Cretans Inspiration…

Inspiration for a future site responsive theatre production of Euripides Cretans.

Inspiration for a site specific theatre production of Euripides’ Cretans.

The Cretan and Spartan laws were found to be faulty because they did not permit their subjects to taste the greatest pleasures. […] The pleasures of banquets are drinking and singing. In order to justify banquets one must therefore discuss also singing, music, and hence education as a whole: the music pleasures are the greatest pleasures which people can enjoy in public and which they must learn to control by being exposed to them. The Spartan and Cretan laws suffer then from the great defect that they do not at all, or at least not sufficiently, expose their subjects to the music pleasures. The reason for this is that these two societies are not towns but armed camps, a kind of herd: in Sparta and Crete even those youths who are by nature fit to be educated as individuals by private teachers are brought up merely as members of a herd. In other words, the Spartans and Cretans know only how to sing in choruses: they do not know the most beautiful song, the most noble music. In the Republic the city of the armed camp, a greatly improved Sparta, was transcended by the City of Beauty, the city in which philosophy, the highest Muse, is duly honored. In the Laws, where the best possible regime is presented, this transcending does not take place. The city of the Laws is, however, not a city of the armed camp in any sense. Yet it has certain features in common with the city of the armed camp of the Republic. Just as in the Republic, music education proves to be education toward moderation, and such education proves to require the supervision of musicians and poets by the true statesman or legislator. Yet while in the Republic education to moderation proves to culminate in the love of the beautiful, in the Laws moderation rather takes on the colors of sense of shame or of reverence. Education is surely education to virtue, to the virtue of the citizen or to the virtue of man.

Leo Strauss, History of Political Philosophy