Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XXVII.: Perikles. - Constitution of Athens
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CHAP. XXVII.: Perikles. - Aristotle, Constitution of Athens [320 BC]
Aristotle’s Constitution of Athens, trans. Thomas J. Dymes (London: Seeley and Co., 1891).
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After this Perikles came to lead the people. He first made a name for himself when, as a young man, he called in question the accounts of Kimon during his command. The constitution then became, in the course of events, still more democratical; for he stripped the Areopagitæ of some of their privileges, and, what was the cardinal point of his policy, urged on the state to acquire naval power, in consequence of which the masses grew bold, and drew the whole government more into their own hands. And in the forty-ninth year after the seafight at Salamis, in the archonship of Pythodorus, the Peloponnesian war broke out, during which the people, shut up as they were in the city and accustomed to serve for pay in the armies, partly of their own free will, and partly against their wishes, elected to administer the government themselves. And Perikles was the first to introduce pay for the services of the jurors, thus bidding for popularity as against the influence that Kimon derived from his ample means. For Kimon, as the possessor of royal wealth, first discharged the public services with great splendour, and afterwards supported many of the members of his deme. Any of the Lakiadæ who liked might go to him every day to get their rations; moreover, all his grounds were left unfenced, so that anyone who liked could help himself to the fruit. But as Perikles did not possess the means of indulging in public expenditure of this kind, on the advice of Damonides of Œa (who had the reputation of being the prompter of Perikles’ wars, for which reason also they ostracised him later), since his private property did not allow him to provide subsistence for the populace, he instituted pay for the jurors. And to these causes some assign the deterioration in the conduct of affairs, as the appointments to office were designedly made more and more by haphazard instead of by merit. And bribery in the law courts also began to be practised after this, Anytus being the first to show how to do it after his command at Pylos; for when he was put upon his trial for losing it, he bribed the court and was acquitted.