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Observations on CREUZER's edition of the Commentary
of OLYMPIODORUs on the First Alcibiades of Plato. 8vo. Francof. 1821.
The learned Editor commences his preface to this work with an account of the celebrated men that have been called by the name of Olympiodorus, and satisfactorily shows that the author of this Commentary was not Olympiodorus the Peripatetic, whose school was frequented by Proclus, for the sake of imbibing the doctrine of Aristotle ; and in short that he was not a Peripatetic, but a Platonist. He also asserts with the greatest probability, that he florished under the Emperor Justinian, when the schools of the philosophers were not yet closed, and the sacred and salutary light of wisdom was not entirely intercepted hy unparalleled barbarism, and lost in its attendant gloom. It seems, however, to have escaped the notice of this very learned editor, that the Olympiodorus, whose Commentaries on the Meteors of Aristotle are extant, is the same with the Olympiodorus who wrote the Commentaries on the First Alcibiades, Phædo, Philebus, and Gorgias of Plato. For that the Commentator of this name on the Meteors of Aristotle was a Platonist, is evident in the first place from what he says in p. 32 of that work in defence of Democritus and Plato, against the opposition made by Aristotle to their opivion about the sea; for his words are: Φερε δε ημεις υπερ τουτου απολογησομεθα, δειξαντες οτι ου καλως Αριστοτελης καταδρομη κατα τουτων εχρησατο. μαλλον δ' ου τουτοις εναντιουται, αλλα τοις κακως τα παρ' αυτων λεγομενα διαλαμβα
ου γαρ ως συ φης ω δαιμονιε φαμεν Αριστοτελης, ο Πλατων ολοτητα του υδατος ελεγεν οντα τον ταρταρον, αλλα τουτο ελεγε μυθικως. ου χρη ουν τα μυθικως λεγομενα, φυσικως εκλαμβανειν. αλλα ταυτα ελεγεν ο Πλατων αλλα τινα αινιττομενος. Here he says that Aristotle does not rightly blame Plato for asserting in the Phædo
“Hucusque pertinuit veteris elegantiorisque doctrinæ proventus, qui paullatim exaruit Justiniano imperio ac deinceps. Hic Atheniensem clausit scholam, in qua foruerant Plutarchus, Nestorii filius, Syrianus, Proclus, Marinus, Damascius, unde Simplicius, Olympiodorus, aliique prodierant: philosophi expulsi: vexati per orbem Romanuin avitæ religionis cultores, ex quorum numero fere erant docti homines. Per trecentos annos stupor et barbaries omnia obtinuerunt. Ergo in boc temporis spatio plurimorum veterum librorum, in his etiam Plutarchorum, ponendus est interitus." These are the words of Wyttenbach in Præfatione ad Plutarch. Moralia p. iv.
that Tartarus is the corns' or wholeness of water; because Plato said this mythologically, obscurely indicating something else; and that what is asserted mythologically, is not to be assumed physically. And in the second place, this is evident from his calling Proclus in p. 59. Oelos, by which appellation, as also by heyas, he is usually designated by the Platonists posterior to bim.
That he was likewise the same with the author of this Commentary on the First Alcibiades, is I think evident from what Olympiodorus on the Meteors, and Olympiodorus on the Phædo assert about the perpetuity of the punishments in Tartarus. For souls that have committed the greatest and incurable offences are said by Plato to be hurled into Tartarus, and to be there punished eternally. In the former of these works therefore (p. 32) it is said, πλην ει και λεγω αιδιως κολασθησομεναι δια το ανιατα ημαρτηκεναι εν τω Ταρταρω, μηδε νομισης, οτι εις απειρους αιωνας κολαζεται η ψυχη εν τω Ταρταρω. ευγε ου δια μηνιν του θειου κολαζεται η ψυχη, αλλ' ιατρειας χαριν. αλλ' αιωνιως φαμεν κολαζεσθαι την ψυχην, αιωνα καλουντες τον αυτης βιον και την μερικην αυτης περιοδον. τω γαρ οντι τα μεγιστα πλημμελησασαι ψυχαι ουκ αρκουνται μια περιoδω καθαρθηναι, αλλ' εισιν εν τω βιω διηνεκως ωσπερ εν τω ταρταρω, ην περιοδον, αιωνα εκαλεσεν ο Πλατων, In this very remarkable passage Olympiodorus observes, that the soul is not punished by divinity through anger, but medicinally; and that by eternity we must understand the soul's partial period, because, in reality, souls that bave committed the greatest offences cannot be sufficiently puritied in one period. If we compare this with what is said by Olympiodorus on the Phædo, we shall find the same thing asserted in a niore summary way, el de xou arhegou λεγει αιωνιον την κολασιν, αλλ' ουν αιωνα καλει περιοδον τινα, και αποκαταστασιν. . For here it is said that when Plato speaks of eternal punishment, he denominates a certain period and apocatastasis of the soul for ever. What this period is, Olympiodorus on the Gorgias admirably explains as follows: “There are seven spheres, the sphere of the moon, that of the sun, and those of the other planets; but the inerratic is the eighth sphere. The lunar sphere therefore, makes a complete revolution more swiftly: for it is accomplished in thirty days. That of the sun
Olotns in the philosophy both of Plato and Aristotle signifies a whole with a perpetual subsistence, and which comprehends in itself all the multitude of which it is the cause.
I quote this from a copy of the Harleian Ms. of this work which I have in my possession, not having the edition of these Scholia by Mustoxyd. and Schin. Venet. 1817.
is inore slow: for it is accomplished in a year. That of Jupiter is still slower : for it is effected in twelve years. And much more that of Saturn; for it is completed in thirty years.
The stars therefore are not conjoined with each other in their revolutions, except rarely. Thus, for instance, the sphere of Saturn and the sphere of Jupiter are conjoined with each other in their revolutions in sixty years. For if the sphere of Jupiter comes from the same to the same in twelve years, but that of Saturn in thirty years, it is evident that when Jupiter has made five, Saturn will have made two revolutions; for twice thirty is sixty, and so likewise is twelve times tive; so that their revolutions will be conjoined in sixty years. Souls therefore are punished for such like periods. But the seven planetary spheres conjoin their revolutions with the inerratic sphere through many myriads of years ; and this is the period which Plato calls τον αει χρονον, for ever.” See more on this most interesting subject from the same author in Vol. 4, p. 455, of my Plato. Nor is it at all wonderful that Olympiodorus, though a Platonist, should write a Commentary on the Meteors of Aristotle: for it was no unusual thing with the best of the disciples of Plato to publish elucidations of Aristotle's works, which they considered as introductory to the more sublime speculations of Plato. Hence the great Syrianus commented on his Metaphysics, treatise on the Heavens, and on Interpretation, and lamblichus on his Categories, and treatise on the Soul. In this Commentary therefore on the First Alcibiades, Olympiodorus conciliates, wherever he can, Aristotle with Plato, as knowing that the writings of the former are subservient to a developement of the mysteries of the latter. Hence in p. 89. και, ως Αριστοτελης φησι, καιρος εστι χρονος προσλαβων το δεον. In p. 40. φησι δε και εν τω περι Ερμηνειας ο Αριστοτελης" και τοσαυτα μεν λεγεται προς τας σοφιστικας ενοχλησεις αντι του αποριας, εκ μεταφορας του οχλου, και αυτος οχλησιν ειπε την απορίαν ενοχλεις ουν, απορειν ποιεις. Ρ. 71, ως Αριστοτελης ημας εν ρητορικαις τεχναις εδιδαξε. Ρ. 118, εφ' οις δεικνυσι και δια τριτου συλλογισμου, οτι παν καλον αγαθον, και το αναπαλιν, και κεχρηται δειξει, ην ωφεληθη Αριστοτελης εν τη περι Ουρανου. Ρ. 122, διο και ο δαιμονιος Αριστοτελης, αρχην υποθεμενος ου το πρωτον αιτιον, αλλα τον νουν, εν τη μετα τα φυσικα, περι αυτου διαλεγομενος ελεγε διττον ειναι το ευ: το μεν εν τω στρατηγο, το δε εν τω στρατοπεδω και αιτιον ειναι το εν τη στρατηγω του εν τω στρατοπεδω. This last passage is employed by Syrianus and Simplicius to show that Aristotle must necessarily admit with Plato the subsistence of ideas in the intellect of deity, which are the paradigms and producing causes of all material forms. And in the last place in p. 177, επι δε του καθ
αρτικου μαλλον εμποδιον γινεται το σωμα καλως ειρημενου του υπο Αριστοτελους, κ. τ. λ.
Having, therefore, endeavoured to prove that the Olympiodorus who commented on the Meteors of Aristotle, is the same that wrote this Commentary on the First Alcibiades of Plato, I. shall make some remarks on certain passages in this work, which will be both philosophical and critical. In the first place, Olympiodorus having observed that Plato energises enthusiastically, or from divine inspiration, in four dialogues, and · that one specimen of this energy is to be found in the Timæus, where he represents the Demiurgus addressing the celestial, whom he calls the junior Gods, concerning the administration of mortal concerns ;-adds, (p. 2,) Aeuregos svdoua laoMOS EOTIV εν τη Πολιτεια, ενθα μουσοληπτος γεγονως υπεκριθη τας Μουσας, ας εξιουσας την λυσιν της υπο αυτου συστασης πολιτειας ενθα φησιν, κ. τ. a. The learned editor justly remarks in a note on the words tas Mouras AS e&iour as, X. 7.d. “ Proxima non sana videntur.” But it appears to me that if for ας εξιουσας we read διεξιουσας, the passage will be correct. For then what Olympiodorus says will be in English : “ The second instance of enthusiastic energy in Plato is in the 8th book of] the Republic, where being inspired by the Muses, he represents them narrating the dissolution of the polity constituted by him.” The following are the words of Plato in that work, to which Olympiodorus alludes, and confirm the above emendation: n Boudel, WoTEP Ομηρος, ευχωμεθα ταις Μουσαις ειπειν ημιν οπως δη πρωτον στασις εμπεσε, και φωμεν αυτας τραγικως, ως προς παιδας ημας παιζουσας και ερεσχελουσας, ως δη σπουδη λεγουσας, υψηλολογουμενας λεγειν ; πως ; ωδε πως. Χαλεπον μεν κινηθηναι πολιν, ουτω ξυστασαν, αλλ' επει γενομενω παντι φθορα εστιν, ουδ' η τοιαυτη ξυστασις τον απαντα BEBE X2ovov, AAa Auông emai. Vol. II. p. 161. Edit. Mass. In .p. 17, 18, Olympiodorus speaking of the differences of dæmons, and having observed that in the celestial orbs there are deity, intellect, a rational soul, an irrational soul, form, and matter, says, that such of them as conjoin us to the deity of the celestials, are called divine dæmons, and preside over enthusiastic energies; but those that unite us to the intellect of these orbs are called intellectual, and preside over those common conceptions (or axioms) through which we have a knowledge above demonstration, and indemonstrably.. And those that conjoin us to the rational soul of these divinities, are denominated rational. After which he adds, O. de apos TNU TWV ougaviw adorov συναπτοντες ημας αλογοι. .
The learned editor in a note at the word adoyoy observes, “ Aut excidit vocabulum, aut lectio mendosa est.” A word is certainly wanting, and that word is so
obviously puxn, that I wonder the necessity of inserting it in this place should have been unperceived by so learned a man. In the following passage, p. 21, Olympiodorus speaking of the dæmons that are allotted to mankind as their guardians, says, 'Αλλ' επειδη δαιμονας ειληχοτας ειρηκαμεν, δει γινωσκειν, οτι και παρα τη καινη συνηθεια συνεγνωσται ταυτα, ει και μη τους αυτοις ονομασιν. Αντι γαρ του δαιμονος αλλον εκαστου φασιν αμελει εστιν αυτων ακουειν τον αγγελον σου, κ. τ. λ. But in this
for δαιμονος αλλον, it is doubtless necessary to read δαιμονος αγγελoν, κ. τ. λ. as is evident from what Olympiodorus adds immediately after these words.
The following passage respecting our allotted dæmon, or in modern language, our guardian angel, is most remarkable, and contains an opinion concerning this presiding power, which is not to be found in any other of the Greek interpreters of Plato:
ταυτα μεν οι εξηγηται περι τε δαιμονων και ειληχοτων ημεις δε συμβιβαστικως τους παρουσι ταυτα πειρασομεθα διεξελθειν, και γαρ Σωκρατους κωνιον κατεψηφισθη, ως καινα δαιμονια τους νεους εισηγουμενου, και θεους νομιζοντος ους η πολις ουχ ηγειτο θεους. ρητεον ουν ειληχοτα δαιμονα το συνειδος υπαρχειν, όπερ ακρον άωτον εστι της ψυχης, και αναμαρτητον εν ημιν, και ακλινης δικαστης, και μαρτυς των ενταυθα
γινομενων τω Μινωϊ. και τω Ραδάμανθυϊ. τουτο δε και σωτηριας ημιν αιτιον γίνεται, ως αναμαρτητον αει διαμενον εν ημιν, και μη συγκαταψηφιζομενον τοις υπο της ψυχης αμαρτάνομενους, αλλα και ανιλλομενον επι τουτοις, και επιστρεφον αυτην προς το δεον.. το συνειδος ουν ειληχοτα καλων δαιμονα ουκ αν αμαρτοις, ιστεον δε, οτι του συνειδοτος, το μεν επι ταις γνωστικαις ημων δυναμεσι λεγεται συνειδος ομωνυμως το γενει. (p. 23.) i. e. « This is what is said by the interpreters (of Plato] concerning dæmons, and those which are allotted to us. We, however, shall endeavour to discuss these particulars in such a way as to reconcile them with what is at present said by Plato. For Socrates was condemned to take poison, in consequence of introducing to young men novel dæmoniacal powers, and for thinking those to be Gods which were not admitted to be so by the city. i It must be said therefore, that the allotted dæmon is conscience, which is the supreme flower of the soul, is guiltless in us, is an inflexible judge, and a witness to Minos and Radamanthus of the transactions of the present life. : This also becomes the cause to us of our salvation, as always remaining in us without guilt, and not assenting to the errors of the soul, but disdaining them, and converting the soul to what is proper. You will not err, therefore, in calling the allotted dæmon conscience. But it is requisite to know that of conscience one kind pertains to our gnostic powers, and which is denominated conscience [co-intel