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from want of discipline or hunger, or some evil habit, or evil habit
or other, would turn upon the sheep and worry them, and behave not
like dogs but wolves, would be a foul and monstrous thing in a
Truly monstrous, he said.
And therefore every care must be taken that our auxiliaries, being
stronger than our citizens, may not grow to be too much for them and
become savage tyrants instead of friends and allies?
Yes, great care should be taken.
And would not a really good education furnish the best safeguard?
But they are well-educated already, he replied.
I cannot be so confident, my dear Glaucon, I said; I am much certain
that they ought to be, and that true education, whatever that may
be, will have the greatest tendency to civilize and humanize them in
their relations to one another, and to those who are under their
Very true, he replied.
And not only their education, but their habitations, and all that
belongs to them, should be such as will neither impair their virtue as
guardians, nor tempt them to prey upon the other citizens. Any man
of sense must acknowledge that.
Then let us consider what will be their way of life, if they are
to realize our idea of them. In the first place, none of them should
have any property of his own beyond what is absolutely necessary;
neither should they have a private house or store closed against any
one who has a mind to enter; their provisions should be only such as
are required by trained warriors, who are men of temperance and
courage; they should agree to receive from the citizens a fixed rate
of pay, enough to meet the expenses of the year and no more; and
they will go and live together like soldiers in a camp. Gold and
silver we will tell them that they have from God; the diviner metal is
within them, and they have therefore no need of the dross which is
current among men, and ought not to pollute the divine by any such
earthly admixture; for that commoner metal has been the source of many
unholy deeds, but their own is undefiled. And they alone of all the
citizens may not touch or handle silver or gold, or be under the
same roof with them, or wear them, or drink from them. And this will
be their salvation, and they will be the saviours of the State. But
should they ever acquire homes or lands or moneys of their own, they
will become housekeepers and husbandmen instead of guardians,
enemies and tyrants instead of allies of the other citizens; hating
and being hated, plotting and being plotted against, they will pass
their whole life in much greater terror of internal than of external
enemies, and the hour of ruin, both to themselves and to the rest of
the State, will be at hand. For all which reasons may we not say
that thus shall our State be ordered, and that these shall be the
regulations appointed by us for guardians concerning their houses
and all other matters? other
Yes, said Glaucon.
ADEIMANTUS - SOCRATES
HERE Adeimantus interposed a question: How would you answer,
Socrates, said he, if a person were to say that you are making these
people miserable, and that they are the cause of their own
unhappiness; the city in fact belongs to them, but they are none the
better for it; whereas other men acquire lands, and build large and
handsome houses, and have everything handsome about them, offering
sacrifices to the gods on their own account, and practising
hospitality; moreover, as you were saying just now, they have gold and
silver, and all that is usual among the favourites of fortune; but our
poor citizens are no better than mercenaries who are quartered in
the city and are always mounting guard?
Yes, I said; and you may add that they are only fed, and not paid in
addition to their food, like other men; and therefore they cannot,
if they would, take a journey of pleasure; they have no money to spend
on a mistress or any other luxurious fancy, which, as the world
goes, is thought to be happiness; and many other accusations of the
same nature might be added.
But, said he, let us suppose all this to be included in the charge.
You mean to ask, I said, what will be our answer?
If we proceed along the old path, my belief, I said, is that we
shall find the answer. And our answer will be that, even as they
are, our guardians may very likely be the happiest of men; but that
our aim in founding the State was not the disproportionate happiness
of any one class, but the greatest happiness of the whole; we
thought that in a State which is ordered with a view to the good of
the whole we should be most likely to find Justice, and in the
ill-ordered State injustice: and, having found them, we might then
decide which of the two is the happier. At present, I take it, we
are fashioning the happy State, not piecemeal, or with a view of
making a few happy citizens, but as a whole; and by-and-by we will
proceed to view the opposite kind of State. Suppose that we were
painting a statue, and some one came up to us and said, Why do you not
put the most beautiful colours on the most beautiful parts of the body
--the eyes ought to be purple, but you have made them black --to him
we might fairly answer, Sir, you would not surely have us beautify the
eyes to such a degree that they are no longer eyes; consider rather
whether, by giving this and the other features their due proportion,
we make the whole beautiful. And so I say to you, do not compel us
to assign to the guardians a sort of happiness which will make them
anything but guardians; for we too can clothe our husbandmen in
royal apparel, and set crowns of gold on their heads, and bid them
till the ground as much as they like, and no more. Our potters also
might be allowed to repose on couches, and feast by the fireside,
passing round the winecup, while their wheel is conveniently at
hand, and working at pottery only as much as they like; in this way we
might make every class happy-and then, as you imagine, the whole State
would be happy. But do not put this idea into our heads; for, if we
listen to you, the husbandman will be no longer a husbandman, the
potter will cease to be a potter, and no one will have the character
of any distinct class in the State. Now this is not of much
consequence where the corruption of society, and pretension to be what
you are not, is confined to cobblers; but when the guardians of the
laws and of the government are only seemingly and not real
guardians, then see how they turn the State upside down; and on the
other hand they alone have the power of giving order and happiness
to the State. We mean our guardians to be true saviours and not the
destroyers of the State, whereas our opponent is thinking of
peasants at a festival, who are enjoying a life of revelry, not of
citizens who are doing their duty to the State. But, if so, we mean
different things, and he is speaking of something which is not a
State. And therefore we must consider whether in appointing our
guardians we would look to their greatest happiness individually, or
whether this principle of happiness does not rather reside in the
State as a whole. But the latter be the truth, then the guardians
and auxillaries, and all others equally with them, must be compelled
or induced to do their own work in the best way. And thus the whole
State will grow up in a noble order, and the several classes will
receive the proportion of happiness which nature assigns to them.
I think that you are quite right.
I wonder whether you will agree with another remark which occurs
What may that be?
There seem to be two causes of the deterioration of the arts.
What are they?
Wealth, I said, and poverty.
How do they act?
The process is as follows: When a potter becomes rich, will he,
think you, any longer take the same pains with his art?
He will grow more and more indolent and careless?
And the result will be that he becomes a worse potter?
Yes; he greatly deteriorates.
But, on the other hand, if he has no money, and cannot provide
himself tools or instruments, he will not work equally well himself,
nor will he teach his sons or apprentices to work equally well.
Then, under the influence either of poverty or of wealth, workmen
and their work are equally liable to degenerate?
That is evident.
Here, then, is a discovery of new evils, I said, against which the
guardians will have to watch, or they will creep into the city
Wealth, I said, and poverty; the one is the parent of luxury and
indolence, and the other of meanness and viciousness, and both of
That is very true, he replied; but still I should like to know,
Socrates, how our city will be able to go to war, especially against
an enemy who is rich and powerful, if deprived of the sinews of war.
There would certainly be a difficulty, I replied, in going to war
with one such enemy; but there is no difficulty where there are two of
How so? he asked.
In the first place, I said, if we have to fight, our side will be
trained warriors fighting against an army of rich men.
That is true, he said.
And do you not suppose, Adeimantus, that a single boxer who was
perfect in his art would easily be a match for two stout and
well-to-do gentlemen who were not boxers?
Hardly, if they came upon him at once.
What, not, I said, if he were able to run away and then turn and
strike at the one who first came up? And supposing he were to do
this several times under the heat of a scorching sun, might he not,
being an expert, overturn more than one stout personage?
Certainly, he said, there would be nothing wonderful in that.
And yet rich men probably have a greater superiority in the
science and practice of boxing than they have in military qualities.
Then we may assume that our athletes will be able to fight with
two or three times their own number?
I agree with you, for I think you right.
And suppose that, before engaging, our citizens send an embassy to
one of the two cities, telling them what is the truth: Silver and gold
we neither have nor are permitted to have, but you may; do you
therefore come and help us in war, of and take the spoils of the other
city: Who, on hearing these words, would choose to fight against
lean wiry dogs, rather th than, with the dogs on their side, against
fat and tender sheep?
That is not likely; and yet there might be a danger to the poor
State if the wealth of many States were to be gathered into one.
But how simple of you to use the term State at all of any but our
You ought to speak of other States in the plural number; not one
of them is a city, but many cities, as they say in the game. For
indeed any city, however small, is in fact divided into two, one the
city of the poor, the other of the rich; these are at war with one
another; and in either there are many smaller divisions, and you would
be altogether beside the mark if you treated them all as a single
State. But if you deal with them as many, and give the wealth or power
or persons of the one to the others, you will always have a great many
friends and not many enemies. And your State, while the wise order
which has now been prescribed continues to prevail in her, will be the
greatest of States, I do not mean to say in reputation or