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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Physis : World Creation  

Plato's TIMAEUS : Politeia

Timaeus 17a-21a  *  Greek Fonts


Page 3

Soc. Neither did we forget the women; of whom we declared, that their natures should be assimilated and brought into harmony with those of the men, and that common pursuits should be assigned to them both in time of war and in their ordinary life.

Tim. That, again, was as you say.

Soc. And what about the procreation of children? Or rather not the proposal too singular to be forgotten? for all wives and children were to be in common, to the intent that no one should ever know his own child, but they were to imagine that they were all one family; those who were within a suitable limit of age were to be brothers and sisters, those who were of an elder generation parents and grandparents, and those of a younger children and grandchildren.

Tim. Yes, and the proposal is easy to remember, as you say.

Soc. And do you also remember how, with a view of securing as far as we could the best breed, we said that the chief magistrates, male and female, should contrive secretly, by the use of certain lots, so to arrange the nuptial meeting, that the bad of either sex and the good of either sex might pair with their like; and there was to be no quarrelling on this account, for they would imagine that the union was a mere accident, and was to be attributed to the lot?

Tim. I remember.

Soc. And you remember how we said that the children of the good parents were to be educated, and the children of the bad secretly dispersed among the inferior citizens; and while they were all growing up the rulers were to be on the look-out, and to bring up from below in their turn those who were worthy, and those among themselves who were unworthy were to take the places of those who came up?

Tim. True.

ΣΩ. Καὶ μὲν δὴ καὶ περὶ γυναικῶν ἐπεμνήσθημεν͵ ὡς τὰς φύσεις τοῖς ἀνδράσιν παραπλησίας εἴη συναρμοστέον͵ καὶ τὰ ἐπιτηδεύματα πάντα κοινὰ κατά τε πόλεμον καὶ κατὰ τὴν ἄλλην δίαιταν δοτέον πάσαις.

ΤΙ. Ταύτῃ καὶ ταῦτα ἐλέγετο.

ΣΩ. Τί δὲ δὴ τὸ περὶ τῆς παιδοποιίας; ἢ τοῦτο μὲν διὰ τὴν ἀήθειαν τῶν λεχθέντων εὐμνημόνευτον͵ ὅτι κοινὰ τὰ τῶν γάμων καὶ τὰ τῶν παίδων πᾶσιν ἁπάντων ἐτίθεμεν͵ μηχανωμένους ὅπως μηδείς ποτε τὸ γεγενημένον αὐτῶν ἰδίᾳ γνώσοιτο͵ [18d] νομιοῦσιν δὲ πάντες πάντας αὐτοὺς ὁμογενεῖς͵ ἀδελφὰς μὲν καὶ ἀδελφοὺς ὅσοιπερ ἂν τῆς πρεπούσης ἐντὸς ἡλικίας γίγνωνται͵ τοὺς δ΄ ἔμπροσθεν καὶ ἄνωθεν γονέας τε καὶ γονέων προγόνους͵ τοὺς δ΄ εἰς τὸ κάτωθεν ἐκγόνους παῖδάς τε ἐκγόνων;

ΤΙ. Ναί͵ καὶ ταῦτα εὐμνημόνευτα ᾗ λέγεις.

ΣΩ. Ὅπως δὲ δὴ κατὰ δύναμιν εὐθὺς γίγνοιντο ὡς ἄριστοι τὰς φύσεις͵ ἆρ΄ οὐ μεμνήμεθα ὡς τοὺς ἄρχοντας ἔφαμεν καὶ τὰς ἀρχούσας δεῖν εἰς τὴν τῶν γάμων σύνερξιν λάθρᾳ μηχανᾶσθαι κλήροις τισὶν [18e] ὅπως οἱ κακοὶ χωρὶς οἵ τ΄ ἀγαθοὶ ταῖς ὁμοίαις ἑκάτεροι συλλήξονται͵ καὶ μή τις αὐτοῖς ἔχθρα διὰ ταῦτα γίγνηται͵ τύχην ἡγουμένοις αἰτίαν τῆς συλλήξεως;

ΤΙ. Μεμνήμεθα. [19a]

ΣΩ. Καὶ μὴν ὅτι γε τὰ μὲν τῶν ἀγαθῶν θρεπτέον ἔφαμεν εἶναι͵ τὰ δὲ τῶν κακῶν εἰς τὴν ἄλλην λάθρᾳ διαδοτέον πόλιν· ἐπαυξανομένων δὲ σκοποῦντας ἀεὶ τοὺς ἀξίους πάλιν ἀνάγειν δεῖν͵ τοὺς δὲ παρὰ σφίσιν ἀναξίους εἰς τὴν τῶν ἐπανιόντων χώραν μεταλλάττειν;

ΤΙ. Οὕτως.

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