Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 8 translated by Harold North Fowler. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1925.

Str. Just as the captain of a ship keeps watch for what is at any moment for the good of the vessel and the sailors, not by writing rules, but by making his science his law, and thus preserves his fellow voyagers, so may not a right government be established in the same way by men who could rule by this principle, making science more powerful than the laws? And whatever the wise rulers do, they can commit no error, so long as they maintain one great principle and by always dispensing absolute justice to them with wisdom and science are able to preserve the citizens and make them better than they were, so far as that is possible. Is not this true?

Y. Soc. There is no denying the truth of what you have just said.

Str. And those other statements cannot be denied, either.

Y. Soc. What statements?

Str. That no great number of men, whoever they may be, could ever acquire political science and be able to administer a state with wisdom, but our one right form of government must be sought in some small number or one person, and all other forms are merely, as we said before, more or less successful imitations of that.

Y. Soc. What do you mean by that? I did not understand about the imitations a little while ago, either.

Str. And yet it is quite a serious matter if after stirring up this question we drop it and do not go on and show the error which is committed in relation to it nowadays.

Y. Soc. What is the error?

Str. I will tell you what we must investigate; it is not at all familiar or easy to see, but let us try to grasp it nevertheless. Tell me this: Assuming that the form of government we have described is the only right form, don’t you see that the other forms must employ its written laws if they are to be preserved by doing that which is approved of nowadays, although it is not perfectly right?

Y. Soc. What is not perfectly right?

Str. That no citizen shall dare to do anything contrary to the laws, and that he who does shall be punished by death and the most extreme penalties. And this is perfectly right and good as a second choice, as soon as you depart from the first form of which we were just speaking. Now let us tell in some detail how this which we called the second choice comes about. Shall we do so?

Y. Soc. By all means.

Str. Let us return once more to the images which we always have to use in portraying kingly rulers.

Y. Soc. What images?

Str. The noble captain of a ship and the physician who is worth as much as many others. [*](Cf. Hom. Il. 12.514: ἰητρὸς γὰρ ἀνὴρ πολλῶν ἀντάξιος ἄλλων. The image of the physician was used above, 293. The image of the captain (for the Greek κυβερνήτης had an importance commensurate with that of the captain, rather than of the pilot, in modern times) has just been used. See also Plat. Rep. 6.488 A; Plat. Laws 12.963 B.) Let us make a simile of them and use it to help us to discover something.

Y. Soc. What is your simile?

Str. Something of this sort: Imagine that we all thought in regard to captains and physicians: We are most abominably treated by them. For whomsoever of us either of them wishes to save, he saves, one of them just like the other, and whomsoever he wishes to maltreat, he maltreats. They cut us up and burn us and order us to bring them payments of money, as if they were exacting tribute, of which they spend little or nothing for their patients; they themselves and their servants use the rest. And finally they are bribed by the patient’s relatives or enemies and actually bring about his death. And as for the captains, they commit countless other misdeeds they make plots and leave us deserted ashore when they put out to sea, they bring on mishaps at sea and so cast us into the water, and are guilty of other wrong-doings. Now suppose, with these thoughts in mind, we deliberated about them and decided that we would no longer allow either of these arts to rule without control over slaves or free men, but that we would call an assembly either of all the people or of the rich only, and that anyone, whether he were engaged in some other form of skilled labor or were without any special qualifications, should be free to offer an opinion about navigation and diseases, how drugs and surgical or medical instruments should be applied to the patients, and how ships and nautical instruments should be used for navigation and in meeting dangers, not only those of winds and sea that affect the voyage itself, but also those met in encounters with pirates, and if battles have to be fought between ships of war; and that whatever the majority decided about these matters, whether any physicians or ship captains or merely unskilled persons took part in the deliberations, should be inscribed upon tablets and slabs or in some instances should be adopted as unwritten ancestral customs, and that henceforth forever navigation and the care of the sick should be conducted in accordance with these provisions.

Y. Soc. That is a most absurd state of things that you have described.

Str. And suppose that rulers of the people are set up annually, whether from the rich or from the whole people, on the principle that whoever is chosen by lot should rule, and that these rulers exercise their authority in commanding the ships or treating the sick in accordance with the written rules.

Y. Soc. That is still harder to imagine.

Str. Now consider what comes next. When the year of office has passed for each set of rulers, there will have to be sessions of courts in which the judges are chosen by lot either from a selected list of the rich or from the whole people, and the rulers will have to be brought before these courts and examined as to their conduct in office, and anyone who pleases can bring against the captains an accusation for failure to command the ships during the year in accordance with the written laws or the ancestral customs, and similarly against the physicians for their treatment of the sick; and if any of them is found guilty, the court shall decide what his punishment or his fine shall be.

Y. Soc. Surely anyone who consents voluntarily to hold office under such conditions would richly deserve any penalty or fine that might be imposed.

Str. And then, in addition to all this, there will have to be a law that if anyone is found to be investigating the art of pilotage or navigation or the subject of health and true medical doctrine about winds and things hot and cold, contrary to the written rules, or to be indulging in any speculation whatsoever on such matters, he shall in the first place not be called a physician or a ship captain, but a star-gazer, [*](This passage obviously refers to the trial of Socrates. The word μετέωρα was used by those who made all sorts of general accusations against Socrates (see Plat. Apol. 18 B, 19 B, with its reference to the Clouds of Aristophanes), and the reference of the words διαφθείροντα ἄλλους νεωτέρους to the accusation brought against him by Miletus, Anytus, and Lycon (Plat. Apol. 24 C: φησὶ γὰρ δὴ τοὺς νέους ἀδικεῖν με διαφθείροντα) is perfectly plain.) a kind of loquacious sophist, and secondly anyone who is properly qualified may bring an accusation against him and hale him into court for corrupting the young and persuading them to attack the arts of navigation and medicine in opposition to the laws and to govern the ships and the sick according to their own will; and if he is found to be so persuading either young or old contrary to the laws and written rules, he shall suffer the most extreme penalties. Nothing, they say, ought to be wiser than the laws; for no one is ignorant of medicine and the laws of health or of the pilot’s art and navigation, since anyone who pleases can learn the existing written rules and ancestral customs. Now if these regulations which I speak of were to be applied to these sciences, Socrates, and to strategy and every part of the entire art of hunting and to painting or every kind of imitation and to carpentry including every kind of utensil-making, or even to husbandry and all the art that is concerned with plants, or if we were to see an art of horse-breeding conducted by written rules, or herdsmanship in general or prophecy or everything that is included in the art of serving, or draught-playing or the whole science of number, whether arithmetic or plane geometry or solid geometry or problems of motion—what would you think of carrying on all these in such a way, by written rules and not by knowledge?

Y. Soc. Clearly all the arts would be utterly ruined, nor could they ever rise again, through the operation of the law prohibiting investigation; and so life, which is hard enough now, would then become absolutely unendurable.

Str. Here is a further point. If we ordained that each of the aforesaid arts must be carried on by written rules and that the observance of our written rules be under the charge of the man who is elected or chosen by lot, but he should disregard the written rules and for the sake of some gain or to do a favor to some one should try to act contrary to them, without possessing any knowledge, would not this be a greater evil than the former?

Y. Soc. Most assuredly.

Str. Since the laws are made after long experience and after commissioners of some kind have carefully considered each detail with delicate skill and have persuaded the people to pass them, anyone, I fancy, who ventured to violate them would be involved in error many times greater than the first, and would cause even greater ruin than the written laws to all kinds of transactions.

Y. Soc. Of course he would.

Str. Therefore the next best course for those who make laws or written rules about anything whatsoever is to prohibit any violation of them whatsoever, either by one person or by a greater number.

Y. Soc. Right.

Str. These laws, then, written by men who know in so far as knowledge is possible, are imitations in each instance of some part of truth?

Y. Soc. Of course.

Str. And yet we said, if we remember, that the man of knowledge, the real statesman, would by his art make many changes in his practice without regard to his writings, when he thought another course was better though it violated the rules he had written and sent to his absent subjects. [*](See 295 E.)

Y. Soc. Yes, we did say that.

Str. But is it not true that any man or any number of men whatsoever who have written laws, if they undertake to make any change in those laws, thinking it is all improvement, are doing, to the best of their ability, the same thing which our true statesman does?

Y. Soc. Certainly.

Str. If, then, they were to do this without science, however, imitate badly in every case; but if they were scientific, then it would no longer be imitation, but the actual perfect reality of which we spoke?

Y. Soc. Yes, assuredly.

Str. And yet we agreed definitely a while ago that no multitude is able to acquire any art whatsoever.

Y. Soc. Yes, that is definitely agreed.

Str. Then if there is a kingly [*](See 292 E.) art, neither the collective body of the wealthy nor the whole people could ever acquire this science of statesmanship.

Y. Soc. No; certainly not.

Str. Such states, then, it seems, if they are to imitate well, so far as possible, that true form of government— by a single ruler who rules with science—must never do anything in contravention of their existing written laws and ancestral customs.

Y. Soc. You are quite right.

Str. Then whenever the rich imitate this government, we call such a state an aristocracy; and when they disregard the laws, we call it an oligarchy.

Y. Soc. Yes, I think we do.

Str. And again, when one man rules according to laws and imitates the scientific ruler, we call him a king, making no distinction in name between the single ruler who rules by science and him who rules by opinion if they both rule in accordance with laws.

Y. Soc. Yes, I think we do.

Str. Accordingly, if one man who is really scientific rules, he will assuredly be called by the same name, king, and by no other; and so the five names of what are now called the forms of government have become only one. [*](What are called five distinct forms of government are resolved into one—the one right form of which all others are imitations (297 C). This is to be sought in some small number or one person (ibid.). We have found it in the really scientific monarchy, and the other so-called forms of government, being merely imitations of this, require no names of their own.)

Y. Soc. So it seems, at least.

Str. But when a single ruler acts in accordance with neither laws nor customs, but claims, in imitation of the scientific ruler, that whatever is best must be done, even though it be contrary to the written laws, and this imitation is inspired by desire and ignorance, is not such a ruler to be called in every instance a tyrant?

Y. Soc. Certainly.

Str. Thus, we say, the tyrant has arisen, and the king and oligarchy and aristocracy and democracy, because men are not contented with that one perfect ruler, and do not believe that there could ever be any one worthy of such power or willing and able by ruling with virtue and knowledge to dispense justice and equity rightly to all, but that he will harm and kill and injure any one of us whom he chooses on any occasion, since they admit that if such a man as we describe should really arise, he would be welcomed and would continue to dwell among them, directing to their weal as sole ruler a perfectly right form of government.

Y. Soc. Certainly.

Str. But, as the case now stands, since, as we claim, no king is produced in our states who is, like the ruler of the bees in their hives, by birth pre-eminently fitted from the beginning in body and mind, we are obliged, as it seems, to follow in the track of the perfect and true form of government by coming together and making written laws.

Y. Soc. Yes, I suppose we are.

Str. Can we wonder, then, Socrates, at all the evils that arise and are destined to arise in such kinds of government, when they are based upon such a foundation, and must conduct their affairs in accordance with written laws and with customs, without knowledge? For every one can see that any other art built upon such a foundation would ruin all its works that are so produced. Ought we not rather to wonder at the stability that inheres in the state? For states have labored under such conditions for countless ages, nevertheless some of them are lasting and are not overthrown. Many, to be sure, like ships that founder at sea, are destroyed, have been destroyed, and will be destroyed hereafter, through the worthlessness of their captains and crews who have the greatest ignorance of the greatest things, men who have no knowledge of statesmanship, but think they have in every respect most perfect knowledge of this above all other sciences.

Y. Soc. Very true.

Str. Is it, then, our duty to see which of these not right forms of government is the least difficult to live with, though all are difficult, and which is the most oppressive, although this is somewhat aside from the subject we had proposed for ourselves? On the whole, however, perhaps all of us have some such motive in mind in all that we are doing.

Y. Soc. Yes, it is our duty, of course.

Str. Well then, you may say that of the three forms, the same is both the hardest and the easiest.

Y. Soc. What do you mean?

Str. Just this: I mean that there are three forms of government, as we said at the beginning of the discussion which has now flowed in upon us—monarchy, the rule of the few, and the rule of the many.

Y. Soc. Yes, there were those three.

Str. Let us, then, by dividing each of these into two parts, make six, and by distinguishing the right government from these, a seventh.

Y. Soc. How shall we make the division?

Str. We said that monarchy comprised royalty and tyranny, and the rule of the few comprised aristocracy, which has a name of good omen, and oligarchy; but to the rule of the many we gave then only a single name, democracy; now, however, that also must be divided.

Y. Soc. How? On what principle shall we divide that?

Str. On the same that we used for the others, though the name of this form is already twofold in meaning. [*](The name is said to be twofold in meaning, probably because it was applied in cases in which there was a regularly constituted popular government and also in cases of mob rule.) At any rate, the distinction between ruling according to law and without law applies alike to this and the rest.

Y. Soc. Yes, it does.

Str. Before, when we were in search of the right government, this division was of no use, as we showed at the time but now that we have set that apart and have decided that the others are the only available forms of government, the principle of lawfulness and lawlessness bisects each of them.

Y. Soc. So it seems, from what has been said.

Str. Monarchy, then, when bound by good written rules, which we call laws, is the best of all the six; but without law it is hard and most oppressive to live with.

Y. Soc. I fancy it is.

Str. But just as few is intermediate between one and a multitude, so the government of the few must be considered intermediate, both in good and in evil. But the government of the multitude is weak in all respects and able to do nothing great, either good or bad, when compared with the other forms of government, because in this the powers of government are distributed in small shares among many men; therefore of all these governments when they are lawful, this is the worst, and when they are all lawless it is the best; and if they are all without restraint, life is most desirable in a democracy, but if they are orderly, that is the worst to live in; but life in the first kind of state is by far the first and best, with the exception of the seventh, for that must be set apart from all the others, as God is set apart from men. [*](The concentration of power in the hands of one man makes monarchy most efficient, but, since no human monarch is perfect, monarchy must be regulated by laws. Its efficiency makes it under such conditions the best government to live under. But without restraint of law monarchy becomes tyranny—the worst kind of oppression. Oligarchy occupies a position intermediate between monarchy and democracy—less efficient than the one and more efficient than the other, because power is distributed among a small number of persons—and is, therefore, when lawful less good, and when lawless less bad, than monarchy. Democracy, in turn, since power is too greatly subdivided, is inefficient, either for good or evil, and is, therefore, when lawful less good, and when lawless less bad, than either of the others.)

Y. Soc. That statement appears to be true to the facts, and we must do as you say.

Str. Then those who participate in all those governments with the exception of the scientific one—are to be eliminated as not being statesmen, but partisans and since they preside over the greatest counterfeits, they are themselves counterfeits, and since they are the greatest of imitators and cheats, they are the greatest of all sophists.

Y. Soc. This term sophist seems to have come round quite rightly to the so-called statesmen.

Str. Well, this part has been exactly like a play. Just as we remarked a moment ago, [*](291 A.) a festive troop of centaurs or satyrs was coming into view, which we had to separate from the art of statesmanship; and now we have succeeded in doing this, though it has been very difficult.

Y. Soc. So it seems.

Str. But another group remains, which is still more difficult to separate, because it is more closely akin to the kingly class and is also harder to recognize. I think we are in somewhat the same position as refiners of gold.

Y. Soc. How so?

Str. Why, the refiners first remove earth and stones and all that sort of thing; and after that there remain the precious substances which are mixed with the gold and akin to it and can be removed only by fire—copper and silver and sometimes adamant. [*](Plat. Tim. 59 B, defines adamant as χρυσοῦ ὄζοςa branch of gold. It was, then, a substance akin to gold. Platinum has been suggested.) These are removed by the difficult processes of smelting and tests, leaving before our eyes what is called unalloyed gold in all its purity.

Y. Soc. Yes, that is said, at least, to be the process.

Str. By the same method I think all that is different and alien and incompatible has now been eliminated by us from the science of statesmanship, and what is precious and akin to it is left. Herein are included the arts of the general and of the judge and that kind of oratory which partakes of the kingly art because it persuades men to justice and thereby helps to steer the ship of state. Now in what way shall we most easily eliminate these and show him whom we seek alone by himself and undisguised?

Y. Soc. Clearly we must do this somehow.

Str. Then if it is a question of trying, he will be shown. But I think we had better try to disclose him by means of music. Please answer my question.

Y. Soc. What is it?

Str. Shall we agree that there is such a thing as learning music and the sciences of handicraft in general?

Y. Soc. There is.

Str. And how about this? Shall we say that there is another science connected with those, which tells whether we ought or ought not to learn any one of then?

Y. Soc. Yes, we shall say that there is.

Str. And shall we agree that this is different from those?

Y. Soc. Yes.

Str. And shall we say that none of them ought to have control of any other, or that those sciences should control this one, or that this should control and rule all the others?

Y. Soc. This should control those others.

Str. You mean that the science which decides whether we ought to learn or not should control the science which is learnt or teaches?

Y. Soc. Emphatically.

Str. And the science which decides whether to persuade or not should control that which can persuade?

Y. Soc. Certainly.

Str. Well, then, to what science shall we assign the power of persuading a multitude or a mob by telling edifying stories, not by teaching?

Y. Soc. It is, I think, clear that this must be added to rhetoric.

Str. But the power of deciding whether some action, no matter what, should be taken, either by persuasion or by some exercise of force, in relation to any person, or whether to take no action at all—to what science is that to be assigned?

Y. Soc. To the science which controls the sciences of persuasion and speech.

Str. And that would, I think, be no other than the function of the statesman.

Y. Soc. A most excellent conclusion.

Str. So rhetoric also seems to have been quickly separated from statesmanship [*](Cf. 303 C.) as a different species, subservient to the other.

Y. Soc. Yes.

Str. Here is another function or power; what are we to think about it?

Y. Soc. What is it?

Str. The power of determining how war shall be waged against those upon whom we have declared war, whether we are to call this a science or not a science?

Y. Soc. How could we think it is not a science, when generalship and all military activity practise it?

Str. And the power which is able and knows how to deliberate and decide whether to make war or peace, shall we assume that it is the same as this or different?

Y. Soc. If we are consistent, we must assume that it is different.

Str. Shall we, then, assume that it controls the other, if we are to agree with our views in the former examples?

Y. Soc. Yes.

Str. And what other art shall we make bold to declare is mistress of that great and terrible art, the art of war as a whole, except the truly kingly art?

Y. Soc. No other.

Str. We shall, then, not call the art of the generals statesmanship, since it is subservient.

Y. Soc. No; that would not be reasonable.

Str. Now let us examine the function of the righteous judges.

Y. Soc. Certainly.

Str. Has it any power beyond that of judging men’s contracts with one another, pronouncing them right or wrong by the standard of the existing laws which it has received from the king and law-giver; showing its own peculiar virtue in that it is not so perverted by any bribes, or fears, or pity, or enmity, or friendship, as ever to consent to decide the lawsuits of men with each other contrary to the enactments of the lawgiver?

Y. Soc. No; the business of this power is about as you have described it.

Str. Then we find that the strength of judges is not kingly, but is guardian of laws and a servant of the kingly power.

Y. Soc. So it appears.

Str. The consideration of all these arts which have been mentioned leads to the conclusion that none of them is the art of the statesman. For the art that is truly kingly ought not to act itself, but should rule over the arts that have the power of action; it should decide upon the right or wrong time for the initiation of the most important measures in the state, and the other arts should perform its behests.

Y. Soc. Right.

Str. Therefore those arts which we have just described, as they control neither one another nor themselves, but have each its own peculiar sphere of action, are quite properly called by special names corresponding to those special actions.

Y. Soc. That appears, at least, to be the case.

Str. But the art which holds sway over them all and watches over the laws and all things in the state, weaving them all most perfectly together, we may, I think, by giving to its function a designation which indicates its power over the community, with full propriety call statecraft.

Y. Soc. Most assuredly.

Str. Shall we then proceed to discuss it after the model supplied by weaving, [*](See 287-290, 303-305.) now that all the classes in the state have been made plain to us?

Y. Soc. By all means.

Str. Then the kingly process of weaving must be described, its nature, the manner in which it combines the threads, and the kind of web it produces.

Y. Soc. Evidently.

Str. It has, apparently, become necessary, after all, to explain a difficult matter.

Y. Soc. But certainly the explanation must be made.

Str. It is difficult, for the assertion that one part of virtue is in a way at variance with another sort of virtue may very easily be assailed by those who appeal to popular opinion in contentious arguments.

Y. Soc. I do not understand.

Str. I will say it again in another way. I suppose you believe that courage [*](The word ἀνδρεία has a much wider meaning than the English courage. Like the Latin virtus, it embraces all qualities which are desirable in a perfect man, especially the more active and positive virtues. When applied to one particular kind of virtue it is applied to courage, but throughout this discussion it is used in the wider sense, for which there is no single English equivalent.) is one part of virtue.

Y. Soc. Certainly.

Str. And, of course, that self-restraint is different from courage, but is also a part of virtue of which courage is a part.

Y. Soc. Yes.

Str. Now I must venture to utter a strange doctrine about them.

Y. Soc. What is it?

Str. That, in a way, they are in a condition of great hostility and opposition to each other in many beings.

Y. Soc. What do you mean?

Str. Something quite unusual; for, you know, all the parts of virtue are usually said to be friendly to one another.

Y. Soc. Yes.

Str. Now shall we pay careful attention and see whether this is so simple, or, quite the contrary, there is in some respects a variance between them and their kin?

Y. Soc. Yes; please tell how we shall investigate the question.

Str. Among all the parts we must look for those which we call excellent but place in two opposite classes.

Y. Soc. Say more clearly what you mean.

Str. Acuteness and quickness, whether in body or soul or vocal utterance, whether they are real or exist in such likenesses as music and graphic art produce in imitation of them—have you never yourself praised one of them or heard them praised by others?

Y. Soc. Yes, of course.

Str. And do you remember in what way they praise them as occasion offers?

Y. Soc. Not in the least.

Str. I wonder if I can express to you in words what I have in mind.

Y. Soc. Why not?

Str. You seem to think that is an easy thing to do. However, let us consider the matter as it appears in the opposite classes. For example, when we admire, as we frequently do in many actions, quickness and energy and acuteness of mind or body or even of voice, we express our praise of them by one word, courage.

Y. Soc. How so?

Str. We say acute and courageous in the first instance, also quick and courageous, and energetic and courageous; and when we apply this word as a common term applicable to all persons and actions of this class, we praise them.

Y. Soc. Yes, we do.

Str. But do we not also praise the gentle type of movement in many actions?

Y. Soc. We do, decidedly.

Str. And in doing so, do we not say the opposite of what we said about the other class?

Y. Soc. How is that?

Str. We are always saying How quiet! and How restrained! when we are admiring the workings of the mind, and again we speak of actions as slow and gentle, of the voice as smooth and deep, and of every rhythmic motion and of music in general as having appropriate slowness; and we apply to them all the term which signifies, not courage, but decorum.

Y. Soc. Very true.

Str. And again, on the other hand, when these two classes seem to us out of place, we change our attitude and blame them each in turn; then we use the terms in the opposite sense.

Y. Soc. How is that?

Str. Why, whatsoever is sharper than the occasion warrants, or seems to be too quick or too hard, is called violent or mad, and whatever is too heavy or slow or gentle, is called cowardly and sluggish; and almost always we find that the restraint of one class of qualities and the courage of the opposite class, like two parties arrayed in hostility to each other, do not mix with each other in the actions that are concerned with such qualities. Moreover, if we pursue the inquiry, we shall see that the men who have these qualities in their souls are at variance with one another.

Y. Soc. In what do you mean that they are at variance?

Str. In all those points which we just mentioned, and probably in many others. For men who are akin to each class, I imagine, praise some qualities as their own and find fault with those of their opposites as alien to themselves, and thus great enmity arises between them on many grounds.

Y. Soc. Yes, that is likely to be the case.

Str. Now this opposition of these two classes is mere child’s play but when it affects the most important matters it becomes a most detestable disease in the state.

Y. Soc. What matters does it affect?

Str. The whole course of life, in all probability. For those who are especially decorous are ready to live always a quiet and retired life and to mind their own business; this is the manner of their intercourse with every one at home, and they are equally ready at all times to keep peace in some way or other with foreign states. And because of this desire of theirs, which is often inopportune and excessive, when they have their own way they quite unconsciously become unwarlike, and they make the young men unwarlike also; they are at the mercy of aggressors; and thus in a few years they and their children and the whole state often pass by imperceptible degrees from freedom to slavery.

Y. Soc. That is a hard and terrible experience.

Str. But how about those who incline towards courage? Do they not constantly urge their countries to war, because of their excessive desire for a warlike life? Do they not involve them in hostilities with many powerful opponents and either utterly destroy their native lands or enslave and subject them to their foes?

Y. Soc. Yes, that is true, too.

Str. Then in these examples how can we deny that these two classes are always filled with the greatest hostility and opposition to one another?

Y. Soc. We certainly cannot deny it.

Str. Have we not, then, found just what we had in view in the beginning, that important parts of virtue are by nature at variance with one another and also that the persons who possess them exhibit the same opposition?

Y. Soc. Yes, I suppose that is true.

Str. Let us then take up another question.

Y. Soc. What question?

Str. Whether any constructive science voluntarily composes any, even the most worthless, of its works out of good and bad materials, or every science invariably rejects the bad, so far as possible, taking only the materials which are good and fitting, out of which, whether they be like or unlike, it gathers all elements together and produces one form or value.

Y. Soc. The latter, of course.

Str. Then neither will the true natural art of statecraft ever voluntarily compose a state of good and bad men; but obviously it will first test them in play, and after the test will entrust them in turn to those who are able to teach and help them to attain the end in view; it will itself give orders and exercise supervision, just as the art of weaving constantly commands and supervises the carders and others who prepare the materials for its web, directing each person to do the tasks which it thinks are requisite for its fabric.

Y. Soc. Certainly.

Str. In the same way I think the kingly art, keeping for itself the function of supervision, will not allow the duly appointed teachers and foster fathers to give any training, unless they can thereby produce characters suitable to the constitution it is creating, but in these things only it exhorts them to give instruction. And those men who have no capacity for courage and self-restraint and the other qualities which tend towards virtue, but by the force of an evil nature are carried away into godlessness, violence, and injustice, it removes by inflicting upon them the punishments of death and exile and deprivation of the most important civic rights.

Y. Soc. That is about what people say, at any rate.

Str. And those in turn who wallow in ignorance and craven humility it places under the yoke of slavery.

Y. Soc. Quite right.

Str. As for the rest of the people, those whose natures are capable, if they get education, of being made into something fine and noble and of uniting with each other as art requires, the kingly art takes those natures which tend more towards courage, considering that their character is sturdier, like the warp in weaving, and those which incline towards decorum, for these, to continue the simile, are spun thick and soft like the threads of the woof, and tries to combine these natures of opposite tendencies and weave them together in the following manner.

Y. Soc. In what manner?

Str. First it binds the eternal part of their souls with a divine bond, to which that part is akin, and after the divine it binds the animal part of them with human bonds.

Y. Soc. Again I ask What do you mean?

Str. I mean that really true and assured opinion about honor, justice, goodness and their opposites is divine, and when it arises in men’s souls, it arises in a godlike race.

Y. Soc. That would be fitting, at any rate.

Str. Do we not know, then, that the statesman and good lawgiver is the only one to whom the power properly belongs, by the inspiration of the kingly art, to implant this true opinion in those who have rightly received education, those of whom we were just now speaking?

Y. Soc. Well, probably.

Str. And let us never, Socrates, call him who has not such power by the names we are now examining.

Y. Soc. Quite right.

Str. Now is not a courageous soul, when it lays hold upon such truth, made gentle, and would it not then be most ready to partake of justice? And without it, does it not incline more towards brutality?

Y. Soc. Yes, of course.

Str. And again if the decorous nature partakes of these opinions, does it not become truly self-restrained and wise, so far as the state is concerned, and if it lacks participation in such qualities, does it not very justly receive the shameful epithet of simpleton?

Y. Soc. Certainly.

Str. Then can we say that such interweaving and binding together of the bad with the bad or of the good with the bad ever becomes enduring, or that any science would ever seriously make use of it in uniting such persons?

Y. Soc. Of course not.

Str. But we may say that in those only who were of noble nature from their birth and have been nurtured as befits such natures it is implanted by the laws, and for them this is the medicine prescribed by science, and, as we said before, this bond which unites unlike and divergent parts of virtue is more divine.

Y. Soc. Very true.

Str. The remaining bonds, moreover, being human, are not very difficult to devise or, after one has devised them, to create, when once this divine bond exists.

Y. Soc. How so? And what are the bonds?

Str. Those made between states concerning intermarriages and the sharing of children by adoption, [*](More or less equivalent to naturalization. It apparently means the adoption into one state of children born to citizens of another. This was not, as a rule, practiced in the Greek city states, but Plato here seems to recommend it.) and those relating to portionings and marriages within the state. For most people make such bonds without proper regard to the procreation of children.

Y. Soc. How is that?

Str. The pursuit of wealth or power in connection with matrimony—but why should anyone ever take the trouble to blame it, as though it were worth arguing about?

Y. Soc. There is no reason for doing so.

Str. We have better cause, however, to speak our minds about those whose chief care is the family, in case their conduct is not what it should be.

Y. Soc. Yes; very likely.

Str. The fact is, they act on no right theory at all; they seek their ease for the moment; welcoming gladly those who are like themselves, and finding those who are unlike them unendurable, they give the greatest weight to their feeling of dislike.

Y. Soc. How so?

Str. The decorous people seek for characters like their own; so far as they can they marry wives of that sort and in turn give their daughters in marriage to men of that sort; and the courageous do the same, eagerly seeking natures of their own kind, whereas both classes ought to do quite the opposite.

Y. Soc. How so, and why?

Str. Because in the nature of things courage, if propagated through many generations with no admixture of a self-restrained nature, though at first it is strong and flourishing, in the end blossoms forth in utter madness.

Y. Soc. That is likely.

Str. But the soul, on the other hand, that is too full of modesty and contains no alloy of courage or boldness, after many generations of the same kind becomes too sluggish and finally is utterly crippled.

Y. Soc. That also is likely to happen.

Str. It was these bonds, then, that I said there was no difficulty in creating, provided that both classes have one and the same opinion about the honorable and the good. For indeed the whole business of the kingly weaving is comprised in this and this alone,—in never allowing the self-restrained characters to be separated from the courageous, but in weaving them together by common beliefs and honors and dishonors and opinions and interchanges of pledges, thus making of them a smooth and, as we say, well-woven fabric, and then entrusting to them in common for ever the offices of the state.

Y. Soc. How is that to be done?

Str. When one official is needed, by choosing a president who possesses both qualities; and when a hoard is desired, by combining men of each class. For the characters of self-restrained officials are exceedingly careful and just and conservative, but they lack keenness and a certain quick and active boldness.

Y. Soc. That also seems, at least, to be true.

Str. The courageous natures, on the other hand, are deficient in justice and caution in comparison with the former, but excel in boldness of action; and unless both these qualities are present it is impossible for a state to be entirely prosperous in public and private matters.

Y. Soc. Yes, certainly.

Str. This, then, is the end, let us declare, of the web of the statesman’s activity, the direct interweaving of the characters of restrained and courageous men, when the kingly science has drawn them together by friendship and community of sentiment into a common life, and having perfected the most glorious and the best of all textures, clothes with it all the inhabitants of the state, both slaves and freemen, holds them together by this fabric, and omitting nothing which ought to belong to a happy state, rules and watches over them.

Y. Soc. You have given us, Stranger, a most complete and admirable treatment of the king and the statesman.