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The Republic by Plato - Barron's Booknotes
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THE ETIQUETTE OF WAR (466d-471e)

Socrates says that it remains to be determined whether it is possible for a communal family "to be brought about among men as it is in the other animals, and in what way it is possible." Glaucon is eager to discuss the possibility. But Socrates diverts his attention by raising the issue of how the just city will conduct itself in war.

As in their living conditions at home, so in war the guardians' lives will be communal. Men, women, and children will march to the same war drums. Children will go to war as apprentice soldiers. An additional advantage-and perhaps the most important one-to having children present at battle is that the guardians will fight better, both to protect their offspring and to impress them with their ability.



After discussing the role of children in battle, Socrates lists the state's responsibility to soldiers, and describes the ways in which guardians are to behave in battle. If captured, the soldiers will no longer be a concern to the state; if killed, they will be buried with great honor and their graves will be tended with extreme respect. In victory, the Athenian guardians will treat the defeated Greek nations with dignity and will extend their concern for all of humanity even to the defeated barbarian nations. No people will be enslaved, no booty will be taken, no women raped, no houses burned, no crops devastated. Socrates proposes such war conduct because he wants the just city to be a model for all cities, Greek and barbarian alike. The just city respects the dignity and the common humanity of all people.

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The Republic by Plato - Barron's Booknotes
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