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Laws

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By: (424-348 BC)

Νόμοι (Laws) is Plato's final dialogue written after his attempt to advise the tyrant Dionysius II of Syracuse. The dialogue takes place between: an Athenian Stranger (Socrates? A god in human form?); the quiet Lacedaemonian Megillus; and the Cretan Cleinias. The Stranger asks whether humans live to be more effective at waging war or if there is something more important a legislator should seek to achieve. During their pilgrimage Cleinias discloses his role in the establishment of a new colony and the three discuss what would make the colony perfect including: location; a fixed population size; entitlement to land; the four economic classes; the restriction of retailers; a static system of music; the fair treatment of foreigners; defined punishments; and proper religious observance.

First Page:

LAWS

By Plato

Translated By Benjamin Jowett

INTRODUCTION AND ANALYSIS.

The genuineness of the Laws is sufficiently proved (1) by more than twenty citations of them in the writings of Aristotle, who was residing at Athens during the last twenty years of the life of Plato, and who, having left it after his death (B.C. 347), returned thither twelve years later (B.C. 335); (2) by the allusion of Isocrates

(Oratio ad Philippum missa, p.84: To men tais paneguresin enochlein kai pros apantas legein tous sunprechontas en autais pros oudena legein estin, all omoios oi toioutoi ton logon (sc. speeches in the assembly) akuroi tugchanousin ontes tois nomois kai tais politeiais tais upo ton sophiston gegrammenais.) writing 346 B.C., a year after the death of Plato, and probably not more than three or four years after the composition of the Laws who speaks of the Laws and Republics written by philosophers (upo ton sophiston); (3) by the reference (Athen.) of the comic poet Alexis, a younger contemporary of Plato (fl. B.C 356 306), to the enactment about prices, which occurs in Laws xi... Continue reading book >>


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