Plato, Laws

LCL 187: 392-393

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Plato

ϛ

751

ΑΘ. Ἀλλὰ μὴν μετά γε πάντα τὰ νῦν εἰρημένα σχεδὸν ἂν ἀρχῶν εἶέν σοι καταστάσεις τῇ πόλει.

ΚΛ. Ἔχει γὰρ οὖν οὕτως.

ΑΘ. Δύο εἴδη ταῦτα περὶ πολιτείας κόσμον γιγνόμενα τυγχάνει, πρῶτον μὲν καταστάσεις ἀρχῶν τε καὶ ἀρξόντων, ὅσας τε αὐτὰς εἶναι δεῖ καὶ τρόπον ὅντινα καθισταμένας· ἔπειτα οὕτω δὴ τοὺς νόμους ταῖς ἀρχαῖς ἑκάσταις ἀποδοτέον, Bοὕστινάς τε αὖ καὶ ὅσους καὶ οἵους προσῆκον ἂν ἑκάσταις εἴη. σμικρὸν δὲ ἐπισχόντες πρὸ τῆς αἱρέσεως εἴπωμεν προσήκοντά τινα λόγον περὶ αὐτῆς ῥηθῆναι.

ΚΛ. Τίνα δὴ τοῦτον;

ΑΘ. Τόνδε. παντί που δῆλον τὸ τοιοῦτον, ὅτι μεγάλου τῆς νομοθεσίας ὄντος ἔργου, τῷ1 πόλιν εὖ παρεσκευασμένην ἀρχὰς ἀνεπιτηδείους ἐπιστῆσαι τοῖς εὖ κειμένοις νόμοις, οὐ μόνον οὐδὲν πλέον εὖ τεθέντων, οὐδ᾿ ὅτι γέλως ἂν πάμπολυς Cξυμβαίνοι, σχεδὸν δὲ βλάβαι καὶ λῶβαι πολὺ μέγισται ταῖς πόλεσι γίγνοιντ᾿ ἂν ἐξ αὐτῶν.

ΚΛ. Πῶς γὰρ οὔ;

ΑΘ. Τοῦτο τοίνυν νοήσωμέν σοι περὶ τῆς νῦν, ὦ φίλε, πολιτείας τε καὶ πόλεως ξυμβαῖνον· ὁρᾷς γὰρ ὅτι πρῶτον μὲν δεῖ τοὺς ὀρθῶς ἰόντας ἐπὶ τὰς τῶν ἀρχῶν δυνάμεις βάσανον ἱκανὴν αὐτούς τε καὶ γένος ἑκάστων ἐκ παίδων μέχρι

392

Plato

Book VI

ath.

Well then, after all that has now been said, you will next come, I suppose, to the task of appointing magistrates for your State.

clin.

That is so.

ath.

In this there are two branches of civic organisation involved,—first, the appointment of magistracies and magistrates, with the fixing of the right number required and the proper method of appointment; and next the assignment to each magistracy of such and so many laws as are in each case appropriate.1 But before we make our selection, let us pause for a moment, and make a statement concerning it of a pertinent kind.

clin.

What statement is that?

ath.

It is this:—It is a fact clear to everyone that, the work of legislation being a great one, the placing of unfit officers in charge of well-framed laws in a well-equipped State not only robs those laws of all their value and gives rise to widespread ridicule, but is likely also to prove the most fertile source of damage and danger in such States.

clin.

Undoubtedly.

ath.

Let us then, my friend, mark this result in dealing now with your polity and State. You see that it is necessary, in the first place, that those who rightly undertake official functions should in every case have been fully tested—both themselves and their families—from their earliest years up to the

  • 1Cp. 735 A.
393
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plato_philosopher-laws.1926