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HEADS OF THE EIGHTH DIALOGUE.
PLATO here resumes the subject which he had dropped at the end of the fourth book. (p. 445.)
P. 544. Four distinct kinds of government are enumerated, which deviate from the true form, and gradually grow worse and worse: namely, 1. the timocracy, (so he calls the Lacedæmonian or Cretan constitution,) 2. the oligarchy, 3. the democracy, and 4. tyranny they are produced by as many different corruptions of the mind and manners of the inhabitants.
P. 545. The change from the true aristocracy (or constitution of Plato's republick) to a timocracy is described. Every thing, which has had a beginning,
NOTES ON THE GREEK TEXT.
P. 544. 'H KрηTкn.] Lycurgus borrowed his constitution from that of the Cretans, as Herodotus, Strabo, Plutarch, and other writers, allow; and it is plain, that Plato thought it the best form of government that any where existed, which seems indeed to have been the general opinion of the greatest men in Greece : ἡ ὑπο πολλων επαινουμένη.
546. Χαλεπον μεν κινηθηναι.] He here assumes a more concise and figured diction, and lays aside the familiar air of conversation.
is subject to corruption. The introduction of property, and the division of land among the Φυλακες. The encroachment on the liberty of the inferiour part of the commonwealth. Secret avarice and love of pleasure are the consequence of private property. neglect of musick and of letters. The preference given to the exercises of the body. The prevalence of the irascible over the rational part of the soul.
The character of a citizen in such a state and the origin of such a character are described.
P. 550. The mutation of a timocracy into an oligarchy, where none are admitted to the honours and offices of the commonwealth, who do not possess a certain proportion of property. The progress of avarice
P. 547. Xpvooûv.] Vid. L. 3. p. 414. et Hesiod. Oper. et Dies. v. 109.
Ib. Περιοικους και οικετας.] The Lacedæmonians gave the name of IIepioiko to their subjects, the inhabitants of Laconia, who were not Spartans. As they were used, I imagine, hardly enough by their superiours, and had no share in the government, many authors do not distinguish them from the Heilotæ, who were absolutely slaves; yet, in reality, they seem to have been on a distinct footing, being reckoned free men, and employed by the Spartan government to command such troops as they often sent abroad, consisting of Heilotæ, to whom they had given their liberty. The Iepiοiko likewise seem to have had the property of lands, for when Lycurgus divided the country into thirty thousand portions, and gave nine thousand of them to the Spartans, to whom did the other twenty-one thousand portions belong, unless to the IIepioikoi? who else should people the hundred cities, besides villages, which were once in Laconia? It is plain, also, that the Пepioikoɩ served in war, as dλɩтαi, or heavy-armed foot, which the Heilotæ never did see ThucyVOL. IV.
is the cause of this alteration. Such a state is always divided into two (always at enmity among themselves) the rich and the poor, which is the cause of its weakness. The alienation of property, which is freely permitted by the wealthy for their own interest, will still increase the disproportion of fortune among the citizens. The ill consequences of prodigality, and of its attendant extreme poverty, in a state. The poor are compared to drones in a bee-hive, some with stings and some without.
P. 552. The gradual transition of the mind from the love of honour to the love of money.
When a young man has seen the misfortunes which ambition has brought upon his own family, as fines, banishment, confiscation, and even death itself, adversity and fear will break his spirit and humble his parts, which he will now apply to raise a fortune by securer
dides, L. 4. p. 238. and in the battle of Platææ, Herodotus says, there were ten thousand Lacedæmonians, of which five thousand were Spartans; it follows, that the other five thousand were Пeptokol, for he mentions the Heilotæ by themselves, as light-armed troops in number thirty-five thousand, that is, seven to each Spartan, (L. 9. c. 29); and Xenophon plainly distinguishes the 'Twoμeloves (who were Spartans, but excluded from the magistracy), the Neodaμwdels (who were Heilotæ made free), the Heilotæ, and the IIepioiкol. (Xenoph. De Lacedæmon. Republ. 289. and Græc. Hist. L. 1. p. 256.) See also Isocrates in Panegyr. and in Panathenaic. p. 270. The Cretans called their slaves, who cultivated the lands, IIepioikot.
Lycurg. and Aristot. in Polit. L. 2. c. 10.
See Plutarch. in
P. 548. TXаukwVOS TOUTOU.] Something of Glauco's spirit and ambition may be seen in Xenophon's Memorabil. L, 3. c. 6,
methods, by the slow and secret arts of gain his rational faculties and nobler passions will be subjected to his desire of acquisition, and he will admire and emulate others only in proportion as they possess the great object of his wishes: his passion for wealth will keep down and suppress in him the love of pleasure and of extravagance, which yet, for want of philosophy and of a right education, will continue alive in his heart and exert itself, when he can find an opportunity to satisfy it by some secret injustice at the expense of others.
P. 555. The source of a democracy: namely, when the meaner sort, increasing with a number of men of spirit and abilities, reduced to poverty by extravagance and by the love of pleasure, begin to feel their own strength, and compare themselves to the few wealthy persons who compose the government, whose body and
P. 553. Xaμai ev@ev.] An allusion to those statues or basreliefs, where some king, or conqueror, is represented with captive nations in chains sitting at his feet; as in that erected to the honour of Justinian in the Hippodrome at Constantinople. See Antholog. L. 4. Tit. 4. Epigr. 2.
Ib. Tiapas Te.] The usual dress of the king and nobility of Persia. So Cyrus (in Xenoph. Anab. p. 147.) presents to Syennesis king of Cilicia, ἱππον χρυσοχάλινον, και στρεπτον χρυσοῦν, και ψέλλια, και ακινάκην χρυσοῦν, και στολην Περσικην, δωρα ἁ νομιζεται παρα βασιλευσι τιμια. The tiara was a cap, like the Phrygian bonnet (Herodot. Polymn. c. 61.) common to all the Medes and Persians; the royal family (Xenoph. Cyropæd. L. 8. p. 127.) alone wore a sash or diadem wreathed round it, which formed a sort of turband; the king himself was distinguished by the top or point of his tiara which was upright, whereas all others had it bending down.
mind are weakened by their application to nothing but
to the sordid arts of lucre.
The change of the constitution. The way to the magistracy laid open to all, and decided by balloting. A lively picture of the Athenian commonwealth.
P. 558. The distinction between our necessary and unnecessary desires, is stated; when the latter prevail over the former by indulgence, and by keeping bad company, they form a democratick mind. The description of such a soul, when years have somewhat allayed the tumult and violence of its passions; it is the sport of humour and of caprice, inconstant in any pursuit, and incapable of any resolution.
P. 562. When liberty degenerates into extreme license and anarchy, the democracy begins to tend towards tyranny. The picture of the Athenian government and manners is continued with great force and severity where youth assumes the authority and decisiveness of age, and age mimicks the gaiety and pleasures of youth; where women and slaves are upon the same footing with their husbands and masters; and where even the dogs and horses march directly onwards, and refuse to give way to a citizen. The common mutation of things from one extreme to another.
Ρ. 563. Οι εωνημενοι.] Των δουλων δ' αυ και των μετοικων πλειστη εστιν Αθηνῃσιν ακολασία, και ουτε παταξαι εξεστιν αυτοθι, ούτε ÚTTEKOTNOETAL σol ỏ doûλos. (Xenoph. Athen. Respubl. p. 403.) 565. Ως αληθως ολιγαρχικοι.] Εστι δε πασῃ γῃ το βελτιστον εναντιον τη δημοκρατιᾳ. Xenoph. ut supra.
Ib. Διος του Λυκαιον.] Pausanias speaks of this mysterious solemnity performed on the most ancient altar in Greece.