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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,1 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 out2 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;
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