routed the Thessalian cavalry of Hippias; advanced to Athens; and besieged the Peisistratidae, who presently capitulated. Herodotos and Andokides can be reconciled only by supposing that the account of Herodotos is incomplete. It seems more probable, however, that Andokides has confused the scene of a battle won by Peisistratos with the scene of a battle lost by the Peisistratidae.
10. In § 107 it is said that when, later, the Persian king made an expedition against Greece, the Athenians recalled those who had been banished, and reinstated those who had been disfranchised, when the tyrants were expelled. No such amnesty is recorded in connection with the first Persian invasion in 490; but Plutarch mentions such a measure as having been passed shortly before the battle of Salamis in 480. Now the Persian invasion in 490 was undertaken for the purpose of restoring Hippias; and the invasion in 480 was undertaken partly at the instance of his family. Men (or their descendants) who had been banished or disfranchised in 510 would certainly not have been restored to Athenian citizenship in 490 or 480. Andokides seems, then, to have remembered vaguely that an act of amnesty was passed at Athens on some occasion during the Persian wars; to have placed this act in 490 instead of 480; and to have represented it as passed in favour of the very persons who would probably have been excluded from it.
11. In § 107 it is said of the Athenians;-- 'They resolved to meet the barbarians at Marathon... They fought and conquered; they freed Greece and saved their country. And having done so great a deed, they thought it not meet to bear malice against any one for the past. Therefore, although through these things they entered upon their city desolate, their temples in ashes, their walls and houses in ruins, yet by concord they achieved the empire of Greece', &c. From this passage Valckenar, Sluiter and Grote infer that Andokides has transferred the burning of Athens by Xerxes in 480 to the first invasion in 490. This is hardly a necessary inference. Andokides is speaking of the struggle with Persia--extending from 490 to 479--as a whole. He names Marathon: he does not name Salamis or Plataea. He merely says that, after the Athenians had 'freed Greece', they came back to find their city in ruins.
Arrangement and Style of the Speech.
It is impossible to read the speech On the Mysteries without feeling that, as a whole, it is powerful, in spite of some evident defects. The arrangement is best in what we have called the first division (§§ 1--69), which deals with two distinct groups of facts, those relating to the Mysteries case and those relating to the Hermae case. These facts are stated in an order which is, on the whole, clear and natural, though not free from the parentheses of which Andokides was so fond, and of which sections 19--24 form an example. Less praise is due to the second part of the speech (§§ 70--91), devoted to the various enactments which had made the decree of Isotimides obsolete. It is at once full and obscure, giving needless, and withholding necessary, details. The third part (§§ 92--end) is a mere string of topics, unconnected with each other, and but slightly connected with the case. This confused appendix to the real defence is, however, significant. It shows the anxiety of Andokides to make the judges understand the rancorous personal feeling of his enemies; an anxiety natural in a man who for sixteen years had been pursued by unproved accusations. The passages about Kallias and Agyrrhios probably had a stronger effect upon the court than any conventional appeal to compassion would have produced.
As regards style, the language of the speech is thoroughly unaffected and easy, plain without studied avoidance of ornament, and rising at the right places--as when he speaks of the old victories of freedom (§§ 106--109), and in the peroration (§§ 140 --150). But the great merit of the composition is its picturesqueness, its variety and life. The scene in the prison (§§ 48--53) and the description of the panic at Athens (§§ 43--45) are perhaps the best passages in this respect. If Andokides had not many rhetorical accomplishments, he certainly had perception of character, and the knack of describing it. Diokleides bargaining with Euphemos (§ 40)--Charmides exhorting Andokides to save the prisoners (§§ 49, 50)--Peisandros urging that Mantitheos and Aphepsion should be put on the rack (§ 43)--are well given in a few vivid touches.
Speech On the Peace with the Lacedaemonians.
The speech On the Peace with the Lacedaemonians belongs, as has been noticed in a former chapter, to the year 390. Athens, Thebes, Corinth and Argos had then been four years at war with Sparta. Andokides had just returned from an embassy to Sparta with a view to peace. The terms proposed by the Lacedaemonians were, as regarded Athens, permission to retain her walls and ships, and the restoration of Lemnos, Imbros and Skyros. The orator, speaking in debate in the ekklesia, urges that these terms should be accepted..
The opponents of peace contend that peace with Lacedaemon is fraught with danger to the democracy (§§1--2). He meets this objection by instancing a number of cases in which peace with Sparta, so far from injuring the Athenian democracy, was productive of the greatest advantage to it. He cites (1) a peace with Sparta negotiated by Miltiades during a war in Euboea: §§ 3--5. (2) The Thirty Years' Truce, 445 B. C. §§ 6--7. (3) The Peace of Nikias, [p. 129] 421 B. C.: §§ 8, 9.--The compulsory truce with Sparta in 404, followed by the establishment of the Thirty Tyrants, was not, properly speaking, a peace at all; and is therefore no exception to the rule that peace with Sparta has always been found salutary (§§ 10--12).
There is no good reason for continuing the war. The claims of Athens have now been recognised; the Boeotians desire peace; the hope of finally crushing Sparta is idle (§§ 13--16). Athens is the power which gains most by the peace now proposed (§§ 17--23). If Boeotia makes peace, Athens will be left with one weak ally, Corinth, and another who is a positive encumbrance--selfish Argos (§§ 24--27). Athens must not, here, prefer weak friends, as formerly she preferred Amorges to Xerxes II.; Egesta to Syracuse; Argos to Sparta (§§ 28--32). The speaker goes on to notice a variety of objections to the peace. Some say that walls and ships are not money, and wish to recover their property abroad [ta spheter' auton tes huperorias, § 36] which was lost when the Athenian empire fell. But such men ought to remember that walls and ships were just the means by which the empire was won in the first instance (§§ 33--39).
In a peroration the assembly is reminded that the decision rests wholly with it; Argive and Corinthian envoys have come urging war; Spartan envoys, offering peace. The true plenipotentiaries are not the ambassadors, but those who vote in the ekklesia (§§ 40, 412 ). Question of authenticity.
According to the author of the Argument, the speech On the Peace was judged spurious by Dionysios, and Harpokration also doubted its authenticity. Among modern critics, Taylor and Markland are the chief who have taken the same view; but they have a majority of opinions against them. Probably the suspicions of Dionysios, like those of Taylor, arose mainly from the difficulties of the historical passage (§§ 3--6); and from the fact that this passage is found, slightly modified, in the speech of Aeschines On the Embassy.
It is said in §§ 3--5 that, when the Athenians 'had the war in Euboea'--being then masters of Megara, Troezen and Pegae--Miltiades, son of Kimon, who had been ostracised, was recalled, and was sent to treat for peace at Sparta. A peace was concluded between Athens and Sparta for fifty years; and was observed on both sides for thirteen years. During this peace the Peiraeus was fortified (478 B. C.), and the Northern Long Wall was built (457 B. C.). Now (1) the only recorded war of Athens in which Euboea was concerned, during the life of Miltiades, was in 507, when the Chalkidians were defeated and their territory given to the first kleruchs. (2) Megara, Troezen and Pegae were not included in the Athenian alliance until long after 478 B. C. (3) Miltiades was never ostracised; having been sent to the Chersonese before the invention of ostracism by Kleisthenes. (4) No such peace as that spoken of is known; though in 491, an Athenian embassy went to Sparta with a different object--to denounce the medism of the Aeginetans. Most critics have assumed that Andokides refers to the Five Years' Truce between Athens and Sparta, concluded in 450 B. C., mainly through the influence of Kimon, son of Miltiades; and that he names the father instead of the son. But all agree that the passage as it stands is full of inaccuracies, and can be reconciled with history only by conjectural emendation.
Again, in § 6 it is said that Athens having been plunged into war by the Aeginetans, and having done and suffered much evil, at last concluded the Thirty Years' Peace with Sparta (445 B. C.). The impression conveyed by this statement is wrong. The war between Athens and Aegina began about 458, and ended in 455 with the reduction of Aegina. In 450 Athens and Sparta made a truce for five years. A new train of events began with the revolution in Boeotia in 447, followed by the revolt of Megara and Euboea; and it was this which led up to the peace of 445 B. C.
These inaccuracies are in regard only to the earlier history of Athens: and the undoubtedly genuine speech On the Mysteries contains allusions which are no less inaccurate. In regard to contemporary events the speaker makes no statement which can be shown to be incorrect: and on one point--the position of Argos at the time--he is incidentally confirmed in a striking manner by Xenophon. A forger would have studied the early history with more care, and would not have known, the details of the particular situation so well. But how does it happen that the whole historical passage (§§ 3--12) reappears, with modifications, in the speech of Aeschines On the Embassy? Either Aeschines copied this speech, or a later writer copied the speech of Aeschines. There can be little doubt that the former was the case. Andokides, grandfather of the orator, is mentioned in the speech On the Peace as a member of the embassy to Sparta in 445 B. C. In the speech of Aeschines he is named as chief of that embassy. This Andokides--an obscure member, if he was a member, of the embassy which, according to Diodoros, was led by Kallias and Chares --would not have been named at all except by his own grandson. Again, there are traces in Aeschines of condensation--not always intelligent --from the speech On the Peace. Thus the latter says (referring to the years before the Peloponnesian war)--?we laid up 1000 talents in the acropolis, and set them apart by law for the use of the people at special need?: Aeschines, leaving out the qualifying clause, makes it appear that the sum of 1000 talents was the total sum laid up in the Athenian treasury18 during the years of peace.
The treatment of the subject certainly affords no argument against the authenticity of the speech. Andokides gave little care to arrangement, and here there is no apparent attempt to treat the question methodically. On the other hand, the remarks about Corinth and Argos, and the answer to those who demanded the restoration of lands abroad, are both acute and sensible. In this, as in his other speech before the ekklesia, the descriptive talent of Andokides had little scope; but, as in the speech On the Mysteries, the style is spirited and vigorous.
Speech against Alkibiades.
The speech against Alkibiades is certainly spurious. It discusses the question whether the speaker, or Nikias or Alkibiades is to be ostracised. The situation resembles one which is mentioned by Plutarch. Alkibiades, Nikias and Phaeax were rivals for power, and it had become plain that one of the three would incur ostracism. They therefore made common cause against Hyperbolos, who was ostracised, probably in 417 B. C.
The supposed date of this speech is fixed by a reference in § 22 to the capture of Melos. Melos was taken in the winter of 416--415 B. C. Nikias left Athens, never to return, in the spring of 415. Therefore the speech could have been spoken only in the early part of 415 B. C.
The orator, after stating the point at issue, and censuring the institution of ostracism (§§ 1--6), enters upon an elaborate invective against Alkibiades (§§ 10--40). The latter is attacked for having doubled the tribute of the allies (§§ 10--12); for having ill-used his wife (§§ 13--15); for contempt of the law (§§ 16--19); for beating a choregus (§§ 20, 21); for insolence after his Olympian victory (§§ 24--33). He is then contrasted with the speaker (§§ 34--40), who concludes with a notice of his own public services (§§ 41, 42).
The Speech not by Andokides.
The speech is twice cited without suspicion by Harpokration: it is also named as genuine by Photios. The biographer of Andokides does not mention it; but, in its place, mentions a Defence in reply to Phaeax. There are traces of its ascription in antiquity both to Lysias and to Aeschines. But an examination of the speech will show that it cannot have been spoken by Andokides, or written by him for the use of another; that it was probably not written by any one who lived at the time of which it treats; and that there is good reason for believing it to be the work of a late sophist.
That Andokides spoke this speech is inconceivable. The speaker says (§ 8) that he has been four times tried; and (§ 41) that he has been ambassador to Molossia, Thesprotia, Italy and Sicily. But elsewhere, excusing himself for acts committed in the very year in which this speech is supposed to have been delivered--in 415--Andokides pleads that he was young and foolish at the time. Moreover, no writer mentions Andokides as having been in danger of ostracism at the same time as Nikias and Alkibiades.
Nor is it credible that Andokides wrote the speech for another person--Phaeax, for instance, as Valckenar suggests. The style is strongly against this. It is far more artificial than anything by Andokides which we possess; it approaches, indeed, more nearly to the style of Isokrates. The formal antitheses in the proem (§§ 1--2) are a striking example of this character.
Was Phaeax the author?
Taylor and others have ascribed the speech to Phaeax himself. Plutarch names Phaeax, Alkibiades and Nikias as the three men over whom ostracism was hanging at the same time; and quotes from a speech against Alkibiades, with which the name of Phaeax is connected, a story which appears (in a different form) in our speech. Then it is known from Thucydides that Phaeax went on an embassy at least to Sicily and Italy. Valckenar's and Ruhnken's arguments against Taylor are inconclusive. If the speech was really written at the time of which it treats, it cannot be disproved, any more than it can be proved, that Phaeax was the author.
The Speech probably by a late sophist.
But an overwhelming amount of evidence tends to show that the speech is the work of a later sophist. First stand two general reasons; the supposed occasion of the speech, and the style of its composition.
As far as the nature of ostracism is known to us, the whole speech involves a thorough misconception of it: it assumes a situation which could never have existed. Once every year the ekklesia was formally asked by its presidents whether, in that year, an ostracism should be held. If it voted affirmatively, a day was fixed. The market-place was railed in for voting, every citizen might write any name he pleased on the shell which he dropped into the urn; and if against any one name there were six thousand votes, the person so indicated was banished for ten-- in later times, for five--years. The characteristic feature of the whole proceeding was the absence of everything like an open contest between definite rivals. The very object of ostracism was to get rid of a dangerous man in the quietest and least invidious way. No names were mentioned; far less was discussion dreamed of. The idea of a man rising in the ekklesia or other public gathering, and stating that he was one of three persons who were in danger of ostracism; then inveighing at great length and with extraordinary bitterness against one of the other two; and concluding with a vindication of his own consequence--would have probably seemed to Athenians of the days of ostracism incredibly indecent and absurd. In the first place, they would have been offended by his open assumption--whether true or not--that he was one of the citizens who had rendered the resort to ostracism necessary; secondly, they would have resented his attempt to prejudice the ballot; and if, in the end, he had escaped, his escape would probably have been due to their conviction that, as the poet Plato said of Hyperbolos, 'it was not for such fellows that shells were invented'. But the speaker against Alkibiades does not only himself speak thus; he asserts that Alkibiades is about to address the house next, and to endeavour to move it by his tears.
If the nature of the situation supposed were not enough, the style of the composition would in itself be almost decisive. The speaker begins with a formal statement of the matter in hand, evidently meant for a reader; and then goes on to string together all the tritest stories about Alkibiades. This --the body of the speech--has the unmistakable air of a compilation.
The arguments from the supposed occasion and from the style are confirmed by the evidence of particular misstatements. In §§ 22, 23 Alkibiades is said to have had a child by a Melian woman who came into his power after the capture of Melos; but the speech, as has been shown, can refer only to the spring of 415: and Melos was taken only in the winter of 416--415. In § 33 Kimon is said to have been banished because he had married his own sister. In § 13 the commander at Delium--a battle fought but nine years before the supposed date of the speech --is called Hipponikos instead of Hippokrates. The two last blunders would have been impossible for an Athenian of that age. On the whole there can be little doubt that in this speech we must recognize the work of a late rhetorician who saw, in the juxtaposition of Alkibiades, Nikias and Andokides, a dramatic subject; who had only an indistinct notion of how ostracism was managed in olden times; and who believed himself sufficiently prepared for his task when he had read in Plutarch all the scandalous stories relating to Alkibiades.
This text is cited June 2005 from Perseus Project URL bellow, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Beside the extant speeches of Andokides, the titles of four others
have been preserved.
(1) Plutarch quotes an address 'To the Associates', of the oligarchical clubs, as authority for a statement that the remains of Themistokles had been dishonoured at Athens; but adds that the statement was made by Andokides merely for the purpose of exasperating the oligarchs against the people. Ruhnken, with whom Sauppe agrees, thought that this Address was a letter written by Andokides, then in exile, to the fellow-conspirators of Peisandros in 411. But the breach of Andokides with the oligarchical party, after his informations in 415, was decisive and final; when he returned to Athens in 411 he was at once denounced by Peisandros and imprisoned. It seems better, then, with Kirchhoff and Blass, to refer this Address to an earlier time than 415: perhaps to the years 420--418, a period of keen struggle between the oligarchical and popular parties at Athens.
(2) The 'Deliberative Speech' quoted by the lexicographers is identified by Kirchhoff with the last-mentioned. Its title seems, however, to show plainly that it was of a different kind, and was either spoken, or supposed to be spoken, in debate in the ekklesia.
(3) Harpokration once quotes a 'Speech On the Information' (peri tes endeixeos) for the word zetetes, which occurs twice in the speech On the Mysteries. Hence the two speeches have sometimes been identified. But the pseudo-Plutarch expressly distinguishes them. And the author of the speech against Andokides states that two informations had been laid against him in the same year. It is true that there is no proof of the earlier information having resulted in a trial; and that the title of the lost speech, if really distinct from the De Mysteriis, was ill-chosen. But it is difficult to suppose that the biographer could have made such a blunder as to quote the same speech by two different titles in the same sentence. On the whole, Sauppe's view, that the speech On the Mysteries and the speech On the Information were distinct, appears most probable. If the lost speech referred, like the De Mysteriis, to the Hermae case, it must have contained the word which Harpokration quotes; and it would have been natural for him to quote it from the earlier of the two compositions in which it occurred.
(4) The 'Reply to Phaeax' is known only from the pseudo-Plutarch, who does not name the speech 'Against Alkibiades'. It has been shown that the latter is probably the work of a late sophist; and it is likely that Phaeax, rather than Andokides, was intended to be the speaker. If, then, it could be assumed that 'Reply to Phaeax' is an inaccurate quotation of the title, which ought to have been cited as 'Reply for Phaeax', there is no difficulty in supposing the identity of this work with the extant speech Against Alkibiades.
Besides the names of these four speeches, two fragments of unknown context have been preserved . One of them expresses the hope that Athens may not 'again' see the country people thronging in to seek shelter within the walls. This seems to refer to the invasion by Archidamos in 431. If this be so, the speech to which the fragment belonged was probably older than 413, when Agis occupied Dekeleia, and when the scenes of 431 must have been to some extent repeated. Such a passage might have found place either in the address To the Associates or in the Deliberative Speech. The other fragment speaks of Hyperbolos as then at Athens; and is therefore older, at least, than 417
This text is cited June 2005 from Perseus Project URL bellow, which contains interesting hyperlinks
J.F. Dobson, The Greek Orators - Andocides
KOLLYTOS (Ancient demos) ATHENS
At the heart of Plato's philosophy is a vision of reality that sees the changing world around us and the things within it as mere shadows or reflections of a separate world of independently existing, eternal, and unchanging entities called "forms" or "ideas." Ordinary objects are what they are and have the features they do in virtue of their relation to or "participation in" these most fundamental realities. Forms are the proper objects of knowledge or understanding, and the desire to understand them is the proper dominant motivation in a healthy, happy human life. The apprehension and appreciation of formal reality makes life worth living; it also makes one moral.
These views, which find their most vigorous and eloquent expression in the Republic, belong to Plato's philosophical maturity, not his youth. Plato was born in 428 BCE, probably in Athens, to an aristocratic family. His uncle Critias was a leader of the Thirty Tyrants, a group of oligarchs who ruled Athens in 404-403 BCE; another uncle, Charmides, was also one of the Thirty. As a young man Plato encountered Socrates, whose life and death influenced him immensely. After Socrates? death in 399 BCE, Plato traveled widely, visiting, in particular, Italy and Sicily, where he met Dionysius I, the ruler of Syracuse; Dionysius's brother-in-law, Dion; and the mathematician Archytus of Tarentum. In 387 BCE, Plato returned to Athens and founded the Academy, where he taught philosophy for most of the rest of his life. He did visit Syracuse twice more. In 367, Dion invited Plato to try to realize the Republic?s ideal of the philosopher-king in the person of Dionysius II, who had just succeeded to the throne. Plato felt obliged to try, but his efforts were unsuccessful. In 362 BCE, Dionysius II himself invited Plato back to teach him philosophy; this visit too was unsuccessful. Plato died in 347 BCE in Athens.
Since there is no work of Plato's mentioned in antiquity that we do not have, there is reason to think that all of his publications--forty-two dialogues (though scholars doubt the authenticity of several)--survived. There are also thirteen letters and two collections, one of definitions and one of epigrams. Although the authenticity of the letters has been seriously questioned, most scholars rely on the Seventh Letter for important facts about Plato's life.
On the basis of differences in style and doctrine, many scholars believe that Plato's dialogues can be sorted roughly into three groups: a group of "Socratic" dialogues that includes the Apology, Charmides, Crito, Euthydemus, Euthyphro, Gorgias, Greater Hippias, Ion, Laches, Lesser Hippias, Lysis, Menexenus, Meno, and Protagoras; a second group comprising the Cratylus, Parmenides, Phaedo, Phaedrus, Symposium, Republic, and Theaetetus; and a third group including the Critias (apparently not completed by Plato), Laws, Philebus, Sophist, Statesman, and Timaeus. Many also believe that Republic Book 1 was originally composed as a Socratic dialogue and later revised for inclusion in the Republic; some would place the Gorgias in the second group; and a few would include the Timaeus in the second group. Nearly all scholars agree that the dialogues in the third group were written late in Plato's life, and many think that the Socratic dialogues were probably written much earlier, but before the dialogues in the second group. If they are right, Plato's first and second trips to Syracuse may mark the divisions between the three groups.
The Socratic dialogues are dominated by the figure of Socrates. Socrates spent his time talking to people about ethical topics. He sought by this means to discover definitions of the virtues, thinking that in learning what virtue is, he would become virtuous, and that this would make his life a happy one. He also sought to expose other people's false conceit of knowledge about ethical matters, thinking that such conceit prevented them from becoming virtuous and happy. Socrates appealed to some people, but he repelled many others; he also came to be associated in the public mind with anti-democratic factions in Athens. In 399 BCE, Socrates was tried on a charge of impiety, convicted, and put to death.
Socrates plainly had a huge influence on Plato, and the Socratic dialogues seek to memorialize him. Two of them portray the equanimity and moral seriousness with which Socrates conducted himself in his last days. The Apology purports to be the speech Socrates made in defense of his life and conduct at his trial; in the Crito, he gives reasons for rejecting an offer from his friends to get him out of prison and away from Athens before his sentence can be carried out. Another group of dialogues shows Socrates using the method of elenchus or cross-examination to test definitions of the virtues or other moral notions offered by others: the Charmides, a definition of temperance; Euthyphro, of piety; Greater Hippias, of the fine; Laches, of courage; Lysis, of friendship; Meno, of virtue itself; and Republic Book 1, of justice. A third group of dialogues (the Gorgias, Ion, and Protagoras) shows Socrates using the elenchus to refute the moral views of those who claim to have the knowledge he lacks. The question how the views of the historical Socrates, the Socrates of Plato's Socratic dialogues, and Plato himself are related to one another is extremely controversial. One common and reasonable answer is that Plato seeks to remain true to the spirit though not necessarily the letter of the philosophy of the historical Socrates.
In the dialogues of the second group, the theory of forms takes Socrates' place at center stage. Plato abandons the elenchus as well as Socrates' concentration on ethical topics in favor of an ambitious positive doctrine that ranges over the full spectrum of human experience. In the great constructive dialogues of this period--the Phaedo (which describes the day of Socrates' death), the Symposium and the Phaedrus (both on love), and especially the Republic (on the ideal state and the best life for a human being, and much else)--Plato achieves a combination of artistic and philosophical excellence not seen since. In the remaining dialogues of this group, Plato discusses philosophy of language (the Cratylus), philosophy of knowledge (the Theaetetus), and his own theory of forms (the Parmenides).
Plato's last dialogues take up both neglected and previously considered questions. The Sophist addresses difficulties first raised by Parmenides involving not-being and falsity. The Timaeus supplements the middle period's theory of forms to make possible an account of physical reality. The Philebus deals with pleasure, a topic discussed briefly in the Gorgias and the Republic. The Statesman and the Laws (very likely Plato's last work) return to issues in political philosophy, a subject taken up earlier in the Crito and the Republic.
This text is cited August 2004 from Perseus Project URL bellow, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Plato, (Platon). The greatest of the Athenian philosophers. He was
born May 26 (the seventh of Thargelion), B.C. 428, probably at Athens, though
some say at Aegina. He was of an aristocratic family, his father Aristo claiming
descent from Codrus, the last of the Athenian kings, and his mother Perictione
being of the family of Sohn. His name was originally Aristocles, after his grandfather,
but he was subsequently called Platon, in consequence of his fluency of speech,
or, as others say, because of his broad (platus) forehead or his broad shoulders.
The traditions that have come down regarding his birth and career are largely
mythical, and are given by Diogenes Laertius. One story makes him the son of Apollo,
and another tells how bees settled on his lips when a child, thus foreshadowing
his honeyed eloquence. Plutarch relates that he was humpbacked, but this, perhaps,
was not a natural defect; it may have first appeared late in life as a result
of his severe studies. Other ancient writers, on the contrary, speak in high terms
of his manly and noble mien. The only authentic bust that we have of him is at
present in the gallery at Florence. It was discovered near Athens in the fifteenth
century, and purchased by Lorenzo de' Medici. In this bust the forehead of the
philosopher is remarkably large. Plato first learned grammar, that is, reading
and writing, from Dionysius. In gymnastics, Ariston was his teacher; and he excelled
so much in these physical exercises that he entered, as is said, a public contest
at the Isthmian and Pythian Games. He studied painting and music under the tuition
of Draco, a scholar of Damon, and Metellus of Agrigentum; but his favourite employment
in his youthful years was poetry. The lively fancy and powerful style which his
philosophical writings so amply display must naturally have impelled him, at an
early period of life, to make some attempts at versification, which were assuredly
not without influence on the beautiful form of his later works. After he had enjoyed
the instruction of the most eminent teachers of poetry in all its forms, he proceeded
himself to make an attempt in heroic verse; but when he compared his production
with the masterpieces of Homer, he consigned it to the flames. He next tried lyric
poetry, but with no better success; and finally turned his attention to dramatic
composition. He elaborated four pieces, or a tetralogy, consisting of three separate
tragedies and one satyric drama; but an accident induced him to quit this career,
for which he was not probably fitted. A short time before the festival of Dionysus,
when his pieces were to be brought upon the stage, he happened to hear Socrates
conversing, and was so captivated by the charms of his manners as from that moment
to abandon poetry, and apply himself earnestly to the study of philosophy. But,
though Plato abandoned his poetic attempts, he still attended to the reading of
the poets, particularly Homer, Aristophanes, and Sophron, as his favourite occupation;
and he appears to have derived from them, in part, the dramatic arrangement of
his dialogues. He had already heard the instructions of Cratylus, a disciple of
the school of Heraclitus, and was now twenty years of age when he became acquainted
with Socrates. He continued a professed disciple of that philosopher for the space
of eight years, until the death of the latter. During all this period Socrates
regarded him as one of his most faithful pupils, and Plato always cherished a
deep affection and esteem for his master, so that when the latter was brought
to trial he undertook to plead his cause; but the partiality and violence of the
judges would not permit him to proceed. After the condemnation he presented his
master with money sufficient to redeem his life, which, however, Socrates refused
to accept. During his imprisonment Plato attended him, and was present at a conversation
which he held with his friends concerning the immortality of the soul, the substance
of which he afterwards committed to writing in the dialogue entitled Phaedo, not,
however, without interweaving his own opinions and language. Upon the death of
his master he withdrew, with several other friends of Socrates, to Megara, where
they were hospitably entertained by Euclid, and remained till the emeute at Athens
subsided. Brucker thinks that Plato received instruction in dialectics from Euclid.
Cicero relates that the Megarean philosopher drew many of his opinions from Plato.
Desirous of making himself master of all the wisdom and learning which the age could furnish, Plato, after this, travelled into every country which was so far enlightened as to promise him any recompense for his labour. He first visited that part of Magna Graecia where a celebrated school of philosophy had been established by Pythagoras. It is commonly believed that Plato formally became a scholar of the Pythagoreans, and many persons are expressly named as his teachers in the doctrines of that sect of philosophy. But this multitude of teachers is of itself sufficient to excite suspicion; and, besides, Plato must then have been at least thirty years old, and was undoubtedly acquainted with the Pythagorean system long before his Italian voyage. How long Plato remained in Italy cannot be determined, since all the accounts relative to this point are deficient. But so much is certain, that he did not leave this country before he had gained the entire friendship of the principal Pythagoreans, of which they subsequently gave most unequivocal proofs. From Italy Plato went to Cyrene, the celebrated Greek colony in Africa. It is not certain whether he visited Sicily in passing. According to Apuleius, the object of his journey was to learn mathematics of Theodorus. This mathematician, whose fame perhaps surpassed his knowledge, had given instruction to the youth of Athens in this branch of science; and Plato, in all probability, merely wished now to complete his knowledge on this subject. From Cyrene he proceeded to Egypt, and, in order to travel with more safety upon his journey to the last-named country, he assumed the character of a merchant, and, as a seller of oil, passed through the kingdom of Artaxerxes Mnemon. Wherever he came, he obtained information from the Egyptian priests concerning their astronomical observations and calculations. It has been asserted that it was in Egypt that Plato acquired his opinions concerning the origin of the world, and learned the doctrines of transmigration and the immortality of the soul; but it is more than probable that he learned the latter doctrine from Socrates, and the former from the school of Pythagoras. It is not likely that Plato, in the habit of a merchant, could have obtained access to the sacred mysteries of Egypt; for, in the case of Pythagoras, the Egyptian priests were so unwilling to communicate their secrets to strangers that even a royal mandate was scarcely sufficient in a single instance to gain this permission. Little regard is therefore due to the opinions of those who assert that Plato derived his system of philosophy from the Egyptians. That Plato's stay in Egypt extended to a period of thirteen years, as some maintain, or even three years, as others state, is highly incredible; especially as there is no trace in his works of Egyptian research, and all that he tells us of Egypt indicates at most a very scanty acquaintance with the subject.
After leaving Egypt, he went to Sicily in order to see the volcano of Aetna, and visited Syracuse at the time when Dionysius the Elder was reigning. At the court of Dionysius Plato became acquainted with Dio, the brother-in-law of the tyrant, and Dio endeavoured to produce an influence upon the mind of Dionysius by the conversation of Plato. But the attempt failed, and had nearly cost the philosopher his life. Dionysius was highly incensed at the result of an argument in which he was worsted by Plato, who took occasion also to advance in the course of it some unpalatable truths; and in the first heat of his passion he would have punished the hardihood of the philosopher with death, had not Dio and Aristomenes together restrained him from it. They conceived, therefore, that Plato could no longer stay at Syracuse without hazard, and accordingly secured passage for him in a ship which was about to carry home Polis, a Lacedaemonian ambassador, or, according to Olympiodorus, a merchant of Aegina. Dionysius heard of it, and bribed Polis to sell him as a slave. He was accordingly sold by the treacherous Polis on the island of Aegina, which was then involved in war with Athens. According to some writers he was sold by the Aeginetans. A certain Anniceris, from Cyrene, ransomed him for twenty or thirty minae. Plato's friends and scholars (according to some, Dio alone) collected this sum in order to indemnify Anniceris, who, however, was so noble-minded that with the money he purchased a garden in the Academe, and presented it to the philosopher. When Plato had completed his travels, and had reached the end of his various dangers and calamities, he returned to Athens, and began publicly to teach philosophy in the Academy. He had inherited here a garden, which was purchased for five hundred drachmae. This garden remained the property of the philosophic school that he had founded. His memory was honoured by the Athenians and by foreigners with monuments and statues. Diogenes states that Plato taught philosophy first in the Academy, and also in a garden at Colonus. His Academy soon became celebrated, and was numerously attended by high-born and noble young men; for he had already, by means of his travels, and probably by some publications, acquired a distinguished name. Among these disciples, from whom he exacted no fee, were his nephew Speusippus, Xenocrates of Chalcedon, Aristotle, Heraclides of Pontus, Hestiaeus of Perinthus, and Philippus the Opuntian, while others, who were not regularly enrolled among his immediate followers, numbered such men as Iphicrates, Timotheus, Phocion, Lycurgus, Hyperides, Isocrates, and possibly Demosthenes.
Plato taught in the Academy for twenty-two years prior to his second journey to Syracuse, which he undertook at the instigation of Dio, who hoped, by the lessons of the philosopher, to influence the character of the new ruler of Syracuse. This prince, it is said, had been brought up by his father wholly destitute of an enlightened education, and it was now the task of Plato to form his mind by philosophy. It seems, at the same time, to have been the plan of Dio and Plato to bring about, by philosophical instruction, a wholesome reform of the Sicilian constitution, by giving it a more aristocratic character. But, whatever may have been their intentions, they were all frustrated by the weak and voluptuous character of Dionysius. Dio became the object of the tyrant's suspicion, and was conveyed away to the coast of Italy, without, however, forfeiting his possessions. In this condition of affairs, Plato did not long remain in Syracuse, where his position would at best have been ambiguous. He returned to Athens, but, in consequence of some fresh disagreement between Dionysius and Dio, with respect to the property of the latter, he was induced to take a third journey to Syracuse. The reconciliation, which it was his object to effect, completely miscarried; he himself came to an open rupture with Dionysius, and only obtained a free departure from Sicily through the active interposition of his Pythagorean friends at Tarentum. It does not appear that he took any part in the later conduct of Sicilian affairs, though his nephew and disciple Speusippus and others of the Academy, rendered personal assistance to Dio, in a warlike expedition against Dionysius. From this time Plato seems to have passed his old age in tranquillity in his garden, near the Academy, engaged with the instruction of numerous disciples, and the prosecution of his literary labours. He died while yet actively employed about his philosophical studies, in B.C. 347.
The philosophical writings of Plato have come down to us complete, and have always been admired as a model of the union of artistic perfection with philosophical acuteness and depth. They are in the form of dialogue; but Plato was not the first writer who employed this style of composition for philosophical instruction. Zeno the Eleatic had already written in the form of question and answer. Alexamenus the Teian and Sophron in the mimes had treated ethical subjects in the same form. Xenophon, Aeschines, Antisthenes, Euclides, and other Socratics had also made use of the dialogical form; but Plato has handled this form not only with greater mastery than any one who preceded him, but, in all probability, with the distinct intention of keeping by this very means true to the admonition of Socrates, not to communicate instruction, but to lead to the spontaneous discovery of it. Moreover, the dramatic form gives great force and liveliness to the teaching, and was used by Plato with so much ability as to lead to the grouping of the dialogues into trilogies and tetralogies as though they had been actual dramas. The dialogues of Plato are closely connected with one another, and various arrangements of them have been proposed. Schleiermacher divides them into three series or classes. In the first he considers that the germs of dialectic and of the doctrine of ideas begin to unfold themselves in all the freshness of youthful inspiration; in the second those germs develop themselves further by means of dialectic investigations respecting the difference between common and philosophical acquaintance with things, respecting notion and knowledge (doxa and episteme); in the third they receive their completion by means of an objectively scientific working out, with the separation of ethics and physics. The first series embraces, according to Schleiermacher, the Phaedrus, Lysis, Protagoras, Laches, Charmides, Euthyphron, and Parmenides; to which may be added as an appendix the Apologia, Crito, Ion, Hippias Minor, Hipparchus, Minos, and Alcibiades II. The second series contains the Gorgias, Theaetetus, Meno, Euthydemus, Cratylus, Sophistes, Politicus, Symposium, Phaedo, and Philebus; to which may be added as an appendix the Theages, Erastae, Alcibiades I., Menexenus, Hippias Major, and Clitophon. The third series comprises the Republic, Timaeus, Critias, and the Laws. This arrangement may be accepted as a matter of convenience, but scholars long ago ceased to think it possible to discover in the dialogues any satisfactory evidence of the order of their composition. The genuineness of many of the dialogues has been questioned, and the following are undoubtedly spurious: Alcibiades II., Axiochus, Clitophon, Demadocus, Epinomis, Erastae, Eryxias, Hipparchus, De Iust., Minos, Sisyphus, Theages, De Virtute. The following are probably spurious: Hippias Minor, Alcibiades I., Menexenus. The Letters are perhaps forgeries. The following are cited by Aristotle as having been written by Plato: Republic, Timaeus, Laws, Phaedrus, Symposium, Gorgias, Meno, Hippias I.; but obviously his silence as to the rest proves nothing.
It is impossible within any reasonable limits to give a satisfactory account of the Platonic philosophy. His attempt to combine poetry and philosophy (the two fundamental tendencies of the Greek mind) gives to the Platonic dialogues a charm which irresistibly attracts us, though we may have but a deficient comprehension of their subject matter. Plato, like Socrates, was penetrated with the idea that wisdom is the attribute of the Godhead; that philosophy, springing from the impulse to know, is the necessity of the intellectual man, and the greatest of the blessings which he possesses. When once we strive after Wisdom with the intensity of a lover, she becomes the true consecration and purification of the soul, adapted to lead us from the night-like to the true day. An approach to wisdom, however, presupposes an original communion with Being, truly so called; and this communion again presupposes the divine nature or immortality of the soul, and the impulse to become like the Eternal. This impulse is the love which generates in Truth, and the development of it is termed Dialectics. Out of the philosophical impulse which is developed by Dialectics, not only correct knowledge, but also correct action, springs forth. Socrates's doctrine respecting the unity of virtue, and that it consists in true, vigorous, and practical knowledge, is intended to be set forth in a preliminary manner in the Protagoras and the smaller dialogues attached to it. They are designed, therefore, to introduce a foundation for ethics by the refutation of the common views that were entertained of morals and of virtue; for although not even the words "ethics" and "physics" occur in Plato, and even dialectics are not treated of as a distinct and separate province, yet he must rightly be regarded as the originator of the threefold division of philosophy, inasmuch as he had before him the decided object to develop the Socratic method into a scientific system of dialectics, that should supply the grounds of our knowledge as well as of our moral action (physics and ethics), and therefore he separates the general investigations on knowledge and understanding, at least relatively, from those which refer to physics and ethics. Accordingly, the Theaetetus, Sophistes, Parmenides, and Cratylus are principally dialectical; the Protagoras, Gorgias, Politicus, Philebus, and the Politics principally ethical; while the Timaeus is exclusively physical. Plato's dialectics and ethics, however, have been more successful than his physics. Plato's doctrine of ideas (ideai) was one of the most prominent parts of his system. He maintained that the existence of things, cognizable only by means of conception, is their true essence, their idea. Hence he asserts that to deny the reality of ideas is to destroy all scientific research. He departed from the original meaning of the word idea (namely, that of form or figure), inasmuch as he understood by it the unities (henades, monades) which lie at the basis of the visible, the changeable, and which can only be reached by pure thinking. He included under the expression "idea" every thing stable amid the changes of mere phenomena, all really existing and unchangeable definitudes, by which the changes of things and our knowledge of them are conditioned, such as the ideas of genus and species, the laws and ends of nature, as also the principles of cognition and of moral action, and the essences of individual, concrete, thinking souls. His system of ethics was founded upon his dialectics, as is remarked above. Hence he asserted that, not being in a condition to grasp the idea of the good with full distinctness, we are able to approximate to it only so far as we elevate the power of thinking to its original purity.
The best MS. of the greater part of Plato is the Codex Clarkianus, secured in Patmos by Daniel Clarke, an Englishman, and now in the Bodleian Library (Oxford). It dates from A.D. 896, and does not include the Republic, of which the best copy is a Paris codex (Codex Parisinus A) of the eleventh century.
This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
PLATO (Platon), the philosopher.(Article of: A dictionary of
Greek and Roman biography and mythology (ed. William Smith)
I. LIFE OF PLATO.
The spirit of Plato is expressed in his works in a manner the more lively aid personal in proportion to the intimacy with which art and science are blended in them. And yet of the history of his life and education we have only very unsatisfactory accounts. He mentions his own name only twice (Phaedon, Apolog.), and then it is for the purpose of indicating the close relation in which he stood to Socrates; and, in passing, he speaks of his brothers, Adeimantus and Glaucon, as sons of Ariston (de Rep. i., comp. Xenoph. Mem. iii. 6; Diog. Laert. iii. 4). The writer of the dialogues retires completely behind Socrates, who conducts the investigations in them. Moreover Plato's friends and disciples, as Speusippus in his eulogiunm (Diog. Laert. iii. 2, with the note of Menage; Plut. Quaest. Sympos. viii. 2, &c.), appear to have communicated only some few biographical particulars respecting their great teacher; and Alexandrian scholars seem to have filled up these accounts from sources which are, to a great extent, untrustworthy. Even Aristoxenus, the disciple of Aristotle, must have proceeded in a very careless manner in his notices respecting Plato, when he made him take part in the battles at Tanagra, B. C. 426, and Delium, B. C. 424 (Diog. Laert. iii. 8 ; comp. Aelian, V. H. ii. 30).
Plato is said to have been the son of Ariston and Perictione or Potone, and to have been born at Athens on the 7th day of the month Thargelion (21st May), Ol. 87. 2, B. C. 430; or, according to the statement of Apollodorus, which we find confirmed in various ways, in Ol. 88. 1, B. C. 428, that is, in the (Olympic) year in which Pericles died; according to others, he was born in the neighbouring island of Aegina (Diog. Laert. iii. 1, 3 comp. v. 9, iii. 2, 3). His paternal family boasted of being descended from Codrus; his maternal ancestors of a relationship with Solon (Diog. Laert. iii. 1). Plato mentions the relationship of Critias, his maternal uncle, with Solon (Charm, Comp. Tim. 20). Originally, we are told, he was named after his grandfather Aristocles, but in consequence of the fluency of his speech, or, as others have it, the breadth of his chest, he acquired that name under which alone we know him (Diog. Laert. iii. 4).
According to one story, of which Speusippus had already made mention, he was the son of Apollo; another related that bees settled upon the lips of the sleeping child (Cic. de Divin. i. 36). He is also said to have contended, when a youth, in thle Isthmian and other games, as well as to have made attempts in epic, lyric, and dithyrambic poetry, and not to have devoted himself to philosophy till later, probably after Socrates had drawn him within the magic circle of his influence (Diog. Laetrt. iii. 4, 5; Aelian. V. H. ii. 30; Plat. Epist. vi.). His love for Polymnia had brightened into love for the muse Urania (Plat. Symp. 187). Plato was instructed in grammar, music, and gymnastics by the most distinguished teachers of that time (Diog. Laert. iii. 4). At an early age (ek neou) he had become acquainted, through Cratylus, with the doctrines of Heracleitus (Arist. Metaph. i. 6 ; comp. Appuleius, de Doctr. Plat.); through other instructors, or by means of writings, with the philosophical dogmas of the Eleatics and of Anaxagoras (Diog. Laert. l. c); and what is related in the Phaedo and Parmenides of the philosophical studies of the young Socrates, may in part be referable to Plato.
In his 20th year he is said to have betaken himself to Socrates, and from that time onwards to have devoted himself to philosophy (Diog. Laert. iii. 6; Suidas s. v. makes this into an intercourse of twenty years' duration with Socrates). The intimacy of this relation is attested, better than bv hearsay accounts and insufficient testimonies (Diog. Laert. iii. 5; Paus. i. 30.3, &c.; Xen. Mem. iii. 6.1), by the enthusiastic love with which Plato not only exhibits Socrates tis he lived and died--in the Banquet and the Phaedo,--but also glorifies him by making him the leader of the investigations in the greater part of his dialogues; not as though he had thought himself secure of the assent of Socrates to all the conclusions and developments which he had himself drawn from the few though pregnant principles of his teacher, but in order to express his convictiont that he had organically developed the restults involved in the Socratic doctrine. It is therefore probable enough that, as Plutarch relates (Marius, 46; comp. Lactant. Div. Inst. iii. 19.17), at the close of his life he praised that dispensation which had made him a contemporary of Socrates.
After the death of the latter he betook himself, with others of the Socratics, as Hermodorus had related, in order to avoid threatened persecutions (Diog. Laert. ii. 106, iii. 6), to Eucleides at Megara, who of all his contemporaries had the nearest mental affinity with him. That Plato during his residence in Megara composed several of his dialogues, especially those of a dialectical character, is probable enough, though there is no direct evidence on the subject. The communication of the Socratic conversation recorded in the Theaetetus is referred to Eucleides, and the controversial examination, contained in the Soplistes and apparently directed against Eucleides and his school, of the tenets of the friends of certain incorporeal forms (ideas) cognisable by the intellect, testifies esteem for him.
Friendship for the mathematician Theodorus (though this indeed does not manifest itself in the way in which the latter is introduced in the Theaetetus) is said to have led Plato next to Cyrene (Diog. Laert. iii. 6; Appul. l. c.). Through his eagerness for knowledge he is said to have been induced to visit Egypt, Sicily, and the Greek cities in Lower Italy (Cic. de Rep. i. 10, de Fin. v. 29; Val. Max. viii. 7.3; Vita Anon. l. c.). Others, in inverted order, make him travel first to Sicily and then to Egypt (Quintil. i. 12.15 ; Diog. Laert. iii. 6), or from Sicily to Cyrene and Egypt, and then again to Sicily (Appuleius, l. c.). As his companion we find mentioned Eudoxus (Strab. xvii. 29, in opposition to Diog. Laert. viii. 87), or Sitmiias (Plut. de Daem. Socr. 7), or even Euripides, who died Ol. 93. 2 (Diog. Laert. iii. 6). More distant journeys of Plato into the interior of Asia, to the Hebrews, Babylonians, and Assyrians, to the Magi and Persians, are mentioned only by writers on whom no reliance can be placed (Clerm. Alex. adv. Gent.; Vita Anon.; comp. Diog. Laert. iii. 7; Lactant. Instit. iv. 2 ; comp. Cic. Tusc. Disp. iv. 19). Even the fruits of his better authenticated journeys cannot be traced in the works of Plato with any definiteness. He may have enlarged his mathematical and astronomical knowledge, have received some impulses and incitements through personal intercourse with Archytas and other celebrated Pythagoreans of his age (Clem. Alex. Cic. Val. Max. &c. ll. cc.), have made himself acquainted with Egyptian modes of life and Egyptian wisdom (Plat. de Ley. ii., vii., Phaedo, Philcb., Tim. 21; comp. Epinom.); but on the fundamental assumptions of his system, and its development and exposition, these journeys can hardly have exercised any important influence; of any effect produced upon it by the pretended Egyptian wisdom, as is assumed by Plessing (Memnonium, ii.) and others, no traces are to be found. That Plato during his residence in Sicily, through the intervention of Dion, became acquainted with the elder Dionysius, but very soon fell out with the tyrant, is asserted by credible witnesses (especially by Hegesander ap. Athen. xi. 116; Diod. xv. 7; Plut. Dion, 4, 5; Diog. Laert. iii. 18, 19)...
More doubt attaches to the story, according to which he was given up by the tyrant to the Spartan ambassador Pollis, by him sold into Aegina, and set at liberty by the Cyrenian Anniceris. This story is told in very different forms. On the other hand, we find the statement that Plato came to Sicily when about forty years old, so that he would have returned to Athens at the close of the 97th Olympiad (B. C. 389 or 388), about twelve years after the death of Socrates; and perhaps for that reason Ol. 97. 4, was set down by the chronologers whom Eusebius follows as the period when he flourished.
After his return he began to teach, partly in the gymnasium of the Academy and its shady avenues, near the city, between the exterior Cerameicus and the hill Colonus Hippius, partly in his garden, which was situated at Colontis (Timon ap. Diog. Laert. iii. 7, comp. 5; Plut. de Exilio, c. 10, &c.). Respecting the acquisition of this garden again, and the circumstances of Plato as regards property generally, we have conflicting accounts (Plut. Diog. Laert. Appul. ll. cc. ; A. Gell. N. A. iii. 17). Plato taught, gratuitously (Diog. Laert. iv. 2; Olympiod. et Anon.), and agreeably to his maxims (Phaed., Protag., Gorg, comp. Hipp. Min.), without doubt mainly in the form of lively dialogue; yet on the more difficult parts of his doctrinal system he probably also delivered connected lectures; at least in the accounts of his lectures, noted down by Aristotle and other disciples, on the Good there appears no trace of the form of dialogue. Themistius also (Orat. xxi.) represents him as delivering a lecture on the Good in the Peiraeeus before an audience which gradually dwindled away. The more narrow circle of his disciples (the number of them, which can scarcely have remained uniform, is stated at 28) assembled themselves in his garden at common, simple meals (Athen. i. 7, xii. 69, x. 14, comp. Aelian, V. H. ii. 18, iii. 35; Diog. Laert. ii. 8), and it was probably to them alone that the inscription said to have been set up over the vestibule of the house, "let no one enter who is unacquainted with geometry," had reference (Tzetzes, Chiliad. viii. 972). From this house came forth his nephew Speusippus, Xenocrates of Chalcedon, Aristotle, Heracleides Ponticus, Hestiaeus of Perinthus, Philippus the Opuntian, and others, men from the most different parts of Greece. To the wider circle of those who, without attaching themselves to the more narrow community of the school, sought instruction and incitement from him, distinguished men of the age, such as Chabrias, Iphicrates (Aristid. ii.), Timotheus (Athen. x. 14, comp. Aelian. V. H. ii. 18.10; Plut. de Sanit. tuenda), Phocion, Hyperides, Lycurgus, Isocrates (Diog. Laert. iii. 46), are said to have belonged. Whether Demosthenes was of the number is doubtful (Dem. Epist. v.; Cic. de Orat. i. 20, Brut. 32, Orat. 5, de Offic. i. 1, &c.). Even women are said to have attached themselves to him as his disciples (Diog. Laert. l. c., comp. Olympiod.).
Plato's occupation as an instructor was twice interrupted by journeys undertaken to Sicily; first when Dion, probably soon after the death of the elder Dionysius (Ol. 103. 1, B. C. 368), determined him to make the attempt to win the younger Dionysius to philosophy (Plat. Epist. vii., iii.; Plut. Dion, Philosoph. esse cum Princip. c. 4; Corn. Nep. x. 3 ; Diog. Laert. iii. 21); the second time, a few years later (about B. C. 361), when the wish of his Pythagorean friends, and the invitation of Dionysius to reconcile the disputes which had broken out shortly after Plato's departure between him and his stepuncle Dion, brought him back to Syracuse. His efforts were both times unsuccessful, and he owed his own safety to nothing but the earnest intercession of Archytas (Plat. Epist. vii., iii.; Plut. Dion, c. 20; Diog. Laert. iii. 25). Immediately after his return, Dion, whom he found at the Olympic games (Ol. 105. 1, B. C. 360), prepared for the contest, attacked Syracuse, and, supported by Speusippus and other friends of Plato, though not by Plato himself, drove out the tyrant, but was then himself assassinated; upon which Dionysius again made himself master of the government (Plat. Ep.; Plut. ll. cc.; Diog. Laert. iii. 25). That Plato cherished the hope of realising through the conversion of Dionysius his idea of a state in the rising city of Syracuse, was a belief pretty generally spread in antiquity (Plut. Philos. e. princ. c. 4; Themist. Oral. xvii.; Diog. Laert. iii. 21), and which finds some confirmation in expressions of the philosopher himself, and of the seventh letter, which though spurious is written with the most evident acquaintance with the matters treated of. If however Plato had suffered himself to be deceived by such a hope, and if, as we are told, he withdrew himself from all participation in the public affairs of Athens, from despair with regard to the destinies of his native city, noble even in her decline, he would indeed have exhibited a blind partiality for a theory which was too far removed from existing institutions, and have at the same time displayed a want of statesmanlike feeling and perception. He did not comply with the invitations of Cyrene and Megalopolis, which had been newly founded by the Arcadians and Thebans, to arrange their constitution and laws (Plut. ad princ. inerud. c. 1; Diog. Laert. iii. 23; Aelian, V. H. ii. 42). And in truth the vocation assigned him by God was more that of founding the science of politics by means of moral principles than of practising it in the struggle with existing relations. From the time when he opened the school in the Academy (it was only during his second and third journeys to Sicily that one of his more intimate companions -Heracleides Ponticus is named- had to supply his place (Suid. s. v. Ileracleid.) we find him occupied solely in giving instruction and in the composition of his works.
He is said to have died while writing in the 81st, or according to others the 84th year of his age, in Ol. 108. 1, B. C. 347 (Cic. de Senect. 5; Senec. Epist. lviii. ; Neanthes in Diog. Laert. iii. 3; Diog. Laert. v. 9 ; Athen. v.). According to Hermippus he died at a marriage feast (Diog. Laert. iii. 3; August. de Civ. Dei, viii. 2). Thence probably arose the title of the eloge of Speusippus -Platonos perideipnon. According to his last will his garden remained the property of the school (Diog. Laert. iii. 43), and passed, considerably increased by later additions, into the hands of the Neo-Platonists, who kept as a festival his birth-day as well as that of Socrates (Damasc. ap. Phot. Cod. ccxlii.; Porphyr. ap. Euseb. Pracp. Evang. x. 3).
Athenians and strangers honoured his memory by monuments (Diog. Laert. iii. 43; Phavorin. ib. 25). Yet he had no lack of enemies and enviers, and the attacks which were made upon him with scoffs and ridicule, partly by contemporary comic poets, as Theopompus, Alexis, Cratinus the younger, and others (Diog. Laert. iii. 26, &c.; Athen. xi., ii.), partly by one-sided Socratics, as Antisthenes, Diogenes. and the later Megarics (Diog. Laert. iii. 35, vi. 7, 26, ii. 119), found a loud echo among Epicureans, Stoics, certain Peripatetics, and later writers eager for detraction. Thus even Antisthenes and Aristoxenus (Diog. Laert. iii. 35; Athen. v., xi.; Mahne, de Aristoxeno) charged him with sensuality, avarice, and sycophancy (Diog. Laert. iii. 29; Athen. xi., xiii.); and others with vanity, ambition, and envy towards other Socratics (Athen. xi.; Diog. Laert. vi. 3, 7, 24, 26, 34). Others again accused him of having borrowed the form and substance of his doctrine from earlier philosophers, as Aristippus, Antisthenes (Theopomp. ap. Athen. xi.), Protagoras (Diog. Laert. iii. 37), Epicharmus (Alcimus ap. Diog. Laert. iii. 9, &c.), Philolaus (Diog. Laert. iii. 9). But as the latter accusation is refuted both by the contradiction which it carries in itself, and by comparison of the Pythagorean doctrine with that of Plato, so is the former, not only by the weakness of the evidence brought forward in its favour, but still more by the depth and purity of moral sentiment, which, with all the marks of internal truth, is reflected in the writings of Plato
II. THE WRITINGS OF PLATO.
These writings, by a happy destiny, have come down to us complete, so far as appears, in texts comparatively well preserved, and have always been admired as a model of the union of artistic perfection with philosophical acuteness and depth. Plato was by no means the first to attempt the form of dialogue. Zeno the Eleatic had already written in the form of question and answer (Diog. Laert. iii. 48; comp. Arist. Elench. Soph. 10). Alexamenus the Teian and Sophron in the mimes had treated ethical subjects in the form of dialogue (Diog. Laert. l. c. ; Athen. xi.; Olympiod.). Xenophon, Aeschines, Antisthenes, Eucleides, and other Socratics also had made use of the dialogical form (Diog. Laert. passim); but Plato has handied this form not only with greater mastery than any one who preceded him, and, one may add, than any one who has come after him, but, in all probability, with the distinct intention of keeping by this very means true to the admonition of Socrates, not to communicate instruction, but to lead to the spontaneous discovery of it. The dialogue with him is not merely a favourite method of clothing ideas, handed down from others, as has recently been maintained, but the mimetic dramatic form of it is intended, while it excites and enchains the attention of the reader, at the same time to give him the opportunity and enable him to place himself in the peculiar situations of the different interlocutors, and, not without success, with them to seek and find. But with all the admiration which from the first has been felt for the distinctness and liveliness of the representation, and the richness and depth of the thoughts, it is impossible not to feel the difficulty of rendering to oneself a distinct account of what is designed and accomplished in any particular dialogue, and of its connection with others. And yet again it can hardly be denied that each of the dialogues forms an artistically self-contained whole, and at the same time a link in a chain. That the dialogues of Plato were from first to last not intended to set before any one distinct assertions, but to place the objects in their opposite points of view (Cic. Acad. i. 12), could appear credible only to partisans of the more modern sceptical Academy. Men who took a deeper view endeavoured, by separating the different kinds and classes of the dialogues, or by arranging together those which had a more immediate reference to each other, to arrive at a more correct understanding of them. With reference to the first, some distingllished dramatic, narrative, and mixed dialogues (Diog. Laert. iii. 50), others investigating and instructing dialogues, and again such as investigated gymnastically (maieutically or peirastically,) and agonistically (endeictically or anatreptically); as also dialogues which communicated instruction theoretically (physically or logically), and practically (ethically or politically) (Diog. Laert. iii. 49; Albin. Isag. 128). With regard to the second point, attention was especially directed to the dramatic character of the dialogues, and, according to it, the Alexandrian grammarian Aristophanes of Byzantium arranged a part of them together in trilogies (Sophistes, Politicus, Cratylus -- Theaetetus, Euthyphron, Apology--Politeia, Timaeus, Critias--the Laws, Minos, Epinomis -- Criton, Phaedon, Letters), the rest he left unarranged, though on what grounds he was led to do so it is not easy to discover. Thrasylus, in the age of Tiberius, with reference to the above-named division into investigating and instructing dialogues, divided the whole number into tetralogies, probably because Plato had given intimation of his intention to add as a conclusion to the dialogues Theaetetus, Sophistes, and Politicus, one called Philosophus, and to the trilogy of the Politeia, Timaeus, and Critias, the Hermocrates (Plat. Politic., Critias). In place of the unwritten, if intended, Philosophus, Thrasylus adds to the first of the two trilogies, and as the first member of it, the Cratylus; to the second, in place of the Hermocrates, and again as the first member, the Clitophon (Diog. Laert. iii. 56; comp. Albin. Isag). Although this division appears to have been already usual in Varro's time (de Ling. Lat. vi. 80, Bip.), and has been adopted in many manuscripts, as well as in the older editions, it is not more satisfactory than the others which have been mentioned, partly because it combines genuine and spurious dialogues, partly because, neglecting internal references, it not unfrequently unites according to merely external considerations. Nor have the more recent attempts of Samuel Petitus, Sydenham, and Serranus, which connect themselves more or less with those earlier attempts, led to any satisfactory arrangement. Yet at the basis of all these different attempts there lies the correct assumption, that the insight into the purport and construction of the separate Platonic dialogues depends upon our ascertaining the internal references by which they are united with each other. As Schleiermacher, for the purpose of carrying out this supposition, endeavored to point out in Plato himself the leading ideas which lay at the foundation, and by means of them to penetrate to the understanding of each of the dialogues and of its connection with the rest, he has become the originator of a new era in this branch of investigation, and might with good reason be termed by I. Bekker, who has done so much for the critical restoration of the text, Platois restitutor. Schleiermiacher starts with Plato's declaration of the insufficiency of written communication. If he regarded this as the lifeless image of living colloquy, because, not being able to unfold its meaning, presenting itself to those who do understand as to those who do not, it produces the futile belief of being possessed of knowledge in those who do not know, being only adapted to remind the reader of convictions that have been produced and seized in a lively manner (Plat. Phaedr.), and nevertheless spent a considerable part of his long life in the composition of written works, he must doubtless have convinced [p. 396] himself that he was able to meet that deficiency up to a certain point, to communicate to the souls of the readers with science discourses which, being capable of representing their own meaning and of standing in the place of the person who thus implanted them, should show themselves fruitful. The understanding of many of the dialogues of Plato, however, is rendered difficult by this circumstance, that a single dialogue often contains different investigations, side by side, which appear to be only loosely connected, and are even obscured by one another; and these investigations, moreover, often seem to lead to no conclusion, or even to issue in contradictions. We cannot possibly look upon this peculiarity as destitute of purpose, or the result of want of skill. If, however, it was intended, the only purpose which can have been at the bottom of it must have been to compel the reader, through his spontaneous participation in the investigations proposed, to discover their central point, to supply intermediate members that are wanting, and in that way himself to discover the intended solution of the apparent contradictions. If the reader did not succeed in quite understanding the individual dialogue by itself, it was intended that he should seek the further carrying out of the investigations in other dialogues, and notice how what appeared the end of one is at the same time to be regarded as the beginning and foundation of another. Nevertheless, according to the differences in the investigation and in the susceptibility and maturity for it to be presupposed in the reader, the mode of conducting it and the composition of the dialogue devoted to it would require to be different. Schleierniacher distinguishes three series and classes of dialogues. In the first he considers that thle germs of dialectic and of the doctrine of ideas begin to unfold themselves in all the freshness of the first youthful inspiration, with the fulness of an imagtinative, dramatically mimetic representation; in the second those germs develop themselves further by means of dialectic investigations respecting the difference between common and philosophical acquaintance with things, respecting notion and knowledge (doxa and episteme); in the third they receive their completion by means of an objectively scientific working out, with the separation of ethics and physics. To suppose that Plato. when he composed the first of his dialogues, already had clearly before his eyes in distinct outlines the whole series of tihe rest, with all their internal references and connecting links; and farther, that from the beginning to the end he never varied, but needed only to keep on spinning the thread he had once begun, without any where taking it up atlresh,--such a supposition would indeed be preposterous, as Heremann remarks against Schleiernimacher. But tie assumption above referred to respecting the composition and succession of the dialogues of Plato by no means depends upon any such supposition. It is enough to believe that tihe fundamental germs of his system early malmde their appearance in the mind of Plato in a definite form, and attained to their development inr a natural mmanuer through the power that resided in them. We need suppose in the case of Plato only what may be demonstrated in the case of other great thinkers of more modern times, as Des Cartes, Spinozn, Fichte, Schelling. Nay, we are not cvel compelled to assume (what indeed is very improbable) that the succession of the dialogues according to their internal references must coincide with the chronological order in which they were composed. Why should not Plato, while he had already commenced works of the third class, have found occasion now and then to return to the completion of the dialogues of the second, or even of the first class? As regards, however, the arrangements in detail, we will not celly that Schleiermacher, in the endeavour to assign its place to every dialogue according to the presupposed connection with all the rest running through the series, has now and then suffered himself to be misled by insecure traces, and has been induced partly to regard some leading dialogues from an incorrect or doubtful point of view, partly to supply references by means of artificial combinations. On the other hand, we believe, after a careful examination of the objections against it that have been made good, that we may adopt the principle of the arrangement and the most important points of it.
The first series embraces, according to Schleiermacher, the larger dialogues, Phaedrus, Protagoras, and Parmenides, to which the smaller ones, Lysis, Laches, Charmides, and Euthyphron are to be added as supplements. When others, on the contrary, declare themselves for a much later composition of the Phaedrus, and Hermann in particular regards it as the entranceprogramnime written by Plato for the opening of his school, we will indeed admit that the account which makes that dialogue Plato's first youthful composition (Diog. L. iii. 38; Olympiod. Vita Plat.) can pass for nothing more than a conclusion come to by learned philosophers or grammarians (though the judgments of Euphorion, Panaetius, and Dicaearchus brought forward in favour of the opinion deserve regard); but that the compass of knowledge said to be found in the dialogue, and the fulness and maturity of the thoughts, its similarity to the Symposium and Menexenus, the acquaintance with Egyptian mythology and Pythagorean philosophy, bear indubitable testimony to a later composition, we cannot admit; but we must rather appeal to the fact that the youthful Plato, even before he had visited Egypt and Magna Graecia, might easily have acquired such an amount of knowledge in Athens, the centre of all the philosophical life of that age; and further, that what is brougliht forward as evidence of the compass and maturity of the thoughts is rather the youthful, lively expression of the first conception of great ideas. With the Phaedrus the Lysis stands connected as a dialectic essay upon love. But as the Phaedrus contains the outlines of the peculiar leading doctrines of Plato partly still as forebodings expressed in a mythical form, so the Protagoras is distinctly to be regarded as the Socratic method in opposition to the sophistic, in discussions wlich we might term the Propylaea of the doctrine of morals. The early composition of this dialogue is assumed even by the antagonists of Schleiermacher, they only dispute on insufficient grounds either the gelnuimeness of the smaller dialogues Charmides, Laches and Euthyphron, or their connection with the Protagoras, which manifests itself in this, that the former had demonstrated the insufficiency of the usual moral definitions in reference to the ideas of virtue as connected with temperance (sophrosune), bravery, and holiness, to which the latter had called attention generally. The profound dialogue Parmenides, on the other hand, we cannot with Schleiermacher regard either as a mere dialectic exercise, or as one of the earlier works of Plato, but rather see ourselves compelled to assign it a place in the second series of the dialogues of Plato. The foundation of this series is formed by the dialogues Theaetetus, Sophistes, and Politicus, which have clearly a mutual connection. Before the Theaetetus Schleiermacher places the Gorgias, and the connection of the two is indubitable, in so far as they both exhibit the constant and essential in opposition to the changeable and contingent, the former in the domain of cognizance, the latter in that of moral action; and as the Theaetetus is to be placed before the Sophistes, Cratylus and other dialogues, so is the Gorgias to be placed at the head of the Politicus, Philebus and the Politeia. Less certain is the position assigned by Schleiermacher to the Menon. Enthydemus and Cratylus, between the Theaetetus and Sophistes. The Menon seems rather expressly designed to form a connecting link between the investigations of the Gorgias and those of the Theaetetus, and on the one hand to bring into view the distinction discussed in the latter between correct notion and true apprehension, in its application to the idea of virtue; on the other hand, by means of this distinction to bring nearer to its final decision the question respecting the essence of the good, as of virtue and the possibility of teaching it. It might be more difficult to assign to the Euthydemus its definite place. Although with the ridicule of the empty polemical artifices of sophists which is contained in it, there are connected intimations respecting wisdom as the art of those who are in a condition at the same time to produce and to use what they produce, the dialogue nevertheless should probably be regarded as an occasional piece. The Cratylus opposes to the scoffing art of the sophist, dealing in grammatical niceties, the image of dialectic art which recognises and fashions language as a necessary production of the human mind. It should, however, find its appropriate place not before the Sophistes (where Schleiermacher places it), but after it, as the application of dialectic to language could hardly become a matter of inquiry until the nature of dialectic had been discussed, as is done in the Sophistes. The Eleatic stranger, when questioned by Socrates respecting the nature and difference of the sophist, the statesman and the philosopher, answers only the first two of these questions, in the dialogues that bear those names, and if Plato had intended a third and similar investigation respecting the nature of the philosopher, he has not undertaken the immediate fulfilmentof his design. Schleiermacher therefore assumes that in the Banquet and Phaedon taken together the model of the philosopher is exhibited in the person of Socrates, in the former as he lived, glorified by the panegyric of Alcibiades, and marked by the function, so especially peculiar to him, of love generating in the beautiful; in the latter as he appears in death, longing to become pure spirit. The contents of the two dialogues, however. and their organization as regarded from the point of view of this assumption, is not altogether intelligible. But as little should we, with Ed. Zeller, look for the missing member of the trilogy, of which we have part in the Sophistes and Politicus, in the exclusively dialectical Parmenides. But Plato might the sooner have given up the separate exhibition of the philosopher, partly inasmuch as the description of him is already mixed up with the representation of the sophist and the politician, partly as the picture is rendered complete by means of the Symposium and the Phaedon, as well as by the books on the state. Meantime the place which Schleiermacher assigns to those two dialogues between the Sophistes and Philebus may be regarded as amply justified, as even Hermann admits in opposition to Ast and Socher. Only we must reserve room at this same place for the Parmenides. In this most difficult of the Platonic dialogues, which has been treated of at length by Ed. Zelle, Stallbaum, Brandis, and others, we find on the one hand the outlines of the doctrine of ideas with the difficulties which oppose themselves to it briefly discussed, on the other hand a considerably more extended attempt made to point out in connection with the conceptions considered in themselves, and in particular with the most universal of them, the One and Existence, the contradictions in which the isolated, abstract contemplation of those conceptions involves us; manifestly in order to pave the way for the solution of those difficulties. In this the Parmenides is closely connected with the Sophistes, and might be placed immediately after the Cratylus, before the Symposium and Phaedon. But that the Philebus is to be regarded as the immediate transition from the second, dialectical, series of dialogues to the third, Schleiermacher has incontrovertibly shown; and the smaller dialogues, which as regards their contents and form are related to those of the second series, in so far as they are not banished as spurious into the appendix, should be ranked with them as occasional treatises. In the third series the order for the books on the state (Politeia), the Timaeus and the Critias, has been expressly marked by Plato himself, and with the books on the state those on the laws connect themselves as a supplement.
Ast, though throughout polemically opposed to Schleiermacher, sees himself compelled in the main to recognise the threefold division made by the latter, as he distinguishes Socratic dialogues, in which the poetic and dramatic prevail (Protagoras, Phaedrus, Gorgias and Phaedon), dialectic dialogues (Theaetetus, Sophistes, Politicus and Cratylus), and purely scientific, or Socratico-Platonic dialogues (Philebus, Symposiuln, Politeia, Timaeus and Critias. But through this new conception and designation of the first series, and by adding, in the separation of the second and third series, an external ground of division to the internal one, he has been brought to unsteady and arbitrary assumptions which leave out of consideration the internal references. Socher's attempt to establish in place of such arrangements depending upon internal connection a purely chronological arrangement, depending on the time of their composition , has been followed by no results that can in any degree be depended on, as the date of the composition can be approximately determined by means of the anachronisms (offences against the time in which they are supposed to take place) contained in them in but a few dialogues as compared with the greatly preponderating number of those in which he has assigned it from mere opinion. K. F. Hermann's undertaking, in the absence of definite external statements, to restore a chronological arrangement of the dialogues according to traces and marks founded in facts, with historical circumspection and criticism, and in doing so at the same time to sketch a faithful picture of the progress of the mental life and development of the writer of them, is considerably more worth notice. In the first period, according to him, Plato's Socrates betrays no other view of life, or scientific conception, than such as we become acquainted with in the historical Socrates out of Xenophon and other unsuspicious witnesses (Hippias, Ion, Alcibiades I., Charmides, Lysis, Laches, Protagoras, and Euthydemus). Then, immediately after the death of Socrates, the Apology, Criton, Gorgias, Euthyphron, Menon, and Hippias Major belong to a transition step. In the second, or Megaric period of development dialectic makes its appearance as the true technic of philosophy, and the ideas as its proper objects (Cratylus, Theaetetus, Sophistes, Politicus, Parmenides). Lastly in the third period the system itself is exhibited (Phaedrus, Menexenus, Symposium, Phaedo, Philebus, Politeia, Timaeus, Critias, and the Laws). But although Hermann has laboured to establish his assumptions with a great expenditure of acuteness and learning, he has not attained to results that can in any degree stand the test of examination. For the assumptions that Plato in the first period confined himself to an analytic treatment of ideas, in a strictly Socratic manner, and did not attain to a scientific independence till he did so through his removal to Megara, nor to an acquaintance with the Pythagorean philosophy, and so to the complete development of his dialectic and doctrine of ideas, till he did so through his travels,--for these assumptions all that can be made out is, that in a number of the dialogues the peculiar features of the Platonic dialectic and doctrine of ideas do not as yet make their appearance in a decided form. But on the one hand Hermann ranks in that class dialogues such as the Euthydemus, Menon, and Gorgias, in which references to dialectic and the doctrine of ideas can scarcely fail to be recognised ; on the other it is not easy to see why Plato, even after he had laid down in his own mind the outlines of his dialectic and doctrine of ideas, should not now and then, according to the separate reqnirements of the subject in hand, as in the Protagoras and the smaller dialogues which connect themselves with it, have looked away from them, and transported himself back again completely to the Socratic point of view. Then again, in Hermann's mode of treating the subject, dialogues which stand in the closest relation to each other, as the Gorgias and Theaetetus, the Euthydemus and Theaetetus, are severed from each other, and assigned to different periods; while the Phaedon, the Symposium and the Philebus are separated from the Sophistes and Politicus, with which they are much more closely connected than with the delineative works, the Politeia, Timaeus, &c.
Lastly, as regards the genuineness of the writings of Plato, we cannot, indeed, regard the investigations on the subject as brought to a definitive conclusion, though we may consider ourselves convinced that only a few occasional pieces, or delineations of Socratic conversations, are open to doubts of any importance, not those dialogues which are to be regarded as the larger, essential members of the system. Even if these in part were first published by disciples of Plato, as by Hermodorus (who has been accused of smuggling in spurious works only through a misunderstanding of a passage in Cicero, ad Alt. xiii. 21), and by Philippus the Opuntian; and though, further, little can be built upon the confirmation afforded by their having been received into the trilogies of the grammarian Aristophanes, the authenticity of the most important of them is demonstrated by the testimonies of Aristotle and some other incontrovertible authorities (the former will be found carefully collected in Zeller's Platonische Studien. Notwithstanding these testimonies, the Parmenides, Sophistes, and Politicus, and the Menon, have been assailed on exceedingly insufficient grounds; the books on the Laws in a manner much more deserving of attention (especially by Zeller); but yet even the latter are with preponderating probability to be regarded as genuine. On the other hand the Epinomis is probably to be assigned to a disciple of Plato, the Minos and Hipparchus to a Socratic. The second Alcibiades was attributed by ancient critics to Xenophon (Athen. xi.). The Anterastae and Clitophon are probably of much later origin. The Platonic letters were composed at different periods; the oldest of them, the seventh and eighth, probably by disciples of Plato. The dialogues Demodocus, Sisyphus, Eryxias, Axiochus, and those on justice and virtue, were with good reason regarded by ancient critics as spurious, and with them may be associated the Hipparchus, Theages, and the Definitions. The genuineness of the first Alcibiades seems doubtful, though Hermann defends it. The smaller Hippias, the Ion, and the Menexenus, on the other hand, which are allowed by Aristotle, but assailed by Schleiermacher and Ast, might very well maintain their ground as occasional compositions of Plato. As regards the thorough criticism of these dialogues in more recent times, Stallbaum in particular, in the prefaces to his editions, and Hermann, have rendered important services.
However groundless may be the Neo-platonic assumption of a secret doctrine, of which not even the passages brought forward out of the insititious Platonic letters contain any evidence, the verbal lectures of Plato certainly did contain an extension and partial alteration of the doctrines discussed in the dialogues, with an approach to the number-theory of the Pythagoreans ; for to this we should probably refer the "unwritten assumptions" (agrapha dogmata), and perhaps also the divisions (diaireseis), which Aristotle mentions (Phys. iv. 2;Diog. Laert. iii. 80). His lectures on the doctrine of the good, Aristotle, Heracleides Ponticus, and Hestiaeus, had noted down, and from the notes of Aristotle some valuable fragments have come down to us (Arist. de Anima, i. 2; ib. Simpl. et Joh. Philop.; Aristox. Harmonica, ii.). The Aristotelic monography on ideas was also at least in part drawn from lectures of Plato, or conversations with him.
III. THE PHILOSPHY OF PLATO.
The attempt to combine poetry and philosophy (the two fundamental tendencies of the Greek mind), gives to the Platonic dialogues a charm, which irresistibly attracts us, though we may have but a deficient comprehension of their subjectmatter. Even the greatest of the Grecian poets are censured by Plato, not without some degree of passion and partiality, for their want of clear ideas, and of true insight. Art is to be regarded as the capacity of creating a whole that is inspired by an invisible order; its aim, to guide the human soul. The living, unconsciously-creative impulse of the poet, when purified by science, should, on its part, bring this to a full development. Carrying the Socratic dialogue to greater perfection, Plato endeavours to draw his hearers, by means of a dramatic intuition, into the circle of the investigation; to bring them, by the spur of irony, to a consciousness either of knowledge or of ignorance; by means of myths, partly to waken up the spirit of scientific inquiry, partly to express hopes and anticipations which science is not yet able to confirm.
Plato, like Socrates, was penetrated with the idea that wisdom is the attribute of the Godhead, that philosophy, springing from the impulse to know, is the necessity of the intellectual man, and the greatest of the goods in which he participates. When once we strive after Wisdom with the intensity of a lover, she becomes the true consecration and purification of the soul, adapted to lead us from the nightlike to the true day. An approach to wisdom, however, presupposes an original communion with Being, truly so called ; and this communion again presupposes the divine nature or immortality of the soul, and the impulse to become like the Eternal. This impulse is the love which generates in Truth, and the development of it is termed Dialectics. The hints respecting the constitution of the soul, as independent of the body; respecting its higher and lower nature ; respecting the mode of apprehension of the former, and its objects, the eternal and the self-existent ; respecting its corporisation, and its longing by purification to raise itself again to its higher existence: these hints, clothed in the form of mythus, are followed up in the Phaiedrus by panegyrics on the love of beauty, and discussions on dialectics, here understood more immediately as the art of discoursing. Out of the philosophical impulse which is developed by Dialectics not only correct knowledge, but also correct action springs forth. Socrates' doctrine respecting the unity of virtue, and that it consists in true, vigorous, ald practical knowledge; that this knowledge, however, lying beyond sensuous perception and experience, is rooted in self-consciousness and has perfect happiness (as the inward harmony of the soul) for its inevitable consequence : this doctrine is intended to be set forth in a preliminary manner in the Protagoras and the smaller dialogues attached to it. They aredesigned, therefore, to introduce a foundation for ethics, by the refutation of the common views that were entertained of morals and of virtue. For although not even the words ethics and physics occur in Plato (to say nothing of any independent delineation of the one or the other of these sciences), and even dialectics are not treated of as a distinct and separate province, yet he must rightly be regarded as the originator of the threefold division of philosophy, inasmuch as he had before him the decided object to develop the Socratic method into a scientific system of dialectics, that should supply the grounds of our knowledge as well as of our moral action (physics and ethics), and therefore separates the general investigations on knowledge and understanding, at least relatively, from those which refer to physics and ethics. Accordingly, the Theaetetus, Sophistes, Parmenides, and Cratylus, are principally dialectical; the Protagoras, Gorgias, Politicus, Philebus, and the Politics, principally ethical; while the Timaeus is exclusively physical. Plato's dialectics and ethics, however, have been more successful than his physics.
The question, "What is knowledge," had been brought forward more and more definitely, in proportion as the development of philosophy generally advanced. Each of the three main branches of the ancient philosophy, when at their culminating point, had made a trial at the solution of that question, and considered themselves bound to penetrate beneath the phenomenal surface of the affections and perceptions. Heracleitus, for example, in order to gain a sufficient ground for the common (xunon), or, as we should say, for the universally admitted, though in contradiction to his fundamental principle of an eternal generation, postulates a world-consciousness ; Parmenides believed that he had discovered knowledge in the identity of simple, unchangeable Being, and thought; Philolaus, and with him the flower of the Pythagoreans generally, in the consciousness we have of the unchangeable relations of number and measure. When, however, the conflict of these principles, each of them untenable in its own one-sidedness, had called forth the sophists, and these had either denied knowledge altogether, or resolved it into the mere opinion of momentary affection, Socrates was obliged above all things to show, that there was a knowledge independent of the changes of our sensuous affections, and that this knowledge is actually found in our inalienable consciousness respecting moral requirements, and respecting the divinity, in conscientious self-intellection. To develope this by induction from particular manifestations of the moral and religious sense, and to establish it, by means of definition, in a comprehensible form, -that is, in its generality,- such was the point to which his attention had mainly to be directed. Plato, on the contrary, was constrained to view the question relating to the essence and the material of our knowledge, as well of that which develops itself for its own sake, as of that which breaks out into action, -of the theoretical as well as of the practical, more generally, and to direct his efforts, therefore, to the investigation of its various forms. In so doing he became the originator of the science of knowledge,- of dialectics. No one before him had gained an equally clear perception of the subjective and objective elements of our knowledge; no one of the theoretical and the practical side of it; and no one before him had attempted to discover its forms and its laws.
The doctrine of Heracleitus, if we set aside the postulate of a universal world-consciousness, had been weakened down to the idea that knowledge is confined to the consciousness of the momentary affection which proceeds from the meeting of the motion of the subject with that of the object; that each of these affections is equally true, but that each, on account of the incessant change of the motions, must be a different one. With this idea that of the atomistic theory coincided, inasmuch as it was only by means of arbitrary hypotheses that the latter could get over the consciousness of ever-changing sensuous affections. In order to refute this idea from its very foundation, once for all, Plato's Theaetetus sets forth with great acuteness the doctrine of eternal generation, and the results which Protagoras had drawn from it; he renounces the apparent, but by no means decisive grounds, which lie against it; but then demonstrates that Protagoras must regard his own assertion as at once true and false; that he must renounce and give up all determinations respecting futurity, and consequently respecting utility; that continuity of motion being presuplposed, no perception whatever could be attained; and that the comparison and combination of the emotions or perceptions presupposes a thinking faculty peculiar to the soul (reflection), distinct from mere feeling. The man who acknowledges this, if he still will not renounce sensualism, yet will be inclined from his sense-perceptions to deduce recollection; from it, conception; from conception, when it acquires firmness, knowledge; and to designate the latter as correct conception; although he will not be in a condition to render any account of the rise of incorrect conceptions, or of the difference between those and correct ones, unless he presupposes a knowledge that lies, not merely beyond conception generally, but even beyond correct conception, and that carries with it its own evidence. He will also be obliged to give up the assertion, that knowledge consists in right conception, united with discourse or explanation; for even thus an absolutely certain knowledge will be presupposed as the rule or criterion of the explanation, whatever may he its more accurate definition. Although, therefore, Plato concludes the dialogue with the declaration that he has not succeeded in bringing the idea of knowledge into perfect clearness, but that it must be something which excludes all changeableness, something which is its own guarantee, simple, uniform, indivisible, and not to be reached in the science of numbers: of this the reader, as he spontaneously reproduces the investigation, was intended to convince himself. That knowledge, however, grounded on and sustained by logical inference, should verify itself through the medium of true ideas, can only be considered as the more perfect determination of the conclusion to which he had come in the Theaetetus.
But before Plato could pass on to his investigations respecting the modes of development and the forms of knowledge, he was obliged to undertake to determine the objects of knowledge, and to grasp that knowledge in its objective phase. To accomplish this was the purpose of the Sophistes, which immediately attaches itself to the Theaetetus, and obviously presupposes its conclusions. In the latter dialogue it had already been intimated that knowledge can only take place in reference to real existence. This was also the doctrine of the Eleatics, who nevertheless had deduced the unconditional unity and unchangeableness of the existent, from the inconceivableness of the non-existent. If, however, non-existence is absolutely inconceivable, then also must error, false conception, be so likewise. First of all, therefore, the non-existent was to be discussed, and shown to have, in some sort, an existence, while to this end existence itself had to be defined.
In the primal substance, perpetually undergoing a process of transformation, which was assumed by the Ionian physiologists, the existent, whether understood as duality, trinity, or plurality, cannot find place; but as little can it (with the Eleatics) be even so much as conceived in thought as something absolutely single and one, without any multiplicity. Such a thing would rather again coincide with Non-existence. For a multiplicity even in appearance only to be admitted, a multiformity of the existent must be acknowledged. Manifold existence, however, cannot be a bare multiformity of the tangible and corporeal, nor yet a plurality of intelligible incorporeal Essences (Ideas), which have no share either in Action or in Passion, as Euclid and his school probably taught; since so conceived they would be destitute of anv influence on the world of the changeable, and would indeed themselves entirely elude our cognizance.
But as in the Theaetetus, the inconceivableness of an eternal generation, without anything stable, had been the result arrived at, so in the Sophistes the opposite idea is disposed of, namely, that the absolutely unchangeable existence alone really is, and that, all change is mere appearance. Plato was obliged. therefore, to undertake this task, -to find a Being instead of a Becoming, and vice versa, and then to show how the manifold existences stand in relation to each other, and to the changeable, i. e. to phenomena. Existence, Plato concludes. can of itself consist neither in Rest nor in Motion, yet still can share in both, and stand in reciprocal community.
But certain ideas absolutely exclude one another, as rest, for example, excludes motion, and sameness difference. What ideas, then, are capable of being united with each other, and what are not so, it is the part of science (dialectics) to decide. By the discussion of the relation which the ideas of rest and motion. of sameness and difference, hold to each other, it is explained how motion can be the same, and not the same, how it can be thought of as being and yet not being; consequently, how the non-existent denotes only the variations of existence, not the bare negation of it. That existence is not at variance with becoming, and that the latter is not conceivable apart front the former, Plato shows in the case of the two principal parts of speech, and their reciprocal relation. From this it becomes evident in what sense dialectics can be characterised at once as the science of understanding, and as the science of the self-existent, as the science of sciences. In the Phaedrus it is presented to us in the first instance as the art of discoursing. and therewith of the true education of the soul and of intellection. In the Sophistes it appears as the science of the true connection of ideas; in the Philebns as the highest gift of the gods, as the true Promethean fire; while in the Books on the Republic pure ideas, freed from all form and presupposition, are shown to be grasped and developed by it.
In the Theaetetus simple ideas, reached only by the spontaneous activity of thought, had presented themselves as the necessary conditions of knowledge ; in the Sophistes, the objects of knowledge come before us as a manifold existence, containing in itself the principles of all changes. The existence of things, cognisable only by means of conception, is their true essence, their idea. Hence the assertion that to deny the reality of ideas is to destroy all scientific research. Plato, it is true, departed from the original meaning of the word idea (namely, that of form or figure) in which it had been employed by Anaxagoras, Diogenes of Apollonia, and probably also by Democritus; inasmuch as he understood by it the unities (henases, monades) which he at the basis of the visible, the changeable, and which can only be reached by pure thinking (eilikriWes dianoia); but he retained the characteristic of the intuitive and real, in opposition to the mere abstractness of ideas which belong simply to the thinking which interposes itself. He included under the expression idea every thing stable amidst the changes of mere phenomena, all really existing and unchangeable definitudes, by which the changes of things and our knowledge of them are conditioned, such as the ideas of genus and species, the laws and ends of nature, as also the principles of cognition, and of moral action, and the essences of individual, concrete, thinking souls. To that only which can be conceived as an entirely formless and undetermined mass, or as a part of a whole, or as an arbitrary relation, do no ideas whatever correspond.
But how are we to understand the existence of ideas in things? Neither the whole conception, nor merely a part of it, can reside in the things; neither is it enough to understand the ideas to be conceptions, which the soul beholds together with the things (that is, as we should call them, subjectively valid conceptions or categories), or as bare thoughts without reality. Even when viewed as the archetypes of the changeable, they need some more distinct definition, and some security against obvious objections. This question and the difficulties which lie against its solution, are developed in the Parmenides, at the beginning of the dialogue, with great acuteness. To introduce the solution to that question, and the refitation of these difficulties, is the evident intention of the succeeding dialectical antinomical 3 discussion of the idea of unity, as a thing being and not being, according as it is viewed in relation to itself and to what is different. How far Plato succeeded in separating ideas from mere abstract conceptions, and making their reality distinct from the natural causality of motion, we cannot here inquire. Neither can we enter into any discussions respecting the Platonic methods of division, and of the antinomical definitions of ideas, respecting the leading principles of these methods, and his attempt in the Cratylus to represent words as the immediate copy of ideas, that is, of the essential in things, by means of the fundamental parts of speech, and to point out the part which dialectics must take in the development of language. While the foundation which Plato lays for the doctrine of ideas or dialectics must be regarded as something finished and complete in itself, yet the mode in which he carries it out is not by any means beyond the reach of objections ; and we can hardly assume that it had attained any remarkably higher development either in the mind of Plato himself, or in his lectures, although he appears to have been continually endeavouring to grasp and to represent the fundamental outlines of his doctrine from different points of view, as is manifest especially from the argumentations which are preserved to us in Aristotle's work on Plato's ideas.
That Plato, however, while he distinctly separated the region of pure thinking or of ideas from that of sensuous perception and the world of phenomena, did not overlook the necessity of the communion between the intelligible and the sensible world, is abundantly manifest from the gradations which he assumes for the development of our cognition. In the region of sense-perception, or conception, again, he distinguishes the comprehension of imayes, and that of objects (eikasia and pistis), while in the region of thinking he separates the knowledge of those relations which belong indeed to thinking, but which require intuition in the case of sensuous objects, from the immediate grasp by thought of intelligible objects or ideas themselves, that is, of ultimate principles, devoid of all presupposition (dianoia, nous). To the first gradation of science, that is, of the higher department of thinking, belong principally, though not exclusively, mathematics; and that Plato regarded them (though he did not fully realise this notion) as a necessary means for elevating experience into scientific knowledge, is evident from hints that occur elsewhere. The fourfold division which he brings forward, and which is discussed in the De Republica he appears to have taken up more definitely in his oral lectures, and in the first department to have distinguished perception from experience (aisthesis from doxa), in the second to have distinguished mediate knowledge from the immediate thinking consciousness of first principles.
Although, therefore, the carrying out of Plato's dialectics may be imperfect, and by no means proportional to this excellent foundation, yet he had certainly taken a steady view of their end, namely, to lay hold of ideas more and more distinctly in their organic connection at once with one another and with the phenomenal world, by the discovery of their inward relations; and then having done this, to refer them to their ultimate basis. This ought at the same time to verify itself as the unconditional ground of the reality of objects and of the power we have to take cognisance of them, of Being and of Thought ; being comparable to the intellectual sun. Now this absolutely unconditional ground Plato describes as the idea of the good, convinced that we cannot imagine any higher definitude than the good ; but that we must, on the contrary, measure all other definitudes by it, and regard it as the aim and purpose of all our endeavours, nay of all developments. Not being in a condition to grasp the idea of the good with fill distinctness, we are able to approximate to it only so far as we elevate the power of thinking to its original purity. Although the idea of the good, as the ultimate basis both of the mind and of the realities laid hold of by it, of thought and of existence, is, according to him, more elevated than that of spirit or actual existence itself, yet we can only imagine its activity as the activity of the mind. Through its activity the determinate natures of the ideas, which in themselves only exist, acquire their power of causation, a power which must be set down as spiritual, that is, free. Plato, therefore, describes the idea of the good, or the Godhead, sometimes teleologically, as the ultimate purpose of all conditioned existence ; sometimes cosmologically, as the ultimate operative cause; and has begun to develope the cosmological, as also the physico-theological proof for the being of God; but has referred both back to the idea of the Good, as the necessary presupposition to all other ideas, and our cognition of them. Moreover, we find him earnestly endeavouring to purify and free from its restrictions the idea of the Godhead, to establish and defend the belief in a wise and divine government of the world; as also to set aside the doubt that arises from the existence of evil and suffering in the world.
But then, how does the sensuous world, the world of phenomena, come into existence? To suppose that in his view it was nothing else than the mere subjective appearance which springs from the commingling of the ideas, or the confused conception of the ideas, not only contradicts the declarations of Plato in the Philebus, but contradicts also the dualistic tendency of the whole of the ancient philosophy. He designates as the, we may perhaps say, material ground of the phenomenal world, that which is in itself unlimited, ever in a process of becoming, never really caisting, the mass out of which every thing is formed, and connects with it the idea of extension, as also of unregulated motion; attributes to it only the joint causality of necessity, in opposition to the free causality of ideas, which works towards ends, and, by means of his mythical conception of the soul of the universe, seeks to fill up the chasm between these opposed primary essences. This, standing midway between the intelligible (that to which the attribute of sameness belongs) and the sensible (the diverse), as the principle of order and motion in the world, according to him, comprehends in itself all the relations of number and measure. Plato had made another attempt to fill up the gap in the development of ideas by a symbolical representation, in the lectures he delivered upon the Good, mentioned by Aristotle and others. In these he partly referred ideas to intelligible numbers, in order, probably, that he might be able to denote more definitely their relation of dependence on the Godhead, as the absolute one, as also the relation of their succession and mutual connection; and partly described the Godhead as the ultimate ground both of ideas and also of the material of phenomena, inasmuch as he referred them both to the divine causality-the former immediately as original numbers, the latter through the medium of the activity of the ideas. But on this Pythagorean mode of exhibiting the highest principles of Plato's doctrine we have but very imperfect information.
Both these departments which form the connecting link between Dialectics and Physics, and the principles of Physics themselves, contain only preliminary assumptions and hypothetical declarations, which Plato describes as a kind of recreation from more earnest search after the really existent, as an innocent enjoyment, a rational sport. Inasmuch as physics treat only of the changeable and imitative, they must be contented with attaining probability but they should aim, especially, at investigating teleologically end-causes, that is, free causality, and showing how they converge in the realisation of the idea of the good. All the determinations of the original undetermined matter are realised by corporeal forms; in these forms Plato attempts to find the natural or necessary basis of the different kinds of feeling and of sensuous perception. Throughout the whole development, however, of his Physiology, as also in the outlines of his doctrine on Health and Sickness, pregnant ideas and clear views are to be met with.
With the physiology of Plato his doctrine of the Soul is closely connected. Endowed with the same nature as the soul of the world, the human soul is that which is spontaneously active and unapproachable by death, although in its coneetion with the body bound up with the appetitive, the sensuous; and the thumo, that which is of the nature of affection or eager impulse, the ground of courage and fear, love and hope, designeod, while subordinating itself to the reason, to restrain sensuality, must be regarded as the link between the rational and the sensuous. Another link of connection between the intellectual and sensuous nature of the soul is referred to Lore, which, separated from concupiscent desire, is conceived of as an inspiration that transcends mere mediate intellection, whose purpose is to realise a perpetual striving after the immortal, the eternal; -to realise, in a word, by a close connection with others, the Good in the form of the Beautifill. In the Phaedrus Plato speaks of love under the veil of a myth; in the Lysis he commences the logical definition of it ; and in the Symposium, one of the most artistic and attractive of his dialogues, he analyses the different momeneta which are necessary to the complete determination of the idea. In these and some of the other dialogues, however, beauty is described as the image of the ideas, penetrating the veil of pheomena and apprehended by the purest and brightest exercise of sense, in relation to colours, forms, actions, and morals, as also with relation to the harmonious combination of the Manifold into perfect Unity, and distinctly separated from the Agreeable and the Useful. Art is celebrated as the power of producing a whole, inspired by an invisible arrangement; of grouping together into one form the images of the ideas, which are everywhere scattered around.
That the soul, when separated from the body -or the pure spirit- is immortal, and that a continuance, in which power and consciousness or insight are preserved, is secured to it, Socrates, in the Phaedo of Plato, when approaching death, endeavours to convince his friends, partly by means of analogies drawn from the nature of things, partly by the refutation of the opposed hypothesis, that the soul is an harmonious union and tuning of the constituents of the body, partly by the attempt to prove the simplicity of the essential nature of the soul, its consequent indestructibility, and its relation to the Eternal, or its pre-existence; partly by the argumentation that the idea of the soul is inseparable from that of life, and that it can never be destroyed by moral evil, -the only evil to which, properly speaking, it is subjected. Respecting the condition of the soul after death Plato expresses himself only in myths, and his utterances respecting the Transmigration of Souls also are expressed in a mythical form.
As a true disciple of Socrates, Plato devoted all the energy of his soul to ethics, which again are closely connected with politics. He paves the way for a scientific treatment of ethics by the refutation of the sophistical sensualistic and hedonistic (selfish) theories, first of all in the Protagoras and the three smaller dialogues attached to it (see above), then in the Gorgias, by pointing ont the contradictions in which the assertions, on the one hand that wrong actions are uglier than right ones but more useful, on the other that the only right recognised by nature is that of the stronger, are involved. In this discussion the result is deduced, that neither happiness nor virtue can consist in the attempt to satisfy our unbridled and ever-increasing desires. In the Menon the Good is defined as that kind of utility which can never become injurious, and whose realisation is referred to a knowledge which is absolutely fixed and certain, -a knowledge, however, which must be viewed as something not externally communicable, but only to be developed from the spontaneous activity of the soul. Lastly, in the Philebus, the investigation respecting pleasure and pain, which was commenced in the Gorgias, as also that on the idea of the Good, is completed; and this twofold investigation grounded upon the principles of dialectics, and brought into relation with phys cs. Pain is referred to the disturbance of the inward harmony, pleasure to the maintenance, or restoration of it; and it is shown how, on the one hand, true and false, on the other, pure and mixed pleasure, are to be distinguished, while, inasmuch as it (pleasure) is always dependent on the activity out of which it springs, it becomes so much the truer and purer in proportion as the activity itself becomes more elevated. In this way the first sketch of a table of Goods is attained, in which the eternal nature of Measure, that is, the sum and substance of the ideas, as the highest canon, and then the different steps of the actual realisation of them in life, in a regular descending scale, are given, while it is acknowledged that the accompaying pure (unsensuous) pleasure is also to be regarded as a good, but inferior to that on which it depends, the reason and the understanding, science and art. Now, if we consider that, ac cording to Plato, all morality must be directed to the realisation of the ideas in the phenomenal world; and, moreover, that these ideas in their reality and their activity, as also the knowledge respecting them, is to be referred to the Godhead, we can understand how he could designate the highest good as being an assimilation to God.
In the Ethics of Plato the doctrine respecting virtue is attached to that of the highest good, and its development. That virtue is essentially one, and the science of the good, had been already deduced in the critical and dialectical introductory dialogues; but it had been also presupposed and even hinted that, without detriment to its unity, different phases of it could be distinguished, and that to knowledge there must be added practice, and an earnest combating of the sensuous functions. In order to discover these different phases, Plato goes back upon his triple division of the faculties of the soul. Virtue, in other words, is fitness of the soul for the operations that are peculiar to it, and it manifests itself by means of its (the soul's) inward harmony, beauty, and health. Different phases of virtue are distinguishable so far as the soul is not pure spirit; but just as the spirit should rule both the other elements of the soul, so also should wisdom, as the inn development of the spirit, rule the other virtues. Ability of the emotive element (thumoeides), when penetrated with wisdom to govern the whole sensuous nature, is Courage. If the sensuous or appetitive (epithumetikon) element is brought into unity with the ends of wisdom, moderation or prudence (sophrosune), as an inward harmony, is the result. If the inward harmony of the activities shows itself active in giving an harmonious form to our outward relations in the world, Virtue exerts itself in the form of Justice. That happiness coincides with the inward harmony of virtue, is inferred from this deduction of the virtues, as also from the discussions respecting pleasure.
If it be true that the ethico-rational nature of the individual can only develope itself completely in a well-ordered state, then the object and constitution of the state must perfectly answer to the moral nature of the individual, and politics must be an essential, inseparable part of ethics. While, therefore, Plato considers the state as the copy of a well-regulated individual life, he demands of it that it should exhibit a perfect harmony, in which everything is common to all, and the individual in all his relations only an organ of the state. The entire merging of the individual life in the life of the state might have appeared to him as the only effectual means of stemming that selfishness and licence of the citizens, which in his time was becoming more and more predominant. Plato deduces the three main elements of the state from the three different activities of the soul; and just as the appetitive element should be absolutely under control, so also the working class, which answers to it; and the military order, which answers to the emotive element, should develope itself in thorough dependence upon the reason, by means of gymnastics and music; and from that the governing order, answering to the rational faculty, must proceed. The right of passing from the rank of a guard (dulakes, to epikourikon) to that of a ruler, must be established by the capacity for raising oneself from becoming to being, from notion to knowledge ; for the ruler ought to be in a condition to extend and confirm the government of the reason in the state more and more, and especially to direct and watch over training and education. Without admitting altogether the impracticability of his state, yet Plato confesses that no realisation of it in the phenomenal world can fully express his idea, but that an approximation to it must be aimed at by a limitation of unconditional unity and community, adapted to circumstances. On this account, with the view of approximating to the given circumstances, he renounces, in his book on the Laws, that absolute separation of ranks; limits the power of the governors, attempts to reconcile freedom with reason and unity, to mingle monarchy with democracy ; distinguishes several classes of rulers, and will only commit to their organically constructed body the highest power under the guarantee of the laws.
There are numerous editions both of the entire text of Plato, and of separate dialogues. The first was that published by Aldus at Venice, in A. D. 1513. In this edition the dialogues are arranged in nine tetralogies, according to the division of Thrasyllus (see above). The next edition was that published at Basle, in 1534. It was edited chiefly by Johannes Oporinus, who was afterwards professor of Greek in that university. It does not appear that he made use of any manuscripts, but he succeeded in correcting many of the mistakes to be found in the edition of Aldus, though some of his alterations were corruptions of sound passages. The edition was, however, enriched by having incorporated with it the commentaries of Proclus on the Timaeus and the State, which had shortly before been discovered by Simon Grynaeus in the library of the university at Oxford, and a triple Greek index,--one of words and phrases, another of proper names, and a third of proverbs to be found in Plato. The next edition, published at Basle in 1556, was superintended by Marcus Hopperus, who availed himself of a collation of some manuscripts of Plato made in Italy by Arnoldus Arlenius, and so corrected several of the errors of the previous Basle edition, and gave a large number of various readings; the edition of H. Stephanus (1578, in three volumes) is equally remarkable for the careful preparation of the text, by correcting the mistakes of copyists and typographers, and introducing in several instances very felicitous improvements, and for the dishonesty with which the editor appropriated to himself the labours of others without any acknowledgment, and with various tricks strove to conceal the source from which they were derived. His various readings are taken chiefly, if not entirely, from the second Basle edition, from the Latin version of Ficinus, and from the notes of Cornarius. It is questionble whether he himself collated a single manuscript. The Latin version of Serranus, which is printed in this edition, is very bad. The occasional translations of Stephanus himself are far better. The Bipont edition (11 vols. 8vo. A. D. 1781--1786) contains a reprint of the text of that of Stephanus, with the Latin version of Marsilius Ficinus. Some fresh various readings, collected by Mitscherlich, are added. It was, however, by Immanuel Bekker that the text of Plato was first brought into a satisfactory condition in his edition, published in 1816--18, accompanied by the Latin version of Ficinus (here restored, generally speaking, to its original form, the reprints of it in other previous editions of Plato containing numerous alterations and corruptions), a critical commentary, an extensive comparison of various readings, and the Greek scholia, previously edited by Ruhnken, with some additions, together with copious indexes. The dialogues are arranged according to the scheme of Schleiermacher. The Latin version in this edition has sometimes been erroneously described as that of Wolf. A joint edition by Bekker and Wolf was projected and commenced, but not completed. The reprint of Bekker's edition, accompanied by the notesof Stephanus, Heindorf, Wyttenbach, &c., published by Priestley (Lond. 1826), is a useful edition. Ast's edition (Lips. 1819--1827, 9 vols. 8vo., to which two volumes of notes on the four dialogues, Protagoras, Phaedrus, Georgias, and Phaedo, have since been added) contains many ingenious and excellent emendations of the text, which the editor's profound acquaintance with the phraseology of Plato enabled him to effect. G. Stallbaum, who edited a critical edition of the text of Plato (Lips. 1821--1825, 8 vols. 8vo. 4 , and 1826, 8 vols. 12mo.), commenced in 1827 an elaborate edition of Plato, which is not yet quite completed. This is perhaps the best and most useful edition which has appeared. The edition of J.G. Baiter, J. C. Orelli, and A. G. Winckelmann (one vol. 4to. Ziirich, 1839) deserves especial mention for the accuracy of the text and the beauty of the typography.
Of separate dialogues, or collections of dialogues, the editions are almost endless. Those of the Cratylus and Theaetetus, of the Euthyphro, Apologia, Crito, and Phaedo, of the Sophista, Politicus and Parmenides, and of the Philebus and Symposium by Fischer; of the Lysis, Charmides, Hippias Major, and Phaedrus, of the Gorgias and Theaetetus, of the Cratylus, Euthydemus and Parmenides, of the Phaedo, and of the Protagoras and Sophistes by Heindorf (whose notes exhibit both acuteness and sound judgment); of the Phaedo by Wyttenbach; of the Philebus, and of the Parmenides by Stallbaum (in the edition of the latter of which the commentary of Proclus is incorporated), are most worthy of note. Of the translations of Plato the most celebrated is the Latin version of Marsilius Ficinus (Flor. 1483--1484, and frequently reprinted). It was in this version, which was made from manuscripts, that the writings of Plato first appeared in a printed form. The translation is so extremely close that it has almost the authority of a Greek manuscript, and is of great service in ascertaining varieties of reading. This remark, however, does not apply to the later, altered editions of it, which were published subsequently to the appearance of the Greek text of Plato. There is no good English translation of the whole of Plato, that by Taylor being by no means accurate. The efforts of Floyer Sydenham were much more successful, but he translated only a few of the pieces. There is a French translation by V. Cousin. Schleiermacher's German translation is incomparably the best, but is unfortunately incomplete. There is an Italian translation by Dardi Bembo. The versions of separate dialogues in different languages are too numerous to be noticed.
We have space to notice only the following out of the very numerous works written in illustration of Plato: -- Pltonis Dialogorum Argumenta Exposita et Illustrata, by Tiedemann (Bip. 1786); System der Platonischen Philosophie, by Tennemann (4 vols. 8vo. Leipz. 1792--5); Initia Philosophiae Platonicae, by P. G. Van Heusde (ed. ii. Lugd. Bat. 1842); Platons Leben und Schriften, by G. A. F. Ast (Leipz. 1816); Geschichte und System der Platonischen Philosophic, by C. F. Hermann (Heidelb. 1838); Platonis de Ideis et Numeris Doctrina ea Aristotele illustrata, by F. A. Trendelenburg (Lips. 1826); Platonische Studien, by E. Zeller (Tubing. 1839). There are also numerous smaller treatises by Bockh, C. F. Hermann, Stallbaum, &c., which may be consulted with profit. Schleiermacher's introductions to some of the dialogues have been translated and published in a separate form in English.
This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited July 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
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