Visitors to

to go to an online copy of Venice’s lovely 10th century San Marco Plato  ms. T  [this early dating applies up to its folio 212] :

On any point related to this site, you may be interested to communicate your thoughts .   Please do feel free to post your blog entry here.   Or, you may want to email me at:

There have been a number of recent visits to the page “Euthydemus, Symposium…and Silenced Socrates”.    If you have ideas, why not use the present ‘blog’ to relay them to a wider public ?   Yes, I mean you.   You may  be from Australia.  Just as interestingly, from Brazil.   You may care to note your country of origin in a blog post.    Some of the speculations here offered are now more conjectural.  The site is no longer exactly as it was as of May 2018.   Are you quite sure you have no reactions that you want to post here ? [10Sept20]

 Some visitors have come  from Australia, some from Netherlands, some from Ireland.   A considerable number from Brazil (visitors logged in 2016, 2017, 2018).  Some are from Italy, happily.    Plato’s mss. have had careful attention there, including in Genova and Florence and in Pisa.  

22 December 2017

This site was first published in 2016.  During that year there were 86 views — a strong majority being visitors from the USA.  In 2017 there are larger numbers and there was also a wider range of countries.   As counted by total views, the volume of traffic in 2017 was 157.     By country of  origin, fewer than half the visitors in year-2017 have been from USA — only 31.    Brazil by itself had 23 views.    From the total 157 views,  a large number,  63,  were from Canada.   A likely explanation for this would be the ongoing manuscript studies supporting the new Oxford Classical Text of Plato, of which only Volume I has so far appeared (1995).  This new edition’s editorial board is now more broadly international, and includes an editor from Canada.  I am not aware of any visits from New Zealand, though interesting scholarship on Karl Popper is thriving there recently.

In any case this site will  give wider and better access to the San Marco ms. named T.     The site imposes no restrictions on visitors.    In past years and decades Plato’s manuscript scholars have been allowed rather limited access to the actual manuscript of T, curated as it is at the San Marco Library in Venice.  This present electronic access has been consulted by a substantial number of visitors, from a variety of countries.    Germany, Brazil, Spain, Malta, Greece, Japan, Australia, Canada and (notably) Italy are among their countries of origin.

The images here will serve to open up new access for editors of critical editions of Plato.  Each folium’s image is stored in  *.pdf format.   This makes it easy to enlarge and to show to others.   With a little extra effort, a scholar can create his or her own copy of a given crucial passage (even several such copies), and is free to write glosses directly onto this reproduced image.  The resulting ‘figures’ can be easily relayed to fellow scholars elsewhere on the worldwide web.     This gives promise of provoking others to write such marginal comments.   So to speak, to compare notes.

This site’s new electronic images also include the standard Stephanus page and column numbers.   These Stephanus references are entered in red ink at top and bottom of each of Ephraim’s ms. columns.    This lightens the burden of anyone’s managing to pinpoint a particular word or phrase in the entire manusript.   The source edition (10th century) and its small number of archival electronic copies is naturally innocent of any such Stephanus markers, which only arrived several centuries later than Ephraim.  In the ms. itself only the folio number is recorded, one number on each ‘recto’.

Where the good critical edition of Stallbaum has taken pains to insert Chapter numbers within a dialogue — or within a book division (as in LAWS and REPUBLIC) — these chapter numbers are kept, so far as my available time has to date permitted my inserting these.   Where they are kept, however, these finer subdivisions are deliberately not inserted atop the image, which is to say atop Ephraim’s 10th century handwriting, but rather are kept only as  prefixes to that folium’s  description in the dialogue’s webpage.  This means specifically that each recto (or verso) where I have so far completed this work recites and reproduces the opening words (in Greek) of each Stallbaum “chapter”.

To be sure, there is a current of standard scholarly scepticism, fashionable these days, but in my judgment overcautious, about Plato’s having paid any attention to such divisions within his own works.   I will be giving some reasons now and again in my discussions, reasons for overturning this scepticism.   Thus my policy of retaining  as many as practicable of the ‘chapter’ headings.

Consider the case of James Adam’s erudite comment on Chapt VII of Republic Book I:  “the seventh chapter is a good example of Plato’s extreme care in composition. . .two illustrations followed by an application.  This occurs seven times before the conclusion of the argument…”

Now Campbell marks as the first words of his Chapter VII    Ἠινίξατο ἆρα …    But Stallbaum had had his  “cap. VII” marker precisely the same place.   Further, these same two editors also place their “Cap. VIII” markers some 60 lines later, making that next chapter begin with precisely the same words of Plato’s,  namely the words Οὐκ ἂν οὖν, ὦ φίλε…   Not surprisingly, Shorey in his superb earlier Loeb edition puts these same two chapter markers in precisely the same two places.

Wholesale scepticism here would have it that these headings reflect only the arbitrary choices of these editors, from Germany, England or the United States.   Slings of Holland in his 2003 edition takes the safe course, by following the Oxford pattern, thus omitting Chapter markers altogether.  If one’s editing surrendered so completely to the skeptical view as to agree with the new Loeb’s (21st century) edition of Republic,  Adam’s count “seven times” is accordingly undercut, made wholly arbitrary.    This recent set of Loeb editors (those of the new Republic in the Loeb series has pressed the skepticism viewpoint yet one step further.   They claim that even divisions into “books” unlikely to be authorial in Plato’s master work, Republic .    They leave us with only editorial preferences, then.    But the Stallbaum-Campbell-Shorey traditions seem both more true to Plato’s text and better.   These preserve both book divisions and chapter divisions.

Do please have a look here at my figure taken from the very end of Rep. Bk 7, which I submit in support of the counter-skeptical position here.    Do have a direct look at how our 10th century monk Ephraim has Socrates (or Plato) bring Book 7 to its end.  Its so-called “telos”.     Would you choose to join our skeptics by tracing the pointedness of this textual word “telos” back only as far as Ephraim ?    Perhaps the truth remains with us, the least skeptical of all the positions outlined here.

My view, at least, is that we have Plato himself ending Book 7 with his own book-ender word “telos”.   That is, the Book is meant to end precisely with the phrases including his own pointed word Plato’s own punctuating word  τέλος “telos”.    Slings in any case joins with the previously cited 3 editors in locating the end-point very near these very words.  Is there any edition of this work of Plato’s, any edition which locates the “end” of its Republic Book 7 more than a few words distant from this word “telos” ?   Please let me know if you find such an edition.

final words of Rep 7, per Ephraim, Plato’s own ending of this book

Here is information on the scholarly visitors to date:

detail of stats for 2017

Evidences of Civil Unrest at the Early Academy 3

This following will give a fuller picture of the diphthongal variant in the phrase TI DAI (cf. TI DE), both in the Paris A ms. and in the part of Rep III just where Ephraim’s hand leaves off (f. 212v). Brandwood omitted the TI DAI.  He does not report the diphthongal variant reading at 389d7 in Venetus T.  This omission is not surprising, given the limited scholarly access allowed to the original codex in recent decades.    This omission was not corrected by Slings, who had only slightly better access to T than Robin or Nicoll or Brandwood had.

Slings also omitted any report of the Paris A readings below reported from Books II and III, both of which Books include the diphthongal variant.   Slings had better access to the Paris ms.   Via its first hand correction, it tends to confirm the rightness of Ephraim’s firm and uncorrected hand to 389d7.   

Even if this phrasing (and other diphthongal variants, of which Robin had reported scores of examples) does not convince other scholars — as it does in fact convince me —  convincing in pointing to the hand of Younger Socrates, nonetheless it gives an indication of what today’s ms. research can and should be based upon.    As electronic access improves (the indefatigable Roger Pearse has noted often, and celebrated it), this broader access ought to improve the quality of our critical texts.   Witness Robin’s prepared magisterial texts of Symp. and Phdr. nearly a century ago.  He did not omit these scores of T’s diphthongal variant readings.   Recent reprintings of Robin’s apparatus’s, however, have dropped out just about all of Robin’s carefully collected readings of this variant diphthong.

Do open a few of these manuscript images, and you will see some of these points illustrated.  Most are directly from 10th Century monk Ephraim:

TI DAI at Rep III, 389 e12 in Paris A

particle phrase TI DAI in both Venice and Paris

(bis 9.95) TI DAI in ms T, Rep 389d7, Slings edn silent

(bis 9.95) 387 c3 – 8d1 – 389 d7, Sling’s silence on the 2 TI DAI’s 389d, e

scholion to Tim 42b1, O Supremely Wise Plato (259r), rev3

This medieval sketch can have Plato cautioning his scribe, Socraters Alternate

The picture of the humanised Demiurge speaking to the lesser gods in Tim 41c is of great interest in that it captures an extremely early stage of Plato’s ‘creation’ story.    In some ways this earliness puts us in mind of God’s initial enlivening of Adam in Michelangelo’s painting.  In both cases the mythopoiesis depicts some witnesses.    God is accompanied in Plato’s mythos alongside a number of lesser divine beings, just recently generated by himself.  Tim 41c5 is quoting the words from God’s mouth (or perhaps only paraphrasing?  has a lightly altered form:  please see T‘s version of Tim. 41c5, image echoed at the link below).   The  Venetus T ms. has the words put a slight accent upon the “mine” of “my power to generate you”, thus diminishing the stress upon “you” and your generation, i.e. that of the gods he has just created.   Do you see a significance in this shift — if indeed you even see a shift ?    Have a look:

(bis9.9) Tim 41c5, modifier word(s) of THN…GENESIN. UMWN EMHN

Malcolm Brown

06 Feb 2019