The author in this study attempts to capture the meaning of the institution of slavery in Plato’s work. By an analysis of individual passages that are of relevance in Plato’s work, especially from the Republic and the Laws, he reaches the conclusion that Plato employs multiple metaphors of slavery and that they are of fundamental importance for his political philosophy. Plato accepts the common of view of his time on the psychology of slaves, treating slavery as the worst quality of the soul. Inspite of this, in his descriptions of the best system he preserves slaves as a integral part of the community. In the Laws he summarises his reflections on the political order in key maxims: it is good to be a slave to that which is better than us and of greater reason. Plato thus also gives slavery positive connotations as a symbol of subordination in his view justified to the hegemony of the lovers of wisdom. In keeping with this (to us) alarming judgement, he proposes the employment of traditional Greek religion to reinforce the hegemony of the philosophical elite over the rest of society.
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