previous next
[431a] and he who is subject to himself would be master. For the same person is spoken of in all these expressions.” “Of course.” “But,” said I, “the intended meaning of this way of speaking appears to me to be that the soul of a man within him has a better part and a worse part, and the expression self-mastery means the control of the worse by the naturally better part. It is, at any rate, a term of praise. But when, because of bad breeding or some association,1 the better part, which is the smaller, is dominated by the multitude2 of the worse, I think that our speech [431b] censures this as a reproach,3 and calls the man in this plight unselfcontrolled and licentious.” “That seems likely,” he said. “Turn your eyes now upon our new city,” said I, “and you will find one of these conditions existent in it. For you will say that it is justly spoken of as master of itself if that in which4 the superior rules the inferior is to be called sober and self-mastered.” “I do turn my eyes upon it,” he said, “and it is as you say.” “And again, the mob of motley5 [431c] appetites and pleasures and pains one would find chiefly in children6 and women and slaves and in the base rabble of those who are freemen in name.7” “By all means.” “But the simple and moderate appetites which with the aid of reason and right opinion are guided by consideration you will find in few and those the best born and best educated.” “True,” he said. “And do you not find this too in your city and a domination there of the desires [431d] in the multitude and the rabble by the desires and the wisdom that dwell in the minority of the better?” “I do,” he said.

“If, then, there is any city that deserves to be described as master of its pleasures and desires and self-mastered, this one merits that designation.” “Most assuredly,” he said. “And is it not also to be called sober8 in all these respects?” “Indeed it is,” he said. “And yet again, if there is any city in which [431e] the rulers and the ruled are of one mind as to who ought to rule, that condition will be found in this. Don't you think so?” “I most emphatically do,” he said. “In which class of the citizens, then, will you say that the virtue of soberness has its seat when this is their condition? In the rulers or in the ruled?” “In both, I suppose,9” he said. “Do you see then,” said I, “that our intuition was not a bad one just now that discerned a likeness between soberness and a kind of harmony10?” “Why so?” “Because its operation is unlike that of courage and wisdom, which residing in separate parts

1 Cf. Phaedrus 250 A.

2 Cf. 442 A, Laws 689 A-B. The expression is intended to remind us of the parallelism between man and state. See Introduction.

3 Cf. Symposium 189 E.

4 Cf. 441 D, 443 B, 573 D.

5 παντοδαπός is disparaging in Plato.

6 παισί: so Wolf, for Ms.πᾶσι, a frequent error. Cf. 494 B. Plato, like Shakespeare's Rosalind, brackets boys and women as creatures who have for every passion something and for no passion truly anything.

7 Cf. on 336 A. The ordinary man who is passion's slave is not truly free. The Stoics and Cynics preached many sermons on this text. See Persius, Sat. v. 73. and 124, Epictetus Diss . iv. 1, Xenophon Memorabilia iv. 5. 4, Xenophon Oecon. 1. 22-23.

8 Plato is again proceeding by seemingly minute verbal links. Cf. 354 A, 379 B, 412 D.καὶ μήν introduces a further verification of the definition.

9 που marks the slight hesitation at the deviation from the symmetry of the scheme which would lead us to expect, as Aristotle and others have taken it, that σωφροσύνη is the distinctive virtue of the lowest class. It is so practically for the lower sense of σωφροσύνη, but in the higher sense of the willingness of each to fulfil his function in due subordination to the whole, it is common to all classes.

10 Cf. 430 E. Aristotle gives this as an example of (faulty) defintion by metaphor (Topics iv. 3. 5).

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Notes (James Adam)
load focus Greek (1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Diss (United Kingdom) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: