laws (books 1 - 6)
practice of drinking under due regulation and with a view to the
enforcement of temperance, and in like manner, and on the same
principle, will allow of other pleasures, designing to gain the
victory over them in this way all of them may be used. But if the
State makes drinking an amusement only, and whoever likes may drink
whenever he likes, and with whom he likes, and add to this any other
indulgences, I shall never agree or allow that this city or this man
should practise drinking. I would go further than the Cretans and
Lacedaemonians, and am disposed rather to the law of the
Carthaginians, that no one while he is on a campaign should be allowed
to taste wine at all, but that he should drink water during all that
time, and that in the city no slave, male or female, should ever drink
wine; and that no magistrates should drink during their year of
office, nor should pilots of vessels or judges while on duty taste
wine at all, nor any one who is going to hold a consultation about any
matter of importance; nor in the daytime at all, unless in consequence
of exercise or as medicine; nor again at night, when any one, either
man or woman, is minded to get children. There are numberless other
cases also in which those who have good sense and good laws ought
not to drink wine, so that if what I say is true, no city will need
many vineyards. Their husbandry and their way of life in general
will follow an appointed order, and their cultivation of the vine will
be the most limited and the least common of their employments. And
this, Stranger, shall be the crown of my discourse about wine, if
Cle. Excellent: we agree.
Athenian Stranger. Enough of this. And what, then, is to be regarded
as the origin of government? Will not a man be able to judge of it
best from a point of view in which he may behold the progress of
states and their transitions to good or evil?
Cleinias. What do you mean?
Ath. I mean that he might watch them from the point of view of time,
and observe the changes which take place in them during infinite ages.
Cle. How so?
Ath. Why, do you think that you can reckon the time which has
elapsed since cities first existed and men were citizens of them?
Ath. But are sure that it must be vast and incalculable?
Ath. And have not thousands and thousands of cities come into
being during this period and as many perished? And has not each of
them had every form of government many times over, now growing larger,
now smaller, and again improving or declining?
Cle. To be sure.
Ath. Let us endeavour to ascertain the cause of these changes; for
that will probably explain the first origin and development of forms
Cle. Very good. You shall endeavour to impart your thoughts to us,
and we will make an effort to understand you.
Ath. Do you believe that there is any truth in ancient traditions?
Cle. What traditions?
Ath. The traditions about the many destructions of mankind which
have been occasioned by deluges and pestilences, and in many other
ways, and of the survival of a remnant?
Cle. Every one is disposed to believe them.
Ath. Let us consider one of them, that which was caused by the
Cle. What are we to observe about it?
Ath. I mean to say that those who then escaped would only be hill
shepherds-small sparks of the human race preserved on the tops of