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Sheet Music and Spoks 


the estate of 
Herman Gaertz 







^ t« XL6 

Published in Methuen's Standard Library 
in 1906 



Plato was born about the year 438 b.c. By birth he be- 
longed to a distinguished Athenian family. On his mother's 
side he could trace his pedigree as far back as Solon, the great 
lawgiver of Athens ; and among the men of his own genera- 
tion he counted as connections two of some note — Critias, who 
was prominent among the members of the oligarchical clique 
which ruled for a time in 404 ; and Antiphon, who had been 
one of the leaders in the revolution which temporarily sub- 
verted Athenian democracy in 411. Belonging to a family of 
anti-democratic tendencies, he naturally became a member, 
somewhere about 407, of the circle which had gathered round 
Socrates. Here too democracy was out of favour. The 
Socratic principle, that life was an art, and that the proper 
conduct of life therefore depended on knowledge, had its 
political application. Politics was treated as an art: the 
proper conduct of political affairs was shown to depend on 
knowledge — a knowledge which neither the democratic 
assembly itself, nor the officials whom it appointed by the 
chance of the lot, could be said to possess. The aristocratic 
prejudices which Plato inherited would here receive a philo- 
sophical justification; at the same time they would be 
modified, in so far as the right of numbers was rejected by 
Socrates, not in favour of birth, but in favour of wisdom. 
When democracy took its revenge upon Socrates in 899, and 



Athens executed her greatest son, Plato might well feel his 
anti-democratic feelings completely justified. Henceforth he 
made it his work to defend the fame, and to continue the 
teaching, of his dead master. For nearly fifty years his pen 
was busy with those dialogues whose literary form itself 
seems reminiscent of the conversations and discussions of the 
Socratic circle, and whose matter is an expounding, and ex- 
panding, of * Socratic views. Of these the Apology for 
Socrates is naturally the first, the Laws the last; midway 
between the two, as the summit of Plato's art and thought, 
stands the Republic. Other influences than that of Socrates 
had gone to the making of Plato's thought before the years in 
which he wrote the Republic, or rather they had united with 
that of Socrates to produce the peculiar doctrines of Plato. 
From a passage in the Metaphysics of Aristotle we learn that 
Plato had been conversant from his youth with the doctrine of 
HeraoHtus, that all sensible things are in a state of perpetual 
flux, and cannot be objects of knowledge. But from the 
Italic school he had also learned that there is a unity 
behind the phenomena of sense, which is discernible by 
reason; and he had learned a similar lesson from Socrates. 
Socrates, believing that the proper study of mankind was man, 
and neglecting the physical universe to which the Italic school 
devoted its attention, had conceived that the knowledge which 
was so greatly to be desired in human affairs might be to some 
extent attained, if only general definitions of the qualities and 
actions of men could by some means be formed. In this way 
would Aristotle explain the genesis of Plato's theory of Ideas, 
in which the Republic, starting primarily from the purely 
Socratic idea of politics as an art, may be ultimately said to 
culminate. But — whatever be the advance of Plato's theory 
upon that of Socrates (if one may speak of a Socratic 
" theory") — in one cardinal respect Plato always remained 
entirely true to the mind of his master. He never lost that 


bent towards a practical reform of man, and of human society, 
which is the distinguishing work of Socrates. It would be 
entirely a mistake to regard Socrates, and it would . be largely 
a mistake to regard Plato, as a pure philosopher. They are 
prophets and preachers, rather than philosophers — trumpets 
to summon a wayward people to righteousness, rather than 
still small voices of solitude. The Republic is as much meant 
to prove, and is earnest in proving, that the eternal laws of 
morality cannot be shaken by the sceptic, as are the writings 
of the Hebrew prophets to show that God's arm is not 
shortened by the disbelief of His people. In life, as well as 
in thought, Plato showed the same practical bent. Not only 
did he, like Socrates, gather a circle round him, and publicly 
teach his views in the "Academy," 1 but he is also said to 
have attempted to carry his philosophy into active life (as, 
according to the Republic, every philosopher should), and to 
have twice visited Sicily with that end in view. On an early 
visit in 387, we are told, he came into contact with Dionysius, 
the tyrant of Syracuse, and expounded to him so vividly 
arguments similar to those of the Republic (the composition 
of which may have been already begun), that Dionysius, 
annoyed by his denunciation of injustice and depreciation of 
tyranny, caused him to be sold into slavery. But Plato did 
not leave Syracuse without having deeply influenced the mind 
of Dion, the brother of Dionysus' wife ; and on the death of 
Dionysius, and the accession of his son, Dionysius the 
younger, Dion endeavoured to permeate the mind of his 
nephew with Platonic ideas. The State of the Republic might 
seem likely to be realised in Syracuse, if Dionysius could once 
be made philosopher-king instead of tyrant ; and Dion invited, 

1 A gymnasium about three-quarters of a mile from Athens. Gymnasia 
covered a wide area, and contained open spaces like a modem park. Around 
the open running-ground were porticoes, furnished with seats, in which phil- 
osophers or rhetoricians might discourse. 

viii PLATO 

and induced his nephew to concur in inviting, the master 
himself, now long released from his slavery, to visit Syracuse 
once more. Plato came not only once, but twice (868 and 
361); but he failed to make Dionysius a philosopher (having 
apparently required that Dionysius should undergo the severe 
training sketched in the Republic), and only succeeded in 
bringing about the expulsion of Dion from Syracuse. If all 
these things happened as they are narrated in Plutarch and 
the (so-called) letters of Plato, the issue may well have con- 
vinced Plato that the Republic (which he had written, perhaps, 
between 887 and 868, and attempted to realise between 868 
and 861) was indeed a pattern laid up in heaven, but hardly 
to be copied on earth. Disillusionised, it may be, he retired 
for a time upon the problems of abstract thought discussed in 
dialogues like the Sophist. But the old practical bent was not 
extinguished : in extreme old age, in a spirit of kindly toler- 
ance and half-humorous sadness (as when he speaks of men as 
" merely playthings for the gods "), he wrote the Laws. In this 
dialogue (which is almost entirely -a monologue, and which 
shows something of the garrulity of age) he sketches the idea, 
destined to a long history in Greek speculation, of a mixed 
constitution, and while still adhering firmly to the ideal of 
the Republic, attempts to construct a State on a lower but 
more practicable level. And so be died, about 847, at the age 
of 81, still occupied in the service of man, still hoping for new 
things to come, still striving his best to help their coming. 


The Republic, which was composed in the maturity of 
Plato's life, between his fortieth and his sixtieth year, and 
which, better than any other dialogue, represents the fulness 
of his thought, has come, down to us with a double title — " the 
State" (in Latin, respubUca; hence the name by which it 
generally goes), "or concerning Justice." In spite of these 


two titles, it must not be assumed that it is a treatise either 
on political science or on jurisprudence. It is both, and it is 
yet more than both. It is an attempt at a complete phil- 
osophy of man. It deals as it were with the physiology and 
pathology of the human soul in its environment Primarily, 
it is concerned with man in action, and occupied therefore 
with the problems of moral and political life. But man is a 
whole: his action cannot be understood apart from his 
thinking. Socrates had even thought that right action ab- 
solutely depended upon right knowledge. And therefore the 
Republic is also & philosophy of man, in thought, and of the 
laws of his thinking. Viewed in this way, as a complete 
philosophy of man, the Republic forms a single and organic 
whole. Viewed in its divisions, it would almost seem to fall 
into four {treatise s, each occupied with its separate subject 
There is a treatise on metaphysics, which exhibits the unity 
of all things in the Idea of the Good. There is a treatise on 
moral philosophy, which investigates the virtues of the human 
soul, and shows their union and perfection in justice. There 
is a treatise on education: "the Republic" said Rousseau, 
" is not a work upon politics, but the finest treatise on edu- 
cation that ever was written." Finally, there is a treatise on 
political science, which sketches the proper government, and 
the proper laws, (especially in respect of property and 
marriage), which should regulate an ideal State. But all 
these treatises are woven into one, because, all these subjects 
as yet were one. There was no rigorous differentiation of 
knowledge, such as Aristotle afterwards suggested, rather than 
himself made. 1 The philosophy of man stood as one subject, 
confronting as equal or superior the other subject of the 
philosophy of nature. The question which Plato sets himself 
to answer is simply this : What is a good man, and how is a 

1 He wrote two treatises, the Ethics and the Politics ; but political science and 
moral philosophy are in his eyes one and indivisible. 


good man made ? Such a question might seem to belong to 
moral philosophy, and to moral philosophy alone. But to 
the Greek it was obvious (and if it is not so obvious to-day, 
it is still true) that a good man must be a member of a State, 
and could only be made good through membership of a State. 
Upon the first question, therefore, a second naturally followed : 
What is the good State, and how is the good State made ? 
Moral philosophy ascends (or descends) into political science. 
And further, to a follower of Socrates it was plain that a 
good man must be possessed of knowledge. A third question 
therefore arose : What is the ultimate knowledge of which a 
good man must be possessed in order to be good ? It is for 
metaphysics to answer; and when metaphysics has given its 
answer, a fourth and final question emerges. By what 
methods will the good State lead its citizens towards the 
ultimate knowledge which is the condition of virtue? To 
answer this question, a theory of education was necessary ; for 
education, it must always be remembered, was to the Greeks 
(what it still is, if again less obviously) a training of character 
and a making of manners, rather than a sharpening of in- 
tellect or accumulating of facts. 

Such in brief is the scheme of the Republic. Before we 
discuss the matter, a word with regard to the form. It 
was not any predilection for a particular form of literary 
expression- which made Plato choose the dialogue for expound- 
ing his philosophy. It was not even a simple reminiscence of 
the Socratic circle. It was the desire to show thought at 
work, and to avoid the mere exposition of its finished products. 
V like every genuine teacher, Plato wished to awaken thought 
rather than to impart knowledge; and he felt that thought 
would best be awakened in his readers, if they were made to 
follow the processes of the writer's mind. Now a subject is 
discussed inside the individual mind in much the same way in 
which it is disputed in a circle of talkers. One view is set up, 


only to be demolished by another, until some final residuum is 
attained. The dialogue is the process of the individual mind 
made concrete, with its stages translated into persons. It is a 
higher and more artistic expression of the same tendency which 
appears even in the concise lecture-notes of Aristotle, and which 
had made Socrates an asker of questions and a lover of talk. 

And now to turn to the matter of the Republic. We have 
first to notice that much of its eloquence and its zeal springs 
from a spirit of indignation alike with contemporary teaching 
and contemporary practice, both in the sphere of ethics and 
in the sphere of politics,| Indignation makes the Republic; 
and we have to ask what were the grounds of this indignation. 
Briefly it may be answered, a spirit of excessive individualism 
seemed to Plato to have invaded Greece. The Greeks had, 
in truth, reached that stage of their development at which, no 
longer content to accept unquestiobingly the laws of morality 
or the obligations of political life, they had begun to ask the 
why and wherefore of these things. Such questioning is at 
first destructive ; and there were apparently many thinkers who 
had come to dispute the existence of any positive morality. 
Justice or righteousness, they urged, was in reality merely this, 
that a man should take what he could get, and the strong man 
should take more than the weak. Thus had the feeling of 
self, in opposition to an external morality, issued in selfish 
individualism. Naturally, the same sense of individualism had 
infected political theory. The State had come to be regarded 
as at best a partnership of individuals; and some had even 
held, that the proper condition of this partnership was its 
domination by the strongest individual in his own interest. 
These were the views which we have learned from Plato to 
associate with the Sophists, and which are represented in the 
Republic by Thrasymachus. They were views which Plato 
felt it necessary to combat at all costs. For the Sophists were 
not a school of philosophical thinkers, but the itinerant 


teachers of Greece : they were half professors, it has been said, 
thinking their way to new ideas ; half journalists, occupied 
with the dissemination of those ideas. They acquired a hold 
on the young, whom they trained for a political life* not only 
in rhetoric but also in what we should call ethics and politics. If 
Greece was not to follow in the path they indicated, their 
hold on the young must be destroyed and their teaching 
exposed. And therefore Plato is concerned to refute the 
gospel of individualism — to restore the eternal laws of 
morality. It is his mission to prove that these laws are no 
mere " conventions," which must be destroyed to make way for 
a regime of " nature," but that they are on the contrary rooted 
beyond all possibility of overthrow in the nature of the human 
soul and in the system of the universe. That is why a 
psychology of man and a metaphysics of the world enter into 
the plan of the Republic. Nor was it enough to rehabilitate 
" righteousness." If that were to be done, a true conception 
of the_State must be attained. It must be shown to be no 
mere partnership of individuals, but a moral communion-ef 
souls pursuing the same end in unison. Its rulers must be 
proved to be no selfish tyrants, but unselfish philosophers who, 
knowing the nature of the soul and the purpose of the world, 
inculcate on each and every citizen the ways of life. To speak 
of the State in connection with morality was as natural to the 
Greek as it is for us to speak of the Church. For the State, 
as it has often been said, was to the Greek a Church as well as 
a State ; and where we naturally expect the Church to reinforce 
the dictates of morality by the sanction of religion, the Greek 
expected his State to use political sanctions (which were yet 
more than political) for the same high purpose. 

But the actual States of Greece seemed to Plato to have 
lost their true character and to have forgotten their true aim. 
Thinking principally of the Athenian democracy in which he 
lived, he found in them two great flaws. One of these, and 


the greater, was the selfishness of the Government Instead of 
conceiving its mission as the security and welfare of the whole 
community ,Hhe Government aimed at its own advantage, and 
the furthering of that advantage by the spoliation of its 
subjects. The rulers of Greece were corrupt : they entered 
politics for the sake of " spoils," and fleeced the flock which 
they should have tended. It was the same in both democracy 
and oligarchy: the only difference was, that in the one 
the rich suffered, and in the other the poor were oppressed. 
A second flaw, and one naturally connected with the first, was 
the ignorance and incompetence of those who professed to 
know what was to be known of politics, but who, in fact, tried 
to steer the ship of State without chart or compass. To a 
disciple of Socrates, trained in the doctrine that a man should 
know what he practised and love what he knew, this ignorance, 
this "lie in the soul,"was almost as the sin which "shall not be 
forgiven." It was the special sin of democracy, where any and 
every man seemed to Plato prepared to do any and everything, 
and yet to know nothing of the way in which * a single 
thing should be done. With leaders who are at once selfish 
and blind, how shall men ever attain salvation? Is it not 
of all things most needful, that guides and guardians shall 
be found, who walk unselfishly and with open eyes, seeing 
the goal and the ways thereunto ? So at any rate it seemed to 
Plato, and accordingly he turned to political reform and the 
discovery of the ideal ruler. This is that part of the Republic 
which is most obvious and tangible, and which has most struck 
the imaginations of men. [The Republic has come to be con- 
ceived as pre-eminently a sketch of an ideal State, and to be 
rftnked with Utopia and New Atlantis. It is much more than 
this, as has already been shown ; but since these things have 
come to mean most to men, and since they perhaps touch us 
most closely still, it is perhaps best to turn our attention to the 
ideal State, and to the ideal education of its citizens. 

xiv PLATO 


Hie evils of Plato's day are evils which are still with us. 
The Greek State was a city ; and it is still possible for cities 
to be governed corruptly. Men have made many advances in 
knowledge during the last two thousand years ; yet they would 
seem still to be ignorant, if the frequent complaints of 
"inefficiency" mean anything, of the way to govern a State. 
How then did Plato propose to remedy these evils? and is 
there any profit which we may still have of his remedies? 
Primarily, one may answer, by spiritual means : by a system 
of education, which should not only give the mind knowledge, 
but should also, because it gave the mind knowledge, and 
knowledge determines action, influence the character towards 
unselfishness. Secondarily, one may reply, by material means 
which were intended to reinforce the spiritual : by a system of 
communism, or socialism, which at once set the mind free for 
the pursuit of knowledge, and liberated the character from the 
temptation of self-seeking. Both these remedies, it should be 
noticed, regard the rulers, for in the rulers is seated the 
malady. It is the soldiers and statesmen of an ideal State 
whose education is sketched in the Republic: it is the soldiers 
and statesmen who are stripped of private property, and 
subjected to a system of communism which does not, apparently, 
touch the other classes of the State. 

Of Platonic education it may be briefly said, as it may 
of the scheme of education sketched by Aristotle in the 
Politics, that it differs from modern theory and practice in 
several fundamental respects. In the first place, it is primarily 
an education of character; it is permeated by a moral aim. 
Knowledge may be inculcated on the young, but it is knowledge 
which will bear fruit in right action; gymnastics may be 
enforced, but it is because they elicit certain qualities necessary 
to a proper character, as well as for their effects on the body. 


Secondly, because the aim is character rather than knowledge, 
the means employed are, in early life, artistic rather than in- 
tellectual The knowledge which is taught to the young is music; 
music and gymnastics together constitute the sum of education. 
Music means more to Plato than it does to us: it means 
literature and the plastic arts, as well as music : it means, in 
a word, if we can use any one word, the arts. And art has 
to Plato a great value as a means of moral education. It gives 
the soul a beautiful environment, to which it unconsciously 
assimilates itself, becoming itself beautiful with the beauty 
of goodness. But art is only for the education of the young ; 
and education is for Plato the matter of a lifetime. A man 
is being educated as long as he is capable of a response to each 
new stimulus which may be applied to the soul — as long as 
he reacts upon and is refashioned by his experience. Educa- 
tion is a progression : each stage is adapted to a stage of the 
human mind. In this conception may be said to lie a third 
main difference between Plato and the modern world. And 
hence for the stage which succeeds youth there is a new and 
appropriate stimulus. Science succeeds to art; and through 
the abstractions of science man learns to use his reason, until 
by its use he attains to the highest of abstractions, which, 
though an abstraction, is yet the only true reality — the idea 
of the Good, which is the meaning of the world and the 
purpose toward which all things work together. To attain 
to that conception is to see the world as ordered towards a 
single end. It is to understand the world in the light of 
that end : it is to have the master-key of conduct and action, 
since all right conduct and proper action will be conformed 
and directed to the end which is the end of all things. If this 
conception be personalised, one may say that the end of educa- 
tion is the realisation of God :, it is knowing that all things 
ar^-qne in Him, and doing in the light of that knowledge, 
i The aim of education is the perfection ofjn&n ; and yet, 

xvi PLATO 

because man does not stand by himself, but is part of a system, 
its aim is to make him capable of taking his place in the system 
to which he belongs. Ultimately, that system is the world 
itself; short of that, it is the state in which he is born, and to 
which he owes his allegiance. It is therefore the purpose of 
education to make a good citizen, and particularly, since we are 
particularly concerned with the ruler, a good ruler. Here again 
Plato may be said to differ from us : we are more individual in 
our views ; he is more social. We aim, at the most, at making 
a man, who will make his way in the world, and make it cleanly : 
Plato aimed more at producing a man who would be of service 
to his fellows (though he varies, and occasionally, thinking 
of the world as dreary, and of the jrutiio Dei by the in- 
dividual as surpassing, he opens the door for something like 
the mediaeval monk). Such a man, one feels, his scheme of 
education will surely produce. It will raise up a generation 
of statesmen who know, and who, because they know, will 
choose the things which are best for the State and for humanity 
at large. But yet Plato was not satisfied. He was not content 
with so training his guardians, that they ought to choose the 
unselfish part : he must also so regulate their lives that they 
could not but be unselfish. 

* And so he comes upon communism. These guardians have 
no houses or homes of their own. "Every Englishman's 
house is his castle," we say. " Pull down the walls," Plato 
replies; "they shelter at best a restricted family feeling; they 
harbour at the worst avarice and selfishness and greed. Pull 
down the walls and let the free air of a common life blow over 
the place where they have been." There are two great reasons 
why the " home," and with it the family and private property, 
are abolished by Plato. ] ,One is that they make for selfishness : 
'X; another is that they do not make for knowledge. It is easy 
to see liow they breed selfishness. They mean by their own 
nature exclusiveness, and, seeing what human nature is, they may, 


only too readily, furnish it with occasions for positive outbreaks 
of anger and strife. But why, one wonders, should family life 
and private property be enemies to knowledge? Because, we 
are told, they engross a man to the neglect of higher things : 
because, cumbered with serving tables, men may lose time for 
spiritual things. Hence the peculiar manner of Plato's com- 
munism. These guardians, who have no house or property of 
their own, are to live in barracks and to feed at common tables. 
In a sense, it is a strange communism. Neither individually 
nor collectively do those who share in it possess a single foot of 
land. It is a communism of consumption. At their common 
tables the guardians consume the annual rent, which is paid to 
them, apparently in kind, by the " farming " class which they 
protect and govern. Free from material cares, they will give 
themselves to do their appointed work : and so the law of life, 
that each should " do his own," and do it truly, will be faith- 
fully observed. " Nurtured " by their flock, they will be 
watch-dogs and not wolves ; there will be no selfishness in their 
governing, and the State which they govern will be one and 
undivided, and not, like the Greek States which were divided 
by factions springing from political selfishness, two States 
divided against themselves but masquerading in the guise of 

So with the man : but in the new dispensation woman also 
will come by her own. Freed from the care of a family, and 
no longer degraded into a mere nurse and housekeeper, she 
will be emancipated for her true life. She will be free to be 
what she is meant to be*— an imperfect man. For to Plato 
there is no gulf fixed between the sexes. The physical differ- 
ence involves no farther difference, except in degree of 
capacity to do the same kind of work ; and woman can do and 
is meant to do all that man can do — in an inferior degree. 
She must still bear children ; but even the fashion of child- 
bearing must be altered. The State will so regulate the 

xviii PLATO 

intercourse of the sexes that a healthy and vigorous progeny 
will be ensured. It will take the children at birth, and hand 
them to the nurses of a creche, setting the mother free for 
fresh activity. And finally, it will see to it that no mother 
or father shall know any child for their own : else would par- 
ticularism and exclusiveness prevail over the unity which is to 
be sought above all things. All the children of one genera- 
tion are to be accounted sisters and brothers of one another, 
and sons and daughters of the preceding generation. So will 
the State be knit into one great family, where each is akin to 
all, and the sentimental bond of a common blood will reinforce 
the politicaThraus which binds citizen to citizen. 

It may be well, in conclusion, to contrast the aims and char- 
acter of this communism with those of modern socialism, and to 
consider whether, and if so, why, it represents a false ideal It 
differs from socialism first and foremost in its aim. It starts from 
moral and political considerations. fit is designed to secure the 
triumph of a sense of the common weal over the spirit of 
individualism. It is intended to destroy the political evils of 
an ignorant and selfish Government Socialism is based on 
economic grounds. It aims at rectifying the inequalities and 
injustices of the modern system of distribution. It wishes, if 
one may be permitted the rudest of generalisations, to give 
capital and labour their proper places, by nationalising capital 
and equalising wages. The difference of aim between Plato 
and modern socialism may be seen, by comparing the Republic 
with Looking Backward. And from this difference of aim 
flow other differences. Modern socialism deals with every 
member of the economic community. Plato is only concerned 
with the rulers of a State. The farming classes, who form the 
economic community, share neither the education nor the com- 
munistic life of their guardians: they live untrained by the 
State and unspoiled of their property. As the persons concerned 
in Plato's scheme are fewer, so the material things, which it seeks 


to socialise, are far more scanty. It is but their food and 
lodgings which the guardians share together. It is indeed all 
that they have to share. One might almost call this commun- 
ism a communism in poverty, like that to which the Benedictine 
monk, or, still better, the Knight Templar, was vowed by his 
order. It is more mediaeval than modern. And yet it has its 
affinities with modern socialism, even perhaps where it seems 
most unlike. N othing per haps could seem more peculia r to 
Pla to's system than his projected abolition of the famil y: but 
even in this point modern socialism might prove to be Platonic. 
The zeal of regulation and the passion of unity might reform 
the independence of the family out of existence, if socialism 
had its day. And fundamentally the aim of socialism is one 
with that of Plato : it is solidarity. Socialism aims at destroy- 
ing the competition of individual with individual, and at sub- 
stituting for it the conception of a social whole, of which each 
man feels himself a member, and which is so organised as to 
make the social whole defeat, and yet, in defeating, secure the 
welfare of the individual 1 For socialism, no more than Plato, 
contemplates the destruction of the individual, properly con- 
sidered ; it only contemplates the widening of the individual 
by the extension of his interests. It wishes to make him see 
that he is not a mere solitary unit, but a member of a wider 
whole which gives him a fuller life and a deeper meaning. Far 
more than of most socialists is this true of Plato : it was his 
aim not to destroy but to fulfil — to raise the pitch of in- 
dividuality to its highest, to broaden its extent to its widest. 

Yet the height was too high for man, and the width so 
wide that it could not but involve shallowness. This is, in a 
word, the criticism of Aristotle, in one of the wisest and most 
permanently valuable parts of the Politics. There are three 
things wrong in the Republic, we learn. Plato seeks the 

1 "Defeat" his supposed and illusory welfare as a mere individual — secure 
his true and permanent welfare as an individual member of a group. 


wrong end when he aims at solidarity. Granted that it were 
right, he selects such means (in abolishing property and the 
family for a regime of communism) as will not secure his end. 
Finally, even if his means conduced to his end, the means are 
wrong in themselves. The true aim, we learn from Aristotle, 
is the perfect self-sufficingness of a State, in which every want 
of its members, moral or material, is fully satisfied; and 
for such self-sufficingness it is necessary that each member 
should retain his individuality, so that, supplying his own 
peculiar contribution to the common life, he may render it all 
the more perfect and sufficient. And were solidarity indeed the 
aim, communism of property and the abolition of the family 
would never secure it. Men would dispute about common 
property as much as they do about private property; and 
they would neglect the one as they would never neglect the 
other. The destruction of the family, and the substitution in 
its place of one vast clan, would lead but to the destruction of 
warm feelings, and the substitution of a sentiment which is to 
them as water is to wine. Nor are these things good, even if 
they secured their object. Communism in property promotes 
inefficiency, and it denies to personality the right, which it 
must always claim, and which society should always recognise, 
of expressing a will through the medium of something which 
it owns and can subject to that will. Private property, on the 
other hand, is natural and proper, because it is morally 
necessary. It is necessary, if a man is to express his will at all ; 
it is necessary, ajbrtiari, if he is to express a moral will. So 
with a system of common marriage, as opposed to monogamy. 
The one encourages at best a poor and shadowy sentiment, 
while it denies to man the satisfaction of natural instincts 
and the education of family life ; the other is natural and right, 
both because it is. based on those instincts, and because it 
satisfies the moral nature of man, in giving him objects of 
permanent yet vivid interest above and beyond himself. And 


finally, Aristotle tells us, the conclusion of the whole matter is 
this, that no dealing with material things will make men better 
or worse. These things are not the causes, but the vents, as it 
were, for wrong-doing ; and if they be removed, the spiritual 
weakness which is always the ultimate cause of sin would only 
find fresh vents. "The kingdom of heaven is within you": 
spiritual remedies will alone heal what is ultimately a spiritual 
malady. Nor is there any other cure than that of education 
— which, indeed, Plato had himself most carefully prescribed. 
True, one may answer to Aristotle, very true; and yet was 
not Plato to some extent right ? Does not education need — 
not, as Plato had thought, an after buttressing with material 
supports, but at any rate a previous adjustment of material 
things, such as will secure that the seed shall not fall on 
stony ground? Education will not save mankind if it be 
choked in its sowing by the cares of the world. 




Gborge Grotk . 

Eduard Zeller 

Theodore Gomperz 

Walter Pater. 
D. G. Ritchie . 


Plato and the other Companions of Socrates. Second 
edition. London, 1867. 

Plato and the Older Academy. Translated from the 
German. London, 1876. 

Greek Thinkers, vols. ii. and iii of the English trans- 
lation. London, 1905. 

Plato and Platonism. London, 1893. 

Plato (in the World's Epoch-Makers). Edinburgh, 1902. 


Benjamin Jowett . The Republic translated into English (with preliminary 

introduction and analysis). Oxford, 1888. 
Jowett & Campbell Platds Republic. Greek Text, with notes and essays 

(vol. ii. contains the essays). 
R. L. Nettleship . Lectures on the Republic of Plato. Second edition. 

London and New York, 1901. 
„ „ The Theory of Education in Plato's Republic. (An 

essay in Hellenica % a volume of essays edited by 

Evelyn Abbott.) Second edition. London, 1898. 
BERNARD Bosanqcet A Companion to Plato's Republic for English Readers. 

London, 1895. 
,, ,, The Education of the Young in the Republic of 

Plato. Translated with notes and introduction. 

Cambridge, 1900. 









The SCENE is in the House of Cephalus, at the Piraus. 


I WENT down yesterday to the Piraeus, with Glauco, the son 
of Aristo, to pay my devotion to the Goddess ; and desirous, 
at the same time, to observe in what manner they would celebrate 
the festival, as they were now to do it for the first time. The 
procession of our own countrymen seemed to me to be indeed 
beautiful; yet that of the Thracians appeared no less proper. 
After we had paid our devotion, and seen the solemnity, we 
were returning to the city; when Polemarchus, the son of 
Cephalus, observing us at a distance hurrying home, ordered 
his boy to run and desire us to wait for him : and the boy, taking 
hold of my robe behind, Polemarchus, says he, desires you to wait. 
I turned about, and asked where he was. He is coming up, said 
he, after you; but do you wait for him. We will wait, said 
Glauco ; and soon afterwards came Polemarchus, and Adimantus 
the brother of Glauco, and Niceratus the son of Nicias, and some 
others as from the procession. Then said Polemarchus, Socrates ! 
you seem to me to be hurrying to the city. You conjecture, said 
I, not amiss. Do you not see, then, said he, how many there are 
of us? Undoubtedly I do. Therefore, now, you must either 


be stronger than these, or you must stay here. Is there not, said 
I, one way still remaining ? May we not persuade you that you 
must let us go ? What ! said he, could you persuade such as will 
not hear ? By no means, said Glauco. Then, assume that we are 
not to hear, and determine accordingly. But do you not know, 
said Adimantus, that there is to be a torchrace in the evening, 
on horse-back, to the goddess ? On horse-back ? said I. That is 
new. Are they to have torches, and give them to one another, 
contending together with their horses? or how do you mean? 
Just so, replied Polemarchus. And besides, they will perform a 
nocturnal solemnity worth seeing. For we shall rise after supper, 
and see the nocturnal solemnity, and shall be there with many 
of the youth, and converse together: But do you stay, and do 
not do otherwise. It seems proper, then, said Glauco, that we 
should stay. Nay, if you are so resolved, said I, then stay we 

We went' home therefore to Polemarchus's house ; and there 
we found both Lysias and Euthydemus, brothers of Polemarchus ; 
likewise Thrasymachus the Chalcedonian, and Charmantides the 
Paeanian, and Clitopho the son of Aristonymus; Cephalus the 
father of Polemarchus was likewise in the house ; he seemed to 
me to be far advanced in years, for I had not seen him for a long 
time. He was sitting crowned, on a certain cushioned couch; 
for he had been offering sacrifice in the hall. So we sat down 
by him ; for some seats were placed there in a circle. Immedi- 
ately then, when Cephalus saw me, he saluted me, and said, 
Socrates, you do not often come down to us to the Piraeus, 
nevertheless you ought to do it ; for, were I still able easily to 
go up to the city, you should not need to come hither, but we 
would go to you. But now you should come hither more 
frequently : for I assure you that, with relation to myself, as the 
pleasures respecting the body languish, the desire and pleasure of 
conversation increase. Do not fail, then to make a party often 
with these youths, and come hither to us, as to your friends and 
intimate acquaintance. And, truly, said I, Cephalus, I take 
pleasure in conversing with those who are very far advanced in 
years ; for it appears to me proper, that we learn from them, as 
from persons who have gone before us, what the road is which it 
is likely we have to travel ; whether rough and difficult, or plain 
and easy. And I would gladly learn from you, as you are now 
arrived at that time of life which the poets call the threshold of 
old age, what your opinion of it is ; whether you consider it to be 
a grievous part of life, or what you announce it to be ? And I 
will tell you, Socrates, said he, what is really my opinion ; for we 
frequently meet together in one place, several of us who are of 
the same age, observing the old proverb. Most of us, therefore, 
when assembled, lament their state, when they feel a want of the 


pleasures of youth, and call to their remembrance the delights of 
love, of drinking, and feasting, and some others akin to these : 
and they express indignation, as if they were bereaved of some 
mighty things. In those days, they say, they lived, but now they 
do not live at all : some of them, too, bemoan the contempt which 
old age meets with from their acquaintance : and on this account 
also they lament old age, which is to them the cause of so many 
ills. But these men, Socrates, seem not to me to blame the real 
cause ; for, if this were the cause, I likewise should have suffered 
the same things on account of old age; and all others, even as 
many as have arrived at these years : whereas I have met with 
several who are not thus affected ; and particularly was once with 
Sophocles the poet, when he was asked by some one, How, said 
he, Sophocles, are you affected towards the pleasures of love ? are 
you still able to enjoy them? Softly, friend, replied he, most 
gladly, indeed, have I escaped from these pleasures, as from some 
furious and savage master. He seemed to me to speak well at 
that time, and no less so now : for, certainly, there is in old age 
abundance of peace and freedom from such things ; for, when the 
appetites cease to be vehement, and are become easy, what 
Sophocles said certainly happens; we are delivered from very 
many, and those too insane masters. But with relation to these 
things, and those likewise respecting our acquaintance, there is 
one and the same cause; which is not old age, Socrates, but 
manners : for, if indeed they are discreet and moderate, even old 
age is but moderately burthensome : if not, both old age, Socrates, 
and youth are grievous to such. 

Being delighted to hear him say these things, and wishing 
him to discourse further, I urged him, and said, I think, Cephalus, 
the multitude will not agree with you in those things ; but will 
imagine that you bear old age easily, not from manners, but from 
possessing much wealth ; for the rich, say they, have many con- 
solations. You say true, replied he, they do not agree with me ; 
and there is something in what they say ; but, however, not so 
much as they imagine. But the saying of Themistocles was just ; 
who, when the Seriphian reviled him, and said that he was 
honoured, not on his own account, but on that of his country, 
replied That neither would himself have been renowned had he 
been a Seriphian, nor would the other, had he been an Athenian. 
The same saying is justly applicable to those who are not rich, 
and who bear old age with uneasiness, That neither would the 
worthy man, were he poor, bear old age quite easily ; nor would 
he who is unworthy, though enriched, ever be agreeable to him- 
self. But, Cephalus, said I, was the greater part of what you 
possess, left you; or have you acquired it? Somewhat, Socrates, 
replied he, I have acquired:, as to money-getting, I am in a 
medium between my grandfather and my father : for my grand- 


father, of the same name with me, who was left almost as much 
substance as I possess at present, made it many times as much 
again ; but my father Lysanias made it yet less than it is now : I 
am satisfied if I leave my sons here, no less, but some little more 
than I received. I asked you, said I, for this reason, because you 
seem to me to love riches moderately ; and those generally do so 
who have not acquired them : but those who have acquired them 
are doubly fond of them : for, as poets love their own poems, and 
as parents love their children, in the same manner, those who 
have enriched themselves value their riches as a work of their 
own, as well as for the utilities they afford, for which riches are 
valued by others. So they are not pleasant in social intercourse, 
because they care to praise nothing but riches. You say true, 
replied he. It is entirely so, said I. But further, tell me this : 
What do you think is the greatest good that you have derived 
from the possession of much substance ? That, probably, said he, 
of which I shall not persuade the multitude. For be assured, 
Socrates, continued he, that after a man begins to think he is 
soon to die, he feels a fear and concern about things which before 
gave him no uneasiness: for those stories concerning a future 
state, which represent that the man who has done injustice here 
must there be punished, though formerly ridiculed, do then 
trouble his soul with apprehensions that they may be true ; and 
the man, either through the infirmity of old age, or as being now 
more near those things, views them more attentively : he becomes 
therefore full of suspicion and dread ; and considers, and reviews, 
whether he has, in any thing, injured any one. He then who 
finds in his life much of iniquity, many a time is wakened from 
sleep, like children, in fear, and lives in miserable expectation. 
But the man who is not conscious of any iniquity, 

Still pleasing hope, sweet nourisher of age, 
Attends — 

as Pindar says. This, Socrates, he has beautifully expressed; 
that, whoever lives a life of justice and holiness, 

Sweet hope, the nourisher of age, his heart 
Delighting, with him lives ; which most of all 
Governs the many veering thoughts of man. 

So that he says well, and very admirably; wherefore, for this 
purpose, I deem the possession of riches to be chiefly valuable ; 
not to every man, but to the man of worth : for the possession of 
riches contributes considerably to free us from being tempted to 
cheat or deceive ; and from being obliged to depart thither in a 
terror, when either indebted in sacrifices to God, or in money to 
man. It has many other advantages besides ; but, for my part, 


4 Socrates, I deem riches to be most advantageous to a man of 
understanding, chiefly in this respect. You speak most hand- 
somely, Cephalus, replied I. But with respect to this very thing, 
justice : Whether shall we call it truth, simply, and the restoring 
of what one man has received from another? or shall we say that 
the very same things may sometimes be done justly, and some- 
times unjustly? My meaning is this: Every one would some- 
how own, that if a man should receive arms from his friend who 
was of a sound mind, it would not be proper to restore such things 
if he should demand them when mad ; nor would the restorer be 
just: nor again would he be just, who, to a man in such a 
condition, should willingly tell all the truth. You say right, 
replied he. This, then, to speak the truth, and restore what one 
hath received, is not the definition of justice ? It is not, Socrates, 
replied Polemarchus, if at least we may give any credit to 
Simonides. However that be, I give up, said Cephalus, this 
conversation to you ; for I must now go to take care of the sacred 
rites. Is not Polemarchus, said I, your heir ? Certainly, replied 
he smiling, and at the same time departed to the sacred rites. 

Tell me, then, said I, you who are heir in the conversation, 
what is it which, according to you, Simonides says so well con-* 
cerning justice ? That to give every one his due, is just, replied 
he ; in saying this, he seems to me to say well. It is, indeed, said I, 
not easy to disbelieve Simonides, for he is a wise and divine man ; 
but what his meaning may be in this, you, Polemarchus, probably 
know it, but I do not ; for it is plain he does not mean what we 
were saying just now ; that, when one deposits with another any 
thing, it is to be given back to him when he asks for it again in 
his madness : yet what has been deposited is in some respect, at 
least, due; is it not? It is. But yet, it is not at all, by any 
means, then, to be restored, when any one asks for it in his 
madness. It is not, replied he. Simonides then, as it should 
seem, says something different from this, that to deliver up what 
is due, is just? Something different, truly, replied he: for he 
thinks that friends ought to do their friend some good, but no ill. 
I understand, said I. He who restores gold deposited with him, 
if to restore and receive it be hurtful, and the restorer and 
receiver be friends, does not give what is due. Is not this what 
you allege Simonides says ? Surely. But what ? are we to give 
our enemies too, what may chance to be due to them? By all 
means, replied he, what is due to them ; and from an enemy, to 
an enemy, there is due, I imagine, what is fitting, that is, some 
evil. Simonides, then, as it should seem, replied I, expressed 
what is just, enigmatically, and after the manner of the poets; 
for he well understood, as it appears, that this was juBt, to give 
every one what was fitting for him, and this he called his due. 
But, what, said he, is your opinion ? Truly, replied I, if any one 


should ask him thus : Simonides, how would you define the art, 
which, dispensing to certain persons something fitting and due, is 
called medicine ? what would he answer us, do you think ? That 
art, surely, replied he, which dispenses drugs, and prescribes 
regimen of meats and drinks to bodies. And how do you define the 
art, which, dispensing to certain things something fitting and due, 
is called cookery? The art which gives seasonings to victuals. 
Be it so. How then would you define art, which, dispensing to 
certain persons something fitting and due, may be called justice ? 
If we ought to be any, way directed, Socrates, by what is said 
above, it is the art which dispenses good offices to friends, and 
injuries to enemies. To do good, then, to friends, and ill to 
enemies, he calls justice ? It seems so. Who, then, is most able 
to do good, to his friends, when they are diseased, and ill to his 
enemies, with respect to sickness and health? The physician. 
And who, when they sail, with respect to the danger of the sea ? 
The pilot. But as to the just man, in what business, and with 
respect to what action, is he most able to serve his friends, and 
to hurt his enemies? It seems to me, in fighting in alliance 
with the one, and against the other. Be it so. But, surely, the 
physician is useless, Polemarchus, to those, at least, who are not 
sick ? It is true. And the pilot, to those who do not .sail ? He 
is. And is the just man, in like manner, useless to those who are 
not at war ? I can by no means think that he is. Justice, then, 
is useful likewise in time of peace. It is. And so is agriculture, 
is it not ? It is. Towards the possession of grain ? Certainly. 
And is not shoemaking likewise useful? It is. Towards the 
possession of shoes, you will say, I imagine. Certainly. But 
what, now ? For the use, or possession of what, would you say 
that justice were useful in time of peace ? For co-partnerships, 
Socrates. You call co-partnerships, joint companies, or what 
else? Joint companies, certainly. Whether, then, is the just 
man, or the draught-player, a good and useful co-partner, for 
playing at draughts? The dice-player. But, in the laying of 
tiles or stones, is the just man a more useful and a better 
partner than the mason? By no means. In what joint 
company, now, is the just man a better co-partner than the 
harper, as the harper is better than the just man for touching 
the strings of a harp? In a joint company about money, as I 
imagine. And yet it is likely, Polemarchus, that with regard 
to the making use of money, when it is necessary jointly to buy 
or sell a horse, the jockey, as I imagine, is then the better 
co-partner. Is he not ? He would appear so. And with respect 
to a ship, the ship-wright, or ship-master? It would seem so. 
When then is it, with respect to the joint application of money, 
that the just man is more useful than others? When it is to 
be deposited, and be safe, Socrates. Do you not mean, when 


there is no need to use it, but to let it lie ? Certainly. When 
money then is useless, justice is useful with regard to it? It 
seems so. And when a pruning-hook is to be kept, justice is 
useful, both for a community, and for a particular person: but 
when it is to be used, the art of vine-dressing is useful. It 
appears so. And you will say that, when a buckler, or a harp, 
is to be kept, and not to be used, then justice is useful; but 
when they are to be used, then the military, and the musical 
art? Of necessity. And with reference to all other things, 
when they are to be used, justice is useless ; but when they are 
not to be used, it is useful? It seems so. Justice, then, my 
friend ! can be no very important matter, if it' is useful only in 
respect of things, which are not to be used. But let us consider 
this matter: Is not he who is the most dexterous at striking, 
whether in battle or in boxing, the same likewise in defending 
himself? Certainly. And is not he who is dexterous in warding 
off and shunning a distemper, most dexterous too in bringing 
it on ? So I imagine. And he too the best guardian of a camp, 
who can steal the counsels, and the other operations of the 
enemy? Certainly. Of whatever, then, any one is a good 
guardian, of that likewise he is a dexterous thief. It seems so. 
If therefore the just man be dexterous in guarding money, he is 
dexterous likewise in stealing? So it would appear, said he, 
from this reasoning. The just man, then, has appeared to be a 
sort of thief; and you seem to have learned this from Homer; 
for he admires Autolycus, the grandfather of Ulysses by his 
mother, and says that he was distinguished beyond all men 
for thefts and oaths. It seems, then, according to you, and 
according to Homer and Simonides, that justice is a sort of 
thieving, for the profit indeed of friends, and for the hurt of 
enemies. Did not you say so ? No, by no means ; nor indeed 
do I know any longer what I said ; yet I still think that justice 
profits friends, and hurts enemies. 

But, whether do you pronounce such to be friends, as seem to 
each man to be honest ? or, such as are so, though they do not 
seem ; and in the same way as to enemies ? It is reasonable, 
said he, to love those whom a man deems to be honest ; and to 
hate those whom he deems to be wicked. But do not men 
mistake in this ; so as that many who are not honest appear so to 
them, and many contrariwise ? They do mistake. To such, then, 
the good are enemies, and the bad are friends ? Certainly. But, 
however, it is then just for them to profit the bad ; and to hurt 
the good. It appears so. But the good are likewise just, and 
such as do no ill. True. But, according to your speech, it 
is just to do ill to those who do no ill. I hope not, Socrates, 
replied he; for the speech seems to be wicked. It is just, 
then, said I, to hurt the unjust, and to profit the just This 


speech appears more handsome than the other. Then, it will 
happen, Polemarchus, to many, — to as many indeed of mankind 
as have misjudged, that it shall be just to hurt their friends, who 
are really bad ; and to profit their enemies, who are really good ; 
and so we shall say the very reverse of what we affirmed 
Simonides said? It does, indeed, said he, happen so. But let 
us define again ; for we seem not to have rightly defined a friend 
and an enemy. How were they defined, Polemarchus ? That he 
who seems honest is a friend. But how shall we now define, 
said I ? That he who seems, replied he, and likewise is honest, 
is a friend ; but he who seems honest, yet is not, seems, yet is 
not a friend. And we must admit the distinction about an 
enemy to be the very same. The good man, according to 
this speech, will, as it seems, be the friend ; and the wicked man, 
the enemy. Yes. Do you now require us to describe what is 
just, as we did before, when we said it was just to do good to a 
friend, and ill to an enemy ? Or shall we add to the definition, 
and now say, that it is just to do good to a friend, when he 
is good; and ill to an enemy, when he is bad? This last, 
said he, seems to me to be perfectly well expressed. Is it, then, 
said I, the part of a just man to hurt any man ? By all means, 
said he, he ought to hurt the wicked, and his enemies. But, 
do horses, when they are hurt, become better or worse ? Worse. 
Whether in the virtue of dogs, or of horses ? In that of horses. 
And, do not dogs, when they are hurt, become worse in the 
virtue of dogs, and not of horses ? Of necessity. And shall we 
not in like manner, my friend, say that men, when they are hurt, 
become worse in the virtue of a man ? Certainly. But is not 
justice the virtue of a man? Of necessity this likewise. Of 
necessity then, friend, those men who are hurt must become 
more unjust. It seems so. But can musicians, by music, make 
men unmusical? It is impossible. Or horsemen, by horse- 
manship, make men unskilled in horsemanship? It cannot be. 
Or can the just, by justice, make men unjust? Or in general, 
can the good, by virtue, make men wicked? It is impossible. 
For, it is not, as I imagine, the effect of heat, to make cold, 
but of its contrary. Yes. Nor is it the effect of drought, 
to make moist; but its contrary. Certainly. Neither is it 
the part of a good man, to hurt ; but of his contrary. It appears 
so. But, the just is good. Certainly. Neither, then, is it the 
part of a just man, Polemarchus, to hurt either friend, or any 
other, but the part of his contrary, the unjust man. 

In all respects, said he, you seem to me, Socrates, to say true. 
If, then, any one says that it is just to give every one his due, 
and thinks this with himself, that hurt is due to enemies from a 
just man, and profit to his friend ; he was not wise who said so, 
for he spoke not the truth. For it has no where appeared to us. 


that any just man hurts any one. I agree, said he. We will 
fight on the same side, then, said I, if any one shall say that a 
Simonides, a Bias, a Pittacus, said so ; or any other of those wise 
and happy men. I am ready, said he, to join in the fight. But 
do you know, said I, whose saying I fancy it is, That it is just to 
profit friends, and hurt enemies? Whose? said he. I fancy it 
is the saying of Periander, or Perdiccas, or Xerxes, or Ismenius 
the Theban ; or some other rich man, who thought himself able 
to accomplish great things. You say most true, said he. Be it 
so, said I. But as this has not appeared to be justice, nor the just, 
what else may one assert it to be ? 

Thrasymachus frequently, during our reasoning, had tried to 
rush in the midst, to lay hold of the discourse ; but was hindered 
by those who sat near him, and who wanted to hear the conversa- 
tion to an end. But when we paused, and I had said these things, 
he was no longer quiet ; but, collecting himself as a wild beast, 
he charged upon us as if he would have torn us in pieces. Both 
Polemarchus and I, being frightened, were thrown into the 
'utmost consternation: but he, roaring out in the midst: What 
trifling, said he, Socrates, is this which long ago possesses you ; 
and why do you thus play the fool together, yielding mutually to 
one another ? But, if you truly want to know what is just, ask 
not questions only, nor value yourself in confuting, when any one 
answers you any thing ; (knowing this, that it is easier to ask than 
to answer ;) but answer yourself, and tell what it is you call just. 
And you are not to tell me that it is what is fit ; nor what is due, 
nor what is profitable, nor what is gainful, nor what is advan- 
tageous; but, what you mean tell plainly and accurately; for I 
wSl not allow it, if you speak such trifles as these. When I heard 
this, I was astonished, and, looking at him, was frightened ; and 
I should have become speechless, I imagine, if I had not perceived 
him before he perceived me. But I had observed him first, when 
he began to grow fierce at our reasoning ; so that I was now able 
to answer him, and said, trembling : 

Thrasymachus i be not hard on us ; for, if we mistake in our 
inquiries, Polemarchus and I, be well assured that we mistake 
unwittingly : for think not that, in searching for gold, we would 
never willingly yield to one another in the search, and mar the 
finding it; but that, searching for justice, an affair far more 
valuable than a great deal of gold, we should yet foolishly yield 
to each other, and not labour, friend, with the utmost ardour, that 
we may discover what it really is. Do not doubt it, my friend ; 
but I am afraid we are not able to discover it. It is more reason- 
able, then, that we be pitied, than be used hardly by you who 
are men of ability. Having heard this, he laughed aloud in a 
very coarse manner, and said By Hercules! this is Socrates's 
wonted irony. This I both knew and foretold to these, here, 


that you never incline to answer if any one ask you any thing. 
Ah, but you are a wise man, Thrasymachus, said I. For you knew 
well, that if you asked any one, How many is twelve ? and, when 
you ask, should previously tell him, You are not, friend, to tell me 
that twelve is twice six ; nor that it is three times four ; nor that 
it is four times three ; for I will not admit it, if you trifle in such 
a manner ; — I fancy it is plain to you that no man would answer 
one asking in such a way. But if he should say to you, Wonderful 
Thrasymachus! how do you mean? May I answer in none of 
those ways you have told me; not even though the real and 
true answer happen to be one of them, but I am to say something 
else than the truth ? Or, how is it you mean ? What would you 
say to him in answer to these things ? Pooh, said he, much the 
two things are alike. Nothing hinders it, said I; but, though 
they were not alike, but should appear so to him who was asked, 
would he the less readily answer what appeared to him ; whether 
we forbade him or not ? And will you do so now ? said he. Will 
you say in answer some of these things which I forbid you to say ? 
I should not wonder I did, said I, if it should appear so to me 
on inquiry. What then, said he, if I shall show you another and 
a better answer, besides all these about justice; what will you 
deserve to suffer ? What else, said I, but what is proper for the 
ignorant to suffer ? And that is, of course, to learn from one who 
knows. I shall therefore deserve to suffer this. You are pleasant 
now, said he, but besides learning, you shall pay a fine likewise. 
Certainly, said I, when I have the money to pay with. But it is 
here, said Glauco ; so as to money, Thrasymachus, say on ; for all 
of us will advance for Socrates. I truly imagine so, said he, that 
Socrates may go on in his wonted manner; not answer himself, 
but, when another answers, he may take up the discourse, and 
confute. How, said I, most excellent Thrasymachus, can a man 
answer : In the first place, when he neither knows, nor pretends 
to know ; and, then, if he have any opinion about these matters, 
he is forbid by no mean man to advance any of his opinions? 
But it is more reasonable that you speak, as you say you know, 
and can tell us : Do not decline then, but oblige me in answering, 
and do not grudge to instruct Glauco here, and the rest of the 

When I had said this, both Glauco and the rest of the company 
entreated him not to decline it. And Thrasymachus appeared 
plainly desirous to speak, in order to gain applause, reckoning he 
had a very fine answer to make ; yet pretended to be earnest that 
I should be the answerer, but at last he agreed. And then, This, 
said he, is the wisdom of Socrates : Unwilling himself to teach, 
he goes about learning from others, and gives no thanks for it. 
That, indeed, I learn from others, said I, Thrasymachus, is true ; 
but in saying that I do not give thanks for it, you are mistaken. 


I pa j as much as I am able; and I am only able to commend 
them; for money I have not: and how readily I do this, when 
any one appears to me to speak well, you shall perfectly know 
this moment, when you make an answer ; for I imagine you are 
to speak well. Hear then, said he ; for I say, that what is just, 
is nothing else but the advantage of the more powerful. But why 
do not you commend? You are unwilling. Let me learn first, 
said I, what you say ; for as yet I do not understand, it The 
advantage of the more powerful, you say, is what is just. Wl 
is this which you now say, Thrasymachus ? For you certainly do 
not mean such a thing as this: If Polydamus, the wrestler, be 
more powerful than we ; and if beef be beneficial for his body, 
that this food is likewise both just and advantageous for us, who 
are weaker than he. You are most impudent, Socrates, and lay 
hold of my speech on that side where you may do it the greatest 
hurt. By no means, most excellent Thrasymachus said I, but tell 
more plainly what is your meaning. Do not you know then, said 
he, that, with reference to states, some are tyrannical; others 
democratical ; and others aristocratical ? Oh, yes. And is not 
the governing part in each state the more powerful ? Certainly. 
And every government makes laws for its own advantage : a 
democracy, democratic laws ; a tyranny, tyrannic ; and others the 
same way. And when they have made them, they show that to 
be just for the governed, which is advantageous for themselves ; 
and they punish the transgressor of this as one acting contrary 
both to law and justice. This, then, most excellent Socrates, is 
what I say, that, in all states, what is just, and what is advan- 
tageous for the established government, are the same ; it hath the , 
power. So that it appears to him who reasons rightly, that, in allr S 
cases, what is the advantage of the more powerful, the same is^-/ 
just. Now I have learned, said I, what you mean. But whether 
it be true, or not, I shall endeavour to learn. What is advan- 
tageous, then, Thrasymachus, you yourself have affirmed to be 
likewise just; though you forbid me to give this answer; but, 
indeed, you have added to it that of the more powerful. Of 
course, said he, but a small addition. It is not yet manifest, 
whether it is small or great; but it is manifest that this is to 
be considered, whether you speak the truth; since I too ac- 
knowledge that what is just is somewhat that is advantageous: 
but you add to it, and say, that it is that of the more powerful. 
This I do not know, but it is to be considered. Consider then, 
said he. That, said I, shall be done. And tell me, do not 
you say that it is just to obey governors ? I say so. Whether v / 
are the governors in the several states infallible? or are they N{ 
capable of erring? Certainly, said he, they are liable to err. 
Do they not, then, when they attempt to make laws, make 
some of them right, and some of them not right ? I imagine so. 


To make them right, is it not to make them advantageous for 
themselves ; and to make them not right, disadvantageous ? Or 
what is it you mean ? Entirely so. And what they enact is to 
be observed by the governed, and this is what is just ? Surely. 
It is, then, according to your reasoning, not only just to do 
what is advantageous for the more powerful ; but also to do the 
contrary, what is not advantageous. What do you say ? replied he. 
The same, I imagine, that you say yourself. But let us consider 
better: have we not acknowledged that governors, in enjoining 
the governed to do certain things, may sometimes mistake what 
is best for themselves ; and that what the governors enjoin is just 
for the governed to do? Have not these things been acknow- 
ledged ? I think so, said he. Think, also, then, said I, that you 
have acknowledged that it is just to do what is disadvantageous 
to governors, and the more powerful, whenever governors un- 
willingly enjoin what is ill for themselves ; and you say that it is 
just for the others to do what these enjoin. Must it not then, 
most wise Thrasymachus, necessarily happen, that, by this means, 
it may be just to do the contrary of what you say? For that 
which is the disadvantage of the more powerful, is sometimes 
enjoined the inferiors to do. Yes, indeed, Socrates, said 
Polemarchus, these things are most manifest. Of course, if you 
bear him witness, said CHtopho. What need, said I, of a witness ? 
For Thrasymachus himself acknowledges that governors do indeed 
sometimes enjoin what is ill for themselves ; but that it is just 
for the governed to do these things. For it has, Polemarchus, 
been established by Thrasymachus, to be just, to do what is 
enjoined by the governors; and he has likewise, CHtopho, 
established that to be just, which is the advantage of the more 
powerful; and, having established both these things, he has 
acknowledged likewise, that the more powerful sometimes enjoin 
the inferiors and governed to do what is disadvantageous for 
themselves; and, from these concessions, the advantage of the 
more powerful can no more be just than the disadvantage. But, 
said CHtopho, he said the advantage of the more powerful ; that 
is, what the more powerful judged to be advantageous to himself; 
that this was to be done by the inferior, and this he established 
as just. But, said Polemarchus, it was not said so. It makes no 
matter, Polemarchus, said I. But, if Thrasymachus says so now, 
we shaU aUow him to do it. And tell me, Thrasymachus, was 
this what you meant to say was just? The advantage of the 
more powerful, such as appeared so to the more powerful, whether 
it is advantageous, or is not. Shall we say that you spoke thus ? 
By no means, said he. For, do you imagine I call him the more 
powerful who misjudges, at the time he misjudges ? I thought, 
said I, you said this, when you acknowledged that governors were 
not infaUible; but that in some things they even erred. You 


are a quibbler, said he, in reasoning, Socrates. For, do you now 
call him who mistakes about the management of the sick, a 
physician, as to that very thing in which he mistakes ? or, him, 
who mistakes in reasoning, a reasoner, when he errs, and with 
reference to that very error ? But, I imagine, we say, in common 
language, that the physician erred ; that the reasoner erred, and 
the grammarian : The fact is, however, I imagine, that each of 
these, as far as he is what we call him, errs not at any time: 
So that, according to accurate discourse (since you discourse 
accurately), none of the artists errs : for he who errs, errs by 
departing from science ; and, in this, he is no artist : So that no 
artist, or wise man, or governor errs, in so far as he is a governor. 
Yet any one may say the physician erred; the governor erred: 
Imagine then, it was in this way I now answered you. But the 
most accurate answer is this : That the governor, in as far as he 
is governor, errs not; and, if he does not err, he enacts that 
which is best for himself; and this is to be observed by the 
governed : So that what I said from the beginning, I maintain, 
is just — To do what is the advantage of the more powerful. Be 
it so, said I, Thrasymachus ! Do I appear to you to act the 
quibbler? Certainly, indeed, said he. What! do you imagine 
that I spoke as I did, insidiously, and to abuse you ? I know it 
well, said he, but you shall gain nothing by it ; for, you are not 
likely to catch me napping with your tricks, and if my eyes are 
open, you shall not be able to overcome me by your reasoning. 
I shall not attempt it, said I, happy Thrasymachus! But, that 
nothing of this kind may happen to us again, define, whether 
you speak of a governor, and the more powerful, according to 
common, or according to accurate discourse, as you now said, 
whose advantage, as he is the more powerful, it shall be just for 
the inferior to observe. I speak of him, said he, who, in the 
most accurate discourse, is governor. For this, now, abuse me, 
and act the quibbler if you are able. I do not shun you ; but 
you cannot do it. Do you imagine me, said 1, to be so mad as to 
attempt to shave a lion, and act the quibbler with Thrasymachus ? 
You have now, said he, attempted it, but with no effect. Enough, 
said I, of this. But tell me, with reference to him, who, accurately 
speaking, is a physician, whom you now mentioned, whether is 
he a gainer of money, or one who takes care of the sick? and 
speak of him who is really a physician. He is one who takes 
care, said he, of the sick. But what of the pilot, who is a pilot, 
truly? Whether is he the governor of the sailors, or a sailor? 
The governor of the sailors. That, I think, is not to be con- 
sidered, that he sails in the ship ; nor that he is called a sailor ; 
for it is not for his sailing that he is called pilot, but for his art, 
and his governing the sailors. True, said he. Is there not then 
something advantageous to each of these ? Certainly. And does 


not all art, said I, naturally tend to this, to seek out and afford 
to everything its advantage ? It tends to this, said he. Is there, 
now, anything else advantageous to each of the arts, hut to be 
the most perfect possible? What mean you by this question? 
As, if you asked me, said I, whether it sufficed the body to be 
body, or if it stood in need of anything, — I would say, that it 
stood in need of something else. For this reason is the medicinal 
art invented, because the body is infirm, and is not sufficient for 
itself in such a state ; in order therefore to afford it things for 
its advantage, for this purpose, this art has been provided. Do 
I seem to you, said I, to say right, or not, in speaking in this 
manner? Right, said he. But what now? This medicinal art 
itself, or any other, is it imperfect, so long as it is wanting in a 
certain virtue? As the eyes, when they want seeing; and the 
ears, hearing ; and, for these reasons have they need of a certain 
art, to perceive, and afford them what is advantageous for these 
purposes? And is there, still, in art itself, some imperfection; 
and does every art stand in need of another art, to perceive what 
is advantageous to it, and this stand in need of another, in like 
manner, and so on, to infinity ? Or shall each art perceive what 
is advantageous to itself; and stand in need neither of itself, nor 
of another, to perceive what is for its advantage, with reference 
to its own imperfection ? there being no imperfection, nor error, 
in any art, nor does it belong to it to seek what is advantageous 
to anything, but to that of which it is the art, but it is, itself, 
infallible, and pure, being in the right, so long as each art is 
exact and whole, whatever it is. And consider now, according 
to that accurate discourse, whether it be thus, or otherwise. 
Thus, said he, it appears. The medicinal art, then, said I, does 
not consider what is advantageous to the medicinal art, but to 
the body. Yes, said he. Nor the art of managing horses, what 
is advantageous for that art ; but what is advantageous for horses. 
Nor does any other art consider what is advantageous for itself, 
(for it hath no need,) but what is advantageous for that of which 
it is the art ? So, replied he, it appears. But, Thrasymachus, the 
arts rule and govern that of which they are the arts. He yielded 
this, but with great difficulty. No science, then, considers the 
advantage of the more powerful, nor enjoins it ; but that of the 
inferior, and of what is governed. He consented to these things 
at last, though he attempted to contend about them, but after- 
wards he consented. Why, then, said I, no physician, so far as 
he is a physician, considers what is advantageous for the physician, 
nor enjoins it ; but what is advantageous for the sick ; for it has 
been agreed, that the accurate physician is one who takes care 
of sick bodies, and not an amasser of wealth. Has it not been 
agreed? He assented. And likewise that the accurate pilot is 
the governor of the sailors, and not a sailor ? It has been agreed. 

the Republic is 

Such a pilot, then, and governor, will not consider and enjoin 
what is the advantage of the pilot, but what is advantageous to 
the sailor, and the governed. He consented, with difficulty. 
Nor, yet, Thrasymachus, said I, does any other, in any govern- 
ment, as far as he is a governor, consider or enjoin his own 
advantage, but that of the governed, and of those to whom he 
ministers ; and, with an eye to this, and to what is advantageous 
and suitable to this, he both says what he says, and does what 
he does. 

When we were at this part of the discourse, and it was 
evident to all that the definition of what was just, stood now 
on the contrary side, Thrasymachus, instead of replying, Tell 
me, said he, Socrates, have you a nurse? Come now, said I, 
ought you not rather to answer, than ask such things ? Because, 
said he, she neglects you when your nose is stuffed, and does 
not wipe it when it needs it, you who, thanks to her, understand 
neither what is meant by sheep, nor by shepherd. Why, what 
now is all this ? said I. Because you think that shepherds, and 
neatherds, ought to consider the good of the sheep, or oxen, 
to fatten them, and to minister to them, having in their eye, 
something besides their master's good and their own. And you 
fancy that those who govern in cities, those who govern truly, 
are somehow otherwise affected towards the governed than one 
is towards sheep; and that they are not attentive, day and 
night, to just this, how they shall be gainers themselves; 
and so far are you from the notion of the just and of justice, 
and of the unjust and injustice, that you do not know that 
both justice and the just are, in reality, a foreign good, the 
advantage of the more powerful, and of the governor; but 
properly, the hurt of the subject, and the inferior ; and injustice 
is the contrary, and governs such as are truly simple and just ; 
and the governed do what is for the governor's advantage, he 
being more powerful, and ministering to him, promote his 
happiness, but by no means their own. You must thus 
. consider it, most simple Socrates ! that, on all occasions, the 
just man gets the worst of it with the unjust. First, in co- 
partnerships with one another, where the one joins in company 
with the other, you never can find, on the dissolving of the 
company, that the just man gets more than the unjust, but 
less: Then, in civil affairs, where there are taxes to be paid 
from equal substance; the just man pays more, the other less. 
But when there is anything to be gained, the one gains nothing, 
but the gain of the other is great: For, when each of them 
governs in any public magistracy, this, if no other loss, befalls 
the just man, that his domestic affairs, at least, are in a worse 
situation through his neglect; and that he gains nothing from 
the public, because he is just: Add to this, that he comes to 

1 6 PLATO 

be hated by his domestics and acquaintance, when at no time 
he will serve them beyond what is just: But all these things 
are quite otherwise with the unjust; such an one, I mean, as 
I now mentioned ; one who has it in his power greatly to gain. 
Consider him, then, if you would judge how much more it is 
for his private advantage to be unjust than just, and you will 
most easily understand it if you come to the most finished 
injustice; such as renders the unjust man most happy, but the 
injured, and those who are unwilling to do injustice, most 
wretched ; and that is tyranny, which takes away the goods 
of others, both by secret fraud, and by open violence; both 
things sacred and holy, both private and public, and these not 
by degrees, but all at once. In all particular cases of such 
crimes, when one, committing injustice, is not concealed, he is 
punished, and suffers the greatest ignominy. For according 
to the several kinds of the wickedness they commit, they are 
called sacrilegious, robbers, house-breakers, pilferers, thieves. 
But when any one, besides these thefts of the substance of his 
citizens, shall steal and enslave the citizens themselves ; instead 
of those disgraceful names, he is called happy and blest; not 
by his citizens alone, but likewise by others, as many as are 
informed that he has committed the most consummate wicked- 
ness. For such as revile wickedness, revile it not because they 
are afraid of doing, but because they are afraid of suffering, 
unjust things. And thus, Socrates, injustice, when in sufficient 
measure, is both more powerful, more free, and hath more 
absolute command than justice : and, (as I said at the beginning,) 
the advantage of the more powerful, is justice; but injustice is 
the profit and advantage of oneself. 

Thrasymachus having said these things, inclined to go away ; 
after he had poured into our ears like a bath-keeper this rapid 
and long discourse. These, however, who were present, would 
not suffer him, but forced him to stay, and give an account of 
what he had said. I too myself earnestly entreated him, and 
said, My good Thrasymachus! after throwing in upon us so 
strange a discourse, do you intend to go away before you teach 
us sufficiently, or learn yourself, whether the case be as you say, 
or otherwise? Do you imagine you attempt to determine a 
small matter, and not the guide of life, by which, each of us 
being conducted, may lead the most happy life? Do you 
imagine, said Thrasymachus, that I think otherwise? / You 
seem truly, said I, to care nothing for us ; nor to be any way 
concerned, whether we shall live well or ill, whilst we are 
ignorant of what you say you know : But, good Thrasymachus, 
be readily disposed to show it also to us, nor will the favour 
be ill placed, whatever you shall bestow on so many of us as 
are now present. And I, for my own part, tell you, that I am 


not persuaded, nor do I think that injustice is more profitable 
than justice ; not although it should be permitted to exert itself, 
and be no way hindered from doing whatever it should incline. 
But, good Thrasymachus, let him be unjust, let him be able to 
do unjustly, either in secret, or by force, yet will you not persuade 
me at least that injustice is more profitable than justice, and 
probably some other of us here is of the same mind, and I am 
not single. Convince us then, pray do now, Thrasymachus, 
that we imagine wrong, when we value justice more than 
injustice. But how, said he, shall I convince you? For, if I 
have not convinced you by what I have said already, what 
shall I further do for you? shall I enter into your soul, and 
put my reasoning within you? God forbid, said I, you shall 
not do that. But, first of all, whatever you have said, abide 
by it : or, if you do change, change openly ; and do not deceive 
us. For now you see, Thrasymachus, (for let us still consider 
what is said above,) that when you first defined the true 
physician, you did not afterwards think it needful that the 
true shepherd should, strictly, upon the like principles, keep 
his flock; but you fancy that, as a shepherd, he may feed his 
flock, not regarding what is best for the sheep, but as some 
glutton, who is going to feast on them at some entertainment ; 
or yet to dispose of them as a merchant ; and not a shepherd. 
But the shepherd-art hath certainly no other care, but of that 
for which it is ordained, to afford it what is best : for its own 
affairs are already sufficiently provided for, so as to be in the 
very best state, so long as it lacks nothing of the shephercLart. 
In the same manner, I at least imagined, there was a necessity 
for agreeing with us in this, that every government, in as far 
as it is government, considers what is best for nothing else but 
for the governed, and those under its charge ; both in political 
and private government. But do you imagine that governors 
in cities, such as are truly governors, govern willingly? Truly, 
said he, as for that, I not only imagine it, but am quite certain. 
Why now, said I, Thrasymachus, do you not perceive, as to all 
other governments, that no one undertakes them willingly, but 
they ask a reward; as the profit arising from governing is not 
to be to themselves, but to the governed? Or, tell me this 
now : do not we say that every particular art is in this distinct, 
in having a distinct power? And now, Thrasymachus, pray 
answer not differently from your sentiments, that we may make 
some progress. Yes, said he, that is the distinction. And does 
not each of them afford us a certain distinct advantage, and 
not a common one? As the medicinal affords health, the pilot 
art, preservation in sailing; and the others in like manner 
Certainly. And does not the mercenary art afford a reward, 
for this is its power? Or, do you call both the medicinal art, 


and the pilot art, one and the same? Or, rather, if you will 
define them accurately, as you proposed ; though one in piloting 
recover his health, because sailing agrees with him, you will 
not the more on this account call it the medicinal art? No, 
indeed, said he. Nor will you, 1 imagine, call the mercenary 
art the medicinal, though one, in gaining a reward, recover his 
health. No, indeed. What now ? Will you call the medicinal, 
the mercenary art, if one in performing a cure gain a reward ? 
No, said he. Have we not acknowledged, then, that there is 
a distinct advantage of every art ? Be it so, said he. What is 
that advantage, then, with which all artists in common are 
advantaged ? It is plain it must be in using something common 
to all that they are advantaged by it. It seems so, said he. 
Further, we say that if artists are profited, they are so in using 
the mercenary art, in addition to their own. He agreed with 
difficulty. It is not, then, from his own art that each gains 
this advantage, the receiving a reward ; but if we are to consider 
accurately, the medicinal art produces health, and the mercenary 
art a reward ; masonry, a house, and, the mercenary art accom- 
panying it, a reward. And all the others, in like manner, every 
one produces its own work, and benefits that for which it was 
ordained; but, if it meet not with a reward, is the artist 
advantaged at all by his art? It does not appear so, said he. 
But does he then no service when he works without reward? 
I think he does. Is not this, then, now evident, Thrasymachus, 
that no art, nor government, provides what is advantageous for 
itself; but, as I said long ago, provides and enjoins what is 
advantageous for the governed; having in view the profit of 
the inferior, and not that of the more powerful. And, for these 
reasons, friend Thrasymachus, I likewise said now, that no one 
is willing to govern, and to undertake to rectify the ills of 
others, but asks a reward for it ; because, whoever will perform 
the art handsomely, never acts what is best for himself, in ruling 
according to his art, but what is best for the governed ; and 
on this account, it seems, a reward must be given to those 
who shall be willing to govern ; either money, or honour ; at 
punishment, if they will not govern. 

How say you, Socrates, said Glauco; two of the rewards I 
understand; but this punishment you speak of, and here you 
mention it in place of a reward, I know not. You know not, then, 
said I, the reward of the best of men, on account of which the 
most worthy govern, when they consent to govern. Or, do you 
not know, that to be ambitious and covetous, is both deemed a 
reproach, and really is so ? 1 know, said he. For those reasons, 
then, said I, good men are not willing to govern, neither for 
money, nor for honour; for they are neither willing to be called 
mercenary, in openly receiving a reward for governing, nor to be 


called thieves, in taking clandestinely from those under their 
government ; as little are they willing to govern for honour, for 
they are not ambitious. — Necessity then, must be laid on them, 
and a penalty, that they may consent to govern. And hence, it 
seems, it hath been accounted dishonourable to enter on govern- 
ment willingly, and not by constraint. And the greatest part of 
the punishment is to be governed by a base person, if one himself 
is not willing to govern : and the good seem to me to govern from 
a fear of this, when they do govern : and then, they enter on the 
government, not as on any thing good, or as what they are to reap 
advantage by, but as on a necessary task, and finding none 
better than themselves, nor like them to entrust with the govern- 
ment : since it would appear that, if there was a city of good 
men, the contest would be, not to be in the government, as at 
present it is, to govern : And hence it would be manifest, that by 
nature he who is indeed the true governor, does not aim at his own 
advantage, but at that of the governed ; so that every understand- 
ing man would rather choose to be served, than to have trouble 
in serving another. This, therefore, I, for my part, will never 
yield to Thrasymachus ; that justice is the advantage of the 
more powerful; but this we shall consider afterwards. What 
Thrasymachus says now, seems to me of much more importance, 
when he says that the life of the unjust man is better than that 
of the just. You, then, Glauco, said I, which side do you choose ; 
and which seems to you most agreeable to truth ? The life of the 
just, said he, I, for my part, deem to be the more profitable. 
Have you heard, said I, how many good things Thrasymachus 
just now enumerated in the life of the unjust ? I heard, said he, 
but am not persuaded. Are you willing, then, that we should 
persuade him, (if we be able any how to find arguments), that 
there is no truth in what he says ? Surely, said he. If then, 
said I, pulling on the other side, we advance argument for 
argument, how many good things there are in being just, and 
then again, he on the other side, we shall need a third person to 
compute and estimate what each shall have said on either side ; 
and we shall likewise need some judges to determine the matter. 
But, if, as now, assenting to one another, we consider these things ; 
we shall be both judges and pleaders ourselves. Certainly, said 
he. Which way, then, said I, do you choose ? This way, said he. 
Come then, said I, Thrasymachus, answer us from the 
beginning. Do you say that complete injustice is more 
profitable than complete justice ? Yes, indeed, I say so, replied 
he. And the reasons for it I have enumerated. Come now, 
do you ever affirm any thing of this kind concerning them? 
Do you call one of them, virtue; and the other, vice? Why 
not ? Is not then, justice, virtue ; and injustice, vice ? A likely 
tiling, said he, most witty Socrates! when I say that injustice 


is profitable, but justice is not. What then ? The contrary, said 
he. Is it justice you call vice? No, but I call it, altogether 
genuine simplicity. Do you, then, call injustice, cunning ? No, 
said he, but I call it sagacity. Do the unjust seem to you, 
Thrasymachus, to be both prudent and good ? Such, at least, said 
he, as are able to do injustice in perfection ; such as are able to 
subject to themselves states and nations ; but you probably imagine 
I speak of those who cut purses. Even such things as these, he 
said, are profitable if concealed ; but such only as I now mentioned 
are of any worth. I understand, said I, what you want to say : 
But this I wonder at, that you should deem injustice to be a part 
of virtue and of wisdom, and justice among their contraries. But I 
do deem it altogether so. Your meaning, said I, is now more 
determined, friend, and it is no longer easy for one to find what to 
say against it : for, if when you had set forth injustice as profit- 
able, you had still allowed it to be vice or ugly, as some others do, 
we should have had something to say, speaking according to the 
received opinions : But now, it is plain, you will call it beautiful 
and powerful ; and all those other things you will attribute to it 
which we attribute to the just man, since you have dared to class 
it with virtue and wisdom. You conjecture, said he, most true. 
But, however, I must not grudge, said I, to pursue our inquiry so 
long as I conceive you speak as you think ; for to me you plainly 
seem now, Thrasymachus, not to be in irony, but to speak what 
you think concerning the truth. What is the difference to you, 
said he, whether I think so or not, if you do not confute my 
reasoning ? None at all, said I. CBut endeavour, further, to answer 
me this likewise — Does a just man seem to you desirous to 
overreach another just man ? By no means, said he ; for otherwise 
he would not be courteous and simple, as we now supposed him. 
But what, will he not desire to overreach a just action ? Not even 
in a just action, said he. But, whether would he deem it proper 
to overreach the unjust man and count it just ? or would he not ? 
He would, said he, both count it just and deem it proper, but would 
not be able to effect it. That, said I, I do not ask ; but, whether 
a just man would neither deem it proper, nor incline to overreach 
a just man, but would deem it proper to overreach the unjust ? 
This last, said he, is what he would incline to do. But what 
would the unjust man do ? Would he deem it proper to overreach 
the just man and a just action ? Of course, said he, when he 
deems it proper to overreach all and everything. Will not then the 
unjust man desire to overreach the unjust man likewise, and the 
unjust action; and contend that he himself receive the most of 
everything ? Certainly. Thus, we sa y, then, said I, the just man 
does no t desire to overreach one like himself, but one unlike. But_ 
the unjust man Jdesires to overreach both one like, and one 
unlike himself. You have spoken, said he, perfectly well. But, 



said I. the unjust man is both wise and good ; but the ju«» ™«-*« 
neither TN C , fn ^i "Mfl ^ is well sa id. Is not, then, saixL I. 
th e unjust man like the wise and the ^yod^ and th e just manun- 
llkgj 1 Must be not, said he, be like tnem^ being sucfi" an one as 

we have supposed ; and he who is otherwise, be unlike them ? 
Excellent. Each of them then is indeed such as those he 
resembles. What else? said he. Be it so, Thr asj 

ynii ppe pi^n Tyiififcfl] ftf)|fl *>^^ K ^* «.IM.I1|IH*I f | 

the two c all you wise and which unwise? .... the musjcaT^wfs e, 
and tlWS llnmusical. unwise. " 


h e not g ood in as much as he 


kes. AndwhAfJfiJfr 
same ? The same. Do you 

wise, and ul in as much Its he is unwi 

tne physician } Is not tne case the \ _ ____ _ —- 

i BJagmej ffienTm^yexcelTent Thra symacfilh, lllflE 'an y mnsician " in 
tunmg a harp, w a," 1 ^ |o n v erreacn7"oT dgSmfl TTlffoper to g et the 
Detter ot a manwho is a musician, with reference to the tight 

oT sjackehinp ot the string s 
jfl? juMkflf overreaching a r 




"I am not of that opinionr 

a who is no musician ?"* Of necessity, 

___, ^ jer"tb^overreach hiiriT "TtHdTTPtet as 

GTthe physician? "In "presenting ~a regimen of meats or drinks 
does he want to overreach another physician in medical cases? 
No indeed. But to overreach one who is no physician? Yes. 
And as to all sci ence and_ignorance doesairj[ one appear to you 
intelligent who wants to grasp at or do or say more than another 

i ntelligent imlie aft ; ami not to^d o'in e'^ e fl^ 

there IS W UBCessiLy, saw ne,"ff oe' so .* "Slit what, as" tb him who i s 
i^ora hT f^gpTjSot he want^tolpverrea^TEe m£elBgeoFafld Jjhfe 
ij gi oppVi IJfffiT flfrfrf } Probably. 13&t the" inf^Tliggnf iV'm^r" 1 
say so. And the wise is good? I say 


TgB WM ! Will nut jV anl'To^e^eeiro'he likeTiiffiaeTrfput the^uniike 
and^W lll'rW^ f It seems "so, said ^e. But the evff ^ahTT^he 
JMg iOTan rwantSrtt i exceed both one like himself and his opposite ? 
a ppegrj ^. Why, w *then, THrasymachus, said I, the unjust 
esires to overreach both one unlike and one like himself v Do 
ii6t~ voiTiay so? I do. said he. But the j u st man w ill n ot d esire 

^ fty*"^nrh flfifi.ililff ^ m " A ^* Kl,T fm * ^ i ^^ m ^ v ^ c " t^ Vug* 

.eju msell. c 
iembles the 

,, --^^ _ , _w^jan3T tne 
evil and the ignorant 


resembled. We acknowledged so^ indeed. The just ma n L 
Eas app^re^ tor^ s. tp be j grpod'^andwise I gnd th e unjust^ 
ignorant and depravedT 

TUia&3ilna^u^*contessed all these things not easily, as I now 
narrate them, but dragged and with difficulty and prodigious 
sweat, it being now the summer season. And I then saw, but 
never before, Thrasymachus blush. After we had acknowledged 
that justice was virtue and wisdom, and injustice was vice and 


ignorance, well, said I, let this remain so. But we said likewise 
that injustice was powerful Do not you remember, Thrasy- 
machus? I remember, said he. But what you now say does 
not please me ; and I have somewhat to say concerning it which 
I well know you would call declaiming if I should advance it ; 
either, then, suffer me to say what I incline, or if you incline to 
ask, do it ; and I shall answer you " be it so," as to old women 
telling stories; and shall nod my head, and shake it. Pray do 
not so, said I, contrary to your own opinion. Just to please you, 
said he ; since you will not allow me to speak. But do you want 
any thing further ? Nothing, truly, said I : but if you are to do 
thus, do ; I shall ask. Ask then. This, then, I ask, which I did 
just now ; (that we may in an orderly way carry out our discourse,) 
of what kind is justice, compared with injustice ; for it was surely 
said that injustice was more powerful and stronger than justice. 
But now, said I, since justice is both virtue and wisdom, it will 
easily, I imagine, appear to be likewise more powerful than 
injustice ; since injustice is ignorance ; of this now none can be 
ignorant. But I am willing, for my own part, Thrasymachus, to 
consider it not simply in this manner, but some how thus. Might 
you not say that a state was unjust, and attempted to enslave 
other states unjustly, and did enslave them ; and had many states 
in slavery under itself? Why yes, said he: and the best state 
will chiefly do this, and such as is most completely unjust. I 
understand, said I, that this was your speech; but I consider 
this in it; — Whether this state, which becomes more powerful 
than the other state, shall hold this power without justice, or 
must it of necessity be with justice? With justice, said he, if 
indeed, as you now said, justice be wisdom ; but if as I said, with 
• injustice. I am much delighted, said I, Thrasymachus, that you 
do not merely nod your head and shake your head, but that you 
answer so handsomely. I do it, said he, to gratify you. That is 
obliging in you. But gratify me in this likewise, and tell me; 
do you imagine that a city, or camp, or robbers, or thieves, or 
any other community, such as jointly undertakes to do any thing 
unjustly, is able to effectuate any thing if they injure one another? 
No indeed, said he. But what, if they do not injure one another ; 
will they not do better? Certainly. For injustice, some how, 
Thrasymachus, brings seditions, and hatreds, and fightings among 
them ; but justice affords harmony and friendship. Does it not ? 
Be it so, said he, that I may not differ from you. You are very 
obliging, most excellent Thrasymachus. But tell me this. If this 
be the work of injustice, wherever it is, to create hatred, will it 
not then, when happening among free men and slaves, make them 
hate one another, and grow seditious, and become impotent to 
do any thing together in company? Certainly. But what, in 
the case of injustice between any two men, will they not differ, 


and hate, and become enemies to one another, and to just men ? 
They will become so, said he. If now, my excellent friend, 
injustice be in one, will it lose its own power, or will it no less 
retain it? Granted, said he, that it no less retain it Does it 
not then appear to have such a power as this — That wherever it 
is, whether in a city, or tribe, or camp, or wherever else, in the first 
place, it renders it unable for action in itself, through seditions 
and differences ; and, besides, makes it an enemy to itself, and to 
every opponent, and to the just? Is it not thus? Certainly. 
And, when injustice is in one man, it will have, I imagine, all 
these effects, which it is natural for it to produce. In the first 
place, it will render him unable for action whilst he is in sedition 
and disagreement with himself; and next as he is an enemy both 
to himself, and to the just. Is it not so ? Yes. But the Gods, 
friend, are likewise just. So be it, said he. The unjust man then, 
Thrasymachus, shall be an enemy also to the Gods ; and the just 
man, a friend. Feast yourself, said he, with the reasoning boldly ; 
for I will not oppose you, that I may not render myself odious to 
our Mends here. Come then, said I, and complete to me this 
feast, answering as you were doing just now : for the just already 
appear to be wiser, and better, and more powerful to act; but 
the unjust are not able to act any thing with one another : and 
if we say with reference to those who are unjust, — that they are 
ever at any time able strenuously to act jointly together ; this we 
speak not altogether true, for they would not spare one another 
if they were thoroughly unjust ; but it is plain that there was 
in them justice, which made them refrain from injuring one 
another, and those of their party ; and by this justice they per- 
formed what they did. And they rushed on unjust actions, 
through injustice, being half wicked; since those who are com- 
pletely wicked, and perfectly unjust, are likewise perfectly unable 
to act. This then I understand is the case with reference to 
these matters, and not as you assumed at first. But whether the 
just live better than the unjust, and are more happy (which we 
proposed to consider afterwards), is now to be considered; and 
they appear to do so even at present, as I imagine, at least, from 
what has been said. Let us, however, consider it further. For 
the discourse is not about an accidental thing, but about this, 
in what manner we ought to live. 

Consider then, said he. I am considering, said I, and tell 
me; does there any thing seem to you to be the work of a 
horse ? Yes. Would you not call that the work of a horse, or 
of any other creature, which one does only with him, or in the 
best manner? I do not understand, said he. Thus then: Do 
you see with any thing else but the eyes? No indeed. Well 
now, could you hear with any thing but the ears ? By no means. 
Do we not justly then call these things the works of these? 


Certainly. Well, could not you with a sword, a knife, and man} 
other things, cut off a branch of a vine? Why not? But "with 
nothing, at least I imagine, so handsomely, as with a pruning- - 
hook, which is made for that purpose. True. Shall we not then 
settle this to be its work ? We shall. I imagine, then, you may 
now understand better what I was asking when I inquired, 
whether the work of each thing were not that which it alone 
performs, or performs in the best manner. I understand you, 
said he ; and this does seem to me to be the work of each thing*. 
Be it so, said I. And is there not likewise a virtue belonging to 
every thing to which there is a certain work assigned ? But let 
us again go over the same examples: We say there is a work 
belonging to the eyes? There is. And is there not a virtue 
also belonging to the eyes? A virtue also. Well then, was 
there any work of the ears? Yes. Is there not then a virtue 
also? A virtue also. And what as to all other things? Is it 
not thus? It is. But come, could the eyes ever handsomely 
perform their work, not having their own proper virtue ; but, 
instead of virtue, having vice ? How could they, said he, for you 
probably mean their having blindness instead of sight. Whatever, 
said I, be their virtue, for I do not yet ask this ; but, whether 
it be with their own proper virtue that they handsomely perform 
their own proper work, whatever things are performed, and by 
their vice, unhandsomely ? In this at least, said he, you say true. 
And will not the ears likewise, when deprived of their virtue, 
perform their work ill? Certainly. And do we settle all other 
things according to the same reasoning ? So I imagine. Come, 
then, after these things, consider this. Is there belonging to the 
soul a certain work, which, with no one other being whatever, 
you can perform ; such as this, to care for, to govern, to consult, 
and all such things ; is there any other than the soul, to whom 
we may justly ascribe them, and say they properly belong to it ? 
No other. But what of life: shall we say this is the work of 
the soul ? Most especially, said he. Do not we say, then, that 
there is some virtue of the soul, likewise? We say so. And 
shall, then, the soul, ever at all, Thrasymachus, perform her 
works handsomely, whilst deprived of her proper virtue? or, is 
this impossible ? It is impossible*- Of necessity, then, a depraved 
soul must in a bad manner govern, and take care of things ; and 
a good soul perform all these things well. Of necessity. But 
did not we agree that justice was the virtue of the soul; and 
injustice its vice ? We did agree. Why, then, the just soul, and 
the just man, shall live well ; and the unjust, ill. It appears so, 
said he, according to your reasoning. But, surely, he who lives 
well is both blessed and happy, and he who does not is the 
opposite. Why not ? The just, then, is happy ; and the unjust, 
miserable. Let them be so, said he. But it is not advantageous 


to be miserable, but to be happy. Certainly. At no time, then, 
my good Thrasymachus, is injustice more advantageous than 
justice. Let that be your feast, Socrates, said he, in Diana's 
festival. Thanks to you, truly, Thrasymachus, said I; since I 
find you are grown meek, and have ceased to be troublesome. 
But I have not feasted handsomely ; owing to my own fault, and 
not to yours. But as voracious guests, snatching still what is 
bringing before them, taste of it before they have sufficiently 
enjoyed what went before; so I, as I imagine, before I have 
found what we first inquired into, — what justice is, — have left 
this, hurrying to inquire concerning it, whether it be vice and 
ignorance, or wisdom and virtue. And, a discourse afterwards 
falling in, that injustice was more profitable than justice, I could 
not refrain from coming to this from the other: So that, from 
the dialogue, I have now come to know nothing; for whilst I 
do not know what justice is, I shall hardly know whether it be 
some virtue or not, and whether he who possesses it be unhappy 
or happy. 




WHEN I had said these things I imagined that the debate 
was at an end ; but this it seems was only the introduc- 
tion: for Glauco, as he is on all occasions most courageous, so 
truly at that time did not approve of Thrasymachus in giving up 
the debate ; but said, 

Socrates, do you wish to seem to have persuaded us, or to per- 
suade us in reality, that in every respect it is better to be just 
than unjust? I would choose, said I, to do it in reality, if it 
depended on me. You do not then, said he, do what you desire. 
For, tell me, does there appear to you any good of this kind, such 
as we would choose to have ; not regarding the consequences, but 
embracing it for its own sake? as joy, and such pleasures as 
are harmless; though nothing else arise afterwards from these 
pleasures, than that the possession gives us delight. There seems 
to me, said I, to be something of this kind. Well, is there some- 
thing too, which we both love for its own sake, and also for what 
arises from it? as wisdom, sight, and health; for we somehow 
embrace these things on both accounts. Yes, said I. But do 
you perceive, said he, a third species of good, among which is 
bodily exercise, to be healed when sick, to practise physic, or 
other lucrative employment ? for we say, those things are trouble- 
some, but that they profit us ; and we should not choose these 
things for their own sake, but on account of the rewards and 
those other advantages which arise from them. There is then, 
indeed, said I, likewise this third kind. And in which of these, 
said he, do you place justice? I imagine, said I, in the most 
handsome ; which, both on its own account, and for the sake of 
what arises from it, is desired by the man who is in pursuit of 
happiness. It does not, however, said he, seem so to the many, 
but to be of the troublesome kind, which is pursued for the sake 
of glory, and on account of rewards and honours ; but on its own 
account is to be shunned, as being difficult. I know, said I, that 
it seems so, and it was in this view that Thrasymachus sometimes 



since despised it, and commended injustice; but it seems I am 
one of those who are dull in learning. Come then, said he, hear 
me likewise, if this be agreeable to you ; for Thrasymachus seems 
to me to have been charmed by you, like an adder, sooner than 
was proper: but, with respect to myself, the proof has not yet 
been made to my satisfaction, in reference to either of the two ' T 
for I desire to hear what each is, and what power it has by itself, 
when in the soul — bidding farewell to the rewards, and the 
consequences arising from them. I will proceed, therefore, in 
this manner, if it seem proper to you : I will recall the speech of 
Thrasymachus; and, first of all, I will tell you what they say 
justice is, and whence they say that it arises ; and, secondly, that 
all those who pursue it pursue it unwillingly, as necessary, but not 
as good ; thirdly, that they do this reasonably ; for, as they say, 
the life of an unjust man is much better than that of the just. 
Although, for my own part, to me, Socrates, it does not yet 
appear so ; I am, however, in doubt, having my ears stunned in 
hearing Thrasymachus and innumerable others. But I have 
never, hitherto, heard from any one such a discourse as I wish to 
hear concerning justice, as being better than injustice: I wish 
then to hear it commended, as it is in itself, and I most especially 
imagine I shall hear this from you : wherefore, pulling oppositely, 
I shall speak in commendation of an unjust life ; and, in speaking, 
shall show you in what manner I want to hear you condemn 
injustice, and commend justice. But see if what I say be agree- 
able to you. Extremely so, said I ; for what would any man of 
intellect delight more to speak, and to hear of frequently ? You 
speak most handsomely, said he. And hear what I said I was 
first to speak of; what justice is, and whence it arises. Now they 
say that, according to nature, to do injustice is good ; but to suffer 
injustice is bad; but that the evil which arises from suffering 
injustice is greater than the good which arises from doing it : so 
that, after men had done one another injustice, and likewise 
suffered it, and had experienced both, it seemed proper to those 
who were not able to shun the one, and choose the other, to 
agree among themselves, neither to do injustice, nor to be 
injured : and that hence laws began to be established, and their 
compacts ; and that which was enjoined by law they denominated 
lawful and just ; and that this is the origin and essence of justice : 
being in the middle between what is best, when he who does 
injustice is not punished, and of what is worst, when the injured 
person is unable to punish ; and that justice, being thus in the 
middle of both these, is desired, not as good, but is held in honour 
from a weakness in doing injustice : for the man who had ability 
to do so would never, if really a man, agree with any one either 
to injure, or to be injured; for otherwise he were mad. This 
then, Socrates, and of such a kind as this, is the nature of justice » 


and this, as they say, is its origin. And we shall best perceive 
that these who pursue it, pursue it unwillingly, and from an 
impotence to injure if we imagine in our mind such a case as this : 
Let us give liberty to each of them, both to the just and to the 
unjust, to do whatever they incline ; and then let us follow them, 
observing how their inclination will lead each of them. We 
should then find the just man, with full inclination, going the 
same way with the unjust, through a desire of having more than 
others. This, every nature is made to pursue as good, but by law 
is forcibly led to an equality. And the liberty which I speak of 
may be chiefly of this kind ; if they happened to have such a 
power, as they say happened once to Gyges, the progenitor of 
Lydus. For they say that he was the hired shepherd of the then 
governor of Lydia; and that a prodigious rain and earthquake 
happening, part of the earth was rent, and an opening made in 
the place where he pastured her flocks ; that when he beheld, and 
wondered, he descended, and saw many other wonders, which are 
mythologically transmitted to us, and a brazen horse likewise, 
hollow and with doors ; and, on looking in, he saw within, a dead 
body larger in appearance than that of a man, which had nothing 
else upon it but a gold ring on its hand ; which ring he took off, 
and came up again. That when there was a convention of the 
shepherds, as usual, for reporting to the king what related to their 
flocks, he also came, having the ring : and whilst he sat with the 
others, he happened to turn the stone of the ring to the inner 
part of his hand ; and when this was done he became invisible to 
those who sat by, and they talked of him as absent: that he 
wondered, and, again handling his ring, turned the stone outward, 
and on this became visible; and that, having observed this, he 
made trial of the ring whether it had this power: and that it 
happened, that on turning the stone inward he became invisible, 
and on turning it outward he became visible. That, perceiving 
this, he instantly managed so as to be made one of the embassy 
to the king, and that on his arrival he debauched his wife ; and, 
with her, assaulting the king, killed him, and possessed the 
kingdom. If now, there were two such rings, and the just man 
- had the one, and the unjust the other, none, it seems, would be 
so adamantine as to persevere in justice, and be strong enough 
to refrain from the things of others, and not to touch them, 
whilst it was in his power to take, even from the market-place, 
without fear, whatever he pleased; to enter into houses, and 
embrace any one he pleased ; to kill, and to loose from chains, 
whom he pleased ; and to do all other things with the same 
power as a God among men : — acting in this manner, he is in no 
respect different from the other ; but both of them go the same 
road. This now, one may say, is a strong proof that no one is 
just from choice, but by constraint ; as it is not a good merely in 


itself, since every one does injustice wherever he imagines he is 
able to do it; for every man thinks that injustice is, to the 
particular person, more profitable than justice; and he thinks 
justly, according to this way of reasoning : since, if any one with 
such a liberty would never do any injustice, nor touch the things 
of others, he would be deemed by men of sense to be most 
wretched, and most void of understanding; yet would they 
commend him before one another, imposing on each other from 
a fear of being injured. Thus much, then, concerning these 
things. But, with reference to the difference of their lives whom 
we speak of, we shall be able to discern aright, if we set apart by 
themselves the most just man, and the most unjust, and not 
otherwise ; and now, what is this separation ? Let us take from 
the unjust man nothing of injustice, nor of justice from the just 
man ; but let us make each of them perfect in his own profession. 
And first, as to the unjust man, let him act as the able artists ; as 
a complete pilot, or physician, he comprehends the possible and 
the impossible in the art ; the one he attempts, and the other he 
relinquishes ; and, if he fail in any thing, he is able to rectify it : 
so, in like manner, the unjust man attempting pieces of injustice 
in a dexterous manner, let him be concealed, if he intend to be 
exceedingly unjust; but, if he be caught, let him be deemed 
worthless : for the most- complete injustice is, to seem just, not 
being so. We must give then to the completely unjust the most 
complete injustice ; and not take from him, but allow him, whilst 
doing the greatest injustice, to procure* to himself the highest 
reputation for justice ; and, if in any thing he fail, let him be able 
to rectify it : and let him be able to speak so as to persuade if any 
thing of his injustice be spread abroad : let him be able to do by 
force, what requires force, through his courage and strength, and 
by means of his friends and his wealth : and having supposed him 
to be such an one as this, let us place the just man beside him, in 
our reasoning, a simple and ingenuous man, desiring, according to 
JEschylus, not the appearance but the reality of goodness : let us 
take from him the appearance of goodness ; for, if he shall appear 
to be just, he shall have honours and rewards ; and thus it may be 
uncertain whether he be such for the sake of justice, or on account 
of the rewards and honours : let him be stripped of every thing 
but justice, and be made completely contrary to the other; 
whilst he does no injustice, let him have the reputation of doing 
the greatest ; that he may be tortured for justice, not yielding to 
reproach, and such things as arise from it, but may be immovable 
till death ; appearing indeed to be unjust through life, yet being 
really just ; that so both of them arriving at the utmost pitch, the 
one of justice, and the other of injustice, we may judge which of 
them is the happier. 

Strange 1 said I, friend Glauco, how strenuously you scour each 

3 o PLATO 

of the men, as a statue which is to be judged of ! As much, said 
he, as I am able: whilst then they continue to be such, there 
will not, as I imagine, be any further difficulty to observe what 
kind of life remains to each of them. It must therefore be told. 
And if possibly it should be told with greater rusticity, imagine 
not, Socrates, that it is I who tell it, but those who commend 
injustice preferably to justice; and they will say these things: 
That the just man, being of this disposition, will be scourged, 
tormented, fettered, have his eyes burnt, and lastly, having 
suffered all manner of evils, will be crucified ; and he shall know, 
that he should not desire the reality but the appearance of justice : 
and that it is much more proper to pronounce that saying of 
^Eschylus, concerning the unjust man : for they will in reality say 
that the unjust man, as being in pursuit of what is real, and living 
not according to the opinion of men, wants not to have the 
appearance but the reality of injustice : 

Reaping the hollow furrow of his mind, 
Whence all his glorious councils blossom forth. 

In the first place, he holds the magistracy in the state, being 
thought to be just; next, he marries wherever he inclines, and 
matches his children with whom he pleases ; he joins in partneiv 
ship and company with whom he inclines ; and, besides all this, 
he will succeed in all his projects for gain ; as he does not scruple 
to do injustice : when then he engages in competitions, he will 
both in private and in public surpass and overreach his adversaries ; 
and by this means he will be rich, and serve his friends, and hurt 
his enemies : and he will amply and magnificently render sacrifices 
and offerings to the Gods, and will honour the Gods, and such men 
as he chooses, much better than the just man. From whence they 
reckon, that it is likely he will be more beloved of the Godsrthan 
the just man. Thus, they say, Socrates, that both with Gods and 
men there is a better life prepared for the unjust man than for the 
just. When Glauco had said these things, I had a design to say 
something in reply. But his brother Adimantus said — -Socrates, 
you do not imagine there is yet enough said on the argument. 
What further then ? said I. That has not yet been spoken, said 
he, which ought most especially to have been mentioned. Why 
then, said I, die proverb is, A brother is help at hand. So do you 
assist, if he has failed in any thing. Though what has been said 
by him is sufficient to throw me down, and make me unable to 
succour justice. 

Nonsense, replied he. But hear this further. For we must 
go through all the arguments opposite to what he has said, which 
commend justice and condemn injustice, that what Glauco seems 
to me to intend may be more manifest. Now, parents surely tell 
and exhort their sons, as do all those who have the . care of any, 


that it is necessary to be just ; not commending justice in itself, 
but the honours arising from it; that whilst a man is reputed 
to be just, he may obtain by this reputation magistracies and 
marriages, and whatever Glauco just now enumerated as the 
consequence of being reputed just : but these men carry this 
matter of reputation somewhat further; for, throwing in the 
approbation of the Gods, they have unspeakable blessings to 
enumerate to holy persons; which, they say, the Gods bestow. 
As the generous Hesiod and Homer say, the one, that the Gods 
cause the oaks to produce to just men 

Acorns at top, and in the middle bees ; 

Their woolly sheep are laden with their fleece; 

and a great many other good things of the same nature. In like 
manner, the other, 

The blameless king, who holds a godlike name, 
Finds his black mould both wheat and barley bear; 
With fruit his trees are laden, and his flocks 
Bring forth with ease; the sea affords him fish. 

But Musaeus and his son tell us that the Gods give just men more 
splendid blessings than these ; for, carrying them in his poem into 
Hades, and placing them in company with holy men at a feast 
prepared for them, they crown them, and make them pass the 
whole of their time in drinking, deeming eternal inebriation 
the finest reward of virtue. But some carry the rewards from 
the Gods still further ; for they say that the offspring of the holy, 
and the faithful, and their children's children, still remain. With 
these things, and such as these, they commend justice. But the 
unholy and unjust they bury in Hades, in a kind of mud, and 
compel them to carry water in a sieve; and make them, even 
whilst alive, to live in infamy. Whatever punishments were 
assigned by Glauco to the just, whilst they were reputed unjust, 
these they assign to the unjust: they can mention no others. 
This now is the way in which they commend and discommend 
them severally. 

But besides this, Socrates, consider another kind of reasoning 
concerning justice and injustice, mentioned both privately and by 
the poets : for all of them with one mouth celebrate temperance 
and justice as indeed excellent, but yet difficult and laborious; 
and intemperance and injustice as indeed pleasant and easy to 
attain ; but, by opinion only, and by law, abominable : and they 
say that for the most part unjust actions are more profitable than 
just. And they are gladly willing, both in public and private, to 
pay honour to wicked rich men, and such as have power of any 
kind, and to pronounce them happy, but to contemn and overlook 
those who are any how weak and poor, even whilst they acknowledge 


them to be better than the others. But, of all these speeches 
the most marvellous are those concerning the Gods, and virtue 
as if even the Gods gave to many good men misfortunes and an 
evil life, and to contrary persons a contrary fate : and mountebanks 
and prophets, frequenting the gates of the rich, persuade them 
that they have a power granted them by the Gods, of expiating 
by sacrifices and spells, with pleasures and with feastings, if any in- 
justice has been committed by any one, or his forefathers : and if he 
wishes to blast any enemy at a small expense, he shall injure the 
just in the same manner as the unjust; by certain incantations 
and charms, as they say, persuading the Gods to succour them : 
and to all these discourses they bring the poets as witnesses; 
who, singing the easiness of vice, say, 

How vice at once, and easily is gain'd ; 
The way is smooth, and very nigh it dwells; 
Sweat before virtue stands, so Heav'n ordain'd — 

and a certain long and steep way. Others make Homer witness 
how the Gods are prevailed upon by men, because he says, 

. . . The Gods themselves are turn'd 
With sacrifices and appeasing vows; 
Fat offerings and libation them persuade; 
And for transgressions suppliant prayer atones. 

They show likewise many books of Museeus and Orpheus, the 
offspring, as they say, of the Moon, and of the Muses ; according 
to which they perform their sacred rites, persuading not only 
private persons, but states likewise, that there are absolutions and 
purgations from iniquities by means of sacrifices, sports and pleasures ; 
and this, for the benefit both of the living and of the dead : these 
they call the mysteries which absolve us from evils there; but 
they assert that dreadful things await those who do not offer 
sacrifice. All these, and so many things of the kind, friend 
Socrates, being said of virtue and vice, and their repute both with 
men and Gods ; what do we imagine the souls of our youth do, 
when they hear them ; such of them as are generous, and able as 
it were to flit from one to another of all these things which are 
said, and from all to gather, in what sort of character and in what 
sort of road one may best pass through life ? It is likely he might 
say to himself, according to that of Pindar, 

Whether shall I the lofty wall 

Of justice try to scale ; 
Or, hedg'd within the guileful maze 

Of vice, encircled dwell ? 

For, according to what is said, though I be just, if I be not reputed 
so, there shall be no profit, but manifest troubles and punishments. 


But the unjust man, who procures to himself the character of 
justice, is said to have a divine life. Since then the appearance 
surpasses the reality, as wise m en demonstrate to me > _andJa_the 
prtoary_pa£t_ofJiajpine^ not to-- turn wholly to it ; and 

to draw round myself as a covering, and picture, the image of 
virtue ; but to draw after me the cunning and versatile fox of the 
most wise Archilochus ? But perhaps some one will say, it is not 
easy, being wicked, always to be concealed. Neither is any thing 
else easy (will we say) which is great. But, however, if we would 
be happy, thither let us go where the tracks of the reasonings 
lead us. For, in order to be concealed, we will make conjurations 
and associations together; and there are masters of persuasion, 
who teach a popular and political wisdom ; by which means, whilst 
partly by persuasion and partly by force we seize more than our 
due, we shall not be punished. But, we are told, to be concealed 
from the Gods, or to overpower them, is impossible. Well, if 
they are not, or care not about human affairs, we need not have 
any concern about being concealed : but if they really are, and 
care for us, we neither know nor have heard of them otherwise 
than from traditions, and from the poets who write their 
genealogies ; and these very persons tell us, that they are to be 
moved and persuaded by sacrifices, and appeasing vows, and 
offerings ; both of which we are to believe, or neither. If then 
we are to believe both, we may do injustice, and of the fruits of 
our injustice offer sacrifice. If we be just, we shall indeed be 
unpunished by the Gods ; but then we shall not have the gains 
of injustice. But if we be unjust, we shall make gain; and after 
we have transgressed and offended, we shall appease them by 
offerings, and be liberated from punishment But again, they 
say, we shall be punished in the other world for our unjust doings 
here ; either we ourselves, or our children's children. Nay, friend, 
will the reasoner say, the mysteries can do much ; the Gods are 
exorable, as say the mightiest states, and the children of the 
Gods, the poets; who are also their prophets, and who declare 
that these things are so. 

For what reason, then, should we still prefer justice before the 
greatest injustice ; which if we shall attain to with any deceiving 
appearance of decency, we shall fare according to our mind, both 
with reference to Gods and men, both living and dying, according 
to the speech now mentioned of many and excellent men ? From 
all that has been said, by what means, O Socrates, shall he incline 
to honour justice, who has any ability of fortune or of wealth, of 
body or of birth, and not laugh when he hears it commended ? 
So that, though a man were able even to show what we have said 
to be false, and fully understood that justice is better, he will, 
however, abundantly pardon and not be angry with the unjust ; 
for he knows, that unless one from a divine nature abhor to do 

34 • PLATO 

injustice, or from acquired knowledge abstain from it, no one of 
others is willingly just; but either through cowardice, old age, 
or some other weakness, condemns the doing injustice when 
unable to do it That it is so, is plain. For the first of these 
who arrives at power is the first to do injustice, as far as he is 
able. And the reason of all this is no other than that from 
whence all this discourse proceeded, Socrates, saying, My good 
sir, among all those of you that call yourselves the commenders 
of justice, beginning from those ancient heroes of whom any 
accounts are left to the men of the present time, no one hath at 
any time condemned injustice, nor commended justice, otherwise 
than regarding the reputations, honours and rewards arising from 
them : but no one has hitherto sufficiently examined, neither in 
poetry nor in prose discourse, either of them in itself, and subsisting 
by its own power, in the soul of him who possesses it, and concealed 
from both Gods and men : how that the one is the greatest of all 
the evils which the soul hath within it, and justice the greatest 
good : for, if it had thus from the beginning been spoken of by 
you all, and you had so persuaded us from our youth, we should 
not need to watch over our neighbour lest he should do us 
injustice, but every man would have been the best guardian 
over himself, afraid lest in doing injustice he should dwell with 
the greatest evil. These things now, Socrates, and probably 
much more than these, Thrasymachus or some other might say 
of justice and injustice, inverting their power, a piece of vulgarity, 
as I imagine for my own part. But I (for I want to conceal 
nothing from you) being desirous to hear you on the opposite 
side, speak the best I am able, pulling the contrary way. Do 
not, therefore, only show us in your reasoning that justice is 
better than injustice ; but in what manner each of them by itself, 
affecting the mind, is the one evil, and the other good. And take 
away all opinions, as Glauco likewise enjoined : for, if you do not 
take away the false opinions on both sides, and add the true 
ones, we will say you do not commend justice, but the appearance ; 
nor condemn being unjust, but the appearance ; that you advise 
the unjust man to conceal himself; and that you assent to 
Thrasymachus that justice is a foreign good, the profit of the 
more powerful; and that injustice is the profit and advantage 
of oneself, but unprofitable to the inferior. Wherefore, now, after 
you have acknowledged that justice is among the greatest goods, 
and such as are worthy to be possessed for what arises from them, 
and much more in themselves, and for their own sake ; such as 
sight, hearing, wisdom, health, and such other goods as are real 
in their own nature, and not merely in opinion; in the same 
manner commend justice ; how, in itself, it profits the owner, and 
injustice hurts him. And leave to others to commend the rewards 
and opinions ; for I could bear with others in this way, commending 


justice,, and condemning injustice, celebrating and reviling their 
opinions and rewards ; but not with you (unless you desire me), 
because you have passed the whole of life considering nothing 
else but this. Show us, then, in your discourse, not only that 
justice is better than injustice ; but in what manner each of them 
by itself affecting the owner, whether he be concealed or not 
concealed from Gods and men, is the one good, and the other evil. 
. On hearing these things, as I always indeed was pleased with 
the disposition of Glauco and Adimantus, so at that time I was 
perfectly delighted, and replied: It was not ill said concerning 
you, sons of that worthy man, by the lover of Glauco, who wrote 
the beginning of the Elegies, when, celebrating your behaviour at 
the battle of Megara, he sang, 

Aristo's sons ! of an illustrious man, 
The race divine • . • 

This, friend, seems to be well said ; for you are truly affected in 
a divine manner, if you are not persuaded that injustice is better 
than justice, and yet are able to speak thus in its defence : and to 
me you seem, truly, not to be persuaded ; and I reason from the 
whole of your other behaviour, since, according to your present 
speeches at least, I should distrust you. But the more I can 
trust you, the more I am in doubt what argument I shall use. 
For I can neither think of any assistance I have to give (for I 
think myself to be unable, and my reason is, that you do not 
accept of what I said to Thrasymachus when I imagined I showed 
that justice was better than injustice), nor yet can I think of 
giving no assistance ; for I am afraid lest it be an unholy thing 
to desert justice when I am present, and see it accused, and not 
assist it whilst I breathe and am able to speak. It is best then 
to succour it in such a manner as I can. Hereupon Glauco and 
the rest entreated me, by all means, to assist, and not relinquish 
the discourse ; but to search thoroughly what each of them is, 
and which way the truth lies, as to their respective advantage. 
I then said what appeared to me: That the inquiry we were 
attempting was no trifle, but was that of one who was sharp- 
sighted, as I imagined. Since then, said I, we are not very 
expert, it seems proper to make the inquiry concerning this 
matter, in such a manner as if it were ordered those who are not 
very sharp-sighted, to read small letters at a distance ; and one 
should afterwards understand, that the same letters are greater 
somewhere else, and in a larger field: it would appear to be a 
godsend, I imagine, first to read these, and thus come to consider 
the lesser, if they happen to be the same. Perfectly right, said 
Adimantus. But what of this kind, Socrates, do you perceive in 
the inquiry concerning justice ? I shall tell you, said I. Do not 
we say there is justice in one man, and there is likewise justice 


in a whole state ? It is certainly so, replied he. Is not a state a 
greater object than one man? Greater, said he. It is likely, 
then, that justice should be greater in what is greater, and be 
more easy to be understood : we shall first, then, if you incline, 
inquire what it is in states ; and then, after the same manner, we 
shall consider it in each individual, contemplating the similitude 
of the greater in the shape of the lesser. You seem to me, said 
he, to say right. If then, said I, we contemplate, in our discourse, 
a state in the making, shall we not perceive its justice and injustice 
in the making ? Perhaps, said he. And is there not ground to 
hope, that when it is made, we shall more easily find what we 
seek for ? Most certainly. It seems, then, we ought to attempt 
to succeed, for I imagine this to be a work of no small importance. 
Consider well, then. We have considered, said Adimantus, pray do 
as you say. 

A city, then, said I, as I imagine, takes its rise from this, that 
none of us happens to be self-sufficient, but is indigent of many 
things ; or, do you imagine there is any other origin of building 
a city? None other, said he. Thus, then, one taking in one 
person for one indigence, and another for another ; as they stand 
in need of many things, they assemble into one habitation many 
companions and assistants; and to this joint-habitation we give 
the name city, do we not ? Certainly. And they mutually ex- 
change with one another, each judging that, if he either gives 
or takes in exchange, it will be for his advantage. Certainly. 
Come, then, said I, let us, in our discourse, make a city from the 
beginning. And, it seems, our indigence has made it. Just so. 
But the first and the greatest of wants is the preparation of food, 
in order to subsist and live. By all means. The second is of 
lodging. The third of clothing ; and such like. It is so. But, 
come, said I, how shall the city be able to make so great a pro- 
vision ? Shall not one be a husbandman, another a mason, some 
other a weaver ? or, shall we add to them a shoemaker, or some 
other of those who minister to the necessaries of the body? 
Certainly. So that the smallest possible city might consist of 
four or five men ? It seems so. But, what now ? must each of 
those do his work for them all in common ? As, the husbandman, 
being one, shall he prepare food for four ; and consume quadruple 
time, and labour, in preparing food, and sharing it with others ? 
or, neglecting them, shall he for himself alone make the fourth part 
of this food, in the fourth part of the time ? and, of the other three 
parts of time, shall he employ one in the preparation of a house, the 
other in that of clothing, the other of shoes, and not give himself 
trouble in sharing with others, but do his own affairs by himself? 
Adimantus said — And probably, Socrates, that way is more easy 
than this. Not unlikely, said I. For, whilst you are speaking, I 
consider that we are born not perfectly resembling one another, 


but differing in disposition ; one being fitted for doing one thing, 
and another for doing another : does it not seem so to you ? It 
does. But, what now ? Whether will a man do better, if, being 
one, he works in many arts, or in one ? When in one, said he. 
But this, I imagine, is also plain ; that if one miss the season of 
any work, it is ruined. That is plain. For, I imagine, the work 
will not wait upon the leisure of the workman ; but of necessity 
the workman must attend close upon the work, and not in the 
way of a by-job. Of necessity. And hence it appears, that more 
will be done, and better, and with greater ease, when every one 
does but one thing, according to their genius, and in proper 
season, and freed from other things. Most certainly, said he. 
But we need certainly, Adimantus, more citizens than four, for 
those provisions we mentioned: for the husbandman, it would 
seem, will not make a plough for himself, if it is to be handsome ; 
nor yet a spade, nor other instruments of agriculture : as little will 
the mason ; for he, likewise, needs many things : and in the same 
way, the weaver and the shoemaker also. Is it not so ? True. 
Joiners, then, and smiths, and other such workmen, being ad- 
mitted into our little city, make it throng. Certainly. But it 
would be no very great matter, neither, if we did not give them 
neatherds likewise, and shepherds, and those other herdsmen ; in 
order that both the husbandmen may have oxen for ploughing, 
and that the masons, with the help of the husbandmen, may use 
the cattle for their carriages ; and that the weavers likewise, and 
the shoemakers, may have hides and wool. Nor yet, said he, 
would it be a very small city, having all these. But again, said I, 
it is almost impossible to set down such a city in any such place 
as that it shall need no importations. It is impossible. It will 
then certainly want others still, who may import from another 
state what it needs. It will want them. And surely if the 
servant goes out empty, and carry out nothing which those want, 
from whom they import what they need themselves, empty he 
will come back, will he not ? To me it seems so. So the city 
ought not only to make what is sufficient for itself; but such 
things, and so much also, as may answer for those things which 
they need. It ought. Our city, then, certainly wants a great 
many more husbandmen and other workmen? A great many 
more. And other servants besides, to import and export the 
several things; and these are merchants, are they not? Yes. 
We shall then want merchants likewise ? Yes, indeed. And if 
the merchandise is by sea, it will want many others ; such as are 
skilful in sea affairs. Many others, truly. But what as to the 
city within itself? How will they exchange with one another 
the things which they have each of them worked ; and for the 
sake of which, making a community, they have built a city ? It 
is plain, said he, in selling and buying. Hence we must have a 


market, and money, as a symbol, for the sake of exchange. 
Certainly. If now the husbandman, or any other workman, bring 
any of his work to the market, but come not at the same time 
with those who want to make exchange with him, must he not, 
desisting from his work, sit idly in the market ? By no means, 
said he. But there are some who, observing this, set themselves 
to this service ; and, in well-regulated cities, they are mostly such 
as are weakest in their body, and unfit to do any other work. 
There they are to attend about the market, to give money in 
exchange for such things as any may want to sell ; and things in 
exchange for money to such as want to buy. This indigence, 
said I, procures our city a race of shopkeepers ; for, do not we 
call shopkeepers, those who, fixed in the market, serve both in 
selling and buying, but such as travel to other cities we call 
merchants. Certainly. There are still, as I imagine, certain 
other ministers, who, though unfit to serve the public in things 
which require understanding, have yet strength of body sufficient 
for labour, who selling the use of their strength, and calling the 
reward of it hire, are called, as I imagine, hirelings : are they not ? 
Yes, indeed. Hirelings then are, it seems, the complement of 
the city ? It seems so. Has our city now, Adimantus, already so 
increased upon us as to be complete ? Perhaps. Where now, at 
all, should justice and injustice be in it; and, in which of the 
things that we have considered does it appear to exist ? I do not* 
know, said he, Socrates, if it be not in a certain use, somehow, of 
these things with one another. Perhaps, said I, you say right. 
But we must consider it, and not be weary. 

First, then, let us consider after what manner those who are 
thus procured shall be supported. Is it any other way than by 
making bread and wine, and clothes, and shoes ? And when they 
have built their houses, in summer, indeed, they will work for the 
most part without clothes and shoes ; and, in winter, they will be 
sufficiently furnished with clothes and shoes ; they will be nourished, 
partly with barley, making meal of it, and partly with wheat, 
making flour, baking part and kneading part, putting fine loaves 
and cakes over a fire of stubble, or over dried leaves ; and resting 
themselves on couches, strawed with smilax and myrtle leaves, 
they and their children will feast ; drinking wine, and crowned, 
and singing to the Gods, they will pleasantly live together, begetting 
children not beyond their substance, guarding against poverty or war. 

Glauco replying says, You make the men to feast, as it appears, 
without meats. You say true, said I ; for I forgot that they shall 
have meats likewise. They shall have salt, and olives, and cheese ; 
and they shall boil bulbous roots, and herbs of the field ; and we 
set before them desserts of figs, and vetches, and beans ; and they 
will toast at the fire myrtle berries, and the berries of the beech- 
tree ; drinking in moderation, and thus passing their life in peace 


and health; and dying, as is likely, in old age, they will leave 
to their children another such life. If you had been making, 
Socrates, said he, a city of hogs, what else would you have fed 
them with but with these things ? But how should we do, Glauco ? 
said I. What is usually done, said he. They must, as I imagine, 
have their beds to lie on, if they are not to be miserable, and 
tables to eat off, and relishes, and desserts, as we now have. Be 
it so, said I ; I understand you. We consider, it seems, not only 
how a city may exist, but how a luxurious city : and perhaps it is 
not amiss ; for, in considering such an one, we may probably see 
how justice and injustice have their origin in cities. But the true 
city seems to me to be such an one as we have described ; like 
one who is healthy ; but if you incline that we likewise consider 
a city that is corpulent, nothing hinders it. For these things will 
not, it seems, please some ; nor this sort of life satisfy them ; but 
there shall be beds, and tables, and all other furniture ; seasonings, 
ointments, and perfumes ; mistresses, and confections, and various 
kinds of all these. And we must no longer consider as alone 
necessary what we mentioned at the first; houses, and clothes, 
and shoes ; but painting too, and all the curious arts must be set 
a-going, and carving, and gold, and ivory; and all these things 
must be procured, must they not ? Yes, said he. Must not the 
city, then, be larger ? For that healthy one is no longer sufficient, 
'but is already full of luxury, and of a crowd of such as are no 
way necessary to cities ; such as all kinds of sportsmen, and the 
imitative artists, many of them imitating in figures and colours, 
and others in music : poets too, and their ministers, rhapsodists, 
actors, dancers, undertakers, workmen of all sorts of instruments ; 
and what has reference to female .ornaments, as well as other 
things. We shall need likewise many more servants. Do not 
you think they will require ushers, wet nurses and dry nurses, 
lady's maids, barbers, victuallers too, and cooks? And further 
still, we shall want swine-herds likewise: of these there were 
none in the other city, (for there needed not) but in this we shall 
want these, and many other sorts of herds likewise, if any one is 
to eat the several animals, shall we not? Certainly. Shall we 
not then, in this manner of life, be much more in need of physicians 
than formerly ? Much more. And the country, which was then 
sufficient to support the inhabitants, will, instead of being sufficient, 
become too little ; or how shall we say ? Not so, said he. Must 
we not then encroach upon the neighbouring country, if we want 
to have sufficient for plough and pasture, and they, in like manner, 
on us, if they likewise suffer themselves to accumulate wealth to 
infinity; going beyond the boundary of necessaries? There is 
great necessity for it, Socrates. Shall we afterwards fight, Glauco, 
or how shall we do ? We shall certainly, said he. And let us not 
say yet, said I, whether war does any evil, or any good ; but thus 

4 o PLATO 

much only, that we have found the origin of war : from whence, 
most especially, arise the greatest mischiefs to states, both private 
and public, when mischief does come to them. Yes, indeed. We 
shall need, then, friend, still a larger city ; and by no trifle, but 
by the measure of a large army, to go out, and fight with those 
who assault them, for their whole substance, and every thing we 
have now mentioned. What, said he, are not these sufficient to 
fight? No; if you, at least, said I, and all of us, have rightly 
agreed, when we formed our city: and we agreed, if you re- 
member, that it was impossible for one to perform many arts 
handsomely. You say true, said he. What, then, said I, as to 
that contest of war; does it not appear to require art? Very 
much, said he. Ought we then to take more care of the art of 
shoemaking than of the art of making war ? By no means. But 
we charged the shoemaker neither to undertake at the same 
time to be a husbandman, nor a weaver, nor a mason, but a shoe- 
maker ; that the work of that art may be done for us handsomely : 
and, in like manner, we allotted to every one of the rest one 
thing, to which the genius of each led him, to which he was to 
give all his attention, freed from other things, applying to it alone 
the whole of his life, and not neglecting the seasons of working 
well. And now, as to the affairs of war, whether is it not of 
the greatest importance, that they be well performed? Or, is 
this so easy a thing, that one may be a husbandman, and likewise 
a soldier, and shoemaker; or be employed in any other art? 
But not even at chess, or dice, can one ever play skilfully, unless 
he study this very thing from his childhood, and not make it a 
by-work. Or, shall one, taking a spear, or any other of the 
warlike arms and instruments, become instantly an expert com- 
batant, in an encounter in arms, or in any other relating to war : 
whilst the taking up of no other instrument shall make a workman, 
or a wrestler, nor be useful to him who has neither the knowledge 
of that particular thing, nor has bestowed the study sufficient for 
its attainment? The instruments, said he, would truly be very 
valuable, if that were so. 

By how much then, said I; this work of guards is one of the 
greatest importance, by so much it should require the greatest 
leisure from other things, and likewise the greatest art and study. 
I imagine so, replied he. And shall it not likewise require a 
competent genius for this profession ? Certainly. It should surely 
be our business, as it seems, if we be able, to choose who and 
what kind of geniuses are competent for the guardianship of the 
city. Ours, indeed. We have truly, said I, undertaken no mean 
business ; but, however, we are not to despair, so long at least as 
we have any ability. No indeed, said he. Do you think then, 
said I, that the genius of a generous whelp differs any thing for 
guardianship, from that of a generous youth ? What is it you 


say ? It is this. Must not each of them be acute in the percep- 
tion, swift to pursue what they perceive, and strong likewise if 
there is need to conquer what they shall catch ? There is need, 
said he, of all these. And surely he must be brave likewise, if 
he is to fight well To be sure. But will he be brave who is not 
spirited, whether it is a horse, a dog, or any other animal ? Or, 
have you not observed, that the spirit is somewhat unsurmountable 
and invincible ; by the presence of which every soul is, in respect 
of all things whatever, unterrified and unconquerable? I have 
observed it. It is plain then what sort of a guard we ought to 
have, with reference to his body. Yes. And with reference to 
his soul, that he should be spirited. This likewise is plain. How 
then, said I, Glauco, will they not be savage towards one another 
and the other citizens, being of such a temper ? Truly, said he, 
not easily. But yet it is necessary, that towards their friends they 
be meek, and fierce towards their enemies; for otherwise they 
will not wait till others destroy them ; but they will prevent them, 
doing it themselves. True, said he, What then, said I, shall we 
do ? Where shall we find, at once, the mild and the magnanimous 
temper? For the mild disposition is somehow opposite to the 
spirited. It appears so. But, however, if he be deprived of either 
of these, he cannot be a good guardian ; yet this seems to be im- 
possible ; and thus it appears, that a good guardian is an impossible 
thing. It seems so, said he. After hesitating and considering what 
had passed : Justly, said I, friend, are we in doubt ; for we have de- 
parted from that image which we first established. How say you ? 
have we not observed, that there are truly such tempers as we 
were not imagining, who have these opposite things? Where 
then ? One may see it in other animals, and not a little in that 
one with which we compared our guardian. For this, you know, 
is the natural temper of generous dogs, to be most mild towards 
those of their household and their acquaintance, but the reverse 
to those they know not. It is so. This then, said I, is possible ; 
and it is not against nature that we require our guardian to be 
such an one. It seems not. Are you, further, of this opinion, 
that he who is to be our guardian should, besides being spirited, 
be a philosopher likewise ? How ? said he ; for I do not under- 
stand you. This, likewise, said I, you will observe in the dogs ; 
and it is worthy of admiration in the brute. As what ? He is 
angry at whatever unknown person he sees, though he hath never 
suffered any ill from him before; but he is fond of whatever 
acquaintance he . sees, though he has never at any time received 
any good from him. Have you not wondered at this ? I never, 
said he, much attended to it before ; but, that he does 4 this, is 
plain. But, indeed, this affection of his nature seems to be an 
excellent disposition, and truly philosophical. As how ? As, said 
I, it distinguishes between a friendly and unfriendly aspect, by 


nothing else but this, that it knows the one, but is ignorant of the 
other. How, now, should not this be deemed the love of learn- 
ing, which distinguishes what is friendly and what is foreign, 
by knowledge and ignorance ? It can no way be shown why it 
should not. But, however, said I, to be a lover of learning, and 
a philosopher, are the same. The same, said he. May we not 
then boldly settle it, That in man too, if any one is to be of a 
mild disposition towards those of his household and acquaintance, 
he must be a philosopher and a lover of learning ? Let us settle 
it, said he. He then who is to be a good and worthy guardian 
for us, of the city, shall be a philosopher, and spirited, and swift, 
and strong in his disposition. By all means, said he. Let then 
our guardian, said I, be such an one. But in what manner shall 
, these be educated for us, and instructed ? And will the con- 
sideration of this be of any assistance in perceiving that for the 
sake of which we consider every thing else: in what manner 
justice and injustice arise in the city, that we may not omit a 
necessary part of the discourse ; nor consider what is superfluous ? 
The brother of Glauco said : I, for my part, greatly expect that 
this inquiry will be of assistance to that. Truly then, said I, 
friend Adimantus, it is not to be omitted, though it should 
happen to be somewhat tedious. No, truly. Come then, let us, 
as if we were talking in the way of fable, and at our leisure, 
educate these men in our reasoning. It must be done. 

What then is the education ? Or, is it difficult to find a better 
than that which was found long ago, which is, gymnastic for the 
body, and music for the mind ? It is indeed. Shall we not then, 
first, begin with instructing them in music, rather than in gymnastic ? 
To be sure. When you say music, you mean discourses, do you 
not ? I do. But of discourses there are two kinds ; the one true, 
and the other false. There are. And they must be educated in 
them both, and first in the false. I do not understand, said he, 
what you mean. Do not you understand, said I, that we first of 
all tell children fables? And this part of music, somehow, to 
speak in the general, is false ; yet there is truth in them ; and we 
accustom children to fables before their gymnastic exercises. We 
do so. This then is what I meant, when I said that children 
were to begin music before gymnastic. Right, said he. And do 
you not know that the beginning of every work is of the greatest 
importance, especially to any one young and tender? for then 
truly, in the easiest manner, is formed and taken on the impression 
which one inclines to imprint on every individual. It is entirely 
so. Shall we then suffer the children to hear any kind of fables 
composed by any kind of persons ; and to receive, for the most 
part, into their minds, opinions contrary to those we judge they 
ought to have when they are grown up ? We shall by no means 
suffer it. First of all, then, we must preside over the fable-makers. 


And whatever beautiful fable they make must be chosen; and 
what are otherwise must be rejected ; and we shall persuade the 
nurses and mothers to tell the children such fables as shall be 
chosen; and to fashion their minds by fables, much more than 
their bodies by their hands. But the most of what they tell them 
at present must be thrown out As what? said he. In the 
greater ones, said I, we shall see the lesser likewise. For the 
fashion of them must be the same ; and both the greater and the 
lesser must have the same kind of power. Do not you think so ? 
I do, said he : but I do not at all understand which you call the 
greater ones. Those, said I, which Hesiod and Homer tell us, 
and the other poets. For they composed false fables to mankind, 
and told them as they do still. Which, said he, do you mean, and 
what is it you blame in them ? That, said I, which first of all and 
most especially ought to be blamed, when one does not falsify 
handsomely. What is that ? When one, in his composition, gives 
ill representations of the nature of Gods and heroes : as a painter 
drawing a picture in no respect resembling what he wished to 
paint. It is right, said he, to blame such things as these. But 
how have they failed, say we, and as to what ? First of all, with 
reference to that greatest lie, and matters of the greatest im- 
portance, he did not lie handsomely, who told how Heaven did 
what Hesiod says he did ; and then again how Saturn punished 
him, and what Saturn did, and what he suffered from his son : For 
though these things were true, yet I should not imagine they 
ought to be so plainly told to the unwise and the young, but ought 
much rather to be concealed. But if there were a necessity to tell 
them, they should be heard in secrecy, by as few as possible ; after 
they had sacrificed not a hog, but some great and wonderful 
sacrifice, that thus the fewest possible might chance to hear them. 
These fables, said he, are indeed truly hurtful. And not to be 
mentioned, Adimantus, said I, in our city. Nor is it to be said in 
the hearing of a youth, that he who does the most extreme 
wickedness does nothing strange; nor he who in every way 
punishes his unjust father, but that he does the same as the first 
and the greatest of the Gods. No truly, said he, these things do 
not seem to me proper to be said. Nor, universally, said I, must 
it be told how Gods war with Gods, and plot and fight against one 
another, (for such assertions are not true,) — if, at least, those who 
are to guard the city for us ought to account it the most shameful 
thing to hate one another on slight grounds. As little ought we 
to tell in fables, and embellish to them, the battles of the giants ; ^ 
and many other all-various feuds, both of the Gods and heroes, with V 
their own kindred and relations. But if we are at all to persuade 
them that at no time should one citizen hate another, and that it 
is unholy; such things as these are rather to be said to them 
immediately when they are children, by the old men and women ; x 


and for those well advanced in life, the poets also are to be 
obliged to compose agreeably to these things. But Hera fettered 
by her son, and Hephaestus hurled from heaven by his father for 
going to assist his mother when beaten, and all those battles of 
the Gods which Homer has composed, must not be admitted into 
the city ; whether they be composed in the way of allegory, or 
without allegory ; for the young person is not able to judge what 
is allegory and what is not : but whatever opinions he receives at 
such an age are with difficulty washed away, and are generally 
immovable. On these accounts, one would imagine, that, of all 
things, we sh ould endeavour that what they are fjrst to hear be 
composed in the most handsomeTSXanner for^exciting them to 
virtue. There is reason for it, said he. But, if any one now 
should ask us concerning these, what they are, and what kind of 
fables they are, which should we name ? And I said : Adimantus, 
you and I are not poets at present, but founders of a city ; and it 
belongs to the founders to know the models according to which 
the poets are to compose their fables ; contrary to which if they 
compose, they are not to be tolerated ; but it belongs not to us to 
make fables for them. Right, said he. But as to this very thing, 
the models concerning theology, which are they ? Some such as 
these, said I. God is alway to be represented such as 'he is, 
whether one represent him in epic, in song, or in tragedy. This 
ought to be done. Is not God essentially good, and is he not to 
be described as such? Without doubt. But nothing which is 
good is hurtful; is it? It does not appear to me that it is. 
Does, then, that which is not hurtful ever do hurt ? By no means. 
Does that which does no hurt do any evil? Nor this neither. 
And what does no evil cannot be the cause of any evil. How can 
it ? Very well then : Good is beneficial. Yes. It is, then, the 
cause of welfare ? Yes. Good, therefore, is not the cause of all 
things, but the cause of those things which are in a right state ; 
but is not the cause of those things which are in a wrong. En- 
tirely so, said he. Neither, then, can God, said I, since he is 
good, be the cause of all things, as the many say, but he is the 
cause of a few things to men ; but of many things he is not the 
cause ; for our good things are much fewer than our evil : and no 
other than God is the cause of our good things ; but of our evils 
we must not make God the cause, but seek for some other. You 
seem to me, said he, to speak most true. We must not, then, said 
I, either admit Homer or any other poet trespassing so foolishly 
with reference to the Gods, and saying, how 

Two vessels on Zeus' threshold ever stand, 
The source of evil one, and one of good. 
The man whose lot Zeus mingles out of bothy 
By good and ill alternately is rul'd. 
But he whose portion is unmingled ill, 
O'er sacred earth by famine dire is driven* 


Nor that Zeus is the dispenser of our good and evil Nor, if any 
one say that the violation of oaths and treaties by Pandarus was 
effected by Athena and Zeus, shall we commend it. Nor that 
dissension among the Gods, and judgment by Themis and Zeus. 
Nor yet must we suffer the youth to hear what iEschylus^ays ; how, 

Whenever God inclines to raze 
A house, himself contrives a cause. 

But, if any one make poetical compositions, in which are these 
iambics, the sufferings of Niobe, of the Pelopids, or the Trojans, 
or others of a like nature, we must either not suffer them to say 
they are the works of God ; or, if of God, we must find that 
reason for them which we now require, and we must say that God 
did what was just and good ; and that they were benefited by 
being chastised : but we must not suffer a poet to say, that they 
are miserable who are punished, and that it is God who does 
these things. But if they say that the wicked, as being miserable, 
needed correction; and that, in being punished, they were 
profited by God, we may suffer the assertion. But, to say that 
God, who is good, is the cause of ill to any one, this we must 
by all means oppose, nor suffer any one to say so in his city ; if 
he wishes to have it well regulated. Nor must we permit any 
one, either young or old, to hear such things told in fable, either 
in verse or prose ; as they are neither agreeable to sanctify to be 
told, nor profitable to us, nor consistent with themselves. 

I vote along with you, said he, in this law, and it pleases me: 
This, then, said I, may be one of the laws and models with 
reference to the Gods : by which it shall be necessary that those 
who speak, and who compose, shall compose and say that God is 
not the cause of all things, but of good, Yes, indeed, said he, it 
is necessary 

Now for this second law. Think you that God is a wizard, 
and insidiously appears, at different times, in different shapes; 
sometimes like himself; and, at other times, changing his appear- 
ance into many shapes; sometimes deceiving us, and making 
us conceive false opinions of him ? Or, do you conceive him to 
be simple, and departing the least of all things from his proper 
form ? I cannot, at present, at least, replied he, say so. Again : 
If any thing be changed from its proper form, is there not a 
necessity that it be changed by itself, or by another? Un- 
doubtedly. Are not those things which are in the best state, 
least of all changed and moved by any other thing ? as the body, by 
meats and drinks, and labours : and every vegetable by tempests 
and winds, and such like accidents. Is not the most sound 
and vigorous least of all changed ? Surely. And as to the soul 
itself, will not any perturbation from without, least of all disorder 
and change the most brave and wise? Yes. And surely, some- 


how, all vessels which are made, and buildings, and vestments, 
according to the same reasoning, such as are properly worked, and 
in a right state, are least changed by time, or other accidents ? 
They are so, indeed. Every thing then which is in a good, state, 
either by .nature, or art, or both, receives the smallest change 
from any "thing else. It seems so. But God, and every thing 
belonging to divinity, are in the best state. Certainly. In this 
way, then, God should least of all have many shapes. Least of 
all, truly. But should he change and alter himself? It is plain, 
said he, if he be changed at all. Whether then will he change 
himself to the better, and to the more handsome, or to the 
worse, and the more deformed ? Of necessity, replied he, to the 
worse, if he be changed at all; for we shall never at any time 
say, that God is any way deficient with respect to beauty or 
excellence. You say most right, said I. And this being so ; do 
you imagine, Adimantus, that any one, either of Gods or men, 
would willingly make himself any way worse ? It is impossible, 
said he. It is impossible, then, said I, for a God to desire to 
change himself; but each of them, as he is most beautiful and 
excellent, continues always, to the utmost of his power, invariably 
in his own form. This appears to me, at least, said he, wholly 
necessary. Let not, then, said I, most excellent Adimantus, any 
of the poets tell us, how the Gods, 

... at times resembling foreign guests, 
Wander o'er cities in all-various forms. 

Nor let any one belie Proteus and Thetis. Nor bring in Hera, 
in tragedies or other poems, as having transformed herself like 
a priestess, and collecting alms for the life-sustaining sons of 
Inachus the Argive River. Nor let them tell us many other such 
lies. Nor let the mothers, persuaded by them, affright their 
children, telling the stories wrong ; as, that certain Gods wander 
by night, 

Resembling various guests, in various forms, 

that they may not, at one and the same time, blaspheme against 
the Gods, and render their children more dastardly. By no 
means, said he. But are the Gods, said I, such as, though in 
themselves they never change, yet make us imagine they appear 
in various forms, deceiving us, and playing the mountebanks? 
Perhaps, said he. What, said I, can a God cheat ; holding forth 
a phantasm, either in word or deed? I do not know, said he. 
Do not you know, said I, that what is truly a cheat, if we may be 
allowed to say so, both all the Gods and men abhor ? How do 
you say ? replied he. Thus, said I : That to offer a cheat to the 
most principal part of themselves, and that about their most 
principal interests, is what none willingly incline to do ; but, of 


all things, every one is most afraid of possessing a cheat there. 
Neither as yet, said he, do I understand you. Because, said I, 
you think I am saying something mysterious : but I am saying, 
that to cheat the soul concerning realities, and to be so cheated, 
and to be ignorant, and there to have obtained and to keep a 
cheat, is what every one would least of all choose ; and a cheat in 
the soul is what they most especially hate. Most especially, said 
he. But this, as I was now saying, might most justly be called 
a true cheat, — ignorance in the soul of the cheated] person : since 
a cheat in words is but a kind of imitation of what the soul feels ; 
and an image afterwards arising, and not altogether a pure cheat 
Is it not so ? Entirely. But this real lie is not only hated of the 
Gods, but of men likewise. So it appears. But what now? 
With respect to the cheat in words, when has it something of 
utility, %nd to whom so as not to deserve hatred ? Is it not when 
employed towards our enemies ; and some even of those called 
our friends ; when in madness, or other distemper, thy attempt 
to do some mischief? In that case, for a dissuasive, as a drug, it 
is useful And in those fables we were now mentioning, as we 
know not how the truth stands concerning ancient things, making 
a lie resembling the truth, as much as possible we render it 
useful It is, said he, perfectly so. In which then of these 
cases is a lie useful to God? Whether does he make a lie 
resembling the truth, as being ignorant of ancient things ? That 
were ridiculous, said he. God is not then a lying poet. I do 
not think it. But should he make a lie through fear of his 
enemies ? Far from it. But on account of the folly or madness 
of his kindred ? But, said he, none of the foolish and mad are 
the friends of God. There is then no occasion at all for God to 
make a lie. There is none. The divine and godlike nature is 
then, in all respects, without a lie ? Altogether, said he. G«d 
then is simple and true, both in word and deed; neither is he 
changed himself, nor does he deceive others ; neither by visions, 
nor by discourse, nor by the sending of signs ; neither when we 
are awake, nor when we sleep. So it appears, said he, to me, at 
least whilst you are speaking. You agree then, said I, that this 
shall be the second model, by which we are to speak and to 
compose concerning the Gods : that they are neither wizards, to 
change themselves ; nor to mislead us by lies, either in word or 
deed? I agree. Whilst then we commend many other things 
in Homer, this we shall not commend, the dream sent by Zeus 
to Agamemnon; neither shall we commend iEschylus, when he 
makes Thetis say that Apollo had sung at her marriage, that 

A comely offspring she should raise, ' 
From sickness free, of lengthen'd flay* : 
Apollo, singing all my fate, 
And praising high my Godlike state, 


t Rejoic'd my heart ; and 'twas my hope, 

That all was true Apollo spoke: 
But he, who, at my marriage feast, 
Extoll'd me thus, and was my guest; 
He who did thus my fate explain, 
Is he who now my son hath slain. 

When any one says such things as these of the Gods, we shall 
show displeasure, and not afford the chorus : nor shall we suffer 
teachers to make use of such things in the education of the youth ; 
if our guardians are to be pious, and divine men, as far as it is 
possible for man to be. I agree with you, said he, perfectly, as to 
these models ; and I would use them as laws. 




THESE things indeed then, said I, and such as these, are, as 
it seems, what are to be heard, and not heard, concerning 
the Gods, immediately from childhood, by those who are to 
honour the Gods and their parents, and who are not to despise 
friendship with one another. And I imagine, replied he, that these 
views are right. But, what now ? If they are to be brave, must 
not these things be narrated to them, and such other likewise as 
may render them least of all afraid of death ? Or, do you imagine 
that any one can' ever be brave whilst he has this fear within him ? 
Not I, truly, said he. Well, do you think that any one can be 
void of a fear of death, whilst he imagines that there is Hades, 
and that is dreadful; and, that in battles he will choose death 
before defeat and slavery ? By no means. We ought then, as it 
seems, to give orders likewise to those who undertake to discourse 
about fables of this kind ; and to entreat them not to reproach 
thus in general the things in Hades, but rather to commend 
them; as they say neither what is true, nor what is profitable 
to those who are to be soldiers. We ought indeed, said he. 
Beginning then, said I, at this verse, we shall leave out all of such 
kind, as this ; 

And, that 



I'd rather, as a rustic slave, submit 

To some mean man, who had but scanty fare, 

Than govern all the wretched shades below. 

The house, to mortals and immortals, seems 
Dreadful and squalid ; and what Gods abhor ; 

O strange ! in Pluto's dreary realms to find 
Soul and its image, but no spark of mind. 

He's wise alone, the rest are fluttering shades. 

The soul to Hades from its members fled; 
And, leaving youth and manhood, wail'd its fate. 




• . . the soul, like smoke, down to the shades 
Fled howling . . . 

As, in the hollow of a spacious cave, 
The bats fly screaming ; if one chance to fall 
Down from the rock, they all confus'dly fly; 
So these together howling went . . . 

We shall request Homer and the other poets not to be indignant 
if we raze these things, and such as these ; not that they are not 
poetical, and pleasant to many to be heard ; but, the more poetical 
they are, the less ought they to be heard by children, and men 
who ought to be free, and more afraid of slavery than of death. 
By all means, truly. Further, are not all dreadful and fright- 
ful names about these things likewise to be rejected ? Cocytus, 
and Styx, those in the infernal regions, and bloodless shades, and 
such other appellations, in this form, such as terrify all who hear 
them. These may perhaps, serve some other purpose: but we 
are afraid for our guardians; lest, by such a terror, they be 
rendered more effeminate and soft than they ought to be. We 
are rightly afraid of it, said he. Are these then to be taken 
away? They are. And they must speak and compose on a 
contrary model That is plain. We shall take away likewise the 
bewailings and lamentations of illustrious men. This is necessary, 
if what is above be so. Consider then, said I, whether we rightly 
take away, or not. And do not we say, that the worthy man will 
imagine that to die is not a dreadful thing to the worthy man 
whose companion he is? We say so. Neither then will he 
lament over him, at least, as if his Mend suffered something dread- 
ful. No, indeed. And we say this likewise, that such an one is 
most of all sufficient in himself, for the purpose of living happily, 
and that, in a distinguished manner from others, he is least of all 
indigent True, said he. It is to him, then, the least dreadful 
to be deprived of a son, a brother, wealth, or any other of such* 
like things. Least of all, indeed. So that he will least of all 
lament; but endure, in the mildest manner, when any such 
misfortune befalls him. Certainly. We shall rightly then take 
away the lamentations of famous men, and assign them to 
the women, but not to the better sort, and to such of the men as 
are dastardly ; that so those whom we propose to educate for the 
guardianship of the country may disdain to make lamentations of 
this kind. Right, said he. We shall again then entreat Homer, 
and the other poets, not to say in their compositions, that Achilles, 
the son of a Goddess, 

Lay sometimes on his side, and then anon 
Supine ; then grovelling ; rising then again, 
Lamenting wander 'd on the barren shore. 


Nor how 

. . . With both his hands 
He pourM the burning dust upon his head, 

Nor the rest of his lamentation, and bewailing ; such and so great 
as he has composed. Nor that Priam, so near to the Gods, so 
meanly supplicated, and rolled himself in the dirt : " Calling on 
every soldier by his name." 

But still much more must we entreat them not to make the 
Gods, at least, to bewail, and say, 

Ah wretched me ! unfortunately brave 
The son I bore. 

And if they are not thus to bring in the Gods, far less should 
they dare to represent the greatest of the Gods in so unbecoming 
a manner as this : 

And this: 

How dear a man, around the town pursu'd, 
Mine eyes behold ! for which my heart is griev'd : 

Ah me ! 'tis fated that Patroclus kill 
Sarpedon ; whom, of all men, most I love. 

For, if, friend Adimantus, our youth should seriously hear such 
things as these, and not laugh at them as spoken most unsuitably, 
hardly would any one think it unworthy of himself, of himself 
being a man, or check himself, if he should happen either to say 
or to do any thing of the kind ; but, without any shame or en- 
durance, would, on small sufferings, sing many lamentations and 
moans. You say most true, replied he. They must not, there- 
fore, do in this manner, as our reasoning now has evinced to us ; 
which we must believe, till some one persuade us by some better. 
They must not, indeed. But, surely, neither ought we to be 
given to excessive laughter; for, where a man gives himself to 
violent laughter, such a disposition commonly requires a violent 
change. It seems so, said he. Nor, if any one shall represent 
worthy men as overcome by laughter, must we allow it, much less 
if he thus represent the Gods. Much less, indeed, said he. 
Neither, then, shall we receive such things as these from Homer 
concerning the Gods : 

Hephaestus hobbling when the Gods beheld, 
Amidst them laughter unextinguish't rose. 

This is not to, be admitted, according to your reasoning. If 
you incline, said he, to call it my reasoning ; this, indeed, is not 
to be admitted. But surely the truth is much to be valued. 
For, if lately we reasoned right, and if indeed a lie be unprofitable 


to the Gods, but useful to men, in the way of a drug, it is plain 
that such a thing is to be entrusted only to the physicians, but 
not to be touched by private persons. It is plain, said he. It 
belongs then to the governors of the city, if to any others, to 
make a lie, with reference either to enemies or citizens, for the 
good of the city; but none of the rest must venture on such a 
thing. But for a private person to tell a lie to such governors ; 
we will call it the same, and even a greater offence, than for the 
patient to tell a lie to the physician ; or for the man who learns 
his exercises, not to tell his master the truth as to the dispositions 
of his body: or for one not to tell the pilot the real state of 
things, respecting the ship and sailors, in what condition himself 
and the other sailors are. Most true, said he. But if you find 
in the city any one else making a lie, 

... of those who artists are, 

Or prophet, or physician, or who ply 

Their work in wood . • . 

you shall punish them, as introducing a practice subversive and 
destructive of the city, as of a ship. We must do so ; if indeed 
it is upon speech that actions are completed. Again: shall not 
our youth have need of temperance? Certainly. And are not 
such things as these the principal parts of temperance ? that they 
be obedient to their governors; that the governors themselves 
be temperate in drinking, feasting, and in venereal pleasures. 
And we shall say, I imagine, that such things as these are well 
spoken, which Diomed says in Homer : 

Sit thou in silence, and obey my speech. 

And what follows ; thus, 

The Greeks march'd on in silence, breathing force; 
Revering their commanders; . . . 

and such like. Well spoken. But what as to these? "Thou 
drunkard with dog's eyes, and heart of deer;" and all of this 
kind, are these, or such other insolences, which any private 
person in prose or poetry has been made to say against their 
governors, spoken handsomely ? Not handsomely. For I do not 
imagine that when they are heard they are fit to promote 
temperance in youth ; and though they may afford a pleasure of 
a different kind, it is no wonder. But what do you think ? Just 
the same way, said he. But what of this ? To make the wisest 
man say, that it appears to him to be the most beautiful of all 

... To see the tables full 

Of flesh and dainties, and the butler bear 

The wine in flagons, and fill up the cup: 


is this proper for a youth to hear, in order to obtain a command 
over himself? Or yet this ? 

. • • Most miserable it is, 

To die of famine, and have adverse fate. 

Or that Zeus, through desire of venereal pleasures, easily 
forgetting all those things which he alone awake revolved in his 
mind, whilst other Gods and men were asleep, was so struck, on 
seeing Hera, as not even to be willing to come into the house, 
but wanted to embrace her on the ground ; and at the same time 
declaring that he is possessed with such desire, as exceeded what 
he felt on their first connexion with each other, 

• . . Hid from their parents dear. 

Nor yet how Ares and Aphrodite were bound by Hephaestus, and 
other such things. No, I vow, said he; these things do not 
seem fit. But if any instances of self-denial, said I, with respect 
to all these things be told, and practised by eminent men, these 
are to be beheld and heard. Such as this : 

He beat his breast, and thus reprovM his heart: 
Endure, my heart ! thou heavier fate hast borne. 

By all means, said he, we should do thus. Neither must we 
suffer men to receive bribes, nor to be covetous. By no means. 
Nor must we sing to them, that 

Gifts gain the Gods and venerable kings. 

Nor must we commend Phoenix, the tutor of Achilles, as if he 
spoke with moderation, in counselling him to accept of presents, 
and assist the Greeks ; but, without presents, not to desist from 
his wrath. Neither shall we commend Achilles, nor approve of 
his being so covetous as to receive presents from Agamemnon; 
and likewise a ransom to give up the dead body of Hector, but 
not incline to do it otherwise. It is not right, said he, to 
commend such things as these. I am unwilling, said I, for 
Homer's sake, to say it, That neither is it lawful that these 
things, at least, be said against Achilles, nor that they be 
believed, when said by others; nor, again, that he spoke thus 
to Apollo: 

Me thou hast injur'd, thou, far-darting God !f • 

Most baneful of the powers divine I But know, 

Were I possest of power, then vengeance should be mine. 

And how disobedient he was to the river, though a divinity, and 


was ready to fight ; and again, he says to the river Sperchius, of 
his sacred locks, 

This lock to great Patroclus I would give, 
Who now is dead • , . 

Nor are we to believe he did this. And again, the dragging 
Hector round the sepulchre of Patroclus, and the slaughtering 
the captives at his funeral pile, — that all these things are true, 
we will not say; nor will we suffer our people to be persuaded 
that Achilles, the son of a Goddess, and of Peleus the most 
temperate of men and the third from Zeus, and educated by the 
most wise Chiron was full of such disorder as to have within 
him two distempers opposite to one another, — the illiberal and 
covetous disposition, and a contempt both of Gods and of men. 
You say right, replied he. Neither, said I, let us be persuaded 
of these things ; nor suffer any to say that Theseus the son of 
Poseidon, and Pirithous the son of Zeus, were impelled to per- 
petrate such dire rapines ; nor that any son of another deity, nor 
any hero, would dare to do horrible and impious deeds ; such as 
the lies of the poets ascribe to them : but let us compel the poets 
either to say that these are not the actions of these persons, or 
that these persons are not the children of the Gods ; and not to 
say both. Nor let us suffer them to attempt to persuade our 
youth that the Gods create evil; and that heroes are in no 
respect better than men. For, as we said formerly, these things 
are neither holy nor true : for we have elsewhere shown, that it 
is impossible that evil should proceed from the Gods. Certainly. 
And these things are truly hurtful, to the hearers, at least. For 
•every one will pardon his own depravity, when he is persuaded 
that even the near relations of the Gods do and have done things 
of the same kind : such as are near to Zeus, 

Who, on the top of Ida, have up-rear'd 
To parent Zeus an altar; — 

Whose blood derived from Gods is not extinct. 

On which accounts all such fables must be suppressed ; lest they 
create in our youth a powerful habit of wickedness. We must 
do so, replied he, by all means. 

What other species of discourses, said I, have we still remain- 
ing, now whilst we are determining what ought to be spoken, 
And what not ? We have already mentioned in what manner we 
ought to speak of the Gods, and likewise of daemons and heroes ; 
and of what relates to Hades. Yes, indeed. Should not, then, 
what yet remains seem to be concerning men ? It is plain. But 
it is impossible for us, friend, to regulate this at present. How ? 


Because, I think, we shall say that the poets and chroniclers 
speak amiss concerning the greatest affairs of men: as, That 
many men are unjust, and, notwithstanding this, are happy ; and 
that many just are miserable ; and that it is profitable for one to 
do unjustly, when he is concealed ; and that justice is gain indeed 
to others, but the loss of the just man himself: these, and 
innumerable other such things, we will forbid them to say ; and 
enjoin them to sing, and compose in fable, the contrary to these. 
Do not you think so? I know it well, said he. If then you 
acknowledge that I say right, shall I not say that you have 
acknowledged what all along we seek for? You judge right, 
said he. Shall we not then grant that such discourses are to be 
spoken concerning men, not before we shall have discovered 
what justice is ; and how in its nature it is profitable to the just 
man to be such, whether he appear to be such or not? Most 
true, replied he. 

Concerning the discourses, then, let this suffice. We must 
now consider, as I imagine, the manner of discourse. And then 
we shall have completely considered, both what is to be spoken, 
and the manner how. Here Adimantus said, But I do not under- 
stand what you say. But, replied I, it is needful you should. 
And perhaps you will rather understand it in this way. Is not 
every thing told by the mythologists, or poets, a narrative of the 
past, present, or future? What else? replied he. And do not 
they execute it, either by simple narration, or imitation, or by 
both ? This too, replied he, I want to understand more plainly. 
I seem, said I, to be a ridiculous and obscure instructor. There- 
fore, like those who are unable to speak, I will endeavour to 
explain, not the whole, but, taking up a particular part, show my 
meaning by this particular. And tell me, Do not you know the 
beginning of the Iliad? where the poet says that Chryses 
entreated Agamemnon to set free his daughter ; but that he was 
displeased that Chryses, when he did not succeed, prayed against 
the Greeks to the God. I know. You know, then, that down to 
these verses, 

— — The Grecians all he pray'dj 
But chief the two commanders, Atreus' sons — 

the poet himself speaks, and does not attempt to divert our atten- 
tion elsewhere, to suppose that any other person were speaking : 
but what he says after this, he says as if he himself were Chryses, 
and endeavours as much as possible to make us imagine that the 
speaker is not Homer, but the priest, an old man ; and that in 
this manner he has composed almost the whole narrative of what 
happened at Troy, and in Ithaca, and all the adventures in the 
whole Odyssey. It is certainly so, replied he. It is not then 
narration, when he tells the several speeches ? and likewise when 


he tells what intervenes between the speeches? Why not? But 
when he makes any speech in the person of another, do not we 
say that then he assimilates his speech, as much as possible, to 
each person whqm he introduces as speaking? We say so, of 
course. And is not the assimilating one's self to another, either 
in voice or figure, the imitating him to whom one assimilates him- 
self? Why, yes. In such a manner as this, then, it seems, both 
he and the other poets perform the narrative by means of imita- 
tion. Certainly. But if the poet did not at all conceal himself, 
his whole action and narrative would be without imitation. And 
that you may not say you do not again understand how this should 
be, I shall tell you. If Homer, after relating how Chryses came 
with his daughter's ransom, beseeching the Greeks, but chiefly 
the kings, had spoken afterwards, not as Chryses, but still as 
Homer, you know it would not have been imitation, but simple 
narration. And it would have been somehow thus : (I shall speak 
without metre, for I am no poet :) The priest came and prayed, 
that the Gods might grant they should take Troy, and return 
safe ; and begged them to restore him his daughter, accepting the 
presents, and revering the God. When he had said this, all the 
rest showed respect, and consented ; but Agamemnon was enraged, 
charging him to depart instantly, and not to return again ; lest his 
sceptre and the garlands of the God should be of no avail ; and 
told him, that before he would restore his daughter she should 
grow old with him in Argos ; but ordered him to be gone, and not 
to irritate him, that he might get home in safety. The old man 
upon hearing this was afraid, and went away in silence. And 
when he was retired from the camp he made many supplications 
to Apollo, rehearsing the names of the God, and reminding him 
and beseeching him, that if ever he had made any acceptable 
donation in the building of temples, or the offering of sacrifices, — 
for the sake of these, to avenge his tears upon the Greeks with his 
arrows. Thus, said I, friend, the narration is simple, without 
imitation. I understand,, said he. Understand then, said I, that 
the opposite of this happens, when one, taking away the poet's 
part between the speeches, leaves the speeches themselves. This, 
said he, I likewise understand, that a thing of this kind takes 
place respecting tragedies. You apprehend perfectly well, said I. 
And I think that I now make plain to you what I could not before ; 
that in poetry, and likewise in mythology, one kind is wholly by 
imitation, such as you say tragedy and comedy are ; and another 
kind by the narration of the poet himself: and you will find this 
kind most especially in the dithyrambus : and another again by 
both ; as in epic poetry, and in many other cases besides, if you 
understand me. I understand now, replied he, what you meant 
before. And remember too, that before that we were saying, that 
we had already mentioned what things were to be spoken ; but 


that it yet remained to be considered in what manner they were 
to be spoken. I remember, indeed. This then, is what I was 
saying, that it were necessary we agreed whether we shall suffer 
the poets to make narratives to us in the way of imitation ; or, 
partly in the way of imitation, and partly not ; and, what in each 
way ; or, if they are not to use imitation at all. I conjecture, said 
he, you are to consider whether we shall receive tragedy and 
comedy into our city, or riot. Perhaps, replied I, and something 
more too ; for I do not as yet know, indeed ; but wherever our 
reasoning, as a gale, bears us, there we must go. And truly, said 
he, you say well. Consider this now, Adimantus, whether our 
guardians ought to practise imitation, or not. Or does this follow 
from what we said above, namely that each one may handsomely 
perform one business, but many he cannot : or, if he shall attempt 
it, in grasping at many things, he shall fail in all ; so as to be 
remarkable in none. It must follow. And is not the reasoning 
the same concerning imitation? That one man is not so able to 
imitate many things well, as one. He is not. Hardly then shall 
he perform any part of the more eminent employments, and at the 
same time imitate many things, and be an imitator; since the 
same persons are not able to perform handsomely imitations of 
two different kinds, which seem to resemble each other ; as, for 
instance, they cannot succeed both in comedy and tragedy : or, 
did you not lately call these two, imitations ? I did ; and you say 
true, that the same persons cannot succeed in them. Nor can 
they, at the same time, be rhapsodists and actors. True. Nor 
can the same persons be actors in comedies and in tragedies. 
And all these are imitations, are they not? Imitations. The 
genius of man seems to me, Adimantus, to be split up into still 
lesser subdivisions than these; so that it is unable to imitate 
handsomely many things, or do these very things, of which even 
the imitations are the resemblances. Most true, said he. If 
therefore we are to hold to our first reasoning, that our guardians, 
unoccupied in any manufacture whatever, ought to be the most 
accurate workmen of the liberty of the city, and to mind nothing 
but what has some reference to this ; it were surely proper, they 
neither did nor imitated any thing else ; but, if they shall imitate 
at all, to imitate immediately from their childhood such things 
as are correspondent to these ; brave, temperate, holy, free men, 
and all such things as these ; — but neither to do, nor to be desirous 
of imitating, things illiberal or base, lest from imitating they come 
to be really such. Or have you not observed, that imitations, if 
from earliest youth they be continued onwards for a long time, 
are established into the manners and natural temper, both with 
reference to the body and voice, and likewise the intellectual 
power? Very much so, replied he. We will not surely allow, 
said I, those we profess to take care of, and who ought to be good 


men, to imitate a woman, either young or old, either reviling her 
husband, or quarrelling with the Gods, or speaking boastingly 
when she imagines herself happy ; nor yet to imitate her in her 
misfortunes, sorrows, and lamentations, when sick, or in love, or 
in child-bed labour. We shall be far from permitting this. By 
all means, replied he. Nor to imitate man or maid-servants in 
doing what belongs to servants. Nor this neither. Nor yet 
to imitate depraved men, as it seems, such as are dastardly, 
and do the contrary of what we have now been mentioning; 
reviling and railing at one another; and speaking abominable 
things, either intoxicated or sober, or any other things such as 
persons of this sort are guilty of, either in words or actions, 
either with respect to themselves or one another. Neither must 
they accustom themselves to resemble madmen, in words or 
actions. Even the mad and wicked are to be known, both the 
men and the women ; but none of their actions are to be done, or 
imitated. Most true, said he. Again, said I, are they to imitate 
such as work in brass, or any other handicrafts, or such as are 
employed in rowing galleys, or such as command these ; or any 
thing else appertaining to these things ? How can they, said he, 
as they are not to be allowed to give application to any of those 
things ? Then shall they imitate horses neighing, or bulls lowing, 
or rivers murmuring, or the sea roaring, or thunder, and all such 
like things ? We have forbidden them, said he, to be mad, or to 
resemble madmen. If then I understand, replied I, what you say, 
there is a certain kind of speech, and of narration, in which he 
who is truly a good and worthy man expresses himself when it is 
necessary for him to say anything ; and another kind again unlike 
to this, which he who has been born and educated in an opposite 
manner always possesses, and in which he expresses himself. But 
of what kind are these ? said he. It appears to me, said I, that 
the worthy man, when he comes in his narrative to any speech or 
action of a good man, will willingly tell it as if he were himself 
the man, and will not be ashamed of such an imitation; most 
especially choosing to do so when he imitates a good man acting 
prudently and without error, less willingly and less fully when the 
man is weakened through diseases, or love, intoxication, or any 
other misfortune. But when he comes to any thing unworthy 
of himself, he will not be studious to resemble himself to that 
which is worse, unless for a short time when it produces some 
good; but will be ashamed, both as he is unpractised in the 
imitation of such characters as these, and likewise as he grudges 
to degrade himself and stand among the models of baser characters, 
disdaining it in his intellectual part, and doing it only for amuse- 
ment. It is likely, said he. He will not then make use of such a 
narrative as we lately mentioned, with reference to the composi- 
tions of Homer: but his composition will participate of both 


imitation and the other narrative ; and but a small part of it will 
be imitation, in a great quantity of plain narrative. Is there any 
thing in that, think you ? You express, replied he, perfectly well 
what ought to be the model of such an orator. And, on the 
other hand, will not the man, said I, who is not such an one, the 
more depraved he is, be the readier to rehearse every thing 
whatever ; and not think any thing unworthy of him ? so that he 
will undertake to imitate every thing in earnest, and likewise in 
the presence of many ; and such things also as we now mentioned ; 
thunderings, and noises of winds and hail-storms, and of axles, and 
wheels, and trumpets, and pipes, and whistles, and sounds of all 
manner of instruments, and voices of dogs too, and of sheep, and 
of birds. And the whole expression of all these things shall be 
by imitation in voices and gestures, or but a small part of it 
narration. This too, said he, must happen of necessity. 

These now, said I, I called the two kinds of diction. They are 
so, replied he. But has not the one of these only small variations ? 
And if the orator afford the becoming harmony and measure to 
the diction, where he speaks with propriety, the discourse is 
almost after one and the same manner, and in one harmony ; for 
the variations are but small, and in a measure which accordingly is 
somehow similar. It is indeed, replied he, entirely so. But what 
as to the other kind ? Does it not require the contrary, all kinds 
of harmony, all kinds of measure, if it is to be naturally expressed, 
as it has all sorts of variations ? It is perfectly so. Do not now all 
the poets, and such as speak in any kind, make use of either one 
or other of these models of diction, or of one compounded of both ? 
Of necessity, replied he. What then shall we do? said I* 
Whether shall we admit into our city all of these ; or one of the 
unmixed, or the one compounded? If my opinion, replied he, 
prevail, that uncompounded one, which is imitative of what is 
worthy. But surely, Adimantus, the mixed is pleasant, at least. 
And the opposite of what you choose is by far the most pleasant 
to children and pedagogues, and the crowd. It is most pleasant. 
But you will not, probably, said I, think it suitable to our govern- 
ment, because with us no man is to attend to two or more 
employments, but to be quite simple, as every one does one thing. 
It is not indeed suitable. Shall we not then find that in such a 
city alone, a shoemaker is only a shoemaker, and not a pilot 
along with shoemaking, and that the husbandman is only a 
husbandman, and not a judge along with husbandry ; and that 
the soldier is a soldier, and not a money-maker besides : and all 
others in the same way ? True, replied he. And it would appear, 
that if a man, who, through wisdom, were able to become every 
thing, and to imitate every thing, should come into our city, and 
should wish to show us his poems, we should .revere him as a 
sacred, admirable, and pleasant person : but we should tell him, 


that there is no such person with us, in our city, nor is there any 
such allowed to be : and we should send him to some other city, 
pouring oil on his head, and crowning him with wool : but we use 
a more austere poet, and mythologist, for our advantage, who may 
imitate to us the diction of the worthy manner; and may say 
whatever he says, according to those models which we established 
by law at first, when we undertook the education of our soldiers. 
So we should do, replied he, if it depended on us. 

It appears, said I, friend, that we have now thoroughly 
discussed that part of music respecting oratory and fable ; for we 
have already told what is to be spoken, and in what manner. It 
appears so to me likewise, said he. Does it not yet remain, said 
I, that we speak of the manner of song, and of melodies ? It is 
plain. May not any one discover what we must say of these 
things ; and of what kind these ought to be, if we are to be 
consistent with what is above mentioned ? Here Glauco laughing 
said : But I appear, Socrates, to be a stranger to all these matters, 
for I am not able at present to guess at what we ought to say . 
I suspect, however. You are certainly, said I, fully able to say 
this in the first place, that melody is composed of three things : 
of sentiment, harmony, and rhythm. Yes, replied he, this I can 
say. And that the part which consists in the sentiment differs in 
nothing from that sentiment which is not sung, in this respect, 
that it ought to be performed upon the same models, as we just 
now said, and in the same manner. True, said he. And surely, 
then, the harmony and rhythm ought to correspond to the 
sentiment. Certainly. But we observed there was no occasion 
for waitings and lamentations in compositions. No occasion, truly. 
Which then are the querulous harmonies ? Tell me, for you are 
a musician. The mixed Lydian, replied he, and the sharp 
Lydian ; and some others of this kind. Are not these, then, said I, to 
be rejected ? for they are unprofitable even to women, such as are 
to be worthy, and much more to men. Certainly. But intoxica- 
tion is most unbecoming our guardians; and effeminacy and 
idleness. Surely. Which then are the effeminate and convivial 
harmonies? The Ionic, replied he, and the Lydian, which are 
called relaxing. Can you make any use of these, my friend, for 
military men ? By no means, replied he. But, it seems, you 
have yet remaining the Doric, and the Phrygian. I do not know, 
said I, the harmonies ; but leave that harmony, which may, in a 
becoming manner, imitate the voice and accents of a truly brave 
man, going on in a military action, and every rough adventure ; 
and fighting his fortune in a determinate and persevering manner, 
when he fails of success, rushes on wounds, or deaths, or falls into 
any other distress : and leave that kind of harmony likewise, which 
is suited to what is peaceable ; where there is no violence, but 
every thing is voluntary; where a man either persuades or 


beseeches any one, about any thing, either God by prayer, or man 
by instruction and admonition : or, on the other hand, where one 
submits himself to another, who beseeches, instructs, and 
persuades ; and, in all these things, fares according to his wish, 
and does not behave haughtily; demeaning himself soberly and 
moderately; content with whatever may happen: leave then 
these two harmonies, the vehement and the voluntary ; which, in 
the most handsome manner, imitate the voice of the unfortunate 
and of the fortunate, of the moderate and of the brave. You 
desire, replied he, to leave just those I now mentioned. We shall 
not then, said I, have any need of a great many strings, nor of 
the all-modulating style in our songs and melodies. It appears to 
me, replied he, we shall not. We shall not nourish, then, such 
workmen as make harps and spinets, and all those instruments 
which consist of many strings, and produce a variety of harmony. 
We shall not, as it appears. Well then, will yon admit into your 
city such workmen as make pipes, or pipers? for, are not the 
instruments which consist of the greatest number of strings, and 
those that produce all kinds of harmony, imitations of the pipe ? 
It is plain, replied he. There are left you still, said I, the lyre 
and the harp, as useful for your city, and there might likewise be 
some sort of a reed for shepherds in the fields. Thus reason, said 
he, shows us. We then, replied I, do nothing dire, if we prefer 
Apollo, and Apollo's instruments, to Marsyas, and the instruments 
of that eminent musician. Truly, replied he, I think not. And 
by the dog, said I, we have unawares cleansed again our city, 
which we said was become luxurious. And we have wisely done 
it, replied he. 

Come then, said I, and let us cleanse what remains ; for what 
concerns rhythm should be suitable to our harmonies; that our 
citizens pursue not such rhythms as are diversified, and have a 
variety of cadences; but observe what are the rhythms of a 
decent and manly life, and, whilst they observe these, make the 
foot and the melody subservient to sentiment of such a kind; 
and not the sentiment subservient to the foot and melody. But 
what these rhythms are, is your business to tell, as you have done 
with the harmonies. But by Zeus, replied he, I cannot tell. That 
there are three species of which the notes are composed, as there 
are four in sounds, whence the whole of harmony, I . can say, as I 
have observed it : but which are the imitations of one kind of life, 
and which of another, I am not able to tell. But these things, 
said I, we must consider with Damon's assistance : what notes are 
suitable to illiberality and insolence, to madness or other ill dis- 
position ; and what notes are proper for their opposites. And I 
remember, but not distinctly, to have heard him speak of a certain 
warlike rhythm, composite, and a dactylic, and a heroic measure ; 
arranging it I do not know how, making the rise and fall equal, 


parsing into short and long, and he called one, as I imagine, 
Iambus, and another Trochaeus. He gave them, besides, the 
longs and shorts; and, in some of these, I believe, he blamed 
and commended the measure of the foot, no less than the 
numbers themselves, or the compound of both; for I cannot 
speak of these things ; because, as I said, they are to be thrown 
upon Damon. To speak distinctly, indeed, on these matters, 
would require no small discourse : do not you think so ? Not a 
small one, truly. But can you determine this, that the propriety 
or impropriety corresponds to the good or ill rhythm? Yes, of 
course. But, with respect to the good or ill rhythm, the one 
corresponds to handsome expression, conforming itself to it ; and 
the other to the reverse. And, in the same way, as to the 
harmonious, and the discordant : since the rhythm and harmony 
are subservient to the sentiment, as we just now said ; and not the 
sentiment to these. These, indeed, said he, are to be subservient 
to the sentiment. But what, said I, as to the manner of expression, 
and as to the sentiment itself, must it not correspond to the 
temper of the soul ? To be sure. And all other things correspond 
to the expression. Yes. So that the beauty of expression, fine 
consonacy, and propriety, and excellence of numbers, are sub- 
servient to the good disposition; not that stupidity, which in 
complaisant language we call good temper; but a mind, truly 
adorned with excellent and beautiful manners. By all means, 
replied he. Must not these things be always pursued by the 
youth, if they are to mind their business ? They are indeed to be 
pursued. But painting too is somehow full of these things ; and 
every other workmanship of the kind; and weaving is full of 
these, and carving, and architecture, and all workmanship of 
every kind of vessels : as is moreover the nature of bodies, and of 
all vegetables : for in all these there is propriety, and impropriety ; 
and the impropriety, discord, and dissonance, are the sisters of ill 
expression, and depraved manners; and their opposites are the 
sisters, and imitations, of sober and worthy manners. 'Tis entirely 
so, replied he. Are we then to give injunctions to the poets 
alone, and oblige them to work into their poems the image of the 
worthy manners, or not to compose at all with us? or are we 
to enjoin all other workmen likewise; and restrain this ill, 
undisciplined, illiberal, indecent manner, that they exhibit it 
neither in the representations of animals, in buildings, nor in any 
other workmanship ? or, that he who is not able to do this, be not 
suffered to work with us ? lest our guardians, being educated in 
the midst of ill representations, as in an ill pasture, by every day 
plucking and eating much of different things, by little and little 
contract, imperceptibly, some mighty evil in their soul. But we 
must seek for such workmen as are able, by the help of a good 
natural genius, to investigate the nature of the beautiful and the 


decent : that our youth, dwelling as it were in a healthful place, 
may be profited on all sides ; whence, from the beautiful works, 
something will be conveyed to the sight and hearing, as a breeze 
bringing health from salutary places; imperceptibly leading them 
on directly from childhood, to the resemblance, friendship, and 
harmony with right reason. They should thus, said he, be educated 
in the most handsome manner by far. On these accounts therefore, 
Glauco, said I, is not education in music of the greatest importance, 
because rhythm and harmony enter in the strongest manner into 
the inward part of the soul, and most powerfully affect it, 
introducing at the same time decorum, and making every one 
decent if he is properly educated, and the reverse if he is not ? 
And moreover, because the man who has here been educated as 
he ought, perceives in the quickest manner whatever workman- 
ship is defective, and whatever execution is unhandsome, or 
whatever productions are of that kind ; and being disgusted in 
a proper manner, he will praise what is beautiful, rejoicing in 
it ; and, receiving it into his soul, be nourished by it, and become 
a worthy and good man : but whatever is base, he will in a proper 
manner despise, and hate, whilst yet he is young, and before he 
is able to be a partaker of reason ; and when reason comes, such 
an one as has been thus educated will embrace it, recognising it 
perfectly well, from its intimate familiarity with him. It appears 
to me, replied he, that education in music is for the sake of such 
things as these. Just as, with reference to letters, said I, we are 
then sufficiently instructed when we are not ignorant of the 
elements, which are but few in number, wherever they are 
concerned; and when we do not despise them more or less as 
unnecessary to be observed, but by all means endeavour to under- 
stand them thoroughly, as it is impossible for us to be literary men 
till we do thus. True. And if the images of letters appeared any 
where, either in water or in mirrors, we should not know them, 
should we, before we knew the letters themselves, because this 
belongs to the same art and study ? By all means. Is it indeed 
then according as I say ? that we shall never become musicians, 
neither we ourselves, nor those guardians we say we are to 
educate, before we understand the forms of temperance, fortitude, 
liberality, and magnificence, and the other sister virtues ; and, on 
the other hand again, the contraries of these, which are every 
where to be met with ; and observe them wheresoever they are, 
both the virtues themselves, and the images of them, and despise 
them neither in small nor in great instances; but believe that 
this belongs to the same art and study. There is, said he, great 
necessity for it. Must not then, said I, the person who shall have 
in his soul beautiful manners, and in his appearance whatever is 
proportionable, and corresponding to these, partaking of the same 
impression, be the most beautiful spectacle to any one who is able 


to behold it? Exceedingly so. But what is most beautiful is 
most lovely. Certainly. He who is musical should surely love 
those men who are most eminently of this kind ; but if one be 
unharmonious he shall not love him. He shall not, replied he, 
if the person be any way defective as to his soul : if indeed it 
were in his body, he would bear with it, so as to be willing to 
associate with him. I understand, said I, that your favourites 
are or have been of this kind. And I agree to it. But tell me 
this, Is there any communion between temperance and excessive 
pleasure ? How can there be ? said he, for such pleasure causes 
a privation of intellect no less than grief. But has it communion 
with any other virtue ? By no means. Well, has it communion 
with insolence and intemperance ? Most of all. Can you mention 
a greater and more acute pleasure than that respecting venereal 
concerns? I cannot, said he, nor yet one that is more insane. 
But the right love is of such a nature as to love the beautiful, 
and the handsome, in a temperate and a musical manner. 
Certainly. Nothing then which is insane, or allied to intemper- 
ance, is to approach to a right love. No. Neither must pleasure 
approach to it ; nor must the lover, and the person he loves, have 
communion with it, where they love and are beloved in a right 
manner. No truly, said he; they must not, Socrates, approach 
to these. Thus then, as appears, you will establish by law, in the 
city which is to be established, that the lover is to love, to con- 
verse, and associate with the objects of his love, as with his son, 
for the sake of fair things, if he gain the consent : and as to every 
thing besides, that every one so converse with him whose love he 
solicits, as never to appear to associate for any thing beyond what 
is now mentioned ; and that otherwise he shall undergo the re- 
proach of being unmusical, and unacquainted with the beautiful. 
It must be thus, replied he. Does then, said I, the discourse 
concerning music seem to you to be finished? For it has 
terminated where it ought to terminate, as the affairs of music 
ought, somehow, to terminate in the love of the beautiful. I 
agree, said he. 

But, after music, our youth are to be educated in gymnastic. 
Yes, to be sure. Then it is surely necessary that in this 
likewise they be accurately disciplined, from their infancy 
through the whole of life. For the matter, as I imagine, is 
somehow thus : but do you also consider. For it does not 
appear to me that whatever body is found, doth, by its own 
virtue, render the soul good; but contrariwise, that a good 
soul, by its virtue, renders the body the best which is possible : 
but how does it appear to you? In the same manner to me 
likewise, replied he. If then, when we have sufficiently 
cultivated the mind, we should commit to it the accurate 
management of the concerns of the body, ourselves doing no 


more than to indicate the general principles (that we may not 

enlarge) should we act in a right manner? Entirely so. We 

say then, that. they are to abstain from intoxication; for it is 

more allowable to any, than to a guardian, to be intoxicated, 

and not to know where he is. It were ridiculous, said he, 

that the guardian should stand in need of a guardian. But 

what as to meats ? For these men are wrestlers in the noblest 

combat : are they not ? They are. Would not then the bodily 

plight of the wrestlers be proper for such as these? Probably. 

But, said I, it is of a drowsy kind, and dubious as to health : 

or, do you not observe, that they sleep out their life? and, if 

they depart but a little from their appointed diet, such wrestlers 

become greatly and extremely diseased. I perceive it. But 

some more elegant exercise, said I, is requisite for our military 

wrestlers ; who, as dogs, ought to be wakeful, and to see, and 

to hear in the most acute manner; and, in their expeditions, 

to endure many changes of water and of food, of heat and of 

cold, that so they may not have a dubious state of health. To 

me it appears so. Is not then the best gymnastic a kind of 

sister to the simple music, which we a little before described? 

How do you say ? That the gymnastic is to be simple and 

moderate, and of that kind most especially which pertains to 

war. Of what kind? Even from Homer, said I, one may 

learn these things : for you know, that in their warlike 

expeditions, at the entertainments of their heroes, he never 

feasts them with fishes, and that even whilst they were by 

the sea at the Hellespont, nor yet with boiled flesh, but only 

with roast, as what soldiers can most easily procure: for, in 

short, one can every where more easily make use of fire, than 

carry vessels about. Yes, indeed. Neither does Homer, as I 

imagine, any where make mention of seasonings: and this is 

what the other wrestlers understand, that the body which is 

to be in good habit must abstain from all these things. They 

rightly understand, said he, and abstain. You do not then, 

friend, as appears, approve of the Syracusan table, and the 

Sicilian variety of meats, since this other appears to you to 

be right ? I do not, as appears. You will likewise disapprove 

of a Corinthian girl, as a mistress, for those who are to be of 

a good habit of body. By all means, truly. And likewise of 

those delicacies, as they are reckoned, of Attic confections. 

Of necessity. For all feeding and dieting of this kind, if we 

compare it to the melody and song produced in the style of 

many modulations, and in all rhythms, shall not the comparison 

be just? Certainly. And does not the diversity in that case 

create intemperance, and here disease? But simplicity, as to 

music, creates in the soul temperance; and, as to gymnastic, 

health In the body. Most true, said he. And when in- 


temperance and diseases multiply in the city, shall we not 
have many halls of justice and of medicine opened ? And will 
not the arts of justice and of medicine be in request, when 
many free persons shall earnestly apply to them? It is sure 
to be so. But can you adduce any greater argument of an 
ill and base education in a city, than that there should be 
need of physicians and supreme magistrates, and that not pnly 
for the contemptible and low handicrafts, but for those who 
boast of having been educated in a liberal manner? Or, does 
it not appear to be base, and a great sign of want of education, 
to be obliged to observe justice pronounced on us by others, 
as our masters and judges, and to have no sense of it in 
ourselves? Of all things, this, replied he, is the most base* 
And do you not, said I, deem this to be more base still ; 
when one not only spends a great part of life in courts of 
justice, as defendant and plaintiff; but, from his ignorance of 
the beautiful, imagines that he becomes renowned for this very 
thing; as being dexterous in doing injustice, and able to turn 
himself through all sorts of windings, and, using every kind 
of subterfuge, thinks to escape so as to evade justice; and 
all this for the sake of small and contemptible things; being 
ignorant how much better and more handsome it were so to 
regulate his life as not to stand in need of a sleepy judge? 
This, replied he, is still more base than the other. And to 
stand in need of the medicinal art, said I, not on account of 
wounds, or some incidental epidemic distempers, but through 
sloth, and such a diet as we mentioned, being filled with 
rheums and wind, like quagmires ; obliging the skilful sons 
of Asclepius to invent new names for diseases, such as dropsies 
and catarrhs. Do you not think this abominable? These are 
truly, replied he, very new and strange names of diseases. 
Such, said I, as were not, I imagine, in the days of Asclepius : 
and I conjecture so from this, that when Eurypylus was wounded 
at Troy, and was getting Pramnian wine to drink with much 
flour in it, with the addition of cheese ; (all which seem to be 
feverish,) the sons of Asclepius neither blamed the woman 
who presented it, nor reprehended Patroclus, who had presented 
the cure. And surely the potion, said he, is absurd for one in 
such a case. No, said I, if you consider, that, as they tell us, 
the descendants of Asclepius did not, before the days of 
Herodicus, practise this method of cure now in use, which 
puts the patient on a regimen: but Herodicus being a trainer 
of youth, and at the same time infirm in his health, mixing 
gymnastic and medicine together, he made himself most uneasy 
in the first place, and afterwards many others besides. After 
what manner? said he. In procuring to himself, said I, a 
lingering death ; for, whilst he was constantly attentive to his 



disease, which was mortal, he was not able, as I imagine, to 
cure himself; though, neglecting every thing besides, he was 
still using medicines; and thus he passed his life, still in the 
greatest uneasiness if he departed in the least from his ac- 
customed diet; and through this wisdom of his, struggling 
long with death, he arrived at old age. A mighty reward, 
said he, he reaped of his art ! Such as became one, said I, 
who did not understand that it was not from ignorance or 
inexperience of this method of cure that Asclepius did not 
discover it to his descendants; but because he knew that, in 
all well regulated states, there was some certain work enjoined 
every one in the city, which was necessary to be done, and that 
no one was to be allowed to have the leisure of being sick 
through the whole of life, and to be attentive only to the 
taking of medicines. This we may pleasantly observe in the 
case of labouring people; but we do not observe it in the 
case of the rich, and such as are counted happy. How? said 
he. A smith, replied I, when he falls sick, thinks it fit to 
take from the physician some potion, to throw up his disease, 
or purge it downwards, or, by means of caustic or amputation, 
to be freed from the trouble : but if any one prescribe for him 
a long regimen, putting caps on his head, and other such things, 
he quickly tells him that he has not leisure to lie sick, nor does 
it avail him to live in this manner, attentive to his trouble, and 
negligent of his proper work ; and so, bidding such a physician 
farewell, he returns to his ordinary diet; and, if he recovers 
his health, he continues to manage his own affairs; but if 
his body be not able to support the disease, he dies, and is 
freed from troubles. It seems proper, said he, for such an one 
to use the medicinal art in this manner. Is it not, said I, 
because he had a certain business, which if he did not 
perform, it was not for his advantage to live? That is plain, 
replied he. But the rich man, as we say, has no such work 
allotted him, from which if he be obliged to refrain, life is not 
worth the having. He is surely said at least to have none. 
For you do not, said I, attend to what Phocylides says; that 
one ought still, as soon as there is enough to live on, to 
practise virtue. And before that too, I think, replied he. Let 
us by no means, said I, differ from him in this. But let us 
inform ourselves to practise virtue is to be the business of 
the rich; and that life is not worth keeping, if he does not: 
or whether this excessive attention to one's disease is indeed 
a hinderance of the mind's application to masonry and other 
arts; but, with respect to the exhortation of Phocylides, it is 
no hinderance. Yes, by Zeus, said he, it is, and that in the 
greatest degree, whenever this excessive care of the body 
goes beyond gymnastic. Neither does it agree with attention 


to private (Economy, or military expeditions, or sedentary 
magistracies in the city. But what is of the greatest moment 
is, that such application to health is ill fitted for any sort of 
learning, and inquiry, and study, by one's self, whilst one is 
perpetually dreading certain pains and swimmings of the 
head, and blaming philosophy as occasioning them; so that 
where there is this attention to health, it is a great obstacle to 
the practice of virtue and improvement in it; for it makes us 
always imagine that we are ill, and always complain of the 
body. That is likely, said he. And shall we not say that 
Asclepius too understood these things, when to persons of a 
healthful constitution, and such as used a wholesome habit, 
but were afflicted by some particular disease, to these and to 
such a constitution he prescribed medicine, repelling their 
diseases by drugs and incisions, while he enjoined them to 
observe their accustomed manner of life, that the public might 
suffer no damage? But he did not attempt, by extenuating 
or nourishing diet, to cure such constitutions as were wholly 
diseased within; as it would but afford a long and miserable 
life to the man himself, and the descendants which would 
spring from him would probably be of the same kind: for he 
did not imagine the man ought to be cured who could not 
live in the ordinary course, as he would be neither profitable 
to himself nor to the state. You make Asclepius, said he, a 
politician. It is plain, said I, that he was so. And do you 
not see, that his sons at Troy excelled in war, and likewise 
practised medicine in the way I mention? Or do not you 
remember, that when Menelaus was wounded by Pandarus, 

Wasn't off the blood, and softening drags applied ? 

But, as to what was necessary for him to eat or drink afterwards, 
they prescribed for him no more than for Eurypylus; deeming 
external applications sufficient to heal men, who, before they were 
wounded, were healthful and moderate in their living, whatever 
mixture they happened to have drunk at the time. But they 
judged, that to have a diseased constitution, and to live an 
intemperate life, was neither profitable to the men themselves nor 
to others ; and that their art ought not to be employed on these, nor 
to minister to them, not even though they were richer than Midas. 
You make, said he, the sons of Asclepius truly ingenious. It is 
proper, replied I ; though in opposition to us the writers of tragedy, 
and Pindar, call indeed Asclepius the son of Apollo, but say that 
he was prevailed on by gold to undertake the cure of a rich man, 
who was already in a deadly state ; for which, truly, he was even 
struck with a thunderbolt : but we, agreeably to what fas been 
formerly said, will not believe them as to both these things ; but 


will aver, that if he was the son of the God, he was not given to 
filthy lucre ; or, if he were given to filthy lucre, he was not a son 
of the God. These things, said he, are most right. But what do 
you say, Socrates, as to this ? Is it not necessary to provide good 
physicians for the state ? and must not these, most likely, be such 
who have been conversant with the greatest number of healthy and 
of sickly people ? and these, in like manner, be the best judges, who 
have been conversant with all sorts of dispositions ? I mean now, 
said I, those who are very good. But do you know whom I deem 
to be such ? If you tell me, replied he. I shall endeavour to do 
it, said I ; but you inquire in one question about two different 
things. As how ? said he. Physicians, replied I, would become 
most expert, if, beginning from their infancy, they would, in 
learning the art, be conversant with the greatest number of bodies, 
and these the most sickly; and laboured themselves under all 
manner of diseases, and by natural constitution were not quite 
healthful ; for it is not by the body, I imagine, that they cure the 
body ; (else their own bodies could at no time be admitted to be 
of an ill constitution,) but they cure the body by the soul ; which, 
whilst it is of an ill constitution, is not capable to perform well any 
cure. Right, said he. But the judge, friend, governs the soul by 
the soul ; which, if from its childhood it has been educated with 
depraved souls, has been conversant with them, and has itself done 
all manner of evil, it is not able to come out from among 
them, so as accurately, by itself, to judge of the evils of others, as 
happens in the diseases of the body ; but it must in its youth be 
unexperienced and unpolluted with evil manners, if it means to be 
good and beautiful itself, and to judge soundly of what is just. 
And hence the virtuous in their youth appear simple, and easily 
deceived by the unjust, as they have not within themselves dis- 
positions similar to those of the wicked. And surely this at least, 
said he, they dp often suffer extremely. For which reason, said I, 
the good judge is not to be a young man, but an old, having been 
late in learning wickedness, what it is; perceiving it not as a 
kindred possession, residing in his own soul, but as a foreign one, 
in the souls of others, which he has for a long time studied, and 
has understood what sort of an evil it is, by the help of science 
rather than by proper experience. Such an one, said he, is like to 
be the most noble judge. And likewise a good one, said I ; which 
was what you required. For he who has a good soul is good. 
But the other notable and suspicious man, who has committed 
much of iniquity himself, when indeed he converses with his like, 
being thought to be subtle and wise, he appears a notable man, 
being extremely cautious, having an eye to those models which he 
has within himself; but when he approaches the good, and the 
more aged, he appears foolish, suspicious out of season, and 
ignorant of integrity of manners, as having within no models of 


such a kind : but however, being more frequently conversant with 
the wicked than with the wise, he appears, both to himself and 
others, to be wise, rather than ignorant. This, said he, is perfectly 
true. We must not, therefore, said I, look for such an one to be a 
wise and good judge, but the former one ; for indeed rice can never 
at all know both itself and virtue. But virtue, where the temper 
is instructed by time, shall attain to the knowledge of both itself 
and depravity. This one, then, and not the wicked, as it appears 
to me, is the wise man. And I, replied he, am of the same opinion. 
Will you not then establish in the city such a method of medicine as 
we have mentioned, along with such a method of judicature as shall 
carefully preserve for you those of your citizens who are naturally 
well disposed both in mind and in body ? and with respect to those 
who are otherwise, such as are so in their bodies, they shall suffer 
to die; but such as are of an evil nature, and incurable with 
respect to their soul, these they shall themselves put to death? 
This, said he, has appeared to be best, both for those who suffer 
it and for the city. And it is plain, said I, that your youth will be 
afraid of needing this justiciary, whilst they are employed in that 
simple music, which, we say, generates temperance. Yes, indeed, said 
he. And, according to the very same steps of reasoning, the musician 
who is willing to pursue gymnastic, will choose to do it so as not to 
require any medicine unless there be necessity. It appears so to 
me. And he will perform his exercises, and his labours, rather look- 
ing to the spirited part of his nature, and exciting it, than to strength ; 
and not as the other wrestlers, who eat and drink and engage in 
labours for the sake of bodily strength. Most right, said he. Why 
then, said I, Glauco, they who propose to teach music and 
gymnastic, propose these things, not, for what some imagine, to 
cure the body by the one, and the soul by the other. What then ? 
replied he. They seem, said I, to propose them both chiefly on the 
soul's account. As how ? Do not you perceive, said I, how those 
are affected as to their mind, who have all their life been 
conversant with gymnastic, but have never applied to music ? or 
how those are affected who have lived in a method the reverse of 
this? What, said he, do you speak of? Of rudeness, said I, and 
hardness, and again of softness and mildness. I know, said he, 
that those who apply themselves immoderately to gymnastic, 
become more rude than is proper ; and those again who attend to 
music alone, are more soft than is becoming for them to be. And 
surely, said I, this rudeness, at least, may come from the spirited part 
of nature, and, when rightly disciplined, may become fortitude ; 
but, when carried further than is becoming, may, as is likely, be 
both more hard and troublesome. So it appears to me, said he. 
Well, does not the philosophic temper contain the mild? And 
when this disposition is carried too far, may it not proye more 
soft than is becoming ; but, when rightly disciplined, be really mild 


and comely ? These things are so. But we say that our guardians 
ought to have both these dispositions. They ought. Ought not 
then these to be adapted to one another ? Certainly. And the 
soul in which they are thus adapted is temperate and brave. 
Certainly. But the soul in which they are not adapted, is cowardly 
and savage. Extremely so. And when one yields up himself to 
be soothed with the charms of music, and pours into his soul through 
his ears, as through a pipe, those we denominated the soft, 
effeminate, and plaintive harmonies, and spends the whole of his 
life chanting and ravished with melody ; such an one, at the first, 
if he has. anything spirited, softens it like iron, and, from being 
useless and hard, renders it profitable. But when still persisting 
he does not desist, but inchants his soul, after this, it melts and 
dissolves him, till it liquefies his spirit, and cuts out, a sit were, the 
nerves of his soul, and renders him an effeminate warrior. It is 
certainly so indeed, said he. But if, said I, he had from the 
beginning a temper void of spirit, this he quickly effectuates ; but, 
if spirited, it renders the mind weak, and easily turned, so as 
instantly to be enraged at trifles, and again the rage is extinguished : 
so that, from being spirited, they become outrageous and passionate, 
and full of the morose. So indeed it happens. Again : If one 
labour much in gymnastic, and feast extremely well, but apply not 
to music and philosophy; shall he not, in the first place, having 
his body in a good condition, be filled with spirit and courage, and 
become more brave than he was before ? Certainly so. But what, 
when he does nothing else ; nor participates in any thing which is 
music-like, though there were any love of learning in his soul, as it 
neither tastes of any study, nor bears a share in any inquiry nor 
reasoning, nor any thing besides which is musical, must it not 
become feeble, and deaf, and blind, as his perceptions are neither 
awakened, nor nourished, nor refined ? Just so. Such an one then 
becomes, as I imagine, a reason-hater, and unmusical ; and by no 
means can be persuaded to any thing by reasoning, but is carried 
to every thing by force and savageness, as a wild beast ; and thus 
he lives in ignorance and barbarity, out of measure, and unpolished. 
It is, said he, entirely so. Corresponding then to these two 
tempers, I would say, that some God, as appears, has given men 
two arts, those of music and gymnastic, in reference to the spirited 
and the philosophic temper; not for the soul and body, other- 
wise than as a by-work, but for that other purpose, that those two 
tempers might be adapted to one another ; being stretched and 
slackened as far as is fit. So indeed it appears. Whoever then 
shall in the most handsome manner mingle gymnastic with music, 
and have these in the justest measure in his soul, him we shall 
most properly call the most completely musical, and of the best 
harmony; far more than the man who adjusts to one another 
musical strings. Most reasonably, said he, Socrates. Shall we not 


then, Glauco, always have need of such a president for our state, 
if our government is to be preserved ? We shall most especially 
have need of this. 

Those then may be the models of education and discipline. 
For why should one go over the dances, the huntings of wild 
beasts, both with dogs and with nets, the wrestlings and the 
horse-races proper for such persons ? for it is manifest surely that 
these naturally follow of course, and it is no difficult matter to find 
them. It is indeed, said he, not difficult. Be it so, said I. But 
what follows next? What was next to be determined by us. 
Was it, which of these shall govern, and be governed? What 
else ? Is it not plain that the elder ought to be governors, and 
the younger to be the governed? It is plain. And is it not 
likewise plain, that the best of them are to govern ? This too is 
plain. But are not the best husbandmen the most assiduous in 
agriculture ? They are. If now our guardians are the best, will 
they not be most vigilant over the city ? They will. Must we 
not for this purpose make them prudent, and able, and careful 
likewise of the city? We must do so. But one wo uM .seem to,, 
bejnost careful of that which he happens to love. Undoubtedly. 
And one shall most especially love That to which he thinks the 
same things are profitable which are so to himself, and with whose 
good estate he thinks his own connected ; and where he is of a 
contrary opinion, he will be contrariwise affected. Just so. We 
must choose then from the other guardians such men as shall most 
of all others appear to us, on observation, to do with the greatest 
cheerfulness, through the whole of life, whatever they think 
advantageous for the state, and will not do by any means what 
appears to be disadvantageous. These are the most proper, said 
he. It truly appears to me, that they ought to be observed 
through every stage of their life, if they be tenacious of this 
opinion, so as that neither fraud nor force make them incon- 
siderately throw out this opinion, that they ought to do what is 
best for the state. What throwing out do you mean? said he. 
I will tell you, said I. An opinion seems to me to depart from 
the mind voluntarily or involuntarily. A false opinion departs 
voluntarily from him who unlearns it; but every true opinion 
departs involuntarily. The case of the voluntary one, replied 
he, I understand ; but that of the involuntary I want to learn. 
What now ? Do not you think, said I, that men are involuntarily 
deprived of good things ; but voluntarily of evil things ? Or, is it 
not an evil to deviate from the truth, and a good to form true 
opinion ? Or, does it not appear to you, that to conceive of things 
as they really are, is to form true opinion? You say rightly 
indeed, replied he. They do seem to me to be deprived un- 
willingly of true opinion. Do they not then suffer this, either in 
the way of theft, enchantment, or force ? I do not now, said he, 


understand you. Perhaps, said I, I speak in high tragic style. 
But, I say, those have their opinions stolen away, who are 
persuaded to change their opinions, and also those who forget 
them ; in the one case, they are imperceptibly taken away by time, 
and in the other by reasoning. Do you now understand in any 
measure? Yes. And those, I say, have their opinions forced 
from them, whom grief or agony obliges to change them. This, 
said he, I understand, and you say right. And those, I imagine, 
you will say, are inchanted out of their opinions, who change them, 
being bewitched by pleasure, or seduced by fear, being afraid of 
something. It seems, said he, that every thing magically beguiles 
which deceives us. That then which I was now mentioning must 
be sought for : who are the best guardians of this opinion within 
then, that that is to be done which is best for the state : and they 
must be observed immediately from their childhood, setting before 
them such pieces of work in which they may most readily forget 
a thing of this kind, and be deluded ; and he who is mindful, and 
hard to be deluded, is to be chosen, and he who is otherwise is to 
be rejected. Is it not so? Yes. And we must appoint them 
trials of labours and of pains, in which we must observe the same 
things. Right, said he. Must we not, said I, appoint them a 
third contest, that of the magical kind ; and observe them as those 
do, who, when they lead on young horses against noises and 
tumults, observe whether they are frightened? So must they, 
whilst young, be led into dreadful things, and again be thrown 
into pleasures, trying them more than gold in the fire, whether 
one is hard to be beguiled with magical tricks, and appear com- 
posed amidst all, being a good guardian of himself, and of that 
music which he learned, showing himself in all these things to be 
in just measure and harmony. Being of such a kind as this, he 
would truly be of the greatest advantage both to himself and to 
the state. And the man who in childhood, in youth, and in 
manhood, has been thus tried, and has come out pure, is to be 
appointed governor and guardian of the state ; and honours are to 
be paid him whilst alive, and when dead he should receive the 
highest rewards of public funeral and other memorials. And he 
who is not such an one is to be rejected. Of such a kind, Glauco, 
said I, as it appears to me, is to be the choice and establishment 
of our governors and guardians, as in a sketch, and not accurately. 
And I, said he, am of the same opinion. Is it not then truly most 
just, to call these the most complete guardians, both with reference 
to enemies abroad, and to friends at home; so as that the one 
shall not have the will, nor the other have the power to do any 
mischief? And the youth (whom we now called guardians) will 
be allies and auxiliaries to the decrees of the governors. I imagine 
so, replied he. What now, said I, may be the contrivance of those 
lies, which are made on occasion, and of which we were lately 


speaking, so as by making one generous lie, to persuade the gover- 
nors themselves if possible, or, if not these, the rest of the state ? 
What sort do you mean? Nothing new, said I, but somewhat 
Phoenician, which has frequently happened heretofore, as the 
poets tell us, and have persuaded us, but has not happened in our 
times, nor do I know if ever it shall happen : to persuade one of it 
surely requires a subtle persuasion. How like you are, said he, to 
one who is averse to speak ! I shall appear, said I, to be averse 
with very good reason, after I tell it. Speak, said he, and do not 
fear. I speak then, though I know not with what courage, and 
using what expressions, I shall tell it. And I shall attempt, 
first of all, to persuade the governors themselves, and the soldiers, 
and afterwards the rest of the state, that, whatever we educated 
and instructed them in, all these particulars seemed to happen to 
them and to befall them as dreams ; but that they were in truth 
at that time formed and educated within the earth; both they 
themselves, and their armour and their other utensils, being there 
likewise fabricated. And after they were completely fashioned, 
that the earth, who is their mother, brought them forth ; and now 
they ought to be affected towards the country where they are, as 
to their mother and nurse ; to defend her, if any invade her ; and 
to consider the rest of the citizens as being their brothers, and 
sprung from their mother earth. It was not without reason, said 
he, that some time since you was ashamed to tell this falsehood. 
I had truly reason, said I. But hear however the rest of the fable. 
All of you now in the state are brothers (as we shall tell them in 
way of fable) ; but the God, when he formed you, mixed gold in the 
formation of such of you as are able to govern ; therefore are they 
the most honourable. And silver, in such as are auxiliaries ; and 
iron and brass in the husbandmen and other handicrafts. As you 
are all of the same kind, you for the most part resemble one 
another : and it sometimes happens, that of the gold is generated 
the silver, and of the silver there is a golden descendant; and 
thus every different kind are they generated of all. The God gives 
in charge, first of all, and chiefly to the governors, that of nothing 
are they to be so good guardians, nor are they so strongly to keep 
watch over any thing, as over their children; to know what of 
those principles is mixed in their souls ; and if their descendant 
shall be of the brazen or iron kind, they shall by no means have 
compassion ; but, assigning him honour proportioned to his natural 
temper, they shall push him down to the craftsmen or husband- 
men. And if again any from among these shall be born of a 
golden or silver kind, they shall pay them honour, and prefer 
them ; those to the guardianship, and these to the auxiliary rank : 
it being pronounced by the oracle, that the state is then to perish 
when iron or brass shall have the guardianship of it. Have you 
now any contrivance to persuade them of this fable ? None, said 


he, to persuade these men themselves; but I can contrive how 
that their sons and posterity, and all mankind afterwards, shall 
believe it. Even this, said I, would do well towards making them 
more concerned about the state, and one another ; for I understand 
well enough what you say. And this truly shall be as the 
popular voice shall determine. But let us, having armed these 
earth-born sons, lead them forwards led by their governors ; and 
when they are come into the city, let them consider where it is 
best to place their camp, so as best to keep in order those who are 
within, if any one should want to disobey the laws ; and likewise 
defend against those without, if any enemy, as a wolf, should 
come upon the fold. And when they have marked out their camp, 
and performed sacrifices to the proper divinities, let them erect their 
tents : or, how are they to do ? Just so, said he. Shall they not 
be such as may be sufficient to defend them, both from winter and 
summer ? Certainly : you seem, said he, to mean houses. Yes, 
said I, but soldiers' houses, not rich men's. What do you say, 
replied he, is the difference between the one and the other ? I 
will endeavour, said I, to tell you ; for, of all things, it is the most 
dreadful, and the most shameful to shepherds, to breed such kind 
of dogs, and in such a manner, as auxiliaries of the flocks, as either 
through intemperance or famine, or some other ill disposition, the 
dogs themselves should attempt to hurt the sheep ; and, instead 
of dogs, resemble wolves. That is dreadful, said he, in all truth. 
Must we not then, by all means, take care lest our allies do such 
a thing towards our citizens, as they are more powerful; and, 
instead of generous allies, resemble savage lords ? We must take 
care, said he. Would they not be prepared, as to the greatest 
part of the care, if they were really well educated ? Well, and 
so they are, replied he. And I said: That is not worth while 
to be confidently affirmed, friend Glauco ; but that is worth while 
to say, which we were now saying, that they ought to have good 
education, whatever it is, if they are to have what is of the 
greatest consequence towards rendering them mild, both among 
themselves and towards those who are guarded by them. Very 
right, said he. Besides then this education, any one of under- 
standing would say, that their houses, and all their other sub- 
stance, ought to be so contrived, as not to hinder their guardians 
from being the very best of men, and not to stir them up to 
injure the other citizens. And he will say true. If then they 
intend to be such, consider, said I, whether they ought to live 
and dwell in some such manner as this : First, then, let none 
possess any substance privately, unless there be the greatest 
necessity for it : next, let none have any dwelling, or store-house, 
into which whoever inclines may not enter: as for necessaries, 
let them be such as temperate and brave warriors may require ; 
and let them arrange with the other citizens, to receive such 


a reward of their guardianship, as to have neither overplus nor 
deficiency at the year's end. Let them have public meals, as in 
encampments, and live in common. They must be told, that 
they have from the Gods a divine gold and silver at all times 
in their souls ; and have no need of the human. And that it 
were profane to pollute the possession of the divine kind, by 
mixing it with the possession of this mortal gold; because the 
money of the vulgar has produced many impious deeds, but that 
of these men is incorruptible. And of all the men in the city, 
they alone are not allowed to handle or touch gold and silver ; 
nor to bring it under their roof; nor wear it upon them; nor 
to drink out of silver or gold : and that thus they are to preserve 
themselves and the state. But whenever they shall possess lands, 
and houses, and money, in a private way, they shall become 
stewards and farmers instead of guardians, hateful lords instead 
of allies to the other citizens : hating and being hated, plotting 
and being plotted against, they shall pass the whole of their life ; 
much oftener and more afraid of the enemies from within than 
from without, they and the rest of the state hastening speedily 
to destruction. For all which reasons, said I, let us affirm, that 
our guardians are thus to be constituted with reference both to 
their houses and to other things. And let us settle these things 
by law. Shall we ? By all means, said Glauco. 




ADIMANTUS hereupon interposing, What now, Socrates, said 
he, will you say in your own defence, if one shall say that 
you do not make these men very happy? and all by their own 
fault ; for although it is owing to these men that the city really 
exists, yet they enjoy no advantage in the city, such as others 
do who possess lands, build beautiful and large houses, purchase 
suitable furniture, offer sacrifices at their own expense, give public 
entertainments to strangers, and possess what you was now men- 
tioning, gold and silver, and every thing which is reckoned to 
contribute towards the rendering men happy. But one may 
readily say, that, like hired auxiliaries, they seem to possess 
nothing in the city but the employment of keeping guard. Yes, 
said I ; and that too only for their maintenance, without receiving, 
as all others do, any reward besides. So that they are not allowed 
so much as to travel privately any where abroad, though they 
should incline to it; nor to bestow money on mistresses nor to 
spend it in such other methods as those do who are counted 
happy. These and many such things you leave out of the accusa- 
tion. But let these things too, said he, be charged against them. 
You ask then, what we shall say in our defence ? I do. Whilst 
we go on in the same road, we shall find, as I imagine, what may 
be said : for we shall say, that it were nothing strange if these 
men, even in these circumstances, should be the happiest possible. 
Yet it was not with an eye to this that we established the city ; 
to have any one class in it remarkably happy beyond the rest ; 
but that the whole city might be in the happiest condition ; for 
we judged, that in such an one we should most especially find 
justice, and injustice in the city the worst established : and that, 
upon thoroughly examining these, we should determine what we 
have for some time been in search of. Now then, as I imagine, 
we are forming a happy state, not selecting some few persons 
to make them alone happy; but are establishing the universal 
happiness of the whole : and we shall next consider a state which 



is the reverse. As if then we were painting human figures, and 
one approaching should blame us, saying, that we do not place the 
most beautiful colours on the most beautiful parts of the creature ; 
for that the eyes, the most beautiful part, were not painted with 
purple, but with black; should we not seem to apologize 
sufficiently to him, by saying, Wonderful critic! do not imagine 
that we ought to paint the eyes beautiful, in such a way as that 
they would not appear to be eyes at all ; and so with reference 
to all other parts. But consider, whether, in giving each 
particular part its due, we make the whole beautiful. And so 
now, do not oblige us to confer such a happiness on our guardians 
as shall make them any thing rather than guardians : for we know 
too, how to array the husbandmen in rich and costly robes, and to 
enjoin them to cultivate the ground only with a view to pleasure ; 
and in like manner, those who make earthenware, to lie at their 
ease by the fire, to drink and feast, neglecting the wheel, and 
working only so much as they incline: and we know how to 
confer a felicity of this nature on every individual, in order to 
render the whole state happy. But do not advise us to act after 
this manner ; since, if we obey you, neither would the husbandman 
really be a husbandman, nor the potter be a potter ; nor would 
any other really be of any of those professions of which the city is 
composed. But, as to others, it is of less consequence ; for, when 
shoemakers become bad, and are degenerate, and profess to be 
shoemakers when they are not, no great mischief happens to the 
state : but when the guardians of the law and of the state are not 
so in reality, but only in appearance, you see how they entirely 
destroy the whole constitution; if they alone shall have the 
privilege of an affluent and happy life. If we then are for 
appointing men who shall be really guardians of the city, the least 
of all hurtful to it ; and he who makes the objection is for having 
them rather as certain farmers, and as in a festival-meeting, not in 
a city, certain public entertainers, indulging in jollity, he must 
mean something else than a city : we must then consider whether 
we establish guardians with this view, that they may have the 
greatest happiness ; or if we establish them with a view to the 
happiness of the whole city, let us see whether this takes place ; 
and let us oblige these allies and guardians to do this, and we 
must persuade them they shall thus become the best performers 
of their own particular work ; and we must act towards all others 
in the same manner. And thus the whole city being increased, 
and well constituted, let us allow the several classes to participate 
of happiness as their natures admit. You seem to me, said he, to 
say well. Shall I appear to you, said I, to speak right in what is 
akin to this ? What is that ? Consider whether other artificers 
are corrupted by these things, so as to be made bad workmen. 
What things do you mean? Riches, said I, and poverty. As 


how ? Thus : Does the potter, after he becomes rich, seem likely 
still to mind his art ? By no means, said he. But will he not 
become more idle and careless than formerly? Much more so. 
Shall he not then become a more unskilful potter ? Much more 
so, likewise, said he. And surely, being unable through poverty 
to furnish himself with tools, or any thing else requisite to his art, 
his workmanship shall be more imperfectly executed, and his sons, 
or those others whom he instructs, shall be inferior artists. 
Certainly. Through both these, now, poverty and riches, the 
workmanship in the arts is rendered less perfect, and the artists 
themselves become less expert. It appears so. We have then, it 
seems, discovered other things, which our guardians must by all 
means watch against, that they may in no respect escape their 
notice, and steal into the city. What kind of things are these ? 
Riches, said I, and poverty: as the one is productive of luxury, 
idleness, and a love of novelty ; and the other, besides a love of 
novelty, is illiberal, and productive of mischief. They are entirely 
so, said he. But consider this, Socrates. How shall our city 
be able to engage in war, since she is possessed of no money, 
especially if she be obliged to wage war against a great and opulent 
state ? It is plain, said I, that to fight against one of this kind 
is somewhat difficult; but to fight against two is a more easy 
matter. How say you? replied he. First of all, now, said 1, 
if they have at all occasion to fight, will they not, being expert 
in the art of war, fight against rich men? They will, said he. 
What then, said I, Adimantus, do not you think that one boxer, 
who is fitted out in the best manner possible for this exercise, 
is easily able to fight against two who are not expert boxers, but, 
on the contrary, are rich and unwieldy ? He would not perhaps 
easily fight with both at once, said he. Would he not, said I, 
though he had it in his power to retire a little, and then turn on 
the one who should be the furthest advanced towards him, and 
strike him, and by doing this frequently in the sun and heat, 
might not a person of this kind easily defeat many such as these ? 
Certainly, said he; that would be no great wonder. But do 
not you think that the rich have more knowledge and experience 
of boxing than of the military art ? I do, said he. Easily then, 
as it plainly appears, will our athletics combat with double and 
triple their number. I will agree with you, said he; for you 
seem to me to say right. But what if they should send an 
embassy to another state, informing them of the true situation 
of the affair, telling them, We make no use of gold or silver, 
neither is it lawful for us to use them, but with you it is lawful ; 
if then you become our allies in the war, you will receive the 
spoils of all the other states : do you imagine that any, on hearing 
these things, would choose to fight against strong and resolute 
dogs, rather than in alliance with the dogs to fight against fat 


and tender sheep? I do not think it; but, if the riches of 
others be amassed into one state, see that it does not endanger 
that which is poor. You are happy, said I, that you imagine 
any other deserves to be called a state besides such an one as 
we have established. What then? said he. We must give the 
others, said I, a more magnificent appellation ; for each of them 
consists of many states, and is not one, as is said in the game : for 
there are always in them two parties at war with each other, the 
poor and the rich ; and in each of these again there are very 
many : which if you treat as one, you are mistaken entirely ; but 
if, as many, you put one part in possession of the goods and 
power of another, or even deliver up the one to the other, you 
shall always have the many for your allies, and the few for 
enemies; and, so long as your state shall continue temper- 
ately, as now established, it shall be the greatest. I do not say it 
shall be accounted so, but shall be really the greatest, though its 
defenders were no more than one thousand ; for one state so great 
you will not easily find, either among the Greeks or Barbarians, but 
many which are accounted many times larger than such an one 
as this. Are you of a different opinion? No, truly, said he. 
Might not this, then, said I, be the best mark for our rulers how 
large to make the city, and what extent of ground to mark off for it 
in proportion to its bulk, without attending to any thing further ? 
What mark ? said he. I imagine, said I, this : So long as the city, 
on its increase, continues to be one, so long it may be increased, 
but not beyond it. Very right, said he. Shall we not then lay 
this further injunction on our guardians, to. take care by all 
means that the city be neither thought small nor great, but be 
of moderate extent, and be one city? We shall probably, said 
he, enjoin them a trifling affair. A more trifling affair still than 
this, said I, is that we mentioned above, when we observed, that 
if any descendant of the guardians be depraved, he ought to be 
dismissed to the other classes; and if any descendant of the 
others be worthy, he is to be raised to the rank of the guardians ; 
and this was intended to show, that all the other citizens ought 
to apply themselves each to that particular art for which he has 
a natural genius, that so every one minding his own proper work 
may not be many, but be one ; and so likewise the whole state 
may become one, and not be many. This indeed, said he, is still 
a more trifling matter than the other. We do not here, said I, 
good Adimantus, as one may imagine, enjoin them many and 
great matters, but such as are all trifling, if they take care of one 
grand point, as the saying is, or rather that which is sufficient in 
place of the grand. What is that ? said he. Education, said I, 
and nurture ; for if, being well educated, they become temperate 
men, they will easily see through all these things, and such other 
things as we omit at present, respecting women, marriages, and 


the propagation of the species. For these things ought all, 
according to the proverb, to be made entirely common among 
friends. That, said he, would be most right. And surely, said 
I, if once a state is set a-going, it proceeds happily, increasing as 
a circle. And whilst good education and nurture are preserved, 
they produce good natures ; and good natures, partaking of such 
education, produce still better than the former, as well in other 
respects as with reference to propagation, as in the case of other 
animals. It is likely, said he. To speak then briefly, this the 
guardians of the state must hold fast, that it may not, escaping 
their notice, be impaired ; nay, above all things, they must guard 
against this, not to make any innovations in gymnastic and music, 
contrary to the established order of the state, but to maintain this 
order as much as possible ; being afraid lest, when it is said, that 

. • . Men most admire that song, 
Which most partakes of novelty, 

one should by any chance imagine, that the poet means not new 
songs, but a new method of the song, and should commend this. 
Such a thing is neither to be commended nor admitted ; for, to 
receive a new kind of music is to be guarded against, as endanger- 
ing the whole of the constitution : for never are the measures of 
music altered without affecting the greatest laws of the constitu- 
tion, according to Damon, with whom I agree. You may place 
me likewise, said Adimantus, among those who are of that opinion. 
We must erect then, said I, some barrier, as would seem, some- 
where here, for our guardians themselves, with regard to music. 
A transgression here, said he, easily indeed steals in imperceptibly. 
It does, said I, in the way of diversion, and as productive of no 
mischief! For neither indeed does it produce any other, said he, 
but that becoming familiar by degrees it insensibly runs into the 
manners and pursuits ; and from thence, in intercourse of dealings 
one with another, it becomes greater ; and from this intercourse it 
enters into laws and policies with much impudence, Socrates, till 
at last it overturns all things, both private and public. Well, said 
I, is this so ? It appears so to me, replied he. Ought not then 
our children, as I said at the beginning, to receive directly from 
their infancy an education more agreeable to the laws of the con- 
stitution? because, if their education be such as is contrary to 
law, and the children be of such a nature themselves, it is im- 
possible that they should ever grow up to be worthy men, and 
observant of the laws. To be sure, said he. But when handsome 
amusements are appointed them from their infancy, and when, by 
means of the music, they embrace that amusement which is 
according to law (contrariwise to those others), this music attends 
them in every thing else, and grows with them, and raises r 
the city whatever formerly was fallen down. It is true, i 




said he. And these men, said I, discover those rules which 
appear trifling, and which those others destroyed altogether. 
What rules ? Such as these : Silence of the younger before the 
elder, which is proper ; and the giving them place, and rising up 
before them, and reverence of parents ; likewise what shaving, 
what clothes and shoes are proper, with the whole dress of the 
body, and every thing else of the kind. Are you not of this 
opinion ? I am. But to establish these things by law, would, I 
imagine, be a silly thing, nor is it done any where ; nor would it 
stand, though established both by word and writing. How could 
it be possible ? It seems then, said I, Adimantus, that a man's 
character and conduct will always be according to his education, 
let him apply himself afterwards to what he will : or, does not the 
like always produce the like? Oh, yes. And we may say, I 
imagine, that at last it arrives at somewhat complete and vigorous, 
either good, or what is the reverse. Certainly, said he. I would 
not then, said I, for these reasons, as yet, undertake to settle by 
law such things as these. Right, said he. But what now, by the 
gods, said I, as to those laws relative to matters of exchange, and 
to their traffic one with another in the market, and, if you please, 
their traffic likewise among handicrafts there, their scandals, bodily 
hurt, and raising of lawsuits ; their institution of judges, and like- 
wise such imposts and payments of taxes as may be necessary 
either in the market or at ports ; or in general whatever laws are 
municipal, civil, or marine, or what other laws there may be of this 
kind ; shall we dare to establish any of these ? It is improper, 
said he, to prescribe these to good and worthy men ; for they will 
easily find out the most of them, such as ought to be established 
by law. Yes, said I, friend, if at least God grant them the pre- 
servation of the laws we formerly explained. And if not, said he, 
they will spend the whole of their life making and amending many 
such laws as these, imagining that they shall thus attain to that 
which is best. You say that such as these shall lead a life, said 
I, like those whp are sick, and at the same time unwilling, through 
intemperance, to quit an unwholesome diet. Entirely so. And 
a pleasant life truly these must live ! for, though they deal with 
physicians, they gain nothing, but render their diseases greater 
and more complex ; and they still hope, that when any one 
recommends any medicine to them, they shall, by means of it, 
be made whole. This is entirely the situation of such diseased 
persons as these. But what, said I, is not this pleasant in them ? 
to count that man the most hateful of all, who tells them the 
truth; that, till one give over drunkenness and gluttony, and 
unchaste pleasure, and laziness, neither drugs nor caustics, nor 
amputations, nor charms, nor applications, nor any other such 
things as these, will be of any avail That, said he, is not quite 
pleasant ; for to be enraged at one who tells us what is right, has 


nothing pleasant in it. You are no admirer, said I, as it would 
seem, of this sort of men. No, truly. Neither then, though the 
whole of the city (as we were lately saying) should do such a thing, 
would you commend them: or, is not the same thing which is 
done by these people, done by all those cities, which, being ill- 
governed, enjoin their citizens not to alter any part of the con- 
stitution, for that whoever shall do such a thing is to be put to 
death; but, that whoever shall with the greatest cheerfulness 
reverence those who govern in this fashion, and shall gratify them 
in the most obsequious manner ; and, anticipating their desires, be 
most dexterous in satisfying them, shall be reckoned both worthy 
and wise in matters of highest importance ; and be held by them 
in the greatest honour ? They seem to me at least, said he, to do 
the very same thing, and by no means do I commend them. But 
what again as to those who desire to have the serving of such 
states, and are even fond of it, are you not delighted with their 
courage and dexterity? I am, said he; excepting such as are 
imposed on by them, and fancy that they are really politicians, 
because they are commended as such by the multitude. How do 
you mean ? Do you not find excuse for those men ? said I. Or 
do you even think it is possible for a man who cannot himself 
measure, when he hears many other men equally ignorant telling 
him that he is six feet high, not to believe this of himself ? It is 
impossible, said he. Then be not angry in this case ; for such men 
as these are of all the most ridiculous, since, always making laws 
about such things as we now mentioned, and always amending, 
they imagine that they shall find some period of these frauds 
respecting commerce, and those other things I now spoke of, being 
ignorant that they are in reality attempting to destroy a hydra. 
They are surely, said he, doing nothing else. I imagine then, said 
I, that a true lawgiver ought not to give himself much disturbance 
about such a species of laws and government, either in an ill or 
well-regulated state ; in the one, because it is unprofitable and of 
no avail ; in the other, because any one can find out some of the 
laws, and others of them flow of course from the habits arising 
from their early education. 

What part then of the institutions of law, said he, have we yet 
remaining? And I said, that to us indeed there is nothing 
remaining; but, however, to the Delphian Apollo there remains 
the greatest, noblest, and most important of legal institutions. Of 
what kind ? said he. The institutions of temples, sacrifices, and 
other worship of the Gods, daemons, and heroes ; likewise the 
depositing the dead, and what other rites ought to be performed 
to them, so as to make them propitious. For truly such things as 
these, we ourselves neither know ; nor, in founding the state, will 
we intrust them to any other, if we be wise ; nor will we make use 
of any other interpreter, except the God of the country. For this 


God is the interpreter in every country to all men in these things, 
who interprets to them sitting in the middle of the earth. And it 
is well established, said he, and we must do accordingly. 

Thus now, son of Aristo, said I, is the city established for 
you. And, in the next place, having procured somehow sufficient 
light, do you yourself observe, and call on your brother and on 
Polemarchus and these others to assist us, if by any means we 
may at all perceive where justice is, and where injustice ; and in 
what respect they differ from each other : and which of them the 
man ought to acquire, who proposes to himself to be happy, 
whether he be concealed or not concealed both from Gods and 
men. But you say nothing to the purpose, replied Glauco; for 
you yourself promised to inquire into this, deeming it impious for 
you not to assist the cause of justice by every possible means. It 
is true, said I, what you remind me of, and I must do accordingly. 
But it is proper that you too should assist in the inquiry. We 
shall do so, said he. I hope then, said I, to discover it in this 
manner. I think that our city, if it be rightly established, is 
perfectly good. Of necessity, said he. Then it is plain, that it 
is wise, and brave, and temperate, and just. It manifestly is so. 
Whichever then of these we shall find in it, shall not the remainder 
be that which has not been found ? Of course. Then, just as if 
we were in quest of one, of any other four, in any thing whatever, 
if we discovered this one at the first, we would be satisfied ; but 
if we should first discover the other three, then from this very 
fact that which we were inquiring after would be known ; for it 
is plain it would be no other but that which remained. You say 
right, said he. 

Since then there are in our state those four above mentioned, 
shall we not inquire about them, according to the same manner ? 
It is plain we ought. First of all, then, to me at least, wisdom 
appears to be conspicuous in it ; and concerning it there appears 
something very uncommon. What is that ? said he. Surely this 
city which we have described appears to me to be wise, for its 
councils are wise; are they not? They are. And surely this 
very thing, the ability of counselling well, is plainly a certain 
science; for men nowhere counsel well through ignorance, but 
through science. It is plain. But there are many and various 
species of science in the state. Why, are there not ? Is it then 
from the science of the carpenters, that the state is to be 
denominated wise and well-counselled? By no means from 
this, said he, is it said to be wise, but to be mechanical. Is 
then the state to be denominated wise, when it consults wisely 
through its knowledge in utensils of wood, how to have these 
made in the best manner possible ? Nor this neither. But what, 
is it for its knowledge of those in brass, or for any thing else of 
this kind ? For none of these, said he. Nor yet for its knowledge 


of the fruits of the earth is it said to be wise, but to be skilled in 
agriculture. It seems so to me. Well then, said I, is there any 
science among any of the citizens in this city which we have 
founded, which deliberates, not about any particular thing in the 
city, but about the whole, how it may, in the best manner, behave 
towards itself, and towards other cities ? There is truly. What 
is it, said I, and among whom is it to be found? This very 
guardianship, said he, is it, and it is among these governors, 
whom we lately denominated complete guardians. What now 
do you denominate the state on account of this knowledge? 
Well-counselled, said he, and really wise. Whether then, said I, 
do you imagine the smiths, or these true guardians, will be most 
numerous in the state ? The smiths, said he, will be much more 
numerous. And of all, said I, as many as, having any knowledge, 
are of any account, will not these guardians be the fewest in 
number ? By much. From this smallest class then, and part of 
the state, and from that presiding and governing science in it, is 
the whole city wisely established according to nature ; and this 
class, as it appears, is by nature the smallest, to whom it belongs 
to share in this science, which of all others ought alone to be 
denominated wisdom. You say, replied he, perfectly true. This 
one, then, of the four, we have found, I know not how, both what 
it is, and in what part of the state it resides. And it seems to me, 
said he, to be sufficiently described. But surely as to fortitude, it 
is no difficult matter, both to find out itself, and the particular part 
of the city in which it resides, on account of which virtue the city 
is denominated brave. As how? Doth any one, said I, call a 
city brave or cowardly, with reference to any other than that 
particular part of it which makes war and fights in its defence ? 
No one, said he, calls it such, with reference to any other part. 
For I do not think, said I, that the other classes who are in it, 
whether they be cowardly or brave, have power to render the 
city either the one or the other. No, indeed. The city then is 
brave likewise by one particular part of itself, because it has 
within it a power of such a nature as shall always preserve their 
opinions about things which are dreadful, that they are both these 
very things, and of the very same kind which the lawgiver incul- 
cated on them in their education ? Do not you call this fortitude ? 
I have not, said he, entirely comprehended what you say ; but tell 
it over again. I call fortitude, said I, a certain preservative. 
What sort of preservative ? A preservative of opinion formed by 
law in a course of education about things which are dreadful, 
what these are, and of what kind : I called it a preservative at all 
times, because they were to retain it in pains and in pleasures, in 
desires and fears, and never to cast it off; and, if you are willing, 
I shall liken it to what in my opinion it bears a near resemblance. 
I am willing. Do not you know then, said I, that the dyers, 


when they want to dye their wool, so as to be of a purple colour, 
out of all the colours they first make choice of the white ; and 
then, with no trifling apparatus, they prepare and manage it, so 
as best of all to take on the purest colour, and thus they dye it ; 
and whatever is tinged in this manner is of an indelible dye ; and 
no washing, either without or with soap, is able to take away the 
pure colour : but such wool as is not managed in this manner, you 
know what sort it proves, whether one is dyeing other colours, or 
this, without the due preparation beforehand. I know, said he, 
that they are easily washen out, and are ridiculous. Imagine 
then, that we too, according to our ability, were aiming at such a 
thing as this, when we were choosing out our soldiers, and were 
instructing them in music and gymnastic : and do not imagine we 
had any thing else in view, but that, in obedience to us, they 
should in the best manner imbibe the laws as a colour ; in order 
that their opinion about what is dreadful, and about other things, 
might be indelible, both by means of natural temper and suitable 
education : and that these washes, however powerful in effacing, 
may not be able to wash away their dye, pleasure, which is more 
powerful in effecting this than all soap and ashes, pain and fear, and 
desire, which exceed every other cosmetic Such a power now, and 
perpetual preservation of right opinion, and such as is according 
to law, about things which are dreadful, and which are not, I 
call and constitute fortitude, unless you offer something else. But 
I offer, said he, nothing else : for you seem to me to reckon that 
such right opinion of these things, as arises without education, is 
both savage and servile, and not at all according to law, and you 
call it something else than fortitude. You say most true, said I. 
I admit then, that this is fortitude. Admit it further, said I, to 
be political fortitude, and you shall admit rightly: but, if you 
please, we shall inquire about it more perfectly another time ; 
for, at present, it is not this, but justice we were seeking ; and 
with regard to the inquiry concerning this, it has, in my opinion, 
been carried far enough. You speak very well, said he. 

There yet remain, said I, two things in the city which we 
must search out: both temperance, and that for the sake of 
which we have been searching after all the rest, to wit, justice. 
By all means. How now can we find out justice, that we may 
not be further troubled about temperance? I truly neither know 
said he, nor do I wish it to appear first, if we are to dismiss 
altogether the consideration of temperance ; but, if you please t< 
gratify me, consider this before the other. I am indeed pleased 
said I, if I be not doing an injury. Consider then, said he. Wi 
must consider, replied I ; and as it appears from this point o 
view, it seems to resemble a certain symphony and harmony mor< 
than those things formerly mentioned. How ? Temperance, sale 
I, is somehow a certain ornament, and a government, as they say 


of certain pleasures and desires ; to be master of oneself, as we 
often bear people say, whatever they may mean by it ; and other 
such things, are mentioned, which contain vestiges of it ; are they 
not ? Assuredly, said he. Is not then the expression, " master of 
oneself," ridiculous? For he who is master of himself must 
somehow be likewise inferior to himself, and the inferior be the 
master ; for the same person is spoken of in all these cases. So 
he is. But to me, said I, the expression seems to denote, that 
in the same man, with respect to his soul, there is one part 
better, and another worse ; and that when the part more excellent 
in his nature is that which governs the inferior part, this is called 
being master of himself, and expresses a commendation; but 
when through ill education, or any kind of converse, that better 
part, which is smaller, is conquered by the greater mass of the 
worse part ; this, by way of reproach, both expresses blame, and 
denotes the person thus affected to be inferior to himself, and 
altogether licentious. So it appears, said he. Observe then, said 
I, our new city, and you shall find one of these in it : for you 
will own, it may justly be said to be superior to itself, if, where 
the better part governs the worse, that state is said to be 
temperate, and master of itself. I observe, said he, and you 
say true. And surely one may find a great many and various 
desires and pleasures and pains more especially among children 
and women and domestics, and among the greatest and most 
depraved part of those who are called free. It is perfectly so. 
But the simple and the moderate desires, and such as are led by 
intellect, and the judgment of right opinion, you will meet with 
both in the few, and those of the best natural temper, and of the 
best education. True, said he. And do not you see those things 
in our city, that there too the desires of the many, and of the 
baser part, are governed by the desires and by the prudence of 
the smaller and more moderate part ? I see it, said he. If then 
any city ought to be called superior to pleasures and desires, and 
master of itself, this one is to be called so. By all means, said 
he. And is it not on all these accounts temperate ? Very much 
so, said he. And if, in any other city, there is the same opinion 
in the governors and the governed about this point, who ought 
to govern, it is to be found in this, do not you think so ? I am 
strongly of that opinion. In whom then of the citizens will you 
say that temperance resides, when they are thus affected, in the 
governors, or the governed ? In both of them, I think, said he. 
You see then, said I, that we justly conjectured of late, that 
temperance resembles a kind of harmony. Why so? Because 
not as fortitude and wisdom, which reside each of them in a 
certain part, the one of them making the city wise, and the 
other courageous, not after this manner doth it render the city 
temperate; but it is naturally diffused through the whole, con- 


necting the weakest, and those in the middle, all in one 
symphony, either as to wisdom if you will, or if you will in 
strength, or in substance, or in any other of those things; so 
that most justly may we say, that this concord is temperance: 
a symphony of that which is naturally the worse and the better 
part, with reference to this, which of them ought to govern, 
both in the city, and in every individual I am entirely, said he, 
of the same opinion. Be it so then, said I. 

There are now three things in the city, it would seem, clearly 
discovered : but with respect to that other species which remains, 
by which the city partakes of virtue ; what at all can it be ? Is 
it not plain that it is justice ? It is plain. Ought we not now, 
Glauco, like some huntsmen, to surround the thicket, carefully 
attending lest justice somehow escape, and, disappearing, remain 
undiscovered ? For it is plain that she is somewhere here. Look, 
therefore, and be eager to perceive her, if any how you see her 
sooner than I, and point her out to me. I wish I could, said he ; 
but if you employ me as an attendant rather, and one who is able 
to perceive what is pointed out to him, you will find me passably 
good. Follow, said I, after you have offered prayers along with 
me. I will do so ; only, said he, lead you the way. To me this 
seems, said I, to be a place somehow of difficult access, and 
shady: It is therefore dark, and difficult to be scrutinized; we 
must however go on. We must go, said he. I then perceiving, 
said, Tally-ho ! Glauco, we seem to have somewhat which appears 
to be a footstep ; and I imagine that something shall not very 
long escape us. You tell good news, said he. We are truly, said 
I, of a slow disposition. As how ? It appears, my good sir ! to 
have been long since rolling at our feet, from the beginning, and 
we perceived it not, but made the most ridiculous figure, like 
those who seek sometimes for what they have in their hand ; so 
we did not perceive it, but were looking somewhere off at a 
distance, and in this way perhaps it escaped us. How do you say ? 
replied he. Thus, said I, that we seem to me to have been 
speaking and hearing of it long since, and not to understand 
ourselves, that in some measure we expressed it. A long pre- 
amble, said he, to one who is eager to hear. Hear then, said I, if 
I say any thing. That rule which we at first established, when we 
regulated the city, as what ought always to be done, that, as it 
appears to me, or a species of it, is justice. For we somewhere 
established it, and often spoke of it, if you remember ; that every 
one ought to apply himself to one thing, relating to the city, to 
which his genius was naturally most adapted. We did speak of it. 
And that to do one's own affairs, and not to be pragmatical, is justice. 
This we have both heard from many others, and have often 
spoken of it ourselves. We have indeed spoken of it. This then, 
friend, said I, appears to be in a certain manner justice ; to do 



one's own affairs. Do you know whence I conjecture this ? No ; 
but tell, said he. Besides those things we have already considered 
in the city, viz. temperance, fortitude, and wisdom ; this, said I, 
seems to remain, which gives power to all these, both to have a 
being in the state, and, whilst they exist in it, to afford it safety ; 
and we said too, that justice would be that which would remain, 
if we found the other three. There is necessity for it, said he. 
But if, said I, it be necessary to judge which of these, when 
subsisting in the city, shall in the greatest measure render it 
good ; it would be difficult to determine whether the agreement 
between the governors and the governed, or the maintaining of 
sound opinion by the soldiers about what things are dreadful, and 
what are not; or wisdom and guardianship in the rulers; or 
whether this, when it exists in the city, renders it in the greatest 
measure good, viz. when child and woman, bond and free, 
artificer, magistrate and subject, when every one does their own 
affairs, and is not pragmatical. It is difficult to determine, said 
he : How could it but be so ? This power then, by which every 
one in the city performs his own office, is co-rival it seems for 
the perfection of the city, along with its wisdom, temperance, 
and fortitude. Extremely so, said he. Will you not then 
constitute justice to be this co-rival with these, for the perfection 
of the city? By all means. Consider it likewise in this manner, 
whether it shall thus appear to you. Will you enjoin the rulers 
to give decisions in judgment ? Why not ? But in doing so, will 
they not aim at this above all things, that no one shall have what 
belongs to others, nor be deprived of his own ? Yes, they will aim 
at this. And do they not aim at this as being just ? Yes. And 
thus justice is acknowledged to be to have what is one's own, and 
to do one's own proper and natural work. It is so. See then if 
you agree with me. If a carpenter take in hand to do the work 
of a shoemaker, or a shoemaker the work of a carpenter, or ex- 
change either their utensils or estimation ; or if the same man 
take in hand to do both, and all else be exchanged ; do you 
imagine the state would be any way greatly injured ? Not very 
much, said he. But I imagine, that when one who is a craftsman, 
or who is born to any mercenary employment, shall afterwards, 
being puffed up by riches, by predominance, or by strength, or any 
other such thing, attempt to go into the rank of counsellor and 
guardian, when unworthy of it ; and when these shall exchange 
utensils and Estimations with one another ; or when the same man 
shall take in hand to do all these things at once ; then I imagine you 
will be of opinion that this interchange of these things, and this 
variety of employments practised by one, is the destruction of the 
state. By all means. Pragmaticalness then in these three species, 
and their change into one another, is the greatest hurt to the 
itete, and may most justly be called its depravity. It may so 


truly. But will not you say that injustice is the greatest ill of the 
state ? Why not ? This then is injustice. But let us again speak 
of it in this manner. When the craftsman, the auxiliary and the 
guardian-band do their proper work, each of them doing their 
' own work in the city ; this is the contrary of the other, that is 
justice, and renders the city just. It seems to me, said he, to be 
no otherwise than thus. But let us not, said I, affirm it very 
strongly : but if it shall be allowed us that this kind of thing, 
when it enters into any individual, is admitted to be likewise 
justice in him, we shall then be agreed ; (for what more shall we 
say ?) if not, we shall consider something else. But now let us 
finish that speculation, which we thought proper, when we judged 
that, if we attempted first to contemplate justice in some of the 
greater objects which possess it, it would more easily be seen in 
one man ; and a city appeared to us to be the most proper object 
of this kind. And so we established the very best we could, 
well knowing that justice would be in a good one. Let us now 
transfer and apply to a single person what has there appeared to 
us with respect to a whole city : and, if the same things correspond, 
it shall be well ; but, if any thing different appear in the individual, 
going back again to the city, we shall put it to the proof; and, 
instantly considering them, when placed by one another, and 
striking them, we shall make justice shine out as from flints ; and, 
when it is become manifest, we shall firmly establish it among our- 
selves. You say quite in the right way, said he, and we must do so. 
Why then, said I, when we denominate any thing the same, 
though different in degrees, is it dissimilar in that respect in 
which we call it the same, or is it similar ? It is similar, said he. 
The just man then, said I, will differ nothing from the just city, 
according to the idea of justice, but will be similar to it. He will 
be similar to it, said he. But indeed with respect to this inquiry, 
the city at least appeared then to be just, when the three species 
of dispositions in it did each of them its own work ; and to be tem- 
perate, and brave, and wise, by virtue of certain affections and habits 
of these same classes. True, said he. And shall we not, friend, 
judge it proper, that the individual, who has in his soul the same 
principles (viz. temperance, fortitude, wisdom), shall, from having 
the same affections with those in the city, be called by the same 
names ? By all means, said he. Another trifling speculation, my 
good sir, concerning the soul is this we have fallen into now; 
whether it contain in itself those three principles or not. Not so 
trifling as I imagine, said he. For it is likely, Socrates, that 
the common saying is true, that things excellent are difficult. It 
appears so, said I. But know well, Glauco, that, according to my 
opinion, we shall never comprehend this matter accurately, in 
the methods we are now using in these reasonings, for the road 
leading to it is greater and longer : we may however, it is likely, 


speak of it in such a manner as may be worthy of our former 
disquisitions and speculations. Is not that enough? said he. 
This would satisfy me for my own part, at present, at least. This, 
said I, shall to me too be quite sufficient. Do not then give over, 
said he, but pursue your inquiry. Are we not, then, under a 
necessity, said I, of acknowledging that there are in every one 
of us the same forms and manners which are in the city ? for from 
no where else did they arrive thither. For it were ridiculous if 
one should imagine that the spirited disposition did not arise 
from the individuals in cities, who have this blemish, as those 
of Thrace, Scythia, and, in some measure, almost all the northern 
region ; and the same thing may be said with respect to the love 
of learning, which one may chiefly ascribe to this country ; or with 
reference to the love of riches, which we may say prevailed 
especially among the Phoenicians and the inhabitants of Egypt. 
Very much so, said he. This then is so, said I ; nor is it difficult 
to be known. No, indeed. But this is difficult to determine, 
whether we perform each of these by the same power ; or, as they 
are three, we perform one by one power, and another by another ; 
that is, we learn by one, we are angry by another, and by a certain 
third we desire those pleasures relating to nutrition and propa- 
gation, and the other pleasures of affinity to these. Or do we, in 
each of these, when we apply to them, act with the whole soul ? 
These things are difficult to be determined in a manner worthy of 
the subject. So it seems to me, said he. Let us then, in this 
manner, attempt to determine these things, whether they are the 
same with one another, or different. How are we to do it ? It is 
plain, that one and the same thing cannot, at one and the same 
time, do or suffer contrary things hi the same respect, and with 
reference to the same object ; so that, if we any where find these 
circumstances existing among them, we shall know that it was not 
one and the same thing, but several. Be it so. Consider then 
what I am saying. Proceed, replied he. Is it possible for the 
same thing to stand and to be moved at once in the same respect ? 
By no means. Let us determine this more accurately still ; lest, 
as we proceed, we be any way uncertain about it. For, if one 
should say that when a man stands, yet moves his hands and his 
head, that the same person at once stands and is moved, we 
should not, I imagine, think it proper to speak in this manner ; 
but that one part of him stood, and another part was moved. 
Should we not speak in this manner ? In this manner. But if 
one who says these things should, in a more jocose humour still, 
and facetiously cavilling, allege that tops stand wholly, and are at 
the same time moved, when their centre is fixed on one point, 
and they are whirled about,— or that any thing else going round 
in a circle in the same position doth this, — we should not ad'- *" 
it, as it is not in the same respect that they stand still ar 



moved : but we should say, that they have in them the straight 
line and the periphery; and that, with relation to the straight 
line, they stood ; (for towards no side they declined) ; but with 
relation to the periphery, they moved in a circle. But, when its 
perpendicularity declines either to the right or the left hand, 
forwards or backwards, whilst it is at the same time whirling 
round; then in no respect doth it stand. Very right, said he. 
Nothing then of this kind shall move us, when it is said : nor 
shall any one persuade us, as if any thing, being one and the same 
thing, could do and suffer contraries at one and the same time, 
with reference to the same object, and in the same respect. 
He shall not persuade me, said he. But however, said I, that 
we may not be obliged to be tedious in going over all these 
quibbles, and in evincing them to be false, let us proceed on 
this supposition, that so it is; after we have agreed, that if at 
any time these things appear otherwise than as we now settle 
them, we shall yield up again all we shall gain by it It is 
necessary, said he, to do so. Would not you then, said I, 
deem these things among those which are opposite to one 
another ; whether they be actions or passions, for in this there 
is no difference; to assent, to wit, and to dissent, to desire 
to obtain a thing, and to reject it ; to bring towards oneself, 
and to push away? I would deem these, said he, among the 
things which are opposite to each other. What then, said I, 
with respect to thirsting, to hungering, and in general with 
respect to all the passions; and further, to desire, to will, and 
all these, may they not somehow be placed among those species 
which have now been mentioned? As for example, will you 
not always say that the soul of one who has desire goes out after 
that which it desires, or brings near to it that which it wishes 
to have ? Or again, in so far as it wants something to be afforded 
it, that it intimates by signs, as though some one asked a question 
to have it brought near, desiring the actual possession of it ? I 
would say so. Again : to be unwilling, not to wish, nor to desire, 
shall we not deem these of the same kind, as to push away from 
the soul, and drive off, and every thing else which is opposite 
to the former? Why not? This being the case, shall we say 
there is a certain species of the desires ? and that the most con- 
spicuous are those which we call thirst and hunger ? We shall say 
so, replied he. Is not the one the desire of drinking, and the other 
of eating ? Yes. Is it then, when considered as thirst, a desire 
in the soul of something further than of drink ? Thus, is thirst 
a thirst of a hot drink, or of a cold, of much or of little, or in short 
of some particular kind of drink ? Is it not so, that if there be 
any heat accompanying the thirst, it readily occasions a desire of 
a cold drink ; but if cold accompanies it, then there is excited a 
desire of a warm drink : if the thirst be great, through the presence 


of greatness, it occasions a desire of much drink, but if small, a 
desire of a little drink : but the thirst by itself never creates the 
desire of any thing else, but of drink by itself, as its nature 
prompts; and in like manner of the appetite of hunger with 
relation to meat. Yes, said he, every desire, in itself, is of that 
alone of which it is the desire; but to be a desire of such or 
such a particular species, are adventitious circumstances. Let 
not then any one, said I, create us any trouble, as if we were 
inadvertent ; by suggesting that no one desired drink, but good 
drink; or meat, but good meat: for indeed all men desire that 
which is good. If then thirst be a desire, it is of what is good ; 
whether it be of drink, or of whatever else it is the desire. And 
in the same way of all the other desires. Perhaps, replied he, 
the man who should mention these things would seem to say 
something material. But however, said I, whatever things are 
of such a nature as to be relative when the first term has a 
quality, so has the second; but when the first is absolute, the 
second is absolute likewise. I do not understand you, said he. 
Do you not understand, said I, that greater is of such a kind as 
to be greater than somewhat? Yes, indeed. Is it not greater 
than -the lesser ? Yes. And that which is considerably greater 
than that which is considerably lesser; is it not? Yes. And 
that which was formerly greater than that which was formerly 
lesser ; and that which is to be greater than that which is to be 
lesser ? What else ? said he. And after the same manner, what 
is more numerous has respect to what is less numerous, and 
what is double has reference to what is half, and all such like 
things; and further, what is heavier has respect to lighter, and 
swifter to slower, and further still, hot to cold ; and all such like 
things, are they not after this manner? Entirely so. But 
what as to the sciences? Is not the case the same? For, 
science absolute is the science of what can be known, or of what- 
ever else you think proper to make the object of science : but 
a certain particular science, and of such a particular kind, refers 
to a certain particular object, and of such a kind. What I mean 
is this. After the science of building houses arose, did it not 
separate from other sciences, so as to be called building science ? 
Certainly. Was it not from its being of such a kind as none of 
others were ? Yes. Was it not then from its being the science 
of such a particular thing, that itself became such a particular 
science ? And all other arts and sciences in like manner ? They 
are so. Allow then, said I, that this is what I wanted to express, 
if you have now understood it ; where things are considered as 
having reference to other things, generals alone refer to generals, 
&nd particulars to particulars. I do not however say that the 
science altogether resembles that of which it is the science; 
(as if, for example, the science of healthy and sickly were itself 


healthy and sickly; or that the science of good and evil were 
itself good and evil.) But when science became not the science 
of that thing in general which is the object of science, but only 
of a certain quality of it (to wit, of its healthy and sickly state), 
so itself came to be a certain particular science ; and this caused 
it to be called no longer simply a science, but the medicinal 
science; the particular species to which it belongs being super- 
added. I have understood you, said he, and it appears to me to 
be so. But will not you, said I, make thirst now, whatever it 
be, to be one of those things which respect somewhat else, 
granting that thirst exists? I will, said he, and it respects 
drink. And does not a particular thirst desire a particular 
drink? But thirst in general is neither of much nor of little, 
nor of good nor bad, nor, in one word, of any particular kind; 
but of drink in general alone is thirst in general naturally the 
desire. Entirely so, indeed. The soul of the man then who 
thirsts, so far as he thirsts, inclines for nothing further than to 
drink ; this he desires, to this he hastens. It is plain. If then 
at any time any thing draw back the thirsting soul, it must be 
some different part of it from that which thirsts, and leads it as 
a wild beast to drink : for, have we not said that it is impossible 
for the same thing, in the same respects, and with the same 
parts of it, to do at once contrary things? It is indeed impos- 
sible. In the same manner, I imagine, as it is not proper to 
say of an archer, that his hands at once push out and likewise 
pull in the bow; but that the one hand is that which pushes 
out, and the other that which pulls in. Entirely so, said he. 
But whether may we say, that there are some who when athirst 
are not willing to drink ? Yes, indeed, said he, there are many, 
and many times that is the case. What now, said I, may one 
say of these persons? Might it not be said, that there was in 
their soul somewhat prompting them to drink, and likewise 
something hindering them, different from the other, and superior 
to the prompting principle ? It seems so to me, said he. Does 
not then the restraining principle arise from reason when it 
arises; but those which push, and drive forwards, proceed from 
passions and diseases? It appears so. We shall then, said I, 
not unreasonably account these to be two, and different from 
one another ; calling the one part which reasons, the rational 
part of the soul ; but that part with which it loves, and hungers, 
and thirsts, and those other . appetites, the irrational and con- 
cupiscible part, the friend of certain gratifications and pleasures. 
We shall not, said he; but we may most reasonably consider 
them in this light. Let these then, said I, be allowed to be 
distinct principles in the soul. But as to that of spirit, and 
that by which we feel anger, is it a third principle, or has it 
affinity to one of those two? Perhaps it has, said he, to the 


concupiscible part But I believe, said I, what I have somewhere 
heard, how that Leontius, the son of Aglaion, as he returned 
from the Piraeus, perceived some dead bodies lying beside the 
executioner, below the outside of the north wall, and had both 
a desire to look at them, and at the same time was averse from 
it, and turned himself away ; and for a while he struggled with 
his desire, and covered his eyes ; but, at last, being overcome 
by his appetite, pulling his eyes open, and running towards the 
dead bodies, Lo now, said he, you wretched eyes ! glut yourselves 
with this fine spectacle. I too, said he, have heard it. This 
speech now, said I, shows that anger sometimes opposes the 
appetites, as being different one from another. It shows it, 
indeed, said he. And do not we often perceive, said I, when 
the appetites compel any one contrary to reason, that he 
reproaches himself, and is angry at the compelling principle 
within him? And when the rational and concupiscible are in 
a state of sedition, anger in such a person becomes as it were 
an ally to reason : but when the appetite goes along with reason, 
then anger gives no opposition. You will say, I imagine, that 
you have perceived nothing of this kind in yourself at any time, 
nor yet in another. No, upon my word, said he. Well then, 
said I, when one imagines he does an injury, the more generous 
he is, is he not so much the less apt to be angry, when he suffers 
hunger and cold, or any other such things, from one who inflicts, 
as he imagines, these tilings with justice ? And, as I have said, 
his anger will not incline him to rise up against such an one. 
True, said he. But again, when a man imagines he is injured, 
does not anger in such an one burn? is he not indignant? and 
does he not fight, as an ally, on the side of what appears to be 
just ? and under all the sufferings of hunger, cold, and such like, 
does he not bear up and conquer ; and cease not from his generous 
toils, till either he accomplish them, or die, or be restrained by 
the rational principle within him, like a dog by the shepherd, 
and is rendered mild? It perfectly resembles, said he, what 
you say ; indeed, in our city, we appointed the auxiliaries to be 
obedient, as dogs, to the rulers of the city, as to shepherds. You 
rightly understand, said I, what I would say. But have you 
besides eonsidered this? As what? That here the reverse 
appears concerning the irascible from that in the former case: 
for there we were deeming it the same with the concupiscible ; 
but now we say it is far from it ; or that, in the sedition of the 
soul, it much rather joins its arms with the rational part. Entirely 
so, said he. Is it then as something different from it, or as a 
species of the rational? so as that there are not three species, 
but only two in the soul, the rational and concupiscible. Or, as 
there were three species which completed the city, the mercenary, 
the auxiliary, the legislative; so, in the soul, this irascible is a 


third thing, naturally an auxiliary to the rational, if it be not 
corrupted by bad education ? Of necessity it is, said he, a third. 
Yes, said I, if at least it appear to be any way different from 
the rational, as it appeared to be distinct from the concupiscible. 
But that is not difficult, said he, to be seen. For one may see 
this, even in little children, that immediately from their infancy 
they are full of spirit and anger; but some appear, to me at 
least, never at all to participate of reason ; and the most arrive 
at it but late. Yes, truly, said I, you say right. And one may 
yet further observe in the brute creatures, that what you say is 
really the case : and besides this, it is likewise attested by what 
we formerly mentioned from Homer, 

His breast he struck, and thus his heart reproved. 

For, in that passage, Homer has plainly made one part reprehend 
another ; the part which reasons about good and evil, reprehend 
the part which is unreasonably angry. You say perfectly right, 
said he. 

These things, said I, we have with difficulty agreed to ; and 
it is now sufficiently acknowledged, that the same species of 
principles as are in a city are in every individual, and in the same 
number. They are so. Must it not therefore of necessity follow, 
that after what manner the city was wise, and in what respect, 
after the same manner, and in the same respect, is the individual 
wise also. To be sure. And in what respects, and after what 
manner, the individual is brave, in the same respect, and after 
the same manner, is a city brave. And so in all other respects, 
both of them are the same as to virtue. Of necessity. And I 
think, Glauco, we shall say that a man is just in the same way as 
we said a city was so? This likewise is quite necessary. But 
have we not somehow forgot this, that the city was just, when 
every one of the three species in it did each its own work ? We 
do not appear to me, said he, to have forgot it. We must then 
remember likewise, that each one of us will be just, and do his 
own work, when he doth his own affairs within himself. We 
must, said he, carefully remember it. Is it not then proper 
that the rational part should govern, as it is wise, and hath the 
care of the whole soul? and that the irascible part should be 
obedient, and an auxiliary of the other? Certainly. Shall not 
then the mixture, as we observed, of music and gymnastic make 
these two harmonious, raising and nourishing the one with 
beautiful reasonings and disciplines, and unbending the other, 
soothing and rendering it mild by harmony and rhythm ? Most 
perfectly, said he. And when those two are in this manner 
nourished, and have been truly taught, and instructed in their 
own affairs, let them be set over the concupiscible part, which in 
every one is the greater part of the soul, and in its nature most 


insatiably desirous of being gratified : and let them take care of 
this part, lest, being filled with these bodily pleasures, as they 
are called, it become great and vigorous, and do not its own work, 
but attempt to enslave and rule over those it ought not, and 
overturn the whole life of all in general. Entirely so, said he. 
And might he not, said I, by this principle, guard likewise in the 
best manner against enemies from without, by its influence both 
over the whole soul and body likewise, the one deliberating, and 
the other fighting in obedience to its leader, and executing with 
fortitude the things deliberated ? It is so. And I think that we 
call a man brave, when, through all the pains and pleasures of 
life, the irascible part preserves the opinion dictated by reason 
concerning what is terrible, and what is not. Right, said he. 
And we call him wise, from that small part which governs in him, 
and dictates these things, having in it the knowledge of what is 
advantageous for each one, and for the whole community of the 
three. Perfectly so. Again: do *re not call him temperate, 
moreover, from the friendship and harmony of these very things, 
when the governing and governed agree in one, that reason ought 
to govern, and when they do not raise sedition? Temperance, 
said he, is no other than this, both as to the city and the individual. 
But, as we have often said, he shall be just, by these things, and 
in this manner. It is quite necessary. What then, said I, has 
any thing blunted us, that we should think justice to be any 
thing else than what it has appeared to be in a city ? Nothing 
appears to me at least, said he, to have done it. Because if there 
yet remain any doubt in the soul, tha-t can be an objection to this 
principle, we could in this manner thoroughly confirm ourselves, 
by comparing ordinary examples. As what ? Such as this : if we 
were obliged to declare concerning such a city as this, and con- 
cerning a man born and educated comfortably to it, whether we 
thought such a one, when intrusted with gold or silver, would 
embezzle it ; do you imagine that any one would think such a one 
would do it sooner than those who are not of such a kind? No 
one, said he. Will not such a one then be free of sacrileges, 
thefts, treacheries, against companions in private, or the city in 
public? He will be free. Nor will he ever, in any shape, be 
faithless, either as to his oaths, or other declarations. How can 
he ? Adulteries, and neglect of parents, impiety against the 
Gods, will belong to every one else, sooner than to such 
an one. They will belong to every one else, truly, said he. 
And is not this the cause of all these things, that, of all the 
parts within him, each one thing does its own work, as to 
governing and being governed? This is it, and nothing else. 
Do you desire justice to be any thing else, but such a power 
as produces such men and cities ? Not I, truly, said he, for my 



Our dream then which we conjectured is at last accomplished ; 
that when we first began to build our city, we seemed, by some 
God's assistance, to have got to a beginning and pattern of justice. 
Entirely so. And that, Glauco, was a certain image of justice, 
according to which, it behoved the man who was fitted by nature 
for the office of a shoemaker, to perform properly that office, and 
to do nothing else, and he who is a carpenter to perform that 
office, and all others in the same way. It appears so. And of 
such a kind truly was justice, as it appeared to us, I do not mean 
as to external action, but concerning that which is really internal, 
relating to the man himself, and those things which are properly 
his own ; not allowing any principle in himself to attempt to do 
what belongs to others, nor the principles to be pragmatical, 
engaging in one another's affairs ; but in reality well establishing 
his own proper affairs, and holding the government of himself, 
regulating himself, and becoming his own friend, and attuning 
those three principles in the most natural manner, as three musical 
strings, base, tenor, and treble, or whatever others may chance to 
intervene. Thus he will be led to combine all these together, 
and become of many an entire one, temperate and attuned, and in 
that manner to perform whatever is done, either in the way of 
acquiring wealth, or concerning the management of the body, or 
any public affair or private bargain; and in all these cases to 
account and call that action just and handsome, which always 
sustains and promotes this habit; and to call the knowledge 
which presides over this action, wisdom : but to call that an unjust 
action which dissolves this habit, and the opinion which presides 
over this, folly. You say perfectly true, Socrates, said he. 
Be it so, said I. If then we should say that we have found 
out a just man and city, and what justice is in them, I do 
not think we should seem to be altogether telling a lie. 
No, indeed, said he. May we say so? We may say it. Be it 
so, said I. 

But we were next, I think, to consider injustice. That is 
plain. Must it not then be some sedition among the three 
principles, some pragmaticalness and intermeddling in things 
foreign to their proper business, and an insurrection of some one 
principle against the whole soul, to govern in it when it does not 
belong to it, but which is of such a nature, as what really ought 
to be in subjection to the governing principle ? I imagine then 
we shall call their tumult and mistake by such names as these, 
injustice, intemperance, cowardice and folly, and in general all 
vice. These things, said he, are so. To do injustice then, said I, 
and to be injurious, and likewise to do justly, all these must be 
very manifest, if, to wit, injustice and justice are so. As how ? 
Because they are no way different from what is healthy or noxious : 
as these are in the body, so are the others in the soul. How ? 


said he. Such things as are healthy constitute health, and such 
as are noxious produce disease. Yes. And must not the doing 
justly produce justice, and doing unjustly produce injustice? 
Of necessity. But to produce health, is to establish all in the 
body according to nature, to govern and to be governed of one 
another; and to produce disease, is to govern and be governed, 
one part by another, contrary to nature. It is indeed. Then 
again, to produce justice, is it not to establish ail in the soul 
according to nature, to govern and be governed by one another ? 
And injustice is to govern and be governed by one another, 
contrary to nature. Plainly so, said he. Virtue then, it seems, 
is a sort of health, and beauty, and good habit of the soul ; and 
vice the disease, and deformity, and infirmity. It is so. Do not 
then honourable pursuits lead to the acquisition of virtue? but 
dishonourable ones to that of vice ? Of necessity. 

What remains then for us, as seems, to consider, is, whether it 
be profitable to do justly, and to pursue what is honourable, and 
to be just ; whether a man under such a character be unknown or 
not ? Or to do unjustly, and to be unjust, though one be never 
punished, nor by chastisement become better? But, said he, 
Socrates, this speculation seems now, to me at least, to be 
ridiculous. For if, when the nature of the body is corrupted, 
it be thought that life is not worth having, not even though one 
had all kinds of meats and drinks, all kind of wealth, all kind of 
dominion; when the nature of that by which we live is dis- 
ordered, and thoroughly corrupted, shall life then be worth having, 
though one can do every thing else which he inclines, except 
ascertaining, how he shall be liberated from vice and injustice, 
and acquire justice and virtue, since, to wit, both these things 
have appeared as we have represented them ? It would be truly 
ridiculous, said I. But, however, as we have arrived at such a 
point as enables us most distinctly to perceive that these things 
are so, we must not be weary. We must, by Zeus, said he, the 
least of all things desist. Come then, said I, that you may like- 
wise see how many principles vice possesses, principles which, as I 
imagine, are worthy of attention. I attend, said he, only tell me. 
And truly now, said I, since we have reached this part of our 
discourse, it appears to me as from a lofty place of survey, that 
there is one principle of virtue, but those of vice are infinite.* 
Of which there are four, which deserve to be mentioned. How 
do you say? replied he. There seem to be as many species of 
soul as there are of polities. How many then ? There are five, 
said I, of polities, and five of the soul. Tell, said he, what these 
are. I say, replied I, that this, which we have gone through, is 
one species of a polity ; and it may have a two-fold appellation ; 
for, if among the rulers there be one surpassing the rest, it 
may be called a Monarchy ; if there be several, an Aristocrac y 

102 PLATO 

constitution, before you have sufficiently discussed these things, it 
seemed proper to us what you now heard, not to let you pass, 
before you went over all these things, as you did the others. And 
you may count me too, said Glauco, as joining in this vote. You 
may easily judge, Socrates, said Thrasymachus, that this is the 
opinion of us all. What is this, said I, you have done, laying hold 
of me ? What a mighty discourse do you again raise, as you did 
at the beginning, about a republic, in which I was rejoicing as 
having now completed it, being pleased if any one would have let 
these things pass, and been content with what was then said! 
But you know not what a swarm of reasonings you raise by what 
you now challenge, which I foreseeing passed by at that time, lest 
it should occasion great disturbance. What then, said Thrasy- 
machus, do you imagine that these are now come hither hunting 
for gold, and not to hear reasonings ? Yes, said I, but in measure. 
The whole of life, Socrates, said Glauco, is with the wise, the 
measure of hearing such reasonings as these. But pass what 
relates to us, and do not at all grudge to explain your opinion 
concerning the object of our inquiry, — What sort of community of 
wives and children is to be observed by our guardians, and con- 
cerning the nurture of the latter while very young, in the period 
between their generation and their education, which seems to be 
the most troublesome of all. Endeavour then to tell us in what 
manner it should be done. It is not easy, happy Glauco, said I, 
to go through these things ; for they raise more doubts than any 
of the things which we have spoken of before. It might not be 
believed that they should be possible; and though they could 
easily be effected, whether they would be for the best might 
still be doubted : wherefore, dear companion, I grudge somewhat 
to touch on these things, lest our reasonings appear to be rather 
a pious wish, than what could take place. Do not at all grudge, 
said he ; for your hearers are neither stupid, nor incredulous, nor 
ill-affected towards you. Then I said, Do you say this, most 
excellent Glauco, with a desire to encourage me ? I do, said he. 
Then your discourse has a quite contrary effect, said I ; for, if I 
trusted to myself, that I understood what I am to say, your en- 
couragement would do well. For one who understands the truth, 
about the greatest and the most interesting affairs, speaks with 
safety and confidence among the wise and friendly; but to be 
diffident of oneself, and doubtful of the truth, and at the same 
time to be haranguing as I do now, is both dreadful and dangerous ; 
not only lest he should be exposed to ridicule (for that is but a 
trifling thing), but lest that, mistaking the truth, I not only fall 
myself, but draw my friends along with me into an error about 
things in which we ought least of all to be mistaken. I therefore 
crave pardon of Nemesis, for the sake of what, Glauco, I am going 
to say. For I trust it is a smaller offence to be a man-slayer with- 


out intention, than to be an impostor with regard to what is good 
and excellent, just and lawful : and it were better to hazard such 
a thing among enemies than friends ; so that you give me good 
encouragement. Then Glauco, laughing : But, Socrates, said he, 
if we suffer any thing amiss from your discourse, we shall acquit 
you as clear of any man-slaughter, and as no impostor : so proceed 
boldly. But indeed, said I, he who is acquitted at a court of 
justice is deemed clear of the crime, as the law says ; and if it be 
so in that case, 'tis reasonable it should be so in this. As for 
that, said he, proceed. 

We must now, said I, return again to what it seems should, 
according to method, have been recited before; and perhaps it 
is right to proceed in this manner, that, after having entirely 
finished the drama respecting the men, we go over that which 
concerns the women; especially since you challenge me to pro- 
ceed in this manner. For, in my opinion, men who have been 
born and educated in such a manner as we have described, can 
have no right possession and enjoyment of children and wives, 
but in pursuing the same track in which we have proceeded from 
the beginning: for we have endeavoured, in our reasoning, to 
form somehow men as the guardians of a flock. We have. Let 
us proceed then, and establish likewise rules relating to propaga- 
tion and nurture in a manner similar ; and let us consider whether 
they be proper or not. How do you mean ? replied he. Thus : 
Whether shall we judge it proper for the females of our guardian 
dogs, to watch likewise in the same manner as the males do, and 
to hunt along with them, and do every thing else in common ? 
Or shall we judge it proper for them to manage domestic affairs 
within doors, as being unable for the other exercises, because of 
the bringing forth and the nursing the whelps; and the males 
to labour, and to have the whole care of the flocks? They are 
to do all, said he, in common. Only we are to employ the 
females as the weaker, and the males as the stronger. Is it 
possible then, said I, to employ any creature for the same purposes 
with another, unless you give it the same nurture and education 
as you give the other? It is not possible. If then we shall 
employ the women for the same purposes as we do the men, 
must we not likewise teach them the same things? We must. 
Were not both music and gymnastic bestowed on the males? 
They were. These two arts therefore, and those likewise relat- 
ing to war, must be bestowed also on the women, and they must 
be employed about the same things. It is reasonable, said he, 
from what you say. Yet as these things, said I, are contrary 
perhaps to custom, many of these things we are now speaking 
of may appear ridiculous, if practised in the way we mention. 
Extremely so, replied he. What, said I, do you perceive as the 
most ridiculous part ? Is it not plainly because that you see the 

104 PLATO 

women naked in the Palaestra wrestling along with the men, 
and not only the young women, hut even the more advanced in 
years, in the same manner as old men in the wrestling-schools, 
when they are wrinkled, and not at all handsome to the eye, yet 
still fond of the exercises ? Yes, truly, said he. Because it might 
indeed appear ridiculous, at least as matters stand at present. 
Must we not therefore, said I, since we have entered upon this 
discourse, he afraid of the railleries of the men of pleasantry, 
whatever things they may say with regard to such a revolution 
being introduced, as well in gymnastic as in music, and particularly 
in the use of arms, and riding on horseback? You say right, 
replied he. But since we have entered on this discourse, we 
must go to the rigour of the law, and beg these men not to 
follow their own customs, but to think seriously, and remember, 
that it is not long ago since these things appeared base and 
ridiculous to the Greeks, which are only so now to the most of 
the barbarians : such as to see naked men. And when first the 
Cretans, and afterwards the Lacedaemonians, began their exercises, 
it was in the power of the men of humour of that time to turn 
all these things into ridicule. Do not you think so? I do. 
But I imagine, that when upon experience it appeared better to 
strip themselves of all these things, than to be wrapped in them, 
what was ridiculous indeed to the eye, was removed by the idea 
of the best, indicated by reasoning; and this too showed mani- 
festly, that he is a fool who deems any thing ridiculous but what 
is bad, and attempts to rally upon any other idea of the ridiculous 
but that of the foolish and the vicious, or to be serious in any 
other pursuit but that of the good. By all means, said he. Is 
not this then first of all to be agreed on, whether these things 
be possible or not ? And we must allow an opportunity for dis- 
pute, if any one, either in jest or earnest, incline to doubt, 
whether the human nature in the female sex be able, in every 
thing, to bear a share with the male ? or if it be not in any one 
thing? or if it be able in some things, but not in others? and 
among which of these are the affairs of war? Would not the 
man who thus sets out in the most handsome manner conclude 
too, as it seems, most handsomely? By far, said he. Are you 
willing, then, said I, that we ourselves, on behalf of the others, 
dispute about these things, that the opposite side may not he 
destitute of a defence ? Nothing hinders, said he. Let us then 
say this for them : That there is no need, Socrates and Glauco, 
of others to dispute with you about this matter; for yourselves 
in the beginning of your establishment, when you established 
your city, agreed, that it was necessary for each individual to 
practise one business, according to their several natures. I 
think we acknowledged it ; for why should they not ? Does not 
then the nature of the male differ widely from that of the 


female? Surely it differs. And is it not fit to enjoin each a 
different work, according to their nature ? Why, yes. Are not 
you then in the wrong now, and contradict yourselves, when 
you say that men and women ought to do the same things, 
whilst their nature is extremely different ? Can you in answer 
to these objections, my good friend, make any defence? It is 
not quite an easy matter, said he, to do it immediately; but I 
will entreat you, and do now entreat you, to go through the 
arguments on our side, whatever they may be. These are the 
things, Glauco, replied I, and many other such like, which I 
long ago foreseeing, was both afraid and backward to touch 
on the law concerning the possession of wives, and the education 
of children. It is not easy, upon my word, replied he. It is 
not, said I. But the case is thus : If a man fall into a small 
fish-pond, or into the middle of the greatest sea, he must still 
swim in the one no less than in the other. Entirely so. Must 
not we swim then, and endeavour to escape from this reasoning, 
expecting that either some dolphin is to carry us out, or that 
we shall have some other remarkable deliverance ? It seems we 
must do so, replied he. Come then, said I, let us see if we can 
anywhere find an out-gate ; for we did acknowledge that different 
natures ought to study different things ; but the nature of man 
and woman is different; yet now we say that different natures 
ought to study the same things : these are the things which you 
accuse us of. Certainly. How fine, Glauco, said I, is the power 
of the art of contradicting I How ? Because, replied I, many seem 
to fall into it unwillingly, and imagine that they are reasoning truly, 
instead of cavilling, because they are not able to understand the 
subject, by dividing it into its proper parts ; and will set up a 
verbal contradiction of some statement, using cavilling instead 
of reasoning. This is indeed, said he, the case with many ; but 
does it at present extend likewise to us? Entirely so, said I. 
We seem then unwillingly to have fallen into a quarrel about 
words. How? Because we have very strenuously insisted on 
the letter of the statement, that when the nature is not the 
same, they ought not to have the same employments ; but we 
have not in any respect considered what is the characteristic of 
the sameness or diversity of nature, nor to what it points : we 
stopped then, when we had assigned different pursuits to 
different natures, and to the same natures the same pursuits. 
We have never indeed, said he, considered it. It is therefore, 
replied I, still in our power, as appears, to question ourselves, 
whether the nature of the bald, or of those who wear their hair, 
be the same, and not different? And after we should agree 
that it was different, whether, if the bald made shoes, we 
should allow those who wear hair to make them? or, if those 
who wear hair made them, whether we should allow the others ? 


1 06 PLATO 

That were ridiculous, replied he. Is it in any other respect, 
said I, ridiculous, than that we did not wholly determine the 
sameness and diversity of nature, but attended only to that 
species of diversity and sameness which respects the employ- 
ments themselves; just as we say that one physician and 
another, have one and the same nature ? Do not you think so ? 
I do. But that the physician and architect have a different 
nature. Entirely. And so, replied I, of the nature of men and 
of women, if it appear different, in respect to any art, or other 
employment, we shall say, that this different employment is to 
be assigned to each separately. But if their nature appear 
different only in this, that the female brings forth, and the 
male begets, we shall not say that this has at all shown the man to 
be different from the woman in the respect we speak of. But we 
shall still be of opinion, that both our guardians and their wives 
ought to pursue the same employments. And with reason, said 
he. Shall we not then henceforth desire any one who says the 
contrary, to instruct us in this point, what is that art or study 
respecting the establishment of a city, where the nature of the 
man and woman is not the same, but different ? It is reasonable, 
truly. Possibly some one may say, as you was saying some time 
since, that it is not easy to tell this sufficiently on the sudden, but 
that it is not difficult to one who has considered it. One might 
indeed say so. Are you willing then that we desire such an 
opponent to listen to us, if by any means we shall show him that 
there is in the administration of the city no employment peculiar 
to the women ? By all means. 

Come on then, (shall we say to him) answer us. Is not this 
your meaning ? That one man has a good genius for any thing, 
and another a bad, in this respect, that the one learns any thing 
easily, and the other with difficulty ; and the one with a little 
instruction discovers much in what he learns ; but the other, when 
he obtains much instruction and care, does not retain even what 
he has learned : with the one, the body is duly subservient to the 
mind ; with the other, it opposes its improvement : are there any 
other marks than these by which you would determine one to 
have a good genius for anything, and another to have a bad one ? 
No one, said he, would mention any other. Know you then of 
any thing which is managed by mankind, with reference to which 
the men have not all these marks in a more excellent degree than 
the women? Or, should we not be tedious, if we mentioned 
particularly the weaving art, and the dressing pot-herbs and 
victuals, in which the female genius seems to be somewhat con- 
siderable, and is most ridiculous where it is surpassed ? You say 
true, said he, that in the general, in every thing the one sex is 
superior to the other, yet there are many women who in many 
things excel many men: but, on the whole, it is as you say. 


There is not then, my friend, any office among the whole 
inhabitants of the city peculiar to the woman, considered as 
woman, nor to the man, considered as man; but the natural 
aptitudes are indiscriminately diffused through both : the woman 
is naturally fitted for sharing in all offices, and so is the man ; but 
in all the woman is weaker than the man. Perfectly so. Shall 
we then commit every thing to the care of the men, and nothing 
to the care of the women ? How could we do so ? It is therefore, 
I imagine, as we say, that one woman too is fitted by natural 
genius for being a physician, and another is not ; one is naturally 
a musician, and another is not ? What else ? And one is naturally 
fitted for gymnastic, and another is not ; one is fitted for war, and 
another is not. I at least am of this opinion. And is not one 
likewise a lover of philosophy, and another averse to it ; one of 
high spirits, and another of low ? This likewise is true. And has 
not one woman a natural genius for being a guardian, and another 
not ? Did we not make choice of such qualities as these for our 
guardian men ? We did. The nature then of the woman and of 
the man for the guardianship of the city is the same, only that the 
one is weaker, and the other stronger. It appears so. And such 
women as these are to be chosen to dwell with these men, and be 
guardians along with them, as they are naturally fit for them, 
and of a kindred genius. Entirely so. And must not the same 
employments be assigned to the same natures ? The same. We 
are now arrived by a circular progression at what we formerly 
mentioned; and, we allow that it is not contrary to nature, to 
appoint for the wives of our guardians music and gymnastic. By 
all means. We are not then establishing things impossible, or 
like a pious wish, since we establish the law according to nature ; 
and what is at present contrary to these things, is contrary to 
nature rather, as appears. It seems so. Was not our inquiry to 
learn, whether our proposal were possible and best? It was. 
And we have agreed, that these things are possible. We have. 
And we must next agree, that they are best. It is plain we 

In order therefore to make a guardian woman, at least the 
education will not be different from that of the men, especially as 
she has received the same natural genius. It will not be different. 
What do you think then of such an opinion as this ? Of what ? 
That of imagining with yourself one man to be better, and another 
worse,— or do you deem them to be all alike ? By no means. In 
the city now which we establish, whether do you judge, that our 
guardians with this education we have described, or shoemakers 
with education in their art, will be rendered the better men? 
The question, replied he, is ridiculous. I understand you, said I. 
But what ? Of all the other citizens, are not they the best ? 
By for. But what ? Will not these women too be the best of 

108 PLATO 

women ? They will be so, replied he, by far. Is there any thing 
better in a city than that both the women and the men be 
rendered the very best? There is not. This then will be 
effected by music and gymnastic, being afforded them according 
as we have described. To be sure it will. We have then 
established a law which is not only possible, but moreover best for 
the state. We have. The wives, then, of our guardians must be 
unclothed, since they will thus put on virtue for clothes; and 
they must bear a part in war, and the other guardianship of the city, 
and do nothing else. But the lightest part of these services is to 
be allotted to the women rather than to the men, on account of 
the weakness of their sex. And the man who laughs at naked 
women, whilst performing the exercises for the sake of what is 
best, reaps the empty fruit of a ridiculous wisdom, and in no 
respect knows, as appears, at what he laughs, nor why he does it. 
For that ever was and will be deemed a noble saying, That what 
is profitable is beautiful, and what is hurtful is base. By all 

Let us say then, that we have escaped one wave, as it were, 
having thus settled the law with respect to the women, without 
being wholly overwhelmed, ordaining that our male and female 
guardians are to manage all things in common : but our reasoning 
has been consistent with itself, as it respects both what is possible 
and likewise advantageous. It is truly no small wave you have 
escaped, said he. You will not, replied I, call it a great one, when 
you see what follows. Mention it, said he, that I may see. That 
law, replied I, and those others formerly mentioned, imply, as I 
imagine, the following. Which ? That these women must all be 
common to all these men, and that no one woman dwell with any 
man privately, and that their children likewise be common ; that 
neither the parent know his own children, nor the children their 
parent. This is much greater than the other, as to the in- 
credibility, both of its being possible, and at the same time 
advantageous. I do not believe, replied I, that any one will doubt 
of its utility, at least, as if it were not the greatest good to have 
the women and children in common, if it were but possible. 
But I think the greatest question will be, whether it be possible 
or not ? One may very readily, said he, dispute as to both. You 
mention, replied I, a concert of disputes. But I thought that I 
should at least have escaped from the one, if its utility had been 
agreed on, and that it should have only remained to consider its 
possibility. But you have not, said he, escaped unobserved ; give 
then an account of both. I must then, said I, submit to a trial. 
But, however, indulge me thus far : allow me to indulge myself, 
as those are wont to feast themselves who are sluggish in their 
mind, when they walk alone. For men of this sort, sometimes 
before they find out how they shall attain what they desire; 


waving that inquiry, that they may not fatigue themselves in 
deliberating about the possibility or impossibility of it, suppose 
they have obtained what they desire, and then go through what 
remains. And they delight in running over what they will do 
when their desire is obtained, rendering their soul, otherwise 
indolent, more indolent still. I am now effeminate after this 
manner, and wish to defer those debates, and to inquire after- 
wards whether these things be possible. But at present, holding 
them possible, if you allow me, I will consider in what manner 
our rulers shall regulate these things, when they take place, that 
they may be done in the most advantageous manner, both to 
the state and the guardians. These things I shall endeavour, in 
the first place, to go over with your assistance, and the others 
afterwards, if you allow me. I allow, said he, and inquire 

I imagine then, said I, that if our rulers are worthy of that 
name, and in like manner these who are their auxiliaries, their 
ministers in the government, the latter will be disposed to do 
whatever is enjoined them, and the former will be ready to com- 
mand ; themselves yielding direct obedience to the law in general, 
and following the spirit of the law in whatever things are left to 
them. It is likely, said he. Do you now, said I, who are their 
lawgiver, in the same manner as you have chosen out the men, 
choose out likewise the women, making their genius as similar as 
possible : and as they dwell and eat together in common, and as 
no one possesses any of these things privately, they will all live 
together; and being mingled in their exercises and other con- 
versation, they will be led from an innate necessity, as I imagine, 
to mutual embraces. Do not I seem to say what will necessarily 
happen? Not, replied he, by any geometrical, but amatory 
necessity, which seems to be more pungent than the other, to 
persuade and draw the bulk of mankind. Much more, said I. 
But after this, Glauco, to mix together, or to do any thing else, in 
a disorderly manner, is neither lawful in a city of happy persons, 
nor will the rulers permit it. It were not just, said he. It is 
plain then, that after this we must make marriages as much as 
possible sacred ; but the most advantageous would be most sacred. 
By all means. How then shall they be most advantageous ? Tell 
me that, Glauco, for I see in your houses dogs of chace, and a 
great many excellent birds. Have you then indeed ever attended 
at all, in any respect, to their marriages, and the propagation of 
their species? How? said he. First of all, that among these 
although they be excellent themselves, are there not some who 
are most excellent? There are. Whether then do you breed 
from all of them alike ? or are you careful to breed chiefly from 
the best ? From the best. But how ? From the youngest or 
from the oldest, or from those who are most in their prime? 



From those in their prime. And if the breed be not of this kj 
you reckon that the race of birds and dogs greatly degenera 
I reckon so, replied he. And what think you as to horses, sail 
and other animals? is the case any otherwise with respect 
these ? That, said he, were absurd. Strange, said I, my friei 
What extremely perfect governors must we have, if the case 
the same with respect to the human race ! However, it is 
replied he ; but why so ? Because there is a necessity, said I, 
their using many medicines : for where bodies have no occasj 
for medicines, but are ready to subject themselves to a regimen 
diet, we reckon that a weaker physician may suffice ; but wh 
there is a necessity for medicines, we know that a more al 
physician is then requisite. True ; but with what view do y 
say this ? With this view, replied I. It appears that our ruh 
are obliged jto use much fiction and deceit for the advantage of t 
governed; and we said somewhere, that all these things we 
useful in the way of medicines. And rightly, said he. This pie 
of right now seems not to be the most inconsiderable in marriag< 
and the propagation of children. How now ? It is proper, said 
from what we have acknowledged, that the best men embrace f 
the most part the best women ; and the most depraved men, < 
the contrary, the most depraved women ; and the offspring of tl 
former is to be educated, but not that of the latter, if you desi] 
to have the flock of the most perfect kind ; and this must be pe 
formed in such a manner as to escape the notice of all but it 
governors themselves, if you would have the whole herd of th 
guardians to be as free from sedition as possible. Most right, sai 
he. Shall there not then be some festivals by law establishec 
in which we shall draw together the brides and bridegrooms 
Sacrifices too must be performed, and hymns composed by ou 
poets suitable to the marriages which are making. But th< 
number of the marriages we shall commit to the rulers, that a; 
much as possible they may preserve the same number of men 
having an eye to the wars, diseases, and every thing else of this 
kind, and that as far as possible our city may be neither too greal 
nor too little. Right, said he. And certain lots too, I imagine 
should be made so clever, that the depraved man may, on every 
embrace, accuse his fortune, and not the governors. By all means, 
said he. And those of the youth who distinguish themselves, 
whether in war or any where else, ought to have rewards and 
prizes given them, and the most ample liberty of embracing 
women, that so, under this pretext likewise, the greatest number 
of children may be generated of such persons. Right. And shall 
the children always as they are born be received . by magistrates 
appointed for these purposes, whether men or women, or both ? 
for the magistracies are in common to women as to men. They are 
so. And when they receive the children of worthy/persons, they 


will carry them, I imagine, to the nursery, to certain nurses dwell- 
ing apart in a certain place of the city. But the children of the 
more depraved, and such others as are any way maimed, they will 
hide in some secret and obscure place, as is proper. If they want, 
said he, the race of guardians to be pure. And shall not these 
take care likewise of their nursing, in bringing to the nursery the 
mothers when their breasts are full, practising every art, that no 
one know her own child, and in providing others who have milk, 
if these shall prove insufficient? And they shall likewise take 
care of these nurses, that they suckle a competent time : and they 
shall appoint the nurses and keepers to be wakeful, and to take 
every other necessary toil. You speak, said he, of great ease to 
the wives of our guardians, in the breeding of children. It is 
fit, replied I. But let us in the next place discuss that which 
we chiefly intended. We said that true offspring ought to be 
generated of persons in their prime. Are you then of opinion 
with me, that the proper season of vigour is twenty years to a 
woman, and thirty to a man ? Of what continuance are these 
seasons ? said he. The woman, replied I, beginning at twenty, is 
to bear children to the state until the age of forty ; and the man, 
after he has passed the most raging part of his course, from that 
period, is to beget children to the state until the age of fifty-five. 
This indeed is the acme, replied he, in both sexes, both of body 
and of mind. If then any one who is older or younger than these 
shall meddle in generating for the public, we shall say the trespass 
is neither lawful nor just, as he begets to the state a child, which, 
if it be concealed, is born and grows up not from sacrifices and 
prayers (which, upon every marriage, the priestesses and priests, 
and the whole of the city, shall offer, that the descendants of the 
good may be still more good, and from useful descendants still 
more useful may arise) ; but is born from darkness, and with a 
dreadful intemperance. Right, said he. And the law, said I, 
must be the same, if any of those men, who are yet of the age for 
generating, shall touch women of a proper age, without the con- 
currence of the magistrate, we shall consider him as having raised 
to the state a bastardly, illegitimate and unhallowed child. Most 
right, said he. And I imagine, that when the women and men 
exceed the age of generating, we shall permit the men to cohabit 
with any woman they incline, besides their daughter and mother, 
and those who are the children of their daughters, or those up- 
wards from their mother : and so likewise the women to embrace 
any but a son and father, and the children of these, either down- 
wards or upwards : all this liberty we will allow them, after we 
have enjoined them to attend carefully, in the first place, if any 
thing should be conceived, not to bring it to the light ; but if, by 
any accident, it should be brought forth, to expose it as a creature 
for which no provision is made. All these things, said he, are 

112 PLATO 

reasonably said. But how shall fathers and daughters, and those 
other relations you now mentioned, be known of one another? 
They shall not be known at all, said I. But from the day on 
which any one is a bridegroom, whatever children are born in the 
tenth or in the seventh month after it, all these he shall call, the 
male his sons, and the female his daughters, and they shall call 
him father. And in the same way again, he shall call the children 
of these grandchildren, and they again shall call them grandfathers 
and grandmothers : and those who were born in that period in 
which their fathers and mothers were begetting children, they 
shall call sisters and brothers, so as not to touch each other, as I 
just now said. But the law shall allow brothers and sisters to live 
together, if their lot so fall out, and the Pythian oracle give 
consent. Most right, said he. 

This, Glauco, and such as this, is the community of women 
and children, among your city guardians: and that it is both 
consonant to the other parts of our polity, and by far the best, 
we must, in the next place, establish from reason ; or how shall 
we do? Just so, indeed, said he. Did not we then agree on 
this at the beginning? to inquire what we can mention as the 
greatest good with relation to the establishment of a state, with 
an eye to which the lawgiver ought to enact the laws, and what 
is the greatest evil ; and then to inquire, whether what we have 
hitherto gone over contributes towards leading us in the steps 
of this good, and away from that evil ? By all means, said he. 
Is there, then, any greater ill to a city than that which lacerates 
it ; and, instead of one, makes it many ? Or, is there any greater 
good than that which binds it together, and makes it one? 
There is not. Does not then the communion of pleasure and 
pain bind them together, when the whole of the citizens as much 
as possible rejoice and mourn in the same manner, for the same 
things when they are obtained, and when they are lost ? By all 
means so, replied he. But a separate feeling of these things 
destroys it, when some of the citizens are extremely grieved, 
and others extremely glad, at the same sufferings of the city, or 
of those who are in it. Of course. Does not then such an evil 
arise from this, when they do not all jointly in the state pronounce 
these words, mine, and not mine ? And will not that city be best 
regulated, when every individual, with regard to the concerns of 
another, in the same way with him, pronounces these wojds, mine, 
and not mine ? By far. And it is such a city as comes nearest 
to the condition of one man. As when our finger is any how 
hurt ; the whole common feeling spread through the body to the 
soul, with one co-ordination of its governing part, perceives it, and 
the entire whole mourns along with the distressed part: and so 
we say that the man is distressed in his finger : and the reasoning 
is the same as to any other part of a man, both witi respect to 


grief, when any part is in pain ; or with respect to pleasure, when 
any part is at ease. It is the same, said he. And to return to 
your question, the city which comes nearest to this is governed 
in. the best manner : and when any one of the citizens receives 
any good or ill, such a city, I imagine, will most especially say, 
that she herself receives it, and the whole city rejoice or mourn 
together. Of necessity, said he, this must prevail in a city 
governed by good laws. It may be time for us to go back to our 
city, and consider how those things are in it which we have agreed 
on in our reasoning, whether they prevail most in our city, or 
more in some other. We must do so, replied he. What now? 
Are there not, in other cities, governors and people ? And are 
there not likewise in this ? There are. And will not , all these 
call one another citizens? Yes. But besides this of citizens, 
what does the people call their governors in other states? 
Masters or lords in most states, and, in democracies, this very 
name, governors. But in our city, besides that of citizens, what 
does the people call their governors ? Their preservers, said he, 
and helpers. And what do they call the people? Rewarders, 
replied he, and nourishers. And in other cities, what do the 
governors call their people? Slaves, replied he. And what do 
the governors call one another? Fellow rulers, said he. And 
ours, what ? Fellow guardians. Can you tell, whether any one 
of the governors in other cities can address one of their fellow 
governors as his kinsman, and another as a stranger ? Very many 
so. Does he not then reckon and call the kindred one his own, 
and the stranger one as not his own ? Just so. But how is it 
with your guardians ? Is there so much as any one of them, who 
can deem and call any one of their fellow guardians a stranger ? 
By no means, replied he ; for, with whomsoever any one meets, 
he reckons he meets with a brother or sister, a father or mother, 
a son or daughter, or the descendants or ancestors of these. You 
speak most beautifully, replied I. But further, tell me this 
likewise, whether will you only establish among them, by law, 
these kindred names ? or will you also enjoin them to perform all 
their actions in conformity to these names? With respect to 
parents, whatever the law enjoins to be performed to parents, 
such as reverence, and care, and obedience. And that otherwise 
it will not be for his advantage, neither in the sight of Gods nor 
of men, as he acts what is neither lawful nor just, if he do other 
things than these. Shall these, or any other speeches from all 
our citizens, resound directly in the ears of our children, both 
concerning their parents, whom any one shall point out to them, 
and concerning other relations? These things shall be said, 
replied he ; for it were ridiculous, if friendly names alone 
resounded, without any actions accompanying them. Of all 
cities, then, there will be the greatest harmony in it, when any 

114 PLATO 

one individual is either well or ill, as to the expression we lately 
mentioned, viz. mine is well, or mine is ill. Most true, said he. 
Did not we say too, that their common pleasures and pains will 
accompany this opinion and expression? And we said rightly. 
Will not then our citizens most especially have this in common 
which they call my own ; and, having this in common, they will 
of all others most especially have in common pleasure and pain ? 
Extremely so. And along with the other parts of the constitution, 
is not the community of women and children among the guardians 
the cause of these things ? This is it most especially, replied he. 
But we agreed, that this was the greatest good of a city, likening 
a well established city to a body, in its being affected with the 
pleasure and pain of any part. And we righSy, said he, agreed 
on this. This community, then, of women and children among 
our auxiliaries, has appeared to us to be the cause of the greatest 
good to the city. Extremely so, replied he. And surely we 
agree at least with what went before; for we somewhere said, 
that they ought neither to have houses of their own, nor land, 
nor any possession ; but, receiving their subsistence from others, 
as a reward for their guardianship, they should all spend it in 
common, if they intended really to be guardians. Right, said he. 
Do not therefore, as I say, both these things which were formerly 
mentioned, and still more what we now speak of, render them 
real guardians, and prevent the city from being lacerated, by 
their not at all calling one and the same thing their own; but 
one one thing, and another another; one drawing to his own 
house whatever he can possess, separate from others, and another 
to his, which is different from the other ; and having both wives 
and children different, which occasion different pleasures and 
pains, which are private, as belonging to private persons: but 
being of one opinion concerning their home, and all of them 
pointing towards the same thing, as far as possible, to have one 
common feeling of pleasure and pain? Exactly so, replied he. 
Well : shall law-suits and accusations against one another be 
banished from among them, so to speak, by their possessing 
nothing as private property but their body, and every thing else 
being common, from whence they shall be liberated from all those 
disturbances which men raise about money, children or relations ? 
They will of necessity be liberated from these. Neither indeed 
can there be reasonably among them any actions raised for 
violence or unseemly treatment. For, making the protection of 
their persons a necessary thing, we will own it to be handsome 
and just for those of equal age to help one another. Right, said 
he. And this law, said I, hath this right in it likewise : that if 
any one be in a passion, gratifying his passion in this personal 
manner, he is less apt to raise greater seditions. It is entirely 
so. The elder shall be enjoined both to govern and to chastise 


the younger. That is plain. And surely the younger, as 
becomes them, shall never attempt to beat the elder, or in any 
other way to offer violence to him, unless appointed by the 
governors ; nor will they, I imagine, in any sort, dishonour them ; 
for there are sufficient guardians to hinder it, both fear and 
reverence; — reverence on the one hand restraining them from 
assaulting, as it were, their parents, and fear on the other ; lest 
others shall assist the sufferer ; some as sons, others as brothers, 
and others as fathers. It happens so, said he. In every respect 
then, as far as relates to the laws, the men shall live peaceably 
with one another. Very much so. And while these have no 
seditions among themselves, there is no danger of any other city 
raising disturbance against these, or that they shall split into 
factions. There is not. As for the lesser evils, from which surely 
they will be freed, I do not choose, because of the impropriety 
of it, so much as to mention them. That flattery of the rich; 
that indigence and solicitude in the education of their children, 
and in procuring money for the necessary support of their family, 
which is the portion of the poor; sometimes borrowing, and 
sometimes being despised, and sometimes using all manner of 
shifts, in procuring provisions, which they give to the manage- 
ment of their wives and domestics : how many slavish and mean 
things, my friend, they suffer in all these respects, are not even 
worthy to be mentioned. And they are manifest, said he, to one 
blind. They will be delivered from all these things, and will 
live more blessedly than that most blessed life which those live 
who gain the prize in the Olympic games. How? Those are 
esteemed happy, on account of a small part of what these enjoy. 
But the victory of these is more noble, and their maintenance 
from the public is more complete; for the victory they gain is 
the safety of the whole city ; and both they and their children 
are crowned with their maintenance, and all the other necessaries 
of life, as laurels, and receive honour from their city while alive^ 
and at their death an honourable funeral. The most noble 
rewards! said he. Do you remember then, said I, that in our 
former reasonings, I do not know who it was objected to us, 
that we were not making our guardians happy, who, though 
they had it in their power to have the whole wealth of their 
citizens, had nevertheless nothing at all? and we proposed to 
consider of this afterwards, if it fell in our way; but that at 
the present we were making our guardians only guardians, and 
the city itself as happy as possible, but without regarding one 
particular tribe in it, with a view to make it happy. I remember 
it, said he. What think you now of the life of our auxiliaries, 
which appears far more noble and happy than that of those who 
gain the prize at the Olympic games ? It does not at all appear 
to resemble the life of the leather-cutter, the handicraftsman, 


or farmer. I do not think it, said he. But however, it is 
proper that I mention here what I likewise said on a former 
occasion, that if the guardian shall attempt to he happy in such 
a way as to he no longer a guardian, nor he content with this 
moderate, and steady, and, as we say, best life ; but, being 
seized with a foolish and youthful opinion about happiness, 
shall, because he has it in his power, be driven to make himself 
the master of every thing in the city, he shall know that Hesiod 
was truly wise, in saying that the half is somehow more than the 
whole. If he take me, said he, for his counsellor, he will remain 
in such a life. 

You allow then, said I, that the women act in common with 
the men, as we have explained, with respect to education and 
the breeding of children, and the guardianship of the other 
citizens; both in remaining in the city, and in going forth to 
war; and that along with the men they ought to keep guard, 
and to hunt like dogs, and in every case to take a share in all 
things as far as they can ; and that while they do these things 
they will do what is best, and no way contrary to the nature of 
the female, with respect to the male, by which nature they are 
made to act jointly with one another. I agree, said he. Does 
not then this, said I, remain to be discussed, whether it be 
possible that this community take place among men likewise, as 
among other animals? and how far it is possible. You have 
prevented me, said he, in mentioning what I was going to ask. 
For, with relation to warlike affairs, it is plain, I imagine, said I, 
how they will fight. How ? said he. That they will jointly go 
out on their military expeditions, and besides will carry along 
with them such of their children as are grown up, that, like those 
of other artists, they may see what it will be necessary for them 
to practise when they are grown up; and, besides seeing, that 
they may serve and administer in every thing with relation to 
the war, and assist both their fathers and mothers. Or, have you 
not observed what happens in the common arts ? as for instance, 
that the children of the potters, ministering to them for a long 
time, look on before they apply themselves to the making earthen 
ware? Yes, indeed. Whether now are these or our guardians 
to instruct their children with greater care, by the practice and 
view of what belongs to their office ? To suppose those, replied 
he, should take greater care than our guardians, were ridiculous. 
But every creature will fight more remarkably in the presence 
of its offspring. The case is so; but there is no small danger, 
Socrates, when they are defeated, as is often the case in war, 
that when their children, as well as themselves, are cut off, it 
shall be impossible to raise another city. You say true, replied 
I ; but you imagine we ought, first of all, to take care never to 
run any risk. No, by no means. What then, if they are at all 


to hazard themselves in any case, is it not where, if they succeed, 
they shall become better men? That is plain. But do you 
imagine it a small matter, and not worthy of the risk, whether 
children, who are destined to be military men, see affairs relating 
to war, or not ? No ; it is a matter of consequence with respect 
to what you mention. We must, then, first endeavour to make 
our children spectators of the war, but contrive for them a place 
of safety — and then it shall do well, shall it not? Yes. And 
shall not then, said I, our parents, in the first place, as being 
men, not be ignorant, but understand which of the campaigns 
are, and which are not dangerous? It is likely, said he. And 
they shall bring them into the one, but with respect to the other 
they will be on their guard. Right. And they will probably 
set governors over them, said I; not such as are the most de- 
praved, but such as by experience and years are able leaders and 
attendants. It is very proper. But we will say many things 
have happened contrary to expectation. Very many. With 
reference therefore to such events as these, it is proper that 
whilst they are children they procure wings, that so, in any 
necessity, they may escape by flight. How do you mean? said 
he. They must, when extremely young, be mounted on horses, 
and taught to ride on horseback, and brought to see the battle, 
not on high-mettled and warlike horses, but on the fleetest, and 
those that are the most obedient to the rein ; for thus they shall, 
in the best manner, observe their proper work, and, on any 
necessity, shall escape with the greatest safety, following the 
more aged leaders. You seem to me, said he, to say right. 

But what, said I, as to the affairs of war? how are you to 
manage your soldiers, both with respect to one another and their 
enemies? have I imagined rightly or not? As to what? said he. 
That whoever of them, said I, leaves his rank, throws away his 
arms, or does any such thing from cowardice, must he not be 
made a handicraftsman, or land-labourer? By all means. And 
shall not the man who is taken alive by the enemy be given 
gratis to any who incline to employ him in the country just as 
they please? By all means. And are you of opinion, that he 
who gains a character, and excels, ought, in the first place, in the 
expedition itself, to be crowned in some measure by every one 
of the youths and boys who are his fellow soldiers ? or think you 
otherwise? I am of opinion, for my part, they ought to be 
crowned. But what, and get the right hand likewise? This 
likewise. But this further, I imagine, said I, you are not yet 
satisfied about. What? That they embrace and be embraced 
by every one. They should most of all others, said he : and I 
will add to this law, that whilst they are upon this expedition no 
one shall be allowed to refuse them, whoever they incline to 
embrace, that if any happen to be in love with any one, male or 


female, he may be the more animated to win the prizes. Very 
well, said I; for we have already said that there are more 
marriages provided for the good citizen than for others, and more 
frequent choice in such matters allowed them than others, that 
the descendants of such an one may be as numerous as possible. 
We have already said so, replied he. But surely, even according 
to Homer's opinion, it is just that such of the youth as are brave 
be honoured in this way. For Homer says that Ajax, who 
excelled in war, was rewarded with a large share at the entertain- 
ments, this being the most natural reward to a brave man in the 
bloom of youth, by which he at the same time acquired honour 
and strength. Most right, said he. We shall then obey Homer, 
said I, at least, in these things. And we shall honour the good, 
both at our sacrifices, and on all such occasions, in as far as they 
appear to be deserving, with hymns likewise, and with those 
things we lately mentioned ; and besides these things, with seats, 
and dishes, and full cups; that at the same time we may both 
honour and exercise the virtue of worthy men and women. You 
say most admirably well, replied he. Be it so. If any one ot 
those who die in the army shall have distinguished himself, shall 
we not, in the first place, say that he is of the golden race? 
Most especially. And shall we not believe Hesiod, telling us, 
that when any of these die, 

Good, holy, earthly daemons, they become, 
Expelling evils, guardians of mankind ? 

We shall believe him. And we shall ask the oracle in what 
manner we ought to bury demoniacal and divine men, and with 
what marks of distinction ; and thus shall we bury them in that 
very manner which shall be explained. Why shall we not ? And 
we shall in all after time reverence and worship their tombs as 
those of daemons. And we shall enact by law, that the same 
things be performed, and in the same manner, to any who shall 
have been deemed to have remarkably distinguished themselves 
in life, when they die of old age, or any thing else ? It is right, 
said he. But what now ? How shall our soldiers behave towards 
enemies ? As to what ? First, as to bringing into slavery. Do 
you think it just that Greeks should enslave Greek cities? or 
rather, as far as they are able, not suffer any other to do it, and 
accustom themselves to this, to be sparing of the Grecian tribe, 
being greatly on their guard against being enslaved by the 
Barbarians? It is, said he, in general, and in every particular 
case, best to be sparing. Are they not to acquire any Grecian 
slave themselves, and to counsel the other Greeks to act in the 
same manner? By all means, said he. They will the more, at 
least, by such a conduct, turn themselves against the Barbarians, 
and abstain from one another. Again : To strip the dead, said I, 


of any thing but their arms after they conquer them, is it hand- 
some or not ? It gives a pretence to cowards not to go against 
the enemy who is alive, as being necessarily occupied when they 
are thus employed about the one who is dead; and many armies 
have been lost by this plundering. Very many. And does it 
not appear to you to be illiberal and sordid, and the part of a 
womanish and little mind, to strip the dead body, and deem the 
body of the deceased an enemy, when the enemy is fled off, and 
there is only left behind that with which he fought? Or, do 
you imagine that they who act in this manner do any way 
different from dogs, who are in a rage at the stones which are 
thrown at them, not touching the man who throws them ? Not 
in the least, said he. We must let alone then this stripping the 
dead, and these hinderances arising from the carrying off booty. 
Truly, said he, these must be banished. Nor shall we at any 
time bring the arms into the temples, as if we were to dedicate 
them, at least not the arms of Grecians, if we have any con- 
cern to obtain the benevolence of the other Greeks: but we 
shall rather be afraid, lest it should be a kind of profanation to 
bring into the temple such things as these from our own kinsmen, 
unless the oracle shall say otherwise. Most right, replied he. 
But what, with reference to the laying waste Grecian lands, and 
burning of houses, how shall your soldiers behave towards their 
enemies ? I should be glad, said he, to hear you signifying your 
opinion. Truly then, said I, in my opinion, neither of these 
ought to be done, but only the year's produce to be carried off. 
And would you have me tell you the reason why this should be 
done ? By all means. It appears to me, that as these two words, 
war and sedition, are different, so they are two different things 
which are signified by them: I call them two different things, 
because the one is domestic and akin, the other foreign and 
strange. When hatred is among ourselves, it is called sedition ; 
when it respects foreigners, it is called war. What you say, 
replied he, is no way unreasonable. But consider now, if I say 
this likewise reasonably: for I aver that the Greek nation is 
friendly and akin to itself, but is foreign and strange to the 
Barbarian. This too is right. When then the Greeks fight 
with the Barbarians, and the Barbarians with the Greeks, we shall 
say they wage war, and are naturally enemies ; and this hatred is 
to be called war. But when Greeks do any such thing to Greeks, 
we shall say that they are friends by nature, and that Greece in 
such a case is distempered, and in sedition ; and such a hatred is 
to be called a sedition. I agree, said he, to account for it in the 
same manner. Consider then, said I, that in the sedition now 
mentioned, wherever such a thing happens, and the city is dis- 
jointed, if they sequester the lands, and* burn the houses of one 
another, how destructive the sedition appears, and neither of 

120 PLATO 

them seem to be lovers of their country: for otherwise they 
would never dare to lay waste their nurse and mother; but it 
would suffice the victors to carry off the fruits of the vanquished, 
and to consider they are to be reconciled, and not perpetually to 
be at war. This indeed is by much a more mild sentiment than 
the other. But what now? said I. Is not this city you are 
establishing a Greek one? It should be so, replied he. And 
shall not they be good and mild ? By all means. And shall they 
not be lovers of Greeks? And shall they not account Greece 
akin to them ? And shall they not have the same religious rites 
with the rest of the Greeks ? By all means. A difference then 
with Greeks, as with kinsmen, will they not denominate a sedition, 
and not a war ? They will. And they will behave as those who 
are to be reconciled. By all means. They shall then be mild 
and moderate, not punishing so far as to enslave or destroy, since 
they are moderate, and not hostile. Just so, said he. Neither 
then, as they are Greeks, will they sequester Grecian lands, nor 
burn their houses ; nor will they allow that in every city all are 
their enemies, men, women, and children ; but that always a few 
only are enemies, the authors of the quarrel: and on all these 
accounts they will neither choose to lay waste lands, as the 
greatest number are their friends; nor will they overturn the 
houses, but will carry on the war so far as till the guilty be 
obliged by the innocent, whom they distress, to make reparation. 
I agree, said he, that we ought to behave so towards our own 
citizens when we are set against one another ; and to behave so 
towards the Barbarians as the Greeks at present do to one 
another. Let us then likewise establish this law for our 
guardians, — neither to lay waste the lands, nor burn the houses. 
Let us establish it, said he, and this further, that these things, 
and those too you mentioned formerly, are right : but it appears 
to me, Socrates, if one is to allow you to speak in this manner, 
that you will never remember what you formerly passed by, when 
you entered on all that you have now said ; viz. how far such a 
government is possible? and in what way it is at all possible? 
For, if it be at all possible, I will allow that all these good things 
will belong to that city, and the following likewise which you have 
omitted ; — that they will, in the best manner, fight against their 
enemies, and of all others least abandon one another, recognizing 
these names, and calling one another by these, — fathers, sons, 
and brothers ;• and if the females shall encamp along with them, 
whether in the same rank, or drawn up behind them, that they 
will strike terror into the enemies, and at the same time assist if 
ever there be necessity for it, I know that in this way they will 
entirely be invincible. And I plainly see too what advantages 
they have at home, which we have omitted. But speak no more 
about this government, as I allow that all these, and ten thousand 


other things, will belong to it, if it actually exist. But let us 
endeavour to persuade one another of this itself, whether it be 
possible, and in what respect it is so ; and let us omit those other 
things. You have suddenly, said I, made an assault on my 
reasoning, and make no allowance for a loiterer ; for perhaps you 
do not advert, that, with difficulty, I am escaped from two waves, 
and now you are bringing upon me the greatest and most 
dangerous of the three. After you have seen and heard this, you 
will entirely forgive me; allowing, that I with reason grudged, 
and was afraid to mention so great a parodox, and undertake to 
examine it. The more, said he, you mention these things, the 
less will you be freed from explaining in what respect this 
government is possible. Proceed then, and do not delay. Must 
not this then, said I, in the first place, be remembered, that we 
are come hither in search of justice, what it is ? and what injustice 
is ? It must, said he. But what is this to the purpose ? Nothing. 
But if we discover what justice is, shall we then judge that the 
just man ought in no respect to differ from it, but in every respect 
to be such as justice is ? and shall we be satisfied if he approach 
the nearest to it, and, of all others, partake of it the most? We 
shall, said he, be thus satisfied. As a model then, said I, we were 
inquiring into this, what kind of thing justice is ; and we likewise 
were in quest of a just man ; and considered what sort of man he 
should be, if he did exist. We likewise inquired what injustice is, 
and what too the most unjust men — in order that, looking into 
these two models, what kind of men they appeared with respect 
to happiness and its opposite, we might be obliged to acknowledge 
concerning ourselves, that whoever should most resemble them in 
character shall have a fortune the most resembling theirs ; and 
not for this end, to show that these things are possible or not. 
In this, said he, you say true. Do you imagine then that the 
painter is in any degree the less excellent, who having painted a 
model of the most beautiful man, and brought every thing fully 
into his piece, is yet unable to show that such a man does really 
exist ? Indeed no, said he, I do not. Well then, have we not 
made in our reasonings (shall we say) a model of a good city? 
Yes, indeed. Have we then spoken any thing the worse, do you 
imagine, on this account, that we are not able to show, that it is 
possible for a city to be established such as we have described ? 
No, indeed, said he. This then, said I, is the truth of the case. 
But if truly I must now likewise, on your account, hasten to this* 
to show how especially, and in what respects, it is most possible, 
in order to this discovery, you must again grant the same things 
as formerly. What things? Is it possible for any thing to be 
executed so perfectly as it is described ? or, is such the nature of 
practice, that it approaches not so near the truth as theory, though 
some may think otherwise ? But whether will you allow this or 

122 PLATO 

not ? I allow it, said he. Do not then oblige me to show you 
all these things, and in every respect, existing in fact, so perfectly 
as we have described in our reasoning ; but if we be able to find 
out how a city may be established the nearest possible to what 
we have mentioned, you will say we have di&eovered that these 
things which you require are possible ? Or will you not even be 
satisfied if this be obtained? For my own part, I should be 
satisfied. And I too, said he. We are now, it seems, in the next 
place, to endeavour to find out and to show what, at all, is the 
evil which is now practised in cities through which they are 
not established in this manner we have described; and what 
is that smallest change, which, if made, would bring the city 
to this model of government; and let us chiefly see, if this 
can be effected preferably by the change of one thing, if not 
by the change of two, if not that, by the change of the 
fewest things in number, and the smallest in power. By 
all means, said he. Upon the change then of one thing, said 
I, I am able I think to show that the state can fall into this 
model of government. But the change is not indeed small 
nor easy, yet it is possible. What is it? said he. I am now 
come, said I, to what I compared to the greatest wave : and 
it shall now be mentioned, though, like a breaking wave, 
it should overwhelm us with excessive laughter and unbelief. 
But consider what I am going to say. Proceed, replied he. 
Unless either philosophers, said I, govern in cities, or those 
who are at present called kings and governors philosophize 
genuinely and sufficiently, and these two, the political power 
and philosophy, unite in one; and till the bulk of those who 
at present pursue each of these separately are of necessity 
excluded, there shall be no end, Glauco, to the miseries of 
cities, nor yet, as I imagine, to those of the human race; nor 
till then shall ever this polity, which we have gone over 
in our reasonings, spring up to a possibility, and behold the 
light of the sun. But this is that which all along made me 
grudge to mention it, that I saw what a paradox I was to utter : 
for it is difficult to be convinced that no other but this republic 
can enjoy happiness, whether public or private. You have 
thrown out, Socrates, said he, such an expression and argument, 
as you may imagine will bring on you a great many, and these 
courageous to such a degree as to put off their clothes, and 
rfiaked to snatch whatever weapon fortune affords each of them ; 
and, as if they were to perform prodigies, rush upon you in 
battle array. And unless, mowing them down with argument, 
you make your escape, you will pay for it by suffering most severe 
ridicule. And are not you the cause of all this ? said I. But 
in acting handsomely at least, replied he. However, in this 
affair, I will not betray you, but defend you with such things as 


I am able. And I am able both by my good-will and by 
encouraging you, and probably I will answer your questions 
more carefully than any other; only do you endeavour, relying 
on the help of such an assistant, to show those who are backward 
to believe these things, that the case really is as you represent 
it. I must endeavour, said I, since even you afford so great an 

And here it seems to me to be necessary, if we are any how 
to make our escape from those you mention, accurately to 
define to them what kind of men these are whom we call 
philosophers, when we dare to assert that they alone ought to 
govern, in order that, when they are made perfectly manifest, 
any one may be able to defend himself, when he asserts that to 
these it naturally belongs both to apply themselves to philosophy, 
and likewise to take upon them the government of the state: 
but others are to apply themselves neither to philosophy nor 
government, but to obey their leader. It is proper, said he, 
to define them. Come then, follow me this way, if together any 
how we shall sufficiently explain this matter. Lead on then, 
said he. Will it then be needful, said I, to remind you, or do 
you remember it, that when we say of any one, that he loves 
any thing, when we speak with propriety, he must not appear 
to love one part of it, and not another, but to have an affection 
for the whole? I need, it seems, replied he, to be put in mind ; 
for I do not understand it perfectly. It might become another, 
Glauco, replied I, to say what you say ; but it does not become 
a man who is a lover, to forget that all those who are in their 
bloom sting somehow, and give emotion to one who is amorous, 
and a lover, as they are deemed worthy both of respect and of 
being saluted. Or do you not behave in this manner towards 
the beautiful ? One, because flat-nosed, shall be called agreeable, 
and be commended by you; and the hook-nose of the other, 
you say, is princely ; and that which is in the middle of these is 
according to the exactest symmetry: the black are said to be 
manly to behold ; and the fair to be the children of the Gods : — 
but this appellation of honey-pale, do you imagine it is the 
invention of any other than of a flattering lover, and one who 
easily bears with the paleness, provided it is in the bloom of 
youth? And, in one word, you make all kinds of pretences, 
and say every thing so as never to reject any one who is of a 
blooming age ? If you incline, said he, to judge by me of other 
lovers, that they act in this manner, I agree to it for the sake 
of the argument. And what, said I, with respect to the lovers 
of wine ; do you not observe them acting in the same manner, 
cheerfully drinking every kind of wine upon every pretext? 
Yes, indeed. And you perceive, as I imagine, that the ambitious 
likewise, if they cannot obtain the command of a whole army, 

124 PLATO 

will take the command of a regiment; and, if they cannot be 
honoured by greater and better men, are content if they be 
honoured by the lower and more contemptible, being desirous 
of honour at any rate? It is perfectly so. Agree to this or 
not : if we say, one is desirous of any thing, shall we say that 
he desires the whole species, or that he desires one part of it, 
but not another? The whole, replied he. Shall we not then 
likewise say, that the philosopher is desirous of wisdom, and 
that not of one part only, but of the whole? True. He 
then who is averse to learning, especially if he be young, and 
has not at all understanding to discern what is good, and what is 
otherwise, shall not be called a lover of learning, nor a philosopher ; 
in the same manner as we say of one who is disgusted with meats, 
that he neither hungers after nor desires meats, nor is a lover bat 
a hater of them. And we shall say right. But the man who 
readily inclines to taste of every learning, and with pleasure 
enters on the study of it, and is insatiable of it, this man 
we shall with justice call a philosopher: shall we not? 
On this Glauco said, There will be many such philosophers, 
and those very absurd: for all your lovers of shows appear to 
me to be of this kind, from their taking a pleasure in learning ; 
and your sound lovers are the most strange of all to be reckoned 
among philosophers at least. I mean those who would not 
willingly attend on such reasonings, and such a disquisition as 
this ; but yet, as if they had hired out their ears to listen to every 
chorus, they run about to the Bacchanalia, omitting neither those 
of cities nor villages. Shall all these then, and others studious of 
such things, and those who apply to the inferior arts, be called by 
us philosophers ? By no means, said I, but resembling philosophers. 
But whom, said he, do you call the true ones ? Those, said I, who 
are desirous of discerning the truth. This, said he, is right. But 
how do you mean ? It is not easy, said I, to tell it to another ; 
but you, I imagine, will agree with me in this. In what ? That 
since the beautiful is opposite to the deformed, these are two 
things. Of course they are. And if they are two, then each of 
them is one. This also is granted. And the reasoning is the 
same concerning justice and injustice, good and evil. And con- 
cerning every other species of things the argument is the same — 
that each of them is one in itself, but appears to be many, being 
every where diversified by their communication with action and 
body, and with one another. You say right, said he. In this 
manner then, said I, I separate these, and set apart those you 
now mentioned, the lovers of public shows, of handicrafts, and 
mechanics ; and then apart from these I set those of whom we 
discourse at present, whom alone we may properly call philoso- 
phers. How do you say? replied he. The lovers of sounds 
and of spectacles delight in fine sounds, colours, and figures, and 


every thing which is compounded of these; but the nature of 
beauty itself their mind is unable to discern and admire. Indeed 
the case is so, said he. But as to those then who are able to 
approach this beauty itself, and to behold it as it is in itself, 
must they not be few in number? Extremely so. He then 
who accounts some things beautiful, but neither knows beauty 
itself, nor is able to follow if one were to lead him to the 
knowledge of it, does he seem to you to live in a dream, or 
to be awake? Consider now, what is it to dream? Is it not 
this, when a man, whether asleep or awake, imagines the simili- 
tude of a thing is not the similitude, but really the thing itself 
which it resembles? I for my part would aver, replied he, 
that such a person is really in a dream. But what now as 
to* him who judges opposite to this, who understands what 
beauty is itself, and is able to discern both it and such 
things as participate of it, and neither deems the participants 
to be beauty, nor beauty to be the participants? whether does 
such an one seem to you to live awake, or in a dream? 
Perfectly awake, said he. May we not then properly call 
this man's mental perception, as he really knows, knowledge, 
but that of the other, opinion, as he only opines ? By all means. 
But what if the person who we say only opines things, but does 
not really know them, be enraged at us, and dispute with us, 
alleging that what we say is not true ; shall we have any method 
of soothing and persuading him, in a gentle manner, by con- 
cealing that he is not in a sound state ? At least there is need 
of it, replied he. Come now, consider what we shall say to him. 
Or do you incline we shall thus interrogate him? telling him, 
that if he knows any thing, no one envies him for it, but we 
shall gladly see him possessed of some knowledge; but only 
tell us this, does the man who has knowledge, know something 
or nothing? Do you now answer me for him. I will answer, 
said he, that he knows something. Whether something which 
really exists, or which does not? What does really exist: for 
how can that be known which has no real existence? Have 
we then examined this sufficiently, however else we might con- 
sider it, fully; that what really is, may be really known; but 
what does not at all exist, cannot at all be known? We have 
examined it most sufficiently. Be it so. But if there be any 
thing of such a kind, as both to be and not to be, must it not 
lie between that which absolutely is, and that which is not at 
all? Between them. As to what really is, then, is there not 
knowledge? and as to that which is not at all, is there not of 
necessity ignorance? And for that which is between these, 
we must seek for something between ignorance and knowledge, 
if there be any such thing. By all means. Do we say then that 
opinion is any thing ? We do. Whether is it a different power 

126 PLATO 

from knowledge, or the same ? Different. Is opinion then con- 
versant about one thing, and knowledge about another, by virtue 
of the same power, or each of them by virtue of a power of its 
own? This last. Is not the power of knowledge conversant 
about what really exists, to know that it is ? Or rather it seems 
to me first to be necessary to distinguish in this manner. How ? 
We shall say, that powers are a certain species of real existences, 
by which we can both do whatever we can do, and every being 
else whatever it can do. Thus, I say, that seeing and hearing are 
among these powers, if you understand what I mean by this 
species. I understand, said he. Hear then what appears to me 
concerning them. I do not see any colour of a power, nor figure, 
nor any of such qualities, as of many other things, with reference 
to which I distinguish some things with myself, that they ate 
different from one another. But as to power, I regard that alone 
about which it is conversant, and what it effects; and on this 
account I have called each of these a power. And the power 
which is conversant about and effects one and the same thing, I 
call the same power, but that conversant about and effecting a 
different thing, I call a different power : but what say you ? In 
what manner do you call it? Just so, replied he. But come 
again, excellent Glauco, whether do you say that knowledge is 
itself a certain power, or to what class do you refer it ? I refer it 
to this class of power, said he, as it is of all powers the most 
strong. But what now ? Shall we refer opinion to power, or to 
some other species ? By no means to power, said he ; for that by 
which we form opinions is nothing else but opinion. But you 
owned some time since, that knowledge and opinion were not the 
same. Why, said he, how can ever any one who possesses in- 
tellect reduce under one, that which is fallible, and that which is 
infallible ? You say right, said I. And it is plain that we have 
allowed opinion to be a different thing from knowledge. We 
have. Each of them then has naturally a different power over 
a different thing. Of necessity. Knowledge has a power over 
being itself, in knowing real existence, how it exists. Yes. But 
%re say that opinion opines. Yes. Whether has it to be with the 
same thing which knowledge knows? and shall that which is 
known, and that which is opined, be the same? or is this im- 
possible ? Impossible, said he, from what we have allowed : since 
they are naturally powers of different things, and both of them 
are powers, opinion and knowledge, and each of them different 
from the other, as we have said ; from these things it cannot be, 
that what is opined is the same with that which is known. If 
then being itself be the object of knowledge, must it not be 
different from that which is perceived by opinion? Different. 
Does he then who opines, opine that which has no existence? 
Or is it impossible to opine that which doth not exist at all? 


Consider now, does not the man who opines, refer his opinion to 
somewhat ? Or is it possible to opine, and yet opine nothing at 
all ? Impossible. Then whoever opines, opines some one thing. 
Yes. But surely that which does not exist, cannot be called any 
one thing, but most properly nothing at all. Certainly so. But 
we necessarily referred ignorance to that which does not exist, 
but knowledge to real existence. Right, said he. Neither 
therefore does he opine being, nor yet that which is not. He 
does not. Opinion then is neither knowledge, nor is it ignorance. 
It appears it is not. Does it then lie outside these, either ex- 
ceeding knowledge in perspicuity, or ignorance in. obscurity? 
It does neither. But does opinion, said I, seem to you to be 
more obscure than knowledge, but more perspicuous than 
ignorance? By much, said he. But does it lie between them 
both then? It does. Opinion then is in the middle of these 
two. Entirely so. And have we not already said, that if any 
thing appeared of such a kind, as at the same time to be, and 
yet not to be, such a thing would lie between that which has 
really an existence, and that which does not at all exist, and 
that neither knowledge nor ignorance would be conversant about 
it, but that which appeared to be between ignorance and 
knowledge? Right. And now that which we call opinion, 
has appeared to be between them. It has appeared. It yet 
remains for us, as it seems, to discover that which participates 
of both these, of being, and of non-being, and which with 
propriety can be called neither of them perfectly ; in order that 
if it appear, we may justly call it that which is opined, assigning 
to the extremes what is extreme, and to the middle what is in 
the middle. Shall we not do thus ? Thus. These things being 
determined, let this worthy man, I will say, tell and answer me, 
he who reckons that beauty, and a certain idea of beauty there 
is none, always the same, and in the same condition ; this lover 
of sights and shows, who reckons there are many beautiful 
things, but can never endure to be told that there the beautiful 
is one, and the just one, and so of others. Of all these many 
things, excellent man ! shall we say to him, is there any which 
will not appear deformed, and of those just which will not 
appear unjust, of those holy which will not appear profane? 
No; but of necessity, said he, the beautiful things must in 
some respects appear even deformed, and others in like manner. 
Again, many things which are double, or twofold, do they less 
really appear to be halves than doubles ? No less. And things 
great and small, light and heavy, shall they be denominated 
what we call them, any more than the opposite ? No ; but each 
of them, said he, always participates of both. Whether then is 
each of these many things that which it is said to be, or is it not ? 
It is like their riddles at feasts, said he, and the riddle of children 

128 PLATO 

about the eunuch's striking the bat, puzzling one another in what 
manner he strikes it, and where it was. For all these things have 
a double meaning, and it is impossible to know accurately that 
they are, or are not, that they are both, or neither of the two. 
How can you do with them then ? said I, or have you a better 
class for them than a medium between being and non-being? 
For they will not seem more obscure than non-being, so as to 
be more not-being, nor more perspicuous than being, so as to be 
more being. Most true, said he. We have then discovered, it 
seems, that most of the maxims current among the multitude 
concerning the beautiful, and those other things, roll somehow 
between being and non-being. We have discovered it. But we 
formerly agreed, that if any such thing should appear, it ought to 
be called that which is opined, and not what is known ; and that 
which fluctuates between the two is to be perceived by the power 
between the two. We agreed. Those then who contemplate 
many beautiful things, but who never perceive beauty itself, nor 
are able to follow another leading them to it; and many just 
things, but never justice itself, and all other things in like 
manner, we will say that they opine all things, but know none 
of the things which they opine. Of necessity, said he. Further- 
more, those who perceive each of the things themselves, always 
existing in the same condition, and in the same respect, shall 
we not say that they know, and do not opine? Of necessity 
this likewise. And shall we not say, that these embrace and 
love the things of which they have knowledge, and the others 
the things of which they have opinion? Or do we not re- 
member, that we said they beheld and loved fine sounds and 
colours, and such things; but that beauty itself they do not 
admit of as any real being ? We remember. Shall we then act 
wrong in calling them lovers of opinion, rather than philosophers ? 
And yet they will be greatly enraged at us if we call them so. 
Not, if they be persuaded by me, said he ; for it is not lawful 
to be enraged at the truth. Those then who admire every 
thing which has a real being, are to be called philosophers, and 
not lovers of opinion. By all means. 




THOSE now who are philosophers, said I, Glauco, and those 
who are not, have, through a long compass of discourse, 
with difficulty discovered themselves what they severally are. 
Because, perhaps, it was not easy, said he, in a short one. So 
it appears, said I. But I still think they would have better 
discovered themselves, if it had been requisite to speak concern- 
ing this alone, and not to have discussed that multitude of other 
things, when we were to consider what difference there is 
between a just life and an unjust. What then, said he, are 
we to treat of next? What else, said I, but of that which is 
next in order? Since those are philosophers who are able to 
pass into contact with that which always exists unchangeable — 
the same condition; but those who are not able to accomplish 
this, but who wander amidst many things, and such as are 
every way shifting, are not philosophers ; which of these ought 
to be the governors of the city ? Which way, said he, shall we 
determine in this, and determine reasonably? Whichever of 
them, said I, appear capable of preserving the laws and institu- 
tions of cities, these are to be made guardians. Right, said 
he. This now, said I, is certainly plain; whether a blind or 
quick - sighted guardian be proper for watching any thing. 
Certainly it is plain, said he. Whether then do those appear 
to you to differ from the blind, who are in reality deprived of 
the knowledge of each particular being, and have neither a 
clear ensample in their soul, nor are able, as painters looking 
up to the truest ensample, and always referring themselves 
thither, and contemplating it in the most accurate manner 
possible, to establish here too in like manner just maxims of 
the beautiful, and just, and good, if there be occasion to 
establish them, and to guard and preserve such as are already 
established? No, I swear, said he. They do not differ much. 
Shall we then appoint these to be guardians, or those who 
know each being, and who in experience are nothing behind 



130 PLATO 

those others, nor inferior to them in any other part of virtue? 
It were absurd, said he, to choose others, at least if these are 
not deficient in other things; for in this, which is surely the 
greatest, they excel Shall we not then speak to this point, 
— In what manner the same persons shall he able to have both 
the one and the other of those things? By all means. It is 
then first of all necessary, as we observed in the beginning of 
this discourse, thoroughly to understand their genius; and I 
think if we sufficiently agree respecting it, we shall likewise 
agree that the same persons are able to possess both these 
things, and that no others but these ought to be the governors 
of cities. How so? Let this now be agreed among us con- 
cerning the philosophic geniuses, that they are always desirous 
of such learning as may discover to them that essence which 
always is, and is not changed by generation or corruption. Let 
it be agreed. And likewise, said I, that they are desirous of 
the whole of such learning, and that they will not willingly 
omit any part of it, neither small nor great, more honourable 
or more dishonourable, as we formerly observed concerning the 
ambitious, and concerning lovers. You say right, said he. 
Consider then, in the next place, if, besides what we have 
mentioned, it be necessary that this also should subsist in the 
genius of those who are to be such as we have described. What ? 
That they be void of falsehood, nor willingly at any time receive 
a lie ; but hate it, and love the truth. It is likely, said he. It 
is not only likely, my friend, but is perfectly necessary, that 
one who is naturally in love with any thing should love every 
thing allied and belonging to the objects of his affection. Right, 
said he. Can you then find any thing more allied to wisdom than 
truth? How can we? said he. Is it possible then that the 
same genius can be philosophic, and at the same time a lover 
of falsehood? By no means. He then who is in reality a 
lover of learning, ought immediately from his infancy to be in 
the greatest measure desirous of all truth. By all means. But 
we know somehow, that whoever has his desires vehemently 
verging to one thing, has them upon this very account weaker 
as to other things, as a current diverted into that channel. 
Certainly. But whosoever hath his desires running out after 
learning, and every thing of this kind, would be conversant, I 
think, about the pleasure of the soul itself, and would forsake 
those pleasures which arise from the body, provided he be not 
a counterfeit, but some real philosopher. This follows by a 
mighty necessity. And such an one is moderate, and by no 
means a lover of money. For the reasons why money is with 
so much trouble anxiously sought after, have weight with any 
other than such an one to make him solicitous. Certainly. 
And surely somehow you must likewise consider this when you 


are to judge what is a philosophic genius, and what is not. 
What ? That it do not without your knowledge partake of an 
illiberal turn: for pettiness is most opposite to a soul which is 
always to pursue earnestly the whole and every thing of that 
which is divine and human. Most true, said he. Do you then 
suppose that he who possesses magnificent conceptions in his 
mind, and a contemplation of the whole of time, and the whole 
of being, can possibly consider human life as a thing of great 
consequence. It is impossible, said he. Such an one then 
will not account death any thing terrible. Least of all. A 
cowardly and illiberal genius, then, will not, it seems, readily 
participate of true philosophy. It does not appear to me that 
it will. Well now, can the moderate man, and one who is not 
a lover of money, nor illiberal, nor arrogant, nor cowardly, 
ever possibly be an ill co-partner, or unjust? It is impossible. 
And you will likewise consider this, when you are viewing 
from its infancy what is the philosophic soul, and what is 
not, whether it be just and mild, or unsocial and savage. By 
all means. Neither indeed, as I think, will you omit this. 
What? Whether it learn with facility or difficulty. Or do 
you expect that ever any one will love any thing sufficiently, 
in performing which he performs with uneasiness and with 
difficulty, making small progress? It cannot be. But what if 
he can retain nothing of what he learns, being quite forgetful, 
is it possible for him not to be void of knowledge? How is 
it possible? And when he labours unprofitably, do you not 
imagine he will be obliged at last to hate both himself and 
such practice? Why must he not? We shall never then 
reckon a forgetful soul among those who are thoroughly 
philosophic, but we shall reqf ire it to be of a good memory. 
By all means. But never shall we say this at least, that an 
unmusical and indecent nature leads anywhere else but towards 
ill proportion. Where else? But whether do you reckon truth 
allied to ill proportion or good? To good. Let us require 
then among other things a mind naturally well-proportioned 
and graceful, as a proper guide towards spontaneously attain- 
ing the idea of each particular being. By all means. Well, 
do we not in some measure seem to you to have discussed 
the necessary qualifications, and such as are consequent to 
each other, in a soul which is to apprehend being sufficiently, 
and in perfection ? The most necessary, said he. Is it possible 
then for you in any measure to blame such a study as this, 
which a man can never be able sufficiently to apply to, unless 
he be naturally possessed of a good memory, learn with facility, 
be magnificent, graceful, and the friend and ally of truth, 
justice, fortitude and temperance? Not even Momus himself, 
said he, could find fault with such a study. But, said I, will 

132 PLATO 

it not be to these alone, when they are perfected by education 
and age, that you will entrust the city ? 

Here Adimantus said, Indeed, Socrates, no one is able to 
contradict you as to these things; but all who hear you at 
any time advancing what you do at present, are somehow 
affected in this manner. Being led off a little by your 
reasoning on each question, through their inexperience in 
this method of question and answer, when all these littles 
are collected together, at the close of your reasonings, they 
reckon that the mistake appears considerable, and the contrary 
of their first concessions ; and like those who play at draughts 
with such as are dexterous, but are themselves unskilful, they 
are in the end shut up, and can do no more; so your hearers 
have nothing to say, being shut up by this other kind of 
game, not with pieces, but with your reasonings. Though 
the truth at least is not by this any way advanced: I say 
this with reference to the present inquiry; for one may tell 
you that he has nothing to oppose to each of your questions 
by way of argument, but that in fact he sees that all those 
who do not have recourse to philosophy for education's sake 
and then leave it while still young, but continue in it much 
longer, become the most of them quite awkward, not to say 
altogether depraved ; and those of them who appear the most 
worthy, do yet suffer thus much from this study you so much 
commend, that they become useless to the public. When I 
had heard this, Do you imagine then, said I, that such as say 
these things are telling a falsehood? I do not know, said he, 
but would gladly hear your opinion. I would tell you then, 
that they appear to me to say true. How then, replied he, 
is it right to say that the miseries of cities shall never have 
an end till they be governed by philosophers, whom we are 
now acknowledging to be useless to them ? You ask a question, 
said I, which needs an answer through an image. And you, 
said he, are not wont, I think, to speak through images. Ah, 
said I, you jest now, when you have brought me on a subject 
which is so difficult to be explained. But attend to the image, 
that you may see further how greedily I use images; for the 
state of the most worthy philosophers in the management of 
public affairs is so grievous, that there is nothing else like it: 
but in making our simile, and in apologizing for them, we must 
collect from many particulars, in the same manner as painters 
mix the figures of two different animals together, and paint a 
creature which is both goat and stag in one, and others of 
this kind. Conceive now that such a fleet as this, or such a 
single ship. The captain is one who exceeds all in the ship, 
both in bulk and in strength, but is somewhat deaf, and sees 
in like manner but a short way, and whose skill in sea affairs 


is much of the same kind. Conceive likewise that the sailors 
are all in sedition among themselves, contending for the 
pilotship, each imagining he ought to be pilot, though he 
never learned the art, nor is able to show who was his master, 
nor at what time he learned it. That besides this, all of 
them say that the art itself cannot be taught, and are ready 
to cut in pieces any one who says that it can. Imagine further, 
that they continually surround the captain himself, begging, 
and doing every thing that he may put the helm into their 
hands ; and that even sometimes when they are not so successful 
in persuading him as others are, they either kill these others, 
or throw them overboard ; and after they have by mandragora, 
or wine, or some other thing, rendered the noble captain in- 
capable, they get control over the ship, using all there is in 
it, and whilst they drink and feast in this manner, they sail 
as it may be expected of such people. And besides these 
things, if any one be dexterous in assisting them to get the 
government into their own hands, and in setting aside the 
captain, either by persuasion or force, they commend such an 
one, calling him sailor and pilot, and intelligent in navigation ; 
but they condemn as useless every one who is not of this 
kind, whilst they never in the least think that the true pilot 
must necessarily pay attention to the year, the seasons, the 
heavens, and stars, and winds, and every thing belonging to 
the art, if he intends to be a governor of a ship in reality: 
but the art and practice of steering (whether he be desired 
to do so or not), they think impossible for a man to attain, 
and the art of steering withal. Whilst affairs are in this 
situation with regard to the ships, do you not think that the 
true pilot will be called by the sailors aboard of ships fitted 
out in this manner, a star-gazer, insignificant, and unprofitable 
to them? Undoubtedly, said Adimantus. I think then, said 
I, that you will not want any explanation of the image, to see 
that it represents how they are affected in cities towards true 
philosophers, but that you understand what I say. Perfectly, 
said he. First of all then with respect to this, if any one 
wonders that philosophers are not honoured in cities, teach 
him our image, and endeavour to persuade him that it would 
be much more wonderful if they were honoured. I will teach 
him so, replied he. And further, that it is indeed true, what 
you now was observing, that the best of those who apply to 
philosophy are useless to the bulk of mankind; but however, 
for this, bid them blame such as make no use of these 
philosophers, and not these philosophers themselves. For it 
is not in nature for the pilot to entreat the sailors to allow 
him to govern them, nor for the wise to be resorting to the 
gates of the rich. But whoever pleasantly said this was 

134 PLATO 

mistaken; for this is truly the natural method, that whoever 
is sick, whether rich or poor, must of necessity go to the 
gates of the physician, and whoever wants to be governed 
must wait on him who is able to govern; for it is not natural 
that the governor who is really of any value should entreat 
the governed to subject themselves to his government. But 
you will not greatly err, when you compare our present 
political governors to those sailors we now mentioned, and 
those who are called by them insignificant and star-gazers to 
those who are truly pilots. Most right, said he. From hence 
then it would seem that this best of pursuits is not likely to 
be held in esteem among those who pursue studies of an 
opposite nature; but by far the greatest and most violent 
accusation of philosophy is occasioned by means of those who 
profess to study it ; the most of whom, you say, your accuser 
of philosophy calls altogether depraved, and the very best 
of them of no advantage to the state; and I agreed that you 
say the truth, did I not? You did. And have we not fully 
explained the cause why the best of them are of no advantage ? 
We have. Would you choose then, that we should in the next 
place explain the reason why the most of them must of necessity 
be depraved, and that we endeavour to demonstrate, that of this, 
philosophy is by no means the cause. Entirely so. Let us 
attend then, and begin our reasoning, calling to mind what we 
formerly observed concerning the natural genius which neces- 
sarily belongs to the good and worthy. — And what was a leading 
part in it, if you remember, was truth, which he must by all 
means wholly pursue, or else be a vain boaster, and never 
partake of true philosophy. It was so said. Is not this one 
part of his character perfectly contrary to the present opinions 
of him? It is very much so, replied he. Will it not then be 
no small defence, if we be able to show that the true lover of 
learning is naturally made to aspire to the knowledge of real 
being, and not to rest in the many particular things which are 
the objects of opinion, but goes on, and is not blunted, nor 
ceases from his love of truth till he comes into contact with 
the nature of every thing which w, by that part of the soul 
whose office it is to come into contact with a thing of this 
kind. But it is the office of that part of the soul which is 
allied to real being; to which when this true lover of learning 
approaches, and is mingled with it, having generated intellect 
and truth, he will then have true knowledge, and truly live 
and be nourished, and then he becomes liberated from the 
pains of parturition, but not before. This, said he, will be a 
most reasonable defence. What now, will it be the part of 
such an one to be content with falsehood, or, entirely the 
contrary, to hate it? To hate it, said he. But whilst truth 


indeed leads the way, we can never, I think, say that any 
band of evils follows in her train. How can we? But, on 
the contrary, we may aver that she is followed by sound 
and moderate manners, and such as are accompanied with 
temperance. Right, said he. Why, now, need we go over 
again and range in order the whole qualities of the philosophic 
genius? for you no doubt remember that there belong to men 
of this character fortitude, magnanimity, facility of learning, and 
memory : and when you replied that every one would be obliged 
to agree to what we said, we quitted that subject, and turned to 
that which is the subject of discourse at present, on your saying 
that you observed some of the philosophers were insignificant, and 
many of them altogether depraved. And while we were examin- 
ing into the cause of that calumny, we are now come to this, 
whence it is that many of them are depraved. And on this 
account we have gone over again the genius of true philosophers, 
and have necessarily defined what it is. It is so, said he. It is 
necessary now, said I, that we consider the corruptions of this 
genius, and in what manner it is destroyed in the most, whilst but 
one small portion escapes, those that they call not depraved, but 
useless. And next, what those geniuses are which counterfeit the 
philosophic nature, and pretend to its pursuit: and what is the 
nature of those souls who aspire to a pursuit which does not 
belong to them, and is above their reach: for these, by their 
manifold errors, have everywhere, and among all men, introduced 
this opinion of philosophy which you mention. What sort of 
corruptions, said he, do you mean ? I shall endeavour to rehearse 
them, said I, if I be able. And this now, I think, every one will 
allow us, that such a genius, with all those qualifications we have 
enjoined one who is to be a perfect philosopher, rarely arises 
among men, and that there are but few of them : do not you 
think so? Entirely so. And of those few, consider how many 
and how great are the causes of corruption. What are they? 
That which is most of all wonderful to hear, that each of those 
things we commended in the genius of a philosopher, corrupts the 
soul which possesses them, and withdraws it from philosophy; 
fortitude, I mean, and temperance, and all those other qualifica- 
tions which we have discussed. That is strange to hear, said he. 
And further still, said I, besides these things, all those which are 
commonly called good, such as beauty, riches, strength of body, a 
powerful alliance in the city, and every thing akin to these, 
corrupt and withdraw it from philosophy; for you have now a 
specimen of what I mean. I have, replied he, and would gladly 
understand more accurately what you say. Understand then, said 
I, the whole of it aright, and it will appear manifest, and what we 
formerly said will not seem to be absurd. How then, said he, do 
you bid me act ? With respect to every kind of seed, or plant, 

1 36 PLATO 

said I, whether of vegetables or animals, we know, that whatever 
does not meet with the proper nourishment, nor season, nor place 
belonging to it, the more vigorous it is by nature, the more it is 
defective in the excellence of its kind ; for evil is more contrary 
to good, than to that which is not good. Certainly. It is then 
reasonable, I think, that the best genius, when meeting with 
nourishment foreign to it, comes off worse than a bad genius. It 
is. And shall we not, Adimantus, said I, in the same manner, say 
that souls naturally the best, when they meet with bad education, 
become remarkably depraved? Or do you think that great 
iniquity, and the extremest wickedness, arise from a weak genius, 
and not from a vigorous one ruined in its education ; but that an 
imbecile genius will never be the cause either of mighty good or 
evil ? I do not think it will, said he, but the case is as you say. 
If then this philosophic genius, which we have established, meet 
with suitable instruction, it will, I think, necessarily grow up, and 
attain to every virtue ; but if, when sown in an improper soil, it 
grow up and be nourished accordingly, it will on the other hand 
become perfectly the reverse, unless some one of the Gods afford 
it assistance. Or do you think, with the multitude, that certain 
of the youth are corrupted by the sophists, and that the corrupters 
are certain private sophists, to any great extent ? Or think you 
rather, that the persons who say these things are themselves the 
greatest sophists, conveying their instruction in the most powerful 
manner, and rendering young and old, men and women, such as 
they wish to be ? When do they effect this ? replied he. When 
many of them, said I, are set down, crowded together in an 
assembly, in their courts of justice, the theatre, or the camp, or 
any other public meeting of the people, with much tumult they 
blame some of the speeches and actions, and commend others, 
roaring and vociferating the one and the other beyond measure. 
And besides this, the rocks and the place where they are, re- 
sounding, the tumult is redoubled, whilst they thus blame and 
applaud. In such a situation now, what kind of heart, as we say, 
do you think the youth are to have ? Or what private instruction 
can make him withstand, so as not to be perfectly overwhelmed 
by such blame or applause, and, giving way, be borne along the 
stream wherever it carries him, and say that things are beautiful 
and base, according as these people say, and pursue the things 
they pursue, and become of the very same kind himself? This, 
said he, must by an abundant necessity happen, Socrates. But, 
said I, we have not yet mentioned, what must of the greatest 
necessity be the case. What is that ? said he. That which these 
instructors and sophists superadd by action, not being able to 
persuade by speech : or, do you not know, that they punish with 
disgraces, and fines, and deaths, the man whom they cannot 
persuade? I know that, said he, extremely well. What other 


sophist then, or what private reasonings do you think capable, 
drawing opposite to these, to overpower them? I know none, 
said he. But is it not besides, said I, great folly even to attempt 
it? For there neither is, nor was, nor ever can be, attained 
by education, a different character in respect of virtue, besides this 
education by these sophists. I mean a human character, my 
friend; for a heaven-born one, to use the proverbial expression, 
we had better keep out of the question : for you must know well, 
with respect to whatever temper is preserved, and becomes such 
as it ought to be in such a constitution of politics, that you will 
not say amiss when you say that it is preserved by a divine 
destiny. Nor am I, said he, of a different opinion. But further 
now, besides these things, said I, you must likewise be of this 
opinion. Of what ? That each of these private hirelings, which 
these men call sophists, and deem the rivals of their art, teach no 
other things but those dogmas of the vulgar, which they approve 
when they are assembled together,, and call it wisdom. Just as if 
a man had learned what were the wrathful emotions and desires 
of a great and strong animal he were nourishing, how it must be 
approached, how touched, and when it is most fierce or most 
mild ; and from what causes, and the sounds which on these 
several occasions it was wont to utter, and at what sounds uttered 
by another, the animal is rendered both mild and savage; and, 
having learned all these things by associating with the animal for 
a long time, should call this wisdom ; and, as if he had established 
an art, should apply himself to the teaching it ; whilst yet, with 
reference to these dogmas and desires, he knows not in reality 
what is beautiful, or base, or good, or ill, or just, or unjust, but 
should pronounce all these according to the opinions of the great 
animal, calling those things good in which it delighted, and that 
evil with which it was vexed, and should have no other measure 
as to these things. Let. us likewise suppose that he calls those 
things which are necessary, beautiful and just, but that he hath 
never discovered himself, nor is able to show to another, the 
nature of the necessary and the good, how much they really differ 
from each other. Whilst he is such an one, does he not, in 
heaven's name, appear to you an absurd teacher? To me he 
appears so, said he. And from this man, think you, does he any 
way differ, who deems it wisdom to have understood the anger 
and the pleasures of the multitude, and of assemblies of all kinds 
of men, whether with relation to painting, music, or politics? 
For, if any one converses with these, and shows them either a 
poem, or any other production of art, or piece of administration 
respecting the city, and makes the multitude the judges of it, he 
is under what is called an overmastering necessity, which is above all 
other necessities, of doing whatever they commend. But to show 
that these things are in reality good and beautiful, have you at 

«38 PLATO 

any time heard any of them advance a reason that was not quite 
ridiculous ? No, and I do not think, said he, I ever shall. Whilst 
you attend then to all these things, bear this in mind, that the 
multitude never will admit or reckon that there is the one beauti- 
ful itself, and not many beautifuls, one thing itself which has a single 
subsistence, and not many such things. They will be the last to 
do so, replied he. It is impossible then for the multitude to be 
philosophers. Impossible. And those who philosophize must of 
necessity be reproached by them. Of necessity. And likewise 
by those private persons, who, in conversing with the multitude, 
desire to please them. It is plain. From this state of things 
now, what safety do you see for the philosophic genius to continue 
in its pursuit, and arrive at perfection? And consider from 
what was formerly said, for we have allowed that facility in 
learning, memory, fortitude, and magnanimity belong to this 
genius. We have. And shall not such an one, of all men, 
immediately be the first even in boyhood, especially if he has a 
body naturally adapted to the soul? Surely he will? said he. 
And when he becomes more advanced in age, his kindred and 
citizens, I think, will incline to employ him in their affairs. Yes. 
And making supplications to him, and paying him homage, they 
will submit to him, and anticipate and flatter beforehand his 
growing power. Thus, said he, it usually happens. What now, 
said I, do you think such an one will do, in such a case, especially 
if he happen to belong to a great city, and be rich, and of a noble 
descent, and withal beautiful and of a large stature? Will he 
not be filled with extravagant hopes, deeming himself capable 
of managing both the affairs of Greeks and Barbarians, and on 
these accounts carry himself loftily, without any solid judgment, 
full of ostentation and vain conceit ? Extremely so, replied he. 
If one should gently approach a man of this disposition, and tell 
him the truth, that he has no judgment, yet needs it ; but that it 
is not to be acquired but by one who subjects himself to this 
acquisition, do you think that, with all these evils about him, he 
would be ready to hearken ? Far from it, said he. If now, said 
I, through a good natural temper, and an innate disposition to 
reason, any one should somehow be made sensible, and be bent 
and drawn towards philosophy, what do we imagine those others 
will do, when they reckon they shall lose his company, and the 
benefit which they received from him ? Will they not by every 
action, and every speech, say and do every thing to the man not 
to suffer himself to be persuaded ; and to his adviser, to render 
him incapable by ensnaring him in private, and bringing him to 
public trial? This, said he, must of necessity happen. Is it 
possible now that such an one will philosophize? Not at all. 
You see, then, said I, that we were not wrong when we said that 
even the very parts of the philosophic genius, when they meet 


with bad education, are in some measure the cause of a falling off 
from this pursuit, as well as those vulgarly reputed goods, riches, 
and all furniture of this kind. We were not, replied he, but it 
was rightly said. Such then, said I, admirable friend! is the 
ruin, such and so great the corruption of the best genius for the 
noblest pursuit, and which besides but rarely happens, as we 
observed ; and from among such as these are the men who do 
the greatest mischiefs to cities, and to private persons, and like- 
wise they who do the greatest good, such as happen to be drawn 
to this side. But a little nature never did any thing remarkable 
to any one, neither to a private person nor to a city. Most true, 
said he. These indeed, then, whose business it chiefly was to 
apply to philosophy, having thus fallen off, leaving her desolate 
and imperfect, lead themselves a life neither becoming nor 
genuine; whilst other unworthy persons, intruding themselves 
on philosophy, abandoned in a manner by her kindred, have 
disgraced her, and loaded her with reproaches, such as these 
you say her reproachers reproach her with : viz. that of those 
who converse with her, some are of no value, and most of them 
worthy of the greatest punishments. These things, replied he, 
are commonly said. And with reason, replied I, they are said. 
For other contemptible men seeing the field unoccupied, and that 
the possession of it is attended with dignities and honourable 
names, like persons who make their escape from prisons to 
temples, these likewise gladly leap from their handicrafts to 
philosophy ; I mean suqh of them as are of the greatest address 
in their own little art. For, even in this situation of philosophy, 
her remaining dignity, in comparison with all the other arts, 
still surpasses in magnificence; of which dignity many are 
desirous, who by natural disposition are unfit for it, and whose 
bodies are not only deformed by their arts and handicrafts, but 
whose souls also are in like manner confused, and crushed by 
their servile works. Must it not of necessity be so? Un- 
doubtedly, said he. Does it then appear to you, said I, that 
they are any way different in appearance from a blacksmith, who 
has made a little money, bald and puny, recently liberated from 
chains, and washed in the bath, with a new robe on him, just 
decked out as a bridegroom, presuming to marry the daughter of 
his master, encouraged by the poverty and forlorn circumstances 
with which he sees her oppressed ? There is, said he, no great 
difference. What sort of a race must such as these produce? 
Must it not be bastardly and abject ? By an abundant necessity. 
Well, when men who are unworthy of instruction apply to it, and 
are conversant in it, in an unworthy manner, what kind of senti- 
ments and opinions shall we say are produced ? Must they not 
be such as ought properly to be termed sophisms, and which 
possess nothing genuine, or worthy of true prudence? By all 

140 PLATO 

means so, replied he. A very small number now, said I, 
Adimantus, remains of those who worthily are conversant in 
philosophy, who happen either to be detained somehow in banish- 
ment, and whose generous and well-cultivated disposition persists 
in the study of philosophy, being removed from every thing 
which tends to corrupt it ; or else when, in a small city, a mighty 
soul arises, who despising the honours of the state entirely 
neglects them, and likewise some small number might come to 
philosophy from other callings, which they justly despise, being 
of noble nature. Further, the bridle of our friend Theages may 
sometimes be sufficient to restrain ; for all other things conspire 
to withdraw Theages from philosophy, but the care of his health 
excluding him from politics makes him attentive to that alone. 
For as to my motive, it is not worth while to mention the 
dsemoniacal sign ; for certainly it has happened heretofore to few, 
or to none at all. And even of these few, such as are tasting, 
and have tasted, how sweet and blessed the acquisition of 
philosophy is, and have withal sufficiently seen the madness of 
the multitude, and how none of them, as I may say, effects any 
thing salutary in the affairs of cities, and that there is no ally 
with whom a man might go to the assistance of the just and be 
safe; but that he is like one falling among wild beasts, being 
neither willing to join them in injustice, nor able, as he is but 
one, to oppose the whole savage crew; but, before he can 
benefit the city or his friends, is destroyed, and is unprofitable 
both to himself and others : reasoning on all these things, lying 
quiet, and attending to his own affairs, as in a tempest, when the 
dust is driven, and the sea agitated by winds, standing under a 
wall, beholding others overwhelmed in iniquity, he is satisfied if 
he shall himself anyhow pass his life here pure from injustice and 
unholy deeds, and make his exit hence in good hopes cheerful 
and benignant. And before he shall make his exit, said he, he 
shall have done something more than a trifle. Nor the greatest 
neither, said I, whilst he has not met with a city that is suitable 
to him; for, in a suitable one, he shall both make a greater 
proficiency himself, and shall preserve the affairs of private 
persons as well as of the public. 

It appears then, to me, that we have now sufficiently told 
whence it happens that philosophy is accused, and that it is so 
unjustly, unless you have something else to offer. But, said he, 
I say nothing further about this point. But which of the present 
cities do you say is adapted to philosophy? Not one indeed, 
said I ; but this is what I complain of, that there is no con- 
stitution of a city at present worthy of the philosophic genius, 
which is therefore turned and altered, as a foreign seed sown in 
an improper soil, which degenerates to what is usually produced 
in that soil. After the same manner this class, as it does not at 


present keep its proper power, degenerates to a foreign species • 
but should it meet with the best polity, as it is the best in itself, 
then shall it indeed discover that it is really divine, and that all 
besides are human, both as to their genius and their pursuits. 
But now you seem plainly to be going to ask which is this polity. 
You are mistaken, said he; for this I was not going to ask: 
but whether it was this which we have described in establishing 
our city, or another. As to most things, said I, it is this one, 
all but one which has been mentioned, that there must always 
be in the city something which shall have the same regard for 
the constitution which you the legislator had when you estab- 
lished the laws. It was mentioned, said he. But it was not, 
said I, made sufficiently plain, through fears which preoccupied 
you, when you signified that the illustration of the thing would 
be both tedious and difficult; and it is not indeed altogether 
easy to discuss what remains. What is that ? In what manner 
a city shall attempt philosophy and not be destroyed; for all 
grand things are dangerous, and, as the saying is, fine things 
are truly difficult. But however, said he, let our disquisition 
be completed in making this evident. Want of will, said I, 
shall not hinder, though want of ability may. And with your 
own eyes you shall see my alacrity, and consider now how 
readily and adventurously I am going to say, that a city ought 
to attempt this study in a way opposite to that at present. How ? 
At present, said I, those who engage in it are striplings, who 
immediately from their childhood, before they come to their 
domestic affairs and mercenary employments, apply themselves 
to the most abstruse parts of philosophy, and then leave it, and 
they are held to be most consummate philosophers. I call the 
most difficult part, that respecting the art of reasoning. And in 
all after time, if, when they are invited by others who practise 
this art, they are pleased to become hearers, they think it a great 
condescension, reckoning they ought to do it as a by-work: — 
but when they approach to old age, besides some few, they 
are extinguished much more than the Heraclitean sun, because 
they are never again rekindled. But how should they act? 
said he. Quite the reverse. Whilst they are lads and boys 
they should apply to juvenile instruction and philosophy, 
and, in taking proper care of their body, whilst it shoots and 
grows to firmness, thus provide for philosophy a proper assistant : 
and then, as that age advances in which the soul begins to 
be perfected, they ought vigorously to apply to her exercises; 
and when strength decays, and is no longer adapted for civil 
and military employments, they should then be dismissed, and 
live at pleasure, and, excepting a by-work, do nothing else but 
philosophize, if they propose to live happy, and, when they 
die, to possess in the other world a destiny adapted to the 

142 PLATO 

life they have led in this. Indeed, said he, Socrates, you do 
seem to me to speak with a will. Yet, I think, the greater 
part of your hearers will still more zealously oppose you, and by 
no means be persuaded, and that Thrasymachus will be the first 
of them. Do not divide, said I, Thrasymachus and me, who 
are now become friends ; nor were we enemies heretofore. For 
we shall no way desist from our attempts, till we either persuade 
both him and the rest, or make some advances towards that 
life at which when they arrive they shall again meet with such 
discourses as these. That is but a short delay, said he. Nothing 
at all, said I, at least as compared to the whole of time : but that 
the multitude are not persuaded by what is said, is not wonderful ; 
for they have never at any time seen existing what has now 
been mentioned, but rather such discourses as have been of 
set purpose composed, and have not coincided spontaneously as 
these do at present. But as for the man who has arrived at 
the model of virtue, and is rendered similar to it in the most 
perfect manner possible both in word and in deed, they have 
never at any time seen such a man, neither one nor more of 
the kind. Or do you think they have ? By no means. Neither 
yet, my dear sir, have they sufficiently attended to beautiful 
and liberal reasonings, so as ardently to investigate the truth, 
by every method, for the sake of knowing it, saluting only at 
a distance such intricate and contentious debates, as tend to 
nothing else but to opinion and strife, both in their courts of 
justice and in their private meetings. The case is just so, 
replied he. On these accounts then, said I, and foreseeing these 
things, we were formerly afraid. However, being compelled 
by the truth, we did assert, that neither city nor polity, nor 
even a man in the same way, would ever become perfect, till 
some necessity of fortune oblige these few philosophers, who 
are at present called not depraved, but useless, to take the 
government of the city whether they will or not, and compel 
the city to be obedient to them ; or till the sons of those who 
are now in the offices of power and magistracies, or they them- 
selves, by some divine inspiration, be possessed with a genuine 
love of genuine philosophy: and I aver that no one has reason 
to think that either of these, or both, are impossible; for thus 
might we justly be laughed at, as saying things which are other- 
wise only similar to pious prayers. Is it not so ? It is. If then, 
in the infinite series of past ages, the greatest necessity has obliged 
men that have arrived at the summit of philosophy to take the 
government of a state, or such men now govern in some 
barbarous region, remote from our observation, or shall hereafter, 
we are ready in that case to contend in our reasoning, that 
this polity we have described has existed and subsists, and shall 
arise at least when this our muse shall obtain the government 


of the state: for this is neither impossible to happen, nor do 
we speak of impossibilities, though we ourselves confess that 
they are difficult. I am likewise, said he, of the same opinion. 
But you will say, replied I, that the multitude do not think 
so too. It is likely, said he. My good sir, said I, do not 
thus altogether accuse the multitude; but, whatever opinion 
they may have, without upbraiding them, but rather encouraging 
them, and removing the reproach thrown on philosophy, point 
out to them the persons you call philosophers, and define dis- 
tinctly, as at present, both their genius and their pursuits, that 
they may not think you speak of such as they call philosophers ; 
or do you think, that even if they thus regard them, they will 
not change their opinion about them, and give different answers ? 
Or, do you think that one who is unmalicious and mild can 
be enraged at another, who is not unkind ? or feel malice towards 
one who is not malicious? I will prevent you, and say that 
I think there is in some few such a naturally bad temper, but 
not in the greater part of mankind. I likewise, said he, think so. 
Are you not then of the same opinion with me in this ? That 
these men are the cause of the multitude being ill affected towards 
philosophy, who like drunken men have pushed in where they 
have no business, reviling each other, who love to make mischief, 
always making discourses about particular men, and doing what 
is least of all becoming philosophy. Certainly, said he. For 
somehow, Adimantus, the man at least who really applies his 
mind to true being, has not leisure to look down to the little 
affairs of mankind, and, in fighting with them, to be filled with 
envy and ill nature; but, beholding and contemplating such 
objects as are orderly, and always subsist in the same con- 
dition, such as neither injure nor are injured by each other, 
but are in all respects beautiful, and according to reason, 
these he imitates and resembles as far as possible; or, do you 
think it possible by any contrivance that a man should not 
imitate that, in conversing with which he is filled with ad- 
miration? It is impossible, replied he. The philosopher then 
who converses with that which is decorous and divine, as far 
as is possible for man, becomes himself decorous and divine, 
But calumny is powerful in every thing. It is entirely so. If 
then, said I, he be under any necessity, not merely of form- 
ing himself alone, but likewise of endeavouring to introduce 
any thing he beholds there among mankind, in order to form 
their manners, both in private and in public life, would he 
prove, think you, a bad artist of temperance and of justice, and 
of every social virtue? Not at all, said he. But if now the 
multitude perceive that we say the truth of such an one, 
will they be angry at philosophers, and disbelieve us when we 
say, that the city can never otherwise be happy unless it be 

144 PLATO 

drawn by those painters who follow a divine original? They 
will not be angry, said he, if they perceive so : but what method 
of painting do you mean? When they have obtained, said I, 
the city and the manners of men as their canvass, they would 
first make it clean; which is not altogether an easy matter. 
But in this, you know, they differ from others, that they are un- 
willing to meddle either with a private man or city, or to paint 
laws, till once they either receive these clean, or cleanse them 
themselves. And rightly, said he. And after this, do not you 
think they will draw a sketch of the republic? Why not? 
Afterwards, I think, as they fill in their work, they will fre- 
quently look both ways, both to what is naturally just and 
beautiful, and temperate and the like; and likewise again to 
that which they are establishing among mankind, blending and 
compounding their human colour from different characters and 
pursuits, drawing from this which Homer calls the divine likeness, 
and the divine resemblance subsisting among men. Right, said he. 
They will then, I think, strike out one thing and insert another, 
till they have rendered human manners, as far as is possible, dear 
to the Gods. It will thus, said he, be the most beautiful picture. 
Do we now then, said I, any way persuade these men, who, 
you said, were coming upon us in battle array, that such a 
painter of polities is the man we then recommended to them, 
and on whose account they were enraged at us, that we com- 
mitted cities to him, and will they now be more mild when they 
hear us mentioning it? Certainly, said he, if they be wise. 
Yes; for what is there now they can further question? Will 
they say that philosophers are not lovers of real being and of 
truth? That, said he, were absurd. Or that their genius, as 
we described it, is not allied to that which is best? Nor this 
neither. What then? Whilst their genius is such as this, and 
meets with suitable exercises, shall it not become perfectly 
good and philosophic, if any other be so ? or, will you say those 
will be more so whom we set aside? Not at aft. Will they 
still then be enraged at us when we say that till the philosophic 
class have the government of the city, neither the miseries of 
the city nor of the citizens shall have an end, nor shall this 
republic, which we speak of in the way of fable, arrive in reality 
at perfection ? Perhaps, said he, they will be less enraged. Are 
you willing then, said I, that we say not of them they are less 
enraged at us, but that they are altogether appeased, and per- 
suaded, that if we make no more of them, they may at least 
consent by their blushing? By all means, said he. Suppose 
them then, said I, to be persuaded of this. But is there any 
one who will allege, that those of the philosophic genius cannot 
possibly spring from kings and sovereigns? Not one, said he, 
would allege that. And though they were born with a 


philosophic genius, would one say they are under a great 
necessity of being corrupted? for indeed that it is a difficult 
matter for these geniuses to be preserved untainted, even we 
ourselves agree. But that in the infinite series of time, of the 
whole of the human race, there should never be so much as a single 
one preserved pure and untainted, is there any who will contend ? 
How can there be any one? But surely, said I, a single one 
is sufficient, if he exists, and has a city subject to him, to ac- 
complish every thing now so much disbelieved. He is sufficient, 
said he. And when the governor, said I, has established the 
laws and customs we have recited, it is not at all impossible that 
the citizens should be willing to obey him. Not at all. But 
is it wonderful or impossible, that what appears to us should also 
appear to others ? I do not think it, said he. And that these 
things are best, if they be possible, we have sufficiently, as 
I think, explained in the preceding part of our discourse. 
Sufficiently indeed. Now then it seems we are agreed about 
our legislation ; that the laws we mention are the best, if they 
could exist ; but that it is difficult to establish them, not, however, 
impossible. We are agreed, said he. 

After this has with difficulty been brought to a conclusion, 
shall we not in the next place consider what follows ? In what 
manner, and from what disciplines and studies, they shall become 
the preservers of our republic ? and in what periods of life they 
shall each of them apply to the several branches of education? 
We must indeed consider that, said he. I acted not wisely, said I, 
when in the former part of our discourse I left untouched the 
difficulty attending the possession of women, and the propagation 
of the species, and the establishing governors, I knew with what 
envy and difficulty they must be introduced, or be carried no 
further than theory ; but now we are under no less a necessity 
of discussing these things at present. What relates to women and 
children is already finished ; and we must now go over again, as 
from the beginning, what refers to governors. We said, if you 
remember, that they should appear to be lovers of the city, and 
be tried both by pleasures and by pains, and appear to quit this 
creed neither through toils nor fears, nor any other change ; and 
that he who was not able to do this was to be rejected ; but he 
who came forth altogether pure, as gold tried in the fire, was to 
be appointed ruler, and to have honours and rewards paid him 
both alive and dead. Such were the things we said whilst our 
reasoning passed by and hid her face, as afraid to rouse the 
present argument. You say most truly, said he, for I remember 
it. For I was averse, my friend, to say, what I have now 
ventured to assert ; but now we must even dare to assert this : 
that the most complete guardians must be philosophers. Let 
this be agreed upon, replied he. But consider that you will 

146 PLATO 

probably have but few of them : for such a genius as we said they 
must of necessity have, is want but seldom in all its parts to meet 
in one man; but its different parts generally spring up in different 
persons. How do you say ? replied he. That such as learn with 
facility, have a good memory, are sagacious and acute, and 
endued with whatever qualifications are allied to these, are not at 
the same time strenuous and magnificent in their minds, so as to 
live orderly, with quietness and stability, but that such are 
carried by their acuteness wherever it happens, and every thing 
that is stable departs from them. You say true, replied he. With 
regard then to these firm habits of the mind, which are not at 
all versatile, and which one might rather employ as trusty, and 
which are difficult to be moved at dangers in war, are of the same 
temper with reference to learning. They move heavily, and with 
difficulty learn, as if they were benumbed, and are oppressed with 
sleep and yawning, when they are obliged to labour at any thing 
of this kind. It is so, replied he. But we said that he must 
partake of both these well and handsomely, or else he ought not 
to share in the most accurate education, nor magistracy, nor 
honours of the state. Right, said he. Do not you think this will 
but rarely happen ? Surely. They must be tried then both in 
the things we formerly mentioned, in labours, in fears, and in 
pleasures ; and likewise in what we then passed over, and are now 
mentioning ; we must exercise them in various kinds of learning, 
whilst we consider whether their genius be capable of sustaining 
the greatest disciplines, or whether it fails, as those who fail in the 
other things. It is proper now, said he, to consider this question 
at least in this manner. But what do you call the greatest 
disciplines ? You remember in some measure, said I, that when 
we had distinguished the soul into three parts, we determined 
concerning justice, temperance, fortitude, and wisdom, what each 
of them is. If I did not remember, said he, it were just I should 
not hear what remains. Do you likewise remember what was 
said before that ? What was it ? We somewhere said, that it was 
possible to behold these in their most beautiful forms, but that the 
journey would be tedious which he must make, who would see 
them conspicuously; that it was possible, however, to approach 
towards them in the way of our demonstrations above mentioned ; 
and you said that these were sufficient; so what was then 
advanced came to be spoken far short, in my own opinion, of 
accuracy ; but, if agreeably to you, you may say so. To me at 
least, said he, they seemed to be discussed in measure ; and the 
rest seemed to think so too. But, friend, said I, in speaking of 
things of this kind, such a measure as leaves out any part 
whatever of the truth is not altogether in measure. For 
nothing that is imperfect is the measure of any thing. 
Though some at times are of opinion, that things are sufficiently well 


when thus circumstanced, and that there is no necessity for further 
inquiry. Very many, said he, are thus affected through indolence. 
But the guardian of the city and of the laws, said I, has least of 
all need of that passion. It appears so, replied he. Such an one, 
then, my friend, said I, must make the more ample circuit, and 
labour no less in learning than in the exercises : otherwise, as we 
were now saying, he will never arrive at the perfection of the 
greatest and most suitable learning. But are not these, said he, 
the greatest ? Or is there yet any thing greater than justice, and 
those virtues which we discussed ? There is something greater, 
said I. And even of these we must not contemplate only the rude 
description, but we must not omit the highest finishing. Or is it 
not ridiculous in other things of small account to employ our 
whole labour, and strive to have them the most accurate and 
perfect, and not deem the highest and most important affairs 
worthy of our highest attention, in order to render them the most 
perfect ? The sentiment, said he, is very just. But, however, do 
you think, said he, that any one will dismiss you without asking 
you, what indeed is this greatest discipline, and about what is it 
conversant, when you call it so ? Not at all, said I, but do you 
yourself ask me ; for assuredly you have not seldom heard it, and 
at present you either do not attend, or you intend to occasion me 
trouble again by holding fast to me. This I rather think, since 
you have often heard at least, that the idea of the good is the 
greatest discipline : which idea when justice and the other virtues 
employ, they become useful and advantageous. You now almost 
know that this is what I mean to say, and besides this, that we 
do not sufficiently know that idea ; and if we know it not, 
though without this knowledge, we understood every thing else in 
the highest degree, you know that it is of no advantage to us : in 
the same manner as it would avail us nothing though we 
possessed any thing whatever without the possession of the good : 
or do you think there is any greater profit in possessing all things 
without the possession of the good, than in knowing all things 
without the knowledge of the good, knowing nothing at all that is 
beautiful and good ? Upon my word, not I, said he. But surely 
this too at least you know, that to the multitude pleasure seems 
to be the good ; and to the more refined it seems to be intelligence. 
Certainly. You know also, my friend, that they who thus think 
cannot explain what intelligence is, but if you press them, 
finally they say it is intelligence of what is good. And very 
ridiculously, said he. How indeed can it be otherwise ? replied 
I, if, when they upbraid us that we know not what is the good, 
they speak to us as though we did know, and call it the intelli- 
gence of what is good, as if we understood what they say when 
they pronounce the word €t good." Most true, said he. Well, are 
those who define pleasure to be good, less infected with error 

148 PLATO 

than the others? or are not these too obliged to confess that 
there are evil pleasures ? Extremely so. It happens then, I think, 
that they acknowledge the same things are both good and evil, do 
they not ? Undoubtedly. Is it not evident, then, that there are 
great and manifold doubts about it ? Of course. Again : is it 
not also evident, that with reference to things just and beautiful, 
many would choose the apparent, even though they be not really 
so, and would act, and possess, and appear to possess them ; but 
the acquisition of goods, that were only the apparent, never yet 
satisfied any one ; but in this they seek what is real, and here every 
one despises what is only the apparent. Extremely so, said he. 
This then is that which every soul pursues, and for the sake 
of this it does every thing, prophesying that it is something, 
but being dubious, and unable to comprehend sufficiently what it 
is, and to possess the same stable belief respecting it as of other 
things; and thus they lose also the profit of other things, if 
there be in them any profit. About a thing now of such a kind, 
and of such mighty consequence, shall we say that even these 
our best men in the city, and to whom we commit the manage- 
ment of every thing, shall be thus in the dark ? As little at least 
as possible, said he. I think then, said I, that whilst it is 
unknown in what manner the just and beautiful are good, they 
will not have a guardian of any great value, if it be likely he 
shall be ignorant of this ; but I prophesy that no one will arrive 
at the knowledge of these before he sufficiently knows what 
the good is. You prophesy well, said he. Shall not then our 
polity be completely arranged for, if such a guardian be placed 
over it as is scientifically knowing in these things ? It must of 
necessity, said he. But with respect to yourself, whether, Socrates, 
do you say that the good is knowledge, or pleasure, or something 
else besides these ? Aha, said I, you showed clearly enough long 
ago, that you was not to be satisfied with the opinions of others 
about these things. Nor does it appear to me just, Socrates, said 
he, that a man should be able to relate the opinions of others, but 
not his own, after having spent so much time in inquiring about 
these particulars. Why, said I, does it then appear to you just 
for a man to speak of things of which he is ignorant, as if he knew 
them ? By no means, said he, as if he knew them ; yet however, 
according as he thinks, those things which he thinks he should 
be willing to tell us. Well, said I, have you not observed of 
opinions void of knowledge how deformed they all are, and that 
the best of them are blind ? Or do those who without intellect 
form right opinion seem to you, in any respect, to differ from those 
who are blind, and at the same time walk straight on the road ? 
In no respect, said he. Are you willing then, that we should 
examine things deformed, blind, and crooked, having it in our 
power to hear from others what is clear and beautiful ? Do not 


I beg you, Socrates, said Glauco, desist as if yon were at the end ; 
for it will suffice us, if in the same way as you have spoken of 
justice and temperance, and those other virtues, you likewise 
discourse concerning the good. And I too shall be very well 
satisfied, my friend, said I ; but I am afraid I shall not be able ; 
and, by appearing readily disposed, I shall incur the ridicule of 
the unmannerly. No, friends; let us at present dismiss this 
inquiry, what the good is ; (for it appears to me a thing too great 
for our present impulse to get at just my own opinion,) but I am 
willing to tell you what the offspring of the good appears to be, 
and what most resembles it, if this be agreeable to you ; and if 
not, I shall dismiss it. Do tell us, said he ; for you shall after- 
wards explain to us what the father is. I could wish, said I, both 
that I were able to give that explanation, and you to receive it, 
and not as now the offspring only. Receive now then this child 
and offspring of the good itself. Yet take care however that 
unwillingly I deceive you not, in any respect, giving an adulterate 
account of this offspring. We shall take care, said he, to the best 
of our ability ; only tell us. I shall not tell, then, said I, until we 
have come to an agreement, and I have reminded you of what 
was mentioned in our preceding discourse, and has been frequently 
said on other occasions. What is it? said he. That there are 
many things, said I, beautiful, and many good, and each of these 
we say is so, and we distinguish them in our reasoning. We say 
so. And as to the beautiful itself, and the good itself, and in like 
manner concerning all those things which we then considered as 
many, now again bringing these under one idea of each particular, 
as being one, we assign to each that appellation which belongs to 
it. That is true. And those indeed we say are seen by the eye, 
but are not objects of intellectual perception ; but that the ideas 
are perceived by the intellect, and are not seen by the eye. 
Perfectly so. By what part then of ourselves do we see things 
visible ? By the sight, said he. And is it not, said I, by hearing, 
that we perceive what is heard ; and by the other senses, all the 
other objects of sense ? To be sure. But have you not observed 
said I, with regard to the artificer of the senses, how he has 
formed the power of sight, and of being visible, in the most costly 
manner? I have not entirely perceived it, replied he. Well, 
consider it in this manner. Is there any other kind of thing, 
which hearing and sound require, in order that the one may hear, 
and the other be heard, which third thing if it be not present, the 
one shall not hear, and the other not be heard ? There is nothing, 
said he. And I imagine, said I, that neither do many others 
(that I may not say none) require any such thing: or can you 
mention any one that does require it ? Not I, replied he. But- 
with reference to the sense of seeing, and the object of sight, do 
not you perceive that they require something? How? When 


there is sight in the eyes, and when he who has it attempts to use 
it, and when there is colour in the objects before him, unless there 
concur some third kind of thing, naturally formed for the purpose, 
you know that the sight will see nothing, and the colours will be 
invisible. What is that you speak of? said he. What you call 
light, said I. You say true, replied he. Then the bond which 
connects the sense of seeing, and the power of being seen, is by 
no small measure more precious than is the case with the other 
pairs, unless light is not precious. Most precious indeed, said he. 
Whom then of the Gods in heaven can you assign as the cause of 
this, that light makes our sight to see, and visible objects to be 
seen, in the best manner ? The same as you, said he, and others 
do ; for it is evident that you mean the sun. Is not the sight then 
naturally formed in this manner with reference to this God? 
How? The sight is not the sun, nor is that the sun in which 
sight is ingenerated, which we call the eye. It is not. But yet 
I think that of all the organs of sense it is most solar-form. Very 
much so. And the power which it possesses, does it not possess 
as dispensed and flowing from hence ? Perfectly so. Is not then 
the sun, which indeed is not sight itself, yet as it is the cause of 
it, seen by sight itself ? It is so, said he. Conceive then, said I, 
that this is what I called the offspring of the good, which the good 
generates, analogous to itself; and that what this is in the region 
of intelligence, with respect to intellect, and the objects of 
intellect, that the sun is in the region of the visible, with respect 
to sight and visible things. How is it ? said he : explain to me 
yet further. You know that the eyes, said I, when they are no 
longer directed towards objects whose colours are shone upon by 
the light of day, but by the luminaries of the night, grow dim, 
and appear almost blind, as if they had in them no pure sight. 
Just so, said he. But when they turn to objects which the sun 
illuminates, then I think they see clearly, and in those very eyes 
there appears now to be sight. There does. Understand then, 
in the same manner, with reference to the soul. When it rests 
upon that which truth and real being enlighten, then it under- 
stands and knows it, and appears to possess intelligence : but when 
it adheres to that which is blended with darkness, which is 
generated, and which perishes, it is then conversant with opinion, 
its vision becomes blunted, it wanders from one opinion to another, 
and resembles one without intelligence. It has such a resemblance. 
That therefore which imparts truth to what is known, and dispenses 
the power to him who knows, you may call the idea of the good 
being the cause of knowledge and of truth, as being known 
through intelligence. And as both these two, knowledge and 
truth, are so beautiful, when you think that the good is something 
different, and still more beautiful than these, you shall think 
aright Knowledge and truth here are as light and sight there, 


which we rightly judged to be solar-form, but that we were not 
to think they were the sun. So here it is right to judge, that 
both these partake of the form of the good ; but to suppose that 
either of them is the good, is not right, but the good itself is worthy 
of still greater honour. You speak, said he, of an inestimable 
beauty, since it affords knowledge and truth, but is itself superior 
to these in beauty. For I suppose you do not say that it is 
pleasure. Hush! said I, and in this manner rather consider its 
image yet further. How ? You will say, I think, that the sun 
imparts to things which are seen, not only their visibility, but 
likewise their generation, growth and nourishment, not being 
itself generation. Certainly. We may say, therefore, that things 
which are known have not only this from the good, that they are 
known, but likewise that their being and essence are thence 
derived, whilst the good itself is not essence, but beyond essence, 
transcending it both in dignity and in power. Here Glauco, 
with a very comical air, said, By Apollo this is a divine 
transcendency indeed! You yourself, replied I, are the cause, 
having obliged me to relate what appears to me respecting it. 
And by no means, said he, stop, if something does not 
hinder you, but again discuss the resemblance relating to the 
sun, if you have omitted any thing. But I omit, said I, many 
things. Do not omit, replied he, the smallest particular. I 
think, said I, that much will be omitted: however, as far I am 
able at present, I shall not willingly omit any thing. Do 
not, said he. Understand then, said I, that we say these 
are two ; and that the one reigns over the intelligible kind and 
place, and the other over the visible, not to say the heavens, lest 
I should seem to you to employ sophistry in the expression : you 
understand then these two species, the visible and the intelligible ? 
I do. As if then you took a line, cut into two unequal parts, and 
cut over again each section according to the same ratio, both that 
of the visible species, and that of the intelligible, when they are 
compared as to their perspicuity and obscurity. In the visible 
species you will have in one section images : but I call images, 
in the first place, shadows, in the next, the appearances in water, 
and such as subsist in bodies which are dense, polished and bright, 
and every thing of this kind, if you understand me. I do. 
Suppose now the other section to represent the visible which 
this resembles, such as the animals around us, and every kind of 
plant, and whatever has a composite nature. I suppose it, said 
he. Are you willing then that this section appear to be divided 
into true and untrue? And that the same proportion, which 
the object of opinion has to the object of knowledge, the very 
same proportion has the resemblance to that of which it is the 
resemblance? I am, indeed, said he, extremely willing. But 
consider now again the section of the intelligible, how it should 

152 PLATO 

be divided. How ? That with respect to one part of it, the soul 
uses the former sections as images ; and is obliged to investigate 
from hypotheses, not proceeding to the beginning, but to the 
conclusion: and the other part, again, is that where the soul 
proceeds from hypothesis to an unhypothetical principle, and 
without the help of those images, by the species themselves, 
makes its way through them. I have not, said he, sufficiently 
understood you in these things. Well, try again, said I, for you 
will more easily understand me, when some observations have 
cleared the way. For I think you are not ignorant, that those 
who are conversant in geometry, and computations, and such like, 
after they have laid down hypotheses of the odd and the even, 
and figures, and three species of angles, and other things the 
sisters of these, according to each method, they then proceed 
upon these things as known, having laid down all these as 
hypotheses, and do not give any further reason about them, 
neither to themselves nor others, as being things obvious to all. 
But, beginning from these, they directly discuss the rest, and 
with full consent end at that which their inquiry pursued. I 
know this, said he, perfectly well. And do you not likewise 
know, that when they use the visible species, and reason about 
them, their mind is not employed about these species, but about 
those of which they are the resemblances, employing their 
reasonings about the square itself, and the diameter itself, and 
not about that which they actually draw? And, in the same 
manner, with reference to other particulars, those very things 
which they form and describe, in which number, shadows and 
images in water are to be reckoned, these they use as images, 
seeking to behold those very things, which a man can no 
otherwise see than by his mind. You say true, replied he. 
This then is what I called the class of the intelligible; but I 
observed that the soul was obliged to use hypotheses in the 
investigation of it, not going back to the principle, as not being 
able to ascend higher than hypotheses, but made use of images 
formed from things below, to lead to those above, as perspicuous, 
which are usually esteemed to be distinct from the things 
themselves, and so valued. I understand, said he, that you 
speak of things pertaining to the geometrical, and other sister 
arts. Understand now, that by the other section of the in- 
telligible, I mean that which reason itself attains, making 
hypotheses by its own reasoning power, not as principles, but 
really hypotheses, as steps and handles, that, proceeding as far 
as to that which is unhypothetical, viz. the principle of the 
universe, and coming into contact with it, again adhering to 
those things which adhere to the principle, it may thus descend 
to the conclusion; using no where any thing which is sensible, 
but abstract forms, proceeding through some to others, and at 


length in forms terminating its progression. I have some idea, 
but not clear enough, said he. For you seem to me to speak of 
an arduous undertaking : but you want, however, clearly to state, 
that the perception of real being, and that which is intelligible, 
by the science of reasoning, are more certain than the discoveries 
made by the arts, as they are called, which have hypotheses for 
their first principles ; and that those who behold these are obliged 
to behold them with their mind, and not with their senses. But 
as they are not able to perceive by ascending to the principle, 
but from hypotheses, they appear to you not to use the intellect 
in these matters, though they are of the intelligible class when 
taken in conjunction with a principle. You also appear to me to 
call the habit of geometrical and such like persons, the action of 
the intelligence, and not pure intellect ; the intelligence subsisting 
between opinion and intellect. You have comprehended, said I, 
most sufficiently: and conceive now, that corresponding to the 
four sections there are these four conditions in the soul; pure 
intellect answering to the highest, the intelligence to the second ; 
and assign faith to the third ; and to the last conjecture. Arrange 
them likewise analogously; conceiving that as their objects 
participate of truth, so these participate of perspicuity. I 
understand, said he, and I assent, and I arrange them as you 




AFTER these things now, said I, assimilate, with reference to 
education, and the want of education, our nature to such 
a condition as follows. Consider men as in a subterraneous 
habitation, resembling a cave, with its entrance expanding to 
the light, and answering to the whole extent of the cave. Suppose 
them to have been in this cave from their childhood, with chains 
both on their legs and necks, so as to remain there, and only be 
able to look before them, but by the chain incapable to turn their 
heads round. Suppose them likewise to have the light of a 
fire, burning far above and behind them ; and that between the 
fire and the fettered men there is a road above. Along this road, 
observe a low wall built, like that which hedges in the stage of 
mountebanks on which they exhibit their wonderful tricks. I 
see, said he. Behold now, along this wall, men bearing all 
sorts of utensils, raised above the wall, and human statues, and 
other animals, in wood and stone, and furniture of every kind. 
And, as is likely, some of those who are carrying these are 
speaking, and others silent. You mention, said he, a wonderful 
comparison, and wonderful fettered men. But such, however, 
as resemble us, said I ; for, in the first place, do you think that 
such as these see any thing of themselves, or of one another, 
but the shadows formed by the fire, falling on the opposite part 
of the cave? How can they, said he, if through the whole 
of life they be under a necessity, at least, of having their heads 
unmoved? But what do they see of what is carrying along t 
Is it not the very same ? Surely. If then they were able 
to converse with one another, do not you think they would deem 
it proper to give names to those very things which they saw 
before them? Of necessity they must. And what if the 
opposite part of this prison had an echo, when any of those who 
passed along spake, do you imagine they would reckon that 
what space was any thing else than the passing shadow? Not 
I, indeed ! said he. Such as these then, said I, will entirely 


judge that there is nothing true but the shadows of utensils. 
By an abundant necessity, replied he. With reference then, 
both to their freedom from these chains, and their cure of this 
ignorance, consider the nature of it, if such a thing should happen 
to them. When any one should be loosed, and obliged on a 
sudden to rise up, turn round his neck, and walk and look up 
towards the light; and in doing all these things should be 
pained, and unable, from the splendours, to behold the things 
of which he formerly saw the shadows, what do you think he 
would say, if one should tell him that formerly he had seen trifles, 
but now, being somewhat nearer to reality, and turned toward 
what was more real, he saw with more rectitude ; and so, pointing 
out to him each of the things passing along, should question him, 
and oblige him to tell what it were; do not you think he 
would be both in doubt, and would deem what he had formerly 
seen to be more true than what was now pointed out to him? 
By far, said he. And if he should oblige him to look to the 
light itself, would not he find pain in his eyes, and shun it ; 
and, turning to such things as he is able to behold, reckon that 
these are really more clear than those pointed out? Just so, 
replied he. But if one, said I, should drag him from thence 
violently through a rough and steep ascent, and never stop 
till he drew him up to the light of the sun, would he not, whilst 
he was thus drawn, both be in torment, and be filled with 
indignation ? And after he had even come to the light, having 
his eyes filled with splendour, he would be able to see none of 
these things now called true. He would not, said he, suddenly 
at least. But he would require, I think, to be accustomed to 
it some time, if he were to perceive things above. And, first of 
all, he would most easily perceive shadows, afterwards the images 
of men and of other things in water, and after that the things 
themselves. And, with reference to these, he would more 
easily see the things in the heavens, and the heavens themselves, 
by looking in the night to the light of the stars, and the moon, 
than by day looking on the sun, and the light of the sun. How 
can it be otherwise ? And, last of all, he may be able, I think, 
to perceive and contemplate the sun himself, not in water, nor 
resemblances of him, in a foreign seat, but himself by himself, 
in his own proper region. Of necessity, said he. And after this, 
he would now reason with himself concerning him, that it is he 
who gives the seasons, and years, and governs all things in the 
visible place; and that of all those things which he formerly 
saw, he is in a certain manner the cause. It is evident, said he, 
that after these things he may arrive at such reasonings as 
these. Again : when he remembers his first habitation, and the 
wisdom which was there, and those who were then his companions 
in bonds, do you not think he will esteem himself happy by the 

156 PLATO 

change, and pity them ? And that greatly. And if there were 
there any honours and encomiums and rewards among themselves, 
for him who most acutely perceived what passed along, and best 
remembered which of them were wont to pass foremost, which 
latest, and which of them went together; and from these 
observations were most able to presage what was to happen ; does 
it appear to you that he will be desirous of such honours, or envy 
those who among these are honoured, and in power? Or, will 
he not rather wish to suffer that of Homer, and vehemently desire 

As labourer to some ignoble man 
To work for hire . . . 

and rather suffer any thing than to possess such opinions, and live 
after such a manner? I think so, replied he, that he would 
suffer, and embrace any thing rather than live in that manner. 
But consider this further, said I : If such an one should descend, 
and sit down again in the same seat, would not his eyes be filled 
with darkness, in consequence of coming suddenly from the sun ? 
Very much so, replied he. And should he now again be obliged 
to give his opinion of those shadows, and to dispute about them 
with those who are there eternally chained, whilst yet his eyes were 
dazzled, and before they recovered their former state, and 
if this should not be effected in a short time, would he not 
afford them laughter? and would it not be said of him, that, 
having ascended, he was returned with vitiated eyes, and that 
it was not proper even to attempt to go above, and that whoever 
should attempt to liberate them, and lead them up, if ever they 
were able to get him into their hands, should be put to death ? 
They would by all means, said he, put him to death. The whole 
of this image now, said I, friend Glauco, is to be applied to our 
preceding discourse; for, if you compare this region, which is 
seen by the sight, to the habitation of the prison ; and the light 
of the fire in it, to the power of the sun ; and the ascent above, 
and the vision of things above, to the soul's ascent into the 
region of the intelligible; you will apprehend my meaning, 
since you want to hear it. But God knows whether it be 
true. Appearances then present themselves to my view as 
follows. In the region of knowledge, the idea of the good is the 
last object of vision, and is scarcely to be seen; but if it be 
seen, we must collect by reasoning that it is the cause to all 
of every thing right and beautiful, generating in the visible 
place, light, and its lord the sun ; and in the intelligible place, 
it is itself the lord, producing truth and intellect; and this 
must be beheld by him who is to act wisely, either privately 
or in public. I agree with you, said he, as far as I am able. 
Come now, said I, and agree with me likewise in this. And do 
not wonder that such as arrive hither are unwilling to act in 


human affairs, but their souls always hasten to converse with 
things above; for it is somehow reasonable it should be so, if 
these things take place according to our above-mentioned image. 
It is indeed reasonable, replied he. Well then, do you think 
that this is any thing wonderful, that when a man comes from 
divine contemplations to human evils, he should behave 
awkwardly and appear extremely ridiculous, whilst he is yet 
dazzled, and is obliged, before he is sufficiently accustomed to 
the present darkness, to contend in courts of justice, or else- 
where, about the shadows of justice, or those statues which 
occasion the shadows ; and to dispute about this point, how these 
things are apprehended by those who have never at -any time 
beheld justice itself? This is not at all wonderful, said he. 
But if a man possesses intellect, said I, he must remember, that 
there is a twofold disturbance of the sight, and arising from two 
causes, when we betake ourselves from light to darkness, and 
from darkness to light: and when a man considers that these 
very things happen with reference also to the soul, whenever 
he sees any one disturbed, and unable to perceive any thing, he 
will not laugh in an unreasonable manner, but will consider, 
whether the soul, coming from a more splendid life, be darkened 
by ignorance, or, going from abundant ignorance to one more 
luminous, be filled with the dazzling splendour, and so will 
congratulate the one on its fate and life, and compassionate the 
life and fate of the other. And if he wishes to laugh at the 
soul that goes from darkness to light, his laughter would be less 
improper, than if he were to laugh at the soul which descends 
from the light to darkness. You say very reasonably, replied 
he. It is proper then, said I, that we judge of them after such 
a manner as this, if those things be true. That education is not 
such a thing as some that profess it announce it to be ; for they 
somehow say, that whilst there is no knowledge in the soul, 
they will insert it, as if they were inserting sight in blind eyes. 
They say so, replied he. But our present reasoning, said I, now 
shows, that this power being in the soul of every one, and the 
organ by which every one learns, and being in the same condition 
as the eye, if it were unable otherwise, than with the whole 
body, to turn from darkness to light, must, in like manner, with 
the whole soul, be turned from the world of change, till it be 
able to endure the contemplation of being itself, and the most 
splendid of being ; and this we call the good. Do we not ? We 
do. This then, said I, would appear to be the art of his con- 
version: in what manner he shall, with greatest ease and 
advantage, be turned. Not to implant in him the power of 
seeing, but considering him as possessed of it, only improperly 
situated, and not looking at what he ought, to contrive some 
method by which this may be accomplished. It seems so, 

158 PLATO 

replied he. The other virtues now then of the soul, as they 
are called, seem to be somewhat resembling those of the body 
(for when, in reality, they were not in it formerly, they are 
afterwards produced in it by habits and exercises); but that of 
wisdom, as it seems, happens to be of a nature somewhat more 
divine than any other ; as it never loses its power, but, according 
as it is turned, is useful and advantageous, or useless and hurtful. 
Or have you not observed of those who are said to be wicked, 
yet wise, how sharply the little soul sees, and how acutely it 
comprehends every thing to which it is turned, as having no 
contemptible sight, but compelled to be subservient to wicked- 
ness: so that the more acutely it sees, so much the more 
productive is it of wickedness? Entirely so, replied he. But 
however, said I, if, immediately from childhood, such a nature 
has been docked and stripped of every thing allied to the world 
of change, as of leaden weights, which by means of feastings and 
pleasures and gluttonies cling to it, and turn the sight of the 
soul to things downwards ; from all these, if the soul, being freed, 
should turn itself towards truth, the very same principle in the 
same men would most acutely see those things as it now does 
these to which it is turned. It is likely, replied he. Again, is 
not this likely, said I, and necessarily deduced from what has 
been mentioned? that neither those who are uninstructed and 
unacquainted with truth can ever sufficiently take care of the 
city ; nor yet those who are allowed to spend the whole of their 
time in learning. The former, because they have no one scope 
in life, aiming at which they ought to do whatever they do, both 
in private and in public; and the latter, because they are not 
willing to manage civil affairs, thinking that whilst they are yet 
alive, they have migrated to the islands of the blessed. True, 
said he. It is our business then, said I, to oblige those of the 
inhabitants who have the best natures, to apply to that learning 
which we formerly said was the greatest, both to view the good, 
and to ascend that ascent; and when they have ascended, and 
sufficiently viewed it, we are not to allow them what is now 
allowed them. What is that? To continue there, said I, and 
be unwilling to descend again to those fettered men, or share 
with them in their toils and honours, whether more trifling or 
more important. Shall we then, said he, act unjustly towards 
them, and make them live a worse life when they have it in their 
power to live a better? You have again forgot, friend, said I, 
that this is not the legislator's concern, in what manner any one 
class in the city shall live remarkably happy; but this he 
endeavours to effectuate in the whole city, connecting the 
citizens together by necessity and by persuasion, making them 
share the advantage with one another with which they are 
severally able to benefit the community : and the legislator, when 


he makes such men in the city, does it not that he may permit 
them to go where each may incline, but that himself may employ 
them for connecting the city together. True, said he, I forgot, 
indeed. Consider then, said I, Glauco, that we shall no way 
injure the philosophers who arise among us, but tell them what 
is just, when we oblige them to take care of others, and to be 
guardians. We will allow, indeed, that those who in other cities 
become philosophers, with reason do not participate of the toils 
of public offices in the state (for they spring up of themselves, 
the policy of each city opposing them, and it is just, that what 
springs of itself, owing its growth to none, should not be forward 
to pay for its nurture to any one) ; but you have we generated 
both for yourselves, and for the rest of the state, as the leaders 
and kings in a hive, and have educated you better, and in a more 
perfect manner than they, and made you more capable of sharing 
in both kinds of life. Every one then must, in turn, descend to 
the dwelling of the others, and accustom himself to behold 
obscure objects: for, when you are accustomed to them, you 
will infinitely better perceive things there, and will fully know 
the several images what they are, and of what, from your having 
perceived the truth concerning things beautiful, and just, and 
good. And thus, as a real vision, both to us and you, shall the 
city be inhabited, and not as a dream, as most cities are at 
present inhabited by such as both fight with one another about 
shadows, and raise sedition about governing, as if it were some 
mighty good. But the truth I think is as follows : In whatever 
city those who are to govern, are the most averse to undertake 
government, that city, of necessity, will be the best established, 
and the most free from sedition ; and that city, whose governors 
are of a contrary character, will be in a contrary condition. 
Entirely so, replied he. Do you think then that our pupils will 
disobey us, when they hear these injunctions, and be unwilling 
to labour jointly in the city, each bearing a part, but spend the 
most of their time with one another, free from public affairs ? 
Impossible, said he. For we prescribe just things to just men. 
And each of them enters on magistracy from this consideration 
beyond all others, that they are under a necessity of governing 
after a manner contrary to all the present governors of all other 
cities. Indeed thus it is, my companion, said I : if you discover 
a life for those who are to be our governors, better than that of 
governing, then it will be possible for you to have the city well 
established ; for in it alone shall those govern who are truly rich, 
not in gold, but in that in which a happy man ought to be rich, 
in a good and happy life. But if, men who are poor, and hungry, 
having no goods of their own, come to the public, thinking they 
ought thence to pillage good, it is not possible to have the city 
rightly established. For the contest being who shall govern, 

160 PLATO 

such a war being domestic, and within them, it destroys both 
themselves, and the rest of the city. Most true, said he. Have 
you then, said I, any other kind of life which despises public 
magistracies, but that of true philosophy ? No, indeed, said he. 
But, however, they ought at least not to be fond of governing 
who enter on it, otherwise the rivals will fight about it. How 
can it be otherwise ? Whom else then will you oblige to enter 
on the guardianship of the city, but such as are most intelligent 
in those things by which the city is best established, and who 
have other honours, and a life better than the political one ? No 
others, said he. 

Are you willing then, that we now consider this, by what 
means such men shall be produced, and how one shall bring 
them into the light, as some are said, from Hades, to have ascended 
to the Gods? Of course I am willing, replied he. This now, 
as it seems, is not the turning of a shell; but the conversion 
of the soul coming from some benighted day, to the true day, 
that is the ascent to real being, which we say is true philosophy. 
Entirely so. Ought we not then to consider which of the 
disciplines possesses such a power? Why not? What now, 
Glauco, may that discipline of the soul be, which draws her from 
that which is generated towards being itself? But this I consider 
whilst I am speaking. Did not we indeed say, that it was 
necessary for them, whilst young, to be trained in war? We 
said so. It is proper then, that this discipline likewise be added 
to that which is now the object of our inquiry. Which? Not 
to be useless to military men. It must indeed, said he, be added 
if possible. They were somewhere in our former discourse 
instructed by us in gymnastic and music. They were, replied he. 
Gymnastic indeed somehow respects what is generated and 
destroyed, for it presides over the increase and decrease of body. 
It seems so. This then cannot be the discipline which we 
investigate. It cannot. Is it music then, such as we formerly 
described? But it was, said he, as a counterpart of gymnastic, 
if you remember, by habits instructing our guardians, imparting 
no knowledge, but only with respect to harmony, a certain 
harmoniousness, and with regard to rhythm, a certain propriety 
of rhythm, and in discourses, certain other habits the sisters of 
these, both in such discourses as are fabulous, and in such as are 
nearer to truth. But as to a discipline respecting such a good as 
you now investigate, there was nothing of this in that music. 
You have, most accurately, said I, reminded me ; for it treated, 
in reality, of no such thing. But, my dear Glauco, what may 
this discipline be? For all the arts have somehow appeared to 
be mechanical and illiberal. Certainly they have. Yet what other 
discipline remains distinct from music, gymnastic, and the arts ? 
Come, said I, if we have nothing yet further besides these to 


take, let us take something in these which extends over them all. 
What is £hat? Such as this general thing, which all arts, and 
minds, and sciences employ, and which every one ought, in the 
first place, necessarily to learn. What is that? said he. This 
trifling thing, said I, to know completely one, and two, and three : 
I call this summarily number, and computation. Or is it not 
thus with reference to these, that every art, and likewise every 
science, must of necessity participate of these ? They must of 
necessity, replied he. And must not the art of war likewise 
participate of them? Of necessity, said he. Palamedes then, 
in the tragedies, shows every where Agamemnon to have been 
at least a most ridiculous general; or have you not observed 
how he says, that having invented numeration, he adjusted 
the ranks in the camp at Troy, and numbered up both the 
ships, and all the other forces; as if they were not numbered 
before, and Agamemnon, as it seems, did not even know how 
many foot he had, since he understood not how to number them : 
but what kind of general do you imagine him to be? Some 
absurd one, for my part, replied he, if this were true. Is there 
any other discipline then, said I, which we shall establish as 
more necessary to a military man, than to be able to compute and 
to number? This most of all, said he, if he would any way 
understand how to range his troops, and still more if he is to be 
a man. Do you perceive then, said I, with regard to this 
discipline the same thing as I do? What is that? It seems 
to belong to those things which we are investigating, which 
naturally lead to intelligence, but that no one uses it aright, 
being entirely a conductor towards real being. How do you 
say? replied he. I shall endeavour, said I, to explain at least 
my own opinion. With reference to those things which I 
distinguish with myself into such as lead towards intelligence, 
and such as do not, do you consider them along with me, and 
either agree or dissent, in order that we may more distinctly 
see, whether this be such as I conjecture respecting it. — Show 
me, said he. I show you then, said I, if you take me, some things 
with relation to the senses, which call not intelligence to the 
inquiry, as they are sufficiently determined by sense, but other 
things which by all means call upon it to inquire, as sense does 
nothing sane. You plainly mean, said he, such things as appear 
at a distance, and such as are painted. You have not altogether, 
said I, apprehended my meaning. Winch then, said he, do you 
mean? Those things, said I, call not upon intelligence, which 
do not issue in a contrary sensation at one and the same time ; 
but such as issue in this manner, I establish to be those which 
call upon intelligence : since here sense manifests the one sensa- 
tion no more than its contrary, whether it meet with it near, or 
at a distance. But you will understand my meaning more plainly 

1 62 PLATO 

in this manner. These we say, are three fingers, the little finger, 
the next to it, and the middle finger. Plainly so, rqplied he. 
Consider me then as speaking of them when seen near, and 
take notice of this concerning them. What? Each of them 
alike appears to be a finger, and in this there is no difference, 
whether it be seen in the middle or in the end ; whether it be 
white or black, thick or slender, or any thing else of this kind ; 
for in all these, the soul of the multitude is under no necessity 
to question their intellect what is a finger ; for never does sight 
itself at the same time intimate finger to be finger, and its 
contrary. It does not, replied he. Is it not likely then, said I, 
that such a case as this at least shall neither call upon nor excite 
intelligence? It is likely. Well, with reference to their being 
great and small, does the sight sufficiently perceive this, and 
makes it no difference to it, that one of them is situated in the 
middle, or at the end; and in like manner with reference to 
their thickness and slenderness, their softness and hardness, 
does the touch sufficiently perceive these things ; and in like 
manner the other senses, do they no way defectively manifest 
such things ? Or does each of them act in this manner ? First 
of all, must not that sense which relates to hard, of necessity 
relate likewise to soft ; and it reports to the soul, as if one and 
the same, that the same thing is both hard and soft when it 
feels this to be so. It does. And must not then the soul again, 
said I, in such cases, of necessity be in doubt, what the sense 
points out to it as hard, since it calls the same thing soft likewise ; 
and so with reference to the sense relating to light and heavy ; 
the soul must be in doubt what is light and what is heavy ; if 
the sense intimates that heavy is light, and that light is heavy ? 
These to be sure, said he, are truly absurd reports to the soul, 
and stand in need of examination. It is likely then, said I, 
that first of all, in such cases as these, the soul, calling in reason 
and intelligence, endeavours to discover, whether the things 
reported be one, or whether they be two. Of course. And if 
they appear to be two, each of them appears to be one, and 
distinct from the other. It does. And if each of them be one, 
and both of them two, he will by intelligence perceive two distinct ; 
for, if they were not distinct, he could not perceive two, but only 
one. Right. The sight in like manner, we say, perceives great 
and small, but not as distinct from each other,- but as some- 
thing confused. Does it not ? It does. In order to obtain per- 
spicuity in this affair, intelligence is obliged again to consider 
great and small, not as confused, but distinct, after a manner 
contrary to the sense of sight. True. And is it not from hence, 
somehow, that it begins to question us, What then is great, and 
what is small ? By all means. And so we have called the one 
intelligible, and the other visible. Very right, said he. This 


then is what I was just now endeavouring to express, when I said, 
that some things call on the mind, and others do not : and such 
as fall on the sense at the same time with their contraries, I 
define to be such as require intelligence, but such as do not, do 
not excite intelligence. I understand now, said he, and it appears 
so to me. What now? with reference to number and unity, 
to which of the two classes do you think they belong ? I do not 
understand, replied he. But reason by analogy, said I, from 
what we have already said : for, if unity be of itself sufficiently 
seen, or be apprehended by any other sense, it will not lead 
towards real being, as we said concerning finger. But if there be 
always seen at the same time something contrary to it, so as 
that it shall no more appear unity than the contrary, it would 
then require some one to judge of it: and the soul would be 
under a necessity to doubt within itself, and to inquire, exciting 
the conception within itself, and to interrogate it what this 
unity is. And thus the discipline which relates to unity would 
be of the class of those which lead, and turn the soul to the 
contemplation of real being. But indeed this at least, said he, 
is what the very sight of it effects in no small degree : for we 
behold the same thing, at one and the same time, as one and as 
an infinite multitude. And if this be the case with reference to 
unity, said I, will not every number be affected in the same 
manner? Of course. But surely both computation and arith- 
metic wholly relate to number. Very much so. These then 
seem to lead to truth. Transcendently so. They belong then, 
as it seems, to those disciplines which we are investigating. 
For the soldier must necessarily learn these things, for the 
disposing of his ranks ; and the philosopher for the attaining to 
real being, emerging from generation, or he can never become 
a reasoner. It is so, replied he. But our guardian at least 
happens to be both a soldier and a philosopher. Undoubtedly. 
It were proper then, Glauco, to establish by law this discipline, 
and to persuade those who are to manage the greatest affairs 
of the city to apply to computation, and study it, not in a 
common way, but till by intelligence itself they arrive at the 
contemplation of the nature of numbers, not for the sake of 
buying, nor of selling, as merchants and retailers, but both for 
war, and for facility in the conversion of the soul itself, from 
generation to truth and essence. Most beautifully said, replied 
he. And surely now, I perceive likewise, said I, at present 
whilst this discipline respecting computations is mentioned, 
how elegant it is, and every way advantageous towards our 
purpose, if one applies to it for the sake of knowledge, and 
not with a view to traffic ! Which way ? replied he. This very 
thing which we now mentioned, how vehemently does it somehow 
lead up the soul, and compel it to reason about numbers 

164 PLATO 

themselves, by no means admitting, if a man in reasoning 
it shall produce numbers which have visible and tangible b 
For you know of some who are skilled in these thing 
who, if a man in reasoning should attempt to divide unity 
would both ridicule him, and not admit it ; but if you di\ 
into parts, they multiply them, afraid lest anyhow unity i 
appear not to be unity, but many parts. You say, repli< 
most true. What think you now, Glauco, if one shoul 
them: My good sirs, about what kind of numbers are 
reasoning? in which there is unity, such as you think 
approve, each whole equal to each whole, and not differi 
the smallest degree, having no part in itself, what do you 
they would answer? This, as I suppose; that they mean 
numbers as can be conceived by the mind alone, but cann 
comprehended in any other way. You see then, my f 
said I, that in reality this discipline appears to be necessa 
us, since it seems to compel the soul to employ intellij 
itself in the perception of truth itself. And surely now 
he it effects this in a very powerful degree. Again, have 
hitherto considered this? that those who are naturally si 
in computation appear to be acute in all disciplines; and 
as are naturally slow, if they be instructed and exercised in 
though they derive no other advantage, yet at the same 
all of them proceed so far as to become more acute than 
were before. It is so, replied he. And surely, as I think, 
will not easily find any thing, and not at all many, which occ 
greater labour to the learner and student than this. No, in< 
On all these accounts, then, this discipline is not to be omi 
but the best geniuses are to be instructed in it. I agree, 

Let this one thing then, said I, be established among 
and, in the next place, let us consider if that which is e 
quent to this in any respect pertains to us. What is it? 
he: or, do you mean geometry? That very thing, said I. 
far, said he, as it relates to warlike affairs, it is plain tb 
belongs to us; for, as to encampments, and the occupy^ 
ground, contracting and extending an army, and all i 
figures into which they form armies, both in battles an| 
marches, it would make all the difference to the same i 
whether he is a geometrician, and whether he is not 
surely now, said I, for such purposes as these, some ! 
geometry and some portion of computation might suffice i 
we must inquire, whether much of it, and great advances I 
would contribute any thing to this great end, to make us j 
easily perceive the idea of the good. And we say that i 
thing contributes to this, that obliges the soul to turn 
towards that region in which is the most divine of being, i 



it must by all means perceive. You say right, replied he. If 
therefore it compel the soul to contemplate essence, it belongs 
to us ; but if it oblige it to contemplate generation, it does not 
belong to us. We say so indeed. Those then who are but a 
little conversant in geometry, said I, will not dispute with us 
this point at least, that this science is perfectly contrary to 
the common modes of speech, employed in it by those who 
practise it. How? said he. They speak somehow very 
ridiculously, and through necessity: for all the discourse they 
employ in it appears to be with a view to operation, and to 
practice. Thus they speak of making a square, of prolonging, 
of adjoining, and the like. But yet the whole of this discipline 
is somehow studied for the sake of knowledge. By all means 
indeed, said he. Must not this further be assented to ? What ? 
That it is the knowledge of that which always is, and not of 
that which is sometimes generated and destroyed. This, said 
he, must be granted ; for geometrical knowledge is of that which 
always is. It would seem then, generous Glauco, to draw the 
soul towards truth, and to be productive of a mental energy 
adapted to a philosopher, so as to raise this power of the soul 
to things above, instead of causing it improperly, as at present, 
to contemplate things below. As much as possible, replied he. 
As much as possible then, said I, must we give orders, that 
those in this most beautiful city of yours by no means omit 
geometry; for even its by-works are not inconsiderable. What 
by-works ? said he. Those, said I, which you mentioned relating 
to war; and indeed with reference to all disciplines, as to the 
understanding of them more handsomely, we know somehow, 
that the having learned geometry or not, makes eveiy way an 
entire difference. Every way, in good truth, said he. Let us 
then establish this second discipline for the youth. Let us 
establish it, replied he. 

Further: shall we, in the third place, establish astronomy? 
or are you of a different opinion ? I am, said he, of the same : 
for to be well skilled in the seasons of months and years, belongs 
not only to agriculture and navigation, but equally to the military 
art. You are pleasant, said I, as you seem to be afraid of the 
multitude, lest you should appear to enjoin useless disciplines: 
but this is not altogether a contemptible thing, though it is 
difficult to persuade them, that by each of these disciplines a 
certain organ of the soul is both purified and exsuscitatejl, which 
is blinded and buried by studies of another kind ; an organ 
better worth saving than ten thousand eyes, since truth is per- 
ceived by this alone. To such therefore as are of the same 
opinion, you will very readily appear to reason admirably well: 
but such as have never observed this will probably think you 
say nothing at all: for they perceive no other advantage in 

1 66 PLATO 

these things worthy of attention. Consider now from this 
point, with which of these two you will reason; or carry on 
the reasonings with neither of them, but principally for your 
own sake, yet envy not another, if any one shall be able to be 
benefited by them. In this manner, replied he, I choose, on my 
own account principally both to reason, and to question and 
answer. Come then, said I, let us go back again: for we have 
not rightly taken that which is consequent to geometry. How 
have we taken? replied he. After a plain surface, said I, we 
have taken a solid, moving in a circle, before we considered it 
by itself: but if we had proceeded rightly we should have taken 
the third increase immediately after the second, and that is 
what one may call the increase of cubes, and what participates 
of thickness. It is so, replied he. But these problems, Socrates, 
seem not yet to be discovered. The reason of it, said I, is 
twofold. Because there is no city which sufficiently honours 
them, they are slightly investigated, being difficult ; and besides, 
those who do investigate them want a leader, without which 
they cannot discover them. And this leader is in the first 
place hard to be obtained ; and when he is obtained, as things 
are at present, those who investigate these particulars, as they ~ 
conceive magnificently of themselves, will not obey him. But 
if the whole city presided over these things, and held them in 
esteem, such as inquired into them would be obedient, and their 
inquiries, being carried on with assiduity and vigour, would 
discover themselves what they were: since even now, whilst 
they are on the one hand despised and mutilated by the 
multitude, and on the other by those who study them without 
being able to give any account of their utility, they yet forcibly, 
under all these disadvantages, increase through their native 
grace: nor is it wonderful that they do so. Because truly, 
said he, this grace is very remarkable. But tell me more plainly 
what you were just now saying; for somehow that study which 
respects a plain surface you called geometry. I did, said I. 
And then, said he, you mentioned astronomy in the first place 
after it. But afterwards you drew back. Because, whilst I am 
hastening, said I, to discuss all things rapidly, I advance more 
slowly. For that increase by thickness which was next according 
to method we passed over, because the common method of 
treating it is ridiculous; and after geometry we mentioned 
astronomy, which is the circular motion of a solid. You say 
right, replied he. We establish then, said I, astronomy as the 
fourth discipline, supposing that to subsist which we have now 
omitted, if the city shall enter upon it. It is reasonable, said 
he. And now that you agree with me, Socrates, I proceed in 
my commendation of astronomy, which you formerly reproved 
as superficial. For it is evident, I conceive, to every one, that 


this discipline compels the soul to look to that which is above, 
and from the things here conducts it thither. It is probable, 
said I, that it is evident to every one but to me. For to me it 
does not appear so. How then do you think of it ? replied he. 
In the way it is now pursued by those who introduce it into 
philosophy, it entirely makes the soul to look downwards. How 
do you say ? replied he. You seem to me, said I, to have formed 
with yourself no ignoble opinion of the discipline respecting 
things above, what it is : for you seem to think, that if any one 
contemplates the various bodies in the firmament, and, by 
earnestly looking up, apprehends every thing, you think that 
he has intelligence of these things; and does not merely see 
them with his eyes ; and perhaps you judge right, and I foolishly. 
For I, on the other hand, am not able to conceive, that any 
other discipline can make the soul look upwards, but that which 
respects being, and the invisible ; and if a man . undertakes to 
learn any thing of sensible objects, whether he look upwards 
with mouth gaping, or downwards with mouth shut, never shall 
I say that he learns ; for I aver he has no science of these things, 
nor shall I say that his soul looks upwards, but downwards, even 
though he should float as he learns, lying on his back, either at 
land or at sea. I am punished, said he; for you have justly 
reproved me. But which was the proper way, said you, of 
learning astronomy different from the methods adopted at 
present, if they mean to learn it with advantage for the purposes 
we speak of? In this manner, said I, that those varied beauties 
in the heavens, as they are embroidered in a visible subject, be 
deemed the most beautiful and the most accurate of the kind, 
but far inferior to real beings: to those orbits in which real 
velocity, and real slowness, in true number, and in all true 
figures, are carried with respect to one another, and carry all 
things that are within them. Which things truly are to be 
comprehended by reason and the mind, but not by sight ; or do 
you think they can? By no means, replied he. Is not then, 
said I, that artistic beauty in the heavens to be made use of as 
a paradigm for learning those real things, in the same manner 
as if one should meet "with geometrical figures, drawn remarkably 
well and elaborately by Daedalus, or some other artist or painter ? 
For a man who was skilled in geometry, on seeing these, would 
truly think the workmanship most excellent, yet would esteem 
it ridiculous to consider these things seriously, as if from thence 
he were to learn the truth, as to what were* in equal, in duplicate, 
or in any other proportion. Surely it would be ridiculous, replied 
he. And do not you then think, that he who is truly an 
astronomer will be affected in the same manner, when he looks 
up to the orbits of the planets ? And that he will reckon that 
the heavens and all in them are indeed established by the 

1 68 PLATO 

artifices of the heavens, in the most beautiful manner possible 
for such works to be established; but would not he deem him 
absurd, who should imagine that this proportion of night with 
day, and of both these to a month, and of a month to a year, 
and of other stars to such like things, and towards one another, 
existed always in the same manner, and in no way suffered any 
change, though they have a body, and are visible; and search 
by every method to apprehend the truth of these things ? So 
it appears to me, replied he, whilst I am hearing you. Let us 
then make use of problems, said I, in the study of astronomy, as 
in geometry. And let us dismiss the heavenly bodies, if we 
intend truly to apprehend astronomy, and render profitable 
instead of unprofitable that part of the soul which is naturally 
wise. You truly enjoin a much harder task on astronomers, 
said he, than is enjoined them at present. And I think, replied 
I, that we must likewise enjoin other things, in the same manner, 
if we are to be of any service as law-givers. 

But can you suggest any of the proper disciplines? I can 
suggest none, replied he, at present at least. It appears to 
me, said I, that not only one, but many species of discipline, are 
afforded by this science of motion. All of which any wise man 
can probably tell ; but those which occur to me are two. What 
are they? Together with the one named above, said I, there 
is its counter-part. Which? As the eyes, said I, seem to be 
fitted to astronomy, so the ears seem to be fitted to harmonious 
movement. And these seem to be sister sciences to one another, 
both as the Pythagoreans say, and we, Glauco, agree with them, 
or how shall we do? Just so, replied he. Shall we not, said 
I, since this is their great work, inquire how they speak 
concerning them — and, if there be any other thing besides 
these, inquire into it likewise? But above all these things, 
we will still guard that which is our own. What is that? 
That those we educate never attempt at any time to learn 
any of those things in an imperfect manner, and not pointing 
always at that mark to which all ought to be directed: as we 
now mentioned with reference to astronomy. Or do not you 
know that they do the same thing with regard to harmony, 
as in astronomy ? For, whilst they measure one with another 
the symphonies and sounds which are heard, they labour like 
the astronomers unprofitably. Nay, by heaven, said he, and 
ridiculously too, whilst they frequently repeat certain notes, 
and listen with their ears to catch the sound as from a 
neighbouring place; lind some of them say they hear some 
middle note, but that the interval which measures them is 
the smallest; and others again doubt this, and say that the 
notes are the same as were sounded before; and both parties 
subject the intellect to the ears. But you speak, said I, of 


the mercenary musicians, who perpetually harass and torment 
their strings, and rack them on the pegs. But* that the 
comparison may not be too tedious, I shall say nothing of 
the blows given by the prong, or the accusations made against 
the strings, their refusals and stubbornness, but bring the 
image to an end, and say we ought not to choose these to 
speak of harmony, but those true musicians whom we 
mentioned. For these do the same things here as the others 
did in astronomy; for in these symphonies which are heard, 
they search for numbers, but they pass not thence to the 
problems, to inquire what numbers are symphonious, and 
what are not, and the reason why they are either the one or 
the other. You speak, said he, of a superhuman work. No, 
but profitable, said I, for the search of the beautiful and good, 
but if pursued in another manner it is unprofitable. It is likely, 
said he. But I think, said I, that the proper method of inquiry 
into all these things, if it reach their communion and alliance 
with each other, and reason in what respects they are akin to 
one another, will contribute something to what we want, and 
our labour will not be unprofitable ; otherwise it will. I like- 
wise, said he, prophesy the same thing. But you speak, Socrates, 
of a very mighty work. Do you mean the introduction, or 
what else? said I. Or do we not know that all these things 
are introductory to the law itself which we ought to learn; 
for even those that are expert as to these things, do not 
appear to be skilled in dialectic. No, indeed, said he, unless 
a very few of all I have met with. But whilst they are not 
able, said I, to impart and receive reason, will they ever be 
able to know any thing of what we say is necessary to be 
known? Never will they be able to do this, replied he. Is 
not this itself then, Glauco, said I, the law ? To give perfection 
to dialectic ; which being intelligible, may be said to be imitated 
by the power of sight ; which power endeavours, as we observed, 
first to look at animals, then at the stars, and last of all at the 
sun himself. So when any one attempts to discuss a subject 
without any of the senses, by reasoning he is impelled to that 
which each particular is ; and if he does not desist till he 
apprehends by intelligence what is the good itself, he then 
arrives at the end of the intelligible, as the other does at the 
end of the visible. Entirely so, said he. What now? Do 
not you cmll this progression dialectic ? What else ? And 
now, said I, as in our former comparison you had the liberation 
from chains, and turning from shadows towards images, and 
the light, and an ascent from the cavern to the sun; and 
when there, the inability at first to behold animals and plants, 
and the light of the sun, but only at divine reflexions in water, 
and shadows of real things, and no longer the shadows of 

lyo PLATO 

images shadowed out by another light which is itself 
shadow as ^compared with the sun: in the same way, the a 
which we have discussed, has this power, to lead up all t 
business of that which is best in the soul, to the contemplati 
of that which is best in beings, as in the former case, tl 
which is clearest in the body is led to that which is mi 
bright in the corporeal and visible place. I admit, said he, 
these things; though truly it appears to me extremely diffici 
to admit of them, and in another respect it is difficult not 
admit of them. But however (for we shall hear these thin 
not only now at present, but often again discuss then 
establishing these things as now expressed, let us go to tJ 
law itself, and discuss it in the same manner as we ha 
finished the introduction. Say then what is the mode of tl 
power of dialectic, and into what species is it divided, ai 
what are the paths leading to it? For these, it is likel 
conduct us to that place, at which when we are arrived, v 
shall find a resting-place, and the end of the journey. Yc 
will not as yet, friend Glauco, said I, be able to follow; fi 
otherwise no zeal should be wanting on my part; nor shoul 
you any longer only see the image of that of which we ai 
speaking, but the truth itself. But this is what to me at lea* 
it appears; whether it be so in reality or not, this it is nc 
proper strenuously to affirm; but that indeed it is somewha 
of this kind may be strenuously affirmed. May it not 
Certainly it may. And further that it is the power of dialecti 
alone, which can discover this to one who is skilled in th 
things we have discussed, and that by no other power it i 
possible. This also, said he, we may strenuously affirm. Thi 
at least no one, said I, will dispute with us: That no othe 
method can attempt to comprehend, in any orderly way, wha 
each particular being is ; for all the other arts respect either th< 
opinions and desires of men, or generations, and compositions, oi 
are all employed in the care of things generated and compounded 
Those others, which we said participated somewhat of being 
geometry, and such as are connected with her, we see as dream- 
ing indeed about being ; but it is impossible for them to have a 
true vision, so long as employing hypotheses they preserve these 
immoveable, without being able to assign a reason for their sub- 
sistence. For where the principle is that which is unknown, and 
the conclusion and intermediate steps are connect eoV with that 
unknown principle, by what contrivance can an assent of such 
a kind ever become science? By none, replied he. Does not 
then, said I, the dialectic method, and no other, proceed in this 
way, to the principle itself, removing all hypotheses, that it may 
firmly establish it, and gradually drawing and leading upwards the 
eye of the soul, which was truly buried in a certain barbaric mire, 


using as assistants and handmaids in this movement those arts 
we have mentioned, which through custom we frequently call 
sciences, but which require another appellation more clear 
than opinion, but more obscure than science? We have some- 
where in the former part of our discourse termed it the mind. 
But the controversy is not, as it appears to me, about a name, 
with those who inquire into things of such great importance as 
those now before us. It is not, said he. Do you agree then, 
said I, as formerly, to call the first part science, the second 
understanding, the third faith, and the fourth conjecture ? and 
both these last opinion? and the two former intelligence? 
And that opinion is employed about generation, and intelligence 
about essence ? Likewise, that as essence is to generation, so is 
intelligence to opinion, science to faith, and the understanding 
to conjecture? But as for the analogy of the things which 
these powers respect, and the twofold division of each, viz. of 
the object of opinion, and of intellect, these we omit, Glauco, 
that we may not be more prolix here than in our former reason- 
ings. As for me, said he, with reference to those other things, 
as far as I am able to follow, I am of the same opinion. But do 
not you call him skilled in dialectic, who apprehends the reason 
of the essence of each particular? And as for the man who is 
not able to give a reason to himself, and to another, so far as 
he is not able, so far will you not say he wants intelligence of 
the thing? So I should say, replied he. And is not the case 
the same with reference to the good} Whosoever cannot define 
it by reason, separating the idea of the good from all others, and 
as in a battle piercing through all arguments, eagerly striving 
to confute, not according to opinion, but according to essence, 
and in all these marching forward with undeviating reason, — 
such as one knows nothing of the good itself, nor of any good 
whatever : but if he has attained to any image of the good, we 
must say he has attained to it by opinion, not by science ; that 
in the present life he is sleeping, and conversant with dreams ; 
and that before he is roused he will descend to Hades, and 
there be profoundly and perfectly laid asleep. In good truth, 
said he, I will strongly aver all these things. But surely you 
will not, I think, allow your own children at least whom you 
nourish and educate in reasoning, if ever in reality you educate 
them, to have the supreme government of the most important 
affairs in tho^ state, whilst they are irrational as surds. By no 
means, replied he. You will then lay down this to them as a 
law: That in a most especial manner they attain to that part 
of education, by which they may become able to question and 
answer in the most scientific manner. I will settle it by law, 
said he, with your assistance at least. Does it then appear to 
you, said I, that dialectic is to be placed on high as a bulwark 

172 PLATO 

to disciplines? and that no other discipline can with propriety 
be raised higher than this; but that every thing respecting 
disciplines is now finished ? I agree, said he. 

There now remains for you, said I, the distribution: To 
whom shall we assign these disciplines, and after what manner ? 
That is evident, said he. Do you remember then our former 
election of rulers, what kind we chose? Of course I do, said 
he. Conceive then, said I, that those were not the only reasons 
why those natures needs must be selected. Not only are the 
most firm and brave to be preferred, and, as far as possible, the 
most graceful; besides, we must not only seek for those whose 
manners are generous and stern, but tjiey must be possessed of 
every other natural disposition conducive to this education. 
Which dispositions do you recommend? They must have, said 
I, my good sir, acuteness with respect to disciplines, that they 
may learn without difficulty. For souls are much more intimi- 
dated in robust disciplines, than in strenuous exercises of the 
body ; for it is their proper labour, one which is not in common 
with the body, but more confined to them. True, said he. 
And we must seek for one of good memory, sturdy, and every 
way laborious : or how else do you think any one will be willing 
to endure the fatigue of the body, and to accomplish at the 
same time such learning and study? No one, said he, unless 
he be in all respects of a naturally good disposition. The 
mistake then about philosophy, and the contempt of it, have 
been occasioned through these things, because, as I formerly 
said, it is not applied to in a manner suitable to its dignity: 
for it ought not to have been applied to by the bastardly, but 
the legitimate. How? said he. In the first place, he who is 
to apply to philosophy ought not, said I, to be lame as to his 
love of labour, being half laborious and half lazy ; which takes 
place when a man loves wrestling and hunting, and all exercises 
of the body, but is not a lover of learning, and loves neither to 
hear nor to inquire, but in all these respects has an aversion to 
labour. He likewise is lame, in the opposite manner from this 
man, who dislikes all bodily exercise. You say most true, 
replied he. And shall we not, said I, in like manner account 
that soul maimed as to truth, which hates indeed a voluntary 
falsehood, and bears it ill in itself, and is beyond measure 
enraged when others tell a lie ; but easily admits the involuntary 
lie; and, though at any time it be found ignorant, is not dis- 
pleased, but like a savage sow willingly wallows in ignorance? 
By all means, said he. And in like manner, said I, as to 
temperance and fortitude, and magnanimity, and all the parts 
of virtue, we must no less carefully attend to the bastardly, and 
the legitimate; for when either any private person or city 
understands not how to attend to all these things, they un- 


awares employ the lame and the bastardly for whatever they 
have occasion; private persons employ them as friends, and 
cities as governors. The case is entirely so, said he. But we, 
said I, must beware of all such things ; for, if we take such as 
are entire in body and in mind for such extensive learning, and 
exercise and instruct them, justice herself will not blame us, 
and we shall preserve both the city and its constitution: but 
if we introduce persons of a different description into these 
affairs, we shall do every thing the reverse, and bring philosophy 
under still greater ridicule. That indeed were shameful, said 
he. Certainly, said I. But I myself seem at present to be 
somewhat ridiculous. How so? said he. I forgot, said I, that 
we were amusing ourselves, and spoke with two great keenness ; 
for, whilst I was speaking, I looked towards philosophy ; and see- 
ing her most unworthily abused, I seem to have been filled with 
indignation, and, as being enraged at those who are the cause of it, 
to have spoken too earnestly what I said. No truly, said he, not 
for me your hearer at least. But for me, said I, the speaker. 
But let us not forget this, that in our former election we made 
choice of old men ; but in this election it will not be allowed us. 
For we must not believe Solon, that one who is growing old is 
able to learn many things ; but he is less able to effect this than 
to run. All mighty and numerous labours belong to the young. 
Of necessity, said he. Every thing then relating to arithmetic 
and geometry, and all that previous instruction which they 
should be taught before they learn dialectic, ought to be set 
before them whilst they are children, and that method of 
teaching observed, which will make them learn without com- 
pulsion. Why so ? Because, said I, a free man ought to learn 
no discipline with slavery : for the labours of the body when 
endured through compulsion render the body nothing worse: 
but no compelled discipline is lasting in the soul. True, said he. 
Do not then, said I, my dear friend, compel boys in their 
learning; but train them up, amusing themselves, that you 
may be better able to discern to what the genius of each 
naturally tends. What you say, replied he, is reasonable. Do 
not you remember then, said I, that we said the boys are 
even to be carried to war, as spectators, on horseback, and 
that they are to be brought nearer, if they can with safety, 
and like young hounds taste the blood? I remember, said he. 
Whoever then, said I, shall appear the most forward in all these 
labours, disciplines, and terrors, are to be selected into a certain 
number. At what age? said he. When they have, said I r 
finished their necessary exercises ; for during this time, whilst 
it continues, for two or three years^ it is impossible to accomplish 
any thing else; for fatigue and sleep are enemies to learning; 
and this too is none of the least of their trials, of what character 

176 PLATO 

selves, and the whole of philosophy, are calumniated by others, 
Most true, said he. But he who is of a riper age, said I, will not 
be disposed to share in such a madness, but will rather imitate 
him who inclines to reason and inquire after truth, than one who, 
for the sake of diversion, amuses himself, and contradicts. He 
will likewise be more modest himself, and render the practice of 
disputing more honourable instead of being more dishonourable. 
Right, said he. Were not then all our former remarks rightly 
made, in the way of precaution, as to this point, that those natures 
ought to be decent and stable, to whom dialectic is to be imparted, 
and not as at present, when every common nature, and such as is not 
at all proper, is admitted to it ? Certainly, said he. Is it then 
sufficient for a man to remain in acquiring the art of dialectic with 
perseverance and application, and doing nothing else, just as he 
did when he was exercising himself in all bodily exercises, for 
double the time which he spent on these? Do you mean six 
years, said he, or four ? 'Tis of no consequence, said I, make it 
five. After this you must compel them to descend to that cave 
again, and oblige them to govern both in things relating to war, 
and such other magistracies as require youth, that they may not 
fall short of others in even experience. And they must be still 
further tried among these, whether, being drawn to every different 
quarter, they will continue firm, or whether they will in any 
measure be arawn aside. And for how long a time, said he, do 
you appoint this ? For fifteen years, said I. And when they are 
of the age of fifty, such of them as are preserved, and as have 
excelled in all these things, in actions, and in the sciences, are 
now to be led to the end, and are to be obliged, inclining the ray 
of their soul, to look towards that which imparts light to all things, 
and, when they have viewed the good itself, to use it as a paradigm, 
each of them, in their turn, in adorning both the city and private 
persons, and themselves, during the remainder of their life. For 
the most part indeed they must be occupied in philosophy ; and 
when it is their turn, they must toil in political affairs, and take 
the government, each for the good of the city, performing this office, 
not as any thing honourable, but as a thing necessary. And after 
they have educated others in the same manner still, and left such 
as resemble themselves to be the guardians of the city, they 
depart to inhabit the islands of the blest. But the city will 
publicly erect for them monuments, and offer sacrifices, if the 
oracle assent, as to superior beings ; and if it do not, as to happy 
and divine men. You have Socrates, said he, like a statutory, 
made our governors all-beautiful. And our governesses likewise, 
Glauco, said I. For do not suppose that I have spoken what I 
have said any more concerning the men than concerning the women, 
— such of them as are of a sufficient genius. Right, said he, if at 
least they are to share in all things equally with the men, as we 


related. What then, said I, do you agree, that with reference to 
the city and republic, we have not altogether spoken what can 
only be considered as pious wishes ; but such things as are indeed 
difficult, yet possible in a certain respect, and in no other way than 
what has been mentioned, viz. when those who are truly 
philosophers, whether more of them or a single one, becoming 
governors in a city, shall despise those present honours, considering 
them as illiberal and of no value; but esteeming rectitude and 
the honours which are derived from it above all things ; account- 
ing the just as a thing of all others the greatest, and most 
absolutely necessary; and, ministering to it, and increasing it, 
thoroughly regulate the constitution of their own city. How ? 
said he. As many, said I, of those in the city who are above the 
age often years, they will send into the country, and removing 
their children away from those habits which their parents possess 
at present, they will educate them in their own manners and laws, 
which are what we formerly mentioned : and the city and republic 
we have described being thus established in the speediest and 
easiest manner, it will both be happy itself, and be of the greatest 
advantage to that people among whom it is established. Very 
much so indeed, said he. And you seem to me, Socrates, to have 
told very well how this city shall arise, if it arise at all. Are not 
now then, said I, our discourses sufficient both concerning such a 
city as this, and concerning a man similar to it ? For it is also 
now evident what kind of a man we shall say he ought to be. 
It is evident, replied he ; and your inquiry seems to me to be at 
an end. 




BE it so. These things, Glauco, we have now assented to; 
that in this city, which is to be established in a perfect 
manner, the women are to be common, the children common, 
and likewise the whole of education. In like manner, their 
employments both in peace and war are to be common ; and 
their kings are to be such of them as excel all others both in 
philosophy and in the arts of war. These things, said he, have 
been assented to. And surely we likewise granted, that when 
the governors are appointed, they are to take the soldiers, and 
settle them in such habitations as we formerly mentioned, which 
have nothing peculiar to any one, but are common to all: and 
besides these houses, we likewise, if you remember, agreed what 
sort of possessions they shall have. I remember, said he, that 
we were of opinion, none of them ought to possess any thing as 
others do at present ; but, as men trained in war and guardians, 
they were to receive a reward for their guardianship from others, 
or a yearly maintenance on these accounts, and were to take 
care of themselves and the rest of the city. You say right, said 
I. But let us recollect whence we made this digression, after 
finishing that ; that we may now proceed again in the same way. 
That is not difficult, said he : for you were mentioning much the 
same things of the city with those you have done at present, 
saying that you considered such a city to be good, as it was at 
that time described, and the man to be good who resembles it ; 
whilst yet it seems you were able to describe a better city, and 
a better man. And you said moreover, that all the others were 
wrong, if this was right. Of the other polities, you said, as I 
remember, there were four species, which deserved to be con- 
sidered, and to have the errors in them, and the people who are 
like them, observed; in order that when we have beheld the 
whole of them, and when we have agreed which is the best, and 
which is the worst man, we may inquire whether the best man 
be the happiest, and the worst the most miserable, or otherwise. 



And when I asked you, which you call the four polities, 
Polemarchus and Adimantus hereupon interrupted; and you, in 
this manner having resumed the subject, are come to this part 
of the reasoning. You have recollected, said I, most accurately. 
Again therefore afford me the same opportunity, and, whilst I 
ask you the same question, endeavour to say what you then 
intended to assert. If indeed I am able, said I. And I am truly 
desirous, said he, for my part, to hear which you call the four 
polities. You shall hear that, said I, without difficulty. For they 
are these I mention, and they have names too. There is that 
which is commended by many, the Cretan and the Spartan. 
There is, secondly, that which has a secondary praise, called 
Oligarchy, a polity full of many evils; that which is different 
from this, and follows next in order, a Democracy; and then 
genuine Tyranny, different from all these, the fourth and last 
disease of a city. Or have you any other form of a constitution 
belonging to any distinct species ? For your little principalities 
and venal kingdoms, and such like polities, are somehow of a 
middle kind between these, and one may find of them as many 
among the barbarians as among the Greeks* They are indeed, 
said he, said to be very many, and very strange ones. Do you 
know now, said I, that there is somehow a necessity that there 
be as many species of men as of polities ? Or do you imagine 
that polities are generated somehow of an oak, or a rock, and 
not of the manners of those who are in the city, whatever those 
ways may be which outweigh and draw the rest with them. By 
no means do I imagine, said he, they are generated from any 
thing but from hence. If then there be five species of cities, the 
species of souls in individuals shall be likewise five. To be sure. 
We have already discussed that which resembles an Aristocracy, 
which we have rightly pronounced to be both good and just. 
We have so. Are we now, in the next place, to go over the 
worst species, the contentious and the ambitious man, who is 
formed according to the Spartan polity ; then him resembling an 
Oligarchy ; and then the Democratic and the Tyrannic, that we 
may contemplate the most unjust, and oppose him to the most 
just, that our inquiry may be completed? viz. how the most 
finished justice is in comparison of the most finished injustice, as 
to the happiness or misery of the possessor? that so we may 
either follow injustice, being persuaded by Thrasymachus, or 
justice, yielding to the reasoning here foreshadowed? By all 
means, said he, we must do so. Shall we then, in the same 
manner as we began, consider the manners in polities, before we 
consider them in private persons, as being there more con- 
spicuous ? And according to this method the ambitious republic 
is first to be considered (for I have no other name to call it by, 
but it may be denominated either a Timocracy, or a Timarchy), 

180 PLATO 

and together with it we shall consider a man resembling it; 
afterwards we shall consider an Oligarchy, and a man resembling 
Oligarchy ; then again, when we have viewed a Democracy, we 
shall contemplate a Democratic man; and then in the fourth 
place, when we come to Tyranny, and contemplate it, and like- 
wise a tyrannic soul, we shall endeavour to become competent 
judges of what we proposed. Both our contemplation and 
judgment, said he, would in this manner at least be agreeable to 
reason. Come then, said I, let us endeavour to relate in what 
manner a Timocracy would arise out of an Aristocracy. Or is not 
this plain, that every polity changes, by means of that part 
which possesses the magistracies, when in this itself there arises 
sedition ; but whilst this agrees with itself, though the governing 
body be extremely small, it is impossible to be changed? It 
is so, indeed. How then, Glauco, shall our city be changed? 
Or in what shape shall our allies and rulers fall into sedition 
with one another, and among themselves? Or are you willing, 
that, like Homer, we invoke the Muses to tell us, "How first 
sedition rose?" — And shall we say, that they talk tragically, 
playing with us, and rallying us as children, as though they 
were talking seriously and sublimely ? In what manner ? Some- 
how thus. It is indeed difficult for a city thus constituted 
to be changed. But as every thing which is generated is open to 
corruption, neither will such a constitution as this remain for ever, 
but be dissolved. And its dissolution is this. Not only with 
respect to terrestrial plants, but likewise in terrestrial animals, a 
fertility or sterility of soul as well as of body takes place, when 
the revolution of the circuit is completed in each case ; which are 
shorter to the shorter lived, and contrariwise to such as are the 
contrary : and with reference to the fertility and sterility of our 
race, although those are wise that you have educated to be 
governors of cities, yet will they none the more, by reason in 
conjunction with sense, observe the proper seasons for fertility or 
sterility, but overlook them, and sometimes generate children 
when they ought not. But the period to that which is divinely 
generated is that which the perfect number comprehends ; and 
to that which is generated by man, that in which first the 
increased, root and squared, including three distances and four 
boundaries of things assimilating and dissimilating, increasing and 
decreasing, shall render all things rational and commensurate ; of 
which 3 and 4 joined with 5, and thrice increased, affords two 
harmonies. One of these, equal an equal number of times, so 
many times a hundred ; but the other, of equal length one way, 
but oblong, is of a hundred squares from rational diameters of 5, 
each being deficient by unity, or by two if irrational ; and from a 
hundred cubes of 3. But the whole number of this kind, a really 
geometric number, is the author of better and worse generations. 


Of which when our governors being ignorant, join our couples 
together unseasonably, the children shall neither be of a good 
genius, nor fortunate. And though the former governors shall 
install the best of them in the office, they nevertheless being 
unworthy of it, and coming to have the power their fathers had, 
will begin to be negligent of us in their guardianship, in the first 
place esteeming music less than they ought, and in the next place 
the gymnastic exercises. Hence our youth will become less 
acquainted with music. And the guardians which shall be 
appointed from among these will not be altogether expert 
guardians, to distinguish, according to Hesiod and you, the 
several races, the golden, the silver, the brazen, and the iron; 
but whilst iron is mixed with silver and brass with gold, dis- 
similitude arises, and unharmonious inequality. And when these 
arise, wherever they prevail, they perpetually generate war and 
enmity. To such a race of men as this, we must suppose them 
to say, that sedition belongs whenever it happens to rise. And 
we shall say that they have answered justly, replied he. And of 
necessity, said I, for they are Muses. What then, said he, do the 
Muses say next ? When sedition is risen, said I, two of the races, 
the iron and the brazen, will be drawn to gain, and the acquisition 
of lands and houses, of gold and silver. But the golden and the 
silver races, as they are not in want, but naturally rich, will lead 
souls towards virtue and the original constitution; yet as they 
live in a violent manner, and raw contrary to one another, they 
will make an agreement to divide their lands and houses between 
them, and to have property apart from one another: and then 
enslaving those who were formerly kept by them as freemen, as- 
friends, and tutors, they will keep them as domestics and slaves,, 
themselves applying to war and to their protection. This revolu- 
tion, said he, seems to me thus to arise. Shall not then this 
polity, said I, be somewhat in the middle between an Aristocracy 
and Oligarchy ? Certainly. 

Well, in this manner the change shall happen. And on this- 
change what sort of life shall it lead ? Or is it not plain, that in 
some things it shall imitate the former polity, and in others 
Oligarchy, as being in the middle of the two, and shall likewise 
have somewhat peculiar to itself? Just so, replied he. Shall 
they not then, in honouring their rulers, and in this that their 
military abstain from agriculture, from mechanical and other 
gainful employments, in their establishing common meals, and 
in studying both gymnastic exercises and contests of war, in all 
these things shall they not imitate the former polity ? Yes. But 
in this, that they are afraid to bring wise men into the magistracy, 
as having no longer any such as are truly simple and inflexible,, 
but such as are of a mixed kind; and in that they incline for 
those who are more spirited and simple, whose natural genius is 

1 82 PLATO 

rather fitted for war than peace, and in that they esteem war's 
tricks and stratagems, and spend the whole of their time in 
continual war, in all these respects shall it not have many things 
peculiar to itself? Yes. And such as these, said I, shall be 
desirous of wealth, as those who live in Oligarchies, and wildly 
adore gold and silver concealed in darkness, as having repositories 
of their own, and domestic treasuries, where they hoard and hide 
them, and have their houses to enclose them, where, as in nests 
altogether peculiar, they squander every thing profusely, upon 
their wives and Such others as they fancy. Most true, said he. 
And will they not likewise be sparing of their substance, as 
valuing it highly, and acquiring it not in an open manner, but 
love to squander the substance of others, through their dis- 
soluteness, and secretly indulging their pleasures? They will 
likewise fly from the law, as children from their father, who 
have been educated not by persuasion but by force, having 
neglected the true muse, which is accompanied with reason 
and philosophy, and honoured gymnastic more than music. You 
describe entirely, said he, a mixed polity, compounded of good 
and ill. It is indeed mixed, said I. One thing is most remarkable 
in it, from the prevalence of the irascible temper, contention, and 
ambition. Exceedingly, said he. Does not then, said I, this 
polity arise in this manner ? And is it not of such a kind as this, 
as far as the form of a polity can be described in words where 
there is not perfect accuracy ; since it suffices us to contemplate 
from the sketch likewise the most just and the most unjust man ; 
and it were a work of prodigious length to discuss all polities, and 
all the various manners of men, without omitting any thing ? Very 
right, said he. 

What now will the man be who corresponds to this polity? 
how shall he be formed, and of what kind? I think, said 
Adimantus, he will be somewhat like Glauco here, at least in 
a love of contention. Perhaps, said I, as to this particular. 
But in other respects he does not seem to me to have a 
natural resemblance of him. In what? He must necessarily, 
said I, be more arrogant, and somewhat less apt to music, but 
fond of it : and fond of hearing, but by no means a rhetorician : 
and such an one will be rough towards slaves, without despising 
them, as he does who is sufficiently educated. He will be mild 
towards such as are free, and extremely submissive to governors ; 
a lover of dominion, and a lover of honour, not thinking it proper 
to govern by eloquence, nor any thing of the kind, but by war- 
like deeds and all things of that kind, being a lover of gymnastic 
and hunting. This indeed, said he, is the temper of that polity. 
And shall not such an one, said I, despise money, whilst he is 
young? But the older he grows, the more he will always 
value it, because he partakes of the covetous genius, and is 


not sincerely affected towards virtue, because destitute of the 
best guardian. Of what guardian? said Adimantus. Reason, 
said I, accompanied with music, which being the only inbred 
preservative of virtue, dwells with the possessor through the 
whole of life. You say well, replied he. And surely at least 
such a timocratic youth, said I, resembles such a city. Certainly. 
And such an one, said I, is formed somehow in this manner. 
He happens sometimes to be the young son of a worthy father, 
who dwells in an ill regulated city, and who shuns honours and 
magistracies, and law-suits, and all such public business, and is 
willing to live neglected in obscurity, that he may have no 
trouble. In what manner then, said he, is he formed? When 
first of all, said I, he hears his mother venting her indignation, 
because her husband is not in the magistracy, and complaining 
that she is on this account neglected among other women, and 
that she observes him not extremely attentive to the acquisition 
of wealth, not fighting and reviling privately and publicly in 
courts of justice ; but behaving on all these occasions indolently,, 
and perceiving him always attentive to himself, and treating 
her neither with extreme respect nor contempt; on all these 
accounts, being filled with indignation, she tells her son that 
his father is unmanly, and extremely remiss, and such other 
things as wives are wont to cant over concerning such husbands. 
They are very many, truly, said Adimantus, and very much in 
their own spirit. And you know, said I, that the domestie 
likewise of such families, such of them as appear good-natured, 
sometimes privately say the same things to the sons; and if 
they see any one either owing money whom the father does 
not sue at law, or in any other way doing injustice, they exhort 
him to punish all such persons when he comes to be a man, 
and to be more of a man than his father. And when he goes 
abroad, he hears other such like things. And he sees that 
such in the city as attend to their own affairs are called simple, 
and held in little esteem, and that such as do not attend to 
their affairs are both honoured and commended. The young 
man now hearing and seeing all these things, and then again 
hearing the speeches of his father, and observing his pursuits 
in a near view, in comparison with those of others; being 
drawn by both these, his father watering and increasing the 
rational part in his soul, and these others the concupiscible 
and irascible; and being naturally no bad man, but spoiled by 
the bad company of others, he is brought to a mean between 
the two, and delivers up the government within himself to a 
middle power, that which is fond of contention and irascible, 
and so he becomes a haughty and ambitious man. You seem, 
said he, to have accurately explained the formation of such, 
an one. 

1 84 PLATO 

We have now then, said I, the second polity and the second 
man. We have, said he. Shall we not after this say with 
^Eschylus ? 

"With different cities different men accord." 

Or, rather, according to our plan, shall we first establish the 
cities ? By all means so, replied he. It would be an Oligarchy 
then, I think, which succeeds this polity. But what constitu- 
tion, said he, is it you call an Oligarchy? That polity, said I, 
which is founded on men s valuations, in which the rich bear 
rule, and the poor have no share in the government. I under- 
stand, said he. Must we not relate, first, how the change is 
made from a Timocracy to an Oligarchy? We must. And 
surely at least how this change is made, said I, is manifest 
even to the blind. How? That treasury, said I, which every 
one has filled with gold destroys such a polity; for, first of 
all, they find out for themselves methods of expense, and to 
this purpose strain the laws, both they and their wives dis- 
obeying them. That is likely, said he. And afterwards, I 
think, one observing another, and coming to rival one another, 
the multitude of them are rendered of this kind. It is likely. 
And from hence then, said I, proceeding still to a greater 
desire of acquiring wealth, the more honourable they account 
this to be, the more will virtue be thought dishonourable : 
or is not virtue so different from wealth, that, each of them 
being as it were placed in the opposite arm of a balance, and 
always weighing opposite to each other? Entirely so, replied 
he. But whilst wealth and the wealthy are honoured in the 
city, both virtue and the good must be more dishonoured. It 
is plain. And what is honoured is always pursued, and what is 
dishonoured is neglected. Just so. Instead then of contentious 
and ambitious men, they will at last become lovers of gain and 
of wealth : and they will praise and admire the rich, and bring 
them into the magistracy, but the poor man they will despise. 
Certainly. And do they not then make a law, marking out 
the boundary of the Oligarchic constitution, and regulating the 
quantity of Oligarchic power according to the quantity of wealth, 
more to the more wealthy, and less to the less, intimating that 
he who has not the valuation settled by law is to have no 
share in the government? And do they not transact these 
things violently, by force of arms, or establish such a polity 
after they have previously terrified them? Is it not thus? 
Thus indeed. This then in short is the constitution. It is, 
replied he. But what now is the nature of the polity, and 
what are the faults we ascribed to it? First of all, said I, 
this very thing, the constitution itself, what think you of this? 
For consider, if a man should in this manner appoint pilots of 


ships, according to their valuations, but never intrust one with 
a poor man, though better skilled in piloting, what would be 
the consequence ? They would, said he, make very bad naviga- 
tion. And is it not in the same manner with reference to any 
other thing, or any government whatever? I think* so. Is it 
so in all cases but in a city? said I, or is it so with reference 
to a city likewise? There most especially, said he, in as much 
as it is the most difficult, and the greatest government. Oligarchy 
then would seem to have this, which is so great a fault. It 
appears so. But what? Is this fault any thing less? What? 
That such a city is not one, but of necessity two ; one consisting 
of the poor, and the other of the rich, dwelling in one place, 
and always plotting against one another. Upon my word, said 
he, it is in no respect less. But surely neither is this a hand- 
some thing, to be incapable to wage any war, because of the 
necessity they are under, either of employing the armed multitude, 
and of dreading them more than the enemy themselves ; or not 
employing them, to appear in battle itself truly Oligarchic, 
and at the same time to be unwilling to advance money for the 
public service, through a natural disposition of covetousness. 
This is not handsome. But what? with reference to what we 
long ago condemned, the engaging in a multiplicity of different 
things, the same persons, at the same time, attending in such 
a polity to agriculture, mercenary employments, and military 
affairs, does this appear to be right ? Not in any degree. But 
see now whether this form of polity be the first which admits 
this greatest of all evils. What is that? That one shall be 
allowed to dispose of the whole of his effects, and another to 
purchase them from him, and the seller be allowed to dwell in 
the city, whilst he belongs to no one class in the city, and is 
neither called a maker of money, nor mechanic, nor horse-man, 
nor foot-soldier, but poor and destitute. It is the first, said he. 
But yet such an one shall not be prohibited in Oligarchic 
governments; for otherwise some of them would not be over- 
rich, and others altogether poor. Right. But consider this 
likewise. When such a man as this is in the time of his wealth, 
was spending of his substance, was it of any more advantage to 
the city with reference to the purposes we now mentioned? 
or did he appear to be indeed one of the magistrates, but was 
in truth neither magistrate of the city, nor servant to it, but a 
waster of substance? So he appeared, replied he. He was 
nothing but a waster. Are you willing then, said I, that we say 
of him, that as when a drone is in a bee-hive, it is the disease of 
the swarm ; in like manner such an one, when a drone in his 
house, is the disease of the city ? Entirely so, Socrates, replied 
he. And has not God, Adimantus, made all the winged drones 
without any sting; but these with feet, some of them only 

1 86 PLATO 

without stings, and some of them with dreadful stings? And 
of those who are without stings, are they who continue poor to 
old age; and of those who have stings, are all these who are 
called mischievous. Most true, said he. It is plain then, said I, 
that in a city where you observe there are poor, there are some- 
where in that place concealed thieves and purse-cutters, and 
sacrilegious persons, and workers of all other such evils. It is 
plain, said he. What then? Do not you perceive poor people 
in cities under Oligarchic government ? They are almost all so, 
said he, except the governors. And are we not to think, said I, 
that there are many mischievous persons in them with stings, 
whom the magistracy by diligence and by force restrains ? We 
must think so indeed, said he. And shall we not say, that 
through want of education, through bad nurture, and a corrupt 
constitution of state, such sort of persons are there produced? 
We shall say so. Is not then the city which is under Oligarchy 
of such a kind as this, and hath it not such evils as these, and 
probably more too? It is nearly so, said he. We have now 
finished, said I, this republic likewise, which they call Oligarchy, 
having its governors according to valuation. And let us now 
consider the man who resembles it, in what manner he arises, 
and what sort of man he is. By all means, said he. And is not 
the change from the Timocratic to the Oligarchic chiefly in this 
manner? How? When such a one has a son, first of all, he 
both emulates his father, and follows his steps; afterwards he 
sees him, on a sudden, dashed on the city, as on a rock, and 
wasting both his substance and himself, either in the office of a 
general, or some other principal magistracy; then falling into 
courts of justice, destroyed by informers, and either put to death, 
or stripped of his dignities, disgraced, and losing all his substance. 
It is likely, said he. When he has seen and suffered those things, 
friend, and has lost his substance, he instantly in a terror pushes 
headlong from the throne of his soul that ambitious and animated 
disposition, and, being humbled by his poverty, turns his attention 
to gain, lives meanly and sparingly, and, applying to work, 
collects wealth. Do you not think that such a man will then 
seat in that throne the covetous and avaricious disposition, and 
make it a mighty king within himself, begirt with tiaras, and 
bracelets, and scimitars ? I think so, said he. But he, I imagine, 
having placed both the rational and the ambitious disposition 
low on the ground on either side, and having enslaved them 
under it, the one he allows to reason on nothing, nor ever to 
inquire, but in what way lesser substance shall be made greater ; 
and the other again he permits to admire and honour nothing 
but riches and the rich, and to receive honour on no other 
account but the acquisition of money, or whatever contributes 
towards it. There is no other change, said he, of an ambitious 


youth to a covetous one so sudden and so powerful as this. Is 
not this, then, said I, the Oligarchic man? And the change 
into such an one is from a man resembling that polity from 
which the Oligarchic polity arises. Let us consider, now, if 
he any way resembles it. Let us consider. Does he not, in 
the first place, resemble it in valuing money above all things? 
To be sure he does. And surely at least in being sparing and 
laborious, satisfying only his necessary desires, and not allowing 
of any other expenses, but subduing the other desires as foolish. 
Certainly. And being, said I, a mean man, and making gain 
of every thing, a man intent on hoarding, such as the multitude 
extols— will not this be the man who resembles such a polity? 
It appears so to me, replied he. Riches then must be most 
valued both by the city and by such a man. For I do not think, 
said I, that such a man has attended to education. I do not 
think he has, said he ; for he would not have taken a blind one 
to be the leader of his life. But further still, consider this 
attentively, said I, Shall we not say that there are in him, from 
the want of education, the desires of the drone, some of them 
beggarly, and some of them mischievous, forcibly kept in by 
his habits in other respects? Entirely so, said he. Do you 
know then, said I, where you will best observe their wickedness ? 
Where ? said he. In their tutelages of orphans, or in whatever 
else of this kind comes in their way, whereby they have it 
much in their power to do injustice. True. And is not this 
now manifest, that in every other commerce of life, wherever 
such an one acts so as to be approved, appearing to be just, and, 
by a certain moderate behaviour, restrains the other wrong 
desires within him, he does so, not by convincing them that it 
is not better to indulge them, nor taming them by sober reason, 
but from necessity and fear, trembling for the rest of his 
substance. Entirely so, said he. And truly, said I, friend, 
you shall find in most of them desires partaking of the nature of 
the drone, where there is occasion to spend the property of 
others. Very much so, said he. Such a one as this, then, 
will not be without sedition within himself; nor be one, but 
a kind of double man; he will, however, have for the most 
part desires governing other desires, the better governing 
the worse. It is so. And on these accounts such a one, as I 
imagine, will be more decent than many others, but the true 
virtue of a harmonized and consistent soul would far escape 
him. It appears so to me. And the parsimonious man will, 
in private life, be but a poor rival for any victory, or in any 
contest of the honourable kind. And being unwilling, for the 
sake of good reputation, or for any such contests, to spend his 
substance, being afraid to waken up expensive desires, or any 
alliance or contest of this kind, fighting with a small part of his 

1 88 PLATO 

forces in an Oligarchic manner, he is generally defeated, and 
increases his wealth. Very true, said he. Do we then yet 
hesitate, said I, to rank the covetous and parsimonious man as 
most of all resembling the city under Oligarchic government? 
By no means, said he* 

Democracy now, as seems, is next to be considered, in what 
manner it arises, and what kind of character it has when arisen ; 
that, understanding the nature of the same kind of man, we may 
bring him to a trial. We shall in this method, said he, proceed 
consistently with ourselves. Is not, said I, the change from 
Oligarchy to Democracy produced in some such way as this, 
through the insatiable desire of the proposed good, viz. the 
desire of becoming as rich as possible? How? As those who 
are its governors govern on account of their possessing great 
riches, they will be unwilling, I think, to restrain by law such 
of the youth as are dissolute from having the liberty of 
squandering and wasting their substance; that so, by pur- 
chasing the substance of such persons, and lending them on 
usury, they may still become both richer, and be held in 
greater honour. They will be more unwilling than any other. 
And is not this already manifest in the city, that it is im- 
possible for the citizens to esteem riches, and at the same 
time sufficiently possess temperance, but either the one or 
the other must of necessity be neglected? It is abundantly 
plain, said he. But in Oligarchies by neglect, and toleration 
of licence, they sometimes compel such as are of no ungenerous 
disposition to become poor. Very much so. And these, I 
imagine, sit in the city, fitted both v with slings and with armour, 
some of them in debt, others in contempt, others in both, hating 
and conspiring against those who possess their substance^ jand 
others likewise, being enamoured of change. These things are 
so. But the money-catchers still brooding over it, and not 
seeming to observe these; wherever they see any of the rest 
giving way, they wound them by throwing money into their 
hands, and, drawing to themselves exorbitant usury, fill the 
city with drones, and the poor. How is it possible they should 
not ? said he. Nor yet, said I, when so great an evil is burning 
in the city, are they willing to extinguish it, not even by that 
method, restraining any one from spending his substance at 
pleasure; nor yet to take that method, by which, according 
to the second law, such disorder might be removed. According 
to which ? According to that, which after the other is secondary, 
obliging the citizens to pay attention to virtue ; for, if one should 
enjoin them to traffic much in the way of voluntary commerce, 
and upon their own hazard, they would in a less shameful way 
make money in the city, and likewise less of those evils we 
have now mentioned would arise in it. Much less, said he. 


But at present, said I, by means of all these things, the governors 
render the governed of this kind. And do they not render 
both themselves and all belonging to them, and the youth 
likewise, luxurious and idle with respect to all the exercises 
of body and of mind, and effeminate in bearing both pleasures 
and pains, and likewise indolent? What else? As to them- 
selves, they neglect * every thing but the acquisition of wealth, 
and pay no more attention to virtue than the poor do. They 
do not indeed. After they are trained up in this manner, 
when these governors and their subjects meet together either 
on the road in their journeying, or in any other meetings, 
either at public spectacles, or military marches, either when 
fellow-sailors or fellow-soldiers, or when they see one another 
in common dangers,, where by no means are the poor in these 
cases contemned by the rich; and when very often a lean 
fellow poor and sun-burnt, when be has his rank in battle 
beside a rich man bred up in the shade, and swoln with a 
great deal of adventitious flesh, and sees him panting for 
breath and in agony: — do not you imagine that he thinks it 
is through their own fault that such fellows grow rich, and 
that they say to one another, when they meet in private, they 
are in our hands; they are good for nothing? I know very 
well, said he, that they do so. Then as a diseased body needs 
but the smallest shock from without to render it sickly, and 
sometimes without any impression from without is in sedition 
with itself, will not in like manner a city resembling it in these 
things, on the smallest occasion from without, when either the 
one party forms an alliance with the Oligarchic, or the other 
with the Democratic, be sickly, and fight with itself, and, 
sometimes without these things from abroad, be in sedition? 
And extremely so. A Democracy then, I think, arises when 
the poor prevailing over the rich kill some, and banish others, 
and share the places in the republic, and the magistracies equally 
among the remainder, and for the most part the magistracies 
are disposed in it by lot. This truly, said he, is the establish- 
ment of a Democracy, whether it arise by force of arms, or 
from others withdrawing themselves through fear. 

In what manner now, said I, do these live, and what sort 
of a state is this? for it is plain that a man of this kind will 
appear some Democratic man. It is plain, said he. Is not then 
the city, in the first place, full of all freedom of action, and 
of speech, and of liberty, to do in it what any one inclines? 
So truly it is said at least, replied he. And wherever there 
is liberty, it is plain that every one will regulate his own 
method of life in whatever way he pleases. It is plain. And 
I think that in such a polity most especially there would 
arise men of all kinds. How can it be otherwise? This, said 

190 PLATO 

I, seems to be the finest of all polities. As a variegated robe 
diversified with all kinds of colours, so this polity, variegated 
with all sorts of manners, appears the finest. What else? said 
he. And it is likely, said I, that the multitude judge this 
polity to be the best, like children and women gazing at 
variegated things. Very likely, said he. And it is very 
proper at least, my dear sir, said I, to search for a polity in 
such a state as this. How now ? Because it contains all kinds 
of polities on account of liberty; and it appears necessary for 
any one who wants to constitute a city, as we do at present, 
to come to a Democratic city, as to a general fair of polities, 
and choose that form which he fancies. It is likely indeed, 
said he, he would not be in want of models. Well then, said 
I, is not this a divine and sweet manner of life for the present : 
To be under no necessity in such a city to govern, not though 
you were able to govern, nor yet to be subject unless you 
incline, nor to be engaged in war when others are, nor to live 
in peace when others do so unless you be desirous of peace; 
and though there be a law restraining you from governing or 
administering justice, to govern nevertheless, and administer 
justice, if you incline? It is likely, said he; it is pleasant for 
the present at least. But what now, is not the meekness of 
some of those who have been tried at law very curious? Or 
have you not as yet observed, in such a state, men condemned 
to death or banishment, yet nevertheless continuing still, and 
walking up and down openly ; and as if no one attended to or 
observed him, the condemned man flits about like a departed 
spirit? I have observed very many, said he. But is not this 
indulgence of the city very generous, not to mention the small 
regard, and even contempt, it shows for all those things we 
celebrated so much when we settled ou* city, as that unless a 
man had an extraordinary genius, he never would become a 
good man, unless when a child he should play about amongst 
things handsome, and should diligently apply to all these things : 
how magnanimously does it despise all these things, and not 
regard from what kind of pursuits a man comes to act in political 
affairs, but honours him if he only says he is well affected towards 
the multitude ? This contempt, said he, is very generous indeed. 
These now, said I, and such things as are akin to these, are to 
be found in a Democracy ; and it will be, as it appears, a pleasant 
sort of polity, anarchical, and variegated, distributing a certain 
equality to all alike without distinction, whether equal or not. 
What you say, replied he, is perfectly manifest. 

Consider now, said I, what kind of man such an one is in 
private ; or, first, must we not consider, as we did with respect to 
the republic, in what manner he arises? Yes, said he. And 
does he not in this manner arise, viz. from that parsimonious 


one, who was under the Oligarchy as a son, I think, trained up by 
his father in his manners? Why not? Such a one by force 
governs his own pleasures, those of them which are expensive, and 
tend not to the acquisition of wealth, and which are called 
unnecessary. It is plain, said he. Are you willing then, said I, 
that we may not reason in the dark, first to determine what 
desires are necessary, and what are not ? I am willing, said he. 
May not such be justly called necessary, which we are not able to 
remove, and such as when gratified are of advantage to us ? For 
both these kinds our nature is under a necessity to pursue ; is it 
not? Very strongly. This then we shall justly say makes the 
necessary part in our desires. Justly. Very well. Such desires 
as a man may banish, if he study it from his youth, and such as 
whilst they remain do no good, if we say of these that they are not 
necessary, shall we not say right ? Right indeed. Let us select 
a specimen of each of them, that we may understand by an 
example what they are. It is proper. Is not the desire of eating, 
so far as is conducive to health and a good habit of body ; and 
the desire of bread and meat, of the necessary kind ? I think 
so. The desire of bread at least is indeed necessary on both 
accounts, as food is advantageous, and as the want of it must 
bring life to an end altogether. It is. And the desire of meat is 
likewise necessary, if it anyhow contribute anything towards the 
good habit of the body. Certainly. Again : such desire even of 
these things as goes beyond these purposes, or such desire as 
respects other meats than these, and yet is capable of being curbed 
in youth, and, by being disciplined, to be removed from many things, 
and which is hurtful both to the body, and hurtful to the soul with 
reference to her attaining wisdom and temperance, may not such 
desire be rightly called unnecessary ? Most rightly, indeed. And 
may we not call these expensive likewise, and the others frugal, as 
they are conducive towards the actions of life ? Certainly. In the 
same manner, surely, shall we say of venereal desires, and the others. 
In the same manner. And did we not, by him whom we just now 
denominated the drone, mean one who was full of such desires and 
pleasures, and was governed by such as are unnecessary ? but that 
he who was under the necessary ones was the parsimonious and 
Oligarchic ? Without doubt. Let us again mention, said I, how the 
democratic arises from the Oligarchic ; and to me he appears to 
arise in great measure thus. How ? When a young man nurtured, 
as we now mentioned, without proper instruction, and in a parsi- 
monious manner, comes to taste the honey of the drones, and asso- 
ciates with those vehement and terrible creatures who are able to 
procure all sorts of pleasures, and every way diversified, and from 
every quarter ; — thence conceive there is somehow the beginning 
of a change in him from the Oligarchic to the Democratic. There 
is great necessity for it, said he. And as the city was changed by 

192 PLATO 

the assistance of an alliance from without with one party of it 
with which it was akin, will not the youth he changed in the same 
manner, by the assistance of one species of desires from without, 
to another within him which resembles it, and is allied to it ? By 
all means. And I imagine at least, if by any alliance there be 
given counter-assistance to the Oligarchic party within him, either 
any how by his father, or by others of the family, both admonish- 
ing and upbraiding him, then truly arises sedition, and counter- 
sedition, and a fight within him with himself. Undoubtedly. 
And sometimes indeed, I think, the Democratic party yields to 
the Oligarchic, and some of the desires are destroyed, but others 
retire, on a certain modesty being ingenerated in the soul of the 
youth, and he again becomes orderly. This sometimes takes 
place, said he. And again, I conceive, that when some desires 
retire, there are others allied to them which grow up, and 
through inattention to the father's instruction, become both many 
and powerful. This is usually the case, said he. And do they 
not draw him towards the same intimacies, and, meeting privately 
together, generate a multitude? To be sure. And at length, I 
think, they seize the citadel of the soul of the youth, finding it 
evacuated both of beautiful disciplines and pursuits, and of true 
reasoning, which are the best guardians and preservers in the 
minds of men beloved of the Gods. Very much so, said he. And 
then indeed false and arrogant reasonings and opinions, rushing 
up in their stead, possess the same place in such a one. Un- 
doubtedly so, said he. And does he not now again, come among 
those Lotus-eaters, and dwell with them openly? And if any 
assistance comes from his friends to the parsimonious part of his 
soul, those arrogant reasonings, shutting the gates of the royal 
wall against it, neither give entrance to this alliance, nor to the 
ambassadorial admonitions of private old men; but, fighting 
against these, hold the government themselves. And denominat- 
ing modesty stupidity, they thrust it out disgracefully as a fugitive, 
and temperance they call unmanliness, and, abusing it most 
shamefully, expel it. Persuading themselves likewise that modera- 
tion, and decent expense, are no other than rusticity and 
illiberality, they banish them from their territories, with the help 
of many unprofitable desires. Undoubtedly so. Having emptied 
and purified from all these desires the soul that is detained by 
them, and initiated in the great mysteries, they next lead in, witn 
encomiums and applauses, insolence and anarchy, luxury and 
impudence, shining with a great retinue, and crowned. And 
insolence, indeed, they denominate good education ; anarchy they 
call liberty; luxury, magnificence; and impudence, manhood. 
Is it not, said I, somehow in this manner, that a youth changes 
from one bred up with the necessary desires into the licentiousness 
and remissness of the unnecessary and unprofitable pleasures? 


And very plainly so, replied he. And such a one, I think, after 
this leads his life, expending his substance, his labour, and his 
time, no more on the necessary than the unnecessary pleasures : 
and if he be fortunate, and not excessively debauched, when he 
is somewhat more advanced in years, and when the great crowd 
of desires is over, he admits a part of those which were expelled, 
and does not deliver himself wholly up to such as had intruded, 
but regulates his pleasures by a sort of equality, and so lives 
delivering up the government of himself to every incidental desire 
as it may happen, till it be satisfied, and then to another, under- 
valuing none of them, but indulging them all alike. Entirely so. 
And such a one, said I, does not listen to true reasoning, nor 
admit it into the citadel, if any should tell him that there are 
some pleasures of the worthy and the good desires, and others of 
the depraved, and that he ought to pursue and honour those, but 
to chastise and enslave these. But, in all these cases, he dissents, 
and says that they are all alike, and ought to be held in equal 
honour. Undoubtedly he is thus affected, said he, and acts in this 
manner. And does he not live, said I, from day to day, gratifying 
after this manner every incidental desire, sometimes indulging 
himself in intoxication, and in music, sometimes drinking water, and 
extenuating himself by abstinence ; and then again attending to the 
gymnic exercises ? Sometimes too he is quite indolent and careless 
about every thing ; then again he applies as it were to philosophy ; 
many times he acts the part of a politician, and in a desultory 
manner says and does whatever happens. If at any time he 
affects to imitate any of the military tribe, thither he is carried ; 
or of the mercantile, then again hither ; nor is his life regulated 
by any order, or any necessity, but, deeming this kind of life 
pleasant, and free, and blessed, he follows it throughout. You 
have entirely, said he, discussed the life of one who believes in 
equal laws. I imagine at least, said I, that he is multiform, and 
full of very different manners ; and that this is the man who is 
fine, and variegated like that city, and that very many men and 
women would desire to imitate his life, as he contains in himself 
a great many patterns of republics and of manners. This is he, 
said he. What now ? Shall such a man as this be placed beside 
a Democracy, and truly be called Democratic ? Let him be so 
placed, said he. 

But it yet remains that we discuss, said I, the most excellent 
polity, and the most excellent man, viz. Tyranny, and the Tyrant. 
It does, said he. Come then, my dear companion! in what 
manner does Tyranny arise ? for it is almost plain that the change 
is from Democracy. It is plain. Does not Tyranny arise in the 
same manner from Democracy, as Democracy does from Oligarchy ? 
How? What did Oligarchy, said I, propose as its good, and 
according to what was it constituted? It was with a view to 


194 PLATO 

become rich/ was it not? Yes. An insatiable desire then of 
riches, and a neglect of other things, through attention to the 
acquisition of wealth, destroys it. True, said he. And with 
reference to that which Democracy denominates good, an insatiable 
thirst of it destroys it likewise? But what is it you say it 
denominates good? Liberty, said I. For this you are told is 
most beautiful in a city which is under a Democracy, and that for 
the sake of liberty any one who is naturally free chooses to live 
in it alone. This word Liberty, said he, is indeed often mentioned. 
Does not then, said I, as I was going to say, the insatiable desire 
of this, and the neglect of other things, change even this republic, 
and prepare it to stand in need of a tyrant ? How ? said he. 
When a city, said I, is under a Democracy, and is thirsting after 
liberty, and happens to have bad cup-bearers appointed it, and 
becomes intoxicated with an unmixed draught of it beyond what 
is necessary, it punishes even the governors if they will not be 
entirely tame, and afford abundant liberty, accusing them as 
corrupted, and Oligarchic. They do this, said he. But such as 
are obedient to magistrates they abuse, said I, as willing slaves, 
and good for nothing, and, both in private and in public, commend 
and honour magistrates who resemble subjects, and subjects who 
resemble magistrates ; must they not therefore necessarily in such 
a city arrive at the summit of liberty ? How is it possible they 
should not? And must not this inbred anarchy, my friend, 
descend into private families, and in the end reach even the 
brutes ? How, said he, do we assert such a thing as this ? Just 
as if, said I, a father should accustom himself to resemble a child, 
and to be afraid of his sons, and the son accustom himself to 
resemble his father, and neither to revere nor to stand in awe of 
his parents, that so indeed he may be free, as if a stranger were 
to be equalled with a citizen, and a citizen with a stranger, and, 
in like manner, a foreigner. It is just so, said he. These things, 
said I, and other little things of a like nature happen. The 
teacher in such a city fears and flatters the scholars, and the 
scholars despise their teachers and their tutors in like manner: 
and in general the youth resemble the more advanced in years, 
and contend with them both in words and deeds : and the old men, 
sitting down with the young, are full of merriment and pleasantry, 
mimicking the youth, that they may not appear to be morose and 
despotic. It is entirely so, replied he. But that extreme liberty 
of the multitude, said I, how great it is in such a city as this, when 
the men and women slaves are no less free than those who 
purchase them, and how great an equality and liberty the wives 
have with their husbands, and husbands with their wives, we have 
almost forgotten to mention. Shall we not then, according to 
^Eschylus, said he, say whatever now comes into our mouth ? By 
all means, said I ; and accordingly I do speak thus : With reference 

^_ .^\i_ i 


even to brutes, such of them as are under the care of men, how 
much more free they are in such a city, he who has not 
experienced it will not easily believe : for indeed even the puppies, 
according to the proverb, resemble their mistresses; and the 
horses and asses are accustomed to go freely and gracefully, 
marching up against any one they meet on the road, unless he 
give way ; and many other such things thus happen full of liberty. 
You tell me, said he, my dream ; for I have often met with this 
when going into the country. But do you observe, said I, what 
is the sum of all these things collected together ? how delicate 
it makes the soul of the citizens, so that, if any one bring near to 
them any thing pertaining to slavery, they are filled with indigna- 
tion, and cannot endure it. And do you know, that at length 
they regard not even the laws, written or unwritten, that no one 
by any means whatever may become their masters ? I know it 
well, said he. This now, friend, said I, is that government so 
beautiful and proud, whence Tyranny springs, as it appears to me. 
Youthful truly, replied he; but what follows this? The same 
thing, said I, which, springing up as a disease in an Oligarchy, 
destroyed it ; the same arising here in a greater and more 
powerful manner, through its licentiousness, enslaves the 
Democracy : and in reality, the doing any thing to excess usually 
occasions a mighty change to the reverse : for thus it is in seasons, 
in vegetable and in animal bodies, and in politics as much as in 
any thing. It is probable, said he. And excessive liberty seems 
to change into nothing else but excessive slavery, both with a 
private person and a city. It is probable, indeed. It is probable 
then, said I, that out of no other republic is Tyranny constituted 
than a Democracy ; out of the most excessive liberty I conceive 
the greatest and most savage slavery. It is reasonable, said he, 
to think so. But this I think, said I, was not what you was 
asking; but what that disease is which enslaves Democracy, 
resembling that which destroys Oligarchy? You say true, 
replied he. That then, said I, I called the race of idle and profuse 
men, one part of which was more brave, and were leaders, the 
other more cowardly, and followed. And we compared them to 
drones ; some to such as have stings, others to such as have none. 
And rightly, said he. These two now, said I, springing up in any 
state, raise disturbance, as phlegm and bile in a natural body. 
And it behoves a wise physician and law-giver of a city, no less 
than a wise bee-master, to be afraid of these, at a great distance 
principally, that they never get in ; but, if they have entered, that 
they be in the speediest manner possible cut off, together with 
their very cells. Yes, in good truth, said he, by all means. Let 
us take it then, said I, in this manner, that we may see more 
distinctly what we want. In what manner? Let us divide in 
our reasoning a Democratic city into three parts, as it really is ; 

196 PLATO 

for one such species as the above grows through licentiousness in 
it no less than in the Oligarchic It does so. But it is much 
more fierce at least in this than in that. How ? In an Oligarchy, 
because it is not in places of honour, but is debarred from the 
magistracies, it is unexercised, and does not become strong. But 
in a Democracy this, excepting a few, is somehow the presiding 
party, and now it says and does the most outrageous things, and 
then again approaching courts of justice, it makes a humming noise, 
and cannot endure any other to speak different from it ; so that all 
things, some few excepted, in such a polity, are administered by 
such a party. Assuredly so, said he. Some other party now, 
such as this, is always separated from the multitude. Which? 
Whilst the whole are somehow engaged in the pursuit of gain, 
such as are naturally the most temperate become for the most 
part the wealthiest. It is likely. And hence, I think, the 
greatest quantity of honey, and what comes with the greatest 
ease, is pressed out of these by the drones. Yes, said he, for how 
can any one press out of those who have but little? Such 
wealthy people, I think, are called the pasture of the drones. 
Nearly so, replied he. And the people will be a sort of third 
species, such of them as mind their own affairs, and meddle not 
with any others, who have not much substance, but yet are the 
most numerous, and the most prevalent in a Democracy, whenever 
it is fully assembled. It is so; but this it will not wish to do 
often, if it does not obtain some share of the honey. Does it not 
always obtain a share, said I, as far as their leaders are able, 
robbing those that have property, and giving to the people that 
they may have the most themselves ? They are indeed, said he, 
sharers in this manner. These then who are thus despoiled are 
obliged to defend themselves, saying and doing all they can 
among the people. To be sure. Others then give them 
occasion to form designs against the people, though they should 
have no inclination to introduce a change of government, and so 
they are Oligarchic. To be sure. But at length, after they see 
that the people, not of their own accord, but being ignorant and 
imposed on by those slanderers, attempt to injure them, — do they 
not then indeed, whether they will or not, become truly 
Oligarchic ? yet not spontaneously, but this mischief likewise is 
generated by that drone stinging them. Extremely so, indeed. 
And so they have accusations, law-suits, and contests one with 
another. Very much so. And are not the people accustomed 
always to place some one, in a conspicuous manner, over them- 
selves, and to cherish him, and greatly to increase his power? 
They are. And this, said I, is plain, that whenever a tyrant 
arises it is from this presiding root, and from nothing else, that 
he blossoms. This is clearly manifest. What is the beginning 
then of the change from a president into a tyrant ? Or is it plain, 


that it is after the president begins to do the same thing with 
that in the fable, which is told in relation to the temple of 
Lycaean Zeus, in Arcadia? What is that? said he. That who- 
ever tasted human entrails of one human being, which were 
mixed with those of other sacrifices, necessarily became a wolf. 
Have you not heard the story? I have. And must not he in 
the same manner, who being president of the people, and receiv- 
ing an extremely submissive multitude, abstains not from kindred 
blood, but unjustly accusing them, (of such things as they are 
wont) and bringing them into courts of justice, stains himself with 
bloodshed, taking away the life of a man, and, with unhallowed 
tongue and mouth, tasting kindred blood, and besides this, 
banishes and slays, and proposes the abolition of debts, and 
division of lands, — must not such an one, of necessity, and as it is 
destined, be either destroyed by his enemies, or exercise tyranny, 
and, from being a man, become a wolf? Of great necessity, said 
he. This is he now, said I, who becomes seditious towards those 
who have property. Yes. And, when he is bankrupt, he returns, 
and despite his enemies he comes back as an accomplished tyrant. 
It is plain. And if they be unable to expel him, or to put him to 
death, on an accusation before the city, they truly conspire to cut 
him off privately by a violent death. It is wont indeed, said he, 
to happen so. And, on this account, all those who mount up to 
tyranny invent this celebrated tyrannical demand, to demand of 
the people certain guards for their person, that the assistance of 
the people may be secured to them. Of this, said he, they take 
special care. And they grant them, I imagine, being afraid of his 
safety, but secure as to their own. Just so. And when a man 
who has property, and who along with his property has the crime 
of hating the people, observes this, — he then, my friend, accord- 
ing to the answer of the oracle to Crcefus, 

... To pebbly Hermus flies, 

Nor stays, nor fears to be a coward deemed . • • 

Because he would not, said he, be in fear again a second time. 
But he at least, I imagine, said I, who is caught, is done to death. 
Of necessity. It is plain, then, that this president of the city 
does not himself behave like a truly great man, in a manner truly 
great, but, hurling down many others, fits in his chair a con- 
summate tyrant of the city, instead of a president. Of course he 
does, said he. 

Shall we consider now, said I, the happiness of the man, and 
of the city in which such a creature arises ? By all means, said 
he, let us consider it. Does he not then, said I, in the first days, 
and for the first season, smile, and salute every one he meets; 
says he is no tyrant, and promises many things, both in private 
and in public ; and frees from debts, and distributes land both to 

198 PLATO 

the people in general, and to those about him, and affects to be 
mild and patriotic towards all? Of necessity, said he. But 
when, I think, he has reconciled to himself some of his foreign 
enemies, and destroyed others, and there is tranquillity with 
reference to these, he in the first place always raises some wars, in 
order that the people may be in need of a leader. It is likely. 
And is it not likewise with this view, that, being rendered poor 
by payment of taxes, they may be under a necessity of becoming 
intent on daily sustenance, and may be less ready to conspire 
against him ? It is plain. And, I think, if he suspects that any 
of those who are of a free spirit will not allow him to govern, — in 
order to have some pretext for destroying them, he exposes them 
to the enemy ; on all these accounts a tyrant is always under a 
necessity of raising war. Of necessity. And, whilst he is doing 
these things, he must readily become more hateful to his citizens. 
Certainly. And must not some of those who have been promoted 
along with him, and who are in power, speak out freely both 
towards him, and among themselves, finding fault with the 
transactions, such of them as are of a more manly spirit ? It is 
likely. It behoves the tyrant, then, to cut off all these, if he 
means to govern, till he leave no one, either of friends or foes, 
worth anything. It is plain. He must then carefully observe 
who is courageous, who is magnanimous, who wise, who rich ; and 
in this manner is he happy, that willing, or not willing, he is 
under a necessity of being an enemy to all such as these ; and to 
lay snares till he purify the city. A fine purification! said he. 
Yes, said I, the reverse of what physicians do with respect to 
animal bodies; for they, taking away what is worst, leave the 
best; but he does the contrary. Because it seems, said he, he 
must of necessity do so, if he is to govern. In a blessed necessity, 
then, truly, is he bound, said I, which obliges him either to live 
with many depraved people, and to be hated too by them, or not 
to live at all. In such necessity he is, replied he. And the more 
he is hated by his citizens whilst he does these things, shall he not 
so much the more want a greater number of guards, and more faith- 
ful ones ? Of course. Who then are the faithful, and from whence 
shall he send for them ? Many, said he, of their own accord, will 
come flying, if he give them their hire. You seem, by the dog, 
said I, again to mention certain drones foreign and multiform. 
You imagine right, replied he. But those at home, would he not 
incline to have them also as: guards ? How ? After he has taken 
the slaves away for the citizens, to give them their liberty, and 
make of them guards about his person. By all means, said he ; 
for these are the most faithful to him. What a blessed possession^ 
said I, is this which you mention belonging to the tyrant, if he 
employ such friends and faithful men, after having destroyed 
those former ones! But surely such at least, said he, he does 

— ■*-■ -*r j[ 


employ. And such companions, said I, admire him, and the new 
citizens accompany him : but the decent men both hate and fly 
from him. To be sure they do. It is not without reason, said I, 
that tragedy in the general is thought a wise thing, and that 
Euripides is thought to excel in it. For what? Because he 
uttered this, which shows a clever mind, "That tyrants are wise, 
by the conversation of the wise/' and he plainly said those were 
wise with whom they hold converse. And he commends too, 
said he, Tyranny as a divine thing, and says a great many other 
things of it, as do likewise the other poets. Those composers then 
of tragedy, said I, as they are wise, will forgive us, and such as 
establish the government of cities in a manner nearly resembling 
ours, in not admitting them into our republic as being panegyrists 
of Tyranny. I think, said he, such of them at least as are more 
polite will forgive us. But going about among other cities, I 
think, and drawing together the crowds, and hiring their fine, 
magnificent and persuasive words, they will draw over the states 
to Tyrannies and Democracies. Exactly so. And do they not 
further receive rewards, and are they not honoured chiefly by 
Tyrants, as is natural, and in the next place by Democracy? 
But the further on they advance higher up in the scale of 
polities, their honour forsakes them the more, as if it were 
disabled by loss of breath to advance. Entirely so. Thus far, 
said I, we have digressed : but now again let us mention in what 
manner that army of the Tyrant, which is so beautiful, so numerous 
and multiform, and no way the same, shall be maintained. It is 
plain, said he, that if at any time there be any sacred things in 
the city, these they will spend, that so what they sell for may 
still answer their demands, and the people be obliged to pay in 
the lighter taxes. But what will they do when these fail them ? 
It is plain, said he, that he and his intoxicated companions, and 
his associates, male and female, will be maintained out of the 
paternal inheritance. I understand, said I; the people who 
have made the Tyrant will nourish him and his companions. 
They are under great necessity, said he. How do you say? 
replied I. What if the people be enraged, and say that it is 
not just, that the son who is arrived at maturity be maintained 
by the father, but contrariwise that the father be maintained by 
the son ; and that they did not make and establish him for this 
purpose, to be a slave to his slaves when he should be grown up, 
and to maintain him and his slaves with their other turbulent 
attendants ; but in order that they might be set at liberty from 
the rich in the city, who are also called the good and worthy, by 
having placed him over them ? And now they order him and his 
companions to leave the city, as a father drives out of the house 
his son with his turbulent drunken companions. Then, upon my 
word, shall the people, said he, know what a beast they are 

200 PLATO 

themselves, and what a beast they have generated, and embraced, 
and nurtured, and that whilst they are the weaker they attempt 
to drive out the stronger. How do you say? replied I. Will 
the Tyrant dare to offer violence to his father, and, if he cannot 
persuade him, will he strike him ? Yes, said he, even stripping 
him of his armour. You call, said I, the Tyrant a parricide and 
a miserable nourisher of old age: and yet, as it is probable, 
Tyranny would really seem to be of this kind ; and according to 
the saying, the people defending themselves against the smoke 
of slavery amid free men, have fallen into the slavish fire of 
despotism; instead of that excessive and unreasonable liberty, 
embracing the most rigorous and the most wretched slavery of 
bond-men. These things, said he, happen very much so. What 
then, said I, shall we not speak modestly, if we say that we 
have sufficiently shown how Tyranny arises out of Democracy, 
and what it is when it does arise? Very sufficiently, replied 




THE tyrannical man himself, said I, remains yet to be considered, 
in what manner he arises out of the Democratic, and, when 
he does arise, what kind of man he is, and what kind of 
life he leads, whether miserable or blessed. He indeed yet 
remains, said he. Do you know, said I, what I still want? 
We do not appear to me to have sufficiently distinguished 
with respect to the desires; of what kind they are, and how 
many; and whilst this is defective, the inquiry we make will 
be less evident. May it not be done opportunely yet? said 
he. Certainly. And consider what it is I wish to know about 
them; for it is this: Of those pleasures and desires which are 
not necessary, some appear to me to be repugnant to law : these 
indeed seem to be ingenerated in every one ; but being punished 
by the laws, and the better desires, in conjunction with reason, 
they either forsake some men altogether, or are less numerous 
and feeble ; in others they are more powerful, and more numerous. 
Will you inform me what these are ? said he. Such, said I, as are 
excited in sleep ; when the other part of the soul, such as is 
rational and mild, and which governs in it, is asleep, and the part 
which is savage and rustic, being filled with meats or intoxication, 
frisks about, and driving away sleep, seeks to go and accomplish 
its practices. In such a one you know it dares to do every thing, 
as being loosed, and disengaged from all modesty and prudence : 
for it scruples not the embraces, as it imagines, of a mother, or of 
any one else, whether of Gods, of men, or of beasts ; nor foully 
to kill any one, nor to indulge in any sort of meat, — and, in one 
word, is wanting in no folly nor impudence. You say most true, 
replied he. But I imagine, when a man is in health, and 
lives temperately, and goes to sleep, having excited the rational 
part, and feasted it with worthy reasonings and inquiries, 
coming to an unanimity with himself ; and allowing that part 
of the soul which is desiderative neither to be starved nor 
glutted, that it may lie quiet, and give no disturbance to the 


202 PLATO 

part which is best, either by its joy or grief, but suffer it by itself 
alone and pure to inquire, and desire to apprehend what it knows 
not, either something of what has existed, or of what now exists, 
or what will exist hereafter; and having likewise soothed the 
irascible part, not suffering it to be hurried by any thing to trans- 
ports of anger, and to fall asleep with agitated passion : but having 
quieted these two parts of the soul, and excited the third part, in 
which wisdom resides, shall in this manner take rest ; — by such 
an one you know the truth is chiefly apprehended, and the visions 
of his dreams are then least of all repugnant to law. I am 
altogether, said he, of this opinion. We have, indeed, been 
carried a little too far in mentioning these things. But what we 
want to be known is this, that there is in every one a certain 
species of desires which is terrible, savage, and irregular, even in 
some who entirely seem to us to be moderate. And this species 
becomes indeed manifest in sleep. But consider if there appear 
to be any thing in what I say, and if you agree with me. But I 
agree. Recollect now what kind of man we said the Democratic 
one was : for he was somehow educated from his infancy under a 
parsimonious father, who valued the avaricious desires alone ; but 
such as were not necessary, but rose only through a love of 
amusement and finery, he despised. Was he not ? Yes. But, 
being conversant with those who are more refined, and such as 
are full of those desires we now mentioned, running into their 
manner, and all sort of insolence, from a detestation of his father's 
parsimony ; — however, having a better natural temper than those 
who corrupt him, and being drawn opposite ways, he settles into 
a manner which is situated in the middle of both ; and participat- 
ing moderately, as he imagines, of each of them, he leads a life 
neither illiberal nor licentious, becoming a Democratic from an 
Oligarchic man. This was, said he, and is our opinion of such an 
one. Suppose now again, that when such a one is become old, his 
young son is educated in his manners. I suppose it. And suppose, 
too, the same things happening to him as to his father ; that he is 
drawn into all kinds of licentiousness, which is termed however by 
such as draw him off the most complete liberty; and that his 
father and all the domestics are aiding to those desires which are 
in the middle, and others also lend their assistance. But when 
those dire magicians and tyrant-makers have no hopes of retaining 
the youth in their power any other way, they contrive to excite in 
him a certain love which presides over the indolent desires, and 
such as minister readily to their pleasures, which love is a certain 
winged and large drone ; or do you think that the love of these 
things is any thing else ? I think, said he, it is no other than this. 
And when other desires make a humming noise about him, full of 
their odours and perfumes, and crowns, and wines, and those 
pleasures of the most dissolute kind which belong to such copartner- 


ships ; and, being increased and cherished, add a sting of desire 
to the drone, then truly he is surrounded with madness as a life- 
guard, and that president of the soul rages with phrensy ; and if 
he find in himself any opinions or desires which seem to be good, 
and which yet retain modesty, he kills them, and pushes them 
from him, till he be cleansed of temperance, and is filled with 
additional madness. You describe perfectly, said he, the forma- 
tion of a tyrannical man. Is it not, said I, on such an account 
as this, that, of old, Love is said to be a tyrant ? It appears so, 
replied he. And, my friend, said I, has not a drunken man like- 
wise somewhat of a tyrannical spirit? He has indeed. And 
surely at least he who is mad, and is disturbed in his mind, 
undertakes and hopes to be able to govern not only men, but 
likewise the Gods. Entirely so, said he. The tyrannical 
character then, my good friend, becomes so in perfection, when 
either by temper, or by his pursuits, or by both, he becomes in- 
toxicated, and in love, and melancholy. . Perfectly so, indeed. 

Such a one, it seems, then, arises in this manner. But in 
what manner does he live ? As they say in their play, replied he, 
that you will tell me likewise. I tell then, said I. For I think 
that after this there are feastings among them, and revellings, 
and banquetings, and mistresses, and all such things as may 
be expected among those where Love the tyrant dwelling within 
governs all in the souL Of necessity, said he. Every day and 
night, therefore, do there not blossom forth many and dreadful 
desires, indigent of many things? Many indeed. And if they 
have any supplies, they are soon spent. What else ? And after 
this there is borrowing and loss of substance. What else ? And 
when every thing fails them, is there not a necessity that the 
desires, on the one hand, nestling in the mind, shall give frequent 
and powerful cries; and the men, on the other hand, being 
driven as by stings, both by the other desires, and more especially 
by love itself, commanding all the others as its life-guards, shall 
rage with phrensy, and search what any one possesses which they 
are able, by deceit or violence, to carry away? Extremely so, 
said he. They must of necessity therefore be plundering from 
every quarter, or be tormented with great agonies and pains. 
Of necessity. And as with such a man his new pleasures possess 
more than his antient ones, and take away what belonged to 
them, shall not he deem it proper in the same manner, that 
himself, being young, should have more than his father and 
mother, and take away from them, and, if he has spent his own 
portion, encroach on that of his parents? To be sure, said he. 
And if they do not allow him, will he not first endeavour to 
deceive and beguile his parents? By all means. And where 
he is not able to do this, will he not in the next place use rapine 
and violence ? I think so, replied he. But, my dear sir, when 

204 PLATO 

the old man and the old woman oppose and fight, would he be 
likely to be careful, and spare to play the tyrant? I, for my 
part, am not quite secure, said he, with reference to the safety 
of the parents of such an one. But in heaven's name, Adimantus, 
do you think that, for the sake of a newly beloved and un- 
necessary mistress, such a one would give up his antiently beloved 
and necessary mother; or, for the sake of a blooming youth 
newly beloved, and not necessary, give up his decayed, his 
necessary and aged father, the most antient of all his friends, 
to stripes, and suffer these to be enslaved by those others, if 
he should bring them into the same house? Yes, by heaven, 
I do, said he. It seems, said I, to be an extremely blessed 
thing to beget a tyrannical son. Indeed it is, said he. But what, 
when the substance of his father and mother fails such an one, 
and when now there is the greatest swarm of pleasures assembled 
in him, shall he not first break into some house, or late at 
night strip some one of his coat, and after this shall he not sweep 
out some temple; and in all these actions, those desires newly 
loosed from slavery, and become as the guards of love, shall 
along with him rule over those antient opinions he had from 
his infancy, the established decisions concerning good and evil; 
these desires which heretofore were only loose from their 
slavery in sleep, when he was as yet under the laws, and his 
father when under Democratic government, now when he is 
tyrannized over by love, such as he rarely was when asleep, such 
shall he be always when awake; and from no horrid slaughter, 
or food, or deed of any kind, shall he abstain. But that 
tyrannical love within him, living without any restraint of law 
or government, as being sole monarch itself, will lead on the 
man it possesses, as a city, to every mad attempt, whence he 
may support himself, and the crowd about him; which partly 
enters from without, from ill company, and, partly through their 
manners and his own, is become unrestrained and licentious. Or 
is not this the life of such a one? It is this truly, said he. 
And if there be, said I, but a few such in the city, and the rest 
of the multitude be sober, they go out and serve as guards to 
some other tyrant, or assist him for hire, if there be any war; 
but if they remain in peace and quiet, they commit at home 
in the city a great many small mischiefs. Which do you mean ? 
Such as these: they steal, break open houses, cut purses, strip 
people of their clothes, rifle temples, make people slaves; and 
where they can speak they sometimes turn false informers, 
and give false testimony, and take gifts. You call these, said 
he, small mischiefs, if there be but a few such persons. What 
is small, said I, is small in comparison of great. And all those 
things, with regard to the tyrant, when compared with the 
wickedness and misery of the city, do not, as the saying is, 


come near the mark; for when there are many such in the 
city, and others accompanying them, and when they per- 
eeive their own number, then these are they who, aided by 
the foolishness of the people, establish as tyrant the man who 
among them has himself most of the tyrant, and in the 
greatest strength, within his soul. It is probable indeed, said 
he ; for he will be most tyrannical. Will he not be so, if they 
voluntarily submit to him ? But if the city will not allow him, 
in the same manner as he formerly used violence to his father 
and mother, so now again will he chastise his country if he be 
able ; and bringing in other young people, he will keep and nourish 
under subjection to these, his formerly beloved mother- and 
father-country, as the Cretans say ? This also will be the issue of 
such a man's desire. It will be entirely this, said he. But do not 
these, said I, become such as this, first in private, and before they 
govern? In the first place, by the company they keep, either 
conversing with their own flatterers, and such as are ready to 
minister to them in every thing; or, if they need any thing 
themselves, falling down to those they converse with, they 
shrink not to assume every appearance as friends; but, after 
they have gained their purpose, they act as enemies. Extremely 
so. Thus they pass the whole of their life, never friends to any 
one, but always either domineering, or enslaved to another. But 
liberty and true friendship the tyrannic disposition never tastes. 
Entirely so. May we not then rightly call these men faithless ? 
Why not? And surely we may call them most of all unjust, if 
we have rightly agreed about justice, in our former reasonings, 
what it is. But we did rightly agree, said he. Let us sum up 
then, said I, our worst man. He is such a one awake, as we 
described as asleep. Entirely so. And does not that man 
become such a one, who being most tyrannical by natural 
temper, is in possession of supreme power, and the longer time 
he lives in tyranny, the more he becomes such a one? Of 
necessity, replied Glauco, taking up the discourse. And will 
not the man, said I, who appears the most wicked, appear likewise 
the most wretched; and he who shall tyrannize for the longest 
time, and in the greatest measure, shall he not in reality, in the 
greatest measure, and for the longest time, be such a one, in 
spite of the many different opinions which are commonly held 
about him. Of necessity, said he, these things at least must be 
so. And would this Tyrannic man differ any thing, said I, 
as to similitude, when compared with the city under tyranny, 
and the Democratic man when compared with the city under 
democracy, and after the same manner with respect to others? 
How should they? As city then is to city, as to virtue and 
happiness, will not man be to man in the same way? Of course. 
What then ? How is the city which is tyrannised over, in respect 

206 PLATO 

of that under kingly government, such as we at the first described ? 
Quite the reverse, said he ; for the one is the best, and the other 
is the worst. I will not ask, said I, which you mean, for it is 
plain; but do you judge in the same way, or otherwise, as to 
their happiness and misery? And let us not be struck with 
admiration, whilst we regard the tyrant alone, or some few about 
him ; but let us, as we ought to do, enter into the whole of the 
city, and consider it ; and going through every part, and viewing 
it, let us declare our opinion. You propose rightly, said he. 
And it is evident to every one that there is no city more wretched 
than that which is under Tyranny, nor any more happy than 
that under regal power. If now, said I, I should propose the 
same things with respect to the men, should I rightly propose, 
in accounting him only worthy to judge about them, who is 
able, by his mind, to enter within, and see through the temper 
of the man, and who may not, as a child beholding the outside, 
be struck with admiration of tyrannical pomp, which he makes 
a show of to those without, but may sufficiently see through him ? 
If then I should be of opinion, that all of us ought to hear such 
a one, who, having dwelt with the man in the same house, and 
having been along with him in his actions in his family, is able 
to judge in what manner he behaves to each of his domestics, 
(in which most especially a man appears stripped of theatrical 
shows,) and likewise in public dangers; after he has observed 
all these things, we shall bid him declare, how the Tyrant is as 
to happiness and misery, in comparison of others. You would 
do most properly, said he, in proposing this. Are you willing 
then, said I, that we pretend to be ourselves of the number of 
those who are thus able to judge, and that we have already met 
with such men, that we may have one who shall answer our 
questions ? By all means. 

Come then, said I, consider in this manner. Recollect the 
resemblance of the city, and the man, to one another, and, thus 
considering each of them apart, relate the passions of each. 
Which passions? said he. To begin first, said I, with the city. 
Do you call the one under Tyranny, either free or enslaved? 
Slavish, said he, in the greatest degree possible. And yet, 
surely, at least, you see in it masters and freemen. I see, said 
he, some small part so. But the whole in it, in the general, and 
the most excellent part, is disgracefully and miserably slavish. If 
then the man, said I, resembles the city, is it not necessary that 
there be the same regulation in him likewise ; and that his soul 
be full of the greatest slavery and illiberality ; and that these 
parts of his soul, which are the noblest, be enslaved, and that 
some small part, which is most wicked and frantic, is master? Of 
necessity, said he. What now ? will you say that Such a soul is 
slavish, or free ? Slavish, I say. But does not then the city which 


is slavish, and tyrannized over, least of all do what it inclines ? 
Very much so. And will not the soul too, which is tyrannized 
over, least of all do what it shall incline, to speak of the whole 
soul ; but, hurried violently by some stinging passion, be full of 
tumult and remorse? How should not it be so? But whether 
will the city which is tyrannized over be necessarily rich or poor ? 
Poor. And the soul under Tyranny be of necessity likewise 
indigent and insatiable? Just so, said he. Again, must not 
such a city, and such a man, of necessity be full of fear ? Very 
much so. Do you think you will find more lamentations, and 
groans, and weepings, and torments, in any other city ? By no 
means. But with reference to a man, do you think that these 
things are greater in any other than in this tyrannical one, who 
madly rages by his desires and lusts ? How can they ? said he. 
It is then on consideration of all these things, and other such as 
these, I think, that you have deemed this city the most wretched 
of cities ? And have I not. deemed right ?. said he. Extremely 
so, said I. But what say you again with reference to the 
tyrannical man, when you consider these things? That he is 
by far, said he, the most wretched of all others. You do not as 
yet say this rightly, replied I. How ? said he. I do not as yet 
think, said I, that he is such in the greatest degree. But who 
then is so ? The following will probably appear to you to be yet 
more miserable than the other. Which ? He, said I, who, being 
naturally tyrannical, leads not a private life, but is unfortunate, 
and through some misfortune is led to become a Tyrant. I con- 
jecture, said he, from what was formerly mentioned, that you 
say true. It is so, said I. But we ought not merely to conjecture 
about matters of such importance as these, but most thoroughly 
to inquire into the two things by reasoning of this kind : for the 
inquiry is concerning a thing of the greatest consequence, a 
good life and a bad. Most right, said he. Consider then 
whether there be any thing in what I say; for, in considering 
this question, I am of opinion that we ought to perceive it from 
these things. From what? From every individual of private 
men, viz. such of them as are rich, and possess many slaves ; for 
those have this resemblance at least of Tyrants, that they rule 
over many, with this difference, that the Tyrant has a great 
multitude. There is this difference. You know then that these 
live securely, and are not afraid of their domestics. What 
should they be afraid of? Nothing, said I ; but do you consider 
the reason ? Yes. It is because the whole city gives assistance 
to each particular private man. You say right, replied I. But 
what now ? If some God should lift a man who had fifty slaves 
or upwards out of the city, both him, and his wife and children, 
and set him down in a desert, with his other substance, and his 
domestics, where no freeman was to give him assistance, — in 

208 PLATO 

what kiiid of fear, and in how great, do you imagine he would 
be about himself, his children and wife, lest they should be 
destroyed by the domestics? In the greatest possible, said he, 
I imagine. Would he not be obliged even to natter some of the 
very slaves, and promise them many things, to set them at 
liberty when there was no occasion for it; and appear to be 
himself a flatterer of servants ? He is under great necessity, said 
he, to do so, or be destroyed. But what, said I, if the God 
should settle round him many other neighbours, who could not 
endure if any one should pretend to lord it over another ; but, if 
they any where found such a one, should punish him with the 
extremest rigour? I imagine, said he, that he would be still 
more distressed, thus beset by every kind of enemies. And in 
such a prison-house is not the Tyrant bound, being such by 
disposition, as we have mentioned, full of many and most various 
fears and loves of all kinds ? And whilst his soul is greedy, he 
alone of all in the city is neither allowed to go any where abroad, 
nor to see such things as other men are desirous of; but, creep- 
ing into his house, lives mostly as a woman, envying the other 
citizens if any of them go abroad, and see any good. It is 
entirely so, said he. And besides such evils as these, does not 
the man reap still more of them, who, being under ill policy 
within himself, (which you just now deemed to be the most 
wretched Tyranny,) lives not as a private person, but through 
some fortune is obliged to act the tyrant, and, without holding 
the government of himself, attempts to govern others, as if one 
with a body diseased, and unable to support itself, were obliged 
to live not in a private way, but in wrestling and fighting against 
other bodies ? You say, Socrates, replied he, what is altogether 
most likely and true. Is not then, friend Glauco, said I, this 
condition altogether miserable? and does not the Tyrant live 
more miserably still, than the man deemed by you to live most 
miserably ? Very much so, said he. True it is then, though one 
may fancy otherwise, that the truly tyrannical man is truly 
slavish with respect to the greatest flatteries and slaveries, and is 
a flatterer of the most abandoned men ; nor does he ever in the 
smallest degree obtain the gratification of his desires, but is of 
all the most indigent of most things, and appears poor indeed, 
if a man knows how to contemplate his whole soul ; and full of 
fear through the whole of life, being filled with convulsions and 
griefs, if indeed he resembles the constitution of that city 
which he governs. But he does resemble it Does he not? 
Extremely, said he. And shall we not, besides these things, 
likewise ascribe to this man what we formerly mentioned, that 
he must necessarily be, and, by governing still, become more 
than formerly envious, faithless, unjust, unfriendly, unholy, and 
a general recipient and nourisher of all wickedness; and from all 


these things be most especially unhappy himself, and then render 
all about him unhappy likewise? No one, said he, who hath 
understanding will contradict you. Come now, said I, as a judge 
who pronounces, after considering all, so do you tell me, who, 
according to your opinion, is the first as to happiness, and who 
second, and the rest in order, they being five in all ? The Regal, 
the Timocratic, the Oligarchic, the Democratic, and the Tyrannic. 
But the judgment, said he, is easy; for, as if I had entered 
among them, I judge of them as of public performers, by their 
virtue and vice, and by their happiness, and its contrary. Shall 
we then hire a Herald ? said I. Or shall I myself proclaim that 
the son of Ariston hath judged the best and justest man to be 
the happiest ; (and that this is the man who hath most of the 
regal spirit, and rules himself with a kingly power;) and that 
the worst and the most unjust is the most wretched; and that 
he again happens to be the man who is most tyrannical, who in 
the greatest degree tyrannizes over himself, and the city ? Let 
that be your proclamation, said he. Shall I add, said I, whether 
they be known to be such or not both to all men and Gods? 
Add it, said he. 

Be it so, said I; this would seem to be one proof of ours. 
And this, if you are of the same opinion, must be the second. 
Which is it? Since the soul, said I, of every individual is 
divided into three parts, in the same manner as the city was 
divided, it will, in my opinion, admit a second proof. What is that ? 
It is this. Of the three parts of the soul, there appear to me 
to be three pleasures, one peculiar to each. And three desires 
and governments in the same manner. How do you say? 
replied he. There is one part, we said, by which a man learns, 
and another by which he shows an irascible spirit ; the third is 
so multiform, we are unable to express it by one word peculiar 
to itself, but we denominated it from that which is greatest 
and most impetuous in it; for we called it the desiderative, on 
account of the impetuosity of the desires relative to meat, drink, 
and venereal pleasures, and whatever others belong to these ; and 
we called it avaricious likewise, because it is by means of wealth 
most especially that such desires are accomplished. And we 
said rightly, replied he. If then we say that its pleasure and 
delight are in gain, shall we not best of all reduce it under one 
head in our discourse, so as to express something to ourselves, 
when we make mention of this part of the soul ? and, calling it 
the covetous, and the desirous of gain, shall we not term it 
properly ? So it appears to me, said he. What then ? Do not we 
say that the spirited ought to be wholly impelled to superiority, 
victory, and applause ? Just so. If then we term it the contentious 
and ambitious, will it not be accurately expressed? Most 
accurately. But it is evident to every one, that the part of the 

210 PLATO 

soul, by which we learn, is wholly intent always to know the 
truth ; and as to wealth and glory, it cares for these least of all. 
Extremely so. When we call it. then the desirous of learning, 
and the philosophic, we shall call it according to propriety. 
Certainly. And do not these, said I, govern in souls, one of them 
in some, and in others another, as it happens? Just so, said 
he. On this account then, we said there were three original 
species of men ; the philosophic, the ambitious, and the avaricious. 
Entirely so. And that there were likewise three species of 
pleasures, one subject to each of these. Certainly. You know 
then, said I, that if you were to ask these three men, each of 
them apart, which of these lives is the most pleasant, each 
would most of all commend his own. And the avaricious will 
say, that in comparison with the pleasure of acquiring wealth, 
that arising from honour, or from learning, is of no value, unless 
one make money by them. True, said he. And what says the 
ambitious? said I. Does not he deem the pleasure arising 
from making money a sort of burthen ? And likewise that arising 
from learning, unless learning bring him honour, does he not 
deem it smoke and trifling? It is so, said he. And we shall 
suppose the philosopher, said I, to deem the other pleasures as 
nothing in comparison of that of knowing the truth, how it is, 
and that whilst he is always employed in learning something 
of this kind, he is not very remote from pleasure ; but that he 
calls the other pleasures truly necessary, as wanting nothing of 
the others, but where there is a necessity for it. This, said he, 
we must well understand. When therefore, said I, these several 
lives, and the respective pleasure of each, are in dispute, not with 
reference to living more worthily or more basely, or worse or 
better; but merely with reference to this of living more 
pleasantly, or on the contrary more painfully, — how can we know 
which of them speaks most conformably to truth? I am not 
quite able, said he, to tell. But consider it thus. By what 
ought we to judge of whatever is to be rightly judged of? Is 
it not by experience, by prudence, and by reason ? Or has any 
one a better criterion than these? How can he? said he. 
Consider now; of the three men, who is the most experienced 
in all the pleasures? Whether does it appear to you that the 
avaricious man, in learning truth itself, what it is, is more experi- 
enced in the pleasure arising from knowledge, than the phil- 
osopher is in that arising from the acquisition of wealth ? There 
is, said he, a great difference: for the philosopher, beginning 
from his childhood, must, of necessity, taste the other pleasures ; 
but what it is to know real beings, and how sweet this pleasure 
is, the mercenary man has no necessity of tasteing, or of becoming 
experienced in; but rather, when he earnestly endeavours to 
effect this, it is no easy matter. The philosopher then, said I, 


far surpasses the mercenary man, at least in experience of both 
the pleasures. Far indeed. But what with reference to the 
ambitious man ? Is he more experienced in the pleasure arising 
from honour, than the philosopher is in that arising from in- 
tellectual energy ? Honour, said . he, attends all of them, if 
they obtain each of them what they aim at : for the rich man 
is honoured by many, and so is the brave, and the wise ; so, as 
to that of honour, what sort of pleasure it is, all of them have 
the experience. But in the contemplation of being itself, what 
pleasure there is, it is impossible for any other than the philosopher 
to have tasted. On account of experience then, said I, he of 
all men judges the best. By far. And surely, along with prudence 
at least, he alone becomes experienced. To be sure. But even the 
organ by which these pleasures must be judged is not the organ of 
the mercenary, nor of the ambitious, but of the philosopher. Which 
is it? We said somewhere, that they must be judged of by 
reason, did we not ? Yes. But reasoning is chiefly the organ of 
the philosopher. Certainly. If then the things to be determined 
were best determined by riches and gain, what the mercenary 
man commended, or despised, would of necessity be most 
agreeable to truth. Entirely. And if by honour, and victory 
and bravery, must it not be as the ambitious and contentious 
man determined ? It is evident. But since it is by experience, 
and prudence, and reason, — of necessity, said he, what the 
philosopher and the lover of reason commends must be the most 
true. Of the three pleasures, then, that is the most pleasant 
which belongs to that part of the soul by which we learn most, 
and he among us in whom this part governs lives the most 
pleasant life. How can it, said he, be otherwise ? For the wise 
man, having full right to commend, commends his own life. But 
which life, said I, does our judge pronounce the second, and 
which the second pleasure ? It is plain, that of the warlike and 
ambitious man; for this is nearer to his own than that of the 
lucrative. And that of the covetous, as it appears, is last of all. 
Certainly, said he. In these two cases, the one after the 
other, the just man has twice now overcome the unjust. The 
third victory now, as at the Olympic games, is sacred to Olympian 
Zeus, the saviour; for consider, that the pleasure of the 
others is not every way genuine, but that of the wise man is : 
nor are they pure, but a kind of outline, as I think I have 
heard from one of the wise men. And this truly would be the 
greatest and most complete downfall of the unjust Extremely 
so. But how do you mean ? I shall thus trace it out, said I, whilst 
in searching you answer my questions. Ask then, said he. Tell 
me then, replied I, do we not say that pain is opposite to pleasure ? 
Entirely so. And do we not say likewise, that there is such a 
thing as to feel neither pleasure nor pain? We say there is. 

212 PLATO 

That being in the middle of both these, it is a certain tranquillity 
of the soul with reference to them. Do you not thus under- 
stand it? Thus, replied he. Do you not remember, said I, 
the speeches of the diseased, which they utter in their sickness ? 
Which? How that nothing is more pleasant than health, but 
that it escaped their notice before they became sick, that it 
was the most pleasant. I remember it, said he. And are you 
not wont to hear those who are under any acute pain say, 
that there is nothing more pleasant than a cessation from 
pain? I am wont to hear them. And you may perceive in 
men, I imagine, the same thing, when they are in many other 
such like circumstances, where, when in pain, they extol a 
freedom from pain, and the tranquillity of such a state, as 
being the most pleasant, and do not extol that of feeling 
joy. Because this, it is likely, said he, becomes at that time 
pleasant and desirable tranquillity. And when any one ceaseth, 
said I, to feel joy, this tranquillity from pleasure will be 
painful. It is likely, said he. This tranquillity, then, which 
we just now said was between the two, will at times become 
each of these, pain and pleasure. It appears so. But is it 
truly possible, that what is neither of the two should become 
both? It does not appear to me that it is. And surely at 
least, when anything pleasant or anything painful is in the 
soul, both sensations are a certain motion; are they not? 
Yes. But did not that which is neither painful nor pleasant 
appear just now to be tranquillity, and in the middle of these 
two? It appears so, indeed. How is it right, then, to deem 
it pleasant not to be in pain, or painful not to enjoy pleasure ? 
It is by no means right. In these cases, then, tranquillity is 
not really so, said I, but it appears pleasant in respect of the 
painful, and painful in respect of the pleasant. And there is 
nothing genuine in these appearances as to the truth of pleasure, 
but a certain magical delusion. So far as our reasoning shows, 
said he. Consider then, said I, the pleasures which do not 
arise from the cessation of pains, that you may not frequently 
in the present discourse suppose that these two naturally thus 
subsist, viz. that pleasure is the cessation of pain, and pain 
the cessation of pleasure. How, said he, and which pleasures 
do you mean? There are many others, said I, but chiefly 
if you wish to consider the pleasures from smells; for these, 
without any preceding pain, are on a sudden immensely great, 
and, when they cease, they leave no pain behind then. Most 
true, said he. Let us not then be persuaded that pure 
pleasure is the removal of pain, or pain the removal of 
pleasure. Let us not. But yet, said I, those which extend 
through the body to the soul, and which are called pleasures, 
the greatest part of them almost, and the most considerable, 


are of this species, certain cessations of pain. They are so. 
And are not the preconceptions of pleasure and pain, which 
arise in the mind from the expectation of these things, of the 
same kind? Of the same* Do you know then, said I, what 
kind they are of, and what they chiefly resemble? What? 
said he. Do you reckon, said I, there is any such thing in 
nature as this, the above, the below, and the middle? I do. 
Do you think then that any one, when he is brought from 
the below to the middle, imagines any thing else than that 
he is brought to the above? and when he stands in the 
middle, and looks down whence he was brought, will he 
imagine he is any where else than above, whilst yet he has 
not seen the true above? By heaven, said he, I do not think 
that such an one will imagine otherwise. But if he should, 
said I, be carried back again, he would conjecture he was 
carried to the below, and would conjecture according to truth. 
How should he not? Would he not be affected in all these 
respects, from his not having experience in what is really 
above, and in the middle, and below? It is plain. Would 
you wonder then, that whilst men are inexperienced in the 
truth, besides having unsound opinions about many other 
things,-^they are likewise affected in this same manner as to 
pleasure and pain, and what is between these? So that, even 
when they are brought to what is painful, they imagine truly, 
and are truly pained; but when from pain they are brought 
to the middle, they strongly imagine that they are arrived 
at fulness of pleasure. In the same manner as those who 
along with the black colour look at the gray, through in- 
experience of the white, are deceived; so those who consider 
pain along with a freedom from pain, are deceived through 
inexperience of pleasure. In good truth, said he, I should 
not wonder, but much rather if it were not so. But consider 
it, said I, in this manner. Are not hunger and thirst, and 
such like, certain emptinesses in the bodily habit? What 
else? And are not ignorance and folly an emptiness in the 
habit of the soul ? Extremely so. And is not the one filled 
when it receives food, and the other when it gets understanding ? 
Why not? But which is the more real repletion, that of the 
less, or that of the more real being? It is plain, that of the 
more real. Which species, then, do you think, participates 
most of a more pure essence; whether these which participate 
of bread and drink, and meat, and all such sort of nourishment ; 
or that species which participates of true opinion and science, 
and understanding, and, in short, of all virtue? But judge ot 
it in this manner. That which adheres to what is immutable, 
and immortal, and true, and is so itself, and arises in what is 
such, does it appear to you to have more of the reality of 

214 PLATO 

being, than that which adheres to what is mutable, and is 
mortal, which is so itself, and is generated in a thing of this 
kind? This, said he, differs much from that which is im- 
mutable. Does then the essence of that which is mutable 
participate more of essence than that of science? By no 
means. But what with relation to truth? Nor of this neither. 
If it participate less of truth, does it not likewise do so of 
essence? Of necessity. In short, then, do not the genera 
relating to the care of the body participate less of truth and 
essence, than those relating to the care of the soul? By far. 
And the same of the body compared with the soul; do you 
not think so? I do. Is not that which is filled with more 
real beings, and is itself a more real being, in reality more 
truly filled than that which is filled with less real beings, 
and is itself a less real being? What else? If then it be 
pleasant to be filled with what is suitable to nature, that which 
is in reality filled, and with more real being, must be made 
both more really and more truly to enjoy true pleasure; but 
that which participates of less real being, must be less truly 
and firmly filled, and participates of a more uncertain and 
less genuine pleasure. Most necessarily, said he. Such then 
as are unacquainted with wisdom and virtue, and are always 
conversant in feastings and such like, are carried as it appears 
to the below, and back again to the middle, and there they 
wander for life. But never, passing beyond this, do they 
look towards the true above, nor are carried to it; nor are 
they ever really filled with real being; nor have they ever 
tasted solid and pure pleasure; but, after the manner of 
brutes looking always downwards, and bowed towards earth 
and their tables, they live feeding and coupling; and from 
a lust of these things, kicking and pushing at one another 
with iron horns and hoofs, they kill one another through their 
unsatiableness, as those who are filling with unreal being that 
which is no real being, nor friendly to themselves. You 
pronounce most perfectly, Socrates, as from an oracle, said 
Glauco, the life of the multitude. Must they not then, of 
necessity, be conversant with pleasures mixed with pains, 
images of the true pleasure, sketched in outline, and coloured 
by their position beside each other? so that both their 
pleasures and pains will appear vehement, and engender their 
mad passions in the foolish. Hence also they must fight 
about these things, as Stesichorus says those at Troy fought 
about* the image of Helen, through ignorance of the true 
one. Of necessity, said he, something of this kind must 
take place. 

And what as to the spirited part of the soul ? Must not 
other such like things happen, wherever any one gratifies it, either 


in the way of envy, through ambition, or in the way of violence, 
through contentiousness, or in the way of anger, through morose- 
ness, pursuing a glut of honour, of conquest, and of anger, both 
without reason, and without intelligence ? Such things as these, 
said he, must necessarily happen with reference to this part of 
the soul. What then, said I, shall we boldly say concerning 
all the pleasures, both respecting the avaricious and the ambitious 
part, that such of them as are obedient to science and reason, 
and, in conjunction with these, pursue and obtain the pleasures 
of which the prudent part of the soul is the leader, shall obtain 
the truest pleasures, as far as it is possible for them to attain 
true pleasure, and in as much as they follow truth, pleasures 
which are properly their own ; since what is best for every one 
be most properly his own ? But surely it is most properly, 
said he, his own. When then the whole soul is obedient to 
the philosophic part, and there is no sedition in it, then every 
part in other respects performs its proper business, and is just, 
and also reaps its own pleasures, and such as are the best, and 
as far as is possible the most true. Certainly, indeed. But 
when any of the others governs, it happens that it neither attains 
its own pleasures, and it compels the other parts to pursue a 
pleasure foreign to them, and not at all true. It does so, said 
he. Do not then the parts which are the most remote from 
philosophy and reason most especially effectuate such things ? 
Very much so. And is not that which is most remote from 
law and order, likewise most remote from reason ? It plainly is. 
And have not the amorous and the tyrannical desires appeared 
to be most remote from law and order? Extremely so. And 
the royal and the moderate ones, the least remote ? Yes. The 
tyrant then, I think, shall be the most remote from true pleasure, 
and such as is most properly his own, and the other shall be 
the least. Of necessity. And the tyrant, said I, shall lead a 
life the most unpleasant, and the king the most pleasant. Of 
great necessity. Do you know then, said I, how much more 
unpleasant a life the tyrant leads than the king? If you tell 
me, said he. As there are three pleasures, as it appears, one 
genuine, and two illegitimate; the Tyrant in carrying the 
illegitimate to extremity, and flying from law and reason, dwells 
with slavish pleasures as his life-guards, and how far he is inferior 
is not easily to be told, unless it may be done in this manner. 
How? said he. The Tyrant is somehow the third remote from 
the OHgarchic character ; for the Democratic was in the middle 
between them. Yes. Does he not then dwell with the third 
image of pleasure, distant from him with reference to truth, 
if our former reasonings be true ? Just so. But the Oligarchic 
is the third again from the Royal, if we suppose the Aristocratic 
and the Royal the same. He is the third. The Tyrant then, said 

2i6 PLATO 

I, is remote from true pleasure, thrice three times. It appears 
so. A plain surface then, said I, may be the image of tyrannical 
pleasure, to use a geometrical computation. Certainly. But if we 
use the second and third increase, it is manifest by how great 
a distance he is remote. It is manifest, said he, to the mathe- 
matician. If now, conversely, any one shall say the King is 
distant from the Tyrant as to truth of pleasure, shall he not, 
on completing the multiplication, find him leading the more 
pleasant life, and the Tyrant the more wretched one, 729 times. 
You have heaped up, said he, a prodigious account of the 
difference between these two men, the just and the unjust, 
with reference to pleasure and pain. Yet the numbers are 
true, said I, and corresponding to their lives, if indeed days, 
and nights, and months, and years, correspond to them. But 
these, said he, do correspond to them. If then the good and 
just man surpasses so far the evil and unjust man in pleasure, 
in what a prodigious degree further shall he surpass him in 
decorum of life, in beauty and in virtue 1 In a prodigious degree, 
by Jupiter, said he. Be it so, said I. 

Since now we are come to this part of our argument, let 
us recapitulate what we first said, on account of which we have 
come hither : and it was somewhere said, that it was advantageous 
to do injustice, if one were completely unjust, but were reputed 
just Was it not so said? It was indeed. Now then, said I, 
let us settle this point, since we have now settled the other, 
with reference to acting justly and unjustly, what power each 
of these possesses in itself. How? said he. Let us in our 
reasoning fashion an image of the soul, that the man who said 
those things may know what he said. What kind of image? 
said he. One of those creatures, said I, which are fabled to 
have been of old, as that of Chimsera, of Scylla, of Cerberus; 
and many others are spoken of, where many particular natures 
existed together in one. They are spoken of indeed, said he. 
Model now one figure of a creature, various, and many-headed, 
having all around heads of tame creatures, and of wild, and 
having power in itself of changing all these heads, and of breeding 
them out of itself. This is the work, said he, of a skilful modeller : 
however, as the modelling is easier in reasoning, than in wax 
and such like, let it be made. Let there be now one other 
figure of a lion and one of a man ; but let the first be by far the 
greatest, and the second be the second in bulk. These are 
easier, said he, and they are formed. Conjoin now these three 
in one, so as to exist somehow with one another. They are 
conjoined, said he. Model now around them the external 
appearance of one of them, that of the man ; so that to one 
who is not able to see what is within, but who perceives only 
the external covering, the man may appear one creature. This 


is done, said he. Let us now tell him, who asserts that it is 
profitable to this man to do injustice, but to do justice is 
unprofitable, that he asserts nothing else, than that it is 
profitable for him to feast the multiform creature, and to 
make it strong; and likewise the lion, and what respects the 
lion, whilst the man he kills with famine, and renders weak, 
so as to be dragged whichever way either of those drag him; 
and that he will also find it advantageous never to accustom 
the one to live in harmony with the other, nor to make 
them friends, but suffer them to be biting one another, and to 
fight and devour each other. He, said he, who commendeth 
the doing injustice, undoubtedly asserts these things. And does 
not he again, who says it is profitable to do justice, say that he 
ought to do and to say such things by which the inner man 
shall come to have the most entire command of the man, and 
shall take care of the many-headed creature, as a tiller of the 
ground, cherishing what is mild, and nourishing it, and hindering 
the wild from growing up, taking the nature of the lion as his 
ally, and, having a common care for all, make them friendly to 
one another, and to himself, and so nourish them? He who 
commends justice undoubtedly says such things as these. In 
all respects, then, he who commends justice would seem to 
speak the truth, but he who commends injustice, to speak what 
is false; for, with regard to pleasure, and applause, and profit, 
he who commends justice speaks the truth, and he who dis- 
commends it speaks nothing genuine. Nor does he discommend 
with understanding what he discommends. Not at all, said he, 
as appears to me at least. Let us then in a mild manner 
persuade him (for it is not willingly he errs), asking him, My 
good sir, do not we say that the maxims of things beautiful 
and base become so, upon such accounts as these? Those are 
good which subject the brutal part of our nature most to the 
man, or rather perhaps to that which is divine: but those are 
evil which enslave the mild part of our nature to the brutal. Will 
he agree with us? or how? He will, if he be advised by me, 
said he. Is there then any one, said I, whom it avails, from this 
reasoning, to take gold unjustly, if something of this kind 
happens, if, whilst he takes the money, he at the same time 
subjects the best part of himself to the worst? Or, if, taking 
gold, he should enslave a son or daughter, and that even to 
savage and wicked men, shall we not say this could not have 
profited him, not though he should have received for it a 
prodigious sum: but if he enslaves the most divine part of 
himself to the most impious and most polluted part, without 
any pity, is he not wretched? and does he not take a gift of 
gold to his far more dreadful ruin, than Eriphyle did when she 
received the necklace for her husband's life? By far, said 

218 PLATO 

Glauco; for I will answer you for the man. And do you not 
think that to be intemperate, has of old been discommended 
on such accounts as these, because that in such a one that 
terrible, great and multiform beast was indulged more than 
was meet? It is plain, said he. And are not arrogance and 
moroseness blamed, when the lion and the serpentine disposition 
increases and stretches beyond measure? Entirely so. And 
are not luxury and effeminacy blamed because of the remissness 
and looseness of this disposition, when it engenders in the man 
cowardice ? What else ? Are not flattery and illiberality blamed, 
when any one makes this spirited part itself subject to the brutal 
crew, and, for the sake of wealth and its insatiable lust, ac- 
customs the spirited to be affronted from its youth, and instead 
of a lion to become an ape? .Entirely so, said he. But why is 
it, do you think, that vulgarity and commonness are despicable ? 
Shall we say it is on any other account than this, that when a 
man has the form of that which is best in his soul naturally 
weak, so as not to be able to govern the creatures within himself, 
but to minister to them, he is able only to learn what flatters 
them ? It is likely, said he. In order then that such a one may 
be governed in the same manner as the best man is, do we not 
say that he must be the servant of one who is the best, and who 
has within him the divine governor? not at all conceiving 
that he should be governed to the hurt of the subject (as 
Thrasymachus imagined), but, as it is best for every one to be 
governed, by one divine and wise, most especially possessing 
it as his own within him, if not subjecting himself to it externally ; 
that as far as possible we may all resemble one another and be 
friends, governed by one and the same? Rightly, indeed, said 
he. And law at least, said I, plainly shows it intends such a 
thing, being an ally to all in the city; as does likewise the 
government of children, in not allowing them to be free till we 
establish in them a proper government, as in a city ; and having 
cultivated that in them which is best, by that which is best in 
ourselves, we establish a similar guardian and governor for youth, 
and then truly we set it free. It shows indeed, said he. In 
what way then shall we say, Glauco, and according to what 
reasoning, that it is profitable to do injustice, to be intemperate, 
or to do any thing base, by which a man shall indeed become 
more wicked, but yet shall acquire more wealth, or any kind of 
power ? In no way, said he. But how shall we say it is profitable 
for the unjust to be concealed, and not to suffer punishment ? or 
does he not indeed, who is concealed, still become more wicked ? 
but he who is not concealed, and is punished, has the brutal 
part quieted, and made mild, and the mild part set at liberty. 
And the whole soul being settled in the best temper, in possessing 
temperance and justice, with wisdom, acquires a more valuable 


habit than the body does, in acquiring vigour and beauty, with 
a sound constitution ; in as far as the soul is more valuable than 
the body. Entirely so, said he. Shall not every one then, who 
possesses intellect, regulate his life in extending the whole of 
his powers hither, in the first place, honouring those disciplines 
which will render his soul of this kind, and despising all other 
things? It is plain, said he. And next, said I, with reference 
to a good habit of body and its nourishment, so far from indulging 
the brutal and irrational pleasure ; he will not even keep health, 
his principal regard, so as to become strong and healthy, and 
beautiful, unless by means of these he is to become temperate 
likewise : but he will always be seen to tune the harmony of the 
body for the sake of the symphony which is in the soul. By all 
means, said he, if indeed he is to be truly musical. That 
arrangement then, said I, and symphony arising from the 
possession of wealth, and that vulgar magnificence, he will not, 
in consequence of being astonished with the felicity of the 
multitude, increase to infinity, and bring on himself infinite 
evils. I do not think it, said he. But looking, said I, to that 
polity within himself, and taking care that nothing there be 
moved out of its place, through the greatness or smallness of 
his property, governing in this manner as far as he is able, he 
will add to his substance, and spend out of it. Entirely so, said 
he. He will regard honours likewise in the same manner ; some 
he will willingly partake of, and taste, which he judges will 
render him a better man, but those which he thinks would 
dissolve that habit of soul which subsists within him, he will 
fly from both in private and in public. He will not then, said 
he, be willing to act in politics, if he takes care of this. I vow 
he will, said I, in his own proper city, without doubt. But not 
probably in his native country, unless some divine fortune befall 
him. I understand, said he. You mean in the city we have 
now established, which exists in our reasoning, since it is nowhere 
on earth, at least, as I imagine. But in heaven, probably, there 
is a model of it, said I, for any one who inclines to contemplate 
it, and on contemplating to regulate himself accordingly; and 
it is of no consequence to him, whether it does exist anywhere,, 
or. shall ever exist here. He does the duties of this city alone,, 
and of no other. It is reasonable, said he. 




I OBSERVE, said I, for many reasons, that we have established 
our city in a right manner, beyond all question, and I am 
most surely convinced of it when I remember the rule respecting 
poetry. Which ? said he. That no part of it which is imitative 
be by any means admitted. For it appears, now most of all, 
and with greatest perspicuity, that it is not to be admitted, 
since the several forms of the soul have been distinguished 
apart from one another. How do you mean ? That I may tell it 
as to you, (for you will not accuse me to the composers of 
tragedy, and the rest of the imitative kind) all such things as 
these seem to be the ruin of the mind of the hearers, viz. 
of such of them as have not a medicine to enable them to 
discern their peculiar nature. From what consideration, said he, 
do you say so? It must be spoken, said I, although a certain 
friendship, at least, and reverence for Homer, which I have 
had from my childhood, restrains me from telling it; for he 
seems truly both to have been the first teacher and leader of 
all these good composers of tragedy: but man must not be 
honoured preferably to the truth. But what I mean must be 
spoken. By all means, said he. Hear me then, or rather 
answer me. Ask. Can you tell me perfectly, what at all 
imitation is? for I do not myself altogether understand what 
it means. And shall I then any how understand it? said he. 
That would be no way strange, said I ; since those who are 
dim-sighted perceive many things sooner than those who see 
more clearly. The case is so, said he; but whilst you are 
present, I should not be able to adventure to tell, even though 
something did appear to me. But consider it yourself. Are you 
willing then, that we hence begin our inquiry in our usual 
method? for we were wont to suppose a certain species with 
respect to many individuals, to which we give the same name ; 
or do you not understand me? I understand. Let us suppose 
now such among the many, as you please; as, for example, 


there are many beds and tables, if yon please. Of course. 
But the ideas, at least respecting these pieces of furniture, are 
two; one of bed, and one of table. Yes. And are we not 
wont to say, that the workmen of each of these species of 
furniture, looking towards the idea, make in this manner, 
the one the beds, and the other the tables which we use? 
and all other things after the same manner. For no one of 
the artists makes, at least, the idea itself; how can he? 
By no means. But see now how you describe this workman? 
Which? One who makes all such things, as each manual 
artificer does. A skilful and wonderful man this you speak 
of. Not yet, at least ; but you will much more say so presently ; 
for this same mechanic is not only able to make all sorts of 
atensils, but he makes also every thing which springs from 
the earth, and he makes all sorts of animals, himself as well 
as others: and besides these things, he makes the earth, 
and heaven, and the Gods, and all things in heaven, and in 
Hades under the earth. You speak of a perfectly wonderful 
sophist, said he. You do not believe me ; but tell me, does 
it appear to you that there is not any such artist? or that, 
in one respect, he is the maker of all these things, and in 
another he is not? or do you not perceive that even you 
yourself might be able to make all these things, in a certain 
manner at least? And what, said he, is this manner? It is not 
difficult, said I, but is performed in many ways, and quickly ; but 
in the quickest manner of all, if you choose to take a mirror, and 
carry it round every where; for then you will quickly make 
the sun, and the things in the heavens, quickly the earth, 
quickly yourself, and the other animals, and utensils, and 
vegetables, and all that was now mentioned. Yes, said he, the 
appearances, but not however the real things. You come well, 
said I, and seasonably, with your remark; for I imagine that 
the painter too is one of these artists. Is he not? To be 
sure he is. But you will say, I think, that he does not make what 
he makes, true, although the painter too, in a certain manner, at 
least, makes a bed, does he not ? Yes, said he, he too makes only 
the appearance. But what with reference to the bed-maker? 
Did you not indeed say, just now, that he does not make the 
form which we say exists, which is bed, but a particular bed? 
I said so indeed. If then he does not make that which is, he 
does not make real being, but some thing like being, not being 
itself: but if any one should say, that the work of a bed-maker, 
or of any other handicraftsman, were real being, he would seem 
not to say true. He would, said he, as it must appear to those 
who are conversant in such kind of reasonings. Let us not then 
at all wonder if this likewise happen to be somewhat obscure with 
reference to the truth. Let us not. Are you willing then, said 

222 PLATO 

I, that, with reference to these very things, we inquire concerning 
the imitator, who he really is ? If you are willing, said he. Are 
there not then these three sorts of beds ? One which exists in 
nature, and which we may say, as I imagine, God made, or who 
else ? None, I think. And one which the joiner makes. Yes, 
said he. And one which the painter makes. Is it not so ? Be 
it so. Now the painter, the bed-maker, God, these three preside 
over three species of beds. They are three, indeed. But God, 
whether it were that he was not willing, or whether there was 
some necessity for it, that he should not make but one bed in 
nature, made this one only, which is really bed ; but two such, or 
more, have never been produced by God, nor ever will be 
produced. How so? said he. Because, said I, if he had made 
but two, again one would have appeared, the form of which both 
these two would have possessed, and that form would be, that 
which is bed, and not those two. Right, said he. God then, I 
think, knowing these things, and willing to be the maker of bed, 
really, and really existing, but not of any particular bed, nor to 
be any particular bed-maker, produced what was in its nature 
one. It appears so. Are you willing, then, that we call him 
the natural creator of this, or something of this kind ? It is just, 
said he, since he has, in their nature, made both this, and all 
other things. But what as to the joiner ? Is not he the work- 
man of a bed ? Yes. And is the painter, too, the workman and 
maker of such a work? By no means. But what will you say 
he is with relation to bed ? This, said he, as it appears to me, 
we may most reasonably call him, the imitator of what these are 
the workmen of. Be it so, said I ; you call him then the imitator 
who makes what is generated the third from nature ? Entirely 
so, said he. And this the composer of tragedy shall be likewise, 
since he is an imitator, a sort of third sprung from the King and 
the truth ; and in like manner all other imitators. It seems so. 
We have agreed then as to the imitator; but tell me this con- 
cerning the painter, whether do you think he undertakes to 
imitate each essential thing in nature, or the works of artists? 
The works of artists, said he. Whether, such as they really are, 
or such as they appear ? Determine this further. How do you 
say ? replied he. Thus. Does a bed differ any thing from itself, 
whether he view it obliquely, or directly opposite, or in any 
particular position? or, does it differ nothing, but only appears 
different, and in the same way as to other things ? Thus, said he, 
it appears, but differs nothing. Consider this too, with reference 
to which of the two is painting directed, in each particular work ; 
whether with reference to real being, to imitate it as it really is, 
or with reference to what is apparent, as it appears ; and whether 
is it the imitation of appearance, or of truth ? Of appearance, 
said he. The imitative art, then, is far from the truth : and on this 


account, it seems, he is able to make these things, because he is 
able to attain but to some small part of each particular, and that 
but an image. Thus we say that a painter will paint us a shoe- 
maker, a joiner, and other artists, though he be skilled in none 
of those arts ; yet he will be able to deceive children and ignorant 
people, if he be a good painter, when he paints a joiner, and shows 
him at a distance, so far as to make them imagine he is a real 
joiner. Yes. But this, I think, my friend, we must consider 
with reference to all these things ; that when any one tells us 
of such a painter, that he has met with a man who is skilled 
in all manner of workmanship, and every thing else which every 
several artist understands, and that there is nothing which he 
does not know more accurately than any other person, we ought 
to reply to such an one, that he is a simple man, and that it seems, 
having met with some magician, and mimic, he has been deceived ; 
so that he has appeared to him to know every thing, from his 
own incapacity to distinguish between science, and ignorance, 
and imitation. Most true, said he. 

Ought we not then, said I, in the next place, to consider tragedy, 
and its leader, Homer ? since we hear from some, that these poets 
understand all arts, and all human affairs, respecting virtue and 
vice, and likewise all divine things ; for a good poet must 
necessarily compose with knowledge, if he means to compose 
well what he composes, else he is not able to compose. It 
behoves us then to consider whether these who have met with 
those imitators have been deceived, and on viewing their works 
have not perceived that they are the third distant from real 
being, and that their works are such as can easily be made by 
one who knows not the truth (for they make phantasms, and 
not real beings); or whether they do say something to the 
purpose, and that the good poets in reality have knowledge in 
those things which they seem to the multitude to express with 
elegance. By all means, said he, this is to be inquired into. 
Do you think then, that if any one were able to make both of 
these, that which is imitated, and likewise the image, he would 
allow himself seriously to apply to the workmanship of the 
images, and propose this to himself as the best thing in life? 
I do not. But if he were in reality intelligent in these things 
which he imitates, he would far rather, I think, seriously apply 
himself to the things than to the imitations, and would endeavour 
to leave behind him many and beautiful actions, as monuments 
of himself, and would study rather to be himself the person 
commended than the encomiast. I think so, said he ; for neither 
is the honour nor the profit equal. As to other things, then, let 
us not call them to account, asking Homer or any other of the 
poets, whether any of them were any way skilled in medicine, 
and not an imitator only of medical discourses, for which of the 

224 PLATO 

antient or latter poets is said to have restored any to health, 
as Asclepius did? or what students in medicine has any left 
behind him, as he did his descendants? Nor let us ask them 
concerning the other arts, but dismiss them : but with reference 
to those greatest and most beautiful things which Homer attempts 
to speak of, concerning wars and armies, and constitutions of 
cities, and the education belonging to men, it is just, somehow, 
to question him, whilst we demand of him: Friend Homer, if 
you be not the third from the truth with regard to virtue, being 
the workman of an image (which we have denned an imitator 
to be), but the second, and are able to discern what pursuits 
render men better or worse, both in private and public, tell us 
which of the cities has been by you better constituted, as 
Lacedsemon was by Lycurgus, and many other both great and 
small cities by many others, but what city acknowledges you 
to have been a good lawgiver, and to have been of advantage 
to them. Italy and Sicily acknowledge Charondas and we 
Solon; but will any one acknowledge you? I think not, said 
Glauco. It is not then pretended even by the Homerids them- 
selves. But what war in Homer's days is recorded to- have 
been well conducted by him as leader, or counsellor ? Not one. 
But what are his discoveries ? as among the works of a wise man 
there are many discoveries and inventions spoken of, respecting 
the arts, and other affairs; as of Thales the Milesian, and of 
Anacharsis the Scythian. By no means is there any such thing. 
But if not in a public manner, is Homer said to have lived as 
a private tutor to any who delighted in his conversation, and 
have delivered down to posterity a certain Homeric manner of 
life? in like manner as Pythagoras was remarkably beloved on 
this account, and, even to this day, such as denominate them- 
selves from the Pythagorean manner of life appear to be some- 
how eminent beyond others. Neither is there, said he, any 
thing of this kind related of Homer. For Creophylus, Socrates, 
the companion of Homer, may probably appear more ridiculous 
still in his education, than in his name, if what is said of Homer 
be true. For it is said that he was greatly neglected when he 
lived under Homer's tuition. It is said indeed, replied I. But 
do you think, Glauco, that if Homer had been able to educate 
men, and to render them better, as being capable not only to 
imitate with respect to these things, but to understand them, 
would he not then have procured himself many companions, and 
have been honoured and beloved by them? But Protagoras 
the Abderite, and Prodicus the Chian, and many others, are 
able to persuade the men of their times, conversing with them 
privately, that they will neither be able to govern their family, 
nor yet their city, unless they themselves preside over their 
education ; and for this wisdom of theirs, they are so exceedingly 


beloved, that their companions almost carry them about on their 
heads. Would then the men of Homer's time have, left him or 
Hesiod to go about singing their songs, if he had been able 
to profit men in the way of virtue; and not rather have re- 
tained him with gold, and obliged him to stay with them? 
or, if they could not persuade him, would they not as scholars 
have followed him every where, till they had obtained sufficient 
education? You seem to me, said he, Socrates, to say what is 
in every respect true. Shall we not then establish this point, 
— That all the poetical men, beginning with Homer, are 
imitators, of the images of virtue, and of other things about 
which they compose, but that they do not attain to the truth: 
but as we just now said, a painter who himself knows nothing 
about the making of shoes, will draw a shoemaker, who shall 
appear to be real, in the eyes of such as are not intelligent, 
but who view according to the colour and figures? Entirely 
so. In the same manner, I think, we shall say that the poet 
colours over with his names and words certain colours of the 
several arts, whilst he understands nothing himself, but merely 
imitates, so as to others such as himself who view things in his 
compositions, he appears to have knowledge: and if he says 
any thing about shoemaking in measure, rhythm and harmony, 
he seems to speak perfectly well, and in like manner if of an 
expedition, or of any thing else : so great an inchantment have 
these things naturally, since you know, I think, in what manner 
poetical things appear when stript of musical colouring, and 
expressed apart by themselves, for you have somewhere beheld 
it I have, said he. Do they not, said I, resemble the faces 
of people who are in their prime, but who are not beautiful, 
such as they appear when their bloom forsakes them ? Entirely, 
said he. Come now, and consider this. The maker of the image, 
whom we call the imitator, knows nothing of real being, but only 
of that which is apparent. Is it not so ? Yes. Let us not then 
leave it expressed by halves, but let us sufficiently perceive it. 
Say on, replied he. A painter, we say, will paint reins, and a 
bridle. Yes. And the leather-cutter, and the smith, will make 
them. Certainly. Does then the painter understand what kind 
of reins and bridle there ought to be? or not even he who 
makes them, the smith, nor the leather-cutter, but he who 
knows how to use them, the horseman alone ? Most true. Shall 
we not say it is so in every thing else ? How ? That with 
reference to each particular thing, there are these three arts. 
That which is to use it, that Which is to make it, and that 
which is to imitate it. Yes. Are then the virtue, and the 
beauty, and the rectitude of every utensil, and animal, and action, 
for nothing else but for the use for which each particular was 
made, or generated? Just so. By a great necessity, then, he 

226 PLATO 

who used each particular must be the most skilful, and be able 
to tell the maker what he makes good or bad, with reference 
to the use for which he uses it : thus, for example, a player on 
the pipe tells the pipe-maker concerning pipes, what things are 
of service towards the playing on the pipe, and he will give 
orders how he ought to make them, but the workman does not 
so. How should it be otherwise ? Does not the one then, being 
intelligent, pronounce concerning good and bad pipes, and the 
other, believing him, make accordingly? Yes. With reference 
then to one and the same instrument, the maker shall have 
right opinion concerning its beauty or deformity, whilst he is 
conversant with one who is intelligent, and is obliged to hear 
from the intelligent ; but he who uses it shall have knowledge. 
Entirely so. But whether shall the imitator have knowledge 
from using the things he paints, whether they be handsome 
and right, or otherwise? or shall he have right opinion front 
his being necessarily conversant with the intelligent, and from 
being enjoined in what manner he ought to paint? Neither 
of the two. The imitator then shall have neither knowledge, 
nor right opinion about what he imitates with reference to 
beauty or deformity. It appears not. The imitator then would 
be delightfully wise in his imitation concerning what he paints. 
Not at all. But however he will imitate at least, without 
knowing concerning each particular in what respect it is ill or 
good; but it is likely that he will imitate such as appears to 
be beautiful to the multitude, and those who know nothing. 
What else? We have now, indeed, sufficiently, as it appears, 
at least, settled these things : That the imitator knows 
nothing worth mentioning in those things which he imitates, 
but that imitation is a sort of amusement, and not a serious 
affair. And likewise that those who apply to tragic poetry in 
iambics and heroics, are all imitators in the highest degree. 
Entirely so. Then, in heaven's name, said I, this of imitation 
is somehow in the third degree from the truth! Is it not? 
Yes. To what part then of man does it belong, having the 
power it possesses? What part do you speak of? Of such as 
this. The same magnitude perceived by sight, does not appear in 
the same manner, near, and at a distance. It does not. And the 
same things appear crooked and straight, when we look at them 
in water, and out of water, and concave and convex, through the 
error of the sight, as to colours. All this disturbance is manifest 
in the soul ; and this infirmity of our nature painting attacks, and 
leaves nothing of magical seduction unattempted, together with 
the wonder-working art, and many other such-like devices. True. 
And have not the arts of measuring, numbering, and weighing, 
appeared to me most ingenious helps in these things, that so the 
apparent greater or less, the apparent more or heavier, may not 


govern us, but the principle which has numbered, measured, and 
weighed ? How should it be otherwise ? But this again is, at 
least, the work of the rational part in the soul. It is so, indeed, 
But whilst reason often measures and declares some things to be 
greater or less than other things, or equal, the contrary appears 
at the same time with reference to these things. Yes. But did 
not we say that it was impossible for the same person to have 
contrary opinions about the same things at the same time ? And 
thus far we said rightly. That part of the soul, then, which 
judges contrary to the measure, would seem not to be the same 
with that which judges according to the measure. It would not. 
But surely, at least, that which trusts to measure and computation 
would seem to be the best part of the soul. Why not ? That 
then which opposes itself to this will be some one of the depraved 
parts of us. Of necessity. It was this then I wished should be 
agreed upon, when I said that painting, and in short imitation, 
being far from the truth, delights in its own work, conversing 
with that part in us which is far from wisdom, and is its companion 
and friend, to no sound nor genuine purpose. Entirely so, said 
he. Imitation then, being depraved in itself, and joining with that 
which is depraved, generates depraved things. It seems so. 
Whether, said I, is the case thus, with reference to the imitation 
which is by the sight only, or is it likewise so with reference to 
that by hearing, which we call poetry ? Likely as to this also, 
said he. But, said I, let us not trust to the likelihood suggested 
by painting, but proceed to the consideration of that part of the 
mind with which the imitation through poetry is conversant, and 
see whether it is depraved or worthy. It must be done. Let us 
proceed then thus: Poetic imitation, we say, imitates men who 
act either voluntarily or involuntarily ; and who from the result of 
their action, imagine that they have done~either well or ill, and 
in all these cases receive either pain or pleasure : Does it any 
more than this? No more. In all these, now, does the man 
agree with himself? or, as he disagreed with reference to sight, 
and had contrary opinions in himself of the same things at one 
and the same time, does he, in the same manner, disagree likewise 
in his actions, and fight with himself? But I recollect that there 
is no occasion for us to settle this at least ; for, in our reasonings 
above, we sufficiently determined all these things, that our soul 
is full of a thousand such contrarieties existing in it. Right, said 
he. Right indeed, said I; but it appears to me necessary to 
discuss now, what was then omitted. As what? said he. We 
said somewhere formerly, said I, that a good man, when he meets 
with such a fortune as the loss of a son, or of any thing else which 
he values the most, will bear it of all men the easiest. Certainly. 
But let us now consider this further, — whether will he not grieve 
at all, or is this indeed impossible, but he will, however, moderate 

228 PLATO 

his grief? The truth, said he, is rather this last. But 
this now concerning him, whether do you think that ] 
struggle more with grief and oppose it, when he is obser 
his equals, or when he is in solitude, alone by himself? 
more, said he, when he is observed. But when alone, J 
venture, I think, to utter many things, which, if any one 
him, he would be ashamed of, and he will do many things 
he would not wish any one saw him doing. It is so, said h 
it not then reason and law which command him to restra 
grief, — but what drags him to grief is the passion itself? 
As then there is in the man an opposite conduct, 'with regi 
the same thing, at one and the same time, we must neces 
say that he has two conductors. What else ? And shall w 
say that one of them is ready to obey the law where law 
him? How? Law in a manner says that it is best in 
fortunes to have the greatest tranquillity possible, and not to 
them ill ; since the good and evil of such things as these is 
manifest, and since no advantage follows the bearing these th 
ill ; and as nothing of human affairs is worthy of great conc< 
and, besides, their grief proves a hinderance to that in them wl 
we ought to have most at hand. What is it, said he, 
speak of? To deliberate, said I, on the event; and, as 01 
throw of the dice, to regulate his affairs according to wj 
casts up, in whatever way reason shall declare to be best: a 
not as children when they fall, to He still, and waste the th 
in crying; but always to accustom the soul to apply in t 
speediest manner to heal and rectify what was fallen and sic 
dismissing lamentation. One would thus, said he, behave in ti 
best manner in every condition. And did not we say that tl 
best part is willing to follow this which is rational ? It is plai 
And shall not we say that the part which leads to the remembranc 
of the affliction, and to wailings, and is insatiably given to thes< 
is irrational and idle, and a friend to cowardice ? We shall sa 
so truly. Is not then the grieving part that which admits a 
much and of various imitation ? But the prudent and tranquil part 
which is always uniform with itself, is neither easily imitated, nor, 
when imitated, easily understood, especially by a popular assembly, 
where all sorts of men are assembled together in a theatre. For 
it is the imitation of a disposition which is foreign to them. 
Entirely so. It is plain, then, that the imitative poet is not made 
for such a part of the soul as this. Nor is his skill fitted to please 
it, if he means to gain the applause of the multitude. But he 
applies to the passionate and the multiform part, as it is easily 
imitated. It is plain. May we not then, with justice, lay hold 
of the imitative poet, and place him as correspondent to the 
painter ? for he resembles him, both because, as to truth, he 
effects but depraved things, and in this too he resembles him, io 


being conversant with a different part of the soul from that which 
is best. And thus we may, with justice, not admit him into our 
city which is to be well regulated, because he excites and 
nourishes this part of the soul, and, strengthening it, destroys the 
rational. And as he who in a city makes the wicked powerful, 
betrays the city, and destroys the best men, in the same manner 
we shall say that the imitative poet establishes a bad republic in 
the soul of each individual, gratifying the foolish part of it, which 
neither discerns what is great, nor what is little, but deems the 
same things sometimes great, and sometimes small, forming little 
images in its own imagination, altogether remote from the truth. 
Entirely so. But we have not however as yet brought the greatest 
accusation against it : for that is, somehow, a very dreadful one, 
that it is able to corrupt even the good, if it be not a very few 
excepted. How should it not, since it acts in this manner ? But 
hear now, and consider ; for somehow, the best of us, when we 
hear Homer, or any of the tragic writers, imitating some of the 
heroes when in grief, pouring forth long speeches in their sorrow, 
bewailing and beating their breasts, you know we are delighted ; 
and, yielding ourselves, we follow along, and, sympathizing with 
them, seriously commend him as an able poet whoever most affects 
us in this manner. I know it. But when any domestic grief 
befalls any of us, you perceive, on the other hand, that we value 
ourselves on the opposite behaviour, if we can be quiet, and 
endure, this being the part of a man, but that of a woman, which 
in the other case we commended. I perceive it, said he. Is this 
commendation then, said I, a handsome one, when we see such 
a man as one would not deign to be oneself, but would be ashamed 
of, not to abominate but to delight in him, and commend him ? No, 
by heaven, said he; it appears unreasonable. Certainly, said I, 
if you consider it, in this manner. How ? If you consider that 
the part of us, which in our private misfortunes is forcibly restrained, 
and is kept from weeping and bewailing to the full, being by 
nature of such a kind as is desirous of these, is the very part which 
is by the poets filled and gratified : but that part in us, which is 
naturally the best, being not sufficiently instructed, either by 
reason or habit, grows remiss in its guardianship over the bewail- 
ing part, by attending to the sufferings of others, and deems it no 
way disgraceful to itself, to commend and pity one who grieves 
immoderately, whilst he professes to be a good man. But this it 
thinks it gains, even pleasure, which it would not choose to be 
deprived of, by despising the whole of the poem. For, I think, 
it falls to the share of few to be able to consider, that what we 
feel with respect to the fortunes of others, must necessarily be 
felt with respect to our own. Since it is not easy for a man to 
bear up under his own misfortunes, who strongly cherishes the 
bewailing disposition over those of others. Most true, said he. 

230 PLATO 

And is not the reasoning the same with reference to the ridi< 
For when you hear, in imitation by comedy, or in private co 
tion, what you would be ashamed to do yourself to excite lai 
and are delighted with it, and imitate it, you do the sam< 
here as in the tragic : for that part, which, when it wan 
excite laughter, was formerly restrained by reason from 
of incurring the character of scurrility, by now letting' loos 
allowing there to grow vigorous, you are often imperce 
brought to be in your own behaviour a buffoon. Extreme 
said he. And the case is the same as to venereal pleasure; 
anger, and the whole of the passions, as well the sorrowful a 
joyful, which truly, we have said, attend us in every action ; tha 
poetical imitation of these has the same effect upon us ; f 
nourishes and waters those things which ought to be pare 
and constitutes as our governor, those which ought to 
governed, in order to our becoming better and happier, ins 
of being worse and more miserable. 1 can say no ether? 
said he. When therefore, Glauco, said I, you meet with 
encomiasts of Homer, who tell how this poet instructed Gre< 
and that he deserves to be taken as a master to teach a r 
both the management and the knowledge of human affairs, t 
that a man should regulate the whole of his life according 
this poet, we should indeed love and embrace such people, 
being the best they are able ; and agree with them that Hon: 
is most poetical, and the first of tragic writers : but they mi 
know, that hymns to the Gods, and the praises of wort] 
actions, are alone to be admitted into the city. But if 
should admit the pleasurable muse likewise, in songs, or verse 
you would have pleasure and pain reigning in the city, instea 
of law, and that reason which always appears best to the com 
munity. Most true, said he. Let these things now, said I, b 
our apology, when we recollect what we have said with reference 
to poetry, that we then very properly dismissed it from om 
republic, since it is such as is now described : for reason obliged 
us. And let us tell it further, lest it accuse us of a certain 
roughness, and rusticity, that there is an antient variance 
between philosophy and poetry ; for such verses as these, 


That bawling bitch, which at his master barks, 
He's great in empty eloquence of fools, 
The mob of heads too wise, 
On trifles still they plod, because they're poor; 

and a thousand such like, are marks of an antient opposition 
between them. But nevertheless let it be said, that if any 


one can assign a reason why the poetry and the imitation which 
are calculated for pleasure ought to be in a well regulated city, 
we, for our part, shall gladly admit them, as we are at least conscious 
to ourselves that we are charmed by them. But to betray what 
appears to be truth, were an unholy thing. For are not you 
yourself, my friend, charmed by this imitation, and most 
especially when you see it performed by Homer? Very much 
so. Is it not just, then, that we introduce it defending itself, 
either in song, or in any other measure? By all means. And 
we may at least grant, somehow, even to its defenders, such as 
are not poets, but lovers of poetry, to speak in its behalf, without 
verse, and show that it is not only pleasant, but profitable for 
republics, and for human life ; and we shall hear with pleasure, 
for we shall gain somewhat if it shall appear not only pleasant 
but also profitable. How is it possible we should not gain? 
said he. And if it happen otherwise, my friend, we shall do 
as those who have been in love when they deem their love un- 
profitable, — they desist, though with violence: so we in like 
manner, through this unborn love of such poetry that prevails 
in our best republics, shall be well pleased to see it appear to 
be the best and truest: and we shall hear it till it is able to 
make no further defence. But we shall take along with us 
this discourse which we have held, as a counter-charm, and 
incantation, being afraid to fall back again into a childish and 
vulgar love. We shall listen then convinced that we are not 
to be much in earnest about such poetry as this, as if it were a 
serious affair, and approached to the truth; but the hearer is 
to beware of it, and to be afraid for the republic within himself, 
and to entertain those opinions of poetry which we mentioned. 
I entirely agree, said he. For great, friend Glauco, said I, 
mighty is the contest, and not such as it appears, to become a 
good or a bad man: so as not to be moved, either through 
honour, or riches, or any magistracy, or poetic imitation, ever 
to neglect justice, and the other virtues. I agree with you, 
from what we have discussed, and so I think will any other. 

But we have not yet, said I, discussed the greatest prize of 
virtue, and the rewards laid up for her. You speak of some 
prodigious greatness, said he, if there be other greater than 
those mentioned. But what is there, said I, can be great in a 
little time? for all this period from infancy to old age is but 
little in respect of the whole. Nothing at all indeed, said he. 
What then? Do you think an immortal being ought to be 
much concerned about such a period, and not about the whole 
of time ? I think, said he, about the whole. But why do you 
mention this? Have you not perceived, said I, that our soul is 
immortal, and never perishes ? On which he, looking at me, and 
wondering, said, By heaven, not I indeed. But are you able to 

232 PLATO 

show this? I should otherwise act unjustly, said I. And I 
think you yourself can show it, for it is in no respect difficult. 
To me at least, said he, it is difficult ; but I would willingly hear 
from you this which is not difficult. You shall hear then, said I. 
Only speak, replied he. Is there not something, said I, which you 
call good, and something which you call evil ? I own it. Do you 
then conceive of them in the same manner as I do ? How ? 
That which destroys and corrupts every thing is the evil, and 
what preserves and profits it is the good. I do, said he. But 
what ? Do you not say, there is something which is good, and 
something which is bad, to each particular ? as blindness to the 
eyes, and disease to every animal body, blasting to corn, rotten* 
ness to wood, rust to brass and iron, and, as I am saying, almost 
every thing has its connate evil, and disease ? I think so, replied 
he. And when any thing of this kind befalls any thing, 
does it not render that which it befalls corrupt, and in the 
end dissolves and destroys it? How should it not? Its. own 
connate evil then and corruption destroys each particular ; or, if 
this does not destroy it, nothing else can ever destroy it. For 
that which is good can never destroy any thing, nor yet that 
which is neither good nor evil. How can they ? said he. If then 
we shall be able to find, among beings, any one which has indeed 
some evil which renders it corrupt, but is not however able to 
dissolve and destroy it, shall we not then know that a being thus 
constituted cannot be destroyed at all ? So, replied he, it appears. 
What then ? said I. Is there not something which renders the 
soul evil ? Certainly, replied he ; all these things which we have 
now mentioned, injustice, intemperance, cowardice, ignorance. 
But does then any of these dissolve and destroy it ? And attend 
now, that we may not be imposed on, in thinking that an unjust 
and foolish man, when he is detected acting unjustly, is then 
destroyed through his injustice, which is the corruption of his 
soul : but consider it thus. As disease, which is the corruption of 
animal body, dissolves and destroys body, and reduces it to be no 
longer that body; so all those things we mentioned, being 
destroyed by their own proper evil adhering to them and possessing 
them, are reduced to a non-existence. Is it not so? Yes. 
Consider now the soul in the same manner. Does injustice, or 
other vice, possessing it, by possessing, and adhering to it, corrupt 
and deface it, till, bringing it to death, it separates it from the 
body ? By no means, said he. But it were absurd, said I, that 
any thing should be destroyed by the corruption of another, but 
not by its own. Absurd. For consider, Glauco, said I, that 
neither by the corruption of victuals, whether it be their mouldi- 
ness, or rottenness, or whatever else, do we imagine our body 
can be destroyed; but if this corruption in them create 
in the body a depravity of the body, we will say that, through 

^: i 


their means, the body is destroyed by its own evil, which is 
disease. But we will never allow that by the corruption of food, 
which is one thing, the body, which is another thing, can ever by 
this foreign evil, without creating in it its own peculiar evil, be at 
any time destroyed. You say most right, replied he. According 
to the same reasoning, then, said I, unless the corruption of the 
body create a corruption of the soul, let us never allow that the 
soul can be destroyed by an evil which is foreign, without its own 
peculiar evil, one thing by the evil of another. There is reason 
for it, said he. Let us then either refuse these things as not good 
reasoning ; or, so long as they are unrefuted, let us at no time say, 
that the soul shall be ever in any degree the more destroyed, 
either by burning fever, or by any other disease, or by slaughter, 
not even though a man should cut the whole body into 
the smallest parts possible, till some one show that, through 
these sufferings of the body, the soul herself becomes 
more unjust and unholy. But we will never allow it to be 
said, that when a foreign evil befalls any thing, whilst its 
own proper evil is not within it, either the soul or any thing else 
is destroyed. But this at least, said he, no one can ever show, 
that the souls of those who die are by death rendered more unjust. 
But if any one, replied I, shall dare to contend with us in reasoning ; 
and, in order that he may not be obliged to own that souls are 
immortal, should say, that when a man dies he becomes more 
wicked and unjust, we shall somehow justly demand of him to 
show, if he says true in telling us this, that injustice is deadly to 
the possessor, as a disease; and that those who embrace it are 
destroyed by it as by a disease destructive in its own nature — 
those most speedily who embrace it most, and those more slowly 
who embrace it less. And not as at present, where the unjust die 
having this punishment inflicted on them by others. By heaven, 
said he, injustice would not appear perfectly dreadful, if it were 
deadly to him who practises it (for that were a deliverance from 
evil) ; but I rather think it will appear to be altogether the reverse, 
destroying others as far as it can, but rendering the unjust 
extremely alive, and, in conjunction with being alive, wakeful 
likewise; so far, as it seems, does it dwell from being deadly. 
You say well, replied I ; for, when a man's own wickedness and 
peculiar evil is insufficient to kill and destroy the soul, hardly can 
that evil, which aims at the destruction of another, destroy a soul, 
or any thing else but what it is aimed against. Hardly indeed, 
said he, as appears to me at least. Since therefore it is destroyed 
by no one evil, neither peculiar nor foreign, is it not plain that, 
of necessity, it always is ? and, if it always is, it is immortal ? Of 
necessity, replied he. 

Let this then, said I, be fixed in this manner. And if it be, 
you will perceive that the same souls will always remain, for their 

234 PLATO 

number will never become less, none being destroyed, nor will i 
become greater; for if, anyhow, the number of immortals wa 
made greater, you know it would take from the mortal, and ii 
the end all would be immortal. You say true. But let vl 
not, said I, think that this will be the case, (for reason will no 
allow of it) nor yet that the soul in its truest nature is of sucl 
a kind as to be full of much variety, dissimilitude, and difference 
How do you say? replied he. That cannot easily, said I, be 
eternal which is compounded of many things, and which has 
not the most beautiful composition, as hath now appeared to us to 
be the case with reference to the soul It is not likely. That 
the soul then is something immortal, both our present reasonings, 
and others too, may oblige us to own : but in order to know what 
kind of being the soul is, in truth, one ought not to contemplate 
it as it is damaged both by its conjunction with the body, and 
by other evils, as we now behold it, but such as it is when 
become pure, such it must by reasoning be fully contemplated ; 
and he (who does this) will find it far more beautiful at least, 
and will more plainly see through justice, and injustice, and 
every thing which we have now discussed. But now we have 
told the truth concerning it, such as it appears at present. We 
have seen it, indeed, in the same condition in which they see 
the marine Glaucus, where they cannot easily perceive his 
antient nature, because the antient members of his body are 
partly broken off, and others are worn away; and he is 
altogether damaged by the waves : and, besides this, other things 
are grown to him, such as shell fish, sea weed, and stones: so 
that he in every respect resembles a beast, rather than what 
he naturally was. In such a condition do we behold the soul 
under a thousand evils. But this is where we ought, Glauco, 
to behold it. Where? said he. In its love for wisdom; and 
to observe to what it applies, and what intimacies it affects, 
as being allied to that which is divine, immortal, and eternal; 
and what it would become, if it pursued wholly a thing of 
this kind, and were by this pursuit brought out of that sea 
in which it now is, and had the stones and shell fish shaken i 
off from it, which, at present, as it is fed on earth, render its 
nature, in a great measure, earthy, stony, and savage, through 
those aliments, which are said to procure felicity. And then might 
one behold its true nature, whether multiform, or uniform, and every 
thing concerning it. But we have, I think, sufficiently discussed 
its passions, and forms in human life. Entirely so, replied he. 

Have we not now, said I, discussed every thing else in 
our reasonings, though we have not produced those rewards 
and honours of justice (as you say Hesiod and Homer do)? but 
we find justice itself to be the best reward to the soul; and 
that it ought to do what is just, whether it have or have not 


Gyges' ring, and, together with such a ring, the helmet likewise 
of Pluto. You say most true, said he. Will it not now then, 
Glauco, said I, he attended with no envy, if, besides these, we 
add those rewards to justice and the other virtues, which are 
bestowed on the soul by men and Gods, both whilst the man is 
alive, and after he is dead? By all means, said he. Will you 
then restore me what you borrowed in the reasoning? What, 
chiefly? I granted you, that the just man should be deemed 
unjust, and the unjust be deemed to be just. For you were of 
opinion, that though it were not possible that these things should 
be concealed from Gods and men, it should however be granted, 
for the sake of the argument, that justice in itself might be 
compared with injustice in itself; or do you not remember it? 
I should, indeed, be unjust, said he, if I did not. Now after 
the judgment is over, I demand again, in behalf of justice, 
that as you allow it to be indeed esteemed both by Gods and 
men, you likewise allow it to have the same good reputation, 
that it may also receive those prizes of victory, which it acquires 
from the reputation of justice, and bestows on those who possess 
it; since it has already appeared to bestow those good things 
which arise from really being just, and that it does not deceive 
those who truly embrace it. You demand what is just, said 
he. Will you not then, said I, in the first place, restore me 
this? That it is not concealed from the Gods, what kind of 
man each of the two is. We will grant it, said he. And if 
they be not concealed, one of them will be beloved of the 
Gods, and one of them hated, as we agreed in the beginning. 
We did so. And shall we not agree, that as to the man who 
is beloved of the Gods, whatever comes to him from the Gods 
will all be the best possible, unless he has some necessary ill 
from former miscarriage. Entirely so. We are then to think 
in this manner of the just man, That if he happen to be in 
poverty, or in diseases, or in any other of those seeming evils, 
these things to him issue in something good, either whilst 
alive, or dead. For never at any time is he neglected by the 
Gods who inclines earnestly to endeavour to become just, and 
practises virtue as far as it is possible for man to resemble 
God. It is reasonable, replied he, that such an one should not 
be neglected by him whom he resembles. And are we not to 
think the reverse of these things concerning the unjust man? 
Entirely. Such, then, would seem to be the prizes which the 
just man receives from the Gods. Such they are indeed in my 
opinion, said he. But what, said I, do they receive from men ? 
Is not the case thus? (if we are to suppose the truth) Do not 
cunning and unjust men do the same thing as those racers, 
who run well at the beginning, but not so at the end? for at 
the first they briskly leap forward, but in the end they become 

236 PLATO 

ridiculous, and, with their ears on their neck, they run off 
without any reward. But such as are true racers, arriving at 
the end, both receive the prises, and are crowned. Does it 
not happen thus for the most part as to just men? that at the 
end of every action and intercourse of life they are both held 
in esteem, and receive rewards from men. Entirely so. You 
will then suffer me to say of these what you yourself said of 
the unjust. For I will aver now, that the just, when they are 
grown up, shall arrive at power if they desire magistracies, they 
shall marry where they incline, and shall settle their children 
in marriage agreeably to their wishes; and every thing else 
you mentioned concerning the others, I now say concerning 
these. And on the other hand I will say of the unjust, that 
the most of them, though they may be concealed whilst they 
are young, yet being caught at the end of the race, are ridiculous, 
and, when they become old, are ridiculed, and in their wretched- 
ness shall be despitefully entreated both by foreigners and 
citizens, and they shall afterwards be tortured, and burnt; 
which you said were cruel things, and you spoke the truth. 
Imagine you hear from me that they suffer all these things. 
But see if you will admit of what I say. Entirely, said he, for 
you say what is just. 

Such as these now, said I, are the prizes, the rewards and 
gifts, which a just man receives in his life-time, both from 
Gods and men; besides those good things which justice con- 
tains in itself. And they are extremely beautiful, said he, and 
likewise permanent. But these now, said I, are nothing in 
number or magnitude, when compared with those which await 
each of the two at death. And these things must likewise be 
heard, that each of them may completely have what is their 
due in the reasoning. You may say on, replied he, not as to 
a hearer who has heard much, but as to one who hears with 
pleasure. But, however, I will not, said I, tell you the apologue 
of Alcinous ; but that, indeed, of a brave man, Er the son of 
Armenius, by descent a Pamphylian ; who happening on a time 
to die in battle, when the dead were on the tenth day carried 
off, already corrupted, he was taken up sound; and being 
carried home, as he was about to be buried on the twelfth 
day, when laid on the funeral pile, he revived ; and being revived, 
he told what he saw in the other state, and said : That after his 
soul left the body, it went with many others, and that they 
came to a certain demoniacal place not of this world, where there 
were two chasms in the earth, near to each other, and two other 
openings in the heavens opposite to them, and that the judges sat 
between these. That when they gave judgment, they commanded 
the just to go to the right hand, and upwards through the heaven, 
fixing before them accounts of the judgment pronounced; but 


the unjust they commanded to the left, and downwards, and these 
likewise had behind them accounts of all they had done. But on 
his coming before the judges, they said, it behoved him to be a 
messenger to men concerning things there, and they commanded 
him to hear, and to contemplate every thing in the place. And 
that he saw here, through two openings, one of the heaven, and 
Qne of the earth, the souls departing, after they were there 
judged; and through the other two openings he saw, rising 
through the one out of the earth, souls full of squalidness and 
dust ; and through the other, he saw other souls descending pure 
from heaven ; and that always on their arrival they seemed as if 
they came from a long journey, and that they gladly went to rest 
themselves in the meadow, as in a public assembly, and saluted 
one another, such as were acquainted, and that those who rose out 
of the earth asked the others concerning the things above, and 
those from heaven asked them concerning the things below, and 
that they told one another: those wailing and weeping whilst 
they called to mind, what and how many things they suffered and 
saw in their journey under the earth ; (for it was a journey of a 
thousand years) and that these again from heaven explained their 
enjoyments, and spectacles of immense beauty. To narrate many 
of them, Glauco, would take much time; but this, he said, was 
the sum, that whatever unjust actions any had committed, and 
how many soever any one had injured, they were punished for all 
these separately tenfold, and that it was in each, according to the 
rate of an hundred years, the life of man being considered as so 
long, that they might suffer tenfold punishment for the injustice 
they had done. So that if any had been the cause of many 
deaths, either by betraying cities or armies, or bringing men into 
slavery, or being confederates in any other wickedness, for each 
of all these they reaped tenfold sufferings ; and if, again, they had 
benefited any by good deeds, and had been just and holy, they 
were rewarded according to their deserts. Of those who died 
very young, and lived but a little time, he told what was not worth 
relating in respect of other things. But of impiety and piety 
towards the Gods and parents, and of homicide, he told the 
more remarkable retributions. For he said he was present when 
one was asked by another, where the great Aridsus was ? This 
Aridaeus had been tyrant in a certain city of Pamphylia, a thousand 
years before that time, and had killed his aged father, and his 
elder brother, and had done many other unhallowed deeds, as it 
was reported : and he said, the one who was asked, replied : He 
neither comes, said he, nor ever will come hither. For we then 
surely saw this likewise among other dreadful spectacles : When 
we were near the mouth of the opening, and were about to ascend 
after having suffered every thing else, we beheld both him on a 
sudden, and others likewise, most of whom were tyrants, and some 

238 PLATO 

private persons who had committed great iniquity, whom, wh< 
they imagined they were to ascend, the mouth of the openii 
did not admit, but bellowed when any of those who were 
polluted with wickedness, or who had not been sufficient 
punished, attempted to ascend. And then, said he, fierce me: 
and fiery to the view, standing by, and understanding tfc 
bellowing, took them and led them apart, Aridaeus and th 
rest, binding their hands and their feet, and, thrusting dow 
their head, and pulling off their skin, dragged them to an oute 
road, tearing them on thorns; declaring always to those wh« 
' passed by, on what accounts they suffered these things, and tha 
they were carrying them to be thrown into Tartarus. And hence 
he said, that amidst all their various terrors, this terror surpassed 
lest the mouth should bellow, and that when it was silent everj 
one most gladly ascended. And that the punishments and 
torments were such as these, and their rewards were the reverse 
of these. He also added, that every one, after they had been 
seven days in the meadow, arising thence, it was requisite for 
them to depart on the eighth day, and arrive at another place on 
the fourth day after, whence they perceived from above through 
the whole heaven and earth, a light extended as a pillar, mostly 
resembling the rainbow, but more splendid and pure; at which 
they arrived in one day's journey; and thence they perceived, 
through the middle of the light from heaven, the extremities of 
its ligatures extended ; as this light was the belt of heaven, like 
the undergirdings of warships keeping the whole circumference 
united. That from the extremities the spindle of necessity is 
extended, by which all the revolutions were turned round, whose 
shaft and point were both of adamant, but its whirl mixed 
of this and of other things ; and that the nature of the whirl was 
of such a kind, as to its figure, as is any one we see here. But 
you must conceive it, from what he said, to be of such a kind as 
this: as if in some great whirl, hollow and scooped out, there 
was such another, but lesser, within it, adapted to it, like casks 
fitted one within another ; and in the same manner a third, and 
a fourth, and four others, for that the whirls were eight in all, 
as circles one within another, having their lips appearing upwards, 
and forming round the spindle one united convexity of one whirl ; 
that the shaft was driven through the middle of the eight ; and that 
the first and outmost whirl had the widest circumference in the lip, 
that the sixth had the second wide, and that of the fourth is the 
third wide, and the fourth wide that of the eighth, and the fifth 
wide that of the seventh, the sixth wide that of the fifth, and the 
seventh wide that of the third, and the eighth wide that of the 
second. Likewise that the circle of the largest is variegated, that 
of the seventh is the brightest, and that of the eighth hath its 
colour from the shining of the seventh ; that of the second and fifth 


resemble each other, but are more yellow than the rest. But the 
third hath the whitest colour, the fourth is reddish ; the second 
in whiteness surpasses the sixth; and that the shaft must turn 
round in a circle with the whole it carries ; and whilst the whole 
is turning round, the seven inner circles are gently turned round 
in a contrary motion to the whole. Again, that of these, the 
eighth moves the swiftest; and next to it, and equal to one 
another, the seventh, the sixth, and the fifth; and that the 
fourth went in a motion which as appeared to them completed 
its circle in the third degree of swiftness; the fourth in 
swiftness was the third, and the fifth was the second. And the 
spindle was turned round on the knees of Necessity. And that 
on each of its circles there was seated a Siren on the upper side, 
carried round, and uttering one voice variegated by diverse 
modulations. But that the whole of them, being eight, composed 
one harmony. That there were other three sitting round at equal 
distance one from another, each on a throne, the daughters of 
Necessity, the Fates, in white vestments, and having crowns on 
their heads; Lachesis, and Gotho, and Atropos, singing to the 
harmony of the Sirens; Lachesis singing the past, Clotho the 
present, and Atropos the future. And that Clotho, at certain 
intervals, with her right hand laid hold of the spindle, and along 
with her mother turned about the outer circle. And Atropos, in 
like manner, turned the inner ones with her left hand. And that 
Lachesis touched both of these, severally, with either hand. 
After they arrived here, it was necessary for them to go directly 
to Lachesis. That then a certain prophet first of all ranged them 
in order, and afterwards taking the lots, and the models of lives, 
from the knees of Lachesis, and ascending a lofty tribunal, he 
says: — The speech of the virgin Lachesis, the daughter of 
Necessity : Souls of a day 1 The beginning of another period of 
men of mortal race. Fortune shall not receive you as his lot, but 
you shall choose your fortune : He who draws the first, let him 
first make choice of a life, to which he must of necessity adhere : 
Virtue is independent, which every one shall partake of, more or 
less, according as he honours or dishonours her : the responsibility 
is in him who makes the choice, and God is blameless. That 
when he had said these things, he threw on all of them the lots, 
and that each took up the one which fell beside him, save himself, 
to whom it was not allowed to take one. And that each when he 
had taken it, saw what number he had drawn. That after this 
he placed on the ground before them the models of lives, many 
more than those we see at present. And that they were all-various. 
For there were lives of all sorts of animals, and human lives of 
every kind. And that among these there were tyrannies also, some 
of them perpetual, and others destroyed in the midst of their 
greatness. There were also lives of famous men, renowned 

240 PLATO 

either for beauty of person and feature, for bodily strength and 
skill in games, or else for high birth and the merits of ancestors ; 
and in the same way there were lives of undistinguished men, 
and likewise lives of celebrated and uncelebrated women. But 
no settled character of soul was included in them, because with 
the change of life, the soul inevitably becomes changed itself 
But in every other respect the materials were very variously 
combined, — wealth appearing here, and poverty there; disease 
here, and health there; and here again a mean between these 
extremes. This, my dear Glaucon, is apparently the moment 
when everything is at stake with a man; and for this reason, 
above all others, it is the duty of each of us diligently to in- 
vestigate and study, to the neglect of every other subject, that 
science which may haply enable a man to learn and discover, 
who will render him so instructed as to be able to discriminate 
between a good and an evil life, and according to his means to 
choose, always and everywhere, that better life, by carefully 
calculating the influence which the things just mentioned, in 
combination or in separation, have upon real excellence of life ; 
and who will teach him to understand what evil or good is 
wrought by beauty tempered with poverty or wealth, and how 
the result is affected by the state of soul which enters into the 
combination ; and what is the consequence of blending together 
such ingredients as high or humble birth, private or public life, 
bodily strength or weakness, readiness or slowness of appre- 
hension, and everything else of the kind, whether naturally 
belonging to the soul or accidentally acquired by it; — so as to 
be able to form a judgment from all these data combined, and, 
with an eye steadily fixed on the nature of the soul, to choose 
between the good and the evil life, giving the name of evil to 
the life which will draw the soul into becoming more unjust, 
and the name of good to the life which will lead it to become 
more just, and bidding farewell to every other consideration. 
For we have seen that in life and in death it is best to choose 
thus. With iron resolution must he hold fast this opinion when 
he enters the future world, in order that, there as well as here, 
he may escape being dazzled by wealth and similar evils; and 
may not plunge into usurpations or other corresponding courses 
of action, to the inevitable detriment of others, and to his own 
still heavier affliction; but may know how to select that life 
which always steers a middle course between such extremes, 
and to shun excess on either side to the best of his power, not 
only in this life, but also in that which is to come. For, by 
acting thus, he is sure to become a most happy man. 

To return; the messenger from the other world reported 
that on the same occasion the Interpreter spoke to this effect : 
"Even the last comer, if he chooses with discretion and lives 


strenuously, will find in store for him a life that is anything 
but bad, with which he may well be content. Let not the first 
choose carelessly, or the last despond." As soon as he had said 
these words, the one who had drawn the first lot advanced, 
and chose the most absolute despotism he could find; but so 
thoughtless was he, and greedy, that he had not carefully 
examined every point before making his choice ; so that he 
failed to remark that he was fated therein, amongst other 
calamities, to devour his own children. Therefore, when he 
had studied it at his leisure, he began to beat his breast and 
bewail his choice; and, disregarding the previous admonitions 
of the Interpreter, he laid the blame of his misfortune not 
upon himself, but upon Fortune and Destiny, and upon any- 
body sooner than himself. He was one of those who had 
come from heaven, and had lived during his former life under 
a well-ordered constitution, and hence a measure of virtue had 
fallen to his share through the influence of habit, unaided by 
philosophy. Indeed, according to Er's account, more than 
half the persons similarly deluded, had come from heaven; 
which is to be explained by the fact of their never having felt 
the discipline of trouble. For the majority of those who came 
from the earth did not make their choice in this careless manner, 
because they had known affliction themselves, and had seen it 
in others. On this account, and also through the chances of 
the lot, most of the souls exchanged an evil destiny for a good, 
or a good destiny for an evil. But if a man were always to 
study wisdom soundly, whenever he entered upon his career on 
earth, and if it fell to his lot to choose anywhere but among 
the very last, there is every probability, to judge by the account 
brought from the other world, that he would not only be happy 
while on earth, but also that he would travel from this world to 
the other and back again, not along a rough and subterranean, 
but along a smooth and heavenly road. It was a truly wonder- 
ful sight, he said, to watch how each soul selected its life, — a 
sight, at once melancholy, and ludicrous, and strange. The 
experience of their former life generally guided the choice. 
Thus he saw the soul, which had once been that of Orpheus, 
choosing the life of a swan, because from having been put to 
death by women, he detested the whole race so much, that he 
would not consent to be conceived and born of a woman. 
And he saw the soul of Thamyras choosing the life of a 
nightingale. He saw also a swan changing its nature, and 
selecting the life of a man ; and its example was followed by 
other musical animals. The soul that drew the twentieth lot 
chose a lion's life. It was the soul of Ajax the son of Telamon, 
who shrunk from becoming a man, because he recollected the 
decision respecting the arms of Achilles. He was followed by 

242 PLATO 

the soul of Agamemnon, who had been also taught by his 
sufferings to hate mankind so bitterly, that he adopted in 
exchange an eagle's life. The soul of Atalanta, which had 
drawn one of the middle lots, beholding the great honours at- 
tached to the life of an athlete, could not resist the temptation to 
take it up. Then he saw the soul of Epeus the son of Panopeus, 
assuming the nature of a skilful work-woman. And in the 
distance, among the last, he saw the soul of the buffoon 
Thersites putting on the exterior of an ape. It so happened 
that the soul of Odysseus had drawn the last lot of all. When 
he came up to choose, the memory of his former sufferings had 
so abated his ambition, that he went about a long time look- 
ing for a quiet retired life, which with great trouble he dis- 
covered lying about, and thrown contemptuously aside by 
the others. As soon as he saw it, he chose it gladly, and said 
that he would have done the same, if he had even drawn the 
first lot. In like manner some of the other animals passed into 
men, and into one another, — the unjust passing into the wild, 
and the just into the tame: and every kind of mixture 

Now, when all the souls had chosen their lives in the order 
of the lots, they advanced in their turn to Lachesis, who dis- 
patched with each of them the Destiny he had selected, to 
guard his life and satisfy his choice. This Destiny first led 
the soul to Clotho in such a way as to pass beneath her hand 
and the whirling motion of the distaff, and thus ratified the 
fete which each had chosen in the order of precedence. After 
touching her, the same Destiny led the soul next to the spin- 
ning of Atropos, and thus rendered the doom of Clotho irre- 
versible. From thence the souls passed straightforward under 
the throne of Necessity. When the rest had passed through 
it, Er himself also passed through ; and they all travelled into 
the plain of Forgetfulness, through dreadful suffocating heat, 
the ground being destitute of trees and of all vegetation. As 
the evening came on, they took up their quarters by the bank 
of the river of Indifference, whose water cannot be held in any 
vessel. All persons are compelled to drink a certain quantity 
of the water; but those who are not preserved by prudence 
drink more than the quantity: and each, as he drinks, forgets 
everything. When they had gone to rest, and it was now 
midnight, there was a clap of thunder and an earthquake ; and 
in a moment the souls were carried up to their birth, this way 
and that, like shooting stars. Er himself was prevented from 
drinking any of the water; but how, and by what road, he 
reached his body, he knew not : only he knew that he suddenly 
opened his eyes at dawn, and found himself laid out upon the 


And thus, Glaucon, the tale was preserved, and did not 
perish; and it may also preserve us, if we will listen to its 
"warnings; in which case we shall pass prosperously across 
the river of Lethe, and not defile our souls. Indeed, if we 
follow my advice, believing the soul to be immortal, and to 
possess the power of entertaining all evil, as well as all good, 
ve shall ever hold fast the upward road, and devotedly cultivate 
justice combined with wisdom; in order that we may be loved 
by one another and by the gods, not only during our stay on 
earth, but also when, like conquerors in the games collecting 
the presents of their admirers, we receive the prizes of virtue ; 
and, in order that both in this life and during the journey of 
a thousand years which we have described, we may never cease 
to prosper. 


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ney i 






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