Page images





THE scene of this dialogue is the prison to which Socrates was committed, previous to the execution of his sentence. Crito, his friend and disciple, enters for the purpose of persuading him to take advantage of the means provided for his escape. He finds Socrates in a tranquil slumber, and gazes for a while with wonder upon so calm a rest, unbroken by any dread of impending death. The philosopher awaking, expresses his surprise at the unusual earliness of his friend's customary visit; and learns that he came as the harbinger of dismal tidings, the sacred galley, whose return was the signal for the death of Socrates, having been that day expected to arrive from Delos. He implores his master, in terms of the strongest affection, to secure his safety by immediate flight, and seeks to shew by arguments of no ordinary weight, that Socrates was called upon by the obligations due to his friends, his family, and himself, not to reject this favourable chance, which devoted affection had laboured to procure. But the efforts of the most sincere attachment, and most tender expostulation, proved as ineffectual as the dread of positive and instant danger, the noble firmness of Socrates could not be undermined, and by the example of his death, he gave the last great lesson in that wisdom and virtue which he had inculcated by precept during life.

He opposes the arguments of Crito upon the following grounds:

That the opinions of men should be disregarded in comparison with the judgment of the Deity.

That not life, but to live virtuously, should be the object of our desires.

That justice is the life, and injustice the death of the soul.

That we should not requite evil for evil, or resent the wrongs we may receive. That it is better to die than live unrighteously.

That we must obey the laws of our country, which the injustice of man furnishes no pretext for treating with disrespect. And that the laws of this world have kindred laws in that to come, which revenge the insults put upon them here.

Stallbaum supposes Plato to have composed this dialogue for a double purpose: one, and his primary design, being to defend Socrates from the charge of corrupting the Athenian youth; and the other, his secondary, to teach, from the precedent of Socrates, that a good man, under any circumstances, should render implicit obedience to the dictates of established law.

Crito is eventually overcome by the cogency and truth of the philosopher's objections, and abandons his design as untenable, when brought to the test of a strict and unyielding morality.


2nd mid

§. 1. Τί τηνικάδε αφίξαι, ὦ Κρίτων; ἢ οὐ πρῲἔτι ἐστίν ;

ΚΡ. Πάνυ μὲν οὖν. ΣΩ. Πηνίκα μάλιστα; ΚΡ. Ὄρθρος βαθύς.

ΚΡΙΤΩΝ.] This dialogue is also entitled Κρίτων, ἢ περὶ πρακτέου in several editions; in others, ἢ περὶ δόξης ἀληθοῦς καὶ δικαίου, for which Thrasyllus is adduced as authority, quoted by Laertius, iii. 57. διπλαῖς δὲ χρῆται ταῖς ἐπιγραφαῖς ἑκάστου τῶν βιβλίων· τῇ μὲν ἀπὸ τοῦ ὀνόματος τῇ δὲ ἀπὸ τοῦ πράγματος. RAABE. According to Idomeneus, Diog. Laert. iii. 35, the part imputed to Crito in this dialogue belonged in reality to Æschines, but as the latter was the friend of Aristippus, who was Plato's enemy, it was inscribed as above.

§. 1. Τί τηνικάδε.] Why have you arrived so very early. Τηνίκα and πηνίκα are used properly, and by the Attic writers, to signify a certain time of the day, as the morning, noon, or evening. Cf. Phrynic. p. 14. s. Πηνίκα μὴ εἴπης ἀντὶ τοῦ πότε· ἔστι γὰρ ὥρας δηλωτικόν· οἷον, εἰπόντος τινός, πηνίκα ἀποδημήσεις; ἐὰν εἴπης, με τὰ δύο, ἢ, τρεῖς, ἡμέρας, οὐκ ὀρθῶς ἐρεῖς· ἐὰν δὲ εἴπης, ἕωθεν, ἢ περὶ μετ

σημβρίαν, ὀρθῶς ερεῖς.—Τηνίκα, in its ordinary usage, signifies then, this, or that time.—Πρῳ, before day.

Πηνίκα μάλιστα.] Quota hora est quum maxime. STALL. μάλιστα being used here in the same sense as when adjoined to numerals, of nearly, pretty nearly, almost exactly. Seag. Viger. vii. 8. 7. Aristoph. Ran. 659. πηνίκα ἐστὶ τῆς ἡμέρας, quodnam diei tempus est, seu, quænam hora. Scap. Lex. in voc.

*Όρθρος βαθύς.] Early dawn. Crito answers more accurately the general question of Socrates, ἢ οὐ πρὼ ἔτι ἐστ τι; supr., for πρῳ, like the Latin mane, signifies any period of the early morn, ὄρθρος, the very point of day break, primum diluculi punctum. Scap. Lex. “Ubi nox abiit, nec tamen orta dies." Ovid. Amat. 1. 5. 6. Cf. Phrynic. p. 120. Oi δὲ ἀρχαῖοι ὄρθρον, καὶ ὀρθρεύεσθαι, τὸ πρὸ ἀρχομένης ἡμέρας, ἐν ᾧ ἔτι λύχνῳ δύναταί τις χρῆσθαι.—ὄρθρος βαθύς, primum diluculum, as in Luke, xxiv. 1. Fisch.

ΣΩ. Θαυμάζω ὅπως ἠθέλησέ σοι ὁ τοῦ δεσμωτη ρίου φύλαξ ὑπακοῦσαι.

[ocr errors]


ΚΡ. Ξυνήθης ἤδη μοί ἐστιν, ὦ Σώκρατες, διὰ τὸ πολλάκις δεῦρο φοιτᾷν, καί τι καὶ εὐεργέτηται ὑπ ̓ ἐμοῦ.

ΣΩ. Αρτι δὲ ἥκεις ἢ πάλαι;

ΚΡ. Επιεικώς πάλαι,

ἀλλὰ σιγῇν

ΣΩ. Εἶτα πῶς οὐκ εὐθὺς ἐπήγειράς με, ἀλλὰ παρακάθησαι ;

ΚΡ. Οὐ μὰ τὸν Δί ̓, ὦ Σώκρατες, οὐδ ̓ ἂν αὐτὸς ἤθελον ἐν τοσαύτῃ τε ἀγρυπνίᾳ καὶ λύπῃ εἶναι. ἀλλὰ καὶ σοῦ πάλαι θαυμάζω αἰσθανόμενος ὡς ἡδέως και

Θαυμάζω όπως ἠθέλ.] Miror qui factum sit ut. STALL. Cf. Xen. Mem. Ι. 1. 20. θαυμάζω οὖν, ὅπως ποτὲ ἐπείσθησαν οἱ ̓Αθηναῖοι. Eurip. Med. 51. πῶς λείπεσθαι θέλει. Socrates expresses his surprise at Crito having obtained admission into the prison so early; cf. in Phædon. c. 3. ἀνεῴγνυτο γὰρ οὐ πρῴ.Υπακούειν, which in its primary sense means, to listen to those knocking, τοῖς κρούουσιν, signifes thence to open the doors, and admit them. Buttmann reads ἤθελε for ηθέλησε, but the imperfect denotes a custom of doing any thing, and it was not usual for the gaoler to open the doors so early; he made the exception in favour of Crito, as appears


Τοῦ δεσμωτηρίου.] At Athens there were three public prisons; the first was in the vicinity of the forum, and was designed for debtors and such as were guilty of minor offences; the second was called σωφρονιστήριον, or house of correction ; the third was situated in a wild and uninhabited place, and was designed for malefactors guilty of capital crimes; ὅπη περ ἂν ἔρημός τε καὶ ὡς ὅτι μάλιστα ἀγριώτατος ἢ τόπος, τιμωρίας ἔχων ἐπωνυμίαν φήμην τινά. Plat. de Legg. x. c. 15.; in the last of which it is probable that Socrates was imprisoned. He was fettered also, as appears in Phædon. c. 3. but whether with the χοινιξ οι ποδοκάκη, a wooden instrument in which the feet and legs were placed and fastened with cords; the ξύ

λον, N. T. Acts, xxvi. 24., which Luther correctly renders the stocks; or with the πέδη, a chain which confined the legs, is not sufficiently clear. RAABE.

Φύλαξ.] Phædon. c. 3. θυρωρός.

Φοιτᾷν.] This verb, which answers to the Latin itare, ventitare, is used especially of scholars frequenting a school, thence called φοιτηταί. It is also used to express the recurrence of a dream in Phædon. c. 4. πολλάκις μοι φοιτῶν τὸ αὐτὸ ἐνύπνιον, &c. LOEWE.

Καί τι καί.] The latter καὶ signifies even or too. Cf. Pausan. in Lacon. p. 168. οὐ παρίει σείων ὁ θεὸς, καί τινες καὶ ἀπώλοντο τῶν στρατιωτῶν κεραυνωθέντες. Εὐεργέτηται-εὐηργέτ. is the common form: Buttmann prefers ενεργετεῖται.

Επιεικώς πάλαι.] Pretty long since. Seag. Viger. vii. 6. Cf. in Phædon. c. 29. ἀλλ ̓ ἐπιεικῶς συχνὸν ἐπιμένει χρόνον.

Εἶτα.] See Apolog. Socr. c. 16. Εἶτ' οὐκ αἰσχύνει. n.

Οὐδ ̓ ἂν αὐτὸς ἤθελον, κ. τ. λ.] h. e. neque ipse vellem tamdiu insomnis esse in tanto quidem marore. Fisch. Crito alleges as his motive for not having awakened Socrates, that he should not himself have wished, were he in so great affliction, to be also deprived of rest.

Θαυμάζω.] See Matthiæ Gr. s. 317.


Ὡς ἡδέως.] i. q. ὅτι οὕτως ἡδέως καθ. Cf. infr. ὡς ῥᾳδίως αὐτὴν, κ. τ. λ. in Phædon. c. 2. a med. ὡς ἀδεῶς καὶ

« PreviousContinue »