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Laws

Plato

Book Overview: 

Laws is Plato's final dialogue written after his attempt to advise the tyrant Dionysius II of Syracuse. The dialogue takes place between: an Athenian Stranger; the quiet Lacedaemonian Megillus; and the Cretan Cleinias. The Stranger asks whether humans live to be more effective at waging war or if there is something more important a legislator should seek to achieve. During their pilgrimage Cleinias discloses his role in the establishment of a new colony and the three discuss what would make the colony perfect including: location; a fixed population size; entitlement to land; the four economic classes; the restriction of retailers; a static system of music; the fair treatment of foreigners; defined punishments; and proper religious observance.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .The latter of the two, the dance of peace, is suitable to orderly and law-abiding men. These must be distinguished from the Bacchic dances which imitate drunken revelry, and also from the dances by which purifications are effected and mysteries celebrated. Such dances cannot be characterized either as warlike or peaceful, and are unsuited to a civilized state. Now the dances of peace are of two classes:—the first of them is the more violent, being an expression of joy and triumph after toil and danger; the other is more tranquil, symbolizing the continuance and preservation of good. In speaking or singing we naturally move our bodies, and as we have more or less courage or self-control we become less or more violent and excited. Thus from the imitation of words in gestures the art of dancing arises. Now one man imitates in an orderly, another in a disorderly manner: and so the peaceful kinds of dance have been appropriately called Emmeleiai, or dances of order, as t. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Ovo je najobimnije i posljednje napisano Platonovo djelo, a uz to je i jedan od rijetkih dijaloga u kome glavni lik nije Sokrat. Umjesto njega, ovdje se pojavljuje anonimni Atinjanin, koji svoju sliku idealne zajednice prezentuje jednom Krićaninu i jednom Lakedemonjaninu.
"Zakoni" se (ne) mogu posmat

Despite having been assigned it in my Classical Political Thought class, I only in the past few days finished reading Plato's Laws (apologies to Dr. Walsh). Which is a bit unfortunate, since it's bloody fantastic.

I confess to having had a bit of a "meh" relationship with Plato in the past. I mean, t

The Laws is interesting mainly for its methodological reflections. It is sadly lacking in the playful wit that makes Plato fun to read.

I did not get much out of this one, unfortunately. It is not Plato at his finest, but it contains some fascinating passages on the nature of the soul, the governance of human virtue, the qualities of a good ruler, and similar topics. Unfortunately, the book is conservative/reactionary, long-winded,

(One has to read The Laws AFTER reading The Republic) in order to see the Huge deference between them. The Laws is basically a correction and adding to what was missing in The Republic which was written decades before The Laws.
It shows in the book how Plato became wiser with age, more passionate an

There is a popular saying in the film world, that directors spend their whole careers making the same film over and over again. Plato spent his whole career working out the ideas laid out in Laws. Some of it is in the Republic, most of it can be found in other dialogues. Stray observation; why could

The Laws of Plato is not entirely laws. It is not entirely anything, really. It seems to be a nice collection of aphoristic sayings, wise and pithy truths, and overall a collection of legal requirements for a city whose regulation is the main focus of this work. Designing a city can be difficult, an

The one Plato work that makes for accessible, organised, reading

I have the greatest respect for Plato’s work and what it has meant for Western thought and Western culture. To my chagrin, Plato and the Socratic dialogues have proven hard to go through, if you are like me the sort who:
* sees an argum

And then, as time went on, the poets themselves introduced the reign of vulgar and lawless innovation. They were men of genius, but they had no perception of what is just and lawful in music; raging like Bacchanals and possessed with inordinate delights—mingling lamentations with hymns, and paeans w

This mammoth work is one of Plato's most important, and not very widely read books. There's good reason for this, while there are important passages in this, the work is ultimately like reading an Ancient Greek version of Leviticus. In other words, it's really... really boring.

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