IMPORTANT : The notes that I took for myself. I hope they will help you too.


MeneksenosMeneksenos by Plato
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book of Plato named “Menexenus”, as a brilliant example of oratory or rhetoric, consists of a ceremonial speech for those who died in war, and a speech praising their heroism.

It is also a book to tell about the dialogue between Socrates and Menexenus. There are some points in the book that I found interesting and that I liked. When I compare the social consciousness and ethic values of these people who lived between 300-400 BC with the current ones(I mean, us), sometimes I think that we are behind them.

Anyway, Socrates says:

“Thus born into the world and thus educated, the ancestors of the departed lived and made themselves a government, which I ought briefly to commemorate. For government is the nurture of man, and the government of good men is good, and of bad men bad. And I must show that our ancestors were trained under a good government, and for this reason they were good, and our contemporaries are also good, among whom our departed friends are to be reckoned. Then as now, and indeed always, from that time to this, speaking generally, our government was an aristocracy—a form of government which receives various names, according to the fancies of men, and is sometimes called democracy, but is really an aristocracy or government of the best which has the approval of the many. For kings we have always had, first hereditary and then elected, and authority is mostly in the hands of the people, who dispense offices and power to those who appear to be most deserving of them. Neither is a man rejected from weakness or poverty or obscurity of origin, nor honoured by reason of the opposite, as in other states, but there is one principle—he who appears to be wise and good is a governor and ruler. The basis of this our government is equality of birth; for other states are made up of all sorts and unequal conditions of men, and therefore their governments are unequal; there are tyrannies and there are oligarchies, in which the one party are slaves and the others masters. But we and our citizens are brethren, the children all of one mother, and we do not think it right to be one another’s masters or servants; but the natural equality of birth compels us to seek for legal equality, and to recognize no superiority except in the reputation of virtue and wisdom.”

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