previous next
[814a] and shouldering of arms,— and that, if for no other reason, at least for this reason, that, if ever the guards of the children and of the rest of the city should be obliged to leave the city and march out in full force, these women should be able at least to take their place; while if, on the other hand—and this is quite a possible contingency—an invading army of foreigners, fierce and strong, should force a battle round the city itself, [814b] then it would be a sore disgrace to the State if its women were so ill brought up as not even to be willing to do as do the mother-birds, which fight the strongest beasts in defence of their broods, but, instead of facing all risks, even death itself, to run straight to the temples and crowd all the shrines and holy places, and drown mankind in the disgrace of being the most craven of living creatures.

By Heaven, Stranger, if ever this took place in a city, it would be a most unseemly thing, [814c] apart from the mischief of it.

Shall we, then, lay down this law,—that up to the point stated women must not neglect military training, but all citizens, men and women alike, must pay attention to it?

I, for one, agree.

As regards wrestling, some points have been explained;1 but we have not explained what is, in my opinion, the most important point, nor is it easy to express it in words without the help of a practical illustration. [814d] This point, then, we shall decide about2 when word accompanied by deed can clearly demonstrate this fact, among the others mentioned,—that wrestling of this kind is of all motions by far the most nearly allied to military fighting; and also that it is not the latter that should be learned for the sake of the former, but, on the contrary, it is the former that should be practiced for the sake of the latter.3

There, at any rate, you are right.

For the present let this suffice as an account of the functions of the wrestling-school. Motion [814e] of the whole body, other than wrestling, has for its main division what may be rightly termed dancing4; and we ought to consider it as consisting of two kinds,—the one representing the solemn movement of beautiful bodies, the other the ignoble movement of ugly bodies; and of these again there are two subdivisions. Of the noble kind there is, on the one hand, the motion of fighting, and that of fair bodies and brave souls engaged in violent effort; and, on the other hand, there is the motion of a temperate soul living in a state of prosperity and moderate pleasures; and this latter kind of dancing one will call, in accordance with its nature, “pacific.” The warlike division,

1 Plat. Laws 795d, Plat. Laws 795e.

2 Cp. Plat. Laws 832e.

3 Cp. Plat. Laws 803d.

4 Here a wide term, embracing all kinds of bodily gestures and posturing.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: