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Plato: All wars arise for the sake of gaining money

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Plato: Selections on war

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Plato

plato

From Phaedo
Translated by Harold North Fowler

Socrates
The body and its desires are the only causes of wars and factions and battles; for all wars arise for the sake of gaining money, and we are compelled to gain money for the sake of the body. We are slaves to its services.

From The Apology
Translated by Harold North Fowler

Socrates
And so the man propose the penalty of death. Well, then, what shall I propose as an alternative? Clearly that which I deserve, shall I not? And what do I deserve to suffer or to pay, because in my life I did not keep quiet, but neglecting what men most care for – money-making and property, and military offices, and public speaking, and the various offices and plots and parties that come up in this state – and thinking that I was really too honourable to engage in those activities and live, refrained from those things by which I should have been of no use to you or to myself, and devoted myself to conferring upon each citizen individually what I regard as the greatest benefit? For I tried to persuade each of you to care for himself and his own perfection in goodness and wisdom rather than for any of his belongings…

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