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[629a] but mildly interrogate them, since both we and your legislators are earnestly interested in these matters. Pray follow the argument closely. Let us take the opinion of Tyrtaeus (an Athenian by birth and afterwards a citizen of Lacedaemon), above all men, was keenly interested in our subject. This is what he says:1 “Though a man were the richest of men,
Tyrtaeus 12 Bergk [629b] “though a man possessed goods in plenty (and he specifies nearly every good there is), if he failed to prove himself at all times most valiant in war, no mention should I make of nor take account of him at all.” No doubt you also have heard these poems; while our friend Megillus is, I imagine, surfeited with them.

I certainly am.

And I can assure you they have reached Crete also, shipped over from Lacedaemon.

Come now, let us jointly interrogate this poet somehow on this wise: [629c] “O Tyrtaeus, most inspired of poets (for assuredly you seem to us both wise and good in that you have eulogized excellently those who excel in war), concerning this matter we three Megillus, Clinias of Cnosus and myself are already in entire accord with you, as we suppose; but we wish to be assured that both we and you are alluding to the same persons. Tell us then: do you clearly recognize, as we do, two distinct kinds of war?” In reply to this I suppose that even a much less able man than Tyrtaeus would state the truth, [629d] that there are two kinds, the one being that which we all call “civil,” which is of all wars the most bitter, as we said just now, while the other kind, as I suppose we shall all agree, is that which we engage in when we quarrel with foreigners and aliens—a kind much milder than the former.


Come, then, which kind of warriors, fighting in which kind of war, did you praise so highly, while blaming others? Warriors, apparently, who fight in war abroad. [629e] At any rate, in your poems you have said that you cannot abide men who dare not ““face the gory fray””Tyrtaeus“and smite the foe in close combat.
Tyrtaeus Then we should proceed to say, “It appears, O Tyrtaeus, that you are chiefly praising those who achieve distinction in foreign and external warfare.” To this, I presume, he would agree, and say “Yes”?

1 Tyrt. 12 (Bergk). Tyrtaeus wrote war-songs at Sparta about 880 B.C.

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