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[469a] “ Hallowed spirits dwelling on earth, averters of evil,
Guardians watchful and good of articulate-speaking mortals?”
Hes. WD 121“We certainly shall believe him.” “We will inquire of Apollo,1 then, how and with what distinction we are to bury men of more than human, of divine, qualities, and deal with them according to his response.2” “How can we do otherwise?” “And ever after3 we will bestow on their graves the tendance and [469b] worship paid to spirits divine. And we will practice the same observance when any who have been adjudged exceptionally good in the ordinary course of life die of old age or otherwise.” “That will surely be right,” he said. “But again, how will our soldiers conduct themselves toward enemies?” “In what respect?” “First, in the matter of making slaves of the defeated, do you think it right for Greeks to reduce Greek cities4 to slavery, or rather that so far as they are able, they should not suffer any other city to do so, but should accustom Greeks [469c] to spare Greeks, foreseeing the danger5 of enslavement by the barbarians?” “Sparing them is wholly and altogether the better,” said he. “They are not, then, themselves to own Greek slaves, either, and they should advise the other Greeks not to?” “By all means,” he said; “at any rate in that way they would be more likely to turn against the barbarians and keep their hands from one another.” “And how about stripping the dead after victory of anything except their weapons: is that well? Does it not furnish a pretext to cowards [469d] not to advance on the living foe, as if they were doing something needful when poking6 about the dead? Has not this snatching at the spoils ere new destroyed many an army?” “Yes, indeed.” “And don't you think it illiberal and greedy to plunder a corpse, and is it not the mark of a womanish and petty7 spirit to deem the body of the dead an enemy when the real foeman has flown away8 and left behind only the instrument9 with which he fought? [469e] Do you see any difference between such conduct and that of the dogs10 who snarl at the stones that hit them but don't touch the thrower?” “Not the slightest.” “We must abandon, then, the plundering of corpses and the refusal to permit their burial.11” “By heaven, we certainly must,” he said.

“And again, we will not take weapons to the temples for dedicatory12 offerings, especially the weapons of Greeks,

1 Cf. 427 B-C.

2 ἐξηγῆται: cf. 427 C.

3 τὸν λοιπὸν δὴ χρόνον: cf. Pindar in Meno 81 C, Phaedo 81 A.

4 For this Pan-Hellenic feeling cf. Xenophon Ages. 7. 6, Hellen . i. 6. 14, Aeschines ii. 115, Isocrates Panegyricus.

5 For the following Cf. Laws 693 A, and Gomperz, Greek Thinkers, iii. p. 275.

6 κυπτάζωσι: cf. Blaydes on Aristophanes Nubes 509.

7 Cf. Juvenal, Satire xiii. 189-191.

8 ἀποπταμένου: both Homer and Sappho so speak of the soul as flitting away.

9 The body is only the instrument of the soul. Cf. Socrates' answer to the question,“How shall we bury you?”Phaedo 115 C ff. and the elaboration of the idea in Alc. I. 129 E, whence it passed in to European literature.

10 Quoted by Aristotle, Rhet. 1406 b. Epictetus iii. 19. 4 complains that nurses encourage children to strike the stone on which they stumble. Cf. also Lucan vi. 220-223. Otto, Sprichwörter der Römer, p. 70, cites Pliny, N.H. xxix. 102, and Pacuv. v. 38, Ribb.Trag. Cf. Montaigne i. 4, “Ainsin emporte les bestes leur rage à s'attaquer à la pierre et au fer qui les a blecées.”

11 Plato as a boy may have heard of the Thebans' refusal to allow the Athenians to bury their dead after Delium. Cf. Thucydides iv. 97-101, and Euripides Supplices.

12 For the practice cf. Aeschylus Septem 275-279 and Agamemnon 577-579. Italian cities and American states have restored to one another the flags so dedicated from old wars. Cf. Cicero De inventione ii. 70 “at tamen aeternum inimicitiarum monumentum Graios de Graiis statuere non oportet.”

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