republic (books 6 - 10)
The people have always some champion whom they set over
them and nurse into greatness.
Yes, that is their way.
This, and no other, is the root from which a tyrant springs;
when he first appears above ground he is a protector.
Yes, that is quite clear.
How, then, does a protector begin to change into a tyrant?
Clearly when he does what the man is said to do in the tale
of the Arcadian temple of Lycaean Zeus.
The tale is that he who has tasted the entrails of a single
human victim minced up with the entrails of other victims is
destined to become a wolf. Did you never hear it?
And the protector of the people is like him; having a mob
entirely at his disposal, he is not restrained from shedding the
blood of kinsmen; by the favorite method of false accusa-
tion he brings them into court and murders them, making the
life of man to disappear, and with unholy tongue and lips
tasting the blood of his fellow-citizens; some he kills and
others he banishes, at the same time hinting at the abolition
of debts and partition of lands: and after this, what will be
his destiny? Must he not either perish at the hands of his
enemies, or from being a man become a wolf--that is, a tyrant?
This, I said, is he who begins to make a party against the
After a while he is driven out, but comes back, in spite of
his enemies, a tyrant full grown.
That is clear.
And if they are unable to expel him, or to get him con-
demned to death by a public accusation, they conspire to assas-
Yes, he said, that is their usual way.
Then comes the famous request for a body-guard, which
is the device of all those who have got thus far in their tyran-
nical career--"Let not the people's friend," as they say, "be
lost to them."
The people readily assent; all their fears are for him--they
have none for themselves.
And when a man who is wealthy and is also accused of