together with ten of the women in charge of marriage.1
If these officials are able to bring about a reconciliation, this arrangement shall hold good; but if their passions rage too high for harmony, the officials shall, so far as possible, seek out other suitable unions for each of them. And since it is probable that such persons are not of a gentle disposition, they must endeavor to yoke with them dispositions that are more gentle and sedate2
. If those who quarrel are childless, or have but few children,
they must form unions with a view to children; but if they have children enough, then the object both of the separation and of the new union should be to obtain companionship and mutual assistance in old age. If a man's wife dies, leaving both male and female children, there shall be a law, advisory rather than compulsory, directing the husband to rear the children without introducing a step-mother; but if there be no children, the widower must of necessity marry, until he has begotten children sufficient alike for his household and the State.
And if the husband dies, leaving sufficient children, the mother of the children shall remain there and rear them; but if it be deemed that she is unduly young to be able to live healthfully without a husband, the relatives shall report the case to the women in charge of marriage, and shall take such action as may seem good to them and to themselves; and if there be a lack of children, they shall also act with a view to the supply of children;
and the number which constitutes a bare sufficiency of children shall be fixed by the law at one of each sex. Whenever, in spite of agreement as to who a child's parents are, a decision is required as to which parent the child should follow, the rule is this3
: in all cases where a slave-woman has been mated with a slave or with a free man or a freedman, the child shall belong to the slave-woman's master; but if a free woman mates with a slave, the issue shall belong to the slave's master; and if the child be a master's by his own slave-woman, or a mistress's by her own slave, and the facts of the case are quite clear, then the women officials shall send away the woman's child, together with its father,
to another country, and the Law-wardens shall send away the man's child, together with its mother. Neglect of parents is a thing that no god nor any right-minded man would ever recommend to anyone; and one ought to recognize how fitly a prelude of the following kind, dealing with worship paid to the gods, would apply to the honors and dishonors paid to parents:—The ancient laws