On Plato’s Republic, 12

Index to this series

We have completed the long detour of the Three Waves. In Book VIII of Plato’s Republic (Stephanus 543–69c), we return to the degeneration of the polity and the soul.

Rooster facing the sun at the top of a stairway
Freely ranging rooster
Çetin Emeç Park, Beşiktaş, Ιstanbul
November 22, 2021
Born in 1935, journalist Çetin Emeç was assassinated in 1990

By the end of Book IV, Glaucon had conceded that being just was more profitable than being unjust, even if nobody else knew what you were being (444e–5b). Planning to talk more about injustice, Socrates observed (445c)

that there is one form of excellence, and that the forms of evil are infinite (Shorey),
there is one form for virtue and an unlimited number for vice (Bloom),
ἕν μὲν εἶναι εἶδος τῆς ἀρετῆς, ἄπειρα δὲ τῆς κακίας.

There were, however, four particular forms of evil worth mentioning. This made five forms in all. Thus there would be, of polities and presumably then of souls, five “turnings” or τρόποι: “varieties” for Shorey, “types” for Bloom.

We had seen one of the polities, though it was still somehow two (445d):

  • royalty or monarchy (βασιλεία), if ruled by one person;
  • aristocracy (ἀριστοκρατία), if by more than one.

Socrates describes the others now in Book VIII (544c):

For those I mean are also the ones having names;

  • the one that is praised by the many, that Cretan and Laconian regime (ἡ Κρητική τε καὶ Λακωνικὴ αὕτη); and
  • second in place and second in praise, the one called oligarchy (ὀλιγαρχία), a regime filled with throngs of evils; and
  • this regime’s adversary, arising next in order, democracy (δημοκρατία), and then
  • the noble tyranny (ἡ γενναία τυραννίς) at last, excelling all of these, the fourth and extreme illness of a city.

“Noble tyranny” recalls the Noble Lie (γενναῖόν τι ἕν ψευδομένον) in Book III (414b). The “Cretan and Laconian regime” is going to be named also by means of the Greek word τιμή, translated as “honor” (545b):

the regime that loves honor – I can give no other name that is used for it in common parlance; it should be called either timocracy or timarchy (τιμοκρατία ἢ τιμαρχία).

We could not hear earlier of the forms of regime, because, at the beginning of Book V, induced, as Glaucon recalls (544b), by Polemarchus and Adeimantus, Socrates talked about

  1. the community of women and children. This led to
  2. the philosopher king and the metaphors of
  3. the Ship of State,
  4. the Sun, the Divided Line, and
  5. the Cave.
  6. When they came to power in a city, the philosopher kings would throw out everybody over the age of ten, in order to create the fair city, Callipolis.

I have numbered the subjects according to the corresponding readings in the present course. Now, in reading 12, we are going to learn how the tyrant comes to power as the champion of the people and ends up throwing out everybody who can challenge him. Socrates would seem to be describing certain leaders of the 20th and 21st centuries. That men with such tormented souls are all the more wretched for having to rule over states: this observation will have to wait till Book IX.

In Book VIII (557c–d), democracy is recognized as

probably the fairest of the regimes (καλλίστη αὔτη τῶν πολιτειῶν). Just like a many-colored cloak decorated in all hues, this regime, decorated with all dispositions, would also look fairest … thanks to its license (ἐξουσία), it contains all species of regimes, and it is probably necessary for the man who wishes to organize a city, as we were just doing, to go to a city under a democracy.

In “Community” I recommended this idea for a person like Rod Dreher, who wanted to live under a strict religious order that he had nonetheless chosen.

Perhaps democracy is not fairest after all. After the democratic polity and man are described (562a),

the fairest regime and the fairest man (ἡ καλλίστη πολιτεία τε καὶ ὁ κάλλιστος ἀνὴρ) would be left for us to go through, tyranny and the tyrant (τυραννίς τε καὶ τύραννος).

One might take this as irony on two levels. Nobody wants to live in a tyranny, and yet the philosopher king will be tyrant in the technical sense of having absolute power.

The forms of polity and person devolve from the aristocracy and aristocrat. Before trying to review all of this, I note Glaucon’s curious remark to Socrates at the beginning of Book VIII (543c–4a), recalling what had been going on through Book IV:

You were presenting your arguments pretty much as you are doing now, as though you had completed your description of what concerns the city, saying that you would class a city such as you then described, and the man like it, as good. And you did this, as it seems, in spite of the fact that you had a still finer city and man to tell of (καλλίω ἔτι ἔχων εἰπεῖν πόλιν τε καὶ ἄνδρα). Anyhow, you were saying that the other cities are mistaken if this one is right (εἰ αὕτη ὀρθή).

The reference to a “still finer city and man” may be to the finer account of the city and man that Socrates would give in Books V, VI, and VII. Meanwhile, having named the kingship and aristocracy at the end of Book IV, Socrates did say at the beginning of Book V (449a),

Good, then, and right, is what I call such a city and regime and such a man, while the rest I call bad and mistaken, if this one is really right (εἴπερ αὕτη ὀρθή).

We should not assume that Socrates has said the last word on anything.

An Oak or a Rock

Glaucon wants to know what the four other regimes are (544b), and Socrates lists them as above, before mentioning that there are others, “somewhere between these” (544d–5a); and,

Do you know, that it is necessary that there also be as many forms of human characters as there are forms of regimes? Or do you suppose that the regimes arise “from an oak or rocks” (ἐκ δρυός ποθεν ἢ ἐκ πέτρας) and not from the dispositions of the men in the cities, which, tipping the scale as it were, draw the rest along with them? … we have already described the man who is like the aristocracy, a man of whom we rightly assert that he is both good and just. Must we next go through the worse men …?

Glaucon will answer affirmatively, but meanwhile, Socrates will have noted that we shall be fully equipped to respond to Thrasymachus (545a):

If so, we can have a complete consideration of how pure justice is related to pure injustice with respect to the happiness and wretchedness of the men possessing them. In this way we may be persuaded either by Thrasymachus and pursue injustice, or by the argument that is now coming to light and pursue justice.

I found reason to take up Socrates’s proverbial expression about a vegetable and a mineral in blogging about Book III of the Iliad. I noted how, in the Phaedrus, Socrates tells the title character (275b),

They used to say, my friend, that the words of the oak (δρυὸς λόγοι) in the holy place of Zeus at Dodona were the first prophetic utterances. The people of that time, not being so wise as you young folks, were content in their simplicity to hear an oak or a rock (δρῦς καὶ πέτρα) provided only it spoke the truth.

Also, Hesiod say in the Theogony,

But what is this to me, about an oak or a rock? Come then, let us begin from the Muses, who by singing for their father Zeus give pleasure to his great mind within Olympus, telling of what is and what will be and what was before.

Bloom mentions not the former passage, but the latter, along with the following.

  • In Book XXII of the Iliad, when Hector thinks of offering the return of Helen to avoid a fight with Achilles, he says to himself (123–30, in Caroline Alexander’s translation),

    I could set forth to meet him and he not pity me,
    nor even respect me, but kill me naked as I was,
    as if I were a woman, since I would have put off my armor.
    It is not now possible from rock or oak, in the country way,
    to chatter to him those things that a girl and youth
    chatter to each other, a girl and youth –
    no, it is better to engage with him straightway;
    we shall see to whom the Olympians give glory.

  • In Book XIX of the Odyssey, Penelope demands of the returned Odysseus (162–3 in Lattimore’s translation),

    But even so, tell me who you are, and the place where you came from.
    You were not born from any fabulous oak, or a boulder.

  • Socrates quotes this in the Apology (34d):

    My friend, I too have relatives, for I am, as Homer has it, “not born of an oak or a rock,” but of human parents, so that I have relatives and, men of Athens, I have three sons, one nearly grown up, and two still children; but nevertheless I shall not bring any of them here and beg you to acquit me.

Shorey mentions all of the passages above, except Hesiod.

Timocracy

As noted, the word “timocracy” is based on τιμή, meaning things like honor, esteem, estimation. Those last two words come from aestimāre, whence also “aim.” No etymology for the Latin verb itself seems to be known; in particular, I find no scholarly assertion or even suggestion of a connection with τιμή. Nonetheless, remarkably enough, the Greek word may share a root with ποινή “ransom, fine, penalty, vengeance”; and Latin borrowed the word as poena, source of such English words as “penalty,” “punish,” and “pain.”

We ask now:

  1. How does aristocracy devolve into timocracy (545c)?
  2. How is it governed (547c)?
  3. Who is the timocratic man (548d)?
  4. How does he come to be (549c)?

There will be similar questions for the other regimes.

How Aristocracy Devolves into Timocracy

There is a general answer for the first question (545d–6a):

change in every regime comes from that part of it which holds the ruling offices – when faction arises in it – while when it is of one mind (ὁμονοοῦντος), it cannot be moved, be it composed of ever so few.

Actually this is a proposal, which (of course) Glaucon agrees to. We are talking in particular about the city that, in our speech at least, has come to be; and every such thing must also decay. The specific failure of our city will be in the eugenics program (546a):

the men you educated as leaders of the city will nonetheless fail to hit on the prosperous birth and barrenness of your kind with calculation aided by sensation, but it will pass them by, and they will at some time beget children when they should not.

Socrates goes on to talk about what others call the Nuptial Number, but he himself refers to as a “geometrical number” (546c). Nobody knows what it is, although opinions exist. Cornford discusses those opinions in a long footnote, while declining to translate what Socrates himself says about it. As a student I bought a book that worked out the nuptial number to be 604, namely 12,960,000, the number 60 itself being 3 × 4 × 5. The book was by Ernest G. McClain, apparently a scholar of music, and was called The Pythagorean Plato: Prelude to the Song Itself; we saw the subtitle in the latter part of Book VII. The traces of my pencil show I spent some time with the book. Knowing little of politics then, I may not have been able to recognize, from my own experience, such evolutions as Socrates is going to describe.

Evidently Plato was not interested in making clear whatever Socrates is talking about with his geometrical number. Somehow the eugenics program of Callipolis fails, and therefore, even with the best education, those persons raised to be rulers will not be able to pass along that education. This recalls to me what I think one friend asserted, though I do not recall whether he published it on his blog or elsewhere: that engineers may be able to teach calculus, but their students will not be able to.

A high-school math teacher has told me in a tweet that she has students who don’t know the meaning of the less-than sign. She thinks the students were wrongly taught to think of the sign as an alligator’s mouth. I speculate instead that the elementary school teachers do not actually know high-school mathematics.

Of the misbegotten children of Callipolis, Socrates says (546d) that they

will have neither good natures nor good luck. Their predecessors will choose the best of these children; but, nevertheless, since they are unworthy, when they, in turn, come to the powers of their fathers, they will as guardians first begin to neglect us by having less consideration than is required, first, for music, and, second, for gymnastic.

Factions arise, of the gold and silver races against the bronze and iron. The existence of such races was part of the Noble Lie. Now Glaucon (Γλαύκων) is told by Socrates (547a),

the chaotic mixing of iron with silver and of bronze with gold engenders unlikeness and inharmonious irregularity, which, once they arise, always breed war and hatred in the place where they happen to arise. Faction must always be said to be “of this ancestry” (ταύτης τοι γενεᾶς) wherever it happens to rise.

The quote is apparently from Book VI of the Iliad, at the end of the speech of Glaucus (Γλαῦκος) to Diomedes. This is the speech whose opening excited George Constantinople when he taught us ancient Greek history. In the translation of Richmond Lattimore that we read at St Albans, Glaucus begins (145–51),

High-hearted son of Tydeus, why ask of my generation?
As is the generation of leaves, so is that of humanity.
The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the live timber
burgeons with leaves again in the season of spring returning.
So one generation of men will grow while another
dies. Yet if you wish to learn all this and be certain
of my genealogy: there are plenty of men who know it.

The end (211) is,

Such is my generation and the blood I claim to be born from.
ταύτης τοι γενεῆς τε καὶ αἵματος εὔχομαι εἶναι.

Bloom says coyly, “The context of the quote should be read.” Perhaps he is alluding to the gift exchange proposed by Diomedes (234–6):

But Zeus the son of Kronos stole away the wits of Glaukos
who exchanged with Diomedes the son of Tydeus armour
of gold for bronze, for nine oxen’s worth the worth of a hundred.

So gold gets confused with bronze, as in the decline of the aristocracy; and somebody with a name like Glaucon’s gets confused in his own mind.

In the aristocracy,

  • the faction of bronze and iron want to possess things: “land, houses, gold, and silver” (547b);
  • the faction with the latter metals in their souls want to preserve “the ancient establishment.”

A compromise is established (547b–c):

they distributed land and houses to be held privately, while those who previously were guarded by them as free friends and supporters they then enslaved and held as serfs and domestics; and they occupied themselves with war and with guarding against these men.

This situation is “a certain middle between aristocracy and oligarchy” (547c). It makes me think of the Ottoman Empire, in which (as far as I know) corruption began when Janissaries started marrying and passing along their status to their sons.

How the Timocracy Is Governed

I nonetheless do not recognize the details that Socrates gives. Does Glaucon? In the Gorgias, as I discussed in “Doing and Suffering,” Polus describes in detail the career of Archelaus, tyrant of Macedonia. Perhaps such examples could have been supplied in the Republic; or possibly Plato’s intended readers would have recognized that Socrates’s account is not historical.

The key point about the timocracy would seem to be “the dominance of spiritedness” (548c), which is what leads to the name of the regime in the first place: “love of victories and of honors.” A certain problem in the rulers is traced to illiberal education (548b):

they will also be stingy with money because they honor it and don’t acquire it openly; but, pushed on by desire, they will love to spend other people’s money; and they will harvest pleasures stealthily, running away from the law like boys from a father. This is because they weren’t educated by persuasion but by force – the result of neglect of the true Muse accompanied by arguments and philosophy while giving more distinguished honor to gymnastic than music.

Who the Timocratic Man Is

Now Adeimantus speaks up. He will be Socrates’s interlocutor for the rest of Book VIII, and he starts by saying that, for his love of victory, Glaucon is an example of the timocratic man (548d).

Socrates demurs, since the timocratic man should be more stubborn, as well as brutal with slaves, although “with freemen he would be tame and to rulers most obedient” (548e–9a). When young he will despise money, only to delight in it when older, because he has lacked “argument mixed with music” (549a–b).

How the Timocratic Man Comes to Be

We have been told that the dispositions of men draw their cities along; and yet now we are told that the timocratic man arises in a city without a good regime (549c) and thus, presumably, with factions.

  • He is the son of a good man who “waters the calculating part of his soul” (550a).
  • The father also avoids public life, and the mother and the family servants complain about this, thereby watering “the desiring and spirited parts” (550b).

Oligarchy

The next regime is the oligarchy, namely the polity “founded on a property assessment” – ἡ ἀπὸ τιμημάτων πολιτεία (550c). The neuter noun τὸ τίμημα derives from the feminine noun ἡ τιμή and means pretty much the same thing, namely estimation, though evidently the estimation now is mainly of property, as for the sake of taxation.

How Timarchy Passes to Oligarchy

It happens because

  • private property has been allowed (550d), and
  • “isn’t virtue in tension with wealth?” – οὐχ οὕτω πλούτου ἀρετὴ διέστηκεν (550e).

Property thus becomes the condition of rule.

The Character of the Oligarchy

The oligarchic city as such makes the following mistakes.

  • That which defines oligarchy itself, namely taking wealth as the measure of qualification for office (551c).

  • Being two cities, one for the rich and one for the poor (551d).

  • Being unable to fight war, because the ruling class are

    • unwilling to arm the impoverished masses;
    • too few to fight alone – they are oligarchs after all, the adjective ὀλίγος α ον meaning “few”;
    • too miserly to spend their money – presumably on mercenaries, though Socrates does not make this explicit.
  • Making everybody engage in the money-making art as well as another art, thus violating the principle of justice, discovered in Book IV, whereby one must do one’s own business and not be a busybody (551e). Called “economic freedom,” this mistake would seem to be just what the Chicago school of economics wanted Pinochet to make in Chile.

  • The greatest evil of all – or the ultimate “economic freedom”: allowing citizens to become paupers (552a). Even if they were rich before, their spending was useless to the city (552b):

    Or did he seem to belong to the rulers, while in truth he was neither a ruler nor a servant of the city but a spender of his means? (Bloom)

    Or did he merely seem to belong to the ruling class, while in reality he was neither ruler nor helper in the state, but only a consumer of goods? (Shorey)

    ἢ ἐδόκει μὲν τῶν ἀρχόντων εἶναι, τῇ δὲ ἀληθείᾳ οὔτε ἄρχων οὔτε ὑπηρέτης ἦν αὐτῆς, ἀλλὰ τῶν ἑτοίμων ἀναλωτής;

Socrates introduces a new metaphor, which might deserve its own Wikipedia article alongside the Ring of Gyges used by Glaucon in Book II and the other metaphors or allegories mentioned above (the Ship of State, the Sun, the Divided Line, and the Cave). Of the spendthift, Socrates asks (552c),

Do you wish us to say of him that, as a drone growing up in a cell is a disease of a hive, such a man growing up in a house is a drone and a disease of a city?

βούλει οὖν φῶμεν αὐτόν, ὡς ἐν κηρίῳ κηφὴν ἐγγίγνεται, σμήνους νόσημα, οὕτω καὶ τὸν τοιοῦτον ἐν οἰκίᾳ κηφῆνα ἐγγίγνεσθαι, νόσημα πόλεως;

Each of the words “drone” and κηφήν seems to refer originally to the bee that does no work, then to anybody who does no work. I do not know when the lazy bee came to be recognized as male. The English word “drone” goes back to Old English, and there may be a connection with ἀνθρηδών “hornet,” from which Beekes derives ἀνθρήνη “bee, wasp”; but κηφήν is what Beekes calls Pre-Greek, which was not an Indo-European language.

Socrates’s metaphor fails in an important sense. The drones that fly do not sting, but some of the drones that walk do. These would be the thieves and πάντων τῶν τοιούτων κακῶν δημιουργοί (552d) – “similar artists in crime” as Shorey puts it – whom you expect to be lurking wherever there are beggars. That is what you get “as a result of want of education, bad rearing, and a bad arrangement of the regime” (552e).

We have heard little in the Republic of freedom as such.

  • In the former part of Book I, Cephalus praises the freedom from the tyranny of sexual desire that old age brings (329c).
  • In Book III, being “craftsmen of the city’s freedom,” the guardians must not imitate anything else, certainly nothing slavish (395b–c).

Those are the cases where the word “freedom” has occurred in Bloom’s translation so far. The adjective “free” has occurred more, and under the heading “Freedom, liberality, eleutheria,” Bloom’s subject index has 21 references up to where we are now. For example, Thrasymachus says perfect justice “is mightier, freer, and more masterful than justice” (344c).

Freedom is going to be characteristic of democracy. Meanwhile, according to Greg Grandin, in a CounterPunch article called “The Road from Serfdom” (November 17, 2006) that I found when looking for another one that I thought I remembered,

Critics of both Pinochet and Friedman took Chile as proof positive that the kind of free-market absolutism advocated by the Chicago School was only possible through repression. So Friedman countered by redefining the meaning of freedom. Contrary to the prevailing post-WWII belief that political liberty was dependent on some form of mild social leveling, he insisted that “economic freedom is an essential requisite for political freedom.”

The Oligarchic Man

Seeing his father “blunder against the city as against a reef and waste his property as well as himself” (553b), a young man turns to money-making. He satisfies only his necessary desires, while enslaving the others (554a). This might seem virtuous; however, lacking proper education, he still has the κηφηνώδεις ἐπιθυμίαι “dronelike desires” (554b). You can tell this by looking (554c)

to their guardianship of orphans and any occasion of the kind that comes their way and gives them a considerable license to do injustice (Bloom),

to guardianships of orphans, and any such opportunities of doing injustice with impunity (Shorey),

εἰς τὰς τῶν ὀρφανῶν ἐπιτροπεύσεις, καὶ εἴ πού τι αὐτοῖς τοιοῦτον συμβαίνει, ὥστε πολλῆς ἐξουσίας λαβέσθαι τοῦ ἀδικεῖν.

The oligarchic man suppresses his bad desires (554d)

not by persuading them that they ‘had better not’ nor by taming them with argument, but by necessity and fear.

οὐ πείθων ὅτι οὐκ ἄμεινον, οὐδ᾽ ἡμερῶν λόγῳ, ἀλλ᾽ ἀνάγκῃ καὶ φόβῳ.

Thus he has two factions within himself, though the better one dominates. That faction is stingy.

Democracy

Socrates evidently feels no need to say what a democracy is.

How Oligarchy Passes to Democracy

The oligarchy abandons the virtue of moderation for the sake of accumulating wealth (555b–c). Apparently by lending at interest, “these money-makers … wound with injections of silver any man among the remainder who yields” (555e). The class of the rich lose any taste for work. The poor see this, overthrow them, and share the rule amongst themselves (557a).

Life in a Democracy

Socrates asks (557b),

In the first place, then, aren’t they free? And isn’t the city full of freedom and free speech? And isn’t there license in it to do whatever one wants?

οὐκοῦν πρῶτον μὲν δὴ ἐλεύθεροι, καὶ ἐλευθερίας ἡ πόλις μεστὴ καὶ παρρησίας γίγνεται, καὶ ἐξουσία ἐν αὐτῇ ποιεῖν ὅτι τις βούλεται;

Adeimantus answers circumspectly, “That is what is said, certainly.”

We have already noted Socrates’s suggestion that a democracy is the place to organize a city, as he and Plato’s brothers are doing down at the Piraeus in the house of Cephalus.

A democracy is also great because you need not take part in administration, even if you are competent to do so (557e). Your early education is free too, apparently in the sense that poetry and music are not restricted as in Callipolis (558b).

The Democrat

We saw that the oligarch satisfied only the necessary desires. Only now does Socrates distinguish the necessary from the unnecessary (558d). Eating for health is necessary; going beyond is unnecessary (559a–b). The drone is full of unnecessary desires (559c), and when the son of the oligarch has intercourse with drones, thus tasting their honey, “he begins his change from an oligarchic regime within himself to a democratic one” (559e). Having intercourse here is συγγίγνομαι; it need not refer to sex, but it does in the former part of Book I, when Cephalus recalls how the aged Sophocles was asked whether he could still have intercourse with a woman (329c).

Unnecessary desires storm the acropolis of the young man’s soul, since it has not been fortified with good education (560b). No help from relatives can come τῷ φειδωλῷ αὐτοῦ τῆς ψυχῆς “to the stingy element in his soul” (560c).

After the victory, all pleasures are equal (561b), and “all are alike and must be honored on an equal basis” (561c).

Tyranny

As greed for wealth makes the oligarchy democratic, so greed for freedom makes the democracy tyrannical (562a–b). The father fears his sons and wants to be like them (562e); the teacher, the pupils (563a). For the sake of freedom, be they written or unwritten, laws are ignored (563d).

The extreme of freedom provokes the extreme of slavery (563e–4a). Whether they have stings or not, the drones cause trouble, like phlegm and bile (564b). To understand this in detail, we analyze the city again into three classes, though without clear reference to the analysis completed in Book IV.

  1. The ruling class are apparently the drones, who are keenest to satisfy all of their desires, although Socrates says only that they are those without honor in the oligarchy (564d).
  2. The middle class are the money-makers; being more orderly, they are the richest, and the drones want to squeeze their honey (564e).
  3. The lower class do their own work, but possess little (565a).

The lower class being numerous, the drones share with them the honey they squeeze from the middle class. The account is obscure. Socrates says (565c),

Aren’t the people always accustomed to set up some one man as their special leader and to foster him and make him grow great?

The “people” here would seem to be the middle class. Their leader turns against one of them, and the taste of blood seals his fate: he himself must be slain or become a tyrant (565e–6a). If he survives, he is plotted against, and this leads to an important entry in the Tyrant’s Manual (566b):

All those, then, whose careers have progressed to this stage now hit upon the notorious tyrannical request – to ask the people for some bodyguards to save the people’s defender for them.

For an excuse to stay in power, the tyrant starts wars (566e). Those who helped him to power may criticize him; but he gets rid of them. He does this pre-emptively to “who is courageous, who is great-minded, who is prudent, who is rich” (567b).

A doctor’s purge is supposed to get rid of the worst and keep the best; the tyrant’s does the reverse (567c). Nonetheless, I hear an echo of the latter part of Book VII, when the philosophers purge the city they have taken over, getting rid of anybody over the age of ten.

Freeing the slaves of the citizens, the tyrant includes them among his bodyguards (567e).

Socrates now says that poets such as Euripides “extol tyranny as a condition ‘equal to that of a god’” (568b), though Bloom says the line is attributed also to Sophocles. Being wise, the tragic poets will understand our excluding them from our own regime.

The tyrant will consume state property till it runs out (568d); then he will turn to his father’s property (568e) and may even kill his father, as Adeimantus avers (569b). Socrates responds (569b–c),

You speak of the tyrant as a parricide and a harsh nurse of old age, and, as it seems, this would at last be self-admitted tyranny and, as the saying goes, the people in fleeing the smoke of enslavement to free men would have fallen into the fire of being under the mastery of slaves.

The tyrannical man will be taken up in Book IX.

Men on sidewalk watch as an apartment building is torn down by a crane
Demolition
Hora Sokağı, Dikilitaş, Beşiktaş, Istanbul
November 22, 2021

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  1. By On Plato’s Republic, 1 « Polytropy on November 22, 2021 at 10:09 pm

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