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Pages of laws (books 7 - 12)



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laws (books 7 - 12)   


have to institute festivals and make laws about them, and to determine
what sacrifices will be for the good of the city, and to what Gods
they shall be offered; but when they shall be offered, and how
often, may be partly regulated by us.
Cleinias. The number-yes.
Ath. Then we will first determine the number; and let the whole
number be 365-one for every day-so that one magistrate at least will
sacrifice daily to some God or demi-god on behalf of the city, and the
citizens, and their possessions. And the interpreters, and priests,
and priestesses, and prophets shall meet, and, in company with the
guardians of the law, ordain those things which the legislator of
necessity omits; and I may remark that they are the very persons who
ought to take note of what is omitted. The law will say that there are
twelve feasts dedicated to the twelve Gods, after whom the several
tribes are named; and that to each of them they shall sacrifice
every month, and appoint choruses, and musical and gymnastic contests,
assigning them so as to suit the Gods and seasons of the year. And
they shall have festivals for women, distinguishing those which
ought to be separated from the men's festivals, and those which
ought not. Further, they shall not confuse the infernal deities and
their rites with the Gods who are termed heavenly and their rites, but
shall separate them, giving to Pluto his own in the twelfth month,
which is sacred to him, according to the law. To such a deity
warlike men should entertain no aversion, but they should honour him
as being always the best friend of man. For the connection of soul and
body is no way better than the dissolution of them, as I am ready to
maintain quite seriously. Moreover, those who would regulate these
matters rightly should consider, that our city among existing cities
has fellow, either in respect of leisure or comin and of the
necessaries of life, and that like an individual she ought to live
happily. And those who would live happily should in the first place do
no wrong to one another, and ought not themselves to be wronged by
others; to attain the first is not difficult, but there is great
difficulty, in acquiring the power of not being wronged. No man can be
perfectly secure against wrong, unless he has become perfectly good;
and cities are like individuals in this, for a city if good has a life
of peace, but if evil, a life of war within and without. Wherefore the
citizens ought to practise war-not in time of war, but rather while
they are at peace. And every city which has any sense, should take the
field at least for one day in every month; and for more if the
magistrates think fit, having no regard to winter cold or summer heat;
and they should go out en masse, including their wives and their
children, when the magistrates determine to lead forth the whole
people, or in separate portions when summoned by them; and they should
always provide that there should be games and sacrificial feasts,
and they should have tournaments, imitating in as lively a manner as
they can real battles. And they should distribute prizes of victory
and valour to the competitors, passing censures and encomiums on one
another according to the characters which they bear in the contests
and their whole life, honouring him who seems to be the best, and
blaming him who is the opposite. And let poets celebrate the
victors-not however every poet, but only one who in the first place is
not less than fifty years of age; nor should he be one who, although
he may have musical and poetical gifts, has never in his life done any
noble or illustrious action; but those who are themselves good and
also honourable in the state, creators of noble actions-let their
poems be sung, even though they be not very musical. And let the
judgment of them rest with the instructor of youth and the other
guardians of the laws, who shall give them this privilege, and they
alone shall be free to sing; but the rest of the world shall not
have this liberty. Nor shall any one dare to sing a song which has not
been approved by the judgment of the guardians of the laws, not even
if his strain be sweeter than the songs of Thamyras and Orpheus; but
only and Orpheus; but only such poems as have been judged sacred and

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