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[959a] And as to the laying-out of the corpse, first, it shall remain in the house only for such a time as is required to prove that the man is not merely in a faint, but really dead; and accordingly, in a normal case, the third will be the proper day for the carrying out to burial. As in other matters it is right to trust the lawgiver, so too we must believe him when he asserts that the soul is wholly superior to the body, and that in actual life what makes each of us to be what he is [959b] is nothing else than the soul, while the body is a semblance which attends on each of us, it being well said that the bodily corpses are images of the dead, but that which is the real self of each of us, and which we term the immortal soul, departs to the presence of other gods,1 there (as the ancestral law declares) to render its account,—a prospect to be faced with courage by the good, but with uttermost dread by the evil. But to him who is dead no great help can be given; it was when he was alive [959c] that all his relatives should have helped him, so that when living his life might have been as just and holy as possible, and when dead he might be free during the life which follows this life from the penalty for wickedness and sin. This being so, one ought never to spend extravagantly on the dead, through supposing that the carcass of flesh that is being buried is in the truest sense one's own relative; but one ought rather to suppose that the real son or brother—or whoever else it may be that a man fancies himself to be mournfully burying—has departed in furtherance and fulfillment of his own destiny, and that it is our duty to make a wise use of what we have [959d] and to spend in moderation,2 as it were on a soulless altar to the gods below:3 and what constitutes moderation the lawgiver will most properly divine. Let this, then, be the law:—An expenditure on the whole funeral not exceeding five minas for a man of the highest property-class, three minas for one of the second class, two for one of the third, and one mina for one of the fourth class, shall be held to be moderate amounts. The Law-wardens must of necessity perform many other duties and supervise many other matters, [959e] but by no means the least of their duties is to live keeping a constant watch over children and men and people of every age; and at the end of his life above all everyone must have some one Law-warden to take charge of him—that one who is called in as overseer by the relatives of the dead man; and it shall stand to his credit if the arrangements about the dead man are carried out in a proper and moderate way, but if improperly, to his discredit. The laying-out of the corpse and the other arrangements shall be carried out in accordance with the custom concerning such matters, but it is right that custom should give way to the following regulations of State law:—Either to ordain or to prohibit weeping for the dead

1 Cp.Plat. Phaedo 63b ff.

2 Cp. Plat. Laws 717e Plat. Laws 719d.

3 i.e. the corpse is like an altar which has no “real presence” to sanctify it; hence it is less worthy of costly offerings.

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