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Which hovers newest on the singer's lips,
”Hom. Od. 1.3515 [424c] lest haply6 it be supposed that the poet means not new songs but a new way of song7 and is commending this. But we must not praise that sort of thing nor conceive it to be the poet's meaning. For a change to a new type of music is something to beware of as a hazard of all our fortunes. For the modes of music8 are never disturbed without unsettling of the most fundamental political and social conventions, as Damon affirms and as I am convinced.9” “Set me too down in the number of the convinced,” said Adeimantus. [424d] “It is here, then,” I said, “in music, as it seems, that our guardians must build their guard-house10 and post of watch.” “It is certain,” he said, “that this is the kind of lawlessness11 that easily insinuates12 itself unobserved.” “Yes,” said I, “because it is supposed to be only a form of play13 and to work no harm.” “Nor does it work any,” he said, “except that by gradual infiltration it softly overflows14 upon the characters and pursuits of men and from these issues forth grown greater to attack their business dealings, and from these relations [424e] it proceeds against the laws and the constitution with wanton licence, Socrates, till finally it overthrows15 all things public and private.” “Well,” said I, “are these things so?” “I think so,” he said. “Then, as we were saying16 in the beginning, our youth must join in a more law-abiding play, since, if play grows lawless and the children likewise,
1 The indirect introduction of the proverb is characteristicof Plato's style. Cf. on 449 C, where the paradox thus lightly introduced is taken up for serious discussion. Quite fantastic is the hypothesis on which much ink has been wasted, that the Ecclesiazusae of Aristophanes was suggested by this sentence and is answered by the fifth book. Cf. introduction pp. xxv and xxxiv. It ought not to be necessary to repeat that Plato's communism applies only to the guardians, and that its main purpose is to enforce their disinterestedness. Cf. Introduction pp. xv and note a, xxxiv, xlii, xliv, and “Plato's Laws and the Unity of Plato's Thought,” p. 358. Aristotle's criticism is that the possessions of friends ought to be common in use but not in ownership. Cf. Politics 1263 a 30, and Euripides Andromache 376-377.
3 No concrete metaphor of wheel, hook or circle seems to be intended, but only the cycle of cumulative effect of education on nature and nature on education, described in what follows. See the evidence collected in my note, Class. Phil. vol. v. pp. 505-507.
4 Cf. 459 A.
6 Cf. Stallbaum on Phaedrus 238 D-E, Forman, Plato Selections, p. 457.
7 The meaning of the similar phrase in Pindar, Ol. iii. 4 is different.
8 μουσικῆς τρόποι need not be so technical as it is in later Greek writers on music, who, however, were greatly influenced by Plato. For the ethical and social power of music cf. Introduction p. xiv note c, and 401 D-404 A, also Laws 700 D-E, 701 A.
9 Cf. Protagoras 316 A, Julian 150 B.
10 The etymological force of the word makes the metaphor less harsh than the English translation “guard-house.” Cf. Laws 962 C, where Bury renders “safeguard.” Cf. Pindar's ἀκόνας λιγυρᾶς, the sharpening thing, that is, the whetstone, Ol. vi. 82.
12 So Aristotle Politics 1307 b 33.
13 Cf. the warning aagainst innovation in children's games, Laws 797 A-B. But music is παιδεία as well as παιδιά. Cf. Aristotle's three uses of music, for play, education, and the entertainment of leisure (Politics 1339 a 16).
14 Cf. Demosthenes xix. 228. The image is that of a stream overflowing and spreading. Cf. Euripides fr. 499 N. and Cicero's use of “serpit,”Cat. iv. 3, and passim.
15 Cf. on 389 D.
16 The reference is to the general tenor of what precedes.
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