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Plato Bilingual Anthology : TYRANNY AND SLAVERY

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

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Page 3

Let me then offer you an illustration, which may, I think, throw a light upon this subject. What is your illustration? The case of rich individuals in cities who possess many slaves: from them you may form an idea of the tyrant's condition, for they both have slaves; the only difference is that he has more slaves. Yes, that is the difference. You know that they live securely and have nothing to apprehend from their servants? What should they fear? Nothing. But do you observe the reason of this? Yes; the reason is, that the whole city is leagued together for the protection of each individual. Very true, I said. But imagine one of these owners, the master say of some fifty slaves, together with his family and property and slaves, carried off by a god into the wilderness, where there are no freemen to help him --will he not be in an agony of fear lest he and his wife and children should be put to death by his slaves? Yes, he said, he will be in the utmost fear. The time has arrived when he will be compelled to flatter divers of his slaves, and make many promises to them of freedom and other things, much against his will --he will have to cajole his own servants. Yes, he said, that will be the only way of saving himself. And suppose the same god, who carried him away, to surround him with neighbours who will not suffer one man to be the master of another, and who, if they could catch the offender, would take his life? His case will be still worse, if you suppose him to be everywhere surrounded and watched by enemies. Σκόπει δὴ εἰ ἄρα τι λέγω. δοκεῖ γάρ μοι δεῖν ἐννοῆσαι ἐκ τῶνδε περὶ αὐτοῦ σκοποῦντας. Ἐκ τίνων; Ἐξ ἑνὸς ἑκάστου τῶν ἰδιωτῶν͵ ὅσοι πλούσιοι ἐν πόλεσιν ἀνδράποδα πολλὰ κέκτηνται. οὗτοι γὰρ τοῦτό γε προσόμοιον ἔχουσιν τοῖς τυράννοις͵ τὸ πολλῶν ἄρχειν· διαφέρει δὲ τὸ ἐκείνου πλῆθος. Διαφέρει γάρ. Οἶσθ΄ οὖν ὅτι οὗτοι ἀδεῶς ἔχουσιν καὶ οὐ φοβοῦνται τοὺς οἰκέτας; Τί γὰρ ἂν φοβοῖντο; Οὐδέν͵ εἶπον· ἀλλὰ τὸ αἴτιον ἐννοεῖς; Ναί͵ ὅτι γε πᾶσα ἡ πόλις ἑνὶ ἑκάστῳ βοηθεῖ τῶν ἰδιωτῶν. Καλῶς͵ ἦν δ΄ ἐγώ͵ λέγεις. τί δέ; εἴ τις θεῶν ἄνδρα ἕνα͵ ὅτῳ ἔστιν ἀνδράποδα πεντήκοντα ἢ καὶ πλείω͵ ἄρας ἐκ τῆς πόλεως αὐτόν τε καὶ γυναῖκα καὶ παῖδας θείη εἰς ἐρη μίαν μετὰ τῆς ἄλλης οὐσίας τε καὶ τῶν οἰκετῶν͵ ὅπου αὐτῷ μηδεὶς τῶν ἐλευθέρων μέλλοι βοηθήσειν͵ ἐν ποίῳ ἄν τινι καὶ ὁπόσῳ φόβῳ οἴει γενέσθαι αὐτὸν περί τε αὑτοῦ καὶ παίδων καὶ γυναικός͵ μὴ ἀπόλοιντο ὑπὸ τῶν οἰκετῶν; Ἐν παντί͵ ἦ δ΄ ὅς͵ ἔγωγε. Οὐκοῦν ἀναγκάζοιτο ἄν τινας ἤδη θωπεύειν αὐτῶν τῶν δούλων καὶ ὑπισχνεῖσθαι πολλὰ καὶ ἐλευθεροῦν οὐδὲν δεόμενος͵ καὶ κόλαξ αὐτὸς ἂν θεραπόντων ἀναφανείη; Πολλὴ ἀνάγκη͵ ἔφη͵ αὐτῷ͵ ἢ ἀπολωλέναι. Τί δ΄͵ εἰ καὶ ἄλλους͵ ἦν δ΄ ἐγώ͵ ὁ θεὸς κύκλῳ κατοικίσειεν γείτονας πολλοὺς αὐτῷ͵ οἳ μὴ ἀνέχοιντο εἴ τις ἄλλος ἄλλου δεσπόζειν ἀξιοῖ͵ ἀλλ΄ εἴ πού τινα τοιοῦτον λαμβάνοιεν͵ ταῖς ἐσχάταις τιμωροῖντο τιμωρίαις; Ἔτι ἄν͵ ἔφη͵ οἶμαι͵ μᾶλλον ἐν παντὶ κακοῦ εἴη͵ κύκλῳ φρουρούμενος ὑπὸ πάντων πολεμίων.
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