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[1264a] [1] And this very point also must not be ignored, that attention must be paid to length of time and to the long period of years, in which it would not have escaped notice if these measures were good ones; for nearly all of them have been discovered already, although some of them have not been collected together and others though brought to knowledge are not put into practice. And their value would become most manifest if one could see such a constitution in actual process of formation; for one will only be able to construct Plato's state by introducing its partitions and dividing up the community into common messes and also into brotherhoods and tribes. So that in the upshot no other regulation will have been enacted except the exemption of the Guardians from the work of agriculture, which is a measure that even now the Spartans attempt to introduce.

Moreover, the working of the constitution as a whole in regard to the members of the state has also not been described by Socrates, nor is it easy to say what it will be. Yet the general mass of the citizens of the other classes make almost the bulk of the state, and about these no definite regulations are laid down, as to whether the Farmers also are to have their property in common or to hold it in private ownership, and also whether community of wives and children is to apply to them or not. For if the Farmers are to have the same complete communism, what will be the difference between them and the Guardian class? or what advantage will they gain by submitting to their government? or what consideration will induce them to submit to [20] the government, unless the Guardians adopt some clever device like that of the Cretans? These have conceded to their slaves all the same rights as they have themselves except that they are forbidden gymnastic exercises and the possession of arms. But if the family life and property of the Farmers are to be such as they are in other states, what sort of communism will there be? For there will inevitably be two states in one, and these antagonistic to one another. For Socrates makes the Guardians a sort of garrison, while the Farmers, Artisans and other classes are the citizens.1 But quarrels and lawsuits and all the other evils which according to Socrates exist in actual states will all be found among his citizens too. Yet he says that owing to their education they will not need many regulations such as city and market by-laws and the other regulations of that sort, although he assigns his education only to the Guardians. Again, he makes the Farmers the masters of the estates, for which they pay rent; but they are likely to be far more unmanageable and rebellious than the classes of helots, serfs and slaves in certain states today. However, whether this communism is to be compulsory for the Farmers in the same way as for the Guardians or whether it is not, has as a matter of fact not been definitely stated anywhere, nor is there any information about the connected questions, what are to be the political functions and the education of the lower classes, and the laws affecting them. But it is not easy to discover the answers to these questions, yet the character of the lower classes is of no small importance for the preservation of the community of the Guardians.

1 Or (omitting τοὺς before τεχνίτας) ‘For Socrates makes one set of men guardians, a sort of garrison, and another set farmers and artisans and citizens of the other sorts.’

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