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[372a] “I cannot conceive, Socrates,” he said, “unless it be in some need that those very constituents have of one another.” “Perhaps that is a good suggestion,” said I; “we must examine it and not hold back. First of all, then, let us consider what will be the manner of life of men thus provided. Will they not make bread and wine and garments and shoes? And they will build themselves houses and carry on their work in summer for the most part unclad and unshod and in winter clothed and [372b] shod sufficiently? And for their nourishment they will provide meal from their barley and flour from their wheat, and kneading and cooking these they will serve noble cakes and loaves on some arrangement of reeds or clean leaves, and, reclined on rustic beds strewn with bryony and myrtle, they will feast with their children, drinking of their wine thereto, garlanded and singing hymns to the gods in pleasant fellowship, not begetting offspring beyond their means [372c] lest they fall into poverty or war?”

Here Glaucon broke in: “No relishes1 apparently,” he said, “for the men you describe as feasting.” “True” said I; “I forgot that they will also have relishes—salt, of course, and olives and cheese and onions and greens, the sort of things they boil in the country, they will boil up together. But for dessert we will serve them figs and chickpeas and beans, [372d] and they will toast myrtle-berries and acorns before the fire, washing them down with moderate potations and so, living in peace and health, they will probably die in old age and hand on a like life to their offspring.” And he said, “If you were founding a city of pigs,2 Socrates, what other fodder than this would you provide?” “Why, what would you have, Glaucon?” said I. “What is customary,” he replied; “They must recline on couches, I presume, if they are not to be uncomfortable, [372e] and dine from tables and have made dishes and sweetmeats such as are now in use.” “Good,” said I, “I understand. It is not merely the origin of a city, it seems, that we are considering but the origin of a luxurious city. Perhaps that isn't such a bad suggestion, either. For by observation of such a city it may be we could discern the origin of justice and injustice in states. The true state I believe to be the one we have described—the healthy state, as it were. But if it is your pleasure that we contemplate also a fevered state, there is nothing to hinder.

1 ὄψον is anything eaten with bread, usually meat or fish, as Glaucon means; but Socrates gives it a different sense.

2 Cf. Introduction p. xiv. By the mouth of the fine gentleman, Glaucon, Plato expresses with humorous exaggeration his own recognition of the inadequacy for ethical and social philosophy of his idyllic ideal. Cf. Mandeville, Preface to Fable of the Bees: “A golden age must be as free/ For acorns as for honesty.”

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