1. See R.S. Bluck, Plato’s Meno, Cambridge at the University Press, Cambridge 1961, p. 120.
2. František Novotný in the ‘Introduction’ to his Czech translation of the dialogue writes that Xenophon’s description of Meno’s character is so negative that one must ask whether it is not due to personal enmity. See Platón, Euthydémos, Menón, OIKOYMENH, Praha 1992, p. 67.
3. Ctesias, Persika 68, ed. Dominique Lenfant; cf. Diodorus Siculus VIV, 2. Ctesias was a doctor at the Persian court, and Xenophon in his Anabasis mentions him as a man who assisted the Persian King Artaxerxes after he had been wounded by Cyrus in the battle of Cunaxa (I.viii. 26-27).
4. Ctesias in his book speaks of the palm trees that grew on the tomb of Clearchus eight years after his execution. Clearchus died in 401, which gives us the year 393 as the earliest possible date for the publication of Persika. (See Persika 71 Lenfant). Xenophon refers to Ctesias in Anabasis I.viii.26-7.
5. Xenophon, Socrates’ Defence, 29, tr. O.J. Todd. Todd says in the accompanying note: ‘The tanning trade had been in the family from at least the time of the boy’s grandfather.’ Xenophon in seven volumes, The LOEB Classical Library, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1979, vol. IV, p. 661.
6. Plato, Meno et Euthyphro, Recensuit et Prolegomenis atque Commentariis illustravit Godofredus Stallbaum, Gothae et Erfordiae, Gil. Hennings, 1836, pp. 20-21: ‘Iam vero vix est credibile futurum fuisse, ut Plato acerrimum Socratis inimicum tam leniter et modeste caperet, si librum post mortem demum magistri truculentissimam exaravisset ... Itaque videtur liber confectuss ess vel paullo ante Socratis accusationem vel causa vixdum in iudicium deducta, quo tempore qualis futurus esset eius exitus nondum divinari poterat. Quamquam illud etiam probabilius est, siquidem Plato eum, qui accusationem pararet atque cogitaret, non illum, qui eam iam instituisset, designare videtur.’ [‘It is barely credible that Plato would have criticized so mildly and moderately Socrates’ greatest enemy, if the book were written after the grimmest death of his teacher ... And so it appears that the book was written either shortly before the accusation of Socrates, or after the accusation having been formally made, it was still impossible to divine, what the outcome would be. Although the former is more probable, for Plato points to a man who contemplated and prepared the charges, not the man who brought them to court.’]
7. Cf. Plato, Apology 23e5; Xenophon, Socrates’ defence 30.
8. This is clear from the works of Socrates’ contemporaries, both Plato and Xenophon, but Aristophanes in particular is here to the point, for his comic hero Strepsiades in the opening scene of the Clouds does not know the name of Socrates and his associates, he only knows that they are ‘thinkers good and noble’ (merimnophrontistai kaloi te kagathoi, 101), yet this is enough for his son Phidipides to know immediately who they are: Socrates and Chaerephon (104).
9. Socrates’ highlighting Anytus’ being angry with him does not mean that he was threatening Socrates with an indictment; for as Bluck notes, Anytus’ ‘to do ill’ in 94e6 stands for kakôs poiein, and ‘this is not a usual expression for legal punishment’. Cf. R.S. Bluck, Plato’s Meno, op. cit. pp. 386-387, notes on 94e5 and 95a1.
10. In the days preceding the accusation and the trial of Socrates Anytus enjoyed a good reputation, as can be seen in Isocrates’ speech Against Callimachus ‘that may be assigned with probability to the year 402 B.C.’ (Larue van Hook, ‘Introduction’ to Isocrates viii, Isocrates vol. iii, p. 253, LOEB Classical Library.), that is to the year in which Meno visited Athens and to which the dramatic date of the dialogue must be assigned (See R.S. Bluck, Plato’s Meno, pp. 120-122, Cambridge at the University Press, 1961.), and in Andocides’ speech De Mysteriis that was held in 399, that is the year in which Socrates was indicted. In Isocrates’ speech Anytus is named side by side with Thrasybulus, the man who led the people of Athens to their victory against the Thirty Tyrants: ‘Thrasybulus and Anytus, men of the greatest influence in the city, although they have been robbed of large sums of money and know who gave in lists of their goods, nevertheless are not so brazen as to bring suit against them or to bring up old grudges against them; on the contrary, even if, in respect to all other claims, they have greater power than others to accomplish their ends, yet in matters covered by the covenant at least they feel fit to put themselves on terms of equality with the other citizens.’ (Isocrates xviii, 23-24; tr. Larue van Hook in the LOEB Classical Library edition of Isocrates.) Andocides refers to Anytus in the closing paragraph of his speech, together with Cephalus and Thrasybulus, as the men who ‘have already given to the people of Athens the proof of the greatest virtue in their relation to them’ (hoitines humin aretês êdê tês megistês eis to plêthos to humeteron elenchon edosan, 150). Last but not least, as Xenophon testifies in his Hellenica, Theramenes in his speech in the Senate of the Thirty named Anytus and Thrasybulus as the two leaders of the exiled democrats who were assembling allies to restore democracy (II.iii.44).
11. Ath. Pol. 27.5.
12. Bluck, op. cit. p. 384, note on 94e3.
13. R.W. Sharples, Plato: Meno, 1985, Aris & Phillips Ltd., Warminster, p. 178, note on 95a2.
14. Bluck, op. cit. p. 432, note on 99e3. Cf. Paul Friedlaender, Plato, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London (1964), vol. ii. p. 273 and 358, n. 2.
15. Jacob Klein, A Commentary on Plato’s Meno, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1965, p. 256.
16. See Aristotle, Ath. Pol. 34.3.
17. Although Meno’s joining the adventurous attempt of Cyrus to become the Great King, and especially his subsequent treachery must have cast a grievous shadow over the dialogue, this argument remained unaffected by it. Socrates in the Apology questions Meletus along the same lines when he wants to demonstrate that neither he nor anyone else would ever corrupt his associates willingly, for corrupt people would cause harm and evil to those around them, and nobody wants to be harmed (25c5-d4).
Chapter 10: Plato Versus Anytus