previous next
[564a] in plants, in animal bodies,1 and most especially in political societies.” “Probably,” he said. “And so the probable outcome of too much freedom is only too much slavery in the individual and the state.” “Yes, that is probable.” “Probably, then, tyranny develops out of no other constitution2 than democracy—from the height of liberty, I take it, the fiercest extreme of servitude.” “That is reasonable,” he said. “That, however, I believe, was not your question,3 but what identical4 malady [564b] arising in democracy as well as in oligarchy enslaves it?” “You say truly,” he replied. “That then,” I said, “was what I had in mind, the class of idle and spendthrift men, the most enterprising and vigorous portion being leaders and the less manly spirits followers. We were likening them to drones,5 some equipped with stings and others stingless.” “And rightly too,” he said. “These two kinds, then,” I said, “when they arise in any state, create a disturbance like that produced in the body6 by phlegm and gall. [564c] And so a good physician and lawgiver must be on his guard from afar against the two kinds, like a prudent apiarist, first and chiefly7 to prevent their springing up, but if they do arise to have them as quickly as may be cut out, cells and all.” “Yes, by Zeus,” he said, “by all means.” “Then let us take it in this way,” I said, “so that we may contemplate our purpose more distinctly.8” “How?” “Let us in our theory make a tripartite9 division of the democratic state, which is in fact its structure. One such class, [564d] as we have described, grows up in it because of the licence, no less than in the oligarchic state.” “That is so.” “But it is far fiercer in this state than in that.” “How so?” “There, because it is not held in honor, but is kept out of office, it is not exercised and does not grow vigorous. But in a democracy this is the dominating class, with rare exceptions, and the fiercest part of it makes speeches and transacts business, and the remainder swarms and settles about the speaker's stand and keeps up a buzzing10 and [564e] tolerates11 no dissent, so that everything with slight exceptions is administered by that class in such a state.” “Quite so,” he said. “And so from time to time there emerges or is secreted from the multitude another group of this sort.” “What sort?” he said. “When all are pursuing wealth the most orderly and thrifty natures for the most part become the richest.” “It is likely.” “Then they are the most abundant supply of honey for the drones, and it is the easiest to extract.12” “Why, yes,” he said, “how could one squeeze it out of those who have little?” “The capitalistic13 class is, I take it, the name by which they are designated—the pasture of the drones.” “Pretty much so,” he said.

1 For the generalization Cf. Symp. 188 A-B.

2 Cf. 565 D. The slight exaggeration of the expression is solemnly treated by ApeIt as a case of logical false conversion in Plato.

3 Plato keeps to the point. Cf. on 531 C, p. 193, note i.

4 ταὐτόν implies the concept. Cf. Parmen. 130 D, Phileb. 34 E, 13 B, Soph. 253 D. Cf. also Tim. 83 C, Meno 72 C, Rep. 339 A.

5 Cf. 555 D-E.

6 Cf. the parallel of soul and body in 444 C f., Soph. 227Crito 47 D f., Gorg. 504 B-C, 505 B, 518 A, 524 D. For φλέγμα Cf. Tim. 83 C, 85 A-B.

7 μάλιστα μὲν . . . ἂν δέ: cf. 378 A, 414 C, 461 C, 473 B, Apol. 34 A, Soph. 246 D.

8 For εὐκρινέστερον Cf. Soph. 246 D.

9 Cf. Phileb. 23 C, which Stenzel says argues an advance over the Sophist, because Plato is no longer limited to a bipartite division.

10 Cf. 573 A.

11 ἀνέχεται cf. Isoc. viii. 14ὅτι δημοκρατίας οὔσης οὐκ ἔστι παρρησία, etc. For the word cf. Aristoph.Acharn. 305οὐκ ἀνασχήσομαι, Wasps 1337.

12 For βλίττεται cf. Blaydes on Aristoph.Knights 794.

13 That is the significance of πλούσιοι here, lit. “the rich.”

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.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1337 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: