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γάμους -- ἱερούς. Cf. Laws 841 D ταῖς μετὰ θεῶν καὶ ἱερῶν γάμων ἐλθούσαις εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν. The nuptials of Zeus and Hera were known as the Θεογαμία, or ἱερὸς γάμος, and were celebrated by a special festival in Athens and elsewhere: see H. Graillot's article on ἱερὸς γάμος in Daremberg and Saglio's dictionary, where the authorities are cited, or Farnell's Cults of the Greek States I pp. 184—192. To Greek religious sentiment the marriage of Zeus and Hera was (as Graillot says) the ideal type of all human marriages, and for this reason Plato characteristically applies the expression ἱερὸς γάμος to his ideal of marriage in his ideal city. Cf. also Proclus in Tim. 16 B τῶν ἐν ἀπορρήτοις λεγομένων ἱερῶν γάμων, οἶς καὶ ὁ Πλάτων εἰς δύναμιν ἐξομοιῶν περὶ τοὺς πολίτας καὶ τοὺς τῶνδε γάμους ἱεροὺς γάμους προσηγόρευσε, and see Abel Orphic. p. 243. It is clear from Plato's words that he would have repudiated with scorn the charge of seeking to abolish marriage. We have already seen that he endeavours to make the State into one vast family (457 B note); and it is in the same spirit that he now tries to raise marriage from a private into a public institution, without sacrificing any of the religious ceremonies and associations by which the union of the sexes was hallowed in the eyes of his contemporaries: cf. 459 E. If his vaulting idealism “o'erleaps itself and falls on the other,” that is no reason why we should impugn his motives, or refuse our homage to his unquenchable faith in the possibilities of human nature.
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