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Pages of republic (books 6 - 10)



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republic (books 6 - 10)   


them, and then both just and unjust will have received from us
a full payment of the debt which the argument owes to them.

Speak, he said; there are few things which I would more
gladly hear.

Well, I said, I will tell you a tale; not one of the tales which
Odysseus tells to the hero Alcinous, yet this, too, is a tale of
a hero, Er the son of Armenius, a Pamphylian by birth. He
was slain in battle, and ten days afterward, when the bodies
of the dead were taken up already in a state of corruption, his
body was found unaffected by decay, and carried away home to
be buried. And on the twelfth day, as he was lying on the
funeral pyre, he returned to life and told them what he had seen
in the other world. He said that when his soul left the body he
went on a journey with a great company, and that they came
to a mysterious place at which there were two openings in the
earth; they were near together, and over against them were
two other openings in the heaven above. In the intermediate
space there were judges seated, who commanded the just, after
they had given judgment on them and had bound their sen-
tences in front of them, to ascend by the heavenly way on the
right hand; and in like manner the unjust were bidden by them
to descend by the lower way on the left hand; these also bore
the symbols of their deeds, but fastened on their backs. He
drew near, and they told him that he was to be the messenger
who would carry the report of the other world to them, and
they bade him hear and see all that was to be heard and seen in
that place. Then he beheld and saw on one side the souls de-
parting at either opening of heaven and earth when sentence
had been given on them; and at the two other openings other
souls, some ascending out of the earth dusty and worn with
travel, some descending out of heaven clean and bright. And
arriving ever and anon they seemed to have come from a long
journey, and they went forth with gladness into the meadow,
where they encamped as at a festival; and those who knew one
another embraced and conversed, the souls which came from
earth curiously inquiring about the things above, and the souls
which came from heaven about the things beneath. And they
told one another of what had happened by the way, those from
below weeping and sorrowing at the remembrance of the things
which they had endured and seen in their journey beneath the
earth (now the journey lasted a thousand years), while those
from above were describing heavenly delights and visions of
inconceivable beauty. The story, Glaucon, would take too long
to tell; but the sum was this: He said that for every wrong
which they had done to anyone they suffered tenfold; or once
in a hundred years--such being reckoned to be the length of
man's life, and the penalty being thus paid ten times in a thou-
sand years. If, for example, there were any who had been
the cause of many deaths, or had betrayed or enslaved cities
or armies, or been guilty of any other evil behavior, for each
and all of their offences they received punishment ten times
over, and the rewards of beneficence and justice and holiness
were in the same proportion. I need hardly repeat what he
said concerning young children dying almost as soon as they
were born. Of piety and impiety to gods and parents, and of
murderers, there were retributions other and greater far which
he described. He mentioned that he was present when one of
the spirits asked another, "Where is Ardiaeus the Great?"
(Now this Ardiaeus lived a thousand years before the time of
Er: he had been the tyrant of some city of Pamphylia, and had
murdered his aged father and his elder brother, and was said to
have committed many other abominable crimes.) The answer

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