according to plan. This requires that the citizens will raise no objection to such a mode of living together, and will tolerate being restricted for life to fixed and limited amounts of property and to families such as we have stated, and being deprived of gold and of the other things which the lawgiver is clearly obliged by our regulations to forbid, and will submit also to the arrangements he has defined for country and city, with the dwellings set in the center and round the circumference,—almost as if he were telling nothing but dreams, or moulding, so to say,
a city and citizens out of wax. These criticisms are not altogether unfair, and the lawgiver should reconsider the points that follow. So he that is legislating speaks to us again in this wise: “Do not suppose, my friends, that I in these my discourses fail to observe the truth of what is now set out in this criticism. But in dealing with all schemes for the future, the fairest plan, I think, is this—that the person who exhibits the pattern on which the undertaking is to be modelled should omit no detail of perfect beauty and truth; but where any of them is impossible of realization,
that particular detail he should omit and leave unexecuted, but contrive to execute instead whatever of the remaining details comes nearest to this and is by nature most closely akin to the right procedure; and he should allow the lawgiver to express his ideal completely; and when this is done, then and then only should they both consult together as to how far their proposals are expedient and how much of the legislation is impracticable. For the constructor of even the most trivial object, if he is to be of any merit, must make it in all points
consistent with itself.” So now we must endeavor to discern—after we have decided on our division into twelve parts—in what fashion the divisions that come next to these and are the offspring of these, up to the ultimate figure, 5,040, (determining as they do, the phratries and demes1
and villages, as well as the military companies and platoons, and also the coinage-system, dry and liquid measures, and weights) ,—
how, I say, all these numerations are to be fixed by the law so as to be of the right size and consistent one with another. Moreover, he should not hesitate, through fear of what might appear to be peddling detail, to prescribe that, of all the utensils which the citizens may possess, none shall be allowed to be of undue size.