This is Google's cache of
Google's cache is the snapshot that we took of the page as we crawled the web.
The page may have changed since that time. Click here for the current page without highlighting.

Google is not affiliated with the authors of this page nor responsible for its content.

Provided by The Internet Classics Archive.
See bottom for copyright. Available online at

By Plato

Translated by Benjamin Jowett

Persons of the Dialogue

Socrates. I owe you many thanks, indeed, Theodorus, for the acquaintance
both of Theaetetus and of the Stranger. 

Theodorus. And in a little while, Socrates, you will owe me three
times as many, when they have completed for you the delineation of
the Statesman and of the Philosopher, as well as of the Sophist.

Soc. Sophist, statesman, philosopher! O my dear Theodorus, do my ears
truly witness that this is the estimate formed of them by the great
calculator and geometrician? 

Theod. What do you mean, Socrates? 

Soc. I mean that you rate them all at the same value, whereas they
are really separated by an interval, which no geometrical ratio can

Theod. By Ammon, the god of Cyrene, Socrates, that is a very fair
hit; and shows that you have not forgotten your geometry. I will retaliate
on you at some other time, but I must now ask the Stranger, who will
not, I hope, tire of his goodness to us, to proceed either with the
Statesman or with the Philosopher, whichever he prefers.

Stranger. That is my duty, Theodorus; having begun I must go on, and
not leave the work unfinished. But what shall be done with Theaetetus?

Theod. In what respect? 

Str. Shall we relieve him, and take his companion, the Young Socrates,
instead of him? What do you advise? 

Theod. Yes, give the other a turn, as you propose. The young always
do better when they have intervals of rest. 

Soc. I think, Stranger, that both of them may be said to be in some
way related to me; for the one, as you affirm, has the cut of my ugly
face, the other is called by my name. And we should always be on the
look-out to recognize a kinsman by the style of his conversation.
I myself was discoursing with Theaetetus yesterday, and I have just
been listening to his answers; my namesake I have not yet examined,
but I must. Another time will, do for me; to-day let him answer you.

Str. Very good. Young Socrates, do you hear what the elder Socrates
is proposing? 

Young Socrates. I do. 

Str. And do you agree to his proposal? 

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. As you do not object, still less can I. After the Sophist, then,
I think that the Statesman naturally follows next in the order of
enquiry. And please to say, whether he, too, should be ranked among
those who have science. 

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. Then the sciences must be divided as before? 

Y. Soc. I dare say. 

Str. But yet the division will not be the same? 

Y. Soc. How then? 

Str. They will be divided at some other point. 

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. Where shall we discover the path of the Statesman? We must find
and separate off, and set our seal upon this, and we will set the
mark of another class upon all diverging paths. Thus the soul will
conceive of ail kinds of knowledge under two classes. 

Y. Soc. To find the path is your business, Stranger, and not mine.

Str. Yes, Socrates, but the discovery, when once made, must be yours
as well as mine. 

Y. Soc. Very good. 

Str. Well, and are not arithmetic and certain other kindred arts,
merely abstract knowledge, wholly separated from action?

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. But in the art of carpentering and all other handicrafts, the
knowledge of the workman is merged in his work; he not only knows,
but he also makes things which previously did not exist.

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. Then let us divide sciences in general into those which are practical
and those which are-purely intellectual. 

Y. Soc. Let us assume these two divisions of science, which is one

Str. And are "statesman," "king," "master," or "householder," one
and the same; or is there a science or art answering to each of these
names? Or rather, allow me to put the matter in another way.

Y. Soc. Let me hear. 

Str. If any one who is in a private station has the skill to advise
one of the public physicians, must not he also be called a physician?

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. And if any one who is in a private station is able to advise
the ruler of a country, may not he be said to have the knowledge which
the ruler himself ought to have? 

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. But, surely the science of a true king is royal science?

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. And will not he who possesses this knowledge, whether he happens
to be a ruler or a private man, when regarded only in reference to
his art, be truly called "royal"? 

Y. Soc. He certainly ought to be. 

Str. And the householder and master are the same? 

Y. Soc. Of course. 

Str. Again, a large household may be compared to a small state:-will
they differ at all, as far as government is concerned? 

Y. Soc. They will not. 

Str. Then, returning to the point which we were just now discussing,
do we not clearly see that there is one science of all of them; and
this science may be called either royal or political or economical;
we will not quarrel with any one about the name. 

Y. Soc. Certainly not. 

Str. This too, is evident, that the king cannot do much with his hands,
or with his whole body, towards the maintenance of his empire, compared
with what he does by the intelligence and strength of his mind.

Y. Soc. Clearly not. 

Str. Then, shall we say that the king has a greater affinity to knowledge
than to manual arts and to practical life in general? 

Y. Soc. Certainly he has. 

Str. Then we may put all together as one and the same-statesmanship
and the statesman-the kingly science and the king. 

Y. Soc. Clearly. 

Str. And now we shall only be proceeding in due order if we go on
to divide the sphere of knowledge? 

Y. Soc. Very good. 

Str. Think whether you can find any joint or parting in knowledge.

Y. Soc. Tell me of what sort. 

Str. Such as this: You may remember that we made an art of calculation?

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. Which was, unmistakably, one of the arts of knowledge?

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. And to this art of calculation which discerns the differences
of numbers shall we assign any other function except to pass judgment
on their differences? 

Y. Soc. How could we? 

Str. You know that the master-builder does not work himself, but is
the ruler of workmen? 

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. He contributes knowledge, not manual labour? 

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. And may therefore be justly said to share in theoretical science?

Y. Soc. Quite true. 

Str. But he ought not, like the calculator, to regard his functions
as at and when he has formed a judgment;-he must assign to the individual
workmen their appropriate task until they have completed the work.

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. Are not all such sciences, no less than arithmetic and the like,
subjects of pure knowledge; and is not the difference between the
two classes, that the one sort has the power of judging only, and
the other of ruling as well? 

Y. Soc. That is evident. 

Str. May we not very properly say, that of all knowledge, there are
there are two divisions-one which rules, and the other which judges?

Y. Soc. I should think so. 

Str. And when men have anything to do in common, that they should
be of one mind is surely a desirable thing? 

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. Then while we are at unity among ourselves, we need not mind
about the fancies of others? 

Y. Soc. Certainly not. 

Str. And now, in which of these divisions shall we place the king?-Is
he a judge and a kind of spectator? Or shall we assign to him the
art of command-for he is a ruler? 

Y. Soc. The latter, clearly. 

Str. Then we must see whether there is any mark of division in the
art of command too. I am inclined to think that there is a distinction
similar to that of manufacturer and retail dealer, which parts off
the king from the herald. 

Y. Soc. How is this? 

Str. Why, does not the retailer receive and sell over again the productions
of others, which have been sold before? 

Y. Soc. Certainly he does. 

Str. And is not the herald under command, and does he not receive
orders, and in his turn give them to others? 

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. Then shall we mingle the kingly art in the same class with the
art of the herald, the interpreter, the boatswain, the prophet, and
the numerous kindred arts which exercise command; or, as in the preceding
comparison we spoke of manufacturers, or sellers for themselves, and
of retailers,-seeing, too, that the class of supreme rulers, or rulers
for themselves, is almost nameless-shall we make a word following
the same analogy, and refer kings to a supreme or ruling-for-self
science, leaving the rest to receive a name from some one else? For
we are seeking the ruler; and our enquiry is not concerned with him
who is not a ruler. 

Y. Soc. Very good. 

Str. Thus a very fair distinction has been attained between the man
who gives his own commands, and him who gives another's. And now let
us see if the supreme power allows of any further division.

Y. Soc. By all means. 

Str. I think that it does; and please to assist me in making the division.

Y. Soc. At what point? 

Str. May not all rulers be supposed to command for the sake of producing

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. Nor is there any difficulty in dividing the things produced into
two classes. 

Y. Soc. How would you divide them? 

Str. Of the whole class some have life and some are without life.

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. And by the help of this distinction we may make, if we please,
a subdivision of the section of knowledge which commands.

Y. Soc. At what point? 

Str. One part may be set over the production of lifeless, the other
of living objects; and in this way the whole will be divided.

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. That division, then, is complete; and now we may leave one half,
and take up the other; which may also be divided into two.

Y. Soc. Which of the two halves do you men? 

Str. Of course that which exercises command about animals. For, surely,
the royal science is not like that of a master-workman, a science
presiding over lifeless objects;-the king has a nobler function, which
is the management and control of living beings. 

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. And the breeding and tending of living beings may be observed
to be sometimes a tending of the individual; in other cases, a common
care of creatures in flocks? 

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. But the statesman is not a tender of individuals-not like the
driver or groom of a single ox or horse; he is rather to be compared
with the keeper of a drove of horses or oxen. 

Y. Soc. Yes, I see, thanks to you. 

Str. Shall we call this art of tending many animals together, the
art of managing a herd, or the art of collective management?

Y. Soc. No matter;-Whichever suggests itself to us in the course of

Str. Very good, Socrates; and, if you continue to be not too particular
about names, you will be all the richer in wisdom when you are an
old man. And now, as you say, leaving the discussion of the name,
-can you see a way in which a person, by showing the art of herding
to be of two kinds, may cause that which is now sought amongst twice
the number of things, to be then sought amongst half that number?

Y. Soc. I will try;-there appears to me to be one management of men
and another of beasts. 

Str. You have certainly divided them in a most straightforward and
manly style; but you have fallen into an error which hereafter I think
that we had better avoid. 

Y. Soc. What is the error? 

Str. I think that we had better not cut off a single small portion
which is not a species, from many larger portions; the part should
be a species. To separate off at once the subject of investigation,
is a most excellent plan, if only the separation be rightly made;
and you were under the impression that you were right, because you
saw that you would come to man; and this led you to hasten the steps.
But you should not chip off too small a piece, my friend; the safer
way is to cut through the middle; which is also the more likely way
of finding classes. Attention to this principle makes all the difference
in a process of enquiry. 

Y. Soc. What do you mean, Stranger? 

Str. I will endeavour to speak more plainly out of love to your good
parts, Socrates; and, although I cannot at present entirely explain
myself, I will try, as we proceed, to make my meaning a little clearer.

Y. Soc. What was the error of which, as you say, we were guilty in
our recent division? 

Str. The error was just as if some one who wanted to divide the human
race, were to divide them after the fashion which prevails in this
part of the world; here they cut off the Hellenes as one species,
and all the other species of mankind, which are innumerable, and have
no ties or common language, they include under the single name of
"barbarians," and because they have one name they are supposed to
be of one species also. Or suppose that in dividing numbers you were
to cut off ten thousand from all the rest, and make of it one species,
comprehending the first under another separate name, you might say
that here too was a single class, because you had given it a single
name. Whereas you would make a much better and more equal and logical
classification of numbers, if you divided them into odd and even;
or of the human species, if you divided them into male and female;
and only separated off Lydians or Phrygians, or any other tribe, and
arrayed them against the rest of the world, when you could no longer
make a division into parts which were also classes. 

Y. Soc. Very true; but I wish that this distinction between a part
and a class could still be made somewhat plainer. 

Str. O Socrates, best of men, you are imposing upon me a very difficult
task. We have already digressed further from our original intention
than we ought, and you would have us wander still further away. But
we must now return to our subject; and hereafter, when there is a
leisure hour, we will follow up the other track; at the same time
I wish you to guard against imagining that you ever heard me declare-

Y. Soc. What? 

Str. That a class and a part are distinct. 

Y. Soc. What did I hear, then? 

Str. That a class is necessarily a part, but there is no similar necessity
that a part should be a dass; that is the view which I should always
wish you to attribute to me, Socrates. 

Y. Soc. So be it. 

Str. There is another thing which I should like to know.

Y. Soc. What is it? 

Str. The point at which we digressed; for, if I am not mistaken, the
exact place was at the question, Where you would divide the management
of herds. To this you appeared rather too ready to answer that them
were two species of animals; man being one, and all brutes making
up the other. 

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. I thought that in taking away a part you imagined that the remainder
formed a class, because you were able to call them by the common name
of brutes. 

Y. Soc. That again is true. 

Str. Suppose now, O most courageous of dialecticians, that some wise
and understanding creature, such as a crane is reputed to be, were,
in imitation of you, to make a similar division, and set up cranes
against all other animals to their own special glorification, at the
same time jumbling together all the others, including man, under the
appellation of brutes,-here would be the sort of error which we must
try to avoid. 

Y. Soc. How can we be safe? 

Str. If we do not divide the whole class of animals, we shall be less
likely to fall into that error. 

Y. Soc. We had better not take the whole? 

Str. Yes, there lay the source of error in our former division.

Y. Soc. How? 

Str. You remember how that part of the art of knowledge which was
concerned with command, had to do with the rearing of living creatures,-I
mean, with animals in herds? 

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. In that case, there was already implied a division of all animals
into tame and wild; those whose nature can be tamed are called tame,
and those which cannot be tamed are called wild. 

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. And the political science of which we are in search, is and ever
was concerned with tame animals, and is also confined to gregarious

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. But then ought not to divide, as we did, taking the whole class
at once. Neither let us be in too great haste to arrive quickly at
the political science; for this mistake has already brought upon us
the misfortune of which the proverb speaks. 

Y. Soc. What misfortune? 

Str. The misfortune of too much haste, which is too little speed.

Y. Soc. And all the better, Stranger;-we got what we deserved.

Str. Very well: Let us then begin again, and endeavour to divide the
collective rearing of animals; for probably the completion of the
argument will best show what you are so anxious to know. Tell me,

Y. Soc. What? 

Str. Have you ever heard, as you very likely may-for I do not suppose
that you ever actually visited them-of the preserves of fishes in
the Nile, and in the ponds of the Great King; or you may have seen
similar preserves in wells at home? 

Y. Soc. Yes, to be sure, I have seen them, and I have often heard
the others described. 

Str. And you may have heard also, and may have been-assured by report,
although you have not travelled in those regions, of nurseries of
geese and cranes in the plains of Thessaly? 

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. I asked you, because here is a new division of the management
of herds, into the management of land and of water herds.

Y. Soc. There is. 

Str. And do you agree that we ought to divide the collective rearing
of herds into two corresponding parts, the one the rearing of water,
and the other the rearing of land herds? 

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. There is surely no need to ask which of these two contains the
royal art, for it is evident to everybody. 

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. Any one can divide the herds which feed on dry land?

Y. Soc. How would you divide them? 

Str. I should distinguish between those which fly and those which

Y. Soc. Most true. 

Str. And where shall we look for the political animal? Might not an
idiot, so to speak, know that he is a pedestrian? 

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. The art of managing the walking animal has to be further divided,
just as you might have an even number. 

Y. Soc. Clearly. 

Str. Let me note that here appear in view two ways to that part or
class which the argument aims at reaching-the one is speedier way,
which cuts off a small portion and leaves a large; the other agrees
better with the principle which we were laying down, that as far as
we can we should divide in the middle; but it is longer. We can take
either of them, whichever we please. 

Y. Soc. Cannot we have both ways? 

Str. Together? What a thing to ask! but, if you take them in turn,
you clearly may. 

Y. Soc. Then I should like to have them in turn. 

Str. There will be no difficulty, as we are near the end; if we had
been at the beginning, or in the middle, I should have demurred to
your request; but now, in accordance with your desire, let us begin
with the longer way; while we are fresh, we shall get on better. And
now attend to the division. 

Y. Soc. Let me hear. 

Str. The tame walking herding animals are distributed by nature into
two classes. 

Y. Soc. Upon what principle? 

Str. The one grows horns; and the other is without horns.

Y. Soc. Clearly. 

Str. Suppose that you divide the science which manages pedestrian
animals into two corresponding parts, and define them; for if you
try to invent names for them, you will find the intricacy too great.

Y. Soc. How must I speak of them, then? 

Str. In this way: let the science of managing pedestrian animals be
divided into two parts and one part assigned to the horned herd and
the other to the herd that has no horns. 

Y. Soc. All that you say has been abundantly proved, and may therefore,
be assumed. 

Str. The king is clearly the shepherd a polled herd, who have no horns.

Y. Soc. That is evident. 

Str. Shall we break up this hornless herd into sections, and endeavour
to assign to him what is his? 

Y. Soc. By all means. 

Str. Shall we distinguish them by their having or not having cloven
feet, or by their mixing or not mixing the breed? You know what I

Y. Soc. What? 

Str. I mean that horses and asses naturally breed from one another.

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. But the remainder of the hornless herd of tame animals will not
mix the breed. 

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. And of which has the Statesman charge,-of the mixed or of the
unmixed race? 

Y. Soc. Clearly of the unmixed. 

Str. I suppose that we must divide this again as before.

Y. Soc. We must. 

Str. Every tame and herding animal has now been split up, with the
exception of two species; for I hardly think that dogs should be reckoned
among gregarious animals. 

Y. Soc. Certainly not; but how shall we divide the two remaining species?

Str. There is a measure of difference which may be appropriately employed
by you and Theaetetus, who are students of geometry. 

Y. Soc. What is that? 

Str. The diameter; and, again, the diameter of a diameter.

Y. Soc. What do you mean? 

Str. How does man walk, but as a diameter whose power is two feet?

Y. Soc. Just so. 

Str. And the power of the remaining kind, being the power of twice
two feet, may be said to be the diameter of our diameter.

Y. Soc. Certainly; and now I think that I pretty nearly understand

Str. In these divisions, Socrates, I descry what would make another
famous jest. 

Y. Soc. What is it? 

Str. Human beings have come out in the same class with the freest
and airiest of creation, and have been running a race with them.

Y. Soc. I remark that very singular coincidence. 

Str. And would you not expect the slowest to arrive last?

Y. Soc. Indeed I should. 

Str. And there is a still more ridiculous consequence, that the king
is found running about with the herd and in close competition with
the bird-catcher, who of all mankind is most of an adept at the airy

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. Then here, Socrates, is still clearer evidence of the truth of
what was said in the enquiry about the Sophist? 

Y. Soc. What? 

Str. That the dialectical method is no respecter of persons, and does
not set the great above the small, but always arrives in her own way
at the truest result. 

Y. Soc. Clearly. 

Str. And now, I will not wait for you to ask the, but will of my own
accord take you by the shorter road to the definition of a king.

Y. Soc. By all means. 

Str. I say that we should have begun at first by dividing land animals
into biped and quadruped; and since the winged herd, and that alone,
comes out in the same class with man, should divide bipeds into those
which have feathers and those which have not, and when they have been
divided, and the art of the management of mankind is brought to light,
the time will have come to produce our Statesman and ruler, and set
him like a charioteer in his place, and hand over to him the reins
of state, for that too is a vocation which belongs to him.

Y. Soc. Very good; you have paid me the debt-I mean, that you have
completed the argument, and I suppose that you added the digression
by way of interest. 

Str. Then now, let us go back to the beginning, and join the links,
which together make the definition of the name of the Statesman's

Y. Soc. By all means. 

Str. The science of pure knowledge had, as we said originally, a part
which was the science of rule or command, and from this was derived
another part, which was called command-for-self, on the analogy of
selling-for-self; an important section of this was the management
of living animals, and this again was further limited to the manage
merit of them in herds; and again in herds of pedestrian animals.
The chief division of the latter was the art of managing pedestrian
animals which are without horns; this again has a part which can only
be comprehended under one term by joining together three names-shepherding
pure-bred animals. The only further subdivision is the art of man
herding-this has to do with bipeds, and is what we were seeking after,
and have now found, being at once the royal and political.

Y. Soc. To be sure. 

Str. And do you think, Socrates, that we really have done as you say?

Y. Soc. What? 

Str. Do you think, I mean, that we have really fulfilled our intention?-There
has been a sort of discussion, and yet the investigation seems to
me not to be perfectly worked out: this is where the enquiry fails.

Y. Soc. I do not understand. 

Str. I will try to make the thought, which is at this moment present
in my mind, clearer to us both. 

Y. Soc. Let me hear. 

Str. There were many arts of shepherding, and one of them was the
political, which had the charge of one particular herd? 

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. And this the argument defined to be the art of rearing, not horses
or other brutes, but the art of rearing man collectively?

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. Note, however, a difference which distinguishes the king from
all other shepherds. 

Y. Soc. To what do you refer? 

Str. I want to ask, whether any one of the other herdsmen has a rival
who professes and claims to share with him in the management of the

Y. Soc. What do you mean? 

Str. I mean to say that merchants husbandmen, providers of food, and
also training-masters and physicians, will all contend with the herdsmen
of humanity, whom we call Statesmen, declaring that they themselves
have the care of rearing of managing mankind, and that they rear not
only the common herd, but also the rulers themselves. 

Y. Soc. Are they not right in saying so? 

Str. Very likely they may be, and we will consider their claim. But
we are certain of this,-that no one will raise a similar claim as
against the herdsman, who is allowed on all hands to be the sole and
only feeder and physician of his herd; he is also their matchmaker
and accoucheur; no one else knows that department of science. And
he is their merry-maker and musician, as far as their nature is susceptible
of such influences, and no one can console and soothe his own herd
better than he can, either with the natural tones of his voice or
with instruments. And the same may be said of tenders of animals in

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. But if this is as you say, can our argument about the king be
true and unimpeachable? Were we right in selecting him out of ten
thousand other claimants to be the shepherd and rearer of the human

Y. Soc. Surely not. 

Str. Had we not reason just to now apprehend, that although we may
have described a sort of royal form, we have not as yet accurately
worked out the true image of the Statesman? and that we cannot reveal
him as he truly is in his own nature, until we have disengaged and
separated him from those who bang about him and claim to share in
his prerogatives? 

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. And that, Socrates, is what we must do, if we do not mean to
bring disgrace upon the argument at its close. 

Y. Soc. We must certainly avoid that. 

Str. Then let us make a new beginning, and travel by a different road.

Y. Soc. What road? 

Str. I think that we may have a little amusement; there is a famous
tale, of which a good portion may with advantage be interwoven, and
then we may resume our series of divisions, and proceed in the old
path until we arrive at the desired summit. Shall we do as I say?

Y. Soc. By all means. 

Str. Listen, then, to a tale which a child would love to hear; and
you are not too old for childish amusement. 

Y. Soc. Let me hear. 

Str. There did really happen, and will again happen, like many other
events of which ancient tradition has preserved the record, the portent
which is traditionally said to have occurred in the quarrel of Atreus
and Thyestes. You have heard no doubt, and remember what they say
happened at that time? 

Y. Soc. I suppose you to mean the token of the birth of the golden

Str. No, not that; but another part of the story, which tells how
the sun and the stars once rose in the west, and set in the east,
and that the god reversed their motion, and gave them that which they
now have as a testimony to the right of Atreus. 

Y. Soc. Yes; there is that legend also. 

Str. Again, we have been often told of the reign of Cronos.

Y. Soc. Yes, very often. 

Str. Did you ever hear that the men of former times were earthborn,
and not begotten of one another? 

Y. Soc. Yes, that is another old tradition. 

Str. All these stories, and ten thousand others which are still more
wonderful, have a common origin; many of them have been lost in the
lapse of ages, or are repeated only in a disconnected form; but the
origin of them is what no one has told, and may as well be told now;
for the tale is suited to throw light on the nature of the king.

Y. Soc. Very good; and I hope that you will give the whole story,
and leave out nothing. 

Str. Listen, then. There is a time when God himself guides and helps
to roll the world in its course; and there is a time, on the completion
of a certain cycle, when he lets go, and the world being a living
creature, and having originally received intelligence from its author
and creator turns about and by an inherent necessity revolves in the
opposite direction. 

Y. Soc. Why is that? 

Str. Why, because only the most divine things of all remain ever unchanged
and the same, and body is not included in this class. Heaven and the
universe, as we have termed them, although they have been endowed
by the Creator with many glories, partake of a bodily nature, and
therefore cannot be entirely free from perturbation. But their motion
is, as far as possible, single and in the same place, and of the same
kind; and is therefore only subject to a reversal, which is the least
alteration possible. For the lord of all moving things is alone able
to move of himself; and to think that he moves them at one time in
one direction and at another time in another is blasphemy. Hence we
must not say that the world is either self-moved always, or all made
to go round by God in two opposite courses; or that two Gods, having
opposite purposes, make it move round. But as I have already said
(and this is the only remaining alternative) the world is guided at
one time by an external power which is divine and receives fresh life
and immortality from the renewing hand of the Creator, and again,
when let go, moves spontaneously, being set free at such a time as
to have, during infinite cycles of years, a reverse movement: this
is due to its perfect balance, to its vast size, and to the fact that
it turns on the smallest pivot. 

Y. Soc. Your account of the world seems to be very reasonable indeed.

Str. Let us now reflect and try to gather from what has been said
the nature of the phenomenon which we affirmed to be the cause of
all these wonders. It is this. 

Y. Soc. What? 

Str. The reversal which takes place from time to time of the motion
of the universe. 

Y. Soc. How is that the cause? 

Str. Of all changes of the heavenly motions, we may consider this
to be the greatest and most complete. 

Y. Soc. I should imagine so. 

Str. And it may be supposed to result in the greatest changes to the
human beings who are the inhabitants of the world at the time.

Y. Soc. Such changes would naturally occur. 

Str. And animals, as we know, survive with difficulty great and serious
changes of many different kinds when they come upon them at once.

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. Hence there necessarily occurs a great destruction of them, which
extends also to-the life of man; few survivors of the race are left,
and those who remain become the subjects of several novel and remarkable
phenomena, and of one in particular, which takes place at the time
when the transition is made to the cycle opposite to that in which
we are now living. 

Y. Soc. What is it? 

Str. The life of all animals first came to a standstill, and the mortal
nature ceased to be or look older, and was then reversed and grew
young and delicate; the white locks of the aged darkened again, and
the cheeks the bearded man became smooth, and recovered their former
bloom; the bodies of youths in their prime grew softer and smaller,
continually by day and night returning and becoming assimilated to
the nature of a newly-born child in mind as well as body; in the succeeding
stage they wasted away and wholly disappeared. And the bodies of those
who died by violence at that time quickly passed through the like
changes, and in a few days were no more seen. 

Y. Soc. Then how, Stranger, were the animals created in those days;
and in what way were they begotten of one another? 

Str. It is evident, Socrates, that there was no such thing in the
then order of nature as the procreation of animals from one another;
the earth-born race, of which we hear in story, was the one which
existed in those days-they rose again from the ground; and of this
tradition, which is now-a-days often unduly discredited, our ancestors,
who were nearest in point of time to the end of the last period and
came into being at the beginning of this, are to us the heralds. And
mark how consistent the sequel of the tale is; after the return of
age to youth, follows the return of the dead, who are lying in the
earth, to life; simultaneously with the reversal of the world the
wheel of their generation has been turned back, and they are put together
and rise and live in the opposite order, unless God has carried any
of them away to some other lot. According to this tradition they of
necessity sprang from the earth and have the name of earth-born, and
so the above legend clings to them. 

Y. Soc. Certainly that is quite consistent with what has preceded;
but tell me, was the life which you said existed in the reign of Cronos
in that cycle of the world, or in this? For the change in the course
of the stars and the sun must have occurred in both. 

Str. I see that you enter into my meaning;-no, that blessed and spontaneous
life does not belong to the present cycle of the world, but to the
previous one, in which God superintended the whole revolution of the
universe; and the several parts the universe were distributed under
the rule. certain inferior deities, as is the way in some places still
There were demigods, who were the shepherds of the various species
and herds of animals, and each one was in all respects sufficient
for those of whom he was the shepherd; neither was there any violence,
or devouring of one another or war or quarrel among them; and I might
tell of ten thousand other blessings, which belonged to that dispensation.
The reason why the life of man was, as tradition says, spontaneous,
is as follows: In those days God himself was their shepherd, and ruled
over them, just as man, over them, who is by comparison a divine being,
still rules over the lower animals. Under him there were no forms
of government or separate possession of women and children; for all
men rose again from the earth, having no memory, of the past. And
although they had nothing of this sort, the earth gave them fruits
in abundance, which grew on trees and shrubs unbidden, and were not
planted by the hand of man. And they dwelt naked, and mostly in the
open air, for the temperature of their seasons, was mild; and they
had no beds, but lay on Soft couches of grass, which grew plentifully
out of: the earth. Such was the life of man in the days of Cronos,
Socrates; the character of our present life which is said to be under
Zeus, you know from your own experience. Can you, and will you, determine
which of them you deem the happier? 

Y. Soc. Impossible. 

Str. Then shall I determine for you as well as I can? 

Y. Soc. By all means. 

Str. Suppose that the nurslings of Cronos, having this boundless leisure,
and the power of holding intercourse, not only with men, but with
the brute creation, had used all these advantages with a view to philosophy,
conversing with the brutes as well as with one another, and learning
of every nature which was gifted with any special power, and was able
to contribute some special experience to the store of wisdom there
would be no difficulty in deciding that they would be a thousand times
happier than the men of our own day. Or, again, if they had merely
eaten and drunk until they were full, and told stories to one another
and to the animals-such stories as are now attributed to them-in this
case also, as I should imagine, the answer would be easy. But until
some satisfactory witness can be found of the love of that age for
knowledge and: discussion, we had better let the matter drop, and
give the reason why we have unearthed this tale, and then we shall
be able to get on. 

In the fulness of time, when the change was to take place, and the
earth-born race had all perished, and every soul had completed its
proper cycle of births and been sown in the earth her appointed number
of times, the pilot of the universe let the helm go, and retired to
his place of view; and then Fate and innate desire reversed the motion
of the world. Then also all the inferior deities who share the rule
of the supreme power, being informed of what was happening, let go
the parts of the world which were under their control. And the world
turning round with a sudden shock, being impelled in an opposite direction
from beginning to end, was shaken by a mighty earthquake, which wrought
a new destruction of all manner of animals. Afterwards, when sufficient
time had elapsed, the tumult and confusion and earthquake ceased,
and the universal creature, once more at peace attained to a calm,
and settle down into his own orderly and accustomed course, having
the charge and rule of himself and of all the creatures which are
contained in him, and executing, as far as he remembered them, the
instructions of his Father and Creator, more precisely at first, but
afterwords with less exactness. The reason of the falling off was
the admixture of matter in him; this was inherent in the primal nature,
which was full of disorder, until attaining to the present order.
From God, the constructor; the world received all that is good in
him, but from a previous state came elements of evil and unrighteousness,
which, thence derived, first of all passed into the world, and were
then transmitted to the animals. While the world was aided by the
pilot in nurturing the animals, the evil was small, and great the
good which he produced, but after the separation, when the world was
let go, at first all proceeded well enough; but, as time went there
was more and more forgetting, and the old discord again held sway
and burst forth in full glory; and at last small was the good, and
great was the admixture of evil, and there was a danger of universal
ruin to the world, and the things contained in him. Wherefore God,
the orderer of all, in his tender care, seeing that the world was
in great straits, and fearing that all might be dissolved in the storm
and disappear in infinite chaos, again seated himself at the helm;
and bringing back the elements which had fallen into dissolution and
disorder to the motion which had prevailed under his dispensation,
he set them in order and restored them, and made the world imperishable
and immortal. 

And this is the whole tale, of which the first part will suffice to
illustrate the nature of the king. For when the world turned towards
the present cycle of generation, the age of man again stood still,
and a change opposite to the previous one was the result. The small
creatures which had almost disappeared grew in and stature, and the
newly-born children of the earth became grey and died and sank into
the earth again. All things changed, imitating and following the condition
of the universe, and of necessity agreeing with that in their mode
of conception and generation and nurture; for no animal; was any longer
allowed to come into being in the earth through the agency of other
creative beings, but as the world was ordained to be the lord of his
own progress, in like manner the parts were ordained to grow and generate
and give nourishment, as far as they could, of themselves, impelled
by a similar movement. And so we have arrived at the real end of this
discourse; for although there might be much to tell of the lower animals,
and of the condition out of which they changed and of the causes of
the change, about men there is not much, and that little is more to
the purpose. Deprived of the care of God, who had possessed and tended
them, they were left helpless and defenceless, and were torn in pieces
by the beasts, who were naturally fierce and had now grown wild. And
in the first ages they were still without skill or resource; the food
which once grew spontaneously had failed, and as yet they knew not
how to procure it, because they-had never felt the pressure of necessity.
For all these reasons they were in a great strait; wherefore also
the gifts spoken of in the old tradition were imparted to man by the
gods, together with so much teaching and education as was indispensable;
fire was given to them by Prometheus, the arts by Hephaestus and his
fellow-worker, Athene, seeds and plants by others. From these is derived
all that has helped to frame human life; since the care of the Gods,
as I was saying, had now failed men, and they had to order their course
of life for themselves, and were their own masters, just like the
universal creature whom they imitate and follow, ever changing, as
he changes, and ever living and growing, at one time in one manner,
and at another time in another. Enough of the story, which may be
of use in showing us how greatly we erred in the delineation of the
king and the statesman in our previous discourse. 

Y. Soc. What was this great error of which you speak? 

Str. There were two; the first a lesser one, the other was an error
on a much larger and grander scale. 

Y. Soc. What do you mean? 

Str. I mean to say that when we were asked about a king and statesman
of the present; and generation, we told of a shepherd of a human flock
who belonged to the other cycle, and of one who was a god when he
ought to have been a man; and this a great error. Again, we declared
him to be, the ruler of the entire State, without, explaining how:
this was not the whole truth, nor very intelligible; but still it
was true, and therefore the second error was not so, great as the

Y Soc. Very good. 

Str. Before we can expect to have a perfect description of the statesman
we must define the nature of his office. 

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. And the myth was introduced in order to show, not only that all
others are rivals of true shepherd who is the object of our search,
but in order that we might have a clearer view of him who is alone
worthy to receive this appellation, because, he alone of shepherds
and herdsmen, according to the image which we have employed, has the
care of human beings. 

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. And I cannot help thinking, Socrates, that the form of the divine
shepherd is even higher than that of a king; whereas the statesmen
who are now on earth seem to be much more like their subjects in character,
and which more nearly to partake of their breeding and education.

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. Still they must be investigated all the same, to see whether,
like the divine shepherd, they are above their subjects or on a level
with them. 

Y. Soc. Of course. 

Str. To resume:-Do you remember that we spoke of a command-for-self
exercised over animals, not singly but collectively, which we called
the art of rearing a herd? 

Y. Soc. Yes, I remember. 

Str. There, somewhere, lay our error; for we never included or mentioned
the Statesman; and we did not observe that he had no place in our

Y. Soc. How was that? 

Str. All other herdsmen "rear" their herds, but this is not a suitable
term to apply to the Statesman; we should use a name which is common
to them all. 

Y. Soc. True, if there be such a name. 

Str. Why, is not "care" of herds applicable to all? For this implies
no feeding, or any special duty; if we say either "tending" the herds,
or "managing" the herds, or "having the care" of them, the same word
will include all, and then we may wrap up the Statesman with the rest,
as the argument seems to require. 

Y. Soc. Quite right; but how shall we take the-next step in the division?

Str. As before we divided the art of "rearing" herds accordingly as
they were land or water herds, winged and wingless, mixing or not
mixing the breed, horned and hornless, so we may divide by these same
differences the "teading" of herds, comprehending in our definition
the kingship of to-day and the rule of Cronos. 

Y. Soc. That is clear; but I still ask, what is to follow.

Str. If the word had been "managing" herds, instead of feeding or
rearing them, no one would have argued that there was no care of men
in the case of the politician, although it was justly contended, that
there was no human art of feeding them which was worthy of the name,
or at least, if there were, many a man had a prior and greater right
to share in such an art than any king. 

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. But no other art or science will have a prior or better right
than the royal science to care for human society and to rule over
men in general. 

Y. Soc. Quite true. 

Str. In the next place, Socrates, we must surely notice that a great
error was committed at the end of our analysis. 

Y. Soc. What was it? 

Str. Why, supposing we were ever so sure that there is such an art
as the art of rearing or feeding bipeds, there was no reason why we
should call this the royal or political art, as though there were
no more to be said. 

Y. Soc. Certainly not. 

Str. Our first duty, as we were saying, was to remodel the name, so
as to have the notion of care rather than of feeding, and then to
divide, for there may be still considerable divisions. 

Y. Soc. How can they be made? 

Str. First, by separating the divine shepherd from the human guardian
or manager. 

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. And the art of management which is assigned to man would again
have to be subdivided. 

Y. Soc. On what principle? 

Str. On the principle of voluntary and compulsory. 

Y. Soc. Why? 

Str. Because, if I am not mistaken, there has been an error here;
for our simplicity led us to rank king and tyrant together, whereas
they are utterly distinct, like their modes of government.

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. Then, now, as I said, let us make the correction and divide human
care into two parts, on the principle of voluntary and compulsory.

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. And if we call the management of violent rulers tyranny, and
the voluntary management of herds of voluntary bipeds politics, may
we not further assert that he who has this latter art of management
is the true king and statesman? 

Y. Soc. I think, Stranger, that we have now completed the account
of the Statesman. 

Str. Would that we had Socrates, but I have to satisfy myself as well
as you; and in my judgment the figure of the king is not yet perfected;
like statuaries who, in their too great haste, having overdone the
several parts of their work, lose time in cutting them down, so too
we, partly out of haste, partly out of haste, partly out of a magnanimous
desire to expose our former error, and also because we imagined that
a king required grand illustrations, have taken up a marvellous lump
of fable, and have been obliged to use more than was necessary. This
made us discourse at large, and, nevertheless, the story never came
to an end. And our discussion might be compared to a picture of some
living being which had been fairly drawn in outline, but had not yet
attained the life and clearness which is given by the blending of
colours. Now to intelligent persons a living being had better be delineated
by language and discourse than by any painting or work of art: to
the duller sort by works of art. 

Y. Soc. Very true; but what is the imperfection which still remains?
I wish that you would tell me. 

Str. The higher ideas, my dear friend, can hardly be set forth except
through the medium of examples; every man seems to know all things
in a dreamy sort of way, and then again to wake up and to know nothing.

Y. Soc. What do you mean? 

Str. I fear that I have been unfortunate in raising a question about
our experience of knowledge. 

Y. Soc. Why so? 

Str. Why, because my "example" requires the assistance of another

Y. Soc. Proceed; you need not fear that I shall tire. 

Str. I will proceed, finding, as I do, such a ready listener in you:
when children are beginning to know their letters- 

Y. Soc. What are you going to say? 

Str. That they distinguish the several letters well enough in very
short and easy syllables, and are able to tell them correctly.

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. Whereas in other syllables they do not recognize them, and think
and speak falsely of them. 

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. Will not the best and easiest way of bringing them to a knowledge
of what they do not as yet know be- 

Y. Soc. Be what? 

Str. To refer them first of all to cases in which they judge correctly
about the letters in question, and then to compare these with the
cases in which they do not as yet know, and to show them that the
letters are the same, and have the same character in both combination,
until all cases in which they are right have been Placed side by side
with all cases in which they are wrong. In this way they have examples,
and are made to learn that each letter in every combination is always
the same and not another, and is always called by the same name.

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. Are not examples formed in this manner? We take a thing and compare
it with another distinct instance of the same thing, of which we have
a right conception, and out of the comparison there arises one true
notion, which includes both of them. 

Y. Soc. Exactly. 

Str. Can we wonder, then, that the soul has the same uncertainty about
the alphabet of things, and sometimes and in some cases is firmly
fixed by the truth in each particular, and then, again, in other cases
is altogether at sea; having somehow or other a correction of combinations;
but when the elements are transferred into the long and difficult
language (syllables) of facts, is again ignorant of them?

Y. Soc. There is nothing wonderful in that. 

Str. Could any one, my friend, who began with false opinion ever expect
to arrive even at a small portion of truth and to attain wisdom?

Y. Soc. Hardly. 

Str. Then you and I will not be far wrong in trying to see the nature
of example in general in a small and particular instance; afterwards
from lesser things we intend to pass to the royal class, which is
the highest form of the same nature, and endeavour to discover by
rules of art what the management of cities is; and then the dream
will become a reality to us. 

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. Then, once more, let us resume the previous argument, and as
there were innumerable rivals of the royal race who claim to have
the care of states, let us part them all off, and leave him alone;
and, as I was saying, a model or example of this process has first
to be framed. 

Y. Soc. Exactly. 

Str. What model is there which is small, and yet has any analogy with
the political occupation? Suppose, Socrates, that if we have no other
example at hand, we choose weaving, or, more precisely, weaving of
wool-this will be quite enough, without taking the whole of weaving,
to illustrate our meaning? 

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. Why should we not apply to weaving the same processes of division
and subdivision which we have already applied to other classes; going
once more as rapidly as we can through all the steps until we come
to that which is needed for our purpose? 

Y. Soc. How do you mean? 

Str. I shall reply by actually performing the process. 

Y. Soc. Very good. 

Str. All things which we make or acquire are either creative or preventive;
of the preventive class are antidotes, divine and human, and also
defences; and defences are either military weapons or protections;
and protections are veils, and also shields against heat and cold,
and shields against heat and cold are shelters and coverings; and
coverings are blankets and garments; and garments are some of them
in one piece, and others of them are made in several parts; and of
these latter some are stitched, others are fastened and not stitched;
and of the not stitched, some are made of the sinews of plants, and
some of hair; and of these, again, some are cemented with water and
earth, and others are fastened together by themselves. And these last
defences and coverings which are fastened together by themselves are
called clothes, and the art which superintends them we may call, from
the nature of the operation, the art of clothing, just as before the
art of the Statesman was derived from the State; and may we not say
that the art of weaving, at least that largest portion of it which
was concerned with the making of clothes, differs only in name from
this art of clothing, in the same way that, in the previous case,
the royal science differed from the political? 

Y. Soc. Most true. 

Str. In the next place, let us make the reflection, that the art of
weaving clothes, which an incompetent person might fancy to have been
sufficiently described, has been separated off from several others
which are of the same family, but not from the co-operative arts.

Y. Soc. And which are the kindred arts? 

Str. I see that I have not taken you with me. So I think that we had
better go backwards, starting from the end. We just now parted off
from the weaving of clothes, the making of blankets, which differ
from each other in that one is put under and the other is put around!
and these are what I termed kindred arts. 

Y. Soc. I understand. 

Str. And we have subtracted the manufacture of all articles made of
flax and cords, and all that we just now metaphorically termed the
sinews of plants, and we have also separated off the process of felting
and the putting together of materials by stitching and sewing, of
which the most important part is the cobbler's art. 

Y. Soc. Precisely. 

Str. Then we separated off the currier's art, which prepared coverings
in entire pieces, and the art of sheltering, and subtracted the various
arts of making water-tight which are employed in building, and in
general in carpentering, and in other crafts, and all such arts as
furnish impediments to thieving and acts of violence, and are concerned
with making the lids of boxes and the fixing of doors, being divisions
of the art of joining; and we also cut off the manufacture of arms,
which is a section of the great and manifold art of making defences;
and we originally began by parting off the whole of the magic art
which is concerned with antidoter, and have left, as would appear,
the very art of which we were in search, the art of protection against
winter cold, which fabricates woollen defences, and has the name of

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. Yes, my boy, but that is not all; for the first process to which
the material is subjected is the opposite of weaving. 

Y. Soc. How so? 

Str. Weaving is a sort of uniting? 

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. But the first process is a separation of the clotted and matted

Y. Soc. What do you mean? 

Str. I mean the work of the carder's art; for we cannot say that carding
is weaving, or that the carder is a weaver. 

Y. Soc. Certainly not. 

Str. Again, if a person were to say that the art of making the warp
and the woof was the art of weaving, he would say what was paradoxical
and false. 

Y. Soc. To be sure. 

Str. Shall we say that the whole art of the fuller or of the mender
has nothing to do with the care and treatment clotes, or are we to
regard all these as arts of weaving? 

Y. Soc. Certainly not. 

Str. And yet surely all these arts will maintain that they are concerned
with the treatment and production of clothes; they will dispute the
exclusive prerogative of weaving, and though assigning a larger sphere
to that, will still reserve a considerable field for themselves.

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. Besides these, there are the arts which make tools and instruments
of weaving, and which will claim at least to be cooperative causes
in every work of the weaver. 

Y. Soc. Most true. 

Str. Well, then, suppose that we define weaving, or rather that part
of it which has been selected by us, to be the greatest and noblest
of arts which are concerned with woollen garments-shall we be right?
Is not the definition, although true, wanting in clearness and completeness;
for do not all those other arts require to be first cleared away?

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. Then the next thing will be to separate them, in order that the
argument may proceed in a regular manner? 

Y. Soc. By all means. 

Str. Let us consider, in the first place, that there are two kinds
of arts entering into everything which we do. 

Y. Soc. What are they? 

Str. The one kind is the conditional or cooperative, the other the
principal cause. 

Y. Soc. What do you mean? 

Str. The arts which do not manufacture the actual thing, but which
furnish the necessary tools for the manufacture, without which the
several arts could not fulfil their appointed work, are co-operative;
but those which make the things themselves are causal. 

Y. Soc. A very reasonable distinction. 

Str. Thus the arts which make spindles, combs, and other instruments
of the production of clothes may be called co-operative, and those
which treat and fabricate the things themselves, causal.

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. The arts of washing and mending, and the other preparatory arts
which belong to the causal class, and form a division of the great
art of adornment, may be all comprehended under what we call the fuller's

Y. Soc. Very good. 

Str. Carding and spinning threads and all the parts of the process
which are concerned with the actual manufacture of a woollen garment
form a single art, which is one of thow universally acknowledged-the
art of working in wool. 

Y. Soc. To be sure. 

Str. Of working in wool again, there are two divisions, and both these
are parts of two arts at once. 

Y. Soc. How is that? 

Str. Carding and one half of the use of the comb, and the other processes
of wool-working which separate the composite, may be classed together
as belonging both to the art of woolworking, and also to one of the
two great arts which are of universal application-the art of composition
and the art of division. 

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. To the latter belong carding and the other processes of which
I was just now speaking the art of discernment or division in wool
and yarn, which is effected in one manner with the comb and in another
with the hands, is variously described under all the names which I
just now mentioned. 

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. Again, let us take some process of woolworking which is also
a portion of the art of composition, and, dismissing the elements
of division which we found there, make two halves, one on the principle
of composition, and the other on the principle of division.

Y. Soc. Let that be done. 

Str. And once more, Socrates, we must divide the part which belongs
at once both to woolworking and composition, if we are ever to discover
satisfactorily the aforesaid art of weaving. 

Y. Soc. We must. 

Str. Yes, certainly, and let us call one part of the art the art of
twisting threads, the other the art of combining them. 

Y. Soc. Do I understand you, in speaking of twisting, to be referring
to manufacture of the warp? 

Str. Yes, and of the woof too; how, if not by twisting, is the woof

Y. Soc. There is no other way. 

Str. Then suppose that you define the warp and the woof, for I think
that the definition will be of use to you. 

Y. Soc. How shall I define them? 

Str. As thus: A piece of carded wool which is drawn out lengthwise
and breadth-wise is said to be pulled out. 

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. And the wool thus prepared when twisted by the spindle, and made
into a firm thread, is called the warp, And the art which regulates
these operations the art of spinning the warp. 

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. And the threads which are more loosely spun, having a softness
proportioned to the intertexture of the warp and to the degree of
force used in dressing the cloth-the threads which are thus spun are
called the woof, and the art which is set over them may be called
the art of spinning the woof. 

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. And, now, there can be no mistake about the nature of the part
of weaving which we have undertaken to define. For when that part
of the art of composition which is employed in the working of wool
forms a web by the regular intertexture of warp and woof, the entire
woven substance is called by us a woollen garment, and the art which
presides over this is the art of weaving. 

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. But why did we not say at once that weaving is the art of entwining
warp and woof, instead of making a long and useless circuit?

Y. Soc. I thought, Stranger, that there was nothing useless in what
was said. 

Str. Very likely, but you may not always think so, my sweet friend;
and in case any feeling of dissatisfaction should hereafter arise
in your mind, as it very well may, let me lay down a principle which
will apply to arguments in general. 

Y. Soc. Proceed. 

Str. Let us begin by considering the whole nature of excess and defect,
and then we shall have a rational ground on which we may praise or
blame too much length or too much shortness in discussions of this

Y. Soc. Let us do so. 

Str. The points on which I think that we ought to dwell are the following:-

Y. Soc. What? 

Str. Length and shortness, excess and defect; with all of these the
art of measurement is conversant. 

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. And the art of measurement has to be divided into two parts,
with a view to our present purpose. 

Y. Soc. Where would you make the division? 

Str. As thus: I would make two parts, one having regard to the relativity
of greatness and smallness to each other; and there is another, without
which the existence of production would be impossible. 

Y. Soc. What do you mean? 

Str. Do you not think that it is only natural for the greater to be
called greater with reference to the less alone, and the less reference
to the greater alone? 

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. Well, but is there not also something exceeding and exceeded
by the principle of the mean, both in speech and action, and is not
this a reality, and the chief mark of difference between good and
bad men? 

Y. Soc. Plainly. 

Str. Then we must suppose that the great and small exist and are discerned
in both these ways, and not, as we were saying before, only relatively
to one another, but there must also be another comparison of them
with the mean or ideal standard; would you like to hear the reason

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. If we assume the greater to exist only in relation to the less,
there will never be any comparison of either with the mean.

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. And would not this doctrine be the ruin of all the arts and their
creations; would not the art of the Statesman and the aforesaid art
of weaving disappear? For all these arts are on the watch against
excess and defect, not as unrealities, but as real evils, which occasion
a difficulty in action; and the excellence of beauty of every work
of art is due to this observance of measure. 

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. But if the science of the Statesman disappears, the search for
the royal science will be impossible. 

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. Well, then, as in the case of the Sophist we extorted the inference
that not-being had an existence, because here was the point at which
the argument eluded our grasp, so in this we must endeavour to show
that the greater and, less are not only to be measured with one another,
but also have to do with the production of the mean; for if this is
not admitted, neither a statesman nor any other man of action can
be an undisputed master of his science. 

Y. Soc. Yes, we must certainly do again what we did then.

Str. But this, Socrates, is a greater work than the other, of which
we only too well remember the length. I think, however, that we may
fairly assume something of this sort- 

Y. Soc. What? 

Str. That we shall some day require this notion of a mean with a view
to the demonstration of absolute truth; meanwhile, the argument that
the very existence of the arts must be held to depend on the possibility
of measuring more or less, not only with one another, but also with
a view to the attainment of the mean, seems to afford a grand support
and satisfactory proof of the doctrine which we are maintaining; for
if there are arts, there is a standard of measure, and if there is
a standard of measure, there are arts; but if either is wanting, there
is neither. 

Y. Soc. True; and what is the next step? 

Str. The next step clearly is to divide the art of measurement into
two parts, all we have said already, and to place in the one part
all the arts which measure number, length, depth, breadth, swiftness
with their opposites; and to have another part in which they are measured
with the mean, and the fit, and the opportune, and the due, and with
all those words, in short, which denote a mean or standard removed
from the extremes. 

Y. Soc. Here are two vast divisions, embracing two very different

Str. There are many accomplished men, Socrates, who say, believing
themselves to speak wisely, that the art of measurement is universal,
and has to do with all things. And this means what we are now saying;
for all things which come within the province of art do certainly
in some sense partake of measure. But these persons, because they
are not accustomed to distinguish classes according to real forms,
jumble together two widely different things, relation to one another,
and to a standard, under the idea that they are the same, and also
fall into the converse error of dividing other things not according
to their real parts. Whereas the right way is, if a man has first
seen the unity of things, to go on with the enquiry and not desist
until he has found all the differences contained in it which form
distinct classes; nor again should he be able to rest contented with
the manifold diversities which are seen in a multitude of things until
he has comprehended all of them that have any affinity within the
bounds of one similarity and embraced them within the reality of a
single kind. But we have said enough on this head, and also of excess
and defect; we have only to bear in mind that two divisions of the
art of measurement have been discovered which are concerned with them,
and not forget what they are. 

Y. Soc. We will not forget. 

Str. And now that this discussion is completed, let us go on to consider
another question, which concerns not this argument only but the conduct
of such arguments in general. 

Y. Soc. What is this new question? 

Str. Take the case of a child who is engaged in learning his letters:
when he is asked what letters make up a word, should we say that the
question is intended to improve his grammatical knowledge of that
particular word, or of all words? 

Y. Soc. Clearly, in order that he may have a better knowledge of all

Str. And is our enquiry about the Statesman intended only to improve
our knowledge of politics, or our power of reasoning generally?

Y. Soc. Clearly, as in the former example, the purpose is general.

Str. Still less would any rational man seek to analyse the notion
of weaving for its own sake. But people seem to forget that some things
have sensible images, which are readily known, and can be easily pointed
out when any one desires to answer an enquirer without any trouble
or argument; whereas the greatest and highest truths have no outward
image of themselves visible to man, which he who wishes to satisfy
the soul of the enquirer can adapt to the eye of sense, and therefore
we ought to train ourselves to give and accept a rational account
of them; for immaterial things, which are the noblest and greatest,
are shown only in thought and idea, and in no other way, and all that
we are now saying is said for the sake of them. Moreover, there is
always less difficulty in fixing the mind on small matters than on

Y. Soc. Very good. 

Str. Let us call to mind the bearing of all this. 

Y. Soc. What is it? 

Str. I wanted to get rid of any impression of tediousness which we
may have experienced in the discussion about weaving, and the reversal
of the universe, and in the discussion concerning the Sophist and
the being of not-being. I know that they were felt to be too long,
and I reproached myself with this, fearing that they might be not
only tedious but irrelevant; and all that I have now said is only
designed to prevent the recurrence of any such disagreeables for the

Y. Soc. Very good. Will you proceed? 

Str. Then I would like to observe that you and I, remembering what
has been said, should praise or blame the length or shortness of discussions,
not by comparing them with one another, but with what is fitting,
having regard to the part of measurement, which, as we said, was to
be borne in mind. 

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. And yet, not everything is to be judged even with a view to what
is fitting; for we should only want such a length as is suited to
give pleasure, if at all, as a secondary matter; and reason tells
us, that we should be contented to make the ease or rapidity of an
enquiry, not our first, but our second object; the first and highest
of all being to assert the great method of division according to species-whether
the discourse be shorter or longer is not to the point. No offence
should be taken at length, but the longer and shorter are to be employed
indifferently, according as either of them is better calculated to
sharpen the wits of the auditors. Reason would also say to him who
censures the length of discourses on such occasions and cannot away
with their circumlocution, that he should not be in such a hurry to
have done with them, when he can only complain that they are tedious,
but he should prove that if they had been shorter they would have
made those who took part in them better dialecticians, and more capable
of expressing the truth of things; about any other praise and blame,
he need not trouble himself-he should pretend not to hear them. But
we have had enough of this, as you will probably agree with me in
thinking. Let us return to our Statesman, and apply to his case the
aforesaid example of weaving. 

Y. Soc. Very good;-let us do as you say. 

Str. The art of the king has been separated from the similar arts
of shepherds, and, indeed, from all those which have to do with herds
at all. There still remain, however, of the causal and co-operative
arts those which are immediately concerned with States, and which
must first be distinguished from one another. 

Y. Soc. Very good. 

Str. You know that these arts cannot easily be divided into two halves;
the reason will be very: evident as we proceed. 

Y. Soc. Then we had better do so. 

Str. We must carve them like a victim into members or limbs, since
we cannot bisect them. For we certainly should divide everything into
as few parts as possible. 

Y. Soc. What is to be done in this case? 

Str. What we did in the example of weaving-all those arts which furnish
the tools were regarded by us as co-operative. 

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. So now, and with still more reason, all arts which make any implement
in a State, whether great or small, may be regarded by us as co-operative,
for without them neither State nor Statesmanship would be possible;
and yet we are not inclined to say that any of them is a product of
the kingly art. 

Y. Soc. No, indeed. 

Str. The task of separating this class from others is not an easy
one; for there is plausibility in saying that anything in the world
is the instrument of doing something. But there is another dass of
possessions in, a city, of which I have a word to say. 

Y. Soc. What class do you mean? 

Str. A class which may be described as not having this power; that
is to say, not like an instrument, framed for production, but designed
for the preservation of that which is produced. 

Y. Soc. To what do you refer? 

Str. To the class of vessels, as they are comprehensively termed,
which are constructed for the preservation of things moist and dry,
of things prepared in the fire or out of the fire; this is a very
large class, and has, if I am not mistaken, literally nothing to do
with the royal art of which we are in search. 

Y. Soc. Certainly not. 

Str. There is also a third class of possessions to be noted, different
from these and very extensive, moving or resting on land or water,
honourable and also dishonourable. The whole of this class has one
name, because it is intended to be sat upon, being always a seat for

Y. Soc. What is it? 

Str. A vehicle, which is certainly not the work of the Statesman,
but of the carpenter, potter, and coppersmith. 

Y. Soc. I understand. 

Str. And is there not a fourth class which is again different, and
in which most of the things formerly mentioned are contained-every
kind of dress, most sorts of arms, walls and enclosures, whether of
earth or stone, and ten thousand other thing? all of which being made
for the sake of defence, may be truly called defences, and are for
the most part to be regarded as the work of the builder or of the
weaver, rather than of the Statesman. 

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. Shall we add a fifth class, of ornamentation and drawing, and
of the imitations produced, by drawing and music, which are designed
for amusement only, and may be fairly comprehended under one name?

Y. Soc. What is it? 

Str. Plaything is the name. 

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. That one name may be fitly predicated of all of them, for none
of these things have a serious purpose-amusement is their sole aim.

Y. Soc. That again I understand. 

Str. Then there is a class which provides materials for all these,
out of which and in which the arts already mentioned fabricate their
works;-this manifold class, I say, which is the creation and offspring
of many other arts, may I not rank sixth? 

Y. Soc. What do you mean? 

Str. I am referring to gold, silver, and other metals, and all that
wood-cutting and shearing of every sort provides for the art of carpentry
and plaiting; and there is the process of barking and stripping the
cuticle of plants, and the currier's art, which strips off the skins
of animals, and other similar arts which manufacture corks and papyri
and cords, and provide for the manufacture of composite species out
of simple kinds-the whole class may be termed the primitive and simple
possession of man, and with this the kingly science has no concern
at all. 

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. The provision of food and of all other things which mingle their
particles with the particles of the human body; and minister to the
body, will form a seventh class, which may be called by the general
term of nourishment, unless you have any better name to offer. This,
however, appertains rather to the husbandman, huntsman, trainer, doctor,
cook, and is not to be assigned to the Statesman's art. 

Y. Soc. Certainly not. 

Str. These seven classes include nearly every description of property,
with the exception of tame animals. Consider;-there was the original
material, which ought to have been placed first; next come instruments,
vessels, vehicles, defences, playthings, nourishment; small things,
which may be-included under one of these-as for example, coins, seals
and stamps, are omitted, for they have not in them the character of
any larger kind which includes them; but some of them may, with a
little forcing, be placed among ornaments, and others may be made
to harmonize with the class of implements. The art of herding, which
has been already divided into parts, will include all property in
tame animals except slaves. 

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. The class of slaves and ministers only remains, and I suspect
that in this the real aspirants for the throne, who are the rivals
of the king in the formation of the political web, will be discovered;
just as spinners, carders, and the rest of them, were the rivals of
the weaver. All the others, who were termed co-operators, have been
got rid of among the occupations already mentioned, and separated
from the royal and political science. 

Y. Soc. I agree. 

Str. Let us go a little nearer, in order that we may be more certain
of the complexion of this remaining class. 

Y. Soc. Let us do so. 

Str. We shall find from our present point of view that the greatest
servants are in a case and condition which is the reverse of what
we anticipated. 

Y. Soc. Who are they? 

Str. Those who have been purchased, and have so become possessions;
these are unmistakably slaves, and certainly do not claim royal science.

Y. Soc. Certainly not. 

Str. Again, freemen who of their own accord become the servants of
the other classes in a State, and who exchange and equalise the products
of husbandry and the other arts, some sitting in the market-place,
others going from city to city by land or sea, and giving money in
exchange for money or for other productions-the money-changer, the
merchant, the ship-owner, the retailer, will not put in any claim
to statecraft or politics? 

Y. Soc. No; unless, indeed, to the politics of commerce.

Str. But surely men whom we see acting as hirelings and serfs, and
too happy to turn their hand to anything, will not profess to share
in royal science? 

Y. Soc. Certainly not. 

Str. But what would you say of some other serviceable officials?

Y. Soc. Who are they, and what services do they perform?

Str. There are heralds, and scribes perfected by practice, and divers
others who have great skill in various sorts of business connected
with the government of states-what shall we call them? 

Y. Soc. They are the officials, and servants of the rulers, as you
just now called them, but not themselves rulers. 

Str. There may be something strange in any servant pretending to be
a ruler, and yet I do not think that I could have been dreaming when
I imagined that the principal claimants to political science would
be found somewhere in this neighbourhood. 

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. Well, let us draw nearer, and try the claims of some who have
not yet been tested; in the first place, there are diviners, who have
a portion of servile or ministerial science, and are thought to be
the interpreters of the gods to men. 

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. There is also the priestly class, who, as the law declares, know
how to give the gods gifts from men in the form of sacrifices which
are acceptable to them, and to ask on our behalf blessings in return
from them. Now both these are branches of the servile or ministerial

Y. Soc. Yes, clearly. 

Str. And here I think that we seem to be getting on the right track;
for the priest and the diviner are swollen with pride and prerogative,
and they create an awful impression of themselves by the magnitude
of their enterprises; in Egypt, the king himself is not allowed to
reign, unless he have priestly powers, and if he should be of another
class and has thrust himself in, he must get enrolled in the priesthood.
In many parts of Hellas, the duty of offering the most solemn propitiatory
sacrifices is assigned to the highest magistracies, and here, at Athens,
the most solemn and national of the ancient sacrifices are supposed
to be celebrated by him who has been chosen by lot to be the King

Y. Soc. Precisely. 

Str. But who are these other kings and priests elected by lot who
now come into view followed by their retainers and a vast throng,
as the former class disappears and the scene changes? 

Y. Soc. Whom can you mean? 

Str. They are a strange crew. 

Y. Soc. Why strange? 

Str. A minute ago I thought that they were animals of every tribe;
for many of them are like lions and centaurs, and many more like satyrs
and such weak and shifty creatures;-Protean shapes quickly changing
into one another's forms and natures; and now, Socrates, I begin to
see who they are. 

Y. Soc. Who are they? You seem to be gazing on some strange vision.

Str. Yes; every one looks strange when you do not know him; and just
now I myself fell into this mistake-at first sight, coming suddenly
upon him, I did not recognize the politician and his troop.

Y. Soc. Who is he? 

Str. The chief of Sophists and most accomplished of wizards, who must
at any cost be separated from the true king or Statesman, if we are
ever to see daylight in the present enquiry. 

Y. Soc. That is a hope not lightly to be renounced. 

Str. Never, if I can help it; and, first, let me ask you a question.

Y. Soc. What? 

Str. Is not monarchy a recognized form of government? 

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. And, after monarchy, next in order comes the government of the

Y. Soc. Of course. 

Str. Is not the third form of government the rule of the multitude,
which is called by the name of democracy? 

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. And do not these three expand in a manner into five, producing
out of themselves two other names Y. Soc. What are they?

Y. Soc. What are they? 

Str. There is a criterion of voluntary and involuntary, poverty and
riches, law and the absence of law, which men now-a-days apply to
them; the two first they subdivide accordingly, and ascribe to monarchy
two forms and two corresponding names, royalty and tyranny.

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. And the government of the few they distinguish by the names of
aristocracy and oligarchy. 

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. Democracy alone, whether rigidly observing the laws or not, and
whether the multitude rule over the men of property with their consent
or against their consent, always in ordinary language has the same

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. But do you suppose that any form of government which is defined
by these characteristics of the one, the few, or the many, of poverty
or wealth, of voluntary or compulsory submission, of written law or
the absence of law, can be a right one? 

Y. Soc. Why not? 

Str. Reflect; and follow me. 

Y. Soc. In what direction? 

Str. Shall we abide by what we said at first, or shall we retract
our words? 

Y. Soc. To what do you refer? 

Str. If I am not mistaken, we said that royal power was a science?

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. And a science of a peculiar kind, which was selected out of the
rest as having a character which is at once judicial and authoritative?

Y. Soc. Yes. 

Str. And there was one kind of authority over lifeless things and
another other living animals; and so we proceeded in the division
step by step up to this point, not losing the idea of science, but
unable as yet to determine the nature of the particular science?

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. Hence we are led to observe that the distinguishing principle
of the State cannot be the few or many, the voluntary or involuntary,
poverty or riches; but some notion of science must enter into it,
if we are to be consistent with what has preceded. 

Y. Soc. And we must be consistent. 

Str. Well, then, in which of these various forms of States may the
science of government, which is among the greatest of all sciences
and most difficult to acquire, be supposed to reside? That we must
discover, and then we shall see who are the false politicians who
pretend to be politicians but are not, although they persuade many,
and shall separate them from the wise king. 

Y. Soc. That, as the argument has already intimated, will be our duty.

Str. Do you think that the multitude in a State can attain political

Y. Soc. Impossible. 

Str. But, perhaps, in a city of a thousand men, there would be a hundred,
or say fifty, who could? 

Y. Soc. In that case political science would certainly be the easiest
of all sciences; there could not be found in a city of that number
as many really first-rate draught-players, if judged by the standard
of the rest of Hellas, and there would certainly not be as many kings.
For kings we may truly call those who possess royal science, whether
they rule or not, as was shown in the previous argument.

Str. Thank you for reminding me; and the consequence is that any true
form of government can only be supposed to be the government of one,
two, or, at any rate, of a few. 

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. And these, whether they rule with the will, or against the will
of their subjects, with written laws or. without written laws, and
whether they are poor or rich, and whatever be the nature of their
rule, must be supposed, according to our present view, to rule on
some scientific principle; just as the physician, whether he cures
us against our will or with our will, and whatever be his mode of
treatment-incision, burning, or the infliction of some other pain-whether
he practises out of a book or not out of a book, and whether he be
rich or poor, whether he purges or reduces in some other way, or even
fattens his patients, is a physician all the same, so long as he exercises
authority over them according to rules of art, if he only does them
good and heals and saves them. And this we lay down to be the only
proper test of the art of medicine, or of any other art of command.

Y. Soc. Quite true. 

Str. Then that can be the only true form of government in which the
governors are really found to possess science, and are not mere pretenders,
whether they rule according to law or without law, over-willing or
unwilling subjects, and are rich or poor themselves-none of these
things can with any propriety be included in the notion of the ruler.

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. And whether with a view to the public good they purge the State
by killing some, or exiling some; whether they reduce the size of
the body corporate by sending out from the hive swarms of citizens,
or, by introducing persons from without, increase it; while they act
according to the rules of wisdom and justice, and use their power
with a view to the general security and improvement, the city over
which they rule, and which has these characteristics, may be described
as the only true State. All other governments are not genuine or real;
but only imitations of this, and some of them are better and some
of them are worse; the better are said to be well governed, but they
are mere imitations like the others. 

Y. Soc. I agree, Stranger, in the greater part of what you say; but
as to their ruling without laws-the expression has a harsh sound.

Str. You have been too quick for me, Socrates; I was just going to
ask you whether you objected to any of my statements. And now I see
that we shall have to consider this notion of there being good government
without laws. 

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. There can be no doubt that legislation is in a manner the business
of a king, and yet the best thing of all is not that the law should
rule, but that a man should rule, supposing him to have wisdom and
royal power. Do you see why this is? 

Y. Soc. Why? 

Str. Because the law does not perfectly comprehend what is noblest
and most just for all and therefore cannot enforce what is best. The
differences of men and actions, and the endless irregular movements
of human things, do not admit of -any universal and simple rule. And
no art whatsoever can lay down a rule which will last for all time.

Y. Soc. Of course not. 

Str. But the law is always striving to make one;-like an obstinate
and ignorant tyrant, who will not allow anything to be done contrary
to his appointment, or any question to be asked-not even in sudden
changes of circumstances, when something happens to be better than
what he commanded for some one. 

Y. Soc. Certainly; the law treats us all precisely in the manner which
you describe. 

Str. A perfectly simple principle can never be applied to a state
of things which is the reverse of simple. 

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. Then if the law is not the perfection of right, why are we compelled
to make laws at all? The reason of this has next to be investigated.

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. Let me ask, whether you have not meetings for gymnastic contests
in your city, such as there are in other cities, at which men compete
in running, wrestling, and the like? 

Y. Soc. Yes; they are very common among us. 

Str. And what are the rules which are enforced on their pupils by
professional trainers or by others having similar authority? Can you

Y. Soc. To what do you refer? 

Str. The training-masters do not issue minute rules for individuals,
or give every individual what is exactly suited to his constitution;
they think that they ought to go more roughly to work, and to prescribe
generally the regimen, which will benefit the majority. 

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. And therefore they assign equal amounts of exercise to them all;
they send them forth together, and let them rest together from their
running, wrestling, or whatever the form of bodily exercise may be.

Y. So True. 

Str. And now observe that the legislator who has to preside over the
herd, and to enforce justice in their dealings with one another, will
not be able, in enacting for the general good, to provide exactly
what is suitable for each particular case. 

Y. Soc. He cannot be expected to do so. 

Str. He will lay down laws in a general form for the majority, roughly
meeting the cases of individuals; and some of them he will deliver
in writing, and others will be unwritten; and these last will be traditional
customs of the country. 

Y. Soc. He will be right. 

Str. Yes, quite right; for how can he sit at every man's side all
through his life, prescribing for him the exact particulars of his
duty? Who, Socrates, would be equal to such a task? No one who really
had the royal science, if he had been able to do this, would have
imposed upon himself the restriction of a written law. 

Y. Soc. So I should infer from what has now been said. 

Str. Or rather, my good friend, from what is going to be said.

Y. Soc. And what is that? 

Str. Let us put to ourselves the case of a physician, or trainer,
who is about to go into a far country, and is expecting to be a long
time away from his patients-thinking that his instructions will not
be remembered unless they are written down, he will leave notes of
them for the use of his pupils or patients. 

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. But what would you say, if he came back sooner than he had intended,
and, owing to an unexpected change of the winds or other celestial
influences, something else happened to be better for them-would he
not venture to suggest this new remedy, although not contemplated
in his former prescription? Would he persist in observing the original
law, neither himself giving any few commandments, nor the patient
daring to do otherwise than was prescribed, under the idea that this
course only was healthy and medicinal, all others noxious and heterodox?
Viewed in the light of science and true art, would not all such enactments
be utterly ridiculous? 

Y. Soc. Utterly. 

Str. And if he who gave laws, written or unwritten, determining what
was good or bad, honourable or dishonourable, just or unjust, to the
tribes of men who flock together in their several cities, and are
governed accordance with them; if, I say, the wise legislator were
suddenly to come again, or another like to him, is he to be prohibited
from changing them?-would not this prohibition be in reality quite
as ridiculous as the other? 

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. Do you know a plausible saying of the common people which is
in point? 

Y. Soc. I do not recall what you mean at the moment. 

Str. They say that if any one knows how the ancient laws may be improved,
he must first persuade his own State of the improvement, and then
he may legislate, but not otherwise. 

Y. Soc. And are they not right? 

Str. I dare say. But supposing that he does use some gentle violence
for their good, what is this violence to be called? Or rather, before
you answer, let me ask the same question in reference to our previous

Y. Soc. What do you mean? 

Str. Suppose that a skilful physician has a patient, of whatever sex
or age, whom he compels against his will to do something for his good
which is contrary to the written rules; what is this compulsion to
be called? Would you ever dream of calling it a violation of the art,
or a breach of the laws of health? Nothing could be more unjust than
for the patient to whom such violence is applied, to charge the physician
who practises the violence with wanting skill or aggravating his disease.

Y. Soc. Most true. 

Str. In the political art error is not called disease, but evil, or
disgrace, or injustice. 

Y. Soc. Quite true. 

Str. And when the citizen, contrary to law and custom, is compelled
to do what is juster and better and nobler than he did before, the
last and most absurd thing which he could say about such violence
is that he has incurred disgrace or evil or injustice at the hands
of those who compelled him. 

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. And shall we say that the violence, if exercised by a rich man,
is just, and if by a poor man, unjust? May not any man, rich or poor,
with or without laws, with the will of the citizens or against the
will of the citizens, do what is for their interest? Is not this the
true principle of government, according to which the wise and good
man will order the affairs of his subjects? As the pilot, by watching
continually over the interests of the ship and of the crew-not by
laying down rules, but by making his art a law-preserves the lives
of his fellow-sailors, even and in the self-same way, may there not
be a true form of polity created by those who are able to govern in
a similar spirit, and who show a strength of art which is superior
to the law? Nor can wise rulers ever err while they, observing the
one great rule of distributing justice to the citizens with intelligence
and skill, are able to preserve them, and, as far as may be, to make
them better from being worse. 

Y. Soc. No one can deny what has been now said. 

Str. Neither, if you consider, can any one deny the other statement.

Y. Soc. What was it? 

Str. We said that no great number of persons, whoever they may be,
can attain political knowledge, or order a State wisely, but that
the true government is to be found in a small body, or in an individual,
and that other States are but imitations of this, as we said a little
while ago, some for the better and some for the worse. 

Y. Soc. What do you mean? I cannot have understood your previous remark
about imitations. 

Str. And yet the mere suggestion which I hastily threw out is highly
important, even if we leave the question where it is, and do not seek
by the discussion of it to expose the error which prevails in this

Y. Soc. What do you mean? 

Str. The idea which has to be grasped by us is not easy or familiar;
but we may attempt to express it thus:-Supposing the government of
which I have been speaking to be the only true model, then the others
must use the written laws of this-in no other can they be saved; they
will have to do what is now generally approved, although not the best
thing in the world. 

Y. Soc. What is this? 

Str. No citizen should do anything contrary to the laws, and any infringement
of them should be punished with death and the most extreme penalties;
and this is very right and good when regarded as the second best thing,
if you set aside the first, of which I was just now speaking. Shall
I explain the nature of what call the second best? 

Y. Soc. By all means. 

Str. I must again have recourse to my favourite images; through them,
and them alone, can I describe kings and rulers. 

Y. Soc. What images? 

Str. The noble pilot and the wise physician, who "is worth many another
man"-in the similitude of these let us endeavour to discover some
image of the king. 

Y. Soc. What sort of image? 

Str. Well, such as this:-Every man will reflect that he suffers strange
things at the hands of both of them; the physician; saves any whom
he wishes to save, and any whom he wishes to maltreat he maltreats-cutting
or burning them; and at the same time requiring them to bring him
patients, which are a sort of tribute, of which little or nothing
is spent upon the sick man, and the greater part is consumed by him
and his domestics; and the finale is that he receives money from the
relations of the sick man or from some enemy of his; and puts him
out of the way. And the pilots of ships are guilty, of numberless
evil deeds of the same kind; they intentionally play false and leave
you ashore when the hour of sailing arrives; or they cause mishaps
at sea and cast away their freight; and are guilty of other rogueries.
Now suppose that we, bearing all this in mind, were to determine,
after consideration, that neither of these arts shall any longer be
allowed to exercise absolute control either over freemen or over slaves,
but that we will summon an assembly either of all the people, or of
the rich only, that anybody who likes, whatever may be his calling,
or even if he have no calling, may offer an opinion either about seamanship
or about diseases-whether as to the manner in which physic or surgical
instruments are to be applied to the patient, or again about the vessels
and the nautical implements which are required in navigation, and
how to meet the dangers of winds and waves which are incidental to
the voyage, how to behave when encountering pirates, and what is to
be done with the old fashioned galleys, if they have to fight with
others of a similar build-and that, whatever shall be decreed by the
multitude on these points, upon the advice of persons skilled or unskilled,
shall be written down on triangular tablets and columns, or enacted
although unwritten to be national customs; and that in all future
time vessels shall be navigated and remedies administered to the patient
after this fashion. 

Y. Soc. What a strange notion! 

Str. Suppose further, that the pilots and physicians are appointed
annually, either out of the rich, or out of the whole people, and
that they are elected by lot; and that after their election they navigate
vessels and heal the sick according to the written rules.

Y. Soc. Worse and worse. 

Str. But hear what follows:-When the year of office has expired, the
pilot or physician has to come before a court of review, in which
the judges are either selected from the wealthy classes or chosen
by lot out of the whole people; and anybody who pleases may be their
accuser, and may lay to their charge, that during the past year they
have not navigated their vessels or healed their patients according
to the letter of the law and the ancient customs of their ancestors;
and if either of them is condemned, some of the judges must fix what
he is to suffer or pay. 

Y. Soc. He who is willing to take a command under such conditions,
deserves to suffer any penalty. 

Str. Yet once more, we shall have to enact that if any one is detected
enquiring into piloting and navigation, or into health and the true
nature of medicine, or about the winds, or other conditions of the
atmosphere, contrary to the written rules, and has any ingenious notions
about such matters, he is not to be called a pilot or physician, but
a cloudy prating sophist;-further, on the ground that he is a corrupter
of the young, who would persuade them. to follow the art of medicine
or piloting in an unlawful manner, and to exercise an arbitrary rule
over their patients or ships, any one who is qualified by law may
inform against him, and indict him in some court, and then if he is
found to be persuading any, whether young or old, to act contrary
to the written law, he is to be punished with the utmost rigour; for
no one should presume to be wiser than the laws; and as touching healing
and health and piloting and navigation, the nature of them is known
to all, for anybody may learn the written laws and the national customs.
If such were the mode of procedure, Socrates, about these sciences
and about generalship, and any branch of hunting, or about painting
or imitation in general, or carpentry, or any sort of handicraft,
or husbandry, or planting, or if we were to see an art of rearing
horses, or tending herds, or divination, or any ministerial service,
or draught-playing, or any science conversant with number, whether
simple or square or cube, or comprising motion-I say, if all these
things were done in this way according to written regulations, and
not according to art, what would be the result? 

Y. Soc. All the arts would utterly perish, and could never be recovered,
because enquiry would be unlawful. And human life, which is bad enough
already, would then become utterly unendurable. 

Str. But what, if while compelling all these operations to be regulated
by written law, we were to appoint as the guardian of the laws some
one elected by a show of hands, or by lot, and he caring nothing about
the laws, were to act contrary to them from motives of interest or
favour, and without knowledge-would not this be a still worse evil
than the former? 

Y. Soc. Very true. 

Str. To go against the laws, which are based upon long experience,
and the wisdom of counsellors who have graciously recommended them
and persuaded the multitude to pass them, would be a far greater and
more ruinous error than any adherence to written law? 

Y. Soc. Certainly. 

Str. Therefore, as there is a danger of this, the next best thing
in legislating is not to allow either the individual or the multitude
to break the law in any respect whatever. 

Y. Soc. True. 

Str. The laws would be copies of the true particulars of action as
far as they admit of being written down from the lips of those who
have knowledge? 

Y. Soc. Certainly they would. 

Str. And, as we were saying, he who has knowledge and is a true Statesman,
will do many things within his own sphere of action by his art without
regard to the laws, when he is of opinion that something other than
that which he has written down and enjoined to be observed during
his absence would be better. 

Y. Soc. Yes, we said so. 

Str. And any