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By Plato
Translated by Benjamin Jowett
Socrates' Defense
How you have felt, O men of Athens, at hearing the speeches of my accusers, I cannot tell; but I
know that their persuasive words almost made me forget who I was - such was the effect of
them; and yet they have hardly spoken a word of truth. But many as their falsehoods were, there
was one of them which quite amazed me; - I mean when they told you to be upon your guard,
and not to let yourselves be deceived by the force of my eloquence. They ought to have been
ashamed of saying this, because they were sure to be detected as soon as I opened my lips and
displayed my deficiency; they certainly did appear to be most shameless in saying this, unless by
the force of eloquence they mean the force of truth; for then I do indeed admit that I am eloquent.
But in how different a way from theirs! Well, as I was saying, they have hardly uttered a word, or
not more than a word, of truth; but you shall hear from me the whole truth: not, however,
delivered after their manner, in a set oration duly ornamented with words and phrases. No
indeed! but I shall use the words and arguments which occur to me at the moment; for I am
certain that this is right, and that at my time of life I ought not to be appearing before you, O men
of Athens, in the character of a juvenile orator - let no one expect this of me. And I must beg of
you to grant me one favor, which is this - If you hear me using the same words in my defence
which I have been in the habit of using, and which most of you may have heard in the agora, and
at the tables of the money-changers, or anywhere else, I would ask you not to be surprised at this,
and not to interrupt me. For I am more than seventy years of age, and this is the first time that I
have ever appeared in a court of law, and I am quite a stranger to the ways of the place; and
therefore I would have you regard me as if I were really a stranger, whom you would excuse if
he spoke in his native tongue, and after the fashion of his country; - that I think is not an unfair
request. Never mind the manner, which may or may not be good; but think only of the justice of
my cause, and give heed to that: let the judge decide justly and the speaker speak truly.
And first, I have to reply to the older charges and to my first accusers, and then I will go to the
later ones. For I have had many accusers, who accused me of old, and their false charges have
continued during many years; and I am more afraid of them than of Anytus and his associates,
who are dangerous, too, in their own way. But far more dangerous are these, who began when
you were children, and took possession of your minds with their falsehoods, telling of one
Socrates, a wise man, who speculated about the heaven above, and searched into the earth
beneath, and made the worse appear the better cause. These are the accusers whom I dread; for
they are the circulators of this rumor, and their hearers are too apt to fancy that speculators of this
sort do not believe in the gods. And they are many, and their charges against me are of ancient
date, and they made them in days when you were impressible - in childhood, or perhaps in youth
- and the cause when heard went by default, for there was none to answer. And, hardest of all,
their names I do not know and cannot tell; unless in the chance of a comic poet. But the main
body of these slanderers who from envy and malice have wrought upon you - and there are some
of them who are convinced themselves, and impart their convictions to others - all these, I say,

are most difficult to deal with; for I cannot have them up here, and examine them, and therefore I
must simply fight with shadows in my own defence, and examine when there is no one who
answers. I will ask you then to assume with me, as I was saying, that my opponents are of two
kinds - one recent, the other ancient; and I hope that you will see the propriety of my answering
the latter first, for these accusations you heard long before the others, and much oftener.
Well, then, I will make my defence, and I will endeavor in the short time which is allowed to do
away with this evil opinion of me which you have held for such a long time; and I hope I may
succeed, if this be well for you and me, and that my words may find favor with you. But I know
that to accomplish this is not easy - I quite see the nature of the task. Let the event be as God
wills: in obedience to the law I make my defence.
I will begin at the beginning, and ask what the accusation is which has given rise to this slander
of me, and which has encouraged Meletus to proceed against me. What do the slanderers say?
They shall be my prosecutors, and I will sum up their words in an affidavit. "Socrates is an evildoer, and a curious person, who searches into things under the earth and in heaven, and he makes
the worse appear the better cause; and he teaches the aforesaid doctrines to others." That is the
nature of the accusation, and that is what you have seen yourselves in the comedy of
Aristophanes; who has introduced a man whom he calls Socrates, going about and saying that he
can walk in the air, and talking a deal of nonsense concerning matters of which I do not pretend
to know either much or little - not that I mean to say anything disparaging of anyone who is a
student of natural philosophy. I should be very sorry if Meletus could lay that to my charge. But
the simple truth is, O Athenians, that I have nothing to do with these studies. Very many of those
here present are witnesses to the truth of this, and to them I appeal. Speak then, you who have
heard me, and tell your neighbors whether any of you have ever known me hold forth in few
words or in many upon matters of this sort. ... You hear their answer. And from what they say of
this you will be able to judge of the truth of the rest.
As little foundation is there for the report that I am a teacher, and take money; that is no more
true than the other. Although, if a man is able to teach, I honor him for being paid. There is
Gorgias of Leontium, and Prodicus of Ceos, and Hippias of Elis, who go the round of the cities,
and are able to persuade the young men to leave their own citizens, by whom they might be
taught for nothing, and come to them, whom they not only pay, but are thankful if they may be
allowed to pay them. There is actually a Parian philosopher residing in Athens, of whom I have
heard; and I came to hear of him in this way: - I met a man who has spent a world of money on
the Sophists, Callias the son of Hipponicus, and knowing that he had sons, I asked him:
"Callias," I said, "if your two sons were foals or calves, there would be no difficulty in finding
someone to put over them; we should hire a trainer of horses or a farmer probably who would
improve and perfect them in their own proper virtue and excellence; but as they are human
beings, whom are you thinking of placing over them? Is there anyone who understands human
and political virtue? You must have thought about this as you have sons; is there anyone?"
"There is," he said. "Who is he?" said I, "and of what country? and what does he charge?"
"Evenus the Parian," he replied; "he is the man, and his charge is five minae." Happy is Evenus, I
said to myself, if he really has this wisdom, and teaches at such a modest charge. Had I the same,
I should have been very proud and conceited; but the truth is that I have no knowledge of the

I dare say, Athenians, that someone among you will reply, "Why is this, Socrates, and what is the
origin of these accusations of you: for there must have been something strange which you have
been doing? All this great fame and talk about you would never have arisen if you had been like
other men: tell us, then, why this is, as we should be sorry to judge hastily of you." Now I regard
this as a fair challenge, and I will endeavor to explain to you the origin of this name of "wise,"
and of this evil fame. Please to attend then. And although some of you may think I am joking, I
declare that I will tell you the entire truth. Men of Athens, this reputation of mine has come of a
certain sort of wisdom which I possess. If you ask me what kind of wisdom, I reply, such
wisdom as is attainable by man, for to that extent I am inclined to believe that I am wise;
whereas the persons of whom I was speaking have a superhuman wisdom, which I may fail to
describe, because I have it not myself; and he who says that I have, speaks falsely, and is taking
away my character. And here, O men of Athens, I must beg you not to interrupt me, even if I
seem to say something extravagant. For the word which I will speak is not mine. I will refer you
to a witness who is worthy of credit, and will tell you about my wisdom - whether I have any,
and of what sort - and that witness shall be the god of Delphi. You must have known
Chaerephon; he was early a friend of mine, and also a friend of yours, for he shared in the exile
of the people, and returned with you. Well, Chaerephon, as you know, was very impetuous in all
his doings, and he went to Delphi and boldly asked the oracle to tell him whether - as I was
saying, I must beg you not to interrupt - he asked the oracle to tell him whether there was anyone
wiser than I was, and the Pythian prophetess answered that there was no man wiser. Chaerephon
is dead himself, but his brother, who is in court, will confirm the truth of this story.
Why do I mention this? Because I am going to explain to you why I have such an evil name.
When I heard the answer, I said to myself, What can the god mean? and what is the interpretation
of this riddle? for I know that I have no wisdom, small or great. What can he mean when he says
that I am the wisest of men? And yet he is a god and cannot lie; that would be against his nature.
After a long consideration, I at last thought of a method of trying the question. I reflected that if I
could only find a man wiser than myself, then I might go to the god with a refutation in my hand.
I should say to him, "Here is a man who is wiser than I am; but you said that I was the wisest."
Accordingly I went to one who had the reputation of wisdom, and observed to him - his name I
need not mention; he was a politician whom I selected for examination - and the result was as
follows: When I began to talk with him, I could not help thinking that he was not really wise,
although he was thought wise by many, and wiser still by himself; and I went and tried to explain
to him that he thought himself wise, but was not really wise; and the consequence was that he
hated me, and his enmity was shared by several who were present and heard me. So I left him,
saying to myself, as I went away: Well, although I do not suppose that either of us knows
anything really beautiful and good, I am better off than he is - for he knows nothing, and thinks
that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know. In this latter particular, then, I seem to have
slightly the advantage of him. Then I went to another, who had still higher philosophical
pretensions, and my conclusion was exactly the same. I made another enemy of him, and of
many others besides him.
After this I went to one man after another, being not unconscious of the enmity which I
provoked, and I lamented and feared this: but necessity was laid upon me - the word of God, I
thought, ought to be considered first. And I said to myself, Go I must to all who appear to know,

and find out the meaning of the oracle. And I swear to you, Athenians, by the dog I swear! - for I
must tell you the truth - the result of my mission was just this: I found that the men most in
repute were all but the most foolish; and that some inferior men were really wiser and better. I
will tell you the tale of my wanderings and of the "Herculean" labors, as I may call them, which I
endured only to find at last the oracle irrefutable. When I left the politicians, I went to the poets;
tragic, dithyrambic, and all sorts. And there, I said to myself, you will be detected; now you will
find out that you are more ignorant than they are. Accordingly, I took them some of the most
elaborate passages in their own writings, and asked what was the meaning of them - thinking that
they would teach me something. Will you believe me? I am almost ashamed to speak of this, but
still I must say that there is hardly a person present who would not have talked better about their
poetry than they did themselves. That showed me in an instant that not by wisdom do poets write
poetry, but by a sort of genius and inspiration; they are like diviners or soothsayers who also say
many fine things, but do not understand the meaning of them. And the poets appeared to me to be
much in the same case; and I further observed that upon the strength of their poetry they believed
themselves to be the wisest of men in other things in which they were not wise. So I departed,
conceiving myself to be superior to them for the same reason that I was superior to the
At last I went to the artisans, for I was conscious that I knew nothing at all, as I may say, and I
was sure that they knew many fine things; and in this I was not mistaken, for they did know
many things of which I was ignorant, and in this they certainly were wiser than I was. But I
observed that even the good artisans fell into the same error as the poets; because they were good
workmen they thought that they also knew all sorts of high matters, and this defect in them
overshadowed their wisdom - therefore I asked myself on behalf of the oracle, whether I would
like to be as I was, neither having their knowledge nor their ignorance, or like them in both; and I
made answer to myself and the oracle that I was better off as I was.
This investigation has led to my having many enemies of the worst and most dangerous kind,
and has given occasion also to many calumnies, and I am called wise, for my hearers always
imagine that I myself possess the wisdom which I find wanting in others: but the truth is, O men
of Athens, that God only is wise; and in this oracle he means to say that the wisdom of men is
little or nothing; he is not speaking of Socrates, he is only using my name as an illustration, as if
he said, He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth
nothing. And so I go my way, obedient to the god, and make inquisition into the wisdom of
anyone, whether citizen or stranger, who appears to be wise; and if he is not wise, then in
vindication of the oracle I show him that he is not wise; and this occupation quite absorbs me,
and I have no time to give either to any public matter of interest or to any concern of my own,
but I am in utter poverty by reason of my devotion to the god.
There is another thing: - young men of the richer classes, who have not much to do, come about
me of their own accord; they like to hear the pretenders examined, and they often imitate me, and
examine others themselves; there are plenty of persons, as they soon enough discover, who think
that they know something, but really know little or nothing: and then those who are examined by
them instead of being angry with themselves are angry with me: This confounded Socrates, they
say; this villainous misleader of youth! - and then if somebody asks them, Why, what evil does
he practise or teach? they do not know, and cannot tell; but in order that they may not appear to

who has a quarrel with me on behalf of the poets.which is the truth: and as they are numerous and ambitious and energetic. my good sir. and tell us who their improver at a loss. And the truth of this I will endeavor to prove. and making the worse appear the better cause. and corrupter of the youth. that good and patriotic man. Meletus and Anytus and Lycon. That is the sort of charge. Observe. Lycon. for you must know. as you will find out either in this or in any future inquiry. Anytus. but I say. that Meletus is a doer of evil. But that.That Socrates is a doer of evil. and are citing and accusing me before them. and tell the judges who their improver is. Meletus. who are headed by Meletus. I want to know who the person is. The laws. and having no gods. on behalf of the rhetoricians: and as I said at the beginning. What do you mean to say. and a very considerable proof of what I was saying. and has other new divinities of his own.this is the occasion and reason of their slander of me. who. then. that you are silent. Speak. have set upon me. O men of Athens. What do they say? Something of this sort: . And this is the reason why my three accusers. and the evil is that he makes a joke of a serious matter. is the truth and the whole truth. Meletus. for they do not like to confess that their pretence of knowledge has been detected . as he calls himself. and what is their hatred but a proof that I am speaking the truth? . I cannot expect to get rid of this mass of calumny all in a moment. Come hither. O men of Athens. But is not this rather disgraceful. who is their improver. And yet I know that this plainness of speech makes them hate me. and let me ask a question of you. on behalf of the craftsmen. You think a great deal about the improvement of youth? Yes. friend. . and are all in battle array and have persuasive tongues. I do. that you have no interest in the matter? Speak up. they repeat the ready-made charges which are used against all philosophers about teaching things up in the clouds and under the earth. I have concealed nothing. that they are able to instruct and improve youth? Certainly they are. The judges. in the first place. they have filled your ears with their loud and inveterate calumnies. is not my meaning. And now I will try to defend myself against them: these new accusers must also have their affidavit read. and is too ready at bringing other men to trial from a pretended zeal and interest about matters in which he really never had the smallest interest. Tell the judges. who corrupt the youth. I have dissembled nothing. Socrates. Meletus. And this. as you have taken the pains to discover their corrupter. and he does not believe in the gods of the state. He says that I am a doer of evil. knows the laws. who are present in court. I turn to the second class. Meletus. I have said enough in my defence against the first class of my accusers. then. and have nothing to say. and now let us examine the particular counts.

Meletus.does anyone like to be injured? Certainly not. that is no matter. and others who have to do with them rather injure them? Is not that true. Happy indeed would be the condition of youth if they had one corrupter only. By the goddess Here. Do not the good do their neighbors good. But perhaps the members of the citizen assembly corrupt them? . they do. and I alone am their corrupter? Is that what you affirm? That is what I stoutly affirm. But suppose I ask you a question: Would you say that this also holds true in the case of horses? Does one man do them harm and all the world good? Is not the exact opposite of this true? One man is able to do them good. or among good ones? Answer. I must ask you another question: Which is better. do you allege that I corrupt them intentionally or unintentionally? . that is good news! There are plenty of improvers. And now. I say. all with the exception of myself. friend. certainly. all of them. to live among bad citizens. my good friend. Then every Athenian improves and elevates them. have sufficiently shown that you never had a thought about the young: your carelessness is seen in your not caring about matters spoken of in this very indictment. Whether you and Anytus say yes or no.or do they too improve them? They improve them. And when you accuse me of corrupting and deteriorating the youth. then. and all the rest of the world were their improvers. does them good. . Meletus. And you.What. And the senators? they improve them? Yes. that is to say. And what do you say of the audience. for that is a question which may be easily answered.the trainer of horses. of horses. the law requires you to answer . And is there anyone who would rather be injured than benefited by those who live with him? Answer. Meletus. the senators improve them. or some only and not others? All of them. or any other animals? Yes. and the bad do them evil? Certainly. . I am very unfortunate if that is true. or at least not many.

you think that you are accusing Anaxagoras. in somewhat plainer terms. but some other new divinities or spiritual agencies in their stead. Or. Athenians. and they might cheaply purchase them. of whom we are speaking. great or small. But either I do not corrupt them. and you have but a bad opinion of the judges. which is the common creed of all men? I assure you. These are the lessons which corrupt the youth. Then. and warned and admonished me. but only that they are not the same gods which the city recognizes . who is full of them. in what I am affirmed to corrupt the young. as I was saying. so that on either view of the case you lie. that I say emphatically. and the moon earth. But you have just admitted that the good do their neighbors good. judges. if you fancy them ignorant to such a degree as not to know that those doctrines are found in the books of Anaxagoras the Clazomenian. But still I should like to know. Meletus. And these are the doctrines which the youth are said to learn of Socrates. Why do you say that? Do you mean that I do not believe in the godhead of the sun or moon. as I infer from your indictment. but you indicted me in this court.that you are a complete atheist. and laugh at Socrates if he pretends to father such eccentricities. Meletus. for he says that the sun is stone. and a teacher of atheism? I mean the latter . and yet I corrupt him. That is an extraordinary statement. tell me and the court. I am very likely to be harmed by him. at my age.Intentionally. what you mean! for I do not as yet understand whether you affirm that I teach others to acknowledge some doubt I should. and the evil do them evil. I should have left off doing what I only did unintentionally . Now is that a truth which your superior wisdom has recognized thus early in life. that Meletus has no care at all. the law has no cognizance of unintentional offences: you ought to have taken me privately. Meletus. when there are not unfrequently exhibitions of them at the theatre (price of admission one drachma at the most). If my offence is unintentional. and intentionally. Yes. you really think that I do not believe in any god? . whereas you hated to converse with me or teach me. or I corrupt them unintentionally. which is a place not of instruction.the charge is that they are different gods. for if I had been better advised. and of that you will never persuade me or any other human being. Meletus. and am I.this you do not lay to my charge. that he does not believe in them. that I teach them not to acknowledge the gods which the state acknowledges. . I have shown. and therefore do believe in gods and am not an entire atheist . I say. do you mean to say that I am an atheist simply. but of punishment. And so. about the matter. too.that is what you are saying. I suppose you mean. as you say. Friend Meletus. by the gods. in such darkness and ignorance as not to know that if a man with whom I have to live is corrupted by me.

and deny that of horses and asses. for I may assume that your silence gives assent to not that true? Yes. I will answer to you and to the court. Did ever any man believe in horsemanship. and not in spirits or demigods? He cannot. and not in flute-players? No. and this is what will be my destruction if I am destroyed. And I must remind you that you are not to interrupt me if I speak in my accustomed manner. but the envy and detraction of . For he certainly does appear to me to contradict himself in the indictment as much as if he said that Socrates is guilty of not believing in the gods. and not be always trying to get up an interruption. I certainly have many enemies. You are a liar. nor yet Anytus. But this is just the ingenious riddle of which I was speaking: the demigods or spirits are gods. but if I believe in divine beings. I am glad that I have extracted that answer.. that he would answer. and yet of believing in them . thinking to try me? He said to himself: . if I believe in demigods. O men of Athens. I should like you. that is true. and that he has written this indictment in a spirit of mere wantonness and youthful bravado. Meletus. O men of Athens. of that I am certain. to join me in examining what I conceive to be his inconsistency. as is thought. that is true. Now what are spirits or demigods? are they not either gods or the sons of gods? Is that true? Yes.not Meletus. Meletus. and not of human beings? . But now please to answer the next question: Can a man believe in spiritual and divine agencies. whether by the Nymphs or by any other mothers. and not in horses? or in flute-playing. and do you. as you say and swear in the affidavit. or whether I shall be able to deceive him and the rest of them. could only have been intended by you as a trial of me. that is. answer.. You have put this into the indictment because you had nothing real of which to accuse me.I swear by Zeus that you believe absolutely in none at all. Such nonsense. Meletus. no matter for that). and then again that I do believe in gods. I must believe in spirits or demigods. as all men will allow. men of Athens.but this surely is a piece of fun. at any rate. There is no man who ever did. .I shall see whether this wise Socrates will discover my ingenious contradiction. I wish. You might as well affirm the existence of mules. that. Did ever man. as you refuse to answer for yourself. I have said enough in answer to the charge of Meletus: any elaborate defence is unnecessary. Meletus. my friend. nevertheless you swear in the indictment that I teach and believe in divine or spiritual agencies (new or old. Has he not compounded a riddle. but as I was saying before. that Meletus is reckless and impudent. by the assistance of the court. believe in the existence of human things. and you say first that I don't believe in gods. not believed even by yourself. But no one who has a particle of understanding will ever be convinced by you that the same man can believe in divine and superhuman things. For if the demigods are the illegitimate sons of gods. necessarily implies the existence of their parents. For I cannot help thinking. I believe in spiritual agencies. and yet not believe that there are gods and demigods and heroes. .

but I shall obey God rather than you. I were to desert my post through fear of death. whether the place which he has chosen or that in which he has been placed by a commander. which you never regard or heed at all? Are you not ashamed of this? And if the person with whom I am arguing . I honor and love you. and not real wisdom. "Let me die next. which is a disgraceful sort of ignorance? And this is the point in which. indeed. and so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul. O men of Athens. and that if I escape now. that are to inquire and speculate in this way any more. is a true saying. Is there not here conceit of knowledge. why do you who are a citizen of the great and mighty and wise city of Athens. O men of Athens. in his eagerness to slay Hector. And therefore if you let me go now. according to your view. I should reply: Men of Athens. and in which I might perhaps fancy myself wiser than other men. who said that if I were not put to death I ought not to have been prosecuted. and that if you are caught doing this again you shall die. feared rather to live in dishonor. Socrates.if you say to me. who altogether despised danger in comparison with disgrace. when. he would die himself . hearing this. and slew Hector. which has been the death of many good men. God orders me to fulfil the philosopher's mission of searching into myself and other men. remained where they placed me. there is no danger of my being the last of them. being the appearance of knowing the unknown. and will let you off. utterly despised danger and death. Whereas. facing death. and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy. and the son of Thetis above all." he replies. or any other fear. he should not think of death or of anything. a scorn and a burden of the earth. since no one knows whether death. if I disobeyed the oracle because I was afraid of death: then I should be fancying that I was wise when I was not wise. Strange. whether God or man.acting the part of a good man or of a bad.that whereas I know but little of the world below. which they in their fear apprehend to be the greatest evil.if this was the condition on which you let me go. and instead of fearing them. that if he avenged his companion Patroclus. Socrates." as she said. For this fear of death is indeed the pretence of wisdom. if I who."Fate. but of disgrace. . is evil and dishonorable. of a course of life which is likely to bring you to an untimely end? To him I may fairly answer: There you are mistaken: a man who is good for anything ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying. "waits upon you next after Hector". care so much about laying up the greatest amount of money and honor and reputation. as I conceive and imagine. and when his goddess mother said to him. I do not suppose that I know: but I do know that injustice and disobedience to a better. "and be avenged of my enemy. and convincing him. and I will never fear or avoid a possible good rather than a certain evil. but upon one condition. now. as I think. he ought only to consider whether in doing anything he is doing right or wrong . would be my conduct. there he ought to remain in the hour of danger. if. I am superior to men in general. and will probably be the death of many more. may not be the greatest good. I say. the heroes who fell at Troy were not good for much. and I might justly be arraigned in court for denying the existence of the gods. and not to avenge his friend. when I was ordered by the generals whom you chose to command me at Potidaea and Amphipolis and Delium. he. And this. Someone will say: And are you not ashamed. ." Had Achilles any thought of death and danger? For wherever a man's place is. this time we will not mind Anytus. and reject the counsels of Anytus. saying: O my friend. that would indeed be strange. your sons will all be utterly ruined by listening to my words . rather than abide here by the beaked ships. like any other man. exhorting anyone whom I meet after my manner.the world.

not even if I have to die many times. I would advise you to spare me.says: Yes. or if my exhortations had been paid. but whatever you do. I say to you. which you easily might. and the state is like a great and noble steed who is tardy in his motions owing to his very size. there would have been some sense in that: but now. but only says that he has. but first and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. and he may imagine. or patiently seen the neglect of them during all these years. do not interrupt. as Anytus advises. or drive him into exile. Wherefore. coming to you individually. at which you may be inclined to cry out. as I would have you know. but especially to the citizens. I tell you that virtue is not given by money. they have no witness of that. do as Anytus bids or not as Anytus bids. and overvaluing the less. And I think that what I am going to say will do you good: for I have something more to say. and have been doing yours. For I do nothing but go about persuading you all.of unjustly taking away another man's life . For this is the command of God. This is my teaching. Men of Athens. would not be like human nature. and you may think that if you were to strike me dead. Meletus and Anytus will not injure me: they cannot. given to the state by the God. . for it is not in the nature of things that a bad man should injure a better than himself. I will tell you the reason of this. kill him. perhaps. am a sort of gadfly. but for yours. and requires to be stirred into life. as you will perceive. and if this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth. O men of Athens. I dare say that you may feel irritated at being suddenly awakened when you are caught napping.that if I had been like other men. that he is doing him a great injury: but in that I do not agree with him. if I may use such a ludicrous figure of speech. I would have you know that. not to take thought for your persons and your properties. But if anyone says that this is not my teaching. I do not depart or let him go at once. who. old and young alike. and others may imagine. For if you kill me you will not easily find another like me. my poverty is a sufficient witness. as you may think. young and old. or lightly reject his boon by condemning me. if you kill such a one as I am. I reproach him with undervaluing the greater. and if I think that he has no virtue. And now. Someone may wonder why I go about in private. not even the impudence of my accusers dares to say that I have ever exacted or sought pay of anyone. I am not going to argue for my own sake. And had I gained anything. I do not deny that he may. but I beg that you will not do this. You have often heard me speak of an oracle or sign which comes to me. inasmuch as they are my brethren. I interrogate and examine and cross-examine him. citizen and alien. And as you will not easily find another like me. and I believe that to this day no greater good has ever happened in the state than my service to the God. then you would sleep on for the remainder of your lives. that you may not sin against the God. but do not venture to come forward in public and advise the state. I should not have neglected all my own concerns. my influence is ruinous indeed. but hear me. or deprive him of civil rights. this I say. unless God in his care of you gives you another gadfly. And this I should say to everyone whom I meet. giving advice and busying myself with the concerns of others. but I do care. And that I am given to you by God is proved by this: . exhorting you to regard virtue. I am that gadfly which God has given the state and all day long and in all places am always fastening upon you. And I have a witness of the truth of what I say. like a father or elder brother. there was an agreement between us that you should hear me out. know that I shall never alter my ways. public as well as private. and either acquit me or not. arousing and persuading and reproaching you. but that from virtue come money and every other good of greater far. Athenians. you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me. for the evil of doing as Anytus is doing . he is speaking an untruth.

I cared not a straw for death. as I never taught him anything. but in deed. . This happened in the days of the democracy. And if anyone says that he has ever learned or heard anything from me in private which all the world has not heard. Now do you really imagine that I could have survived all these years. men of Athens. if I may be allowed to use such an expression. as I think. the tribe Antiochis. honestly struggling against the commission of unrighteousness and wrong in the state. For the strong arm of that oppressive power did not frighten me into doing wrong. which is my tribe. as I ought. I will tell you a story . supposing that like a good man I had always supported the right and had made justice. and then I showed. For which I might have lost my life. but never commands me to do anything. may ask and answer me and listen to my words. and you proposed to try them all together. I should have perished long ago and done no good either to you or to myself. whether he be young or old. had not the power of the Thirty shortly afterwards come to an end.and is the divinity which Meletus ridicules in the indictment. and this is what stands in the way of my being a politician. This sign I have had ever since I was a child. For the truth is that I have no regular disciples: but if anyone likes to come and hear me while I am pursuing my mission. and when we came out of the rotunda the other four went to Salamis and fetched Leon. as you all thought afterwards. neither I nor any other. perhaps. This was a specimen of the sort of commands which they were always giving with the view of implicating as many as possible in their crimes. rather than take part in your injustice because I feared imprisonment and death. and I gave my vote against you. O men of Athens. which you value more than words. but deeds.tasteless. which will prove to you that I should never have yielded to injustice from any fear of death. as they wanted to execute him. and never have I yielded any base compliance to those who are slanderously termed my disciples or to any other. having law and justice with me. had the presidency at the trial of the generals who had not taken up the bodies of the slain after the battle of Arginusae. And rightly. whether he be rich or poor. and that my only fear was the fear of doing an unrighteous or unholy thing. I made up my mind that I would run the risk. that cannot be justly laid to my charge. But when the oligarchy of the Thirty was in power. was that of senator. Nor do I converse with those who pay only. which was illegal. And to this many will witness. and commonplace. they sent for me and four others into the rotunda. but anyone. O men of Athens. and that if I had not yielded I should have died at once. must have a private station and not a public one. I should like you to know that he is speaking an untruth. For I am certain. but I went quietly home. but at the time I was the only one of the Prytanes who was opposed to the illegality. But I have been always the same in all my actions. he who will really fight for the right. will save his life. indeed. and whether he turns out to be a bad man or a good one. and when the orators threatened to impeach and arrest me. I can give you as proofs of this. but nevertheless true. not in words only. the first thing? No. The sign is a voice which comes to me and always forbids me to do something which I am going to do. that. Let me tell you a passage of my own life. and bade us bring Leon the Salaminian from Salamis. And don't be offended at my telling you the truth: for the truth is that no man who goes to war with you or any other multitude. if he would live even for a little while. The only office of state which I ever held. that if I had engaged in politics. he may freely come. and have me taken away. if I had led a public life. and not with those who do not pay. and you called and shouted. not words only. public as well as private.

how shameful is their conduct! I have seen men of reputation. at any rate. and the brother of Theodotus (now Theodotus himself is dead. on a similar or even a less serious occasion. as Homer says. had recourse to prayers and supplications with many tears. and Adeimantus the son of Ariston. or other kinsmen. At any rate. I might mention a great many others. And this is a duty which the God has imposed upon me. Then again there is Lysanias of Sphettus. And if those among you who are said to be superior in wisdom and courage. ought not to debase himself. and have corrupted some of them already. some of their relatives. if he has any testimony of the sort which he can produce. and in every sort of way in which the will of divine power was ever signified to anyone. and Aeantodorus. whether deserved or not. who is the father of Epignes. the very opposite is the truth. would be soon refuted. O Athenians. and you. will not seek to stop him). and that Meletus is lying. those of them who have grown up and have become sensible that I gave them bad advice in the days of their youth should come forward as accusers and take their revenge. Yet a word more. whom I also see. and vote in anger because he is displeased at this. this and the like of this is nearly all the defence which I have to offer. should say what evil their families suffered at my hands. Athenians. and he may be set against me. and the two others are still young. Why should they too support me with their testimony? Why. Athenians. of the destroyer of their kindred. And why not? Not from any self-will or disregard of you. For all these are ready to witness on behalf of the corrupter. whose brother Plato is present. and therefore he. or. Now if there be such a person among you. and not of wood or stone. visions. yes. of which I will not now speak. the whole truth about this: they like to hear the cross-examination of the pretenders to wisdom. together with a posse of his relations and friends.But I shall be asked.he is present.but their uncorrupted elder relatives. who is the father of Aeschines . fathers. any of whom Meletus should have produced as witnesses in the course of his speech. which I am far from affirming. one of whom is growing up. whom I also see. Perhaps this may come into his mind. and because they know that I am speaking the truth. This is true. Whether I am or am not afraid of death is another question. and if they do not like to come themselves. and there is Critobulus his son. brothers. three in number. except for the sake of truth and justice. and there are the brothers of several who have associated with me. Now is their time. when he calls to mind how he himself. and how he produced his children in court. Nay. the world has decided that Socrates is in some way superior to other men. There is Crito. and sons. But my reason simply is that I feel such conduct to be discreditable to myself. will do none of these things. I am a man. and who has a name for wisdom. and also there is Antiphon of Cephisus. if not true. and let him still produce them. I may fairly reply to him: My friend. Athenians. O Athenians. Many of them I see in the court. when they have been condemned. Well. there is amusement in this.I will make way for him.there might have been a motive for that . whereas I. and there is Paralus the son of Demodocus. who am probably in danger of my life. indeed. as Meletus and Anytus call me. and any other virtue. For if I am really corrupting the youth. behaving in the strangest manner: they seemed to fancy that they were . and yet I will not bring any of them hither in order to petition you for an acquittal. and I have a family. demean themselves in this way. There is Nicostratus the son of Theosdotides. Perhaps there may be someone who is offended at me. who is of the same age and of the same deme with myself. as I am assured by oracles. not the corrupted youth only . and the whole state. a creature of flesh and blood. Why do people delight in continually conversing with you? I have told you already. And let him say. One who has reached my years. who is the brother of Apollodorus. which was a moving spectacle. if he has forgotten . who had a brother Theages. and like other men.

But that is not the case. And what is that which I ought to pay or to receive? What shall be done to the man who has never had the wit to be idle during his whole life. he would not have had a fifth part of the votes. and military offices. What would be a reward suitable to a poor man who is your . And I may say that I have escaped Meletus. and that any stranger coming in would say of them that the most eminent men of Athens. And what shall I propose on my part. but to give judgment. to be determined by you as is best for you and me. and I think that they were a dishonor to the state. in my own defence. I did not go where I could do no good to you or to myself. and neither he nor we should get into the habit of perjuring ourselves . What shall be done to such a one? Doubtless some good thing. I could overpower your oaths. you ought not to permit them. and magistracies. But. setting aside the question of dishonor. are no better than women. and family interests. and speaking in the assembly. and thus procuring an acquittal instead of informing and convincing him. and not according to his own good pleasure. at the vote of condemnation. not the man who is quiet. had thirty votes gone over to the other side. to whom the Athenians themselves give honor and command. and if they are done. and sought to persuade every man among you that he must look to himself. there seems to be something wrong in petitioning a judge. and makes the city ridiculous. For his duty is. and look to the state before he looks to the interests of the state. in which case he would have incurred a fine of a thousand drachmae. O men of Athens. Reflecting that I was really too honest a man to follow in this way and live. as is evident. if he has his reward. for without the assistance of Anytus and Lycon. Do not then require me to do what I consider dishonorable and impious and wrong. I should have been acquitted. O men of Athens. and parties. for I had thought that the majority against me would have been far larger. and am only surprised that the votes are so nearly equal. of not believing in them. And so he proposes death as the penalty. as the law requires. but the man who gets up a doleful scene.going to suffer something dreadful if they died. and that they could be immortal if you only allowed them to live. O men of Athens. then I should be teaching you to believe that there are no gods. And I may say more. but has been careless of what the many care about . when I am being tried for impiety on the indictment of Meletus. by force of persuasion and entreaty. and plots. Socrates' Proposal for his Sentence There are many reasons why I am not grieved. I expected it. O men of Athens? Clearly that which is my due.wealth. and he has sworn that he will judge according to the laws. for I do believe that there are gods. especially now. and the good should be of a kind suitable to him. you ought rather to show that you are more inclined to condemn. but where I could do the greatest good privately to everyone of you. And to you and to God I commit my cause. And I say that these things ought not to be done by those of us who are of reputation.there can be no piety in that. not to make a present of justice. and convict myself. thither I went. For if. The jury finds Socrates guilty. and seek virtue and wisdom before he looks to his private interests. and in a far higher sense than that in which any of my accusers believe in them. and that this should be the order which he observes in all his actions. but now.

O men of Athens. that is not very likely. And yet what I say is true. I should have to lie in prison. For I am in want. and. The jury condemns Socrates to death. I am not accustomed to think that I deserve any punishment. and if I drive them away.that you are still less likely to believe. Someone will say: Yes. at my age. Well then. and they will be the sureties. Critobulus. and he only gives you the appearance of happiness. I speak rather because I am convinced that I never intentionally wronged anyone. and can only ask you to proportion the fine to my means. as here so also there. say thirty minae. I cannot in a moment refute great slanders. Crito. my friends here. and therefore that I cannot hold my tongue. Socrates. but now the time is too short. I will not say of myself that I deserve any evil. men of Athens. I must indeed be blinded by the love of life if I were to consider that when you. then I believe that I should have convinced you. although I cannot convince you of that . who desires leisure that he may instruct you? There can be no more fitting reward than maintenance in the Prytaneum. or propose any penalty.of the Eleven? Or shall the penalty be a fine. their fathers and friends will drive me out for their sakes. that a capital cause should not be decided in one day. Had I money I might have proposed to give you what I had. And if I am to estimate the penalty justly. but if there were a law at Athens. others are likely to endure me. let that be the penalty. although a thing of which it is hard for me to persuade you. Plato. And what a life should I lead. as I am convinced that I never wronged another. I think that I could afford a minae. cannot endure my discourses and words. Moreover. and therefore I propose that penalty. living in ever-changing exile.for we have had a short conversation only. . for money I have none. their elders will drive me out at their desire: and if I let them come. and be the slave of the magistrates of the year . and no one will interfere with you? Now I have great difficulty in making you understand my answer to this. such as there is in other cities. whether the chariots were drawn by two horses or by many. For if I tell you that this would be a disobedience to a divine command. you will not believe that I am serious. and then you may go into a foreign city. a reward which he deserves far more than the citizen who has won the prize at Olympia in the horse or chariot race. And if I say exile (and this may possibly be the penalty which you will affix). and have been none the worse. the young men will come to me. Perhaps you may think that I am braving you in saying this.benefactor. wandering from city to city. but cannot you hold your tongue. But that is not the case. why should I propose a penalty which would certainly be an evil? Shall I say imprisonment? And why should I live in prison. I will assuredly not wrong myself. for that they will be ample security to you. However. and have found them so grievous and odious that you would fain have done with them. and that the life which is unexamined is not worth living . and I cannot pay. Why should I? Because I am afraid of the penalty of death which Meletus proposes? When I do not know whether death is a good or an evil. who are my own citizens. as in what I said before about the tears and prayers. and imprisonment until the fine is paid? There is the same objection. I say that maintenance in the Prytaneum is the just return. But you see that I have none. and all that concerning which you hear me examining myself and others. and Apollodorus. indeed. and he has enough. and I give you the reality. and always being driven out! For I am quite sure that into whatever place I go. No. and if I say again that the greatest good of man is daily to converse about virtue. bid me say thirty minae.

and saying and doing many things which you have been accustomed to hear from others. . nothing unsaid.for you I may truly call judges . I might have gained an acquittal. than speak in your manner and live. I am old and move slowly. that is not a way of escape which is either possible or honorable.let them abide by theirs. And now I depart hence condemned by you to suffer the penalty of death.Socrates' Comments on his Sentence Not much time will be gained. For I am far advanced in years. Stay then awhile. and my accusers are keen and quick. and I should like to show you the meaning of this event which has happened to me. for I am about to die. and before I go to the place at which I must die. For if you think that by killing men you can avoid the accuser censuring your lives. I would fain prophesy to you. And now. if a man is willing to say and do anything. I suppose that these things may be regarded as fated. and fall on his knees before his pursuers. who is unrighteousness. but to be improving yourselves. weeping and wailing and lamenting. But I thought that I ought not to do anything common or mean in the hour of danger: nor do I now repent of the manner of my defence. are unworthy of me. And I have another thing to say to them: You think that I was convicted through deficiency of words . I am speaking now only to those of you who have condemned me to death. I would like also to talk with you about this thing which has happened. You are my friends. For often in battle there is no doubt that if a man will throw away his arms. the deficiency which led to my conviction was not of words . for they will call me wise even although I am not wise when they want to reproach you. O my judges . If you had waited a little while. But I had not the boldness or impudence or inclination to address you as you would have liked me to address you. And I prophesy to you who are my murderers. and the slower runner has overtaken me. and which. O Athenians. that immediately after my death punishment far heavier than you have inflicted on me will surely await you. accusers whom hitherto I have restrained: and as they are younger they will be more severe with you. your desire would have been fulfilled in the course of nature. my friends. and in other dangers there are other ways of escaping death. a wise man. who will say that you killed Socrates. for we may as well talk with one another while there is time. For neither in war nor yet at law ought any man to use every way of escaping death. and I must abide by my award . in return for the evil name which you will get from the detractors of the city. the easiest and noblest way is not to be crushing others. for that runs faster than death. while the magistrates are busy. has overtaken them. that if I had thought fit to leave nothing undone.and I think that they are well. Not so. too. you are mistaken. who would have acquitted me. as you may perceive. O men who have condemned me.certainly not. and not far from death. and the faster runner. and that is the hour in which men are gifted with prophetic power. but in avoiding unrighteousness. But that will not be as you suppose: far otherwise. The difficulty. he may escape death. Friends. This is the prophecy which I utter before my departure. For I say that there will be more accusers of you than there are now. Me you have killed because you wanted to escape the accuser. to the judges who have condemned me. and you will be more offended at them. as I say. is not in avoiding death. and I would rather die having spoken after my manner. go their ways condemned by the truth to suffer the penalty of villainy and wrong.I should like to tell you of a wonderful . and not to give an account of your lives.I mean. and they.

and therefore the oracle gave no sign. and then were to tell us how many days and nights he had passed in the course of his life better and more pleasantly than this one. and were to compare with this the other days and nights of his life. Let us reflect in another way. he is delivered from the professors of justice in this world. and is not. can be greater than this? If indeed when the pilgrim arrives in the world below. Now if death is like this. and we shall see that there is great reason to hope that death is a good. all the dead are. and there will be no small pleasure.either death is a state of nothingness and utter unconsciousness.that no evil can happen to a good man. For if a person were to select the night in which his sleep was undisturbed even by dreams. and there. What would not a man give. and know this of a truth . either in life or after death. at anything which I was going to say. but now in nothing I either said or did touching this matter has the oracle opposed me. as men say. O my friends and judges. men and women too! What infinite delight would there be in conversing with them and asking them questions! For in that world they do not put a man to death for this. What would not a man give if he might converse with Orpheus and Musaeus and Hesiod and Homer? Nay. so also in that. to be able to examine the leader of the great Trojan expedition. the last and worst evil. what good. and is generally believed to be. they will be immortal. that pilgrimage will be worth making.circumstance. or my condemners. and for this I may gently blame them. I am not angry with my accusers. as men say. or while I was speaking. For besides being happier in that world than in this. and who pretends to be wise. if this be true. or numberless others. for the customary sign would surely have opposed me had I been going to evil and not to good. I shall find out who is wise. although neither of them meant to do me any good. as in this world. What do I take to be the explanation of this? I will tell you. either as I was leaving my house and going out in the morning. in comparing my own sufferings with theirs. But I see clearly that to die and be released was better for me. and that those of us who think that death is an evil are in error. and now as you see there has come upon me that which may be thought. O judges. for one of two things: . or. too. Wherefore. and finds the true judges who are said to give judgment there. For which reason also. I regard this as a proof that what has happened to me is a good. when compared with the others. be of good cheer about death. . I will not say a private man. Hitherto the familiar oracle within me has constantly been in the habit of opposing me even about trifles. or when I was going up into this court. let me die again and again. and other heroes of old. certainly not. as I think. Minos and Rhadamanthus and Aeacus and Triptolemus. but a sleep like the sleep of him who is undisturbed even by the sight of dreams. but even the great king. Now if you suppose that there is no consciousness. But if death is the journey to another place. if what is said is true. they have done me no harm. for eternity is then only a single night. if I was going to make a slip or error about anything. I. will not find many such days or nights. I think that any man. or Odysseus or Sisyphus. and Ajax the son of Telamon. O judges. He and his are not neglected by the gods. shall have a wonderful interest in a place where I can converse with Palamedes. there is a change and migration of the soul from this world to another. who have suffered death through an unjust judgment. Above all. death will be an unspeakable gain. I shall be able to continue my search into true and false knowledge. I say that to die is gain. and yet I have often been stopped in the middle of a speech. and other sons of God who were righteous in their own life. nor has my own approaching end happened by mere chance. This is a great proof to me of what I am saying. But the oracle made no sign of opposition.

as I have reproved you. and I would have you trouble them. O my friends. The hour of departure has arrived. more than about virtue. THE END . or anything. .I to die. if they seem to care about riches. and thinking that they are something when they are really nothing. Which is better God only knows.then reprove them. And if you do this. or if they pretend to be something when they are really nothing.Still I have a favor to ask of them. to punish them. for not caring about that for which they ought to care. When my sons are grown up. as I have troubled you. and we go our ways . and you to live. I and my sons will have received justice at your hands. I would ask you.

and contain nothing private. Yes. receiving from the other citizens. we were to consider whether the best was not also the happiest. True.GLAUCON And so. and have found your way to the point at which we have now arrived. and that the man was good who answered to it. although.C. only their maintenance. as now appears. they were to be warrior athletes and guardians. I said. I asked you what were the four forms of government of which you spoke. and you began again. and they were to take care of themselves and of the whole State.E Translated by Benjamin Jowett Table of Contents Book VIII Socrates . and now that this division of our task is concluded. and then Polemarchus and Adeimantus put in their word. and that all education and the pursuits of war and peace are also to be common. you had more excellent things to relate both of State and man. you implied. that there were four principal ones. you said. Your recollection. you must put yourself again in the same position. that if this was the true form. is most exact. in lieu of annual payment. replied Glaucon. and the defects of the individuals corresponding to them. let us find the point at which we digressed. that you had finished the description of the State: you said that such a State was good. then the others were false. and about their property. you remember what we agreed? Yes. Glaucon. like a wrestler. then as now. and that their defects. and we have further acknowledged that the governors. and the best philosophers and the bravest warriors are to be their kings? That. which are common to all. were worth examining. when appointed themselves. has been acknowledged. or individual. I said. as I remember. and let me ask the same questions. And you said further. and of the false forms.The Republic By Plato Written 360 B. Then. that we may return into the old path. There is no difficulty in returning. I remember that no one was to have any of the ordinary possessions of mankind. When we had seen all the individuals. he replied. we have arrived at the conclusion that in the perfect State wives and children are to be in common. . I said. and the worst the most miserable. and finally agreed as to who was the best and who was the worst of them. and do you give me the same answer which you were about to give me then. will take their soldiers and place them in houses such as we were describing.

so far as they have distinct names. they grow out of human characters. and tyrannical. and then again we will turn our attention to democracy and the democratical man. We have. are. democracy. that governments vary as the dispositions of men vary. this is not equally approved. we have already described. and once more take a look into the tyrant's soul. and try to arrive at a . and. But these are nondescripts and may be found equally among Hellenes and among barbarians. do you? of any other constitution which can be said to have a distinct character. and is a form of government which teems with evils: thirdly. if I can. And we shall know whether we ought to pursue injustice. I shall particularly wish to hear what were the four constitutions of which you were speaking. or in accordance with the conclusions of the argument to prefer justice. That question. and lastly. consider oligarchical man. which naturally follows oligarchy. and that there must be as many of the one as there are of the other? For we cannot suppose that States are made of 'oak and rock. Shall we follow our old plan. I said.' and not out of the human natures which are in them. we certainly hear of many curious forms of government which exist among them. There are lordships and principalities which are bought and sold. he said. democratical. we must do as you say. of taking the State first and then proceeding to the individual. and begin with the government of honour? --I know of no name for such a government other than timocracy. and when we see them we shall be able to compare the relative happiness or unhappiness of him who leads a life of pure justice or pure injustice. also the oligarchical. after that. the dispositions of individual minds will also be five? Certainly. who answer to the Spartan polity. The enquiry will then be completed. he replied. those of Crete and Sparta. Him who answers to aristocracy. Then if the constitutions of States are five. I do not know. Do you know. Certainly. We will compare with this the like character in the individual. which we adopted with a view to clearness. and some other intermediate forms of government. which differs from them all. great and famous. Then let us now proceed to describe the inferior sort of natures. I said. and which in a figure turn the scale and draw other things after them? Yes. what is termed oligarchy comes next. although very different: and lastly comes tyranny. being the contentious and ambitious. or perhaps timarchy. I said. he replied.Yes. the States are as the men are. and whom we rightly call just and good. is easily answered: the four governments of which I spoke. we will go and view the city of tyranny. which are generally applauded. Let us place the most just by the side of the most unjust. first. and is the fourth and worst disorder of a State. I will. as Thrasymachus advises. Yes.

but the period of human birth is comprehended in a number in which first increments by involution and evolution (or squared and cubed) obtaining three intervals and four terms of like and unlike. the side of which is five (7 X 7 = 49 X 100 = 4900). which always and in all places are causes of hatred and war. but oblong. and to address us in a lofty tragic vein. Now this number represents a geometrical figure which has control over the good and evil of births. and brass with gold. e. Clearly. This . and unite bride and bridegroom out of season. a government which is united. he said. which neglect will soon extend to gymnastic. to play and jest with us as if we were children. 50) or less by two perfect squares of irrational diameters (of a square the side of which is five = 50 + 50 = 100). and in long-lived ones over a long space. and the other a figure having one side equal to the former. the children will not be goodly or fortunate. And this is the dissolution: --In plants that grow in the earth. cannot be moved. the first a square which is a hundred times as great (400 = 4 X 100). making believe to be in earnest? How would they address us? After this manner: --A city which is thus constituted can hardly be shaken. then. That way of viewing and judging of the matter will be very suitable. but will in time be dissolved. For when your guardians are ignorant of the law of births. But to the knowledge of human fecundity and sterility all the wisdom and education of your rulers will not attain.satisfactory decision. even a constitution such as yours will not last for ever. after the manner of Homer. In what way. but will escape them. make all the terms commensurable and agreeable to one another. Now that which is of divine birth has a period which is contained in a perfect number. the Muses. and when they come into power as guardians. And so iron will be mingled with silver. consisting of a hundred numbers squared upon rational diameters of a square (i. and they will bring children into the world when they ought not. first by under-valuing music. omitting fractions). fertility and sterility of soul and body occur when the circumferences of the circles of each are completed. The base of these (3) with a third added (4) when combined with five (20) and raised to the third power furnishes two harmonies. which. And though only the best of them will be appointed by their predecessors. and a hundred cubes of three (27 X 100 = 2700 + 4900 + 400 = 8000). and in what manner the two classes of auxiliaries and rulers disagree among themselves or with one another? Shall we. still they will be unworthy to hold their fathers' places. seeing that everything which has a beginning has also an end. pray the Muses to tell us 'how discord first arose'? Shall we imagine them in solemn mockery. the laws which regulate them will not be discovered by an intelligence which is alloyed with sense. then. each of them being less by one (than the perfect square which includes the fractions. will our city be moved. all political changes originate in divisions of the actual governing power. sc. I said. In the succeeding generation rulers will be appointed who have lost the guardian power of testing the metal of your different races. and hence there will arise dissimilarity and inequality and irregularity. are of gold and silver and brass and iron. as well as in animals that move on the earth's surface. which in short-lived existences pass over a short space. they will soon be found to fall in taking care of us. waxing and waning numbers. like Hesiod's. Very true. let us enquire how timocracy (the government of honour) arises out of aristocracy (the government of the best). but. First. and hence the young men of your State will be less cultivated. however small.

which they will hoard in dark places. Why. will partly follow one and partly the other. handicrafts. And they are miserly because they have no means of openly acquiring the money which they prize. I said. but the gold and silver races. in the institution of common meals. he said. then the two races were drawn different ways: the iron and brass fell to acquiring money and land and houses and gold and silver. they will spend that which is another man's on the gratification of their desires.the Muses affirm to be the stock from which discord has sprung. and at last they agreed to distribute their land and houses among individual owners. also castles which are just nests for their eggs. and in the attention paid to gymnastics and military training --in all these respects this State will resemble the former. and in turning from them to passionate and less complex characters. There was a battle between them. a fierce secret longing after gold and silver. But in the fear of admitting philosophers to power. Yes. or on any others whom they please. and men of this stamp will be covetous of money. whom they had formerly protected in the condition of freemen. and this is their answer to us. Such will be the change. the new State. and they themselves were engaged in war and in keeping a watch against them. and we may assume that they answer truly. and made of them subjects and servants. he said. I believe that you have rightly conceived the origin of the change. Yes. Yes. and in the waging of everlasting wars --this State will be for the most part peculiar. not wanting money but having the true riches in their own nature. yes. they will have. and in which they will spend large sums on their wives. having magazines and treasuries of their own for the deposit and concealment of them. who are by nature fitted for war rather than peace. and they enslaved their friends and maintainers. how will they proceed? Clearly. and trade in general. but are made up of mixed elements. in the abstinence of the warrior class from agriculture. And the new government which thus arises will be of a form intermediate between oligarchy and aristocracy? Very true. wherever arising. In the honour given to rulers. of course they answer truly. and in the value set by them upon military stratagems and contrivances. being in a mean between oligarchy and the perfect State. inclined towards virtue and the ancient order of things. and after the change has been made. True. because they are no longer to be had simple and earnest. how can the Muses speak falsely? And what do the Muses say next? When discord arose. True. That is most true. I said. like those who live in oligarchies. stealing . and will also have some peculiarities.

and one thing only. omitting none of them. there is a mixture. he said. and these are due to the prevalence of the passionate or spirited element. and is the only saviour of his virtue throughout life. I said. but there are other respects in which he is very different. but as he gets older he will be more and more attracted to them. and to go through all the States and all the characters of men. and remarkably obedient to authority. said Adeimantus. but because he is a soldier and has performed feats of arms. he is also a lover of gymnastic exercises and of the chase. Assuredly. and he will also be courteous to freemen. I said. he is not unlike our friend Glaucon. and he should be a good listener. but no speaker. tempered with music. the companion of reason and philosophy. which has been described in outline only.ADEIMANTUS I think. --the spirit of contention and ambition. Such an one will despise riches only when he is young. or on any ground of that sort. Yes. that in the spirit of contention which characterises him. Undoubtedly. and is not singleminded towards virtue. Who was that? said Adeimantus. the form of government which you describe is a mixture of good and evil. unlike the educated man.their pleasures and running away like children from the law. Why. he replied. would be an interminable labour. Good. Such a person is apt to be rough with slaves. because he has a piece of the avaricious nature in him. . and have honoured gymnastic more than music. who comes and takes her abode in a man. who is too proud for that. for they have neglected her who is the true Muse. he may be like him in that one point. I said. their father: they have been schooled not by gentle influences but by force. the more perfect execution was not required. Perhaps. In what respects? He should have more of self-assertion and be less cultivated. claiming to be a ruler. Such is the origin and such the character of this State. and what is he like? Socrates . is predominantly seen. he said. that is the type of character which answers to timocracy. having lost his best guardian. not because he is eloquent. Philosophy. Now what man answers to this form of government-how did he come into being. and yet a friend of culture. for a sketch is enough to show the type of the most perfectly just and most perfectly unjust. but one thing. he is a lover of power and a lover of honour. Very true. he said.

The result is that the young man. that the old servants also. and instead of battling and railing in the law courts or assembly. or exert himself in any way.Such. while the busy-bodies are honoured and applauded. and gives up the kingdom which is within him to the middle principle of contentiousness and passion. the words of his father. from time to time talk privately in the same strain to the son. and be more of a man than his father. and he falls to prosecute them. and having a nearer view of his way of life. let us look at another man who. of which the consequence is that she has no precedence among other women. or rather. I said. who are supposed to be attached to the family. And what manner of government do you term oligarchy? A government resting on a valuation of property. Next. hearing and seeing all these thing --hearing too. . By all means. and making comparisons of him and others --is drawn opposite ways: while his father is watering and nourishing the rational principle in his soul. while he treats her with very considerable indifference. the others are encouraging the passionate and appetitive. and when she observes that his thoughts always centre in himself. and he being not originally of a bad nature. I believe that oligarchy follows next in order. but having kept bad company. I said. You seem to me to have described his origin perfectly. said Adeimantus. is the timocratical youth. and their complaints are so like themselves. I said. is at last brought by their joint influence to a middle point. in which the rich have power and the poor man is deprived of it. and held in no esteem. they give us plenty of them. Yes. Then we have now. Exactly. He has only to walk abroad and he hears and sees the same sort of thing: those who do their own business in the city are called simpletons. Further. they tell the youth that when he grows up he must retaliate upon people of this sort. and he is like the timocratical State. when she sees her husband not very eager about money. as Aeschylus says. Is set over against another State. and will not go to law. of which he declines the honours and offices. or is wronging him in any way. And how does the son come into being? The character of the son begins to develop when he hears his mother complaining that her husband has no place in the government. begin with the State. as our plan requires. but is ready to waive his rights in order that he may escape trouble. and says to her son that his father is only half a man and far too easy-going: adding all the other complaints about her own ill-treatment which women are so fond of rehearsing. she is annoyed. And you know. and becomes arrogant and ambitious. and if they see any one who owes money to his father. His origin is as follows: --He is often the young son of a grave father. taking whatever happens to him quietly. the second form of government and the second type of character? We have. who dwells in an illgoverned city.

These changes in the constitution they effect by force of arms. And then one. seeks to rival him. I said. And this. no eyes are required in order to see how the one passes into the other. And what is honoured is cultivated. as the oligarchy is more or less exclusive. and a poor man were refused permission to steer. Yes. indeed. And so they grow richer and richer. and they allow no one whose property falls below the amount fixed to have any share in the government. speaking generally. I said. consider the nature of the qualification just think what would happen if pilots were to be chosen according to their property. They do so. and thus the great mass of the citizens become lovers of money. And in proportion as riches and rich men are honoured in the State. for when riches and virtue are placed together in the scales of the balance. True. . the sum is higher in one place and lower in another. and that which has no honour is neglected. Very true. they honour and look up to the rich man. and dishonour the poor man. And so at last. They next proceed to make a law which fixes a sum of money as the qualification of citizenship. virtue and the virtuous are dishonoured. but what are the characteristics of this form of government. and make a ruler of him. if intimidation has not already done their work. he replied. and the more they think of making a fortune the less they think of virtue. Well. instead of loving contention and glory. the one always rises as the other falls. How? The accumulation of gold in the treasury of private individuals is ruin the of timocracy. men become lovers of trade and money. for what do they or their wives care about the law? Yes. That is obvious. Ought I not to begin by describing how the change from timocracy to oligarchy arises? Yes. he said. Likely enough. seeing another grow rich. is the way in which oligarchy is established. they invent illegal modes of expenditure.I understand. Clearly. and what are the defects of which we were speaking? First of all.

What evil? A man may sell all that he has. while he was spending his money. the greatest of all. surely. And here is another defect which is quite as bad. but only a poor. nor horseman. all in one. nor artisan. but just a spendthrift? As you say. and another may acquire his property. few to fight as they are few to rule. the one of poor. How discreditable! And. Either they arm the multitude. True. and then they are more afraid of them than of the enemy. This. inasmuch as the rule of a city is the greatest and most difficult of all. and . he seemed to be a ruler. being neither trader. Another discreditable feature is. What defect? The inevitable division: such a State is not one. There is another evil which is. that. under such a constitution the same persons have too many callings --they are husbandmen. the other of rich men. but two States. nor hoplite. perhaps. And at the same time their fondness for money makes them unwilling to pay taxes. then. and is not this true of the government of anything? I should imagine so. they are incapable of carrying on any war. helpless creature. for a like reason. is at least as bad. The evil is certainly not prevented there. as we said before. or. they are oligarchs indeed. But think again: In his wealthy days. the case of a city is the strongest of all. that is an evil which also first begins in this State. for oligarchies have both the extremes of great wealth and utter poverty. will be the first great defect of oligarchy? Clearly. although in truth he was neither ruler nor subject. if they do not call them out in the hour of battle. and to which this State first begins to be liable. tradesmen. warriors. Except a city? --or would you include a city? Nay. was a man of this sort a whit more good to the State for the purposes of citizenship? Or did he only seem to be a member of the ruling body. That.even though he were a better pilot? You mean that they would shipwreck? Yes. he said. but was only a spendthrift. May we not say that this is the drone in the house who is like the drone in the honeycomb. and they are living on the same spot and always conspiring against one another. yet after the sale he may dwell in the city of which he is no longer a part. Does that look well? Anything but well. Yes.

nearly everybody is a pauper who is not a ruler. Such. all without stings. and all his property taken from him. Clearly then. he said. Very likely. as they are termed. and cutpurses and robbers of temples. then. Clearly. whereas of the walking drones he has made some without stings but others have dreadful stings. humbled by poverty he takes to money-making and by mean and miserly savings and hard work gets a fortune together. and in oligarchical States do you not find paupers? Yes. and his fear has taught him to knock ambition and passion head-foremost from his bosom's throne. and an evil constitution of the State? True. and there may be many other evils. of the stingers come all the criminal class. and either put to death. somewhere in that neighborhood there are hidden away thieves. And may we be so bold as to affirm that there are also many criminals to be found in them. but presently he sees him of a sudden foundering against the State as upon a sunken reef. ill-training. Adeimantus. and whom the authorities are careful to restrain by force? Certainly. or exiled. Is not such an one likely to seat the concupiscent and covetous element on the vacant throne and . Most true. of the stingless class are those who in their old age end as paupers. Well. we may be so bold. Socrates.that the one is the plague of the city as the other is of the hive? Just so. and he and all that he has is lost. or the form of government in which the rulers are elected for their wealth. or deprived of the privileges of a citizen. I said. Does not the timocratical man change into the oligarchical on this wise? How? A time arrives when the representative of timocracy has a son: at first he begins by emulating his father and walking in his footsteps. And God has made the flying drones. whenever you see paupers in a State. may now be dismissed. is the form and such are the evils of oligarchy. The existence of such persons is to be attributed to want of education. By all means. And the son has seen and known all this --he is a ruined man. he said. he may have been a general or some other high officer who is brought to trial under a prejudice raised by informers. and all sorts of malefactors. rogues who have stings. Then oligarchy. Nothing more likely. Let us next proceed to consider the nature and origin of the individual who answers to this State.

Very good. which are forcibly kept down by his general habit of life? True. And when he has made reason and spirit sit down on the ground obediently on either side of their sovereign. as in the guardianship of an orphan. then. they resemble one another in the value which they set upon wealth? Certainly. there is none so speedy or so sure as the conversion of the ambitious youth into the avaricious one. or to be ambitious of anything so much as the acquisition of wealth and the means of acquiring it. Excellent! I said. or given him chief honour. You see that he is not a man of cultivation. he said. girt with tiara and chain and scimitar? Most true. True. Let us then consider whether there is any likeness between them. at any rate the individual out of whom he came is like the State out of which oligarchy came. I imagine not. He is a shabby fellow. Also in their penurious. and taught them to know their place. had he been educated he would never have made a blind god director of his chorus. First. under the idea that they are unprofitable. the individual only satisfies his necessary appetites. is the oligarchical youth? Yes. laborious character. his other desires he subdues. he said. And the avaricious. I said. I said. and this is the sort of man whom the vulgar applaud. Is he not a true image of the State which he represents? He appears to me to be so. he replied. and will not allow the other to worship and admire anything but riches and rich men. and confines his expenditure to them. he suffer it to play the great king within him. at any rate money is highly valued by him as well as by the State. . Do you know where you will have to look if you want to discover his rogueries? Where must I look? You should see him where he has some great opportunity of acting dishonestly. who saves something out of everything and makes a purse for himself. Of all changes. he compels the one to think only of how lesser sums may be turned into larger ones. Yet consider: Must we not further admit that owing to this want of cultivation there will be found in him dronelike desires as of pauper and rogue.

and bring him up for judgement. then. indeed. will be at war with himself. but you will find that the natural desires of the drone commonly exist in him all the same whenever he has to spend what is not his own.Aye. True. not making them see that they are wrong. For these reasons such an one will be more respectable than most people. Yes. then. or taming them by reason. of this the origin and nature have still to be considered by us. in true oligarchical fashion he fights with a small part only of his resources. my dear friend. I should expect so. but by necessity and fear constraining them. his better desires will be found to prevail over his inferior ones. he will not spend his money in the contest for glory. so afraid is he of awakening his expensive appetites and inviting them to help and join in the struggle. he will be two men. Well. And surely. and how does the change from oligarchy into democracy arise? Is it not on this wise? --The good at which such a State alms is to become as rich as possible. and not one. Yes. There can be no doubt that the love of wealth and the spirit of moderation cannot exist together . refuse to curtail by law the extravagance of the spendthrift youth because they gain by their ruin. It will be clear enough then that in his ordinary dealings which give him a reputation for honesty he coerces his bad passions by an enforced virtue. a desire which is insatiable? What then? The rulers. and then we will enquire into the ways of the democratic man. they take interest from them and buy up their estates and thus increase their own wealth and importance? To be sure. I said. Next comes democracy. the miser individually will be an ignoble competitor in a State for any prize of victory. yet the true virtue of a unanimous and harmonious soul will flee far away and never come near him. That. but. or other object of honourable ambition. is our method. and the result commonly is that he loses the prize and saves his money. The man. To be sure. being aware that their power rests upon their wealth. Can we any longer doubt. in general. that the miser and money-maker answers to the oligarchical State? There can be no doubt. he said. Very true. and because he trembles for his possessions. and they will be strong in him too.

how can he avoid drawing the conclusion that men like him are only rich . their money --into some one else who is not on his guard against them. they do nothing. and they may observe the behaviour of each other in the very moment of danger --for where danger is. induced by the motives which I have named. Very true. treat their subjects badly. That is tolerably clear. and are incapable of resisting either pleasure or pain. Yes. there are plenty of them --that is certain. insert their sting --that is. the men of business. especially the young men of the governing class. On the other hand. and are as indifferent as the pauper to the cultivation of virtue. Yes. and are eager for revolution. stooping as they walk. And often rulers and their subjects may come in one another's way. and they will not extinguish it. there is no fear that the poor will be despised by the rich --and very likely the wiry sunburnt poor man may be placed in battle at the side of a wealthy one who has never spoilt his complexion and has plenty of superfluous flesh --when he sees such an one puffing and at his wit's end. as fellow-soldiers or fellowsailors. ready to sting and fully armed. and pretending not even to see those whom they have already ruined. or by another remedy: What other? One which is the next best. And in oligarchical States. At present the governors. some have forfeited their citizenship. they will be greatly lessened. They themselves care only for making money. and they hate and conspire against those who have got their citizens of the same State to any considerable extent. and there will be less of this scandalous money-making. aye. whether on a pilgrimage or a march. one or the other will be disregarded. and against everybody else. and the evils of which we were speaking will be greatly lessened in the State. The evil blazes up like a fire. men of good family have often been reduced to beggary? Yes. from the general spread of carelessness and extravagance. while they and their adherents. That is true. quite as indifferent. a third class are in both predicaments. Yes. Such is the state of affairs which prevails among them. he said. and some of them owe money. And still they remain in the city. and has the advantage of compelling the citizens to look to their characters: --Let there be a general rule that every one shall enter into voluntary contracts at his own risk. and recover the parent sum many times over multiplied into a family of children: and so they make drone and pauper to abound in the State. are habituated to lead a life of luxury and idleness both of body and mind. often. either by restricting a man's use of his own property. there they are.

seems likely to be the fairest of States. will appear to be the fairest of States. he said. so there are many men to whom this State. And then democracy comes into being after the poor have conquered their opponents. being an embroidered robe which is spangled with every sort of flower. of which the occasions may be very slight. and may be at times distracted. and there will be no better in which to look for a government. the other their democratical allies. are they not free. whether the revolution has been effected by arms. my good Sir. or whether fear has caused the opposite party to withdraw. and sometimes even when there is no external provocation a commotion may arise within-in the same way wherever there is weakness in the State there is also likely to be illness. such will be the man. while to the remainder they give an equal share of freedom and power. which is spangled with the manners and characters of mankind. must go to a democracy as he . surely. the individual is clearly able to order for himself his own life as he pleases? Clearly. and is at war with herself. Why? Because of the liberty which reigns there --they have a complete assortment of constitutions. the one party introducing from without their oligarchical. Then in this kind of State there will be the greatest variety of human natures? There will. that is the nature of democracy. And. And where freedom is. and he who has a mind to establish a State. he said. and is not the city full of freedom and frankness --a man may say and do what he likes? 'Tis said so. and this is the form of government in which the magistrates are commonly elected by lot. as we have been doing. even when there is no external cause. and what sort of a government have they? for as the government is. as in a body which is diseased the addition of a touch from without may bring on illness. Yes. he said. In the first place. slaughtering some and banishing some. then. And now what is their manner of life. he replied. This. Yes.because no one has the courage to despoil them? And when they meet in private will not people be saying to one another 'Our warriors are not good for much'? Yes. and then the State falls sick. And just as women and children think a variety of colours to be of all things most charming. Yes. I am quite aware that this is their way of talking. Clearly. Yes.

he replied. Yes. like his father. he keeps under by force the pleasures which are of the spending and not of the getting sort. and the 'don't care' about trifles. she is of a noble spirit. many persons. the forgiving spirit of democracy. And is not their humanity to the condemned in some cases quite charming? Have you not observed how. And. and pick out the one that suits him. I said. because some law forbids you to hold office or be a dicast. or to be governed. unless you are so disposed --there being no necessity also. Very good. what manner of man the individual is. These and other kindred characteristics are proper to democracy. I said.would to a bazaar at which they sell them. See too. or to be at peace when others are at peace. just stay where they are and walk about the world --the gentleman parades like a hero. full of variety and disorder. many and many a one. or go to war when the rest go to war. there never will be a good man who has not from his childhood been used to play amid things of beauty and make of them a joy and a study --how grandly does she trample all these fine notions of ours under her feet. Is not this the way --he is the son of the miserly and oligarchical father who has trained him in his own habits? Exactly. yes. then. And there being no necessity. which is a charming form of government. for the sake of clearness. when he has made his choice. Consider now. except in the case of some rarely gifted nature. We know her well. and the disregard which she shows of all the fine principles which we solemnly laid down at the foundation of the city --as when we said that. that you should not hold office or be a dicast. never giving a thought to the pursuits which make a statesman. for you to govern in this State. Would you like. and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike. as in the case of the State. to distinguish which are the necessary and which are the unnecessary pleasures? . although they have been sentenced to death or exile. he said. in a democracy. and promoting to honour any one who professes to be the people's friend. even if you have the capacity. being those which are called unnecessary? Obviously. and nobody sees or cares? Yes. He will be sure to have patterns enough. how he comes into being. if you have a fancy --is not this a way of life which for the moment is supremely delightful For the moment. or rather consider. unless you like. he may found his State. I said.

And the drone of whom we spoke was he who was surfeited in pleasures and desires of this sort. does no good. And the desires of which a man may get rid. it does us good and it is essential to the continuance of life? Yes. and all other pleasures. if controlled and trained in youth. in so far as they are required for health and strength. of simple food and condiments. that is. be of the necessary class? That is what I should suppose. and cannot help it. And the desire which goes beyond this. and is hurtful to the body. the same holds good? True. .I should. and was the slave of the unnecessary desires. The pleasure of eating is necessary in two ways. Suppose we select an example of either kind. and in some cases the reverse of good --shall we not be right in saying that all these are unnecessary? Yes. because we are framed by nature to desire both what is beneficial and what is necessary. or more delicate food. in order that we may have a general notion of them? Very good. whereas he who was subject o the necessary only was miserly and oligarchical? Very true. moreover. which might generally be got rid of. or other luxuries. Will not the desire of eating. May we not say that these desires spend. and hurtful to the soul in the pursuit of wisdom and virtue. may be rightly called unnecessary? Very true. certainly. And of the pleasures of love. and of which the satisfaction is a benefit to us? And they are rightly so. and that the others make money because they conduce to production? Certainly. But the condiments are only necessary in so far as they are good for health? Certainly. True. We are not wrong therefore in calling them necessary? We are not. if he takes pains from his youth upwards --of which the presence. Are not necessary pleasures those of which we cannot get rid.

is commonly the process. let us see how the democratical man grows out of the oligarchical: the following. and others are banished. They are certain to do so. that is apt to be the way. so too the young man is changed by a class of desires coming from without to assist the desires within him. and the change was effected by an alliance from without assisting one division of the citizens. whether the influence of a father or of kindred. which make their abode in the minds of men who are dear to the gods. advising or rebuking him. and because he.Again. and takes up his dwelling there in the face of all men. It must be so. he said. And then. as you may imagine. Yes. Very true. fresh ones spring up. which they perceive to be void of all accomplishments and fair pursuits and true words. the . And there are times when the democratical principle gives way to the oligarchical. again. False and boastful conceits and phrases mount upwards and take their place. that sometimes happens. the change will begin of the oligarchical principle within him into the democratical? Inevitably. and some of his desires die. wax fierce and numerous. a spirit of reverence enters into the young man's soul and order is restored. that which is and alike again helping that which is akin and alike? Certainly. as I suspect. in a vulgar and miserly way. What is the process? When a young man who has been brought up as we were just now describing. and if any help be sent by his friends to the oligarchical part of him. They draw him to his old associates. and holding secret intercourse with them. which are akin to them. has tasted drones' honey and has come to associate with fierce and crafty natures who are able to provide for him all sorts of refinements and varieties of pleasure --then. And if there be any ally which aids the oligarchical principle within him. after the old desires have been driven out. then there arises in his soul a faction and an opposite faction. At length they seize upon the citadel of the young man's soul. does not know how to educate them. and are their best guardians and sentinels. And as in the city like was helping like. None better. their father. he said. and he goes to war with himself. Yes. breed and multiply in him. And so the young man returns into the country of the lotus-eaters.

hymning their praises and calling them by sweet names. when years have elapsed. Yes. if he is emulous of any one who is a warrior. and that he ought to use and honour some and chastise and master the others --whenever this is repeated to him he shakes his head and says that they are all alike. and this distracted existence he terms joy and bliss and freedom. they drive them beyond the border. he replied. he said. that is the way with him. then he takes a turn at gymnastics. And many a man and many a woman will take . and so he goes on. and impudence courage. spending his money and labour and time on unnecessary pleasures quite as much as on necessary ones. and then modesty. --he answers to the State which we described as fair and spangled. with a will. he despises none of them but encourages them all equally. putting the government of himself into the hands of the one which comes first and wins the turn. Yes. by the help of a rabble of evil appetites. his life is motley and manifold and an epitome of the lives of many. And so the young man passes out of his original nature. but if he be fortunate. and when he has had enough of that. and that one is as good as another. and tries to get thin. he is all liberty and equality. and is not too much disordered in his wits. His life has neither law nor order. and others of evil desires. Yes. and a great company with them. if any one says to him that some pleasures are the satisfactions of good and noble desires. which they call silliness. Yes. sometimes idling and neglecting everything. which they nickname unmanliness. I said. which was trained in the school of necessity. he said. insolence they term breeding. And when they have emptied and swept clean the soul of him who is now in their power and who is being initiated by them in great mysteries. and the heyday of passion is over --supposing that he then re-admits into the city some part of the exiled virtues. is trampled in the mire and cast forth. and does not wholly give himself up to their successors --in that case he balances his pleasures and lives in a sort of equilibrium. private if private advisers offer the fatherly counsel of the aged will they listen to them or receive them. into the freedom and libertinism of useless and unnecessary pleasures. is ignominiously thrust into exile by them. After this he lives on. and. and so. off he is in that direction. and starts to his feet and says and does whatever comes into his head. then into the hands of another. he said. often he-is busy with politics. then once more living the life of a philosopher.aforesaid vain conceits shut the gate of the king's fastness. and they will neither allow the embassy itself to enter. Yes. Neither does he receive or let pass into the fortress any true word of advice. and temperance. he lives from day to day indulging the appetite of the hour. once more in that. and sometimes he is lapped in drink and strains of the flute. I said. the next thing is to bring back to their house insolence and anarchy and waste and impudence in bright array having garlands on their heads. then he becomes a water-drinker. the change in him is visible enough. and waste magnificence. and anarchy liberty. Yes. There is a battle and they gain the day. Very true. or of men of business. they persuade men that moderation and orderly expenditure are vulgarity and meanness.

my friend. of which the insatiable desire brings her to dissolution? What good? Freedom. he said. Let that be his place. these we have now to consider. Just so. the saying is in everybody's mouth. How so? When a democracy which is thirsting for freedom has evil cupbearers presiding over the feast. man and State alike. that the insatiable desire of this and the neglect of other things introduces the change in democracy. tyranny and the tyrant. and loyal citizens are insultingly termed by her slaves who hug their chains and men of naught. Last of all comes the most beautiful of all. and has drunk too deeply of the strong wine of freedom. Yes. he replied. I replied.him for their pattern. in what manner does tyranny arise? --that it has a democratic origin is evident. he said. then. she calls them to account and punishes them. as they tell you in a democracy. Clearly. I was going to observe. Quite true. And democracy has her own good. she would have subjects who are like rulers. a very common occurrence. Yes. after a sort? How? The good which oligarchy proposed to itself and the means by which it was maintained was excess of wealth --am I not right? Yes. Say then. and rulers who are like subjects: these are . and many a constitution and many an example of manners is contained in him. he may truly be called the democratic man. And does not tyranny spring from democracy in the same manner as democracy from oligarchy --I mean. which. I said. and says that they are cursed oligarchs. And the insatiable desire of wealth and the neglect of all other things for the sake of moneygetting was also the ruin of oligarchy? True. Let him then be set over against democracy. unless her rulers are very amenable and give a plentiful draught. Yes. which occasions a demand for tyranny. is the glory of the State --and that therefore in a democracy alone will the freeman of nature deign to dwell.

they cease to care even for the laws. can liberty have any limit? Certainly not. they chafe impatiently at the least touch of authority and at length. the she-dogs. By degrees the anarchy finds a way into private houses. But what is the next step? The ruin of oligarchy is the ruin of democracy. I said. When I take a country walk. Yes. and ends by getting among the animals and infecting them. he having no respect or reverence for either of his parents. Yes. how much greater is the liberty which the animals who are under the dominion of man have in a democracy than in any other State: for truly. and the young man is on a level with the old. utter the word which rises to our lips? That is what I am doing. and the son is on a level with his father. the same disease magnified and intensified by . How do you mean? I mean that the father grows accustomed to descend to the level of his sons and to fear them. Such. he said. are as good as their she-mistresses. You and I have dreamed the same thing. and I must add that no one who does not know would believe. I know it too well. he said. And these are not the only evils. and old men condescend to the young and are full of pleasantry and gaiety. see how sensitive the citizens become. nor must I forget to tell of the liberty and equality of the two sexes in relation to each other. Glorious indeed. that is the way. he said. is just as free as his or her purchaser. and metic is equal with the citizen and the citizen with the metic. and as the result of all. I replied. as the proverb after her own heart. Why not. The last extreme of popular liberty is when the slave bought with money. I often experience what you describe. my friend. whether male or female. And above all. Quite true. and the horses and asses have a way of marching along with all the rights and dignities of freemen. young and old are all alike. he said. and they will run at anybody who comes in their way if he does not leave the road clear for them: and all things are just ready to burst with liberty. whom she praises and honours both in private and public. written or unwritten. I said --there are several lesser ones: In such a state of society the master fears and flatters his scholars. he said. and is ready to compete with him in word or deed. I said. and the scholars despise their masters and tutors. Now. and therefore they adopt the manners of the young. is the fair and glorious beginning out of which springs tyranny. as Aeschylus says. and the stranger is quite as good as either. they will have no one over them. in such a State. and this is his freedom. as you know. they are loth to be thought morose and authoritative.

by all means. being what phlegm and bile are to the body. if possible. whether in States or individuals. True. he replied. but above all in forms of government. And so tyranny naturally arises out of democracy. let us imagine democracy to be divided. however. Yes. Well. and this is the case not only in the seasons and in vegetable and animal life. he said. Then there is another class which is always being severed from the mass. And the good physician and lawgiver of the State ought. And in the democracy they are certainly more intensified. to keep them at a distance and prevent. . the same whom we were comparing to drones. seems only to pass into excess of slavery. for in the first place freedom creates rather more drones in the democratic than there were in the oligarchical State. Yes. A very just comparison. some stingless. into three classes. of whom the more courageous are the-leaders and the more timid the followers. hence in democracies almost everything is managed by the drones. the rest keep buzzing about the bema and do not suffer a word to be said on the other side. their ever coming in. and is the ruin of both? Just so. The excess of liberty. and if they have anyhow found a way in. These two classes are the plagues of every city in which they are generated. which in a nation of traders sure to be the richest. I said. Very true. whereas in a democracy they are almost the entire ruling power. and while the keener sort speak and act. and others having stings. What is that? They are the orderly class. as indeed it is. like the wise bee-master.liberty overmasters democracy --the truth being that the excessive increase of anything often causes a reaction in the opposite direction. your question-you rather desired to know what is that disorder which is generated alike in oligarchy and democracy. and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme form of liberty? As we might expect. in order that we may see clearly what we are doing. Then. as I believe. That is true. I meant to refer to the class of idle spendthrifts. was not. the natural order. then he should have them and their cells cut out as speedily as possible. How so? Because in the oligarchical State they are disqualified and driven from office. he said. and therefore they cannot train or gather strength. That.

but the sting of the drones torments them and breeds revolution in them. the others charge them with plotting against the people and being friends of oligarchy? True. is the largest and most powerful class in a democracy. although they may have no desire of change. True. that is their way. to that extent the people do share. at the same time taking care to reserve the larger part for themselves? Why. they do not wish to be. there is little to be squeezed out of people who have little. when assembled. That is exactly the truth. And the end is that when they see the people. seeking to do them wrong. They are the most squeezable persons and yield the largest amount of honey to the drones. That is pretty much the case. What tale? The tale is that he who has tasted the entrails of a single human victim minced up with the . This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs. then at last they are forced to become oligarchs in reality. This. he said. and have not much to live upon.Naturally so. he said. and because they are deceived by informers. that is quite clear. And the persons whose property is taken from them are compelled to defend themselves before the people as they best can? What else can they do? And then. and the drones feed upon them. not of their own accord. they are not politicians. consisting of those who work with their own hands. Yes. yes. And do they not share? I said. Yes. The people are a third class. he said. but then the multitude is seldom willing to congregate unless they get a little honey. but through ignorance. True. Do not their leaders deprive the rich of their estates and distribute them among the people. Why. And this is called the wealthy class. Then come impeachments and judgments and trials of one another. when he first appears above ground he is a protector. he said. The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness. How then does a protector begin to change into a tyrant? Clearly when he does what the man is said to do in the tale of the Arcadian temple of Lycaean Zeus.

And he. he said. then. but comes back. said he. is to be seen. a tyrant? Inevitably. for if he were. but tyrant absolute.entrails of other victims is destined to become a wolf.' as they say. which is the device of all those who have got thus far in their tyrannical career --'Let not the people's friend. After a while he is driven out. That is clear. and with unholy tongue and lips tasting the blood of his fellow citizen. no longer protector. Did you never hear it? Oh. as the oracle said to Croesus. he said. they conspire to assassinate him. let us consider that. at the same time hinting at the abolition of debts and partition of lands: and after this. he would never be ashamed again. . all their fears are for him --they have none for themselves. that is their usual way. by the favourite method of false accusation he brings them into court and murders them. having a mob entirely at his disposal. And now let us consider the happiness of the man. and also of the State in which a creature like him is generated. And when a man who is wealthy and is also accused of being an enemy of the people sees this. But if he is caught he dies. he is not restrained from shedding the blood of kinsmen. yes. making the life of man to disappear. I said. some he kills and others he banishes. he said. what will be his destiny? Must he not either perish at the hands of his enemies. No doubt. And the protector of the people is like him. This. Yes. or to get him condemned to death by a public accusation. or from being a man become a wolf --that is. Yes. Of course. The people readily assent. the protector of whom we spoke. 'be lost to them. Then comes the famous request for a bodyguard. And if they are unable to expel him. By pebbly Hermus' shore he flees and rests not and is not ashamed to be a coward. not 'larding the plain' with his bulk. but himself the overthrower of many. standing up in the chariot of State with the reins in his hand. in spite of his enemies. a tyrant full grown.' Exactly. my friend. Very true. is he who begins to make a party against the rich? The same. And quite right too.

To be sure. speak their minds to him and to one another. must get rid of them. that is the alternative. for they take away the worse and leave the better part. Then some of those who joined in setting him up. But when he has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty. Now he begins to grow unpopular. and of resistance to his authority. Yes. who is wealthy. He must. then he is always stirring up some war or other. --he to be called a tyrant. and the more courageous of them cast in his teeth what is being done. he will have a good pretext for destroying them by placing them at the mercy of the enemy. not the sort of purgation which the physicians make of the body. He cannot. if he means to rule. I suppose that he cannot help himself. he said. he said. happy man. or not to live at all! Yes. I said. which is that they may be impoverished by payment of taxes. I said: --to be compelled to dwell only with the many bad. and there is nothing to fear from them. in order that the people may require a leader. And therefore he must look about him and see who is valiant. What a blessed alternative. If he is to rule. And if any of them are suspected by him of having notions of freedom. And the more detestable his actions are to the citizens the more satellites and the greater devotion in them will he require? . Yes. Has he not also another object. he is the enemy of them all. and wanting to be so kind and good to every one! Of course. who is making promises in public and also in private! liberating debtors. who is wise. in the early days of his power. and for all these reasons the tyrant must be always getting up a war. And the tyrant. he cannot stop while he has a friend or an enemy who is good for anything. and to be by them hated. A necessary result. and he salutes every one whom he meets.At first. and who are in power. Yes. and must seek occasion against them whether he will or no. and thus compelled to devote themselves to their daily wants and therefore less likely to conspire against him? Clearly. he is full of smiles. and a rare purgation. that may be expected. until he has made a purgation of the State. and distributing land to the people and his followers. but he does the reverse. who is high-minded.

Why so? Why. he said. and he clearly meant to say that they are the wise whom the tyrant makes his companions. and he also praises tyranny as godlike. and draw the cities over to tyrannies and democracies. Very true. and the next greatest from democracies. I said. Yes. Yes. I said. of every sort and from every land. and he will be able to trust them best of all. of their own accord. he said. but the higher they ascend our constitution hill. Yes. because they are the eulogists of tyranny. . But will he not desire to get them on the spot? How do you mean? He will rob the citizens of their slaves. he will then set them free and enrol them in his bodyguard. they are paid for this and receive honour --the greatest honour. he said. he said. they are quite of his sort. he has put to death the others and has these for his trusted friends. here are more drones. Verily.Certainly. and these are the new citizens whom he has called into existence. he said. Yes. while the good hate and avoid him. and seems unable from shortness of breath to proceed further. who admire him and are his companions. To be sure. What a blessed creature. the tragic poets being wise men will forgive us and any others who live after our manner if we do not receive them into our State. By the dog! I said. then. Yes. there are. because he is the author of the pregnant saying. those who have the wit will doubtless forgive us. Moreover. as might be expected. And therefore. if lie pays them. But they will continue to go to other cities and attract mobs. And who are the devoted band. must this tyrant be. and many other things of the same kind are said by him and by the other poets. and where will he procure them? They will flock to him. tragedy is a wise thing and Euripides a great tragedian. the more their reputation fails. Tyrants are wise by living with the wise. he said. from tyrants. I said. Of course. and hire voices fair and loud and persuasive.

and in so far as the fortunes of attainted persons may suffice. Then he is a parricide.True. will be maintained out of his father's estate. he said. he said. he said. and the manner of the transition from democracy to tyranny? Yes. he will confiscate and spend them. they cannot help themselves. and. has fallen into the fire which is the tyranny of slaves. he said. getting out of all order and reason. in order that when his son became a man he should himself be the servant of his own servants and should support him and his rabble of slaves and companions. having first disarmed him. clearly. you do not mean to say that the tyrant will use violence? What! beat his father if he opposes him? Yes. Thus liberty. But we are wandering from the subject: Let us therefore return and enquire how the tyrant will maintain that fair and numerous and various and ever-changing army of his. and may we not rightly say that we have sufficiently discussed the nature of tyranny. but that the father should be supported by the son? The father did not bring him into being. then he and his boon companions. but that his son should protect him. he said. Very well. True. and that by his help he might be emancipated from the government of the rich and aristocratic. And so he bids him and his companions depart. But what if the people fly into a passion. or settle him in life. and a cruel guardian of an aged parent. he will. he will find that he is weak and his son strong. And when these fail? Why. there are sacred treasures in the city. about which there can be no longer a mistake: as the saying is. as they are termed. from whom he has derived his being. he said. when he wants to drive him out. Why. will maintain him and his companions? Yes. just as any other father might drive out of the house a riotous son and his undesirable associates. . passes into the harshest and bitterest form of slavery. and this is real tyranny. quite enough. then the parent will discover what a monster he has been fostering in his bosom. and aver that a grown-up son ought not to be supported by his father. By heaven. If. the people who would escape the smoke which is the slavery of freemen. You mean to say that the people. whether male or female. he will be able to diminish the taxes which he would otherwise have to impose upon the people.