previous next
[951a] a glorious repute that will rival that of its warriors; and these men, when they return home, will teach the youth that the political institutions of other countries are inferior to their own. Also, they ought to send out other inspecting commissioners (when they have obtained leave from the Law-wardens) of the following kind:—If any of the citizens desire to survey the doings of the outside world in a leisurely way, no law shall prevent them; [951b] for a State that is without experience of bad men and good would never be able (owing to its isolation) to become fully civilized and perfect, nor would it be able to safeguard its laws unless it grasped them, not by habit only, but also by conviction.1 Amongst the mass of men there always exist—albeit in small numbers—men that are divinely inspired; intercourse with such men is of the greatest value, and they spring up in badly-governed States just as much as in those that are well governed. In search of these men it is always right for one who dwells in a well-ordered State to go forth on a voyage of enquiry by land and sea, [951c] if so be that he himself is incorruptible, so as to confirm thereby such of his native laws as are rightly enacted, and to amend any that are deficient. For without this inspection and enquiry a State will not permanently remain perfect, nor again if the inspection be badly conducted.

Clinias
How, then, might both these objects be secured?

Athenian
In this way. First, our overseas inspector shall be more than fifty years old; secondly, he shall have proved himself a man of high repute both in military and other affairs, if it is intended [951d] that he shall be despatched into other States with the approval of the Law-wardens; but when he has passed sixty years of age, he shall cease to act as inspector. When he has been inspecting for as many years out of the ten as he wishes and has returned home, he shall go to the synod2 of those who supervise the laws; and this synod shall be a mixed body of young men and old which is obliged to meet every day between dawn and sunrise;3 it shall consist, first, of the priests who have gained the award of merit,4 and secondly, [951e] of the ten senior Law-wardens; and it shall also include the President of Education who has been last appointed, and his predecessors in office as well. None of these members shall go alone, but each of them shall bring with him a companion—a young man, selected by himself, between thirty and forty years old. Their conference and discourse shall deal always with the subject of laws and

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: