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555B - 557A Oligarchy is succeeded by Democracy. As dissipated young men in an oligarchical government are permitted and even encouraged to squander their property, a large impoverished class of ‘stinging drones’ makes its appearance in the city. The rulers take no steps to remedy an evil which increases their own fortunes, and become luxurious and effeminate. In seasons of stress and common danger, the poor discover their own strength and the weakness of the rich, and thereafter it needs but a little impulse to overthrow the rotten fabric. Democracy is established as soon as the introduction of the lot affirms the principle of equality.

δημοκρατίαν δὴ κτλ. We have seen that the dominant feature in the oligarchical State is τὸ φιλοχρήματον, and the present chapter describes how in process of time the polity itself is inevitably overthrown by that very principle. The incidents which prove the immediate cause of revolution are such as may frequently have happened in Greek history: see 556 C, D, E and 557 A notes It is instructive to compare with this chapter Aristotle's a posteriori analysis of the causes of revolution in oligarchical cities (Pol. E 6). On the psychological basis of democracy see 557 A note

παραστησώμεθα κτλ. For the use of παραστήσασθαι Schneider refers to II 360 E, 361 B and Lucian Icarom. 17, ὥσπερ ἂν εἴ τις παραστησάμενος πολλοὺς χορευτὰςἔπειτα προστάξειε κτλ.

ὁμοίως κτλ. See 543 A note μεταβάλλει = ‘it changes,’ viz. the πολιτεία. The verb is scarcely impersonal, as the English translators appear to suppose.

προκειμένου κτλ. προκειμένου is not ‘publicly acknowledged’ (D. and V.), but ‘propositus,’ as in τὸ τέλος τὸ προκείμενον. δεῖν (wrongly rejected by J. J. Hartman) ‘resumes the notion of προκειμένου’ (J. and C.). Similar pleonasms occur in Crit. 44 C, Gorg. 500 C and elsewhere: cf. also ἐξεῖναι in C below and VII 535 A note

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Plato, Crito, 44c
    • Plato, Gorgias, 500c
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