Republic (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

BOOK: Republic (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
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Table of Contents
... but as concerning justice, what is it?—to speak the truth and pay your debts—no more than this? And even to this are there not exceptions? (1.331c)
Is the attempt to determine the way of man’s life so small a matter in your eyes—to determine how life may be passed by each one of us to the greatest advantage? (1.344d)
For my own part I openly declare that I am not convinced, and that I do not believe injustice to be more gainful than justice, even if uncontrolled and allowed to have free play. (1.345a)
I propose therefore that we inquire into the nature of justice and injustice, first as they appear in the State, and secondly in the individual, proceeding from the greater to the lesser and comparing them. (2.368e—369a)
... I am myself reminded that we are not all alike; there are diversities of nature among us which are adapted to different occupations. (2.370a—b)
Then it will be our duty to select, if we can, natures which are fitted for the task of guarding the city? (2.374e)
But in reality justice was such as we were describing, being concerned, however, not with the outward man, but with the inward, which is the true self and concernment of man: for the just man does not permit the several elements within him to interfere with one another, or any of them to do the work of the others—he sets in order his own inner life, and is his own master and his own law, and at peace within himself ... (4.443c—d)
“Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils—no, nor the human race, as I believe—and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day.” (5.473d—e)
... for you have often been told that the idea of good is the highest knowledge, and that all other things become useful and advantageous only by their use of this. (6.505a)
—You have shown me a strange image, and they are strange prisoners.—Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave. (7.515a)
He who is the real tyrant, whatever men may think, is the real slave, and is obliged to practise the greatest adulation and servility, and to be the flatterer of the vilest of mankind. He has desires which he is utterly unable to satisfy, and has more wants than anyone, and is truly poor, if you know how to inspect the whole soul of him: all his life long he is beset with fear and is full of convulsions and distractions, even as the State he resembles: and surely the resemblance holds ... (9.579d—e)
These, then, are the prizes and rewards and gifts which are bestowed upon the just by gods and men in this present life, in addition to the other good things which justice of herself provides ... And yet, I said, all these are as nothing either in number or greatness in comparison with those other recompenses which await both just and unjust after death. ( 10.613e—614a)

Published by Barnes & Noble Books
122 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10011
Plato is thought to have composed
during the 380s to the 350s B.C.E.
Benjamin Jowett’s translation first appeared in 1871.
Published in 2004 by Barnes & Noble Classics with new Introduction,
Notes, Biography, Chronology, A Note on Conveyances, Comments & Questions,
and For Further Reading.
Introduction, Note on the Translation, Notes, and For Further Reading
Copyright @ 2004 by Elizabeth Watson Scharffenberger.
Note on Plato, The World of Plato and
Inspired By, and
Comments & Questions Copyright © 2004 by Barnes & Noble, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and
retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Barnes & Noble Classics and the Barnes & Noble Classics colophon are
trademarks of Barnes & Noble, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1-59308-097-6 ISBN-10: 1-59308-097-2
eISBN : 978-1-411-43303-8
LC Control Number 2003116604
Produced and published in conjunction with:
Fine Creative Media, Inc.
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Michael J. Fine, President and Publisher
Printed in Mexico
3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4
Plato was born into a wealthy, aristocratic Athenian family in 428 or 427 B.C.E., and he lived until 348 or 347. He had kinship ties on both sides of his family with many prominent men in Athens. His father, Ariston, died when he was a child, and his mother, Perictione, was subsequently married to Pyrilampes. Plato was raised in Pyrilampes’ household along with his older brothers (Glaucon and Adeimantus), a stepbrother (Demos), and a half-brother (Antiphon). As young men, Plato and his brothers were close to Socrates.
Plato’s familial connections and wealth would have made it easy for him to embark on a political career in Athens. But he did not become politically active, perhaps because he became disillusioned with politics after witnessing, first, the brutal oligarchic regime of the Thirty Tyrants, who seized control of Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404 B.C.E., and then the execution of Socrates, who was condemned to die in 399 under the restored democratic government for “not recognizing the gods recognized by the city and corrupting the youth.”
Plato traveled in the years after Socrates’ death, and he almost certainly spent time in Megara (near Corinth) and Syracuse (on Sicily). He became close friends with Dion, a kinsman of the tyrant of Syracuse, Dionysius I. Plato probably traveled to Syracuse three times during the period from the early 380s to the late 360s. He and Dion evidently planned to educate the tyrant’s son, Dionysius II, in the hopes that, upon succeeding his father, he would put into practice the political ideals they cherished. But these hopes were never fulfilled. Upon taking power in the early 360s, Dionysius II broke with both his kinsman and his tutor.
In the early 380s, Plato began teaching what he called “philosophy” at a place near the grove of the hero Academus on the outskirts of Athens. The school came to be called the “Academy” because of its location, and Plato remained at its head until his death, when his nephew Speusippus took over its administration. After Plato’s death, the Academy continued to be an important center of research and study for many centuries, attracting students from all over the Mediterranean world.
Plato probably started to compose dialogues before he established the Academy. All but a few of his dialogues feature Socrates as the main interlocutor, and most are peopled with figures who would have been well known, especially in Athens’ elite circles, during the fifth century. A large body of writing attributed to Plato survives from antiquity, including
(a recreation of Socrates’ defense speech), numerous dialogues, and a series of letters. Most of these works are considered to be truly by Plato, although the authenticity of some texts (including some of the letters and a handful of dialogues) has been doubted at various points in the last 2,400 years.
Cleisthenes, son of Megacles, introduced sweeping polit
ical reforms to the Athenian constitution, marking the beginning of democratic government in Athens.
At the battle of Marathon (26.3 miles from Athens in At tica), Greek land forces, under the command of the Athe nian Miltiades, son of Cimon, defeated an invading army of Persians. Most of the Greek troops who fought at Marathon came from Athens.
At the battle of Thermopylae (a mountain pass in northeast ern Greece), Persian land forces fought against elite Spartan soldiers under the command of Leonidas, one of the Spar tan kings. The entire Spartan force was killed in the battle.
At the battle of Salamis (an island near the port city Piraeus in Attica), Greek naval forces, under the leadership of the Athenian Themistocles, son of Neocles, defeated the Persian navy.
In the battle of Plataea (in Boeotia), Greek land forces deci sively defeated the Persian army, which subsequently with drew from Greece. Under the leadership of the Spartans and then the Athenians, city-states in Greece banded to gether in the fight to free Hellenic city-states on the coast of Asia Minor from Persian dominion. This alliance was soon called the Delian League, because its treasury was kept on the sacred island of Delos; it eventually came un der the total control of the Athenians.
Socrates, son of Sophroniscus, was born.
Ephialtes, son of Sophronides, and Pericles, son of Xan thippus, introduced reforms to the democratic constitu tion, which expanded the franchise of Athenian citizens and provided more opportunities for political involvement to greater numbers of men, regardless of economic class.
Aeschylus of Eleusis (in Attica) produced his
tetralogy (the tragedies
Agamemnon, Libation Bearers,
and the satyr-drama Proteus) in the annual theatrical competition held at the Greater Dionysia festival in the Theater of Dionysus on the southern slope of the Athenian Acropolis.
The treasury of the Delian League was transferred from the island of Delos to Athens. Under the leadership of Pericles, funds from the treasury were used to finance the construction of buildings on the Acropolis, including the Parthenon, which had been destroyed by the Persian inva sion of 480.
The relationships between Athens and other prominent city-states (notably Sparta, Corinth, and Thebes) dete riorated as Athens expanded its influence throughout the Aegean area.
The astronomer and natural scientist Anaxagoras (from Clazomenae), who was closely associated with Pericles, is said to be prosecuted on the charge of impiety. Sources reporting this event claim that Anaxagoras fled Athens with Pericles’s assistance and went to Lampsacus (on the eastern entrance to the Hellespont).
Protagoras of Abdera (in Thrace), a “sophist” and profes sional teacher of rhetoric, visited Athens.
Full-scale hostilities broke out between the Pelopon nesian alliance, led by Sparta, and Athens and its allies, marking the beginning of the Peloponnesian War. Euripi des, son of Mnesarchides (or Mnesarchos), produced
in a tetralogy with two other tragedies
and a satyr-drama
at the Greater Dionysia festival in Athens.
Sophocles, son of Sophilus, produced
Oedipus Tyrannus (Oedipus the King)
in a tragic tetralogy at the Greater Dionysia festival in Athens.
Pericles dies during the plague that falls upon Athens in the first years of the Peloponnesian War. Cleon, son of Cleaenetus, became the leading politician in Athens until his death in battle at Amphipolis in 422.
428 or 427
Plato was born into a wealthy and influential family. His father, Ariston, died when Plato was a boy; his mother, Perictione, was subsequently married to her uncle Pyril ampes, who was politically prominent and closely associ ated with Pericles.
Gorgias (from Leontini on Sicily), a professional teacher of rhetoric, visited Athens.
At the Greater Dionysia festival, Aristophanes, son of Philippus, produced his comedy
in which Socrates is portrayed as a professional teacher of rhetoric and natu ral science who runs a “Think Factory.” The comedy was awarded third prize (out of three).
Under the leadership of Alcibiades, son of Clinias and former ward of Pericles, Athens sent an armada to attack the city of Syracuse on Sicily. After Alcibiades’ defection to Sparta and other major setbacks, the Athenian forces were defeated and the Sicilian expedition ends with many lives lost and almost all ships in the armada destroyed.
During an oligarchic coup in Athens, democratic political in stitutions were temporarily dissolved. Resistance by loyalists led to the restoration of the democratic constitution in 410.
The Spartans defeated the Athenian navy at Aegospotami off the coast of Asia Minor.
The Peloponnesian War ended as Athens surrendered to the Spartans. The Spartans imposed strict terms of surren der upon the Athenians, including the destruction of the Long Walls connecting Athens to the port city Piraeus. They also fomented another oligarchic coup and installed in power a group of men, led by Plato’s kinsman Critias, who came to be known as the Thirty Tyrants.
Democratic loyalists, who took refuge in Piraeus, defeated the Thirty Tyrants and their supporters, and the demo cratic constitution was once again restored. To reduce lin gering factional strife between loyal “democrats” and those who supported the second coup, a general amnesty was declared in 403. Only those deemed directly involved with the Thirty Tyrants were liable for prosecution for crimes against the
Socrates, who had been closely associated with Alcibiades and other men known for their hostility to the democratic constitution, was charged with impiety and corrupting youth. He was convicted of both charges and ordered to commit suicide by drinking hemlock.
Plato, along with other members of the Socratic circle (An tisthenes, Phaedo, Eucleides, Aristippus, Aeschines, and Xenophon) began to write “Socratic dialogues.” Athens reemerged as an important naval power in the Aegean area.
early 380s
Plato traveled to Syracuse in or around 387, when he be friended Dion, a kinsman of Dionysius I, the tyrant of Syra cuse. It was probably upon his return to Athens from this trip that he began teaching “philosophy” near the grove of the hero Academus on the outskirts of Athens, in a school that came to be known as the Academy.
Aristotle, son of Nicomachus, was born at Stageira (in Chalcidice). He studied at the Academy from 367 until Plato’s death.
In Thebes, the general Gorgidas formed an elite force of 300 men that legendarily comprised pairs of lovers. The corps, known as the Sacred Band, reportedly remained un defeated until the battle at Chaeronea in 338.
After the death of Dionysius I of Syracuse (in 367), Plato is said to have made two trips to Sicily in order to facili tate the restoration of Dion, who had been exiled by Dionysius I. He and Dion apparently hoped to exert po litical influence on Dionysius II, the tyrant’s son and suc cessor. Plato probably visited Syracuse for the last time in 361 or 360.
Dion was assassinated.
348 or 347
Death of Plato. Speusippus (the son of Plato’s sister Potone) became head of the Academy, and Aristotle left Athens, eventually arriving at the court of King Philip II of Mace don, where he served for a few years as the tutor to Philip’s son, Alexander.
Dionysius II was exiled to Corinth.
Speusippus died.
In the battle of Chaeronea (in Boeotia), the Macedonians under the leadership of Philip II defeated the combined forces of the Athenians and Thebans. The defeat brought Athens, Thebes, and other Greek city-states under the sway of Macedon.
Aristotle returned to Athens and founded a school near a grove outside the city that was sacred to Apollo Lyceius. The school will come to be known as the Lyceum.
Alexander the Great died in Babylon. Anti-Macedonian feeling ran high in Athens after Alexander’s death, causing Aristotle to leave the city and take up residence in Chalcis (on Euboea). Upon his departure, his pupil Theophrastus took over leadership of the Lyceum.
Aristotle died in Chalcis.
BOOK: Republic (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
13.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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