translated by H. Davis

(Extracted from The Works of Plato, vol. 2, pp. 413-29.)


SECT. I. TIM. I am just as pleased, Socrates, as one at rest after a long journey, that I have now at length been happily released from my protracted discourse! And now I implore that God [the universe,] long, long ago created in fact, though only just recently in our discussion, to establish in security what we have properly stated, but as respects aught that we have even involuntarily stated that is not to the purpose, to inflict on us a suitable punishment: and the right punishment for one out of tune is to make him play in tune. In order then, that for the future we may speak correctly respecting the generation of the gods, we beseech him who is the best and most perfect to give us a scientific knowledge of medicine; and having thus prayed, we hand over to Critias, as we agreed, the succeeding discourse.

CRIT. Yes, Timaeus, I receive it: and as you acted at first, in requesting indulgence as one about to speak on momentous matters, the same also do I now entreat; and I think that I ought the more to obtain it for what I am about to say. Yet I know full well that I am making a very ambitious request, and of a more rustic kind than is proper; still we must proceed. That what you have now said has not been well said, who in his senses will pretend to say? I must try to show then, that what I am about to say needs greater indulgence on account of its greater difficulty: for it is easier, Timaeus, to speak and appear to speak rightly about the gods to men, than about mortals to us [men]; inasmuch as the inexperience and extraordinary ignorance of the hearers about things of this nature, both furnish great facilities to one in tending to speak concerning them; but as respects the gods, we know how we are situated. In order, however, that I may clearly show my meaning, follow me in what I am about to say. What has been said by the whole of us was necessarily only imitation and resemblance ; and now, as regards the representation by painters of divine and heavenly objects, we see with what facility or difficulty they contrive that they shall seem to the spectators to be apt imitations; and we shall see also, that with respect to earth, mountains, rivers, woods, and the whole of heaven, and all therein, as well as what moves about it, we are satisfied if a person is able to produce even a slight resemblance of them; but beyond this, as we have no accurate knowledge concerning such matters, we neither examine nor find fault with the paintings, but use a mere obscure and deceitful sketch of them. But when on the other hand any one attempts to represent our bodies, we quickly perceive any omissions, through our familiar apprehension of them, arid become severe critics on any one who does not perfectly exhibit their resemblances. The same also we see, to be the case in arguments, that we are content with even slightly resembling statements about heavenly and divine things, while we accurately examine things mortal and human. As regards then what we are now immediately saying, if we cannot fully exhibit what is desired, you ought to forgive us, because you must reflect that to form approved resemblances of mortal things is no easy task, but very difficult. Now I have said all this, Socrates, wishing to re mind you of these things, and asking not for less, but more indulgence respecting what is about to be said. If then I seem to be fairly asking the favour, grant it with all cheerfulness.

SECT. II. SOCR. Why should we hesitate to grant it, Critias? And besides, we must grant this same indulgence to our third friend, Hermocrates: for it is evident, as we shall see presently, that when he has to speak, he will make the same request as you. That he then may furnish with a different commencement and not be compelled to say the same, let him at once speak, as if this indulgence were granted him. I must inform you, however, of the sense of the audience, that the former poet [Timaeus] has obtained a wonderful deal of applause; so that you will need a vast quantity of indulgence if you intend to be an able successor to him.

HERM. You are making the same announcement to me, Socrates, as to him. Faint-hearted men, however, never yet erected a trophy, Critias: so you must proceed manfully to your discourse, and, invoking Paean and the Muses, exhibit and celebrate these primitive and best of citizens.

CRIT. Ah, friend Hermocrates, you are to speak after wards and have another before you; and so you are vastly courageous. What the nature of the task is, however, the fact itself will speedily declare: and we will therefore be persuaded by your encouragement and exhortation, and in addition to the gods that you have mentioned, will call on others besides, and most of all on Memory: for all the most important points of our discourse concern that goddess, inasmuch as it is by suitably calling to mind and relating the narratives of the [Egyptian] priests brought hither by Solon, that I feel satisfied of our being thought by this auditory to have fairly accomplished our part. This therefore we must now do, and without further delay.

SECT. III. First of all then let us recollect, that it is about nine thousand years, since war was proclaimed between those dwelling outside the Pillars of Hercules and all those within them, which war we must now describe. Of the latter party, then, this city was the leader, and conducted the whole war; and of the former the kings of the Atlantic Island, which we said was once larger than Libya and Asia, but now, sunk by earthquakes, a mass of impervious mud, which hinders all those sailing on the vast sea from effecting a passage hither; and then our story will, as it were, unfold [to your view] the many barbarous tribes, and such of the Greek nations as then existed, as each may happen to present itself: but the wars of the then Athenians and their adversaries we must first describe, as well as the power and government of each. Of these [our own] people, however, we must be anxious first to speak.

SECT. IV. To the gods was once locally allotted the whole earth, and that, too, without contention; for it would not be reasonable to suppose that the gods are ignorant of what suits each of themselves, or that, fully aware of what is rather the property of others, they would try to get possession of it through strife. Obtaining then a country agreeable to them by just allotment, they chose these regions for their habitation; and, after settling, they like shepherds reared us, as their possessions, flocks and herds, not however by forcing body against body, as shepherds in grazing drive their cattle with blows; but [they treated us] as an easily-governed animal, and piloting, as it were, with persuasions for a rudder, and working on the soul, they governed the entire mortal by leading him according to their own mind. Different gods, therefore, having received by lot different regions, proceeded to cultivate (or set in order) those [that they had received;] but Hephsestus and Athene having a common nature, not only related by brotherhood from having the same father, but united also in philosophy and love of art, both received this one region as their common allotment, as being naturally familiar with and well adapted to virtue and wisdom; and after producing worthy men, natives of the soil arranged to their mind the order of their government: of which men, indeed, the names are preserved; though their deeds have become extinct through the death of those that handed them down and the long lapse of time. The race, indeed, that survived, as it has been before observed, were a set of unlettered mountaineers, who had heard the names only of the ruling people in the land, and very little about their deeds. The names they out of affection gave to their children, though unacquainted with the virtues and laws of those before them, except through certain dark rumours concerning them; and being themselves and their children for many generations in want of necessaries, with which, with all their wit, they were unprovided, they bestowed their chief attention on this, to the neglect of events that had taken place in times long gone by: for mythology and the inquiry into ancient affairs both visit states at a t ; me of leisure, when they see that the necessaries of life have been procured, but not before. In this way, then, the names of the ancients have been preserved without their deeds: and I infer this to be the case, as Solon said, that the priests in describing the war then waged gave those engaged in them many names such as Cecrops, Erectheus, Ericthonius, Erysichthon, and most of the other names which are recorded prior to the time of Theseus; and they gave the names of women likewise. Besides, the figure and image of the goddess shows that at that time both men and women entered in common on the pursuits of war; as in compliance with that custom an armed statue was dedicated to the goddess by the people of that day, a proof that all animals that consort together, females as well as males, have a natural ability to pursue in common every suitable virtue.

SECT. V. At that time, indeed, there dwelt in this country many other tribes of citizens engaged in crafts and the culture of the soil; but the warrior-tribe, being set apart from the first by divine men, lived separately, having all the requisites for food and training, none of them possessing anything in private, but considering all their possessions as common, and not deigning to receive anything from the rest of the citizens beyond a sufficiency of food, occupying themselves moreover in all the pursuits that we yesterday described as those of appointed state-guardians. Moreover, as respects this country of ours, it was stated with probability and truth, that in early times it had boundaries fixed at the Isthmus and on the side of the other continent as far as the heights of Cithaeron and Parnes, these boundaries coming down, with Oropia on the right, and with the Asopus as a seaward limit on the left: and by the valour of this region it was said that the whole earth was vanquished, because it was then able to support the numerous army raised from the surrounding people. A great proof of their virtue also was this, that what now remains of it may vie with any other whatever in the general productiveness of the soil, in the excellence of its fruits, and in pastures suited to every kind of animals. Then, however, it produced all these not only excellent in quality, but in the greatest possible abundance. How then can we believe this; and in what way can it [the present country] rightly be termed a remnant of the former land? The whole from the other continent [i.e. the western side] extends seaward like a long promontory, and is wholly surrounded by the steep-shored basin of the sea. As therefore many and extensive deluges happened in that period of nine thousand years, for so many years have elapsed from that to the present time, the earth, that was loosened and fell from the heights at these times and under these circumstances, did not, as elsewhere, aggregate to form any elevation worth mentioning, but ever eddying round, at length vanished in the deep; and the heights have been left, as is the case in small islands, like the bones of a diseased body, compared with those of former times, all the earth that was soft and fat being washed away, leaving only a thin body of soil. At that time, however, being undisturbed, it comprised mountains which are now only high hills; and the country, now termed the plains of Phelleus, was then full of fat earth. The mountains also abounded with woods, of which even now there are evident signs: for there are some of the mountains, which now furnish food for bees only, though at no very distant period the houses were still standing, and in good preservation, that were constructed of the timber cut from the trees thereon, and suitable for the largest buildings. There were many lofty trees also, raised by cultivation, and an incalculable amount of pasture for cattle. Prolific rain especially this land yearly enjoyed, not, as now, losing it by its quick passage over the bare earth down to the sea; but received an abundance of it, which it could keep within itself to dispense over the clayey soil which holds it: and thus sending down the absorbed water from the heights into the hollows, it diffused over all these regions abundant streams of springs and rivers, the truth of which is even now attested by the sacred remains observable in the ancient fountains.

SECT. VI. Such was once the natural state of this country; and it was cultivated, as it was likely it would be, by real husbandmen., actually practising their calling lovers of honour and generous-minded, having a most excellent soil, great abundance of water, and an admirably attempered climate. It was at this time that the city was founded here as follows: The form of the Acropolis was not then, as it is now; for in later times {lit. now] a single rainy night softened it, and to a great degree bared it of soil, there being earthquakes at the same time, arid a fatal deluge the third before that of Deucalion. Before this, in primitive times, it extended in size to the Eridanus and Ilissus, and comprised the Pnyx, having the Lycabetus as its limit opposite the Pnyx, the whole being well covered with soil, except some level spots in the higher part. Its outer parts down the flanks were inhabited by craftsmen and husband men who tilled the neighbouring land, the warrior-classes living separately by themselves in the more elevated parts around the temple of Athene and Hephaestus, which they had formed, as it were, into the garden of a single dwelling by encircling it with one enclosure: for on the northern side lived those, who erected public buildings and common banquets for the winter, and whatever else was suited to a common polity, buildings as well as temples being unadorned with gold or silver; (for they never at any time used these metals, but pursuing a middle course between extravagance and meanness, built neat dwellings, in which both they and their children's children grew old, and then left them to others like themselves,) while as regards the south side, they removed thither their gardens, gymnasia, and common rooms of entertainment, which they fixed here during the summer. There was also one single fountain on the spot now occupied by the Acropolis, since the extinction of which by earthquakes only a few small streams have been left round it; although at that time it furnished to every part an abundant supply of water, well attempered both for winter and summer. Such was the way of life pursued by the guardians of their own state, who also were leaders of the rest of the Greeks such at least as required them; and as to their number they paid special attention, that they should always have the same number of men and women that might both then and in future* be able to serve in war, the whole being about twenty thousand. These men then, being personally such as I have described, and ever in some such way justly administering both their own affairs and those of Greece, were the most noted and renowned of all the people of that day over all Europe and Asia, both for the beauty of their bodies
and the general virtue of their souls.

SECT. VII. In the next place then, as respects the adversaries of these men, what was their character, and how they first arose, we will now impart this in common to you oar friends, if at least we have not lost the recollection of what we heard in our childhood. Yet before we narrate this, we must briefly warn you not to be surprised at hearing Hellenic names given to barbarians: and the cause of this you shall now hear. Solon, intending to make use of this story in his poetry, made an investigation into the power of names, and found that the early Egyptians who committed these facts to writing transferred these names into their own language; and he again receiving the meaning of each name, introduced it by writing into our language. These very writings, indeed, were in the possession of my grandfather, and are now in mine, having been made the subject of much study during my boyhood. If therefore you hear such names as these in this narrative, be not surprised; for you know the reason. Of a long story, then, let such be the introduction.

SECT. VIII. As we remarked at first concerning the allotment of the gods, that they distributed the whole earth here into larger and there into smaller portions,  procuring for themselves temples and public sacrifices, so, Poseidon in particular, taking as his lot the Atlantic island, begot children by a mortal woman, and settled in some such spot of the island as we are about to describe. Towards the sea, but in the centre of the whole island, was a plain, which is said to have been the fairest of all plains, and distinguished for the excellence of its soil. Near this plain, and at its centre, about fifty stadia distant, was a mountain with short acclivities on every side. On this dwelt one of those men who in primitive times sprang from the earth, by name Evenor, who lived with a wife, Leucippe; and they had an only daughter, Clito. Now when this girl arrived at marriage able age, and her mother and father were dead, Poseidon becoming enamoured, made her his mistress, arid circularly enclosed the hill on which she dwelt, forming the sea and land into alternate zones, greater and less, turning, as it were, two out of land and three out of sea, from the centre of the island, all equally distant, so as to be inaccessible to men : for at that time ships and navigation were not known. And he himself, with his divine power, agreeably adorned the centre of the island, causing two fountains of water to shoot upwards from beneath the earth, one cold and the other hot, and making every variety of food to spring abundantly from the earth. He also begat and brought up five twin-male children; and after distributing all the Atlantic island into ten parts, he bestowed on the first-born of the eldest pair his mother's dwelling and the allotment about it, this being the largest and best; and he appointed him king of all the rest, making the others governors, and giving to each the dominion over many people arid an extensive territory. He likewise gave all of them names, to the eldest, who was the king, the name of Atlas, from whom, as the first sovereign, both the island and sea were termed Atlantic; and to the twin born after him, who had received for his share the extreme parts of the island towards the Pillars of Hercules, as far as the region which now in that country is called Gadeirica, he gave the titular name, which we Greeks call Eumelus, but which the people of that country term Gadcirus. Of the second-born twins he called the first Ampheres, the second, Euycmon; of the third, he called the first-born, Musseus, and the second, Autochthon; of the fourth, the first, Elasippus, and the younger, Mestor; and among the fifth, to the former was given the name Azaes, and to the latter, Diaprepes.

SECT. IX. All these, then, and their descendants, dwelt for many generations, as rulers in the sea of islands, and as we before said, yet further extended their empire to all the country as far as Egypt and Tyrrhenia. By far the most distinguished, however, was the race of Atlas; and among these the oldest king in succession always handed down the power to his eldest son, all of them successively possessing wealth in such abundance as never was before found among regal dynasties, nor will easily be found hereafter; and all things were provided for them, which in a city, or elsewhere, are worth such provision. Many possessions, indeed, accrued to them through their power from foreign countries; but the greatest part of what they stood in need was provided for them by the island itself, first, such ores as are dug out of mines in a solid [i.e. virgin] state, or require smelting; and especially that metal orichalcum, which is now known only by name, but formerly of high celebrity, was dug out of the earth in many parts of the island, being considered the most valuable of all the metals then known, except gold; and it produced an abundance of wood for builders, and furnished food also for tame and wild animals. Moreover, there were comprised within it vast numbers of elephants: for there were abundant means of support for all animals that feed in marshes and lakes, on mountains and plains, and so likewise for this animal, which by nature is the largest and most voracious of all. Besides these, whatever odorous plants the earth now bears, whether roots or grass, or woods or distilling gums, or flowers or fruits, these it bore and produced them to perfection. And yet, further, it bore cultivated fruits, and dry edible fruits, such as we use for food; all these kinds of food we call vegetables, together with all that trees bear, as drinks, meats, and ointments; and those also, whose fruits, such as acorns, being used in sport and pleasure, are with difficulty hoarded up, together with certain dainty fruits for dessert that might provoke the satiated palate, or please the sick all these that once existing and warmly-acclimated island bore, sacred, beautiful, wonderful, and infinite in quantity. Receiving all these, then, from the earth, the inhabitants employed themselves also in erecting temples, royal habitations, ports and docks over the whole region, disposing them in the following manner:

SECT. X. First of all, those residing about that ancient metropolis bridged over those zones of the sea [before mentioned], making a passage both outwards and to the royal palace. And the palace they constructed immediately from the first in this habitation of the god and their ancestors; and each in turn receiving it from his predecessor, and further embellishing the ornamental parts, continually surpassed the one before him, until they made the building quite admirable to the sight for the size and beauty of its works. They dug a trench indeed, beginning from the sea, three plethra broad, a hundred feet deep, and fifty stadia in length, as far as the outermost zone, and thus made a passage thither from the sea, as into a harbour, by enlarging its mouth sufficiently to admit the largest vessels. Besides this, they separated by bridges those zones of land which separated those of the sea, so that with one trireme a passage could be effected from one zone to another, covering the zones above, so as to allow a water-way beneath them; for the banks of the zones of earth rose to a height considerably above the sea. And the greatest of these zones into which the sea penetrated was three stadia in breadth, and the zone of land next in order equal to the first; of the second pair, the watery circle was two stadia in breadth, and that of earth again, equal to the preceding one of water ; lastly, the zone running round the centre of the island had the breadth only of one stadium, and the island in which the king s palace stood had a diameter of five stadia. This island, as well as the zones, and the bridge (which was a plethrum in breadth), they enclosed on both sides with a stone wall, raising towers and gates at intervals on the bridges at the places where the sea passes through them [the zones]. The stone for it they quarried beneath the circuit of the island, both in the centre and also within and without the zones, one kind of it white, a second black, and a third red; and by thus quarrying they at the same time made cavities that served for two docks, having likewise a covering of rock. Of the buildings, some were of simple structure ; others they put together in a variegated style, by mixing the different kinds of stone by way of amusement, thus realizing a pleasure suitable to their natures: and they surrounded with brass the whole circuit of the wall round the extreme outer zone, applying it like plaster; that of the next inside they covered with melted tin, and the wall round the citadel itself with orichalcum that has a fiery resplendence.

SECT. XI. Next, the royal palace within the citadel was constructed as follows: In its centre was planted a temple, difficult of access, sacred to Clito and Poseidon, surrounded with an enclosure of gold; and it was that, in which they first generated and produced the race of the ten kings; where also, making annual collections from all the ten allotments, they celebrated seasonable sacrifices to each. The temple of Poseidon himself was a stadium in length, three plethra in breadth, and of a height to correspond, having something of a barbaric appearance. All the outside of the temple, except the pinnacles, they lined with silver, but the pinnacles with gold: and as to the interior, the roof was formed wholly of ivory variegated with gold and orichalcum; and as to all the parts the walls, pillars, and pavements, they lined them with orichalcum. They also placed in it golden statues, the god himself [being represented] as standing on a chariot holding the reins of six winged horses, of such size as to touch the roof with his head, and round him a hundred nereids on dolphins; for those of that day thought that such was their number; and it contained also many other statues dedicated to private individuals. Round the outside of the temple likewise golden images were placed of all the men and women that were descended from the ten kings, and many other large statues both of kings and private people, both from the city itself, and the foreign countries over which they had dominion. There was an altar, too, of corresponding size and workmanship with these ornaments; and the excellence of the palace was proportioned to the magnitude of the government and also to the order observed in the sacred ceremonies.

SECT. XII. Next, they used fountains both from the cold and hot springs, of which there was a great abundance, either of which was wonderfully well adapted for use from its sweetness and excellence; and round them they fixed their habitations and excellently-watered plantations, together with their water-tanks, some open to the heaven, but others for winter use roofed over for warm baths, the kings baths and those of private persons being apart, with separate baths for women, and others for horses and other draught-cattle, providing each with the requisite means of cleanliness. The stream hence flowing they led to the grove of Poseidon, where there were all varieties of trees, reaching a wonderful height, owing to the excellence of the soil, and then conducted it by channels over the bridges to the external circles. And here, indeed, there had been constructed numerous temples dedicated to many different gods, and many gardens and gymnasia, one for men, and others separately for horses in either island of the zones; and for the latter, in particular, there was a race-course plotted out in the centre of the largest island, a stadium in breadth, and extending in length through the whole circumference for a contest of speed between the horses. And around it on all sides were barracks for the household troops corresponding with their number; to the more faithful of whom were assigned quarters in the smaller zone closer to the citadel, while those who excelled all in loyal faithfulness had dwellings given them inside the citadel near the kings themselves. The docks likewise were filled with triremes and the fittings requisite for triremes; and they were all satisfactorily provided. Such were the arrangements for the provision of the kings dwelling: but on crossing the three exterior harbours, one was met by a wall which went completely round, beginning from the sea, everywhere fifty stadia distant from the greatest or outermost] zone and harbour, and enclosed in one the entrance to the canal and the entrance to the sea. The whole of this part indeed was covered with many and densely-crowded dwellings; and the canal and largest harbour were full of vessels and merchants coining from all parts, causing from their multitude all kinds of shouting, tumult, and din all day long and the night through.

SECT. XIII. We have now related from memory a description of the city and its ancient habitations; and now we must try to describe the nature of the rest of the country, and its mode of employment. First, then, the whole region was said to be exceedingly lofty and precipitous towards the sea, and the plain about the city, which encircles it, is itself surrounded by mountains sloping down to the sea, being level and smooth, all much extended, three thousand stadia in one direction, and the central part from the sea above two thousand. And this district of the whole island was turned towards the south, in an opposite direction from the north. The mountains around it, too, were at that time celebrated, as exceeding in number, size, and beauty all those of the present time, having in them many hamlets enriched with villages, as well as rivers, lakes, and marshes, furnishing ample supplies of food for all cattle both tame and wild, with timber of various descriptions, and in abundant quantity for every individual purpose. The plain then being thus by nature, was improved as follows by many kings in a long course of time. It was of square shape, mostly straight and oblong ; and where it ended, they bounded it by a trench dug round it, the depth, breadth, and length of which, for a work of man's making, besides the other connected undertakings, we can scarcely believe, though still we must report what we heard. It was excavated to the depth of a plethrum, and the breadth was a stadium in every part, the whole excavation made round the plain being ten thousand stadia in length. This, receiving the streams coming down from the mountains, and conducted all round the plain, approached the city in some parts, and in this way was allowed to flow out to the sea. From above, likewise, straight canals were cut about a hundred feet broad along the plain, back into the ditch near the sea, distant from one another about one hundred stadia: and it was by this that they brought down the timber from the mountains to the city, and carried on the rest of their shipping-traffic, cutting transverse canals of communication into each other, and towards the city. Their harvest, also, they gathered twice in the year; in winter availing themselves of the rains, and in summer introducing on the land the streams from the trenches.

SECT. XIV. As to the quantity of land, it was ordered, that of the men on the plain fit for service, each individual leader should have his allotment, each allotment amounting in extent to a hundred stadia, and the total of the lots being sixty thousand; and of those from the mountains and the rest of the country there was said to be an incalculable number of men, to all of whom, according to their dwellings and villages, were assigned certain lots by their respective leaders. To each leader, likewise, the task was appointed of furnishing for war the sixth portion of a war-chariot (to make up a total of ten thousand), two riding horses, and a two-horse car with out a driver's seat, having a mounted charioteer to direct the horses, with another to dismount and fight at the side, also two heavy-armed soldiers, two archers, two slingers, three each of light-armed men, stone-shooters and javelin-men, with four sailors to make up a complement of one thousand two hundred ships. Thus were the military affairs of this city arranged. And as respects the nine others, there were different other arrangements, which it would be tedious to narrate.

SECT. X V. And as respects official situations and honours, the following were the arrangements made from the commencement: Of the ten kings, each individually in his own district and over his own city ruled supreme over the people and the laws, constraining and punishing whomever he pleased: and the government and commonwealth in each was regulated by the injunctions of Poseidon, as the law handed them down; and inscriptions were made by the first likings on a column of orichalcum, which was deposited in the centre of the island in the temple of Poseidon, where they assembled every fifth year, (which they afterwards changed to every sixth year), taking an equal part both for the entire state and its supernumeraries; and thus collected they consulted concerning the common weal, and inquired what transgressions each had committed, judging them accordingly. And when they were about to judge, they previously gave each other pledges, according to the following fashion: As there were bulls grazing at liberty in the temple of Poseidon, ten men only of the whole number, after invoking the god to receive their sacrifice propitiously, went out to hunt swordless, with staves and chains, and whichever of the bulls they took, they brought it to the column and slaughtered it at its head under the inscriptions: and on the column, besides the laws, there was an oath written, invoking curses on the disobedient. When, therefore, in compliance with their laws, they sacrificed and burnt all the limbs of the bull, they filled a goblet with clots of blood, and threw the rest into the fire, by way of purifying the column: and after this, dipping out of the goblet with golden cups, they poured libations down on the fire, and swore to do justice according to the laws on the column, to punish any one who had previously transgressed them, and besides that, never afterwards willingly to transgress the inscribed laws, nor ever to rule or obey any ruler governing otherwise than according to his father s laws. Then after invoking these curses on themselves and their descendants, and after drinking and depositing the cup in the temple of the God, and abiding a necessary time at supper, as soon as it was dark, and the fire round the sacrifice had been cooled, all of them dressed themselves in beautiful dark-blue robes, and sitting on the ground near the embers of the sacrifice on which they had sworn, extinguished during the night all the fire about the temple, and then mutually judged each other as respects any accusations of transgressing the laws; and after their acts of judgment were over, when day came, they inscribed their decisions on a golden tablet and deposited them as memorials, together with their dresses. There were many other individual laws also respecting the privileges of the kings, the chief being, that they should never wage war on each other, and that all should lend their aid, in case that any one in any of their cities should try to destroy the royal race, consulting in common, as their ancestors did before them, as to the right course both in war and other concerns, and assigning the empire to the Atlantic raw. They did not allow the king, however, any authority to put to death any of his kinsmen, unless approved of by more than half of the ten.

SECT. XVI. Such then, and so great being the power at that time in those places, the Deity transferred it to these regions, as report goes, on the following pretexts: For many generations, as long as the natural power of the god sufficed them, they remained obedient to the laws and kindly affected towards the divine nature to which they were allied: for they possessed true and altogether lofty ideas, and practised mildness united with wisdom, in reference to the casual occurrences of life and towards each other. Hence, looking above everything except virtue, they considered things present as of small importance, and contentedly bore, as a burden, the mass of gold and other property; nor were they deceived by the intoxication of luxury, or rendered intemperate through wealth; but on the other hand being sober, they acutely perceived that all these things are increased through common friendship mingled with virtue, and that by too anxiously pursuing and honouring them, these goods themselves are corrupted, and with them [friendship] itself likewise perishes. To such a mode of reasoning then, and the abiding of such a nature, was it owing that they made all the progress that we before described. But when the divine portion within them became extinct through much and frequent admixture of the mortal nature, arid the manners of men began to hold sway, then, through inability to bear present events, they began to exhibit unbecoming conduct and to the intelligent beholder appeared base, destroying the fairest among their most valuable possessions, though all the while held by those who were unable to see a true life of happiness based on truth, to be in the highest degree worthy and blessed, though filled with avarice and unjust power. Zeus, however, the god of gods, who rules according to the laws, and is able to see into such things, perceiving an honourable race in a condition of wretchedness, and wishing to inflict punishment on them, that they might become more diligent in the practice of temperance, collected all the gods into their own most ancient habitation, which indeed, being situated in the centre of the whole world, beholds all things that have had a share in generation: and having assembled them, he said, ******