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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Plato : LAWS

Persons of the dialogue: An Athenian stranger - Cleinias, a Cretan
 - Megillus, a Lacedaemonian

Translated by Benjamin Jowett - 60 Pages (Part 2) - Greek fonts
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LAWS part 2 of 3, 4, 5

Part 1


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This Part: 60 Pages

Part 2 Page 24

Ath. I will: - "Surely," they say, "the governing power makes whatever laws have authority in any state?"

Cle. True.

Ath. "Well," they would add, "and do you suppose that tyranny or democracy, or any other conquering power, does not make the continuance of the power which is possessed by them the first or principal object of their laws?"

Cle. How can they have any other?

Ath. "And whoever transgresses these laws is punished as an evil - doer by the legislator, who calls the laws just?"

Cle. Naturally.

Ath. "This, then, is always the mode and fashion in which justice exists."

Cle. Certainly, if they are correct in their view.

Ath. Why, yes, this is one of those false principles of government to which we were referring.

Cle. Which do you mean?

Ath. Those which we were examining when we spoke of who ought to govern whom. Did we not arrive at the conclusion that parents ought to govern their children, and the elder the younger, and the noble the ignoble? And there were many other principles, if you remember, and they were not always consistent. One principle was this very principle of might, and we said that Pindar considered violence natural and justified it.

Cle. Yes; I remember.

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