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[415c] they shall by no means give way to pity in their treatment of them, but shall assign to each the status due to his nature and thrust them out1 among the artisans or the farmers. And again, if from these there is born a son with unexpected gold or silver in his composition they shall honor such and bid them go up higher, some to the office of guardian, some to the assistanceship, alleging that there is an oracle2 that the state shall then be overthrown when the man of iron or brass is its guardian. Do you see any way of getting them to believe this tale?”

1 The summary in Timaeus 19 A varies somewhat from this. Plato does not stress the details. Cf. Introduction p. viii.

2 Plato's oracle aptly copies the ambiguity of the bronze men's answer to Psammetik (Herodotus ii. 152), and admits of both a moral and a literal physical interpretation, like the “lame reign” against which Sparta was warned. Cf. Xenophon Hellenica iii. 3. 3.

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