Book 5 (Republic)

Socrates starts Book 5 by giving insight on why he believes that women should be trained near men. He understands that men and women are different in nature, however he believes that women and men will both benefit if women were allowed the same education and political roles as men. He questions why certain opportunities and traits were only for men and gives an example of dogs. In conversation with Adeimantus, Glaucon, and Thrasymachus he mentions that are dogs divided in the form of he and she? He makes the point that both male and female dogs share the same roles, regardless of sex. He acknowledges that women and men are different in nature, men are stronger where women are to bear children, yet there should be opportunity for women just as much as it is for men.

Socrates begins to also discuss the idea that all spouses and children should be made with common interest. For spouses of higher ranking people, who are at the right age (women in their 20’s- 40’s, men in their 30’s-50’s) sexual intercourse will only take place during set times of the year, and these times of the year will be celebrated as festivals. The heroes and those that are the most desirable to have more children and offspring may have many partners during this festival. He then goes on to say that all children produced at that time will be taken from their parents and taken care of together in a secret facility so that no one knows which children descent from which parents. There is no other time where sex is permitted outside of the festival, and if a child is produced at a time not designated the child will be killed. All who participate in the festival must assume that all children born within seven to ten months after sexual intercourse are their own, and the children will know all who participated in the festival as their parents, and all children born brothers and sisters and all sexual relations are unacceptable.

Socrates goes on to explain that in order to unite a city, these are the rules of procreation. He explains that people care about their families, and base their loyalty on family relations and then the good of the city. In his mind with making this festival for those to procreate everyone in the city is on the same page and it forces everyone to become a family, and share the same “mine” factor as their neighbor. He says the city will then be unified because it shares all the same concerns.

Socrates also dives into more detail about how to execute this plan of no family ties, no wealth, and no romance. He sets up a set of rules for the guardians (parents-higher figures) lifestyles. All rules are based on war. He mentions that all children who are pursuing roles to become guardians must be taken to war so they can watch and learn firsthand. He gives the example of Potters and their children. He mentions at even a young age Potter’s children look on and observe what their parent is doing, long before they can touch the wheel. After everyone agrees he ask, “Shall Potters be more careful in educating their children and giving them the opportunity of seeing and practicing their duties than our guardians will be?” Socrates mentions that children should be put on horseback so that they can escape in case of defeat, and explains that any person who acts cowardly in was will no longer have the right to maintain his rights as guardian.

He also mentions that when it comes to Greek or “Hellenic” enemies that there should be no permanent harm done such as destroying of land, and enslavement because Greeks are brothers and peace will come eventually again because Greeks are united by ties of blood and friendship, and is aliens to the barbaric. However if there is a fight with barbarians have no mercy on them.


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