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And as to the matters with which our present discourse is concerned—States and statecraft and legislation,—do we think they could have retained any memory whatsoever, broadly speaking, of such matters?Clinias
By no means.Athenian
So from those men, in that situation, there has sprung the whole of our present order—States and constitutions, arts and laws, with a great amount both of evil and of good?Clinias
How do you mean? [678b] Athenian
Do we imagine, my good Sir, that the men of that age, who were unversed in the ways of city life—many of them noble, many ignoble,—were perfect either in virtue or in vice?Clinias
Well said! We grasp your meaning.Athenian
As time went on and our race multiplied, all things advanced—did they not?—to the condition which now exists.Clinias
But, in all probability, they advanced, not all at once, but by small degrees, during an immense space of time. [678c] Clinias
Yes, that is most likely.Athenian
For they all, I fancy, felt as it were still ringing in their ears a dread of going down from the highlands to the plains.Clinias
And because there were so few of them round about in those days, were they not delighted to see one another, but for the fact that means of transport, whereby they might visit one another by sea or land, had practically all perished along with the arts? Hence intercourse, I imagine, was not very easy. [678d] For iron and bronze and all the metals in the mines had been flooded and had disappeared; so that it was extremely difficult to extract fresh metal; and there was a dearth, in consequence, of felled timber. For even if there happened to be some few tools still left somewhere on the mountains, these were soon worn out, and they could not be replaced by others until men had rediscovered the art of metal-working.Clinias
They could not.Athenian
Now, how many generations, do we suppose, had passed before this took place? [678e] Clinias
A great many, evidently.Athenian
And during all this period, or even longer, all the arts that require iron and bronze and all such metals must have remained in abeyance?Clinias
Moreover, civil strife and war also disappeared during that time, and that for many reasons.Clinias
In the first place, owing to their desolate state, they were kindly disposed and friendly towards one another; and secondly, they had no need to quarrel about food.
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