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beginning; for even the Menon, notwithstanding that he there begins with the main question, is not without its introduction. Meanwhile, even though we would ascribe the beginning and the end of the dialogue to a strange hand, whose mutilation and mischief it may not be very easy to repair, the dialogue itself, we shall find, receives but too little assistance from this favourable view. For, firstly, that connection with other Platonic ideas, which is to save the piece, is never even in the slightest degree forthcoming, and the supposition of the existence of a higher ethical object, or a genuine dialectic treatment, has no foundation in anything but good-nature ; since there is no dialogue of Plato, take it where you will, such that, if a portion co-extensive with the Hipparchus were selected or compiled out of it, the main branch to which that portion belongs might not be recognised by any one from infallible tokens. On the contrary, the Hipparchus as we have it, is connected with no other dialogue of Plato whatever, and is so far from being unworthy of its insignificant and unplatonic ending, that the unfavourable prejudice which the two extremities at once excite against it never meets with anything effectually calculated to remove it. For the dialectics which it exhibits are a tedious and lame performance, always revolving upon the same point on which it was fixed at the commencement, without making a single step in advance. And even supposing the plan of the dialogue to have been designed with far more enlarged views, who could think of ascribing to Plato that digression about the Pisistratidae, with which so much that is not to the purpose is mixed up, and which could not have contributed even in the slightest degree to any conceivable object whatever of the whole, so that it might rather be looked upon as a specimen of antiquarian knowledge produced by some sophist who wished to display his erudition. But above all the Hipparchus is denounced by the total absence of that which in the general preface, with the assent it is hoped of every reader, was mentioned as a test of Platonic dialogues, I mean, the individualizing of the persons who are interlocutors with Socrates. For there is not a single trace to be found here, whether internal or external, which might indicate more accurately anything about the interlocutor. Nay even the most external condition, the mention of his name, is not satisfied by a single notice of it throughout the dialogue ; so that the prefix of a name to his conversation seems to be only the addition of some old copyist or perhaps grammarian, who was surprised by this unusual circumstance, while the title of the dialogue seems only to have come from that digression about the Pisistratidae. Thus much at least may be easily shown, that if Plato composed the dialogue, this man was not called Hipparchus with his consent. For how in such a case would Socrates even at the very first mention of the Pisistratid have abstained from noticing the similarity of his name to that of the interlocutor? Certainly on no supposition whatever. But the introduction of a quite indefinite and anonymous person is not only completely at variance with the nature of the Platonic dialogue, but here in particular it would have been very easy for him to select extremely appropriate characters out of those already used by him on other occasions. So that, every thing duly considered, not even a plan of Plato's can have been in existence according to which some other writer has worked; for the plan must have contained the first outline, upon which the suitability of the person for the dialogue rested. On the other hand, the marks of an imitator, and a very poor one too, will be pointed out frequently enough in particular instances by the notes, in order to confirm the sentence of rejection from this side also, although even here only some points are indicated while the rest is left to the private observation of the philological reader. The notion from which the dialogue starts could not well be rendered otherwise than by gewinnsucht (avarice,) although in common life this word does not bear so bad a signification as the Greek one. For the essential characteristic of eagerly seeking to gain in trifles is more strongly implied in that word than in any other, and moreover the opposition to the ethical notion of love for the good cannot strike the ear too strongly as far as the purpose of the dialogue is concerned.
SINCE I first wrote this introduction, further progress has been made in the case of this and of the following dialogue. That both might fairly be attributed to one and the same composer I had already hinted ; and not only has no protest been entered into on the other side with a view to establish their authenticity, but even Boeckh's ingenious opinion, which ascribes both of them together with two other previously excommunicated dialogues to Simon, has not yet been met by a contradiction. For what Ast mentions in opposition to that hypothesis is by no means of much importance. Notwithstanding this I have let my cautious introduction stand as it was, partly that the history of the investigation may remain entire, partly for uniformity’s sake. For the same reason also I have left the dialogue in its old place, and in the title, though I am fully of Boeckh's opinion that the original one only mentioned the subject, have nevertheless followed the text of Bekker; and this may be said in anticipation with regard to the next dialogue also.
A FEw words again will suffice to gain assent to the rejection of the Minos as well as the Hipparchus. First, as to the reason for assigning this as its proper place, every reader must see the remarkable similarity between it, and the Hipparchus, which is so great that they seem both of them to have been turned out of the same mould. The beginning breaks in just as violently, and the end breaks off just as weakly and inappropriately, after a new investigation had apparently but just begun. So that even with regard to this sorry performance some persons have quieted themselves with the supposition, that all that is wanting to it is that it should be complete; as if such a design could ever be worked out to any good. Like the Hipparchus, again, the Minos is ornamentally disfigured in the middle by a discussion; not tending at all to advance the main subject, upon a personage of antiquity. And, what is more, this very discussion has equally given the dialogue its name, while the interlocutor is not only divested of all character and circumstance, but also nameless, and can the less be called Minos, as he no where gives even a hint that betrays him to be a stranger, and Minos was never an Athenian name. And further, whoever looks to the tenor and course of the dialogue, will recognize it as unplatonic. Nothing is ever gained by all the abundance of examples, nor anything more accurately defined by comparison with a similar idea; on the contrary, they pass with the most unsocratic carelessness from one idea to another; as from that of certainty to
that of opinion, and every thing once said, however