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Title: The Republic of Plato
Author: Plato
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Language: English
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IN publishing a third edition of the Republic of Plato (originally
included in my edition of Plato's works), I have to acknowledge the
assistance of several friends, especially of my secretary, Mr. Matthew
Knight, now residing for his health at Davs, and of Mr. Frank Fletcher,
Exhibitioner of Balliol College. To their accuracy and scholarship I am
under great obligations. The excellent index, in which are contained
references to the other dialogues as well as to the Republic, is entirely
the work of Mr. Knight. I am also considerably indebted to Mr. J. W.
Mackail, Fellow of Balliol College, who read over the whole book in the
previous edition, and noted several inaccuracies.

The additions and alterations both in the introduction and in the text,
affect at least a third of the work.

Having regard to the extent of these alterations, and to the annoyance
which is felt by the owner of a book at the possession of it in an
inferior form, and still more keenly by the writer himself, who must
always desire to be read as he is at his best, I have thought that some
persons might like to exchange for the new edition the separate edition of
the Republic published in 1881, to which this present volume is the
successor. I have therefore arranged that those who desire to make this
exchange, on depositing a perfect copy of the former separate edition with
any agent of the Clarendon Press, shall be entitled to receive the new
edition at half-price.

It is my hope to issue a revised edition of the remaining Dialogues in the
course of a year.


[Sidenote: _Republic._ Introduction.]

THE Republic of Plato is the longest of his works with the exception of
the Laws, and is certainly the greatest of them. There are nearer
approaches to modern metaphysics in the Philebus and in the Sophist; the
Politicus or Statesman is more ideal; the form and institutions of the
State are more clearly drawn out in the Laws; as works of art, the
Symposium and the Protagoras are of higher excellence. But no other
Dialogue of Plato has the same largeness of view and the same perfection
of style; no other shows an equal knowledge of the world, or contains more
of those thoughts which are new as well as old, and not of one age only
but of all. Nowhere in Plato is there a deeper irony or a greater wealth
of humour or imagery, or more dramatic power. Nor in any other of his
writings is the attempt made to interweave life and speculation, or to
connect politics with philosophy. The Republic is the centre around which
the other Dialogues may be grouped; here philosophy reaches the highest
point (cp. especially in Books V, VI, VII) to which ancient thinkers ever
attained. Plato among the Greeks, like Bacon among the moderns, was the
first who conceived a method of knowledge, although neither of them always
distinguished the bare outline or form from the substance of truth; and
both of them had to be content with an abstraction of science which was
not yet realized. He was the greatest metaphysical genius whom the world
has seen; and in him, more than in any other ancient thinker, the germs of
future knowledge are contained. The sciences of logic and psychology,
which have supplied so many instruments of thought to after-ages, are
based upon the analyses of Socrates and Plato. The principles of
definition, the law of contradiction, the fallacy of arguing in a circle,
the distinction between the essence and accidents of a thing or notion,
between means and ends, between causes and conditions; also the division
of the mind into the rational, concupiscent, and irascible elements, or of
pleasures and desires into necessary and unnecessary--these {ii} and other
great forms of thought are all of them to be found in the Republic, and
were probably first invented by Plato. The greatest of all logical truths,
and the one of which writers on philosophy are most apt to lose sight, the
difference between words and things, has been most strenuously insisted on
by him (cp. Rep. 454 A; Polit. 261 E; Cratyl. 435, 436 ff.), although he
has not always avoided the confusion of them in his own writings (e.g.
Rep. 463 E). But he does not bind up truth in logical formulae,--logic is
still veiled in metaphysics; and the science which he imagines to
'contemplate all truth and all existence' is very unlike the doctrine of
the syllogism which Aristotle claims to have discovered (Soph. Elenchi 33.

Neither must we forget that the Republic is but the third part of a still
larger design which was to have included an ideal history of Athens, as
well as a political and physical philosophy. The fragment of the Critias
has given birth to a world-famous fiction, second only in importance to
the tale of Troy and the legend of Arthur; and is said as a fact to have
inspired some of the early navigators of the sixteenth century. This
mythical tale, of which the subject was a history of the wars of the
Athenians against the Island of Atlantis, is supposed to be founded upon
an unfinished poem of Solon, to which it would have stood in the same
relation as the writings of the logographers to the poems of Homer. It
would have told of a struggle for Liberty (cp. Tim. 25 C), intended to
represent the conflict of Persia and Hellas. We may judge from the noble
commencement of the Timaeus, from the fragment of the Critias itself, and
from the third book of the Laws, in what manner Plato would have treated
this high argument. We can only guess why the great design was abandoned;
perhaps because Plato became sensible of some incongruity in a fictitious
history, or because he had lost his interest in it, or because advancing
years forbade the completion of it; and we may please ourselves with the
fancy that had this imaginary narrative ever been finished, we should have
found Plato himself sympathising with the struggle for Hellenic
independence (cp. Laws iii. 698 ff.), singing a hymn of triumph over
Marathon and Salamis, perhaps making the reflection of Herodotus where he
contemplates the growth of the Athenian empire--'How brave a thing is
freedom of speech, {iii} which has made the Athenians so far exceed every
other state of Hellas in greatness!' or, more probably, attributing the
victory to the ancient good order of Athens and to the favour of Apollo
and Athene (cp. Introd. to Critias).

Again, Plato may be regarded as the 'captain' ([Greek: a)rchgo/s]) or
leader of a goodly band of followers; for in the Republic is to be found
the original of Cicero's De Republica, of St. Augustine's City of God, of
the Utopia of Sir Thomas More, and of the numerous other imaginary States
which are framed upon the same model. The extent to which Aristotle or the
Aristotelian school were indebted to him in the Politics has been little
recognised, and the recognition is the more necessary because it is not
made by Aristotle himself. The two philosophers had more in common than
they were conscious of; and probably some elements of Plato remain still
undetected in Aristotle. In English philosophy too, many affinities may be
traced, not only in the works of the Cambridge Platonists, but in great
original writers like Berkeley or Coleridge, to Plato and his ideas. That
there is a truth higher than experience, of which the mind bears witness
to herself, is a conviction which in our own generation has been
enthusiastically asserted, and is perhaps gaining ground. Of the Greek
authors who at the Renaissance brought a new life into the world Plato has
had the greatest influence. The Republic of Plato is also the first
treatise upon education, of which the writings of Milton and Locke,
Rousseau, Jean Paul, and Goethe are the legitimate descendants. Like Dante
or Bunyan, he has a revelation of another life; like Bacon, he is
profoundly impressed with the unity of knowledge; in the early Church he
exercised a real influence on theology, and at the Revival of Literature
on politics. Even the fragments of his words when 'repeated at
second-hand' (Symp. 215 D) have in all ages ravished the hearts of men,
who have seen reflected in them their own higher nature. He is the father
of idealism in philosophy, in politics, in literature. And many of the
latest conceptions of modern thinkers and statesmen, such as the unity of
knowledge, the reign of law, and the equality of the sexes, have been
anticipated in a dream by him.

       *       *       *       *       *

The argument of the Republic is the search after Justice, the nature of
which is first hinted at by Cephalus, the just and blameless {iv} old
man--then discussed on the basis of proverbial morality by Socrates and
Polemarchus--then caricatured by Thrasymachus and partially explained by
Socrates--reduced to an abstraction by Glaucon and Adeimantus, and having
become invisible in the individual reappears at length in the ideal State
which is constructed by Socrates. The first care of the rulers is to be
education, of which an outline is drawn after the old Hellenic model,
providing only for an improved religion and morality, and more simplicity
in music and gymnastic, a manlier strain of poetry, and greater harmony of
the individual and the State. We are thus led on to the conception of a
higher State, in which 'no man calls anything his own,' and in which there
is neither 'marrying nor giving in marriage,' and 'kings are philosophers'
and 'philosophers are kings;' and there is another and higher education,
intellectual as well as moral and religious, of science as well as of art,
and not of youth only but of the whole of life. Such a State is hardly to
be realized in this world and quickly degenerates. To the perfect ideal
succeeds the government of the soldier and the lover of honour, this again
declining into democracy, and democracy into tyranny, in an imaginary but
regular order having not much resemblance to the actual facts. When 'the
wheel has come full circle' we do not begin again with a new period of
human life; but we have passed from the best to the worst, and there we
end. The subject is then changed and the old quarrel of poetry and
philosophy which had been more lightly treated in the earlier books of the
Republic is now resumed and fought out to a conclusion. Poetry is
discovered to be an imitation thrice removed from the truth, and Homer, as
well as the dramatic poets, having been condemned as an imitator, is sent
into banishment along with them. And the idea of the State is supplemented
by the revelation of a future life.

The division into books, like all similar divisions,[1] is probably later
than the age of Plato. The natural divisions are five in number;--(1) Book
I and the first half of Book II down to the paragraph beginning, 'I had
always admired the genius of Glaucon and Adeimantus,' which is
introductory; the first book containing a refutation of the popular and
sophistical notions of justice, and concluding, like some of the earlier
Dialogues, without arriving at any definite result. To this is appended a
restatement of the nature of justice {v} according to common opinion, and
an answer is demanded to the question--What is justice, stripped of
appearances? The second division (2) includes the remainder of the second
and the whole of the third and fourth books, which are mainly occupied
with the construction of the first State and the first education. The
third division (3) consists of the fifth, sixth, and seventh books, in
which philosophy rather than justice is the subject of enquiry, and the
second State is constructed on principles of communism and ruled by
philosophers, and the contemplation of the idea of good takes the place of
the social and political virtues. In the eighth and ninth books (4) the
perversions of States and of the individuals who correspond to them are
reviewed in succession; and the nature of pleasure and the principle of
tyranny are further analysed in the individual man. The tenth book (5) is
the conclusion of the whole, in which the relations of philosophy to
poetry are finally determined, and the happiness of the citizens in this
life, which has now been assured, is crowned by the vision of another.

[Footnote 1: Cp. Sir G. C. Lewis in the Classical Museum, vol. ii. p. 1.]

Or a more general division into two parts may be adopted; the first (Books
I-IV) containing the description of a State framed generally in accordance
with Hellenic notions of religion and morality, while in the second (Books
V-X) the Hellenic State is transformed into an ideal kingdom of
philosophy, of which all other governments are the perversions. These two
points of view are really opposed, and the opposition is only veiled by
the genius of Plato. The Republic, like the Phaedrus (see Introduction to
Phaedrus), is an imperfect whole; the higher light of philosophy breaks
through the regularity of the Hellenic temple, which at last fades away
into the heavens (592 B). Whether this imperfection of structure arises
from an enlargement of the plan; or from the imperfect reconcilement in
the writer's own mind of the struggling elements of thought which are now
first brought together by him; or, perhaps, from the composition of the
work at different times--are questions, like the similar question about
the Iliad and the Odyssey, which are worth asking, but which cannot have a
distinct answer. In the age of Plato there was no regular mode of
publication, and an author would have the less scruple in altering or
adding to a work which was known only to a few of his friends. There is no
absurdity in supposing that he may have laid his labours aside for a time,
or turned from one work to {vi} another; and such interruptions would be
more likely to occur in the case of a long than of a short writing. In all
attempts to determine the chronological order of the Platonic writings on
internal evidence, this uncertainty about any single Dialogue being
composed at one time is a disturbing element, which must be admitted to
affect longer works, such as the Republic and the Laws, more than shorter
ones. But, on the other hand, the seeming discrepancies of the Republic
may only arise out of the discordant elements which the philosopher has
attempted to unite in a single whole, perhaps without being himself able
to recognise the inconsistency which is obvious to us. For there is a
judgment of after ages which few great writers have ever been able to
anticipate for themselves. They do not perceive the want of connexion in
their own writings, or the gaps in their systems which are visible enough
to those who come after them. In the beginnings of literature and
philosophy, amid the first efforts of thought and language, more
inconsistencies occur than now, when the paths of speculation are well
worn and the meaning of words precisely defined. For consistency, too, is
the growth of time; and some of the greatest creations of the human mind
have been wanting in unity. Tried by this test, several of the Platonic
Dialogues, according to our modern ideas, appear to be defective, but the
deficiency is no proof that they were composed at different times or by
different hands. And the supposition that the Republic was written
uninterruptedly and by a continuous effort is in some degree confirmed by
the numerous references from one part of the work to another.

The second title, 'Concerning Justice,' is not the one by which the
Republic is quoted, either by Aristotle or generally in antiquity, and,
like the other second titles of the Platonic Dialogues, may therefore be
assumed to be of later date. Morgenstern and others have asked whether the
definition of justice, which is the professed aim, or the construction of
the State is the principal argument of the work. The answer is, that the
two blend in one, and are two faces of the same truth; for justice is the
order of the State, and the State is the visible embodiment of justice
under the conditions of human society. The one is the soul and the other
is the body, and the Greek ideal of the State, as of the individual, is a
fair mind in a fair body. In Hegelian phraseology the state is the reality
of {vii} which justice is the idea. Or, described in Christian language,
the kingdom of God is within, and yet developes into a Church or external
kingdom; 'the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens,' is
reduced to the proportions of an earthly building. Or, to use a Platonic
image, justice and the State are the warp and the woof which run through
the whole texture. And when the constitution of the State is completed,
the conception of justice is not dismissed, but reappears under the same
or different names throughout the work, both as the inner law of the
individual soul, and finally as the principle of rewards and punishments
in another life. The virtues are based on justice, of which common honesty
in buying and selling is the shadow, and justice is based on the idea of
good, which is the harmony of the world, and is reflected both in the
institutions of states and in motions of the heavenly bodies (cp. Tim.
47). The Timaeus, which takes up the political rather than the ethical
side of the Republic, and is chiefly occupied with hypotheses concerning
the outward world, yet contains many indications that the same law is
supposed to reign over the State, over nature, and over man.

Too much, however, has been made of this question both in ancient and
modern times. There is a stage of criticism in which all works, whether of
nature or of art, are referred to design. Now in ancient writings, and
indeed in literature generally, there remains often a large element which
was not comprehended in the original design. For the plan grows under the
author's hand; new thoughts occur to him in the act of writing; he has not
worked out the argument to the end before he begins. The reader who seeks
to find some one idea under which the whole may be conceived, must
necessarily seize on the vaguest and most general. Thus Stallbaum, who is
dissatisfied with the ordinary explanations of the argument of the
Republic, imagines himself to have found the true argument 'in the
representation of human life in a State perfected by justice, and governed
according to the idea of good.' There may be some use in such general
descriptions, but they can hardly be said to express the design of the
writer. The truth is, that we may as well speak of many designs as of one;
nor need anything be excluded from the plan of a great work to which the
mind is naturally led by the association of ideas, and which does not
interfere with the general purpose. What kind or degree of {viii} unity is
to be sought after in a building, in the plastic arts, in poetry, in
prose, is a problem which has to be determined relatively to the
subject-matter. To Plato himself, the enquiry 'what was the intention of
the writer,' or 'what was the principal argument of the Republic' would
have been hardly intelligible, and therefore had better be at once
dismissed (cp. the Introduction to the Phaedrus, vol. i.).

Is not the Republic the vehicle of three or four great truths which, to
Plato's own mind, are most naturally represented in the form of the State?
Just as in the Jewish prophets the reign of Messiah, or 'the day of the
Lord,' or the suffering Servant or people of God, or the 'Sun of
righteousness with healing in his wings' only convey, to us at least,
their great spiritual ideals, so through the Greek State Plato reveals to
us his own thoughts about divine perfection, which is the idea of
good--like the sun in the visible world;--about human perfection, which is
justice--about education beginning in youth and continuing in later
years--about poets and sophists and tyrants who are the false teachers and
evil rulers of mankind--about 'the world' which is the embodiment of
them--about a kingdom which exists nowhere upon earth but is laid up in
heaven to be the pattern and rule of human life. No such inspired creation
is at unity with itself, any more than the clouds of heaven when the sun
pierces through them. Every shade of light and dark, of truth, and of
fiction which is the veil of truth, is allowable in a work of
philosophical imagination. It is not all on the same plane; it easily
passes from ideas to myths and fancies, from facts to figures of speech.
It is not prose but poetry, at least a great part of it, and ought not to
be judged by the rules of logic or the probabilities of history. The
writer is not fashioning his ideas into an artistic whole; they take
possession of him and are too much for him. We have no need therefore to
discuss whether a State such as Plato has conceived is practicable or not,
or whether the outward form or the inward life came first into the mind of
the writer. For the practicability of his ideas has nothing to do with
their truth (v. 472 D); and the highest thoughts to which he attains may
be truly said to bear the greatest 'marks of design'--justice more than
the external frame-work of the State, the idea of good more than justice.
The great science of dialectic or the organisation of ideas has no real
content; but is only a type of the method or {ix} spirit in which the
higher knowledge is to be pursued by the spectator of all time and all
existence. It is in the fifth, sixth, and seventh books that Plato reaches
the 'summit of speculation,' and these, although they fail to satisfy the
requirements of a modern thinker, may therefore be regarded as the most
important, as they are also the most original, portions of the work.

It is not necessary to discuss at length a minor question which has been
raised by Boeckh, respecting the imaginary date at which the conversation
was held (the year 411 B.C. which is proposed by him will do as well as
any other); for a writer of fiction, and especially a writer who, like
Plato, is notoriously careless of chronology (cp. Rep. i. 336, Symp. 193
A, etc.), only aims at general probability. Whether all the persons
mentioned in the Republic could ever have met at any one time is not a
difficulty which would have occurred to an Athenian reading the work forty
years later, or to Plato himself at the time of writing (any more than to
Shakespeare respecting one of his own dramas); and need not greatly
trouble us now. Yet this may be a question having no answer 'which is
still worth asking,' because the investigation shows that we cannot argue
historically from the dates in Plato; it would be useless therefore to
waste time in inventing far-fetched reconcilements of them in order to
avoid chronological difficulties, such, for example, as the conjecture of
C. F. Hermann, that Glaucon and Adeimantus are not the brothers but the
uncles of Plato (cp. Apol. 34 A), or the fancy of Stallbaum that Plato
intentionally left anachronisms indicating the dates at which some of his
Dialogues were written.

       *       *       *       *       *

The principal characters in the Republic are Cephalus, Polemarchus,
Thrasymachus, Socrates, Glaucon, and Adeimantus. Cephalus appears in the
introduction only, Polemarchus drops at the end of the first argument, and
Thrasymachus is reduced to silence at the close of the first book. The
main discussion is carried on by Socrates, Glaucon, and Adeimantus. Among
the company are Lysias (the orator) and Euthydemus, the sons of Cephalus
and brothers of Polemarchus, an unknown Charmantides--these are mute
auditors; also there is Cleitophon, who once interrupts (340 A), where, as
in the Dialogue which bears his name, he appears as the friend and ally of

{x} Cephalus, the patriarch of the house, has been appropriately engaged
in offering a sacrifice. He is the pattern of an old man who has almost
done with life, and is at peace with himself and with all mankind. He
feels that he is drawing nearer to the world below, and seems to linger
around the memory of the past. He is eager that Socrates should come to
visit him, fond of the poetry of the last generation, happy in the
consciousness of a well-spent life, glad at having escaped from the
tyranny of youthful lusts. His love of conversation, his affection, his
indifference to riches, even his garrulity, are interesting traits of
character. He is not one of those who have nothing to say, because their
whole mind has been absorbed in making money. Yet he acknowledges that
riches have the advantage of placing men above the temptation to
dishonesty or falsehood. The respectful attention shown to him by
Socrates, whose love of conversation, no less than the mission imposed
upon him by the Oracle, leads him to ask questions of all men, young and
old alike (cp. i. 328 A), should also be noted. Who better suited to raise
the question of justice than Cephalus, whose life might seem to be the
expression of it? The moderation with which old age is pictured by
Cephalus as a very tolerable portion of existence is characteristic, not
only of him, but of Greek feeling generally, and contrasts with the
exaggeration of Cicero in the De Senectute. The evening of life is
described by Plato in the most expressive manner, yet with the fewest
possible touches. As Cicero remarks (Ep. ad Attic. iv. 16), the aged
Cephalus would have been out of place in the discussion which follows, and
which he could neither have understood nor taken part in without a
violation of dramatic propriety (cp. Lysimachus in the Laches, 89).

His 'son and heir' Polemarchus has the frankness and impetuousness of
youth; he is for detaining Socrates by force in the opening scene, and
will not 'let him off' (v. 449 B) on the subject of women and children.
Like Cephalus, he is limited in his point of view, and represents the
proverbial stage of morality which has rules of life rather than
principles; and he quotes Simonides (cp. Aristoph. Clouds, 1355 ff.) as
his father had quoted Pindar. But after this he has no more to say; the
answers which he makes are only elicited from him by the dialectic of
Socrates. He has not yet experienced the influence of the Sophists like
Glaucon and {xi} Adeimantus, nor is he sensible of the necessity of
refuting them; he belongs to the pre-Socratic or pre-dialectical age. He
is incapable of arguing, and is bewildered by Socrates to such a degree
that he does not know what he is saying. He is made to admit that justice
is a thief, and that the virtues follow the analogy of the arts. From his
brother Lysias (contra Eratosth. p. 121) we learn that he fell a victim to
the Thirty Tyrants, but no allusion is here made to his fate, nor to the
circumstance that Cephalus and his family were of Syracusan origin, and
had migrated from Thurii to Athens.

The 'Chalcedonian giant,' Thrasymachus, of whom we have already heard in
the Phaedrus (267 D), is the personification of the Sophists, according to
Plato's conception of them, in some of their worst characteristics. He is
vain and blustering, refusing to discourse unless he is paid, fond of
making an oration, and hoping thereby to escape the inevitable Socrates;
but a mere child in argument, and unable to foresee that the next 'move'
(to use a Platonic expression) will 'shut him up' (vi. 487 B). He has
reached the stage of framing general notions, and in this respect is in
advance of Cephalus and Polemarchus. But he is incapable of defending them
in a discussion, and vainly tries to cover his confusion with banter and
insolence. Whether such doctrines as are attributed to him by Plato were
really held either by him or by any other Sophist is uncertain; in the
infancy of philosophy serious errors about morality might easily grow
up--they are certainly put into the mouths of speakers in Thucydides; but
we are concerned at present with Plato's description of him, and not with
the historical reality. The inequality of the contest adds greatly to the
humour of the scene. The pompous and empty Sophist is utterly helpless in
the hands of the great master of dialectic, who knows how to touch all the
springs of vanity and weakness in him. He is greatly irritated by the
irony of Socrates, but his noisy and imbecile rage only lays him more and
more open to the thrusts of his assailant. His determination to cram down
their throats, or put 'bodily into their souls' his own words, elicits a
cry of horror from Socrates. The state of his temper is quite as worthy of
remark as the process of the argument. Nothing is more amusing than his
complete submission when he has been once thoroughly beaten. At first he
seems to continue {xii} the discussion with reluctance, but soon with
apparent good-will, and he even testifies his interest at a later stage by
one or two occasional remarks (v. 450 A, B). When attacked by Glaucon (vi.
489 C, D) he is humorously protected by Socrates 'as one who has never
been his enemy and is now his friend.' From Cicero and Quintilian and from
Aristotle's Rhetoric (iii. i. 7; ii. 23, 29) we learn that the Sophist
whom Plato has made so ridiculous was a man of note whose writings were
preserved in later ages. The play on his name which was made by his
contemporary Herodicus (Aris. Rhet. ii. 23, 29), 'thou wast ever bold in
battle,' seems to show that the description of him is not devoid of

When Thrasymachus has been silenced, the two principal respondents,
Glaucon and Adeimantus, appear on the scene: here, as in Greek tragedy
(cp. Introd. to Phaedo), three actors are introduced. At first sight the
two sons of Ariston may seem to wear a family likeness, like the two
friends Simmias and Cebes in the Phaedo. But on a nearer examination of
them the similarity vanishes, and they are seen to be distinct characters.
Glaucon is the impetuous youth who can 'just never have enough of
fechting' (cp. the character of him in Xen. Mem. iii. 6); the man of
pleasure who is acquainted with the mysteries of love (v. 474 D); the
'juvenis qui gaudet canibus,' and who improves the breed of animals
(v. 459 A); the lover of art and music (iii. 398 D, E) who has all the
experiences of youthful life. He is full of quickness and penetration,
piercing easily below the clumsy platitudes of Thrasymachus to the real
difficulty; he turns out to the light the seamy side of human life, and
yet does not lose faith in the just and true. It is Glaucon who seizes
what may be termed the ludicrous relation of the philosopher to the world,
to whom a state of simplicity is 'a city of pigs,' who is always prepared
with a jest (iii. 398 C, 407 A; v. 450, 451, 468 C; vi. 509 C; ix. 586)
when the argument offers him an opportunity, and who is ever ready to
second the humour of Socrates and to appreciate the ridiculous, whether in
the connoisseurs of music (vii. 531 A), or in the lovers of theatricals
(v. 475 D), or in the fantastic behaviour of the citizens of democracy
(viii. 557 foll.). His weaknesses are several times alluded to by Socrates
(iii. 402 E; v. 474 D, 475 E), who, however, will not allow him to be
attacked by his brother Adeimantus (viii. 548 D, E). He is a soldier, and,
like Adeimantus, has been {xiii} distinguished at the battle of Megara
(368 A, anno 456?)... The character of Adeimantus is deeper and graver,
and the profounder objections are commonly put into his mouth. Glaucon is
more demonstrative, and generally opens the game. Adeimantus pursues the
argument further. Glaucon has more of the liveliness and quick sympathy of
youth; Adeimantus has the maturer judgment of a grown-up man of the world.
In the second book, when Glaucon insists that justice and injustice shall
be considered without regard to their consequences, Adeimantus remarks
that they are regarded by mankind in general only for the sake of their
consequences; and in a similar vein of reflection he urges at the
beginning of the fourth book that Socrates fails in making his citizens
happy, and is answered that happiness is not the first but the second
thing, not the direct aim but the indirect consequence of the good
government of a State. In the discussion about religion and mythology,
Adeimantus is the respondent (iii. 376-398), but Glaucon breaks in with a
slight jest, and carries on the conversation in a lighter tone about music
and gymnastic to the end of the book. It is Adeimantus again who
volunteers the criticism of common sense on the Socratic method of
argument (vi. 487 B), and who refuses to let Socrates pass lightly over
the question of women and children (v. 449). It is Adeimantus who is the
respondent in the more argumentative, as Glaucon in the lighter and more
imaginative portions of the Dialogue. For example, throughout the greater
part of the sixth book, the causes of the corruption of philosophy and the
conception of the idea of good are discussed with Adeimantus. At p. 506 C,
Glaucon resumes his place of principal respondent; but he has a difficulty
in apprehending the higher education of Socrates, and makes some false
hits in the course of the discussion (526 D, 527 D). Once more Adeimantus
returns (viii. 548) with the allusion to his brother Glaucon whom he
compares to the contentious State; in the next book (ix. 576) he is again
superseded, and Glaucon continues to the end (x. 621 B).

Thus in a succession of characters Plato represents the successive stages
of morality, beginning with the Athenian gentleman of the olden time, who
is followed by the practical man of that day regulating his life by
proverbs and saws; to him succeeds the wild generalization of the
Sophists, and lastly come the young disciples of the great teacher, who
know the sophistical arguments {xiv} but will not be convinced by them,
and desire to go deeper into the nature of things. These too, like
Cephalus, Polemarchus, Thrasymachus, are clearly distinguished from one
another. Neither in the Republic, nor in any other Dialogue of Plato, is a
single character repeated.

The delineation of Socrates in the Republic is not wholly consistent. In
the first book we have more of the real Socrates, such as he is depicted
in the Memorabilia of Xenophon, in the earliest Dialogues of Plato, and in
the Apology. He is ironical, provoking, questioning, the old enemy of the
Sophists, ready to put on the mask of Silenus as well as to argue
seriously. But in the sixth book his enmity towards the Sophists abates;
he acknowledges that they are the representatives rather than the
corrupters of the world (vi. 492 A). He also becomes more dogmatic and
constructive, passing beyond the range either of the political or the
speculative ideas of the real Socrates. In one passage (vi. 506 C) Plato
himself seems to intimate that the time had now come for Socrates, who had
passed his whole life in philosophy, to give his own opinion and not to be
always repeating the notions of other men. There is no evidence that
either the idea of good or the conception of a perfect state were
comprehended in the Socratic teaching, though he certainly dwelt on the
nature of the universal and of final causes (cp. Xen. Mem. i. 4; Phaedo
97); and a deep thinker like him, in his thirty or forty years of public
teaching, could hardly have failed to touch on the nature of family
relations, for which there is also some positive evidence in the
Memorabilia (Mem. i. 2, 51 foll.). The Socratic method is nominally
retained; and every inference is either put into the mouth of the
respondent or represented as the common discovery of him and Socrates. But
any one can see that this is a mere form, of which the affectation grows
wearisome as the work advances. The method of enquiry has passed into a
method of teaching in which by the help of interlocutors the same thesis
is looked at from various points of view. The nature of the process is
truly characterized by Glaucon, when he describes himself as a companion
who is not good for much in an investigation, but can see what he is shown
(iv. 432 C), and may, perhaps, give the answer to a question more fluently
than another (v. 474 A; cp. 389 A).

Neither can we be absolutely certain that Socrates himself {xv} taught the
immortality of the soul, which is unknown to his disciple Glaucon in the
Republic (x. 608 D; cp. vi. 498 D, E; Apol. 40, 41); nor is there any
reason to suppose that he used myths or revelations of another world as a
vehicle of instruction, or that he would have banished poetry or have
denounced the Greek mythology. His favourite oath is retained, and a
slight mention is made of the daemonium, or internal sign, which is
alluded to by Socrates as a phenomenon peculiar to himself (vi. 496 C). A
real element of Socratic teaching, which is more prominent in the Republic
than in any of the other Dialogues of Plato, is the use of example and
illustration ([Greek: ta\ phortika\ au)t=| prosphe/rontes], iv. 442 E):
'Let us apply the test of common instances.' 'You,' says Adeimantus,
ironically, in the sixth book, 'are so unaccustomed to speak in images.'
And this use of examples or images, though truly Socratic in origin, is
enlarged by the genius of Plato into the form of an allegory or parable,
which embodies in the concrete what has been already described, or is
about to be described, in the abstract. Thus the figure of the cave in
Book VII is a recapitulation of the divisions of knowledge in Book VI. The
composite animal in Book IX is an allegory of the parts of the soul. The
noble captain and the ship and the true pilot in Book VI are a figure of
the relation of the people to the philosophers in the State which has been
described. Other figures, such as the dog (ii. 375 A, D; iii. 404 A, 416
A; v. 451 D), or the marriage of the portionless maiden (vi. 495, 496), or
the drones and wasps in the eighth and ninth books, also form links of
connexion in long passages, or are used to recall previous discussions.

Plato is most true to the character of his master when he describes him as
'not of this world.' And with this representation of him the ideal state
and the other paradoxes of the Republic are quite in accordance, though
they cannot be shown to have been speculations of Socrates. To him, as to
other great teachers both philosophical and religious, when they looked
upward, the world seemed to be the embodiment of error and evil. The
common sense of mankind has revolted against this view, or has only
partially admitted it. And even in Socrates himself the sterner judgement
of the multitude at times passes into a sort of ironical pity or love. Men
in general are incapable of philosophy, and are therefore at enmity with
the philosopher; but their misunderstanding of him {xvi} is unavoidable
(vi. 494 foll.; ix. 589 D): for they have never seen him as he truly is in
his own image; they are only acquainted with artificial systems possessing
no native force of truth--words which admit of many applications. Their
leaders have nothing to measure with, and are therefore ignorant of their
own stature. But they are to be pitied or laughed at, not to be quarrelled
with; they mean well with their nostrums, if they could only learn that
they are cutting off a Hydra's head (iv. 426 D, E). This moderation
towards those who are in error is one of the most characteristic features
of Socrates in the Republic (vi. 499-502). In all the different
representations of Socrates, whether of Xenophon or Plato, and amid the
differences of the earlier or later Dialogues, he always retains the
character of the unwearied and disinterested seeker after truth, without
which he would have ceased to be Socrates.

       *       *       *       *       *

Leaving the characters we may now analyse the contents of the Republic,
and then proceed to consider (1) The general aspects of this Hellenic
ideal of the State, (2) The modern lights in which the thoughts of Plato
may be read.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic I._ Analysis.]

BOOK I. The Republic opens with a truly Greek scene--a festival in honour
of the goddess Bendis which is held in the Piraeus; to this is added the
promise of an equestrian torch-race in the evening. The whole work is
supposed to be recited by Socrates on the day after the festival to a
small party, consisting of Critias, Timaeus, Hermocrates, and another;
this we learn from the first words of the Timaeus.

When the rhetorical advantage of reciting the Dialogue has been gained,
the attention is not distracted by any reference to the audience; nor is
the reader further reminded of the extraordinary length of the narrative.
Of the numerous company, three only take any serious part in the
discussion; nor are we informed whether in the evening they went to the
torch-race, or talked, as in the Symposium, through the night. The manner
in which the conversation has arisen is described *Stephanus 327* as
follows:--Socrates and his companion Glaucon are about to leave the
festival when they are detained by a message from Polemarchus, who
speedily appears accompanied by Adeimantus, the brother of Glaucon, and
with playful violence compels them to remain, promising them not only
{xvii} the torch-race, *328* but the pleasure of conversation with the
young, which to Socrates is a far greater attraction. They return to the
house of Cephalus, Polemarchus' father, now in extreme old age, who is
found sitting upon a cushioned seat crowned for a sacrifice. 'You should
come to me oftener, Socrates, for I am too old to go to you; and at my
time of life, having lost other pleasures, I care the more for
conversation.' *329* Socrates asks him what he thinks of age, to which the
old man replies, that the sorrows and discontents of age are to be
attributed to the tempers of men, and that age is a time of peace in which
the tyranny of the passions is no longer felt. Yes, replies Socrates, but
the world will say, Cephalus, that you are happy in old age because you
are rich. 'And there is something in what they say, Socrates, but not so
much as they imagine-- *330* as Themistocles replied to the Seriphian,
"Neither you, if you had been an Athenian, nor I, if I had been a
Seriphian, would ever have been famous," I might in like manner reply to
you, Neither a good poor man can be happy in age, nor yet a bad rich man.'
Socrates remarks that Cephalus appears not to care about riches, a quality
which he ascribes to his having inherited, not acquired them, and would
like to know what he considers to be the chief advantage of them. Cephalus
answers that when you are old the belief in the world below grows upon
you, and then to have done justice and never to have been compelled to do
injustice through poverty, *331* and never to have deceived anyone, are
felt to be unspeakable blessings. Socrates, who is evidently preparing for
an argument, next asks, What is the meaning of the word 'justice'? To tell
the truth and pay your debts? No more than this? Or must we admit
exceptions? Ought I, for example, to put back into the hands of my friend,
who has gone mad, the sword which I borrowed of him when he was in his
right mind? 'There must be exceptions.' 'And yet,' says Polemarchus, 'the
definition which has been given has the authority of Simonides.' Here
Cephalus retires to look after the sacrifices, and bequeaths, as Socrates
facetiously remarks, the possession of the argument to his heir,

[Sidenote: _Republic I._ Introduction.]

The description of old age is finished, and Plato, as his manner is, has
touched the key-note of the whole work in asking for the definition of
justice, first suggesting the question which Glaucon afterwards pursues
respecting external goods, and preparing for {xviii} the concluding mythus
of the world below in the slight allusion of Cephalus. The portrait of the
just man is a natural frontispiece or introduction to the long discourse
which follows, and may perhaps imply that in all our perplexity about the
nature of justice, there is no difficulty in discerning 'who is a just
man.' The first explanation has been supported by a saying of Simonides;
and now Socrates has a mind to show that the resolution of justice into
two unconnected precepts, which have no common principle, fails to satisfy
the demands of dialectic.

[Sidenote: _Republic I._ Analysis.]

... *332* He proceeds: What did Simonides mean by this saying of his? Did
he mean that I was to give back arms to a madman? 'No, not in that case,
not if the parties are friends, and evil would result. He meant that you
were to do what was proper, good to friends and harm to enemies.' Every
act does something to somebody; and following this analogy, Socrates asks,
What is this due and proper thing which justice does, and to whom? He is
answered that justice does good to friends and harm to enemies. But in
what way good or harm? 'In making alliances with the one, and going to war
with the other.' Then in time of peace what is the good of justice? *333*
The answer is that justice is of use in contracts, and contracts are money
partnerships. Yes; but how in such partnerships is the just man of more
use than any other man? 'When you want to have money safely kept and not
used.' Then justice will be useful when money is useless. And there is
another difficulty: justice, like the art of war or any other art, must be
of opposites, *334* good at attack as well as at defence, at stealing as
well as at guarding. But then justice is a thief, though a hero
notwithstanding, like Autolycus, the Homeric hero, who was 'excellent
above all men in theft and perjury'--to such a pass have you and Homer and
Simonides brought us; though I do not forget that the thieving must be for
the good of friends and the harm of enemies. And still there arises
another question: Are friends to be interpreted as real or seeming;
enemies as real or seeming? *335* And are our friends to be only the good,
and our enemies to be the evil? The answer is, that we must do good to our
seeming and real good friends, and evil to our seeming and real evil
enemies--good to the good, evil to the evil. But ought we to render evil
for evil at all, when to do so will only make men more evil? Can justice
produce injustice any more than the art of horsemanship {xix} can make bad
horsemen, or heat produce cold? The final conclusion is, that no sage or
poet ever said that the just return evil for evil; this was a maxim of
some rich and mighty man, Periander, *336* Perdiccas, or Ismenias the
Theban (about B.C. 398-381)....

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic I._ Introduction.]

Thus the first stage of aphoristic or unconscious morality is shown to be
inadequate to the wants of the age; the authority of the poets is set
aside, and through the winding mazes of dialectic we make an approach to
the Christian precept of forgiveness of injuries. Similar words are
applied by the Persian mystic poet to the Divine being when the
questioning spirit is stirred within him:--'If because I do evil, Thou
punishest me by evil, what is the difference between Thee and me?' In this
both Plato and Khyam rise above the level of many Christian (?)
theologians. The first definition of justice easily passes into the
second; for the simple words 'to speak the truth and pay your debts' is
substituted the more abstract 'to do good to your friends and harm to your
enemies.' Either of these explanations gives a sufficient rule of life for
plain men, but they both fall short of the precision of philosophy. We may
note in passing the antiquity of casuistry, which not only arises out of
the conflict of established principles in particular cases, but also out
of the effort to attain them, and is prior as well as posterior to our
fundamental notions of morality. The 'interrogation' of moral ideas; the
appeal to the authority of Homer; the conclusion that the maxim, 'Do good
to your friends and harm to your enemies,' being erroneous, could not have
been the word of any great man (cp. ii. 380 A, B), are all of them very
characteristic of the Platonic Socrates.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic I._ Analysis.]

... Here Thrasymachus, who has made several attempts to interrupt, but has
hitherto been kept in order by the company, takes advantage of a pause and
rushes into the arena, beginning, like a savage animal, with a roar.
'Socrates,' he says, 'what folly is this?--Why do you agree to be
vanquished by one another in a pretended argument?' He then prohibits all
the ordinary definitions of justice; *337* to which Socrates replies that
he cannot tell how many twelve is, if he is forbidden to say 2 x 6, or
3 x 4, or 6 x 2, or 4 x 3. At first Thrasymachus is reluctant to argue; but
at length, *338* with a promise of payment on the part of {xx} the company
and of praise from Socrates, he is induced to open the game. 'Listen,' he
says, 'my answer is that might is right, justice the interest of the
stronger: now praise me.' Let me understand you first. Do you mean that
because Polydamas the wrestler, who is stronger than we are, finds the
eating of beef for his interest, the eating of beef is also for our
interest, who are not so strong? Thrasymachus is indignant at the
illustration, and in pompous words, apparently intended to restore dignity
to the argument, he explains his meaning to be that the rulers make laws
for their own interests. *339* But suppose, says Socrates, that the ruler
or stronger makes a mistake--then the interest of the stronger is not his
interest. Thrasymachus is saved from this speedy downfall by his disciple
Cleitophon, who introduces the word 'thinks;' *340* --not the actual
interest of the ruler, but what he thinks or what seems to be his
interest, is justice. The contradiction is escaped by the unmeaning
evasion: for though his real and apparent interests may differ, what the
ruler thinks to be his interest will always remain what he thinks to be
his interest.

Of course this was not the original assertion, nor is the new
interpretation accepted by Thrasymachus himself. But Socrates is not
disposed to quarrel about words, if, as he significantly insinuates, his
adversary has changed his mind. In what follows Thrasymachus does in fact
withdraw his admission that the ruler may make a mistake, for he affirms
that the ruler as a ruler is infallible. *341* Socrates is quite ready to
accept the new position, which he equally turns against Thrasymachus by
the help of the analogy of the arts. *342* Every art or science has an
interest, but this interest is to be distinguished from the accidental
interest of the artist, and is only concerned with the good of the things
or persons which come under the art. And justice has an interest which is
the interest not of the ruler or judge, but of those who come under his

Thrasymachus is on the brink of the inevitable conclusion, when he makes a
bold diversion. *343* 'Tell me, Socrates,' he says, 'have you a nurse?'
What a question! Why do you ask? 'Because, if you have, she neglects you
and lets you go about drivelling, and has not even taught you to know the
shepherd from the sheep. For you fancy that shepherds and rulers never
think of their own interest, but only of their sheep or subjects, {xxi}
whereas the truth is that they fatten them for their use, sheep and
subjects alike. And experience proves that in every relation of life the
just man is the loser and the unjust the gainer, *344* especially where
injustice is on the grand scale, which is quite another thing from the
petty rogueries of swindlers and burglars and robbers of temples. The
language of men proves this--our 'gracious' and 'blessed' tyrant and the
like--all which tends to show (1) that justice is the interest of the
stronger; and (2) that injustice is more profitable and also stronger than

Thrasymachus, who is better at a speech than at a close argument, having
deluged the company with words, has a mind to escape. *345* But the others
will not let him go, and Socrates adds a humble but earnest request that
he will not desert them at such a crisis of their fate. 'And what can I do
more for you?' he says; 'would you have me put the words bodily into your
souls?' God forbid! replies Socrates; but we want you to be consistent in
the use of terms, and not to employ 'physician' in an exact sense, and
then again 'shepherd' or 'ruler' in an inexact,--if the words are strictly
taken, the ruler and the shepherd look only to the good of their people or
flocks and not to their own: whereas you insist that rulers are solely
actuated by love of office. 'No doubt about it,' replies Thrasymachus.
*346* Then why are they paid? Is not the reason, that their interest is
not comprehended in their art, and is therefore the concern of another
art, the art of pay, which is common to the arts in general, and therefore
not identical with any one of them? *347* Nor would any man be a ruler
unless he were induced by the hope of reward or the fear of
punishment;--the reward is money or honour, the punishment is the
necessity of being ruled by a man worse than himself. And if a State (or
Church) were composed entirely of good men, they would be affected by the
last motive only; and there would be as much 'nolo episcopari' as there is
at present of the opposite....

[Sidenote: _Republic I._ Introduction.]

The satire on existing governments is heightened by the simple and
apparently incidental manner in which the last remark is introduced. There
is a similar irony in the argument that the governors of mankind do not
like being in office, and that therefore they demand pay.

[Sidenote: _Republic I._ Analysis.]

... Enough of this: the other assertion of Thrasymachus is far {xxii} more
important--that the unjust life is more gainful than the just. *348* Now,
as you and I, Glaucon, are not convinced by him, we must reply to him; but
if we try to compare their respective gains we shall want a judge to
decide for us; we had better therefore proceed by making mutual admissions
of the truth to one another.

Thrasymachus had asserted that perfect injustice was more gainful than
perfect justice, and after a little hesitation he is induced by Socrates
*349* to admit the still greater paradox that injustice is virtue and
justice vice. Socrates praises his frankness, and assumes the attitude of
one whose only wish is to understand the meaning of his opponents. At the
same time he is weaving a net in which Thrasymachus is finally enclosed.
The admission is elicited from him that the just man seeks to gain an
advantage over the unjust only, but not over the just, while the unjust
would gain an advantage over either. Socrates, in order to test this
statement, employs once more the favourite analogy of the arts. *350* The
musician, doctor, skilled artist of any sort, does not seek to gain more
than the skilled, but only more than the unskilled (that is to say, he
works up to a rule, standard, law, and does not exceed it), whereas the
unskilled makes random efforts at excess. Thus the skilled falls on the
side of the good, and the unskilled on the side of the evil, and the just
is the skilled, and the unjust is the unskilled.

There was great difficulty in bringing Thrasymachus to the point; the day
was hot and he was streaming with perspiration, and for the first time in
his life he was seen to blush. But his other thesis that injustice was
stronger than justice has not yet been refuted, and Socrates now proceeds
to the consideration of this, which, with the assistance of Thrasymachus,
he hopes to clear up; the latter is at first churlish, but in the
judicious hands of Socrates is soon restored to good humour: *351* Is
there not honour among thieves? Is not the strength of injustice only a
remnant of justice? Is not absolute injustice absolute weakness also?
*352* A house that is divided against itself cannot stand; two men who
quarrel detract from one another's strength, and he who is at war with
himself is the enemy of himself and the gods. Not wickedness therefore,
but semi-wickedness flourishes in states,--a remnant of good is needed in
order to make union in action possible,--there is no kingdom of evil in
this world.

{xxiii} Another question has not been answered: Is the just or the unjust
the happier? To this we reply, that every art has an end and an excellence
or virtue by which the end is accomplished. And is not the end of the soul
happiness, and justice the excellence of the soul by which happiness is
attained? *354* Justice and happiness being thus shown to be inseparable,
the question whether the just or the unjust is the happier has

Thrasymachus replies: 'Let this be your entertainment, Socrates, at the
festival of Bendis.' Yes; and a very good entertainment with which your
kindness has supplied me, now that you have left off scolding. And yet not
a good entertainment--but that was my own fault, for I tasted of too many
things. First of all the nature of justice was the subject of our enquiry,
and then whether justice is virtue and wisdom, or evil and folly; and then
the comparative advantages of just and unjust: and the sum of all is that
I know not what justice is; how then shall I know whether the just is
happy or not?...

[Sidenote: _Republic I._ Introduction.]

Thus the sophistical fabric has been demolished, chiefly by appealing to
the analogy of the arts. 'Justice is like the arts (1) in having no
external interest, and (2) in not aiming at excess, and (3) justice is to
happiness what the implement of the workman is to his work.' At this the
modern reader is apt to stumble, because he forgets that Plato is writing
in an age when the arts and the virtues, like the moral and intellectual
faculties, were still undistinguished. Among early enquirers into the
nature of human action the arts helped to fill up the void of speculation;
and at first the comparison of the arts and the virtues was not perceived
by them to be fallacious. They only saw the points of agreement in them
and not the points of difference. Virtue, like art, must take means to an
end; good manners are both an art and a virtue; character is naturally
described under the image of a statue (ii. 361 D; vii. 540 C); and there
are many other figures of speech which are readily transferred from art to
morals. The next generation cleared up these perplexities; or at least
supplied after ages with a further analysis of them. The contemporaries of
Plato were in a state of transition, and had not yet fully realized the
common-sense distinction of Aristotle, that 'virtue is concerned with
action, art with production' (Nic. Eth. vi. 4), or that 'virtue implies
intention and constancy of purpose,' {xxiv} whereas 'art requires
knowledge only' (Nic. Eth. vi. 3). And yet in the absurdities which follow
from some uses of the analogy (cp. i. 333 E, 334 B), there seems to be an
intimation conveyed that virtue is more than art. This is implied in the
_reductio ad absurdum_ that 'justice is a thief,' and in the
dissatisfaction which Socrates expresses at the final result.

The expression 'an art of pay' (i. 346 B) which is described as 'common to
all the arts' is not in accordance with the ordinary use of language. Nor
is it employed elsewhere either by Plato or by any other Greek writer. It
is suggested by the argument, and seems to extend the conception of art to
doing as well as making. Another flaw or inaccuracy of language may be
noted in the words (i. 335 C) 'men who are injured are made more unjust.'
For those who are injured are not necessarily made worse, but only harmed
or ill-treated.

The second of the three arguments, 'that the just does not aim at excess,'
has a real meaning, though wrapped up in an enigmatical form. That the
good is of the nature of the finite is a peculiarly Hellenic sentiment,
which may be compared with the language of those modern writers who speak
of virtue as fitness, and of freedom as obedience to law. The mathematical
or logical notion of limit easily passes into an ethical one, and even
finds a mythological expression in the conception of envy ([Greek:
phtho/nos]). Ideas of measure, equality, order, unity, proportion, still
linger in the writings of moralists; and the true spirit of the fine arts
is better conveyed by such terms than by superlatives.

  'When workmen strive to do better than well,
  They do confound their skill in covetousness.'
                        (King John, Act iv. Sc. 2.)

The harmony of the soul and body (iii. 402 D), and of the parts of the
soul with one another (iv. 442 C), a harmony 'fairer than that of musical
notes,' is the true Hellenic mode of conceiving the perfection of human

In what may be called the epilogue of the discussion with Thrasymachus,
Plato argues that evil is not a principle of strength, but of discord and
dissolution, just touching the question which has been often treated in
modern times by theologians and philosophers, of the negative nature of
evil (cp. on the other hand x. 610). In the last argument we trace the
germ of the {xxv} Aristotelian doctrine of an end and a virtue directed
towards the end, which again is suggested by the arts. The final
reconcilement of justice and happiness and the identity of the individual
and the State are also intimated. Socrates reassumes the character of a
'know-nothing;' at the same time he appears to be not wholly satisfied
with the manner in which the argument has been conducted. Nothing is
concluded; but the tendency of the dialectical process, here as always, is
to enlarge our conception of ideas, and to widen their application to
human life.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic II._ Analysis.]

BOOK II. Thrasymachus is pacified, *357* but the intrepid Glaucon insists
on continuing the argument. He is not satisfied with the indirect manner
in which, at the end of the last book, Socrates had disposed of the
question 'Whether the just or the unjust is the happier.' He begins by
dividing goods into three classes:--first, goods desirable in themselves;
secondly, goods desirable in themselves and for their results; thirdly,
goods desirable for their results only. He then asks Socrates in which of
the three classes he would place justice. *358* In the second class,
replies Socrates, among goods desirable for themselves and also for their
results. 'Then the world in general are of another mind, for they say that
justice belongs to the troublesome class of goods which are desirable for
their results only.' Socrates answers that this is the doctrine of
Thrasymachus which he rejects. Glaucon thinks that Thrasymachus was too
ready to listen to the voice of the charmer, and proposes to consider the
nature of justice and injustice in themselves and apart from the results
and rewards of them which the world is always dinning in his ears. He will
first of all speak of the nature and origin of justice; secondly, of the
manner in which men view justice as a necessity and not a good; and
thirdly, he will prove the reasonableness of this view.

'To do injustice is said to be a good; to suffer injustice an evil. As the
evil is discovered by experience to be greater than the good, *359* the
sufferers, who cannot also be doers, make a compact that they will have
neither, and this compact or mean is called justice, but is really the
impossibility of doing injustice. No one would observe such a compact if
he were not obliged. Let us suppose that the just and unjust have two
rings, like that of Gyges {xxvi} in the well-known story, which make them
invisible, *360* and then no difference will appear in them, for every one
will do evil if he can. And he who abstains will be regarded by the world
as a fool for his pains. Men may praise him in public out of fear for
themselves, but they will laugh at him in their hearts. (Cp. Gorgias,
483 B.)

'And now let us frame an ideal of the just and unjust. Imagine the unjust
man to be master of his craft, seldom making mistakes and easily
correcting them; having gifts of money, speech, strength-- *361* the
greatest villain bearing the highest character: and at his side let us
place the just in his nobleness and simplicity--being, not
seeming--without name or reward--clothed in his justice only--the best of
men who is thought to be the worst, and let him die as he has lived. I
might add (but I would rather put the rest into the mouth of the
panegyrists of injustice--they will tell you) that the just man will be
scourged, racked, bound, will have his eyes put out, and will at last be
crucified [literally _impaled_]--and all this because he ought to have
preferred seeming to being. *362* How different is the case of the unjust
who clings to appearance as the true reality! His high character makes him
a ruler; he can marry where he likes, trade where he likes, help his
friends and hurt his enemies; having got rich by dishonesty he can worship
the gods better, and will therefore be more loved by them than the just.'

I was thinking what to answer, when Adeimantus joined in the already
unequal fray. He considered that the most important point of all had been
omitted:--'Men are taught to be just for the sake of rewards; *363*
parents and guardians make reputation the incentive to virtue. And other
advantages are promised by them of a more solid kind, such as wealthy
marriages and high offices. There are the pictures in Homer and Hesiod of
fat sheep and heavy fleeces, rich corn-fields and trees toppling with
fruit, which the gods provide in this life for the just. And the Orphic
poets add a similar picture of another. The heroes of Musaeus and Eumolpus
lie on couches at a festival, with garlands on their heads, enjoying as
the meed of virtue a paradise of immortal drunkenness. Some go further,
and speak of a fair posterity in the third and fourth generation. But the
wicked they bury in a slough and make them carry water in a sieve: and in
this life they {xxvii} attribute to them the infamy which Glaucon was
assuming to be the lot of the just who are supposed to be unjust.

*364* 'Take another kind of argument which is found both in poetry and
prose:--"Virtue," as Hesiod says, "is honourable but difficult, vice is
easy and profitable." You may often see the wicked in great prosperity and
the righteous afflicted by the will of heaven. And mendicant prophets
knock at rich men's doors, promising to atone for the sins of themselves
or their fathers in an easy fashion with sacrifices and festive games, or
with charms and invocations to get rid of an enemy good or bad by divine
help and at a small charge;--they appeal to books professing to be written
by Musaeus and Orpheus, and carry away the minds of whole cities, and
promise to "get souls out of purgatory;" and if we refuse to listen to
them, *365* no one knows what will happen to us.

'When a lively-minded ingenuous youth hears all this, what will be his
conclusion? "Will he," in the language of Pindar, "make justice his high
tower, or fortify himself with crooked deceit?" Justice, he reflects,
without the appearance of justice, is misery and ruin; injustice has the
promise of a glorious life. Appearance is master of truth and lord of
happiness. To appearance then I will turn,--I will put on the show of
virtue and trail behind me the fox of Archilochus. I hear some one saying
that "wickedness is not easily concealed," to which I reply that "nothing
great is easy." Union and force and rhetoric will do much; and if men say
that they cannot prevail over the gods, still how do we know that there
are gods? Only from the poets, who acknowledge that they may be appeased
by sacrifices. *366* Then why not sin and pay for indulgences out of your
sin? For if the righteous are only unpunished, still they have no further
reward, while the wicked may be unpunished and have the pleasure of
sinning too. But what of the world below? Nay, says the argument, there
are atoning powers who will set that matter right, as the poets, who are
the sons of the gods, tell us; and this is confirmed by the authority of
the State.

'How can we resist such arguments in favour of injustice? Add good
manners, and, as the wise tell us, we shall make the best of both worlds.
Who that is not a miserable caitiff will refrain from smiling at the
praises of justice? Even if a man knows the better part he will not be
angry with others; for he knows also that {xxviii} more than human virtue
is needed to save a man, and that he only praises justice who is incapable
of injustice.

'The origin of the evil is that all men from the beginning, heroes, poets,
instructors of youth, have always asserted "the temporal dispensation,"
the honours and profits of justice. *367* Had we been taught in early
youth the power of justice and injustice inherent in the soul, and unseen
by any human or divine eye, we should not have needed others to be our
guardians, but every one would have been the guardian of himself. This is
what I want you to show, Socrates;--other men use arguments which rather
tend to strengthen the position of Thrasymachus that "might is right;" but
from you I expect better things. And please, as Glaucon said, to exclude
reputation; let the just be thought unjust and the unjust just, and do you
still prove to us the superiority of justice.'...

[Sidenote: _Republic II._ Introduction.]

The thesis, which for the sake of argument has been maintained by Glaucon,
is the converse of that of Thrasymachus--not right is the interest of the
stronger, but right is the necessity of the weaker. Starting from the same
premises he carries the analysis of society a step further back;--might is
still right, but the might is the weakness of the many combined against
the strength of the few.

There have been theories in modern as well as in ancient times which have
a family likeness to the speculations of Glaucon; e.g. that power is the
foundation of right; or that a monarch has a divine right to govern well
or ill; or that virtue is self-love or the love of power; or that war is
the natural state of man; or that private vices are public benefits. All
such theories have a kind of plausibility from their partial agreement
with experience. For human nature oscillates between good and evil, and
the motives of actions and the origin of institutions may be explained to
a certain extent on either hypothesis according to the character or point
of view of a particular thinker. The obligation of maintaining authority
under all circumstances and sometimes by rather questionable means is felt
strongly and has become a sort of instinct among civilized men. The divine
right of kings, or more generally of governments, is one of the forms
under which this natural feeling is expressed. Nor again is there any evil
which has not some accompaniment of good or pleasure; nor any good {xxix}
which is free from some alloy of evil; nor any noble or generous thought
which may not be attended by a shadow or the ghost of a shadow of
self-interest or of self-love. We know that all human actions are
imperfect; but we do not therefore attribute them to the worse rather than
to the better motive or principle. Such a philosophy is both foolish and
false, like that opinion of the clever rogue who assumes all other men to
be like himself (iii. 409 C). And theories of this sort do not represent
the real nature of the State, which is based on a vague sense of right
gradually corrected and enlarged by custom and law (although capable also
of perversion), any more than they describe the origin of society, which
is to be sought in the family and in the social and religious feelings of
man. Nor do they represent the average character of individuals, which
cannot be explained simply on a theory of evil, but has always a
counteracting element of good. And as men become better such theories
appear more and more untruthful to them, because they are more conscious
of their own disinterestedness. A little experience may make a man a
cynic; a great deal will bring him back to a truer and kindlier view of
the mixed nature of himself and his fellow men.

The two brothers ask Socrates to prove to them that the just is happy when
they have taken from him all that in which happiness is ordinarily
supposed to consist. Not that there is (1) any absurdity in the attempt to
frame a notion of justice apart from circumstances. For the ideal must
always be a paradox when compared with the ordinary conditions of human
life. Neither the Stoical ideal nor the Christian ideal is true as a fact,
but they may serve as a basis of education, and may exercise an ennobling
influence. An ideal is none the worse because 'some one has made the
discovery' that no such ideal was ever realized. (Cp. v. 472 D.) And in a
few exceptional individuals who are raised above the ordinary level of
humanity, the ideal of happiness may be realized in death and misery. This
may be the state which the reason deliberately approves, and which the
utilitarian as well as every other moralist may be bound in certain cases
to prefer.

Nor again, (2) must we forget that Plato, though he agrees generally with
the view implied in the argument of the two brothers, is not expressing
his own final conclusion, but rather {xxx} seeking to dramatize one of the
aspects of ethical truth. He is developing his idea gradually in a series
of positions or situations. He is exhibiting Socrates for the first time
undergoing the Socratic interrogation. Lastly, (3) the word 'happiness'
involves some degree of confusion because associated in the language of
modern philosophy with conscious pleasure or satisfaction, which was not
equally present to his mind.

Glaucon has been drawing a picture of the misery of the just and the
happiness of the unjust, to which the misery of the tyrant in Book IX is
the answer and parallel. And still the unjust must appear just; that is
'the homage which vice pays to virtue.' But now Adeimantus, taking up the
hint which had been already given by Glaucon (ii. 358 C), proceeds to show
that in the opinion of mankind justice is regarded only for the sake of
rewards and reputation, and points out the advantage which is given to
such arguments as those of Thrasymachus and Glaucon by the conventional
morality of mankind. He seems to feel the difficulty of 'justifying the
ways of God to man.' Both the brothers touch upon the question, whether
the morality of actions is determined by their consequences (cp. iv. 420
foll.); and both of them go beyond the position of Socrates, that justice
belongs to the class of goods not desirable for themselves only, but
desirable for themselves and for their results, to which he recalls them.
In their attempt to view justice as an internal principle, and in their
condemnation of the poets, they anticipate him. The common life of Greece
is not enough for them; they must penetrate deeper into the nature of

It has been objected that justice is honesty in the sense of Glaucon and
Adeimantus, but is taken by Socrates to mean all virtue. May we not more
truly say that the old-fashioned notion of justice is enlarged by
Socrates, and becomes equivalent to universal order or well-being, first
in the State, and secondly in the individual? He has found a new answer to
his old question (Protag. 329), 'whether the virtues are one or many,'
viz. that one is the ordering principle of the three others. In seeking to
establish the purely internal nature of justice, he is met by the fact
that man is a social being, and he tries to harmonise the two opposite
theses as well as he can. There is no more inconsistency in this than was
inevitable in his age and country; {xxxi} there is no use in turning upon
him the cross lights of modern philosophy, which, from some other point of
view, would appear equally inconsistent. Plato does not give the final
solution of philosophical questions for us; nor can he be judged of by our

The remainder of the Republic is developed out of the question of the sons
of Ariston. Three points are deserving of remark in what immediately
follows:--First, that the answer of Socrates is altogether indirect. He
does not say that happiness consists in the contemplation of the idea of
justice, and still less will he be tempted to affirm the Stoical paradox
that the just man can be happy on the rack. But first he dwells on the
difficulty of the problem and insists on restoring man to his natural
condition, before he will answer the question at all. He too will frame an
ideal, but his ideal comprehends not only abstract justice, but the whole
relations of man. Under the fanciful illustration of the large letters he
implies that he will only look for justice in society, and that from the
State he will proceed to the individual. His answer in substance amounts
to this,--that under favourable conditions, i.e. in the perfect State,
justice and happiness will coincide, and that when justice has been once
found, happiness may be left to take care of itself. That he falls into
some degree of inconsistency, when in the tenth book (612 A) he claims to
have got rid of the rewards and honours of justice, may be admitted; for
he has left those which exist in the perfect State. And the philosopher
'who retires under the shelter of a wall' (vi. 496) can hardly have been
esteemed happy by him, at least not in this world. Still he maintains the
true attitude of moral action. Let a man do his duty first, without asking
whether he will be happy or not, and happiness will be the inseparable
accident which attends him. 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his
righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.'

Secondly, it may be remarked that Plato preserves the genuine character of
Greek thought in beginning with the State and in going on to the
individual. First ethics, then politics--this is the order of ideas to us;
the reverse is the order of history. Only after many struggles of thought
does the individual assert his right as a moral being. In early ages he is
not _one_, but one of many, the citizen of a State which is prior to him;
and he {xxxii} has no notion of good or evil apart from the law of his
country or the creed of his church. And to this type he is constantly
tending to revert, whenever the influence of custom, or of party spirit,
or the recollection of the past becomes too strong for him.

Thirdly, we may observe the confusion or identification of the individual
and the State, of ethics and politics, which pervades early Greek
speculation, and even in modern times retains a certain degree of
influence. The subtle difference between the collective and individual
action of mankind seems to have escaped early thinkers, and we too are
sometimes in danger of forgetting the conditions of united human action,
whenever we either elevate politics into ethics, or lower ethics to the
standard of politics. The good man and the good citizen only coincide in
the perfect State; and this perfection cannot be attained by legislation
acting upon them from without, but, if at all, by education fashioning
them from within.

[Sidenote: _Republic II._ Analysis.]

... Socrates praises the sons of Ariston, *368* 'inspired offspring of the
renowned hero,' as the elegiac poet terms them; but he does not understand
how they can argue so eloquently on behalf of injustice while their
character shows that they are uninfluenced by their own arguments. He
knows not how to answer them, although he is afraid of deserting justice
in the hour of need. He therefore makes a condition, that having weak eyes
he shall be allowed to read the large letters first and then go on to the
smaller, that is, he must look for justice in the State first, and will
then proceed to the individual. *369* Accordingly he begins to construct
the State.

Society arises out of the wants of man. His first want is food; his second
a house; his third a coat. The sense of these needs and the possibility of
satisfying them by exchange, draw individuals together on the same spot;
and this is the beginning of a State, which we take the liberty to invent,
although necessity is the real inventor. There must be first a husbandman,
secondly a builder, thirdly a weaver, to which may be added a cobbler.
Four or five citizens at least are required to make a city. *370* Now men
have different natures, and one man will do one thing better than many;
and business waits for no man. Hence there must be a division of labour
into different employments; into wholesale and retail trade; into workers,
and makers of workmen's {xxxiii} tools; into shepherds and husbandmen.
A city which includes all this will have far exceeded the limit of four or
five, and yet not be very large. *371* But then again imports will be
required, and imports necessitate exports, and this implies variety of
produce in order to attract the taste of purchasers; also merchants and
ships. In the city too we must have a market and money and retail trades;
otherwise buyers and sellers will never meet, and the valuable time of the
producers will be wasted in vain efforts at exchange. If we add hired
servants the State will be complete. And we may guess that *372* somewhere
in the intercourse of the citizens with one another justice and injustice
will appear.

Here follows a rustic picture of their way of life. They spend their days
in houses which they have built for themselves; they make their own
clothes and produce their own corn and wine. Their principal food is meal
and flour, and they drink in moderation. They live on the best of terms
with each other, and take care not to have too many children. 'But,' said
Glaucon, interposing, 'are they not to have a relish?' Certainly; they
will have salt and olives and cheese, vegetables and fruits, and chestnuts
to roast at the fire. ''Tis a city of pigs, Socrates.' Why, I replied,
what do you want more? 'Only the comforts of life,--sofas and tables, also
sauces and sweets.' I see; you want not only a State, but a luxurious
State; and possibly in the more complex frame we may sooner find justice
and injustice. Then *373* the fine arts must go to work--every conceivable
instrument and ornament of luxury will be wanted. There will be dancers,
painters, sculptors, musicians, cooks, barbers, tire-women, nurses,
artists; swineherds and neatherds too for the animals, and physicians to
cure the disorders of which luxury is the source. To feed all these
superfluous mouths we shall need a part of our neighbour's land, and they
will want a part of ours. And this is the origin of war, which may be
traced to the same causes as other political evils. *374* Our city will
now require the slight addition of a camp, and the citizen will be
converted into a soldier. But then again our old doctrine of the division
of labour must not be forgotten. The art of war cannot be learned in a
day, and there must be a natural aptitude for military duties. There will
be some warlike natures *375* who have this aptitude--dogs keen of scent,
swift of foot to pursue, and strong of limb to fight. And {xxxiv} as
spirit is the foundation of courage, such natures, whether of men or
animals, will be full of spirit. But these spirited natures are apt to
bite and devour one another; the union of gentleness to friends and
fierceness against enemies appears to be an impossibility, and the
guardian of a State requires both qualities. Who then can be a guardian?
The image of the dog suggests an answer. *376* For dogs are gentle to
friends and fierce to strangers. Your dog is a philosopher who judges by
the rule of knowing or not knowing; and philosophy, whether in man or
beast, is the parent of gentleness. The human watchdogs must be
philosophers or lovers of learning which will make them gentle. And how
are they to be learned without education?

But what shall their education be? Is any better than the old-fashioned
sort which is comprehended under the name of music and gymnastic? *377*
Music includes literature, and literature is of two kinds, true and false.
'What do you mean?' he said. I mean that children hear stories before they
learn gymnastics, and that the stories are either untrue, or have at most
one or two grains of truth in a bushel of falsehood. Now early life is
very impressible, and children ought not to learn what they will have to
unlearn when they grow up; we must therefore have a censorship of nursery
tales, banishing some and keeping others. Some of them are very improper,
as we may see in the great instances of Homer and Hesiod, who not only
tell lies but bad lies; stories about Uranus and Saturn, *378* which are
immoral as well as false, and which should never be spoken of to young
persons, or indeed at all; or, if at all, then in a mystery, after the
sacrifice, not of an Eleusinian pig, but of some unprocurable animal.
Shall our youth be encouraged to beat their fathers by the example of
Zeus, or our citizens be incited to quarrel by hearing or seeing
representations of strife among the gods? Shall they listen to the
narrative of Hephaestus binding his mother, and of Zeus sending him flying
for helping her when she was beaten? Such tales may possibly have a
mystical interpretation, but the young are incapable of understanding
allegory. *379* If any one asks what tales are to be allowed, we will
answer that we are legislators and not book-makers; we only lay down the
principles according to which books are to be written; to write them is
the duty of others.

{xxxv} And our first principle is, that God must be represented as he is;
not as the author of all things, but of good only. We will not suffer the
poets to say that he is the steward of good and evil, or that he has two
casks full of destinies;--or that Athene and Zeus incited Pandarus to
break the treaty; or that *380* God caused the sufferings of Niobe, or of
Pelops, or the Trojan war; or that he makes men sin when he wishes to
destroy them. Either these were not the actions of the gods, or God was
just, and men were the better for being punished. But that the deed was
evil, and God the author, is a wicked, suicidal fiction which we will
allow no one, old or young, to utter. This is our first and great
principle--God is the author of good only.

And the second principle is like unto it:--With God is no variableness or
change of form. Reason teaches us this; for if we suppose a change in God,
he must be changed either by another or by himself. By another?--but the
best works of nature and art *381* and the noblest qualities of mind are
least liable to be changed by any external force. By himself?--but he
cannot change for the better; he will hardly change for the worse. He
remains for ever fairest and best in his own image. Therefore we refuse to
listen to the poets who tell us of Here begging in the likeness of a
priestess or of other deities who prowl about at night in strange
disguises; all that blasphemous nonsense with which mothers fool the
manhood out of their children must be suppressed. *382* But some one will
say that God, who is himself unchangeable, may take a form in relation to
us. Why should he? For gods as well as men hate the lie in the soul, or
principle of falsehood; and as for any other form of lying which is used
for a purpose and is regarded as innocent in certain exceptional
cases--what need have the gods of this? For they are not ignorant of
antiquity like the poets, nor are they afraid of their enemies, nor is any
madman a friend of theirs. *383* God then is true, he is absolutely true;
he changes not, he deceives not, by day or night, by word or sign. This is
our second great principle--God is true. Away with the lying dream of
Agamemnon in Homer, and the accusation of Thetis against Apollo in

[Sidenote: _Republic II._ Introduction.]

In order to give clearness to his conception of the State, Plato proceeds
to trace the first principles of mutual need and of {xxxvi} division of
labour in an imaginary community of four or five citizens. Gradually this
community increases; the division of labour extends to countries; imports
necessitate exports; a medium of exchange is required, and retailers sit
in the market-place to save the time of the producers. These are the steps
by which Plato constructs the first or primitive State, introducing the
elements of political economy by the way. As he is going to frame a second
or civilized State, the simple naturally comes before the complex. He
indulges, like Rousseau, in a picture of primitive life--an idea which has
indeed often had a powerful influence on the imagination of mankind, but
he does not seriously mean to say that one is better than the other (cp.
Politicus, p. 272); nor can any inference be drawn from the description of
the first state taken apart from the second, such as Aristotle appears to
draw in the Politics, iv. 4, 12 (cp. again Politicus, 272). We should not
interpret a Platonic dialogue any more than a poem or a parable in too
literal or matter-of-fact a style. On the other hand, when we compare the
lively fancy of Plato with the dried-up abstractions of modern treatises
on philosophy, we are compelled to say with Protagoras, that the 'mythus
is more interesting' (Protag. 320 D).

Several interesting remarks which in modern times would have a place in a
treatise on Political Economy are scattered up and down the writings of
Plato: cp. especially Laws, v. 740, Population; viii. 847, Free Trade;
xi. 916-7, Adulteration; 923-4, Wills and Bequests; 930, Begging; Eryxias,
(though not Plato's), Value and Demand; Republic, ii. 369 ff., Division of
Labour. The last subject, and also the origin of Retail Trade, is treated
with admirable lucidity in the second book of the Republic. But Plato
never combined his economic ideas into a system, and never seems to have
recognized that Trade is one of the great motive powers of the State and
of the world. He would make retail traders only of the inferior sort of
citizens (Rep. ii. 371; cp. Laws, viii. 847), though he remarks, quaintly
enough (Laws, ix. 918 D), that 'if only the best men and the best women
everywhere were compelled to keep taverns for a time or to carry on retail
trade, etc., then we should knew how pleasant and agreeable all these
things are.'

The disappointment of Glaucon at the 'city of pigs,' the ludicrous
description of the ministers of luxury in the more refined {xxxvii} State,
and the afterthought of the necessity of doctors, the illustration of the
nature of the guardian taken from the dog, the desirableness of offering
some almost unprocurable victim when impure mysteries are to be
celebrated, the behaviour of Zeus to his father and of Hephaestus to his
mother, are touches of humour which have also a serious meaning. In
speaking of education Plato rather startles us by affirming that a child
must be trained in falsehood first and in truth afterwards. Yet this is
not very different from saying that children must be taught through the
medium of imagination as well as reason; that their minds can only
develope gradually, and that there is much which they must learn without
understanding (cp. iii. 402 A). This is also the substance of Plato's
view, though he must be acknowledged to have drawn the line somewhat
differently from modern ethical writers, respecting truth and falsehood.
To us, economies or accommodations would not be allowable unless they were
required by the human faculties or necessary for the communication of
knowledge to the simple and ignorant. We should insist that the word was
inseparable from the intention, and that we must not be 'falsely true,'
i.e. speak or act falsely in support of what was right or true. But Plato
would limit the use of fictions only by requiring that they should have a
good moral effect, and that such a dangerous weapon as falsehood should be
employed by the rulers alone and for great objects.

A Greek in the age of Plato attached no importance to the question whether
his religion was an historical fact. He was just beginning to be conscious
that the past had a history; but he could see nothing beyond Homer and
Hesiod. Whether their narratives were true or false did not seriously
affect the political or social life of Hellas. Men only began to suspect
that they were fictions when they recognised them to be immoral. And so in
all religions: the consideration of their morality comes first, afterwards
the truth of the documents in which they are recorded, or of the events
natural or supernatural which are told of them. But in modern times, and
in Protestant countries perhaps more than in Catholic, we have been too
much inclined to identify the historical with the moral; and some have
refused to believe in religion at all, unless a superhuman accuracy was
discernible in every part of the record. The facts of an ancient {xxxviii}
or religious history are amongst the most important of all facts; but they
are frequently uncertain, and we only learn the true lesson which is to be
gathered from them when we place ourselves above them. These reflections
tend to show that the difference between Plato and ourselves, though not
unimportant, is not so great as might at first sight appear. For we should
agree with him in placing the moral before the historical truth of
religion; and, generally, in disregarding those errors or misstatements of
fact which necessarily occur in the early stages of all religions. We know
also that changes in the traditions of a country cannot be made in a day;
and are therefore tolerant of many things which science and criticism
would condemn.

We note in passing that the allegorical interpretation of mythology, said
to have been first introduced as early as the sixth century before Christ
by Theagenes of Rhegium, was well established in the age of Plato, and
here, as in the Phaedrus (229-30), though for a different reason, was
rejected by him. That anachronisms whether of religion or law, when men
have reached another stage of civilization, should be got rid of by
fictions is in accordance with universal experience. Great is the art of
interpretation; and by a natural process, which when once discovered was
always going on, what could not be altered was explained away. And so
without any palpable inconsistency there existed side by side two forms of
religion, the tradition inherited or invented by the poets and the
customary worship of the temple; on the other hand, there was the religion
of the philosopher, who was dwelling in the heaven of ideas, but did not
therefore refuse to offer a cock to sculapius, or to be seen saying his
prayers at the rising of the sun. At length the antagonism between the
popular and philosophical religion, never so great among the Greeks as in
our own age, disappeared, and was only felt like the difference between
the religion of the educated and uneducated among ourselves. The Zeus of
Homer and Hesiod easily passed into the 'royal mind' of Plato (Philebus,
28); the giant Heracles became the knight-errant and benefactor of
mankind. These and still more wonderful transformations were readily
effected by the ingenuity of Stoics and neo-Platonists in the two or three
centuries before and after Christ. The Greek and Roman religions were
gradually permeated by the spirit of philosophy; having lost their {xxxix}
ancient meaning, they were resolved into poetry and morality; and probably
were never purer than at the time of their decay, when their influence
over the world was waning.

A singular conception which occurs towards the end of the book is the lie
in the soul; this is connected with the Platonic and Socratic doctrine
that involuntary ignorance is worse than voluntary. The lie in the soul is
a true lie, the corruption of the highest truth, the deception of the
highest part of the soul, from which he who is deceived has no power of
delivering himself. For example, to represent God as false or immoral, or,
according to Plato, as deluding men with appearances or as the author of
evil; or again, to affirm with Protagoras that 'knowledge is sensation,'
or that 'being is becoming,' or with Thrasymachus 'that might is right,'
would have been regarded by Plato as a lie of this hateful sort. The
greatest unconsciousness of the greatest untruth, e.g. if, in the language
of the Gospels (John iv. 41), 'he who was blind' were to say 'I see,' is
another aspect of the state of mind which Plato is describing. The lie in
the soul may be further compared with the sin against the Holy Ghost (Luke
xii. 10), allowing for the difference between Greek and Christian modes of
speaking. To this is opposed the lie in words, which is only such a
deception as may occur in a play or poem, or allegory or figure of speech,
or in any sort of accommodation,--which though useless to the gods may be
useful to men in certain cases. Socrates is here answering the question
which he had himself raised (i. 331 C) about the propriety of deceiving a
madman; and he is also contrasting the nature of God and man. For God is
Truth, but mankind can only be true by appearing sometimes to be partial,
or false. Reserving for another place the greater questions of religion or
education, we may note further, (1) the approval of the old traditional
education of Greece; (2) the preparation which Plato is making for the
attack on Homer and the poets; (3) the preparation which he is also making
for the use of economies in the State; (4) the contemptuous and at the
same time euphemistic manner in which here as below (iii. 390) he alludes
to the _Chronique Scandaleuse_ of the gods.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic III._ Analysis.]

BOOK III. *386* There is another motive in purifying religion, which is to
banish fear; for no man can be courageous who is {xl} afraid of death, or
who believes the tales which are repeated by the poets concerning the
world below. They must be gently requested not to abuse hell; they may be
reminded that their stories are both untrue and discouraging. Nor must
they be angry if we expunge obnoxious passages, such as the depressing
words of Achilles--'I would rather be a serving-man than rule over all the
dead;' and the verses which tell of the squalid mansions, the senseless
shadows, the flitting soul mourning over lost strength and youth, *387*
the soul with a gibber going beneath the earth like smoke, or the souls of
the suitors which flutter about like bats. The terrors and horrors of
Cocytus and Styx, ghosts and sapless shades, and the rest of their
Tartarean nomenclature, must vanish. Such tales may have their use; but
they are not the proper food for soldiers. As little can we admit the
sorrows and sympathies of the Homeric heroes:--Achilles, the son of
Thetis, in tears, throwing ashes on his head, or pacing up and down the
sea-shore in distraction; or Priam, the cousin of the gods, crying aloud,
rolling in the mire. A good man is not prostrated at the loss of children
or fortune. Neither is death terrible to him; and therefore lamentations
over the dead should not be practised by men of note; *388* they should be
the concern of inferior persons only, whether women or men. Still worse is
the attribution of such weakness to the gods; as when the goddesses say,
'Alas! my travail!' and worst of all, when the king of heaven himself
laments his inability to save Hector, or sorrows over the impending doom
of his dear Sarpedon. Such a character of God, if not ridiculed by our
young men, is likely to be imitated by them. Nor should our citizens be
given to excess of laughter--'Such violent delights' are followed by a
violent re-action. The description in the Iliad of the gods shaking their
sides at the clumsiness of Hephaestus will not be admitted by us.
'Certainly not.'

Truth should have a high place among the virtues, for falsehood, as we
were saying, is useless to the gods, and only useful to men as a medicine.
But this employment of falsehood must remain a privilege of state; the
common man must not in return tell a lie to the ruler; any more than the
patient would tell a lie to his physician, or the sailor to his captain.

In the next place our youth must be temperate, and temperance consists in
self-control and obedience to authority. That is a {xli} lesson which
Homer teaches in some places: 'The Achaeans marched on breathing prowess,
in silent awe of their leaders;'--but a very different one in other
places: 'O heavy with wine, who hast the eyes of a dog, but the heart of a
stag.' *390* Language of the latter kind will not impress self-control on
the minds of youth. The same may be said about his praises of eating and
drinking and his dread of starvation; also about the verses in which he
tells of the rapturous loves of Zeus and Here, or of how Hephaestus once
detained Ares and Aphrodite in a net on a similar occasion. There is a
nobler strain heard in the words:--'Endure, my soul, thou hast endured
worse.' Nor must we allow our citizens to receive bribes, or to say,
'Gifts persuade the gods, gifts reverend kings;' or to applaud the ignoble
advice of Phoenix to Achilles that he should get money out of the Greeks
before he assisted them; or the meanness of Achilles himself in taking
gifts from Agamemnon; *391* or his requiring a ransom for the body of
Hector; or his cursing of Apollo; or his insolence to the river-god
Scamander; or his dedication to the dead Patroclus of his own hair which
had been already dedicated to the other river-god Spercheius; or his
cruelty in dragging the body of Hector round the walls, and slaying the
captives at the pyre: such a combination of meanness and cruelty in
Cheiron's pupil is inconceivable. The amatory exploits of Peirithous and
Theseus are equally unworthy. Either these so-called sons of gods were not
the sons of gods, or they were not such as the poets imagine them, any
more than the gods themselves are the authors of evil. The youth who
believes that such things are done by *392* those who have the blood of
heaven flowing in their veins will be too ready to imitate their example.

Enough of gods and heroes;--what shall we say about men? What the poets
and story-tellers say--that the wicked prosper and the righteous are
afflicted, or that justice is another's gain? Such misrepresentations
cannot be allowed by us. But in this we are anticipating the definition of
justice, and had therefore better defer the enquiry.

The subjects of poetry have been sufficiently treated; next follows style.
Now all poetry is a narrative of events past, present, or to come; and
narrative is of three kinds, the simple, the imitative, and a composition
of the two. An instance will {xlii} make my meaning clear. *393* The first
scene in Homer is of the last or mixed kind, being partly description and
partly dialogue. But if you throw the dialogue into the 'oratio obliqua,'
the passage will run thus: *394* The priest came and prayed Apollo that
the Achaeans might take Troy and have a safe return if Agamemnon would
only give him back his daughter; and the other Greeks assented, but
Agamemnon was wroth, and so on--The whole then becomes descriptive, and
the poet is the only speaker left; or, if you omit the narrative, the
whole becomes dialogue. These are the three styles--which of them is to be
admitted into our State? 'Do you ask whether tragedy and comedy are to be
admitted?' Yes, but also something more--Is it not doubtful whether our
guardians are to be imitators at all? Or rather, has not the question been
already answered, for we have decided that one man cannot in his life play
many parts, any more than *395* he can act both tragedy and comedy, or be
rhapsodist and actor at once? Human nature is coined into very small
pieces, and as our guardians have their own business already, which is the
care of freedom, they will have enough to do without imitating. If they
imitate they should imitate, not any meanness or baseness, but the good
only; for the mask which the actor wears is apt to become his face. We
cannot allow men to play the parts of women, quarrelling, weeping,
scolding, or boasting against the gods,--least of all when making love or
in labour. They must not represent slaves, or bullies, or *396* cowards,
drunkards, or madmen, or blacksmiths, or neighing horses, or bellowing
bulls, or sounding rivers, or a raging sea. A good or wise man will be
willing to perform good and wise actions, but he will be ashamed to play
an inferior part which he has never practised; and he will prefer to
employ the descriptive style with as little imitation as possible. *397*
The man who has no self-respect, on the contrary, will imitate anybody and
anything; sounds of nature and cries of animals alike; his whole
performance will be imitation of gesture and voice. Now in the descriptive
style there are few changes, but in the dramatic there are a great many.
Poets and musicians use either, or a compound of both, and this compound
is very attractive to youth and their teachers as well as to the vulgar.
But our State in which one man plays one part only is not adapted for
complexity. *398* And when one of these polyphonous pantomimic gentlemen
offers to exhibit {xliii} himself and his poetry we will show him every
observance of respect, but at the same time tell him that there is no room
for his kind in our State; we prefer the rough, honest poet, and will not
depart from our original models (ii. 379 foll.; cp. Laws, vii. 817).

Next as to the music. A song or ode has three parts,--the subject, the
harmony, and the rhythm; of which the two last are dependent upon the
first. As we banished strains of lamentation, so we may now banish the
mixed Lydian harmonies, which are the harmonies of lamentation; and as our
citizens are to be temperate, we may also banish convivial harmonies, such
as the Ionian and pure Lydian. *399* Two remain--the Dorian and Phrygian,
the first for war, the second for peace; the one expressive of courage,
the other of obedience or instruction or religious feeling. And as we
reject varieties of harmony, we shall also reject the many-stringed,
variously-shaped instruments which give utterance to them, and in
particular the flute, which is more complex than any of them. The lyre and
the harp may be permitted in the town, and the Pan's-pipe in the fields.
Thus we have made a purgation of music, and will now make a purgation of
metres. *400* These should be like the harmonies, simple and suitable to
the occasion. There are four notes of the tetrachord, and there are three
ratios of metre, 3/2, 2/2, 2/1, which have all their characteristics, and
the feet have different characteristics as well as the rhythms. But about
this you and I must ask Damon, the great musician, who speaks, if I
remember rightly, of a martial measure as well as of dactylic, trochaic,
and iambic rhythms, which he arranges so as to equalize the syllables with
one another, assigning to each the proper quantity. We only venture to
affirm the general principle that the style is to conform to the subject
and the metre to the style; and that the simplicity and harmony of the
soul should be reflected in them all. This principle of simplicity has to
be learnt by every one in the days of his youth, *401* and may be gathered
anywhere, from the creative and constructive arts, as well as from the
forms of plants and animals.

Other artists as well as poets should be warned against meanness or
unseemliness. Sculpture and painting equally with music must conform to
the law of simplicity. He who violates it cannot be allowed to work in our
city, and to corrupt the taste of our citizens. For our guardians must
grow up, not amid images of {xliv} deformity which will gradually poison
and corrupt their souls, but in a land of health and beauty where they
will drink in from every object sweet and harmonious influences. And of
all these influences the greatest is the education given by music, which
finds a way into the innermost soul and *402* imparts to it the sense of
beauty and of deformity. At first the effect is unconscious; but when
reason arrives, then he who has been thus trained welcomes her as the
friend whom he always knew. As in learning to read, first we acquire the
elements or letters separately, and afterwards their combinations, and
cannot recognize reflections of them until we know the letters
themselves;--in like manner we must first attain the elements or essential
forms of the virtues, and then trace their combinations in life and
experience. There is a music of the soul which answers to the harmony of
the world; and the fairest object of a musical soul is the fair mind in
the fair body. Some defect in the latter may be excused, but not in the
former. *403* True love is the daughter of temperance, and temperance is
utterly opposed to the madness of bodily pleasure. Enough has been said of
music, which makes a fair ending with love.

Next we pass on to gymnastics; about which I would remark, that the soul
is related to the body as a cause to an effect, and therefore if we
educate the mind we may leave the education of the body in her charge, and
need only give a general outline of the course to be pursued. In the first
place the guardians must abstain from strong drink, for they should be the
last persons to lose their wits. *404* Whether the habits of the palaestra
are suitable to them is more doubtful, for the ordinary gymnastic is a
sleepy sort of thing, and if left off suddenly is apt to endanger health.
But our warrior athletes must be wide-awake dogs, and must also be inured
to all changes of food and climate. Hence they will require a simpler kind
of gymnastic, akin to their simple music; and for their diet a rule may be
found in Homer, who feeds his heroes on roast meat only, and gives them no
fish although they are living at the sea-side, nor boiled meats which
involve an apparatus of pots and pans; and, if I am not mistaken, he
nowhere mentions sweet sauces. Sicilian cookery and Attic confections and
Corinthian courtezans, which are to gymnastic what Lydian and Ionian
melodies are to music, must be forbidden. *405* Where gluttony and
intemperance prevail the town quickly fills {xlv} with doctors and
pleaders; and law and medicine give themselves airs as soon as the freemen
of a State take an interest in them. But what can show a more disgraceful
state of education than to have to go abroad for justice because you have
none of your own at home? And yet there _is_ a worse stage of the same
disease--when men have learned to take a pleasure and pride in the twists
and turns of the law; not considering how much better it would be for them
so to order their lives as to have no need of a nodding justice. And there
is a like disgrace in employing a physician, not for the cure of wounds or
epidemic disorders, but because a man has by laziness and luxury
contracted diseases which were unknown in the days of Asclepius. How
simple is the Homeric practice of medicine. Eurypylus after he has been
wounded *406* drinks a posset of Pramnian wine, which is of a heating
nature; and yet the sons of Asclepius blame neither the damsel who gives
him the drink, nor Patroclus who is attending on him. The truth is that
this modern system of nursing diseases was introduced by Herodicus the
trainer; who, being of a sickly constitution, by a compound of training
and medicine tortured first himself and then a good many other people, and
lived a great deal longer than he had any right. But Asclepius would not
practise this art, because he knew that the citizens of a well-ordered
State have no leisure to be ill, and therefore he adopted the 'kill or
cure' method, which artisans and labourers employ. 'They must be at their
business,' they say, 'and have no time for coddling: if they recover,
well; if they don't, there is an end of them.' *407* Whereas the rich man
is supposed to be a gentleman who can afford to be ill. Do you know a
maxim of Phocylides--that 'when a man begins to be rich' (or, perhaps, a
little sooner) 'he should practise virtue'? But how can excessive care of
health be inconsistent with an ordinary occupation, and yet consistent
with that practice of virtue which Phocylides inculcates? When a student
imagines that philosophy gives him a headache, he never does anything; he
is always unwell. This was the reason why Asclepius and his sons practised
no such art. They were acting in the interest of the public, and did not
wish to preserve useless lives, or raise up a puny offspring to wretched
sires. *408* Honest diseases they honestly cured; and if a man was
wounded, they applied the proper remedies, and then let him eat and drink
what he liked. But {xlvi} they declined to treat intemperate and worthless
subjects, even though they might have made large fortunes out of them.
As to the story of Pindar, that Asclepius was slain by a thunderbolt for
restoring a rich man to life, that is a lie--following our old rule we
must say either that he did not take bribes, or that he was not the son of
a god.

Glaucon then asks Socrates whether the best physicians and the best judges
will not be those who have had severally the greatest experience of
diseases and of crimes. Socrates draws a distinction between the two
professions. The physician should have had experience of disease in his
own body, for he cures with his mind and not with his body. *409* But the
judge controls mind by mind; and therefore his mind should not be
corrupted by crime. Where then is he to gain experience? How is he to be
wise and also innocent? When young a good man is apt to be deceived by
evil-doers, because he has no pattern of evil in himself; and therefore
the judge should be of a certain age; his youth should have been innocent,
and he should have acquired insight into evil not by the practice of it,
but by the observation of it in others. This is the ideal of a judge; the
criminal turned detective is wonderfully suspicious, but when in company
with good men who have experience, he is at fault, for he foolishly
imagines that every one is as bad as himself. Vice may be known of virtue,
but cannot know virtue. This is the sort of medicine and this the sort of
law which will prevail in our State; *410* they will be healing arts to
better natures; but the evil body will be left to die by the one, and the
evil soul will be put to death by the other. And the need of either will
be greatly diminished by good music which will give harmony to the soul,
and good gymnastic which will give health to the body. Not that this
division of music and gymnastic really corresponds to soul and body; for
they are both equally concerned with the soul, which is tamed by the one
and aroused and sustained by the other. The two together supply our
guardians with their twofold nature. The passionate disposition when it
has too much gymnastic is hardened and brutalized, the gentle or
philosophic temper which has too much music becomes enervated. *411* While
a man is allowing music to pour like water through the funnel of his ears,
the edge of his soul gradually wears away, and the passionate or spirited
element is melted out of him. Too little {xlvii} spirit is easily
exhausted; too much quickly passes into nervous irritability. So, again,
the athlete by feeding and training has his courage doubled, but he soon
grows stupid; he is like a wild beast, ready to do everything by blows and
nothing by counsel or policy. There are two principles in man, reason and
passion, and to these, *412* not to the soul and body, the two arts of
music and gymnastic correspond. He who mingles them in harmonious concord
is the true musician,--he shall be the presiding genius of our State.

The next question is, Who are to be our rulers? First, the elder must rule
the younger; and the best of the elders will be the best guardians. Now
they will be the best who love their subjects most, and think that they
have a common interest with them in the welfare of the state. These we
must select; but they must be watched at every epoch of life to see
whether they have retained the same opinions and held out against force
and enchantment. *413* For time and persuasion and the love of pleasure
may enchant a man into a change of purpose, and the force of grief and
pain may compel him. And therefore our guardians must be men who have been
tried by many tests, like gold in the refiner's fire, and have been passed
first through danger, then through pleasure, and at every age have come
out of such trials victorious and without stain, in full command of
themselves and their principles; having all their faculties in harmonious
exercise for their country's good. These shall receive the highest honours
both in life and death. *414* (It would perhaps be better to confine the
term 'guardians' to this select class: the younger men may be called

And now for one magnificent lie, in the belief of which, Oh that we could
train our rulers!--at any rate let us make the attempt with the rest of
the world. What I am going to tell is only another version of the legend
of Cadmus; but our unbelieving generation will be slow to accept such a
story. The tale must be imparted, first to the rulers, then to the
soldiers, lastly to the people. We will inform them that their youth was a
dream, and that during the time when they seemed to be undergoing their
education they were really being fashioned in the earth, who sent them up
when they were ready; and that they must protect and cherish her whose
children they are, and regard {xlviii} each other as brothers and sisters.
'I do not wonder at your being ashamed to propound such a fiction.' There
is more behind. *415* These brothers and sisters have different natures,
and some of them God framed to rule, whom he fashioned of gold; others he
made of silver, to be auxiliaries; others again to be husbandmen and
craftsmen, and these were formed by him of brass and iron. But as they are
all sprung from a common stock, a golden parent may have a silver son, or
a silver parent a golden son, and then there must be a change of rank; the
son of the rich must descend, and the child of the artisan rise, in the
social scale; for an oracle says 'that the State will come to an end if
governed by a man of brass or iron.' Will our citizens ever believe all
this? 'Not in the present generation, but in the next, perhaps, Yes.'

Now let the earthborn men go forth under the command of their rulers, and
look about and pitch their camp in a high place, which will be safe
against enemies from without, and likewise against insurrections from
within. There let them sacrifice and set up their tents; *416* for
soldiers they are to be and not shopkeepers, the watchdogs and guardians
of the sheep; and luxury and avarice will turn them into wolves and
tyrants. Their habits and their dwellings should correspond to their
education. They should have no property; their pay should only meet their
expenses; and they should have common meals. Gold and silver we will tell
them that they have from God, and this divine gift in their souls they
must not *417* alloy with that earthly dross which passes under the name
of gold. They only of the citizens may not touch it, or be under the same
roof with it, or drink from it; it is the accursed thing. Should they ever
acquire houses or lands or money of their own, they will become
householders and tradesmen instead of guardians, enemies and tyrants
instead of helpers, and the hour of ruin, both to themselves and the rest
of the State, will be at hand.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic III._ Introduction.]

The religious and ethical aspect of Plato's education will hereafter be
considered under a separate head. Some lesser points may be more
conveniently noticed in this place.

1. The constant appeal to the authority of Homer, whom, with grave irony,
Plato, after the manner of his age, summons as a {xlix} witness about
ethics and psychology, as well as about diet and medicine; attempting to
distinguish the better lesson from the worse (390), sometimes altering the
text from design (388, and, perhaps, 389); more than once quoting or
alluding to Homer inaccurately (391, 406), after the manner of the early
logographers turning the Iliad into prose (393), and delighting to draw
far-fetched inferences from his words, or to make ludicrous applications
of them. He does not, like Heracleitus, get into a rage with Homer and
Archilochus (Heracl. Frag. 119, ed. Bywater), but uses their words and
expressions as vehicles of a higher truth; not on a system like Theagenes
of Rhegium or Metrodorus, or in later times the Stoics, but as fancy may
dictate. And the conclusions drawn from them are sound, although the
premises are fictitious. These fanciful appeals to Homer add a charm to
Plato's style, and at the same time they have the effect of a satire on
the follies of Homeric interpretation. To us (and probably to himself),
although they take the form of arguments, they are really figures of
speech. They may be compared with modern citations from Scripture, which
have often a great rhetorical power even when the original meaning of the
words is entirely lost sight of. The real, like the Platonic Socrates, as
we gather from the Memorabilia of Xenophon, was fond of making similar
adaptations (i. 2, 58; ii. 6, 11). Great in all ages and countries, in
religion as well as in law and literature, has been the art of

2. 'The style is to conform to the subject and the metre to the style.'
Notwithstanding the fascination which the word 'classical' exercises over
us, we can hardly maintain that this rule is observed in all the Greek
poetry which has come down to us. We cannot deny that the thought often
exceeds the power of lucid expression in schylus and Pindar; or that
rhetoric gets the better of the thought in the Sophist-poet Euripides.
Only perhaps in Sophocles is there a perfect harmony of the two; in him
alone do we find a grace of language like the beauty of a Greek statue, in
which there is nothing to add or to take away; at least this is true of
single plays or of large portions of them. The connection in the Tragic
Choruses and in the Greek lyric poets is not unfrequently a tangled thread
which in an age before logic the poet was unable to draw out. Many
thoughts and feelings mingled in his mind, and he had no power of
disengaging or {l} arranging them. For there is a subtle influence of
logic which requires to be transferred from prose to poetry, just as the
music and perfection of language are infused by poetry into prose. In all
ages the poet has been a bad judge of his own meaning (Apol. 22 B); for he
does not see that the word which is full of associations to his own mind
is difficult and unmeaning to that of another; or that the sequence which
is clear to himself is puzzling to others. There are many passages in some
of our greatest modern poets which are far too obscure; in which there is
no proportion between style and subject, in which any half-expressed
figure, any harsh construction, any distorted collocation of words, any
remote sequence of ideas is admitted; and there is no voice 'coming
sweetly from nature,' or music adding the expression of feeling to
thought. As if there could be poetry without beauty, or beauty without
ease and clearness. The obscurities of early Greek poets arose necessarily
out of the state of language and logic which existed in their age. They
are not examples to be followed by us; for the use of language ought in
every generation to become clearer and clearer. Like Shakespeare, they were
great in spite, not in consequence, of their imperfections of expression.
But there is no reason for returning to the necessary obscurity which
prevailed in the infancy of literature. The English poets of the last
century were certainly not obscure; and we have no excuse for losing what
they had gained, or for going back to the earlier or transitional age
which preceded them. The thought of our own times has not out-stripped
language; a want of Plato's 'art of measuring' is the real cause of the
disproportion between them.

3. In the third book of the Republic a nearer approach is made to a theory
of art than anywhere else in Plato. His views may be summed up as
follows:--True art is not fanciful and imitative, but simple and
ideal,--the expression of the highest moral energy, whether in action or
repose. To live among works of plastic art which are of this noble and
simple character, or to listen to such strains, is the best of
influences,--the true Greek atmosphere, in which youth should be brought
up. That is the way to create in them a natural good taste, which will
have a feeling of truth and beauty in all things. For though the poets are
to be expelled, still art is recognized as another aspect of {li}
reason--like love in the Symposium, extending over the same sphere, but
confined to the preliminary education, and acting through the power of
habit (vii. 522 A); and this conception of art is not limited to strains
of music or the forms of plastic art, but pervades all nature and has a
wide kindred in the world. The Republic of Plato, like the Athens of
Pericles, has an artistic as well as a political side.

There is hardly any mention in Plato of the creative arts; only in two or
three passages does he even allude to them (cp. Rep. iv. 420; Soph. 236
A). He is not lost in rapture at the great works of Phidias, the
Parthenon, the Propylea, the statues of Zeus or Athene. He would probably
have regarded any abstract truth of number or figure (529 E) as higher
than the greatest of them. Yet it is hard to suppose that some influence,
such as he hopes to inspire in youth, did not pass into his own mind from
the works of art which he saw around him. We are living upon the fragments
of them, and find in a few broken stones the standard of truth and beauty.
But in Plato this feeling has no expression; he nowhere says that beauty
is the object of art; he seems to deny that wisdom can take an external
form (Phaedrus, 250 E); he does not distinguish the fine from the
mechanical arts. Whether or no, like some writers, he felt more than he
expressed, it is at any rate remarkable that the greatest perfection of
the fine arts should coincide with an almost entire silence about them. In
one very striking passage he tells us that a work of art, like the State,
is a whole; and this conception of a whole and the love of the newly-born
mathematical sciences may be regarded, if not as the inspiring, at any
rate as the regulating principles of Greek art (cp. Xen. Mem. iii. 10. 6;
and Sophist, 235, 236).

4. Plato makes the true and subtle remark that the physician had better
not be in robust health; and should have known what illness is in his own
person. But the judge ought to have had no similar experience of evil; he
is to be a good man who, having passed his youth in innocence, became
acquainted late in life with the vices of others. And therefore, according
to Plato, a judge should not be young, just as a young man according to
Aristotle is not fit to be a hearer of moral philosophy. The bad, on the
other hand, have a knowledge of vice, but no knowledge {lii} of virtue. It
may be doubted, however, whether this train of reflection is well founded.
In a remarkable passage of the Laws (xii. 950 B) it is acknowledged that
the evil may form a correct estimate of the good. The union of gentleness
and courage in Book ii. at first seemed to be a paradox, yet was
afterwards ascertained to be a truth. And Plato might also have found that
the intuition of evil may be consistent with the abhorrence of it (cp.
infra, ix. 582). There is a directness of aim in virtue which gives an
insight into vice. And the knowledge of character is in some degree a
natural sense independent of any special experience of good or evil.

5. One of the most remarkable conceptions of Plato, because un-Greek and
also very different from anything which existed at all in his age of the
world, is the transposition of ranks. In the Spartan state there had been
enfranchisement of Helots and degradation of citizens under special
circumstances. And in the ancient Greek aristocracies, merit was certainly
recognized as one of the elements on which government was based. The
founders of states were supposed to be their benefactors, who were raised
by their great actions above the ordinary level of humanity; at a later
period, the services of warriors and legislators were held to entitle them
and their descendants to the privileges of citizenship and to the first
rank in the state. And although the existence of an ideal aristocracy is
slenderly proven from the remains of early Greek history, and we have a
difficulty in ascribing such a character, however the idea may be defined,
to any actual Hellenic state--or indeed to any state which has ever
existed in the world--still the rule of the best was certainly the
aspiration of philosophers, who probably accommodated a good deal their
views of primitive history to their own notions of good government. Plato
further insists on applying to the guardians of his state a series of
tests by which all those who fell short of a fixed standard were either
removed from the governing body, or not admitted to it; and this
'academic' discipline did to a certain extent prevail in Greek states,
especially in Sparta. He also indicates that the system of caste, which
existed in a great part of the ancient, and is by no means extinct in the
modern European world, should be set aside from time to time in favour of
merit. He is aware how deeply the greater part of {liii} mankind resent
any interference with the order of society, and therefore he proposes his
novel idea in the form of what he himself calls a 'monstrous fiction.'
(Compare the ceremony of preparation for the two 'great waves' in Book v.)
Two principles are indicated by him: first, that there is a distinction of
ranks dependent on circumstances prior to the individual: second, that
this distinction is and ought to be broken through by personal qualities.
He adapts mythology like the Homeric poems to the wants of the state,
making 'the Phoenician tale' the vehicle of his ideas. Every Greek state
had a myth respecting its own origin; the Platonic republic may also have
a tale of earthborn men. The gravity and verisimilitude with which the
tale is told, and the analogy of Greek tradition, are a sufficient
verification of the 'monstrous falsehood.' Ancient poetry had spoken of a
gold and silver and brass and iron age succeeding one another, but Plato
supposes these differences in the natures of men to exist together in a
single state. Mythology supplies a figure under which the lesson may be
taught (as Protagoras says, 'the myth is more interesting'), and also
enables Plato to touch lightly on new principles without going into
details. In this passage he shadows forth a general truth, but he does not
tell us by what steps the transposition of ranks is to be effected. Indeed
throughout the Republic he allows the lower ranks to fade into the
distance. We do not know whether they are to carry arms, and whether in
the fifth book they are or are not included in the communistic regulations
respecting property and marriage. Nor is there any use in arguing strictly
either from a few chance words, or from the silence of Plato, or in
drawing inferences which were beyond his vision. Aristotle, in his
criticism on the position of the lower classes, does not perceive that the
poetical creation is 'like the air, invulnerable,' and cannot be
penetrated by the shafts of his logic (Pol. 2, 5, 18 foll.).

6. Two paradoxes which strike the modern reader as in the highest degree
fanciful and ideal, and which suggest to him many reflections, are to be
found in the third book of the Republic: first, the great power of music,
so much beyond any influence which is experienced by us in modern times,
when the art or science has been far more developed, and has found {liv}
the secret of harmony, as well as of melody; secondly, the indefinite and
almost absolute control which the soul is supposed to exercise over the

In the first we suspect some degree of exaggeration, such as we may also
observe among certain masters of the art, not unknown to us, at the
present day. With this natural enthusiasm, which is felt by a few only,
there seems to mingle in Plato a sort of Pythagorean reverence for numbers
and numerical proportion to which Aristotle is a stranger. Intervals of
sound and number are to him sacred things which have a law of their own,
not dependent on the variations of sense. They rise above sense, and
become a connecting link with the world of ideas. But it is evident that
Plato is describing what to him appears to be also a fact. The power of a
simple and characteristic melody on the impressible mind of the Greek is
more than we can easily appreciate. The effect of national airs may bear
some comparison with it. And, besides all this, there is a confusion
between the harmony of musical notes and the harmony of soul and body,
which is so potently inspired by them.

The second paradox leads up to some curious and interesting questions--How
far can the mind control the body? Is the relation between them one of
mutual antagonism or of mutual harmony? Are they two or one, and is either
of them the cause of the other? May we not at times drop the opposition
between them, and the mode of describing them, which is so familiar to us,
and yet hardly conveys any precise meaning, and try to view this composite
creature, man, in a more simple manner? Must we not at any rate admit that
there is in human nature a higher and a lower principle, divided by no
distinct line, which at times break asunder and take up arms against one
another? Or again, they are reconciled and move together, either
unconsciously in the ordinary work of life, or consciously in the pursuit
of some noble aim, to be attained not without an effort, and for which
every thought and nerve are strained. And then the body becomes the good
friend or ally, or servant or instrument of the mind. And the mind has
often a wonderful and almost superhuman power of banishing disease and
weakness and calling out a hidden strength. Reason and the desires, the
intellect and the senses are brought into harmony and obedience so as to
form a {lv} single human being. They are ever parting, ever meeting; and
the identity or diversity of their tendencies or operations is for the
most part unnoticed by us. When the mind touches the body through the
appetites, we acknowledge the responsibility of the one to the other.
There is a tendency in us which says 'Drink.' There is another which says,
'Do not drink; it is not good for you.' And we all of us know which is the
rightful superior. We are also responsible for our health, although into
this sphere there enter some elements of necessity which may be beyond our
control. Still even in the management of health, care and thought,
continued over many years, may make us almost free agents, if we do not
exact too much of ourselves, and if we acknowledge that all human freedom
is limited by the laws of nature and of mind.

We are disappointed to find that Plato, in the general condemnation which
he passes on the practice of medicine prevailing in his own day,
depreciates the effects of diet. He would like to have diseases of a
definite character and capable of receiving a definite treatment. He is
afraid of invalidism interfering with the business of life. He does not
recognize that time is the great healer both of mental and bodily
disorders; and that remedies which are gradual and proceed little by
little are safer than those which produce a sudden catastrophe. Neither
does he see that there is no way in which the mind can more surely
influence the body than by the control of eating and drinking; or any
other action or occasion of human life on which the higher freedom of the
will can be more simple or truly asserted.

7. Lesser matters of style may be remarked. (1) The affected ignorance of
music, which is Plato's way of expressing that he is passing lightly over
the subject. (2) The tentative manner in which here, as in the second
book, he proceeds with the construction of the State. (3) The description
of the State sometimes as a reality (389 D; 416 B), and then again as a
work of imagination only (cp. 534 C; 592 B); these are the arts by which
he sustains the reader's interest. (4) Connecting links (e.g. 408 C with
379), or the preparation (394 D) for the entire expulsion of the poets in
Book x. (5) The companion pictures of the lover of litigation and the
valetudinarian (405), the satirical jest about the maxim of Phocylides
(407), the manner in which {lvi} the image of the gold and silver citizens
is taken up into the subject (416 E), and the argument from the practice
of Asclepius (407), should not escape notice.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic IV._ Analysis.]

BOOK IV. *419* Adeimantus said: 'Suppose a person to argue, Socrates, that
you make your citizens miserable, and this by their own free-will; they
are the lords of the city, and yet instead of having, like other men,
lands and houses and money of their own, they live as mercenaries and are
always mounting guard.' *420* You may add, I replied, that they receive no
pay but only their food, and have no money to spend on a journey or a
mistress. 'Well, and what answer do you give?' My answer is, that our
guardians may or may not be the happiest of men,--I should not be
surprised to find in the long-run that they were,--but this is not the aim
of our constitution, which was designed for the good of the whole and not
of any one part. If I went to a sculptor and blamed him for having painted
the eye, which is the noblest feature of the face, not purple but black,
he would reply: 'The eye must be an eye, and you should look at the statue
as a whole.' 'Now I can well imagine a fool's paradise, in which everybody
is eating and drinking, clothed in purple and fine linen, and potters lie
on sofas and have their wheel at hand, that they may work a little when
they please; *421* and cobblers and all the other classes of a State lose
their distinctive character. And a State may get on without cobblers; but
when the guardians degenerate into boon companions, then the ruin is
complete. Remember that we are not talking of peasants keeping holiday,
but of a State in which every man is expected to do his own work. The
happiness resides not in this or that class, but in the State as a whole.
I have another remark to make:--A middle condition is best for artisans;
they should have money enough to buy tools, and not enough to be
independent of business. And will not the same condition be best for our
citizens? If they are poor, they will be mean; *422* if rich, luxurious
and lazy; and in neither case contented. 'But then how will our poor city
be able to go to war against an enemy who has money?' There may be a
difficulty in fighting against one enemy; against two there will be none.
In the first place, the contest will be {lvii} carried on by trained
warriors against well-to-do citizens: and is not a regular athlete an easy
match for two stout opponents at least? Suppose also, that before engaging
we send ambassadors to one of the two cities, saying, 'Silver and gold we
have not; do you help us and take our share of the spoil;'--who would
fight against the lean, wiry dogs, when they might join with them in
preying upon the fatted sheep? 'But if many states join their resources,
shall we not be in danger?' I am amused to hear you use the word 'state'
of any but our own State. *423* They are 'states,' but not 'a state'--many
in one. For in every state there are two hostile nations, rich and poor,
which you may set one against the other. But our State, while she remains
true to her principles, will be in very deed the mightiest of Hellenic

To the size of the state there is no limit but the necessity of unity; it
must be neither too large nor too small to be one. This is a matter of
secondary importance, like the principle of transposition which was
intimated in the parable of the earthborn men. The meaning there implied
was that every man should do that for which he was fitted, and be at one
with himself, and then the whole city would be united. But all these
things are secondary, if education, which is the great matter, be duly
regarded. *424* When the wheel has once been set in motion, the speed is
always increasing; and each generation improves upon the preceding, both
in physical and moral qualities. The care of the governors should be
directed to preserve music and gymnastic from innovation; alter the songs
of a country, Damon says, and you will soon end by altering its laws. The
change appears innocent at first, and begins in play; but the evil soon
becomes serious, working secretly upon the characters of individuals, then
upon social and commercial relations, and lastly upon the institutions of
a state; and there is ruin and confusion everywhere. *425* But if
education remains in the established form, there will be no danger. A
restorative process will be always going on; the spirit of law and order
will raise up what has fallen down. Nor will any regulations be needed for
the lesser matters of life--rules of deportment or fashions of dress. Like
invites like for good or for evil. Education will correct deficiencies and
supply the power of self-government. Far be it from us to enter into the
{lviii} particulars of legislation; let the guardians take care of
education, and education will take care of all other things.

But without education they may patch and mend as they please; they will
make no progress, any more than a patient who thinks to cure himself by
some favourite remedy and will not give up his luxurious mode of living.
*426* If you tell such persons that they must first alter their habits,
then they grow angry; they are charming people. 'Charming,--nay, the very
reverse.' Evidently these gentlemen are not in your good graces, nor the
state which is like them. And such states there are which first ordain
under penalty of death that no one shall alter the constitution, and then
suffer themselves to be flattered into and out of anything; and he who
indulges them and fawns upon them, is their leader and saviour. 'Yes, the
men are as bad as the states.' But do you not admire their cleverness?
'Nay, some of them are stupid enough to believe what the people tell
them.' And when all the world is telling a man that he is six feet high,
and he has no measure, how can he believe anything else? But don't get
into a passion: to see our statesmen trying their nostrums, *427* and
fancying that they can cut off at a blow the Hydra-like rogueries of
mankind, is as good as a play. Minute enactments are superfluous in good
states, and are useless in bad ones.

And now what remains of the work of legislation? Nothing for us; but to
Apollo the god of Delphi we leave the ordering of the greatest of all
things--that is to say, religion. Only our ancestral deity sitting upon
the centre and navel of the earth will be trusted by us if we have any
sense, in an affair of such magnitude. No foreign god shall be supreme in
our realms....

[Sidenote: _Republic IV._ Introduction.]

Here, as Socrates would say, let us 'reflect on' ([Greek: skop=men]) what
has preceded: thus far we have spoken not of the happiness of the
citizens, but only of the well-being of the State. They may be the
happiest of men, but our principal aim in founding the State was not to
make them happy. They were to be guardians, not holiday-makers. In this
pleasant manner is presented to us the famous question both of ancient and
modern philosophy, touching the relation of duty to happiness, of right to

First duty, then happiness, is the natural order of our moral ideas. The
utilitarian principle is valuable as a corrective of {lix} error, and
shows to us a side of ethics which is apt to be neglected. It may be
admitted further that right and utility are co-extensive, and that he who
makes the happiness of mankind his object has one of the highest and
noblest motives of human action. But utility is not the historical basis
of morality; nor the aspect in which moral and religious ideas commonly
occur to the mind. The greatest happiness of all is, as we believe, the
far-off result of the divine government of the universe. The greatest
happiness of the individual is certainly to be found in a life of virtue
and goodness. But we seem to be more assured of a law of right than we can
be of a divine purpose, that 'all mankind should be saved;' and we infer
the one from the other. And the greatest happiness of the individual may
be the reverse of the greatest happiness in the ordinary sense of the
term, and may be realised in a life of pain, or in a voluntary death.
Further, the word 'happiness' has several ambiguities; it may mean either
pleasure or an ideal life, happiness subjective or objective, in this
world or in another, of ourselves only or of our neighbours and of all men
everywhere. By the modern founder of Utilitarianism the self-regarding and
disinterested motives of action are included under the same term, although
they are commonly opposed by us as benevolence and self-love. The word
happiness has not the definiteness or the sacredness of 'truth' and
'right'; it does not equally appeal to our higher nature, and has not sunk
into the conscience of mankind. It is associated too much with the
comforts and conveniences of life; too little with 'the goods of the soul
which we desire for their own sake.' In a great trial, or danger, or
temptation, or in any great and heroic action, it is scarcely thought of.
For these reasons 'the greatest happiness' principle is not the true
foundation of ethics. But though not the first principle, it is the
second, which is like unto it, and is often of easier application. For the
larger part of human actions are neither right nor wrong, except in so far
as they tend to the happiness of mankind (cp. Introd. to Gorgias and

The same question reappears in politics, where the useful or expedient
seems to claim a larger sphere and to have a greater authority. For
concerning political measures, we chiefly ask: How will they affect the
happiness of mankind? Yet here too we may observe that what we term
expediency is merely the law of {lx} right limited by the conditions of
human society. Right and truth are the highest aims of government as well
as of individuals; and we ought not to lose sight of them because we
cannot directly enforce them. They appeal to the better mind of nations;
and sometimes they are too much for merely temporal interests to resist.
They are the watchwords which all men use in matters of public policy, as
well as in their private dealings; the peace of Europe may be said to
depend upon them. In the most commercial and utilitarian states of society
the power of ideas remains. And all the higher class of statesmen have in
them something of that idealism which Pericles is said to have gathered
from the teaching of Anaxagoras. They recognise that the true leader of
men must be above the motives of ambition, and that national character is
of greater value than material comfort and prosperity. And this is the
order of thought in Plato; first, he expects his citizens to do their
duty, and then under favourable circumstances, that is to say, in a
well-ordered State, their happiness is assured. That he was far from
excluding the modern principle of utility in politics is sufficiently
evident from other passages; in which 'the most beneficial is affirmed to
be the most honourable' (v. 457 B), and also 'the most sacred' (v. 458 E).

We may note (1) The manner in which the objection of Adeimantus here, as
in ii. 357 foll., 363; vi. ad init., etc., is designed to draw out and
deepen the argument of Socrates. (2) The conception of a whole as lying at
the foundation both of politics and of art, in the latter supplying the
only principle of criticism, which, under the various names of harmony,
symmetry, measure, proportion, unity, the Greek seems to have applied to
works of art. (3) The requirement that the State should be limited in
size, after the traditional model of a Greek state; as in the Politics of
Aristotle (vii. 4, etc.), the fact that the cities of Hellas were small is
converted into a principle. (4) The humorous pictures of the lean dogs and
the fatted sheep, of the light active boxer upsetting two stout gentlemen
at least, of the 'charming' patients who are always making themselves
worse; or again, the playful assumption that there is no State but our
own; or the grave irony with which the statesman is excused who believes
that he is six feet high because he is told so, and having nothing to
measure with is to be pardoned for his ignorance--he is too {lxi} amusing
for us to be seriously angry with him. (5) The light and superficial
manner in which religion is passed over when provision has been made for
two great principles,--first, that religion shall be based on the highest
conception of the gods (ii. 377 foll.), secondly, that the true national
or Hellenic type shall be maintained....

[Sidenote: _Republic IV._ Analysis.]

Socrates proceeds: But where amid all this is justice? Son of Ariston,
tell me where. Light a candle and search the city, and get your brother
and the rest of our friends to help in seeking for her. 'That won't do,'
replied Glaucon, 'you yourself promised to make the search and talked
about the impiety of deserting justice.' Well, I said, I will lead the
way, but do you follow. My notion is, that our State being perfect will
contain all the four virtues--wisdom, courage, temperance, justice. *428*
If we eliminate the three first, the unknown remainder will be justice.

First then, of wisdom: the State which we have called into being will be
wise because politic. And policy is one among many kinds of skill,--not
the skill of the carpenter, or of the worker in metal, or of the
husbandman, but the skill of him who advises about the interests of the
whole State. Of such a kind is the skill of the guardians, *429* who are a
small class in number, far smaller than the blacksmiths; but in them is
concentrated the wisdom of the State. And if this small ruling class have
wisdom, then the whole State will be wise.

Our second virtue is courage, which we have no difficulty in finding in
another class--that of soldiers. Courage may be defined as a sort of
salvation--the never-failing salvation of the opinions which law and
education have prescribed concerning dangers. You know the way in which
dyers first prepare the white ground and then lay on the dye of purple or
of any other colour. Colours dyed in this way become fixed, and no soap or
lye will ever wash them out. *430* Now the ground is education, and the
laws are the colours; and if the ground is properly laid, neither the soap
of pleasure nor the lye of pain or fear will ever wash them out. This
power which preserves right opinion about danger I would ask you to call
'courage,' adding the epithet 'political' or 'civilized' in order to
distinguish it from mere animal courage and from a higher courage which
may hereafter be discussed.

{lxii} Two virtues remain; temperance and justice. More than the preceding
virtues *431* temperance suggests the idea of harmony. Some light is
thrown upon the nature of this virtue by the popular description of a man
as 'master of himself'--which has an absurd sound, because the master is
also the servant. The expression really means that the better principle in
a man masters the worse. There are in cities whole classes--women, slaves
and the like--who correspond to the worse, and a few only to the better;
and in our State the former class are held under control by the latter.
Now to which of these classes does temperance belong? 'To both of them.'
And our State if any will be the abode of temperance; and we were right in
describing this virtue as a harmony which is diffused through the whole,
*432* making the dwellers in the city to be of one mind, and attuning the
upper and middle and lower classes like the strings of an instrument,
whether you suppose them to differ in wisdom, strength or wealth.

And now we are near the spot; let us draw in and surround the cover and
watch with all our eyes, lest justice should slip away and escape. Tell
me, if you see the thicket move first. 'Nay, I would have you lead.' Well
then, offer up a prayer and follow. The way is dark and difficult; but we
must push on. I begin to see a track. 'Good news.' Why, Glaucon, our
dulness of scent is quite ludicrous! While we are straining our eyes into
the distance, justice is tumbling out at our feet. We are as bad as people
looking for a thing which they have in their hands. Have you forgotten our
old *433* principle of the division of labour, or of every man doing his
own business, concerning which we spoke at the foundation of the
State--what but this was justice? Is there any other virtue remaining
which can compete with wisdom and temperance and courage in the scale of
political virtue? For 'every one having his own' is the great object of
government; *434* and the great object of trade is that every man should
do his own business. Not that there is much harm in a carpenter trying to
be a cobbler, or a cobbler transforming himself into a carpenter; but
great evil may arise from the cobbler leaving his last and turning into a
guardian or legislator, or when a single individual is trainer, warrior,
legislator, all in one. And this evil is injustice, or every man doing
another's business. I do not say that as yet we are in a condition to
arrive at a final conclusion. For the {lxiii} definition which we believe
to hold good in states has still to be tested by the individual. Having
read the large letters we will now come back to the small. From the two
together a brilliant light may be struck out....

[Sidenote: _Republic IV._ Introduction.]

Socrates proceeds to discover the nature of justice by a method of
residues. Each of the first three virtues corresponds to one of the three
parts of the soul and one of the three classes in the State, although the
third, temperance, has more of the nature of a harmony than the first two.
If there be a fourth virtue, that can only be sought for in the relation
of the three parts in the soul or classes in the State to one another. It
is obvious and simple, and for that very reason has not been found out.
The modern logician will be inclined to object that ideas cannot be
separated like chemical substances, but that they run into one another and
may be only different aspects or names of the same thing, and such in this
instance appears to be the case. For the definition here given of justice
is verbally the same as one of the definitions of temperance given by
Socrates in the Charmides (162 A), which however is only provisional, and
is afterwards rejected. And so far from justice remaining over when the
other virtues are eliminated, the justice and temperance of the Republic
can with difficulty be distinguished. Temperance appears to be the virtue
of a part only, and one of three, whereas justice is a universal virtue of
the whole soul. Yet on the other hand temperance is also described as a
sort of harmony, and in this respect is akin to justice. Justice seems to
differ from temperance in degree rather than in kind; whereas temperance
is the harmony of discordant elements, justice is the perfect order by
which all natures and classes do their own business, the right man in the
right place, the division and co-operation of all the citizens. Justice,
again, is a more abstract notion than the other virtues, and therefore,
from Plato's point of view, the foundation of them, to which they are
referred and which in idea precedes them. The proposal to omit temperance
is a mere trick of style intended to avoid monotony (cp. vii. 528).

There is a famous question discussed in one of the earlier Dialogues of
Plato (Protagoras, 329, 330; cp. Arist. Nic. Ethics, vi. 13. 6), 'Whether
the virtues are one or many?' This receives an answer which is to the
effect that there are four cardinal virtues {lxiv} (now for the first time
brought together in ethical philosophy), and one supreme over the rest,
which is not like Aristotle's conception of universal justice, virtue
relative to others, but the whole of virtue relative to the parts. To this
universal conception of justice or order in the first education and in the
moral nature of man, the still more universal conception of the good in
the second education and in the sphere of speculative knowledge seems to
succeed. Both might be equally described by the terms 'law,' 'order,'
'harmony;' but while the idea of good embraces 'all time and all
existence,' the conception of justice is not extended beyond man.

[Sidenote: _Republic IV._ Analysis.]

... Socrates is now going to identify the individual and the State. But
first he must prove that there are three parts of the individual soul. His
argument is as follows:--Quantity makes no difference in quality. The word
'just,' whether applied to the individual or to the State, has the same
meaning. And the term 'justice' implied that the same three principles in
the State and in the individual were doing their own business. But are
they really three or one? The question is difficult, and one which can
hardly be solved by the methods which we are now using; but the truer and
longer way would take up too much of our time. 'The shorter will satisfy
me.' Well then, you would admit that the qualities of states mean the
qualities of the individuals who compose them? The Scythians and Thracians
are passionate, our own race intellectual, *436* and the Egyptians and
Phoenicians covetous, because the individual members of each have such and
such a character; the difficulty is to determine whether the several
principles are one or three; whether, that is to say, we reason with one
part of our nature, desire with another, are angry with another, or
whether the whole soul comes into play in each sort of action. This
enquiry, however, requires a very exact definition of terms. The same
thing in the same relation cannot be affected in two opposite ways. But
there is no impossibility in a man standing still, yet moving his arms, or
in a top which is fixed on one spot going round upon its axis. There is no
necessity to mention all the possible exceptions; *437* let us
provisionally assume that opposites cannot do or be or suffer opposites in
the same relation. And to the class of opposites belong assent and
dissent, desire and avoidance. And one form {lxv} of desire is thirst and
hunger: and here arises a new point--thirst is thirst of drink, hunger is
hunger of food; not of warm drink or of a particular kind of food, *438*
with the single exception of course that the very fact of our desiring
anything implies that it is good. When relative terms have no attributes,
their correlatives have no attributes; when they have attributes, their
correlatives also have them. For example, the term 'greater' is simply
relative to 'less,' and knowledge refers to a subject of knowledge. But on
the other hand, a particular knowledge is of a particular subject. Again,
every science has a distinct character, which is defined by an object;
medicine, for example, is the science of health, although not to be
confounded with health. *439* Having cleared our ideas thus far, let us
return to the original instance of thirst, which has a definite
object--drink. Now the thirsty soul may feel two distinct impulses; the
animal one saying 'Drink;' the rational one, which says 'Do not drink.'
The two impulses are contradictory; and therefore we may assume that they
spring from distinct principles in the soul. But is passion a third
principle, or akin to desire? There is a story of a certain Leontius which
throws some light on this question. He was coming up from the Piraeus
outside the north wall, and he passed a spot where there were dead bodies
lying by the executioner. He felt a longing desire to see them and also an
abhorrence of them; at first he turned away and shut his eyes, then, *440*
suddenly tearing them open, he said,--'Take your fill, ye wretches, of the
fair sight.' Now is there not here a third principle which is often found
to come to the assistance of reason against desire, but never of desire
against reason? This is passion or spirit, of the separate existence of
which we may further convince ourselves by putting the following
case:--When a man suffers justly, if he be of a generous nature he is not
indignant at the hardships which he undergoes: but when he suffers
unjustly, his indignation is his great support; hunger and thirst cannot
tame him; the spirit within him must do or die, until the voice of the
shepherd, that is, of reason, bidding his dog bark no more, is heard
within. This shows that passion is the ally of reason. *441* Is passion
then the same with reason? No, for the former exists in children and
brutes; and Homer affords a proof of the distinction between them when he
says, 'He smote his breast, and thus rebuked his soul.'

{lxvi} And now, at last, we have reached firm ground, and are able to
infer that the virtues of the State and of the individual are the same.
For wisdom and courage and justice in the State are severally the wisdom
and courage and justice in the individuals who form the State. Each of the
three classes will do the work of its own class in the State, and each
part in the individual soul; reason, the superior, and passion, the
inferior, *442* will be harmonized by the influence of music and
gymnastic. The counsellor and the warrior, the head and the arm, will act
together in the town of Mansoul, and keep the desires in proper
subjection. The courage of the warrior is that quality which preserves a
right opinion about dangers in spite of pleasures and pains. The wisdom of
the counsellor is that small part of the soul which has authority and
reason. The virtue of temperance is the friendship of the ruling and the
subject principles, both in the State and in the individual. Of justice we
have already spoken; and the notion already given of it may be confirmed
by common instances. Will the just state or the just individual *443*
steal, lie, commit adultery, or be guilty of impiety to gods and men?
'No.' And is not the reason of this that the several principles, whether
in the state or in the individual, do their own business? And justice is
the quality which makes just men and just states. Moreover, our old
division of labour, which required that there should be one man for one
use, was a dream or anticipation of what was to follow; and that dream has
now been realized in justice, which begins by binding together the three
chords of the soul, and then acts harmoniously in every relation of life.
*444* And injustice, which is the insubordination and disobedience of the
inferior elements in the soul, is the opposite of justice, and is
inharmonious and unnatural, being to the soul what disease is to the body;
for in the soul as well as in the body, good or bad actions produce good
or bad habits. And virtue is the health and beauty and well-being of the
soul, and vice is the disease and weakness and deformity of the soul.

*445* Again the old question returns upon us: Is justice or injustice the
more profitable? The question has become ridiculous. For injustice, like
mortal disease, makes life not worth having. Come up with me to the hill
which overhangs the city and look down upon the single form of virtue, and
the infinite forms of vice, {lxvii} among which are four special ones,
characteristic both of states and of individuals. And the state which
corresponds to the single form of virtue is that which we have been
describing, wherein reason rules under one of two names--monarchy and
aristocracy. Thus there are five forms in all, both of states and of

[Sidenote: _Republic IV._ Introduction.]

In attempting to prove that the soul has three separate faculties, Plato
takes occasion to discuss what makes difference of faculties. And the
criterion which he proposes is difference in the working of the faculties.
The same faculty cannot produce contradictory effects. But the path of
early reasoners is beset by thorny entanglements, and he will not proceed
a step without first clearing the ground. This leads him into a tiresome
digression, which is intended to explain the nature of contradiction.
First, the contradiction must be at the same time and in the same
relation. Secondly, no extraneous word must be introduced into either of
the terms in which the contradictory proposition is expressed: for
example, thirst is of drink, not of warm drink. He implies, what he does
not say, that if, by the advice of reason, or by the impulse of anger, a
man is restrained from drinking, this proves that thirst, or desire under
which thirst is included, is distinct from anger and reason. But suppose
that we allow the term 'thirst' or 'desire' to be modified, and say an
'angry thirst,' or a 'revengeful desire,' then the two spheres of desire
and anger overlap and become confused. This case therefore has to be
excluded. And still there remains an exception to the rule in the use of
the term 'good,' which is always implied in the object of desire. These
are the discussions of an age before logic; and any one who is wearied by
them should remember that they are necessary to the clearing up of ideas
in the first development of the human faculties.

The psychology of Plato extends no further than the division of the soul
into the rational, irascible, and concupiscent elements, which, as far as
we know, was first made by him, and has been retained by Aristotle and
succeeding ethical writers. The chief difficulty in this early analysis of
the mind is to define exactly the place of the irascible faculty ([Greek:
thumo/s]), which may be variously described under the terms righteous
indignation, spirit, passion. It is the foundation of courage, which
includes in Plato {lxviii} moral courage, the courage of enduring pain,
and of surmounting intellectual difficulties, as well as of meeting
dangers in war. Though irrational, it inclines to side with the rational:
it cannot be aroused by punishment when justly inflicted: it sometimes
takes the form of an enthusiasm which sustains a man in the performance of
great actions. It is the 'lion heart' with which the reason makes a treaty
(ix. 589 B). On the other hand it is negative rather than positive; it is
indignant at wrong or falsehood, but does not, like Love in the Symposium
and Phaedrus, aspire to the vision of Truth or Good. It is the peremptory
military spirit which prevails in the government of honour. It differs
from anger ([Greek: o)rg/]), this latter term having no accessory notion
of righteous indignation. Although Aristotle has retained the word, yet we
may observe that 'passion' ([Greek: thumo/s]) has with him lost its
affinity to the rational and has become indistinguishable from 'anger'
([Greek: o)rg/]). And to this vernacular use Plato himself in the Laws
seems to revert (ix. 836 B), though not always (v. 731 A). By modern
philosophy too, as well as in our ordinary conversation, the words anger
or passion are employed almost exclusively in a bad sense; there is no
connotation of a just or reasonable cause by which they are aroused. The
feeling of 'righteous indignation' is too partial and accidental to admit
of our regarding it as a separate virtue or habit. We are tempted also to
doubt whether Plato is right in supposing that an offender, however justly
condemned, could be expected to acknowledge the justice of his sentence;
this is the spirit of a philosopher or martyr rather than of a criminal.

We may observe (p. 444 D, E) how nearly Plato approaches Aristotle's
famous thesis, that 'good actions produce good habits.' The words 'as
healthy practices ([Greek: e)pitdeu/mata]) produce health, so do just
practices produce justice,' have a sound very like the Nicomachean Ethics.
But we note also that an incidental remark in Plato has become a
far-reaching principle in Aristotle, and an inseparable part of a great
Ethical system.

There is a difficulty in understanding what Plato meant by 'the longer
way' (435 D; cp. _infra_, vi. 504): he seems to intimate some metaphysic
of the future which will not be satisfied with arguing from the principle
of contradiction. In the sixth and seventh books (compare Sophist and
Parmenides) he has given {lxix} us a sketch of such a metaphysic; but when
Glaucon asks for the final revelation of the idea of good, he is put off
with the declaration that he has not yet studied the preliminary sciences.
How he would have filled up the sketch, or argued about such questions
from a higher point of view, we can only conjecture. Perhaps he hoped to
find some _a priori_ method of developing the parts out of the whole; or
he might have asked which of the ideas contains the other ideas, and
possibly have stumbled on the Hegelian identity of the 'ego' and the
'universal.' Or he may have imagined that ideas might be constructed in
some manner analogous to the construction of figures and numbers in the
mathematical sciences. The most certain and necessary truth was to Plato
the universal; and to this he was always seeking to refer all knowledge or
opinion, just as in modern times we seek to rest them on the opposite pole
of induction and experience. The aspirations of metaphysicians have always
tended to pass beyond the limits of human thought and language: they seem
to have reached a height at which they are 'moving about in worlds
unrealized,' and their conceptions, although profoundly affecting their
own minds, become invisible or unintelligible to others. We are not
therefore surprized to find that Plato himself has nowhere clearly
explained his doctrine of ideas; or that his school in a later generation,
like his contemporaries Glaucon and Adeimantus, were unable to follow him
in this region of speculation. In the Sophist, where he is refuting the
scepticism which maintained either that there was no such thing as
predication, or that all might be predicated of all, he arrives at the
conclusion that some ideas combine with some, but not all with all. But he
makes only one or two steps forward on this path; he nowhere attains to
any connected system of ideas, or even to a knowledge of the most
elementary relations of the sciences to one another (see _infra_).

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic V._ Analysis.]

BOOK V. *449* I was going to enumerate the four forms of vice or decline
in states, when Polemarchus--he was sitting a little farther from me than
Adeimantus--taking him by the coat and leaning towards him, said something
in an undertone, of which I only caught the words, 'Shall we let him off?'
'Certainly not,' said Adeimantus, raising his voice. Whom, I said, are you
{lxx} not going to let off? 'You,' he said. Why? 'Because we think that
you are not dealing fairly with us in omitting women and children, of whom
you have slily disposed under the general formula that friends have all
things in common.' And was I not right? 'Yes,' he replied, 'but there are
many sorts of communism or community, and we want to know which of them is
right. The company, as you have just heard, are resolved to have a further
explanation.' *450* Thrasymachus said, 'Do you think that we have come
hither to dig for gold, or to hear you discourse?' Yes, I said; but the
discourse should be of a reasonable length. Glaucon added, 'Yes, Socrates,
and there is reason in spending the whole of life in such discussions; but
pray, without more ado, tell us how this community is to be carried out,
and how the interval between birth and education is to be filled up.'
Well, I said, the subject has several difficulties--What is possible? is
the first question. What is desirable? is the second. 'Fear not,' he
replied, 'for you are speaking among friends.' That, I replied, is a sorry
consolation; I shall destroy my friends as well as myself. *451* Not that
I mind a little innocent laughter; but he who kills the truth is a
murderer. 'Then,' said Glaucon, laughing, 'in case you should murder us we
will acquit you beforehand, and you shall be held free from the guilt of
deceiving us.'

Socrates proceeds:--The guardians of our state are to be watch-dogs, as we
have already said. Now dogs are not divided into hes and shes--we do not
take the masculine gender out to hunt and leave the females at home to
look after their puppies. They have the same employments--the only
difference between them is that the one sex is stronger and the other
weaker. But if women are to have the same employments as men, they must
have the same education--they must be taught music and gymnastics, and the
art of war. *452* I know that a great joke will be made of their riding on
horseback and carrying weapons; the sight of the naked old wrinkled women
showing their agility in the palaestra will certainly not be a vision of
beauty, and may be expected to become a famous jest. But we must not mind
the wits; there was a time when they might have laughed at our present
gymnastics. All is habit: people have at last found out that the exposure
is better than the concealment of the {lxxi} person, and now they laugh no
more. Evil only should be the subject of ridicule.

*453* The first question is, whether women are able either wholly or
partially to share in the employments of men. And here we may be charged
with inconsistency in making the proposal at all. For we started
originally with the division of labour; and the diversity of employments
was based on the difference of natures. But is there no difference between
men and women? Nay, are they not wholly different? _There_ was the
difficulty, Glaucon, which made me unwilling to speak of family relations.
However, when a man is out of his depth, whether in a pool or in an ocean,
he can only swim for his life; and we must try to find a way of escape, if
we can.

*454* The argument is, that different natures have different uses, and the
natures of men and women are said to differ. But this is only a verbal
opposition. We do not consider that the difference may be purely nominal
and accidental; for example, a bald man and a hairy man are opposed in a
single point of view, but you cannot infer that because a bald man is a
cobbler a hairy man ought not to be a cobbler. Now why is such an
inference erroneous? Simply because the opposition between them is partial
only, like the difference between a male physician and a female physician,
not running through the whole nature, like the difference between a
physician and a carpenter. And if the difference of the sexes is only that
the one beget and the other bear children, this does not prove that they
ought to have distinct educations. *455* Admitting that women differ from
men in capacity, do not men equally differ from one another? Has not
nature scattered all the qualities which our citizens require
indifferently up and down among the two sexes? and even in their peculiar
pursuits, are not women often, though in some cases superior to men,
ridiculously enough surpassed by them? Women are the same in kind as men,
and have the same aptitude or want of aptitude for medicine or gymnastic
or war, *456* but in a less degree. One woman will be a good guardian,
another not; and the good must be chosen to be the colleagues of our
guardians. If however their natures are the same, the inference is that
their education must also be the same; there is no longer anything
unnatural or impossible in a woman learning music {lxxii} and gymnastic.
And the education which we give them will be the very best, far superior
to that of cobblers, and will train up the very best women, and nothing
can be more advantageous to the State than this. *457* Therefore let them
strip, clothed in their chastity, and share in the toils of war and in the
defence of their country; he who laughs at them is a fool for his pains.

The first wave is past, and the argument is compelled to admit that men
and women have common duties and pursuits. A second and greater wave is
rolling in--community of wives and children; is this either expedient or
possible? The expediency I do not doubt; I am not so sure of the
possibility. 'Nay, I think that a considerable doubt will be entertained
on both points.' I meant to have escaped the trouble of proving the first,
but as you have detected the little stratagem I must even submit. *458*
Only allow me to feed my fancy like the solitary in his walks, with a
dream of what might be, and then I will return to the question of what can

In the first place our rulers will enforce the laws and make new ones
where they are wanted, and their allies or ministers will obey. You, as
legislator, have already selected the men; and now you shall select the
women. After the selection has been made, they will dwell in common houses
and have their meals in common, and will be brought together by a
necessity more certain than that of mathematics. But they cannot be
allowed to live in licentiousness; that is an unholy thing, which the
rulers are determined to prevent. For the avoidance of this, *459* holy
marriage festivals will be instituted, and their holiness will be in
proportion to their usefulness. And here, Glaucon, I should like to ask
(as I know that you are a breeder of birds and animals), Do you not take
the greatest care in the mating? 'Certainly.' And there is no reason to
suppose that less care is required in the marriage of human beings. But
then our rulers must be skilful physicians of the State, for they will
often need a strong dose of falsehood in order to bring about desirable
unions between their subjects. The good must be paired with the good, and
the bad with the bad, and the offspring of the one must be reared, and of
the other destroyed; in this way the flock will be preserved in prime
condition. *460* Hymeneal festivals will be celebrated at times fixed with
an eye to population, and the brides and bridegrooms will {lxxiii} meet at
them; and by an ingenious system of lots the rulers will contrive that the
brave and the fair come together, and that those of inferior breed are
paired with inferiors--the latter will ascribe to chance what is really
the invention of the rulers. And when children are born, the offspring of
the brave and fair will be carried to an enclosure in a certain part of
the city, and there attended by suitable nurses; the rest will be hurried
away to places unknown. The mothers will be brought to the fold and will
suckle the children; care however must be taken that none of them
recognise their own offspring; and if necessary other nurses may also be
hired. The trouble of watching and getting up at night will be transferred
to attendants. 'Then the wives of our guardians will have a fine easy time
when they are having children.' And quite right too, I said, that they

The parents ought to be in the prime of life, which for a man may be
reckoned at thirty years--from twenty-five, *461* when he has 'passed the
point at which the speed of life is greatest,' to fifty-five; and at
twenty years for a woman--from twenty to forty. Any one above or below
those ages who partakes in the hymeneals shall be guilty of impiety; also
every one who forms a marriage connexion at other times without the
consent of the rulers. This latter regulation applies to those who are
within the specified ages, after which they may range at will, provided
they avoid the prohibited degrees of parents and children, or of brothers
and sisters, which last, however, are not absolutely prohibited, if a
dispensation be procured. 'But how shall we know the degrees of affinity,
when all things are common?' The answer is, that brothers and sisters are
all such as are born seven or nine months after the espousals, and their
parents those who are then espoused, *462* and every one will have many
children and every child many parents.

Socrates proceeds: I have now to prove that this scheme is advantageous
and also consistent with our entire polity. The greatest good of a State
is unity; the greatest evil, discord and distraction. And there will be
unity where there are no private pleasures or pains or interests--where if
one member suffers all the members suffer, if one citizen is touched all
are quickly sensitive; and the least hurt to the little finger of the
State runs through the whole body and vibrates to the soul. For the true
{lxxiv} State, like an individual, is injured as a whole when any part is
affected. *463* Every State has subjects and rulers, who in a democracy
are called rulers, and in other States masters: but in our State they are
called saviours and allies; and the subjects who in other States are
termed slaves, are by us termed nurturers and paymasters, and those who
are termed comrades and colleagues in other places, are by us called
fathers and brothers. And whereas in other States members of the same
government regard one of their colleagues as a friend and another as an
enemy, in our State no man is a stranger to another; for every citizen is
connected with every other by ties of blood, and these names and this way
of speaking will have a corresponding reality--brother, father, sister,
mother, repeated from infancy in the ears of children, will not be mere
words. *464* Then again the citizens will have all things in common, in
having common property they will have common pleasures and pains.

Can there be strife and contention among those who are of one mind; or
lawsuits about property when men have nothing but their bodies which they
call their own; or suits about violence when every one is bound to defend
himself? *465* The permission to strike when insulted will be an
'antidote' to the knife and will prevent disturbances in the State. But no
younger man will strike an elder; reverence will prevent him from laying
hands on his kindred, and he will fear that the rest of the family may
retaliate. Moreover, our citizens will be rid of the lesser evils of life;
there will be no flattery of the rich, no sordid household cares, no
borrowing and not paying. Compared with the citizens of other States, ours
will be Olympic victors, and crowned with blessings greater still--they
and their children having a better maintenance during life, and after
death an honourable burial. *466* Nor has the happiness of the individual
been sacrificed to the happiness of the State (cp. iv. 419 E); our Olympic
victor has not been turned into a cobbler, but he has a happiness beyond
that of any cobbler. At the same time, if any conceited youth begins to
dream of appropriating the State to himself, he must be reminded that
'half is better than the whole.' 'I should certainly advise him to stay
where he is when he has the promise of such a brave life.'

But is such a community possible?--as among the animals, so {lxxv} also
among men; and if possible, in what way possible? About war there is no
difficulty; the principle of communism is adapted to military service.
Parents will take their children to look on at a battle, *467* just as
potters' boys are trained to the business by looking on at the wheel. And
to the parents themselves, as to other animals, the sight of their young
ones will prove a great incentive to bravery. Young warriors must learn,
but they must not run into danger, although a certain degree of risk is
worth incurring when the benefit is great. The young creatures should be
placed under the care of experienced veterans, and they should have
wings--that is to say, swift and tractable steeds on which they may fly
away and escape. *468* One of the first things to be done is to teach a
youth to ride.

Cowards and deserters shall be degraded to the class of husbandmen;
gentlemen who allow themselves to be taken prisoners, may be presented to
the enemy. But what shall be done to the hero? First of all he shall be
crowned by all the youths in the army; secondly, he shall receive the
right hand of fellowship; and thirdly, do you think that there is any harm
in his being kissed? We have already determined that he shall have more
wives than others, in order that he may have as many children as possible.
And at a feast he shall have more to eat; we have the authority of Homer
for honouring brave men with 'long chines,' which is an appropriate
compliment, because meat is a very strengthening thing. Fill the bowl
then, and give the best seats and meats to the brave--may they do them
good! And he who dies in battle will be at once declared to be of the
golden race, and will, as we believe, become one of Hesiod's guardian
angels. *469* He shall be worshipped after death in the manner prescribed
by the oracle; and not only he, but all other benefactors of the State who
die in any other way, shall be admitted to the same honours.

The next question is, How shall we treat our enemies? Shall Hellenes be
enslaved? No; for there is too great a risk of the whole race passing
under the yoke of the barbarians. Or shall the dead be despoiled?
Certainly not; for that sort of thing is an excuse for skulking, and has
been the ruin of many an army. There is meanness and feminine malice in
making an enemy of the dead body, when the soul which was the owner has
fled-- {lxxvi} like a dog who cannot reach his assailants, and quarrels
with the stones which are thrown at him instead. Again, the arms of
Hellenes should not be offered up in the temples of the Gods; *470* they
are a pollution, for they are taken from brethren. And on similar grounds
there should be a limit to the devastation of Hellenic territory--the
houses should not be burnt, nor more than the annual produce carried off.
For war is of two kinds, civil and foreign; the first of which is properly
termed 'discord,' and only the second 'war;' and war between Hellenes is
in reality civil war--a quarrel in a family, which is ever to be regarded
as unpatriotic and unnatural, *471* and ought to be prosecuted with a view
to reconciliation in a true phil-Hellenic spirit, as of those who would
chasten but not utterly enslave. The war is not against a whole nation who
are a friendly multitude of men, women, and children, but only against a
few guilty persons; when they are punished peace will be restored. That is
the way in which Hellenes should war against one another--and against
barbarians, as they war against one another now.

'But, my dear Socrates, you are forgetting the main question: Is such a
State possible? I grant all and more than you say about the blessedness of
being one family--fathers, brothers, mothers, daughters, going out to war
together; but I want to ascertain the possibility of this ideal State.'
You are too unmerciful. *472* The first wave and the second wave I have
hardly escaped, and now you will certainly drown me with the third. When
you see the towering crest of the wave, I expect you to take pity. 'Not a

Well, then, we were led to form our ideal polity in the search after
justice, and the just man answered to the just State. Is this ideal at all
the worse for being impracticable? Would the picture of a perfectly
beautiful man be any the worse because no such man ever lived? Can any
reality come up to the idea? Nature will not allow words to be fully
realized; *473* but if I am to try and realize the ideal of the State in a
measure, I think that an approach may be made to the perfection of which
I dream by one or two, I do not say slight, but possible changes in the
present constitution of States. I would reduce them to a single one--the
great wave, as I call it. _Until, then, kings are philosophers, or
philosophers are kings, cities will never cease from ill: no, nor the
{lxxvii} human race; nor will our ideal polity ever come into being._
I know that this is a hard saying, which few will be able to receive.
'Socrates, all the world will take off his coat and rush upon you with
sticks and stones, *474* and therefore I would advise you to prepare an
answer.' You got me into the scrape, I said. 'And I was right,' he
replied; 'however, I will stand by you as a sort of do-nothing,
well-meaning ally.' Having the help of such a champion, I will do my best
to maintain my position. And first, I must explain of whom I speak and
what sort of natures these are who are to be philosophers and rulers. As
you are a man of pleasure, you will not have forgotten how indiscriminate
lovers are in their attachments; they love all, and turn blemishes into
beauties. The snub-nosed youth is said to have a winning grace; the beak
of another has a royal look; the featureless are faultless; the dark are
manly, the fair angels; the sickly have a new term of endearment invented
expressly for them, which is 'honey-pale.' *475* Lovers of wine and lovers
of ambition also desire the objects of their affection in every form. Now
here comes the point:--The philosopher too is a lover of knowledge in
every form; he has an insatiable curiosity. 'But will curiosity make a
philosopher? Are the lovers of sights and sounds, who let out their ears
to every chorus at the Dionysiac festivals, to be called philosophers?'
They are not true philosophers, but only an imitation. 'Then how are we to
describe the true?'

You would acknowledge the existence of abstract ideas, *476* such as
justice, beauty, good, evil, which are severally one, yet in their various
combinations appear to be many. Those who recognize these realities are
philosophers; whereas the other class hear sounds and see colours, and
understand their use in the arts, but cannot attain to the true or waking
vision of absolute justice or beauty or truth; they have not the light of
knowledge, but of opinion, and what they see is a dream only. Perhaps he
of whom we say the last will be angry with us; can we pacify him without
revealing the disorder of his mind? Suppose we say that, if he has
knowledge we rejoice to hear it, but knowledge must be of something which
is, as ignorance is of something which is not; *477* and there is a third
thing, which both is and is not, and is matter of opinion only. Opinion
and knowledge, then, having distinct objects, must also be distinct
faculties. And {lxxviii} by faculties I mean powers unseen and
distinguishable only by the difference in their objects, as opinion and
knowledge differ, since the one is liable to err, but the other is
unerring and is the mightiest of all our faculties. If being is the object
of knowledge, *478* and not-being of ignorance, and these are the
extremes, opinion must lie between them, and may be called darker than the
one and brighter than the other. This intermediate or contingent matter is
and is not at the same time, and partakes both of existence and of
non-existence. *479* Now I would ask my good friend, who denies abstract
beauty and justice, and affirms a many beautiful and a many just, whether
everything he sees is not in some point of view different--the beautiful
ugly, the pious impious, the just unjust? Is not the double also the half,
and are not heavy and light relative terms which pass into one another?
Everything is and is not, as in the old riddle--'A man and not a man shot
and did not shoot a bird and not a bird with a stone and not a stone.' The
mind cannot be fixed on either alternative; and these ambiguous,
intermediate, erring, half-lighted objects, which have a disorderly
movement in the region between being and not-being, are the proper matter
of opinion, *480* as the immutable objects are the proper matter of
knowledge. And he who grovels in the world of sense, and has only this
uncertain perception of things, is not a philosopher, but a lover of
opinion only....

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic V._ Introduction.]

The fifth book is the new beginning of the Republic, in which the
community of property and of family are first maintained, and the
transition is made to the kingdom of philosophers. For both of these
Plato, after his manner, has been preparing in some chance words of Book
IV (424 A), which fall unperceived on the reader's mind, as they are
supposed at first to have fallen on the ear of Glaucon and Adeimantus. The
'paradoxes,' as Morgenstern terms them, of this book of the Republic will
be reserved for another place; a few remarks on the style, and some
explanations of difficulties, may be briefly added.

First, there is the image of the waves, which serves for a sort of scheme
or plan of the book. The first wave, the second wave, the third and
greatest wave come rolling in, and we hear the roar of them. All that can
be said of the extravagance of Plato's proposals is anticipated by
himself. Nothing is more admirable than the {lxxix} hesitation with which
he proposes the solemn text, 'Until kings are philosophers,' &c.; or the
reaction from the sublime to the ridiculous, when Glaucon describes the
manner in which the new truth will be received by mankind.

Some defects and difficulties may be noted in the execution of the
communistic plan. Nothing is told us of the application of communism to
the lower classes; nor is the table of prohibited degrees capable of being
made out. It is quite possible that a child born at one hymeneal festival
may marry one of its own brothers or sisters, or even one of its parents,
at another. Plato is afraid of incestuous unions, but at the same time he
does not wish to bring before us the fact that the city would be divided
into families of those born seven and nine months after each hymeneal
festival. If it were worth while to argue seriously about such fancies, we
might remark that while all the old affinities are abolished, the newly
prohibited affinity rests not on any natural or rational principle, but
only upon the accident of children having been born in the same month and
year. Nor does he explain how the lots could be so manipulated by the
legislature as to bring together the fairest and best. The singular
expression (460 E) which is employed to describe the age of
five-and-twenty may perhaps be taken from some poet.

In the delineation of the philosopher, the illustrations of the nature of
philosophy derived from love are more suited to the apprehension of
Glaucon, the Athenian man of pleasure, than to modern tastes or feelings
(cp. v. 474, 475). They are partly facetious, but also contain a germ of
truth. That science is a whole, remains a true principle of inductive as
well as of metaphysical philosophy; and the love of universal knowledge is
still the characteristic of the philosopher in modern as well as in
ancient times.

At the end of the fifth book Plato introduces the figment of contingent
matter, which has exercised so great an influence both on the Ethics and
Theology of the modern world, and which occurs here for the first time in
the history of philosophy. He did not remark that the degrees of knowledge
in the subject have nothing corresponding to them in the object. With him
a word must answer to an idea; and he could not conceive of an opinion
which was an opinion about nothing. The influence of analogy led him to
invent 'parallels and conjugates' and to overlook facts. To us {lxxx} some
of his difficulties are puzzling only from their simplicity: we do not
perceive that the answer to them 'is tumbling out at our feet.' To the
mind of early thinkers, the conception of not-being was dark and
mysterious (Sophist, 254 A); they did not see that this terrible
apparition which threatened destruction to all knowledge was only a
logical determination. The common term under which, through the accidental
use of language, two entirely different ideas were included was another
source of confusion. Thus through the ambiguity of [Greek: dokei=n,
phai/netai, e)/oiken, k.t.l.], Plato, attempting to introduce order into
the first chaos of human thought, seems to have confused perception and
opinion, and to have failed to distinguish the contingent from the
relative. In the Theaetetus the first of these difficulties begins to
clear up; in the Sophist the second; and for this, as well as for other
reasons, both these dialogues are probably to be regarded as later than
the Republic.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic VI._ Analysis.]

BOOK VI. *484* Having determined that the many have no knowledge of true
being, and have no clear patterns in their minds of justice, beauty,
truth, and that philosophers have such patterns, we have now to ask
whether they or the many shall be rulers in our State. But who can doubt
that philosophers should be chosen, if they have the other qualities which
are required in a ruler? *485* For they are lovers of the knowledge of the
eternal and of all truth; they are haters of falsehood; their meaner
desires are absorbed in the interests of knowledge; they are spectators of
all time and all existence; *486* and in the magnificence of their
contemplation the life of man is as nothing to them, nor is death fearful.
Also they are of a social, gracious disposition, equally free from
cowardice and arrogance. They learn and remember easily; they have
harmonious, well-regulated minds; truth flows to them sweetly by nature.
Can the god of Jealousy himself *487* find any fault with such an
assemblage of good qualities?

Here Adeimantus interposes:--'No man can answer you, Socrates; but every
man feels that this is owing to his own deficiency in argument. He is
driven from one position to another, until he has nothing more to say,
just as an unskilful player at draughts is reduced to his last move by a
more skilled opponent. And yet all the time he may be right. {lxxxi} He
may know, in this very instance, that those who make philosophy the
business of their lives, generally turn out rogues if they are bad men,
and fools if they are good. What do you say?' I should say that he is
quite right. 'Then how is such an admission reconcileable with the
doctrine that philosophers should be kings?'

*488* I shall answer you in a parable which will also let you see how poor
a hand I am at the invention of allegories. The relation of good men to
their governments is so peculiar, that in order to defend them I must take
an illustration from the world of fiction. Conceive the captain of a ship,
taller by a head and shoulders than any of the crew, yet a little deaf, a
little blind, and rather ignorant of the seaman's art. The sailors want to
steer, although they know nothing of the art; and they have a theory that
it cannot be learned. If the helm is refused them, they drug the captain's
posset, bind him hand and foot, and take possession of the ship. He who
joins in the mutiny is termed a good pilot and what not; they have no
conception that the true pilot must observe the winds and the stars, and
must be their master, whether they like it or not;--such an one would be
called by them fool, prater, star-gazer. *489* This is my parable; which I
will beg you to interpret for me to those gentlemen who ask why the
philosopher has such an evil name, and to explain to them that not he, but
those who will not use him, are to blame for his uselessness. The
philosopher should not beg of mankind to be put in authority over them.
The wise man should not seek the rich, as the proverb bids, but every man,
whether rich or poor, must knock at the door of the physician when he has
need of him. Now the pilot is the philosopher--he whom in the parable they
call star-gazer, and the mutinous sailors are the mob of politicians by
whom he is rendered useless. Not that these are the worst enemies of
philosophy, who is far more dishonoured by her own professing sons when
they are corrupted by the world. *490* Need I recall the original image of
the philosopher? Did we not say of him just now, that he loved truth and
hated falsehood, and that he could not rest in the multiplicity of
phenomena, but was led by a sympathy in his own nature to the
contemplation of the absolute? All the virtues as well as truth, who is
the leader of them, took up their abode in his soul. But as you were
observing, if we turn aside to view the reality, we see {lxxxii} that the
persons who were thus described, with the exception of a small and useless
class, are utter rogues.

The point which has to be considered, is the origin of this corruption in
nature. *491* Every one will admit that the philosopher, in our
description of him, is a rare being. But what numberless causes tend to
destroy these rare beings! There is no good thing which may not be a cause
of evil--health, wealth, strength, rank, and the virtues themselves, when
placed under unfavourable circumstances. For as in the animal or vegetable
world the strongest seeds most need the accompaniment of good air and
soil, so the best of human characters turn out the worst when they fall
upon an unsuitable soil; whereas weak natures hardly ever do any
considerable good or harm; they are not the stuff out of which either
great criminals or great heroes are made. *492* The philosopher follows
the same analogy: he is either the best or the worst of all men. Some
persons say that the Sophists are the corrupters of youth; but is not
public opinion the real Sophist who is everywhere present--in those very
persons, in the assembly, in the courts, in the camp, in the applauses and
hisses of the theatre re-echoed by the surrounding hills? Will not a young
man's heart leap amid these discordant sounds? and will any education save
him from being carried away by the torrent? Nor is this all. For if he
will not yield to opinion, there follows the gentle compulsion of exile or
death. What principle of rival Sophists or anybody else can overcome in
such an unequal contest? Characters there may be more than human, *493*
who are exceptions--God may save a man, but not his own strength. Further,
I would have you consider that the hireling Sophist only gives back to the
world their own opinions; he is the keeper of the monster, who knows how
to flatter or anger him, and observes the meaning of his inarticulate
grunts. Good is what pleases him, evil what he dislikes; truth and beauty
are determined only by the taste of the brute. Such is the Sophist's
wisdom, and such is the condition of those who make public opinion the
test of truth, whether in art or in morals. The curse is laid upon them of
being and doing what it approves, and when they attempt first principles
the failure is ludicrous. Think of all this and ask yourself whether the
world is more likely to be a believer in the unity of the idea, or in the
multiplicity of phenomena. And the world if not a believer {lxxxiii} in
the idea cannot be a philosopher, *494* and must therefore be a persecutor
of philosophers. There is another evil:--the world does not like to lose
the gifted nature, and so they flatter the young [Alcibiades] into a
magnificent opinion of his own capacity; the tall, proper youth begins to
expand, and is dreaming of kingdoms and empires. If at this instant a
friend whispers to him, 'Now the gods lighten thee; thou art a great fool'
and must be educated--do you think that he will listen? Or suppose a
better sort of man who is attracted towards philosophy, will they not make
Herculean efforts to spoil and corrupt him? *495* Are we not right in
saying that the love of knowledge, no less than riches, may divert him?
Men of this class [Critias] often become politicians--they are the authors
of great mischief in states, and sometimes also of great good. And thus
philosophy is deserted by her natural protectors, and others enter in and
dishonour her. Vulgar little minds see the land open and rush from the
prisons of the arts into her temple. A clever mechanic having a soul
coarse as his body, thinks that he will gain caste by becoming her suitor.
For philosophy, even in her fallen estate, has a dignity of her own--and
he, like a bald little blacksmith's apprentice as he is, having made some
money and got out of durance, washes and dresses himself as a bridegroom
and marries his master's daughter. *496* What will be the issue of such
marriages? Will they not be vile and bastard, devoid of truth and nature?
'They will.' Small, then, is the remnant of genuine philosophers; there
may be a few who are citizens of small states, in which politics are not
worth thinking of, or who have been detained by Theages' bridle of ill
health; for my own case of the oracular sign is almost unique, and too
rare to be worth mentioning. And these few when they have tasted the
pleasures of philosophy, and have taken a look at that den of thieves and
place of wild beasts, which is human life, will stand aside from the storm
under the shelter of a wall, and try to preserve their own innocence and
to depart in peace. 'A great work, too, will have been accomplished by
them.' Great, yes, but not the greatest; for man is a social being, and
can only attain his highest development in the society which is best
suited to him.

*497* Enough, then, of the causes why philosophy has such an evil name.
Another question is, Which of existing states is suited to her? Not one of
them; at present she is like some exotic seed {lxxxiv} which degenerates
in a strange soil; only in her proper state will she be shown to be of
heavenly growth. 'And is her proper state ours or some other?' Ours in all
points but one, which was left undetermined. You may remember our saying
that some living mind or witness of the legislator was needed in states.
But we were afraid to enter upon a subject of such difficulty, and now the
question recurs and has not grown easier:--How may philosophy be safely
studied? Let us bring her into the light of day, and make an end of the

In the first place, I say boldly that nothing can be worse than the
present mode of study. *498* Persons usually pick up a little philosophy
in early youth, and in the intervals of business, but they never master
the real difficulty, which is dialectic. Later, perhaps, they occasionally
go to a lecture on philosophy. Years advance, and the sun of philosophy,
unlike that of Heracleitus, sets never to rise again. This order of
education should be reversed; it should begin with gymnastics in youth,
and as the man strengthens, he should increase the gymnastics of his soul.
Then, when active life is over, let him finally return to philosophy. 'You
are in earnest, Socrates, but the world will be equally earnest in
withstanding you--no more than Thrasymachus.' Do not make a quarrel
between Thrasymachus and me, who were never enemies and are now good
friends enough. And I shall do my best to convince him and all mankind of
the truth of my words, or at any rate to prepare for the future when, in
another life, we may again take part in similar discussions. 'That will be
a long time hence.' Not long in comparison with eternity. The many will
probably remain incredulous, for they have never seen the natural unity of
ideas, but only artificial juxtapositions; not free and generous thoughts,
but tricks of controversy and quips of law;-- *499* a perfect man ruling
in a perfect state, even a single one they have not known. And we foresaw
that there was no chance of perfection either in states or individuals
until a necessity was laid upon philosophers--not the rogues, but those
whom we called the useless class--of holding office; or until the sons of
kings were inspired with a true love of philosophy. Whether in the
infinity of past time there has been, or is in some distant land, or ever
will be hereafter, an ideal such as we have described, we stoutly maintain
that there has been, is, and {lxxxv} will be such a state whenever the
Muse of philosophy rules. *500* Will you say that the world is of another
mind? O, my friend, do not revile the world! They will soon change their
opinion if they are gently entreated, and are taught the true nature of
the philosopher. Who can hate a man who loves him? Or be jealous of one
who has no jealousy? Consider, again, that the many hate not the true but
the false philosophers--the pretenders who force their way in without
invitation, and are always speaking of persons and not of principles,
which is unlike the spirit of philosophy. For the true philosopher
despises earthly strife; his eye is fixed on the eternal order in
accordance with which he moulds himself into the Divine image (and not
himself only, but other men), and is the creator of the virtues private as
well as public. When mankind see that the happiness of states is only to
be found in that image, will they be angry with us for attempting to
delineate it? 'Certainly not. But what will be the process of
delineation?' *501* The artist will do nothing until he has made a _tabula
rasa_; on this he will inscribe the constitution of a state, glancing
often at the divine truth of nature, and from that deriving the godlike
among men, mingling the two elements, rubbing out and painting in, until
there is a perfect harmony or fusion of the divine and human. But perhaps
the world will doubt the existence of such an artist. What will they
doubt? That the philosopher is a lover of truth, having a nature akin to
the best?--and if they admit this will they still quarrel with us for
making philosophers our kings? 'They will be less disposed to quarrel.'
*502* Let us assume then that they are pacified. Still, a person may
hesitate about the probability of the son of a king being a philosopher.
And we do not deny that they are very liable to be corrupted; but yet
surely in the course of ages there might be one exception--and one is
enough. If one son of a king were a philosopher, and had obedient
citizens, he might bring the ideal polity into being. Hence we conclude
that our laws are not only the best, but that they are also possible,
though not free from difficulty.

I gained nothing by evading the troublesome questions which arose
concerning women and children. I will be wiser now and acknowledge that we
must go to the bottom of another question: What is to be the education of
our guardians? It was {lxxxvi} agreed that they were to be lovers of their
country, *503* and were to be tested in the refiner's fire of pleasures
and pains, and those who came forth pure and remained fixed in their
principles were to have honours and rewards in life and after death. But
at this point, the argument put on her veil and turned into another path.
I hesitated to make the assertion which I now hazard,--that our guardians
must be philosophers. You remember all the contradictory elements, which
met in the philosopher--how difficult to find them all in a single person!
Intelligence and spirit are not often combined with steadiness; the
stolid, fearless, nature is averse to intellectual toil. And yet these
opposite elements are all necessary, and therefore, as we were saying
before, the aspirant must be tested in pleasures and dangers; and also, as
we must now further add, *504* in the highest branches of knowledge. You
will remember, that when we spoke of the virtues mention was made of a
longer road, which you were satisfied to leave unexplored. 'Enough seemed
to have been said.' Enough, my friend; but what is enough while anything
remains wanting? Of all men the guardian must not faint in the search
after truth; he must be prepared to take the longer road, or he will never
reach that higher region which is above the four virtues; and of the
virtues too he must not only get an outline, but a clear and distinct
vision. (Strange that we should be so precise about trifles, so careless
about the highest truths!) 'And what are the highest?' *505* You to
pretend unconsciousness, when you have so often heard me speak of the idea
of good, about which we know so little, and without which though a man
gain the world he has no profit of it! Some people imagine that the good
is wisdom; but this involves a circle,--the good, they say, is wisdom,
wisdom has to do with the good. According to others the good is pleasure;
but then comes the absurdity that good is bad, for there are bad pleasures
as well as good. Again, the good must have reality; a man may desire the
appearance of virtue, but he will not desire the appearance of good. Ought
our guardians then to be ignorant of this supreme principle, *506* of
which every man has a presentiment, and without which no man has any real
knowledge of anything? 'But, Socrates, what is this supreme principle,
knowledge or pleasure, or what? You may think me troublesome, but I say
that you have no business to be always {lxxxvii} repeating the doctrines
of others instead of giving us your own.' Can I say what I do not know?
'You may offer an opinion.' And will the blindness and crookedness of
opinion content you when you might have the light and certainty of
science? 'I will only ask you to give such an explanation of the good as
you have given already of temperance and justice.' I wish that I could,
but in my present mood I cannot reach to the height of the knowledge of
the good. *507* To the parent or principal I cannot introduce you, but to
the child begotten in his image, which I may compare with the interest on
the principal, I will. (Audit the account, and do not let me give you a
false statement of the debt.) You remember our old distinction of the many
beautiful and the one beautiful, the particular and the universal, the
objects of sight and the objects of thought? Did you ever consider that
the objects of sight imply a faculty of sight which is the most complex
and costly of our senses, requiring not only objects of sense, but also a
medium, which is light; without which the sight will not distinguish
between colours and all will be a blank? *508* For light is the noble bond
between the perceiving faculty and the thing perceived, and the god who
gives us light is the sun, who is the eye of the day, but is not to be
confounded with the eye of man. This eye of the day or sun is what I call
the child of the good, standing in the same relation to the visible world
as the good to the intellectual. When the sun shines the eye sees, and in
the intellectual world where truth is, there is sight and light. Now that
which is the sun of intelligent natures, is the idea of good, the cause of
knowledge and truth, yet other and fairer than they are, *509* and
standing in the same relation to them in which the sun stands to light. O
inconceivable height of beauty, which is above knowledge and above truth!
('You cannot surely mean pleasure,' he said. Peace, I replied.) And this
idea of good, like the sun, is also the cause of growth, and the author
not of knowledge only, but of being, yet greater far than either in
dignity and power. 'That is a reach of thought more than human; but, pray,
go on with the image, for I suspect that there is more behind.' There is,
I said; and bearing in mind our two suns or principles, imagine further
their corresponding worlds--one of the visible, the other of the
intelligible; you may assist your fancy by figuring the distinction under
the image {lxxxviii} of a line divided into two unequal parts, and may
again subdivide each part into two lesser segments representative of the
stages of knowledge in either sphere. The lower portion of the lower or
visible sphere will consist of shadows and reflections, *510* and its
upper and smaller portion will contain real objects in the world of nature
or of art. The sphere of the intelligible will also have two
divisions,--one of mathematics, in which there is no ascent but all is
descent; no inquiring into premises, but only drawing of inferences. In
this division the mind works with figures and numbers, the images of which
are taken not from the shadows, but from the objects, although the truth
of them is seen only with the mind's eye; and they are used as hypotheses
without being analysed. *511* Whereas in the other division reason uses
the hypotheses as stages or steps in the ascent to the idea of good, to
which she fastens them, and then again descends, walking firmly in the
region of ideas, and of ideas only, in her ascent as well as descent, and
finally resting in them. 'I partly understand,' he replied; 'you mean that
the ideas of science are superior to the hypothetical, metaphorical
conceptions of geometry and the other arts or sciences, whichever is to be
the name of them; and the latter conceptions you refuse to make subjects
of pure intellect, because they have no first principle, although when
resting on a first principle, they pass into the higher sphere.' You
understand me very well, I said. And now to those four divisions of
knowledge you may assign four corresponding faculties--pure intelligence
to the highest sphere; active intelligence to the second; to the third,
faith; to the fourth, the perception of shadows--and the clearness of the
several faculties will be in the same ratio as the truth of the objects to
which they are related....

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic VI._ Introduction.]

Like Socrates, we may recapitulate the virtues of the philosopher. In
language which seems to reach beyond the horizon of that age and country,
he is described as 'the spectator of all time and all existence.' He has
the noblest gifts of nature, and makes the highest use of them. All his
desires are absorbed in the love of wisdom, which is the love of truth.
None of the graces of a beautiful soul are wanting in him; neither can he
fear death, or think much of human life. The ideal of modern {lxxxix}
times hardly retains the simplicity of the antique; there is not the same
originality either in truth or error which characterized the Greeks. The
philosopher is no longer living in the unseen, nor is he sent by an oracle
to convince mankind of ignorance; nor does he regard knowledge as a system
of ideas leading upwards by regular stages to the idea of good. The
eagerness of the pursuit has abated; there is more division of labour and
less of comprehensive reflection upon nature and human life as a whole;
more of exact observation and less of anticipation and inspiration. Still,
in the altered conditions of knowledge, the parallel is not wholly lost;
and there may be a use in translating the conception of Plato into the
language of our own age. The philosopher in modern times is one who fixes
his mind on the laws of nature in their sequence and connexion, not on
fragments or pictures of nature; on history, not on controversy; on the
truths which are acknowledged by the few, not on the opinions of the many.
He is aware of the importance of 'classifying according to nature,' and
will try to 'separate the limbs of science without breaking them' (Phaedr.
265 E). There is no part of truth, whether great or small, which he will
dishonour; and in the least things he will discern the greatest (Parmen.
130 C). Like the ancient philosopher he sees the world pervaded by
analogies, but he can also tell 'why in some cases a single instance is
sufficient for an induction' (Mill's Logic, 3, 3, 3), while in other cases
a thousand examples would prove nothing. He inquires into a portion of
knowledge only, because the whole has grown too vast to be embraced by a
single mind or life. He has a clearer conception of the divisions of
science and of their relation to the mind of man than was possible to the
ancients. Like Plato, he has a vision of the unity of knowledge, not as
the beginning of philosophy to be attained by a study of elementary
mathematics, but as the far-off result of the working of many minds in
many ages. He is aware that mathematical studies are preliminary to almost
every other; at the same time, he will not reduce all varieties of
knowledge to the type of mathematics. He too must have a nobility of
character, without which genius loses the better half of greatness.
Regarding the world as a point in immensity, and each individual as a link
in a never-ending chain of existence, he will not think much of his own
life, or be greatly afraid of death.

{xc} Adeimantus objects first of all to the form of the Socratic
reasoning, thus showing that Plato is aware of the imperfection of his own
method. He brings the accusation against himself which might be brought
against him by a modern logician--that he extracts the answer because he
knows how to put the question. In a long argument words are apt to change
their meaning slightly, or premises may be assumed or conclusions inferred
with rather too much certainty or universality; the variation at each step
may be unobserved, and yet at last the divergence becomes considerable.
Hence the failure of attempts to apply arithmetical or algebraic formulae
to logic. The imperfection, or rather the higher and more elastic nature
of language, does not allow words to have the precision of numbers or of
symbols. And this quality in language impairs the force of an argument
which has many steps.

The objection, though fairly met by Socrates in this particular instance,
may be regarded as implying a reflection upon the Socratic mode of
reasoning. And here, as as at p. 506 B, Plato seems to intimate that the
time had come when the negative and interrogative method of Socrates must
be superseded by a positive and constructive one, of which examples are
given in some of the later dialogues. Adeimantus further argues that the
ideal is wholly at variance with facts; for experience proves philosophers
to be either useless or rogues. Contrary to all expectation (cp. p. 497
for a similar surprise) Socrates has no hesitation in admitting the truth
of this, and explains the anomaly in an allegory, first characteristically
depreciating his own inventive powers. In this allegory the people are
distinguished from the professional politicians, and, as elsewhere, are
spoken of in a tone of pity rather than of censure under the image of 'the
noble captain who is not very quick in his perceptions.'

The uselessness of philosophers is explained by the circumstance that
mankind will not use them. The world in all ages has been divided between
contempt and fear of those who employ the power of ideas and know no other
weapons. Concerning the false philosopher, Socrates argues that the best
is most liable to corruption; and that the finer nature is more likely to
suffer from alien conditions. We too observe that there are some kinds
{xci} of excellence which spring from a peculiar delicacy of constitution;
as is evidently true of the poetical and imaginative temperament, which
often seems to depend on impressions, and hence can only breathe or live
in a certain atmosphere. The man of genius has greater pains and greater
pleasures, greater powers and greater weaknesses, and often a greater play
of character than is to be found in ordinary men. He can assume the
disguise of virtue or disinterestedness without having them, or veil
personal enmity in the language of patriotism and philosophy,--he can say
the word which all men are thinking, he has an insight which is terrible
into the follies and weaknesses of his fellow-men. An Alcibiades, a
Mirabeau, or a Napoleon the First, are born either to be the authors of
great evils in states, or 'of great good, when they are drawn in that

Yet the thesis, 'corruptio optimi pessima,' cannot be maintained generally
or without regard to the kind of excellence which is corrupted. The alien
conditions which are corrupting to one nature, may be the elements of
culture to another. In general a man can only receive his highest
development in a congenial state or family, among friends or
fellow-workers. But also he may sometimes be stirred by adverse
circumstances to such a degree that he rises up against them and reforms
them. And while weaker or coarser characters will extract good out of
evil, say in a corrupt state of the church or of society, and live on
happily, allowing the evil to remain, the finer or stronger natures may be
crushed or spoiled by surrounding influences--may become misanthrope and
philanthrope by turns; or in a few instances, like the founders of the
monastic orders, or the Reformers, owing to some peculiarity in themselves
or in their age, may break away entirely from the world and from the
church, sometimes into great good, sometimes into great evil, sometimes
into both. And the same holds in the lesser sphere of a convent, a school,
a family.

Plato would have us consider how easily the best natures are overpowered
by public opinion, and what efforts the rest of mankind will make to get
possession of them. The world, the church, their own profession, any
political or party organization, are always carrying them off their legs
and teaching them to apply high and holy names to their own prejudices and
interests. {xcii} The 'monster' corporation to which they belong judges
right and truth to be the pleasure of the community. The individual
becomes one with his order; or, if he resists, the world is too much for
him, and will sooner or later be revenged on him. This is, perhaps, a
one-sided but not wholly untrue picture of the maxims and practice of
mankind when they 'sit down together at an assembly,' either in ancient or
modern times.

When the higher natures are corrupted by politics, the lower take
possession of the vacant place of philosophy. This is described in one of
those continuous images in which the argument, to use a Platonic
expression, 'veils herself,' and which is dropped and reappears at
intervals. The question is asked,--Why are the citizens of states so
hostile to philosophy? The answer is, that they do not know her. And yet
there is also a better mind of the many; they would believe if they were
taught. But hitherto they have only known a conventional imitation of
philosophy, words without thoughts, systems which have no life in them; a
[divine] person uttering the words of beauty and freedom, the friend of
man holding communion with the Eternal, and seeking to frame the state in
that image, they have never known. The same double feeling respecting the
mass of mankind has always existed among men. The first thought is that
the people are the enemies of truth and right; the second, that this only
arises out of an accidental error and confusion, and that they do not
really hate those who love them, if they could be educated to know them.

In the latter part of the sixth book, three questions have to be
considered: 1st, the nature of the longer and more circuitous way, which
is contrasted with the shorter and more imperfect method of Book IV; 2nd,
the heavenly pattern or idea of the state; 3rd, the relation of the
divisions of knowledge to one another and to the corresponding faculties
of the soul.

1. Of the higher method of knowledge in Plato we have only a glimpse.
Neither here nor in the Phaedrus or Symposium, nor yet in the Philebus or
Sophist, does he give any clear explanation of his meaning. He would
probably have described his method as proceeding by regular steps to a
system of universal knowledge, which inferred the parts from the whole
rather than the whole from the parts. This ideal logic is not practised by
him {xciii} in the search after justice, or in the analysis of the parts
of the soul; there, like Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics, he argues
from experience and the common use of language. But at the end of the
sixth book he conceives another and more perfect method, in which all
ideas are only steps or grades or moments of thought, forming a connected
whole which is self-supporting, and in which consistency is the test of
truth. He does not explain to us in detail the nature of the process. Like
many other thinkers both in ancient and modern times his mind seems to be
filled with a vacant form which he is unable to realize. He supposes the
sciences to have a natural order and connexion in an age when they can
hardly be said to exist. He is hastening on to the 'end of the
intellectual world' without even making a beginning of them.

In modern times we hardly need to be reminded that the process of
acquiring knowledge is here confused with the contemplation of absolute
knowledge. In all science _a priori_ and _a posteriori_ truths mingle in
various proportions. The _a priori_ part is that which is derived from the
most universal experience of men, or is universally accepted by them; the
_a posteriori_ is that which grows up around the more general principles
and becomes imperceptibly one with them. But Plato erroneously imagines
that the synthesis is separable from the analysis, and that the method of
science can anticipate science. In entertaining such a vision of _a
priori_ knowledge he is sufficiently justified, or at least his meaning
may be sufficiently explained by the similar attempts of Descartes, Kant,
Hegel, and even of Bacon himself, in modern philosophy. Anticipations or
divinations, or prophetic glimpses of truths whether concerning man or
nature, seem to stand in the same relation to ancient philosophy which
hypotheses bear to modern inductive science. These 'guesses at truth' were
not made at random; they arose from a superficial impression of
uniformities and first principles in nature which the genius of the Greek,
contemplating the expanse of heaven and earth, seemed to recognize in the
distance. Nor can we deny that in ancient times knowledge must have stood
still, and the human mind been deprived of the very instruments of
thought, if philosophy had been strictly confined to the results of

{xciv} 2. Plato supposes that when the tablet has been made blank the
artist will fill in the lineaments of the ideal state. Is this a pattern
laid up in heaven, or mere vacancy on which he is supposed to gaze with
wondering eye? The answer is, that such ideals are framed partly by the
omission of particulars, partly by imagination perfecting the form which
experience supplies (Phaedo, 74). Plato represents these ideals in a
figure as belonging to another world; and in modern times the idea will
sometimes seem to precede, at other times to co-operate with the hand of
the artist. As in science, so also in creative art, there is a synthetical
as well as an analytical method. One man will have the whole in his mind
before he begins; to another the processes of mind and hand will be

3. There is no difficulty in seeing that Plato's divisions of knowledge
are based, first, on the fundamental antithesis of sensible and
intellectual which pervades the whole pre-Socratic philosophy; in which is
implied also the opposition of the permanent and transient, of the
universal and particular. But the age of philosophy in which he lived
seemed to require a further distinction;--numbers and figures were
beginning to separate from ideas. The world could no longer regard justice
as a cube, and was learning to see, though imperfectly, that the
abstractions of sense were distinct from the abstractions of mind. Between
the Eleatic being or essence and the shadows of phenomena, the Pythagorean
principle of number found a place, and was, as Aristotle remarks, a
conducting medium from one to the other. Hence Plato is led to introduce a
third term which had not hitherto entered into the scheme of his
philosophy. He had observed the use of mathematics in education; they were
the best preparation for higher studies. The subjective relation between
them further suggested an objective one; although the passage from one to
the other is really imaginary (Metaph. 1, 6, 4). For metaphysical and
moral philosophy has no connexion with mathematics; number and figure are
the abstractions of time and space, not the expressions of purely
intellectual conceptions. When divested of metaphor, a straight line or a
square has no more to do with right and justice than a crooked line with
vice. The figurative association was mistaken for a real one; and thus the
three latter divisions of the Platonic proportion were constructed.

{xcv} There is more difficulty in comprehending how he arrived at the
first term of the series, which is nowhere else mentioned, and has no
reference to any other part of his system. Nor indeed does the relation of
shadows to objects correspond to the relation of numbers to ideas.
Probably Plato has been led by the love of analogy (Timaeus, p. 32 B) to
make four terms instead of three, although the objects perceived in both
divisions of the lower sphere are equally objects of sense. He is also
preparing the way, as his manner is, for the shadows of images at the
beginning of the seventh book, and the imitation of an imitation in the
tenth. The line may be regarded as reaching from unity to infinity, and is
divided into two unequal parts, and subdivided into two more; each lower
sphere is the multiplication of the preceding. Of the four faculties,
faith in the lower division has an intermediate position (cp. for the use
of the word faith or belief, [Greek: pi/stis], Timaeus, 29 C, 37 B),
contrasting equally with the vagueness of the perception of shadows
([Greek: ei)kasi/a]) and the higher certainty of understanding ([Greek:
dia/noia]) and reason ([Greek: nou=s]).

The difference between understanding and mind or reason ([Greek: nou=s])
is analogous to the difference between acquiring knowledge in the parts
and the contemplation of the whole. True knowledge is a whole, and is at
rest; consistency and universality are the tests of truth. To this
self-evidencing knowledge of the whole the faculty of mind is supposed to
correspond. But there is a knowledge of the understanding which is
incomplete and in motion always, because unable to rest in the subordinate
ideas. Those ideas are called both images and hypotheses--images because
they are clothed in sense, hypotheses because they are assumptions only,
until they are brought into connexion with the idea of good.

The general meaning of the passage 508-511, so far as the thought
contained in it admits of being translated into the terms of modern
philosophy, may be described or explained as follows:--There is a truth,
one and self-existent, to which by the help of a ladder let down from
above, the human intelligence may ascend. This unity is like the sun in
the heavens, the light by which all things are seen, the being by which
they are created and sustained. It is the _idea_ of good. And the steps of
the ladder leading up to this highest or universal existence are the
mathematical {xcvi} sciences, which also contain in themselves an element
of the universal. These, too, we see in a new manner when we connect them
with the idea of good. They then cease to be hypotheses or pictures, and
become essential parts of a higher truth which is at once their first
principle and their final cause.

We cannot give any more precise meaning to this remarkable passage, but we
may trace in it several rudiments or vestiges of thought which are common
to us and to Plato: such as (1) the unity and correlation of the sciences,
or rather of science, for in Plato's time they were not yet parted off or
distinguished; (2) the existence of a Divine Power, or life or idea or
cause or reason, not yet conceived or no longer conceived as in the
Timaeus and elsewhere under the form of a person; (3) the recognition of
the hypothetical and conditional character of the mathematical sciences,
and in a measure of every science when isolated from the rest; (4) the
conviction of a truth which is invisible, and of a law, though hardly a
law of nature, which permeates the intellectual rather than the visible

The method of Socrates is hesitating and tentative, awaiting the fuller
explanation of the idea of good, and of the nature of dialectic in the
seventh book. The imperfect intelligence of Glaucon, and the reluctance of
Socrates to make a beginning, mark the difficulty of the subject. The
allusion to Theages' bridle, and to the internal oracle, or demonic sign,
of Socrates, which here, as always in Plato, is only prohibitory; the
remark that the salvation of any remnant of good in the present evil state
of the world is due to God only; the reference to a future state of
existence, 498 D, which is unknown to Glaucon in the tenth book, 608 D,
and in which the discussions of Socrates and his disciples would be
resumed; the surprise in the answers at 487 E and 497 B; the fanciful
irony of Socrates, where he pretends that he can only describe the strange
position of the philosopher in a figure of speech; the original
observation that the Sophists, after all, are only the representatives and
not the leaders of public opinion; the picture of the philosopher standing
aside in the shower of sleet under a wall; the figure of 'the great beast'
followed by the expression of good-will towards the common people who
would not have rejected the philosopher if they had known him; the 'right
noble thought' that the highest {xcvii} truths demand the greatest
exactness; the hesitation of Socrates in returning once more to his
well-worn theme of the idea of good; the ludicrous earnestness of Glaucon;
the comparison of philosophy to a deserted maiden who marries beneath
her--are some of the most interesting characteristics of the sixth book.

Yet a few more words may be added, on the old theme, which was so oft
discussed in the Socratic circle, of which we, like Glaucon and
Adeimantus, would fain, if possible, have a clearer notion. Like them, we
are dissatisfied when we are told that the idea of good can only be
revealed to a student of the mathematical sciences, and we are inclined to
think that neither we nor they could have been led along that path to any
satisfactory goal. For we have learned that differences of quantity cannot
pass into differences of quality, and that the mathematical sciences can
never rise above themselves into the sphere of our higher thoughts,
although they may sometimes furnish symbols and expressions of them, and
may train the mind in habits of abstraction and self-concentration. The
illusion which was natural to an ancient philosopher has ceased to be an
illusion to us. But if the process by which we are supposed to arrive at
the idea of good be really imaginary, may not the idea itself be also a
mere abstraction? We remark, first, that in all ages, and especially in
primitive philosophy, words such as being, essence, unity, good, have
exerted an extraordinary influence over the minds of men. The meagreness
or negativeness of their content has been in an inverse ratio to their
power. They have become the forms under which all things were
comprehended. There was a need or instinct in the human soul which they
satisfied; they were not ideas, but gods, and to this new mythology the
men of a later generation began to attach the powers and associations of
the elder deities.

The idea of good is one of those sacred words or forms of thought, which
were beginning to take the place of the old mythology. It meant unity, in
which all time and all existence were gathered up. It was the truth of all
things, and also the light in which they shone forth, and became evident
to intelligences human and divine. It was the cause of all things, the
power by which they were brought into being. It was the universal reason
divested of a human personality. It was the life as well as the {xcviii}
light of the world, all knowledge and all power were comprehended in it.
The way to it was through the mathematical sciences, and these too were
dependent on it. To ask whether God was the maker of it, or made by it,
would be like asking whether God could be conceived apart from goodness,
or goodness apart from God. The God of the Timaeus is not really at
variance with the idea of good; they are aspects of the same, differing
only as the personal from the impersonal, or the masculine from the
neuter, the one being the expression or language of mythology, the other
of philosophy.

This, or something like this, is the meaning of the idea of good as
conceived by Plato. Ideas of number, order, harmony, development may also
be said to enter into it. The paraphrase which has just been given of it
goes beyond the actual words of Plato. We have perhaps arrived at the
stage of philosophy which enables us to understand what he is aiming at,
better than he did himself. We are beginning to realize what he saw darkly
and at a distance. But if he could have been told that this, or some
conception of the same kind, but higher than this, was the truth at which
he was aiming, and the need which he sought to supply, he would gladly
have recognized that more was contained in his own thoughts than he
himself knew. As his words are few and his manner reticent and tentative,
so must the style of his interpreter be. We should not approach his
meaning more nearly by attempting to define it further. In translating him
into the language of modern thought, we might insensibly lose the spirit
of ancient philosophy. It is remarkable that although Plato speaks of the
idea of good as the first principle of truth and being, it is nowhere
mentioned in his writings except in this passage. Nor did it retain any
hold upon the minds of his disciples in a later generation; it was
probably unintelligible to them. Nor does the mention of it in Aristotle
appear to have any reference to this or any other passage in his extant

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic VII._ Analysis.]

BOOK VII. *514* And now I will describe in a figure the enlightenment or
unenlightenment of our nature:--Imagine human beings living in an
underground den which is open towards the light; they have been there from
childhood, having their necks and legs chained, and can only see into the
den. {xcix} At a distance there is a fire, and between the fire and the
prisoners a raised way, and a low wall is built along the way, like the
screen over which marionette players show their puppets. *515* Behind the
wall appear moving figures, who hold in their hands various works of art,
and among them images of men and animals, wood and stone, and some of the
passers-by are talking and others silent. 'A strange parable,' he said,
'and strange captives.' They are ourselves, I replied; and they see only
the shadows of the images which the fire throws on the wall of the den; to
these they give names, and if we add an echo which returns from the wall,
the voices of the passengers will seem to proceed from the shadows.
Suppose now that you suddenly turn them round and make them look with pain
and grief to themselves at the real images; will they believe them to be
real? Will not their eyes be dazzled, and will they not try to get away
from the light to something which they are able to behold without
blinking? *516* And suppose further, that they are dragged up a steep and
rugged ascent into the presence of the sun himself, will not their sight
be darkened with the excess of light? Some time will pass before they get
the habit of perceiving at all; and at first they will be able to perceive
only shadows and reflections in the water; then they will recognize the
moon and the stars, and will at length behold the sun in his own proper
place as he is. Last of all they will conclude:--This is he who gives us
the year and the seasons, and is the author of all that we see. How will
they rejoice in passing from darkness to light! How worthless to them will
seem the honours and glories of the den! But now imagine further, that
they descend into their old habitations;--in that underground dwelling
they will not see as well as their fellows, *517* and will not be able to
compete with them in the measurement of the shadows on the wall; there
will be many jokes about the man who went on a visit to the sun and lost
his eyes, and if they find anybody trying to set free and enlighten one of
their number, they will put him to death, if they can catch him. Now the
cave or den is the world of sight, the fire is the sun, the way upwards is
the way to knowledge, and in the world of knowledge the idea of good is
last seen and with difficulty, but when seen is inferred to be the author
of good and right--parent of the lord of light in this world, and of truth
and understanding in the other. {c} He who attains to the beatific vision
is always going upwards; he is unwilling to descend into political
assemblies and courts of law; for his eyes are apt to blink at the images
or shadows of images which they behold in them--he cannot enter into the
ideas of those who have never in their lives understood the relation of
the shadow to the substance. *518* But blindness is of two kinds, and may
be caused either by passing out of darkness into light or out of light
into darkness, and a man of sense will distinguish between them, and will
not laugh equally at both of them, but the blindness which arises from
fulness of light he will deem blessed, and pity the other; or if he laugh
at the puzzled soul looking at the sun, he will have more reason to laugh
than the inhabitants of the den at those who descend from above. There is
a further lesson taught by this parable of ours. Some persons fancy that
instruction is like giving eyes to the blind, but we say that the faculty
of sight was always there, and that the soul only requires to be turned
round towards the light. And this is conversion; other virtues are almost
like bodily habits, and may be acquired in the same manner, but
intelligence has a diviner life, and is indestructible, turning either to
good or evil according to the direction given. *519* Did you never observe
how the mind of a clever rogue peers out of his eyes, and the more clearly
he sees, the more evil he does? Now if you take such an one, and cut away
from him those leaden weights of pleasure and desire which bind his soul
to earth, his intelligence will be turned round, and he will behold the
truth as clearly as he now discerns his meaner ends. And have we not
decided that our rulers must neither be so uneducated as to have no fixed
rule of life, nor so over-educated as to be unwilling to leave their
paradise for the business of the world? We must choose out therefore the
natures who are most likely to ascend to the light and knowledge of the
good; but we must not allow them to remain in the region of light; they
must be forced down again among the captives in the den to partake of
their labours and honours. 'Will they not think this a hardship?' You
should remember that our purpose in framing the State was not that our
citizens should do what they like, but that they should serve the State
for the common good of all. *520* May we not fairly say to our
philosopher,--Friend, we do you no wrong; for in other {ci} States
philosophy grows wild, and a wild plant owes nothing to the gardener, but
you have been trained by us to be the rulers and kings of our hive, and
therefore we must insist on your descending into the den. You must, each
of you, take your turn, and become able to use your eyes in the dark, and
with a little practice you will see far better than those who quarrel
about the shadows, whose knowledge is a dream only, whilst yours is a
waking reality. It may be that the saint or philosopher who is best
fitted, may also be the least inclined to rule, but necessity is laid upon
him, and he must no longer live in the heaven of ideas. *521* And this
will be the salvation of the State. For those who rule must not be those
who are desirous to rule; and, if you can offer to our citizens a better
life than that of rulers generally is, there will be a chance that the
rich, not only in this world's goods, but in virtue and wisdom, may bear
rule. And the only life which is better than the life of political
ambition is that of philosophy, which is also the best preparation for the
government of a State.

Then now comes the question,--How shall we create our rulers; what way is
there from darkness to light? The change is effected by philosophy; it is
not the turning over of an oyster-shell, but the conversion of a soul from
night to day, from becoming to being. And what training will draw the soul
upwards? Our former education had two branches, gymnastic, which was
occupied with the body, and music, the sister art, which infused *522* a
natural harmony into mind and literature; but neither of these sciences
gave any promise of doing what we want. Nothing remains to us but that
universal or primary science of which all the arts and sciences are
partakers, I mean number or calculation. 'Very true.' Including the art of
war? 'Yes, certainly.' Then there is something ludicrous about Palamedes
in the tragedy, coming in and saying that he had invented number, and had
counted the ranks and set them in order. For if Agamemnon could not count
his feet (and without number how could he?) he must have been a pretty
sort of general indeed. No man should be a soldier who cannot count, and
indeed he is hardly to be called a man. But I am not speaking of these
practical applications of arithmetic, *523* for number, in my view, is
rather to be regarded as a conductor to thought and being. I will explain
{cii} what I mean by the last expression:--Things sensible are of two
kinds; the one class invite or stimulate the mind, while in the other the
mind acquiesces. Now the stimulating class are the things which suggest
contrast and relation. For example, suppose that I hold up to the eyes
three fingers--a fore finger, a middle finger, a little finger--the sight
equally recognizes all three fingers, but without number cannot further
distinguish them. Or again, suppose two objects to be relatively great and
small, these ideas of greatness and smallness are supplied not by the
sense, but by the mind. *524* And the perception of their contrast or
relation quickens and sets in motion the mind, which is puzzled by the
confused intimations of sense, and has recourse to number in order to find
out whether the things indicated are one or more than one. Number replies
that they are two and not one, and are to be distinguished from one
another. Again, the sight beholds great and small, but only in a confused
chaos, and not until they are distinguished does the question arise of
their respective natures; we are thus led on to the distinction between
the visible and intelligible. That was what I meant when I spoke of
stimulants to the intellect; I was thinking of the contradictions which
arise in perception. The idea of unity, for example, like that of a
finger, does not arouse thought unless involving some conception of
plurality; *525* but when the one is also the opposite of one, the
contradiction gives rise to reflection; an example of this is afforded by
any object of sight. All number has also an elevating effect; it raises
the mind out of the foam and flux of generation to the contemplation of
being, having lesser military and retail uses also. The retail use is not
required by us; but as our guardian is to be a soldier as well as a
philosopher, the military one may be retained. And to our higher purpose
no science can be better adapted; but it must be pursued in the spirit of
a philosopher, not of a shopkeeper. It is concerned, not with visible
objects, but with abstract truth; for numbers are pure abstractions--the
true arithmetician indignantly denies that his unit is capable of
division. *526* When you divide, he insists that you are only multiplying;
his 'one' is not material or resolvable into fractions, but an unvarying
and absolute equality; and this proves the purely intellectual character
of his study. Note also the great power which arithmetic has of sharpening
the wits; no other discipline is equally {ciii} severe, or an equal test
of general ability, or equally improving to a stupid person.

Let our second branch of education be geometry. 'I can easily see,'
replied Glaucon, 'that the skill of the general will be doubled by his
knowledge of geometry.' That is a small matter; the use of geometry, to
which I refer, is the assistance given by it in the contemplation of the
idea of good, and the compelling the mind to look at true being, and not
at generation only. Yet the present mode of pursuing these studies, as any
one who is the least of a mathematician is aware, is mean and ridiculous;
they are made to look downwards to the arts, and not upwards to eternal
existence. *527* The geometer is always talking of squaring, subtending,
apposing, as if he had in view action; whereas knowledge is the real
object of the study. It should elevate the soul, and create the mind of
philosophy; it should raise up what has fallen down, not to speak of
lesser uses in war and military tactics, and in the improvement of the

Shall we propose, as a third branch of our education, astronomy? 'Very
good,' replied Glaucon; 'the knowledge of the heavens is necessary at once
for husbandry, navigation, military tactics.' I like your way of giving
useful reasons for everything in order to make friends of the world. And
there is a difficulty in proving to mankind that education is not only
useful information but a purification of the eye of the soul, which is
better than the bodily eye, for by this alone is truth seen. *528* Now,
will you appeal to mankind in general or to the philosopher? or would you
prefer to look to yourself only? 'Every man is his own best friend.' Then
take a step backward, for we are out of order, and insert the third
dimension which is of solids, after the second which is of planes, and
then you may proceed to solids in motion. But solid geometry is not
popular and has not the patronage of the State, nor is the use of it fully
recognized; the difficulty is great, and the votaries of the study are
conceited and impatient. Still the charm of the pursuit wins upon men,
and, if government would lend a little assistance, there might be great
progress made. 'Very true,' replied Glaucon; 'but do I understand you now
to begin with plane geometry, and to place next geometry of solids, and
thirdly, astronomy, or the motion of solids?' Yes, I said; my hastiness
has only hindered us.

{civ} 'Very good, and now let us proceed to astronomy, about which I am
willing to speak in your lofty strain. *529* No one can fail to see that
the contemplation of the heavens draws the soul upwards.' I am an
exception, then; astronomy as studied at present appears to me to draw the
soul not upwards, but downwards. Star-gazing is just looking up at the
ceiling--no better; a man may lie on his back on land or on water--he may
look up or look down, but there is no science in that. The vision of
knowledge of which I speak is seen not with the eyes, but with the mind.
All the magnificence of the heavens is but the embroidery of a copy which
falls far short of the divine Original, and teaches nothing about the
absolute harmonies or motions of things. Their beauty is like the beauty
of figures drawn by the hand of Daedalus or any other great artist, which
may be used for illustration, *530* but no mathematician would seek to
obtain from them true conceptions of equality or numerical relations. How
ridiculous then to look for these in the map of the heavens, in which the
imperfection of matter comes in everywhere as a disturbing element,
marring the symmetry of day and night, of months and years, of the sun and
stars in their courses. Only by problems can we place astronomy on a truly
scientific basis. Let the heavens alone, and exert the intellect.

Still, mathematics admit of other applications, as the Pythagoreans say,
and we agree. There is a sister science of harmonical motion, adapted to
the ear as astronomy is to the eye, and there may be other applications
also. Let us inquire of the Pythagoreans about them, not forgetting that
we have an aim higher than theirs, which is the relation of these sciences
to the idea of good. The error which pervades astronomy also pervades
harmonics. *531* The musicians put their ears in the place of their minds.
'Yes,' replied Glaucon, 'I like to see them laying their ears alongside of
their neighbours' faces--some saying, "That's a new note," others
declaring that the two notes are the same.' Yes, I said; but you mean the
empirics who are always twisting and torturing the strings of the lyre,
and quarrelling about the tempers of the strings; I am referring rather to
the Pythagorean harmonists, who are almost equally in error. For they
investigate only the numbers of the consonances which are heard, and
ascend no higher,--of the true numerical harmony which is unheard, and is
only to be found in problems, they have not even a conception. {cv} 'That
last,' he said, 'must be a marvellous thing.' A thing, I replied, which is
only useful if pursued with a view to the good.

All these sciences are the prelude of the strain, and are profitable if
they are regarded in their natural relations to one another. 'I dare say,
Socrates,' said Glaucon; 'but such a study will be an endless business.'
What study do you mean--of the prelude, or what? For all these things are
only the prelude, and you surely do not suppose that a mere mathematician
is also a dialectician? 'Certainly not. *532* I have hardly ever known a
mathematician who could reason.' And yet, Glaucon, is not true reasoning
that hymn of dialectic which is the music of the intellectual world, and
which was by us compared to the effort of sight, when from beholding the
shadows on the wall we arrived at last at the images which gave the
shadows? Even so the dialectical faculty withdrawing from sense arrives by
the pure intellect at the contemplation of the idea of good, and never
rests but at the very end of the intellectual world. And the royal road
out of the cave into the light, and the blinking of the eyes at the sun
and turning to contemplate the shadows of reality, not the shadows of an
image only--this progress and gradual acquisition of a new faculty of
sight by the help of the mathematical sciences, is the elevation of the
soul to the contemplation of the highest ideal of being.

'So far, I agree with you. But now, leaving the prelude, let us proceed to
the hymn. What, then, is the nature of dialectic, and what are the paths
which lead thither?' *533* Dear Glaucon, you cannot follow me here. There
can be no revelation of the absolute truth to one who has not been
disciplined in the previous sciences. But that there is a science of
absolute truth, which is attained in some way very different from those
now practised, I am confident. For all other arts or sciences are relative
to human needs and opinions; and the mathematical sciences are but a dream
or hypothesis of true being, and never analyse their own principles.
Dialectic alone rises to the principle which is above hypotheses,
converting and gently leading the eye of the soul out of the barbarous
slough of ignorance into the light of the upper world, with the help of
the sciences which we have been describing--sciences, as they are often
termed, although they require some other name, implying greater clearness
than opinion and less clearness than science, and this in our previous
sketch {cvi} was understanding. And so we get four names--two for
intellect, and two for opinion,--reason or mind, understanding, faith,
perception of shadows-- *534* which make a proportion--being : becoming ::
intellect : opinion--and science : belief :: understanding: perception of
shadows. Dialectic may be further described as that science which defines
and explains the essence or being of each nature, which distinguishes and
abstracts the good, and is ready to do battle against all opponents in the
cause of good. To him who is not a dialectician life is but a sleepy dream;
and many a man is in his grave before his is well waked up. And would you
have the future rulers of your ideal State intelligent beings, or stupid
as posts? 'Certainly not the latter.' Then you must train them in
dialectic, which will teach them to ask and answer questions, and is the
coping-stone of the sciences.

*535* I dare say that you have not forgotten how our rulers were chosen;
and the process of selection may be carried a step further:--As before,
they must be constant and valiant, good-looking, and of noble manners, but
now they must also have natural ability which education will improve; that
is to say, they must be quick at learning, capable of mental toil,
retentive, solid, diligent natures, who combine intellectual with moral
virtues; not lame and one-sided, diligent in bodily exercise and indolent
in mind, or conversely; not a maimed soul, which hates falsehood and yet
*536* unintentionally is always wallowing in the mire of ignorance; not a
bastard or feeble person, but sound in wind and limb, and in perfect
condition for the great gymnastic trial of the mind. Justice herself can
find no fault with natures such as these; and they will be the saviours of
our State; disciples of another sort would only make philosophy more
ridiculous than she is at present. Forgive my enthusiasm; I am becoming
excited; but when I see her trampled underfoot, I am angry at the authors
of her disgrace. 'I did not notice that you were more excited than you
ought to have been.' But I felt that I was. Now do not let us forget
another point in the selection of our disciples--that they must be young
and not old. For Solon is mistaken in saying that an old man can be always
learning; youth is the time of study, and here we must remember that the
mind is free and dainty, and, unlike the body, must not be made to work
against the grain. *537* Learning should be at first a sort of play, in
which the natural bent is {cvii} detected. As in training them for war,
the young dogs should at first only taste blood; but when the necessary
gymnastics are over which during two or three years divide life between
sleep and bodily exercise, then the education of the soul will become a
more serious matter. At twenty years of age, a selection must be made of
the more promising disciples, with whom a new epoch of education will
begin. The sciences which they have hitherto learned in fragments will now
be brought into relation with each other and with true being; for the
power of combining them is the test of speculative and dialectical
ability. And afterwards at thirty a further selection shall be made of
those who are able to withdraw from the world of sense into the
abstraction of ideas. But at this point, judging from present experience,
there is a danger that dialectic may be the source of many evils. The
danger may be illustrated by a parallel case:--Imagine a person who has
been brought up in wealth and luxury amid a crowd of flatterers, and who
is suddenly informed that he is a supposititious son. *538* He has
hitherto honoured his reputed parents and disregarded the flatterers, and
now he does the reverse. This is just what happens with a man's
principles. There are certain doctrines which he learnt at home and which
exercised a parental authority over him. Presently he finds that
imputations are cast upon them; a troublesome querist comes and asks,
'What is the just and good?' or proves that virtue is vice and vice
virtue, and his mind becomes unsettled, and he ceases to love, honour, and
obey them as he has hitherto done. *539* He is seduced into the life of
pleasure, and becomes a lawless person and a rogue. The case of such
speculators is very pitiable, and, in order that our thirty years' old
pupils may not require this pity, let us take every possible care that
young persons do not study philosophy too early. For a young man is a sort
of puppy who only plays with an argument; and is reasoned into and out of
his opinions every day; he soon begins to believe nothing, and brings
himself and philosophy into discredit. A man of thirty does not run on in
this way; he will argue and not merely contradict, and adds new honour to
philosophy by the sobriety of his conduct. What time shall we allow for
this second gymnastic training of the soul?--say, twice the time required
for the gymnastics of the body; six, or perhaps five years, to commence at
thirty, and then for fifteen {cviii} years let the student go down into
the den, and command armies, and gain experience of life. *540* At fifty
let him return to the end of all things, and have his eyes uplifted to the
idea of good, and order his life after that pattern; if necessary, taking
his turn at the helm of State, and training up others to be his
successors. When his time comes he shall depart in peace to the islands of
the blest. He shall be honoured with sacrifices, and receive such worship
as the Pythian oracle approves.

'You are a statuary, Socrates, and have made a perfect image of our
governors.' Yes, and of our governesses, for the women will share in all
things with the men. And you will admit that our State is not a mere
aspiration, but may really come into being when there shall arise
philosopher-kings, one or more, who will despise earthly vanities, and
will be the servants of justice only. 'And how will they begin their
work?' *541* Their first act will be to send away into the country all
those who are more than ten years of age, and to proceed with those who
are left....

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic VII._ Introduction.]

At the commencement of the sixth book, Plato anticipated his explanation
of the relation of the philosopher to the world in an allegory, in this,
as in other passages, following the order which he prescribes in
education, and proceeding from the concrete to the abstract. At the
commencement of Book VII, under the figure of a cave having an opening
towards a fire and a way upwards to the true light, he returns to view the
divisions of knowledge, exhibiting familiarly, as in a picture, the result
which had been hardly won by a great effort of thought in the previous
discussion; at the same time casting a glance onward at the dialectical
process, which is represented by the way leading from darkness to light.
The shadows, the images, the reflection of the sun and stars in the water,
the stars and sun themselves, severally correspond,--the first, to the
realm of fancy and poetry,--the second, to the world of sense,--the third,
to the abstractions or universals of sense, of which the mathematical
sciences furnish the type,--the fourth and last to the same abstractions,
when seen in the unity of the idea, from which they derive a new meaning
and power. The true dialectical process begins with the contemplation of
the real stars, and not mere reflections of them, {cix} and ends with the
recognition of the sun, or idea of good, as the parent not only of light
but of warmth and growth. To the divisions of knowledge the stages of
education partly answer:--first, there is the early education of childhood
and youth in the fancies of the poets, and in the laws and customs of the
State;--then there is the training of the body to be a warrior athlete,
and a good servant of the mind;--and thirdly, after an interval follows
the education of later life, which begins with mathematics and proceeds to
philosophy in general.

There seem to be two great aims in the philosophy of Plato,--first, to
realize abstractions; secondly, to connect them. According to him, the
true education is that which draws men from becoming to being, and to a
comprehensive survey of all being. He desires to develop in the human mind
the faculty of seeing the universal in all things; until at last the
particulars of sense drop away and the universal alone remains. He then
seeks to combine the universals which he has disengaged from sense, not
perceiving that the correlation of them has no other basis but the common
use of language. He never understands that abstractions, as Hegel says,
are 'mere abstractions'--of use when employed in the arrangement of facts,
but adding nothing to the sum of knowledge when pursued apart from them,
or with reference to an imaginary idea of good. Still the exercise of the
faculty of abstraction apart from facts has enlarged the mind, and played
a great part in the education of the human race. Plato appreciated the
value of this faculty, and saw that it might be quickened by the study of
number and relation. All things in which there is opposition or proportion
are suggestive of reflection. The mere impression of sense evokes no power
of thought or of mind, but when sensible objects ask to be compared and
distinguished, then philosophy begins. The science of arithmetic first
suggests such distinctions. There follow in order the other sciences of
plain and solid geometry, and of solids in motion, one branch of which is
astronomy or the harmony of the spheres,--to this is appended the sister
science of the harmony of sounds. Plato seems also to hint at the
possibility of other applications of arithmetical or mathematical
proportions, such as we employ in chemistry and natural philosophy, such
as the Pythagoreans and even Aristotle make use of in Ethics {cx} and
Politics, e.g. his distinction between arithmetical and geometrical
proportion in the Ethics (Book V), or between numerical and proportional
equality in the Politics (iii. 8, iv. 12, &c.).

The modern mathematician will readily sympathise with Plato's delight in
the properties of pure mathematics. He will not be disinclined to say with
him:--Let alone the heavens, and study the beauties of number and figure
in themselves. He too will be apt to depreciate their application to the
arts. He will observe that Plato has a conception of geometry, in which
figures are to be dispensed with; thus in a distant and shadowy way
seeming to anticipate the possibility of working geometrical problems by a
more general mode of analysis. He will remark with interest on the
backward state of solid geometry, which, alas! was not encouraged by the
aid of the State in the age of Plato; and he will recognize the grasp of
Plato's mind in his ability to conceive of one science of solids in motion
including the earth as well as the heavens,--not forgetting to notice the
intimation to which allusion has been already made, that besides astronomy
and harmonics the science of solids in motion may have other applications.
Still more will he be struck with the comprehensiveness of view which led
Plato, at a time when these sciences hardly existed, to say that they must
be studied in relation to one another, and to the idea of good, or common
principle of truth and being. But he will also see (and perhaps without
surprise) that in that stage of physical and mathematical knowledge, Plato
has fallen into the error of supposing that he can construct the heavens
_a priori_ by mathematical problems, and determine the principles of
harmony irrespective of the adaptation of sounds to the human ear. The
illusion was a natural one in that age and country. The simplicity and
certainty of astronomy and harmonics seemed to contrast with the variation
and complexity of the world of sense; hence the circumstance that there
was some elementary basis of fact, some measurement of distance or time or
vibrations on which they must ultimately rest, was overlooked by him. The
modern predecessors of Newton fell into errors equally great; and Plato
can hardly be said to have been very far wrong, or may even claim a sort
of prophetic insight into the subject, when we consider that the greater
part of astronomy at the present day consists of abstract dynamics, {cxi}
by the help of which most astronomical discoveries have been made.

The metaphysical philosopher from his point of view recognizes mathematics
as an instrument of education,--which strengthens the power of attention,
developes the sense of order and the faculty of construction, and enables
the mind to grasp under simple formulae the quantitative differences of
physical phenomena. But while acknowledging their value in education, he
sees also that they have no connexion with our higher moral and
intellectual ideas. In the attempt which Plato makes to connect them, we
easily trace the influences of ancient Pythagorean notions. There is no
reason to suppose that he is speaking of the ideal numbers at p. 525 E;
but he is describing numbers which are pure abstractions, to which he
assigns a real and separate existence, which, as 'the teachers of the art'
(meaning probably the Pythagoreans) would have affirmed, repel all
attempts at subdivision, and in which unity and every other number are
conceived of as absolute. The truth and certainty of numbers, when thus
disengaged from phenomena, gave them a kind of sacredness in the eyes of
an ancient philosopher. Nor is it easy to say how far ideas of order and
fixedness may have had a moral and elevating influence on the minds of
men, 'who,' in the words of the Timaeus, 'might learn to regulate their
erring lives according to them' (47 C). It is worthy of remark that the
old Pythagorean ethical symbols still exist as figures of speech among
ourselves. And those who in modern times see the world pervaded by
universal law, may also see an anticipation of this last word of modern
philosophy in the Platonic idea of good, which is the source and measure
of all things, and yet only an abstraction. (Cp. Philebus sub fin.).

Two passages seem to require more particular explanations. First, that
which relates to the analysis of vision. The difficulty in this passage
may be explained, like many others, from differences in the modes of
conception prevailing among ancient and modern thinkers. To us, the
perceptions of sense are inseparable from the act of the mind which
accompanies them. The consciousness of form, colour, distance, is
indistinguishable from the simple sensation, which is the medium of them.
Whereas to Plato sense is the Heraclitean flux of sense, not {cxii} the
vision of objects in the order in which they actually present themselves
to the experienced sight, but as they may be imagined to appear confused
and blurred to the half-awakened eye of the infant. The first action of
the mind is aroused by the attempt to set in order this chaos, and the
reason is required to frame distinct conceptions under which the confused
impressions of sense may be arranged. Hence arises the question, 'What is
great, what is small?' and thus begins the distinction of the visible and
the intelligible.

The second difficulty relates to Plato's conception of harmonics. Three
classes of harmonists are distinguished by him:--first, the Pythagoreans,
whom he proposes to consult as in the previous discussion on music he was
to consult Damon--they are acknowledged to be masters in the art, but are
altogether deficient in the knowledge of its higher import and relation to
the good; secondly, the mere empirics, whom Glaucon appears to confuse
with them, and whom both he and Socrates ludicrously describe as
experimenting by mere auscultation on the intervals of sounds. Both of
these fall short in different degrees of the Platonic idea of harmony,
which must be studied in a purely abstract way, first by the method of
problems, and secondly as a part of universal knowledge in relation to the
idea of good.

The allegory has a political as well as a philosophical meaning. The den
or cave represents the narrow sphere of politics or law (cp. the
description of the philosopher and lawyer in the Theaetetus, 172-176), and
the light of the eternal ideas is supposed to exercise a disturbing
influence on the minds of those who return to this lower world. In other
words, their principles are too wide for practical application; they are
looking far away into the past and future, when their business is with the
present. The ideal is not easily reduced to the conditions of actual life,
and may often be at variance with them. And at first, those who return are
unable to compete with the inhabitants of the den in the measurement of
the shadows, and are derided and persecuted by them; but after a while
they see the things below in far truer proportions than those who have
never ascended into the upper world. The difference between the politician
turned into a philosopher and the philosopher turned into a politician, is
symbolized by the two kinds of disordered eyesight, {cxiii} the one which
is experienced by the captive who is transferred from darkness to day, the
other, of the heavenly messenger who voluntarily for the good of his
fellow-men descends into the den. In what way the brighter light is to
dawn on the inhabitants of the lower world, or how the idea of good is to
become the guiding principle of politics, is left unexplained by Plato.
Like the nature and divisions of dialectic, of which Glaucon impatiently
demands to be informed, perhaps he would have said that the explanation
could not be given except to a disciple of the previous sciences. (Compare
Symposium 210 A.)

Many illustrations of this part of the Republic may be found in modern
Politics and in daily life. For among ourselves, too, there have been two
sorts of Politicians or Statesmen, whose eyesight has become disordered in
two different ways. First, there have been great men who, in the language
of Burke, 'have been too much given to general maxims,' who, like J. S.
Mill or Burke himself, have been theorists or philosophers before they
were politicians, or who, having been students of history, have allowed
some great historical parallel, such as the English Revolution of 1688, or
possibly Athenian democracy or Roman Imperialism, to be the medium through
which they viewed contemporary events. Or perhaps the long projecting
shadow of some existing institution may have darkened their vision. The
Church of the future, the Commonwealth of the future, the Society of the
future, have so absorbed their minds, that they are unable to see in their
true proportions the Politics of to-day. They have been intoxicated with
great ideas, such as liberty, or equality, or the greatest happiness of
the greatest number, or the brotherhood of humanity, and they no longer
care to consider how these ideas must be limited in practice or harmonized
with the conditions of human life. They are full of light, but the light
to them has become only a sort of luminous mist or blindness. Almost every
one has known some enthusiastic half-educated person, who sees everything
at false distances, and in erroneous proportions.

With this disorder of eyesight may be contrasted another--of those who see
not far into the distance, but what is near only; who have been engaged
all their lives in a trade or a profession; who are limited to a set or
sect of their own. Men of this kind {cxiv} have no universal except their
own interests or the interests of their class, no principle but the
opinion of persons like themselves, no knowledge of affairs beyond what
they pick up in the streets or at their club. Suppose them to be sent into
a larger world, to undertake some higher calling, from being tradesmen to
turn generals or politicians, from being schoolmasters to become
philosophers:--or imagine them on a sudden to receive an inward light
which reveals to them for the first time in their lives a higher idea of
God and the existence of a spiritual world, by this sudden conversion or
change is not their daily life likely to be upset; and on the other hand
will not many of their old prejudices and narrownesses still adhere to
them long after they have begun to take a more comprehensive view of human
things? From familiar examples like these we may learn what Plato meant by
the eyesight which is liable to two kinds of disorders.

Nor have we any difficulty in drawing a parallel between the young
Athenian in the fifth century before Christ who became unsettled by new
ideas, and the student of a modern University who has been the subject of
a similar 'aufklrung.' We too observe that when young men begin to
criticise customary beliefs, or to analyse the constitution of human
nature, they are apt to lose hold of solid principle ([Greek: a(/pan to\
be/baion au)t=n e)xoi/chetai]). They are like trees which have been
frequently transplanted. The earth about them is loose, and they have no
roots reaching far into the soil. They 'light upon every flower,'
following their own wayward wills, or because the wind blows them. They
catch opinions, as diseases are caught--when they are in the air. Borne
hither and thither, 'they speedily fall into beliefs' the opposite of
those in which they were brought up. They hardly retain the distinction of
right and wrong; they seem to think one thing as good as another. They
suppose themselves to be searching after truth when they are playing the
game of 'follow my leader.' They fall in love 'at first sight' with
paradoxes respecting morality, some fancy about art, some novelty or
eccentricity in religion, and like lovers they are so absorbed for a time
in their new notion that they can think of nothing else. The resolution of
some philosophical or theological question seems to them more interesting
and important than any substantial knowledge of {cxv} literature or
science or even than a good life. Like the youth in the Philebus, they are
ready to discourse to any one about a new philosophy. They are generally
the disciples of some eminent professor or sophist, whom they rather
imitate than understand. They may be counted happy if in later years they
retain some of the simple truths which they acquired in early education,
and which they may, perhaps, find to be worth all the rest. Such is the
picture which Plato draws and which we only reproduce, partly in his own
words, of the dangers which beset youth in times of transition, when old
opinions are fading away and the new are not yet firmly established. Their
condition is ingeniously compared by him to that of a supposititious son,
who has made the discovery that his reputed parents are not his real ones,
and, in consequence, they have lost their authority over him.

The distinction between the mathematician and the dialectician is also
noticeable. Plato is very well aware that the faculty of the mathematician
is quite distinct from the higher philosophical sense which recognizes and
combines first principles (531 E). The contempt which he expresses at p.
533 for distinctions of words, the danger of involuntary falsehood, the
apology which Socrates makes for his earnestness of speech, are highly
characteristic of the Platonic style and mode of thought. The quaint
notion that if Palamedes was the inventor of number Agamemnon could not
have counted his feet; the art by which we are made to believe that this
State of ours is not a dream only; the gravity with which the first step
is taken in the actual creation of the State, namely, the sending out of
the city all who had arrived at ten years of age, in order to expedite the
business of education by a generation, are also truly Platonic. (For the
last, compare the passage at the end of the third book (415 D), in which
he expects the lie about the earthborn men to be believed in the second

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic VIII._ Analysis.]

BOOK VIII. *543* And so we have arrived at the conclusion, that in the
perfect State wives and children are to be in common; and the education
and pursuits of men and women, both in war and peace, are to be common,
and kings are to be philosophers and warriors, and the soldiers of the
State are to live together, {cxvi} having all things in common; and they
are to be warrior athletes, receiving no pay but only their food, from the
other citizens. Now let us return to the point at which we digressed.
'That is easily done,' he replied: 'You were speaking of the State which
you had constructed, and of the individual who answered to this, both of
whom you affirmed to be good; *544* and you said that of inferior States
there were four forms and four individuals corresponding to them, which
although deficient in various degrees, were all of them worth inspecting
with a view to determining the relative happiness or misery of the best or
worst man. Then Polemarchus and Adeimantus interrupted you, and this led
to another argument,--and so here we are.' Suppose that we put ourselves
again in the same position, and do you repeat your question. 'I should
like to know of what constitutions you were speaking?' Besides the perfect
State there are only four of any note in Hellas:--first, the famous
Lacedaemonian or Cretan commonwealth; secondly, oligarchy, a State full of
evils; thirdly, democracy, which follows next in order; fourthly, tyranny,
which is the disease or death of all government. Now, States are not made
of 'oak and rock,' but of flesh and blood; and therefore as there are five
States there must be five human natures in individuals, which correspond
to them. And first, there is the ambitious nature, *545* which answers to
the Lacedaemonian State; secondly, the oligarchical nature; thirdly, the
democratical; and fourthly, the tyrannical. This last will have to be
compared with the perfectly just, which is the fifth, that we may know
which is the happier, and then we shall be able to determine whether the
argument of Thrasymachus or our own is the more convincing. And as before
we began with the State and went on to the individual, so now, beginning
with timocracy, let us go on to the timocratical man, and then proceed to
the other forms of government, and the individuals who answer to them.

But how did timocracy arise out of the perfect State? Plainly, like all
changes of government, from division in the rulers. But whence came
division? 'Sing, heavenly Muses,' as Homer says;--let them condescend to
answer us, as if we were children, to whom they put on a solemn face in
jest. 'And what will they say?' *546* They will say that human things are
fated to decay, and even the perfect State will not escape from this law
of destiny, {cxvii} when 'the wheel comes full circle' in a period short
or long. Plants or animals have times of fertility and sterility, which
the intelligence of rulers because alloyed by sense will not enable them
to ascertain, and children will be born out of season. For whereas divine
creations are in a perfect cycle or number, the human creation is in a
number which declines from perfection, and has four terms and three
intervals of numbers, increasing, waning, assimilating, dissimilating, and
yet perfectly commensurate with each other. The base of the number with a
fourth added (or which is 3 : 4), multiplied by five and cubed, gives two
harmonies:--the first a square number, which is a hundred times the base
(or a hundred times a hundred); the second, an oblong, being a hundred
squares of the rational diameter of a figure the side of which is five,
subtracting one from each square or two perfect squares from all, and
adding a hundred cubes of three. This entire number is geometrical and
contains the rule or law of generation. When this law is neglected
marriages will be unpropitious; the inferior offspring who are then born
will in time become the rulers; the State will decline, and education fall
into decay; gymnastic will be preferred to music, and the gold and silver
and brass and iron will form a chaotic mass-- *547* thus division will
arise. Such is the Muses' answer to our question. 'And a true answer, of
course:--but what more have they to say?' They say that the two races, the
iron and brass, and the silver and gold, will draw the State different
ways;--the one will take to trade and moneymaking, and the others, having
the true riches and not caring for money, will resist them: the contest
will end in a compromise; they will agree to have private property, and
will enslave their fellow-citizens who were once their friends and
nurturers. But they will retain their warlike character, and will be
chiefly occupied in fighting and exercising rule. Thus arises timocracy,
which is intermediate between aristocracy and oligarchy.

The new form of government resembles the ideal in obedience to rulers and
contempt for trade, and having common meals, and in devotion to warlike
and gymnastic exercises. But corruption has crept into philosophy, and
simplicity of character, which was once her note, is now looked for only
in the military class. *548* Arts of war begin to prevail over arts of
peace; the ruler is no longer a {cxviii} philosopher; as in oligarchies,
there springs up among them an extravagant love of gain--get another man's
and save your own, is their principle; and they have dark places in which
they hoard their gold and silver, for the use of their women and others;
they take their pleasures by stealth, like boys who are running away from
their father--the law; and their education is not inspired by the Muse,
but imposed by the strong arm of power. The leading characteristic of this
State is party spirit and ambition.

And what manner of man answers to such a State? 'In love of contention,'
replied Adeimantus, 'he will be like our friend Glaucon.' In that respect,
perhaps, but not in others. He is self-asserting and ill-educated, *549*
yet fond of literature, although not himself a speaker,--fierce with
slaves, but obedient to rulers, a lover of power and honour, which he
hopes to gain by deeds of arms,--fond, too, of gymnastics and of hunting.
As he advances in years he grows avaricious, for he has lost philosophy,
which is the only saviour and guardian of men. His origin is as
follows:--His father is a good man dwelling in an ill-ordered State, who
has retired from politics in order that he may lead a quiet life. His
mother is angry at her loss of precedence among other women; she is
disgusted at her husband's selfishness, and she expatiates to her son on
the unmanliness and indolence of his father. The old family servant takes
up the tale, and says to the youth:--'When you grow up you must be more of
a man than your father.' *550* All the world are agreed that he who minds
his own business is an idiot, while a busybody is highly honoured and
esteemed. The young man compares this spirit with his father's words and
ways, and as he is naturally well disposed, although he has suffered from
evil influences, he rests at a middle point and becomes ambitious and a
lover of honour.

And now let us set another city over against another man. The next form of
government is oligarchy, in which the rule is of the rich only; nor is it
difficult to see how such a State arises. The decline begins with the
possession of gold and silver; illegal modes of expenditure are invented;
one draws another on, and the multitude are infected; riches outweigh
virtue; *551* lovers of money take the place of lovers of honour; misers
of {cxix} politicians; and, in time, political privileges are confined by
law to the rich, who do not shrink from violence in order to effect their

Thus much of the origin,--let us next consider the evils of oligarchy.
Would a man who wanted to be safe on a voyage take a bad pilot because he
was rich, or refuse a good one because he was poor? And does not the
analogy apply still more to the State? And there are yet greater evils:
two nations are struggling together in one--the rich and the poor; and the
rich dare not put arms into the hands of the poor, and are unwilling to
pay for defenders out of their own money. And have we not already
condemned that State *552* in which the same persons are warriors as well
as shopkeepers? The greatest evil of all is that a man may sell his
property and have no place in the State; while there is one class which
has enormous wealth, the other is entirely destitute. But observe that
these destitutes had not really any more of the governing nature in them
when they were rich than now that they are poor; they were miserable
spendthrifts always. They are the drones of the hive; only whereas the
actual drone is unprovided by nature with a sting, the two-legged things
whom we call drones are some of them without stings and some of them have
dreadful stings; in other words, there are paupers and there are rogues.
These are never far apart; and in oligarchical cities, where nearly
everybody is a pauper who is not a ruler, you will find abundance of both.
And this evil state of society originates in bad education and bad

*553* Like State, like man,--the change in the latter begins with the
representative of timocracy; he walks at first in the ways of his father,
who may have been a statesman, or general, perhaps; and presently he sees
him 'fallen from his high estate,' the victim of informers, dying in
prison or exile, or by the hand of the executioner. The lesson which he
thus receives, makes him cautious; he leaves politics, represses his
pride, and saves pence. Avarice is enthroned as his bosom's lord, and
assumes the style of the Great King; the rational and spirited elements
sit humbly on the ground at either side, the one immersed in calculation,
the other absorbed in the admiration of wealth. The love of honour turns
to love of money; the conversion is instantaneous. The {cxx} man is mean,
saving, toiling, *554* the slave of one passion which is the master of the
rest: Is he not the very image of the State? He has had no education, or
he would never have allowed the blind god of riches to lead the dance
within him. And being uneducated he will have many slavish desires, some
beggarly, some knavish, breeding in his soul. If he is the trustee of an
orphan, and has the power to defraud, he will soon prove that he is not
without the will, and that his passions are only restrained by fear and
not by reason. Hence he leads a divided existence; in which the better
desires mostly prevail. *555* But when he is contending for prizes and
other distinctions, he is afraid to incur a loss which is to be repaid
only by barren honour; in time of war he fights with a small part of his
resources, and usually keeps his money and loses the victory.

Next comes democracy and the democratic man, out of oligarchy and the
oligarchical man. Insatiable avarice is the ruling passion of an
oligarchy; and they encourage expensive habits in order that they may gain
by the ruin of extravagant youth. Thus men of family often lose their
property or rights of citizenship; but they remain in the city, full of
hatred against the new owners of their estates and ripe for revolution.
The usurer with stooping walk pretends not to see them; he passes by, and
leaves his sting--that is, his money--in some other victim; and many a man
has to pay the parent or principal sum multiplied into a family of
children, *556* and is reduced into a state of dronage by him. The only
way of diminishing the evil is either to limit a man in his use of his
property, or to insist that he shall lend at his own risk. But the ruling
class do not want remedies; they care only for money, and are as careless
of virtue as the poorest of the citizens. Now there are occasions on which
the governors and the governed meet together,--at festivals, on a journey,
voyaging or fighting. The sturdy pauper finds that in the hour of danger
he is not despised; he sees the rich man puffing and panting, and draws
the conclusion which he privately imparts to his companions,--'that our
people are not good for much;' and as a sickly frame is made ill by a mere
touch from without, or sometimes without external impulse is ready to fall
to pieces of itself, so from the least cause, or with none at all, the
city falls ill and fights a battle for life or death. *557* And democracy
comes into {cxxi} power when the poor are the victors, killing some and
exiling some, and giving equal shares in the government to all the rest.

The manner of life in such a State is that of democrats; there is freedom
and plainness of speech, and every man does what is right in his own eyes,
and has his own way of life. Hence arise the most various developments of
character; the State is like a piece of embroidery of which the colours
and figures are the manners of men, and there are many who, like women and
children, prefer this variety to real beauty and excellence. The State is
not one but many, like a bazaar at which you can buy anything. The great
charm is, that you may do as you like; you may govern if you like, let it
alone if you like; go to war and make peace if you feel disposed, *558*
and all quite irrespective of anybody else. When you condemn men to death
they remain alive all the same; a gentleman is desired to go into exile,
and he stalks about the streets like a hero; and nobody sees him or cares
for him. Observe, too, how grandly Democracy sets her foot upon all our
fine theories of education,--how little she cares for the training of her
statesmen! The only qualification which she demands is the profession of
patriotism. Such is democracy;--a pleasing, lawless, various sort of
government, distributing equality to equals and unequals alike.

Let us now inspect the individual democrat; and first, as in the case of
the State, we will trace his antecedents. He is the son of a miserly
oligarch, and has been taught by him to restrain the love of unnecessary
pleasures. Perhaps I ought to explain this latter term:-- *559* Necessary
pleasures are those which are good, and which we cannot do without;
unnecessary pleasures are those which do no good, and of which the desire
might be eradicated by early training. For example, the pleasures of
eating and drinking are necessary and healthy, up to a certain point;
beyond that point they are alike hurtful to body and mind, and the excess
may be avoided. When in excess, they may be rightly called expensive
pleasures, in opposition to the useful ones. And the drone, as we called
him, is the slave of these unnecessary pleasures and desires, whereas the
miserly oligarch is subject only to the necessary.

The oligarch changes into the democrat in the following manner:--The youth
who has had a miserly bringing up, gets {cxxii} a taste of the drone's
honey; he meets with wild companions, who introduce him to every new
pleasure. As in the State, so in the individual, there are allies on both
sides, temptations from without and passions from within; there is reason
also and external influences of parents and friends in alliance with the
oligarchical principle; *560* and the two factions are in violent conflict
with one another. Sometimes the party of order prevails, but then again
new desires and new disorders arise, and the whole mob of passions gets
possession of the Acropolis, that is to say, the soul, which they find
void and unguarded by true words and works. Falsehoods and illusions
ascend to take their place; the prodigal goes back into the country of the
Lotophagi or drones, and openly dwells there. And if any offer of alliance
or parley of individual elders comes from home, the false spirits shut the
gates of the castle and permit no one to enter,--there is a battle, and
they gain the victory; and straightway making alliance with the desires,
they banish modesty, which they call folly, and send temperance over the
border. When the house has been swept and garnished, they dress up the
exiled vices, and, crowning them with garlands, bring them back under new
names. Insolence they call good breeding, anarchy freedom, waste
magnificence, impudence courage. *561* Such is the process by which the
youth passes from the necessary pleasures to the unnecessary. After a
while he divides his time impartially between them; and perhaps, when he
gets older and the violence of passion has abated, he restores some of the
exiles and lives in a sort of equilibrium, indulging first one pleasure
and then another; and if reason comes and tells him that some pleasures
are good and honourable, and others bad and vile, he shakes his head and
says that he can make no distinction between them. Thus he lives in the
fancy of the hour; sometimes he takes to drink, and then he turns
abstainer; he practises in the gymnasium or he does nothing at all; then
again he would be a philosopher or a politician; or again, he would be a
warrior or a man of business; he is

  'Every thing by starts and nothing long.'

*562* There remains still the finest and fairest of all men and all
States--tyranny and the tyrant. Tyranny springs from democracy much as
democracy springs from oligarchy. Both arise {cxxiii} from excess; the one
from excess of wealth, the other from excess of freedom. 'The great
natural good of life,' says the democrat, 'is freedom.' And this exclusive
love of freedom and regardlessness of everything else, is the cause of the
change from democracy to tyranny. The State demands the strong wine of
freedom, and unless her rulers give her a plentiful draught, punishes and
insults them; equality and fraternity of governors and governed is the
approved principle. Anarchy is the law, not of the State only, but of
private houses, and extends even to the animals. *563* Father and son,
citizen and foreigner, teacher and pupil, old and young, are all on a
level; fathers and teachers fear their sons and pupils, and the wisdom of
the young man is a match for the elder, and the old imitate the jaunty
manners of the young because they are afraid of being thought morose.
Slaves are on a level with their masters and mistresses, and there is no
difference between men and women. Nay, the very animals in a democratic
State have a freedom which is unknown in other places. The she-dogs are as
good as their she-mistresses, and horses and asses march along with
dignity and run their noses against anybody who comes in their way. 'That
has often been my experience.' At last the citizens become so sensitive
that they cannot endure the yoke of laws, written or unwritten; they would
have no man call himself their master. Such is the glorious beginning of
things out of which tyranny springs. 'Glorious, indeed; but what is to
follow?' The ruin of oligarchy is the ruin of democracy; *564* for there
is a law of contraries; the excess of freedom passes into the excess of
slavery, and the greater the freedom the greater the slavery. You will
remember that in the oligarchy were found two classes--rogues and paupers,
whom we compared to drones with and without stings. These two classes are
to the State what phlegm and bile are to the human body; and the
State-physician, or legislator, must get rid of them, just as the
bee-master keeps the drones out of the hive. Now in a democracy, too,
there are drones, but they are more numerous and more dangerous than in
the oligarchy; there they are inert and unpractised, here they are full of
life and animation; and the keener sort speak and act, while the others
buzz about the bema and prevent their opponents from being heard. And
there is another class in democratic States, {cxxiv} of respectable,
thriving individuals, who can be squeezed when the drones have need of
their possessions; *565* there is moreover a third class, who are the
labourers and the artisans, and they make up the mass of the people. When
the people meet, they are omnipotent, but they cannot be brought together
unless they are attracted by a little honey; and the rich are made to
supply the honey, of which the demagogues keep the greater part
themselves, giving a taste only to the mob. Their victims attempt to
resist; they are driven mad by the stings of the drones, and so become
downright oligarchs in self-defence. Then follow informations and
convictions for treason. The people have some protector whom they nurse
into greatness, and from this root the tree of tyranny springs. The nature
of the change is indicated in the old fable of the temple of Zeus Lycaeus,
which tells how he who tastes human flesh mixed up with the flesh of other
victims will turn into a wolf. Even so the protector, who tastes human
blood, and slays some and exiles others with or without law, who hints at
abolition of debts and division of lands, *566* must either perish or
become a wolf--that is, a tyrant. Perhaps he is driven out, but he soon
comes back from exile; and then if his enemies cannot get rid of him by
lawful means, they plot his assassination. Thereupon the friend of the
people makes his well-known request to them for a body-guard, which they
readily grant, thinking only of his danger and not of their own. Now let
the rich man make to himself wings, for he will never run away again if he
does not do so then. And the Great Protector, having crushed all his
rivals, stands proudly erect in the chariot of State, a full-blown tyrant:
Let us enquire into the nature of his happiness.

In the early days of his tyranny he smiles and beams upon everybody; he is
not a 'dominus,' no, not he: he has only come to put an end to debt and
the monopoly of land. Having got rid of foreign enemies, *567* he makes
himself necessary to the State by always going to war. He is thus enabled
to depress the poor by heavy taxes, and so keep them at work; and he can
get rid of bolder spirits by handing them over to the enemy. Then comes
unpopularity; some of his old associates have the courage to oppose him.
The consequence is, that he has to make a purgation of the State; but,
unlike the physician who purges {cxxv} away the bad, he must get rid of
the high-spirited, the wise and the wealthy; for he has no choice between
death and a life of shame and dishonour. And the more hated he is, the
more he will require trusty guards; but how will he obtain them? 'They
will come flocking like birds--for pay.' Will he not rather obtain them on
the spot? He will take the slaves from their owners and make them his
body-guard; *568* these are his trusted friends, who admire and look up to
him. Are not the tragic poets wise who magnify and exalt the tyrant, and
say that he is wise by association with the wise? And are not their
praises of tyranny alone a sufficient reason why we should exclude them
from our State? They may go to other cities, and gather the mob about them
with fine words, and change commonwealths into tyrannies and democracies,
receiving honours and rewards for their services; but the higher they and
their friends ascend constitution hill, the more their honour will fail
and become 'too asthmatic to mount.' To return to the tyrant--How will he
support that rare army of his? First, by robbing the temples of their
treasures, which will enable him to lighten the taxes; then he will take
all his father's property, and spend it on his companions, male or female.
Now his father is the demus, and if the demus gets angry, *569* and says
that a great hulking son ought not to be a burden on his parents, and bids
him and his riotous crew begone, then will the parent know what a monster
he has been nurturing, and that the son whom he would fain expel is too
strong for him. 'You do not mean to say that he will beat his father?'
Yes, he will, after having taken away his arms. 'Then he is a parricide
and a cruel, unnatural son.' And the people have jumped from the fear of
slavery into slavery, out of the smoke into the fire. Thus liberty, when
out of all order and reason, passes into the worst form of servitude....

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic VIII._ Introduction.]

In the previous books Plato has described the ideal State; now he returns
to the perverted or declining forms, on which he had lightly touched at
the end of Book iv. These he describes in a succession of parallels
between the individuals and the States, tracing the origin of either in
the State or individual which has preceded them. He begins by asking the
point at which he digressed; and is thus led shortly to recapitulate the
substance {cxxvi} of the three former books, which also contain a parallel
of the philosopher and the State.

Of the first decline he gives no intelligible account; he would not have
liked to admit the most probable causes of the fall of his ideal State,
which to us would appear to be the impracticability of communism or the
natural antagonism of the ruling and subject classes. He throws a veil of
mystery over the origin of the decline, which he attributes to ignorance
of the law of population. Of this law the famous geometrical figure or
number is the expression. Like the ancients in general, he had no idea of
the gradual perfectibility of man or of the education of the human race.
His ideal was not to be attained in the course of ages, but was to spring
in full armour from the head of the legislator. When good laws had been
given, he thought only of the manner in which they were likely to be
corrupted, or of how they might be filled up in detail or restored in
accordance with their original spirit. He appears not to have reflected
upon the full meaning of his own words, 'In the brief space of human life,
nothing great can be accomplished' (x. 608 B); or again, as he afterwards
says in the Laws (iii. 676), 'Infinite time is the maker of cities.' The
order of constitutions which is adopted by him represents an order of
thought rather than a succession of time, and may be considered as the
first attempt to frame a philosophy of history.

The first of these declining States is timocracy, or the government of
soldiers and lovers of honour, which answers to the Spartan State; this is
a government of force, in which education is not inspired by the Muses,
but imposed by the law, and in which all the finer elements of
organization have disappeared. The philosopher himself has lost the love
of truth, and the soldier, who is of a simpler and honester nature, rules
in his stead. The individual who answers to timocracy has some noticeable
qualities. He is described as ill educated, but, like the Spartan, a lover
of literature; and although he is a harsh master to his servants he has no
natural superiority over them. His character is based upon a reaction
against the circumstances of his father, who in a troubled city has
retired from politics; and his mother, who is dissatisfied at her own
position, is always urging him towards the life of political ambition.
Such a character may have had this origin, and indeed Livy attributes the
Licinian laws to a {cxxvii} feminine jealousy of a similar kind (vii. 34).
But there is obviously no connection between the manner in which the
timocratic State springs out of the ideal, and the mere accident by which
the timocratic man is the son of a retired statesman.

The two next stages in the decline of constitutions have even less
historical foundation. For there is no trace in Greek history of a polity
like the Spartan or Cretan passing into an oligarchy of wealth, or of the
oligarchy of wealth passing into a democracy. The order of history appears
to be different; first, in the Homeric times there is the royal or
patriarchal form of government, which a century or two later was succeeded
by an oligarchy of birth rather than of wealth, and in which wealth was
only the accident of the hereditary possession of land and power.
Sometimes this oligarchical government gave way to a government based upon
a qualification of property, which, according to Aristotle's mode of using
words, would have been called a timocracy; and this in some cities, as at
Athens, became the conducting medium to democracy. But such was not the
necessary order of succession in States; nor, indeed, can any order be
discerned in the endless fluctuation of Greek history (like the tides in
the Euripus), except, perhaps, in the almost uniform tendency from
monarchy to aristocracy in the earliest times. At first sight there
appears to be a similar inversion in the last step of the Platonic
succession; for tyranny, instead of being the natural end of democracy, in
early Greek history appears rather as a stage leading to democracy; the
reign of Peisistratus and his sons is an episode which comes between the
legislation of Solon and the constitution of Cleisthenes; and some secret
cause common to them all seems to have led the greater part of Hellas at
her first appearance in the dawn of history, e.g. Athens, Argos, Corinth,
Sicyon, and nearly every State with the exception of Sparta, through a
similar stage of tyranny which ended either in oligarchy or democracy. But
then we must remember that Plato is describing rather the contemporary
governments of the Sicilian States, which alternated between democracy and
tyranny, than the ancient history of Athens or Corinth.

The portrait of the tyrant himself is just such as the later Greek
delighted to draw of Phalaris and Dionysius, in which, as in the lives of
mediaeval saints or mythic heroes, the conduct and actions {cxxviii} of
one were attributed to another in order to fill up the outline. There was
no enormity which the Greek was not today to believe of them; the tyrant
was the negation of government and law; his assassination was glorious;
there was no crime, however unnatural, which might not with probability be
attributed to him. In this, Plato was only following the common thought of
his countrymen, which he embellished and exaggerated with all the power of
his genius. There is no need to suppose that he drew from life; or that
his knowledge of tyrants is derived from a personal acquaintance with
Dionysius. The manner in which he speaks of them would rather tend to
render doubtful his ever having 'consorted' with them, or entertained the
schemes, which are attributed to him in the Epistles, of regenerating
Sicily by their help.

Plato in a hyperbolical and serio-comic vein exaggerates the follies of
democracy which he also sees reflected in social life. To him democracy is
a state of individualism or dissolution; in which every one is doing what
is right in his own eyes. Of a people animated by a common spirit of
liberty, rising as one man to repel the Persian host, which is the leading
idea of democracy in Herodotus and Thucydides, he never seems to think.
But if he is not a believer in liberty, still less is he a lover of
tyranny. His deeper and more serious condemnation is reserved for the
tyrant, who is the ideal of wickedness and also of weakness, and who in
his utter helplessness and suspiciousness is leading an almost impossible
existence, without that remnant of good which, in Plato's opinion, was
required to give power to evil (Book i. p. 352). This ideal of wickedness
living in helpless misery, is the reverse of that other portrait of
perfect injustice ruling in happiness and splendour, which first of all
Thrasymachus, and afterwards the sons of Ariston had drawn, and is also
the reverse of the king whose rule of life is the good of his subjects.

Each of these governments and individuals has a corresponding ethical
gradation: the ideal State is under the rule of reason, not extinguishing
but harmonizing the passions, and training them in virtue; in the
timocracy and the timocratic man the constitution, whether of the State or
of the individual, is based, first, upon courage, and secondly, upon the
love of honour; this latter virtue, {cxxix} which is hardly to be esteemed
a virtue, has superseded all the rest. In the second stage of decline the
virtues have altogether disappeared, and the love of gain has succeeded to
them; in the third stage, or democracy, the various passions are allowed
to have free play, and the virtues and vices are impartially cultivated.
But this freedom, which leads to many curious extravagances of character,
is in reality only a state of weakness and dissipation. At last, one
monster passion takes possession of the whole nature of man--this is
tyranny. In all of them excess--the excess first of wealth and then of
freedom, is the element of decay.

The eighth book of the Republic abounds in pictures of life and fanciful
allusions; the use of metaphorical language is carried to a greater extent
than anywhere else in Plato. We may remark, (1), the description of the
two nations in one, which become more and more divided in the Greek
Republics, as in feudal times, and perhaps also in our own; (2), the
notion of democracy expressed in a sort of Pythagorean formula as equality
among unequals; (3), the free and easy ways of men and animals, which are
characteristic of liberty, as foreign mercenaries and universal mistrust
are of the tyrant; (4), the proposal that mere debts should not be
recoverable by law is a speculation which has often been entertained by
reformers of the law in modern times, and is in harmony with the
tendencies of modern legislation. Debt and land were the two great
difficulties of the ancient lawgiver: in modern times we may be said to
have almost, if not quite, solved the first of these difficulties, but
hardly the second.

Still more remarkable are the corresponding portraits of individuals:
there is the family picture of the father and mother and the old servant
of the timocratical man, and the outward respectability and inherent
meanness of the oligarchical; the uncontrolled licence and freedom of the
democrat, in which the young Alcibiades seems to be depicted, doing right
or wrong as he pleases, and who at last, like the prodigal, goes into a
far country (note here the play of language by which the democratic man is
himself represented under the image of a State having a citadel and
receiving embassies); and there is the wild-beast nature, which breaks
loose in his successor. The hit about the tyrant being a parricide; the
representation of the tyrant's life as {cxxx} an obscene dream; the
rhetorical surprise of a more miserable than the most miserable of men in
Book ix; the hint to the poets that if they are the friends of tyrants
there is no place for them in a constitutional State, and that they are
too clever not to see the propriety of their own expulsion; the continuous
image of the drones who are of two kinds, swelling at last into the
monster drone having wings (see infra, Book ix),--are among Plato's
happiest touches.

There remains to be considered the great difficulty of this book of the
Republic, the so-called number of the State. This is a puzzle almost as
great as the Number of the Beast in the Book of Revelation, and though
apparently known to Aristotle, is referred to by Cicero as a proverb of
obscurity (Ep. ad Att. vii. 13, 5). And some have imagined that there is
no answer to the puzzle, and that Plato has been practising upon his
readers. But such a deception as this is inconsistent with the manner in
which Aristotle speaks of the number (Pol. v. 12,  7), and would have
been ridiculous to any reader of the Republic who was acquainted with
Greek mathematics. As little reason is there for supposing that Plato
intentionally used obscure expressions; the obscurity arises from our want
of familiarity with the subject. On the other hand, Plato himself
indicates that he is not altogether serious, and in describing his number
as a solemn jest of the Muses, he appears to imply some degree of satire
on the symbolical use of number. (Cp. Cratylus _passim_; Protag. 342 ff.)

Our hope of understanding the passage depends principally on an accurate
study of the words themselves; on which a faint light is thrown by the
parallel passage in the ninth book. Another help is the allusion in
Aristotle, who makes the important remark that the latter part of the
passage (from [Greek: (=n e)pi/tritos puthm\n, k.t.l.]) describes a
solid figure. Some further clue may be gathered from the appearance of the
Pythagorean triangle, which is denoted by the numbers 3, 4, 5, and in
which, as in every right-angled {cxxxi} triangle, the squares of the two
lesser sides equal the square of the hypotenuse (3^2 + 4^2 = 5^2, or
9 + 16 = 25).

[Footnote 2: Pol. v. 12,  8:--'He only says that nothing is abiding, but
that all things change in a certain cycle; and that the origin of the
change is a base of numbers which are in the ratio of 4 : 3; and this when
combined with a figure of five gives two harmonies; he means when the
number of this figure becomes solid.']

Plato begins by speaking of a perfect or cyclical number (cp. Tim. 39 D),
i.e. a number in which the sum of the divisors equals the whole; this is
the divine or perfect number in which all lesser cycles or revolutions are
complete. He also speaks of a human or imperfect number, having four terms
and three intervals of numbers which are related to one another in certain
proportions; these he converts into figures, and finds in them when they
have been raised to the third power certain elements of number, which give
two 'harmonies,' the one square, the other oblong; but he does not say
that the square number answers to the divine, or the oblong number to the
human cycle; nor is any intimation given that the first or divine number
represents the period of the world, the second the period of the state, or
of the human race as Zeller supposes; nor is the divine number afterwards
mentioned (cp. Arist.). The second is the number of generations or births,
and presides over them in the same mysterious manner in which the stars
preside over them, or in which, according to the Pythagoreans,
opportunity, justice, marriage, are represented by some number or figure.
This is probably the number 216.

The explanation given in the text supposes the two harmonies to make up
the number 8000. This explanation derives a certain plausibility from the
circumstance that 8000 is the ancient number of the Spartan citizens
(Herod. vii. 34), and would be what Plato might have called 'a number
which nearly concerns the population of a city' (588 A); the mysterious
disappearance of the Spartan population may possibly have suggested to him
the first cause of his decline of States. The lesser or square 'harmony,'
of 400, might be a symbol of the guardians,--the larger or oblong
'harmony,' of the people, and the numbers 3, 4, 5 might refer respectively
to the three orders in the State or parts of the soul, the four virtues,
the five forms of government. The harmony of the musical scale, which is
elsewhere used as a symbol of the harmony of the state (Rep. iv. 443 D),
is also indicated. For the numbers 3, 4, 5, which represent the sides of
the Pythagorean triangle, also denote the intervals of the scale.

The terms used in the statement of the problem may be {cxxxii} explained
as follows. A perfect number ([Greek: te/leios a)rithmo/s]), as already
stated, is one which is equal to the sum of its divisors. Thus 6, which is
the first perfect or cyclical number, = 1 + 2 + 3. The words [Greek:
o)/roi], 'terms' or 'notes,' and [Greek: a)posta/seis], 'intervals,' are
applicable to music as well as to number and figure. [Greek: Pr/t|] is
the 'base' on which the whole calculation depends, or the 'lowest term'
from which it can be worked out. The words [Greek: duna/menai/ te kai\
dunasteuo/menoi] have been variously translated--'squared and cubed'
(Donaldson), 'equalling and equalled in power' (Weber), 'by involution and
evolution,' i.e. by raising the power and extracting the root (as in the
translation). Numbers are called 'like and unlike' ([Greek: o(moiou=nte/s
te kai\ a)nomoiou=ntes]) when the factors or the sides of the planes and
cubes which they represent are or are not in the same ratio: e.g. 8 and
27 = 2^3 and 3^3; and conversely. 'Waxing' ([Greek: au)/xontes]) numbers,
called also 'increasing' ([Greek: u(pertelei=s]) are those which are
exceeded by the sum of their divisors: e.g. 12 and 18 are less than 16 and
21. 'Waning' ([Greek: phthi/nontes]) numbers, called also 'decreasing'
([Greek: e)llipei=s]) are those which succeed the sum of their divisors:
e.g. 8 and 27 exceed 7 and 13. The words translated 'commensurable and
agreeable to one another' ([Greek: pros/gora kai\ r(ta/]) seem to be
different ways of describing the same relation, with more or less
precision. They are equivalent to 'expressible in terms having the same
relation to one another,' like the series 8, 12, 18, 27, each of which
numbers is in the relation of 1 and 1/2 to the preceding. The 'base,' or
'fundamental number, which has 1/3 added to it' (1 and 1/3) = 4/3 or a
musical fourth. [Greek: A(rmoni/a] is a 'proportion' of numbers as of
musical notes, applied either to the parts or factors of a single number
or to the relation of one number to another. The first harmony is a
'square' number ([Greek: i)/sn i)sa/kis]); the second harmony is an
'oblong' number ([Greek: prom/k]), i.e. a number representing a figure
of which the opposite sides only are equal. [Greek: A)rithmoi\ a)po\
diame/trn] = 'numbers squared from' or 'upon diameters'; [Greek: r(t=n]
= 'rational,' i.e. omitting fractions, [Greek: a)r)r(/tn], 'irrational,'
i.e. including fractions; e.g. 49 is a square of the rational diameter of
a figure the side of which = 5: 50, of an irrational diameter of the same.
For several of the explanations here given and for a good deal besides
I am indebted to an excellent article on the Platonic Number by Dr.
Donaldson (Proc. of the Philol. Society, vol. i. p. 81 ff.).

{cxxxiii} The conclusions which he draws from these data are summed up by
him as follows. Having assumed that the number of the perfect or divine
cycle is the number of the world, and the number of the imperfect cycle
the number of the state, he proceeds: 'The period of the world is defined
by the perfect number 6, that of the state by the cube of that number or
216, which is the product of the last pair of terms in the Platonic
Tetractys[3]; and if we take this as the basis of our computation, we
shall have two cube numbers ([Greek: au)x/seis duna/menai/ te kai\
dunasteuo/menai]), viz. 8 and 27; and the mean proportionals between
these, viz. 12 and 18, will furnish three intervals and four terms, and
these terms and intervals stand related to one another in the
_sesqui-altera_ ratio, i.e. each term is to the preceding as 3/2. Now if
we remember that the number 216 = 8 x 27 = 3^3 + 4^3 + 5^3, and 3^2 + 4^2
= 5^2, we must admit that this number implies the numbers 3, 4, 5, to
which musicians attach so much importance. And if we combine the ratio 4/3
with the number 5, or multiply the ratios of the sides by the hypotenuse,
we shall by first squaring and then cubing obtain two expressions, which
denote the ratio of the two last pairs of terms in the Platonic Tetractys,
the former multiplied by the square, the latter by the cube of the number
10, the sum of the first four digits which constitute the Platonic
Tetractys.' The two [Greek: a(rmoni/ai] he elsewhere explains as follows:
'The first [Greek: a(rmoni/a] is [Greek: i)/sn i)sa/kis e(kato\n
tosauta/kis], in other words (4/3 x 5)^2 = 100 x 2^2/3^2. The second
[Greek: a(rmoni/a], a cube of the same root, is described as 100
multiplied ([Greek: a]) by the rational diameter of 5 diminished by unity,
i.e., as shown above, 48: ([Greek: b]) by two incommensurable diameters,
i.e. the two first irrationals, or 2 and 3: and ([Greek: g]) by the cube
of 3, or 27. Thus we have (48 + 5 + 27) 100 = 1000 x 2^3. This second
harmony is to be the cube of the number of which the former harmony is the
square, and therefore must be divided by the cube of 3. In other words,
the whole expression will be: (1), for the first harmony, 400/9: (2), for
the second harmony, 8000/27.'

[Footnote 3: The Platonic Tetractys consisted of a series of seven terms,
1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 8, 27.]

The reasons which have inclined me to agree with Dr. Donaldson and also
with Schleiermacher in supposing that 216 is the Platonic number of births
are: (1) that it coincides with the description of the number given in the
first part of the passage ([Greek: e)n (=| pr/t| ... {cxxxiv}
a)pe/phsan]): (2) that the number 216 with its permutations would have
been familiar to a Greek mathematician, though unfamiliar to us: (3) that
216 is the cube of 6, and also the sum of 3^3, 4^3, 5^3, the numbers 3, 4,
5 representing the Pythagorean triangle, of which the sides when squared
equal the square of the hypotenuse (3^2 + 4^2 = 5^2): (4) that it is also
the period of the Pythagorean Metempsychosis: (5) the three ultimate terms
or bases (3, 4, 5) of which 216 is composed answer to the third, fourth,
fifth in the musical scale: (6) that the number 216 is the product of the
cubes of 2 and 3, which are the two last terms in the Platonic Tetractys:
(7) that the Pythagorean triangle is said by Plutarch (de Is. et Osir.,
373 E), Proclus (super prima Eucl. iv. p. 111), and Quintilian (de Musica
iii. p. 152) to be contained in this passage, so that the tradition of the
school seems to point in the same direction: (8) that the Pythagorean
triangle is called also the figure of marriage ([Greek: gam/lion

But though agreeing with Dr. Donaldson thus far, I see no reason for
supposing, as he does, that the first or perfect number is the world, the
human or imperfect number the state; nor has he given any proof that the
second harmony is a cube. Nor do I think that [Greek: a)r)r(/tn de\
duei=n] can mean 'two incommensurables,' which he arbitrarily assumes to
be 2 and 3, but rather, as the preceding clause implies, [Greek: duei=n
a)rithmoi=n a)po\ a)r)r(/tn diame/trn pempa/dos], i.e. two square
numbers based upon irrational diameters of a figure the side of which is
5 = 50 x 2.

The greatest objection to the translation is the sense given to the words
[Greek: e)pi/tritos puthm/n k.t.l.], 'a base of three with a third added
to it, multiplied by 5.' In this somewhat forced manner Plato introduces
once more the numbers of the Pythagorean triangle. But the coincidences in
the numbers which follow are in favour of the explanation. The first
harmony of 400, as has been already remarked, probably represents the
rulers; the second and oblong harmony of 7600, the people.

And here we take leave of the difficulty. The discovery of the riddle
would be useless, and would throw no light on ancient mathematics. The
point of interest is that Plato should have used such a symbol, and that
so much of the Pythagorean spirit should have prevailed in him. His
general meaning is that divine creation is perfect, and is represented or
presided {cxxxv} over by a perfect or cyclical number; human generation is
imperfect, and represented or presided over by an imperfect number or
series of numbers. The number 5040, which is the number of the citizens in
the Laws, is expressly based by him on utilitarian grounds, namely, the
convenience of the number for division; it is also made up of the first
seven digits multiplied by one another. The contrast of the perfect and
imperfect number may have been easily suggested by the corrections of the
cycle, which were made first by Meton and secondly by Callippus; (the
latter is said to have been a pupil of Plato). Of the degree of importance
or of exactness to be attributed to the problem, the number of the tyrant
in Book ix. (729 = 365 x 2), and the slight correction of the error in the
number 5040/12 (Laws, 771 C), may furnish a criterion. There is nothing
surprising in the circumstance that those who were seeking for order in
nature and had found order in number, should have imagined one to give law
to the other. Plato believes in a power of number far beyond what he could
see realized in the world around him, and he knows the great influence
which 'the little matter of 1, 2, 3' (vii. 522 C) exercises upon
education. He may even be thought to have a prophetic anticipation of the
discoveries of Quetelet and others, that numbers depend upon numbers;
e.g.--in population, the numbers of births and the respective numbers of
children born of either sex, on the respective ages of parents, i.e. on
other numbers.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic IX._ Analysis.]

BOOK IX. *571* Last of all comes the tyrannical man, about whom we have to
enquire, Whence is he, and how does he live--in happiness or in misery?
There is, however, a previous question of the nature and number of the
appetites, which I should like to consider first. Some of them are
unlawful, and yet admit of being chastened and weakened in various degrees
by the power of reason and law. 'What appetites do you mean?' I mean those
which are awake when the reasoning powers are asleep, which get up and
walk about naked without any self-respect or shame; and there is no
conceivable folly or crime, however cruel or unnatural, of which, in
imagination, they may not be guilty. 'True,' he said; 'very true.' But
when a man's pulse beats temperately; and he has supped on a feast of
reason and come to a knowledge of himself {cxxxvi} before going to rest,
*572* and has satisfied his desires just enough to prevent their
perturbing his reason, which remains clear and luminous, and when he is
free from quarrel and heat,--the visions which he has on his bed are least
irregular and abnormal. Even in good men there is such an irregular
wild-beast nature, which peers out in sleep.

To return:--You remember what was said of the democrat; that he was the
son of a miserly father, who encouraged the saving desires and repressed
the ornamental and expensive ones; presently the youth got into fine
company, and began to entertain a dislike to his father's narrow ways; and
being a better man than the corrupters of his youth, he came to a mean,
and led a life, not of lawless or slavish passion, but of regular and
successive indulgence. Now imagine that the youth has become a father, and
has a son who is exposed to the same temptations, and has companions who
lead him into every sort of iniquity, and parents and friends who try to
keep him right. *573* The counsellors of evil find that their only chance
of retaining him is to implant in his soul a monster drone, or love; while
other desires buzz around him and mystify him with sweet sounds and
scents, this monster love takes possession of him, and puts an end to
every true or modest thought or wish. Love, like drunkenness and madness,
is a tyranny; and the tyrannical man, whether made by nature or habit, is
just a drinking, lusting, furious sort of animal.

And how does such an one live? 'Nay, that you must tell me.' Well then,
I fancy that he will live amid revelries and harlotries, and love will be
the lord and master of the house. Many desires require much money, and so
he spends all that he has and borrows more; and when he has nothing the
young ravens are still in the nest in which they were hatched, crying for
food. *574* Love urges them on; and they must be gratified by force or
fraud, or if not, they become painful and troublesome; and as the new
pleasures succeed the old ones, so will the son take possession of the
goods of his parents; if they show signs of refusing, he will defraud and
deceive them; and if they openly resist, what then? 'I can only say, that
I should not much like to be in their place.' But, O heavens, Adeimantus,
to think that for some new-fangled and unnecessary love he will give up
his old father and mother, best and dearest of friends, or enslave them to
the fancies of the hour! {cxxxvii} Truly a tyrannical son is a blessing to
his father and mother! When there is no more to be got out of them, he
turns burglar or pickpocket, or robs a temple. Love overmasters the
thoughts of his youth, and he becomes in sober reality the monster that he
was sometimes in sleep. *575* He waxes strong in all violence and
lawlessness; and is ready for any deed of daring that will supply the
wants of his rabble-rout. In a well-ordered State there are only a few
such, and these in time of war go out and become the mercenaries of a
tyrant. But in time of peace they stay at home and do mischief; they are
the thieves, footpads, cut-purses, man-stealers of the community; or if
they are able to speak, they turn false-witnesses and informers. 'No small
catalogue of crimes truly, even if the perpetrators are few.' Yes, I said;
but small and great are relative terms, and no crimes which are committed
by them approach those of the tyrant, whom this class, growing strong and
numerous, create out of themselves. If the people yield, well and good,
but, if they resist, then, as before he beat his father and mother, so now
he beats his fatherland and motherland, and places his mercenaries over
them. Such men in their early days live with flatterers, and they
themselves flatter others, in order to gain their ends; *576* but they
soon discard their followers when they have no longer any need of them;
they are always either masters or servants,--the joys of friendship are
unknown to them. And they are utterly treacherous and unjust, if the
nature of justice be at all understood by us. They realize our dream; and
he who is the most of a tyrant by nature, and leads the life of a tyrant
for the longest time, will be the worst of them, and being the worst of
them, will also be the most miserable.

Like man, like State,--the tyrannical man will answer to tyranny, which is
the extreme opposite of the royal State; for one is the best and the other
the worst. But which is the happier? Great and terrible as the tyrant may
appear enthroned amid his satellites, let us not be afraid to go in and
ask; and the answer is, that the monarchical is the happiest, and the
tyrannical the most miserable of States. *577* And may we not ask the same
question about the men themselves, requesting some one to look into them
who is able to penetrate the inner nature of man, and will not be
panic-struck by the vain pomp of tyranny? I will suppose that he
{cxxxviii} is one who has lived with him, and has seen him in family life,
or perhaps in the hour of trouble and danger.

Assuming that we ourselves are the impartial judge for whom we seek, let
us begin by comparing the individual and State, and ask first of all,
whether the State is likely to be free or enslaved--Will there not be a
little freedom and a great deal of slavery? And the freedom is of the bad,
and the slavery of the good; and this applies to the man as well as to the
State; for his soul is full of meanness and slavery, and the better part
is enslaved to the worse. He cannot do what he would, and his mind is full
of confusion; he is the very reverse of a freeman. *578* The State will be
poor and full of misery and sorrow; and the man's soul will also be poor
and full of sorrows, and he will be the most miserable of men. No, not the
most miserable, for there is yet a more miserable. 'Who is that?' The
tyrannical man who has the misfortune also to become a public tyrant.
'There I suspect that you are right.' Say rather, 'I am sure;' conjecture
is out of place in an enquiry of this nature. He is like a wealthy owner
of slaves, only he has more of them than any private individual. You will
say, 'The owners of slaves are not generally in any fear of them.' But
why? Because the whole city is in a league which protects the individual.
Suppose however that one of these owners and his household is carried off
by a god into a wilderness, where there are no freemen to help him--will
he not be in an agony of terror?-- *579* will he not be compelled to
flatter his slaves and to promise them many things sore against his will?
And suppose the same god who carried him off were to surround him with
neighbours who declare that no man ought to have slaves, and that the
owners of them should be punished with death. 'Still worse and worse! He
will be in the midst of his enemies.' And is not our tyrant such a captive
soul, who is tormented by a swarm of passions which he cannot indulge;
living indoors always like a woman, and jealous of those who can go out
and see the world?

Having so many evils, will not the most miserable of men be still more
miserable in a public station? Master of others when he is not master of
himself; like a sick man who is compelled to be an athlete; the meanest of
slaves and the most abject of flatterers; wanting all things, and never
able to satisfy his desires; always in fear and distraction, like the
State of which he is the representative. *580* {cxxxix} His jealous,
hateful, faithless temper grows worse with command; he is more and more
faithless, envious, unrighteous,--the most wretched of men, a misery to
himself and to others. And so let us have a final trial and proclamation;
need we hire a herald, or shall I proclaim the result? 'Make the
proclamation yourself.' _The son of Ariston (the best) is of opinion that
the best and justest of men is also the happiest, and that this is he who
is the most royal master of himself; and that the unjust man is he who is
the greatest tyrant of himself and of his State. And I add further--'seen
or unseen by gods or men.'_

This is our first proof. The second is derived from the three kinds of
pleasure, which answer to the three elements of the soul--reason, passion,
desire; *581* under which last is comprehended avarice as well as sensual
appetite, while passion includes ambition, party-feeling, love of
reputation. Reason, again, is solely directed to the attainment of truth,
and careless of money and reputation. In accordance with the difference of
men's natures, one of these three principles is in the ascendant, and they
have their several pleasures corresponding to them. Interrogate now the
three natures, and each one will be found praising his own pleasures and
depreciating those of others. The money-maker will contrast the vanity of
knowledge with the solid advantages of wealth. The ambitious man will
despise knowledge which brings no honour; whereas the philosopher will
regard only the fruition of truth, and will call other pleasures necessary
rather than good. *582* Now, how shall we decide between them? Is there
any better criterion than experience and knowledge? And which of the three
has the truest knowledge and the widest experience? The experience of
youth makes the philosopher acquainted with the two kinds of desire, but
the avaricious and the ambitious man never taste the pleasures of truth
and wisdom. Honour he has equally with them; they are 'judged of him,' but
he is 'not judged of them,' for they never attain to the knowledge of true
being. And his instrument is reason, whereas their standard is only wealth
and honour; and if by reason we are to judge, his good will be the truest.
And so we arrive at the result that the pleasure of the rational part of
the soul, and a life passed in such pleasure is the pleasantest. *583* He
who has a right to judge judges thus. Next comes the life of ambition,
and, in the third place, that of money-making.

{cxl} Twice has the just man overthrown the unjust--once more, as in an
Olympian contest, first offering up a prayer to the saviour Zeus, let him
try a fall. A wise man whispers to me that the pleasures of the wise are
true and pure; all others are a shadow only. Let us examine this: Is not
pleasure opposed to pain, and is there not a mean state which is neither?
When a man is sick, nothing is more pleasant to him than health. But this
he never found out while he was well. In pain he desires only to cease
from pain; on the other hand, when he is in an ecstasy of pleasure, rest
is painful to him. Thus rest or cessation is both pleasure and pain. But
can that which is neither become both? Again, pleasure and pain are
motions, and the absence of them is rest; *584* but if so, how can the
absence of either of them be the other? Thus we are led to infer that the
contradiction is an appearance only, and witchery of the senses. And these
are not the only pleasures, for there are others which have no preceding
pains. Pure pleasure then is not the absence of pain, nor pure pain the
absence of pleasure; although most of the pleasures which reach the mind
through the body are reliefs of pain, and have not only their reactions
when they depart, but their anticipations before they come. They can be
best described in a simile. There is in nature an upper, lower, and middle
region, and he who passes from the lower to the middle imagines that he is
going up and is already in the upper world; and if he were taken back
again would think, and truly think, that he was descending. All this
arises out of his ignorance of the true upper, middle, and lower regions.
And a like confusion happens with pleasure and pain, and with many other
things. *585* The man who compares grey with black, calls grey white; and
the man who compares absence of pain with pain, calls the absence of pain
pleasure. Again, hunger and thirst are inanitions of the body, ignorance
and folly of the soul; and food is the satisfaction of the one, knowledge
of the other. Now which is the purer satisfaction--that of eating and
drinking, or that of knowledge? Consider the matter thus: The satisfaction
of that which has more existence is truer than of that which has less. The
invariable and immortal has a more real existence than the variable and
mortal, and has a corresponding measure of knowledge and truth. The soul,
again, has more existence and truth and knowledge than the body, and is
therefore more really satisfied and has a more {cxli} natural pleasure.
*586* Those who feast only on earthly food, are always going at random up
to the middle and down again; but they never pass into the true upper
world, or have a taste of true pleasure. They are like fatted beasts, full
of gluttony and sensuality, and ready to kill one another by reason of
their insatiable lust; for they are not filled with true being, and their
vessel is leaky (cp. Gorgias, 243 A, foll.). Their pleasures are mere
shadows of pleasure, mixed with pain, coloured and intensified by
contrast, and therefore intensely desired; and men go fighting about them,
as Stesichorus says that the Greeks fought about the shadow of Helen at
Troy, because they know not the truth.

The same may be said of the passionate element:--the desires of the
ambitious soul, as well as of the covetous, have an inferior satisfaction.
Only when under the guidance of reason do either of the other principles
do their own business *587* or attain the pleasure which is natural to
them. When not attaining, they compel the other parts of the soul to
pursue a shadow of pleasure which is not theirs. And the more distant they
are from philosophy and reason, the more distant they will be from law and
order, and the more illusive will be their pleasures. The desires of love
and tyranny are the farthest from law, and those of the king are nearest
to it. There is one genuine pleasure, and two spurious ones: the tyrant
goes beyond even the latter; he has run away altogether from law and
reason. Nor can the measure of his inferiority be told, except in a
figure. The tyrant is the third removed from the oligarch, and has
therefore, not a shadow of his pleasure, but the shadow of a shadow only.
The oligarch, again, is thrice removed from the king, and thus we get the
formula 3 x 3, which is the number of a surface, representing the shadow
which is the tyrant's pleasure, and if you like to cube this 'number of
the beast,' you will find that the measure of the difference amounts to
729; the king is 729 times more happy than the tyrant. And this
extraordinary number is _nearly_ equal to the number of days and nights in
a year (365 x 2 = 730); and is therefore concerned with human life. *588*
This is the interval between a good and bad man in happiness only: what
must be the difference between them in comeliness of life and virtue!

Perhaps you may remember some one saying at the beginning of our
discussion that the unjust man was profited if he had the {cxlii}
reputation of justice. Now that we know the nature of justice and
injustice, let us make an image of the soul, which will personify his
words. First of all, fashion a multitudinous beast, having a ring of heads
of all manner of animals, tame and wild, and able to produce and change
them at pleasure. Suppose now another form of a lion, and another of a
man; the second smaller than the first, the third than the second; join
them together and cover them with a human skin, in which they are
completely concealed. When this has been done, let us tell the supporter
of injustice *589* that he is feeding up the beasts and starving the man.
The maintainer of justice, on the other hand, is trying to strengthen the
man; he is nourishing the gentle principle within him, and making an
alliance with the lion heart, in order that he may be able to keep down
the many-headed hydra, and bring all into unity with each other and with
themselves. Thus in every point of view, whether in relation to pleasure,
honour, or advantage, the just man is right, and the unjust wrong.

But now, let us reason with the unjust, who is not intentionally in error.
Is not the noble that which subjects the beast to the man, or rather to
the God in man; the ignoble, that which subjects the man to the beast? And
if so, who would receive gold on condition that he was to degrade the
noblest part of himself under the worst?--who would sell his son or
daughter into the hands of brutal and evil men, for any amount of money?
And will he sell his own fairer and diviner part without any compunction
to the most godless and foul? *590* Would he not be worse than Eriphyle,
who sold her husband's life for a necklace? And intemperance is the
letting loose of the multiform monster, and pride and sullenness are the
growth and increase of the lion and serpent element, while luxury and
effeminacy are caused by a too great relaxation of spirit. Flattery and
meanness again arise when the spirited element is subjected to avarice,
and the lion is habituated to become a monkey. The real disgrace of
handicraft arts is, that those who are engaged in them have to flatter,
instead of mastering their desires; therefore we say that they should be
placed under the control of the better principle in another because they
have none in themselves; not, as Thrasymachus imagined, to the injury of
the subjects, but for {cxliii} their good. And our intention in educating
the young, is to give them self-control; *591* the law desires to nurse up
in them a higher principle, and when they have acquired this, they may go
their ways.

'What, then, shall a man profit, if he gain the whole world' and become
more and more wicked? Or what shall he profit by escaping discovery, if
the concealment of evil prevents the cure? If he had been punished, the
brute within him would have been silenced, and the gentler element
liberated; and he would have united temperance, justice, and wisdom in his
soul--a union better far than any combination of bodily gifts. The man of
understanding will honour knowledge above all; in the next place he will
keep under his body, not only for the sake of health and strength, but in
order to attain the most perfect harmony of body and soul. In the
acquisition of riches, too, he will aim at order and harmony; he will not
desire to heap up wealth without measure, but he will fear that the
increase of wealth will disturb the constitution of his own soul. For the
same reason *592* he will only accept such honours as will make him a
better man; any others he will decline. 'In that case,' said he, 'he will
never be a politician.' Yes, but he will, in his own city; though probably
not in his native country, unless by some divine accident. 'You mean that
he will be a citizen of the ideal city, which has no place upon earth.'
But in heaven, I replied, there is a pattern of such a city, and he who
wishes may order his life after that image. Whether such a state is or
ever will be matters not; he will act according to that pattern and no

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic IX._ Introduction.]

The most noticeable points in the 9th Book of the Republic are:--(1) the
account of pleasure; (2) the number of the interval which divides the king
from the tyrant; (3) the pattern which is in heaven.

1. Plato's account of pleasure is remarkable for moderation, and in this
respect contrasts with the later Platonists and the views which are
attributed to them by Aristotle. He is not, like the Cynics, opposed to
all pleasure, but rather desires that the several parts of the soul shall
have their natural satisfaction; he even agrees with the Epicureans in
describing pleasure {cxliv} as something more than the absence of pain.
This is proved by the circumstance that there are pleasures which have no
antecedent pains (as he also remarks in the Philebus), such as the
pleasures of smell, and also the pleasures of hope and anticipation. In
the previous book (pp. 558, 559) he had made the distinction between
necessary and unnecessary pleasure, which is repeated by Aristotle, and he
now observes that there are a further class of 'wild beast' pleasures,
corresponding to Aristotle's [Greek: thrio/ts]. He dwells upon the
relative and unreal character of sensual pleasures and the illusion which
arises out of the contrast of pleasure and pain, pointing out the
superiority of the pleasures of reason, which are at rest, over the
fleeting pleasures of sense and emotion. The pre-eminence of royal
pleasure is shown by the fact that reason is able to form a judgment of
the lower pleasures, while the two lower parts of the soul are incapable
of judging the pleasures of reason. Thus, in his treatment of pleasure, as
in many other subjects, the philosophy of Plato is 'sawn up into
quantities' by Aristotle; the analysis which was originally made by him
became in the next generation the foundation of further technical
distinctions. Both in Plato and Aristotle we note the illusion under which
the ancients fell of regarding the transience of pleasure as a proof of
its unreality, and of confounding the permanence of the intellectual
pleasures with the unchangeableness of the knowledge from which they are
derived. Neither do we like to admit that the pleasures of knowledge,
though more elevating, are not more lasting than other pleasures, and are
almost equally dependent on the accidents of our bodily state (cp.
Introduction to Philebus).

2. The number of the interval which separates the king from the tyrant,
and royal from tyrannical pleasures, is 729, the cube of 9. Which Plato
characteristically designates as a number concerned with human life,
because _nearly_ equivalent to the number of days and nights in the year.
He is desirous of proclaiming that the interval between them is
immeasurable, and invents a formula to give expression to his idea. Those
who spoke of justice as a cube, of virtue as an art of measuring (Prot.
357 A), saw no inappropriateness in conceiving the soul under the figure
of a line, or the pleasure of the tyrant as separated from the {cxlv}
pleasure of the king by the numerical interval of 729. And in modern times
we sometimes use metaphorically what Plato employed as a philosophical
formula. 'It is not easy to estimate the loss of the tyrant, except
perhaps in this way,' says Plato. So we might say, that although the life
of a good man is not to be compared to that of a bad man, yet you may
measure the difference between them by valuing one minute of the one at an
hour of the other ('One day in thy courts is better than a thousand'), or
you might say that 'there is an infinite difference.' But this is not so
much as saying, in homely phrase, 'They are a thousand miles asunder.'
And accordingly Plato finds the natural vehicle of his thoughts in a
progression of numbers; this arithmetical formula he draws out with the
utmost seriousness, and both here and in the number of generation seems to
find an additional proof of the truth of his speculation in forming the
number into a geometrical figure; just as persons in our own day are apt
to fancy that a statement is verified when it has been only thrown into an
abstract form. In speaking of the number 729 as proper to human life, he
probably intended to intimate that one year of the tyrannical = 12 hours
of the royal life.

The simple observation that the comparison of two similar solids is
effected by the comparison of the cubes of their sides, is the
mathematical groundwork of this fanciful expression. There is some
difficulty in explaining the steps by which the number 729 is obtained;
the oligarch is removed in the third degree from the royal and
aristocratical, and the tyrant in the third degree from the oligarchical;
but we have to arrange the terms as the sides of a square and to count the
oligarch twice over, thus reckoning them not as = 5 but as = 9. The square
of 9 is passed lightly over as only a step towards the cube.

3. Towards the close of the Republic, Plato seems to be more and more
convinced of the ideal character of his own speculations. At the end of
the 9th Book the pattern which is in heaven takes the place of the city of
philosophers on earth. The vision which has received form and substance at
his hands, is now discovered to be at a distance. And yet this distant
kingdom is also the rule of man's life (Bk. vii. 540 E). ('Say not lo!
here, or lo! there, for the kingdom of God is within you.') Thus a note is
struck which prepares for the revelation of a future {cxlvi} life in the
following Book. But the future life is present still; the ideal of
politics is to be realized in the individual.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic X._ Analysis.]

BOOK X. *595* Many things pleased me in the order of our State, but there
was nothing which I liked better than the regulation about poetry. The
division of the soul throws a new light on our exclusion of imitation. I
do not mind telling you in confidence that all poetry is an outrage on the
understanding, unless the hearers have that balm of knowledge which heals
error. I have loved Homer ever since I was a boy, and even now he appears
to me to be the great master of tragic poetry. But much as I love the man,
I love truth more, and therefore I must speak out: and first of all, will
you explain what is imitation, for really I do not understand? 'How likely
then that I should understand!' *596* That might very well be, for the
duller often sees better than the keener eye. 'True, but in your presence
I can hardly venture to say what I think.' Then suppose that we begin in
our old fashion, with the doctrine of universals. Let us assume the
existence of beds and tables. There is one idea of a bed, or of a table,
which the maker of each had in his mind when making them; he did not make
the ideas of beds and tables, but he made beds and tables according to the
ideas. And is there not a maker of the works of all workmen, who makes not
only vessels but plants and animals, himself, the earth and heaven, and
things in heaven and under the earth? He makes the Gods also. 'He must be
a wizard indeed!' But do you not see that there is a sense in which you
could do the same? You have only to take a mirror, and catch the
reflection of the sun, and the earth, or anything else--there now you have
made them. 'Yes, but only in appearance.' Exactly so; and the painter is
such a creator as you are with the mirror, and he is even more unreal than
the carpenter; although neither the carpenter *597* nor any other artist
can be supposed to make the absolute bed. 'Not if philosophers may be
believed.' Nor need we wonder that his bed has but an imperfect relation
to the truth. Reflect:--Here are three beds; one in nature, which is made
by God; another, which is made by the carpenter; and the third, by the
painter. God only made one, nor could he have made more than one; for if
there had been two, there {cxlvii} would always have been a third--more
absolute and abstract than either, under which they would have been
included. We may therefore conceive God to be the natural maker of the
bed, and in a lower sense the carpenter is also the maker; but the painter
is rather the imitator of what the other two make; he has to do with a
creation which is thrice removed from reality. And the tragic poet is an
imitator, and, like every other imitator, is thrice removed from the king
and from the truth. The painter imitates not the original bed, *598* but
the bed made by the carpenter. And this, without being really different,
appears to be different, and has many points of view, of which only one is
caught by the painter, who represents everything because he represents a
piece of everything, and that piece an image. And he can paint any other
artist, although he knows nothing of their arts; and this with sufficient
skill to deceive children or simple people. Suppose now that somebody came
to us and told us, how he had met a man who knew all that everybody knows,
and better than anybody:--should we not infer him to be a simpleton who,
having no discernment of truth and falsehood, had met with a wizard or
enchanter, whom he fancied to be all-wise? And when we hear persons saying
that Homer and the tragedians know all the arts and all the virtues, must
we not infer that they are under a similar delusion? *599* they do not see
that the poets are imitators, and that their creations are only
imitations. 'Very true.' But if a person could create as well as imitate,
he would rather leave some permanent work and not an imitation only; he
would rather be the receiver than the giver of praise? 'Yes, for then he
would have more honour and advantage.'

Let us now interrogate Homer and the poets. Friend Homer, say I to him,
I am not going to ask you about medicine, or any art to which your poems
incidentally refer, but about their main subjects--war, military tactics,
politics. If you are only twice and not thrice removed from the truth--not
an imitator or an image-maker, please to inform us what good you have ever
done to mankind? Is there any city which professes to have received laws
from you, as Sicily and Italy have from Charondas, *600* Sparta from
Lycurgus, Athens from Solon? Or was any war ever carried on by your
counsels? or is any invention attributed to you, as there is to Thales and
Anacharsis? Or is there any {cxlviii} Homeric way of life, such as the
Pythagorean was, in which you instructed men, and which is called after
you? 'No, indeed; and Creophylus [Flesh-child] was even more unfortunate
in his breeding than he was in his name, if, as tradition says, Homer in
his lifetime was allowed by him and his other friends to starve.' Yes, but
could this ever have happened if Homer had really been the educator of
Hellas? Would he not have had many devoted followers? If Protagoras and
Prodicus can persuade their contemporaries that no one can manage house or
State without them, is it likely that Homer and Hesiod would have been
allowed to go about as beggars--I mean if they had really been able to do
the world any good?--would not men have compelled them to stay where they
were, or have followed them about in order to get education? But they did
not; and therefore we may infer that Homer and all the poets are only
imitators, who do but imitate the appearances of things. *601* For as a
painter by a knowledge of figure and colour can paint a cobbler without
any practice in cobbling, so the poet can delineate any art in the colours
of language, and give harmony and rhythm to the cobbler and also to the
general; and you know how mere narration, when deprived of the ornaments
of metre, is like a face which has lost the beauty of youth and never had
any other. Once more, the imitator has no knowledge of reality, but only
of appearance. The painter paints, and the artificer makes a bridle and
reins, but neither understands the use of them--the knowledge of this is
confined to the horseman; and so of other things. Thus we have three arts:
one of use, another of invention, a third of imitation; and the user
furnishes the rule to the two others. The flute-player will know the good
and bad flute, and the maker will put faith in him; but *602* the imitator
will neither know nor have faith--neither science nor true opinion can be
ascribed to him. Imitation, then, is devoid of knowledge, being only a
kind of play or sport, and the tragic and epic poets are imitators in the
highest degree.

And now let us enquire, what is the faculty in man which answers to
imitation. Allow me to explain my meaning: Objects are differently seen
when in the water and when out of the water, when near and when at a
distance; and the painter or juggler makes use of this variation to impose
upon us. And {cxlix} the art of measuring and weighing and calculating
comes in to save our bewildered minds from the power of appearance; for,
as we were saying, *603* two contrary opinions of the same about the same
and at the same time, cannot both of them be true. But which of them is
true is determined by the art of calculation; and this is allied to the
better faculty in the soul, as the arts of imitation are to the worse. And
the same holds of the ear as well as of the eye, of poetry as well as
painting. The imitation is of actions voluntary or involuntary, in which
there is an expectation of a good or bad result, and present experience of
pleasure and pain. But is a man in harmony with himself when he is the
subject of these conflicting influences? Is there not rather a
contradiction in him? Let me further ask, whether *604* he is more likely
to control sorrow when he is alone or when he is in company. 'In the
latter case.' Feeling would lead him to indulge his sorrow, but reason and
law control him and enjoin patience; since he cannot know whether his
affliction is good or evil, and no human thing is of any great
consequence, while sorrow is certainly a hindrance to good counsel. For
when we stumble, we should not, like children, make an uproar; we should
take the measures which reason prescribes, not raising a lament, but
finding a cure. And the better part of us is ready to follow reason, while
the irrational principle is full of sorrow and distraction at the
recollection of our troubles. Unfortunately, however, this latter
furnishes the chief materials of the imitative arts. Whereas reason is
ever in repose and cannot easily be displayed, especially to a mixed
multitude who have no experience of her. *605* Thus the poet is like the
painter in two ways: first he paints an inferior degree of truth, and
secondly, he is concerned with an inferior part of the soul. He indulges
the feelings, while he enfeebles the reason; and we refuse to allow him to
have authority over the mind of man; for he has no measure of greater and
less, and is a maker of images and very far gone from truth.

But we have not yet mentioned the heaviest count in the indictment--the
power which poetry has of injuriously exciting the feelings. When we hear
some passage in which a hero laments his sufferings at tedious length, you
know that we sympathize with him and praise the poet; and yet in our own
{cl} sorrows such an exhibition of feeling is regarded as effeminate and
unmanly (cp. Ion, 535 E). Now, ought a man to feel pleasure in seeing
another do what he hates and abominates in himself? *606* Is he not giving
way to a sentiment which in his own case he would control?--he is off his
guard because the sorrow is another's; and he thinks that he may indulge
his feelings without disgrace, and will be the gainer by the pleasure. But
the inevitable consequence is that he who begins by weeping at the sorrows
of others, will end by weeping at his own. The same is true of
comedy,--you may often laugh at buffoonery which you would be ashamed to
utter, and the love of coarse merriment on the stage will at last turn you
into a buffoon at home. Poetry feeds and waters the passions and desires;
she lets them rule instead of ruling them. And therefore, when we hear the
encomiasts of Homer affirming that he is the educator of Hellas, *607* and
that all life should be regulated by his precepts, we may allow the
excellence of their intentions, and agree with them in thinking Homer a
great poet and tragedian. But we shall continue to prohibit all poetry
which goes beyond hymns to the Gods and praises of famous men. Not
pleasure and pain, but law and reason shall rule in our State.

These are our grounds for expelling poetry; but lest she should charge us
with discourtesy, let us also make an apology to her. We will remind her
that there is an ancient quarrel between poetry and philosophy, of which
there are many traces in the writings of the poets, such as the saying of
'the she-dog, yelping at her mistress,' and 'the philosophers who are
ready to circumvent Zeus,' and 'the philosophers who are paupers.'
Nevertheless we bear her no ill-will, and will gladly allow her to return
upon condition that she makes a defence of herself in verse; and her
supporters who are not poets may speak in prose. We confess her charms;
but if she cannot show that she is useful as well as delightful, like
rational lovers, we must renounce our love, though endeared to us by early
associations. *608* Having come to years of discretion, we know that
poetry is not truth, and that a man should be careful how he introduces
her to that state or constitution which he himself is; for there is a
mighty issue at stake--no less than the good or evil of a human soul. And
it is not worth while to forsake justice and virtue {cli} for the
attractions of poetry, any more than for the sake of honour or wealth.
'I agree with you.'

And yet the rewards of virtue are greater far than I have described. 'And
can we conceive things greater still?' Not, perhaps, in this brief span of
life: but should an immortal being care about anything short of eternity?
'I do not understand what you mean?' Do you not know that the soul is
immortal? 'Surely you are not prepared to prove that?' Indeed I am. 'Then
let me hear this argument, of which you make so light.'

*609* You would admit that everything has an element of good and of evil.
In all things there is an inherent corruption; and if this cannot destroy
them, nothing else will. The soul too has her own corrupting principles,
which are injustice, intemperance, cowardice, and the like. But none of
these destroy the soul in the same sense that disease destroys the body.
The soul may be full of all iniquities, but is not, by reason of them,
brought any nearer to death. Nothing which was not destroyed from within
ever perished by external affection of evil. The body, which is one thing,
*610* cannot be destroyed by food, which is another, unless the badness of
the food is communicated to the body. Neither can the soul, which is one
thing, be corrupted by the body, which is another, unless she herself is
infected. And as no bodily evil can infect the soul, neither can any
bodily evil, whether disease or violence, or any other destroy the soul,
unless it can be shown to render her unholy and unjust. But no one will
ever prove that the souls of men become more unjust when they die. If a
person has the audacity to say the contrary, the answer is--Then why do
criminals require the hand of the executioner, and not die of themselves?
'Truly,' he said, 'injustice would not be very terrible if it brought a
cessation of evil; but I rather believe that the injustice which murders
others may tend to quicken and stimulate the life of the unjust.' You are
quite right. If sin which is her own natural and inherent evil cannot
destroy the soul, hardly will anything else destroy her. *611* But the
soul which cannot be destroyed either by internal or external evil must be
immortal and everlasting. And if this be true, souls will always exist in
the same number. They cannot diminish, because they cannot be destroyed;
nor yet increase, for the increase of the immortal must come from
something {clii} mortal, and so all would end in immortality. Neither is
the soul variable and diverse; for that which is immortal must be of the
fairest and simplest composition. If we would conceive her truly, and so
behold justice and injustice in their own nature, she must be viewed by
the light of reason pure as at birth, or as she is reflected in philosophy
when holding converse with the divine and immortal and eternal. In her
present condition we see her only like the sea-god Glaucus, bruised and
maimed in the sea which is the world, *612* and covered with shells and
stones which are incrusted upon her from the entertainments of earth.

Thus far, as the argument required, we have said nothing of the rewards
and honours which the poets attribute to justice; we have contented
ourselves with showing that justice in herself is best for the soul in
herself, even if a man should put on a Gyges' ring and have the helmet of
Hades too. And now you shall repay me what you borrowed; and I will
enumerate the rewards of justice in life and after death. I granted, for
the sake of argument, as you will remember, that evil might perhaps escape
the knowledge of Gods and men, although this was really impossible. And
since I have shown that justice has reality, you must grant me also that
she has the palm of appearance. In the first place, the just man is known
to the Gods, *613* and he is therefore the friend of the Gods, and he will
receive at their hands every good, always excepting such evil as is the
necessary consequence of former sins. All things end in good to him,
either in life or after death, even what appears to be evil; for the Gods
have a care of him who desires to be in their likeness. And what shall we
say of men? Is not honesty the best policy? The clever rogue makes a great
start at first, but breaks down before he reaches the goal, and slinks
away in dishonour; whereas the true runner perseveres to the end, and
receives the prize. And you must allow me to repeat all the blessings
which you attributed to the fortunate unjust--they bear rule in the city,
they marry and give in marriage to whom they will; and the evils which you
attributed to the unfortunate just, do really fall in the end on the
unjust, although, as you implied, their sufferings are better veiled in

*614* But all the blessings of this present life are as nothing when
{cliii} compared with those which await good men after death. 'I should
like to hear about them.' Come, then, and I will tell you the story of Er,
the son of Armenius, a valiant man. He was supposed to have died in
battle, but ten days afterwards his body was found untouched by corruption
and sent home for burial. On the twelfth day he was placed on the funeral
pyre and there he came to life again, and told what he had seen in the
world below. He said that his soul went with a great company to a place,
in which there were two chasms near together in the earth beneath, and two
corresponding chasms in the heaven above. And there were judges sitting in
the intermediate space, bidding the just ascend by the heavenly way on the
right hand, having the seal of their judgment set upon them before, while
the unjust, having the seal behind, were bidden to descend by the way on
the left hand. Him they told to look and listen, as he was to be their
messenger to men from the world below. And he beheld and saw the souls
departing after judgment at either chasm; some who came from earth, were
worn and travel-stained; others, who came from heaven, were clean and
bright. They seemed glad to meet and rest awhile in the meadow; here they
discoursed with one another of what they had seen in the other world.
*615* Those who came from earth wept at the remembrance of their sorrows,
but the spirits from above spoke of glorious sights and heavenly bliss. He
said that for every evil deed they were punished tenfold--now the journey
was of a thousand years' duration, because the life of man was reckoned as
a hundred years--and the rewards of virtue were in the same proportion. He
added something hardly worth repeating about infants dying almost as soon
as they were born. Of parricides and other murderers he had tortures still
more terrible to narrate. He was present when one of the spirits
asked--Where is Ardiaeus the Great? (This Ardiaeus was a cruel tyrant, who
had murdered his father, and his elder brother, a thousand years before.)
Another spirit answered, 'He comes not hither, and will never come. And I
myself,' he added, 'actually saw this terrible sight. At the entrance of
the chasm, as we were about to reascend, Ardiaeus appeared, and some other
sinners--most of whom had been tyrants, but not all--and just as they
fancied that they were returning to life, the chasm gave a roar, *616* and
then wild, fiery-looking men who knew the {cliv} meaning of the sound,
seized him and several others, and bound them hand and foot and threw them
down, and dragged them along at the side of the road, lacerating them and
carding them like wool, and explaining to the passers-by, that they were
going to be cast into hell.' The greatest terror of the pilgrims ascending
was lest they should hear the voice, and when there was silence one by one
they passed up with joy. To these sufferings there were corresponding

On the eighth day the souls of the pilgrims resumed their journey, and in
four days came to a spot whence they looked down upon a line of light, in
colour like a rainbow, only brighter and clearer. One day more brought
them to the place, and they saw that this was the column of light which
binds together the whole universe. The ends of the column were fastened to
heaven, and from them hung the distaff of Necessity, on which all the
heavenly bodies turned--the hook and spindle were of adamant, and the
whorl of a mixed substance. The whorl was in form like a number of boxes
fitting into one another with their edges turned upwards, making together
a single whorl which was pierced by the spindle. The outermost had the rim
broadest, and the inner whorls were smaller and smaller, and had their
rims narrower. The largest (the fixed stars) was spangled--the seventh
(the sun) was brightest--the eighth (the moon) shone by the light of the
seventh-- *617* the second and fifth (Saturn and Mercury) were most like
one another and yellower than the eighth--the third (Jupiter) had the
whitest light--the fourth (Mars) was red--the sixth (Venus) was in
whiteness second. The whole had one motion, but while this was revolving
in one direction the seven inner circles were moving in the opposite, with
various degrees of swiftness and slowness. The spindle turned on the knees
of Necessity, and a Siren stood hymning upon each circle, while Lachesis,
Clotho, and Atropos, the daughters of Necessity, sat on thrones at equal
intervals, singing of past, present, and future, responsive to the music
of the Sirens; Clotho from time to time guiding the outer circle with a
touch of her right hand; Atropos with her left hand touching and guiding
the inner circles; Lachesis in turn putting forth her hand from time to
time to guide both of them. On their arrival the pilgrims went to
Lachesis, and there was an interpreter who arranged them, and taking from
her {clv} knees lots, and samples of lives, got up into a pulpit and said:
'Mortal souls, hear the words of Lachesis, the daughter of Necessity. A
new period of mortal life has begun, and you may choose what divinity you
please; the responsibility of choosing is with you--God is blameless.'
*618* After speaking thus, he cast the lots among them and each one took
up the lot which fell near him. He then placed on the ground before them
the samples of lives, many more than the souls present; and there were all
sorts of lives, of men and of animals. There were tyrannies ending in
misery and exile, and lives of men and women famous for their different
qualities; and also mixed lives, made up of wealth and poverty, sickness
and health. Here, Glaucon, is the great risk of human life, and therefore
the whole of education should be directed to the acquisition of such a
knowledge as will teach a man to refuse the evil and choose the good. He
should know all the combinations which occur in life--of beauty with
poverty or with wealth,--of knowledge with external goods,--and at last
choose with reference to the nature of the soul, regarding that only as
the better life which makes men better, and leaving the rest. And *619* a
man must take with him an iron sense of truth and right into the world
below, that there too he may remain undazzled by wealth or the allurements
of evil, and be determined to avoid the extremes and choose the mean. For
this, as the messenger reported the interpreter to have said, is the true
happiness of man; and any one, as he proclaimed, may, if he choose with
understanding, have a good lot, even though he come last. 'Let not the
first be careless in his choice, nor the last despair.' He spoke; and when
he had spoken, he who had drawn the first lot chose a tyranny: he did not
see that he was fated to devour his own children--and when he discovered
his mistake, he wept and beat his breast, blaming chance and the Gods and
anybody rather than himself. He was one of those who had come from heaven,
and in his previous life had been a citizen of a well-ordered State, but
he had only habit and no philosophy. Like many another, he made a bad
choice, because he had no experience of life; whereas those who came from
earth and had seen trouble were not in such a hurry to choose. But if a
man had followed philosophy while upon earth, and had been moderately
fortunate in his lot, he might not only be happy here, but his pilgrimage
both from and {clvi} to this world would be smooth and heavenly. Nothing
was more curious than the spectacle of the choice, at once sad and
laughable and wonderful; most of the souls only seeking to avoid their own
condition in a previous life. *620* He saw the soul of Orpheus changing
into a swan because he would not be born of a woman; there was Thamyras
becoming a nightingale; musical birds, like the swan, choosing to be men;
the twentieth soul, which was that of Ajax, preferring the life of a lion
to that of a man, in remembrance of the injustice which was done to him in
the judgment of the arms; and Agamemnon, from a like enmity to human
nature, passing into an eagle. About the middle was the soul of Atalanta
choosing the honours of an athlete, and next to her Epeus taking the
nature of a workwoman; among the last was Thersites, who was changing
himself into a monkey. Thither, the last of all, came Odysseus, and sought
the lot of a private man, which lay neglected and despised, and when he
found it he went away rejoicing, and said that if he had been first
instead of last, his choice would have been the same. Men, too, were seen
passing into animals, and wild and tame animals changing into one another.

When all the souls had chosen they went to Lachesis, who sent with each of
them their genius or attendant to fulfil their lot. He first of all
brought them under the hand of Clotho, and drew them within the revolution
of the spindle impelled by her hand; from her they were carried to
Atropos, who made the threads irreversible; *621* whence, without turning
round, they passed beneath the throne of Necessity; and when they had all
passed, they moved on in scorching heat to the plain of Forgetfulness and
rested at evening by the river Unmindful, whose water could not be
retained in any vessel; of this they had all to drink a certain
quantity--some of them drank more than was required, and he who drank
forgot all things. Er himself was prevented from drinking. When they had
gone to rest, about the middle of the night there were thunderstorms and
earthquakes, and suddenly they were all driven divers ways, shooting like
stars to their birth. Concerning his return to the body, he only knew that
awaking suddenly in the morning he found himself lying on the pyre.

Thus, Glaucon, the tale has been saved, and will be our salvation, if we
believe that the soul is immortal, and hold fast to the {clvii} heavenly
way of Justice and Knowledge. So shall we pass undefiled over the river of
Forgetfulness, and be dear to ourselves and to the Gods, and have a crown
of reward and happiness both in this world and also in the millennial
pilgrimage of the other.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic X._ Introduction.]

The Tenth Book of the Republic of Plato falls into two divisions: first,
resuming an old thread which has been interrupted, Socrates assails the
poets, who, now that the nature of the soul has been analyzed, are seen to
be very far gone from the truth; and secondly, having shown the reality of
the happiness of the just, he demands that appearance shall be restored to
him, and then proceeds to prove the immortality of the soul. The argument,
as in the Phaedo and Gorgias, is supplemented by the vision of a future

       *       *       *       *       *

Why Plato, who was himself a poet, and whose dialogues are poems and
dramas, should have been hostile to the poets as a class, and especially
to the dramatic poets; why he should not have seen that truth may be
embodied in verse as well as in prose, and that there are some indefinable
lights and shadows of human life which can only be expressed in
poetry--some elements of imagination which always entwine with reason; why
he should have supposed epic verse to be inseparably associated with the
impurities of the old Hellenic mythology; why he should try Homer and
Hesiod by the unfair and prosaic test of utility,--are questions which
have always been debated amongst students of Plato. Though unable to give
a complete answer to them, we may show--first, that his views arose
naturally out of the circumstances of his age; and secondly, we may elicit
the truth as well as the error which is contained in them.

He is the enemy of the poets because poetry was declining in his own
lifetime, and a theatrocracy, as he says in the Laws (iii. 701 A), had
taken the place of an intellectual aristocracy. Euripides exhibited the
last phase of the tragic drama, and in him Plato saw the friend and
apologist of tyrants, and the Sophist of tragedy. The old comedy was
almost extinct; the new had not yet arisen. Dramatic and lyric poetry,
like every other branch of Greek literature, was falling under the power
of rhetoric. There was no 'second or third' to schylus and {clviii}
Sophocles in the generation which followed them. Aristophanes, in one of
his later comedies (Frogs, 89 foll.), speaks of 'thousands of
tragedy-making prattlers,' whose attempts at poetry he compares to the
chirping of swallows; 'their garrulity went far beyond Euripides,'--'they
appeared once upon the stage, and there was an end of them.' To a man of
genius who had a real appreciation of the godlike schylus and the noble
and gentle Sophocles, though disagreeing with some parts of their
'theology' (Rep. ii. 380), these 'minor poets' must have been contemptible
and intolerable. There is no feeling stronger in the dialogues of Plato
than a sense of the decline and decay both in literature and in politics
which marked his own age. Nor can he have been expected to look with
favour on the licence of Aristophanes, now at the end of his career, who
had begun by satirizing Socrates in the Clouds, and in a similar spirit
forty years afterwards had satirized the founders of ideal commonwealths
in his Eccleziazusae, or Female Parliament (cp. x. 606 C, and Laws ii. 658
ff.; 817).

There were other reasons for the antagonism of Plato to poetry. The
profession of an actor was regarded by him as a degradation of human
nature, for 'one man in his life' cannot 'play many parts;' the characters
which the actor performs seem to destroy his own character, and to leave
nothing which can be truly called himself. Neither can any man live his
life and act it. The actor is the slave of his art, not the master of it.
Taking this view Plato is more decided in his expulsion of the dramatic
than of the epic poets, though he must have known that the Greek
tragedians afforded noble lessons and examples of virtue and patriotism,
to which nothing in Homer can be compared. But great dramatic or even
great rhetorical power is hardly consistent with firmness or strength of
mind, and dramatic talent is often incidentally associated with a weak or
dissolute character.

In the Tenth Book Plato introduces a new series of objections. First, he
says that the poet or painter is an imitator, and in the third degree
removed from the truth. His creations are not tested by rule and measure;
they are only appearances. In modern times we should say that art is not
merely imitation, but rather the expression of the ideal in forms of
sense. Even adopting the humble image of Plato, from which his argument
derives a colour, we should maintain that the artist {clix} may ennoble
the bed which he paints by the folds of the drapery, or by the feeling of
home which he introduces; and there have been modern painters who have
imparted such an ideal interest to a blacksmith's or a carpenter's shop.
The eye or mind which feels as well as sees can give dignity and pathos to
a ruined mill, or a straw-built shed [Rembrandt], to the hull of a vessel
'going to its last home' [Turner]. Still more would this apply to the
greatest works of art, which seem to be the visible embodiment of the
divine. Had Plato been asked whether the Zeus or Athene of Pheidias was
the imitation of an imitation only, would he not have been compelled to
admit that something more was to be found in them than in the form of any
mortal; and that the rule of proportion to which they conformed was
'higher far than any geometry or arithmetic could express?' (Statesman,
257 A.)

Again, Plato objects to the imitative arts that they express the emotional
rather than the rational part of human nature. He does not admit
Aristotle's theory, that tragedy or other serious imitations are a
purgation of the passions by pity and fear; to him they appear only to
afford the opportunity of indulging them. Yet we must acknowledge that we
may sometimes cure disordered emotions by giving expression to them; and
that they often gain strength when pent up within our own breast. It is
not every indulgence of the feelings which is to be condemned. For there
may be a gratification of the higher as well as of the lower--thoughts
which are too deep or too sad to be expressed by ourselves, may find an
utterance in the words of poets. Every one would acknowledge that there
have been times when they were consoled and elevated by beautiful music or
by the sublimity of architecture or by the peacefulness of nature. Plato
has himself admitted, in the earlier part of the Republic, that the arts
might have the effect of harmonizing as well as of enervating the mind;
but in the Tenth Book he regards them through a Stoic or Puritan medium.
He asks only 'What good have they done?' and is not satisfied with the
reply, that 'They have given innocent pleasure to mankind.'

He tells us that he rejoices in the banishment of the poets, since he has
found by the analysis of the soul that they are concerned with the
inferior faculties. He means to say that {clx} the higher faculties have
to do with universals, the lower with particulars of sense. The poets are
on a level with their own age, but not on a level with Socrates and Plato;
and he was well aware that Homer and Hesiod could not be made a rule of
life by any process of legitimate interpretation; his ironical use of them
is in fact a denial of their authority; he saw, too, that the poets were
not critics--as he says in the Apology, 'Any one was a better interpreter
of their writings than they were themselves' (22 C). He himself ceased to
be a poet when he became a disciple of Socrates; though, as he tells us of
Solon, 'he might have been one of the greatest of them, if he had not been
deterred by other pursuits' (Tim. 21 C) Thus from many points of view
there is an antagonism between Plato and the poets, which was foreshadowed
to him in the old quarrel between philosophy and poetry. The poets, as he
says in the Protagoras (316 E), were the Sophists of their day; and his
dislike of the one class is reflected on the other. He regards them both
as the enemies of reasoning and abstraction, though in the case of
Euripides more with reference to his immoral sentiments about tyrants and
the like. For Plato is the prophet who 'came into the world to convince
men'--first of the fallibility of sense and opinion, and secondly of the
reality of abstract ideas. Whatever strangeness there may be in modern
times in opposing philosophy to poetry, which to us seem to have so many
elements in common, the strangeness will disappear if we conceive of
poetry as allied to sense, and of philosophy as equivalent to thought and
abstraction. Unfortunately the very word 'idea,' which to Plato is
expressive of the most real of all things, is associated in our minds with
an element of subjectiveness and unreality. We may note also how he
differs from Aristotle who declares poetry to be truer than history, for
the opposite reason, because it is concerned with universals, not like
history, with particulars (Poet. c. 9, 3).

The things which are seen are opposed in Scripture to the things which are
unseen--they are equally opposed in Plato to universals and ideas. To him
all particulars appear to be floating about in a world of sense; they have
a taint of error or even of evil. There is no difficulty in seeing that
this is an illusion; for there is no more error or variation in an
individual man, horse, {clxi} bed, etc., than in the class man, horse,
bed, etc.; nor is the truth which is displayed in individual instances
less certain than that which is conveyed through the medium of ideas. But
Plato, who is deeply impressed with the real importance of universals as
instruments of thought, attributes to them an essential truth which is
imaginary and unreal; for universals may be often false and particulars
true. Had he attained to any clear conception of the individual, which is
the synthesis of the universal and the particular; or had he been able to
distinguish between opinion and sensation, which the ambiguity of the
words [Greek: do/xa, phai/nesthai, ei)ko\s] and the like, tended to
confuse, he would not have denied truth to the particulars of sense.

But the poets are also the representatives of falsehood and feigning in
all departments of life and knowledge, like the sophists and rhetoricians
of the Gorgias and Phaedrus; they are the false priests, false prophets,
lying spirits, enchanters of the world. There is another count put into
the indictment against them by Plato, that they are the friends of the
tyrant, and bask in the sunshine of his patronage. Despotism in all ages
has had an apparatus of false ideas and false teachers at its service--in
the history of Modern Europe as well as of Greece and Rome. For no
government of men depends solely upon force; without some corruption of
literature and morals--some appeal to the imagination of the masses--some
pretence to the favour of heaven--some element of good giving power to
evil (cp. i. 352), tyranny, even for a short time, cannot be maintained.
The Greek tyrants were not insensible to the importance of awakening in
their cause a Pseudo-Hellenic feeling; they were proud of successes at the
Olympic games; they were not devoid of the love of literature and art.
Plato is thinking in the first instance of Greek poets who had graced the
courts of Dionysius or Archelaus: and the old spirit of freedom is roused
within him at their prostitution of the Tragic Muse in the praises of
tyranny. But his prophetic eye extends beyond them to the false teachers
of other ages who are the creatures of the government under which they
live. He compares the corruption of his contemporaries with the idea of a
perfect society, and gathers up into one mass of evil the evils and errors
of mankind; to him they are personified in the {clxii} rhetoricians,
sophists, poets, rulers who deceive and govern the world.

A further objection which Plato makes to poetry and the imitative arts is
that they excite the emotions. Here the modern reader will be disposed to
introduce a distinction which appears to have escaped him. For the
emotions are neither bad nor good in themselves, and are not most likely
to be controlled by the attempt to eradicate them, but by the moderate
indulgence of them. And the vocation of art is to present thought in the
form of feeling, to enlist the feelings on the side of reason, to inspire
even for a moment courage or resignation; perhaps to suggest a sense of
infinity and eternity in a way which mere language is incapable of
attaining. True, the same power which in the purer age of art embodies
gods and heroes only, may be made to express the voluptuous image of a
Corinthian courtezan. But this only shows that art, like other outward
things, may be turned to good and also to evil, and is not more closely
connected with the higher than with the lower part of the soul. All
imitative art is subject to certain limitations, and therefore necessarily
partakes of the nature of a compromise. Something of ideal truth is
sacrificed for the sake of the representation, and something in the
exactness of the representation is sacrificed to the ideal. Still, works
of art have a permanent element; they idealize and detain the passing
thought, and are the intermediates between sense and ideas.

In the present stage of the human mind, poetry and other forms of fiction
may certainly be regarded as a good. But we can also imagine the existence
of an age in which a severer conception of truth has either banished or
transformed them. At any rate we must admit that they hold a different
place at different periods of the world's history. In the infancy of
mankind, poetry, with the exception of proverbs, is the whole of
literature, and the only instrument of intellectual culture; in modern
times she is the shadow or echo of her former self, and appears to have a
precarious existence. Milton in his day doubted whether an epic poem was
any longer possible. At the same time we must remember, that what Plato
would have called the charms of poetry have been partly transferred
{clxiii} to prose; he himself (Statesman 304) admits rhetoric to be the
handmaiden of Politics, and proposes to find in the strain of law (Laws
vii. 811) a substitute for the old poets. Among ourselves the creative
power seems often to be growing weaker, and scientific fact to be more
engrossing and overpowering to the mind than formerly. The illusion of the
feelings commonly called love, has hitherto been the inspiring influence
of modern poetry and romance, and has exercised a humanizing if not a
strengthening influence on the world. But may not the stimulus which love
has given to fancy be some day exhausted? The modern English novel which
is the most popular of all forms of reading is not more than a century or
two old: will the tale of love a hundred years hence, after so many
thousand variations of the same theme, be still received with unabated

Art cannot claim to be on a level with philosophy or religion, and may
often corrupt them. It is possible to conceive a mental state in which all
artistic representations are regarded as a false and imperfect expression,
either of the religious ideal or of the philosophical ideal. The fairest
forms may be revolting in certain moods of mind, as is proved by the fact
that the Mahometans, and many sects of Christians, have renounced the use
of pictures and images. The beginning of a great religion, whether
Christian or Gentile, has not been 'wood or stone,' but a spirit moving in
the hearts of men. The disciples have met in a large upper room or in
'holes and caves of the earth'; in the second or third generation, they
have had mosques, temples, churches, monasteries. And the revival or
reform of religions, like the first revelation of them, has come from
within and has generally disregarded external ceremonies and

But poetry and art may also be the expression of the highest truth and the
purest sentiment. Plato himself seems to waver between two opposite
views--when, as in the third Book, he insists that youth should be brought
up amid wholesome imagery; and again in Book x, when he banishes the poets
from his Republic. Admitting that the arts, which some of us almost deify,
have fallen short of their higher aim, we must admit on the other hand
that to banish imagination wholly would be suicidal {clxiv} as well as
impossible. For nature too is a form of art; and a breath of the fresh air
or a single glance at the varying landscape would in an instant revive and
reillumine the extinguished spark of poetry in the human breast. In the
lower stages of civilization imagination more than reason distinguishes
man from the animals; and to banish art would be to banish thought, to
banish language, to banish the expression of all truth. No religion is
wholly devoid of external forms; even the Mahometan who renounces the use
of pictures and images has a temple in which he worships the Most High, as
solemn and beautiful as any Greek or Christian building. Feeling too and
thought are not really opposed; for he who thinks must feel before he can
execute. And the highest thoughts, when they become familiarized to us,
are always tending to pass into the form of feeling.

Plato does not seriously intend to expel poets from life and society. But
he feels strongly the unreality of their writings; he is protesting
against the degeneracy of poetry in his own day as we might protest
against the want of serious purpose in modern fiction, against the
unseemliness or extravagance of some of our poets or novelists, against
the time-serving of preachers or public writers, against the
regardlessness of truth which to the eye of the philosopher seems to
characterize the greater part of the world. For we too have reason to
complain that our poets and novelists 'paint inferior truth' and 'are
concerned with the inferior part of the soul'; that the readers of them
become what they read and are injuriously affected by them. And we look in
vain for that healthy atmosphere of which Plato speaks,--'the beauty which
meets the sense like a breeze and imperceptibly draws the soul, even in
childhood, into harmony with the beauty of reason.'

For there might be a poetry which would be the hymn of divine perfection,
the harmony of goodness and truth among men: a strain which should renew
the youth of the world, and bring back the ages in which the poet was
man's only teacher and best friend,--which would find materials in the
living present as well as in the romance of the past, and might subdue to
the fairest forms of speech and verse the intractable materials of modern
civilisation,--which might elicit the simple principles, or, as Plato
{clxv} would have called them, the essential forms, of truth and justice
out of the variety of opinion and the complexity of modern society,--which
would preserve all the good of each generation and leave the bad
unsung,--which should be based not on vain longings or faint imaginings,
but on a clear insight into the nature of man. Then the tale of love might
begin again in poetry or prose, two in one, united in the pursuit of
knowledge, or the service of God and man; and feelings of love might still
be the incentive to great thoughts and heroic deeds as in the days of
Dante or Petrarch; and many types of manly and womanly beauty might appear
among us, rising above the ordinary level of humanity, and many lives
which were like poems (Laws vii. 817 B), be not only written, but lived by
us. A few such strains have been heard among men in the tragedies of
eschylus and Sophocles, whom Plato quotes, not, as Homer is quoted by
him, in irony, but with deep and serious approval,--in the poetry of
Milton and Wordsworth, and in passages of other English poets,--first and
above all in the Hebrew prophets and psalmists. Shakespeare has taught us
how great men should speak and act; he has drawn characters of a wonderful
purity and depth; he has ennobled the human mind, but, like Homer (Rep. x.
599 foll.), he 'has left no way of life.' The next greatest poet of modern
times, Goethe, is concerned with 'a lower degree of truth'; he paints the
world as a stage on which 'all the men and women are merely players'; he
cultivates life as an art, but he furnishes no ideals of truth and action.
The poet may rebel against any attempt to set limits to his fancy; and he
may argue truly that moralizing in verse is not poetry. Possibly, like
Mephistopheles in Faust, he may retaliate on his adversaries. But the
philosopher will still be justified in asking, 'How may the heavenly gift
of poesy be devoted to the good of mankind?'

Returning to Plato, we may observe that a similar mixture of truth and
error appears in other parts of the argument. He is aware of the absurdity
of mankind framing their whole lives according to Homer; just as in the
Phaedrus he intimates the absurdity of interpreting mythology upon
rational principles; both these were the modern tendencies of his own age,
which he deservedly ridicules. On the other hand, his argument that
{clxvi} Homer, if he had been able to teach mankind anything worth
knowing, would not have been allowed by them to go about begging as a
rhapsodist, is both false and contrary to the spirit of Plato (cp. Rep.
vi. 489 A foll.). It may be compared with those other paradoxes of the
Gorgias, that 'No statesman was ever unjustly put to death by the city of
which he was the head'; and that 'No Sophist was ever defrauded by his
pupils' (Gorg. 519 foll.)......

The argument for immortality seems to rest on the absolute dualism of soul
and body. Admitting the existence of the soul, we know of no force which
is able to put an end to her. Vice is her own proper evil; and if she
cannot be destroyed by that, she cannot be destroyed by any other. Yet
Plato has acknowledged that the soul may be so overgrown by the
incrustations of earth as to lose her original form; and in the Timaeus he
recognizes more strongly than in the Republic the influence which the body
has over the mind, denying even the voluntariness of human actions, on the
ground that they proceed from physical states (Tim. 86, 87). In the
Republic, as elsewhere, he wavers between the original soul which has to
be restored, and the character which is developed by training and

The vision of another world is ascribed to Er, the son of Armenius, who is
said by Clement of Alexandria to have been Zoroaster. The tale has
certainly an oriental character, and may be compared with the pilgrimages
of the soul in the Zend Avesta (cp. Haug, Avesta, p. 197). But no trace of
acquaintance with Zoroaster is found elsewhere in Plato's writings, and
there is no reason for giving him the name of Er the Pamphylian. The
philosophy of Heracleitus cannot be shown to be borrowed from Zoroaster,
and still less the myths of Plato.

The local arrangement of the vision is less distinct than that of the
Phaedrus and Phaedo. Astronomy is mingled with symbolism and mythology;
the great sphere of heaven is represented under the symbol of a cylinder
or box, containing the seven orbits of the planets and the fixed stars;
this is suspended from an axis or spindle which turns on the knees of
Necessity; the revolutions of the seven orbits contained in the cylinder
are guided by the fates, and their harmonious motion produces {clxvii} the
music of the spheres. Through the innermost or eighth of these, which is
the moon, is passed the spindle; but it is doubtful whether this is the
continuation of the column of light, from which the pilgrims contemplate
the heavens; the words of Plato imply that they are connected, but not the
same. The column itself is clearly not of adamant. The spindle (which is
of adamant) is fastened to the ends of the chains which extend to the
middle of the column of light--this column is said to hold together the
heaven; but whether it hangs from the spindle, or is at right angles to
it, is not explained. The cylinder containing the orbits of the stars is
almost as much a symbol as the figure of Necessity turning the
spindle;--for the outermost rim is the sphere of the fixed stars, and
nothing is said about the intervals of space which divide the paths of the
stars in the heavens. The description is both a picture and an orrery, and
therefore is necessarily inconsistent with itself. The column of light is
not the Milky Way--which is neither straight, nor like a rainbow--but the
imaginary axis of the earth. This is compared to the rainbow in respect
not of form but of colour, and not to the undergirders of a trireme, but
to the straight rope running from prow to stern in which the undergirders

The orrery or picture of the heavens given in the Republic differs in its
mode of representation from the circles of the same and of the other in
the Timaeus. In both the fixed stars are distinguished from the planets,
and they move in orbits without them, although in an opposite direction:
in the Republic as in the Timaeus (40 B) they are all moving round the
axis of the world. But we are not certain that in the former they are
moving round the earth. No distinct mention is made in the Republic of the
circles of the same and other; although both in the Timaeus and in the
Republic the motion of the fixed stars is supposed to coincide with the
motion of the whole. The relative thickness of the rims is perhaps
designed to express the relative distances of the planets. Plato probably
intended to represent the earth, from which Er and his companions are
viewing the heavens, as stationary in place; but whether or not herself
revolving, unless this is implied in the revolution of the axis, is
uncertain (cp. Timaeus). The spectator {clxviii} may be supposed to look
at the heavenly bodies, either from above or below. The earth is a sort of
earth and heaven in one, like the heaven of the Phaedrus, on the back of
which the spectator goes out to take a peep at the stars and is borne
round in the revolution. There is no distinction between the equator and
the ecliptic. But Plato is no doubt led to imagine that the planets have
an opposite motion to that of the fixed stars, in order to account for
their appearances in the heavens. In the description of the meadow, and
the retribution of the good and evil after death, there are traces of

The description of the axis as a spindle, and of the heavenly bodies as
forming a whole, partly arises out of the attempt to connect the motions
of the heavenly bodies with the mythological image of the web, or weaving
of the Fates. The giving of the lots, the weaving of them, and the making
of them irreversible, which are ascribed to the three Fates--Lachesis,
Clotho, Atropos, are obviously derived from their names. The element of
chance in human life is indicated by the order of the lots. But chance,
however adverse, may be overcome by the wisdom of man, if he knows how to
choose aright; there is a worse enemy to man than chance; this enemy is
himself. He who was moderately fortunate in the number of the lot--even
the very last comer--might have a good life if he chose with wisdom. And
as Plato does not like to make an assertion which is unproven, he more
than confirms this statement a few sentences afterwards by the example of
Odysseus, who chose last. But the virtue which is founded on habit is not
sufficient to enable a man to choose; he must add to virtue knowledge, if
he is to act rightly when placed in new circumstances. The routine of good
actions and good habits is an inferior sort of goodness; and, as Coleridge
says, 'Common sense is intolerable which is not based on metaphysics,' so
Plato would have said, 'Habit is worthless which is not based upon

The freedom of the will to refuse the evil and to choose the good is
distinctly asserted. 'Virtue is free, and as a man honours or dishonours
her he will have more or less of her.' The life of man is 'rounded' by
necessity; there are circumstances prior to birth which affect him (cp.
Pol. 273 B). But within the walls of necessity there is an open space in
which he is his own master, {clxix} and can study for himself the effects
which the variously compounded gifts of nature or fortune have upon the
soul, and act accordingly. All men cannot have the first choice in
everything. But the lot of all men is good enough, if they choose wisely
and will live diligently.

The verisimilitude which is given to the pilgrimage of a thousand years,
by the intimation that Ardiaeus had lived a thousand years before; the
coincidence of Er coming to life on the twelfth day after he was supposed
to have been dead with the seven days which the pilgrims passed in the
meadow, and the four days during which they journeyed to the column of
light; the precision with which the soul is mentioned who chose the
twentieth lot; the passing remarks that there was no definite character
among the souls, and that the souls which had chosen ill blamed any one
rather than themselves; or that some of the souls drank more than was
necessary of the waters of Forgetfulness, while Er himself was hindered
from drinking; the desire of Odysseus to rest at last, unlike the
conception of him in Dante and Tennyson; the feigned ignorance of how Er
returned to the body, when the other souls went shooting like stars to
their birth,--add greatly to the probability of the narrative. They are
such touches of nature as the art of Defoe might have introduced when he
wished to win credibility for marvels and apparitions.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: _Republic._ Introduction.]

There still remain to be considered some points which have been
intentionally reserved to the end: (I) the Janus-like character of the
Republic, which presents two faces--one an Hellenic state, the other a
kingdom of philosophers. Connected with the latter of the two aspects are
(II) the paradoxes of the Republic, as they have been termed by
Morgenstern: ([Greek: a]) the community of property; ([Greek: b]) of
families; ([Greek: g]) the rule of philosophers; ([Greek: d]) the analogy
of the individual and the State, which, like some other analogies in the
Republic, is carried too far. We may then proceed to consider (III) the
subject of education as conceived by Plato, bringing together in a general
view the education of youth and the education of after-life; (IV) we may
note further some essential differences between ancient and modern
politics which are suggested by the Republic; {clxx} (V) we may compare
the Politicus and the Laws; (VI) we may observe the influence exercised by
Plato on his imitators; and (VII) take occasion to consider the nature and
value of political, and (VIII) of religious ideals.

I. Plato expressly says that he is intending to found an Hellenic State
(Book v. 470 E). Many of his regulations are characteristically Spartan;
such as the prohibition of gold and silver, the common meals of the men,
the military training of the youth, the gymnastic exercises of the women.
The life of Sparta was the life of a camp (Laws ii. 666 E), enforced even
more rigidly in time of peace than in war; the citizens of Sparta, like
Plato's, were forbidden to trade--they were to be soldiers and not
shopkeepers. Nowhere else in Greece was the individual so completely
subjected to the State; the time when he was to marry, the education of
his children, the clothes which he was to wear, the food which he was to
eat, were all prescribed by law. Some of the best enactments in the
Republic, such as the reverence to be paid to parents and elders, and some
of the worst, such as the exposure of deformed children, are borrowed from
the practice of Sparta. The encouragement of friendships between men and
youths, or of men with one another, as affording incentives to bravery, is
also Spartan; in Sparta too a nearer approach was made than in any other
Greek State to equality of the sexes, and to community of property; and
while there was probably less of licentiousness in the sense of
immorality, the tie of marriage was regarded more lightly than in the rest
of Greece. The 'suprema lex' was the preservation of the family, and the
interest of the State. The coarse strength of a military government was
not favourable to purity and refinement; and the excessive strictness of
some regulations seems to have produced a reaction. Of all Hellenes the
Spartans were most accessible to bribery; several of the greatest of them
might be described in the words of Plato as having a 'fierce secret
longing after gold and silver.' Though not in the strict sense communists,
the principle of communism was maintained among them in their division of
lands, in their common meals, in their slaves, and in the free use of one
another's goods. Marriage was a public institution: and the women were
educated by the State, and sang and danced in public with the men.

{clxxi} Many traditions were preserved at Sparta of the severity with
which the magistrates had maintained the primitive rule of music and
poetry; as in the Republic of Plato, the new-fangled poet was to be
expelled. Hymns to the Gods, which are the only kind of music admitted
into the ideal State, were the only kind which was permitted at Sparta.
The Spartans, though an unpoetical race, were nevertheless lovers of
poetry; they had been stirred by the Elegiac strains of Tyrtaeus, they had
crowded around Hippias to hear his recitals of Homer; but in this they
resembled the citizens of the timocratic rather than of the ideal State
(548 E). The council of elder men also corresponds to the Spartan
_gerousia_; and the freedom with which they are permitted to judge about
matters of detail agrees with what we are told of that institution. Once
more, the military rule of not spoiling the dead or offering arms at the
temples; the moderation in the pursuit of enemies; the importance attached
to the physical well-being of the citizens; the use of warfare for the
sake of defence rather than of aggression--are features probably suggested
by the spirit and practice of Sparta.

To the Spartan type the ideal State reverts in the first decline; and the
character of the individual timocrat is borrowed from the Spartan citizen.
The love of Lacedaemon not only affected Plato and Xenophon, but was
shared by many undistinguished Athenians; there they seemed to find a
principle which was wanting in their own democracy. The [Greek:
eu)kosmi/a] of the Spartans attracted them, that is to say, not the
goodness of their laws, but the spirit of order and loyalty which
prevailed. Fascinated by the idea, citizens of Athens would imitate the
Lacedaemonians in their dress and manners; they were known to the
contemporaries of Plato as 'the persons who had their ears bruised,' like
the Roundheads of the Commonwealth. The love of another church or country
when seen at a distance only, the longing for an imaginary simplicity in
civilized times, the fond desire of a past which never has been, or of a
future which never will be,--these are aspirations of the human mind which
are often felt among ourselves. Such feelings meet with a response in the
Republic of Plato.

But there are other features of the Platonic Republic, as, for example,
the literary and philosophical education, and the grace {clxxii} and
beauty of life, which are the reverse of Spartan. Plato wishes to give his
citizens a taste of Athenian freedom as well as of Lacedaemonian
discipline. His individual genius is purely Athenian, although in theory
he is a lover of Sparta; and he is something more than either--he has also
a true Hellenic feeling. He is desirous of humanizing the wars of Hellenes
against one another; he acknowledges that the Delphian God is the grand
hereditary interpreter of all Hellas. The spirit of harmony and the Dorian
mode are to prevail, and the whole State is to have an external beauty
which is the reflex of the harmony within. But he has not yet found out
the truth which he afterwards enunciated in the Laws (i. 628 D)--that he
was a better legislator who made men to be of one mind, than he who
trained them for war. The citizens, as in other Hellenic States,
democratic as well as aristocratic, are really an upper class; for,
although no mention is made of slaves, the lower classes are allowed to
fade away into the distance, and are represented in the individual by the
passions. Plato has no idea either of a social State in which all classes
are harmonized, or of a federation of Hellas or the world in which
different nations or States have a place. His city is equipped for war
rather than for peace, and this would seem to be justified by the ordinary
condition of Hellenic States. The myth of the earth-born men is an
embodiment of the orthodox tradition of Hellas, and the allusion to the
four ages of the world is also sanctioned by the authority of Hesiod and
the poets. Thus we see that the Republic is partly founded on the ideal of
the old Greek _polis_, partly on the actual circumstances of Hellas in
that age. Plato, like the old painters, retains the traditional form, and
like them he has also a vision of a city in the clouds.

There is yet another thread which is interwoven in the texture of the
work; for the Republic is not only a Dorian State, but a Pythagorean
league. The 'way of life' which was connected with the name of Pythagoras,
like the Catholic monastic orders, showed the power which the mind of an
individual might exercise over his contemporaries, and may have naturally
suggested to Plato the possibility of reviving such 'mediaeval
institutions.' The Pythagoreans, like Plato, enforced a rule of life and a
moral and intellectual training. The influence ascribed to music, which to
{clxxiii} us seems exaggerated, is also a Pythagorean feature; it is not
to be regarded as representing the real influence of music in the Greek
world. More nearly than any other government of Hellas, the Pythagorean
league of three hundred was an aristocracy of virtue. For once in the
history of mankind the philosophy of order or [Greek: ko/smos], expressing
and consequently enlisting on its side the combined endeavours of the
better part of the people, obtained the management of public affairs and
held possession of it for a considerable time (until about B.C. 500).
Probably only in States prepared by Dorian institutions would such a
league have been possible. The rulers, like Plato's [Greek: phu/lakes],
were required to submit to a severe training in order to prepare the way
for the education of the other members of the community. Long after the
dissolution of the Order, eminent Pythagoreans, such as Archytas of
Tarentum, retained their political influence over the cities of Magna
Graecia. There was much here that was suggestive to the kindred spirit of
Plato, who had doubtless meditated deeply on the 'way of life of
Pythagoras' (Rep. x. 600 B) and his followers. Slight traces of
Pythagoreanism are to be found in the mystical number of the State, in the
number which expresses the interval between the king and the tyrant, in
the doctrine of transmigration, in the music of the spheres, as well as in
the great though secondary importance ascribed to mathematics in

But as in his philosophy, so also in the form of his State, he goes far
beyond the old Pythagoreans. He attempts a task really impossible, which
is to unite the past of Greek history with the future of philosophy,
analogous to that other impossibility, which has often been the dream of
Christendom, the attempt to unite the past history of Europe with the
kingdom of Christ. Nothing actually existing in the world at all resembles
Plato's ideal State; nor does he himself imagine that such a State is
possible. This he repeats again and again; e.g. in the Republic (ix. _sub
fin._), or in the Laws (Book v. 739), where, casting a glance back on the
Republic, he admits that the perfect state of communism and philosophy was
impossible in his own age, though still to be retained as a pattern. The
same doubt is implied in the earnestness with which he argues in the
Republic (v. 472 D) that ideals are none the worse because they cannot be
realized in fact, and {clxxiv} in the chorus of laughter, which like a
breaking wave will, as he anticipates, greet the mention of his proposals;
though like other writers of fiction, he uses all his art to give reality
to his inventions. When asked how the ideal polity can come into being, he
answers ironically, 'When one son of a king becomes a philosopher'; he
designates the fiction of the earth-born men as 'a noble lie'; and when
the structure is finally complete, he fairly tells you that his Republic
is a vision only, which in some sense may have reality, but not in the
vulgar one of a reign of philosophers upon earth. It has been said that
Plato flies as well as walks, but this falls short of the truth; for he
flies and walks at the same time, and is in the air and on firm ground in
successive instants.

Niebuhr has asked a trifling question, which may be briefly noticed in
this place--Was Plato a good citizen? If by this is meant, Was he loyal to
Athenian institutions?--he can hardly be said to be the friend of
democracy: but neither is he the friend of any other existing form of
government; all of them he regarded as 'states of faction' (Laws viii.
832 C); none attained to his ideal of a voluntary rule over voluntary
subjects, which seems indeed more nearly to describe democracy than any
other; and the worst of them is tyranny. The truth is, that the question
has hardly any meaning when applied to a great philosopher whose writings
are not meant for a particular age and country, but for all time and all
mankind. The decline of Athenian politics was probably the motive which
led Plato to frame an ideal State, and the Republic may be regarded as
reflecting the departing glory of Hellas. As well might we complain of St.
Augustine, whose great work 'The City of God' originated in a similar
motive, for not being loyal to the Roman Empire. Even a nearer parallel
might be afforded by the first Christians, who cannot fairly be charged
with being bad citizens because, though 'subject to the higher powers,'
they were looking forward to a city which is in heaven.

II. The idea of the perfect State is full of paradox when judged of
according to the ordinary notions of mankind. The paradoxes of one age
have been said to become the commonplaces of the next; but the paradoxes
of Plato are at least as paradoxical to us as they were to his
contemporaries. The {clxxv} modern world has either sneered at them as
absurd, or denounced them as unnatural and immoral; men have been pleased
to find in Aristotle's criticisms of them the anticipation of their own
good sense. The wealthy and cultivated classes have disliked and also
dreaded them; they have pointed with satisfaction to the failure of
efforts to realize them in practice. Yet since they are the thoughts of
one of the greatest of human intelligences, and of one who had done most
to elevate morality and religion, they seem to deserve a better treatment
at our hands. We may have to address the public, as Plato does poetry, and
assure them that we mean no harm to existing institutions. There are
serious errors which have a side of truth and which therefore may fairly
demand a careful consideration: there are truths mixed with error of which
we may indeed say, 'The half is better than the whole.' Yet 'the half' may
be an important contribution to the study of human nature.

([Greek: a]) The first paradox is the community of goods, which is
mentioned slightly at the end of the third Book, and seemingly, as
Aristotle observes, is confined to the guardians; at least no mention is
made of the other classes. But the omission is not of any real
significance, and probably arises out of the plan of the work, which
prevents the writer from entering into details.

Aristotle censures the community of property much in the spirit of modern
political economy, as tending to repress industry, and as doing away with
the spirit of benevolence. Modern writers almost refuse to consider the
subject, which is supposed to have been long ago settled by the common
opinion of mankind. But it must be remembered that the sacredness of
property is a notion far more fixed in modern than in ancient times. The
world has grown older, and is therefore more conservative. Primitive
society offered many examples of land held in common, either by a tribe or
by a township, and such may probably have been the original form of landed
tenure. Ancient legislators had invented various modes of dividing and
preserving the divisions of land among the citizens; according to
Aristotle there were nations who held the land in common and divided the
produce, and there were others who divided the land and stored the produce
in common. The evils of debt and the inequality of property were far
greater in ancient than in modern {clxxvi} times, and the accidents to
which property was subject from war, or revolution, or taxation, or other
legislative interference, were also greater. All these circumstances gave
property a less fixed and sacred character. The early Christians are
believed to have held their property in common, and the principle is
sanctioned by the words of Christ himself, and has been maintained as a
counsel of perfection in almost all ages of the Church. Nor have there
been wanting instances of modern enthusiasts who have made a religion of
communism; in every age of religious excitement notions like Wycliffe's
'inheritance of grace' have tended to prevail. A like spirit, but fiercer
and more violent, has appeared in politics. 'The preparation of the Gospel
of peace' soon becomes the red flag of Republicanism.

We can hardly judge what effect Plato's views would have upon his own
contemporaries; they would perhaps have seemed to them only an
exaggeration of the Spartan commonwealth. Even modern writers would
acknowledge that the right of private property is based on expediency, and
may be interfered with in a variety of ways for the public good. Any other
mode of vesting property which was found to be more advantageous, would in
time acquire the same basis of right; 'the most useful,' in Plato's words,
'would be the most sacred.' The lawyers and ecclesiastics of former ages
would have spoken of property as a sacred institution. But they only meant
by such language to oppose the greatest amount of resistance to any
invasion of the rights of individuals and of the Church.

When we consider the question, without any fear of immediate application
to practice, in the spirit of Plato's Republic, are we quite sure that the
received notions of property are the best? Is the distribution of wealth
which is customary in civilized countries the most favourable that can be
conceived for the education and development of the mass of mankind? Can
'the spectator of all time and all existence' be quite convinced that one
or two thousand years hence, great changes will not have taken place in
the rights of property, or even that the very notion of property, beyond
what is necessary for personal maintenance, may not have disappeared? This
was a distinction familiar to Aristotle, though likely to be laughed at
among ourselves. Such a change would not be greater than some other
changes through {clxxvii} which the world has passed in the transition
from ancient to modern society, for example, the emancipation of the serfs
in Russia, or the abolition of slavery in America and the West Indies; and
not so great as the difference which separates the Eastern village
community from the Western world. To accomplish such a revolution in the
course of a few centuries, would imply a rate of progress not more rapid
than has actually taken place during the last fifty or sixty years. The
kingdom of Japan underwent more change in five or six years than Europe in
five or six hundred. Many opinions and beliefs which have been cherished
among ourselves quite as strongly as the sacredness of property have
passed away; and the most untenable propositions respecting the right of
bequests or entail have been maintained with as much fervour as the most
moderate. Some one will be heard to ask whether a state of society can be
final in which the interests of thousands are perilled on the life or
character of a single person. And many will indulge the hope that our
present condition may, after all, be only transitional, and may conduct to
a higher, in which property, besides ministering to the enjoyment of the
few, may also furnish the means of the highest culture to all, and will be
a greater benefit to the public generally, and also more under the control
of public authority. There may come a time when the saying, 'Have I not a
right to do what I will with my own?' will appear to be a barbarous relic
of individualism;--when the possession of a part may be a greater blessing
to each and all than the possession of the whole is now to any one.

Such reflections appear visionary to the eye of the practical statesman,
but they are within the range of possibility to the philosopher. He can
imagine that in some distant age or clime, and through the influence of
some individual, the notion of common property may or might have sunk as
deep into the heart of a race, and have become as fixed to them, as
private property is to ourselves. He knows that this latter institution is
not more than four or five thousand years old: may not the end revert to
the beginning? In our own age even Utopias affect the spirit of
legislation, and an abstract idea may exercise a great influence on
practical politics.

The objections that would be generally urged against Plato's community of
property, are the old ones of Aristotle, that motives {clxxviii} for
exertion would be taken away, and that disputes would arise when each was
dependent upon all. Every man would produce as little and consume as much
as he liked. The experience of civilized nations has hitherto been adverse
to Socialism. The effort is too great for human nature; men try to live in
common, but the personal feeling is always breaking in. On the other hand
it may be doubted whether our present notions of property are not
conventional, for they differ in different countries and in different
states of society. We boast of an individualism which is not freedom, but
rather an artificial result of the industrial state of modern Europe. The
individual is nominally free, but he is also powerless in a world bound
hand and foot in the chains of economic necessity. Even if we cannot
expect the mass of mankind to become disinterested, at any rate we observe
in them a power of organization which fifty years ago would never have
been suspected. The same forces which have revolutionized the political
system of Europe, may effect a similar change in the social and industrial
relations of mankind. And if we suppose the influence of some good as well
as neutral motives working in the community, there will be no absurdity in
expecting that the mass of mankind having power, and becoming enlightened
about the higher possibilities of human life, when they learn how much
more is attainable for all than is at present the possession of a favoured
few, may pursue the common interest with an intelligence and persistency
which mankind have hitherto never seen.

Now that the world has once been set in motion, and is no longer held fast
under the tyranny of custom and ignorance; now that criticism has pierced
the veil of tradition and the past no longer overpowers the present,--the
progress of civilization may be expected to be far greater and swifter
than heretofore. Even at our present rate of speed the point at which we
may arrive in two or three generations is beyond the power of imagination
to foresee. There are forces in the world which work, not in an
arithmetical, but in a geometrical ratio of increase. Education, to use
the expression of Plato, moves like a wheel with an ever-multiplying
rapidity. Nor can we say how great may be its influence, when it becomes
universal,--when it has been inherited by many generations,--when it is
freed from the trammels {clxxix} of superstition and rightly adapted to
the wants and capacities of different classes of men and women. Neither do
we know how much more the co-operation of minds or of hands may be capable
of accomplishing, whether in labour or in study. The resources of the
natural sciences are not half-developed as yet; the soil of the earth,
instead of growing more barren, may become many times more fertile than
hitherto; the uses of machinery far greater, and also more minute than at
present. New secrets of physiology may be revealed, deeply affecting human
nature in its innermost recesses. The standard of health may be raised and
the lives of men prolonged by sanitary and medical knowledge. There may be
peace, there may be leisure, there may be innocent refreshments of many
kinds. The ever-increasing power of locomotion may join the extremes of
earth. There may be mysterious workings of the human mind, such as occur
only at great crises of history. The East and the West may meet together,
and all nations may contribute their thoughts and their experience to the
common stock of humanity. Many other elements enter into a speculation of
this kind. But it is better to make an end of them. For such reflections
appear to the majority far-fetched, and to men of science, commonplace.

([Greek: b]) Neither to the mind of Plato nor of Aristotle did the
doctrine of community of property present at all the same difficulty, or
appear to be the same violation of the common Hellenic sentiment, as the
community of wives and children. This paradox he prefaces by another
proposal, that the occupations of men and women shall be the same, and
that to this end they shall have a common training and education. Male and
female animals have the same pursuits--why not also the two sexes of man?

But have we not here fallen into a contradiction? for we were saying that
different natures should have different pursuits. How then can men and
women have the same? And is not the proposal inconsistent with our notion
of the division of labour?--These objections are no sooner raised than
answered; for, according to Plato, there is no organic difference between
men and women, but only the accidental one that men beget and women bear
children. Following the analogy of the other animals, he contends that all
natural gifts are scattered about indifferently among both sexes, though
there may be a superiority of degree {clxxx} on the part of the men. The
objection on the score of decency to their taking part in the same
gymnastic exercises, is met by Plato's assertion that the existing feeling
is a matter of habit.

That Plato should have emancipated himself from the ideas of his own
country and from the example of the East, shows a wonderful independence
of mind. He is conscious that women are half the human race, in some
respects the more important half (Laws vi. 781 B); and for the sake both
of men and women he desires to raise the woman to a higher level of
existence. He brings, not sentiment, but philosophy to bear upon a
question which both in ancient and modern times has been chiefly regarded
in the light of custom or feeling. The Greeks had noble conceptions of
womanhood in the goddesses Athene and Artemis, and in the heroines
Antigone and Andromache. But these ideals had no counterpart in actual
life. The Athenian woman was in no way the equal of her husband; she was
not the entertainer of his guests or the mistress of his house, but only
his housekeeper and the mother of his children. She took no part in
military or political matters; nor is there any instance in the later ages
of Greece of a woman becoming famous in literature. 'Hers is the greatest
glory who has the least renown among men,' is the historian's conception
of feminine excellence. A very different ideal of womanhood is held up by
Plato to the world; she is to be the companion of the man, and to share
with him in the toils of war and in the cares of government. She is to be
similarly trained both in bodily and mental exercises. She is to lose as
far as possible the incidents of maternity and the characteristics of the
female sex.

The modern antagonist of the equality of the sexes would argue that the
differences between men and women are not confined to the single point
urged by Plato; that sensibility, gentleness, grace, are the qualities of
women, while energy, strength, higher intelligence, are to be looked for
in men. And the criticism is just: the differences affect the whole
nature, and are not, as Plato supposes, confined to a single point. But
neither can we say how far these differences are due to education and the
opinions of mankind, or physically inherited from the habits and opinions
of former generations. Women have been always taught, not exactly that
they are slaves, but that they are in an inferior {clxxxi} position, which
is also supposed to have compensating advantages; and to this position
they have conformed. It is also true that the physical form may easily
change in the course of generations through the mode of life; and the
weakness or delicacy, which was once a matter of opinion, may become a
physical fact. The characteristics of sex vary greatly in different
countries and ranks of society, and at different ages in the same
individuals. Plato may have been right in denying that there was any
ultimate difference in the sexes of man other than that which exists in
animals, because all other differences may be conceived to disappear in
other states of society, or under different circumstances of life and

The first wave having been passed, we proceed to the second--community of
wives and children. 'Is it possible? Is it desirable?' For as Glaucon
intimates, and as we far more strongly insist, 'Great doubts may be
entertained about both these points.' Any free discussion of the question
is impossible, and mankind are perhaps right in not allowing the ultimate
bases of social life to be examined. Few of us can safely enquire into the
things which nature hides, any more than we can dissect our own bodies.
Still, the manner in which Plato arrived at his conclusions should be
considered. For here, as Mr. Grote has remarked, is a wonderful thing,
that one of the wisest and best of men should have entertained ideas of
morality which are wholly at variance with our own. And if we would do
Plato justice, we must examine carefully the character of his proposals.
First, we may observe that the relations of the sexes supposed by him are
the reverse of licentious: he seems rather to aim at an impossible
strictness. Secondly, he conceives the family to be the natural enemy of
the state; and he entertains the serious hope that an universal
brotherhood may take the place of private interests--an aspiration which,
although not justified by experience, has possessed many noble minds. On
the other hand, there is no sentiment or imagination in the connections
which men and women are supposed by him to form; human beings return to
the level of the animals, neither exalting to heaven, nor yet abusing the
natural instincts. All that world of poetry and fancy which the passion of
love has called forth in modern literature and romance would have been
banished by Plato. The arrangements {clxxxii} of marriage in the Republic
are directed to one object--the improvement of the race. In successive
generations a great development both of bodily and mental qualities might
be possible. The analogy of animals tends to show that mankind can within
certain limits receive a change of nature. And as in animals we should
commonly choose the best for breeding, and destroy the others, so there
must be a selection made of the human beings whose lives are worthy to be

We start back horrified from this Platonic ideal, in the belief, first,
that the higher feelings of humanity are far too strong to be crushed out;
secondly, that if the plan could be carried into execution we should be
poorly recompensed by improvements in the breed for the loss of the best
things in life. The greatest regard for the weakest and meanest of human
beings--the infant, the criminal, the insane, the idiot, truly seems to us
one of the noblest results of Christianity. We have learned, though as yet
imperfectly, that the individual man has an endless value in the sight of
God, and that we honour Him when we honour the darkened and disfigured
image of Him (cp. Laws xi. 931 A). This is the lesson which Christ taught
in a parable when He said, 'Their angels do always behold the face of My
Father which is in heaven.' Such lessons are only partially realized in
any age; they were foreign to the age of Plato, as they have very
different degrees of strength in different countries or ages of the
Christian world. To the Greek the family was a religious and customary
institution binding the members together by a tie inferior in strength to
that of friendship, and having a less solemn and sacred sound than that of
country. The relationship which existed on the lower level of custom,
Plato imagined that he was raising to the higher level of nature and
reason; while from the modern and Christian point of view we regard him as
sanctioning murder and destroying the first principles of morality.

The great error in these and similar speculations is that the difference
between man and the animals is forgotten in them. The human being is
regarded with the eye of a dog- or bird-fancier (v. 459 A), or at best of
a slave-owner; the higher or human qualities are left out. The breeder of
animals aims chiefly at size or speed or strength; in a few cases at
courage or temper; most often the fitness of the animal for food is the
great desideratum. {clxxxiii} But mankind are not bred to be eaten, nor
yet for their superiority in fighting or in running or in drawing carts.
Neither does the improvement of the human race consist merely in the
increase of the bones and flesh, but in the growth and enlightenment of
the mind. Hence there must be 'a marriage of true minds' as well as of
bodies, of imagination and reason as well as of lusts and instincts. Men
and women without feeling or imagination are justly called brutes; yet
Plato takes away these qualities and puts nothing in their place, not even
the desire of a noble offspring, since parents are not to know their own
children. The most important transaction of social life, he who is the
idealist philosopher converts into the most brutal. For the pair are to
have no relation to one another, except at the hymeneal festival; their
children are not theirs, but the state's; nor is any tie of affection to
unite them. Yet here the analogy of the animals might have saved Plato
from a gigantic error, if he had 'not lost sight of his own illustration'
(ii. 375 D). For the 'nobler sort of birds and beasts' (v. 459 A) nourish
and protect their offspring and are faithful to one another.

An eminent physiologist thinks it worth while 'to try and place life on a
physical basis.' But should not life rest on the moral rather than upon
the physical? The higher comes first, then the lower, first the human and
rational, afterwards the animal. Yet they are not absolutely divided; and
in times of sickness or moments of self-indulgence they seem to be only
different aspects of a common human nature which includes them both.
Neither is the moral the limit of the physical, but the expansion and
enlargement of it,--the highest form which the physical is capable of
receiving. As Plato would say, the body does not take care of the body,
and still less of the mind, but the mind takes care of both. In all human
action not that which is common to man and the animals is the
characteristic element, but that which distinguishes him from them. Even
if we admit the physical basis, and resolve all virtue into health of body
'_la faon que notre sang circule_,' still on merely physical grounds we
must come back to ideas. Mind and reason and duty and conscience, under
these or other names, are always reappearing. There cannot be health of
body without health of mind; nor health of mind without the sense of duty
and the love of truth (cp. Charm. 156 D, E).

That the greatest of ancient philosophers should in his regulations
{clxxxiv} about marriage have fallen into the error of separating body and
mind, does indeed appear surprising. Yet the wonder is not so much that
Plato should have entertained ideas of morality which to our own age are
revolting, but that he should have contradicted himself to an extent which
is hardly credible, falling in an instant from the heaven of idealism into
the crudest animalism. Rejoicing in the newly found gift of reflection, he
appears to have thought out a subject about which he had better have
followed the enlightened feeling of his own age. The general sentiment of
Hellas was opposed to his monstrous fancy. The old poets, and in later
time the tragedians, showed no want of respect for the family, on which
much of their religion was based. But the example of Sparta, and perhaps
in some degree the tendency to defy public opinion, seems to have misled
him. He will make one family out of all the families of the state. He will
select the finest specimens of men and women and breed from these only.

Yet because the illusion is always returning (for the animal part of human
nature will from time to time assert itself in the disguise of philosophy
as well as of poetry), and also because any departure from established
morality, even where this is not intended, is apt to be unsettling, it may
be worth while to draw out a little more at length the objections to the
Platonic marriage. In the first place, history shows that wherever
polygamy has been largely allowed the race has deteriorated. One man to
one woman is the law of God and nature. Nearly all the civilized peoples
of the world at some period before the age of written records, have become
monogamists; and the step when once taken has never been retraced. The
exceptions occurring among Brahmins or Mahometans or the ancient Persians,
are of that sort which may be said to prove the rule. The connexions
formed between superior and inferior races hardly ever produce a noble
offspring, because they are licentious; and because the children in such
cases usually despise the mother and are neglected by the father who is
ashamed of them. Barbarous nations when they are introduced by Europeans
to vice die out; polygamist peoples either import and adopt children from
other countries, or dwindle in numbers, or both. Dynasties and
aristocracies which have disregarded the laws of nature have decreased in
numbers and degenerated in {clxxxv} stature; 'mariages de convenance'
leave their enfeebling stamp on the offspring of them ((cp. King Lear, Act
i. Sc. 2). The marriage of near relations, or the marrying in and in of
the same family tends constantly to weakness or idiocy in the children,
sometimes assuming the form as they grow older of passionate
licentiousness. The common prostitute rarely has any offspring. By such
unmistakable evidence is the authority of morality asserted in the
relations of the sexes: and so many more elements enter into this
'mystery' than are dreamed of by Plato and some other philosophers.

Recent enquirers have indeed arrived at the conclusion that among
primitive tribes there existed a community of wives as of property, and
that the captive taken by the spear was the only wife or slave whom any
man was permitted to call his own. The partial existence of such customs
among some of the lower races of man, and the survival of peculiar
ceremonies in the marriages of some civilized nations, are thought to
furnish a proof of similar institutions having been once universal. There
can be no question that the study of anthropology has considerably changed
our views respecting the first appearance of man upon the earth. We know
more about the aborigines of the world than formerly, but our increasing
knowledge shows above all things how little we know. With all the helps
which written monuments afford, we do but faintly realize the condition of
man two thousand or three thousand years ago. Of what his condition was
when removed to a distance 200,000 or 300,000 years, when the majority of
mankind were lower and nearer the animals than any tribe now existing upon
the earth, we cannot even entertain conjecture. Plato (Laws iii. 676
foll.) and Aristotle (Metaph. xi. 8,  19, 20) may have been more right
than we imagine in supposing that some forms of civilisation were
discovered and lost several times over. If we cannot argue that all
barbarism is a degraded civilization, neither can we set any limits to the
depth of degradation to which the human race may sink through war,
disease, or isolation. And if we are to draw inferences about the origin
of marriage from the practice of barbarous nations, we should also
consider the remoter analogy of the animals. Many birds and animals,
especially the carnivorous, have only one mate, and the love and care of
offspring which seems to be natural is inconsistent {clxxxvi} with the
primitive theory of marriage. If we go back to an imaginary state in which
men were almost animals and the companions of them, we have as much right
to argue from what is animal to what is human as from the barbarous to the
civilized man. The record of animal life on the globe is fragmentary,--the
connecting links are wanting and cannot be supplied; the record of social
life is still more fragmentary and precarious. Even if we admit that our
first ancestors had no such institution as marriage, still the stages by
which men passed from outer barbarism to the comparative civilization of
China, Assyria, and Greece, or even of the ancient Germans, are wholly
unknown to us.

Such speculations are apt to be unsettling, because they seem to show that
an institution which was thought to be a revelation from heaven, is only
the growth of history and experience. We ask what is the origin of
marriage, and we are told that like the right of property, after many wars
and contests, it has gradually arisen out of the selfishness of
barbarians. We stand face to face with human nature in its primitive
nakedness. We are compelled to accept, not the highest, but the lowest
account of the origin of human society. But on the other hand we may truly
say that every step in human progress has been in the same direction, and
that in the course of ages the idea of marriage and of the family has been
more and more defined and consecrated. The civilized East is immeasurably
in advance of any savage tribes; the Greeks and Romans have improved upon
the East; the Christian nations have been stricter in their views of the
marriage relation than any of the ancients. In this as in so many other
things, instead of looking back with regret to the past, we should look
forward with hope to the future. We must consecrate that which we believe
to be the most holy, and that 'which is the most holy will be the most
useful.' There is more reason for maintaining the sacredness of the
marriage tie, when we see the benefit of it, than when we only felt a
vague religious horror about the violation of it. But in all times of
transition, when established beliefs are being undermined, there is a
danger that in the passage from the old to the new we may insensibly let
go the moral principle, finding an excuse for listening to the voice of
passion in the uncertainty of knowledge, or the {clxxxvii} fluctuations of
opinion. And there are many persons in our own day who, enlightened by the
study of anthropology, and fascinated by what is new and strange, some
using the language of fear, others of hope, are inclined to believe that a
time will come when through the self-assertion of women, or the rebellious
spirit of children, by the analysis of human relations, or by the force of
outward circumstances, the ties of family life may be broken or greatly
relaxed. They point to societies in America and elsewhere which tend to
show that the destruction of the family need not necessarily involve the
overthrow of all morality. Wherever we may think of such speculations, we
can hardly deny that they have been more rife in this generation than in
any other; and whither they are tending, who can predict?

To the doubts and queries raised by these 'social reformers' respecting
the relation of the sexes and the moral nature of man, there is a
sufficient answer, if any is needed. The difference about them and us is
really one of fact. They are speaking of man as they wish or fancy him to
be, but we are speaking of him as he is. They isolate the animal part of
his nature; we regard him as a creature having many sides, or aspects,
moving between good and evil, striving to rise above himself and to become
'a little lower than the angels.' We also, to use a Platonic formula, are
not ignorant of the dissatisfactions and incompatibilities of family life,
of the meannesses of trade, of the flatteries of one class of society by
another, of the impediments which the family throws in the way of lofty
aims and aspirations. But we are conscious that there are evils and
dangers in the background greater still, which are not appreciated,
because they are either concealed or suppressed. What a condition of man
would that be, in which human passions were controlled by no authority,
divine or human, in which there was no shame or decency, no higher
affection overcoming or sanctifying the natural instincts, but simply a
rule of health! Is it for this that we are asked to throw away the
civilization which is the growth of ages?

For strength and health are not the only qualities to be desired; there
are the more important considerations of mind and character and soul. We
know how human nature may be degraded; we do not know how by artificial
means any improvement in the breed can be effected. The problem is a
complex one, for if we {clxxxviii} go back only four steps (and these at
least enter into the composition of a child), there are commonly thirty
progenitors to be taken into account. Many curious facts, rarely admitting
of proof, are told us respecting the inheritance of disease or character
from a remote ancestor. We can trace the physical resemblances of parents
and children in the same family--

  'Sic oculos, sic ille manus, sic ora ferebat';

but scarcely less often the differences which distinguish children both
from their parents and from one another. We are told of similar mental
peculiarities running in families, and again of a tendency, as in the
animals, to revert to a common or original stock. But we have a difficulty
in distinguishing what is a true inheritance of genius or other qualities,
and what is mere imitation or the result of similar circumstances. Great
men and great women have rarely had great fathers and mothers. Nothing
that we know of in the circumstances of their birth or lineage will
explain their appearance. Of the English poets of the last and two
preceding centuries scarcely a descendant remains,--none have ever been
distinguished. So deeply has nature hidden her secret, and so ridiculous
is the fancy which has been entertained by some that we might in time by
suitable marriage arrangements or, as Plato would have said, 'by an
ingenious system of lots,' produce a Shakespeare or a Milton. Even
supposing that we could breed men having the tenacity of bulldogs, or,
like the Spartans, 'lacking the wit to run away in battle,' would the
world be any the better? Many of the noblest specimens of the human race
have been among the weakest physically. Tyrtaeus or Aesop, or our own
Newton, would have been exposed at Sparta; and some of the fairest and
strongest men and women have been among the wickedest and worst. Not by
the Platonic device of uniting the strong and fair with the strong and
fair, regardless of sentiment and morality, nor yet by his other device of
combining dissimilar natures (Statesman 310 A), have mankind gradually
passed from the brutality and licentiousness of primitive marriage to
marriage Christian and civilized.

Few persons would deny that we bring into the world an inheritance of
mental and physical qualities derived first from our parents, or through
them from some remoter ancestor, {clxxxix} secondly from our race, thirdly
from the general condition of mankind into which we are born. Nothing is
commoner than the remark, that 'So and so is like his father or his
uncle'; and an aged person may not unfrequently note a resemblance in a
youth to a long-forgotten ancestor, observing that 'Nature sometimes skips
a generation.' It may be true also, that if we knew more about our
ancestors, these similarities would be even more striking to us. Admitting
the facts which are thus described in a popular way, we may however remark
that there is no method of difference by which they can be defined or
estimated, and that they constitute only a small part of each individual.
The doctrine of heredity may seem to take out of our hands the conduct of
our own lives, but it is the idea, not the fact, which is really terrible
to us. For what we have received from our ancestors is only a fraction of
what we are, or may become. The knowledge that drunkenness or insanity has
been prevalent in a family may be the best safeguard against their
recurrence in a future generation. The parent will be most awake to the
vices or diseases in his child of which he is most sensible within
himself. The whole of life may be directed to their prevention or cure.
The traces of consumption may become fainter, or be wholly effaced: the
inherent tendency to vice or crime may be eradicated. And so heredity,
from being a curse, may become a blessing. We acknowledge that in the
matter of our birth, as in our nature generally, there are previous
circumstances which affect us. But upon this platform of circumstances or
within this wall of necessity, we have still the power of creating a life
for ourselves by the informing energy of the human will.

There is another aspect of the marriage question to which Plato is a
stranger. All the children born in his state are foundlings. It never
occurred to him that the greater part of them, according to universal
experience, would have perished. For children can only be brought up in
families. There is a subtle sympathy between the mother and the child
which cannot be supplied by other mothers, or by 'strong nurses one or
more' (Laws vii. 789 E). If Plato's 'pen' was as fatal as the Crches of
Paris, or the foundling hospital of Dublin, more than nine-tenths of his
children would have perished. There would have been no need to expose or
put out of the way the weaklier children, for they would have {cxc} died
of themselves. So emphatically does nature protest against the destruction
of the family.

What Plato had heard or seen of Sparta was applied by him in a mistaken
way to his ideal commonwealth. He probably observed that both the Spartan
men and women were superior in form and strength to the other Greeks; and
this superiority he was disposed to attribute to the laws and customs
relating to marriage. He did not consider that the desire of a noble
offspring was a passion among the Spartans, or that their physical
superiority was to be attributed chiefly, not to their marriage customs,
but to their temperance and training. He did not reflect that Sparta was
great, not in consequence of the relaxation of morality, but in spite of
it, by virtue of a political principle stronger far than existed in any
other Grecian state. Least of all did he observe that Sparta did not
really produce the finest specimens of the Greek race. The genius, the
political inspiration of Athens, the love of liberty--all that has made
Greece famous with posterity, were wanting among the Spartans. They had no
Themistocles, or Pericles, or Aeschylus, or Sophocles, or Socrates, or
Plato. The individual was not allowed to appear above the state; the laws
were fixed, and he had no business to alter or reform them. Yet whence has
the progress of cities and nations arisen, if not from remarkable
individuals, coming into the world we know not how, and from causes over
which we have no control? Something too much may have been said in modern
times of the value of individuality. But we can hardly condemn too
strongly a system which, instead of fostering the scattered seeds or
sparks of genius and character, tends to smother and extinguish them.

Still, while condemning Plato, we must acknowledge that neither
Christianity, nor any other form of religion and society, has hitherto
been able to cope with this most difficult of social problems, and that
the side from which Plato regarded it is that from which we turn away.
Population is the most untameable force in the political and social world.
Do we not find, especially in large cities, that the greatest hindrance to
the amelioration of the poor is their improvidence in marriage?--a small
fault truly, if not involving endless consequences. There are whole
countries too, such as India, or, nearer home, Ireland, in which a {cxci}
right solution of the marriage question seems to lie at the foundation of
the happiness of the community. There are too many people on a given
space, or they marry too early and bring into the world a sickly and
half-developed offspring; or owing to the very conditions of their
existence, they become emaciated and hand on a similar life to their
descendants. But who can oppose the voice of prudence to the 'mightiest
passions of mankind' (Laws viii. 835 C), especially when they have been
licensed by custom and religion? In addition to the influences of
education, we seem to require some new principles of right and wrong in
these matters, some force of opinion, which may indeed be already heard
whispering in private, but has never affected the moral sentiments of
mankind in general. We unavoidably lose sight of the principle of utility,
just in that action of our lives in which we have the most need of it. The
influences which we can bring to bear upon this question are chiefly
indirect. In a generation or two, education, emigration, improvements in
agriculture and manufactures, may have provided the solution. The state
physician hardly likes to probe the wound: it is beyond his art; a matter
which he cannot safely let alone, but which he dare not touch:

  'We do but skin and film the ulcerous place.'

When again in private life we see a whole family one by one dropping into
the grave under the Ate of some inherited malady, and the parents perhaps
surviving them, do our minds ever go back silently to that day twenty-five
or thirty years before on which under the fairest auspices, amid the
rejoicings of friends and acquaintances, a bride and bridegroom joined
hands with one another? In making such a reflection we are not opposing
physical considerations to moral, but moral to physical; we are seeking to
make the voice of reason heard, which drives us back from the extravagance
of sentimentalism on common sense. The late Dr. Combe is said by his
biographer to have resisted the temptation to marriage, because he knew
that he was subject to hereditary consumption. One who deserved to be
called a man of genius, a friend of my youth, was in the habit of wearing
a black ribbon on his wrist, in order to remind him that, being liable to
outbreaks of insanity, he must not give way to the natural impulses of
affection: he died unmarried in a {cxcii} lunatic asylum. These two little
facts suggest the reflection that a very few persons have done from a
sense of duty what the rest of mankind ought to have done under like
circumstances, if they had allowed themselves to think of all the misery
which they were about to bring into the world. If we could prevent such
marriages without any violation of feeling or propriety, we clearly ought;
and the prohibition in the course of time would be protected by a 'horror
naturalis' similar to that which, in all civilized ages and countries, has
prevented the marriage of near relations by blood. Mankind would have been
the happier, if some things which are now allowed had from the beginning
been denied to them; if the sanction of religion could have prohibited
practices inimical to health; if sanitary principles could in early ages
have been invested with a superstitious awe. But, living as we do far on
in the world's history, we are no longer able to stamp at once with the
impress of religion a new prohibition. A free agent cannot have his
fancies regulated by law; and the execution of the law would be rendered
impossible, owing to the uncertainty of the cases in which marriage was to
be forbidden. Who can weigh virtue, or even fortune against health, or
moral and mental qualities against bodily? Who can measure probabilities
against certainties? There has been some good as well as evil in the
discipline of suffering; and there are diseases, such as consumption,
which have exercised a refining and softening influence on the character.
Youth is too inexperienced to balance such nice considerations; parents do
not often think of them, or think of them too late. They are at a distance
and may probably be averted; change of place, a new state of life, the
interests of a home may be the cure of them. So persons vainly reason when
their minds are already made up and their fortunes irrevocably linked
together. Nor is there any ground for supposing that marriages are to any
great extent influenced by reflections of this sort, which seem unable to
make any head against the irresistible impulse of individual attachment.

Lastly, no one can have observed the first rising flood of the passions in
youth, the difficulty of regulating them, and the effects on the whole
mind and nature which follow from them, the stimulus which is given to
them by the imagination, without feeling that there is something
unsatisfactory in our method of {cxciii} treating them. That the most
important influence on human life should be wholly left to chance or
shrouded in mystery, and instead of being disciplined or understood,
should be required to conform only to an external standard of
propriety--cannot be regarded by the philosopher as a safe or satisfactory
condition of human things. And still those who have the charge of youth
may find a way by watchfulness, by affection, by the manliness and
innocence of their own lives, by occasional hints, by general admonitions
which every one can apply for himself, to mitigate this terrible evil
which eats out the heart of individuals and corrupts the moral sentiments
of nations. In no duty towards others is there more need of reticence and
self-restraint. So great is the danger lest he who would be the counsellor
of another should reveal the secret prematurely, lest he should get
another too much into his power; or fix the passing impression of evil by
demanding the confession of it.

Nor is Plato wrong in asserting that family attachments may interfere with
higher aims. If there have been some who 'to party gave up what was meant
for mankind,' there have certainly been others who to family gave up what
was meant for mankind or for their country. The cares of children, the
necessity of procuring money for their support, the flatteries of the rich
by the poor, the exclusiveness of caste, the pride of birth or wealth, the
tendency of family life to divert men from the pursuit of the ideal or the
heroic, are as lowering in our own age as in that of Plato. And if we
prefer to look at the gentle influences of home, the development of the
affections, the amenities of society, the devotion of one member of a
family for the good of the others, which form one side of the picture, we
must not quarrel with him, or perhaps ought rather to be grateful to him,
for having presented to us the reverse. Without attempting to defend Plato
on grounds of morality, we may allow that there is an aspect of the world
which has not unnaturally led him into error.

We hardly appreciate the power which the idea of the State, like all other
abstract ideas, exercised over the mind of Plato. To us the State seems to
be built up out of the family, or sometimes to be the framework in which
family and social life is contained. But to Plato in his present mood of
mind the family {cxciv} is only a disturbing influence which, instead of
filling up, tends to disarrange the higher unity of the State. No
organization is needed except a political, which, regarded from another
point of view, is a military one. The State is all-sufficing for the wants
of man, and, like the idea of the Church in later ages, absorbs all other
desires and affections. In time of war the thousand citizens are to stand
like a rampart impregnable against the world or the Persian host; in time
of peace the preparation for war and their duties to the State, which are
also their duties to one another, take up their whole life and time. The
only other interest which is allowed to them besides that of war, is the
interest of philosophy. When they are too old to be soldiers they are to
retire from active life and to have a second novitiate of study and
contemplation. There is an element of monasticism even in Plato's
communism. If he could have done without children, he might have converted
his Republic into a religious order. Neither in the Laws (v. 739 B), when
the daylight of common sense breaks in upon him, does he retract his
error. In the state of which he would be the founder, there is no marrying
or giving in marriage: but because of the infirmity of mankind, he
condescends to allow the law of nature to prevail.

([Greek: g]) But Plato has an equal, or, in his own estimation, even
greater paradox in reserve, which is summed up in the famous text, 'Until
kings are philosophers or philosophers are kings, cities will never cease
from ill.' And by philosophers he explains himself to mean those who are
capable of apprehending ideas, especially the idea of good. To the
attainment of this higher knowledge the second education is directed.
Through a process of training which has already made them good citizens
they are now to be made good legislators. We find with some surprise (not
unlike the feeling which Aristotle in a well-known passage describes the
hearers of Plato's lectures as experiencing, when they went to a discourse
on the idea of good, expecting to be instructed in moral truths, and
received instead of them arithmetical and mathematical formulae) that
Plato does not propose for his future legislators any study of finance or
law or military tactics, but only of abstract mathematics, as a
preparation for the still more abstract conception of good. We ask, with
Aristotle, What is the use of a man knowing the idea of {cxcv} good, if he
does not know what is good for this individual, this state, this condition
of society? We cannot understand how Plato's legislators or guardians are
to be fitted for their work of statesmen by the study of the five
mathematical sciences. We vainly search in Plato's own writings for any
explanation of this seeming absurdity.

The discovery of a great metaphysical conception seems to ravish the mind
with a prophetic consciousness which takes away the power of estimating
its value. No metaphysical enquirer has ever fairly criticised his own
speculations; in his own judgment they have been above criticism; nor has
he understood that what to him seemed to be absolute truth may reappear in
the next generation as a form of logic or an instrument of thought. And
posterity have also sometimes equally misapprehended the real value of his
speculations. They appear to them to have contributed nothing to the stock
of human knowledge. The _idea_ of good is apt to be regarded by the modern
thinker as an unmeaning abstraction; but he forgets that this abstraction
is waiting ready for use, and will hereafter be filled up by the divisions
of knowledge. When mankind do not as yet know that the world is subject to
law, the introduction of the mere conception of law or design or final
cause, and the far-off anticipation of the harmony of knowledge, are great
steps onward. Even the crude generalization of the unity of all things
leads men to view the world with different eyes, and may easily affect
their conception of human life and of politics, and also their own conduct
and character (Tim. 90 A). We can imagine how a great mind like that of
Pericles might derive elevation from his intercourse with Anaxagoras
(Phaedr. 270 A). To be struggling towards a higher but unattainable
conception is a more favourable intellectual condition than to rest
satisfied in a narrow portion of ascertained fact. And the earlier, which
have sometimes been the greater ideas of science, are often lost sight of
at a later period. How rarely can we say of any modern enquirer in the
magnificent language of Plato, that 'He is the spectator of all time and
of all existence!'

Nor is there anything unnatural in the hasty application of these vast
metaphysical conceptions to practical and political life. In the first
enthusiasm of ideas men are apt to see them {cxcvi} everywhere, and to
apply them in the most remote sphere. They do not understand that the
experience of ages is required to enable them to fill up 'the intermediate
axioms.' Plato himself seems to have imagined that the truths of
psychology, like those of astronomy and harmonics, would be arrived at by
a process of deduction, and that the method which he has pursued in the
Fourth Book, of inferring them from experience and the use of language,
was imperfect and only provisional. But when, after having arrived at the
idea of good, which is the end of the science of dialectic, he is asked,
What is the nature, and what are the divisions of the science? He refuses
to answer, as if intending by the refusal to intimate that the state of
knowledge which then existed was not such as would allow the philosopher
to enter into his final rest. The previous sciences must first be studied,
and will, we may add, continue to be studied tell the end of time,
although in a sense different from any which Plato could have conceived.
But we may observe, that while he is aware of the vacancy of his own
ideal, he is full of enthusiasm in the contemplation of it. Looking into
the orb of light, he sees nothing, but he is warmed and elevated. The
Hebrew prophet believed that faith in God would enable him to govern the
world; the Greek philosopher imagined that contemplation of the good would
make a legislator. There is as much to be filled up in the one case as in
the other, and the one mode of conception is to the Israelite what the
other is to the Greek. Both find a repose in a divine perfection, which,
whether in a more personal or impersonal form, exists without them and
independently of them, as well as within them.

There is no mention of the idea of good in the Timaeus, nor of the divine
Creator of the world in the Republic; and we are naturally led to ask in
what relation they stand to one another. Is God above or below the idea of
good? Or is the Idea of Good another mode of conceiving God? The latter
appears to be the truer answer. To the Greek philosopher the perfection
and unity of God was a far higher conception than his personality, which
he hardly found a word to express, and which to him would have seemed to
be borrowed from mythology. To the Christian, on the other hand, or to the
modern thinker in {cxcvii} general, it is difficult, if not impossible, to
attach reality to what he terms mere abstraction; while to Plato this very
abstraction is the truest and most real of all things. Hence, from a
difference in forms of thought, Plato appears to be resting on a creation
of his own mind only. But if we may be allowed to paraphrase the idea of
good by the words 'intelligent principle of law and order in the universe,
embracing equally man and nature,' we begin to find a meeting-point
between him and ourselves.

The question whether the ruler or statesman should be a philosopher is one
that has not lost interest in modern times. In most countries of Europe
and Asia there has been some one in the course of ages who has truly
united the power of command with the power of thought and reflection, as
there have been also many false combinations of these qualities. Some kind
of speculative power is necessary both in practical and political life;
like the rhetorician in the Phaedrus, men require to have a conception of
the varieties of human character, and to be raised on great occasions
above the commonplaces of ordinary life. Yet the idea of the
philosopher-statesman has never been popular with the mass of mankind;
partly because he cannot take the world into his confidence or make them
understand the motives from which he acts; and also because they are
jealous of a power which they do not understand. The revolution which
human nature desires to effect step by step in many ages is likely to be
precipitated by him in a single year or life. They are afraid that in the
pursuit of his greater aims he may disregard the common feelings of
humanity, he is too apt to be looking into the distant future or back into
the remote past, and unable to see actions or events which, to use an
expression of Plato's 'are tumbling out at his feet.' Besides, as Plato
would say, there are other corruptions of these philosophical statesmen.
Either 'the native hue of resolution is sicklied o'er with the pale cast
of thought,' and at the moment when action above all things is required he
is undecided, or general principles are enunciated by him in order to
cover some change of policy; or his ignorance of the world has made him
more easily fall a prey to the arts of others; or in some cases he has
been converted into a courtier, who enjoys {cxcviii} the luxury of holding
liberal opinions, but was never known to perform a liberal action. No
wonder that mankind have been in the habit of calling statesmen of this
class pedants, sophisters, doctrinaires, visionaries. For, as we may be
allowed to say, a little parodying the words of Plato, 'they have seen bad
imitations of the philosopher-statesman.' But a man in whom the power of
thought and action are perfectly balanced, equal to the present, reaching
forward to the future, 'such a one,' ruling in a constitutional state,
'they have never seen.'

But as the philosopher is apt to fail in the routine of political life, so
the ordinary statesman is also apt to fail in extraordinary crises. When
the face of the world is beginning to alter, and thunder is heard in the
distance, he is still guided by his old maxims, and is the slave of his
inveterate party prejudices; he cannot perceive the signs of the times;
instead of looking forward he looks back; he learns nothing and forgets
nothing; with 'wise saws and modern instances' he would stem the rising
tide of revolution. He lives more and more within the circle of his own
party, as the world without him becomes stronger. This seems to be the
reason why the old order of things makes so poor a figure when confronted
with the new, why churches can never reform, why most political changes
are made blindly and convulsively. The great crises in the history of
nations have often been met by an ecclesiastical positiveness, and a more
obstinate reassertion of principles which have lost their hold upon a
nation. The fixed ideas of a reactionary statesman may be compared to
madness; they grow upon him, and he becomes possessed by them; no
judgement of others is ever admitted by him to be weighed in the balance
against his own.

([Greek: d]) Plato, labouring under what, to modern readers, appears to
have been a confusion of ideas, assimilates the state to the individual,
and fails to distinguish Ethics from Politics. He thinks that to be most
of a state which is most like one man, and in which the citizens have the
greatest uniformity of character. He does not see that the analogy is
partly fallacious, and that the will or character of a state or nation is
really the balance or rather the surplus of individual wills, which are
limited by the condition of having to act in common. {cxcix} The movement
of a body of men can never have the pliancy or facility of a single man;
the freedom of the individual, which is always limited, becomes still more
straitened when transferred to a nation. The powers of action and feeling
are necessarily weaker and more balanced when they are diffused through a
community; whence arises the often discussed question, 'Can a nation, like
an individual, have a conscience?' We hesitate to say that the characters
of nations are nothing more than the sum of the characters of the
individuals who compose them; because there may be tendencies in
individuals which react upon one another. A whole nation may be wiser than
any one man in it; or may be animated by some common opinion or feeling
which could not equally have affected the mind of a single person, or may
have been inspired by a leader of genius to perform acts more than human.
Plato does not appear to have analysed the complications which arise out
of the collective action of mankind. Neither is he capable of seeing that
analogies, though specious as arguments, may often have no foundation in
fact, or of distinguishing between what is intelligible or vividly present
to the mind, and what is true. In this respect he is far below Aristotle,
who is comparatively seldom imposed upon by false analogies. He cannot
disentangle the arts from the virtues--at least he is always arguing from
one to the other. His notion of music is transferred from harmony of
sounds to harmony of life: in this he is assisted by the ambiguities of
language as well as by the prevalence of Pythagorean notions. And having
once assimilated the state to the individual, he imagines that he will
find the succession of states paralleled in the lives of individuals.

Still, through this fallacious medium, a real enlargement of ideas is
attained. When the virtues as yet presented no distinct conception to the
mind, a great advance was made by the comparison of them with the arts;
for virtue is partly art, and has an outward form as well as an inward
principle. The harmony of music affords a lively image of the harmonies of
the world and of human life, and may be regarded as a splendid
illustration which was naturally mistaken for a real analogy. In the same
way the identification of ethics with politics has a tendency to give
definiteness to ethics, and also to elevate and ennoble men's {cc} notions
of the aims of government and of the duties of citizens; for ethics from
one point of view may be conceived as an idealized law and politics; and
politics, as ethics reduced to the conditions of human society. There have
been evils which have arisen out of the attempt to identify them, and this
has led to the separation or antagonism of them, which has been introduced
by modern political writers. But we may likewise feel that something has
been lost in their separation, and that the ancient philosophers who
estimated the moral and intellectual wellbeing of mankind first, and the
wealth of nations and individuals second, may have a salutary influence on
the speculations of modern times. Many political maxims originate in a
reaction against an opposite error; and when the errors against which they
were directed have passed away, they in turn become errors.

       *       *       *       *       *

III. Plato's views of education are in several respects remarkable; like
the rest of the Republic they are partly Greek and partly ideal, beginning
with the ordinary curriculum of the Greek youth, and extending to
after-life. Plato is the first writer who distinctly says that education
is to comprehend the whole of life, and to be a preparation for another in
which education begins again (vi. 498 D). This is the continuous thread
which runs through the Republic, and which more than any other of his
ideas admits of an application to modern life.

He has long given up the notion that virtue cannot be taught; and he is
disposed to modify the thesis of the Protagoras, that the virtues are one
and not many. He is not unwilling to admit the sensible world into his
scheme of truth. Nor does he assert in the Republic the involuntariness of
vice, which is maintained by him in the Timaeus, Sophist, and Laws (cp.
Protag. 345 foll., 352, 355; Apol. 25 E; Gorg. 468, 509 E). Nor do the
so-called Platonic ideas recovered from a former state of existence affect
his theory of mental improvement. Still we observe in him the remains of
the old Socratic doctrine, that true knowledge must be elicited from
within, and is to be sought for in ideas, not in particulars of sense.
Education, as he says, will implant a principle of intelligence which is
better than ten {cci} thousand eyes. The paradox that the virtues are one,
and the kindred notion that all virtue is knowledge, are not entirely
renounced; the first is seen in the supremacy given to justice over the
rest; the second in the tendency to absorb the moral virtues in the
intellectual, and to centre all goodness in the contemplation of the idea
of good. The world of sense is still depreciated and identified with
opinion, though admitted to be a shadow of the true. In the Republic he is
evidently impressed with the conviction that vice arises chiefly from
ignorance and may be cured by education; the multitude are hardly to be
deemed responsible for what they do (v. 499 E). A faint allusion to the
doctrine of reminiscence occurs in the Tenth Book (621 A); but Plato's
views of education have no more real connection with a previous state of
existence than our own; he only proposes to elicit from the mind that
which is there already. Education is represented by him, not as the
filling of a vessel, but as the turning the eye of the soul towards the

He treats first of music or literature, which he divides into true and
false, and then goes on to gymnastics; of infancy in the Republic he takes
no notice, though in the Laws he gives sage counsels about the nursing of
children and the management of the mothers, and would have an education
which is even prior to birth. But in the Republic he begins with the age
at which the child is capable of receiving ideas, and boldly asserts, in
language which sounds paradoxical to modern ears, that he must be taught
the false before he can learn the true. The modern and ancient
philosophical world are not agreed about truth and falsehood; the one
identifies truth almost exclusively with fact, the other with ideas. This
is the difference between ourselves and Plato, which is, however, partly a
difference of words (cp. supra, p. xxxviii). For we too should admit that
a child must receive many lessons which he imperfectly understands; he
must be taught some things in a figure only, some too which he can hardly
be expected to believe when he grows older; but we should limit the use of
fiction by the necessity of the case. Plato would draw the line
differently; according to him the aim of early education is not truth as a
matter of fact, but truth as a matter of principle; the child is to be
taught first simple religious truths, and then simple moral truths, and
insensibly to learn the lesson of good manners and good taste. He {ccii}
would make an entire reformation of the old mythology; like Xenophanes and
Heracleitus he is sensible of the deep chasm which separates his own age
from Homer and Hesiod, whom he quotes and invests with an imaginary
authority, but only for his own purposes. The lusts and treacheries of the
gods are to be banished; the terrors of the world below are to be
dispelled; the misbehaviour of the Homeric heroes is not to be a model for
youth. But there is another strain heard in Homer which may teach our
youth endurance; and something may be learnt in medicine from the simple
practice of the Homeric age. The principles on which religion is to be
based are two only: first, that God is true; secondly, that he is good.
Modern and Christian writers have often fallen short of these; they can
hardly be said to have gone beyond them.

The young are to be brought up in happy surroundings, out of the way of
sights or sounds which may hurt the character or vitiate the taste. They
are to live in an atmosphere of health; the breeze is always to be wafting
to them the impressions of truth and goodness. Could such an education be
realized, or if our modern religious education could be bound up with
truth and virtue and good manners and good taste, that would be the best
hope of human improvement. Plato, like ourselves, is looking forward to
changes in the moral and religious world, and is preparing for them. He
recognizes the danger of unsettling young men's minds by sudden changes of
laws and principles, by destroying the sacredness of one set of ideas when
there is nothing else to take their place. He is afraid too of the
influence of the drama, on the ground that it encourages false sentiment,
and therefore he would not have his children taken to the theatre; he
thinks that the effect on the spectators is bad, and on the actors still
worse. His idea of education is that of harmonious growth, in which are
insensibly learnt the lessons of temperance and endurance, and the body
and mind develope in equal proportions. The first principle which runs
through all art and nature is simplicity; this also is to be the rule of
human life.

The second stage of education is gymnastic, which answers to the period of
muscular growth and development. The simplicity which is enforced in music
is extended to gymnastic; Plato is aware that the training of the body may
be inconsistent with the {cciii} training of the mind, and that bodily
exercise may be easily overdone. Excessive training of the body is apt to
give men a headache or to render them sleepy at a lecture on philosophy,
and this they attribute not to the true cause, but to the nature of the
subject. Two points are noticeable in Plato's treatment of
gymnastic:--First, that the time of training is entirely separated from
the time of literary education. He seems to have thought that two things
of an opposite and different nature could not be learnt at the same time.
Here we can hardly agree with him; and, if we may judge by experience, the
effect of spending three years between the ages of fourteen and seventeen
in mere bodily exercise would be far from improving to the intellect.
Secondly, he affirms that music and gymnastic are not, as common opinion
is apt to imagine, intended, the one for the cultivation of the mind and
the other of the body, but that they are both equally designed for the
improvement of the mind. The body, in his view, is the servant of the
mind; the subjection of the lower to the higher is for the advantage of
both. And doubtless the mind may exercise a very great and paramount
influence over the body, if exerted not at particular moments and by fits
and starts, but continuously, in making preparation for the whole of life.
Other Greek writers saw the mischievous tendency of Spartan discipline
(Arist. Pol. viii. 4,  1 foll.; Thuc. ii. 37, 39). But only Plato
recognized the fundamental error on which the practice was based.

The subject of gymnastic leads Plato to the sister subject of medicine,
which he further illustrates by the parallel of law. The modern disbelief
in medicine has led in this, as in some other departments of knowledge, to
a demand for greater simplicity; physicians are becoming aware that they
often make diseases 'greater and more complicated' by their treatment of
them (Rep. iv. 426 A). In two thousand years their art has made but
slender progress; what they have gained in the analysis of the parts is in
a great degree lost by their feebler conception of the human frame as a
whole. They have attended more to the cure of diseases than to the
conditions of health; and the improvements in medicine have been more than
counterbalanced by the disuse of regular training. Until lately they have
hardly thought of air and water, the importance of which was well
understood by the ancients; as Aristotle remarks, 'Air and water, being
the elements {cciv} which we most use, have the greatest effect upon
health' (Polit. vii. 11,  4.). For ages physicians have been under the
dominion of prejudices which have only recently given way; and now there
are as many opinions in medicine as in theology, and an equal degree of
scepticism and some want of toleration about both. Plato has several good
notions about medicine; according to him, 'the eye cannot be cured without
the rest of the body, nor the body without the mind' (Charm. 156 E). No
man of sense, he says in the Timaeus, would take physic; and we heartily
sympathize with him in the Laws when he declares that 'the limbs of the
rustic worn with toil will derive more benefit from warm baths than from
the prescriptions of a not over wise doctor' (vi. 761 C). But we can
hardly praise him when, in obedience to the authority of Homer, he
depreciates diet, or approve of the inhuman spirit in which he would get
rid of invalid and useless lives by leaving them to die. He does not seem
to have considered that the 'bridle of Theages' might be accompanied by
qualities which were of far more value to the State than the health or
strength of the citizens; or that the duty of taking care of the helpless
might be an important element of education in a State. The physician
himself (this is a delicate and subtle observation) should not be a man in
robust health; he should have, in modern phraseology, a nervous
temperament; he should have experience of disease in his own person, in
order that his powers of observation may be quickened in the case of

The perplexity of medicine is paralleled by the perplexity of law; in
which, again, Plato would have men follow the golden rule of simplicity.
Greater matters are to be determined by the legislator or by the oracle of
Delphi, lesser matters are to be left to the temporary regulation of the
citizens themselves. Plato is aware that _laissez faire_ is an important
element of government. The diseases of a State are like the heads of a
hydra; they multiply when they are cut off. The true remedy for them is
not extirpation but prevention. And the way to prevent them is to take
care of education, and education will take care of all the rest. So in
modern times men have often felt that the only political measure worth
having--the only one which would produce any certain or lasting effect,
was a measure of national education. And in our own more than in any
previous age the necessity has been {ccv} recognized of restoring the
ever-increasing confusion of law to simplicity and common sense.

When the training in music and gymnastic is completed, there follows the
first stage of active and public life. But soon education is to begin
again from a new point of view. In the interval between the Fourth and
Seventh Books we have discussed the nature of knowledge, and have thence
been led to form a higher conception of what was required of us. For true
knowledge, according to Plato, is of abstractions, and has to do, not with
particulars or individuals, but with universals only; not with the
beauties of poetry, but with the ideas of philosophy. And the great aim of
education is the cultivation of the habit of abstraction. This is to be
acquired through the study of the mathematical sciences. They alone are
capable of giving ideas of relation, and of arousing the dormant energies
of thought.

Mathematics in the age of Plato comprehended a very small part of that
which is now included in them; but they bore a much larger proportion to
the sum of human knowledge. They were the only organon of thought which
the human mind at that time possessed, and the only measure by which the
chaos of particulars could be reduced to rule and order. The faculty which
they trained was naturally at war with the poetical or imaginative; and
hence to Plato, who is everywhere seeking for abstractions and trying to
get rid of the illusions of sense, nearly the whole of education is
contained in them. They seemed to have an inexhaustible application,
partly because their true limits were not yet understood. These Plato
himself is beginning to investigate; though not aware that number and
figure are mere abstractions of sense, he recognizes that the forms used
by geometry are borrowed from the sensible world (vi. 510, 511). He seeks
to find the ultimate ground of mathematical ideas in the idea of good,
though he does not satisfactorily explain the connexion between them; and
in his conception of the relation of ideas to numbers, he falls very far
short of the definiteness attributed to him by Aristotle (Met. i. 8,  24;
ix. 17). But if he fails to recognize the true limits of mathematics, he
also reaches a point beyond them; in his view, ideas of number become
secondary to a higher conception of knowledge. The dialectician is as much
above the mathematician as the mathematician is above the ordinary man
(cp. vii. 526 D, {ccvi} 531 E). The one, the self-proving, the good which
is the higher sphere of dialectic, is the perfect truth to which all
things ascend, and in which they finally repose.

This self-proving unity or idea of good is a mere vision of which no
distinct explanation can be given, relative only to a particular stage in
Greek philosophy. It is an abstraction under which no individuals are
comprehended, a whole which has no parts (cf. Arist., Nic. Eth., i. 4).
The vacancy of such a form was perceived by Aristotle, but not by Plato.
Nor did he recognize that in the dialectical process are included two or
more methods of investigation which are at variance with each other. He
did not see that whether he took the longer or the shorter road, no
advance could be made in this way. And yet such visions often have an
immense effect; for although the method of science cannot anticipate
science, the idea of science, not as it is, but as it will be in the
future, is a great and inspiring principle. In the pursuit of knowledge we
are always pressing forward to something beyond us; and as a false
conception of knowledge, for example the scholastic philosophy, may lead
men astray during many ages, so the true ideal, though vacant, may draw
all their thoughts in a right direction. It makes a great difference
whether the general expectation of knowledge, as this indefinite feeling
may be termed, is based upon a sound judgment. For mankind may often
entertain a true conception of what knowledge ought to be when they have
but a slender experience of facts. The correlation of the sciences, the
consciousness of the unity of nature, the idea of classification, the
sense of proportion, the unwillingness to stop short of certainty or to
confound probability with truth, are important principles of the higher
education. Although Plato could tell us nothing, and perhaps knew that he
could tell us nothing, of the absolute truth, he has exercised an
influence on the human mind which even at the present day is not
exhausted; and political and social questions may yet arise in which the
thoughts of Plato may be read anew and receive a fresh meaning.

The Idea of good is so called only in the Republic, but there are traces
of it in other dialogues of Plato. It is a cause as well as an idea, and
from this point of view may be compared with the creator of the Timaeus,
who out of his goodness created {ccvii} all things. It corresponds to a
certain extent with the modern conception of a law of nature, or of a
final cause, or of both in one, and in this regard may be connected with
the measure and symmetry of the Philebus. It is represented in the
Symposium under the aspect of beauty, and is supposed to be attained there
by stages of initiation, as here by regular gradations of knowledge.
Viewed subjectively, it is the process or science of dialectic. This is
the science which, according to the Phaedrus, is the true basis of
rhetoric, which alone is able to distinguish the natures and classes of
men and things; which divides a whole into the natural parts, and reunites
the scattered parts into a natural or organized whole; which defines the
abstract essences or universal ideas of all things, and connects them;
which pierces the veil of hypotheses and reaches the final cause or first
principle of all; which regards the sciences in relation to the idea of
good. This ideal science is the highest process of thought, and may be
described as the soul conversing with herself or holding communion with
eternal truth and beauty, and in another form is the everlasting question
and answer--the ceaseless interrogative of Socrates. The dialogues of
Plato are themselves examples of the nature and method of dialectic.
Viewed objectively, the idea of good is a power or cause which makes the
world without us correspond with the world within. Yet this world without
us is still a world of ideas. With Plato the investigation of nature is
another department of knowledge, and in this he seeks to attain only
probable conclusions (cp. Timaeus, 44 D).

If we ask whether this science of dialectic which Plato only half explains
to us is more akin to logic or to metaphysics, the answer is that in his
mind the two sciences are not as yet distinguished, any more than the
subjective and objective aspects of the world and of man, which German
philosophy has revealed to us. Nor has he determined whether his science
of dialectic is at rest or in motion, concerned with the contemplation of
absolute being, or with a process of development and evolution. Modern
metaphysics may be described as the science of abstractions, or as the
science of the evolution of thought; modern logic, when passing beyond the
bounds of mere Aristotelian forms, may be defined as the science of
method. The germ of {ccviii} both of them is contained in the Platonic
dialectic; all metaphysicians have something in common with the ideas of
Plato; all logicians have derived something from the method of Plato. The
nearest approach in modern philosophy to the universal science of Plato,
is to be found in the Hegelian 'succession of moments in the unity of the
idea.' Plato and Hegel alike seem to have conceived the world as the
correlation of abstractions; and not impossibly they would have understood
one another better than any of their commentators understand them (Swift's
Voyage to Laputa, c. 8[4]). There is, however, a difference between them:
for whereas Hegel is thinking of all the minds of men as one mind, which
developes the stages of the idea in different countries or at different
times in the same country, with Plato these gradations are regarded only
as an order of thought or ideas; the history of the human mind had not yet
dawned upon him.

[Footnote 4: 'Having a desire to see those ancients who were most renowned
for wit and learning, I set apart one day on purpose. I proposed that
Homer and Aristotle might appear at the head of all their commentators;
but these were so numerous that some hundreds were forced to attend in the
court and outward rooms of the palace. I knew, and could distinguish these
two heroes, at first sight, not only from the crowd, but from each other.
Homer was the taller and comelier person of the two, walked very erect for
one of his age, and his eyes were the most quick and piercing I ever
beheld. Aristotle stooped much, and made use of a staff. His visage was
meagre, his hair lank and thin, and his voice hollow. I soon discovered
that both of them were perfect strangers to the rest of the company, and
had never seen or heard of them before. And I had a whisper from a ghost,
who shall be nameless, "That these commentators always kept in the most
distant quarters from their principals, in the lower world, through a
consciousness of shame and guilt, because they had so horribly
misrepresented the meaning of these authors to posterity." I introduced
Didymus and Eustathius to Homer, and prevailed on him to treat them better
than perhaps they deserved, for he soon found they wanted a genius to
enter into the spirit of a poet. But Aristotle was out of all patience
with the account I gave him of Scotus and Ramus, as I presented them to
him; and he asked them "whether the rest of the tribe were as great dunces
as themselves?"']

Many criticisms may be made on Plato's theory of education. While in some
respects he unavoidably falls short of modern thinkers, in others he is in
advance of them. He is opposed to the modes of education which prevailed
in his own time; but he can hardly be said to have discovered new ones. He
does {ccix} not see that education is relative to the characters of
individuals; he only desires to impress the same form of the state on the
minds of all. He has no sufficient idea of the effect of literature on the
formation of the mind, and greatly exaggerates that of mathematics. His
aim is above all things to train the reasoning faculties; to implant in
the mind the spirit and power of abstraction; to explain and define
general notions, and, if possible, to connect them. No wonder that in the
vacancy of actual knowledge his followers, and at times even he himself,
should have fallen away from the doctrine of ideas, and have returned to
that branch of knowledge in which alone the relation of the one and many
can be truly seen--the science of number. In his views both of teaching
and training he might be styled, in modern language, a doctrinaire; after
the Spartan fashion he would have his citizens cast in one mould; he does
not seem to consider that some degree of freedom, 'a little wholesome
neglect,' is necessary to strengthen and develope the character and to
give play to the individual nature. His citizens would not have acquired
that knowledge which in the vision of Er is supposed to be gained by the
pilgrims from their experience of evil.

On the other hand, Plato is far in advance of modern philosophers and
theologians when he teaches that education is to be continued through life
and will begin again in another. He would never allow education of some
kind to cease; although he was aware that the proverbial saying of Solon,
'I grow old learning many things,' cannot be applied literally. Himself
ravished with the contemplation of the idea of good, and delighting in
solid geometry (Rep. vii. 528), he has no difficulty in imagining that a
lifetime might be passed happily in such pursuits. We who know how many
more men of business there are in the world than real students or
thinkers, are not equally sanguine. The education which he proposes for
his citizens is really the ideal life of the philosopher or man of genius,
interrupted, but only for a time, by practical duties,--a life not for the
many, but for the few.

Yet the thought of Plato may not be wholly incapable of application to our
own times. Even if regarded as an ideal which can never be realized, it
may have a great effect in elevating the characters of mankind, and
raising them above the routine {ccx} of their ordinary occupation or
profession. It is the best form under which we can conceive the whole of
life. Nevertheless the idea of Plato is not easily put into practice. For
the education of after life is necessarily the education which each one
gives himself. Men and women cannot be brought together in schools or
colleges at forty or fifty years of age; and if they could the result
would be disappointing. The destination of most men is what Plato would
call 'the Den' for the whole of life, and with that they are content.
Neither have they teachers or advisers with whom they can take counsel in
riper years. There is no 'schoolmaster abroad' who will tell them of their
faults, or inspire them with the higher sense of duty, or with the
ambition of a true success in life; no Socrates who will convict them of
ignorance; no Christ, or follower of Christ, who will reprove them of sin.
Hence they have a difficulty in receiving the first element of
improvement, which is self-knowledge. The hopes of youth no longer stir
them; they rather wish to rest than to pursue high objects. A few only who
have come across great men and women, or eminent teachers of religion and
morality, have received a second life from them, and have lighted a candle
from the fire of their genius.

The want of energy is one of the main reasons why so few persons continue
to improve in later years. They have not the will, and do not know the
way. They 'never try an experiment,' or look up a point of interest for
themselves; they make no sacrifices for the sake of knowledge; their
minds, like their bodies, at a certain age become fixed. Genius has been
defined as 'the power of taking pains'; but hardly any one keeps up his
interest in knowledge throughout a whole life. The troubles of a family,
the business of making money, the demands of a profession destroy the
elasticity of the mind. The waxen tablet of the memory which was once
capable of receiving 'true thoughts and clear impressions' becomes hard
and crowded; there is not room for the accumulations of a long life
(Theaet. 194 ff.). The student, as years advance, rather makes an exchange
of knowledge than adds to his stores. There is no pressing necessity to
learn; the stock of Classics or History or Natural Science which was
enough for a man at twenty-five is enough for him at fifty. Neither is it
easy to give a definite answer to any one who asks how he is to improve.
For self-education consists in a {ccxi} thousand things, commonplace in
themselves,--in adding to what we are by nature something of what we are
not; in learning to see ourselves as others see us; in judging, not by
opinion, but by the evidence of facts; in seeking out the society of
superior minds; in a study of lives and writings of great men; in
observation of the world and character; in receiving kindly the natural
influence of different times of life; in any act or thought which is
raised above the practice or opinions of mankind; in the pursuit of some
new or original enquiry; in any effort of mind which calls forth some
latent power.

If any one is desirous of carrying out in detail the Platonic education of
after-life, some such counsels as the following may be offered to
him:--That he shall choose the branch of knowledge to which his own mind
most distinctly inclines, and in which he takes the greatest delight,
either one which seems to connect with his own daily employment, or,
perhaps, furnishes the greatest contrast to it. He may study from the
speculative side the profession or business in which he is practically
engaged. He may make Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Plato, Bacon the friends
and companions of his life. He may find opportunities of hearing the
living voice of a great teacher. He may select for enquiry some point of
history or some unexplained phenomenon of nature. An hour a day passed in
such scientific or literary pursuits will furnish as many facts as the
memory can retain, and will give him 'a pleasure not to be repented of'
(Timaeus, 59 D). Only let him beware of being the slave of crotchets, or
of running after a Will o' the Wisp in his ignorance, or in his vanity of
attributing to himself the gifts of a poet or assuming the air of a
philosopher. He should know the limits of his own powers. Better to build
up the mind by slow additions, to creep on quietly from one thing to
another, to gain insensibly new powers and new interests in knowledge,
than to form vast schemes which are never destined to be realized. But
perhaps, as Plato would say, 'This is part of another subject' (Tim. 87
B); though we may also defend our digression by his example (Theaet. 72,

       *       *       *       *       *

IV. We remark with surprise that the progress of nations or {ccxii} the
natural growth of institutions which fill modern treatises on political
philosophy seem hardly ever to have attracted the attention of Plato and
Aristotle. The ancients were familiar with the mutability of human
affairs; they could moralize over the ruins of cities and the fall of
empires (cp. Plato, Statesman 301, 302, and Sulpicius' Letter to Cicero,
Ad Fam. iv. 5); by them fate and chance were deemed to be real powers,
almost persons, and to have had a great share in political events. The
wiser of them like Thucydides believed that 'what had been would be
again,' and that a tolerable idea of the future could be gathered from the
past. Also they had dreams of a Golden Age which existed once upon a time
and might still exist in some unknown land, or might return again in the
remote future. But the regular growth of a state enlightened by
experience, progressing in knowledge, improving in the arts, of which the
citizens were educated by the fulfilment of political duties, appears
never to have come within the range of their hopes and aspirations. Such a
state had never been seen, and therefore could not be conceived by them.
Their experience (cp. Aristot. Metaph. xi. 21; Plato, Laws iii. 676-9) led
them to conclude that there had been cycles of civilization in which the
arts had been discovered and lost many times over, and cities had been
overthrown and rebuilt again and again, and deluges and volcanoes and
other natural convulsions had altered the face of the earth. Tradition
told them of many destructions of mankind and of the preservation of a
remnant. The world began again after a deluge and was reconstructed out of
the fragments of itself. Also they were acquainted with empires of unknown
antiquity, like the Egyptian or Assyrian; but they had never seen them
grow, and could not imagine, any more than we can, the state of man which
preceded them. They were puzzled and awestricken by the Egyptian
monuments, of which the forms, as Plato says, not in a figure, but
literally, were ten thousand years old (Laws ii. 656 E), and they
contrasted the antiquity of Egypt with their own short memories.

The early legends of Hellas have no real connection with the later
history: they are at a distance, and the intermediate region is concealed
from view; there is no road or path which leads from one to the other. At
the beginning of Greek history, in the vestibule of the temple, is seen
standing first of all the figure of {ccxiii} the legislator, himself the
interpreter and servant of the God. The fundamental laws which he gives
are not supposed to change with time and circumstances. The salvation of
the state is held rather to depend on the inviolable maintenance of them.
They were sanctioned by the authority of heaven, and it was deemed impiety
to alter them. The desire to maintain them unaltered seems to be the
origin of what at first sight is very surprising to us--the intolerant
zeal of Plato against innovators in religion or politics (cp. Laws x.
907-9); although with a happy inconsistency he is also willing that the
laws of other countries should be studied and improvements in legislation
privately communicated to the Nocturnal Council (Laws xii. 951, 2). The
additions which were made to them in later ages in order to meet the
increasing complexity of affairs were still ascribed by a fiction to the
original legislator; and the words of such enactments at Athens were
disputed over as if they had been the words of Solon himself. Plato hopes
to preserve in a later generation the mind of the legislator; he would
have his citizens remain within the lines which he has laid down for them.
He would not harass them with minute regulations, he would have allowed
some changes in the laws: but not changes which would affect the
fundamental institutions of the state, such for example as would convert
an aristocracy into a timocracy, or a timocracy into a popular form of

Passing from speculations to facts, we observe that progress has been the
exception rather than the law of human history. And therefore we are not
surprised to find that the idea of progress is of modern rather than of
ancient date; and, like the idea of a philosophy of history, is not more
than a century or two old. It seems to have arisen out of the impression
left on the human mind by the growth of the Roman Empire and of the
Christian Church, and to be due to the political and social improvements
which they introduced into the world; and still more in our own century to
the idealism of the first French Revolution and the triumph of American
Independence; and in a yet greater degree to the vast material prosperity
and growth of population in England and her colonies and in America. It is
also to be ascribed in a measure to the greater study of the philosophy of
history. The optimist temperament of some great writers has {ccxiv}
assisted the creation of it, while the opposite character has led a few to
regard the future of the world as dark. The 'spectator of all time and of
all existence' sees more of 'the increasing purpose which through the ages
ran' than formerly: but to the inhabitant of a small state of Hellas the
vision was necessarily limited like the valley in which he dwelt. There
was no remote past on which his eye could rest, nor any future from which
the veil was partly lifted up by the analogy of history. The narrowness of
view, which to ourselves appears so singular, was to him natural, if not

       *       *       *       *       *

V. For the relation of the Republic to the Statesman and the Laws, and the
two other works of Plato which directly treat of politics, see the
Introductions to the two latter; a few general points of comparison may be
touched upon in this place.

And first of the Laws. (1) The Republic, though probably written at
intervals, yet speaking generally and judging by the indications of
thought and style, may be reasonably ascribed to the middle period of
Plato's life: the Laws are certainly the work of his declining years, and
some portions of them at any rate seem to have been written in extreme old
age. (2) The Republic is full of hope and aspiration: the Laws bear the
stamp of failure and disappointment. The one is a finished work which
received the last touches of the author: the other is imperfectly
executed, and apparently unfinished. The one has the grace and beauty of
youth: the other has lost the poetical form, but has more of the severity
and knowledge of life which is characteristic of old age. (3) The most
conspicuous defect of the Laws is the failure of dramatic power, whereas
the Republic is full of striking contrasts of ideas and oppositions of
character. (4) The Laws may be said to have more the nature of a sermon,
the Republic of a poem; the one is more religious, the other more
intellectual. (5) Many theories of Plato, such as the doctrine of ideas,
the government of the world by philosophers, are not found in the Laws;
the immortality of the soul is first mentioned in xii. 959, 967; the
person of Socrates has altogether disappeared. The community of women and
children is renounced; the institution of common or public meals for women
(Laws vi. 781) is for the first time introduced {ccxv} (Ar. Pol. ii. 6,
 5). (6) There remains in the Laws the old enmity to the poets (vii. 817),
who are ironically saluted in high-flown terms, and, at the same time, are
peremptorily ordered out of the city, if they are not willing to submit
their poems to the censorship of the magistrates (cp. Rep. iii. 398).
(7) Though the work is in most respects inferior, there are a few passages
in the Laws, such as v. 727 ff. (the honour due to the soul), viii. 835
ff. (the evils of licentious or unnatural love), the whole of Book x.
(religion), xi. 918 ff. (the dishonesty of retail trade), and 923 ff.
(bequests), which come more home to us, and contain more of what may be
termed the modern element in Plato than almost anything in the Republic.

The relation of the two works to one another is very well given:

(i) by Aristotle in the Politics (ii. 6,  1-5) from the side of the

'The same, or nearly the same, objections apply to Plato's later work, the
Laws, and therefore we had better examine briefly the constitution which
is therein described. In the Republic, Socrates has definitely settled in
all a few questions only; such as the community of women and children, the
community of property, and the constitution of the state. The population
is divided into two classes--one of husbandmen, and the other of warriors;
from this latter is taken a third class of counsellors and rulers of the
state. But Socrates has not determined whether the husbandmen and artists
are to have a share in the government, and whether they too are to carry
arms and share in military service or not. He certainly thinks that the
women ought to share in the education of the guardians, and to fight by
their side. The remainder of the work is filled up with digressions
foreign to the main subject, and with discussions about the education of
the guardians. In the Laws there is hardly anything but laws; not much is
said about the constitution. This, which he had intended to make more of
the ordinary type, he gradually brings round to the other or ideal form.
For with the exception of the community of women and property, he supposes
everything to be the same in both states; there is to be the same
education; the citizens of both are to live free from servile occupations,
and there are to be common meals in both. The only difference is that in
the Laws the common meals are {ccxvi} extended to women, and the warriors
number about 5000, but in the Republic only 1000.'

(ii) by Plato in the Laws (Book v. 739 B-E), from the side of the

'The first and highest form of the state and of the government and of the
law is that in which there prevails most widely the ancient saying that
"Friends have all things in common." Whether there is now, or ever will
be, this communion of women and children and of property, in which the
private and individual is altogether banished from life, and things which
are by nature private, such as eyes and ears and hands, have become
common, and all men express praise and blame, and feel joy and sorrow, on
the same occasions, and the laws unite the city to the utmost,--whether
all this is possible or not, I say that no man, acting upon any other
principle, will ever constitute a state more exalted in virtue, or truer
or better than this. Such a state, whether inhabited by Gods or sons of
Gods, will make them blessed who dwell therein; and therefore to this we
are to look for the pattern of the state, and to cling to this, and, as
far as possible, to seek for one which is like this. The state which we
have now in hand, when created, will be nearest to immortality and unity
in the next degree; and after that, by the grace of God, we will complete
the third one. And we will begin by speaking of the nature and origin of
the second.'

The comparatively short work called the Statesman or Politicus in its
style and manner is more akin to the Laws, while in its idealism it rather
resembles the Republic. As far as we can judge by various indications of
language and thought, it must be later than the one and of course earlier
than the other. In both the Republic and Statesman a close connection is
maintained between Politics and Dialectic. In the Statesman, enquiries
into the principles of Method are interspersed with discussions about
Politics. The comparative advantages of the rule of law and of a person
are considered, and the decision given in favour of a person (Arist. Pol.
iii. 15, 16). But much may be said on the other side, nor is the
opposition necessary; for a person may rule by law, and law may be so
applied as to be the living voice of the legislator. As in the Republic,
there is a myth, describing, however, not a future, but a former existence
of mankind. The question is {ccxvii} asked, 'Whether the state of
innocence which is described in the myth, or a state like our own which
possesses art and science and distinguishes good from evil, is the
preferable condition of man.' To this question of the comparative
happiness of civilized and primitive life, which was so often discussed in
the last century and in our own, no answer is given. The Statesman, though
less perfect in style than the Republic and of far less range, may justly
be regarded as one of the greatest of Plato's dialogues.

       *       *       *       *       *

VI. Others as well as Plato have chosen an ideal Republic to be the
vehicle of thoughts which they could not definitely express, or which went
beyond their own age. The classical writing which approaches most nearly
to the Republic of Plato is the 'De Republica' of Cicero; but neither in
this nor in any other of his dialogues does he rival the art of Plato. The
manners are clumsy and inferior; the hand of the rhetorician is apparent
at every turn. Yet noble sentiments are constantly recurring: the true
note of Roman patriotism--'We Romans are a great people'--resounds through
the whole work. Like Socrates, Cicero turns away from the phenomena of the
heavens to civil and political life. He would rather not discuss the 'two
Suns' of which all Rome was talking, when he can converse about 'the two
nations in one' which had divided Rome ever since the days of the Gracchi.
Like Socrates again, speaking in the person of Scipio, he is afraid lest
he should assume too much the character of a teacher, rather than of an
equal who is discussing among friends the two sides of a question. He
would confine the terms King or State to the rule of reason and justice,
and he will not concede that title either to a democracy or to a monarchy.
But under the rule of reason and justice he is willing to include the
natural superior ruling over the natural inferior, which he compares to
the soul ruling over the body. He prefers a mixture of forms of government
to any single one. The two portraits of the just and the unjust, which
occur in the second book of the Republic, are transferred to the
state--Philus, one of the interlocutors, maintaining against his will the
necessity of injustice as a principle of government, while the other,
Laelius, supports the opposite thesis. His views of language and number
are derived {ccxviii} from Plato; like him he denounces the drama. He also
declares that if his life were to be twice as long he would have no time
to read the lyric poets. The picture of democracy is translated by him
word for word, though he had hardly shown himself able to 'carry the jest'
of Plato. He converts into a stately sentence the humorous fancy about the
animals, who 'are so imbued with the spirit of democracy that they make
the passers-by get out of their way' (i. 42). His description of the
tyrant is imitated from Plato, but is far inferior. The second book is
historical, and claims for the Roman constitution (which is to him the
ideal) a foundation of fact such as Plato probably intended to have given
to the Republic in the Critias. His most remarkable imitation of Plato is
the adaptation of the vision of Er, which is converted by Cicero into the
'Somnium Scipionis'; he has 'romanized' the myth of the Republic, adding
an argument for the immortality of the soul taken from the Phaedrus, and
some other touches derived from the Phaedo and the Timaeus. Though a
beautiful tale and containing splendid passages, the 'Somnium Scipionis'
is very inferior to the vision of Er; it is only a dream, and hardly
allows the reader to suppose that the writer believes in his own creation.
Whether his dialogues were framed on the model of the lost dialogues of
Aristotle, as he himself tells us, or of Plato, to which they bear many
superficial resemblances, he is still the Roman orator; he is not
conversing, but making speeches, and is never able to mould the
intractable Latin to the grace and ease of the Greek Platonic dialogue.
But if he is defective in form, much more is he inferior to the Greek in
matter; he nowhere in his philosophical writings leaves upon our minds the
impression of an original thinker.

Plato's Republic has been said to be a church and not a state; and such an
ideal of a city in the heavens has always hovered over the Christian
world, and is embodied in St. Augustine's 'De Civitate Dei,' which is
suggested by the decay and fall of the Roman Empire, much in the same
manner in which we may imagine the Republic of Plato to have been
influenced by the decline of Greek politics in the writer's own age. The
difference is that in the time of Plato the degeneracy, though certain,
was gradual and insensible: whereas the taking of Rome by the Goths
stirred like an earthquake the age of St. Augustine. Men {ccxix} were
inclined to believe that the overthrow of the city was to be ascribed to
the anger felt by the old Roman deities at the neglect of their worship.
St. Augustine maintains the opposite thesis; he argues that the
destruction of the Roman Empire is due, not to the rise of Christianity,
but to the vices of Paganism. He wanders over Roman history, and over
Greek philosophy and mythology, and finds everywhere crime, impiety and
falsehood. He compares the worst parts of the Gentile religions with the
best elements of the faith of Christ. He shows nothing of the spirit which
led others of the early Christian Fathers to recognize in the writings of
the Greek philosophers the power of the divine truth. He traces the
parallel of the kingdom of God, that is, the history of the Jews,
contained in their scriptures, and of the kingdoms of the world, which are
found in gentile writers, and pursues them both into an ideal future. It
need hardly be remarked that his use both of Greek and of Roman historians
and of the sacred writings of the Jews is wholly uncritical. The heathen
mythology, the Sybilline oracles, the myths of Plato, the dreams of
Neo-Platonists are equally regarded by him as matter of fact. He must be
acknowledged to be a strictly polemical or controversial writer who makes
the best of everything on one side and the worst of everything on the
other. He has no sympathy with the old Roman life as Plato has with Greek
life, nor has he any idea of the ecclesiastical kingdom which was to arise
out of the ruins of the Roman empire. He is not blind to the defects of
the Christian Church, and looks forward to a time when Christian and Pagan
shall be alike brought before the judgment-seat, and the true City of God
shall appear.... The work of St. Augustine is a curious repertory of
antiquarian learning and quotations, deeply penetrated with Christian
ethics, but showing little power of reasoning, and a slender knowledge of
the Greek literature and language. He was a great genius, and a noble
character, yet hardly capable of feeling or understanding anything
external to his own theology. Of all the ancient philosophers he is most
attracted by Plato, though he is very slightly acquainted with his
writings. He is inclined to believe that the idea of creation in the
Timaeus is derived from the narrative in Genesis; and he is strangely
taken with the coincidence (?) of Plato's saying that 'the philosopher
{ccxx} is the lover of God,' and the words of the Book of Exodus in which
God reveals himself to Moses (Exod. iii. 14) He dwells at length on
miracles performed in his own day, of which the evidence is regarded by
him as irresistible. He speaks in a very interesting manner of the beauty
and utility of nature and of the human frame, which he conceives to afford
a foretaste of the heavenly state and of the resurrection of the body. The
book is not really what to most persons the title of it would imply, and
belongs to an age which has passed away. But it contains many fine
passages and thoughts which are for all time.

The short treatise de Monarchia of Dante is by far the most remarkable of
medival ideals, and bears the impress of the great genius in whom Italy
and the Middle Ages are so vividly reflected. It is the vision of an
Universal Empire, which is supposed to be the natural and necessary
government of the world, having a divine authority distinct from the
Papacy, yet coextensive with it. It is not 'the ghost of the dead Roman
Empire sitting crowned upon the grave thereof,' but the legitimate heir
and successor of it, justified by the ancient virtues of the Romans and
the beneficence of their rule. Their right to be the governors of the
world is also confirmed by the testimony of miracles, and acknowledged by
St. Paul when he appealed to Csar, and even more emphatically by Christ
Himself, Who could not have made atonement for the sins of men if He had
not been condemned by a divinely authorized tribunal. The necessity for
the establishment of an Universal Empire is proved partly by a priori
arguments such as the unity of God and the unity of the family or nation;
partly by perversions of Scripture and history, by false analogies of
nature, by misapplied quotations from the classics, and by odd scraps and
commonplaces of logic, showing a familiar but by no means exact knowledge
of Aristotle (of Plato there is none). But a more convincing argument
still is the miserable state of the world, which he touchingly describes.
He sees no hope of happiness or peace for mankind until all nations of the
earth are comprehended in a single empire. The whole treatise shows how
deeply the idea of the Roman Empire was fixed in the minds of his
contemporaries. Not much argument was needed to maintain the truth of a
theory which to his own {ccxxi} contemporaries seemed so natural and
congenial. He speaks, or rather preaches, from the point of view, not of
the ecclesiastic, but of the layman, although, as a good Catholic, he is
willing to acknowledge that in certain respects the Empire must submit to
the Church. The beginning and end of all his noble reflections and of his
arguments, good and bad, is the aspiration 'that in this little plot of
earth belonging to mortal man life may pass in freedom and peace.' So
inextricably is his vision of the future bound up with the beliefs and
circumstances of his own age.

The 'Utopia' of Sir Thomas More is a surprising monument of his genius,
and shows a reach of thought far beyond his contemporaries. The book was
written by him at the age of about 34 or 35, and is full of the generous
sentiments of youth. He brings the light of Plato to bear upon the
miserable state of his own country. Living not long after the Wars of the
Roses, and in the dregs of the Catholic Church in England, he is indignant
at the corruption of the clergy, at the luxury of the nobility and gentry,
at the sufferings of the poor, at the calamities caused by war. To the eye
of More the whole world was in dissolution and decay; and side by side
with the misery and oppression which he has described in the First Book of
the Utopia, he places in the Second Book the ideal state which by the help
of Plato he had constructed. The times were full of stir and intellectual
interest. The distant murmur of the Reformation was beginning to be heard.
To minds like More's, Greek literature was a revelation: there had arisen
an art of interpretation, and the New Testament was beginning to be
understood as it had never been before, and has not often been since, in
its natural sense. The life there depicted appeared to him wholly unlike
that of Christian commonwealths, in which 'he saw nothing but a certain
conspiracy of rich men procuring their own commodities under the name and
title of the Commonwealth.' He thought that Christ, like Plato,
'instituted all things common,' for which reason, he tells us, the
citizens of Utopia were the more willing to receive his doctrines[5]. The
community of {ccxxii} property is a fixed idea with him, though he is
aware of the arguments which may be urged on the other side[6]. We wonder
how in the reign of Henry VIII, though veiled in another language and
published in a foreign country, such speculations could have been endured.

[Footnote 5: 'Howbeit, I think this was no small help and furtherance in
the matter, that they heard us say that Christ instituted among his, all
things common, and that the same community doth yet remain in the rightest
Christian communities' (Utopia, English Reprints, p. 144).]

[Footnote 6: 'These things (I say), when I consider with myself, I hold
well with Plato, and do nothing marvel that he would make no laws for them
that refused those laws, whereby all men should have and enjoy equal
portions of riches and commodities. For the wise men did easily foresee
this to be the one and only way to the wealth of a community, if equality
of all things should be brought in and established' (Utopia, English
Reprints, p. 67, 68).]

He is gifted with far greater dramatic invention than any one who
succeeded him, with the exception of Swift. In the art of feigning he is a
worthy disciple of Plato. Like him, starting from a small portion of fact,
he founds his tale with admirable skill on a few lines in the Latin
narrative of the voyages of Amerigo Vespucci. He is very precise about
dates and facts, and has the power of making us believe that the narrator
of the tale must have been an eyewitness. We are fairly puzzled by his
manner of mixing up real and imaginary persons; his boy John Clement and
Peter Giles, citizen of Antwerp, with whom he disputes about the precise
words which are supposed to have been used by the (imaginary) Portuguese
traveller, Raphael Hythloday. 'I have the more cause,' says Hythloday, 'to
fear that my words shall not be believed, for that I know how difficultly
and hardly I myself would have believed another man telling the same, if
I had not myself seen it with mine own eyes.' Or again: 'If you had been
with me in Utopia, and had presently seen their fashions and laws as I did
which lived there five years and more, and would never have come thence,
but only to make the new land known here,' etc. More greatly regrets that
he forgot to ask Hythloday in what part of the world Utopia is situated;
he 'would have spent no small sum of money rather than it should have
escaped him,' and he begs Peter Giles to see Hythloday or write to him and
obtain an answer to the question. After this we are not surprised to hear
that a Professor of Divinity (perhaps 'a late famous vicar of Croydon in
Surrey,' as the translator thinks) is desirous of being sent thither as a
missionary by the High Bishop, 'yea, and that he may himself be made
Bishop of Utopia, nothing doubting that he must obtain this Bishopric with
suit; and he counteth that a godly {ccxxiii} suit which proceedeth not of
the desire of honour or lucre, but only of a godly zeal.' The design may
have failed through the disappearance of Hythloday, concerning whom we
have 'very uncertain news' after his departure. There is no doubt,
however, that he had told More and Giles the exact situation of the
island, but unfortunately at the same moment More's attention, as he is
reminded in a letter from Giles, was drawn off by a servant, and one of
the company from a cold caught on shipboard coughed so loud as to prevent
Giles from hearing. And 'the secret has perished' with him; to this day
the place of Utopia remains unknown.

The words of Phaedrus (275 B), 'O Socrates, you can easily invent
Egyptians or anything,' are recalled to our mind as we read this lifelike
fiction. Yet the greater merit of the work is not the admirable art, but
the originality of thought. More is as free as Plato from the prejudices
of his age, and far more tolerant. The Utopians do not allow him who
believes not in the immortality of the soul to share in the administration
of the state (cp. Laws x. 908 foll.), 'howbeit they put him to no
punishment, because they be persuaded that it is in no man's power to
believe what he list'; and 'no man is to be blamed for reasoning in
support of his own religion[7].' In the public services 'no prayers be
used, but such as every man may boldly pronounce without giving offence to
any sect.' He says significantly, 'There be that give worship to a man
that was once of excellent virtue or of famous glory, not only as God, but
also the chiefest and highest God. But the most and the wisest part,
rejecting all these, believe that there is a certain godly power unknown,
far above the capacity and reach of man's wit, dispersed throughout all
the world, not in bigness, but in virtue and power. Him they call the
Father of all. To Him alone they attribute the beginnings, the
increasings, the proceedings, {ccxxiv} the changes, and the ends of all
things. Neither give they any divine honours to any other than him.' So
far was More from sharing the popular beliefs of his time. Yet at the end
he reminds us that he does not in all respects agree with the customs and
opinions of the Utopians which he describes. And we should let him have
the benefit of this saving clause, and not rudely withdraw the veil behind
which he has been pleased to conceal himself.

[Footnote 7: 'One of our company in my presence was sharply punished. He,
as soon as he was baptised, began, against our wills, with more earnest
affection than wisdom, to reason of Christ's religion, and began to wax so
hot in his matter, that he did not only prefer our religion before all
other, but also did despise and condemn all other, calling them profane,
and the followers of them wicked and devilish, and the children of
everlasting damnation. When he had thus long reasoned the matter, they
laid hold on him, accused him, and condemned him into exile, not as a
despiser of religion, but as a seditious person and a raiser up of
dissension among the people' (p. 145).]

Nor is he less in advance of popular opinion in his political and moral
speculations. He would like to bring military glory into contempt; he
would set all sorts of idle people to profitable occupation, including in
the same class, priests, women, noblemen, gentlemen, and 'sturdy and
valiant beggars,' that the labour of all may be reduced to six hours a
day. His dislike of capital punishment, and plans for the reformation of
offenders; his detestation of priests and lawyers[8]; his remark that
'although every one may hear of ravenous dogs and wolves and cruel
man-eaters, it is not easy to find states that are well and wisely
governed,' are curiously at variance with the notions of his age and
indeed with his own life. There are many points in which he shows a modern
feeling and a prophetic insight like Plato. He is a sanitary reformer; he
maintains that civilized states have a right to the soil of waste
countries; he is inclined to the opinion which places happiness in
virtuous pleasures, but herein, as he thinks, not disagreeing from those
other philosophers who define virtue to be a life according to nature. He
extends the idea of happiness so as to include the happiness of others;
and he argues ingeniously, 'All men agree that we ought to make others
happy; but if others, how much more ourselves!' And still he thinks that
there may be a more excellent way, but to this no man's reason can attain
unless heaven should inspire him with a higher truth. His ceremonies
before marriage; his _humane_ proposal that war should be carried on by
assassinating the leaders of the enemy, may be compared to some of the
paradoxes of Plato. He has a charming fancy, like the affinities of Greeks
and barbarians in the Timaeus, that the Utopians learnt the language of
the Greeks with the more readiness because they were originally of the
same race with them. He is penetrated with the spirit of Plato, and quotes
or adapts many {ccxxv} thoughts both from the Republic and from the
Timaeus. He prefers public duties to private, and is somewhat impatient of
the importunity of relations. His citizens have no silver or gold of their
own, but are ready enough to pay them to their mercenaries (cp. Rep. iv.
422, 423). There is nothing of which he is more contemptuous than the love
of money. Gold is used for fetters of criminals, and diamonds and pearls
for children's necklaces[9].

[Footnote 8: Compare his satirical observation: 'They (the Utopians) have
priests of exceeding holiness, and therefore very few' (p. 150).]

[Footnote 9: When the ambassadors came arrayed in gold and peacocks'
feathers 'to the eyes of all the Utopians except very few, which had been
in other countries for some reasonable cause, all that gorgeousness of
apparel seemed shameful and reproachful. In so much that they most
reverently saluted the vilest and most abject of them for lords--passing
over the ambassadors themselves without any honour, judging them by their
wearing of golden chains to be bondmen. You should have seen children
also, that had cast away their pearls and precious stones, when they saw
the like sticking upon the ambassadors' caps, dig and push their mothers
under the sides, saying thus to them--"Look, mother, how great a lubber
doth yet wear pearls and precious stones, as though he were a little child
still." But the mother; yea and that also in good earnest: "Peace, son,"
saith she, "I think he be some of the ambassadors' fools"' (p. 102).]

Like Plato he is full of satirical reflections on governments and princes;
on the state of the world and of knowledge. The hero of his discourse
(Hythloday) is very unwilling to become a minister of state, considering
that he would lose his independence and his advice would never be
heeded[10]. He ridicules the new logic of his time; the Utopians could
never be made to understand the doctrine of Second Intentions[11]. He is
very severe on the sports of the gentry; the Utopians count 'hunting the
lowest, the vilest, and the most abject part of butchery.' He quotes the
words of the Republic in which the philosopher is described 'standing out
of the way under a wall until the driving storm of sleet and rain be
overpast,' which admit of a singular application to More's own fate;
although, writing twenty years before (about the year 1514), {ccxxvi} he
can hardly be supposed to have foreseen this. There is no touch of satire
which strikes deeper than his quiet remark that the greater part of the
precepts of Christ are more at variance with the lives of ordinary
Christians than the discourse of Utopia[12].

[Footnote 10: Cp. an exquisite passage at p. 35, of which the conclusion
is as follows: 'And verily it is naturally given ... suppressed and

[Footnote 11: 'For they have not devised one of all those rules of
restrictions, amplifications, and suppositions, very wittily invented in
the small Logicals, which here our children in every place do learn.
Furthermore, they were never yet able to find out the second intentions;
insomuch that none of them all could ever see man himself in common, as
they call him, though he be (as you know) bigger than was ever any giant,
yea, and pointed to of us even with our finger.']

[Footnote 12: 'And yet the most part of them is more dissident from the
manners of the world now a days, than my communication was. But preachers,
sly and wily men, following your counsel (as I suppose) because they saw
men evil-willing to frame their manners to Christ's rule, they have
wrested and wried his doctrine, and, like a rule of lead, have applied it
to men's manners, that by some means at the least way, they might agree

The 'New Atlantis' is only a fragment, and far inferior in merit to the
'Utopia.' The work is full of ingenuity, but wanting in creative fancy,
and by no means impresses the reader with a sense of credibility. In some
places Lord Bacon is characteristically different from Sir Thomas More,
as, for example, in the external state which he attributes to the governor
of Solomon's House, whose dress he minutely describes, while to Sir Thomas
More such trappings appear simple ridiculous. Yet, after this programme of
dress, Bacon adds the beautiful trait, 'that he had a look as though he
pitied men.' Several things are borrowed by him from the Timaeus; but he
has injured the unity of style by adding thoughts and passages which are
taken from the Hebrew Scriptures.

The 'City of the Sun' written by Campanella (1568-1639), a Dominican
friar, several years after the 'New Atlantis' of Bacon, has many
resemblances to the Republic of Plato. The citizens have wives and
children in common; their marriages are of the same temporary sort, and
are arranged by the magistrates from time to time. They do not, however,
adopt his system of lots, but bring together the best natures, male and
female, 'according to philosophical rules.' The infants until two years of
age are brought up by their mothers in public temples; and since
individuals for the most part educate their children badly, at the
beginning of their third year they are committed to the care of the State,
and are taught at first, not out of books, but from paintings of all
kinds, which are emblazoned on the walls of the city. The city has six
interior circuits of walls, and an outer wall which is the seventh. On
this outer wall are painted the figures of legislators and philosophers,
and {ccxxvii} on each of the interior walls the symbols or forms of some
one of the sciences are delineated. The women are, for the most part,
trained, like the men, in warlike and other exercises; but they have two
special occupations of their own. After a battle, they and the boys soothe
and relieve the wounded warriors; also they encourage them with embraces
and pleasant words (cp. Plato, Rep. v. 468). Some elements of the
Christian or Catholic religion are preserved among them. The life of the
Apostles is greatly admired by this people because they had all things in
common; and the short prayer which Jesus Christ taught men is used in
their worship. It is a duty of the chief magistrates to pardon sins, and
therefore the whole people make secret confession of them to the
magistrates, and they to their chief, who is a sort of Rector
Metaphysicus; and by this means he is well informed of all that is going
on in the minds of men. After confession, absolution is granted to the
citizens collectively, but no one is mentioned by name. There also exists
among them a practice of perpetual prayer, performed by a succession of
priests, who change every hour. Their religion is a worship of God in
Trinity, that is of Wisdom, Love and Power, but without any distinction of
persons. They behold in the sun the reflection of His glory; mere graven
images they reject, refusing to fall under the 'tyranny' of idolatry.

Many details are given about their customs of eating and drinking, about
their mode of dressing, their employments, their wars. Campanella looks
forward to a new mode of education, which is to be a study of nature, and
not of Aristotle. He would not have his citizens waste their time in the
consideration of what he calls 'the dead signs of things.' He remarks that
he who knows one science only, does not really know that one any more than
the rest, and insists strongly on the necessity of a variety of knowledge.
More scholars are turned out in the City of the Sun in one year than by
contemporary methods in ten or fifteen. He evidently believes, like Bacon,
that henceforward natural science will play a great part in education, a
hope which seems hardly to have been realized, either in our own or in any
former age; at any rate the fulfilment of it has been long deferred.

There is a good deal of ingenuity and even originality in this {ccxxviii}
work, and a most enlightened spirit pervades it. But it has little or no
charm of style, and falls very far short of the 'New Atlantis' of Bacon,
and still more of the 'Utopia' of Sir Thomas More. It is full of
inconsistencies, and though borrowed from Plato, shows but a superficial
acquaintance with his writings. It is a work such as one might expect to
have been written by a philosopher and man of genius who was also a friar,
and who had spent twenty-seven years of his life in a prison of the
Inquisition. The most interesting feature of the book, common to Plato and
Sir Thomas More, is the deep feeling which is shown by the writer, of the
misery and ignorance prevailing among the lower classes in his own time.
Campanella takes note of Aristotle's answer to Plato's community of
property, that in a society where all things are common, no individual
would have any motive to work (Arist. Pol. ii. 5,  6): he replies, that
his citizens being happy and contented in themselves (they are required to
work only four hours a day), will have greater regard for their fellows
than exists among men at present. He thinks, like Plato, that if he
abolishes private feelings and interests, a great public feeling will take
their place.

Other writings on ideal states, such as the 'Oceana' of Harrington, in
which the Lord Archon, meaning Cromwell, is described, not as he was, but
as he ought to have been; or the 'Argenis' of Barclay, which is an
historical allegory of his own time, are too unlike Plato to be worth
mentioning. More interesting than either of these, and far more Platonic
in style and thought, is Sir John Eliot's 'Monarchy of Man,' in which the
prisoner of the Tower, no longer able 'to be a politician in the land of
his birth,' turns away from politics to view 'that other city which is
within him,' and finds on the very threshold of the grave that the secret
of human happiness is the mastery of self. The change of government in the
time of the English Commonwealth set men thinking about first principles,
and gave rise to many works of this class.... The great original genius of
Swift owes nothing to Plato; nor is there any trace in the conversation or
in the works of Dr. Johnson of any acquaintance with his writings. He
probably would have refuted Plato without reading him, in the same fashion
in which he supposed himself to have refuted Bishop Berkeley's theory of
the non-existence of matter. If we {ccxxix} except the so-called English
Platonists, or rather Neo-Platonists, who never understood their master,
and the writings of Coleridge, who was to some extent a kindred spirit,
Plato has left no permanent impression on English literature.

       *       *       *       *       *

VII. Human life and conduct are affected by ideals in the same way that
they are affected by the examples of eminent men. Neither the one nor the
other are immediately applicable to practice, but there is a virtue
flowing from them which tends to raise individuals above the common
routine of society or trade, and to elevate States above the mere
interests of commerce or the necessities of self-defence. Like the ideals
of art they are partly framed by the omission of particulars; they require
to be viewed at a certain distance, and are apt to fade away if we attempt
to approach them. They gain an imaginary distinctness when embodied in a
State or in a system of philosophy, but they still remain the visions of
'a world unrealized.' More striking and obvious to the ordinary mind are
the examples of great men, who have served their own generation and are
remembered in another. Even in our own family circle there may have been
some one, a woman, or even a child, in whose face has shone forth a
goodness more than human. The ideal then approaches nearer to us, and we
fondly cling to it. The ideal of the past, whether of our own past lives
or of former states of society, has a singular fascination for the minds
of many. Too late we learn that such ideals cannot be recalled, though the
recollection of them may have a humanizing influence on other times. But
the abstractions of philosophy are to most persons cold and vacant; they
give light without warmth; they are like the full moon in the heavens when
there are no stars appearing. Men cannot live by thought alone; the world
of sense is always breaking in upon them. They are for the most part
confined to a corner of earth, and see but a little way beyond their own
home or place of abode; they 'do not lift up their eyes to the hills';
they are not awake when the dawn appears. But in Plato we have reached a
height from which a man may look into the distance (Rep. iv. 445 C) and
behold the future of the world and of philosophy. The ideal of the State
and of the life of the philosopher; the ideal of an education {ccxxx}
continuing through life and extending equally to both sexes; the ideal of
the unity and correlation of knowledge; the faith in good and
immortality--are the vacant forms of light on which Plato is seeking to
fix the eye of mankind.

       *       *       *       *       *

VIII. Two other ideals, which never appeared above the horizon in Greek
Philosophy, float before the minds of men in our own day: one seen more
clearly than formerly, as though each year and each generation brought us
nearer to some great change; the other almost in the same degree retiring
from view behind the laws of nature, as if oppressed by them, but still
remaining a silent hope of we know not what hidden in the heart of man.
The first ideal is the future of the human race in this world; the second
the future of the individual in another. The first is the more perfect
realization of our own present life; the second, the abnegation of it: the
one, limited by experience, the other, transcending it. Both of them have
been and are powerful motives of action; there are a few in whom they have
taken the place of all earthly interests. The hope of a future for the
human race at first sight seems to be the more disinterested, the hope of
individual existence the more egotistical, of the two motives. But when
men have learned to resolve their hope of a future either for themselves
or for the world into the will of God--'not my will but Thine,' the
difference between them falls away; and they may be allowed to make either
of them the basis of their lives, according to their own individual
character or temperament. There is as much faith in the willingness to
work for an unseen future in this world as in another. Neither is it
inconceivable that some rare nature may feel his duty to another
generation, or to another century, almost as strongly as to his own, or
that living always in the presence of God, he may realize another world as
vividly as he does this.

The greatest of all ideals may, or rather must be conceived by us under
similitudes derived from human qualities; although sometimes, like the
Jewish prophets, we may dash away these figures of speech and describe the
nature of God only in negatives. These again by degrees acquire a positive
meaning. It would be well, if when meditating on the higher truths either
of ccxxxi} philosophy or religion, we sometimes substituted one form of
expression for another, lest through the necessities of language we should
become the slaves of mere words.

There is a third ideal, not the same, but akin to these, which has a place
in the home and heart of every believer in the religion of Christ, and in
which men seem to find a nearer and more familiar truth, the Divine man,
the Son of Man, the Saviour of mankind, Who is the first-born and head of
the whole family in heaven and earth, in Whom the Divine and human, that
which is without and that which is within the range of our earthly
faculties, are indissolubly united. Neither is this divine form of
goodness wholly separable from the ideal of the Christian Church, which is
said in the New Testament to be 'His body,' or at variance with those
other images of good which Plato sets before us. We see Him in a figure
only, and of figures of speech we select but a few, and those the
simplest, to be the expression of Him. We behold Him in a picture, but He
is not there. We gather up the fragments of His discourses, but neither do
they represent Him as He truly was. His dwelling is neither in heaven nor
earth, but in the heart of man. This is that image which Plato saw dimly
in the distance, which, when existing among men, he called, in the
language of Homer, 'the likeness of God' (Rep. vi. 501 B), the likeness of
a nature which in all ages men have felt to be greater and better than
themselves, and which in endless forms, whether derived from Scripture or
nature, from the witness of history or from the human heart, regarded as a
person or not as a person, with or without parts or passions, existing in
space or not in space, is and will always continue to be to mankind the
Idea of Good.



                      _PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE._

     Socrates, _who is the narrator_.     Cephalus.
     Glaucon.                             Thrasymachus.
     Adeimantus.                          Cleitophon.

                      _And others who are mute auditors._

The scene is laid in the house of Cephalus at the Piraeus; and the whole
dialogue is narrated by Socrates the day after it actually took place to
Timaeus, Hermocrates, Critias, and a nameless person, who are introduced
in the Timaeus.

*Ed. Steph. 327* [Sidenote: _Republic I_. Socrates, Glaucon. Meeting of
Socrates and Glaucon with Polemarchus at the Bendidean festival.]

I went down yesterday to the Piraeus with Glaucon the son of Ariston, that
I might offer up my prayers to the goddess[1]; and also because I wanted
to see in what manner they would celebrate the festival, which was a new
thing. I was delighted with the procession of the inhabitants; but that of
the Thracians was equally, if not more, beautiful. *327B* When we had
finished our prayers and viewed the spectacle, we turned in the direction
of the city; and at that instant Polemarchus the son of Cephalus chanced
to catch sight of us from a distance as we were starting on our way home,
and told his servant to run and bid us wait for him. The servant took hold
of me by the cloak behind, and said: Polemarchus desires you to wait.

[Footnote 1: Bendis, the Thracian Artemis.]

I turned round, and asked him where his master was.

There he is, said the youth, coming after you, if you will only wait.

[Sidenote: Socrates, Polemarchus, Glaucon, Adeimantus, Cephalus.]

{2} *327C* Certainly we will, said Glaucon; and in a few minutes
Polemarchus appeared, and with him Adeimantus, Glaucon's brother, Niceratus
the son of Nicias, and several others who had been at the procession.

Polemarchus said to me: I perceive, Socrates, that you and your companion
are already on your way to the city.

You are not far wrong, I said.

But do you see, he rejoined, how many we are?

Of course.

And are you stronger than all these? for if not, you will have to remain
where you are.

May there not be the alternative, I said, that we may persuade you to let
us go?

But can you persuade us, if we refuse to listen to you? he said.

Certainly not, replied Glaucon.

Then we are not going to listen; of that you may be assured.

*328A* [Sidenote: The equestrian torch-race.]

Adeimantus added: Has no one told you of the torch-race on horseback in
honour of the goddess which will take place in the evening?

With horses! I replied: That is a novelty. Will horsemen carry torches and
pass them one to another during the race?

Yes, said Polemarchus, and not only so, but a festival will be celebrated
at night, which you certainly ought to see. Let us rise soon after supper
and see this festival; there will be a gathering of young men, and we will
have a good talk. *328B* Stay then, and do not be perverse.

Glaucon said: I suppose, since you insist, that we must.

Very good, I replied.

[Sidenote: The gathering of friends at the house of Cephalus.]

Accordingly we went with Polemarchus to his house; and there we found his
brothers Lysias and Euthydemus, and with them Thrasymachus the
Chalcedonian, Charmantides the Paeanian, and Cleitophon the son of
Aristonymus. There too was Cephalus the father of Polemarchus, whom I had
not seen for a long time, and I thought him very much aged. *328C* He was
seated on a cushioned chair, and had a garland on his head, for he had
been sacrificing in the court; and there were some other chairs in the
room arranged in a semicircle, {3} upon which we sat down by him. He
saluted me eagerly, and then he said:--

[Sidenote: Cephalus, Socrates.]

You don't come to see me, Socrates, as often as you ought: If I were still
able to go and see you I would not ask you to come to me. But at my age
I can hardly get to the city, and therefore you should come oftener to the
Piraeus. *328D* For let me tell you, that the more the pleasures of the
body fade away, the greater to me is the pleasure and charm of
conversation. Do not then deny my request, but make our house your resort
and keep company with these young men; we are old friends, and you will be
quite at home with us.

I replied: There is nothing which for my part I like better, Cephalus,
than conversing with aged men; *328E* for I regard them as travellers who
have gone a journey which I too may have to go, and of whom I ought to
enquire, whether the way is smooth and easy, or rugged and difficult. And
this is a question which I should like to ask of you who have arrived at
that time which the poets call the 'threshold of old age'--Is life harder
towards the end, or what report do you give of it?

*329A* [Sidenote: Old age is not to blame for the troubles of old men.]

[Sidenote: The excellent saying of Sophocles.]

I will tell you, Socrates, he said, what my own feeling is. Men of my age
flock together; we are birds of a feather, as the old proverb says; and at
our meetings the tale of my acquaintance commonly is--I cannot eat,
I cannot drink; the pleasures of youth and love are fled away: there was a
good time once, but now that is gone, and life is no longer life. *329B*
Some complain of the slights which are put upon them by relations, and
they will tell you sadly of how many evils their old age is the cause. But
to me, Socrates, these complainers seem to blame that which is not really
in fault. For if old age were the cause, I too being old, and every other
old man, would have felt as they do. But this is not my own experience,
nor that of others whom I have known. How well I remember the aged poet
Sophocles, when in answer to the question, *329C* How does love suit with
age, Sophocles,--are you still the man you were? Peace, he replied; most
gladly have I escaped the thing of which you speak; I feel as if I had
escaped from a mad and furious master. His words have often occurred to my
mind since, and they seem as good to me now as at the time when he uttered
them. {4} For certainly old age has a great sense of calm and freedom;
when the passions relax their hold, then, as Sophocles says, *329D* we are
freed from the grasp not of one mad master only, but of many. The truth
is, Socrates, that these regrets, and also the complaints about relations,
are to be attributed to the same cause, which is not old age, but men's
characters and tempers; for he who is of a calm and happy nature will
hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite
disposition youth and age are equally a burden.

[Sidenote: It is admitted that the old, if they are to be comfortable,
must have a fair share of external goods; neither virtue alone nor riches
alone can make an old man happy.]

I listened in admiration, and wanting to draw him out, that he might go
on-- *329E* Yes, Cephalus, I said: but I rather suspect that people in
general are not convinced by you when you speak thus; they think that old
age sits lightly upon you, not because of your happy disposition, but
because you are rich, and wealth is well known to be a great comforter.

You are right, he replied; they are not convinced: and there is something
in what they say; not, however, so much as they imagine. I might answer
them as Themistocles answered the Seriphian who was abusing him and saying
that he was famous, not for his own merits but because he *330A* was an
Athenian: 'If you had been a native of my country or I of yours, neither
of us would have been famous.' And to those who are not rich and are
impatient of old age, the same reply may be made; for to the good poor man
old age cannot be a light burden, nor can a bad rich man ever have peace
with himself.

May I ask, Cephalus, whether your fortune was for the most part inherited
or acquired by you?

[Sidenote: Cephalus has inherited rather than made a fortune; he is
therefore indifferent to money.]

Acquired! *330B* Socrates; do you want to know how much I acquired? In the
art of making money I have been midway between my father and grandfather:
for my grandfather, whose name I bear, doubled and trebled the value of
his patrimony, that which he inherited being much what I possess now; but
my father Lysanias reduced the property below what it is at present: and
I shall be satisfied if I leave to these my sons not less but a little more
than I received.

That was why I asked you the question, I replied, because I see that you
are indifferent about money, *330C* which is a characteristic rather of
those who have inherited their fortunes than of those who have acquired
them; the makers {5} of fortunes have a second love of money as a creation
of their own, resembling the affection of authors for their own poems, or
of parents for their children, besides that natural love of it for the
sake of use and profit which is common to them and all men. And hence they
are very bad company, for they can talk about nothing but the praises of

That is true, he said.

[Sidenote: The advantages of wealth.]

*330D* Yes, that is very true, but may I ask another question?--What do
you consider to be the greatest blessing which you have reaped from your

[Sidenote: The fear of death and the consciousness of sin become more
vivid in old age; and to be rich frees a man from many temptations.]

One, he said, of which I could not expect easily to convince others. For
let me tell you, Socrates, that when a man thinks himself to be near
death, fears and cares enter into his mind which he never had before; the
tales of a world below and the punishment which is exacted there of deeds
done here were once a laughing matter to him, *330E* but now he is
tormented with the thought that they may be true: either from the weakness
of age, or because he is now drawing nearer to that other place, he has a
clearer view of these things; suspicions and alarms crowd thickly upon
him, and he begins to reflect and consider what wrongs he has done to
others. And when he finds that the sum of his transgressions is great he
will many a time like a child start up in his sleep for fear, and he is
filled with dark forebodings. But *331A* to him who is conscious of no
sin, sweet hope, as Pindar charmingly says, is the kind nurse of his age:

[Sidenote: The admirable strain of Pindar.]

'Hope,' he says, 'cherishes the soul of him who lives in justice and
holiness, and is the nurse of his age and the companion of his
journey;--hope which is mightiest to sway the restless soul of man.'

How admirable are his words! And the great blessing of riches, *331B* I do
not say to every man, but to a good man, is, that he has had no occasion
to deceive or to defraud others, either intentionally or unintentionally;
and when he departs to the world below he is not in any apprehension about
offerings due to the gods or debts which he owes to men. Now to this peace
of mind the possession of wealth greatly contributes; and therefore I say,
that, setting one thing against another, of the many advantages which
wealth has to give, to a man of sense this is in my opinion the greatest.

[Sidenote: Cephalus, Socrates, Polemarchus.]

[Sidenote: Justice to speak truth and pay your debts.]

*331C* Well said, Cephalus, I replied; but as concerning justice, what is
it?--to speak the truth and to pay your debts--no more than this? And even
to this are there not exceptions? Suppose that a friend when in his right
mind has deposited arms with me and he asks for them when he is not in his
right mind, ought I to give them back to him? No one would say that I
ought or that I should be right in doing so, any more than they would say
that I ought always to speak the truth to one who is in his condition.

*331D* You are quite right, he replied.

But then, I said, speaking the truth and paying your debts is not a
correct definition of justice.

[Sidenote: This is the definition of Simonides. But you ought not on all
occasions to do either. What then was his meaning?]

Quite correct, Socrates, if Simonides is to be believed, said Polemarchus

I fear, said Cephalus, that I must go now, for I have to look after the
sacrifices, and I hand over the argument to Polemarchus and the company.

Is not Polemarchus your heir? I said.

To be sure, he answered, and went away laughing to the sacrifices.

*331E* Tell me then, O thou heir of the argument, what did Simonides say,
and according to you truly say, about justice?

He said that the repayment of a debt is just, and in saying so he appears
to me to be right.

I should be sorry to doubt the word of such a wise and inspired man, but
his meaning, though probably clear to you, is the reverse of clear to me.
For he certainly does not mean, as we were just now saying, that I ought
to return a deposit of arms or of anything else to one who asks for it
*332A* when he is not in his right senses; and yet a deposit cannot be
denied to be a debt.


Then when the person who asks me is not in his right mind I am by no means
to make the return?

Certainly not.

When Simonides said that the repayment of a debt was justice, he did not
mean to include that case?

Certainly not; for he thinks that a friend ought always to do good to a
friend and never evil.

[Sidenote: Socrates, Polemarchus.]

*332B* You mean that the return of a deposit of gold which is to the
injury of the receiver, if the two parties are friends, is not the
repayment of a debt,--that is what you would imagine him to say?


And are enemies also to receive what we owe to them?

To be sure, he said, they are to receive what we owe them, and an enemy,
as I take it, owes to an enemy that which is due or proper to him--that is
to say, evil. {7}

Simonides, then, after the manner of poets, would seem to have spoken
darkly of the nature of justice; *332C* for he really meant to say that
justice is the giving to each man what is proper to him, and this he
termed a debt.

That must have been his meaning, he said.

By heaven! I replied; and if we asked him what due or proper thing is
given by medicine, and to whom, what answer do you think that he would
make to us?

He would surely reply that medicine gives drugs and meat and drink to
human bodies.

And what due or proper thing is given by cookery, and to what?

*332D* Seasoning to food.

And what is that which justice gives, and to whom?

If, Socrates, we are to be guided at all by the analogy of the preceding
instances, then justice is the art which gives good to friends and evil to

That is his meaning then?

I think so.

[Sidenote: Illustrations.]

And who is best able to do good to his friends and evil to his enemies in
time of sickness?

The physician.

*332E* Or when they are on a voyage, amid the perils of the sea?

The pilot.

And in what sort of actions or with a view to what result is the just man
most able to do harm to his enemy and good to his friend?

In going to war against the one and in making alliances with the other.

But when a man is well, my dear Polemarchus, there is no need of a
physician? {8}


And he who is not on a voyage has no need of a pilot?


Then in time of peace justice will be of no use?

I am very far from thinking so.

*333A* You think that justice may be of use in peace as well as in war?


Like husbandry for the acquisition of corn?


Or like shoemaking for the acquisition of shoes,--that is what you mean?


And what similar use or power of acquisition has justice in time of peace?

[Sidenote: Justice is useful in contracts,]

In contracts, Socrates, justice is of use.

And by contracts you mean partnerships?


*333B* But is the just man or the skilful player a more useful and better
partner at a game of draughts?

The skilful player.

And in the laying of bricks and stones is the just man a more useful or
better partner than the builder?

Quite the reverse.

Then in what sort of partnership is the just man a better partner than the
harp-player, as in playing the harp the harp-player is certainly a better
partner than the just man?

In a money partnership.

Yes, Polemarchus, but surely not in the use of money; for you do not want
a just man to be your counsellor in the purchase or sale of a horse; a man
who is knowing about *333C* horses would be better for that, would he not?


And when you want to buy a ship, the shipwright or the pilot would be


Then what is that joint use of silver or gold in which the just man is to
be preferred?

[Sidenote: especially in the safe-keeping of deposits.]

When you want a deposit to be kept safely.

You mean when money is not wanted, but allowed to lie? {9}


[Sidenote: But not in the use of money: and if so, justice is only useful
when money or anything else is useless.]

That is to say, justice is useful when money is useless?

*333D* That is the inference.

And when you want to keep a pruning-hook safe, then justice is useful to
the individual and to the state; but when you want to use it, then the art
of the vine-dresser?


And when you want to keep a shield or a lyre, and not to use them, you
would say that justice is useful; but when you want to use them, then the
art of the soldier or of the musician?


And so of all other things;--justice is useful when they are useless, and
useless when they are useful?

That is the inference.

*333E* Then justice is not good for much. But let us consider this further
point: Is not he who can best strike a blow in a boxing match or in any
kind of fighting best able to ward off a blow?


And he who is most skilful in preventing or escaping[2] from a disease is
best able to create one?

[Footnote 2: Reading [Greek: phula/xasthai kai\ lathei=n, (ou=tos, ktl].]


[Sidenote: A new point of view: Is not he who is best able to do good best
able to do evil?]

And he is the best guard of a camp who is best able to *334A* steal a
march upon the enemy?


Then he who is a good keeper of anything is also a good thief?

That, I suppose, is to be inferred.

Then if the just man is good at keeping money, he is good at stealing it.

That is implied in the argument.

Then after all the just man has turned out to be a thief. And this is a
lesson which I suspect you must have learnt out of Homer; *334B* for he,
speaking of Autolycus, the maternal grandfather of Odysseus, who is a
favourite of his, affirms that

  'He was excellent above all men in theft and perjury.'

And so, you and Homer and Simonides are agreed that {10} justice is an art
of theft; to be practised however 'for the good of friends and for the
harm of enemies,'--that was what you were saying?

No, certainly not that, though I do not now know what I did say; but I
still stand by the latter words.

*334C* Well, there is another question: By friends and enemies do we mean
those who are so really, or only in seeming?

[Sidenote: Justice an art of theft to be practised for the good of friends
and the harm of enemies. But who are friends and enemies?]

Surely, he said, a man may be expected to love those whom he thinks good,
and to hate those whom he thinks evil.

Yes, but do not persons often err about good and evil: many who are not
good seem to be so, and conversely?

That is true.

Then to them the good will be enemies and the evil will be their friends?

And in that case they will be right in doing good to the evil and *334D*
evil to the good?


But the good are just and would not do an injustice?


Then according to your argument it is just to injure those who do no

Nay, Socrates; the doctrine is immoral.

Then I suppose that we ought to do good to the just and harm to the

I like that better.

[Sidenote: Mistakes will sometimes happen.]

But see the consequence:--Many a man who is ignorant of human nature has
friends who are bad friends, *334E* and in that case he ought to do harm
to them; and he has good enemies whom he ought to benefit; but, if so, we
shall be saying the very opposite of that which we affirmed to be the
meaning of Simonides.

Very true, he said: and I think that we had better correct an error into
which we seem to have fallen in the use of the words 'friend' and 'enemy.'

What was the error, Polemarchus? I asked.

We assumed that he is a friend who seems to be or who is thought good.

[Sidenote: Correction of the definition.]

And how is the error to be corrected?

[Sidenote: To appearance we must add reality. He is a friend who 'is' as
well as 'seems' good, And we should do good to our good friends and harm
to our bad enemies.]

We should rather say that he is a friend who is, as well as {11} seems,
good; *335A* and that he who seems only, and is not good, only seems to be
and is not a friend; and of an enemy the same may be said.

You would argue that the good are our friends and the bad our enemies?


And instead of saying simply as we did at first, that it is just to do
good to our friends and harm to our enemies, we should further say: It is
just to do good to our friends when they are good and harm to our enemies
when they are evil?

*335B* Yes, that appears to me to be the truth.

But ought the just to injure any one at all?

Undoubtedly he ought to injure those who are both wicked and his enemies.

[Sidenote: To harm men is to injure them; and to injure them is to make
them unjust. But justice cannot produce injustice.]

When horses are injured, are they improved or deteriorated?

The latter.

Deteriorated, that is to say, in the good qualities of horses, not of

Yes, of horses.

And dogs are deteriorated in the good qualities of dogs, and not of

Of course.

*335C* And will not men who are injured be deteriorated in that which is
the proper virtue of man?


And that human virtue is justice?

To be sure.

Then men who are injured are of necessity made unjust?

That is the result.

[Sidenote: Illustrations.]

But can the musician by his art make men unmusical?

Certainly not.

Or the horseman by his art make them bad horsemen?


And can the just by justice make men unjust, or speaking *335D* generally,
can the good by virtue make them bad?

Assuredly not.

Any more than heat can produce cold?

It cannot.

Or drought moisture? {12}

[Sidenote: Socrates, Polemarchus, Thrasymachus.]

Clearly not.

Nor can the good harm any one?


And the just is the good?


Then to injure a friend or any one else is not the act of a just man, but
of the opposite, who is the unjust?

I think that what you say is quite true, Socrates.

*335E* Then if a man says that justice consists in the repayment of debts,
and that good is the debt which a just man owes to his friends, and evil
the debt which he owes to his enemies,--to say this is not wise; for it is
not true, if, as has been clearly shown, the injuring of another can be in
no case just.

I agree with you, said Polemarchus.

[Sidenote: The saying however explained is not to be attributed to any
good or wise man.]

Then you and I are prepared to take up arms against any one who attributes
such a saying to Simonides or Bias or Pittacus, or any other wise man or

I am quite ready to do battle at your side, he said.

*336A* Shall I tell you whose I believe the saying to be?


I believe that Periander or Perdiccas or Xerxes or Ismenias the Theban, or
some other rich and mighty man, who had a great opinion of his own power,
was the first to say that justice is 'doing good to your friends and harm
to your enemies.'

Most true, he said.

Yes, I said; but if this definition of justice also breaks down, what
other can be offered?

[Sidenote: The brutality of Thrasymachus.]

*336B* Several times in the course of the discussion Thrasymachus had made
an attempt to get the argument into his own hands, and had been put down
by the rest of the company, who wanted to hear the end. But when
Polemarchus and I had done speaking and there was a pause, he could no
longer hold his peace; and, gathering himself up, he came at us like a
wild beast, seeking to devour us. We were quite panic-stricken at the
sight of him.

He roared out to the whole company: What folly, Socrates, has taken
possession of you all? *336C* And why, sillybillies, do you knock under to
one another? I say that if you want really to know what justice is, you
should not only ask but {13} answer, and you should not seek honour to
yourself from the refutation of an opponent, but have your own answer; for
there is many a one who can ask and cannot answer. *336D* And now I will
not have you say that justice is duty or advantage or profit or gain or
interest, for this sort of nonsense will not do for me; I must have
clearness and accuracy.

[Sidenote: Socrates, Thrasymachus.]

I was panic-stricken at his words, and could not look at him without
trembling. Indeed I believe that if I had not fixed my eye upon him,
I should have been struck dumb: but when I saw his fury rising, I looked
at him first, and was *336E* therefore able to reply to him.

Thrasymachus, I said, with a quiver, don't be hard upon us. Polemarchus
and I may have been guilty of a little mistake in the argument, but I can
assure you that the error was not intentional. If we were seeking for a
piece of gold, you would not imagine that we were 'knocking under to one
another,' and so losing our chance of finding it. And why, when we are
seeking for justice, a thing more precious than many pieces of gold, do
you say that we are weakly yielding to one another and not doing our
utmost to get at the truth? Nay, my good friend, we are most willing and
anxious to do so, but the fact is that we cannot. And if so, you people
who know all things should pity us and not be angry with us.

*337A* How characteristic of Socrates! he replied, with a bitter laugh;
--that's your ironical style! Did I not foresee--have I not already told
you, that whatever he was asked he would refuse to answer, and try irony
or any other shuffle, in order that he might avoid answering?

[Sidenote: Socrates cannot give any answer if all true answers are

[Sidenote: Thrasymachus is assailed with his own weapons.]

You are a philosopher, Thrasymachus, I replied, and well know that if you
ask a person what numbers make up twelve, *337B* taking care to prohibit
him whom you ask from answering twice six, or three times four, or six
times two, or four times three, 'for this sort of nonsense will not do for
me,'--then obviously, if that is your way of putting the question, no one
can answer you. But suppose that he were to retort, 'Thrasymachus, what do
you mean? If one of these numbers which you interdict be the true answer
to the question, am I falsely to say some other number which is not the
right one?--is *337C* that your meaning?'--How would you answer him?

Just as if the two cases were at all alike! he said. {14}

[Sidenote: Socrates, Thrasymachus, Glaucon.]

Why should they not be? I replied; and even if they are not, but only
appear to be so to the person who is asked, ought he not to say what he
thinks, whether you and I forbid him or not?

I presume then that you are going to make one of the interdicted answers?

I dare say that I may, notwithstanding the danger, if upon reflection
I approve of any of them.

*337D* But what if I give you an answer about justice other and better, he
said, than any of these? What do you deserve to have done to you?

Done to me!--as becomes the ignorant, I must learn from the wise--that is
what I deserve to have done to me.

[Sidenote: The Sophist demands payment for his instructions. The company
are very willing to contribute.]

What, and no payment! a pleasant notion!

I will pay when I have the money, I replied.

But you have, Socrates, said Glaucon: and you, Thrasymachus, need be under
no anxiety about money, for we will all make a contribution for Socrates.

*337E* Yes, he replied, and then Socrates will do as he always does
--refuse to answer himself, but take and pull to pieces the answer of some
one else.

[Sidenote: Socrates knows little or nothing: how can he answer? And he is
deterred by the interdict of Thrasymachus.]

Why, my good friend, I said, how can any one answer who knows, and says
that he knows, just nothing; and who, even if he has some faint notions of
his own, is told by a man of authority not to utter them? The natural
thing is, that *338A* the speaker should be some one like yourself who
professes to know and can tell what he knows. Will you then kindly answer,
for the edification of the company and of myself?

Glaucon and the rest of the company joined in my request, and
Thrasymachus, as any one might see, was in reality eager to speak; for he
thought that he had an excellent answer, and would distinguish himself.
But at first he affected to insist on my answering; at length he consented
to begin. *338B* Behold, he said, the wisdom of Socrates; he refuses to
teach himself, and goes about learning of others, to whom he never even
says Thank you.

That I learn of others, I replied, is quite true; but that I am ungrateful
I wholly deny. Money I have none, and therefore I pay in praise, which is
all I have; and how ready {15} I am to praise any one who appears to me to
speak well you will very soon find out when you answer; for I expect that
you will answer well.

[Sidenote: Socrates, Thrasymachus.]

[Sidenote: The definition of Thrasymachus: 'Justice is the interest of the
stronger or ruler.']

*338C* Listen, then, he said; I proclaim that justice is nothing else than
the interest of the stronger. And now why do you not praise me? But of
course you won't.

Let me first understand you, I replied. Justice, as you say, is the
interest of the stronger. What, Thrasymachus, is the meaning of this? You
cannot mean to say that because Polydamas, the pancratiast, is stronger
than we are, and finds the eating of beef conducive to his bodily
strength, that to *338D* eat beef is therefore equally for our good who
are weaker than he is, and right and just for us?

That's abominable of you, Socrates; you take the words in the sense which
is most damaging to the argument.

Not at all, my good sir, I said; I am trying to understand them; and
I wish that you would be a little clearer.

Well, he said, have you never heard that forms of government differ; there
are tyrannies, and there are democracies, and there are aristocracies?

Yes, I know.

And the government is the ruling power in each state?


[Sidenote: Socrates compels Thrasymachus to explain his meaning.]

*338E* And the different forms of government make laws democratical,
aristocratical, tyrannical, with a view to their several interests; and
these laws, which are made by them for their own interests, are the
justice which they deliver to their subjects, and him who transgresses
them they punish as a breaker of the law, and unjust. And that is what
I mean when I say that in all states there is the same principle of
justice, which is the interest of the government; and *339A* as the
government must be supposed to have power, the only reasonable conclusion
is, that everywhere there is one principle of justice, which is the
interest of the stronger.

Now I understand you, I said; and whether you are right or not I will try
to discover. But let me remark, that in defining justice you have yourself
used the word 'interest' which you forbade me to use. It is true, however,
that in your definition the words 'of the stronger' are added.

*339B* A small addition, you must allow, he said. {16}

Great or small, never mind about that: we must first enquire whether what
you are saying is the truth. Now we are both agreed that justice is
interest of some sort, but you go on to say 'of the stronger'; about this
addition I am not so sure, and must therefore consider further.


[Sidenote: He is dissatisfied with the explanation; for rulers may err.]

I will; and first tell me, Do you admit that it is just for subjects to
obey their rulers?

I do.

*339C* But are the rulers of states absolutely infallible, or are they
sometimes liable to err?

To be sure, he replied, they are liable to err.

Then in making their laws they may sometimes make them rightly, and
sometimes not?


When they make them rightly, they make them agreeably to their interest;
when they are mistaken, contrary to their interest; you admit that?


And the laws which they make must be obeyed by their subjects,--and that
is what you call justice?


[Sidenote: And then the justice which makes a mistake will turn out to be
the reverse of the interest of the stronger.]

*339D* Then justice, according to your argument, is not only obedience to
the interest of the stronger but the reverse?

What is that you are saying? he asked.

I am only repeating what you are saying, I believe. But let us consider:
Have we not admitted that the rulers may be mistaken about their own
interest in what they command, and also that to obey them is justice? Has
not that been admitted?


*339E* Then you must also have acknowledged justice not to be for the
interest of the stronger, when the rulers unintentionally command things
to be done which are to their own injury. For if, as you say, justice is
the obedience which the subject renders to their commands, in that case, O
wisest of men, is there any escape from the conclusion that the weaker are
commanded to do, not what is for the interest, but what is for the injury
of the stronger?

[Sidenote: Socrates, Cleitophon, Polemarchus, Thrasymachus.]

Nothing can be clearer, Socrates, said Polemarchus. {17}

*340A* Yes, said Cleitophon, interposing, if you are allowed to be his

But there is no need of any witness, said Polemarchus, for Thrasymachus
himself acknowledges that rulers may sometimes command what is not for
their own interest, and that for subjects to obey them is justice.

[Sidenote: Cleitophon tries to make a way of escape for Thrasymachus by
inserting the words 'thought to be.']

Yes, Polemarchus,--Thrasymachus said that for subjects to do what was
commanded by their rulers is just.

Yes, Cleitophon, but he also said that justice is the interest *340B* of
the stronger, and, while admitting both these propositions, he further
acknowledged that the stronger may command the weaker who are his subjects
to do what is not for his own interest; whence follows that justice is the
injury quite as much as the interest of the stronger.

But, said Cleitophon, he meant by the interest of the stronger what the
stronger thought to be his interest,--this was what the weaker had to do;
and this was affirmed by him to be justice.

Those were not his words, rejoined Polemarchus.

*340C* Never mind, I replied, if he now says that they are, let us accept
his statement. Tell me, Thrasymachus, I said, did you mean by justice what
the stronger thought to be his interest, whether really so or not?

[Sidenote: This evasion is repudiated by Thrasymachus;]

Certainly not, he said. Do you suppose that I call him who is mistaken the
stronger at the time when he is mistaken?

Yes, I said, my impression was that you did so, when you admitted that the
ruler was not infallible but might be sometimes mistaken.

[Sidenote: who adopts another line of defence: 'No artist or ruler is ever
mistaken _qua_ artist or ruler.']

*340D* You argue like an informer, Socrates. Do you mean, for example,
that he who is mistaken about the sick is a physician in that he is
mistaken? or that he who errs in arithmetic or grammar is an arithmetician
or grammarian at the time when he is making the mistake, in respect of the
mistake? True, we say that the physician or arithmetician or grammarian
has made a mistake, but this is only a way of speaking; for the fact is
that neither the grammarian nor any other person of skill ever makes a
mistake in so far as he is what his name implies; they none of them err
unless their skill fails them, and then they cease to be skilled artists.
{18} No artist or sage or ruler errs at the time when he is what his name
implies; though he is commonly said to err, and *340E* I adopted the
common mode of speaking. But to be perfectly accurate, since you are such
a lover of accuracy, we should say that the ruler, in so far as he is a
ruler, is unerring, and, *341A* being unerring, always commands that which
is for his own interest; and the subject is required to execute his
commands; and therefore, as I said at first and now repeat, justice is the
interest of the stronger.

[Sidenote: Socrates, Thrasymachus.]

Indeed, Thrasymachus, and do I really appear to you to argue like an

Certainly, he replied.

And do you suppose that I ask these questions with any design of injuring
you in the argument?

Nay, he replied, 'suppose' is not the word--I know it; *341B* but you will
be found out, and by sheer force of argument you will never prevail.

I shall not make the attempt, my dear man; but to avoid any
misunderstanding occurring between us in future, let me ask, in what sense
do you speak of a ruler or stronger whose interest, as you were saying, he
being the superior, it is just that the inferior should execute--is he a
ruler in the popular or in the strict sense of the term?

In the strictest of all senses, he said. And now cheat and play the
informer if you can; I ask no quarter at your hands. But you never will be
able, never.

[Sidenote: The essential meaning of words distinguished from their

*341C* And do you imagine, I said, that I am such a madman as to try and
cheat, Thrasymachus? I might as well shave a lion.

Why, he said, you made the attempt a minute ago, and you failed.

Enough, I said, of these civilities. It will be better that I should ask
you a question: Is the physician, taken in that strict sense of which you
are speaking, a healer of the sick or a maker of money? And remember that
I am now speaking of the true physician.

A healer of the sick, he replied.

And the pilot--that is to say, the true pilot--is he a captain of sailors
or a mere sailor?

A captain of sailors. {19}

*341D* The circumstance that he sails in the ship is not to be taken into
account; neither is he to be called a sailor; the name pilot by which he
is distinguished has nothing to do with sailing, but is significant of his
skill and of his authority over the sailors.

Very true, he said.

Now, I said, every art has an interest?


For which the art has to consider and provide?

Yes, that is the aim of art.

And the interest of any art is the perfection of it--this and nothing

*341E* What do you mean?

I mean what I may illustrate negatively by the example of the body.
Suppose you were to ask me whether the body is self-sufficing or has
wants, I should reply: Certainly the body has wants; for the body may be
ill and require to be cured, and has therefore interests to which the art
of medicine ministers; and this is the origin and intention of medicine,
as you will acknowledge. Am I not right?

*342A* Quite right, he replied.

[Sidenote: Art has no imperfection to be corrected, and therefore no
extraneous interest.]

But is the art of medicine or any other art faulty or deficient in any
quality in the same way that the eye may be deficient in sight or the ear
fail of hearing, and therefore requires another art to provide for the
interests of seeing and hearing--has art in itself, I say, any similar
liability to fault or defect, and does every art require another
supplementary art to provide for its interests, and that another and
another without end? Or have the arts to look only *342B* after their own
interests? Or have they no need either of themselves or of
another?--having no faults or defects, they have no need to correct them,
either by the exercise of their own art or of any other; they have only to
consider the interest of their subject-matter. For every art remains pure
and faultless while remaining true--that is to say, while perfect and
unimpaired. Take the words in your precise sense, and tell me whether I am
not right.

Yes, clearly.

[Sidenote: Illustrations.]

*342C* Then medicine does not consider the interest of medicine, but the
interest of the body? {20}

True, he said.

Nor does the art of horsemanship consider the interests of the art of
horsemanship, but the interests of the horse; neither do any other arts
care for themselves, for they have no needs; they care only for that which
is the subject of their art?

True, he said.

But surely, Thrasymachus, the arts are the superiors and rulers of their
own subjects?

To this he assented with a good deal of reluctance.

Then, I said, no science or art considers or enjoins the interest of the
stronger or superior, but only the interest *342D* of the subject and

He made an attempt to contest this proposition also, but finally

Then, I continued, no physician, in so far as he is a physician, considers
his own good in what he prescribes, but the good of his patient; for the
true physician is also a ruler having the human body as a subject, and is
not a mere money-maker; that has been admitted?


And the pilot likewise, in the strict sense of the term, is a ruler of
sailors and not a mere sailor?

*342E* That has been admitted.

And such a pilot and ruler will provide and prescribe for the interest of
the sailor who is under him, and not for his own or the ruler's interest?

He gave a reluctant 'Yes.'

[Sidenote: The disinterestedness of rulers.]

Then, I said, Thrasymachus, there is no one in any rule who, in so far as
he is a ruler, considers or enjoins what is for his own interest, but
always what is for the interest of his subject or suitable to his art; to
that he looks, and that alone he considers in everything which he says and

*343A* When we had got to this point in the argument, and every one saw
that the definition of justice had been completely upset, Thrasymachus,
instead of replying to me, said: Tell me, Socrates, have you got a nurse?

[Sidenote: The impudence of Thrasymachus.]

Why do you ask such a question, I said, when you ought rather to be

Because she leaves you to snivel, and never wipes your {21} nose: she has
not even taught you to know the shepherd from the sheep.

What makes you say that? I replied.

[Sidenote: Thrasymachus dilates upon the advantages of injustice,]

[Sidenote: especially when pursued on a great scale.]\

[Sidenote: Tyranny.]

*343B* Because you fancy that the shepherd or neatherd fattens or tends
the sheep or oxen with a view to their own good and not to the good of
himself or his master; and you further imagine that the rulers of states,
if they are true rulers, never think of their subjects as sheep, and that
they are not studying their own advantage day and night. Oh, no; *343C*
and so entirely astray are you in your ideas about the just and unjust as
not even to know that justice and the just are in reality another's good;
that is to say, the interest of the ruler and stronger, and the loss of
the subject and servant; and injustice the opposite; for the unjust is
lord over the truly simple and just: he is the stronger, and his subjects
do what is for his interest, and minister to his *343D* happiness, which
is very far from being their own. Consider further, most foolish Socrates,
that the just is always a loser in comparison with the unjust. First of
all, in private contracts: wherever the unjust is the partner of the just
you will find that, when the partnership is dissolved, the unjust man has
always more and the just less. Secondly, in their dealings with the State:
when there is an income-tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust
less on the same amount of income; and when there is anything to be *343E*
received the one gains nothing and the other much. Observe also what
happens when they take an office; there is the just man neglecting his
affairs and perhaps suffering other losses, and getting nothing out of the
public, because he is just; moreover he is hated by his friends and
acquaintance for refusing to serve them in unlawful ways. But all this is
reversed in the case of the unjust man. I am speaking, as before, *344A*
of injustice on a large scale in which the advantage of the unjust is most
apparent; and my meaning will be most clearly seen if we turn to that
highest form of injustice in which the criminal is the happiest of men,
and the sufferers or those who refuse to do injustice are the most
miserable--that is to say tyranny, which by fraud and force takes away the
property of others, not little by little but wholesale; comprehending in
one, things sacred as well as profane, *344B* private {22} and public; for
which acts of wrong, if he were detected perpetrating any one of them
singly, he would be punished and incur great disgrace--they who do such
wrong in particular cases are called robbers of temples, and man-stealers
and burglars and swindlers and thieves. But when a man besides taking away
the money of the citizens has made slaves of them, then, instead of these
names of reproach, he is *344C* termed happy and blessed, not only by the
citizens but by all who hear of his having achieved the consummation of
injustice. For mankind censure injustice, fearing that they may be the
victims of it and not because they shrink from committing it. And thus, as
I have shown, Socrates, injustice, when on a sufficient scale, has more
strength and freedom and mastery than justice; and, as I said at first,
justice is the interest of the stronger, whereas injustice is a man's own
profit and interest.

[Sidenote: Thrasymachus having made his speech wants to run away, but is
detained by the company.]

*344D* Thrasymachus, when he had thus spoken, having, like a bath-man,
deluged our ears with his words, had a mind to go away. But the company
would not let him; they insisted that he should remain and defend his
position; and I myself added my own humble request that he would not leave
us. Thrasymachus, I said to him, excellent man, how suggestive are your
remarks! And are you going to run away before you have fairly taught or
learned whether they are true or not? *344E* Is the attempt to determine
the way of man's life so small a matter in your eyes--to determine how
life may be passed by each one of us to the greatest advantage?

And do I differ from you, he said, as to the importance of the enquiry?

You appear rather, I replied, to have no care or thought about us,
Thrasymachus--whether we live better or worse from not knowing what you
say you know, is to you a matter of indifference. *345A* Prithee, friend,
do not keep your knowledge to yourself; we are a large party; and any
benefit which you confer upon us will be amply rewarded. For my own part
I openly declare that I am not convinced, and that I do not believe
injustice to be more gainful than justice, even if uncontrolled and
allowed to have free play. For, granting that there may be an unjust man
who is able to commit injustice either by fraud or force, still this does
not convince me of the {23} superior advantage of injustice, and there may
be others who are in the same predicament with myself. Perhaps we may be
wrong; *345B* if so, you in your wisdom should convince us that we are
mistaken in preferring justice to injustice.

[Sidenote: The swagger of Thrasymachus.]

And how am I to convince you, he said, if you are not already convinced by
what I have just said; what more can I do for you? Would you have me put
the proof bodily into your souls?

Heaven forbid! I said; I would only ask you to be consistent; or, if you
change, change openly and let there be no deception. For I must remark,
Thrasymachus, if you will *345C* recall what was previously said, that
although you began by defining the true physician in an exact sense, you
did not observe a like exactness when speaking of the shepherd; you
thought that the shepherd as a shepherd tends the sheep not with a view to
their own good, but like a mere diner or banquetter with a view to the
pleasures of the table; or, again, as a trader for sale in the market, and
not as a shepherd. *345D* Yet surely the art of the shepherd is concerned
only with the good of his subjects; he has only to provide the best for
them, since the perfection of the art is already ensured whenever all the
requirements of it are satisfied. And that was what I was saying just now
about the ruler. I conceived that the art of the ruler, considered as
ruler, whether in a *345E* state or in private life, could only regard the
good of his flock or subjects; whereas you seem to think that the rulers
in states, that is to say, the true rulers, like being in authority.

Think! Nay, I am sure of it.

[Sidenote: The arts have different functions and are not to be confounded
with the art of payment which is common to them all.]

Then why in the case of lesser offices do men never take them willingly
without payment, unless under the idea that *346A* they govern for the
advantage not of themselves but of others? Let me ask you a question: Are
not the several arts different, by reason of their each having a separate
function? And, my dear illustrious friend, do say what you think, that we
may make a little progress.

Yes, that is the difference, he replied.

And each art gives us a particular good and not merely a general
one--medicine, for example, gives us health; navigation, safety at sea,
and so on?

Yes, he said. {24}

*346B* And the art of payment has the special function of giving pay: but
we do not confuse this with other arts, any more than the art of the pilot
is to be confused with the art of medicine, because the health of the
pilot may be improved by a sea voyage. You would not be inclined to say,
would you, that navigation is the art of medicine, at least if we are to
adopt your exact use of language?

Certainly not.

Or because a man is in good health when he receives pay you would not say
that the art of payment is medicine?

I should not.

Nor would you say that medicine is the art of receiving pay because a man
takes fees when he is engaged in healing?

*346C* Certainly not.

And we have admitted, I said, that the good of each art is specially
confined to the art?


Then, if there be any good which all artists have in common, that is to be
attributed to something of which they all have the common use?

True, he replied.

And when the artist is benefited by receiving pay the advantage is gained
by an additional use of the art of pay, which is not the art professed by

He gave a reluctant assent to this.

*346D* Then the pay is not derived by the several artists from their
respective arts. But the truth is, that while the art of medicine gives
health, and the art of the builder builds a house, another art attends
them which is the art of pay. The various arts may be doing their own
business and benefiting that over which they preside, but would the artist
receive any benefit from his art unless he were paid as well?

I suppose not.

*346E* But does he therefore confer no benefit when he works for nothing?

Certainly, he confers a benefit.

[Sidenote: The true ruler or artist seeks, not his own advantage, but the
perfection of his art; and therefore he must be paid.]

Then now, Thrasymachus, there is no longer any doubt that neither arts nor
governments provide for their own interests; but, as we were before
saying, they rule and provide for the interests of their subjects who are
the weaker {25} and not the stronger--to their good they attend and not to
the good of the superior. And this is the reason, my dear Thrasymachus,
why, as I was just now saying, no one is willing to govern; because no one
likes to take in hand the reformation of evils which are not his concern
without remuneration. *347A* For, in the execution of his work, and in
giving his orders to another, the true artist does not regard his own
interest, but always that of his subjects; and therefore in order that
rulers may be willing to rule, they must be paid in one of three modes of
payment, money, or honour, or a penalty for refusing.

[Sidenote: Three modes of paying rulers, money, honour, and a penalty for
refusing to rule.]

What do you mean, Socrates? said Glaucon. The first two modes of payment
are intelligible enough, but what the penalty is I do not understand, or
how a penalty can be a payment.

You mean that you do not understand the nature of this *347B* payment
which to the best men is the great inducement to rule? Of course you know
that ambition and avarice are held to be, as indeed they are, a disgrace?

Very true.

[Sidenote: The penalty is the evil of being ruled by an inferior.]

[Sidenote: In a city composed wholly of good men there would be a great
unwillingness to rule.]

[Sidenote: Thrasymachus maintains that the life of the unjust is better
than the life of the just.]

And for this reason, I said, money and honour have no attraction for them;
good men do not wish to be openly demanding payment for governing and so
to get the name of hirelings, nor by secretly helping themselves out of
the public revenues to get the name of thieves. And not being ambitious
they do not care about honour. Wherefore necessity *347C* must be laid
upon them, and they must be induced to serve from the fear of punishment.
And this, as I imagine, is the reason why the forwardness to take office,
instead of waiting to be compelled, has been deemed dishonourable. Now the
worst part of the punishment is that he who refuses to rule is liable to
be ruled by one who is worse than himself. And the fear of this, as I
conceive, induces the good to take *347D* office, not because they would,
but because they cannot help--not under the idea that they are going to
have any benefit or enjoyment themselves, but as a necessity, and because
they are not able to commit the task of ruling to any one who is better
than themselves, or indeed as good. For there is reason to think that if a
city were composed entirely of good men, then to avoid office would be as
much an object of contention as to obtain office is at present; then we
should {26} have plain proof that the true ruler is not meant by nature to
regard his own interest, but that of his subjects; and every one who knew
this would choose rather to receive a benefit from another than to have
the trouble of conferring one. *347E* So far am I from agreeing with
Thrasymachus that justice is the interest of the stronger. This latter
question need not be further discussed at present; but when Thrasymachus
says that the life of the unjust is more advantageous than that of the
just, his new statement appears to me to be of a far more serious
character. Which of us has spoken truly? And which sort of life, Glaucon,
do you prefer?

[Sidenote: Socrates, Glaucon, Thrasymachus.]

I for my part deem the life of the just to be the more advantageous, he

*348A* Did you hear all the advantages of the unjust which Thrasymachus
was rehearsing?

Yes, I heard him, he replied, but he has not convinced me.

Then shall we try to find some way of convincing him, if we can, that he
is saying what is not true?

Most certainly, he replied.

If, I said, he makes a set speech and we make another recounting all the
advantages of being just, and he answers and we rejoin, there must be a
numbering and measuring *348B* of the goods which are claimed on either
side, and in the end we shall want judges to decide; but if we proceed in
our enquiry as we lately did, by making admissions to one another, we
shall unite the offices of judge and advocate in our own persons.

Very good, he said.

And which method do I understand you to prefer? I said.

That which you propose.

Well, then, Thrasymachus, I said, suppose you begin at the beginning and
answer me. You say that perfect injustice is more gainful than perfect

*348C* Yes, that is what I say, and I have given you my reasons.

And what is your view about them? Would you call one of them virtue and
the other vice?


I suppose that you would call justice virtue and injustice vice?

[Sidenote: A paradox still more extreme, that injustice is virtue,]

What a charming notion! So likely too, seeing that I affirm injustice to
be profitable and justice not. {27}

[Sidenote: Socrates, Thrasymachus.]

What else then would you say?

The opposite, he replied.

And would you call justice vice?

No, I would rather say sublime simplicity.

*348D* Then would you call injustice malignity?

No; I would rather say discretion.

And do the unjust appear to you to be wise and good?

Yes, he said; at any rate those of them who are able to be perfectly
unjust, and who have the power of subduing states and nations; but perhaps
you imagine me to be talking of cutpurses. Even this profession if
undetected has advantages, though they are not to be compared with those
of which I was just now speaking.

*348E* I do not think that I misapprehend your meaning, Thrasymachus,
I replied; but still I cannot hear without amazement that you class
injustice with wisdom and virtue, and justice with the opposite.

Certainly I do so class them.

Now, I said, you are on more substantial and almost unanswerable ground;
for if the injustice which you were maintaining to be profitable had been
admitted by you as by others to be vice and deformity, an answer might
have been given to you on received principles; but now I perceive that
*349A* you will call injustice honourable and strong, and to the unjust
you will attribute all the qualities which were attributed by us before to
the just, seeing that you do not hesitate to rank injustice with wisdom
and virtue.

You have guessed most infallibly, he replied.

Then I certainly ought not to shrink from going through with the argument
so long as I have reason to think that you, Thrasymachus, are speaking
your real mind; for I do believe that you are now in earnest and are not
amusing yourself at our expense.

I may be in earnest or not, but what is that to you?--to refute the
argument is your business.

[Sidenote: refuted by the analogy of the arts.]

*349B* Very true, I said; that is what I have to do: But will you be so
good as answer yet one more question? Does the just man try to gain any
advantage over the just?

Far otherwise; if he did he would not be the simple amusing creature which
he is. {28}

And would he try to go beyond just action?

He would not.

And how would he regard the attempt to gain an advantage over the unjust;
would that be considered by him as just or unjust?

[Sidenote: The just tries to obtain an advantage over the unjust, but not
over the just; the unjust over both just and unjust.]

He would think it just, and would try to gain the advantage; but he would
not be able.

Whether he would or would not be able, I said, is not to the point. *349C*
My question is only whether the just man, while refusing to have more than
another just man, would wish and claim to have more than the unjust?

Yes, he would.

And what of the unjust--does he claim to have more than the just man and
to do more than is just?

Of course, he said, for he claims to have more than all men.

And the unjust man will strive and struggle to obtain more than the unjust
man or action, in order that he may have more than all?


We may put the matter thus, I said--the just does not desire more than his
like but more than his unlike, whereas the unjust desires more than both
his like and his unlike?

*349D* Nothing, he said, can be better than that statement.

And the unjust is good and wise, and the just is neither?

Good again, he said.

And is not the unjust like the wise and good and the just unlike them?

Of course, he said, he who is of a certain nature, is like those who are
of a certain nature; he who is not, not.

Each of them, I said, is such as his like is?

Certainly, he replied.

[Sidenote: Illustrations.]

Very good, Thrasymachus, I said; and now to take the case of the arts: you
would admit that one man is a musician and *349E* another not a musician?


And which is wise and which is foolish?

Clearly the musician is wise, and he who is not a musician is foolish.

And he is good in as far as he is wise, and bad in as far as he is
foolish? {29}


And you would say the same sort of thing of the physician?


And do you think, my excellent friend, that a musician when he adjusts the
lyre would desire or claim to exceed or go beyond a musician in the
tightening and loosening the strings?

I do not think that he would.

But he would claim to exceed the non-musician?

Of course.

*350A* And what would you say of the physician? In prescribing meats and
drinks would he wish to go beyond another physician or beyond the practice
of medicine?

He would not.

But he would wish to go beyond the non-physician?


[Sidenote: The artist remains within the limits of his art:]

And about knowledge and ignorance in general; see whether you think that
any man who has knowledge ever would wish to have the choice of saying or
doing more than another man who has knowledge. Would he not rather say or
do the same as his like in the same case?

That, I suppose, can hardly be denied.

And what of the ignorant? would he not desire to have *350B* more than
either the knowing or the ignorant?

I dare say.

And the knowing is wise?


And the wise is good?


Then the wise and good will not desire to gain more than his like, but
more than his unlike and opposite?

I suppose so.

Whereas the bad and ignorant will desire to gain more than both?


But did we not say, Thrasymachus, that the unjust goes beyond both his
like and unlike? Were not these your words?

They were.

[Sidenote: and similarly the just man does not exceed the limits of other
just men.]

*350C* And you also said that the just will not go beyond his like but his
unlike? {30}


Then the just is like the wise and good, and the unjust like the evil and

That is the inference.

And each of them is such as his like is?

That was admitted.

Then the just has turned out to be wise and good and the unjust evil and

[Sidenote: Thrasymachus perspiring and even blushing.]

Thrasymachus made all these admissions, not fluently, as *350D* I repeat
them, but with extreme reluctance; it was a hot summer's day, and the
perspiration poured from him in torrents; and then I saw what I had never
seen before, Thrasymachus blushing. As we were now agreed that justice was
virtue and wisdom, and injustice vice and ignorance, I proceeded to
another point:

Well, I said, Thrasymachus, that matter is now settled; but were we not
also saying that injustice had strength; do you remember?

Yes, I remember, he said, but do not suppose that I approve of what you
are saying or have no answer; if however I were to answer, you would be
quite certain to accuse me of haranguing; *350E* therefore either permit
me to have my say out, or if you would rather ask, do so, and I will
answer 'Very good,' as they say to story-telling old women, and will nod
'Yes' and 'No.'

Certainly not, I said, if contrary to your real opinion.

Yes, he said, I will, to please you, since you will not let me speak. What
else would you have?

Nothing in the world, I said; and if you are so disposed I will ask and
you shall answer.


Then I will repeat the question which I asked before, in *351A* order that
our examination of the relative nature of justice and injustice may be
carried on regularly. A statement was made that injustice is stronger and
more powerful than justice, but now justice, having been identified with
wisdom and virtue, is easily shown to be stronger than injustice, if
injustice is ignorance; this can no longer be questioned by any one. But
I want to view the matter, Thrasymachus, in a different way: *351B* You
would not deny that a state may be {31} unjust and may be unjustly
attempting to enslave other states, or may have already enslaved them, and
may be holding many of them in subjection?

True, he replied; and I will add that the best and most perfectly unjust
state will be most likely to do so.

I know, I said, that such was your position; but what I would further
consider is, whether this power which is possessed by the superior state
can exist or be exercised without justice or only with justice.

[Sidenote: At this point the temper of Thrasymachus begins to improve. Cp.
5. 450 A, 6. 498 C.]

*351C* If you are right in your view, and justice is wisdom, then only
with justice; but if I am right, then without justice.

I am delighted, Thrasymachus, to see you not only nodding assent and
dissent, but making answers which are quite excellent.

That is out of civility to you, he replied.

You are very kind, I said; and would you have the goodness also to inform
me, whether you think that a state, or an army, or a band of robbers and
thieves, or any other gang of evil-doers could act at all if they injured
one another?

*351D* No indeed, he said, they could not.

But if they abstained from injuring one another, then they might act
together better?


And this is because injustice creates divisions and hatreds and fighting,
and justice imparts harmony and friendship; is not that true,

[Sidenote: Perfect injustice, whether in state or individuals, is
destructive to them.]

I agree, he said, because I do not wish to quarrel with you.

How good of you, I said; but I should like to know also whether injustice,
having this tendency to arouse hatred, wherever existing, among slaves or
among freemen, will not make them hate one another and set them at
variance and render them incapable of common action?


*351E* And even if injustice be found in two only, will they not quarrel
and fight, and become enemies to one another and to the just?

They will.

And suppose injustice abiding in a single person, would your wisdom say
that she loses or that she retains her natural power? {32}

Let us assume that she retains her power.

Yet is not the power which injustice exercises of such a nature that
wherever she takes up her abode, whether in a city, in an army, in a
family, or in any other body, that body is, *352A* to begin with, rendered
incapable of united action by reason of sedition and distraction; and does
it not become its own enemy and at variance with all that opposes it, and
with the just? Is not this the case?

Yes, certainly.

And is not injustice equally fatal when existing in a single person; in
the first place rendering him incapable of action because he is not at
unity with himself, and in the second place making him an enemy to himself
and the just? Is not that true, Thrasymachus?


And O my friend, I said, surely the gods are just?

Granted that they are.

*352B* But if so, the unjust will be the enemy of the gods, and the just
will be their friend?

Feast away in triumph, and take your fill of the argument; I will not
oppose you, lest I should displease the company.

[Sidenote: Recapitulation.]

Well then, proceed with your answers, and let me have the remainder of my
repast. For we have already shown that the just are clearly wiser and
better and abler than the unjust, and that the unjust are incapable of
common action; *352C* nay more, that to speak as we did of men who are
evil acting at any time vigorously together, is not strictly true, for if
they had been perfectly evil, they would have laid hands upon one another;
but it is evident that there must have been some remnant of justice in
them, which enabled them to combine; if there had not been they would have
injured one another as well as their victims; they were but half-villains
in their enterprises; for had they been whole villains, and utterly
unjust, they would have been utterly incapable of action. *352D* That, as
I believe, is the truth of the matter, and not what you said at first. But
whether the just have a better and happier life than the unjust is a
further question which we also proposed to consider. I think that they
have, and for the reasons which I have given; but still {33} I should like
to examine further, for no light matter is at stake, nothing less than the
rule of human life.


[Sidenote: Illustrations of ends and excellences preparatory to the
enquiry into the end and excellence of the soul.]

I will proceed by asking a question: Would you not say that a horse has
some end?

*352E* I should.

And the end or use of a horse or of anything would be that which could not
be accomplished, or not so well accomplished, by any other thing?

I do not understand, he said.

Let me explain: Can you see, except with the eye?

Certainly not.

Or hear, except with the ear?


These then may be truly said to be the ends of these organs?

They may.

*353A* But you can cut off a vine-branch with a dagger or with a chisel,
and in many other ways?

Of course.

And yet not so well as with a pruning-hook made for the purpose?


May we not say that this is the end of a pruning-hook?

We may.

Then now I think you will have no difficulty in understanding my meaning
when I asked the question whether the end of anything would be that which
could not be accomplished, or not so well accomplished, by any other

*353B* I understand your meaning, he said, and assent.

[Sidenote: All things which have ends have also virtues and excellences by
which they fulfil those ends.]

And that to which an end is appointed has also an excellence? Need I ask
again whether the eye has an end?

It has.

And has not the eye an excellence?


And the ear has an end and an excellence also?


And the same is true of all other things; they have each of them an end
and a special excellence?

That is so.

Well, and can the eyes fulfil their end if they are {34} wanting *353C* in
their own proper excellence and have a defect instead?

How can they, he said, if they are blind and cannot see?

You mean to say, if they have lost their proper excellence, which is
sight; but I have not arrived at that point yet. I would rather ask the
question more generally, and only enquire whether the things which fulfil
their ends fulfil them by their own proper excellence, and fail of
fulfilling them by their own defect?

Certainly, he replied.

I might say the same of the ears; when deprived of their own proper
excellence they cannot fulfil their end?


*353D* And the same observation will apply to all other things?

I agree.

[Sidenote: And the soul has a virtue and an end--the virtue justice, the
end happiness.]

Well; and has not the soul an end which nothing else can fulfil? for
example, to superintend and command and deliberate and the like. Are not
these functions proper to the soul, and can they rightly be assigned to
any other?

To no other.

And is not life to be reckoned among the ends of the soul?

Assuredly, he said.

And has not the soul an excellence also?


*353E* And can she or can she not fulfil her own ends when deprived of
that excellence?

She cannot.

Then an evil soul must necessarily be an evil ruler and superintendent,
and the good soul a good ruler?

Yes, necessarily.

[Sidenote: Hence justice and happiness are necessarily connected.]

And we have admitted that justice is the excellence of the soul, and
injustice the defect of the soul?

That has been admitted.

Then the just soul and the just man will live well, and the unjust man
will live ill?

That is what your argument proves.

*354A* And he who lives well is blessed and happy, and he who lives ill
the reverse of happy?


Then the just is happy, and the unjust miserable? {35}

So be it.

But happiness and not misery is profitable.

Of course.

Then, my blessed Thrasymachus, injustice can never be more profitable than

Let this, Socrates, he said, be your entertainment at the Bendidea.

[Sidenote: Socrates is displeased with himself and with the argument.]

For which I am indebted to you, I said, now that you have grown gentle
towards me and have left off scolding. Nevertheless, *354B* I have not
been well entertained; but that was my own fault and not yours. As an
epicure snatches a taste of every dish which is successively brought to
table, he not having allowed himself time to enjoy the one before, so have
I gone from one subject to another without having discovered what I sought
at first, the nature of justice. I left that enquiry and turned away to
consider whether justice is virtue and wisdom or evil and folly; and when
there arose a further question about the comparative advantages of justice
and injustice, I could not refrain from passing on to that. And the result
of the whole discussion has been that I know nothing at all. *354C* For
I know not what justice is, and therefore I am not likely to know whether
it is or is not a virtue, nor can I say whether the just man is happy or


[Sidenote: _Republic II._ Socrates, Glaucon.]

*357A* With these words I was thinking that I had made an end of the
discussion; but the end, in truth, proved to be only a beginning. For
Glaucon, who is always the most pugnacious of men, was dissatisfied at
Thrasymachus' retirement; he wanted to have the battle out. So he said to
me: Socrates, do you wish really to persuade us, or only to seem to *357B*
have persuaded us, that to be just is always better than to be unjust?

I should wish really to persuade you, I replied, if I could.

[Sidenote: The threefold division of goods.]

Then you certainly have not succeeded. Let me ask you now:--How would you
arrange goods--are there not some which we welcome for their own sakes,
and independently of their consequences, as, for example, harmless
pleasures and enjoyments, which delight us at the time, although nothing
follows from them?

I agree in thinking that there is such a class, I replied.

*357C* Is there not also a second class of goods, such as knowledge,
sight, health, which are desirable not only in themselves, but also for
their results?

Certainly, I said.

And would you not recognize a third class, such as gymnastic, and the care
of the sick, and the physician's art; also the various ways of
money-making--these do us good but we regard them as disagreeable; and no
one would choose them *357D* for their own sakes, but only for the sake of
some reward or result which flows from them?

There is, I said, this third class also. But why do you ask?

Because I want to know in which of the three classes you would place

*358A* In the highest class, I replied,--among those goods which {37} he
who would be happy desires both for their own sake and for the sake of
their results.

Then the many are of another mind; they think that justice is to be
reckoned in the troublesome class, among goods which are to be pursued for
the sake of rewards and of reputation, but in themselves are disagreeable
and rather to be avoided.

I know, I said, that this is their manner of thinking, and that this was
the thesis which Thrasymachus was maintaining just now, when he censured
justice and praised injustice. But I am too stupid to be convinced by him.

[Sidenote: Three heads of the argument:--1. The nature of justice: 2.
Justice a necessity, but not a good: 3. The reasonableness of this

*358B* I wish, he said, that you would hear me as well as him, and then
I shall see whether you and I agree. For Thrasymachus seems to me, like a
snake, to have been charmed by your voice sooner than he ought to have
been; but to my mind the nature of justice and injustice have not yet been
made clear. Setting aside their rewards and results, I want to know what
they are in themselves, and how they inwardly work in the soul. If you
please, then, I will revive the argument of Thrasymachus. *358C* And first
I will speak of the nature and origin of justice according to the common
view of them. Secondly, I will show that all men who practise justice do
so against their will, of necessity, but not as a good. And thirdly,
I will argue that there is reason in this view, for the life of the unjust
is after all better far than the life of the just--if what they say is
true, Socrates, since I myself am not of their opinion. But still
I acknowledge that I am perplexed when I hear the voices of Thrasymachus
and myriads of others dinning in my ears; and, on the other hand, I have
*358D* never yet heard the superiority of justice to injustice maintained
by any one in a satisfactory way. I want to hear justice praised in
respect of itself; then I shall be satisfied, and you are the person from
whom I think that I am most likely to hear this; and therefore I will
praise the unjust life to the utmost of my power, and my manner of
speaking will indicate the manner in which I desire to hear you too
praising justice and censuring injustice. Will you say whether you approve
of my proposal?

Indeed I do; nor can I imagine any theme about which a man of sense would
oftener wish to converse. {38}

[Sidenote: Glaucon.]

*358E* I am delighted, he replied, to hear you say so, and shall begin by
speaking, as I proposed, of the nature and origin of justice.

[Sidenote: Justice a compromise between doing and suffering evil.]

They say that to do injustice is, by nature, good; to suffer injustice,
evil; but that the evil is greater than the good. And so when men have
both done and suffered injustice and *359A* have had experience of both,
not being able to avoid the one and obtain the other, they think that they
had better agree among themselves to have neither; hence there arise laws
and mutual covenants; and that which is ordained by law is termed by them
lawful and just. This they affirm to be the origin and nature of
justice;--it is a mean or compromise, between the best of all, which is to
do injustice and not be punished, and the worst of all, which is to suffer
injustice without the power of retaliation; and justice, being at a middle
point between the two, is tolerated not as a good, but as the lesser evil,
and honoured by reason of the inability of men to do injustice. *359B* For
no man who is worthy to be called a man would ever submit to such an
agreement if he were able to resist; he would be mad if he did. Such is
the received account, Socrates, of the nature and origin of justice.

[Sidenote: The story of Gyges.]

[Sidenote: The application of the story of Gyges.]

Now that those who practise justice do so involuntarily and because they
have not the power to be unjust will best appear *359C* if we imagine
something of this kind: having given both to the just and the unjust power
to do what they will, let us watch and see whither desire will lead them;
then we shall discover in the very act the just and unjust man to be
proceeding along the same road, following their interest, which all
natures deem to be their good, and are only diverted into the path of
justice by the force of law. The liberty which we are supposing may be
most completely given to them in the form of such a power as is said to
have been *359D* possessed by Gyges, the ancestor of Croesus the
Lydian[1]. According to the tradition, Gyges was a shepherd in the service
of the king of Lydia; there was a great storm, and an earthquake made an
opening in the earth at the place where he was feeding his flock. Amazed
at the sight, he {39} descended into the opening, where, among other
marvels, he beheld a hollow brazen horse, having doors, at which he
stooping and looking in saw a dead body of stature, as appeared to him,
more than human, and having nothing on but a gold ring; *359E* this he
took from the finger of the dead and reascended. Now the shepherds met
together, according to custom, that they might send their monthly report
about the flocks to the king; into their assembly he came having the ring
on his finger, and as he was sitting among them he chanced to turn the
collet of the ring inside his hand, when instantly he became invisible to
the rest of the company and they began to speak of him as if he were no
longer present. *360A* He was astonished at this, and again touching the
ring he turned the collet outwards and reappeared; he made several trials
of the ring, and always with the same result--when he turned the collet
inwards he became invisible, when outwards he reappeared. Whereupon he
contrived to be chosen one of the messengers who were sent to the court;
where as soon as he arrived *360B* he seduced the queen, and with her help
conspired against the king and slew him, and took the kingdom. Suppose now
that there were two such magic rings, and the just put on one of them and
the unjust the other; no man can be imagined to be of such an iron nature
that he would stand fast in justice. No man would keep his hands off what
was not his own when he could safely take what he *360C* liked out of the
market, or go into houses and lie with any one at his pleasure, or kill or
release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a God among
men. Then the actions of the just would be as the actions of the unjust;
they would both come at last to the same point. And this we may truly
affirm to be a great proof that a man is just, not willingly or because he
thinks that justice is any good to him individually, but of necessity, for
wherever any one thinks that he can safely be unjust, there he is unjust.
For *360D* all men believe in their hearts that injustice is far more
profitable to the individual than justice, and he who argues as I have
been supposing, will say that they are right. If you could imagine any one
obtaining this power of becoming invisible, and never doing any wrong or
touching what was another's, he would be thought by the lookers-on to be a
{40} most wretched idiot, although they would praise him to one another's
faces, and keep up appearances with one another from a fear that they too
might suffer injustice. Enough of this.

[Footnote 1: Reading [Greek: Gu/n| t=| Kroi/sou tou= Ludou= progo/n|.]

[Sidenote: The unjust to be clothed with power and reputation.]

[Sidenote: The just to be unclothed of all but his virtue.]

*360E* Now, if we are to form a real judgment of the life of the just and
unjust, we must isolate them; there is no other way; and how is the
isolation to be effected? I answer: Let the unjust man be entirely unjust,
and the just man entirely just; nothing is to be taken away from either of
them, and both are to be perfectly furnished for the work of their
respective lives. First, let the unjust be like other distinguished
masters of craft; like the skilful pilot or *361A* physician, who knows
intuitively his own powers and keeps within their limits, and who, if he
fails at any point, is able to recover himself. So let the unjust make his
unjust attempts in the right way, and lie hidden if he means to be great
in his injustice: (he who is found out is nobody:) for the highest reach
of injustice is, to be deemed just when you are not. Therefore I say that
in the perfectly unjust man we must assume the most perfect injustice;
there is to be no deduction, but we must allow him, while doing the most
unjust acts, *361B* to have acquired the greatest reputation for justice.
If he have taken a false step he must be able to recover himself; he must
be one who can speak with effect, if any of his deeds come to light, and
who can force his way where force is required by his courage and strength,
and command of money and friends. And at his side let us place the just
man in his nobleness and simplicity, wishing, as Aeschylus says, to be and
not to seem good. There must be no seeming, *361C* for if he seem to be
just he will be honoured and rewarded, and then we shall not know whether
he is just for the sake of justice or for the sake of honours and rewards;
therefore, let him be clothed in justice only, and have no other covering;
and he must be imagined in a state of life the opposite of the former. Let
him be the best of men, and let him be thought the worst; then he will
have been put to the proof; and we shall see whether he will be affected
by the fear of infamy and its consequences. And let him continue *361D*
thus to the hour of death; being just and seeming to be unjust. When both
have reached the uttermost extreme, {41} the one of justice and the other
of injustice, let judgment be given which of them is the happier of the

[Sidenote: Socrates, Glaucon.]

Heavens! my dear Glaucon, I said, how energetically you polish them up for
the decision, first one and then the other, as if they were two statues.

[Sidenote: The just man will learn by each experience that he ought to
seem and not to be just.]

[Sidenote: The unjust who appears just will attain every sort of

I do my best, he said. And now that we know what they are like there is no
difficulty in tracing out the sort of life *361E* which awaits either of
them. This I will proceed to describe; but as you may think the
description a little too coarse, I ask you to suppose, Socrates, that the
words which follow are not mine.--Let me put them into the mouths of the
eulogists of injustice: They will tell you that the just man who is
thought unjust will be scourged, racked, bound--will have his eyes burnt
out; and, at last, after suffering every kind of evil, he will be impaled:
Then he will understand that he *362A* ought to seem only, and not to be,
just; the words of Aeschylus may be more truly spoken of the unjust than
of the just. For the unjust is pursuing a reality; he does not live with a
view to appearances--he wants to be really unjust and not to seem only:--

  'His mind has a soil deep and fertile, *362B*
  Out of which spring his prudent counsels.'[2]

In the first place, he is thought just, and therefore bears rule in the
city; he can marry whom he will, and give in marriage to whom he will;
also he can trade and deal where he likes, and always to his own
advantage, because he has no misgivings about injustice; and at every
contest, whether in public or private, he gets the better of his
antagonists, and gains at their expense, and is rich, and out of his gains
he *362C* can benefit his friends, and harm his enemies; moreover, he can
offer sacrifices, and dedicate gifts to the gods abundantly and
magnificently, and can honour the gods or any man whom he wants to honour
in a far better style than the just, and therefore he is likely to be
dearer than they are to the gods. And thus, Socrates, gods and men are
said to unite in making the life of the unjust better than the life of the

[Footnote 2: Seven against Thebes, 574.]

[Sidenote: Adeimantus, Socrates.]

*362D* I was going to say something in answer to Glaucon, when {42}
Adeimantus, his brother, interposed: Socrates, he said, you do not suppose
that there is nothing more to be urged?

Why, what else is there? I answered.

The strongest point of all has not been even mentioned, he replied.

Well, then, according to the proverb, 'Let brother help brother'--if he
fails in any part do you assist him; although I must confess that Glaucon
has already said quite enough to lay me in the dust, and take from me the
power of helping justice.

[Sidenote: Adeimantus.]

[Sidenote: Adeimantus takes up the argument. Justice is praised and
injustice blamed, but only out of regard to their consequences.]

[Sidenote: The rewards and punishments of another life.]

*362E* Nonsense, he replied. But let me add something more: There is
another side to Glaucon's argument about the praise and censure of justice
and injustice, which is equally required in order to bring out what
I believe to be his meaning. Parents and tutors are always telling their
sons and their *363A* wards that they are to be just; but why? not for the
sake of justice, but for the sake of character and reputation; in the hope
of obtaining for him who is reputed just some of those offices, marriages,
and the like which Glaucon has enumerated among the advantages accruing to
the unjust from the reputation of justice. More, however, is made of
appearances by this class of persons than by the others; for they throw in
the good opinion of the gods, and will tell you of a shower of benefits
which the heavens, as they say, rain upon the pious; and this accords with
the testimony of the noble Hesiod and Homer, the first of whom says, that
the gods *363B* make the oaks of the just--

  'To bear acorns at their summit, and bees in the middle;
  And the sheep are bowed down with the weight of their fleeces[3],'

and many other blessings of a like kind are provided for them. And Homer
has a very similar strain; for he speaks of one whose fame is--

  'As the fame of some blameless king who, like a god,
  Maintains justice; to whom the black earth brings forth *363C*
  Wheat and barley, whose trees are bowed with fruit,
  And his sheep never fail to bear, and the sea gives him fish[4].'

Still grander are the gifts of heaven which Musaeus and his son[5]
vouchsafe to the just; they take them down into the {43} world below,
where they have the saints lying on couches at a feast, everlastingly
drunk, crowned with garlands; *363D* their idea seems to be that an
immortality of drunkenness is the highest meed of virtue. Some extend
their rewards yet further; the posterity, as they say, of the faithful and
just shall survive to the third and fourth generation. This is the style
in which they praise justice. But about the wicked there is another
strain; they bury them in a slough in Hades, and make them carry water in
a sieve; also while they are yet living they bring them to infamy, and
inflict *363E* upon them the punishments which Glaucon described as the
portion of the just who are reputed to be unjust; nothing else does their
invention supply. Such is their manner of praising the one and censuring
the other.

[Footnote 3: Hesiod, Works and Days, 230.]

[Footnote 4: Homer, Od. xix. 109.]

[Footnote 5: Eumolpus.]

[Sidenote: Men are always repeating that virtue is painful and vice

[Sidenote: They are taught that sins may be easily expiated.]

Once more, Socrates, I will ask you to consider another way of speaking
about justice and injustice, which is not confined to the poets, *364A*
but is found in prose writers. The universal voice of mankind is always
declaring that justice and virtue are honourable, but grievous and
toilsome; and that the pleasures of vice and injustice are easy of
attainment, and are only censured by law and opinion. They say also that
honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty; and they are
quite ready to call wicked men happy, and to honour them both in public
and private when they are rich or in any other way influential, while they
despise and overlook *364B* those who may be weak and poor, even though
acknowledging them to be better than the others. But most extraordinary of
all is their mode of speaking about virtue and the gods: they say that the
gods apportion calamity and misery to many good men, and good and
happiness to the wicked. And mendicant prophets go to rich men's doors and
persuade them that they have a power committed to them by the gods of
making an atonement for a man's own or his ancestor's *364C* sins by
sacrifices or charms, with rejoicings and feasts; and they promise to harm
an enemy, whether just or unjust, at a small cost; with magic arts and
incantations binding heaven, as they say, to execute their will. And the
poets are the authorities to whom they appeal, now smoothing the path of
vice with the words of Hesiod;-- {44}

  'Vice may be had in abundance without trouble; *364D* the way is smooth
  and her dwelling-place is near. But before virtue the gods have set

and a tedious and uphill road: then citing Homer as a witness that the
gods may be influenced by men; for he also says:--

  'The gods, too, may be turned from their purpose; and men pray to them
  and avert their wrath by sacrifices and *364E* soothing entreaties, and
  by libations and the odour of fat, when they have sinned and

And they produce a host of books written by Musaeus and Orpheus, who were
children of the Moon and the Muses--that is what they say--according to
which they perform their ritual, and persuade not only individuals, but
whole cities, that expiations and atonements for sin may be made by
sacrifices and amusements which fill a vacant hour, and are equally at the
service of the living and the dead; the latter *365A* sort they call
mysteries, and they redeem us from the pains of hell, but if we neglect
them no one knows what awaits us.

[Footnote 6: Hesiod, Works and Days, 287.]

[Footnote 7: Homer, Iliad, ix. 493.]

[Sidenote: The effects of all this upon the youthful mind.]

He proceeded: And now when the young hear all this said about virtue and
vice, and the way in which gods and men regard them, how are their minds
likely to be affected, my dear Socrates,--those of them, I mean, who are
quickwitted, and, like bees on the wing, light on every flower, and from
all that they hear are prone to draw conclusions as to what manner of
persons they should be and in what way they *365B* should walk if they
would make the best of life? Probably the youth will say to himself in the
words of Pindar--

  'Can I by justice or by crooked ways of deceit ascend a loftier tower
  which may be a fortress to me all my days?'

[Sidenote: The existence of the gods is only known to us through the
poets, who likewise assure us that they may be bribed and that they are
very ready to forgive.]

For what men say is that, if I am really just and am not also thought just
profit there is none, but the pain and loss on the other hand are
unmistakeable. But if, though unjust, I acquire the reputation of justice,
a heavenly life is promised to me. *365C* Since then, as philosophers
prove, appearance tyrannizes over truth and is lord of happiness, to
appearance I must devote myself. I will describe around me a picture and
shadow of virtue to be the vestibule and exterior of my {45} house; behind
I will trail the subtle and crafty fox, as Archilochus, greatest of sages,
recommends. But I hear some one exclaiming that the concealment of
wickedness is often difficult; *365D* to which I answer, Nothing great is
easy. Nevertheless, the argument indicates this, if we would be happy, to
be the path along which we should proceed. With a view to concealment we
will establish secret brotherhoods and political clubs. And there are
professors of rhetoric who teach the art of persuading courts and
assemblies; and so, partly by persuasion and partly by force, I shall make
unlawful gains and not be punished. Still I hear a voice saying that the
gods cannot be deceived, neither can they be compelled. But what if there
are no gods? or, suppose them to have no care of human things--why in
either case *365E* should we mind about concealment? And even if there are
gods, and they do care about us, yet we know of them only from tradition
and the genealogies of the poets; and these are the very persons who say
that they may be influenced and turned by 'sacrifices and soothing
entreaties and by offerings.' Let us be consistent then, and believe both
or neither. If the poets speak truly, why then we had better *366A* be
unjust, and offer of the fruits of injustice; for if we are just, although
we may escape the vengeance of heaven, we shall lose the gains of
injustice; but, if we are unjust, we shall keep the gains, and by our
sinning and praying, and praying and sinning, the gods will be
propitiated, and we shall not be punished. 'But there is a world below in
which either we or our posterity will suffer for our unjust deeds.' Yes,
my friend, will be the reflection, but there are mysteries and atoning
deities, and these have great power. That is *366B* what mighty cities
declare; and the children of the gods, who were their poets and prophets,
bear a like testimony.

[Sidenote: All this, even if not absolutely true, affords great excuse for
doing wrong.]

On what principle, then, shall we any longer choose justice rather than
the worst injustice? when, if we only unite the latter with a deceitful
regard to appearances, we shall fare to our mind both with gods and men,
in life and after death, as the most numerous and the highest authorities
tell us. *366C* Knowing all this, Socrates, how can a man who has any
superiority of mind or person or rank or wealth, be willing to honour
justice; or indeed to refrain from laughing when he hears {46} justice
praised? And even if there should be some one who is able to disprove the
truth of my words, and who is satisfied that justice is best, still he is
not angry with the unjust, but is very ready to forgive them, because he
also *366D* knows that men are not just of their own free will; unless,
peradventure, there be some one whom the divinity within him may have
inspired with a hatred of injustice, or who has attained knowledge of the
truth--but no other man. He only blames injustice who, owing to cowardice
or age or some weakness, has not the power of being unjust. And this is
proved by the fact that when he obtains the power, he immediately becomes
unjust as far as he can be.

[Sidenote: Men should be taught that justice is in itself the greatest
good and injustice the greatest evil.]

The cause of all this, Socrates, was indicated by us at the beginning of
the argument, when my brother and I told you how astonished we were to
find that of all the professing *366E* panegyrists of justice--beginning
with the ancient heroes of whom any memorial has been preserved to us, and
ending with the men of our own time--no one has ever blamed injustice or
praised justice except with a view to the glories, honours, and benefits
which flow from them. No one has ever adequately described either in verse
or prose the true essential nature of either of them abiding in the soul,
and invisible to any human or divine eye; or shown that of all the things
of a man's soul which he has within him, justice is *367A* the greatest
good, and injustice the greatest evil. Had this been the universal strain,
had you sought to persuade us of this from our youth upwards, we should
not have been on the watch to keep one another from doing wrong, but every
one would have been his own watchman, because afraid, if he did wrong, of
harbouring in himself the greatest of evils. I dare say that Thrasymachus
and others would seriously hold the language which I have been merely
repeating, and words even stronger than these about justice and injustice,
grossly, as I conceive, perverting their true nature. But I speak in this
*367B* vehement manner, as I must frankly confess to you, because I want
to hear from you the opposite side; and I would ask you to show not only
the superiority which justice has over injustice, but what effect they
have on the possessor of them which makes the one to be a good and the
other an evil to him. And please, as Glaucon requested of you, to {47}
exclude reputations; for unless you take away from each of them his true
reputation and add on the false, we shall say that you do not praise
justice, but the appearance of it; *367C* we shall think that you are only
exhorting us to keep injustice dark, and that you really agree with
Thrasymachus in thinking that justice is another's good and the interest
of the stronger, and that injustice is a man's own profit and interest,
though injurious to the weaker. Now as you have admitted that justice is
one of that highest class of goods which are desired indeed for their
results, but in a far greater *367D* degree for their own sakes--like
sight or hearing or knowledge or health, or any other real and natural and
not merely conventional good--I would ask you in your praise of justice to
regard one point only: I mean the essential good and evil which justice
and injustice work in the possessors of them. Let others praise justice
and censure injustice, magnifying the rewards and honours of the one and
abusing the other; that is a manner of arguing which, coming from them,
I am ready to tolerate, but from you who have spent your whole life in the
consideration of this question, unless I hear *367E* the contrary from
your own lips, I expect something better. And therefore, I say, not only
prove to us that justice is better than injustice, but show what they
either of them do to the possessor of them, which makes the one to be a
good and the other an evil, whether seen or unseen by gods and men.

[Sidenote: Adeimantus, Socrates.]

[Sidenote: Glaucon and Adeimantus able to argue so well, but unconvinced
by their own arguments.]

I had always admired the genius of Glaucon and Adeimantus, but on hearing
these words I was quite delighted, and said: *368A* Sons of an illustrious
father, that was not a bad beginning of the Elegiac verses which the
admirer of Glaucon made in honour of you after you had distinguished
yourselves at the battle of Megara:--

  'Sons of Ariston,' he sang, 'divine offspring of an illustrious hero.'

The epithet is very appropriate, for there is something truly divine in
being able to argue as you have done for the superiority of injustice, and
remaining unconvinced by your own arguments. *368B* And I do believe that
you are not convinced--this I infer from your general character, for had
I judged only from your speeches I should have mistrusted you. But now,
the greater my confidence in you, the greater is my {48} difficulty in
knowing what to say. For I am in a strait between two; on the one hand
I feel that I am unequal to the task; and my inability is brought home to
me by the fact that you were not satisfied with the answer which I made to
Thrasymachus, proving, as I thought, the superiority which justice has
over injustice. And yet I cannot refuse to help, while breath and speech
remain to me; I am afraid that there would be an impiety in being present
when justice *368C* is evil spoken of and not lifting up a hand in her
defence. And therefore I had best give such help as I can.

[Sidenote: The large letters.]

Glaucon and the rest entreated me by all means not to let the question
drop, but to proceed in the investigation. They wanted to arrive at the
truth, first, about the nature of justice and injustice, and secondly,
about their relative advantages. I told them, what I really thought, that
the enquiry would be of a serious nature, and would require very good
eyes. *368D* Seeing then, I said, that we are no great wits, I think that
we had better adopt a method which I may illustrate thus; suppose that a
short-sighted person had been asked by some one to read small letters from
a distance; and it occurred to some one else that they might be found in
another place which was larger and in which the letters were larger--if
they were the same and he could read the larger letters first, and then
proceed to the lesser--this would have been thought a rare piece of good

Very true, said Adeimantus; but how does the illustration *368E* apply to
our enquiry?

I will tell you, I replied; justice, which is the subject of our enquiry,
is, as you know, sometimes spoken of as the virtue of an individual, and
sometimes as the virtue of a State.

True, he replied.

And is not a State larger than an individual?

It is.

[Sidenote: Justice to be seen in the State more easily than in the

Then in the larger the quantity of justice is likely to be larger and more
easily discernible. I propose therefore that we enquire into the nature of
justice and injustice, first as *369A* they appear in the State, and
secondly in the individual, proceeding from the greater to the lesser and
comparing them. {49}

That, he said, is an excellent proposal.

And if we imagine the State in process of creation, we shall see the
justice and injustice of the State in process of creation also.

I dare say.

When the State is completed there may be a hope that the object of our
search will be more easily discovered.

*369B* Yes, far more easily.

But ought we to attempt to construct one? I said; for to do so, as I am
inclined to think, will be a very serious task. Reflect therefore.

I have reflected, said Adeimantus, and am anxious that you should proceed.

[Sidenote: The State arises out of the wants of men.]

A State, I said, arises, as I conceive, out of the needs of mankind; no
one is self-sufficing, but all of us have many wants. Can any other origin
of a State be imagined?

There can be no other.

*369C* Then, as we have many wants, and many persons are needed to supply
them, one takes a helper for one purpose and another for another; and when
these partners and helpers are gathered together in one habitation the
body of inhabitants is termed a State.

True, he said.

And they exchange with one another, and one gives, and another receives,
under the idea that the exchange will be for their good.

Very true.

Then, I said, let us begin and create in idea a State; and yet the true
creator is necessity, who is the mother of our invention.

Of course, he replied.

[Sidenote: The four or five greater needs of life, and the four or five
kinds of citizens who correspond to them.]

*369D* Now the first and greatest of necessities is food, which is the
condition of life and existence.


The second is a dwelling, and the third clothing and the like.


And now let us see how our city will be able to supply this great demand:
We may suppose that one man is a husbandman, another a builder, some one
else a weaver-- {50} shall we add to them a shoemaker, or perhaps some
other purveyor to our bodily wants?

Quite right.

The barest notion of a State must include four or five men.

*369E* Clearly.

[Sidenote: The division of labour.]

And how will they proceed? Will each bring the result of his labours into
a common stock?--the individual husbandman, for example, producing for
four, and labouring four times as long and as much as he need in the
provision of food with which he supplies others as well as himself; or
will he have nothing to do with others and not be at the trouble of
producing for them, but provide for himself alone *370A* a fourth of the
food in a fourth of the time, and in the remaining three fourths of his
time be employed in making a house or a coat or a pair of shoes, having no
partnership with others, but supplying himself all his own wants?

Adeimantus thought that he should aim at producing food only and not at
producing everything.

Probably, I replied, that would be the better way; and when I hear you say
this, I am myself reminded that we are *370B* not all alike; there are
diversities of natures among us which are adapted to different

Very true.

And will you have a work better done when the workman has many
occupations, or when he has only one?

When he has only one.

Further, there can be no doubt that a work is spoilt when not done at the
right time?

No doubt.

For business is not disposed to wait until the doer of the business is at
leisure; but the doer must follow up what he *370C* is doing, and make the
business his first object.

He must.

And if so, we must infer that all things are produced more plentifully and
easily and of a better quality when one man does one thing which is
natural to him and does it at the right time, and leaves other things.


[Sidenote: The first citizens are:--1. a husbandman, 2. a builder. 3. a
weaver, 4. a shoemaker. To these must be added:--5. a carpenter, 6. a
smith, etc., 7. merchants, 8. retailers.]

Then more than four citizens will be required; for the husbandman will not
make his own plough or mattock, or {51} *370D* other implements of
agriculture, if they are to be good for anything. Neither will the builder
make his tools--and he too needs many; and in like manner the weaver and


Then carpenters, and smiths, and many other artisans, will be sharers in
our little State, which is already beginning to grow?


Yet even if we add neatherds, shepherds, and other herdsmen, *370E* in
order that our husbandmen may have oxen to plough with, and builders as
well as husbandmen may have draught cattle, and curriers and weavers
fleeces and hides,--still our State will not be very large.

That is true; yet neither will it be a very small State which contains all

Then, again, there is the situation of the city--to find a place where
nothing need be imported is wellnigh impossible.


Then there must be another class of citizens who will bring the required
supply from another city?

There must.

*371A* But if the trader goes empty-handed, having nothing which they
require who would supply his need, he will come back empty-handed.

That is certain.

And therefore what they produce at home must be not only enough for
themselves, but such both in quantity and quality as to accommodate those
from whom their wants are supplied.

Very true.

Then more husbandmen and more artisans will be required?

They will.

Not to mention the importers and exporters, who are called merchants?


Then we shall want merchants?

We shall.

And if merchandise is to be carried over the sea, skilful *371B* sailors
will also be needed, and in considerable numbers?

Yes, in considerable numbers.

Then, again, within the city, how will they exchange their {52}
productions? To secure such an exchange was, as you will remember, one of
our principal objects when we formed them into a society and constituted a

Clearly they will buy and sell.

Then they will need a market-place, and a money-token for purposes of


[Sidenote: The origin of retail trade.]

*371C* Suppose now that a husbandman, or an artisan, brings some
production to market, and he comes at a time when there is no one to
exchange with him,--is he to leave his calling and sit idle in the

Not at all; he will find people there who, seeing the want, undertake the
office of salesmen. In well-ordered states they are commonly those who are
the weakest in bodily strength, and therefore of little use for any other
purpose; their duty is *371D* to be in the market, and to give money in
exchange for goods to those who desire to sell and to take money from
those who desire to buy.

This want, then, creates a class of retail-traders in our State. Is not
'retailer' the term which is applied to those who sit in the market-place
engaged in buying and selling, while those who wander from one city to
another are called merchants?

Yes, he said.

*371E* And there is another class of servants, who are intellectually
hardly on the level of companionship; still they have plenty of bodily
strength for labour, which accordingly they sell, and are called, if I do
not mistake, hirelings, hire being the name which is given to the price of
their labour.


Then hirelings will help to make up our population?


And now, Adeimantus, is our State matured and perfected?

I think so.

Where, then, is justice, and where is injustice, and in what part of the
State did they spring up?

*372A* Probably in the dealings of these citizens with one another. I
cannot imagine that they are more likely to be found any where else.

I dare say that you are right in your suggestion, I said; {53} we had
better think the matter out, and not shrink from the enquiry.

[Sidenote: A picture of primitive life.]

Let us then consider, first of all, what will be their way of life, now
that we have thus established them. Will they not produce corn, and wine,
and clothes, and shoes, and build houses for themselves? And when they are
housed, they will work, in summer, commonly, stripped and barefoot, but
*372B* in winter substantially clothed and shod. They will feed on
barley-meal and flour of wheat, baking and kneading them, making noble
cakes and loaves; these they will serve up on a mat of reeds or on clean
leaves, themselves reclining the while upon beds strewn with yew or
myrtle. And they and their children will feast, drinking of the wine which
they have made, wearing garlands on their heads, and hymning the praises
of the gods, in happy converse with one another. *372C* And they will take
care that their families do not exceed their means; having an eye to
poverty or war.

[Sidenote: Socrates, Glaucon.]

But, said Glaucon, interposing, you have not given them a relish to their

True, I replied, I had forgotten; of course they must have a relish--salt,
and olives, and cheese, and they will boil roots and herbs such as country
people prepare; for a dessert we shall give them figs, and peas, and
beans; and they will roast myrtle-berries and acorns at the fire, drinking
in moderation. *372D* And with such a diet they may be expected to live in
peace and health to a good old age, and bequeath a similar life to their
children after them.

Yes, Socrates, he said, and if you were providing for a city of pigs, how
else would you feed the beasts?

But what would you have, Glaucon? I replied.

Why, he said, you should give them the ordinary conveniences of life.
People who are to be comfortable are accustomed to lie on sofas, and dine
off tables, and they should *372E* have sauces and sweets in the modern

[Sidenote: A luxurious State must be called into existence,]

Yes, I said, now I understand: the question which you would have me
consider is, not only how a State, but how a luxurious State is created;
and possibly there is no harm in this, for in such a State we shall be
more likely to see how justice and injustice originate. In my opinion the
true and healthy constitution of the State is the one which I have {54}
described. But if you wish also to see a State at fever-heat, I have no
objection. For I suspect that many will not be *373A* satisfied with the
simpler way of life. They will be for adding sofas, and tables, and other
furniture; also dainties, and perfumes, and incense, and courtesans, and
cakes, all these not of one sort only, but in every variety; we must go
beyond the necessaries of which I was at first speaking, such as houses,
and clothes, and shoes: the arts of the painter and the embroiderer will
have to be set in motion, and gold and ivory and all sorts of materials
must be procured.

*373B* True, he said.

[Sidenote: and in this many new callings will be required.]

Then we must enlarge our borders; for the original healthy State is no
longer sufficient. Now will the city have to fill and swell with a
multitude of callings which are not required by any natural want; such as
the whole tribe of hunters and actors, of whom one large class have to do
with forms and colours; another will be the votaries of music--poets and
their attendant train of rhapsodists, players, dancers, contractors; also
makers of divers kinds of articles, *373C* including women's dresses. And
we shall want more servants. Will not tutors be also in request, and
nurses wet and dry, tirewomen and barbers, as well as confectioners and
cooks; and swineherds, too, who were not needed and therefore had no place
in the former edition of our State, but are needed now? They must not be
forgotten: and there will be animals of many other kinds, if people eat


*373D* And living in this way we shall have much greater need of
physicians than before?

Much greater.

And the country which was enough to support the original inhabitants will
be too small now, and not enough?

Quite true.

[Sidenote: The territory of our State must be enlarged; and hence will
arise war between us and our neighbours.]

Then a slice of our neighbours' land will be wanted by us for pasture and
tillage, and they will want a slice of ours, if, like ourselves, they
exceed the limit of necessity, and give themselves up to the unlimited
accumulation of wealth?

*373E* That, Socrates, will be inevitable.

And so we shall go to war, Glaucon. Shall we not?

Most certainly, he replied. {55}

Then without determining as yet whether war does good or harm, thus much
we may affirm, that now we have discovered war to be derived from causes
which are also the causes of almost all the evils in States, private as
well as public.


And our State must once more enlarge; and this time the enlargement will
be nothing short of a whole army, which *374A* will have to go out and
fight with the invaders for all that we have, as well as for the things
and persons whom we were describing above.

Why? he said; are they not capable of defending themselves?

[Sidenote: War is an art, and as no art can be pursued with success unless
a man's whole attention is devoted to it, a soldier cannot be allowed to
exercise any calling but his own.]

No, I said; not if we were right in the principle which was acknowledged
by all of us when we were framing the State: the principle, as you will
remember, was that one man cannot practise many arts with success.

Very true, he said.

*374B* But is not war an art?


And an art requiring as much attention as shoemaking?

Quite true.

[Sidenote: The warrior's art requires a long apprenticeship and many
natural gifts.]

And the shoemaker was not allowed by us to be a husbandman, or a weaver,
or a builder--in order that we might have our shoes well made; but to him
and to every other worker was assigned one work for which he was by nature
fitted, and *374C* at that he was to continue working all his life long
and at no other; he was not to let opportunities slip, and then he would
become a good workman. Now nothing can be more important than that the
work of a soldier should be well done. But is war an art so easily
acquired that a man may be a warrior who is also a husbandman, or
shoemaker, or other artisan; although no one in the world would be a good
dice or draught player who merely took up the game as a recreation, and
had not from his earliest years devoted himself to this and nothing else?
No tools will make a man a skilled workman, or master of defence, nor be
of any use to him who has not learned how to handle them, and has never
*374D* bestowed any attention upon them. How then will he who takes up a
shield or other implement of war become a good {56} fighter all in a day,
whether with heavy-armed or any other kind of troops?

Yes, he said, the tools which would teach men their own use would be
beyond price.

And the higher the duties of the guardian, I said, the more *374E* time,
and skill, and art, and application will be needed by him?

No doubt, he replied.

Will he not also require natural aptitude for his calling?


[Sidenote: The selection of guardians.]

Then it will be our duty to select, if we can, natures which are fitted
for the task of guarding the city?

It will.

And the selection will be no easy matter, I said; but we must be brave and
do our best.

*375A* We must.

Is not the noble youth very like a well-bred dog in respect of guarding
and watching?

What do you mean?

I mean that both of them ought to be quick to see, and swift to overtake
the enemy when they see him; and strong too if, when they have caught him,
they have to fight with him.

All these qualities, he replied, will certainly be required by them.

Well, and your guardian must be brave if he is to fight well?


And is he likely to be brave who has no spirit, whether horse or dog or
any other animal? Have you never observed *375B* how invincible and
unconquerable is spirit and how the presence of it makes the soul of any
creature to be absolutely fearless and indomitable?

I have.

Then now we have a clear notion of the bodily qualities which are required
in the guardian.


And also of the mental ones; his soul is to be full of spirit?


But are not these spirited natures apt to be savage with one another, and
with everybody else? {57}

A difficulty by no means easy to overcome, he replied.

*375C* Whereas, I said, they ought to be dangerous to their enemies, and
gentle to their friends; if not, they will destroy themselves without
waiting for their enemies to destroy them.

True, he said.

What is to be done then? I said; how shall we find a gentle nature which
has also a great spirit, for the one is the contradiction of the other?


[Sidenote: The guardian must unite the opposite qualities of gentleness
and spirit.]

He will not be a good guardian who is wanting in either of these two
qualities; and yet the combination of them *375D* appears to be
impossible; and hence we must infer that to be a good guardian is

I am afraid that what you say is true, he replied.

Here feeling perplexed I began to think over what had preceded.--My
friend, I said, no wonder that we are in a perplexity; for we have lost
sight of the image which we had before us.

What do you mean? he said.

I mean to say that there do exist natures gifted with those opposite

And where do you find them?

[Sidenote: Such a combination may be observed in the dog.]

Many animals, I replied, furnish examples of them; our *375E* friend the
dog is a very good one: you know that well-bred dogs are perfectly gentle
to their familiars and acquaintances, and the reverse to strangers.

Yes, I know.

Then there is nothing impossible or out of the order of nature in our
finding a guardian who has a similar combination of qualities?

Certainly not.

Would not he who is fitted to be a guardian, besides the spirited nature,
need to have the qualities of a philosopher?

I do not apprehend your meaning.

*376A* The trait of which I am speaking, I replied, may be also seen in
the dog, and is remarkable in the animal.

What trait?

[Sidenote: The dog distinguishes friend and enemy by the criterion of
knowing and not knowing:]

Why, a dog, whenever he sees a stranger, is angry; when an acquaintance,
he welcomes him, although the one has {58} never done him any harm, nor
the other any good. Did this never strike you as curious?

The matter never struck me before; but I quite recognise the truth of your

And surely this instinct of the dog is very charming;-- *376B* your dog is
a true philosopher.


Why, because he distinguishes the face of a friend and of an enemy only by
the criterion of knowing and not knowing. And must not an animal be a
lover of learning who determines what he likes and dislikes by the test of
knowledge and ignorance?

Most assuredly.

[Sidenote: whereby he is shown to be a philosopher.]

And is not the love of learning the love of wisdom, which is philosophy?

They are the same, he replied.

And may we not say confidently of man also, that he who *376C* is likely
to be gentle to his friends and acquaintances, must by nature be a lover
of wisdom and knowledge?

That we may safely affirm.

Then he who is to be a really good and noble guardian of the State will
require to unite in himself philosophy and spirit and swiftness and


[Sidenote: How are our citizens to be reared and educated?]

Then we have found the desired natures; and now that we have found them,
how are they to be reared and educated? Is not this an enquiry which may
be expected to throw light *376D* on the greater enquiry which is our
final end--How do justice and injustice grow up in States? for we do not
want either to omit what is to the point or to draw out the argument to an
inconvenient length.

[Sidenote: Socrates, Adeimantus.]

Adeimantus thought that the enquiry would be of great service to us.

Then, I said, my dear friend, the task must not be given up, even if
somewhat long.

Certainly not.

Come then, and let us pass a leisure hour in story-telling, and our story
shall be the education of our heroes.

*376E* By all means.

And what shall be their education? Can we find a better {59} than the
traditional sort?--and this has two divisions, gymnastic for the body, and
music for the soul.


[Sidenote: Education divided into gymnastic for the body and music for the
soul. Music includes literature, which may be true or false.]

Shall we begin education with music, and go on to gymnastic afterwards?

By all means.

And when you speak of music, do you include literature or not?

I do.

And literature may be either true or false?


*377A* And the young should be trained in both kinds, and we begin with
the false?

I do not understand your meaning, he said.

You know, I said, that we begin by telling children stories which, though
not wholly destitute of truth, are in the main fictitious; and these
stories are told them when they are not of an age to learn gymnastics.

Very true.

That was my meaning when I said that we must teach music before

Quite right, he said.

[Sidenote: The beginning the most important part of education.]

You know also that the beginning is the most important *377B* part of any
work, especially in the case of a young and tender thing; for that is the
time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression is
more readily taken.

Quite true.

And shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any casual tales which
may be devised by casual persons, and to receive into their minds ideas
for the most part the very opposite of those which we should wish them to
have when they are grown up?

We cannot.

[Sidenote: Works of fiction to be placed under a censorship.]

Then the first thing will be to establish a censorship of *377C* the
writers of fiction, and let the censors receive any tale of fiction which
is good, and reject the bad; and we will desire mothers and nurses to tell
their children the authorised ones only. Let them fashion the mind with
such tales, even more fondly than they mould the body with their hands;
but most of those which are now in use must be discarded. {60}

Of what tales are you speaking? he said.

You may find a model of the lesser in the greater, I said; *377D* for they
are necessarily of the same type, and there is the same spirit in both of

Very likely, he replied; but I do not as yet know what you would term the

[Sidenote: Homer and Hesiod are tellers of bad lies, that is to say, they
give false representations of the gods,]

Those, I said, which are narrated by Homer and Hesiod, and the rest of the
poets, who have ever been the great story-tellers of mankind.

But which stories do you mean, he said; and what fault do you find with

A fault which is most serious, I said; the fault of telling a lie, and,
what is more, a bad lie.

But when is this fault committed?

*377E* Whenever an erroneous representation is made of the nature of gods
and heroes,--as when a painter paints a portrait not having the shadow of
a likeness to the original.

Yes, he said, that sort of thing is certainly very blameable; but what are
the stories which you mean?

First of all, I said, there was that greatest of all lies in high places,
which the poet told about Uranus, and which was a bad lie too,--I mean
what Hesiod says that Uranus did, *378A* and how Cronus retaliated on
him[8]. The doings of Cronus, and the sufferings which in turn his son
inflicted upon him, even if they were true, ought certainly not to be
lightly told to young and thoughtless persons; if possible, they had
better be buried in silence. But if there is an absolute necessity for
their mention, a chosen few might hear them in a mystery, and they should
sacrifice not a common [Eleusinian] pig, but some huge and unprocurable
victim; and then the number of the hearers will be very few indeed.

[Footnote 8: Hesiod, Theogony, 154, 459.]

Why, yes, said he, those stories are extremely objectionable.

[Sidenote: which have a bad effect on the minds of youth.]

*378B* Yes, Adeimantus, they are stories not to be repeated in our State;
the young man should not be told that in committing the worst of crimes he
is far from doing anything outrageous; and that even if he chastises his
father when he does wrong, in whatever manner, he will only be following
the example of the first and greatest among the gods. {61}

I entirely agree with you, he said; in my opinion those stories are quite
unfit to be repeated.

[Sidenote: The stories about the quarrels of the gods and their evil
behaviour to one another are untrue.]

[Sidenote: And allegorical interpretations of them are not understood by
the young.]

Neither, if we mean our future guardians to regard the habit of
quarrelling among themselves as of all things the basest, should any word
be said to them of the wars in heaven, *378C* and of the plots and
fightings of the gods against one another, for they are not true. No, we
shall never mention the battles of the giants, or let them be embroidered
on garments; and we shall be silent about the innumerable other quarrels
of gods and heroes with their friends and relatives. If they would only
believe us we would tell them that quarrelling is unholy, and that never
up to this time *378D* has there been any quarrel between citizens; this
is what old men and old women should begin by telling children; and when
they grow up, the poets also should be told to compose for them in a
similar spirit[9]. But the narrative of Hephaestus binding Here his
mother, or how on another occasion Zeus sent him flying for taking her
part when she was being beaten, and all the battles of the gods in
Homer--these tales must not be admitted into our State, whether they are
supposed to have an allegorical meaning or not. For a young person cannot
judge what is allegorical and *378E* what is literal; anything that he
receives into his mind at that age is likely to become indelible and
unalterable; and therefore it is most important that the tales which the
young first hear should be models of virtuous thoughts.

[Footnote 9: Placing the comma after [Greek: grausi/], and not after
[Greek: gignome/nois].]

There you are right, he replied; but if any one asks where are such models
to be found and of what tales are you speaking--how shall we answer him?

*379A* I said to him, You and I, Adeimantus, at this moment are not poets,
but founders of a State: now the founders of a State ought to know the
general forms in which poets should cast their tales, and the limits which
must be observed by them, but to make the tales is not their business.

Very true, he said; but what are these forms of theology which you mean?

[Sidenote: God is to be represented as he truly is.]

Something of this kind, I replied:--God is always to be represented as he
truly is, whatever be the sort of poetry, epic, lyric or tragic, in which
the representation is given.

Right. {62}

*379B* And is he not truly good? and must he not be represented as such?


And no good thing is hurtful?

No, indeed.

And that which is not hurtful hurts not?

Certainly not.

And that which hurts not does no evil?


And can that which does no evil be a cause of evil?


And the good is advantageous?


And therefore the cause of well-being?


It follows therefore that the good is not the cause of all things, but of
the good only?

*379C* Assuredly.

[Sidenote: God, if he be good, is the author of good only.]

Then God, if he be good, is not the author of all things, as the many
assert, but he is the cause of a few things only, and not of most things
that occur to men. For few are the goods of human life, and many are the
evils, and the good is to be attributed to God alone; of the evils the
causes are to be sought elsewhere, and not in him.

That appears to me to be most true, he said.

[Sidenote: The fictions of the poets.]

[Sidenote: Only that evil which is of the nature of punishment to be
attributed to God.]

Then we must not listen to Homer or to any other poet *379D* who is guilty
of the folly of saying that two casks

  'Lie at the threshold of Zeus, full of lots, one of good, the other of
  evil lots[10],'

and that he to whom Zeus gives a mixture of the two

  'Sometimes meets with evil fortune, at other times with good;'

but that he to whom is given the cup of unmingled ill,

  'Him wild hunger drives o'er the beauteous earth.'

*379E* And again--

  'Zeus, who is the dispenser of good and evil to us.'

And if any one asserts that the violation of oaths and treaties, {63}
which was really the work of Pandarus[11], was brought about by Athene and
Zeus, or that the strife and contention of the gods was instigated by
Themis and Zeus[12], he shall not have our approval; neither will we allow
our young men to hear the words of Aeschylus, that

  *380A* 'God plants guilt among men when he desires utterly to destroy a

And if a poet writes of the sufferings of Niobe--the subject of the
tragedy in which these iambic verses occur--or of the house of Pelops, or
of the Trojan war or on any similar theme, either we must not permit him
to say that these are the works of God, or if they are of God, he must
devise some explanation of them such as we are seeking; he must say that
*380B* God did what was just and right, and they were the better for being
punished; but that those who are punished are miserable, and that God is
the author of their misery--the poet is not to be permitted to say; though
he may say that the wicked are miserable because they require to be
punished, and are benefited by receiving punishment from God; but that God
being good is the author of evil to any one is to be *380C* strenuously
denied, and not to be said or sung or heard in verse or prose by any one
whether old or young in any well-ordered commonwealth. Such a fiction is
suicidal, ruinous, impious.

[Footnote 10: Iliad, xxiv. 527.]

[Footnote 11: Iliad, ii. 69.]

[Footnote 12: Ib. xx.]

I agree with you, he replied, and am ready to give my assent to the law.

Let this then be one of our rules and principles concerning the gods, to
which our poets and reciters will be expected to conform,--that God is not
the author of all things, but of good only.

That will do, he said.

*380D* And what do you think of a second principle? Shall I ask you
whether God is a magician, and of a nature to appear insidiously now in
one shape, and now in another--sometimes himself changing and passing into
many forms, sometimes deceiving us with the semblance of such
transformations; or is he one and the same immutably fixed in his own
proper image? {64}

I cannot answer you, he said, without more thought.

[Sidenote: Things must be changed either by another or by themselves.]

Well, I said; but if we suppose a change in anything, that *380E* change
must be effected either by the thing itself, or by some other thing?

Most certainly.

And things which are at their best are also least liable to be altered or
discomposed; for example, when healthiest and strongest, the human frame
is least liable to be affected by meats and drinks, and the plant which is
in the fullest vigour also suffers least from winds or the heat of the sun
or any similar causes.

Of course.

*381A* And will not the bravest and wisest soul be least confused or
deranged by any external influence?


And the same principle, as I should suppose, applies to all composite
things--furniture, houses, garments: when good and well made, they are
least altered by time and circumstances.

Very true.

*381B* Then everything which is good, whether made by art or nature, or
both, is least liable to suffer change from without?


But surely God and the things of God are in every way perfect?

Of course they are.

[Sidenote: But God cannot be changed by other; and will not be changed by

Then he can hardly be compelled by external influence to take many shapes?

He cannot.

But may he not change and transform himself?

Clearly, he said, that must be the case if he is changed at all.

And will he then change himself for the better and fairer, or for the
worse and more unsightly?

*381C* If he change at all he can only change for the worse, for we cannot
suppose him to be deficient either in virtue or beauty.

Very true, Adeimantus; but then, would any one, whether God or man, desire
to make himself worse?


Then it is impossible that God should ever be willing to {65} change;
being, as is supposed, the fairest and best that is conceivable, every God
remains absolutely and for ever in his own form.

That necessarily follows, he said, in my judgment.

*381D* Then, I said, my dear friend, let none of the poets tell us that

  'The gods, taking the disguise of strangers from other lands, walk up and
  down cities in all sorts of forms[13];'

and let no one slander Proteus and Thetis, neither let any one, either in
tragedy or in any other kind of poetry, introduce Here disguised in the
likeness of a priestess asking an alms

  'For the life-giving daughters of Inachus the river of Argos;'

*381E* --let us have no more lies of that sort. Neither must we have
mothers under the influence of the poets scaring their children with a bad
version of these myths--telling how certain gods, as they say, 'Go about
by night in the likeness of so many strangers and in divers forms;' but
let them take heed lest they make cowards of their children, and at the
same time speak blasphemy against the gods.

[Footnote 13: Hom. Od. xvii. 485.]

Heaven forbid, he said.

But although the gods are themselves unchangeable, still by witchcraft and
deception they may make us think that they appear in various forms?

Perhaps, he replied.

[Sidenote: Nor will he make any false representation of himself.]

Well, but can you imagine that God will be willing to lie, whether in word
or deed, or to put forth a phantom of himself?

*382A* I cannot say, he replied.

Do you not know, I said, that the true lie, if such an expression may be
allowed, is hated of gods and men?

What do you mean? he said.

I mean that no one is willingly deceived in that which is the truest and
highest part of himself, or about the truest and highest matters; there,
above all, he is most afraid of a lie having possession of him. {66}

Still, he said, I do not comprehend you.

*382B* The reason is, I replied, that you attribute some profound meaning
to my words; but I am only saying that deception, or being deceived or
uninformed about the highest realities in the highest part of themselves,
which is the soul, and in that part of them to have and to hold the lie,
is what mankind least like;--that, I say, is what they utterly detest.

There is nothing more hateful to them.

And, as I was just now remarking, this ignorance in the soul of him who is
deceived may be called the true lie; for the lie in words is only a kind
of imitation and shadowy image of a previous affection of the soul, not
pure unadulterated *382C* falsehood. Am I not right?

Perfectly right.

[Sidenote: The true lie is equally hated both by gods and men; the
remedial or preventive lie is comparatively innocent, but God can have no
need of it.]

The true lie is hated not only by the gods, but also by men?


Whereas the lie in words is in certain cases useful and not hateful; in
dealing with enemies--that would be an instance; or again, when those whom
we call our friends in a fit of madness or illusion are going to do some
harm, then it is useful and is a sort of medicine or preventive; also in
the *382D* tales of mythology, of which we were just now speaking--because
we do not know the truth about ancient times, we make falsehood as much
like truth as we can, and so turn it to account.

Very true, he said.

But can any of these reasons apply to God? Can we suppose that he is
ignorant of antiquity, and therefore has recourse to invention?

That would be ridiculous, he said.

Then the lying poet has no place in our idea of God?

I should say not.

Or perhaps he may tell a lie because he is afraid of enemies?

*382E* That is inconceivable.

But he may have friends who are senseless or mad?

But no mad or senseless person can be a friend of God.

Then no motive can be imagined why God should lie?

None whatever. {67}

Then the superhuman and divine is absolutely incapable of falsehood?


Then is God perfectly simple and true both in word and deed[14]; he
changes not; he deceives not, either by sign or word, by dream or waking

[Footnote 14: Omitting [Greek: kata\ phantasi/as].]

*383A* Your thoughts, he said, are the reflection of my own.

You agree with me then, I said, that this is the second type or form in
which we should write and speak about divine things. The gods are not
magicians who transform themselves, neither do they deceive mankind in any

I grant that.

[Sidenote: Away then with the falsehoods of the poets!]

Then, although we are admirers of Homer, we do not admire the lying dream
which Zeus sends to Agamemnon; neither will we praise the verses of
Aeschylus in which Thetis *383B* says that Apollo at her nuptials

  'Was celebrating in song her fair progeny whose days were to be long, and
  to know no sickness. And when he had spoken of my lot as in all things
  blessed of heaven he raised a note of triumph and cheered my soul. And
  I thought that the word of Phoebus, being divine and full of prophecy,
  would not fail. And now he himself who uttered the strain, he who was
  present at the banquet, and who said this--he it is who has slain my

[Footnote 15: From a lost play.]

*383C* These are the kind of sentiments about the gods which will arouse
our anger; and he who utters them shall be refused a chorus; neither shall
we allow teachers to make use of them in the instruction of the young,
meaning, as we do, that our guardians, as far as men can be, should be
true worshippers of the gods and like them.

I entirely agree, he said, in these principles, and promise to make them
my laws.


[Sidenote: _Republic III._ Socrates, Adeimantus.]

[Sidenote: The discouraging lessons of mythology.]

*386A* Such then, I said, are our principles of theology--some tales are
to be told, and others are not to be told to our disciples from their
youth upwards, if we mean them to honour the gods and their parents, and
to value friendship with one another.

Yes; and I think that our principles are right, he said.

But if they are to be courageous, must they not learn other lessons
besides these, and lessons of such a kind as will take *386B* away the
fear of death? Can any man be courageous who has the fear of death in him?

Certainly not, he said.

And can he be fearless of death, or will he choose death in battle rather
than defeat and slavery, who believes the world below to be real and


[Sidenote: The description of the world below in Homer.]

Then we must assume a control over the narrators of this class of tales as
well as over the others, and beg them not simply to revile but rather to
commend the world below, *386C* intimating to them that their descriptions
are untrue, and will do harm to our future warriors.

That will be our duty, he said.

[Sidenote: Such tales to be rejected.]

Then, I said, we shall have to obliterate many obnoxious passages,
beginning with the verses,

  'I would rather be a serf on the land of a poor and portionless man than
  rule over all the dead who have come to nought[1].'

We must also expunge the verse, which tells us how Pluto feared,

  *386D* 'Lest the mansions grim and squalid which the gods abhor should
  be seen both of mortals and immortals[2].' {69}

And again:--

  'O heavens! verily in the house of Hades there is soul and ghostly form
  but no mind at all[3]!'

Again of Tiresias:--

  '[To him even after death did Persephone grant mind,] that he alone
  should be wise; but the other souls are flitting shades[4].'


  'The soul flying from the limbs had gone to Hades, lamenting her fate,
  leaving manhood and youth[5].'


  *387A* 'And the soul, with shrilling cry, passed like smoke beneath the


  'As bats in hollow of mystic cavern, whenever any of them has dropped
  out of the string and falls from the rock, fly shrilling and cling to
  one another, so did they with shrilling cry hold together as they

*387B* And we must beg Homer and the other poets not to be angry if we
strike out these and similar passages, not because they are unpoetical, or
unattractive to the popular ear, but because the greater the poetical
charm of them, the less are they meet for the ears of boys and men who are
meant to be free, and who should fear slavery more than death.

[Footnote 1: Od. xi. 489.]

[Footnote 2: Il. xx. 64.]

[Footnote 3: Il. xxiii. 103.]

[Footnote 4: Od. x. 495.]

[Footnote 5: Il. xvi. 856.]

[Footnote 6: Ib. xxiii. 100.]

[Footnote 7: Od. xxiv. 6.]


Also we shall have to reject all the terrible and appalling names which
describe the world below--Cocytus and Styx, *387C* ghosts under the earth,
and sapless shades, and any similar words of which the very mention causes
a shudder to pass through the inmost soul of him who hears them. I do not
say that these horrible stories may not have a use of some kind; but there
is a danger that the nerves of our guardians may be rendered too excitable
and effeminate by them.

There is a real danger, he said.

Then we must have no more of them.


Another and a nobler strain must be composed and sung by us. {70}


*387D* And shall we proceed to get rid of the weepings and wailings of
famous men?

They will go with the rest.

[Sidenote: The effeminate and pitiful strains of famous men, and yet more
of the gods, must also be banished.]

But shall we be right in getting rid of them? Reflect: our principle is
that the good man will not consider death terrible to any other good man
who is his comrade.

Yes; that is our principle.

And therefore he will not sorrow for his departed friend as though he had
suffered anything terrible?

He will not.

Such an one, as we further maintain, is sufficient for himself *387E* and
his own happiness, and therefore is least in need of other men.

True, he said.

And for this reason the loss of a son or brother, or the deprivation of
fortune, is to him of all men least terrible.


And therefore he will be least likely to lament, and will bear with the
greatest equanimity any misfortune of this sort which may befall him.

Yes, he will feel such a misfortune far less than another.

Then we shall be right in getting rid of the lamentations of famous men,
and making them over to women (and not *388A* even to women who are good
for anything), or to men of a baser sort, that those who are being
educated by us to be the defenders of their country may scorn to do the

That will be very right.

[Sidenote: Such are the laments of Achilles, and Priam, and of Zeus when
he beholds the fate of Hector or Sarpedon.]

Then we will once more entreat Homer and the other poets not to depict
Achilles[8], who is the son of a goddess, first lying on his side, then on
his back, and then on his face; then starting up and sailing in a frenzy
along the shores of *388B* the barren sea; now taking the sooty ashes in
both his hands[9] and pouring them over his head, or weeping and wailing
in the various modes which Homer has delineated. Nor should he describe
Priam the kinsman of the gods as praying and beseeching,

  'Rolling in the dirt, calling each man loudly by his name[10].' {71}

Still more earnestly will we beg of him at all events not to introduce the
gods lamenting and saying,

  *388C* 'Alas! my misery! Alas! that I bore the bravest to my

But if he must introduce the gods, at any rate let him not dare so
completely to misrepresent the greatest of the gods, as to make him say--

  'O heavens! with my eyes verily I behold a dear friend of mine chased
  round and round the city, and my heart is sorrowful[12].'

Or again:--

  'Woe is me that I am fated to have Sarpedon, dearest of *388D* men to
  me, subdued at the hands of Patroclus the son of Menoetius[13].'

For if, my sweet Adeimantus, our youth seriously listen to such unworthy
representations of the gods, instead of laughing at them as they ought,
hardly will any of them deem that he himself, being but a man, can be
dishonoured by similar actions; neither will he rebuke any inclination
which may arise in his mind to say and do the like. And instead of having
any shame or self-control, he will be always whining and lamenting on
slight occasions.

[Footnote 8: Il. xxiv. 10.]

[Footnote 9: Ib. xviii. 23.]

[Footnote 10: Ib. xxii. 414.]

[Footnote 11: Il. xviii. 54.]

[Footnote 12: Ib. xxii. 168.]

[Footnote 13: Ib. xvi. 433.]

*388E* Yes, he said, that is most true.

Yes, I replied; but that surely is what ought not to be, as the argument
has just proved to us; and by that proof we must abide until it is
disproved by a better.

It ought not to be.

[Sidenote: Neither are the guardians to be encouraged to laugh by the
example of the gods.]

Neither ought our guardians to be given to laughter. For a fit of laughter
which has been indulged to excess almost always produces a violent

So I believe.

Then persons of worth, even if only mortal men, must not be represented as
overcome by laughter, and still less must such a representation of the
gods be allowed.

*389A* Still less of the gods, as you say, he replied.

Then we shall not suffer such an expression to be used about the gods as
that of Homer when he describes how

  'Inextinguishable laughter arose among the blessed gods, when they saw
  Hephaestus bustling about the mansion[14].'

On your views, we must not admit them. {72}

[Footnote 14: Ib. i. 599.]

On my views, if you like to father them on me; that we *389B* must not
admit them is certain.

[Sidenote: Our youth must be truthful,]

Again, truth should be highly valued; if, as we were saying, a lie is
useless to the gods, and useful only as a medicine to men, then the use of
such medicines should be restricted to physicians; private individuals
have no business with them.

Clearly not, he said.

Then if any one at all is to have the privilege of lying, the rulers of
the State should be the persons; and they, in their dealings either with
enemies or with their own citizens, may be allowed to lie for the public
good. But nobody else should *389C* meddle with anything of the kind; and
although the rulers have this privilege, for a private man to lie to them
in return is to be deemed a more heinous fault than for the patient or the
pupil of a gymnasium not to speak the truth about his own bodily illnesses
to the physician or to the trainer, or for a sailor not to tell the
captain what is happening about the ship and the rest of the crew, and how
things are going with himself or his fellow sailors.

Most true, he said.

*389D* If, then, the ruler catches anybody beside himself lying in the

  'Any of the craftsmen, whether he be priest or physician or

he will punish him for introducing a practice which is equally subversive
and destructive of ship or State.

[Footnote 15: Od. xvii. 383 sq.]

Most certainly, he said, if our idea of the State is ever carried out[16].

[Footnote 16: Or, 'if his words are accompanied by actions.']

[Sidenote: and also temperate.]

In the next place our youth must be temperate?


Are not the chief elements of temperance, speaking *389E* generally,
obedience to commanders and self-control in sensual pleasures?


Then we shall approve such language as that of Diomede in Homer,

  'Friend, sit still and obey my word[17],' {73}

and the verses which follow,

  'The Greeks marched breathing prowess[18], .... in silent awe of their

and other sentiments of the same kind.

[Footnote 17: Il. iv. 412.]

[Footnote 18: Od. iii. 8.]

[Footnote 19: Ib. iv. 431.]

We shall.

What of this line,

  'O heavy with wine, who hast the eyes of a dog and the heart of a

*390A* and of the words which follow? Would you say that these, or any
similar impertinences which private individuals are supposed to address to
their rulers, whether in verse or prose, are well or ill spoken?

[Footnote 20: Ib. i. 225.]

They are ill spoken.

They may very possibly afford some amusement, but they do not conduce to
temperance. And therefore they are likely to do harm to our young men--you
would agree with me there?


[Sidenote: The praises of eating and drinking, and the tale of the
improper behaviour of Zeus and Here, are not to be repeated to the young.]

[Sidenote: The indecent tale of Ares and Aphrodite.]

And then, again, to make the wisest of men say that nothing in his opinion
is more glorious than

  *390B* 'When the tables are full of bread and meat, and the cup-bearer
  carries round wine which he draws from the bowl and pours into the

is it fit or conducive to temperance for a young man to hear such words?
Or the verse

  'The saddest of fates is to die and meet destiny from hunger[22]'?

What would you say again to the tale of Zeus, who, while other gods and
men were asleep and he the only person *390C* awake, lay devising plans,
but forgot them all in a moment through his lust, and was so completely
overcome at the sight of Here that he would not even go into the hut, but
wanted to lie with her on the ground, declaring that he had never been in
such a state of rapture before, even when they first met one another

  'Without the knowledge of their parents[23];' {74}

or that other tale of how Hephaestus, because of similar goings on, cast a
chain around Ares and Aphrodite[24]?

[Footnote 21: Ib. ix. 8.]

[Footnote 22: Ib. xii. 342.]

[Footnote 23: Il. xiv. 281.]

[Footnote 24: Od. viii. 266.]

Indeed, he said, I am strongly of opinion that they ought not to hear that
sort of thing.

[Sidenote: The opposite strain of endurance.]

*390D* But any deeds of endurance which are done or told by famous men,
these they ought to see and hear; as, for example, what is said in the

  'He smote his breast, and thus reproached his heart, Endure, my heart;
  far worse hast thou endured[25]!'

[Footnote 25: Ib. xx. 17.]

Certainly, he said.

In the next place, we must not let them be receivers of gifts or lovers of

*390E* Certainly not.

[Sidenote: Condemnation of Achilles and Phoenix.]

Neither must we sing to them of

  'Gifts persuading gods, and persuading reverend kings[26].'

Neither is Phoenix, the tutor of Achilles, to be approved or deemed to
have given his pupil good counsel when he told him that he should take the
gifts of the Greeks and assist them[27]; but that without a gift he should
not lay aside his anger. Neither will we believe or acknowledge Achilles
himself to have been such a lover of money that he took Agamemnon's gifts,
or that when he had received payment he restored the dead body of Hector,
but that without payment he was unwilling to do so[28].

[Footnote 26: Quoted by Suidas as attributed to Hesiod.]

[Footnote 27: Il. ix. 515.]

[Footnote 28: Ib. xxiv. 175.]

*391A* Undoubtedly, he said, these are not sentiments which can be

[Sidenote: The impious behaviour of Achilles to Apollo and the river-gods;
his cruelty.]

Loving Homer as I do[29], I hardly like to say that in attributing these
feelings to Achilles, or in believing that they are truly attributed to
him, he is guilty of downright impiety. As little can I believe the
narrative of his insolence to Apollo, where he says,

  'Thou hast wronged me, O far-darter, most abominable of deities. Verily
  I would be even with thee, if I had only the power[30];'

*391B* or his insubordination to the river-god[31], on whose divinity he
is ready to lay hands; or his offering to the dead Patroclus {75} of his
own hair[32], which had been previously dedicated to the other river-god
Spercheius, and that he actually performed this vow; or that he dragged
Hector round the tomb of Patroclus[33], and slaughtered the captives at
the pyre[34]; of all this I cannot believe that he was guilty, any more
than I can *391C* allow our citizens to believe that he, the wise
Cheiron's pupil, the son of a goddess and of Peleus who was the gentlest
of men and third in descent from Zeus, was so disordered in his wits as to
be at one time the slave of two seemingly inconsistent passions, meanness,
not untainted by avarice, combined with overweening contempt of gods and

[Footnote 29: Cf. _infra_, x. 595.]

[Footnote 30: Il. xxii. 15 sq.]

[Footnote 31: Ib. xxi. 130, 223 sq.]

[Footnote 32: Il. xxiii. 151.]

[Footnote 33: Ib. xxii. 394.]

[Footnote 34: Ib. xxiii. 175.]

You are quite right, he replied.

[Sidenote: The tale of Theseus and Peirithous.]

And let us equally refuse to believe, or allow to be repeated, the tale of
Theseus son of Poseidon, or of Peirithous *391D* son of Zeus, going forth
as they did to perpetrate a horrid rape; or of any other hero or son of a
god daring to do such impious and dreadful things as they falsely ascribe
to them in our day: and let us further compel the poets to declare either
that these acts were not done by them, or that they were not the sons of
gods;--both in the same breath they shall not be permitted to affirm. We
will not have them trying to persuade our youth that the gods are the
authors of evil, and that heroes are no better than men--sentiments *391E*
which, as we were saying, are neither pious nor true, for we have already
proved that evil cannot come from the gods.

Assuredly not.

[Sidenote: The bad effect of these mythological tales upon the young.]

And further they are likely to have a bad effect on those who hear them;
for everybody will begin to excuse his own vices when he is convinced that
similar wickednesses are always being perpetrated by--

  'The kindred of the gods, the relatives of Zeus, whose ancestral altar,
  the altar of Zeus, is aloft in air on the peak of Ida,'

and who have

  'the blood of deities yet flowing in their veins[35].'

And therefore let us put an end to such tales, lest they *392A* engender
laxity of morals among the young. {76}

[Footnote 35: From the Niobe of Aeschylus.]

By all means, he replied.

But now that we are determining what classes of subjects are or are not to
be spoken of, let us see whether any have been omitted by us. The manner
in which gods and demigods and heroes and the world below should be
treated has been already laid down.

Very true.

[Sidenote: Misstatements of the poets about men.]

And what shall we say about men? That is clearly the remaining portion of
our subject.

Clearly so.

But we are not in a condition to answer this question at present, my

Why not?

Because, if I am not mistaken, we shall have to say that *392B* about men
poets and story-tellers are guilty of making the gravest misstatements
when they tell us that wicked men are often happy, and the good miserable;
and that injustice is profitable when undetected, but that justice is a
man's own loss and another's gain--these things we shall forbid them to
utter, and command them to sing and say the opposite.

To be sure we shall, he replied.

But if you admit that I am right in this, then I shall maintain that you
have implied the principle for which we have been all along contending.

I grant the truth of your inference.

*392C* That such things are or are not to be said about men is a question
which we cannot determine until we have discovered what justice is, and
how naturally advantageous to the possessor, whether he seem to be just or

Most true, he said.

Enough of the subjects of poetry: let us now speak of the style; and when
this has been considered, both matter and manner will have been completely

I do not understand what you mean, said Adeimantus.

*392D* Then I must make you understand; and perhaps I may be more
intelligible if I put the matter in this way. You are aware, I suppose,
that all mythology and poetry is a narration of events, either past,
present, or to come?

Certainly, he replied. {77}

And narration may be either simple narration, or imitation, or a union of
the two?

That again, he said, I do not quite understand.

[Sidenote: Analysis of the dramatic element in Epic poetry.]

I fear that I must be a ridiculous teacher when I have so much difficulty
in making myself apprehended. Like a bad speaker, therefore, I will not
take the whole of the subject, *392E* but will break a piece off in
illustration of my meaning. You know the first lines of the Iliad, in
which the poet says that *393A* Chryses prayed Agamemnon to release his
daughter, and that Agamemnon flew into a passion with him; whereupon
Chryses, failing of his object, invoked the anger of the God against the
Achaeans. Now as far as these lines,

  'And he prayed all the Greeks, but especially the two sons of Atreus,
  the chiefs of the people,'

the poet is speaking in his own person; he never leads us to suppose that
he is any one else. But in what follows he takes the person of Chryses,
and then he does all that he can *393B* to make us believe that the
speaker is not Homer, but the aged priest himself. And in this double form
he has cast the entire narrative of the events which occurred at Troy and
in Ithaca and throughout the Odyssey.


And a narrative it remains both in the speeches which the poet recites
from time to time and in the intermediate passages?

Quite true.

[Sidenote: Epic poetry has an element of imitation in the speeches; the
rest is simple narrative.]

*393C* But when the poet speaks in the person of another, may we not say
that he assimilates his style to that of the person who, as he informs
you, is going to speak?


And this assimilation of himself to another, either by the use of voice or
gesture, is the imitation of the person whose character he assumes?

Of course.

Then in this case the narrative of the poet may be said to proceed by way
of imitation?

Very true.

[Sidenote: Illustrations from the beginning of the Iliad.]

Or, if the poet everywhere appears and never conceals *393D* himself, then
again the imitation is dropped, and his poetry becomes simple narration.
However, in order that I may {78} make my meaning quite clear, and that
you may no more say, 'I don't understand,' I will show how the change
might be effected. If Homer had said, 'The priest came, having his
daughter's ransom in his hands, supplicating the Achaeans, and above all
the kings;' and then if, instead of speaking in the person of Chryses, he
had continued in his own person, the words would have been, not imitation,
but simple narration. The passage would have run as follows (I am no poet,
*393E* and therefore I drop the metre), 'The priest came and prayed the
gods on behalf of the Greeks that they might capture Troy and return
safely home, but begged that they would give him back his daughter, and
take the ransom which he brought, and respect the God. Thus he spoke, and
the other Greeks revered the priest and assented. But Agamemnon was wroth,
and bade him depart and not come again, lest the staff and chaplets of the
God should be of no avail to him--the daughter of Chryses should not be
released, he said--she should grow old with him in Argos. And then he told
him to go away and not to provoke him, if he intended to get home
unscathed. And the old man went away in fear and *394A* silence, and, when
he had left the camp, he called upon Apollo by his many names, reminding
him of everything which he had done pleasing to him, whether in building
his temples, or in offering sacrifice, and praying that his good deeds
might be returned to him, and that the Achaeans might expiate his tears by
the arrows of the god,'--and so on. *394B* In this way the whole becomes
simple narrative.

I understand, he said.

[Sidenote: Tragedy and Comedy are wholly imitative; dithyrambic and some
other kinds of poetry are devoid of imitation. Epic poetry is a
combination of the two.]

Or you may suppose the opposite case--that the intermediate passages are
omitted, and the dialogue only left.

That also, he said, I understand; you mean, for example, as in tragedy.

You have conceived my meaning perfectly; and if I mistake not, what you
failed to apprehend before is now made *394C* clear to you, that poetry
and mythology are, in some cases, wholly imitative--instances of this are
supplied by tragedy and comedy; there is likewise the opposite style, in
which the poet is the only speaker--of this the dithyramb affords the best
example; and the combination of both is found in epic, and in several
other styles of poetry. Do I take you with me? {79}

Yes, he said; I see now what you meant.

I will ask you to remember also what I began by saying, that we had done
with the subject and might proceed to the style.

Yes, I remember.

*394D* In saying this, I intended to imply that we must come to an
understanding about the mimetic art,--whether the poets, in narrating
their stories, are to be allowed by us to imitate, and if so, whether in
whole or in part, and if the latter, in what parts; or should all
imitation be prohibited?

You mean, I suspect, to ask whether tragedy and comedy shall be admitted
into our State?

[Sidenote: A hint about Homer (cp. _infra_, bk. x.)]

Yes, I said; but there may be more than this in question: I really do not
know as yet, but whither the argument may blow, thither we go.

And go we will, he said.

[Sidenote: Our guardians ought not to be imitators, for one man can only
do one thing well;]

*394E* Then, Adeimantus, let me ask you whether our guardians ought to be
imitators; or rather, has not this question been decided by the rule
already laid down that one man can only do one thing well, and not many;
and that if he attempt many, he will altogether fail of gaining much
reputation in any?


And this is equally true of imitation; no one man can imitate many things
as well as he would imitate a single one?

He cannot.

*395A* Then the same person will hardly be able to play a serious part in
life, and at the same time to be an imitator and imitate many other parts
as well; for even when two species of imitation are nearly allied, the
same persons cannot succeed in both, as, for example, the writers of
tragedy and comedy--did you not just now call them imitations?

Yes, I did; and you are right in thinking that the same persons cannot
succeed in both.

Any more than they can be rhapsodists and actors at once?


*395B* Neither are comic and tragic actors the same; yet all these things
are but imitations.

They are so.

[Sidenote: he cannot even imitate many things.]

And human nature, Adeimantus, appears to have been {80} coined into yet
smaller pieces, and to be as incapable of imitating many things well, as
of performing well the actions of which the imitations are copies.

Quite true, he replied.

If then we adhere to our original notion and bear in mind that our
guardians, setting aside every other business, are to *395C* dedicate
themselves wholly to the maintenance of freedom in the State, making this
their craft, and engaging in no work which does not bear on this end, they
ought not to practise or imitate anything else; if they imitate at all,
they should imitate from youth upward only those characters which are
suitable to their profession--the courageous, temperate, holy, free, and
the like; but they should not depict or be skilful at imitating any kind
of illiberality or baseness, lest from imitation they should come to be
what they imitate. Did *395D* you never observe how imitations, beginning
in early youth and continuing far into life, at length grow into habits
and become a second nature, affecting body, voice, and mind?

Yes, certainly, he said.

[Sidenote: Imitations which are of the degrading sort.]

Then, I said, we will not allow those for whom we profess a care and of
whom we say that they ought to be good men, to imitate a woman, whether
young or old, quarrelling with her husband, or striving and vaunting
against the gods in *395E* conceit of her happiness, or when she is in
affliction, or sorrow, or weeping; and certainly not one who is in
sickness, love, or labour.

Very right, he said.

Neither must they represent slaves, male or female, performing the offices
of slaves?

They must not.

And surely not bad men, whether cowards or any others, who do the reverse
of what we have just been prescribing, who scold or mock or revile one
another in drink or out of drink, or who in any other manner sin against
themselves and their neighbours in word or deed, as the manner of such is.
*396A* Neither should they be trained to imitate the action or speech of
men or women who are mad or bad; for madness, like vice, is to be known
but not to be practised or imitated.

Very true, he replied. {81}

Neither may they imitate smiths or other artificers, or *396B* oarsmen, or
boatswains, or the like?

How can they, he said, when they are not allowed to apply their minds to
the callings of any of these?

Nor may they imitate the neighing of horses, the bellowing of bulls, the
murmur of rivers and roll of the ocean, thunder, and all that sort of

Nay, he said, if madness be forbidden, neither may they copy the behaviour
of madmen.

You mean, I said, if I understand you aright, that there is one sort of
narrative style which may be employed by a truly *396C* good man when he
has anything to say, and that another sort will be used by a man of an
opposite character and education.

And which are these two sorts? he asked.

[Sidenote: Imitations which may be encouraged.]

Suppose, I answered, that a just and good man in the course of a narration
comes on some saying or action of another good man,--I should imagine that
he will like to personate him, and will not be ashamed of this sort of
imitation: he will be most ready to play the part of the good *396D* man
when he is acting firmly and wisely; in a less degree when he is overtaken
by illness or love or drink, or has met with any other disaster. But when
he comes to a character which is unworthy of him, he will not make a study
of that; he will disdain such a person, and will assume his likeness, if
at all, for a moment only when he is performing some good action; at other
times he will be ashamed to play a part which he has never practised, nor
will he like to fashion and frame himself after the baser models; he feels
the *396E* employment of such an art, unless in jest, to be beneath him,
and his mind revolts at it.

So I should expect, he replied.

Then he will adopt a mode of narration such as we have illustrated out of
Homer, that is to say, his style will be both imitative and narrative; but
there will be very little of the former, and a great deal of the latter.
Do you agree?

Certainly, he said; that is the model which such a speaker *397A* must
necessarily take.

[Sidenote: Imitations which are to be prohibited.]

But there is another sort of character who will narrate anything, and, the
worse he is, the more unscrupulous he will be; nothing will be too bad for
him: and he will be ready to {82} imitate anything, not as a joke, but in
right good earnest, and before a large company. As I was just now saying,
he will attempt to represent the roll of thunder, the noise of wind and
hail, or the creaking of wheels, and pulleys, and the various sounds of
flutes, pipes, trumpets, and all sorts of instruments: he will bark like a
dog, bleat like *397B* a sheep, or crow like a cock; his entire art will
consist in imitation of voice and gesture, and there will be very little

That, he said, will be his mode of speaking.

These, then, are the two kinds of style?


[Sidenote: Two kinds of style--the one simple, the other multiplex. There
is also a third which is a combination of the two.]

And you would agree with me in saying that one of them is simple and has
but slight changes; and if the harmony and rhythm are also chosen for
their simplicity, the result is that the speaker, if he speaks correctly,
is always pretty much the same in style, and he will keep within the
limits of a single harmony (for the changes are not great), and in *397C*
like manner he will make use of nearly the same rhythm?

That is quite true, he said.

Whereas the other requires all sorts of harmonies and all sorts of
rhythms, if the music and the style are to correspond, because the style
has all sorts of changes.

That is also perfectly true, he replied.

And do not the two styles, or the mixture of the two, comprehend all
poetry, and every form of expression in words? No one can say anything
except in one or other of them or in both together.

They include all, he said.

[Sidenote: The simple style alone is to be admitted in the State; the
attractions of the mixed style are acknowledged, but it appears to be

*397D* And shall we receive into our State all the three styles, or one
only of the two unmixed styles? or would you include the mixed?

I should prefer only to admit the pure imitator of virtue.

Yes, I said, Adeimantus, but the mixed style is also very charming: and
indeed the pantomimic, which is the opposite of the one chosen by you, is
the most popular style with children and their attendants, and with the
world in general.

I do not deny it.

But I suppose you would argue that such a style is unsuitable *397E* to
our State, in which human nature is not twofold or manifold, for one man
plays one part only? {83}

Yes; quite unsuitable.

And this is the reason why in our State, and in our State only, we shall
find a shoemaker to be a shoemaker and not a pilot also, and a husbandman
to be a husbandman and not a dicast also, and a soldier a soldier and not
a trader also, and the same throughout?

True, he said.

[Sidenote: The pantomimic artist is to receive great honours, but he is to
be sent out of the country.]

*398A* And therefore when any one of these pantomimic gentlemen, who are
so clever that they can imitate anything, comes to us, and makes a
proposal to exhibit himself and his poetry, we will fall down and worship
him as a sweet and holy and wonderful being; but we must also inform him
that in our State such as he are not permitted to exist; the law will not
allow them. And so when we have anointed him with myrrh, and set a garland
of wool upon his head, we shall send him away to another city. For we mean
to employ for *398B* our souls' health the rougher and severer poet or
story-teller, who will imitate the style of the virtuous only, and will
follow those models which we prescribed at first when we began the
education of our soldiers.

We certainly will, he said, if we have the power.

Then now, my friend, I said, that part of music or literary education
which relates to the story or myth may be considered to be finished; for
the matter and manner have both been discussed.

I think so too, he said.

*398C* Next in order will follow melody and song.

That is obvious.

Every one can see already what we ought to say about them, if we are to be
consistent with ourselves.

[Sidenote: Socrates, Glaucon.]

I fear, said Glaucon, laughing, that the word 'every one' hardly includes
me, for I cannot at the moment say what they should be; though I may

At any rate you can tell that a song or ode has three *398D* parts--the
words, the melody, and the rhythm; that degree of knowledge I may

Yes, he said; so much as that you may.

And as for the words, there will surely be no difference between words
which are and which are not set to music; {84} both will conform to the
same laws, and these have been already determined by us?


[Sidenote: Melody and rhythm.]

And the melody and rhythm will depend upon the words?


We were saying, when we spoke of the subject-matter, that we had no need
of lamentation and strains of sorrow?


*398E* And which are the harmonies expressive of sorrow? You are musical,
and can tell me.

The harmonies which you mean are the mixed or tenor Lydian, and the
full-toned or bass Lydian, and such like.

These then, I said, must be banished; even to women who have a character
to maintain they are of no use, and much less to men.


In the next place, drunkenness and softness and indolence are utterly
unbecoming the character of our guardians.

Utterly unbecoming.

[Sidenote: The relaxed melodies or harmonies are the Ionian and the
Lydian. These are to be banished.]

And which are the soft or drinking harmonies?

*399A* The Ionian, he replied, and the Lydian; they are termed 'relaxed.'

Well, and are these of any military use?

Quite the reverse, he replied; and if so the Dorian and the Phrygian are
the only ones which you have left.

I answered: Of the harmonies I know nothing, but I want to have one
warlike, to sound the note or accent which a brave man utters in the hour
of danger and stern resolve, or when his cause is failing, and he is going
to wounds or *399B* death or is overtaken by some other evil, and at every
such crisis meets the blows of fortune with firm step and a determination
to endure; and another to be used by him in times of peace and freedom of
action, when there is no pressure of necessity, and he is seeking to
persuade God by prayer, or man by instruction and admonition, or on the
other hand, when he is expressing his willingness to yield to persuasion
or entreaty or admonition, and which represents him when by prudent
conduct he has attained his end, not carried away by his success, but
acting moderately and wisely *399C* under the circumstances, and
acquiescing in the event. These {85} two harmonies I ask you to leave; the
strain of necessity and the strain of freedom, the strain of the
unfortunate and the strain of the fortunate, the strain of courage, and
the strain of temperance; these, I say, leave.

And these, he replied, are the Dorian and Phrygian harmonies of which
I was just now speaking.

[Sidenote: The Dorian and Phrygian are to be retained.]

Then, I said, if these and these only are to be used in our songs and
melodies, we shall not want multiplicity of notes or a panharmonic scale?

I suppose not.

Then we shall not maintain the artificers of lyres with three corners and
complex scales, or the makers of any other *399D* many-stringed
curiously-harmonised instruments?

Certainly not.

[Sidenote: Musical instruments--which are to be rejected and which

But what do you say to flute-makers and flute-players? Would you admit
them into our State when you reflect that in this composite use of harmony
the flute is worse than all the stringed instruments put together; even
the panharmonic music is only an imitation of the flute?

Clearly not.

There remain then only the lyre and the harp for use in the city, and the
shepherds may have a pipe in the country.

That is surely the conclusion to be drawn from the argument.

*399E* The preferring of Apollo and his instruments to Marsyas and his
instruments is not at all strange, I said.

Not at all, he replied.

And so, by the dog of Egypt, we have been unconsciously purging the State,
which not long ago we termed luxurious.

And we have done wisely, he replied.

Then let us now finish the purgation, I said. Next in order to harmonies,
rhythms will naturally follow, and they should be subject to the same
rules, for we ought not to seek out complex systems of metre, or metres of
every kind, but rather to discover what rhythms are the expressions of
*400A* a courageous and harmonious life; and when we have found them, we
shall adapt the foot and the melody to words having a like spirit, not the
words to the foot and melody. To say what these rhythms are will be your
duty--you must teach me them, as you have already taught me the harmonies.

[Sidenote: Three kinds of rhythm as there are four notes of the

But, indeed, he replied, I cannot tell you. I only know that there are
some three principles of rhythm out of which metrical systems are framed,
just as in sounds there are four notes[36] out of which all the harmonies
are composed; that is an observation which I have made. But of what sort
of lives they are severally the imitations I am unable to say.

[Footnote 36: i.e. the four notes of the tetrachord.]

*400B* Then, I said, we must take Damon into our counsels; and he will
tell us what rhythms are expressive of meanness, or insolence, or fury, or
other unworthiness, and what are to be reserved for the expression of
opposite feelings. And I think that I have an indistinct recollection of
his mentioning a complex Cretic rhythm; also a dactylic or heroic, and he
arranged them in some manner which I do not quite understand, making the
rhythms equal in the rise and fall of the foot, long and short
alternating; and, unless I am mistaken, he spoke of an iambic as well as
of a trochaic rhythm, *400C* and assigned to them short and long
quantities.[37] Also in some cases he appeared to praise or censure the
movement of the foot quite as much as the rhythm; or perhaps a combination
of the two; for I am not certain what he meant. These matters, however, as
I was saying, had better be referred to Damon himself, for the analysis of
the subject would be difficult, you know?

[Footnote 37: Socrates expresses himself carelessly in accordance with his
assumed ignorance of the details of the subject. In the first part of the
sentence he appears to be speaking of paeonic rhythms which are in the
ratio of 3/2; in the second part, of dactylic and anapaestic rhythms,
which are in the ratio of 1/1; in the last clause, of iambic and trochaic
rhythms, which are in the ratio of 1/2 or 2/1.]

Rather so, I should say.

But there is no difficulty in seeing that grace or the absence of grace is
an effect of good or bad rhythm.

None at all.

[Sidenote: Rhythm and harmony follow style, and style is the expression of
the soul.]

*400D* And also that good and bad rhythm naturally assimilate to a good
and bad style; and that harmony and discord in like manner follow style;
for our principle is that rhythm and harmony are regulated by the words,
and not the words by them.

Just so, he said, they should follow the words.

And will not the words and the character of the style depend on the temper
of the soul? {87}


And everything else on the style?


[Sidenote: Simplicity the great first principle;]

Then beauty of style and harmony and grace and good *400E* rhythm depend
on simplicity,--I mean the true simplicity of a rightly and nobly ordered
mind and character, not that other simplicity which is only an euphemism
for folly?

Very true, he replied.

And if our youth are to do their work in life, must they not make these
graces and harmonies their perpetual aim?

They must.

[Sidenote: and a principle which is widely spread in nature and art.]

*401A* And surely the art of the painter and every other creative and
constructive art are full of them,--weaving, embroidery, architecture, and
every kind of manufacture; also nature, animal and vegetable,--in all of
them there is grace or the absence of grace. And ugliness and discord and
inharmonious motion are nearly allied to ill words and ill nature, as
grace and harmony are the twin sisters of goodness and virtue and bear
their likeness.

That is quite true, he said.

[Sidenote: Our citizens must grow up to manhood amidst impressions of
grace and beauty only; all ugliness and vice must be excluded.]

*401B* But shall our superintendence go no further, and are the poets only
to be required by us to express the image of the good in their works, on
pain, if they do anything else, of expulsion from our State? Or is the
same control to be extended to other artists, and are they also to be
prohibited from exhibiting the opposite forms of vice and intemperance and
meanness and indecency in sculpture and building and the other creative
arts; and is he who cannot conform to this rule of ours to be prevented
from practising his art in our State, lest the taste of our citizens be
corrupted by him? We would not have our guardians grow up amid images of
moral deformity, as in some noxious pasture, and there *401C* browse and
feed upon many a baneful herb and flower day by day, little by little,
until they silently gather a festering mass of corruption in their own
soul. Let our artists rather be those who are gifted to discern the true
nature of the beautiful and graceful; then will our youth dwell in a land
of health, amid fair sights and sounds, and receive the good in
everything; and beauty, the effluence of fair works, shall *401D* flow
into the eye and ear, like a health-giving breeze from a purer region, and
{88} insensibly draw the soul from earliest years into likeness and
sympathy with the beauty of reason.

There can be no nobler training than that, he replied.

[Sidenote: The power of imparting grace is possessed by harmony.]

And therefore, I said, Glaucon, musical training is a more potent
instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into
the inward places of the soul, on which they mightily fasten, imparting
grace, and making the soul of him who is rightly educated graceful, or of
him who *401E* is ill-educated ungraceful; and also because he who has
received this true education of the inner being will most shrewdly
perceive omissions or faults in art and nature, and *402A* with a true
taste, while he praises and rejoices over and receives into his soul the
good, and becomes noble and good, he will justly blame and hate the bad,
now in the days of his youth, even before he is able to know the reason
why; and when reason comes he will recognise and salute the friend with
whom his education has made him long familiar.

Yes, he said, I quite agree with you in thinking that our youth should be
trained in music and on the grounds which you mention.

Just as in learning to read, I said, we were satisfied when we knew the
letters of the alphabet, which are very few, in all their recurring sizes
and combinations; not slighting them *402B* as unimportant whether they
occupy a space large or small, but everywhere eager to make them out; and
not thinking ourselves perfect in the art of reading until we recognise
them wherever they are found[38]:

[Footnote 38: Cp. _supra_, II. 368 D.]


Or, as we recognise the reflection of letters in the water, or in a
mirror, only when we know the letters themselves; the same art and study
giving us the knowledge of both:


[Sidenote: The true musician must know the essential forms of virtue and

Even so, as I maintain, neither we nor our guardians, whom *402C* we have
to educate, can ever become musical until we and they know the essential
forms of temperance, courage, liberality, magnificence, and their kindred,
as well as the contrary forms, in all their combinations, and can
recognise them and their images wherever they are found, not slighting
{89} them either in small things or great, but believing them all to be
within the sphere of one art and study.

Most assuredly.

[Sidenote: The harmony of soul and body the fairest of sights.]

*402D* And when a beautiful soul harmonizes with a beautiful form, and the
two are cast in one mould, that will be the fairest of sights to him who
has an eye to see it?

The fairest indeed.

And the fairest is also the loveliest?

That may be assumed.

And the man who has the spirit of harmony will be most in love with the
loveliest; but he will not love him who is of an inharmonious soul?

[Sidenote: The true lover will not mind defects of the person.]

That is true, he replied, if the deficiency be in his soul; but if there
be any merely bodily defect in another he will *402E* be patient of it,
and will love all the same.

I perceive, I said, that you have or have had experiences of this sort,
and I agree. But let me ask you another question: Has excess of pleasure
any affinity to temperance?

How can that be? he replied; pleasure deprives a man of the use of his
faculties quite as much as pain.

Or any affinity to virtue in general?

*403A* None whatever.

Any affinity to wantonness and intemperance?

Yes, the greatest.

And is there any greater or keener pleasure than that of sensual love?

No, nor a madder.

[Sidenote: True love is temperate and harmonious.]

Whereas true love is a love of beauty and order--temperate and harmonious?

Quite true, he said.

Then no intemperance or madness should be allowed to approach true love?

Certainly not.

[Sidenote: True love is free from sensuality and coarseness.]

*403B* Then mad or intemperate pleasure must never be allowed to come near
the lover and his beloved; neither of them can have any part in it if
their love is of the right sort?

No, indeed, Socrates, it must never come near them.

Then I suppose that in the city which we are founding you would make a law
to the effect that a friend should use no other familiarity to his love
than a father would use to his {90} son, and then only for a noble
purpose, and he must first have the other's consent; and this rule is to
limit him in *403C* all his intercourse, and he is never to be seen going
further, or, if he exceeds, he is to be deemed guilty of coarseness and
bad taste.

I quite agree, he said.

Thus much of music, which makes a fair ending; for what should be the end
of music if not the love of beauty?

I agree, he said.

[Sidenote: Gymnastic.]

After music comes gymnastic, in which our youth are next to be trained.


Gymnastic as well as music should begin in early years; the training in it
should be careful and should continue through life. *403D* Now my belief
is,--and this is a matter upon which I should like to have your opinion in
confirmation of my own, but my own belief is,--not that the good body by
any bodily excellence improves the soul, but, on the contrary, that the
good soul, by her own excellence, improves the body as far as this may be
possible. What do you say?

Yes, I agree.

[Sidenote: The body to be entrusted to the mind.]

Then, to the mind when adequately trained, we shall be right in handing
over the more particular care of the body; *403E* and in order to avoid
prolixity we will now only give the general outlines of the subject.

Very good.

That they must abstain from intoxication has been already remarked by us;
for of all persons a guardian should be the last to get drunk and not know
where in the world he is.

Yes, he said; that a guardian should require another guardian to take care
of him is ridiculous indeed.

But next, what shall we say of their food; for the men are in training for
the great contest of all--are they not?

Yes, he said.

*404A* And will the habit of body of our ordinary athletes be suited to

Why not?

[Sidenote: The usual training of athletes too gross and sleepy.]

I am afraid, I said, that a habit of body such as they have is but a
sleepy sort of thing, and rather perilous to health. Do you not observe
that these athletes sleep away their {91} lives, and are liable to most
dangerous illnesses if they depart, in ever so slight a degree, from their
customary regimen?

Yes, I do.

Then, I said, a finer sort of training will be required for our warrior
athletes, who are to be like wakeful dogs, and to see and hear with the
utmost keenness; amid the many changes of water and also of food, of
summer heat and winter *404B* cold, which they will have to endure when on
a campaign, they must not be liable to break down in health.

That is my view.

The really excellent gymnastic is twin sister of that simple music which
we were just now describing.

How so?

[Sidenote: Military gymnastic.]

Why, I conceive that there is a gymnastic which, like our music, is simple
and good; and especially the military gymnastic.

What do you mean?

My meaning may be learned from Homer; he, you know, feeds his heroes at
their feasts, when they are campaigning, on soldiers' fare; they have no
fish, although they are on *404C* the shores of the Hellespont, and they
are not allowed boiled meats but only roast, which is the food most
convenient for soldiers, requiring only that they should light a fire, and
not involving the trouble of carrying about pots and pans.


And I can hardly be mistaken in saying that sweet sauces are nowhere
mentioned in Homer. In proscribing them, however, he is not singular; all
professional athletes are well aware that a man who is to be in good
condition should take nothing of the kind.

Yes, he said; and knowing this, they are quite right in not taking them.

[Sidenote: Syracusan dinners and Corinthian courtezans are prohibited.]

*404D* Then you would not approve of Syracusan dinners, and the
refinements of Sicilian cookery?

I think not.

Nor, if a man is to be in condition, would you allow him to have a
Corinthian girl as his fair friend?

Certainly not. {92}

Neither would you approve of the delicacies, as they are thought, of
Athenian confectionary?

Certainly not.

[Sidenote: The luxurious style of living may be justly compared to the
panharmonic strain of music.]

All such feeding and living may be rightly compared by us *404E* to melody
and song composed in the panharmonic style, and in all the rhythms.


There complexity engendered licence, and here disease; whereas simplicity
in music was the parent of temperance in the soul; and simplicity in
gymnastic of health in the body.

Most true, he said.

*405A* But when intemperance and diseases multiply in a State, halls of
justice and medicine are always being opened; and the arts of the doctor
and the lawyer give themselves airs, finding how keen is the interest
which not only the slaves but the freemen of a city take about them.

Of course.

[Sidenote: Every man should be his own doctor and lawyer.]

And yet what greater proof can there be of a bad and disgraceful state of
education than this, that not only artisans and the meaner sort of people
need the skill of first-rate physicians and judges, but also those who
would profess to *405B* have had a liberal education? Is it not
disgraceful, and a great sign of want of good-breeding, that a man should
have to go abroad for his law and physic because he has none of his own at
home, and must therefore surrender himself into the hands of other men
whom he makes lords and judges over him?

Of all things, he said, the most disgraceful.

[Sidenote: Bad as it is to go to law, it is still worse to be a lover of

Would you say 'most,' I replied, when you consider that there is a further
stage of the evil in which a man is not only a life-long litigant, passing
all his days in the courts, either as plaintiff or defendant, but is
actually led by his bad taste to pride himself on his litigiousness; he
imagines that he is *405C* a master in dishonesty; able to take every
crooked turn, and wriggle into and out of every hole, bending like a withy
and getting out of the way of justice: and all for what?--in order to gain
small points not worth mentioning, he not knowing that so to order his
life as to be able to do without a napping judge is a far higher and
nobler sort of thing. Is not that still more disgraceful? {93}

Yes, he said, that is still more disgraceful.

[Sidenote: Bad also to require the help of medicine.]

Well, I said, and to require the help of medicine, not when a wound has to
be cured, or on occasion of an epidemic, but *405D* just because, by
indolence and a habit of life such as we have been describing, men fill
themselves with waters and winds, as if their bodies were a marsh,
compelling the ingenious sons of Asclepius to find more names for
diseases, such as flatulence and catarrh; is not this, too, a disgrace?

Yes, he said, they do certainly give very strange and newfangled names to

[Sidenote: In the time of Asclepius and of Homer the practice of medicine
was very simple.]

Yes, I said, and I do not believe that there were any such *405E* diseases
in the days of Asclepius; and this I infer from the circumstance that the
hero Eurypylus, after he has been wounded in Homer, drinks a posset of
Pramnian wine well *406A* besprinkled with barley-meal and grated cheese,
which are certainly inflammatory, and yet the sons of Asclepius who were
at the Trojan war do not blame the damsel who gives him the drink, or
rebuke Patroclus, who is treating his case.

Well, he said, that was surely an extraordinary drink to be given to a
person in his condition.

[Sidenote: The nursing of disease began with Herodicus.]

Not so extraordinary, I replied, if you bear in mind that in former days,
as is commonly said, before the time of Herodicus, the guild of Asclepius
did not practise our present system of medicine, which may be said to
educate diseases. But Herodicus, being a trainer, and himself of a sickly
constitution, by a combination of training and doctoring found *406B* out
a way of torturing first and chiefly himself, and secondly the rest of the

How was that? he said.

By the invention of lingering death; for he had a mortal disease which he
perpetually tended, and as recovery was out of the question, he passed his
entire life as a valetudinarian; he could do nothing but attend upon
himself, and he was in constant torment whenever he departed in anything
from his usual regimen, and so dying hard, by the help of science he
struggled on to old age.

A rare reward of his skill!

*406C* Yes, I said; a reward which a man might fairly expect who never
understood that, if Asclepius did not instruct his descendants in
valetudinarian arts, the omission arose, not {94} from ignorance or
inexperience of such a branch of medicine, but because he knew that in all
well-ordered states every individual has an occupation to which he must
attend, and has therefore no leisure to spend in continually being ill.
This we remark in the case of the artisan, but, ludicrously enough, do not
apply the same rule to people of the richer sort.

How do you mean? he said.

[Sidenote: The working-man has no time for tedious remedies.]

*406D* I mean this: When a carpenter is ill he asks the physician for a
rough and ready cure; an emetic or a purge or a cautery or the knife,
--these are his remedies. And if some one prescribes for him a course of
dietetics, and tells him that he must swathe and swaddle his head, and all
that sort of thing, he replies at once that he has no time to be ill, and
that he sees no good in a life which is spent in nursing his disease to
the neglect of his customary employment; and therefore *406E* bidding
good-bye to this sort of physician, he resumes his ordinary habits, and
either gets well and lives and does his business, or, if his constitution
fails, he dies and has no more trouble.

Yes, he said, and a man in his condition of life ought to use the art of
medicine thus far only.

*407A* Has he not, I said, an occupation; and what profit would there be
in his life if he were deprived of his occupation?

Quite true, he said.

But with the rich man this is otherwise; of him we do not say that he has
any specially appointed work which he must perform, if he would live.

He is generally supposed to have nothing to do.

Then you never heard of the saying of Phocylides, that as soon as a man
has a livelihood he should practise virtue?

Nay, he said, I think that he had better begin somewhat sooner.

[Sidenote: The slow cure equally an impediment to the mechanical arts, to
the practice of virtue]

Let us not have a dispute with him about this, I said; but rather ask
ourselves: Is the practice of virtue obligatory on *407B* the rich man, or
can he live without it? And if obligatory on him, then let us raise a
further question, whether this dieting of disorders, which is an
impediment to the application of the mind in carpentering and the
mechanical arts, does not equally stand in the way of the sentiment of
Phocylides? {95}

Of that, he replied, there can be no doubt; such excessive care of the
body, when carried beyond the rules of gymnastic, is most inimical to the
practice of virtue.

[Sidenote: and to any kind of study or thought.]

[38]Yes, indeed, I replied, and equally incompatible with the management
of a house, an army, or an office of state; and, what is most important of
all, irreconcileable with any kind *407C* of study or thought or
self-reflection--there is a constant suspicion that headache and giddiness
are to be ascribed to philosophy, and hence all practising or making trial
of virtue in the higher sense is absolutely stopped; for a man is always
fancying that he is being made ill, and is in constant anxiety about the
state of his body.

[Footnote 38: Making the answer of Socrates begin at [Greek: kai\ ga\r
pro\s k.t.l.]]

Yes, likely enough.

[Sidenote: Asclepius would not cure diseased constitutions because they
were of no use to the State.]

And therefore our politic Asclepius may be supposed to have exhibited the
power of his art only to persons who, being generally of healthy
constitution and habits of life, had *407D* a definite ailment; such as
these he cured by purges and operations, and bade them live as usual,
herein consulting the interests of the State; but bodies which disease had
penetrated through and through he would not have attempted to cure by
gradual processes of evacuation and infusion: he did not want to lengthen
out good-for-nothing lives, or to have weak fathers begetting weaker
sons;--if a man was not able to live in the ordinary way he had no
business to cure him; *407E* for such a cure would have been of no use
either to himself, or to the State.

Then, he said, you regard Asclepius as a statesman.

[Sidenote: The case of Menelaus, who was attended by the sons of

Clearly; and his character is further illustrated by his sons. *408A* Note
that they were heroes in the days of old and practised the medicines of
which I am speaking at the siege of Troy: You will remember how, when
Pandarus wounded Menelaus, they

  'Sucked the blood out of the wound, and sprinkled soothing

but they never prescribed what the patient was afterwards to eat or drink
in the case of Menelaus, any more than in the case of Eurypylus; the
remedies, as they conceived, were enough to heal any man who before he was
wounded was {96} *408B* healthy and regular in his habits; and even though
he did happen to drink a posset of Pramnian wine, he might get well all
the same. But they would have nothing to do with unhealthy and intemperate
subjects, whose lives were of no use either to themselves or others; the
art of medicine was not designed for their good, and though they were as
rich as Midas, the sons of Asclepius would have declined to attend them.

[Footnote 39: Iliad iv. 218.]

They were very acute persons, those sons of Asclepius.

[Sidenote: The offence of Asclepius.]

Naturally so, I replied. Nevertheless, the tragedians and Pindar
disobeying our behests, although they acknowledge that Asclepius was the
son of Apollo, say also that he was bribed into healing a rich man who was
at the point of *408C* death, and for this reason he was struck by
lightning. But we, in accordance with the principle already affirmed by
us, will not believe them when they tell us both;--if he was the son of a
god, we maintain that he was not avaricious; or, if he was avaricious, he
was not the son of a god.

All that, Socrates, is excellent; but I should like to put a question to
you: Ought there not to be good physicians in a State, and are not the
best those who have treated the *408D* greatest number of constitutions
good and bad? and are not the best judges in like manner those who are
acquainted with all sorts of moral natures?

Yes, I said, I too would have good judges and good physicians. But do you
know whom I think good?

Will you tell me?

I will, if I can. Let me however note that in the same question you join
two things which are not the same.

How so? he asked.

[Sidenote: The physician should have experience of illness in his own

Why, I said, you join physicians and judges. Now the most skilful
physicians are those who, from their youth upwards, have combined with the
knowledge of their art *408E* the greatest experience of disease; they had
better not be robust in health, and should have had all manner of diseases
in their own persons. For the body, as I conceive, is not the instrument
with which they cure the body; in that case we could not allow them ever
to be or to have been sickly; but they cure the body with the mind, and
the mind which has become and is sick can cure nothing. {97}

That is very true, he said.

[Sidenote: on the other hand, the judge should not learn to know evil by
the practice of it, but by long observation of evil in others.]

*409A* But with the judge it is otherwise; since he governs mind by mind;
he ought not therefore to have been trained among vicious minds, and to
have associated with them from youth upwards, and to have gone through the
whole calendar of crime, only in order that he may quickly infer the
crimes of others as he might their bodily diseases from his own
self-consciousness; the honourable mind which is to form a healthy
judgment should have had no experience or contamination of evil habits
when young. And this is the reason why in youth good men often appear to
be simple, and are *409B* easily practised upon by the dishonest, because
they have no examples of what evil is in their own souls.

Yes, he said, they are far too apt to be deceived.

Therefore, I said, the judge should not be young; he should have learned
to know evil, not from his own soul, but from late and long observation of
the nature of evil in others: *409C* knowledge should be his guide, not
personal experience.

Yes, he said, that is the ideal of a judge.

[Sidenote: Such a knowledge of human nature far better and truer than that
of the adept in crime.]

Yes, I replied, and he will be a good man (which is my answer to your
question); for he is good who has a good soul. But the cunning and
suspicious nature of which we spoke,--he who has committed many crimes,
and fancies himself to be a master in wickedness, when he is amongst his
fellows, is wonderful in the precautions which he takes, because he judges
of them by himself: but when he gets into the company of men of virtue,
who have the experience of age, he appears to be a fool again, owing to
his unseasonable suspicions; *409D* he cannot recognise an honest man,
because he has no pattern of honesty in himself; at the same time, as the
bad are more numerous than the good, and he meets with them oftener, he
thinks himself, and is by others thought to be, rather wise than foolish.

Most true, he said.

Then the good and wise judge whom we are seeking is not this man, but the
other; for vice cannot know virtue too, but a virtuous nature, educated by
time, will acquire a knowledge *409E* both of virtue and vice: the
virtuous, and not the vicious, man has wisdom--in my opinion.

And in mine also. {98}

This is the sort of medicine, and this is the sort of law, which you will
sanction in your state. They will minister to *410A* better natures,
giving health both of soul and of body; but those who are diseased in
their bodies they will leave to die, and the corrupt and incurable souls
they will put an end to themselves.

That is clearly the best thing both for the patients and for the State.

And thus our youth, having been educated only in that simple music which,
as we said, inspires temperance, will be reluctant to go to law.


*410B* And the musician, who, keeping to the same track, is content to
practise the simple gymnastic, will have nothing to do with medicine
unless in some extreme case.

That I quite believe.

The very exercises and tolls which he undergoes are intended to stimulate
the spirited element of his nature, and not to increase his strength; he
will not, like common athletes, use exercise and regimen to develope his

Very right, he said.

[Sidenote: Music and gymnastic are equally designed for the improvement of
the mind.]

*410C* Neither are the two arts of music and gymnastic really designed, as
is often supposed, the one for the training of the soul, the other for the
training of the body.

What then is the real object of them?

I believe, I said, that the teachers of both have in view chiefly the
improvement of the soul.

How can that be? he asked.

Did you never observe, I said, the effect on the mind itself of exclusive
devotion to gymnastic, or the opposite effect of an exclusive devotion to

In what way shown? he said.

[Sidenote: The mere athlete must be softened, and the philosophic nature
prevented from becoming too soft]

*410D* The one producing a temper of hardness and ferocity, the other of
softness and effeminacy, I replied.

Yes, he said, I am quite aware that the mere athlete becomes too much of a
savage, and that the mere musician is melted and softened beyond what is
good for him.

Yet surely, I said, this ferocity only comes from spirit, which, if
rightly educated, would give courage, but, if too much intensified, is
liable to become hard and brutal. {99}

That I quite think.

*410E* On the other hand the philosopher will have the quality of
gentleness. And this also, when too much indulged, will turn to softness,
but, if educated rightly, will be gentle and moderate.


And in our opinion the guardians ought to have both these qualities?


And both should be in harmony?

Beyond question.

*411A* And the harmonious soul is both temperate and courageous?


And the inharmonious is cowardly and boorish?

Very true.

[Sidenote: Music, if carried too far, renders the weaker nature
effeminate, the stronger irritable.]

And, when a man allows music to play upon him and to pour into his soul
through the funnel of his ears those sweet and soft and melancholy airs of
which we were just now speaking, and his whole life is passed in warbling
and the delights of song; in the first stage of the process the passion or
spirit which is in him is tempered like iron, and made *411B* useful,
instead of brittle and useless. But, if he carries on the softening and
soothing process, in the next stage he begins to melt and waste, until he
has wasted away his spirit and cut out the sinews of his soul; and he
becomes a feeble warrior.

Very true.

If the element of spirit is naturally weak in him the change is speedily
accomplished, but if he have a good deal, then the power of music
weakening the spirit renders him excitable;--on the least provocation he
flames up at once, and is *411C* speedily extinguished; instead of having
spirit he grows irritable and passionate and is quite impracticable.


[Sidenote: And in like manner the well-fed athlete, if he have no

And so in gymnastics, if a man takes violent exercise and is a great
feeder, and the reverse of a great student of music and philosophy, at
first the high condition of his body fills him with pride and spirit, and
he becomes twice the man that he was. {100}


[Sidenote: degenerates into a wild beast.]

And what happens? if he do nothing else, and holds no *411D* converse with
the Muses, does not even that intelligence which there may be in him,
having no taste of any sort of learning or enquiry or thought or culture,
grow feeble and dull and blind, his mind never waking up or receiving
nourishment, and his senses not being purged of their mists?

True, he said.

And he ends by becoming a hater of philosophy, uncivilized, never using
the weapon of persuasion,--he is like a wild *411E* beast, all violence
and fierceness, and knows no other way of dealing; and he lives in all
ignorance and evil conditions, and has no sense of propriety and grace.

That is quite true, he said.

And as there are two principles of human nature, one the spirited and the
other the philosophical, some God, as I should say, has given mankind two
arts answering to them (and only indirectly to the soul and body), in
order that these *412A* two principles (like the strings of an instrument)
may be relaxed or drawn tighter until they are duly harmonized.

That appears to be the intention.

[Sidenote: Music to be mingled with gymnastic, and both attempered to the
individual soul.]

And he who mingles music with gymnastic in the fairest proportions, and
best attempers them to the soul, may be rightly called the true musician
and harmonist in a far higher sense than the tuner of the strings.

You are quite right, Socrates.

And such a presiding genius will be always required in our State if the
government is to last.

*412B* Yes, he will be absolutely necessary.

[Sidenote: Enough of principles of education: who are to be our rulers?]

Such, then, are our principles of nurture and education: Where would be
the use of going into further details about the dances of our citizens, or
about their hunting and coursing, their gymnastic and equestrian contests?
For these all follow the general principle, and having found that, we
shall have no difficulty in discovering them.

I dare say that there will be no difficulty.

Very good, I said; then what is the next question? Must we not ask who are
to be rulers and who subjects?

*412C* Certainly.

[Sidenote: The elder must rule and the younger serve.]

There can be no doubt that the elder must rule the younger. {101}


And that the best of these must rule.

That is also clear.

Now, are not the best husbandmen those who are most devoted to husbandry?


And as we are to have the best of guardians for our city, must they not be
those who have most the character of guardians?


And to this end they ought to be wise and efficient, and to have a special
care of the State?

*412D* True.

[Sidenote: Those are to be appointed rulers who have been tested in all
the stages of their life;]

And a man will be most likely to care about that which he loves?

To be sure.

And he will be most likely to love that which he regards as having the
same interests with himself, and that of which the good or evil fortune is
supposed by him at any time most to affect his own?

Very true, he replied.

Then there must be a selection. Let us note among the guardians those who
in their whole life show the greatest *412E* eagerness to do what is for
the good of their country, and the greatest repugnance to do what is
against her interests.

Those are the right men.

And they will have to be watched at every age, in order that we may see
whether they preserve their resolution, and never, under the influence
either of force or enchantment, forget or cast off their sense of duty to
the State.

How cast off? he said.

I will explain to you, I replied. A resolution may go out of a man's mind
either with his will or against his will; with *413A* his will when he
gets rid of a falsehood and learns better, against his will whenever he is
deprived of a truth.

I understand, he said, the willing loss of a resolution; the meaning of
the unwilling I have yet to learn.

Why, I said, do you not see that men are unwillingly deprived of good, and
willingly of evil? Is not to have lost the truth an evil, and to possess
the truth a good? and you {102} would agree that to conceive things as
they are is to possess the truth?

Yes, he replied; I agree with you in thinking that mankind are deprived of
truth against their will.

*413B* And is not this involuntary deprivation caused either by theft, or
force, or enchantment?

Still, he replied, I do not understand you.

[Sidenote: and who are unchanged by the influence either of pleasure, or
of fear,]

I fear that I must have been talking darkly, like the tragedians. I only
mean that some men are changed by persuasion and that others forget;
argument steals away the hearts of one class, and time of the other; and
this I call theft. Now you understand me?


Those again who are forced, are those whom the violence of some pain or
grief compels to change their opinion.

I understand, he said, and you are quite right.

[Sidenote: or of enchantments.]

*413C* And you would also acknowledge that the enchanted are those who
change their minds either under the softer influence of pleasure, or the
sterner influence of fear?

Yes, he said; everything that deceives may be said to enchant.

Therefore, as I was just now saying, we must enquire who are the best
guardians of their own conviction that what they think the interest of the
State is to be the rule of their lives. We must watch them from their
youth upwards, and make them perform actions in which they are most likely
to forget or to be deceived, and he who remembers and is not deceived
*413D* is to be selected, and he who fails in the trial is to be rejected.
That will be the way?


And there should also be toils and pains and conflicts prescribed for
them, in which they will be made to give further proof of the same

Very right, he replied.

[Sidenote: If they stand the test they are to be honoured in life and
after death.]

And then, I said, we must try them with enchantments--that is the third
sort of test--and see what will be their behaviour: like those who take
colts amid noise and tumult to see if they are of a timid nature, so must
we take our youth amid terrors of some kind, and again pass them into
pleasures, *413E* and prove them more thoroughly than gold is {103} proved
in the furnace, that we may discover whether they are armed against all
enchantments, and of a noble bearing always, good guardians of themselves
and of the music which they have learned, and retaining under all
circumstances a rhythmical and harmonious nature, such as will be most
serviceable to the individual and to the State. And he who at every age,
as boy and youth and in mature life, has come out of the trial victorious
and pure, shall be appointed *414A* a ruler and guardian of the State; he
shall be honoured in life and death, and shall receive sepulture and other
memorials of honour, the greatest that we have to give. But him who fails,
we must reject. I am inclined to think that this is the sort of way in
which our rulers and guardians should be chosen and appointed. I speak
generally, and not with any pretension to exactness.

And, speaking generally, I agree with you, he said.

[Sidenote: The title of guardians to be reserved for the elders, the young
men to be called auxiliaries.]

*414B* And perhaps the word 'guardian' in the fullest sense ought to be
applied to this higher class only who preserve us against foreign enemies
and maintain peace among our citizens at home, that the one may not have
the will, or the others the power, to harm us. The young men whom we
before called guardians may be more properly designated auxiliaries and
supporters of the principles of the rulers.

I agree with you, he said.

How then may we devise one of those needful falsehoods of which we lately
spoke--just one royal lie which may *414C* deceive the rulers, if that be
possible, and at any rate the rest of the city?

What sort of lie? he said.

[Sidenote: The Phoenician tale.]

Nothing new, I replied; only an old Phoenician[40] tale of what has often
occurred before now in other places, (as the poets say, and have made the
world believe) though not in our time, and I do not know whether such an
event could ever happen again, or could now even be made probable, if it

[Footnote 40: Cp. Laws, 663 E.]

How your words seem to hesitate on your lips!

You will not wonder, I replied, at my hesitation when you have heard.

Speak, he said, and fear not. {104}

[Sidenote: The citizens to be told that they are really autochthonous,
sent up out of the earth,]

*414D* Well then, I will speak, although I really know not how to look you
in the face, or in what words to utter the audacious fiction, which
I propose to communicate gradually, first to the rulers, then to the
soldiers, and lastly to the people. They are to be told that their youth
was a dream, and the education and training which they received from us,
an appearance only; in reality during all that time they were being formed
and fed in the womb of the earth, where they *414E* themselves and their
arms and appurtenances were manufactured; when they were completed, the
earth, their mother, sent them up; and so, their country being their
mother and also their nurse, they are bound to advise for her good, and to
defend her against attacks, and her citizens they are to regard as
children of the earth and their own brothers.

You had good reason, he said, to be ashamed of the lie which you were
going to tell.

[Sidenote: and composed of metals of various quality.]

[Sidenote: The noble quality to rise in the State, the ignoble to

*415A* True, I replied, but there is more coming; I have only told you
half. Citizens, we shall say to them in our tale, you are brothers, yet
God has framed you differently. Some of you have the power of command, and
in the composition of these he has mingled gold, wherefore also they have
the greatest honour; others he has made of silver, to be auxiliaries;
others again who are to be husbandmen and craftsmen he has composed of
brass and iron; and the species will generally be preserved in the
children. But as all are of the same original stock, a golden parent will
sometimes have a *415B* silver son, or a silver parent a golden son. And
God proclaims as a first principle to the rulers, and above all else, that
there is nothing which they should so anxiously guard, or of which they
are to be such good guardians, as of the purity of the race. They should
observe what elements mingle in their offspring; for if the son of a
golden or silver parent has an admixture of brass and iron, then nature
orders *415C* a transposition of ranks, and the eye of the ruler must not
be pitiful towards the child because he has to descend in the scale and
become a husbandman or artisan, just as there may be sons of artisans who
having an admixture of gold or silver in them are raised to honour, and
become guardians or auxiliaries. For an oracle says that when a man of
brass or iron guards the State, it will be destroyed. Such is the {105}
tale; is there any possibility of making our citizens believe in it?

[Sidenote: Is such a fiction credible?--Yes, in a future generation; not
in the present.]

*415D* Not in the present generation, he replied; there is no way of
accomplishing this; but their sons may be made to believe in the tale, and
their sons' sons, and posterity after them.

[Sidenote: The selection of a site for the warriors' camp.]

I see the difficulty, I replied; yet the fostering of such a belief will
make them care more for the city and for one another. Enough, however, of
the fiction, which may now fly abroad upon the wings of rumour, while we
arm our earth-born heroes, and lead them forth under the command of their
rulers. Let them look round and select a spot whence they can best
suppress insurrection, if any prove refractory *415E* within, and also
defend themselves against enemies, who like wolves may come down on the
fold from without; there let them encamp, and when they have encamped, let
them sacrifice to the proper Gods and prepare their dwellings.

Just so, he said.

And their dwellings must be such as will shield them against the cold of
winter and the heat of summer.

I suppose that you mean houses, he replied.

Yes, I said; but they must be the houses of soldiers, and not of

What is the difference? he said.

[Sidenote: The warriors must be humanized by education.]

*416A* That I will endeavour to explain, I replied. To keep watch-dogs,
who, from want of discipline or hunger, or some evil habit or other, would
turn upon the sheep and worry them, and behave not like dogs but wolves,
would be a foul and monstrous thing in a shepherd?

Truly monstrous, he said.

*416B* And therefore every care must be taken that our auxiliaries, being
stronger than our citizens, may not grow to be too much for them and
become savage tyrants instead of friends and allies?

Yes, great care should be taken.

And would not a really good education furnish the best safeguard?

But they are well-educated already, he replied.

I cannot be so confident, my dear Glaucon, I said; I am much more certain
that they ought to be, and that true *416C* education, whatever that may
be, will have the greatest {106} tendency to civilize and humanize them in
their relations to one another, and to those who are under their

Very true, he replied.

And not only their education, but their habitations, and all that belongs
to them, should be such as will neither impair their virtue as guardians,
nor tempt them to prey upon the other citizens. *416D* Any man of sense
must acknowledge that.

He must.

[Sidenote: Their way of life will be that of a camp]

[Sidenote: They must have no homes or property of their own.]

Then now let us consider what will be their way of life, if they are to
realize our idea of them. In the first place, none of them should have any
property of his own beyond what is absolutely necessary; neither should
they have a private house or store closed against any one who has a mind
to enter; their provisions should be only such as are required by trained
warriors, who are men of temperance and courage; *416E* they should agree
to receive from the citizens a fixed rate of pay, enough to meet the
expenses of the year and no more; and they will go to mess and live
together like soldiers in a camp. Gold and silver we will tell them that
they have from God; the diviner metal is within them, and they have
therefore no need of the dross which is current among men, and ought not
to pollute the divine by any *417A* such earthly admixture; for that
commoner metal has been the source of many unholy deeds, but their own is
undefiled. And they alone of all the citizens may not touch or handle
silver or gold, or be under the same roof with them, or wear them, or
drink from them. And this will be their salvation, and they will be the
saviours of the State. But should they ever acquire homes or lands or
moneys of their own, they will become housekeepers and husbandmen instead
of guardians, *417B* enemies and tyrants instead of allies of the other
citizens; hating and being hated, plotting and being plotted against, they
will pass their whole life in much greater terror of internal than of
external enemies, and the hour of ruin, both to themselves and to the rest
of the State, will be at hand. For all which reasons may we not say that
thus shall our State be ordered, and that these shall be the regulations
appointed by us for guardians concerning their houses and all other

Yes, said Glaucon.


[Sidenote: _Republic IV._ Adeimantus, Socrates.]

[Sidenote: An objection that Socrates has made his citizens poor and

*419A* Here Adeimantus interposed a question: How would you answer,
Socrates, said he, if a person were to say that you are making[1] these
people miserable, and that they are the cause of their own unhappiness;
the city in fact belongs to them, but they are none the better for it;
whereas other men acquire lands, and build large and handsome houses, and
have everything handsome about them, offering sacrifices to the gods on
their own account, and practising hospitality; moreover, as you were
saying just now, they have gold and silver, and all that is usual among
the favourites of fortune; but our poor citizens are no better than
mercenaries who are quartered in the city and are always mounting guard?

[Footnote 1: Or, 'that for their own good you are making these people

[Sidenote: and worst of all, adds Socrates, they have no money.]

*420A* Yes, I said; and you may add that they are only fed, and not paid
in addition to their food, like other men; and therefore they cannot, if
they would, take a journey of pleasure; they have no money to spend on a
mistress or any other luxurious fancy, which, as the world goes, is
thought to be happiness; and many other accusations of the same nature
might be added.

But, said he, let us suppose all this to be included in the charge.

*420B* You mean to ask, I said, what will be our answer?


[Sidenote: Yet very likely they may be the happiest of mankind.]

[Sidenote: The State, like a statue, must be judged of as a whole.]

[Sidenote: The guardians must be guardians, not boon companions.]

If we proceed along the old path, my belief, I said, is that we shall find
the answer. And our answer will be that, even as they are, our guardians
may very likely be the happiest of men; but that our aim in founding the
State was not the disproportionate happiness of any one class, but the
greatest happiness of the whole; we thought that in a State {108} which is
ordered with a view to the good of the whole we should be most likely to
find justice, and in the ill-ordered *420C* State injustice: and, having
found them, we might then decide which of the two is the happier. At
present, I take it, we are fashioning the happy State, not piecemeal, or
with a view of making a few happy citizens, but as a whole; and by-and-by
we will proceed to view the opposite kind of State. Suppose that we were
painting a statue, and some one came up to us and said, Why do you not put
the most beautiful colours on the most beautiful parts of the body--the
eyes ought to be purple, but you have made them black--to him *420D* we
might fairly answer, Sir, you would not surely have us beautify the eyes
to such a degree that they are no longer eyes; consider rather whether, by
giving this and the other features their due proportion, we make the whole
beautiful. And so I say to you, do not compel us to assign to the
guardians a sort of happiness which will make them anything but guardians;
*420E* for we too can clothe our husbandmen in royal apparel, and set
crowns of gold on their heads, and bid them till the ground as much as
they like, and no more. Our potters also might be allowed to repose on
couches, and feast by the fireside, passing round the winecup, while their
wheel is conveniently at hand, and working at pottery only as much as they
like; in this way we might make every class happy--and then, as you
imagine, the whole State would be happy. But do not put this idea into our
heads; for, *421A* if we listen to you, the husbandman will be no longer a
husbandman, the potter will cease to be a potter, and no one will have the
character of any distinct class in the State. Now this is not of much
consequence where the corruption of society, and pretension to be what you
are not, is confined to cobblers; but when the guardians of the laws and
of the government are only seeming and not real guardians, then see how
they turn the State upside down; and on the other hand they alone have the
power of giving order and happiness to the State. We mean our guardians to
be true *421B* saviours and not the destroyers of the State, whereas our
opponent is thinking of peasants at a festival, who are enjoying a life of
revelry, not of citizens who are doing their duty to the State. But, if
so, we mean different things, and he is {109} speaking of something which
is not a State. And therefore we must consider whether in appointing our
guardians we would look to their greatest happiness individually, or
whether this principle of happiness does not rather reside in the State as
a whole. But if the latter be the truth, then the guardians *421C* and
auxiliaries, and all others equally with them, must be compelled or
induced to do their own work in the best way. And thus the whole State
will grow up in a noble order, and the several classes will receive the
proportion of happiness which nature assigns to them.

I think that you are quite right.

I wonder whether you will agree with another remark which occurs to me.

What may that be?

*421D* There seem to be two causes of the deterioration of the arts.

What are they?

Wealth, I said, and poverty.

How do they act?

[Sidenote: When an artisan grows rich, he becomes careless: if he is very
poor, he has no money to buy tools with. The city should be neither poor
nor rich.]

The process is as follows: When a potter becomes rich, will he, think you,
any longer take the same pains with his art?

Certainly not.

He will grow more and more indolent and careless?

Very true.

And the result will be that he becomes a worse potter?

Yes; he greatly deteriorates.

But, on the other hand, if he has no money, and cannot provide himself
with tools or instruments, he will not work *421E* equally well himself,
nor will he teach his sons or apprentices to work equally well.

Certainly not.

Then, under the influence either of poverty or of wealth, workmen and
their work are equally liable to degenerate?

That is evident.

Here, then, is a discovery of new evils, I said, against which the
guardians will have to watch, or they will creep into the city unobserved.

What evils?

*422A* Wealth, I said, and poverty; the one is the parent of {110} luxury
and indolence, and the other of meanness and viciousness, and both of

[Sidenote: But how, being poor, can she contend against a wealthy enemy?]

That is very true, he replied; but still I should like to know, Socrates,
how our city will be able to go to war, especially against an enemy who is
rich and powerful, if deprived of the sinews of war.

There would certainly be a difficulty, I replied, in going *422B* to war
with one such enemy; but there is no difficulty where there are two of

How so? he asked.

[Sidenote: Our wiry soldiers will be more than a match for their fat

In the first place, I said, if we have to fight, our side will be trained
warriors fighting against an army of rich men.

That is true, he said.

And do you not suppose, Adeimantus, that a single boxer who was perfect in
his art would easily be a match for two stout and well-to-do gentlemen who
were not boxers?

Hardly, if they came upon him at once.

What, now, I said, if he were able to run away and then *422C* turn and
strike at the one who first came up? And supposing he were to do this
several times under the heat of a scorching sun, might he not, being an
expert, overturn more than one stout personage?

Certainly, he said, there would be nothing wonderful in that.

And yet rich men probably have a greater superiority in the science and
practise of boxing than they have in military qualities.

Likely enough.

Then we may assume that our athletes will be able to fight with two or
three times their own number?

I agree with you, for I think you right.

[Sidenote: And they will have allies who will readily join on condition of
receiving the spoil.]

*422D* And suppose that, before engaging, our citizens send an embassy to
one of the two cities, telling them what is the truth: Silver and gold we
neither have nor are permitted to have, but you may; do you therefore come
and help us in war, and take the spoils of the other city: Who, on hearing
these words, would choose to fight against lean wiry dogs, rather than,
with the dogs on their side, against fat and tender sheep?

That is not likely; and yet there might be a danger to the {111} *422E*
poor State if the wealth of many States were to be gathered into one.

But how simple of you to use the term State at all of any but our own!

Why so?

[Sidenote: But many cities will conspire? No: they are divided in

[Sidenote: Many states are contained in one]

You ought to speak of other States in the plural number; not one of them
is a city, but many cities, as they say in the game. For indeed any city,
however small, is in fact divided into two, one the city of the poor, the
other of the rich; *423A* these are at war with one another; and in either
there are many smaller divisions, and you would be altogether beside the
mark if you treated them all as a single State. But if you deal with them
as many, and give the wealth or power or persons of the one to the others,
you will always have a great many friends and not many enemies. And your
State, while the wise order which has now been prescribed continues to
prevail in her, will be the greatest of States, I do not mean to say in
reputation or appearance, but in deed and truth, though she number not
more than a thousand defenders. A single State which is her equal you will
hardly find, either *423B* among Hellenes or barbarians, though many that
appear to be as great and many times greater.

That is most true, he said.

[Sidenote: The limit to the size of the State the possibility of unity.]

And what, I said, will be the best limit for our rulers to fix when they
are considering the size of the State and the amount of territory which
they are to include, and beyond which they will not go?

What limit would you propose?

I would allow the State to increase so far as is consistent with unity;
that, I think, is the proper limit.

*423C* Very good, he said.

Here then, I said, is another order which will have to be conveyed to our
guardians: Let our city be accounted neither large nor small, but one and

And surely, said he, this is not a very severe order which we impose upon

[Sidenote: The duty of adjusting the citizens to the rank for which nature
intended them.]

And the other, said I, of which we were speaking before is lighter
still,--I mean the duty of degrading the offspring of the guardians when
inferior, and of elevating into the rank *423D* of guardians the offspring
of the lower classes, when naturally {112} superior. The intention was,
that, in the case of the citizens generally, each individual should be put
to the use for which nature intended him, one to one work, and then every
man would do his own business, and be one and not many; and so the whole
city would be one and not many.

Yes, he said; that is not so difficult.

The regulations which we are prescribing, my good Adeimantus, are not, as
might be supposed, a number of great principles, but trifles all, if care
be taken, as the saying is, *423E* of the one great thing,--a thing,
however, which I would rather call, not great, but sufficient for our

What may that be? he asked.

Education, I said, and nurture: If our citizens are well educated, and
grow into sensible men, they will easily see their way through all these,
as well as other matters which I omit; such, for example, as marriage, the
possession of *424A* women and the procreation of children, which will all
follow the general principle that friends have all things in common, as
the proverb says.

That will be the best way of settling them.

[Sidenote: Good education has a cumulative force and affects the breed.]

Also, I said, the State, if once started well, moves with accumulating
force like a wheel. For good nurture and education implant good
constitutions, and these good constitutions taking root in a good
education improve more and more, *424B* and this improvement affects the
breed in man as in other animals.

Very possibly, he said.

[Sidenote: No innovations to be made either in music or gymnastic.]

[Sidenote: Damon.]

Then to sum up: This is the point to which, above all, the attention of
our rulers should be directed,--that music and gymnastic be preserved in
their original form, and no innovation made. They must do their utmost to
maintain them intact. And when any one says that mankind most regard

  'The newest song which the singers have[2],'

*424C* they will be afraid that he may be praising, not new songs, but a
new kind of song; and this ought not to be praised, or conceived to be the
meaning of the poet; for any musical innovation is full of danger to the
whole State, and ought to be prohibited. So Damon tells me, and I can
quite believe {113} him;--he says that when modes of music change, the
fundamental laws of the State always change with them.

[Footnote 2: Od. i. 352.]

Yes, said Adeimantus; and you may add my suffrage to Damon's and your own.

*424D* Then, I said, our guardians must lay the foundations of their
fortress in music?

Yes, he said; the lawlessness of which you speak too easily steals in.

Yes, I replied, in the form of amusement; and at first sight it appears

[Sidenote: The spirit of lawlessness, beginning in music, gradually
pervades the whole of life.]

Why, yes, he said, and there is no harm; were it not that little by little
this spirit of licence, finding a home, imperceptibly penetrates into
manners and customs; whence, issuing with greater force, it invades
contracts between man and *424E* man, and from contracts goes on to laws
and constitutions, in utter recklessness, ending at last, Socrates, by an
overthrow of all rights, private as well as public.

Is that true? I said.

That is my belief, he replied.

Then, as I was saying, our youth should be trained from the first in a
stricter system, for if amusements become *425A* lawless, and the youths
themselves become lawless, they can never grow up into well-conducted and
virtuous citizens.

Very true, he said.

[Sidenote: The habit of order the basis of education.]

And when they have made a good beginning in play, and by the help of music
have gained the habit of good order, then this habit of order, in a manner
how unlike the lawless play of the others! will accompany them in all
their actions and be a principle of growth to them, and if there be any
fallen places in the State will raise them up again.

Very true, he said.

[Sidenote: If the citizens have the root of the matter in them, they will
supply the details for themselves.]

Thus educated, they will invent for themselves any lesser rules which
their predecessors have altogether neglected.

What do you mean?

*425B* I mean such things as these:--when the young are to be silent
before their elders; how they are to show respect to them by standing and
making them sit; what honour is due to parents; what garments or shoes are
to be worn; the mode of dressing the hair; deportment and manners in
general. You would agree with me? {114}


But there is, I think, small wisdom in legislating about such
matters,--I doubt if it is ever done; nor are any precise written
enactments about them likely to be lasting.


It would seem, Adeimantus, that the direction in which *425C* education
starts a man, will determine his future life. Does not like always attract

To be sure.

Until some one rare and grand result is reached which may be good, and may
be the reverse of good?

That is not to be denied.

And for this reason, I said, I shall not attempt to legislate further
about them.

Naturally enough, he replied.

[Sidenote: The mere routine of administration may be omitted by us.]

Well, and about the business of the agora, and the ordinary dealings
between man and man, or again about agreements *425D* with artisans; about
insult and injury, or the commencement of actions, and the appointment of
juries, what would you say? there may also arise questions about any
impositions and exactions of market and harbour dues which may be
required, and in general about the regulations of markets, police,
harbours, and the like. But, oh heavens! shall we condescend to legislate
on any of these particulars?

I think, he said, that there is no need to impose laws about *425E* them
on good men; what regulations are necessary they will find out soon enough
for themselves.

Yes, I said, my friend, if God will only preserve to them the laws which
we have given them.

And without divine help, said Adeimantus, they will go on for ever making
and mending their laws and their lives in the hope of attaining

[Sidenote: Illustration of reformers of the law taken from invalids who
are always doctoring themselves, but will never listen to the truth.]

You would compare them, I said, to those invalids who, having no
self-restraint, will not leave off their habits of intemperance?


*426A* Yes, I said; and what a delightful life they lead! they are always
doctoring and increasing and complicating their disorders, and always
fancying that they will be cured by any nostrum which anybody advises them
to try. {115}

Such cases are very common, he said, with invalids of this sort.

Yes, I replied; and the charming thing is that they deem him their worst
enemy who tells them the truth, which is simply that, unless they give up
eating and drinking and *426B* wenching and idling, neither drug nor
cautery nor spell nor amulet nor any other remedy will avail.

Charming! he replied. I see nothing charming in going into a passion with
a man who tells you what is right.

These gentlemen, I said, do not seem to be in your good graces.

Assuredly not.

Nor would you praise the behaviour of States which act like the men whom
I was just now describing. For are there not ill-ordered States in which
the citizens are forbidden *426C* under pain of death to alter the
constitution; and yet he who most sweetly courts those who live under this
regime and indulges them and fawns upon them and is skilful in
anticipating and gratifying their humours is held to be a great and good
statesman--do not these States resemble the persons whom I was describing?

Yes, he said; the States are as bad as the men; and I am very far from
praising them.

*426D* But do you not admire, I said, the coolness and dexterity of these
ready ministers of political corruption?

[Sidenote: Demagogues trying their hands at legislation may be excused for
their ignorance of the world.]

Yes, he said, I do; but not of all of them, for there are some whom the
applause of the multitude has deluded into the belief that they are really
statesmen, and these are not much to be admired.

What do you mean? I said; you should have more feeling for them. When a
man cannot measure, and a great many *426E* others who cannot measure
declare that he is four cubits high, can he help believing what they say?

Nay, he said, certainly not in that case.

Well, then, do not be angry with them; for are they not as good as a play,
trying their hand at paltry reforms such as I was describing; they are
always fancying that by legislation they will make an end of frauds in
contracts, and the other rascalities which I was mentioning, not knowing
that they are in reality cutting off the heads of a hydra? {116}

*427A* Yes, he said; that is just what they are doing.

I conceive, I said, that the true legislator will not trouble himself with
this class of enactments whether concerning laws or the constitution
either in an ill-ordered or in a well-ordered State; for in the former
they are quite useless, and in the latter there will be no difficulty in
devising them; and many of them will naturally flow out of our previous

*427B* What, then, he said, is still remaining to us of the work of

Nothing to us, I replied; but to Apollo, the God of Delphi, there remains
the ordering of the greatest and noblest and chiefest things of all.

Which are they? he said.

[Sidenote: Religion to be left to the God of Delphi.]

The institution of temples and sacrifices, and the entire service of gods,
demigods, and heroes; also the ordering of the repositories of the dead,
and the rites which have to be observed by him who would propitiate the
inhabitants of the world below. These are matters of which we are ignorant
ourselves, and as founders of a city we should be *427C* unwise in
trusting them to any interpreter but our ancestral deity. He is the god
who sits in the centre, on the navel of the earth, and he is the
interpreter of religion to all mankind.

You are right, and we will do as you propose.

But where, amid all this, is justice? son of Ariston, tell me where.
*427D* Now that our city has been made habitable, light a candle and
search, and get your brother and Polemarchus and the rest of our friends
to help, and let us see where in it we can discover justice and where
injustice, and in what they differ from one another, and which of them the
man who would be happy should have for his portion, whether seen or unseen
by gods and men.

[Sidenote: Socrates, Glaucon.]

Nonsense, said Glaucon: did you not promise to search *427E* yourself,
saying that for you not to help justice in her need would be an impiety?

I do not deny that I said so, and as you remind me, I will be as good as
my word; but you must join.

We will, he replied.

Well, then, I hope to make the discovery in this way: {117} I mean to
begin with the assumption that our State, if rightly ordered, is perfect.

That is most certain.

And being perfect, is therefore wise and valiant and temperate and just.

That is likewise clear.

And whichever of these qualities we find in the State, the one which is
not found will be the residue?

*428A* Very good.

If there were four things, and we were searching for one of them, wherever
it might be, the one sought for might be known to us from the first, and
there would be no further trouble; or we might know the other three first,
and then the fourth would clearly be the one left.

Very true, he said.

And is not a similar method to be pursued about the virtues, which are
also four in number?


[Sidenote: The place of the virtues in the State: (1) The wisdom of the
statesman advises, not about particular arts or pursuits,]

First among the virtues found in the State, wisdom comes *428B* into view,
and in this I detect a certain peculiarity.

What is that?

The State which we have been describing is said to be wise as being good
in counsel?

Very true.

And good counsel is clearly a kind of knowledge, for not by ignorance, but
by knowledge, do men counsel well?


And the kinds of knowledge in a State are many and diverse?

Of course.

There is the knowledge of the carpenter; but is that the sort of knowledge
which gives a city the title of wise and good in counsel?

*428C* Certainly not; that would only give a city the reputation of skill
in carpentering.

Then a city is not to be called wise because possessing a knowledge which
counsels for the best about wooden implements?

Certainly not.

Nor by reason of a knowledge which advises about brazen {118} pots,
I said, nor as possessing any other similar knowledge?

Not by reason of any of them, he said.

Nor yet by reason of a knowledge which cultivates the earth; that would
give the city the name of agricultural?


[Sidenote: but about the whole State.]

Well, I said, and is there any knowledge in our recently-founded State
among any of the citizens which advises, *428D* not about any particular
thing in the State, but about the whole, and considers how a State can
best deal with itself and with other States?

There certainly is.

And what is this knowledge, and among whom is it found? I asked.

It is the knowledge of the guardians, he replied, and is found among those
whom we were just now describing as perfect guardians.

And what is the name which the city derives from the possession of this
sort of knowledge?

The name of good in counsel and truly wise.

[Sidenote: The statesmen or guardians are the smallest of all classes in
the State.]

*428E* And will there be in our city more of these true guardians or more

The smiths, he replied, will be far more numerous.

Will not the guardians be the smallest of all the classes who receive a
name from the profession of some kind of knowledge?

Much the smallest.

And so by reason of the smallest part or class, and of the knowledge which
resides in this presiding and ruling part of itself, the whole State,
being thus constituted according to *429A* nature, will be wise; and this,
which has the only knowledge worthy to be called wisdom, has been ordained
by nature to be of all classes the least.

Most true.

Thus, then, I said, the nature and place in the State of one of the four
virtues has somehow or other been discovered.

And, in my humble opinion, very satisfactorily discovered, he replied.

Again, I said, there is no difficulty in seeing the nature of {119}
courage, and in what part that quality resides which gives the name of
courageous to the State.

How do you mean?

[Sidenote: (2) The courage which makes the city courageous is found
chiefly in the soldier.]

*429B* Why, I said, every one who calls any State courageous or cowardly,
will be thinking of the part which fights and goes out to war on the
State's behalf.

No one, he replied, would ever think of any other.

The rest of the citizens may be courageous or may be cowardly, but their
courage or cowardice will not, as I conceive, have the effect of making
the city either the one or the other.

Certainly not.

[Sidenote: It is the quality which preserves right opinion about things to
be feared and not to be feared.]

The city will be courageous in virtue of a portion of herself which
preserves under all circumstances that opinion *429C* about the nature of
things to be feared and not to be feared in which our legislator educated
them; and this is what you term courage.

I should like to hear what you are saying once more, for I do not think
that I perfectly understand you.

I mean that courage is a kind of salvation.

Salvation of what?

Of the opinion respecting things to be feared, what they are and of what
nature, which the law implants through education; and I mean by the words
'under all circumstances' *429D* to intimate that in pleasure or in pain,
or under the influence of desire or fear, a man preserves, and does not
lose this opinion. Shall I give you an illustration?

If you please.

[Sidenote: Illustration from the art of dyeing.]

You know, I said, that dyers, when they want to dye wool for making the
true sea-purple, begin by selecting their white colour first; this they
prepare and dress with much care and pains, in order that the white ground
may take the purple hue in full perfection. The dyeing then proceeds; and
*429E* whatever is dyed in this manner becomes a fast colour, and no
washing either with lyes or without them can take away the bloom. But,
when the ground has not been duly prepared, you will have noticed how poor
is the look either of purple or of any other colour.

Yes, he said; I know that they have a washed-out and ridiculous
appearance. {120}

[Sidenote: Our soldiers must take the dye of the laws.]

Then now, I said, you will understand what our object was *430A* in
selecting our soldiers, and educating them in music and gymnastic; we were
contriving influences which would prepare them to take the dye of the laws
in perfection, and the colour of their opinion about dangers and of every
other opinion was to be indelibly fixed by their nurture and training, not
to be washed away by such potent lyes as pleasure--mightier agent far in
washing the soul than any soda or lye; *430B* or by sorrow, fear, and
desire, the mightiest of all other solvents. And this sort of universal
saving power of true opinion in conformity with law about real and false
dangers I call and maintain to be courage, unless you disagree.

But I agree, he replied; for I suppose that you mean to exclude mere
uninstructed courage, such as that of a wild beast or of a slave--this, in
your opinion, is not the courage which the law ordains, and ought to have
another name.

*430C* Most certainly.

Then I may infer courage to be such as you describe?

Why, yes, said I, you may, and if you add the words 'of a citizen,' you
will not be far wrong;--hereafter, if you like, we will carry the
examination further, but at present we are seeking not for courage but
justice; and for the purpose of our enquiry we have said enough.

You are right, he replied.

[Sidenote: Two other virtues, temperance and justice, which must be
considered in their proper order.]

Two virtues remain to be discovered in the State--first, *430D*
temperance, and then justice which is the end of our search.

Very true.

Now, can we find justice without troubling ourselves about temperance?

I do not know how that can be accomplished, he said, nor do I desire that
justice should be brought to light and temperance lost sight of; and
therefore I wish that you would do me the favour of considering temperance

*430E* Certainly, I replied, I should not be justified in refusing your

Then consider, he said.

Yes, I replied; I will; and as far as I can at present see, the virtue of
temperance has more of the nature of harmony and symphony than the

How so? he asked. {121}

Temperance, I replied, is the ordering or controlling of certain pleasures
and desires; this is curiously enough implied in the saying of 'a man
being his own master;' and other traces of the same notion may be found in

No doubt, he said.

[Sidenote: The temperate is master of himself, but the same person, when
intemperate, is also the slave of himself.]

There is something ridiculous in the expression 'master of himself;'
*431A* for the master is also the servant and the servant the master; and
in all these modes of speaking the same person is denoted.


The meaning is, I believe, that in the human soul there is a better and
also a worse principle; and when the better has the worse under control,
then a man is said to be master of himself; and this is a term of praise:
but when, owing to evil education or association, the better principle,
which is also the smaller, is overwhelmed by the greater mass of the
*431B* worse--in this case he is blamed and is called the slave of self
and unprincipled.

Yes, there is reason in that.

And now, I said, look at our newly-created State, and there you will find
one of these two conditions realized; for the State, as you will
acknowledge, may be justly called master of itself, if the words
'temperance' and 'self-mastery' truly express the rule of the better part
over the worse.

Yes, he said, I see that what you say is true.

Let me further note that the manifold and complex pleasures *431C* and
desires and pains are generally found in children and women and servants,
and in the freemen so called who are of the lowest and more numerous

Certainly, he said.

Whereas the simple and moderate desires which follow reason, and are under
the guidance of mind and true opinion, are to be found only in a few, and
those the best born and best educated.

Very true.

[Sidenote: The State which has the passions and desires of the many
controlled by the few may be rightly called temperate.]

These two, as you may perceive, have a place in our State; *431D* and the
meaner desires of the many are held down by the virtuous desires and
wisdom of the few.

That I perceive, he said.

Then if there be any city which may be described as {122} master of its
own pleasures and desires, and master of itself, ours may claim such a

Certainly, he replied.

It may also be called temperate, and for the same reasons?


And if there be any State in which rulers and subjects *431E* will be
agreed as to the question who are to rule, that again will be our State?


And the citizens being thus agreed among themselves, in which class will
temperance be found--in the rulers or in the subjects?

In both, as I should imagine, he replied.

Do you observe that we were not far wrong in our guess that temperance was
a sort of harmony?

Why so?

[Sidenote: Temperance resides in the whole State.]

Why, because temperance is unlike courage and wisdom, each of which
resides in a part only, the one making the *432A* State wise and the other
valiant; not so temperance, which extends to the whole, and runs through
all the notes of the scale, and produces a harmony of the weaker and the
stronger and the middle class, whether you suppose them to be stronger or
weaker in wisdom or power or numbers or wealth, or anything else. Most
truly then may we deem temperance to be the agreement of the naturally
superior and inferior, as to the right to rule of either, both in states
and individuals.

*432B* I entirely agree with you.

And so, I said, we may consider three out of the four virtues to have been
discovered in our State. The last of those qualities which make a state
virtuous must be justice, if we only knew what that was.

The inference is obvious.

[Sidenote: Justice is not far off.]

The time then has arrived, Glaucon, when, like huntsmen, we should
surround the cover, and look sharp that justice does not steal away, and
pass out of sight and escape us; for *432C* beyond a doubt she is
somewhere in this country: watch therefore and strive to catch a sight of
her, and if you see her first, let me know.

Would that I could! but you should regard me rather as {123} a follower
who has just eyes enough to see what you show him--that is about as much
as I am good for.

Offer up a prayer with me and follow.

I will, but you must show me the way.

Here is no path, I said, and the wood is dark and perplexing; still we
must push on.

*432D* Let us push on.

Here I saw something: Halloo! I said, I begin to perceive a track, and I
believe that the quarry will not escape.

Good news, he said.

Truly, I said, we are stupid fellows.

Why so?

Why, my good sir, at the beginning of our enquiry, ages ago, there was
justice tumbling out at our feet, and we never saw her; nothing could be
more ridiculous. Like people who go about looking for what they have in
their hands--that *432E* was the way with us--we looked not at what we
were seeking, but at what was far off in the distance; and therefore,
I suppose, we missed her.

What do you mean?

I mean to say that in reality for a long time past we have been talking of
justice, and have failed to recognise her.

I grow impatient at the length of your exordium.

[Sidenote: We had already found her when we spoke of one man doing one
thing only.]

*433A* Well then, tell me, I said, whether I am right or not: You remember
the original principle which we were always laying down at the foundation
of the State, that one man should practise one thing only, the thing to
which his nature was best adapted;--now justice is this principle or a
part of it.

Yes, we often said that one man should do one thing only.

Further, we affirmed that justice was doing one's own business, and not
being a busybody; we said so again and again, *433B* and many others have
said the same to us.

Yes, we said so.

Then to do one's own business in a certain way may be assumed to be
justice. Can you tell me whence I derive this inference?

I cannot, but I should like to be told.

[Sidenote: From another point of view Justice is the residue of the three

Because I think that this is the only virtue which remains in the State
when the other virtues of temperance and courage and wisdom are
abstracted; and, that this is the ultimate {124} cause and condition of
the existence of all of them, and while remaining in them is also their
preservative; *433C* and we were saying that if the three were discovered
by us, justice would be the fourth or remaining one.

That follows of necessity.

If we are asked to determine which of these four qualities by its presence
contributes most to the excellence of the State, whether the agreement of
rulers and subjects, or the preservation in the soldiers of the opinion
which the law ordains about the true nature of dangers, or wisdom and
*433D* watchfulness in the rulers, or whether this other which I am
mentioning, and which is found in children and women, slave and freeman,
artisan, ruler, subject,--the quality, I mean, of every one doing his own
work, and not being a busybody, would claim the palm--the question is not
so easily answered.

Certainly, he replied, there would be a difficulty in saying which.

Then the power of each individual in the State to do his own work appears
to compete with the other political virtues, wisdom, temperance, courage.

Yes, he said.

And the virtue which enters into this competition is *433E* justice?


[Sidenote: Our idea is confirmed by the administration of justice in
lawsuits. No man is to have what is not his own.]

Let us look at the question from another point of view: Are not the rulers
in a State those to whom you would entrust the office of determining suits
at law?


And are suits decided on any other ground but that a man may neither take
what is another's, nor be deprived of what is his own?

Yes; that is their principle.

Which is a just principle?


Then on this view also justice will be admitted to be the having and doing
what is a man's own, and belongs to him?

*434A* Very true.

[Sidenote: Illustration: Classes, like individuals, should not meddle with
one another's occupations.]

Think, now, and say whether you agree with me or not. Suppose a carpenter
to be doing the business of a cobbler, {125} or a cobbler of a carpenter;
and suppose them to exchange their implements or their duties, or the same
person to be doing the work of both, or whatever be the change; do you
think that any great harm would result to the State?

Not much.

But when the cobbler or any other man whom nature *434B* designed to be a
trader, having his heart lifted up by wealth or strength or the number of
his followers, or any like advantage, attempts to force his way into the
class of warriors, or a warrior into that of legislators and guardians,
for which he is unfitted, and either to take the implements or the duties
of the other; or when one man is trader, legislator, and warrior all in
one, then I think you will agree with me in saying that this interchange
and this meddling of one with another is the ruin of the State.

Most true.

Seeing then, I said, that there are three distinct classes, any meddling
of one with another, or the change of one into *434C* another, is the
greatest harm to the State, and may be most justly termed evil-doing?


And the greatest degree of evil-doing to one's own city would be termed by
you injustice?


This then is injustice; and on the other hand when the trader, the
auxiliary, and the guardian each do their own business, that is justice,
and will make the city just.

*434D* I agree with you.

[Sidenote: From the larger example of the State we will now return to the

We will not, I said, be over-positive as yet; but if, on trial, this
conception of justice be verified in the individual as well as in the
State, there will be no longer any room for doubt; if it be not verified,
we must have a fresh enquiry. First let us complete the old investigation,
which we began, as you remember, under the impression that, if we could
previously examine justice on the larger scale, there would be less
difficulty in discerning her in the individual. That larger *434E* example
appeared to be the State, and accordingly we constructed as good a one as
we could, knowing well that in the good State justice would be found. Let
the discovery which we made be now applied to the individual--if they
agree, {126} we shall be satisfied; or, if there be a difference in the
individual, we will come back to the State and have another *435A* trial
of the theory. The friction of the two when rubbed together may possibly
strike a light in which justice will shine forth, and the vision which is
then revealed we will fix in our souls.

That will be in regular course; let us do as you say.

I proceeded to ask: When two things, a greater and less, are called by the
same name, are they like or unlike in so far as they are called the same?

Like, he replied.

*435B* The just man then, if we regard the idea of justice only, will be
like the just State?

He will.

And a State was thought by us to be just when the three classes in the
State severally did their own business; and also thought to be temperate
and valiant and wise by reason of certain other affections and qualities
of these same classes?

True, he said.

And so of the individual; we may assume that he has the *435C* same three
principles in his own soul which are found in the State; and he may be
rightly described in the same terms, because he is affected in the same

Certainly, he said.

[Sidenote: How can we decide whether or no the soul has three distinct

Once more then, O my friend, we have alighted upon an easy
question--whether the soul has these three principles or not?

An easy question! Nay, rather, Socrates, the proverb holds that hard is
the good.

[Sidenote: Our method is inadequate, and for a better and longer one we
have not at present time.]

Very true, I said; and I do not think that the method *435D* which we are
employing is at all adequate to the accurate solution of this question;
the true method is another and a longer one. Still we may arrive at a
solution not below the level of the previous enquiry.

May we not be satisfied with that? he said;--under the circumstances, I am
quite content.

I too, I replied, shall be extremely well satisfied.

Then faint not in pursuing the speculation, he said.

*435E* Must we not acknowledge, I said, that in each of us there {127} are
the same principles and habits which there are in the State; and that from
the individual they pass into the State?--how else can they come there?
Take the quality of passion or spirit;--it would be ridiculous to imagine
that this quality, when found in States, is not derived from the
individuals who are supposed to possess it, e.g. the Thracians, Scythians,
and in general the northern nations; and the same may be said of the love
of knowledge, which is the special characteristic of our part of the
world, or of the *436A* love of money, which may, with equal truth, be
attributed to the Phoenicians and Egyptians.

Exactly so, he said.

There is no difficulty in understanding this.

None whatever.

[Sidenote: A digression in which an attempt is made to attain logical

But the question is not quite so easy when we proceed to ask whether these
principles are three or one; whether, that is to say, we learn with one
part of our nature, are angry with another, and with a third part desire
the satisfaction *436B* of our natural appetites; or whether the whole
soul comes into play in each sort of action--to determine that is the

Yes, he said; there lies the difficulty.

Then let us now try and determine whether they are the same or different.

How can we? he asked.

[Sidenote: The criterion of truth: Nothing can be and not be at the same
time in the same relation.]

I replied as follows: The same thing clearly cannot act or be acted upon
in the same part or in relation to the same thing at the same time, in
contrary ways; and therefore whenever this contradiction occurs in things
apparently the same, we know that they are really not the same, but *436C*


For example, I said, can the same thing be at rest and in motion at the
same time in the same part?


Still, I said, let us have a more precise statement of terms, lest we
should hereafter fall out by the way. Imagine the case of a man who is
standing and also moving his hands and his head, and suppose a person to
say that one and the same person is in motion and at rest at the same
moment {128} --to such a mode of speech we should object, and should
*436D* rather say that one part of him is in motion while another is at

Very true.

[Sidenote: Anticipation of objections to this 'law of thought.']

And suppose the objector to refine still further, and to draw the nice
distinction that not only parts of tops, but whole tops, when they spin
round with their pegs fixed on the spot, are at rest and in motion at the
same time (and he may say the same of anything which revolves in the same
spot), his objection would not be admitted by us, because *436E* in such
cases things are not at rest and in motion in the same parts of
themselves; we should rather say that they have both an axis and a
circumference, and that the axis stands still, for there is no deviation
from the perpendicular; and that the circumference goes round. But if,
while revolving, the axis inclines either to the right or left, forwards
or backwards, then in no point of view can they be at rest.

That is the correct mode of describing them, he replied.

Then none of these objections will confuse us, or incline us to believe
that the same thing at the same time, in the *437A* same part or in
relation to the same thing, can act or be acted upon in contrary ways.

Certainly not, according to my way of thinking.

Yet, I said, that we may not be compelled to examine all such objections,
and prove at length that they are untrue, let us assume their absurdity,
and go forward on the understanding that hereafter, if this assumption
turn out to be untrue, all the consequences which follow shall be

Yes, he said, that will be the best way.

[Sidenote: Likes and dislikes exist in many forms.]

*437B* Well, I said, would you not allow that assent and dissent, desire
and aversion, attraction and repulsion, are all of them opposites, whether
they are regarded as active or passive (for that makes no difference in
the fact of their opposition)?

Yes, he said, they are opposites.

Well, I said, and hunger and thirst, and the desires in general, and again
willing and wishing,--all these you would *437C* refer to the classes
already mentioned. You would say--would you not?--that the soul of him who
desires is seeking {129} after the object of his desire; or that he is
drawing to himself the thing which he wishes to possess: or again, when a
person wants anything to be given him, his mind, longing for the
realization of his desire, intimates his wish to have it by a nod of
assent, as if he had been asked a question?

Very true.

And what would you say of unwillingness and dislike and the absence of
desire; should not these be referred to the opposite class of repulsion
and rejection?

*437D* Certainly.

Admitting this to be true of desire generally, let us suppose a particular
class of desires, and out of these we will select hunger and thirst, as
they are termed, which are the most obvious of them?

Let us take that class, he said.

The object of one is food, and of the other drink?


[Sidenote: There may be simple thirst or qualified thirst, having
respectively a simple or a qualified object.]

And here comes the point: is not thirst the desire which the soul has of
drink, and of drink only; not of drink qualified by anything else; for
example, warm or cold, or much or little, or, in a word, drink of any
particular sort: but if *437E* the thirst be accompanied by heat, then the
desire is of cold drink; or, if accompanied by cold, then of warm drink;
or, if the thirst be excessive, then the drink which is desired will be
excessive; or, if not great, the quantity of drink will also be small: but
thirst pure and simple will desire drink pure and simple, which is the
natural satisfaction of thirst, as food is of hunger?

Yes, he said; the simple desire is, as you say, in every case of the
simple object, and the qualified desire of the qualified object.

[Sidenote: Exception: The term good expresses, not a particular, but an
universal relation.]

*438A* But here a confusion may arise; and I should wish to guard against
an opponent starting up and saying that no man desires drink only, but
good drink, or food only, but good food; for good is the universal object
of desire, and thirst being a desire, will necessarily be thirst after
good drink; and the same is true of every other desire.

Yes, he replied, the opponent might have something to say.

Nevertheless I should still maintain, that of relatives some {130} *438B*
have a quality attached to either term of the relation; others are simple
and have their correlatives simple.

I do not know what you mean.

[Sidenote: Illustration of the argument from the use of language about
correlative terms.]

Well, you know of course that the greater is relative to the less?


And the much greater to the much less?


And the sometime greater to the sometime less, and the greater that is to
be to the less that is to be?

Certainly, he said.

*438C* And so of more and less, and of other correlative terms, such as
the double and the half, or again, the heavier and the lighter, the
swifter and the slower; and of hot and cold, and of any other
relatives;--is not this true of all of them?


And does not the same principle hold in the sciences? The object of
science is knowledge (assuming that to be the true definition), but the
object of a particular science is a *438D* particular kind of knowledge;
I mean, for example, that the science of house-building is a kind of
knowledge which is defined and distinguished from other kinds and is
therefore termed architecture.


Because it has a particular quality which no other has?


And it has this particular quality because it has an object of a
particular kind; and this is true of the other arts and sciences?


[Sidenote: Recapitulation]

[Sidenote: Anticipation of a possible confusion.]

Now, then, if I have made myself clear, you will understand my original
meaning in what I said about relatives. My meaning was, that if one term
of a relation is taken alone, the other is taken alone; if one term is
qualified, the other is also qualified. *438E* I do not mean to say that
relatives may not be disparate, or that the science of health is healthy,
or of disease necessarily diseased, or that the sciences of good and evil
are therefore good and evil; but only that, when the term science is no
longer used absolutely, but has a qualified object which in this case is
the nature of health and disease, {131} it becomes defined, and is hence
called not merely science, but the science of medicine.

I quite understand, and I think as you do.

*439A* Would you not say that thirst is one of these essentially relative
terms, having clearly a relation--

Yes, thirst is relative to drink.

And a certain kind of thirst is relative to a certain kind of drink; but
thirst taken alone is neither of much nor little, nor of good nor bad, nor
of any particular kind of drink, but of drink only?


Then the soul of the thirsty one, in so far as he is thirsty, *439B*
desires only drink; for this he yearns and tries to obtain it?

That is plain.

[Sidenote: The law of contradiction.]

And if you suppose something which pulls a thirsty soul away from drink,
that must be different from the thirsty principle which draws him like a
beast to drink; for, as we were saying, the same thing cannot at the same
time with the same part of itself act in contrary ways about the same.


No more than you can say that the hands of the archer push and pull the
bow at the same time, but what you say is that one hand pushes and the
other pulls.

*439C* Exactly so, he replied.

And might a man be thirsty, and yet unwilling to drink?

Yes, he said, it constantly happens.

And in such a case what is one to say? Would you not say that there was
something in the soul bidding a man to drink, and something else
forbidding him, which is other and stronger than the principle which bids

I should say so.

[Sidenote: The opposition of desire and reason.]

*439D* And the forbidding principle is derived from reason, and that which
bids and attracts proceeds from passion and disease?


Then we may fairly assume that they are two, and that they differ from one
another; the one with which a man reasons, we may call the rational
principle of the soul, the other, with which he loves and hungers and
thirsts and feels the {132} flutterings of any other desire, may be termed
the irrational or appetitive, the ally of sundry pleasures and

*439E* Yes, he said, we may fairly assume them to be different.

Then let us finally determine that there are two principles existing in
the soul. And what of passion, or spirit? Is it a third, or akin to one of
the preceding?

I should be inclined to say--akin to desire.

[Sidenote: The third principle of spirit or passion illustrated by an

Well, I said, there is a story which I remember to have heard, and in
which I put faith. The story is, that Leontius, the son of Aglaion, coming
up one day from the Piraeus, under the north wall on the outside, observed
some dead bodies lying on the ground at the place of execution. He felt a
desire to see them, and also a dread and abhorrence of them; *440A* for a
time he struggled and covered his eyes, but at length the desire got the
better of him; and forcing them open, he ran up to the dead bodies,
saying, Look, ye wretches, take your fill of the fair sight.

I have heard the story myself, he said.

The moral of the tale is, that anger at times goes to war with desire, as
though they were two distinct things.

Yes; that is the meaning, he said.

[Sidenote: Passion never takes part with desire against reason.]

And are there not many other cases in which we observe *440B* that when a
man's desires violently prevail over his reason, he reviles himself, and
is angry at the violence within him, and that in this struggle, which is
like the struggle of factions in a State, his spirit is on the side of his
reason;--but for the passionate or spirited element to take part with the
desires when reason decides that she should not be opposed[3], is a sort
of thing which I believe that you never observed occurring in yourself,
nor, as I should imagine, in any one else?

[Footnote 3: Reading [Greek: m\ dei=n a)ntipra/tein], without a comma
after [Greek: dei=n].]

Certainly not.

[Sidenote: Righteous indignation never felt by a person of noble character
when he deservedly suffers.]

*440C* Suppose that a man thinks he has done a wrong to another, the
nobler he is the less able is he to feel indignant at any suffering, such
as hunger, or cold, or any other pain which the injured person may inflict
upon him--these he deems to be just, and, as I say, his anger refuses to
be excited by them.

True, he said.

But when he thinks that he is the sufferer of the wrong, {133} then he
boils and chafes, and is on the side of what he believes to be justice;
and because he suffers hunger *440D* or cold or other pain he is only the
more determined to persevere and conquer. His noble spirit will not be
quelled until he either slays or is slain; or until he hears the voice of
the shepherd, that is, reason, bidding his dog bark no more.

The illustration is perfect, he replied; and in our State, as we were
saying, the auxiliaries were to be dogs, and to hear the voice of the
rulers, who are their shepherds.

I perceive, I said, that you quite understand me; there is, however, a
further point which I wish you to consider.

*440E* What point?

You remember that passion or spirit appeared at first sight to be a kind
of desire, but now we should say quite the contrary; for in the conflict
of the soul spirit is arrayed on the side of the rational principle.

Most assuredly.

[Sidenote: Not two, but three principles in the soul, as in the State.]

But a further question arises: Is passion different from reason also, or
only a kind of reason; in which latter case, instead of three principles
in the soul, there will only be two, *441A* the rational and the
concupiscent; or rather, as the State was composed of three classes,
traders, auxiliaries, counsellors, so may there not be in the individual
soul a third element which is passion or spirit, and when not corrupted by
bad education is the natural auxiliary of reason?

Yes, he said, there must be a third.

Yes, I replied, if passion, which has already been shown to be different
from desire, turn out also to be different from reason.

But that is easily proved:--We may observe even in young children that
they are full of spirit almost as soon as they are born, whereas some of
them never seem to attain to *441B* the use of reason, and most of them
late enough.

[Sidenote: Appeal to Homer.]

Excellent, I said, and you may see passion equally in brute animals, which
is a further proof of the truth of what you are saying. And we may once
more appeal to the words of Homer, which have been already quoted by us,

  'He smote his breast, and thus rebuked his soul[4],' {134}

*441C* for in this verse Homer has clearly supposed the power which
reasons about the better and worse to be different from the unreasoning
anger which is rebuked by it.

[Footnote 4: Od. xx. 17, quoted supra, III. 390 D.]

Very true, he said.

[Sidenote: The conclusion that the same three principles exist both in the
State and in the individual applied to each of them.]

And so, after much tossing, we have reached land, and are fairly agreed
that the same principles which exist in the State exist also in the
individual, and that they are three in number.


Must we not then infer that the individual is wise in the same way, and in
virtue of the same quality which makes the State wise?


*441D* Also that the same quality which constitutes courage in the State
constitutes courage in the individual, and that both the State and the
individual bear the same relation to all the other virtues?


And the individual will be acknowledged by us to be just in the same way
in which the State is just?

That follows, of course.

We cannot but remember that the justice of the State *441E* consisted in
each of the three classes doing the work of its own class?

We are not very likely to have forgotten, he said.

We must recollect that the individual in whom the several qualities of his
nature do their own work will be just, and will do his own work?

Yes, he said, we must remember that too.

And ought not the rational principle, which is wise, and has the care of
the whole soul, to rule, and the passionate or spirited principle to be
the subject and ally?


[Sidenote: Music and gymnastic will harmonize passion and reason. These
two combined will control desire,]

And, as we were saying, the united influence of music and gymnastic will
bring them into accord, nerving and sustaining the reason with noble words
and lessons, and moderating and *442A* soothing and civilizing the
wildness of passion by harmony and rhythm?

Quite true, he said.

And these two, thus nurtured and educated, and having {135} learned truly
to know their own functions, will rule[5] over the concupiscent, which in
each of us is the largest part of the soul and by nature most insatiable
of gain; over this they will keep guard, lest, waxing great and strong
with the fulness of bodily pleasures, as they are termed, the *442B*
concupiscent soul, no longer confined to her own sphere, should attempt to
enslave and rule those who are not her natural-born subjects, and overturn
the whole life of man?

[Footnote 5: Reading [Greek: prostat/seton] with Bekker; or, if the
reading [Greek: prost/seton], which is found in the MSS., be adopted,
then the nominative must be supplied from the previous sentence: 'Music
and gymnastic will place in authority over ...' This is very awkward, and
the awkwardness is increased by the necessity of changing the subject at
[Greek: tr/seton].]

Very true, he said.

[Sidenote: and will be the best defenders both of body and soul.]

Both together will they not be the best defenders of the whole soul and
the whole body against attacks from without; the one counselling, and the
other fighting under his leader, and courageously executing his commands
and counsels?


[Sidenote: The courageous.]

And he is to be deemed courageous whose spirit retains in *442C* pleasure
and in pain the commands of reason about what he ought or ought not to

Right, he replied.

[Sidenote: The wise.]

And him we call wise who has in him that little part which rules, and
which proclaims these commands; that part too being supposed to have a
knowledge of what is for the interest of each of the three parts and of
the whole?


[Sidenote: The temperate.]

And would you not say that he is temperate who has these same elements in
friendly harmony, in whom the one ruling principle of reason, and the two
subject ones of spirit and *442D* desire are equally agreed that reason
ought to rule, and do not rebel?

Certainly, he said, that is the true account of temperance whether in the
State or individual.

[Sidenote: The just.]

And surely, I said, we have explained again and again how and by virtue of
what quality a man will be just.

That is very certain.

And is justice dimmer in the individual, and is her form different, or is
she the same which we found her to be in the State? {136}

There is no difference in my opinion, he said.

[Sidenote: The nature of justice illustrated by commonplace instances.]

Because, if any doubt is still lingering in our minds, a few *442E*
commonplace instances will satisfy us of the truth of what I am saying.

What sort of instances do you mean?

If the case is put to us, must we not admit that the just *443A* State, or
the man who is trained in the principles of such a State, will be less
likely than the unjust to make away with a deposit of gold or silver?
Would any one deny this?

No one, he replied.

Will the just man or citizen ever be guilty of sacrilege or theft, or
treachery either to his friends or to his country?


Neither will he ever break faith where there have been oaths or


No one will be less likely to commit adultery, or to dishonour his father
and mother, or to fail in his religious duties?

No one.

*443B* And the reason is that each part of him is doing its own business,
whether in ruling or being ruled?

Exactly so.

Are you satisfied then that the quality which makes such men and such
states is justice, or do you hope to discover some other?

Not I, indeed.

[Sidenote: We have realized the hope entertained in the first construction
of the State.]

Then our dream has been realized; and the suspicion which we entertained
at the beginning of our work of construction, *443C* that some divine
power must have conducted us to a primary form of justice, has now been

Yes, certainly.

And the division of labour which required the carpenter and the shoemaker
and the rest of the citizens to be doing each his own business, and not
another's, was a shadow of justice, and for that reason it was of use?


[Sidenote: The three principles harmonize in one.]

[Sidenote: The harmony of human life.]

But in reality justice was such as we were describing, being concerned
however, not with the outward man, but *443D* with the inward, which is
the true self and concernment of {137} man: for the just man does not
permit the several elements within him to interfere with one another, or
any of them to do the work of others,--he sets in order his own inner
life, and is his own master and his own law, and at peace with himself;
and when he has bound together the three principles within him, which may
be compared to the higher, lower, and middle notes of the scale, and the
intermediate intervals--when he has bound all these together, and is no
longer *443E* many, but has become one entirely temperate and perfectly
adjusted nature, then he proceeds to act, if he has to act, whether in a
matter of property, or in the treatment of the body, or in some affair of
politics or private business; always thinking and calling that which
preserves and co-operates with this harmonious condition, just and good
action, and the knowledge which presides over it, wisdom, *444A* and that
which at any time impairs this condition, he will call unjust action, and
the opinion which presides over it ignorance.

You have said the exact truth, Socrates.

Very good; and if we were to affirm that we had discovered the just man
and the just State, and the nature of justice in each of them, we should
not be telling a falsehood?

Most certainly not.

May we say so, then?

Let us say so.

And now, I said, injustice has to be considered.


[Sidenote: Injustice the opposite of justice.]

*444B* Must not injustice be a strife which arises among the three
principles--a meddlesomeness, and interference, and rising up of a part of
the soul against the whole, an assertion of unlawful authority, which is
made by a rebellious subject against a true prince, of whom he is the
natural vassal,--what is all this confusion and delusion but injustice,
and intemperance and cowardice and ignorance, and every form of vice?

Exactly so.

*444C* And if the nature of justice and injustice be known, then the
meaning of acting unjustly and being unjust, or, again, of acting justly,
will also be perfectly clear?

What do you mean? he said.

Why, I said, they are like disease and health; being in the soul just what
disease and health are in the body. {138}

How so? he said.

[Sidenote: Analogy of body and soul.]

Why, I said, that which is healthy causes health, and that which is
unhealthy causes disease.


*444D* And just actions cause justice, and unjust actions cause injustice?

That is certain.

[Sidenote: Health : disease :: justice : injustice.]

And the creation of health is the institution of a natural order and
government of one by another in the parts of the body; and the creation of
disease is the production of a state of things at variance with this
natural order?


And is not the creation of justice the institution of a natural order and
government of one by another in the parts of the soul, and the creation of
injustice the production of a state of things at variance with the natural

Exactly so, he said.

Then virtue is the health and beauty and well-being of the *444E* soul,
and vice the disease and weakness and deformity of the same?


And do not good practices lead to virtue, and evil practices to vice?


[Sidenote: The old question, whether the just or the unjust is the
happier, has become ridiculous.]

*445A* Still our old question of the comparative advantage of justice and
injustice has not been answered: Which is the more profitable, to be just
and act justly and practise virtue, whether seen or unseen of gods and
men, or to be unjust and act unjustly, if only unpunished and unreformed?

In my judgment, Socrates, the question has now become ridiculous. We know
that, when the bodily constitution is gone, life is no longer endurable,
though pampered with all kinds of meats and drinks, and having all wealth
and all power; and shall we be told that when the very essence of the
vital principle is undermined and corrupted, life is *445B* still worth
having to a man, if only he be allowed to do whatever he likes with the
single exception that he is not to acquire justice and virtue, or to
escape from injustice and vice; assuming them both to be such as we have

Yes, I said, the question is, as you say, ridiculous. Still, {139} as we
are near the spot at which we may see the truth in the clearest manner
with our own eyes, let us not faint by the way.

Certainly not, he replied.

*445C* Come up hither, I said, and behold the various forms of vice, those
of them, I mean, which are worth looking at.

I am following you, he replied: proceed.

I said, The argument seems to have reached a height from which, as from
some tower of speculation, a man may look down and see that virtue is one,
but that the forms of vice are innumerable; there being four special ones
which are deserving of note.

What do you mean? he said.

[Sidenote: As many forms of the soul as of the State.]

I mean, I replied, that there appear to be as many forms of the soul as
there are distinct forms of the State.

How many?

*445D* There are five of the State, and five of the soul, I said.

What are they?

The first, I said, is that which we have been describing, and which may be
said to have two names, monarchy and aristocracy, accordingly as rule is
exercised by one distinguished man or by many.

True, he replied.

But I regard the two names as describing one form only; *445E* for whether
the government is in the hands of one or many, if the governors have been
trained in the manner which we have supposed, the fundamental laws of the
State will be maintained.

That is true, he replied.


[Sidenote: _Republic V._ SOCRATES, GLAUCON, ADEIMANTUS.]

[Sidenote: The community of women and children.]

*449A* Such is the good and true City or State, and the good and true man
is of the same pattern; and if this is right every other is wrong; and the
evil is one which affects not only the ordering of the State, but also the
regulation of the individual soul, and is exhibited in four forms.

What are they? he said.

I was proceeding to tell the order in which the four evil *449B* forms
appeared to me to succeed one another, when Polemarchus, who was sitting a
little way off, just beyond Adeimantus, began to whisper to him:
stretching forth his hand, he took hold of the upper part of his coat by
the shoulder, and drew him towards him, leaning forward himself so as to
be quite close and saying something in his ear, of which I only caught the
words, 'Shall we let him off, or what shall we do?'

Certainly not, said Adeimantus, raising his voice.

Who is it, I said, whom you are refusing to let off?

You, he said.

*449C* I repeated[1], Why am I especially not to be let off?

[Footnote 1: Reading [Greek: e)/ti e)g\ ei)=pon].]

[Sidenote: The saying 'Friends have all things in common' is an
insufficient solution of the problem.]

Why, he said, we think that you are lazy, and mean to cheat us out of a
whole chapter which is a very important part of the story; and you fancy
that we shall not notice your airy way of proceeding; as if it were
self-evident to everybody, that in the matter of women and children
'friends have all things in common.'

And was I not right, Adeimantus?

Yes, he said; but what is right in this particular case, like everything
else, requires to be explained; for community may be of many kinds.
Please, therefore, to say what sort *449D* of community you mean. We have
been long {141} expecting that you would tell us something about the
family life of your citizens--how they will bring children into the world,
and rear them when they have arrived, and, in general, what is the nature
of this community of women and children--for we are of opinion that the
right or wrong management of such matters will have a great and paramount
influence on the State for good or for evil. And now, since the question
is still undetermined, and you are taking in hand another *450A* State, we
have resolved, as you heard, not to let you go until you give an account
of all this.

To that resolution, said Glaucon, you may regard me as saying Agreed.

[Sidenote: Socrates, Thrasymachus.]

And without more ado, said Thrasymachus, you may consider us all to be
equally agreed.

[Sidenote: The feigned surprise of Socrates.]

I said, You know not what you are doing in thus assailing me: What an
argument are you raising about the State! Just as I thought that I had
finished, and was only too glad that I had laid this question to sleep,
and was reflecting how fortunate I was in your acceptance of what I then
said, you ask me to begin again at the very foundation, ignorant of *450B*
what a hornet's nest of words you are stirring. Now I foresaw this
gathering trouble, and avoided it.

[Sidenote: The good-humour of Thrasymachus.]

For what purpose do you conceive that we have come here, said
Thrasymachus,--to look for gold, or to hear discourse?

Yes, but discourse should have a limit.

[Sidenote: Socrates, Glaucon.]

Yes, Socrates, said Glaucon, and the whole of life is the only limit which
wise men assign to the hearing of such discourses. But never mind about
us; take heart yourself *450C* and answer the question in your own way:
What sort of community of women and children is this which is to prevail
among our guardians? and how shall we manage the period between birth and
education, which seems to require the greatest care? Tell us how these
things will be.

Yes, my simple friend, but the answer is the reverse of easy; many more
doubts arise about this than about our previous conclusions. For the
practicability of what is said may be doubted; and looked at in another
point of view, whether the scheme, if ever so practicable, would be for
the best, is also doubtful. Hence I feel a reluctance to approach {142}
the *450D* subject, lest our aspiration, my dear friend, should turn out
to be a dream only.

Fear not, he replied, for your audience will not be hard upon you; they
are not sceptical or hostile.

I said: My good friend, I suppose that you mean to encourage me by these

Yes, he said.

[Sidenote: A friendly audience is more dangerous than a hostile one.]

Then let me tell you that you are doing just the reverse; the
encouragement which you offer would have been all very well had I myself
believed that I knew what I was talking about: to declare the truth about
matters of high *450E* interest which a man honours and loves among wise
men who love him need occasion no fear or faltering in his mind; but to
carry on an argument when you are yourself only *451A* a hesitating
enquirer, which is my condition, is a dangerous and slippery thing; and
the danger is not that I shall be laughed at (of which the fear would be
childish), but that I shall miss the truth where I have most need to be
sure of my footing, and drag my friends after me in my fall. And I pray
Nemesis not to visit upon me the words which I am going to utter. For I do
indeed believe that to be an involuntary homicide is a less crime than to
be a deceiver about beauty or goodness or justice in the matter of
laws[2]. And that is a risk which I would rather run among enemies than
among friends, and therefore you do well to encourage *451B* me[3].

[Footnote 2: Or inserting [Greek: kai\] before [Greek: nomi/mn]: 'a
deceiver about beauty or goodness or principles of justice or law.']

[Footnote 3: Reading [Greek: (/ste eu)= me paramuthei=].]

Glaucon laughed and said: Well then, Socrates, in case you and your
argument do us any serious injury you shall be acquitted beforehand of the
homicide, and shall not be held to be a deceiver; take courage then and

Well, I said, the law says that when a man is acquitted he is free from
guilt, and what holds at law may hold in argument.

Then why should you mind?

Well, I replied, I suppose that I must retrace my steps *451C* and say
what I perhaps ought to have said before in the proper place. The part of
the men has been played out, and now properly enough comes the turn of the
women. Of them I will proceed to speak, and the more readily since I am
invited by you. {143}

For men born and educated like our citizens, the only way, in my opinion,
of arriving at a right conclusion about the possession and use of women
and children is to follow the path on which we originally started, when we
said that the men were to be the guardians and watchdogs of the herd.


*451D* Let us further suppose the birth and education of our women to be
subject to similar or nearly similar regulations; then we shall see
whether the result accords with our design.

What do you mean?

[Sidenote: No distinction among the animals such as is made between men
and women.]

What I mean may be put into the form of a question, I said: Are dogs
divided into hes and shes, or do they both share equally in hunting and in
keeping watch and in the other duties of dogs? or do we entrust to the
males the entire and exclusive care of the flocks, while we leave the
females at home, under the idea that the bearing and suckling their
puppies is labour enough for them?

*451E* No, he said, they share alike; the only difference between them is
that the males are stronger and the females weaker.

But can you use different animals for the same purpose, unless they are
bred and fed in the same way?

You cannot.

Then, if women are to have the same duties as men, they *452A* must have
the same nurture and education?


The education which was assigned to the men was music and gymnastic.


[Sidenote: Women must be taught music, gymnastic, and military exercises
equally with men.]

Then women must be taught music and gymnastic and also the art of war,
which they must practise like the men?

That is the inference, I suppose.

I should rather expect, I said, that several of our proposals, if they are
carried out, being unusual, may appear ridiculous.

No doubt of it.

Yes, and the most ridiculous thing of all will be the sight of women naked
in the palaestra, exercising with the men, *452B* especially when they are
no longer young; they certainly will not be a vision of beauty, any more
than the enthusiastic {144} old men who in spite of wrinkles and ugliness
continue to frequent the gymnasia.

Yes, indeed, he said: according to present notions the proposal would be
thought ridiculous.

But then, I said, as we have determined to speak our minds, we must not
fear the jests of the wits which will be directed against this sort of
innovation; how they will talk of women's *452C* attainments both in music
and gymnastic, and above all about their wearing armour and riding upon

Very true, he replied.

[Sidenote: Convention should not be permitted to stand in the way of a
higher good.]

Yet having begun we must go forward to the rough places of the law; at the
same time begging of these gentlemen for once in their life to be serious.
Not long ago, as we shall remind them, the Hellenes were of the opinion,
which is still generally received among the barbarians, that the sight of
a naked man was ridiculous and improper; and when first the Cretans and
then the Lacedaemonians introduced the *452D* custom, the wits of that day
might equally have ridiculed the innovation.

No doubt.

But when experience showed that to let all things be uncovered was far
better than to cover them up, and the ludicrous effect to the outward eye
vanished before the better principle which reason asserted, then the man
was perceived to be a fool who directs the shafts of his ridicule at any
other *452E* sight but that of folly and vice, or seriously inclines to
weigh the beautiful by any other standard but that of the good[4].

[Footnote 4: Reading with Paris A. [Greek: kai\ kalou= ...]]

Very true, he replied.

First, then, whether the question is to be put in jest or in *453A*
earnest, let us come to an understanding about the nature of woman: Is she
capable of sharing either wholly or partially in the actions of men, or
not at all? And is the art of war one of those arts in which she can or
can not share? That will be the best way of commencing the enquiry, and
will probably lead to the fairest conclusion.

That will be much the best way.

Shall we take the other side first and begin by arguing against ourselves;
in this manner the adversary's position will not be undefended. {145}

*453B* Why not? he said.

[Sidenote: Objection: We were saying that every one should do his own
work: Have not women and men severally a work of their own?]

Then let us put a speech into the mouths of our opponents. They will say:
'Socrates and Glaucon, no adversary need convict you, for you yourselves,
at the first foundation of the State, admitted the principle that
everybody was to do the one work suited to his own nature.' And certainly,
if I am not mistaken, such an admission was made by us. 'And do not the
natures of men and women differ very much indeed?' And we shall reply: Of
course they do. Then we shall be asked, 'Whether the tasks assigned to men
and to women should not be different, and such as are agreeable to their
*453C* different natures?' Certainly they should. 'But if so, have you not
fallen into a serious inconsistency in saying that men and women, whose
natures are so entirely different, ought to perform the same
actions?'--What defence will you make for us, my good Sir, against any one
who offers these objections?

That is not an easy question to answer when asked suddenly; and I shall
and I do beg of you to draw out the case on our side.

These are the objections, Glaucon, and there are many *453D* others of a
like kind, which I foresaw long ago; they made me afraid and reluctant to
take in hand any law about the possession and nurture of women and

By Zeus, he said, the problem to be solved is anything but easy.

Why yes, I said, but the fact is that when a man is out of his depth,
whether he has fallen into a little swimming bath or into mid ocean, he
has to swim all the same.

Very true.

And must not we swim and try to reach the shore: we will hope that Arion's
dolphin or some other miraculous help may save us?

*453E* I suppose so, he said.

Well then, let us see if any way of escape can be found. We
acknowledged--did we not? that different natures ought to have different
pursuits, and that men's and women's natures are different. And now what
are we saying?--that different natures ought to have the same
pursuits,--this is the inconsistency which is charged upon us. {146}


*454A* Verily, Glaucon, I said, glorious is the power of the art of

Why do you say so?

[Sidenote: The seeming inconsistency arises out of a verbal opposition.]

Because I think that many a man falls into the practice against his will.
When he thinks that he is reasoning he is really disputing, just because
he cannot define and divide, and so know that of which he is speaking; and
he will pursue a merely verbal opposition in the spirit of contention and
not of fair discussion.

Yes, he replied, such is very often the case; but what has that to do with
us and our argument?

*454B* A great deal; for there is certainly a danger of our getting
unintentionally into a verbal opposition.

In what way?

[Sidenote: When we assigned to different natures different pursuits, we
meant only those differences of nature which affected the pursuits.]

Why we valiantly and pugnaciously insist upon the verbal truth, that
different natures ought to have different pursuits, but we never
considered at all what was the meaning of sameness or difference of
nature, or why we distinguished them when we assigned different pursuits
to different natures and the same to the same natures.

Why, no, he said, that was never considered by us.

*454C* I said: Suppose that by way of illustration we were to ask the
question whether there is not an opposition in nature between bald men and
hairy men; and if this is admitted by us, then, if bald men are cobblers,
we should forbid the hairy men to be cobblers, and conversely?

That would be a jest, he said.

Yes, I said, a jest; and why? because we never meant when we constructed
the State, that the opposition of natures should extend to every
difference, but only to those *454D* differences which affected the
pursuit in which the individual is engaged; we should have argued, for
example, that a physician and one who is in mind a physician[5] may be
said to have the same nature.

[Footnote 5: Reading [Greek: i)atro\n me\n kai\ i)atriko\n t\n psuch\n


Whereas the physician and the carpenter have different natures?

Certainly. {147}

And if, I said, the male and female sex appear to differ in their fitness
for any art or pursuit, we should say that such pursuit or art ought to be
assigned to one or the other of them; but if the difference consists only
in women bearing *454E* and men begetting children, this does not amount
to a proof that a woman differs from a man in respect of the sort of
education she should receive; and we shall therefore continue to maintain
that our guardians and their wives ought to have the same pursuits.

Very true, he said.

Next, we shall ask our opponent how, in reference to any *455A* of the
pursuits or arts of civic life, the nature of a woman differs from that of
a man?

That will be quite fair.

And perhaps he, like yourself, will reply that to give a sufficient answer
on the instant is not easy; but after a little reflection there is no

Yes, perhaps.

Suppose then that we invite him to accompany us in the *455B* argument,
and then we may hope to show him that there is nothing peculiar in the
constitution of women which would affect them in the administration of the

By all means.

[Sidenote: The same natural gifts are found in both sexes, but they are
possessed in a higher degree by men than women.]

Let us say to him: Come now, and we will ask you a question:--when you
spoke of a nature gifted or not gifted in any respect, did you mean to say
that one man will acquire a thing easily, another with difficulty; a
little learning will lead the one to discover a great deal; whereas the
other, after much study and application, no sooner learns than he forgets;
or again, did you mean, that the one has a body which is a good servant to
his mind, while the body of the other is a hindrance to him?--would not
these be the sort *455C* of differences which distinguish the man gifted
by nature from the one who is ungifted?

No one will deny that.

And can you mention any pursuit of mankind in which the male sex has not
all these gifts and qualities in a higher degree than the female? Need
I waste time in speaking of the art of weaving, and the management of
pancakes and preserves, in which womankind does really appear to be {148}
great, and in which for her to be beaten by a man is of all *455D* things
the most absurd?

You are quite right, he replied, in maintaining the general inferiority of
the female sex: although many women are in many things superior to many
men, yet on the whole what you say is true.

And if so, my friend, I said, there is no special faculty of
administration in a state which a woman has because she is a woman, or
which a man has by virtue of his sex, but the gifts of nature are alike
diffused in both; all the pursuits of *455E* men are the pursuits of women
also, but in all of them a woman is inferior to a man.

Very true.

[Sidenote: Men and women are to be governed by the same laws and to have
the same pursuits.]

Then are we to impose all our enactments on men and none of them on women?

That will never do.

*456A* One woman has a gift of healing, another not; one is a musician,
and another has no music in her nature?

Very true.

And one woman has a turn for gymnastic and military exercises, and another
is unwarlike and hates gymnastics?


And one woman is a philosopher, and another is an enemy of philosophy; one
has spirit, and another is without spirit?

That is also true.

Then one woman will have the temper of a guardian, and another not. Was
not the selection of the male guardians determined by differences of this


Men and women alike possess the qualities which make a guardian; they
differ only in their comparative strength or weakness.


*456B* And those women who have such qualities are to be selected as the
companions and colleagues of men who have similar qualities and whom they
resemble in capacity and in character?

Very true.

And ought not the same natures to have the same pursuits?

They ought.

Then, as we were saying before, there is nothing unnatural {149} in
assigning music and gymnastic to the wives of the guardians--to that point
we come round again.

Certainly not.

The law which we then enacted was agreeable to nature, *456C* and
therefore not an impossibility or mere aspiration; and the contrary
practice, which prevails at present, is in reality a violation of nature.

That appears to be true.

We had to consider, first, whether our proposals were possible, and
secondly whether they were the most beneficial?


And the possibility has been acknowledged?


The very great benefit has next to be established?

Quite so.

[Sidenote: There are different degrees of goodness both in women and in

You will admit that the same education which makes a man a good guardian
will make a woman a good guardian; for *456D* their original nature is the


I should like to ask you a question.

What is it?

Would you say that all men are equal in excellence, or is one man better
than another?

The latter.

And in the commonwealth which we were founding do you conceive the
guardians who have been brought up on our model system to be more perfect
men, or the cobblers whose education has been cobbling?

What a ridiculous question!

You have answered me, I replied: Well, and may we not *456E* further say
that our guardians are the best of our citizens?

By far the best.

And will not their wives be the best women?

Yes, by far the best.

And can there be anything better for the interests of the State than that
the men and women of a State should be as good as possible?

There can be nothing better.

*457A* And this is what the arts of music and gymnastic, when present in
such manner as we have described, will accomplish? {150}


Then we have made an enactment not only possible but in the highest degree
beneficial to the State?


[Sidenote: The noble saying.]

Then let the wives of our guardians strip, for their virtue will be their
robe, and let them share in the toils of war and the defence of their
country; only in the distribution of labours the lighter are to be
assigned to the women, who are the weaker natures, but in other respects
their duties are to be the same. *457B* And as for the man who laughs at
naked women exercising their bodies from the best of motives, in his
laughter he is plucking

  'A fruit of unripe wisdom,'

and he himself is ignorant of what he is laughing at, or what he is
about;--for that is, and ever will be, the best of sayings, _That the
useful is the noble and the hurtful is the base._

Very true.

Here, then, is one difficulty in our law about women, which we may say
that we have now escaped; the wave has not swallowed us up alive for
enacting that the guardians of either sex should have all their pursuits
in common; to the utility *457C* and also to the possibility of this
arrangement the consistency of the argument with itself bears witness.

Yes, that was a mighty wave which you have escaped.

[Sidenote: The second and greater wave.]

Yes, I said, but a greater is coming; you will not think much of this when
you see the next.

Go on; let me see.

The law, I said, which is the sequel of this and of all that has preceded,
is to the following effect,--'that the wives of *457D* our guardians are
to be common, and their children are to be common, and no parent is to
know his own child, nor any child his parent.'

Yes, he said, that is a much greater wave than the other; and the
possibility as well as the utility of such a law are far more

I do not think, I said, that there can be any dispute about the very great
utility of having wives and children in common; the possibility is quite
another matter, and will be very much disputed. {151}

*457E* I think that a good many doubts may be raised about both.

[Sidenote: The utility and possibility of a community of wives and

You imply that the two questions must be combined, I replied. Now I meant
that you should admit the utility; and in this way, as I thought, I should
escape from one of them, and then there would remain only the possibility.

But that little attempt is detected, and therefore you will please to give
a defence of both.

[Sidenote: The utility to be considered first, the possibility

Well, I said, I submit to my fate. Yet grant me a little *458A* favour:
let me feast my mind with the dream as day dreamers are in the habit of
feasting themselves when they are walking alone; for before they have
discovered any means of effecting their wishes--that is a matter which
never troubles them--they would rather not tire themselves by thinking
about possibilities; but assuming that what they desire is already granted
to them, they proceed with their plan, and delight in detailing what they
mean to do when their wish has come true--that is a way which they have of
not doing much good *458B* to a capacity which was never good for much.
Now I myself am beginning to lose heart, and I should like, with your
permission, to pass over the question of possibility at present. Assuming
therefore the possibility of the proposal, I shall now proceed to enquire
how the rulers will carry out these arrangements, and I shall demonstrate
that our plan, if executed, will be of the greatest benefit to the State
and to the guardians. First of all, then, if you have no objection, I will
endeavour with your help to consider the advantages of the measure; and
hereafter the question of possibility.

I have no objection; proceed.

First, I think that if our rulers and their auxiliaries are to *458C* be
worthy of the name which they bear, there must be willingness to obey in
the one and the power of command in the other; the guardians must
themselves obey the laws, and they must also imitate the spirit of them in
any details which are entrusted to their care.

That is right, he said.

[Sidenote: The legislator will select guardians male and female, who will
meet at common meals and exercises, and will be drawn to one another by an
irresistible necessity.]

You, I said, who are their legislator, having selected the men, will now
select the women and give them to them;--they must be as far as possible
of like natures with them; and they must live in common houses and meet at
common meals. None of them will have anything specially his or her own;
{152} *458D* they will be together, and will be brought up together, and
will associate at gymnastic exercises. And so they will be drawn by a
necessity of their natures to have intercourse with each other--necessity
is not too strong a word, I think?

Yes, he said;--necessity, not geometrical, but another sort of necessity
which lovers know, and which is far more convincing and constraining to
the mass of mankind.

True, I said; and this, Glaucon, like all the rest, must proceed after an
orderly fashion; in a city of the blessed, *458E* licentiousness is an
unholy thing which the rulers will forbid.

Yes, he said, and it ought not to be permitted.

Then clearly the next thing will be to make matrimony sacred in the
highest degree, and what is most beneficial will be deemed sacred?

*459A* Exactly.

[Sidenote: The breeding of human beings, as of animals, to be from the
best and from those who are of a ripe age.]

And how can marriages be made most beneficial?--that is a question which
I put to you, because I see in your house dogs for hunting, and of the
nobler sort of birds not a few. Now, I beseech you, do tell me, have you
ever attended to their pairing and breeding?

In what particulars?

Why, in the first place, although they are all of a good sort, are not
some better than others?


And do you breed from them all indifferently, or do you take care to breed
from the best only?

From the best.

*459B* And do you take the oldest or the youngest, or only those of ripe

I choose only those of ripe age.

And if care was not taken in the breeding, your dogs and birds would
greatly deteriorate?


And the same of horses and animals in general?


Good heavens! my dear friend, I said, what consummate skill will our
rulers need if the same principle holds of the human species!

*459C* Certainly, the same principle holds; but why does this involve any
particular skill? {153}

[Sidenote: Useful lies 'very honest knaveries.']

Because, I said, our rulers will often have to practise upon the body
corporate with medicines. Now you know that when patients do not require
medicines, but have only to be put under a regimen, the inferior sort of
practitioner is deemed to be good enough; but when medicine has to be
given, then the doctor should be more of a man.

That is quite true, he said; but to what are you alluding?

I mean, I replied, that our rulers will find a considerable dose of
falsehood and deceit necessary for the good of their subjects: *459D* we
were saying that the use of all these things regarded as medicines might
be of advantage.

And we were very right.

And this lawful use of them seems likely to be often needed in the
regulations of marriages and births.

How so?

[Sidenote: Arrangements for the improvement of the breed;]

Why, I said, the principle has been already laid down that the best of
either sex should be united with the best as often, and the inferior with
the inferior, as seldom as possible; and that they should rear the
offspring of the one sort of union, *459E* but not of the other, if the
flock is to be maintained in first-rate condition. Now these goings on
must be a secret which the rulers only know, or there will be a further
danger of our herd, as the guardians may be termed, breaking out into

Very true.

[Sidenote: and for the regulation of population.]

Had we not better appoint certain festivals at which we will bring
together the brides and bridegrooms, and sacrifices *460A* will be offered
and suitable hymeneal songs composed by our poets: the number of weddings
is a matter which must be left to the discretion of the rulers, whose aim
will be to preserve the average of population? There are many other things
which they will have to consider, such as the effects of wars and diseases
and any similar agencies, in order as far as this is possible to prevent
the State from becoming either too large or too small.

Certainly, he replied.

[Sidenote: Pairing by lot.]

We shall have to invent some ingenious kind of lots which the less worthy
may draw on each occasion of our bringing them together, and then they
will accuse their own ill-luck and not the rulers. {154}

To be sure, he said.

[Sidenote: The brave deserve the fair.]

*460B* And I think that our braver and better youth, besides their other
honours and rewards, might have greater facilities of intercourse with
women given them; their bravery will be a reason, and such fathers ought
to have as many sons as possible.


And the proper officers, whether male or female or both, for offices are
to be held by women as well as by men--


[Sidenote: What is to be done with the children?]

*460C* The proper officers will take the offspring of the good parents to
the pen or fold, and there they will deposit them with certain nurses who
dwell in a separate quarter; but the offspring of the inferior, or of the
better when they chance to be deformed, will be put away in some
mysterious, unknown place, as they should be.

Yes, he said, that must be done if the breed of the guardians is to be
kept pure.

They will provide for their nurture, and will bring the mothers to the
fold when they are full of milk, taking the *460D* greatest possible care
that no mother recognises her own child; and other wet-nurses may be
engaged if more are required. Care will also be taken that the process of
suckling shall not be protracted too long; and the mothers will have no
getting up at night or other trouble, but will hand over all this sort of
thing to the nurses and attendants.

You suppose the wives of our guardians to have a fine easy time of it when
they are having children.

Why, said I, and so they ought. Let us, however, proceed with our scheme.
We were saying that the parents should be in the prime of life?

Very true.

*460E* And what is the prime of life? May it not be defined as a period of
about twenty years in a woman's life, and thirty in a man's?

Which years do you mean to include?

[Sidenote: A woman to bear children from twenty to forty; a man to beget
them from twenty-five to fifty-five.]

A woman, I said, at twenty years of age may begin to bear children to the
State, and continue to bear them until forty; a man may begin at
five-and-twenty, when he has passed the {155} point at which the pulse of
life beats quickest, and continue to beget children until he be

*461A* Certainly, he said, both in men and women those years are the prime
of physical as well as of intellectual vigour.

Any one above or below the prescribed ages who takes part in the public
hymeneals shall be said to have done an unholy and unrighteous thing; the
child of which he is the father, if it steals into life, will have been
conceived under auspices very unlike the sacrifices and prayers, which at
each hymeneal priestesses and priest and the whole city will offer, that
the new generation may be better and more useful than their *461B* good
and useful parents, whereas his child will be the offspring of darkness
and strange lust.

Very true, he replied.

And the same law will apply to any one of those within the prescribed age
who forms a connection with any woman in the prime of life without the
sanction of the rulers; for we shall say that he is raising up a bastard
to the State, uncertified and unconsecrated.

Very true, he replied.

[Sidenote: After the prescribed age has been passed, more licence is
allowed: but all who were born after certain hymeneal festivals at which
their parents or grandparents came together must be kept separate.]

This applies, however, only to those who are within the specified age:
after that we allow them to range at will, *461C* except that a man may
not marry his daughter or his daughter's daughter, or his mother or his
mother's mother; and women, on the other hand, are prohibited from
marrying their sons or fathers, or son's son or father's father, and so on
in either direction. And we grant all this, accompanying the permission
with strict orders to prevent any embryo which may come into being from
seeing the light; and if any force a way to the birth, the parents must
understand that the offspring of such an union cannot be maintained, and
arrange accordingly.

That also, he said, is a reasonable proposition. But how *461D* will they
know who are fathers and daughters, and so on?

They will never know. The way will be this:--dating from the day of the
hymeneal, the bridegroom who was then married will call all the male
children who are born in the seventh and tenth month afterwards his sons,
and the female children his daughters, and they will call him father, and
he will call their children his grandchildren, and they {156} will call
the elder generation grandfathers and grandmothers. All who were begotten
at the time when their fathers and mothers came together will be called
their brothers and *461E* sisters, and these, as I was saying, will be
forbidden to inter-marry. This, however, is not to be understood as an
absolute prohibition of the marriage of brothers and sisters; if the lot
favours them, and they receive the sanction of the Pythian oracle, the law
will allow them.

Quite right, he replied.

Such is the scheme, Glaucon, according to which the guardians of our State
are to have their wives and families in common. And now you would have the
argument show that this community is consistent with the rest of our
polity, and also that nothing can be better--would you not?

*462A* Yes, certainly.

Shall we try to find a common basis by asking of ourselves what ought to
be the chief aim of the legislator in making laws and in the organization
of a State,--what is the greatest good, and what is the greatest evil, and
then consider whether our previous description has the stamp of the good
or of the evil?

By all means.

[Sidenote: The greatest good of States, unity; the greatest evil, discord.
The one the result of public, the other of private feelings.]

Can there be any greater evil than discord and distraction *462B* and
plurality where unity ought to reign? or any greater good than the bond of

There cannot.

And there is unity where there is community of pleasures and pains--where
all the citizens are glad or grieved on the same occasions of joy and

No doubt.

Yes; and where there is no common but only private feeling a State is
disorganized--when you have one half of the world triumphing and the other
plunged in grief at *462C* the same events happening to the city or the


Such differences commonly originate in a disagreement about the use of the
terms 'mine' and 'not mine,' 'his' and 'not his.'

Exactly so.

And is not that the best-ordered State in which the greatest {157} number
of persons apply the terms 'mine' and 'not mine' in the same way to the
same thing?

Quite true.

[Sidenote: The State like a living being which feels altogether when hurt
in any part.]

Or that again which most nearly approaches to the condition of the
individual--as in the body, when but a finger of one of us is hurt, the
whole frame, drawn towards the soul as a centre and forming one kingdom
under the ruling power *462D* therein, feels the hurt and sympathizes all
together with the part affected, and we say that the man has a pain in his
finger; and the same expression is used about any other part of the body,
which has a sensation of pain at suffering or of pleasure at the
alleviation of suffering.

Very true, he replied; and I agree with you that in the best-ordered State
there is the nearest approach to this common feeling which you describe.

Then when any one of the citizens experiences any good *462E* or evil, the
whole State will make his case their own, and will either rejoice or
sorrow with him?

Yes, he said, that is what will happen in a well-ordered State.

[Sidenote: How different are the terms which are applied to the rulers in
other States and in our own!]

It will now be time, I said, for us to return to our State and see whether
this or some other form is most in accordance with these fundamental

Very good.

*463A* Our State like every other has rulers and subjects?


All of whom will call one another citizens?

Of course.

But is there not another name which people give to their rulers in other

Generally they call them masters, but in democratic States they simply
call them rulers.

And in our State what other name besides that of citizens do the people
give the rulers?

*463B* They are called saviours and helpers, he replied.

And what do the rulers call the people?

Their maintainers and foster-fathers.

And what do they call them in other States?


And what do the rulers call one another in other States? {158}


And what in ours?


Did you ever know an example in any other State of a ruler who would speak
of one of his colleagues as his friend and of another as not being his

Yes, very often.

And the friend he regards and describes as one in whom *463C* he has an
interest, and the other as a stranger in whom he has no interest?


But would any of your guardians think or speak of any other guardian as a

Certainly he would not; for every one whom they meet will be regarded by
them either as a brother or sister, or father or mother, or son or
daughter, or as the child or parent of those who are thus connected with

[Sidenote: The State one family.]

Capital, I said; but let me ask you once more: Shall they *463D* be a
family in name only; or shall they in all their actions be true to the
name? For example, in the use of the word 'father,' would the care of a
father be implied and the filial reverence and duty and obedience to him
which the law commands; and is the violator of these duties to be regarded
as an impious and unrighteous person who is not likely to receive much
good either at the hands of God or of man? Are these to be or not to be
the strains which the children will hear repeated in their ears by all the
citizens about those who are intimated to them to be their parents and the
rest of their kinsfolk?

[Sidenote: Using the same terms, they will have the same modes of thinking
and acting, and this is to be attributed mainly to the community of women
and children.]

*463E* These, he said, and none other; for what can be more ridiculous
than for them to utter the names of family ties with the lips only and not
to act in the spirit of them?

Then in our city the language of harmony and concord will be more often
heard than in any other. As I was describing before, when any one is well
or ill, the universal word will be 'with me it is well' or 'it is ill.'

*464A* Most true.

And agreeably to this mode of thinking and speaking, were we not saying
that they will have their pleasures and pains in common? {159}

Yes, and so they will.

And they will have a common interest in the same thing which they will
alike call 'my own,' and having this common interest they will have a
common feeling of pleasure and pain?

Yes, far more so than in other States.

And the reason of this, over and above the general constitution of the
State, will be that the guardians will have a community of women and

That will be the chief reason.

*464B* And this unity of feeling we admitted to be the greatest good, as
was implied in our own comparison of a well-ordered State to the relation
of the body and the members, when affected by pleasure or pain?

That we acknowledged, and very rightly.

Then the community of wives and children among our citizens is clearly the
source of the greatest good to the State?


And this agrees with the other principle which we were affirming,--that
the guardians were not to have houses or *464C* lands or any other
property; their pay was to be their food, which they were to receive from
the other citizens, and they were to have no private expenses; for we
intended them to preserve their true character of guardians.

Right, he replied.

[Sidenote: There will be no private interests among them, and therefore no
lawsuits or trials for assault or violence to elders.]

Both the community of property and the community of families, as I am
saying, tend to make them more truly guardians; they will not tear the
city in pieces by differing about 'mine' and 'not mine;' each man dragging
any *464D* acquisition which he has made into a separate house of his own,
where he has a separate wife and children and private pleasures and pains;
but all will be affected as far as may be by the same pleasures and pains
because they are all of one opinion about what is near and dear to them,
and therefore they all tend towards a common end.

Certainly, he replied.

And as they have nothing but their persons which they can call their own,
suits and complaints will have no existence *464E* among them; they will
be delivered from all those quarrels of which money or children or
relations are the occasion. {160}

Of course they will.

Neither will trials for assault or insult ever be likely to occur among
them. For that equals should defend themselves against equals we shall
maintain to be honourable and right; *465A* we shall make the protection
of the person a matter of necessity.

That is good, he said.

Yes; and there is a further good in the law; viz. that if a man has a
quarrel with another he will satisfy his resentment then and there, and
not proceed to more dangerous lengths.


To the elder shall be assigned the duty of ruling and chastising the


Nor can there be a doubt that the younger will not strike or do any other
violence to an elder, unless the magistrates command him; nor will he
slight him in any way. For there are two guardians, shame and fear, mighty
to prevent him: shame, which makes men refrain from laying hands on *465B*
those who are to them in the relation of parents; fear, that the injured
one will be succoured by the others who are his brothers, sons, fathers.

That is true, he replied.

Then in every way the laws will help the citizens to keep the peace with
one another?

Yes, there will be no want of peace.

[Sidenote: From how many other evils will our citizens be delivered!]

And as the guardians will never quarrel among themselves there will be no
danger of the rest of the city being divided either against them or
against one another.

None whatever.

I hardly like even to mention the little meannesses of *465C* which they
will be rid, for they are beneath notice: such, for example, as the
flattery of the rich by the poor, and all the pains and pangs which men
experience in bringing up a family, and in finding money to buy
necessaries for their household, borrowing and then repudiating, getting
how they can, and giving the money into the hands of women and slaves to
keep--the many evils of so many kinds which people suffer in this way are
mean enough and obvious enough, and not worth speaking of. {161}

*465D* Yes, he said, a man has no need of eyes in order to perceive that.

And from all these evils they will be delivered, and their life will be
blessed as the life of Olympic victors and yet more blessed.

How so?

The Olympic victor, I said, is deemed happy in receiving a part only of
the blessedness which is secured to our citizens, who have won a more
glorious victory and have a more complete maintenance at the public cost.
For the victory which they have won is the salvation of the whole State;
and the crown with which they and their children are crowned is the
fulness of all that life needs; they receive *465E* rewards from the hands
of their country while living, and after death have an honourable burial.

Yes, he said, and glorious rewards they are.

[Sidenote: Answer to the charge of Adeimantus that we made our citizens
unhappy for their own good.]

Do you remember, I said, how in the course of the previous *466A*
discussion[6] some one who shall be nameless accused us of making our
guardians unhappy--they had nothing and might have possessed all
things--to whom we replied that, if an occasion offered, we might perhaps
hereafter consider this question, but that, as at present advised, we
would make our guardians truly guardians, and that we were fashioning the
State with a view to the greatest happiness, not of any particular class,
but of the whole?

[Footnote 6: Pages 419, 420 ff.]

Yes, I remember.

[Sidenote: Their life not to be compared with that of citizens in ordinary

And what do you say, now that the life of our protectors is made out to be
far better and nobler than that of Olympic *466B* victors--is the life of
shoemakers, or any other artisans, or of husbandmen, to be compared with

Certainly not.

[Sidenote: He who seeks to be more than a guardian is naught.]

At the same time I ought here to repeat what I have said elsewhere, that
if any of our guardians shall try to be happy in such a manner that he
will cease to be a guardian, and is not content with this safe and
harmonious life, which, in our judgment, is of all lives the best, but
infatuated by some youthful conceit of happiness which gets up into his
head *466C* shall seek to appropriate the whole state to himself, then he
{162} will have to learn how wisely Hesiod spoke, when he said, 'half is
more than the whole.'

If he were to consult me, I should say to him: Stay where you are, when
you have the offer of such a life.

[Sidenote: The common way of life includes common education, common
children, common services and duties of men and women.]

You agree then, I said, that men and women are to have a common way of
life such as we have described--common education, common children; and
they are to watch over the citizens in common whether abiding in the city
or going out to war; they are to keep watch together, and to hunt *466D*
together like dogs; and always and in all things, as far as they are able,
women are to share with the men? And in so doing they will do what is
best, and will not violate, but preserve the natural relation of the

I agree with you, he replied.

The enquiry, I said, has yet to be made, whether such a community be found
possible--as among other animals, so also among men--and if possible, in
what way possible?

You have anticipated the question which I was about to suggest.

*466E* There is no difficulty, I said, in seeing how war will be carried
on by them.


[Sidenote: The children to accompany their parents on military

Why, of course they will go on expeditions together; and will take with
them any of their children who are strong enough, that, after the manner
of the artisan's child, they may look on at the work which they will have
to do when they are grown up; *467A* and besides looking on they will have
to help and be of use in war, and to wait upon their fathers and mothers.
Did you never observe in the arts how the potters' boys look on and help,
long before they touch the wheel?

Yes, I have.

And shall potters be more careful in educating their children and in
giving them the opportunity of seeing and practising their duties than our
guardians will be?

The idea is ridiculous, he said.

There is also the effect on the parents, with whom, as with *467B* other
animals, the presence of their young ones will be the greatest incentive
to valour.

That is quite true, Socrates; and yet if they are defeated, which may
often happen in war, how great the danger is! {163} the children will be
lost as well as their parents, and the State will never recover.

True, I said; but would you never allow them to run any risk?

I am far from saying that.

Well, but if they are ever to run a risk should they not do so on some
occasion when, if they escape disaster, they will be the better for it?


[Sidenote: but care must be taken that they do not run any serious risk.]

*467C* Whether the future soldiers do or do not see war in the days of
their youth is a very important matter, for the sake of which some risk
may fairly be incurred.

Yes, very important.

This then must be our first step,--to make our children spectators of war;
but we must also contrive that they shall be secured against danger; then
all will be well.


Their parents may be supposed not to be blind to the risks of war, but to
know, as far as human foresight can, what *467D* expeditions are safe and
what dangerous?

That may be assumed.

And they will take them on the safe expeditions and be cautious about the
dangerous ones?


And they will place them under the command of experienced veterans who
will be their leaders and teachers?

Very properly.

Still, the dangers of war cannot be always foreseen; there is a good deal
of chance about them?


Then against such chances the children must be at once furnished with
wings, in order that in the hour of need they may fly away and escape.

*467E* What do you mean? he said.

I mean that we must mount them on horses in their earliest youth, and when
they have learnt to ride, take them on horseback to see war: the horses
must not be spirited and warlike, but the most tractable and yet the
swiftest that can be had. In this way they will get an excellent view of
what is *468A* hereafter to be their own business; and if there is danger
they have only to follow their elder leaders and escape. {164}

I believe that you are right, he said.

[Sidenote: The coward is to be degraded into a lower rank.]

Next, as to war; what are to be the relations of your soldiers to one
another and to their enemies? I should be inclined to propose that the
soldier who leaves his rank or throws away his arms, or is guilty of any
other act of cowardice, should be degraded into the rank of a husbandman
or artisan. What do you think?

By all means, I should say.

And he who allows himself to be taken prisoner may as well be made a
present of to his enemies; he is their lawful prey, and let them do what
they like with him.

*468B* Certainly.

[Sidenote: The hero to receive honour from his comrades and favour from
his beloved,]

But the hero who has distinguished himself, what shall be done to him? In
the first place, he shall receive honour in the army from his youthful
comrades; every one of them in succession shall crown him. What do you

I approve.

And what do you say to his receiving the right hand of fellowship?

To that too, I agree.

But you will hardly agree to my next proposal.

What is your proposal?

That he should kiss and be kissed by them.

Most certainly, and I should be disposed to go further, and say: *468C*
Let no one whom he has a mind to kiss refuse to be kissed by him while the
expedition lasts. So that if there be a lover in the army, whether his
love be youth or maiden, he may be more eager to win the prize of valour.

Capital, I said. That the brave man is to have more wives than others has
been already determined: and he is to have first choices in such matters
more than others, in order that he may have as many children as possible?


[Sidenote: and to have precedence, and a larger share of meats and

Again, there is another manner in which, according to *468D* Homer, brave
youths should be honoured; for he tells how Ajax[7], after he had
distinguished himself in battle, was rewarded with long chines, which
seems to be a compliment appropriate to a hero in the flower of his age,
being not only a tribute of honour but also a very strengthening thing.

[Footnote 7: Iliad, vii. 321.]

{165} Most true, he said.

Then in this, I said, Homer shall be our teacher; and we too, at
sacrifices and on the like occasions, will honour the brave according to
the measure of their valour, whether men or women, with hymns and those
other distinctions which we were mentioning; also with

  *468E* 'seats of precedence, and meats and full cups[8];'

and in honouring them, we shall be at the same time training them.

[Footnote 8: Iliad, viii. 161.]

That, he replied, is excellent.

Yes, I said; and when a man dies gloriously in war shall we not say, in
the first place, that he is of the golden race?

To be sure.

[Sidenote: also to be worshipped after death.]

Nay, have we not the authority of Hesiod for affirming that when they are

  *469A* 'They are holy angels upon the earth, authors of good, averters
  of evil, the guardians of speech-gifted men'?[9]

[Footnote 9: Probably Works and Days, 121 foll.]

Yes; and we accept his authority.

We must learn of the god how we are to order the sepulture of divine and
heroic personages, and what is to be their special distinction; and we
must do as he bids?

By all means.

And in ages to come we will reverence them and kneel *469B* before their
sepulchres as at the graves of heroes. And not only they but any who are
deemed pre-eminently good, whether they die from age, or in any other way,
shall be admitted to the same honours.

That is very right, he said.

[Sidenote: Behaviour to enemies.]

Next, how shall our soldiers treat their enemies? What about this?

In what respect do you mean?

First of all, in regard to slavery? Do you think it right that Hellenes
should enslave Hellenic States, or allow others to enslave them, if they
can help? Should not their custom be to spare them, considering the danger
which there is *469C* that the whole race may one day fall under the yoke
of the barbarians?

To spare them is infinitely better. {166}

[Sidenote: No Hellene shall be made a slave.]

Then no Hellene should be owned by them as a slave; that is a rule which
they will observe and advise the other Hellenes to observe.

Certainly, he said; they will in this way be united against the barbarians
and will keep their hands off one another.

Next as to the slain; ought the conquerors, I said, to take anything but
their armour? Does not the practice of *469D* despoiling an enemy afford
an excuse for not facing the battle? Cowards skulk about the dead,
pretending that they are fulfilling a duty, and many an army before now
has been lost from this love of plunder.

Very true.

[Sidenote: Those who fall in battle are not to be despoiled.]

And is there not illiberality and avarice in robbing a corpse, and also a
degree of meanness and womanishness in making an enemy of the dead body
when the real enemy has flown away and left only his fighting gear behind
him,--is not this *469E* rather like a dog who cannot get at his
assailant, quarrelling with the stones which strike him instead?

Very like a dog, he said.

Then we must abstain from spoiling the dead or hindering their burial?

Yes, he replied, we most certainly must.

[Sidenote: The arms of Hellenes are not to be offered at temples;]

Neither shall we offer up arms at the temples of the gods, *470A* least of
all the arms of Hellenes, if we care to maintain good feeling with other
Hellenes; and, indeed, we have reason to fear that the offering of spoils
taken from kinsmen may be a pollution unless commanded by the god himself?

Very true.

Again, as to the devastation of Hellenic territory or the burning of
houses, what is to be the practice?

May I have the pleasure, he said, of hearing your opinion?

Both should be forbidden, in my judgment; I would take *470B* the annual
produce and no more. Shall I tell you why?

Pray do.

[Sidenote: nor Hellenic territory devastated.]

Why, you see, there is a difference in the names 'discord' and 'war,' and
I imagine that there is also a difference in their natures; the one is
expressive of what is internal and domestic, the other of what is external
and foreign; and the first of the two is termed discord, and only the
second, war. {167}

That is a very proper distinction, he replied.

*470C* And may I not observe with equal propriety that the Hellenic race
is all united together by ties of blood and friendship, and alien and
strange to the barbarians?

Very good, he said.

[Sidenote: Hellenic warfare is only a kind of discord not intended to be

And therefore when Hellenes fight with barbarians and barbarians with
Hellenes, they will be described by us as being at war when they fight,
and by nature enemies, and this kind of antagonism should be called war;
but when Hellenes fight with one another we shall say that Hellas is then
in a state of disorder and discord, they being by nature friends; *470D*
and such enmity is to be called discord.

I agree.

Consider then, I said, when that which we have acknowledged to be discord
occurs, and a city is divided, if both parties destroy the lands and burn
the houses of one another, how wicked does the strife appear! No true
lover of his country would bring himself to tear in pieces his own nurse
and mother: There might be reason in the conqueror depriving the conquered
of their harvest, but still they would *470E* have the idea of peace in
their hearts and would not mean to go on fighting for ever.

Yes, he said, that is a better temper than the other.

And will not the city, which you are founding, be an Hellenic city?

It ought to be, he replied.

Then will not the citizens be good and civilized?

Yes, very civilized.

[Sidenote: The lover of his own city will also be a lover of Hellas.]

And will they not be lovers of Hellas, and think of Hellas as their own
land, and share in the common temples?

Most certainly.

And any difference which arises among them will be *471A* regarded by them
as discord only--a quarrel among friends, which is not to be called a war?

Certainly not.

Then they will quarrel as those who intend some day to be reconciled?


They will use friendly correction, but will not enslave or destroy their
opponents; they will be correctors, not enemies? {168}

Just so.

[Sidenote: Hellenes should deal mildly with Hellenes; and with barbarians
as Hellenes now deal with one another.]

And as they are Hellenes themselves they will not devastate Hellas, nor
will they burn houses, nor ever suppose that the whole population of a
city--men, women, and children--are equally their enemies, for they know
that the guilt of war is always confined to a few persons and that the
many are their friends. *471B* And for all these reasons they will be
unwilling to waste their lands and rase their houses; their enmity to them
will only last until the many innocent sufferers have compelled the guilty
few to give satisfaction?

I agree, he said, that our citizens should thus deal with their Hellenic
enemies; and with barbarians as the Hellenes now deal with one another.

Then let us enact this law also for our guardians:--that they are neither
to devastate the lands of Hellenes nor to *471C* burn their houses.

Agreed; and we may agree also in thinking that these, like all our
previous enactments, are very good.

[Sidenote: The complaint of Glaucon respecting the hesitation of

But still I must say, Socrates, that if you are allowed to go on in this
way you will entirely forget the other question which at the commencement
of this discussion you thrust aside:--Is such an order of things possible,
and how, if at all? For I am quite ready to acknowledge that the plan
which you propose, if only feasible, would do all sorts of good to the
State. I will add, what you have omitted, that your *471D* citizens will
be the bravest of warriors, and will never leave their ranks, for they
will all know one another, and each will call the other father, brother,
son; and if you suppose the women to join their armies, whether in the
same rank or in the rear, either as a terror to the enemy, or as
auxiliaries in case of need, I know that they will then be absolutely
invincible; and there are many domestic advantages which might also be
mentioned and which I also fully acknowledge: *471E* but, as I admit all
these advantages and as many more as you please, if only this State of
yours were to come into existence, we need say no more about them;
assuming then the existence of the State, let us now turn to the question
of possibility and ways and means--the rest may be left. {169}

[Sidenote: Socrates excuses himself and makes one or two remarks
preparatory to a final effort.]

*472A* If I loiter[10] for a moment, you instantly make a raid upon me,
I said, and have no mercy; I have hardly escaped the first and second
waves, and you seem not to be aware that you are now bringing upon me the
third, which is the greatest and heaviest. When you have seen and heard the
third wave, I think you will be more considerate and will acknowledge that
some fear and hesitation was natural respecting a proposal so extraordinary
as that which I have now to state and investigate.

[Footnote 10: Reading [Greek: straggeuome/n|].]

The more appeals of this sort which you make, he said, the *472B* more
determined are we that you shall tell us how such a State is possible:
speak out and at once.

Let me begin by reminding you that we found our way hither in the search
after justice and injustice.

True, he replied; but what of that?

I was only going to ask whether, if we have discovered them, we are to
require that the just man should in nothing fail of absolute justice; or
may we be satisfied with an approximation, *472C* and the attainment in
him of a higher degree of justice than is to be found in other men?

The approximation will be enough.

[Sidenote: (1) The ideal is a standard only which can never be perfectly

We were enquiring into the nature of absolute justice and into the
character of the perfectly just, and into injustice and the perfectly
unjust, that we might have an ideal. We were to look at these in order
that we might judge of our own happiness and unhappiness according to the
standard *472D* which they exhibited and the degree in which we resembled
them, but not with any view of showing that they could exist in fact.

True, he said.

Would a painter be any the worse because, after having delineated with
consummate art an ideal of a perfectly beautiful man, he was unable to
show that any such man could ever have existed?

He would be none the worse.

*472E* Well, and were we not creating an ideal of a perfect State?

To be sure.

[Sidenote: (2) but is none the worse for this.]

And is our theory a worse theory because we are unable to {170} prove the
possibility of a city being ordered in the manner described?

Surely not, he replied.

That is the truth, I said. But if, at your request, I am to try and show
how and under what conditions the possibility is highest, I must ask you,
having this in view, to repeat your former admissions.

What admissions?

*473A* I want to know whether ideals are ever fully realized in language?
Does not the word express more than the fact, and must not the actual,
whatever a man may think, always, in the nature of things, fall short of
the truth? What do you say?

I agree.

Then you must not insist on my proving that the actual State will in every
respect coincide with the ideal: if we are only able to discover how a
city may be governed nearly as we proposed, you will admit that we have
discovered the possibility which you demand; and will be contented. *473B*
I am sure that I should be contented--will not you?

Yes, I will.

[Sidenote: (3) Although the ideal cannot be realized, one or two changes,
or rather a single change, might revolutionize a State.]

Let me next endeavour to show what is that fault in States which is the
cause of their present maladministration, and what is the least change
which will enable a State to pass into the truer form; and let the change,
if possible, be of one thing only, or, if not, of two; at any rate, let
the changes be as few and slight as possible.

*473C* Certainly, he replied.

I think, I said, that there might be a reform of the State if only one
change were made, which is not a slight or easy though still a possible

What is it? he said.

[Sidenote: Socrates goes forth to meet the wave.]

Now then, I said, I go to meet that which I liken to the greatest of the
waves; yet shall the word be spoken, even though the wave break and drown
me in laughter and dishonour; and do you mark my words.


[Sidenote: 'Cities will never cease from ill until they are governed by

I said: _Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this
world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and *473D* political
greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those {171} commoner natures who
pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside,
cities will never have rest from their evils,--nor the human race, as
I believe,--and then only will this *473E* our State have a possibility of
life and behold the light of day._ Such was the thought, my dear Glaucon,
which I would fain have uttered if it had not seemed too extravagant; for
to be convinced that in no other State can there be happiness private or
public is indeed a hard thing.

[Sidenote: What will the world say to this?]

Socrates, what do you mean? I would have you consider that the word which
you have uttered is one at which numerous persons, and very respectable
persons too, in *474A* a figure pulling off their coats all in a moment,
and seizing any weapon that comes to hand, will run at you might and main,
before you know where you are, intending to do heaven knows what; and if
you don't prepare an answer, and put yourself in motion, you will be
'pared by their fine wits,' and no mistake.

You got me into the scrape, I said.

And I was quite right; however, I will do all I can to get you out of it;
but I can only give you good-will and good advice, and, perhaps, I may be
able to fit answers to your questions better than another--that is all.
And now, having *474B* such an auxiliary, you must do your best to show
the unbelievers that you are right.

[Sidenote: But who is a philosopher?]

I ought to try, I said, since you offer me such invaluable assistance. And
I think that, if there is to be a chance of our escaping, we must explain
to them whom we mean when we say that philosophers are to rule in the
State; then we shall be able to defend ourselves: There will be discovered
to be some natures who ought to study philosophy and to be *474C* leaders
in the State; and others who are not born to be philosophers, and are
meant to be followers rather than leaders.

Then now for a definition, he said.

Follow me, I said, and I hope that I may in some way or other be able to
give you a satisfactory explanation.


[Sidenote: Parallel of the lover.]

I dare say that you remember, and therefore I need not remind you, that a
lover, if he is worthy of the name, ought to show his love, not to some
one part of that which he loves, but to the whole. {172}

*474D* I really do not understand, and therefore beg of you to assist my

[Sidenote: The lover of the fair loves them all;]

Another person, I said, might fairly reply as you do; but a man of
pleasure like yourself ought to know that all who are in the flower of
youth do somehow or other raise a pang or emotion in a lover's breast, and
are thought by him to be worthy of his affectionate regards. Is not this a
way which you have with the fair: one has a snub nose, and you praise his
charming face; the hook-nose of another has, you say, a royal look; while
he who is neither snub nor hooked has *474E* the grace of regularity: the
dark visage is manly, the fair are children of the gods; and as to the
sweet 'honey pale,' as they are called, what is the very name but the
invention of a lover who talks in diminutives, and is not averse to
paleness if appearing on the cheek of youth? In a word, there is no *475A*
excuse which you will not make, and nothing which you will not say, in
order not to lose a single flower that blooms in the spring-time of youth.

If you make me an authority in matters of love, for the sake of the
argument, I assent.

[Sidenote: the lover of wines all wines;]

And what do you say of lovers of wine? Do you not see them doing the same?
They are glad of any pretext of drinking any wine.

Very good.

[Sidenote: the lover of honour all honour;]

And the same is true of ambitious men; if they cannot command an army,
they are willing to command a file; and *475B* if they cannot be honoured
by really great and important persons, they are glad to be honoured by
lesser and meaner people,--but honour of some kind they must have.


Once more let me ask: Does he who desires any class of goods, desire the
whole class or a part only?

The whole.

[Sidenote: the philosopher, or lover of wisdom, all knowledge.]

And may we not say of the philosopher that he is a lover, not of a part of
wisdom only, but of the whole?

Yes, of the whole.

And he who dislikes learning, especially in youth, when *475C* he has no
power of judging what is good and what is not, such an one we maintain not
to be a philosopher or a lover of knowledge, just as he who refuses his
food is not hungry, {173} and may be said to have a bad appetite and not a
good one?

Very true, he said.

Whereas he who has a taste for every sort of knowledge and who is curious
to learn and is never satisfied, may be justly termed a philosopher?
Am I not right?

[Sidenote: Under knowledge, however, are not to be included sights and
sounds, or under the lovers of knowledge, musical amateurs and the like.]

*475D* Glaucon said: If curiosity makes a philosopher, you will find many
a strange being will have a title to the name. All the lovers of sights
have a delight in learning, and must therefore be included. Musical
amateurs, too, are a folk strangely out of place among philosophers, for
they are the last persons in the world who would come to anything like a
philosophical discussion, if they could help, while they run about at the
Dionysiac festivals as if they had let out their ears to hear every
chorus; whether the performance is in town or country--that makes no
difference--they are there. Now are we *475E* to maintain that all these
and any who have similar tastes, as well as the professors of quite minor
arts, are philosophers?

Certainly not, I replied; they are only an imitation.

He said: Who then are the true philosophers?

Those, I said, who are lovers of the vision of truth.

That is also good, he said; but I should like to know what you mean?

To another, I replied, I might have a difficulty in explaining; but I am
sure that you will admit a proposition which I am about to make.

What is the proposition?

That since beauty is the opposite of ugliness, they are two?


*476A* And inasmuch as they are two, each of them is one?

True again.

And of just and unjust, good and evil, and of every other class, the same
remark holds: taken singly, each of them is one; but from the various
combinations of them with actions and things and with one another, they
are seen in all sorts of lights and appear many?

Very true.

And this is the distinction which I draw between the sight- {174} loving,
art-loving, practical class and those of whom I am speaking, *476B* and
who are alone worthy of the name of philosophers.

How do you distinguish them? he said.

The lovers of sounds and sights, I replied, are, as I conceive, fond of
fine tones and colours and forms and all the artificial products that are
made out of them, but their mind is incapable of seeing or loving absolute

True, he replied.

Few are they who are able to attain to the sight of this.

*476C* Very true.

And he who, having a sense of beautiful things has no sense of absolute
beauty, or who, if another lead him to a knowledge of that beauty is
unable to follow--of such an one I ask, Is he awake or in a dream only?
Reflect: is not the dreamer, sleeping or waking, one who likens dissimilar
things, who puts the copy in the place of the real object?

I should certainly say that such an one was dreaming.

[Sidenote: True knowledge is the ability to distinguish between the one
and many, between the idea and the objects which partake of the idea.]

But take the case of the other, who recognises the existence *476D* of
absolute beauty and is able to distinguish the idea from the objects which
participate in the idea, neither putting the objects in the place of the
idea nor the idea in the place of the objects--is he a dreamer, or is he

He is wide awake.

And may we not say that the mind of the one who knows has knowledge, and
that the mind of the other, who opines only, has opinion?


But suppose that the latter should quarrel with us and dispute our
statement, can we administer any soothing *476E* cordial or advice to him,
without revealing to him that there is sad disorder in his wits?

We must certainly offer him some good advice, he replied.

Come, then, and let us think of something to say to him. Shall we begin by
assuring him that he is welcome to any knowledge which he may have, and
that we are rejoiced at his having it? But we should like to ask him a
question: Does he who has knowledge know something or nothing? (You must
answer for him.)

I answer that he knows something. {175}

Something that is or is not?

Something that is; for how can that which is not ever be known?

[Sidenote: There is an intermediate between being and not being, and a
corresponding intermediate between ignorance and knowledge. This
intermediate is a faculty termed opinion.]

*477A* And are we assured, after looking at the matter from many points of
view, that absolute being is or may be absolutely known, but that the
utterly non-existent is utterly unknown?

Nothing can be more certain.

Good. But if there be anything which is of such a nature as to be and not
to be, that will have a place intermediate between pure being and the
absolute negation of being?

Yes, between them.

And, as knowledge corresponded to being and ignorance of necessity to
not-being, for that intermediate between being and not-being there has to
be discovered a corresponding *477B* intermediate between ignorance and
knowledge, if there be such?


Do we admit the existence of opinion?


As being the same with knowledge, or another faculty?

Another faculty.

Then opinion and knowledge have to do with different kinds of matter
corresponding to this difference of faculties?


And knowledge is relative to being and knows being. But before I proceed
further I will make a division.

What division?

*477C* I will begin by placing faculties in a class by themselves: they
are powers in us, and in all other things, by which we do as we do. Sight
and hearing, for example, I should call faculties. Have I clearly
explained the class which I mean?

Yes, I quite understand.

Then let me tell you my view about them. I do not see them, and therefore
the distinctions of figure, colour, and the like, which enable me to
discern the differences of some things, do not apply to them. In speaking
of a faculty I think *477D* only of its sphere and its result; and that
which has the same sphere and the same result I call the same faculty, but
that which has another sphere and another result I call different. Would
that be your way of speaking? {176}


And will you be so very good as to answer one more question? Would you say
that knowledge is a faculty, or in what class would you place it?

Certainly knowledge is a faculty, and the mightiest of all faculties.

*477E* And is opinion also a faculty?

Certainly, he said; for opinion is that with which we are able to form an

And yet you were acknowledging a little while ago that knowledge is not
the same as opinion?

[Sidenote: Opinion differs from knowledge because the one errs and the
other is unerring.]

Why, yes, he said: how can any reasonable being ever identify that which
is infallible with that which errs?

*478A* An excellent answer, proving, I said, that we are quite conscious
of a distinction between them.


Then knowledge and opinion having distinct powers have also distinct
spheres or subject-matters?

That is certain.

Being is the sphere or subject-matter of knowledge, and knowledge is to
know the nature of being?


And opinion is to have an opinion?


And do we know what we opine? or is the subject-matter of opinion the same
as the subject-matter of knowledge?

Nay, he replied, that has been already disproven; if difference in faculty
implies difference in the sphere or *478B* subject-matter, and if, as we
were saying, opinion and knowledge are distinct faculties, then the sphere
of knowledge and of opinion cannot be the same.

Then if being is the subject-matter of knowledge, something else must be
the subject-matter of opinion?

Yes, something else.

[Sidenote: It also differs from ignorance, which is concerned with

Well then, is not-being the subject-matter of opinion? or, rather, how can
there be an opinion at all about not-being? Reflect: when a man has an
opinion, has he not an opinion about something? Can he have an opinion
which is an opinion about nothing?

Impossible. {177}

He who has an opinion has an opinion about some one thing?


And not-being is not one thing but, properly speaking, *478C* nothing?


Of not-being, ignorance was assumed to be the necessary correlative; of
being, knowledge?

True, he said.

Then opinion is not concerned either with being or with not-being?

Not with either.

And can therefore neither be ignorance nor knowledge?

That seems to be true.

[Sidenote: Its place is not to be sought without or beyond knowledge or
ignorance, but between them.]

But is opinion to be sought without and beyond either of them, in a
greater clearness than knowledge, or in a greater darkness than ignorance?

In neither.

Then I suppose that opinion appears to you to be darker than knowledge,
but lighter than ignorance?

Both; and in no small degree.

*478D* And also to be within and between them?


Then you would infer that opinion is intermediate?

No question.

But were we not saying before, that if anything appeared to be of a sort
which is and is not at the same time, that sort of thing would appear also
to lie in the interval between pure being and absolute not-being; and that
the corresponding faculty is neither knowledge nor ignorance, but will be
found in the interval between them?


And in that interval there has now been discovered something which we call

There has.

*478E* Then what remains to be discovered is the object which partakes
equally of the nature of being and not-being, and cannot rightly be termed
either, pure and simple; this unknown term, when discovered, we may truly
call the subject of opinion, and assign each to their proper faculty,--
{178} the extremes to the faculties of the extremes and the mean to the
faculty of the mean.


[Sidenote: The absoluteness of the one and the relativeness of the many.]

*479A* This being premised, I would ask the gentleman who is of opinion
that there is no absolute or unchangeable idea of beauty--in whose opinion
the beautiful is the manifold--he, I say, your lover of beautiful sights,
who cannot bear to be told that the beautiful is one, and the just is one,
or that anything is one--to him I would appeal, saying, Will you be so
very kind, sir, as to tell us whether, of all these beautiful things,
there is one which will not be found ugly; or of the just, which will not
be found unjust; or of the holy, which will not also be unholy?

*479B* No, he replied; the beautiful will in some point of view be found
ugly; and the same is true of the rest.

And may not the many which are doubles be also halves?--doubles, that is,
of one thing, and halves of another?

Quite true.

And things great and small, heavy and light, as they are termed, will not
be denoted by these any more than by the opposite names?

True; both these and the opposite names will always attach to all of them.

And can any one of those many things which are called by particular names
be said to be this rather than not to be this?

He replied: They are like the punning riddles which are *479C* asked at
feasts or the children's puzzle about the eunuch aiming at the bat, with
what he hit him, as they say in the puzzle, and upon what the bat was
sitting. The individual objects of which I am speaking are also a riddle,
and have a double sense: nor can you fix them in your mind, either as
being or not-being, or both, or neither.

Then what will you do with them? I said. Can they have a better place than
between being and not-being? For they are clearly not in greater darkness
or negation than not-being, *479D* or more full of light and existence
than being.

That is quite true, he said.

Thus then we seem to have discovered that the many ideas which the
multitude entertain about the beautiful and about {179} all other things
are tossing about in some region which is half-way between pure being and
pure not-being?

We have.

Yes; and we had before agreed that anything of this kind which we might
find was to be described as matter of opinion, and not as matter of
knowledge; being the intermediate flux which is caught and detained by the
intermediate faculty.

Quite true.

[Sidenote: Opinion is the knowledge, not of the absolute, but of the

*479E* Then those who see the many beautiful, and who yet neither see
absolute beauty, nor can follow any guide who points the way thither; who
see the many just, and not absolute justice, and the like,--such persons
may be said to have opinion but not knowledge?

That is certain.

But those who see the absolute and eternal and immutable may be said to
know, and not to have opinion only?

Neither can that be denied.

The one love and embrace the subjects of knowledge, the other those of
opinion? The latter are the same, as I dare say *480A* you will remember,
who listened to sweet sounds and gazed upon fair colours, but would not
tolerate the existence of absolute beauty.

Yes, I remember.

Shall we then be guilty of any impropriety in calling them lovers of
opinion rather than lovers of wisdom, and will they be very angry with us
for thus describing them?

I shall tell them not to be angry; no man should be angry at what is true.

But those who love the truth in each thing are to be called lovers of
wisdom and not lovers of opinion.



[Sidenote: _Republic VI._ Socrates, Glaucon.]

*484A* And thus, Glaucon, after the argument has gone a weary way, the
true and the false philosophers have at length appeared in view.

I do not think, he said, that the way could have been shortened.

[Sidenote: If we had time, we might have a nearer view of the true and
false philosopher.]

I suppose not, I said; and yet I believe that we might have had a better
view of both of them if the discussion could have been confined to this
one subject and if there were not many other questions awaiting us, which
he who desires to see in what respect the life of the just differs from
*484B* that of the unjust must consider.

And what is the next question? he asked.

Surely, I said, the one which follows next in order. Inasmuch as
philosophers only are able to grasp the eternal and unchangeable, and
those who wander in the region of the many and variable are not
philosophers, I must ask you which of the two classes should be the rulers
of our State?

And how can we rightly answer that question?

[Sidenote: Which of them shall be our guardians?]

Whichever of the two are best able to guard the laws and *484C*
institutions of our State--let them be our guardians.

Very good.

[Sidenote: A question hardly to be asked.]

Neither, I said, can there be any question that the guardian who is to
keep anything should have eyes rather than no eyes?

There can be no question of that.

And are not those who are verily and indeed wanting in the knowledge of
the true being of each thing, and who have in their souls no clear
pattern, and are unable as with a painter's eye to look at the absolute
truth and to that original *484D* to repair, and having perfect vision of
the other world to order the laws about beauty, goodness, justice in this,
if not {181} already ordered, and to guard and preserve the order of
them--are not such persons, I ask, simply blind?

Truly, he replied, they are much in that condition.

And shall they be our guardians when there are others who, besides being
their equals in experience and falling short of them in no particular of
virtue, also know the very truth of each thing?

There can be no reason, he said, for rejecting those who have this
greatest of all great qualities; they must always have the first place
unless they fail in some other respect.

*485A* Suppose then, I said, that we determine how far they can unite this
and the other excellences.

By all means.

[Sidenote: The philosopher is a lover of truth and of all true being.]

In the first place, as we began by observing, the nature of the
philosopher has to be ascertained. We must come to an understanding about
him, and, when we have done so, then, if I am not mistaken, we shall also
acknowledge that such an union of qualities is possible, and that those in
whom they are united, and those only, should be rulers in the State.

What do you mean?

Let us suppose that philosophical minds always love knowledge *485B* of a
sort which shows them the eternal nature not varying from generation and


And further, I said, let us agree that they are lovers of all true being;
there is no part whether greater or less, or more or less honourable,
which they are willing to renounce; as we said before of the lover and the
man of ambition.


And if they are to be what we were describing, is there *485C* not another
quality which they should also possess?

What quality?

Truthfulness: they will never intentionally receive into their mind
falsehood, which is their detestation, and they will love the truth.

Yes, that may be safely affirmed of them.

'May be,' my friend, I replied, is not the word; say rather 'must be
affirmed:' for he whose nature is amorous of anything cannot help loving
all that belongs or is akin to the object of his affections. {182}

Right, he said.

And is there anything more akin to wisdom than truth?

How can there be?

Can the same nature be a lover of wisdom and a lover of *485D* falsehood?


The true lover of learning then must from his earliest youth, as far as in
him lies, desire all truth?


But then again, as we know by experience, he whose desires are strong in
one direction will have them weaker in others; they will be like a stream
which has been drawn off into another channel.


[Sidenote: He will be absorbed in the pleasures of the soul, and therefore
temperate and the reverse of covetous or mean.]

He whose desires are drawn towards knowledge in every form will be
absorbed in the pleasures of the soul, and will hardly feel bodily
pleasure--I mean, if he be a true philosopher and not a sham one.

*485E* That is most certain.

Such an one is sure to be temperate and the reverse of covetous; for the
motives which make another man desirous of having and spending, have no
place in his character.

Very true.

*486A* Another criterion of the philosophical nature has also to be

What is that?

There should be no secret corner of illiberality; nothing can be more
antagonistic than meanness to a soul which is ever longing after the whole
of things both divine and human.

Most true, he replied.

[Sidenote: In the magnificence of his contemplations he will not think
much of human life.]

Then how can he who has magnificence of mind and is the spectator of all
time and all existence, think much of human life?

He cannot.

*486B* Or can such an one account death fearful?

No indeed.

Then the cowardly and mean nature has no part in true philosophy? {183}

Certainly not.

Or again: can he who is harmoniously constituted, who is not covetous or
mean, or a boaster, or a coward--can he, I say, ever be unjust or hard in
his dealings?


[Sidenote: He will be of a gentle, sociable, harmonious nature; a lover of
learning, having a good memory and moving spontaneously in the world of

Then you will soon observe whether a man is just and gentle, or rude and
unsociable; these are the signs which distinguish even in youth the
philosophical nature from the unphilosophical.


*486C* There is another point which should be remarked.

What point?

Whether he has or has not a pleasure in learning; for no one will love
that which gives him pain, and in which after much toil he makes little

Certainly not.

And again, if he is forgetful and retains nothing of what he learns, will
he not be an empty vessel?

That is certain.

Labouring in vain, he must end in hating himself and his fruitless
occupation? Yes.

*486D* Then a soul which forgets cannot be ranked among genuine
philosophic natures; we must insist that the philosopher should have a
good memory?


And once more, the inharmonious and unseemly nature can only tend to


And do you consider truth to be akin to proportion or to disproportion?

To proportion.

Then, besides other qualities, we must try to find a naturally
well-proportioned and gracious mind, which will move spontaneously towards
the true being of everything.


*486E* Well, and do not all these qualities, which we have been
enumerating, go together, and are they not, in a manner, necessary to a
soul, which is to have a full and perfect participation of being? {184}

*487A* They are absolutely necessary, he replied.

[Sidenote: Conclusion: What a blameless study then is philosophy!]

And must not that be a blameless study which he only can pursue who has
the gift of a good memory, and is quick to learn,--noble, gracious, the
friend of truth, justice, courage, temperance, who are his kindred?

The god of jealousy himself, he said, could find no fault with such a

And to men like him, I said, when perfected by years and education, and to
these only you will entrust the State.

[Sidenote: Socrates, Adeimantus.]

[Sidenote: Nay, says Adeimantus, you can prove anything, but your hearers
are unconvinced all the same.]

[Sidenote: Common opinion declares philosophers to be either rogues or

*487B* Here Adeimantus interposed and said: To these statements, Socrates,
no one can offer a reply; but when you talk in this way, a strange feeling
passes over the minds of your hearers: They fancy that they are led astray
a little at each step in the argument, owing to their own want of skill in
asking and answering questions; these littles accumulate, and at the end
of the discussion they are found to have sustained a mighty overthrow and
all their former notions appear to be turned upside down. And as unskilful
players of draughts are at last shut up by their more skilful adversaries
*487C* and have no piece to move, so they too find themselves shut up at
last; for they have nothing to say in this new game of which words are the
counters; and yet all the time they are in the right. The observation is
suggested to me by what is now occurring. For any one of us might say,
that although in words he is not able to meet you at each step of the
argument, he sees as a fact that the votaries of philosophy, when they
carry on the study, not only in youth as a part of *487D* education, but
as the pursuit of their maturer years, most of them become strange
monsters, not to say utter rogues, and that those who may be considered
the best of them are made useless to the world by the very study which you

Well, and do you think that those who say so are wrong?

I cannot tell, he replied; but I should like to know what is your opinion.

[Sidenote: Socrates, instead of denying this statement, admits the truth
of it.]

Hear my answer; I am of opinion that they are quite right.

*487E* Then how can you be justified in saying that cities will not cease
from evil until philosophers rule in them, when philosophers are
acknowledged by us to be of no use to them?

You ask a question, I said, to which a reply can only be given in a
parable. {185}

Yes, Socrates; and that is a way of speaking to which you are not at all
accustomed, I suppose.

[Sidenote: A parable.]

[Sidenote: The noble captain whose senses are rather dull (the people in
their better mind); the mutinous crew (the mob of politicians); and the
pilot (the true philosopher).]

I perceive, I said, that you are vastly amused at having plunged me into
such a hopeless discussion; but now hear *488A* the parable, and then you
will be still more amused at the meagreness of my imagination: for the
manner in which the best men are treated in their own States is so
grievous that no single thing on earth is comparable to it; and therefore,
if I am to plead their cause, I must have recourse to fiction, and put
together a figure made up of many things, like the fabulous unions of
goats and stags which are found in pictures. Imagine then a fleet or a
ship in which there is *488B* a captain who is taller and stronger than
any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in
sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. The sailors are
quarrelling with one another about the steering--every one is of opinion
that he has a right to steer, though he has never learned the art of
navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will
further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in
pieces any *488C* one who says the contrary. They throng about the
captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them; and if at any
time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the
others or throw them overboard, and having first chained up the noble
captain's senses with drink or some narcotic drug, they mutiny and take
possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and
drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such manner as *488D* might be
expected of them. Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in
their plot for getting the ship out of the captain's hands into their own
whether by force or persuasion, they compliment with the name of sailor,
pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a
good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year
and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his
art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and
that he must and *488E* will be the steerer, whether other people like or
not--the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer's art has
never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made *489A* part {186}
of their calling[1]. Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by
sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he
not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?

[Footnote 1: Or, applying [Greek: o(/ps de\ kubern/sei] to the
mutineers, 'But only understanding ([Greek: e)pai+/ontas]) that he (the
mutinous pilot) must rule in spite of other people, never considering that
there is an art of command which may be practised in combination with the
pilot's art.']

Of course, said Adeimantus.

[Sidenote: The interpretation.]

Then you will hardly need, I said, to hear the interpretation of the
figure, which describes the true philosopher in his relation to the State;
for you understand already.


Then suppose you now take this parable to the gentleman who is surprised
at finding that philosophers have no honour in their cities; explain it to
him and try to convince him that *489B* their having honour would be far
more extraordinary.

I will.

[Sidenote: The uselessness of philosophers arises out of the unwillingness
of mankind to make use of them.]

Say to him, that, in deeming the best votaries of philosophy to be useless
to the rest of the world, he is right; but also tell him to attribute
their uselessness to the fault of those who will not use them, and not to
themselves. The pilot should not humbly beg the sailors to be commanded by
him--that is not the order of nature; neither are 'the wise to go to the
doors of the rich'--the ingenious author of this saying told a lie--but
the truth is, that, when a man is ill, *489C* whether he be rich or poor,
to the physician he must go, and he who wants to be governed, to him who
is able to govern. The ruler who is good for anything ought not to beg his
subjects to be ruled by him; although the present governors of mankind are
of a different stamp; they may be justly compared to the mutinous sailors,
and the true helmsmen to those who are called by them good-for-nothings
and star-gazers.

Precisely so, he said.

[Sidenote: The real enemies of philosophy her professing followers.]

For these reasons, and among men like these, philosophy, the noblest
pursuit of all, is not likely to be much esteemed *489D* by those of the
opposite faction; not that the greatest and most lasting injury is done to
her by her opponents, but by her own professing followers, the same of
whom you {187} suppose the accuser to say, that the greater number of them
are arrant rogues, and the best are useless; in which opinion I agreed.


And the reason why the good are useless has now been explained?


[Sidenote: The corruption of philosophy due to many causes.]

Then shall we proceed to show that the corruption of the majority is also
unavoidable, and that this is not to be laid to *489E* the charge of
philosophy any more than the other?

By all means.

And let us ask and answer in turn, first going back to the *490A*
description of the gentle and noble nature. Truth, as you will remember,
was his leader, whom he followed always and in all things; failing in
this, he was an impostor, and had no part or lot in true philosophy.

Yes, that was said.

Well, and is not this one quality, to mention no others, greatly at
variance with present notions of him?

Certainly, he said.

[Sidenote: But before considering this, let us re-enumerate the qualities
of the philosopher:]

And have we not a right to say in his defence, that the true lover of
knowledge is always striving after being--that is his nature; he will not
rest in the multiplicity of individuals *490B* which is an appearance
only, but will go on--the keen edge will not be blunted, nor the force of
his desire abate until he have attained the knowledge of the true nature
of every essence by a sympathetic and kindred power in the soul, and by
that power drawing near and mingling and becoming incorporate with very
being, having begotten mind and truth, he will have knowledge and will
live and grow truly, and then, and not till then, will he cease from his

Nothing, he said, can be more just than such a description of him.

[Sidenote: his love of essence, of truth, of justice, besides his other
virtues and natural gifts.]

And will the love of a lie be any part of a philosopher's nature? Will he
not utterly hate a lie?

*490C* He will.

And when truth is the captain, we cannot suspect any evil of the band
which he leads?

Impossible. {188}

Justice and health of mind will be of the company, and temperance will
follow after?

True, he replied.

Neither is there any reason why I should again set in array the
philosopher's virtues, as you will doubtless remember that courage,
magnificence, apprehension, memory, were his natural gifts. And you
objected that, although no one could *490D* deny what I then said, still,
if you leave words and look at facts, the persons who are thus described
are some of them manifestly useless, and the greater number utterly
depraved; we were then led to enquire into the grounds of these
accusations, and have now arrived at the point of asking why are the
majority bad, which question of necessity brought us back to the
examination and definition of the true philosopher.

*490E* Exactly.

[Sidenote: The reasons why philosophical natures so easily deteriorate.]

And we have next to consider the corruptions of the philosophic nature,
why so many are spoiled and so few escape spoiling--I am speaking of those
who were said to be *491A* useless but not wicked--and, when we have done
with them, we will speak of the imitators of philosophy, what manner of
men are they who aspire after a profession which is above them and of
which they are unworthy, and then, by their manifold inconsistencies,
bring upon philosophy, and upon all philosophers, that universal
reprobation of which we speak.

What are these corruptions? he said.

[Sidenote: (1) There are but a few of them;]

I will see if I can explain them to you. Every one will admit that a
nature having in perfection all the qualities *491B* which we required in
a philosopher, is a rare plant which is seldom seen among men.

Rare indeed.

And what numberless and powerful causes tend to destroy these rare

What causes?

[Sidenote: (2) and they may be distracted from philosophy by their own

In the first place there are their own virtues, their courage, temperance,
and the rest of them, every one of which praiseworthy qualities (and this
is a most singular circumstance) destroys and distracts from philosophy
the soul which is the possessor of them.

That is very singular, he replied. {189}

[Sidenote: and also, (3), by the ordinary goods of life.]

*491C* Then there are all the ordinary goods of life--beauty, wealth,
strength, rank, and great connections in the State--you understand the
sort of things--these also have a corrupting and distracting effect.

I understand; but I should like to know more precisely what you mean about

Grasp the truth as a whole, I said, and in the right way; you will then
have no difficulty in apprehending the preceding remarks, and they will no
longer appear strange to you.

And how am I to do so? he asked.

*491D* Why, I said, we know that all germs or seeds, whether vegetable or
animal, when they fail to meet with proper nutriment or climate or soil,
in proportion to their vigour, are all the more sensitive to the want of a
suitable environment, for evil is a greater enemy to what is good than to
what is not.

Very true.

[Sidenote: (4) The finer natures more liable to injury than the inferior.]

There is reason in supposing that the finest natures, when under alien
conditions, receive more injury than the inferior, because the contrast is


*491E* And may we not say, Adeimantus, that the most gifted minds, when
they are ill-educated, become pre-eminently bad? Do not great crimes and
the spirit of pure evil spring out of a fulness of nature ruined by
education rather than from any inferiority, whereas weak natures are
scarcely capable of any very great good or very great evil?

There I think that you are right.

[Sidenote: (5) They are not corrupted by private sophists, but compelled
by the opinion of the world meeting in the assembly or in some other place
of resort.]

*492A* And our philosopher follows the same analogy--he is like a plant
which, having proper nurture, must necessarily grow and mature into all
virtue, but, if sown and planted in an alien soil, becomes the most
noxious of all weeds, unless he be preserved by some divine power. Do you
really think, as people so often say, that our youth are corrupted by
Sophists, or that private teachers of the art corrupt them in any degree
worth speaking of? Are not the public who say these things *492B* the
greatest of all Sophists? And do they not educate to perfection young and
old, men and women alike, and fashion them after their own hearts?

When is this accomplished? he said. {190}

When they meet together, and the world sits down at an assembly, or in a
court of law, or a theatre, or a camp, or in any other popular resort, and
there is a great uproar, and they praise some things which are being said
or done, and blame other things, equally exaggerating both, shouting and
*492C* clapping their hands, and the echo of the rocks and the place in
which they are assembled redoubles the sound of the praise or blame--at
such a time will not a young man's heart, as they say, leap within him?
Will any private training enable him to stand firm against the
overwhelming flood of popular opinion? or will he be carried away by the
stream? Will he not have the notions of good and evil which the public in
general have--he will do as they do, and as they are, such will he be?

*492D* Yes, Socrates; necessity will compel him.

[Sidenote: (6) The other compulsion of violence and death.]

And yet, I said, there is a still greater necessity, which has not been

What is that?

The gentle force of attainder or confiscation or death, which, as you are
aware, these new Sophists and educators, who are the public, apply when
their words are powerless.

Indeed they do; and in right good earnest.

Now what opinion of any other Sophist, or of any private person, can be
expected to overcome in such an unequal contest?

*492E* None, he replied.

[Sidenote: They must be saved, if at all, by the power of God.]

No, indeed, I said, even to make the attempt is a great piece of folly;
there neither is, nor has been, nor is ever likely to be, any different
type of character which has had no other training in virtue but that which
is supplied by public opinion[2]--I speak, my friend, of human virtue
only; what is more than human, as the proverb says, is not included:
for I would not have you ignorant that, in the present evil state of
governments, whatever is saved and comes to good is *493A* saved by the
power of God, as we may truly say.

[Footnote 2: Or, taking [Greek: para\] in another sense, 'trained to
virtue on their principles.']

I quite assent, he replied.

Then let me crave your assent also to a further observation.

What are you going to say?

[Sidenote: The great brute; his behaviour and temper (the people looked at
from their worse side).]

Why, that all those mercenary individuals, whom the many {191} call
Sophists and whom they deem to be their adversaries, do, in fact, teach
nothing but the opinion of the many, that is to say, the opinions of their
assemblies; and this is their wisdom. I might compare them to a man who
should study the tempers and desires of a mighty strong beast who is fed
*493B* by him--he would learn how to approach and handle him, also at what
times and from what causes he is dangerous or the reverse, and what is the
meaning of his several cries, and by what sounds, when another utters
them, he is soothed or infuriated; and you may suppose further, that when,
by continually attending upon him, he has become perfect in all this, he
calls his knowledge wisdom, and makes of it a system or art, which he
proceeds to teach, although he has no real notion of what he means by the
principles or passions of which he is speaking, but calls this honourable
and that dishonourable, or good or evil, or just or unjust, all in
accordance *493C* with the tastes and tempers of the great brute. Good he
pronounces to be that in which the beast delights and evil to be that
which he dislikes; and he can give no other account of them except that
the just and noble are the necessary, having never himself seen, and
having no power of explaining to others the nature of either, or the
difference between them, which is immense. By heaven, would not such an
one be a rare educator?

Indeed he would.

[Sidenote: He who associates with the people will conform to their tastes
and will produce only what pleases them.]

And in what way does he who thinks that wisdom is *493D* the discernment
of the tempers and tastes of the motley multitude, whether in painting or
music, or, finally, in politics, differ from him whom I have been
describing? For when a man consorts with the many, and exhibits to them
his poem or other work of art or the service which he has done the State,
making them his judges[3] when he is not obliged, the so-called necessity
of Diomede will oblige him to produce whatever they praise. And yet the
reasons are utterly ludicrous which they give in confirmation of their own
notions about the honourable and good. Did you ever hear any of them which
were not?

[Footnote 3: Putting a comma after [Greek: t=n a)nangkai/n].]

*493E* No, nor am I likely to hear.

You recognise the truth of what I have been saying? Then {192} let me ask
you to consider further whether the world will ever be induced to believe
in the existence of absolute *494A* beauty rather than of the many
beautiful, or of the absolute in each kind rather than of the many in each

Certainly not.

Then the world cannot possibly be a philosopher?


And therefore philosophers must inevitably fall under the censure of the

They must.

And of individuals who consort with the mob and seek to please them?

That is evident.

Then, do you see any way in which the philosopher can *494B* be preserved
in his calling to the end? and remember what we were saying of him, that
he was to have quickness and memory and courage and magnificence--these
were admitted by us to be the true philosopher's gifts.


[Sidenote: The youth who has great bodily and mental gifts will be
flattered from his childhood,]

Will not such an one from his early childhood be in all things first among
all, especially if his bodily endowments are like his mental ones?

Certainly, he said.

And his friends and fellow-citizens will want to use him as he gets older
for their own purposes?

No question.

*494C* Falling at his feet, they will make requests to him and do him
honour and flatter him, because they want to get into their hands now, the
power which he will one day possess.

That often happens, he said.

And what will a man such as he is be likely to do under such
circumstances, especially if he be a citizen of a great city, rich and
noble, and a tall proper youth? Will he not be full of boundless
aspirations, and fancy himself able to manage the affairs of Hellenes and
of barbarians, and having got such *494D* notions into his head will he
not dilate and elevate himself in the fulness of vain pomp and senseless

To be sure he will.

[Sidenote: and being incapable of having reason, will be easily drawn away
from philosophy.]

Now, when he is in this state of mind, if some one gently comes to him and
tells him that he is a fool and must get {193} understanding, which can
only be got by slaving for it, do you think that, under such adverse
circumstances, he will be easily induced to listen?

Far otherwise.

And even if there be some one who through inherent *494E* goodness or
natural reasonableness has had his eyes opened a little and is humbled and
taken captive by philosophy, how will his friends behave when they think
that they are likely to lose the advantage which they were hoping to reap
from his companionship? Will they not do and say anything to prevent him
from yielding to his better nature and to render his teacher powerless,
using to this end private intrigues as well as public prosecutions?

*495A* There can be no doubt of it.

And how can one who is thus circumstanced ever become a philosopher?


[Sidenote: The very qualities which make a man a philosopher may also
divert him from philosophy.]

Then were we not right in saying that even the very qualities which make a
man a philosopher may, if he be ill-educated, divert him from philosophy,
no less than riches and their accompaniments and the other so-called goods
of life?

We were quite right.

[Sidenote: Great natures alone are capable, either of great good, or great

Thus, my excellent friend, is brought about all that ruin and *495B*
failure which I have been describing of the natures best adapted to the
best of all pursuits; they are natures which we maintain to be rare at any
time; this being the class out of which come the men who are the authors
of the greatest evil to States and individuals; and also of the greatest
good when the tide carries them in that direction; but a small man never
was the doer of any great thing either to individuals or to States.

That is most true, he said.

And so philosophy is left desolate, with her marriage rite *495C*
incomplete: for her own have fallen away and forsaken her, and while they
are leading a false and unbecoming life, other unworthy persons, seeing
that she has no kinsmen to be her protectors, enter in and dishonour her;
and fasten upon her the reproaches which, as you say, her reprovers utter,
who affirm of her votaries that some are good for nothing, and that the
greater number deserve the severest punishment. {194}

That is certainly what people say.

[Sidenote: The attractiveness of philosophy to the vulgar.]

Yes; and what else would you expect, I said, when you think of the puny
creatures who, seeing this land open to *495D* them--a land well stocked
with fair names and showy titles--like prisoners running out of prison
into a sanctuary, take a leap out of their trades into philosophy; those
who do so being probably the cleverest hands at their own miserable
crafts? For, although philosophy be in this evil case, still there remains
a dignity about her which is not to be found in the arts. And many are
thus attracted by her whose *495E* natures are imperfect and whose souls
are maimed and disfigured by their meannesses, as their bodies are by
their trades and crafts. Is not this unavoidable?


Are they not exactly like a bald little tinker who has just got out of
durance and come into a fortune; he takes a bath and puts on a new coat,
and is decked out as a bridegroom going to marry his master's daughter,
who is left poor and desolate?

*496A* A most exact parallel.

What will be the issue of such marriages? Will they not be vile and

There can be no question of it.

[Sidenote: The _msalliance_ of philosophy.]

And when persons who are unworthy of education approach philosophy and
make an alliance with her who is in a rank above them what sort of ideas
and opinions are likely to be generated? [4]Will they not be sophisms
captivating to the ear, having nothing in them genuine, or worthy of or
akin to true wisdom?

[Footnote 4: Or, 'will they not deserve to be called sophisms,' ....]

No doubt, he said.

[Sidenote: Few are the worthy disciples:]

[Sidenote: and these are unable to resist the madness of the world;]

[Sidenote: they therefore in order to escape the storm take shelter behind
a wall and live their own life.]

Then, Adeimantus, I said, the worthy disciples of philosophy *496B* will
be but a small remnant: perchance some noble and well-educated person,
detained by exile in her service, who in the absence of corrupting
influences remains devoted to her; or some lofty soul born in a mean city,
the politics of which he contemns and neglects; and there may be a gifted
few who leave the arts, which they justly despise, and come to her;--or
peradventure there are some who are restrained *496C* by our friend
Theages' bridle; for everything in the life of Theages {195} conspired to
divert him from philosophy; but ill-health kept him away from politics. My
own case of the internal sign is hardly worth mentioning, for rarely, if
ever, has such a monitor been given to any other man. Those who belong to
this small class have tasted how sweet and blessed a possession philosophy
is, and have also seen enough of the madness of the multitude; and they
know *496D* that no politician is honest, nor is there any champion of
justice at whose side they may fight and be saved. Such an one may be
compared to a man who has fallen among wild beasts--he will not join in
the wickedness of his fellows, but neither is he able singly to resist all
their fierce natures, and therefore seeing that he would be of no use to
the State or to his friends, and reflecting that he would have to throw
away his life without doing any good either to himself or others, he holds
his peace, and goes his own way. He is like one who, in the storm of dust
and sleet which the driving wind hurries along, retires under the shelter
of a wall; and seeing the rest of mankind full of wickedness, he is
content, *496E* if only he can live his own life and be pure from evil or
unrighteousness, and depart in peace and good-will, with bright hopes.

Yes, he said, and he will have done a great work before he departs.

A great work--yes; but not the greatest, unless he find *497A* a State
suitable to him; for in a State which is suitable to him, he will have a
larger growth and be the saviour of his country, as well as of himself.

The causes why philosophy is in such an evil name have now been
sufficiently explained: the injustice of the charges against her has been
shown--is there anything more which you wish to say?

Nothing more on that subject, he replied; but I should like to know which
of the governments now existing is in your opinion the one adapted to her.

[Sidenote: No existing State suited to philosophy.]

*497B* Not any of them, I said; and that is precisely the accusation which
I bring against them--not one of them is worthy of the philosophic nature,
and hence that nature is warped and estranged;--as the exotic seed which
is sown in a foreign land becomes denaturalized, and is wont to be
overpowered and to lose itself in the new soil, even so this growth {196}
of philosophy, instead of persisting, degenerates and receives another
character. But if philosophy ever finds in the State *497C* that
perfection which she herself is, then will be seen that she is in truth
divine, and that all other things, whether natures of men or institutions,
are but human;--and now, I know, that you are going to ask, What that
State is:

No, he said; there you are wrong, for I was going to ask another
question--whether it is the State of which we are the founders and
inventors, or some other?

[Sidenote: Even our own State requires the addition of the living

Yes, I replied, ours in most respects; but you may remember my saying
before, that some living authority would always be required in the State
having the same idea of *497D* the constitution which guided you when as
legislator you were laying down the laws.

That was said, he replied.

Yes, but not in a satisfactory manner; you frightened us by interposing
objections, which certainly showed that the discussion would be long and
difficult; and what still remains is the reverse of easy.

What is there remaining?

The question how the study of philosophy may be so ordered as not to be
the ruin of the State: All great attempts are attended with risk; 'hard is
the good,' as men say.

*497E* Still, he said, let the point be cleared up, and the enquiry will
then be complete.

I shall not be hindered, I said, by any want of will, but, if at all, by a
want of power: my zeal you may see for yourselves; and please to remark in
what I am about to say how boldly and unhesitatingly I declare that States
should pursue philosophy, not as they do now, but in a different spirit.

In what manner?

[Sidenote: The superficial study of philosophy which exists in the present

*498A* At present, I said, the students of philosophy are quite young;
beginning when they are hardly past childhood, they devote only the time
saved from moneymaking and housekeeping to such pursuits; and even those
of them who are reputed to have most of the philosophic spirit, when they
come within sight of the great difficulty of the subject, I mean
dialectic, take themselves off. In after life when invited by some one
else, they may, perhaps, go and hear a lecture, and about this they make
much ado, for philosophy is not considered {197} by them to be their
proper business: at last, when they grow old, in most cases they are
extinguished more *498B* truly than Heracleitus' sun, inasmuch as they
never light up again[5].

[Footnote 5: Heraclitus said that the sun was extinguished every evening
and relighted every morning.]

But what ought to be their course?

Just the opposite. In childhood and youth their study, and what philosophy
they learn, should be suited to their tender years: during this period
while they are growing up towards manhood, the chief and special care
should be given to their bodies that they may have them to use in the
service of philosophy; as life advances and the intellect begins to
mature, let them increase the gymnastics of the soul; but when the
strength of our citizens fails and is past civil and *498C* military
duties, then let them range at will and engage in no serious labour, as we
intend them to live happily here, and to crown this life with a similar
happiness in another.

[Sidenote: Thrasymachus once more.]

How truly in earnest you are, Socrates! he said; I am sure of that; and
yet most of your hearers, if I am not mistaken, are likely to be still
more earnest in their opposition to you, and will never be convinced;
Thrasymachus least of all.

Do not make a quarrel, I said, between Thrasymachus and *498D* me, who
have recently become friends, although, indeed, we were never enemies; for
I shall go on striving to the utmost until I either convert him and other
men, or do something which may profit them against the day when they live
again, and hold the like discourse in another state of existence.

You are speaking of a time which is not very near.

[Sidenote: The people hate philosophy because they have only known bad and
conventional imitations of it.]

Rather, I replied, of a time which is as nothing in comparison with
eternity. Nevertheless, I do not wonder that the many refuse to believe;
for they have never seen that of which we are now speaking realized; they
have seen only *498E* a conventional imitation of philosophy, consisting
of words artificially brought together, not like these of ours having a
natural unity. But a human being who in word and work is perfectly
moulded, as far as he can be, into the proportion and likeness of
virtue--such a man ruling in a city which *499A* bears the same image,
they have never yet seen, neither one nor many of them--do you think that
they ever did? {198}

No indeed.

No, my friend, and they have seldom, if ever, heard free and noble
sentiments; such as men utter when they are earnestly and by every means
in their power seeking after truth for the sake of knowledge, while they
look coldly on the subtleties of controversy, of which the end is opinion
and strife, whether they meet with them in the courts of law or in

They are strangers, he said, to the words of which you speak.

And this was what we foresaw, and this was the reason *499B* why truth
forced us to admit, not without fear and hesitation, that neither cities
nor States nor individuals will ever attain perfection until the small
class of philosophers whom we termed useless but not corrupt are
providentially compelled, whether they will or not, to take care of the
State, and until a like necessity be laid on the State to obey them[6]; or
until kings, or if not kings, the sons of kings or princes, are divinely
*499C* inspired with a true love of true philosophy. That either or both
of these alternatives are impossible, I see no reason to affirm: if they
were so, we might indeed be justly ridiculed as dreamers and visionaries.
Am I not right?

[Footnote 6: Reading [Greek: katko/|] or [Greek: katko/ois].]

Quite right.

[Sidenote: Somewhere, at some time, there may have been or may be a
philosopher who is also the ruler of a State.]

If then, in the countless ages of the past, or at the present hour in some
foreign clime which is far away and beyond *499D* our ken, the perfected
philosopher is or has been or hereafter shall be compelled by a superior
power to have the charge of the State, we are ready to assert to the
death, that this our constitution has been, and is--yea, and will be
whenever the Muse of Philosophy is queen. There is no impossibility in all
this; that there is a difficulty, we acknowledge ourselves.

My opinion agrees with yours, he said.

But do you mean to say that this is not the opinion of the multitude?

I should imagine not, he replied.

O my friend, I said, do not attack the multitude: they will *499E* change
their minds, if, not in an aggressive spirit, but gently {199} and with
the view of soothing them and removing their dislike of over-education,
you show them your philosophers as they really are and describe as you
were just now doing *500A* their character and profession, and then
mankind will see that he of whom you are speaking is not such as they
supposed--if they view him in this new light, they will surely change
their notion of him, and answer in another strain[7]. Who can be at enmity
with one who loves them, who that is himself gentle and free from envy
will be jealous of one in whom there is no jealousy? Nay, let me answer
for you, that in a few this harsh temper may be found but not in the
majority of mankind.

[Footnote 7: Reading [Greek: )= kai\ e)a\n ou(/t the=ntai] without a
question, and [Greek: a)lloi/an toi]: or, retaining the question and
taking [Greek: a)lloi/an do/xan] in a new sense: 'Do you mean to say
really that, viewing him in this light, they will be of another mind from
yours, and answer in another strain?']

I quite agree with you, he said.

[Sidenote: The feeling against philosophy is really a feeling against
pretended philosophers who are always talking about persons.]

*500B* And do you not also think, as I do, that the harsh feeling which
the many entertain towards philosophy originates in the pretenders, who
rush in uninvited, and are always abusing them, and finding fault with
them, who make persons instead of things the theme of their conversation?
and nothing can be more unbecoming in philosophers than this.

It is most unbecoming.

[Sidenote: The true philosopher, who has his eye fixed upon immutable
principles, will fashion States after the heavenly image.]

For he, Adeimantus, whose mind is fixed upon true being, has surely no
time to look down upon the affairs of earth, or *500C* to be filled with
malice and envy, contending against men; his eye is ever directed towards
things fixed and immutable, which he sees neither injuring nor injured by
one another, but all in order moving according to reason; these he
imitates, and to these he will, as far as he can, conform himself. Can a
man help imitating that with which he holds reverential converse?


And the philosopher holding converse with the divine order, becomes
orderly and divine, as far as the nature of *500D* man allows; but like
every one else, he will suffer from detraction.

Of course. {200}

And if a necessity be laid upon him of fashioning, not only himself, but
human nature generally, whether in States or individuals, into that which
he beholds elsewhere, will he, think you, be an unskilful artificer of
justice, temperance, and every civil virtue?

Anything but unskilful.

And if the world perceives that what we are saying about *500E* him is the
truth, will they be angry with philosophy? Will they disbelieve us, when
we tell them that no State can be happy which is not designed by artists
who imitate the heavenly pattern?

They will not be angry if they understand, he said. But *501A* how will
they draw out the plan of which you are speaking?

[Sidenote: He will begin with a 'tabula rasa' and there inscribe his

They will begin by taking the State and the manners of men, from which, as
from a tablet, they will rub out the picture, and leave a clean surface.
This is no easy task. But whether easy or not, herein will lie the
difference between them and every other legislator,--they will have
nothing to do either with individual or State, and will inscribe no laws,
until they have either found, or themselves made, a clean surface.

They will be very right, he said.

Having effected this, they will proceed to trace an outline of the

No doubt.

*501B* And when they are filling in the work, as I conceive, they will
often turn their eyes upwards and downwards: I mean that they will first
look at absolute justice and beauty and temperance, and again at the human
copy; and will mingle and temper the various elements of life into the
image of a man; and this they will conceive according to that other image,
which, when existing among men, Homer calls the form and likeness of God.

Very true, he said.

And one feature they will erase, and another they will put *501C* in,
until they have made the ways of men, as far as possible, agreeable to the
ways of God?

Indeed, he said, in no way could they make a fairer picture.

[Sidenote: The enemies of philosophy, when they hear the truth, are
gradually propitiated,]

And now, I said, are we beginning to persuade those whom {201} you
described as rushing at us with might and main, that the painter of
constitutions is such an one as we are praising; at whom they were so very
indignant because to his hands we committed the State; and are they
growing a little calmer at what they have just heard?

Much calmer, if there is any sense in them.

*501D* Why, where can they still find any ground for objection? Will they
doubt that the philosopher is a lover of truth and being?

They would not be so unreasonable.

Or that his nature, being such as we have delineated, is akin to the
highest good?

Neither can they doubt this.

But again, will they tell us that such a nature, placed under favourable
circumstances, will not be perfectly good and wise if any ever was? Or
will they prefer those whom we have rejected?

*501E* Surely not.

Then will they still be angry at our saying, that, until philosophers bear
rule, States and individuals will have no rest from evil, nor will this
our imaginary State ever be realized?

I think that they will be less angry.

[Sidenote: and at length become quite gentle.]

Shall we assume that they are not only less angry but *502A* quite gentle,
and that they have been converted and for very shame, if for no other
reason, cannot refuse to come to terms?

By all means, he said.

[Sidenote: There may have been one son of a king a philosopher who has
remained uncorrupted and has a State obedient to his will.]

Then let us suppose that the reconciliation has been effected. Will any
one deny the other point, that there may be sons of kings or princes who
are by nature philosophers?

Surely no man, he said.

And when they have come into being will any one say that they must of
necessity be destroyed; that they can hardly *502B* be saved is not denied
even by us; but that in the whole course of ages no single one of them can
escape--who will venture to affirm this?

Who indeed!

But, said I, one is enough; let there be one man who has a city obedient
to his will, and he might bring into existence the ideal polity about
which the world is so incredulous.

Yes, one is enough. {202}

The ruler may impose the laws and institutions which we have been
describing, and the citizens may possibly be willing to obey them?


And that others should approve, of what we approve, is no miracle or

*502C* I think not.

But we have sufficiently shown, in what has preceded, that all this, if
only possible, is assuredly for the best.

We have.

[Sidenote: Our constitution then is not unattainable.]

And now we say not only that our laws, if they could be enacted, would be
for the best, but also that the enactment of them, though difficult, is
not impossible.

Very good.

And so with pain and toil we have reached the end of one subject, but more
remains to be discussed;--how and by *502D* what studies and pursuits will
the saviours of the constitution be created, and at what ages are they to
apply themselves to their several studies?


[Sidenote: Recapitulation.]

I omitted the troublesome business of the possession of women, and the
procreation of children, and the appointment of the rulers, because I knew
that the perfect State would be eyed with jealousy and was difficult of
attainment; but that piece of cleverness was not of much service to me,
*502E* for I had to discuss them all the same. The women and children are
now disposed of, but the other question of the rulers must be investigated
from the very beginning. We were saying, as you will remember, that they
were to be lovers *503A* of their country, tried by the test of pleasures
and pains, and neither in hardships, nor in dangers, nor at any other
critical moment were to lose their patriotism--he was to be rejected who
failed, but he who always came forth pure, like gold tried in the
refiner's fire, was to be made a ruler, and to receive honours and rewards
in life and after death. This was the sort of thing which was being said,
and then the argument turned aside and veiled her face; not liking to
*503B* stir the question which has now arisen.

I perfectly remember, he said.

[Sidenote: The guardian must be a philosopher, and a philosopher must be a
person of rare gifts]

Yes, my friend, I said, and I then shrank from hazarding {203} the bold
word; but now let me dare to say--that the perfect guardian must be a

Yes, he said, let that be affirmed.

And do not suppose that there will be many of them; for the gifts which
were deemed by us to be essential rarely grow together; they are mostly
found in shreds and patches.

*503C* What do you mean? he said.

[Sidenote: The contrast of the quick and solid temperaments.]

You are aware, I replied, that quick intelligence, memory, sagacity,
cleverness, and similar qualities, do not often grow together, and that
persons who possess them and are at the same time high-spirited and
magnanimous are not so constituted by nature as to live orderly and in a
peaceful and settled manner; they are driven any way by their impulses,
and all solid principle goes out of them.

Very true, he said.

On the other hand, those steadfast natures which can *503D* better be
depended upon, which in a battle are impregnable to fear and immovable,
are equally immovable when there is anything to be learned; they are
always in a torpid state, and are apt to yawn and go to sleep over any
intellectual toil.

Quite true.

[Sidenote: They must be united.]

And yet we were saying that both qualities were necessary in those to whom
the higher education is to be imparted, and who are to share in any office
or command.

Certainly, he said.

And will they be a class which is rarely found?

Yes, indeed.

[Sidenote: He who is to hold command must be tested in many kinds of

*503E* Then the aspirant must not only be tested in those labours and
dangers and pleasures which we mentioned before, but there is another kind
of probation which we did not mention--he must be exercised also in many
kinds of knowledge, to see whether the soul will be able to endure the
highest of all, *504A* or will faint under them, as in any other studies
and exercises.

Yes, he said, you are quite right in testing him. But what do you mean by
the highest of all knowledge?

You may remember, I said, that we divided the soul into three parts; and
distinguished the several natures of justice, temperance, courage, and

Indeed, he said, if I had forgotten, I should not deserve to hear more.

And do you remember the word of caution which preceded the discussion of

[Footnote 8: Cp. IV. 435 D.]

To what do you refer?

[Sidenote: The shorter exposition of education, which has been already
given, inadequate.]

*504B* We were saying, if I am not mistaken, that he who wanted to see
them in their perfect beauty must take a longer and more circuitous way,
at the end of which they would appear; but that we could add on a popular
exposition of them on a level with the discussion which had preceded. And
you replied that such an exposition would be enough for you, and so the
enquiry was continued in what to me seemed to be a very inaccurate manner;
whether you were satisfied or not, it is for you to say.

Yes, he said, I thought and the others thought that you gave us a fair
measure of truth.

*504C* But, my friend, I said, a measure of such things which in any
degree falls short of the whole truth is not fair measure; for nothing
imperfect is the measure of anything, although persons are too apt to be
contented and think that they need search no further.

Not an uncommon case when people are indolent.

Yes, I said; and there cannot be any worse fault in a guardian of the
State and of the laws.


[Sidenote: The guardian must take the longer road of the higher learning,]

The guardian then, I said, must be required to take the *504D* longer
circuit, and toil at learning as well as at gymnastics, or he will never
reach the highest knowledge of all which, as we were just now saying, is
his proper calling.

What, he said, is there a knowledge still higher than this--higher than
justice and the other virtues?

Yes, I said, there is. And of the virtues too we must behold not the
outline merely, as at present--nothing short of the most finished picture
should satisfy us. When little *504E* things are elaborated with an
infinity of pains, in order that they may appear in their full beauty and
utmost clearness, how ridiculous that we should not think the highest
truths worthy of attaining the highest accuracy!

A right noble thought[9]; but do you suppose that we {205} shall refrain
from asking you what is this highest knowledge?

[Footnote 9: Or, separating [Greek: kai\ ma/la] from [Greek: a)/xion],
'True, he said, and a noble thought': or [Greek: a)/xion to\ diano/ma]
may be a gloss.]

[Sidenote: which leads upwards at last to the idea of good.]

Nay, I said, ask if you will; but I am certain that you have heard the
answer many times, and now you either do not understand me or, as I rather
think, you are disposed to be *505A* troublesome; for you have often been
told that the idea of good is the highest knowledge, and that all other
things become useful and advantageous only by their use of this. You can
hardly be ignorant that of this I was about to speak, concerning which, as
you have often heard me say, we know so little; and, without which, any
other knowledge *505B* or possession of any kind will profit us nothing.
Do you think that the possession of all other things is of any value if we
do not possess the good? or the knowledge of all other things if we have
no knowledge of beauty and goodness?

Assuredly not.

[Sidenote: But what is the good? Some say pleasure, others knowledge,
which they absurdly explain to mean knowledge of the good.]

You are further aware that most people affirm pleasure to be the good, but
the finer sort of wits say it is knowledge?


And you are aware too that the latter cannot explain what they mean by
knowledge, but are obliged after all to say knowledge of the good?

How ridiculous!

*505C* Yes, I said, that they should begin by reproaching us with our
ignorance of the good, and then presume our knowledge of it--for the good
they define to be knowledge of the good, just as if we understood them
when they use the term 'good'--this is of course ridiculous.

Most true, he said.

And those who make pleasure their good are in equal perplexity; for they
are compelled to admit that there are bad pleasures as well as good.


And therefore to acknowledge that bad and good are the same?

*505D* True.

There can be no doubt about the numerous difficulties in which this
question is involved.

There can be none.

Further, do we not see that many are willing to do or to {206} have or to
seem to be what is just and honourable without the reality; but no one is
satisfied with the appearance of good--the reality is what they seek; in
the case of the good, appearance is despised by every one.

Very true, he said.

[Sidenote: Every man pursues the good, but without knowing the nature of

Of this then, which every soul of man pursues and makes *505E* the end of
all his actions, having a presentiment that there is such an end, and yet
hesitating because neither knowing *506A* the nature nor having the same
assurance of this as of other things, and therefore losing whatever good
there is in other things,--of a principle such and so great as this ought
the best men in our State, to whom everything is entrusted, to be in the
darkness of ignorance?

Certainly not, he said.

I am sure, I said, that he who does not know how the beautiful and the
just are likewise good will be but a sorry guardian of them; and I suspect
that no one who is ignorant of the good will have a true knowledge of

That, he said, is a shrewd suspicion of yours.

*506B* And if we only have a guardian who has this knowledge our State
will be perfectly ordered?

[Sidenote: The guardian ought to know these things.]

Of course, he replied; but I wish that you would tell me whether you
conceive this supreme principle of the good to be knowledge or pleasure,
or different from either?

Aye, I said, I knew all along that a fastidious gentleman[10] like you
would not be contented with the thoughts of other people about these

[Footnote 10: Reading [Greek: a)n\r kalo/s]: or reading [Greek: a)n\r
kal=s], 'I quite well knew from the very first, that you, &c.']

True, Socrates; but I must say that one who like you has passed a lifetime
in the study of philosophy should not be *506C* always repeating the
opinions of others, and never telling his own.

Well, but has any one a right to say positively what he does not know?

Not, he said, with the assurance of positive certainty; he has no right to
do that: but he may say what he thinks, as a matter of opinion.

And do you not know, I said, that all mere opinions are bad, and the best
of them blind? You would not deny that {207} those who have any true
notion without intelligence are only like blind men who feel their way
along the road?

Very true.

And do you wish to behold what is blind and crooked and *506D* base, when
others will tell you of brightness and beauty?

[Sidenote: Socrates, Glaucon.]

Still, I must implore you, Socrates, said Glaucon, not to turn away just
as you are reaching the goal; if you will only give such an explanation of
the good as you have already given of justice and temperance and the other
virtues, we shall be satisfied.

[Sidenote: We can only attain to the things of mind through the things of
sense. The 'child' of the good.]

Yes, my friend, and I shall be at least equally satisfied, but I cannot
help fearing that I shall fail, and that my indiscreet zeal will bring
ridicule upon me. No, sweet sirs, let us not *506E* at present ask what is
the actual nature of the good, for to reach what is now in my thoughts
would be an effort too great for me. But of the child of the good who is
likest him, I would fain speak, if I could be sure that you wished to
hear--otherwise, not.

By all means, he said, tell us about the child, and you shall remain in
our debt for the account of the parent.

*507A* I do indeed wish, I replied, that I could pay, and you receive, the
account of the parent, and not, as now, of the offspring only; take,
however, this latter by way of interest[11], and at the same time have a
care that I do not render a false account, although I have no intention of
deceiving you.

[Footnote: 11: A play upon [Greek: to/kos], which means both 'offspring'
and 'interest.']

Yes, we will take all the care that we can: proceed.

Yes, I said, but I must first come to an understanding with you, and
remind you of what I have mentioned in the course of this discussion, and
at many other times.

*507B* What?

The old story, that there is a many beautiful and a many good, and so of
other things which we describe and define; to all of them the term 'many'
is applied.

True, he said.

And there is an absolute beauty and an absolute good, and of other things
to which the term 'many' is applied there is an absolute; for they may be
brought under a single idea, which is called the essence of each.

Very true. {208}

The many, as we say, are seen but not known, and the ideas are known but
not seen.


*507C* And what is the organ with which we see the visible things?

The sight, he said.

And with the hearing, I said, we hear, and with the other senses perceive
the other objects of sense?


[Sidenote: Sight the most complex of the senses,]

But have you remarked that sight is by far the most costly and complex
piece of workmanship which the artificer of the senses ever contrived?

No, I never have, he said.

Then reflect; has the ear or voice need of any third or *507D* additional
nature in order that the one may be able to hear and the other to be

Nothing of the sort.

No, indeed, I replied; and the same is true of most, if not all, the other
senses--you would not say that any of them requires such an addition?

Certainly not.

But you see that without the addition of some other nature there is no
seeing or being seen?

How do you mean?

[Sidenote: and, unlike the other senses, requires the addition of a third
nature before it can be used. This third nature is light.]

Sight being, as I conceive, in the eyes, and he who has eyes wanting to
see; colour being also present in them, still *507E* unless there be a
third nature specially adapted to the purpose, the owner of the eyes will
see nothing and the colours will be invisible.

Of what nature are you speaking?

Of that which you term light, I replied.

True, he said.

*508A* Noble, then, is the bond which links together sight and visibility,
and great beyond other bonds by no small difference of nature; for light
is their bond, and light is no ignoble thing?

Nay, he said, the reverse of ignoble.

And which, I said, of the gods in heaven would you say was the lord of
this element? Whose is that light which makes the eye to see perfectly and
the visible to appear? {209}

You mean the sun, as you and all mankind say.

May not the relation of sight to this deity be described as follows?


*508B* Neither sight nor the eye in which sight resides is the sun?


[Sidenote: The eye like the sun, but not the same with it.]

Yet of all the organs of sense the eye is the most like the sun?

By far the most like.

And the power which the eye possesses is a sort of effluence which is
dispensed from the sun?


Then the sun is not sight, but the author of sight who is recognised by

True, he said.

And this is he whom I call the child of the good, whom the good begat in
his own likeness, to be in the visible world, in *508C* relation to sight
and the things of sight, what the good is in the intellectual world in
relation to mind and the things of mind:

Will you be a little more explicit? he said.

Why, you know, I said, that the eyes, when a person directs them towards
objects on which the light of day is no longer shining, but the moon and
stars only, see dimly, and are nearly blind; they seem to have no
clearness of vision in them?

Very true.

[Sidenote: Visible objects are to be seen only when the sun shines upon
them; truth is only known when illuminated by the idea of good.]

*508D* But when they are directed towards objects on which the sun shines,
they see clearly and there is sight in them?


And the soul is like the eye: when resting upon that on which truth and
being shine, the soul perceives and understands, and is radiant with
intelligence; but when turned towards the twilight of becoming and
perishing, then she has opinion only, and goes blinking about, and is
first of one opinion and then of another, and seems to have no

Just so.

[Sidenote: The idea of good higher than science or truth (the objective
than the subjective).]

*508E* Now, that which imparts truth to the known and the power of knowing
to the knower is what I would have you term the {210} idea of good, and
this you will deem to be the cause of science[12], and of truth in so far
as the latter becomes the subject of knowledge; beautiful too, as are both
truth and knowledge, you will be right in esteeming this other nature
*509A* as more beautiful than either; and, as in the previous instance,
light and sight may be truly said to be like the sun, and yet not to be
the sun, so in this other sphere, science and truth may be deemed to be
like the good, but not the good; the good has a place of honour yet

[Footnote 12: Reading [Greek: dianoou=].]

What a wonder of beauty that must be, he said, which is the author of
science and truth, and yet surpasses them in beauty; for you surely cannot
mean to say that pleasure is the good?

God forbid, I replied; but may I ask you to consider the image in another
point of view?

*509B* In what point of view?

You would say, would you not, that the sun is not only the author of
visibility in all visible things, but of generation and nourishment and
growth, though he himself is not generation?


[Sidenote: As the sun is the cause of generation, so the good is the cause
of being and essence.]

In like manner the good may be said to be not only the author of knowledge
to all things known, but of their being and essence, and yet the good is
not essence, but far exceeds essence in dignity and power.

*509C* Glaucon said, with a ludicrous earnestness: By the light of heaven,
how amazing!

Yes, I said, and the exaggeration may be set down to you; for you made me
utter my fancies.

And pray continue to utter them; at any rate let us hear if there is
anything more to be said about the similitude of the sun.

Yes, I said, there is a great deal more.

Then omit nothing, however slight.

I will do my best, I said; but I should think that a great deal will have
to be omitted.

I hope not, he said.

*509D* You have to imagine, then, that there are two ruling {211} powers,
and that one of them is set over the intellectual world, the other over
the visible. I do not say heaven, lest you should fancy that I am playing
upon the name ([Greek: ou)rano/s, o(rato/s]). May I suppose that you have
this distinction of the visible and intelligible fixed in your mind?

I have.

[Sidenote: The two spheres of sight and knowledge are represented by a
line which is divided into two unequal parts.]

Now take a line which has been cut into two unequal[13] parts, and divide
each of them again in the same proportion, and suppose the two main
divisions to answer, one to the visible and the other to the intelligible,
and then compare the subdivisions in respect of their clearness and want
of *509E* clearness, and you will find that the first section in the
*510A* sphere of the visible consists of images. And by images I mean, in
the first place, shadows, and in the second place, reflections in water
and in solid, smooth and polished bodies and the like: Do you understand?

[Footnote 13: Reading: [Greek: a)/nisa].]

Yes, I understand.

Imagine, now, the other section, of which this is only the resemblance, to
include the animals which we see, and everything that grows or is made.

Very good.

Would you not admit that both the sections of this division have different
degrees of truth, and that the copy is to the original as the sphere of
opinion is to the sphere of knowledge?

*510B* Most undoubtedly.

Next proceed to consider the manner in which the sphere of the
intellectual is to be divided.

In what manner?

[Sidenote: Images and hypotheses.]

Thus:--There are two subdivisions, in the lower of which the soul uses the
figures given by the former division as images; the enquiry can only be
hypothetical, and instead of going upwards to a principle descends to the
other end; in the higher of the two, the soul passes out of hypotheses,
and goes up to a principle which is above hypotheses, making no use of
images[14] as in the former case, but proceeding only in and through the
ideas themselves.

[Footnote 14: Reading [Greek: (=nper e)kei=no ei)ko/nn].]

I do not quite understand your meaning, he said. {212}

[Sidenote: The hypotheses of mathematics.]

*510C* Then I will try again; you will understand me better when I have
made some preliminary remarks. You are aware that students of geometry,
arithmetic, and the kindred sciences assume the odd and the even and the
figures and three kinds of angles and the like in their several branches
of science; these are their hypotheses, which they and every body are
supposed to know, and therefore they do not deign to give any account of
them either to themselves or others; *510D* but they begin with them, and
go on until they arrive at last, and in a consistent manner, at their

Yes, he said, I know.

[Sidenote: In both spheres hypotheses are used, in the lower taking the
form of images, but in the higher the soul ascends above hypotheses to the
idea of good.]

And do you not know also that although they make use of the visible forms
and reason about them, they are thinking not of these, but of the ideals
which they resemble; not of the *510E* figures which they draw, but of the
absolute square and the absolute diameter, and so on--the forms which they
draw or make, and which have shadows and reflections in water of their
own, are converted by them into images, but they are really seeking to
behold the things themselves, which can only be seen with the eye of the

*511A* That is true.

And of this kind I spoke as the intelligible, although in the search after
it the soul is compelled to use hypotheses; not ascending to a first
principle, because she is unable to rise above the region of hypothesis,
but employing the objects of which the shadows below are resemblances in
their turn as images, they having in relation to the shadows and
reflections of them a greater distinctness, and therefore a higher value.

*511B* I understand, he said, that you are speaking of the province of
geometry and the sister arts.

[Sidenote: Dialectic by the help of hypotheses rises above hypotheses.]

And when I speak of the other division of the intelligible, you will
understand me to speak of that other sort of knowledge which reason
herself attains by the power of dialectic, using the hypotheses not as
first principles, but only as hypotheses--that is to say, as steps and
points of departure into a world which is above hypotheses, in order that
she may soar beyond them to the first principle of the whole; and clinging
to this and then to that which depends on this, by successive steps she
descends again without the aid of {213} *511C* any sensible object, from
ideas, through ideas, and in ideas she ends.

[Sidenote: Return to psychology.]

I understand you, he replied; not perfectly, for you seem to me to be
describing a task which is really tremendous; but, at any rate,
I understand you to say that knowledge and being, which the science of
dialectic contemplates, are clearer than the notions of the arts, as they
are termed, which proceed from hypotheses only: these are also
contemplated by the understanding, and not by the senses: yet, because
*511D* they start from hypotheses and do not ascend to a principle, those
who contemplate them appear to you not to exercise the higher reason upon
them, although when a first principle is added to them they are cognizable
by the higher reason. And the habit which is concerned with geometry and
the cognate sciences I suppose that you would term understanding and not
reason, as being intermediate between opinion and reason.

[Sidenote: Four faculties: Reason, understanding, faith, perception of

You have quite conceived my meaning, I said; and now, corresponding to
these four divisions, let there be four faculties in the soul--reason
answering to the highest, *511E* understanding to the second, faith (or
conviction) to the third, and perception of shadows to the last--and let
there be a scale of them, and let us suppose that the several faculties
have clearness in the same degree that their objects have truth.

I understand, he replied, and give my assent, and accept your arrangement.


[Sidenote: _Republic VII._ Socrates, Glaucon.]

[Sidenote: The den, the prisoners; the light at a distance;]

*514A* And now, I said, let me show in a figure how far our nature is
enlightened or unenlightened:--Behold! human beings living in a
underground den, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all
along the den; here they have been from their childhood, and have their
legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and *514B* can only see
before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads.
Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the
fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you
look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette
players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets.

I see.

[Sidenote: the low wall, and the moving figures of which the shadows are
seen on the opposite wall of the den.]

And do you see, I said, men passing along the wall carrying *514C* all
sorts of vessels, and statues and figures of animals *515A* made of wood
and stone and various materials, which appear over the wall? Some of them
are talking, others silent.

You have shown me a strange image, and they are strange prisoners.

Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only their own shadows, or the
shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the

True, he said; how could they see anything but the *515B* shadows if they
were never allowed to move their heads?

And of the objects which are being carried in like manner they would only
see the shadows?

Yes, he said.

And if they were able to converse with one another, would they not suppose
that they were naming what was actually before them[1]? {215}

[Footnote 1: Reading [Greek: paro/nta].]

Very true.

[Sidenote: The prisoners would mistake the shadows for realities.]

And suppose further that the prison had an echo which came from the other
side, would they not be sure to fancy when one of the passers-by spoke
that the voice which they heard came from the passing shadow?

No question, he replied.

*515C* To them, I said, the truth would be literally nothing but the
shadows of the images.

That is certain.

[Sidenote: And when released, they would still persist in maintaining the
superior truth of the shadows.]

And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners
are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is
liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck round and
walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare
will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of *515D*
which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive some
one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now,
when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more
real existence, he has a clearer vision,--what will be his reply? And you
may further imagine that his instructor is pointing to the objects as they
pass and requiring him to name them,--will he not be perplexed? Will he
not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the
objects which are now shown to him?

Far truer.

*515E* And if he is compelled to look straight at the light, will he not
have a pain in his eyes which will make him turn away to take refuge in
the objects of vision which he can see, and which he will conceive to be
in reality clearer than the things which are now being shown to him?

True, he said.

[Sidenote: When dragged upwards, they would be dazzled by excess of

And suppose once more, that he is reluctantly dragged up a steep and
rugged ascent, and held fast until he is forced into the presence of the
sun himself, is he not likely to be *516A* pained and irritated? When he
approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to
see anything at all of what are now called realities.

Not all in a moment, he said.

He will require to grow accustomed to the sight of the {216} upper world.
And first he will see the shadows best, next the reflections of men and
other objects in the water, and then the objects themselves; then he will
gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars and the spangled heaven;
*516B* and he will see the sky and the stars by night better than the sun
or the light of the sun by day?


[Sidenote: At length they will see the sun and understand his nature.]

Last of all he will be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections of
him in the water, but he will see him in his own proper place, and not in
another; and he will contemplate him as he is.


He will then proceed to argue that this is he who gives the season and the
years, and is the guardian of all that is in the visible world, and in a
certain way the cause of all *516C* things which he and his fellows have
been accustomed to behold?

Clearly, he said, he would first see the sun and then reason about him.

[Sidenote: They would then pity their old companions of the den.]

And when he remembered his old habitation, and the wisdom of the den and
his fellow-prisoners, do you not suppose that he would felicitate himself
on the change, and pity them?

Certainly, he would.

And if they were in the habit of conferring honours among themselves on
those who were quickest to observe the passing shadows and to remark which
of them went before, and *516D* which followed after, and which were
together; and who were therefore best able to draw conclusions as to the
future, do you think that he would care for such honours and glories, or
envy the possessors of them? Would he not say with Homer,

  'Better to be the poor servant of a poor master,'

and to endure anything, rather than think as they do and live after their

*516E* Yes, he said, I think that he would rather suffer anything than
entertain these false notions and live in this miserable manner.

[Sidenote: But when they returned to the den they would see much worse
than those who had never left it.]

Imagine once more, I said, such an one coming suddenly {217} out of the
sun to be replaced in his old situation; would he not be certain to have
his eyes full of darkness?

To be sure, he said.

And if there were a contest, and he had to compete in measuring the
shadows with the prisoners who had never *517A* moved out of the den,
while his sight was still weak, and before his eyes had become steady (and
the time which would be needed to acquire this new habit of sight might be
very considerable), would he not be ridiculous? Men would say of him that
up he went and down he came without his eyes; and that it was better not
even to think of ascending; and if any one tried to loose another and lead
him up to the light, let them only catch the offender, and they would put
him to death.

No question, he said.

[Sidenote: The prison is the world of sight, the light of the fire is the

This entire allegory, I said, you may now append, dear *517B* Glaucon, to
the previous argument; the prison-house is the world of sight, the light
of the fire is the sun, and you will not misapprehend me if you interpret
the journey upwards to be the ascent of the soul