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[1329a] [1] (for leisure is needed both for the development of virtue and for active participation in politics). And since the state also contains the military class and the class that deliberates about matters of policy and judges questions of justice, and these are manifestly in a special sense parts of the state, are these classes also to be set down as distinct or are both functions to be assigned to the same persons? But here also the answer is clear, because in a certain sense they should be assigned to the same persons, but in a certain sense to different ones. Inasmuch as each of these two functions belongs to a different prime of life, and one requires wisdom, the other strength, they are to be assigned to different people; but inasmuch as it is a thing impossible that when a set of men are able to employ force and to resist control, these should submit always to be ruled, from this point of view both functions must be assigned to the same people; for those who have the power of arms have the power to decide whether the constitution shall stand or fall. The only course left them is to assign this constitutional function to both sets of men without distinction,1 yet not simultaneously, but, as in the natural order of things strength is found in the younger men and wisdom in the elder, it seems to be expedient and just for their functions to be allotted to both in this way, for this mode of division possesses conformity with merit. Moreover the ownership of properties also must be centered round these classes, for the citizens must necessarily possess plentiful means, and these are the citizens. For the [20] artisan class has no share in the state, nor has any other class that is not ‘an artificer of virtue.’2 And this is clear from our basic principle; for in conjunction with virtue happiness is bound to be forthcoming, but we should pronounce a state happy having regard not to a particular section of it but to all its citizens. And it is also manifest that the properties must belong to these classes, inasmuch as3 it is necessary for the tillers of the soil to be slaves, or serfs of alien race. There remains of the list enumerated the class of priests; and the position of this class also is manifest. Priests must be appointed neither from the tillers of the soil nor from the artisans, for it is seemly that the gods should be worshipped by citizens; and since the citizen body is divided into two parts, the military class and the councillor class, and as it is seemly that those who have relinquished these duties owing to age should render to the gods their due worship and should spend their retirement in their service, it is to these that the priestly offices should be assigned.

We have therefore stated the things indispensable for the constitution of a state, and the things that are parts of a state: tillers of the soil, craftsmen and the laboring class generally are a necessary appurtenance of states, but the military and deliberative classes are parts of the state; and moreover each of these divisions is separate from the others, either permanently or by turn.4

And that it is proper for the state to be divided up into castes and for the military class to be distinct from that of the tillers of the soil

1 Or, amending this curious Greek, ‘for the constitution to assign both these functions to the same people.’

2 A Platonic phrase, Plat. Rep. 500d.

3 As this is a new point, perhaps we should transpose ‘inasmuch as’ ( εἴπερ) and ‘that’ ( ὅτι) in the line above.

4 i.e. the ‘appurtenances’ are permanently separate form the army and the deliberative, which are the ‘parts,’ and which are separate from each other only ‘by turn,’ i.e. a citizen passes on from one to the other.

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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), THEBAE
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Plato, Republic, 500d
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