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Pages of republic (books 6 - 10)



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republic (books 6 - 10)   


the best). Clearly, all political changes originate in divisions
of the actual governing power; a government which is united,
however small, cannot be moved.

Very true, he said.

In what way, then, will our city be moved, and in what man-
ner will the two classes of auxiliaries and rulers disagree among
themselves or with one another? Shall we, after the manner
of Homer, pray the muses to tell us "how discord first arose"?
Shall we imagine them in solemn mockery, to play and jest
with us as if we were children, and to address us in a lofty
tragic vein, making believe to be in earnest?

How would they address us?

After this manner: A city which is thus constituted can
hardly be shaken; but, seeing that everything which has a be-
ginning has also an end, even a constitution such as yours will
not last forever, but will in time be dissolved. And this is the
dissolution: In plants that grow in the earth, as well as in ani-
mals that move on the earth's surface, fertility and sterility of
soul and body occur when the circumferences of the circles of
each are completed, which in short-lived existences pass over
a short space, and in long-lived ones over a long space. But to
the knowledge of human fecundity and sterility all the wisdom
and education of your rulers will not attain; the laws which
regulate them will not be discovered by an intelligence which
is alloyed with sense, but will escape them, and they will bring
children into the world when they ought not. Now that which
is of divine birth has a period which is contained in a perfect
number, but the period of human birth is comprehended in a
number in which first increments by involution and evolution
(or squared and cubed) obtaining three intervals and four
terms of like and unlike, waxing and waning numbers, make
all the terms commensurable and agreeable to one another.
The base of these (3) with a third added (4), when combined
with five (20) and raised to the third power, furnishes two har-
monies; the first a square which is 100 times as great (400 =
4 x 100), and the other a figure having one side equal to the
former, but oblong, consisting of 100 numbers squared upon
rational diameters of a square (i.e., omitting fractions), the
side of which is five (7 x 7 = 49 x 100 = 4900), each of them
being less by one (than the perfect square which includes the
fractions, sc. 50) or less by two perfect squares of irrational
diameters (of a square the side of which is five = 50 + 50 =
100); and 100 cubes of three (27 x 100 = 2700 + 4900 +
400 = 8000). Now this number represents a geometrical
figure which has control over the good and evil of births. For
when your guardians are ignorant of the law of births, and
unite bride and bridegroom out of season, the children will not
be goodly or fortunate. And though only the best of them will
be appointed by their predecessor, still they will be unworthy
to hold their father's places, and when they come into power
as guardians they will soon be found to fail in taking care of
us, the muses, first by undervaluing music; which neglect will
soon extend to gymnastics; and hence the young men of your
State will be less cultivated. In the succeeding generation
rulers will be appointed who have lost the guardian power of
testing the metal of your different races, which, like Hesiod's,
are of gold and silver and brass and iron. And so iron will be
mingled with silver, and brass with gold, and hence there will
arise dissimilarity and inequality and irregularity, which always
and in all places are causes of hatred and war. This the muses

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