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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Plato Bilingual Anthology : TYRANNY AND SLAVERY

from Politeia, * 577c--580a, translated by B. Jowett

Greek Fonts / Plato Complete works / Plato Concept

EGINNING with the State, I replied, would you say that a city which is governed by a tyrant is free or enslaved? No city, he said, can be more completely enslaved. And yet, as you see, there are freemen as well as masters in such a State? Yes, he said, I see that there are --a few; but the people, speaking generally, and the best of them, are miserably degraded and enslaved. Then if the man is like the State, I said, must not the same rule prevail? his soul is full of meanness and vulgarity --the best elements in him are enslaved; and there is a small ruling part, which is also the worst and maddest. Inevitably. And would you say that the soul of such an one is the soul of a freeman, or of a slave? He has the soul of a slave, in my opinion. And the State which is enslaved under a tyrant is utterly incapable of acting voluntarily? Utterly incapable. And also the soul which is under a tyrant (I am speaking of the soul taken as a whole) is least capable of doing what she desires; there is a gadfly which goads her, and she is full of trouble and remorse? Certainly. And is the city which is under a tyrant rich or poor? Poor.

Τυραννία καὶ δουλεία

Πρῶτον μέν͵ ἦν δ΄ ἐγώ͵ ὡς πόλιν εἰπεῖν͵ ἐλευθέραν ἢ δούλην τὴν τυραννουμένην ἐρεῖς; Ὡς οἷόν τ΄͵ ἔφη͵ μάλιστα δούλην. Καὶ μὴν ὁρᾷς γε ἐν αὐτῇ δεσπότας καὶ ἐλευθέρους. Ὁρῶ͵ ἔφη͵ σμικρόν γέ τι τοῦτο· τὸ δὲ ὅλον͵ ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν͵ ἐν αὐτῇ καὶ τὸ ἐπιεικέστατον ἀτίμως τε καὶ ἀθλίως δοῦλον. Εἰ οὖν͵ εἶπον͵ ὅμοιος ἀνὴρ τῇ πόλει͵ οὐ καὶ ἐν ἐκείνῳ ἀνάγκη τὴν αὐτὴν τάξιν ἐνεῖναι͵ καὶ πολλῆς μὲν δουλείας τε καὶ ἀνελευθερίας γέμειν τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ͵ καὶ ταῦτα αὐτῆς τὰ μέρη δουλεύειν͵ ἅπερ ἦν ἐπιεικέστατα͵ μικρὸν δὲ καὶ τὸ μοχθηρότατον καὶ μανικώτατον δεσπόζειν; Ἀνάγκη͵ ἔφη. Τί οὖν; δούλην ἢ ἐλευθέραν τὴν τοιαύτην φήσεις εἶναι ψυχήν; Δούλην δήπου ἔγωγε. Οὐκοῦν ἥ γε αὖ δούλη καὶ τυραννουμένη πόλις ἥκιστα ποιεῖ ἃ βούλεται; Πολύ γε. Καὶ ἡ τυραννουμένη ἄρα ψυχὴ ἥκιστα ποιήσει ἃ ἂν βουληθῇ͵ ὡς περὶ ὅλης εἰπεῖν ψυχῆς· ὑπὸ δὲ οἴστρου ἀεὶ ἑλκομένη βίᾳ ταραχῆς καὶ μεταμελείας μεστὴ ἔσται. Πῶς γὰρ οὔ; Πλουσίαν δὲ ἢ πενομένην ἀνάγκη τὴν τυραννουμένην πόλιν εἶναι; Πενομένην.

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