In The Laws
, Plato describes in fascinating detail a comprehensive system of legislation in a small agricultural utopia he named Magnesia. His laws not only govern crime and punishment but also form a code of conduct for all aspects of life in his ideal state—from education, sports, and religion to sexual behavior, marriage, and drinking parties. Plato sets out a plan for the day-to-day rule of Magnesia, administered by citizens and elected officials, with supreme power held by a Council. Although Plato’s views that citizens should act in complete obedience to the law have been read as totalitarian, The Laws
nonetheless constitutes a highly impressive program for the reform of society and provides a crucial insight into the mind of one of classical Greece’s foremost thinkers.
* Revised edition includes an appendix, index, a new preface, and updated further reading
* Trevor J. Saunders’s translation combines accuracy with readability
* Introduction discusses Plato’s life and times, his political theory, and modern
reactions to his works