And now having spoken of assaults, let us sum up all acts of violence under a single law, which shall be as follows:—No one shall take or carry away any of his neighbor's goods, neither shall he use anything which is his neighbor's without the consent of the owner; for these are the offenses which are and have been, and will ever be, the source of all the aforesaid evils. The greatest of them are excesses and insolences of youth, and are offenses against the greatest when they are done against religion; and especially great when in violation of public and holy rites, or of the partly-common rites in which tribes and phratries share; and in the second degree great when they are committed against private rites and sepulchres, and in the third degree (not to repeat the acts formerly mentioned), when insults are offered to parents; the fourth kind of violence is when any one, regardless of the authority of the rulers, takes or carries away or makes use of anything which belongs to them, not having their consent; and the fifth kind is when the violation of the civil rights of an individual demands reparation. There should be a common law embracing all these cases. For we have already said in general terms what shall be the punishment of sacrilege, whether fraudulent or violent, and now we have to determine what is to be the punishment of those who speak or act insolently toward the Gods. But first we must give them an admonition which may be in the following terms:—No one who in obedience to the laws believed that there were Gods, ever intentionally did any unholy act, or uttered any unlawful word; but he who did must have supposed one of three things,—either that they did not exist,—which is the first possibility, or secondly, that, if they did, they took no care of man, or thirdly, that they were easily appeased and turned aside from their purpose, by sacrifices and prayers.
Cleinias. What shall we say or do to these persons?
Athenian Stranger. My good friend, let us first hear the jests which I suspect that they in their superiority will utter against us.
Cleinias. What jests?
Athenian Stranger. They will make some irreverent speech of this sort:—"O inhabitants of Athens, and Sparta, and Cnosus," they will reply, "in that you speak truly; for some of us deny the very existence of the Gods, while others, as you say, are of opinion that they do not care about us; and others that they are turned from their course by gifts. Now we have a right to claim, as you yourself allowed, in the matter of laws, that before you are hard upon us and threaten us, you should argue with us and convince us—you should first attempt to teach and persuade us that there are Gods by reasonable evidences, and also that they are too good to be unrighteous, or to be propitiated, or turned from their course by gifts. For when we hear such things said of them by those who are esteemed to be the best of poets, and orators, and prophets, and priests, and by innumerable others, the thoughts of most of us are not set upon abstaining from unrighteous acts, but upon doing them and atoning for them. When lawgivers profess that they are gentle and not stern, we think that they should first of all use persuasion to us, and show us the existence of Gods, if not in a better manner than other men, at any rate in a truer; and who knows but that we shall hearken to you? If then our request is a fair one, please to accept our challenge."
Cleinias. But is there any difficulty in proving the existence of the Gods?
Athenian Stranger. How would you prove it?
Cleinias. How? In the first place, the earth and the sun, and the stars and the universe, and the fair order of the seasons, and the division of them into years and months, furnish proofs of their existence; and also there is the fact that all Hellenes and barbarians believe in them.
Athenian Stranger. I fear, my sweet friend, though I will not say that I much regard, the contempt with which the profane will be likely to assail us. For you do not understand the nature of their complaint, and you fancy that they rush into impiety only from a love of sensual pleasure.
Cleinias. Why, Stranger, what other reason is there?
Athenian Stranger. One which you who live in a different atmosphere would never guess.
Cleinias. What is it?
Athenian Stranger. A very grievous sort of ignorance which is imagined to be the greatest wisdom.
Cleinias. What do you mean?
Athenian Stranger. At Athens there are tales preserved in writing which the virtue of your state, as I am informed, refuses to admit. They speak of the Gods in prose as well as verse, and the oldest of them tell of the origin of the heavens and of the world, and not far from the beginning of their story they proceed to narrate the birth of the Gods, and how after they were born they behaved to one another. Whether these stories have in other ways a good or a bad influence, I should not like to be severe upon them, because they are ancient; but, looking at them with reference to the duties of children to their parents, I cannot praise them, or think that they are useful, or at all true. Of the words of the ancients I have nothing more to say; and I should wish to say of them only what is pleasing to the Gods. But as to our younger generation and their wisdom, I cannot let them off when they do mischief. For do but mark the effect of their words: when you and I argue for the existence of the Gods, and produce the sun, moon, stars, and earth, claiming for them a divine being, if we would listen to the aforesaid philosophers we should say that they are earth and stones only, which can have no care at all of human affairs, and that all religion is a cooking up of words and a make-believe.
Cleinias. One such teacher, O Stranger, would be bad enough, and you imply that there are many of them, which is worse.
Athenian Stranger. Well, then; what shall we say or do?—Shall we assume that some one is accusing us among unholy men, who are trying to escape from the effect of our legislation; and that they say of us—How dreadful that you should legislate on the supposition that there are Gods! Shall we make a defense of ourselves? or shall we leave them and return to our laws, lest the prelude should become longer than the law? For the discourse will certainly extend to great length, if we are to treat the impiously disposed as they desire, partly demonstrating to them at some length the things of which they demand an explanation, partly making them afraid or dissatisfied, and then proceed to the requisite enactments.
Cleinias. Yes, Stranger; but then how often have we repeated already that on the present occasion there is no reason why brevity should be preferred to length; for who is "at our heels"?—as the saying goes, and it would be paltry and ridiculous to prefer the shorter to the better. It is a matter of no small consequence, in some way or other to prove that there are Gods, and that they are good, and regard justice more than men do. The demonstration of this would be the best and noblest prelude of all our laws. And therefore, without impatience, and without hurry, let us unreservedly consider the whole matter, summoning up all the power of persuasion which we possess.
Athenian Stranger. Seeing you thus in earnest, I would fain offer up a prayer that I may succeed:—but I must proceed at once. Who can be calm when he is called upon to prove the existence of the Gods? Who can avoid hating and abhorring the men who are and have been the cause of this argument; I speak of those who will not believe the tales which they have heard as babes and sucklings from their mothers and nurses, repeated by them both in jest and earnest, like charms, who have also heard them in the sacrificial prayers, and seen sights accompanying them,—sights and sounds delightful to children,—and their parents during the sacrifices showing an intense earnestness on behalf of their children and of themselves, and with eager interest talking to the Gods, and beseeching them, as though they were firmly convinced of their existence; who likewise see and hear the prostrations and invocations which are made by Hellenes and barbarians at the rising and setting of the sun and moon, in all the vicissitudes of life, not as if they thought that there were no Gods, but as if there could be no doubt of their existence, and no suspicion of their non-existence; when men, knowing all these things, despise them on no real grounds, as would be admitted by all who have any particle of intelligence, and when they force us to say what we are now saying, how can any one in gentle terms remonstrate with the like of them, when he has to begin by proving to them the very existence of the Gods? Yet the attempt must be made; for it would be unseemly that one half of mankind should go mad in their lust of pleasure, and the other half in their indignation at such persons. Our address to these lost and perverted natures should not be spoken in passion; let us suppose ourselves to select some one of them, and gently reason with him, smothering our anger:—O my son, we will say to him, you are young, and the advance of time will make you reverse many of the opinions which you now hold. Wait awhile, and do not attempt to judge at present of the highest things; and that is the highest of which you now think nothing—to know the Gods rightly and to live accordingly. And in the first place let me indicate to you one point which is of great importance, and about which I cannot be deceived:—You and your friends are not the first who have held this opinion about the Gods. There have always been persons more or less numerous who have had the same disorder. I have known many of them, and can tell you, that no one who had taken up in youth this opinion, that the Gods do not exist, ever continued in the same until he was old; the two other notions certainly do continue in some cases, but not in many; the notion, I mean, that the Gods exist, but take no heed of human things, and the other notion that they do take heed of them, but are easily propitiated with sacrifices and prayers. As to the opinion about the Gods which may some day become clear to you, I advise you go wait and consider if it be true or not; ask of others, and above all of the legislator. In the meantime take care that you do not offend against the Gods. For the duty of the legislator is and always will be to teach you the truth of these matters.
Cleinias. Our address, Stranger, thus far, is excellent.
Athenian Stranger. Quite true, Megillus and Cleinias, but I am afraid that we have unconsciously lighted on a strange doctrine.
Cleinias. What doctrine do you mean?
Athenian Stranger. The wisest of all doctrines, in the opinion of many.
Cleinias. I wish that you would speak plainer.
Athenian Stranger. The doctrine that all things do become, have become, and will become, some by nature, some by art, and some by chance.
Cleinias. Is not that true?
Athenian Stranger. Well, philosophers are probably right; at any rate we may as well follow in their track, and examine what is the meaning of them and their disciples.
Cleinias. By all means.
Athenian Stranger. They say that the greatest and fairest things are the work of nature and of chance, the lesser of art, which, receiving from nature the greater and primeval creations, molds and fashions all those lesser works which are generally termed artificial.
Cleinias. How is that?
Athenian Stranger. I will explain my meaning still more clearly. They say that fire and water, and earth and air, all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order,—earth, and sun, and moon, and stars,—they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them—of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only. Art sprang up afterwards and out of these, mortal and of mortal birth, and produced in play certain images and very partial imitations of the truth, having an affinity to one another, such as music and painting create and their companion arts. And there are other arts which have a serious purpose, and these co-operate with nature, such, for example, as medicine, and husbandry, and gymnastic. And they say that politics cooperate with nature, but in a less degree, and have more of art; also that legislation is entirely a work of art, and is based on assumptions which are not true.
Cleinias. How do you mean?
Athenian Stranger. In the first place, my dear friend, these people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honorable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.—These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might, and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions, these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others, and not in legal subjection to them.
Cleinias. What a dreadful picture, Stranger, have you given, and how great is the injury which is thus inflicted on young men to the ruin both of states and families!
Athenian Stranger. True, Cleinias; but then what should the lawgiver do when this evil is of long standing? should he only rise up in the state and threaten all mankind, proclaiming that if they will not say and think that the Gods are such as the law ordains (and this may be extended generally to the honorable, the just, and to all the highest things, and to all that relates to virtue and vice), and if they will not make their actions conform to the copy which the law gives them, then he who refuses to obey the law shall die, or suffer stripes and bonds, or privation of citizenship, or in some cases be punished by loss of property and exile? Should he not rather, when he is making laws for men, at the same time infuse the spirit of persuasion into his words, and mitigate the severity of them as far as he can?
Cleinias. Why, Stranger, if such persuasion be at all possible, then a legislator who has anything in him ought never to weary of persuading men; he ought to leave nothing unsaid in support of the ancient opinion that there are Gods, and of all those other truths which you were just now mentioning; he ought to support the law and also art, and acknowledge that both alike exist by nature, and no less than nature, if they are the creations of mind in accordance with right reason, you appear to me to maintain, and I am disposed to agree with you in thinking.
Athenian Stranger. Yes, my enthusiastic Cleinias; but are not these things when spoken to a multitude hard to be understood, not to mention that they take up a dismal length of time?
Cleinias. Why, Stranger, shall we, whose patience failed not when drinking or music were the themes of discourse, weary now of discoursing about the Gods, and about divine things? And the greatest help to rational legislation is that the laws when once written down are always at rest; they can be put to the test at any future time, and therefore, if on first hearing they seem difficult, there is no reason for apprehension about them, because any man however dull can go over them and consider them again and again; nor if they are tedious but useful, is there any reason or religion, as it seems to me, in any man refusing to maintain the principles of them to the utmost of his power.
Megillus. Stranger, I like what Cleinias is saying.
Athenian Stranger. Yes, Megillus, and we should do as he proposes; for if impious discourses were not scattered, as I may say, throughout the world, there would have been no need for any vindication of the existence of the Gods—but seeing that they are spread far and wide, such arguments are needed; and who should come to the rescue of the greatest laws, when they are being undermined by bad men, but the legislator himself?
Megillus. There is no more proper champion of them.
Athenian Stranger. Well, then, tell me, Cleinias,—for I must ask you to be my partner,—does not he who talks in this way conceive fire and water and earth and air to be the first elements of all things? These he calls nature, and out of these he supposes the soul to be formed afterwards; and this is not a mere conjecture of ours about his meaning, but is what he really means.
Cleinias. Very true.
Athenian Stranger. Then, by Heaven, we have discovered the source of this vain opinion of all those physical investigators; and I would have you examine their arguments with the utmost care, for their impiety is a very serious matter; they not only make a bad and mistaken use of argument, but they lead away the minds of others: that is my opinion of them.
Cleinias. You are right; but I should like to know how this happens.
Athenian Stranger. I fear that the argument may seem singular.
Cleinias. Do not hesitate, Stranger; I see that you are afraid of such a discussion carrying you beyond the limits of legislation. But if there be no other way of showing our agreement in the belief that there are Gods, of whom the law is said now to approve, let us take this way, my good sir.
Athenian Stranger. Then I suppose that I must repeat the singular argument of those who manufacture the soul according to their own impious notions; they affirm that which is the first cause of the generation and destruction of all things, to be not first, but last, and that which is last to be first, and hence they have fallen into error about the true nature of the Gods.
Cleinias. Still I do not understand you.
Athenian Stranger. Nearly all of them, my friends, seem to be ignorant of the nature and power of the soul, especially in what relates to her origin: they do not know that she is among the first of things, and before all bodies, and is the chief author of their changes and transpositions. And if this is true, and if the soul is older than the body, must not the things which are of the soul's kindred be of necessity prior to those which appertain to the body?
Athenian Stranger. Then thought and attention and mind and art and law will be prior to that which is hard and soft and heavy and light; and the great and primitive works and actions will be works of art; they will be the first, and after them will come nature and works of nature, which however is a wrong term for men to apply to them; these will follow, and will be under the government of art and mind.
Cleinias. But why is the word "nature" wrong?
Athenian Stranger. Because those who use the term mean to say that nature is the first creative power; but if the soul turn out to be the primeval element, and not fire or air, then in the truest sense and beyond other things the soul may be said to exist by nature; and this would be true if you proved that the soul is older than the body, but not otherwise.
Cleinias. You are quite right.
Athenian Stranger. Shall we, then, take this as the next point to which our attention should be directed?
Cleinias. By all means.
Athenian Stranger. Let us be on our guard lest this most deceptive argument with its youthful looks, beguiling us old men, give us the slip and make a laughing-stock of us. Who knows but we may be aiming at the greater, and fail of attaining the lesser? Suppose that we three have to pass a rapid river, and I, being the youngest of the three and experienced in rivers, take upon me the duty of making the attempt first by myself; leaving you in safety on the bank, I am to examine whether the river is passable by older men like yourselves, and if such appears to be the case then I shall invite you to follow, and my experience will help to convey you across; but if the river is impassable by you, then there will have been no danger to anybody but myself,—would not that seem to be a very fair proposal? I mean to say that the argument in prospect is likely to be too much for you, out of your depth and beyond your strength, and I should be afraid that the stream of my questions might create in you who are not in the habit of answering, giddiness and confusion of mind, and hence a feeling of unpleasantness and unsuitableness might arise. I think therefore that I had better first ask the questions and then answer them myself while you listen in safety; in that way I can carry on the argument until I have completed the proof that the soul is prior to the body.
Cleinias. Excellent, Stranger, and I hope that you will do as you propose.
Athenian Stranger. Come, then, and if ever we are to call upon the Gods, let us call upon them now in all seriousness to come to the demonstration of their own existence. And so holding fast to the rope we will venture upon the depths of the argument. When questions of this sort are asked of me, my safest answer would appear to be as follows:—Some one says to me, "O Stranger, are all things at rest and nothing in motion, or is the exact opposite of this true, or are some things in motion and others at rest?—To this I shall reply that some things are in motion and others at rest. "And do not things which move move in a place, and are not the things which are at rest at rest in a place?" Certainly. "And some move or rest in one place and some in more places than one?" You mean to say, we shall rejoin, that those things which rest at the center move in one place, just as the circumference goes round of globes which are said to be at rest? "Yes." And we observe that, in the revolution, the motion which carries round the larger and the lesser circle at the same time is proportionally distributed to greater and smaller, and is greater and smaller in a certain proportion. Here is a wonder which might be thought an impossibility, that the same motion should impart swiftness and slowness in due proportion to larger and lesser circles. "Very true." And when you speak of bodies moving in many places, you seem to me to mean those which move from one place to another, and sometimes have one center of motion and sometimes more than one because they turn upon their axis; and whenever they meet anything, if it be stationary, they are divided by it; but if they get in the midst between bodies which are approaching and moving towards the same spot from opposite directions, they unite with them. "I admit the truth of what you are saying." Also when they unite they grow, and when they are divided they waste away,—that is, supposing the constitution of each to remain, or if that fails, then there is a second reason of their dissolution. "And when are all things created and how?" Clearly, they are created when the first principle receives increase and attains to the second dimension, and from this arrives at the one which is neighbor to this, and after reaching the third becomes perceptible to sense. Everything which is thus changing and moving is in process of generation; only when at rest has it real existence, but when passing into another state it is destroyed utterly. Have we not mentioned all motions that there are, and comprehended them under their kinds and numbered them with the exception, my friends, of two?
Cleinias. Which are they?
Athenian Stranger. Just the two, with which our present enquiry is concerned.
Cleinias. Speak plainer.
Athenian Stranger. I suppose that our enquiry has reference to the soul?
Cleinias. Very true.
Athenian Stranger. Let us assume that there is a motion able to move other things, but not to move itself;—that is one kind; and there is another kind which can move itself as well as other things, working in composition and decomposition, by increase and diminution and generation and destruction,—that is also one of the many kinds of motion.
Athenian Stranger. And we will assume that which moves other, and is changed by other, to be the ninth, and that which changes itself and others, and is co-incident with every action and every passion, and is the true principle of change and motion in all that is,—that we shall be inclined to call the tenth.
Athenian Stranger. And which of these ten motions ought we to prefer as being the mightiest and most efficient?
Cleinias. I must say that the motion which is able to move itself is ten thousand times superior to all the others.
Athenian Stranger. Very good; but may I make one or two corrections in what I have been saying?
Cleinias. What are they?
Athenian Stranger. When I spoke of the tenth sort of motion, that was not quite correct.
Cleinias. What was the error?
Athenian Stranger. According to the true order, the tenth was really the first in generation and power; then follows the second, which was strangely enough termed the ninth by us.
Cleinias. What do you mean?
Athenian Stranger. I mean this: when one thing changes another, and that another, of such will there be any primary changing element? How can a thing which is moved by another ever be the beginning of change? Impossible. But when the self-moved changes other, and that again other, and thus thousands upon tens of thousands of bodies are set in motion, must not the beginning of all this motion be the change of the self-moving principle?
Cleinias. Very true, and I quite agree.
Athenian Stranger. Or, to put the question in another way, making answer to ourselves:—If, as most of these philosophers have the audacity to affirm, all things were at rest in one mass, which of the above-mentioned principles of motion would first spring up among them?
Cleinias. Clearly the self-moving; for there could be no change in them arising out of any external cause; the change must first take place in themselves.
Athenian Stranger. Then we must say that self-motion being the origin of all motions, and the first which arises among things at rest as well as among things in motion, is the eldest and mightiest principle of change, and that which is changed by another and yet moves other is second.
Cleinias. Quite true.
Athenian Stranger. At this stage of the argument let us put a question.
Cleinias. What question?
Athenian Stranger. If we were to see this power existing in any earthy, watery, or fiery substance, simple or compound—how should we describe it?
Cleinias. You mean to ask whether we should call such a self-moving power life?
Athenian Stranger. I do.
Cleinias. Certainly we should.
Athenian Stranger. And when we see soul in anything, must we not do the same—must we not admit that this is life?
Cleinias. We must.
Athenian Stranger. And now, I beseech you, reflect;—you would admit that we have a threefold knowledge of things?
Cleinias. What do you mean?
Athenian Stranger. I mean that we know the essence, and that we know the definition of the essence, and the name,—these are the three; and there are two questions which may be raised about anything.
Cleinias. How two?
Athenian Stranger. Sometimes a person may give the name and ask the definition; or he may give the definition and ask the name. I may illustrate what I mean in this way.
Athenian Stranger. Number like some other things is capable of being divided into equal parts; when thus divided, number is named "even," and the definition of the name "even" is "number divisible into two equal parts"?
Athenian Stranger. I mean, that when we are asked about the definition and give the name, or when we are asked about the name and give the definition—in either case, whether we give name or definition, we speak of the same thing, calling "even" the number which is divided into two equal parts.
Cleinias. Quite true.
Athenian Stranger. And what is the definition of that which is named "soul"? Can we conceive of any other than that which has been already given—the motion which can move itself?
Cleinias. You mean to say that the essence which is defined as the self-moved is the same with that which has the name soul?
Athenian Stranger. Yes; and if this is true, do we still maintain that there is anything wanting in the proof that the soul is the first origin and moving power of all that is, or has become, or will be, and their contraries, when she has been clearly shown to be the source of change and motion in all things?
Cleinias. Certainly not; the soul as being the source of motion, has been most satisfactorily shown to be the oldest of all things.
Athenian Stranger. And is not that motion which is produced in another, by reason of another, but never has any self-moving power at all, being in truth the change of an inanimate body, to be reckoned second, or by any lower number which you may prefer?
Athenian Stranger. Then we are right, and speak the most perfect and absolute truth, when we say that the soul is prior to the body, and that the body is second and comes afterwards, and is born to obey the soul, which is the ruler?
Cleinias. Nothing can be more true.
Athenian Stranger. Do you remember our old admission, that if the soul was prior to the body the things of the soul were also prior to those of the body?
Athenian Stranger. Then characters and manners, and wishes and reasonings, and true opinions, and reflections, and recollections are prior to length and breadth and depth and strength of bodies, if the soul is prior to the body?
Cleinias. To be sure.
Athenian Stranger. In the next place, must we not of necessity admit that the soul is the cause of good and evil, base and honorable, just and unjust, and of all other opposites, if we suppose her to be the cause of all things?
Cleinias. We must.
Athenian Stranger. And as the soul orders and inhabits all things that move, however moving, must we not say that she orders also the heavens?
Cleinias. Of course.
Athenian Stranger. One soul or more? More than one—I will answer for you; at any rate, we must not suppose that there are less than two—one the author of good, and the other of evil.
Cleinias. Very true.
Athenian Stranger. Yes, very true; the soul then directs all things in heaven, and earth, and sea by her movements, and these are described by the terms—will, consideration, attention, deliberation, opinion true and false, joy and sorrow, confidence, fear, hatred, love, and other primary motions akin to these; which again receive the secondary motions of corporeal substances, and guide all things to growth and decay, to composition and decomposition, and to the qualities which accompany them, such as heat and cold, heaviness and lightness, hardness and softness, blackness and whiteness, bitterness and sweetness, and all those other qualities which the soul uses, herself a goddess, when truly receiving the divine mind she disciplines all things rightly to their happiness; but when she is the companion of folly, she does the very contrary of all this. Shall we assume so much, or do we still entertain doubts?
Cleinias. There is no room at all for doubt.
Athenian Stranger. Shall we say then that it is the soul which controls heaven and earth, and the whole world?—that it is a principle of wisdom and virtue, or a principle which has neither wisdom nor virtue? Suppose that we make answer as follows:—
Cleinias. How would you answer?
Athenian Stranger. If, my friend, we say that the whole path and movement of heaven, and of all that is therein, is by nature akin to the movement and revolution and calculation of mind, and proceeds by kindred laws, then, as is plain, we must say that the best soul takes care of the world and guides it along the good path.
Athenian Stranger. But if the world moves wildly and irregularly, then the evil soul guides it.
Cleinias. True again.
Athenian Stranger. Of what nature is the movement of mind?—To this question it is not easy to give an intelligent answer; and therefore I ought to assist you in framing one.
Cleinias. Very good.
Athenian Stranger. Then let us not answer as if we would look straight at the sun, making ourselves darkness at midday,—I mean as if we were under the impression that we could see with mortal eyes, or know adequately the nature of mind;—it will be safer to look at the image only.
Cleinias. What do you mean?
Athenian Stranger. Let us select of the ten motions the one which mind chiefly resembles; this I will bring to your recollection, and will then make the answer on behalf of us all.
Cleinias. That will be excellent.
Athenian Stranger. You will surely remember our saying that all things were either at rest or in motion?
Cleinias. I do.
Athenian Stranger. And that of things in motion some were moving in one place, and others in more than one?
Athenian Stranger. Of these two kinds of motion, that which moves in one place must move about a center like globes made in a lathe, and is most entirely akin and similar to the circular movement of mind.
Cleinias. What do you mean?
Athenian Stranger. In saying that both mind and the motion which is in one place move in the same and like manner, in and about the same, and in relation to the same, and according to one proportion and order, and are like the motion of a globe, we invented a fair image, which does no discredit to our ingenuity.
Cleinias. It does us great credit.
Athenian Stranger. And the motion of the other sort which is not after the same manner, nor in the same, nor about the same, nor in relation to the same, nor in one place, nor in order, nor according to any rule or proportion, may be said to be akin to senselessness and folly?
Cleinias. That is most true.
Athenian Stranger. Then, after what has been said, there is no difficulty in distinctly stating, that since soul carries all things round, either the best soul or the contrary must of necessity carry round and order and arrange the revolution of the heaven.
Cleinias. And judging from what has been said, Stranger, there would be impiety in asserting that any but the most perfect soul or souls carries round the heavens.
Athenian Stranger. You have understood my meaning right well, Cleinias, and now let me ask you another question.
Cleinias. What are you going to ask?
Athenian Stranger. If the soul carries round the sun and moon, and the other stars, does she not carry round each individual of them?
Athenian Stranger. Then of one of them let us speak, and the same argument will apply to all.
Cleinias. Which will you take?
Athenian Stranger. Every one sees the body of the sun, but no one sees his soul, nor the soul of any other body living or dead; and yet there is great reason to believe that this nature, unperceived by any of our senses, is circumfused around them all, but is perceived by mind; and therefore by mind and reflection only let us apprehend the following point.
Cleinias. What is that?
Athenian Stranger. If the soul carries round the sun, we shall not be far wrong in supposing one of three alternatives.
Cleinias. What are they?
Athenian Stranger. Either the soul which moves the sun this way and that, resides within the circular and visible body, like the soul which carries us about every way; or the soul provides herself with an external body of fire or air, as some affirm, and violently propels body by body; or thirdly, she is without such a body, but guides the sun by some extraordinary and wonderful power.
Cleinias. Yes, certainly; the soul can only order all things in one of these three ways.
Athenian Stranger. And this soul of the sun, which is therefore better than the sun, whether taking the sun about in a chariot to give light to men, or acting from without or in whatever way, ought by every man to be deemed a God.
Cleinias. Yes, by every man who has the least particle of sense.
Athenian Stranger. And of the stars too, and of the moon, and of the years and months and seasons, must we not say in like manner, that since a soul or souls having every sort of excellence are the causes of all of them, those souls are Gods, whether they are living beings and reside in bodies, and in this way order the whole heaven, or whatever be the place and mode of their existence;—and will any one who admits all this venture to deny that all are things full of Gods?
Cleinias. No one, Stranger, would be such a madman.
Athenian Stranger. And now, Megillus and Cleinias, let us offer terms to him who has hitherto denied the existence of the Gods, and leave him.
Cleinias. What terms?
Athenian Stranger. Either he shall teach us that we were wrong in saying that the soul is the original of all things, and arguing accordingly; or, if he be not able to say anything better, then he must yield to us and live for the remainder of his life in the belief that there are Gods.—Let us see, then, whether we have said enough or not enough to those who deny that there are Gods.
Cleinias. Certainly,—quite enough, Stranger.
Athenian Stranger. Then to them we will say no more. And now we are to address him who, believing that there are Gods, believes also that they take no heed of human affairs: To him we say,—O thou best of men, in believing that there are Gods you are led by some affinity to them, which attracts you towards your kindred and makes you honor and believe in them. But the fortunes of evil and unrighteous men in private as well as public life, which, though not really happy, are wrongly counted happy in the judgment of men, and are celebrated both by poets and prose writers—these draw you aside from your natural piety. Perhaps you have seen impious men growing old and leaving their children's children in high offices, and their prosperity shakes your faith—you have known or heard or been yourself an eyewitness of many monstrous impieties, and have beheld men by such criminal means from small beginnings attaining to sovereignty and the pinnacle of greatness; and considering all these things you do not like to accuse the Gods of them, because they are your relatives; and so from some want of reasoning power, and also from an unwillingness to find fault with them, you have come to believe that they exist indeed, but have no thought or care of human things. Now, that your present evil opinion may not grow to still greater impiety, and that we may if possible use arguments which may conjure away the evil before it arrives, we will add another argument to that originally addressed to him who utterly denied the existence of the Gods. And do you, Megillus and Cleinias, answer for the young man as you did before; and if any impediment comes in our way, I will take the word out of your mouths, and carry you over the river as I did just now.
Cleinias. Very good; do as you say, and we will help you as well as we can.
Athenian Stranger. There will probably be no difficulty in proving to him that the Gods care about the small as well as about the great. For he was present and heard what was said, that they are perfectly good, and that the care of all things is most entirely natural to them.
Cleinias. No doubt he heard that.
Athenian Stranger. Let us consider together in the next place what we mean by this virtue which we ascribe to them. Surely we should say that to be temperate and to possess mind belongs to virtue, and the contrary to vice?
Athenian Stranger. Yes; and courage is a part of virtue, and cowardice of vice?
Athenian Stranger. And the one is honorable, and the other dishonorable?
Cleinias. To be sure.
Athenian Stranger. And the one, like other meaner things, is a human quality, but the Gods have no part in anything of the sort?
Cleinias. That again is what everybody will admit.
Athenian Stranger. But do we imagine carelessness and idleness and luxury to be virtues? What do you think?
Cleinias. Decidedly not.
Athenian Stranger. They rank under the opposite class?
Athenian Stranger. And their opposites, therefore, would fall under the opposite class?
Athenian Stranger. But are we to suppose that one who possesses all these good qualities will be luxurious and heedless and idle, like those whom the poet compares to stingless drones?
Cleinias. And the comparison is a most just one.
Athenian Stranger. Surely God must not be supposed to have a nature which He Himself hates?—he who dares to say this sort of thing must not be tolerated for a moment.
Cleinias. Of course not. How could he have?
Athenian Stranger. Should we not on any principle be entirely mistaken in praising any one who has some special business entrusted to him, if he have a mind which takes care of great matters and no care of small ones? Reflect; he who acts in this way, whether he be God or man, must act from one of two principles.
Cleinias. What are they?
Athenian Stranger. Either he must think that the neglect of the small matters is of no consequence to the whole, or if he knows that they are of consequence, and he neglects them, his neglect must be attributed to carelessness and indolence. Is there any other way in which his neglect can be explained? For surely, when it is impossible for him to take care of all, he is not negligent if he fails to attend to these things great or small, which a God or some inferior being might be wanting in strength or capacity to manage?
Cleinias. Certainly not.
Athenian Stranger. Now, then, let us examine the offenders, who both alike confess that there are Gods, but with a difference,—the one saying that they may be appeased, and the other that they have no care of small matters: there are three of us and two of them, and we will say to them,—In the first place, you both acknowledge that the Gods hear and see and know all things, and that nothing can escape them which is matter of sense and knowledge:—do you admit this?
Athenian Stranger. And do you admit also that they have all power which mortals and immortals can have?
Cleinias. They will, of course, admit this also.
Athenian Stranger. And surely we three and they two—five in all—have acknowledged that they are good and perfect?
Athenian Stranger. But, if they are such as we conceive them to be, can we possibly suppose that they ever act in the spirit of carelessness and indolence? For in us inactivity is the child of cowardice, and carelessness of inactivity and indolence.
Cleinias. Most true.
Athenian Stranger. Then not from inactivity and carelessness is any God ever negligent; for there is no cowardice in them.
Cleinias. That is very true.
Athenian Stranger. Then the alternative which remains is, that if the Gods neglect the lighter and lesser concerns of the universe, they neglect them because they know that they ought not to care about such matters—what other alternative is there but the opposite of their knowing?
Cleinias. There is none.
Athenian Stranger. And, O most excellent and best of men, do I understand you to mean that they are careless because they are ignorant, and do not know that they ought to take care, or that they know, and yet like the meanest sort of men, knowing the better, choose the worse because they are overcome by pleasures and pains?
Athenian Stranger. Do not all human things partake of the nature of soul? And is not man the most religious of all animals?
Cleinias. That is not to be denied.
Athenian Stranger. And we acknowledge that all mortal creatures are the property of the Gods, to whom also the whole of heaven belongs?
Athenian Stranger. And, therefore, whether a person says that these things are to the Gods great or small—in either case it would not be natural for the Gods who own us, and who are the most careful and the best of owners to neglect us.—There is also a further consideration.
Cleinias. What is it?
Athenian Stranger. Sensation and power are in an inverse ratio to each other in respect to their ease and difficulty.
Cleinias. What do you mean?
Athenian Stranger. I mean that there is greater difficulty in seeing and hearing the small than the great, but more facility in moving and controlling and taking care of small and unimportant things than of their opposites.
Cleinias. Far more.
Athenian Stranger. Suppose the case of a physician who is willing and able to cure some living thing as a whole,—how will the whole fare at his hands if he takes care only of the greater and neglects the parts which are lesser?
Cleinias. Decidedly not well.
Athenian Stranger. No better would be the result with pilots or generals, or householders or statesmen, or any other such class, if they neglected the small and regarded only the great;—as the builders say, the larger stones do not lie well without the lesser.
Cleinias. Of course not.
Athenian Stranger. Let us not, then, deem God inferior to human workmen, who, in proportion to their skill, finish and perfect their works, small as well as great, by one and the same art; or that God, the wisest of beings, who is both willing and able to take care, is like a lazy good-for-nothing, or a coward, who turns his back upon labor and gives no thought to smaller and easier matters, but to the greater only.
Cleinias. Never, Stranger, let us admit a supposition about the Gods which is both impious and false.
Athenian Stranger. I think that we have now argued enough with him who delights to accuse the Gods of neglect.
Athenian Stranger. He has been forced to acknowledge that he is in error, but he still seems to me to need some words of consolation.
Cleinias. What consolation will you offer him?
Athenian Stranger. Let us say to the youth:—The ruler of the universe has ordered all things with a view to the excellence and preservation of the whole, and each part, as far as may be, has an action and passion appropriate to it. Over these, down to the least fraction of them, ministers have been appointed to preside, who have wrought out their perfection with infinitesimal exactness. And one of these portions of the universe is thine own, unhappy man, which, however little, contributes to the whole; and you do not seem to be aware that this and every other creation is for the sake of the whole, and in order that the life of the whole may be blessed; and that you are created for the sake of the whole, and not the whole for the sake of you. For every physician and every skilled artist does all things for the sake of the whole, directing his effort towards the common good, executing the part for the sake of the whole, and not the whole for the sake of the part. And you are annoyed because you are ignorant how what is best for you happens to you and to the universe, as far as the laws of the common creation admit. Now, as the soul combining first with one body and then with another undergoes all sorts of changes, either of herself, or through the influence of another soul, all that remains to the player of the game is that he should shift the pieces; sending the better nature to the better place, and the worse to the worse, and so assigning to them their proper portion.
Cleinias. In what way do you mean?
Athenian Stranger. In a way which may be supposed to make the care of all things easy to the Gods. If any one were to form or fashion all things without any regard to the whole,—if, for example, he formed a living element of water out of fire, instead of forming many things out of one or one out of many in regular order attaining to a first or second or third birth, the transmutation would have been infinite; but now the ruler of the world has a wonderfully easy task.
Cleinias. How so?
Athenian Stranger. I will explain:—When the king saw that our actions had life, and that there was much virtue in them and much vice, and that the soul and body, although not, like the Gods of popular opinion, eternal, yet having once come into existence, were indestructible (for if either of them had been destroyed, there would have been no generation of living beings); and when he observed that the good of the soul was ever by nature designed to profit men, and the evil to harm them—he, seeing all this, contrived so to place each of the parts that their position might in the easiest and best manner procure the victory of good and the defeat of evil in the whole. And he contrived a general plan by which a thing of a certain nature found a certain seat and room. But the formation of qualities he left to the wills of individuals. For every one of us is made pretty much what he is by the bent of his desires and the nature of his soul.
Cleinias. Yes, that is probably true.
Athenian Stranger. Then all things which have a soul change, and possess in themselves a principle of change, and in changing move according to law and to the order of destiny: natures which have undergone a lesser change move less and on the earth's surface, but those which have suffered more change and have become more criminal sink into the abyss, that is to say, into Hades and other places in the world below, of which the very names terrify men, and which they picture to themselves as in a dream, both while alive and when released from the body. And whenever the soul receives more of good or evil from her own energy and the strong influence of others—when she has communion with divine virtue and becomes divine, she is carried into another and better place, which is perfect in holiness; but when she has communion with evil, then she also changes the place of her life.
'This is the justice of the Gods who inhabit Olympus.' [Hom. Odyss. xix. 43.]
O youth or young man, who fancy that you are neglected by the Gods, know that if you become worse you shall go to the worse souls, or if better to the better, and in every succession of life and death you will do and suffer what like may fitly suffer at the hands of like. This is the justice of heaven, which neither you nor any other unfortunate will ever glory in escaping, and which the ordaining powers have specially ordained; take good heed thereof, for it will be sure to take heed of you. If you say:—I am small and will creep into the depths of the earth, or I am high and will fly up to heaven, you are not so small or so high but that you shall pay the fitting penalty, either here or in the world below or in some still more savage place whither you shall be conveyed. This is also the explanation of the fate of those whom you saw, who had done unholy and evil deeds, and from small beginnings had grown great, and you fancied that from being miserable they had become happy; and in their actions, as in a mirror, you seemed to see the universal neglect of the Gods, not knowing how they make all things work together and contribute to the great whole. And thinkest thou, bold man, that thou needest not to know this?—he who knows it not can never form any true idea of the happiness or unhappiness of life or hold any rational discourse respecting either. If Cleinias and this our reverend company succeed in bringing to you that you know not what you say of the Gods, then will God help you; but should you desire to hear more, listen to what we say to the third opponent, if you have any understanding whatsoever. For I think that we have sufficiently proved the existence of the Gods, and that they care for men:—The other notion that they are appeased by the wicked, and take gifts, is what we must not concede to any one, and what every man should disprove to the utmost of his power.
Cleinias. Very good; let us do as you say.
Athenian Stranger. Well, then, by the Gods themselves I conjure you to tell me,—if they are to be propitiated, how are they to be propitiated? Who are they, and what is their nature? Must they not be at least rulers who have to order unceasingly the whole heaven?
Athenian Stranger. And to what earthly rulers can they be compared, or who to them? How in the less can we find an image of the greater? Are they charioteers of contending pairs of steeds, or pilots of vessels? Perhaps they might be compared to the generals of armies, or they might be likened to physicians providing against the diseases which make war upon the body, or to husbandmen observing anxiously the effects of the seasons on the growth of plants; or perhaps to shepherds of flocks. For as we acknowledge the world to be full of many goods and also of evils, and of more evils than goods, there is, as we affirm, an immortal conflict going on among us, which requires marvellous watchfulness; and in that conflict the Gods and demigods are our allies, and we are their property. Injustice and insolence and folly are the destruction of us, and justice and temperance and wisdom are our salvation; and the place of these latter is in the life of the Gods, although some vestige of them may occasionally be discerned among mankind. But upon this earth we know that there dwell souls possessing an unjust spirit, who may be compared to brute animals, which fawn upon their keepers, whether dogs or shepherds, or the best and most perfect masters; for they in like manner, as the voices of the wicked declare, prevail by flattery and prayers and incantations, and are allowed to make their gains with impunity. And this sin, which is termed dishonesty, is an evil of the same kind as what is termed disease in living bodies or pestilence in years or seasons of the year, and in cities and governments has another name, which is injustice.
Cleinias. Quite true.
Athenian Stranger. What else can he say who declares that the Gods are always lenient to the doers of unjust acts, if they divide the spoil with them? As if wolves were to toss a portion of their prey to the dogs, and they, mollified by the gift, suffered them to tear the flocks. Must not he who maintains that the Gods can be propitiated argue thus?
Cleinias. Precisely so.
Athenian Stranger. And to which of the above-mentioned classes of guardians would any man compare the Gods without absurdity? Will he say that they are like pilots, who are themselves turned away from their duty by "libations of wine and the savor of fat," and at last overturn both ship and sailors?
Cleinias. Assuredly not.
Athenian Stranger. And surely they are not like charioteers who are bribed to give up the victory to other chariots?
Cleinias. That would be a fearful image of the Gods.
Athenian Stranger. Nor are they like generals, or physicians, or husbandmen, or shepherds; and no one would compare them to dogs who have been silenced by wolves.
Cleinias. A thing not to be spoken of.
Athenian Stranger. And are not all the Gods the chiefest of all guardians, and do they not guard our highest interests?
Cleinias. Yes; the chiefest.
Athenian Stranger. And shall we say that those who guard our noblest interests, and are the best of guardians, are inferior in virtue to dogs, and to men even of moderate excellence, who would never betray justice for the sake of gifts which unjust men impiously offer them?
Cleinias. Certainly not: nor is such a notion to be endured, and he who holds this opinion may be fairly singled out and characterized as of all impious men the wickedest and most impious.
Athenian Stranger. Then are the three assertions—that the Gods exist, and that they take care of men, and that they can never be persuaded to do injustice, now sufficiently demonstrated? May we say that they are?
Cleinias. You have our entire assent to your words.
Athenian Stranger. I have spoken with vehemence because I am zealous against evil men; and I will tell you, dear Cleinias, why I am so. I would not have the wicked think that, having the superiority in argument, they may do as they please and act according to their various imaginations about the Gods; and this zeal has led me to speak too vehemently; but if we have at all succeeded in persuading the men to hate themselves and love their opposites, the prelude of our laws about impiety will not have been spoken in vain.
Cleinias. So let us hope; and even if we have failed, the style of our argument will not discredit the lawgiver.
Athenian Stranger. After the prelude shall follow a discourse, which will be the interpreter of the law; this shall proclaim to all impious persons that they must depart from their ways and go over to the pious. And to those who disobey, let the law about impiety be as follows:—If a man is guilty of any impiety in word or deed, any one who happens to be present shall give information to the magistrates, in aid of the law; and let the magistrates who. first receive the information bring him before the appointed court according to the law; and if a magistrate, after receiving information, refuses to act, he shall be tried for impiety at the instance of any one who is willing to vindicate the laws; and if any one be cast, the court shall estimate the punishment of each act of impiety; and let all such criminals be imprisoned. There shall be three prisons in the state: the first of them is to be the common prison in the neighborhood of the agora for the safe-keeping of the generality of offenders; another is to be in the neighborhood of the nocturnal council, and is to be called the "House of Reformation;" another, to be situated in some wild and desolate region in the center of the country, shall be called by some name expressive of retribution. Now, men fall into impiety from three causes, which have been already mentioned, and from each of these causes arise two sorts of impiety, in all six, which are worth distinguishing, and should not all have the same punishment. For he who does not believe in Gods, and yet has a righteous nature, hates the wicked and dislikes and refuses to do injustice, and avoids unrighteous men, and loves the righteous. But they who besides believing that the world is devoid of Gods are intemperate, and have at the same time good memories and quick wits, are worse; although both of them are unbelievers, much less injury is done by the one than by the other. The one may talk loosely about the Gods and about sacrifices and oaths, and perhaps by laughing at other men he may make them like himself, if he be not punished. But the other who holds the same opinions and is called a clever man, is full of stratagem and deceit—men of this class deal in prophecy and jugglery of all kinds, and out of their ranks sometimes come tyrants and demagogues and generals and hierophants of private mysteries and the Sophists, as they are termed, with their ingenious devices. There are many kinds of unbelievers, but two only for whom legislation is required; one the hypocritical sort, whose crime is deserving of death many times over, while the other needs only bonds and admonition. In like manner also the notion that the Gods take no thought of men produces two other sorts of crimes, and the notion that they may be propitiated produces two more. Assuming these divisions, let those who have been made what they are only from want of understanding, and not from malice or an evil nature, be placed by the judge in the House of Reformation, and ordered to suffer imprisonment during a period of not less than five years. And in the meantime let them have no intercourse with the other citizens, except with members of the nocturnal council, and with them let them converse with a view to the improvement of their soul's health. And when the time of their imprisonment has expired, if any of them be of sound mind let him be restored to sane company, but if not, and if he be condemned a second time, let him be punished with death. As to that class of monstrous natures who not only believe that there are no Gods, or that they are negligent, or to be propitiated, but in contempt of mankind conjure the souls of the living and say that they can conjure the dead and promise to charm the Gods with sacrifices and prayers, and will utterly overthrow individuals and whole houses and states for the sake of money—let him who is guilty of any of these things be condemned by the court to be bound according to law in the prison which is in the center of the land, and let no freeman ever approach him, but let him receive the rations of food appointed by the guardians of the law from the hands of the public slaves; and when he is dead let him be cast beyond the borders unburied, and if any freeman assist in burying him, let him pay the penalty of impiety to any one who is willing to bring a suit against him. But if he leaves behind him children who are fit to be citizens, let the guardians of orphans take care of them, just as they would of any other orphans, from the day on which their father is convicted.
In all these cases there should be one law, which will make men in general less liable to transgress in word or deed, and less foolish, because they will not be allowed to practice religious rites contrary to law. And let this be the simple form of the law:—No man shall have sacred rites in a private house. When he would sacrifice, let him go to the temples and hand over his offerings to the priests and priestesses, who see to the sanctity of such things, and let him pray himself, and let any one who pleases join with him in prayer. The reason of this is as follows:—Gods and temples are not easily instituted, and to establish them rightly is the work of a mighty intellect. And women especially, and men too, when they are sick or in danger, or in any sort of difficulty, or again on their receiving any good fortune, have a way of consecrating the occasion, vowing sacrifices, and promising shrines to Gods, demigods, and sons of Gods; and when they are awakened by terrible apparitions and dreams or remember visions, they find in altars and temples the remedies of them, and will fill every house and village with them, placing them in the open air, or wherever they may have had such visions; and with a view to all these cases we should obey the law. The law has also regard to the impious, and would not have them fancy that by the secret performance of these actions—by raising temples and by building altars in private houses, they can propitiate the God secretly with sacrifices and prayers, while they are really multiplying their crimes infinitely, bringing guilt from heaven upon themselves, and also upon those who permit them, and who are better men than they are; and the consequence is that the whole state reaps the fruit of their impiety, which, in a certain sense, is deserved. Assuredly God will not blame the legislator, who will enact the following law:—No one shall possess shrines of the Gods in private houses, and he who is found to possess them, and perform any sacred rites not publicly authorized,—supposing the offender to be some man or woman who is not guilty of any other great and impious crime,—shall be informed against by him who is acquainted with the fact, which shall be announced by him to the guardians of the law; and let them issue orders that he or she shall carry away their private rites to the public temples, and if they do not persuade them, let them inflict a penalty on them until they comply. And if a person be proven guilty of impiety, not merely from childish levity, but such as grown-up men may be guilty of, whether he have sacrificed publicly or privately to any Gods, let him be punished with death, for his sacrifice is impure. Whether the deed has been done in earnest, or only from childish levity, let the guardians of the law determine, before they bring the matter into court and prosecute the offender for impiety.
In the next place, dealings between man and man require to be suitably regulated. The principle of them is very simple:—Thou shalt not, if thou canst help, touch that which is mine, or remove the least thing which belongs to me without my consent; and may I be of a sound mind, and do to others as I would that they should do to me. First, let us speak of treasure trove:—May I never pray the Gods to find the hidden treasure, which another has laid up for himself and his family, he not being one of my ancestors, nor lift, if I should find, such a treasure. And may I never have any dealings with those who are called diviners, and who in any way or manner counsel me to take up the deposit entrusted to the earth, for I should not gain so much in the increase of my possessions, if I take up the prize, as I should grow in justice and virtue of soul, if I abstain; and this will be a better possession to me than the other in a better part of myself; for the possession of justice in the soul is preferable to the possession of wealth. And of many things it is well said,—"Move not the immovables," and this may be regarded as one of them. And we shall do well to believe the common tradition which says that such deeds prevent a man from having a family. Now as to him who is careless about having children and regardless of the legislator, taking up that which neither he deposited, nor any ancestor of his, without the consent of the depositor, violating the simplest and noblest of laws which was the enactment of no mean man:—"Take not up that which was not laid down by thee,"—of him, I say, who despises these two legislators, and takes up, not small matter which he has not deposited, but perhaps a great heap of treasure, what he ought to suffer at the hands of the Gods, God only knows; but I would have the first person who sees him go and tell the wardens of the city, if the occurrence has taken place in the city, or if the occurrence has taken place in the agora he shall tell the wardens of the agora, or if in the country he shall tell the wardens of the country and their commanders. When information has been received the city shall send to Delphi, and, whatever the God answers about the money and the remover of the money, that the city shall do in obedience to the oracle; the informer, if he be a freeman, shall have the honor of doing rightly, and he who informs not, the dishonor of doing wrongly; and if he be a slave who gives information, let him be freed, as he ought to be, by the state, which shall give his master the price of him; but if he do not inform he shall be punished with death. Next in order shall follow a similar law, which shall apply equally to matters great and small:—If a man happens to leave behind him some part of his property, whether intentionally or unintentionally, let him who may come upon the left property suffer it to remain, reflecting that such things are under the protection of the Goddess of ways, and are dedicated to her by the law. But if any one defies the law, and takes the property home with him, let him, if the thing is of little worth, and the man who takes it a slave, be beaten with many stripes by him, being a person of not less than thirty years of age. Or if he be a freeman, in addition to being thought a mean person and a despiser of the laws, let him pay ten times the value of the treasure which he has moved to the leaver. And if some one accuses another of having anything which belongs to him, whether little or much, and the other admits that he has this thing, but denies that the property in dispute belongs to the other, if the property be registered with the magistrates according to law, the claimant shall summon the possessor, who shall bring it before the magistrates; and when it is brought into court, if it be registered in the public registers, to which of the litigants it belonged, let him take it and go his way. Or if the property be registered as belonging to some one who is not present, whoever will offer sufficient surety on behalf of the absent person that he will give it up to him, shall take it away as the representative of the other. But if the property which is deposited be not registered with the magistrates, let it remain until the time of trial with three of the eldest of the magistrates; and if it be an animal which is deposited, then he who loses the suit shall pay the magistrates for its keep, and they shall determine the cause within three days.
Any one who is of sound mind may arrest his own slave, and do with him whatever he will of such things as are lawful; and he may arrest the runaway slave of any of his friends or kindred with a view to his safe-keeping. And if any one takes away him who is being carried off as a slave, intending to liberate him, he who is carrying him off shall let him go; but he who takes him away shall give three sufficient sureties; and if he give them, and not without giving them, he may take him away, but if he take him away after any other manner he shall be deemed guilty of violence, and being convicted shall pay as a penalty double the amount of the damages claimed to him who has been deprived of the slave. Any man may also carry off a freedman, if he do not pay respect or sufficient respect to him who freed him. Now the respect shall be, that the freedman go three times in the month to the hearth of the person who freed him and offer to do whatever he ought, so far as he can; and he shall agree to make such a marriage as his former master approves. He shall not be permitted to have more property than he who gave him liberty, and what more he has shall belong to his master. The freedman shall not remain in the state more than twenty years, but like other foreigners shall go away, taking his entire property with him, unless he has the consent of the magistrates and of his former master to remain. If a freedman or any other stranger has a property greater than the census of the third class, at the expiration of thirty days from the day on which this comes to pass, he shall take that which is his and go his way, and in this case he shall not be allowed to remain any longer by the magistrates. And if any one disobeys this regulation, and is brought into court and convicted, he shall be punished with death, and his property shall be confiscated. Suits about these matters shall take place before the tribes, unless the plaintiff and defendant have got rid of the accusation either before their neighbors or before judges chosen by them. If a man lay claim to any animal or anything else which he declares to be his, let the possessor refer to the seller or to some honest and trustworthy person, who has given, or in some legitimate way made over the property to him; if he be a citizen or a metic, sojourning in the city, within thirty days, or, if the property have been delivered to him by a stranger, within five months, of which the middle month shall include the summer solstice. When goods are exchanged by selling and buying, a man shall deliver them, and receive the price of them, at a fixed place in the agora, and have done with the matter; but he shall not buy or sell anywhere else, nor give credit. And if in any other manner or in any other place there be an exchange of one thing for another, and the seller give credit to the man who buys from him, he must do this on the understanding that the law gives no protection in cases of things sold not in accordance with these regulations. Again, as to contributions, any man who likes may go about collecting contributions as a friend among friends, but if any difference arises about the collection, he is to act on the understanding that the law gives no protection in such cases. He who sells anything above the value of fifty drachmas shall be required to remain in the city for ten days, and the purchaser shall be informed of the house of the seller, with a view to the sort of charges which are apt to arise in such cases, and the restitutions which the law allows. And let legal restitution be on this wise:—If a man sells a slave who is in a consumption, or who has the disease of the stone, or of strangury, or epilepsy, or some other tedious and incurable disorder of body or mind, which is not discernible to the ordinary man, if the purchaser be a physician or trainer, he shall have no right of restitution; nor shall there be any right of restitution if the seller has told the truth beforehand to the buyer. But if a skilled person sells to another who is not skilled, let the buyer appeal for restitution within six months, except in the case of epilepsy, and then the appeal may be made within a year. The cause shall be determined by such physicians as the parties may agree to choose; and the defendant, if he lose the suit, shall pay double the price at which he sold. If a private person sell to another private person, he shall have the right of restitution, and the decision shall be given as before, but the defendant, if he be cast, shall only pay back the price of the slave. If a person sells a homicide to another, and they both know of the fact, let there be no restitution in such a case, but if he do not know of the fact, there shall be a right of restitution, whenever the buyer makes the discovery; and the decision shall rest with the five youngest guardians of the law, and if the decision be that the seller was cognizant the fact, he shall purify the house of the purchaser, according to the law of the interpreters, and shall pay back three times the purchase-money.
If a man exchanges either money for money, or anything whatever for anything else, either with or without life, let him give and receive them genuine and unadulterated, in accordance with the law. And let us have a prelude about all this sort of roguery, like the preludes of our other laws. Every man should regard adulteration as of one and the same class with falsehood and deceit, concerning which the many are too fond of saying that at proper times and places the practice may often be right. But they leave the occasion, and the when, and the where, undefined and unsettled, and from this want of definiteness in their language they do a great deal of harm to themselves and to others. Now a legislator ought not to leave the matter undetermined; he ought to prescribe some limit, either greater or less. Let this be the rule prescribed:—No one shall call the Gods to witness, when he says or does anything false or deceitful or dishonest, unless he would be the most hateful of mankind to them. And he is most hateful to them who takes a false oath, and pays no heed to the Gods; and in the next degree, he who tells a falsehood in the presence of his superiors. Now better men are the superiors of worse men, and in general elders are the superiors of the young; wherefore also parents are the superiors of their offspring, and men of women and children, and rulers of their subjects; for all men ought to reverence any one who is in any position of authority, and especially those who are in state offices. And this is the reason why I have spoken of these matters. For every one who is guilty of adulteration in the agora tells a falsehood, and deceives, and when he invokes the Gods, according to the customs and cautions of the wardens of the agora, he does but swear without any respect for God or man. Certainly, it is an excellent rule not lightly to defile the names of the Gods, after the fashion of men in general, who care little about piety and purity in their religious actions. But if a man will not conform to this rule, let the law be as follows:—He who sells anything in the agora shall not ask two prices for that which he sells, but he shall ask one price, and if he do not obtain this, he shall take away his goods; and on that day he shall not value them either at more or less; and there shall be no praising of any goods, or oath taken about them. If a person disobeys this command, any citizen who is present, not being less than thirty years of age, may with impunity chastise and beat the swearer, but if instead of obeying the laws he takes no heed, he shall be liable to the charge of having betrayed them. If a man sells any adulterated goods and will not obey these regulations, he who knows and can prove the fact, and does prove it in the presence of the magistrates, if he be a slave or a metic, shall have the adulterated goods; but if he be a citizen, and do not pursue the charge, he shall be called a rogue, and deemed to have robbed the Gods of the agora; or if he proves the charge, he shall dedicate the goods to the Gods of the agora. He who is proved to have sold any adulterated goods, in addition to losing the goods themselves, shall be beaten with stripes,—a stripe for a drachma, according to the price of the goods; and the herald shall proclaim in the agora the offense for which he is going to be beaten. The warden of the agora and the guardians of the law shall obtain information from experienced persons about the rogueries and adulterations of the sellers, and shall write up what the seller ought and ought not to do in each case; and let them inscribe their laws on a column in front of the court of the wardens of the agora, that they may be clear instructors of those who have business in the agora. Enough has been said in what has preceded about the wardens of the city, and if anything seems to be wanting, let them communicate with the guardians of the law, and write down the omission, and place on a column in the court of the wardens of the city the primary and secondary regulations which are laid down for them about their office.
After the practices of adulteration naturally follow the practices of retail trade. Concerning these, we will first of all give a word of counsel and reason, and the law shall come afterwards. Retail trade in a city is not by nature intended to do any harm, but quite the contrary; for is not he a benefactor who reduces the inequalities and incommensurabilities of goods to equality and common measure? And this is what the power of money accomplishes, and the merchant may be said to be appointed for this purpose. The hireling and the tavern-keeper, and many other occupations, some of them more and others less seemly—alike have this object;—they seek to satisfy our needs and equalize our possessions. Let us then endeavor to see what has brought retail trade into ill-odor, and wherein lies the dishonor and unseemliness of it, in order that if not entirely, we may yet partially, cure the evil by legislation. To effect this is no easy matter, and requires a great deal of virtue.
Cleinias. What do you mean?
Athenian Stranger. Dear Cleinias, the class of men is small—they must have been rarely gifted by nature, and trained by education,—who, when assailed by wants and desires, are able to hold out and observe moderation, and when they might make a great deal of money are sober in their wishes, and prefer a moderate to a large gain. But the mass of mankind are the very opposite: their desires are unbounded, and when they might gain in moderation they prefer gains without limit; wherefore all that relates to retail trade, and merchandise, and the keeping of taverns, is denounced and numbered among dishonorable things. For if what I trust may never be and will not be, we were to compel, if I may venture to say a ridiculous thing, the best men everywhere to keep taverns for a time, or carry on retail trade, or do anything of that sort; or if, in consequence of some fate or necessity, the best women were compelled to follow similar callings, then we should know how agreeable and pleasant all these things are; and if all such occupations were managed on incorrupt principles, they would be honored as we honor a mother or a nurse. But now that a man goes to desert places and builds houses which can only be reached by long journeys, for the sake of retail trade, and receives strangers who are in need at the welcome resting-place, and gives them peace and calm when they are tossed by the storm, or cool shade in the heat; and then instead of behaving to them as friends, and showing the duties of hospitality to his guests, treats them as enemies and captives who are at his mercy, and will not release them until they have paid the most unjust, abominable, and extortionate ransom,—these are the sort of practices, and foul evils they are, which cast a reproach upon the succor of adversity. And the legislator ought always to be devising a remedy for evils of this nature. There is an ancient saying, which is also a true one—"To fight against two opponents is a difficult thing," as is seen in diseases and in many other cases. And in this case also the war is against two enemies—wealth and poverty; one of whom corrupts the soul of man with luxury, while the other drives him by pain into utter shamelessness. What remedy can a city of sense find against this disease? In the first place, they must have as few retail traders as possible; and in the second place, they must assign the occupation to that class of men whose corruption will be the least injury to the state; and in the third place, they must devise some way whereby the followers of these occupations themselves will not readily fall into habits of unbridled shamelessness and meanness.
After this preface let our law run as follows, and may fortune favor us:—No landowner among the Magnetes, whose city the God is restoring and resettling—no one, that is, of the 5040 families, shall become a retail trader either voluntarily or involuntarily; neither shall he be a merchant, or do any service for private persons unless they equally serve him, except for his father or his mother, and their fathers and mothers; and in general for his elders who are freemen, and whom he serves as a freeman. Now it is difficult to determine accurately the things which are worthy or unworthy of a freeman, but let those who have obtained the prize of virtue give judgment about them in accordance with their feelings of right and wrong. He who in any way shares in the illiberality of retail trades may be indicted for dishonoring his race by any one who likes, before those who have been judged to be the first in virtue; and if he appear to throw dirt upon his father's house by an unworthy occupation, let him be imprisoned for a year and abstain from that sort of thing; and if he repeat the offense, for two years; and every time that he is convicted let the length of his imprisonment be doubled. This shall be the second law:—He who engages in retail trade must be either a metic or a stranger. And a third law shall be:—In order that the retail trader who dwells in our city may be as good or as little bad as possible, the guardians of the law shall remember that they are not only guardians of those who may be easily watched and prevented from becoming lawless or bad, because they are well-born and bred; but still more should they have a watch over those who are of another sort, and follow pursuits which have a very strong tendency to make men bad. And, therefore, in respect of the multifarious occupations of retail trade, that is to say, in respect of such of them as are allowed to remain, because they seem to be quite necessary in a state,—about these the guardians of the law should meet and take counsel with those who have experience of the several kinds of retail trade, as we before commanded, concerning adulteration (which is a matter akin to this), and when they meet they shall consider what amount of receipts, after deducting expenses, will produce a moderate gain to the retail trades, and they shall fix in writing and strictly maintain what they find to be the right percentage of profit; this shall be seen to by the wardens of the agora, and by the wardens of the city, and by the wardens of the country. And so retail trade will benefit every one, and do the least possible injury to those in the state who practice it.
When a man makes an agreement which he does not fulfill, unless the agreement be of a nature which the law or a vote of the assembly does not allow, or which he has made under the influence of some unjust compulsion, or which he is prevented from fulfilling against his will by some unexpected chance, the other party may go to law with him in the courts of the tribes, for not having completed his agreement, if the parties are not able previously to come to terms before arbiters or before their neighbors. The class of craftsmen who have furnished human life with the arts is dedicated to Hephaestus and Athene; and there is a class of craftsmen who preserve the works of all craftsmen by arts of defense, the votaries of Ares and Athene, to which divinities they too are rightly dedicated. All these continue through life serving the country and the people; some of them are leaders in battle; others make for hire implements and works, and they ought not to deceive in such matters, out of respect to the Gods who are their ancestors. If any craftsman through indolence omit to execute his work in a given time, not reverencing the God who gives him the means of life, but considering, foolish fellow, that he is his own God and will let him off easily, in the first place, he shall suffer at the hands of the God, and in the second place, the law shall follow in a similar spirit. He shall owe to him who contracted with him the price of the works which he has failed in performing, and he shall begin again and execute them gratis in the given time. When a man undertakes a work, the law gives him the same advice which was given to the seller, that he should not attempt to raise the price, but simply ask the value; this the law enjoins also on the contractor; for the craftsman assuredly knows the value of his work. Wherefore, in free states the man of art ought not to attempt to impose upon private individuals by the help of his art, which is by nature a true thing; and he who is wronged in a matter of this sort, shall have a right of action against the party who has wronged him. And if any one lets out work to a craftsman, and does not pay him duly according to the lawful agreement, disregarding Zeus the guardian of the city and Athene, who are the partners of the state, and overthrows the foundations of society for the sake of a little gain, in his case let the law and the Gods maintain the common bonds of the state. And let him who, having already received the work in exchange, does not pay the price in the time agreed, pay double the price; and if a year has elapsed, although interest is not to be taken on loans, yet for every drachma which he owes to the contractor let him pay a monthly interest of an obol. Suits about these matters are to be decided by the courts of the tribes; and by the way, since we have mentioned craftsmen at all, we must not forget the other craft of war, in which generals and tacticians are the craftsmen, who undertake voluntarily the work of our safety, as other craftsmen undertake other public works;—if they execute their work well the law will never tire of praising him who gives them those honors which are the just rewards of the soldier; but if any one, having already received the benefit of any noble service in war, does not make the due return of honor, the law will blame him. Let this then be the law, having an ingredient of praise, not compelling but advising the great body of the citizens to honor the brave men who are the saviors of the whole state, whether by their courage or by their military skill;—they should honor them, I say, in the second place; for the first and highest tribute of respect is to be given to those who are able above other men to honor the words of good legislators.
The greater part of the dealings between man and man have been now regulated by us with the exception of those that relate to orphans and the supervision of orphans by their guardians. These follow next in order, and must be regulated in some way. But to arrive at them we must begin with the testamentary wishes of the dying and the case of those who may have happened to die intestate. When I said, Cleinias, that we must regulate them, I had in my mind the difficulty and perplexity in which all such matters are involved. You cannot leave them unregulated, for individuals would make regulations at variance with one another, and repugnant to the laws and habits of the living and to their own previous habits, if a person were simply allowed to make any will which he pleased, and this were to take effect in whatever state he may have been at the end of his life; for most of us lose our senses in a manner, and feel crushed when we think that we are about to die.
Cleinias. What do you mean, Stranger?
Athenian Stranger. O Cleinias, a man when he is about to die is an intractable creature, and is apt to use language which causes a great deal of anxiety and trouble to the legislator.
Cleinias. In what way?
Athenian Stranger. He wants to have the entire control of all his property, and will use angry words.
Cleinias. Such as what?
Athenian Stranger. O ye Gods, he will say, how monstrous that I am not allowed to give, or not to give my own to whom I will—less to him who has been bad to me, and more to him who has been good to me, and whose badness and goodness have been tested by me in time of sickness or in old age and in every other sort of fortune!
Cleinias. Well Stranger, and may he not very fairly say so?
Athenian Stranger. In my opinion, Cleinias, the ancient legislators were too good-natured, and made laws without sufficient observation or consideration of human things.
Cleinias. What do you mean?
Athenian Stranger. I mean, my friend, that they were afraid of the testator's reproaches, and so they passed a law to the effect that a man should be allowed to dispose of his property in all respects as he liked; but you and I, if I am not mistaken, will have something better to say to our departing citizens.
Athenian Stranger. O my friends, we will say to them, hard is it for you, who are creatures of a day, to know what is yours,—hard too, as the Delphic oracle says, to know yourselves at this hour. Now I, as the legislator, regard you and your possessions, not as belonging to yourselves, but as belonging to your whole family, both past and future, and yet more do I regard both family and possessions as belonging to the state; wherefore, if some one steals upon you with flattery, when you are tossed on the sea of disease or old age, and persuades you to dispose of your property in a way that is not for the best, I will not, if I can help, allow this; but I will legislate with a view to the whole, considering what is best both for the state and for the family, esteeming as I ought the feelings of an individual at a lower rate; and I hope that you will depart in peace and kindness towards us, as you are going the way of all mankind; and we will impartially take care of all your concerns, not neglecting any of them, if we can possibly help. Let this be our prelude and consolation to the living and dying, Cleinias, and let the law be as follows:—He who makes a disposition in a testament, if he be the father of a family, shall first of all inscribe as his heir any one of his sons whom he may think fit; and if he gives any of his children to be adopted by another citizen, let the adoption be inscribed. And if he has a son remaining over and above who has not been adopted upon any lot, and who may be expected to be sent out to a colony according to law, to him his father may give as much as he pleases of the rest of his property, with the exception of the paternal lot and the fixtures on the lot. And if there are other sons, let him distribute among them what there is more than the lot in such portions as he pleases. And if one of the sons has already a house of his own, he shall not give him of the money, nor shall he give money to a daughter who has been betrothed, but if she is not betrothed he may give her money. And if any of the sons or daughters shall be found to have another lot of land in the country, which has accrued after the testament has been made, they shall leave the lot which they have inherited to the heir of the man who has made the will. If the testator has no sons, but only daughters, let him choose the husband of any one of his daughters whom he pleases, and leave and inscribe him as his son and heir. And if a man have lost his son, when he was a child, and before he could be reckoned among grown-up men, whether his own or an adopted son, let the testator make mention of the circumstance and inscribe whom he will to be his second son in hope of better fortune. If the testator has no children at all, he may select and give to any one whom he pleases the tenth part of the property which he has acquired; but let him not be blamed if he gives all the rest to his adopted son, and makes a friend of him according to the law. If the sons of a man require guardians, and the father when he dies leaves a will appointing guardians, those who have been named by him, whoever they are and whatever their number be, if they are able and willing to take charge of the children, shall be recognized according to the provisions of the will. But if he dies and has made no will, or a will in which he has appointed no guardians, then the next of kin, two on the father's and two on the mother's side, and one of the friends of the deceased, shall have the authority of guardians, whom the guardians of the law shall appoint when the orphans require guardians. And the fifteen eldest guardians of the law shall have the whole care and charge of the orphans, divided into threes according to seniority,—a body of three for one year, and then another body of three for the next year, until the cycle of the five periods is complete; and this, as far as possible, is to continue always. If a man dies, having made no will at all, and leaves sons who require the care of guardians, they shall share in the protection which is afforded by these laws. And if a man dying by some unexpected fate leaves daughters behind him, let him pardon the legislator if when he gives them in marriage, he have a regard only to two out of three conditions,—nearness of kin and the preservation of the lot, and omits the third condition, which a father would naturally consider, for he would choose out of all the citizens a son for himself, and a husband for his daughter, with a view to his character and disposition—the father, I say, shall forgive the legislator if he disregards this, which to him is an impossible consideration. Let the law about these matters where practicable be as follows:—If a man dies without making a will, and leaves behind him daughters, let his brother, being the son of the same father or of the same mother, having no lot, marry the daughter and have the lot of the dead man. And if he have no brother, but only a brother's son, in like manner let them marry, if they be of a suitable age; and if there be not even a brother's son, but only the son of a sister, let them do likewise, and so in the fourth degree, if there be only the testator's father's brother, or in the fifth degree, his father's brother's son, or in the sixth degree, the child of his father's sister. Let kindred be always reckoned in this way: if a person leaves daughters the relationship shall proceed upwards through brothers and sisters, and brothers' and sisters' children, and first the males shall come, and after them the females in the same family. The judge shall consider and determine the suitableness or unsuitableness of age in marriage; he shall make an inspection of the males naked, and of the women naked down to the navel. And if there be a lack of kinsmen in a family extending to grandchildren of a brother, or to the grandchildren of a grandfather's children, the maiden may choose with the consent of her guardians any one of the citizens who is willing and whom she wills, and he shall be the heir of the dead man, and the husband of his daughter. Circumstances vary, and there may sometimes be a still greater lack of relations within the limits of the state; and if any maiden has no kindred living in the city, and there is some one who has been sent out to a colony, and she is disposed to make him the heir of her father's possessions, if he be indeed of her kindred, let him proceed to take the lot according to the regulation of the law; but if he be not of her kindred, she having no kinsmen within the city, and he be chosen by the daughter of the dead man, and empowered to marry by the guardians, let him return home and take the lot of him who died intestate. And if a man has no children, either male or female, and dies without making a will, let the previous law in general hold; and let a man and a woman go forth from the family and share the deserted house, and let the lot belong absolutely to them; and let the heiress in the first degree be a sister, and in a second degree a daughter of a brother, and in the third, a daughter of a sister, in the fourth degree the sister of a father, and in the fifth degree the daughter of a father's brother, and in a sixth degree of a father's sister; and these shall dwell with their male kinsmen, according to the degree of relationship and right, as we enacted before. Now we must not conceal from ourselves that such laws are apt to be oppressive and that there may sometimes be a hardship in the lawgiver commanding the kinsman of the dead man to marry his relation; he may be thought not to have considered the innumerable hindrances which may arise among men in the execution of such ordinances; for there may be cases in which the parties refuse to obey, and are ready to do anything rather than marry, when there is some bodily or mental malady or defect among those who are bidden to marry or be married. Persons may fancy that the legislator never thought of this, but they are mistaken; wherefore let us make a common prelude on behalf of the lawgiver and of his subjects, the law begging the latter to forgive the legislator, in that he, having to take care of the common weal, cannot order at the same time the various circumstances of individuals, and begging him to pardon them if naturally they are sometimes unable to fulfill the act which he in his ignorance imposes upon them.
Cleinias. And how, Stranger, can we act most fairly under the circumstances?
Athenian Stranger. There must be arbiters chosen to deal with such laws and the subjects of them.
Cleinias. What do you mean?
Athenian Stranger. I mean to say, that a case may occur in which the nephew, having a rich father, will be unwilling to marry the daughter of his uncle; he will have a feeling of pride, and he will wish to look higher. And there are cases in which the legislator will be imposing upon him the greatest calamity, and he will be compelled to disobey the law, if he is required, for example, to take a wife who is mad, or has some other terrible malady of soul or body, such as makes life intolerable to the sufferer. Then let what we are saying concerning these cases be embodied in a law:—If any one finds fault with the established laws respecting testaments, both as to other matters and especially in what relates to marriage, and asserts that the legislator, if he were alive and present, would not compel him to obey,—that is to say, would not compel those who are by our law required to marry or be given in marriage, to do either,—and some kinsman or guardian dispute this, the reply is that the legislator left fifteen of the guardians of the law to be arbiters and fathers of orphans, male or female, and to them let the disputants have recourse, and by their aid determine any matters of the kind, admitting their decision to be final. But if any one thinks that too great power is thus given to the guardians of the law, let him bring his adversaries into the court of the select judges, and there have the points in dispute determined. And he who loses the cause shall have censure and blame from the legislator, which, by a man of sense, is felt to be a penalty far heavier than a great loss of money.
Thus will orphan children have a second birth. After their first birth we spoke of their nurture and education, and after their second birth, when they have lost their parents, we ought to take measures that the misfortune of orphanhood may be as little sad to them as possible. In the first place, we say that the guardians of the law are lawgivers and fathers to them, not inferior to their natural fathers. Moreover, they shall take charge of them year by year as of their own kindred; and we have given both to them and to the children's own guardians a suitable admonition concerning the nurture of orphans. And we seem to have spoken opportunely in our former discourse, when we said that the souls of the dead have the power after death of taking an interest in human affairs, about which there are many tales and traditions, long indeed, but true; and seeing that they are so many and so ancient, we must believe them, and we must also believe the lawgivers, who tell us that these things are true, if they are not to be regarded as utter fools. But if these things are really so, in the first place men should have a fear of the Gods above, who regard the loneliness of the orphans; and in the second place of the souls of the departed, who by nature incline to take an especial care of their own children, and are friendly to those who honor, and unfriendly to those who dishonor them. Men should also fear the souls of the living who are aged and high in honor; wherever a city is well ordered and prosperous, their descendants cherish them, and so live happily; old persons are quick to see and hear all that relates to them, and are propitious to those who are just in the fulfillment of such duties, and they punish those who wrong the orphan and the desolate, considering that they are the greatest and most sacred of trusts. To all which matters the guardian and magistrate ought to apply his mind, if he has any, and take heed of the nurture and education of the orphans, seeking in every possible way to do them good, for he is making a contribution to his own good and that of his children. He who obeys the tale which precedes the law, and does no wrong to an orphan, will never experience the wrath of the legislator. But he who is disobedient, and wrongs any one who is bereft of father or mother, shall pay twice the penalty which he would have paid if he had wronged one whose parents had been alive. As touching other legislation concerning guardians in their relation to orphans, or concerning magistrates and their superintendence of the guardians, if they did not possess examples of the manner in which children of freemen should be brought up in the bringing up of their own children, and of the care of their property in the care of their own, or if they had not just laws fairly stated about these very things,—there would have been reason in making laws for them, under the idea that they were a peculiar class, and we might distinguish and make separate rules for the life of those who are orphans and of those who are not orphans. But as the case stands, the condition of orphans with us is not different from the case of those who have father, though in regard to honor and dishonor, and the attention given to them, the two are not usually placed upon a level. Wherefore, touching the legislation about orphans, the law speaks in serious accents, both of persuasion and threatening, and such a threat as the following will be by no means out of place:—He who is the guardian of an orphan of either sex, and he among the guardians of the law to whom the superintendence of this guardian has been assigned, shall love the unfortunate orphan as though he were his own child, and he shall be as careful and diligent in the management of his possessions as he would be if they were his own, or even more careful and diligent. Let every one who has the care of an orphan observe this law. But any one who acts contrary to the law on these matters, if he be a guardian of the child, may be fined by a magistrate, or, if he be himself a magistrate, the guardian may bring him before the court of select judges, and punish him, if convicted, by exacting a fine of double the amount of that inflicted by the court. And if a guardian appears to the relations of the orphan, or to any other citizen, to act negligently or dishonestly, let them bring him before the same court, and whatever damages are given against him, let him pay fourfold, and let half belong to the orphan and half to him who procured the conviction. If any orphan arrives at years of discretion, and thinks that he has been ill-used by his guardians, let him within five years of the expiration of the guardianship be allowed to bring them to trial; and if any of them be convicted, the court shall determine what he shall pay or suffer. And if a magistrate shall appear to have wronged the orphan by neglect, and he be convicted, let the court determine what he shall suffer or pay to the orphan, and if there be dishonesty in addition to neglect, besides paying the fine, let him be deposed from his office of guardian of the law, and let the state appoint another guardian of the law for the city and for the country in his room.
Greater differences than there ought to be sometimes arise between fathers and sons, on the part either of fathers who will be of opinion that the legislator should enact that they may, if they wish, lawfully renounce their son by the proclamation of a herald in the face of the world, or of sons who think that they should be allowed to indict their fathers on the charge of imbecility when they are disabled by disease or old age. These things only happen, as a matter of fact, where the natures of men are utterly bad; for where only half is bad, as, for example, if the father be not bad, but the son be bad, or conversely, no great calamity is the result of such an amount of hatred as this. In another state, a son disowned by his father would not of necessity cease to be a citizen, but in our state, of which these are to be the laws, the disinherited must necessarily emigrate into another country, for no addition can be made even of a single family to the 5040 households; and, therefore, he who deserves to suffer these things must be renounced not only by his father, who is a single person, but by the whole family, and what is done in these cases must be regulated by some such law as the following:—He who in the sad disorder of his soul has a mind, justly or unjustly, to expel from his family a son whom he has begotten and brought up, shall not lightly or at once execute his purpose; but first of all he shall collect together his own kinsmen extending to cousins, and in like manner his son's kinsmen by the mother's side, and in their presence he shall accuse his son, setting forth that he deserves at the hands of them all to be dismissed from the family; and the son shall be allowed to address them in a similar manner, and show that he does not deserve to suffer any of these things. And if the father persuades them, and obtains the suffrages of more than half of his kindred, exclusive of the father and mother and the offender himself—I say, if he obtains more than half the suffrages of all the other grown-up members of the family, of both sexes, the father shall be permitted to put away his son, but not otherwise. And if any other citizen is willing to adopt the son who is put away, no law shall hinder him; for the characters of young men are subject to many changes in the course of their lives. And if he has been put away, and in a period of ten years no one is willing to adopt him, let those who have the care of the superabundant population which is sent out into colonies, see to him, in order that he may be suitably provided for in the colony. And if disease or age or harshness of temper, or all these together, makes a man to be more out of his mind than the rest of the world are,—but this is not observable, except to those who live with him,—and he, being master of his property, is the ruin of the house, and his son doubts and hesitates about indicting his father for insanity, let the law in that case ordain that he shall first of all go to the eldest guardians of the law and tell them of his father's misfortune, and they shall duly look into the matter, and take counsel as to whether he shall indict him or not. And if they advise him to proceed, they shall be both his witnesses and his advocates; and if the father is cast, he shall henceforth be incapable of ordering the least particular of his life; let him be as a child dwelling in the house for the remainder of his days. And if a man and his wife have an unfortunate incompatibility of temper, ten of the guardians of the law, who are impartial, and ten of the women who regulate marriages, shall look to the matter, and if they are able to reconcile them they shall be formally reconciled; but if their souls are too much tossed with passion, they shall endeavor to find other partners. Now they are not likely to have very gentle tempers; and, therefore, we must endeavor to associate with them deeper and softer natures. Those who have no children, or only a few, at the time of their separation, should choose their new partners with a view to the procreation of children; but those who have a sufficient number of children should separate and marry again in order that they may have some one to grow old with and that the pair may take care of one another in age. If a woman dies, leaving children, male or female, the law will advise rather than compel the husband to bring up the children without introducing into the house a stepmother. But if he have no children, then he shall be compelled to marry until he has begotten a sufficient number of sons to his family and to the state. And if a man dies leaving a sufficient number of children, the mother of his children shall remain with them and bring them up. But if she appears to be too young to live virtuously without a husband, let her relations communicate with the women who superintend marriage, and let both together do what they think best in these matters; if there is a lack of children, let the choice be made with a view to having them; two children, one of either sex, shall be deemed sufficient in the eye of the law. When a child is admitted to be the offspring of certain parents and is acknowledged by them, but there is need of a decision as to which parent the child is to follow,—in case a female slave have intercourse with a male slave, or with a freeman or freedman, the offspring shall always belong to the master of the female slave. Again, if a free woman have intercourse with a male slave, the offspring shall belong to the master of the slave; but if a child be born either of a slave by her master, or of his mistress by a slave—and this be proven—the offspring of the woman and its father shall be sent away by the women who superintend marriage into another country, and the guardians of the law shall send away the offspring of the man and its mother.
Neither God, nor a man who has understanding, will ever advise any one to neglect his parents. To a discourse concerning the honor and dishonor of parents, a prelude such as the following, about the service of the Gods, will be a suitable introduction:—There are ancient customs about the Gods which are universal, and they are of two kinds: some of the Gods we see with our eyes and we honor them, of others we honor the images, raising statues of them which we adore; and though they are lifeless, yet we imagine that the living Gods have a good will and gratitude to us on this account. Now, if a man has a father or mother, or their fathers or mothers treasured up in his house stricken in years, let him consider that no statue can be more potent to grant his requests than they are, who are sitting at his hearth, if only he knows how to show true service to them.
Cleinias. And what do you call the true mode of service?
Athenian Stranger. I will tell you, O my friend, for such things are worth listening to.
Athenian Stranger. Oedipus, as tradition says, when dishonored by his sons, invoked on them curses which every one declares to have been heard and ratified by the Gods, and Amyntor in his wrath invoked curses on his son Phoenix, and Theseus upon Hippolytus, and innumerable others have also called down wrath upon their children, whence it is clear that the Gods listen to the imprecations of parents; for the curses of parents are, as they ought to be, mighty against their children as no others are. And shall we suppose that the prayers of a father or mother who is specially dishonored by his or her children, are heard by the Gods in accordance with nature; and that if a parent is honored by them, and in the gladness of his heart earnestly entreats the Gods in his prayers to do them good, he is not equally heard, and that they do not minister to his request? If not, they would be very unjust ministers of good, and that we affirm to be contrary to their nature.
Athenian Stranger. May we not think, as I was saying just now, that we can possess no image which is more honored by the Gods, than that of a father or grandfather, or of a mother stricken in years? whom when a man honors, the heart of the God rejoices, and he is ready to answer their prayers. And, truly, the figure of an ancestor is a wonderful thing, far higher than that of a lifeless image. For the living, when they are honored by us, join in our prayers, and when they are dishonored, they utter imprecations against us; but lifeless objects do neither. And therefore, if a man makes a right use of his father and grandfather and other aged relations, he will have images which above all others will win him the favor of the Gods.
Athenian Stranger. Every man of any understanding fears and respects the prayers of parents, knowing well that many times and to many persons they have been accomplished. Now these things being thus ordered by nature, good men think it a blessing from heaven if their parents live to old age and reach the utmost limit of human life, or if taken away before their time they are deeply regretted by them; but to bad men parents are always a cause of terror. Wherefore let every man honor with every sort of lawful honor his own parents, agreeably to what has now been said. But if this prelude be an unmeaning sound in the ears of any one, let the law follow, which may be rightly imposed in these terms:—If any one in this city be not sufficiently careful of his parents, and do not regard and gratify in every respect their wishes more than those of his sons and of his other offspring or of himself,—let him who experiences this sort of treatment either come himself, or send some one to inform the three eldest guardians of the law, and three of the women who have the care of marriages; and let them look to the matter and punish youthful evil-doers with stripes and bonds if they are under thirty years of age, that is to say, if they be men, or if they be women, let them undergo the same punishment up to forty years of age. But if, when they are still more advanced in years, they continue the same neglect of their parents, and do any hurt to any of them, let them be brought before a court in which every single one of the eldest citizens shall be the judges, and if the offender be convicted, let the court determine what he ought to pay or suffer, and any penalty may be imposed on him which a man can pay or suffer. If the person who has been wronged be unable to inform the magistrates, let any freeman who hears of his case inform, and if he do not, he shall be deemed base, and shall be liable to have a suit for damage brought against him by any one who likes. And if a slave inform, he shall receive freedom; and if he be the slave of the injurer or injured party, he shall be set free by the magistrates, or if he belong to any other citizen, the public shall pay a price on his behalf to the owner; and let the magistrates take heed that no one wrongs him out of revenge, because he has given information.
Cases in which one man injures another by poisons, and which prove fatal, have been already discussed; but about other cases in which a person intentionally and of malice harms another with meats, or drinks, or ointments, nothing has as yet been determined. For there are two kinds of poisons used among men, which cannot clearly be distinguished. There is the kind just now explicitly mentioned, which injures bodies by the use of other bodies according to a natural law; there is also another kind which persuades the more daring class that they can do injury by sorceries, and incantations, and magic knots, as they are termed, and makes others believe that they above all persons are injured by the powers of the magician. Now it is not easy to know the nature of all these things; nor if a man do know can he readily persuade others to believe him. And when men are disturbed in their minds at the sight of waxen images fixed either at their doors, or in a place where three ways meet, or on the sepulchres of parents, there is no use in trying to persuade them that they should despise all such things because they have no certain knowledge about them. But we must have a law in two parts, concerning poisoning, in whichever of the two ways the attempt is made, and we must entreat, and exhort, and advise men not to have recourse to such practices, by which they scare the multitude out of their wits, as if they were children, compelling the legislator and the judge to heal the fears which the sorcerer arouses, and to tell them in the first place, that he who attempts to poison or enchant others knows not what he is doing, either as regards the body (unless he has a knowledge of medicine), or as regards his enchantments (unless he happens to be a prophet or diviner). Let the law, then, run as follows about poisoning or witchcraft:—He who employs poison to do any injury, not fatal, to a man himself, or to his servants, or any injury, whether fatal or not, to his cattle or his bees, if he be a physician, and be convicted of poisoning, shall be punished with death; or if he be a private person, the court shall determine what he is to pay or suffer. But he who seems to be the sort of man who injures others by magic knots, or enchantments, or incantations, or any of the like practices, if he be a prophet or diviner, let him die; and if, not being a prophet, he be convicted of witchcraft, as in the previous case, let the court fix what he ought to pay or suffer.
When a man does another any injury by theft or violence, for the greater injury let him pay greater damages to the injured man, and less for the smaller injury; but in all cases, whatever the injury may have been, as much as will compensate the loss. And besides the compensation of the wrong, let a man pay a further penalty for the chastisement of his offense: he who has done the wrong instigated by the folly of another, through the lightheartedness of youth or the like, shall pay a lighter penalty; but he who has injured another through his own folly, when overcome by pleasure or pain, in cowardly fear, or lust, or envy, or implacable anger, shall endure a heavier punishment. Not that he is punished because he did wrong, for that which is done can never be undone, but in order that in future times, he, and those who see him corrected, may utterly hate injustice, or at any rate abate much of their evil-doing. Having an eye to all these things, the law, like a good archer, should aim at the right measure of punishment, and in all cases at the deserved punishment. In the attainment of this the judge shall be a fellow-worker with the legislator, whenever the law leaves to him to determine what the offender shall suffer or pay; and the legislator, like a painter, shall give a rough sketch of the cases in which the law is to be applied. This is what we must do, Megillus and Cleinias, in the best and fairest manner that we can, saying what the punishments are to be of all actions of theft and violence, and giving laws of such a kind as the Gods and sons of Gods would have us give.
If a man is mad he shall not be at large in the city, but his relations shall keep him at home in any way which they can; or if not, let them pay a penalty,—he who is of the highest class shall pay a penalty of one hundred drachmae, whether he be a slave or a freeman whom he neglects; and he of the second class shall pay four-fifths of a mina; and he of the third class three-fifths; and he of the fourth class two-fifths. Now there are many sorts of madness, some arising out of disease, which we have already mentioned; and there are other kinds, which originate in an evil and passionate temperament, and are increased by bad education; out of a slight quarrel this class of madmen will often raise a storm of abuse against one another, and nothing of that sort ought to be allowed to occur in a well-ordered state. Let this, then, be the law about abuse, which shall relate to all cases:—No one shall speak evil of another; and when a man disputes with another he shall teach and learn of the disputant and the company, but he shall abstain from evil-speaking; for out of the imprecations which men utter against one another, and the feminine habit of casting aspersions on one another, and using foul names, out of words light as air, in very deed the greatest enmities and hatreds spring up. For the speaker gratifies his anger, which is an ungracious element of his nature; and nursing up his wrath by the entertainment of evil thoughts, and exacerbating that part of his soul which was formerly civilized by education, he lives in a state of savageness and moroseness, and pays a bitter penalty for his anger. And in such cases almost all men take to saying something ridiculous about their opponent, and there is no man who is in the habit of laughing at another who does not miss virtue and earnestness altogether, or lose the better half of greatness. Wherefore let no one utter any taunting word at a temple, or at the public sacrifices, or at games, or in the agora, or in a court of justice, or in any public assembly. And let the magistrate who presides on these occasions chastise an offender, and he shall be blameless; but if he fails in doing so, he shall not claim the prize of virtue; for he is one who heeds not the laws, and does not do what the legislator commands. And if in any other place any one indulges in these sort of revilings, whether he has begun the quarrel or is only retaliating, let any elder who is present support the law, and control with blows those who indulge in passion, which is another great evil; and if he do not, let him be liable to pay the appointed penalty. And we say now, that he who deals in reproaches against others cannot reproach them without attempting to ridicule them; and this, when done in a moment of anger, is what we make matter of reproach against him. But then, do we admit into our state the comic writers who are so fond of making mankind ridiculous, if they attempt in a good-natured manner to turn the laugh against our citizens? or do we draw the distinction of jest and earnest, and allow a man to make use of ridicule in jest and without anger about any thing or person; though as we were saying, not if he be angry and have a set purpose? We forbid earnest—that is unalterably fixed; but we have still to say who are to be sanctioned or not to be sanctioned by the law in the employment of innocent humor. A comic poet, or maker of iambic or satirical lyric verse, shall not be permitted to ridicule any of the citizens, either by word or likeness, either in anger or without anger. And if any one is disobedient, the judges shall either at once expel him from the country, or he shall pay a fine of three minae, which shall be dedicated to the God who presides over the contests. Those only who have received permission shall be allowed to write verses at one another, but they shall be without anger and in jest; in anger and in serious earnest they shall not be allowed. The decision of this matter shall be left to the superintendent of the general education of the young, and whatever he may license, the writer shall be allowed to produce, and whatever he rejects let not the poet himself exhibit, or ever teach anybody else, slave or freeman, under the penalty of being dishonored, and held disobedient to the laws.
Now he is not to be pitied who is hungry, or who suffers any bodily pain, but he who is temperate, or has some other virtue, or part of a virtue, and at the same time suffers from misfortune; it would be an extraordinary thing if such an one, whether slave or freeman, were utterly forsaken and fell into the extremes of poverty in any tolerably well-ordered city or government. Wherefore the legislator may safely make a law applicable to such cases in the following terms:—Let there be no beggars in our state; and if anybody begs, seeking to pick up a livelihood by unavailing prayers, let the wardens of the agora turn him out of the agora, and the wardens of the city out of the city, and the wardens of the country send him out of any other parts of the land across the border, in order that the land may be cleared of this sort of animal.
If a slave of either sex injure anything, which is not his or her own, through inexperience, or some improper practice, and the person who suffers damage be not himself in part to blame, the master of the slave who has done the harm shall either make full satisfaction, or give up the slave who has done the injury. But if the master argue that the charge has arisen by collusion between the injured party and the injurer, with the view of obtaining the slave, let him sue the person, who says that he has been injured, for malpractices. And if he gain a conviction, let him receive double the value which the court fixes as the price of the slave; and if he lose his suit, let him make amends for the injury, and give up the slave. And if a beast of burden, or horse, or dog, or any other animal, injure the property of a neighbor, the owner shall in like manner pay for the injury.
If any man refuses to be a witness, he who wants him shall summon him, and he who is summoned shall come to the trial; and if he knows and is willing to bear witness, let him bear witness, but if he says he does not know let him swear by the three divinities Zeus, and Apollo, and Themis, that he does not, and have no more to do with the cause. And he who is summoned to give witness and does not answer to his summoner, shall be liable for the harm which ensues according to law. And if a person calls up as a witness any one who is acting as a judge, let him give his witness, but he shall not afterwards vote in the cause. A free woman may give her witness and plead, if she be more than forty years of age, and may bring an action if she have no husband; but if her husband be alive she shall only be allowed to bear witness. A slave of either sex and a child shall be allowed to give evidence and to plead, but only in cases of murder; and they must produce sufficient sureties that they will certainly remain until the trial, in case they should be charged with false witness. And either of the parties in a cause may bring an accusation of perjury against witnesses, touching their evidence in whole or in part, if he asserts that such evidence has been given; but the accusation must be brought previous to the final decision of the cause. The magistrates shall preserve the accusations of false witness, and have them kept under the seal of both parties, and produce them on the day when the trial for false witness takes place. If a man be twice convicted of false witness, he shall not be required, and if thrice, he shall not be allowed to bear witness; and if he dare to witness after he has been convicted three times, let any one who pleases inform against him to the magistrates, and let the magistrates hand him over to the court, and if he be convicted he shall be punished with death. And in any case in which the evidence is rightly found to be false, and yet to have given the victory to him who wins the suit, and more than half the witnesses are condemned, the decision which was gained by these means shall be rescinded, and there shall be a discussion and a decision as to whether the suit was determined by that false evidence or not; and in whichever way the decision may be given, the previous suit shall be determined accordingly.
There are many noble things in human life, but to most of them attach evils which are fated to corrupt and spoil them. Is not justice noble, which has been the civilizer of humanity? How then can the advocate of justice be other than noble? And yet upon this profession which is presented to us under the fair name of art has come an evil reputation. In the first place, we are told that by ingenious pleas and the help of an advocate the law enables a man to win a particular cause, whether just or unjust; and that both the art, and the power of speech which is thereby imparted, are at the service of him who is willing to pay for them. Now in our state this so-called art, whether really an art or only an experience and practice destitute of any art, ought if possible never to come into existence, or if existing among us should listen to the request of the legislator and go away into another land, and not speak contrary to justice. If the offenders obey we say no more; but for those who disobey, the voice of the law is as follows:—If any one thinks that he will pervert the power of justice in the minds of the judges, and unseasonably litigate or advocate, let any one who likes indict him for malpractices of law and dishonest advocacy, and let him be judged in the court of select judges; and if he be convicted, let the court determine whether he may be supposed to act from a love of money or from contentiousness. And if he is supposed to act from contentiousness, the court shall fix a time during which he shall not be allowed to institute or plead a cause; and if he is supposed to act as he does from love of money, in case he be a stranger, he shall leave the country, and never return under penalty of death; but if he be a citizen, he shall die, because he is a lover of money, in whatever manner gained; and equally, if he be judged to have acted more than once from contentiousness, he shall die.
If a herald or an ambassador carry a false message from our city to any other, or bring back a false message from the city to which he is sent, or be proved to have brought back, whether from friends or enemies, in his capacity of herald or ambassador, what they have never said, let him be indicted for having violated, contrary to the law, the commands and duties imposed upon him by Hermes and Zeus, and let there be a penalty fixed, which he shall suffer or pay if he be convicted.
Theft is a mean, and robbery a shameless thing; and none of the sons of Zeus delight in fraud and violence, or ever practiced either. Wherefore let no one be deluded by poets or mythologers into a mistaken belief of such things, nor let him suppose, when he thieves or is guilty of violence, that he is doing nothing base, but only what the Gods themselves do. For such tales are untrue and improbable; and he who steals or robs contrary to the law, is never either a God or the son of a God; of this the legislator ought to be better informed than all the poets put together. Happy is he and may he be forever happy, who is persuaded and listens to our words; but he who disobeys shall have to contend against the following law:—If a man steal anything belonging to the public, whether that which he steals be much or little, he shall have the same punishment. For he who steals a little steals with the same wish as he who steals much, but with less power, and he who takes up a greater amount, not having deposited it, is wholly unjust. Wherefore the law is not disposed to inflict a less penalty on the one than on the other because his theft is less, but on the ground that the thief may possibly be in one case still curable, and may in another case be incurable. If any one convict in a court of law a stranger or a slave of a theft of public property, let the court determine what punishment he shall suffer, or what penalty he shall pay, bearing in mind that he is probably not incurable. But the citizen who has been brought up as our citizens will have been, if he be found guilty of robbing his country by fraud or violence, whether he be caught in the act or not, shall be punished with death; for he is incurable.
Now for expeditions of war much consideration and many laws are required; the great principle of all is that no one of either sex should be without a commander; nor should the mind of any one be accustomed to do anything, either in jest or earnest, of his own motion, but in war and in peace he should look to and follow his leader, even in the least things being under his guidance; for example, he should stand or move, or exercise, or wash, or take his meals, or get up in the night to keep guard and deliver messages when he is bidden; and in the hour of danger he should not pursue and not retreat except by order of his superior; and in a word, not teach the soul or accustom her to know or understand how to do anything apart from others. Of all soldiers the life should be always and in all things as far as possible in common and together; there neither is nor ever will be a higher, or better, or more scientific principle than this for the attainment of salvation and victory in war. And we ought in time of peace from youth upwards to practice this habit of commanding others, and of being commanded by others; anarchy should have no place in the life of man or of the beasts who are subject to man. I may add that all dances ought to be performed with view to military excellence; and agility and ease should be cultivated for the same object, and also endurance of the want of meats and drinks, and of winter cold and summer heat, and of hard couches; and, above all, care should be taken not to destroy the peculiar qualities of the head and the feet by surrounding them with extraneous coverings, and so hindering their natural growth of hair and soles. For these are the extremities, and of all the parts of the body, whether they are preserved or not is of the greatest consequence; the one is the servant of the whole body, and the other the master, in whom all the ruling senses are by nature set. Let the young man imagine that he hears in what has preceded the praises of the military life; the law shall be as follows:—He shall serve in war who is on the roll or appointed to some special service, and if any one is absent from cowardice, and without the leave of the generals, he shall be indicted before the military commanders for failure of service when the army comes home; and the soldiers shall be his judges; the heavy-armed, and the cavalry, and the other arms of the service shall form separate courts; and they shall bring the heavy-armed before the heavy-armed, and the horsemen before the horsemen, and the others in like manner before their peers; and he who is found guilty shall never be allowed to compete for any prize of valor, or indict another for not serving on an expedition, or be an accuser at all in any military matters. Moreover, the court shall further determine what punishment he shall suffer, or what penalty he shall pay. When the suits for failure of service are completed, the leaders of the several kinds of troops shall again hold an assembly, and they shall adjudge the prizes of valor; and he who likes shall give judgment in his own branch of the service, saying nothing about any former expedition, nor producing any proof or witnesses to confirm his statement, but speaking only of the present occasion. The crown of victory shall be an olive wreath which the victor shall offer up at the temple of any war-god whom he likes, adding an inscription for a testimony to last during life, that such an one has received the first, the second, or the third prize. If any one goes on an expedition, and returns home before the appointed time, when the generals have not withdrawn the army, be shall be indicted for desertion before the same persons who took cognizance of failure of service, and if he be found guilty, the same punishment shall be inflicted on him. Now every man who is engaged in any suit ought to be very careful of bringing false witness against any one, either intentionally or unintentionally, if he can help; for justice is truly said to be an honorable maiden, and falsehood is naturally repugnant to honor and justice. A witness ought to be very careful not to sin against justice, as for example in what relates to the throwing away of arms—he must distinguish the throwing them away when necessary, and not make that a reproach, or bring an action against some innocent person on that account. To make the distinction may be difficult; but still the law must attempt to define the different kinds in some way. Let me endeavor to explain my meaning by an ancient tale:—If Patroclus had been brought to the tent still alive but without his arms (and this has happened to innumerable persons), the original arms, which the poet says were presented to Peleus by the Gods as a nuptial gift when he married Thetis, remaining in the hands of Hector, then the base spirits of that day might have reproached the son of Menoetius with having cast away his arms. Again, there is the case of those who have been thrown down precipices and lost their arms; and of those who at sea, and in stormy places, have been suddenly overwhelmed by floods of water; and there are numberless things of this kind which one might adduce by way of extenuation, and with the view of justifying a misfortune which is easily misrepresented. We must, therefore, endeavor to divide to the best of our power the greater and more serious evil from the lesser. And a distinction may be drawn in the use of terms of reproach. A man does not always deserve to be called the thrower away of his shield; he may be only the loser of his arms. For there is a great or rather absolute difference between him who is deprived of his arms by a sufficient force, and him who voluntarily lets his shield go. Let the law then be as follows:—If a person having arms is overtaken by the enemy and does not turn round and defend himself, but lets them go voluntarily or throws them away, choosing a base life and a swift escape rather than a courageous and noble and blessed death—in such a case of the throwing away of arms let justice be done, but the judge need take no note of the case just now mentioned; for the bad man ought always to be punished, in the hope that he may be improved, but not the unfortunate, for there is no advantage in that. And what shall be the punishment suited to him who has thrown away his weapons of defense? Tradition says that Caeneus, the Thessalian, was changed by a God from a woman into a man; but the converse miracle cannot now be wrought, or no punishment would be more proper than that the man who throws away his shield should be changed into a woman. This however is impossible, and therefore let us make a law as nearly like this as we can—that he who loves his life too well shall be in no danger for the remainder of his days, but shall live for ever under the stigma of cowardice. And let the law be in the following terms:—When a man is found guilty of disgracefully throwing away his arms in war, no general or military officer shall allow him to serve as a soldier, or give him any place at all in the ranks of soldiers; and the officer who gives the coward any place, shall suffer a penalty which the public examiner shall exact of him; and if he be of the highest class, he shall pay a thousand drachmae; or if he be of the second class, five minae; or if he be of the third, three minae; or if he be of the fourth class, one mina. And he who is found guilty of cowardice, shall not only be dismissed from manly dangers, which is a disgrace appropriate to his nature, but he shall pay a thousand drachmae, if he be of the highest class, and five minae if he be of the second class, and three if he be of the third class, and a mina, like the preceding, if he be of the fourth class.
What regulations will be proper about examiners, seeing that some of our magistrates are elected by lot, and for a year, and some for a longer time and from selected persons? Of such magistrates, who will be a sufficient censor or examiner, if any of them, weighed down by the pressure of office or his own inability to support the dignity of his office, be guilty of any crooked practice? It is by no means easy to find a magistrate who excels other magistrates in virtue, but still we must endeavor to discover some censor or examiner who is more than man. For the truth is, that there are many elements of dissolution in a state, as there are also in a ship, or in an animal; they all have their cords, and girders, and sinews,—one nature diffused in many places, and called by many names; and the office of examiner is a most important element in the preservation and dissolution of states. For if the examiners are better than the magistrates, and their duty is fulfilled justly and without blame, then the whole state and country flourishes and is happy; but if the examination of the magistrates is carried on in a wrong way, then, by the relaxation of that justice which is the uniting principle of all constitutions, every power in the state is rent asunder from every other; they no longer incline in the same direction, but fill the city with faction, and make many cities out of one, and soon bring all to destruction. Wherefore the examiners ought to be admirable in every sort of virtue. Let us invent a mode of creating them, which shall be as follows:—Every year, after the summer solstice, the whole city shall meet in the common precincts of Helios and Apollo, and shall present to the God three men out of their own number in the manner following:—Each citizen shall select, not himself, but some other citizen whom he deems in every way the best, and who is not less than fifty years of age. And out of the selected persons who have the greatest number of votes, they shall make a further selection until they reduce them to one-half, if they are an even number; but if they are not an even number, they shall subtract the one who has the smallest number of votes, and make them an even number, and then leave the half which have the greater number of votes. And if two persons have an equal number of votes, and thus increase the number beyond one-half, they shall withdraw the younger of the two and do away with the excess; and then including all the rest they shall again vote, until there are left three having an unequal number of votes. But if all the three, or two out of the three, have equal votes, let them commit the election to good fate and fortune, and separate off by lot the first, and the second, and the third; these they shall crown with an olive wreath and give them the prize of excellence, at the same time proclaiming to all the world that the city of the Magnetes, by providence of the Gods, is again preserved, and presents to the Sun and to Apollo her three best men as first-fruits, to be a common offering to them, according to the ancient law, as long as their lives answer to the judgment formed of them. And these shall appoint in their first year twelve examiners, to continue until each has completed seventy-five years, to whom three shall afterwards be added yearly; and let these divide all the magistracies into twelve parts, and prove the holders of them by every sort of test to which a freeman may be subjected; and let them live while they hold office in the precinct of Helios and Apollo, in which they were chosen, and let each one form a judgment of some things individually, and of others in company with his colleagues; and let him place a writing in the agora about each magistracy, and what the magistrate ought to suffer or pay, according to the decision of the examiners. And if a magistrate does not admit that he has been justly judged, let him bring the examiners before the select judges, and if he be acquitted by their decision, let him, if he will, accuse the examiners themselves; if, however, he be convicted, and have been condemned to death by the examiners, let him die (and of course he can only die once):—but any other penalties which admit of being doubled let him suffer twice over.
And now let us pass under review the examiners themselves; what will their examination be, and how conducted? During the life of these men, whom the whole state counts worthy of the rewards of virtue, they shall have the first seat at all public assemblies, and at all Hellenic sacrifices and sacred missions, and other public and holy ceremonies in which they share. The chiefs of each sacred mission shall be selected from them, and they only of all the citizens shall be adorned with a crown of laurel; they shall all be priests of Apollo and Helios; and one of them, who is judged first of the priests created in that year, shall be high priest; and they shall write up his name in each year to be a measure of time as long as the city lasts; and after their death they shall be laid out and carried to the grave and entombed in a manner different from the other citizens. They shall be decked in a robe all of white, and there shall be no crying or lamentation over them; but a chorus of fifteen maidens, and another of boys, shall stand around the bier on either side, hymning the praises of the departed priests in alternate responses, declaring their blessedness in song all day long; and at dawn a hundred of the youths who practice gymnastic and whom the relations of the departed shall choose, shall carry the bier to the sepulchre, the young men marching first, dressed in the garb of warriors,—the cavalry with their horses, the heavy-armed with their arms, and the others in like manner. And boys near the bier and in front of it shall sing their national hymn, and maidens shall follow behind, and with them the women who have passed the age of childbearing; next, although they are interdicted from other burials, let priests and priestesses follow, unless the Pythian oracle forbid them; for this burial is free from pollution. The place of burial shall be an oblong vaulted chamber underground, constructed of tufa, which will last for ever, having stone couches placed side by side. And here they will lay the blessed person, and cover the sepulchre with a circular mound of earth and plant a grove of trees around on every side but one; and on that side the sepulchre shall be allowed to extend for ever, and a new mound will not be required. Every year they shall have contests in music and gymnastics, and in horsemanship, in honor of the dead. These are the honors which shall be given to those who at the examination are found blameless; but if any of them, trusting to the scrutiny being over, should, after the judgment has been given, manifest the wickedness of human nature, let the law ordain that he who pleases shall indict him, and let the cause be tried in the following manner. In the first place, the court shall be composed of the guardians of the law, and to them the surviving examiners shall be added, as well as the court of select judges; and let the pursuer lay his indictment in this form—he shall say that so-and-so is unworthy of the prize of virtue and of his office; and if the defendant be convicted let him be deprived of his office, and of the burial, and of the other honors given him. But if the prosecutor do not obtain the fifth part of the votes, let him, if he be of the first class, pay twelve minae, and eight if he be of the second class, and six if he be of the third class, and two minae if he be of the fourth class.
The so-called decision of Rhadamanthus is worthy of all admiration. He knew that the men of his own time believed and had no doubt that there were Gods, which was a reasonable belief in those days, because most men were the sons of Gods, and according to tradition he was one himself. He appears to have thought that he ought to commit judgment to no man, but to the Gods only, and in this way suits were simply and speedily decided by him. For he made the two parties take an oath respecting the points in dispute, and so got rid of the matter speedily and safely. But now that a certain portion of mankind do not believe at all in the existence of the Gods, and others imagine that they have no care of us, and the opinion of most men, and of the worst men, is that in return for a small sacrifice and a few flattering words they will be their accomplices in purloining large sums and save them from many terrible punishments, the way of Rhadamanthus is no longer suited to the needs of justice; for as the opinions of men about the Gods are changed, the laws should also be changed;—in the granting of suits a rational legislation ought to do away with the oaths of the parties on either side—he who obtains leave to bring an action should write down the charges, but should not add an oath; and the defendant in like manner should give his denial to the magistrates in writing, and not swear; for it is a dreadful thing to know, when many lawsuits are going on in a state, that almost half the people who meet one another quite unconcernedly at the public meals and in other companies and relations of private life are perjured. Let the law, then, be as follows:—A judge who is about to give judgment shall take an oath, and he who is choosing magistrates for the state shall either vote on oath or with a voting tablet which he brings from a temple; so too the judge of dances and of all music, and the superintendents and umpires of gymnastic and equestrian contests, and any matters in which, as far as men can judge, there is nothing to be gained by a false oath; but all cases in which a denial confirmed by an oath clearly results in a great advantage to the taker of the oath, shall be decided without the oath of the parties to the suit, and the presiding judges shall not permit either of them to use an oath for the sake of persuading, nor to call down curses on himself and his race, nor to use unseemly supplications or womanish laments. But they shall ever be teaching and learning what is just in auspicious words; and he who does otherwise shall be supposed to speak beside the point, and the judges shall again bring him back to the question at issue. On the other hand, strangers in their dealings with strangers shall as at present have power to give and receive oaths, for they will not often grow old in the city or leave a fry of young ones like themselves to be the sons and heirs of the land.
As to the initiation of private suits, let the manner of deciding causes between all citizens be the same as in cases in which any freeman is disobedient to the state in minor matters, of which the penalty is not stripes, imprisonment, or death. But as regards attendance at choruses or processions or other shows, and as regards public services, whether the celebration of sacrifice in peace, or the payment of contributions in war—in all these cases, first comes the necessity of providing remedy for the loss; and by those who will not obey, there shall be security given to the officers whom the city and the law empower to exact the sum due; and if they forfeit their security, let the goods which they have pledged be sold and the money given to the city; but if they ought to pay a larger sum, the several magistrates shall impose upon the disobedient a suitable penalty, and bring them before the court, until they are willing to do what they are ordered.
Now a state which makes money from the cultivation of the soil only, and has no foreign trade, must consider what it will do about the emigration of its own people to other countries, and the reception of strangers from elsewhere. About these matters the legislator has to consider, and he will begin by trying to persuade men as far as he can. The intercourse of cities with one another is apt to create a confusion of manners; strangers are always suggesting novelties to strangers. When states are well governed by good laws the mixture causes the greatest possible injury; but seeing that most cities are the reverse of well-ordered, the confusion which arises in them from the reception of strangers, and from the citizens themselves rushing off into other cities, when any one either young or old desires to travel anywhere abroad at whatever time, is of no consequence. On the other hand, the refusal of states to receive others, and for their own citizens never to go to other places, is an utter impossibility, and to the rest of the world is likely to appear ruthless and uncivilized; it is a practice adopted by people who use harsh words, such as xenelasia or banishment of strangers, and who have harsh and morose ways, as men think. And to be thought or not to be thought well of by the rest of the world is no light matter; for the many are not so far wrong in their judgment of who are bad and who are good, as they are removed from the nature of virtue in themselves. Even bad men have a divine instinct which guesses rightly, and very many who are utterly depraved form correct notions and judgments of the differences between the good and bad. And the generality of cities are quite right in exhorting us to value a good reputation in the world, for there is no truth greater and more important than this—that he who is really good (I am speaking of the man who would be perfect) seeks for reputation with, but not without, the reality of goodness. And our Cretan colony ought also to acquire the fairest and noblest reputation for virtue from other men; and there is every reason to expect that, if the reality answers to the idea, she will be one of the few well-ordered cities which the sun and the other Gods behold. Wherefore, in the matter of journeys to other countries and the reception of strangers, we enact as follows:—In the first place, let no one be allowed to go anywhere at all into a foreign country who is less than forty years of age; and no one shall go in a private capacity, but only in some public one, as a herald, or on an embassy, or on a sacred mission. Going abroad on an expedition or in war is not to be included among travels of the class authorized by the state. To Apollo at Delphi and to Zeus at Olympia and to Nemea and to the Isthmus, citizens should be sent to take part in the sacrifices and games there dedicated to the Gods; and they should send as many as possible, and the best and fairest that can be found, and they will make the city renowned at holy meetings in time of peace, procuring a glory which shall be the converse of that which is gained in war; and when they come home they shall teach the young that the institutions of other states are inferior to their own. And they shall send spectators of another sort, if they have the consent of the guardians, being such citizens as desire to look a little more at leisure at the doings of other men; and these no law shall hinder. For a city which has no experience of good and bad men or intercourse with them, can never be thoroughly and perfectly civilized, nor, again, can the citizens of a city properly observe the laws by habit only, and without an intelligent understanding of them. And there always are in the world a few inspired men whose acquaintance is beyond price, and who spring up quite as much in ill-ordered as in well-ordered cities. These are they whom the citizens of a well ordered city should be ever seeking out, going forth over sea and over land to find him who is incorruptible—that he may establish more firmly institutions in his own state which are good already, and amend what is deficient; for without this examination and enquiry a city will never continue perfect any more than if the examination is ill-conducted.
Cleinias. How can we have an examination and also a good one?
Athenian Stranger. In this way:—In the first place, our spectator shall be of not less than fifty years of age; he must be a man of reputation, especially in war, if he is to exhibit to other cities a model of the guardians of the law, but when he is more than sixty years of age he shall no longer continue in his office of spectator. And when he has carried on his inspection during as many out of the ten years of his office as he pleases, on his return home let him go to the assembly of those who review the laws. This shall be a mixed body of young and old men, who shall be required to meet daily between the hour of dawn and the rising of the sun. They shall consist, in the first place, of the priests who have obtained the rewards of virtue; and in the second place, of guardians of the law, the ten eldest being chosen; the general superintendent of education shall also be a member, as well the last appointed as those who have been released from the office; and each of them shall take with him as his companion a young man, whomsoever he chooses, between the ages of thirty and forty. These shall be always holding conversation and discourse about the laws of their own city or about any specially good ones which they may hear to be existing elsewhere; also about kinds of knowledge which may appear to be of use and will throw light upon the examination, or of which the want will make the subject of laws dark and uncertain to them. Any knowledge of this sort which the elders approve, the younger men shall learn with all diligence; and if any one of those who have been invited appear to be unworthy, the whole assembly shall blame him who invited him. The rest of the city shall watch over those among the young men who distinguish themselves, having an eye upon them, and especially honoring them if they succeed, but dishonoring them above the rest if they turn out to be inferior. This is the assembly to which he who has visited the institutions of other men, on his return home shall straightway go, and if he have discovered any one who has anything to say about the enactment of laws or education or nurture, or if he have himself made any observations, let him communicate his discoveries to the whole assembly. And if he be seen to have come home neither better nor worse, let him be praised at any rate for his enthusiasm; and if he be much better, let him be praised so much the more; and not only while he lives but after his death let the assembly honor him with fitting honors. But if on his return home he appear to have been corrupted, pretending to be wise when he is not, let him hold no communication with any one, whether young or old; and if he will hearken to the rulers, then he shall be permitted to live as a private individual; but if he will not, let him die, if he be convicted in a court of law of interfering about education and the laws. And if he deserve to be indicted, and none of the magistrates indict him, let that be counted as a disgrace to them when the rewards of virtue are decided.
Let such be the character of the person who goes abroad, and let him go abroad under these conditions. In the next place, the stranger who comes from abroad should be received in a friendly spirit. Now there are four kinds of strangers, of whom we must make some mention—the first is he who comes and stays throughout the summer; this class are like birds of passage, taking wing in pursuit of commerce, and flying over the sea to other cities, while the season lasts; he shall be received in market-places and harbors and public buildings, near the city but outside, by those magistrates who are appointed to superintend these matters; and they shall take care that a stranger, whoever he be, duly receives justice; but he shall not be allowed to make any innovation. They shall hold the intercourse with him which is necessary, and this shall be as little as possible. The second kind is just a spectator who comes to see with his eyes and hear with his ears the festivals of the Muses; such ought to have entertainment provided them at the temples by hospitable persons, and the priests and ministers of the temples should see and attend to them. But they should not remain more than a reasonable time; let them see and hear that for the sake of which they came, and then go away, neither having suffered nor done any harm. The priests shall be their judges, if any of them receive or do any wrong up to the sum of fifty drachmae, but if any greater charge be brought, in such cases the suit shall come before the wardens of the agora. The third kind of stranger is he who comes on some public business from another land, and is to be received with public honors. He is to be received only by the generals and commanders of horse and foot, and the host by whom he is entertained, in conjunction with the Prytanes, shall have the sole charge of what concerns him. There is a fourth class of persons answering to our spectators, who come from another land to look at ours. In the first place, such visits will be rare, and the visitor should be at least fifty years of age; he may possibly be wanting to see something that is rich and rare in other states, or himself to show something in like manner to another city. Let such an one, then, go unbidden to the doors of the wise and rich, being one of them himself: let him go, for example, to the house of the superintendent of education, confident that he is a fitting guest of such a host, or let him go to the house of some of those who have gained the prize of virtue and hold discourse with them, both learning from them, and also teaching them; and when he has seen and heard all, he shall depart, as a friend taking leave of friends, and be honored by them with gifts and suitable tributes of respect. These are the customs, according to which our city should receive all strangers of either sex who come from other countries, and should send forth her own citizens, showing respect to Zeus, the God of hospitality, not forbidding strangers at meals and sacrifices, as is the manner which prevails among the children of the Nile, nor driving them away by savage proclamations.
When a man becomes surety, let him give the security in a distinct form, acknowledging the whole transaction in a written document, and in the presence of not less than three witnesses if the sum be under a thousand drachmae, and of not less than five witnesses if the sum be above a thousand drachmae. The agent of a dishonest or untrustworthy seller shall himself be responsible; both the agent and the principal shall be equally liable. If a person wishes to find anything in the house of another, he shall enter naked, or wearing only a short tunic and without a girdle, having first taken an oath by the customary Gods that he expects to find it there; he shall then make his search, and the other shall throw open his house and allow him to search things both sealed and unsealed. And if a person will not allow the searcher to make his search, he who is prevented shall go to law with him, estimating the value of the goods after which he is searching, and if the other be convicted he shall pay twice the value of the article. If the master be absent from home, the dwellers in the house shall let him search the unsealed property, and on the sealed property the searcher shall set another seal, and shall appoint any one whom he likes to guard them during five days; and if the master of the house be absent during a longer time, he shall take with him the wardens of the city, and so make his search, opening the sealed property as well as the unsealed, and then, together with the members of the family and the wardens of the city, he shall seal them up again as they were before. There shall be a limit of time in the case of disputed things, and he who has had possession of them during a certain time shall no longer be liable to be disturbed. As to houses and lands there can be no dispute in this state of ours; but if a man has any other possessions which he has used and openly shown in the city and in the agora and in the temples, and no one has put in a claim to them, and some one says that he was looking for them during this time, and the possessor is proved to have made no concealment, if they have continued for a year, the one having the goods and the other looking for them, the claim of the seeker shall not be allowed after the expiration of the year; or if he does not use or show the lost property in the market or in the city, but only in the country, and no one offers himself as the owner during five years, at the expiration of the five years the claim shall be barred for ever after; or if he uses them in the city but within the house, then the appointed time of claiming the goods shall be three years, or ten years if he has them in the country in private. And if he has them in another land, there shall be no limit of time or prescription, but whenever the owner finds them he may claim them.
If any one prevents another by force from being present at a trial, whether a principal party or his witnesses; if the person prevented be a slave, whether his own or belonging to another, the suit shall be incomplete and invalid; but if he who is prevented be a freeman, besides the suit being incomplete, the other who has prevented him shall be imprisoned for a year, and shall be prosecuted for kidnapping by any one who pleases. And if any one hinders by force a rival competitor in gymnastic or music, or any other sort of contest, from being present at the contest, let him who has a mind inform the presiding judges, and they shall liberate him who is desirous of competing; and if they are not able, and he who hinders the other from competing wins the prize, then they shall give the prize of victory to him who is prevented, and inscribe him as the conqueror in any temples which he pleases; and he who hinders the other shall not be permitted to make any offering or inscription having reference to that contest, and in any case he shall be liable for damages, whether he be defeated or whether he conquer.
If any one knowingly receives anything which has been stolen, he shall undergo the same punishment as the thief, and if a man receives an exile he shall be punished with death. Every man should regard the friend and enemy of the state as his own friend and enemy; and if any one makes peace or war with another on his own account, and without the authority of the state, he, like the receiver of the exile, shall undergo the penalty of death. And if any fraction of the city declare war or peace against any, the generals shall indict the authors of this proceeding, and if they are convicted death shall be the penalty. Those who serve their country ought to serve without receiving gifts, and there ought to be no excusing or approving the saying, "Men should receive gifts as the reward of good, but not of evil deeds;" for to know which we are doing, and to stand fast by our knowledge, is no easy matter. The safest course is to obey the law which says, "Do no service for a bribe," and let him who disobeys, if he be convicted, simply die. With a view to taxation, for various reasons, every man ought to have had his property valued: and the tribesmen should likewise bring a register of the yearly produce to the wardens of the country, that in this way there may be two valuations; and the public officers may use annually whichever on consideration they deem the best, whether they prefer to take a certain portion of the whole value, or of the annual revenue, after subtracting what is paid to the common tables.
Touching offerings to the Gods, a moderate man should observe moderation in what he offers. Now the land and the hearth of the house of all men is sacred to all Gods; wherefore let no man dedicate them a second time to the Gods. Gold and silver, whether possessed by private persons or in temples, are in other cities provocative of envy, and ivory, the product of a dead body, is not a proper offering; brass and iron, again, are instruments of war; but of wood let a man bring what offerings he likes, provided it be a single block, and in like manner of stone, to the public temples; of woven work let him not offer more than one woman can execute in a month. White is a color suitable to the Gods, especially in woven works, but dyes should only be used for the adornments of war. The most divine of gifts are birds and images, and they should be such as one painter can execute in a single day. And let all other offerings follow a similar rule.
Now that the whole city has been divided into parts of which the nature and number have been described, and laws have been given about all the most important contracts as far as this was possible, the next thing will be to have justice done. The first of the courts shall consist of elected judges, who shall be chosen by the plaintiff and the defendant in common: these shall be called arbiters rather than judges. And in the second court there shall be judges of the villages and tribes corresponding to the twelvefold division of the land, and before these the litigants shall go to contend for greater damages, if the suit be not decided before the first judges; the defendant, if he be defeated the second time, shall pay a fifth more than the damages mentioned in the indictment; and if he find fault with his judges and would try a third time, let him carry the suit before the select judges, and if he be again defeated, let him pay the whole of the damages and half as much again. And the plaintiff, if when defeated before the first judges he persist in going on to the second, shall if he wins receive in addition to the damages a fifth part more, and if defeated he shall pay a like sum; but if he is not satisfied with the previous decision, and will insist on proceeding to a third court, then if he win he shall receive from the defendant the amount of the damages and, as I said before, half as much again, and the plaintiff, if he lose, shall pay half of the damages claimed. Now the assignment by lot of judges to courts and the completion of the number of them, and the appointment of servants to the different magistrates, and the times at which the several causes should be heard, and the votings and delays, and all the things that necessarily concern suits, and the order of causes, and the time in which answers have to be put in and parties are to appear—of these and other things akin to these we have indeed already spoken, but there is no harm in repeating what is right twice or thrice:—All lesser and easier matters which the elder legislator has omitted may be supplied by the younger one. Private courts will be sufficiently regulated in this way, and the public and state courts, and those which the magistrates must use in the administration of their several offices, exist in many other states. Many very respectable institutions of this sort have been framed by good men, and from them the guardians of the law may by reflection derive what is necessary, for the order of our new state, considering and correcting them, and bringing them to the test of experience, until every detail appears to be satisfactorily determined; and then putting the final seal upon them, and making them irreversible, they shall use them for ever afterwards. As to what relates to the silence of judges and the abstinence from words of evil omen and the reverse, and the different notions of the just and good and honorable which exist in our own as compared with other states, they have been partly mentioned already, and another part of them will be mentioned hereafter as we draw near the end. To all these matters he who would be an equal judge, shall justly look, and he shall possess writings about them that he may learn them. For of all kinds of knowledge the knowledge of good laws has the greatest power of improving the learner; otherwise there would be no meaning in the divine and admirable law possessing a name akin to mind (nous, nomos). And of all other words, such as the praises and censures of individuals which occur in poetry and also in prose, whether written down or uttered in daily conversation, whether men dispute about them in the spirit of contention or weakly assent to them, as is often the case—of all these the one sure test is the writings of the legislator, which the righteous judge ought to have in his mind as the antidote of all other words, and thus make himself and the city stand upright, procuring for the good the continuance and increase of justice, and for the bad, on the other hand, a conversion from ignorance and intemperance, and in general from all unrighteousness, as far as their evil minds can be healed, but to those whose web of life is in reality finished, giving death, which is the only remedy for souls in their condition, as I may say truly again and again. And such judges and chiefs of judges will be worthy of receiving praise from the whole city.
When the suits of the year are completed the following laws shall regulate their execution:—In the first place, the judge shall assign to the party who wins the suit the whole property of him who loses, with the exception of mere necessaries, and the assignment shall be made through the herald immediately after each decision in the hearing of the judges; and when the month arrives following the month in which the courts are sitting (unless the gainer of the suit has been previously satisfied), the court shall follow up the case, and hand over to the winner the goods of the loser; but if they find that he has not the means of paying, and the sum deficient is not less than a drachma, the insolvent person shall not have any right of going to law with any other man until he have satisfied the debt of the winning party; but other persons shall still have the right of bringing suits against him. And if any one after he is condemned refuses to acknowledge the authority which condemned him, let the magistrates who are thus deprived of their authority bring him before the court of the guardians of the law, and if he be cast, let him be punished with death, as a subverter of the whole state and of the laws.
Thus a man is born and brought up, and after this manner he begets and brings up his own children, and has his share of dealings with other men, and suffers if he has done wrong to any one, and receives satisfaction if he has been wronged, and so at length in due time he grows old under the protection of the laws, and his end comes in the order of nature. Concerning the dead of either sex, the religious ceremonies which may fittingly be performed, whether appertaining to the Gods of the underworld or of this, shall be decided by the interpreters with absolute authority. Their sepulchres are not to be in places which are fit for cultivation, and there shall be no monuments in such spots, either large or small, but they shall occupy that part of the country which is naturally adapted for receiving and concealing the bodies of the dead with as little hurt as possible to the living. No man, living or dead, shall deprive the living of the sustenance which the earth, their foster-parent, is naturally inclined to provide for them. And let not the mound be piled higher than would be the work of five men completed in five days; nor shall the stone which is placed over the spot be larger than would be sufficient to receive the praises of the dead included in four heroic lines. Nor shall the laying out of the dead in the house continue for a longer time than is sufficient to distinguish between him who is in a trance only and him who is really dead, and speaking generally, the third day after death will be a fair time for carrying out the body to the sepulchre. Now we must believe the legislator when he tells us that the soul is in all respects superior to the body, and that even in life what makes each one of us to be what we are is only the soul; and that the body follows us about in the likeness of each of us, and therefore, when we are dead, the bodies of the dead are quite rightly said to be our shades or images; for the true and immortal being of each one of us which is called the soul goes on her way to other Gods, before them to give an account—which is an inspiring hope to the good, but very terrible to the bad, as the laws of our fathers tell us; and they also say that not much can be done in the way of helping a man after he is dead. But the living—he should be helped by all his kindred, that while in life he may be the holiest and justest of men, and after death may have no great sins to be punished in the world below. If this be true, a man ought not to waste his substance under the idea that all this lifeless mass of flesh which is in process of burial is connected with him; he should consider that the son, or brother, or the beloved one, whoever he may be, whom he thinks he is laying in the earth, has gone away to complete and fulfill his own destiny, and that his duty is rightly to order the present, and to spend moderately on the lifeless altar of the Gods below. But the legislator does not intend moderation to be taken in the sense of meanness. Let the law, then, be as follows:—The expenditure on the entire funeral of him who is of the highest class shall not exceed five minae; and for him who is of the second class, three minae, and for him who is of the third class, two minae, and for him who is of the fourth class, one mina, will be a fair limit of expense. The guardians of the law ought to take especial care of the different ages of life, whether childhood, or manhood, or any other age. And at the end of all, let there be some one guardian of the law presiding, who shall be chosen by the friends of the deceased to superintend, and let it be glory to him to manage with fairness and moderation what relates to the dead, and a discredit to him if they are not well managed. Let the laying out and other ceremonies be in accordance with custom, but to the statesman who adopts custom as his law we must give way in certain particulars. It would be monstrous for example that he should command any man to weep or abstain from weeping over the dead; but he may forbid cries of lamentation, and not allow the voice of the mourner to be heard outside the house; also, he may forbid the bringing of the dead body into the open streets, or the processions of mourners in the streets, and may require that before daybreak they should be outside the city. Let these, then, be our laws relating to such matters, and let him who obeys be free from penalty; but he who disobeys even a single guardian of the law shall be punished by them all with a fitting penalty. Other modes of burial, or again the denial of burial, which is to be refused in the case of robbers of temples and parricides and the like, have been devised and are embodied in the preceding laws, so that now our work of legislation is pretty nearly at an end; but in all cases the end does not consist in doing something or acquiring something or establishing something,—the end will be attained and finally accomplished, when we have provided for the perfect and lasting continuance of our institutions; until then our creation is incomplete.
Cleinias. That is very good, Stranger; but I wish you would tell me more clearly what you mean.
Athenian Stranger. O Cleinias, many things of old time were well said and sung; and the saying about the Fates was one of them.
Cleinias. What is it?
Athenian Stranger. The saying that Lachesis or the giver of the lots is the first of them, and that Clotho or the spinster is the second of them, and that Atropos or the unchanging one is the third of them; and that she is the preserver of the things which we have spoken, and which have been compared in a figure to things woven by fire, they both (i.e., Atropos and the fire) producing the quality of unchangeableness. I am speaking of the things which in a state and government give not only health and salvation to the body, but law, or rather preservation of the law, in the soul; and, if I am not mistaken, this seems to be still wanting in our laws: we have still to see how we can implant in them this irreversible nature.
Cleinias. It will be no small matter if we can only discover how such a nature can be implanted in anything.
Athenian Stranger. But it certainly can be; so much I clearly see.
Cleinias. Then let us not think of desisting until we have imparted this quality to our laws; for it is ridiculous, after a great deal of labor has been spent, to place a thing at last on an insecure foundation.
Megillus. I approve of your suggestion, and am quite of the same mind with you.
Cleinias. Very good: And now what, according to you, is to be the salvation of our government and of our laws, and how is it to be effected?
Athenian Stranger. Were we not saying that there must be in our city a council which was to be of this sort:—The ten oldest guardians of the law, and all those who have obtained prizes of virtue, were to meet in the same assembly, and the council was also to include those who had visited foreign countries in the hope of hearing something that might be of use in the preservation of the laws, and who, having come safely home, and having been tested in these same matters, had proved themselves to be worthy to take part in the assembly;—each of the members was to select some young man of not less than thirty years of age, he himself judging in the first instance whether the young man was worthy by nature and education, and then suggesting him to the others, and if he seemed to them also to be worthy they were to adopt him; but if not, the decision at which they arrived was to be kept a secret from the citizens at large; and, more especially, from the rejected candidate. The meeting of the council was to be held early in the morning, when everybody was most at leisure from all other business, whether public or private—was not something of this sort said by us before?
Athenian Stranger. Then, returning to the council, I would say further, that if we let it down to be the anchor of the state, our city, having everything which is suitable to her, will preserve all that we wish to preserve.
Cleinias. What do you mean?
Athenian Stranger. Now is the time for me to speak the truth in all earnestness.
Cleinias. Well said, and I hope that you will fulfill your intention.
Athenian Stranger. Know, Cleinias, that everything, in all that it does, has a natural savior, as of an animal the soul and the head are the chief saviors.
Cleinias. Once more, what do you mean?
Athenian Stranger. The well-being of those two is obviously the preservation of every living thing.
Cleinias. How is that?
Athenian Stranger. The soul, besides other things, contains mind, and the head, besides other things, contains sight and hearing; and the mind, mingling with the noblest of the senses, and becoming one with them, may be truly called the salvation of all.
Cleinias. Yes, Quite so.
Athenian Stranger. Yes, indeed; but with what is that intellect concerned which, mingling with the senses, is the salvation of ships in storms as well as in fair weather? In a ship, when the pilot and the sailors unite their perceptions with the piloting mind, do they not save both themselves and their craft?
Cleinias. Very true.
Athenian Stranger. We do not want many illustrations about such matters:—What aim would the general of an army, or what aim would a physician propose to himself, if he were seeking to attain salvation?
Cleinias. Very good.
Athenian Stranger. Does not the general aim at victory and superiority in war, and do not the physician and his assistants aim at producing health in the body?
Athenian Stranger. And a physician who is ignorant about the body, that is to say, who knows not that which we just now called health, or a general who knows not victory, or any others who are ignorant of the particulars of the arts which we mentioned, cannot be said to have understanding about any of these matters.
Cleinias. They cannot.
Athenian Stranger. And what would you say of the state? If a person proves to be ignorant of the aim to which the statesman should look, ought he, in the first place, to be called a ruler at all; and further, will he ever be able to preserve that of which he does not even know the aim?
Athenian Stranger. And therefore, if our settlement of the country is to be perfect, we ought to have some institution, which, as I was saying, will tell what is the aim of the state, and will inform us how we are to attain this, and what law or what man will advise us to that end. Any state which has no such institution is likely to be devoid of mind and sense, and in all her actions will proceed by mere chance.
Cleinias. Very true.
Athenian Stranger. In which, then, of the parts or institutions of the state is any such guardian power to be found? Can we say?
Cleinias. I am not quite certain, Stranger; but I have a suspicion that you are referring to the assembly which you just now said was to meet at night.
Athenian Stranger. You understand me perfectly, Cleinias; and we must assume, as the argument implies, that this council possesses all virtue; and the beginning of virtue is not to make mistakes by guessing many things, but to look steadily at one thing, and on this to fix all our aims.
Cleinias. Quite true.
Athenian Stranger. Then now we shall see why there is nothing wonderful in states going astray—the reason is that their legislators have such different aims; nor is there anything wonderful in some laying down as their rule of justice, that certain individuals should bear rule in the state, whether they be good or bad, and others that the citizens should be rich, not caring whether they are the slaves of other men or not. The tendency of others, again, is towards freedom; and some legislate with a view to two things at once,—they want to be at the same time free and the lords of other states; but the wisest men, as they deem themselves to be, look to all these and similar aims, and there is no one of them which they exclusively honor, and to which they would have all things look.
Cleinias. Then, Stranger, our former assertion will hold, for we were saying that laws generally should look to one thing only; and this, as we admitted, was rightly said to be virtue.
Athenian Stranger. Yes.
Cleinias. And we said that virtue was of four kinds?
Athenian Stranger. Quite true.
Cleinias. And that mind was the leader of the four, and that to her the three other virtues and all other things ought to have regard?
Athenian Stranger. You follow me capitally, Cleinias, and I would ask you to follow me to the end, for we have already said that the mind of the pilot, the mind of the physician and of the general look to that one thing to which they ought to look; and now we may turn to mind political, of which, as of a human creature, we will ask a question:—O wonderful being, and to what are you looking? The physician is able to tell his single aim in life, but you, the superior, as you declare yourself to be, of all intelligent beings, when you are asked are not able to tell. Can you, Megillus, and you, Cleinias, say distinctly what is the aim of mind political, in return for the many explanations of things which I have given you?
Cleinias. We cannot, Stranger.
Athenian Stranger. Well, but ought we not to desire to see it, and to see where it is to be found?
Cleinias. For example, where?
Athenian Stranger. For example, we were saying that there are four kinds of virtue, and as there are four of them, each of them must be one.
Athenian Stranger. And further, all four of them we call one; for we say that courage is virtue, and that prudence is virtue, and the same of the two others, as if they were in reality not many but one, that is, virtue.
Cleinias. Quite so.
Athenian Stranger. There is no difficulty in seeing in what way the two differ from one another, and have received two names, and so of the rest. But there is more difficulty in explaining why we call these two and the rest of them by the single name of virtue.
Cleinias. How do you mean?
Athenian Stranger. I have no difficulty in explaining what I mean. Let us distribute the subject into questions and answers.
Cleinias. Once more, what do you mean?
Athenian Stranger. Ask me what is that one thing which I call virtue, and then again speak of as two, one part being courage and the other wisdom. I will tell you how that occurs:—One of them has to do with fear; in this the beasts also participate, and quite young children,—I mean courage; for a courageous temper is a gift of nature and not of reason. But without reason there never has been, or is, or will be a wise and understanding soul; it is of a different nature.
Cleinias. That is true.
Athenian Stranger. I have now told you in what way the two are different, and do you in return tell me in what way they are one and the same. Suppose that I ask you in what way the four are one, and when you have answered me, you will have a right to ask of me in return in what way they are four; and then let us proceed to enquire whether in the case of things which have a name and also a definition to them, true knowledge consists in knowing the name only and not the definition. Can he who is good for anything be ignorant of all this without discredit where great and glorious truths are concerned?
Cleinias. I suppose not.
Athenian Stranger. And is there anything greater to the legislator and the guardian of the law, and to him who thinks that he excels all other men in virtue, and has won the palm of excellence, than these very qualities of which we are now speaking,—courage, temperance, wisdom, justice?
Cleinias. How can there be anything greater?
Athenian Stranger. And ought not the interpreters, the teachers, the lawgivers, the guardians of the other citizens, to excel the rest of mankind, and perfectly to show him who desires to learn and know or whose evil actions require to be punished and reproved, what is the nature of virtue and vice? Or shall some poet who has found his way into the city, or some chance person who pretends to be an instructor of youth, show himself to be better than him who has won the prize for every virtue? And can we wonder that when the guardians are not adequate in speech or action, and have no adequate knowledge of virtue, the city being unguarded should experience the common fate of cities in our day?
Cleinias. Wonder! no.
Athenian Stranger. Well, then, must we do as we said? Or can we give our guardians a more precise knowledge of virtue in speech and action than the many have? or is there any way in which our city can be made to resemble the head and senses of rational beings because possessing such a guardian power?
Cleinias. What, Stranger, is the drift of your comparison?
Athenian Stranger. Do we not see that the city is the trunk, and are not the younger guardians, who are chosen for their natural gifts, placed in the head of the state, having their souls all full of eyes, with which they look about the whole city? They keep watch and hand over their perceptions to the memory, and inform the elders of all that happens in the city; and those whom we compared to the mind, because they have many wise thoughts—that is to say, the old men—take counsel, and making use of the younger men as their ministers, and advising with them,—in this way both together truly preserve the whole state:—Shall this or some other be the order of our state? Are all our citizens to be equal in acquirements, or shall there be special persons among them who have received a more careful training and education?
Cleinias. That they should be equal, my good, sir, is impossible.
Athenian Stranger. Then we ought to proceed to some more exact training than any which has preceded.
Athenian Stranger. And must not that of which we are in need be the one to which we were just now alluding?
Cleinias. Very true.
Athenian Stranger. Did we not say that the workman or guardian, if he be perfect in every respect, ought not only to be able to see the many aims, but he should press onward to the one? this he should know, and knowing, order all things with a view to it.
Athenian Stranger. And can any one have a more exact way of considering or contemplating anything, than the being able to look at one idea gathered from many different things?
Cleinias. Perhaps not.
Athenian Stranger. Not "Perhaps not," but "Certainly not," my good sir, is the right answer. There never has been a truer method than this discovered by any man.
Cleinias. I bow to your authority, Stranger; let us proceed in the way which you propose.
Athenian Stranger. Then, as would appear, we must compel the guardians of our divine state to perceive, in the first place, what that principle is which is the same in all the four—the same, as we affirm, in courage and in temperance, and in justice and in prudence, and which, being one, we call as we ought, by the single name of virtue. To this, my friends, we will, if you please, hold fast, and not let go until we have sufficiently explained what that is to which we are to look, whether to be regarded as one, or as a whole, or as both, or in whatever way. Are we likely ever to be in a virtuous condition, if we cannot tell whether virtue is many, or four, or one? Certainly, if we take counsel among ourselves, we shall in some way contrive that this principle has a place amongst us; but if you have made up your mind that we should let the matter alone, we will.
Cleinias. We must not, Stranger, by the God of strangers I swear that we must not, for in our opinion you speak most truly; but we should like to know how you will accomplish your purpose.
Athenian Stranger. Wait a little before you ask; and let us, first of all, be quite agreed with one another that the purpose has to be accomplished.
Cleinias. Certainly, it ought to be, if it can be.
Athenian Stranger. Well, and about the good and the honorable, are we to take the same view? Are our guardians only to know that each of them is many, or also how and in what way they are one?
Cleinias. They must consider also in what sense they are one.
Athenian Stranger. And are they to consider only, and to be unable to set forth what they think?
Cleinias. Certainly not; that would be the state of a slave.
Athenian Stranger. And may not the same be said of all good things—that the true guardians of the laws ought to know the truth about them, and to be able to interpret them in words, and carry them out in action, judging of what is and what is not well, according to nature?
Athenian Stranger. Is not the knowledge of the Gods which we have set forth with so much zeal one of the noblest sorts of knowledge;—to know that they are, and know how great is their power, as far as in man lies? We do indeed excuse the mass of the citizens, who only follow the voice of the laws, but we refuse to admit as guardians any who do not labor to obtain every possible evidence that there is respecting the Gods; our city is forbidden and not allowed to choose as a guardian of the law, or to place in the select order of virtue, him who is not an inspired man, and has not labored at these things.
Cleinias. It is certainly just, as you say, that he who is indolent about such matters or incapable should be rejected, and that things honorable should be put away from him.
Athenian Stranger. Are we assured that there are two things which lead men to believe in the Gods, as we have already stated?
Cleinias. What are they?
Athenian Stranger. One is the argument about the soul, which has been already mentioned—that it is the eldest and most divine of all things, to which motion attaining generation gives perpetual existence; the other was an argument from the order of the motion of the stars, and of all things under the dominion of the mind which ordered the universe. If a man look upon the world not lightly or ignorantly, there was never any one so godless who did not experience an effect opposite to that which the many imagine. For they think that those who handle these matters by the help of astronomy, and the accompanying arts of demonstration, may become godless, because they see, as far as they can see, things happening by necessity, and not by an intelligent will accomplishing good.
Cleinias. But what is the fact?
Athenian Stranger. Just the opposite, as I said, of the opinion which once prevailed among men, that the sun and stars are without soul. Even in those days men wondered about them, and that which is now ascertained was then conjectured by some who had a more exact knowledge of them—that if they had been things without soul, and had no mind, they could never have moved with numerical exactness so wonderful; and even at that time some ventured to hazard the conjecture that mind was the orderer of the universe. But these same persons again mistaking the nature of the soul, which they conceived to be younger and not older than the body, once more overturned the world, or rather, I should say, themselves; for the bodies which they saw moving in heaven all appeared to be full of stones, and earth, and many other lifeless substances, and to these they assigned the causes of all things. Such studies gave rise to much atheism and perplexity, and the poets took occasion to be abusive,—comparing the philosophers to she-dogs uttering vain howlings, and talking other nonsense of the same sort. But now, as I said, the case is reversed.
Cleinias. How so?
Athenian Stranger. No man can be a true worshipper of the Gods who does not know these two principles—that the soul is the eldest of all things which are born, and is immortal and rules over all bodies; moreover, as I have now said several times, he who has not contemplated the mind of nature which is said to exist in the stars, and gone through the previous training, and seen the connection of music with these things, and harmonized them all with laws and institutions, is not able to give a reason of such things as have a reason. And he who is unable to acquire this in addition to the ordinary virtues of a citizen, can hardly be a good ruler of a whole state; but he should be the subordinate of other rulers. Wherefore, Cleinias and Megillus, let us consider whether we may not add to all the other laws which we have discussed this further one,—that the nocturnal assembly of the magistrates, which has also shared in the whole scheme of education proposed by us, shall be a guard set according to law for the salvation of the state. Shall we propose this?
Cleinias. Certainly, my good friend, we will if the thing is in any degree possible.
Athenian Stranger. Let us make a common effort to gain such an object; for I too will gladly share in the attempt. Of these matters I have had much experience, and have often considered them, and I dare say that I shall be able to find others who will also help.
Cleinias. I agree, Stranger, that we should proceed along the road in which God is guiding us; and how we can proceed rightly has now to be investigated and explained.
Athenian Stranger. O Megillus and Cleinias, about these matters we cannot legislate further until the council is constituted; when that is done, then we will determine what authority they shall have of their own; but the explanation of how this is all to be ordered would only be given rightly in a long discourse.
Cleinias. What do you mean, and what new thing is this?
Athenian Stranger. In the first place, a list would have to be made out of those who by their ages and studies and dispositions and habits are well fitted for the duty of a guardian. In the next place, it will not be easy for them to discover themselves what they ought to learn, or become the disciple of one who has already made the discovery. Furthermore, to write down the times at which, and during which, they ought to receive the several kinds of instruction, would be a vain thing; for the learners themselves do not know what is learned to advantage until the knowledge which is the result of learning has found a place in the soul of each. And so these details, although they could not be truly said to be secret, might be said to be incapable of being stated beforehand, because when stated they would have no meaning.
Cleinias. What then are we to do, Stranger, under these circumstances?
Athenian Stranger. As the proverb says, the answer is no secret, but open to all of us:—We must risk the whole on the chance of throwing, as they say, thrice six or thrice ace, and I am willing to share with you the danger by stating and explaining to you my views about education and nurture, which is the question coming to the surface again. The danger is not a slight or ordinary one, and I would advise you, Cleinias, in particular, to see to the matter; for if you order rightly the city of the Magnetes, or whatever name God may give it, you will obtain the greatest glory; or at any rate you will be thought the most courageous of men in the estimation of posterity. Dear companions, if this our divine assembly can only be established, to them we will hand over the city; none of the present company of legislators, as I may call them, would hesitate about that. And the state will be perfected and become a waking reality, which a little while ago we attempted to create as a dream and in idea only, mingling together reason and mind in one image, in the hope that our citizens might be duly mingled and rightly educated; and being educated, and dwelling in the citadel of the land, might become perfect guardians, such as we have never seen in all our previous life, by reason of the saving virtue which is in them.
Megillus. Dear Cleinias, after all that has been said, either we must detain the Stranger, and by supplications and in all manner of ways make him share in the foundation of the city, or we must give up the undertaking.
Cleinias. Very true, Megillus; and you must join with me in detaining him.
Megillus. I will.