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537D - 540C At this stage the best proficients will be advanced to higher honours, and tested by Dialectic. Great care must be taken in introducing them to this study; for where the character is immature and weak, dialectical debate too frequently engenders lawlessness, by overthrowing inherited beliefs. We shall therefore forbid such disputations to the young. After five years devoted solely to Dialectic, the next fifteen will be spent in acquiring experience of government and practical affairs. At the age of fifty those who have triumphantly passed through every trial, will thenceforward contemplate the Good, descending when their turn comes into the Cave to order human institutions after its likeness. All these regulations apply of course to women as well as to men.

ἐκ τῶν προκρίτων . πρόκριτοι was a familiar term in the organisation of Greek polities: see Arist. Ath. Pol. 8. 1 with Sandys ad loc., and cf. also Pl. Laws 753 C f.

ὀμμάτων -- μεθιέμενος. See VI 511 B note

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