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[424a] and the procreation of children and all that sort of thing should be made as far as possible the proverbial goods of friends that are common.1” “Yes, that would be the best way,” he said. “And, moreover,” said I, “the state, if it once starts2 well, proceeds as it were in a cycle3 of growth. I mean that a sound nurture and education if kept up creates good natures in the state, and sound natures in turn receiving an education of this sort develop into better men than their predecessors

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.

2 Cf. Politcus 305 Dτὴν ἀρχήν τε καὶ ὁρμήν.

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.

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