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M.A., LL.D. 




" His truth may not be our truth, and never- 
theless may have an extraordinary value and 
interest for us."— Jowett. .. 7_ 


JOHN MURRAY, Albemarle St. 









When asked by Mr Magnus, the editor of this 
series, to write a little book on Plato's Republic, I 
was not disinclined from the task, but feared that the 
ground was already too much occupied. Not only 
Professor Jowett's monumental work, which may 
be beyond the reach of some readers, but Davies 
and Vaughan's translation, Mr Bosanquet's notes, 
the manual of the Dean of Christchurch, and the 
late R. L. Nettleship's able essay in Hellenica, 
seemed to supply all that was needed, whether for 
the student or the general reader. But I could not 
set my opinion against my publisher's, and I was 
encouraged to hope that I might still be able to 
say something worth printing on a subject which 
has been more or less familiar to me for fifty years. 
Since the greater part of the present volume 
was written, Mr Nettleship's lectures on the 
Republic have been posthumously issued. I was 
glad to find in them many of my own thoughts 
anticipated, and to recognise much else as valu- 
able and striking. But as these lectures were 
delivered to classical students in the University 
of Oxford, their aim is in some ways different from 
that to which this smaller work has been directed. 


My special thanks are due to Professor Gomperz 
of Vienna for his courtesy in sending me some 
advanced sheets of the second volume of his 
great book on the Greek Thinkers, now in course 
of publication. In referring to this volume, of 
which the translation is not yet published, I 
give the paging of the German edition. The 
references to Dr Gomperz's first volume follow 
the paging of the English version by Mr Laurie 
Magnus (John Murray). In quoting Plato I 
give the pages of the edition of Stephanus, as 
they appear on the margins of Jowett's transla- 
tion (3rd edition), which I have for the most part 
followed in quoting Plato. The letters A, B, C, D, 
E, represent the sections of each page as they are 
marked in most editions of the Greek text. The 
quotations from Jowett's Introductions are from 
the 3rd edition, 1892. I have further to acknow- 
ledge the kindness of the authorities in the British 
Museum in allowing the use of several of the 
illustrations, to refer to Blumner's Technologie for the 
picture of the spindle, and to offer my best thanks 
to Mr Hallam Murray, and to my friends Mr 
and Mrs Bernard Jenkin, for their assistance in 
preparing the illustrations to Chapter X. 


S. Andrea, Alassio, Italy, 
March 1902. 







[M . 






ix. political and moral declension— demo 
cracy and tyranny— the ideal of evil 

x. the supra-mundane aspect — platonic 
mythology ..... 

y xi. plato and modern life 

Index ...... 










OF PLATO'S "REPUBLIC" . . Frontispiece 


A SET OF TORCH-RUNNERS . To face page I 

III. BUST OF PLATO .... „ 17 

V. A SIREN „ 141 

VI. THE CAVE IN "REPUBLIC," VII., 514 „ 143 



SPINDLE OF NECESSITY . Between pp. 1 54-5 




Introductory. — Twice during a literary career of 
half a century, Plato addressed his thoughts to a 
wider public than the literary circle or the philo- 
sophical school. In the meridian of his life he 
produced the Republic, and, in old age, after a 
period of changeful activity, he indited what has 
come down to us in the twelve books of the Laws. 
In the interim, through much effort and disillusion- 
ment, his thoughts had widened to embrace the 
whole Hellenic world ; whereas in the Republic 
the horizon is still Athenian ; although the en- 
vironing cloud-land is illumined with cross-lights 
from a glorified Sparta, and from the wisdom of 
the greater Hellas in the distant west. 

The scene is in the house of Cephalus, the 



Syracusan sojourner at the Piraeus, whose sons 
are citizens of Athens. The chief interlocutors, 
besides Socrates, are Glaucon and Adeimantus, 
brothers of Plato. 

The persons who sustain a Platonic Dialogue 
are seldom without significance. In the Pkcedo, 
for example, the principal respondents are Cebes 
the critical, and Simmias, the untiring promoter of 
discourse (Phcedrus, 242 B), who had both known 
Philolaus the Pythagorean when he visited 
Thebes. Phaedo, the narrator, is a beloved 
disciple of the Master. The inference is plain ; 
the Phcedo was intended for an inner circle ; it 
raises questions which could only be discussed 
amongst philosophers, and which are closely re- 
lated to Pythagorean doctrine. But Polemarchus, 
the son of Cephalus, who appears at the opening of 
the Republic, though he had a tincture of philo- 
sophy {Phcedrus, 257B) was mainly a politician ; 
he was one of the victims of the Thirty Tyrants. 
And the brothers of Plato, while like many other 
yjpuths they are attached to Socrates, are living 
ki the fashionable world, and their ears are open 
to the discordant voices that were confusing the 
intellects of the time. Glaucon, the younger and 
more eager, although his mind is nimbly alert, is 
repeatedly rallied by Socrates as a man of pleasure, 
who keeps quails and hounds ; and Adeimantus 


is clearly a man of the world who has an eye to 
the practical bearing of philosophical speculation. 
His staid and sober intellect stands in contrast to 
the impetuosity of Glaucon. When enquiry be- 
comes difficult, Socrates says, " My dear Glaucon, 
you would not be able to follow me; I will tell 
you my meaning in a figure." And the remarks 
of Adeimantus, though often to the point, are char- 
acterized rather by good sense than by speculative 
ability. The brothers part between them the 
elements of the philosophic nature, quickness and 
stability. Both young men are familiar with the 
outline of Socratic enquiry; but require to be 
reminded from time to time of things which they 
have often heard. " That theme is of a higher 
mood than belongs to our present enterprise," says 
Socrates, when approaching a speculative ascent. 
All this is in keeping with the purpose of a writing 
which appeals not to a few disciples, but to the 
cultivated Athenian public. 

Plato, like Shakespeare, is for all time ; yet to 
understand him rightly he must be studied irl/ 
relation to his age. That is a task which now for 
many years has been industriously pursued. The 
danger is that in this, as in other well-known cases, 
the surrounding conditions may tend to supersede 
the central reality :— that in analysing the vehicle, 
the essence may escape, leaving, as has well been 



said, the u tea leaves without the aroma." My 
object in the following pages will therefore be 
twofold : partly to explain some aspects of the 
dialogue, in which elucidation seems to be required, 
at least for beginners ; but partly also to indicate 
some ways in which the spirit of the author of the 
Republic, when duly " unsphered," may without 
violence be fruitfully applied to modern life, not- 
withstanding the extreme difference both of real 
and imaginary circumstances. For I believe that 
without rudely breaking with our own past, or with 
the laws which govern modern life, we may yet win 
valuable suggestions from this ancient writing. 
As Professor Jowett long since observed, " Plato's 
truth may not be our truth, and nevertheless may 
have an extraordinary value and interest for us." 

It has been repeatedly said that the Sermon on 
the Mount cannot be directly applied to the moral 
needs of industrial societies. Some, like Count 
Tolstoi, would elude the difficulty by defying 
modern social arrangements. Others turn aside 
from a religion which appears to them to hold forth 
a chimerical ideal. But it is generally agreed, even 
by those who refrain from attempting the im- 
possible, that the meaning and influence of these 
Divine counsels of perfection are inexhaustible. So 
in a lower yet important sense, it may prove to be 
with regard to Plato. When the dust is blown off 


the old volume the first impression may be one of 
strangeness and remoteness from ourselves. Yet 
as we become really familiar with this great writer 
of another age, he may be more useful to us than 
when he was the mere shadow of a name, a symbol 
for some general notion of idealism or some modern 
theory of innate ideas. When understood with all 
his variety of experience and feeling, Plato is a less 
simple phenomenon, but more rich in lasting 

Composition of the " Republic." — I. The unity of 
the Republic as a literary masterpiece is incontest- 
able. The several parts of the work are balanced 
and proportioned as in a five-act play. After a 
noble introduction the interest rises, culminates, 
deepens, and is rounded off, as in a tragedy. 

1. The subject is started in what Socrates him- 
self calls the proem or prelude (Book I., pp. 


2. Unexpected complications arise with the 
objections of Glaucon and Adeimantus. The 
foundations of the commonwealth are laid : 
educational principles are established, the Virtue s,. 
are defined, and Justice, the original object of 
search, appears to be discovered both in the state 
and in the individual (Books 1 1. -IV., pp. 357-479). 

3. But a great surprise is in reserve. Socrates 
develops his three great paradoxes : the equality 


of the sexes, the principle of Communism, and the 
supremacy of the philosopher. We must educate 
our masters." And hence the Dialogue proceeds 
to the discussion of philosophical first principles 
and the evolution of the higher education (Books 
V.-VIL, pp. 449-551). Here the interest has 
reached its height. 

4. We descend from the contemplation of the 
" idea of good " to view the actual world as in a 
course of gradual declension from Platonic Aris- 

4ocracy (the supremacy of the Best), through 
rimocracy (the supremacy of the Illustrious), 
Oligarchy (the reign of the Few), and Demo- 
cracy (the supremacy of the People), to Tyranny 
(one-man rule), the last and worst of evils. And 
by means of analogies which are partly fanciful 
the aberrations of individual character are also 

The tyranny of passion is contrasted with the 
sovereignty of reason (Books VI 1 1. -IX., pp. 


5. With a return to the ideal state, various 
threads of the preceding argument are drawn 
together. The unreality of emotional art is finally 
discarded, the rewards of virtue are enforced, and 
the whole concludes with the assertion of im- 
mortality, and a vision of judgment. 

The awakening of Er upon the funeral pyre 


rounds off the fable, and restores the reader to the 
light of common day (Book X.). 

II. But some recent critics who have examined 
the Republic as a philosophical treatise have 
observed certain incoherences from which they 
infer that the different parts of the Dialogue were 
composed at several times, and belong to different 
stages in Plato's career. 

1. The connexion of Books II.-IV. with Book I., 
and still more that of Books V.-VII. with what 
precedes and follows them, is slight and accidental ; 
and considering the importance and extent of this 
third portion it is remarkable that Books VI 1 1. -IX. 
should seem to be written in direct continuation of 
Book IV. 

2. There are apparent inconsistences or fluctua- 
tions in the philosophical point of view, especially 
in the manner of conceiving the ideas. The 
metaphysics and psychology of Books I. -IV. are 
but slightly in advance of the earlier Dialogues, 
betraying no anticipation of the heights to which 
ideal speculation rises in Book VI. : and again, in 
the concluding portion, the mind seems to have 
fallen back on cruder theories, and poetic fancies. 
Hence it has been inferred that Books V.-VII. 
were an after-thought, perhaps added in a second 
edition, or at least greatly expanded when the first 
issue of the work had been subject to criticism. 



We know little of the conditions under which 
such a book as the Republic would be produced 
in the fourth century B.C. Perhaps, as Zeno's thesis 
is described in the Parmenides Dialogue, it would 
be read more than once to a select audience, and 
afterwards revised and altered by the author him- 
self before it took its final shape and was copied 
and distributed. It may have been thus shown 
privately to persons of reputation, and modified 
in consequence of their remarks, much as the 
Parmenides is supposed by some to have been 
due to the strictures of the youthful Aristotle. 
The process which has been imagined by certain 
German critics is therefore not inconceivable. 
But neither of the reasons which have been 
repeated above has really any cogency. 

First, as to the connexion : Such seemingly 
accidental transitions as are here objected to, are 
in accordance with Plato's manner elsewhere. 
They are the result not of caprice, but of profound 
contrivance, and give to the Dialogue an air of 
verisimilitude. The conduct of the argument in 
the Symposium, Phcedo, and Phcedrus, presents 
features of very close similarity. And secondly, 
the dialectical discrepancies are not greater than 
may be found in other Dialogues of narrower 
compass. What can be more diverse, for example, 
than the three several proofs of immortality in 


the Phcedo? What apparent incongruity in the 
Phcedrus between the supra-mundane vision and 
the method of classification, or in the Politicus 
between the cosmic myth and the scientific defini- 
tion of the Statesman ! The comparison of the 
Phcedo, where the objections of Simmias and 
Cebes to the first argument lead on to the next, 
is peculiarly instructive. 

When Plato is pursuing one line of thought or 
argument, all others seem to be excluded for the 
time. He is in the habit of reserving his main 
secret until the opportune moment for disclosing 
it has arrived, and from summits of speculation 
which have been painfully won, he will sometimes 
descend, as in Book X. of the Republic, to 
popular statements of a less esoteric kind. 

The disintegrating hypothesis really proves too 
much, for not only the whole work, but the several 
portions may in like manner be dismembered. 
And no one can be so simple as to imagine that, 
in beginning the second book, Plato had not the 
construction of the state prepared in his mind, 
or that in drawing the picture of paradisaical 
simplicity he had not already thought of the 
warrior class. At that point, as Gomperz has 
observed, the three main topics which form the 
Republic — Morality, Political Speculation, and 
Idealism — are woven together with consummate 


art. The author is playing with his audience, 
and carries them whither he will. 

The hypercritical line of argument here referred 
to may, however, be not unprofitable if it leads us 
to examine closely the steps by which the argu- 
ment advances from point to point, sometimes by 
leaps and bounds, and sometimes gradually. We 
should then learn more of the combination of 
speculative audacity with artistic reserve which is 
characteristic of this great writer ; and be less often 
tempted to look for exact logical coherence between 
statements which are clothed in figures of speech. 

Inferences to the same disintegrating effect have 
been drawn from the style of Book I., which has 
been thought to recall the manner of the earliest 
Dialogues. The liveliness of the dramatic por- 
traiture, as in the Protagoras, and the relentless 
handling of Thrasymachus, as of Polus in the 
Gorgtas, are supposed to be notes of youthfulness. 
But no early Dialogue, unless the Crito is early, 
contains such a mellow picture of unphilosophic 
virtue as the interior of the house of Cephalus, 
and the question, " Can the just man injure even 
an enemy ? " shows a corresponding advance in 
moral reflection. While beneath the mask of 
irony, which Socrates assumes in dealing with 
Thrasymachus, there are veiled anticipations even 
of the crowning paradox that the philosopher is 


the only real ruler, and that he only rules because 
he is compelled to do so by the fear of being 
governed by the sham politicians of the age. It 
is also observed that the remark of Socrates about 
the unsatisfactory conclusion resembles the end of 
the Protagoras. But the discrepancy between the 
two positions, that justice makes for happiness and 
that the true ruler governs not for his own benefit 
but for that of the governed, is precisely calculated 
to lead the way for the enquiry as it is conducted 
in the following portions of the work. 

The conception of Schleiermacher, that Plato's 
Dialogues taken as a whole were intended to 
evolve in the mind of the reader by gradual steps 
a system that was already full grown and complete 
in the writer's mind, may with more reason be 
applied to the Republic, where the Platonic 
Socrates leads his hearers onwards from a simple 
beginning to the matured results of strenuous 

K On the Style of Plato — Fragmentary Notes by 

pike late Professor fowett. — i. The form is that 

sof the very best conversation. It has all the 

' easy grace, the freedom of saying anything, the 

perfect urbanity and courtesy of the most 

polished manners. You feel that you are in 

first-rate company, of which Socrates is the 


Master. It is also eloquent conversation, in which 
great subjects are put forward in the noblest 
language. And the conversation sometimes 
passes into speeches of considerable length, as 
in the Symposium and Phcedrus. 

2. It is a drama, in which there are persons, but 
no action, and only conversation ; and there are 
situations such as the preparation for the great 
text, " when kings are philosophers or philosophers 
kings," and the re-action afterwards. The dialogue 
has in fact a certain relation to the drama ; it could 
not have existed but for the development of the 
drama in the previous century. And after the 
decay of the drama, the dialogue also decayed. 
There is no proof that dialogues were written 
before Plato, though they are attributed to Zeno, 
perhaps by Plato himself, at the beginning of the 
Parmenides. They are also attributed to Xenophon 
and Aristotle : — of the genuineness of the last 
doubts may be entertained. The dialogue was 
created by Plato and continued by his imitators- ' 
an imitation which was adopted by the Roman*, 
and by modern writers ; but no department en f 
literature has been less successful. This mighn , 
be illustrated from Cicero and Berkeley. 

3. The perfected form of the dialogue, though 
not always adopted by Plato, is the recitation of 
a conversation. This gives the opportunity of 


description, as in a modern novel. The dialogue 
thus resembles a romance as well as a drama, and 
a double interest is thus created. A short 
prologue is sometimes added, containing the 
occasion of the dialogue, as in the Republic, Phcedo, 
and Symposium — in which we are told about the 
dramatis personce. The narrator may be an in- 
significant person, or may be Socrates himself, as 
in the Republic. When the object has once been 
gained, the prologue is soon laid aside. 

4. But the conversation, the drama, the novel or 
narrative, pass into a fourth character — that of an 
argument ; the thinking out of a subject from vari- 
ous points of view, by the intercourse of different 
persons. Dialectic is described as the mind talk- 
ing. That is also the description of the dialogue. 
It is the mind arguing aloud, illustrating the say- 
ing that there is something to be urged on both 
sides of a question, seeking to define popular or 
ambiguous terms, and often arriving at no con- 
clusion. These were dialogues of search, as they 
were called by Thrasyllus and the ancients. The 
principal speaker in them is generally Socrates, but 
sometimes the first place is reserved to Protagoras, 
Parmenides, and others. 

5. A further aspect of the Platonic Dialogue 
may be noticed — it is a criticism — a criticism 
on popular notions, on the popular use of Ian- 


guage, on the Sophists, and on the previous 

6. It is the life of Socrates and a description of 
his style of conversation. Yet in none of Plato's 
Dialogues (except the Apology) is he described as 
an out-door preacher, walking and talking in 
the streets of Athens. 

7. It is a poem — " Poema magis putandum 
quam comicorum poetarum." Hence you must 
expect a poetical rather than a logical or sys- 
tematic representation of a subject. The truth is 
not divided into chapters, or placed under heads. 
It appears in many aspects, harmonious and 
discordant. Hence also the mythical element : 
partly the old tradition, of which the allegorical 
interpretation has so great a hold on the minds 
of men, partly the veil in which the future is half- 
concealed and half-revealed, when, to use an 
expression of Platp, we have arrived at the end 
of the intellectual world. 

8. The Dialogues of Plato are very different in 
character. There is a growth and also a decline 
of them. There are the earlier Dialogues, such as 
the Lysis and Charmides, which have more of 
a picture, and in which children are introduced in 
a very pleasing manner ; the larger Dialogues of 
the most perfect form, half imaginative and poeti- 
cal, such as the Gorgias, Phcedrus, and Phczdo ; 


or those in which the comic element prevails, as 
in the Euthydemus, Symposium, Cratylus. These 
might also be called satyric dramas, for Socrates 
certainly has on the Silenus mask. Further, the 
Republic, in which may be found all the charac- 
teristics of Plato ; the Parmenides, the finest 
piece of dialectic of them all, in which the 
joinings of the question and answer are most 
precise ; the later Dialogues, such as the 
Philebus, the Sophist, and Politicus, in which 
the metaphysical element prevails ; the Laws, in 
which the dialogue is reduced to a mere form — in 
the last five books it almost entirely disappears 
— and impedes rather than assists the discussion. 
9. Plato's is the most perfect of styles. The 
description of style is always difficult, like the 
description of music. We mean to say, that it 
is more graceful, more simple, more idiomatic, 
more expressive, more varied, more rhythmical, 
than any other. Yet it is not free from defects : 
(1) it is not grammatically accurate; (2) it is not 
free from tautology. The observation of both 
these defects has a considerable bearing upon 
the text, for when we recognise them we no 
longer want to alter passages on the ground of 
tautology or of defective grammar. The character 
of Plato's, as of any other style, can only be 
gathered from himself. 



References, Chapter I. 

p. i. (i) Plato was born in 428 B.C., the year of Pericles' 
death, and he died in 346 B.C., when the power of 
Athens was already threatened by Philip of 
Macedon. Socrates was put to death in 399 e.c, 
and Plato's literary career began shortly afterwards. 
The Republic was probably produced about 378 B.C., 
just when the power of Thebes was rising as a 
third claimant (tyedpos) with Athens and Sparta, 
for supremacy in Hellas. The books of the Laws 
were published after the author's death. 

p. 8. Symposium, pp. 185, 188, 212 ; Phcedo, pp. 84-88; 
Phcedrus, pp. 243 and 259. 

p. 9. Gomperz, vol. ii. (German edition), pp. 359, 371 ; 
Nettleship on Republic, pp. 214, 341. 

p. 11. Schleiermacher's Introductions to Plato, translated by 

p. 12. (1) Protagoras, pp. 316 ff. 

P- l 3- (3) Thecetetus, pp. 142 ff. 
(5) Sophist, pp. 242-250. 

p. 14. (7) Symposium ; Phcedrus; Republic, Book X., pp. 
614 ff. 

Plate III. — Bust of Plato. 

{Berlin Museum.) 

[To face page 17. 



I. The course of speculation which owed its first 
impulse to Socrates was primarily ethical. His 
lifelong effort to awaken thought amongst his. 
countrymen was inspired with a high mol"al pur- 
pose and had a deeply religious motive.^ He saw 
that Athenian life, both public and private, was on y 
the downward grade. The tyrant city had lostV/ 
hold of that principle of equity which, as exempli- 
fied in the policy of Aristides, had awakened the 
enthusiasm of ^schylus. Party spirit and private 
ambition were undermining patriotism. The' 
revenge on Mytilene and the massacre at Melos 
showed the passion of which the Democracy had 
become the victim. The disastrous Sicilian ex- 
pedition, the outcome of an unbridled thirst for 
empire, had left the remnant weakened and 
embittered ; and for a time at least the state haoV 
been divided against herself. And though the 
civil war had ended in a general amnesty, the 



restored Democracy had shown in many ways the 

demoralizing effects of a long and unsuccessful 

\f struggle. The blind rage of the populace after 

yArginusae, which Socrates himself had witnessed, 
was a convincing proof. The lowering of the 
/tone of society and the progress of corruption in 
domestic life are evident to readers of Aristo- 
phanes, and of the earlier orators. Old customs 
were becoming stale, and the religious sanction 
which had hitherto sustained them was weakened 
by the shallow enlightenment which raised ques- 
tions that it could not solve. 

In the midst of this confusion Socrates had 
sjbt himself with a deliberate purpose to dis- 
cover the principle, which he was confident would 
provide the cure for all these evils. The senti- 
ment of Justice, which had been fostered by the 
influence of the oracles at Delphi and Eleusis, had 
yielded to calculations of expediency : traditional 

f associations had not been proof against the in- 
ds of scepticism. Socrates sought to place 
rality on a foundation which could not so\ 
dily be shaken, to discover principles of con- 
it that should be independent of custom and , 
nion. He looked for a law of human life thaz 
uld hold as universally as the most firmly estab- 
lished natural law. Fire burns alike amongst 
Hellenes and Barbarians ; even so, could we but 



know it, right must be right for all men every- 
where. His method was that of casual talk. Con- 
fessing ignorance himself, he searched the thoughts 
of other men, through a species of cross-examina- 
tion which would have been impossible anywh^pg^ 
but in conversation-loving Athens. His questions 
always turned on points immediately connected 
with human life and conduct, individual and 1 "^ 
social. Plato indeed speaks of him in the 
Phcedo as having been, at one time, fascinated 
by physical theories, and as hoping great things 
from Anaxagoras ; but in this the disciple is 
probably attributing to the Master his own later 
experience. It was indeed impossible that ethical 
speculation could long be held apart from those 
far-reaching thoughts which Heraclitus and Par- 
menides had broached in the sixth and fifth 
centuries B.C., and which in a secondary phase 
pervaded the intellectual atmosphere in the gen- 
eration preceding Plato. 

The lifelong effort of Socrates was consecrated 
for his disciples" through the manner of his death^ 
and by Plato in particular it was idealized ah/ 
perpetuated. To place morality on a scientific 
basis and so promote the improvement of 
humanity was his persistent aim, pursued with 
unflinching tenacity through fifty years ; but the 
very enthusiasm of the pursuit gave to the 


scientific or intellectual ideal an emotional force 
which could not be separated from it. To bear 
this in mind is of the first importance in any 
study of Plato. 

2. The reader of the Republic is led through 
several stages from Socratic questionings to full- 
blown Platonism. The Socrates who meets us on 
the threshold in Book I. is already the Platonic 
Socrates, but he resembles more the ironic provok- 
ing personality of the Protagoras ancT Gorgias 
than the philosopher-poet of the Phcedrus, or the 
otftmly contemplative thinker of the Phcedo. He 
S//leads his respondent from a commonplace begin- 
/ ning through a maze of importunate questioning 
V to a conclusion in which nothing is concluded. 
\\s in the Laches, Charmides and Lysis, all 
present are convinced of ignorance, and as in the 
Protagoras, the position of Socrates, as well as 
that of his opponent, is felt to be logically unsatis- 
factory. It is assumed that Virtue, like the Arts, 
\must have a law and principle of its own, and 
must consist in an adaptation of means to a 
\ definite end ; and arguments from analogy are 
adduced to prove that the just man is not a self- 
seeker, and to raise a presumption that in some 
\ way it shall be well with the just and ill with the 
^njust; but the thesis is not demonstrated, for 
justice has not been defined. 


As the Dialogue proceeds, the topics raised 
and the method of dealing with them have no 
longer the Socratic stamp, but belong to the 
mental atmosphere of the time of Plato. The 
first stage of education is not allowed to be com- 
plete until the pupil can recognise the forms of 
Courage, Temperance, and Justice in all their 
various manifestations, and in returning from 
public to private excellence, the four cardinal 
virtues are assumed to be an exhaustive classifica- 
tion. It has been lately pointed out that Plato 
is here in advance of his own earlier thought : for 
in the Protagoras, the virtue of Holiness or Piety 
is mentioned separately from Justice, but in the 
Euthyphro it is shown that Justice comprehends 
Holiness, in other words, that true religion is 
inseparable from Morality. When in enumerating 
human excellences in the praise of the philosophic 
nature in Book VI., a different set of categories 
seems to come into play, including, for example, 
Gentleness and Liberality, it may be assumed that 
these are also comprehended under the notion of 
Justice or Righteousness, which in the end appears 
to be the basis of all the Virtues. 

In describing the philosopher the notion of 
virtue is otherwise modified. For example, the 
definition of Courage in Book IV. is limited by 
the epithet " civic " or u political." That is because 


the ground has not yet been prepared for the 
higher notion of a courage due to the develop- 
ment of reason, which looks on death as unim- 
portant, because a single life seems of small 
account to one who is contemplating all time 
and all existence, and who can set his face like 
a flint against every temptation to palter in any 
way with truth or right. 

In fact, the only just man in the highest sense 
is the philosophic ruler, who in Book IX. is 
identified with the King, for he alone has a 
clear vision of the supreme principle from which 
all true virtue flows, and in him alone the ideal 
of righteousness is fully embodied. The supreme 
end towards which all nature is dimly struggling 
is clearly known to him ; he cannot do or say 
anything against the truth ; and the rules laid 
down in Book II. for all statements about divine 
things are to him self-evident, and not traditional ; 
viz., that God is not the author of evil, that He 
is unchangeable and absolutely true in thought 
and act and word. 

In considering the nature and training of the 
philosopher, Plato is by no means guided by mere 
intellectualism. The other qualities required are 
no doubt regarded as deducible from the love 
of truth to which they are akin, but they cannot 
be realized or developed through mere learning. 


The philosopher is an all-round man, and in this 
as much as anything is distinguished from the 
strange uncouth pretenders with whom he is 
contrasted. Living in a perfect state, he fulfils 
all righteousness. 

3. It has become almost a commonplace amongst 
exponents of Greek Philosophy to say that the 
Ancients studied ethics through politics, that the 
conception of the state was prior to that of the 
individual, and that moral as distinguished from 
social science is a plant of modern growth. But a 
closer study of the Platonic Dialogues does not 
wholly justify this view. What are now generally 
recognised as Plato's earlier writings, all turn upon 
questions of individual conduct. In the attempts 
to define the separate virtues of Courage, Temper- 
ance, and Holiness, or to analyze the nature of 
Friendship, the instances are drawn from in- 
dividual experience, and when the question comes 
to be concerning virtue in general, this is still 
considered as a personal attribute. In his conver-*/ 
sation with Protagoras, what has been called the (f 
utilitarian argument of Socrates does not con- rV 
template "the greatest happiness of the greatest 
number," but the greatest happiness of each person 
in the long run. When Meno is asked how virtue 
is acquired, that is still understood to be the virtue 
of the individual. The defence of Justice against 


Ambition in the Gorgias is maintained by one who 
abstains from public life altogether, and it is 
confirmed by a vision of judgment, in which every 
soul is brought severally before her Judge. 

It is true that in Book I. of the Republic, 
Thrasymachus in answering the question raised 
by Socrates rudely interposes with a ready-made 
theory of government which is not immediately 
relevant. But when the enquiry is resumed by 
the two brothers in Book II., the point in debate 
is the rule of life for the individual, — "Where- 
withal shall a young man cleanse his way?" 
Only when it is found difficult to determine this 
apart from social evolution, Socrates propounds his 
theory of the state. When the ideal common- 
wealth has been developed and Justice in the state 
has been discovered, the definition of individual 
Justice is again so personal as to be hardly 
distinguishable from that of Temperance, because, 
as Gomperz has observed, this virtue also is still 
regarded as a harmony of the single life, without 
any distinct acknowledgment that it can only be 
truly conceived in relation to society, or as Aris- 
\fotle expresses it, " to another " (71-/009 erepov). 
1 HThe whole work is pervaded by a strong under- 
flying aspiration towards ethical perfection. The 
young life is to be surrounded by influences from 
\/vhich all that is unwholesome or debasing is 


banished, as in a garden ground amid salubrious 
airs. Gymnastic training is directed to the attain- 
ment of absolute self-control, and in the higheitb^ 
education what is most emphasized is the drawing 
forth of the faculty of reason, so that each man 
shall become a law to himself. When the im- 
perfect states have been described, and the declen- 
sion through Oligarchy and Democracy to Tyranny 
has been explained, imagination is finally concen- 
trated on the image of a soul in which passion has 
entire dominion over reason ; and in contrast to 
this, Socrates points to the pattern in the Heavens 
after which each man may fashion himself aright, 
whether the ideal commonwealth is ever realized or 
not. Lastly, the proof of immortality and the 
vision of judgment in Book X. are brought in to 
emphasize the solemn responsibility which the 
previous argument has laid on every person who 
considers it seriously : — " For great is the issue at 
stake, greater than appears, whether a man is to be 
good or bad. And what will any one be profitec 
if under the influence of honour, or money, 
power, aye, or under the excitement of poetry, he 
neglect justice and virtue ?" (Book X., p. 608). 

4. The conception of the State, in which the 
Republic differs from all previous dialogues, marks 
a distinct advance in Plato's ethical theory. While 
not departing from the Socratic principle that 



virtue must be based on knowledge, or rather 
from Plato's own conviction of the supremacy of 
reason, room is here made for the reality of an 
unconscious, unphilosophic virtue, consisting in 
obedience to the law that has been prescribed by 
one who has the reason in himself. Thus a solu- 
tion is found for the difficulty which haunts the 
Platonic Socrates in the Protagoras and Meno. 
Experience proved that virtue could exist apart 
from knowledge, yet the conviction of Socrates 
that virtue and knowledge are inseparable, 
remained unshaken. In the Meno such uncon- 
scious virtue is attributed to a divine instinct or 
inspiration, which, however, is of precarious tenure 
unless bound fast by the force of philosophic 
reasoning. But in the Republic, through the con- 
ception of a philosophic ruler willingly obeyed by 
men and women trained according to reason, a 
natural place is given to what had seemed an 
unaccountable phenomenon. And from the point 
of view thus attained, at once more ideal and 
more concrete, what had once been a wild plant, 
growing by the grace of Heaven at its own sweet 
will, is developed into a cultivated product that 
finds a place in the complete regenerated whole. 
/ 5. Plato's moral ideal is largely intellectual. As 
^Socrates identified virtue with knowledge, so in 
Plato's philosopher or perfect man rationality 


is the predominant factor. Nothing is further 
from Plato's notion than an ethical theory which 
develops conscience or the moral sense out of 
primal sympathy. Modern sentimentalism would 
have been abhorrent to his mind. But Reason does 
not stand alone with him. The famous image 
of the chariot in the Phcedrus, representing the 
higher life of man, includes the active powers. 
The charioteer would be helpless without the noble 
steed. So in the Republic, the height of excel- 
lence is not attained through contemplation only. 
The nature which alone is capable of the highest 
culture, has the elements of courage and liberality 
as well as intellectual aspiration, and great stress 
is laid on the importance of combining the gentler 
qualities belonging to a love of learning with the 
robustness and steadiness which are the necessary 
conditions of strenuous and persistent action. In 
other words, although the needful terminology, 
as will be seen presently, had not been invented, 
native intelligence is not enough without a firm 
will. Once more the end and aim of all philosophy, 
the ideal good, has a practical as well as a specula- 
tive significance. This will appear more fully in 
the next chapter. 

6. Plato's ethical theory is largely coloured with 
Pythagoreanism. The brotherhood who owned 
Pythagoras for master, had flourished in a previous 



generation, but the tradition of that way of life, 
uniting scientific culture with ascetic virtue, lived 
on in Western Hellas, and was exemplified in 
striking personalities with whom it is probable 
that Plato himself had come in contact. There, 
more/than in contemporary Athens, he would find 
somyfe image of his master Socrates. 
/Vc l he example of Sparta viewed from a distance 
s another influence which colours Plato's ethical 
theory. In sharp contrast to the volatile suscepti- 
bility of the Athenian, who is caricatured in the 
^democratic man," the sturdy rigidity of Spartan 
habits presented an appearance of noble self- 
control. The £lite of Lacedaemon, with their 
contempt for handicrafts, their pride of birth, their 
indomitable valour, their traditional respect for 
elders, and their obedience to rule, presented an 
image which had an irresistible charm for the 
high-born Athenian, who under the restored 
democracy was dependent on the capricious policy 
of a magistracy chosen by lot. That uncensured 
freedom of social life from day to day which 
Pericles had eulogised, appeared to Plato as to 
other Philo-Laconians a dangerous hindrance in 
the way of all reformation. Gomperz well observes 
that Plato is most severe against those faults to 
which his own poetic nature was most prone — 
emotional sensibility, mental impulsiveness, and 


a restless longing for change. However this 
may have been, the ascetic hardness which is 
traceable in many passages of the Republic is 
partly due to a reaction from the Athenian towards 
the Spartan model. 

7. Mr Grote would claim Plato as a supporter 
of utilitarianism in morals, and he quotes the 
sentence, " Nothing nobler has been said or can be 
said than that the most useful is always the mos^ 
sacred." In other words utility is to be the^/ 
measure of holiness. But, first, this is a maxim Or 
statecraft and not of morality. Secondly, it refers 
not to the end but to the means ; and thirdly, the 
word translated " useful " signifies rather what is 
beneficial. There is a wide gulf in Plato's vocabu- 
lary between the useful or even the expedient and 
the beneficial. The end in view is not the greatest^ 
pleasure of the greatest number, which to Plato v 
would sound like a scoff in this connection, but the \/ 
highest good of the whole, coinciding really with 
what is best for every part. 

8. Plato's idea of life as a balance or harmony, in 
which feeling is controlled by volition under the 
command of reason, may be of great value to us 
in the modern world, where exaggerations of all 
kinds, sentimental, religious, individual, revolution- 
ary, reactionary, are continually threatening, 
spoil the sense of proportion. Nor is the balance 


which he contemplates a mere inert or aimless 
poise in which action is suspended or weakened. 
Let a man bring his desires into conformity with 
reason, by educating aright his higher and lower 
nature and what comes between, in other words 
the powers of thought, of feeling, and of will ; and 
then let him act with all his might. Although 
some passages, as has been lately said, seem to 
point at the suppression or minimizing of feeling 
or emotion, that is not the impression which is 
finally left upon the mind. Not quietism, but 
reasoned and consistent energy is the lesson 
taught. /The man within the Man is to employ 
the lion in subduing the baser elements below, but 
he is also to train and cultivate what in the lower 
nature is gentle and can be made subservient to 
high purposes in life?) 

References, Chapter II. 

p. 17. Mytilene, see Thucydides, Book III., cc. 36-50; and 
for Melos, Thucydides, Book V., cc. 84-116. 

p. 18. For Arginusae, 406 B.C., see Xenophon's Hellenica, I., 
6 ff ; Plato, Apology, p. 32 B ; Gorgzas, p. 474 A. 

p. 19. Phcedo, p. 96 A ff. ; Gomperz, vol ii. (German edition), 

P- 351. 

p. 21. (1) Gomperz, vol ii. (German edition), p. 295. 

(2) Political courage, Republic, IV., p. 430 c. 
p. 24. (1) Gomperz, vol ii. (German edition), pp. ^78, 379. 

(2) Aristotle, Eth. Nic. v. 3. . . 


p. 26. Protagoras, p. 320 ; Meno, pp. 99, 100. 
p. 28. (1) The Democratic Man is described in Republic, 
VIII., p. 561. 
(2) Gomperz, vol ii. (German edition), p. 401. 
p. 30. The man within the Man, see Republic, IX., p. 588. 


" The speculation was excellent in Parmenides and Plato, 
though in them only a speculation, that all things by a scale 
did ascend to Unity." — Bacon. 

I. SOCRATIC enquiry was by no means a philo- 
sophy without assumptions. The Platonic Socrates 
Xlways assumes two postulates, which to Socrates 
imself probably appeared as one, — the existence of 
^ruth, the reality of good. That was the starting- 
point of what proved a long and tedious road. If it 
be asked whether good was sought for the sake of 
\ truth, or t ruth for the sak e of good, it may be 
\ replied, that in so far as either statement has a 
Imeaning, the latter is nearer to the fact. Insati- 
able as was the intellectual curiosity both of 
$ocrates and Plato, their moral purpose was more 
f&r^reaching. Plato never loses sight for a moment 
of his ever-present object, the improvement of 
.Jnankind. But it was by clearing men's thoughts 
about themselves and the conditions of their life, 



that Socrates had laboured to point out the higher 
way. He was convinced that if mankind knew 
more they would do better, if they thought rightly 
they would act rightly ; and hence the stress of 
ethical reflection was concentrated on intellectual 
phenomena. In following the path thus opened, 
it was inevitable that a mind such as Plato's 
should endeavour to grapple with the first prin- 
ciples of thought, which from the prevailing 
tendency to realize mental abstractions he could 
not fail to identify with the first principles of 
existence. Nature and the human mind were to 
him inseparable. 

Socrates appears to have resolutely turned away 
from the earlier philosophers, whose dogmas 
seemed to him unverifiable, while he made a 
fresh beginning on the ground of every-day 
experience. But it was impossible to stop at the 
point he reached. The thoughts of the great 
minds of the sixth century had impregnated the 
intellectual atmosphere, and such men as Gorgias 
and Protagoras had brought them nearer to the 
restless intellects of Athenian youth towards the 
close of the fifth century. 

If we may trust Aristotle, Plato had himself 
in early life been imbued with Heraclitean 
doctrine. However this may have been, both 
these and the Eleatic subtilties, or thoughts 



derived from them, were in the air, and no course 
of abstract reasoning was possible unless the 
dominant forces of contemporary thought were 
critically examined and the prime fallacies which 
vitiated opinion could be finally disposed of. 
Zeno, applying, as he professed, the teaching of 
Parmenides, had brought his negative dialectic to 
bear destructively on ordinary thinking, and thus 
the " unresting flow " of Heraclitus was transferred 
from nature to opinion ; and whether the Ionian 
or the Eleatic teaching prevailed, the threatened 
result was barren scepticism. Either all pheno- 
mena were relative and nothing was absolute or 
permanent, or the absolute, if it existed, was un- 
attainable, unknowable, and inexpressible. Plato 
ultimately resolved this doubt by proving on the 
one hand the relative nature of the philosopher's 
yea and nay, and yet on the other hand maintaining 
the truth of both when corresponding to reality. 
When he wrote the Republic he had not quite 
reached this point, but he was approaching it. 
His efforts in this direction are continually to be 
read between the lines. He more than once 
alludes to them as the "longer way," in which 
his brothers would be unable to follow him, and 
the dialogue cannot be interpreted without some 
understanding of his metaphysical position. It 
would be a mistake indeed to interpret everything 


with reference to those general principles towards 
which the Platonic Socrates is gradually leading 
his respondents, for Plato's thought, no less than 
his master's, was plunged in experience, to which 
he again and again returns, as Antaeus to his 
Mother Earth. The vein of observation in him 
is rich and deep; he sets out from familiar facts 
of life, and keeps them well in view, but the 
phenomena are continually focused and grasped 
anew by the passion for generalization which finds 
its formulated expression in the doctrine of ideas. 
Thus Plato, as it has been said, walks and flies 
alternately or rather at the same time. Socrates 
had sought for definitions which should be proof 
against negative instances. In carrying this 
process further Plato rose to higher generalities, 
and could not pause until he reached the universal. 
In this abstraction from human experience he 
found the unity of which the older philosophers 
in different ways had dreamed. The fascination 
of those earlier speculations came over him afresh, 
and he wove their leading principles together with 
the living thought of Socrates into the web of his 
philosophy. What was at first a theory of human 
life was thus extended, till it seemed to embrace 
the universe. 

2. The human intellect, says Bacon, forges ahead, 
and finds no rest until it overshoots itself and falls 


back on final causes, which after all belong to 
human nature and not to the Universe or to the 
nature of things. Plato's thought, no doubt, lies 
open to this criticism, but not more so than the 
" dry light " of Heraclitus so dear to Bacon him- 
self, or the " atom " of Leucippus and Democritus, 
which our natural philosophers from Bacon down- 
wards have found so rich in subsequent develop- 
ments. All alike are " anticipations " in the 
Baconian sense, — 

" Blank ' forecastings • of a creature 
Moving about in worlds not realized." 

The beginnings of physical observation and 
experiment were rather due to Hippocrates, by 
whom Plato was attracted, but whom Bacon would 
have classed with Gilbert and the other empirics. 

Generalization, abstraction, idealization, these 
three, commencing in the ethical sphere and sup- 
ported by mathematical analogies, were the main 
elements or factors in Plato's doctrine of ideas. 
Limited at first to the facts of human experience 
on which Socrates discoursed, the theory was 
gradually extended to "a contemplation of all 
time and all existence," and side by side with the 
speculative theory there was evolved a dialectical 
method, first rising from particulars to universals, 
and then dividing " according to nature ; " and thus 


having both an upward and also a downward 

The doctrine was gradually developed and took 
various shapes according to the mood of the 
philosopher, the aspect which the world presented 
to him at the time, and the nature of the particular 
questions which he was considering ; but the 
student can trace a continuous progress, not 
from darkness to light, but from haziness towards 
clearness and consistency. As contemplation 
widens, the method becomes more distinct. 

The Cratylus had ended with a sort of dream. 
After a vain endeavour to decide between the 
rival doctrines of transience and permanence 
through an analysis of language, in which the 
wildest etymologies are proposed, Socrates at 
last suggests that truth is to be sought not in 
words at all, but in "something far more deeply 
interfused " — an L absolute reality, of which words 
are but the shadowy and imperfect symbols. 
There, if anywhere, we may look for permanence 
underlying change. The theory is at first sur- 
rounded with a halo of poetical imagination. 
In the Meno the controversial question, how to 
enquire about what one does not know, is met 
by a reference to Pindar and the Orphic poets, 
who sing of immortality and of the world-wide 
wanderings of the soul. The potentiality of 


knowledge, in the undeveloped mind, is accounted 
for by the latent existence of thoughts more or 
less forgotten, belonging to the experience of a 
previous state. And this position is exemplified 
through the examination of a Greek slave, who 
by means of a few questions cunningly put is 
brought to a clear acknowledgment of the truth 
of a geometrical proposition. Thus emerges the 
famous doctrine of Reminiscence which some have 
identified with the substance of Plato's teaching. 
But it is really only the husk in which the kernel 
is contained. It recurs afterwards in various 
connections, but always accompanied with con- 
ceptions of a less mythical and more rational 
cast. The Platonic Socrates is reminded of it in 
the Phcedo, but in the interval the "ideas" have 
been much talked over, and they are now more 
distinctly conceived as eternal "forms" or self- 
existent unities, corresponding to the terms in 
common use by which we describe our experience, 
especially in morals and mathematics. These 
forms alone constitute existence : they are perfect, 
whereas experience and language are imperfect ; 
eternal, whereas these are changeable. They have 
at once, a subjective and objective reality (to ev wlv 
— to ev tii (pvcrei). In the Phcedrus the vision of 
these absolute forms in the supra-mundane sphere 
is described amid gorgeous imagery, but stress 


is also laid on the logical aspect of the theory 
according to which no soul can enter into human 
form without the power of understanding general 
propositions ; and an ideal method of generalizing, 
specializing, and classifying is developed in the 

In the Republic a further stage is reached. The 
encroaching intellect is no longer contented, as 
in the Phcedo, with the most stable hypotheses, 
but the philosopher soars into a region above all 
hypotheses, in which every trace of sensible 
experience has disappeared. He rises from 
height to height of abstraction, till he takes 
hold of the idea of good, and from this he 
descends by clearly-reasoned stages, until he has 
grasped ideally the world of action and sees 
all natural kinds in their truth of being. In 
the idea of Good a supreme moral principle is 
blended with the highest generalization, in which 
all formal, final and efficient causes are combined. 
Good, as it was said in the Phcedo, where there 
is an anticipation of the same conception, is the 
Atlas on whose shoulders rests the universal 

The idea of Good in Books VI. and VII. may 
also be compared with the "Ocean of beauty" 
which is gradually revealed to the soul of the 
philosophic lover in the Symposium. But there 


the mind which has been so enlightened is allowed 
to rest in the contemplation of the universal, which 
" after toil and storm " it has attained. The more 
concrete conception developed in the latter portion 
of the Phcedrus, requiring division "according to 
nature," as the counterpart of sound generalization, 
or the image in Book VI. of the higher reason 
descending through a chain of ideal forms to the 
lowest species, is not yet, in the Symposium, 
distinctly present to the thinker's mind. The 
analogy of Mathematics gave what seemed a 
confirmation to Plato's theory. No two objects 
of sense are exactly equal. Yet we can think 
of exact quantity ; and on this basis men have 
built a superstructure of truths which are un- 
questioned and self-evident. Why may not a 
corresponding certainty be attained in moral 
and metaphysical enquiry? Such a result was 
the goal of Plato's endeavour, and at the time 
of writing the Republic he was confident of having 
it within reach. 

3. The objects of sense are transient, shifting, 
contradictory, but the mind can rise beyond them, 
to the contemplation of truths which are per- 
manent, stable, and consistent. That such truths 
are abstractions from sense, that they are after 
all relative to experience, notions attained through 
generalization and needing to be verified, is a 



thought which at some moments floated before 
Plato's mind ; but in the transcendent glow of 
enthusiasm which attended his discovery, such 
reflections were swallowed up in the excess of 
light. As Jowett said in the Essay on Natural 
Religion, " they were not ideas but gods ; pene- 
trating the soul of the disciple, providing the 
instruments of every kind of knowledge." 

Plato could hardly realize that his ideal doctrine 
was a vacant scheme, the reflex of his own highest 
thought, to be filled up, if at all, through many 
ages of scientific labour. And yet in some ways 
philosophy seems now to be at last returning 
towards the unity of conception that marked her 
origin. She is growing weary of dry generaliza- 
tions and a sterile intellectualism, and as Plato 
attributed to his ideas not only truth, but power, 
so recent thinkers have tended to combine the 
notions so long sundered, of thought and reality. 
Thus Mr Percy Gardner, in his suggestive work, 
the Exploratio Ev angelica, says that Ideas, as con- 
ceived by Plato, " are not mere abstractions, but 
real existences pregnant of results, efficient as 
well as formal causes, endued with life and motion." 

A time arrived, however, when the difficulties 
inherent in the doctrine became clearly apparent 
to Plato himself. These are elaborately stated in 
the Parmenides and Thecetetus, and the discussion 


of the questions which arise in consequence opens 
the way for metaphysical developments of great 
subtilty and convincing clearness. In this way 
distinct progress was made in the two sciences 
* Logic and Psychology. On both these subjects, 
a, :ordingly, it is necessary to add a few words. 

4. The contrast of Universal and Particular is 1 
involved in every proposition whether affirmative 
or negative, and the resolution of doubts hence 
arising is necessary not only to philosophy but 
to the use of language. 

The consciousness of speculative difficulties 
gives a new turn to Plato's thoughts. The Ideas 
are by no means relinquished, but they change 
their complexion. The philosopher has become 
aware of an element of relativity in the ideal 
world, and of the need of a new theory of pro- 
duction (yeve<ri$) and of perception. He en- 
deavours to clear the ground through a criticism 
of previous philosophies. Old questions arise in 
a new shape. How is error possible? What is 
implied in negation? What is the criterion of 
truth? As the bright haze passes off from the 
thinker's vision, the Ideas are seen as no longer 
separable from their embodiments ; the mind 
returns to a contemplation of the actual world of 
growth and decay, but always in the light of the 
Ideal. Processes of all kinds, above all the great 


process of the Universe, excite an inexhaustible 
interest, and the root notions which are identified 
with supreme existence are no longer regarded 
as " summa genera" but as a kind of categories . 
pervading and conditioning all beneath them 
Already in the Thecetetus, Being and Not-bein&v 
Likeness and Unlikeness, Same and Other, are 
notions of the mind concerning sensible things. 
So a modern thinker, whom Kant has convinced 
that the transcendental "thing in itself" is incon- 
ceivable, might set himself to prove that relativity 
is reconcilable with the subjective Universal. 

In imaginative passages, such as the opening of 
the Timceus or the myth in the Politicus, the old 
dualism with the doctrine of pre-existence and of 
transmigration ever and anon recurs, accom- 
panied with the religious feeling which has 
deepened with time ; but in the metaphysical 
discussion, which becomes more and more formal 
and exact, the logical aspect of philosophical 
questions is presented with increasing clearness, 
until in the Laws speculation gives place to 
methodical application. 

All this has little to do with the Republic. But 
it was necessary to warn the reader that in this 
Dialogue Plato's metaphysical theory had not yet 
reached its final stage. 

5. A corresponding growth or transition is per- 


ceptible in his psychology. And here also the 
Republic holds a middle or transitional place. 
The soul whose immortality is the subject of the 
Phcedo was there asserted to be one and indivisible, 
a simple substance without parts. But this view, 
as Gomperz observes, is not consistently main- 
tained, for there are souls in Hades who are still 
immortal, although the lower elements in them 
have triumphed over the higher. Notwithstanding 
some brilliant glimpses, such as the clear state- 
ment of the law of association (like other pregnant 
utterances occurring incidentally), the psychology 
of the Phcedo is still inchoate. The vision in the 
Phcedrus is more distinct The soul is there 
a composite nature, comprising higher and lower 
impulses, of which the former are willingly 
obedient to reason, all three (the charioteer and 
the two horses) having seen the truth in a former 
state. That vision gave the hint for the tripartite 
analysis of the soul in the Republic, which does 
not, however, proceed exactly on the same lines. 

For the spirited element in the Republic is not 
a precise repetition of the white or noble steed 
of the Phcedrus myth. Though it takes part with 
the higher faculty in the conflict of reason with 
desire, yet it can be injuriously softened and 
weakened, or hardened and barbarized by bad 
training, and may even lose the lion-nature and 


degenerate into a malicious ape. It must also be 
observed that the threefold classification is said at 
the time to be provisional and not exhaustive, and 
that in Book X., under the fine allegory of the statue 
of the marine god Glaucus, the doubt is hinted 
whether, after all, in her true nature, the individual 
soul is many or one. In fact, the problem of 
the one and many, which was by-and-by to be 
so troublesome, has already risen upon the horizon. 
In the TimcBus y Jhe tripartite division re-appears, 
but both the lower faculties of anger and desire 
are attributed only to the mortal state, and the 
soul when she gladly escapes at death leaves 
them behind. 

Ancient philosophy has no term exactly corre- 
sponding to volition or will-power. Even in 
Aristotle the nearest analogue is "that which 
chooses " (to Trpoaipov/Jievov) or that " leads the 
way " (to tjyov/xevov). But it would be a mistake of 
verbalism to suppose that therefore the active 
powers are omitted in Plato's scheme. The soul 
is the first principle of all motion, of all activity. 
It matters little whether the charioteer or the 
white horse is the prime mover, for they are 
really one. In the analysis of the Republic, the 
word translated by " spirit " or " spirited element " 
corresponds most nearly to our notion of will. 
But it has also associations that belong to Butler's 


principle of " Resentment," and contains a passion- 
ate element from which the modern notion is 
exempt. But it is to be remembered that in the 
Philosopher-King this principle is no less highly 
trained and only less prominent than con- 
templative reason. He is not a thinker only, 
but a ruler of men. 

In the Laws the Athenian stranger surprises 
us with the possibility of an evil soul, else how 
account for the predominance of evil in the world ? 
That evil should prevail finally in the spiritual 
region, is of course not believed for a moment; 
but it is evident that in these enquiries, though 
he made substantial progress, Plato never arrived 
at absolute clearness. In Republic, Book VII., the 
psychological problem is approached from the 
intellectual side. The transition from mere 
sense perception to active thought is very subtly 
described, but in a manner which shows that 
the more finished analysis of the Thecetetus had 
not yet been worked out, though it may have 
been projected as part of the " longer way." Nor 
had the definition of thought as the soul's dialogue 
with herself, or the fine distinctions of the 
Philebus, between memory, recollection, and 
imagination, been as yet elaborated. 

The new psychology of to-day is haunted by 
corresponding doubts. The phenomena of double 


consciousness, of sub-conscious and pre-conscious 
conditions, of somnambulism and hypnotism, are 
the subject of enquiries which are still in progress, 
and the investigator is looking forward to a time 
when, as Plato says, " we shall see the soul as she 
really is, and whether she have one form or many." 
"Of her affections and of the forms which she 
takes in this present life," we have not "said 
enough," but as much as there is room for in 
this little volume. 

p. 33. On Heraclitus and Parmenides, see especially 

Gomfterz, vol i. (English translation), pp. 66 ff., 

166 ff. ; Plato's Thecetetus (Clarendon Press 

Edition) : Appendix, 
p. 35. Bacon's Novum Organon, Aph. XLVIII. 
p. 36. (1) Bacon's Novum Organon, Aph. LXIII., LXXI. 

(2) Hippocrates praised by Plato in the Phcedrus, 

p. 270. 
p. 37. (1) Cratylus, pp. 439, 440. 

(2) Meno, pp. 81 ff. ; Phcedo, p. 72 E. 
p. 38. Phcedo, p. 103 B ; Phcedrus, p. 249 B C. 
p. 39. For Good as the first cause, see Phcedo, p. 99 c ; and 

for the Ocean of beauty, Symposium, p. 210 d. 
p. 40. Phcedo, p. 74 A. 
p. 41. Jowett's Essay on Natural Religion (2nd vol. of 

3rd edition of St Paul's Epistle, p. 222) 
p. 42. Clarendon Press Edition of Plato's Republic, vol ii., 

pp. 26-46. 
p. 43. (1) For Plato's criticism of previous philosophies, 

see especially the Sophist, pp. 242 c-249 D. 
(2) Thecetetus, pp. 184C-185B. 


p. 44. (1) Phcedo, p. 78 B ff. 

(2) Law of Association ; see Phado, p. j$. 

(3) On the spirited element ; see especially Republic, 

Book III., p. 411 ; Book IX., p. 590 B. 
p. 45. (1) For the statue of the marine god, Glaucus, 
see Republic, Book X., p. 611. 

(2) Timaus, p. 69 D. 

(3) Aristotle, Eth. Nic. iii. 5. 

p. 46. (1) For the evil soul, see Laws, Book X. p., 896 E> 

(2) Thecetetus, p. 189E; Sophist, p. 263 E ; Philebus x 
PP- 38, 39- 



i. Among the subjects of Socrates' persistent 
questioning as enumerated by Xenophon, besides 
the nature of virtue and of the several virtues, 
were problems aimed at a definition of huma^* 
society. What is a state? What is governmenV? y. 
What is it to be a ruler of men? Of Platonic 
Dialogues probably earlier than the Republic, the 
only one in which a theme of this character is 
at all - developed is the Euthydemus, where 
the Platonic Socrates leads an ingenuous youth 
through a maze of cross-questioning to a con- 
sideration of the royal science of political wisdom, y 
In the Republic, for the first time, political theory^ 
is brought seriously to the aid of ethics. The pre- 
vailing notion ridiculed in the Gorgias and long 
afterwards controverted in the Laws, that the first 
duty of every government is to maintain itself in 
power, is caricatured in the person of Thrasy- 
machus, and is traversed by the Platonic maxim, 

40 D 


> all government is for the sake of the 
governed. This thesis is supported by the 
familiar analogy of the Arts. But the doubts 
of Glaucon and Adeimantus are not thus satisfied. 
Socrates therefore goes back to the origin of 
society, and formulates the fundamental principle 
of the division of labour, on which ultimately the 
definition of Justice in the State is based. As 
the commonwealth becomes more complex and 
artificial wants arise, opposing interests are 
developed and war becomes inevitable. Hence 
one special function of the highest importance 
is that of a body of defenders and protectors, who 
are to hold in check any possible assaults of evil 
from without and from within. Plato never 
arrives at the conclusion that there is " a soul of 
goodness in things evil," but he is aware that in 
the actual world, the presence of Evil is a condition 
of Good, giving the necessary stimulus to bene- 
ficent activity. The " Guardians " are, to begin 
with, a standing army formed by selection from 
the citizens themselves, and their commanders, 
elected in the first instance according to seniority 
and merit, are the destined rulers of the state. 

To arrive at this point, Plato has employed an 
ingenious combination of experience and general- 
isation. That men have need of one another is 
matter of experience. That each can serve others 


best by keeping to his proper work is a plau. 
observation somewhat naively put, but one which 
veils the main object which Plato had in view. 
He is preparing for the cardinal distinction of 
deliberative, executive, and industrial functions, 
corresponding, as Plato fancied, to the tripartite 
division of the soul. He is far from conceiving 
the unlimited application of the new principle. 
Had he imagined the minute ramifications of 
mechanical labour .in the modern world, he would 
have been amazed and horrified. He says, indeed, 
that human nature is coined into a multiplicity of 
units, but he could not realize the full significance 
of his own remark. Had he done so, he would 
have appealed from the abstraction of unity to the 
other abstraction of the whole. Humanity, he 
would have said, even in its lowest forms, must not 
be reduced to such miserable shreds. The cobbler, 
even, is not a cobbler only, but a citizen of the 
state, still less may any one in the form of man 
be confined to the production of one part of a 

From the principle once established are deduced 
the conditions under which the saviours of society 
are to live. One man one function ; therefore the 
soldier must not be a trader ; he must not have 
property to look after, nor a separate home. The 
consequences of this triumph of abstraction will 


.nsidered afterwards. Again, the whole state 
po not to be many but one ; hence limits must be 
assigned to the accumulation of wealth, else under 
the appearance of one commonwealth there will 
be two communities at least, one of the rich, 
another of the poor. The guardians are to be on 
the watch against two great dangers, the extremes 
of wealth and poverty. How they are to provide 
against these is not clearly stated, but some hints 
are given in treating of the decline of states, and 
the task here left to the wisdom of the rulers is 
met with definite regulations in the Laws. 

Adeimantus interposes. He cannot bear that 
the guardians should have no private property. 
They hold the state in their hands, yet not one 
of /them is to call anything his own. How is 
v happiness possible in such a case? To this 
\ Socrates replies that in forming our ideal state 
we are not to think of the happiness of a part — 
even of the highest part — but of the welfare of the 
whole. And yet it may be that the true happi- 
ness of the part also may thus be best consulted. 

2. The idealizing process advances. What is at 
fy&t described as a standing army is transformed 
into a deliberative and executive government, 
watching over the welfare of the community, whose 
^willing obedience would seem to give the rulers 
little to do. For the state as a whole is to be 


virtuous, and this implies the perfect compliance of 
the industrial population, the unimpeded energy of 
the whole class of guardians, the absolute wisdom 
of the rulers. What was at first an aggregation 
of separate units, has now developed into a 
harmony of component parts. That the recru- 
descence of evils will be averted, that the delibera- 
tive body will make perfect plans which their 
administrative subordinates will entirely execute, 
and to which the subject people will submit with- 
out a murmur, is assumed as a consequence of the 
main principle of a perfect education. To this 
point, on which all else is supposed to hinge, we 
shall return in a separate chapter. 

When Athens was in her glory, Pericles 
eulogised the versatility of the average Athenian, 
his power of acting effectually on the spur of 
the moment, of rising to all emergencies, and 
fulfilling the most varied tasks with equal grace. 
So it was once said of an English statesman 
that he was equally ready to lead the House 
of Commons and to command the Channel 
fleet. Plato had seen the defects of these 
qualities ; he had looked upon the reverse of 
the shield. The tortoise had beaten the hare 
in the race for supremacy, and had proved the 
case, as it appeared, in favour of firm order as 
against unbridled liberty, impressing thoughtful 


minds with the value of that incessant training 
and that ingrained respect for authority which 
Pericles encouraged his countrymen to disregard. 

Plato also inherited some of the prejudices of 
an aristocratic house. His contempt for the 
mechanical arts, his exclusive treatment of the 
upper classes, his neglect of the navy, are 
/ characteristic of the high-born Athenian. In 
some ways he reacts against these tendencies, 
but their influence is not to be ignored, and these 
partly account for the rigidity of his social system 
when compared with modern ideals. Modern 
enlightenment tends to obliterate class distinc- 
tions, and to make education universally acces- 
, sible, whereas Plato's constitution presupposes a 
^ system of caste. But this is not to be interpreted 
too literally. He is careful to provide by the 
way for occasional transitions from lower to 
higher, and from higher to lower, and the hardness 
of the lines of demarcation is partly due to the 
exigencies of literary arrangement. The form of 
the work requires that one subject should be 
\ treated at a time, and hence the different parts 
of the commonwealth are separated in appearance 
more than in reality. 

But the fact remains that Plato has left almost 
unconsidered the condition of the industrial classes 
who form the bulk of his population. A few 


spattered hints regarding them may be gathered 
^here and there, but their welfare is absolutely 
\dependent on the wisdom of the rulers and the 
vigilance of the executive. The cobbler is to 
stick to his last, and the retail dealer to his booth ; 
the agriculturist only leaves his farm to purchase 
what he requires for professional use. No one 
is to make a fortune, none are to be impoverished. 
But from these and other like considerations, such 
as the troublesome problem of population, the 
mounting spirit of the idealist passes to higher 
things, and it is only when the state is viewed in 
its decline that they are again confronted. Yet 
when the tendencies of ancient political specula- 
tion are taken into account, instead of wondering 
at the sharpness of the distinctions, we should 
rather welcome the admission that a gold or 
silver child may possibly be born of parents who 
are themselves composed of brass and iron. 

3. One class must rule, another must obey, 
whether through some hereditary right of conquest 
or in consequence of internal struggles. It was a / 
postulate of ancient thought that human life must 
be controlled by some external authority. The *** 
speculation in the Republic inevitably takes a 
similar form. But to profit by Plato's views*? 
the modern reader must penetrate beneath the \ 
form to the spirit which animates the worjcj 


And Plato himself encourages us to this, by the 
extreme generality of the discussion. Unlike the 
Laws, the Republic contains very few regulations 
in detail. The whole argument turns on 
principles rather than on rules. If Plato could 
have imagined a state of humanity in which all 
men should receive a tincture of philosophy, 
there is little doubt that he would have rejoiced 
to contemplate it. Even in the Republic^ he will 
not allow " the many " to be run down. Moses 
said, "Would God all the Lord's people were 
prophet^" and Milton at one time believed that 
it was so.^ And we on our part do not relinquish 
the pious wish that knowledge may be one with 
power, that true thought may have free scope, 
and that practical minds may accept the ruling 
of the thinker. The life, whether of individual 
or community, that is not guided by wisdom, is 
anarchic and weak ; and the best hope for thev 
world lies in believing that in spite of caprice v 
and selfishness, there is a tide setting towards^ 
the true ideal, and that it is possible to reach 
down to this deeper current, and to be led by it. 
There is an authority, not visibly embodied, 
whose divine right makes itself gradually though 
obscurely felt ; there is a nobility, not of birth 
in the vulgar sense, but yet of nature, which is 
acknowledged by a sure instinct in other men. 



There is an obedience voluntarily yielded to con- 
viction though refused to claims that have not the 
stamp of reason. There is modest labour directed 
to a single result, and therefore fruitful, under the 
guidance of wise thought and the active super- 
intendence which that thought inspires. 

To take an example from the progress of 
modern science. Some natural philosopher dis- 
covers the principles of electricity, or the electro- 
magnetic theory of light. The mechanical inventor 
consequently arrives at a scheme of wireless 
telegraphy, or the production of rays which 
penetrate through folds of flesh : and in the third 
remove the practical mechanician in innumerable 
instances carries out the principle which one 
original mind had grasped, and others less original 
but active and keen had followed into special 
applications. With less of certainty and amidst 
continued disputings, something like this may 
be dimly discerned in the political conducf~oF~ 
progressive communities. There are the practical 
statesmen who, sooner or later, as opportunity 
offers, bring the ideas to bear, and there is the 
multitude of intelligent persons, who at this stage 
accept the established principle and are willing to 
act upon it. From Adam Smith or Ricardo, 
through Cobden and Peel to the British Chambers 
of Commerce, we have a succession similarly 


answering to the rulers, the subordinate guardians, 
and the mass of citizens. Such is the deeper 
current, unruffled by the contentious winds that 
sweep over the surface of society : the tide which 
must sooner or later carry onward the main of 
waters. By working with it and not against it, 
we may hope to hasten that result, for as has 
been shrewdly observed, no Millennium will ever 
come unless we make it. 
I rlato is keenly alive to the dangers arising from 
^he excessive accumulation of wealth as well as to 
those attending over-population or the reverse. In 
the Laws, where special regulations are enacted to 
obviate such disasters, allowance is made, within 
limits, for differences of outward fortune, and the 
lowest class who have no stake in the country are 
exempted from the necessity of voting. In leaving 
them free to vote, it is implied that even the 
humblest citizen who is sufficiently interested in 
public affairs to leave his work for the polling- 
booth, need not be wanting in intelligence and 
judgment. But in the Republic, the industrial 
population from the farmer down to the shoemaker 
have no part at all in the government, which acts 
entirely from above. It is left wholly undeter- 
mined on what conditions the industrial classes are 
to cultivate the land, and under what regulations 
produce of all kinds is to be distributed. Duties 


are to some extent indicated, but the question of 
rights is nowhere considered. 

The world has learned by bitter experience the 
futility of sweeping revolutionary changes, the im- 
possibility of " a clean state," the gradual means by 
which alone lasting progress can be effected. We 
cannot banish all undesirables if we would. Still 
less will our religion permit of other methods at 
which Plato hints, by which he would purge the 
human hive. Nor are we prepared to follow his -* 
attempt to embody moral conceptions in hard and 
fast social regulations. Such notions belonged to 
the ancient world, to whom the long vista of subse- 
quent history was inconceivable. But, all this not- 
withstanding, the thoughts of a great mind " on* 
man, on nature, and on human life " in a time of 
vivid experience, have an imperishable value. \^^ 

4. No Greek philosopher was fully aware of the 
truth expressed by Sir James Mackintosh that 
" constitutions are not made, but growy' They all 
assumed that as Solon and Lycurgus had given 
their impress to the Athenian and Spartan consti- 
tutions, so the state of the future must have its 
original legislator, whose laws in their main outline 
would be eternally binding. They contemplated 
radical changes to be effected at a bound. " When 
once a commonwealth is started on right lines," 
says Plato, " it goes on prosperingjmd to prosper." 


Yet with all his confidence of supreme optimism, 
he is aware of the appalling difficulty of his 
attempt. There are moments when his mind is 
clouded with a doubt. Whether the form of state 
on which his affections are fixed will be realized 
ages and ages hence, or may possibly exist in some 
far distant clime, he will not venture to say. And 
in preparing for the last audacious paradox of the 
philosopher-king, he reminds his hearers of the 
immense gap which separates talk from action. 
He even confesses that the speculation they are 
engaged in is a sort of game : " I forgot," he says, 
" that we were only in play." These are passing 
shadows, yet it is worth while to take note of the 
places where the absoluteness of the main concep- 
tion is modified. " The framers of the new 
commonwealth, having taken the 'clean state' in 
hand, will glance repeatedly at the ideal pattern, 
and then look down upon the outline which they 
have drawn. They will paint out and re-touch the 
picture again and again, until they have hit the 
exact tone and complexion in which the human 
most resembles the divine." The conception of a 
gradual process is there in germ. In his latest 
writing, evidently the result of much bitter experi- 
ence and disillusion, the precautions against initial 
errors are more elaborate still. Selected persons 
are to travel and bring home ideas, in the light of 


which they are to criticise the laws at first laid 
down ; and only after long and anxious considera- 
tion is the state to assume its ultimate stereotyped 
form. A remark in the fourth book of the Laws 
anticipates still more distinctly the truth which 
modern experience has confirmed. " I was about 
to observe," says the Athenian stranger, "that 
legislation is not the work of any human being, 
but that circumstances and events falling in all 
manner of ways, are the sources of all our legisla- 
tion. The stress of war, the incidence of poverty, 
plagues, and other disasters oppressing a com- 
munity for years, compel them to reform their 
laws. Yet in all this there is room for divine 
providence and opportunity, and for human wisdom, 
which may take advantage of both." The optimist 
of the Republic would hardly have made so clear 
an admission that " time and chance happen to all." 
Many incidental observations have reference 
not to the ideal but to the actual state of the 
world ; such as the distinction between the cases 
of the physician and the judge. "There is no 
harm," it is said, " but rather an advantage, when 
the physician has had experience of physical 
infirmities. But the judge should have observed 
criminal proclivities only from outside. He must 
have a healthy mind, for cynicism is a worse 
distortion of judgment than simplicity." 



| 5. Plato cannot conceive a state of society without 
Avar, or without slavery ; but he would reform the 
Njusages of war. That Greeks should war with 
Greeks, and ravage their lands and hang up 
-4/ophies in Greek temples after such unnatural 
conquest, is an offence against Hellenic gods. 
1 In warring with barbarians," he says ironically, 
let us act as we now do in warring with 

The allusions to slavery, on the other hand, are 
slight and indistinct. Greeks are not to enslave 
1 their own countrymen, but it seems to be under- 
stood that the industrial classes, at least, would 
have their domestic slaves; and in Book VIII. 
V he refers to the danger consequent on the isolation 
of a household which is only counteracted by a 
Adrtual federation of the masters. In this he 
-touches upon the fringe of a subject which is 
treated more fully in the Laws. There it is 
admitted that the slave is indeed a difficult 
possession. He is a chattel and yet a human 
\ being. He must be treated as a child, with 
undeviating firmness but also with kindness. 
Familiarity, especially with women slaves, is 
carefully to be avoided. At the same time, 
scrupulous fairness towards them is to be observed. 
There is no greater test of a sincere love of justice 
than the manner in which men treat those who 


are in their power. This principle applies to a 
positions of authority, but above all to the relation 
of master and slave. J' The cTifficulty is greatest," 
says the Athenian stranger, where both are 
Greeks. And it is desirable that the slave should 
be of a different race, and, if possible, speak a 
different language. This advantage is casually 
secured by the provision in the Republic above 
referred to, that Hellenic prisoners of war are 
never to be reduced to slavery. 

References, Chapter IV. 

p. 49- (0 Xenophon, Memorabilia, I., i., § 16 ; Tratislation 

III., i., p. 5 ; Euthydemus, p. 291 B. 
(2) Laws, Book IV., p. 714 c. 
p. 5°- (0 Origin of Society, Gomperz, vol. i. (English 

translation), pp. 392, 393 ; Nettleship, pp. 52-57. 
(2) Thecetetus, p. 176 A. 
p. 51. Republic, Book III., p. 395 b. 
p. 52. Republic, Book VIII., p. 556; Laws, Book V., p. 

744 D E. 
p. 59. Infanticide is abandoned in Tinuzus, p. 19 A; and 

Nettleship, p. 174, questions it altogether, 
p. 60. (1) Republic, Book V., pp. 472, 473. 

(2) Republic, Book VI., p. 501 AB ; Laws, Book XII., 

p. 957, compared with Book IV., p. 709 a. 
p. 62. Laws, Book VI., p. J7J b. 



i. EDUCATION is according to Plato the pivot 

\ article of a standing or falling commonwealth. It 

^ is the living spring from which all other modes of 

^ well-doing are derived, and so long as it is steadily 

maintained on the right principles, political and 

>\moral health cannot be impaired. 

" The regulations which we are prescribing, my 
good Adeimantus, are not as might be supposed a 
number of great principles, but trifles all, if care be 
taken, as the saying is, of the one great thing. . . ." 
" What may that be ? " he asked. 
" Education, I said, and nurture. If our citizens 
are well educated and grow into sensible men, they 
will easily see their way through all these as well 
as other matters which I omit." 

Hence educational theory occupies about one- 
third of the whole dialogue. But what was said 
above about the separate treatment of the two 
classes of guardians is applicable also here. The 



subject is treated in compartments, which, if the 
scheme were put in practice, would be found to 
overlap. And as the industrial classes are left 
almost out of sight, the discussion is practically 
confined to the training of the rulers and their 
subordinates, who are a minority in the state. 
But it is from this discussion, taken as a whole, that 
Plato's general views of elementary and higher 
education are to be inferred. 

From hints dropped here and there about the 
people at large, it would appear that their educa- J 
tion, if so it might be called, was to be purely 
" technical." The children of the agriculturist or of 
the artizan would be trained simply and solely in 
the practice of their father's occupation.^ The 
cobbler's son would be educated in cobbling. We 
are reminded of the institution of apprenticeship as 
it once existed in modern Europe. The youth so 
instructed would no doubt be brought up in habits 
of obedience, and in the observance of religious 
duties. He would be made to feel that he was not 
merely a cobbler, but a citizen. Nor only so ; for 
if the higher principles which are developed in the 
education of the rulers were consistently applied 
throughout, it would be seen that the " idea of 
good" is to be realized in all production. The 
carpenter makes a bed, as we are told in Book X., 
according to an ideal pattern which is of divine 




ordaining. The builder must have some tincture 
of mathematical notions, if he is to use aright hi: 
ordinary rule and square. It follows that even i 
technical education were all in all, scientific prin 
ciples must enter, although indirectly, into th( 
training of the artizan. But the artizan is no' 
therefore to pride himself on the knowledge o 
principles. The mechanician who poses as i 

\ philosopher is like an escaped convict taking 
sanctuary in a temple. Education, then, may be 
J roughly divided into practical, moral, and intellec 

J tual : — the training of hand and eye, the formatior 
of habits, the development of thought. The last o 
these departments is not exclusive of the other two 
For every guardian, whether ruler or not, has beer 
trained in the practice of his profession as a soldier 
and no one is selected for the highest education 
until the moral and political principles ingrainec 
by authority and discipline have been testec 
(through pleasure, pain, and fear) and found no 
wanting. Moreover, the benefits of the highes 
education are more widely diffused than appears a 
the first glance. For the prospective rulers an 
chosen from a much larger number, and it may b< 
inferred that many are allowed to pass through th< 
preparatory standards who are rejected before the} 
reach the highest stage. Arithmetic, for example 
is only mentioned as a subject of the higher educa 


tion ; but it is implied that the teaching of arith- 
metic is commenced in childhood ; and in the 
Laws accordingly we find a sort of Kindergarten 
method for teaching children to count and calculate, 
by making use of apples and garlands to represent 
the units. Hence we are not to divide too sharply 
between elementary and secondary education. 
The early training has, in fact, two sides to it : 
one moral, the other intellectual. 

In the Republic, mental precedes physical culture. \J 
The mind is regarded as receptive before the-^ 
development of bodily activity. Moral instruction/ 
cannot begin too early. The youngest child de* 
lights in hearing stories, and the tales are to be 
carefully chosen with a view to the impression 
which they convey. No matter how fictitious, they 
must embody principles of truth. Plato afterwards 
realized that physical culture cannot be begun too 
soon ; but in the Republic, where he is contemplate 
ing the Spartan model, and is determined on the 
selection of the fittest, there is only a casual 
allusion to the nurse's duty of moulding the infant 

2. In the earlier stage of education the moral 
element predominated, and Plato is thus led to 
his famous criticism of Greek mythology and^ 
its poetical exponents, especially Homer ancf 
Hesiod. In this he follows the examples of 


Xenophanes and Heraclitus. He had elsewhere 
recognised the value of the existing methods : — 
the work of the choir-master, who attended tc 
the manners of the children while he trained 
the voice and ear ; of the form-master, who set 
them to learn by heart long passages from the 
best poets ; and of the writing-master, whose 
copies were calculated to produce a moral effect 
He allowed Protagoras to plead for these estab- 
lished customs as making for civic virtue. The 
Socrates of that early Dialogue does not com- 
plain of the method but of its result, while he 
desiderates what he cannot find, — a scientific 
teacher of morality. But Plato is now inspired 
with his own positive conception of the moral 
ideal, and while admitting the wisdom of im- 
memorial tradition in prescribing music (including 
literature) as the vehicle, he insists on recasting 
both the substance and the form in accordance 
with his own more refined conceptions. Already 
in the Euthyphro, his Socrates has confessed that 
he could not accept the current fables, which 
attributed immorality to the gods. It is there 
suggested that such an opinion had much to do 
with his martyrdom. That hint makes more im- 
pressive the boldness of the rules about theology 
which are here laid down. All talk about the 
gods must be consistent with the true idea 


of the divine nature, and also such as to give a 
purely ethical direction to the minds of the young. 
It must never be implied, for example, that God 
is the author of evil ; or that He in any way, by 
word or action, deceives mankind. All good 
that is really good proceeds from Him, and if V 
at any time He inflicts suffering upon mankind,*' 
it is of the nature of chastisement, and issues in/ 
ultimate benefit to the sufferer. Nor are children 
to be frightened with tales about the world of 
the dead, which make death appear a terrible/ 
thing. Such fables are both false and injurious; 
striking at the very root of courage. Plato has 
been accused of inconsistency, because while 
deprecating the traditional horror of the unseen, 
he has himself drawn in Book X. so vivid a 
picture of the sufferings of the wicked, corry 
sponding to previous sketches in the Gorgiasi 
and Phcedo. This supposed discrepancy haV 
even been made a ground for the hypothesis 
that Books I.-IV. had been written at some earlier 
time. But such criticism ignores the essential 
difference of motive between the passages in 
question. In Book III. he seeks to obviate, 
the fear of death, which is unworthy of a freemanr 
In Book X. his aim is to impress every soul of 
man with the fear of sin. The supposed contraV 
diction is therefore merely superficial. 


3. The pupils in Plato's preparatory school are 
also to be taught veracity — not an inborn virtue 
in the mind of a Greek. God, it was said above, 
is true, or rather truth itself, and cannot lie ; but 
in the human sphere there are two modes of 
falsehood, both of which are to be forbidden to 
the young. The lie in the soul is to be utterly 
abhorred by all who hope to have a share of 
virtue. But there are cases in which falsehood 
.in word is inevitable under the conditions of 

-J human life. The exact and literal truth cannot 
be told to a madman, or to a designing enemy. 
But such falsehood, though less abominable than 
the other, can only be permitted to persons in 
authority. The young are to be brought up in 
•J utter hatred of all lies. 

x The " lie in the soul " in Plato's paradox nearly 

^answers to Aristotle's absolute ignorance, or 

ignorance of principle, which he refuses to admit 
as an excuse for vice. Both ultimately rest on 
the Socratic view, which identified knowledge and 
virtue. Such ignorance is in modern language 
the entire absence of a moral principle. 

Again, the young are to be taught subordination, 
and for this end many passages of Homer must 

^be discarded. Achilles, though the Spartans 
worshipped him, was by no means a pattern of 
Spartan discipline. The son of a goddess must 


not be described as insulting his chief, nor 
as indulging in the pleasures of the table ; 
nor are the excessive lamentations of heroic 
men to be recited in the hearing of our pupils. 
All extremes, whether of grief or laughter, are 
to be avoided by them. These' and the like 
rules all make for temperance, sobriety, and 

Plato is not contented with remodelling the 
matters taught, the substance of what is to be 
conveyed in words. The style and manner of 
expression must be reformed likewise. As entire 
unity both of the whole and of each individual 
part is the chief note of the ideal state, so the form 
both of language and melody, of prose and verse, 
of poetry and song, is to be stamped with direct- 
ness and simplicity & The fables as now remodelled 
are to be told, not acted/ Narration is to be 
preferred to imitation, n Dramatic representation 
is inconsistent with the main principle that one 
man is not to play many parts. All effort is to 
be concentrated, not dissipated, and the emotions 
are not to be excited, but rather represser The 
very charm of tragedy constitutes its danger. 
So in the sister art of music, which is the handmaid 
of poetry, the softer and more pathetic tunes are 
to be discarded. Two sorts alone are to be 
retained : one brave and spirit-stirring, one calm 


and resolute. The Dorian mood is to be adopted, 
not the Lydian or the Ionian. 

All arts and crafts in which production is 
capable of beauty are to be similarly reformed. 
In everything that meets both eye and ear there 
must be a wholesome influence instinct with the 
true ideal of virtue. The young are to grow up 
as in a garden-ground where t the plants are 
nourished by pure air, and all that is noxious 
and encumbering is weeded away. Thus sur- 
rounded from their earliest years with shapes 
that are embodiments of reason, they will recog- 
/* nise the truths of reason when at last revealed to 
them, and embrace them and mould their lives 

What is chiefly emphasized here, is the import- 
ance of early impressions, and the wisdom of stf 
^directing education that the pupil may have as 
little as possible to unlearn. That an education 
through perfect circumstances is impossible, and 
that were it possible, it would leave the mind so 
ducated unarmed against the assaults of evil, is 
not so much forgotten as for the time ignored. 

Plato might reply, that experience will come 
soon enough, and that the best efforts of the 
teacher can only suggest a standard by which 
the facts of life may afterwards be truly estimated. 
Still a serious question remains behind. May not 



an education through perfect circumstances tend 
to the gradual extinction of spontaneous effort? 
(see Chapter XI.) 

4. Physical education, though beginning later, is j 
to be continued side by side with the moral. 
Here, likewise, a Spartan severity is observable, 
but with the important difference that, while the 
training of the Greek athlete was for the sake of 
bodily achievement and often resulted in dulness 
and inertness of mind, that of the guardians 
of Plato's commonwealth aimed at producing 
the mentil characteristics of courage and self- 
control. TThat the men are to be warriors is not 
forgotten, but this consideration is secondary to 
the formation of character as such\] This fine 
remark, like others which occur in the Republic, 
appears to have been afterwards lost sight of. 
When the subject of gymnastic is again treated 
in the Laws, this branch of education is regarded 
simply as a training of the body. Similarly, in 
Book VI., when enumerating the elements of the 
philosophic nature, Socrates speaks of justice 
without any apparent reference to the definition 
in Book IV. 

An incidental observation again indicates the 
hardness of Plato's temper at this time. He 
makes a scathing attack on contemporary / 
medicine, which he accuses of encouraging 


valetudinarianism. v/Both in diet and therapeutics, 
he for once prefers " the good old rule and simple 
plan " of the Homeric heroes, amongst whom were J 
the sons of ^Esculapius. It is curious to observe 
that some years afterwards, when he wrote the 
Timcsus, having probably himself had some ex- 
perience of illness, he employs nearly the same 
expression, "the nursing of disease," in recom- 
mending the course which he advises/ to be 

Music and gymnastic, that is to say, mental 
culture and physical training, are to be so com- 
bined as to form the mind of youth to gentleness 
and courage: Culture when pursued alone, re- 
laxes and softens the mind. Athleticism blunts 
and hardens it ; but by their due admixture and 
the adaptation of either to its proper end, the 
whole nature is at once strengthened and 
harmonized. V 

The reader may have noticed that in Plato's 
Kindergarten, there are no lessons in handiwork. 
This defect, in common with others to be observed 
hereafter, is due to the aristocratic contempt for 
mechanical labour which had been for ages ir - 
grained in the mind of the high-born Athenian. 

5. Another main purpose of the earlier education 
is to instil into the minds of youth, and fix indelibly, 
love of the Fatherland and right opinion as to the 


duties of the citizen, v The constitution of the state 
thus affords the link desiderated in the Meno, 
where it is said that right opinions are valuable, / 
but insecure until they are bound fast by R eason . 
The right opinion of the young and of those 
guardians who never attain to power is secured by 
the authority of the rulers who have the Reason in 
themselves. ^J 

It results from the plan of the whole work, that 
the education of intelligence appears to be reserved fS 
for a small minority of the population. But this 
apparent reservation is not to be taken too strictly, 
for it is reasonable to presume that those who are , 
chosen from the class of guardians, as being 
capable of such higher training, are far .more / 
numerous than those who ultimately rise to the 
position of rulers. Individuals who are rejected at 
any stage have obviously received far more in the 
way of liberal culture than the mere lessons in/ 
music described in Book III. The educatea 
classes thus form a sort of pyramid, which is 
narrowed by successive steps towards the culmin^ 
ating point. The combination of the higher with 
the lower education is described in the phrase, 
Xoyo? /uLovcrLKiJ KeKpaiuLevog, " Reason blent with 
culture." Those who are to be the subjects of the 
higher education are selected at an early age, the 
chief test being their readiness to respond to the 


call of duty. " While they are children their 
mental exercises are to have an element of childish 
playfulness." It follows that in the case of all of 
them, the two modes of education, those of habit 
and intelligence, are to be imagined as proceeding 
side by side. And it is not to be forgotten, though 
only thrown out by the way, that part of their 
practical training consists in learning to ride. 

6. Secondary and higher education as we conceive 
it, was a novelty in Hellenic life. The drill of the 
grammar and music schools, as described in the 
Protagoras and in the Clouds of Aristophanes, where 
children learned to read and write, and play the 
lyre and sing in unison, was not calculated of itself 
to train the understanding or awaken the reasoning 
powers. Arithmetic, as children are now familiar 
with it, was not included there, and grammar in 
the modern sense was a mystery which, to the 
ordinary schoolmaster, was then unknown. The 
teaching of the Sophists, disliked and feared by the 
men of the former generation, gave the nearest 
approach which then existed to our secondary 
education. Protagoras first analyzed the parts of 
speech ; Prodicus discoursed on Greek synonyms ; 
and the elements of arithmetic and geometry, or of 
both in one, were being studied by disciples of 
Pythagoras. What are to-day regarded as rudi- 
ments of common knowledge were, not many 


the inculcation of right principles through moral 
discipline is steadily maintained. 

(2) That facts of sensible experience are to 
form part of the training of the young would not 
be denied by Plato. But his contention is that 
facts must somehow be presented in the light 
of principles, else they are devoid of interest, 
and have no educative power. A good memory 
is a necessary condition ; but merely to load the 
memory is not to exercise it aright. The minjf 
must be gradually led to grasp by its own activity^ 
the laws which the facts exemplify. Plato does 
not expect the faculty of reason to be called into 
complete exercise all at once. He only insists 
that the true educational method should raise the 
pupil's thoughts stage after stage to take a wider/ 
and more comprehensive view of things. The 
test of natural ability is the power of generalizing ; 
of grouping facts and seeing them in the light 
of their connecting principles. " He who sees 
things together is capable of dialectic," he who 
cannot will never be a dialectician. 

(3) These methods must be so applied that 
increasing insight may be accompanied wit]V 
delight. The earliest teaching should be a sort 
of game. This is shown more in detail in the 
Laws, where Plato quotes Egyptian methods of 
teaching arithmetic to young children. In the 


call of duty. " While they are children their 
mental exercises are to have an element of childish 
playfulness." It follows that in the case of all of 
them, the two modes of education, those of habit 
and intelligence, are to be imagined as proceeding 
side by side. And it is not to be forgotten, though 
only thrown out by the way, that part of their 
practical training consists in learning to ride. 

6. Secondary and higher education as we conceive 
it, was a novelty in Hellenic life. The drill of the 
grammar and music schools, as described in the 
Protagoras and in the Clouds of Aristophanes, where 
children learned to read and write, and play the 
lyre and sing in unison, was not calculated of itself 
to train the understanding or awaken the reasoning 
powers. Arithmetic, as children are now familiar 
with it, was not included there, and grammar in 
the modern sense was a mystery which, to the 
ordinary schoolmaster, was then unknown. The 
teaching of the Sophists, disliked and feared by the 
men of the former generation, gave the nearest 
approach which then existed to our secondary 
education. Protagoras first analyzed the parts of 
speech ; Prodicus discoursed on Greek synonyms ; 
and the elements of arithmetic and geometry, or of 
both in one, were being studied by disciples of 
Pythagoras. What are to-day regarded as rudi- 
ments of common knowledge were, not many 


the inculcation of right principles through moral 
discipline is steadily maintained. 

(2) That facts of sensible experience are to 
form part of the training of the young would not 
be denied by Plato. But his contention is that 
facts must somehow be presented in the light 
of principles, else they are devoid of interest, 
and have no educative power. A good memory 
is a necessary condition ; but merely to load the 
memory is not to exercise it aright. The mina 
must be gradually led to grasp by its own activity/ 
the laws which the facts exemplify. Plato does 
not expect the faculty of reason to be called into 
complete exercise all at once. He only insists 
that the true educational method should raise the 
pupil's thoughts stage after stage to take a wider/ 
and more comprehensive view of things. The 
test of natural ability is the power of generalizing ; 
of grouping facts and seeing them in the light 
of their connecting principles. " He who sees 
things together is capable of dialectic," he who 
cannot will never be a dialectician. 

(3) These methods must be so applied that 
increasing insight may be accompanied witjV 
delight. The earliest teaching should be a sort 
of game. This is shown more in detail in the 
Laws, where Plato quotes Egyptian methods of 
teaching arithmetic to young children. In the 


same connection, it is acutely observed that 
children when left to themselves are inventive 
in their play. Meanwhile the elementary educa- 
tion is not left out of sight. Habits of subordina- 
tion, freedom from irregular desires, determination 
to do rightly are pre-supposed. And in the 
individuals selected for the higher training, there 
is also present intellectual curiosity and willingness 
to study. JThey are "not bred so dull but they 
can learn." Attention being thus secured, it is 

J he teacher's fault if the act of learning is not 
:eenly enjoyed. Plato's remark that no freeman 
is to be made a slave at school, suggestive as it is, 

.must therefore be taken with some reservation ; 

^but that hated lessons are easily forgotten is only 

\too manifest in experience. 

(4) The old dispute between the advocates of 
liberal culture and of useful knowledge, or of 
general and special education, which is started 
here by Plato in the Republic, is not exhausted 
yet. That the sciences had their first motive 
in utility is an obvious fact ; that they have their 
outcome in extensive usefulness, is well known 
since the time of Bacon. But they have been 
the more fruitful because they were pursued in 
Plato's sense, for the satisfaction of pure intellect, 
and in such a manner as to develop mental 
energy to the full. " Arithmetic to be of use 


in education, must be studied for its own sake 
and not with a view to shop-keeping." " Geometry 
has its uses for the land-agent and the tactician, 
but it must be carried much further if it is to be 
worthy of the name of science." And the solid 
geometry which, as Plato says, has such charms 
for the philosophical mind, owed any progress 
it had made not to any obvious utility, but to its 
own delightfulness. That arduous studies should 
be discarded as useless would have seemed to Plato 
as gloomy an anticipation as it was to Renan. 
Similar remarks are made about harmonics and 
astronomy. But here Plato's passion for abstrac- 
tion has led him to an incomplete and one-sided 
view. That no progress could be made in either 
science without mathematics, was a truth not 
sufficiently recognised in his time, but that the 
mere study of problems respecting the abstract 
laws of matter in motion could make either perfect 
without patient observation is a notion which 
has been falsified in the sequel. Kepler's specula- 
tions were an indispensable stage in the progress 
of astronomy, but they would have been fruitless 
without the work of Tycho Brahe. 

(5) In the progressive description of the sciences 
proceeding from the most abstract to the more 
concrete, it is implied that the preparatory 
training of the guardians is to follow the same 



order, beginning with arithmetic, and passing 
through plane and solid geometry to astronomy and 
harmony, or in other words to the laws of matter 
in motion. According to this method, if the 
modern sciences of dynamics, chemistry, physi- 
ology, biology, had been at that time developed, 
the later part of the curriculum would have 
included these. 

Plato here advances two main principles : (a) 
that the subjects taught are to be adapted to 
the age of the pupil, and (b) that the manner of 
teaching, especially at the earlier age, should be 
such that the teaching will be accepted with 
delight, else it cannot obtain a permanent hold. 
These principles have hardly yet been worked out 
into their final application. 

8. There is a yet higher standard to be passed 
before attempting to put on the coping-stone and 
to commence the study of pure philosophy or, 
in Plato's language, of dialectic. This standard 
corresponds in a general way to the aim of our 
University education. When the secondary 
education has been completed, at about the 
age of seventeen, there follows a course of athletic 
training and military drill which does not allow 
much leisure for intense intellectual labour. But 
in the twentieth year the studies of the previous 
years are to be reviewed, and surveyed more 


comprehensively in their relation to each other. 
The nature and degree of their affinities are to 
be determined. This new and higher subject is 
what is now recognised as the Connexion or 
Correlation of the sciences. _. Mind is rising to 
a higher grade on the ladder of thought, and 
is thus gently prepared for the great final effort, 
after which from the contemplative height where 
she lays hold of the idea of good, she is to be en- 
abled to look abroad over all time and all existence? 

In reserving this highest of all subjects for 
so advanced an age — no one is to enter on it 
before thirty — Plato is moved by the alarm 
which had been awakened in him by the pre- 
valence of logom achy and barren scepticism 
amongst the youth of his time. (No provision of 
the Republic is more Utopian than this. That 
young men of nineteen or twenty, whose intellects 
had been quickened by the most enlightened 
culture, should be withheld from speculating on 
first principles, was indeed a pious wish, which 
the master of the Academy cannot seriously have 
hoped to realize. He treated the subject more 
lightly afterwards in the opening passage of the 

Plato is a consistent advocate of culture for 
culture's sake, of an education which aims / 
not at immediate utility but at getting mind V 


(KT/jcraarOai vovv). At the same time he holds the 

assurance in reserve that the (soul so trained 

^will in the end be the most useful to the state 

and the most fit to govern. " When you descend 

^into \ the cave," the lawgiver is to say to the 
aspiring youth, "you will be infinitely better 

>| qualified than your merely 'practical' neighbours, 
to judge of the shadows, what they are and from 

^whence they come." Bacon's view that knowledge 
is power, and yet to be really fruitful must be 
pursued for its own sake, is conceived in the spirit 
of the Republic. "Atalanta, by stooping to pick 
up the apple, lost the race." That parable would 
have appealed to Plato. But on the other hand 
the "encroaching intellect," again to use Bacon's 
language, in soaring to such heights of abstraction 
as Plato does in Book VII. of the Republic, over- 
shoots itself and flies beyond the goal. However 
it might be with him afterwards, he would not at 
this time have acknowledged the value of the 
observatory or the laboratory. Still he may help 
us to distinguish between that induction which is 
a mere collection of particulars and that which 

oleads to the discovery of a law ; between anti- 
fmarianism and the critical study of antiquity ; 
between the learning which clogs the mind and 
that which enlightens ; between laborious idle- 
less, and the earnest pursuit of truth. 


References, Chapter V. 

p. 64. Republic, Book IV., pp. 423-425- 

p. 65. Republic, Book V., p. 456 D; Book VI., p. 495 D (a 

figure in the manner of Lord Bacon), 
p. 67. (1) Laws, Book VII., p. 819 B. 

(2) Laws, Book VII., p. 789- 
p. 68. On Xenophanes, see Gomperz, vol i. (English trans- 
lation), p. 1 56. 
p. 70. Aristotle, Eth, Nic, iii. 2. 
p. 72. Nettleship, pp. 112, 141, 202. 
p. 73. Milton's Paradise Lost, i. 548 ; L Allegro; Dryden, 

Ode on St Cecilia's Day. 
p. 75. Meno, 98 A ; Nettleship, pp. 80, 306 ; Republic, Book 

VI., 533 D, 537 c ; Book VIII., p. 549 B - 
p. 76. (1) Protagoras, p. 325. 

(2) Aristophanes' Clouds, vv. 961-984. 

(3) Nettleship, pp. 291-3. 

p. 77. Compare Heraclitus, ttoXiy«i0ii? j^ ou 5i5do7c«. 

p. 78. Thecstetus, pp. i5off., 210 bc. 

p. 79. 6 avpoiTTiKbs 8ia\eKTiK6s, Republic, Book VII., p. 537 C ; 

cf. Sophist, p. 253 D ; Timceus, p. 83 C. 
p. 81. Nettleship, pp. 269, 272, 
p. 83. Philebus, pp. 15 D- 16 A ; Nettleship, p. 167. 



The almost puritanic severity which is a con- 
comitant of Plato's optimistic theories, arises 
partly from the abstractedness of his metaphysical 
point of view. His thought has not yet outgrown 
the dualism of the Phcedo, where a sharp dividing 
line was drawn between sensation, opinion, and 
emotion on the one hand, and the pure exercise 
of mind upon the other. Had the philosopher 
come to conceive clearly the nature of the indi- 
vidual as " the synthesis of the universal and 
particular," he would have appreciated at its full 
value the ideal embodiment of 'sensible impressions 
in poetry and art. At a later time he was working 
out a more complete theory of the relation be- 
tween thought and perception (see Chapter III.), 
but he never relinquished his proscription of the 
poets, whom he would either have exiled or 
placed under impossible restraints. 

There were other causes for this persistent 


prejudice. One lay in the contrast which con- 
tinually presented itself between Sparta looked 
at from a distance and the actual state of contem- 
porary Athens. The poetry of the time appeared 
adapted to perpetuate those very features in the, 
lives of his countrymen, which Plato earnestly/ 
sought to remove ; superstition on the one hanc^/ 
frivolity and unlimited caprice on the other. Poets 
of commanding genius were no more, and in the 
consciousness of superiority, he entertained a just 

contempt for the " poeticules " of his day. The ■ 

noble art of tragedy had been infected with - 

sophistry and rhetoric, and had degenerated into 

something showy and unreal. The Dionysiac 

influence more and more betrayed a character 

detrimental to social order, and the traditions . 

associated with it were, as Plato saw, the reverse v 

of "political." It is hard for the inflammable 

southern temperament to find the true mean 

between license and asceticism. Plato elects to 

curb and restrain what he despairs of regulating. 

lit has also been plausibly argued that Plato's 

condemnation of the poets is due to some reaction 

against what he felt to be dangerous tendencies 

in himself. He confesses to the powerful charm 

which Homer had wielded over him from his 

childhood, and not to dwell upon the legend of 

his tearing up some early verses on making 


acquaintance with Socrates, the genius which 
created the Symposium and Phcedrus had a poetic 
swing and vehemence and a fulness of inspiration 
not easily to be kept under control. The spirit 
of the prophet might be subject to the prophet, 
but what wjould happen in the case of other gifted 
Greeks ? When he looks abroad and contemplates 
the need V)^ temperance, fortitude, and justice in a 
community, h/6 conceives an exaggerated fear of 
the consequences that may arise from fictitious 
representations of unreal scenes in which emo- 
tional sentiment finds \expression and excites 
\j corresponding emotion. \ 

True poetry, says Milton, is simple, sensuous, 
passionate. Plato, in arraigning the art would 
not have accepted that as a defence. On the 
second and third counts she would stand self- 
cbndemned, and as for simplicity, that is the very 
quality which he looks for, and finds wanting. In 
Irook III., he thinks by laying down certain rules, 
to make poetry innocuous and to reform music, so 
^s to heal and purify the too artificial State. But 
in Book X. he sees reason for discarding poetry 
altogether, with the sole exception of hymns to 
"j^ods and heroes. Even the best of men, he 
thinks, who have steeled themselves against desire 
and passion, cannot listen to those sweet strains 
without losing something of their virtue ; the 


contagious influence of imaginary sorrow draws 
tears from eyes unused to melt. 

It is singular that Plato, who deliberately began 
the work of education with fictitious tales, saying] 
boldly that false language must be employed before 
the true, should not have more distinctly recognise( 
the worth of poetical invention. What is much df 
his own best work but reason concentrated in th< 
form of feeling ; or what are his famous myths but 
imaginative fictions embodying truths half-realized, 
and expressing a passionate aspiration towards the 
unseen? They are but words reflecting notions/ 
which are again reflected from divine realities; 
Are they not therefore " the imitation of an irnjt^L- 
tion " ? The present is one of many cases in which 
the philosopher's soaring idealism carries him 
beyond the moderation and sobriety of his own 
first thoughts. 

Yet if we try to bring together the teaching of 
Books III. and X. with the treatment of cognate 
subjects in the Gorgtas, Symposium, Phcedrus, and 
Laws, we perceive that Plato is aiming all the while 
at an important truth. Jhe cry of Art for Art's 
sake, or of poetry for poetry's sake, must be frankly 
admitted in the sense that no artist or poet can 
produce good work unless he is free and untram- 
melled in his endeavours to give shape to his con- 
ceptions and complete embodiment to his peculiar 


ideal. Plato himself admits as much in the 
Phcedrus, where the poet who is in his sober senses 
is said to have no chance. But the moralist also 
has his rights : he also must be free and untram- 
melled in judging of artistic products as affecting 
conduct. He may say without offence upon a calm 
review, " This work of art has an ennobling, that, a 
degrading, tendency." " This ministers to harmless 
amusement, that inspires to effort and exalts the 
mind." And the philosopher or the unbiassed 
critic may observe the difference between a poem 
which, however rhythmical and melodious, is barren 
and unmeaning, and one which, coming sweetly 
from nature, is the manifest outflow of the vision 
and the faculty divine. J 

In the last twcwcenturies aesthetics have assumed 
an important place among the subjects of philo- 
sophical enquiry. Many volumes on the sublime 
and beautiful, on the principles of taste, on the 
relation of the fine arts to each other and to the 
conduct of life, have striven to give laws to the 
Poet, the Painter, and the Musician. Sensational- 
ism makes the standard of beauty depend on 
association. Idealism seeks to fix it by deductive 
argument. For the pessimist the purpose of emo- 
tional poetry is to detach human beings from the 
will to live, while to the practical materialist art 
merely affords relaxation and relief from the 



serious pursuit of gain. Theory has supplanted 
theory, fashion succeeded to fashion, new conven- 
tions have abolished the old ; in some cases it is 
hard to say whether art or theory has led the way, 
although the original artist will always be his own 

It is not an idle question in what relation poeti^ 
is to stand to life. Plato denounced the separation, y 
which had begun before his time, of music frorfK 
song, and of both from dancing. He would have I 
sympathized with the Presbyterian who could not 
bear to hear the organ praising God by itself. 
Are we now to have a further severance, not onb 
of sound from sense and meaning, but of meaning 
from human experience ? A recent writer has in- 
vented a subtle distinction between the subject and 
the substance of a poem ; but unless the substance 
is in some way derived from actual emotion, called 
forth by things known and felt, from whence in the 
universe are the pure fountains of poetic utterance 
to /be replenished? 

(Plato in his devotion to abstract thought regards 
all sensuous language as an unworthy vehicle. 
The modern tendency is to prize the vehicle as all 
in all, and to be indifferent to the idea conveyed. 
The success of Coleridge's Dream-poem has had 
too seductive a charm. In either way a wrong is 
done to the inherent nobleness of Art. 

■ N 


The spheres of morality and the fine arts are 
separate and yet related to each other. A com- 
plete philosophy must comprise the knowledge of 
both and assign to each its place and function. 

o moral strength can make a poet, but Plato can 
hardly be wrong in thinking that grandeur and 
nobility of conception depend in some way on 
\ qualities of the moral nature, — that splendour of 
imagination is not unconnected with character ; 
yet he is mistaken in thinking that the representa- 
tion of what is evil must never enter into the com- 

osition of a great and wholesome work of art. 

ragic pathos, for example, has unquestionably a 
refining and elevating influence on those who are 
capable of enjoying it, and the effect of Tragedy 
turns almost wholly on the contrast between actual 
evil and possible or actual good. No feeling heart 
was ever debased by the representation of wicked- 
ness in Iago or Macbeth, and the faithfulness of 
Imogen, the purity of Marina, shine all the brighter 
for the foulness of the atmosphere surrounding 
them. But neither Shakespeare nor Homer can 
have the same danger for us, that Homer may 
really have had for the majority of Plato's edu- 
cated contemporaries. \ 

j Jn reading the I had or Odyssey, we accept 
what is human, and unconsciously discount what 
claims to be divine and supernatural. To us 


they are splendid monuments of great poetry * 
embodying the thoughts and fancies of a distant 
age. We can admire their grandeur and enjoy 
their beauty without falling under the domination 
of an immoral polytheism. But it was otherwise 
with the average Athenian citizen, who had beejrt 
taught to think of Homer and Hesiod as pro/ 
viding not only aesthetic enjoyment, but a rbu^f 
of life, and when this confidence was shaken, 
had no resource except in moral scepticism or 
in allegorical interpretations wh^re he " found 
no end in wandering mazes lost." 

Although Greek religion cannot be said to have 
been embodied in sacred books, yet there is a 
real analogy between the authority of the old 
poets in Plato's age, and the confusion of mind 
arising from the literal application of Scripture 
amongst the English Puritans or the Boers of 
South Africa. So much may be said in vindica- 
tion of Plato's condemnation of Homer. 

In respect of metaphysical theory, Plato's 
own reasoning in the later Dialogues went 
far towards restoring to the senses and im- 
agination their due place and honour. In 
the Philebus, he even approaches a practical 
inference in connexion with the useful arts. The 
builder and carpenter have to do not with the 
absolute, but with the relatively imperfect, squarJr 


and circle. The idealizing impulse continued 
notwithstanding to affect Plato's aesthetic theory, 
and his experience of the contemporary drama 
in an age of minor poets, dragging the average 
Athenian about from theatre to theatre in search 
of some new thing, which the strolling companies 
provided in endless variety, the absence of any 
authoritative standard of taste except the applause 
or condemnation of clamorous audiences, had dis- 
gusted him too deeply to permit of his returning to 
a just and reasonable view. This is one of the 
few subjects in which the logical clearness of 
Aristotle grasped a truth not anticipated by Plato. 
The Poetics are only a fragment, but have had 
a great and increasing -influence upon modern 
aesthetical theory. Professor Butcher has shown 
that the Stagyrite comes nearer to the modern 
view, which makes pleasure the text of excellence 
in poetry, than most of his successors and imitators, 
whether in Roman literature, or French, or 

A word should be added on Plato's attitude 
towards comedy. At the close of the Symposium 
his Socrates was defending the famous thesis, 
that a great tragic poet could be a great comic 
writer as well. In the Republic he makes a 
v remark not necessarily inconsistent with the 
c j a irmer, that in point of fact the same persons 


cannot act well in tragedy and comedy. In 
allowing his guardians now and then to imitate 
vicious persons . in scornful play, he has been 
thought to give some opening for comic art. 
A provision in the Laws throws an interesting 
light upon this point, where it is enacted that 
the citizens may not take part in comic scenes 
themselves, but may sometimes witness them 
when the characters are impersonated by slaves. 
A good deal has been written lately about 
Greek music. The discovery of some genuine 
fragments has thrown light upon the technical 
discussions of Aristoxenus (third century B.C.) 
and Aristides (first century A.D.). The subject 
is too complicated for explanation heref?Bi 
it is still difficult to account for the extraordinary 
importance attached by Aristotle as well as by j 
Plato to the moral influence for^j^od-^*^ejdL-ja£^ 
different musical modes. / v The statement of 
Glaucon, as to the subtle I effect of some change 
of fashion in melody insinuating itself into 
personal conduct, undermining the home, and 
sapping the constitution of the state, is to the 
modern mind hardly intelligible. The saying 
of Fletcher of Saltoun, "Let me make the 
ballads of a people, and I care not who makes 
their laws," is often quoted, but little believed. 
The passion associated with the " Marseillaise," or 


with " Rule Britannia," is an effect much more 
than a cause. We are familiar with the sadness 
of the minor key, but no one imagines that such 
a setting of familiar tunes has a weakening 
effect on character. \ We can only suppose that 
the Greek temperamjent must have been strangely 
responsive to melodious sounds, whether gay or 
pensive. The difficulty is not lessened by the 
theory which is advanced on high authority, that 
the difference between the scales, which are 
admitted and rejected on moral grounds, lay 
merely in a higher or lower pitch. We hardly 
seem to have advanced beyond the position of 
Milton, who in his youthful poem asks the spirit 
of mirth to lap him in soft Lydian airs, and in 
the work of his maturity represents the phalanx 
of warriors as marching to the Dorian mood. 

lYet it must be admitted by those who still 
are " moved with concord of sweet sounds," that 
at the close of some strain of music by a great 
composer, they have been conscious of a moral 
influence for good or ill. A symphony of Beet- 
hoven's leaves the mind composed and calm, 
whereas in rising from the enjoyment of some 
of " the music of the future," we are aware that 
our emotions have been excited, and not allayedA 

The imaginative sympathy with all that affects' 
man as man, which is of the essence of true poetry, 


and the sensitiveness to beauty which forms the 
inspiration of Art, may often co-exist with moral 
weakness, or with vicious proclivities. It may 
even lessen the flow of spontaneous human kind- 
ness by spending on imaginary sorrows what is 
due to the real. The history of the Italian 
Renaissance affords many examples of this truth. 
But there is no reason in the nature of things to 
justify the famous saying that " Art is the bloom 
upon decay." I Sanity is an essential note of the 
highest genius, and if a sound basis of character 
and moral purpose is pre-supposed, poetic imagina- 
tion and the artistic faculty cannot fail to enhance 
the worth of personality. They enlarge the sphere 
of consciousness, they quicken perception, they 
lift the veil between human hearts that hides them 
from each other. As Tennyson phrased it in one 
of his earliest lyrics, the true poet is endowed with 
" the hate of hate, the scorn of scorn, the love of 
love." Even Momus, as Plato might say, can 
hardly object to the genuine fruits of such an 

References, Chapter VI. 

p. 86. Laws, Book VII., p. 8i6ff. 

p. 87. Gomperz, vol. ii. (German edition), p. 401. 

p. 89. Gorgias, p. 502 ; Ph&drus, pp. 268, 269 ; Laws, 

Book III., pp. 700, 701. 
p. 90. Phcedrus, p. 245 A. 



p. 90. Burke on the Sublime and Beautiful ; Alison on 
Taste ; Lessing's Laocoon; Hegel's JEsthetik ; 
Schopenhauer, Pater, Bernard Bosanquet. 

p. 91. Coleridge's Kubla Khan. 

p. 93. (1) On Homer as an educator, see Republic X., p. 
606 E ; JVettleship, p. 341. 
(2) Philebus, p. 62 A-C. 

p. 94. See, however, Laws, Book II., p. 658 E. 

p. 95. Nettles hip, pp. 118 ft. 



i. Plato was deeply impressed with the social/ 
and political evils which threatened Athens in his 
time. The spirit of faction prevailing over patriot? / 
ism, the rich plebeian lording it over the highborn 
poor man, quarrels and offences due to private/ 
interests that overbore the sense of common good, 
the decay of public spirit, the greed of gain, arc 
these he traced to the defects inherent in family 
life. He is determined that in his ideal common" 
wealth, amongst the rulers, at least, all such 
temptations shall be remoWd. Natural affection 
is to remain unimpaired, but is no longer to be 
restricted within the limits of a single household. 
He imagines that this end will be secured by his 
strange proposal of what an American imitator 
(conscious or unconscious) has called " complex 

Plato is by no means insensible to the moral 
beauty of a pure and well-regulated home. His 



picture of the house of Cephalus at the opening 
of the Republic^ and of the old man's care for his 
grown-up sons, the gentle badinage of Lysis, about 
his obedience to his mother, the earnest enforce- 
ment of filial duties in the Lazvs, show that he 
was quite alive to the charms of domesticity. 
Had he lived two generations earlier, he would 
probably have shared the deep reverence of the 
great tragedians for the religion of the hearth. 

/ But the Athenian home of the fourth century was 

.not always a beautiful thing. At its best it must 
^ have resembled the sort of " doll's house " described 
by Xenophon in his GLconomicus. What it was at 
its worst we may infer from certain pages in 
Aristophanes. " The Athenian woman was in no 
yay tne equal of her husband, she was not the 

"[entertainer of his guests or the mistress of his 
house, but only his housekeeper and the mother 

^j6f his children " (Jowett). 

/'The example of Lacedaemon was again a snare 

to Plato. The institution of marriage amongst 

.' the Spartan aristocracy was laxly observed. Not 

/ that the bond had been loosened, but it had never 

been very strictly drawn ; and the state in con- 

V trolling such relations aimed principally at the 

^preservation of the warlike breed. 

More certainly and obviously he is once more 
imposed upon by his passion for abstract unity. 


Since the actual state is broken up and divided / 
through private interests, he is determined to A 
abolish private interests altogether. The state y 
must be one throughout, there must not be man/ 
masters ; the principle is virtually admitted that 
there may be many members in one body, but the 
emphasis is unduly laid on " one." 

It should be remembered first that the new 
regulations applied only to the guardians, whoK 
were a small minority in the community. The 
ordinary citizens of the industrial and commercial ^ 
classes were to have their separate households, 
buying and selling, marrying and giving in v/ 
marriage ; only not having families beyond their ^ 
means, "for fear of poverty or war."/ Secondly, 
Plato's intention is the very reverse of any en- 
couragement of license. It is rather, as Mr Grote 
quaintly expressed it, " to minimize the influence ofl' 
Aphrodite." Sexual impulses were to be kept 
under as they had never been in any Hellenic 
community, unless perhaps among the Pythagorean/ 
brotherhood. The race must be continued (always > 
with due regard to the dictates of the mysterious , 
" number of the State ") ; the purity of the breed 
must be preserved ; natural desires must have , 
their legitimate scope and outlet ; therefore therer, 
must be marriage festivals, as carefully providea 
for in Book V. But all this is done under severe 


and solemn regulations. Modern revolutionists in 
setting up new moralities or pleading for the 
" higher law " have sometimes imagined them- 
selves to be followers of Plato. But it may safely 
be affirmed that neither the poetical Shelley nor 
the philosophic Godwin would have submitted to 
Plato's institution for a year. Se ntiment, in the 
modern sense of the word, is of course out "of tlj£ 
question. It had little place in Hellenic life at al^ 
and the last thing in Plato's thoughts is to ery 
courage it. _^He is aware that "juxtaposition!' 
must give rise to mutual attraction between younsp 
persons, and he makes this the^tarting-point for 
his reasoning on thejsubject. V 

The experience of twenty-three centuries since 
Plato wrote has confirmed the estimate of the 
Greek tragedians regarding the sacredness of the 
domestic bond, and has justified Aristotle in 
treating the family as the irreducible unit in the 
constitution of a nation. And although Christian- 
ity, in its first beginnings, like other revolutionary 
forces, tended in some ways to break through 
family ties — M My mother and my brethren are 
those that hear the word and do it " — yet in the 
long run, notwithstanding periods of asceticism, the 
Christian graces, exemplifying the precepts of the 
divine founder, have deepened and purified home 
affections and have raised traditional obligations 


into a law of the spirit of life. That aberrations 
and deflexions have been frequent in Christian 
communities, that rash bonds have brought forth 
bitterness, that the yoke as rigidly imposed has 
pressed heavily in particular instances, is only too 
sadly true. But modern attempts to remedy such 
anomalies by new institutions somewhat after 
Plato's model, have rarely survived a generatioi 
and then only under the predominant influence 
some commanding personality, as in the America 
" Perfectionist " community of Oneida establishej 
by John Humphreys Noyes. Such movements 
have been inevitably overborne by the legal and 
moral pressure from the surrounding world. 

'The objection of Aristotle, that if affection were 
so widely distributed it would be watered down, is 
not quite in point, perhaps, for Plato, in destroying 
the exclusiveness of personal attachments, would \/ 
not be disinclined to lessen their intensity ; but iti/ 
is certainly true. The professed universal philan^. 
thropist is apt to care little for the things of his 
wn house. 


Plato, however, might be quoted against himself^ 
He says elsewhere, in speaking of the education of, 
childhood, that a building whose foundation hz^S 
been neglected, is sure to fall. The family is the ,-. 
school of the affections, and on this foundation the'*"' 
whole stru cture of wider s ympathy reposes.^lato 



in overleaping the first step, attempts to raise his 
fabric in the air. That he was wrong in this 

requires no further demonstration, - 

. | But while rejecting the means proposed, it is still 
worth while to consider the purpose which the 
philosopher had in view. He would lift the feeling 
of/common nationality into a sense of brotherhood 
as instinctive as the natural affection of kindred. 
tHe would extend the loving-kindness hitherto 
Associated with blood relationship to every member 
of the community. May not the same end be more 
tefifectually attained by spreading far and wide the 
warmth first kindled at the family hearth ? Have 
we not known persons whose home affections were 
fresh and unattainted, yet whose love seemed to be 
Jlififused in undiminished fullness towards all with 
.whom they had to do ? Are not such persons the 
cement of our society? Can we not, without 
\ unduly straining optimism, imagine them multi- 
plied? Human sympathies need not be straitened 
within the narrow limits of a single household, but 
may extend to all who share the common life. And 
those whose capability of loving has been balked 
.or frustrated, may find a world of consolation in 
giving more than they receive. But all such 
activities are quickened by the memories of home : 
x the life is richer in proportion to the vitality at 
\root ; just as the soldier in devoting himself to his 


country is said to be " more brave for this, that he 
has much to love." 

Ideal for ideal, dream for dream ! " Once upon 
a time," we will say, " in a region far beyond our 
ken, the institution of monogamy was perfected. 
Education had been so developed that each indi- 
vidual had been fitted for an occupation suitable 
to his nature and conducing to the public good. 
This absorbed his lifelong energies, and to this 
he was devoted heart and soul. For labour, in- 
tellectual and manual, was so distributed as to 
provide ample room for the willing efforts of all, 
and to ensure to each a modest sufficiency. The 
flush of passion in youth was allayed by early 
and well-assorted life-unions, which inspired fresh 
motive and impulse to continued exertion. In 
those peaceful homes warm affection and mutual 
trust were so firmly welded as to preclude the 
possibility of jealousy or suspicion. A great and 
unexampled religious revival, on a Christian basis, 
had rendered all sexual offences the object of a 
natural horror equal to that which had previously 
made incest an unheard-of thing. But the pure 
love that was generated in the family circle spread 
far beyond it, until all within the social range were 
drawn together by affection like that of brother 
and sister, father and child ; while many who 
remained unmarried, or had suffered early bereave- 


ment, found scope amongst those remaining near 
to them and in society at large for abundant 
outgoings of benevolent and beneficent activity. 
Through such persistent endeavours the com- 
munity had become united in one strong and 
harmonious whole, and even the head-workers and 
the hand-workers had come to understand each 
other and to recognize the interdependence of 
their several labours." 

Such an Utopia is not more remote from 
sober actuality than was Plato's Republic in his 
day ; and the result, were it once realized, would 
be infinitely more rich in good. Then some con- 
ventional obstacles which a wise prudence has 
interposed between man and woman and between 
youth and maid might be discarded as no longer 
needful, and human intercourse might flow onward 
at high levels, in a full, clear, and beneficent stream. 

Thus while prizing married life as the indis- 
pensable basis of all social good, we may learn 
from Plato not to look on marriage as a sort of 
dual selfishness. He would pass at once from 
centre to circumference. We would gradually 
diffuse the light and warmth from many centres 
over the whole area. As the centres multiply, 
the warmth should grow, and if the light but 
increase correspondingly, then " behold the day ! " 
The feelings which are naturally called forth in 


family life need not be arrested there, but the 
heart so disciplined may be further enlarged to 
embrace humanity. And there may be single 
lives independently devoted to the general good, 
not in consequence of some rash vow, but through 
a combination of choice and circumstance, perhaps 
after some sore trial. Affections that have been 
awakened and frustrated may be transfused, so 
as to become more largely fruitful. The dis- 
appointed one may " scatter blessings o'er a smil- 
ing land ; " mysterious words of Scripture may be 
realized : " let not the eunuch say I am a dry 
tree," — " the barren woman shall keep house, and 
be a joyful mother of children." 

The widening gradation described by the 
Mantinean prophetess in Plato's Banquet — from 
fair bodies to fair souls, fair thoughts, fair acts, 
and so onward to the ocean of beauty — need 
not presuppose the dereliction of the narrower 
sphere, which is the support and ground of the 

"Thrice blest whose loves in higher" (let us add in wider) 
" love endure." 

In certain public institutions, where celibacy was 
at one time obligatory, it used to be an occasion 
of complaint that the unmarried " don " was apt 
to rust and vegetate, and to lose all sympathy 


and influence over others. The poet even phrased 
it in measured words, — 

" The slow mechanic pacings to and fro, 
" The set grey life, and apathetic end." 

We now hear the opposite complaint — that the 
married tutor shrinks into a hide-bound conser- 
vatism : enthusiasm for progress and reform would 
endanger his domestic interests : he cannot afford 
to be public-spirited. " The cares of this world " 
have choked the good seed in him and he "be- 
comes unfruitful." But surely, in either case, as 
the aged Cephalus puts it, " the fault is not in 
the circumstances but in the men," and, in the 
latter case, also of the women. 

2. If that great work, Aristotle's History of 
Political Constitutions, had come down to us entire, 
and if all of it were on the scale of the lately 
discovered Athenian Constitution, we should know 
more clearly than is possible now to what extent 
Plato's scheme of the community of goods is 
original. We know that in Hellas generally, the 
rights of property were less firmly established 
than in modern states. " Revolution " always 
spelt "redistribution of the land, and the ex- 
tinction of debts." " Primitive society offered 
many examples of land held in common, either by 
a tribe or by a township, and such may probably 


have been the original form of landed tenure. 
Ancient legislators had invented various modes of 
dividing and preserving the divisions of land 
among the citizens ; according to Aristotle, there 
were nations who held the land in common, and 
divided the produce, and there were others who 
divided the land and stored the produce in 
common " ( Jowett). The analogy of the monastic 
orders and other mediaeval conventual societies 
to the common property of the Republic and the 
common meals of Republic and Laws, has often A 
been pointed out. ^/ 

The details o£-the scheme which Plato intended 
are not clear, because the position of the loweV 
classes is left out of sight. They were to have/ 
separate households,, and possession of real 
property, but it would appear that the land/ 
belonged to the State, alt hough the rulers wer e^ 
to reap no advantage from it beyond bare main- 

tenance. The objection of Aristotle tKat motives 
for exertion would be taken away, Hardly applies 
to Plato's highest class as he conceives it. The 
practical solution which the Stagyrite expressed in 
the memorable phrase, " property should be private 
in possession but public in use," is not original in 
him, for it is Plato's own concession to the 
weakness of human nature, when devising his 
second best commonwealth in the Laws. 


As is usual with him in criticizing Plato, Aristotle 

is guilty of ignoratio elenchi : leaving out of sight 

his author's point of view. He says that there 

will be no motive for exertion when property is 

abolished, an obviously valid objection, if the 

principle of "all things common" were extended 

fb the whole state. But the rulers have been 

selected, trained, and tested in such a way as 

t» make sure that no motive can be stronger 

I with them than the general good; and the rest 

of the guardians are known to have honour for 

H their guiding principle. Viewed in the light of 

experience, this conception is not altogether 

Utopian. It would not be difficult to name 

persons, " now with God," whom we have seen 

and known, in whose lives the former motive 

was predominant ; and with the second, the pursuit 

of honour, names even to-day in all men's mouths 

ought to have made us familiar. And as for the 

love of gain, which Aristotle and political 

economists assume to be the only stimulus to 

endeavour, Plato, even in the Republic, admits 

The lawfulness of some of the desires, not only 

%as "necessary," but as approved by reason, and 

. sanctioned by wisdom. The " Kings " themselves 

-* are not wholly unacquainted with these. 

Plato leaves it to his guardians to keep a strict 
watch against undue accumulation, and also to 


prevent the impoverishment of any citizen. He V 
does not specify the means by which he proposes 
to obviate the former evil, but in Book VIII. he / 
incidentally suggests two ways of checking the . 
danger of financial ruin — (i) by strict regulations 
as to the investment of trust-money ; and (2) by * 
yorbidding suretyship — all investments to be made 
at the sole risk of the investor. It is also implied 
that there should be a law of entail. 

In the Laws, where the conditions of life are 
confessedly less strict than in the Republic, the 
land is divided amongst the 5040 citizens, each 
cultivating his own allotment for himself and no 
longer for the State; then all real property is 
to be registered, and no householder is allowed to 
possess more than four times the value of his 
allotment. What would Plato have thought of 
the Trust and Corner system, or of the fortune 
of a multi-millionaire? 

The problem of the distribution of wealth in 
the modern world is, however, so different from 
that in ancient Greece that it is impossible to 
reason from the one to the other. No government 
nowadays could impose such conditions of tenure 
as were enforced in many communities known to 
Plato and Aristotle. A Greek state, limited lri , 
numbers, and based on slavery, offers scarcely 
any analogy to our democratic peoples. Such a 


notion as that of abolishing the middle classes 
and placing the capitalist at the mercy of the 
proletariate, could not have entered into the mind 
of any ancient thinker. 

Yet, in forecasting the future of society the 
considerate study of Plato may not be fruitless. 
Professor Jowett, in his introduction, has some 
striking remarks on this subject, from which the 
following may be quoted : " Property, besides 
ministering to the enjoyment of the few, may 
also furnish the means of the highest culture 
to all, and will be a greater benefit to the public 
generally, and also more under the control of 
public authority. There may come a time when 
the saying, ' Have I not a right to do what I will 
with my own ? ' will appear to be a barbarous relic 
of individualism, — when the possession of a part 
may be a greater blessing to each and all than the 
possession of the whole is now to any one." 

3. The remaining paradox, — the proposal for 
the education and employment of women — is fast 
becoming a truism for the twentieth century 
A.D. Plato had nothing to guide him here but the 
athleticism of Spartan women, and such legends 
a.d those of the Amazons or of Atalanta's race. 
*That he should so far have emancipated himself 
ifrom the ideas of his own country and the example 
of the East, " shows," as Professor Jowett says, " a 


wonderful independence of mind." The admission^ 
of Glaucon, that although the female sex is on 
the whole the weaker, "yet many women/are in 
many things superior to many men,"ynits the 
exact point. But is Plato right in admitting no 
characteristic mental differences? Does common 
language err in esteeming some qualities of mind 
as masculine, others as feminine? It is freely 
granted that both may be blended in different 
proportions, in members of either sex. But if 
such specific attributes exist, would it be well that 
either sort should be extinguished? The often- 
quoted words that 

" Woman is not undeveloped man, 
But diverse," 

cannot be lightly discarded or put aside. A 
similar opinion is finely expressed in a letter of 
Thomas Campbell's, written in 1808, at the time 
when he was meditating Gertrude of Wyoming ; 
" The female spirit brightened to perfection is as 
unlike and different from the male mind as a 
diamond is unlike gold. It is a great mistake to 
suppose that making the most of a woman's mind 
approximates her to the masculine ... I think 
it is like the harmony of different colours, or of 
the same notes in different keys." 

The verse in Miss Hutchinson's poem, which 



excited so the risibility of Shelley, when his 
admiration for the " Brown Demon " had as usual 
turned to scorn, 

" All, all are men, women and all," 

was perhaps a somewhat crude anticipation. 

It by no means follows that the so-called 
emancipation of women, already fruitful in 
manifold advantages, should be checked, or not 
encouraged to proceed. Experience will show 
what limits, what variations, are desirable. Not 
only normal requirements, but exceptional apti- 
tudes, should have free scope. Things will find 
their level. Exaggerations will bring about their 
own remedies, and a future generation will be 
wiser than ours has been. After giving women 

^ equal rights, Plato at last found a peculiar function 
which he thought exactly suited to them, in the 
superintendence of conjugal relations between 

•^ young persons for the first ten years after 
marriage. It may be thought that such an 
advisory committee of matrons would be liable 
to do more harm than good ; but however that 
may be, special duties may still in the future be 
assigned to women, when the present movement 
has run to its furthest limit. It may prove in 
the end, for example, that although some men are 
excellent nurses, and some women can acquire 


skill in surgery, yet, on the whole, many mt 
women are fitted to become a blessing to their 
generation as accomplished nurses than could 
ever rise to eminence as successful surgeons. 

References, Chapter VII. 

p. too. Lysis, pp. 207D-209C. 

p. 101. On the number of the state, see Nettleship, p. 302. 

p. 102. Aristotle's Eth. Nic, viii. 14. 

p. 103. The 0?ieida Community, by Allan Eastlake : London, 

George Medway. 
p. 104. Cf. Dante Purg., xv. 49 ff. 
p. 108. Jowett's Introduction to the Republic, vol. Hi., pp. 

p. 109. (i) Laws, Book V., p. 739 E, yJq Koivrj yewpyovvrwv, 

which implies that in the former commonwealth 

the land had belonged to the State. 
(2) Aristotle's Politics, II., p. 5 ; Lazvs, Book V., 

p. 740 A ; Nettleship, pp. 136, 137. 
p. no. Republic, Book IX., p. 591 D. 
p. in. Republic, Book VIII., p. 556 A B. 
p. 112. (1) Jowett's Introduction to the Republic, vol. hi., 

pp. clxxv.-clxxvii. ; Nettleship, pp. 169, 179, 180. 
(2) On the position of women in different countries, 

see Laws, Book V., pp. 805, 806. 



I I. " There is no more dreadful sight," said 
V Goethe, "than ignorance in action " ; and according 
to Plato, the spectacle is more terrible in proportion 
to the capability and energy of the ignorant agent. 
He maintains that the most vigorous natures when 
unenlightened, are the most mischievous. This 
view was a legitimate outcome of the Socratic 
position, that the expert in any art can alone form 
an opinion worth having, and that the art of 
government is the highest and most difficult. 
Conduct, as regarded by Socrates, was the precise 
correlative and necessary concomitant of know- 
ledge. But the word " knowledge," when applied 
to moral action, insensibly acquires a special force, 
for it comes inevitably to include a condition and 
attitude of the active powers, as well as of the 
intellectual faculties. The connotation of the term 
is thus extended and becomes more compre- 



hensive. Hence in preparing to vindicate his 
paradox that philosophers alone should govern, 
^ Plato postulates, as elements of the nature that is 
capable of receiving true philosophy, not only 
quickness to know, desire of wisdom, and love of 
truth, but temperance, liberality, justice, greatness 
of soul, and in addition to a strong memory, a lofty 
courage, grace of bearing, and a sense of proportion. 
In other words, the true philosopher is not only^ 
contemplative, but practical ; power of comman^r 
must be united in him with the power of thought. 
Plato acknowledges the rarity of such a combina- 
tion, but he contends that where it is not present, 
there is something wanting, not only for the 
purpose of right government, but for philosophy 
itself. Another form of the same difficulty which 
he puts forward in the Republic, and on which he 
insisted to the last, is the rare co-existence in the 
same persons of alertness of intellect and the moral/ 
attributes which are commonly associated withj/ 
it, and, at the same time, of solidity of mental 
constitution, ballast, and staying power. " My 
son," said Mr Gladstone the elder, " has ability, but 
not, I fear, stability." This reflection naturally 
occurs when it becomes necessary to choose the 
rulers, or rather to select those who are to be 
educated with a view to their becoming fit to rule. 
In this connexion also it is evident that moral as 


well as intellectual qualities will be required in the 
philosopher-king. " The gifts which are deemed 
by us essential rarely grow together : they are 
mostly found in shreds and patches. Quick 
intelligence, memory, sagacity, cleverness, and 
similar qualities are seldom found in the same 
nature with that force of character, and grandeur 
of conception, which are conducive to orderliness 
and quietness and a well-sustained career. Men 
of genius are carried hither and thither by their 
impulsiveness, and all steadiness is eliminated 
from their lives. On the other hand, those steady 
and unchanging natures on whose firmness one 
would rather rely, and who in battle stand their 
ground unmoved by fears, are likewise slow to move 
when they are confronted with intellectual diffi- 
culties. They seem benumbed when there is any- 
thing to learn, and yawn and go to sleep over 
their lessons. Both sets of qualities must be com- 
bined in those who are to be thought worthy of the 
higher education, and ultimately of great office and 
supreme authority." A very similar remark is 
made by the mathematician Theodorus, in describ- 
ing the aptitude of his pupil Theaetetus — the 
embodiment of Plato's ideal of philosophic youth ; 
and as if in despair of finding the contrasted 
attributes in the same person, Plato in his 
Statesman, and again in the Laws, recommends 


that those endowed with these diverse gifts should 
as far as possible be brought together and inter- 
woven in the fabric of the state. In like manner, 
in place of the philosophic ruler, he suggests that a 
young and vigorous monarch should choose an 
accomplished philosopher for his counsellor or 

It is in just accordance with these conceptions 
that the pretenders who abuse the fair name and 
title of philosophy are described. They are devoidY 
of magnanimity, they spend their time in verbal \J 
controversies, and in abuse of one another. Their 
keen little legal minds are bent on gain. All this 
is urged with no less vehemence than the poverty 
of conception which keeps their intellect moving 
on the lower plane, competing for the prizes which 
the populace award to him who shows the greatest 
quickness in observing the " simultaneity and suc- 
cession " of the shadows on the wall. They have 
no intellectual perseverance, and are contented if 
they can frame a system whose parts have a 
plausible appearance of consistency. 

It is true that the training indicated in Books 
VI. and VII. is purely intellectual, and if this 
portion of the Dialogue stood alone, it might 
appear that when reason had once been awakened 
into full strength all the other elements of ideal 
virtue must follow of themselves. But Plato more 


than once reminds his readers that in the higher 
education it is presupposed that the work described 
in the earlier books has been successful, and that 
so far as habits are concerned, courage, self-control, 
and justice have been already thoroughly im- 
planted. Glaucon is allowed to express a desire 
that the idea of good, the coping-stone of the 
sciences, and the philosopher's final goal, should be 
explained to him as clearly as temperance and 
other virtues have been described in the previous 
conversation. And when the account of the higher 
education has been completed, Socrates again 
remarks on the exceptional powers and capabilities, 
both of mind and body, that will be required in 
persons who are to add such intense intellectual 
toil to the severe exercises exacted of them in their 
earlier years. Moreover, it is provided that they 
shall not enter on the advanced study of the 
sciences in their mutual connexion until they have 
completed that exhausting course of physical 
training which is indispensable, not only for their 
education in courage and soldier-like qualities, but 
to the calling forth of their active powers to 
practical effect, and to the acquisition of that 
bodily strength which will enable them to undergo 
a lifetime of continuous mental labour. Lastly, in 
Book IX., the "King" is said to have had experi- 
ence of the pleasures of gain and honour, as well as 



of the delights of learning. So anxious is Plato, 
as he himself expresses it, to avoid a lame or lop- 
sided result. 

With these provisos, the rulers are of course^ 
before all things accomplished in wisdom. Plato's 
commonwealth is an intellectual aristocracy X Pre- 
disposed as he was to emphasize the claims of birth ^ 
and to contemn the ^avocations of commerce and ( 
industry, experience, added to his master's teaching, 
had led him to transfer his exclusiveness from 
birth to wisdom. He would be ready to say with 
Bacon, " knowledge is power." But the phrase 
from his lips would have a different meaning. For 
the power he aimed at was not command over y 
nature, but the secret of guiding and governing 
human beings rightly. The philosopher having/ 
entire control over the springs of action in himself, 
and framing his life and conduct after the ideal "v 
pattern, is alone competent to mould and direct 
the lives of others. 

A slight difference of expression indicates the 
manner in which here, as elsewhere, Plato's 
thought gathers force with the development of 
his argument, and becomes more positive. At 
the end of Book IV. it was said that it mattered 
little whether the state had one philosophic ruler 
or several. In Books V.-VIL, however, the rulers 
are always spoken of in the plural. This mode 


of regarding them remains at the opening 
of Book VIII., but instead of "rulers," they are 
now denominated "kings," and towards the close 
of Book IX., in contrast to the tyrannical man, 
^ the ideal philosopher is spoken of as " the King." 
■v Thus, although an absolute monarchy is nowhere 
J formulated, the notion of aristocracy seems to be 
gradually modified so as to prepare for such a 
conception. We are reminded of the theocracy 
regretted in the Politicus, and of the young 
despot who is desiderated in the Laws. And if 
we look forward a little, we find a hint also of 
the wise man of the Stoics, who is " lord of him- 
self though not of lands." 

Yet Plato's optimism at the time when he 
wrote the Republic had another aspect, more 
friendly to the people than that which he has 
<v elsewhere displayed. Though he cannot imagine 
. them as becoming imbued with philosophic ideas, 
he refuses to believe that they are irreclaimably 
averse from philosophy. If they could once see the 
I philosopher as he really is, they would joyfully 
accept his government. And the false teachers 
who deceive the people are not so perverse in 
themselves as blinded by an ignoble ambition. 
The sophists prophesy falsely, and the dema- 
gogues bear rule by their means, and the people 
love to have it so, but all this would be altered 


if the philosophic ruler were once effectually 

The true ruler does not desire to rule. Thisy 
to the politician must appear the greatest^ 
paradox of all. Plato lays great stress upon it,/ 
for it is one of the points of his fully developed 
theory which are anticipated in Book I., and if 
stripped of its ironical form, the sentence contains 
an unquestionable truth. Not until thought has* 
slain ambition and the love of country has ovei> / 
borne the love of power and office, does the* 

| statesman attain to the height of real success. 

I The image of the elder Chatham, or of Peel, who 
saved England while incurring the obloquy of 
former friends, may recur to the mind. " The 
ideal statesman must not be in love with power, 
for there will be many rival lovers who will fight 
him for it." He ought to have been familiar 
with a larger outlook than is possible for those 
who only know the dust of the arena. He will 
then come to office as a duty, and not as winning 
a prize. When Glaucon doubts whether those 
who have risen to the contemplation of the idea 
of good can be induced to descend into the 
world of actual life, Socrates merely replies that 
they are just men, and our request is just, for 
they owe their education to the lawgiver, and 
will respond to his appeal. But he might have 


added, that before they were introduced to the 
higher training their patriotism and affection for 
their city had been tried to the utmost and 
not found wanting. This love of country will 
not permit them to refuse the service by which 
their country may be saved. 

2. In Book VI. Socrates expresses a pious horror 

at the thought that pleasure should in any way be 

>f\identified with the good. But in Book IX. it is 

^proved that the pleasure of the king is greatest. 
There is here an apparent discrepancy, which runs 
through Plato's whole treatment of the relation 
of pleasure to the higher life. But the inconsist- 
ency is superficial, although the subject, even 
in the Philebus, is not quite clearly thought out. 
In the Protagoras the pleasure of the moment 
is contrasted with a supposed scientific estimate 
of the greatest amount of pleasure in the long-run. 
But the emphasis is laid, not on the amount of 
pleasure, but on the importance of the art of 
measuring, which is indispensable if that amount 

„ is to be secured. When taken out of the ironical 
Socratic form, the meaning is s een to be , that not 

^ pleasure but knowledge is the proper object of 
pursuit. " Poor human beings, pursue pleasure if 
you will — that may be the inevitable condition of 
your being; but know, that you cannot achieve 
your end until you have acquired the power of true 


comparison, by which you can ' forecast the years 
and find in loss a gain to match.' " In other words, 
nen are advised to renounce pleasure as their 

^immediate aim, and seek after wisdom, with the 
assurance that the pleasure most worth havi/g 

v* will ultimately follow. Long afterwards, in the 
Thecetetus, the momentary and permanent are 
similarly contrasted ; the expert in each science 
is the judge of future pleasure, though it be only 
the satisfaction of appetite ; the cook knows best 
whether I shall enjoy my dinner or not. 

In the Gorgias, Plato's idealism has led him 
into a paradoxical mood, in which pleasure is 
passionately discarded. But there is a corre- 
sponding opposition between wishing and willing, 
and it is assumed that knowledge is the cure of 
• caprice. In place of the art of measuring, there 
is here advanced the sense of true proportion, 
described under the figure of geometry, the 
science which Callicles has neglected. On this, 
as on some other questions, the Republic presents 
a moderate and comprehensive view. Pleasure 
i is not one with the highest life, but is inseparable 
from it. Once more in the Laws it is frankly 
admitted that, considering the frailty of human 
nature, the Lawgiver would be ill-advised if he 
did not at the outset exert his gift of persuasive 
speech to convince mankind that, in following 


his precepts, they would find the truest pleasure ; 
~ that wisdom is the secret of happiness : " Her 
ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her patr s 
are peace." 

Certainly the writer of the Laws has travelled 
a long way since he wrote the Gorgzas, where the 
art of persuasion was denounced as valueless, and 
delights were scorned in comparison with laborious 
days. The only use of rhetoric, it was then ironi- 
cally said, is to secure conviction and punishment 
for ourselves and friends when we or they have 
sinned. Yet the difference of attitude is not a 
difference of spirit. In the Gorgias he was defy- 
ing the world that had slain Socrates; in the 
Laws, at least a generation later, he has a faint 
hope of conciliating mankind, to whom he is 
aware that a life without pleasure would seem 
to be no life at all. His studies in psychology 
had also taught him the truth which Aristotle 
expressed more tersely, that pleasure is the 
accompaniment and momentary reflex of all vital 
energy, differing only with the different modes 
of life. Even in the Republic he distinguishes 
not only between necessary and unnecessary 
pleasures, but also between those which are honour- 
able and dishonourable. His. jealousy of pleasure, 
v as a motive of action, indeed, increased with years : 
the victory over pleasure is the test and triumph 


of virtue. But he does not practically yield to 
the cynic view, which would rob moral action of 
its natural reward. He rather asserts that the 
highest life is accompanied with the highest 
pleasure, and that the philosopher alone can tell * 
L how infinitely more precious is the delight of \ 
scientific discovery than that of the lover's con- y 
quest, or the glory of a feast. In the Philebus, 
not only the pleasures of knowledge, but the pure 
pleasures of sense, especially those of colour and 
smell, are admitted as elements in the composition 
of the Good. There is no inconsistency, then, in 
saying that children are to be led to delight in all 
that makes for virtue, and at the same time assert- 
ing that the denial of those pleasures which form 
temptation is essential to the perfect man. 

References, Chapter VIII. 

p. 1 1 6. Cf. Dante, Purg., xxx. n8ff. 

p. 117. Jowett's Introduction to the Republic, vol. iii., p. cxcvii. 

p. 118. Republic, Book VI., p. 503 c (Jowett's Translation 

slightly altered), 
p. 121. Nettleship, p. 96. "His conceptions are never at 

rest in his hands." 
p. 122. "The people good at bottom," see Nettleship, p. 204. 
p. 125. Jowett's Introduction to the Republic, vol. iii., pp. 

cxliii., cxliv. ; Laws, Book II., pp. 662, 663. 



THERE is no part of the Republic in which Plato's 
creative imagination is so vividly displayed as in 
Books VIII. and IX. None is so rich in experi- 
ence, — and in none is the experience so trans- 
figured and transfused with thought and wit and 

i. In the Dorian type of constitution, or Timo- 
cracy, as it is here denominated, true wisdom is 
overbalanced by ambition. But courage and the 
love of honour still remain. There is a traditional 
reverence for age and authority; but while the 
form of law remains, the power of it is under- 
mined by occult wilfulness. Athleticism dulls 
the edge of culture. The rulers treat their 
subjects harshly. Those who were formerly their 
free and loving providers are now an inferior 
populace who work under compulsion. The state 
as a whole is always at war. There is also a 



more subtle change, preparing trouble for the 
future. Through some fault of breeding, elements 
of brass and iron have got mingled with the gold 
and silver ; and notwithstanding the stability of 
time-honoured institutions, a secret vein of cove- 
tousness is harboured in the high places of the 
state. The nobles have their separate strong- 
holds and private treasuries where they keep their 
wives and favourites in forbidden Juxury. Having 
themselves been schooled by force, they are apt 
to skulk and hide from the law. 

Those illicit hoards are the cause of the further 
change from Timocracy to Oligarchy, or Pluto- 
cracy — the government of wealth. The vener- 
able laws which have become honeycombed with 
secret irregularities are gradually set aside, and 
the warrior chieftains rival one another in the 
accumulation of riches. At last they adopt a new 
constitution, founded not on birth or valour, but 
on a property qualification. The consequence is, 
an incompetent magistracy and an ever-widening 
gulf which separates the rich from the poor. It 
is a condition fraught with evils, and full of danger. 
For the two classes into which the commonwealth 
is now divided are always plotting each against 
the other, and the official leaders cannot count on 
being loyally followed in the war. 

As wealth increases, extravagance also springs 



up and flourishes, and numbers of the upper class 
are ruined. And as more and more become im- 
poverished, a strange phenomenon is developed, 
in the multiplication of paupers and criminals, — 
an ever-growing swarm of " drones," some sting- 
less, but some armed with stings and prepared 
for any mischief. 

The rich men are more and more engrossed 
with money-grubbing, and affect to be blind to 
the evils by which they gain immediate profit ; 
till by-and-by the lean and hungry multitude 
become conscious of their strength. " And often 
rulers and their subjects may come in one another's 
way, whether on a journey or on some other 
occasion of meeting, on a pilgrimage or a march 
as fellow-soldiers or fellow-sailors ; ay, and they 
may observe the behaviour of each other in the 
very moment of danger — for where danger is 
there is no fear that the poor will be despised by 
the rich — and very likely the wiry, sunburnt, poor 
man may be placed in battle at the side of a 
delicate and burly rich man, who has never spoiled 
his complexion, and has plenty of superfluous 
flesh. When he sees such an one, purring and at 
his wit's end, how can he avoid drawing the 
conclusion that men like him are only rich be- 
cause no one has the courage to despoil them ? 
And when the poor men meet in private, will 


they not be saying to one another, ' The plutocrats 
are at our mercy, for they are nothing worth."' 
The result is a revolution, in which the proletariate 
conquers and the state is plunged into democracy. 

As Sparta, with her mingled good and evil, stood 
for the picture of Timocracy, so under the image 
of Democracy contemporary Athens is satirically 
described. The satire is good-humoured, but 

" Socrates. — He who has a mind to establish a 
state as we have been doing, must go to a demo- 
cracy as he would to a bazaar at which they sell 
them, and pick out the one that suits him ; then 
when he has made his choice, he may found his 

" Glaucon. — He will be sure to have patterns 

" Socrates. — And there being no necessity, I said, 
for you to govern in this state, even if you have 
the capacity, or to be governed unless you like, 
or to go to war when the rest go to war, or to be 
at peace when others are at peace, unless you are 
so disposed — there being no necessity also, because 
some law forbids you to hold office or to be a 
dicast, that you should not hold office or be a 
dicast, if you have a fancy : is not this a way 
of life which for the moment is supremely 
delightful ? 


" Glaucon. — For the moment, yes." 

That is the earlier stage, in which the demo- 
cratic constitution retains something of stability 
or rather of an unstable equilibrium. But by- 
and-by, as the lust for freedom grows by what 
it feeds on, and the intoxicating draughts are 
ministered in excess, lovers of order are at a 
discount, and no one is honoured but the pro- 
fessing friend of the people. 

"The state would have subjects who are like 
rulers, and rulers who are like subjects. These 
are the men after her own heart, whom she praises 
and honours both in public and private." Then 
follows a humorous picture of liberty unlimited. 
" The father grows accustomed to descend to the 
level of his sons and to fear them, and the son 
is on a level with his father, he having no respect 
or reverence for either of his parents ; and 
this is his freedom, and the metic (naturalized 
foreigner) is equal with the citizen, and the 
citizen with the metic, and the stranger is quite 
as good as either." 

"Yes," he said, "that is the way." 

"And these are not the only evils," I said, 
"there are several lesser ones. In such a state 
of society the master fears and flatters his 
scholars, and the scholars despise their masters 
and tutors ; young and old are all alike ; and 


the young man is on a level with the old, and is 
ready to compete with him in word or deed ; and 
the old men condescend to the young, and are 
full of pleasantry and gaiety; they are loth to 
be thought morose and authoritative, and there- 
fore they adopt the manners of the young." 

He adds that the slave is as free as his master, 
and that women assert their equality with men ; 
and the description, which is not without reality, 
ends with an extravagant touch of humour. " The 
horses and asses have a way of marching along 
with all the rights and dignities of freemen ; and 
they will run at anybody who comes in their way, 
if he does not leave the road clear for them." 
Glaucon replies, and his experience is not singular, 
that the same thing has often happened to him 
when walking in the country. 

Under the gaily variegated surface of this 
smiling anarchy, the state is fermenting with the 
germs of further change. The excess of freedom 
is preparing for the extreme of servitude. Re- 
action is an universal law. The " drones " are 
multiplied in such an atmosphere, and they have 
lined their cells. The keener and more active 
spirits amongst them (the drones with stings) 
assume the part of demagogues, and they are 
followed by the stingless drones, who deafen the 
assembly and the law-courts with their clamorous 


applause. Between them they occupy the public 
offices, and fleece the sleek and comfortable 
citizens, while the small landholders, who form 
the mass of the people, and might sway the 
commonwealth if they would, are not quickly 
roused to political action, and are only too easily 
prejudiced against the rich, or else bribed to 
silence by a share of the spoil. The richer men 
are thus forced against their will to club together. 
(There is a federation ' of the capitalists.) Re- 
viled as oligarchs, they become oligarchs indeed. 
The people are alarmed, and choose a protector, 
whom they invest with dictatorial powers. The 
man thus armed attacks some private enemy, and 
blood-feuds ensue. He then demands a body- 
guard, and the people grant it to him, not fear- 
ing for themselves, but for their dear defender. 
At that signal of approaching storm the rich 
oligarch, if he is to save his life, must flee. 

The despot in his first days is full of smiles 
and promises, and some of his enemies are 
reconciled to him, but not all : some Hampden 
or John Selden stands out for law and liberty ; 
proscription follows ; the tallest heads are lopped 
away ; all that is most precious is destroyed, and 
only things vile and refuse remain subject to 
the accomplished tyrant. Even by these he is 
hated, and lives in constant danger and suspicion. 


He surrounds himself with mercenary troops (the 
Swiss guard), a worse mischief than the stinging 
drones, and arms the slaves of his subjects to 
recruit his body-guard. To feed that motley 
company, he robs the temples, and at last lays 
hand upon the goods and persons of the people 
themselves, who in their simplicity trusted him 
with power. He is a parricide who does violence 
to the father who begat him, and to his mother- 

That is the consummation of political disaster. 
Plato's account of the evolution of tyranny is 
less inspired by any historical survey than by his 
anxiety to indicate and summarize existing 
conditions, and to emphasize the dangers which 
he perceived in the politics of contemporary 
Athens. He warns his countrymen that they 
are in the rapids which lead towards the Niagara 
of tyranny. 

2. In the description of typical individuals corre- 
sponding to the imperfect states, there is revealed 
a tendency analogous to that which found expres- 
sion in the characters of Theophrastus. Aristotle's 
picture of the magnanimous man is in a similar 

The order of the characterizations, the minute 
parallelism between individuals and states, and 
the management of the transitions, is at once 


very ingenious and extremely fanciful. But many 
touches are clearly taken from life. The Spartan 
character appears in the timocratical man, who 
is no speaker, but fond of hearing speeches and 
songs. He is rough with his slaves, a huntsman, 
and ambitious in war. Like Coriolanus, his 
pride makes him the victim of popular syco- 
phants and informers, and his son takes warning 
and flings away ambition ; thus descending a 
step lower in the moral scale, from the love of 
honour to the pursuit of wealth — for reason has 
been long since dethroned. With that ignoble 
aim he keeps his animal passions in control. 
But they swarm within him, for both high 
/ thoughts and honourable ambitions are subdued, 
and where he has no fear of detection he is ready 
to rob the fatherless, and defraud the widow. 
That swarm of low desires, Socrates compares 
to the "drones" in the state, and in like manner 
some of them are violent, while some are only 

This " oligarchical " man in turn begets a son, 
whom he educates to hold in check the irregular 
desires, not from any noble motive, but to avoid 
expense, and to obtain satisfaction for those 
cravings which are necessary for comfortable 
life. But the city abounds with rogues and 
spendthrifts, of whose honied delights the young 


man tastes in an evil hour. His lawless passions 
then are reinforced, and after a struggle in which 
his father's precepts prove to have little force, 
because they were not grounded on principles 
of reason, that empty head is crowded with 
vain thoughts, which seize upon the citadel of 
his soul. 

" The state of man, 
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then 
The nature of an insurrection." 

The youth then takes up his abode with the 
"lotus-eaters," from whom he learns to call evil 
good and good evil, and a period of wild revelry 
and dissipation follows ; but when the storm and 
stress are somewhat abated he settles down into 
more respectable ways, still indulging every chance 
impulse, but in moderation as he conceives, giving 
the reins to each in turn, and leading a life not 
of vulgar or slavish passion, but what he deems 
moderate enjoyment of the pleasures of life. The 
description is perhaps partly taken from the career 
of Alcibiades. " He lives from day to day indulg 
ing the appetite of the hour, and sometimes he 
is lapped in drink and strains of the flute. Then 
he becomes a water-drinker, and tries to get thin. 
Then he takes a turn at gymnastics, sometimes 
idling and neglecting everything, then once more 


living the life of a philosopher. Often he is busy 
with politics. He starts to his feet and says 
and does whatever comes into his head ; and if 
he is emulous of any one who is a warrior, off 
he is in that direction, or of men of business, 
once more in that. His life has neither law nor 
order, and this distracted existence he terms joy, 
and bliss, and freedom. 

In short, he is "not one man, but all men's 
epitome." This man again begets a son in his 
likeness, and brings him up in his own ways. 
But the boy is less fortunate than his father, 
for instead of ranging himself after his first youth, 
he becomes possessed with a great master-passion 
which sways him to his ruin. And when he has 
spent all and is reduced to dire straits, there is 
no crime which he will not commit without 
scruple. He falls into a depth of wickedness and 
misery beyond description : but there is a lower 
deep which still awaits him, when others, like 
himself, taking advantage of the infatuation of 
a democracy, conspire to set him on the throne 
of tyranny. Of the tyrannical man-made tyrant, 
it is said : " He grows worse from having power ; 
he becomes, and is of necessity, more jealous, 
more faithless, more unjust, more friendless, more 
impious than he was at first ; he is the purveyor 
and cherisher of every sort of vice ; and the 


consequence is, that he is supremely miserable, 
and that he makes everybody else as miserable as 

It is impossible to condense into a few words 
the impressiveness, the exuberance and the 
ingenuity which Plato has put forth in this 
representation of the ideal of evil, and of the 
misery of a passion-ridden soul. One feels that he 
is terribly in earnest. The pathetic utterance of 
Macbeth, — 

" The things that should accompany old age, 
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, 
I may not look to have, but in their stead 
Curses not loud but deep," — 

is expanded into a heart-moving tragedy. 

The wretchedness of the tyrannical man. is 
finally contrasted with the happiness of the king — 
that is to say, of the philosopher who is a ruler 
in the ideal city — and whether such a common- 
wealth ever comes into existence upon this earth 
or not, there is an eternal pattern of it in the 
heavens, after which every wise man will frame his 
individual life. 

References, Chapter IX. 

p. 128. On weak points in the Spartan character, see Laws, 
I pp. 633 ff. ; Aristotle, Politics, Book VII., c. 
14, VIII., c. 4 ; Netlleship) p. 306. 


p. 129. Republic, VIII., p. 544 C, avxydv yfyovaa ko.kG)V iroKireia ; 

p. 130. Republic,^ III., p. 556, adopting J. Adam's emendation 

(which I had hit upon independently), tivdpes 

7)lxiTepoi' del yhp ov5h. 
p. 131. Republic, VIII., pp. 562, 563. 
p. 134. Herodotus, v. 92 ; Aristotle, Politics, V., p. 10. 
p. 135. Aristotle, Eth. Nic, Book IV., c. 8. 
p. 137. (1) Republic, VIII., p. 561 CD. 
p. 138. (2) Republic, IX., p. 580 A. 
p. 139. For the pattern in the Heavens, cf. Book VI., p. 500 c. 

Plate V.— A Siren. 

{British Museum.) 

[To face page 141. 




In Book II. it was said that while God is absolutely 
true in thought, and word, and deed, some measure 
of falsehood in words must be permitted to human 
beings who, to satisfy a laudable desire, invent 
fables about past things of which the truth is 
hidden from them. Plato would doubtless have 
extended this allowance to those fictions of which 
he is so fond, representing not the past, but those 
eternal verities which the mind partly apprehends 
but cannot wholly comprehend. His Socrates, in 
the immediate prospect of death, discourses of the 
destiny of the soul in language which he himself 
describes as mythological. The myth in the 
Phczdrus, with the picture of the beatific vision, 
beheld by the aspiring souls who ride once round 
the back of heaven, is exceptionally bold ; and yet 
in the later part of the same Dialogue, is said to 
have been thrown out " in play." The vision of 



judgment in the Gorgias was introduced by the 
remark that it is really an argument and not a 
myth ; but there is a reason for this, because 
Callicles who is to hear it is expected to ridicule 
the doctrine as an old wives' fable. 

The two chief places in the Republic where the 
philosopher has recourse to a similar indulgence of 
the imagination, are: (i) at the opening of Book 
VII., where under the image of the prisoners in 
the den, he illustrates the relation between poor, 
uneducated human nature, and the world of ideas 
presided over by the form of good ; and (2) at the 
conclusion of Book X., and of the whole Dialogue, 
where Socrates repeats the tale of Er, the son of 
Armenius, who described the vision which his 
temporarily disembodied spirit had seen. 

I do not propose to repeat the substance of these 
great passages ; but merely to offer some remarks 
which may assist readers of the Dialogue to realize 
the meaning of particular expressions which are 
apt to be imperfectly understood. It is hoped 
that the accompanying illustrations may render 
my observations more intelligible. 

1. The Fable of the Cave or Den. 

This allegory, which suggested to Bacon his 
brilliant aphorisms in the Novum Organum con- 
cerning the idola, must be read in connection with 
the classification of mental faculties and their 


objects at the close of Book VI. The method is 
not unlike that in the passage of the Phcedo above 
referred to. There mankind were said to dwell in 
a deep hollow, filled with a "congregation of" foul 
and corrosive " vapours," where they were as igno- 
rant of the real earth and sky as frogs at the bottom 
of a pool. " There are many such ' dim spots,' or 
misty depressions about the surface of the globe, 
which, as a whole, is gleaming with ruby, emerald, 
and sapphire radiance in the light of Heaven. 
Could the poor indwellers but put their heads 
above, as fishes leap on the surface of the Bay of 
Salami's to greet the rising sun, how different would 
the world appear to them ! " 

In Book VII. human beings in their unenlight- 
ened state are represented as chained in the 
furthest recess of a deep cavern, with their faces? 
turned away from such glimmerings of daylight as/ 
feebly penetrate there. The illustration (Plate VI.) 
represents a section of the cave. The sitting figure 
must be imagined as riveted and manacled, so as to 
be unable to move or even turn the head. He is 
one of an endless line of individuals, each of whom 
is similarly situated. The shadows at which he 
gazes are cast by the objects which are carried 
along by persons hidden behind the parapet or/ 
screen, and are thrown, by the light of the fire 
which is burning, towards the entrance of the cave>> 


'he fire represents the sun, who in Book VI. is 
said to be the offspring of the Good, and lord of the 
. visible sphere. The images which cast the shadows 
1 are natural kinds, created in the likeness of eternal 
realities and moved by divine powers who are 
emissaries of the supreme Creator. (Compare the 
Demiurgi in the Timceus.) The shadows, which 
alone the man can fee, are the transient impres- 
sions of sensible experience, which the uncultivated 
mind receives. What, then, is implied in education ? 
There are several stages. First, the fetters are 
knocked off, and the man is turned about so as to 
behold the images that are being carried past, 
hey are pointed out to him, and he is asked to 
ame them. That step is analogous to the cross- 
questioning method of Socrates. Then he is 
c ragged up the rough ascent, until he is brought at 
hngth above and beyond the fire into the light of 
c ay. He is dazzled at first ; but by degrees he 

E's accustomed to the glare. This process corre- 
nds to the training in the sciences which is 
paratory to dialectic or the study of the ideas. 
This also is a gradual process. The pupil is first 
taught to look at the reflections in the water, that 
is, perhaps, to study the ideas through language ; 
then to look steadily at real objects, that is, at the 
ideas in 'their abstraction ; first singly, then com- 
prehensively (the connection of the sciences). 


Then he lifts his eyes to the moon and stars by 
night (i.e., perhaps, the highest abstractions or 
categories of being, sameness, difference, unity, 
etc.) ; and last of all, he is able to gaze directly at 
the sun, that is, to contemplate the idea of Good. 

No allegory ought to be pressed too hard, and 
we have found elsewhere that Plato's thought is 
ever-growing, and refuses to be tied down to a 
previous statement. Therefore, although the whole 
passage, as observed above, is an application of the 
view expressed at the end of Book VI., the 
parallelism must not be presumed to be precisely 
exact. It would be misleading, for example, to 
identify tooc^oselyjthe reflections in the water with 
the "hypotheses" of Book VI., or the idola (the 
images that are carried past) with the visible 
symbols of the mathematical sciences. That the 
objects which cast the shadows and are inter- 
mediate between them and the archetypes, are not 
merely mathematical, is sufficiently proved by an 
expression in p. 517, where the educated man on 
returning to the cave is compelled to dispute 
about the images of Just ice or the skadows-oi the 
images, that is to say, the^actual institutions of the 
state or the opinions of his contemporaries con- 
cerning them. Here the images (idola) of Justice 
have nothing to do with squares or circles, planes 
or solids (though the first of these might be a 



Pythagorean notion), but are simply the earthly 
embodiments of the ideal, the fleeting shadows of 
which are all that the uneducated can apprehend. 

Not only are these shadows flitting along the 
wall of the cave, but there are also faint echoes 
of the voices proceeding from the unseen beings 
who bear the images. These echoes only the 
prisoners hear. This additional circumstance 
prepares for the introduction of the science of 
harmony, in regard to which Plato's idealism 
transcends the speculations alike of the empirics 
in music and the Pythagorean philosophers them- 
selves. " Heard harmonies are sweet, but those 
unheard are sweeter." 

In the fable next to be considered it will appear 
that the voices of the Sirens, singing all together 
one melody in one key, for ever accompany the 
eight revolving spheres. 

The height of abstraction which leads Plato to 
disregard methods of observation in the sciences 
of Astronomy and Harmony, is nowhere more 
apparent than in the contemptuous phrase with 
vjwhich he dismisses the so-called philosophy of the 
prisoners in the den. The brief sentence might 
almost serve as an abstract of the system, which 

Jin modern times has been known as Sensational- 
ism. " If they were in the habit of conferring 
honours among themselves on those who were 


quickest to observe the passing shadows, and to 
remark which of them went before, and which 
followed after, and which were together, and who 
were therefore best able to draw conclusions as 
to the future, do you think that he would care for 
such honours and glories, or envy the possessors 
of them ? Would he not say with Homer, " ' Better 
to be the poor servant of a poor master,' and to 
endure anything, rather than think as they do, 
and live after their manner ? " 

Do we not seem to hear the very catch-words, 
Contiguity, Simultaneity, Succession ? 

2. The Vision of Judgment. 

The early commentators declare that Plato 
borrowed much from Orphic sources, and it is 
manifest that some parts of his work are coloured 
by Pythagorean ism. It has also been suggested 
that the fable now in question was derived from 
a Zoroastrian origin. Clement of Alexandria 
even asserted that Er, the son of Armenius, was 
no other than Zoroaster. But it is still doubtful 
whether the Platonic elements in the Zend-Avesta 
have not been introduced at some later time. 

It is impossible to determine how much of what 
may be termed the Platonic mythology may have 
been suggested by one or another of these several 
traditions. But one thing is certain r Plato uses 
these and all his materials with absolute freedom 


and originality. Whether he repeats an Orphic, 
a Pythagorean, or a Zoroastrian fancy, he stands 
behind it, moulding it anew and making it the 
vehicle for the expression of his individual 

Take, for example, the Pythagorean passages, 
in which some elaborate manipulation of numerical 
proportions is made to symbolize a moral or 
political conception. The number of the State, 
in Book VIII., has never been explained, and it 
isrnoX. certain that Plato intended it to be in- 
telligible. What he clearly means is to express 
{/ his conviction that political changes depend on 
subtle and intricate conditions, the law of which, 
were it ascertainable, might be expressed in a 
mathematical formula. But if the philosophic 
rulers not yet called into being are expected to 
fail to observe it, through the admixture of sense 
still clinging to their reason, is it supposable that 
Socrates could have grasped it, or expressed it 
completely? Or why should Plato be so careful 
to tell us that the Muses, in expounding their 
magnificent theorem, are playing with us in mock 
earnest and laughing in their sleeves ? 

The mathematical passage in Book IX., which 
serves to measure the gulf that separates the king 
from the tyrant, is put forward as an attempt to 
express the inexpressible. If the misery of the 


tyrant has escaped beyond the reach of calculation, 
can Plato be serious in finding an expression for 
it in the cube of nine ? 

This consideration may suggest an argument 
against the very ingenious theory which makes the 
number of the State 12,960,000. Did any ancient 
arithmetician ever deal with numbers on this scale ? 

We pass now to the vision of Er. The Gorgias 
and Phcedo, both earlier than the Republic, the 
Gorgias much earlier, have each of them a fabulous 
description of the judgment of souls ; and some- 
thing may be learned by comparing these two 
passages with the end of the Republic, — not with 
the futile aim of harmonizing discrepancies, but 
rather to trace the development of Plato's thought. 
In the Gorgias, as in the Republic, the place of 
judgment is said to be "in the meadow." In our 
dialogue it has been previously described as a 
mysterious place, but in the Gorgias the meadow 
is spoken of without preface, and with the article 
prefixed. May we conclude from this that "the 
meadow " had been the scene of similar descrip- 
tions in an earlier mythology? The Gorgias 
retains other traditional features which are 
dropped in the Republic. The souls from Asia 
are judged by ^Eacus, those from Europe by 
Rhadamanthys, while the Cretan Minos arbitrates 
as judge of appeal. In the Republic there is no 


such distinction. May we not suppose that 
nationality has ceased to have any importance for 
disembodied souls? And does not this rather 
support the conjecture that Er, the Pamphylian, 
is Man of all races, or of no particular race ? 

In the Gorgias the place of judgment is said to 
be at the parting of the ways which lead severally 
towards Tartarus and the Islands of the Blest. 
But in the Republic, the righteous souls ascend to 
Heaven through a rift in the sky, and the con- 
demned pass downward to the lower places of the 
earth — Tartarus, however, as also in the Phcedo 
being a special prison-house in the lowest depth, 
reserved for those whose wickedness is incurable. 
(In the Gorgias the incurables were said to be 
made a warning to others.) In all this there 
seems to be an advance from a traditional to a 
more spiritual view. 

We may note some corresponding changes in 
looking back from the Republic to the Phcedo ', where 
the torments of the wicked are indicated by their 
being confined to this or that infernal river, 
Cocytus or Phlegethon, according to their crimes ; 
the worst of all being condemned to everlasting 
imprisonment in Tartarus ; whereas in the Republic 
the horrors of the under-world are left undescribed, 
but are made more impressive by the groans and 
lamentations with which the souls returning from 


below are said to have recounted them, and the 
awe with which the returning souls had witnessed 
the doom of those not destined to return. One 
other difference between the Phcedo and Republic 
may be mentioned before leaving the Phcedo, 
— though not strictly in place. It is minute, but 
significant. Socrates speaks, in the Phcedo, of the 
genius of Destiny, to whom each soul had been 
assigned by lot. But in the Republic it is explicitly 
proclaimed that the Genius who is to assume the 
guidance of the soul at birth, is to be chosen by the 
soul herself. Plato here touches upon the problem/ 
which has vexed theologians in modern times — 
the question of Necessity or Free-will. He allowy 
a limited freedom, and though the limits are ex- 
tremely narrow, yet he dwells emphatically on 
the consequent responsibility : " Here, my dear 
Glaucon, is the supreme peril of our human state, 
and therefore the utmost care should be taken. Let 
each one of us leave every other kind of knowledge 
and seek and follow one thing only, if peradven- 
ture he may be able to learn and may find some- 
one who will make him able to learn and discern 
between good and evil ; and so to choose always and 
everywhere the better life as he has opportunity." 

But this is to anticipate ; for the choice of lives 
comes afterwards. We return to Er's narrative. 
When the just and unjust souls of the lately dead 


had been judged and gone to their reward, the 
returning pilgrims from above and from beneath 
who were assembled in the meadow continued there 
for seven days in mutual converse, interchanging 
their experiences. Then all were marshalled in a 
throng, and marched to where they saw the pillar 
of iridescent light that holds together the universal 
sphere. This shaft seems to be imagined as pass- 
ing through the centre of the earth, from the upper 
to the nether pole of the outer Heaven. It is not 
visible from the habitable part of the globe, and 
is only reached after a journey of several days. 
The earth is imagined spherical, as already in the 
Phcedo, but Plato has not yet revised the notion 
of " upward and downward." That is reserved for 
the Timceus. The outer heaven is imagined as 
fastened together with a chain, the ends of which 
hang downward from the pole, and to these is 
affixed by its hook the Spindle of Necessity. The 
august form of Necessity sits amidst the iridescent 
light ; the spindle turns upon her lap, and the three 
Fates, who are seated round her on their thrones, 
are moving it. The spindle's movement is said to 
be the means of heavenly revolutions. But no 
mechanical stress or impact is really to be supposed. 
It would be a mistake so to attempt to explain the 
passage. The spindle is in fact a sort of orrery, 
symbolizing the celestial motions, according to the 


{To face i?2. 


astronomical theory which Plato accepted at the 
time. His dynamics, if one may use the expres- 
sion, are not mechanical, but vital or spiritual, 
depending on some occult and mysterious, but 
rational, motive, which gives to the revolutions of 
the orbs a mathematical regularity. As in the 
vision of Ezekiel, " the spirit of the living creature 
is in the wheels." The astronomical fact is referred 
to a psychical principle of regulated volition. 

The shaft of light is probably borrowed from the 
Pythagorean central fire, round which the earth 
revolved, turning her face away from it. No 
revolution of the earth seems to be thought of 
here. And if she does revolve on her axis in 
the Timceus, it must be very slowly indeed, only 
so as to account for the precession of the equinoxes. 
Besides the grand figures of Necessity and the 
Fates, there are Sirens, one resting on each of the 
revolving orbits, — 

" That sing, and singing in their glory move," 

— each emitting one note, and making amongst 
them one melody. Compare Christina Rossetti : 

" Jerusalem makes melody 
For simple joy of heart ; 
An organ full of compass she, 
One-tuned through every part." 

To this melody the Fates are ever chanting: 


Lachesis, of the Past, Clotho, of the Present, 
Atropos, of the Future. 

In the accompanying illustrations, the reader will 
find, on the left hand, the drawing of an ancient 
spindle, reproduced from Bliimner's Technologic 
The hook, however, which should have crowned 
the shaft and which took hold of the wool to be 
spun, is absent here. The whorl or weight that 
balanced the motion is seen in profile, but so 
as to show something of the upper surface, which is 
decorated with concentric grooves. This form 
corresponds to the description in the Republic. 
Turning now to the diagram on the right hand, 
the upper surface of the whorl of Necessity's 
spindle will be found represented there. The 
whorl consists of eight circular cups fitting into 
one another like Chinese boxes. Their edges thus 
form one smooth face in eight compartments. 
Beginning from outside, the first and broadest 
rim represents the starry sphere, the second that 
of Saturn, the third the sphere of Jupiter, the 
fourth of Mars, the fifth of Mercury, the sixth of 
Venus, the seventh of the sun, the eighth of the 
moon. The little disc within this shows a section 
of the shaft of the spindle, which pierces through 
the whorl at this central point. The whole moves 
from left to right, completing the revolution in 
a day. But the seven inner boxes are retarded 

Plate VIII. 

Fig. i. — An Ancient Spindle: showing the form of the Whorl. 

The metal hook at the top, by which the wool was drawn from the distaff, is lost. 

Plate VIII. 

Fig. 2. — Upper surface of the Whorl attached to the 
Spindle of Necessity. 

The small disc in the centre represents a section of the shaft, which is 
driven through the innermost circle. The order of the several rims in point of 
breadth is shown by the numerals, I, 2, 3, etc. The capitals, A B, C, etc., 
mark the relative swiftness of the retrograde movements, or, in other words, the 
periods in which the "Planets," including sun and moon, accomplish their 
several revolutions, as distfhct from the diurnal revolution in which all partici- 

[To go between pages 154- 


by a counter or retrograde movement from right 
to left, which carries the moon round in a month, 
the sun in a year, and the remainder with varying 
velocity, as specified in the diagram. Mercury and 
Venus here simply accompany the sun. The 
eccentric variations in their movements referred to 
in the Timceus are ignored, perhaps as interfering 
with simplicity and symmetry. The colours are 
of course as generally perceived. Venus is less 
white than Jupiter, because her nearness to the 
sunrise or sunset affects her with a corresponding 
tinge. The shaft and hook of the spindle, which 
connect it with the outer heaven, are of pure 
adamant or steel ; the whorl of adamant alloyed 
with other metals, because nothing that is 
corporeal can be absolutely pure. The Fates, 
who control the heavenly motions, are also con- 
cerned with the human destinies of the souls 
who are now gathered round the vision. Lachesis, 
the power of the past upon the future, a sort of 
Karma, gives the word for the lottery and choice 
of lives. Her minister throws down the lots and 
scatters the specimens of life-careers, and then 
utters the warning of the goddess, daughter of 
Necessity. It is at this point that the doctrine of 
Free-will comes in. 

"You are to choose," says the exponent of 
Lachesis, " the genius which is to be your destiny. 


There is no monopoly of virtue, but as a man 
honours or dishonours her in making his choice, 
he will have more or less of her ; the responsibility- 
is with the chooser, — God is justified." So in 
Timczus, 42 D., the Creator gives laws to His 
creatures, that He may be guiltless of future evil 
in any of them, and instructs the younger gods so 
to pilot the mortal animal as to avert from it 
all but self-inflicted harms. Compare also Laws, 
X., 904, where God is described as placing living 
beings in a state of probation, and making their 
future character to depend on virtue and vice, of 
which one or the other is to be chosen in an 
instant. The allegory is not to be too closely 
pressed : for while it is said that the life-career 
selected before birth determines character, this 
is followed by the exhortation to study philosophy, 
so that everywhere, both here and hereafter, a man 
may choose the best life with reference to its moral 
effect. In the Phcedrus, likewise, the decree of 
predestination (Oeo-/xo? ASpacrrelag) contains the 
provision that the soul before being re-embodied 
shall be free to choose her life career. As Nettle- 
ship has well expressed it, " Circumstance, the fact 
of choice, and the irrevocableness of choice, are the 
three great elements in life." It is needless to 
recapitulate the graphic scene which follows, "at 
once sad, and laughable, and strange," or to dwell 


at any length on the links which bind the impres- 
sive conclusion to the previous discourse — such 
as the association of irredeemable wickedness 
with tyranny. 

Lachesis, the goddess of the lot, directs each 
individual soul to be led by the genius of her 
destiny beneath the hand of Clotho, who spins 
the thread accordingly, and then to the work of 
Atropos, who makes firm and irreversible what 
has been spun. Then one by one they pass 
beneath the throne of Necessity. That is a 
solemn moment. The Fates who guide and 
regulate the cosmic motions, and the same 
supreme, inevitable Law, have thus to do also 
with individual destinies. The souls are then 
conducted through fierce heat, which aggravates 
their thirst, to the barren plain and fleeting river 
of forgetfulness. Here again there is some room 
for choice, for the wiser spirits drink less in spite 
of the thirst, and are less completely steeped in 
oblivion. At midnight, amidst thunder and earth- 
quake, they are launched to their several births 
" like shooting stars." 

There is not space to consider the influence of 
this great myth on subsequent literature and 
belief; for it is time to conclude with a few 
general remarks on the relation of Plato's Republic 
to modern life and thought. It is enough to 


observe that Plato, in finishing this great work, 
returns, as in a piece of music, to the leading 
motive of the Moral Ideal. 

References, Chapter X. 

p. 141. (1) Republic, Book II., p. 382 D. 

(2) Republic, Book VI., pp. 506 Eff. 

(3) Phcedo, pp. 61 E, 114D. 

(4) Phcedrus, pp. 246 ff., 265 C ; Gorgias, p. 523 A. 

p. 142. Bacon, Novum Organum, I., Aph. 38-44 ; Tinuzus, 
pp. 41 ff. ; Phcedo, III., A-C ; cf. Dante, Inferno, 
Canto IX., 11. 82-3— 

Dal volto rimovea quell' aer grasso, 

Menando la sinistra inanzi spesso. 

p. 144. Cf Republic, Book III., p. 402 B, eUSvas ypq/xfidruv 


p. 146. (1) On the music of the spheres, see Nettleship, p. 

(2) Republic, VII., p. 515 B. 
p. 147. (1) See James Darmesteter's commentary on his 

translation of the Zend-Avesta into French, 
p. 148. (1) Republic, Book VIII., p. 546. 

(2) Nettleship, p. 302. 

(3) Republic, Book IX., p. 587 C-E. 

p. 149. On the Platonic number, see J. Adam ; and read 
notes to the Republic in Clarendon Press Edition, 
vol. in., pp. 364-373. And for the details of the 
following myth, read carefully the notes to the 
Clarendon Press Edition of the Republic, vol. iii., 
pp. 472-484 — after first correcting an erratum on 
p. 172, line 12 from bottom, by transposing the 
words " Venus," " Mercury," thus : — 

5 6 

" Mercury," " Venus." 
p. 15O; iraiuptfkios, from 7ras and <f>v\ir). 



"We hope to be going on by steps, not by bounds. We 
must keep our eyes on the stars, but we must also remember 
that our feet are on the ground." 

President Roosevelt. 

Plato's direct influence on after ages has been 
less than might be inferred from the frequent 
mention of his name. His light, as reflected in 
the Neo-Platonists and the Greek fathers, in 
Scotus Erigena, or in the Florentine Academy, 
was blurred and indistinct, and few of those who 
have worshipped him as the father of idealism 
have taken the trouble to master his philosophical 
meaning and intention. Dante did not know 
him at first hand, and Milton in his younger 
days could speak of " the spirit of Plato " and of 
Hermes Trismegistus in the same breath. The 
Cambridge Platonists gave almost equal attention 
to Plato, Proclus, and Plotinus. 

In spite of the hackneyed saying of Coleridge, 



" Every man is born a Platonist or an Aristotelian," 
it may be truly affirmed that the writings of 
Aristotle, in which floating, conceptions adopted 
from his teacher were crystallized and stamped 
with logic, have indirectly conveyed to posterity 
more of the results of Plato's lifelong intellectual 
labour, than many so-called Platonists have 
derived from the Platonic Dialogues themselves. 
But there is still much to be gained in going 
back from the pupil to the master, and watching 
the metal in its fusile state, ere it has been cast 
into the mould of system. The form of Dialogue, 
holding much in solution that requires some 
mental affinity to draw it forth, has been adverse 
to any wide or general acceptance of the great 
Athenian's thoughts. 

Another cause of vagueness has been the 
confusion, so long inevitable, between the earlier, 
middle, and late periods of a speculative effort 
whose evolution was the work of fifty years. To 
understand Plato aright, the different moods of 
his ever-moving mind must be first of all dis- 
tinguished and then taken into a single view. 
For example, were the Republic all, the estimate 
of Joubert, quoted by Matthew Arnold in the 
Essays in Criticism (ist series, p. 294), would be 
nearly justified : — " Plato shows us nothing, but 
he brings his brightness with him : he puts light 


into our eyes, and fills us with a clearness by 
which all objects afterwards become illuminated. 
He teaches us nothing, but he prepares us, 
fashions us, and makes us ready to know all. 
Somehow or other, the habit of reading him 
augments in us the capacity for discerning and 
entertaining whatever fine truths may after- 
wards present themselves. Like mountain air, it 
sharpens our organs, and gives us an appetite 
for wholesome food." ..." It is good to breathe 
his air, but not to live upon him." But this 
criticism loses something of its edge when the ideal 
optimism of the Republic is supplemented by the 
practical moderation of the Laws; where the aim is 
lowered to what has been well called " meliorism," 
and "old experience doth attain to something of 
prophetic strain." To pass from the former to 
the latter Dialogue is like an appeal to "Philip 
sober." Let me quote one or two sentences : — 

" The difficulty is to find the divine love of 
temperate and just institutions existing in any 
powerful forms of government, whether in a 
monarchy or oligarchy of wealth or of birth. 
You might as well hope to reproduce the 
character of Nestor, who is said to have excelled 
all men in the power of speech, and yet more 
in his temperance. This, however, according to 
the tradition, was in the times of Troy ; in our 



own days there is nothing of the sort ; but if 
such an one either has or ever shall come into 
being, or is now among us, blessed is he, and 
blessed are they who hear the wise words that 
flow from his lips. And this may be said of 
power in general. When the supreme power in 
man coincides with the greatest wisdom and 
temperance, then the best laws and the best 
constitution come into being ; but in no other 
way" {Laws, Book IV., p. 711). "Masters and 
freemen in states are very likely to arrive at a 
true conviction that without due regulation of 
private life in cities, stability in the laying down 
of laws is hardly to be expected ; and he who 
makes this reflection may himself adopt the 
laws now mentioned, and, adopting them, may 
order his house and state well and happily " (ibid., 
Book VII., p. 790). 

If Plato "is in the air and on firm ground in 
successive instants " (Jowett), this truth is still 
more apparent when different periods of his 
activity are compared. The same spirit is recog- 
nisable, but in the later writings the wildness, 
the paradoxical attitude, the audacity of sanguine 
hope, have passed away. 

Yet to the last it was impossible for Plato or 
any of the old Greek thinkers to anticipate the 
complexity of the modern world, or the gradual 


progress by which freedom and orderliness are 
being developed, in what to them would have 
seemed a seething chaos of incongruous atoms, 
in the course of many generations. As Professor 
Jowett observes, "The regular growth of a state 
enlightened by experience, progressing in know- 
ledge, improving in the arts, of which the citizens 
were educated by the fulfilment of political duties, 
appears never to have come within the range of 
their hopes and aspirations. . . . Progress has 
been the exception rather than the law of human 
history. Tlje idea of progress is of modern/ / 
rather than ancient date, and like the idea of/ 
the philosophy of history, is not more than a 
century or two old." 

That which modern experience supplies as the 
counter-active or corrective of Utopian schemes 
is not blind faith in the wisdom of the many, 
but the conviction that true ideas emerging in 
original minds and enforced with disinterested 
energy must soon or late be universally acknow- 
ledged, so as to leaven the thoughts and mould 
the conduct of collective humanity. Men wilt 
follow a wise leader whom they instinctively ( 
trust and know to be wise. There are germs* 
of such a belief even in the Republic. "Could\J 
the populace see the philosopher as he is, 
they would certainly accept him for their guide." </ 


How far Plato himself was from wishing to 
inaugurate a violent revolution amongst his own 
countrymen, appears from the Crito, which gives 
the philosopher's answer to the question of 
Niebuhr, "Was Plato a good citizen?" He 
recognises the danger "of unsettling men's 
minds by sudden changes, or by destroying the 
sacredness of one set of ideas when there is 
nothing else to take their place" (Jowett). 

But when once launched on a course of political 
speculation he will not stop short until he has 
given formal completeness to his ideal of human 
society, or rather of an Hellenic state. To this 
effect his philosophical determination was re- 
enforced by his literary instinct. The Greek 
world was so disorganized as to cry aloud for 
one great change. When that had been accom- 
plished, a new set of traditions was to be sub- 
stituted for the old, and stereotyped for all the 
time to come. The change for the better, if 
accomplished at all, was to be the work of some 
new Solon or Lycurgus, who should start the 
Commonwealth afresh on philosophic lines, to 
proceed thenceforward with increasing smoothness 
and velocity. 

But while the Greek idea of progress was thus 
rudimentary, there is no stimulus to progress com- 
parable to the Hellenic spirit, which in Plato attains 


the zenith of its power. His works are an unfail- 
ing antidote to dead traditions and stale conven- 
tions. Plato's faith in the supremacy of reason, htfs 
lofty conception of the true destiny of the human 
soul, will continue to animate the endeavours of all 

lovers of their race long after they have learned 


from experience — such as that of the " moderates " / 
in the French Revolution, who would have trans- ▼ 
planted the English constitution bodily — to distrust 
ready-made reforms, and to " keep their feet on the v< 
ground while looking at the stars." Notwithstand^JX 
ing the great gulf which separates the Greek city 
from the modern nation, European or American 
statesmen and moralists may yet derive some 
wisdom from the study of him. 

The union of wisdom a jigVbejieficence^v^h^ojyjr,^ 
which is the vital principle of Plato's politicals 
creed, has been the dream of all in every age whov 
have reflected at all deeply on the lives of their •/ 
fellow-men. ^Eschylus saw this in vision when 
he composed the Promethean trilogy ; although 
his suffering Titan failed to realize the force of his 
own words as applicable to struggling humanity : — 

" Not so : not yet : all-consummating Fate 
Decrees this otherwise. Through countless shocks 
And agonies I win to Freedom's goal." 

And what other thought was in the mind of the 


British statesman, who said, when it seemed to 
him that a Conservative government had " shot 
Niagara " : " We must educate our masters " ? 

In conclusion, I propose to dwell briefly on a few 
out of many isolated points in which principles of 
the Republic may be usefully suggestive at the 
present day : — 

I. The paradox of Book I., that justice is for 
another's good, and yet to be just is to be happy, 
touches on a confusion of thought that is .still pre- 
valent in the modern world. The Utilitarian 
theory, in identifying pleasure and happiness, has 
left an impression on some minds that Reason is 
limited by Self-love, and that actions other than 
self-regarding are " ultra-rational." Sir Galahad's 
saying, on hearing of Siege Perilous, " If I lose 
myself I gain myself," would in that case be simply 
nonsensical. But it is matter of experience that 
by every disinterested act the individual person- 
ality is enriched and enlarged. It is by going forth 
from self without any thought of self that the true 
self is raised to higher powers, and man becomes 
more and more himself. It is a pinched and jejune 
conception of reason that fails to include such 
action under the category of rational. 

We have seen that in Plato's conception of the 
philosopher, reason, will, and emotion are virtually 
combined. The vision of the Good has vindicated 


the soul's inheritance, and has revealed her native 
affinity to truth and right. And if the aim of 
righteous conduct be no higher than the greatest 
happiness of the greatest number, it is hard to say 
whether in the consequent endeavour, intellect, 
feeling, or volition is supreme. To call in aid a 
mystical religious motive separate from all these is 
only to say that in our best moments the three 
factors of spiritual life are fused in one. 

2. Owing to his neglect of the industrial classes, 
Plato seems to forget the starting-point in his for- 
mation of the state as the idealizing process is 
continued. The consciousness of want is overborne 
in the guardians generally by the spirit of patriot- 
ism, and in the rulers by the contemplation of all 
existence in the light of the good. But amongst 
those who in the community correspond to the 
animal nature in the individual, the originating 
cause of social union must be conceived as still 
operating, though under the severest regulation 
from above. Humanity cannot be imagined with- 
out it. A late metaphysician, Professor Ferrier of 
St Andrews, once said of Hunger as a primary 
motive, "There he sits weaving the diverse 
threads into the web of social life." When this 
crude principle has been developed, as in modern 
communities, into commercial greed, and inter- 
necine competition threatens to overcome morality, 


it is plain enough what Plato would have thought, 
though how he would propose to obviate the 
mischief we cannot know. He would certainly 
have foreseen a danger in the substitution of an 
oligarchy of wealth for an aristocracy of birth. 
Nor would the accumulation of vast fortunes have 
appeared to him a worthy use to make of intellect- 
ual power. 

3. But there is another aspect of his social scheme 
in which the obscuration or extenuation of the 
^perpetual life-struggle involves a possible danger. 
^S 7lato has based the earlier education on perfect 


if an 

< /circumstances tempered with culture. The young 
\j* are to be sedulously guarded from all knowledge of 
evil. From everything they hear, from every 
object on which their eyes may rest, they are to 
drink in principles of beauty, honour, and truth : — 
not truth of fact, but truth of idea. (For Plato 
agrees with Joubert, that Fiction has no right to 
exist, unless it is more beautiful than reality.) 

What educational conditions are the most 
favourable for the formation of character ? " Plato 
does not seem to consider that some degree of 
r reedom, ' a little wholesome neglect,' is necessary 
to strengthen and develope the character, and to 
give play to the individual nature" (Jowett). 
The question thus raised is too large to be con- 
sidered here, but it may suggest another, which is 


not less grave. How far is the elevation of the 
standard of comfort, on which in modern politics 
so much stress is laid, to be trusted as a means for 
improving the morals of mankind? Is it not 
possible that, unless corroborated by forces of a 
more spiritual nature, the greater easefulness of 
our environment may sap the springs of energy 
and tend gradually to the extinction of spontaneous 
effort? It is a matter of degree ; but one manifest 
inference from the mere mention of it, is the 
responsibility which rests upon the leisured classes 
— not only to dabble in philanthropy, but to set 
before themselves high moral aims, and by ex- 
ample, by sympathy, by emphasizing the serious- 
ness of life, to counteract the inertia, the false 
excitement, the frivolous distractions, which are 
the cankers of contemporary civilization. 

4. The leading notes of Plato's commonwealth 
are simplicity and unity ; characteristics hard to 
impress upon modern societies. Yet his pattern, 
although drawn in outline, may not be useless to 
those who would strike the balance between 
centralization and local authority, or who feel the 
difficulty of reconciling patriotism with govern- 
ment by party. Mr Matthew Arnold, in days 
when an untempered individualism prevailed, used 
to hold before his countrymen the idea of the 
State. Readers of Friendship's Garland, or of 


Culture and Anarchy \ may find analogies between 

/his point of view and Plato's. The friction which 

( is inevitable in democratic governments recalls a 

\hint of Plato's in Book VIII. (p. 564), "see how 

(sensitive the citizens become ; they chafe im- 

) patiently at the least touch of authority." In the 

/ earlier days of Athenian democracy, Pericles had 

^-so-much influence with his fellow-citizens that he 

could speak words to anger them. Is it the 

" sensitiveness " of the people, or the want of moral 

courage in the statesman, that has made possible 

such disastrous measures as the permissive clauses 

in the recent Vaccination Act ? 

5. Plato's theory of education as the development 
of latent powers, has often been revived in modern 
Jreatises. Jpwett, however, observes, " he does not 
see that education is relative to the characters of 
individuals." This may be true of the Republic, 
where the strict unity of the State requires that the 
guardians should be cast in one mould. But the 
^rem^rk does not apply to the classical passage of 
the PJicedrus, which might have satisfied even the 
author of Wilhelm Meister : — "The orator (or 
teacher) must learn the differences of souls — they 
are so many and of such a nature, and from them 
come the differences between man and man . . . 
such and such persons are affected by this or 
that kind of speech in this or that way. . . . 


When he knows the times and seasons of all these 
things, then, and not till then, he is a perfect master 
of his art" "^ 

How far it is desirable that all the members of a 
state or nation should be educated in common, how 
soon or to what extent specialization should be 
admitted, is a problem which is only now in course 
of gradual solution. A particular case of it, and^a^ 
most important one, occurs in connection with 
Plato's theory of government. The philosopher is 
brought back into the den out of the ampler ether 
which he has been breathing in the upper world. 
And this requirement is vindicated as follows : — 
" You must contrive for your future rulers another 
and a better life than that of a ruler, and then you 
may have a well-ordered state : for only in the 
state which offers this, will they rule who are truly 
rich, not in silver and gold, but in virtue and 
wisdom, which are the true blessings of life." 

We are sometimes laughed at in Great Britain 
because our statesmen, our judges, and our pro- 
fessional men have carried their general education 
further into life than is usual in other lands. But 
experience has proved that the greatest amount of 
liberal culture that is compatible with the acquisi- 
tion of professional knowledge and skill is not only 
no hindrance but a most valuable furtherance 
towards the highest practical success. The labours 


of one so trained, like the delights of Antony, 

"Are dolphin-like, they show his back above f 

The element they live in." 

Not only is the whole community thus better har- 
monized, but the individual members are approxi- 
mately more complete. Those monstrosities, 
as Plato would call them (oXXokotol rives), the 
bookworm, the faddist, and the doctrinaire, are less 
in evidence, and such lame or one-sided products as 
the mere student or the half-professional athlete, 
are discredited. Officials are less in danger of 
sinking into a groove, and those employed in 
" limited professions " are in some measure prepared 
to recognise the value of pursuits of larger scope. 
I read the other day, " Carlyle had not been a work- 
man " : — Carlyle, whose title to remembrance is 
largely due to his indefatigable industry ! The 
phrase in whicj> Plato sums up his twofold plan of 
education, Weason blended with culture" (Xoyo? 
fjiovcriKiJ /ce/c/3a/xei/o?),\express^s^tne aim which all 
teachers should have\ inview, and only needs that 
technical or practical training should be super- 

6. Two minor principles of education on which 
the author of the Republic insists are worth repeating 
here, — that subjects should be classified and gradu- 
ated /according to the pupil's ages, and that the 
^ earliest lessons should be accompanied with enjoy- 


ment. Have not both these rules been violated by 
our public school system, — promoting cram and 
gerund-grinding between eight and twelve, and 
depriving the more arduous studies of the fresh 
interest that might else attend them, if commenced 
when the mind has been prepared to profit by 
them ? 

In treating of the Sciences of Astronomy and 
Harmony, Plato disparages observation in com- 
parison with mathematical demonstration. He is 
far from recognising that true theory is only fact 
explained. Yet he was in advance of his con- 
temporaries, including the Pythagoreans, in antici- 
pating the important part which mathematics 
would have to play in ascertaining the laws of 
matter in motion. 

7. The celestial revolutions were for Plato the 
type of obedience to eternal law. His thought might 
be expressed in words used in another connection 
by the prophet Joel : " They shall not break their 
ranks, neither shall one thrust another, they shall 
walk every one in his path." The progress of 
science has given a different meaning to the cosmic 
process. The stars are now " cold fires, yet with 
power to burn and brand his nothingness into 
man." Life, according to natural law, is the 
struggle for existence, resulting not in moral noble- 
ness but in brutal strength. The Darwinian 


tendency to belittle human history in comparison 
with the times preceding man, and to assume 
natural selection as the condition of human pro- 
gress, has been combated by Darwin's great disciple 
and champion, the late Professor Huxley, in his 
Romanes lecture entitled " Evolution and Ethics!' 
He argues with great force that human progress 
has consisted and must always consist in resolute 
and persevering opposition to the cosmic process, 
i.e., to "the coarse struggle for existence of the 
state of nature." He acknowledges that man is in 
a sense the product of the very process which he 
thus opposes, and he would of course admit that, 

" Nature is made better by no mean, 
But nature makes that mean " ; 

or, as Bacon put it, that she is conquered by obey- 
ing her ; nor does he deny that amongst lower 
animals also there are tendencies to social union. 
But he is not, like some evolutionists, a slave to 
language, and he makes liberal use of the word 
" ideal." Imagining a new colony planted in a 
savage country, he says : — " Our administrator 
would select his human agents with a view to his 
ideal of a successful colony, just as the gardener 
selects his plants with a view to his ideal of useful 
or beautiful products. ... In order to attain his 
ends, he would have to avail himself of the 


courage, industry, and co-operative intelligence of 
the settlers ; and it is plain that the interest of the 
community would be best served by increasing the 
proportion of persons who possess such qualities, 
and diminishing that of persons devoid of them. 
In other words, by selec tion directed tow ards an 

" Thus the administrator might look to the 
establishment of an earthly paradise, a true garden 
of Eden, in which all things should work together 
towards the well-being of the gardeners . . . 
where men themselves should have been selected 
with a view to their efficiency as organs for the 
performance of the functions of a perfected society. 
And this ideal polity would have been brought 
about, not by gradually adjusting the men to the 
conditions around them, but by creating artificial 
conditions for them ; not by allowing the free play 
of the struggle for existence, but by excluding that 
struggle, and by substituting selection directed 
towards the administrator's ideal for the selection 
it exercises." 

The serpent in this Eden is again the " cosmic 
process," reappearing in the form of competition, 
not merely for the commodities, but for the means 
of existence. 

" That which lies before the human race is a 
constant struggle to maintain and improve, in 


opposition to the state of Nature, the state of 
Art, of an organized polity ; in which, and by 
which, man may develop a worthy civilization, 
capable of maintaining and constantly improving 

Thus, in the view of the most distinguished 
advocate of modern scientific method, while the 
relation of man to the cosmos is differently 
conceived, the moral ideal remains, and is set forth 
in a manner of which Plato might have approved. 
Meanwhile the grandiose image in Republic, Book 
X., where the souls after their choice of lives are 
led by their destinies beneath the throne of 
Necessity, has lost little of its essential significance. 

I will end with one more quotation, and it shall 
be taken from a writer who is recognised by many 
persons as an exponent of the modern spirit : — 
Maurice Maeterlinck, in writing about Hamlet, says 
" Lofty thoughts suffice not always to overcome 
destiny, for against these destiny can oppose 
thoughts that are loftier still ; but what destiny 
has ever withstood thoughts that are simple and 
good, thoughts that are tender and loyal ? We can 
triumph over Destiny only by doing the very 
reverse of the evil she fain would have us commit. 
For no tragedy can be inevitable." 


References, Chapter XI. 

p. 1 59. " Dante did not know him," unless through a Latin 
translation of the Timceus. See Toynbee's Dante 
Dictionary, s.v. " Platone." 

p. 160. (1) See A. W. Benn on The Later Ontology of Plato; 
in Mind, vol. xi., n.s., No. 41. 
(2) Essays in Criticism, 1st series, p. 294. 

p. 163. Jowett's Introduction to Republic, pp. ccxii., ccxiii. 

p. 16$. JEsch. Prom., V., pp. 5x1-513. 

p. 168. Jowett's Introduction to Republic, p. ccix. 

p. 169. See also Mixed Essays. "The nation may acquire 
in the State an ideal of high reason and right 
feeling, representing its best self, commanding 
general respect, and forming a rallying point 
for the intelligence and for the worthiest instincts 
of the community, which will herein find a true 
bond of union." 

p. 170. (1) Jowett's Introduction to Republic, p. ccviii. 
(2) Phcedrus, p. 271 D. 

p. 171. (1) Republic, VII., p. 521 A. 
(2) Republic, VI., p. 487 D. 

p. 174. (1) Collected Essays, by T. H. Huxley, vol. ix., 1894. 
(2) Prolegomena to Romanes Lecture, ibid., pp. 18-20. 

p. 175. Ibid., p. 44. 



Achilles, 70.- 

Adeimantus, 1, 2, 5, 50, 52, 64. 

./Eacus, 149. 

/Eschylus, 17, 165. 

^isculapius, 74. 

Alcibiades, 137. 

Anaxagoras, 19. 

Antony, 172. 

Apology, 14. 

Arginusoe, 18. 

Aristides, 17, 95. 

Aristocracy, 6, 121, 122, 168. 

Aristophanes, 18, 100 ; Clouds of, 

Aristotle, 8, 12, 24, 33, 45, 70, 

94, 95, 102, 109, no, III, 

126, 135, 160; History of 

Political Institutions, 108. 
Aristoxenus, 95. 
Arithmetic, 76, 78, 79, 82. 
Arnold, Matthew, 169 ; Essays in 

Criticism, 160. 
Arts, the, 20, 50, 72, 89, 91, 92, 

97, 163. 
Association, 44. 
Astronomy, 81, 146, 153, 173. 
Athenian life, 17 ; Constitution, 


Athens, 53, 87, 99, 131, 135. 

Athleticism, 74, 82, 112, 128. 
Atropos, 154, 157. 

Bacon, 35, 36, 80, 84, 121, 174 ; 

Novum Organum, 142. 
Berkeley, 12. 
Beethoven, 96. 
Boers, 93. 

Butcher, Professor, 94. 
Butler, 45. 

Callicles, 125, 142. 

Campbell, Thomas, Gertrude of 

Wyoming, 113. 
Carlyle, 172. 
Cave, the, 142, 171. 
Cebes, 2, 9. 
Celibacy, 107. 
Cephalus, I, 10, 100, 108. 
Charmides, 14, 20. 
Chatham, 123. 
Christianity, 102, 105. 
Cicero, 12. 
Citizenship, 75. 
Clement of Alexandria, 147. 
Clotho, 154, 157. 
Cobden, 57. 
Cocytus, 150. 
Coleridge, 159; Dream-poem, 91. 



Comedy, 94. 
Commercial classes, 101. 
Commonwealth, 24, 25, 50, 54, 

59, 73, 99, i°9» "X, 129, 134, 

139, 164, 169. 
Communism, 6. 
Community of goods, 108. 
Composition of Republic, 5. 
Contiguity, 147. 
Coriolanus, 136. 
Courage, 21, 23, 27, 69, 73, 117, 

120, 128, 175. 
Cratylus, 15, 37- 
Crito, 10, 164. 
Culture, 77, 80, 83, 112, 171, 172; 

Culture and Anarchy, 170. 

Dante, 159. 

Darwin, 173. 

Delphic influences, 18. 

Demiurgi, 144. 

Democracy, 6, 17, 25, 128, 131, 

132, 170- 
Democritus, 36. 
Destiny, 15 1, 155, 157, 176. 
Dialectic, 13, 15, 36, 79, 82, 144. 
Dionysiac influence, 87. 
Division of labour, 50. 
Dorian influence, 39 ; mood, 72, 

96 ; constitution, 128. 
Drama, 71, 94. 
Drones, 130, 133, 135, x 36. 

Education, 6, 21, 25, 53, 66, 
77, 80, 83, 89, 103, 112, 120, 
123, 144, 168, 170, 172. 

Eleatic teaching, 33, 34- 

Eleusinian influences, 18. 

Emotion, 28, 88, 90, 166. 

Entail, III. 

Equality of sexes, 6, 133. 

Er, son of Armenius, 6, 142, 147, 

149, 150, 151. 
Ethical Speculation, 17, 19, 23, 

Euthydemus, 15, 49. 
Euthyphro, 21, 68. 
Evil, 46, 50, 69, 72, 139, 168. 
Ezekiel, 153. 

Faction, 17, 99. 

Family, the, 103. 

Fates, the, 152, 153, I$5, 157- 

Ferrier, Professor, 167. 

Fiction, 168. 

Fletcher of Saltoun, 95. 

Florentine Academy, 159. 

Free-will, 151, 155. 

French Revolution, 165. 

Friendship s Garland, 169. 

GARDNER, Mr Percy, Exploratio 

Evangelica, 41. 
Generalization, 35, 36, 39, 79. 
Geometry, 81, 82, 125. 
Gilbert, 36. 
Gladstone, Mr, 117. 
Glaucon, 1, 2, 5, 50, 95, 113,. 120, 

123, 133, 151. 
Godwin, 102. 
Goethe, 116. 
Gomperz, 9, 24, 28, 44. 
Good, the idea of, 6, 27, 32, 39, 

50, 65, 83, 128, 123, 127 142, 

144, 145, 166. 
Gorgias, 33. 
Gorgias, 10, 14, 20, 24, 49, 69, 

89, 125, 126, 142, 149, 150. 



Grote, Mr, 29, 101. 

.Gymnastic training, 25, 73, 74. 

Hades, 44. 

Hampden, 134. 

Hamlet, 176. 

Happiness, 52, 126, 166. 

Harmon)', 82, 146, 173. 

Hellenic world, I, 76, 102, 164. 

Heraclitus, 19, 33, 34, 36, 68. 

Hermes Trismegistus, 159. 

Hesiod, 67, 93. 

Hippocrates, 36. 

Homer, 67, 87, 92, 93, 147. 

Hutchinson, Miss, 1 13. 

Huxley, Evolution and Ethics, 174. 

Iago, 92. 

Idealism, 9, 54, 90, 125, 146, 159, 

Ideas, doctrine of, 36, 38, 41, 142, 

163, 168. 
Idola, the, 142, 146. 
Iliad, 92. 
Imogen, 92. 

Immortality, 6, 8, 25, 37, 44. 
Individualism, 112, 169. 
Industrial classes, 54, 58, 62, 65, 

101, 167. 
Investments, III. 
Islands of the Blest, 150. 
Italian Renaissance, 97. 

Joel, 173. 

Joubert, 160, 168. 

Jowett, 3, II, 100, 109, 112, 162, 

163, 164, 168, 170 ; Essay on 

Natural Religion, 41. 
Judge, 61. 

Judgment, 147, 149. 
Jupiter, 154, 155. 
Justice, 5, 18, 21, 24, 50, 63, 73, 
88, 117, 120, 145, 166. 

Kant, 43. 

Karma, 155. 

Kepler, 81. 

Kings, 22, no, 120, 122, 148. 

Knowledge, 26, 80, 83, 121, 124. 

Laced^mon, 28, 100. 

Laches, 20. 

Lachesis, 154, 155, 157. 

Laws, 1, 15, 43, 46, 49, 52, 55, 58, 
61, 62, 73, 79, 89, 95, 100, 109, 
118, 122, 125, 126, 156, 161. 

Leucippus, 36. 

Logic, 42. 

Logomachy, 83. 

Lots, 151, 157. 

Lycurgus, 59, 164. 

Lysis, 14, 20. 

Lysis, 100. 

Macbeth, 92, 139. 
Mackintosh, Sir James, 59. 
Maeterlinck, Maurice, 176. 
Mantinean prophetess, 107. 
Marina, 92. 

Marriage, 99, 101, 106, 1 14. 
Mars, 154. 
"Marseillaise," 95. 
Mathematics, 40, 81, 145, 148, 

Medicine, 73. 
Meliorism, 161. 
Melos, 17. 
Meno, 26, 37, 75. 



Meno, 23. 

Mercury, 154, 155. 

Metaphysics, 15, 32, 43, 86, 93. 

Milton, 56, 88, 96, 159. 

Minos, 149. 

Moderates in French Revolution, 

Momus, 97. 
Monarchy, 122, 161. 
Moon, the, 145, 154. 
Moral ideal, 26, 32, 158. 
Morality, 9, 19, 21, 167. 
Moses, 56. 
Muses, the, 148. 
Music, 68, 71, 74, 88, 90, 91, 95, 

Mythology, 141, 147. 
Mytilene, 17. 

Necessity, 151, 155, 157 j 

Spindle of, 152, 154. 
Neo-Platonists, 159. 
Nestor, 161. 
Nettleship, 156. 
Niebuhr, 164. 
Numbers, 148, 149. 
Noyes, John Humphreys, 103. 

" Odyssey," the, 92. 

Oligarchs, 134. 

Oligarchy, 6, 25, 129, 161, 168. 

Oneida, 103. 

Optimism, 122. 

Orphic influences, 37, 147. 

Painter, the, 90. 

Paradoxes, 5, 60, 112, 117, 123, 

125, 166. 
Parmenides, 8, 12, 41. 

Parmenides, 13, 19, 34. 

Patriotism, 17, 99, 124, 167, 160, 

Peel, 57, 123. 

" Perfectionist " Community, 103. 

Pericles, 28, 53, 54, 170. 

Phcedo, 2, 8, 13, 14, 19, 20, 38, 

44,69, 86, 143, 149, 150, 151, 

Phcedrus, 2, 8, 12, 14, 20, 27, 38. 

40, 44, 88, 89, 90, 141, 156, 

Philebus, 15, 46, 83, 93, 124, 127. 
Philolaus, 2. 
Philosopher kings, 12, 22, 26, 46, 

60, 116, 117, 122, 139. 
Philosopher, the, 6, 21, 26, 42, 

90, 104, 127, 142, 163, 166, 171. 
Philosophy, 56, 82, 92, 117, 122, 

146, 156. 
Phlegethon, 150. 
Physical culture, 67, 73, 120. 
Physician, 61. 
Pillar of light, 152, 153. 
Pindar, 37. 
Piraeus, 2. 

Platonists, Cambridge, 159. 
Pleasure, 124, 125, 126, 166. 
Plotinus, 159. 
Plutocracy, 129. 
Poetics, the, 94. 
Poetry, 87, 89, 90, 92. 
Polemarchus, 2. 
Political Speculation, 9, 23. 
Politicians, II, 123. 
Po/ittcus, 9, 15, 43, 122. 
Polus, 10. 
Population, 58. 
Poverty, 52, 101, in. 
Predestination, 156. 



Pre-existence, 43. 
Proclus, 159. 
Prodicus, 76. 
Promethean Trilogy, 165. 
Protagoras, 10, II, 20, 21, 26, 68, 

Protagoras, 13, 23, 33, 76. 
Psychology, 42, 44, 46, 126. 
Pythagorean doctrine, 2, 27, 145, 

147, 153, 173 5 brotherhood, 

27, 101. 

Quietism, 12, 30. 

Reason, 10, 11, 25, 26, 27, 30, 
44, 46, 75, n6, 119, 137, 165, 
166, 172. 

Reminiscence, 38. 

Renan, 81. 

" Resentment," piinciple of, 46. 

Rhadamanthys, 149. 

Ricardo, 57. 

Rossetti, Christina, 153. 

" Rule Britannia," 96. 

Rulers, 66, 122, 123, 128, 130, 
132, 148, 171. 

Salamis, Bay of, 143. 
Saturn, 154. 
Scepticism, 18, 83, 93. 
Schleiermacher, 11. 
Scotus Erigena, 159. 
Selden, John, 134. 
Sensationalism, 99, 146. 
Sentiment, 27, 102. 
Sermon on the Mount, 3. 
Shadows, 84, 144, 145, 147. 
Shakespeare, 92. 
Shelley, 102, 114. 

Sicilian expedition, 17. 

Simmias, 2, 9. 

Simultaneity, 147. 

Sirens, the, 153. 

Slavery, 62, 63, 80, 95, III, 133. 

Smith, Adam, 57 ; Henry Stephen, 

Socrates, I, 2, 3, 5, IX, 13, 23,49. 

120, 136, 141. 
Soldier, the, 51, 66, 73, 104, 120. 
Solon, 59, 164. 
Sophist, 15. 
Sophists, 14, 76, 122. 
Soul, the, 24^25, 44, 45, 46, 69, 

151, 155, 157, 165, 170, 176. 
Sparta, 1, 28, 67, 70, 87, 100, 131, 

Stagyrite, the, 94, 109. 
State, the, 24, 25, 49, 52, 75, 88, 

101, 109, in, 119, 128, 131 

145, 148, 163, 169, 171. 
Statesman, 118. 

Statesman, the, 9, 57, 166, 170. 
Stoics, the, 122. 
Style of Plato, II. 
Succession, 147. 
Sun, the, 144, 154. 
Superstition, 87. 
Symposium, 8, 12, 13, 15, 39, 40, 

88, 89, 94. 

Tartarus, 150. 

Temperance, 21, 23, 24, 71, 88, 

117, 120, 162. 
Theaetetus, 41, 46, 78, 118, 125. 
Theocracy, 122. 
Theodoras, 118. 
Theophrastus, 135. 
Thrasyllus, 13. 




Thrasymachus, 10, 24, 49. 
7V»m?«j,43, 45, 74, 144, 152, 153, 

155, 156. 
Timocracy, 6, 128, 129, 136. 
Tolstoi, 3. 

Tragedy, 71, 92, 95, 139. 
Transmigration, 43. 
Troy, 161. 

Trust and Corner system, III. 
Truth, 32, 37, 70. 
Tycho Brahe, 81. 
Tyrannical man, 122, 138, 139. 
Tyranny, 6, 25, 128, 135, 148. 

University Education, 82. 
Utilitarianism, 23, 29, 80, 83, 

Vaccination Act, 170. 

Valetudinarianism, 74. 

Venus, 154, 155. 

Virtues, 5, 21, 26, 49, 70, 120, 126, 

Volition, 29, 45, 153, 166. 
Voting, 58. 

War, 62, 101, 131. 
Water, 144. 
Wilhelm Meister, 170. 
Women, 112, 114. 

Xenophanes, 68. 
Xenophon, 12, 49; CEconomicus 

Zend-Avesta, 147. 
Zeno, 8, 12, 34. 
Zoroastrianism, 147. 

Printed by Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh. 




Of Vienna University 
Hon. LL.D., Dublin ; Ph.D. Konigsberg, etc. 

Demy 8vo. 14s. net 

VOLUME I.— Translated by LAURIE MAGNUS, M.A. 
Magdalen College, Oxford. 

" We are glad to welcome the first instalment of the authorised translation 
of Professor Gomperz's great history of ancient philosophy. . . . The 
translation is excellently done, and the translator has had the benefit of 
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a foreign work on one of the greatest of themes is an event in its way. . . . 
We shall look forward with great pleasure to the appearance of the next 
volume."— Spectator. \ i>> _^ 

" . . . an exceedingly welcome contribution to this subject. This work 
not only exhibits accuracy of scholarship and critical acumen, but is easily 
distinguished by lucidity of expression. . . . bright, lucid, free from 
pedantry, and occasionally epigrammatic. Prof. Gomperz promises us two 
more volumes ; we have no doubt but that the interest Will be equally well 
sustained." — Nat.ure. 

Volume II. — Socrates, the Socratics, and Plato 
Translated by G. G. Berry, M.A. 

Balliol College, Oxford. [Nearly ready 


MuiRHEAD, M.A., Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy, 
Mason University College, Birmingham. Author of The 
Elements of Ethics. Large Crown 8vo. 7s. 6d. 

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A Study of the Evidence, Literary, and Topographical. 
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Edited by LAURIE MAGNUS, M.A. 

Magdalen College, Oxford 

This series of volumes is intended for the general reader as well as 
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Several of the volumes contain appropriate illustrations, maps, 
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ALGEBRA. Part I. By E. M. Langley, M.A., Senior Mathe- 
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Arthur, Alfred the Great. By Lady Magnus, Author of 
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HEROES OP THE WEST: A Biographical Sketch of 
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ELECTRIC WIRING. By W. C. Clinton, B.Sc. (Lond.), 
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TENNYSON'S " O3N0NE." By Laurie Magnus, M.A. 



Edited by LAURIE MAGNUS, M.A. 

Magdalen College, Oxford 

BRITAIN OVER THE SEA. A Reader for Schools. Com- 
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London: JOHN MURRAY, Albemarle Street, W. 



JU^im* otu i . IVIMK 2 J jg^ 



JC Campbell, Lewis 

71 Plato's Republic