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Pages of laws (books 1 - 6)

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laws (books 1 - 6)   

virtue than the unmixed. And he who is conscious of being too
headstrong, and carried away more than is fitting in all his
actions, ought to desire to become the relation of orderly parents;
and he who is of the opposite temper ought to seek the opposite
alliance. Let there be one word concerning all marriages:-Every man
shall follow, not after the marriage which is most pleasing to
himself, but after that which is most beneficial to the state. For
somehow every one is by nature prone to that which is likest to
himself, and in this way the whole city becomes unequal in property
and in disposition; and hence there arise in most states the very
results which we least desire to happen. Now, to add to the law an
express provision, not only that the rich man shall not marry into the
rich family, nor the powerful into the family of the powerful, but
that the slower natures shall be compelled to enter into marriage with
the quicker, and the quicker with the slower, may awaken anger as well
as laughter in the minds of many; for there is a difficulty in
perceiving that the city ought to be well mingled like a cup, in which
the maddening wine is hot and fiery, but when chastened by a soberer
God, receives a fair associate and becomes an excellent and
temperate drink. Yet in marriage no one is able to see that the same
result occurs. Wherefore also the law must let alone such matters, but
we should try to charm the spirits of men into believing the
equability of their children's disposition to be of more importance
than equality in excessive fortune when they marry; and him who is too
desirous of making a rich marriage we should endeavour to turn aside
by reproaches, not, however, by any compulsion of written law.
Let this then be our exhortation concerning marriage, and let us
remember what was said before-that a man should cling to
immortality, and leave behind him children's children to be the
servants of God in his place for ever. All this and much more may be
truly said by way of prelude about the duty of marriage. But if a
man will not listen and remains unsocial and alien among his
fellow-citizens, and is still unmarried at thirty-five years of age,
let him pay a yearly fine;-he who of the highest class shall pay a
fine of a hundred drachmae, and he who is of the second dass a fine of
seventy drachmae; the third class shall pay sixty drachmae, and the
fourth thirty drachmae, and let the money be sacred to Here; he who
does not pay the fine annually shall owe ten times the sum, which
the treasurer of the goddess shall exact; and if he fails in doing so,
let him be answerable and give an account of the. money at his
audit. He who refuses to marry shall be thus punished in money, and
also be deprived of all honour which the younger show to the elder;
let no young man voluntarily obey him, and if he attempt to punish any
one, let every one come to the rescue and defend the injured person,
and he who is present and does not come to the rescue, shall be
pronounced by the law to be a coward and a bad citizen. Of the
marriage portion I have already spoken; and again I say for the
instruction of poor men that he who neither gives nor receives a dowry
on account of poverty, has a compensation; for the citizens of our
state are provided with the necessaries of life, and wives will be
less likely to be insolent, and husbands to be mean and subservient to
them on account of property. And he who obeys this law will do a noble
action; but he who will not obey, and gives or receives more than
fifty drachmae as the price of the marriage garments if he be of the
lowest, or more than a mina, or a mina and-a-half, if he be of the
third or second classes, or two minae if he be of the highest class,
shall owe to the public treasury a similar sum, and that which is
given or received shall be sacred to Here and Zeus; and let the
treasurers of these Gods exact the money, as was said before about the
unmarried-that the treasurers of Here were to exact the money, or
pay the fine themselves.
The betrothal by a father shall be valid in the first degree, that
by a grandfather in the second degree, and in the third degree,
betrothal by brothers who have the same father; but if there are

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