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Unformatted text preview: CLASSICS 36: LECTURE SEVEN REPUBLIC BOOK 5: HOW THE GUARDIANS LIVE 1. The digressive structure of the Republic • Books 5-7 are formally a digression, even though their topic, philosopher-kings, is crucial. Implication? Philosophers remain alien, to some degree, even to the city in which they are rulers. 2. How revolutionary are Socrates' proposals for social life among the guardians? (Parallels with militaristic, oligarchic, conservative society of Sparta) 2.1 Communal mess halls were a distinctive feature of domestic life at Sparta, as also in Crete. But they were reserved for men, and were not residences. 2.2 Absence of private property not a feature in any Greek society; at Sparta each citizen had the right to use the servants of others at need. 2.3 Equal education, military training, and access to political power not given to women in any Greek society, but (i) Spartan women, exceptionally, were given a gymnastic training equivalent to that of males; (ii) two women are reported to have been students at Plato's Academy, and Pythagorean communities may have included them as equals; (iii) fantasy: Aristophanes' comic play Women at the Assembly ; (iv) myth: the Amazons. 2.4 Open families and communal sexuality not found in Greek society, but (i) reported among exotic non-Greek tribes, and (ii) in Sparta men could produce legitimate heirs, at need, from the wives of others. Also, (iii) families of high rank living in different cities cemented connections by intermarriage and by exchange of lengthy visits by their offspring, amounting to a share in their upbringing (hence Adeim. offers no objection at 424a?)....
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- Spring '08
- The Republic, ruling class, guardians, Greek society, GUARDIANS LIVE