previous next

469B - 471C We have also a duty to our enemies. No Greek city is to be enslaved, and there must be no unseemly plundering of the dead. Armour captured in the field shall not be dedicated in temples, least of all such armour as we take from Greeks, unless the God shall otherwise decree. We forbid Greek territory to be ravaged, or Greek houses to be burnt. The entire Hellenic race are children of one family, and conflicts between its members should not be called war, but civil strife. Our natural enemy is the Barbarian, and if we plunder Greece, we do but ravage our nurse and mother. Remember that our city is a Greek city. She may chastise, but will not enslave, other Greek States. Glauco agrees: he thinks our citizens should treat the Barbarian as Greeks now treat their fellowcountrymen.

ff. In this episode Plato discusses the principles which are to regulate the international policy of his city in her dealings both with Greeks and Barbarians. The Greeks themselves recognised certain unwritten laws or usages (νόμοι κοινοὶ τῆς Ἑλλάδος, νόμιμα τῶν Ἑλλήνων) in matters of this kind, and to these Plato frequently makes allusion throughout his argument: see on 469 E, 470 C al. Cf. Nägelsbach Nachhom. Theol. pp. 300—307. The policy which Plato here prescribes for his ideal city was clearly intended by him to have a direct and immediate bearing on the circumstances of his own day; and this part of the Republic is in no small degree, as Jackson remarks, “a contribution to practical politics.” See on 470 C.

Ἕλληνας -- ἄλλῃ . Ἕλληνας is the object, not, as is sometimes held, the subject, of ἀνδραποδίζεσθαι. It rightly occupies the emphatic place, because the point is that Greek cities should not enslave Greeks—no one objects to their enslaving barbarians,—and not that Greeks (as opposed to barbarians) should not enslave Greek cities. Cf. the order in 471 A οὐδ᾽ ἄρα τὴν Ἑλλάδα Ἕλληνες ὄντες κεροῦσιν. A further reason for taking this view is that Ἑλληνίδας πόλεις points the allusion to Plato's city, which is a Ἑλληνὶς πόλις (470 E), and therefore will not reduce Greeks to slavery. Finally, μηδ᾽ ἄλλῃ (sc. Ἑλληνίδι πόλει) is easy and natural only if Ἑλληνίδας πόλεις is treated as the subject. The difficulty of μηδ᾽ ἄλλῃ (on the usual interpretation) led to the correction μηδ᾽ ἄλλοις (Stallbaum with v and Flor. RT), and has recently caused Hartman to propose μηδαμῇ, on the ground that ἄλλῃ after Ἕλληνας could only mean βαρβάρῳ. In so saying, he goes. I think, too far; but my explanation removes the difficulty.

ἐθίζειν: sc. τοὺς Ἕλληνας.

εσ᾿λαβουμένους agrees with the subject of φείδεσθαι rather than with that of ἐθίζειν. The Spartan Callicratidas agreed with Plato here: οὐκ ἔφη ἑαυτοῦ γε ἄρχοντος οὐδένα Ἑλλήνων εἰς τοὐκείνου δυνατὸν ἀνδραποδισθῆναι (Xen. Hell. I 6. 14). To enslave barbarians, on the other hand, is just: for the barbarian is φύσει δοῦλος (Eur. Iph. Aul. 1401 and elsewhere: Arist. Pol. A 2. 1252^{b} 9). See also on 470 C.

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.

hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Euripides, Iphigeneia in Aulis, 1401
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 1.6.14
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: