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[794a] so in the case of the free-born the same rule holds good. Children of this age have games which come by natural instinct; and they generally invent them of themselves whenever they meet together. As soon as they have reached the age of three, all the children from three to six must meet together at the village temples, those belonging to each village assembling at the same place. Moreover, the nurses of these children must watch over their behavior, whether it be orderly or disorderly; and over the nurses themselves and the whole band of children [794b] one of the twelve women already elected must be appointed annually to take charge of each band, the appointment resting with the Law-wardens. These women shall be elected by the women who have charge of the supervision of marriage,1 one out of each tribe and all of a like age. The woman thus appointed shall pay an official visit to the temple every day, and she shall employ a State servant and deal summarily with male or female slaves and strangers, [794c] but in the case of citizens, if the person protests against the punishment, she shall bring him for trial before the city stewards; but if no protest is made, she shall inflict summary justice equally on citizens. After the age of six, each sex shall be kept separate, boys spending their time with boys, and likewise girls with girls; and when it is necessary for them to begin lessons, the boys must go to teachers of riding, archery, javelin-throwing and slinging, and the girls also, if they agree to it, must share in the lessons, [794d] and especially such as relate to the use of arms. For, as regards the view now prevalent regarding these matters, it is based on almost universal ignorance.

What view?

The view that, in the case of hands, right and left are by nature different in respect of their utility for special acts; but, as a matter of fact, in the case of the feet and the lower limbs there is plainly no difference in working capacity; [794e] and it is due to the folly of nurses and mothers that we have all become limping, so to say, in our hands. For in natural ability the two limbs are almost equally balanced; but we ourselves by habitually using them in a wrong way have made them different. In actions of trifling importance this does not matter—as for example, whether a man uses the left hand for the fiddle and the right hand for the bow, and things of that sort; but to follow these precedents and to use the hands in this way on other occasions, when there is no necessity, is very like foolishness.

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