In Plat. Men. 95e, the much debated expression ὀλίγον μεταβάς that introduces the quotation of Theogn. 434-438 should not be interpreted in a spatial sense (“a little further on” or similar), and so does not allow any deduction about the form of the Theognidean collection in Plato’s time. The expression means “changing his mind a little”, and must be understood in the light of passages such as Phaedr. 261e-262a: Theognis’ “small change of opinion” leads to complete self-contradiction. This interpretation may also explain the strange way in which Socrates quotes ll. 434-438: he changes the order and the logic of the elegy to represent the gradual process of contradiction that makes Theognis’ thought uncertain and inconsistent.
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