Home > Uncategorized > Plato: A good city has peace, but the evil city is full of wars within and without

Plato: A good city has peace, but the evil city is full of wars within and without

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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
From Laws
Translated by Benjamin Jowett

For the common opinion is, that work is for the sake of play, war of peace; whereas in war there is neither amusement nor instruction worth speaking of. The life of peace is that which men should chiefly desire to lengthen out and improve.

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A good city has peace, but the evil city is full of wars within and without.

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Let us first of all, then, have a class of laws which shall be called the laws of husbandmen. And let the first of them be the law of Zeus, the God of boundaries. Let no one shift the boundary line either of a fellow-citizen who is a neighbour, or, if he dwells at the extremity of the land, of any stranger who is conterminous with him, considering that this is truly ‘to move the immovable,’ and every one should be more willing to move the largest rock which is not a landmark, than the least stone which is the sworn mark of friendship and hatred between neighbours; for Zeus, the god of kindred, is the witness of the citizen, and Zeus, the god of strangers, of the stranger, and when aroused, terrible are the wars which they stir up.

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