of disease or ruinous wars, and the houses fall much below the appointed number through bereavements, we ought not to introduce new citizens trained with a bastard training of our own free will,—but “necessity” (as the proverb runs) “not even God himself can compel.”1
Let us then suppose that our present discourse gives the following advice:—My most excellent friends, be not slack to pay honor, as Nature ordains, to similarity and equality and identity and congruity in respect of number
and of every influence productive of things fair and good. Above all, now, in the first place, guard throughout your lives the number stated; in the next place, dishonor not the due measure of the height and magnitude of your substance, as originally apportioned, by buying and selling one to another: otherwise, neither will the apportioning Lot,2
which is divine, fight on your side, nor will the lawgiver: for now, in the first place, the law lays on the disobedient this injunction:—since it has given warning that whoso wills should take
or refuse an allotment on the understanding that, first, the land is sacred to all the gods, and further, that prayers shall be made at the first, second, and third sacrifices by the priests and priestesses,—therefore the man who buys or sells the house-plot or land-plot allotted to him must suffer the penalty attached to this sin. The officials shall inscribe on tablets of cypress-wood written records for future reference, and shall place them in the shrines; furthermore,
they shall place the charge of the execution of these matters in the hands of that magistrate who is deemed to be most keen of vision, in order that all breaches of these rules may be brought to their notice, and they may punish the man who disobeys both the law and the god. How great a blessing the ordinance now described—when the appropriate organization accompanies it—proves to all the States that obey it—that is a thing which, as the old proverb3
says, none that is evil shall know, but only he that has become experienced and practised in virtuous habits.
For in the organization described there exists no excess of money-making, and it involves the condition that no facility should or can be given to anyone to make money by means of any illiberaI trade,—inasmuch as what is called contemptible vulgarity perverts a liberal character,—and also that no one should ever claim to heap up riches from any such source. Furthermore, upon all this