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THE Politeia the Commonwealth, or, as it is usually translated, 
the Republic of Plato is the crowning achievement of Plato's 
art and philosophy. This first human attempt at the intellectual 
creation of an ideal state stands, according to one enthusiastic 
commentator, on the same level in the world of speculation as 
the Agamemnon or the Parthenon in the world of Art. " The 
whole state is an imitation of the best and noblest life," runs 
a passage in the Laws; and it may be that in expound- 
ing his theory of the best state Plato was only expounding his 
ideas of the noblest form of life : such a life being best visible 
in the life of a community, and also being one that, although 
inborn in individuals, can only be fostered by careful educa- 
tion. For the idea that runs through the Republic is that the 
individual presents almost the same features and qualities as 
society, on a smaller scale, and in his argument Plato first 
considers the state and thence makes his deductions as to 
the individual. But if the Republic is also a new theory of 
education, as well as a discourse on Justice and the per- 



feet state and the noblest life, its various ideas must be 
considered, not separately, but jointly. The whole work 
is an harmonious and artistic unity. It is as impossible 
to split its ideas into sections as it would be to separate one 
part of it from another. From the introduction a charm- 
ing picture of old-world life from the first sentences, thought 
runs into thought and argument into argument with perfect 
precision and connection, artistically and logically, until the 
work is ended. Nothing can be detached or omitted without 
losing some of its beauty. Just as a fragment of one of 
Wagner's operas may not be detached and performed without 
its being half-spoilt, so cannot you detach any portion of this 
close deduction without losing the artistic beauty of its logical 
sequence. Plato, almost alone among philosophers, is a 
literary artist as well as a philosopher, and it is to this fact 
that half of his perennial popularity may be attributed. 
^ The ethical doctrines of Plato are based, it is hardly neces- 
sary to say, on his philosophical creed. This there is no need 
to discuss here, for the motive of the Republic is almost entirely 
ethical, and so much of his philosophy as appears in the book 
is intelligible by itself, and needs no explanation. Plato held 
with Heraclitus that the objects of the senses are unreal and 
fugitive, but that we may from contemplation of them rise to 
the Ideal, which is the only reality. The ethical side needs 
rather more comment. Plato wrote the Republic apparently 
under the sense that " the glory that was Greece " was rapidly 
vanishing/ At the age of twenty-three, he had seen his country- 
men beaten by the Lacedaemonians at the crushing defeat of 


yEgospotami. Lysander, the Spartan general, had blockaded 
Athens, and early in the next year (B.C. 404) had taken formal 
possession of it. With his help, the Committee of Manage- 
ment, which was soon known by the name of the Thirty Tyrants, 
was established. Murders of their political enemies became 
the order of the day. Socrates himself was summoned before 
them and dismissed with a warning. But towards the end of 
the year, Thrasybulus, with the aid of Athenian exiles and 
Theban citizens, marched into Attica, and by great good fortune 
managed to defeat the Thirty. The Peloponnesians quitted 
Attica, and the democracy was restored. But Athens was 
now but a shadow of herself. Her fortifications, her fleet, her 
revenues, and her empire had vanished. Far from ruling 
others, she had now to struggle to maintain her independence. 
Five years later (B.C. 399) Socrates was put to death. The 
year 388 B.C. was the date of Plato's first expedition to Syracuse, 
he being then forty years of age. 1 The next year saw the dis- 
graceful " Peace of Antalcidas " concluded between the Greeks 
and Persians, owing to the machinations of Sparta ; while the next 
few years of Grecian history are a record of intestine quarrels. 
It was probably at this time that the Republic was written. 
Hellenic politics were in a lamentable condition, and Plato 
wished to create an ideal commonwealth in words as a last 
protest against the increasing depravity of actual things. He 
states that the ideal state was to be Hellenic, and he found 

1 See the letter of Plato (of disputed authenticity, however), included 
in Mr. T. W. Rolleston's Selections from Plato, in the Scott Library. 


in Sparta many of the regulations which he adopted for his 
Republic. The life of Sparta was military, and was even more 
rigid in peace than in time of war. The citizens of Sparta were 
forbidden to trade; gold and silver were unpermitted; and if 
women and children were not in common, as in the Republic, 
yet the two sexes were constantly mingled in public " in a 
way foreign to the habits," says Grote, " as well as repugnant 
to the feelings of other Grecian states ; " the bride lived with 
her family, and only visited her husband in his barrack in male 
attire, and on short and stolen occasions ; the uniting of the 
finest couples was regarded by the citizens as desirable, and by 
the lawgiver as a duty : jealousy on the husband's part found 
no sympathy, and he had to permit and encourage compliances 
on the part of his wife consistent with this generally acknow- 
ledged object. 

The question arises whether Plato intended his ideal state 
to be a Cloudcuckootown or Utopia of theory, or wished to 
establish it in actuality. Plato himself says that though 
difficult of creation, such a state would be by no means im- 
possible, could any place be found suitable for the habitation 
of philosophers and the growth of philosophy : and this place, 
he says, would be found if some monarch should apply himself 
to practical philosophy and find his people willing to obey. It 
seems beyond doubt that Plato had hopes of founding such a 
state in Syracuse, with the aid of his friend and pupil, Dion, the 
brother-in-law of Dionysius the younger, the tyrant of Syracuse. 
But though Dionysius for a time was glad of Plato's teaching, 
and even allowed Plato to be practically master of his king- 


dom, he soon tired of the experiment. Dion was banished on 
suspicion of conspiracy, and Plato was glad to escape with his 

With reference to the much-debated question of his attitude 
in the Republic towards poetry and the imitative arts, it appears 
that Plato was continually striving to bring art and philosophy 
into alliance, upon some neutral ground where neither would 
find itself in antagonism with the other. Doubtless Plato, 
had he founded his perfect state, would have been com- 
pelled to modify his purely philosophical view of it in accord- 
ance with the eternal demands of art for the liberty without 
which it must of necessity die. But in the Republic the 
artist in Plato was strangled by the philosopher and social 
regenerator. His condemnation, if not of useless beauty, at 
least of luxury and display, is as severe as, if less violent than, 
that of any demagogue : although what is known as democracy 
had no more determined opponent than Plato, if we except 
perhaps Aristophanes. The hatred and contempt that Aristo- 
phanes poured out on such self-seeking demagogues as Cleon 
is paralleled by the antagonistic criticism of a democracy to be 
found in the eighth book of the Republic. By aristocracy of 
birth no less than by aristocracy of intellect was he filled with 
contempt for the rule of the many the rule that murdered 
Socrates and destroyed Athens. This it was that made him look 
abroad, to Sparta and to Egypt, for the regulations of his state. 
The legislation of Lycurgus inculcated the sacrifice of the 
individual for the good of the whole. It asserted the suprem- 
acy of Law : and in the brotherhood of Pythagoras Plato found 


the same discipline joined, not only to the good of the actual 
state, but to the perfection of human nature as displayed in its 
best representatives. And Athens with its splendid artistic 
past and present appealed less to him than the utilitarian states 
that came under his notice. The artistic and philosophic sides of 
Plato's temperament were often at variance. As an artist he 
clings to art : and when as a philosopher he condemns it, it is 
with a sigh, or at all events with the obvious fear of the accusa- 
tion of dulness. The mourning Muse who has inspired the 
sweetest poetry is, he says, unacceptable to the philosophy 
which directs the soul to be as immovable as is possible. But 
in considering his condemnation of the arts, it will be remem- 
bered that Phidias and Zeuxis, ^Ischylus and Sophocles had 
lived and worked before Plato. 

Besides the enduring value of the Republic as a work of art, 
its philosophical and ethical teaching is of particular interest in 
the present disordered condition of social and speculative ideas, 
and the conclusions of Plato as to the relative good and evil of 
the five kinds of constitutions may be considered in the light of 
the later theories of socialism and anarchy. His consideration 
of Aristocracy, the perfect state, the rule of the few best: of 
Timocracy, the rule of the wealthy or of those in good position : 
of Oligarchy, that of the few worst: of Democracy, that of the 
mob, and of Despotism, is of abiding value. Certainly, the con- 
dition of Hellenic politics when he wrote the Republic was not 
more complicated or contentious than our own at the present 
time: and the philosophic student may enjoy a period of retire- 
ment from external quarrels in the company of this tranquil and 


consideration of mundane complexities. One of the 
greatest charms of Plato's writing is, as it seems to me, his 
remoteness from temporal troubles, his avoidance of things 
of ephemeral interest, his artistic and "Attic" calm. 

I have carefully revised the text of Taylor's admirable trans- 
lation. Faulty translation of difficult passages one expects to 
find in his text, but besides amending the passages in which 
he is at fault in his rendering of the Greek, I have attempted 
here and there to render his English somewhat more intelligible 
and smooth. I have also to a certain extent removed the 
numerous and irritating phrases used by Taylor in his desire to 
ake a literal translation of Greek idioms, such as "You say 
ue"for "You are right," "Why not?" for "Yes." But in 
pite of this revision the book remains Taylor's, and distinct 
om any other translation. Indeed, I hope that, except by 
careful comparison of the two texts, the difference will be 





whole is a recital by Socrates. The Scene is in the 
house of Cephalus, at the Pirceus. 


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. 2 The 
procession of our own countrymen seemed to me to be indeed 
beautiful ; yet that of the Thracians appeared no less brilliant. 
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 

1 Glauco and Adimantus were the brothers of Plato, whom, as 
Plutarch justly observes in his Treatise on Brotherly Love, Plato has 
rendered famous by introducing them into this dialogue. (Taylor's 

I The festival was in honour of Bendis, a Thracian goddess, usually 
dentified with Artemis. 


will wait, said Glauco ; and soon afterwards came Polemarchus, 
and Adimantus the brother of Glauco, and Niceratus the son of 
Nicias, and some others apparently coming from the proces- 
sion. 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 prove yourself 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 ? Can you be able to persuade such as will 
not hear ? By no means, said Glauco. So then, if we are not 
to hear, determine accordingly. But do you not know, said 
Adimantus, that there is to be a torch-race in the evening, on 
horseback, to the goddess? On horseback ? said I. That is 
new. Are they to have torches, and give them to one another, 
while the horses are racing ? or how do you mean ? Just so, 
replied Polemarchus. And besides, there will be a night 
festival * worth seeing. For we shall rise after supper, and see 
the night festival, and shall be there with many of the young 
men with whom we may converse. But do you stay, and do not 
refuse. It seems proper, then, said Glauco, that we should 
stay. Nay, if it seem so, said I, we ought to do it 

We went home therefore to Polemarchus's house ; and there 
we found Lycias and Euthydemus, brothers of Polemarchus ; as 
well as Thrasymachus the Chalcedonian, and Charmantides the 
Pseoneian, and Clitipho the son of Aristonimus; Cephalus the 
father of Polemarchus was likewise in the house ; he seemed to 
me to be looking very old, for I had not seen him for a long 
time. He was sitting crowned, on a certain couch and seat ; for 
he had been offering sacrifice in the court. So we sat down by 
him ; for some seats were placed there in a circle. Immediately, 
then, when Cephalus saw me, he saluted me, and said, Socrates, 
you do not often come down to us in the Pirasus ; you ought to 
come often ; for, were I still able easily to go up to the city, 

1 This nocturnal solemnity was the lesser Panathensea, which, as 
the name implies, was sacred to Athene. 


you should not need to come hither, but we would be with you. 
But now you should come hither more frequently ; for I assure 
you that, so far as I am concerned, as the pleasures of 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 acquaint- 
ance. In truth, 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 we have to travel ; 
whether it be 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 Age," what 
your opinion of it is ; whether you consider it to be a grievous 
part of life, or what else you deem it to be ? 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 well, but 
now they do not live at all : some of them, too, bemoan the con- 
tempt 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 too should 
have suffered the same things on account of old-age, that have 
all the others, who have arrived at these years : whereas I have 
met with several who are not thus affected ; and particularly 
Sophocles the poet, who, when he was asked by some one, 
How he was affected towards the pleasures of love ? was he still 
able to enjoy them? Softly, friend, replied he; most gladly, 
indeed, have I escaped from these pleasures, as from some 

(urious and savage master. He seemed to me at that time 
o speak wisely, and no less does he seem so now: for, 


certainly, there is in old-age abundance of peace and free- 
dom 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 insane masters. 
But with regard to these troubles, and those likewise re- 
specting our acquaintance, there is one and the same cause ; 
which is not our old-age, Socrates, but our temperaments ; for, 
if indeed they are well-regulated and moderate, even old-age is 
no great burthen ; if not, both old-age, Socrates, and youth are 
grievous. 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 
your character, but from your possessing much wealth ; for 
the rich, say they, have many consolations. You speak truly, 
replied he, they do not agree with me ; and there is something 
in what they say ; but, however, not so much as they imagine. 
For 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, " / should 
not have been renowned had I been a Seriphian, nor would 
you had you 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 happy in himself. 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 half-way between my 
grandfather and my father: for my grandfather, 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 
it 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 being 
a production of their own, as well as for the utilities they afford, 
for which riches are valued by others. You speak truly, replied 
he. It is entirely so, said I. But further, tell me this: What 
do you think is the greatest good derived from the possession 
of much substance? That, probably, said he, in which few 
will agree with me. For be assured, Socrates, continued he, 
that after a man begins to think he is soon to die, he feels 
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 he considers, and 
reflects, whether he has, in any thing, injured any one. He 
then who finds in his life much iniquity, and is wakened from 
sleep, as children by repeated calls, is afraid, and lives in 
miserable anticipation. But the man who is not conscious of 
any iniquity, 

" Still pleasing hope, sweet nourisher of age ! 

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." 

He really speaks wisely and admirably; wherefore, from this 
consideration, I deem the possession of riches to be chiefly 
valuable ; not to every man perhaps, but at any rate to the 

)od man : for the possession of riches contributes considerably 
free us from being tempted to cheat or deceive ; and from 


being obliged to depart to the other world in terror of being 
either indebted in sacrifices to the Gods, or in money to 
man. It has many other advantages besides ; but, for my part, 
Socrates, it is chiefly in this respect that I deem riches to be 
most advantageous to a man of understanding. You speak 
most admirably, Cephalus, replied I. But with respect to this 
very thing, justice. 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 sometimes unjustly? My meaning is this: Every one I 
suppose would admit, that if a man should receive dangerous 
weapons from his friend who was of a sound mind, it would not 
be proper to restore such things if he should demand them 
back 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 are 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 may be, I give up, said Cephalus, this conversa- 
tion 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 

Tell me, then, said I, you who are heir to the conversation, 
what is the definition which, according to you, Simonides gives 
of 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 inspired 
man ; but what his meaning may be in this, you, Polemarchus, 
may probably know, 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 a state of madness: yet what has been 
deposited is in some respect, at least, due; is it not? It is. 
But yet, it is not by any means to be restored, when any 
one asks for it back 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 friends good, and not 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 just, 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, what is 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 what is the art, which, dispensing to certain 
things something fitting and due, is called cookery? The 
art which gives seasonings to victuals. Be it so. What 
then is that art, which, dispensing to certain persons some- 
thing 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 for the use, or possession 
of what, would you say, that justice is useful in time of peace? 
For co-partnerships, Socrates. You call co-partnerships, joint 
companies, or what ? Joint companies, certainly. Well, then, 
is it the just man, or the dice-player, who is a good and useful 
co-partner, for playing at dice ? 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 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 shipwright, or ship-master? It would seem so. In what 
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. So then 
only when money is useless is justice useful with regard to it ? 
It seems so. And when a pruning-hook is to be kept, justice is 
useful, both for a partnership, 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 uselul? 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 may be 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 it is justice to help one's 
friends, and hurt one's enemies. But do you pronounce such 
to be friends, as seem to be honest, or such as are so, though 
they do not seem to be ; and in the same way with 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 
are not men mistaken in this ; so that many who are not honest 
appear so to them, and many contrariwise ? They are mistaken. 
To such, then, the good are enemies, and the bad are friends ? 
Certainly. So, then, it is 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. By no means, 
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 saying appears better than the other. Then the result 


in the case of many men, Polemarchus as many men indeed 
as have misjudged will be that it is just for them 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 ? 

That is the result, said he. 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 ; and 
he who seems honest, yet is not, is not a friend. And we must 
admit the distinction about an enemy to be the very same. 
The good man, according to this, will, 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 Jhe 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 horse- 
men, by horsemanship, 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 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 reverse. It appears so. But, 
the just man 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 reverse, the unjust man. In all respects, 
said he, you seem io me, Socrates, to be right If, then, any 
one says, that it is just to give every one his due, and thinks that 
hurt is due to his 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 nowhere appeared to us, that any just man hurts any 
one. I agree, said he. Let us jointly contend, then, said I, if 
any one shall say that a Simonides, a Bias, a Pittacus, said so ; 
or any other of those wise and talented 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 speak rightly, 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 ? 

Frequently, 1 during our reasoning, Thrasymachus had in- 
terrupted to make objections to the discourse; but he was 
hindered by those who sat near him, and who wanted to hear 
the conversation to an end. But, when we paused, and I had 
said these things, he was no longer quiet ; but, collecting him- 
self as a wild beast, he sprang 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 nonsense, said he, Socrates, is this which has 
for a long time possessed 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 display 
yourself by refuting the answers given you (knowing that it is 

1 Thrasymachus is the typical sophist, the false philosopher, and 
Plato represents him as a blusterer, full of insolence and dogmatism. 
He was common in those days : and is possibly not unknown now. 


easier to ask than to answer); but answer yourself, and say 
what it is you call justice. And do not tell me that it is what is 
fit ; nor what is due, nor what is profitable, nor what is gainful, 
nor what is advantageous ; but, what you mean tell plainly and 
accurately ; for I will not allow you to talk such nonsense as 
this. 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. 1 
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 ! be not hard on us ; for, if we make 
mistakes in our inquiries, Polemarchus and I, be well assured 
that we do so unwittingly : for think that, if we were searching 
for gold, we would never willingly yield to one another in the 
search, and mar the finding it ; and that, searching for justice, 
an affair far more valuable than a great deal of gold, we shall 
not foolishly yield to each other, but labour, friend, with the 
utmost ardour, that we may discover what it really is. 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 men of 
your 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 anything. 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 three times four; nor four times three; for I 
will not admit your trifling 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 reply, Excellent Thrasymachus ! what 
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, am I to say something else than the truth ? 
Or, what is it you mean? What would you say to him in 

1 Referring to a popular belief that any one meeting a wolf would be 
struck dumb, if the wolf saw him before he saw the wolf. 


answer to these things ? If they were alike, I should give an 
answer; but how are they alike? Nothing hinders it, said I; 
but, though they were not alike, but should appear so to him 
who was asked, would he not give what appeared to him to be 
the right answer ; whether we forbade him or not ? Will it do so 
now ? said he. Will you answer with some of these things 
which I forbade you to say ? I should not wonder if 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 
it is proper for them to learn somewhat from a wise man. I 
shall therefore deserve to suffer this. You are pleasant now, 
said he, but together with the instruction, you must pay me 
some money. I will when I have some, said I. 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, so 
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 Thrasy- 
machus, can a man answer when, in the first place, he neither 
knows, nor says he knows, what to answer; and who, in the 
next place, if he have any opinion about these matters, is 
forbidden by no dullard 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 by answering, 
and do not grudge instructing Glauco here, and the rest of 
the company. 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 I learn from 
others, said I, Thrasymachus, is true ; but in saying that I do 
not give thanks for it, you are mistaken. I pay as much as 


I am able; and I can only give commendation; for money I 
have not : and how readily I do this, when any one appears to 
me to speak well, you will know very soon, 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 advan- 
tage 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. What 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 in the greatest hurt. 
By no means, most excellent Thrasymachus, said I, but say more 
plainly what is your meaning. Do not you then know, said 
he, that, with reference to states, some are tyrannical ; others 
democratic ; and others aristocratic ? Why are they not ? 
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 what is for their own advantage 
is just for their subjects; 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 advantageous for the established 
government, are the same; it hath the power. So that it 
appears to him who reasons rightly, that, in all cases, what 
is to the advantage of the more powerful, 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 advantageous, then, 
Thrasymachus, you yourself have affirmed to be likewise just; 
though you forbade me to give this answer ; but, indeed, you 
have added to it that of the most powerful. Yes, 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 acknowledge that what is just 
is in some ways that which is advantageous: but you add to 
it, and say, that it is that of the more powerful. This I am 
uncertain of, and we will consider it. Consider then, said he. 
I will, said I. And tell me, do not you say that it is just to 
obey governors ? I say so. Are the governors in the several 
states infallible ? or are they 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 rightly and others 
wrongly ? I imagine so. To make them rightly, is it not to 
make them advantageous for themselves; and to make them 
wrongly, 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 ? Why not ? 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 advan- 
tageous. 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 them- 
selves; and that what the governors enjoin is just for the 
governed to do ? Have not these things been acknowledged ? 
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; since governors un- 
wittingly 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. 
Yes, if you are his witness, retorted Clitipho. What need, 
said I, of a witness ? For Thrasymachus himself acknow- 
ledges 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 laid down 
by Thrasymachus, that it is just to do what is enjoined by 
the governors; and he has likewise, Clitipho, established that 
what is to the advantage of the more powerful is just; and, 
having laid down both these things, he has acknowledged like- 
wise, that the more powerful sometimes enjoin the inferiors 
and governed to do what is disadvantageous to themselves; 
and, from these concessions, the advantage of the more 
powerful can no more be just than the disadvantage. But, 
said Clitipho, 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. There is no difference, Polemarchus, said I. But, if 
Thrasymachus says so now, we shall allow 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 mis- 
judges ? I thought, said I, you said this, when you acknow- 
ledged that governors were not infallible; but that in some 
things they even erred. You are a quibbler, said he, in argu- 
ment, Socrates. For, do you now call him who mistakes about 
the management of the sick, a physician, and refer to that very 
thing in which he mistakes? or him, who mistakes in calculation, 
an accountant, with reference to that very error? But, I 
imagine, we say, in common language, that the physician erred ; 
that the accountant erred ; and the grammarian. But, I imagine 
that each of these, as far as he is what we call him, errs not 
at any time. So that, according to strict terms (since you argue 
in a strict sense), no artificer errs: for he who errs, errs by 
departing from science ; and, in this, he is no artificer : and 
no artificer, or wise man, or governor errs; so far as their 
professions are concerned. Yet any one may say the physician 
erred, or the governor erred. Imagine, then, it was in 




this way I just now answered you. But the most accurate 
answer is this : That the governor, in as far as he is governor, 
errs not ; and, as 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 : that justice is 
to do what is to the advantage of the more powerful. Be it so, 
said I, Thrasymachus ! So I appear to you to be a quibbler ? 
Yes, indeed, said he. Do you imagine that I spoke as I did, 
insidiously, and to injure you ? I do, said he, but you shall gain 
nothing by it ; for, whether you injure me in a concealed manner, 
or otherwise, you shall not be able to overcome me by your 
reasoning. I shall not attempt it, said I, excellent Thrasy- 
machus ! But, that nothing of this kind may happen to us 
again, state whether you speak of a governor, and the more 
powerful, according to the popular sense, or according to the 
strict sense in which you used the words just now when you 
said that it is just for the inferior to do what is to the advantage 
of the governor, as he is the more powerful. I speak of him, 
said he, who, in the strictest sense, is governor. For this now, 
injure me, and quibble as well as you are able. I do not shun 
you; but you cannot do it. Do you imagine me, said I, to be 
so mad as to attempt to shave a lion, and quibble with Thrasy- 
machus? You have, said he, just 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 considered, that he sails in the sliip ; 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 
hese? Certainly. And does not art, said I, naturally tend to 
his, to seek out and afford to every thing its advantage ? It 
tends to this, said he. Is there, now, anything else advan- 



tageous to each of the arts, but to be the most perfect possible ? 
Why ask you this ? As, if you asked me, said I, whether it 
sufficed the body to be a 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 
art has been provided. Do I seem to you, said I, to be right, 
or not, in speaking in this manner ? Right, said he. But what 
now? This medicinal art itself, or any other, is it imperfect, 
and requiring a certain additional virtue as the eyes need 
sight, and the ears, hearing; and have need of a certain art, to 
discover and attain what is advantageous for these purposes- 
is there, then, in art itself, some imperfection ; and does every 
art stand in need of another art, to perceive what is advan- 
tageous to it, and this stand in need of another, and so on, to 
infinity? Or does 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 ? For there is no imperfection, nor error, in any 
art. Nor is it its duty to seek what is advantageous to any 
thing, but that of which it is the art. But it is, itself, infallible, 
and pure, being in the right. So long as each art is an 
accurate whole, whatever it is. And consider the question, 
according to the strict meaning of words, 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 advan- 
tageous for horses. Nor does any other art consider what is 
advantageous for itself (for it hath no need), but what is 
advantageous to 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 


these things at last, though he attempted to contend about 
them, but afterwards he consented. Why, then, said I, no 
physician, so far as he is a physician, considers what is advan- 
tageous for the physician, nor enjoins it ; but what is advan- 
tageous 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. 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. And so, 
Thrasymachus, said I, all who are in a position of authority, 
s far as they are governors, neither consider nore njoin their 
own advantage, but that of the governed, for whom they 
minister; and it is with an eye to this, and to what is 
advantageous and suitable to this, that they both say what they 
say and do what they do. 

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? What, 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 understand neither what is meant 
by sheep, nor by shepherd. For 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 attentive, day and night, to somewhat else than 
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; and really, the hurt of the 
subject, and the inferior; and injustice is the contrary. And 
justice governs such as are truly simple and just; and the 
governed do what is for the governor's advantage, he being 
more powerful, and by ministering to him, promote his happi- 
ness, but by no means their own. You must thus consider it, 
most simple Socrates ! that, on all occasions, the just man gets 
less than 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, if 
no other loss befalls the just man, his private affairs, at least, 
become disordered through his neglect ; and he gains nothing 
from the public, because he is just. Add to this, that he comes 
to 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 greatly in his power 
to become rich. Consider him, then, if you would judge how 
much more it is to his private advantage to be unjust than 
just ; and you will most easily understand it if you come to the 
most consummate injustice ; such as renders the unjust man 
most happy, but the injured and those who are unwilling to do 
injustice, most wretched; and this form is tyranny, l 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 small cases of 
such crimes, when one, committing injustice, is found out, 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. 

1 Tyranny : an absolute monarchy, despotism. 


But when any one, besides these thefts of the substance 
of his citizens, steals and enslaves the citizens themselves ; 
instead of those disgraceful names, he is called happy and 
blest; not by his citizens alone, but likewise by as many 
others as are informed that he has committed the most 
consummate wickedness. 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 having, like a bathing man, poured into our ears this long 
and rapid flow of words. 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, divine 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? 
But I imagine, said Thrasymachus, that this is 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 a man 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, blest Thrasyrnachus ! 
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 ? shal 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 
has been said before), 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's 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 while it needs nothing of the shepherd-art. 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 a 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, good Thrasymachus, 
answer not differently from your sentiments, that we may make 
some progress. In this, said he, it is distinct. 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. Cer- 
tainly. 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 ? Again, 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, I 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 mer- 
cenary art, if one in performing a cure gain a reward? No, 
said he. Have we not acknowledged, then, that there is a 
distinct advantage in every art ? Be it so, said he. What is 
that advantage, then, with which all artists 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. Yet we say that 
skilled persons are profited in receiving a reward arising to 
them from the increase of a lucrative art. He .agreed with 
difficulty. Has not, then, every one this advantage in his art, 
the receiving a reward. Yet, 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 by his art? It appears not, said he. But 
does he then no service when he works without reward? I 
chink 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, 1 like%vise 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 does what is best for himself, in ruling 


according to art, but what is best for the governed ; and on this 
account, it seems, a reward must be given tc those who are 
willing to govern ; either money, or honour ; or 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 do 
not. You know not, then, said I, the reward of the best of 
men, for which the most worthy are induced to govern, when 
they consent to do so. Or, do you not know, that to be 
ambitious and covetous, is both deemed a reproach, and really 
is so ? I know, said he. For those reasons, then, said I, good 
men are not willing to govern, either for money or honour; 
for they are neither willing to be called mercenary, in openly 
receiving a reward for governing, nor to be called thieves, in 
clandestinely receiving from those under their government ; as 
little are they willing to govern for honour, for they are not 
ambitious. Of necessity, then, there must be laid on them a 
penalty, that they may consent to govern. And hence, it 
seems, it hath been accounted dishonourable to enter on 
government willingly, and not by constraint. Now the greatest 
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 or as good as them- 
selves, to entrust with the government : since it would appear 
that, if there was a city of good men, the contest would 
be, to avoid being the governor, just as at present it is, 
to obtain power. And then it would be manifest, that he 
who is indeed the true governor, does not aim at his own 
advantage, but at that of the governed; so that every under- 
standing man would rather choose to be benefited, than to 
have trouble in benefiting 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 ? 
Why not ? 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 ? The latter, said he. 

Come then, said I, Thrasymachus, answer us from the 
beginning. Do you say that complete injustice is more profit- 
able than complete justice ? Yes, indeed, I say so, replied he. 
And the reasons for it I have enumerated. Come now, do you 
ever affirm anything 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? Very likely, said 
he, most pleasant Socrates ! after I say that injustice is profit- 
able; 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, Thrasy- 
machus, 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 have wondered at, that you should 

deem injustice to be a part of virtue and wisdom, and justice 

to be 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 profitable, 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 

truly. 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. But endeavour, 

further, to answer me this likewise Does a just man seem to 

you desirous to have more than another just man ? By no 

means, said he; for otherwise he would not be so delightfully 

simple, as we now supposed him. But what, will he not desire 

it in a just action ? Not even in a just action, said he. But, 

would he deem it proper to exceed 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 exceed a just man, but would 

deem it proper to exceed 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 exceed the just 

man even in a just action? Why not, said he, he who 

deems it proper to exceed all others ? Will not then the unjust 

man desire to exceed the unjust man likewise, and in an unjust 

action ; and contend that he himself receive more than all 

others ? Certainly. Thus, we say, then, said I, the just man 

does not desire to exceed one like himself, but one unlike. But 


the unjust man desires to exceed 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 just man is 
neither. This, too, said he, is well said. Is not, then, said I, 
the unjust man like the wise and the good, and the just man un- 
like ? Must he not, said he, be like them, being such an one as 
we have supposed ; and he who is otherwise, be unlike them ? 
Excellently. Each of them is indeed such as those he resembles. 
What else? said he. Be it so, Thrasymachus, call you one 
man musical and another unmusical ? I do. Which of the two 
call you wise and which unwise? I call the musical, wise, and 
the unmusical, unwise. Is he not good in as much as he is 
wise, and ill in as much as he is unwise ? Yes. And what as 
to the physician ? Is not the case the same ? The same. Do 
you imagine, then, most excellent Thrasymachus, that any 
musician, in tuning a harp, wants to exceed, or deems it proper 
to have more skill than a man who is a musician, with reference 
to the tightening or loosening of the strings ? I am not of that 
opinion. But what say you of exceeding a man who is no 
musician ? Of necessity, said he, he will deem it proper to 
exceed him. And what as to the physician? In presenting a 
regimen of meats or drinks does he want to exceed another 
physician in medical cases ? No, indeed. But to exceed one 
who is no physician ? Yes. And as to all science and ignor- 
ance does any one appear to you intelligent who wants to grasp 
at or do or say more than another intelligent in the art ; and not 
to do the same things, in the same affair, which one equally 
intelligent with himself doth ? Probably there is a necessity, 
said he, it be so. But what, as to him who is ignorant ; will not 
he want to exceed the intelligent and the ignorant both alike ? 
Probably. But the intelligent man is wise ? I say so. And the 
wise man is good ? I say so. But the good and the wise will 
not want to exceed one like himself; but the unlike and con- 
trary? It seems so, said he. But the evil and the ignorant 
wants to exceed both one like himself and his opposite ? It 
appears so. Why, then, Thrasymachus, said I, the unjust de- 
sires to exceed both one unlike, and one like himself. Do not 


you say so ? I do, said he. But the just man will not desire to 
exceed one like himself, but one unlike? Yes. The just man, 
then, said I, resembles the wise and the good ; and the unjust 
resembles the evil and the ignorant. It appears so. But we 
acknowledged that each of them was such as that which they 
resembled. We acknowledged so, indeed. The just man, then, 
has appeared to us to be good and wise; and the unjust to 
be ignorant and depraved. Thrasymachus admitted all these 
things not as easily, as I now narrate them, but reluctantly and 
with much difficulty and with prodigious sweat, as it was in 
the summer. And I then saw what I had never seen before, 
Thrasymachus blushing. After we had acknowledged that 
justice was virtue and wisdom, and injustice was vice and ignor- 
ance, well, said I, let this remain so. But we said likewise that 
injustice was powerful. Do not you remember, Thrasymachus ? 
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 "be it so" as to old women telling 
stories ; and shall nod my head or shake it. By no means, 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 see through our 
discourse,) of what kind is justice, compared with injustice; for 
it was surely said that injustice was more powerful and stronger 
than justice. It was so said just now, replied he. But if justice 
be 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 will- 
ing, for my own part, Thrasymachus, to consider it not in this 
absolute manner, but some how thus. Might you not say that 
a state may be unjust, and may attempt to enslave other states 
unjustly, and succeed in it; and, hold many states in slavery 
under itself? Why not? said he: and the best state will chiefl) 


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 in- 
justice. I am much delighted, said I, Thrasymachus, that you 
do not merely nod 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 anything unjustly, 
is able to effectuate anything 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, somehow 
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 it be the work of injustice, wherever it is, to create 
hatred, will it not then, when it occurs, whether among free 
men or slaves, make them hate one another, and grow seditious, 
and become impotent to do anything together in company ? 
Certainly. And, in the case of injustice between any two men, 
will they not differ, and hate, and become enemies both to one 
another, and to just men ? They will become so, said he. If 
now, wonderful Thrasymachus, injustice be in one individual, does 
it lose its power, or will it retain it ? We will say. said he, that it 
retains 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 wher- 
ever 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 disagree- 


ment 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. We will suppose them so, said he. 
The unjust man, then, Thrasymachus, is an enemy also to 
the Gods; and the just man, a friend. Feast yourself, said 
he, with the reasoning; for I will not oppose you, that I may 
not render myself odious to these Gods. 1 Come then, said I, 
and complete my feast ; answering as you were doing just 
now : for the just already appear to be wiser, and better, and 
more powerful in their acts; and the unjust are not able to 
act in any thing with one another. But what we said with 
reference to those who are unjust, that they are ever at 
any time able strenuously to act jointly together ; this we 
said not altogether accurately, for they would not spare one 
another ; being thoroughly unjust ; but it is plain that there 
was in them some justice, which made them refrain from 
injuring one another, and those of their party; and by this 
justice they performed what they did. And they rushed on 
unjust actions, through injustice; being half wicked; since 
those who are completely 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 pro- 
pounded 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 a trivial thing, but about the manner in which we 
ought to live. Consider then, said he. I will, said I ; tell me, 
does anything seem to you to be the work of a horse ? Yes. 
Would you not call that the work of a horse, or of any one else, 
which one does with him only, or in the best manner ? I do not 
understand, said he. Thus, then: Do you see with anything 
else but the eyes? No indeed. Could you hear with anything 
but the ears ? By no means. Do we not justly then call these 

1 I.e., the company present. 


things the works of these ? Certainly. Could not you with 
a sword, a knife, and many other things, cut off a branch of 

vine ? Why not ? But with nothing, at least I imagine, so 
well, as with a pruning-hook, which is made for that purpose : 
shall we not then settle this to be its work? We shall then 
settle it. 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 everything to 
which there is a certain work assigned ? But let us go over 
again the same things . 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 well 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 ask this ; but, whether it be with their own proper virtue 
that they well perform their own proper work, whatever things 
are performed, or by their vice, badly ? In this, at least, said 
he, you are right. 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 
other being whatever, you can perform; such as this, to care 
for, to govern, to consult, and all such things; is there any 
thing else but the soul, to which we may justly ascribe them, 
and say they properly belong to it ? Nothing. Again, shall 
we say that life 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 well, 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. We may say so, said he. 
But it is not advantageous to be miserable, but to be happy. 
Certainly. At no time, then, good Thrasymachus, is injustice 
more advantageous than justice. Thus, now, Socrates, said 
he, have you been feasted in the festival of Bendis. By you, 
truly, I have, Thrasymachus, said I ; since you are grown 
meek, and have ceased to be angry. I have not feasted 
handsomely, but that is owing to myself, and not to you : for 
as voracious guests, always taking what is brought 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, as a new idea afterwards came 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 hardly know whether it be 
a virtue or not, or 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 introduction : for 
Glauco, as he is on all occasions most courageous, did not 
approve of Thrasymachus giving up the debate ; but said, 
Socrates, do you wish to seem to have persuaded us, or to have 
persuaded 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 to be any good 
thing of such a kind, that we would be glad to have it ; not as 
regards its consequences, but for its own sake? as joy, and 
such pleasures as are harmless; though nothing arises after- 
wards from these pleasures, and the possession alone gives us 
delight. There seems to me, said I, to be something of this 
kind. But is there something too, which we both love for its 
own sake, and also for what arises from it ? as wisdom, sight, 
and health; for I think we embrace these things on both 
accounts. Yes, said I. But do you perceive, said he, a third 
species of good, among which are bodily labour, to be healed 
when sick, to practice physic, or other lucrative employment ? 
for we say that these things are troublesome, but that they 
profit us ; and while we should not choose these things for their 
own sake, yet on account of the rewards and other advantages 
which arise from them, we accept them. There is, indeed, said 
I, likewise this third kind. But in which of these, said he, do 
you place justice? I imagine, said I, in the best; which, both 
on its own ctecount, 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 among the 
troublesome kind, which is pursued for the sake of glory, and 



on account of rewards and honours ; but which on its own 
account is to be shunned, as being irksome. I know, said I, 
that it seems so, and it was in this view that Thrasymachus 
some time 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 it be agreeable to you ; for Thrasy- 
machus 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 ; for I desire to hear what each is, and what 
power it has by itself, when in the soul without considering 
the rewards, or the consequences arising from them. I will 
proceed, therefore, in this manner, if it seem proper to you : I 
will revive the speech of Thracymachus ; and, first of all, I will 
tell you what men say justice is, and whence it arises ; and, 
secondly, I will maintain that all those who pursue it pursue it 
unwillingly, as a necessary, but not as a good thing; 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, this does not yet appear so. I 
am, however, in doubt, having my ears bedinned with what I 
hear from Thracymachus and innumerable others. But I have 
never, hitherto, heard from any one such a discourse as I wish 
to hear concerning justice, proving it better than injustice : I 
wish to hear it commended, as it is in itself, and from you if 
from any one imagine I shall hear this : wherefore I shall, as 
strongly as I can, 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 agreeable to you. Extremely so, said I ; for in what 
would any man of intellect delight rather than in speaking, and 
hearing of this frequently ? You speak well, said he ; so listen 
^-hile I speak on my first theme; what justice is, and whence it 
arises. They say that, according to its nature, to do injustice is 
good; but to suffer injustice is bad; for 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 injus- 


tice, and likewise suffered it, experiencing both, it seemed 
proper to those who were not able to shun the one, and choose 
the other, to agree neither to do injustice, nor to be injured : 
and that from this laws and conventions began to be estab- 
lished ; and that which was enjoined by law they denominated 
lawful and just. This, men say, is the origin and essence of 
justice : being in the middle between what is best, doing 
injustice without punishment, and what is worst namely, 
suffering injustice, when the injured person is unable to punish ; 
and that justice, being thus in the middle of both these, is 
desired, not as a good thing, but because it is held in honour 
from its incapacity for 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, is said to be the nature of justice and its 
origin. And we shall best perceive that these who pursue 
justice pursue it unwillingly, and from impotence to injure, if 
we imagine 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 respect equality. 

And the liberty which I speak of may be better realised if 
imagined to be of such a kind as once invested Gyges, the 
progenitor of Lydus : for the story says that he was the hired 
shepherd of the then governor of Lydia; and that a pro- 
digious rain and earthquake happening, part of the earth was 
rent asunder, and an opening made in the place where he 
pastured his flocks; that when he beheld, and wondered, he 
descended into the hollow, and saw many other wonders, which 
the legend relates, and a brazen horse likewise, hollow and with 
doors in it ; and, on looking in, he saw within, a dead body 
arger in appearance than that of a man, which had nothing else 
pon 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 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 
seduced 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, neither, 
it seems, would be so adamantine as to persevere in justice, and 
refrain from the things of others, and not to touch them, whilst 
it was in his power to take, even from a public market, 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 would be in no 
respect different from the other ; but both of them would 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. And every man thinks that 
injustice is, to the particular person, more profitable than 
justice ; and he thinks rightly, according to this way of 
reasoning : since, if any one with such a liberty were never to 
do any injustice, nor touch the things of others, he would be 
deemed by men of sense to be a most wretched fool ; though 
they would commend him before one another, to impose on 
each other from a fear of being injured. This much, then, 
concerning these things. But, with reference to the difference 
of the lives of those we speak of, we shall be able to discern 


aright, if we contrast the most just man, and the most unjust; 
and now, how are we to contrast them ? 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 pro- 
fession. And first, as to the unjust man, let him act as the able 
artists; as a perfect 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 anything, 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 him- 
self the highest reputation for justice; and, if in anything he 
fail, let him be able to rectify it : and let him be able to speak 
so as to persuade if anything of his injustice be spread abroad: 
let him be able to do by force, through his courage and strength, 
and by means of his friends and his wealth : and having sup- 
posed 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 yschylus, 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 will be uncertain whether he 
be just for the sake of justice, or on account of the rewards and 
honours: let him be stripped of everything but justice, and be 
made completely contrary to the other ; whilst he does no in- 
justice, 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 ! said I, friend Glauco, how strenuously 
you purify each of the men, like a statue which is to be judged 


of I As much, said he, as I am able : whilst then they continue 
lo 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 it should be told too coarsely, 
imagine not, Socrates, that it is I who' tell it, but those who 
commend injustice preferably to justice. They will say that the 
just man, being of this disposition, will be scourged, tormented, 
fettered, will have his eyes burnt out, and lastly, having suffered 
all manner of evils, will be crucified ; and thus you see, that he 
should not desire the reality but the appearance of justice: 
and that it is much more correct to pronounce that saying 
of ^schylus concerning the unjust man : for they will in 
reality support the unjust man as one who is in pursuit of what 
is real, and lives not according to the opinion of men, and who 
means 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 part- 
nership 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: and when he engages in compe- 
titions, he will both in private and in public surpass and exceed 
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 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 Gods than 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. 
But before I could reply, his brother, Adimantus, said Socrates, 
you do not imagine there is yet enough said on the argu- 
ment. What further then? said I. That has not yet been 


spokeii, said he, which ought most specially to have been 
mentioned. Why then, said I, the proverb is, A brother is 
help at hand. So do you assist, if he has failed in anything. 
Though what has been said by him is sufficient to overthrow 
me, and make me unable to succour justice. You jest, replied 
he. But hear this further. For we must go through all the 
arguments opposed 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 ; so that whilst a man is reputed t' be 
just, he may obtain by this reputation magistracies and mar- 
riages, and whatever Glauco just now enumerated as the con- 
sequence of being reputed just : but these 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 wise 
Hesiod and Homer say; the former that the Gods cause the 
oak trees of the just 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 swamp, 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, but 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 in ordinary life 
and by the poets : all of them with one mouth celebrate temper- 
ance and justice as indeed excellent, but yet difficult and 
laborious; and intemperance and injustice as indeed pleasant 
and easy to attain; and only in men's opinion, and at 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 play 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 anyhow 
weak and poor, even whilst they acknowledge them to be better 
than the others. But, of all these speeches, the most marvel- 
lous are those concerning the Gods, and virtue: according to 
which even the Gods give to many good men misfortunes and 
an evil life, and to persons of the other kind a different 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 songs, with pleasures and 
with feastings, any injustice that has been committed by them, 
or their forefathers : and if one wishes to injure any enemy he 
may do it at a small expense, and whether such enemy be just 
or unjust; for by certain blandishments and bonds, they say 
that they can persuade the Gods to succour them. And to all 
these discourses they bring the poets as witnesses ; who } 
mentioning the facilities 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 Ileav'n ordain'd " 


and a very long and steep road. 1 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 off 'rings and libation them persuade ; 
And for transgressions suppliant pray'r atones." 

They produce likewise many books of Musaeus 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 sacri- 
fices, sports and pleasures; for the benefit both of the living 
and of the dead : these they call the Mysteries which absolve 
us from torment in the other world ; and they assert that dread- 
ful things await those who do not offer sacrifice. When all this 
and many things of the same kind, friend Socrates, are said of 
virtue and vice, and their reward both from men and Gods ; what 

m we imagine to be the effect on the minds of our young men, 
hen they hear them ; such of them as are intelligent, and able 
as it were to skim like birds over all these things which are 
said, and to deliberate, with what sort of character and in what 
sort of road one may best pass through life? It is likely that 
they will speak to themselves in the words 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 men demonstrate to 
me, and is the primary part of happiness, ought I not to turn 

1 Hesiod, Works and Days, 287. 


wholly to it ; ant} to draw round myself as a covering, the 
picture, and image of virtue ; but after me I must drag the 
cunning and versatile fox mentioned by the most wise Archi- 
lochus ? But perhaps some one will say, It is not easy, being 
wicked, always to be concealed. Neither is anything else easy, 
(will we say) which is great. 

But, however, if we would be happy, let us go where the 
vestiges of the reasonings lead us. For, in order to be con- 
cealed, we will make secret societies and clubs ; and there are 
masters of persuasion, who teach skill in popular and political 
oratory ; by which means, partly by persuasion and partly by 
force, when we seize more than our due, we shall not be 
punished. But, surely, to be concealed from the Gods, or to 
overpower them, is impossible. Still, if they do not exist, or 
care not about human affairs, we need not have any concern 
about being concealed : but if they really exist, 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 per- 
suaded by sacrifices, and appeasing vows, and offerings. We 
must believe both of these statements, or neither. If we 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 trans- 
gressed and offended, we shall appease them by offerings, and 
be liberated from punishment. But we shall, it is said, be 
punished in the other world for our unjust doings here ; either 
we ourselves, or our children's children. But, friend, will the 
reasoner say, the mysteries can do much ; the Gods are exorable, 
as is said by the mightiest states, and by 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 ? Since, if we 
shall attain to it while keeping up appearances, we shall fare 
to our liking, with reference both to the Gods and men, 
both while alive and dead, according to the reasoning just 


mentioned of many excellent men ? From all that has been said, 
for what reason, O Socrates, shall he incline to honour justice, 
who has any advantages whether of fortune or of wealth, of 
body or of birth, instead of laughing when he hears it com- 
mended ? Indeed, though a man were able to show what we 
have said to be false, and is fully convinced 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 injustice, or from acquired knowledge 
abstain from it, no one else 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 pow r er 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, because, O wonderful man ! 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, for any other reason than 
the reputation, honours and rewards arising from them: but 
no one has hitherto sufficiently examined, in poetry, or in 
prose, either of them in itself, as a thing subsisting by its 
own power in the soul of him who possesses it, concealed 
both from Gods and men : so as to show that injustice is 
the greatest of all the evils which the soul hath within it, 
and justice the greatest good. If it had been thus spoken 
of by you all from the beginning, 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, Thrasy- 
machus or some other might say of justice and injustice, 
inverting their powers, against my own opinion. But as I 
(for I want to conceal nothing from you) am desirous of 
hearing you on the oplposite side, 1 have spoken as well as 


I was able, taking the contrary view. Do not, therefore, only 
show us in your reasoning that justice is better than injustice; 
but in what manner as regards the mind, one of them is 
evil, and the other good. And do not notice the opinion 
men have of either, as Glauco likewise enjoined : for, if you 
notice the false opinions on both sides, and not the true 
ones, we will say you do not commend justice, but the 
appearance of it; nor condemn injustice but the appearance 
of it; 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, and the loss of the weaker. 
Since, therefore, you have acknowledged that justice is among 
the greatest goods, 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, while injustice hurts him. Leave 
others to commend the rewards and opinions; for I could 
bear with others in this way, commending justice, and con- 
demning injustice, since they only celebrate and revile the 
opinions and rewards of them; 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 
also show us what is the effect that each has on its possessor 
(whether he be concealed or not from Gods and men), by 
which the one becomes a blessing and the other an evil. 

Much as I have always been pleased with the talents of 
Glauco and Adimantus, at that time I was perfectly delighted ; 
and I replied: It was not ill said concerning you, sons of that 
worthy man, by the lover of Glauco, in the beginning of his 
Elegies, when, celebrating your behaviour at the battle of 
Megara, he sang, 

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


This, friends, 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, when you 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, accord- 
ing 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 what assist- 
ance I have to give (for I seem to be unable to do anything 
since you do not accept 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 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 advantages. I then said what I felt : That the 
inquiry we were attempting was not contemptible, but required 
a sharp sight, as I imagined. Since, then, said I, I am 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 discover, that the same letters were 
written on something else in larger characters : it would appear 
eligible, I imagine, first to read these, and thus come to con- 
sider 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 will 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? Yes, 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, con- 
templating the similitude of the greater in the idea of the lesser. 
You seem to me, said he, to be right. If then, said I, we 
contemplate, in our discourse, the growth of a state, shall we 
not perceive the growth of its justice and injustice as well? 
Perhaps, said he. And in this case, were there not ground to 
hope that 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, 
then. We are considering, said Adimantus, and do you no 

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 it is then that because 
each man requires one person for one want, and another for 
another; and each stands in need of many things, there 
assemble into one habitation many companions and assistants ; 
and to this joint-habitation we give the name of city, do we not ? 
Certainly. And they mutually exchange 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, construct a city from the beginning. It is con- 
structed, it seems, because of our natural requirements ? Yes. 
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 necessities of the body ? 
Certainly. So that the smallest possible city must consist of 
four or five men ? It seems so. But, what now ? must each of 
those do his work for them all in common; so that the husband- 
man, as one of them, shall 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 Probably, 
Socrates, this way is more easy than the other. No, certainly, 
said I ; it were absurd. For, whilst you are speaking, I con- 
sider 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 ? Will a man do better if he works in 
many arts, or in one ? 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 treat it as an easy affair. 
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 pro- 
visions we mentioned : for the husbandman, it would seem, will 
not make a plough for himself, if it is to be useful ; nor yet a 
spade, nor other instruments of agriculture: as little will the 
mason ; for he, likewise, needs many things : and in the same 
w^y, the weaver and the shoemaker also. Is it not so? True. 
Joiners, then, and smiths, and other such workmen, being 
admitted into our little city, make it throng. Certainly. But 
still it would be no very great matter, if we give them neatherds 
likewise, and shepherds, and 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 shoe- 
akers, may have hides and wool. Nor yet, said he, would it 

e a very small city, having all these. But, said I, it is almost 
possible to set down such a city in any place as should need 

o importations. U is impossible. It will then certainly want 


others still, who may import from another state those whom it 
needs. It will. And surely if the servant take with him nothing 
which is wanted by these from whom is imported what is needed, 
he will come away without anything. To me it seems so. 
Then the city ought not only to make what is sufficient for 
itself; but such things, and so many, as will recompense for 
those things which they need. It ought. Our city, then, cer- 
tainly wants a great many more husbandmen and other work- 
men ? 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 require 
many others ; such as are skilful in sea affairs. Many others 
truly. But as to the city, how will the inhabitants exchange 
with one another the things which they have each of them 
worked ; and for the sake of which, forming a community, they 
built a city ? It is plain, said he, by 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, will he not be obliged to desist from 
his work, and to sit there idly? 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. 
Their business is to wait in the market and 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 demand, 
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 ? and 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 comple- 
ment 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 some 
relation of these things to one another. Perhaps, said I, you 
are right. But we must consider it, and not shirk trouble. 
First, then, let us consider after what manner those who are 
thus procured will be supported. I suppose by making bread 
and wine, and clothes, and shoes, and building 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 loaves, 
oiling part and toasting part, and putting fine loaves and 
:akes on mats of straw, or on dried leaves, and resting them- 
elves on couches, strewed with yew and myrtle leaves, they 
nd their children will feast ; drinking wine, and crowned, and 
inging to the Gods, they will pleasantly live together, and not 
egetting children beyond their substance, guarding against 
overty or war. Glauco interrupted and said, You make the 
en feast, it appears, without anything but bread. You say 
ue, said I ; for I forget that they will have other things, 
hey will have salt, and olives, and cheese ; and they will boil 
ulbous roots, and herbs of the field ; and we set before them 
esserts of figs, and vetches, and beans ; and they will toast at 
e fire myrtle berries, and the berries of the beech-tree ; drink- 
g in moderation, and thus passing their life in peace and 
ealth ; and dying, in old age, they will leave to their children 
nother life, like their own. If you had been making, Socrates, 
id he, a city of hogs, what else would you have fed them 
ith but with these things? But what else should we do, 
lauco? said I. What is usually done, said he. They must, 
imagine, have their beds, and tables, and meats, and desserts, 

Is we now have, if they are not to be miserable. Be it so, said 
; I understand you. We are considering, it seems, not only 



how a city, but how a luxurious city, may exist; 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. 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 ; painting too, and all 
the curious arts must be set a-going, carving, and gold, and 
ivory- work ; 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 in 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, makers of all sorts of things, including women's 
ornaments, as well as other things. We shall need likewise 
many more servants. Do not you think they will require 
pedagogues, and nurses, and tutors, hair-dressers, barbers, 
victuallers too, and cooks? And further still, we shall want 
swine-herds: of these there were none in the other city (for 
there was no need), but in this we shall want these, and many 
other sorts of cattle likewise, for those who may wish to eat 
them ; shall we not ? Yes. 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 ; will it not ? Yes, 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 then go to war, Glauco, 
or what shall we do ? We shall, certainly, said he. We will 
not say, said I, whether war does evil, or good; but thus much 
only, that we have found the origin of war : from whence, most 
especially, arise the greatest mischiefs to states, both private 
and public. Yes, indeed. We shall need, then, friend, still 
a larger city; not for a small, but for a large army, who, 
in going out, may fight with those who attack them, in 
defence of their own substance, and that of all those 
we have lately 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 remember, that it was impossible for one to perform 
many arts well. You are right, 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 

rt of shoemaking than of the art of making war ? By no 
cans. But we charged the shoemaker neither to undertake 

t the same time to be a husbandman, nor a weaver, nor a 
ason, but a shoemaker; that the work of that art may be 

one for us well' and, in like manner, we allotted to every one 

f the rest one thing, to which the genius of each led him, and 
what each took care of, freed from other things, to do it well, 
applying to it the whole of his life, and not neglecting the 

teasons of working. And now, as to the affairs of war, is it not 
f the greatest importance, that they be well performed ? Or, 
> this so easy a thing, that one may be a soldier and also a 
^usbandman, a 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 military service, 
although the taking up of another instrument will not 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 ? Such instruments, said he, 


would truly be very valuable. In proportion then, said I, to the 
importance of this work of guarding the city, it should require 
the greatest leisure from other things, and likewise the greatest 
art and study. I imagine so, replied he. And will it not like- 
wise require a natural genius for this profession ? Yes. It will 
be our business, then, it seems, to choose the kind of genius 
that is best for the guardianship of the city. Yes. 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 dog differs in point of guardianship from that of 
a generous youth? What is it you say? It is this. Must not 
each of them be acute in perception, 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 fight well ? Yes. But 
will any one 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 irresistible and invincible ; and when it is present 
every soul is, in respect of all things, fearless and unconquer- 
able ? 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 to- 
wards one another and the other citizens, being of such a temper ? 
No 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 anticipate them, and do it themselves. 
True, said he. What then, said I, shall we do ? Where shall 
we find, at once, a gentle and a spirited temper ? For the mild 
disposition is opposite to the spirited. It appears so. But, 
however, if he be deprived of either of these, he cannot be 
a good guardian ; and as the combination seems impossible ; so 
it appears, that a good guardian is an impossible thing. It 
seems so, said he. I was then at a loss, but after considering 
what had passed: Justly, said I, friend, are we in doubt \ for 


we have departed from that image which we first established. 
How say you ? Have we not observed, that there are truly such 
tempers, though we thought there were none which have 
these opposite qualities ? Where are they to be found ? One 
may see it in several 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 
their friends and their acquaintance, but the reverse to those 
they know not. It is so. This then, said I, is possible; and 
it is not unnatural 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 
understand you. This likewise, said I, you will observe in 
the dogs ; and it is worthy of admiration in the brute. 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 this, is plain. But, indeed, this affection of his nature 
seems to be an excellent disposition, and truly philosophical ? 
How? Because, 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 learning, which distinguishes what 
is friendly and what is foreign, by knowledge and ignorance ? 
It can in 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 lay 
down, That in man too, if any one is to be of a mild 
disposition towards his friends and acquaintance, he must 
be a philosopher and a lover of learning ? Yes, said he. 
He then who is to be a good and worthy guardian for us, 
of the city, shall be of a philosophic disposition, spirited, 
and swift, and strong. By all means, said he. Let then our 
guardian, said I, be such n one. But in what manner shall 


we educate them, and instruct them ? And will the considera- 
tion of this be of any assistance in perceiving that for the sake 
of which we consider everything else, namely, In what manner 
justice and injustice arise in the city. For we should not omit 
a necessary part of the discourse ; nor consider what is super- 
fluous. The brother of Glauco said : I, for my part, expert 
that this inquiry will be of assistance. Then, said I, friend 
Adimantus, we must not omit it, 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, 
describe the education of these men. It must be done. What 
then is the education ? Is it not 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 ? Why not ? 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 fables they 
make must be chosen ; and those that 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 greater part of what they tell them at present 
must be rejected. What are they ? 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 you not 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 

Eou mean, and what is it you blame in them ? That, said 
which first of all and most especially ought to be blamed, 
hen the falsity has no beauty. What is that ? When one, 
i his composition, gives ill representations of the nature of 
uods 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, that poet created an ugly story, the 
greatest of lies, on a matter of the greatest importance, who told 
how Uranus did what Hesiod says he did ; and then again how 
Cronos punished him, and what Cronos 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, 1 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, Adi- 
mantus, 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 brutally punishes the crimes of his 
father ; but that he does what was done by the first and the 
greatest of the Gods. No truly, said he, these things do not 
1 The usual sacrifice at the Mysteries. See page 41. 


seem to me proper to be said. Nor, 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 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 when they are children, by the old men and 
women, and by those well advanced in life ; and the poets are 
to be obliged to compose agreeably to these things. But the 
tales of Here being fettered by her son, and Hephaestus being 
hurled from heaven by his father for going to assist his mother 
when beaten, and all those battles of the Gods which Homer has 
written, must not be admitted into the city ; whether they be 
composed in the way of allegory, or not ; for the young person 
is not able to judge what is allegory and what is not : and what- 
ever opinions he receives at such an age are with difficulty 
washed away, and are generally indelible. On these accounts, 
one would imagine, that, of all things, we should endeavour that 
what children first hear be composed in the best manner for 
exciting them to virtue. There is reason for it, said he. But, 
if any one now should ask us what these tales and fables are, 
what should we say ? And I said : Adimantus, you and I are 
not poets at present, but founders of a city ; and it is the duty 
of 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 is not our duty to compose 
the 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 always to be represented such as he is, 
whether one represent him in epic, in lyric, or in dramatic 
poetry. 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 ? But what ? 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 it is not the cause of those things 
which are in a wrong. Entirely 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 ; but of the 
many evil things he is not the cause ; for our good things are 
much fewer than our evil : and no other than God is the cause 

Ef our good things ; but of our evils we must not make God the 
ause, but seek for some other. You seem to me, said he, to 
peak well. We must not, then, said I, either admit Homer or 
ny 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 both, 
By good and ill alternately is rul'd. 
But he whose portion is unmingled ill, 
O'er sacred earth by famine dire is driv'n." 1 

or that Zeus is the dispenser of our good and evil. Nor, if 
ny one say that the violation of oaths and treaties by Pandarus 
was effected by Athene and Zeus, shall we commend it. Nor 
:hat dissension and strife among the Gods were instigated by 
Themis and Zeus. Nor yet must we suffer the youth to hear 
what ^Eschylus says ; how 

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

But, if any one compose poems like this from which these lines 
are taken, about the sufferings of Niobe, of the Pelopides, 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, they 

1 Homer, lliad^ xxiv. 527. 


must find that reason for them which we now require, and must 
say that God did what was just and good ; and that the sufferers 
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 sanctity to be told, nor profitable to us, 
nor consistent with themselves. I vote along with you, said he, 
for this law, which 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 only. Yes, indeed, said he, it is necessary. But 
what as to 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 
appearance into many shapes; sometimes deceiving us, and 
making us conceive false opinions of him ? Or, do you conceive 
him to be simple, and not in the least likely to depart from his 
proper form ? I cannot, at once replied he, answer you. Then 
tell me this. If anything be changed from its proper form, is 
there not a necessity that it be changed either by itself, or 
by another ? Undoubtedly. 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? 
Certainly. And as to the soul itself, will not any perturbation 
from without, least of all disorder and change the soul that is 
most brave and wise ? Yes. And surely, somehow, 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. Everything 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 everything belonging 
to divinity, are in the best state. Yes. 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 
re right, said I. And this being so; do you imagine, Adiman- 
is, that any one, whether God or man, would willingly make 
limself in any way worse? It is impossible, said he. It is 
ipossible then, said I, for a God to desire to change himself; 
>ut each of them, being most beautiful and excellent, continues 
Iways, and without variation in his own form. This appears 
to me, said he, to be wholly so. 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." * 

[or let any one belie Proteus and Thetis. Nor bring in Here, 
tragedies or other poems, as having transformed herself into 
priestess, and collected " alms for the life-sustaining sons of 
[nachus 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," 

hat they may not, at one and the same time, blaspheme against 
;he Gods, and render their children timid. By no means, said 

1 Homer, Odyssey, xvii. 485, 


he. But do the Gods, said I, though in themselves they never 
change, yet make us imagine they appear in various forms, 
deceiving us, and playing at magic ? Perhaps, said he. But, 
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 an actual fraud, if we may use the phrase, is 
abhorred both by Gbds and men ? What do you mean ? replied 
he. This, said I : That to defraud the principal part of oneself, 
and one's principal interests, is what none willingly inclines to 
do ; but every one is most afraid of a fraud in that particular 
place. As yet, said he, I do not understand you. Because, 
said I, you think I am saying something mysterious : but I am 
simply saying, that to defraud the soul concerning realities, and 
to be so defrauded, and to be ignorant, and in the soul to have 
obtained and to keep up a fraud, is what every one would least 
of all choose ; for a fraud on the soul is what men especially 
hate. Especially, said he. But this, as I was now saying, 
might most justly be called a true fraud ignorance in the soul 
of the defrauded person : since a fraud in words is but a kind of 
imitation of what the soul feels ; 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. 

Again, with respect to the cheat in words, when is it some- 
what useful, and not deserving hatred? Is it not when 
employed towards our enemies ; or even those called our 
friends ; when in madness, or other distemper, they 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, 
we treat the lie as resembling the truth, and so render it as 
useful as possible. It is, said he, perfectly so. In which then, 
of these cases, is a lie useful to God ? Will he lie so that his lie 
resembles the truth, because he is ignorant of ancient things ? 
That were ridiculous, said he. In God then is no place for the 
lies of a poet ? I do not think so. But will he lie through fear 
of his enemies ? Far from it. Or on account of the folly or 




madness of his friends ? No, said he, none of the foolish and 
mad are the friends of God. There is then no occasion at all 
for God to lie. There is none. The divine and godlike nature 
then, in all respects, without a lie ? Altogether, said he. 

od, then, is simple and true, both in word and deed ; neither 
is he changed himself, nor does he deceive others, either by 
visions, or by discourse, or by the sending of signs; whether 
when we are awake, or 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 neither change 

emselves like wizards, nor mislead us by lies, either in word 
r deed ? I agree. Whilst then we commend many other 

ings in Homer, this we shall not commend, the dream sent 
Zeus to Agamemnon ; neither shall we commend yEschylus, 

hen he makes Thetis say that Apollo had sung at her mar- 
riage, that 

" A comely offspring she should raise, 
From sickness free, of lengthen'd days : 
Apollo, singing all my fate, 
And praising high my Godlike state, 
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 give him a chorus ] : nor shall 
re suffer teachers to make use of such things in the education 
the young; if our guardians are to be pious, and divine men, 
is far as it is possible for man to be. I agree with you, said he, 

irfectly, as to these models ; and we may use them as laws. 

J /.e., produce his play. 



THESE things, then, and such as these, are, it seems, what 
are to be heard, or not heard, concerning the Gods, from 
childhood, by those who are to honour the Gods and their 
parents, and who are not to despise friendship with one 
another. I imagine, replied he, that this appears so. 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 enough whilst he has this fear 
within him ? Not I, truly, said he. But do you think that 
any one can be without fear of death, whilst he imagines 
that there is Hades, and that it 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 like- 
wise 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 : 

" I'd rather, as a rustic slave, submit 
To some mean man, who had but scanty fare, 
Than govern all the wretched shades below." 
And, that 

" 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 owls fly screaming ; if one chance to fall 
Down from the rock, they all confus'dly fly; 
So these together howling went." 1 

We shall request Homer and the other poets not to be 
indignant if we erase 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. Further, are 
not all the dreadful and frightful names of these things 
likewise to be rejected? Cocytus, and Styx, infernals and 
anatomies, 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 com- 
panion he is ? We say so. Neither then will he lament over 

im, at least, as if his friend suffered something dreadful. No 
ndeed. And we say this likewise, that such an one is most of 

11 sufficient in himself, for the purpose of living happily, and 

1 Quotations from the Odyssey and Iliad* 


that he is distinguished from others because he is least of all 
dependent on things outside him. 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 (and those of 
the better sort), and to such of the men as are dastardly; 
so that 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 grov'ling ; rising then again, 
Lamenting wander'd on the barren shore." 
Nor how 

"... With both his hands 
He pour'd 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 
A 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 : 

" 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, must I love." 


For, if, friend Adimantus, our youth should serioasly hear such 
things as these, and not laugh at them as spoken most unsuit- 
ably, hardly would any one think it unworthy of himself, as a 
man, or rebuke himself, if he should happen either to say or to 
do anything of the kind; but, without shame or endurance, 
would, on small sufferings, sing many lamentations and moans. 
You are right, replied he. They must not, therefore, 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 includes a violent re- 
action. 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: 

"Vulcan ministrant when the Gods beheld, 
Amidst them laughter unextinguish'd 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 more to be valued. 
For, if lately we reasoned right, and if indeed a lie be unprofit- 
able 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, to 
invent 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 offence as, or even a greater 
than, for a 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 indispositions 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 

" . . . of those who artists are, 

Or prophet, or physician, or who make 

The shafts of spears, ..." 

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. But 
what ? 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, feast- 
ing, and venereal pleasures. And we shall say, I imagine, that 
such things as these are well spoken, which Diomed says in 

" 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 a dog's face, and the heart of a deer;" and all 
of this kind, are these, or such other juvenile things, which 
any private person may say against their governors, spoken 
handsomely? Not handsomely. For I do not imagine that 
when they are heard they are likely to promote temperance 
in youth; if they afford a pleasure of a different kind. We 
need not wonder. But what do you think ? In the same way, 
said he. But what of this ? To make the wisest man 1 say, 
that it appears to him to be the most beautiful of all things, 

". . . 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 ? 

1 Odysseus, 


"... 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 Here, 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 was possessed with 
such desire, as exceeded what he felt on their first connection 
with each other, 

Hid from their parents dear. " 

Nor yet how Ares and Aphrodite were bound by Hephaestus, 
and other such things. No, 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 reprov'd his heart : 
Endure, my heart ! thou heavier fate hast borne. " 

I 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 wisdom, in counselling him to accept 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 only for a ransom to give up the 
dead body of Hector. It is not right, said he, to commend 
such things as these. I am unwilling, said I, for Homer's 
sake, to say, That neither is it lawful that these things be 
said against Achilles, nor that they be believed, when said 
by others ; or, again, that he spoke thus to Apollo ; 


" Me thou hast injur'd, thou, far-darting God ! 
Most baneful of the powers divine ! 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 
Spercheius, with his sacred locks, 

" Thy locks to great Patroclus I could 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 slaughter- 
ing the captives at his funeral pile, that all these things 
are untrue, we will not hesitate to 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 Cheiron, was full of such 
disorder as Ito 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 rightly, replied he. Neither, 
said I, let us be persuaded of these things ; nor suffer any to say 
that Theseus the son of Poseidon, and Peirithous the son of 
Zeus, were impelled to perpetrate such dire rapines ; nor that 
any son of a deity, or 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. Yes. 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 the kin of Zeus 


"Who, on the top of Ida, have uprear'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 remaining, 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 the daemons and heroes ; and of 
what relates to Hades. Yes, indeed. Should not that which 
yet remains be concerning men ? It is plain. But it is im- 
possible for us, friend, to regulate this at present. How ? 
Because, I think, we shall say that the poets and orators 
speak amiss concerning the greatest affairs of men : as, That 
most men are unjust, and, notwithstanding this, are happy; 
and that the 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 do, said he. If then you acknowledge 
that I am 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, whenever 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 

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 understand what you say. But, replied I, it is needful 
you should. And perhaps you will rather understand it in this 
way. Is not everything 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 under- 
stand more plainly. I seem, said I, to be a ridiculous and 
obscure instructor. Therefore, like those who are unable to 
speak, I will endeavour to explain, not the whole, but I will 
take up a particular part, by which I can show my meaning. 
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'd; 
But chief the two commanders, Atreus' sons ; " 

the poet himself speaks, and does not attempt to divert our 
attention elsewhere; as if 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. Is it not then narration, when he tells the 
several speeches ? and likewise when he tells what intervenes 
between the speeches ? Yes. 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 whom he intro- 
duces as speaking ? We do say so. And is not the assimilating 
one's self to another, either in voice or figure, the imitating him 
to whom one assimilates himself? Why not ? In such a manner 
as this, then, it seems, both he and the other poets perform the 
narrative by means of imitation. 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 ; and 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 per- 
fectly 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 dithyrambic poetry : and another poet will use both ; as 
in epic poetry, and in many other cases besides, if you under- 
stand me. I understand now, replied he, what you meant 
before. You remember 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. 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 con- 
jecture, said he, you are to consider whether we shall receive 
tragedy and comedy into our city or not. Perhaps, replied I, 
and something more too; for I do not as yet know, indeed, but 
wherever our reasoning, like 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 imita- 
tion or not. Or does it follow from what went before, 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. 

Certainly, it does. And is not the reason the same concern- 
ing 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 truly, 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 shut up within still smaller bounds than these ; so that it 
is unable to imitate handsomely many things, or do these 
very things, of which even the imitations are resemblances. 
Most true, said he. If therefore we are to hold to our first 
reasoning, that our guardians, if unoccupied in any manu- 
facture whatever, ought to be the best protectors 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 anything else; but, if they shall imitate at all, 
to imitate immediately from their childhood whatever is proper 
to their profession ; brave, temperate, holy, free men, and the 
like ; 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, whether there 
be gestures or tones of the voice or modes of thinking ? 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 imagined herself happy ; nor yet to imitate her in 
her misfortunes, sorrows, and lamentations, when sick, or in 
love, or in child-bed. 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 either. Nor yet 
o imitate depraved men, it seems, such as are dastardly, and 
o the contrary of what we have now been mentioning ; reviling 
,nd railing at one another; and speaking abominable things, 
either intoxicated or sober, or any other things such as persons 
f 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. 
The mad and wicked must be known, both the men and the 
women ; but none of their actions are to be done, or imitated. 
Most true, said he. But what ? said I, are they to imitate 
such as work in brass, or any other handicrafts, or such as 
are employed in rowing boats, or such as command these ; 
or anything 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 ? But 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 under- 


stand, 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 
when he imitates a good man acting prudently and without 
error, one who seldom, and but little, through diseases, or love, 
intoxication, or any other misfortune. But when he comes to 
anything 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 to do so, both as he 
is unpractised in the imitation of such characters as these, and 
likewise as he is unwilling to degrade himself and stand among 
the models of baser characters, disdaining it from intelligence, 
or doing it only for amusement. It is likely, said he. He will 
not then make use of such a narrative as we lately mentioned, 
with reference to the compositions of Homer: but his composi- 
tion 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. Do I seem to be right or entirely wrong? 

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 everything whatever ; and not think 
anything unworthy of him ? so that he will undertake to imitate 
everything in earnest, and likewise in the presence of many; 
and such things also as we now mentioned ; thunderings, and 
noises of winds and tempests, of axles, and wheels, and trumpets, 
and pipes, and whistles, the sounds of all manner of instruments, 
the voices of dogs, and of sheep, and of birds. And his whole 
style will consist in the expression of these things, by imitation 
of voices and gestures, having 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 small variations ? And if the orator 
afford the becoming harmony and rhythm to the diction, where 
he speaks with propriety, the discourse will be almost after one 
and the same manner, and in one harmony; for the variations 
are but small, and in a measure which accordingly is 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 rhythm, 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. 
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 i's 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 
government, 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 everything, and to imitate everything, should come int( 
our city, and should wish to show us his poems, we shouk 
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 tc 
some other city, pouring oil on his head, and crowning him with 
wool : but we should 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 said what is to be spoken, and in 
what manner. It appears so to me likewise, said he. 

Does it not yet remain, said I, for us to speak of the manner 
of song, and of melodies? It is plain. May not any one dis- 
cover what we must say of these things ; and of what kind these 
things ought to be, if we are to be consistent with what is above 
mentioned ? Here Glauco, laughing, said : Then I appear, 
Socrates, to be no one, for I am not able at present to guess at 
what we ought to say: though perhaps I suspect. You are 
certainly, said I, fully able to say this in the first place, that 
song is composed of three things; the words, the harmony, and 
the rhythm. Yes, replied he, this I can say. And that the 
words differ in nothing from the words which are not sung, in 
the respect, that they ought to be upon the same models we 
spoke of just now, and in the same manner. True, said he. 
And surely, then, the harmony and rhythm ought to correspond 
to the words. Why not. But we observed there was no occasion 
for wailings and lamentations in compositions. No occasion, 

Which then are the sad harmonies ? Tell me, for you are 
a musician. The mixed Lydian, replied he, and the Hyper- 
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 worthy, and much more to men. Certainly. But 
intoxication is most unbecoming our guardians ; and effeminacy 
and idleness. Yes. Which then are the effeminate and con- 
vivial 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. Then, it 
seems, you have only yet remaining the Doric, and the Phrygian. 
1 do not know, said I, the harmonies; but leave me 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 bearing his fortune in a de- 
terminate and persevering manner, when he fails of success, 
who rushes on wounds, or death, or falls into any other distress ; 
and leave me that kind of harmony likewise which is suited to 
what is peaceable ; where there is no violence, but everything is 
voluntary ; where a man either persuades or beseeches any one, 
about anything, 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, acts according to intellect, and does not behave 
haughtily ; demeaning himself soberly and moderately ; gladly 
embracing whatever may happen : leave then these two har- 
onies, the vehement and the calm ; which, in the best manner, 
itate the voice of the unfortunate and of the fortunate, of the 
oderate and of the brave. You desire me, replied he, to leave 
ou nothing else but those I now mentioned. We shall not 
en, said I, have any need of a great many strings, nor of a 
nharmonion in our songs and melodies. It appears not, 
plied he. We shall not nourish, then, such workmen as make 
arps and spinets, 1 and all those instruments which consist of 
any strings, and produce a variety of harmony. We shall not, 
appears. But what? Will you admit into your city such 
orkmen as make pipes, or pipers ? for, are not the instruments 
hich consist of the greatest number of strings, and those that 
reduce all kinds of harmony, imitations of the pipe ? It is 
lain, replied he. There are left you still, said I, the lyre and 
.he zither, as useful for your city, and there might likewise be 
some 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 instru- 
ments of that eminent musician. Truly, replied he, we do not. 

1 It is not easy to translate the terms of Greek music. The word 
"harmony," it will be seen, does not correspond with the modern sense 
of it. I leave Taylor's anachronistic "spinet," in default of a better 


And by the dog, said I, we have unawares cleansed our city, 
which we said was become luxurious. And we have wisely done, 
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 J and the melody subservient to the sentiment of such a 
life ; and not the sentiment subservient to the foot and melody. 

But what these rhythms are, is your business to tell, as you 
have done the harmonies. But by Zeus, replied he, I cannot 
tell. That there are three kinds into which all movements fall, 
as there are four in sounds, into which fall all harmonies, I can 
say, as I have observed it : but which kinds of rhythm 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 movements are suitable to illiberality 
and insolence, to madness, or other ill disposition ; and what are 
proper for their opposites. And I remember, but not distinctly, 
to have heard him speaking of a certain complex warlike 
rhythm, of another that was dactylic, and another heroic; 
arranging them, I do not know how, making foot balance foot 
in its rise and fall, some syllables being short and some long : 
and he called one fcot, I believe, an iambus, and another a 
trochee, affixing to them long or short marks ; and, in some of 
these, I believe, he blamed or commended the measure of 
the foot, no less than the rhythm itself, or something com- 
pounded 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 admit this, that grace or clumsiness go with good 
or ill rhythms ? Yes. But, with respect to the good or 
ill rhythm, the good comes from a good style, conforming 
itself to it: and the other from the reverse. And, in the 

1 The metrical foot, that is, and not the foot which is wont to beat 
time on the ground to a march, say, of Wagner's. 


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 words to these. These, 
indeed, said he, are to be subservient to the words. But what ? 
said I. Do not the manner of expression, and the words, corre- 
spond with the character of the soul? Yes. And all other 
things correspond to the expression. Yes. So that the beauty 
of expression, fine consonancy, and propriety, and excellence 
of numbers, depend on a good disposition not that stupidity, 
which in complaisant language we call good nature, but the 
moral character, truly adorned with excellent and beautiful 
manners. By all means, replied he. Must not these things 
e always pursued by the youth, if they are to perform their 
ork ? They are indeed. But painting too is somewhat full 
f these things; and every other workmanship of the kind; 
nd weaving is full of these, and carving, and architecture, 
d all workmanship of every kind of vessels : as is more- 
ver the nature of bodies, and of all vegetables: for in all 
hese there is grace and awkwardness ; and the want of grace, 
iscord, and dissonance, are the sisters of a bad style and 
epraved manners ; and their opposites are the sisters and 
mitations of sober and worthy manners. 'Tis entirely so, 
eplied he. Are we then to give injunctions to the poets 
one, and oblige them to work into their poems the image 
f the worthy manners, or not to compose at all with us ? or 
re we to enjoin all other workmen likewise; and forbid this 
1, undisciplined, illiberal, ungraceful manner, and allow them 
exhibit it neither in the representations of animals, in build- 
gs, nor in any other workmanship, and, he who is not able 
o 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, a great mass 
of evil in their souls. 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 graceful . that our youth, dwell- 
ing 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 by a breeze bringing health from 
salutary lands ; imperceptibly leading them on directly from 
childhood, to the resemblance, friendship, and harmony with 
right reason. They should thus, said he, be educated. 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 upright- 
ness, and making every one upright 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 workmanship is defective, and what- 
ever execution is bad, or whatever productions are of that kind; 
and being rightly disgusted, 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 rightly 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 when 
we learnt to read, said I, we were fairly perfect when we were 
not ignorant of the letters, which are but few in number, wher- 
ever they were in the words ; and when we did not despise them 
more or less as unnecessary to be observed, but by all means 
endeavoured to distinguish them, as it was impossible for us 
to be scholars till we did thus. True. And if the images of 
letters appeared anywhere, either in water or in mirrors, 
should we know them before we knew the letters themselves, 
since the understanding of the reflections and the originals 
belongs to the same art and study? By no means. Is it 
indeed then according as I say, that we shall never become 
musicians, either we ourselves, or 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 everywhere 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 let us believe that this belongs to the 
same art and study. There is, said he, great necessity for it. 
Can there be then, said I, to any one who has eyes to see, 
anything more beautiful than the sight of a man whose beauty 
of soul is combined with outward beauty of form, the latter 
corresponding and harmonising with the former because it 
>artakes of the same impression ? Nothing. But what is 
ost beautiful is most lovely ? Yes. Then he who is musical 
ill surely love those men who are most eminently of this kind ; 
ut if one be inharmonious he will not love him. He will 
not, replied he, if the person be in any way defective as to 
is soul: if indeed the defect were in his body, he would 
bear with it, so as to be willing to associate with him. I 
understand, said I, that your favourite is or was of this kind; 
so I agree to it. But tell me this, Is there any communion 
between temperance and excessive pleasure ? How can there, 
aid he, for such pleasure causes a privation of intellect no less 
han pain. But has it communion with any other virtue ? By 
o means. But what has it in common with insolence and 
ntemperance? Everything. Can you mention a greater and 
more acute pleasure than that respecting indulgence in love? 
cannot, said he, nor yet one that is more insane. But the 
est love is of such a nature as to love the beautiful, and the 
emperate, in a temperate and harmonious manner ? Certainly. 
Nothing then which is insane, or allied to intemperance, is 
to approach the best love. 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 
may love, and converse, and associate with the object of his 
love, and embrace him as a son, for the sake of his beauty, 



if he gain consent : and in other ways, that every one so con- 
verse with him whose love he solicits, as never to appear to 
associate with him for anything beyond what is now mentioned ; 
and that otherwise he shall undergo the reproach of being un- 
musical, 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. 
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 con- 
sider. For it does not appear to me that whatever body is 
found, doth, by its own virtue, render the soul good ; but con- 
trariwise, that a good soul, by its virtue, renders the body as 
perfect as may be: but how does it appear to you? In the 
same manner to me likewise, replied he. If, then, we have 
sufficiently cultivated the dianoetic [thinking] part, we shall 
commit to it the accurate management of the concerns of the 
body ; shall not we, as we are only laying down models (that we 
may not be too long), 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 habit of the wrestlers be proper for such as these ? 
Probably. But, said I, it is a drowsy kind of regimen, 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 precarious 
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 ? What do you mean ? 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, 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 everywhere more 
easily make use of fire, than carry vessels about. Yes, indeed. 
Neither does Homer, as I imagine, anywhere 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 like- 
wise of those delicacies, as they are reckoned, of Attic confec- 
tions. Of necessity. As to feeding and dieting of this kind, 
if we compare it to the melody and song produced in the 
panharmonion, and in all rhythms, shall not the comparison be 
just ? Yes. And does not diversity in music create intemper- 
ance, and in gymnastic disease, while simplicity in music creates 
in the soul temperance ; and, in gymnastic, health in the body. 
Most true, said he. And when intemperance 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 esteem, when many well-born persons earnestly 
apply themselves to them ? Certainly. 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 only 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 lakes ; obliging the skilful sons of 
./Escuiapius to invent new names for diseases, such as dropsies 
and catarrhs. Do not you 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 .^sculapius : 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 in- 
flammatory); the sons of-^sculapius 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 ^Esculapius did not, before the days of 
Herodicus, practise this method of cure now in use, which puts 
the patient on a regimen : but one Herodicus who was a teacher 
of youth, and at the same time infirm in his health, mixing 
gymnastic and medicine together, 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 him- 
self; though, neglecting everything besides, he was still using 
medicines ; and thus he passed his life, still in the greatest un- 
easiness if he departed in the least from his accustomed 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 I Such as 
became one, said I, who did not understand that it was not from 
ignorance or inexperience of this method of cure that ^sculapius 
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 well 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 burning 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 has a certain business, which if he does not perform, 
it is not for his advantage to live ? It 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 as soon as he has enough whereon to live, to 

practise virtue. I think so, replied he, and before that, too. 

Let us by no means, said I, differ from him in this. But let 

us inform ourselves whether attention to virtue be the business 

of the rich ; so that their life is not worth keeping, if they do 

not give this attention ; or if such a life of valetudinarianism, 

though indeed a hindrance of the mind's application to 

masonry and other arts, yet is no hindrance with respect 

to the exhortation of Phocylides. Yes, by Zeus, said he, it 

is, and that in the greatest degree when 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 always 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 

vEsculapius too understood these things, when to persons of 

a healthful constitution, and such as used a wholesome diet, 

but were afflicted by some particular disease, to these and 

to such a constitution he prescribed medicine, repelling their 

diseases by drugs and incisions, and enjoined them their 

accustomed diet, 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 ./Esculapius, said he, a politician. It is plain, 

said I. And his sons may show that he was so. Or do you 


not see, that at Troy they excelled in war, and likewise 
practised medicine in the way I mention ? Or do not you 
remember, that when Menelaus was wounded by Pandarus, 


" Wash'cl off the blood, and soft'ning drugs applied?' 

But, as to what was necessary for him to eat or drink after- 
wards, 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 diet, whatever mixture they happened to have drunk at 
that time. But they judged, that to have a diseased con- 
stitution, and to live an intemperate life, was neither profit- 
able 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 ^sculapius truly ingenious. It 
is proper, replied I ; though in opposition to us the writers 
of tragedy, and Pindar, call indeed ^Esculapius the son of 
Apollo, but say that he was prevailed on by gold to raise to 
life a rich man, who was already dead ; for which, truly, he 
was struck with a thunderbolt : but we, agreeably to what 
has been formerly said, will not believe tliem 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 as have been 
conversant with the greatest number of healthy and of sickly 
people? just as the best judges will be those who have been 
conversant with all sorts of dispositions ? Yes, said I, I should 
choose 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 differ- 
ent things. 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 


cases, and these of the worst kind; and laboured themselves 
under all manner of diseases, and by natural constitution were 
not quite healthful ; for it is not by their own bodies, 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 mind ; 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 mind by the mind ; which, if from 
its childhood it has been educated among depraved minds, 
and has been conversant with them, and has itself done all 
manner of evil, 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 is 
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 them- 
selves dispositions similar to those of the wicked. And this, 
said he, they do 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 knowledge 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 clever 
and suspicious man, who has committed much iniquity himself, 
when indeed he converses with his like, being thought 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 being 
more frequently conversant with the wicked than with the wise, 
he appears, both to himself and others, to be more wise, rather 



than more 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 vice can never at 
all know both itself and virtue. 

But virtue, where the temper is instructed by time, shall attain 
both to the knowledge of itself and depravity. The virtuous 
man, then, and not the wicked, 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 care- 

"ully preserve for you those of your citizens who are naturally 
well disposed both in mind and in body ? and those who are 
otherwise 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 

ppeared to be best, both for those who suffer it, and for the 

ity. And it is plain, said I, that your youth will not need this 
justiciary, whilst they are employed in that simple music which, 
we say, generates temperance. Certainly not, said he. And, 

ccording 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 looking to the spirited part of his nature, and exciting it 
by labour, than attempting to gain strength ; and not as the 
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, do not 
propose these things 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 

oth chiefly on the soul's account. How ? Do you not perceive, 
said I, how those are affected as to their intellectual part, who 
have all their life been conversant with gymnastic, and have 
never applied themselves 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 rusticity, said I, and fierceness, and again 


of softness and mildness. I know, said he, that those who 
apply themselves immoderately to gymnastic, become more 
rustic 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 rusticity, at least, may impart spirited nature, 
which, when rightly disciplined, may become fortitude; but, 
when carried further than is becoming, will probably be fierce 
and troublesome. So it appears to me, said he. But what? 
does not the philosophic temper partake of gentleness? And 
when this disposition is carried too far, may it not prove 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 ? Why not ? 
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 irascible, tempers it 
like steel, and, from being useless and fierce, renders it profit- 
able. But when still persisting he does not desist, but enchants 
his soul, after this, it melts and dissolves him, till it liquefies his 
anger, and cuts out, as it were, the nerves of his soul, and 
renders him an effeminate warrior. It is certainly so, said he. 
And if, said I, he had from the beginning a temper void of 
irascibility, this he quickly effectuates; but, if irascible, he 
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 irascible, they become outrageous and passionate, 
and full of the morose. So indeed it happens. But what now ? 
If he 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 
prudence and courage, and become more brave than he was 


before ? Certainly so. But when he does nothing else, nor 
participates in anything which is musical, though there were 
any love of learning in his soul, yet as it neither tastes of any 
study, nor bears a share in any inquiry nor reasoning, nor any- 
thing which is musical, .must it not become feeble, and deaf, and 
blind, since 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 anything by reasoning, but is carried to every- 
thing by force and savageness, as a wild beast ; and lives in 
ignorance and barbarity, out of symmetry, and unpolished. It 
s, said he, entirely so. In order then to correct these two 
empers, I would say, that some God has given men two arts, 
hose of music and gymnastic, with reference to the spirited and 
he philosophic temper ; not for the soul and body, separately, 
xcept as a by-work, but for that other purpose, that those two 
tempers may be adapted to one another ; being stretched and 
slackened (like strings) as far as is fit. So indeed it appears. 
Whoever then shall in the best way 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 so than the man who tunes the 
strings of a lyre. 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 fairly manifest 
that these will naturally follow, 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 deter- 
mined 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 husband- 
men 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 choose the 
prudent, and able, and those careful likewise of the city ? We 
must do so. But one would seem to be most 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 appear to us, on observation, to do with the 
greatest cheerfulness, through the whole of life, whatever 
they think advantageous for the state, and what appears to 
be disadvantageous will not do by any means. 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 inconsiderately throw away this opinion, that they 
ought to do what is best for the state. What throwing away 
do you mean? said he. I will tell you, said I. An opinion 
seems 'to me to depart from the mind voluntarily or involun- 
tarily. 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 ? And is it not an evil 
to deviate from the truth, and a good thing to form a true 
opinion ? And does it not appear to you, that to conceive of 
things as they really are, is to form a true opinion ? You say 
rightly indeed, replied he They do seem to me to be deprived 
unwillingly of true opinion. Do they not then suffer this, either 
through theft, enchantment, or force ? I do not now, said he, 
understand you. I seem, said I, to speak theatrically. 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 rightly. And those, 
I imagine, you will say, are enchanted out of their opinions, 
who change them, being bewitched by pleasure, or seduced 
by fear, being afraid of something. It seems, said he, that 
everything magically beguiles which deceives us. That then 
which I was now mentioning must be sought for : who are the 
best guardians of this opinion; that that may be done which 
best for the state : and they must be observed immediately 
rom their childhood, setting before them such pieces of work 
which they may most readily forget a thing of this kind, 
md be deluded ; and he who is mindful, and hard to be 
leluded, 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 
mie things. Right, said he. Must we not, said I, appoint 
lem a third contest, that of the enchanting kind ; and observe 
them as those do, who, when they lead on young horses against 
loises and tumults, observe whether they are frightened ? So 
mst they, whilst young, be led into dreadful things, and 
igain be thrown into pleasures, trying them more than gold 
in the fire, whether one is hard to be beguiled with mountebank 
ricks, and appears composed amidst all, being a good guardian 
)f 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 advan- 
tage 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 
rtien 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, in outline, and not accurately detailed. 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 refer- 
ence to enemies abroad, and to friends at home ; so 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 fiction, said 
I, may we contrive in the way of those lies, which are made 
on occasion, and of which we were lately speaking, saying 
that it is an ingenious task, in making lies, to persuade 
the governors themselves; or, if not these, the rest of the 
state ? What sort do you mean ? Nothing new, said I, but 
a Phoenician story, which has frequently happened heretofore, 
as the poets tell us, and have persuaded men, but which has 
not happened in our times, nor do I know if ever it shall 
happen : and to obtain credit for it requires a subtile persuasion. 
How like you are, said he, to one who is averse to speak ! I 
ohall 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 expres- 
sions, I shall tell it. 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; and that they were in truth at 
that time being formed and educated within the earth ; 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 
were 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. There- 
fore, as you are all of the same kind, you for the most part 
resemble one another: yet it sometimes happens, that of a 
gold parent is generated a silver child, and of a silver parent 
a golden descendant ; and thus in every different way are they 
generated of one another. The governors then receive this in 
charge, first and above all, from the Gods, that of nothing are 
they to be so good guardians, nor are they so strongly to keep 
watch over anything, as over their children ; to know which of 
those principles is mixed in their souls ; and if a descendant of 
theirs 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 
husbandmen. And if again any from among these shall be born 
of a golden or silver kind, they shall pay them honour, and 
refer them; those to the guardianship, and these to the 
.uxiliary rank : it being pronounced by an oracle, that the state 

to perish when iron or brass shall have the guardianship of it. 

ave you now any contrivance to persuade them of this fable ? 
None, said he, to persuade the present race of men ; 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 think I understand what you say. Still we will 
let the fiction go the same way as the oracle. 

But let us, having armed these earth-born sons, lead them 
forwards under their leaders ; and when they are come to 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, 
what are they to do ? Just so, said he. Shall the tents not be 
such as may be sufficient to defend them, both from winter and 
summer ? Why not ? for you seem, said he, to mean houses. 
Yes, said I, but military ones; not such as are costly. 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, that 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, certainly. 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 with the best safeguards, if they were 
really well educated? But they are so, replied he. I said: It 
is not worth while to affirm that confidently now, friend Glauco ; 
but it is to maintain what 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 understanding would say, that their houses, and all their 
other substance, 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. They will say truly. 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 storehouse, 
into which whoever inclines may not enter : as for necessaries, 
let them be such as temperate and brave warriors may require ; 
and as they are instituted by the other citizens, let them 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 earthy ore, 
and that ever 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 
carry it about with 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 householders and farmers in- 
stead of guardians, and 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, by 
which time they and the rest of the state will be hastening 
speedily to destruction. For all which reasons, said I, let us 
affirm, that our guardians are thus to be constituted with refer- 
ence both to their houses and to other things. And let us 
settle these things by law. Shall we? By all means, said 



ADIMANTUS hereupon replying, What, Socrates, said he, will 
you say in your own defence, if any one shall say that you 
do not make these men quite happy? for, though 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 entertain- 
ments to strangers, and possess what you were now mention- 
ing, gold and silver, and everything 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 women, 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 accusation. But let 
these things too, said he, be charged against them. You 
ask then, what we shall do in our defence? I do. If we 
go on in the same road as before, we shall find, 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 tribe 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 we 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 apologise sufficiently to him 
by saying, Wonderful critic ! do not imagine that we ought to 
paint the eyes so beautifully that they would not appear to be 
eyes; 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 anything but 
guardians : and do not let us array the husbandmen in rich and 
costly robes, and enjoin them to cultivate the ground only 
with a view to pleasure ; nor, in like manner, those who make 
earthenware, lie at their ease by the fire, drinking and feasting, 
neglecting the wheel, and working only so much as they incline: 
nor confer felicity of this nature on every individual, in order to 
render the whole state happy. Do not advise us to act after 
this manner ; since, if we obey you, neither would the husband- 
man really be a husbandman, nor would any other really be of 
any of those professions of which the city is composed. 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, as they alone can confer on the rest 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 ; he who makes the supposed objection 
and is for having them rather as farmers, and as if in a festival- 


meeting, public entertainers, indulging in jollity and not citizens 
of a state, 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, compelling 
these allies and guardians to become the best performers of 
their own particular work ; and we must act towards all others 
in the same manner. And thus as the whole city increases, 
and becomes well constituted, let us allow the several classes 
to participate of as much 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 the 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 still to mind his art ? 
By no means, said he. But will he not become more idle and 
careless than formerly ? Much more so. Will he not then 
become a more unskilful potter ? Much more so, said he. 
And surely, if he is unable through poverty to furnish himself 
with tools, or anything else requisite to his art, his work- 
manship will be more imperfectly executed, and his sons, or 
those others whom he instructs, will be inferior artists. Yes. 
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, if it is possessed of no money, especially 
if it 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 some- 
what difficult ; but to fight against two is a more easy matter. 


How say you ? replied he. First of all, now, said I, 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 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 furthest advanced towards him, 
and strike him, and doing this frequently in the sun and heat ? 
Alight 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 athletes 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 situa- 
tion of the affair, telling them, W T e 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; 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, in that 
you imagine any constitution deserves to be called a state save 
such an one as we have established. Why not ? said he. We 
must give 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 : l for there are always in them two states at war 
with each other, the poor and the rich ; and in each of these 
again there are very many states : which if you treat as one 

1 Referring to a game played with counters and called " Cities." Ii 
is not known what the game was. 


state, you will be mistaken entirely ; but if, as many, and you 
put one part in possession of the goods and power, or even the 
bodies of the others, you shall always have the many for your 
allies, and the few for enemies ; and, so long as your state shall 
continue temperately, 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, though you may find 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 standard 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 anything further? 
What standard? said he. I imagine, said I, this: So long as 
the city, as it increases, 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 that the city be neither small nor great, but 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 rather than great. What is that? said he. Educa- 
tion, 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 republic 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, pro- 
duce 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 to, that it may not, escaping their 
notice, hurt the constitution ; nay, above all things, they must 
guard against the making pf any innovations in gymnastic and 
music, contrary to the established order of the state, but they 
must maintain this order as much as possible ; being afraid lest, 
whilst a man adopts that poetical expression, 

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

he should imagine, that the poet means not new songs, but 

I a new method of 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 endangering the 
whole of the constitution : for never are the measures of music 
altered without altering the greatest political laws, 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, somewhere 
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 if productive of 
no mischief. Neither indeed does it produce any, said he, but 
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, let it be allowed to be 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 constitution ? because, if their education be 
such as is contrary to law, and the children be of such a nature 
themselves, it is impossible that they should ever grow up to be 
worthy men, and observant of the laws. Undoubtedly, said he. 
But when excellent 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 everything else, and grows 
with them, and raises up in the city whatever formerly was 
fallen down. It is true, indeed, said' he. And these men, said 
I, discover those regulations which appear trifling, and which 
those others destroyed altogether. What are they ? 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 regulations as to wearing the 
hair, what clothes and shoes are proper, the whole dress of the 
body, and everything 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 anywhere ; nor would it 
stand, though established both by word and writing. How is 
it 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 ? Why not ? And we may 
say, I imagine, that at last the system will arrive at something 
complete and vigorous, whether it be good, or the reverse. 
Why not? 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 like- 
wise among their handicrafts, their scandals, bodily hurt, 
and raising of law-s'uits ; their institution of judges, and like- 


wise such imposts and payments of taxes as may be necessary 
either in the market or on the shores ; or in general whatever 
laws are municipal, civil, or marine, or what other laws there 
may be of this kind ; shall we need 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 preservation 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 
who are sick, and at the same time unwilling, through intemper- 
ance, to quit an unwholesome mode of life. Entirely so. And 
these truly must live very pleasantly ; 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 new 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 they give over drunken- 
ness and gluttony, and unchaste pleasure, and laziness, neither 
I drugs nor caustics, nor amputations, nor charms, nor applica- 
tions, nor any other such things as these, will be of any avail. 
I 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 constitution, for that who- 
ever 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 management 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, and fancy that they 
are really politicians, because they are commended as such by 
the multitude. How do you mean ? Do you not pardon those 
men? said I. Or do you even think it is possible for a man 
who cannot measure himself, when he hears many other such 
men 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 way of stopping 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 trouble about such a species of laws and police, 
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, to us indeed there is nothing 
remaining; but to the Delphian Apollo there remains the 
greatest, noblest, and most important of legal institutions. 
Of what kind ? said he. The institution of temples, sacrifices, 
and other worship of the Gods, daemons, and heroes ; likewise 
the burning of 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 found- 
ing the state, will we entrust them to any other, if we be wise j 


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. 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 

iby any means we may 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 him- 
self 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 temper- 
ate, and just. It manifestly is so. Whichever then of these we 
shall find in it, shall there not remain behind that which is not 
found ? Why not ? For supposing there were any four things 
in any subject whatever, if we were in quest of one of them and 
discovered this one at the first, we would be satisfied ; but if we 
should first discover the other three, the one which we were 
inquiring after would be known from this; 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 paradoxical. What is that? said 
he. Surely this city which we have described appears to me to 
tye 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 in the best manner possible ? Nor this either. 
But is it for its knowledge of working in brass, or for anything 
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. But, 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 brass-smiths, or these tine guard- 
ians, will be most numerous in the state ? The brass-smiths, 
said he, will be much more numerous. And of all classes, said 
I, that have any knowledge, and bear a name on that account, 
will not these guardians be the fewest in number ? By much. 
Then it is from this smallest tribe, or part of the state, and from 
that presiding and governing science in it, that the whole city is 
wisely established according to nature ; and this tribe, whose 
duty it is to share in this science (which of all others ought 
alone to be denominated wisdom), as it appears, is by nature 
the smallest in the state. You are, replied he, perfectly right. 
This one, then, of the four, we have somehow found, and in 
what part of the state it resides. It seems to me, said he, to be 
sufficiently made out. But surely as to fortitude, at least, 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. How? Doth anyone, 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 in one particular part of itself, because it has 
ithin it a power of such a nature as shall always preserve their 
pinions about things which are to be dreaded, teaching that 
:hey are of such a kind as the lawgiver inculcated 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 
n a course of education about things which are to be feared, 
teaching what these are, and of what kind: I called it a preserva- 
tive at all times, because they were to retain it in pains and in 
leasures, in desires and fears, and never to cast it off; and, if 
ou are willing, I shall liken it to what in my opinion it bears 
near resemblance. I am willing. Do not you know then, 
id I, that the dyers, when they want to dye their wool, so as 
o be of a purple colour, out of all the colours first make choice 
f the white; and then, with no trifling care, they prepare and 
manage it, so as best of all to take on the purest colour, and 

*hen they dye it ; and whatever is tinged in this manner is of an 
ndelible dye; and no washing, either without or with soap, 
s 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 anything 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 indel- 
ible, both by means of natural temper and suitable education : 
and that these detergents, however powerful in effacing, may not 
be able to wash away their dye, pleasure to wit, which is more 
powerful in effecting this than all soap and ashes, pain and fear, 
and desire, which exceed every other solvent. Such a power 
which is a perpetual preservation of right and lawful opinion, 
about things which are to be feared or not, I call and define as 
fortitude, unless you offer something else. I offer, said he, 
nothing else: for you seem to me to reckon that such right 
opinion of these things, if it arises without education, among 
beasts and slaves, is not at all according to law, and you would 
call it something else than fortitude. You are right, 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 justice. By all means. 
How now can we find out justice, that we may not be further 
troubled about temperance ? I neither know, said he, nor do I 
wish to know, if we are to dismiss altogether the consideration 
of temperance; so, if you please to gratify me, consider this 
before the other. I am indeed pleased, said I, as I am an 
honest man. Consider then, said he. 

We must consider, replied I; and as it appears from this 
point of view, it seems to resemble concord and harmony more 
than those things formerly mentioned. How? Temperance, 
said I, is, I think, a kind of order, and a government, so men say, 
of certain pleasures and desires. We say that a man appears a 
master of himself, in some way or other: and we say other 
things of this kind, in which we see vestiges of it, is it not so ? 
These are the principal vestiges of it, said he. 


Is not then the expression, "Master of oneself," ridiculous? 
For he who is superior to himself must be likewise inferior to 
himself, and the inferior be the superior; for the same person 
is spoken of in all these cases. Why not? 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 crowd, the worse part, we say, by 
way of reproach and blame, that the person thus affected is a 
slave 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 master of itself, if a state in which the better 
part governs the worse may be said to be temperate, and 
master of itself. I observe, said he, and you are right. And 
surely one may chiefly find a great many various desires and 
pleasures and pains among children and women and domestics, 
and amongst the vulgar crowd of those who are called freed 
men. It is perfectly so. But the simple and moderate desires, 
and such as are led by intellect, and the judgment of right 
opinion, you will meet with amongst the few, that is 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 to 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 somehow, said 
he. You see then, said I, that we justly conjectured of late, that 
temperance resembles a kind of harmony. Why ? 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 tem- 
perate ; but it is naturally diffused through the whole, producing 
an unison between the weakest and the strongest, and those in 
the middle, all in one concord 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 unanimity 
is temperance : a concord of that which is naturally the worse 
and the better part, whether in a state or an individual, as 
to which of them ought to govern. 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 dis- 
covered : 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 huntsmen, to surround the thicket, carefully attend- 
ing 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 anyhow 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 treat me perfectly well. 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 woody: it is at all events dark, and 
difficult to be scrutinised ; we must, however, go on. We must, 
said he. I then perceiving, said 16 ! 16 ! 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, O blessed man ! to have been long since 

i j 





rolling at our feet, from the beginning, and we perceived it not, 
but made the most ridiculous figure, like those who seek some- 
times 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. What do you mean? replied he. 
This, said I, that we seem to me to have been speaking and 
;aring of it long since, and not understanding that in some 
easure we ourselves expressed it. A long preamble, said he, 
one who is eager to hear. Hear then, said I, and tell me if I 
am right or not. For that which we at first established, when 
e regulated the city, as what ought always to be done, that, 
s it appears to me, or a species of it, is justice. For we 
omewhere established it, and often spoke of it, if you 
emember ; that every one ought to apply himself to one 
thing, relating to the city, to which his genius was natur- 
ally most adapted. We did speak of it. And that to mind 
one's own affairs, and not to be pragmatical, is justice. This 
e have both heard from many others, and have often said 
it ourselves. We have. This then, friend, said I, appears to 
e in a certain manner justice ; to do one's own affairs. Do 
you know whence I conjecture this? No; but tell, said he. 
esides those things we have already considered in the city 
iz., temperance, fortitude, and wisdom ; this, said I, seems to 
main, which enables these to have a being in the state, and, 
hilst they exist in it, to afford it safety ; and we said too, that 
ustice would be that which would remain, if we found the other 
:hree. There is necessity for it, said he. But if, said I, it be 
ecessary to judge which of these, when subsisting in the city, 
hall in the greatest measure render it good, it would be 
ifficult to determine: whether the agreement between the 
overnors and the governed ; or the maintaining of sound 
pinion by the soldiers about what things are to be feared, and 
hat are not; or wisdom and guardianship in the rulers; or 
hether this, when it exists in the city, renders it in the greatest 
easure good, namely, when child and woman, bond and free, 
rtificer, magistrate, and subject, when every one does their own 
ffairs, and is not pragmatical. It is difficult to determine, said 



he : How should it not 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 just 
decisions in judgment ? Why not ? But will they give just 
judgment, if they aim at anything preferable to this, that no one 
shall have what belongs to others, nor be deprived of his own ? 
No ; they can only give just judgment, when they aim at this. 
And do they not aim at this as being just ? Yes. And thus 
justice is acknowledged to be the habitual practice of 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 exchange either 
their utensils or grades ; or if the same man take in hand to do 
both, and all else be exchanged; do you imagine the state 
would be greatly injured ? Not very much, said he. But I 
imagine, that when one who is a craftsman, or who is born to 
any lucrative employment, shall afterwards, being puffed up by 
riches, by the mob, 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 
rewards 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, will be the destruction of the 
statfe. By all means. 

Intermeddling then in these three species, and their change 
into one another, is the greatest hurt to the state, 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 man- 
ner. 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 to say, it is 
justice, and renders the city just. It seems so, said he. Let us 
not, said I, affirm it very strongly : but if it shall be allowed us 
that this idea, when applied to an individual, is likewise justice 
in him, we shall then be agreed (for what more can we say ?); 
if not, we shall try a new consideration. 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 cor- 
respond, it shall be well ; but, if anything different appear in the 
individual, going back again to the city, we shall put it to the 
proof; and, by considering them, when placed side by side, and 
striking them together, we shall make justice flash out as from 
flints ; and, when it is become manifest, we shall firmly establish 
it among ourselves. You speak quite in the right way, said he, 
and we must do so. 

Well, said I, when we denominate two things of different 
sizes in the same way, are they dissimilar so far as the same 
name applies, or similar? Similar, said he. The just man 
then, said I, will differ nothing from the just city, so far as 
the idea of justice is concerned, but will be similar to it. He 
will be similar to it, said he. But with respect to this inquiry, 
the city appeared to be just, when the three species of dis- 
positions in it did each of them its own work viz., the temper- 
ate, the brave, and the wise, by virtue of their own proper 
natures, and not according to any other affections and habits. 
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. We have again, my dear friend ! fallen 
across no easy question concerning the soul ; whether it contain 


in itself those three principles or not. Into no easy one, I 
imagine, said he. And 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. Still the 
road leading to that is more toilsome and longer, and we 
may, however, it is likely, speak of it in a manner worthy 
of our former disquisitions and speculations. Is not that 
allowable ? 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 other 
source could they come to it. It were ridiculous if one should 
imagine that the irascible disposition did not arise from the 
individuals in cities, which 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 learn. No, indeed. But here is a difficulty. 
Do we perform all our actions by the same power ; or are there 
three powers, and do we perform one thing by one power, and 
another by another ; that is, do we learn by one, and be angry 
by another, and by a third desire those pleasures relating to 
nutrition and propagation, and the other pleasures akin 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 deter- 
mined 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 in the same respect, and with reference to the 
same object ; so that, if we anywhere 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 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? Yes. But if one who says these things 
should, in a more jocose humour still, and facetiously cavil- 
ling, allege that tops stand wholly, and are at the same time 
moved, when their pegs are fixed on one point, and yet they 
are whirled about, or that anything else going round in a 
circle in the same position doth this, we should not admit 
it, as it is not in the same respect that they stand still and 
are moved: but we should say, that they have in them an 
axis and a circumference; and that, as regards the axis they 
stood (for towards no side they declined) ; but as regards the 
circumference, they moved in a circle. But when its perpen- 
dicularity declines either to the right or 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 anything, 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 other- 
wise than as we now settle them, we shall yield up again all we 
shall have assumed by it. It is necessary, said he, to do so. 


Would not you, then, said I, deem these things to be among 
those which are opposite to one another (whether they be active 
or passive, 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, like one who only sees an object, 
that it intimates by signs to have it brought near, desiring the 
actual possession of it ? I would say so. But to be unwilling, 
not to wish, nor to desire, shall we not deem these of the same 
kind, as to push away, and drive off, and everything 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 conspicuous are those which we call thirst and hunger ? 
We shall say so, replied he. Is not the one the desire of drink- 
ing, and the other of eating? Yes. Is thirst then, when con- 
sidered as thirst, a desire in the soul of something more than 
drink? It is according to the nature of the thirst. Is there 
then a thirst of a hot drink, or of a cold, of much or of little, or 
in short, of some particular kind of drink? for, 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 many 
circumstances, it occasions a desire of much drink, but if small, 
a desire of a little drink : but the thirst itself never creates the 
desire of anything else, but drink, as its nature prompts ; and in 
like manner the appetite of hunger with relation to meat. Thus 
every desire, said he, in itself, is for that alone for which it is 
the desire ; but the desire of such or such a particular thing is 
adventitious. Let not then any one, said I, create any trouble, 


as if we were inadvertent ; saying 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 belong to any genus, have a general 
reference to the genus ; but each particular of these refers to a 
articular species of that genus. I have not understood you, 
id he. Have you not understood, said I, that "greater" is 
elative, and implies that it is greater than something ? Yes, 
deed. Is it not greater than the less ? Yes. And that which 
considerably greater than that which is considerably less ; is 
not ? Yes. And that which was formerly greater than that 
hich was formerly less ; and that which is to be greater than 
at which is to be less ? What else ? said he. And after the 
me manner, what is more numerous with respect to what is 
ess numerous, and what is double with reference to what is 
half, and all such-like things; and further, what is "heavier" 
with respect to " lighter," and " swifter" to " slower," and further 
till, "hot" to "cold"; and all such-like things, are they not 
ter this manner ? Entirely so. But what as to the sciences ? 
s not the case the same ? For science itself is the science of 
e knovvable, or of whatever else you think proper to call the 
bject of science : but a certain particular science, and of such 
particular kind, refers to a certain particular object, and of 
such a kind. What I mean is this. After the science of build- 
ing houses arose, did it not separate from other sciences, so as 
to be called architecture? What else? Was it not from its 
being of such a kind as none of others were ? Yes. Was it not 
hen from its being the art of such a particular thing, that itself 
ecame such a particular art ? And all other arts and sciences 
like manner ? They are so. Allow then, said I, that this is 
.'hat I wanted to express, if you have now understood it ; where 
hings are considered as having reference to other things, the 
bstract alone refer to the abstract, and the particular to the 


particular. I do not, however, say that the science altogether 
resembles that of which it is the science (as if, for example, the 
sciences of health and disease were respectively healthy and 
sickly; or that the sciences of good and evil were good and 
evil). But as soon as science becomes not the science of that 
abstract thing of which it is the science, but only of a particular 
kind of it (to wit, of its healthy and sickly state), it comes to 
be a particular science; and this causes it to be called no 
onger simply a science, but the medicinal science ; the particular 
species to which it belongs being superadded. I have under- 
stood you, said he, and it appears to me to be so. But will not 
you, said I, consider thirst, whatever it be, to be one of those 
things which respect something else, supposing that there is 
such a thing as thirst? I do, said he, and it respects drink. 
Then a particular thirst desires a particular drink. But thirst 
in the abstract 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 
anything 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 impossible. 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 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, when it arises, arise from reason; but those which 
push, and drive forwards, proceed from passions and diseases ? 
It appears so. We shall then, said I, not unreasonably assume 
that there are two principles, different from one another; and 
call 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 concupiscible part, the 
ally 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 parts in the soul. 
But as to that of anger, is it a third principle, or has it affinity 
to one of those two ? Perhaps it has, said he, to the concupis- 
cible part. I believe, said I, what I have somewhere heard, 
how that Leontius, the son of Aglaion, as he returned from the 
Pyrasus, perceived some dead bodies lying in the sewer, 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 him- 
self away ; and for a while he struggled with his desire, and 
covered his eyes ; but, at last, being overcome by his appetite, 
he opened his eyes widely with his fingers, 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, showing them to be 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 parts 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, by Zeus, said he. What now, 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 things with justice? And, as I have said, his 


anger will not incline him to rise up against such an one. 
True, said he. But what ? 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; for, in our city, we appointed the 
auxiliaries to be obedient to the rulers of the city, as dogs to 
shepherds. You rightly understand, said I, what I would say. 
But have you besides considered this ? What ? That what we 
say now concerning the irascible is the reverse of that in the 
former case ; for there we were deeming it the same with the 
concupiscible ; but now we say it is so far from it that, in the 
sedition of the soul, it sides with the rational part. Entirely so, 
said he. Is it then as something different from it, or only a 
modification of the rational principle? so that there are not 
three species, but only two in the soul, the rational and concu- 
piscible. Or, as there were three species which completed the 
city, the productive, the auxiliary, the legislative; so, in the 
soul, this irascible principle is a third thing, naturally an 
auxiliary to the rational, if it be not corrupted by bad educa- 
tion ? 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 principle. That 
is not difficult, said he, to be seen. For one may see this, even 
in little children, who from their infancy are full of anger; 
while some appear, to me at least, never at all to participate of 
reason; and the most arrive at it but late. Yes, f truly, said I, 
you are 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 


"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 are 
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 to the 
same number. They are so. Must it not, therefore, of neces- 
sity 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 ? Why not ? 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 we have not surely 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 
forgotten 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 unbend- 
ing 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. 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 over the whole soul and body, 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, and for each of them separ- 
ately. Perfectly so. But, do we not call him temperate, more- 
over, from the friendship and harmony of these very things, 
when the governing and governed agree, 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 anything dulled us, that we should 
think justice to be anything else than what it has appeared to 
be in a state? Nothing appears to me at least, said he, to 
have done it. But, let us, by all means, confirm ourselves, if 
there yet remain any doubt or objection to this principle, by 
bringing the man into difficult circumstances. What ? Such 
as this : if we were obliged to declare concerning such a city, 
and concerning a man born and educated conformably to it, 
whether we thought such an one, when intrusted with gold or 
silver, would embezzle it ; do you imagine that any one would 
think such an one would do it sooner than those who are not 
of such a kind ? No one, said he. Will not such an one then 
be free of sacrilege, theft, or treachery, towards his own friends 
or the city? He will. Nor will he ever, in any shape, be faith- 
less, either as to his oaths, or other declarations. How can 
he ? Adulteries, and neglect of parents, impiety Sgainst the 
Gods, will belong to every one else, sooner than to such an 


one. They will, 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 part. Our dream, then, is at last 
accomplished ; or the conjecture we expressed before, that when 
we first began to build our city, we seemed, by some divine 
assistance, to have got to a beginning and type of justice. 
Entirely so. And that, Glauco, was a rough* 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 him- 
self 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, adorning 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 perform what- 
ever 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 account and call that action just 
and handsome, which always sustains and promotes this habit ; 
and 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, by Zeus, said he. May we say so? We may say it. 
Be it so, said I. But we were next, I think, to consider injus- 
tice. That is plain. Must it not then be some sedition among 
the three principles, some interfering 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 that it 
really ought to be in subjection to the governing principle ? I 
imagine then we shall call their tumult and confusion by such 
names as injustice, intemperance, cowardice and folly, and in 
short 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. How ? Because they are no way different from what is 
salutary or noxious : as these are in the body, so are the others 
in the soul ? How, said he. Such things as are healthy con- 
stitute health, and such as are noxious produce disease. Yes. 
And must not the doing justly produce justice, and doing un- 
justly produce injustice? Of necessity. But to produce health, 
is to establish the body so that one part governs, or is governed 
by, another according to nature ; 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 
the soul, so that one part governs and is governed by another, 
according to nature, and to produce injustice is to make them 
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, and dishonourable 
ones to that of vice ? Of necessity. 

What remains then for us, it seems, to consider, is, whether 
it be profitable to do justly, and to pursue what is honourable, 
and to be just (whether a man of 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, though one has 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 everything 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 not, by Zeus, 
said he. Come then, said I, that you may likewise 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 dis- 
course, it appears to me as from a lofty place of survey, that 
there is one principle of virtue, but those of vice are infinite, and 
of these 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 governments. How many, then ? There 
are five kinds, said I, of governments, 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 republic ; and it may 
have a twofold appellation; for, if among the rulers there be 
one surpassing the rest, it may be called a Monarchy ; if there 
be several, an Aristocracy. True, said he. I call this, then, 
one species ; for, whether they be several, or but one, who 
govern, they will never alter the principal laws of the city ; if 
they observe the nurture and education we have described. It 
is not likely, said he. 



SUCH then is the city or republic, and such the man we have 
described, that we denominate good and upright : and if this 
republic be an upright one, I must deem the others bad and 
erroneous, both as to the regulations in cities, and the formation 
of the temper of individual souls : and there are four species 
of depravity. Of what kind are these? said he. I was then 
proceeding to mention them in order, as they appeared to me 
to rise out of one another: but Polemarchus stretching out his 
hand (for he sat a little further off than Adimantus) caught 
him by the robe at his shoulder, and drew him near; and, 
bending himself towards him, spoke something in a whisper, 
of which we heard nothing but this : Shall we let him pass 
then ? said he, or what shall we do ? Not at all, said Adi- 
mantus, speaking now aloud. And I replied, What will not 
you let pass ? You, said he, for it was to you I alluded. You 
seem to us to be growing negligent, and to steal a whole branch 
of the discourse, and that not the least considerable, that you 
may not have the trouble of going through it ; and you imagine 
that you escaped our notice, when you made this speech so 
simply, viz., that, both as to wives and children, it is manifest 
to every one that these things will be common among friends. 
Do I not say right, Adimantus ? Yes, said he ; for this, which 
was rightly said, like other parts of your discourse, requires 
explanation ; and you must show what is the manner of their 
being common ; for there may be many kinds of it. Do not 
omit then to tell which is the method you spoke of ; for we 
have been in expectation for some time past, imagining you 
would, on some occasion, make mention of the propagation 
of children, in what way they should be propagated : and, when 


they are born, how they should be nurtured; and everything 
relative to what you spoke concerning wives and children being 
in common ; for we imagine, that it is of considerable, nay, of 
the utmost importance to the state, when this is rightly per- 
formed, or otherwise. But now when you are entering on 
the consideration of another constitution, before you have 
sufficiently discussed these things, we determined on what 
you over-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 a deed, said I, you have done in laying hold 
of me ! What a mighty discourse do you again raise, as if 
we were only beginning to speak about a republic. I was 
rejoicing at having now completed it, being pleased if any 
one would have let these things pass, and been content with 
what was said ! But you know not what a swarm of reason- 
ings you raise by what you now challenge, which I foreseeing 
passed by at that time, lest it should occasion great disturbance. 
What, said Thrasymachus, do you imagine that these are now 
come hither to smelt gold, 1 and not to hear a discussion ? Yes, 
said I, but in measure. The whole of life, Socrates, said 
Glauco, is, with the wise, the measure of hearing such reason- 
ings as these. But pass what relates to us, and do not at 
all grudge to explain your opinions concerning the object of 
our inquiry, What sort of community of wives and children 
is to be observed by our guardians, and concerning 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 there are many of them which 
can hardly be believed to be possible; and even though they 
could easily be effected, whether they would be for the best 
might still be doubted: wherefore, dear companion, I grudge 

1 To smelt gold seems to have been a proverbial expression for 
attending to anything but the right thing. 



somewhat to touch on these things, lest our reasonings appear 
to be rather what were to be wished for, 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 dis- 
course has a quite contrary effect, said I ; for, if I trusted 
myself, that I understood what I am to say, your encouragement 
would do well. For one who understands the truth, about the 
greatest and the most interesting affairs, speaks with safety 
and confidence when among wise friends; 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 pray 
therefore that I may not be punished for what, Glauco, I am 
going to say. For I believe it is a smaller offence to be a man- 
slayer without 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 must give me better encouragement. Then Glauco, 
laughing: But, Socrates, said he, if we suffer anything amiss 
from your discourse, we shall acquit you as guiltless of man- 
slaughter, or imposture: so proceed boldly. Indeed, said I, 
he who is acquitted at a court of justice, the law says, is 
also deemed clear of the crime in the next world, and so 
'tis reasonable he should be so in this. For this reason then, 
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 proceed in this manner. 

In my opinion, men who have been born and educated in 
such a manner as we have described, can have no right posses- 


sion and enjoyment of children and wives, save in pursuing the 
same track in which we have proceeded from the beginning: 
for we have endeavoured, in our reasoning, to make our men as 
it were the guardians of a flock. We have. Let us proceed 
then, and establish likewise rules relating to propagation and 
education in a manner similar to that of the males ; and let us 
consider whether they will be suitable or not. How do you 
mean ? replied he. Thus : shall we judge it proper for the 
females of our guardian dogs, to watch likewise in the same 
manner as the males do, and hunt along with them, and do 
everything 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 only for 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, 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 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 relating 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 consider the most ridiculous 
part? Is it not plainly the idea of the women, naked in the 
Palaestra, wrestling with the men, and not only the young 
women, but even the more advanced in years, in the same 
manner as old men in the wrestling-schools, when they are 
wrinkled and ugly, yet are still fond of the exercises ? Yes, by 
Zeus, said he. Because it might indeed appear ridiculous, at 
least as matters stand at present. Therefore, said I, since we 


have entered upon this discourse, we must not be 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 the management of horses ? 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 
usual custom, but to think seriously, and remember, that it is not 
long ago since it appeared base and ridiculous to the Greeks 
(as it is now to most of the barbarians) for men to be seen 
naked. And when first the Cretans, and afterwards the Lace- 
daemonians, 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. And I imagine, that when upon 
experience it appeared better to strip themselves, than to be 
wrapped up, if it seemed ridiculous indeed to the eye, the ob- 
jection was removed by the argument that it was best, and it 
was also proved manifestly that he is a fool who deems anything 
ridiculous but what is bad, and who attempts to jest upon any 
other idea of the ridiculous but that which is the foolish and 
the vicious, or who is 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 it to be a matter of dispute, if any one, either in 
jest or earnest, incline to doubt, whether the human nature in 
the female sex be able, in everything, to bear a share with the 
male, or if not, then in any one thing, or 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 also conclude in the best 
way ? By far, said he. Are you willing then, said I, that we 
ourselves, instead of others, dispute about these things, that the 
opposite side may not be destitute of a defence ? 

Nothing hinders, said he. Let us then say this for them : 
There is no need, Socrates and Glauco, of others to dispute 
with you about this matter ; for yourselves in the beginning of 
your scheme, when you established your city, agreed, that it 
was necessary for each individual to practise one business 


according to their several geniuses. I think we acknowledged 
it; for why should they not ? Does not then the genius of the 
male differ widely from that of the female ? Yes. And is it not 
fit to enjoin each a different work, according to their genius? 
Why not ? 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, admirable Glauco, 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 foresaw, and was afraid and backward to 
touch on the law concerning the possession of wives, and the 
education of children. It is not easy, by Zeus, 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 
wim in the one no less than in the other. Entirely so. Must 
ot we swim then, and endeavour to emerge from this reason- 
ing, expecting that either some dolphin l will carry us out, or 
that we shall have some other remarkable deliverance? It 
seems we must do so, replied he. Come then, said T, let us 
see if we can anywhere find an out-gate ; for we did acknow- 
ledge 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 generous, 
Glauco, said I, is the power of the art of contradicting ! How ? 
Because, replied I, many seem to fall into it unwillingly, and 
imagine that they are not cavilling, but reasoning truly, when 
and because they are not able to understand the meaning of 
a thing they are investigating ; but simply oppose what is said 
by attacking the mere words, using cavilling instead of reason- 
ing. This is indeed, said he, the case with many ; but does it 
at present extend likewise to us? Entirely so, said I. We 
seem unwillingly to have fallen into a contradiction. How? 

1 Alluding, of course, to the story of Ar ion. 


Because we have very strenuously and very keenly asserted, 
that when natures are 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, con- 
sidered it. 

It is therefore, replied I, still in our power, as appears, to 
question ourselves, whether the nature of bald or long-haired 
men 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 long hair to make them, or, if those who 
wear long hair made them, whether we should allow the others ? 
That were ridiculous, replied he. Is it in any other respect, 
said I, ridiculous then, 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 the physician, and 
the man who has a medical talent, 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 con- 
trary, 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 reason- 
able, truly. Possibly some one may say, as you were saying 
some time since, that it is not easy to answer 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 employ- 
ment peculiar to women ? By all means. Come on then (shall 
we say to him), answer us. Is not this your meaning? That 
one man has a genius for anything, and another has not, in this 
respect, that the one learns the 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 instruc- 
tion 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 genius 
for anything, and another to have none ? No one, said he, 
would mention any other. Know you then any human art 
which men do not better manage than women ? Or, should we 
not be tedious, if we mentioned particularly the weaving art, 
and the dressing pot-herbs and victuals, in which women are 
supposed to excel, and in which their failure is most laughed 
at ? You say true, said he, that in general, in everything the 
one genius 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 woman, considered as 
woman, nor to man, considered as man ; but natural talents 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 everything to the care of men, and nothing to the care 
of women ? 

How can we do so ? I is therefore, I imagine, as we say, 
that one woman 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 high-spirited, and 
another not ? This likewise is true. And has not one woman 
a natural genius for being a guardian, and another not ? And 
have not we made choice of such a genius as this for our 
guardian men ? Of such a genius as this. 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 have now arrived by a circular 
progression at what we formerly mentioned; and we allow that 
it is not contrary to nature, to assign music and gymnastic to 
the wives of our guardians. By all means. We are not then 
establishing things impossible, or such as can only be wished 
for, since we establish the law according to nature; and what is 
at present contrary to these things, is contrary to nature, it 
appears. It seems so. Was not our inquiry to hear of what 
was 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 must. In order 
therefore to make a guardian of a woman, at least the 
education will not be different from that of the men, espe- 
cially as she has received the same natural genius. It will 
not be different. What is your opinion of this? Of what? 
That one man is better, or worse, than another or do you 
deem them to be all alike ? By no means. In the city now 
which we have established, do you think that our guardians 
educated as we have described, or shoemakers with their 
education in their art, will be the better men ? The question, 
replied he, is ridiculous. I understand you, said I. But what? 
Of all the citizens, are not they the best? By far. But what? 
Will not these women too be the best of women ? They will be 
so, replied he, by far. Is there anything 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 de- 
scribed ? Yes. 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 
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 ridicule of the man who laughs at naked women, 

(whilst they are performing exercises for the sake of what is 
best, reaps only "the unripe fruit of the tree of wisdom," 1 and 
in no respect knows, it 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 means. 

Let us say then, that we have escaped one wave, as it were, 
[ ! in our discussion of the law with respect to women, without 

(being wholly overwhelmed in 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, involve, 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 more likely than the other, to be distrusted, both 
as to its being possible, and at the same time advantageous. I 
do not believe, replied I, that any one will doubt the utility, at 
least, of having 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 crowd of disputes. But 

1 This is said to be a quotation from i'inclar. 


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 us then an account of both. I must 
then, said I, submit to a trial. But, however, indulge me thus 
far; allow me to feast myself, as those who are sluggish in 
their minds are wont to feast themselves when they walk 
alone. Men of this sort, sometimes before they find out how 
they shall attain what they desire (waiving 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 afterwards 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 it, said he ; proceed with the inquiry accordingly. 
I imagine, said I, that if our rulers, and those who are their 
auxiliaries, their ministers in the government, are worthy of the 
name, the latter will be disposed to do whatever is enjoined 
them, and the former will be ready to command; enjoining 
them some things in direct obedience to the law, and imitating 
the law in whatever things are entrusted to them. 

It is likely, said he. Do you now, said I, since you are their 
lawgiver, in the same manner as you have chosen out the men, 
choose out likewise the women, taking care that their natures 
shall be as similar as possible : and since they dwell and eat to- 
gether in common, and as no one possesses any of these things 
privately, both sexes will live together, and being mingled in 
their exercises and other actions, will be led from an innate 



lecessity, as I imagine, to mutual embraces. Do not I seem 
to say what will necessarily happen ? Not, replied he, by any 
geometrical necessity, but by an amatory one, which seems to 
be more powerful than the other in persuading and drawing the 
bulk of mankind. Much more, said I. But after this, Glauco, 
to mix together in a disorderly manner, or to do anything else, 
irregularly, is neither holy 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 ; and the most advantageous marriages would be those 
that are sacred. By all means. How then shall they be most 
advantageous ? Tell me this, Glauco ; I see in your house dogs 
of chase, and a great many game birds. Have you ever 
attended, in any respect, to their marriages, and the propaga- 
tion of their species ? How ? said he. First of all, among 
these, although they be excellent themselves, are there not some 
who are most excellent ? There are. 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 in their prime ? From those 
in their prime. And if the breed be not of this kind, you reckon 
that the race of birds and dogs greatly degenerates. I reckon 
so, replied he. And what think you as to horses, said I, and 
other animals ? is the case any otherwise with respect to these ? 
That, said he, were absurd. Strange, said I, my friend ! What 
extremely perfect governors must we have, if the case be the 
same with respect to the human race ! However, it is so, replied 
he ; but why perfect ? Because there is a necessity, said I, for 
their using many medicines : for where bodies have no occasion 
for medicines, but are ready to subject themselves to a regimen 
of diet, we reckon that a weaker physician may suffice; but 
when there is a necessity for medicines, we know that a more 
able physician is then requisite. True, but with what view do 
you say this ? With this view, replied I. It appears that our 
rulers are obliged to use much fiction and deceit for the advan- 
tage of the governed ; and we said somewhere, that all these 
things were useful in the way of medicines. And rightly, said he, 


This piece of right now seems to apply to the question of mar- 
riages, and the propagation of children. How ? It is proper, 
said I, from what we have acknowledged, that the best men 
embrace for the most part the best women ; and the most de- 
praved men, on the contrary, the most depraved women ; and 
the offspring of the former is to be educated, but not that of the 
latter, if you desire to have the flock of the most perfect kind ; 
and this must be performed in such a manner as to escape the 
notice of all but the governors themselves, if you would have the 
whole herd of the guardians as free from sedition as possible. 
Most right, said he. Shall there not then be some festivals by 
law established, in which we shall bring together the brides and 
bridegrooms ? Sacrifices too must be performed, and hymns 
composed by our poets suitable to the marriages which are 
making. But the number of the marriages we shall commit to 
the rulers, that as much as possible they may preserve the 
same number of men, having an eye to the wars, diseases, 
and everything else of this kind, and that as far as possible 
our city may be neither too great nor too little. Right, said 
he. And an ingenious system of lots, I imagine, should 
be made, that the inferior man may accuse his fortune, 
and not the governors, of the manner in which the couples 
are joined. By all means, said he. And those of the 
youth who distinguish themselves, in war or anywhere 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 by 
such persons. Right. And shall the children as soon as they 
are born be received by magistrates appointed for these pur- 
poses, 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 dwelling 
apart in a certain place of the city. But the children of the 
more depraved, and such others as are any way imperfect, 
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 that these nurses suckle only for a 
proper time : and appoint nurses and keepers to sit up at night, 
and take every other necessary toil. You make, said he, the breed- 
ing of children an easy matter for the wives of our guardians. 
It is fit, replied I. But let us in the next place discuss that 
ivhich we chiefly intended. We said that true offspring ought to 
be generated of persons in their prime. Are you then of opinion 
vith 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 past 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, 
t?e shall say the trespass is neither holy nor just, as he begets 
to the state a child, which, if it be concealed, is born and grows 
up unattended with the 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 in darkness, and from a dreadful intemper- 
ance. Right, said he. And the law, said I, must be the same. 
If any of those men, who are of the age for generating, shall 
touch women of a proper age, without the concurrence 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, except their daughter and 
mother, and those who are the children of their daughters, or 
those upwards from their mother ; and so likewise the women 


to embrace any but a son and father, and the children of these, 
either downwards or upwards : all this liberty we will allow 
them, after we have enjoined them to attend carefully, in the 
first place, if anything 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 reasonably said. But how 
shall fathers and daughters, and those other relations you 
now mentioned, be known to 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 between the seventh 
and the tenth 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 grand- 
fathers 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 argument; or how 
shall we do ? Just so, by Zeus, said he. Will this not be for us 
the best beginning; to inquire what we can mention as the 
greatest good in 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. Why not? Does not then 
such an evil as the following arise from this, when they do not 
all jointly in the state use the words " mine," and " not mine," 
with regard to the same objects ? And will not that city be 
best regulated, when every individual, with regard to the con- 
cerns of another, in the same way with him, pronounces these 
words, mine, and not mine ? By far. And it is such as comes 
nearest to the condition of an individual man. As when one of 
our fingers is anyhow hurt ; the whole common feeling spreads 
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 dis- 
tressed in his finger : and the reasoning is the same as to any 
other part of a man, both with 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. 
Then 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 

It is now 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 ? Why not ? But besides this name of citizens, what 
does the people call its 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, by what 


name does the people call its 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 his fellow-governors as his kinsman, and another as a 
stranger? Very many do so. Does he not then regard and 
call the kindred one his own, and the stranger as not his own ? 
Just so. But with your guardians, is there 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, enjoin- 
ing with respect to parents whatever the law enjoins to be 
performed to parents, such as reverence, and care, and obedi- 
ence, or that otherwise it will not be for the child's advantage, 
either in the sight of Gods or of men, as he does what is 
neither holy nor just, if he do other things than these ? Shall 
these, or any other rules 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 this, in which when any individual 
is either well or ill, every one will use 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 the same interest in common and call it " my own " ; and, 


having- this in common, 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 it is 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 rightly, 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 this agrees 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 calling one and the same 
thing their own (instead of calling all the same); and not 
drawing to their own houses whatever each can possess, 
separately from the others; and by not having different wives 
and children 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 point- 
ing towards the same thing, as far as possible, to have one 
common feeling of pleasure and pain ? Extremely so, replted 
he. And will not 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 everything 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 right and just for those of equal age to 
dei'end themselves against each other. Right, said he. And 
this law, said I, hath this in it likewise: that if any one be 
in a passion, and gratify his passion in this manner by fight- 
ing, he is less apt to raise greater seditions. It is entirely 
so. The elder shall be enjoined both to govern and 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 namely, 
fear and reverence ; reverence on the one hand restraining them 
from assaulting, as it were, their parents ; and fear on the other 
hand, lest others shall assist the sufferer; sons, brothers, and 
fathers. It happens so, said he. In every respect then, 
according to this law, the men shall live peaceably with one 
another. Very much so. And while these have no seditions 
among themselves, there is no danger of the other citizens 
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 small- 
ness of them, so much as to mention them : the flattery of the 
rich ; that indigence and trouble in the education of their child- 
ren, and in procuring money for the necessary support of 
their family, which is the portion of the poor, sometimes 
borrowing, and sometimes hiring, and sometimes using all 
manner of shifts to procure the provisions which they give to the 
management of their wives and domestics, all the 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, 
even to the 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 gam is the safety of the whole city ; and both they and 


their children receive crowns and laurels in the shape of their 
maintenance, and all the other necessaries of life, and receive 
honour from their city while alive, and at their death an honour- 
able funeral. The most noble rewards ! said he. Do you re- 
member then, said I, that in our former reasonings, some one l 
objected 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 pro- 
posed to consider 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 handi- 
craft, or farmer. 1 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 be happy in such 
a way as to be no longer a guardian, nor be content with this 
moderate, and steady, and, as we say, best life ; but, being seized 
with a foolish and youthful 2 opinion about happiness, shall, 
because he has it in his power, be driven to make himself the 
master of everything in the city, he shall know that Hesiod was 
truly wise, in saying that the half is greater 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 are to 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 ; and whether they remain in the city, or 
go forth to war, they ought to keep guard, and to hunt as dogs 
do along with the men, 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 

1 Adimantus, at the commencement of the Fourth Book. 

2 Compare Schopenhauer, who says that happiness is only a delusion 
of youth and childhood. 


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 ; as among 
other animals? and how far it is possible. You have antici- 
pated me, said he, in mentioning what I was going to ask. 
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 craftsmen, 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 everything 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 of earthen ware ? Yes, indeed. Now are such as 
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. Again, every creature fights 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 do 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 will be well, will it not ? Yes. Will not, said I, 


the fathers, 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 will bring the 
children 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 depraved, but such 
as by experience and year:: are able leaders and pedagogues. 
It is very proper. But we may say that 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 
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 an artisan 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. And be shaken by the right hand likewise ? This 
likewise. But this further, I imagine, said I, you will not be 
satisfied about. What? That they should embrace and be 
embraced by every one. They should most of all, said he: and 
I would add to this law, that whilst they are upon this expedi- 


tton no one shall be allowed to refuse them, whoever they in- 
cline to embrace, so that if any happen to be in love with any 
one, male or female, he may be the more eager to win the 
prizes. Very well, said I; for we 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 " whole sides of 
beef," 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 well, replied he. Be it so. If any one of 
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 superhuman 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 anything else ? 
It is right, said he. 

But what now ? How shall our soldiers behave towards their 
enemies ? As to what? First, as to the custom of 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 spare the Grecian tribes, and so be 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 anything 
ut their arms after they conquer them, is it noble 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 real enemy is fled away, and there is only left 
behind that with which he fought ? Or, do you imagine that they 
who act in this manner are in any way different from dogs, who 
are in a rage at the stones which are thrown at them, not touch- 
ing the man who throws them ? Not in the least, said he. We 
must let alone then this stripping the dead, and these hind- 
rances arising from the carrying off booty. Truly, said he, 
these must be banished. Nor shall we at any time bring their 
arms into the temples, to dedicate them ; at least not the arms 
of Grecians, if we have any concern 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 kinsman, unless the oracle shall say other- 
wise. Most right, replied he. But, 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 one 
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 against relations, the other foreign and against 
strangers. When hatred is among ourselves, it is called sedi- 
tion; 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. That 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 disjointed, if they lay waste the lands, 
and burn the houses of one another, how destructive the sedition 
appears, and neither of 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 recon- 
ciled, 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 lay waste 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 only carry on the war 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 we 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, recognising 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 their 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 advan- 
tages they have at home, which we have omitted. But speak no 
more about this government, as I admit 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 one who is fighting ; 
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 theory, 
and undertake to examine it. The more, said he, you mention 
these things, the less you will 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 remem- 
bered, 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? 
or shall we be satisfied if he approach the nearest to it, and, 
of all, partake of it the most ? We shall, said he, be satisfied 
with this. Our design, said I, was to inquire into what kind of 
thing justice is ; and we likewise were in quest of a just man ; 
and consider what sort of man he should be, if he did exist. 
We likewise inquired what injustice is, and what too was 
the most unjust man 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 it was not to 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 ? No, said he, I do not. What then, have we 
not made in our reasonings (shall we say) a model of a good 
city ? Yes, indeed. Have we then spoken anything the worse, 


do you imagine, on this account, that we are not able to show, 
that it is possible for such a city as we have described to be 
established ? No, indeed, said he. This then, said I, is the 
truth of the case. But if I must now likewise, on your account, 
hasten to show how especially, and in what respects, it is most 
possible, then in order to forward this discovery, you must again 
grant the same things as formerly. What things ? Is it possible 
for anything to be executed so perfectly as it is described ? or, 
is it the nature of practice, to approach as near the truth as 
theory. Though some may think otherwise, do you say if you 
will admit this or not ? I allow it, said he. Do not then oblige 
me to show you that all these things, in every respect, exist in 
fact as perfectly as we have described in our reasoning ; but if 
we be able to find out how a city may be established as nearly 
as possible like what we have mentioned, you will say we have 
discovered 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 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 by the change of one 
thing; if not, by the change of two; and if not then, 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. 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 philosophise 
genuinely and sufficiently, and these two, the political power 


and philosophy, unite in one; and unless the bulk of those 
who at present pursue each of these separately are of necessity 
excluded from either, 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 republic, 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, for I saw what a paradox I 
was to utter: for it is difficult to be convinced that in no 
other way but this can a republic enjoy happiness, whether 
in 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 opponents, and these desperate 
enough to throw off their clothes, and, naked, to snatch what- 
ever 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. 
Are not you the cause of all this ? said I. Yes, and rightly, 
replied he. However, in this affair, I will not betray you, 
but defend you with such things as I am able. And perhaps 
both by my goodwill and by encouraging you, I may answer 
your questions more carefully than any other; only do you 
endeavour, with 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 alliance. And here it seems to me to be necessary, if we 
are anyhow 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: while the duty of 
others is to apply themselves neither to philosophy nor 


government, but to obey their leaders. It is proper, said 
he, to define them. Come, then, follow me this way, 
and see if together 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 anything, when we speak with pro- 
priety, 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 
erfectly. It might become another, Glauco, replied I, to say 
hat you say ; but it does not become a man like you to forget 
hat a susceptible lover of boys is charmed by all those who are 
in their bloom, and thinks that they are all worthy of attentions 
and addresses. Or do you not behave in this manner towards 
those you love ? One, although flat-nosed, you will commend 
s appearing pleasant ; and the hook-nose of another, you say, 
s princely ; and a nose which is between these is according to 
the exactest symmetry : the dark you say to be manly to behold ; 
and the fair to be the children of the Gods : and the appellation 
of olive-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 a word, 
you make all kinds of pretences, and say everything so as never 
to reject any one who is of the flowering 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, 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 have per- 
ceived, I imagine, that the ambitious likewise, if they cannot 
obtain the command of a whole army, will take the third com- 
mand ; 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 
anything, 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 disciplines, 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 but a hater of them. And we 
shall say right. But the man who readily inclines to taste of 
every discipline, and with pleasure enters on the study of it, 
and is insatiable of it, this man we shall with pleasure call a 
philosopher; shall we not ? On this Glauco said, There will be 
many such philosophers as 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 those who love to hear 
stories are the most curious of all to be reckoned among philo- 
sophers. These indeed would not unwillingly attend 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 sham philosophers. But whom, said 
he, do you call the true ones ? Those, said I, who are desirous 
of discerning the truth. This, likewise, 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. 
Why are they not? 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 everywhere 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 philosophers. What do you mean? replied he. 

PThe lovers of common stories and of spectacles delight in fine 
sounds, colours, and figures, and everything which is com- 
pounded of these ; but the nature of beauty itself their dianoetic 
part [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 similitude of a thing is 
not the similitude, but really the thing itself which it resembles? 
I for my part would say, 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 ? 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 dianoetic 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 concealing 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. Do you incline we shall interrogate 
him, telling him, that if he knows anything, no one will grudge 
it to him, but we shall gladly see him possessed of some know- 
ledge; but only let him 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. 
Something which really exists, or which does not ? What 
does really exist: for how can that be known which has no 
real existence ? We have then examined this sufficiently, 
though we might have considered it more 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 anything of such a kind, as both to 
be and not to be, must it not lie between that which perfectly 
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 science, if there be any such thing. By all 
means. Do we say then that opinion is anything ? Why not ? 
Is it a different power from science, or the same ? Different. 
Is opinion then conversant about one thing, and science 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 
science conversant about what really exists, to know that it 
exists ? Or rather it seems to me to be necessary to distinguish 
in this manner. How? We shall say, that powers are a 
certain species of real existences, by which we and everything 
else do whatever we can do. Thus, I say, that seeing and 
hearing are among these powers, if you understand what I 
mean to call a species. I understand, said he. 

Hear then what appears to me concerning them. For in a 
power I do not see any colour, or figure, or any of such quali- 
ties, as in many other things, by considering which I can 
distinguish that some things are different from one another. 
But as to a power, I regard that alone about which it is con- 
versant, 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, do you say that science is itself a certain power, 
or to what class do you refer it ? I call it a power, said he, as 
it is of all powers the most strong. But what now ? Shall we 
call opinion a power, or refer it to some other species? By 
no means a power, said he ; for that by which we form opinions 
is nothing else but opinion. But you owned, some time since, 
that science and opinion were not the same. How, said he, 
can ever any one who possesses intellect reduce under one, 
that which is infallible, and that which is not infallible ? You 
say right, said I. And it is plain that we have allowed opinion 
to be a different thing from science. We have. Each of 
them then has naturally a different power over a different 
thing. Of necessity. Science has a power over being itself, in 
knowing real existence, how it exists. Yes. But we say that 
opinion opines. Yes. Does it know the same thing which 
science knows, and shall that which is known, and that which 
is opined, be the same? or is this impossible? Impossible, 
said he, from what we have allowed : since they are naturally 
powers of different things, and both of them are powers, 
opinion and science, 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 known, must it not be different from the being 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? Impos- 
sible. But 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 there- 
fore 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 exceed these, either 
knowledge in perspicuity, or ignorance in obscurity? It does 



neither. Does opinion, said I, seem to you to be more 
obscure than knowledge, but more perspicuous than ignorance ? 
By much, said he. 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 anything 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 science nor 
ignorance would be conversant about it, but that which appeared 
to be between ignorance and science ? Right. And now that 
which we call opinion, has appeared to be between them. It has 
appeared. It yet remains for us, it seems, to discover that which 
participates of both these, of being, and of non-being, and which 
with propriety cannot be called either ; so that if it appear to be 
that which is opined, we may justly call it so, 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, 
1 will question this worthy man, who reckons that beauty does not 
exist, nor an abstract idea of beauty, which is always the same, 
although this lover of beautiful objects reckons there are many 
beautiful things, but can never endure to be told that there is 
one beautiful, and one just, and so on. Of all these many 
beautiful things, excellent man ! shall we say to him, is there 
any which may not appear deformed, and of those just things 
one which may not appear unjust, or of those holy things 
one which may not appear profane ? No ; but of necessity, 
said he, the beautiful things themselves must in some respects 
appear even deformed, and the others in like manner. But 
may not things which are double, really be halves as well as 
doubles? Yes. And may things great and small, light and 
heavy, be denominated what we call them, with more reason 
than the opposite? No; but each of them, said he, always 
participates of both. Then is each of these many things that 
which it is said to be, or is it not? This is like the riddles at 
feasts, said he, or the riddle of children about the eunuch's strik- 
ing the bat, puzzling one another in what manner and how far 
he strikes it. For all these things have a double meaning, and it 


is impossible to know accurately whether they are, or are not, 
or both, or neither. What 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 cannot seem more obscure 
than non-being, and so be more than not being, nor more per- 
spicuous than being, and therefore more than being. Most 
true, said he. We have then discovered, it seems, that most of 
the maxims of the multitude concerning the beautiful, and those 
other things, roll somehow between being and non-being. We 
have accurately 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 did. 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. But what now? 
Those who perceive each of the things themselves, always 
existing in the same manner, 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 ? For we remember, 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 everything 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, we 
have with difficulty discovered, and 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 we should have better 
discovered them if it had been requisite to speak concerning 
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 subsists unchanging and always 
the same ; and 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 institutions 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 guarding anything. It is plain, said he. 
Do those appear to you to differ from the blind, those who are 
deprived of the knowledge of each particular being, and have 
neither a clear paradigm (example) in their soul, nor are able 
(like painters, looking up to the truest paradigm, and always 
referring themselves thither, and contemplating it in the most 
accurate manner possible) to establish on earth 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 estab- 
lished? No, by Zeus, 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 
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 almost the 
greatest, they excel. Shall we not then speak as to this point, - 
In what manner the same persons shall be able to possess both 
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 concerning 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, 
honourable or despised, 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 anything should love 
everything allied and belonging to the objects of his affection. 
Right, said he. Can you then find anything 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 that whoever has his desires vehemently flowing to 
one thing, has them upon this very account running more 
weakly in other directions, as a current diverted from its 
channel. Yes. But whosoever hath his desires running towards 
learning, and everything of this kind, would be eager, I think, 
for pleasures of the mind, and would forsake bodily pleasures- 
provided he be not a counterfeit, but a 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 
least weight with such an one, and cannot 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, pusillanimity 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 con- 
ceptions in his dianoetic part, 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 anything 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. What 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 anything sufficiently, in per- 
forming 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 science ? 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 
require it to be of a good memory. By all means. But never 
shall we say this at least, that an unmusical and indecent genius 
leads anywhere else but towards intemperance. Where else? 
But whether do you reckon truth allied to intemperance or to 
temperance ? To temperance. Let us require then among 
other things a dianoetic part naturally temperate and graceful, 
as a proper guide towards spontaneously attaining the idea of 
each particular being ? Why not ? What now ? Do we not in 

I 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 temper- 
ance ? Not even Momus himself, said he, could find fault with 
such a study. But, said I, will it not be to these alone, when 
they are perfected by education and age, that you will entrust 
the city ? 

I 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 con- 
trary of their first concessions ; and like those who play at 
talus 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 pieceSj 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 
plunge into philosophy, applying to it not with this view, that 
being early instructed they may be liberated from it when in 
their prime, but that they may continue in it much longer, 
become the most of them eccentric, 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 com- 
mend, 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. You would then hear 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 I, are not wont, I think, to speak through images. Be 
it so, 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 with what difficulty I 
work; for the sufferings of the most worthy philosophers in 
the management of public affairs are so grievous, that there 
is not any one other suffering so severe: but in making our 
simile, and in apologising 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 man as this is the pilot of a fleet, or of a 
single ship; 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 who says that it can. Imagine further, that 
they continually surround the pilot himself, begging, and 
doing everything 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 mandra- 
gora, or wine, or some other thing, rendered the noble pilot 
incapable, they become masters of the ship and appropriate its 
contents, and whilst they drink and feast, they sail as 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 pilot, either by persuasion 
or force, they commend such an one, calling him sailor and 
pilot, and intelligent in navigation ; but they contemn 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 governing men, 
whether some be willing or not, they think impossible for a man 
to attain in conjunction with the art of navigation. 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 cities are affected towards 
true philosophers, but that you understand what I mean. 
Perfectly, said he. First of ail then, if any one wonders that 
philosophers are not honoured in cities, tell him our image, and 
endeavour to persuade him that it would be much more wonder- 
ful if they were honoured, I will, replied he. And further, that 
it is indeed true, what you were lately observing, that the best 
of those who apply to philosophy are useless to the bulk of man- 


kind ; but however, bid them blame such as make no use of 
these philosophers, and not these philosophers themselves. For 
it is not natural for the pilot to entreat the sailors to allow him 
to govern them, nor for the wise to wait at the gates of the rich. 
But whoever pleasantly said this, was 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 who- 
ever wants to be governed must wait on him who is able to 
govern ; for it is not natural that the governed who is really 
of any value should entreat the governed to subject themselves 
to his government. But you will not greatly err, when you com- 
pare 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 the best pursuit 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 admitted that you 
were right, did I not ? You did. And have we not fully ex- 
plained 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 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 necessarily 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 a good defence, if we be able to show that the true 
lover of learning naturally aspires to the knowledge of real 


being, and so far from resting in the many particular things 
which are the objects of opinion, goes on, and is not dis- 
couraged, nor ceases from his love of truth till he comes into 
contact with the nature of everything which /!?, by that part of 
the soul whose office it is to come into contact with a thing of 
this kind : and when this true lover of learning approaches, and 
is mingled with this he generates wisdom and truth, and then 
he will have true knowledge, and truly live and be nourished, 
and 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 love 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 that these in their turn are accom- 
panied by temperance. Right, said he. 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 examining 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, said I, that we now 
consider the corruptions of this genius, which destroy it in 
many men, and from which few escape, those who are called 
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 
for 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 qualifications 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 everything akin to these, corrupt and 
withdraw it from philosophy ; for you have now an outline 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, 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 excellencies of its kind; 
for evil is more opposed to good, than to that which is not 
good. Why is it not? It is then reasonable, I think, to say 
that the best genius, when meeting with nourishment foreign to 
it, shall be more changed to what is evil, 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 ; and that weak nature will ever 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 accord- 

Iingly, 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 certain sophists corrupt them by private 
teaching to a considerable extent ? Or think you rather, that 
the persons who say these things are themselves the greatest 
of sophists, conveying their instruction in the most powerful 
manner, and rendering young and old, men and women, such 
as they wish them 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, hooting or applauding the one and the 
other beyond measure, until the rocks and the place where 
they are resound, and the tumult is redoubled, whilst they thus 
blame and applaud. In such a situation now, what kind of 
self-possession, as we say, do you think the youth can 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. Thai 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, a different method 
from this of regarding virtue, if the character has been thus 
educated by these sophists. I mean a human method, my 
friend : for a divine one, according to the proverb, I keep out of 
the question: for you must know well, that you will not be 
amiss in saying that whatever has been preserved, and made 
such as it ought to be, in such a constitution of states, has been 
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 adventurers whom 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 indeed appear to you a most absurd teacher? To 
me he appears so, said he. And, think you, that this man does 


in any way differ from him who deems it wisdom to have under- 
stood the anger and the pleasures of the assembled multitude, 
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 ,'idministration respect- 
ing the city, and makes the multitude the judges of it, he is under 
what is called a Diomedean necessity, which is above all other 
necessities, of doing whatever they commend. But have you at 
any time heard any of them advance a reason that was not quite 
ridiculous, to show that these things are in reality good and beauti- 
ful? Nor do I 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 beautiful 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 philoso- 
phers. Impossible. And those who philosophise must of neces- 
sity be reproached by them. Of necessity. And likewise by those 
private persons, who associate with the multitude, and 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 in every thing, especially if he has a body naturally 
adapted to the soul ? Why shall he not ? said he. And when 
he becomes more advanced in age, his kindred and citizens, 
I think, will incline to employ him in their affairs. W T hy will 
they not? 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 fitted 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 judg- 
ment, yet needs it ; and 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, such an one should 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 are to receive from 
him ? Will they not by every action, and every speech, say and do 
everything that the man do not 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 likely now such an one will philoso- 
phise ? By no means. 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 benefits of riches, and all pomp 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, a 
genius which besides is but rarely found, as we observed; 
and from among such as these come the men, who do the 
greatest mischiefs to cities, and to private persons, and 
likewise they who do the greatest good, such as happen to 
be drawn to this side. But a little genius 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 so 
to say 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 com- 
monly 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 for refuge from 
prisons to temples, these likewise gladly leap from their 
handicrafts to philosophy; I mean such of them as are of 
the greatest address in their own little art. For, even in 
this situation of philosophy, her remaining dignity, in com- 
parison 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 life of labour. Must it not of 
necessity be so ? Undoubtedly, said he. Does it then appear 
to you, said I, that they are any way different in appearance 
from a bald and puny blacksmith, who has made a little money, 
has been recently liberated from chains, and washed in the 
bath, with a new robe on him, just decked out as a bride- 
groom, presuming to marry the daughter of his master, 
encouraged by the poverty and forlorn circumstances with 
which he sees him 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. But what now? When men who are 
unworthy of instruction apply to it, and are conversant in 
it, in an unworthy manner, what kind of sentiments and 
opinions shall we say are produced ? Must they not be 
such as ought properly to be termed sophisms, a bastard 
crew that possess nothing genuine, or worthy of true con- 
sideration? 1 By all 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 
1 Perhaps the reading should be, " possess no genuine insight." 


be detained somehow in banishment, and whose generous and 
well-cultivated disposition persists in the study of philosophy, 
being removed from everything which tends to corrupt it; 
or else when, in a small city, a mighty soul arises, who 
despises the honours of the state, entirely neglects them, 
and likewise with justice despises any small thing arising 
from the other arts. 1 Some of these the bridle of our 
friend Theages will be sufficient to restrain; for Theages is 
restrained by his health, which excludes him from public 
life, though all other things would induce him to leave 
philosophy alone. As to my own genius, it is not worth 
while to mention the daemonical sign ; for certainly it has 
happened heretofore to few, or none. And even of these few, 
such as are tasting, and have tasted, how sweet and blessed 
is the acquisition of philosophy; and have withal sufficiently 
seen the madness of the multitude, and how none of them, as I 
may say, effects anytiiing salutary in the affairs of cities, and 
that there is no ally with whom he might go to the assist- 
ance of the just and be safe; and 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, and who, 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 he shall make his exit, said he, after having done not the 
least important matters. Nor the greatest either, said I, whilst 
he has not met with a republic 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 unjustly so, 
* This is Taylor's rendering of this passage, slightly altered. 



unless you have something else to offer. No, said he, I say 
nothing further about this point. But which of the present 
republics do you say is adapted to philosophy? Not one 
indeed, said I, but this is what I complain of, that there is no 
constitution of a city at present worthy of the philosophic genius, 
which is therefore turned and altered, as a rare seed sown in an 
improper soil, which degenerates to what is usually produced in 
that soil. After the same manner this race, as it has not at 
present its proper power, degenerates to a foreign species : but 
should it meet with the best republic, which therefore corre- 
sponds with the best individual type, 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 republic. 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. In all things, said I, except one, and this very thing 
was formerly mentioned, that there must always be in the city 
something which shall have the same regard for the republic 
which you the legislator have when you establish 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 this remaining part. 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 inclination, said I, 
shall not hinder, though want of ability may. And being 
present, you shall know my alacrity, and consider now how 
eadily and adventurously I am going to say, that a city 
ought to attempt this study in a way opposite to that present. 
How? At present, said I, those who engage in it are 
striplings, who immediately from their childhood, amidst 
their domestic affairs and lucrative employments, apply them- 
selves for a moment to the most abstruse parts of philosophy 


(that is Dialectic), and then throw it up, thinking- themselves 
consummate philosophers. And in 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 re- 
kindled. l 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 take proper care of 
their body, whilst it shoots and grows to firmness, thus pro- 
viding 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 except- 
ing a by-work, do nothing else but philosophise, if they propose 
to live happy, and, when they die, to possess in the other world 
a destiny adapted to the life they have led in this. How truly, 
said he, Socrates, do you seem to me to speak with zeal ! Yet, 
I think, the greater part of your hearers will still more zealously 
oppose you, and by no means be persuaded, and that Thrasy- 
machus 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. You have 
spoken, said he, but a short time. None at all, said I, with 
respect at least 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 industriously composed, 
and have not fallen in spontaneously as these do at present. 

1 Heracleitus (the " weeping " or "obscure " philosopher : B.C. 510) 
taught that the sun was extinguished every evening and relit each 


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, O blessed man 1 
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 republic, nor even a man in the same way, 
would ever become perfect, till some necessity of fortune oblige 
these new 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 themselves, 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 otherwise only similar to wishes. 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 republic we have described 
has existed and subsists, and shall arise at least when this our 
muse has obtained 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 like- 
wise, 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. O 
blessed man ! said 1, do not thus altogether accuse the multi- 


tude ; 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 distinctly, as at present, both their 
genius and their pursuits, that they may not think you speak of 
such as they call philosophers ; or if they mean the same men, 
you will tell them they have conceived a different opinion of the 
men from what you have, and give very different answers about 
them from yours. Or, do you think that a gentle and quiet 
man can be enraged at another, who is not in a passion? or 
that a man shall envy the envious, who is himself both void of 
envy, and is of a mild disposition ? I will prevent you, and say 
that I think there is in some few such a naturally bad temper, 
but hot 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, men who openly revile what is 
no way becoming them, behaving in a scoffing and distasteful 
manner towards the multitude, 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 dianoetic part 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. On the contrary, beholding and contemplating such 
objects as are orderly, and always subsist in the same manner, 
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 [associating] with which he is filled with admira- 
tion ? 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 everything. It is. If then, said I, he be 
under any necessity, not merely of forming himself alone, but 
likewise of endeavouring to introduce anything 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 speak 
the truth of such an one, will they be angry at philosophers, 
and disbelieve us when we say. that the city can never other- 
wise be happy unless it be drawn by those painters who follow 
a divine original ? They will not be angry, said he, if they 
perceive it : but what method of painting do you mean ? When 
they have obtained, said I, the city and the manners of men as 
their canvas, they would first make it pure [white] ; which is not 
Itogether an easy matter. But in this, you know, they differ 
rom other artists, that they are unwilling to meddle either with 
private man or city, or to prescribe laws, till they either 
eceive a pure canvas, or purify it 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 proceed in their work, they will frequently look both ways, 
both to what is naturally just and beautiful, and temperate and 
the like; and likewise again to that which they can establish 
among mankind, blending and compounding their human form 
from different human characters and pursuits, drawing from 
this which Homer calls the divine likeness, and the divine 
resemblance subsisting among men. Right, said he. They 

K-vill then, I think, strike out one thing and insert another, till 
hey have rendered human manners, as far as is possible, dear 
-o 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 republics is the man we then recommended to them, and on 
whose account they were enraged at us, that we committed 
cities to him, and will they now be more mild when they hear 
us mentioning it ? Certainly, said he, if they be wise : 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 as perfectly good and 
philosophic, as any can be? or, will they say those are more 
so whom we set aside? Not at all. Will they still then be 
enraged at us when we say that till the philosophic race 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, 
said I, that we say of them, not that they are less enraged at 
us, but that they are altogether appeased, and persuaded, by 
our shaming them into consent, if by nothing else? By all 
means, said he. We will then, said I, consider them persuaded 
of this. But is there any one who will call this into question, 
that those of the philosophic genius can spring from kings and 
sovereigns? Not one, said he, would allege that. Or though 
such were born with a philosophic genius, may 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 is there any one who 
will contend 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 ? 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 accomplish everything 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 pre- 
ceding part of our discourse. Sufficiently indeed. So then it 
seems we are agreed about our legislation; that the laws we 
mention are the best, if they could exist ; and that though it is 
difficult to establish them, it is 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 establish- 
ing governors, knowing with what odium and difficulty they 
must be introduced, or be carried no further than theory. For 
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 begin- 
ning, what refers to governors. We said, if you remember, that 
if they were to appear to be real lovers of the city, they must be 
tried both by pleasures and by pains, and quit these principles 
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 
over, and concealed itself, 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 must now venture 
to assert ; but now we must even dare to assert this : that 
the most complete philosophers must be made guardians. 
Let this be agreed upon, replied he. But consider that you 
will probably have but few of them : for such a genius as we 
said :they must of necessity have, is wont 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 so strenuous 
and great-souled as to live orderly, with quietness and stability, 


but such are carried hither and thither by their acuteness, and 
everything 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 they not of the same temper with refer- 
ence 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 to a large extent, 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 character will but rarely be found ? How 
should it not ? 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 learn- 
ing, 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, temper- 
ance, 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, how- 
ever, to approach towards them in the way of our demonstra- 
tions which would follow; 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 it was 
sufficient for 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 anything. 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 indo- 
lence. 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 anything 
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 atten- 
tion, 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 let you go 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, though at present you 
either do not remember it, or you intend to occasion me trouble 
in raising opposition. This I rather think, since you have often 
heard at least, that the idea of the good is the greatest discip- 
line: 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 that without this knowledge, 
though we understood everything 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 all things 
except the good, or knew all things except the good, knowing 
nothing at all that is beautiful and good ? By Zeus, not I, said 
he. But surely this too at least you know, that to the multitude 
pleasure seems to be the greatest good; and to the more 
intelligent it seems to be practical wisdom. And very ridicu- 
lously, said he. How indeed can it be otherwise ? replied I, if, 
when they upbraid us that we know not what is the good, they 
tell us that they know, and call it the insight into what is good, 
as if we understood what they say when they pronounce the 
word good. Most true, said he. But what? those who define 
pleasure to be good, do they less err than the others ? or are not 
these too obliged to confess that certain pleasures are evil? 
Extremely so. It happens then, I think, that they acknowledge 
the same things are both good and evil, do they not ? Un- 
doubtedly. Is it not evident, then, that there are great and 
manifold doubts about it ? Why are there not ? But what ? is 
it not also evident, that with reference to things just and beauti- 
ful, the multitude choose the apparent, even though they be not 
really so, and they do or seem to do them, and possess, or 
appear to possess them ; but the acquisition of good, 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 good then is that 
which every soul pursues, and for the sake of this it does every- 
thing, guessing at its existence, but being dubious, and unable 
to. comprehend sufficiently what it is, or possess the same stable 
belief respecting it as towards other things ; and thus are they 
unsuccessful also in other things, if there be in them any profit. 
About a thing now of such a kind, and of such mighty conse- 
quence, shall we say that even these our best men in the city, 
and to whom we commit the management of everything, shall 
be thus in the dark ? As little as possible, said he. I think 
then, said I, that whilst it is unknown in what manner the just 
and beautiful are good, they are not of any great value to a 
guardian to possess, if it be likely he shall know these, whilst 
he is 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 
republic be complete, if a guardian be placed over it who 
scientifically knows these things? It must of necessity, said 
he. But with respect to yourself, Socrates, do you say that the 
good is science, or pleasure, or something else besides these ? 
You were ever, said I, a worthy man, and manifestly showed of 
old that you were not to be satisfied with the opinions of others 
about these things. Still it does not appear to me to be right, 
Socrates, said he, that a man should be able to relate the 
dogmas of others, but not his own, after having spent so much 
time in inquiring about these particulars. But what, 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. 

But, said I, have you not observed of opinions void of science 
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 by Zeus, 
Socrates, said Glauco, desist 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. 
But, O blessed man ! let us at present dismiss this inquiry, 
what the good is (for it appears to me a greater thing than we 
can arrive at, according to our present impulse); 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. 

Tell us, said he; for you shall owe us the explanation of 


what the father is. I could wish, said I, both that I were able 
to pay the principal debt, and you to receive it, and not as now 
the interest 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 adulterated account 
of this offspring. We shall take care, said he, to the best of 
our ability; only tell us. I shall tell, then, said I, after we 
have thoroughly assented, 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 said so. And that there is one essential beauty 
and one essential good, and so on, reducing all those things 
which we then considered as many, into one idea of each 
particular thing, and assigning to each that appellation which 
belongs to it ; and the former we say are seen by the eye, but 
are not objects of intellectual perception ; but that the ideas are 
perceived by the intellect, but are not seen by the eye. Per- 
fectly 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 ? Why not ? 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 perfect manner? I have not entirely 
perceived it, replied he. 

But consider it in this manner. 

Is there any other species, 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. Imagine 
then, 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 genus, 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. This species then is not despic- 
able; and by no small phenomenon are the sense of seeing, 
and the power of being seen, connected together; but by a 
bond the most honourable of all bonds, if light be not dis- 
honourable. 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 
that 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 itself is not 
the sun, nor is the eyes in which sight is ingenerated. 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 by and flowing from the sun ? Perfectly 
so. Is not then the sun, which indeed is not sight itself, yet the 
cause of it, and seen by sight itself? It is so, said he. Con- 
ceive then, said I, that the sun is what I called the offspring 
of the good, which the good generates, analogous to itself; 
and that what the sun is in the visible world with respect 
to sight and visible things, this is in the intellectual world, 
with respect to pure wisdom, and the objects of wisdom. 
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 lights 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 firmly adheres to 
that which truth and real being enlighten, then it understands 
and knows it, and appears to possess intellect: but when it 


adheres to that which is blended with darkness, which is 
generated, and which perishes, it is then conversant with opinion 
only, its vision becomes blunted, it wanders from one opinion to 
another, and resembles one without intellect. It has such a 
resemblance. That therefore which imparts truth to what is 
known and dispenses the power of knowing" to him who knows, 
you may call the idea of the good, being the cause of science 
and of truth, as being known through intellect. And though 
both knowledge and truth are beautiful, when you think that 
the good is something different, and still more beautiful than 
these, you shall think aright. Science 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, for 
the good itself vs worthy of still greater honour. 

You speak, said he, of an inestimable beauty, since it affords 
science and truth, but is itself superior to these in beauty. And 
you never anywhere said that it was pleasure. Predict better 
things, 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. 
Why not ? We may say, therefore, that things which are known 
have derived 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, tran- 
scending it both in dignity and power. Here Glauco, laughing 
very much, 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 anything. 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 as I am able at present, 
I shall not willingly omit anything. Po not, said he. Under- 


stand then, said I, that we say these are two things ; of which 
the one reigns over the intellectual class and world, and the 
other over the visible, not to say the heavens, lest I should seem 
to you to employ a pun in the expression : you understand then 
these two species, the visible and the intellectual ? I do. As if 
then you took a line cut into unequal parts, one representing 
the visible species, the other the intellectual, and again divided 
each section according to the same ratio, you will then have 
perspicuity and obscurity placed by each other. In the visible 
species you will have in one section images : by images, in the 
first place, I mean shadows, and in the next, the reflections in 
water, and such as subsist in bodies which are dense, polished, 
and bright, and everything of this kind, if you understand 
me. I do. Suppose now the other section to be the visible 
things of which these are the reflections, such as the animals 
around us, and the world of art and 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 
difference there is between a matter of opinion and a matter of 
knowledge, is also between the resemblance and that of which 
it is the resemblance ? I am, indeed, said he, extremely willing. 
But consider now again the section of the intellectual, how 
it was 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 
*he soul proceeds from hypothesis to an unhypothetical first 
principle, without the aid of those images about it, but by the 
help of the forms themselves makes its way through them. I 
have not, said he, sufficiently understood you in these things. 
We will start again, said I, for you will more easily understand 
me, these things having been premised. For I think you are 
not ignorant, that those who are conversant in geometry, and 
computations, and such like, after they have laid down hypo- 
theses of the odd and the even, and figures, and three species c* 
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 visible forms, and 
reason about them, their dianoetic power is not employed about 
these forms, but about those of which they are the resemblances, 
employing their reasonings about the absolute square, or 
diameter, and not about those which they 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 dianoetic part. You say true, 
replied he. This then I called a species of the intelligible ; but 
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 perspicu- 
ous, as objects of opinion, and distinct from the things them- 
selves. I understand, said he, that you speak of things per- 
taining to the geometrical and other sister arts. Understand 
now, that by the other section of the intelligible, 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 end ; using 
nowhere anything which is sensible, but forms themselves, 
proceeding through some to others, and at length ki forms 
terminating its progression. I understand, said he, but not 
sufficiently. For you seem to me to speak of an arduous under- 
taking : but you want, however, to determine that the perception 
of real being, and that which is intelligible, by the science 
of reasoning, are more conspicuous than the discoveries made 



y the arts, as they are called, which have hypotheses for their 
rst principles; and that those who behold these are obliged 
to behold them with their dianoetic power, and not with their 
enses. But as they are not able to perceive, by ascending to 
the principle, but from hypotheses, they appear to you not to 
possess pure reason respecting them, though they are intelli- 
ible in conjunction with the principle. You also appear to me 
o call the habit of geometrical and such-like concerns, the 
ianoetic part, and not intellect ; the dianoetic part subsisting 
etween opinion and pure reason. You have comprehended, 
said I, most sufficiently: and conceive now, that corresponding 
to the four sections there are these four passions in the soul ; 
pure reason answering to the highest, the dianoetic part (intel- 
ligence) to the second; 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 assent, and 1 
arrange them as you say. 



AFTER these things now, said I, compare, with reference to 
erudition, and the want of erudition, our natural condition with 
such a condition as this. Imagine men living in a kind of 
subterraneous 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, obliged to remain there, and only able 
to look before them, as owing to the chains they are incapable 
of turning their heads round. Suppose there be likewise the 
light of a fire, burning far above and behind them ; and that 
between the fire and the fettered men there is a raised road. 
Along this road, observe a low wall built, like that which hedges 
in the stage of mountebanks and above which they exhibit their 
wonderful tricks. I observe it, 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 
use, said he, a curious comparison, and curious prisoners. But 
such, however, as resemble us, said I ; for, in the first place, do 
you think that such as these see anything 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 the things that 
are carried by? Is it not the very same ? Why not ? 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 whatever spake was anything else than the passing 
shadow ? I do not, 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 refer- 
ence then, both to their freedom from these chains, and their 
cure of this ignorance, consider the nature of it, if such a thing 
as this 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 splendour, 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 phantoms, but that 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 he not 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 tor- 
ment, and be filled with indignation ? And after he had 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, at first. 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, after- 
wards 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 will 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 world ; 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. But 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 change, and 
pity them ? 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 as is described by Homer, and desire 

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

and rather suffer anything than to possess such opinions, 
and live after such a manner? I think so, replied he, that 
he would suffer, and embrace anything rather than live in 
that manner. But consider this further, said I : If such an 
one should descend again, and sit down again in the same 
seat, would not his eyes be filled with darkness, in conse- 
quence of coming suddenly from the sun? Very much so, 
replied he. And should he now again be obliged to give 
his opinions 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 (which would 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 if any one attempted to liberate them, and lead them 
up, would they not put him to death if ever they were able 
to get him into their hands? 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 intellectual world; 
you will apprehend my meaning, since you want to hear it, 
though God alone knows whether it be true. Appearances 
then present themselves to my view as follows. In the world 
of pure reason, the idea of the good is the last object of vision, 
and is scarcely to be seen ; but if it be seen, we must conclude 
by reasoning that it is the cause to all of everything right and 
beautiful, generating in the visible world, light, and its lord, 
the sun; and in the intellectual world, 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. You will not 
wonder that such as arrive hither are unwilling to act in 
human affairs, but their souls are always unwilling to desert 
the things above ; for it is reasonable it should be so, if these 
things take place according to our above-mentioned image. 
It is indeed reasonable, replied he. But what ? Do you 
think that this is anything 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 accus- 
tomed to the present darkness, to contend in courts of justice, 
or elsewhere, 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 our- 
selves 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 anything, 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, 
if those things be true, that we come to such a conclusion as 
this, namely That education is not such a thing as some 
announce it to be ; for they say, that whilst there is no science 
in the soul, they will insert it, as if they were inserting sight in 
blind eyes. They say so, replied he. But our present reason- 
ing, said I, now shows, that this power is in the soul of every 
one, and is the organ by which every one learns ; and it is in 
the same condition as the eye, if it were unable otherwise than 
by moving the whole body to turn from darkness to light, and 
it must, in like manner, with the whole soul, be turned from the 
world of death and generation, 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 conversion, in what 
manner a man shall, with greatest ease and advantage, be 
turned. Not the implanting in him of the power of seeing, but 
the considering him as possessed of it, and only improperly 
situated, and not looking at what he ought, and the contrivance 


of some method by which this may be accomplished. It 
seems so, replied he. The virtues 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 after- 
wards produced in it by habits and exercises) ; but the virtue of 
wisdom, as it seems, happens to be of a nature somewhat more 
divine than any other; as it never loses its power, but, accord- 
ing 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 everything to which it is turned, as 
having no contemptible sight, though compelled to be sub- 
servient to wickedness: so that the more acutely it sees, so 
much the more productive is it of wickedness? Entirely so, 
replied he. But, however, said I, with reference to this part of 
such a genius ; if, from childhood, it should be stripped of all 
those leaden weights, and of all those pleasures and lusts which 
relate to feastings and such like, which 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. But 
what ? is not this likely, said I, and necessarily deduced from 
what has been mentioned? that neither those who are un- 
instructed and unacquainted with truth can ever sufficiently 
take care of the city; nor yet those who allow themselves 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 inhabit the islands 
of the blessed. True, said he. It is our business then, said 1, 
to oblige those of the inhabitants who have the best geniuses, 
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 tribe in the 
city shall live remarkably happy; but this he endeavours to 
effectuate in the whole city, connecting the citizens together; 
and 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 in 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 as for you we have generated you for the state as 
well as for yourselves to be as the leaders and kings in a 
hive, and we have educated you better, and in a more perfect 
manner than they, and made you more capable of sharing 
both in the rewards and labours attending public offices. 
Every one then must, in part, 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, the city will seem to be inhabited as a reality and not as a 
dream, like most cities as 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 is, I believe, 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 the necessity of governing a thing contrary 
to all the present governors of all other cities. For 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 prudent 
life. But if those who are poor, and destitute of goods of their 
own, come into power, thinking they ought thence to gain advan- 
tage for themselves, it is not possible to have the city rightly 
established. For the contest being who shall govern, such a 
war being domestic, and within them, it destroys both them- 
selves, and the rest of the city. Most true, said he. Have you 
then, said I, any other kind of life but that of true philosophy 
which despises public magistracies ? No, said he. But, how- 
ever, 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 ? Certainly, 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 of real being, 
by the road which we call 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 the 
ephemeral to the real ? But this I consider whilst I am 
speaking. Did we not indeed say, that it was necessary for 
them, whilst young, to be trained in war? We said so. It is 
proper then, that this characteristic likewise be added to that 
which is now the object of our inquiry. What is it ? That it 
is useful to military men. It must indeed, said he, be added if 
possible. We said somewhere in our former discourse that 
they were to be instructed by us in gymnastic and music. 
They were, replied he. Gymnastic is indeed in respect of what 
is generated and destroyed, for it presides over the increase 
and corruption of the body. It seems so. This then cannot 
be the discipline which we investigate. It cannot. Is it music 
then, such as we formerly described ? No, said he, for it was 
spoken of as a counterpart of gymnastic, if you remember; 
instructing our guardians by habit, imparting no science, but 
only, with respect to harmony, a certain kind of harmony, and 
with regard to rhythm a certain kind 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, divine Glauco, what may this 
discipline be ? For all the arts have somehow appeared to be 
mechanical and illiberal. How should they not? And 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 that? Such as this general thing, 



which all arts, and dianoetic powers, and sciences employ, and 
which every one ought, in the first place, necessarily to learn. 
What is that ? said he. The ordinary knowledge, said I, of the 
numbers one, and two, and three : I call this summarily 
Number, and Computation. For is it not that every art, and 
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. Pala- 
medes, for example, in the tragedies, shows everywhere 
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 the ships, and all the other forces which were not 
numbered before ; for Agamemnon, as it seems, did not even 
know how many feet he had, as he understood not how to 
number them: what kind of general do you imagine him to be? 
A strange 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 investi- 
gating, which naturally lead to intelligence, but that no one 
uses it aright, being entirely a conductor towards real being. 
What do you mean? replied he. I shall endeavour, said I, 
to explain at least my own opinion. With reference to those 
things which I divide in my mind 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 re- 
specting it. Show me, said he. I will, said I. You may perceive 
some things that are perceived by the senses, which call not 
intelligence to the inquiry, as they are sufficiently determined 
by the sense ; and other things which call upon it to inquire, as 
the sense produces no result. 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. Which 
then, said he, do you mean ? Those things, said I, call not 
upon intelligence, which do not produce two contrary sensa- 
tions at one and the same time ; but such as do I say are those 
which call upon intelligence: since in the latter the sense mani- 
fests two contrary sensations, whether the object be near, or 
at a distance. But you will understand my meaning more 
plainly in this manner. These, we say, are three fingers, the 
little finger, the next to it, and the middle finger. Plainly 
so, replied he. Consider me then as speaking of them 
when 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 in the middle or in the end; 
whether it be white or black, thick or slender, or anything 
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 intimate a finger to be a 
finger, and at the same time its contrary. It does not, 
replied he. It is not likely then, said I, that such a case as 
this shall either call upon or excite intelligence ? It is not. 
But what ? 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 thick- 
ness 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 the hard, of 
necessity relate likewise to the soft ; and feeling these, it 
reports to the soul, as if both hard and soft were one and 
the same ? 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 at least, 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, call- 
ing in reason and intelligence, will endeavour to discover, 
whether the things reported be one, or whether they be two. 
Why not? And if they appear to be two, each of them 
appears to be one, and distinct from the other. It does. And 

I if each of them be one, and both of them two, it will by 
intelligence perceive the two to be 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 something confused. 
Does it not ? It does. In order to obtain perspicuity in this 
affair, intelligence is obliged again to consider great and small, 

inot 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 intelli- 
gible, 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 dianoetic part, 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 refer- 
ence to number and unity, to which of the two classes do you 
think they belong ? I do not know, 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 the finger. But if there be always seen at the 
same time something contrary to it, so as that it shall appear 
as much the contrary of itself as unity itself, 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 study which relates to unity would be of 
the class of those which lead, and turn the soul to the con- 
templation of real being. Right, said he: this indeed, 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 member be affected 
in the same manner ? Why not ? But surely both computa- 
tion and arithmetic 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 the transitory world, 
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 sell- 
ing, as merchants and retailers, but both for war, and for 
facility in the energies of the soul itself, and its conversion 
from change 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 men- 
tioned, 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 lead 
up the soul, and compel it to reason about numbers themselves, 
by no means admitting, if a man in reasoning shall produce 
numbers which have visible and tangible bodies ! For you 
know of some who are skilled in these things, and who, if 
a man in reasoning should attempt to divide unity itself, 
would both ridicule him, and not admit it; and if you divide 


it into parts, they multiply them again, afraid lest unity should 
appear not to be unity, but many parts. You are right, replied 
he. What think you now, Glauco, if one should ask them: 
O admirable men ! about what kind of numbers are you reason- 
ing ? What numbers are they in which there is such unity as 
you describe, each unit being equal to each, and not differing 
in the smallest degree, while having no parts in itself: what do 
you think they would answer ? This, as I suppose ; that they 
mean such numbers as can be conceived by the dianoetic part 
alone, but cannot be comprehended in any other way. You 
see then, my friend, said I, that in reality this discipline 
appears to be necessary for us, since it seems to compel the 
soul to employ intelligence itself in the perception of truth 
itself. And surely now, said he, it effects this in a very 
powerful degree. But what ? have you hitherto considered 
this ? that those who are naturally skilled in computation 
appear to be acute in all disciplines ; and such as are 
naturally slow, if they be instructed and exercised in this, 
though they derive no other advantage, yet at the same 
time all of them proceed so far as to become more acute 
than they were before. It is so, replied he. And surely, 
as I think, you will not easily find anything, and certainly 
not many, which occasion greater labour to the learner and 
student than this. No, indeed. On all these accounts, then, 
this discipline is not to be omitted, but the best geniuses are 
to be instructed in it. I agree, said he. 

Let this one thing then, said I, be established among us; 
and, in the next place, let us consider if that which is con- 
sequent to this in any respect pertains to us. What is it ? said 
he : do you mean geometry ? That very thing, said I. As far, 
said he, as it relates to warlike affairs, it is plain that it belongs 
to us; for, as to encampments, and the occupying of ground, 
contracting and extending an army, and all those figures into 
which they form armies, both in battles and in marches, there 
would be a difference in a soldier according as he is a geome- 
trician, or not. Surely, said I, for such purposes as these, a 
little geometry, and computation might suffice : but we must 


inquire, whether a larger, and more advanced study of it, would 
contribute anything to this great end, to make us more easily 
perceive the idea of the good. We say that everything con- 
tributes to this, that obliges the soul to turn itself towards that 
region in which is the most divine of being, which it must by all 
means perceive. You say right, replied he. If therefore it 
compel the soul to contemplate the real essence, it concerns us; 
but if it oblige it to contemplate the changeable, it does not. 
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 about it by those who practise it. How ? said 
he. They speak very ridiculously, and as if through poverty of 
ideas: for all the discourse they employ in it appears to be with 
a view to actual practice. Thus they speak of making a square, 
of prolonging, of adjoining, and the like. But yet the whole of 
this discipline is studied for the sake of knowledge. By all 
means, 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 dianoetic 
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 incon- 
siderable. 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 in every way an entire difference. Every way, said he. 
Let us then establish this second discipline for the youth. Let 
us establish it, replied he. 

But what ? 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 a certain organ of the soul, which 
is blinded and buried by studies of another kind, is by each of 
these disciplines both purified and enlivened; an organ better 
worth saving than ten thousand eyes, since truth is perceived 
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 talk non- 
sense; for they perceive no other advantage in these things 
worthy of attention. Consider now from this point, with which 
of these two you will reason ; or if you carry on the reasonings 
with neither of them, but principally for your own sake, yet you 
will doubtless allow another to be benefited by them. In the 
latter manner, replied he, I choose, on my own account princi- 
pally 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. What have we taken? re- 
plied he. After a plain surface, said I, we have taken a solid 
moving in a circle, before we considered the solid by itself: but 
if we had proceeded rightly we should have taken the third 
argument immediately after the second, and that is the argument 
of cubes, and what participates of depth. It is so, replied he. 
These things, 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, under all these disadvantages, progress through 
their native grace : nor is it wonderful that they do so. Truly, 
said he, this grace is very remarkable. But tell me more 
plainly what you were just now saying; for 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 the inquiry into spaces of three dimensions which 
was next according to method we passed over, because the 
investigation of it is usually 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 which we have now 
omitted will be studied, when some 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 unreasonable. For it is evident, I 
conceive, to every one, that this discipline compels the soul to 
look to that which is above, and away from things here below. 
It is, said I, perhaps 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 makes the soul 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 everything, 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 othet 


discipline can make the soul look upwards, but that which 
respects being, and that which is invisible ; and if a man under- 
takes to learn anything of sensible objects, whether he gape 
upwards, or bellow downwards, never shall I say that he learns ; 
for I aver he has no science of these things, nor shall I say his 
soul looks upwards, but downwards, even though he should 
learn 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 ; although these variegated bodies in the 
heavens are deemed the most beautiful and the most accurate 
of the kind, yet (as they are only part of the visible world) are 
far inferior to the real beings which are carried in those orbits 
in which real velocity, and real slowness, in true number, and 
in all true forms, work with respect to one another, and carry 
all things that are within them: which latter things truly are 
to be comprehended by reason and the dianoetic power, but 
not by sight ; or do you think they can ? By no means, replied 
he. Is not then, said I, that variety 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. It would be 
ridiculous, replied he. And do not you then think, that he who 
is truly an astronomer is affected in the same manner, when he 
looks up to the orbits of the planets ? And that he reckons that 
the heavens are established in the most beautiful manner pos- 
sible for such works ; 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 the sun and moon 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 who would 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 lawgivers. But can you 
suggest any of the proper disciplines? I can suggest none, 
replied he, at present at least. Lation [Motion], said I, as it 
appears to me, affords us not one indeed, but many species of 
discipline. All of which any wise man can probably tell ; but 
those which occur to me are two. What are they ? Together 
with this we have mentioned, said I, there is its counterpart. 
Which ? As the eyes, said I, seem to be fitted to astronomy, 
so the ears seem to be fitted to harmonious lation. And these 
seem to be sister sciences to one another, both as the Pytha- 
goreans 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, 1 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 the Gods, said he, and ridiculously too, whilst they frequently 
1 The Pythagorean philosophy considered that the key of the universe 
lay in number and proportion. 


repeat certain notes, and listen with their ears as if to catch the 
sound from their neighbours ; and 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. You speak, said I, of the 
lucrative musicians, who perpetually harass and torment their 
strings, and turn them on the pegs. But that the comparison 
may not be too tedious, I shall say nothing of their complaints 
of the strings, their refusals and stubbornness, but bring the 
image to an end. But I say we ought not to choose these to 
speak of harmony, but those true musicians whom we men- 
tioned. 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 divine work. It is then indeed profitable, 
said I, in 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 likewise, 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 skilled 
in dialectic do not appear expert as to these things. No, by 
Zeus, 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 anything 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 of the intellectual 
\vorld, 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 begins to discuss a subject without using any of the senses, 
but by reasoning alone he is impelled to that which each 
particular is ; and if he does not desist till he apprehends by 
pure intelligence what is the good itself, he then arrives at the 
end of the intellectual world, as the other does at the end of the 
visible. Entirely so, said he. What now? Do not you call 
this progression dialectic ? What else ? And now, said I, as 
in our former comparison jou 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 looking 
at images in water, from an inability at first to behold animals 
and plants and the light of the sun ; so here you have the con- 
templation of divine phantasms, and the shadows of real beings, 
and not the shadows of images shadowed out by another light 
of a similar kind, as by the sun. And likewise this pursuit of 
the arts which we have discussed, has this power, to lead back 
again that which is best in the soul, to the contemplation of 
that which is best in beings that exist; as in the former case, 
that which is brightest in the body is led to that which is most 
splendid in the corporeal and visible world. I admit, said he, 
these things ; though in one way truly it appears to me ex- 
tremely difficult to admit them, and in another respect it is 
difficult not to admit them. But however (for we shall hear 
these things not only now at present, but often again discuss 
them), establishing these things as now expressed, let us go to 
the law itself, and discuss it as we have finished the introduc- 
tion. Say then what is the mode of the power of dialectic, and 
into what species is it divided, and what are the paths leading 
to it ? For these, it is likely, conduct us to that place, at which 
when we are arrived, we shall find a resting-place, and the end 
of the journey. You will not as yet, friend Glauco, be able to 
follow; for otherwise no zeal should be wanting on my part; 
nor should you any longer only see the image of that of which 
we are speaking, but the truth itself. At least this is how it 
appears to me ; whether it be so in reality or not, this it is not 


proper strenuously to affirm ; but that indeed it is somewhat of 
this kind may be strenuously affirmed. May it not ? Why 
not ? And further that it is the power of dialectic alone, which 
can discover this to one who is skilled in the things we have 
discussed, and that by no other power it is possible. This also, 
said he, we may strenuously affirm. This at least no one, said 
I, will dispute with us : That no other method can attempt to 
comprehend, in any orderly way, what each particular being is ; 
for all the other arts are concerned with either the opinions and 
desires of men, or the generations and composition of bodies, 
or are all employed in the culture of things generated and 
compounded. Those others, which we said participated some- 
what of being, geometry, and such as are connected with it, we 
see as dreaming indeed about being; but it is impossible for 
them to have a true vision, so long as employing hypotheses 
they preserve these immovable, without being able to assign 
a reason for their subsistence. For where the principle is that 
which is unknown, and the conclusion and intermediate steps 
are connected 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 proceed 
in this way alone, to the principle itself, removing all hypotheses, 
that it may firmly establish it, and by gradually drawing and 
leading upwards the eye of the soul, which was buried in barbaric 
ignorance, using as assistants and guides those arts we have 
mentioned, which through custom we frequently call sciences, but 
which require another and clearer appellation than opinion, 
but more obscure than science ? We have somewhere in the 
former part of our discourse termed it the dianoetic power 
[understanding]. 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 the dianoetic power, the third faith, and the 
fourth conjecture? and also these two last, opinion? and the 
two former, intelligence ? And that opinion is employed about 
the changeable, and intelligence about the essence ? Likewise, 


that as essence is to the changeable, so is intelligence to opinion, 
science to faith, and the dianoetic power 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 reasonings. 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 ? Why 
should I not say so ? 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 con- 
fute, not according to opinion, but according to essence, and in 
all these marching forward with undeviating reason, such an 
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. By Zeus, said he, I will strongly aver 
all these things. But surely you will not, I think, allow your 
own children whom you are theoretically nourishing and edu- 
cating, if ever in reality you educate them, to have the supreme 
government of the most important affairs in the state, whilst 
they are as void of reason as letters of the alphabet. 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 placed on high as 
a bulwark to disciplines ? and that no other discipline 
can with propriety be raised higher than this; but 


everything 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 ? How should I not ? 
said he. As to other things then, conceive, said I, that such 
geniuses as these ought to be selected. For the most firm and 
brave are to be preferred, and, as far as possible, the most 
graceful ; and besides, we must not only seek for those whose 
manners are generous and stern, but they must be possessed 
of every other natural disposition conducive to this education. 
Which dispositions do you recommend ? They must have, said 
I, O blessed man! acuteness with respect to disciplines, that 
they may not learn with difficulty. For souls are much more 
intimidated by severe studies, than by strenuous exercises of 
the body; for their proper labour, and which is not in common 
with the body, is more domestic to them. True, said he. And 
we must seek for those of good memory, untainted, 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 be applied to by the bastardly, but the legiti- 
mate. What do you mean by legitimate? 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 laborious in some 
things, and averse to labour in others, as 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 who dislikes all bodily exercise is lame, though in 
a different manner. You say most true, replied he. And shall 
we not, said I, in like manner account that soul lame 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 displeased, 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 care- 
fully attend to what is bastardly, and what is legitimate ; for 
when either any private person or city understands not how to 
attend to all these things, they unawares 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 everything 
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 too great keenness ; for, whilst I was speaking, I 
looked towards philosophy; and seeing her most unworthily 
abused, I seem to have been filled with indignation, and, being 
enraged at those who are the cause of it, to have spoken too 
earnestly. No truly, said he, not to me your hearer at least. 
But to myself I did, said I. 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 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 wilJ 


make them learn without compulsion. 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, O best 
of men ! 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 t 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, finished their necessary 
bodily exercises ; for during this time, whilst it continues, for 
two or three years, it is impossible to accomplish anything 
else; for fatigue and sleep are enemies to learning; and the 
behaviour of each in his exercises is none of the least of 
their trials. Certainly, said he. And after this period, said 
I, let such as formerly have been selected of the age of 
twenty receive greater honours than others, and let those discip- 
lines which in their youth they learned separately, be brought 
before them in one view, that they may see the alliance of 
the disciplines with each other, and with the nature of real 
being. This discipline will alone, said he, remain firm in those 
in whom it is ingenerated. And this, said I, is the greatest 
trial for distinguishing between those geniuses which are natur- 
ally fitted for dialectic, and those which are not. He who 
perceives this alliance is skilled in dialectic ; he who does not, 
is not. I am of the same opinion, said he. It will then be 
necessary for you, said I, after you have observed these things, 
and seen who are most approved in these, being stable in 
disciplines, and stable in war, and in the other things estab- 
lished by law, to make choice of such after they exceed thirty 
years, selecting from those chosen formerly, and to advance 


them to greater honours. Yon must likewise observe them, 
trying them by the power of dialectic so as to ascertain which 
of them without the assistance of his eyes, or any other sense, 
is able to proceed with truth to being itself. And here, my 
companion, is a work of great caution. In what principally ? 
said he. Do not you perceive, said I, the evil which at 
present attends dialectic, how great it is? What is it, said 
he, you mean ? Disobedience to law, said I. Greatly so, 
replied he. Are you surprised, said I, or will you not forgive 
them ? How do you mean ? said he. Just as if, said I, a 
certain supposititious child were educated in great opulence 
in a rich and noble family, and amidst many flatterers, and 
should perceive, when grown up to manhood, that he is not 
descended of those who are said to be his parents, but yet 
should not discover his real parents ; can you divine how such 
an one would be affected both towards his flatterers, and towards 
his supposed parents, both at the time when he knew nothing 
of the cheat, and at that time again when he came to perceive 
it ? Or are you willing to hear me while I presage it ? I am 
willing, said he. I prophesy then, said I, that he will pay more 
honour to his father and mother, and his other supposed rela- 
tions than to the flatterers, and that he will less neglect them 
when they are in any want, and be less apt to do or say any- 
thing amiss to them, and in matters of consequence be less 
disobedient to them than to those flatterers, during that period 
in which he knows not the truth. It is likely, said he. But 
when he perceives the real state of the affair, I again prophesy, 
he will then slacken in his honour and respect for them, and 
attend to the flatterers, and be remarkably more persuaded by 
them now than formerly, and truly live according to their 
manner, conversing with them openly. But for that father, and 
those supposed relations, if he be not of an entirely good natural 
disposition, he will have no regard. You see everything, said 
he, as it would happen. But in what manner does this com- 
parison respect those who are conversant with dialectic? In 
this. We have certain dogmas from our childhood concerning 
things just and beautiful, in which we have been nourished as 


by parents, obeying and honouring them. We have, said he. 
Are there not likewise other pursuits opposite to these, with 
pleasures flattering our souls, and drawing them towards these ? 
They do not however persuade those who are in any degree 
moderate, but they honour those their relations, and obey them. 
These things are so. What now, said I, when to one who is 
thus affected the question is proposed, What is the beautiful ? 
and when he, answering what he has heard from the lawgiver, 
is refuted by reason ; and reason frequently and in every way 
convinces and reduces him to the opinion, that this "beauty" 
is as deformed as it is beautiful ; and in the same manner, as to 
what is just and good, and whatever else he held in highest 
esteem, what do you think such an one will after this do, with 
regard to these things, as to honouring and obeying them ? Of 
necessity, said he, he will neither honour nor obey them any 
longer in the same manner as formerly. When then he no 
longer deems, said I, these things honourable, and allied to him 
as formerly, and cannot discover those which really are so, is it 
possible that he can readily join himself to any other life than 
the flattering one? It is not possible, said he. And from being 
an observer of the law, he shall, I think, appear to be a trans- 
gressor. Of necessity. 

Is it not likely then, said I, that those shall be thus affected 
who in this situation apply to reasoning, and that they should 
deserve, as I was just now saying, great forgiveness ? And pity 
too, said he. Whilst you take care then, lest this compassion- 
able case befall these of the age of thirty, ought they not to 
apply themselves to reasoning with every precaution ? Certainly, 
said he. And is not this one prudent caution ? that they taste 
not reasonings, whilst they are young ; for you have not forgot, 
I suppose, that the youth, when they first taste of reasonings, 
abuse them in the way of amusement, and they employ them 
always for the purpose of contradiction. And imitating those 
who are refuters, they themselves refute others, delighting like 
whelps in dragging and tearing to -pieces, in their reasonings, 
those always who are near them. Extremely so, said he. And 
after they have confuted many, and been themselves confuted 


by many, do they not vehemently and speedily lay aside all the 
opinions they formerly possessed ? And by these means they 
themselves, 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 inquires 
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 
geniuses ought to be orderly and stable, to whom dialectic is to 
be imparted, and not as at present, when every common genius, 
and such as is not at all proper, is admitted to it ? Certainly, 
said he. Will not then the double of the former period suffice 
a man to remain in acquiring the art of dialectic with per- 
severance and application, and doing nothing else just as 
formerly he gave up everything for the sake of his bodily 
exercises ? Do you mean six years, said he, or four ? J 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 magis- 
tracies as require youth, that they may not fall short of others 
in 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 
drawn 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, uplifting the 
eye 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 anything 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. And the city will publicly erect for them, monu- 
ments, and other 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 statuary, made our ruling men 
all-beautiful. And our ruling women 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 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 several 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 ; accounting justice as the greatest thing of all, 
and the 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 the more 
advanced in life as have lived ten years in the city will be sent 
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. 
Then, said I, is not what we have said sufficient both concerning 
such a city as this, and concerning the man similar to it ? For 
it is also now evident what kind of a man 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 like- 
wise the whole of education. In like manner, their employ- 
ments both in peace and war are to be common; and their 
kings are to be such 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 marching with the soldiers, and settle themselves, they shall 
dwell in such habitations as we formerly mentioned, which have 
nothing peculiar to any one, but are comrAon 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 anything as others do 
at present ; but, as trained soldiers 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 them- 
selves and the rest of the city. You say right, said I. But 
since we have finished this, let us recollect whence we made 
this digression ; 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 as those you are mentioning 
now, saying that you considered such a city to be good as was 
at that time described, and the man to be good who resembles 
it; whilst yet it seems you are able to describe a better city, and 
a better man. And you said, moreover, that if this was right 
all the others were wrong. Of the other republics, you said, as 
I remember, there were four species, which deserved to be con- 
sidered, and to have the errors in them, and the lawless people 


in 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 republics, Pole- 
marchus and Adimantus hereupon interrupted ; l 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 republics. 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 republic full of many evils ; that which 
is the opposite of this, and follows next in order, a Democracy : 
and then genuine Tyranny, different from all these, the fourth 
and worst disease of a city. Or have you any other form of 
a republic belonging to any distinct species ? For your little 
principalities and venal kingdoms, and such-like republics, are 
of a middle kind between these, and one may find as many of 
them 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 a necessity that there be 
as many species of men as of republics ? Or do you imagine 
that republics are generated of an oak, or a rock, and not of 
the manners of those who are in the city, to which, as into a 
current, everything else likewise is drawn ? By no means do I 
imagine, said he, they are generated from anything but from 
hence. If then there be five species of cities, the species of 
souls in individuals shall be likewise five. Why not ? 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 worse 
1 At the beginning of the Fifth Book. 


species, the contentious and the ambitious man, who is formed 
according to the Spartan republic; 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 present reasoning ? By all means, 
said he, we must do so. Shall we then, in the same manner as 
we began, consider the manners in republics, before we con- 
sider them in private persons, as being there more conspicuous? 
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), and to- 
gether with it we shall consider a man resembling it ; afterwards 
we shall consider an Oligarchy, and a man resembling Oli- 
garchy; 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 
likewise a tyrannic soul, we shall endeavour to become com- 
petent judges of what we proposed. Both our contemplation 
and judgment, said he, would in this manner at least be agree- 
able to reason. Come then, said I, let us endeavour to relate 
in what manner a Timocracy arises out of an Aristocracy. 
Or is not this plain, that every republic 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 state 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 describe them as talking tragic- 
ally, playing with us, and rallying us as children, and pretending 
to talk seriously and sublimely? In what manner? Somehow 
thus: It is indeed difficult for a city thus constituted to be 


changed. But as everything which is generated is subject 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 and sterility of soul as well as of body takes 
place, when the revolutions of the heavenly bodies complete the 
periphery of their respective orbits ; 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 never, by reason in conjunction with sense, observe 
the proper seasons, 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 compre- 
hends ; and to that which is generated by man, that in which 
the augmentations surpassing and surpassed, when they shall 
have received these restitutions and four boundaries of things 
assimilating and dissimilating, increasing and decreasing, shall 
render all things correspondent and effable; of which the 
sesquitertian progeny, when conjoined with the pentad, and 
thrice increased, affords two harmonies. One of these, the 
equally equal, a hundred times a hundred; but the other, of 
equal length indeed, but more oblong, is of a hundred numbers 
from effable diameters of pentads, each being deficient by unity, 
and from two numbers that are ineffable ; and from a hundred 
cubes of the triad. But the whole geometric number of this 
kind 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 gymnic 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 in distinguishing, according to Hesiod and us, the 
several species of geniuses, the golden, the silver, the brazen, 
and the iron; but whilst iron is mixed with silver, and brass 
with gold, dissimilitude 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 species of geniuses, 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 
geniuses, as they are not in want, but naturally rich, will lead 
souls towards virtue, and the original constitution ; yet as they 
will quarrel violently with one another, they will make an agree- 
ment to divide their lands and houses between them, and to 
dwell 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, for service in war, 
and for their own protection. This revolution, said he, seems 
to me thus to arise. Shall not then this republic, said I, be 
somewhat in the middle between an Aristocracy and Oligarchy? 

The change shall happen in this manner ; and after this 
change what sort of life shall the state lead ? Is it not plain, 
that in some things it shall imitate its former condition, and in 
others Oligarchy, as being in the middle of the two, and shall 
likewise have somewhat peculiar to itself? Just so, replied he. 
Will not then the military class, in honouring their rulers, and 
in abstaining from agriculture, and mechanical and other gain- 
ful employments, in its establishing common meals, and in 
studying both gymnastic exercises and contests of war, in all 
these things will it not imitate the former republic ? Yes. But 
in 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 forward and rough, whose natural genius is 
rather fitted for war than peace, and in that they esteem 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, like those who live in Oligarchies, and in an illiberal and 
concealed manner, value gold and silver, as they have reposi- 
tories of their own, and domestic treasures, where they hoard 
and hide their riches, and have their houses circularly enclosed, 
where, as in nests altogether peculiar, they squander everything 
profusely upon their wives and such other things as they fancy. 
Most true, said he. And will they not likewise be sparing of 
their own substance, as valuing it highly, and acquiring it not 
in an open manner, and love to squander the substance of 
others, through their dissoluteness, 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 music, which is accompanied 
with reason and philosophy, and honoured gymnastic more than 
music. You describe entirely, said he, a mixed republic, com- 
pounded of good and ill. It is indeed mixed, said I, but one 
thing is most remarkable in it, from the prevalence of the 
irascible temper, namely contention, and ambition. Exceed- 
ingly, said he. Does not then, said I, this republic arise in this 
manner ? And is it not of such a kind as this, as far as the 
form of a republic can be described in words where there is not 
perfect accuracy ; as it suffices us to contemplate in description 
likewise the most just and the most unjust man ; and it were a 
work of prodigious length to discuss all republics, and all the 
various manners of men, without omitting anything? Very 
right, said he. 

What now will the man be who corresponds to this republic ? 
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 to him. In what? He must necessarily, said I, 


be more arrogant, and unapt to music, if fond of it: and fond of 
hearing, but by no means a rhetorician : and such an one will 
be rough towards certain 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 anything of the kind, but by political 
management and military performances, being a lover of 
gymnastic and hunting. This indeed, said he, is the temper 
of that republic. 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 behav- 
ing 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 spirit. And you 


know, said I, that the domestics likewise of such families, such 
of them as appear good-natured, sometimes 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 conversations of others, he is brought to a mean 
between the two, and delivers up the government within him- 
self 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. We have now then, said I, the second republic 
and the second man. We have, said he. Shall we not after 
this go on saying with ^Eschylus 

" With diff 'rent cities diff'rent men accord." 

Or rather, according to our plan, shall we not first describe the 
city ? By all means so, replied he. It would be an Oligarchy 
then, I think, which succeeds this republic. But what con- 
stitution, said he, is it you call an Oligarchy ? That republic, 
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 
understand, 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 republic ; for, first of all, 


they find ou^ for themselves methods of expense, and to this 
purpose strain the laws, both they and their wives disobeying 
them. That is likely, said he. And afterwards, I think, one 
observing another, and coming to rival one another, the mul- 
titude 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, if each of them be placed in the 
opposite arm of a balance, one always rises and the other falls ? 
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. In- 
stead 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 laws, marking out the boundary of the Oligarchic constitu- 
tion, and regulating the quantity of Oligarchic power according 
to the quantity of wealth, more to the 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 republic 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 republic, 
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 entrust one with 
a poor man, though better skilled in piloting, what would be the 
consequence ? They would, said he, make very bad navigation. 
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, inasmuch 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 is this fault anything 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. By Zeus, said he, it is in no 
respect less. But surely neither is this a handsome thing, to be 
incapable to wage any war, because of the necessity they are 
under, either of employing the armed multitude, and of dread- 
ing 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 with reference to what we long ago con- 
demned, the engaging in a multiplicity of different things, 
the same persons, at the same time, attending in such a 
republic to agriculture, lucrative employment, and military 
affairs, does this appear to be right ? Not in any degree. But 
see now whether this form of republic be the first which 
introduces 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 horseman, 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 con- 
sider this likewise. When such a rich man as this is spends 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 its sub- 
stance ? 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 with- 
out any sting ; but of these with feet, some without stings, and 
some 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 somewhere in that place con- 
cealed thieves, and purse-cutters, 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 Oligar- 
chic government ? They are almost all so, said he, except the 
governors. And do we not think, said I, that there are many 
mischievous persons in them with stings, whom the magistracy 
by diligence and by force restrains ? We 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 re- 
public 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 an 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 losing 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 sycophants, 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, apply- 
ing to work, collects wealth. Do you not think that such a 
man will then seat in that throne the covetous and avaricious dis- 
position, and make it a mighty king within himself, begirt with 
tiaras, and bracelets, and sceptres ? 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 Oligar- 
chic man ? And the change into such an one is from a man 
resembling that republic from which the Oligarchic republic 
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 ? Yes. 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 
sordid man, and making gain of everything, a man intent on 
hoarding, such as the multitude extols will not this be the 
man who resembles such a republic? 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 some other 
pursuit? Entirely so, said he. Do you know then, said I, 
where you will best observe their wickedness ? Where ? said 
be. In their tutelages of orphans, or in whatever else of this 


kind comes in their way, where 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 moderate 
behaviour restrains the other wrong desires within him, he does 
so, not from any persuasion that it is not better to indulge them, 
nor from 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 an 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 the better desires governing the worse. It is so. 
And on these accounts such an one, as I imagine, will be more 
decent than many others, but the true virtue of a harmonised 
and consistent soul would far eclipse him. It appears so to me. 
And the parsimonious man will, in private life, be but a poor 
rival for victory, or in any contest of the honourable kind. And 
being unwilling to spend his substance for the sake of good 
reputation, or for any such contests, being afraid to waken up his 
expensive desires, or any alliance or contest of this kind, fighting 
with only a small part of his 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 it seems, is next to be considered, in 
what manner it arises, and what kind of man it produces when 
arisen ; that, understanding the nature of such a 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 1 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 impossible 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 
whilst in Oligarchies they neglect education, and suffer the 
youth to grow licentious, men of good birth are often under a 
necessity of becoming poor. Very much so. And these, I 
imagine, lurk in the city, fitted both with stings and with 
armour, some of them in debt, others in contempt, others in 
both, hating and conspiring against those who possess their 
substance, and others likewise, being desirous of a change. 
These things are so. But the money-catchers still brood over 
their affairs, and seem not to observe these ; and 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. They do, 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 the method of re- 
straining 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 is secondary to the other, obliging the 
citizens to pay attention to virtue; for, if one should enjoin 
them to traffic in the way of voluntary commerce, at the hazard 
of the contractor, 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 like- 
wise, 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 themselves, 
they neglect everything 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 (in which case the poor are not contemned by the 
rich ; since very often a robust fellow, poor and sunburnt, has 
his rank in battle beside a rich man bred up in the shade, and 
swollen with a great deal of adventitious flesh, and sees him 
panting for breath and in agony), do not you imagine that the 
poor think it is through their own fault that such fellows grow 
rich, and that they say to one another, when they meet in 
private, that our rich men are good for nothing at all ? I know 
very well, said he, that they do so. For, 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 ? Certainly, 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 establishment 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 republic is this? for it is plain that a man of this kind 
will appear a 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 republic most especially there would arise men 
of all kinds. How can it be otherwise? This, said I, seems to 
be the finest of all republics. As a variegated robe diversified 
with all kinds of flowers, so this republic, variegated with all 
sorts of manners, appears the finest. What else ? said he. 
And it is likely, said I, that the multitude judge this republic 
to be the best, like children and women gazing at variegated 
things. Very likely, said he. And it is very proper at least. 
O blessed man ! said I, to search for a republic in such a 
state as this. How now? Because it contains all kinds of 
republics 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 republics, 
and choose that from which he fancies. It is likely indeed, said 
he, he would not be in want of models. But what now, 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, you may govern never- 
theless, 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 are con- 
demned very curious? Or have you not as yet observed, in 
such a republic, men condemned to death or banishment, yet 
nevertheless continuing in it, and walking up and down openly ; 
and as if no one attended to or observed them, the condemned 
march about like heroes ? I have observed very many, said he. 
But is not this indulgence of the city very generous, in its small 
regard, and even contempt, for all those things we celebrated 
so much when we settled our city, as that unless a man had 
an extraordinary genius, he never would become a good man, 
unless when a child he were educated in 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 republic, anarchical, and variegated, distributing equality 
to all alike without distinction. 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 
the parsimonious man, who was trained up in an Oligarchy by 
his father in his manners ? Why not ? Such an one by force 
restrains 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. But what 
now ? 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, we shall not say right ? 
Right indeed. Let us select a paradigm of each of them, that 
we may understand by an example what they are. It is proper. 
Is not the desire of food (that is of plain bread and meat), so 
far as is conducive to health, and a good habit of body, of the 
necessary kind? I think so. The desire of bread at least is 
indeed necessary on both accounts, as it is not only advan- 
tageous, but also 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. But the desire even of these things as goes 
beyond these purposes, or the desire of less simple food, which 
is capable of being curbed in youth, and, by being disciplined, 
of being removed from many people, and which is hurtful both 
to the body, and 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, and the others frugal, as they are conducive 
towards the actions of life? Why not? 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 parsi- 
monious and Oligarchic ? Without doubt. Let us again men- 
tion, 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 parsimonious manner, comes to 
taste the honey of the drones, and associates with those 
vehement and terrible creatures who are able to procure all 
sorts of pleasures, every way diversified, and from every 
quarter ; from this time conceive there is the beginning of 
the change in him from the Oligarchic to the Democratic. 
There is great necessity for it, said he. And as the city was 
changed by the assistance of an alliance from without with one 
party of it with which it was akin, will not the youth be 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 by his father, or by others of the 
family, both admonishing and upbraiding him, then truly arises 
sedition, and oppression, 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, and others retire, on a certain modesty being ingener- 


ated in the soul of the youth, and he again becomes cultivated. 
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 instruc- 
tion, become both many and powerful. This is usually the 
case, said he. And do they not draw him towards intimacies 
among themselves, and, meeting privately together, generate a 
multitude ? What else ? 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 dianoetic part 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 an one. Vehem- 
ently so, said he. And does he not now again, on coming 
among those Lotus-eaters, 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 individual and ambassador-like admonitions of old men ; 
but, fighting against these, hold the government themselves. 
And denominating modesty stupidity, they thrust it out disgrace- 
fully as a fugitive, and temperance they call unmanliness, and, 
abusing it most shamefully, expel it. Persuading themselves 
likewise that moderation, and decent expense, are no other than 
rusticity and illiberality, they banish them from their territories 
with the aid of many other and unprofitable desires. Vehem- 
ently so. Having emptied and purified from all these desires 
the soul that is detained by them, and is initiated in the great 
mysteries, they next lead in, with encomiums and applauses, 
insolence and anarchy, luxury and impudence, shining with a 
great retinue, and crowned. And insolence, indeed, they 
denominate education ; anarchy they call liberty ; luxury, mag- 
nificence; 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 licentiousness and remissness of the 
unnecessary and unprofitable pleasures ? And very plainly so, 


replied he. And such an one, I think, after this leads his life, 
expending his substance, his labour, and his time, as much on 
the unnecessary as the necessary pleasures : and if he be for- 
tunate, 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, 
undervaluing none of them, but indulging them all alike. 
Entirely so. And such an 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. Whoever is thus 
affected, said he, vehemently 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 intoxi- 
cation, and in music, sometimes drinking water, and extenuat- 
ing himself by abstinence; and then again attending to the 
gymnastic exercises ? Sometimes too he is quite indolent and 
careless about everything ; then again he works as if he were 
a philosopher ; many times he acts the part of a politician, and 
in a desultory manner speaks and acts according to 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 places all laws whatever on a 
level. 1 I imagine, at least, said I, that he is multiform, and 

1 Davies and Vaughan, with an eye on a later democracy, translate 
this " the life that might be led by a man whose motto is Liberty and 


full of very different manners; and that, like the city, he is fine, 
and variegated, 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. He does, said he. What 
now? Shall such a man as this be arranged as resembling a 
Democracy, as he may truly be called Democratic ? Let him 
be so arranged, said he. 

But it yet remains that we discuss, said I, the most excellent 
republic, 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 become extremely 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 like- 
wise ? 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 liberty 
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 be afraid of his sons, 
and the son accustom himself to resemble his father, and neither 
to revere nor stand in awe of his parents, that so indeed he 
may be free ; or 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 men- 
tion. 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, when I say, with reference 
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 anything 
pertaining to slavery, they are filled with indignation, 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 sweet and 
charming government, whence Tyranny springs, as it appears 
to me. Charming truly, replied he ; but what follows this ? 
The same thing, sajd 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 licentious- 
ness, enslaves the Democracy: and in reality, the doing 
anything to excess usually occasions a mighty change to 
the reverse: for thus it is in seasons, in vegetable and in 
animal bodies, and in republics as much as in anything. 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 were 
asking ; but what that disease is which enslaves Democracy, 
resembling that which destroys Oligarchy ? You say true, 
replied he. I spoke, said I, of 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 every republic, raise disturbance, as phlegm 
and bile in a natural body. And it behoves a wise physician 
and lawgiver of a city, no less than a wise bee-keeper, to be 
afraid of these, and keep them at a distance, that they never 
get in ; but, if they have entered, that they be in the speediest 
manner possible cut out, together with their very cells. Yes, 


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 ; 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 Demo- 
cracy this, excepting a few, is the presiding party, and the 
boldest members speak and act, while the rest sit round the 
court and make a humming noise of applause, and cannot 
endure any other to speak differently ; so that all things, some 
few excepted, in such a republic, are administered by such a 
party. Just so, said he. Some other party, as well as this, is 
always separated from the multitude. Which ? Whilst the whole 
are 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. For how, said he, 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 third species, such 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 Demo- 
cracy, 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 men 
who are thus despoiled are obliged to defend themselves, saying 
and doing all they can among the people. Why not ? Others 
then accuse them of forming designs against the people, though 
they should have no inclination to introduce a change of govern- 
ment, and of being Oligarchic. Why not? 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 con- 
spicuous manner, over themselves, and to cherish him, and 
greatly 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 ex- 
tremely manifest. What is the beginning then of the change 
from a president into a tyrant ? Is it not plain, that it is after 
the president begins to do the same thing as that in the fable, 
which is told in relation to the temple of Lycasan Zeus in 
Arcadia ? What is that ? said he. That whosoever tasted 
human entrails 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 presi- 
dent of the people, and receiving an extremely submissive 
multitude, abstains not from kindred blood, but unjustly accus- 
ing 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 
what becomes of him, said I, who was seditious towards those 
who have property ; one who if banished and then restored in 
spite of his enemies with open force, becomes 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. Extremely so. And when a man who has 
property, and who along with his property has the reputation 
of hating the people, observes this, he then, my friend, accord- 
ing to the answer of the oracle to Croesus, 

" . . j to craggy Hermus flies, 
Nor stays, nor fears to be a coward deemed." 

Because he would not, said he, be in fear a second time. For 
he, said I, who is caught, is, I imagine, put to death. Of neces- 
sity. It is plain, then, that this president of the city does not 
lie " like a great man greatly fallen," but, hurling down others, 
sits in his chair a consummate tyrant of the city, instead of a 
president. He does, said he. Shall we consider now, said I, 
the happiness of the man, and of the city in which such a 
mortal 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 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 be- 
come more hateful to his citizens. Why not ? 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, who is worth anything. 
It is plain. He must then carefully observe who is courageous, 
who is magnanimous, who wise, who rich ; and so happy is he, 
that willing, or not willing, he is under a necessity of being an 
enemy to all such as these ; and to plot against them till he 
purify the city of them. A beautiful 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 faithful ones ? How is it possible he should not ? 
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 hire. You seem, by the dog, said I, again to 
mention foreign and multiform drones. You imagine right, 
replied he. But those at home, would he not incline to have 
them also as guards? How? After he has taken away the 
citizens, by giving the slaves their liberty, and making 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 as these at least, said he, 
he does employ. And such companions, said I, admire him, 


and the new citizens accompany him: but the worthy men 
both hate and fly from him. Why should they not? 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 is the mark of a con- 
densed conception, " That tyrants are wise, by the conversa- 
tion of the wise," and he plainly meant those were wise with 
whom the tyrants 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 putting to sale their fine, magnificent, and persuasive 
words, they will draw over the republics to Tyrannies and 
Democracies. Extremely 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 towards the republics, the reverse of these, their 
honour forsakes them the more, as if it were disabled by an 
asthma from advancing. 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 what they sell 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, that the people who 
have made the Tyrant will nourish him and his companions. 
They are under great necessity, said he. But proceed, 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 com- 
panions. Then, by Zeus, shall the people, said he, know what 
a beast they are themselves, and what a beast they have 
generated, and embraced, and nurtured, and that though they 
are the weaker they have attempted to drive out the stronger. 
What do you mean ? 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, when he has stripped him of his 
armour. You call, said I, the Tyrant a parricide and a miser- 
able 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 in defending themselves against the smoke 
of the slavery of free men, have fallen into the fire of a slavish 
despotism; and instead of that excessive and unseasonable 
liberty, they embrace the most rigorous and the most wretched 
slavery of bondmen. These things, said he, happen just so. 
Then, said I, shall we not speak justly and modestly, if we 
assert that we have sufficiently shown how Tyranny arises out 
of Democracy, and what it is when it does arise? We shall, 
replied he. 



THE tyrannical man himself, said I, remains yet to be con- 
sidered, 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 ? 
What is it? We do not appear to me to have sufficiently 
distinguished 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 now ? 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 which is rational and mild, and which governs 
in it, is asleep, and the part which is savage and rustic, being 
filled with meat and drink, frisks about, and, driving away sleep, 
seeks to go and accomplish its practices. In such an one 
you know it dares to do everything, as being loosed, and disen- 
gaged from all modesty and prudence : for it scruples not the 
imaginary embraces of a mother, or of any one else, whether of 
Gods, of men, or of beasts ; nor to kill any one, nor to abstain 
from 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 agreement with 
himself; allowing that part of the soul which is desiderative 
neither to be starved nor glutted, that it may lie quiet, and give no 
disturbance, either by its joy or grief, to the part which is best, 
but suffer it by itself, alone and pure, to inquire, and strive to 
apprehend what it knows not, either something that has existed, 
or now exists, or will exist hereafter; and having likewise 
soothed the irascible part, not suffering it to be hurried by 
anything into transports of anger, and so 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 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. 

I 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 seem to us to be 
perfectly temperate. And this species becomes indeed manifest 
in sleep. Consider if there appear to be anything in what I 
say, and if you agree with me. I agree. Recollect now what 
kind of man we said the Democratic one was: for he was 
educated from his infancy under a parsimonious father, who 
valued the avaricious desires alone: and such as were not 
necessary, but rose only through a love of amusement and 
finery, he despised. Was he not ? Yes. But, by being conver- 
sant with those who are more fashionable, and such as are full 
of those desires we now mentioned, he had run into their 
manner, and all kinds of riot, from a detestation of his father's 
parsimony; however, having a better natural temper than 
those who corrupt him, and being drawn in two opposite ways, 
he settled into a manner which is situated in the middle of both; 
and participating moderately, as he imagines, of each of them, 
he leads a life neither illiberal nor licentious, becoming changed 
into a Democratic from an Oligarchic man. This was, said he, 
and is our opinion of such an one. Suppose now again, that 



when such an 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 " 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 some love which presides over the indolent desires, and 
such as minister readily to their pleasures, which love is like a 
large and winged drone; or do you think that the love of these 
things is anything else ? I think, said he, it is no other thar 
this. And when other desires make a humming noise aboui 
him, full of their odours and perfumes, and crowns and wines, 
and those pleasures of the most dissolute kind which belong to 
such co-partnerships ; and, being increased and cherished, add 
a sting of desire to the drone, then truly he is surrounded with 
madn,ess as a life-guard, and that president of the soul rages 
with frenzy ; and if he find in himself any opinions or desires 
which seem to be good, and which retain modesty, he kills 
them, and pushes them from him, till he be cleansed of temper- 
ance and is filled with additional madness. You describe 
perfectly, said he, the formation 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 likewise 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. Such an one then, O divine man ! becomes absolutely 
tyrannical, when either by temper, or by his pursuits, or by 
both, he becomes a slave of intoxication, or love, or insanity. 
Perfectly so, indeed. 

Such an one, it seems, then, arises in this manner. But in 
what manner does he live ? As they say in the plays, replied 
he, you will tell me that. I will then, said I. For I think that 


after this there will be 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, which are in need of many things? Many indeed. 
And if they have any supplies, they are soon spent. What else ? 
And after this there is borrowing and pillaging of substance. 
What else ? And when everything 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 the love itself which 
commands all the others as its life-guards, shall rage with 
frenzy, 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 the new pleasures possess 
more than, and take away what belonged to, the ancient ones, 
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, en- 
croach on that of his parents ? Why will he not ? said he. And 
if they do not allow him, will he not first endeavour to pilfer from 
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, O wonderful man ! 
when the old man and woman oppose and fight, will he revere 
them, and beware of doing anything tyrannical ? I, for my part, 
am not quite sure, said he, of the safety of the parents of such 
an one. But, Adimantus, do you think that, for the sake of 
a newly-beloved and unnecessary mistress, such an one would 
give up his anciently 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 ancient 
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 Zeus, I do, said he. It seems, said I, to be an 
extremely blessed thing to beget a tyrannical son. Not 
altogether so, said he. But 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 rifle some temple ; and in all these actions, 
those desires that are newly loosed from slavery and that have 
become as the guards of love, shall along with it rule over 
those ancient opinions he had from his infancy, the established 
decisions concerning good and evil ; these desires which here- 
tofore were only loose from their slavery in sleep, when he was 
as yet under the laws, and his father, and under Democratic 
government ? But now when he is tyrannised over by love, such 
as he rarely was when asleep 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 it may be supported, and the crowd 
about it ; 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 an 
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 bribes. 
You call these, said he, small mischiefs, if there be but a few 
such persons. What is small, said I, is small in comparison 
with the great. And all those things, when compared with the 
wickedness and misery of a city, do not, as the saying is, come 


near the mark of the tyrant ; for when there are many such in 
the city, and others accompanying them, and when they per- 
ceive their own number, then these are they who, through the 
foolishness of ihp 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-country, as the 
Cretans say, or father-land ? And this 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, with the company they keep, 
are not their associates flatterers, and such as are ready to 
minister to them in everything ; or, if they need anything them- 
selves, falling down to those they converse with, they dare 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 
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 finish then, said 
I, with our worst man. He would seem such an one awake, as 
we described as asleep. Entirely so. And does not that man 
become such an one, who being most tyrannical by natural 
temper, is in possession of supreme power, and the longer he 
lives in tyranny, the more he becomes like such an one ? Of 
necessity, replied Glauco, taking up the discourse. And will 
not the man, said I, who appears the most wicked, appear like- 
wise the most wretched ; and he who shall tyrannise for the 
longest time, and in the greatest measure, shall he not in reaUty, 


in the greatest measure, and for the longest time, be most miser 
able. But as many men as many minds. Of necessity, said 
he, these things at least must be so. And would this Tyrannic 
man differ anything, 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, in regard to virtue and happiness, will not man 
be to man ? Why not ? Then does the city which is tyrannised 
over stand when compared with 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 do rightly if I account him worthy to judge about 
them, who is able, by his dianoetic power, 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 an one, who, having dwelt with 
the man in the same house, and having been 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 ; 
and after he has observed all these things, bid him declare, how 
the Tyrant is as to happiness and misery in comparison with 
others? You would advise to these things, said he, most 
properly. 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 resem- 
blance of the city, and the man, to one another, and, thus con- 
sidering each of them apart, relate the circumstances of each. 
Which ? said he. To begin first, said I, with the city. Do you 
call the one under Tyranny, 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 mass in it, in general, and the most excellent part, 
is disgracefully and miserably enslaved. 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 somehow, I say. But does not then the city which is 
slavish, and tyrannised over, least of all do what it inclines ? 
Very much so. And will not the soul too, which is tyrannised 
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 inconstancy ? How should it not be so ? But whether 
will the city which is tyrannised over be rich or poor ? Poor. And 
the soul under Tyranny will be of necessity likewise indigent and 
insatiable ? Just so, said he. But 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 in his desires and lusts ? How can they ? said he. It 
is then on consideration of all these things, and others 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 men. You do not 
as yet say this rightly, said 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 conjecture, said he, from what was formerly men- 
tioned, that you are right. 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 them by reasoning of this 
kind : for the inquiry is concerning a thing of the greatest conse- 
quence, a good life and a bad. Most right, said he. Consider 
then whether there be anything in what I say ; for in consider- 
ing this question, I am of opinion that we ought to perceive it 
from these things. From what ? From every individual among 
private men namely, 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 the 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 the desert, 
with his other substance, and his domestics, where no freeman 
was to give him assistance, in what kind 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 flatter some of the very slaves, and promise 
them many things, to set them at liberty when there was no 
occasion for it ? Would he not appear to be merely a flatterer 
of his servants ? He is under great necessity, said he, to do so, 


or be destroyed. But, said I, if God should settle round him 
many other neighbours, who could not endure any one to 
pretend to lord it over another; but, if they anywhere found 
such an one, should punish him with the extremist 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 he has in his soul the greatest 
desire, 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, creeping into his house, lives mostly as a woman, envy- 
ing the other citizens if any of them go abroad, and see anything 
fine. It is entirely so, said he. 

And besides such evils as these, does not the man reap still 
more misery, 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; just 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 alto- 
gether 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 anxieties 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 riot, 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. The judgment, said he, is easy; for I judge of 
them as of public performers, in their order of entrance on the 
stage, according to their virtue and vice, their happiness, and its 
contrary. Shall we then hire a Herald? said I. Or shall I 
myself declare 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 tyrannises over 
himself, and the city? Let it be published by you, said he. 
Shall I add, said I, that it matters nothing whether they be 
unknown 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 ? 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, afford 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 likewise three desires 
and governments. What do you mean ? replied he. There is 
one part, we said, by which a man learns, and another by which 
he is spirited ; 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, in calling it the covetous, and the 
desirous of gain, shall we not term it properly ? So it appears 
to me, said he. But do not we say that the spirited part ought 
to be wholly impelled to superiority, victory, and applause ? 
Extremely so. If then we term it the contentious and ambi- 
tious, will it not be accurately expressed? Most accurately. 
But it is evident to every one, that the part of the 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. How should 
we not ? And does not this, said I, govern in some souls, while 
in others one or more is dominant and of different kinds, accord- 
ing as each happens to be ? 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. 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 vulgar one? 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 with that of 
knowing what the truth is, and of being always employed in 
learning, and he will call the other pleasures unnecessary, as 
he does not desire them, but as he desires that of learning 
he says there is a necessity for it. 1 This, said he, is evident. 
When therefore, said I, these several lives, and the respective 
pleasures of each, dispute among themselves, not with refer- 
ence to living more worthily or more basely, or worse or 
better; but merely with reference to this question 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 ? Does it appear to you 
that the avaricious man, in learning truth itself, what it is, is 
more experienced in the pleasure arising from knowledge, than 
the philosopher is in that arising from the acquisition of 
wealth ? There is, said he, a great difference : for the philo- 
sopher, 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 lucrative man has no necessity 
of tasting, 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 lucrative man, at 
least in experience of both the pleasures. Far indeed. But 
what with reference to the ambitious man ? Is he more experi- 
enced in the pleasure arising from honour, than the philosopher 
is in that arising from intellectual 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 

1 This passage is corrupt and unmeaning, as it stands. I have 
adopted a conjectural rendering which is intelligible and follows 


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 experience he has pru- 
dence at least. Yes. But even the organ by which these 
pleasures must be judged is not the organ of the lucrative, 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 philo- 
sopher. Certainly. If then the thing were to be determined 
by riches and gain, what the lucrative 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, being the sovereign commender, 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. Why not ? said he. These things 
now have thus succeeded one another in order. And the 
just man has twice now overcome the unjust. Strive now 
for the third victory, as at the Olympic games, with the aid of 
Olympian Zeus, the Preserver ; and consider, that the pleasure 
of the others is not in every way genuine, but that of the wise 
man is : nor are they in a clear light, but shadowed over, as I 
think I have heard one of the wise men say. And this truly 
would be the greatest and most complete downfall of the unjust 
Extremely so. But how do you mean? I shall trace it out, 


said I, if whilst I search, 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 like- 
wise, that there is a state in which we feel neither pleasure nor 
pain ? We say so. And that being in the middle of both these, 
it is a tranquillity of the soul with reference to them. Do you 
not thus understand it ? Thus, replied he. Do you not remem- 
ber, 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 on many 
occasions perceive in men, I imagine, the same thing ; for when 
they are in trouble they extol the freedom from trouble, and the 
tranquillity of such a state, as being the most pleasant, and they 
do not extol the acute feeling of joy Because probably this 
cessation, said he, becomes at that time actually pleasant 
and delightful. 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 can. And surely, when anything 
pleasant or anything painful is in the soul, both sensa- 
tions are emotions, 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 appeared 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, said I, tranquillity is not really 
pleasant, but it appears so in respect of the pain, and painful 
in respect of the pleasant. And there is nothing genuine in 
these appearances in comparison with real pleasure, but they 
are delusions. As our reasoning shows, said he. Consider 


then, said I, the pleasures which do not arise from the cessa- 
tion of pain, that you may not frequently in the present 
discourse suppose that it is a law of nature that pleasure 
should be the cessation of pain, and pain the cessation of 
pleasure. 1 How so, said he, and which pleasures do you 
mean? There are many others, said I, but consider for 
example pleasures from smells; for these, without any pre- 
ceding pain, arise suddenly and are very great, and, when 
they cease, they leave no pain behind them. 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 strongest, are of this species, 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, that there are in nature, 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 anything 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 anywhere else than above, 
whilst yet he has not seen the true above ? No, said he, I do 
not think that such an one will imagine otherwise. But if he 
should again, said I, be carried to the below, he would con- 
jecture 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 inexperi- 
enced in the truth, they have unsound opinions about many 
other things, and that as to pleasure and pain, and what 
is between these, they are likewise affected in this same 
manner? So that, even when they are brought to what is 
1 This, however, is the philosophy of Schopenhauer. 



painful, they imagine truly, and are truly pained; but when 
from pain they are brought to the middle, they firmly 
imagine that they are arrived at fulness of pleasure. In the 
same manner as those who along with the black colour look 
at the grey, and through inexperience call it white, and are 
deceived; so those who consider pain along with a freedom 
from pain, are deceived through inexperience of pleasure. 
By Zeus, said he, I do not wonder at it, but much rather 
should I if it were not so. Again, consider it, said I, in this 
manner. Are not hunger and thirst, and such like, certain 
emptiness 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 possesses intellect ? Why not ? But which 
is the more real repletion, that of the real, or that of the less 
real being? It is plain, that of the real. Which species, then, 
do you think, participates most of a pure essence ; 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 intellect, and, in short, of all virtue? But 
judge of it in this manner. Is real being a part of that which is 
connected with what is always unchanging, and immortal, and 
true (and is so itself, and arises in what is such), or a part of 
that which is connected with what is always changing, and is 
mortal (and which is so itself, and is generated in a thing of 
this kind)? Of the former, said he. Does not knowledge 
enter into that which is always unchanging as largely as real 
being ? Yes. And what with regard to truth ? This also 
does. That is to say, if it participate less of truth, does it not 
likewise do so of essence ? Of necessity. In short, then, does not 
the care of the body in all its branches participate less of truth 
and essence, than the care of the soul ? By far. And the body less 
than the soul; do you not think so ? I do. Is not that which 
is filled with more real substances, and is itself a more real 
being, more truly filled than that which is filled with less real 
beings and is itself a less real being ? How should it not ? If 
then it be pleasant to be filled with what is suitable to nature, 


that which is in reality filled, and with more real substances, 
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 engaged 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 cattle 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 perish through their unsatiableness, because they fill with 
unreal being that part of them which is unreal and unrestrained. 
You pronounce most perfectly, Socrates, as from an oracle, said 
Glauco, on the life of the multitude. Must they not then, of 
necessity, be conversant with pleasures mixed with pains, 
images of the true pleasure, shadowed over, and coloured by 
their position beside each other? so that both their pleasures 
and pains will appear vehement, and engender mad passions in 
the foolish. Hence also they must fight about these things, as 
Stesichorus says those at Troy fought about the phantom 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 
moroseness), pursuing a glut of honour, of conquest, and of 
anger, without reason, and without intelligence ? Such things 
as these, said he, must necessarily happen with reference to this 
part of the soul. Then, said I, shall we boldly say concerning 
all the pleasures of the avaricious and the ambitious, that such 
of the men as are obedient to science and reason, and, in con- 



junction 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 plea- 
sure, and inasmuch as they follow truth, pleasures which are 
properly their own ; if indeed 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 govern, it happens that it not only does not attain its 
own pleasures, but it compels the other parts to pursue a plea- 
sure foreign to them, and untrue. 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, like- 
wise 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 illegiti- 
mate ; 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 the third remote from the Oligarchic character ; for 
the Democratic was in the middle between them. Yes. Does 
he not then dwell with the third image of pleasure, a copy of a 
copy 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 I, is three times thrice remote 
from true pleasure. It appears so. A square number then, 
said I, may be the image of tyrannical pleasure namely, 9. 
Certainly. But by squaring and cubing this, it is manifest by 
how great a distance he is remote. It is manifest, said he, to 
the computer at least. If now, any one reckon how far 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 by 729 times, and the Tyrant the more wretched by 
this same distance ? 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 sur- 
pass him in decorum of life, in beauty and in virtue ! In a 
prodigious degree, by Zeus, 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 to this point. 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 Chimaera, of 
Scylla, of Cerberus; and many others spoken of, where many 
particular natures existed together in one. They are spoken of 
indeed, said he. Form now one figure of a creature, various, 
and many-headed, having all around heads of tame creatures 
and of wild ones, 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 formation 
is easier in fancy, than in wax and such-like, let it be formed. 
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 easy, 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. Form 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 formed around, 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 attributes of 
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, 
as a tiller of the ground, shall take care of the many-headed 
creature, cherishing the mild parts, and nourishing them, and 
hindering the wild ones 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 discommends it speaks nothing genuine. 


Nor does the other 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, O blessed man ! do not we say 
that the things held to be beautiful and base are held to be so, 
according as they subject the brutal part of our nature to the 
man (or rather perhaps to that part which is divine) : or 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 profits, from this reasoning, 
to take gold unjustly, if it happens that, 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 sell into slavery a 
son or daughter, and that even to savage and wicked men, shall 
we not say this would not avail him, not though he should 
receive for it a prodigious sum ? But if he enslaves the most 
divine part of himself to the most impious and most polluted 
part, is he not infinitely more wretched ? and does he not take 
a gift of gold to his far more dreadful ruin, than Euriphyle did 
when she received the necklace for her husband's life ? By far, 
said Glauco ; 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 an oneMhat 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 servility blamed, 
when any one makes this irascible part itself subject to the 
brutal crew, and, for the sake of wealth and its insatiable lust, 
accustoms the irascible 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 coarseness and vulgarity 
are despicable? Shall we say it is on any other account than 
this that it is because they occur when the best part of a 


man's soul is naturally weak, so that he is not able to govern 
the creatures within himself, but ministers to them, and is able 
only to learn what flatters them? It is likely, said he. In 
order then that such an one may be governed in the same 
manner as the best man is, do we not say that he should be the 
servant of him who is the best, and who has within him the 
divine power that governs? Not that we at all conceive that 
he should be governed to the hurt of the subject (as Thrasy- 
machus imagined), but, as it is best for every one to be governed, 
by one divine and wise and possessing the power as his own 
within him, but if not subjecting himselt to it externally; that 
as far as possible we may all resemble one another and be 
friends, governed by one and the same thing ? 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 
in them, and then truly we set them free. It shows it 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 anything 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 ? Does he not indeed, who is concealed, 
become still 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, he will spend his life in attention to 
these; not that he may not indulge the brutal and irrational 
pleasure, nor yet with a view to health, nor, as regards the 
becoming strong, and healthy, and beautiful (unless by means 
of these he is to become temperate likewise): but he will 
always appear to adjust 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. He will keep that arrange- 
ment then, said I, and concord which should accompany the 
possession of wealth and magnificence; and he will not, in 
consequence of being astonished by the congratulations of the 
multitude, increase it 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 rnm, 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. Yes he 
will, said I, in his own city, and greatly too. But not probably 
in his country, unless some divine fortune befall him. I under- 
stand, said he. You mean in the city we have now established, 
which exists in our reasoning, since it is nowhere on earth, at 
least so 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 will perform the duties of this city alone, 
and of no other. It is reasonable, said he. 



I OBSERVE, said I, with reference to many things, that we have 
established a city in a right manner, beyond what all others 
have done; and among these regulations, I consider those 
respecting poetry as none of the least. Which ? said he. That 
no part of it which is imitative be by any means admitted. And 
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 dianoctic part of 
the hearers, at least of such of them as have not a medicine to 
enable them to discern their peculiar nature. From what con- 
sideration, said he, do you say so? It must be spoken, said I, 
although a friendly 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 a man must not be honoured 
preferably to the truth, and 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 imitation is ? for I do not myself 
altogether understand what it means. And shall I then under- 
stand it? said he. That would be in 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? We are wont to suppose the existence of 


a certain Form which includes the many individual things to 
which we give the same name ; do you not understand me ? I 
understand. Let us take now any such one thing from among 
the many as you please ; as, for example, there are many beds 
and tables, if you will have this instance. There are. But the 
Forms of these pieces of furniture are two; one of the bed, and 
one of the table. Yes. And are we not wont to say, that the 
workmen of each of these species of furniture, looking towards 
the Form, respectively make in this manner, the beds, and the 
tables which we use ? and all other things after the same 
manner. For no one of the artists makes, at least, the Idea 
(Form) itself ; for how can he ? By no means. But see now 
whether you call such an one as this an artist? Which? One 
who alone makes all such things as each separate manual 
artificer does. You mention a skilful and wonderful man. 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 utensils, 
but he makes also everything which springs from the earth, 
and he makes all sorts of animals, him lf as well as others : 
and besides these things, he makes the ea^th, and heaven, and 
the Gods, and all things in heaven, and in Hades under the 
earth. You mention, said he, a perfectly wonderful sophist. 
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, such an one 
may be the maker of all these things, and in another 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 turn it round everywhere ; 
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 ? How is it possible he should not ? 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 he says exists, which is the bed, but only a particular 
bed ? I said so indeed. If then he does not make that which 
is, he does not make real being-, but something resembling 
being, but not being itself: but if any one should say, that the 
work of a bed-maker, or of any other handicraft, 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 as this. Let us not then at all wonder if things as 
a bed happen to seem somewhat obscure when contrasted with 
the truth. Let us not. Are you willing then, said I, that with 
the use of these very things as illustrations, we inquire con- 
cerning 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 a bed ; 
but two or more beds 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 the real bed, but not the particular maker 
of any particular bed, produced but one in nature. It appears 
so. Are you willing, then, that we call him the 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 workman 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 the 
bed ? This, said he, as it appears to me, we may most reason- 
ably call him ; the imitator of what these others are the workmen 
of. Be it so, said I ; you call him then the imitator who makes 
what is generated in the third place from nature. Entirely so, 
said he. And this the composer of tragedy shall be likewise, 
since he is an imitator; and he will rise as a third 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 concerning the painter, whether do you think he under- 
takes to imitate each particular thing in nature, or the works 
of craftsmen? The works of craftsmen, said he. Whether, 
such as they really are, or such as they appear? Determine 
this further. What do you mean ? replied he. Thus. Does a 
bed differ in anything from itself, whether one 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 
does painting work, in each particular work ; does it imitate the 
real nature of real beings, or the apparent nature of appear- 
ances ? is it the imitation of appearance, or of truth ? Of appear- / 
ance, said he. The imitative art, then, is far from the truth : 
and on this account, it seems, it is able to make these things, 
because it is able to attain but to some small part of each par- 
ticular, and that but an image. Thus we say that a painter will 
paint us a shoemaker, a joiner, and other artists, though he be 
skilled in hone 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. Why not ? But this, I think, 
my friend, we must consider with reference to all these things ; 
that when any one tells us that he has met with a man who is 
skilled in all manner of workmanship, and everything 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, 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 well. By all 
means, said he, this is to be inquired into. Do you think, then, 
that if any one were able to make both 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 commende'd 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, nor ask Homer or any other of the poets, whether 
any of them were in any way skilled in medicine, and not 
imitators only of medical discourses : for which of the ancient or 
latter poets is said to have restored any to health, as yEscula- 
pius did ? or what students in medicine any has left behind him, 


as ;Esculapius did his descendants? Nor let us ask them con- 
cerning the other arts, but dismiss them. But with reference to 
those greatest and most beautiful things which Homer attempts 
to speak of, such as wars and armies, and constitutions of cities, 
and the education belonging to men, it is just to question and 
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 defined 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 Lacedaemon was by Lycurgus, and 
many other both great and small cities by many others. 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 
as the benefactor of any city? I think he will say no, said 
Glauco. It is not pretended even by the descendants of Homer. 
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 thete 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 to posterity an Homeric manner of life, in 
like manner as Pythagoras was remarkably beloved on this 
account, and, even to this day, such as denominate themselves 
from the Pythagorean manner of life appear to be somehow 
eminent among others. Neither is there, said he, anything of 
this kind related of Homer. For the education of Creophilus, 
Socrates, the companion of Homer, may probably appear more 
ridiculous than his name, if what is said of Homer be true. 
For it is said that even he greatly neglected Homer while he 
lived. 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 ? While 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 exceed- 
ingly 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 they had 
been able to profit men in -the way of virtue ? Would they not 
have retained them with gold, and obliged them to stay with 
them? or, if they could not persuade them, would they not 
as scholars have followed them everywhere, 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 poets, beginning 
with Homer, are imitators of the images of virtue, and of 
other things about which they compose, and 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 to 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 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 anything about shoe- 
making 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 enchantment have these things naturally. 
For you know, I think, in what manner poetical things appear 
when stripped of musical colouring, and expressed apart by them- 
selves: you have doubtless noticed it. I have, said he. Do 
they not, said I, resemble the faces of people who have been 
young, but 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 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 who uses each particular must be 
the most skilful, and be able to tell the maker whether what he 
makes is 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 ne ought to 
make them, and the workman will obey. 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 the same 
instrument, the maker shall have a right opinion concerning its 
beauty or deformity, whilst he is conversant with one who is 
intelligent, and he is obliged to hear from the intelligent ; while 
he who uses it shall have science. Entirely so. But whether 
shall the imitator have science from using the things he paints, 
whether they be handsome and right, or otherwise ? or shall he 
have right opinion from 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 should be very wise in his imitation, with 
regard to wisdom, concerning what he paints. Not entirely. 
However he will imitate at least, without knowing in what 
respect each particular 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, settled these things: That the imi- 
tators know 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. 

But, by Zeus, said I, this imitation is 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 the same when 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, just as does the wonder-working art, 
and many other such-like devices. True. And have not the 
arts of measuring, numbering, and weighing, appeared to be 
most ingenious helps in these things, that so the apparent greater 
or less, the apparent more or heavier, may not deceive us, but 
the numbered, the measured, and the weighed may teach us 
truly ? 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 computa- 
tion 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, delight in their own work, 
conversing with that part in us which is far from wisdom, and 
are its companions and friends ; to no sound nor genuine pur- 
pose. Entirely so, said he. Imitation then, being depraved in 
itself, and joining with that which is depraved, generates de- 
praved 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. We shall not therefore, 
said I, trust to the appearance in painting, but we shall proceed 
to the consideration of the dianoetic part which the imitative 
art of poetry is conversant with, and see if it is depraved or 
worthy. It must be done. Let us proceed then thus : Poetic 
imitation, we say, imitates men acting either voluntarily or in- 
voluntarily ; and imagining that in their acting they have done 
either well or ill, and in all these cases receiving either pain or 
pleasure. Is 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 now; 
for, in former reasonings, we sufficiently determined 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 formerly, said I, that a good man, when he meets with such 
a misfortune as the loss of a son, or of anything else which he 
values the most, will bear it of all men the easiest. Certainly. 
But let us now consider this further, whether he will not grieve 


at all, or, if this is indeed impossible, will moderate his grief? 
The truth, said he, is rather this last. But tell me this now 
concerning him, whether do you think that he will struggle more 
with grief and oppose it, when he is observed by his equals, or 
when he is in solitude, alone by himself? Much more, said he, 
when he is observed. But when alone, he will venture, I think, 
to utter many things, which, if any one heard him, he would be 
ashamed of, and he will do many things which he would not wish 
any one to see him doing. It is so, said he. Is it not then 
reason and law which command him to restrain his grief, but 
what drags him to grief is the passion itself? True. As then 
there is in the man an opposite conduct, with regard to the 
same thing, at one and the same time, we must necessarily say 
that he has two conductors. What else ? And shall we not say 
that one of them is ready to obey the law wherever law leads 
him ? How ? Law in a manner says that it is best in mis- 
fortunes to have the greatest tranquillity possible, and not to 
bear them ill ; since the good and evil of such things as these is 
not manifest, and since no advantage follows the bearing these 
things ill ; and as nothing of human affairs is worthy of great 
concern ; and, besides, as grief proves a hindrance to the course 
which when in trouble we ought to adopt. What is it, said he, 
you speak of? To deliberate, said I, on the event; and, as on a 
throw of the dice, to regulate our affairs according to what casts 
up, in whatever way reason shall declare to be best ; and not as 
children when they fall, to lie still, and waste the time in crying; 
but always to accustom the soul to apply in the speediest manner 
to heal and rectify what was fallen and sick, dismissing lamenta- 
tion. One would thus, said he, behave in the best manner in 
every condition. And did not we say that the best part of us is 
willing to follow this which is rational ? It is plain. And shall 
not we say that the part which leads to the remembrance of the 
affliction and to wailings, and is insatiably given to these, is 
irrational, and idle, and a friend to cowardice ? We shall say so 
truly. Is not then the grieving part that which admits of much 
and of various imitation ? But the prudent and tranquil part, 
which is always uniform with itselfj 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 multi- 
tude. 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 corre- 
spondent to the painter? For he resembles him, both because, 
as to truth, he effects but depraved things, and in this too he 
resembles him, in 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 some- 
times 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 accusa- 
tion against it : for that is a very dreadful one, that it is able to 
corrupt even the good, a very few excepted. How should it 
not, since it acts in this manner ? But hear now, and consider ; 
for 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, sympathising 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 ; while that of a woman, 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, 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, though being by 
nature of such a kind as is desirous of these reliefs, 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 bewailing 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. Indeed it thinks it gains even pleasure, and would not 
choose to be deprived of it 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. And is not the reasoning the same with reference 
to the ridiculous ? For when you hear, in imitation by comedy, 
or in private conversation, what you would be ashamed to do 
yourself to excite laughter, and are delighted with it, and do not 
hate it, you do the same thing here as in the tragic : for that 
part, which, when it wanted to excite laughter, was formerly 
restrained by reason from a fear of incurring the character of 
scurrility, being now let loose, and allowed to grow vigorous, 
you are often imperceptibly brought to be in your own behaviour 
a buffoon. Extremely so, said he. And in the case of venereal 
pleasures, and anger, and the whole of the passions, as well the 
sorrowful as the joyful, which truly, we have said, attend us in 
every action, the poetical imitation of these has the same effect 
upon us ; for it nourishes and waters those things which ought 
to be parched, and constitutes as our governor, those which 


ought to be governed, in order to our becoming better and 
happier, instead of being worse and more miserable. I can say 
no otherwise, said he. When therefore, Glauco, said I, you 
meet with the encomiasts of Homer, who tell how this poet 
instructed Greece, and that he deserves to be taken as a master 
to teach a man both the management and the knowledge of 
human affairs, and that a man should regulate the whole of his 
life according to this poet, we should indeed love and embrace 
such people, since they are excellent to the best of their ability ; 
and agree with them that Homer is the greatest and the first of 
tragic writers: but they must know, that hymns to the Gods,| 
and the praises of worthy actions, are alone to be admitted into j 
the city. But if it should admit the pleasurable muse likewise, I 
in songs, or verses, you would have pleasure and pain reigning 
in the city, instead of law, and that reason which appears best 
to the community. Most true, said he. Let these things now, 
said I, be our apology, when we recollect what we have said 
with reference to poetry, that we formerly very properly dis- 
missed it from our republic, since it is such as is now described : 
for reason obliged us. And let us tell it further, lest it accuse 
us of roughness, and rusticity, that there is an ancient variance 
between philosophy and poetry ; for such verses as these, 

"That bawling bitch, which at her mistress barks," 

" He's great in empty eloquence of fools," 

" On trifles still they plod, because they're poor," 

and a thousand such like, are marks of an ancient 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 consci- 
ous 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 as performed by Homer? Very much so. Is it not 


just, then, that we exile it until it apologise for itself, either in 
song, or in any other measure ? By all means. And we may 
at least grant, even to its defenders, such as are not poets, but 
lovers of poetry, to speak in its behalf, without verse,jm(lj]iaiy 
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 profit- 
able. . 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 unprofitable, they desist, 
though with cost : so we in like manner, through this inborn love 
of such poetry that prevails in our best republics, shall be well 
pleased to see it appear to be the best and truest : but till it is 
able to make its apology, we shall take along with us while we 
hear it this discourse which we have held, as a counter-charm, 
and incantation, being afraid to fall back again into a childish 
love, aqknowledged by all. We may perceive then 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, 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 L 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- 
thing prodigious, 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 eternity. Nothing at all, indeed, said he. What 
then ? Do you think an immortal being ought to be much con- 
cerned 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 in surprise, said, 
By Zeus, not I indeed. But are you able to show this? Yes, 
on my honour, 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 everything 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, mildew to corn, rottenness to wood, rust to 
brass and iron, and, as I am saying, almost everything has its 
connate evil, and disease ? I think so, replied he. And when 
anything of this kind befalls anything, does it not render that 
which it befalls base, and in the end dissolves and destroys it? 
How should it not? Its own connate evil, then, and baseness 
destroys each particular ; or, if this does not destroy it, nothing 
else can ever destroy it. For that which is good can never 
destroy anything, 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 base, 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 baseness of his soul. No, 
consider it thus. As disease, which is the baseness 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 adher- 
ing 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 anything should be destroyed by the 
baseness of another, but not by its own. Absurd. For consider, 
Glauco, said I, that neither by the baseness of victuals, whether 
it be their mouldiness, or rottenness, or whatever else, do we 
imagine our body can be destroyed ; but if this baseness in 
them create in the body a depravity of the body, we will say 
that, through their means, the body is destroyed by its own evil, 
which is disease. But we will never allow that by the baseness 
of food, which is one thing, the body, which is another thing, 
can ever be destroyed, unless this foreign evil create in it its own 
peculiar evil. You say most right, replied he. According to 
the same reasoning, then, said I, unless the baseness of the 
body create a baseness of the soul, let us never admit that the 
soul can be destroyed by an evil which is foreign, unless it 
creates its own peculiar disease; which would be the destruction 
of one thing by the evil of another. There is reason for it, said 
he. Let us then either refute these things as not good reason- 
ing, or, so long as they are unrefuted, let us at no time say, 
that the soul shall be ever in any degree destroyed, either by 
burning fever, or by any other disease, or by slaughter, nor 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 
anything, whilst its own proper evil is not within it, either the 
soul or anything else is destroyed. 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 infer 


(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 is not as it seems now, when 
the unjust die through having the punishment of death inflicted 
on them by others. By Zeus, said he, injustice would not 
appear perfectly dreadful, if it were deadly to him who practises 
it (for what 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, apparently, 
is it 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 destruc- 
tion of another, destroy a soul, or anything 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 

Let this then, said I, be fixed in this manner. And if it 
be, you will perceive that souls will always remain the same 
for their number will never become less, none being destroyed, 
nor will it become greater ; for if the number of immortals was 
made greater, you know it would take from the mortal, and in 
the end all would be immortal. You say true. But let us not, 
said I, think that this will be the case (for reason will not allow 
of it), nor yet that the soul in its truest nature is of such a kind 
as to be full of much variety, dissimilitude, and difference 
considered in itself. What do you mean ? 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 im- 
mortal, both our present reasonings, and others too, 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. As such it must 
by reasoning be fully contemplated ; and he (who does this) 
will find it far more beautiful, and will more plainly see through 
justice and injustice, and everything which we have now dis- 
cussed. We are now telling the truth concerning it, when in 
such a form as it appears at present. We have seen it, indeed, 
in the same condition in which men see the sea-god Glaucus, 
whose ancient nature they cannot easily perceive because the 
ancient 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 condi- 
tion do we behold the soul under a thousand evils. But we 
ought, Glauco, to behold it in one part. What ? said he. In 
its love of 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 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 everything 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 everything else in our 
reasonings, though we have not mentioned 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, or together with such a ring, the helmet likewise of 
Hades. 1 You say most true, said he. Will it now, Glauco, 
1 Which tendered the wearer invisible. 


said I, be a matter of offence if we mention 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 let us mention them, said he. Will you 
then restore to 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 how- 
ever 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 reputa- 
tion, 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 result in something good, either whilst he is alive 
or dead. For never at any time is he neglected by the Gods, 
who inclines earnestly to endeavour to become just, and 
practises virtues 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 set down 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 
ridiculous, and crestfallen, and beaten they run off without any 
reward. But such as are true racers, arriving at the end, both 
receive the prizes, and are crowned. Does it not happen thus 
for the most part 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 agree- 
ably to their wishes ; and everything else you mentioned con- 
cerning 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 wretched and ridiculed, and shall be scourged 
both by foreigners and citizens, and they shall afterwards be 
tortured and burnt; which you said were terrible things, and 
you spoke the truth. Imagine you hear from me that they 
suffer all these things, and 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 lifetime, both from Gods 
and men ; besides those good things which justice contains 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 a tale like the apologue of 
Alcinous j 1 but that, indeed, of a brave man, of Er, the son of 
Armenius, by descent a Pamphylian ; who happened on a time 
to die in battle. When the dead were on the tenth day carried 
off, already corrupted, he was taken up and found still fresh; 
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 world, and said : That 
after his soul left the body, it went with many others, and that 
they came to a certain mysterious place, 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 symbols of the judgment pronounced ; but the 
unjust they commanded to the left, and downwards, and these, 
likewise, had behind them the evidences 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 everything in the 
place. And he saw the souls departing through the two open- 
ings, some through the one in the heaven, and some through 
the one in the earth, after they were 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 always 
on their arrival they seemed as if they came from a long 
journey, and gladly went to rest themselves in the meadow, as 
in a public assembly, and saluted one another, such as were 
acquainted, and 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 they told one 
another ; the one wailing and weeping whilst they called to 
mind what and how many things they suffered and saw in 

1 That is, a short tale, 


their journey under the earth (for it was a journey of a thousand 
years) ; and the others 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 they began to suffer again every 
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 is not worth relating. But of impiety and piety to- 
wards the Gods and parents, and of the murder of relations, 
he told the more remarkable retributions. For he said he 
was present when one was asked by another, where the 
great Aridasus 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 saw this likewise 
among other dreadful spectacles. When we were near the 
mouth of the opening, and were about to ascend after having 
suffered everything else, we beheld both him on a sudden, and 
others likewise, most of whom were tyrants, and some private 
persons who had committed great iniquity, whom, when they 
imagined they were to ascend, the mouth of the opening did not 
admit, but bellowed when any of those who were so polluted 
with wickedness, or who had not been sufficiently punished, 
attempted to ascend. And then, said he, fierce men, and fiery 
to the view, standing by, and understanding the bellowing, took 
them and led them apart, Aridasus and the rest, binding their 


hands and their feet, and, thrusting them down, and flaying off 
their skin, dragged them to an outer road, tearing them on 
thorns ; declaring always to those who passed by, on what 
accounts they suffered these things, and that 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 when we went up, and when it was silent 
every one most gladly ascended." And 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 they 
perceived, being in the middle of the light from heaven, that 
its extremities were fastened to the sky. For this light was the 
belt of heaven, like the transverse beams of ships, and kept the 
whole circumference united. To the extremities the distaff of 
Necessity is fastened, by which all the revolutions of the world 
were made, and its spindle and point were both of adamant, but 
its whirl mixed of this and of other things ; arid 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 hollow whirl, carved 
throughout, 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, each 
having its rim appearing above the next; the whole forming 
round the spindle the united solidity of one whirl. The spindle 
was driven through the middle of the eight ; and the first and 
outmost whirl had the widest circumference, the sixth had the 
next greatest width ; the fourth the third width ; then the 
eighth ; the seventh ; the fifth ; the third ; and the second. 
Likewise the circle of the largest is variegated in colour: 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. The distaff 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 direction to the whole. Again, the eighth moves 
the swiftest; and next to it, and equal to one another, the 
seventh, the sixth, and the fifth ; and the third went in a 
motion which as appeared to them completed its circle in 
the same way as the fourth, which in swiftness was the third, 
and the fifth was the second in speed. The distaff was turned 
round on the knees of Necessity. 1 And on each of its 
circles there was seated a Siren on the upper side, carried 
round, and uttering one note in one tone. But that the 
whole of them, being eight, composed one harmony. There 
were other three sitting round at equal distances one from 
another, each on a throne, the daughters of Necessity, the 
Fates, in white vestments, and having crowns on their heads ; 
Lachesis, and Clotho, and Atropos, singing to the harmony of 
the Sirens ; Lachesis singing the past, Clotho the present, and 
Atropos the future. And 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 Lachesis 
touched both of these, severally, with either hand. Now after 
the souls arrive here, it is necessary for them to go directly to 
Lachesis, and then an herald first of all ranges them in order, 

1 The preceding passage is a rough description of elemental astro- 
nomy. The distaff in motion is apparently the revolution of heaven 
round the motionless earth. The seven inner whirls are the orbits of 
Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury, the sun, and the moon. The 
outer whirl with various colours means the stars. The light like a 
pillar is probably neither the Milky Way nor the axis of the world, 
but may be a reference to some old theory about light, possibly 


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 ! This is the beginning of another period of 
men of mortal race. Your destiny shall not be given you by 
lot, but you shall choose it yourselves. 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 dis- 
honours her. The cause is in him who makes the choice, and 
God is blameless !" 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, but Er was allowed to take none. And that when 
each had taken it, he knew what number he had drawn. After 
this the herald placed on the ground before them the models of 
lives, many more than those we see at present. And they were 
all various. For there were lives of all sorts of animals, and 
human lives of every kind. And among ih^se there were 
tyrannies, some of them perpetual, and others destroyed in the 
midst of their greatness, and ending in poverty, banishment, 
and want. There were also lives of men renowned, some for 
their appearance as to beauty, strength, and agility ; and others 
for their descent, and the virtues of their ancestors. There 
were the lives of renowned women in the same manner. But 
there was no disposition of soul among these models, because 
of necessity, on choosing a different life, it becomes different 
itself. As to other things, riches and poverty, sickness and 
health, they were mixed with one another, and some were in a 
middle station between these. There then, as appears, friend 
Glauco, is the whole danger of man. And hence this of all 
things is most to be studied, in what manner every one of us, 
omitting other disciplines, shall become an inquirer and learner 
in this study, if, by any means, he be able to learn and find out 
who will make him expert and intelligent to discern a good 
life and a bad; and to choose everywhere, and at all times, 
the best of what is possible, considering all the things now 
mentioned, both compounded and separated from one another, 



what they are with respect to the virtue of life. And to under- 
stand what good or evil is created by beauty when mixed with 
poverty, or riches, and with this or the other habit of soul ; and 
what is effected by noble and ignoble descent, by privacy and 
by public station, by strength and weakness, docility and 
indocility, and everything else of the kind which naturally 
pertains to the soul, and likewise of what is acquired, when 
blended one with another; so as to be able from all these things 
to compute, and, having an eye to the nature of the soul, to 
comprehend both the worse and the better life, pronouncing 
that to be the worse which shall lead the soul to become more 
unjust, and that to be the better life which shall lead it to 
become more just, and to dismiss every other consideration. 
For we have seen, that in life, and in death, this is the best 
choice. But it is necessary that a man should have this 
opinion firm as an adamant in him, when he departs to Hades, 
that there also he may be unmoved by riches, or any such evils, 
and may not, falling into tyrannies, and other such practices, do 
many and incurable mischiefs, and himself suffer still greater: 
but may know how to choose always the middle life, as to these 
things, and to shun the extremes on either hand, both in this 
life as far as is possible, and in the whole of the hereafter. For 
thus man becomes most happy. 

To return : the messenger from the other world further told 
that the herald spoke thus : " Even to him who comes last, 
choosing with judgment, and living consistently, there is pre- 
pared a desirable life ; not bad. Let neither him who is first be 
negligent in his choice, nor let him who is last despair ! " He 
said, that when the herald had spoken these things, the first 
who drew a lot ran instantly and chose the greatest tyranny, but 
through folly and insatiableness had not sufficiently examined 
all things on making his choice, but was ignorant that in this 
life there was this destiny, the devouring of his own children, 
and other evils ; and that afterwards, when he had considered it 
at leisure he wailed and lamented his choice, not having observed 
the admonitions of the herald above mentioned. For he did 
not accuse himself, as the author of his misfortunes, but fortune 


and destiny, and everything instead of himself. He added, that 
he was one of those who came from heaven, who had in his 
former life lived in a regulated republic, and had been virtuous 
by custom without philosophy. And that, in short, among 
these there were not a few who came from heaven, as being 
unexercised in trials. But that the most of those who came 
from earth, as they had endured hardships themselves, and had 
seen others in hardships, did not precipitantly make their choice. 
And hence, and through the fortune of the lot, to most souls 
there was an exchange of good and evil things. Since, if 
one should always, whenever he comes into this life, soundly 
philosophise, and the lot of election should not fall on him the 
very last, it would seem, from what has been told us from thence, 
that he shall be happy not only here, but when he goes hence, and 
his journey hither back again shall not be earthly, and rugged, but 
smooth and heavenly. This spectacle, he said, was worthy to 
behold, in what manner the several souls made choice of their 
lives. For it was pitiful and ridiculous and wonderful to behold, 
as each for the most part chose according to the habit of their 
former life. For he told, that he saw the soul which was formerly 
the soul of Orpheus making choice of the life of a swan, through 
hatred of womankind, being unwilling to be born of woman on 
account of the death he suffered from them. He saw likewise the 
soul of Thamyris making choice of the life of a nightingale. And 
he saw also a swan turning to the choice of human life ; and other 
musical animals in a similar manner, as is likely. And he saw 
one soul, in making its choice, choosing the life of a lion ; and 
it was the soul of Ajax, the son of Telamon, shunning to become 
a man, remembering the judgment given with reference to 
the armour of Achilles. That after this he saw the soul of 
Agamemnon, which, in hatred also of the human kind, on 
account of his misfortunes, exchanged it for the life of an eagle. 
And that he saw the soul of Atalanta choosing her lot amidst 
the rest, and, having attentively observed the great honours 
paid to an athlete, was unable to pass by this lot, but took it. 
Next, he saw the soul of Epaeus the son of Fanopeus going 
into the nature of a skilful workwoman. And far off, among the 


last, he saw the soul of the buffoon Thersites assuming the ape. 
And by chance he saw the soul of Ulysses, who had drawn its 
lot last of all, going to make its choice : and in remembrance of 
its former toils, and tired of ambition, it went about a long time, 
seeking the life of a private man of no business, and with 
difficulty found it lying somewhere, neglected by the rest. And 
that on seeing this life, it said, that it would have made the 
same choice even if it had obtained the first lot, and joyfully 
chose it. In like manner the souls of wild beasts went into 
men, and men again into beasts : the unjust changing into wild 
beasts, and the just into tame ; and that they were blended by 
all sorts of mixtures. 

After, therefore, all the souls had chosen their lives according 
as they drew their lots, they all went in order to Lachesis, and 
that she gave to every one the fate he chose, and sent it along 
with him to be the guardian of his life, and the accomplisher of 
what he had chosen. First of all, he conducts the soul to 
Clotho, to ratify under her hand, and by the whirl of the vortex 
of her spindle, the destiny it had chosen by lot : and after 
being with her, he leads it back again to the spinning of 
Atropos, who makes the destinies irreversible. And from hence 
they proceed directly under the throne of Necessity; and after 
the others had passed by it, Er also passed, and they all of 
them marched into the plain of Lethe amidst dreadful heat and 
scorching, for he said that it is void of trees and everything that 
the earth produces. That when night came on, they encamped 
beside the river Amelete, 1 whose water no vessel can contain. 
Of this water all of them must necessarily drink a certain 
measure, and such of them as are not preserved by prudence 
drink more than the measure, and that he who drinks always 
forgets everything. But after they were laid asleep, and it 
became midnight, there was thunder, and an earthquake, and 
they were thence on a sudden carried upwards, some one way, 
and some another, approaching to generation like stars. But 
that Er himself was forbidden to drink of the water. Where, 
however, and in what manner, he came into his body, he was 

1 Indifference. 


entirely ignorant ; but suddenly looking up in the morning, he 
saw himself already laid on the funeral pile. 

And this fable, Glauco, hath been preserved, and is not lost, 
and it may preserve us, if we are persuaded by it ; and thus we 
shall happily pass over the river Lethe, and shall not contami- 
nate the soul. But if the company will be persuaded by me; 
considering the soul to be immortal, and able to bear all evil, 
and all good, we shall always persevere in the road which ieads 
above; and shall by all means pursue justice in conjunction 
with prudence, in order that we may be friends both to our- 
selves, and to the Gods, both whilst we remain here, and when 
we receive its rewards, like victors assembled together ; and we 
shall, both here, and in that journey of a thousand years which 
we have described, enjoy a happy life. 









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The object of this series of manuals will be to give to girls, more 
particularly to those belonging to the educated classes, who from 
inclination or necessity are looking forward to earning their own 
living, some assistance with reference to the choice of a profession, 
and to the best method of preparing for it when chosen. Of late years 
a great deal of attention has been directed to the subject of women's 
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