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For my own part, Stranger, I should warmly welcome this law; but Clinias must tell us himself what his view is on the matter.Clinias
I shall do so, Megillus, when I deem the occasion suitable; but for the present let us allow the Stranger to proceed still further with his laws.Megillus
You are right. [842b] Athenian
Well, now we have arrived at this point in our progress, that common meals have been established—a thing which elsewhere, as we say, would be difficult, but in Crete no one would question its correctness. As concerns the manner of them,—whether we should adopt the Cretan fashion, or the Lacedaemonian, or whether we can find a third fashion that is better than either,—this does not seem to me a difficult problem to decide, nor indeed would its decision prove of much benefit, since these meals are now [842c] actually established in a satisfactory way. Next to this comes the question of organizing the food-supply, and how to make this fit in with the meals. In other States this supply would include all kinds of food and come from many sources, certainly from twice as many sources as it will in our State; for most of the Greeks arrange for their food to be derived from both land and sea, but our people will derive it only from the land. This makes the lawgiver's task easier; for in this case half the number of laws, [842d] or less, will suffice, and the laws, too, will be better fitted for free men. For the lawgiver of our State is rid, for the most part, of shipping and merchandise and peddling and inn-keeping and customs and mines and loans and usury, and countless matters of a like kind; he can say good-bye to all such, and legislate for farmers and shepherds and bee-keepers, and concerning the preservation and supervision of the instruments employed in these occupations. This he will do, now that he has already enacted the most important laws, [842e] which deal with marriage, and with the birth and nurture and education of the children, and with the appointment of magistrates in the State. For the present he must turn, in his legislating, to the subject of food and of those whose labors contribute to its supply. First, then, let there be a code of laws termed “agricultural.” The first law—that of Zeus the Boundary-god—shall be stated thus: No man shall move boundary-marks of land, whether they be those of a neighbor who is a native citizen or those of a foreigner
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