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[461a] “That is,” he said, “the maturity and prime for both of body and mind.” “Then, if anyone older or younger than the prescribed age meddles with procreation for the state, we shall say that his error is an impiety and an injustice, since he is begetting for the city a child whose birth, if it escapes discovery, will not be attended by the sacrifices and the prayers which the priests and priestesses and the entire city prefer at the ceremonial marriages, that ever better offspring may spring from good sires1 and from fathers helpful to the state [461b] sons more helpful still. But this child will be born in darkness and conceived in foul incontinence.” “Right,” he said. “And the same rule will apply,” I said, “if any of those still within the age of procreation goes in to a woman of that age with whom the ruler has not paired him. We shall say that he is imposing on the state a base-born, uncertified, and unhallowed child.” “Most rightly,” he said. “But when, I take it, the men and the women have passed the age of lawful procreation, we shall leave the men free to form such relations [461c] with whomsoever they please, except2 daughter and mother and their direct descendants and ascendants, and likewise the women, save with son and father, and so on, first admonishing them preferably not even to bring to light3 anything whatever thus conceived, but if they are unable to prevent a birth to dispose of it on the understanding that we cannot rear such an offspring.” “All that sounds reasonable,” he said; “but how are they to distinguish one another's fathers and daughters, [461d] and the other degrees of kin that you have just mentioned?” “They won't,” said I, “except that a man will call all male offspring born in the tenth and in the seventh month after he became a bridegroom his sons, and all female, daughters, and they will call him father.4 And, similarly, he will call their offspring his grandchildren5 and they will call his group grandfathers and grandmothers. And all children born in the period in which their fathers and mothers were procreating will regard one another as brothers and sisters. [461e] This will suffice for the prohibitions of intercourse of which we just now spoke. But the law will allow brothers and sisters to cohabit if the lot so falls out and the Delphic oracle approves.” “Quite right,” said he.

“This, then, Glaucon, is the manner of the community of wives and children among the guardians. That it is consistent with the rest of our polity and by far the best way is the next point that we must get confirmed

1 Cf. Horace, Odes iv. 4. 29.

2 Cf. Laws 838 A and 924 E.

3 Cf. Newman, op. cit. p. 187.

4 Cf. Wundt, Elements of Folk Psychology, p. 89: “A native of Hawaii, for example, calls by the name of father . . . every man of an age such that he could be his father.” Cf. Aristophanes Eccles . 636-637.

5 Cf. 363 D and Laws 899 E, 927 B.

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