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OF

PLATO

EDITED

WITH INTRODUCTION, CRITICAL NOTES
AND COMMENTARY

BY

R. G. BURY, M.A.

FORMERLY SCHOLAR OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE
LATE LECTURER IN CLASSICS, BBYN MAWR COLLEGE, U.S.J
EDITOR OF "THE PHILEBU8" OF PLATO

CAMBRIDGE:

W. HEFFER AND SONS
LONDON: SIMPKIN, MARSHALL AND CO. Ltd.
1909

CEambriBgt:

PRINTED BY JOHN OI.AY, M.A. AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS. PREFACE

T)LATO'S Symposium is undeniably one of the masterpieces of classical literature. The subtlest and most brilliant of Greek artists in prose has left us no finer, no more fascinating specimen of his skill than this dialogue in which, with the throbbing pulse of life for his theme, he matches that theme by the dramatic verve and vigour of his style. The interest of the book is not merely literary or philosophical: it appeals also to the wider circle of the students of culture and of life and of the "criticism of life" by its richness of suggestion and by its vividness of portraiture. To mention one point alone,—nowhere else, not even in the Phaedo, does the personality of Socrates shine before us so full and clear, "in form and gesture so express and admirable," as in the pages of the Symposium. To miss reading it is to miss the enjoyment of a veritable ia-rlana \6ymv, blended and seasoned with curious art.

In the preparation of this edition I have been indebted mainly to the labours of continental scholars, for the sufficient, if surprising, reason that no English commentary has existed heretofore. It was, indeed, this singular fact, together with the recent publication of an interesting Papyrus fragment of the text, which chiefly moved me to attempt a commentary myself. On many of the interesting questions connected with the literary form and philosophical substance of the dialogue much more might have been said, but I have thought it best to keep both the Introduction and the Notes within a moderate compass. In the framing of the text, although I have ventured on several innovations of my own, I have been more conservative than the majority of the foreign critics, a considerable selection of whose "restorations" will be found in the Critical Notes in addition to the evidence of the leading MSS. and of the Papyrus: in all doubtful cases I have cited also the opinion of Schanz and of the Oxford editor, Prof. Burnet, whose admirable recension has been before me constantly and has aided me much. For expository material I must acknowledge in special my indebtedness to the useful and scholarly edition of A. Hug.

To gild with comment the refined gold of Plato's work is at the best a temerarious task; but if my book helps a single reader more justly to appraise the gold it will not have been wrought wholly in vain.

R. G. B.

October 4, 1909.

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