2.3.2 Philebus ( 87r – 97v)


Causing a string of letters to come apart, but only at that word’s joints may be just one thing.  But it is quite another to ignore internal articulations, as Julian Barnes wrote recently in his book “Nothing[ness] to be Frightened of”.  It is a book about various ways of coming to terms with one’s own dying.   He has a dramatic flair, Julian does, and has an author busily doing his writing activity when, — FLASH — he dies at once.  In mid-word even:  it gets logged on his typescript at the word-torso  ‘wor’   The END, finis, that’s all he wrote, and was.  Prodicus the seductive would be proud of such a wordsmith, or (pardon the expression) a wordsm  .

So would Philip of Opus, who wants to recite names, in his p. Kosmou , and to create clever variants on public or intra-academy schemes of naming, often drawn from the hypercleverness of Cratylus — which manages to decompose ‘swphrosyne’ into a pair, SWTERIA+PHRONESIS.  Or, equally overclever, decompose ‘noEsis’ into ‘tou neou+Hesis’    Amongst the various meanings of this last phrase is  this rather naughty one:  OF THE YOUNG MAN, A CRAVING (!).

Plato seems to have had a personal craving for a young man Aster, whom he nicknames as Iros in ILIAD is nicknamed too, after his expertise, in our case Astronomy.   So it is written in Epigram1 attributed to Plato by John Cooper (Hackett 1997)  Can Aster have been a disciple very near Plato personally, like the certified astronomer Philip ?   In any case it is Philip who calls himself in the final chapter, one filled with astronomy, the final chapter of EPINOMIS, by phrasing we could render: the ’eminently wise, sophwtatos truly astronomer man‘  [=Ὁ σοφώτατος ἀληθῶς ἀστρονομος ]

In Philip’s account in p. Kosmou, some individual gods experience decay of consonants within their names, ‘Kronos’ decaying into ‘Chronos.’  One prominent individual is the chief sufferer under his own ‘polyonymy’ [this is a rare word in classical Greek],  Zeus SWTHR or Zeus HETAIRIOS/PHILIOS (Bekker 401).

Do  please consider the ms. evidence of some super-refined, we may even call it Rococo in its Prodican mannerism, of lengthening a word by inserting an Iota above the line in the middle of a 3-letter long word.   Maybe its phoneme is nearly a hiccup or gastric belch ?   Our best ms. of Philip’s work, the one some have facetiously nicknamed ‘the thirteenth book of Plato’s 12-book work NOMOI’   That is, Philip’s Epinomis.  It is a central point at this present website, the equating of Philip, Amphinomus and Younger Socrates.   Speusippus must have known all 3 men well, and known also if more than a single name was taken on by one or another, or still another.

There may be in addition a sly allusion to a man sometimes called ‘the Aster who can attract all eyes, including those 10,000 eyes of the star-struck man Plato.  This allusion seems to come near the surface in a stretch of the Astronomy chapter (i.e. Chapt 10) of Republic VII  a man whose name-fragments trace to the word-pair  SWZEIN+KRATHS, at Steph 527e2, just 2 lines above the manifest allusion to the man there called the ‘true astronomer’, namely EU+DOKEIN:  Philip=(SocratesAlternate).  Part of the proof is this flock of supra lineam Iota marks, a mere quarter of the 4-letter word AIEI:


(bis5) semi-Aeolic AIEI in final chapt. of Epinomis, at 992c1 length=3.5, rev6


Consider further this evidence, based on a persistent unorthodoxy of Attic spellings:

(bis9) Plato’s AIEI citation from Hesiod at Symp. 178b6, with note to Euthyd 296ab



(bis5) semi-Aeolic AIEI in final chapt. of Epinomis, at 992c1 length=3.5, rev6