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No doubt. [712b] Athenian
Let us apply the oracle to your State, and so try, like greybeard boys, to model its laws by our discourse.2Clinias
Yes, let us proceed, and delay no longer.Athenian
Let us invoke the presence of the God at the establishment of the State; and may he hearken, and hearkening may he come, propitious and kindly to us-ward, to help us in the fashioning of the State and its laws.Clinias
Yes, may he come!Athenian
Well, what form of polity is it that we intend to impose [712c] upon the State?Clinias
What, in particular, do you refer to? Explain still more clearly. I mean, is it a democracy, an oligarchy, an aristocracy, or a monarchy? For certainly you cannot mean a tyranny: that we can never suppose.Athenian
Come now, which of you two would like to answer me first and tell me to which of these kinds his own polity at home belongs?Megillus
Is it not proper that I, as the elder, should answer first? [712d] Clinias
In truth, Stranger, when I reflect on the Lacedaemonian polity, I am at a loss to tell you by what name one should describe it. It seems to me to resemble a tyranny, since the board of ephors it contains is a marvellously tyrannical feature; yet sometimes it strikes me as, of all States, the nearest to a democracy. Still, it would be totally absurd to deny that it is an aristocracy; [712e] while it includes, moreover, a life monarchy, and that the most ancient of monarchies, as is affirmed, not only by ourselves, but by all the world. But now that I am questioned thus suddenly, I am really, as I said, at a loss to say definitely to which of these polities it belongs.Clinias
And I, Megillus, find myself equally perplexed; for I find it very difficult to affirm that our Cnosian polity is any one of these.Athenian
Yes, my good Sirs; for you do, in fact, partake in a number of polities. But those we named just now are not polities, but arrangements of States which rule or serve
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