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[423a] and the city of the poor,1 and in each of these there are many. If you deal with them as one you will altogether miss the mark, but if you treat them as a multiplicity by offering to the one faction the property, the power, the very persons of the other, you will continue always to have few enemies and many allies. And so long as your city is governed soberly in the order just laid down, it will be the greatest of cities. I do not mean greatest in repute, but in reality, even though it have only a thousand2 defenders. For a city of this size [423b] that is really one3 you will not easily discover either among Greeks or barbarians—but of those that seem so you will find many and many times the size of this. Or do you think otherwise?” “No, indeed I don't,” said he.

“Would not this, then, be the best rule and measure for our governors of the proper size of the city and of the territory that they should mark off for a city of that size and seek no more?” “What is the measure?” “I think,” said I, “that they should let it grow so long as in its growth it consents4 to remain a unity, [423c] but no further.” “Excellent,” he said. “Then is not this still another injunction that we should lay upon our guardians, to keep guard in every way that the city shall not be too small, nor great only in seeming, but that it shall be a sufficient city and one?” “That behest will perhaps be an easy5 one for them,” he said. “And still easier,6 haply,” I said, “is this that we mentioned before7 when we said that if a degenerate offspring was born to the guardians he must be sent away to the other classes, [423d] and likewise if a superior to the others he must be enrolled among the guardians; and the purport of all this was8 that the other citizens too must be sent to the task for which their natures were fitted, one man to one work, in order that each of them fulfilling his own function may be not many men, but one, and so the entire city may come to be not a multiplicity but a unity.9” “Why yes,” he said, “this is even more trifling than that.” “These are not, my good Adeimantus, as one might suppose, numerous and difficult injunctions that [423e] we are imposing upon them, but they are all easy, provided they guard, as the saying is, the one great thing10—or instead of great let us call it sufficient.11” “What is that?” he said. “Their education and nurture,” I replied. “For if a right education12 makes of them reasonable men they will easily discover everything of this kind—and other principles that we now pass over, as that the possession of wives and marriage,

1 Cf. Aristotle Politics 1316 b 7 and 1264 a 25.

2 Aristotle, Politics 1261 b 38, takes this as the actual number of the military class. Sparta, according to Xenephon, Rep. Lac. 1. 1, was τῶν ὀλιγανθρωποτάτων πόλεων, yet one of the strongest. Cf. also Aristotle Politics 1270 a 14 f. In the LawsPlato proposes the number 5040 which Aristotle thinks too large, Politics 1265 a 15.

3 Commentators, I think, miss the subtlety of this sentence;μίαν means truly one as below in D, and its antithesis is not so much πολλάς as δοκούσας which means primarily the appearance of unity, and only secondarily refers to μεγάλην.καί then is rather “and” than “even.” “So large a city that is really one you will not easily find, but the semblance (of one big city) you will find in cities many and many times the size of this.” Cf. also 462 A-B, and my paper “Plato's Laws and the Unity of Plato's Thought,”Class. Phil. 1914, p. 358. For Aristotle's comment Cf. Politics 1261 a 15.

4 The Greek idea of governemnt required that the citizens know one another. They would not have called Babylon, London, or Chicago cities. Cf. Introduction p. xxviii, Fowler, Greek City State, passim, Newman, Aristotle Politics vol. i. Introduction pp. 314-315, and Isocrates' complaint that Athens was too large, Antidosis 171-172.

5 Ironical, of course.

6 Ironical, of course.

7 Cf. on 415 B.

8 The special precept with regard to the guardians was significant of the universal principle, “one man, one task.” Cf. 443 C, 370 B-C (note), 394 E, 374 A-D, Laws 846 D-847 B.

9 It is a natural growth, not an artificial contrivance. For Aristotle's criticism Cf. Politics 1261 A.

10 The proverbial one great thing (one thing needful). The proverb perhaps is:πόλλ᾽ οἶδ᾽ ἀλώπηξ ἀλλ᾽ ἐχῖνος ἓν μέγα(Suidas). Cf. Archil. fr. 61ἓν δ᾽ ἐπίσταμαι μέγα, Politicus 297 Aμέχριπερ ἂν ἓν μέγα φυλάττωσι.

11 μέγα has the unfavorable associations of ἔπος μέγα, and ἱκανόν, “adequate,” is characteristically preferred by Plato.

12 Cf. on 416 E. Plato of course has in mind the education already described and the higher education of books VI. and VII.

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