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1 In considering the progress of degeneration portrayed in the following pages, it is too often forgotten that Plato is describing or satirizing divergences from ideal rather than an historical process. Cf. Rehm, Der Untergang Roms im abendländischen Denken, p. 11: “Plato gibt eine zum Mythos gesteigerte Naturgeschichte des Staates, so wie Hesiod eine als Mythos zu verstehende Natur-, d.h. Entartungsgeschichte des Menschengeschlechts gibt.” Cf. Sidney B. Fay, on Bury, The Idea of Progress, in “Methods of Social Science,” edited by Stuart A. Rice, p. 289: “ . . . there was a widely spread belief in an earlier ‘golden age’ of simplicity, which had been followed by a degeneration and decay of the human race. Plato's theory of degradation set forth a gradual deterioration through the successive stages of timocracy, oligarchy, democracy and despotism. The Greek theory of ‘cycles,’ with its endless, monotonous iteration, excluded the possibility of permanent advance or ‘progress.'” Kurt Singer, Platon der Gründer, p. 141, says that the timocratic state reminds one of late Sparta, the democratic of Athens after Pericles, the oligarchic is related to Corinth, and the tyrannical has some Syracusan features. Cicero, De div. ii., uses this book of the Republic to console himself for the revolutions in the Roman state, and Polybius's theory of the natural succession of governments is derived from it, with modifications (Polyb. vi. 4. 6 ff. Cf. vi. 9. 10 αὕτη πολιτειῶν ἀνακύκλωσις). Aristotle objects that in a cycle the ideal state should follow the tyranny.
2 Cf. on 544 C, p. 238, note b.
3 In Aristot.Eth. Nic. 1160 a 33-34, the meaning is “the rule of those who possess a property qualification.”
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