The Classical Quarterly


Notes on Some Passages of Plato'S Timaeus

R. Hackforth

This famous sentence, which opens the address of the Demiurge to the created gods, has puzzled commentators both ancient and modern. We must, I think, agree with Taylor and Cornford, who both discuss it at length, that no sense can be got out of θεọxs1F30 θεxs22EFν taken together, i.e. with a comma after θεxs22EFν: I need notreproduce their arguments on this point. Accordingly they punctuate after θεọxs1F30. Taylor, however, thinks that even so the sentence cannot be translated, and accepts Badham's proposal to read ộδων in place of θεxs22EFν xs22EFν. He then takes ộδων xs1F12πγων as an instance of ‘inverse relative attraction’ and translates ‘Ye gods, works whereof I am maker and father, seeing they were fashioned by my hands, are indissoluble without my consent’. Cornford objects to ộδων on the grounds that it creates an objectionable hiatus between the first two words (and it is true that the Timaeus is very sparing of hiatus), and also that it destroys what he finds to be the dominant rhythm of the whole speech, and particularly of this first sentence. That rhythm is Cretic: θεọxs1F30 θεxs22EFν xs22EFν ẻγxs1F60 δημωνπγxs22EFς πατxs22EFπ xs1F12πγων: which he compares the famous opening of the De Corona τοxs1FD6ς θεοxs1FD6ς εxs22EFχομα πxs22EFδ καxs22EF πxs22EFδς. I am, however, doubtful about the cogency of this argument from rhythm, as I have noticed a number of places in the dialogue where a similar rhythm occurs to all appearance naturally:

58 A καxs22EF ππxs22EFς αxs1F50τxs1F50ν πεφνκνxs1FD6α βοxs1F51λεδθα.

66 C xs22EFδxs1F7A καxs22EF ποδφλxs22EFς παντxs22EF πxs22EFν.

70 A τxs22EFν τε δxs22EF καπδxs22EFαν xs22EFμμxs22EFτων.

77 A τxs22EFς γxs22EFπ xs22EFνθπωπxs22EFνης δνγγενxs22EF

81 δxs22EFγκλεν αxs1F50τxs22EFν ππxs22EFς xs1F02λληλα κxs22EFκτηα.