republic (books 6 - 10)
A man may sell all that he has, and another may acquire his
property; yet after the sale he may dwell in the city of which he
is no longer a part, being neither trader, nor artisan, nor horse-
man, nor hoplite, but only a poor, helpless creature.
Yes, that is an evil which also first begins in this State.
The evil is certainly not prevented there; for oligarchies have
both the extremes of great wealth and utter poverty.
But think again: In his wealthy days, while he was spending
his money, was a man of this sort a whit more good to the State
for the purposes of citizenship? Or did he only seem to be a
member of the ruling body, although in truth he was neither
ruler nor subject, but just a spendthrift?
As you say, he seemed to be a ruler, but was only a spend-
May we not say that this is the drone in the house who is
like the drone in the honeycomb, and that the one is the plague
of the city as the other is of the hive?
Just so, Socrates.
And God has made the flying drones, Adeimantus, all with-
out stings, whereas of the walking drones he has made some
without stings, but others have dreadful stings; of the stingless
class are those who in their old age end as paupers; of the
stingers come all the criminal class, as they are termed.
Most true, he said.
Clearly then, whenever you see paupers in a State, some-
where in that neighborhood there are hidden away thieves and
cut-purses and robbers of temples, and all sorts of malefactors.
Well, I said, and in oligarchical States do you not find
Yes, he said; nearly everybody is a pauper who is not a
And may we be so bold as to affirm that there are also many
criminals to be found in them, rogues who have stings, and
whom the authorities are careful to restrain by force?
Certainly, we may be so bold.
The existence of such persons is to be attributed to want of
education, ill-training, and an evil constitution of the State?
Such, then, is the form and such are the evils of oligarchy;
and there may be many other evils.
Then oligarchy, or the form of government in which the