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and to depose Dionysius; when being overpowered, he was by Dionysius delivered over to Pollis of JEgina, who was then trading with Sicily, to be sold. And he carrying Plato to jEgina, found there Anniceris, the Libyan, who was about to sail to Elis for the purpose of entering the contest with a four-horsed car; and meeting with Pollis, he purchased Plato from him, having bought1 this glory, superior to all the victory of a four-horsed car; respecting whom Aristides2 says that no one would have known3 Anniceris, if he had not purchased Plato.
Of his third journey to Sicily this was the motive. Dion, after being proscribed by Dionysius and deprived of his property, was thrown into prison. He writes therefore to Plato, that Dionysius had promised to release him, if Plato would come to him again; when he readily undertook this third journey to assist his friend. And thus much on the travels of the philosopher to Sicily.
It should be known likewise that he went to Egypt to the men of the priesthood there, and learnt from them the science of a priest. Hence he says in the Gorgias—4" No, by the dog,"—which was a god in Egypt.4 For that, which statues mean amongst the Greek, animals do amongst the Egyptians, through being the symbols of each of the gods to whom they are dedicated. Being desirous, moreover, to meet with the Magi, but unable to reach them in consequence of a war raging at that time5 in Persia, he departed for Phoenicia; and meeting there with the Magi, he obtained the science of the Magi; and hence he appears in the Timaeus to be skilled in the art of sacrificing, while speaking of the signs of the liver and entrails, and such like matters. But this ought to have been told 6 previous to the statement of the causes of his journeys7 to Sicily.6
1 In lieu of dyw«rd/wvoc, which is perfectly unintelligible, I have translated, as if the Greek were diruvriadfitvoc, what the sense evidently requires.
2 In Orat. Platon. 2, t. iii. p. 385, Cant.
3 I have adopted iyiyvwaKtv av, as suggested by Etwall.
1—4 On this Socratic oath see my note on Hipp. Maj. § 18.
s In lieu of Oibv, Casaubon would read Kcupbv—■ He should have suggested xpivov, what I have translated.
6 —9 From this it would seem as if Plato travelled to Egypt and neighbouring countries before he went to Sicily.
'Meric Casaubon would read rwv rpiuiv instead of Tuv simply.
On his return to Athens he established a school in the Academia, by separating a portion of the Gymnasium for a grove sacred to the Muses; and there Timon, the man-hater, associated with Plato alone. Very many persons did he attract to learning, both men and women in male attire, by preparing them to hear him, and showing them that his philosophy was superior to all love of business. For he freed himself from the irony1 of Socrates, and from passing his time 2 in the place of public meeting, and at work-shops,a and from composing discourses to catch young persons.3 He freed himself likewise from the Pythagorean oath,4 about keeping their doors closed, and the—"He said it,"5 and exhibited himself more like a citizen to all. 6 After making many his admirers, and benefiting the most of them,6 when he was about to die, he had a dream, how that having become a swan,7 he went from tree to tree, and caused the greatest trouble to bird-limers. This Simmias, the Socratic philosopher, expounded (by saying) that he would be not caught by those, who after him wished to interpret him; for the interpreters who wanted to catch8 the meaning of the ancients were like birdlime ; and not caught he is; since one may take his words, like those of Homer, in a sense physical, moral, ethical, theological, and, (to speak) simply, in a variety of senses. For these two souls are said to be alto
1 This seems rather a strange assertion; for the Socratic irony is to be found in all the genuine dialogues, with the exception of the Laws.
a—2 This I suspect Plato never did at any time; although it was a frequent practice with Socrates, as we learn from Xenophon.
3 This was the practice of a sophist rather; and hence such a person is ridiculed on this very ground in the dialogue of that name.
4 I have adopted opicou, suggested by Meric Casaubon, in lieu of SyKov. The oath alluded to was to not divulge their doctrines to persons who were not Pythagoreans.
8 This was the formula adopted by the disciples of Pythagoras, when they alluded to any of the doctrines of their teacher.
*—• Of all the words between the numerals the original has been hitherto furnished by the Vienna MS. alone, with the exception of the letters Xiiaag, the termination of iifeXriaas.
7 To this dream of Plato fancying that he had become a swan, is perhaps to be referred the origin of Horace's ode, where he describes a similar transformation of himself into that bird.
* In lieu of nupaoBai, the sense evidently requires 9tipaa9m, what I have translated. The two verbs are confounded elsewhere, as I have shown at Eurip. Tro. 982.
gether in harmony; and hence 1 one may take them both in various senses.1
After his decease the Athenians buried him in an expensive manner, and they inscribed upon his tomb—
2 These two, ^Esculapius and Plato, did Apollo beget;
And thus much respecting the family of the philosopher.
1—1 Such is the literal version of the original. But, unless I am mistaken, 3 ilmiaiv have dropt out after vavToSairde: which could hardly be applied to writers, although it might to what they wrote.
«—• Of this distich there is a metrical version in p. 199
INTRODUCTION OF ALCINOUS,
THE DOCTRINES OF PLATO.
[1.] What Philosophy is, and what the person ought to be naturally, who is about to be a Philosopher.
The teaching of the peculiar opinions of Plato would be something of this kind.
Philosophy is a longing after wisdom, or a release or withdrawal of the soul from the body, while we are turning ourselves to what is perceived by mind, and to things that exist truly. Now Wisdom is the knowledge of things divine and human; and the person called a philosopher is so named from it,1 as a musician is from music. Now it is necessary for such a person to be naturally disposed, in the first place, towards those kinds of learning, that possess the power to fit him for, and lead him to, the knowledge of the existence, perceived by mind, and not of that, 2 which wanders about, and is in a state of flowing.2 Next, he must have a love for truth, and by no means admit a falsehood. Moreover, he must be naturally temperate, and, as regards the portion of the soul. 3subject to being affected by circumstances,3 naturally sub
1 The Greek is aird ravrric, with the ellipse of ^iXoffo^/ac, to be got out of 0t\6<xo0oc: a fact not unknown to Ficinus, who has filled up the ellipse, " a philosophia cognomen accipit."
'—* The Heracleitean doctrine, that all things are in a perpetual state of flowing, is here applied to knowledge, according to the sentiment of Solon— Ever as I grow old, still much I learn. *—3 Such is the periphrase required to understand the full meaning of TraBqriKov in Greek. Vol. vi. R
dued. For he, who is 'eager after instruction1 relating to things existing, and who turns to these his longing, will look upon pleasures2 with little admiration. It is requisite too for him, who is about to be a philosopher, to be mentally free. For all little considerations are opposed to the soul, that ia about to contemplate 3 subjects pertaining to god and man.3 And towards justice likewise it is requisite for him to be naturally disposed, as it is4 towards truth and freedom (in thought)5 and temperance; and there ought to be in addition an aptitude to learn, and a (good) memory. For these things form the species of a philosopher. Since these naturally good qualities, when they meet with a proper education and fitting aliment, render a person perfect for virtue; but when they are neglected, they become the cause of great mischief. And these Plato was accustomed to call by names similar6 to the virtues, temperance, and fortitude, and justice.
[2.] That as Contemplation takes the lead, Action is necessary and follows.
Since life is twofold, Contemplative and Active, of the former the chief point lies in the knowledge of truth; but of the latter, in doing what is suggested by reason. The Contemplative life then is the one held in honour, but the Active that which follows and is necessary.7 That such is the case will be clear from hence. Contemplation is an operation of the mind, while it is thinking upon 8 what is perceptible by mind but Action is an operation of the rational soul, perfected by means of the body. The soul then, when contemplating the deity and the thoughts of the deity, is said to be in a good state;
1—1 Ficimis has "veritatis avidus," as if his MS. read aXrjBivnaTuni in lieu of fia9ij[iaTwv.
1 Ficinus has "voluptates corporis," what the sense requires; and hence perhaps he found in his MS. ou OavfiaZoi av GbipariKaQ rdc iiSovas.
*—3 Ficinus has " veritatem rerum—"
* I have translated, as if the Greek were Ge w, not elf, which I cannot understand.
4 The words, "in thought," are added, to answer to the preceding t\ev$kpiov—ry yvuijiy.
* Ficinus has "communiori quodam nomine," as if his MS. read KOtvorJpm ovopan in lieu of b/xuivifiws—
7 Ficinus has, in lieu of avayKaloq, the Supplement, "necessariarumque rerum ministra."
s—8 Instead of Ta voijrd, the MS. of Ficinus seems to have read ri Bfia— for his version is "divina—"