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THE DIALOGUE ON VIRTUE.
Or this dialogue, which contains little more than two portions of the Meno, the authorship is attributed to jEschines by Suidas, whom Fischer has followed; but by Boeckh to Simon, the shoemaker, in consequence of his remarking that the follower of Socrates had written two treatises respectively on Justice and Virtue, both of which are found amongst the titles of the spurious dialogues. It is however difficult to believe that any person, who was contemporary with Plato, would condescend to pilfer from a fellow-writer; unless it be said that Simon has given the dialogue as it really took place, with the view of showing that nearly all of what Plato put into the mouth of Socrates was the produce of the writer's own fertile imagination.
Be however the author who he may, it is a curious fact, that the dialogue contains allusions to circumstances not mentioned by Plato, but which could hardly have been known except to a contem. porary, as I have remarked in § 7, n.6 —6
No less curious is another fact, that amongst the confessedly spurious dialogues of Plato, mentioned by Diogenes Laertius in iii. 62, there is one under the title of iliSuv % 'imroarpopoc. But as the Vienna MS. reads there 'l7rjrorp6>oc, and the Vatican MS. of Plato, marked Q by Bekker, gives the word 'In-jrorpo^oc, as the name of the person conversing with Socrates, and as "Hippotrophus" is found as one of the Interlocutors in the Latin version of this dialogue made by Cincius Romanus, preserved amongst the additional MSS. No. 11,760, in the British Museum, it is fair to infer that the real title was Wiuv f) 'Iirirorpo^of. For thus Midon the horsehreeder would be the origin of Menon of Thessaly, a country famous for its breed of horses. And it was from this coincidence in the name furnished by three different sources, that I have been led to examine more attentively than I should otherwise have done, the version of Cincius; where I have discovered, what I little expected, that the translator had, like Ficinus in other parts of Plato, met with a MS. more full than any subsequently collated, as may be seen in my notes.
With regard to the next dialogue "On Justice," I have only to remark, that it was in existence in the time of Thrasyllus, from whom Diogenes Laertius drew the greater part of his information relating to the Platonic and Pseudo-Platonic writings.
PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE.
[1.] Is Virtue a thing to be taught, or to be not taught? but1 do men become good by nature, or by any other means? I cannot, Socrates, state at present. But let us consider the matter in this way. Come then, (say,) if a person wished to become good in the virtue,2 in which clever cooks are good, from whence would he become so? It is evident, if he learnt from good cooks. Well then, if a person wished to become a good physician, by going to whom would he become a good physician? It is evident, by going to some one of the good physicians. But if he wished to become good in the art, in which clever carpenters (are good)? To (some one) of the (good) carpenters.
[2.] If then he wished to be good in the virtue, in which men are good and clever, whither must he go and learn? I conceive to (some one) of the (good) men (to learn) this, if it ls to be learnt; for from whence else? Come them (say,) who are the men that have become good? in order that we may see whether these are the persons, who make men good, Thucydides,3 and Themistocles, and Aristides, and Pericles.
This dXXd is strangely introduced here. But as it is found in the Meno, § 1, although in a manner perfectly proper there, it would be uncritical perhaps to remove it. Cincius however has what is preferable, Bstne virtus o Hyppotrophe, res quae doctrina percipi possit? an contra? l*um viri boni natura efficiuntur, sive alio quodam modo t"
By "virtue," was meant not merely a moral quality, as with us, but 'excellence," generally.
This word should evidently follow xai ntpicXiyc, to preserve the order in which they are taken subsequently, not only in this dialogue, but Have we it in our power to say who was the teacher of each of these? We have not; for it is not told. Well then, (can we mention) any pupil, either amongst strangers or citizens or any one else, either a free man or a slave, who assigns as the cause of his having become wise and good his intercourse with them? This too is not told. But they did not surely grudge to share their virtue with other persons. Perhaps so. Was it that there might not be rival artists, just as cooks, and physicians, and carpenters feel a jealousy;1 since it is not to their advantage for many rival artists to exist, nor for them to dwell amongst many similar persons. Is it then in like manner not an advantage for good men to dwell amongst many similar persons? Perhaps so. [3.] Are not the good and the just the same? Yes, they are. Is there the individual, to whom it is an advantage to live not amongst good persons, but amongst bad? I cannot tell. Can you not tell this too, whether it is the work of good men to do a hurt, and of bad men to do a benefit, or the reverse? The reverse. The good then do a benefit, the bad do a hurt. Yes. Is there a person who wishes to be hurt rather than to be benefited? By no means. No one therefore wishes to live amongst bad persons, rather than amongst good. It is so. Not one then of the good is so jealous of another, as (not)2 to make him a good person and similar to himself. From this3 reasoning it seems so. [4.] You have heard that Cleophantus was the son of Themistocles. I have heard it. It is evident then that Themistocles was not jealous of his son becoming the best possible; who (was jealous of)4 no one else, if indeed he was a good man; and (good) 5 they say he was. Yes. You know then that Themistocles caused his son to be taught to be a clever and a good horseman. For instance he used to remain 6 standing upright
in the Meno, § 33, 4, where Sydenham was the first to remark that this Thucydides was not the historian, but a political opponent of Pericles.
1 Fischer refers to Hesiod Epy. 25, Kat Kepafjttvg Kepapu Koricc, rai Tektovi TtKTiov, Kai imaxog Trrwxy fpOovsu Kat aoiSbg doiStp, similar to the homely English proverb, " Two of a trade can never agree."
2 After SiriTi I have inserted, what has evidently dropt out, pi —Cincius however omits Hare, and has, "sed bonum—"
3 I have adopted Ik Tov \6yov rovrov, found in MS. Aug. according to Fischer.
5 I have inserted "envied," requisite to complete the sense, and similarly " good," just afterwards. 6 I have adopted iickjitvt, the conjecture of Horreus, who got the upon horses, and upright too hurled a javelin from (the backs of) the horses, and did many other wonderful feats,1 and taught him, and made him wise in many other things,1 such as are closely connected with a good education. Or have you not heard so from elderly persons? I have heard it. No one then could find fault with the son's nature as being bad.2 Not justly so at least from what you have said. [5.] But what is this? that Cleophantus, the son of Themistocles, became a good and wise man in the matters where his father was wise, have you ever heard from any younger or older person? I have not heard it. Do we then conceive that he wished to instruct his own son in these matters; but in the wisdom, in which he was wise himself, not to make him better than any of his neighbours, if virtue were a thing to be taught? It is not likely at least. [6.] Of such a kind then is this your teacher of virtue, to whom you have alluded ?3 Let us then look to another, by name Aristides, who brought up Lysimachus, and instructed him the best of the Athenians on such subjects as are connected with (good)4 teachers; and yet he made him a man no better than any body ; for both you and I have seen and associated with him. It is true. [7.] Tou know too that Pericles brought up well 5 his sons Paralus and Xanthippus, 6 of the latter of whom you seem to me to have been the lover.6 These, as you know yourself, he taught to be horsemen inferior to none of the Athenians; and he instructed
reading from Meno, § 32, in lieu of 67re/3au>e, although in both places the author probably wrote something more fit to be read than what is found here at present.
,,,~~ The Greek is here rai dXXa sroXXd ilidalii rai tiroi'tjtrt ao<pbv—But U'wants 'te subject, supplied in the Meno, § 32, 8. inelvoQ airov '/diam. Hence one would read here rai dXXa TroXXd, ii i£i£d£ctTo """"Ci lvoit)at ootyov—where liroiriat would be united as frequently with two accusatives.
Cincius adds, "Quandoquidem eum ad percipiendas disciplinas adipiscendasque aptum idoneumque esse cognoscit—"
In lieu of ov vwilirtc, Cincius has—"quern majorum esse profiteuttis," as if his MS. had here something similar to what is found in Meno, 5 33, ov rai ov o/»oXoyfT iv TOif apiarov Tuiv irpor'epwv.
Both here and in Meno, § 33,I suspect that raXuv has been lost after 'wmrtdXiiw—
In lieu of av I have translated, as if the Greek were ei, similar to /"yaXoirptTrwf in the Meno.
*—' The words between the numerals have dropt out in Meno, § 33, after IlapaXov rai EavQiitirov.