Sacred Texts  Classics  Plato


by Plato

360 BC

translated by J. Harward

Oxford at The Clarendon Press, London [1928]

   You write to me that I must consider your views the same as those of
 Dion, and you urge me to aid your cause so far as I can in word and
 deed. My answer is that, if you have the same opinion and desire as he
 had, I consent to aid your cause; but if not, I shall think more
 than once about it. Now what his purpose and desire was, I can
 inform you from no mere conjecture but from positive knowledge. For
 when I made my first visit to Sicily, being then about forty years
 old, Dion was of the same age as Hipparinos is now, and the opinion
 which he then formed was that which he always retained, I mean the
 belief that the Syracusans ought to be free and governed by the best
 laws. So it is no matter for surprise if some God should make
 Hipparinos adopt the same opinion as Dion about forms of government.
 But it is well worth while that you should all, old as well as
 young, hear the way in which this opinion was formed, and I will
 attempt to give you an account of it from the beginning. For the
 present is a suitable opportunity.
   In my youth I went through the same experience as many other men.
 I fancied that if, early in life, I became my own master, I should
 at once embark on a political career. And I found myself confronted
 with the following occurrences in the public affairs of my own city.
 The existing constitution being generally condemned, a revolution took
 place, and fifty-one men came to the front as rulers of the
 revolutionary government, namely eleven in the city and ten in the
 Peiraeus-each of these bodies being in charge of the market and
 municipal matters-while thirty were appointed rulers with full
 powers over public affairs as a whole. Some of these were relatives
 and acquaintances of mine, and they at once invited me to share in
 their doings, as something to which I had a claim. The effect on me
 was not surprising in the case of a young man. I considered that
 they would, of course, so manage the State as to bring men out of a
 bad way of life into a good one. So I watched them very closely to see
 what they would do.
   And seeing, as I did, that in quite a short time they made the
 former government seem by comparison something precious as gold-for
 among other things they tried to send a friend of mine, the aged
 Socrates, whom I should scarcely scruple to describe as the most
 upright man of that day, with some other persons to carry off one of
 the citizens by force to execution, in order that, whether he wished
 it, or not, he might share the guilt of their conduct; but he would
 not obey them, risking all consequences in preference to becoming a
 partner in their iniquitous deeds-seeing all these things and others
 of the same kind on a considerable scale, I disapproved of their
 proceedings, and withdrew from any connection with the abuses of the
   Not long after that a revolution terminated the power of the
 thirty and the form of government as it then was. And once more,
 though with more hesitation, I began to be moved by the desire to take
 part in public and political affairs. Well, even in the new
 government, unsettled as it was, events occurred which one would
 naturally view with disapproval; and it was not surprising that in a
 period of revolution excessive penalties were inflicted by some
 persons on political opponents, though those who had returned from
 exile at that time showed very considerable forbearance. But once more
 it happened that some of those in power brought my friend Socrates,
 whom I have mentioned, to trial before a court of law, laying a most
 iniquitous charge against him and one most inappropriate in his
 case: for it was on a charge of impiety that some of them prosecuted
 and others condemned and executed the very man who would not
 participate in the iniquitous arrest of one of the friends of the
 party then in exile, at the time when they themselves were in exile
 and misfortune.
   As I observed these incidents and the men engaged in public affairs,
 the laws too and the customs, the more closely I examined them and the
 farther I advanced in life, the more difficult it seemed to me to
 handle public affairs aright. For it was not possible to be active
 in politics without friends and trustworthy supporters; and to find
 these ready to my hand was not an easy matter, since public affairs at
 Athens were not carried on in accordance with the manners and
 practices of our fathers; nor was there any ready method by which I
 could make new friends. The laws too, written and unwritten, were
 being altered for the worse, and the evil was growing with startling
 rapidity. The result was that, though at first I had been full of a
 strong impulse towards political life, as I looked at the course of
 affairs and saw them being swept in all directions by contending
 currents, my head finally began to swim; and, though I did not stop
 looking to see if there was any likelihood of improvement in these
 symptoms and in the general course of public life, I postponed
 action till a suitable opportunity should arise. Finally, it became
 clear to me, with regard to all existing cornmunities, that they
 were one and all misgoverned. For their laws have got into a state
 that is almost incurable, except by some extraordinary reform with
 good luck to support it. And I was forced to say, when praising true
 philosophy that it is by this that men are enabled to see what justice
 in public and private life really is. Therefore, I said, there will be
 no cessation of evils for the sons of men, till either those who are
 pursuing a right and true philosophy receive sovereign power in the
 States, or those in power in the States by some dispensation of
 providence become true philosophers.
   With these thoughts in my mind I came to Italy and Sicily on my
 first visit. My first impressions on arrival were those of strong
 disapproval-disapproval of the kind of life which was there called the
 life of happiness, stuffed full as it was with the banquets of the
 Italian Greeks and Syracusans, who ate to repletion twice every day,
 and were never without a partner for the night; and disapproval of the
 habits which this manner of life produces. For with these habits
 formed early in life, no man under heaven could possibly attain to
 wisdom-human nature is not capable of such an extraordinary
 combination. Temperance also is out of the question for such a man;
 and the same applies to virtue generally. No city could remain in a
 state of tranquillity under any laws whatsoever, when men think it
 right to squander all their property in extravagant, and consider it a
 duty to be idle in everything else except eating and drinking and
 the laborious prosecution of debauchery. It follows necessarily that
 the constitutions of such cities must be constantly changing,
 tyrannies, oligarchies and democracies succeeding one another, while
 those who hold the power cannot so much as endure the name of any form
 of government which maintains justice and equality of rights.
   With a mind full of these thoughts, on the top of my previous
 convictions, I crossed over to Syracuse-led there perhaps by
 chance-but it really looks as if some higher power was even then
 planning to lay a foundation for all that has now come to pass with
 regard to Dion and Syracuse-and for further troubles too, I fear,
 unless you listen to the advice which is now for the second time
 offered by me. What do I mean by saying that my arrival in Sicily at
 that movement proved to be the foundation on which all the sequel
 rests? I was brought into close intercourse with Dion who was then a
 young man, and explained to him my views as to the ideals at which men
 should aim, advising him to carry them out in practice. In doing
 this I seem to have been unaware that I was, in a fashion, without
 knowing it, contriving the overthrow of the tyranny which;
 subsequently took place. For Dion, who rapidly assimilated my teaching
 as he did all forms of knowledge, listened to me with an eagerness
 which I had never seen equalled in any young man, and resolved to live
 for the future in a better way than the majority of Italian and
 Sicilian Greeks, having set his affection on virtue in preference to
 pleasure and self-indulgence. The result was that until the death of
 Dionysios he lived in a way which rendered him somewhat unpopular
 among those whose manner of life was that which is usual in the courts
 of despots.
   After that event he came to the conclusion that this conviction,
 which he himself had gained under the influence of good teaching,
 was not likely to be confined to himself. Indeed, he saw it being
 actually implanted in other minds-not many perhaps, but certainly in
 some; and he thought that with the aid of the Gods, Dionysios might
 perhaps become one of these, and that, if such a thing did come to
 pass, the result would be a life of unspeakable happiness both for
 himself and for the rest of the Syracusans. Further, he thought it
 essential that I should come to Syracuse by all manner of means and
 with the utmost possible speed to be his partner in these plans,
 remembering in his own case how readily intercourse with me had
 produced in him a longing for the noblest and best life. And if it
 should produce a similar effect on Dionysios, as his aim was that it
 should, he had great hope that, without bloodshed, loss of life, and
 those disastrous events which have now taken place, he would be able
 to introduce the true life of happiness throughout the whole
   Holding these sound views, Dion persuaded Dionysios to send for
 me; he also wrote himself entreating me to come by all manner of means
 and with the utmost possible speed, before certain other persons
 coming in contact with Dionysios should turn him aside into some way
 of life other than the best. What he said, though perhaps it is rather
 long to repeat, was as follows: "What opportunities," he said,
 "shall we wait for, greater than those now offered to us by
 Providence?" And he described the Syracusan empire in Italy and
 Sicily, his own influential position in it, and the youth of Dionysios
 and how strongly his desire was directed towards philosophy and
 education. His own nephews and relatives, he said, would be readily
 attracted towards the principles and manner of life described by me,
 and would be most influential in attracting Dionysios in the same
 direction, so that, now if ever, we should see the accomplishment of
 every hope that the same persons might actually become both
 philosophers and the rulers of great States. These were the appeals
 addressed to me and much more to the same effect.
   My own opinion, so far as the young men were concerned, and the
 probable line which their conduct would take, was full of
 apprehension-for young men are quick in forming desires, which often
 take directions conflicting with one another. But I knew that the
 character of Dion's mind was naturally a stable one and had also the
 advantage of somewhat advanced years.
   Therefore, I pondered the matter and was in two minds as to
 whether I ought to listen to entreaties and go, or how I ought to act;
 and finally the scale turned in favour of the view that, if ever
 anyone was to try to carry out in practice my ideas about laws and
 constitutions, now was the time for making the attempt; for if only
 I could fully convince one man, I should have secured thereby the
 accomplishment of all good things.
   With these views and thus nerved to the task, I sailed from home, in
 the spirit which some imagined, but principally through a feeling of
 shame with regard to myself, lest I might some day appear to myself
 wholly and solely a mere man of words, one who would never of his
 own will lay his hand to any act. Also there was reason to think
 that I should be betraying first and foremost my friendship and
 comradeship with Dion, who in very truth was in a position of
 considerable danger. If therefore anything should happen to him, or if
 he were banished by Dionysios and his other enemies and coming to us
 as exile addressed this question to me: "Plato, I have come to you
 as a fugitive, not for want of hoplites, nor because I had no
 cavalry for defence against my enemies, but for want of words and
 power of persuasion, which I knew to be a special gift of yours,
 enabling you to lead young men into the path of goodness and
 justice, and to establish in every case relations of friendship and
 comradeship among them. It is for the want of this assistance on
 your part that I have left Syracuse and am here now. And the
 disgrace attaching to your treatment of me is a small matter. But
 philosophy-whose praises you are always singing, while you say she
 is held in dishonour by the rest of mankind-must we not say that
 philosophy along with me has now been betrayed, so far as your
 action was concerned? Had I been living at Megara, you would certainly
 have come to give me your aid towards the objects for which I asked
 it; or you would have thought yourself the most contemptible of
 mankind. But as it is, do you think that you will escape the
 reputation of cowardice by making excuses about the distance of the
 journey, the length of the sea voyage, and the amount of labour
 involved? Far from it." To reproaches of this kind what creditable
 reply could I have made? Surely none.
   I took my departure, therefore, acting, so far as a man can act,
 in obedience to reason and justice, and for these reasons leaving my
 own occupations, which were certainly not discreditable ones, to put
 myself under a tyranny which did not seem likely to harmonise with
 my teaching or with myself. By my departure I secured my own freedom
 from the displeasure of Zeus Xenios, and made myself clear of any
 charge on the part of philosophy, which would have been exposed to
 detraction, if any disgrace had come upon me for faint-heartedness and
   On my arrival, to cut a long story short, I found the court of
 Dionysios full of intrigues and of attempts to create in the sovereign
 ill-feeling against Dion. I combated these as far as I could, but with
 very little success; and in the fourth month or thereabouts,
 charging Dion with conspiracy to seize the throne, Dionysios put him
 on board a small boat and expelled him from Syracuse with ignominy.
 All of us who were Dion's friends were afraid that he might take
 vengeance on one or other of us as an accomplice in Dion's conspiracy.
 With regard to me, there was even a rumour current in Syracuse that
 I had been put to death by Dionysios as the cause of all that had
 occurred. Perceiving that we were all in this state of mind and
 apprehending that our fears might lead to some serious consequence, he
 now tried to win all of us over by kindness: me in particular he
 encouraged, bidding me be of good cheer and entreating me on all
 grounds to remain. For my flight from him was not likely to redound to
 his credit, but my staying might do so. Therefore, he made a great
 pretence of entreating me. And we know that the entreaties of
 sovereigns are mixed with compulsion. So to secure his object he
 proceeded to render my departure impossible, bringing me into the
 acropolis, and establishing me in quarters from which not a single
 ship's captain would have taken me away against the will of Dionysios,
 nor indeed without a special messenger sent by him to order my
 removal. Nor was there a single merchant, or a single official in
 charge of points of departure from the country, who would have allowed
 me to depart unaccompanied, and would not have promptly seized me
 and taken me back to Dionysios, especially since a statement had now
 been circulated contradicting the previous rumours and giving out that
 Dionysios was becoming extraordinarily attached to Plato. What were
 the facts about this attachment? I must tell the truth. As time went
 on, and as intercourse made him acquainted with my disposition and
 character, he did become more and more attached to me, and wished me
 to praise him more than I praised Dion, and to look upon him as more
 specially my friend than Dion, and he was extraordinarily eager
 about this sort of thing. But when confronted with the one way in
 which this might have been done, if it was to be done at all, he
 shrank from coming into close and intimate relations with me as a
 pupil and listener to my discourses on philosophy, fearing the
 danger suggested by mischief-makers, that he might be ensnared, and so
 Dion would prove to have accomplished all his object. I endured all
 this patiently, retaining the purpose with which I had come and the
 hope that he might come to desire the philosophic life. But his
 resistance prevailed against me.
   The time of my first visit to Sicily and my stay there was taken
 up with all these incidents. On a later occasion I left home and again
 came on an urgent summons from Dionysios. But before giving the
 motives and particulars of my conduct then and showing how suitable
 and right it was, I must first, in order that I may not treat as the
 main point what is only a side issue, give you my advice as to what
 your acts should be in the present position of affairs; afterwards, to
 satisfy those who put the question why I came a second time, I will
 deal fully with the facts about my second visit; what I have now to
 say is this.
   He who advises a sick man, whose manner of life is prejudicial to
 health, is clearly bound first of all to change his patient's manner
 of life, and if the patient is willing to obey him, he may go on to
 give him other advice. But if he is not willing, I shall consider
 one who declines to advise such a patient to be a man and a physician,
 and one who gives in to him to be unmanly and unprofessional. In the
 same way with regard to a State, whether it be under a single ruler or
 more than one, if, while the government is being carried on
 methodically and in a right course, it asks advice about any details
 of policy, it is the part of a wise man to advise such people. But
 when men are travelling altogether outside the path of right
 government and flatly refuse to move in the right path, and start by
 giving notice to their adviser that he must leave the government alone
 and make no change in it under penalty of death-if such men should
 order their counsellors to pander to their wishes and desires and to
 advise them in what way their object may most readily and easily be
 once for all accomplished, I should consider as unmanly one who
 accepts the duty of giving such forms of advice, and one who refuses
 it to be a true man.
   Holding these views, whenever anyone consults me about any of the
 weightiest matters affecting his own life, as, for instance, the
 acquisition of property or the proper treatment of body or mind, if it
 seems to me that his daily life rests on any system, or if he seems
 likely to listen to advice about the things on which he consults me, I
 advise him with readiness, and do not content myself with giving him a
 merely perfunctory answer. But if a man does not consult me at all, or
 evidently does not intend to follow my advice, I do not take the
 initiative in advising such a man, and will not use compulsion to him,
 even if he be my own son. I would advise a slave under such
 circumstances, and would use compulsion to him if he were unwilling.
 To a father or mother I do not think that piety allows one to offer
 compulsion, unless they are suffering from an attack of insanity;
 and if they are following any regular habits of life which please them
 but do not please me, I would not offend them by offering useless,
 advice, nor would I flatter them or truckle to them, providing them
 with the means of satisfying desires which I myself would sooner die
 than cherish. The wise man should go through life with the same
 attitude of mind towards his country. If she should appear to him to
 be following a policy which is not a good one, he should say so,
 provided that his words are not likely either to fall on deaf ears
 or to lead to the loss of his own life. But force against his native
 land he should not use in order to bring about a change of
 constitution, when it is not possible for the best constitution to
 be introduced without driving men into exile or putting them to death;
 he should keep quiet and offer up prayers for his own welfare and
 for that of his country.
   These are the principles in accordance with which I should advise
 you, as also, jointly with Dion, I advised Dionysios, bidding him in
 the first place to live his daily life in a way that would make him as
 far as possible master of himself and able to gain faithful friends
 and supporters, in order that he might not have the same experience as
 his father. For his father, having taken under his rule many great
 cities of Sicily which had been utterly destroyed by the barbarians,
 was not able to found them afresh and to establish in them trustworthy
 governments carried on by his own supporters, either by men who had no
 ties of blood with him, or by his brothers whom he had brought up when
 they were younger, and had raised from humble station to high office
 and from poverty to immense wealth. Not one of these was he able to
 work upon by persuasion, instruction, services and ties of kindred, so
 as to make him a partner in his rule; and he showed himself inferior
 to Darius with a sevenfold inferiority. For Darius did not put his
 trust in brothers or in men whom he had brought up, but only in his
 confederates in the overthrow of the Mede and Eunuch; and to these
 he assigned portions of his empire, seven in number, each of them
 greater than all Sicily; and they were faithful to him and did not
 attack either him or one another. Thus he showed a pattern of what the
 good lawgiver and king ought to be; for he drew up laws by which he
 has secured the Persian empire in safety down to the present time.
   Again, to give another instance, the Athenians took under their rule
 very many cities not founded by themselves, which had been hard hit by
 the barbarians but were still in existence, and maintained their
 rule over these for seventy years, because they had in each them men
 whom they could trust. But Dionysios, who had gathered the whole of
 Sicily into a single city, and was so clever that he trusted no one,
 only secured his own safety with great difficulty. For he was badly
 off for trustworthy friends; and there is no surer criterion of virtue
 and vice than this, whether a man is or is not destitute of such
   This, then, was the advice which Dion and I gave to Dionysios,
 since, owing to bringing up which he had received from his father,
 he had had no advantages in the way of education or of suitable
 lessons, in the first place...; and, in the second place, that,
 after starting in this way, he should make friends of others among his
 connections who were of the same age and were in sympathy with his
 pursuit of virtue, but above all that he should be in harmony with
 himself; for this it was of which he was remarkably in need. This we
 did not say in plain words, for that would not have been safe; but
 in covert language we maintained that every man in this way would save
 both himself and those whom he was leading, and if he did not follow
 this path, he would do just the opposite of this. And after proceeding
 on the course which we described, and making himself a wise and
 temperate man, if he were then to found again the cities of Sicily
 which had been laid waste, and bind them together by laws and
 constitutions, so as to be loyal to him and to one another in their
 resistance to the attacks of the barbarians, he would, we told him,
 make his father's empire not merely double what it was but many
 times greater. For, if these things were done, his way would be
 clear to a more complete subjugation of the Carthaginians than that
 which befell them in Gelon's time, whereas in our own day his father
 had followed the opposite course of levying attribute for the
 barbarians. This was the language and these the exhortations given
 by us, the conspirators against Dionysios according to the charges
 circulated from various sources-charges which, prevailing as they
 did with Dionysios, caused the expulsion of Dion and reduced me to a
 state of apprehension. But when-to summarise great events which
 happened in no great time-Dion returned from the Peloponnese and
 Athens, his advice to Dionysios took the form of action.
   To proceed-when Dion had twice over delivered the city and
 restored it to the citizens, the Syracusans went through the same
 changes of feeling towards him as Dionysios had gone through, when
 Dion attempted first to educate him and train him to be a sovereign
 worthy of supreme power and, when that was done, to be his coadjutor
 in all the details of his career. Dionysios listened to those who
 circulated slanders to the effect that Dion was aiming at the
 tyranny in all the steps which he took at that time his intention
 being that Dionysios, when his mind had fallen under the spell of
 culture, should neglect the government and leave it in his hands,
 and that he should then appropriate it for himself and treacherously
 depose Dionysios. These slanders were victorious on that occasion;
 they were so once more when circulated among the Syracusans, winning a
 victory which took an extraordinary course and proved disgraceful to
 its authors. The story of what then took place is one which deserves
 careful attention on the part of those who are inviting me to deal
 with the present situation.
   I, an Athenian and friend of Dion, came as his ally to the court
 of Dionysios, in order that I might create good will in place of a
 state war; in my conflict with the authors of these slanders I was
 worsted. When Dionysios tried to persuade me by offers of honours
 and wealth to attach myself to him, and with a view to giving a decent
 colour to Dion's expulsion a witness and friend on his side, he failed
 completely in his attempt. Later on, when Dion returned from exile, he
 took with him from Athens two brothers, who had been his friends,
 not from community in philosophic study, but with the ordinary
 companionship common among most friends, which they form as the result
 of relations of hospitality and the intercourse which occurs when
 one man initiates the other in the mysteries. It was from this kind of
 intercourse and from services connected with his return that these two
 helpers in his restoration became his companions. Having come to
 Sicily, when they perceived that Dion had been misrepresented to the
 Sicilian Greeks, whom he had liberated, as one that plotted to
 become monarch, they not only betrayed their companion and friend, but
 shared personally in the guilt of his murder, standing by his
 murderers as supporters with weapons in their hands. The guilt and
 impiety of their conduct I neither excuse nor do I dwell upon it.
 For many others make it their business to harp upon it, and will
 make it their business in the future. But I do take exception to the
 statement that, because they were Athenians, they have brought shame
 upon this city. For I say that he too is an Athenian who refused to
 betray this same Dion, when he had the offer of riches and many
 other honours. For his was no common or vulgar friendship, but
 rested on community in liberal education, and this is the one thing in
 which a wise man will put his trust, far more than in ties of personal
 and bodily kinship. So the two murderers of Dion were not of
 sufficient importance to be causes of disgrace to this city, as though
 they had been men of any note.
   All this has been said with a view to counselling the friends and
 family of Dion. And in addition to this I give for the third time to
 you the same advice and counsel which I have given twice before to
 others-not to enslave Sicily or any other State to despots-this my
 counsel but-to put it under the rule of laws-for the other course is
 better neither for the enslavers nor for the enslaved, for themselves,
 their children's children and descendants; the attempt is in every way
 fraught with disaster. It is only small and mean natures that are bent
 upon seizing such gains for themselves, natures that know nothing of
 goodness and justice, divine as well as human, in this life and in the
   These are the lessons which I tried to teach, first to Dion,
 secondly to Dionysios, and now for the third time to you. Do you
 obey me thinking of Zeus the Preserver, the patron of third
 ventures, and looking at the lot of Dionysios and Dion, of whom the
 one who disobeyed me is living in dishonour, while he who obeyed me
 has died honourably. For the one thing which is wholly right and noble
 is to strive for that which is most honourable for a man's self and
 for his country, and to face the consequences whatever they may be.
 For none of us can escape death, nor, if a man could do so, would
 it, as the vulgar suppose, make him happy. For nothing evil or good,
 which is worth mentioning at all, belongs to things soulless; but good
 or evil will be the portion of every soul, either while attached to
 the body or when separated from it.
   And we should in very truth always believe those ancient and
 sacred teachings, which declare that the soul is immortal, that it has
 judges, and suffers the greatest penalties when it has been
 separated from the body. Therefore also we should consider it a lesser
 evil to suffer great wrongs and outrages than to do them. The covetous
 man, impoverished as he is in the soul, turns a deaf ear to this
 teaching; or if he hears it, he laughs it to scorn with fancied
 superiority, and shamelessly snatches for himself from every source
 whatever his bestial fancy supposes will provide for him the means
 of eating or drinking or glutting himself with that slavish and
 gross pleasure which is falsely called after the goddess of love. He
 is blind and cannot see in those acts of plunder which are accompanied
 by impiety what heinous guilt is attached to each wrongful deed, and
 that the offender must drag with him the burden of this impiety
 while he moves about on earth, and when he has travelled beneath the
 earth on a journey which has every circumstance of shame and misery.
   It was by urging these and other like truths that I convinced
 Dion, and it is I who have the best right to be angered with his
 murderers in much the same way as I have with Dionysios. For both they
 and he have done the greatest injury to me, and I might almost say
 to all mankind, they by slaying the man that was willing to act
 righteously, and he by refusing to act righteously during the whole of
 his rule, when he held supreme power, in which rule if philosophy
 and power had really met together, it would have sent forth a light to
 all men, Greeks and barbarians, establishing fully for all the true
 belief that there can be no happiness either for the community or
 for the individual man, unless he passes his life under the rule of
 righteousness with the guidance of wisdom, either possessing these
 virtues in himself, or living under the rule of godly men and having
 received a right training and education in morals. These were the aims
 which Dionysios injured, and for me everything else is a trifling
 injury compared with this.
   The murderer of Dion has, without knowing it, done the same as
 Dionysios. For as regards Dion, I know right well, so far as it is
 possible for a man to say anything positively about other men, that,
 if he had got the supreme power, he would never have turned his mind
 to any other form of rule, but that, dealing first with Syracuse,
 his own native land, when he had made an end of her slavery, clothed
 her in bright apparel, and given her the garb of freedom, he would
 then by every means in his power have ordered aright the lives of
 his fellow-citizens by suitable and excellent laws; and the thing next
 in order, which he would have set his heart to accomplish, was to
 found again all the States of Sicily and make them free from the
 barbarians, driving out some and subduing others, an easier task for
 him than it was for Hiero. If these things had been accomplished by
 a man who was just and brave and temperate and a philosopher, the same
 belief with regard to virtue would have been established among the
 majority which, if Dionysios had been won over, would have been
 established, I might almost say, among all mankind and would have
 given them salvation. But now some higher power or avenging fiend
 has fallen upon them, inspiring them with lawlessness, godlessness and
 acts of recklessness issuing from ignorance, the seed from which all
 evils for all mankind take root and grow and will in future bear the
 bitterest harvest for those who brought them into being. This
 ignorance it was which in that second venture wrecked and ruined
   And now, for good luck's sake, let us on this third venture
 abstain from words of ill omen. But, nevertheless, I advise you, his
 friends, to imitate in Dion his love for his country and his temperate
 habits of daily life, and to try with better auspices to carry out his
 wishes-what these were, you have heard from me in plain words. And
 whoever among you cannot live the simple Dorian life according to
 the customs of your forefathers, but follows the manner of life of
 Dion's murderers and of the Sicilians, do not invite this man to
 join you, or expect him to do any loyal or salutary act; but invite
 all others to the work of resettling all the States of Sicily and
 establishing equality under the laws, summoning them from Sicily
 itself and from the whole Peloponnese-and have no fear even of Athens;
 for there, also, are men who excel all mankind in their devotion to
 virtue and in hatred of the reckless acts of those who shed the
 blood of friends.
   But if, after all, this is work for a future time, whereas immediate
 action is called for by the disorders of all sorts and kinds which
 arise every day from your state of civil strife, every man to whom
 Providence has given even a moderate share of right intelligence ought
 to know that in times of civil strife there is no respite from trouble
 till the victors make an end of feeding their grudge by combats and
 banishments and executions, and of wreaking their vengeance on their
 enemies. They should master themselves and, enacting impartial laws,
 framed not to gratify themselves more than the conquered party, should
 compel men to obey these by two restraining forces, respect and
 fear; fear, because they are the masters and can display superior
 force; respect, because they rise superior to pleasures and are
 willing and able to be servants to the laws. There is no other way
 save this for terminating the troubles of a city that is in a state of
 civil strife; but a constant continuance of internal disorders,
 struggles, hatred and mutual distrust is the common lot of cities
 which are in that plight.
   Therefore, those who have for the time being gained the upper
 hand, when they desire to secure their position, must by their own act
 and choice select from all Hellas men whom they have ascertained to be
 the best for the purpose. These must in the first place be men of
 mature years, who have children and wives at home, and, as far as
 possible, a long line of ancestors of good repute, and all must be
 possessed of sufficient property. For a city of ten thousand
 householders their numbers should be fifty; that is enough. These they
 must induce to come from their own homes by entreaties and the promise
 of the highest honours; and having induced them to come they must
 entreat and command them to draw up laws after binding themselves by
 oath to show no partiality either to conquerors or to conquered, but
 to give equal and common rights to the whole State.
   When laws have been enacted, what everything then hinges on is this.
 If the conquerors show more obedience to the laws than the
 conquered, the whole State will be full of security and happiness, and
 there will be an escape from all your troubles. But if they do not,
 then do not summon me or any other helper to aid you against those who
 do not obey the counsel I now give you. For this course is akin to
 that which Dion and I attempted to carry out with our hearts set on
 the welfare of Syracuse. It is indeed a second best course. The
 first and best was that scheme of welfare to all mankind which we
 attempted to carry out with the co-operation of Dionysios; but some
 chance, mightier than men, brought it to nothing. Do you now, with
 good fortune attending you and with Heaven's help, try to bring your
 efforts to a happier issue.
   Let this be the end of my advice and injunction and of the narrative
 of my first visit to Dionysios. Whoever wishes may next hear of my
 second journey and voyage, and learn that it was a reasonable and
 suitable proceeding. My first period of residence in Sicily was
 occupied in the way which I related before giving my advice to the
 relatives and friends of Dion. After those events I persuaded
 Dionysios by such arguments as I could to let me go; and we made an
 agreement as to what should be done when peace was made; for at that
 time there was a state of war in Sicily. Dionysios said that, when
 he had put the affairs of his empire in a position of greater safety
 for himself, he would send for Dion and me again; and he desired
 that Dion should regard what had befallen him not as an exile, but
 as a change of residence. I agreed to come again on these conditions.
   When peace had been made, he began sending for me; he requested that
 Dion should wait for another year, but begged that I should by all
 means come. Dion now kept urging and entreating me to go. For
 persistent rumours came from Sicily that Dionysios was now once more
 possessed by an extraordinary desire for philosophy. For this reason
 Dion pressed me urgently not to decline his invitation. But though I
 was well aware that as regards philosophy such symptoms were not
 uncommon in young men, still it seemed to me safer at that time to
 part company altogether with Dion and Dionysios; and I offended both
 of them by replying that I was an old man, and that the steps now
 being taken were quite at variance with the previous agreement.
   After this, it seems, Archytes came to the court of Dionysios.
 Before my departure I had brought him and his Tarentine circle into
 friendly relations with Dionysios. There were some others in
 Syracuse who had received some instruction from Dion, and others had
 learnt from these, getting their heads full of erroneous teaching on
 philosophical questions. These, it seems, were attempting to hold
 discussions with Dionysios on questions connected with such
 subjects, in the idea that he had been fully instructed in my views.
 Now is not at all devoid of natural gifts for learning, and he has a
 great craving for honour and glory. What was said probably pleased
 him, and he felt some shame when it became clear that he had not taken
 advantage of my teaching during my visit. For these reasons he
 conceived a desire for more definite instruction, and his love of
 glory was an additional incentive to him. The real reasons why he
 had learnt nothing during my previous visit have just been set forth
 in the preceding narrative. Accordingly, now that I was safe at home
 and had refused his second invitation, as I just now related,
 Dionysios seems to have felt all manner of anxiety lest certain people
 should suppose that I was unwilling to visit him again because I had
 formed a poor opinion of his natural gifts and character, and because,
 knowing as I did his manner of life, I disapproved of it.
   It is right for me to speak the truth, and make no complaint if
 anyone, after hearing the facts, forms a poor opinion of my
 philosophy, and thinks that the tyrant was in the right. Dionysios now
 invited me for the third time, sending a trireme to ensure me
 comfort on the voyage; he sent also Archedemos-one of those who had
 spent some time with Archytes, and of whom he supposed that I had a
 higher opinion than of any of the Sicilian Greeks-and, with him, other
 men of repute in Sicily. These all brought the same report, that
 Dionysios had made progress in philosophy. He also sent a very long
 letter, knowing as he did my relations with Dion and Dion's
 eagerness also that I should take ship and go to Syracuse. The
 letter was framed in its opening sentences to meet all these
 conditions, and the tenor of it was as follows: "Dionysios to
 Plato," here followed the customary greeting and immediately after
 it he said, "If in compliance with our request you come now, in the
 first place, Dion's affairs will be dealt with in whatever way you
 yourself desire; I know that you will desire what is reasonable, and I
 shall consent to it. But if not, none of Dion's affairs will have
 results in accordance with your wishes, with regard either to Dion
 himself or to other matters." This he said in these words; the rest it
 would be tedious and inopportune to quote. Other letters arrived
 from Archytes and the Tarentines, praising the philosophical studies
 of Dionysios and saying that, if I did not now come, I should cause
 a complete rupture in their friendship with Dionysios, which had
 been brought about by me and was of no small importance to their
 political interests.
   When this invitation came to me at that time in such terms, and
 those who had come from Sicily and Italy were trying to drag me
 thither, while my friends at Athens were literally pushing me out with
 their urgent entreaties, it was the same old tale-that I must not
 betray Dion and my Tarentine friends and supporters. Also I myself had
 a lurking feeling that there was nothing surprising in the fact that a
 young man, quick to learn, hearing talk of the great truths of
 philosophy, should feel a craving for the higher life. I thought
 therefore that I must put the matter definitely to the test to see
 whether his desire was genuine or the reverse, and on no account leave
 such an impulse unaided nor make myself responsible for such a deep
 and real disgrace, if the reports brought by anyone were really
 true. So blindfolding myself with this reflection, I set out, with
 many fears and with no very favourable anticipations, as was natural
 enough. However, I went, and my action on this occasion at any rate
 was really a case of "the third to the Preserver," for I had the
 good fortune to return safely; and for this I must, next to the God,
 thank Dionysios, because, though many wished to make an end of me,
 he prevented them and paid some proper respect to my situation.
   On my arrival, I thought that first I must put to the test the
 question whether Dionysios had really been kindled with the fire of
 philosophy, or whether all the reports which had come to Athens were
 empty rumours. Now there is a way of putting such things to the test
 which is not to be despised and is well suited to monarchs, especially
 to those who have got their heads full of erroneous teaching, which
 immediately my arrival I found to be very much the case with
 Dionysios. One should show such men what philosophy is in all its
 extent; what their range of studies is by which it is approached,
 and how much labour it involves. For the man who has heard this, if he
 has the true philosophic spirit and that godlike temperament which
 makes him a kin to philosophy and worthy of it, thinks that he has
 been told of a marvellous road lying before him, that he must
 forthwith press on with all his strength, and that life is not worth
 living if he does anything else. After this he uses to the full his
 own powers and those of his guide in the path, and relaxes not his
 efforts, till he has either reached the end of the whole course of
 study or gained such power that he is not incapable of directing his
 steps without the aid of a guide. This is the spirit and these are the
 thoughts by which such a man guides his life, carrying out his work,
 whatever his occupation may be, but throughout it all ever cleaving to
 philosophy and to such rules of diet in his daily life as will give
 him inward sobriety and therewith quickness in learning, a good
 memory, and reasoning power; the kind of life which is opposed to this
 he consistently hates. Those who have not the true philosophic temper,
 but a mere surface colouring of opinions penetrating, like sunburn,
 only skin deep, when they see how great the range of studies is, how
 much labour is involved in it, and how necessary to the pursuit it
 is to have an orderly regulation of the daily life, come to the
 conclusion that the thing is difficult and impossible for them, and
 are actually incapable of carrying out the course of study; while some
 of them persuade themselves that they have sufficiently studied the
 whole matter and have no need of any further effort. This is the
 sure test and is the safest one to apply to those who live in luxury
 and are incapable of continuous effort; it ensures that such a man
 shall not throw the blame upon his teacher but on himself, because
 he cannot bring to the pursuit all the qualities necessary to it. Thus
 it came about that I said to Dionysios what I did say on that
   I did not, however, give a complete exposition, nor did Dionysios
 ask for one. For he professed to know many, and those the most
 important, points, and to have a sufficient hold of them through
 instruction given by others. I hear also that he has since written
 about what he heard from me, composing what professes to be his own
 handbook, very different, so he says, from the doctrines which he
 heard from me; but of its contents I know nothing; I know indeed
 that others have written on the same subjects; but who they are, is
 more than they know themselves. Thus much at least, I can say about
 all writers, past or future, who say they know the things to which I
 devote myself, whether by hearing the teaching of me or of others,
 or by their own discoveries-that according to my view it is not
 possible for them to have any real skill in the matter. There
 neither is nor ever will be a treatise of mine on the subject. For
 it does not admit of exposition like other branches of knowledge;
 but after much converse about the matter itself and a life lived
 together, suddenly a light, as it were, is kindled in one soul by a
 flame that leaps to it from another, and thereafter sustains itself.
 Yet this much I know-that if the things were written or put into
 words, it would be done best by me, and that, if they were written
 badly, I should be the person most pained. Again, if they had appeared
 to me to admit adequately of writing and exposition, what task in life
 could I have performed nobler than this, to write what is of great
 service to mankind and to bring the nature of things into the light
 for all to see? But I do not think it a good thing for men that
 there should be a disquisition, as it is called, on this
 topic-except for some few, who are able with a little teaching to find
 it out for themselves. As for the rest, it would fill some of them
 quite illogically with a mistaken feeling of contempt, and others with
 lofty and vain-glorious expectations, as though they had learnt
 something high and mighty.
   On this point I intend to speak a little more at length; for
 perhaps, when I have done so, things will be clearer with regard to my
 present subject. There is an argument which holds good against the man
 ventures to put anything whatever into writing on questions of this
 nature; it has often before been stated by me, and it seems suitable
 to the present occasion.
   For everything that exists there are three instruments by which
 the knowledge of it is necessarily imparted; fourth, there is the
 knowledge itself, and, as fifth, we must count the thing itself
 which is known and truly exists. The first is the name, the, second
 the definition, the third. the image, and the fourth the knowledge. If
 you wish to learn what I mean, take these in the case of one instance,
 and so understand them in the case of all. A circle is a thing
 spoken of, and its name is that very word which we have just
 uttered. The second thing belonging to it is its definition, made up
 names and verbal forms. For that which has the name "round,"
 "annular," or, "circle," might be defined as that which has the
 distance from its circumference to its centre everywhere equal. Third,
 comes that which is drawn and rubbed out again, or turned on a lathe
 and broken up-none of which things can happen to the circle
 itself-to which the other things, mentioned have reference; for it
 is something of a different order from them. Fourth, comes
 knowledge, intelligence and right opinion about these things. Under
 this one head we must group everything which has its existence, not in
 words nor in bodily shapes, but in souls-from which it is dear that it
 is something different from the nature of the circle itself and from
 the three things mentioned before. Of these things intelligence
 comes closest in kinship and likeness to the fifth, and the others are
 farther distant.
   The same applies to straight as well as to circular form, to
 colours, to the good, the, beautiful, the just, to all bodies
 whether manufactured or coming into being in the course of nature,
 to fire, water, and all such things, to every living being, to
 character in souls, and to all things done and suffered. For in the
 case of all these, no one, if he has not some how or other got hold of
 the four things first mentioned, can ever be completely a partaker
 of knowledge of the fifth. Further, on account of the weakness of
 language, these (i.e., the four) attempt to show what each thing is
 like, not less than what each thing is. For this reason no man of
 intelligence will venture to express his philosophical views in
 language, especially not in language that is unchangeable, which is
 true of that which is set down in written characters.
   Again you must learn the point which comes next. Every circle, of
 those which are by the act of man drawn or even turned on a lathe,
 is full of that which is opposite to the fifth thing. For everywhere
 it has contact with the straight. But the circle itself, we say, has
 nothing in either smaller or greater, of that which is its opposite.
 We say also that the name is not a thing of permanence for any of
 them, and that nothing prevents the things now called round from being
 called straight, and the straight things round; for those who make
 changes and call things by opposite names, nothing will be less
 permanent (than a name). Again with regard to the definition, if it is
 made up of names and verbal forms, the same remark holds that there is
 no sufficiently durable permanence in it. And there is no end to the
 instances of the ambiguity from which each of the four suffers; but
 the greatest of them is that which we mentioned a little earlier,
 that, whereas there are two things, that which has real being, and
 that which is only a quality, when the soul is seeking to know, not
 the quality, but the essence, each of the four, presenting to the soul
 by word and in act that which it is not seeking (i.e., the quality), a
 thing open to refutation by the senses, being merely the thing
 presented to the soul in each particular case whether by statement
 or the act of showing, fills, one may say, every man with puzzlement
 and perplexity.
   Now in subjects in which, by reason of our defective education, we
 have not been accustomed even to search for the truth, but are
 satisfied with whatever images are presented to us, we are not held up
 to ridicule by one another, the questioned by questioners, who can
 pull to pieces and criticise the four things. But in subjects where we
 try to compel a man to give a clear answer about the fifth, any one of
 those who are capable of overthrowing an antagonist gets the better of
 us, and makes the man, who gives an exposition in speech or writing or
 in replies to questions, appear to most of his hearers to know nothing
 of the things on which he is attempting to write or speak; for they
 are sometimes not aware that it is not the mind of the writer or
 speaker which is proved to be at fault, but the defective nature of
 each of the four instruments. The process however of dealing with
 all of these, as the mind moves up and down to each in turn, does
 after much effort give birth in a well-constituted mind to knowledge
 of that which is well constituted. But if a man is ill-constituted
 by nature (as the state of the soul is naturally in the majority
 both in its capacity for learning and in what is called moral
 character)-or it may have become so by deterioration-not even
 Lynceus could endow such men with the power of sight.
   In one word, the man who has no natural kinship with this matter
 cannot be made akin to it by quickness of learning or memory; for it
 cannot be engendered at all in natures which are foreign to it.
 Therefore, if men are not by nature kinship allied to justice and
 all other things that are honourable, though they may be good at
 learning and remembering other knowledge of various kinds-or if they
 have the kinship but are slow learners and have no memory-none of
 all these will ever learn to the full the truth about virtue and vice.
 For both must be learnt together; and together also must be learnt, by
 complete and long continued study, as I said at the beginning, the
 true and the false about all that has real being. After much effort,
 as names, definitions, sights, and other data of sense, are brought
 into contact and friction one with another, in the course of
 scrutiny and kindly testing by men who proceed by question and
 answer without ill will, with a sudden flash there shines forth
 understanding about every problem, and an intelligence whose efforts
 reach the furthest limits of human powers. Therefore every man of
 worth, when dealing with matters of worth, will be far from exposing
 them to ill feeling and misunderstanding among men by committing
 them to writing. In one word, then, it may be known from this that, if
 one sees written treatises composed by anyone, either the laws of a
 lawgiver, or in any other form whatever, these are not for that man
 the things of most worth, if he is a man of worth, but that his
 treasures are laid up in the fairest spot that he possesses. But if
 these things were worked at by him as things of real worth, and
 committed to writing, then surely, not gods, but men "have
 themselves bereft him of his wits."
   Anyone who has followed this discourse and digression will know well
 that, if Dionysios or anyone else, great or small, has written a
 treatise on the highest matters and the first principles of things, he
 has, so I say, neither heard nor learnt any sound teaching about the
 subject of his treatise; otherwise, he would have had the same
 reverence for it, which I have, and would have shrunk from putting
 it forth into a world of discord and uncomeliness. For he wrote it,
 not as an aid to memory-since there is no risk of forgetting it, if
 a man's soul has once laid hold of it; for it is expressed in the
 shortest of statements-but if he wrote it at all, it was from a mean
 craving for honour, either putting it forth as his own invention, or
 to figure as a man possessed of culture, of which he was not worthy,
 if his heart was set on the credit of possessing it. If then Dionysios
 gained this culture from the one lesson which he had from me, we may
 perhaps grant him the possession of it, though how he acquired
 it-God wot, as the Theban says; for I gave him the teaching, which I
 have described, on that one occasion and never again.
   The next point which requires to be made clear to anyone who
 wishes to discover how things really happened, is the reason why it
 came about that I did not continue my teaching in a second and third
 lesson and yet oftener. Does Dionysios, after a single lesson, believe
 himself to know the matter, and has he an adequate knowledge of it,
 either as having discovered it for himself or learnt it before from
 others, or does he believe my teaching to be worthless, or, thirdly,
 to be beyond his range and too great for him, and himself to be really
 unable to live as one who gives his mind to wisdom and virtue? For
 if he thinks it worthless, he will have to contend with many who say
 the opposite, and who would be held in far higher repute as judges
 than Dionysios, if on the other hand, he thinks he has discovered or
 learnt the things and that they are worth having as part of a
 liberal education, how could he, unless he is an extraordinary person,
 have so recklessly dishonoured the master who has led the way in these
 subjects? How he dishonoured him, I will now state.
   Up to this time he had allowed Dion to remain in possession of his
 property and to receive the income from it. But not long after the
 foregoing events, as if he had entirely forgotten his letter to that
 effect, he no longer allowed Dion's trustees to send him remittances
 to the Peloponnese, on the pretence that the owner of the property was
 not Dion but Dion's son, his own nephew, of whom he himself was
 legally the trustee. These were the actual facts which occurred up
 to the point which we have reached. They had opened my eyes as to
 the value of Dionysios' desire for philosophy, and I had every right
 to complain, whether I wished to do so or not. Now by this time it was
 summer and the season for sea voyages; therefore I decided that I must
 not be vexed with Dionysios rather than with myself and those who
 had forced me to come for the third time into the strait of Scylla,
                that once again I might
          To fell Charybdis measure back my course,
 but must tell Dionysios that it was impossible for me to remain
 after this outrage had been put upon Dion. He tried to soothe me and
 begged me to remain, not thinking it desirable for himself that I
 should arrive post haste in person as the bearer of such tidings. When
 his entreaties produced no effect, he promised that he himself would
 provide me with transport. For my intention was to embark on one of
 the trading ships and sail away, being indignant and thinking it my
 duty to face all dangers, in case I was prevented from going-since
 plainly and obviously I was doing no wrong, but was the party wronged.
   Seeing me not at all inclined to stay, he devised the following
 scheme to make me stay during that sading season. On the next day he
 came to me and made a plausible proposal: "Let us put an end," he
 said, "to these constant quarrels between you and me about Dion and
 his affairs. For your sake I will do this for Dion. I require him to
 take his own property and reside in the Peloponnese, not as an
 exile, but on the understanding that it is open for him to migrate
 here, when this step has the joint approval of himself, me, and you
 his friends; and this shall be open to him on the understanding that
 he does not plot against me. You and your friends and Dion's friends
 here must be sureties for him in this, and he must give you
 security. Let the funds which he receives be deposited in the
 Peloponnese and at Athens, with persons approved by you, and let
 Dion enjoy the income from them but have no power to take them out
 of deposit without the approval of you and your friends. For I have no
 great confidence in him, that, if he has this property at his
 disposal, he will act justly towards me, for it will be no small
 amount; but I have more confidence in you and your friends. See if
 this satisfies you; and on these conditions remain for the present
 year, and at the next season you shall depart taking the property with
 you. I am quite sure that Dion will be grateful to you, if you
 accomplish so much on his behalf."
   When I heard this proposal I was vexed, but after reflection said
 I would let him know my view of it on the following day. We agreed
 to that effect for the moment, and afterwards when I was by myself I
 pondered the matter in much distress. The first reflection that came
 up, leading the way in my self-communing, was this: "Come suppose that
 Dionysios intends to do none of the things which he has mentioned, but
 that, after my departure, he writes a plausible letter to Dion, and
 orders several of his creatures to write to the same effect, telling
 him of the proposal which he has now made to me, making out that he
 was willing to do what he proposed, but that I refused and
 completely neglected Dion's interests. Further, suppose that he is not
 willing to allow my departure, and without giving personal orders to
 any of the merchants, makes it clear, as he easily can, to all that he
 not wish me to sail, will anyone consent to take me as a passenger,
 when I leave the house: of Dionysios?"
   For in addition to my other troubles, I was lodging at that time
 in the garden which surround his house, from which even the gatekeeper
 would have refused to let me go, unless an order had been sent to
 him from Dionysios. "Suppose however that I wait for the year, I shall
 be able to write word of these things to Dion, stating the position in
 which I am, and the steps which I am trying to take. And if
 Dionysios does any of the things which he says, I shall have
 accomplished something that is not altogether to be sneered at; for
 Dion's property is, at a fair estimate, perhaps not less than a
 hundred talents. If however the prospect which I see looming in the
 future takes the course which may reasonably be expected, I know not
 what I shall do with myself. Still it is perhaps necessary to go on
 working for a year, and to attempt to prove by actual fact the
 machinations of Dionysios."
   Having come to this decision, on the following day I said to
 Dionysios, "I have decided to remain. But," I continued, "I must ask
 that you will not regard me as empowered to act for Dion, but will
 along with me write a letter to him, stating what has now been
 decided, and enquire whether this course satisfies him. If it does
 not, and if he has other wishes and demands, he must write particulars
 of them as soon as possible, and you must not as yet take any hasty
 step with regard to his interests."
   This was what was said and this was the agreement which was made,
 almost in these words. Well, after this the trading-ships took their
 departure, and it was no longer possible for me to take mine, when
 Dionysios, if you please, addressed me with the remark that half the
 property must be regarded as belonging to Dion and half to his son.
 Therefore, he said, he would sell it, and when it was sold would
 give half to me to take away, and would leave half on the spot for the
 son. This course, he said, was the most just. This proposal was a blow
 to me, and I thought it absurd to argue any longer with him;
 however, I said that we must wait for Dion's letter, and then once
 more write to tell him of this new proposal. His next step was the
 brilliant one of selling the whole of Dion's property, using his own
 discretion with regard to the manner and terms of the sale and of
 the purchasers. He spoke not a word to me about the matter from
 beginning to end, and I followed his example and never talked to him
 again about Dion's affairs; for I did not think that I could do any
 good by doing so. This is the history so far of my efforts to come
 to the rescue of philosophy and of my friends.
   After this Dionysios and I went on with our daily life, I with my
 eyes turned abroad like a bird yearning to fly from its perch, and
 he always devising some new way of scaring me back and of keeping a
 tight hold on Dion's property. However, we gave out to all Sicily that
 we were friends. Dionysios, now deserting the policy of his father,
 attempted to lower the pay of the older members of his body guard. The
 soldiers were furious, and, assembling in great numbers, declared that
 they would not submit. He attempted to use force to them, shutting the
 gates of the acropolis; but they charged straight for the walls,
 yelling out an unintelligible and ferocious war cry. Dionysios took
 fright and conceded all their demands and more to the peltasts then
   A rumour soon spread that Heracleides had been the cause of all
 the trouble. Hearing this, Heracleides kept out of the way.
 Dionysios was trying to get hold of him, and being unable to do so,
 sent for Theodotes to come to him in his garden. It happened that I
 was walking in the garden at the same time. I neither know nor did I
 hear the rest of what passed between them, but what Theodotes said
 to Dionysios in my presence I know and remember. "Plato," he said,
 "I am trying to convince our friend Dionysios that, if I am able to
 bring Heracleides before us to defend himself on the charges which
 have been made against him, and if he decides that Heracleides must no
 longer live in Sicily, he should be allowed (this is my point) to take
 his son and wife and sail to the Peloponnese and reside there,
 taking no action there against Dionysios and enjoying the income of
 his property. I have already sent for him and will send for him again;
 and if he comes in obedience either to my former message or to this
 one-well and good. But I beg and entreat Dionysios that, if anyone
 finds Heracleides either in the country or here, no harm shall come to
 him, but that he may retire from the country till Dionysios comes to
 some other decision. Do you agree to this?" he added, addressing
 Dionysios. "I agree," he replied, "that even if he is found at your
 house, no harm shall be done to him beyond what has now been said."
   On the following day Eurybios and Theodotes came to me in the
 evening, both greatly disturbed. Theodotes said, "Plato, you were
 present yesterday during the promises made by Dionysios to me and to
 you about Heracleides?" "Certainly," I replied. "Well," he
 continued, "at this moment peltasts are scouring the country seeking
 to arrest Heracleides; and he must be somewhere in this neighbourhood.
 For Heaven's sake come with us to Dionysios." So we went and stood
 in the presence of Dionysios; and those two stood shedding silent
 tears, while I said: "These men are afraid that you may take strong
 measures with regard to Heracleides contrary to what was agreed
 yesterday. For it seems that he has returned and has been seen
 somewhere about here." On hearing this he blazed up and turned all
 colours, as a man would in a rage. Theodotes, falling before him in
 tears, took his hand and entreated him to do nothing of the sort.
 But I broke in and tried to encourage him, saying: "Be of good
 cheer, Theodotes; Dionysios will not have the heart to take any
 fresh step contrary to his promises of yesterday." Fixing his eye on
 me, and assuming his most autocratic air he said, "To you I promised
 nothing small or great." "By the gods," I said, "you did promise
 that forbearance for which our friend here now appeals." With these
 words I turned away and went out. After this he continued the hunt for
 Heracleides, and Theodotes, sending messages, urged Heracleides to
 take flight. Dionysios sent out Teisias and some peltasts with
 orders to pursue him. But Heracleides, as it was said, was just in
 time, by a small fraction of a day, in making his escape into
 Carthaginian territory.
   After this Dionysios thought that his long cherished scheme not to
 restore Dion's property would give him a plausible excuse for
 hostility towards me; and first of all he sent me out of the
 acropolis, finding a pretext that the women were obliged to hold a
 sacrificial service for ten days in the garden in which I had my
 lodging. He therefore ordered me to stay outside in the house of
 Archedemos during this period. While I was there, Theodotes sent for
 me and made a great outpouring of indignation at these occurrences,
 throwing the blame on Dionysios. Hearing that I had been to see
 Theodotes he regarded this, as another excuse, sister to the
 previous one, for quarrelling with me. Sending a messenger he enquired
 if I had really been conferring with Theodotes on his invitation
 "Certainly," I replied, "Well," continued the messenger, "he ordered
 me to tell you that you are not acting at all well in preferring
 always Dion and Dion's friends to him." And he did not send for me
 to return to his house, as though it were now clear that Theodotes and
 Heracleides were my friends, and he my enemy. He also thought that I
 had no kind feelings towards him because the property of Dion was
 now entirely done for.
   After this I resided outside the acropolis among the mercenaries.
 Various people then came to me, among them those of the ships' crews
 who came from Athens, my own fellow citizens, and reported that I
 was evil spoken of among the peltasts, and that some of them were
 threatening to make an end of me, if they could ket hold of me
 Accordingly I devised the following plan for my safety.
   I sent to Archytes and my other friends in Taras, telling them the
 plight I was in. Finding some excuse for an embassy from their city,
 they sent a thirty-oared galley with Lamiscos, one of themselves,
 who came and entreated Dionysios about me, saying that I wanted to go,
 and that he should on no account stand in my way. He consented and
 allowed me to go, giving me money for the journey. But for Dion's
 property I made no further request, nor was any of it restored.
   I made my way to the Peloponnese to Olympia, where I found Dion a
 spectator at the Games, and told him what had occurred. Calling Zeus
 to be his witness, he at once urged me with my relatives and friends
 to make preparations for taking vengeance on Dionysios-our ground
 for action being the breach of faith to a guest-so he put it and
 regarded it, while his own was his unjust expulsion and banishment.
 Hearing this, I told him that he might call my friends to his aid,
 if they wished to go; "But for myself," I continued, "you and others
 in a way forced me to be the sharer of Dionysios' table and hearth and
 his associate in the acts of religion. He probably believed the
 current slanders, that I was plotting with you against him and his
 despotic rule; yet feelings of scruple prevailed with him, and he
 spared my life. Again, I am hardly of the age for being comrade in
 arms to anyone; also I stand as a neutral between you, if ever you
 desire friendship and wish to benefit one another; so long as you
 aim at injuring one another, call others to your aid." This I said,
 because I was disgusted with my misguided journeyings to Sicily and my
 ill-fortune there. But they disobeyed me and would not listen to my
 attempts at reconciliation, and so brought on their own heads all
 the evils which have since taken place. For if Dionysios had
 restored to Dion his property or been reconciled with him on any
 terms, none of these things would have happened, so far as human
 foresight can foretell. Dion would have easily been kept in check by
 my wishes and influence. But now, rushing upon one another, they
 have caused universal disaster.
   Dion's aspiration however was the same that I should say my own or
 that of any other right-minded man ought to be. With regard to his own
 power, his friends and his country the ideal of such a man would be to
 win the greatest power and honour by rendering the greatest
 services. And this end is not attained if a man gets riches for
 himself, his supporters and his country, by forming plots and
 getting together conspirators, being all the while a poor creature,
 not master of himself, overcome by the cowardice which fears to
 fight against pleasures; nor is it attained if he goes on to kill
 the men of substance, whom he speaks of as the enemy, and to plunder
 their possessions, and invites his confederates and supporters to do
 the same, with the object that no one shall say that it is his
 fault, if he complains of being poor. The same is true if anyone
 renders services of this kind to the State and receives honours from
 her for distributing by decrees the property of the few among the
 many-or if, being in charge the affairs of a great State which rules
 over many small ones, he unjustly appropriates to his own State the
 possessions of the small ones. For neither a Dion nor any other man
 will, with his eyes open, make his way by steps like these to a
 power which will be fraught with destruction to himself and his
 descendants for all time; but he will advance towards constitutional
 government and the framing of the justest and best laws, reaching
 these ends without executions and murders even on the smallest scale.
   This course Dion actually followed, thinking it preferable to suffer
 iniquitous deeds rather than to do them; but, while taking precautions
 against them, he nevertheless, when he had reached the climax of
 victory over his enemies, took a false step and fell, a catastrophe
 not at all surprising. For a man of piety, temperance and wisdom, when
 dealing with the impious, would not be entirely blind to the character
 of such men, but it would perhaps not be surprising if he suffered the
 catastrophe that might befall a good ship's captain, who would not
 be entirely unaware of the approach of a storm, but might be unaware
 of its extraordinary and startling violence, and might therefore be
 overwhelmed by its force. The same thing caused Dion's downfall. For
 he was not unaware that his assailants were thoroughly bad men, but he
 was unaware how high a pitch of infatuation and of general
 wickedness and greed they had reached. This was the cause of his
 downfall, which has involved Sicily in countless sorrows.
   As to the steps which should be taken after the events which I
 have now related, my advice has been given pretty fully and may be
 regarded as finished; and if you ask my reasons for recounting the
 story of my second journey to Sicily, it seemed to me essential that
 an account of it must be given because of the strange and
 paradoxical character of the incidents. If in this present account
 of them they appear to anyone more intelligible, and seem to anyone to
 show sufficient grounds in view of the circumstances, the present
 statement is adequate and not too lengthy.
                             -THE END-