Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK IV. - The Politics vol. 2
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
BOOK IV. - Aristotle, The Politics vol. 2 
The Politics of Aristotle, trans. into English with introduction, marginal analysis, essays, notes and indices by B. Jowett. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1885. 2 vols. Vol. 2.
Part of: The Politics 2 vols.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
The statesman has four problems to consider,
1) What is the best or ideal state?
2) What state is best suited to a particular people?
3) How any given state, even though inferior to what it might be, may be created or preserved?
4) What is the best state for average men?
1) is the best possible; 2) the best relatively to circumstances; 3) neither the best possible nor the best under the circumstances, but any constitution in which men are willing to acquiesce, even though ill-provided and ill-administered—such are to be found in the world and must therefore enter into the consideration of the statesman; 4) the best for mankind in general.
ταύτην ἐστὶ τὴν δύναμιν.
The MSS. vary between ἔτι and ἐστί: ἔτι has rather the greater MSS. authority, but ἐστὶ is required for the construction, and the recurrence of ἔτι which was the first word of the sentence at the end of it is unpleasing.
ἀχορήγητόν τε εἰ̂ναι καὶ τω̂ν ἀναγκαίων.
Explained in the text, with Susemihl, *‘not possessing the outward means necessary for the best state,’ but the words ‘for the best state,’ are not found in the Greek. Better ‘not possessing the common necessaries or simple requisites of life,’ a hard but not impossible condition, e.g. in a remote colony. Cp. c. 11. § 21, πολλάκις οὔσης ἄλλης πολιτείας αἱρετωτέρας ἐνίοις οὐθὲν κωλύσει συμϕέρειν ἑτέραν μα̂λλον εἰ̂ναι πολιτείαν, which is similar but not the same with this passage. For ἀχορήγητον, cp. κεχορηγημένῳ in § 1, and δεομένην πολλη̂ς χορηγίας in § 6.
τὰς ὑπαρχούσας ἀναιρον̂ντες πολιτείας τὴν Λακωνικὴν . . . ἐπαινον̂σιν.
Although the language is inaccurate (for the Lacedaemonian is an ‘existing’ constitution), the meaning is plain. ‘They put aside their own constitution and praise the Lacedaemonian or some other.’
χρὴ δὲ τοιαύτην εἰσηγεɩ̂σθαι τάξιν ἣν ῥᾳδίως ἐκ τω̂ν ὑπαρχουσω̂ν καὶ πεισθήσονται καὶ δυνήσονται κοινωνεɩ̂ν, ὡς ἔστιν οὐκ ἔλαττον ἔργον τὸ ἐπανορθω̂σαι πολιτείαν ἢ κατασκευάζειν ἐξ ἀρχη̂ς, ὤσπερ καὶ τὸ μεταμανθάνειν τον̂ μανθάνειν ἐξ ἀρχη̂ς.
‘The legislator should introduce an order of government into which the citizens will readily fall, and in which they will be able to co-operate; for the reformation of a state is as difficult as the original establishment of one and cannot be effected by the legislator alone, or without the assistance of the people.’
ἐκ τω̂ν ὑπαρχουσω̂ν (sc. πολιτειω̂ν) may be taken either with τάξιν or with κοινωνεɩ̂ν, either we ought to introduce 1) ‘from among existing constitutions’; or 2) ‘in passing out of existing constitutions that form,’ &c.; cp. in next sentence ταɩ̂ς ὑπαρχούσαις πολιτείαις βοηθεɩ̂ν.
κοινωνεɩ̂ν is the reading of the majority of MSS. Some have κινεɩ̂ν. The emendation κιχεɩ̂ν [Susemihl], taken from ‘consequi’ in the old Latin translation, is an unnecessary conjecture; nor does the word occur commonly, if at all, in Aristotle; καινον̂ν is open to the objection of introducing a special when a general word is required. But no change is really needed.
ὡς ἔστιν οὐκ ἔλαττον ἔργον κ.τ.λ. The connexion of these words is difficult: Aristotle seems to mean that the legislator should select a constitution suited to the wants of the people: for however good in itself, if unsuited to them, they will not work it, and he will have as great or greater difficulty in adapting it than he would originally have had in making one for which they were fitted.
Διὸ πρὸς τοɩ̂ς εἰρημένοις καὶ ταɩ̂ς ὑπαρχούσαις πολιτείαις δεɩ̂ δύνασθαι βοηθεɩ̂ν.
We may paraphrase as follows: Therefore, i. e. because it is difficult to introduce anything new in addition to what has been said [about the highest and other forms of government by the unsatisfactory political writers mentioned in § 5], we ought also to be able to maintain existing constitutions, [which they would get rid of].
καθάπερ ἐλέχθη καὶ πρότερον.
There is nothing in what has preceded, which precisely answers to this formal reference. § 4 may perhaps be meant.
νν̂ν δὲ μίαν δημοκρατίαν οἴονταί τινες εἰ̂ναι καὶ μίαν ὀλιγαρχίαν.
This is true of Plato, who is probably intended under this general form. For the anonymous reference to him cp. i. 1. § 2, ὅσοι μὲν οἴονται κ.τ.λ., and c. 2. § 3 infra.
That is to say, either 1) the different ways in which the judicial and other elements of states are combined; or 2) the different ways in which the spirit of one constitution may be tempered by that of another: for the latter cp. infra c. 5. §§ 3, 4; c. 9. §§ 4-9.
καὶ τί τὸ τελος ἑκάστης τη̂ς κοινωνίας ἐστίν.
‘And what is the end of each individual form of society?’ i. e. whether or not the good of the governed (cp. iii. c. 6).
ἑκάστης, with the article following, is emphatic.
κοινωνία is the state under a more general aspect.
νόμοι δὲ κεχωρισμένοι τω̂ν δηλούντων τὴν πολιτείαν.
Either 1)* the words τω̂ν δηλούντων are governed by κεχωρισμένοι, ‘are separated from those things which show the nature of the constitution’; i. e. they are rules of administration and may be the same under different constitutions; but see infra § 11. Or 2), the genitive is partitive: ‘Laws are distinct and belong to that class of things which show the nature of the constitution.’
τὰς διαϕορὰς ἀναγκαɩ̂ον καὶ τὸν ἀριθμὸν ἔχειν τη̂ς πολιτείας ἑκάστης καὶ πρὸς τὰς τω̂ν νόμων θέσεις.
Either 1), ‘we must know the differences of states (sc. πολιτειω̂ν) and the number of differences in each state, with a view to legislation; or 2)*, referring τη̂ς πολιτείας ἑκάστης only to διαϕοράς, and supplying πολιτειω̂ν with ἀριθμόν, ‘the difference of each state and the number of states;’ or 3), τὸν ἀριθμὸν means ‘the order of classification’ (Susemihl; cp. iii. 1. § 9, where the defective (corrupt) states are said to be ‘posterior’ to the good states). This gives a good sense, but is with difficulty elicited from the words.
ἐν τῃ̑ πρώτῃ μεθόδῳ.
Cp. infra c. 8. § 1, where the words ἐν τοɩ̂ς κατ’ ἀρχὴν refer to iii. c. 7. See Essay on the Structure of Aristotle’s Writings.
περὶ μὲν ἀριστοκρατίας καὶ βασιλείας εἴρηται (τὸ γὰρ περὶ τη̂ς ἀρίστης πολιτείας θεωρη̂σαι ταὐτὸ καὶ περὶ τούτων ἐστὶν εἰπεɩ̂ν τω̂ν ὀνομάτων).
He seems to mean that in discussing the ideal state he has already discussed Aristocracy and Royalty. But the discussion on the ideal state has either been lost, or was never written, unless, as some think, it is the account of the state preserved in Book vii.
Other allusions to the same discussion occur in what follows: c. 3. § 4, ἔτι πρὸς ταɩ̂ς κατὰ πλον̂τον διαϕοραɩ̂ς ἐστὶν ἡ μὲν κατὰ γένος ἡ δὲ κατ’ ἀρετήν, κἂν εἴ τι δὴ τοιον̂τον ἕτερον εἴρηται πόλεως εἰ̂ναι μέρος ἐν τοɩ̂ς περὶ τὴν ἀριστοκρατίαν, a passage which is supposed to refer to vii. i. e. iv. c. 8 and 9, by those who change the order of the books (Susemihl, &c.). But in this latter passage the allusion to the perfect state is very slight, and the point of view appears to be different; for no hint is given that it is to be identified with royalty or aristocracy. Whether the words of the text have a reference, as Schlosser supposes, to the end of Book iii. c. 14-18, where Aristotle discusses the relation of the one best man to the many good, is equally doubtful. A reference to the discussion of aristocracy in some former part of the work also occurs infra c. 7. § 2, ἀριστοκρατίαν μὲν ον̓̂ν καλω̂ς ἔχει καλεɩ̂ν περὶ ἡ̑ς διήλθομεν ἐν τοɩ̂ς πρώτοις λόγοις.
βούλεται γὰρ ἑκατέρα κατ’ ἀρετὴν συνεστάναι κεχορηγημένην.
‘For royalty and aristocracy, like the best state, rest on a principle of virtue, provided with external means.’
πότε δεɩ̂ βασιλείαν νομίζειν.
Not ‘when we are to consider a constitution to be a royalty,’ for there is no question about this, but νομίζειν is taken in the other sense of ‘having,’ ‘using,’ ‘having as an institution,’ like utor in Latin. For this use of the word cp. νομίζειν ἐκκλησίαν, iii. 1. § 10; and for the matter cp. iii. 17. §§ 4-8.
τὴν δὲ βασιλείαν ἀναγκαɩ̂ον ἢ τοὔνομα μόνον ἔχειν οὐκ ον̓̂σαν, ἢ διὰ πολλὴν ὑπεροχὴν εἰ̂ναι τὴν τον̂ βασιλεύοντος, ὥστε τὴν τυραννίδα χειρίστην ον̓̂σαν πλεɩ̂στον ἀπέχειν πολιτείας, δεύτερον δὲ τὴν ὀλιγαρχίαν (ἡ γὰρ ἀριστοκρατία διέστηκεν ἀπὸ ταύτης πολὺ τη̂ς πολιτείας).
Royalty and tyranny both depend upon the individual will of the king or tyrant: hence it is argued that if royalty is the best, tyranny must be the worst of governments, because one is the preeminence of good, the other of evil. Aristotle, who is overmastered by the idea of opposites, naturally infers that the very worst must be the opposite of the very best.
πολιτείας. We might expect αὐτη̂ς, or τη̂ς ἀρίστης to be added; but Aristotle substitutes the more general πολιτεία here, as elsewhere, used in a good sense. Compare infra c. 8. § 2, τελευταɩ̂ον δὲ περὶ τυραννίδος εὔλογόν ἐστι ποιήσασθαι μνείαν διὰ τὸ πασω̂ν ἥκιστα ταύτην εἰ̂ναι πολιτείαν, ἡμɩ̂ν δὲ τὴν μέθοδον εἰ̂ναι περὶ πολιτείας: also for the general meaning, Plat. Polit. 301 D, Rep. ix. 576 D, etc.
In the phrase ταύτης τη̂ς πολιτείας the word refers to ὀλιγαρχίαν.
ἤδη μὲν ον̓̂ν τις ἀπεϕήνατο καὶ τω̂ν πρότερον οὕτως.
The difference between Plato (Polit. 303) and Aristotle, which is dwelt upon so emphatically, is only verbal: the latter objecting to call that good in any sense, which may also be evil, a somewhat pedantic use of language, which is not uniformly maintained by Aristotle himself. Cp. vi. 4. § 1, δημοκρατιω̂ν οὐσω̂ν τεττάρων βελτίστη ἡ πρώτη τάξει.
καὶ τω̂ν πρότερον is a strange form of citation from Plato which would seem more appropriate to a later generation than to Aristotle. See Essay on the Criticism of Plato in Aristotle.
The programme corresponds fairly, but not very accurately, with the subjects which follow. At chap. 14, before discussing the causes of ruin and preservation in states, having analysed in general outline the various types of oligarchy, democracy, polity, tyranny, Aristotle introduces a discussion respecting the powers and offices which exist in a single state: but of this new beginning which interrupts the sequence of his plan he says nothing here.
The diversity of governments has been already discussed, but not in detail, in bk. iii. c. 6-8.
ἔτι πρὸς ταɩ̂ς κατὰ πλον̂τον διαϕοραɩ̂ς ἐστὶν ἡ μὲν κατὰ γένος ἡ δὲ κατ’ ἀρετήν, κἂν εἴ τι δὴ τοιον̂τον ἕτερον εἴρηται πόλεως εἰ̂ναι μέρος ἐν τοɩ̂ς περὶ τὴν ἀριστοκρατίαν.
The parts of the state are spoken of in vii. 8. § 7. The opening sentence of book vii. itself also professes to speak of aristocracy. But the writer goes on to treat rather of the ὑποθέσεις or material conditions of the best state, than of the best state itself. These references are vague; if they were really the passages here cited, we should have to suppose that the seventh book preceded the fourth. But they are not precise enough to be adduced as an argument in favour of the changed order.
καὶ γὰρ ταν̂τ’ εἴδει διαϕέρει τὰ μέρη σϕω̂ν αὐτω̂η.
‘As the parts of states differ from one another (σϕω̂ν αὐτω̂ν), so must states differ from one another.’ Compare the curious comparison infra c. 4. §§ 8, 9.
πολιτεία μὲν γὰρ ἡ τω̂ν ἀρχω̂ν τάξις ἐστί, ταύτην δὲ διανέμονται πάντες ἢ κατὰ τὴν δύναμιν τω̂ν μετεχόντων ἢ κατά τιν’ αὐτω̂ν ἰσότητα κοινήν, λέγω δ’ οἱ̑ον τω̂ν ἀπόρων ἢ τω̂ν εὐπόρων, ἢ κοινήν τιν’ ἀμϕοɩ̂ν.
The last words, κοινήν τιν’ ἀμϕοɩ̂ν, which are obscure and do not cohere very well with δύναμιν, are bracketed by Bekker in his 2nd edition. But there is no reason for doubting their genuineness. Aristotle means to say that governments subsist according to the powers of those who share in them; or according to equality, whether that equality be an equality of the rich among themselves, or of the poor among themselves, or an equality of proportion which embraces both rich and poor: cp. infra c. 4. § 2. The words οἱ̑ον τω̂ν ἀπόρων ἢ τω̂ν εὐπόρων may be an explanation of κατὰ τὴν δύναμιν τω̂ν μετεχόντων, which comes in out of place, and ἢ κοινήν τιν’ ἀμϕοɩ̂ν, as in the English text, may be an explanation of ἰσότητα κοινήν.
κατά τιν’ αὐτω̂ν ἰσότητα κοινήν, ‘More power may be given to the poor as being the more numerous class, or to the rich as being the more wealthy; or power may be given upon some principle of compensation which includes both;’ as e. g. in a constitutional government. In this way of explaining the passage the difficulty in the words ἢ κοινήν τιν’ ἀμϕοɩ̂ν, which has led Bekker to bracket them, is avoided.
For the winds compare Meteorologica ii. 4, 361 a. 4 ff., a passage in which Aristotle argues that north and south are the chief winds because wind is produced by evaporation and the evaporation is caused by the movement of the sun to the north or south. Also for the two principal forms of government cp. Plato’s Laws iii. 693 C: according to Plato they are democracy and monarchy.
ἀληθέστερον δὲ καὶ βέλτιον ὡς ἡμεɩ̂ς διείλομεν, δυοɩ̂ν ἢ μια̂ς οὔσης τη̂ς καλω̂ς συνεστηκυίας τὰς ἄλλας εἰ̂ναι παρεκβάσεις, τὰς μὲν τη̂ς εν̓̂ κεκραμένης ἁρμονίας, τὰς δὲ τη̂ς ἀρίστης πολιτείας.
Aristotle having compared the different forms of states with the different sorts of harmonies, now blends the two in one sentence, and corrects the opinion previously expressed by him: ‘There are not two opposite kinds of harmonies and states, but one or at the most two, δυοɩ̂ν ἢ μια̂ς (the two states are royalty and aristocracy), which are not opposed but of which all the rest are perversions.’ From this transcendental point of view polity or constitutional government itself becomes a perversion; but in c. 8. § 1 it is said not to be a perversion, though sometimes reckoned in that class.
ὥσπερ ἐν Αἰθιοπίᾳ ϕασί τινες.
According to Herod. iii. 20, the Ethiopians are the tallest and most beautiful of mankind: and they elect the tallest and strongest of themselves to be their kings.
ἀλλ’ ἐπεὶ πλείονα μόρια καὶ τον̂ δήμου καὶ τη̂ς ὀλιγαρχίας εἰσίν κ.τ.λ.
It is argued that neither freedom alone, nor numbers alone are a sufficient note of democracy, nor fewness of rulers, nor wealth of oligarchy: neither a few freemen, as at Apollonia, nor many rich men, as at Colophon, constitute a democracy. But there must be many poor in a democracy and few rich in an oligarchy. A slight obscurity in the passage arises from the illustrations referring only to democracy and not to oligarchy. Cp. iii. cc. 7, 8; infra c. 8. § 7.
Aristotle would not approve a classification of states such as that of Sir G. C. Lewis and the school of Austin, who define the sovereign power according to the number of persons who exercise it (cp. G. C. Lewis’ ‘Political Terms,’ Edit. 1877, p. 50). An opposite view is held by Maine, who argues truly ‘that there is more in actual sovereignty than force’ (Early Institutions, p. 358 ff.). Aristotle insists that the character of a government depends more on the quality than on the quantity of the sovereign power.
τὸν πόλεμον τὸν πρὸς Λυδούς.
Possibly the war with Gyges mentioned in Herod. i. 14. The Colophonians like the other Ionians (Herod. i. 142) appear to have been the subjects of Croesus at the time of his overthrow. A testimony to their wealth and luxury is furnished by Xenophanes apud Athenaeum xii. c. 31. 526 C, who says that a thousand citizens arrayed in purple robes would meet in the agora of Colophon.
Ὅτι μὲν ον̓̂ν πολιτεɩ̂αι πλείους, καὶ δι’ ἣν αἰτίαν, εἴρηται· διότι δὲ πλείους τω̂ν εἰρημένων, καὶ τίνες καὶ διὰ τί, λέγωμεν ἀρχὴν λαβόντες τὴν εἰρημένην πρότερον· ὁμολογον̂μεν γὰρ οὐχ ἓν μέρος ἀλλὰ πλείω πα̂σαν ἔχειν πόλιν.
It is remarkable that Aristotle should revert to the parts of states which he professes to have already determined when speaking of aristocracy (cp. c. 3. § 4). His reason for returning to them is that he is going to make a new sub-division of states based upon the differences of their parts or members.
πλείους τω̂ν εἰρημένων. As he says, infra § 20, Ὅτι μὲν ον̓̂ν εἰσὶ πολιτεɩ̂αι πλείους καὶ διὰ τίνας αἰτίας εἴρηται πρότερον· ὅτι δ’ ἐστὶ καὶ δημοκρατίας εἴδη πλείω καὶ ὀλιγαρχίας λέγωμεν. Compare Book vii. 8. § 9.
The illustration from animals may be worked out as follows. Suppose the different kinds of teeth were a, a′, a″, a′″, etc., the different kinds of claws, feet, etc. were b, b′, b″, b′″, c, c′, c″, c′″, and so on with the other organs which are important in determining the character of an animal. Then, according to Aristotle, the different combinations of these will give the different species. Thus:—
So with constitutions:—
If we combine γεωργοί, having some political power and coming occasionally to the assembly, with disfranchised βάναυσοι, and a politically active wealthy class, the result will be an oligarchy or very moderate democracy: or if we combine politically active γεωργοί, βάναυσοι, θη̂τες with a feeble or declining oligarchy, the result will be an extreme democracy: and so on.
It is hardly necessary to remark that the illustration taken from the animals is the reverse of the fact. The differences in animals are not made by the combination of different types, but by the adaptation of one type to different circumstances. Nor is there in the constitution of states any such infinite variety of combinations as the illustration from the animals would lead us to suppose; (one kind of husbandmen with another of serfs and so on). Nor does Aristotle attempt to follow out in detail the idea which this image suggests.
The eight or more classes cannot be clearly discriminated. The sixth class is wanting, but seems to be represented by the judicial and deliberative classes in § 14, yet both reappear as a ninth class in § 17. Aristotle is arguing that Plato’s enumeration of the elements of a state is imperfect—there must be soldiers to protect the citizens, there must be judges to decide their disputes, there must be statesmen to guide them (although it is possible that the same persons may belong to more than one class). ‘Then at any rate there must be soldiers’ (§ 15). This rather lame conclusion seems to be only a repetition of a part of the premisses. At this point the writer looses the thread of his discourse and, omitting the sixth, passes on from the fifth class τὸ προπολεμη̂σον in § 10 to a seventh class of rich men (§ 15), and to an eighth class of magistrates (§ 16). A somewhat different enumeration of the classes, consisting in all of six, is made in vii. 8. §§ 7-9.
διόπερ ἐν τῃ̑ Πολιτείᾳ κ.τ.λ.
The criticism of Aristotle on Plato (Rep. ii. 369) in this passage, to use an expression of his own, is παιδαριώδης λίαν. Plato, who was a poet as well as a philosopher, in a fanciful manner builds up the state; Aristotle, taking the pleasant fiction literally and detaching a few words from their context, accuses Plato of making necessity, and not the good, the first principle of the state, as if the entire aim of the work were not the search after justice. There is also an ambiguity in the word ἀναγκαία of which Aristotle here takes advantage. Plato means by the ἀναγκαιοτάτη πόλις, ‘the barest idea of a state’ or ‘the state in its lowest terms.’ But when Aristotle says judges are ‘more necessary’ than the providers of the means of life, he means ‘contribute more to the end or highest realization of the state.’ The remarks on Plato are worthless, yet they afford a curious example of the weakness of ancient criticism, arising, as in many other places, from want of imagination. But apart from the criticism the distinction here drawn between the higher and lower parts, the ‘soul’ and ‘body’ of the state, is important. Cp. vii. 9. § 10, where Aristotle introduces a similar distinction between the μέρη of the πόλις and the mere conditions (ὡ̑ν οὐκ ἄνευ) of it. ‘Husbandmen, craftsmen, and labourers of all kinds are necessary to the existence of states, but the parts of the state are the warriors and counsellors.’
ἐν τῃ̑ Πολιτείᾳ.
Here evidently the title of the book.
ἴσον τε δεομένην σκυτέων τε καὶ γεωργω̂ν.
Equally with τὸ καλόν.
ὅπερ ἐστὶ συνέσεως πολιτικη̂ς ἔργον.
ὅπερ grammatically refers to τὸ βουλεύεσθαι, suggested by τὸ βουλευόμενον.
ὥστ’ εἴπερ καὶ ταν̂τα καὶ ἐκεɩ̂να.
ταν̂τα = τὰ περὶ τὴν ψυχήν, gathered from τὰ τοιαν̂τα in § 14.
ἐκεɩ̂να = τὰ εἰς τὴν ἀναγκαίαν χρη̂σιν συντείνοντα. If the higher and the lower elements of a state are both necessary parts of it, then the warriors (who may in some cases also be husbandmen) are necessary parts: Aristotle is answering Plato, § 13, who in the first enumeration of the citizens had omitted the warriors.
ταύτην τὴν λειτουργίαν,
sc. τὸ περὶ τὰς ἀρχάς.
1) ‘To many’ or ‘in many cases’ opposed to πάντες in what follows; or 2*) πολλοɩ̂ς may be taken with δοκεɩ̂, the meaning being ‘many (differing from Plato) think, etc.’; the appeal is to the common sense which Plato is supposed to contradict.
ἀντιποιον̂νται δὲ καὶ τη̂ς ἀρετη̂ς πάντες.
The connexion is as follows:—‘Different qualifications often coexist or are thought to coexist in the same persons; and indeed virtue is a qualification for office to which all men lay claim. But no man can be rich and poor at the same time.’
ὅτι μὲν ον̓̂ν εἰσὶ πολιτεɩ̂αι πλείους, καὶ διὰ τίνας αἰτίας, εἴρηται πρότερον is a repetition with a slight verbal alteration (διὰ τίνας αἰτίας for δι’ ἣν αἰτίαν) of the first words of § 7.
ἐκ τω̂ν εἰρημένων.
I. e. from what has been said respecting differences in the parts of states (supra §§ 7, 8). Yet the curious argument from the parts of animals is an illustration only; the actual differences of states have not been worked out in detail.
κἂν εἴ τι τοιον̂τον ἑτέρου πλήθους εἰ̂δος.
Susemihl (note 1199) objects that there are no others and so the freedmen must be meant. But surely in this phrase Aristotle is merely adding a saving clause = ‘and the like.’ Cp. Nic. Eth. i. 7. § 21, τω̂ν ἀρχω̂ν αἱ μὲν ἐπαγωγῃ̑ θεωρον̂νται αἱ δ’ αἰσθήσει αἱ δ’ ἐθισμῳ̑ τινὶ καὶ ἄλλαι δ’ ἄλλως, where the last words only generalize the preceding.
τω̂ν δὲ γνωρίμων.
Sc. εἴδη, here used inaccurately for differences or different kinds of εἴδη.
τὰ τούτοις λεγόμενα κατὰ τὴν αὐτὴν διαϕοράν.
τούτοις, dative after τὴν αὐτήν, and refers to πλον̂τος, εὐγένεια, κ.τ.λ. Lit. ‘the things which are spoken of according to the same principle of difference with these,’ or ‘similar differences having a relation to these,’ e. g. the habits and occupations of the notables.
τὸ μηδὲν μα̂λλον ὑπάρχειν τοὺς ἀπόρους ἢ τοὺς εὐπόρους.
If the reading ὑπάρχειν is retained, the emphasis is on the words μηδὲν μα̂λλον which must be taken closely with it, ‘that the poor shall be no more’—which is a feeble way of saying, shall have no more power—‘than the rich’; or ‘shall have no priority,’ which gives a rather curious sense to ὑπάρχειν. A doubt about the propriety of the expression has led to two changes in the text. 1) ὑπερέχειν (Susemihl) for which there is slight MS. authority, P1, P4; and Aretino’s transl. 2) ἄρχειν an emendation of Victorius adopted by Coraes, Schneider, Stahr, and supposed to be confirmed by a parallel passage in vi. 2. § 9; see note on English Text. 3) The Old Translation ‘nihil magis existere egenis vel divitibus’ seems to favour ὑπάρχειν τοɩ̂ς ἀπόροις ἢ τοɩ̂ς εὐπόροις.
δημοκρατίαν εἰ̂ναι ταύτην.
ταύτην is slightly inaccurate = ‘the state in which this occurs.’
ἓν μὲν ον̓̂ν εἰ̂δος κ.τ.λ.
Five forms of democracy are reckoned: but the first of these is really a description of democracy in general, not of any particular form. The words in § 24 ἄλλο δὲ seem to have been introduced by mistake. The five forms are thus reduced to four, as in c. 6 the five forms of oligarchy given in c. 5 appear as four.
ἕτερον εἰ̂δος δημοκρατίας τὸ μετέχειν ἅπαντας τοὺς πολίτας ὅσοι ἀνυπεύθυνοι, ἄρχειν δὲ τὸν νόμον. ἕτερον δὲ εἰ̂δος δημοκρατίας τὸ πα̂σι μετεɩ̂ναι τω̂ν ἀρχω̂ν, ἐὰν μόνον ᾐ̑ πολίτης, ἄρχειν δὲ τὸν νόμον.
The words ὅσοι ἀνυπεύθυνοι agree with τοɩ̂ς ἀνυπευθύνοις κατὰ τὸ γένος, as the ἐὰν ᾐ̑ πολίτης does with the ὅσοι ἂν ἐλεύθεροι ὠ̂σι in the recapitulation of the passage which follows (c. 6. § 4). In both cases all citizens are eligible and the law is supreme: but in the first of the two the rights of citizenship have been scrutinized; in the second, all reputed freemen are admitted to them without enquiry. The latter case may be illustrated by the state of Athenian citizenship before the investigation made by Pericles; the former by the stricter citizenship required after the change. The meaning of the word ἀνυπεύθυνοι is shown by the parallel passage (c. 6. § 3, ἀνυπευθύνοις κατὰ τὸ γένος) to be, ‘not proved to be disqualified by birth.’
Ὅμηρος δὲ ποίαν λέγει οὐκ ἀγαθὸν εἰ̂ναι πολυκοιρανίην, πότερον ταύτην ἢ ὅταν πλείους ὠ̂σιν οἱ ἄρχοντες ὡς ἕκαστος, ἄδηλον.
It would be a poetical or historical anachronism to suppose that Homer in the words cited intended one of the senses which Aristotle seems to think possible. The collective action of states as distinguished from that of individuals is the conception, not of a poet, but of a philosopher. No modern reader would imagine that Homer is seeking to enforce any other lesson than the necessity of having one and not many leaders, especially on the field of battle. This anti-popular text is adapted to the argument.
τω̂ν δὲ καθ’ ἕκαστα τὰς ἀρχὰς καὶ τὴν πολιτείαν κρίνειν.
For use of gen. after κρίνειν cp. Plat. Rep. 576 D, Laws i. 646 D. τὴν πολιτείαν (πολιτεία here = πολίτευμα) is contrasted as ‘the collective government’ with αἱ ἀρχαί, ‘the individual magistrates.’ Yet in the context, both preceding and following, the word has the more general meaning of a ‘form of government’ or ‘constitution.’
ἂν μὲν ον̓̂ν ἐκ πάντων τούτων.
τούτων, ‘out of all the qualified persons,’ all those referred to in the two previous sentences τω̂ν ἐχόντων τιμήματα τηλικαν̂τα ὥστε κ.τ.λ. or τω̂ν ἐχόντων μακρὰ τιμήματα.
In what follows the dynastia is the exclusive hereditary oligarchy, ruling without law.
For the forms of these hereditary oligarchies and the dangers to which they are exposed, cp. v. 6. § 3. We may remark that, though the most common, they are not included in Aristotle’s definition of oligarchy (iii. c. 8).
τὰ πρω̂τα μικρὰ πλεονεκτον̂ντες παρ’ ἀλλήλων.
Not accurate, for the meaning is, not that the two encroach on one another, but that the dominant party encroaches on the other.
The form of a constitution is here supposed to be at variance with its spirit and practice. Thus England might be said to be a monarchy once aristocratically, now democratically administered; France a republic in which some of the methods of imperialism survive (cp. note on c. 1. § 8); while in Prussia the spirit of absolute monarchy carries on a not unequal contest with representative government.
διὸ πα̂σι τοɩ̂ς κτωμένοις ἔξεστι μετέχειν.
Omitted by ii2 (i. e. the MSS. of the second family except p5) and Aretino’s translation, bracketed by Bekker in both editions, is a repetition or pleonasm of the previous thought, though not on that account necessarily to be reckoned spurious. Cp. iii. 1. § 4 and note.
διὰ τὴν ἐχομένην αἵρεσιν.
‘The principle of election which follows next in order’ (cp. c. 4. § 24, ἕτερον εἰ̂δος). This use of the word ἐχομένη is supported by iii. 11. § 15, ἄλλη δ’ ἐστὶν (ἀπορία) ἐχομένη ταύτης, and vi. 8. § 4, ἑτέρα δὲ ἐπιμέλεια ταύτης ἐχομένη καὶ σύνεγγυς, and several other passages. The other interpretation of ἐχομένη, given in a note to the English text, ‘proper to it’ is scarcely defensible by examples and is probably wrong. The first form of democracy required a small property qualification, the second admitted all citizens who could prove their birth. The third admitted reputed citizens without proof of birth; though in both the latter cases the exercise of the right was limited by the opportunities of leisure. For the laxity of states in this matter, cp. iii. 5. §§ 7, 8.
διὰ τὸ μὴ εἰ̂ναι πρόσοδον.
The public revenues could not be distributed, for there were none to distribute, cp. infra § 8. The want of pay prevented the people from attending the assembly.
διὰ τὴν ὑπεροχὴν τον̂ πλήθους.
Either 1*) ‘on account of the preponderance of their numbers,’ or 2) more definitely ‘on account of the preponderance of the multitude’; (cp. c. 12. § 1 and iii. 15. § 13). The numbers of the people give the power and the revenues of the state provide pay.
καὶ διὰ τὸ πλη̂θος εἰ̂ναι τω̂ν μετεχόντων τον̂ πολιτεύματος ἀνάγκη μὴ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἀλλὰ τὸν νόμον εἰ̂ναι κύριον.
The more numerous the members of the oligarchy, and the greater the difficulty of finding the means of living, the less possibility is there of the government of a few and therefore the greater need of law; cp. infra § 9.
μήθ’ οὕτως ὀλίγην ὥστε τρέϕεσθαι ἀπ[Editor: illegible character] τη̂ς πόλεως, ἀνάγκη τὸν νόμον ἀξιον̂ν αὐτοɩ̂ς ἄρχειν.
‘When numerous, and of a middle condition, neither living in careless leisure nor supported by the state, they are driven to maintain in their case (αὐτοɩ̂ς) the rule of law.’
sc. οὐσίαν ἔχοντες.
τὸν νόμον τίθενται τοιον̂τον.
Sc. they make the law oligarchical.
ἐὰν δ’ ἐπιτείνωσι.
‘But when they stretch (the oligarchical principle) further.’
ὥσπερ Πλάτων ἐν ταɩ̂ς πολιτείαις.
Either 1)* in his works on Politics, meaning especially the Republic (as in v. 12. § 7, ἐν τῃ̑ Πολιτείᾳ) and Politicus; or 2) in his treatment of the various forms of government, i.e. in Books viii. and ix. of the Republic. The latter explanation is less idiomatic. Without referring to the Republic or the Politicus, the statement is inaccurate; for if the perfect state be included, the number of constitutions is in the Republic five, in the Politicus (302) seven.
ἀριστοκρατίαν μὲν ον̓̂ν καλω̂ς ἔχει καλεɩ̂ν περὶ ἡ̑ς διήλθομεν ἐν τοɩ̂ς πρώτοις λόγοις· τὴν γὰρ ἐκ τω̂ν ἀρίστων ἁπλω̂ς κατ’ ἀρετὴν πολιτείαν, καὶ μὴ πρὸς ὑπόθεσίν τινα ἀγαθω̂ν ἀνδρω̂ν, μόνην δίκαιον προσαγορεύειν ἀριστοκρατίαν.
The discussion is apparently the same to which he has already referred in iv. 2. § 1: the particle γὰρ seems to imply that he had in that discussion spoken of aristocracy as the government of the truly good. The passage most nearly corresponding to the allusion is iii. 4. § 4 ff., in which Aristotle treats of the relation of the good ruler to the good man.
According to a strict use of terms aristocracy is only the government of the best; in popular language it is applied to the union of wealth and merit, but is not the same either with oligarchy or with constitutional government.
καὶ γὰρ ἐν ταɩ̂ς μὴ ποιουμέναις κοινὴν ἐπιμέλειαν ἀρετη̂ς εἰσὶν ὅμως τινὲς οἱ εὐδοκιμον̂ντες καὶ δοκον̂ντες εἰ̂ναι ἐπιεικεɩ̂ς.
Cp. Plat. Laws xii. 951: ‘There are always in the world a few inspired men whose acquaintance is beyond price, and who spring up quite as much in ill-ordered as in well-ordered cities.’
οἱ̑ον ἐν Καρχηδόνι . . οἱ̑ον ἡ Λακεδαιμονίων.
Elsewhere (ii. 11. § 9) the constitution of Carthage is spoken of as a perversion of aristocracy because combining wealth and virtue; here it is called in a laxer sense an aristocracy because it combines wealth, virtue and numbers. That Sparta with all its secrecy (τη̂ς πολιτείας τὸ κρυπτόν, Thuc. v. 68) might be termed a democracy and, with all its corruption and infamy, had a sort of virtue (τὸ πιστὸν τη̂ς πολιτείας, Id. i. 68) is the view, not wholly indefensible, of Aristotle, who regards the Spartan constitution under many aspects, cp. ii. 9. §§ 20, 22, and infra c. 9. § 5, but chiefly as consisting of two elements, numbers and virtue.
καὶ ἐν αἱ̑ς εἰς τὰ δύο μόνον, οἱ̑ον ἡ Λακεδαιμονίων εἰς ἀρετήν τε καὶ δη̂μον, καὶ ἔστι μɩ̂ξις τω̂ν δύο τούτων, δημοκρατίας τε καὶ ἀρετη̂ς.
The want of symmetry in the expression εἰς ἀρετήν τε καὶ δη̂μον, followed by δημοκρατίας τε καὶ ἀρετη̂ς, instead of δήμου τε καὶ ἀρετη̂ς, probably arises out of a desire to avoid tautology.
ἀριστοκρατίας μὲν ον̓̂ν παρὰ τὴν πρώτην τὴν ἀρίστην πολιτείαν ταν̂τα δύο εἴδη· καὶ τρίτον ὅσαι τη̂ς καλουμένης πολιτείας ῥέπουσι πρὸς τὴν ὀλιγαρχίαν μα̂λλον.
There are three imperfect kinds of aristocracy beside the perfect state (ἡ πρώτη, ἡ ἀρίστη πολιτεία): 1) the governments, such as that of Carthage, in which regard is paid to virtue as well as to numbers and wealth; 2) those in which, as at Sparta, the constitution is based on virtue and numbers; 3) the forms of constitutional government (πολιτεία) which incline to oligarchy, i.e. in which the governing body is small.
ἐτάξαμεν δ’ οὕτως οὐκ ον̓̂σαν οὔτε ταύτην παρέκβασιν οὔτε τὰς ἄρτι ῥηθείσας ἀριστοκρατίας, ὅτι τὸ μὲν ἀληθὲς πα̂σαι διημαρτήκασι τη̂ς ὀρθοτάτης πολιτείας, ἔπειτα καταριθμον̂νται μετὰ τούτων, εἰσί τ’ αὐτω̂ν αὑ̑ται παρεκβάσεις, ὥσπερ ἐν τοɩ̂ς κατ’ ἀρχὴν εἴπομεν.
αὑ̑ται refers to τούτων, sc. τω̂ν παρεκβεβηκυιω̂ν or διημαρτηκυιω̂ν πολιτειω̂ν, and this to the singular παρέκβασιν.
ὥσπερ ἐν τοɩ̂ς κατ’ ἀρχὴν εἴπομεν. Sc. iii. 7. § 5.
ϕανερωτέρα γὰρ ἡ δύναμις αὐτη̂ς κ.τ.λ.
‘Now that we understand what democracy and oligarchy are, it is easier to see what the combination of them will be.’
διὰ τὸ μα̂λλον ἀκολουθεɩ̂ν παιδείαν καὶ εὐγένειαν τοɩ̂ς εὐπορωτέροις.
Men tend to identify nobility with wealth (cp. infra § 8), not unreasonably, for wealth gives leisure, and in the second generation commonly education. For εὐγένεια, see Rhet. i. 5, 1360 b. 31.
δοκεɩ̂ δ’ εἰ̂ναι τω̂ν ἀδυνάτων τὸ μὴ εὐνομεɩ̂σθαι τὴν ἀριστοκρατουμένην πόλιν, ἀλλὰ πονηροκρατουμένην.
The words ἀλλὰ πονηροκρατουμένην (omitted in the translation) are read by all the MSS. (and supported by W. de Moerbeke), and therefore though pleonastic are unlikely to be a gloss. If retained we must 1) supply εὐνομεɩ̂σθαι from τὸ μὴ εὐνομεɩ̂σθαι, ‘A state cannot be ill governed by good men, or well governed by evil men.’ 2) We may alter the order of words by placing μὴ before ἀριστοκρατουμένην, instead of before εὐνομεɩ̂σθαι (Thurot, Susem.). Or 3), with Bekker (2nd ed.), we may insert μὴ before πονηροκρατουμένην. Or 4) alter πονηροκρατουμένην into πονηροκρατεɩ̂σθαι, answering to εὐνομεɩ̂σθαι.
διὸ μίαν μὲν εὐνομίαν . . τὸ πείθεσθαι τοɩ̂ς κειμένοις νόμοις.
Cp. Thuc. iii. 37, where Cleon says, πάντων δὲ δεινότατον εἰ βέβαιον ἡμɩ̂ν μηδὲν καθεστήξει ὡ̑ν ἂν δόξῃ πέρι, μηδὲ γνωσόμεθα ὅτι χείροσι νόμοις ἀκινήτοις χρωμένη πόλις κρείσσων ἐστὶν ἢ καλω̂ς ἔχουσιν ἀκύροις.
τον̂το δ’ ἐνδέχεται διχω̂ς κ.τ.λ.
Refers back to the words τὸ καλω̂ς κεɩ̂σθαι τοὺς νόμους οἱ̑ς ἐμμένουσιν, the clause ἔστι γὰρ . . . κειμένοις being a parenthesis.
ἢ γὰρ τοɩ̂ς ἀρίστοις κ.τ.λ.
Sc. ἔστι πείθεσθαι.
ἐν μὲν ον̓̂ν ταɩ̂ς πλείσταις πόλεσι τὸ τη̂ς πολιτείας εἰ̂δος καλεɩ̂ται.
Sc. πολιτεία. Preserving the play of words and supplying πολιτεία with καλεɩ̂ται from τη̂ς πολιτείας, we may translate, ‘in most cities the form of the constitution is called constitutional.’ But are there ‘many’ such governments? Cp. supra c. 7. § 1; infra c. 11. § 19. For the answer to this question see Essay on the μέση πολιτεία, &c.
μόνον γὰρ ἡ μɩ̂ξις.
‘It is called by a neutral name, e.g. a constitution or commonwealth, for it is a mixture which aims only at uniting the freedom of the poor and the wealth of the rich; ἐλευθερίας answering to ἀπόρων as πλούτου to εὐπόρων.
As in some other summaries of Aristotle the first division seems to be a general description of those which follow. (Cp. supra note on c. 4. § 24.) We cannot distinguish between 1 and 3, unless in one of them we suppose Aristotle to have in his mind a syncretism of two general principles of government (see § 6), in the other an eclectic union of elements taken from different governments.
Something cut in two and capable of being put together, so that the parts fitted into one another; a die or coin or ring thus divided, which friends used as a token when desirous of renewing hospitality on behalf of themselves or others, and which was also used in buying or selling. See Schol. on Eur. Med. 613, οἱ ἐπιξενούμενοι, ἀστράγαλον κατατέμνοντες, θάτερον μὲν αὐτοὶ κατεɩ̂χον μέρος, θάτερον δὲ κατελίμπανον τοɩ̂ς ὑποδεξαμένοις· ἵνα εἰ δέοι πάλιν αὐτοὺς ἢ τοὺς ἐκείνων ἐπιξενον̂σθαι πρὸς ἀλλήλους, ἐπαγόμενοι τὸ ἥμισυ ἀστραγάλιον, ἀνενεον̂ντο τὴν ξενίαν: and cp. Plat. Symp. 191 D, ἀνθρώπου ξύμβολον ἅτε τετμημένος . . ἐξ ἑνὸς δύο.
ἢ γὰρ ἀμϕότερα ληπτέον ὡ̑ν ἑκάτεραι νομοθετον̂σιν κ.τ.λ.
‘For either they must take the legislation of both.’ These words are resumed in εἱ̑ς μὲν ον̓̂ν οὑ̑τος τον̂ συνδυασμον̂ τρόπος and followed by ἕτερος δὲ instead of repeating ἤ.
The first case is a union of extremes, the second a mean taken between them; the third seems to be only another example of the first.
ἐμϕαίνεται γὰρ ἑκάτερον ἐν αὐτῳ̑ τω̂ν ἄκρων.
From the democratical aspect a polity or timocracy has the appearance of an oligarchy or aristocracy; from the oligarchical aspect, of a democracy. Aristotle cites as an example of this many-sidedness the constitution of Lacedaemon, which he himself elsewhere (c. 7. § 4) calls an aristocracy, but which in this passage he acknowledges to have many features both of a democracy and of an oligarchy. Cp. Nic. Eth. ii. 7. § 8, ἐπιδικάζονται οἱ ἄκροι τη̂ς μέσης χώρας.
τοὺς μὲν γὰρ γέροντας αἱρον̂νται, τη̂ς δ’ ἐϕορείας μετέχουσιν.
I.e. ‘The people choose the elders, but are not eligible themselves; and they share in the Ephoralty.’ Whether they elected the Ephors is nowhere expressly said. We are only told that the mode of election was extremely childish (ii. 9. § 23).
ἐπειδὴ καὶ ταύτην τίθεμεν τω̂ν πολιτειω̂ν τι μέρος.
Tyranny is and is not a form of polity, in the sense in which the word ‘polity’ is used by Aristotle. Cp. c. 8. § 2, τελευταɩ̂ον δὲ περὶ τυραννίδος εὔλογόν ἐστι ποιήσασθαι μνείαν διὰ τὸ πασω̂ν ἥκιστα ταύτην εἰ̂ναι πολιτείαν, ἡμɩ̂ν δὲ τὴν μέθοδον εἰ̂ναι περὶ πολιτείας.
περὶ μὲν ον̓̂ν βασιλείας διωρίσαμεν ἐν τοɩ̂ς πρώτοις λόγοις, ἐν οἱ̑ς περὶ τη̂ς μάλιστα λεγομένης βασιλείας ἐποιούμεθα τὴν σκέψιν.
Either ‘royalty* commonly so called,’ or ‘the most truly called royalty,’ which would seem to be the παμβασιλεία. Cp. iii. c. 16.
τίνα καὶ πόθεν δεɩ̂ καθιστάναι, καὶ πω̂ς.
Two slightly different senses are here combined in δεɩ̂, 1) ‘what we ought to establish,’ and 2), incorrectly, ‘how or by what means we may or must establish it.’
τυραννίδος δ’ εἴδη δύο μὲν διείλομεν ἐν οἱ̑ς περὶ βασιλείας ἐπεσκοπον̂μεν.
Sc. iii. 14. §§ 6-10. The two forms of tyranny there mentioned are the hereditary monarchy of barbarians, and the Aesymnetia of ancient Hellas. The barbarian monarchs are here called elected sovereigns, though before spoken of as hereditary (iii. 14. § 6), and contrasted with the elected Aesymnetes of ancient Hellas, with whom they are here compared.
διὰ τὸ τὴν δύναμιν ἐπαλλάττειν πως αὐτω̂ν καὶ πρὸς τὴν βασιλείαν.
Not ‘because their powers in a manner change into one another, and pass into royalty;’ for the words ‘change into one another’ would not be a reason why they should be spoken of in connexion with royalty, but ‘because the power of either of these forms of tyranny easily passes likewise into royalty;’ likewise i.e. besides being forms of tyranny. For the use of ἐπαλλάττειν, cp. vi. 1. § 3, and i. 6. § 3.
τοσαν̂τα διὰ τὰς εἰρημένας αἰτίας.
εἰρημένας, sc. in the previous sentences. ‘There is more than one kind of tyranny, because the tyrant may rule either with or without law, and over voluntary or involuntary subjects.’
Aristotle now proceeds to speak of the best average constitution to which he alluded in c. 1. § 5.
τὸν μέσον ἀναγκαɩ̂ον βίον εἰ̂ναι βέλτιστον, τη̂ς ἑκάστοις ἐνδεχομένης τυχεɩ̂ν μεσότητος.
The gen. μεσότητος is a resumption of μέσον, and depends on βίον. Here, as in Nic. Eth. ii. 6. § 7, the mean is admitted to be relative.
ταν̂τα δ’ ἀμϕότερα βλαβερὰ ταɩ̂ς πόλεσιν.
ἀμϕότερα, sc. either 1) *‘their rogueries and their unwillingness to perform public duties, whether military or civil,’ or 2) simply ‘their dislike both of civil and military duties.’ It is possible also that ταν̂τα ἀμϕότερα may refer to the μεγαλοπόνηροι and μικροπόνηροι, in which case the words ἔτι . . . ἄρχουσι are either inserted or misplaced.
The ϕύλαρχοι at Athens were the cavalry officers under the ἵππαρχοι. See Liddell and Scott. The term is also sometimes used to denote civil magistrates, as in v. 1. § 11 to describe the oligarchical rulers of Epidamnus. βουλαρχεɩ̂ν literally = ‘to be a chief of the senate.’ The word very rarely occurs, and can here only have a generalized meaning. William de Moerbeke, apparently finding in some Greek MS. ϕιλαρχον̂σι, translates by an obvious mistake, ‘minime amant principes et volunt esse principes.’ For the association of political inactivity with the idea of crime, cp. Solon’s law forbidding neutrality in a sedition (Plut. Solon 20), τω̂ν δ’ ἄλλων αὐτον̂ νόμων ἴδιος μὲν μάλιστα καὶ παράδοξος ὁ κελεύων ἄτιμον εἰ̂ναι τὸν ἐν στάσει μηδετέρας μερίδος γενόμενον: and Pericles in Thuc. ii. 40, μόνοι γὰρ τόν τε μηδὲν τω̂νδε μετέχοντα οὐκ ἀπράγμονα ἀλλ’ ἀχρεɩ̂ον νομίζομεν.
οἱ δὲ καθ’ ὑπερβολὴν ἐν ἐνδείᾳ τούτων ταπεινοὶ λίαν.
τούτων, sc. τω̂ν εὐτυχημάτων κ.τ.λ. supra.
ἄρχεσθαι μὲν οὐδεμιᾳ̑ ἀρχῃ̑.
Dative of the manner; ‘to be ruled in any fashion.’
ὥστ’ ἀναγκαɩ̂ον ἄριστα πολιτεύεσθαι ταύτην τὴν πόλιν ἐστὶν ἐξ ὡ̑ν ϕαμὲν ϕύσει τὴν σύστασιν εἰ̂ναι τη̂ς πόλεως.
‘So that a city having [like and equal] citizens, who in our view are the natural components of it, will of necessity be best administered.’ ταύτην, sc. τὴν ἐξ ἴσων καὶ ὁμοίων . . . ἐξ ὡ̑ν κ.τ.λ.
πολλὰ μέσοισιν ἄριστα.
‘Many things are best to those who are in the mean;’ or as we might say in modern phraseology, ‘The middle class have many advantages.’ Cp. Eur. Suppl. 238-245:—
Σόλων τε γὰρ ἠ̑ν τούτων (δηλοɩ̂ δ’ ἐκ τη̂ς ποιήσεως).
The passage referred to may be that quoted by Plutarch v. Solonis, c. 3,
In classing Solon with the middle rank Aristotle appears to be thinking only of the tradition of his poverty and of the moderation inculcated in his poems. He has ignored or forgotten the tradition of his descent from Codrus.
οὐ γὰρ ἠ̑ν βασιλεύς.
The feebleness of the argument is striking; because Lycurgus, who was the guardian and is said also to have been the uncle of the king, was not a king, he is here assumed to be of the middle class! Cp. Plut. Cleom. 10, perhaps following this passage, νν̂ν δὲ τη̂ς ἀνάγκης ἔχειν συγγνώμονα τὸν Λυκον̂ργον, ὃς οὔτε βασιλεὺς ὤν, οὔτ’ ἄρχων, ἰδιώτης δὲ βασιλεύειν ἐπιχειρω̂ν ἐν τοɩ̂ς ὅπλοις προη̂λθεν εἰς ἀγοράν· ὥστε δείσαντα τὸν βασιλέα Χαρίλαον ἐπὶ βωμὸν καταϕυγεɩ̂ν. Yet Plutarch is inconsistent with himself; for he also says (Lyc. 3) that Lycurgus reigned for eight months, and resigned the royal office when the infant Charilaus was born.
Ἔτι δὲ καὶ τω̂ν ἐν ἡγεμονίᾳ γενομένων τη̂ς Ἑλλάδος πρὸς τὴν παρ’ αὑτοɩ̂ς ἑκάτεροι πολιτείαν ἀποβλέποντες οἱ μὲν δημοκρατίας ἐν ταɩ̂ς πόλεσι καθίστασαν, οἱ δ’ ὀλιγαρχίας, οὐ πρὸς τὸ τω̂ν πόλεων συμϕέρον σκοπον̂ντες ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὸ σϕέτερον αὐτω̂ν. ὥστε διὰ ταύτας τὰς αἰτίας ἢ μηδέποτε τὴν μέσην γίνεσθαι πολιτείαν ἢ ὀλιγάκις καὶ παρ’ ὀλίγοις.
Cp. Thuc. i. 19, 76, 99, 144, iii. 82 and elsewhere.
τω̂ν ἐν ἡγεμονίᾳ γενομένων. Either of the leading states, opposed to ἐν ταɩ̂ς πόλεσι the states of Hellas generally.
εἱ̑ς γὰρ ἀνὴρ συνεπείσθη μόνος τω̂ν πρότερον [ἐϕ’ ἡγεμονίᾳ γενομένων] ταύτην ἀποδον̂ναι τὴν τάξιν.
The variety of opinions entertained by commentators respecting the person here alluded to, who has been supposed to be Lycurgus (Zeller), Theopompus (Sepulveda), Solon (Schlosser), Pittacus (Goettling), Phaleas (St. Hilaire), Gelo (Camerarius), the king Pausanias II (Congreve), Epaminondas (Eaton), Alexander the Great (Zeller formerly), seems to prove that we know nothing for certain about him. Of the various claimants Solon is the most probable. He is regarded by Aristotle (ii. 12. §§ 1-6) as a sort of conservative democrat, the founder of a balanced polity, whom he contrasts with Pericles and the later Athenian demagogues (cp. Solon Frag. 5, δήμῳ μὲν γὰρ ἔδωκα τόσον κράτος ὅσσον ἐπαρκεɩ̂). The omission of the name, and the words τω̂ν πρότερον, tend to show that a well known and traditional legislator is meant. Yet it might be argued also that the phrase τω̂ν ἐϕ’ ἡγεμονίᾳ γενομένων seems to describe some one holding the position of Lysander or Philip of Macedon in Hellas, rather than the legislator of any single city.
If ‘one man’ only gave this form of constitution to Hellas it must have been rare indeed or rather imaginary, cp. supra c. 7. § 1, διὰ τὸ μὴ πολλάκις γίνεσθαι λανθάνει. But how is this to be reconciled with c. 8. § 8?
ἐϕ’ ἡγεμονίᾳ γενομένων, ‘the leading men.’ For ἐπὶ cp. οἱ ἐπὶ τοɩ̂ς πράγμασιν. (Dem.) But are not the words a copyist’s repetition of τω̂ν ἐν ἡγεμονίᾳ γενομένων above?
ταύτην ἀποδον̂ναι τὴν τάξιν. Not necessarily ‘to restore’ or ‘give back’ but more simply ‘to give what is suitable, assign,’ like [οἱ εἰκονογράϕοι] ἀποδιδόντες τὴν ἰδίαν μορϕήν, Poet. 15, 1454 b. 10.
τίς μὲν ον̓̂ν ἀρίστη πολιτεία, καὶ διὰ τίν’ αἰτίαν.
Here, as limited in § 1, ἀρίστη ταɩ̂ς πλείσταις πόλεσι.
διὰ τίν’ αἰτίαν, i. e. the moderation and stability of the state. Cp. v. 1. § 16 where it is implied that the safety of democracy is due to its approximation to the μέση πολιτεία.
λέγω δὲ τὸ πρὸς ὑπόθεσιν, ὅτι πολλάκις οὔσης ἄλλης πολιτείας αἱρετωτέρας ἐνίοις οὐθὲν κωλύσει συμϕέρειν ἑτέραν μα̂λλον εἰ̂ναι πολιτείαν.
‘It may often happen that some constitution may be preferable [in itself] and some other better suited to the peculiar circumstances of some state.’
πρὸς ὑπόθεσιν here (as in c. 1. § 4) means any supposed or given constitution, which may not be the best possible under the circumstances, but is the one to be preferred, in some states of society.
ἐνδέχεται δὲ τὸ μὲν ποιὸν ὑπάρχειν ἑτέρῳ μέρει τη̂ς πόλεως, ἐξ ὡ̑ν συνέστηκε μερω̂ν ἡ πόλις.
‘Namely to one of those parts which make up the state’; the clause ἐξ ὡ̑ν κ.τ.λ. is explanatory of ἑτέρῳ μέρει = ἑτέρῳ τω̂ν μερω̂ν.
ὅπου ὑπερέχει τὸ τω̂ν ἀπόρων πλη̂θος τὴν εἰρημένην ἀναλογίαν.
‘When the poor exceed in number the [due] proportion implied in the last words.’
καὶ τη̂ς ὀλιγαρχίας τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον ἕκαστον εἰ̂δος κατὰ τὴν ὑπεροχὴν τον̂ ὀλιγαρχικον̂ πλήθους.
‘And in like manner (not only oligarchy in general, but) each sort of oligarchy varies according to the predominance of each sort of oligarchical population (sc. ὃ ὑπάρχει αὐτῃ̑).
πανταχον̂ δὲ πιστότατος ὁ διαιτητής, διαιτητὴς δ’ ὁ μέσος.
The middle class are the arbiters between the extremes of oligarchy and democracy. When Aristotle calls the arbiter [Editor: illegible character] μέσος, this is probably meant in the same sense in which δικαιοσύνη is said to be a mean because it fixes a mean. Cp. Nic. Eth. v. 5. § 17, ἡ δὲ δικαιοσύνη μεσότης ἐστὶν οὐ τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον ταɩ̂ς πρότερον ἀρεταɩ̂ς, ἀλλ’ ὅτι μέσου ἐστίν, and v. 4. § 7, Διὸ καὶ ὅταν ἀμϕισβητω̂σιν, ἐπὶ τὸν δικαστὴν καταϕεύγουσιν· τὸ δ’ ἐπὶ τὸν δικαστὴν ἰέναι ἰέναι ἐστὶν ἐπὶ τὸ δίκαιον· ὁ γὰρ δικαστὴς βούλεται εἰ̂ναι οἱ̑ον δίκαιον ἔμψυχον· καὶ ζητον̂σι δικαστὴν μέσον, καὶ καλον̂σιν ἔνιοι μεσιδίους, ὡς, ἐὰν τον̂ μέσου τύχωσι, τον̂ δικαίου τευξόμενοι.
ἀνάγκη γὰρ χρόνῳ ποτὲ ἐκ τω̂ν ψευδω̂ν ἀγαθω̂ν ἀληθὲς συμβη̂ναι κακόν· αἱ γὰρ πλεονεξίαι τω̂ν πλουσίων ἀπολλύουσι μα̂λλον τὴν πολιτείαν ἢ αἱ τον̂ δήμου.
Aristotle gives no reason for this statement. He may have thought that the designs of an oligarchy are more deeply laid and corrupting, while the fickleness of the multitude is in some degree a corrective to itself. The oligarchies of Hellas were certainly worse than the democracies: the greatest dishonesty of which the Athenians were guilty in the Peloponnesian War (Thuc. iv. 23) is far less hateful than the perfidy of the Spartans narrated Id. iv. 80. The cruelty of the four hundred or of the thirty tyrants strikingly contrasts on both occasions with the moderation of the democracy which overthrew them.
It is a curious question, which we have not the means of answering, whether all these artifices (σοϕίσματα) are historical facts or only inventions of Aristotle, by which he imagines that the democracy or oligarchy might weaken the opposite party. Some of them, such as the pay to the people, we know to have been used at Athens: but there is no historical proof, except what may be gathered from this passage, that the richer members of an oligarchical community were ever compelled under a penalty to take part in the assembly, or in the law courts. Cp. infra p. 178 note: also c. 15. § 14-18.
τοɩ̂ς μὲν μεγάλην, τοɩ̂ς δὲ μικράν, ὥσπερ ἐν τοɩ̂ς Χαρώνδου νόμοις.
Yet the penalty must have been relatively as well as absolutely greater or smaller, or the rich would have had no more reason for going than the poor for abstaining. The meaning is not that Charondas inflicted a larger fine on the rich and a proportionally small one on the poor for absence from the assembly; but generally that he adapted his fines to the circumstances of offenders.
ἐθέλουσι γὰρ οἱ πένητες καὶ μὴ μετέχοντες τω̂ν τιμω̂ν ἡσυχίαν ἔχειν, ἐὰν μὴ ὑβρίζῃ τις αὐτοὺς μήτε ἀϕαιρη̂ται μηθὲν τη̂ς οὐσίας.
The connexion is as follows: ‘The qualification must be such as will place the government in the hands of a majority [and then there will be no danger]: for the poor, even though they are not admitted to office, will be quiet enough if they are not outraged.’
ἐν Μαλιεν̂σι δὲ ἡ μὲν πολιτεία ἠ̑ν ἐκ τούτων κ.τ.λ.
‘Among the Malians the governing or larger body was elected from those who were past service, the magistrates from those on actual service’; the past tense (ἠ̑ν) has been thought to imply that the government had changed possibly in consequence of Philip and Alexander’s conquests: compare a similar use of the past, v. 1. § 11 respecting the government of Epidamnus, and note.
ὥστ’ ἐν τοɩ̂ς ἱππεν̂σιν εἰ̂ναι τὴν ἰσχύν.
Yet the tendency of some of the Greek states to the use of cavalry was as much due to the suitability of large regions, such as Thessaly, for the breeding and support of horses, as to the form of government. Nor can the remark be true of Greek oligarchies in general, considering how ill suited the greater part of Hellas was to the training or use of horses. Cp. supra c. 3. § 3, a passage in which Aristotle has made a similar observation.
ἃς νν̂ν καλον̂μεν πολιτείας, οἱ πρότερον ἐκάλουν δημοκρατίας.
I.e. what appeared to the older Greeks to be a large governing class was to the later Greeks a small or moderate one.
κατὰ τὴν σύνταξιν μα̂λλον ὑπέμενον τὸ ἄρχεσθαι.
1*) Some word like ἀσθενεɩ̂ς has to be supplied from ὀλίγοι ὄντες τὸ πλη̂θος before κατὰ τὴν σύνταξιν; or 2) κατὰ τὴν σύνταξιν may be taken after ὑπέμενον, ‘and also through a (want of) organization, they were more willing to endure the dominion of others.’
Πάλιν δὲ καὶ κοινῃ̑ καὶ χωρὶς περὶ ἑκάστης λέγωμεν περὶ τω̂ν ἐϕεξη̂ς, λαβόντες ἀρχὴν τὴν προσήκουσαν αὐτω̂ν.
From a consideration of the differences between states, and the causes of them, Aristotle in his accustomed manner, proceeding from the whole to the parts, passes on to consider the mode in which different powers are constituted in states, cc. 14-16. He will hereafter show how the wholes are affected by the parts.
A somewhat similar discussion occurs in bk. vi. c. 8. See note on vi. 1. § 1.
ἔστι δὲ τω̂ν τριω̂ν τούτων (sc. μορίων) ἓν μέν τι τὸ βουλευόμενον περὶ τω̂ν κοινω̂ν, δεύτερον δὲ τὸ περὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς (τον̂το δ’ ἐστὶν ἃς δεɩ̂ καὶ τίνων εἰ̂ναι κυρίας, καὶ ποίαν τινὰ δεɩ̂ γίνεσθαι τὴν αἵρεσιν αὐτω̂ν), τρίτον δέ τι τὸ δικάζον.
Aristotle divides the state, much as we should do, into three parts, 1) the legislative, (which has in certain cases power over individuals; see infra § 3): 2) the administrative or executive: 3) the judicial. The words τον̂το δ’ ἐστὶν seem to refer back to δεɩ̂ θεωρεɩ̂ν τὸν νομοθέτην. But if so there is a verbal irregularity. For the duties and modes of appointment to offices are not a part of the state, but questions relating to a part of the state.
τι not interrogative, to be taken closely with ἓν and with τρίτον.
Nothing more is known about Telecles. From the manner in which he is spoken of he appears to have been an author rather than a legislator. ἐν τῃ̑ πολιτείᾳ τον̂ Τηλεκλέους is said like ἐν τῃ̑ πολιτείᾳ τον̂ Πλάτωνος, ii. 1. § 3, iv. 4. § 11.
ἕως ἂν διέλθῃ.
Some word implying the right of succession to office has to be supplied, e. g. ἡ ἀρχὴ from τὰς ἀρχάς. The same phrase occurs infra c. 15. § 17.
συνιέναι δὲ μόνον
is governed by εἱ̑ς μὲν τρόπος above.
ἄλλος δὲ τρόπος κ.τ.λ.
A reduplication of the preceding, although there may also be a shade of distinction in the greater stress which is laid upon voting and scrutinies. Here, as in other places (c. 4. §§ 22-24; c. 6. §§ 3, 4), we have a difficulty in discriminating Aristotle’s differences. There is only an incomplete order in the catalogue of democracies. First of all comes the most moderate, in which the assembly plays a very subordinate part, then two more which are almost indistinguishable, lastly the most extreme.
τὰ δ’ ἄλλα τὰς ἀρχὰς διοικεɩ̂ν αἱρετὰς οὔσας, ὅσας ἐνδέχεται· τοιαν̂ται δ’ εἰσὶν ὅσας ἄρχειν ἀναγκαɩ̂ον τοὺς ἐπισταμένους.
The words ὅσας ἐνδέχεται can only mean ‘as many elective offices as can be allowed to exist in a democracy consistently with the democratic principle of electing the magistrates by lot.’ The excepted magistracies will be those in which special skill or knowledge is required. Cp. vi. 2. § 5, τὸ κληρωτὰς εἰ̂ναι τὰς ἀρχὰς ἢ πάσας ἢ ὅσαι μὴ ἐμπειρίας δέονται καὶ τέχνης. Susemihl has introduced κληρωτὰς οὐκ before ἐνδέχεται = ὅσας οὐκ ἐνδέχεται κληρωτὰς εἰ̂ναι· τοιαν̂ται δ’ εἰσὶν referring to αἱρετάς. But the change has no MS. authority, and though ingenious is unnecessary.
ὅταν δὲ μὴ πάντες τον̂ βουλεύεσθαι μετέχωσιν ἀλλ’ αἱρετοί, κατὰ νόμον δ’ ἄρχωσιν ὥσπερ καὶ πρότερον, ὀλιγαρχικόν.
Opposed to the milder πολιτικὴ ὀλιγαρχία in the previous sentence, and repeated with greater emphasis in the words which follow ὀλιγαρχικὴν ἀναγκαɩ̂ον εἰ̂ναι τὴν τάξιν ταύτην (§ 9). μὴ πάντες, i. e. ‘not all [who possess the required qualification].’ Yet these latter words, which are necessary to the sense, are wanting in the text.
Compare for several verbal resemblances, supra c. 5.
τω̂ν δὲ ἄλλων ἄρχοντες, καὶ οὑ̑τοι αἱρετοὶ ἢ κληρωτοί.
For in an aristocracy or oligarchy, as in a democracy, a magistrate might be elected by lot, but only out of a select class.
ἀριστοκρατία μὲν ἢ πολιτεἴα.
Aristocracy is elsewhere said to include numbers, wealth, and virtue; here the aristocratical element seems to reside in the magistrates who have superior merit, and control the whole administration of the state except war, peace, and the taking of scrutinies.
Compare c. 7. § 3; c. 8. §§ 3, 9, in which the near connexion between aristocracy and polity is pointed out.
διῄρηται μὲν ον̓̂ν τὸ βουλευόμενον πρὸς τὰς πολιτείας τον̂τον τὸν τρόπον, καὶ διοικεɩ̂ ἑκάστη πολιτεία κατὰ τὸν εἰρημένον διορισμόν.
κατὰ τὸν εἰρημένον διορισμόν, i. e. each constitution will be variously administered according to some one of the principles on which the governing body is elected, e.g. out of some, or out of all; and as acting either according to law, or without law, etc.
διοικεɩ̂ has been changed into διοίσει and διοικεɩ̂ται, for which latter there is perhaps the authority of Moerbeke, who reads disponitur. But no change is needed. For use of διοικεɩ̂ν, cp. v. 10. § 36.
συμϕέρει δὲ δημοκρατίᾳ τῃ̑ μάλιστ’ εἰ̂ναι δοκούσῃ δημοκρατίᾳ νν̂ν κ.τ.λ.
Aristotle remembering the short life of the extreme democracy which is above law, proposes various ways of strengthening or moderating it; he would have the notables take part in the assembly; and he would enforce their attendance by the imposition of penalties analogous to the fines which the oligarchy inflict on judges for neglect of their duties. (Cp. v. cc. 8, 9 on the preserving principles of state.)
Of the advantage of combining the few with the many there can be no question: but will the upper classes ever be induced to take an active part in a democracy? They have not done so in France or America; may we hope that they will in England?
ἀποκληρον̂ν τοὺς πλείους.
I. e. he on whom the lot fell was not included, but excluded until the numbers were sufficiently reduced.
αἱρον̂νται δὲ καὶ πρεσβευταί.
‘Even ambassadors, whom we might be more inclined to call magistrates, and who are elected by lot, are ἕτερόν τι παρὰ τὰς πολιτικὰς ἀρχάς.’
οἱ̑ον στρατηγὸς στρατευομένων,
sc. ἐπιμελεɩ̂ται implied in ἐπιμελειω̂ν.
ἀλλὰ ταν̂τα διαϕέρει πρὸς μὲν τὰς χρήσεις οὐθὲν ὡς εἰπεɩ̂ν· οὐ γάρ πω κρίσις γέγονεν ἀμϕισβητούντων περὶ τον̂ ὀνόματος. ἔχει δέ τιν’ ἄλλην διανοητικὴν πραγματείαν.
‘Verbal questions, such as the definition of an office, are of no practical importance, although some intellectual interest may attach to them.’ ἄλλην is redundant.
μα̂λλον ἄν τις ἀπορήσειε.
I. e. rather than dispute about the name.
βέλτιον ἕκαστον ἔργον τυγχάνει τη̂ς ἐπιμελείας μονοπραγματούσης ἢ πολυπραγματούσης.
Cp. Plat. Rep. ii. 370 B ff.
καὶ πότερον κατὰ τὸ πρα̂γμα δεɩ̂ διαιρεɩ̂ν ἢ κατὰ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους, λέγω δ’ οἱ̑ον ἕνα τη̂ς εὐκοσμίας, ἢ παίδων ἄλλον καὶ γυναικω̂ν.
Two offices are mentioned in the latter part of the sentence: cp. infra § 13, παιδονόμος καὶ γυναικονόμος: and vi. 8. § 22, ἰδίᾳ δὲ ταɩ̂ς σχολαστικωτέραις καὶ μα̂λλον εὐημερούσαις πόλεσιν . . . γυναικονομία . . . παιδονομία κ.τ.λ.
ἕτεραι ἐν ἑτέραις, οἱ̑ον ἐν μὲν ταɩ̂ς ἀριστοκρατίαις ἐκ πεπαιδευμένων.
‘Differing,’ i. e. in the character of those from whom the election is made. Though the word ἕτεραι is inaccurate, the meaning is the same as that of ἑτέρων, which Susemihl, on very slight authority, has introduced into the text.
πότερον διαϕέρει . . . ἢ τυγχάνουσι μέν τινες ον̓̂σαι καὶ κατ’ αὐτὰς τὰς διαϕορὰς τω̂ν ἀρχω̂ν, ἔστι δ’ ὅπου συμϕέρουσιν αἱ αὐταί.
The alternative πότερον διαϕέρει κ.τ.λ. is repeated and expanded. ‘Are offices the same in different states, or not the same? Are they the same, but elected out of different classes in aristocracy, monarchy, oligarchy, democracy? Or do the offices differ naturally according to the actual differences in forms of government, the same offices being sometimes found to agree and sometimes to disagree with different forms of government, and having a lesser power in some states and a greater in others? For example, has the president of the assembly, in whatever way appointed, the same functions at Sparta and at Athens? Are not probuli suited to an oligarchy, a censor of boys and women to an aristocracy, a council to a democracy? And will they be equally suited to other forms, or may not their powers require to be extended or narrowed?’
According to this explanation the natural order of the words is somewhat inverted, for τω̂ν ἀρχω̂ν is taken with τινές: and with κατ’ αὐτὰς τὰς διαϕορὰς has to be supplied τω̂ν πολιτειω̂ν from κατὰ τὰς πολιτείας supra. We may also supply πολιτεɩ̂αι with τινές, and translate ‘may not some states essentially derive their character from offices.’ But the abrupt transition to a new subject (ἀρχαὶ) in the next clause shows this way of taking the passage to be inadmissible.
Bekker (2nd Edit.) after Victorius reads διαϕοραὶ for τὰς διαϕοράς.
οἱ̑ον ἡ τω̂ν προβούλων· αὕτη γὰρ οὐ δημοκρατική.
πρόβουλοι, as he says vi. 8. § 17, are oligarchical officers, because they alone have the initiative, and, therefore, the people cannot of themselves make any change in the constitution; supra c. 14. § 14.
εἰσὶ δ’ αἱ διαϕοραὶ κ.τ.λ.
The meaning of the text may be illustrated by the following scheme:—
All, or some, or all and some, elect out of all, or some, or out of all and some, by vote or by lot; or by vote and by lot.
The three modes give rise to twelve possible varieties:
and to the two further combinations (οἱ δύο συνδυασμοί): partly by vote and partly by lot, partly out of all and partly out of some.
It is not to be supposed that, even in such a ‘bazaar of constitutions’ (Plat. Rep. viii. 557 D) as Hellas furnished, all these different forms of government were really to be found. Aristotle derives them not from his experience of history, but out of the abundance of his logic.
ὥσπερ ἐν Μεγάροις.
Cp. v. 3. § 5 and 5. § 4, where the overthrow of the Megarian democracy is attributed to the corruption and oppression practised by demagogues; also Thuc. iv. 74 (though it is not certain whether Aristotle is speaking of the return of the exiles there mentioned or of some earlier or later one); and Arist. Poet. c. 3. § 5, 1448 a. 32, where he refers to an ancient democracy existing in Megara, of which the recent establishment is deplored by Theognis, line 53 ff., Bergk. There was an alliance between Athens and Megara in 458 (Thuc. i. 103, 114), which terminated at the battle of Coronea 447; probably during the alliance, but not afterwards, Megara was governed by a democracy. In the eighth year of the Peloponnesian War the oligarchs were in exile, but were restored by the influence of Brasidas. In the year b.c. 375 the democracy had been re-established: Diod. xv. 40.
τούτων δ’ αἱ μὲν δύο κ.τ.λ.
The vote is considered less democratical than the lot: both are admissible in a democracy, but it is essential to its very nature that all should elect. If any limitation takes place the government becomes an aristocracy or a polity, which alike tend to oligarchy in so far as they reduce the number of electors or of persons who are eligible, though differing in other respects. When some only appoint, in whatever manner, out of all, or all out of some, and the elections do not take place all at once (ἅμα, i.e. when the governing body retire by rotation), we have a constitutional government, which inclines to an aristocracy when the two opposite principles of ‘some out of some’ and ‘some out of all’ are combined. The high oligarchical doctrine is ‘some out of some, by vote or by lot or by both,’ the lot being employed in an oligarchy, as in a democracy, to exclude favour or merit. Cp. v. 3. § 9.
If genuine, is used in a pregnant sense = καθίστασθαι, the construction being changed from the active, which is resumed in the clause which follows, to the neuter or passive. Though the word appears to disturb the sentence, it is found in all the MSS.
ὀλιγαρχικώτερον δὲ καὶ τὸ ἐξ ἀμϕοɩ̂ν.
ἐξ ἀμϕοɩ̂ν seems naturally to mean τὰς μὲν ἐκ πάντων, τὰς δὲ ἐκ τινω̂ν, cp. § 19 fin. But if so the same words which here describe the oligarchical government, are applied in the next sentence to the polity or constitutional government which inclines to aristocracy. Nor can any reason be given why the election ‘out of all and out of some’ should be ‘more oligarchical’ than the election out of some. Another way of taking the words is to explain ἐξ ἀμϕοɩ̂ν as a double election. But in this passage ἐξ is always used to introduce the persons out of whom the election is made; and therefore ἐξ ἀμϕοɩ̂ν could not = ἀμϕοɩ̂ν. Some corruption of the text is probable; the numerous repetitions are likely to have confused the eye of the copyist. τὸ ἐκ τινω̂ν ἀμϕοɩ̂ν is the ingenious and probably true emendation of Mr. Evelyn Abbott. If the principle of ‘some out of some’ is maintained, the election in both ways, i. e. by vote out of persons elected by lot, or by lot out of persons elected by vote, would clearly be more oligarchical than the simple election by vote or by lot.
μὴ γενόμενον δ’ ὁμοίως,
sc. ὀλιγαρχικόν. These words which are translated in the text ‘though not equally oligarchical if taken by lot’ would be better rendered ‘and equally oligarchical if not appointed by lot’ (Stahr): that is to say, whether appointed by vote or by lot they would equally retain their oligarchical character, if some were chosen out of some. μὴ must be taken with γενόμενον.
τινὰς ἐκ τινω̂ν ἀμϕοɩ̂ν.
‘In both ways,’ sc. κλήρῳ καὶ αἱρέσει.
τίνα δὲ τίσι συμϕέρει καὶ πω̂ς δεɩ̂ γίνεσθαι τὰς καταστάσεις ἅμα ταɩ̂ς δυνάμεσι τω̂ν ἀρχω̂ν τίνες εἰσίν, ἔσται ϕανερόν.
Neither the reading nor the meaning of this passage is quite certain. Some MSS. and the old translation omit* καὶ before τίνες, thus referring τίνες εἰσὶν to δυνάμεσι. If with Bekker and several MSS. we retain καὶ before τίνες εἰσίν, the words may receive different interpretations. Either 1), ‘how to establish them and what their powers and their nature are will be manifest,’ i. e. need no explanation; or 2), ‘we shall know how to establish them and their nature when we know their powers.’
τὸ ἐν Φρεαττοɩ̂ δικαστήριον.
Nothing certain is known about this court; it is here spoken of only as a matter of tradition. The cases of which it took cognizance were rare, and therefore it is not strange that the court which tried them should have become obsolete. According to Pausanias (i. 28. § 12) Phreattys was a spot in the Piraeus near the sea, whither banished persons, against whom some fresh accusation was brought after their banishment, went to defend themselves out of a ship before judges who were on the land. This explanation is repeated by several of the scholiasts; but Aristotle, with much greater probability, supposes the banished man to offer himself for trial of the original offence. So in Plat. Laws ix. 866 D, a law is proposed, probably founded on some ancient custom, that the banished homicide, if wrecked upon his native shore, should sit with his feet in the sea, until he found an opportunity of sailing.
ἀλλὰ περὶ μὲν τούτων ἀϕείσθω καὶ τω̂ν ϕονικω̂ν καὶ τω̂ν ζενικω̂ν, περὶ δὲ τω̂ν πολιτικω̂ν λέγωμεν, περὶ ὡ̑ν μὴ γινομένων καλω̂ς διαστάσεις γίνονται καὶ τω̂ν πολιτειω̂ν αἱ κινήσεις.
This sentence appears to be out of place; for no special mention occurs of political causes in what follows; but the writer at once returns to his former subject, and treats the appointment of judges on the same principles which he has applied to the appointment of other magistrates. It is possible that they connect with the beginning of Book v, and that the rest of the chapter is only a repetition in an altered form of c. 15. §§ 17-22.
οἱ τρόποι τέτταρες.
The scheme on which judges are appointed, though abridged, is the same as that on which magistrates are appointed; and the various modes correspond in like manner to different forms of government.
The judicial institutions of a country reflect the political, but with a difference. The legislature is active, the courts of law are passive; they do not move until they are set in motion, they deal with particular cases which are brought before them by others; and through these only do they rise to general principles. They do not make laws, but interpret them; nor can they set aside a law unless by appealing to a higher law. They are the conservative element of the state, rooted in habit and precedent and tradition.
But there is also a certain analogy between the political and judicial institutions of a country. In a free state the law must be supreme, and the courts of law must exercise an independent authority; they must be open and public, and they must include a popular element. They represent the better mind of the nation, speaking through certain fixed forms; and they exercise indirectly a considerable influence upon legislation. They have their place also in the education of the people: for they, above all other instructors, teach the lesson of justice and impartiality and truth. As good actions produce good habits in the individual, so the laws of a state grow and strengthen and attain consistency by the decisions of courts.
That Aristotle was not ignorant of the connexion between the judicial and political institutions of a people is shown by his remark that ‘Solon established the democracy when he constituted the dicasteries out of the whole people’ (ii. 12. § 2).