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[545a] “We have.” “Must we not, then, next after this, survey the inferior types, the man who is contentious and covetous of honor,1 corresponding to the Laconian constitution, and the oligarchical man in turn, and the democratic and the tyrant, in order that,2 after observing the most unjust of all, we may oppose him to the most just, and complete our inquiry as to the relation of pure justice and pure injustice in respect of the happiness and unhappiness of the possessor, so that we may either follow the counsel of Thrasymachus and pursue injustice [545b] or the present argument and pursue justice?” “Assuredly,” he said, “that is what we have to do.3” “Shall we, then, as we began by examining moral qualities in states before individuals, as being more manifest there, so now consider first the constitution based on the love of honor? I do not know of any special name4 for it in use. We must call it either timocracy5 or timarchy. And then in connection with this [545c] we will consider the man of that type, and thereafter oligarchy and the oligarch, and again, fixing our eyes on democracy, we will contemplate the democratic man: and fourthly, after coming to the city ruled by a tyrant and observing it, we will in turn take a look into the tyrannical soul,6 and so try to make ourselves competent judges7 of the question before us.” “That would be at least8 a systematic and consistent way of conducting the observation and the decision,” he said.

“Come, then,” said I, “let us try to tell in what way a timocracy would arise out of an aristocracy. [545d] Or is this the simple and unvarying rule, that in every form of government revolution takes its start from the ruling class itself,9 when dissension arises in that, but so long as it is at one with itself, however small it be, innovation is impossible?” “Yes, that is so.” “How, then, Glaucon,” I said, “will disturbance arise in our city, and how will our helpers and rulers fall out and be at odds with one another and themselves? Shall we, like Homer, invoke the Muses10 to tell “‘how faction first fell upon them,’”Hom. Il. 1.6 [545e] and say that these goddesses playing with us and teasing us as if we were children address us in lofty, mock-serious tragic11 style?”

1 Cf. Phaedr. 256 C 1, 475 A, 347 B.

2 Cf. on 544 A, p. 237, note g.

3 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.

4 Cf. on 544 C, p. 238, note b.

5 In Aristot.Eth. Nic. 1160 a 33-34, the meaning is “the rule of those who possess a property qualification.”

6 Cf. 577 A-B.

7 Cf. 582 A ff.

8 For the qualified assent Cf. HamletI. i. 19 “What? is Horatio there? A piece of him.” It is very frequent in the Republic, usually with γοῦν. Cf. 442 D, 469 B, 476 C, 501 C, 537 C, 584 A, 555 B, 604 D,and Vol. I. p. 30, note a, on 334 A; also 460 C and 398 B, where the interlocutor adds a condition, 392 B, 405 B, 556 E, 581 B, and 487 A, where he uses the corrective μὲν οὖν.

9 For the idea that the state is destroyed only by factions in the ruling class cf. also Laws 683 E. Cf. 465 B, Lysias xxv. 21, Aristot.Pol. 1305 b, 1306 a 10ὁμονοοῦσα δὲ ὀλιγαρχία οὐκ εὐδιάφθορος ἐξ αὑτῆς, 1302 a 10 Polybius, Teubner, vol. ii. p. 298 (vi. 57). Newman, Aristot.Pol. i. p. 521, says that Aristotle “does not remark on Plato's observation . . . though he cannot have agreed with it.” Cf. Halévy, Notes et souvenirs, p. 153 “l'histoire est là pour démontrer clairement que, depuis un siècle, not gouvernements n'ont jamais été renversés que par eux-mêmes”; Bergson, Les Deux Sources de la morale et de la religion, p. 303: “Mais l'instinct résiste. Il ne commence à céder que lorsque Ia classe supérieure elle-même l'y invite.”

10 For the mock-heroic style of this invocation Cf. Phaedr. 237 A, Laws 885 C.

11 Cf. 413 B, Meno 76 E, Aristot.Meteorol. 353 b 1, Wilamowitz, Platon, ii. p. 146.

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