Socrates and Hippocrates entered Callias’ house. Socrates’ description of the scene is part of the sunousia – ‘being together’ – that took place there; it allows us to further appreciate how much more the term sunousia – introduced at Protagoras 310a2 – means than the English term ‘conversation’ used by Taylor in his translation.
Socrates: ‘When we came in (Epeidȇ de eisȇlthomen) we found Protagoras (katelabomen Prȏtagoran) walking in the colonnade (en tȏi prostȏiȏi peripatounta), and ranged on one side of him were (hexȇs d’ autȏi sumperiepatoun ek men tou epi thatera) Callias the son of Hipponicus (Kallias ho Hipponikou) and his half-brother (kai ho adelphos autou ho homomȇtrios) Paralus the son of Pericles (Paralos ho Perikleous) and Charmides the son of Glaucon (kai Charmides ho Glaukȏnos), and on the other (ek de tou epi thatera) Pericles’ other son Xanthippus (ho heteros tou Perikleous Xanthippos, 314e3-315a3) … “And after him I recognized (Ton de met’ eisenoȇsa)”, as Homer says (ephȇ Homȇros), Hippias of Elis (Hippian ton Êleion), sitting (kathȇmenon) in a chair in the opposite colonnade (en tȏi kat’ antikru prostȏiȏi en thronȏi). Around him (peri auton) were sitting (d’ ekathȇnto) on (epi) benches (bathrȏn) Eryximachus the son of Acumenus (Eruximachos te ho Akoumenou) and (kai) Phaedrus from Myrrinus (Phaidros ho Murrinousios, 315a5-c3) … “And then (Kai men dȇ) I saw Tantalus too (kai Tantalon ge eiseidon)”, for Prodicus of Ceos was also in Town (epedȇmei gar ara kai Prodikos ho Keios, 315c8-d1, tr. Taylor)
On the margin of my Oxford edition I wrote (some 30 years ago?): ‘Aristid. Vol. III. P. 483: phainetai de Platȏn tous sophistas kata tous en Haidou kolazomenous titheis (Plato is presenting the sophists as those who are punished in Hades) kai katalegȏn (and quoting) ‘kai mȇn Tantalon eiseidon (‘and I saw Tantalus’)’ kai ‘ton de met’ eisenoȇsa (‘and after him I recognized’), tois ek Nekuas autous kosmois timȏn (honouring them with the ornaments from Nekya), Prodikon men hȏs Tantalon onta timȏn (honouring Prodicus as Tantalus), Hippian de hȏs to eidȏlon tou Hȇrakleous (and Hippias as a phantom of Heracles). Prȏtagoran d’ au meta toutȏn diaitatai (Protagoras he treats along with them).
J. Adam and A. M. Adam note ‘ton de met’ eisenoȇsa ephȇ Homȇros (and after him I recognized, as Homer says). Homer, Od. XI. 601 ton de met’ eisenoȇsa biȇn Hȇraklȇeiȇn (and after him I recognized the mighty Heracles). The reference is not to be pressed beyond the words quoted: for there is no special likeness between Homer’s Heracles and Plato’s Hippias.’ On Tantalon ge they note: Od. XI. 582 kai mȇn Tantalon eiseidon krater’ alge echonta. Prodicus is compared to Tantalus because of his physical wretchedness: see Crat. 395 E kai atechnȏs eoiken hȏsper an ei tis boulomenos talantaton onomasai, apokruptomenos onomaseie kai eipoi ant’ ekeinou Tantalon (Jowett translates: ‘You might imagine that some person who wanted to call him talantatos [the most weighed down by misfortune] disguised the name by altering it into Tantalus’).’ – Indeed, in the Protagoras Socrates emphasizes Prodicus’ frailty: ‘Prodicus was still in bed (ho men oun Prodikos eti katekeito), wrapped (enkekalummenos) in a great many sheepskins and blankets (en kȏidiois tisin kai strȏmasin kai mala pollois, 315d4-6, tr. Taylor).’ Se
Adam & Adam may be right when they say that Socrates’ ‘“And after him I recognized (Ton de met’ eisenoȇsa)”, as Homer says (ephȇ Homȇros), Hippias of Elis (Hippian ton Êleion)’ should not be pressed beyond these words. Unless Socrates quotes the line in irony, thinking of Hippias’ whinging when he exposed him to his questioning during their discussion concerning Homer, and thus pointing by contrast to Homer’s ‘mighty Heracles’ (biȇn Hȇraklȇeiȇn). So let us look at the Lesser Hippias.
The sunousia in Plato’s Lesser Hippias opens with the words of Eudicus: ‘Why are you silent (Su de dȇ ti sigais), Socrates (ȏ Sȏkrates), after the magnificent display which Hippias has been making (Hippiou tosauta epideixamenou)? Why do you not either refute his words, if he seems to you to have been wrong in any point, or join with us in commending him (kai ouxi ȇ sunepaineis ti tȏn eirȇmenȏn ȇ kai elencheis)? There is the more reason why you should speak, because we are now alone (allȏs te epeidȇ kai autoi leleimmetha), and the audience is confined to those who may fairly claim to take part in a philosophical discussion (hoi malist’ an antipoiȇsaimetha meteinai hȇmin tȇs en philosophiai diatribȇs).’ – Socrates: ‘I should greatly like, Eudicus, to ask Hippias (Kai mȇn, ȏ Eudike, esti ge ha hȇdeȏs an puthoimȇn Hippiou) the meaning of what he was saying just now (hȏn nundȇ elegen) about Homer (peri Homȇrou) (363a6-b1)’ … Eudicus: ‘I am sure (Alla dȇlon) that Hippias will be delighted (hoti ou phthonȇsei Hippias) to answer anything which you would like to ask (ean ti auton erȏtais, apokrinesthai); tell me (ȇ gar), Hippias (ȏ Hippia), if Socrates asks you a question (ean ti erȏtai se Sȏkratȇs), will you answer him (apokrinȇi, ȇ pȏs poiȇseis)?’ – Hippias: ‘Indeed, Eudicus, I should be strangely inconsistent (Kai gar an deina poioiȇn, ȏ Eudike) if I refused to answer Socrates, when at each Olympic festival, as I went up from my house at Elis to the temple of Olympia, where all the Hellenes were assembled, I continually professed my willingness to perform any of the exhibitions which I had prepared, and answer any questions which anyone had to ask (ei Olumpiaze men eis tȇn tȏn Hellȇnȏn panȇgurin, hotan ta Olumpia ȇi, aei epaniȏn oikothen ex Êlidos eis to hieron parechȏ emauton kai legonta hoti an tis boulȇtai hȏn an moi eis epideixin pareskeuasmenon ȇi, kai apokrinomenon tȏi boulomenȏi hoti an tis erȏtai, nun de tȇn Sȏkratous erȏtȇsin phugoimi)(363c4-d4) … O Socrates (Ȏ Sȏkrates), you are always weaving the meshes of an argument (aei su tinas toioutous plekeis logous), selecting (kai apolambanȏn) the most difficult point (ho an ȇi duscherestaton tou logou), and fastening upon details (toutou echȇi kata smikron ephaptomenos) instead of grappling with the matter in hand as a whole (kai ouch holȏi agȏnizȇi tȏi pragmati peri hotou an ho logos ȇi)’ (369b8-c2) … Socrates: ‘O Hippias (Ȏ Hippia), I do not doubt (egȏ toi ouk amphisbȇtȏ) that you are wiser (mȇ ouchi se einai sophȏteron) than I am (ȇ eme). But I have a way (all’ aei eiȏtha), when anybody else says anything (epeidan tis legȇi ti), of giving close attention to him (prosechein ton noun), especially if the speaker appears to me to be a wise man (allȏs te kai epeidan moi dokȇi sophos einai ho legȏn). Having a desire to understand (kai epithumȏn mathein hoti legei), I question him (diapunthanomai), and I examine and analyse (kai epanaskopȏ) and put together (kai sumbibazȏ) what he says (ta legomena), in order that I may understand (hina mathȏ); but if the speaker appears to me to be a poor creature (ean de phaulos dokȇi moi einai ho legȏn), I do not interrogate him (oute epanerȏtȏ), or trouble myself about his words (oute moi melei hȏn legei), and you may know by this (kai gnȏsȇi toutȏi) who they are whom I deem to be wise men (hous an egȏ hȇgȏmai sophous einai), for you will see that when I am talking with a wise man, I am very attentive to what he says (heurȇseis gar me liparȇ onta peri ta legomena hupo toutou) and ask questions (kai punthanomenon) of him (par’ autou), in order that I may learn (hina mathȏn ti) and be improved by him (ȏphelȇthȏ).’ (369d1-e2) … I hope that you will be good to me (su oun charisai), and not refuse me to heal me (kai mȇ phthonȇsȇis iasasthai tȇn psuchȇn mou); for you will do me much greater benefit (polu gar toi meizon me agathon ergasȇi) if you cure my soul of ignorance (amathias pausas tȇn psuchȇn), than you would if you were to cure my body of disease (ȇ nosou to sȏma). I must however, tell you beforehand, that if you make a long oration to me (makron men oun logon ei ‘theleis legein, prolegȏ soi hoti) you will not cure me (ouk an me iasaio), for I shall not be able to follow you (ou gar an akolouthȇsaimi); but if you will answer me, as you did just now (hȏsper de arti ei ‘theleis moi apokrinesthai), you will do me a great deal of good (panu onȇseis), and I do not think that you will be any the worse yourself (oimai de oud’ auton se blabȇsesthai). And I have some claim upon you also (dikaiȏs d’ an kai se parakaloiȇn), O son of Apemantus (ȏ pai Apȇmantou), for you (su gar) incited me (me epȇras) to converse with Hippias (Hippiai dialegesthai); and now (kai nun), if Hippias will not answer me (ean mȇ moi ethelȇi Hippias apokrinesthai), you must entreat him (deou autou) on my behalf (huper emou),’ – Eudicus: ‘But I do not think, Socrates, that Hippias will require (All’, ȏ Sȏkrates, oimai ouden deȇsesthai Hippian) any entreaty of mine (tȇs hȇmeteras deȇseȏs); for he has already said that he will not run away from any man’s questioning (ou gar toiauta autȏi esti ta proeirȇmena, all’ hoti oudenos an phugoi andros erȏtȇsin). – Did you not say so, Hippias (ȇ gar, ȏ Hippia; ou tauta ȇn ha eleges)?’ – Hippias: ‘Yes, I did (Egȏge); but then, Eudicus, Socrates (alla Sȏkratȇs, ȏ Eudike) is always troublesome (aei tarattei) in an argument (en tois logois), and, if I may say so, mischievous (kai eoiken hȏsper kakourgounti).’ (372e6-373b5, tr. B. Jowett)
In ‘9 Socrates in Aristophanes, Plato, and Xenophon’ I wrote on my blog: “Whether Socrates’ exhortation in Aristophanes’ Clouds, addressed to Strepsiades – ‘after relaxing your subtle mind (schasas tȇn phrontida leptȇn), consider your affairs step by step (kata mikron periphronei ta pragmata) correctly dividing and investigating them (orthȏs diairȏn kai skopȏn, 740-742)’ – has, or does not have, any bearing on Socrates’ love of diairesis expressed in Phaedrus 266 b can be properly established only after considering the Phaedran ‘divisions and collections’.”
Jowett in the Lesser Hippias translates Hippias’ complaint against Socrates’ method of discussing things kata smikron ephaptomenos as ‘fastening upon details’ (369c1). Perhaps it would be better to translate Socrates’ exhortation to Strepsiades in the Clouds: ‘consider your affairs in detail’ than ‘consider your affairs step by step’ (Clouds 741).