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[326a] yet as regards political action I kept constantly waiting for an opportune moment; until, finally, looking at all the States which now exist, I perceived that one and all they are badly governed; for the state of their laws is such as to be almost incurable without some marvellous overhauling and good-luck to boot. So in my praise of the right philosophy I was compelled to declare1 that by it one is enabled to discern all forms of justice both political and individual. Wherefore the classes of mankind (I said) will have no cessation from evils until either the class of those [326b] who are right and true philosophers attains political supremacy, or else the class of those who hold power in the States becomes, by some dispensation of Heaven, really philosophic.2

This was the view I held when I came to Italy and Sicily, at the time of my first arrival. And when I came I was in no wise pleased at all with “the blissful life,” as it is there termed, replete as it is with Italian and Syracusan banquetings3; for thus one's existence is spent in gorging food twice a day and never sleeping alone at night, [326c] and all the practices which accompany this mode of living. For not a single man of all who live beneath the heavens could ever become wise if these were his practices from his youth, since none will be found to possess a nature so admirably compounded; nor would he ever be likely to become temperate; and the same may truly be said of all other forms of virtue. And no State would remain stable under laws of any kind, if its citizens, while supposing that they ought to spend everywhere to excess, [326d] yet believed that they ought to cease from all exertion except feastings and drinkings and the vigorous pursuit of their amours. Of necessity these States never cease changing into tyrannies, oligarchies, and democracies,4 and the men who hold power in them cannot endure so much as the mention of the name of a just government with equal laws. Holding these views, then, as well as those previously formed, I travelled through to Syracuse—possibly as luck would have it, [326e] though it seems likely that one of the Superior Powers was contriving at that time to lay the foundation of the events which have now taken place in regard to Dion and in regard to Syracuse; and of still more events, as is to be feared, unless you now hearken to the counsel I offer you now, for the second time.5

What, then, do I mean by saying that my arrival in Sicily on that occasion was

1 An obvious reference to Plat. Rep. 473d, Plat. Rep. 501e.

2 This echoes the famous passage in Plat. Rep. 5.473d; cf. Plat. L. 7.328a infra.

3 cf. Plat. Rep. 404d.

4 These are the three defective forms of government, contrasting with the three correct forms, monarchy, aristocracy, and constitutional republic; see Plat. Stat. 291d ff., Plat. Stat. 302b ff.

5 The first occasion being at Olympia in 360 B.C.; cf. Plat. L. 7.350b ff.

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