republic (books 6 - 10)
Verily, then, tragedy is a wise thing and Euripides a great
Why, because he is the author of the pregnant saying,
"Tyrants are wise by living with the wise;"
and he clearly meant to say that they are the wise whom the
tyrant makes his companions.
Yes, he said, and he also praises tyranny as godlike; and
many other things of the same kind are said by him and by
the other poets.
And therefore, I said, the tragic poets being wise men will
forgive us and any others who live after our manner, if we
do not receive them into our State, because they are the eulo-
gists of tyranny.
Yes, he said, those who have the wit will doubtless forgive
But they will continue to go to other cities and attract mobs,
and hire voices fair and loud and persuasive, and draw the
cities over to tyrannies and democracies.
Moreover, they are paid for this and receive honor--the
greatest honor, as might be expected, from tyrants, and the
next greatest from democracies; but the higher they ascend
our constitution hill, the more their reputation fails, and seems
unable from shortness of breath to proceed farther.
But we are wandering from the subject: Let us therefore
return and inquire how the tyrant will maintain that fair,
and numerous, and various, and ever-changing army of his.
If, he said, there are sacred treasures in the city, he will
confiscate and spend them; and in so far as the fortunes of
attainted persons may suffice, he will be able to diminish the
taxes which he would otherwise have to impose upon the
And when these fail?
Why, clearly, he said, then he and his boon companions,
whether male or female, will be maintained out of his father's
You mean to say that the people, from whom he has de-
rived his being, will maintain him and his companions?
Yes, he said; they cannot help themselves.
But what if the people fly into a passion, and aver that a
grown-up son ought not to be supported by his father, but
that the father should be supported by the son? The father
did not bring him into being, or settle him in life, in order