Provisional Abstract. Ancient and modern Western discussion of musical modes influencing the character of the individual and therefore also being an important political factor depends on passages in Plato’s Republic and Laws, written in the 4th century BC. The speakers in the Republic refer to Damon (5th cent.) as the specialist for certain related questions; Damon’s name recurs in a related context in Aristides Quintilianus (Roman Imperial era), and he is often quoted as the source for Plato’s views, having established ethical connotations for musical “modes”, based perhaps on an evaluation of their constituent notes. I will try to discuss the textual evidence in its context and propose a modified view of what Plato might have had in mind.