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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 Mariandyni2 [776d] to the slave-system of the Heracleotes, and that of the class of Penestae to the Thessalians.3 In view of these and similar instances, what ought we to do about this question of owning servants?4 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,
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