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The Republic

BOOK III
Such then, I said, are our principles of theology--some tales are to be told, and others are
not to be told to our disciples from their youth upwards, if we mean them to honour the
gods and their parents, and to value friendship with one another.
Yes; and I think that our principles are right, he said.
But if they are to be courageous, must they not learn other lessons besides these, and
lessons of such a kind as will take away the fear of death? Can any man be courageous
who has the fear of death in him?
Certainly not, he said.
And can he be fearless of death, or will he choose death in battle rather than defeat and
slavery, who believes the world below to be real and terrible?
Impossible.
Then we must assume a control over the narrators of this class of tales as well as over the
others, and beg them not simply to revile but rather to commend the world below,
intimating to them that their descriptions are untrue, and will do harm to our future
warriors.
That will be our duty, he said.
Then, I said, we shall have to obliterate many obnoxious passages, beginning with the
verses,
'I would rather be a serf on the land of a poor and portionless man than rule over all the
dead who have come to nought.'
We must also expunge the verse, which tells us how Pluto feared,
'Lest the mansions grim and squalid which the gods abhor should be seen both of mortals
and immortals.'
And again:--
'O heavens! verily in the house of Hades there is soul and ghostly form but no mind at
all!'
Again of Tiresias:--
'(To him even after death did Persephone grant mind,) that he alone should be wise; but
the other souls are flitting shades.'
 
 
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