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of examples; all of which gives us a strong feeling of inexperience in a composer. Thus also what occurs respecting the subject of the erotic speeches and poems of Hippothales, seems to be a continued allusion to the erotic speeches of Lysias, very probably produced by unfavourable opinions as to the conduct of Plato to that celebrated man. It would be superfluous to think of noting in detail the whole course of the dialogue after the general view of it that has been given, inasmuch as every one must now be in a condition to judge to what point the particular lines tend, and according to what rule they must be produced in order to reach the centre-point of the whole. That many polemical particulars lie concealed in this dialogue also, every reader will divine; and one feels pretty certain that Plato would completely separate the physical application of the idea of friendship from the ethical, if not entirely reject the former. Thus it can escape no one how the secondary object—that which connects the spirit with the form, namely, to enjoin a morally erotic treatment of the object of love, is not only reached by the preliminary pieces of dialogue, but is very artfully insinuated through the whole, and very easily also, with the exception of a few particular harshnesses, which, just because they were easy to avoid, mark the beginner. The same may be said of the luxuriance in the by-work, and a certain ostentation of superfluity of matter on all points. But this little dialogue is remarkable for the manner in which it suggests the principles from which it is necessary to start in order to understand and judge of the Platonic writings, partly as a striking example, and the first of such examples, of how little ground there is for the opinion, that Plato did not, generally, mean to decide the questions to the investigation of which he gives a sceptical colouring, without writing down the meaning of the riddle in plain words, as he here observes that method in the case of a subject with regard to which he decides in two other dialogues, and that in such a manner that the attentive reader may without trouble find the decision in what looks entirely sceptical. Partly, also, it is an example of how easily Plato could give birth to dialogues of a slighter cast, which, considered in themselves, are merely dialectical, but stand in a necessary connection with something mystical without them,-planets, as it were, only borrowing their light from the greater independent bodies, and moving around them. Also of how the appearances of those dialogues cannot be understood unless their relations to the larger are rightly comprehended; and how necessary, therefore, it must be, if we would determine the subject of such writings, or decide whether they are Platonic or not, that every possible means should be tried to fix their distance from the principal bodies, and the path in which they move. For as regards the Lysis, few would now pay much attention to the doubts which a too austere and strict criticism could raise against its genuineness—nay, it could scarce be found necessary to refer the accuser further to its imitative and dramatic form, which has so beautiful an effect, and so much of the Platonic character. Of the characters themselves there is nothing to be said; moreover, there is no trace existing that an actual occurrence is the basis either of the subject or of the dress in which it is clothed.
To the most celebrated men of those who had at that period come forward as instructors of the Hellenic youth ; to Protagoras first, who of all masters of dispute and eloquence, by reason of the fundamental principle on which his art rested, most deserved to become the study of a philosopher, even as he was himself called a philosopher in ancient times and honoured as such ; to the learned Hippias, moreover, the skilled in history and antiquity, rich in stores of art and memory; and to Prodicus, chiefly brought forward by reason of his philological labours, who, though as a less important personage, contributes to the effect of the whole; and, further, to the friends and admirers of these wise men, the noblest of the Athenian youth, celebrated partly through their fathers, partly in succeeding times by their own deeds as generals, demagogues, and poets; to the sons of Pericles, namely, to his ward Alcibiades, to Critias, to Agathon and others, who, though only present as mute spectators, exalt the pomp and splendour of the whole; to these it is that, together with Socrates and a young man whom he is to recommend as a pupil to Protagoras, this richly ornamented dialogue introduces us. so moreover, to the most brilliant and luxurious house in Athens, the house of Callias, who was the richest citizen, the friend of Pericles, as the second husband of his mother after her separation from Hipponicus, connected in the relation of brother-in-law to Alcibiades, who married his sister Hipparete, recognised and ridiculed by the comic poets as the most zealous and munificent patron of the Sophists, until his unlimited
extravagance put an end to the ancient splendour of his house, which had come down almost from the time of Solon/ These are the wise and noble personages who take part in the dialogue which Socrates here details to his friend just after its occurrence, and it is not necessary to have any further previous information respecting them, as they all, and the latter especially, are reflected so clearly and distinctly in the work itself, that it is one of the first and most important sources from whence a knowledge of their characteristics may be obtained. But the question how this company was brought together cannot be passed over, as even in the old times it was objected to the dialogue, that its author had been enabled to bestow upon it this profusion of important personages only in the most inadmissible way, by means of gross offences against the order and propriety of dates. For several points of evidence appear, which seem to argue that Plato conceived the dialogue to be held not earlier than in the ninetieth olympiad. |Thus Hipponicus, the father of Callias, is never mentioned, but Protagoras lodges immediately with the latter, who appears exclusively as lord and master; and Hipponicus perished in the battle of Delos not later than the beginning of the eighty-ninth olympiad, Nay, still more decisively, there is a comedy of Pherecrates, called “The Wild Men,” mentioned as having been brought out in the previous year, which adorned the Lenaean festival in the last year of the eighty-ninth olympiad. Athenaeus, then, takes this as his standing point, and from it accuses Plato of two faults, namely, that Hippias the Peloponnesian could not have been staying at Athens at any other time except during the truce under Isarchus, in the first year of the eighty-ninth, against which Dacier, in * introduction to the translation of the Protagoras, endeavours to justify Plato ; further that Plato, in the first of the ninetieth, could not have said of Protagoras that he had come first to Athens three days ago, as he is brought forward in the comedy of Eupolis, the Flatterers, as already present in the third of the eighty-ninth. But even if any one should be disposed to agree with Dacier as regards the first point, and in respect of the second, to reject the testimony of a comic poet, who, as well as Plato, may have allowed himself a fiction, still the matter is not done with, as there are several unquestionable evidences in every way opposed to fixing the date of the dialogue in that year, and forcing it higher up ; and it is matter of wonder that these are not mentioned in that hostile passage of Athenaeus, although he brings them forward elsewhere. For first Socrates is treated by Protagoras as still a young man, and even calls himself so, which it is impossible he could do only twenty years before his death. Moreover, Alcibiades, who only a year after that assumed by Athenaeus is called a general, is termed a downy-cheeked youth, and Agathon, crowned as a tragic poet in the same olympiad, a boy. Nay, what is most decisive of all, Pericles is spoken of as still living, and his sons who died before him in the plague are present in the company, whence this dialogue is clearly thrown back to a date prior to the third year of the eighty-seventh olympiad. Now as so many minor points coincide with this last epoch, not belonging at all to what is essential in the dialogue, as for instance Agathon and the sons of Pericles, it is evidently that which was most clearly in Plato's mind, and which he really intended to adhere to in the execution of the work. But as to the evidence for a later date, it may be asked whether the comedy of Pherecrates had