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[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 states1 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.

You are perfectly right.

Let us, then, bear in mind the things we mentioned a moment ago; for probably we shall need them all presently.

What are the things you bid us remember?

Those we distinguished by the three terms we used: we spoke, you recollect, of eating, secondly of drinking, and [783d] thirdly of sexual excitement.

We shall certainly remember the things you now bid us, Stranger.

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.


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.

1 The soul is in a “diseased” state when wholly dominated by any irrational desire or passion.

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