Plato, Republic, Book IV:

“You’re happily innocent if you think that anything other than the kind of city we are founding deserves to be called a city.

            What do you mean?

            We’ll have to find a greater title for the others because each of them is a great many cities, not a city… each of them consists of two cities at war with one another, that of the poor and that of the rich, and each of these contains a great many. If you approach them as many and offer to give to the one city the money, power, and indeed the very inhabitants of the other, you’ll always find many allies and few enemies.” P. 98

“To put it briefly, those in charge must cling to education and see that it isn’t corrupted without their noticing it, guarding it against everything. Above all, they must guard as carefully as they can against any innovation in music and poetry or in physical training that is counter to the established order. And they should dread to hear anyone say:

            People care most for the song

            That is newest from the singer’s lips

Someone might praise such a saying, thinking that the poet meant not new songs but new ways of singing. Such a thing shouldn’t be praised, and the poet shouldn’t be taken to have meant it, for the guardians must beware of changing to a new form of music, since it threatens the whole system.” 99

“The city is courageous… because of a part of itself that has the power to preserve through everything its belief about what things are to be feared, namely, that they are the things and kinds of things that the lawgiver declared to be such in the course of educating it.” 104

“…if indeed the ruler and the ruled in any city share the same belief about who should rule, it is in this one. Or don’t you agree?

            I agree entirely.

            And when the citizens agree in this way, in which of them do you say moderation is located? In the ruler or the ruled?

            I suppose in both.

            Then, you see how right we were to divine that moderation resembles a kind of harmony?

            How so?

            Because, unlike courage and wisdom, each of which resides in one part, making the city brave and wise respectively, moderation spreads throughout the whole. It makes the weakest, the strongest, and those in between—whether in regard to reason, physical strength, numbers, wealth, or anything else—all sing the same song together. And this unanimity, this agreement between the naturally worse and the naturally better as to which of the two is to rule both in the city and in each one, is rightly called moderation.” 107

“…we’ve heard many people say and have often said ourselves that justice is doing one’s own work and not meddling with what isn’t one’s own.

            Yes, we have.

            Then, it turns out that this doing one’s own work—provided that it comes to be in a certain way—is justice…. Every child, woman, slave, freeman, craftsman, ruled, and ruler each does his own work and doesn’t meddle with what is other people’s…” 108

“We’ll call the part of the soul with which it calculates the rational part and the part with which it lusts, hungers, thirsts, and gets excited by other appetities the irrational appetitive part, companion of certain indulgences and pleasures.” 115


Book V

“…it looks as though our rulers will have to make considerable use of falsehood and deception for the benefit of those they rule. And we said that all such falsehoods are useful as a form of drug.” 133

“Then isn’t the first step towards agreement to ask ourselves what we say is the greatest good in designing the city—the good at which the legislator aims in making the laws—and what is the greatest evil? And isn’t the next step to examine whether the system we’ve just described fits into the tracks of the good and not into those of the bad?


            Is there any greater evil we can mention for a city than that which tears it apart an dmakes it many instead of one? Or any greater good than that which binds it together and makes it one?

            There isn’t.

            And when, as far as possible, all the citizens rejoice and are pained by the same successes and failures, doesn’t this sharing of pleasures and pains bind the city together?

            It most certainly does.

            But when some suffer greatly, while others rejoice greatly, at the same things happening to the city or its people, doesn’t this privatization of pleasures and pains dissolve the city?

            Of course.

            And isn’t that what happens whenever such words as ‘mine’ and ‘not mine’ aren’t used in unison? And similarly with ‘someone else’s’?


            Then, is the best-governed the one in which most people say ‘mine’ and ‘not mine’ about the same things in the same way?

            It is indeed.

            What about the city that is most like a single person? For example, when one of us hurts his finger, the entire organism that binds body and soul together into a single system under the ruling part within it is aware of this, and the whole feels the pain together with the part that suffers. That’s why we say that the man has a pain in his finger. And the same can be said about any part of a man, with regard either to the pain it suffers or to the pleasure it experiences when it finds relief.

            Certainly. And as for your question, the city with the best government is most like such a person.

            Then, whenever anything good or bad happens to a single one of its citizens, such a city above all others will say that the affected part is its own and will share in the pleasure or pain as a whole.” 136-137

“Now, what about enemies? How will our soldiers deal with them?

            In what respect?

            First, enslavement. Do you think it is just for Greeks to enslave Greek cities, or, as far as they can, should they not even allow other cities to do so, and make a habit of sparing the Greek race, as a precaution against being enslaved by the barbarians?

            It’s altogether and in every way best to spare the Greek race.

            Then isn’t it also best for the guardians not to acquire a Greek slave and to advise the other Greeks not to do so either?

            Absolutely. In that way they’d be more likely to turn against the barbarians and keep their hands off one another…

            It seems to me that as we have two names, ‘war’ and ‘civil war,’ so there are two things and the names apply to two kinds of disagreements arising in them. The two things I’m referring to are what is one’s own and akin, on the one hand, and what’s foreign and strange, on the other. The name ‘civil war’ applies to hostilities with one’s own, while ‘war’ applies to hostilities with strangers… I say that the Greek race is its own and akin, but it is strange and foreign to barbarians… Then when Greeks do battle with barbarians or barbarians with Greeks, we’ll say that they’re natural enemies and that such hostilities are to be called war. But when Greeks fight with Greeks, we’ll say that they are natural friends and that in such circumstances Greece is sick and divided into factions and that such hostilities are to be called civil war.” 145