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Well then, after all that has now been said, you will next come, I suppose, to the task of appointing magistrates for your State.Clinias
That is so.Athenian
In this there are two branches of civic organization involved,— first, the appointment of magistracies and magistrates, with the fixing of the right number required and the proper method of appointment; and next the assignment to each magistracy of [751b] such and so many laws as are in each case appropriate.1 But before we make our selection, let us pause for a moment, and make a statement concerning it of a pertinent kind.Clinias
What statement is that?Athenian
It is this:— It is a fact clear to everyone that, the work of legislation being a great one, the placing of unfit officers in charge of well-framed laws in a well-equipped State not only robs those laws of all their value and gives rise to widespread ridicule, [751c] but is likely also to prove the most fertile source of damage and danger in such States.Clinias
Let us then, my friend, mark this result in dealing now with your polity and State. You see that it is necessary, in the first place, that those who rightly undertake official functions should in every case have been fully tested— both themselves and their families— from their earliest years up to the time of their selection; and, secondly, that those who are to be the selectors should have been reared in law-abiding habits, [751d] and be well trained for the task of rightly rejecting or accepting those candidates who deserve their approval or disapproval. Yet as regards this point, can we suppose that men who have but recently come together, with no knowledge of one another and with no training, could ever possibly select their officials in a faultless manner?Clinias
It is practically impossible.Athenian
Yet, “with the hand on the plough,” as they say, “there is no looking back.”2 And so it must be now with you and me; for you, as you tell me,3 have given your pledge [751e] to the Cretan nation that you, with your nine colleagues, will devote yourself to the founding of that State; and I, for my part, have promised [752a] to lend you aid in the course of our present imaginative sketch. And indeed I should be loth to leave our sketch headless;4 for it would look entirely shapeless if it wandered about in that guise.Clinias
I heartily approve of what you say, Stranger.Athenian
And what is more, I shall act as I say to the best of my power.Clinias
By all means let us do as we say.Athenian
It shall be done, if God will and if we can thus far master our old age. [752b] Clinias
Probably God will be willing.Athenian
Probably he will; and with him as leader let us observe this also—Clinias
How bold and adventurous is the fashion in which we shall now have founded this State of ours.Clinias
What is now specially in your mind, and what makes you say so?Athenian
The fact that we are legislating lightheartedly and boldly for inexperienced men, in the hope that they will accept the laws we have now enacted. Thus much at least is plain, Clinias, to almost everyone—even to the meanest intelligence— [752c] that they will not readily accept any of those laws at the start; but if those laws could remain unchanged until those who have imbibed them in infancy, and have been reared up in them and grown fully used to them, have taken part in elections to office in every department of State,—then, when this has been effected (if any means or method can be found to effect it rightly) , we have, as I think, a strong security that, after this transitional period of disciplined adolescence, the State will remain firm. [752d] Clinias
It is certainly reasonable to suppose so.Athenian
Let us then consider whether we might succeed in providing an adequate means to this end on the following lines. For I declare, Clinias, that you Cnosians, above all other Cretans, not only ought to deal in no perfunctory manner with the soil which you are now settling, but ought also to take the utmost care that the first officials are appointed in the best and most secure way possible. The selection of the rest of them will be a less serious task; but it is imperatively necessary [752e] for you to choose your Law-wardens first with the utmost care.Clinias
What means can we find for this, or what rule?Athenian
This: I assert, O ye sons of Crete, that, since the Cnosians take precedence over most of the Cretan cities, they should combine with those who have come into this community to select thirty-seven persons in all from their own number and the community—nineteen from the latter body, and the rest from Cnosus itself; [753a] and those men the Cnosians should make over to your State, and they should make you in person a citizen of this colony and one of the eighteen—using persuasion or, possibly, a reasonable degree of compulsion.Clinias
Why, pray, have not you also, Stranger, and Megillus lent us a hand in our constitution?Athenian
Athens is haughty, Clinias, and Sparta also is haughty, and both are far distant: but for you this course is in all respects proper, as it is likewise for the rest of the founders of the colony, [753b] to whom also our recent remarks about you apply. Let us, then, assume that this would be the most equitable arrangement under the conditions at present existing. Later on, if the constitution still remains, the selection of officials shall take place as follows:—In the selection of officials all men shall take part who carry arms, as horse-soldiers or foot-soldiers, or who have served in war so far as their age and ability allowed. They shall make the selection in that shrine which the State shall deem the most sacred; [753c] and each man shall bring to the altar of the god, written on a tablet, the name of his nominee, with his father's name and that of his tribe and of the deme he belongs to, and beside these he shall write also his own name in like manner. Any man who chooses shall be permitted to remove any tablet which seems to him to be improperly written, and to place it in the market-place for not less than thirty days. The officials shall publicly exhibit, for all the State to see, [753d] those of the tablets that are adjudged to come first, to the number of 300; and all the citizens shall vote again in like manner, each for whomsoever of these he wishes. Of these, the officials shall again exhibit publicly the names of those who are adjudged first, up to the number of 100. The third time, he that wishes shall vote for whomsoever he wishes out of the hundred, passing between slain victims5 as he does so: then they shall test the thirty-seven men who have secured most votes, and declare them to be magistrates. [753e] Who, then, are the men, O Clinias and Megillus, who shall establish in our State all these regulations concerning magisterial offices and tests? We perceive (do we not?) that for States that are thus getting into harness for the first time some such persons there must necessarily be; but who they can be, before any officials exist, it is impossible to see. Yet somehow or other they must be there—and men, too, of no mean quality, but of the highest quality possible. For, as the saying goes, “well begun is half done,”6 and every man always commends a good beginning; but it is truly, as I think, something more than the half, and no man has ever yet commended as it deserves [754a] a beginning that is well made.Clinias
Let us not then wittingly leave this first step unmentioned, nor fail to make it quite clear to ourselves how it is to be brought about. I, however, am by no means fertile in resource, save for one statement which, in view of the present situation, it is both necessary and useful to make.Clinias
What statement is that?Athenian
I assert that the State for whose settlement we are planning has nobody in the way of parents except [754b] that State which is founding it, though I am quite aware that many of the colony-States often have been, and will be, at feud with those which founded them. But now, on the present occasion, just as a child in the present helplessness of childhood—in spite of the likelihood of his being at enmity with his parents at some future date—loves his parents and is loved by them, and always flies for help to his kindred and finds in them, and them alone, his allies,—so now, as I assert, this relationship exists ready-made for the Cnosians towards the young State, owing to their care for it, and for the young State [754c] towards the Cnosians. I state once more, as I stated just now,7—for there is no harm in duplicating a good statement—that the Cnosians must take a share in caring for all these matters, choosing out not less than 100 men of those who have come into the colony, the oldest and best of them they are able to select; and of the Cnosians themselves let there be another hundred. This joint body8 must, I say, go to the new State and arrange in common that the magistrates [754d] be appointed according to the laws and be tested after appointment. When this has been done, then the Cnosians must dwell in Cnosus, and the young State must endeavor by its own efforts to secure for itself safety and success. As to the men who belong to the thirty and seven,9 let us select them for the following purposes: First, they shall act as Wardens of the laws, and secondly as Keepers of the registers in which every man writes out for the officials the amount of his property, [754e] omitting four minae if he be of the highest property-class, three if he be of the second class, two if he be of the third, and one if he be of the fourth class. And should anyone be proved to possess anything else beyond what is registered, all such surplus shall be confiscated; and in addition he shall be liable to be brought to trial by anyone who wishes to prosecute—a trial neither noble nor fair of name, if he be convicted of despising law because of lucre. So he that wishes shall charge him with profiteering, and prosecute him by law before the Law-wardens themselves; and if the defendant be convicted, he shall take no share of the public goods, [755a] and whenever the State makes a distribution, he shall go portionless, save for his allotment, and he shall be registered as a convicted criminal, where anyone who chooses may read his sentence, as long as he lives. A Law-warden shall hold office for no more than twenty years, and he shall be voted into office when he is not under fifty years of age. If he is elected at the age of sixty, he shall hold office for ten years only; and by the same rule, the more he exceeds the minimum age, the shorter shall be his term of office; so that if he lives [755b] beyond the age of seventy, he must no longer fancy that he can remain among these officials holding an office of such high importance. So, for the Law-wardens, let us state that these three duties are imposed on them, and as we proceed with the laws, each fresh law will impose upon these men whatever additional duties they ought to be charged with beyond those now stated. And now we may go on to describe the selection of the other officials. Commanders must be selected next, [755c] and as subordinates to them, for purposes of war, hipparchs, phylarchs, and officers to marshal the ranks of the foot-phylae,—to whom the name of “taxiarchs,”10 which is in fact the very name which most men give to them, would be specially appropriate. Of these, commanders shall be nominated by the Law-wardens from among the members of our State only; and from those nominated the selection shall be made by all who either are serving or have served in war, according to their several ages. And if anyone deems that someone of the men not nominated is better [755d] than one of those nominated, he shall state the name of his nominee and of the man whom he is to replace, and, taking the oath about the matter, he shall propose his substitute; and whichever of the two is decided on by vote shall be included in the list for selection. And the three men, who have been appointed by the majority of votes to serve as commanders and controllers of military affairs, shall be tested as were the Law-wardens. The selected commanders shall nominate for themselves taxiarchs, twelve for each tribe; [755e] and here, in the case of the taxiarchs, just as in the case of the commanders, there shall be a right of counter-nomination, and a similar procedure of voting and testing. For the present—before that prytaneis11 and a Boule have been elected—this assembly shall be convened by the Law-wardens, and they shall seat it in the holiest and roomiest place available, the hoplites on one side, the horse-soldiers on another, and in the third place, next to these, all who belong to the military forces. All shall vote for the commanders, all who carry shields for the taxiarchs; [756a] all the cavalry shall elect for themselves phylarchs; the commanders shall appoint for themselves captains of skirmishers, archers, or any other branch of service. The appointment of hipparchs we have still remaining. They shall be nominated by the same persons who nominated the commanders, and the mode of selection and counter-nomination shall be the same in their case as in that of the commanders: the cavalry shall vote for them [756b] in full sight of the infantry, and the two who secure most votes shall be captains of all the cavalrymen. No more than two challenges of votes shall be allowed: if anyone makes a third challenge, it shall be decided by those who had charge of the count on the occasion in question. The Boule (or “Council”) shall consist of thirty dozen—as the number 360 is well-adapted for the sub-divisions: [756c] they shall be divided into four groups; and 90 councillors shall be voted for from each of the property-classes.12 First, for councillors from the highest property-class all the citizens shall be compelled to vote, and whoever disobeys shall be fined with the fine decreed. When these have been voted for, their names shall be recorded. On the next day those from the second class shall be voted for, the procedure being similar to that on the first day. On the third day, for councillors from the third class anyone who chooses shall vote; and the voting shall be compulsory [756d] for members of the first three classes, but those of the fourth and lowest class shall be let off the fine, in case any of them do not wish to vote. On the fourth day, for those from the fourth and lowest class all shall vote; and if any member of the third or fourth class does not wish to vote, he shall be let off the fine; but any member of the first or second class who fails to vote shall be fined—three times the amount of the first fine [756e] in the case of a member of the second class, and four times in the case of one of the first class. On the fifth day the officials shall publish the names recorded for all the citizens to see; and for these every man shall vote, or else be fined with the first fine; and when they have selected 180 from each of the classes, they shall choose out by lot one-half of this number, and test them; and these shall be the Councillors for the year. The selection of officials that is thus made will form a mean between a monarchic constitution and a democratic; and midway between these our constitution should always stand. For slaves will never [757a] be friends with masters, nor bad men with good, even when they occupy equal positions—for when equality is given to unequal things, the resultant will be unequal, unless due measure is applied; and it is because of these two conditions that political organizations are filled with feuds. There is an old and true saying that “equality produces amity,” which is right well and fitly spoken; but what the equality is which is capable of doing this is a very troublesome question, since it is very far from being clear. [757b] For there are two kinds of equality13 which, though identical in name, are often almost opposites in their practical results. The one of these any State or lawgiver is competent to apply in the assignment of honors,—namely, the equality determined by measure, weight and number,—by simply employing the lot to give even results in the distributions; but the truest and best form of equality is not an easy thing for everyone to discern. It is the judgment of Zeus, and men it never assists save in small measure, but in so far as it does assist either States or individuals, [757c] it produces all things good; for it dispenses more to the greater and less to the smaller, giving due measure to each according to nature; and with regard to honors also, by granting the greater to those that are greater in goodness, and the less to those of the opposite character in respect of goodness and education, it assigns in proportion what is fitting to each. Indeed, it is precisely this which constitutes for us “political justice,” which is the object we must strive for, Clinias; this equality is what we must aim at, now that we are settling the State [757d] that is being planted. And whoever founds a State elsewhere at any time must make this same object the aim of his legislation,—not the advantage of a few tyrants, or of one, or of some form of democracy, but justice always; and this consists in what we have just stated, namely, the natural equality given on each occasion to things unequal. None the less, it is necessary for every State at times to employ even this equality in a modified degree, if it is to avoid involving itself in intestine discord, in one section or another,—for the reasonable and considerate, [757e] wherever employed, is an infringement of the perfect and exact, as being contrary to strict justice; for the same reason it is necessary to make use also of the equality of the lot, on account of the discontent of the masses, and in doing so to pray, calling upon God and Good Luck to guide for them the lot aright towards the highest justice. Thus it is that necessity compels us to employ both forms of equality; [758a] but that form, which needs good luck, we should employ as seldom as possible. The State which means to survive must necessarily act thus, my friends, for the reasons we have stated. For just as a ship when sailing on the sea requires continual watchfulness both by night and day, so likewise a State, when it lives amidst the surge of surrounding States and is in danger of being entrapped by all sorts of plots, requires to have officers linked up with officers from day to night and from night to day, [758b] and guardians succeeding guardians, and being succeeded in turn, without a break. But since a crowd of men is incapable of ever performing any of these duties smartly, the bulk of the Councillors must necessarily be left to stay most of their time at their private business, to attend to their domestic affairs; and we must assign a twelfth part of them to each of the twelve months, to furnish guards in rotation, so as promptly to meet any person coming either from somewhere abroad or [758c] from their own State, in case he desires to give information or to make enquiries about some matter of international importance; and so as to make replies, and, when the State has asked questions, to receive the replies; and above all, in view of the manifold innovations that are wont to occur constantly in States, to prevent if possible their occurrence, [758d] and in case they do occur, to ensure that the State may perceive and remedy the occurrence as quickly as possible. For these reasons, this presidential section of the State must always have the control of the summoning and dissolving of assemblies, both the regular legal assemblies and those of an emergency character. Thus a twelfth part of the Council will be the body that manages all these matters, and each such part shall rest in turn for eleven-twelfths of the year: in common with the rest of the officials, this twelfth section of the Council must keep its watch in the State over these matters continually. This disposition of affairs in the city will prove a reasonable arrangement. [758e] But what control are we to have, and what system, for all the rest of the country? Now that all the city and the whole country have each been divided up into twelve parts, must not supervisors be appointed for the roads of the city itself, the dwellings, buildings, harbors, market, springs, and for the sacred glebes also and the temples, and all such things?Clinias
Certainly. [759a] Athenian
Let us state, then, that for the temples there must be temple-keepers and priests and priestesses; and for roads and buildings and the due ordering thereof, and for men, and beasts too, to prevent their doing wrong, and to secure that the order proper to States is observed both within the city bounds and in the suburbs, we must select three kinds of officers: those who deal with the matters just mentioned we shall call “city-stewards,” and those dealing with the ordering of the market, “market-stewards.” Priests of temples, or priestesses, who hold hereditary priesthoods [759b] should not be disturbed; but if,—as is likely to be the case in such matters with a people who are being organized for the first time,—few or none have them already established, then we must establish priests and priestesses to be temple-keepers for the gods. In establishing all these offices, we must make the appointments partly by election and partly by lot,14 mingling democratic with non-democratic methods, to secure mutual friendliness, in every rural and urban district, so that all may be as unanimous as possible.15 As to the priests, [759c] we shall entrust it to the god himself to ensure his own good pleasure, by committing their appointment to the divine chance of the lot; but each person who gains the lot we shall test, first, as to whether he is sound and true-born, and secondly, as to whether he comes from houses that are as pure as possible, being himself clean from murder and all such offences against religion, and of parents that have lived by the same rule. They ought to bring from Delphi laws about all matters of religion, and appoint interpreters16 thereof, and make use of those laws. [759d] Each priestly office should last for one year and no longer; and the person who is to officiate in sacred matters efficiently according to the laws of religion should be not less than sixty years old: and the same rules shall hold good also for priestesses. For the interpreters the tribes shall vote four at a time, by three votings, for four men, one from each tribe;17 and when the three men for whom most votes are cast have been tested, they shall send the other nine to Delphi for the oracle to select one from each triad; [759e] and the rules as to their age and testing shall be the same as for the priests. These men shall hold office for life as interpreters; and when one falls out, the four tribes18 shall elect a substitute from the tribe he belonged to. As treasurers to control the sacred funds in each of the temples, and the sacred glebes, with their produce [760a] and their rents, we must choose from the highest property-classes three men for the largest temples, two for the smaller, and one for the least extensive; and the method of selecting and testing these shall be the same as that adopted in the case of the commanders. Such shall be the regulations concerning matters of religion. Nothing, so far as possible, shall be left unguarded. As regards the city, the task of guarding shall be in charge of the commanders, taxiarchs, hipparchs, phylarchs and prytaneis, and also [760b] of the city-stewards and market-stewards, wherever we have such officials properly selected and appointed. All the rest of the country must be guarded in the following manner: we have marked out the whole country as nearly as possible into twelve equal portions: to each portion one tribe shall be assigned by lot, and it shall provide five men to act as land-stewards and phrourarchs (“watch-captains”); it shall be the duty of each of the Five to select twelve [760c] young men from his own tribe of an age neither under 25 nor over 30. To these groups of twelve the twelve portions of the country shall be assigned, one to each in rotation for a month at a time, so that all of them may gain experience and knowledge of all parts of the country. The period of office and of service for guards and officers shall be two years. From the portion in which they are stationed first by the lot they shall pass on month by month to the next district, under the leadership of the phrourarchs, in a direction from left to right,— [760d] and that will be from west to east. When the first year is completed, in order that as many as possible of the guards may not only become familiar with the country in one season of the year, but may also learn about what occurs in each several district at different seasons, their leaders shall lead them back again in the reverse direction, constantly [760e] changing their district, until they have completed their second year of service. For the third year they must elect other land-stewards and phrourarchs. During their periods of residence in each district their duties shall be as follows: first, in order to ensure that the country shall be fenced as well as possible against enemies, they shall make channels wherever needed, and dig moats and build crosswalls, so as to keep out to the best of their power those who attempt in any way to damage the country [761a] and its wealth; and for these purposes they shall make use of the beasts of burden and the servants in each district, employing the former and supervising the latter, and choosing always, so far as possible, the times when these people are free from their own business. In all respects they must make movement as difficult as possible for enemies, but for friends—whether men, mules or cattle—as easy as possible, by attending to the roads, that they all may become as level as possible, and to the rain-waters, that they may benefit instead of injuring the country, as they flow down from the heights into all the [761b] hollow valleys in the mountains: they shall dam the outflows of their flooded dales by means of walls and channels, so that by storing up or absorbing the rains from heaven, and by forming pools or springs in all the low-lying fields and districts, they may cause even the driest spots to be abundantly supplied with good water. As to spring-waters, be they streams or fountains, they shall beautify and embellish them by means of plantations and buildings, [761c] and by connecting the pools by hewn tunnels they shall make them all abundant, and by using water-pipes they shall beautify at all seasons of the year any sacred glebe or grove that may be close at hand, by directing the streams right into the temples of the gods. And everywhere in such spots the young men should erect gymnasia both for themselves and for the old men—providing warm baths for the old: they should keep there a plentiful supply of dry wood, [761d] and give a kindly welcome and a helping hand to sick folk and to those whose bodies are worn with the toils of husbandry—a welcome far better than a doctor who is none too skilful. They shall carry on these, and all similar operations, in the country districts, by way of ornament as well as use, and to furnish recreation also of no ungraceful kind. The serious duties in this department shall be as follows:—The Sixty must guard each their own district, not only because of enemies, but in view also of those who profess to be friends. And if one either of the foreign neighbors or of the citizens [761e] injures another citizen, be the culprit a slave or a freeman, the judges for the complainant shall be the Five officers themselves in petty cases, and the Five each with their twelve subordinates in more serious cases, where the damages claimed are up to three minae. No judge or official should hold office without being subject to an audit, excepting only those who, like kings, form a court of final appeal. So too with regard to these land-stewards if they do any violence to those whom they supervise, [762a] by imposing unfair charges, or by trying to plunder some of their farm-stores without their consent, or if they take a gift intended as a bribe, or distribute goods unjustly—for yielding to seduction they shall be branded with disgrace throughout the whole State; and in respect of all other wrongs they have committed against people in the district, up to the value of one mina, they shall voluntarily submit to trial before the villagers and neighbors; and should they on any occasion, in respect of either a greater or lesser wrong, [762b] refuse thus to submit,—trusting that by their moving on every month to a new district they will escape trial,—in such cases the injured party must institute proceedings at the public courts, and if he win his suit, he shall exact the double penalty from the defendant who has absconded and refused to submit voluntarily to trial. The mode of life of the officers and land-stewards during their two years of service shall be of the following kind. First, [762c] in each of the districts there shall be common meals, at which all shall mess together. If a man absents himself by day, or by sleeping away at night, without orders from the officers or some urgent cause, and if the Five inform against him and post his name up in the market-place as guilty of deserting his watch, then he shall suffer degradation for being a traitor to his public duty, and whoever meets him and desires to punish him may give him a beating [762d] with impunity. And if any one of the officers themselves commits any such act, it will be proper for all the Sixty to keep an eye on him; and if any of them notices or hears of such an act, but fails to prosecute, he shall be held guilty under the same laws, and shall be punished more severely than the young men; he shall be entirely disqualified from holding posts of command over the young men. Over these matters the Law-wardens shall exercise most careful supervision, to prevent if possible their occurrence, and, where they do occur, to ensure that they meet with the punishment they deserve. [762e] Now it is needful that every man should hold the view, regarding men in general, that the man who has not been a servant will never become a praiseworthy master, and that the right way to gain honor is by serving honorably rather than by ruling honorably—doing service first to the laws, since this is service to the gods, and, secondly, the young always serving the elder folk and those who have lived honorable lives. In the next place, he who is made a land-steward must have partaken of the daily rations, which are coarse and uncooked, during the two years of service. For whenever the Twelve have been chosen, [763a] being assembled together with the Five, they shall resolve that, acting like servants, they will keep no servants or slaves to wait on themselves, nor will they employ any attendants belonging to the other farmers or villagers for their own private needs, but only for public requirements; and in all other respects they shall determine to live a self-supporting life, acting as their own ministers and masters, and thoroughly exploring, moreover, the whole country both by summer and winter, [763b] under arms, for the purpose both of fencing and of learning each several district. For that all should have an accurate knowledge of their own country is a branch of learning that is probably second to none: so the young men ought to practise running with hounds and all other forms of hunting, as much for this reason as for the general enjoyment and benefit derived from such sports. With regard, then, to this branch of service—both the men themselves and their duties, whether we choose to call them secret-service men or land-stewards or by any other name— [763c] every single man who means to guard his own State efficiently shall do his duty zealously to the best of his power. The next step in our choice of officials is to appoint market-stewards and city-stewards. After the land-stewards (sixty in number) will come the three city-stewards, who shall divide the twelve sections of the city into three parts, and shall copy the land-stewards in having charge of the streets of the city and of the various roads that run into the city from the country, and of the buildings, [763d] to see that all these conform to the requirements of the law; and they shall also have charge of all the water-supplies conveyed and passed on to them by the guards in good condition, to ensure that they shall be both pure and plentiful as they pour into the cisterns, and may thus both beautify and benefit the city. Thus it is needful that these men also should have both the ability and the leisure to attend to public affairs. Therefore for the office of city-steward every citizen shall nominate whatever person he chooses from the highest property-class; and when these have been voted on, and they have arrived at the six men [763e] for whom most votes have been cast, then those whose duty it is shall select the three by lot; and after passing the scrutiny, these men shall execute the office according to the laws ordained for them. Next to these they must elect five market-stewards from the second and first property-classes: in all other respects the mode of their election shall be similar to that of the city-stewards; from the ten candidates chosen by voting they shall select the five by lot, and after scrutiny declare them appointed. All shall vote for every official: any man who refuses to do so, [764a] if reported to the officials, shall be fined fifty drachmae, besides being declared to be a bad citizen. Whoso wishes shall attend the Ecclesia and the public assembly; and for members of the second and first property-classes attendance shall be compulsory, anyone who is found to be absent from the assemblies being fined ten drachmae; but for a member of the third or fourth class it shall not be compulsory, and he shall escape without a fine, unless the officials for some urgent reason charge everyone to attend. [764b] The market-stewards must see to it that the market is conducted as appointed by law: they must supervise the temples and fountains in the market, to see that no one does any damage; in case anyone does damage, if he be a slave or a stranger, they shall punish him with stripes and bonds, while if a native is guilty of such misconduct, they shall have power to inflict a fine up to a hundred drachmae of their own motion, and to fine a wrongdoer [764c] up to twice that amount, when acting in conjunction with the city-stewards. Similarly, the city-stewards shall have power of fining and punishing in their own sphere, fining up to a mina of their own motion, and up to twice that sum in conjunction with the market-stewards. It will be proper next to appoint officials for music and gymnastics,—two grades for each department, the one for education, the other for managing competitions. By education-officers the law means supervisors of gymnasia and schools, both in respect of their discipline [764d] and teaching and of the control of the attendances and accommodation both for girls and boys. By competition-officers it means umpires for the competitors both in gymnastic and in music, these also being of two grades. For competitions there should be the same umpires both for men and for horses; but in the case of music it will be proper to have separate umpires for solos and for mimetic performances,— [764e] I mean, for instance, one set chosen for rhapsodists, harpers, flute-players, and all such musicians, and another set for choral performers. We ought to choose first the officials for the playful exercise of choirs of children and lads and girls in dances and all other regular methods of music; and for these one officer suffices, and he must be not under forty years of age. [765a] And for solo performances one umpire, of not less than thirty years, is sufficient, to act as introducer19 and to pass an adequate judgment upon the competitors. The officer and manager of the choirs they must appoint in the following way. All those who are devoted to these subjects shall attend the assembly, and if they refuse to attend they shall be liable to a fine—a matter which the Law-wardens shall decide: any others who are unwilling to attend shall be subject to no compulsion. Every elector must make his nomination from the list of those who are experts: [765b] in the scrutiny, affirmation and negation shall be confined to one point only—on the one side, that the candidate is expert, on the other side, that he is not expert; and whichever of the ten who come first on votes is elected after the scrutiny shall be the officer for the year in charge of the choirs according to law. In the same way as these they shall appoint the officer elected to preside for the year over those who enter for competitions in solos and joint performances on the flute. [765c] Next it is proper to choose umpires for the athletic contests of horses and men from among the third and the second property-classes: this election it shall be compulsory for the first three classes to attend, but the lowest class shall be exempt from fines for non-attendance. Three shall be appointed: twenty having been first selected by show of hand, three out of the twenty shall be chosen by lot; and they shall be subject also to the approval of the scrutineers. [765d] Should any candidate be disqualified in any voting or testing for office, they shall elect a substitute, and carry out the scrutiny by the same method as in the case of the original candidate. In the department we have been dealing with, we have still to appoint an officer who shall preside over the whole range of education of both boys and girls. For this purpose there shall be one officer legally appointed: he shall not be under fifty years of age, and shall be the father of legitimate children of either sex, or preferably of both sexes. [765e] Both the candidate that is put first, and the elector who puts him first, must be convinced that of the highest offices of State this is by far the most important. For in the case of every creature—plant or animal, tame20 and wild alike—it is the first shoot, if it sprouts out well, that is most effective in bringing to its proper development the essential excellence of the creature in question. [766a] Man, as we affirm, is a tame creature: none the less, while he is wont to become an animal most godlike and tame when he happens to possess a happy nature combined with right education, if his training be deficient or bad, he turns out the wildest of all earth's creatures. Wherefore the lawgiver must not permit them to treat the education of children as a matter of secondary or casual importance; but, inasmuch as the presiding official must be well selected, he must begin first by charging them to appoint as president, to the best of their power, [766b] that one of the citizens who is in every way the most excellent. Therefore all the officials—excepting the Council and the prytaneis—shall go to the temple of Apollo, and shall each cast his vote for whichever one of the Law-wardens he deems likely best to control educational affairs. He who gains most votes, after passing a scrutiny held by the selecting officials, other than the Law-wardens, shall hold office for five years: in the sixth year they shall elect another man for this office [766c] in a similar manner. If anyone holding a public office dies more than thirty days before his office terminates, those whose proper duty it is must appoint a substitute in the same manner. If a guardian of orphans dies, the relations, who are residents, on both the father's and mother's side, as far as cousin's children, shall appoint a substitute within ten days, failing which they shall each be fined one drachma per diem [766d] until they have appointed the guardian for the children. A State, indeed, would be no State if it had no law-courts properly established; but a judge who was dumb and who said as little as litigants at a preliminary inquiry,21 as do arbitrators,22 would never prove efficient in deciding questions of justice; consequently it is not easy for a large body of men to judge well, nor yet for a small one, if of poor ability. The matter in dispute on either side [766e] must always be made clear, and for elucidating the point at issue, lapse of time, deliberation and frequent questionings are of advantage. Therefore those who challenge each other must go first to the neighbors and friends who know most about [767a] the actions in dispute: if a man fails to get an adequate decision from them, he shall repair to another court; and if these two courts are unable to settle the matter, the third court shall put an end to the case. In a sense we may say that the establishment of law-courts coincides with the election of officials; for every official must be also a judge of certain matters, while a judge, even if not an official, may be said to be an official of no little importance on the day when he concludes a suit by pronouncing his judgment. [767b] Assuming then that the judges are officials, let us declare who will make suitable judges, and of what matters, and how many shall deal with each case. The most elementary form of court is that which the two parties arrange for themselves, choosing judges by mutual agreement; of the rest, there shall be two forms of trial,—the one when a private person accuses a private person of injuring him and desires to gain a verdict by bringing him to trial, and the other when a person believes that the State is being injured by one of the citizens [767c] and desires to succor the common weal. Who and what sort the judges are must now be explained. First, we must have a court common to all private persons who are having their third23 dispute with one another. It shall be formed in this way. On the day preceding the commencement of a new year of office—which commences with the month next after the summer solstice—all the officials, whether holding office for one year only or longer, shall assemble in the same temple and, after adjuring the god, [767d] they shall dedicate, so to say, one judge from each body of officials, namely, that member of each body whom they deem the best man and the most likely to decide the suits for his fellow-citizens during the ensuing year in the best and holiest way. These being chosen, they shall undergo a scrutiny before those who have chosen them; and should any be disqualified, they shall choose a substitute in like manner. Those who pass the scrutiny shall act as judges for those who have escaped the other courts, and they shall cast their votes openly. [767e] The Councillors, and all the other officials, who have elected them, shall be obliged to attend these trials, both to hear and to see; and anyone else that wishes may attend. Anyone who accuses a judge of deliberately giving an unjust judgment shall go to the Law-wardens and lay his charge before them: a judge that is convicted on such a charge shall submit to pay double the amount of the damage done to the injured party; and if he be held to deserve a greater penalty, the judges of the case shall estimate what additional punishment must be inflicted, or what payment made to the State and to the person who took proceedings. In the matter of offences against the State it is necessary, first of all, [768a] that a share in the trial should be given to the populace, for when a wrong is done to the State, it is the whole of the people that are wronged, and they would justly be vexed if they had no share in such trials; so, while it is right that both the beginning and the ending of such a suit should be assigned to the people, the examination shall take place before three of the highest officials mutually agreed upon by both defendant and plaintiff: should they be unable by themselves to reach an agreement, the Council must revise [768b] the choice of each of them. In private suits also, so far as possible, all the citizens must have a share; for the man that has no share in helping to judge imagines that he has no part or lot in the State at all. Therefore there must also be courts for each tribe, and judges appointed by lot and to meet the sudden occasion must judge the cases, unbiased by appeals; but the final verdict in all such cases must rest with that court which we declare to be organized in the most incorruptible way that is humanly possible, [768c] specially for the benefit of those who have failed to obtain a settlement of their case either before the neighbors or in the tribal courts.24 Thus as concerns the law-courts—which, as we say, cannot easily be called either “offices” or “non-offices” without ambiguity—this outline sketch serves to describe them in part, though there is a good deal it omits; for detailed legislation and definition concerning suits would most properly be placed at the conclusion of the legislative code.25 So let these matters [768d] be directed to wait for us at the conclusion; and I should say that the other official posts have had most of the legislation they require for their establishment. But a full and precise account concerning each and all of the State departments and the whole of the civic organization it is impossible to give clearly until our review has embraced every section of its subject, from the first to the very last, in proper order. [768e] So now, at the point where we stand—when our exposition has reached so far as to include the election of the officials—we may find a fit place to terminate our previous subject, and to commence the subject of legislation, which no longer needs any postponements or delays.Clinias
The previous subject, Stranger, you have treated to our entire satisfaction; but we welcome still more heartily the way you have linked up your past statements with your future statements—the end with the beginning. [769a] Athenian
It seems, then, that up to now our ancients' game of reason26 has been finely played.Clinias
You are showing, I think, how fine is the serious work of our citizens.Athenian
Very probably: but let us see whether you agree with me about another point.Clinias
What is it, and whom does it concern?Athenian
You know how, for instance, the painter's art in depicting each several subject seems never to get to an end, and in its embellishing it seems as if it would never stop [769b] laying on colors or taking them off—or whatever the professional painters term the process—and reach a point where the picture admits of no further improvement in respect of beauty and lucidity.Clinias
I, too, remember hearing something of the fact you mention, although I am by no means practised in that kind of art.Athenian
You are none the worse for that. We may still use this fact, which it has occurred to us to mention, to illustrate the following point. [769c] Suppose that a man should propose to paint an object of extreme beauty, and that this should never grow worse, but always better, as time went on, do you not see that, since the painter is mortal, unless he leaves a successor who is able to repair the picture if it suffers through time, and also in the future to improve it by touching up any deficiency left by his own imperfect craftsmanship, his interminable toil will have results of but short duration?Clinias
True. [769d] Athenian
Well then, do you not think that the purpose of the lawgiver is similar? He purposes, first, to write down the laws, so far as he can, with complete precision; next, when in the course of time he puts his decrees to the test of practice, you cannot suppose that any lawgiver will be so foolish as not to perceive that very many things must necessarily be left over, which it will be the duty of some successor to make right, in order that the constitution and the system of the State he has organized may always grow better, [769e] and never in any way worse.27Clinias
This, of course, is what everyone naturally desires.Athenian
Suppose then that a man knew of a device indicating the way in which he could teach another man by deed and word to understand in a greater or less degree how he should conserve or amend laws, surely he would never cease declaring it until he had accomplished his purpose. [770a] Clinias
He certainly would not.Athenian
Must not we three act thus on the present occasion?Clinias
What is it you mean?Athenian
We are about to make laws, and Law-wardens have been appointed by us; therefore, since we are in the evening of life, while those compared to us are youthful, we should not only legislate, as we say, ourselves, but also make legislators, as well as Law-wardens, of these very same men, so far as we can. [770b] Clinias
We should,—if, that is to say, we are capable of so doing.Athenian
At any rate we must try, and try hard.Clinias
By all means.Athenian
Let us address them thus:— “Beloved Keepers of the Laws, in many departments of our legislation we shall leave out a vast number of matters (for we needs must do so) ; yet, notwithstanding, all important matters, as well as the general description, we shall include, so far as we can, in our outline sketch. Your help will be required to fill in this outline; and you must listen [770c] to what I say about the aim you should have before you in doing so. Megillus, Clinias and I have often stated to one another that aim, and we agree that it is rightly stated; so we desire you to be in immediate unison with us, as our disciples, and to aim at those objects at which, as we three have agreed, the lawgiver and Law-warden ought to aim. The sum and substance of our agreement was simply this: that whatsoever be the way [770d] in which a member of our community—be he of the male or female sex, young or old,—may become a good citizen, possessed of the excellence of soul which belongs to man, whether derived from some pursuit or disposition, or from some form of diet, or from desire or opinion or mental study, to the attainment of this end all his efforts throughout the whole of his life shall be directed; and not a single person shall show himself preferring any object which impedes this aim; [770e] in fine, even as regards the State, he must allow it to be revolutionized, if it seems necessary, rather than voluntarily submit to the yoke of slavery under the rule of the worse, or else he must himself quit the State as an exile: all such sufferings men must endure rather than change to a polity which naturally makes men worse. This is what we previously agreed upon28: so do you now keep both these objects of ours in view as you revise the laws, and censure all the laws which are unable to effect them, [771a] but welcome all such as are able to do so, and, adopting them wholeheartedly, rule your lives by them. All other practices, which tend towards 'goods' (so-called) , other than these, you must bid farewell to.” For a beginning of the laws which are to follow, we must commence with things sacred. First, we must consider anew29 the number 5,040, and the number of convenient subdivisions which we found it to contain [771b] both as a whole and when divided up into tribes: the tribal number is, as we said, a twelfth part of the whole number, being in its nature precisely 20 X 21. Our whole number has twelve subdivisions, and the tribal number also has twelve; and each such portion must be regarded as a sacred gift of God, conformed to the months and to the revolution of the universe. Wherefore also every State is guided by native instinct to hold them sacred, although some men possibly have made their divisions more correctly than others, or have consecrated them [771c] more happily. We, in any case, affirm now that we are perfectly correct in first selecting the number 5,040, which admits of division by all the numbers from 1 to 12, excepting only 11—and this omission is very easily remedied, since the mere subtraction of two hearths from the total restores an integral number as quotient:30 that this is really true we could show, at our leisure, by a fairly short explanation. For the present, then, we shall trust to the oracular statement just delivered, [771d] and we shall employ these subdivisions, and give to each portion the name of a God, or of a child of Gods, and bestow on it altars and all that belongs thereto; and at these we shall appoint two assemblies every month for sacrifice—of which twelve (yearly) shall be for the whole tribal division, and twelve for its urban section only; the object of these shall be, first, to offer thanksgiving to the gods and their attendants, and secondly, to promote fellowship amongst ourselves and the mutual acquaintance we spoke of, and association of every sort. [771e] For, in view of the fellowship and intercourse of marriage, it is necessary to eliminate ignorance, both on the part of the husband concerning the woman he marries and the family she comes from, and on the part of the father concerning the man to whom he gives his daughter; for it is all-important in such matters to avoid, if possible, any mistake. To achieve this serious purpose, sportive dances should be arranged for boys and girls; [772a] and at these they should both view and be viewed, in a reasonable way and on occasions that offer a suitable pretext, with bodies unclad, save so far as sober modesty prescribes. Of all such matters the officers of the choirs shall be the supervisors and controllers, and also, in conjunction with the Law-wardens, the lawgivers of all that we leave unprescribed.31 It is, as we said, necessary that in regard to all matters involving a host of petty details the law-giver should leave omissions, [772b] and that rules and amendments should be made from year to year by those who have constant experience of them from year to year and are taught by practice, until it be decided that a satisfactory code has been made out to regulate all such proceedings. A fair and sufficient period to assign for such experimental work would be ten years, both for sacrifices and for dances in all their several details; each body of officials, acting in conjunction with the original lawgiver, [772c] if he be still alive, or by themselves, if he be dead, shall report to the Law-wardens whatever is omitted in their own department, and shall make it good, until each detail seems to have reached its proper completion: this done, they shall decree them as fixed rules, and employ them as well as the rest of the laws originally decreed by the law-giver. In these they must never make any change voluntarily; but if it should ever be thought that a necessity for change [772d] has arisen, all the people must be consulted, as well as all the officials, and they must seek advice from all the divine oracles; and if there is a general consent by all, then they may make a change, but under no other conditions at any time; and the objector to change shall always prevail according to law. When any man of twenty-five32 years of age, viewing and being viewed by others, believes that he has found in any quarter a mate to his liking and suitable for the joint procreation of children, he shall marry, in every case before he is thirty-five; [772e] but first let him hearken to the direction as to how he should seek what is proper and fitting, for, as Clinias maintains, one ought to introduce each law by a prelude suitable thereto.33Clinias
A very proper reminder, Stranger,—and you have chosen, in my opinion, a most opportune point in your discourse for making it.Athenian
You are right. So let us say to the son of noble sires: [773a] My child, you must make a marriage that will commend itself to men of sense, who would counsel you neither to shun entirely connection with a poor family, nor to pursue connection with a rich one, but, other things being equal, to prefer always an alliance with a family of moderate means. Such a course will benefit both the State and the united families,34 since in respect of excellence what is evenly balanced and symmetrical is infinitely superior to what is untempered. The man who knows he is unduly hasty and violent in all his actions should win a bride [773b] sprung from steady parents; while the man that is of a contrary nature should proceed to mate himself with one of the opposite kind. Regarding marriage as a whole there shall be one general rule: each man must seek to form such a marriage as shall benefit the State, rather than such as best pleases himself. There is a natural tendency for everyone to make for the mate that most resembles himself, whence it results that the whole State becomes ill-balanced [773c] both in wealth and in moral habits; and because of this, the consequences we least desire are those that generally befall most States. To make express enactments about these matters by law—that, for instance, a rich man must not marry into a rich family, nor a man of wide power with a powerful family, or that man of hasty tempers must be obliged to seek alliances with those of slower tempers, and the slow with the hasty—this, besides being ridiculous, would cause widespread resentment; for people do not find it easy to perceive [773d] that a State should be like a bowl of mixed wine, where the wine when first poured in foams madly, but as soon as it is chastened by the sober deity of water, it forms a fair alliance, and produces a potion that is good and moderate. That this is precisely what happens in the blending of children is a thing which hardly anyone is capable of perceiving; therefrom in the legal code we must omit such rules, and merely try by the spell of words to persuade each one [773e] to value the equality of his children more highly than the equality of a marriage with inordinate wealth, and by means of reproaches to divert from his object him who has set his heart on marrying for money, although we may not compel him by a written law. Concerning marriage these shall be the exhortations given, in addition to those previously given,35 declaring how it is a duty to lay hold on the ever-living reality by providing servants for God in our own stead; and this we do by leaving behind us children's children. [774a] All this and more one might say in a proper prelude concerning marriage and the duty of marrying. Should any man, however, refuse to obey willingly, and keep himself aloof and unpartnered in the State, and reach the age of thirty-five unmarried, an annual fine shall be imposed upon him, of a hundred drachmae if he be of the highest property-class, if of the second, seventy, if of the third, sixty, if of the fourth, thirty. [774b] This fine shall be consecrated to Hera.36 He that fails to pay the fine in full every year shall owe ten times the amount of it, and the treasurer of the goddess shall exact this sum, or, failing to exact it, he shall owe it himself, and in the audit he shall in every case be liable to account for such a sum. This shall be the money-fine in which the man who refuses to marry shall be mulcted, and as to honor, he shall receive none from the younger men, and no young man shall of his own free-will pay any regard to him: if he attempt to punish any person, everyone shall come to the assistance of the person maltreated and defend him, [774c] and whoever is present and fails thus to give assistance shall be declared by law to be both a cowardly and a bad citizen. Concerning dowries it has been stated before,37 and it shall be stated again, that an equal exchange consists in neither giving nor receiving any gift, for all those who belong to this State have the necessaries of life provided for them; and the result of this rule will be less insolence on the part of the wives and less humiliation and servility on the part of the husband because of money. [774d] Whoso obeys this rule will be acting nobly; but he that disobeys—by giving or receiving for raiment38 a sum of over fifty drachmae, or over one mina, or over one and a half minae, or “if a member of the highest property-class) over two minae,—shall owe to the public treasury a sum equal thereto, and the sum given or received shall be consecrated to Hera and Zeus, and the treasurers of these deities shall exact it,— [744e] just as it was the rule,39 in cases of refusal to marry, that the treasurers of Hera should exact the fine in each instance, or else pay it out of their own pockets. The right of betrothal belongs in the first place to the father, next to the grandfather, thirdly to the full brothers; failing any of these, it rightly belongs next to relatives on the mother's side in like order; in case of any unwonted misfortune, the right shall belong to the nearest of kin in each case, acting in conjunction with the guardians.40 Concerning the preliminary marriage-sacrifice and all other sacred ceremonies proper to be performed [775a] before, during, or after marriage, each man shall enquire of the Interpreters, and believe that, in obeying their directions, he will have done all things duly. Concerning marriage-feasts,—both parties should invite their male and female friends, not more than five on each side, and an equal number of the kinsfolk and connections of both houses: in no case must the expense exceed what the person's means permit—one mina for the richest class, [775b] half that amount for the second, and so on in proportion, according as the valuation grows less. He that obeys the law should be praised by all; but he that disobeys the Law-wardens shall punish as a man of poor taste and ill-trained in the “nomes”41 of the nuptial Muses. Drinking to excess is a practice that is nowhere seemly42—save only at the feasts of the God, the Giver of wine,—nor yet safe; and certainly it is not so for those who take marriage seriously; for at such a time above all it behoves both bride and bridegroom to be sober, seeing that the change [775c] in their life is a great one, and in order to ensure, so far as possible, in every case that the child that is begotten may be sprung from the loins of sober parents: for what shall be, with God's help, the night or day of its begetting is quite uncertain. Moreover, it is not right that procreation should be the work of bodies dissolved by excess of wine, but rather that the embryo should be compacted firmly, steadily and quietly in the womb. But the man that is steeped in wine moves and is moved himself in every way, writhing both in body and soul; [775d] consequently, when drunk, a man is clumsy and bad at sowing seed, and is thus likely to beget unstable and untrusty offspring, crooked in form and character. Wherefore he must be very careful throughout all the year and the whole of his life—and most especially during the time he is begetting—to commit no act that involves either bodily ailment or violence and injustice; for these he will inevitably stamp on the souls and bodies of the offspring, [775e] and will generate them in every way inferior. From acts of such a kind he must especially abstain on the day and night of his marriage; for the Beginning that sits enshrined as a goddess43 among mortals is the Savior of all, provided that she receives the honor due to her from each one who approaches her. The man who marries must part from his father and mother, and take one of the two houses44 [776a] in his allotment, to be, as it were, the nest and home of his chicks, and make therein his marriage and the dwelling and home of himself and his children. For in friendships the presence of some degree of longing seems to cement various dispositions and bind them together; but unabated proximity, since it lacks the longing due to an interval, causes friends to fall away from one another owing to an excessive surfeit of each other's company. Therefore the married pair must leave their own houses to their parents and the bride's relations, [776b] and act themselves as if they had gone off to a colony, visiting and being visited in their home, begetting and rearing children, and so handing on life, like a torch,45 from one generation to another, and ever worshipping the gods as the laws direct. Next, as regards possessions, what should a man possess to form a reasonable amount of substance? As to most chattels, it is easy enough both to see what they should be and to acquire them; but servants present all kinds of difficulties. The reason is that our language about them is partly right and partly wrong; [776c] for the language we use both contradicts and agrees with our practical experience of them.Megillus
What mean we by this? We are still in the dark, Stranger, as to what you refer to.Athenian
That is quite natural, Megillus. For probably the most vexed problem in all Hellas is the problem of the Helot-system of the Lacedaemonians, which some maintain to be good, others bad; a less violent dispute rages round the subjection of the Mariandyni46 [776d] to the slave-system of the Heracleotes, and that of the class of Penestae to the Thessalians.47 In view of these and similar instances, what ought we to do about this question of owning servants?48 The point I happened to mention in the course of my argument,—and about which you naturally asked me what I referred to,—was this. We know, of course, that we would all agree that one ought to own slaves that are as docile and good as possible; for in the past many slaves have proved themselves better in every form of excellence than brothers or sons, and have saved their masters and their goods and [776e] their whole houses. Surely we know that this language is used about slaves?Megillus
And is not the opposite kind of language also used,—that the soul of a slave has no soundness in it, and that a sensible man should never trust that class at all? And our wisest poet, too, in speaking of Zeus, [777a] declared that—“Of half their wits far-thundering Zeus bereaves
Those men on whom the day of bondage falls.
”Hom. Od. 17.322Thus each party adopts a different attitude of mind: the one places no trust at all in the servant-class, but, treating them like brute beasts, with goads and whips they make the servants' souls not merely thrice but fifty times enslaved; whereas the other party act in precisely the opposite way.Megillus
Just so. [777b] Clinias
Since this difference of opinion exists, Stranger, what ought we to do about our own country, in regard to the owning of slaves and their punishment?Athenian
Well now, Clinias, since man is an intractable creature, it is plain that he is not at all likely to be or become easy to deal with in respect of the necessary distinction between slave and free-born master in actual experience.Clinias
That is evident.Athenian
The slave is no easy chattel. For actual experience shows [777c] how many evils result from slavery,—as in the frequent revolts in Messenia, and in the States where there are many servants kept who speak the same tongue, not to speak of the crimes of all sorts committed by the “Corsairs,”49 as they are called, who haunt the coasts of Italy, and the reprisals therefor. In view of all these facts, it is really a puzzle to know how to deal with all such matters. Two means only are left for us to try—the one is, [777d] not to allow the slaves, if they are to tolerate slavery quietly, to be all of the same nation, but, so far as possible, to have them of different races,—and the other is to accord them proper treatment, and that not only for their sakes, but still more for the sake of ourselves. Proper treatment of servants consists in using no violence towards them, and in hurting them even less, if possible, than our own equals. For it is his way of dealing with men whom it is easy for him to wrong that shows most clearly whether a man is genuine or hypocritical in his reverence for justice and hatred of injustice. He, therefore, that in dealing with slaves proves himself, in his character and action, [777e] undefiled by what is unholy or unjust will best be able to sow a crop of goodness,—and this we may say, and justly say, of every master, or king, and of everyone who possesses any kind of absolute power over a person weaker than himself. We ought to punish slaves justly, and not to make them conceited by merely admonishing them as we would free men. An address to a servant should be mostly a simple command: there should be no jesting [778a] with servants, either male or female, for by a course of excessively foolish indulgence in their treatment of their slaves, masters often make life harder both for themselves, as rulers, and for their slaves, as subject to rule.Clinias
That is true.Athenian
Suppose, then, that we are now, to the best of our power, provided with servants sufficient in number and quality to assist in every kind of task, should we not, in the next place, describe our dwellings?Clinias
Most certainly. [778b] Athenian
It would seem that our city, being new and houseless hitherto, must provide for practically the whole of its house-building, arranging all the details of its architecture, including temples and walls. These things are really, Clinias, prior to marriage; but since our construction is now a verbal one, this is a very suitable place to deal with them; when we come to the actual construction of the State, we shall, God willing, [778c] make the houses precede marriage, and crown all our architectural work with our marriage-laws. For the present we shall confine ourselves to a brief outline of our building regulations.Clinias
The temples we must erect all round the market-place, and in a circle round the whole city, on the highest spots, for the sake of ease in fencing them and of cleanliness: beside the temples we will set the houses of the officials and the law-courts, in which, as being most holy places, they will give and receive judgments,— [778d] partly because therein they deal with holy matters, and partly because they are the seats of holy gods; and in these will fittingly be held trials for murder and for all crimes worthy of death. As to walls, Megillus, I would agree with your Sparta in letting the walls lie sleeping in the ground, and not wake them up, and that for the following reasons. It is a fine saying of the poet,50 and often repeated, that walls should be made of bronze and iron [778e] rather than of earth. But our plan, in addition to this, would deserve to raise roars of laughter,—I mean the plan of sending young men into the country every year to dig and trench and build, so as to keep the enemy out51 and prevent their ever setting foot on the borders of the land—if we were also to build a wall round; for, in the first place, a wall is by no means an advantage to a city as regards health, and, moreover, it usually causes a soft habit of soul in the inhabitants, by inviting them to seek refuge within it instead of repelling the enemy; [779a] instead of securing their safety by keeping watch night and day, it tempts them to believe that their safety is ensured if they are fenced in with walls and gates and go to sleep, like men born to shirk toil, little knowing that ease is really the fruit of toil, whereas a new crop of toils is the inevitable outcome, as I think, of dishonorable ease and sloth. But if men really must have a wall, [779b] then the building of the private houses must be arranged from the start in such a way that the whole city may form a single wall; all the houses must have good walls, built regularly and in a similar style, facing the roads,52 so that the whole city will have the form of a single house, which will render its appearance not unpleasing, besides being far and away the best plan for ensuring safety and ease for defence. To see that the original buildings remain will fittingly be the special charge of the inmates; [779c] and the city-stewards should supervise them, and compel by fines those who are negligent, and also watch over the cleanliness of everything in the city, and prevent any private person from encroaching on State property either by buildings or diggings. These officers must also keep a watch over the proper flowing of the rain-water, and over all other matters, whether within or without the city, that it is right for them to manage. All such details—and all else that the lawgiver is unable to deal with and omits— [779d] the Law-wardens shall regulate by supplementary decrees, taking account of the practical requirements. And now that these buildings and those of the market-place, and the gymnasia, and all the schools have been erected and await their inmates, and the theaters their spectators, let us proceed to the subject which comes next after marriage, taking our legislation in order.Clinias
By all means.Athenian
Let us regard the marriage ceremony as now completed, Clinias; next will come the period before child-birth, [779e] which will extend to a full year: how the bride and bridegroom ought to pass this time in a State that will be unlike most other States,—that is to be our next theme, and it is not the easiest of things to explain; we have uttered not a few hard sayings before, but none of them all will the mass find harder to accept than this. All the same, what we believe to be right and true must by all means be stated,53 Clinias.Clinias
Whoever proposes to publish laws for States, [780a] regulating the conduct of the citizens in State affairs and public matters, and deems that there is no need to make laws for their private conduct, even in necessary matters, but that everyone should be allowed to spend his day just as he pleases, instead of its being compulsory for everything, public and private, to be done by a regular rule, and supposes that, if he leaves private conduct unregulated by law, the citizens will still consent to regulate their public and civil life by law—this man is wrong in his proposal. For what reason have I said this? For this reason,—because we shall assert that the married people must take their meals at the public messes neither more nor less than they did [780b] during the time preceding marriage. When the customs of the public mess first arose in your countries—probably dictated by a war or by some event of equal potency, when you were short of men and in dire straits,—it seemed an astonishing institution; but after you had had experience of these public messes and had been obliged to adopt them, the custom seemed to contribute admirably towards security; [780c] and in some such way as that the public mess came to be one of your established institutions.54Clinias
That is likely enough.Athenian
So, though this was once, as I said, an astonishing and alarming institution to impose on people, a man who tried to impose it as a law nowadays would not find it an equally difficult task. But the practice which follows on this institution, and which, if carried out, would be really successful,—although at present it nowhere is carried out, and so causes the lawgiver (if he tries) to be practically carding his wool (as the proverb has it) into the fire, and laboring in vain at an endless tale of toils,— [780d] this practice it is neither easy to state nor, when stated, to carry into effect.Clinias
Why do you show so much hesitation, Stranger, in mentioning this?Athenian
Listen now, so that we may not spend much time on the matter to no purpose. Everything that takes place in the State, if it participates in order and law, confers all kinds of blessings; but most things that are either without order or badly-ordered counteract the effects of the well-ordered. And it is into this plight that the practice we are discussing has fallen. In your case, Clinias [780e] and Megillus, public meals for men are, as I said, rightly and admirably established by a divine necessity, but for women this institution is left, quite wrongly, unprescribed by law, nor are public meals for them brought [781a] to the light of day; instead of this, the female sex, that very section of humanity which, owing to its frailty, is in other respects most secretive and intriguing, is abandoned to its disorderly condition through the perverse compliance of the lawgiver. Owing to your neglect of that sex, you have had an influx of many consequences which would have been much better than they now are if they had been under legal control. For it is not merely, as one might suppose, a matter affecting one-half of our whole task—this matter of neglecting to regulate women,— [781b] but in as far as females are inferior in goodness to males, just in so far it affects more than the half. It is better, then, for the welfare of the State to revise and reform this institution, and to regulate all the institutions for both men and women in common. At present, however, the human race is so far from having reached this happy position, that a man of discretion must actually avoid all mention of the practice in districts and States [781c] where even the existence of public meals is absolutely without any formal recognition. How then shall one attempt, without being laughed at, actually to compel women to take food and drink publicly and exposed to the view of all? The female sex would more readily endure anything rather than this: accustomed as they are to live a retired and private life, women will use every means to resist being led out into the light, and they will prove much too strong for the lawgiver. [781d] So that elsewhere, as I said, women would not so much as listen to the mention of the right rule without shrieks of indignation; but in our State perhaps they will. So if we agree that our discourse about the polity as a whole must not—so far as theory goes—prove abortive, I am willing to explain how this institution is good and fitting, if you are equally desirous to listen, but otherwise to leave it alone.Clinias
Nay, Stranger, we are both inexpressibly desirous to listen.Athenian
Let us listen, then. And do not be surprised if you find me taking the subject up again from an early point. For we are now enjoying leisure, [781e] and there is no pressing reason to hinder us from considering laws from all possible points of view.Clinias
Let us, then, revert again to our first statements.55 Thus much at least every man ought to understand,—that either the human race never had a beginning at all, [782a] and will never have an end, but always was and always will be, or else it must have been in existence an incalculable length of time from the date when it first began.Clinias
Well then, do we not suppose that all the world over and in all sorts of ways there have been risings and fallings of States, and institutions of every variety of order and disorder, and appetites for food—both meats and drinks—of every kind, and all sorts of variations in the seasons, during which it is probable that the animals underwent [782b] innumerable changes?Clinias
Are we to believe, then, that vines, not previously existing, appeared at a certain stage; and olives, likewise, and the gifts of Demeter and Kore?56 And that some Triptolemus was the minister of such fruits? And during the period that these fruits were as yet non-existent, must we not suppose that the animals turned, as they do now, to feeding on one another.Clinias
Of course. [782c] Athenian
The custom of men sacrificing one another is, in fact, one that survives even now among many peoples; whereas amongst others we hear of how the opposite custom existed, when they were forbidden so much as to eat an ox, and their offerings to the gods consisted, not of animals, but of cakes of meal and grain steeped in honey, and other such bloodless sacrifices, and from flesh they abstained as though it were unholy to eat it or to stain with blood the altars of the gods; instead of that, those of us men who then existed lived what is called an “Orphic life,” keeping wholly to inanimate food and, [782d] contrariwise, abstaining wholly from things animate.Clinias
Certainly what you say is widely reported and easy to credit.Athenian
Someone might ask us— “For what purpose have you now said all this?”Clinias
A correct surmise, Stranger.Athenian
So I will try, if I can, Clinias, to explain the subject which comes next in order.Clinias
I observe that with men all things depend on a threefold need and desire, wherein if they proceed rightly, [782e] the result is goodness, if badly, the opposite. Of these desires they possess those for food and drink as soon as they are born; and about the whole sphere of food every creature has an instinctive lust, and is full of craving, and quite deaf to any suggestion that they ought to do anything else than satisfy their tastes and desires for all such objects, and thus rid themselves entirely of all pain. [783a] Thirdly comes our greatest need and keenest lust, which, though the latest to emerge, influences the soul of men with most raging frenzy—the lust for the sowing of offspring that burns with utmost violence. These three morbid states57 we must direct towards what is most good, instead of what is (nominally) most pleasant, trying to check them by means of the three greatest forces—fear, law, and true reasoning,—reinforced by the Muses and the Gods of Games, so as to quench thereby their increase and inflow. [783b] So let us place the subject of the production of children next after that of marriage, and after their production, their nurture and education. If our discourse proceeds on these lines, possibly each of our laws will attain completion, and when we come to the public meals, by approaching these at close quarters we shall probably discern more clearly whether such associations ought to be for men only, or for women as well; and thus we shall not only prescribe the preliminaries that are still without legal regulation, and place them as fences [783c] before the common meals, but also, as I said just now, we shall discuss more exactly the character of the common meals, and thus be more likely to prescribe for them laws that are suitable and fitting.Clinias
You are perfectly right.Athenian
Let us, then, bear in mind the things we mentioned a moment ago; for probably we shall need them all presently.Clinias
What are the things you bid us remember?Athenian
Those we distinguished by the three terms we used: we spoke, you recollect, of eating, secondly of drinking, and [783d] thirdly of sexual excitement.Clinias
We shall certainly remember the things you now bid us, Stranger.Athenian
Very good. Let us now come to the nuptials, so as to instruct them how and in what manner they ought to produce children, and, if we fail to persuade them, to threaten them by certain laws.Clinias
The bride and bridegroom must set their minds to produce for the State children of the greatest possible goodness and beauty. [783e] All people that are partners in any action produce results that are fair and good whensoever they apply their minds to themselves and the action, but the opposite results when either they have no minds or fail to apply them. The bridegroom, therefore, shall apply his mind both to the bride and to the work of procreation, and the bride shall do likewise, especially during the period when they have no children yet born. [784a] In charge of them there shall be the women-inspectors whom we have chosen,—more or fewer of them, according to the number and times of their appointments, decided by the officials; and they shall meet every day at the temple of Eileithyia,58 for a third of an hour, or more; and at their meetings they shall report to one another any case they may have noticed where any man or woman of the procreative age is devoting his attention to other things instead of to the rules ordained at the marriage sacrifices and ceremonies. [784b] The period of procreation and supervision shall be ten years and no longer, whenever there is an abundant issue of offspring; but in case any are without issue to the end of this period, they shall take counsel in common to decide what terms are advantageous for both parties, in conjunction with their kindred and the women-officials, and be divorced. If any dispute arises as to what is fitting and advantageous for each party, they shall choose ten of the Law-wardens, [784c] and abide by the regulations they shall permit or impose. The women-inspectors shall enter the houses of the young people, and, partly by threats, partly by admonition, stop them from their sin and folly: if they cannot do so, they shall go and report the case to the Law-wardens, and they shall prevent them. If they also prove unable, they shall inform the State Council, posting up a sworn statement that they are “verily unable to reform So-and-so.” The man that is thus posted up,— [784d] if he fails to defeat those who have thus posted him in the law-courts,—shall suffer the following disqualifications: he shall not attend any marriage or children's birthday feasts, and if he does so, anyone who wishes may with impunity punish him with blows. The same law shall hold good for the women: the offender shall have no part in women's excursions, honors, or invitations to weddings or birthday feasts, if she has been similarly posted up as disorderly and has lost her suit. [784e] And when they shall have finished producing children according to the laws, if the man have sexual intercourse with a strange woman, or the woman with a man, while the latter are still within the procreative age-limit, they shall be liable to the same penalty as was stated for those still producing children. Thereafter the man and woman that are sober-minded in these matters shall be well-reputed in every way; but the opposite kind of esteem, [785a] or rather disesteem, shall be shown to persons of the opposite character. Sexual conduct shall lie unmentioned or unprescribed by law when the majority show due propriety therein; but if they are disorderly, then what is thus prescribed shall be executed according to the laws then enacted. For everyone the first year is the beginning of the whole life: it ought to be inscribed as life's beginning for both boy and girl in their ancestral shrines: beside it, on a whited wall in every phratry, there should be written up the number of the archons who give its number to the year; and the names of the living members of the phratry shall be written always close together, [785b] and those of the deceased shall be erased. The limit of the marriage-age shall be from sixteen to twenty years—the longest time allowed—for a girl, and for a boy from thirty to thirty-five. The limit for official posts shall be forty for a woman and thirty for a man. For military services the limit shall be from twenty years up to sixty for a man; for women they shall ordain what is possible and fitting in each case, after they have finished bearing children, and up to the age of fifty, in whatever kind of military work it may be thought right to employ their services.
2 Literally, “a contest does not at all admit excuses”; i.e. once engaged in it, you cannot draw back.
5 An ancient method of solemnly ratifying an agreement; cp.Genesis15. 9 ff.
6 Literally, “the beginning is the half of every work.”
8 This body of 200 is to be appointed, as a temporary expedient, to give the State a start by selecting its first necessary officials.
10 i.e. “rank-leaders.”
13 Cp.Plat. Gorg. 508a ff, Plat. Gorg. 508b ff; Aristot. Pol. 1301b 29 ff.;Aristot. Nic. Eth. 1131b 27, Aristot. Nic. Eth. 1158b 30 ff. The “arithmetical” equality which merely counts heads and treats all alike is here contrasted with that truer “proportional” equality which takes account of human inequality, and on which “distributive justice” (as Aristotle terms it) is based: cp. also 744 C.
17 The 12 tribes are divided into 3 groups of 4 each: each group appoints 3, making 9 in all: the other 3 required to make up the full number (12) are selected by the Oracle from the 9 candidates next on the list.
18 i.e. the tribal group by which he was elected.
19 i.e. to take entries and assign places to the competitors.
20 i.e. “domesticated” animals, and “garden” plants.
21 i.e. an inquiry into the grounds of a proposed action at law, to decide whether or not it should be brought into court.
22 i.e. persons appointed to settle points in dispute, so as to avoid a legal trial in the regular courts.
24 The whole of this account (Plat. Laws 766e-768c) of courts and judges is confused and confusing. It would seem that 2 classes of suits are indicated, public and private, and 3 kinds of courts, viz. (1) local courts (composed of neighbors) , (2) tribal courts, (3) courts of appeal.
27 Cp.Polit. 298a ff.
30 5,040 = (11 X 458) + 2.
34 Cp. Pol. 310c ff.
36 As goddess of marriage.
38 i.e. for the bride's “trousseau,” given by her father to the bridegroom. Fifty drachmae is the maximum value allowed for the lowest class, a mina for the next lowest, and so on upwards.
50 Unknown. Cp. Aristot. Pol. 1330b 32 ff., and the saying of Lycurgas (quoted by Plutarch,Lycurg. xix.) οὐκ ἂν ἔιη ἀτείχιστος πόλις ἅτις ἀνδράσι οὐ πλίνθοις ἐστεφάνωται. “Earth” (likeπλίνθοι) here means really “stone,” the soil of Greece being rocky.
52 These “roads” (or streets) would divide the city into blocks, surrounded by continuous walls formed by the outer circle of houses, all of the same size and shape.
56 Or Persephone, daughter of the Earth-mother, Demeter. Triptolemus was a mythical hero of EIeusis, worshipped as the inventor and patron of agriculture.
57 The soul is in a “diseased” state when wholly dominated by any irrational desire or passion.
58 Goddess of childbirth.
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