ATHENIAN: Is it a god, my friends, who in your view should take the credit for your legal arrangements? Or some human?
CLEINIAS: A god, my friend. Rightfully speaking, it has to be a god. With us it's Zeus. In Sparta, where our companion here is from, I believe they say it's Apollo, don't they?
ATHENIAN: Ah, you agree with Homer, then, that Minos used to go and stay with his father every eight years, and that Zeus's utterances were the basis for the laws he gave your cities?
CLEINIAS: Yes, that's how the story goes in our country. And his brother, too, was justice incarnate, Rhadamanthys – a name which I am sure is familiar to you. His claim to fame, or so we Cretans at any rate would say, derived from his impeccable dispensation of justice in those days.
ATHENIAN: He certainly has a fine reputation – a credit to his father Zeus. And since you were brought up, you and our companion, in that kind of moral framework, I imagine we can pass our time pleasantly enough today in an exchange of views on political arrangements and laws along the way. It's a fair step from Cnossos to the cave and shrine of Zeus, by all accounts. There are wayside resting-places, no doubt, in this heat, with the tall trees giving plenty of shade. There can be no objection, at our age, to our making frequent stops at them, using conversation as a means of raising one another's spirits, and in this way completing the whole journey in comfort.
CLEINIAS: Yes, my friend, and after a bit, in the groves, there are wonderfully tall and beautiful cypresses, and meadows for us to stop and spend some time in.
ATHENIAN: That sounds a good idea.
CLEINIAS: It certainly does – all the more so when we see them. Shall we go, then? Here's to a safe journey.
ATHENIAN: Amen to that. Now, tell me, why does your law require those meals together, and the physical training, and the bearing of arms?
CLEINIAS: I don't think that is very hard for anyone to understand – at any rate where Crete is concerned. You can see what the landscape is like, all over Crete.