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[884a]

Athenian
Next after cases of outrage we shall state for cases of violence one universally inclusive principle of law, to this effect:—No one shall carry or drive off anything which belongs to others, nor shall he use any of his neighbor's goods unless he has gained the consent of the owner; for from such action proceed all the evils above mentioned—past, present and to come. Of the rest, the most grave are the licentious and outrageous acts of the young; and outrages offend most gravely when they are directed against sacred things, and they are especially grave when they are directed against objects which are public as well as holy, or partially public, as being shared in by the members of a tribe or other similar community. Second, and second in point of gravity, come offences against sacred objects and tombs that are private; [885a] and third, offences against parents, when a person commits the outrage otherwise than in the cases already described.1 A fourth2 kind of outrage is when a man, in defiance of the magistrates, drives or carries off or uses any of their things without their own consent; and a fifth kind will be an outrage against the civic right of an individual private citizen which calls for judicial vindication. To all these severally one all-embracing law must be assigned. As to temple-robbing, whether done by open violence or secretly, [885b] it has been already stated summarily what the punishment should be; and in respect of all the outrages, whether of word or deed, which a man commits, either by tongue or hand, against the gods, we must state the punishment he should suffer, after we have first delivered the admonition. It shall be as follows:—No one who believes, as the laws prescribe, in the existence of the gods has ever yet done an impious deed voluntarily, or uttered a lawless word: he that acts so is in one or other of these three conditions of mind—either he does not believe in what I have said; or, secondly, he believes that the gods exist, but have no care for men; or, thirdly, he believes that they are easy to win over when bribed by offerings and prayers.3 [885c]

Clinias
What, then, shall we do or say to such people?

Athenian
Let us listen first, my good sir, to what they, as I imagine, say mockingly, in their contempt for us.

Clinias
What is it?

Athenian
In derision they would probably say this: “O Strangers of Athens, Lacedaemon and Crete, what you say is true. Some of us do not believe in gods at all; others of us believe in gods of the kinds you mention. So we claim now, as you claimed in the matter of laws, [885d] that before threatening us harshly, you should first try to convince and teach us, by producing adequate proofs, that gods exist, and that they are too good to be wheedled by gifts and turned aside from justice. For as it is, this and such as this is the account of them we hear from those who are reputed the best of poets, orators, seers, priests, and thousands upon thousands of others; and consequently most of us, instead of seeking to avoid wrong-doing, do the wrong and then try to make it good. [885e] Now from lawgivers like you, who assert that you are gentle rather than severe, we claim that you should deal with us first by way of persuasion; and if what you say about the existence of the gods is superior to the arguments of others in point of truth, even though it be but little superior in eloquence, then probably you would succeed in convincing us. Try then, if you think this reasonable, to meet our challenge.

Clinias
Surely it seems easy, Stranger, to assert with truth [886a] that gods exist?

Athenian
How so?

Clinias
First, there is the evidence of the earth, the sun, the stars, and all the universe, and the beautiful ordering of the seasons, marked out by years and months; and then there is the further fact that all Greeks and barbarians believe in the existence of gods.

Athenian
My dear sir, these bad men cause me alarm—for I will never call it “awe”—lest haply they scoff at us. For the cause of the corruption in their case is one you are not aware of; since you imagine that it is solely by their incontinence in regard to pleasures and desires [886b] that their souls are impelled to that impious life of theirs.

Clinias
What other cause can there be, Stranger, besides this?

Athenian
One which you, who live elsewhere, could hardly have any knowledge of or notice at all.

Clinias
What is this cause you are now speaking of?

Athenian
A very grievous unwisdom which is reputed to be the height of wisdom.

Clinias
What do you mean?

Athenian
We at Athens have accounts4 preserved in writing (though, I am told, such do not exist in your country, owing to the excellence of your polity), [886c] some of them being in a kind of meter, others without meter, telling about the gods: the oldest of these accounts relate how the first substance of Heaven and all else came into being, and shortly after the beginning they go on to give a detailed theogony, and to tell how, after they were born, the gods associated with one another. These accounts, whether good or bad for the hearers in other respects, it is hard for us to censure because of their antiquity; but as regards the tendance and respect due to parents, I certainly would never praise them or say that they are either helpful or wholly true accounts. [886d] Such ancient accounts, however, we may pass over and dismiss: let them be told in the way best pleasing to the gods. It is rather the novel views of our modern scientists5 that we must hold responsible as the cause of mischief. For the result of the arguments of such people is this,—that when you and I try to prove the existence of the gods by pointing to these very objects—sun, moon, stars, and earth—as instances of deity and divinity, people who have been converted by these scientists will assert that these things are simply earth and stone, [886e] incapable of paying any heed to human affairs, and that these beliefs of ours are speciously tricked out with arguments to make them plausible.

Clinias
The assertion you mention, Stranger, is indeed a dangerous one, even if it stood alone; but now that such assertions are legion, the danger is still greater.

Athenian
What then? What shall we say? What must we do? Are we to make our defence as it were before a court of impious men, where someone had accused us [887a] of doing something dreadful by assuming in our legislation the existence of gods? Or shall we rather dismiss the whole subject and revert again to our laws, lest our prelude prove actually more lengthy than the laws? For indeed our discourse would be extended in no small degree if we were to furnish those men who desire to be impious with an adequate demonstration by means of argument concerning those subjects which ought, as they claimed, to be discussed, and so to convert them to fear of the gods, and then finally, when we had caused them to shrink from irreligion, to proceed to enact the appropriate laws. [887b]

Clinias
Still, Stranger, we have frequently (considering the shortness of the time) made6 the very statement,—that we have no need on the present occasion to prefer brevity of speech to lengthiness (for, as the saying goes, “no one is chasing on our heels”); and to show ourselves choosing the briefest in preference to the best would be mean and ridiculous. And it is of the highest importance that our arguments, showing that the gods exist and that they are good and honor justice more than do men, should by all means possess some degree of persuasiveness; [887c] for such a prelude is the best we could have in defence, as one may say, of all our laws. So without any repugnance or undue haste, and with all the capacity we have for endowing such arguments with persuasiveness, let us expound them as fully as we can, and without any reservation.

Athenian
This speech of yours seems to me to call for a prefatory prayer, seeing that you are so eager and ready; nor is it possible any longer to defer our statement. Come, then; how is one to argue on behalf of the existence of the gods without passion? For we needs must be vexed and indignant with the men who have been, and now are, [887d] responsible for laying on us this burden of argument, through their disbelief in those stories which they used to hear, while infants and sucklings, from the lips of their nurses and mothers—stories chanted to them, as it were, in lullabies, whether in jest or in earnest; and the same stories they heard repeated also in prayers at sacrifices, and they saw spectacles which illustrated them, of the kind which the young delight to see and hear when performed at sacrifices; and their own parents they saw showing the utmost zeal on behalf of themselves and their children in addressing the gods in prayers and supplications, as though they most certainly existed; and at the rising and setting of the sun and moon [887e] they heard and saw the prostrations and devotions of all the Greeks and barbarians, under all conditions of adversity and prosperity, directed to these luminaries, not as though they were not gods, but as though they most certainly were gods beyond the shadow of a doubt—all this evidence is contemned by these people, and that for no sufficient reason, as everyone endowed with a grain of sense would affirm; and so they are now forcing us to enter on our present argument. [888a] How, I ask, can one possibly use mild terms in admonishing such men, and at the same time teach them, to begin with, that the gods do exist? Yet one must bravely attempt the task; for it would never do for both parties to be enraged at once,—the one owing to greed for pleasure, the other with indignation at men like them. So let our prefatory address to the men thus corrupted in mind be dispassionate in tone, and, quenching our passion, let us speak mildly, as though we were conversing with one particular person of the kind described, in the following terms: “My child, you are still young, and time as it advances [888b] will cause you to reverse many of the opinions you now hold: so wait till then before pronouncing judgment on matters of most grave importance; and of these the gravest of all—though at present you regard it as naught—is the question of holding a right view about the gods and so living well, or the opposite. Now in the first place, I should be saying what is irrefutably true if I pointed out to you this signal fact, that neither you by yourself nor yet your friends are the first and foremost to adopt this opinion about the gods; rather is it true that people who suffer from this disease are always springing up, in greater or less numbers. But I, who have met with many of these people, would declare this to you, that not a single man [888c] who from his youth has adopted this opinion, that the gods have no existence, has ever yet continued till old age constant in the same view; but the other two false notions about the gods do remain—not, indeed, with many, but still with some,—the notion, namely, that the gods exist, but pay no heed to human affairs, and the other notion that they do pay heed, but are easily won over by prayers and offerings. For a doctrine about them that is to prove the truest you can possibly form you will, if you take my advice, wait, considering the while whether the truth stands thus or otherwise, [888d] and making enquiries not only from all other men, but especially from the lawgiver; and in the meantime do not dare to be guilty of any impiety in respect of the gods. For it must be the endeavor of him who is legislating for you both now and hereafter to instruct you in the truth of these matters.

Clinias
Our statement thus far, Stranger, is most excellent.

Athenian
Very true, O Megillus and Clinias; but we have plunged unawares into a wondrous argument.

Clinias
What is it you mean? [888e]

Athenian
That which most people account to be the most scientific of all arguments.

Clinias
Explain more clearly.

Athenian
It is stated by some that all things which are coming into existence, or have or will come into existence, do so partly by nature, partly by art, and partly owing to chance.

Clinias
Is it not a right statement?

Athenian
It is likely, to be sure, that what men of science say is true. Anyhow, let us follow them up, and consider [889a] what it is that the people in their camp really intend.

Clinias
By all means let us do so.

Athenian
It is evident, they assert, that the greatest and most beautiful things are the work of nature and of chance, and the lesser things that of art,—for art receives from nature the great and primary products as existing, and itself molds and shapes all the smaller ones, which we commonly call “artificial.”

Clinias
How do you mean? [889b]

Athenian
I will explain it more clearly. Fire and water and earth and air, they say, all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art; and by means of these, which are wholly inanimate, the bodies which come next—those, namely, of the earth, sun, moon and stars—have been brought into existence. It is by chance all these elements move, by the interplay of their respective forces, and according as they meet together and combine fittingly,—hot with cold, dry with moist, [889c] soft with hard, and all such necessary mixtures as result from the chance combination of these opposites,—in this way and by those means they have brought into being the whole Heaven and all that is in the Heaven, and all animals, too, and plants—after that all the seasons had arisen from these elements; and all this, as they assert, not owing to reason, nor to any god or art, but owing, as we have said, to nature and chance.7 As a later product of these, art comes later; and it, being mortal itself and of mortal birth, begets later playthings [889d] which share but little in truth, being images of a sort akin to the arts themselves—images such as painting begets, and music, and the arts which accompany these. Those arts which really produce something serious are such as share their effect with nature,—like medicine, agriculture, and gymnastic. Politics too, as they say, shares to a small extent in nature, but mostly in art; and in like manner all legislation which is [889e] based on untrue assumptions is due, not to nature, but to art.

Clinias
What do you mean?

Athenian
The first statement, my dear sir, which these people make about the gods is that they exist by art and not by nature,—by certain legal conventions8 which differ from place to place, according as each tribe agreed when forming their laws. They assert, moreover, that there is one class of things beautiful by nature, and another class beautiful by convention9; while as to things just, they do not exist at all by nature, but men are constantly in dispute about them and continually altering them, and whatever alteration they make at any time [890a] is at that time authoritative, though it owes its existence to art and the laws, and not in any way to nature. All these, my friends, are views which young people imbibe from men of science, both prose-writers and poets, who maintain that the height of justice is to succeed by force; whence it comes that the young people are afflicted with a plague of impiety, as though the gods were not such as the law commands us to conceive them; and, because of this, factions also arise, when these teachers attract them towards the life that is right “according to nature,” which consists in being master over the rest in reality, instead of being a slave to others according to legal convention.10 [890b]

Clinias
What a horrible statement you have described, Stranger! And what widespread corruption of the young in private families as well as publicly in the States!

Athenian
That is indeed true, Clinias. What, then, do you think the lawgiver ought to do, seeing that these people have been armed in this way for a long time past? Should he merely stand up in the city and threaten all the people that unless they affirm that the gods exist and conceive them in their minds to be such as the law maintains11 and so likewise with regard to the beautiful and the just and all the greatest things, [890c] as many as relate to virtue and vice, that they must regard and perform these in the way prescribed by the lawgiver in his writings; and that whosoever fails to show himself obedient to the laws must either be put to death or else be punished, in one case by stripes and imprisonment, in another by degradation, in others by poverty and exile? But as to persuasion, should the lawgiver, while enacting the people's laws, refuse to blend any persuasion with his statements, and thus tame them so far as possible? [890d]

Clinias
Certainly not, Stranger; on the contrary, if persuasion can be applied in such matters in even the smallest degree, no lawgiver who is of the slightest account must ever grow weary, but must (as they say) “leave no stone unturned”12 to reinforce the ancient saying that gods exist, and all else that you recounted just now; and law itself he must also defend and art, as things which exist by nature or by a cause not inferior to nature, since according to right reason they are the offspring of mind, even as you are now, as I think, asserting; and I agree with you.

Athenian
What now, my most ardent Clinias? Are not statements thus made to the masses [890e] difficult for us to keep up with in argument, and do they not also involve us in arguments portentously long?

Clinias
Well now, Stranger, if we had patience with ourselves when we discoursed at such length on the subjects of drinking and music,13 shall we not exercise patience in dealing with the gods and similar subjects? Moreover, such a discourse is of the greatest help for intelligent legislation, [891a] since legal ordinances when put in writing remain wholly unchanged, as though ready to submit to examination for all time, so that one need have no fear even if they are hard to listen to at first, seeing that even the veriest dullard can come back frequently to examine them, nor yet if they are lengthy, provided that they are beneficial. Consequently, in my opinion, it could not possibly be either reasonable or pious for any man to refrain from lending his aid to such arguments to the best of his power.14

Megillus
What Clinias says, Stranger, is, I think, most excellent. [891b]

Athenian
Most certainly it is, Megillus; and we must do as he says. For if the assertions mentioned had not been sown broadcast well-nigh over the whole world of men, there would have been no need of counter-arguments to defend the existence of the gods; but as it is, they are necessary. For when the greatest laws are being destroyed by wicked men, who is more bound to come to their rescue than the lawgiver?

Megillus
No one.

Athenian
Come now, Clinias, do you also answer me again, [891c] for you too must take a hand in the argument: it appears that the person who makes these statements holds fire, water, earth and air to be the first of all things, and that it is precisely to these things that he gives the name of “nature,” while soul he asserts to be a later product therefrom. Probably, indeed, he does not merely “appear” to do this, but actually makes it clear to us in his account.

Clinias
Certainly.

Athenian
Can it be then, in Heaven's name, that now we have discovered, as it were, a very fountain-head of irrational opinion in all the men who have ever yet handled physical investigations? Consider, and examine each statement. For it is a matter [891d] of no small importance if it can be shown that those who handle impious arguments, and lead others after them, employ their arguments not only ill, but erroneously. And this seems to me to be the state of affairs.

Clinias
Well said; but try to explain wherein the error lies.

Athenian
We shall probably have to handle rather an unusual argument.

Clinias
We must not shrink, Stranger. You think, I perceive, that we shall be traversing alien ground, outside legislation, if we handle such arguments. But if there is no other way in which it is possible for us to speak in concert with the truth, as now legally declared, [891e] except this way, then in this way, my good sir, we must speak.

Athenian
It appears, then, that I may at once proceed with an argument that is somewhat unusual; it is this. That which is the first cause of becoming and perishing in all things, this is declared by the arguments which have produced the soul of the impious to be not first, but generated later, and that which is the later to be the earlier; and because of this they have fallen into error regarding the real nature of divine existence. [892a]

Clinias
I do not yet understand.

Athenian
As regards the soul, my comrade, nearly all men appear to be ignorant of its real nature and its potency, and ignorant not only of other facts about it, but of its origin especially,—how that it is one of the first existences, and prior to all bodies, and that it more than anything else is what governs all the changes and modifications of bodies. And if this is really the state of the case, must not things which are akin to soul be necessarily prior in origin to things which belong to body, seeing that soul [892b] is older than body?15

Clinias
Necessarily.

Athenian
Then opinion and reflection and thought and art and law will be prior to things hard and soft and heavy and light; and further, the works and actions that are great and primary will be those of art, while those that are natural, and nature itself which they wrongly call by this name—will be secondary, and will derive their origin from art and reason. [892c]

Clinias
How are they wrong?

Athenian
By “nature” they intend to indicate production of things primary; but if soul shall be shown to have been produced first (not fire or air), but soul first and foremost,—it would most truly be described as a superlatively “natural” existence. Such is the state of the case, provided that one can prove that soul is older than body, but not otherwise.

Clinias
Most true.

Athenian
Shall we then, in the next place, address ourselves to the task of proving this? [892d]

Clinias
Certainly.

Athenian
Let us guard against a wholly deceitful argument, lest haply it seduce us who are old with its specious youthfulness, and then elude us and make us a laughing-stock, and so we get the reputation of missing even little things while aiming at big things. Consider then. Suppose that we three had to cross a river that was in violent flood, and that I, being the youngest of the party and having often had experience of currents, were to suggest that the proper course [892e] is for me to make an attempt first by myself—leaving you two in safety—to see whether it is possible for you older men also to cross, or how the matter stands, and then, if the river proved to be clearly fordable, I were to call you, and, by my experience, help you across, while if it proved impassable for such as you, in that case the risk should be wholly mine,—such a suggestion on my part would have sounded reasonable. So too in the present instance; the argument now in front of us is too violent, and probably impassable, for such strength as you possess; so, lest it make you faint and dizzy as it rushes past and poses you with questions [893a] you are unused to answering,16 and thus causes an unpleasing lack of shapeliness and seemliness, I think that I ought now to act in the way described—question myself first, while you remain listening in safety, and then return answer to myself, and in this way proceed through the whole argument until it has discussed in full the subject of soul, and demonstrated that soul is prior to body.17

Clinias
Your suggestion, Stranger, we think excellent; so do as you suggest. [893b]

Athenian
Come then,—if ever we ought to invoke God's aid, now is the time it ought to be done. Let the gods be invoked with all zeal to aid in the demonstration of their own existence. And let us hold fast, so to speak, to a safe cable as we embark on the present discussion. And it is safest, as it seems to me, to adopt the following method of reply when questions such as this are put on these subjects; for instance, when a man asks me—“Do all things stand still, Stranger, and nothing move? Or is the exact opposite the truth? Or do some things move [893c] and some remain at rest?” My answer will be, “Some things move, others remain at rest.”18 “Then do not the standing things stand, and the moving things move, in a certain place?” “Of course.” “And some will do this in one location, and others in several.” “You mean,” we will say, “that those which have the quality of being at rest at the center move in one location, as when the circumference of circles that are said to stand still revolves?” “Yes. And we perceive that motion of this kind, which simultaneously turns in this revolution both the largest circle and the smallest, distributes itself [893d] to small and great proportionally, altering in proportion its own quantity; whereby it functions as the source of all such marvels as result from its supplying great and small circles simultaneously with harmonizing rates of slow and fast speeds—a condition of things that one might suppose to be impossible.” “Quite true.” “And by things moving in several places you seem to me to mean all things that move by locomotion, continually passing from one spot to another, and sometimes resting [893e] on one axis19 and sometimes, by revolving, on several axes. And whenever one such object meets another, if the other is at rest, the moving object is split up; but if they collide with others moving to meet them from an opposite direction, they form a combination which is midway between the two.” “Yes, I affirm that these things are so, just as you describe.” “Further, things increase when combined and decrease when separated in all cases where the regular constitution20 of each persists; but if this does not remain, then both these conditions cause them to perish. And what is the condition which must occur [894a] in everything to bring about generation? Obviously whenever a starting-principle receiving increase comes to the second change, and from this to the next, and on coming to the third admits of perception by percipients.21 Everything comes into being by this process of change and alteration; and a thing is really existent whenever it remains fixed, but when it changes into another constitution it is utterly destroyed.” Have we now, my friends, mentioned all the forms of motion, capable of numerical classification,22 [894b] save only two?

Clinias
What two?

Athenian
Those, my good sir, for the sake of which, one may say, the whole of our present enquiry was undertaken.

Clinias
Explain more clearly.

Athenian
It was undertaken, was it not, for the sake of soul?

Clinias
Certainly.

Athenian
As one of the two let us count that motion which is always able to move other things, but unable to move itself; and that motion which always is able to move both itself and other things,—by way of combination and separation, of increase and decrease, of generation and corruption,—let us count as another separate unit [894c] in the total number of motions.

Clinias
Be it so.

Athenian
Thus we shall reckon as ninth on the list that motion which always moves another object and is moved by another; while that motion which moves both itself and another, and which is harmoniously adapted to all forms of action and passion, and is termed the real change and motion of all that really exists,—it, I presume, we shall call the tenth. [894d]

Clinias
Most certainly.

Athenian
Of our total of ten motions, which shall we most correctly adjudge to be the most powerful of all and excelling in effectiveness?

Clinias
We are bound to affirm that the motion which is able to move itself excels infinitely, and that all the rest come after it.

Athenian
Well said. Must we, then, alter one or two of the wrong statements we have now made?

Clinias
Which do you mean?

Athenian
Our statement about the tenth seems wrong.

Clinias
How?

Athenian
Logically it is first in point of origin and power; and the next one is second to it, [894e] although we absurdly called it ninth a moment ago.

Clinias
What do you mean?

Athenian
This: when we find one thing changing another, and this in turn another, and so on,—of these things shall we ever find one that is the prime cause of change? How will a thing that is moved by another ever be itself the first of the things that cause change? It is impossible. But when a thing that has moved itself changes another thing, and that other a third, and the motion thus spreads progressively through thousands upon thousands of things, [895a] will the primary source of all their motions be anything else than the movement of that which has moved itself?

Clinias
Excellently put, and we must assent to your argument.

Athenian
Further, let us question and answer ourselves thus:—Supposing that the Whole of things were to unite and stand still,—as most of these thinkers23 venture to maintain,—which of the motions mentioned would necessarily arise in it first? That motion, of course, which is self-moving; for it will never be shifted beforehand by another thing, [895b] since no shifting force exists in things beforehand. Therefore we shall assert that inasmuch as the self-moving motion is the starting-point of all motions and the first to arise in things at rest and to exist in things in motion, it is of necessity the most ancient and potent change of all, while the motion which is altered by another thing and itself moves others comes second.

Clinias
Most true.

Athenian
Now that we have come to this point in our discourse, [895c] here is a question we may answer.

Clinias
What is it?

Athenian
If we should see that this motion had arisen in a thing of earth or water or fire, whether separate or in combination, what condition should we say exists in such a thing?

Clinias
What you ask me is, whether we are to speak of a thing as “alive” when it moves itself?

Athenian
Yes.

Clinias
It is alive, to be sure.

Athenian
Well then, when we see soul in things, must we not equally agree that they are alive?

Clinias
We must. [895d]

Athenian
Now stop a moment, in Heaven's name! Would you not desire to observe three points about every object?

Clinias
What do you mean?

Athenian
One point is the substance, one the definition of the substance, and one the name;24 and, moreover, about everything that exists there are two questions to be asked.

Clinias
How two?

Athenian
At one time each of us, propounding the name by itself, demands the definition; at another, propounding the definition by itself, he demands the name.

Clinias
Is it something of this kind we mean now to convey?

Athenian
Of what kind? [895e]

Clinias
We have instances of a thing divisible into two halves, both in arithmetic and elsewhere; in arithmetic the name of this is “the even,” and the definition is “a number divisible into two equal parts.”

Athenian
Yes, that is what I mean. So in either case it is the same object, is it not, which we describe, whether, when asked for the definition, we reply by giving the name, or, when asked for the name, we give the definition,—describing one and the same object by the name “even,” and by the definition “a number divisible into two halves”?

Clinias
Most certainly.

Athenian
What is the definition of that object which has for its name “soul”? [896a] Can we give it any other definition than that stated just now—“the motion able to move itself”?

Clinias
Do you assert that “self-movement” is the definition of that very same substance which has “soul” as the name we universally apply to it?

Athenian
That is what I assert. And if this be really so, do we still complain that it has not been sufficiently proved that soul is identical with the prime origin and motion of what is, has been, and shall be, and of all [896b] that is opposite to these, seeing that it has been plainly shown to be the cause of all change and motion in all things?

Clinias
We make no such complaint; on the contrary, it has been proved most sufficiently that soul is of all things the oldest, since it is the first principle of motion.

Athenian
Then is not that motion which, when it arises in one object, is caused by another, and which never supplies self-motion to anything, second in order—or indeed as far down the list as one cares to put it,—it being the change of a really soulless body?

Clinias
True.

Athenian
Truly and finally, then, it would be a most veracious and complete statement [896c] to say that we find soul to be prior to body, and body secondary and posterior, soul governing and body being governed according to the ordinance of nature.

Clinias
Yes, most veracious.

Athenian
We recollect, of course, that we previously agreed25 that if soul could be shown to be older than body, then the things of soul also will be older than those of body.

Clinias
Certainly we do. [896d]

Athenian
Moods and dispositions and wishes and calculations and true opinions and considerations and memories will be prior to bodily length, breadth, depth and strength, if soul is prior to body.

Clinias
Necessarily.

Athenian
Must we then necessarily agree, in the next place, that soul is the cause of things good and bad, fair and foul, just and unjust, and all the opposites, if we are to assume it to be the cause of all things?

Clinias
Of course we must.

Athenian
And as soul thus controls and indwells in all things [896e] everywhere that are moved, must we not necessarily affirm that it controls Heaven also?

Clinias
Yes.

Athenian
One soul, is it, or several? I will answer for you—“several.” Anyhow, let us assume not less than two—the beneficent soul and that which is capable of effecting results of the opposite kind.

Clinias
You are perfectly right.

Athenian
Very well, then. Soul drives all things in Heaven and earth and sea by its own motions, [897a] of which the names are wish, reflection, forethought, counsel, opinion true and false, joy, grief, confidence, fear, hate, love, and all the motions that are akin to these or are prime-working motions; these, when they take over the secondary motions of bodies, drive them all to increase and decrease and separation and combination,26 and, supervening on these, to heat and cold, heaviness and lightness, [897b] hardness and softness, whiteness and blackness, bitterness and sweetness, and all those qualities which soul employs, both when it governs all things rightly and happily as a true goddess, in conjunction with reason, and when, in converse with unreason, it produces results which are in all respects the opposite. Shall we postulate that this is so, or do we still suspect that it may possibly be otherwise?

Clinias
By no means.

Athenian
Which kind of soul, then, shall we say is in control of Heaven and earth and the whole circle? That which is wise and full of goodness, or that which [897c] has neither quality? To this shall we make reply as follows?

Clinias
How?

Athenian
If, my good sir, we are to assert that the whole course and motion of Heaven and of all it contains have a motion like to the motion and revolution and reckonings of reason,27 and proceed in a kindred manner, then clearly we must assert that the best soul regulates the whole cosmos and drives it on its course, which is of the kind described.

Clinias
You are right. [897d]

Athenian
But the bad soul, if it proceeds in a mad and disorderly way.

Clinias
That also is right.

Athenian
Then what is the nature of the motion of reason? Here, my friends, we come to a question that is difficult to answer wisely; consequently, it is fitting that you should now call me in to assist you with the answer.

Clinias
Very good.

Athenian
In making our answer let us not bring on night, as it were, at midday, by looking right in the eye of the sun,28 as though with mortal eyes we could ever behold reason and know it fully; [897e] the safer way to behold the object with which our question is concerned is by looking at an image of it.

Clinias
How do you mean?

Athenian
Let us take as an image that one of the ten motions which reason resembles; reminding ourselves of which29 I, along with you, will make answer.

Clinias
You will probably speak admirably.

Athenian
Do we still recollect thus much about the things then described, that we assumed that, of the total, some were in motion, others at rest?

Clinias
Yes.

Athenian
And further, that, of those in motion, some move in one place, [898a] others move in several places?

Clinias
That is so.

Athenian
And that, of these two motions, the motion which moves in one place must necessarily move always round some center, being a copy of the turned wheels; and that this has the nearest possible kinship and similarity to the revolution of reason?30

Clinias
How do you mean?

Athenian
If we described them both as moving regularly and uniformly in the same spot, round the same things and in relation to the same things, according to one rule and system—reason, namely, and the motion that spins in one place [898b] (likened to the spinning of a turned globe),—we should never be in danger of being deemed unskillful in the construction of fair images by speech.

Clinias
Most true.

Athenian
On the other hand, will not the motion that is never uniform or regular or in the same place or around or in relation to the same things, not moving in one spot nor in any order [898c] or system or rule—will not this motion be akin to absolute unreason?

Clinias
It will, in very truth.

Athenian
So now there is no longer any difficulty in stating expressly that, inasmuch as soul is what we find driving everything round, we must affirm that this circumference of Heaven is of necessity driven round under the care and ordering of either the best soul or its opposite.

Clinias
But, Stranger, judging by what has now been said, it is actually impious to make any other assertion than that these things are driven round by one or more souls endowed with all goodness.

Athenian
You have attended to our argument admirably, Clinias. [898d] Now attend to this further point.

Clinias
What is that?

Athenian
If soul drives round the sum total of sun, moon and all other stars, does it not also drive each single one of them?

Clinias
Certainly.

Athenian
Then let us construct an argument about one of these stars which will evidently apply equally to them all.

Clinias
About which one?

Athenian
The sun's body is seen by everyone, its soul by no one. And the same is true of the soul of any other body, whether alive or dead, of living beings. There is, however, a strong suspicion that this class of object, which is wholly imperceptible to sense, [898e] has grown round all the senses of the body,31 and is an object of reason alone. Therefore by reason and rational thought let us grasp this fact about it,—

Clinias
What fact?

Athenian
If soul drives round the sun, we shall be tolerably sure to be right in saying that it does one of three things.

Clinias
What things?

Athenian
That either it exists everywhere inside of this apparent globular body and directs it, such as it is, just as the soul in us moves us about in all ways; or, having procured itself a body of fire or air (as some argue), it in the form of body pushes forcibly on the body from outside; [899a] or, thirdly, being itself void of body, but endowed with other surpassingly marvellous potencies, it conducts the body.

Clinias
Yes, it must necessarily be the case that soul acts in one of these ways when it propels all things.

Athenian
Here, I pray you, pause. This soul,—whether it is by riding in the car of the sun,32 or from outside, or otherwise, that it brings light to us all—every man is bound to regard as a god. Is not that so? [899b]

Clinias
Yes; everyone at least who has not reached the uttermost verge of folly.

Athenian
Concerning all the stars and the moon, and concerning the years and months and all seasons, what other account shall we give than this very same,—namely, that, inasmuch as it has been shown that they are all caused by one or more souls, which are good also with all goodness, we shall declare these souls to be gods, whether it be that they order the whole heaven by residing in bodies, as living creatures, or whatever the mode and method? Is there any man that agrees with this view who will stand hearing it denied that “all things are full of gods”?33 [899c]

Clinias
There is not a man, Stranger, so wrong-headed as that.

Athenian
Let us, then, lay down limiting conditions for the man who up till now disbelieves in gods, O Megillus and Clinias, and so be quit of him.

Clinias
What conditions?

Athenian
That either he must teach us that we are wrong in laying down that soul is of all things the first production, together with all the consequential statements we made,—or, if he is unable to improve on our account, he must believe us, and for the rest of his life live in veneration of the gods. [899d] Let us, then, consider whether our argument for the existence of the gods addressed to those who disbelieve in them has been stated adequately or defectively.

Clinias
Anything rather than defectively, Stranger.

Athenian
Then let our argument have an end, in so far as it is addressed to these men. But the man who holds that gods exist, but pay no regard to human affairs,—him we must admonish. “My good sir,” let us say, “the fact that you believe in gods is due probably to a divine kinship drawing you to what is of like nature, to honor it and recognize its existence; but the fortunes of evil and [899e] unjust men, both private and public,—which, though not really happy, are excessively and improperly lauded as happy by public opinion,—drive you to impiety by the wrong way in which they are celebrated, not only in poetry, but in tales of every kind. Or again, when you see men attaining the goal of old age, and leaving behind them children's children in the highest offices, [900a] very likely you are disturbed, when amongst the number of these you discover—whether from hearsay or from your own personal observation—some who have been guilty of many dreadful impieties, and who, just because of these, have risen from a small position to royalty and the highest rank; then the consequence of all this clearly is that, since on the one hand you are unwilling to hold the gods responsible for such things because of your kinship to them, and since on the other hand you are driven by lack of logic and inability [900b] to repudiate the gods, you have come to your present morbid state of mind, in which you opine that the gods exist, but scorn and neglect human affairs. In order, therefore, that your present opinion may not grow to a greater height of morbid impiety, but that we may succeed in repelling the onset of its pollution (if haply we are able) by argument, let us endeavor to attach our next argument to that which we set forth in full to him who utterly disbelieves gods, and thereby to employ the latter as well.” [900c] And do you, Clinias and Megillus, take the part of the young man in answering, as you did before; and should anything untoward occur in the course of the argument, I will make answer for you, as I did just now, and convey you across the stream.34

Clinias
A good suggestion! We will do our best to carry it out; and do you do likewise.

Athenian
Well, there will probably be no difficulty in proving to this man that the gods care for small things no less than for things superlatively great. For, of course, [900d] he was present at our recent argument, and heard that the gods, being good with all goodness, possess such care of the whole as is most proper to themselves.

Clinias
Most certainly he heard that.

Athenian
Let us join next in enquiring what is that goodness of theirs in respect of which we agree that they are good. Come now, do we say that prudence and the possession of reason are parts of goodness, and the opposites of these of badness?

Clinias
We do say so.

Athenian
And further, that courage is part of goodness, and cowardice of badness?

Clinias
Certainly. [900e]

Athenian
And shall we say that some of these are foul, others fair?

Clinias
Necessarily.

Athenian
And shall we say that all such as are mean belong to us, if to anyone, whereas the gods have no share in any such things, great or small?

Clinias
To this, too, everyone would assent.

Athenian
Well then, shall we reckon neglect, idleness and indolence as goodness of soul? Or how say you?

Clinias
How could we?

Athenian
As the opposite, then?

Clinias
Yes. [901a]

Athenian
And the opposites of these as of the opposite quality of soul?

Clinias
Of the opposite quality.

Athenian
What then? He who is indolent, careless and idle will be in our eyes what the poet described35—“a man most like to sting-less drones”?

Clinias
A most true description.

Athenian
That God has such a character we must certainly deny, seeing that he hates it; nor must we allow anyone to attempt to say so.

Clinias
We could not possibly allow that.

Athenian
When a person whose duty it is especially to act and care for [901b] some object has a mind that cares for great things, but neglects small things, on what principle could we praise such a person without the utmost impropriety? Let us consider the matter in this way: the action of him who acts thus, be he god or man, takes one of two forms, does it not?

Clinias
What forms?

Athenian
Either because he thinks that neglect of the small things makes no difference to the whole, [901c] or else, owing to laziness and indolence, he neglects them, though he thinks they do make a difference. Or is there any other way in which neglect occurs? For when it is impossible to care for all things, it will not in that case be neglect of great things or small when a person—be he god or common man—fails to care for things which he lacks the power and capacity to care for.

Clinias
Of course not.

Athenian
Now to us three let these two men make answer, of whom both agree that gods exist, but the one asserts that they can be bribed, and the other that they neglect the small. [901d] First, you both assert that the gods know and hear and see all things,36 and that nothing of all that is apprehended by senses or sciences can escape their notice; do you assert that this is so, or what?

Clinias
That is what we assert.37

Athenian
And further, that they can do all that can be done by mortal or immortal?

Clinias
They will, of course, admit that this also is the case. [901e]

Athenian
And it is undeniable that all five of us agreed that the gods are good, yea, exceeding good.

Clinias
Most certainly.

Athenian
Being, then, such as we agree, is it not impossible to allow that they do anything at all in a lazy and indolent way? For certainly amongst us mortals idleness is the child of cowardice, and laziness of idleness and indolence.

Clinias
Very true.

Athenian
None, then, of the gods is neglectful owing to idleness and laziness, seeing that none has any part in cowardice.

Clinias
You are very right. [902a]

Athenian
Further, if they do neglect the small and scant things of the All, they will do so either because they know that there is no need at all to care for any such things or—well, what other alternative is there except the opposite of knowing?

Clinias
There is none.

Athenian
Shall we then assume, my worthy and excellent sir, that you assert that the gods are ignorant, and that it is through ignorance that they are neglectful when they ought to be showing care,—or that they know indeed what is needful, yet act as the worst of men are said to do, who, though they know that other things are better to do than what they are doing, yet do them not, [902b] owing to their being somehow defeated by pleasures or pains?

Clinias
Impossible.

Athenian
Do not human affairs share in animate nature, and is not man himself, too, the most god-fearing of all living creatures?

Clinias
That is certainly probable.

Athenian
We affirm that all mortal creatures are possessions of the gods, to whom belongs also the whole heaven.

Clinias
Of course.

Athenian
That being so, it matters not whether a man says that these things are small or great [902c] in the eyes of the gods; for in neither case would it behove those who are our owners to be neglectful, seeing that they are most careful and most good. For let us notice this further fact—

Clinias
What is it?

Athenian
In regard to perception and power,—are not these two naturally opposed in respect of ease and difficulty?

Clinias
How do you mean?

Athenian
It is more difficult to see and hear small things than great; but everyone finds it more easy to move, control and care for things small and few than their opposites. [902d]

Clinias
Much more.

Athenian
When a physician is charged with the curing of a whole body, if, while he is willing and able to care for the large parts, he neglects the small parts and members, will he ever find the whole in good condition?

Clinias
Certainly not.

Athenian
No more will pilots or generals or house-managers, nor yet statesmen or any other such persons, find that the many and great thrive apart from the few [902e] and small; for even masons say that big stones are not well laid without little stones.

Clinias
They cannot be.

Athenian
Let us never suppose that God is inferior to mortal craftsmen who, the better they are, the more accurately and perfectly do they execute their proper tasks, small and great, by one single art,—or that God, who is most wise, and both willing and able to care, [903a] cares not at all for the small things which are the easier to care for—like one who shirks the labor because he is idle and cowardly,—but only for the great.

Clinias
By no means let us accept such an opinion of the gods, Stranger: that would be to adopt a view that is neither pious nor true at all.

Athenian
And now, as I think, we have argued quite sufficiently with him who loves to censure the gods for neglect.

Clinias
Yes.

Athenian
And it was by forcing him by our arguments to acknowledge [903b] that what he says is wrong. But still he needs also, as it seems to me, some words of counsel to act as a charm upon him.

Clinias
What kind of words, my good sir?

Athenian
Let us persuade the young man by our discourse that all things are ordered systematically by Him who cares for the World—all with a view to the preservation and excellence of the Whole, whereof also each part, so far as it can, does and suffers what is proper to it. To each of these parts, down to the smallest fraction, rulers of their action and passion are appointed to bring about fulfillment even to the uttermost [903c] fraction; whereof thy portion also, O perverse man, is one, and tends therefore always in its striving towards the All, tiny though it be. But thou failest to perceive that all partial generation is for the sake of the Whole, in order that for the life of the World-all blissful existence may be secured,—it not being generated for thy sake, but thou for its sake. For every physician and every trained craftsman works always for the sake of a Whole, and strives after what is best in general, and he produces a part for the sake of a whole, and not a whole for the sake of a part; [903d] but thou art vexed, because thou knowest not how what is best in thy case for the All turns out best for thyself also, in accordance with the power of your common origin. And inasmuch as soul, being conjoined now with one body, now with another, is always undergoing all kinds of changes either of itself or owing to another soul, there is left for the draughts-player no further task,—save only to shift the character that grows better to a superior place, and the worse to a worse, according to what best suits each of them, so that to each may be allotted its appropriate destiny. [903e]

Clinias
In what way do you mean?

Athenian
The way I am describing is, I believe, that in which supervision of all things is most easy for the gods. For if one were to shape all things, without a constant view to the Whole, by transforming them (as, for instance, fire into water), instead of merely converting one into many or many into one, [904a] then when things had shared in a first, or second, or even third generation,38 they would be countless in number in such a system of transformations; but as things are, the task before the Supervisor of the All is wondrous easy.

Clinias
How do you mean?

Athenian
Thus:—Since our King saw that all actions involve soul, and contain much good and much evil, and that body and soul are, when generated, indestructible but not eternal,39 as are the gods ordained by law (for if either soul or body had been destroyed, [904b] there would never have been generation of living creatures), and since He perceived that all soul that is good naturally tends always to benefit, but the bad to injure,—observing all this, He designed a location for each of the parts, wherein it might secure the victory of goodness in the Whole and the defeat of evil most completely, easily, and well. For this purpose He has designed the rule which prescribes what kind of character should be set to dwell in what kind of position and in what regions;40 but the causes of the generation of any special kind he left to the wills [904c] of each one of us men.41 For according to the trend of our desires and the nature of our souls, each one of us generally becomes of a corresponding character.

Clinias
That is certainly probable.

Athenian
All things that share in soul change, since they possess within themselves the cause of change, and in changing they move according to the law and order of destiny; the smaller the change of character, the less is the movement over surface in space, but when the change is great and towards great iniquity, [904d] then they move towards the deep and the so-called lower regions, regarding which—under the names of Hades and the like—men are haunted by most fearful imaginings, both when alive and when disparted from their bodies. And whenever the soul gets a specially large share of either virtue or vice, owing to the force of its own will and the influence of its intercourse growing strong, then, if it is in union with divine virtue, it becomes thereby eminently virtuous, and moves to an eminent region, being transported by a holy road to another and a better region; [904e] whereas, if the opposite is the case, it changes to the opposite the location of its life's abode.““This is the just decree of the gods who inhabit Olympus,”
Hom. Od. 19.43O thou child and stripling who thinkest thou art neglected by the gods,—the decree that as thou becomest worse, thou goest to the company of the worse souls, and as thou becomest better, to the better souls; and that, alike in life and in every shape of death, thou both doest and sufferest what it is befitting that like should do towards like.42 [905a] From this decree of Heaven neither wilt thou nor any other luckless wight ever boast that he has escaped; for this decree is one which the gods who have enjoined it have enjoined above all others, and meet it is that it should be most strictly observed. For by it thou wilt not ever be neglected, neither if thou shouldest dive, in thy very littleness, into the depths of the earth below, nor if thou shouldest soar up to the height of Heaven above; but thou shalt pay to the gods thy due penalty, whether thou remainest here on earth, or hast passed away to Hades, [905b] or art transported to a region yet more fearsome. And the same rule, let me tell thee, will apply also to those whom thou sawest growing to great estate from small after doing acts of impiety or other such evil,—concerning whom thou didst deem that they had risen from misery to happiness, and didst imagine, therefore, that in their actions, as in mirrors, thou didst behold the entire neglect of the gods, not knowing of their joint contribution and [905c] how it contributes to the All. And surely, O most courageous of men, thou canst not but suppose that this is a thing thou must needs learn. For if a man learns not this, he can never see even an outline of the truth, nor will he be able to contribute an account of life as regards its happiness or its unhappy fortune. If Clinias here and all our gathering of elders succeed in convincing thee of this fact, that thou knowest not what thou sayest about the gods, then God Himself of His grace will aid thee; but shouldest thou still be in need of further argument, give ear to us while we argue with the third unbeliever, [905d] if thou hast sense at all. For we have proved, as I would maintain, by fairly sufficient argument that the gods exist and care for men; the next contention, that the gods can be won over by wrongdoers,43 on the receipt of bribes, is one that no one should admit, and we must try to refute it by every means in our power.

Clinias
Admirably spoken: let us do as you say.

Athenian
Come now, in the name of these gods themselves I ask—in what way would they come to be seduced by us, if seduced they were? [905e] Being what in their essence and character? Necessarily they must be rulers, if they are to be in continual control of the whole heaven.

Clinias
True.

Athenian
But to which kind of rulers are they like? Or which are like to them, of those rulers whom we can fairly compare with them, as small with great? Would drivers of rival teams resemble them, or pilots of ships? Or perhaps they might be likened to rulers of armies; or possibly they might be compared to physicians watching over a war against bodily disease, [906a] or to farmers fearfully awaiting seasons of wonted difficulty for the generation of plants, or else to masters of flocks. For seeing that we have agreed44 among ourselves that the heaven is full of many things that are good, and of the opposite kind also, and that those not good are the more numerous, such a battle, we affirm, is undying, and needs a wondrous watchfulness,—the gods and daemons being our allies, and we the possession45 of the gods and daemons; and what destroys us is iniquity and insolence combined with folly, [906b] what saves us, justice and temperance combined with wisdom, which dwell in the animate powers of the gods, and of which some small trace may be clearly seen here also residing in us. But there are certain souls that dwell on earth and have acquired unjust gain which, being plainly bestial, beseech the souls of the guardians—whether they be watch-dogs or herdsmen or the most exalted of masters—trying to convince them by fawning words [906c] and prayerful incantations that (as the tales of evil men relate) they can profiteer among men on earth without any severe penalty: but we assert that the sin now mentioned, of profiteering or “over-gaining,” is what is called in the case of fleshly bodies “disease,”46 in that of seasons and years “pestilence,” and in that of States and polities, by a verbal change, this same sin is called “injustice.”

Clinias
Certainly.

Athenian
Such must necessarily be the account of the matter given by the man who says that the gods are always merciful to unjust men [906d] and those who act unjustly, provided that one gives them a share of one's unjust gains; it is just as if wolves were to give small bits of their prey to watch-dogs, and they being mollified by the gifts were to allow them to go ravening among the flocks. Is not this the account given by the man who asserts that the gods are open to bribes?

Clinias
It is.

Athenian
To which of the guardians aforementioned might a man liken the gods without incurring ridicule? Is it to pilots, [906e] who, when warped themselves by wine's “flow and flavor,”47 overturn both ships and sailors?

Clinias
By no means.

Athenian
And surely not to drivers ranged up for a race and seduced by a gift to lose it in favor of other teams?

Clinias
If that was the account you gave of them, it would indeed be a horrible comparison.

Athenian
Nor, surely, to generals or physicians or farmers or herdsmen; nor yet to dogs charmed by wolves?

Clinias
Hush! That is quite impossible. [907a]

Athenian
Are not all gods the greatest of all guardians, and over the greatest things?

Clinias
Yes, by far.

Athenian
Shall we say that those who watch over the fairest things, and who are themselves eminently good at keeping watch, are inferior to dogs and ordinary men, who would never betray justice for the sake of gifts impiously offered by unjust men? [907b]

Clinias
By no means; it is an intolerable thing to say, and whoever embraces such an opinion would most justly be adjudged the worst and most impious of all the impious men who practice impiety in all its forms.

Athenian
May we now say that we have fully proved our three propositions,—namely, that the gods exist, and that they are careful, and that they are wholly incapable of being seduced to transgress justice?

Clinias
Certainly we may; and in these statements you have our support.

Athenian
And truly they have been made in somewhat vehement terms, in our desire for victory [907c] over those wicked men; and our desire for victory was due to our fear lest haply, if they gained the mastery in argument, they should suppose they had gained the right to act as they chose—those men who wickedly hold all those false notions about the gods. On this account we have been zealous to speak with special honor; and if we have produced any good effect, however small, in the way of persuading the men to hate themselves and to feel some love for an opposite kind of character, then our prelude to the laws respecting impiety [907d] will not have been spoken amiss.

Clinias
Well, there is hope; and if not, at any rate no fault will be found with the lawgiver in respect of the nature of the argument.

Athenian
After the prelude it will be proper for us to have a statement of a kind suitable to serve as the laws' interpreter, forewarning all the impious to quit their ways for those of piety. For those who disobey, this shall be the law concerning impiety:—If anyone commits impiety either by word or deed, he that meets with him [907e] shall defend the law by informing the magistrates, and the first magistrates who hear of it shall bring the man up before the court48 appointed to decide such cases as the laws direct; and if any magistrate on hearing of the matter fail to do this, he himself shall be liable to a charge of impiety at the hands of him who wishes to punish him on behalf of the laws. And if a man be convicted, the court shall assess one penalty [908a] for each separate act of impiety. Imprisonment shall be imposed in every case; and since there are three prisons in the State (namely, one public prison near the market for most cases, to secure the persons of the average criminals; a second, situated near the assembly-room of the officials who hold nightly assemblies,49 and named the “reformatory”; and a third, situated in the middle of the country, in the wildest and loneliest spot possible, and named after “retribution”50), and since men are involved in impiety [908b] from the three causes which we have described, and from each such cause two forms of impiety result—consequently those who sin in respect of religion fall into six classes which require to be distinguished, as needing penalties that are neither equal nor similar. For while those who, though they utterly disbelieve in the existence of the gods, possess by nature a just character, both hate the evil and, because of their dislike of injustice, are incapable of being induced to commit unjust actions, and flee from unjust men [908c] and love the just, on the other hand, those who, besides holding that the world is empty of gods, are afflicted by incontinence in respect of pleasures and pains, and possess also powerful memories and sharp wits—though both these classes share alike in the disease of atheism, yet in respect of the amount of ruin they bring on other people, the latter class would work more and the former less of evil. For whereas the one class will be quite frank in its language about the gods and about sacrifices and oaths, [908d] and by ridiculing other people will probably convert others to its views, unless it meets with punishment, the other class, while holding the same opinions as the former, yet being specially “gifted by nature'' and being full of craft and guile, is the class out of which are manufactured many diviners and experts in all manner of jugglery; and from it, too, there spring sometimes tyrants and demagogues and generals, and those who plot by means of peculiar mystic rites of their own, and the devices of those who are called “sophists.” Of these there may be many kinds; [908e] but those which call for legislation are two, of which the “ironic”51 kind commits sins that deserve not one death only or two, while the other kind requires both admonition and imprisonment. Likewise also the belief that the gods are neglectful breeds two other kinds of impiety; and the belief in their being open to bribes, other two. These kinds being thus distinguished, those criminals who suffer from folly,52 being devoid of evil disposition and character, shall be placed by the judge according to law in the reformatory for a period of not less than five years, during which time no other of the citizens [909a] shall hold intercourse with them, save only those who take part in the nocturnal assembly,53 and they shall company with them to minister to their souls' salvation by admonition; and when the period of their incarceration has expired, if any of them seems to be reformed, he shall dwell with those who are reformed, but if not, and if he be convicted again on a like charge, he shall be punished by death. But as to all those who have become like ravening beasts, and who, besides holding that the gods are negligent [909b] or open to bribes, despise men, charming the souls of many of the living, and claiming that they charm the souls of the dead, and promising to persuade the gods by bewitching them, as it were, with sacrifices, prayers and incantations,54 and who try thus to wreck utterly not only individuals, but whole families and States for the sake of money,—if any of these men be pronounced guilty, the court shall order him to be imprisoned according to law in the mid-country jail, [909c] and shall order that no free man shall approach such criminals at any time, and that they shall receive from the servants a ration of food as fixed by the Law-wardens. And he that dies shall be cast outside the borders without burial; and if any free man assist in burying him, he shall be liable to a charge of impiety at the hands of anyone who chooses to prosecute. And if the dead man leaves children fit for citizenship, the guardians of orphans shall take them also [909d] under their charge from the day of their father's conviction, just as much as any other orphans. For all these offenders one general law must be laid down, such as will cause the majority of them not only to offend less against the gods by word and deed, but also to become less foolish, through being forbidden to trade in religion illegally. To deal comprehensively with all such cases the following law shall be enacted:—No one shall possess a shrine in his own house: when any one is moved in spirit to do sacrifice, [909e] he shall go to the public places to sacrifice, and he shall hand over his oblations to the priests and priestesses to whom belongs the consecration thereof; and he himself, together with any associates he may choose, shall join in the prayers. This procedure shall be observed for the following reasons—It is no easy task to found temples and gods, and to do this rightly needs much deliberation; yet it is customary for all women especially, and for sick folk everywhere, and those in peril or in distress (whatever the nature of the distress), and conversely for those who have had a slice of good fortune, to dedicate whatever happens to be at hand at the moment, and to vow sacrifices [910a] and promise the founding of shrines to gods and demi-gods and children of gods; and through terrors caused by waking visions or by dreams, and in like manner as they recall many visions and try to provide remedies for each of them, they are wont to found altars and shrines, and to fill with them every house and every village, and open places too, and every spot which was the scene of such experiences. For all these reasons their action should be governed by the law now stated; and a further reason is this—to prevent impious men [910b] from acting fraudulently in regard to these matters also, by setting up shrines and altars in private houses, thinking to propitiate the gods privily by sacrifices and vows, and thus increasing infinitely their own iniquity, whereby they make both themselves and those better men who allow them guilty in the eyes of the gods, so that the whole State reaps the consequences of their impiety in some degree—and deserves to reap them. The lawgiver himself, however, will not be blamed by the god; for this shall be the law laid down:—Shrines of the gods no one must possess [910c] in a private house; and if anyone is proved to possess and worship at any shrine other than the public shrines—be the possessor man or woman,—and if he is guilty of no serious act of impiety, he that notices the fact shall inform the Law-wardens, and they shall give orders for the private shrines to be removed to the public temples, and if the owner disobeys the order, they shall punish him until he removes them. [910d] And if anyone be proved to have committed an impious act, such as is not the venial offence of children, but the serious irreligion of grown men, whether by setting up a shrine on private ground, or on public ground, by doing sacrifice to any gods whatsoever, for sacrificing in a state of impurity he shall be punished with death. And the Law-wardens shall judge what is a childish or venial offence and what not, and then shall bring the offenders before the court, and shall impose upon them the due penalty for their impiety.

1 Cp. Plat. Laws 868c ff., Plat. Laws 877b ff., Plat. Laws 930e ff.

2 Cp. Plat. Laws 941d, Plat. Laws 941e.

3 Cf.Plat. Rep. 364b ff.

4 By Hesiod, Pherecydes, etc.

5 Materialists such as Democritus.

6 Cp. Plat. Laws 701c, Plat. Laws 701d; Plat. Laws 858a ff.: all this discussion is supposed to have taken place on one and the same day,—hence the ref. to “shortness of time.”

7 This is a summary of the doctrines of the Atomists (Leucippus and Democritus) who denied the creative agency of Reason. Similar views were taught, later, by Epicurus and Lucretius.

8 A view ascribed to Critias.

9 Cp. Aristot. Nic. Eth. 1094 b 14 ff.

10 This antithesis between “Nature” (φύσις) and “Convention” (νόμος) was a familiar one in ethical and political discussion from the time of the Sophists. The supremacy of “Nature,” as an ethical principle, was maintained (it is said) by Hippias and Prodicus; that of “Convention,” by Protagoras and Gorgias: Plato goes behind both to the higher principle of Reason (νοῦς), cp. Introduction. p. xiv.

11 Cp. Plat. Laws 634d, Plat. Laws 634e; Plat. Laws 859b, al.

12 Literally, “utter every voice” (leave nothing unsaid).

13 In Books I and II.

14 Cp. Plat. Laws 811d.

15 Cp.Plat. Tim. 34d ff.

16 Cp. Plat. Laws 886b.

17 Cp. Plat. Laws 896b, Plat. Laws 896c.

18 Cp.Plat. Soph. 255 ff.; Timaeus 57 ff.

19 i.e. with a forward gliding motion, as opposed to rolling forward (like a car wheel).

20 i.e. as solid, liquid, or gaseous substance.

21 This account of the derivation of the sense-world from the “starting-principle” (ἀρχή) is obscure. It is generally interpreted as a “geometrical allegory,” the stages of development being from point to line, from line to surface, from surface to solid,—this last only being perceptible by the senses (cp. Aristot. Soul 404 b 18 ff.).

22 The 8 kinds of motion here indicated are—(1) circular motion round a fixed center; (2) locomotion (gliding or rolling); (3) combination; (4) separation; (5) increase; (6) decrease; (7) becoming; (8) perishing. The remaining two kinds (as described below) are—(9) other-affecting motion (or secondary causation); and (10) self-and-other-affecting motion (or primary causation).

23 E.g. Anaxagoras, who taught, originally, “all things were together (ὁμοῦ);” and the Eleatic School (Parmenides, etc.) asserted that the Real World (τὸ ὄν) is One and motionless; cp. Plat. Theaet. 180e.

24 Cp.Epistles 7, 342 A, B.

25 Plat. Laws 892a, Plat. Laws 892b.

26 Cp. Plat. Laws 894b, Plat. Laws 894c.

27 i.e. the uniform revolution of a sphere in the same spot and on its own axis: cp. Plat. Laws 898a; Plat. Tim. 34a ff, Plat. Tim. 34b ff; Plat. 90c, d.

28 Cp.Plat. Rep. 516a ff.

29 Cp. Plat. Laws 893b.; the motion to which reason is likened is the first of the ten.

30 Cp.Plat. Tim. 33b ff, Plat. Tim. 34a ff; Plat. Rep. 436b ff.

31 i.e. envelopes the body and its sense-organs (like circum-ambient air).

32 Cp.Plat. Tim. 41d ff, Plat. Tim. 41e ff, where the Creator is said to apportion a soul to each star, in which it rides “as though in a chariot.”

33 A dictum of Thales: Aristot. Soul 411 a 7 ff.

34 Cp. Plat. Laws 892d, Plat. Laws 892e.

35 Hes. WD 303.:τῷ δὲ θεοὶ νεμεσῶσι καὶ ἀνέρες ὅς κεν ἀεργὸς|ζώῃ, κηφήνεσσι κοθούροις εἴκελος ὁρμήν.

36 Cp. Plat. Laws 641e.

37 Here, and in what follows, Clinias is answering on behalf of the two misbelievers.

38 This seems to refer to three stages of the soul's incarnation; see p. 367, n. 2.

39 Cp.Plat. Tim 37c ff.

40 Cp.Plat. Tim 42b ff. where it is said that the soul of the good man returns at death to its native star, while that of the bad takes the form of a woman in its second, and that of a beast in its third incarnation.

41 Cp. Plat. Rep. 617e.

42 Cp. Plat. Laws 728b., Plat. Laws 837a.

43 Cp. Hom. Il. 9.497 ff., τοὺςθεοὺς . . . λοιβῇ τε κνίσῃ τε παρατρωπῶσ᾽ ἄνθρωποι κτλ.

44 Cp. Plat. Laws 904a ff., Plat. Laws 896c ff., Plat. Rep. 379c.

45 Cp.Plat. Phaedo 62b.

46 Cp.Plat. Rep. 609 ff, Plat. Sym. 188a ff., where the theory is stated that health depends upon the “harmony,” or equal balance, of the constituent elements of the body (“heat” and “cold,” “moisture” and “dryness,”); when any of these (opposite) elements is in excess (πλεονεκτεῖ), disease sets in. So, too, in the “body politic,” the excess of due measure by any element, or member, is injustice.

47 Hom. Il. 9.500 (quoted above, p. 371, n. 1).

48 Cp. Plat. Laws 767c, Plat. Laws 767d, Plat. Laws 855c.

49 Cp. Plat. Laws 909a, Plat. Laws 961a.

50 Cp. Plat. Laws 704b.

51 i.e. “hypocritical,” hiding impiety under a cloak of religion.

52 Cp. Plat. Laws 863b, Plat. Laws 863c.

53 Cp. Plat. Laws 908a.

54 Cp. Plat. Laws 933a,, Plat. Rep. 364b ff.

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