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In the present volume are contained those dialogues

which, although considered spurious by the generality of

critics, are always found in the complete editions of Plato.

To these are added the three several Lives attributed

to Diogenes Laertius, Hesychius, and Olympiodorus,

and the two Introductions to the Platonic System by

Alcinous and Albinus; also the three books of Apu-

leius relating to the Philosophy and Logic of Plato and


Of all these works, the only portions which have hither-

to appeared in an English dress, are the Epinomis, the
Life of Plato by Diogenes Laertius, and the Introduc-
tion of Alcinous. But even of these not one has been
translated directly from the original." In the Epinomis,
Taylor followed the Latin version of Ficinus as revised
by Gryn«us; and Stanley, strange to say, adopted, in
preference to the Greek, Ficinus's Latin version of
Alcinous as revised by D. Heinsius; while Smith, in

* Since this preface was written, a complete translation of Diogenes
Laertius (from the Greek) has been published in Bohn's Classical Library,
his abridged translation of Diogenes Laertius, has fol-
lowed the Latin version given by Stephens.

To render this edition as perfect as possible, it has
been deemed advisable to insert Sydenham's Introduc-
tion to the Doctrines of Plato; a copious selection from
the Notes of Gray, as published by Matthias in the 2nd
volume of his edition of the Works of that poet; and a
General Index to the entire work.


Although this dialogue is called the Epinomis, which might be rendered into English by "A Sequel to the Laws," yet it contains not a single hint for an enactment of any kind. It is in fact little more than a Homily, written for the most part on the Laws, vii. § 20—22, p. 300—308, and it seems to be the production of some Pythagorean; who, perceiving that Plato had adopted some of the ideas promulgated by that school of philosophy, was desirous of showing that he had only partially touched upon their tenets relating to numbers. For with this question were intimately connected all their ideas relating to the power and attributes of the deity. And this the writer was the more willing to dilate upon, as Plato had expressed his unwillingness to discuss the subject of religion at a greater length. For after witnessing the fate of Socrates, who had endeavoured to rationalize the creed of his country, Plato probably thought it dangerous, as Aristotle certainly did afterwards, to run counter to popular prejudices; and he was therefore led to remark, that all the enactments relating to religion should be left to the discretion of its ministers, assisted by the interpreters of the voice of the gods.

Respecting the author of the dialogue, nothing is known for certain. Thus much however is tolerably clear, that it was not written by Plato. For, as remarked by Ast on § 7, where mention is made of the five elements, out of which all living things are said to be formed, this doctrine is at variance with that promulgated in the Timaeus, where only four are enumerated. But when in § 5, where the Athenian Guest alludes to some memoranda made by Clinias and Megillus of the previous conversation, Ast would infer that the Laws had been published already, he seems not to be aware that an inference the very reverse ought to be drawn. For the memoranda would rather be made shortly after the conversation had taken place, just as was done by Xenophon in the case of Socrates, with a view to their being published afterwards. And hence we can account for the tradition, that the Laws were not given to the world, till after the death of their author.

The Epinomis is indeed attributed to Plato by Nicomachus; but not by Proclus, as has been sometimes asserted. For Boeckh has shown that the Neo-Platonist on Euclid i. p. 12, originally expressed himself in a way to indicate that he did not know who was the author of the dialogue. Boeckh himself feels inclined to assign the authorship to Philip of Opuntium; who appears from Suidas to have written not a little on subjects relating to Arithmetic, Geometry, and Astronomy, all of which are discussed at greater or less length in the Epinomis.

Be however the author who he may, the dialogue itself has, like the Laws, come down to us in rather an unsatisfactory state; and hence I have been compelled to write longer notes than would otherwise have been necessary.

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