So Homer, too, was aware of the fact that triremes lined up in the sea alongside of infantry fighting on land are a bad thing: why, even lions, if they had habits such as these, would grow used to running away from does! Moreover, States dependent upon navies for their power give honors, as rewards for their safety, to a section of their forces that is not the finest; for they owe their safety to the arts of the pilot, the captain and the rower— [707b] men of all kinds and not too respectable,—so that it would be impossible to assign the honors to each of them rightly. Yet, without rectitude in this, how can it still be right with a State?1Clinias
“Thus baneful counsel such as thine will prove.
”Hom. Il. 14.96
It is well-nigh impossible. None the less, Stranger, it was the sea-fight at Salamis, fought by the Greeks against the barbarians, which, as we Cretans at least affirm, saved Greece.Athenian
Yes, that is what is said by most of the Greeks and barbarians. [707c] But we—that is, I myself and our friend Megillus—affirm that it was the land-battle of Marathon which began the salvation of Greece, and that of Plataea which completed it; and we affirm also that, whereas these battles made the Greeks better, the sea-fights made them worse,—if one may use such an expression about battles that helped at that time to save us (for I will let you count Artemisium also as a sea-fight, as well as Salamis). Since, however, [707d] our present object is political excellence, it is the natural character of a country and its legal arrangements that we are considering; so that we differ from most people in not regarding mere safety and existence as the most precious thing men can possess, but rather the gaining of all possible goodness and the keeping of it throughout life. This too, I believe, was stated by us before.2Clinias
Then let us consider only this,—whether we are traversing by the same road which we took then, as being the best for states in the matter of settlements and modes of legislation. [707e] Clinias
The best by far.Athenian
In the next place tell me this: who are the people that are to be settled? Will they comprise all that wish to go from any part of Crete, supposing that there has grown up in every city a surplus population too great for the country's food supply? For you are not; I presume, collecting all who wish to go from Greece; although I do, indeed, see in your country settlers from Argos, Aegina,