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Pages of laws (books 7 - 12)



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laws (books 7 - 12)   


were dead; but he of us who has the most regard for life and reason
keeps awake as long he can, reserving only so much time for sleep as
is expedient for health; and much sleep is not required, if the
habit of moderation be once rightly formed. Magistrates in states
who keep awake at night are terrible to the bad, whether enemies or
citizens, and are honoured and reverenced by the just and temperate,
and are useful to themselves and to the whole state.
A night which is passed in such a manner, in addition to all the
above-mentioned advantages, infuses a sort of courage into the minds
of the citizens. When the day breaks, the time has arrived for youth
to go to their schoolmasters. Now neither sheep nor any other
animals can live without a shepherd, nor can children be left
without tutors, or slaves without masters. And of all animals the
boy is the most unmanageable, inasmuch as he has the fountain of
reason in him not yet regulated; he is the most insidious,
sharp-witted, and insubordinate of animals. Wherefore he must be bound
with many bridles; in the first place, when he gets away from
mothers and nurses, he must be under the management of tutors on
account of his childishness and foolishness; then, again, being a
freeman, he must be controlled by teachers, no matter what they teach,
and by studies; but he is also a slave, and in that regard any freeman
who comes in his way may punish him and his tutor and his
instructor, if any of them does anything wrong; and he who comes
across him and does not inflict upon him the punishment which he
deserves, shall incur the greatest disgrace; and let the guardian of
the law, who is the director of education, see to him who coming in
the way of the offences which we have mentioned, does not chastise
them when he ought, or chastises them in a way which he ought not; let
him keep a sharp look-out, and take especial care of the training of
our children, directing their natures, and always turning them to good
according to the law.
But how can our law sufficiently train the director of education.
himself; for as yet all has been imperfect, and nothing has been
said either clear or satisfactory? Now, as far as possible, the law
ought to leave nothing to him, but to explain everything, that he
may be an interpreter and tutor to others. About dances and music
and choral strains, I have already spoken both to the character of the
selection of them, and the manner in which they are to be amended
and consecrated. But we have not as yet spoken, O illustrious guardian
of education, of the manner in which your pupils are to use those
strains which are written in prose, although you have been informed
what martial strains they are to learn and practise; what relates in
the first place to the learning of letters, and secondly, to the lyre,
and also to calculation, which, as we were saying, is needful for them
all to learn, and any other things which are required with a view to
war and the management of house and city, and, looking to the same
object, what is useful in the revolutions of the heavenly bodies-the
stars and sun and moon, and the various regulations about these
matters which are necessary for the whole state-I am speaking of the
arrangements of; days in periods of months, and of months in years,
which are to be observed, in order that seasons and sacrifices and
festivals may have their regular and natural order, and keep the
city alive and awake, the Gods receiving the honours due to them,
and men having a better understanding about them: all these things,
O my friend, have not yet been sufficiently declared to you by the
legislator. Attend, then, to what I am now going to say:-We were
telling you, in the first place, that you were not sufficiently
informed about letters, and the objection was to this effect-that
you were never told whether he who was meant to be a respectable
citizen should apply himself in detail to that sort of learning, or
not apply himself at all; and the same remark holds good of the
study of the lyre. But now we say that he ought to attend to them. A
fair time for a boy of ten years old to spend in letters is three
years; the age of thirteen is the proper time for him to begin to

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