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Pages of laws (books 7 - 12)

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laws (books 7 - 12)   

because he is a lover of money, in whatever manner gained; and
equally, if he be judged to have acted more than once from
contentiousness, he shall die.


If a herald or an ambassador carry a false message from our city
to any other, or bring back a false message from the city to which
he is sent, or be proved to have brought back, whether from friends or
enemies, in his capacity of herald or ambassador, what they have never
said, let him be indicted for having violated, contrary to the law,
the commands and duties imposed upon him by Hermes and Zeus, and let
there be a penalty fixed, which he shall suffer or pay if he be
Theft is a mean, and robbery a shameless thing; and none of the sons
of Zeus delight in fraud and violence, or ever practised, either.
Wherefore let no one be deluded by poets or mythologers into a
mistaken belief of such such things, nor let him suppose, when he
thieves or is guilty of violence, that he is doing nothing base, but
only what the Gods themselves do. For such tales are untrue and
improbable; and he who steals or robs contrary to the law, is never
either a God or the son of a God; of this the legislator ought to be
better informed than all the, poets put together. Happy is he and
may he be forever happy, who is persuaded and listens to our words;
but he who disobeys shall have to contend against the following
law:-If a man steal anything belonging to the public, whether that
which he steals be much or little, he shall have the same
punishment. For he who steals a little steals with the same wish as he
who steals much, but with less power, and he who takes up a greater
amount; not having deposited it, is wholly unjust. Wherefore the law
is not disposed to inflict a less penalty on the one than on the other
because his theft, is less, but on the ground that the thief may
possibly be in one case still curable, and may in another case be
incurable. If any one convict in a court of law a stranger or a
slave of a theft of public property, let the court determine what
punishment he shall suffer, or what penalty he shall pay, bearing in
mind that he is probably not incurable. But the citizen who has been
brought up as our citizens will have been, if he be found guilty of
robbing his country by fraud or violence, whether he be caught in
the act or not, shall be punished with death; for he is incurable.
Now for expeditions of war much consideration and many laws are
required; the great principle of all is that no one of either sex
should be without a commander; nor should the mind of any one be
accustomed to do anything, either in jest or earnest, of his own
motion, but in war and in peace he should look to and follow his
leader, even in the least things being under his guidance; for
example, he should stand or move, or exercise, or wash, or take his
meals, or get up in the night to keep guard and deliver messages
when he is bidden; and in the hour of danger he should not pursue
and not retreat except by order of his superior; and in a word, not
teach the soul or accustom her to know or understand how to do
anything apart from others. Of all soldiers the life should be
always and in all things as far as possible in common and together;
there neither is nor ever will be a higher, or better, or more
scientific principle than this for the attainment of salvation and
victory in war. And we ought in time of peace from youth upwards to
practise this habit of commanding others, and of being commanded by
others; anarchy should have no place in the life of man or of the
beasts who are subject to man. I may add that all dances ought to be
performed with view to military excellence; and agility and ease
should be cultivated for the same object, and also endurance of the
want of meats and drinks, and of winter cold and summer heat, and of
hard couches; and, above all, care should be taken not to destroy
the peculiar qualities of the head and the feet by surrounding them

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