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ἐξ ἀργυροῦ: sc. ἐκγόνου, which should also be supplied with χρυσοῦ. Plato sees in fancy the onward march of generations καθάπερ λαμπάδα τὸν βίον παραδιδόντες: cf. IV 424 A. Ast's proposal ἀργύρου should not have received the approval of Hartman; and D. and V. miss a characteristic touch by translating ἀργυροῦ “a silver parent.”

ἐάν τε κτλ. This provision is the corner-stone of Plato's State, and as soon as it gives way, the edifice is doomed (VIII 546 E—547 A). It is only by the elevation of the worthy and the degradation of the unfit that class-distinctions can be made to coincide with those of Nature (cf. IV 423 D); and unless they do, the foundation of the city, which is τὸ ἑαυτοῦ πράττειν, is sapped. Hence the emphasis with which Plato introduces this subject. His theory, it should be noted, conforms at least as much to the interest of the individual as to that of the State; for it provides congenial work for all according to their natural capacities, and uncongenial labour, whether above or below one's powers, is a fertile source of misery and crime. Aristotle (Pol. B 4. 1262^{b} 27) seems to doubt if Plato's scheme was feasible. Granted rulers who are φρόνιμοι εἰς τοῦτο, δυνατοί, and κηδεμόνες τῆς πόλεως (412 C), in a small city—a thousand warriors, says Plato, will suffice (IV 423 A, cf. Grote Plato III p. 206 note) —it could probably be worked without much difficulty. See also IV 423 E ff. We are not of course to suppose that the child was once for all assigned to his class at birth; he would be watched and tested again and again, before being finally disposed of, so that the likelihood of mistakes on the part of the Rulers is greatly lessened. Cf. Tim. 19 A.

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