“Forgetful Warriors”: Neglected Lessons on Leadership from Plato’s Republic

Authored by: George R. Lucas

The Ashgate Research Companion to Modern Warfare

Print publication date:  February  2010
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754674108
eBook ISBN: 9781315613284
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042495


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Toward the middle of Plato’s Republic, 1 1

I have used the translation by Raymond Larson, with introduction by Eva T.H. Brann (Chicago: AHM Publishing/Crofts Classics, 1979). All references, citations in square brackets in the text, and discussion of terminology and translations refer to the Loeb Classic edition of the original Greek, edited by Paul Shorey (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994), and to Liddell and Scott, Greek–English Lexicon, 7th edn (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975).

Socrates is portrayed as offering a somewhat unusual piece of advice concerning warriors and leadership. The advice is buried in the midst of a lengthy and somewhat rambling discussion, extending from Book III through VII, concerning the selection and education of a nation’s warriors and, ultimately, its political leaders. The commentary I wish to highlight occurs early in Book VI, immediately after the better-known discussions in Book V that culminate in Socrates’ famous suggestion that philosophers alone are qualified to rule the State [473 d].

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