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Just so.

Well then, shall we not declare that the distribution of these things is the lawgiver's task?


Is it your wish that we should hand over the whole distribution to him, to deal with every case and all the details, while we—as legal enthusiasts ourselves also—confine ourselves to making a threefold division, and endeavor to distinguish what comes first in importance, and what second and third?1

By all means.

We declare, then, that a State which is to endure, [697b] and to be as happy as it is possible for man to be, must of necessity dispense honors rightly. And the right way is this: it shall be laid down that the goods of the soul are highest in honor and come first, provided that the soul possesses temperance; second come the good and fair things of the body; and third the so-called goods of substance and property. And if any law-giver or State transgresses these rules, either by promoting wealth to honors, or by raising one of the lower goods [697c] to a higher rank by means of honors, he will be guilty of a breach both of religion and of statesmanship. Shall this be our declaration, or what?

By all means let us declare this plainly.

It was our investigation of the polity of the Persians that caused us to discuss these matters at greater length. We find that they grew still worse, the reason being, as we say, that by robbing the commons unduly of their liberty and introducing despotism in excess, they destroyed [697d] in the State the bonds of friendliness and fellowship. And when these are destroyed, the policy of the rulers no longer consults for the good of the subjects and the commons, but solely for the maintenance of their own power; if they think that it will profit them in the least degree, they are ready at any time to overturn States and to overturn and burn up friendly nations; and thus they both hate and are hated with a fierce and ruthless hatred. And when they come to need the commons, to fight in their support, they find in them no patriotism [697e] or readiness to endanger their lives in battle; so that, although they possess countless myriads of men, they are all useless for war, and they hire soldiers from abroad as though they were short of men, and imagine that their safety will be secured by hirelings and aliens. And besides all this,

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