Departing from Perfect Goodness? The tetragonōs and the hugiēs man in Plato’s Protagoras
Simonides’ well known Ode to Scopas, which Plato introduces in the Protagoras, provides fertile ground for a discussion of two different forms of human goodness: on the one hand, the excellence embodied by the perfectly good man (τετράγωνος ἀνήρ); on the other hand, a less perfect form of goodness, which is the one embodied by the “healthy man” (ὑγιὴς ἀνήρ). This essay will critically address the shift from perfect to imperfect goodness and its underlying reasons. More specifically, I will argue that the distinctive goodness of the “healthy man” can be identified with a form of “minimal political decency”. As such, this can be praised only in comparison to a condition of lawlessness.
Adam, J. and Adam, A.M. (1893). Platonis Protagoras. With Introduction, Notes and Appendices. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Arieti, J.A., and Barrus, R.M. (translated and edited by) (2010). Plato’s Protagoras. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers: Plymouth.
Barnstone, W. (Translated and annotated by) (20104). Ancient Greek Lyrics. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press (first puhlished 1962).
Beresford, A. (2008). “Nobody’s Perfect: A New Text and Interpretation of Simonides PMG 542.” Classical Philology 103 (3): 237-256. https://doi.org/10.1086/596516
Bowra, C.M. (1934). “Simonides and Scopas.” Classical Philology 29: 230-239. https://doi.org/10.1086/361747
Buongiovanni, A.M. (1998). “OY MIN EΓΩ MΩMAΣOMAI: LA RILEVANZA ENCOMIASTICA DI SIMONIDE, "PMG" 542.” Studi Classici e Orientali 46 (3): 1033-1047.
Cairns, D. (1993). Aidōs: The Psychology and Ethics of Honour and Shame in Ancient Greek Literature, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Carson, A. (1992). “How Not to Read a Poem: Unmixing Simonides from ‘Protagoras’.” Classical Philology 87 (2): 110-130. https://doi.org/10.1086/367294
Coby, P. (1987). Socrates and the Sophistic Enlightenment. A Commentary on Plato’s Protagoras. London and Toronto: Associated University Presses.
Cornford, F.M. (1974). Mysticism and Science in the Pythagorean Tradition. In Mourelatos, A.P.D., ed by. The Pre-Socratics: A Collection of Critical Essays. Princeton: Princeton University Press: 135-160.
Crisp, R., ed. by (2000). Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Del Corno, D. (1988). Letteratura Greca, Milano: Principato.
Denyer N., ed. by (2008) Plato. Protagoras, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Diehl, E., ed. by. (1954), Anthologia Lyrica Graeca. Lipsia: Teubner.
Dickie, M. (1978). “The Argument and Form of Simonides 542 PMG.” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 82: 21-33. https://doi.org/10.2307/311018
Donlan, W. (1969). “Simonides, Fragment 4D and P. Oxy. 2432.” Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 100: 71–95. https://doi.org/10.2307/2935902
Edmonds, J.M., ed. by (1922). Lyra Graeca. Being the Remains of all the Greek Lyric Poets From Eumelus to Timotheus excepting Pindar. London: Heinemann.
Edmonds, J.M., ed. by (1931). Elegy and Iambus (Vol. I), Cambridge, (MA): Harvard University Press, and London: William Heinemann.
Fowler, H.N., ed. by (1921), Theaetetus. In Plato in Twelves Volumes, Cambridge, (MA): Harvard University Press, and London: William Heinemann.
Frede, D. (1986). “The Impossibility of Perfection: Socrates’ Criticism of Simonides’ Poem in the Protagoras.” 39 (4): 729-753.
Freese, J.H., ed. by and translated (1926), Aristotle. Rhetoric. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press.
Gentili, B. (1964). “Studi su Simonide.” Maia 16: 278–304.
Giuliano, F.M. (1992). “Esegesi letteraria in Platone: la discussione sul carme simonideo nel Protagora.” 41: 105-190.
Goold, G.P. (1992). Greek Lyric, Vo. IV, Cambridge (Massachusetts), London: Harvard University Press.
Hutchinson, G.O. (2001). Greek Lyric Poetry: A Commentary on Selected Larger Pieces. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Johnston, R.W. and Mulroy, D.D. (2004). “Simonides’ Use of the Term ΤΕΤΡΑΓΩΝΟΣ.” Arethusa 37 (1): 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1353/are.2004.0006
Kahn, C.H. (1974). “Pythagorean Philosophy before Plato”, in Mourelatos, A.P.D., ed by. The Pre-Socratics: A Collection of Critical Essays. Princeton: Princeton University Press: 161-186. https://doi.org/10.1515/9781400863204.161
Lamb, W.R.M., ed. by (1967). Protagoras, in Plato. Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 3. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann Ltd.
Liddell, H.G., Scott, R., and Jones, H.S. (1996, ninth edition). A Greek-English Lexicon, with a Revised Supplement, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Noussia Fantuzzi, M., ed. by (2010). Solon the Athenian. The Poetic Fragments. Leiden and Boston: Brill.
Page, D.L., ed. by (1962), Poetae Melici Graeci, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Parry, H. (1965). “An Interpretation of Simonides 4 (Diehl)”, Transactions of the American Philological Association 96: 297-320. https://doi.org/10.2307/283734
Pearson, L. (1962). Popular Ethics in Ancient Greece, Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Pippin Burnett, A. (1985). The Art of Bacchylides, Cambridge (MA) and London: Harvard University Press.
Reale, G. (2000). Platone. Tutti gli Scritti. Milano: Bompiani.
Sauppe, H. and Towle, J.A. (eds.). Protagoras, with Commentary. Boston and London: Ginn & Co.
Schneidewin, F.W. (1835). Simonides Cei Carminum Reliquiae. Brunswig: Vieweg and Son.
Schütrumpf, E. (1987). “Simonides an Skopas (542 PMG),” Würzburger Jahrbücher für Altertumswissenschaft 13: 11-23.
Schwarts, E. (1951). Ethik der Griechen, Stuttgart: Koehler.
Segal, Ch.P. (1989). “Song, Ritual, and Commemoration in Early Greek Poetry and Tragedy.” Oral Tradition 4 (3): 330-359.
Snell, B. (1961). Poetry and Society. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Smyth, H.W. (1900). Greek Melic Poets. London, Macmillan and co.
Svarlien, D.A. (translated by) (1991). Bacchylides. Odes. The Annenberg CPB/Project.
Taylor, C.C.W. (translated with notes by) (1976). Plato, Protagoras, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Vegetti, M., (1989). L’etica degli antichi, Roma-Bari: Laterza.
Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, U. von. (1913). Sappho und Simonides: Untersuchungen über griechische Lyriker. Berlin: Weidmann.
Woodbury, L. (1953). “Simonides on Arete.” Transaction and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 84: 135-163.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC By 4.0) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).