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[681a] and make ring-fences of rubble and walls to ward off wild beasts, till finally they have constructed a single large common dwelling.

It is certainly probable that such was the course of events.

Well, is not this also probable?


That, while these larger settlements were growing out of the original small ones, each of the small settlements continued to retain, clan by clan, both the rule of the eldest [681b] and also some customs derived from its isolated condition and peculiar to itself. As those who begot and reared them were different, so these customs of theirs, relating to the gods and to themselves, differed, being more orderly where their forefathers had been orderly, and more brave where they had been brave; and as thus the fathers of each clan in due course stamped upon their children and children's children their own cast of mind, these people came (as we say) into the larger community furnished each with their own peculiar laws.

Of course. [681c]

And no doubt each clan was well pleased with its own laws, and less well with those of its neighbors.


Unwittingly, as it seems, we have now set foot, as it were, on the starting-point of legislation.

We have indeed.

The next step necessary is that these people should come together and choose out some members of each clan who, after a survey of the legal usages of all the clans, shall notify publicly to the tribal leaders and chiefs (who may be termed their “kings”) which of those usages please them best, [681d] and shall recommend their adoption. These men will themselves be named “legislators,” and when they have established the chiefs as “magistrates,” and have framed an aristocracy, or possibly even a monarchy, from the existing plurality of “headships,” they will live under the constitution thus transformed.

The next steps would certainly be such as you describe.

Let us go on to describe the rise of a third form of constitution, in which are blended all kinds and varieties of constitutions, and of States as well.1 [681e]

What form is that?

The same that Homer himself mentioned next to the second, when he said that the third form arose in this way. His verses run thus— “Dardania he founded when as yet
The Holy keep of Ilium was not built
Upon the plain, a town for mortal folk,
But still they dwelt upon the highland slopes
Of many-fountained Ida.
Hom. Il. 20.216 ff.

1 For this “mixed” polity of the “city of the plain,” cp. the description of democracy in Plat. Rep. 557d ff.

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