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and rhythms which of necessity belong to them; and those of women are clearly enough indicated by their natural difference. The grand, and that which tends to courage, may be fairly called manly; but that which inclines to moderation and temperance, may be declared both in law and in ordinary speech to be the more womanly quality: this, then, will be the general order of them.
Let us now speak of the manner of teaching and imparting them, and the persons to whom, and the time when, they are severally to be imparted. As the shipwright first lays down the lines of the keel, and draws the design in outline, so do I seek to distinguish the patterns of life, and lay down their keels according to the nature of different men's souls; seeking truly to consider by what means, and in what ways, we may go through the voyage of life best. Now, human affairs are hardly worth considering in earnest, and yet we must be in earnest about them,- a sad necessity constrains us. And having got thus far, there will be a fitness in our completing the matter, if we can only find some suitable means of doing so. But what am I saying? And yet very probably there may be a meaning latent in these very words.
Cle. To be sure.
ATH. I say, that about serious matters a man should be serious, and about a matter which is not serious he should not be serious; and that God is the natural and worthy object of a man's most serious and blessed endeavors; who, as I said before, is made to be the plaything of God, and that this, truly considered, is the best of him; wherefore every man and woman should walk seriously, and pass life in the noblest of pastimes, and be of another mind from what they now are.
Cle. In what respect ?
be for the sake of their sports, for they deem war a serious pursuit, which must be managed well for the sake of peace; but the truth is, that there neither is, nor has been, nor ever will be, either amusement or instruction in any degree worth speaking of in war, which is nevertheless deemed by us to be the most serious of our pursuits. And therefore, as we say, every one of us should live the life of peace as long and as well as he can. And what is the right way of living? Are we to live in sports always ? If so, in what kind of sports? We ought to live sacrificing, and singing, and dancing, and then a man will be able to propitiate the Gods, and to defend himself against his enemies and conquer them in battle. The type of song or dance by which he will propitiate them has been described, and the paths along which he is to proceed have been cut for him. He will go forward in the spirit of the poet
“ Telemachus, some things thou wilt thyself find in thy heart, but other things God will suggest; for I deem that thou wast not born or brought up without the will of the Gods.”
And this ought to be the view of our alumni; they ought to think that what has been said is enough for them, and that any other things some God or a demigod will suggest to them — he will tell them to whom, and when, and to what Gods severally they are to sacrifice and perform dances, and how they may propitiate the deities, and live according to the appointment of nature; being for the most part puppets, but having some little share of reality.
MEG. You have a low opinion of mankind, Stranger.
Ath. Nay, Megillus, I was only comparing them with the Gods; and under that feeling I spoke. Let us grant, if you wish, that the human race is not to be despised, but is worthy of some consideration.
Next follow the buildings for gymnasia and schools open to all; these are to be in three places in the midst of the city; and outside the city and in the surrounding country there shall be schools for horse exercise, and open spaces also in three places, arranged with a view to archery and the throwing of missiles, at which young men may learn and practice. Of these mention has already been made; and if the mention be not sufficiently explicit, let us speak further of them and embody them in laws. In these several schools let there be dwellings for teachers, who shall be brought from foreign parts by pay, and let them teach the frequenters of the school the art of war and the art of music, and the children shall come, not only if their parents please, but if they do not please; and if their education is neglected, there shall be compulsory education, as the saying is, of all and sundry, as far as this is possible; and the pupils shall be regarded as belonging to the state rather than to their parents. My law would apply to females as well as males; they shall both go through the same exercises. I assert without fear of contradiction that gymnastic and horsemanship are as suitable to women as to men. Of the truth of this I am persuaded from ancient tradition, and at the present day there are said to be myriads of women in the neighborhood of the Black Sea, called Sauromatides, who not only ride on horseback like men, but have enjoined upon them the use of bows and other weapons equally with the men. And I further affirm, that if these things are possible, nothing can be more absurd than the practice which prevails in our own country of men and women not following the same pursuits with all their strength and with one mind, for thus the state, instead of being a whole, is reduced to a half, and yet has the same imposts to pay and the same toils to undergo; and what can be a greater mistake for any legislator to make?
CLE. Very true; and much of what has been asserted by us, Stranger, is contrary to the custom of states; still, in saying that the discourse should be allowed to proceed, and that when the discussion is completed, we should choose what seems best, you have spoken very properly, and have made me feel compunction for what I said. Tell me, then, what you would next wish to say.
Ath. I should wish to say, Cleinias, as I said before, that if the possibility of these things were not sufficiently proven in fact, then there might be an objection to the argument, but the fact being as I have said, he who rejects the law must find some other ground of objection; and, failing this, our exhortation will still hold good, nor will any one deny that women ought to share as far as possible in education and in other ways with men, for consider ; if women do not share in their whole life with men, then they must have some other order of life.
Ath. And what arrangement of life to be found anywhere is preferable to this community which we are now assigning to them? Shall we prefer that which is adopted by the Thracians and many other races who use their women to till the ground and to be shepherds of their herds and flocks, and to minister to them like slaves ? Or shall we do as we and people in our part of the world do? getting together, as the phrase is, all our goods and chattels into one dwelling these we entrust to our women, who are the stewards of them; and who also preside over the shuttles and the whole art of spinning. Or shall we take a middle course, as in Lacedæmon, Megillus, letting the girls share in gymnastic and music, while the grown-up women, no longer employed in spinning wool, are actively engaged in weaving the web of life, which will be no cheap or mean employment, and in the duty of serving and tak
ing care of the household and bringing up children in which they will observe a sort of mean, not participating in the toils of war; and if there were any necessity that they should fight for their city and families, unlike the Amazons, they would be unable to take part in archery or any other skilled use of missiles, nor could they, after the example of the Goddess, carry shield or spear, or stand up nobly for their country when it was being destroyed, and strike terror into their enemies, if only because they were seen in regular order? Living as they do, they would never dare at all to imitate the Sauromatides, whose women, when compared with ordinary women, would appear to be like men. Let him who will, praise your legislators, but I must say what I think. The legislator ought to be whole and perfect, and not half a man only; he ought not to let the female sex live softly and waste money and have no order of life, while he takes the utmost care of the male sex, and leaves half of life only blest with happiness, when he might have made the whole state happy.
MEG. What shall we do, Cleinias? Shall we allow a stranger to run down Sparta in this fashion?
CLE. Yes; for as we have given him liberty of speech we must let him go on until we have perfected the work of legislation.
MEG. Very true.
Ath. What will be the manner of life among men who may be supposed to have their food and clothing provided for them in moderation, and who have entrusted the practice of the arts to others, and whose husbandry, committed to slaves paying a part of the produce, brings them a return sufficient for men living temperately; who, moreover, have common tables in which the men are placed