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Aristotle, The Politics vol. 1 [-320]

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Aristotle, 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. 1.

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Volume 1 of Benjamin Jowett’s translation of one of Aristotle’s most influential writings. The editor provides detailed marginal annotations and lengthy introductions to each book.

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Oxford University Press Warehouse Amen Corner, E.C.

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by B. JOWETT, M.A. master of balliol college regius professor of greek in the university of oxford doctor in theology of the university of leyden
[All rights reserved]
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to the REV. WILLIAM ROGERS, RECTOR OF BISHOPSGATE, who by the kindness of his heart, and the force of his character, has given a new life to education in the city of london, this work is affectionately inscribed.

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The translation of the Politics which is now given to the public was commenced about fifteen years since, with the intention of illustrating the Laws of Plato. A rough draft was made by the translator, which he had the advantage of reading over with Mr. Alfred Robinson, of New College. But finding the work more difficult than he had anticipated, he determined to begin again and rewrite the whole. He was insensibly led on to the preparation of a commentary and an analysis. Other subjects of a more general character, which arose out of the study of Aristotle’s Politics, naturally took the form of essays1. These will be published shortly and will complete Vol. II. The translation Edition: current; Page: [ii]was printed more than two years ago, and before the appearance of Mr. Welldon’s excellent book. The editor has availed himself of the opportunity which the delay afforded to add in the Notes his second thoughts on some doubtful passages.

He has to acknowledge the great assistance which he has received from several friends, especially from Mr. David Ritchie in the composition of the Notes, and from Mr. Evelyn Abbott in the criticism of them. He has also to express his gratitude to his friend and secretary, Mr. Matthew Knight, for the excellent Indices he has prepared both of the Text and Notes, and for many valuable suggestions which occur in different parts of the book. He wishes that Mr. Knight could be induced to bestow on some work of his own the knowledge and thought which he devotes to the writings of another.

The Editor has to apologize for a delay in the fulfilment of his task, which has arisen necessarily out of the pressure of other avocations. He had hoped that his work would have been completed some years ago. An author generally finds that his literary undertakings exceed the measure of time which he has assigned to them; they grow under his hand; the years which he has spent upon them quickly pass, and at last he too often fails of satisfying either himself or the public. When he has nearly finished, if ever, he feels that he is beginning to have a greater command of his subject; but he is obliged to make an end. He may perhaps claim to know better than any one else the deficiencies Edition: current; Page: [iii]of his own performance; but he knows also that he cannot expect to be heard if he attempts to excuse them.

It is a ‘regrettable accident’ that this book will probably appear about the same time with another edition of the Politics of Aristotle, also to be published at the Clarendon Press, the long expected work of an old friend and pupil, Mr. Newman, Fellow and formerly Tutor of Balliol College, which would not have been delayed until now, if the ‘bridle of Theages’ (Plato, Rep. vi. 496 b) had not retarded the progress of the author. Those who remember the enthusiasm which was aroused by his brilliant lectures on this and other subjects a quarter of a century ago will take a great interest in the result of his labours. I gladly welcome the ὀψίγονον τέκος and offer hearty wishes for the success of the work.

The editor of a Greek or Latin classic generally owes a large debt to his predecessors. In some one of them he will probably find the collation of the text ready to his hand, or at least carried to such an extent that to pursue the enquiry further would lead to no adequate result. The difficult passages have already been translated by them many times over, and the use of words and idioms has been minutely analyzed by them. There are innumerable parallels and illustrations, relevant and also irrelevant, which have been collected by their industry. The new Editor freely appropriates the materials which they have accumulated; nor can he greatly Edition: current; Page: [iv]add to them. He is no longer the pioneer; he enters into the labours of others, and is responsible for the use which he makes of them. The field in which he has to work is limited; the least of the kingdoms into which physical science is subdivided is greater and more extended. It is an ancient branch of knowledge on which he is employed; a mine out of which, with care, some good pieces of ore may still be extracted, but which does not yield the same rich profits as formerly. And he is in danger of finding that ‘what is new is not true, and that what is true is not new.’ He knows how often conjectures which cannot be disproved have taken the place of real knowledge. He can only hope that the constant study of his author, the interpretation of him from his own writings, the dismissal of all prejudices and preconceptions may throw some fresh light upon the page. It will not always be easy for him to determine what he has thought out for himself and what he has derived from others, and still less to distinguish what in former editors is their own and what they in turn have derived from their predecessors. No one who has spent many years in the study of an author can remember whether a thought occurred to him spontaneously or was suggested by the remark of another. There is therefore the more reason that he should make his acknowledgments to those who have preceded him.

The writer of these volumes is under great obligations to Schlosser, whose good sense and manly criticism are of great value in the interpretation of Edition: current; Page: [v]the Politics; he is also much indebted to Schneider, who is a sound scholar and a distinguished critic both of Aristotle and Plato; as well as to A. Stahr and Bernays who have made accurate and finished translations, Stahr of the whole work, Bernays of the three first books; above all to the learning of Susemihl, who is not only the author of a new translation, but has also made a fuller collection of all the materials necessary either for the study of the text or the illustration of the subject than any previous editor; lastly to Immanuel Bekker, the father of modern textual criticism, who has not left much to be improved in the text of Aristotle. The commentary of Goettling has likewise a good deal of merit. I am indebted for a few references to Mr. Eaton’s edition of the Politics, and to Mr. Congreve for several excellent English expressions, and still more for his full and valuable indices.

The editor, like many of his predecessors, has been led to the conclusion that the Politics of Aristotle exist only in a questionable and imperfect shape. He cannot say that the work is well arranged or free from confusion of thought or irregularities of style and language. To assume a perfection or completeness which does not exist would contradict facts which are obvious on the surface. The worst kind of inaccuracy is pretended accuracy. No progress can be made in the study of Aristotle by an art of interpretation which aims only at reconciling an author with himself. Neither is there any use in seeking to reconstruct the Politics in another Edition: current; Page: [vi]form; no analysis of them will enable us to arrive at the secret of their composition. We cannot rehabilitate them by a transposition of sentences, or by a change in the order of the books; we must take them as they are. Real uncertainties are better than imaginary certainties. Yet the uncertainty in this instance is one of which the human mind is peculiarly impatient. For amid so much repetition and confusion great truths are constantly appearing which reflect the mind of the master. But to separate these by any precise line, to say ‘here are the genuine words of Aristotle,’ ‘this the later addition,’ is beyond the art of the critic. The student of Aristotle will do better to fix his mind on the thoughts which have had so vast an influence, and have so greatly contributed to the progress of mankind, and not to enquire too curiously into the form of the writing which contains them.

Balliol College, Oxford:

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The text of the Politics from which the Translation has been made, and to which the Notes refer, is that of Bekker’s First Edition. The variations from this Text are indicated at the foot of the page in the Translation.

An Essay on the Text will be found in the Second Part of the Second Volume hereafter to be published.

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ERRATA IN TRANSLATION mentioned in the notes.

  • Page 77 (iii. 5, § 9), for ‘to deceive the inhabitants’ read ‘that the privileged class may deceive their fellow citizens’
  • Page 141 (iii. 15, § 6), for ‘A king must legislate’ read ‘There must be a legislator, whether you call him king or not’
  • Page 149 (v. 3, § 7) for ‘having been cut to pieces’ read ‘after their army had been cut to pieces’
  • Ib. (ib. § 9) for ‘Oreum’ read ‘Oreus’
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The writings of Aristotle are almost entirely wanting in the charm of style, and several of them cannot even be said to have the merit of clearness. In the Politics we are often unable to follow the drift of the argument; the frequent digressions and conflicting points of view which arise are troublesome and perplexing to us. We do not understand why the writer should again and again have repeated himself; why he should have made promises which he never fulfills; why he should be always referring to what has preceded, or to what follows. He sometimes crosses over from his own line of argument to that of his opponent; and then returns again without indicating that he has made a change of front. There are words and clauses which seem to be out of place; or at any rate not to be duly subordinated to the rest of the passage. No other work of genius is so irregular in structure as some of the Aristotelian writings. And yet this defect of form has not prevented their exercising the greatest influence on philosophy and literature; the half-understood words of Aristotle have become laws of thought to other ages.

With the causes of these peculiarities we are not at present concerned. The style of Aristotle runs up into the more general question of the manner in which his writings were compiled or have been transmitted to us. Are they the work of one or of many? Do they proceed from the hand or mind of a single writer, or are they the accumulations of the Peripatetic school? This is a question, like the controversy about the Homeric poems, which cannot be precisely answered. The original form of some of the Aristotelian writings will never be restored. We can hardly tell how or where they came into existence: how much is to be attributed to Aristotle, how much to his editors or followers,—whether Edition: current; Page: [x]his first followers, such as Eudemus, or later editors, such as the Alexandrians, or Andronicus of Rhodes, or Tyrannion, the friend of Cicero. We cannot by the transposition of sentences make them clearer, nor by verbal conjecture remove small flaws in the reasoning, or inconsistencies in the use of words. The best manuscripts of the Ethics and Politics, though not of first-rate authority, are not much worse than the primary manuscripts of other Greek authors. The disease, if it is to be so regarded, lies deeper, and enters into the constitution of the work. The existing form of the Aristotelian writings is at least as old as the first or second century b. c.; it is in the main the Aristotle of Cicero, though he was also acquainted with other works passing under the name of Aristotle, such as the Dialogues, which are preserved to us only in fragments. If we go back in thought from that date to the time when they were first written down by the hand of Aristotle, or at which they passed from being a tradition of the school into a roll or book, we are unable to say in what manner or out of what elements, written or oral, they grew up or were compiled. We only know that several of them are unlike any other Greek book which has come down to us from antiquity. The long list of works attributed to Aristotle in the Catalogues also shows that the Aristotelian literature in the Alexandrian age was of an indefinite character, and admitted of being added to and altered.

But although we cannot rehabilitate or restore to their original state the Politics or the Nicomachean Ethics or the Metaphysics, we may throw them into a form which will make them easier and more intelligible to the modern reader. We may 1) present the argument stripped of digressions and additions; 2) we may bring out the important and throw into the background the unimportant points; 3) we may distinguish the two sides of the discussion, where they are not distinguished by the author; 4) we may supply missing links, and omit clumsy insertions; 5) we may take the general meaning without insisting too minutely on the connection. We cannot presume to say how Aristotle should or might have written; nor can we dream of reconstructing an original text which probably had no existence. But we may leave out the interlineations; we may make a difficult book easier; Edition: current; Page: [xi]we may give the impression of the whole in a smaller compass. We may be allowed, without violating any principle of criticism, to imagine how Aristotle would have rewritten or rearranged his subject, had our modern copies of the Politics fallen into his hands.

Many things become clearer to us when we are familiar with them. A sense of unity and power will often arise in the mind after long study of a writing which at first seemed poor and disappointing. Through the distinctions and other mannerisms of his school, the original thinker shines forth to any one who is capable of recognising him. Great ideas or forms of thought indicate a mind superior in power to the average understanding of the commentator or interpreter. We cannot be sure that any single sentence of the Politics proceeded from the pen of Aristotle, but this is no reason for doubting the genuineness of his works, if we take the term in a somewhat wider sense; for they all bear the impress of his personality. That which distinguishes him from Plato and the Neo-Platonists, from Isocrates and the rhetoricians, from the Stoics and Epicureans, from all Scholiasts and Commentators, is not the less certain because his writings have come down to us in a somewhat questionable shape. Even if they are the traditions of a school, the mind of the founder is reflected in them. The aim of the interpreter should be to simplify, to disentangle, to find the thought in the imperfect expression of it; as far as possible, to separate the earlier from the later elements, the true from the false Aristotle. The last, however, is a work of great nicety, in which we can only proceed on grounds of internal evidence and therefore cannot hope to attain any precise result. There may be said to be a petitio principii even in making the attempt, for we can only judge of the genuine Aristotle from writings of which the genuineness is assumed.

Any mere translation of Aristotle’s Politics will be, in many passages, necessarily obscure, because the connexion of ideas is not adequately represented by the sequence of words. If it were possible to present the course of thought in a perfectly smooth and continuous form, such an attempt would be too great a departure from the Greek. It is hoped that the Analysis or short paraphrase Edition: current; Page: [xii]which follows may assist the student in grasping the general meaning before he enters on a minute study of the text; and that the reflections which are interspersed may enable him to read Aristotle in the light of recent criticism and history, and to take a modern interest in it, without confusing the ancient and modern worlds of thought. (Compare, in vol. ii, Essays on the Style of Aristotle, and on the Structure of certain of the Aristotelian writings.)


A criticism on Plato,—the origin of the household, village, state,—the nature of property and more especially of property in slaves,—the art of household management, and its relation to the art of money-making,—literature of the subject,—some further questions concerning the relations of master and slave, husband and wife, parent and child.

The great charm of the writings of Plato and Aristotle is that they are original. They contain the first thoughts of men respecting problems which will always continue to interest them. Their thoughts have become a part of our thoughts, and enter imperceptibly into the speculations of modern writers on the same subjects, but with a difference. The Ionian and Eleatic philosophers who preceded them were eclipsed in the brightness of their successors; they had not yet reached the stage of ethics or politics, and were little known to the ancients themselves. The ethical teaching of Socrates has been preserved and not been preserved; that is to say, it does not exist in any definite form or system. To us, therefore, Plato and Aristotle are the beginnings of philosophy. In reading them the reflection is often forced upon us: ‘How little have we added except what has been gained by a greater experience of history!’ Some things have come down to us with

‘Better opinion, better confirmation:’

they have acquired authority from age and use. But there are other truths of ancient political philosophy which we have forgotten, or Edition: current; Page: [xiii]which have degenerated into truisms. Like the memories of childhood they are easily revived, and there is no form in which they so naturally come back to us as that in which they were first presented to mankind.

For example, during the last century enlightened philosophers have been fond of repeating that the state is only a machine for the protection of life and property. But the ancients taught a nobler lesson, that ethics and politics are inseparable; that we must not do evil in order to gain power; and that the justice of the state and the justice of the individual are the same. The older lesson has survived; the newer is seen to have only a partial and relative truth. So for the liberty, equality, and fraternity of the French revolution we are beginning to substitute the idea of law and order; we acknowledge that the best form of government is that which is most permanent, and that the freedom of the individual when carried to an extreme is suicidal. But these are truths which may be found in Aristotle’s Politics. Thus to the old we revert for some of our latest political lessons. The idealism of Plato is always returning upon us, as a dream of the future; the Politics of Aristotle continue to have a practical relation to our own times.

But while we are struck with the general similarity, we are almost equally struck by the different mode in which the thoughts of ancient and modern times are expressed. To go no further than the first book of the Politics, the method of Aristotle in his enquiry into the origin of the state is analytical rather than historical; that is to say, he builds up the state out of its elements, but does not enquire what history or pre-historic monuments tell about primitive man. He is very much under the influence of logical forms, such as means and ends, final causes, categories of quantity and quality, the antithesis of custom and nature, and other verbal oppositions, which not only express, but also dominate his meaning. The antagonism to Plato is constantly reappearing, and may be traced where the name of Plato is not mentioned; the rivalry of the two schools never dies out. The sciences are not yet accurately divided; and hence some questions, which present no difficulty to us, such as the relation of the art of household Edition: current; Page: [xiv]management to the art of money-making, are discussed at great length, and after all not clearly explained. Some good guesses are made about the nature of money, and some obvious fallacies remain undetected. The lending of money at a fair rate of interest is not distinguished from the usury which is so severely condemned. The universal custom of slavery presents a difficulty which Aristotle is unable to resolve on any clear or consistent principle. The tendency to pass from the absolute to the relative, or from a wider to a narrower point of view, as in the discussion respecting the slave and the artizan, the good citizen and the good man, the art of money-making, the perfect state,—is another element of confusion. The connection is often tortuous and unnatural. It would seem as if notes had been parenthetically inserted in the rough draft of the argument; and here and there considerable dislocations of the text may be suspected. There are favourite topics to which Aristotle is always returning; such, for example, as the Lacedaemonian constitution, which, like the constitution of Great Britain or of the United States, was a powerful idea, and exercised a great influence on the speculations of philosophers, as well as on the laws and customs of cities and peoples.

In the Politics as well as in Aristotle’s other works, there are many indications that he was writing in an age of controversy, and surrounded by a voluminous literature. Had all the books which were written come down to us they would not have been scanned with the same minuteness, and they might perhaps have been studied in a larger and more liberal spirit. The excessive value set upon a small portion of them, and the fragmentary form in which they have been preserved, has given an extraordinary stimulus to the art of interpretation and criticism. Had there been more of them we should have seen them in truer proportions. We should not have spent so much time in deciphering them, and possibly they might not have exerted an equal influence over us. For the study of the classics has become inseparable from the critical method, which enters so largely into the mind of the nineteenth century. But this is a part of a great subject, which it would be out of place here to discuss further.

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Every community aims at some good, and the state, which is theJowett1885v1: c. 1. highest community, at the highest good. But of communities there are many kinds. And they who [like Plato and Xenophon] suppose that the king and householder differ only in the number of their subjects, or that a statesman is only a king taking his turn of rule, are mistaken. The difference is one of kind and not of degree, as we shall more clearly see, if, following our accustomed method, we resolve the whole into its parts or elements. For in order to understand the nature of things, we must inquire into their origin.

Now the state is founded upon two relations; 1) that of male andJowett1885v1: c. 2. female; 2) that of master and servant; the first necessary for the continuance of the race; the second for the preservation of the inferior class or of both classes. From these two relations there arises, in the first place, the household, intended by nature for the supply of men’s daily wants; secondly, the village, which is an aggregate of households; and finally, the state. The parent or elder was the king of the family, and so when families were combined in the village, the patriarchal or kingly form of government continued. The village was a larger family. When several villages were united, the state came into existence. Like the family or household, it originated in necessity, but went beyond them and was the end and fulfilment of them. For nature makes nothing in vain; and to man alone among the animals she has given the faculty of speech, that he may discourse with his fellows of the expedient and the just; and these are the ideas which lie at the basis of the state. In the order of time, the state is later than the family or the individual, but in the order of nature, prior to them; for the whole is prior to the part. As there could be no foot or hand without the body, so there could be no family or man, in the proper sense of the words, without the state. For when separated from his fellows, man is no longer man; he is either a god or a beast. There is a social instinct in all of us, but it requires to be developed; and he who by the help of this instinct organized the state, was the greatest of benefactors. For man, when perfected by law and justice, is the best,—when estranged from them, the worst of animals.

But before we enquire into the state, we must enquire into theJowett1885v1: c. 3. household. In a complete household there are three relations:— Edition: current; Page: [xvi]1) that of the master to the slave; 2) of the husband to the wife; 3) of the parent to the child:—What is and ought to be the character of each of these? There is also another element which we shall have to consider, the art of money-making, which is sometimes identified with household management. [But this is an error.]

Concerning the relation of master and slave, two views are entertained: 1) there is the doctrine [of Plato] that the rule of a master is a science [and therefore natural]; and that all kinds of rule are essentially the same: and there is the other doctrine, 2) that slavery is contrary to nature; and that the distinction between freemen and slaves is made by law only and not by nature, and is therefore unjust. [Before determining the questions which thus arise we must enquire into the nature of the slave.]

The art of acquiring property is a part of the art of managingJowett1885v1: c. 4. a household, and like other arts requires instruments; property is a collection of such instruments, living or lifeless. The slave is a living instrument, and the lifeless instruments are used by him; he is the first of a series. He is an instrument of action, not of production, for he does not produce; he only lives and serves his master, and life is action. But he is also a possession [and therefore the agent of another]; for he is intended by nature to belong to his master, though separable from him. He may be defined, ‘a human being who is a possession and likewise an instrument of action.’

But is there a slave by nature? There is: from the hour ofJowett1885v1: c. 5. their birth some are intended to command, others to obey; they work together, and the better the workman, the better the work. A ruling principle runs through the whole of nature and is discernible even in things without life, for example, in musical harmony. And in man there is a despotic rule which the soul exercises over the body, and a constitutional rule which the intellect exercises over the appetites. The higher principle has dominion whenever the soul and body are in their best state; the intention of nature is then fulfilled. The male rules and the female is ruled, for the good of both; and animals subjugated by man are better and better off than wild ones. For this rule of the superior by nature is the preservation of the subject or inferior. And the same principle Edition: current; Page: [xvii]applies to slaves, but there is a difference: for the animal is only guided by instinct, whereas the slave, though he does not partake of reason, can apprehend reason. Where, then, one class of men presents a marked inferiority to another, there slavery is justified. And nature probably intended to make a visible distinction between freeman and slave, but she has not always succeeded, for some slaves have the souls or bodies of freemen, and some freemen the souls or bodies of slaves.

On the other hand it has been argued that there is a slave byJowett1885v1: c. 6. law as well as by nature. But this doctrine is indignantly denied by many jurists, who contend that to make the captive taken in war the slave of the victor is an act of great injustice. The question runs up into the wider question: ‘What is justice?’ Some say that virtue when furnished with external goods is power, and that justice is only the rule of a superior; while others distinguish between justice and virtue, and assert justice to be benevolence. If these two propositions are simply opposed, the result is an absurdity. For the truth of a third proposition [which combines them], viz. that the benevolent rule of a superior in virtue is just, can hardly be contested. Others again appeal to custom, which they identify with justice; but this is a view which cannot be consistently maintained. For a war which is justified by custom may nevertheless be an unjust war, or the person enslaved may be unworthy to be made a slave. ‘Hellenes never can be slaves;’ they are noble everywhere, even when taken in war; but the barbarians are noble only in their own country. Does not this use of language clearly imply that there are two classes of men, the slave by nature, and the freeman by nature? And where there is a marked superiority in one class and a marked inferiority in another, there the relation of master and slave springs up; and this relation, when arising naturally and not resting merely on law and force, is a kindly and beneficent one. [In slavery then the rule of the superior is combined with benevolence; and therefore on both grounds it is justice.]

The question respecting the different kinds of rule on which weJowett1885v1: c. 7. touched before is now set at rest. The master has been shown to exercise an absolute rule over his slaves, unlike the constitutional Edition: current; Page: [xviii]rule which the statesman exercises over his fellow-citizens. And master and slave receive their name, not from any science or art which is possessed by either of them [as Plato imagined], but because they are of a certain character. (There might indeed be a science of another sort, which would teach the master how to give his orders and the slave how to execute them; this science would include cookery and other menial arts. And there might also be a science or art of slave-hunting, which would be a kind of war.—But enough of this subject.)

In the opening of the Politics there are many indications of the strife of opinion and uncertainty of language which prevailed in the time of Aristotle. In the first page the writer strikes a note of hostility against Plato, which is repeated at intervals throughout the treatise. Yet the views of Aristotle and Plato respecting the kinds or degrees of governments are not essentially different; the opposition between them was exaggerated, if not invented, by their respective followers. From this almost verbal controversy, he passes on to consider the intentions of nature in the creation of society. But the word nature was ambiguous in ancient no less than in modern times, and was variously used to signify 1) the undeveloped or inchoate, 2) the final or perfect nature. The state and the family are both said to exist by nature; but the state in a higher sense than the family. . . . The distinction between men and animals is seen to be the gift of language by which the sphere of human nature is enlarged and rendered capable of good and evil. This distinction is here limited by Aristotle to that part of language which is concerned with our moral ideas. We should rather say that through language man attains to the expression of general and universal conceptions not only in morals, but in all things (cp. Met. 1. 6. § 2). The true method of enquiry, according to Aristotle, is the analysis of the whole into its parts; but he does not see that the whole is more than the sum of the parts, and that the parts are changed by their relation to one another. As well might we suppose that we could analyse life into the chemical elements which are the conditions of life, or detect the mind in the Edition: current; Page: [xix]nerves which are its instruments, as imagine that the state was only a compound of families and villages.

Yet there is likewise in Aristotle’s Politics a consciousness that the whole is prior to the parts, and that the synthetical method must be combined with the analytical. Though imperfectly expressed, the perfect image of the state in which ‘every means is an end, and the end the sum of the means,’ is already present to his mind. The two aspects of the truth are placed side by side, but they are not yet harmonised or brought into relation with one another. Aristotle is thought to have been the first who based knowledge on experience, but ever and anon the ideal or poetical image which was always latent in Greek philosophy, though clothed in an unpoetical dress, and reduced to a skeleton, returns upon him. It would have been a surprise to himself, and still more to his school, if he could have recognised how nearly he approached in reality to some of those conceptions on which he was making war. For example, when he speaks of a whole prior to the parts, what does this mean but the idea of the state prior to the existence of it in fact? The conception of the perfect man whose single virtue exceeds that of all other men put together, and who therefore has a natural right to rule, is even more extravagant than the rule of philosophers in the Republic of Plato.

The ‘accustomed’ method of dividing the whole into its parts is logical rather than historical: that is to say, they are the parts into which it can be dissected, not the elements out of which it has grown. ‘It is like the carving of some noble victim, according to the natural formation, where the joint is, not breaking any part, as a bad carver might.’ (Phaedrus, 265 E.) But it is not the historical method which resolves institutions and facts into their antecedent elements. Aristotle does not investigate the origins of states, but only divides a genus into species or a larger whole or form into the lesser parts or unities of which it is made up, or shows how an existing state may be preserved or destroyed. We must not expect him to give an analysis of primitive society, such as would be found in a modern writer on anthropology. His observation and experience were almost confined to Hellas. The earliest forms of property and society were unknown to him. Edition: current; Page: [xx]He does not appear to have heard of ‘marriage by capture,’ and does not distinguish ‘endogamy’ and ‘exogamy.’ The horror naturalis, which forbids marriage within near degrees of relationship, was to him an established fact. He seems to have supposed that there existed from the first some rude form of the family, like that of the Homeric Cyclops, in which the individual savage gave the law to his own household. But he does not examine how this lowest form of human society passed into the village and the village into the state. Nor does he seriously attempt to gather the ancient customs of Hellas from the usages of the contemporary barbarians, although he occasionally lights upon this path of enquiry, which had been already indicated both by Thucydides and Plato. Nor does it occur to him that the ties of family or caste may be so strong, that the growth of the state is stunted by them; nor, on the other hand, that the life of cities may be so intense as to make any larger political unity impossible.

He tries to distinguish between instruments of production and action, and almost in successive sentences he implies that the slave is and is not both. There is a similar confusion in the opposition which he attempts to make between the artisan and the slave. Nor is the distinction between the slave who can only apprehend reason and the freeman who partakes of reason anything more than a verbal quibble. Both partake of reason in different degrees. He argues, again, that the slave being a possession and belonging to another is necessarily the minister of action. But the notion that a possession is a minister of action rather than of production is a fancy of his own; and he appears to forget at the moment that the artisan, who, if any one, may be termed a minister of production, was often a slave. Here, as in c. 13, he is contrasting the slave and the artisan on the ground that the true slave, not the artisan, derives an inspiration from his master. Such confusions we must admit to have existed in the mind of Aristotle, if we would attain any degree of clearness in the interpretation of his writings.

Respecting slavery, Aristotle arrives at a definite conclusion which, though unsatisfactory to us, satisfies himself. But he has not clearly separated his own view from that of his opponents. His conclusion is that slavery is right when intended by nature; Edition: current; Page: [xxi]and the manifest inferiority of certain races is regarded by him as the proof that nature intended them to be slaves. But the captive taken in war, unless he were of inferior race, was only accidentally a slave. The slavery of Barbarian to Greek was natural; the slavery of Greek to Greek was arbitrary and cruel. He implies, though his meaning is obscurely expressed, that the two opposite views, ‘justice is benevolence,’ ‘justice is the rule of a superior,’ must be combined.

We are interested to remark that in the age of Aristotle there were some Greeks who would have maintained that slave-hunting was a lawful employment, and that there were also anti-slavery philosophers or sophists in the days before the Stoics, who asserted freedom to be the birthright of all mankind. Either of these extreme views was repudiated by him; his sense of justice revolted from the former, and he probably regarded the latter as too much at variance with the actual condition of the world. How could the 400,000 Athenian slaves ever be emancipated? How could the Greek enjoy cultivated leisure, which was a necessity to him, when deprived of them? How could the barbarians of Illyria and Scythia be transformed into civilized beings? (‘If at all,’ he would perhaps have replied, ‘by subjection to the superior reason of an Hellenic master.’) The question which has been asked in modern times, whether society could exist without domestic service?—may illustrate the manner in which a moderate thinker of the school of Aristotle would have regarded the existence of slavery in ancient Hellas. The difficulties which existed in the management of slaves at Lacedaemon were sufficient to show that they were a dangerous element in the state, a ‘troublesome sort of cattle,’ as Plato calls them. It is however remarkable that neither at Athens nor at Corinth, notwithstanding their enormous numbers and their constant employment in naval and other warfare, do we find any attempt at organised revolt among them, nor does any mention occur of their ill-treatment by the state. It may be further noted that Aristotle, in the Seventh Book, proposes the emancipation of individual slaves as the reward of good conduct—the door of hope was never to be closed—this is a first principle to be always Edition: current; Page: [xxii]observed in the management of them. The attempt to open a career to slaves, whether practicable or not, is in advance of most modern countries in which slavery is or has been maintained, and may be compared with the principle upheld, not by the primitive, but by the mediaeval church, which led to the emancipation of the serfs. [See note in loco and Essay on Aristotle as a Political Philosopher.]

Having discussed the relation of master and slave, we will nowJowett1885v1: c. 8. proceed to the other question: How is the art of money-making related to household management? Is it the same with it, or a part of it, or subordinate to it? Clearly subordinate, because instrumental; and not the same; for household management uses the material which the art of money-making provides. How then are they to be distinguished? We reply that the acquisition of food is natural to man, and that when limited to natural needs this art of acquisition is a part of household management, which takes many forms; for nature has given many sorts of plants and animals for the use of man; and the differences, both in men and animals, are dependent on their food. Hence arise many employments which may be pursued either to a limited or to an unlimited extent. There are shepherds, husbandmen, fishermen, hunters, and the like. When limited these employments are natural and necessary; for the master of the household must store up the means of life, if they do not exist already. But when unlimited they are bad, and should not be included in household management, which, like the arts, has a natural limit.

The other sort of acquisition is the art of making money, orJowett1885v1: c. 9. retail trade, which does not exist in the household but grows up with the increase of the community. Now all things have two uses, the one proper, the other improper; in other words, they may be either used or exchanged. Retail trade is the improper use of them for the sake of exchange only, and is not natural because it goes beyond the wants of nature and therefore has no place in the household. It grew out of simple barter, and was innocent enough until coin was invented. After the invention of coin it developed into money-making, and riches have been identified with Edition: current; Page: [xxiii]a hoard of coin, a notion against which mankind rightly rebel. For money is a conventional thing and may often be useless. A man might be able to turn the dishes which were set before him into gold, like Midas in the fable, and yet perish with hunger.

True wealth is a means and not an end, and is limited by the wants of the household; but the spurious wealth has no limit and is pursued for its own sake. The legitimate art of money-making, which corresponds to the first of these, is a part of household management; the art which creates wealth by exchange is illegitimate. The two have been often confused, because the same instrument, wealth, is common to both; and the desires of men being without limit, they are apt to think that the means to gratify them should also be unlimited.

The whole question may be summed up as follows:—There isJowett1885v1: c. 10. an art of money-making which uses the means provided by nature for the supply of the household; there is another art which exchanges and trades. The first is honourable and natural; the second is dishonourable and unnatural. The worst form of the latter sort is usury, or the breeding of money from money, which makes a gain not only out of other men, but out of the ‘barren metal.’

The last of the difficulties which are discussed by Aristotle in the First Book is the relation of money-making to household management. The sciences or subjects of knowledge which are concerned with man run into one another; and in the age of Aristotle were not easily distinguished. As we say that Political Economy is not the whole of Politics, so Aristotle says that money-making [χρηματιστική] is not the whole of household management [οἰκονομική] or of family life. But in either case there is a difficulty in separating them. Aristotle perceives that the art of money-making is both narrower and wider than household management; he would like to establish its purely subordinate relation. He does not consider that the property of individuals becomes in time of need the wealth of the state; or that one of his favourite virtues, magnificence, depends on the accumulation Edition: current; Page: [xxiv]of wealth; or that Athens could not have been the home of the arts ‘unless the fruits of the whole earth had flowed in upon her,’ and unless gold and silver treasure had been stored up in the Parthenon. And although he constantly insists that leisure is necessary to a cultivated class, he does not observe that a certain amount of accumulated wealth is a condition of leisure.

The art of household management has to decide what is enough for the wants of a family. Happiness is not boundless accumulation, but the life of virtue having a sufficiency of external goods. The art of money-making goes further; for it seeks to make money without limit. According to Aristotle the excess begins at the point where coined money is introduced: with the barter of uncivilised races, with the wild life of the hunter, with the lazy existence of the shepherd, or the state of mankind generally before cities came into existence, he has no fault to find. He does not perceive that money is only a convenient means of exchange which may be used in small quantities, or in large; which may be employed in trade, or put out at interest; and that the greater the saving of time in production, the greater will also be the opportunities of leisure and cultivation. The real difference between the true and the false art of money-making is one of degree; and the evil is not the thing itself, but the manner of obtaining it,—when men heap up money at the cost of every other good;—and also the use of it,—when it is wasted in luxury and ostentation, and adds nothing to the higher purposes of life. Something of the prejudice against retail trade seems to enter into the whole discussion. Another prejudice is observable in the fanciful argument against usury, to which Aristotle objects, not on the ground that the usurer may become a tyrant, but because the money which is produced out of usury is a sort of unnatural birth. . . . Once more, he falls unconsciously into the error of preferring an uncivilised to a civilised state of society. The beauty of primitive life—that fair abstraction of religion and philosophy—was beginning to exercise a fascination over the Greeks in the days of Aristotle and Plato, as it afterwards did over the mind of modern Europe when it was again made attractive by the genius of Sir Thomas More and of Rousseau.

Edition: current; Page: [xxv]

But now leaving the theory, let us consider the practice ofJowett1885v1: c. 11. money-making, which has many branches; the knowledge of live-stock, tillage, planting, the keeping of bees, fish, poultry—all these are legitimate. The illegitimate are 1) commerce, of which there are three subdivisions, commerce by land, commerce by sea, and selling in shops; 2) usury; 3) service for hire, skilled and unskilled. There are also arts in which products of the earth, such as wood and minerals, are exchanged for money; these are an intermediate kind. The lowest are the arts in which there is least precision, the greatest use of the body, and the least need of excellence.

But not to go further into details, he who is interested in such subjects may consult economical writers, or collect the stories about the ways in which Thales and others made fortunes. He will find that these stories usually turn upon the same point, the creation of a monopoly; which is also a favourite device of statesmen when they want to increase the revenue.

Enough has been said of master and slave. There remainJowett1885v1: c. 12. the two other relations which exist in a family, that of husband and wife, and of parent and child. The master rules over the slave despotically, the husband over the wife constitutionally, but in neither case do they take turns of ruling and being ruled after the manner of constitutional states, because the difference between them is permanent. On the other hand, the rule of the father or elder over the child is like that of the king over his subjects.

The master of a house has to do with persons rather thanJowett1885v1: c. 13. with things, with human excellence and not with wealth, and with the virtue of freemen rather than with the virtue of slaves. For in the slave as well as in the freeman there resides a virtue which enables him to perform his duty. Whether he has any higher excellence is doubtful:—If he has, in what will he differ from a freeman? Yet he is a man and therefore a rational being. And a noble disposition is required in the natural subject as well as in the natural ruler. But, on the other hand, we say that the difference between them is one of kind and not of degree. What is the conclusion? That the virtue of the slave is the same with that of his master, or different? Not the same, nor yet altogether Edition: current; Page: [xxvi]different, but relative to the nature of each, like the virtues of the soul and of the body, like the rule of the male over the female, who both partake of the same virtues but in different degrees. [Plato] was wrong in trying to comprehend all the virtues under a single definition; [Gorgias] was right in distinguishing them.

The artisan should not be confounded with the slave. He does not exist by nature, and is not linked to a master; whereas the slave is a part of his master, and receives from him the impress of his character.

The relations of husband and wife, of parent and child, will be more fully considered when we speak of the constitutions of states. For the family is a part of the state, and the virtue of the part must be relative to the virtue of the whole.

The two last chapters of the First Book seem to be a summary of the subjects which have preceded. Yet the writer, as if not wholly satisfied with his previous analysis of the relations of slave and master, and desirous of having one more ‘fling’ at Plato, returns to the discussion, which he illustrates by a new and not very accurate distinction between the slave and the artisan. The artisan is inferior to the slave, because he is not subjected to the civilising or inspiring influence of a master, nor does he stand in any natural relation to the person from whom he learns his art. The distinction, which is untenable (for many artisans were slaves), seems to be an afterthought and comes in out of place. Aristotle has already in view the education of the citizens, and he intends that it shall be relative to the state of which they are members. He concludes with an unfulfilled promise, one of the many which occur in the course of the work. The promise is, that he will discuss the virtues of husband and wife, parent and child, when he treats of the different forms of government. Whether he meant to compare particular relations of family life with particular forms of government, e. g. the relation of husband and wife to a constitutional government, and that of father and son to a monarchy; or only to say generally that the organisation of the family must correspond to that of the state, is left unexplained. His views of the state and the family are mutually Edition: current; Page: [xxvii]influenced by each other; and he sees fanciful as well as real analogies subsisting between them. Yet at the beginning of his work he has expressly distinguished between them, and it is hard to say how a particular form of government can be supposed to depend upon the family.

There are many glimpses of higher truths presented to us in the First Book of the Politics: such, for example, as the remarks 1) that the state is prior to the individual; 2) that the lower is intended by nature to lead up to the higher, i. e. that the state is implicitly contained in the family and the village; 3) that in all men there is a social instinct which is matured by the wisdom of legislators, who are the great benefactors of mankind; 4) that there is a principle of government or law even in inanimate things; 5) that wealth is not the true end of human life; 6) that the virtue of the individual must exist in the state. These are noble thoughts, which, though entangled in some paradoxes and errors incidental to the age of Aristotle, may be regarded as the true lights of political philosophy in all ages. The individual, the family, the state, are all parts of a larger whole on which is impressed a final cause, dimly seen to be the harmony of the world.

The first half of the second book of the Politics is devoted to the controversy with Plato, who is criticised by Aristotle from an adverse point of view. His criticisms are not those of an admiring pupil who seeks to enter into the spirit of his master, but of a teacher who has revolted against his authority. The clouds and dreams of the Republic have many heavy blows dealt against them by the weapons of common sense, but like ‘the air invulnerable’ they come together again and are unharmed by the spear of criticism. For they can never be brought down to earth, and while remaining in their own element they are beyond the reach of attack.

In the criticisms of Aristotle on the Republic there is one leading thought:—the state, like the human frame, has many parts or members, but Plato reduces it to an unmeaning and colourless Edition: current; Page: [xxviii]unity. He makes it into a large family in which there are unreal relationships and no bond, either political or social, holding them together. The unmeaningness of the conception becomes evident as soon as we attempt to realise it. If the ideal state were divided into tribes and phratries, hardly anything would remain of it. In Plato the correlation of the parts and the whole is lost sight of; and society, instead of being held together by a multitude of ‘little invisible pegs’ or threads, becomes thin and transparent.

The argument of chap. 4 is difficult to follow, because Aristotle, without making any regular transition, attacks Plato from different points of view in successive sentences. First of all he complains that the unity of the Platonic state is too great, and even suicidal. Then, again, he urges that this unity or friendship is really imaginary. For it has no organisation, and, like a drop of honey in water, is dissipated or lost in the mass through which it is diffused.

The arguments which Aristotle employs against communism are for the most part the same which may be found in modern writers. Though not a communist, he is of opinion that existing laws or usages are capable of improvement. Men cannot have all things in common, but they may have many more than at present. The instinct of ownership is a kind of self-love implanted by nature, not blameable, but it should be tempered by liberality and benevolence. The Spartan freedom of taking and using a neighbour’s goods is commended by Aristotle, and he thinks that such a custom might be carried further. The legislator should seek to inspire the ‘love which is the fulfilling of the law’; he should not by enactments take away the grace and freedom of virtuous actions. The sentiment might be thrown into a modern form:—More good will be done by awakening in rich men a sense of the duties of property, than by the violation of its rights.

Aristotle is dissatisfied with the vagueness of Plato. He wants to know more about the inferior classes: what is to be their education, and in what relation do they stand to the guardians? Are they to have wives and children in common? As if in a work of imagination which was intended to shadow forth great principles every particular must be consistent, or every detail filled up. Edition: current; Page: [xxix]Neither has Aristotle himself given any sufficient answer to the question, ‘What should be the position of the subject-class in a Greek state?’ Nor is it strictly accurate to say that the rulers in the Republic are always the same. For the ‘high-spirited warriors’ when they are qualified by age all take their turn of ruling: see Essay on Aristotle as a Critic of Plato in vol. ii.


A criticism on the Republic and on the Laws of Plato; the constitutions of Phaleas and Hippodamus; the states of Lacedaemon, Crete, and Carthage,—their similarities and differences; scattered remarks on Solon and other legislators.

Before entering on the search after a perfect state, we must passJowett1885v1: c. 1. in review those constitutions, whether ideal or actual, which are the most in repute. In seeking for something beyond them, we are animated by the love of truth, not by the desire of display.

Let us examine the nature of the social union. The members of a state must either have all things in common or nothing in common, or some things in common and some not. They must have some things in common, for they live in the same place. But should they have all things in common, as in the Republic of Plato, or some things only and others not? Which is better—the communism of the Republic, or the prevailing custom?

Plato believed that the community of women would promote theJowett1885v1: c. 2. unity of the state. But 1) unity may be carried to such an extent that the state is no longer a state, and, in tending to greater unity, becomes first a family, and then an individual; such an unity as this would be the ruin of the state, and therefore the reverse of beneficial to it. 2) Moreover, a state must be large enough to be self-sufficing, and a family is more self-sufficing than an individual, and a state than a family. 3) A state is not a mere aggregate of individuals, like a military alliance of which the usefulness may depend on quantity only; nor yet a nation, which is a host of men ‘numero tantum differentes,’ like the Arcadians; the elements of a state differ in kind. Where the citizens are all free and Edition: current; Page: [xxx]equal, they rule and are ruled in turns; and this principle of compensation is the salvation of states. It might be better from one point of view that there should be a permanent division of labour and that the same persons should always rule. But where there is a natural equality and not enough offices for all the citizens, the continuance of one set of persons in office is found to be impossible; and so they hold office by turns, and upon the same principle pass from one office to another. 4) EvenJowett1885v1: c. 3. assuming the greatest unity to be desirable, it would not be attained, as Plato supposes, when all men say ‘mine’ and ‘not mine’ of the same thing or person at the same moment. For the word ‘all’ has two senses, a collective and a distributive; taken collectively it is unmeaning—all the world cannot have one wife or house; taken distributively it implies that every man’s wife or house will be the wife or house of every other man; but this arrangement will not conduce to the harmony of a family. The state is an unity in plurality; and the unity without the plurality, or the plurality without the unity, is absurd. Again, 5) that which is common to many is apt to be neglected. The children will belong to everybody and to nobody. They will have an infinitesimal share of parental affection:—moreover, when they were born many of their supposed fathers may have had no sons or daughters, or they may not have lived to grow up. Better to have a cousin in the ordinary sense of the word than a thousand sons in the Republic of Plato. 6) The children will often resemble their fathers or mothers, and inferences will be drawn about their parentage.

There will be other evils:—7) Unholy acts done against fathersJowett1885v1: c. 4. and mothers are more likely to be committed if the relationship is unknown. And who will make atonement for them? 8) It was inconsistent of Plato to forbid intercourse between lovers because of the intensity of the pleasure, and yet allow familiarities between relations which are far more discreditable; for all the citizens will be relations. 9) The true effect of communism is disorganisation. It might therefore be allowed among the subject-class whom the legislator wants to keep down, but not among the rulers. 10) Such legislation is suicidal; while pretending to make men friends all Edition: current; Page: [xxxi]round and to preserve them from revolutions, it really weakens the ties which bind them to one another; instead of unity so complete as to be self-destroying, there will be a watery friendship among them. 11) The transference from one class to another will be impossible; for how can secrecy be maintained? 12) And the citizens who are transferred will be restrained by no ties of relationship from committing crimes against their nearest relations.

Whether the citizens of the perfect state should have theirJowett1885v1: c. 5. property in common or not is another question. Three modes of tenure are possible:—1) private ownership of the soil and common use; 2) common ownership and private use; 3) ownership and use alike common. If the cultivators are the owners, they will quarrel about the division of the produce [‘chacun produit selon sa capacité’ et consomme selon ses besoins’], but if they are not their own masters the difficulty will be diminished. There is always an awkwardness in persons living together and having things in common. Fellow-travellers are often said to fall out by the way, and we are apt to take offence at our servants because they are always with us. The present system, if humanised and liberalised, would be far better. There might be private possession and common use among friends, such as exists already to a certain extent among the Lacedaemonians, who borrow one another’s slaves and horses and dogs, and take in the fields the provisions which they want. To Plato we reply:—1) When men have distinct interests, they will not be so likely to quarrel; and 2) they will make more progress, because every one will be attending to his own business. 3) There is a natural pride of ownership; and also 4) a pleasure in doing a kindness to others;—these will be destroyed by communism. 5) The virtues of continence and liberality will no longer exist. 6) When Plato attributes all the ills which states endure to private property, he overlooks the real cause of them, which is the wickedness of human nature. 7) He has a false conception of unity. The state should be united by philosophy, by a common education and common meals, not by community of property. 8) The experience of ages is against him: his theory, if true, would have been discovered long ago. 9) If his scheme were ever realised, he would be compelled to break up the state into tribes and Edition: current; Page: [xxxii]phratries and other associations. And then, what would be left of the original idea? Nothing but the prohibition of agriculture to the guardians. 10) The plan is not worked out—even the general form of the community is indistinct. He says nothing about the lower classes who are the majority of the citizens. The husbandmen, if they have all things in common, do not differ from the guardians; but if they have wives and property of their own, they will form a state within a state, and the old evils arising out of property will reappear. Education is his panacea which is to take the place of law; but he has confined education to the guardians. 11) Or if the husbandmen own the land on payment of a tribute, is this desirable? will they not be even more unmanageable than the Helots? 12) If the wives of the citizens are common and the land private, who will see to the house? 13) And what will happen if the husbandmen have both lands and wives in common? 14) Once more, it is absurd to argue for the community of women from the analogy of the animals; for animals have not to manage a household. 15) There is a danger in the fixedness of the rulers, who are said to be made of the same gold always. For high-spirited warriors will want to have a turn of ruling as well as of being ruled. 16) The guardians are deprived of happiness, and yet the whole state is supposed to be happy: but how can the whole be happy unless the parts are happy?

Many of these objections apply to Plato’s later work, theJowett1885v1: c. 6. ‘Laws,’ in which he intended to delineate a constitution more of the ordinary type; but he gradually reverts to his ideal state. The only differences are, that the women share in the common meals, that the number of the warriors is increased from 1000 to 5000; and that the community of women and property is abandoned. But 1) he has exceeded the bounds of possibility in making so large a state. 2) He has neglected foreign relations; yet a city must be provided against her enemies. 3) He has not defined the amount of property which his citizens may possess. He says a man should have ‘enough to live temperately’—meaning ‘to live well.’ Yet a man may live temperately but miserably. He should have said ‘enough to live temperately and liberally.’ 4) If he equalises property, he should limit population; he fancies that the Edition: current; Page: [xxxiii]fruitfulness of some marriages would be balanced by the barrenness of others, and so the number of citizens would remain about the same as in existing states. But if the lots are absolutely divided they could not be redistributed. There would then be supernumeraries, who would stir up revolution. 5) He does not say how the rulers are distinguished from the subjects. 6) If other property may be increased five-fold, why not land? 7) His two homesteads, one in the city and one on the border, will be very inconvenient. 8) The citizens are to be heavy-armed soldiers who will form a polity. This constitution, though it may be suited to the greatest number of states, is not the nearest to his ideal. There are persons who think that all the elements of the state ought to share in the government, and these would prefer the more complex constitution of Sparta, which is made up of king, elders, and ephors. According to Plato the best state is a combination of democracy and tyranny; but both of these are bad and can hardly be called constitutions at all; and the constitution which is actually proposed is nothing but an union of democracy and oligarchy, inclining rather to the latter, as may be seen from the mode of choosing the magistrates and the council, and the enforcement on the rich of attendance at the assembly. 9) He contrives the council in such a manner as always to give the predominance to the higher or richer classes. 10) The double election will tend to throw the power of choosing into the hands of a clique or cabal.

Most of the arguments which Aristotle employs against communism are the same which are employed among ourselves: he expresses in them the common sense of mankind. But some are peculiar to him, or characteristic of his age and country. For example, 1) the notion that the lower classes will be more easily retained in subjection if they have wives and children in common; which may be compared with the desire to suppress education and family life among slaves in some slaveholding countries of modern times; 2) the impossibility of expiating crimes committed against relations when relationships are unknown; 3) the supposed necessity of breaking up the state into tribes and phratries, which is maintained from the point of view, not of Plato, but of an Athenian Edition: current; Page: [xxxiv]citizen; 4) the remark that there is much more quarrelling among those who have all things in common than among the owners of private property; which probably refers to partnerships in business. Several of Aristotle’s arguments are unsatisfactory to us. First the attempt to show that the population in ordinary states is kept equal by the compensation of sterile and fertile unions, but that this compensation will not occur under the constitution of the Laws; whereas enactments are expressly made to preserve the equality of families; secondly, the assertion that, according to Plato, the best state is composed of democracy and tyranny: a statement which is nowhere to be found either in the Republic or Laws, though something like it occurs in Laws, vi. 756 E. Again, it is not true to say that Plato has not considered the question of population; for he has treated of it in Laws, v. 740, and provides against the difficulty by ‘preventive checks,’ by laws of marriage and adoption, and by colonisation.

The relation of the ‘Laws’ to the Republic is not such as it is represented by Aristotle. The words, that ‘Plato, having intended to adapt the “Laws” to an ordinary state, gradually returns to the ideal form,’ are not justified by anything found in the book of the Laws which has come down to us, and there is no trace of any other form of the work. He always intended that the constitution of the Laws should be that of a second-rate state, and the distinction, though only once explicitly noted (Laws, v. 739, 740), is present to his mind throughout. The point of which Aristotle makes light, when he says that the only difference between the Republic and the Laws is the community of wives and property, is really essential. He has omitted to mention the other difference, which, in Plato’s estimation, was even greater, the government of philosophers. There is little or nothing ideal or peculiar in what remains; for nearly all the other institutions contained in the Laws have their parallel in Sparta or some other Greek state. It can hardly be said that the Lacedaemonian constitution comes nearer than that of the Laws to the ideal state; nor is this remark of Aristotle consistent with his previous remark that the constitution of the Laws gradually reverts to the ideal state.

For this whole subject see the Essay in vol. ii. on the Criticisms Edition: current; Page: [xxxv]of Aristotle upon Plato. Oncken (Staatslehre des Aristoteles, vol. i. p. 194 foll.) is of opinion that the Laws of Plato which were known to Aristotle were not the same with the extant work. He argues from the silence of Aristotle on many points, and from his misrepresentation of others. But Aristotle’s treatment of Plato in the Laws is not different from his treatment of him in the Ethics and Metaphysics. The hypothesis of Oncken is highly improbable. There is no example of corruption or interpolation on such a scale in a work of such excellence anywhere in the compass of ancient literature. An hypothesis against which so fatal an objection may be urged, would have to be supported by the strongest proofs, and not merely by a weak inference from the statement that Philippus of Opus copied the Laws from the original tablets. (See Introduction to the Laws; Translation of the Dialogues of Plato, vol. v.)

Yet the Plato or the theses of Plato which Aristotle or the diorthotes of the Politics had in his mind in an age when manuscripts were scarce and were not yet divided into books and chapters, may have been very different from the Plato which is known to us. Such a view is confirmed by an examination of Aristotle’s references not only to the Laws, but to Plato’s other writings, and by the general character of the citations in early Greek literature. The anti-Platonic theses of the Peripatetic school may often have had little foundation in the actual writings of Plato. The arts of interpretation and controversy were in their infancy. This is a more reasonable explanation of the want of correspondence between Plato and Aristotle than to suppose the wholesale corruption or interpolation of an ancient writer.

No constitution is so novel and singular as that of Plato; noJowett1885v1: c. 7. one else has introduced the community of women and children, or the public tables for women. Other legislators have made the regulation of property their chief aim, deeming that to be the point on which all revolutions turn. Phaleas of Chalcedon saw this danger and was the first to affirm that the citizens of a state ought to have equal possessions. In a new colony he would have started with an equal distribution of property; in an old-established Edition: current; Page: [xxxvi]one he would gradually have attained the same end by an arrangement of marriage portions:—the rich were to give and not receive them, and the poor to receive and not to give them. 1) But if a limit of property is to be fixed, there should also be a limit of population; otherwise the law will be broken, and those who have nothing will stir up revolution. 2) And even where a limit of property is fixed, the amount should not be so great as to encourage luxury, or so small as to allow of poverty. 3) The desires of mankind must be limited as well as their possessions. 4) The equality of honour among unequals and the inequality of honour among equals are as dangerous as the equality or inequality of property. There are three motives to crime, a) want, b) ambition, c) the love of pleasure without pain. But want is far from being the strongest of these incentives, and therefore equalisation of property would only banish the lesser sort of crimes. The true remedy for want is to have a competency and something to do; for ambition, self-control; for the love of pleasure, philosophy. Phaleas probably intended to give equal education as well as property to all his citizens, and thereby to equalise their desires; but he has not told us what will be the character of his education. 5) He has regarded only domestic, and not foreign relations, into which the consideration of property likewise enters; for a state should have enough wealth to resist, but not enough to attract invaders [§§ 18-21 are partly a repetition of what has preceded, § 9 foll.]. 6) The greater evils which flow from ambition are not diminished by an equalisation of property, but by training the nobler dispositions of men to contentment, and by putting down discontent among the lower sort. 7) Phaleas should have equalised, not merely land, but moveables. 8) He wants to make all the artisans slaves, which would only be possible in a small city.

This and the following chapters show us how fertile was the genius of Hellas in devising forms of government. Already there were many treatises in existence, probably a large literature, relating to the subject of Politics. Yet we are also struck with the meagreness of Aristotle’s information and the feebleness of Edition: current; Page: [xxxvii]some of his judgments. Of Sparta he knows very little, of Crete even less, and his ideas respecting Carthage are fragmentary and also contradictory. Not having before us the writings of Phaleas or Hippodamus, we cannot say how far he misunderstood or misrepresented them: he may not have done them greater justice than he appears to have done to Plato. The reflections of Aristotle on Phaleas and Hippodamus, like so many of his criticisms, are made in the dialectical manner of the age; but we have reached a further point of view, and can judge in a more comprehensive spirit. It was impossible for him to do justice to his predecessors; he can only try them by formulas of his own and by the more advanced standard of his own time. But we know that the first steps in political philosophy, feeble and inconsistent as they may have been, are really the greatest; and the highest achievement of modern criticism is the power of appreciating such new and original thoughts in all their greatness.

It is no real objection to Phaleas that in treating of the equalisation of property he has said nothing of equality of population; he might have replied that the support of surplus numbers is not more difficult where there is equality than where there is inequality of property. Nor can he be blamed for neglecting to speak of foreign relations, except on the ground which is hardly tenable that every political treatise should be complete in every part. The subject was impressed on the mind of Aristotle by the history of Hellas; but it might not equally have occurred to an earlier writer on politics.

In ancient times men did not easily analyse the forms of government under which they lived. In reflections of this kind Polybius, who lived a century and a half later, though not a genius of the highest order, has made an advance upon Aristotle. His sketch of the Roman Republic is fuller and clearer than any of the constitutions described in the Politics. Yet even he, truthful as he was in the main, cannot be acquitted of partiality. His predecessor Timaeus is a bête noire to him, whom he is always attacking, but, as we should be inclined to infer from his virulence, not always with justice.

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The first person, not a statesman, who framed a constitutionJowett1885v1: c. 8. was Hippodamus, the architect of the Peiraeus, a man affected in his dress and eccentric in his way of life, who was a political philosopher as well as an enquirer into nature. 1) His state consisted of 10,000 citizens who were distributed in three classes, husbandmen, artisans, warriors. 2) He divided the land into three parts, a sacred, a public, and a private part, the first for the maintenance of religion, the second for the support of the warriors, the third to be owned by the husbandmen. 3) He classified laws under three heads, insult, injury, homicide. 4) He instituted a court of appeal formed of elders chosen for the purpose. 5) He was of opinion that in the courts of justice the judges should use, not a pebble but a tablet, and in doubtful cases, instead of a simple acquittal or condemnation, they should write down on the tablet the degree of guilt which they attributed to the defendant. Unless they were allowed to draw distinctions, they must often commit perjury. 6) He enacted that rewards should be conferred on public benefactors. 7) He provided that the children of citizens slain in battle should be maintained by the state, as is customary at Athens; and 8) he had all the magistrates chosen by the people.

These proposals are open to many objections. 1) The artisans, the husbandmen, and the warriors are supposed to have an equal share in the government. But the first two will be the slaves of the last, for they have no arms; and for the same reason they are not fit to be magistrates: on the other hand, if excluded from the government, how can they be loyal citizens? And if the warriors are the stronger, why should the two other classes have any share in the government at all? The artisans have a natural place in the state, and the husbandmen, if they provided the warriors with food, might have a claim. The anomaly is that they have land of their own. Now if they cultivate the land of the warriors as well as their own, they will have too much to do: and the warriors, if they are engaged in cultivating their own lands, will become husbandmen; or if there are yet other cultivators, these will be a fourth class in the state for which no place is allowed. 2) The qualified verdict would turn the judges into arbitrators; it would cause confusion, and is unnecessary. If the charge is Edition: current; Page: [xxxix]properly drawn, the dicast can always say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ without committing perjury. 3) The proposal to reward discoveries or improvements in the laws would encourage informers. But should laws be improved?—that is a controverted question. The example of the arts and the general experience of mankind is in favour of improvement. Men in general desire good and not merely what their fathers had. On the other hand, the authority of laws is derived from custom, and the habit of lightly altering them impairs their force. There must sometimes be changes, but great caution should be observed; else the evil of change may outweigh the gain of reform. The analogy of the arts is misleading.

Aristotle regards Phaleas and Hippodamus as he regards Plato, from the point of view of an adversary: he is their critic, after the manner of his age, and tells us, not what he approves, but what he disapproves in their writings. Yet it is evident that some of their political ideas had great merit. Phaleas attempted to deal with the evils of property, which he thought could most easily be remedied in an old country by a clever arrangement of dowries: we should say, probably, by restricting the power of settlement or bequest. A difficulty which pressed upon ancient legislators more than ourselves owing to the stationary character of the arts of production was the increase of population; of this difficulty Aristotle is very sensible. When men begin to feel the struggle for existence they are apt to be discontented with the government under which they live. Yet mere equality of property, even if it could be maintained, would not always content them. For all men cannot be reduced to the same dead level, even if there were enough for all. The ambitious will still commit crimes on a great scale; the possession of a competence takes away only the temptation to petty larceny. Nor can it be denied that great inequalities of property by giving a stimulus to increased production may give a larger share of the goods of life to the poor than could be obtained by any system of distribution however just.

It is an interesting question which Aristotle raises in his criticism of Phaleas. What amount of wealth may with advantage be possessed by a state? To which we may reply, That the value of Edition: current; Page: [xl]wealth in a state depends not on the amount, but on the use and distribution of it. Men may talk about the meannesses and miseries which are caused by a highly artificial state of society. They may seek to throw off the restraints of law. But

  • ‘How small of all that human hearts endure,
  • That part which laws or kings can cause or cure.’

This is the spirit which Aristotle here expresses, though an opposite thesis might be maintained with equal truth. For the miseries which arise from bad, and the blessings of good government, in which the blessings of peace are generally included, can hardly be exaggerated. He also expresses the feeling which is familiar to us in modern times, that want of morality, which is in fact weakness, lies at the root of the corruption in a state. Men are always crying out, Give, give, and are for dividing and subdividing the property of the rich. But while Aristotle acknowledges the inequalities of society to be natural and necessary, he insists on justice being done to the lower classes. Foreign relations are ever present to his mind. They could hardly be otherwise, since in the fourth and fifth centuries before Christ nearly every state in Hellas had become the friend and enemy of every other several times over.

The number 3 exercises a great influence on the constitution of Hippodamus. He built the streets of cities at right angles, and also gave an arithmetical or mathematical form to the fabric of his ideal state. Number and figure naturally became in his age guiding principles of the human mind. Yet he was also an original thinker, and already before the time of Plato had treated of a best or perfect state. His classification of offences, his institution of a court of appeal and a qualified verdict (for he was apparently the first author of them), are great legal inventions. The court of appeal was probably intended to amend the decisions of the popular assembly or of the ordinary law courts by the judgment of a court of elders. Whether Aristotle approved of the proposal or not, he does not say. The argument of Hippodamus against the unqualified verdict is really untenable. The difficulty is inherent in the nature of the case, and cannot be removed by the several jurors or judges giving their verdicts in different forms. Other objections Edition: current; Page: [xli]of Aristotle’s appear to us rather trivial; for example, the argument that the husbandmen cannot be a fourth class, seemingly because a fourth class is contrary to the genius of the state, or, his notion that the artisans have a place in the state, but not the husbandmen unless they are entirely devoted to the service of the military class. We are also surprised at his digressing from the Laws of Hippodamus to the general question whether laws should or should not be changed.

The commonplaces of conservative and reformer are arrayed against one another for the first time in the Politics. Aristotle anticipates by his great power of reflection the lessons which the experience of ages has taught the modern world.

All governments may be criticised from two points of view:Jowett1885v1: c. 9. their relation 1) to the perfect state, 2) to the intention of the lawgiver. Under these two aspects we will now examine, first the Lacedaemonian, secondly the Cretan state. [N. B. This symmetrical plan is immediately forgotten.]

1) In a well-ordered state the citizens must have leisure, and therefore others must provide for their daily wants. But slaves are apt to rebel: the Spartan Helots and the Thessalian Penestae have constantly risen against their masters, though the Cretans have succeeded better in the management of their slaves, because they are islanders, and because when at war with one another, all having slaves, they do not encourage them to revolt.

2) The influence of the Spartan women is fatal to good order. They are half the city, and the other half has fallen under their dominion; in the language of mythology, Ares has been overcome by Aphrodite. They are disorderly and cowardly; in the Theban invasion they were utterly useless and caused more confusion than the enemy. Their way of life tends also to foster avarice in their husbands. The evil is of old standing. Lycurgus long ago wanted to control them, but they were too much for him. He found them more impracticable than the men, who had been schooled into obedience by their long wars against their neighbours, and he gave up the attempt. To their resistance this defect in the constitution is to be attributed.

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3) Another evil is the inequality of property. This inequality is caused by the unlimited right of bequest, and is aggravated by the practice of giving large dowries; two-fifths of the land has passed into the hands of women. And so the population has diminished. The country was once capable of maintaining 1500 knights and 30,000 heavy-armed troops, and although at one time the Spartans themselves were as many as 10,000, the total number has now fallen below 1000.

4) The legislator ought to have kept the number of lots equal to the number of the people; but instead of equalising them, he encouraged large families, so that they have become more unequal and disproportionate. [Yet he did not succeed in increasing the number of his citizens.]

5) The high office of the Ephoralty has many defects. a) The Ephors are chosen out of all, and the office is often held by very poor men, who, being ill off, are open to bribes; b) their powers are so extravagant that the balance of the constitution has been disturbed by them; c) they are elected in a manner which is perfectly ridiculous; d) they are quite ordinary men, and are therefore unfit to decide great causes on their own judgment; they should be controlled by written laws; e) the laxity of their life contrasts with the severity of the ordinary Spartan régime. On the other hand, the office is popular; the common people are pleased because they share in it.

6) The Council of Elders, again, is ill-constituted:—a) they are judges for life and irresponsible; or at least only controlled by the Ephors, who are not fit for their high office: b) they are very corrupt; the legislator himself shows that he cannot trust them, for he places them under the control of the Ephoralty: c) the manner of their election is as ridiculous as that of the Ephors: d) the practice of canvassing, which the law encourages, should be forbidden.

7) The Kings should not be hereditary, but should be elected for merit.

8) The common meals, which are intended to be a popular institution, should be provided at the public cost, as in Crete; but they are not, and consequently the poor are excluded from them, and lose the rights of citizenship.

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9) The office of Admiral sets up a rival to the Kings.

10) The state, as Plato truly says, is framed with a view to a part of virtue only, the virtue of the soldier, which gives victory in war, but in time of peace is useless or injurious.

11) The Spartans conceive than the goods of life are to be obtained by virtue, but are mistaken in preferring them to virtue. They have a right idea of the means, but a wrong idea of the end.

12) Lastly, their revenues are ill-managed. The citizens are impatient of taxation, and the greater part of the land being in their own hands, they allow one another to cheat. Instead of the citizens being poor and the state rich, the citizens are too fond of money, and the state is impoverished.

The constitutions of Sparta, Crete, and Carthage are said by Aristotle to be excellent, but against each of the three he brings rather a heavy indictment. Of all three the accounts are warped by the desire to compare them, and are not always consistent with themselves. The Lacedaemonian government did not aim at the best end, and did not succeed in attaining the end at which it aimed. The Spartans had not found out the secret of managing their slaves; the men were hardy and temperate; but they fell under the influence of their women, who were licentious and disorderly. Equality had been the aim of the legislator, but inequality had been the result. Their administration of justice, their common meals, their finances were ill-managed. Their great magistrates received bribes from foreign states; the Ephors were very ordinary men invested with tyrannical powers; the elders were corrupt and often superannuated. The spirit of suspicion and distrust reigned in their government; they regarded virtue as a means only and not as the great end of life. The inefficiency of the Spartan government, in almost every particular, is severely commented upon by Aristotle.

To what form of government the Spartan constitution is to be referred is a question which greatly exercises ancient writers; Aristotle inclines to think that it is three in one, a combination of royalty, aristocracy, and democracy.

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(For a fuller consideration of the criticism of Sparta in the Politics, see vol. ii, Essay on the Spartans and their Institutions.)

The Cretan constitution resembles the Spartan, and in someJowett1885v1: c. 10. respects is quite as good, but being older, it is less perfect in form. Lycurgus is said to have taken it as his model. The Cretan town of Lyctus is a Lacedaemonian colony, and he appears to have been attracted to Crete by the connection between the two countries. The situation of the island between Asia Minor and Hellas was favourable to the growth of a maritime power; and hence Minos acquired the dominion of the sea.

There are many similarities in the Cretan and Lacedaemonian constitutions. The Cretan Perioeci correspond to the Helots, and like the Spartans, the Cretans have common meals; the ten Cosmi answer to the five Ephors. There is a council of Elders which corresponds to the Lacedaemonian; and the Cretans formerly had kings. There is also an assembly, but it can only ratify the decrees of the Cosmi and of the Elders [as at Lacedaemon].

1) The Cretan common meals are supported out of the public revenues, so that no citizen is excluded from them; in this respect they are an improvement upon the Lacedaemonian. There is a common stock, in which the women and children share. The legislator has many ingenious ways of preventing his citizens from eating and drinking too much; and in order to check the increase of population, he separates men from women, lest there should be too many mouths to feed. 2) The Cosmi are like the Ephors, but they are even a worse form of magistracy; for they are elected out of certain families and not out of the whole people. The institution is not unpopular: but it has great evils, and the remedy for them is as bad. For the mischief can only be cured by a revolution among the nobles, or the violent expulsion of the Cosmi from office. And so the Cretan government, while possessing some constitutional elements, really becomes a close oligarchy. 3) The Council is formed of ex-Cosmi. The members of it, like the Spartan Council of Elders, are appointed for life, and judge by unwritten laws.

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Crete has the good fortune to be an island, or the incessant factions would long ago have destroyed the state.

Aristotle compares the Cretan to the Spartan constitution—in some respects to the advantage of the former. Among the desirable aims which the Cretan legislator proposed to himself, he notices moderation in eating, the good arrangement of the Syssitia, the suppression of population. But the whole machinery of government was very rude and imperfect; although their insular situation preserved the Cretans from servile wars, they could correct political evils only by a periodical revolution. This anarchy of Crete contrasted with the stability of Lacedaemon.

The Syssitia, called Andria by the Cretans, were provided out of a public fund. They were not therefore exclusive, like the common meals of the Spartans. They would rather help to relieve the poverty of some of the citizens. The good principle which Aristotle praises among the Spartans of having some things in common was carried further by the Cretans. They all had a dinner at the expense of the state. Women and children also shared in the public stock, although it is not said by Aristotle that they partook of the common meals. And Aristotle himself observes that the presence of women at the common meals was a novelty first proposed by Plato. He also intimates that the intention of the legislator was to separate the sexes and not to bring them together. The similarity which Aristotle supposes to exist in the three states, Sparta, Crete, Carthage, is slenderly, if at all, confirmed by facts. It is an old remark that mankind observe similarities sooner than differences, and some general similarities may be expected to be found in all governments which are similarly circumstanced. The ancients, having a very limited knowledge of the world, were apt to regard these general similarities as proofs of a common origin. (Thus Herodotus, wherever he goes among his friends the priests, is apt to discover resemblances between the Greek and Egyptian religions.) In his criticism on the institutions of Crete Aristotle is expecting to find a similarity with Lacedaemon, derived from a common origin; but in the course of his enquiry Edition: current; Page: [xlvi]he discovers more differences than points of resemblance. The one real similarity is the Syssitia, which may naturally have arisen out of the military necessities of a conquering race, and would easily lead to the invention of the various legends by which Crete is connected with Lacedaemon. The Cretan institutions had no revival, and the tradition of them had not the same hold on the mind of Hellas as the tradition of Lycurgus. The Cretans never attained to the power and importance in Hellas for which the situation of the great island seemed to intend them. There was not in their nature the capacity of adapting themselves to the changing circumstances of the Greek world. They did not exclude foreigners, but they were seldom visited by them. They remained in the background of the history of Hellas, and did not ever become a considerable maritime power. They were renowned as archers, but not as heavy-armed troops. Their naval fame was legendary, going back to the times of Minos, the sea king, who put down the pirates. In later legend he is also called the lawgiver, who received laws from Zeus as Lycurgus did from Apollo. No historical king of Crete is mentioned in antiquity: the office was not retained as at Sparta, but shared the downfall of the other kingships of Hellas in the age when the oligarchies grew powerful.

The Carthaginian constitution resembles the Spartan and Cretan:Jowett1885v1: c. 11. all three are like one another, but unlike any others. The Carthaginian, though containing an element of democracy, has lasted well, and has never degenerated into a tyranny. At Carthage there are clubs which have common tables: these answer to the Spartan pheiditia. There is also a magistracy of 104, which answers to the Ephoralty, but unlike the Ephors, the Carthaginian magistrates are elected for merit. Like the Spartans they have Kings and a Council of Elders, but, unlike the Spartan, their Kings are elected for merit, and are not always of the same family.

The deviations of Carthage from the perfect state are the same as in most other states. The deviations from aristocracy and polity incline both to democracy and to oligarchy. For instance, Edition: current; Page: [xlvii]the people discuss and determine any matter which has been brought before them by the Kings and Elders (this is not the case at Sparta and Crete); and when the Kings and Elders are not unanimous, the people may decide whether the matter shall be brought forward or not. These are democratical features. But the election of the magistrates by co-optation and their great power after they have ceased to hold office are oligarchical features. The inclination to oligarchy is further shown in the regard which is paid in all elections, to wealth. (On this point however the majority of mankind would agree with the Carthaginians.) Once more, the appointment to offices without salary, the election by vote and not by lot, and the practice of having all suits tried by certain magistrates, and not some by one and some by another, are characteristic of aristocracy. The constitution of Carthage therefore is neither a pure aristocracy nor an oligarchy, but a third form which includes both, and has regard both to merit and wealth. 1) The over-estimation of wealth leads to the sale of offices, which is a great evil. True, the rulers must have the leisure which wealth alone can supply, but office should be the reward of merit, and therefore the legislator should find some other way of making a provision for the ruling class. The sale of offices is a gross abuse, and is a bad example to the people, who always imitate their rulers. 2) It is not a good principle that one man should hold several offices. In a large state they should be distributed as much as possible. 3) The Carthaginians remedy the evils of their government by sending out colonies. The accident of their wealth and position enables them to avail themselves of this outlet; but the safety of the state should not depend upon accidents.

Of the Carthaginian constitution Aristotle knows less than of Crete or Sparta. Though he is inclined to praise, his statements hardly justify his panegyric; nor does he make good the resemblance which he assumes to exist between the Spartan and Carthaginian constitutions. The purchase of the highest offices which prevailed among the Carthaginians, and their pluralism, are corruptions, which, as far as we know, existed nowhere in Edition: current; Page: [xlviii]Hellas. These offices were without salary, and therefore those who bought them must have repaid themselves in other ways (§ 12).

The permanence of the Carthaginian government is to Aristotle the most striking feature of it. To Carthage, as to England, emigration was the great safeguard against political dangers. Aristotle seems to think that such a remedy is an evasion of the duties of the legislator. He strongly insists that there should be a constitutional or legal method of reforming abuses; this did not exist either in Crete or Carthage. As in some modern European states, revolution or assassination was the only remedy for them.

The defect of knowledge derived from other sources renders it difficult to form a judgement upon Aristotle’s account of Carthage or even to reconcile him with himself. We cannot venture to connect his statements with the later but still scanty accounts of Carthage which have been preserved by the Romans. Nor can we correct the inaccurate statements of later writers by comparing them with one another. We do not know of whom the assembly was composed at Carthage, nor whether the council of 100 is or is not the same as the council of 104, or in what sense Carthage had or had not an exemption from revolution, or how far the club dinners may have corresponded to the Syssitia of Sparta, or whether offices were put up for sale to the highest bidder absolutely without regard to his fitness for office. To raise conjectures about these and similar uncertainties, to say what may have been or might have been, in an unknown age or country, to find reasons ‘plentiful as blackberries’ for one hypothesis or another, is not to make a contribution to history, and tends rather to impair the clearness of the critical vision.

Political writers have been either private individuals or lawgivers.Jowett1885v1: c. 12. Of lawgivers some have framed constitutions, others have only made laws. Lycurgus and Solon did both. Of the Lacedaemonian constitution I have already spoken. There have been various opinions concerning the legislation of Solon. 1) He is thought to have produced a mixed constitution, but he did not—the addition of dicasteries appointed out of the whole people does not make the Edition: current; Page: [xlix]constitution mixed, and this was the only element due to Solon, for the Areopagus and the elected magistracies existed before his time. 2) He is thought to have created the democracy; but he did nothing of the kind. The power of the people began to increase after the Persian war, and was extended by Ephialtes and Pericles, who paid the jurors and curtailed the power of the Areopagus, as well as by other demagogues who succeeded them. Incidentally the institution of the law-courts led to the creation of the democracy. But Solon neither intended nor foresaw this result. He only gave the people a voice in the election and control of the magistrates, who continued to be taken from the three higher classes of citizens.

Zaleucus and Charondas were only legislators. Zaleucus legislated for the Italian Locrians, Charondas for the Chalcidian cities of Italy and Sicily. The latter was the first who instituted actions for perjury; he is very precise in the form of his laws. Onomacritus is thought to have been even older than these; and to have been contemporary with Thales, of whom Lycurgus and Zaleucus are supposed to have been disciples; but all this is an anachronism. Philolaus, a Corinthian, who settled at Thebes, enacted ‘Laws of Adoption;’ Phaleas would have equalised property. Some peculiarities of Plato’s legislation are the community of women and property, the common meals of women, the law that the sober should be rulers of the feast, and the training of soldiers to acquire equal skill with both hands. Draco’s laws are proverbial for severity. Pittacus was merciless to drunkards. Androdamas of Rhegium legislated for the Thracian Chalcidians.

The fragmentary chapter which concludes the Book and which is in part a repetition of what has preceded, contains an interesting criticism on Solon and Pericles. Aristotle (?) defends Solon against the charge of having introduced democracy. Although he admits that there was a seed of democracy in some of the institutions of Solon, he attributes the real growth of it to the course of events, especially to the increased power deservedly gained by the people after the great sacrifices which they made in the Persian War. Ephialtes, Pericles, and other demagogues, for in this class by Edition: current; Page: [l]implication he places them, gave too much encouragement to the democratic spirit, until Athens became what it was in later Greek history. (See also note on Text, p. 100.)

It may be observed that the writer is not quite consistent in his account of Solon; for he says, first of all, that he only introduced the dicasteries, and in a subsequent sentence that ‘he only gave the people power to elect and control their magistrates.’ How are these two statements to be reconciled with one another? He denies that Pericles [directly] created the democracy, but he admits that he did so indirectly by appointing the courts of law from all the citizens. It may be remarked also that he recapitulates what he had said about Phaleas without alluding to the previous discussion of him.

There is little or nothing in this chapter which need make us doubt its genuineness, that is to say, the degree of genuineness which we attribute to the rest of the Politics.

The writer seems rather strangely to suppose that in these few chapters he has told all that was worth telling either about the theories of philosophers or about ancient legislators. There are many matters of interest concerning which he is silent. But the beginnings of ancient criticism are fragmentary and always fall short of our wishes and expectations.

The question ‘whether the virtue of the good citizen is the same as that of the good man’ with which the third Book opens, is Aristotle’s way of discussing what is the relation of Ethics to Politics. The modern aspect of the question will be further considered in an Essay (Vol. II) on Aristotle as a Political Philosopher. (See also Note at end of Book III.)

A science which is not yet fully established must proceed tentatively in the use of words. It has to take them from poetry or common life and to set a new stamp upon them. A special meaning has to be elicited from a generic word or a new idea to be expressed through the medium of an outward object. Edition: current; Page: [li]Figures of speech are brought into use which gradually cease to be figurative. Abstract ideas have often to be explained by the concrete terms which correspond to them. It is easier to answer the question ‘Who is a man?’ than ‘What is the true idea of human nature?’ But these again, however familiar they may be, are perplexing when we attempt to define them. The specific use of words easily returns into the generic; the good sense passes into the neutral, or even into the bad; and what ought to be is confounded with what is. Many meanings grow out of the one (e.g. πολιτεία). Even the material substance and the idea associated with it are not always distinguished. Such variations in the use of words often occur in the same page. Hence we are not surprised that Aristotle, before enquiring into the nature of the state, should begin by asking, ‘Who is a citizen?’ or that the first and popular use of the words ‘citizen’ or ‘office’ should require to be modified under different forms of government: or that the term ‘polity’ should in the same paragraph or sentence be used to signify ‘a constitution’ both in the more general and the more precise sense, or that the word ‘city’ should mean a ‘town’ and also a ‘state.’

In ancient philosophy as well as in modern, and in the beginning quite as much as in the decline of either, there arose casuistical questions which often did not admit of a precise answer, although the attempt to solve them may have contributed to the growth of ethical and political science. ‘Is a citizen de facto also a citizen de jure?’ ‘What constitutes a state?’ ‘Should obligations incurred by one government be discharged by another?’ ‘Is the one best man to be a king or an exile?’ Aristotle is fond of raising such questions, which he sometimes cuts short by common sense and sometimes leaves without an answer. He exaggerates conflicting points of view, and also reconciles them. The art of dialectic had not yet attained to a system, but moved forward with irregular steps. Yet by the raising of objections and the contrast of opposites a real progress was made, and a higher stage of truth attained.

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The definition of a citizen and of a state: several casuistical questions, of which the most important is, Whether the virtue of the good citizen is the same as that of the good man: the definition of a polity: true forms of polity and their perversions: should the few or the many or the virtuous be supreme? recapitulation: the five species of kingship.

‘What is a state?’ is the first question which the political philosopherJowett1885v1: c. 1. has to determine. But a state is composed of citizens, and therefore we must further ask, ‘Who is a citizen?’—Not he who lives in a particular spot, or who has the privilege of suing and being sued (for these rights are not confined to citizens); nor yet one who is either too young or too old for office, or who is disfranchised, or an exile, or a metic; but he who actually shares in the administration of justice and in offices of state. And whereas offices are either limited by time, like special magistracies, or unlimited, like the office of dicast and ecclesiast, we are here speaking of the latter only, and we want to find some common term under which both dicast and ecclesiast are included. Such a term is a holder of ‘indefinite or unlimited office:’—those who share in office unlimited by time are citizens.

But since governments differ in kind and have a different place in the order of thought (for true forms are prior to perversions), the definition of the citizen will likewise differ in different states; and the definition which we have just given, strictly speaking, is suited only to a democracy. In aristocratic states like Lacedaemon and Carthage, which have no regular meetings of the ecclesia, the chief power is in the hands of the magistrates who decide all causes; and they are holders not of indefinite, but of definite offices. The words of our definition therefore, if they are to include aristocracies as well as democracies, will have to be amended: and we must say, That he is a citizen who shares in the judicial or deliberative administration of a state.

In practice, a citizen is defined to be one of whom both theJowett1885v1: c. 2. parents, or, as others say, the grandparents or great grandparents Edition: current; Page: [liii]were citizens. But here the difficulty is only carried a step or two further back. For who were the first citizens? As Gorgias said of the Larissaeans, They were an article manufactured by the magistrates. And what are we to think of those who hold office unjustly or after a revolution? The point is, not whether they are, but whether they ought to be citizens. We answer that they are included in our definition: the defect of right does not alter the fact. They hold office; and this is our criterion of citizenship.

The question suggests another question: when is an act the actJowett1885v1: c. 3. of the state? In times of revolution persons refuse to fulfil their obligations: they say that they were contracted, not to the state, but to the governing body which has been deposed, and that the acts of the previous government, not having been established for the common good, were unlawful. But they should remember that their argument applies to all forms of government alike:—to a democracy which is founded on violence, quite as much as to an oligarchy or tyranny.

We are therefore driven to consider the question in a more general form: When is a state the same, and when different? It is not enough that the place and the inhabitants continue, or that a particular spot is surrounded by a wall. Nor does the city alter because successive generations of men come and go. The real identity is the identity of the constitution; not of the place, nor of the inhabitants. (This is true; but we must not go on to infer, that a state need not fulfil her engagements when the form of government changes.)

Connected with the question ‘Who is a citizen?’ there is aJowett1885v1: c. 4. further question, ‘Whether the virtue of the good citizen is also the virtue of the good man?’ Before entering on this question, we must first ascertain what is the virtue of the citizen. Now different citizens have different functions, like sailors on board ship; but they have a common end, which, in the case of the sailors, is the safety of the ship, in the case of the citizens, the salvation of the state. And since forms of government differ, and the virtues of the citizens are relative to them, they cannot all have the perfect and absolute virtue of the good man. Even in the perfect state, though the members of it must all be good Edition: current; Page: [liv]citizens, we cannot suppose them to be all good men unless we suppose them to be all alike. Again, the state, like the living being, has higher and lower elements, and the virtue of all of them cannot be the same.

But is there no case in which the virtue of the good man and of the good citizen coincide? There is; for the good and wise ruler is a good and wise man. (The rule of which I am speaking, is not the rule of the master over the slave, but the constitutional rule of freemen and equals.) Therefore, in some cases, though not in all, the good citizen coincides with the good man. And if the virtue of the good man is that which rules, and the virtue of the citizen includes both ruling and obeying, from one point of view the good citizen is not only the equal, but the superior of the good man. For every citizen in a free state should learn how to become a statesman by being first a simple citizen, just as he would learn the duties of a general by being under the orders of a general. Yet the two are not the same; the justice of the ruler differs in kind, or at any rate in degree from that of the subject. And there is another difference—the ruler has knowledge, but the subject true opinion only.

One more question:—Is the mechanic to be included amongJowett1885v1: c. 5. the citizens? No; for he holds no office and therefore cannot have the double virtue of ruling and obeying which makes the citizen. He can only obey and do his work: that is all. Therefore, he cannot be a citizen. But if not, what place has he in the state? The answer is, that like a slave or a freedman, he may live in the state and he may be necessary to the existence of the state, and yet not form part of it. In ancient times, the artisan class were not admitted to citizenship, and in well-ordered states they are still excluded. If they are admitted, our definition of the virtue of a citizen must be restricted to those who do not work with their hands. [For if they do, they cannot have leisure for the performance of their duties as citizens.]

The manner of treating the artisan and labouring class differs in different states. In an aristocracy, or government of the best, if such there be, they are excluded, for they are too busy to practise virtue: into an oligarchy, where only a money-qualification is Edition: current; Page: [lv]required, the mechanic may often find his way, for many of them become rich; but not the labourer, who remains poor. In democracies, not only mechanics and labourers, but, when there is a dearth of population, even aliens and persons of illegitimate birth attain the rights of citizens.

Thus we see that there are different kinds of citizens, and that the virtue of the good citizen is not always the same with that of the good man, but only the virtue of the statesman [and this only in the perfect state].

[Having defined and discussed the citizen], we will proceed toJowett1885v1: c. 6. consider constitutions or forms of government. The constitution is in fact the government; and governments vary as the governors are one, the few, or the many, and have ends higher or lower. Men are political animals, and they meet together in cities, not only because they need one another’s help, but with a view to mutual improvement and well-being. And even for the sake of mere life, in which there is an element of nobility and sweetness, they still continue to maintain the political bond until the evil is too much for the good.

There are many kinds of authority:—first, that which a master exercises over his slaves. He has in view primarily his own interests, among which is accidentally included an interest in the life and health of his slave. In household management the common good of the family is primarily considered, and only secondarily the good of the ruler or head. The case is like that of the pilot or trainer, who while he takes care of those entrusted to him also incidentally takes care of himself. And so in politics; [there is a common as well as a private interest], and in all forms of government when they are false the animating principle is the interest of the individual, when they are true, the public good. [In a constitutional government] the citizens rule and are ruled in turn; they come into office and see to the affairs of others for a time, and when they go out the others come in and see to theirs. This was the original intention. But now-a-days all men are seeking for wealth to which they make office a stepping-stone. They go hunting after places as if their lives depended upon them. . . . . . .

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Some of the perplexities of language which beset the infancy of philosophy are the use of a generic term in its specific sense, or of a neutral term in a good sense and conversely, or the necessity of attributing to the same word a passive, active, and neuter sense. In the discussion which follows, the term πολιτεία is used of states in general and also of the state par excellence which, according to Aristotle, is the true form of a constitution. So in English the terms ‘constitution’ and ‘constitutional’ are used without a qualifying epithet to signify a moderate form of constitution. And in the Nicomachean Ethics, the want of a more copious vocabulary compels Aristotle in like manner to employ the word δικαιοσύνη in two or perhaps three senses for justice, honesty, and also for righteousness. The use of the term ‘justice’ applied to the performance of a right or to the punishment of a wrong action affords an instance of the perverse influence which cognate or paronymous words are liable to exercise upon thought. (Cp. N. E. v. 9. § 2.) The various meanings of words are generally settled by custom, and their use in each particular case determined by the context. But to the contemporaries of Aristotle the multiplicity in the meaning of words was often a source of fallacy and confusion which required to be cleared up.

The imperfection of logic in the time of Aristotle is likewise illustrated by the discussion of the question, What constitutes a state? To which the political philosopher, after rejecting the explanation of sameness of place or race, replies ‘sameness of government.’ But surely the sameness of a state consists in many things, and is consistent with many changes of government as well as of race or place. No one would deny that England and Sweden are the same nations or countries which existed 800 years ago; about France, Italy, Germany, or Poland, the answer would be more doubtful. The elements which constitute national identity may perhaps be reckoned in the following order, sameness of race, sameness of language, sameness of place, sameness of religion, sameness of government, sameness of character. But we must remember that the idea of sameness is relative, and in reality can never be equally applicable to the state and to the individual.

An analogous question not unconsidered by Aristotle has often Edition: current; Page: [lvii]been raised in modern times, Where in case of a revolution does lawful authority reside? To which we may reply that what is ordinarily a difference in kind has become a difference of degree, and that in a state of change we must not expect either to have an unchanging authority, or to pass by a jump from one government to another. Or we may say that society is being resolved into its elements, and that for a short time the sacredness of authority is overpowered by force. Or, that to whichever side in the conflict power distinctly inclines, there authority begins to exist. Such difficulties were answered in English writers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by asserting a divine and unchangeable right of kings or of government and a corresponding duty of passive obedience; or on the other hand by an imaginary compact which, according to Hobbes, was made once for all in the beginning of society and was therefore unchangeable,—but according to Locke and others, might at any time be altered or reversed. Such a compact was a convenient figure of speech adapted to the understanding and wants of the age, just as the divine right of kings was once a convenient symbol of the sacredness of authority.

In the writings of Aristotle incongruous notions are often brought together by the accident of a common word. The rule of a king or statesman has to be distinguished from the rule of a master over his slaves. The position of the artisan, who has already caused us a good deal of trouble, is generally assumed to be outside the pale of political society. Yet we are surprised to find that there are some oligarchies, in which even the artisan, if he acquires property, may become a member of the state. And we end where we might have begun, with what to us appears to be rather a commonplace conclusion, that under different forms of government there are various kinds of citizens.

The question whether democracy and oligarchy derive their character respectively from wealth and poverty or from the fewness and multitude of the citizens, would hardly have occurred to a modern political writer. The majority, as at Colophon, or to take modern instances, in Australia or America, may be well-to-do, the poor may be a minority. Yet such a state will be a democracy, for every citizen equally shares in the government. But it might Edition: current; Page: [lviii]be argued that even in a Greek Republic, as in the United States, the real character of democracy would be greatly modified by the prosperity of the people. Aristotle has stated the possible combinations of the different elements; but in this passage he has not fairly balanced them with one another. It might with equal truth be affirmed that democracy was the government of the many or of the poor, oligarchy of the few or of the rich. But it would be truer still to say that in a democracy are commonly included the many and the poor, in an oligarchy the few and the wealthy; and this is in fact Aristotle’s own conclusion in the Fourth Book (c. 4. § 4), where he returns to the subject. Oligarchy and democracy may also be regarded as relative terms; and there is always a residuum of either in the other; for democracy is led by a few, and all the members of an oligarchy claim to be equal with one another. Nor can we say how strong may be the elements of conservatism which are latent in the mass of the people who are averse to many kinds of change, or how much of the revolutionary temper may lurk in ambitious members of an oligarchy who are attracted by contrast, or stimulated by private hatred or interest.

Another question is a source of still more serious perplexity to Aristotle,—it had been already discussed by Plato: Should men be governed by a law or by a person? By the law which cannot take cognizance of particular cases, or by the person who can? The practice of the Athenians, whose laws were written down on square or triangular lecterns (κύρβεις) placed in the agora, and of the Lacedaemonians, who for the most part decided causes without written law by judgments of the Gerousia and the Ephors, afforded conspicuous examples of the two opposite principles. All law must have been originally unwritten, though it is probable also that in primitive times cases may have been decided by precedent. The claims both of the law and of the individual judge are asserted by Aristotle. What law can have a right to limit the actions of the perfectly just man who is a law to himself, and yet, if there is to be equality among equals, how can all the other citizens be excluded from power? To which the answer is made that he is not an equal any more than Zeus among the gods. Aristotle wavers between these two points of view which he almost Edition: current; Page: [lix]brings to an agreement; for the law must be executed by judges; and the one wise ruler will have other wise men to assist him in his judicial labours.

Throughout the Politics he is distracted between an ideal perfection and the actual conditions of human life, and often passes unconsciously from one to the other. The best state in the Seventh Book comes round to be little more than an ordinary Greek state which is placed under favourable circumstances. The aim of the state should be the highest virtue, yet virtue is also relative to the form of government; the virtue of a democracy is not the same with that of an oligarchy. Even the political virtues are not all equally required of all magistrates. In idea the one best man is to be lord and master of all; in fact he is to be ostracised. And it is intimated that there is a good deal to be said in favour of this latter mode of procedure. According to Plato in the Republic the true ruler was entrusted with power, not for his own good, but for the good of his subjects, and he distinguishes governments into true and false as they aim at the good of the governed or of the governors themselves. Aristotle in like manner lays down the principle that all true forms of government exist only for the good of the governed; all false ones for the good of the rulers. That he should have passed from the ideal to the actual, or that he should have clothed the ideal in fanciful forms, is not surprising.

We have next to consider how many and what forms of governmentJowett1885v1: c. 7. there are and how they differ from each other. The supreme power must always be exercised either by one, or by a few, or by many. The true forms are those which regard the common interest: the perverted forms have in view only the private interests of the rulers. The rule of one is called royalty, the rule of a few, aristocracy, the rule of many, polity or constitutional government, when these forms severally aim at the good of the governed. They are called tyranny, oligarchy, democracy, when they have regard to the good of a single person or class only, of the king, of the wealthy or of the needy. The general term ‘polity’ is naturally applied in a specific sense, because the form of government Edition: current; Page: [lx]designated by it is the most popular and comprehensive. For few are capable of every kind of virtue, and therefore there are few royalties or aristocracies; but military virtue is found in all classes, and is shared by the many. And thus arises polity or constitutional government, in which the heavy-armed soldiers have the supreme power.

But the differences in forms of government do not depend solelyJowett1885v1: c. 8. on number and quantity; the element of quality must also be included. Democracy, for example, is said to be the government of the many and of the poor. But what if the many are rich? does the form of government continue to be a democracy? Oligarchy again is defined to be the government of the few and of the rich, but if the few are poor, what becomes of the definition? In any case, how shall we describe those states in which a rich majority or in which a poor minority are rulers?

We answer that the number of the governing class in oligarchy and democracy is unessential. The true characteristic of oligarchy is wealth, of democracy, poverty. But in fact the two definitions generally coincide; for the wealthy are almost always the few and the many are the poor.

Yet neither the claim of freedom nor the claim of wealth isJowett1885v1: c. 9. really just: for justice is the distribution of the right thing to the right person. The self-love of the oligarch or of the democrat puts relative in the place of absolute justice:—the one thinks that inequality in wealth involves inequality in everything: the other that equality in freedom involves equality in everything. They both forget that the true end of the state is not wealth or freedom, but a good life. Mere life is not enough; if it were, slaves and brute animals would be citizens. Neither do community of place nor rights of intermarriage and trade constitute a state. Nor can commercial treaties or defensive alliances give a true political life; for there is no superior power which can enforce them, and the inhabitants of one state do not care about the virtues or vices of other states if only they keep faith with them. Even within the limits of a single state the prevention of crime and the promotion of trade are secondary objects. The life of virtue is the only true and sufficient end of the state. Men may live in the neighbourhood Edition: current; Page: [lxi]of one another, or even in the same place, and intermarry and trade and meet at festivals and form alliances. But these are means and conditions only; virtue is the end. Political society exists for the sake of virtue, and they who contribute most to this end have a greater right to power in the state than the rich or noble. But if so, those who make justice relative to a particular form of government speak of a part of justice only.

Yet another question: Who ought to have the supreme authorityJowett1885v1: c. 10. in the state? The many,—the wealthy,—the tyrant,—the good,—the one best man? Any of these alternatives may lead to bad results. If the poor rule, they may divide the property of the rich. Is not this unjust? ‘Nay,’ will be the reply, ‘the people did it.’ But if they go on and on, the poor majority dividing by force the wealth of the rich minority, the state will be ruined. And on the same principle the rich or the tyrant may rob the poor. Yet surely justice is the preservation and not the destruction of states. The people, if they plunder the rich, are no better than the tyrant; both make might prevail over right. ‘But ought not the good to rule?’ Then a slight will be put upon everybody else. ‘Or the one best man?’—that will make the number excluded still larger. Or, shall the law, and not the will of man, have the supreme power? And what if the law be defective?

The rule of many is upon the whole the best solution of theseJowett1885v1: c. 11. difficulties. The people, taken collectively, though composed of ordinary individuals, have more virtue and wisdom than any single man among them. As the feast to which many contribute is better than the feast given by one, as the judgment of the many at the theatre is truer than the judgment of one, as a good man and a fair work of art have many elements of beauty or goodness combined in them;—so the assembly of the people has more good sense and wisdom than any individual member of it. The good qualities which are scattered about in individuals are combined in it. But is this principle really applicable to bodies of men? To some, not to all; for there are assemblies of men who are no better than brutes. But there are men of another sort, whom union makes wise. And if so, our difficulties are at an end; this is our answer to the question, Who are to be the rulers of states?

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But a new dilemma arises. The many are not fit to hold great offices of state, and yet if they are excluded, they will be dangerous. They had better therefore have some judicial and deliberative functions,—such a power as Solon gave them of electing the magistrates and calling them to account. Although they are not fit to form a judgment individually, they have sense enough when they meet. But some one will still argue that the magistrates should be elected and called to account by their peers, just as in the arts the expert must be judged by the expert, the physician by some one who understands medicine, whether he be a professional physician or not. Once more we reply that the people collectively have more wisdom than any individual among them. Besides, in many of the arts the user is a better judge than the artist.

Yet one more difficulty remains:—The election and calling to account of the magistrates is the highest of political functions; should such a power be entrusted to the people rather than to men of position and fortune? The old answer must be repeated. The power resides, not in the individual, but in the assembly or lawcourt; and collectively the wealth and the wisdom of the people are greater than that of any one or a few individuals.

The previous enquiry shows plainly that the people must govern, but they must govern according to law. The laws therefore, when good, should be supreme, and the magistrates should only speak when the laws are unable to speak.—But what are good laws? We reply generally that the goodness of the laws is relative to the goodness of the constitution: true forms of government have just laws, perverted forms have unjust laws.

[In the next chapter, after having disposed of the difficulty which he had suggested, Aristotle returns to the subject of Chap. ix.]

All arts and sciences aim at some good, and the good or endJowett1885v1: c. 12. of the highest of all, the political, is justice, which is another name for the common interest. And justice is defined to be equality in relation to persons. But there arises the question: In what does this equality consist? Some will say that equality or superiority in any single respect gives a claim in all other respects. But this is absurd; no man can claim political rights on the ground that he Edition: current; Page: [lxiii]is tall or good-looking. The skill of a flute-player is not more highly esteemed because he is richer or better born, but because he is the superior performer. How can there be any comparison of things so dissimilar as wealth and flute-playing or stature and freedom? Not every kind of superiority, then, gives a claim to office, but only wealth and rank and freedom; for these are necessary elements of a state. And we must add justice and courage; for courage is essential to the well-being, justice to the very existence, of a state.

First, and above all, if we take into account a good life,Jowett1885v1: c. 13. education and virtue have superior claims. These are the true bases of government; but the assertion of absolute equality among equals or of absolute inequality among unequals is mischievous and false. The relative claim does not give an absolute claim. The rich have a greater stake in the country; the free and the noble have inherited good qualities from their ancestors, and their claim is always recognised in their own country; the virtuous have a claim because justice is the virtue which unites men in states, and all the others are implied in it; the many, taken collectively, are stronger, richer, and better than the few. But let us suppose the rich, the free, the virtuous, to be living together in the same city, which of them ought to govern? (There is no difficulty at all in determining who should rule in a democracy or in an oligarchy.) But suppose all the elements to co-exist in the same state, how are we to decide between them? The virtuous will probably be too few to administer the state. And if men are to govern because they are more virtuous or richer or higher in rank, on the same principle the most virtuous, or the richest or the highest in rank, ought to rule over them all. If, again, the many claim to rule because they are the stronger, with equal justice the strongest of all will claim to rule over the others. Hence we infer that none of them have any claim to the exclusion of the rest.

A similar question:—Should the laws be made for the higher classes, or for all? We answer that the laws should be just, and that the just is the equal, and has regard to the common good of the citizens. The laws therefore cannot regard the good of one Edition: current; Page: [lxiv]class only, but of all the citizens. The good citizen is both ruler and subject, not a member of one class only. [And he would be excluded from the operation of a law which related to a class only.] Once more [this is the old question repeated]: What if the virtue of any one citizen very far exceed the virtues of the rest,—is it not unjust that he should be only the equal of the others? for he is a God among men. Laws apply only to equals; and he is himself a law. Democracies feel the inconvenience which arises out of the presence of men who are pre-eminent by their wealth or influence, and they have recourse to ostracism. Oligarchs and tyrants are in the same difficulty. Nor can any form of government allow the existence of a person superior to itself. The argument in favour of ostracism is based on a political necessity. The painter does not allow any feature in the face, nor the shipbuilder any part of the ship, to be out of proportion to the rest; and the citizen must not be out of proportion to the state. But the legislator should, if possible, so order his state that the evil will not arise; that would be far better. Ostracism is liable to abuse and is essentially unjust; it has been employed for purposes of faction, and not for the good of the state. In perverted forms of government such a practice may be expedient; in the ideal state, who would think of expelling the one best man? But what is the alternative? If he cannot be a subject, he must be a king.

Thus from the consideration of the question,—Who is the trueJowett1885v1: c. 14. ruler in states? we are led to speak of royalty and to examine the kinds of it. They are five: 1. The Lacedaemonian, which is a perpetual generalship, either hereditary or elective, having the power of life and death, but, like the Homeric chiefs, only in the field. To the king matters of religion are also committed. 2. The despotic form of monarchy which prevails among barbarians and is exercised over voluntary subjects; for the people are willing to obey, because they are by nature slaves, and therefore such governments are hereditary and legal. In one sense they are tyrannies, because their subjects are slaves: but there is no danger of their being overthrown; for they are guarded not by mercenaries but by their own people. 3. The dictatorship or elective tyranny, which, under Edition: current; Page: [lxv]the name Aesymnetia, existed in ancient Hellas, and was legal but not hereditary; it lasted either for life or for a term of years, or until certain duties had been performed. Such an office was held by Pittacus at Mitylene, whom Alcaeus, the leader of the exiles, denounces in his poems. 4. A fourth kind of monarchy, that of the Heroic times, was hereditary and legal, and was exercised over willing subjects. The first monarchs were benefactors of the people in arts or arms; they procured lands or built cities for them, and the prerogatives which they acquired descended to their children. They were priests and judges and warriors, and had a supreme authority over all things. Afterwards their power declined; and at length the office of priest or general alone remained to them. 5. There is a fifth form of absolute kingship which exercises an universal power, like that of the state over the public property, or that of a master over a household.

Of these five forms the first and fifth alone need consideration;Jowett1885v1: c. 15. the rest differ from them not in kind but in degree. Thus two questions remain: 1. Is a perpetual generalship advantageous to the state? This question likewise may be dismissed; for a perpetual generalship is not a constitution, but an office established by law which may exist equally under any form of government. 2. Should one man have absolute power? Such a royalty is certainly a form of government; but many difficulties are involved in it.

Already we are engaged in the old controversy,—whether the best laws or the best man should rule. Both views are tenable. The advocate of royalty says that the law cannot provide for particular cases. To whom we may fairly reply: Neither can the ruler dispense with a general principle which is law; and the law which is passionless is to be preferred to the caprice of the individual. Says the advocate of royalty, An individual must advise in individual cases. [To whom we in turn reply that] There must be a legislator, whether he be called a king or not, who will make laws, and these laws will have validity as far as they are adapted to their ends. But there is still a question: When there is a defect in the law, who shall decide, the expert or the multitude? Our conclusion is that the collective wisdom of the many is to be preferred to the one wise man. They will not all go Edition: current; Page: [lxvi]wrong together, and by reason of their numbers they are less corruptible, less liable to passion, and not more subject to faction than the individual. You will say: That they may be divided among themselves, but that he cannot be divided. Answer, They are quite as good as he. And are not many good men better than one? But if so aristocracy is to be preferred to royalty. The reason why ancient governments were monarchies is that in early times there were only a few good men who could confer benefits, and these benefactors were made kings. The reason why democracies are a necessity in our own day is that all men are pretty much on an equality, and no one is pre-eminent among his fellows. When good men increased in number, royalties passed into aristocracies; these degenerated into oligarchies. Oligarchies passed into tyrannies, and tyrannies became democracies, for the rich became fewer and fewer, and the poor more and more numerous. And democracy seems to be the only form of government any longer possible, now that cities are increased in size.

Two more questions: 1. Should monarchy be hereditary? No, for the next generation may be quite ordinary persons, and yet the king will be constrained by natural affection to bequeath his power to his sons, however ill-fitted they may be to succeed him. 2. Should he have a military force? Yes, but only such a force as will be sufficient to control individuals, not to overawe the mass of the citizens.

Absolute monarchy is held to be contrary to nature. EqualsJowett1885v1: c. 16. are deemed to have an equal right and worth; and therefore they must all have their turn of ruling and being ruled in an order of succession fixed by law. (For law is already implied, if there is an order of succession.) The law is preferable to the rule of individuals; wherefore judges should be only the ministers of the law, and when they take office they must judge according to law. But if the law cannot decide, what then? Then we must have recourse to skilled persons, who are expressly trained to decide causes which are omitted by the law; they may even go further and amend the law. But still they are its servants. The rule of the law is the rule of God and reason: in the rule of man there is an Edition: current; Page: [lxvii]element of the beast. It is argued on the other hand that the physician does not cure his patients according to fixed rules which are found in a book, but then he is not liable to be affected by motives of party or interest. Men desire impartiality; the law is impartial. And even if there are cases in which the opinion of the one man is better than law, custom may be better still.

There is another point of view from which the subject may be approached. Every magistrate must have subordinates; ‘two going together’ and ‘ten such counsellors’ as Homer says; and it is desirable that they should be regularly appointed. Matters of detail cannot always be comprehended under laws; and therefore they are referred to the decision of individuals. But many are better than one, just as many eyes or hands or feet are better than a single pair. The eyes of kings are the friends who are their second-selves, and are therefore appointed to rule by them. Thus the two points of view tend to approximate, and royalty in seeking for instruments of government is converted into an aristocracy.

But is the doctrine that the law is better than the individualJowett1885v1: c. 17. applicable to all forms of government? No, not to all, but only to those which are legitimate, such as that which a master exercises over his household, or a king over his subjects, or a free people over itself. For no man should be lord over his equals, whether there are laws or whether there are no laws, always excepting the case of the one best man.

A people capable of producing a superior race are fitted for monarchy, and a people who willingly submit to their superiors in virtue are adapted for aristocracy. To a warlike multitude of freemen who rule and are ruled in turn, and who select their officers according to merit, a constitutional government is best suited. When a family or a single person is pre-eminent in virtue, they are the natural kings and lords of the state. And the one best man or born superior in virtue cannot be ostracized or killed. Neither can he be a subject. He is the superior person; the ideal or whole of which the state is only a part. What is the inference? He must be the ruler of the state for life.

We see then that the true forms of government are three:Jowett1885v1: c. 18. Edition: current; Page: [lxviii]1) in which there is one man, or 2) a family, or 3) many men, of pre-eminent virtue, and both rulers and subjects rule and obey with a view to the best life. We have already explained that the virtue of the good man is the same with that of the citizen of the perfect state; and that the term good has the same meaning whether applied to states or individuals. The education therefore of the good man and of the good statesman or king will be the same.

The criticisms of royalty in the latter part of the Third Book are many of them unsatisfactory. It is not true that the kingship of Sparta was merely a generalship for life, and when Aristotle says that of such monarchies some are hereditary and some elective, he appears to be making a logical division not to be found in history,—at any rate we cannot tell to what or to whom he is referring. Neither is it true that of the five kinds of monarchy two only differ in kind; for there are essential differences between all the five. Still more unreasonable is the dismissal of the first kind on the ground that it is only a generalship for life, when we consider that the Spartan monarchy was the single monarchical institution in Hellas. The five kinds are thus reduced to one. Neither is the account of the origin of kingship given in this place really based upon the experience of history. In a few instances it is true that benefits conferred on a city or nation have raised men to power; but more often the power of a chief or king has originated in superior bodily strength or superior intelligence directed to a private end. Barbarous cunning has often founded kingdoms.

The favourite speculation which Aristotle has inherited from Plato, whether the law or the wise man is to be supreme, is represented by analogous questions in modern times: How much is to be common or statute law? what is the place of custom and precedent? how much is to be left to the direction of the judge? These are inquiries which are not without interest to the modern jurist. The problem is, What elements of law should be fixed and permanent, and what proportion should they bear to the floating and transient? Laws must be known beforehand, or the offender cannot justly be subjected to them. At first they are simple and general; then as society becomes more complex, the Edition: current; Page: [lxix]interstices of these general principles require to be filled up with details which are demanded by new occasions. But the new occasions are infinite; and hence at some point the individual must decide. How far he is to bring the question at issue under some existing law or analogy of law; how far in the absence of law he may freely use common sense, are points which will be determined differently by different minds and different schools of jurisprudence. Do what he will he cannot get rid of the past, nor can he always find there a solution for the present. Like Aristotle, he will be disposed to regard custom as a mediator between the two contending principles. And in modern times, where there are representative institutions, the power of determining causes, which the ancients gave either to the magistrates as in an oligarchy, or to a popular assembly as in a democracy, acting separately, will be transferred to the one and many acting together as judge and jury.

This book is characterized by great want of arrangement and frequent repetition. The paradox that the many are wiser than the few is affirmed again and again. The paradox of the one best man also occurs twice over. Such an ideal was evidently a notion common in the age of Aristotle; it culminated in the Stoical wise man. Several controversies seem to be protracted long after we ought to have finished with them.

But notwithstanding paradoxes and want of arrangement, this book contains many noble passages, such for example as the two declarations that the rule of law is the rule of God and of reason; and that the state exists for the sake of a good life, and without virtue has no true existence; or the favourite thesis that all true forms of government have regard to the good of the governed; or the final conclusion, arrived at after many tossings of the argument to and fro, that from the higher point of view and in the perfect state the good citizen, or at any rate the good ruler, is identical with the good man.

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The Fourth Book of Aristotle’s Politics does not furnish many new ideas. The most original of them is the middle state, which will be discussed more at length in a separate Essay (vol. ii). The book contains some excellent remarks, and some things hard to be understood. Among noble and liberal sentiments may be reckoned the requirement that all should take part in the government; the reflections that political tricks and devices are foolish and useless; that the poor should receive gentle treatment; that there must not only be good laws in the state, but the spirit of obedience; and the fine observation (taken from Plato) that, even in states which do not make virtue the aim of the community, men of a noble nature may be found. Among difficulties may be mentioned the distinctions without a difference in the subdivisions of oligarchies and democracies; the distinction between the laws and the constitution, which elsewhere is forgotten (cp. iii. 15, § 2); the two combinations in the twelve forms of appointment to offices; the sudden transition in the enumeration of the different kinds of law courts to political cases, which are no sooner spoken of than the consideration of them is dropped; or the mention in c. 7. § 2 of ‘the form of government to which the term aristocracy is rightly applied in the first part of our treatise,’ a reference to which there is no antecedent, either in the previous Books, or, if the order is transposed, in the Seventh Book.


The absolutely, relatively, conditionally, and on the average best forms of government: why forms of government differ, and what are their component elements: the varieties of oligarchy and democracy: of aristocracy and policy: of tyranny: the forms taken by the deliberative and executive power under different constitutions.

Every art which embraces an entire subject must take in all theJowett1885v1: c. 1. branches of that subject. Gymnastic, for example, includes 1) the training which is best absolutely; 2) which is best suited to different individuals; 3) which is not the best, either relatively or Edition: current; Page: [lxxi]absolutely, though sometimes wanted, and must therefore be understood and taught by the training master; 4) which is best for the majority. So too the art of politics comprehends several forms of government,—1) the ideal state, 2) the state which is best relatively to circumstances, 3) the inferior state placed under inferior conditions and not making the best use of them, 4) the best average state.

We must aim at what is practicable; and not, like [Plato and other] political writers who have excellent but impossible ideas, seek after an unattainable perfection. Any change which we desire to introduce should be congenial as well as possible; for to reform is as difficult as to create, to unlearn as to learn. The statesman should not be a mere theorist; but he should have a true political insight into the evils of states and their remedies. And he should not fall into the error of supposing that there is only one kind of democracy and one kind of oligarchy; for there are many. He should know, not only which government is the best, but which is the best under the circumstances, and not only which laws are the best, but which are adapted to one form of constitution rather than to another. The laws are the rules according to which magistrates administer the state; but they vary under different governments, and are not to be confounded with the principles of the constitution.

We have said that there are three true forms of government—royalty,Jowett1885v1: c. 2. aristocracy, polity; and three perversions—tyranny, oligarchy, democracy. Royalty and aristocracy have been already (?) discussed, for they are included in the perfect state; both imply a principle of virtue provided with external goods.—Of perversions, tyranny, which is the perversion of the best and most divine, is necessarily the worst. Not so bad is oligarchy; and last and least bad is democracy. A certain writer [Plato] is wrong in saying that democracy, although the worst of good constitutions, is the best of bad ones; for there is no best; all perversions are bad.

Leaving this question we will proceed to describe, 1) the different forms of oligarchy and of democracy; 2) the constitution which is next best after the perfect, and best suited to states in general; 3) the people to whom each of the other constitutions is Edition: current; Page: [lxxii]suited; 4) the manner in which these inferior forms of government are severally to be established; 5) the causes of the preservation or ruin of states.

There are many kinds of states, because every state containsJowett1885v1: c. 3. many elements, [which are combined in many ways]. Differences of rank, wealth, merit, are found in them all. Some of the citizens are armed and some unarmed. The common people have their various employments. Even among the notables there are gradations of wealth, shown, for example, by the number of horses which they keep. And as the poor, or the middle class, or the notables predominate, they divide the government among themselves.

Hence arise various forms of constitutions. There are generally thought to be two principal ones, democracy, the rule of the many, oligarchy, the rule of the few; the rest are included under them, aristocracy being a kind of oligarchy, and polity a kind of democracy, as men say of the winds that there are two only, North and South, the West being a variation of the North, and the East of the South; and of the harmonies that there are two kinds, the Dorian and the Phrygian, other adaptations of the scale being comprehended under these. But it is better to distinguish one or two true forms, i.e. royalty or aristocracy, and to regard all the others, however many there may be, as perversions of these. And, adopting the language of music, we may compare oligarchy to the severer, democracy to the more relaxed harmonies.

Figures of speech in modern writers are only illustrations by which we seek to convey abstract ideas in a lively form. They provide a rest or refreshment in an argument, like the pictures in a book, and when we lay them aside, they leave the mind free from the associations of sense. We do not argue from them or allow them to influence our judgment. But among ancient philosophers, figures of speech and other picturesque forms of expression generally affect the ideas which are conveyed through them. The liveliness of the image is purchased at the cost of a certain amount of error. Although Aristotle contemptuously says of Plato, τον̂το δ’ ἐστὶ λέγειν μεταϕορὰς ποιητικάς (Met. i. 991. 22 a), he is himself often under the influence of language borrowed from sense.

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The comparison of the state to the human body or to the living animal is one of the most fruitful of the images used by ancient philosophy. It represents to the mind the unity in plurality of the state, the complexity and interdependence of the parts, and the common life which animates them: ‘as there are many members in one body, and all members have not the same office, so we being many are one body.’ Many political as well as theological ideas have been suggested by this image. It is better than ‘a machine,’ to which the state is often compared in modern times. But it is far from ‘going on all fours,’ or furnishing an exact or scientific analogy. The unity and continuity of the state are different from the unity and continuity of the individual; the state has a longer life than the individual, but is less united; it has no consciousness or conscience, but only public opinion; and its freedom of action is more limited.

The variety in the organs of animals to which Aristotle refers below, is a laboured and imperfect image of the differences in forms of government. For neither do the differences in the forms of the organs constitute the differences of animals, nor the differences in the classes of citizens the varieties of states. It would be a truer supposition that both states and animals are made after different types or patterns, though there are some points in which they all resemble each other. We may say of nature what Aristotle says of the political society, that the whole is prior to the part. The comparison of the higher classes of the state to the soul and the lower classes to the body, though in one point of view elevating, is also degrading; for the lower classes have minds equally with the higher; nor is the relation between the two analogous to that of the soul and the body.

Democracy is not simply the rule of the majority, nor oligarchyJowett1885v1: c. 4. of the minority; for in every form of government the majority rules. Neither is a rich majority a democracy, nor a poor minority an oligarchy. The prime and characteristic quality of democracy is freedom, of oligarchy, wealth. But the freemen must be poor and a majority; the oligarchs must be a wealthy and noble minority.

Besides the constitutions already mentioned, I have alluded to Edition: current; Page: [lxxiv]other forms of government, which vary with the variations of their component parts. Their differences may be illustrated by the varieties among animals, which likewise originate in differences of the essential organs, such as the stomach, mouth, eyes, organs of locomotion, and the like; for there are as many animals as there are possible changes and combinations of these organs. In like manner the state has various elements, husbandmen, artisans, traders, serfs, and the differences of states are caused by different combinations of these elements. A warrior class must be added; for they are as necessary to the state as any other. Plato was mistaken in saying that a state consisted of four persons only, 1) a weaver, 2) a husbandman, 3) a shoemaker, 4) a builder,—these are his four original citizens, to whom he afterwards adds, a smith, a herdsman, a merchant, and retailer. But there are other elements no less essential. The higher classes, such as 5) the warriors, or 6) the deliberative and judicial class, are more truly parts of the state than any other. 7) There are the wealthy, and 8) the magistrates. Some of these classes overlap, and the same persons fall under more than one of them. But two of them, the rich and the poor, exclude one another, and therefore furnish a basis for the classification of states. Hence there are supposed to be two kinds of government, democracy and oligarchy. These are the greater divisions of states, and there are subdivisions, varying as the classes vary out of which democracies or oligarchies are composed. The common people differ in their occupations and modes of life, and the notables differ according to their wealth, birth, virtue, education.

Of democracies there are five kinds: 1) the democracy in which nobody is poor, and nobody is rich or superior, but all are equal and equally share in the government; 2) in which a low property qualification is required for citizenship; 3) in which all who are not disqualified [by birth] share in the government; but in this, as in the preceding forms, the law is supreme; 4) in which everybody, without any scrutiny of his rights, has a share in the government; but the law is supreme as before; 5) the democracy in which there is no law, but the tyrant people, flattered by their leaders, set aside the law and the government is carried on by decrees. Edition: current; Page: [lxxv]For in democracies, as in tyrannies, there are flatterers, and the extreme democracy is to other democracies what tyranny is to legitimate forms of monarchy. [N.B. It is difficult to distinguish 1), which seems to be a general description of democracy, from some of the other forms, or 3) from 4).]

The stages of democracy may be traced as follows: The governmentJowett1885v1: c. 6. §§ 1-6. is administered according to law, 1) when the people are husbandmen moderately well off and are compelled to live by the labour of their hands but are not paid for the performance of political duties; for then nobody is excluded who has the required qualification; but they do not come to the assembly, because they cannot spare time, and so the law rules and not the multitude: 2) when every one whose parents are citizens has a share of power, and still, because there is no way of providing pay, the law rules: 3) when all freemen have a share, and still no pay: 4) but when, as in our modern overgrown cities, pay is given, the state is governed by the multitude who have nothing else to do, and not by the laws.

Of oligarchies there are four kinds: 1) in which there is aJowett1885v1: c. 5. §§ 1, 2. qualification high enough to exclude the masses: 2) in which there is a high qualification, and the vacancies in the governing body are filled up by co-optation: 3) in which the son succeeds the father: 4) in which there is an arbitrary rule of powerful families called a dynastia; this is among oligarchies what tyranny is among monarchies and the worst form of democracy among democracies.

The stages of oligarchy may be traced as follows: 1) The firstJowett1885v1: c. 6. §§ 7-11. form of oligarchy is based upon the possession of moderate property; and the owners of property being numerous and having to attend to their property admit the rule of law: in a second form 2) the properties are larger, and the owners fewer. In a third 3) the government is hereditary and passes into the hands of a small number of families. In all these three forms, as in the three corresponding forms of democracy, the law is observed, and is the instrument by which the rulers carry out their wishes. But there is a fourth form, 4) in which the law is set aside, and a few leading families take possession of the government, which thus approximates to a monarchy.

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But in distinguishing different kinds of government, it must alsoJowett1885v1: c. 5. §§ 3-4. be remembered that a constitution framed in one spirit may be administered in another, e. g. an oligarchy may be administered in a popular, a democracy in an exclusive spirit. This frequently happens after a revolution; old habits linger although the government is changed. The laws remain, but the victorious party keep the power in their own hands.

There are yet two other forms of government, 1) aristocracyJowett1885v1: c. 7. and 2) polity; the first has been generally recognized, but the latter is often overlooked by writers on these subjects. Aristocracy or the government of the best, taken in the highest and first sense of the word, is the ideal state, or the state in which the good man is absolutely the same as the good citizen. But in a secondary sense it is applied to another kind of state, which is neither oligarchy, nor polity, but a mixed government taking three forms; 1) as at Carthage where regard is had to wealth, numbers, and merit; 2) or to merit and numbers as at Lacedaemon; and there is 3) that form of polity which inclines to oligarchy.

And now I have to speak of polity, which, like the above-mentionedJowett1885v1: c. 8. aristocracies, is not a perversion, but only a falling short from the perfect state. This form of government is a fusion of democracy and oligarchy; it is usually called polity when inclining towards democracy, and aristocracy when approaching more nearly to oligarchy, the latter because birth and education are commonly accompanied by wealth, and the rich by their external advantages are placed above crime. Whence oligarchy and aristocracy are often confused; for they are both supposed to be a government of the best, and it is thought that the government of the best can never be bad. Now there are two things to be considered: the goodness of the laws, and the willingness of the citizens to obey them; for in an oligarchy there may be good laws which are never observed. And the citizen of a state may obey not the best laws, but the best which are attainable by them.

Polity or constitutional government is not like aristocracy based on merit; it only seeks to unite the freedom of the poor majority with the wealth of the rich minority. When it includes virtue, it is fairly entitled to be called aristocracy, not in the highest, but in the Edition: current; Page: [lxxvii]secondary sense of the term. It combines the characteristics ofJowett1885v1: c. 9. oligarchy and democracy. There are three ways in which the two latter may be united so as to form a polity: either 1) elements may be taken from both, e. g. the government may give pay to the poor as in a democracy for coming to the courts of law, and fine the rich as in an oligarchy for abstaining: or 2) there may be a mean between the two: instead of a high property qualification, or none at all, a moderate one may be imposed: or 3) [in the same public act] something may be borrowed by the government from both; e. g. the magistrates may be elected by vote as in an oligarchy, and without a property qualification as in a democracy. The fusion is most complete when the mixed state may be termed indifferently democracy or oligarchy, like the Lacedaemonian, which in the election of the Ephors by all out of all, and of the Elders by all, and in the common education of all the citizens and common meals and dress, has the character of a democracy; in the power entrusted to a few magistrates of inflicting death or banishment and in the election of them by vote, resembles an oligarchy. In a polity both should be present, and neither seen; and the government should depend for support not on foreign aid, but on the good-will of the citizens.

Tyranny must also be accounted a form of government. TwoJowett1885v1: c. 10. kinds of it have been already discussed, 1) the barbarian monarchy, 2) the Aesymnetia or dictatorship which existed in ancient Hellas. Both these, although they possess absolute power, may be said to be royal in so far as the monarch rules according to law and over willing subjects. But the true or typical form of tyranny is the arbitrary power of an individual crushing everybody alike, and governing only for his own advantage and against the will of his subjects,—a government which is detestable to freemen.

The want of arrangement in the Politics is nowhere greater than in the Fourth Book. There is a pretence of order which increases the confusion. The elaborate preface has hardly any relation to what follows. After dividing governments into 1) the best absolutely, 2) the best relatively, 3) the best on the average, 4) the inferior sort, the writer sets aside the first ‘because it has been already (?) discussed under the subject of monarchy,’ and Edition: current; Page: [lxxviii]silently drops the fourth. The two which remain are formally distinguished, but are not really very different from each other. But he partly identifies them with the actual forms of government, which are discussed at disproportionate length. Such is the confusion of style, that while in the Fourth Book he seems to consider this middle or average form of government to be the only preservative of states, in the Fifth Book, where the subject is treated of more at length, many instructions are given by which all varieties of government may be preserved.

In the enumeration of the states which are best relatively to circumstances, that is to say, the ordinary Greek states, he passes in Chap. 6 from oligarchy to democracy, and from democracy back again to oligarchy. He then proceeds to speak of polity, which he describes as a fusion of the two. The best state for the average of mankind seems to be the same or nearly the same with what he has already called polity, and what he afterwards calls the ‘middle constitution,’—i.e. not the best actual state, but the best practicable under ordinary conditions. Then returning to oligarchy and democracy, he reckons up the devices by which they respectively seek to get the better of one another; and having gained what he calls an appropriate basis of discussion, which is only a recital of the different forms of oligarchy and democracy, he proceeds to enumerate the parts of states. But in this enumeration he is far from showing that different forms of government are made up of the same component elements differently modified, which seems to be implied when he says that the kinds of states as of animals are formed by variations of the same organs. It is not clear whether here, as in Book III, he would include in his definition of offices dicasts and ecclesiasts; nor does he distinguish satisfactorily between deliberative and judicial offices. The term ‘office’ he is here disposed to confine to magistrates. The above-mentioned transitions, the incomplete treatment of subjects which have been introduced with a sort of flourish and are quickly dropped, the tendency to let the meaning of words slide, such as aristocracy, office, polity, give rise to further difficulties in this part of the work. The twelve modes and the two combinations according to which officers or magistrates are to be appointed, and the parallel list of Edition: current; Page: [lxxix]the law-courts, though standing in some relation to actual facts, are for the most part a logical fiction.

The idea of the middle constitution, that form of government which one legislator alone, and he unknown to us, sought to establish in Hellas, is also indistinct. Aristotle describes it as a combination of democracy and oligrachy; for his tendency is to regard forms of government as running into one another. To us it rather appears to be intermediate between them. It is allied both to aristocracy and to democracy; but is not a fusion of them. The conception of aristocracy is hazy to us. It is said to be a government of the best men or of virtue; but we know of no Hellenic state in which such a government existed; nor is a hint given of any method by which the government of the virtuous only could be secured. Strictly speaking, it only applies to the ideal state. Oligarchy, democracy, tyranny, had a real life, and were at different periods of Greek history in conflict with one another. They were more or less moderate or just in the administration of the state; but the other governments, polity and aristocracy, were a shadow only, in which the ideal of philosophy mingled with a tradition of an earlier time, when the government of one or a few had been more natural and just than in the later ages of Hellas. Aristotle never distinguishes these two elements; nor does he apply the term aristocracy, except in the sense of an aristocracy of birth, to any Hellenic state. In the traditional meaning of the word, Sparta is called an aristocracy, but at the same time a democracy. His aristocracy, when not used in the ideal sense, really comes back to the ‘bad’ and ‘good’ of Theognis and Alcaeus.

There is a similar verbal difficulty about oligarchy: was it really a government of the few rich or of the few noble? Many prejudices would have to be got over in a state before the nouveaux riches would be admitted into the ranks of the nobility; nor, except at Athens, under the Solonian constitution, do we certainly know of any Hellenic state in which rights of citizenship depended upon wealth, although this arrangement is frequently alluded to by Aristotle; v. c. 3, §§ 8, 10; vi. c. 6, §§ 16-18; c. 7, § 9, etc. Both by Aristotle and Plato oligarchy is described as the government of the wealthy, in Plato rather of those who have remained wealthy, Edition: current; Page: [lxxx]when the rest of the governing class have become impoverished; but in Aristotle clearly those who have made, as well as those who have inherited their wealth, even the artisans, are admitted to the government. The truth seems to be that oligarchies were originally founded upon birth; the oligarchs were the ancient houses of the city, or the leaders of the new settlement, in whom wealth and birth generally coincided. The colony, like our own colonies, was of necessity less exclusive than the mother state. In later times the oligarchs were regarded as the wealthy rather than as ‘the good;’ and in some instances, probably when their own numbers were failing, they admitted to their ranks other wealthy persons, who became united to them in the brotherhood of arms. But it is not likely that a property qualification was originally the basis of an ancient state.

The idea which more than any other is present to the mind of Aristotle in this part of the Politics is the relativeness of government. We do not seek always for the best, or even for the best under the circumstances. We must think of the average man and the average conditions, and sometimes acquiesce in a very bad form, because no other can be carried out in practice. Therefore the statesman must know not only what are the leading kinds, but also the subdivisions of them, and how they are created. They are apt to run into one another. And many states may be administered in a spirit opposed to their constitution. They may be nominally oligarchies or democracies; but the democracies may be governed oligarchically, or the oligarchies democratically.

Underlying all this part of the treatise, there is a latent antagonism to Plato. For Plato has four forms of government only; he has omitted the single true one. Aristotle maintains that there are different sorts of oligarchies and democracies; by Plato one form of each is recognized and no other.

[Enough of forms of government.] We have now arrived atJowett1885v1: c. 11. the question, What is the best state and the best life for men in general? Most of the so-called aristocracies assume a standard of virtue which is too high; others hardly differ from the constitutional government, and therefore need no separate discussion. Edition: current; Page: [lxxxi][In all these forms we are seeking for the mean.] Virtue was said in the Ethics to be a mean, and the same principles apply both to states and to individuals. Happy is the state which is ruled neither by the very rich who are reared in luxury, nor by the very poor who are too degraded, but by the middle class who are equal and similar. The rich know not how to obey, nor the poor how to rule; and thus arises a city of masters and slaves; the slave envying his master and the master despising his slave. But the middle class are to be trusted. They do not covet other men’s goods and nobody covets theirs; they neither plot nor are plotted against; and therefore they are the very best material of the state. And where they outnumber one or both the other classes, the state will be safe from extremes, and will be free from faction. Large cities are more populous than small ones, and are therefore safer, because they rest upon the basis of a large middle class; and for the same reason democracies are safer than oligarchies. But in democracies and oligarchies the middle class is often small, and where rich and poor are in naked antagonism the balance is destroyed. [This appears to be in partial contradiction with what has preceded, or at least to be ill expressed.] Whichever wins, sets up an oligarchy or democracy, as the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians did in the days of old, regarding only their own advantage and not that of Hellas. The middle state is the best, and of other states that is the best which is nearest to the middle state. Yet one man only of all who ever ruled in Hellas thought of establishing this middle constitution.

There arises another question: to what peoples are differentJowett1885v1: c. 12. forms of government suited? We may begin by assuming as a general principle common to all governments that the desire of permanence should be stronger than the love of change. Now in every state there is a qualitative and a quantitative element. Under quality is to be included freedom, wealth, education, birth; under quantity superiority of numbers. And there must be a comparison or balance of the two. Where the poor exceed in numbers more than the rich in quality, there will naturally be a democracy; where the rich exceed in quality more than they fall short in quantity, there will naturally be an oligarchy. And therefore in every state Edition: current; Page: [lxxxii]the middle class should be included by the legislator if he desires to avoid extremes and to have a stable government. The rich and the poor cannot trust one another, but the middle class is the arbiter between them whom both parties are willing to trust. The more perfect the fusion of elements, the more lasting will be the state. Yet even in the better forms of aristocracy [which are akin to polity] the single element of wealth is often allowed to predominate; and a foolish attempt is made to overreach the people by various devices. Out of the false good there arises a true evil; for the rich encroach, and their encroachments are ever more fatal than the excesses of the people.

Oligarchies and democracies have their devices and counter-devices:Jowett1885v1: c. 13. the devices of oligarchies apply 1) to the assembly; 2) to the magistracies; 3) to the law-courts; 4) to the possession of arms; 5) to gymnastic exercises. 1) The assembly is open both to rich and poor but the rich only are fined for non-attendance, the poor may do as they like. 2) The rich cannot refuse office, but the poor may. 3) They both serve in the law-courts, but the poor are let off easily, or the fine inflicted upon them is smaller; and in some states the poor do not register themselves that they may be exempt from public duties and not incur a fine. 4, 5) The rich are obliged to have arms and to attend the gymnasium, but the poor are not obliged. In democracies there are counter-devices: The poor are paid for attending the law-courts and the assembly, and the rich incur no penalty if they are absent. He who would duly mix the two principles should both pay the poor for attendance and fine the rich for non-attendance. In a well-balanced state the government should be confined to the heavy-armed soldiers, and the qualification imposed should be such that the number of the citizens may just exceed the number of those who are excluded. (‘But where are the poor to find a place?’ They will not complain if they are kindly treated. Nor are they unwilling to fight when they are well fed. But how to secure gentle treatment for them is a problem; for the rich are not always humane.) [And so this government of the middle class naturally took the place of the oligarchy.] After the overthrow of the kings, the warriors became the ruling class, and their arm Edition: current; Page: [lxxxiii]of war was cavalry; for without discipline infantry are useless, and there was no art of war in ancient times. But afterwards, when the art of war had been invented and the heavy-armed increased in strength, the middle-class had a larger share in the government.

Once more let us renew the whole discussion in due order, nowJowett1885v1: c. 14. that we have gained a sound basis. In all states there are three elements: 1) the deliberative, 2) the executive, 3) the judicial; these three take different forms in different constitutions. In democracies all things are decided by all, but there are various ways in which the democratic principle may be carried out. a) The citizens may deliberate in the assembly, but by turns; and the boards of magistrates may come into office by turns until every citizen has held office, while the body of the people meet only to hear edicts and to pass laws. b, c) In another form of democracy the citizens all meet, but only to elect magistrates, to pass laws, to decide about peace and war, and to make scrutinies. The ordinary administration is entrusted to the magistrates, who are elected either by vote or by lot. [This form of democracy is given under two heads, but the second appears only to be a repetition of the first.] Or again, d) the whole power of the executive is in the hands of the assembly, and the magistrates only prepare the business for them: — this is the last and worst form of democracy. In oligarchies some deliberate about all things. If a) the ruling class are a numerous body, having a moderate qualification attainable by any one, and they observe law, there arises a form of oligarchy which inclines to a polity. But b) when only selected persons have the power of deliberation, although they still observe the law, the state is a pure oligarchy; and is of necessity oligarchical when c) the government is hereditary or co-optative. On the other hand, d) when the whole people decide the most important questions, but the executive is in the hands of the magistrates who are elected by lot or by vote, there the constitution is an aristocracy or polity. And e) when the magistrates are partly elected by vote and partly by lot, [the whole people having still to decide about peace and war and retaining the power of scrutiny,] then the government is partly aristocratical and partly constitutional.

As an oligarchy should have some democratical, so a democracy Edition: current; Page: [lxxxiv]should have some oligarchical elements; the rich should be compelled to attend the courts of law. The deliberative body should be chosen by vote or by lot in equal numbers out of different classes; and pay should be given only to so many of the people as will balance the notables. In oligarchies, on the other hand, the people should share to a certain extent, but only vote after a previous deliberation of select persons, who should also retain in their hands the final decision.

About the executive many questions arise. 1) What is an office?Jowett1885v1: c. 15. 2) How many shall there be? 3) How long shall they last? 4) How shall the holders of them be appointed? The question 1) What is an office?—is partly verbal; those offices have the best right to the name which are concerned with deliberating, superintending, judging, commanding, especially the last. Much more important is the second question, 2) how many shall there be? To which we reply that in larger states they should be numerous and special,—that in small states there are not many persons qualified to take them, and therefore one man may hold several, for they will not interfere with one another. We must ascertain what offices are necessary or useful, and then see which of them can be combined. Some other points have to be determined: When should authority be localized and when centralized? Should offices be arranged according to subjects or according to the persons with whom they deal? Should they be the same under different constitutions? Some offices, like that of counsellor, are clearly democratic; others, like that of censor of boys or women, aristocratical; others, like that of probuli, oligarchical. [Question 3), relating to the term of office, appears to be forgotten.] As to question 4) How shall officers of state be appointed? three cases arise. a) Who shall elect the magistrates? b) Out of whom shall they be elected? and c) In what manner? The answer to any of these three questions may take three forms, and each of these three forms admits of four variations, twelve in all, besides two further combinations. The result may be summed up as follows: 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 partly out of some and partly out of all, and partly by vote and partly by lot. In extreme democracies the choice is made by all out of all; in Edition: current; Page: [lxxxv]extreme oligarchies by some out of some, both admitting of certain imitations or extensions which bring them nearer respectively to aristocracy or constitutional government.

Three similar questions arise about courts of law. 1) HowJowett1885v1: c. 16. many are the kinds of law-courts? 2) Out of whom are the judges to be appointed? And 3) in what manner? 1) There are eight law-courts: a) a court of audits; b) a court for the trial of [ordinary] offences against the state; c) for the trial of treason; d) of disputes respecting penalties; e) of important civil suits; f) of murder and homicide; g) of disputes with and among strangers; h) of minor suits. Of these courts the most important is that which tries political cases. [Of political cases he proposes to speak, but at once drops them and returns to his former subject.] 2) Judges may be appointed either wholly or partly out of all or out of some. 3) They may be appointed by vote or by lot, or by a combination of the two. When the judges are chosen from all and deal with all cases, the court is democratical; when from a few only, oligarchical; when mixed, aristocratical and constitutional.

Two or three more remarks are suggested by the study of this book. We may note 1) the real enthusiasm with which Aristotle speaks of the middle class, and of the constitution which is based upon it: no other government is equally praised by him. It seemed to him, not like the Republic of Plato to be out of the reach of human nature, but well adapted to a Greek state which was unwilling to be at the mercy of every invader and to be the true remedy for the evils of Hellas. Of the invidious connotation attaching in modern times to the term ‘middle class,’ which has been equally obnoxious to those above and those below them, there is no trace in Aristotle. 2) When he speaks of the middle class as in a mean between the rich and the poor, he hardly seems to recognize that the rich are included in the middle class: he probably intended to say that the power of the oligarchy would be merged or lost in the larger body to whom the government was entrusted: but it might also be argued that the rich and the middle class together would be too much for the poor, and would unite in oppressing them. The spirit of Aristotle’s ‘polity’ is more truly expressed in the statement Edition: current; Page: [lxxxvi]that the heavy-armed citizens should at least exceed in number the rest of the city. But the idea is not worked out; it is impossible to conceive a state in which the very poor and the very rich are alike excluded. Some other characteristics of polity are introduced in c. 14. § 10, for the first time. But there is nowhere any clear statement of the relation in which the πολιτεία and the μέση πολιτεία stand to one another. The middle class and constitutional government are elsewhere spoken of separately; in this passage only they are combined. The different ways in which Aristocracy and Polity are explained in different passages, the obscurity in which they are involved, and the manner in which they slide into one another, are worthy of remark.

3) The absence of illustrations from Greek history in this part of the work is striking, nor are we able to supply them for ourselves. The reason is that the different forms of government described by Aristotle, with the exception of tyranny and extreme democracy, do not correspond with known facts; and though implying a general notion of Greek history, there is no sufficient evidence to show whether they are or are not the result of historical research. The numerous divisions and subdivisions of the modes of appointment to offices are enough to prove that many of the distinctions of Aristotle are purely logical, and are not drawn from the history of Hellas.

4) Thus far there is no reference to contemporary history, nor any distinct allusion to the great historians of Hellas, any more than there is a trace of their phraseology. Neither is there reason to think that the revolution effected by Philip and Alexander had any influence upon the speculations of Aristotle. He lives in the world of political philosophy, which in his view, however surprising the fact may be to us, hardly appears to stand in any relation to the facts which were passing before his eyes.

The fifth is the most valuable and interesting of all the books of the Politics. It embraces a wide field. It contains a picture of Greek political life; it is a ‘bazaar’ of states and governments. But it is defective in order and arrangement. It draws illustrations indiscriminately from all parts of Hellas, and from all times of Greek Edition: current; Page: [lxxxvii]history. The period before the Persian War, and the age of Epaminondas and of Philip, alike furnish examples of political philosophy, which are placed side by side in successive sentences. To us these examples stand in no relation to the course of history, and therefore we are unable to make use of them. Still they have an interest, not only as a picture of Hellenic life, but as showing that the political philosophy of Aristotle, if partly resting on divisions of logic (see above), was also based on historical facts.

We shall hereafter discuss in an Essay which will be found in the second volume the value of Aristotle as an historian, and shall endeavour to show that his greatness was not less, but of a different kind from that which has generally been attributed to him. He saw far and wide; he had cast his eyes over Hellas from Cyrene to Miletus and Rhodes; from Massalia to Chios; from Sybaris and Syracuse to Apollonia and Heraclea on the Pontus; from Crete to Amphipolis. Over the whole Hellenic world and to some extent into the barbarous regions beyond his inquisitive spirit had penetrated. We know not whence his information was obtained; whether from Peripli or other geographical works of writers such as Scylax and Hecataeus; or whether an oral tradition of Greek history was collected and taught in the Peripatetic School. He lived in a hearing and not in a reading age, and therefore much of his information must have come from merchants and travellers, or may have been collected in places to which he himself had travelled. But he hardly anywhere indicates his sources, and it would be vain for us to try and discover them.


The motives, objects, and occasions of revolutions: they begin in small matters, but are concerned with great: they are accomplished by force or fraud: revolutions in democracies: in oligarchies: in aristocracies and mixed governments: how to avoid them: how tyrannies and monarchies may be preserved: the beneficent despot: short duration of tyrannies: a word about Plato’s cycle.

Our design is now nearly completed. We have only to speak ofJowett1885v1: c. 1. the causes of revolution in states,—out of what and into what they Edition: current; Page: [lxxxviii]mostly change,—what are the conservative, what are the destructive elements.

In all governments there is a recognition of justice and equality; but they often fail in the attainment of them. Democracy is based on the equality of equals, oligarchy upon the inequality of unequals. The democrat argues that those who are equal in one respect (freedom) should be equal in all; the oligarch that those who are unequal in one respect (wealth) should be unequal in all. Both these forms of government have a kind of justice, but it is a relative and imperfect one; and therefore either of the two parties in the state, when dissatisfied, stirs up revolution. (The virtuous, from whom the nobility claim descent, have the best right to rebel—for they are in a position of far greater inequality; but they are not inclined.) And thus revolution arises, taking two forms, 1) changes in the government, and 2) changes in the persons who administer the government. The change in either case may be one of degree, or of a part only, and the revolution may be only directed against some office or institution; as at Sparta, when Lysander attempted to overthrow the monarchy, and at Epidamnus, where a council was appointed to supersede the heads of tribes.

I should explain that equality is of two kinds, 1) numerical, and 2) proportionate,—sameness of number and size, and sameness of ratios. Democracy answers to the first, oligarchy to the second. Although there may be other differences, these are the principal; for virtue and good birth are comparatively rare, but the opposition of wealth and numbers exists everywhere. Both kinds of equality are bad and come to a bad end if taken alone; they should therefore be combined; and the equality should be partly numerical, and partly proportionate.

Still the less dangerous form of government is democracy: oligarchy is threatened both from within and from without; democracy only from without, for the people rarely, if ever, quarrel among themselves. Also democracy is akin to a government of the middle class, which is the safest of all the imperfect forms of government.

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The equality of mankind is an idea of the greatest power and efficacy. It begins with the beginnings of abstract thought; it is the expression of a natural sentiment: it has long been made in all civilized countries the foundation of ethics and of civil rights:—Men, as we say, are equal in the sight of God and in the eye of the law. To this also the world seems to be tending in politics: it is the ideal of the future that all men may be equal in political powers and privileges, and equally fitted to exercise them. Nor would Aristotle have dissented from this latter view if the saving clause were added, and equality in political power were accompanied by equality of personal fitness. And several times in the history of the world, in the Middle Ages as well as at the Reformation and the French Revolution, premature attempts have been made to grasp at this equality and to anticipate what in future ages may prove to be the course of history. The philosopher advises caution: he tells us that mankind never ‘are,’ or have been, but always ‘are to be,’ upon an equality; and that equal rights and privileges imply equal education and equal capacities. He warns us against the confusion and perhaps destruction which an idea at present so impracticable and so incapable of being confined by law as equality among unequals may bring upon the world. He tells us that equality if for a moment attained will speedily be lost, or rather is always in a process of being demanded and being refused.

To the Greek mind the idea of equality had a sort of arithmetical necessity derived from the Pythagorean philosophy. Not that the Greek thought of applying the argument from numbers (‘every man to count for one and no man for more than one’) to slaves or barbarians. It was the equality of peers, ἴσοι καὶ ὅμοιοι, which he pre-supposed whether they included the people or a select class only. Yet no doubt the Pythagorean idea of equality, though derived from an aristocratical society or school, gave a great impulse to the conception of democracy in Hellas. Aristotle, like the modern philosopher, is aware of the dangerous character of this formula when applied indiscriminately to all stages of society and to all sorts of men. He is aware too that democracy can no longer be resisted, and that equality among unequals had Edition: current; Page: [xc]become the prevailing principle of Greek politics. But he would add, as far as he can, checks and limitations. The arithmetical symbol which he opposes to equality is proportion; the citizen is to have power or to have the franchise in proportion to his wealth, education, and capacity. The distinction between mere numerical and proportionate equality is analogous to the geometrical and arithmetical ratios upon which justice is based in the Nicomachean Ethics. Such arithmetical or geometrical expression gave men a formula for aristocracy as well as democracy, which was a ‘most gracious aid’ to their conception of a higher notion of the state. Ideas must be given through something, and if we may parody Aristotle’s own language there are two things which mankind require, true thoughts, and true expressions; and the one cannot exist without the other.

In order to ascertain, Whence revolutions arise?—we must considerJowett1885v1: c. 2. 1) the tempers of those who make them; 2) the motives from which they are made; 3) the causes and occasions of them. [It is difficult to distinguish the first from the second, or the second from the third of these general causes or kinds of causes. They do not exactly correspond to internal and external, which would have been an intelligible division. Indeed Aristotle himself implies, infra § 5, that the second is not distinguishable from the third.] 1) They are made by equals who desire, or by unequals who disdain equality. 2) The motives from which they are made are gain and honour, or the avoidance of loss and dishonour. 3) The causes of them are altogether eleven in number: a) love of gain; b) love of honour—both have been already noted; they are here explained to mean indignation at the undeserved gain and honour of other men; c) insolence; d) fear; e) the love of superiority; f) contempt; g) unequal increase of a part; also h) election intrigues; i) carelessness; k) neglect of trifles; l) disparity of elements. [The order is not exactly preserved in the description which follows.]

a) Insolence and b) avarice induce the magistrates to conspireJowett1885v1: c. 3. against one another and the state; c) disregard of merit in the distribution of honours is another cause of revolution; d) the consciousness Edition: current; Page: [xci]of superiority in some person or persons leads to an outbreak which ends in the triumph of an individual or of a family; e) fear of wrong or punishment is another cause; f) contempt is a cause; g) revolutions also arise out of disproportion in any part of a state, e. g. in an oligarchy when the rich are reduced in numbers by a great defeat, as at Argos after the battle of Hebdome, or in a democracy when their wealth and numbers become excessive; or h) they are due to election intrigues; or i) to carelessness which has allowed traitors to find their way into the highest offices; or k) they may be caused by the neglect of an apparently small matter such as the qualification for office; or l) may arise out of disparity of elements, as aa) when different races meet in new colonies, like the Achaeans and Troezenians at Sybaris, or the Sybarites and their fellow colonists at Thurii; or again bb) disunion is produced by separation of place, as at Colophon and Notium, or as at Athens and the Peiraeus. There are also cc) oppositions of virtue and vice, which are the greatest of all, and next to them in importance is the antagonism of poverty and wealth; and there are others, e. g. the difference of place.

Trifles may be the occasions of revolutions, but they are not theJowett1885v1: c. 4. true causes of them. Trifles are most important when they concern the rulers; we should be especially on our guard against the beginnings of strife among great men, for they quickly involve the whole state. ‘Well begun is half done,’ says the proverb; and to an error at the beginning may be attributed half of all the evils which follow. A quarrel about a love affair at Syracuse, about an inheritance at Hestiaea, about marriages at Delphi and Epidamnus, about heiresses at Mitylene, about an heiress in Phocis, were the causes of revolution and ruin in those states.

Sometimes the magistrates or some part of the state increase in power by the credit which they gain for their services. The noble conduct of the Areopagus in the Persian War strengthened the oligarchy, the victory of Salamis which was gained by the common people, the democracy. At Argos the notables, having distinguished themselves at the battle of Mantinea, tried to overthrow the democracy; at Syracuse the people, after the defeat of the Athenians, overturned the constitutional government. From similar Edition: current; Page: [xcii]causes revolutions occurred at Chalcis and Ambracia. And generally any one who has done great service to the state is very likely to cause revolution; for either he is ambitious himself, or others are drawn into rebellion by envy of his greatness. When one of two parties is a minority like the good (who are always a minority), there is a disposition to submit; but when the two are nearly balanced, then revolutions break out. They are accomplished either by force or by fraud—force practised either at the time or afterwards—fraud which is often succeeded by force (as in the case of the Four Hundred at Athens), or continued and repeated.

‘Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth!’ And so we sometimes speak metaphorically of a match applied to a powder magazine, or we are inclined to think that there was a sleeping volcano which would have awakened and come to the surface at some other time, if not when it burst forth through an accident. These are figures of speech which from time to time we apply to the states of Europe. The history of nations is supposed to have a majestic onward march whether favoured by accident or not. For example, in the French Revolution democracy is believed to have gathered irresistible force from the corruption of the court, from the oppression of the grands seigneurs, from the omnipresent tyranny of the bureaucracy, and at last to have broken its bonds and to have swept over the continent of Europe. Philosophy was in the air and seemed for the moment to inspire the poor creatures who were crawling upon the earth. But the genius of a great soldier and statesman turned back the flood which looked so giant-like and made it return to its underground channels.

It is a curious enquiry, how far small occasions have contributed to great events. When we analyze them, it is difficult to distinguish the small from the great. The birth or death of a royal infant, the unskilfulness of a physician, the fancy of a king’s mistress, the arrow shot at a venture in the wars of the Jews, the chance ball striking down a great commander, the mole-hill which caused a king’s horse to stumble (‘the little gentleman in velvet’), the spilling of a drop or two of water on Mrs. Masham’s gown, the Edition: current; Page: [xciii]dishonesty of a maker of arms, a runaway carriage, a minute too late on the field of battle,—these and similar accidents have overthrown dynasties and changed the governments of countries. Aristotle seems to be thinking of the inadvertencies or carelessnesses of politics or of war, such as the slight matter of the qualification at Ambracia or the impediment of a ditch however small in a battle, but more especially of private occasions which have public or national consequences. Insults to the honour or to the person of individuals, quarrels about marriages and betrothals, a dispute about an heiress, or a mistress,—causes such as these have often whetted the dagger of the conspirator, or have stirred up a party in the state.

The trifles will be generally such as affect distinguished persons. But it is impossible to draw a line between the trifling occasions of great events and the real causes of them. Was the hurling of the stool by Jeannie Geddes at the head of the clergyman when reading the liturgy in St. Giles’, Edinburgh, a real cause of the overthrow of Episcopalianism in Scotland, or only the trifle which was the occasion of it? Must it not rather be regarded as a symptom of the temper which pervaded the whole country? There is doubtless an element of accident in human affairs; that is to say, there are small events of which the causes are absolutely unknown to us. And these small events, affecting as they may do the lives of persons on whom the world seems to depend, or occurring in a great conflict or at some other critical moment of history, may have an effect, going far to upset what we are pleased to term the philosophy of history.

Revolutions in democracies are generally caused by the arts ofJowett1885v1: c. 5. wicked demagogues who wrong the notables in various ways; either they inform against them that they may confiscate their wealth, or they diminish their income by the services which they impose upon them, or they drive them into exile; but, after a while, the notables in self-defence combine and conspire; or the exiles come back in a body and overthrow the democracy, as at Cos, Rhodes, Heraclea, Megara, Cyme, and other places. Anciently democracies changed into tyrannies; either the tyrant had been Edition: current; Page: [xciv]a great magistrate, or he was a demagogue; but, unlike our present demagogues, he was a general, not an orator; and if he had any military talent and could persuade the multitude that he sincerely hated the rich, he easily gained over the scattered rustic population and usurped the government. Our modern democrats do not attempt coups d’état, because they are not soldiers. Democracies also change from a more moderate to an extreme form. For the representatives of the multitude when they have been elected, in return set the people above the laws.

Revolutions in oligarchies arise 1) outside the governing class:Jowett1885v1: c. 6. either a) the oligarchs are oppressive, and then the people take anybody for a leader, especially if he be a member of the oligarchy, as at Naxos; or b) they are exclusive; and then i) the notables who are excluded make a rebellion and force their way into the government, as at Massalia and elsewhere; or ii) at a time when the ruling class is attacked by the rest of the notables the people strike in and establish a democracy, as at Cnidos; or iii) although the state is well managed, the people take offence at the narrowness of the government and bring about a revolution, as at Erythrae. Or 2) within the governing body; from the personal rivalry of the oligarchical leaders who either a) intrigue against the other oligarchs, like Charicles in the Thirty and Phrynichus in the Four Hundred at Athens, or b) some of their members turn demagogues and appeal to the people. This is a result which commonly occurs either i) when the oligarchical leaders are magistrates elected by the people and are therefore under their control, no matter what be the qualification for office, and even though they are supported by a political club; or ii) when the law-courts are independent of the government; or iii) when an attempt is made to narrow the oligarchy; or iv) when the oligarchs are extravagant in their way of living, for then they want to innovate, and sometimes they rob the treasury and afterwards fall out either among themselves or with the rest of their party. But an oligarchy is seldom overthrown when it is at unity with itself. But when there is a state within a state it is otherwise; in time of war, because the government is obliged to call in mercenaries, and the general who is in command of them often Edition: current; Page: [xcv]ends in becoming a tyrant, as Timophanes did at Corinth; and in time of peace, the two parties, from their mutual distrust, are likely enough to hand over the defence of the state to the general of an army, who in the end becomes the master of both, as at Larissa and Abydos. Love-quarrels and law-suits also lead to revolutions in states. Many oligarchies have been destroyed because they have become intolerable to some members of the ruling class, as at Cnidos and Chios. Both constitutional governments and oligarchies may be changed by an accidental lowering of the qualification.

We may remark generally, both of democracies and oligarchies, that they do not always change into their opposites, but sometimes only into another variety of the same class.

Aristocracies are a kind of oligarchies, and are often confoundedJowett1885v1: c. 7. with them. They are both the government of a few; but the few in an oligarchy are the wealthy, in an aristocracy the virtuous. The revolutions which arise in aristocracies, as in oligarchies, are caused by their exclusiveness, and by the diminution of their numbers. When a section of the people, like the Partheniae at Sparta, or when individuals, like Lysander, fancy themselves dishonoured; or, like Cinadon, are excluded from the government; when a great man, like Pausanias, wants to be greater; or when there is an extreme inequality of classes,—a state of society generally created by war,—then revolutions are likely to arise.

Both constitutional government and aristocracies are overthrown when the two elements of democracy and oligarchy, or the three elements, democracy, oligarchy, and virtue, are ill-combined. Constitutional governments are safer than aristocracies because they rest upon a broader basis. The rich in an aristocracy are often insolent and greedy, and the government has a natural tendency to oligarchy. But it may also pass into a democracy or into a constitutional government, or a constitutional government may change into an oligarchy. Thus at Thurii, where the qualification for office was at one time high, the notables acquired the whole of the land. But a reaction speedily set in; the qualification was lowered, and the people who carried arms quickly resumed possession of the land which had been taken. In Lacedaemon, too, the land has passed Edition: current; Page: [xcvi]into the hands of a few rich men, and they are able to do much what they like.

Trifles, as I have already remarked, often lead to great changes. Thus the government at Thurii became a family oligarchy after the repeal of the law which forbad their generals to hold perpetual commands. The magistrates yielded to the youth of the city, thinking that no further change would ensue: but a revolution followed and the state passed into the hands of a dynastic oligarchy. And besides these changes from within, there may be compulsion from without, such as the Athenians of old exercised towards the oligarchies and the Lacedaemonians towards the democracies.

The balance of classes or of parties has been hitherto deemed to be the best or only mode of regulating the internal affairs of a state. Yet a government constructed on such a principle is attended by many drawbacks; there is a waste of the governing power. The principle of ‘a balance,’ which in our own age is beginning to be discredited both in home and foreign politics, was a favourite doctrine of ancient philosophers. To Aristotle it was a leading idea that one political party or institution must be checked by another. He does not remark that whatever makeweight is thrown into the scale against either party is so much deducted from the whole power of the state. If we suppose the two parties to be in diametrical opposition, then it is only the surplus of them, possibly a small fraction, which represents the national will. These checks or balances directly affect the strength and consistency of the state. In the Spartan and Roman constitutions they were carried to the greatest extent. The Ephors are regarded by Aristotle as providing a security against the encroachments of the Spartan kings, and therefore as rendering the power of the king himself more permanent. The double kingship is supposed by him to have a similar effect. But we remember how in the Peloponnesian War the policy of Sparta alternates from year to year as the Ephors change, or the king or the Ephor is in the ascendant; and how weakening to the state were the quarrels of the two kings with one another. In modern times we perceive such oppositions of party or of powers in a state to be due not to Edition: current; Page: [xcvii]the wisdom of our legislators, but to the natural growth of institutions. We try, seemingly in vain, to bring them to an understanding with each other, ne quid detrimenti respublica capiat; and at any rate to preserve the unity of the Executive. They may be necessary, but whether necessary or not, we find that they tend to diminish our national vigour, and to impair our reputation in dealing with foreign countries. There are some who would argue on the other side that the antagonism of parties is not so absolute as has been supposed; that they often act as a stimulus to one another, and therefore, instead of impeding, quicken progress; that they are a necessary consequence of political activity; and that as there are differences of character, there must also be differences of opinion among men. They certainly give a distinct form to opposing forces, instead of dissipating them in personality; and in critical times there may arise mediators or benefactors among them, and, like the Greeks in the Persian War, they may forget their quarrels and vie with one another in the service of their country. Aristotle notices a phenomenon which may be observed in modern as well as in ancient politics: the representation of one class by another. He thinks that an oligarchy is doomed to fall when the members of a governing body are elected by the whole people, for they will always be at the mercy of those who elect them. So in some of the countries of modern Europe a great change is being silently wrought, not by the physical force of the people, but by the wealthy who are their representatives and do their bidding. ‘The poor have not the leisure to go to the Assembly;’ and therefore they elect some member of the higher or richer classes to assert their rights, who expresses partly his own opinions and partly theirs; or his own opinions in private and theirs in public.

Having now explained the chief causes of revolutions in states,Jowett1885v1: c. 8. we have next to consider the means of preserving them.

The knowledge of opposites is one and the same; if we know the causes which destroy states, we shall also know the causes which preserve them. We must in the first place maintain the authority of the law and not be careless about little things, for the Edition: current; Page: [xcviii]whole is made up of them (as the saying is, ‘Many a mickle makes a muckle’); neither must we rely upon arts and devices. Evils creep in unperceived, and we must watch the beginnings of them; or they will increase and overwhelm the state. Even an oligarchy, though inherently weak, may be long preserved if the ruling class are just and considerate to one another and to their fellow citizens, and are willing to receive into their own body any who are deserving of honour. As in a democracy, so in an oligarchy there must be equality; for equals in rank where they are numerous are a kind of democracy, and demagogues are very likely to arise in both. And many of the safeguards of democracy are equally useful in an oligarchy. One of these safeguards is the short tenure of office; the magistrate whose term lasts only for six months will not be able to usurp.

Another cause of the preservation of states is the fear of an enemy near at hand, which may often unite and waken up the citizens. The cautious ruler will seek to create salutary terrors in the minds of the people: he will also endeavour to restrain the quarrels of the notables. He will need the gift of foresight if he aspires to the character of a statesman.

The census should be periodically revised and the qualification raised or lowered as the value of property increases or diminishes. It is better to give moderate honour to a citizen for a long time than great honour for a short time. But when once given it should not be suddenly withdrawn. The magistrates should have an eye to the lives of the citizens, and should bring them into harmony with the constitution of the state. The growth of prosperity and power in any one person or part of the state should be carefully watched. Rich and poor should be combined in one body, and the middle class increased. Above all, the magistrates should not be allowed to make money from their offices; nothing is so provoking to the common people as corruption of this kind.

Democracy and aristocracy might come to an understanding if offices brought no profit; for then the rich and the poor would both obtain their desires; the poor would not wish to hold them; —they would rather attend to their own business;—and the rich, who do not want money, would take them. The public accounts Edition: current; Page: [xcix]should be regularly audited at a general assembly of the citizens, and duplicates of them put up in the tribes and demes. Honest magistrates should be rewarded. In an oligarchy the poor should be well treated, and in a democracy the rich should not be required or allowed to waste their money upon useless liturgies; their income should be protected as well as their property. Estates should pass by inheritance, and no person should have more than one. The poor should be allowed to share in all the lesser offices of state, and a member of the aristocracy should be more severely punished for insulting them than for insulting one of his own class.

[If we proceed to ask, How far the character of chief magistratesJowett1885v1: c. 9. is preservative of a constitution, it may be answered that], Three qualifications are required in them: 1) loyalty, 2) administrative capacity, 3) virtue of a kind suited to the constitution. But when all these qualities do not meet in the same person, which is better,—a virtuous and dull man, or a vicious and clever one? We reply,—different qualities are required in different offices; honesty is the first qualification of a steward, military skill of a general; and we must consider what qualities are rare and what are common; military skill, for example, is less common than honesty. But will a statesman who is loyal and patriotic have any need of virtue? Yes, surely; for without self-control he will be incapable of managing either his own affairs or the affairs of the public.

Among the preservatives of states may be mentioned laws which are for the interest of the state; and the great preserving principle of all is that the loyal citizens should outnumber the disloyal. The mean which is often lost sight of in the extremes of party violence, should also be regarded. Some disproportion, as in the human body, may be pardonable; but great excess in limb or feature is the caricature and destruction of either. He who pushes the principle either of democracy or of oligarchy to an extreme, will begin by spoiling the government, and will end by having none at all. Neither oligarchy nor democracy can exist unless a place is found in them for both rich and poor. They are equally in fault, and their feelings towards one another are the reverse of what they should be; for the oligarchs should maintain the cause of the poor, the democrats of the rich; whereas the demagogues are Edition: current; Page: [c]always cutting the city in two by their quarrels with the rich, and the oligarchs even take an oath that they will do the people all the harm which they can.

The great preservative of all is education; but it must be adapted to the constitution: when properly educated the people will become neither violent oligarchs nor democrats, but good citizens under either form of government. For the true oligarch or democrat is not he who does the most oligarchical or democratic actions, but he who provides best for the continuance of oligarchy or democracy. Among ourselves the ruling class are reared in luxury, while the children of the poor are hardened by labour, and therefore more than a match for the rich in time of revolution. On the other hand, in extreme democracies there is a false idea of freedom: men think only of the supremacy of the people, which means that they may do as they like; this is contradictory to the true interests of the state. They do not understand that obedience to law is the salvation of states.

The two leading forms of government, democracy and oligarchy—for, in Hellenic politics, monarchy, aristocracy, timocracy, need hardly be considered—are both regarded by Aristotle as good enough when well administered. But they must live and let live: the oligarch must find a place for the poor; the democrat must leave room for the rich. The sense of patriotism should prevent them from disorganizing the state by their quarrels; the sense of justice should leave them in the possession of their respective properties. They should both avoid extremes; for he is not the best democrat who is most of a democrat, or the best oligarch who is most of an oligarch. But that is the best form, whether of democracy or oligarchy, which is the most lasting. The true test of governments is their permanence. Although the tendency of Greek history was setting in towards democracy, yet oligarchies were still existing, and Aristotle seems to have thought that, if there were humanity, public spirit, and consideration towards the lower classes, they might continue to exist. The people should spare the rich, and not impose unequal taxes or burdensome duties upon them: the poor should be treated kindly, and the wrong done to them by Edition: current; Page: [ci]a person of breeding or education should be regarded as more discreditable than a similar offence against one of his own class. There is a fine spirit of courtesy in this last regulation. Measures should be taken to prevent the accumulation of inheritances, lest the poor should always be growing poorer, and the rich richer; and the poor should receive a preference in the lesser offices of state.

Next come the two forms of monarchy,—royalty and tyranny;Jowett1885v1: c. 10. the first, like aristocracy, based upon merit, the second a compound of democracy and oligarchy in their worst form. The two differ in their very origin; for kings were the benefactors of their people, but tyrants were usually demagogues who gained the favour of the demos by their accusations of the notables; or they were the presidents of oligarchies; or, in the old times, kings or great magistrates who usurped despotic power. A king is appointed by the better class to protect them against the people; the tyrant is the favourite of the people who takes their part against the notables. The king benefits all classes; the tyrant no one but himself; the one desires honour, the other pleasure and gain; the one is guarded by the citizens, the other by mercenaries. The tyrant combines all the vices of democracy and oligarchy; he robs and suspects the people, he oppresses and exiles the notables, ‘he cuts off the tallest ears of corn.’

The motives of revolutions in royalties and tyrannies are similar to the motives of revolutions in other states. The rest of mankind desire the wealth or rank of the king or tyrant; or some one is stirred up to avenge an insult. Sometimes the office of the monarch is attacked, sometimes his life. Insults to the person have been frequently fatal to the sovereign who offered them. Fear and contempt have also been the motives of conspiracies. The probability of success is another motive. Tyrants have been attacked by their familiars who know their weakness; or by generals whom they have trusted with power. The desire of gain is yet another motive; love of glory another. There are a few who, regardless of their own lives, have sought to immortalize themselves by the assassination of a tyrant; they wish to acquire Edition: current; Page: [cii]not a kingdom, but a name. Few, however, are willing to set their life upon such a cast.

Tyrannies are also destroyed, from without, by the hostility of opposite forms of government; from within, by dissension in a ruling family. There are two chief motives which induce men to attack them, hatred and contempt; to these must be added anger, which is all the more ready to strike because it is painful. In a word, all the causes by which the worse forms of oligarchy or democracy are affected, also affect tyranny. Royalty is less liable than tyranny to be overthrown by a revolution; it is generally destroyed from within—either members of the royal family quarrel with one another, or the king himself grows tyrannical. But there are no kings in our own days; no one has a natural superiority, and therefore he who aspires to rule over his fellows becomes a tyrant. Hereditary monarchies run the greatest risk of all, for the king is apt to play the part of a tyrant, forgetting that he has not the power. When the king is not wanted, he is dethroned, but the tyrant maintains himself whether men like him or not.

These are the causes destructive of monarchy; and the preservativesJowett1885v1: c. 11. are the opposites to these. Royalty is preserved by the limitation of its powers, as at Lacedaemon by the double kingship and the institution of the Ephoralty; tyranny by the traditional policy of lopping off the tallest shoots, by the prohibition of education, common meals, clubs, meetings for discussion, in short by a policy of suspicion and repression. The tyrant must take every means of keeping the people under; he must know what they are doing; he must employ spies and eaves-droppers; he must sow quarrels and dissensions among them. He should engage them in great public works, like the Pyramids of Egypt or the temple of Olympian Zeus at Athens, and should multiply taxes after the manner of Dionysius of Syracuse; he should keep his subjects busy and poor, and make them pay for his guards; he should stir up war that they may need his services as a general. He cannot, like a king, trust his friends; for he knows that the hand of every man is against him, and they have him in their power. Tyranny, like the extreme form of democracy, gives influence to Edition: current; Page: [ciii]women and licence to slaves, in the hope that they may inform against their husbands and masters; hence both women and slaves are partial to tyrannies and democracies because they have a good time under them. Like the people, the tyrant loves flatterers, who are bad themselves and are used for bad purposes. Independent spirits are distasteful to him; and he prefers foreigners to citizens. There is nothing too bad for him. In short, he has three principal aims:—1) to sow distrust among his subjects, 2) to deprive them of power, 3) to humble them. Good men cannot be made his tools; and therefore he is their enemy.

But tyranny may also be preserved by an entirely opposite method. Although the tyrant must in self-defence keep his power, yet he may use it like a constitutional monarch. He ought to be a model of virtue and economy, not squandering on courtesans and artists the public revenues, but using them in the service of the state, as if he were the trustee and not the owner of them. This will be far wiser than to keep a hoard which there will be no one to guard when he is away from home. He should inspire reverence rather than fear; whatever vices he may privately practise, he should be dignified in public, and maintain the character of a ruler. He should avoid immodesty or sensuality, or at any rate he should not parade them in the face of the world. He should adorn and improve the city; he should be religious, that he may be thought a good man and a friend of the gods—men will then be less afraid of suffering injustice at his hands, and they will be less likely to conspire against him, for they will think that he has the gods fighting on his side; but he should not make himself ridiculous by superstition. He should honour men of merit. Yet neither should he make any one person great, but if one, then more than one; and if he has to take away honour, he should proceed gradually. He should be tender of other men’s reputation, kind to the young; his attachments should seem to be inspired by affection, and not by the insolence of power. Assassination is his greatest danger, and he should therefore be careful of insulting or seeming to insult others. ‘For,’ as Heracleitus says, ‘a man will buy revenge with life.’

He will keep the peace between the rich and poor, and will Edition: current; Page: [civ]conciliate to himself the stronger of the two, whichever that may be. He will not then need to emancipate the slaves or to disarm the citizens. He will be moderate and gentle, the friend of the upper classes and the hero of the multitude. His rule will thus be nobler and better, because he will rule over nobler and better men, whom he does not fear, and to whom he is not himself an object of hatred. His power, too, will be more lasting. Let him be virtuous, or at least half-virtuous; and if he be wicked, let him be half-wicked.

Aristotle, proceeding by the method of opposites, contrasts the king and the tyrant, and the modes in which royalty and tyranny are destroyed and preserved. To the Greek the king could hardly appear a reality: of the semi-barbarous Macedonian and Thracian monarchs he had heard at a distance only. But in Hellas properly so called all other kings except the kings of Sparta had disappeared. The tyrant, although he hardly existed except in Sicily between the days of Themistocles and Alexander, was deeply impressed on the mind of Hellas. The traditional portrait of him, exaggerated by the genius of Plato, is preserved in Aristotle; it had come down like the story of the Trojan War, from an unknown antiquity, and had been recently revived by the oppressions of Dionysius and his son.

From the ordinary Greek conception of the tyrant we pass to a better sort of despot, who seems to have not much more reality than the one best man of Book III. We may fancy that Hermias, the tyrant of Atarneus, suggested the thought to Aristotle’s mind; but he has scarcely found his way into Greek history, except by his connection with Aristotle.

It is said that there have been two perfect princes only among all who have held sway over the civilized world, the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, the French King who is also a Catholic Saint, Louis IX;—perhaps together with these two our own Alfred might be ranked. Their lives, though not spent in vain, supply an historical proof that the beneficent ruler is by no means absolute in his power of doing good. It is an observation of Buckle’s that the high character and intelligence of several of the Edition: current; Page: [cv]Spanish monarchs in the last century, altogether failed to arrest the degeneracy of the people. The truth is, that although the spirit of a king may sometimes animate his people, a nation is too heavy a load for any man to carry on his shoulders or elevate by the force of his own will.

The other sort of tyrant described by Aristotle is a good way removed from the ideal; like Peisistratus in Thucydides, he professes virtue, but at the same time keeps a firm hand on power. He has learnt the lesson of Machiavelli, that ‘there are many virtues which would certainly prove ruinous to kings if they practised them.’ He maintains arbitrary power that he may make a good use of it; he sets up authority against the rights of men. He is perhaps the only solution of a great political difficulty. Many questions are stirred about him. They run up into the wider question, What are the moral conditions of political action? And they would probably have received from Aristotle his favourite solution, namely that politics are relative to persons and circumstances.

Plato and Aristotle alike indulge in the fancy of a virtuous tyrant: ‘there is no shorter way,’ says Plato, ‘in which men can be made virtuous than by obedience to a wise and virtuous tyrant.’ (Laws, iv. 709.) And Aristotle himself is characteristically willing to believe that like all other forms of government, even a tyranny, if well administered, may be for the advantage of the subjects of it. But the tyrant is to be prudent rather than virtuous. He must keep up appearances and give mankind the good government which they so much want. Such governments may be the only ones possible in certain stages of society; and certainly men would not be justified in overthrowing them, unless they could set up a better in their place. Aristotle would have acknowledged that they depend upon accidents, for, as in the case of the Roman Emperors, many a good father may have a bad son; and modern writers would make the further reflection, that by giving people good government, we take from them the power of governing themselves.

Tyrannies and oligarchies are short-lived. The tyrannies whichJowett1885v1: c. 12. have lasted longest are those of Orthagoras and his sons at Sicyon, which continued for a hundred years, of the Cypselidae at Corinth, Edition: current; Page: [cvi]who reigned seventy-three years and six months, and of Peisistratus at Athens, which lasted, not including sixteen years of exile, seventeen years, or adding in the eighteen years which his son reigned, thirty-five years. Their greater duration may be attributed to the personal character of the tyrants. Cypselus was a popular man; his son and successor, Periander, a great soldier: Orthagoras and his family were gentle and careful of their people; his descendant, Cleisthenes, was also a great soldier; the latter is said to have crowned the judge who decided against him at the games, as Peisistratus is recorded to have submitted to the court of the Areopagus. Of other tyrannies, that of Hiero and Gelo has been the most enduring, but their combined reigns only lasted eighteen years.

In the Republic, Socrates gives a fanciful account of the first step in the decline of states. He says that they change according to a certain cycle which depends upon a base of number. When this cycle comes to an end, bad men will be born and education will be neglected. Very likely; but why in the perfect state more than in any other? And why should the perfect state change into the Spartan, or the Spartan into an oligarchy, or an oligarchy into a democracy, or a democracy into a tyranny? Had the cycle been completed, tyranny should have reverted to the perfect state. But the truth is that there is no regular order in the changes of states; both tyrannies and oligarchies may pass into any other form of government, as is proved by numberless facts. And when he says that the decline of the Spartan government is due to covetousness, he should rather have said that it is due to the jealousy which the rich entertain towards the poor. Nor is the tale of two cities in one, peculiar to oligarchy: it might describe any state in which there is great social inequality. The indebtedness of the poor is not the only cause of revolution in oligarchies, but far more the impoverishment of great men. Finally, Plato fails to discriminate the various kinds of revolution which arise out of the various forms of democracies and oligarchies.

Aristotle has a fling at the Platonic number of the state. We may observe that he does not regard this curious symbol as a mere Edition: current; Page: [cvii]arithmetical or geometrical puzzle. He only says that such a cause of change would apply equally to all states; and while he treats the number seriously he does not remark that he has omitted two or three steps in the calculation. He makes an assumption in saying that the perfect state degenerates into the Spartan; of this no mention is made by Plato, though some of the characteristics of the timocratic man recall to us the Spartan. His common sense told him that there was no law or order in the succession of states. It could hardly be supposed that tyranny returned to the perfect state. Yet this was the conclusion which logically followed if the cycle was to begin again.

There are numerous repetitions in the Sixth Book of the Politics, but there are also a few subjects which are more fully worked out and appear in a clearer light than elsewhere. To these we will confine ourselves in the remarks which follow.

Aristotle’s views about Democracy are set forth more in the concrete and less in the abstract. Leaving the general idea, he proceeds to consider the various forms of Democracy which arise out of the complication of the different elements which are combined in them. Democracy is a necessity rather than a good, and therefore the form which is least of a democracy is the least of an evil. The people are nominally to have their rights, but, if possible, they are to be deprived of them; that is to say, they are to be placed under circumstances in which only a few can ever exercise them: what he gives with one hand he takes away with the other. He is far from having any confidence in the people; he devises many expedients in order to minimize their power. They are generally paid, but it would be better if they were not paid, because then they would not have leisure to take part in the government. In the interests of the upper classes, who have to conduct the government, the meetings of the Assembly and of the Law Courts should be few and short. The reflection naturally occurs to the mind, How is all this reconcileable with another dictum of Aristotle’s that ‘political devices are useless’? Neither is Edition: current; Page: [cviii]he consistent with himself; at any rate traces of different views appear in successive chapters.

Two confusions often arise about democracy. First, it is supposed that the form of a democracy which is the most extreme, is the most truly democratic; but this is an error; permanence is the true test whether of democracy or of any other form of government. Secondly, we should observe that in all forms of government there is an element of democracy within the governing body, for the will of the majority must prevail, and there may be persons who play the demagogue in it, or who use the demos in furtherance of some oligarchical design.

Aristotle’s favourite notion that the greater offices should be confined to the rich, while admission to the assembly and to the lesser offices is granted to the poor, will be found to be an impossible combination. At least the only way in which we can suppose such an arrangement to be carried out, would be by the great magistrates retaining independent command of the army. But then why should they allow the power of the people to exist at all? They can rarely be brought to think that they and the people have a common interest. In several modern European countries, such as Germany, Russia, or France in the time of the emperors Napoleon I and III, this near connection, or perhaps natural affinity, between the army and the throne has alone rendered the Imperial form of government possible.

To us in England who are always considering the question of parliamentary representation, the doctrine of Aristotle that the right of voting should be extended only so far as will provide a bulwark against democracy, is curious and suggestive. The greater number, though only a little greater, if including the upper and heavy-armed classes, would evidently be many times as strong as the rest of the citizens. Had a form of constitution, like that called by the Greeks timocracy, in which all men voted, but the numbers of the poor were compensated by the wealth of the rich, been adopted by the authors of the American constitution or of the first English Reform Bill, it is possible that such a settlement of the representative question might have driven back the tide of democracy for many generations.

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The nature and characteristics of democracy; the better and worse kinds: how democracies may be created and preserved: the various kinds of oligarchies: the organization of offices under different forms of government.

We have discussed the various elements of states in their variousJowett1885v1: c. 1. forms, the supreme or deliberative power, the law-courts, the offices; we have also spoken of the destruction and preservation of states. And now we have to consider in what manner different forms of government are organized, and what various combinations of their parts or elements are possible. [The latter is an unfulfilled promise; cp. iv. 7-9.] I mean, for example, how an oligarchical council may be combined with aristocratical law-courts, and any similar disharmony in the composition of the state. We have also to enquire how the forms of government which are adapted to different states may be established.

First let us describe democracy, of which there are several varieties. These varieties depend upon two causes, 1) differences in the character of the population, which may consist of husbandmen, or of mechanics and labourers, either singly or mingled in various proportions; 2) differences in the combinations of the characteristic features of democracy. All the elements should be studied, but it would be a mistake to suppose that every democratic element should exist in every democracy; there should be an admixture of different elements, and they should be balanced against one another; proportion should be observed.

The basis of democracy is liberty, and one principle of liberty isJowett1885v1: c. 2. that all should rule and be ruled in turn. Democratic equality is not proportionate, but numerical: every man counts for one, and therefore the will of the majority is supreme. Another principle of liberty is non-interference—every man should live as he likes, if this is possible; or, if not, then he should rule and be ruled in turn—this also is a kind of equality.

Such is the nature of democracy; its characteristics are as Edition: current; Page: [cx]follows:—all officers are elected by all out of all; all to rule over each, and each in his turn over all; by lot, unless the office be one for which special knowledge is required; with little or no qualification; for a short period only; rarely if ever twice to the same office, except in the case of military offices. All men or judges selected out of all sit in judgment on all matters, or on the most important; the assembly, and not the magistrates, is supreme. Even the council, which is generally the most popular of institutions, falls into the background and loses power when the citizens are paid; for then they draw all business to themselves. And in a democracy everybody is paid when there is money enough, but when there is not, then at any rate the principal officers, such as the judges, ecclesiasts, councillors, are paid. No magistracy is perpetual; any such which have survived from ancient times are stripped of their power, and, instead of being specially elected by vote, the holders of them are appointed by lot. Poverty and vulgarity are the notes of democracy; wealth, education, and good birth of oligarchy. The most extreme form of democracy is based upon the principle of numerical equality. And in this way men believe that true freedom will be attained.

But in what manner is this equality to be secured? BesidesJowett1885v1: c. 3. simple equality there is an equality of proportion, which may be obtained in two ways. 1) Five hundred rich may be reckoned equal to a thousand poor, [in other words, the rich man will have two votes where the poor has only one]; or 2) preserving the same ratio of rich and poor [i.e. 10:5], both may choose an equal number of representatives. Now which, according to the true idea of democracy, is the better?—some form of proportionate equality such as either of these, or the bare equality of numbers? The former, say the oligarchs; the latter, say the democrats. Yet upon the oligarchical principle, if one man were richer than all the rest, he would be a lawful tyrant; or if the democratic principle prevail, it is probable that the majority will confiscate the wealth of the minority.

All agree in saying that the rule of the majority is law. But numbers and wealth should both be included; and whichever side, when the qualifications are added up, has the greater amount, Edition: current; Page: [cxi]should prevail. The real difficulty is not in finding a principle of justice, but in making the strong respect the rights of the weak.

Of the four kinds of democracy the first and oldest is also theJowett1885v1: c. 4. best; I mean, that of which the material is a rural population who are always at work, and therefore do not attend the assembly. They are too busy to care about office, unless money can be made out of it. They are well enough off, and their ambition is satisfied if they may deliberate, and elect, either by themselves or their representatives, and can also call to account, the principal magistrates. In such a democracy a high qualification is commonly required from the holders of the greater magistracies; or, if there is no qualification, special ability. Such a form of government is excellent. The notables are satisfied because they are not governed by their inferiors; and the persons elected rule justly, because they are liable to be called to account. The superiority of this form of democracy is due to the fact that the people are owners of land. The ancient legislators were sensible of the gain, and endeavoured in every way to encourage an agricultural life. Either they limited the quantity of land which might be held by individuals, or forbade the original allotment to be sold, or required some part of it to be preserved free from mortgage, or they granted political rights to the owners of very small portions of land.

The next best material 2) out of which a democracy can be formed, and even better for the making of soldiers, is a pastoral people. The trading classes 3) who live in towns are far inferior in moral qualities; and being always on the spot they are always attending the assembly and interfering with the government. The last and worst form of democracy 4) is that in which all share alike,—legitimate, illegitimate, citizens by one parent or by both; nothing comes amiss. To increase their own power the demagogues include as many as they can. Whereas they should stop when the number of the commonalty exceeds that of the middle class or of the notables. Another practice of demagogues is to break up old associations and to form the citizens into fresh wards and tribes, as Cleisthenes did at Athens. Under democracies as under tyrannies great licence is allowed to slaves and women; and Edition: current; Page: [cxii]generally there is more liberty. Such governments are popular, for most persons prefer disorder to order.

The creation of a democracy is not so great a difficulty as theJowett1885v1: c. 5. preservation of it. Any government may last a few days, but not longer, unless well regulated by laws and customs. The legislator must employ all known preservatives; against all known dangers he must guard. He should remember that the truly democratic policy is not the most extreme, but that which makes democracy last longest. He must not allow the demagogues to attack the wealthy that they may confiscate their property; confiscated property should go, not to the people, but to the state. Heavy penalties should also be inflicted on those who bring groundless accusations.

Where there are no revenues and the people can only be paid by a tax upon the notables, the sittings of the law-courts and of the assemblies should be few and brief. The rich will then be able to attend; they will not mind the expense, and causes will be better tried. The revenues, where there are any, should not be wasted in largesses to the poor, who are always wanting more and more; they should be economized, and the money distributed among the people in such quantities as may enable them to purchase a small farm, or to make a beginning in trade. It is the interest of all classes to promote their prosperity. The rich should pay the fee for the poor who attend the assemblies, and should themselves be excused from useless services. In their treatment of the poor the Carthaginians and Tarentines furnish an excellent example. The former send them to their colonies, the latter share the use of their property with them. It is worthy of a generous and sensible nobility to divide the poor among them and give them the means of going to work. The Tarentines further elect to offices by lot as well as by vote; by lot, that the poor may not be excluded; by vote, that the state may be well governed.

The language of Aristotle about the poor expresses a truly modern sentiment. He has a human feeling for them, such as is hardly to be found elsewhere in ancient philosophy. Cp. Plato, Laws, 761 C. As in Book V (c. 2. § 19), the philosopher Edition: current; Page: [cxiii]deigns to think about the miserable earnings of the poor; he sympathizes with their indignation at the extortions which are practised upon them; he is aware how much harm may be done to them by indiscriminate charity, which is like water running through a sieve; he would help them to help themselves; he would give them, not doles, but the means of stocking a shop or of purchasing a small farm. He thinks that the public revenues may with advantage be used for such an object; because the contentment of the poor is the common good of the state. In forming an estimate of such proposals, we must remember that the number of citizens in the ancient Greek states was far more manageable than in any modern European country. Aristotle would wish this comparatively small number to be divided among the rich, so that every poor man might look to some one among the notables for his maintenance. We too know the importance of dividing large districts into parishes and townships, in which the clergy and gentry or leading inhabitants may be expected to attend to the wants and interests of their poorer brethren. He is sensible that the poor require the help of the rich, and on the other hand that no class can be entirely trusted to protect the rights and interests of any other. It has been sometimes thought that an enlightened sense of their own advantage would lead the rich to provide for the poor; but, according to Aristotle, whose words cannot be said to be wholly inapplicable to our own age and country, the relations between the rich and the poor are too often of another kind. The nobles are indifferent to the sufferings of the poor, and are often oppressive. Instead of making a princely use of their money, and erecting public works which would redound to their honour, they accumulate only that they may spend upon themselves.

In Book II Aristotle is disposed to think that a liberal and common use of property would be better than communism. In a similar strain we might ask two or three questions respecting the use of property. Has not property duties as well as rights, and is it not a trust to be used for others rather than for ourselves? Or if such a standard of conduct is too exalted, may we not ask whether the greatest gainer by such liberality would not be the giver, and Edition: current; Page: [cxiv]whether the discovery of the way to do good without doing harm is not one of the noblest exercises both of the head and heart? Whether, lastly, property can ever be so well administered as by private persons possessing a measure of public spirit?

Oligarchy is the opposite of democracy, and we may argue fromJowett1885v1: c. 6. one to the other. The best form of oligarchy has two qualifications, a higher for the important, a lower for the unimportant offices. In this form of oligarchy, which is the first and best and is akin to polity, care should be taken that the entire governing body is stronger than those who are excluded. A second form is similar but narrower. The worst and last is the family clique, which is the most tyrannical and also the weakest, and therefore liable to be ruined by the very smallest mistake. The salvation of an oligarchy depends chiefly on good order; of a democracy on numbers.

[The preservation of oligarchies is closely connected with theirJowett1885v1: c. 7. military arrangements.] Now there are four kinds of military forces, cavalry, heavy infantry, light-armed troops, sailors; of these the first two are adapted to oligarchies, the last two to democracies. But often the light-armed are too much for the heavy infantry; and to provide against this danger, in every army there should be a contingent of light-armed troops. In an oligarchy, instead of raising such a force out of the lower classes who will some day rise against the government, fathers should train their own sons, while young, to the service. Another mode of preserving oligarchies is that deserving persons or those who have a property qualification or have given up mean employments should be adopted into the ruling class. The highest offices should be expensive, and then the people will not desire them; and the magistrates should signalize their accession to office by some public work. But how unlike is all this to the practice of our modern oligarchs!

The next point which we have to consider is the right arrangementJowett1885v1: c. 8. of offices in a state. Some will be necessary under all forms of government. First among these there will be 1) a warden of the market, who will inspect contracts and regulate the relations of buyers and sellers; 2) a warden of the city, who will superintend Edition: current; Page: [cxv]buildings, harbours, roads, houses, and the like; where the city is large, this office should be shared by several persons; 3) a warden of the country, having a similar jurisdiction outside the walls; 4) there will be the office of treasurer, who will take charge of the revenue; 5) the recorders, who will register all contracts and legal decisions; 6) an executioner, who has duties very important, yet so invidious that one man can hardly sustain the odium of them, and they should therefore be distributed among many. The custody of prisoners is often, as at Athens, separated from the execution of sentences, and it is well to divide them, and so to diminish the unpopularity of the jailor. In general such duties should be assigned to the youth organized in bands, and the magistrates acting in turns should preside over them. Higher offices 7) are those of generals and admirals, who have their subordinates. Again, there are officers 8) who audit the public accounts. Besides these, 9) there are the officers called ‘councillors,’ or ‘a council,’ who summon the assembly and introduce all measures, and also ratify them. Once more, there are 10) priests and other officers attached to the temples; 11) offerers of sacrifice—the latter called archons, kings, or prytanes. Specially characteristic of aristocratic states are guardians of the law, of women, of children; and also directors of gymnastic and Dionysiac contests.

There are three forms of the highest elective offices of the state; these are guardians of the law, probuli, councillors; the first aristocratical, the second oligarchical, the third democratical.

The analysis of governments into their parts or offices, like the analysis of the human mind into the intellectual and the moral, and the subdivision of these into their respective faculties, was first made in ancient Greek philosophy. The idea of organization is not found in a primitive society, ‘for among barbarians all men are slaves alike;’ nor in the despotisms of the age which succeeded. In the Homeric poems there are hereditary chiefs in peace and war, sons or descendants of the Gods; and there is a faint indication of the assembly of the people. There are also priests and heralds and different classes of warriors, soldiers and captives of the spear; but further than this, organization did not reach. Edition: current; Page: [cxvi]There is no distinction between kings and nobles, between generals and judges, or between a ruling and a subject class. Such was the poetical idea which the Greeks conceived of their own past history. It was a long time before the need of offices was recognized or there began to be a division into classes, and still longer before the opposition between them arose, and a method of reconciling them had to be devised. The earliest distinction is that made between the general and the legislator or judge. Later the ecclesia is separated from the dicastery. Yet according to our notions there is no real difference between them; for they are both popular assemblies: they both decide causes, and the same kind of rhetorical arguments, taking sometimes an ethical form, are addressed to both of them. A further distinction is made in Aristotle between the deliberative and executive, but their relation to one another is not clearly defined. One of the most peculiar and characteristic features of an Hellenic state was the calling of magistrates to account after their term of office had expired.

The division of governments into their political and judicial elements, and into their legislative and political functions, must necessarily exist in all civilized countries. Aristotle insists strongly upon the necessity of adapting offices to the constitution. But he can hardly be said to view the question in a comprehensive manner, and the examples which he gives of such adaptations are feeble and trifling. First among them is the adaptation of judicial to political institutions. If the government is exclusive, then the law-courts should be exclusive: if all are represented in one, then all should be represented in both. The power of the one should not be capable of checkmating or overthrowing the other. Though there is some recognition of offices which require special skill, the idea of a single skilled person, the great jurist of the Romans, who has made the laws of his country the study of a life, is not to be found in Aristotle. The deeper study of law did not exist among the Greeks of his time. In the judicial, as Aristotle would say, the voice of God and reason should prevail; in the political there is a mixture of the beast. How are these two to be adjusted? It is not by accident but by a natural connection that in the government Edition: current; Page: [cxvii]of the United States an elective judiciary is combined with the extreme form of democracy; yet it seems hardly possible that judges who are ill-paid and have a precarious tenure of office should resist considerations of party and interest (cp. ii. 9. § 19). So much independence as is not absolutely inconsistent with democracy should therefore be granted to them. There is a natural sense of justice in mankind which makes this possible, if the people are educated to see that moral principles are the basis of any true form of politics. The sphere of law is more limited than that of politics, but also higher, for it is concerned only with truth, which is the foundation of all justice; and the legal element of society is or ought to be conservative, not only because it appeals to precedent and authority, but because it maintains right which is the surest basis of a government or state.

Aristotle places in a long series all the officers of state from the king or general down to the executioner, but he does not treat of the relation of the rulers or ruling class to the popular assembly. In modern states the power of the nobles has been always tending to encroach upon that of the monarch, and the power of the people upon both. Sometimes reactions have occurred and reactionary forms of government have been restored when democracies have become imbecile or shown themselves incapable of governing. The distinctions of ancient times have been more clearly defined, and some new ones have been added. Individual judges dividing their power with juries have for the most part taken the place of judicial assemblies. Civil and military functions have been more separated; by the side of the army the Civil Service has grown up to an almost equal power, the one cutting through with the sword the knots of the world, the other throwing a network, from which there is no escape, over a whole country. Both have a certain independence, and yet are responsible to the great Assembly or Parliament of the Realm. If the ministers of state or the generals of an army unduly seek to extend their powers and duties or Parliament to absorb them, the administration of the state will become weakened or disordered.

Great offices of state should have each their own sphere divided according to the subjects with which government is concerned. Those Edition: current; Page: [cxviii]who hold them should be capable of acting together, and yet not liable to interfere with one another. We should not have the Minister of War asking for money; the Minister of Finance refusing it. Both should be subject to a higher power which would generally leave them to perform their duties independently, but would at times arbitrate between them. The great secret of administration is to combine what is local and individual with the uniformity of a system, to leave every man to himself, and yet to prevent his getting into the way of others. The higher power in a free state should represent the will of the nation. There should be a main-spring, and larger and smaller wheels by which the required force is regulated and diffused. Among the Romans when special danger was apprehended, or when there was a conflict of parties or offices in the state, a Dictator was appointed. All the powers of the state were thus brought under the direction of a single mind; they were suddenly stopped, and at the same moment a new life was communicated from the centre to the extremities of the state. In some modern countries there have been times when the nation seemed to be equally divided into irreconcileable factions, and then the only way of saving society has been Imperialism.

In modern, as well as in ancient times, the relations of great officers, or, as we should say, of the Ministry, to the Parliament or public Assembly have been peculiar. The greater part of the business to be submitted to the Parliament or representative Assembly has been prepared by them; and all their public acts have been subject to enquiries or resolutions of the House. Where should this control stop, and what liberty should be allowed to them? No precise answer can be given to this question. But it is clear that a minister should seek to guide the members of the Assembly in matters of which he is better informed than they are, and that he should resist unnecessary interference with the executive. His influence over them depends upon his power of evoking in them that nobler principle in men which is the better self of the political society.

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The Seventh Book is not more regular in structure than those which have preceded it. The thread is tolerably evident, but is often dropped and taken up again after a digression. This irregularity may be in a great measure due to the form in which the Aristotelian writings have been transmitted to us. But we must not complain of some disorder in ancient authors; the habit of arrangement was not easily acquired by them; even the greatest among them have not moulded their works into an artistic whole. Such an overruling unity of idea is not always found in Plato himself: they follow ‘whither the argument leads:’ they pass from one subject to another, and do not impose upon themselves that rule of symmetry or consistency which is demanded of a good modern writer. (See Essay on Structure of Aristotelian Writings, vol. ii.)

The book opens with an eloquent panegyric upon the life of virtue, which is the same both for individuals and states, and which is not confined in either to outward actions. But this life of virtue requires material conditions, a given number of citizens, a situation near but not too near the sea, a territory not too large, suitable walls and buildings, a national character in which spirit and intelligence are combined. It is also made up of parts, and the principal parts are the two governing classes, warriors and counsellors. Throughout the book we trace the connection with difficulty, and some favourite speculations, such as the question whether the life of the freeman is better than that of the ruler, the right of the one best man, the opposition of the practical and speculative reason and the classes of actions corresponding to them, are introduced by the way. The greater part of the discussion has no more reference to the perfect state than to any other. The character of the state, though essentially aristocratic (for the husbandmen are excluded from it), is nowhere precisely defined, and nothing is said about its relation to any other form of government. There are several incorrectnesses of style and expression, for example, the mention of the freeman who is substituted in c. 2 for the contemplative philosopher; or in c. 6 the words ‘all the citizens are virtuous,’ meaning not all, but only the higher classes; or the use of the term ‘ruling in turn’ (c. 14) in a new sense, for the succession of the young to the old, not for the alternation of one section of the citizens Edition: current; Page: [cxx]with another; or the seeming confusion of contemplation with leisure (c. 14). Nor can the writer resist the temptation to discuss the antiquities and geography of Greece and Italy. After describing in detail the buildings of the city, he returns to the nature of virtue, its absolute and relative character, the means toward it, the elements which constitute it, the priority of the mind to the body. He is thus led on to speak of education, first, before birth, and secondly, after birth. With this great subject, which is very imperfectly handled, the treatise comes rather abruptly to an end. Nowhere else in his writings has Aristotle borrowed so freely from Plato, yet he, or the writer of this part of the treatise, has only alluded to him where he disagrees from him: cp. vii. c. 7, § 5-8; c. 11, § 8; c. 17, § 6; viii. c. 7, § 9. For some of the similarities, cp. vii. c. 7, § 23, and Rep. iv. 35 E: vii. c. 9, § 3; Laws, xi. 919: vii. c. 10, § 7; Laws, iii. 676: vii. c. 10, § 11; Laws, v. 745, &c.


The best life both for individuals and states is a life of virtue, not of war or conquest: the conditions of the perfect state: national character: distinction between the conditions and the parts of a state: caste: syssitia: cultivation of the land: walls and buildings: happiness is the realization of virtue: marriage: education.

In enquiring into the best form of a state we have first to determineJowett1885v1: c. 1. which is the most eligible life, and, secondly, whether the same life is or is not best for the individual and for the state.

The division of goods into external goods, goods of the body, and goods of the soul, is generally accepted; and no one will deny that the happy man must have all three. But there is a difference of opinion about the relative superiority of different classes of goods. Some think that a little virtue is enough, but set no limit to their desire of power, wealth or reputation. To whom we reply that virtue is not acquired or preserved by external goods, but external goods by virtue. Where they are in excess they are harmful or useless, but Edition: current; Page: [cxxi]the goods of the soul are never in excess. And as the soul is higher and nobler than the body, so the goods of the soul are higher than the goods of the body; and the goods of the body and external goods are to be chosen for the sake of the soul, not the soul for the sake of them. The happiness of a man is proportional to his wisdom and virtue. Of this truth God is a witness to us, for he is happy in his own nature. Whereas external goods are gifts of fortune—they are due to chance, but no one was ever just or temperate by chance. In like manner the state which is happiest is morally best and wisest; and the courage, justice, and wisdom of a state are the same qualities which make a brave, just, and wise man.

The true relation of the individual to the state was not clearly understood by Plato and Aristotle, because the limitations which are imposed upon common or collective action were not perceived by them. Hence they appear to us, more frequently than modern political writers, to fall into the error of confounding Ethics with Politics. A good simple man is apt to believe that a state can be as easily reformed as an individual: he will often repeat the aphorism that ‘what is morally wrong cannot be politically right.’ He does not see that the changes which he deems so easy are limited by the condition of what is possible. There are many opposing winds and conflicting currents which interfere with the good intentions of statesmen and the progress of politics. The wills of men counteract one another: and the minority must be deducted from the majority before the force of any given movement can be ascertained. The will of a state is the balance or surplus of will; the conscience of a state is that higher opinion or judgment of men acting collectively which can make itself felt in the world.

But if the analogy of the state and the individual has been a cause of error, it has also had an elevating influence on the science of Politics. In the pursuit of material interest men are always losing sight of the true and the good. The infusion of Ethics into Politics tends to restore them, and this ethical element is derived chiefly from ancient philosophy. In modern as in ancient times there are some statesmen who think that Politics are entirely concerned with finance (i. 2. § 13). The formula that the state is only Edition: current; Page: [cxxii]‘a machine for the protection of life and property,’ though rather worn out and discredited in our own day, had a great hold on the last generation of statesmen. When the pendulum has swayed long enough in the other direction the world may return to the saws of political economy, for the recovery of some truths as well as errors which are contained in them. At present we are living in an age which is averse to such formulas; which feels that more is needed; and the study of ancient political philosophy has helped to restore a more elevated conception of society. In Aristotle and Plato we have different types of ideal states,—a perfect state on the ground, and a perfect state in the air to which we may look as the form or example of a higher political life. Such ideas are apt to become unreal, and may even be injurious when they supersede the natural machinery of government, but when rightly infused into the mass of human motives, they seem to be worth all the rest. They must be clothed in circumstances, and then they become to the state what the mind is to the body, what the higher thoughts of men are to mere habits and fashions.

We may assume, then, that the happiness of the state and of theJowett1885v1: c. 2. individual are the same. But two questions remain to be determined: 1) Is a political or a contemplative life to be preferred? 2) What is the best form or condition of the state? As we are engaged, not in an ethical, but in a political enquiry, the latter is to us the main question. But the former is also not without interest. Is the life of the philosopher or of the statesman the more eligible? For the wise man, like the wise state, will seek to regulate his life according to the best end. Some say that the exercise of any rule over others, even of a just rule, is a great impediment to virtue; while others maintain that the political is the only true life, and that virtue may be practised quite as well by statesmen as by private persons; others will even affirm that despotic power is the only true happiness. And the laws of many nations make power and conquest their aim. Yet to the reflecting mind, it must appear strange that the statesman should be always considering how he can tyrannize over others. A physician does not deceive or coerce his patients, nor a pilot the passengers in his ship. Nevertheless, despotism Edition: current; Page: [cxxiii]is thought by some to be a true form of government: and men are not ashamed of practising towards their neighbours what in their own case they would declare to be neither expedient nor right. Yet they cannot suppose that they have a right to rule over their equals; but only over those who are by nature intended to serve. Other men are not wild animals whom they may hunt and eat. And so far from war being the true object of a state, there may be states which, having no neighbours, have no enemies, and are nevertheless happy in isolation. Hence we see that warlike pursuits are means, not ends; for they are not essential to the happiness of a state. The good law-giver will enquire how men and cities can attain happiness, and how they can do their duty toward their neighbours if they have any, and he will vary his enactments accordingly.

And now let us address those who agree that the life of virtue isJowett1885v1: c. 3. the most eligible, but differ about the manner of practising it. Some renounce political power; they think that the life of the free citizen is better than the life of the statesman. Others think the life of the statesman the best on the ground that virtuous activity is happiness. Both are partly right and partly wrong. The first are right in saying that the life of the freeman is better than that of the despot, but wrong in supposing 1) that all rule is despotic, for there is a rule over freemen as well as over slaves; 2) wrong again in thinking that the life of the freeman is necessarily inactive. The upholders of the statesman’s claim see clearly enough that activity is preferable to inactivity, but they think that virtue is power, because the greater the power of a man the more noble actions he will be able to perform, and that he should therefore regard neither family nor any other obligations, but the acquisition of wealth and power only. Not so; for if this were true, the life of a thief or a highwayman would be the best of all. Rule is only honourable where the ruler is manifestly superior to his subjects. No success, however great, can justify a violation of principle. Evil is not to be done that good may come. He only has a right to rule who is superior in virtue, and this superiority in virtue must be accompanied by the capacity for action. Nor is the life of action necessarily relative to others Edition: current; Page: [cxxiv]or confined to external acts; there are thoughts and contemplations perfect in themselves, as well as actions which have practical results; and there may be an inward energy, like the divine, both in states and individuals, and in the world at large.

Thus much by way of preface; from the abstract we may now pass to the concrete, and having reviewed other states, may proceed to enquire into the conditions of the ideal or perfect state.

The legislator, like any other artist, must have materials uponJowett1885v1: c. 4. which to work. We may presuppose for him imaginary conditions, but nothing impossible. First he will have to consider 1) the numbers, but far more 2) the character of the people, and then 3) the size and character of the country. The greatness of a state is to be estimated, not by the numbers, but by the quality of the citizens. It has a work to do; and that is the greatest city which accomplishes the greatest work. Great is a relative term, and is here used in the sense in which we speak of a great man. A city in which there are many artisans and few soldiers is not really great. We know from experience that a very populous city can seldom be well governed; and we may reasonably assume that a great multitude cannot be orderly; nothing short of Divine Power can impart law to infinity. The beauty of a state, as of a ship or of anything else, depends upon proportion: magnitude must be combined with good order.

A state begins to exist when the population is self-sufficing, and it must not be increased to such an extent that the administration breaks down because the citizens cease to know one another, or that foreigners and metics can creep undiscovered into the rights of citizens. The entire multitude should be taken in at a single view.

The Greeks were averse to any considerable extension of the size or population of a state. The citizens were to know one another, they were to be accustomed to act together, they were to live within the same walls. When the city began to increase in population, the Greeks instead of allowing it to grow indefinitely sent out a colony to some other place. There seem to have been many causes of this limitation. First, 1) there was the fact; the early Edition: current; Page: [cxxv]Greek populations were not large, and the ruling class were not upon the average more than a third or fourth of the whole; the valleys in which they were located were not capable of sustaining great numbers, any more than the valleys of Cumberland or Switzerland in England and in Europe. 2) There were the necessities of self-defence; when war was almost the constant state of man, and nations were not yet organized, the country population could not extend very far from the city which protected them. What had been the fact thus became the principle. To the Greek the cities of Assyria or of Egypt, built in vast plains, seemed to have a monstrous and unmeaning greatness. The Greek races had quickly become diversified by circumstances into lesser tribes, and the configuration of the country tended to maintain and strengthen the subdivisions. A distinct and peculiar life was stamped upon each of them. The city soon became all in all; the country nothing. The fewness of the aristocracy and their constant struggles with the rising democracy also tended to prevent their free expansion. The intensity of their inner life rendered it impossible for them to amalgamate great masses of men. Besides, the idea itself was repugnant to the Greek mind. ‘The good was of the nature of the finite,’ in politics as in other departments of knowledge. Hence the saying of Aristotle that ‘the state which consists of 100,000 men is no longer a state.’

The territory of the state should likewise be moderate in size,Jowett1885v1: c. 5. but large and fertile enough to enable the citizens to live temperately and liberally in the enjoyment of leisure. It should be difficult for an enemy to get into it, and easy for the citizens to get out of it. The country and the inhabitants should be taken in at a glance. The city should be well situated for the protection of the country both by sea and land, and should be a centre of inland as well as of maritime commerce.

Whether a communication with the sea is beneficial or not isJowett1885v1: c. 6. a disputed question; much may be said on both sides. The influx of strangers and the increase of population are adverse to good order. But on the other hand, the citizens should be able to act at sea as well as by land against an enemy; and they will require Edition: current; Page: [cxxvi]imports and exports. It may not be well that they should seek to be a market for the world, but still they will find the advantage of having a port near the town and dependent on it. The possession of a moderate naval force is therefore advantageous. The citizens require such a force for their own needs; they should also be formidable to their neighbours, and on the other hand they should be able to assist them, if necessary, by sea as well as by land. The number of this naval force should be relative to the size and character of the state. No increase of population is required to maintain it. The marines who will be the officers must be citizens taken from the infantry, and the large populations of perioeci and husbandmen will supply abundance of common sailors.

We have next to speak of the character of the citizens, a subjectJowett1885v1: c. 7. which leads us to consider national character in general. The gifts of nature are variously distributed among different races. The northern nations are courageous but stupid; capable of preserving their freedom, but not capable of political life or of command. The Orientals are intelligent but spiritless, and always in a state of subjection. The Hellenes, who dwell in an intermediate region, are high-spirited and also intelligent; they are well governed, and might, if united, rule the world. But this combination of qualities does not exist equally in all of them, and both intelligence and courage are required in those whom the legislator is training to virtue. We do not agree [with Plato when he says] ‘that the guardians of a state should be gentle to those whom they know and fierce to those whom they do not know.’ For passion is the quality of the soul which begets friendship, and our anger is stirred more by the contempt or ingratitude of friends than by the injuries of enemies. Both the power of command and the love of freedom are based upon this quality.

The middle position which the Greek occupies between the over-civilized Asiatic and the under-civilized Gaul and Thracian is a central fact in the philosophy of History; for from the Greek the political life of the modern world and the very form of the human mind may be said to be inherited. In the Asiatic a feeble and fanciful intelligence has become separated from character, Edition: current; Page: [cxxvii]in the barbarian, character from intelligence. In the Greek at his best they are assimilated or harmonized, and such a balance or harmony never existed in any other ancient nation. The great empires of the East were slowly decaying or had already crumbled beneath the sand which buried their cities. The Egyptians, except from the impact of Greeks, during two thousand years and more, had ‘learnt nothing,’ and they ‘had forgotten nothing.’ They were ‘hoary with time,’ and the old age of the world was no match for the youth Alexander. Far in the North and the South, but reaching to the fair shores of the Mediterranean, there were barbarous tribes, creatures of impulse and of violence, who gathered something from the civilization which they touched. In the centre of them all dwelt the Greek, seeming to differ from them in beauty of form and enlightenment of mind almost as much as gods from men. But this greatest and least among the nations only for a short time, scarcely more than the length of two human lives, retained this happy mixture of earth’s best elements. Aristotle hardly recognizes that he saw the Greek world already in decay. But the life which had departed was after a time to rise again in a new form. ‘That which thou sowest is not quickened except it die.’ The real greatness of Hellas is the influence which she has exercised on humanity. New forms of government, new admixtures of race were to arise after many ages, in which a small seed of Greek literature, not a hundredth or thousandth part of the whole, was to flourish and abound under the altered circumstances of modern Europe.

There are conditions as well as parts of a state; [means as wellJowett1885v1: c. 8. as ends]. And two things of which the one is an end, the other the means, have nothing in common except the relation. The conditions of a state must not be confused with the organic parts of it. The builder requires tools and materials; they are the conditions of the house, and the art of the builder is for the sake of the house, but the house and the builder have nothing in common. And so states require property, but property is no part of a state, which aims at the best life possible, and is not merely a community of living beings. [The end is the highest good, and] Edition: current; Page: [cxxviii]men seek after this best life or highest good in various modes, out of which arise the various forms of government. We are seeking for the parts of a state, and these are to be found somewhere among the conditions of it.

First there must be food; secondly, arts; thirdly, arms; fourthly, money; fifthly, or rather first, a care of religion; sixthly, political and judicial administration. Without these the community will not be self-sufficing; and therefore the state must contain husbandmen, artisans, soldiers, capitalists, priests, and judges.

But should these pursuits be common to all? or divided amongJowett1885v1: c. 9. different classes? or some common to all and others not? In democracies all share in all: in oligarchies the opposite principle prevails. In the best state, which is also the happiest, the citizens are virtuous, not relatively but absolutely; and they ought not to lead the ignoble life of mechanics or tradesmen. Neither should they be husbandmen who have no leisure, and therefore cannot practise virtue or fulfil political duties. But when mechanics and husbandmen are excluded, there remain only the two classes of warriors and councillors, and our enquiry is therefore limited to the question whether the functions of these two shall be discharged by the same or by different persons. It is a provision of Nature that the young shall be warriors, the old councillors; and the young will be willing enough to wait for their turn of office. Such a distribution will be both expedient and just, and will contain an element of proportion, for the duties of the two will be relative to their respective ages. Besides, the rulers should be in easy circumstances, and should have leisure to be virtuous; for without virtue, happiness cannot exist; and the city is happy when the citizens are happy. The meaner sort will be mechanics, the slaves and perioeci husbandmen. As to the priests, they too must be citizens; for only by citizens can the Gods be duly honoured. They should be men who have grown old in the service of the state as warriors and councillors, the eldest of the elders. To sum up: there must be husbandmen, craftsmen, and labourers of all kinds—these are necessary to the existence of a state; but the parts of the state are councillors and warriors.

The division of the population into warriors and husbandmen isJowett1885v1: c. 10. Edition: current; Page: [cxxix]not an invention of political philosophers, but a very ancient institution still existing in Egypt, which is the oldest of all countries, and in Crete, established, as we learn from tradition, by a law of Sesostris in Egypt and of Minos in Crete. Common meals are also of great antiquity; according to the learned among the Italians they were first introduced into Hellas from Italy. But these and many other things have been invented several times over in the course of ages.

There is a general agreement in favour of common meals. But they should be furnished at the public cost, so that even the poorest may not be excluded from them. To this extent I agree with those who maintain that property should be common. The expense of religious worship should also be defrayed by the state. To meet such charges the land should be divided into two parts, the one public, and the other private. Of the public land half should be appropriated to the service of the Gods, half to defray the common meals. Of the private land, half should be near the border and half near the city. Where there is not this arrangement, those at a distance who are not immediately affected will be too eager to strike, while those who are on the border will be ready to purchase peace at any price. The cultivators should be slaves of an inferior sort, and not all of the same race; or they should be perioeci of foreign race and of a like inferior nature. Some of them should be employed on private lands, the remainder on the property of the state. Slaves should be well treated, and should be encouraged by the hope of freedom. But I shall return to this subject [a promise unfulfilled] at some other time.

Nothing is less like Aristotle’s political ideal than a state in which all men are free and equal. On the contrary, he is quite satisfied that the land should belong to a ruling and be tilled by a subject class. He would keep the rulers thoroughly united among themselves, and weaken the subjects by dispersing them. So far is he from approving entirely of the pure democracy which he elsewhere describes. He accuses Plato of indistinctness in his account of the lower classes; but is he much clearer himself? What he says hardly amounts to more than this, that Edition: current; Page: [cxxx]the poorer classes should be treated humanely by the rich, and that whatever political privileges they may possess, they should be deprived as far as possible of the opportunity of exercising them. The ancient institution of caste is regarded by him as the natural beginning of society. Syssitia should always exist in a well-ordered state. He is going to explain his reasons for taking this view, but, as in many other passages, the intention is no sooner formed than it seems to be forgotten.

In what follows we are interested to observe the external conditions which he requires in the state. First, good air and good water; for these are the elements which we use oftenest, and on which our health is most dependent. The principles of sanitation have never been stated more clearly or concisely. The separation of drinking water from water used for other purposes is an ingenious idea which has been adopted in some modern cities. The walls and buildings of the state illustrate the military character of Greek society. The priests have a feeble place among the other classes. As in Plato (Laws, vi. 760), they are to be aged citizens who are no longer useful in war or politics. Man when he has done his duty and is passing out of life is transferred to the service of the Gods.

The city should be open to the sea and to the country. With aJowett1885v1: c. 11. view to health, 1) it should be exposed to the east and sheltered from the north: 2) there should be a good natural supply of water: 3) the situation should be convenient for political, and 4) for military purposes. The supply of water and air is most important, for these are the elements which we use most. In wise states, if the supply is insufficient, a distinction is made between drinking water and water used for other purposes; and in addition to the natural springs and fountains, reservoirs are established to collect the rain.

Different positions are suited to different forms of government,—an acropolis to a king or oligarchy, a plain to a democracy, many strongholds to an aristocracy. The houses should be built upon a regular plan; but a part also in the old irregular fashion, that beauty and safety may be combined. The city should be fortified; the notion [of Plato] that walls had better be left to slumber in the Edition: current; Page: [cxxxi]ground is an antiquated fancy; they should be made as strong as possible, especially now that siege engines have been brought to such perfection. To have no fortifications would be as foolish as to level the heights of a country, or to leave a house unwalled lest the inmates should become cowards. The walls of a city should be ornamental as well as useful, and they should be adapted to resist the latest improvements in war. ‘Si vis pacem, para bellum.

There should be guard-houses in the walls, and as the citizensJowett1885v1: c. 12. are to be distributed at common meals, common tables for the guards should be set up in them. The temples and government buildings should occupy a site towering over the city, as becomes the abode of virtue. Near this spot let there be an agora for freemen, from which all trade should be scrupulously excluded. There the gymnastic exercises of the elder men may be performed in the presence of some of the magistrates, while others superintend the exercises of the youth in another place. There must also be a traders’ agora in some other spot—this should be easily accessible both by land and sea. The magistrates who deal with contracts and have the care of the city and the agora should be established near the agora. Nor must the priests be forgotten; public tables will be provided for them in their proper place near the temples.

A similar order should prevail in the country. There too the magistrates must have guard - houses and common tables; and temples dedicated to gods and heroes will be scattered throughout the land.

Enough of details. The well-being of the state, like all otherJowett1885v1: c. 13. well-being, consists first in the choice of a right end and aim of action; secondly, of the right means. In life, as in the arts, a man may mistake or fail to attain either or both. The physician may not always understand the nature of health, or he may use the wrong means for the restoration of it. All men desire happiness, but many, through some accident or defect of nature or of circumstances, fail to attain it; for even the highest virtue has need of some portion, however small, of external goods. And as we are enquiring into the best government of a state, and since the happiest state is that which is best governed, we must enquire into the nature of happiness. As we ventured to say in the Edition: current; Page: [cxxxii]Ethics, happiness is the perfect exercise of virtue; and this not conditional but absolute. I use the term ‘conditional’ to express that which is necessary, like punishments and chastisements, which are lesser evils and therefore relative goods. But actions which aim at honour and advantage are the foundation and creation of good. A good man will make the best use of poverty and disease, but he can only be happy when he has health and wealth. [In like manner the good state will be patient of adversity, but can only attain happiness when blessed with favourable conditions.] The absolute good is the true good, but by a confusion of ideas we are apt to argue that the external conditions are the end, which is just as if we were to say that a musical performance is due to the instrument and not to the skill of the performer. The goods of fortune are often matters of chance,—we can only pray for them; but the virtue and goodness of a state are the result of knowledge and purpose. A city is virtuous when all the citizens are virtuous; and therefore we must enquire how they may become such.

There are three elements of virtue—nature, habit, reason. Every one must be born a man, and he must have a certain character or habit. The animals lead a life of nature, and they are also influenced by habit. But man, and man only, has reason in addition to nature. And these three, nature, habit, reason, must be in accord; and reason should control both nature and habit.

But there still remains a question which has not been fullyJowett1885v1: c. 14. answered: Should rulers and ruled be always the same, or are they to interchange? And upon the answer to this question the education of the citizens will depend. If there were men as clearly superior to their fellows in body and mind as the Gods are to men, there could be no doubt; the one class would always rule and the other obey. But since there is no such marked superiority, it is just that the citizens should rule and be ruled in turn. [We note that the words ‘ruling and being ruled in turns’ are here used to describe not, as elsewhere, a constitutional but an aristocratical government, like the Republic of Plato.] In regard to education, Nature herself has made a difference, for she distinguishes between old and young, and has appointed the one to rule, the other to be ruled. The rulers and the ruled are the same, yet also different; Edition: current; Page: [cxxxiii]and therefore their education, although the same, will differ in some respects. Those who are ruled, by obeying learn to rule; [how or what the rulers learn is not said, unless the meaning is, that they learn by experience]. There is a just and an unjust rule; the former for the sake of the ruled, to which the citizen may honourably submit; the latter tyrannical, existing for the good of the rulers only. Under a rule which is just and gentle many apparently menial duties may be honourably performed by the younger citizens.

The virtue of the citizen and of the ruler is the same with that of the good man, and the legislator has to consider how his citizens may become good. Now the soul of man has two parts, one, the rational, having reason in itself, the other, not having, but obeying reason. And he is good who has the virtues of both; yet clearly the virtues of the part which has reason are the superior, and the end is more likely to be found in them, the higher in the higher. The reason too is subdivided into the practical and the speculative; and the actions of the speculative, which is the superior part, are higher and better than those of the inferior. And the whole of life is divided into two parts, business and leisure, war and peace, and actions are divided into those which are useful and necessary, and those which are honourable. And in all, the useful is for the sake of the honourable, the lower of the higher. These are the principles in which the statesman should train his citizens. Yet even the best law-givers have framed their laws only with a view to what is gainful and profitable. The Lacedaemonian constitution, although greatly eulogized, aims at nothing higher than war and conquest, which is deemed happiness. But surely the Lacedaemonians are not a happy people now that their empire has passed away; they continue in the observance of the old laws, but the better part of life has departed from them. And the desire of dominion in nations is really a crime of the same sort as the usurpation of power in individuals. The law-giver should implant in his citizens the love of the best; for the same things are best both for individuals and states. Men should not study war for the sake of enslaving others, but they should provide against their own enslavement; Edition: current; Page: [cxxxiv]they should rule for the good of the governed, and they should rule over none but those who are by nature slaves. Military states are safe only in time of war; they fall asunder in peace.

Leaving the external conditions of the state, Aristotle now proceeds to consider the higher aspects of it. The same moderate principle which he had already enunciated in the Nicomachean Ethics, namely that happiness is not altogether separable from external goods, is here repeated, though less clearly and with a certain degree of confusion. The state must have a fair share of material prosperity, and there may be conditions under which the life of a society, like that of an individual, becomes no longer endurable. But although the state is not absolutely independent of external circumstances, the higher principle of politics is virtue, which is given by reason working through education.

After what has been told us in Chap. x., that there is a distinction between the owners and cultivators of land, we are surprised to find that all, whether rulers or subjects, are to have their share of governing. The cultivators, then, would seem to be a class inferior to the subjects. The censure passed on Hippodamus may be retorted,—Surely there is a great deal of confusion in all this.

Aristotle and Plato were well aware that the Spartans and the Hellenic world generally had exalted too much the military ideal. They saw that the virtues of war could not be separated from the virtues of peace. But they were equally strenuous in maintaining that an individual or a state must be able to defend themselves. Courage founded upon animal spirit was held by them to be the safeguard of every virtue. But they had not attained to the distinction of physical and moral courage; nor had they determined the relation of the reason to the desires. They had not yet made a study of the virtues, but had only taken them in the rough, without clearly distinguishing them. Their analysis was imperfect and often accidental, derived as much from the associations of a word as from the observation of facts. Nor are we ourselves aware how much in all mental investigations we are under the influence of language and of crude ideas inherited from the ancients.

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It may be observed that Aristotle in the latter part of this Book is describing, not a democracy or a timocracy, but an aristocracy in which the relation of classes is the same, or nearly the same, as in the Republic of Plato. He has told us that democracy is ‘a necessity, not a good;’ he is here speaking of the good, not of the necessity;—of the state which is based, not on numbers, but on virtue, ‘and provided with a fair share of external goods.’ His old formula of ‘ruling and being ruled in turn’ he still retains, but in a different sense; the alternation is not the artificial interchange of citizens of the same age, but the natural division of them into old and young. The injustice of one class ruling and the other being ruled is supposed to be remedied by the class which is governed looking forward to being governors; they are willing to wait until their turn comes. This is called ‘justice according to proportion;’ all the old are to rule, all the young are to obey. How such an arrangement is possible in a great city or how the education of the old and young differs is not explained.

The city should possess the virtues of peace as well as of war,Jowett1885v1: c. 15. of leisure as well as of business. Her citizens should be temperate, brave, just,—qualities which are especially needed by the rich and well-to-do. The dwellers in the Islands of the Blest, if such there be, will above all men need philosophy and temperance and justice. War is compulsory, but in peace a man is his own master. It is therefore peculiarly disgraceful to him not to be able to use aright the goods of life in time of peace.

We have already determined that nature and habit and reason are required in man; but we have not said whether early training should be that of reason or of habit. The training must not be of one only, but of both; for the two must accord; and will then form the best of harmonies. Either reason or habit may be mistaken, and fail to attain the ideal of life. Now every end has a beginning in some former end. But reason and mind are the final end towards which human nature strives [they have their beginning in habit and nature], and to this education should be directed. The care of the body should precede that of the soul; and the training of the appetitive part should follow, but always the body Edition: current; Page: [cxxxvi]for the sake of the soul; the appetites, of the reason; the lower, for the sake of the higher.

It will be the first care of the legislator that the population areJowett1885v1: c. 16. strong and healthy; and therefore he will begin by regulating the marriages of his citizens. He must provide 1) that the time of reproduction in men and women should correspond; 2) that the parents should be of suitable ages relatively to the children when they grow up; 3) that the frames of the children should from their birth be moulded to his will. The parents should marry at the right time, that is to say, the men at 37, and the women at 18. For since the limit of generation in men is 70 and in women 50, they will then marry in their prime; and the children will succeed them at a suitable age. When persons are married too young, their children are apt to be small or ill-developed; in childbirth the younger women suffer more, and more of them die; such early unions are apt to make them wanton, and in men the bodily frame is stunted. Marriages should take place in winter, and, if the natural philosophers are right, during the prevalence of a north rather than of a south wind. The constitution of both parents should be strong and inured to labour, not the temperament of an athlete any more than of a valetudinarian, but in a mean between them. Women who are pregnant should take exercise and have a nourishing diet; their minds should be at ease, for children derive their nature from their parents. Deformed offspring should not be reared; and if there are too many children, abortion must be procured,—a practice which is not criminal if life has not yet begun in the embryo. The parents should not continue procreation too long: it should cease when the fathers have reached the age of 50 or 55. For the children of the very old, like the children of the very young, are weakly both in body and mind.

Adultery should be deemed disgraceful, and if it occur during the time of cohabitation, should be punished with loss of privileges.

Young children should be fed on milk,—the less wine the better.Jowett1885v1: c. 17. Motion of every kind is good for them; in some countries mechanical appliances are used to straighten their limbs. They should be accustomed to bear cold from the first. The cries of a child Edition: current; Page: [cxxxvii]should not be restrained, for they have an excellent physical effect. Up to five years the children must learn nothing, but only play; and their games should be miniature representations of after-life. They should not be left too much with slaves, and should not be allowed to hear improper stories. Indeed, all indecency of speech must be banished from the city; for shameful words are the parents of shameful actions. A freeman who says or does anything unseemly shall be beaten if he is young; or if he be an older person, he shall lose the privileges of a citizen.

All indecent statues and pictures must be prohibited, except in the temples of certain Gods; and the young must not go to the theatre until they are old enough to take their place at the common meals. Children while they are growing up should only see what is good; for their first impressions colour their whole life. What men hear first at the theatre, or anywhere else, has the greatest effect upon them. And therefore youth should be strangers to vice in every form.

The poets who divide the ages of men by sevens are not always right; we had better adhere to the distinctions which nature makes, and divide education into two periods of equal or unequal length, from seven to the age of puberty, and onwards to the age of 21.

The precepts about early education are chiefly taken from Plato. Yet we observe that there is no acknowledgment of the source from which they come. Plato is only mentioned to be censured, when he has first been misinterpreted. We are surprised to find how high a place in the state is assigned to education both by Plato and Aristotle; whereas in modern treatises on politics it is generally banished as being part of another subject, or a subject in itself. At their birth, and even before their birth, the children of the state are to be the special care of the legislator, and their whole life is to be regulated by him. This idea is deeply impressed upon ancient political philosophy. And though, as Aristotle truly says, he has treated this subject in a very cursory manner, and never fulfills the promise that he will elsewhere return to it, yet, following closely in the footsteps of Plato, he has discussed it with a breadth of Edition: current; Page: [cxxxviii]view scarcely to be found in modern writers. He sees that the body must come before the soul, because in the first years of life the child is the creature of bodily impressions; yet all for the sake of the soul, which gradually takes possession of the bodily frame. There is a mystic tie by which they are linked together, and by which the human reason is connected with the divine.

Very little in this short tractate upon education can be deemed original. The greater part is to be found in the Laws and the Republic. And the claim to originality might be further diminished if we had more of the contemporary literature.

There is no break or division between the Seventh and Eighth Books. A very imperfect notion of the subject which they profess to treat is given in them. The education of after-life, whether political or speculative, seems never to have been seriously considered by Aristotle. Of mathematics and of literature he says little or nothing. His main ideas about education are that it should be public or national, and adapted to the constitution of the state,—an education which, as far as we know, existed nowhere in Hellas except at Sparta, and there only in an imperfect form. In other respects he does not depart from the ordinary type of Greek education.

The Eighth Book contains a very imperfect sketch of education, in which a few fragmentary though sagacious remarks on training and gymnastics, and a more elaborate discussion of the place of music in the studies of youth, are introduced. It has been sometimes said that Aristotle could never have intended these few remarks to be his whole account of education which had already been treated of by Plato in a fuller and more perfect form, and therefore that he must be supposed to have left that part of the treatise unfinished. The same remark applies to other writings of Aristotle, notably to the Poetics. Has Aristotle no more than this to tell us about poetry?—is the reflection which naturally arises in the mind of the modern reader. But the comparison of these two examples, to which many others might be added, makes us hesitate in applying this favourite commonplace of an ‘unfinished work,’ and we are led to think that what appears to us a meagre and imperfect Edition: current; Page: [cxxxix]treatment of a subject may have worn a different appearance in the age of Aristotle. To plan out a treatise so that every part should throw a light upon every other part was a rare achievement in ancient Greek literature. At any rate we may remark that the Poetics of Aristotle and the last book of the Politics, whether finished or unfinished, perfect or imperfect, have exercised a vast influence on all succeeding writers. The truth is that unity or completeness was the last quality which an ancient writer attained, partly from the dearth of materials, and also from the meagreness of thought in the beginnings of philosophy. His conceptions were rough-hewn. The original force of them was not yet completely subdued by the art of rhetoric; and when rhetoric became the form of Greek literature, the originality disappeared.


Education should be national and should be liberal: two chief branches of it, music and gymnastic: how leisure should be employed: the effects of music and the mode of studying it: the lower and the higher kinds.

Every one will admit that education is the chief business ofJowett1885v1: c. 1. the legislator; and that he has to adapt his citizens to the form of government under which they live. They must be all trained in virtue; and the training should not be individual or private, but public and the same for all. No one of the citizens belongs to himself; each of them is a part of the state, and the care of each part is inseparable from the care of the whole.

That education should be an affair of state is denied by noJowett1885v1: c. 2. one; but mankind are not equally agreed about the things to be taught:—should education be intellectual or moral? should the useful in life, or should virtue, or should knowledge of the higher sort be our aim? Neither are they any more agreed about the means [as indeed might be expected when they differ so widely about the ends]. Some useful things should be taught, but not those vulgar arts which deform the body, nor yet those paid occupations which absorb and degrade the mind. Even the Edition: current; Page: [cxl]liberal arts should only be carried to a certain extent. The object too makes a difference; a man will perform a menial office for himself or his friends which he would not do for other people (cp. vii. 14, § 7).

Education is commonly divided into four branches, 1) readingJowett1885v1: c. 3. and writing, 2) gymnastic exercises, 3) music, to which some add a fourth, 4) drawing. Reading, writing, drawing, all have some practical purpose, and gymnastics are said to impart courage. Music is cultivated in our own day chiefly for the sake of pleasure, but was formerly included in education, and rightly. Nature demands that we should both work well and use leisure well, and leisure is better than work. But we ought not to be idle; and the question arises—‘How shall we employ our leisure?’ Not in mere amusement, clearly. Yet he who works hard must have relaxation. Therefore we should at suitable times introduce amusements, and they should be the medicines of the soul by which we obtain rest. This kind of relaxation varies according to the habits of individuals; the pleasure of the best man is the best and springs from the best. It is clear, then, that there are branches of study which add to the enjoyment of leisure, and these are to be valued for their own sake. And music was admitted by our fathers into education, not, like reading and writing, on the ground either of necessity or utility, but with a view to intellectual enjoyment in leisure. The practical branches of education, such as drawing, reading, and writing, ought not to be neglected, but they should be studied with a higher purpose; for example, drawing may give the learners a sense of beauty. To be always seeking after the useful does not become free and exalted minds.

The atmosphere of perplexity and controversy which envelopes Aristotle’s other writings upon Ethics and Politics and is characteristic of his age and school, also surrounds his discussion of education. He cannot advance a step without stumbling upon a dispute. Is education to be moral or intellectual, useful or noble? Is the received education the best, or are we to seek for a more excellent way? How are leisure and work related to each Edition: current; Page: [cxli]other? No distinct answer is given to these questions, which are almost immediately superseded by other questions. We are still in the stage of enquiry, and have not attained to order and light. We gather as the final result that education must be noble as well as useful, and that these two are not absolutely divided; for things which are useful may be taught in a spirit which ennobles them.

The education of the body should precede that of the mind, andJowett1885v1: c. 4. therefore young boys must begin with the trainer and wrestling-master. [Here Aristotle diverges from Plato, who thinks that the mind must be trained before the body.] But we should avoid the error of the Lacedaemonians, who brutalize their children by laborious exercises, thinking to make them courageous. They forget that education is not directed to any single end, and that true courage is always associated with a gentle and noble character. Their system has been a complete failure. There was a time when the Lacedaemonians were the first people in Hellas; and this pre-eminence they won by their superior training, but now that others train, they are beaten both in war and in gymnastics. They must be judged from what they are, not from what they have been. That the young should be trained in light exercises is a principle generally admitted, but they should not be overtasked. The evil of too much early training is proved by the example of the Olympic victors, who have rarely gained the prize both as men and boys. When boyhood is over, three years should be spent in other studies; the period of life which follows may then be devoted to hard exercises and strict regimen. Care should be taken not to work mind and body at the same time.

There are many striking observations scattered up and down in the Eighth Book. What can be better than the remark that to be always seeking after the useful does not become free and exalted souls? Or that in education habit must go before reason and the body before the mind? Or the idea of noble dangers, and a courage to be associated with a gentle and lion-like temper? Or the acute remark that the evil of excessive training in early life is Edition: current; Page: [cxlii]proved by the example of the Olympic victors, for not more than two or three of them have gained a prize both as boys and men? Or the common-sense rule that men ought not to labour at the same time with their minds and with their bodies?

Music is commonly supposed to be learnt either for amusement,Jowett1885v1: c. 5. or for the training of the mind and character, or for intellectual enjoyment in leisure. But learning is a serious business, and therefore music cannot be taught to youth simply as an amusement, and the intellectual employment of leisure is only suitable to full-grown men. It may be asked why in any case should we learn to play and sing ourselves when we can hear professional musicians who sing and play far better? Like the Lacedaemonians, we may be good judges of music and yet not performers. Zeus does not play or sing to the Gods; and no gentleman would play or sing [in public] unless he were intoxicated.

Not to enlarge further on this controversy, we will consider the other question: Is music an amusement, or an instrument of training, or an intellectual enjoyment? All men agree that music is a solace and refreshment; a noble pleasure which they may enjoy when, engaged in some high pursuit, they would rest by the way. And with a view to relaxation, as well as to some further good, the young should be trained in it. Yet it may also happen that the means may be converted into an end, because the end contains an element of pleasure, and so the lower takes the place of the higher. Now music is both a solace and a recreation. And who can say that, having this use, it may not also have a higher one? For it enters into and forms the soul; virtue and vice are represented by melody and rhythm, and the feeling aroused by the imitation is not far removed from the same feeling about realities. No other sensations are expressive of character equally with those of hearing, although objects of sight, such as paintings and statues, exercise in a lesser degree the same power. Each of the modes affects the soul in a peculiar way; the Mixolydian makes men sad and grave,—the relaxed harmonies slacken and weaken, the Dorian compose and strengthen, the mind; the Phrygian mode inspires passion. Rhythms, too, have a character, some of rest, others of Edition: current; Page: [cxliii]motion; and of the latter some have a more vulgar, others a nobler, movement. Seeing the great power of music, we cannot afford to neglect the use of it in education. It is suited to the time of youth; we have in us an affinity to harmonies and rhythms which makes some philosophers say that the soul is, or contains, harmony.

But the question has not yet been determined 1) whether youthJowett1885v1: c. 6. should be taught to sing and play themselves or not? Clearly their characters will be more influenced if they can play themselves; they will be better judges of music, and while they are growing up, music will be to them what the rattle is to very young children, and will keep them out of mischief. But they must not continue the study too far into life. A gentleman should not aim at acquiring the marvellous execution of the professor of music. But he should know enough to feel delight in simple and noble rhythms.

Musical instruments should be simple and adapted to a simple style of music. The flute and the harp must be rejected. The flute requires too much skill, and has not a good moral effect; it is too exciting; it also prevents the use of the voice, and is therefore an impediment to education. The ancients were right in forbidding it, although about the time of the Persian War, when a great educational movement arose in Hellas, the flute came into fashion. But soon a reaction took place, and the flute, together with various oddly-shaped, old-fashioned instruments, was again banished. There is truth in the old myth which tells how Athene, after inventing the flute, threw it away, not approving of an instrument which distorted the features. That was a pleasing fancy of ancient mythology. But with still more reason may the wise goddess be supposed to have rejected it because it contributed nothing to the mind.

Professional music, then,—that is to say, the music which is performed in contests and is adapted to the taste of the audience, who are vulgar themselves and vulgarize the performers,—is unsuited to education, and should therefore be prohibited by us.

Lastly, we have to consider what melodies and rhythms shall beJowett1885v1: c. 7. employed in education. Melodies have been divided into ethical Edition: current; Page: [cxliv]melodies, melodies of action, and inspiring melodies. Accepting these divisions, we further maintain that music should be studied with three objects,—1) education, 2) purification (of which we will explain the meaning when we treat of poetry), 3) intellectual enjoyment. And in education ethical melodies are to be preferred, but we may listen to the others. For men are variously affected by pity, fear, enthusiasm, and the various melodies corresponding to these feelings lighten and deliver the soul. The freeman will desire to hear the nobler sort of melodies at the theatre, but for the amusement of artisans and slaves the lower kinds may be also admitted. Plato in the Republic wishes to retain only the Dorian and Phrygian modes, although he rejects the flute, which is to other musical instruments what the Phrygian is to other modes. He is wrong in retaining the Phrygian, which is exciting and emotional; he is equally wrong in excluding the Lydian, which is better adapted to old men and to children of tender years than the severer melodies; and he is inconsistent with himself in keeping the Phrygian mode when he rejects the flute. The Dorian is grave and manly, and therefore especially suited to education. Two principles should be always kept in view, What is possible and What is becoming; yet even these are relative to age, the relaxed song of the old will naturally differ from the severer strain of youth. These two principles, to which may be added a third, viz. the mean, lie at the foundation of education.

One of the Aristotelian ideas which we have a difficulty in translating into English words and modes of thought is σχολὴ or ἡ ἐν σχολῃ̂ διαγωγή. To us leisure means hardly more than the absence of occupation, the necessary alternation of play with work. By the Greek, σχολὴ was regarded as the condition of a gentleman. In Aristotle the notion is still further idealized, for he seems to regard it as an internal state in which the intellect, free from the cares of practical life, energizes or reposes in the consciousness of truth. To such an elevation of the soul, music, in which the mind through the ear receives the mathematical proportions of harmony and rhythm, lends the greatest aid. Some old Pythagorean feeling, exaggerated by fancy and tradition, enters into all this; but we also Edition: current; Page: [cxlv]know by experience how, when listening to the tones of the organ, strange but undefined thoughts arise in our minds,—we feel better than ourselves, and are caught up into a sort of heaven,—and we know also that those who have learnt in their youth to play on an instrument are much better able to realize the power of music than the uninstructed listener, who nevertheless, like the Lacedaemonians, may not be a bad judge of the style of music. We agree with Aristotle that marvels of execution may very well be dispensed with, if simple and noble rhythms are retained. The ancient Greek music was devoid of harmony in the modern sense, but the beauty of music, as of poetry, lies not only in subtle adjustments of notes or words, but much more in simplicity, in purity, in sweetness. There was a nearer connexion between poetry and music than among ourselves; for the metre of the words coincided with the time of the music. The instrument was secondary, not primary; the human voice was the dominant or prevailing tone in the performance. The choric lays of Æschylus or Sophocles were heard above the Dorian and Phrygian modes which kept measure with them. There was some combination of mind and sense, some sweet influence falling melodiously on the ear, and ‘finding a way to the inner place of the soul’ (Plato), which we fail to conceive. And since Greek music can no longer be performed, ‘married to immortal verse,’ with its accompaniments of dance and song, and the modes of it are unfamiliar to us and not ennobled by national and religious associations, we shall always continue to think that the language of the Greeks about music is exaggerated and unreal.

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Ed. Bekker, 1252 a. The state being the highest community aims at the highest good.

Every state is a community of some kind, and everyJowett1885v1: I. 1. community is established with a view to some good; for mankind always act in order to obtain that which they think good. But, if all communities aim at some good, the state or political community, which is the highest of all, and which embraces all the rest, aims, and in a greater degree than any other, at the highest good.

Plato treated the difference between household, royal, and political rule as a difference only of degree.

Now there is an erroneous opiniona that a statesman,Jowett1885v1: 2 king, householder, and master are the same, and that they differ, not in kind, but only in the number of their subjects. For example, the ruler over a few is called a master; over more, the manager of a household; over a still larger number, a statesman or king, as if there were no difference between a great household and a small state. The distinction which is made between the king and the statesman is as follows: When the government is personal, the ruler is a king; when, according to the principles of the political science, the citizens rule and are ruled in turn, then he is called a statesman.

But it is really a difference in kind, as will be clear if we resolve the state into its elements.

But all this is a mistake; for governments differ inJowett1885v1: 3 kind, as will be evident to any one who considers the matter according to the methodb which has hitherto guided us. As in other departments of science, so in politics, the compound should always be resolved into the simple elements or least parts of the whole. We must Edition: current; Page: [2]therefore look at the elements of which the state is composed, in order that we may see ain what they differ from one another, and whether any scientific distinction can be drawn between the different kinds of rulea.

(1) Union of male and female. (2) Of ruler and subject. 1252 b.

He who thus considers things in their first growth andJowett1885v1: I. 2. origin, whether a state or anything else, will obtain the clearest view of them. In the first place (1) thereJowett1885v1: 2 must be a union of those who cannot exist without each other; for example, of male and female, that the race may continue; and this is a union which is formed, not of deliberate purpose, but because, in common with other animals and with plants, mankind have a natural desire to leave behind them an image of themselves. And (2) there must be a union of natural ruler and subject, that both may be preserved. For he who can foresee with his mind is by nature intended to be lord and master, and he who can work with his body is a subject, and by nature a slave; hence master and slaveJowett1885v1: 3 have the same interest. Nature, however, has distinguished between the female and the slave. For she is not niggardly, like the smith who fashions the Delphian knife for many uses; she makes each thing for a single use, and every instrument is best made when intended for one and not for many uses. But among barbarians no distinctionJowett1885v1: 4 is made between women and slaves, because there is no natural ruler among them: they are a community of slaves, male and female. Wherefore the poets say,—

‘It is meet that Hellenes should rule over barbariansb;’

as if they thought that the barbarian and the slave were by nature one.

The family the first stage of society.

Out of these two relationships between man andJowett1885v1: 5 woman, master and slave, the family first arises, and Hesiod is right when he says,—

‘First house and wife and an ox for the ploughc,’

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The village the next.

for the ox is the poor man’s slave. The family is the association established by nature for the supply of men’s every day wants, and the members of it are called by Charondas ‘companions of the cupboard’ [ὁμοσιπύους], and by Epimenides the Cretan, ‘acompanions of the mangera’ [ὁμοκάπους]. But when several families are united, and the association aims at something more than the supply of daily needs, then comes into existence the village. And the most natural form of the villageJowett1885v1: 6 appears to be that of a colony from the family, composed of the children and grandchildren, who are said to be ‘suckled with the same milk.’ And this is the reason why Hellenic states were originally governed by kings; because the Hellenes were under royal rule before they came together, as the barbarians still are. Every family is ruled by the eldest, and therefore in the colonies of the family the kingly form of government prevailed because they were of the same blood. As Homer saysJowett1885v1: 7 [of the Cyclopes]:—

‘Each one gives law to his children and to his wivesb.’

For they lived dispersedly, as was the manner in ancient times. Wherefore men say that the Gods have a king, because they themselves either are or were in ancient times under the rule of a king. For they imagine, not only the forms of the Gods, but their ways of life to be like their own.

The city or state the third and highest. 1253 a.

When several villages are united in a single community,Jowett1885v1: 8 perfect and large enough to be nearly or quite self-sufficing, the state comes into existence, originating in the bare needs of life, and continuing in existence for the sake of a good life. And therefore, if the earlier forms of society are natural, so is the state, for it is the end of them, and the [completed] nature is the end. For what each thing is when fully developed, we call its nature, whether we are speaking of a man, a horse, or a family. Edition: current; Page: [4]Besides, the final cause and end of a thing is the best,Jowett1885v1: 9 and to be self-sufficing is the end and the best.

The state exists by nature.

Hence it is evident that the state is a creation of nature, and that man is by nature a political animal. And he who by nature and not by mere accident is without a state, is either above humanity, or below it; he is the

‘Tribeless, lawless, hearthless one,’

whom Homera denounces—the outcast who is a lover ofJowett1885v1: 10 war; he may be compared to a bird which flies alone.

Man, having the gift of speech and the sense of right and wrong, is by nature a political animal.

Now the reason why man is more of a political animal than bees or any other gregarious animals is evident. Nature, as we often say, makes nothing in vainb, and man is the only animal whom she has endowed with the gift of speechc. And whereas mereJowett1885v1: 11 sound is but an indication of pleasure or pain, and is therefore found in other animals (for their nature attains to the perception of pleasure and pain and the intimation of them to one another, and no further), the power of speech is intended to set forth the expedient and inexpedient, and likewise the just and the unjust. And it is aJowett1885v1: 12 characteristic of man that he alone has any sense of good and evil, of just and unjust, and the association of living beings who have this sense makes a family and a state.

The whole is prior to the part, the state to the family and individual.

Thus the state is by nature clearly prior to the family and to the individual, since the whole is of necessityJowett1885v1: 13 prior to the part; for example, if the whole body be destroyed, there will be no foot or hand, except in an equivocal sense, as we might speak of a stone hand; for when destroyed the hand will be no better. But things are defined by their working and power; and we ought not to say that they are the same when they are no longer the same, but only that they have the same name. TheJowett1885v1: 14 proof that the state is a creation of nature and prior to the individual is that the individual, when isolated, is not self-sufficing; and therefore he is like a part in relation to the whole. But he who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must Edition: current; Page: [5]be either a beast or a god: he is no part of a state. AJowett1885v1: 15 social instinct is implanted in all men by nature, and yet he who first founded the state was the greatest of benefactors. For man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all; since armed injustice is the moreJowett1885v1: 16 dangerous, and he is equipped at birth with the arms of intelligence and with moral qualities which he may use for the worst ends. Wherefore, if he have not virtue, he is the most unholy and the most savage of animals, and the most full of lust and gluttony. But justice is the bond of men in states, and the administration of justice, which is the determination of what is justa, is the principle of order in political society.

1253 b. The family or household. Its parts.

Seeing then that the state is made up of households,Jowett1885v1: I. 3. before speaking of the state, we must speak of the bmanagement of the householdb. The parts of the household are the persons who compose it, and a complete household consists of slaves and freemen. Now we should begin by examining everything in its least elements; and the first and least parts of a family are master and slave, husband and wife, father and children. We have therefore to consider what each of these three relations is and ought to be:—I mean the relation ofJowett1885v1: 2 master and servant, of husband and wife, and thirdly of parent and child. [I say γαμική and τεκνοποιητική, there being no words for the two latter notions which adequately represent them.] And there is another elementJowett1885v1: 3 of a household, the so-called art of money-making, which, according to some, is identical with household management, according to others, a principal part of it; the nature of this art will also have to be considered by us.

Master and slave.

Let us first speak of master and slave, looking to the needs of practical life and also seeking to attain some better theory of their relation than exists at present. ForJowett1885v1: 4 some are of opinion that the rule of a master is a science, Edition: current; Page: [6]and that the management of a household, and the mastership of slaves, and the political and royal rule, as I was saying at the outseta, are all the same. Others affirm that the rule of a master over slaves is contrary to nature, and that the distinction between slave and freeman exists by law only, and not by nature; and being an interference with nature is therefore unjust.

Property includes instruments lifeless and living. The slave is a living instrument.

Property is a part of the household, and therefore theJowett1885v1: I. 4. art of acquiring property is a part of the art of managing the household; for no man can live well, or indeed live at all, unless he be provided with necessaries. And as in the arts which have a definite sphere the workers must have their own proper instruments for the accomplishment of their work, so it is in the management of a household. Now, instruments are of various sorts;Jowett1885v1: 2 some are living, others lifeless; in the rudder, the pilot of a ship has a lifeless, in the look-out man, a living instrument; for in the arts the servant is a kind of instrument. Thus, too, a possession is an instrument for maintaining life. And so, in the arrangement of the family, a slave is a living possession, and property a number of such instruments; and the servant is himself an instrument, which takes precedence of all other instruments. For if every instrument could accomplishJowett1885v1: 3 its own work, obeying or anticipating the will of others, like the statues of Daedalus, or the tripods of Hephaestus, which, says the poetb,

‘of their own accord entered the assembly of the Gods;’

1254 a. His master’s life is a life of action, to which he ministers. Who is the slave by nature?

if, in like manner, the shuttle would weave and the plectrum touch the lyre without a hand to guide them, chief workmen would not want servants, nor masters slaves. Here, however, another distinction must be drawn: the instrumentsJowett1885v1: 4 commonly so called are instruments of production, whilst a possession is an instrument of action. The shuttle, for example, is not only of use; but something Edition: current; Page: [7]else is made by it, whereas of a garment or of a bed there is only the use. Further, as production and action are different in kind, and both require instruments, the instruments which they employ must likewise differ inJowett1885v1: 5 kind. But life is action and not production, and therefore the slave is the minister of action [for he ministers to his master’s life]. Again, a possession is spoken of as a part is spoken of; for the part is not only a part of something else, but wholly belongs to it; and this is also true of a possession. The master is only the master of the slave; he does not belong to him, whereas the slave is not only the slave of his master, but wholly belongs to him. Hence we see what is the nature andJowett1885v1: 6 office of a slave; he who is by nature not his own but another’s and yet a man, is by nature a slave; and he may be said to belong to another who, being a human being, is also a possession. And a possession may be defined as an instrument of action, separable from the possessor.

Is there a slave by nature?

But is there any one thus intended by nature to beJowett1885v1: I. 5. a slave, and for whom such a condition is expedient and right, or rather is not all slavery a violation of nature?

There is no difficulty in answering this question, onJowett1885v1: 2 grounds both of reason and of fact. For that some should rule, and others be ruled is a thing, not only necessary, but expedient; from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule.

Everywhere in nature there is the distinction of higher and lower, of ruler and ruled. 1254 b. 1255 a. There are slaves by nature and freemen by nature, but the difference is not always marked.

And whereas there are many kinds both of rulers and subjects, that rule is the better which is exercised over better subjects—for example, to rule over men is better than to rule over wild beasts. The work is better whichJowett1885v1: 3 is executed by better workmen; and where one man rules and another is ruled, they may be said to have a work. In all things which form a composite whole and which are made up of parts, whether continuous or discrete, a distinction between the ruling and the subject element comes to light. Such a duality exists in living creatures,Jowett1885v1: 4 but not in them only; it originates in the constitution of Edition: current; Page: [8]the universe; even in things which have no life, there is a ruling principle, as ain musical harmonya. But we are wandering from the subject. We will, therefore, restrict ourselves to the living creature which, in the first place, consists of soul and body: and of these two, the one is by nature the ruler, and the other the subject. But thenJowett1885v1: 5 we must look for the intentions of nature in things which retain their nature, and not in things which are corrupted. And therefore we must study the man who is in the most perfect state both of body and soul, for in him we shall see the true relation of the two; although in bad or corrupted natures the body will often appear to rule over the soul, because they are in an evil and unnatural condition. First then we may observe in living creaturesJowett1885v1: 6 both a despotical and a constitutional rule; for the soul rules the body with a despotical rule, whereas the intellect rules the appetites with a constitutional and royal rule. And it is clear that the rule of the soul over the body, and of the mind and the rational element over the passionate is natural and expedient; whereas the equality of the two or the rule of the inferior is always hurtful. The same holds good of animals as well as ofJowett1885v1: 7 men; for tame animals have a better nature than wild, and all tame animals are better off when they are ruled by man; for then they are preserved. Again, the male is by nature superior, and the female inferior; and the one rules, and the other is ruled; this principle, of necessity, extends to all mankind. Where then there is suchJowett1885v1: 8 a difference as that between soul and body, or between men and animals (as in the case of those whose business is to use their body, and who can do nothing better), the lower sort are by nature slaves, and it is better for them as for all inferiors that they should be under the rule of a master. For he who can be, and therefore isJowett1885v1: 9 another’s, and he who participates in reason enough to apprehend, but not to have, reason, is a slave by nature. Whereas the lower animals cannot even apprehend Edition: current; Page: [9]reason; they obey their instincts. And indeed the use made of slaves and of tame animals is not very different; for both with their bodies minister to the needs of life. Nature would like to distinguish between the bodies ofJowett1885v1: 10 freemen and slaves, making the one strong for servile labour, the other upright, and although useless for such services, useful for political life in the arts both of war and peace. But this does not hold universally: for some slaves have the souls and others have the bodies of freemen. And doubtless if men differed from one another in the mere forms of their bodies as much as the statues of the Gods do from men, all would acknowledge that the inferior class should be slaves of the superior. And if there is a difference in the body, how much moreJowett1885v1: 11 in the soul? but the beauty of the body is seen, whereas the beauty of the soul is not seen. It is clear, then, that some men are by nature free, and others slaves, and that for these latter slavery is both expedient and right.

The view that slavery is contrary to nature examined. Might and right, how related. Slavery of captives taken in war. Greek and barbarian.

But that those who take the opposite view have in aJowett1885v1: I. 6. certain way right on their side, may be easily seen. For the words slavery and slave are used in two senses. There is a slave or slavery by law as well as by nature. The law of which I speak is a sort of convention, according to which whatever is taken in war is supposed to belong to the victors. But this right many jurists impeach,Jowett1885v1: 2 as they would an orator who brought forward an unconstitutional measure: they detest the notion that, because one man has the power of doing violence and is superior in brute strength, another shall be his slave and subject. Even among philosophers there is a difference of opinion. The origin of the dispute, and theJowett1885v1: 3 reason why the arguments cross, is as follows: Virtue, when furnished with means, may be deemed to have the greatest power of doing violence: and as superior power is only found where there is superior excellence of some kind, power is thought to imply virtue. But does it likewise imply justice? — that is the question. And,Jowett1885v1: 4 in order to make a distinction between them, some Edition: current; Page: [10]assert that justice is benevolence: to which others reply that justice is nothing more than the rule of a superior. If the two views are regarded as antagonistic and exclusive [i. e. if the notion that justice is benevolence excludes the idea of a just rule of a superior], the alternative [viz. that no one should rule over othersa] has no force or plausibility, because it implies that not even the superior in virtue ought to rule, or be master. Some,Jowett1885v1: 5 clinging, as they think, to a principle of justice (for law and custom are a sort of justice), assume that slavery in war is justified by law, but they are not consistent. For what if the cause of the war be unjust? No one would ever say that he is a slave who is unworthy to be a slave. Were this the case, men of the highest rank would be slaves and the children of slaves if they or their parents chance to have been taken captive and sold. Wherefore Hellenes do not like to call themselvesJowett1885v1: 6 slaves, but confine the term to barbarians. Yet, in using this language, they really mean the natural slave of whom we spoke at first; for it must be admitted that some are slaves everywhere, others nowhere. TheJowett1885v1: 7 same principle applies to nobility. Hellenes regard themselves as noble everywhere, and not only in their own country, but they deem the barbarians noble only when at home, thereby implying that there are two sorts of nobility and freedom, the one absolute, the other relative. The Helen of Theodectes says:—

‘Who would presume to call me servant who am on both sides sprung from the stem of the Gods?’

1255 b.

What does this mean but that they distinguish freedomJowett1885v1: 8 and slavery, noble and humble birth, by the two principles of good and evil? They think that as men and animals beget men and animals, so from good men a good man springs. But this is what nature, though she may intend it, cannot always accomplish.

We see then that there is some foundation for thisJowett1885v1: 9 Edition: current; Page: [11]difference of opinion, and that all are not either slaves by nature or freemen by nature, and also that there is in some cases a marked distinction between the two classes, rendering it expedient and right for the one to be slaves and the others to be masters: the one practising obedience, the others exercising the authority which nature intended them to have. The abuse of this authorityJowett1885v1: 10 is injurious to both; for the interests of part and wholea, of body and soul, are the same, and the slave is a part of the master, a living but separated part of his bodily frame. Where the relation between them is natural they are friends and have a common interest, but where it rests merely on law and force the reverse is true.

The rule of the household is not a science, though two rather inferior sciences enter into it. (1) The science of the slave. (2) The science of the master.

The previous remarks are quite enough to showJowett1885v1: I. 7. that the rule of a master is not a constitutional rule, and therefore that all the different kinds of rule are not, as some affirm, the same with each otherb. For there is one rule exercised over subjects who are by nature free, another over subjects who are by nature slaves. The rule of a household is a monarchy, for every house is under one head: whereas constitutional rule is a government of freemen and equals. The master is not calledJowett1885v1: 2 a master because he has science, but because he is of a certain character, and the same remark applies to the slave and the freeman. Still there may be a science for the master and a science for the slave. The science of the slave would be such as the man of Syracuse taught, who made money by instructing slaves in their ordinary duties. And such a knowledge may be carried further,Jowett1885v1: 3 so as to include cookery and similar menial arts. For some duties are of the more necessary, others of the more honourable sort; as the proverb says, ‘slave before slave, master before master.’ But all such branches ofJowett1885v1: 4 knowledge are servile. There is likewise a science of Edition: current; Page: [12]the master, which teaches the use of slaves; for the master as such is concerned, not with the acquisition, but with the use of them. Yet this so-called science is not anything great or wonderful; for the master need only know how to order that which the slave must know how to execute. Hence those who are in a positionJowett1885v1: 5 which places them above toil, have stewards who attend to their households while they occupy themselves with philosophy or with politics. But the art of acquiring slaves, I mean of justly acquiring them, differs both from the art of the master and the art of the slave, being a species of hunting or wara. Enough of the distinction between master and slave.

Chrematistic, or the art of money-making. How related to the art of managing a household? 1256 a. 1256 b. Why men lead different kinds of lives. Nomadic life. Hunting. Agriculture. Nature’s provision for the maintenance of life.

Let us now inquire into property generally, and intoJowett1885v1: I. 8. the art of money-making, in accordance with our usual method [of resolving a whole into its partsb], for a slave has been shown to be a part of property. The first question is whether the art of money-making is the same with the art of managing a household or a part of it, or instrumental to it; and if the last, whether in the way that the art of making shuttles is instrumental to the art of weaving, or in the way that the casting of bronze is instrumental to the art of the statuary, for they are not instrumental in the same way, but the one provides tools and the other material; and by material I mean theJowett1885v1: 2 substratum out of which any work is made; thus wool is the material of the weaver, bronze of the statuary. Now it is easy to see that the art of household management is not identical with the art of money-making, for the one uses the material which the other provides. And the art which uses household stores can be no other than the art of household management. There is, however, a doubt whether the art of money-making is a part of household management or a distinct art. [They appear to be connected]; for the money-maker has toJowett1885v1: 3 consider whence money and property can be procured; Edition: current; Page: [13]but there are many sorts of property and wealth:—there is husbandry and the care and provision of food in general; are these parts of the money-making art or distinct arts? Again, there are many sorts of food,Jowett1885v1: 4 and therefore there are many kinds of lives both of animals and men; they must all have food, and the differences in their food have made differences in their ways of life. For of beasts, some are gregarious, othersJowett1885v1: 5 are solitary; they live in the way which is best adapted to sustain them, accordingly as they are carnivorous or herbivorous or omnivorous: and their habits are determined for them by nature in such a manner that they may obtain with greater facility the food of their choice. But, as different individuals have different tastes, the same things are not naturally pleasant to all of them; and therefore the lives of carnivorous or herbivorous animals further differ among themselves. In the livesJowett1885v1: 6 of men too there is a great difference. The laziest are shepherds, who lead an idle life, and get their subsistence without trouble from tame animals; their flocks having to wander from place to place in search of pasture, they are compelled to follow them, cultivating a sort of living farm. Others support themselves by hunting,Jowett1885v1: 7 which is of different kinds. Some, for example, are pirates, others, who dwell near lakes or marshes or rivers or a sea in which there are fish, are fishermen, and others live by the pursuit of birds or wild beasts. The greater number obtain a living from the fruits of the soil. Such are the modes of subsistence which prevailJowett1885v1: 8 among those awhose industry is employed immediately upon the products of naturea, and whose food is not acquired by exchange and retail trade—there is the shepherd, the husbandman, the pirate, the fisherman, the hunter. Some gain a comfortable maintenance out of two employments, eking out the deficiencies of one of them by another: thus the life of a shephered may be Edition: current; Page: [14]combined with that of a brigand, the life of a farmer with that of a hunter. Other modes of life are similarlyJowett1885v1: 9 combined in any way which the needs of men may require. Property, in the sense of a bare livelihood, seems to be given by nature herself to all, both when they are first born, and when they are grown up. For someJowett1885v1: 10 animals bring forth, together with their offspring, so much food as will last until they are able to supply themselves; of this the vermiparous or oviparous animals are an instance; and the viviparous animals have up to a certain time a supply of food for their young in themselves, which is called milk. In like manner we mayJowett1885v1: 11 infer that, after the birth of animals, plants exist for their sake, and that the other animals exist for the sake of man, the tame for use and food, the wild, if not all, at least the greater part of them, for food, and for the provision of clothing and various instruments. Now ifJowett1885v1: 12 nature makes nothing incomplete, and nothing in vain, the inference must be that she has made all animals and plants for the sake of man. And so, in one point of view, the art of war is a natural art of acquisition, for it includes hunting, an art which we ought to practise against wild beasts, and against men who, though intended by nature to be governed, will not submit; for war of such a kind is naturally justa.

The natural mode of acquiring property.

Jowett1885v1: 13Of the art of acquisition then there is one kindb which is natural and is a part of the management of a householdb. Either we must suppose the necessaries of life to exist previously, or the art of household management must provide a store of them for the common use of the family or state. They are the elements of true wealth;Jowett1885v1: 14 for the amount of property which is needed for a good life is not unlimited, although Solon in one of his poems says that

‘No bound to riches has been fixed for manc.’

Edition: current; Page: [15]

But there is a boundary fixed, just as there is in the arts; for the instruments of any art are never unlimited,Jowett1885v1: 15 either in number or size, and wealth may be defined as a number of instruments to be used in a household or in a state. And so we see that there is a natural art of acquisition which is practised by managers of households and by statesmen, and what is the reason of this.

1257 a. The non-natural mode, or money-making.

There is another variety of the art of acquisition whichJowett1885v1: I. 9. is commonly and rightly called the art of making money, and has in fact suggested the notion that wealth and property have no limit. Being nearly connected with the preceding, it is often identified with it. But though they are not very different, neither are they the same. The kind already described is given by nature, the other is gained by experience and art.

Let us begin our discussion of the question with theJowett1885v1: 2 following considerations:—

Value in use and value in exchange. Invention of money and of coin.

Of everything which we possess there are two uses: both belong to the thing as such, but not in the same manner, for one is the proper, and the other the improper or secondary use of it. For example, a shoe is used for wear, and is used for exchange; both are uses of the shoe. He who gives a shoe in exchange for moneyJowett1885v1: 3 or food to him who wants one, does indeed use the shoe as a shoe, but this is not its proper or primary purpose, for a shoe is not made to be an object of barter. The same may be said of all possessions, for the art of exchangeJowett1885v1: 4 extends to all of them, and it arises at first in a natural manner from the circumstance that some have too little, others too much. Hence we may infer that retail trade is not a natural part of the art of money-making; had it been so, men would have ceased to exchange when they had enough. And in the first community,Jowett1885v1: 5 which is the family, this art is obviously of no use, but only begins to be useful when the society increases. For the members of the family originally had all things in common; in a more divided state of society Edition: current; Page: [16]theya still shared in many things, but they were different thingsa which they had to give in exchange for what they wanted, a kind of barter which is still practised among barbarous nations who exchange with one anotherJowett1885v1: 6 the necessaries of life and nothing more; giving and receiving wine, for example, in exchange for corn and the like. This sort of barter is not part of the money-making art and is not contrary to nature, but is needed for the satisfaction of men’s natural wants. The otherJowett1885v1: 7 or more complex form of exchange grew out of the simpler. When the inhabitants of one country became more dependent on those of another, and they imported what they needed, and exported the surplus, money necessarily came into use. For the various necessariesJowett1885v1: 8 of life are not easily carried about, and hence men agreed to employ in their dealings with each other something which was intrinsically useful and easily applicable to the purposes of life, for example, iron, silver, and the like. Of this the value was at first measured by size and weight, but in process of time they put a stamp upon it, to save the trouble of weighing and to mark the value.

Retail trade. Two views about money. 1257 b.

When the use of coin had once been discovered, out of the barter of necessary articles arose the other art ofJowett1885v1: 9 money-making, namely, retail trade; which was at first probably a simple matter, but became more complicated as soon as men learned by experience whence and by what exchanges the greatest profit might be made. Originating in the use of coin, the art of money-makingJowett1885v1: 10 is generally thought to be chiefly concerned with it, and to be the art which produces wealth and money; having to consider how they may be accumulated. Indeed, wealth is assumed by many to be only a quantity of coin, because the art of money-making and retail trade are concerned with coin. Others maintain thatJowett1885v1: 11 coined money is a mere sham, a thing not natural, Edition: current; Page: [17]but conventional only, which would have no value or use for any of the purposes of daily life if another commodity were substituted by the users. And, indeed, he who is rich in coin may often be in want of necessary food. But how can that be wealth of which a man may have a great abundance and yet perish with hunger, like Midas in the fable, whose insatiable prayer turned everything that was set before him into gold?

Distinction between natural wealth and the mere acquisition of coin. In the arts the means are limited by the end, the end is unlimited: so in money-making, but not in household management. Error of those who make wealth an end. 1258 a.

Men seek after a better notion of wealth and of theJowett1885v1: 12 art of making money than the mere acquisition of coin, and they are right. For natural wealth and the natural art of money-making are a different thing; in their true form they are part of the management of a household; whereas retail trade is the art of producing wealth, not in every way, but by exchange. And it seems to be concerned with coin; for coin is the beginning of exchange and the measure or limit of it. And there isJowett1885v1: 13 no bound to the wealth which springs from this art of money-makinga. As in the art of medicine there is no limit to the pursuit of health, and as in the other arts there is no limit to the pursuit of their several ends, for they aim at accomplishing their ends to the uttermost; (but of the means there is a limit, for the end is always the limit), so, too, in this art of money-making there is no limit of the end, which is wealth of the spurious kind, and the acquisition of money. But the art of householdJowett1885v1: 14 management has a limit; the unlimited acquisition of money is not its business. And, therefore, in one point of view, all wealth must have a limit; nevertheless, as a matter of fact, we find the opposite to be the case; for all money-makers increase their hoard of coin without limit. The source of the confusion is the near connexion between the two kinds of money-making; in either, the instrumentJowett1885v1: 15 [i.e. wealth] is the same, although the use is different, and so they pass into one another; for each is a use of the same propertyb, but with a difference: accumulation is the end in the one case, but there is a further end in the Edition: current; Page: [18]other. Hence some persons are led to believe that making money is the object of household management, and the whole idea of their lives is that they ought either to increase their money without limit, or at any rate not to lose it. The origin of this disposition in men is that theyJowett1885v1: 16 are intent upon living only, and not upon living well; and, as their desires are unlimited, they also desire that the means of gratifying them should be without limit. Even those who aim at a good life seek the means of obtaining bodily pleasures; and, since the enjoyment of these appears to depend on property, they are absorbed in making money: and so there arises the second species of money-making. For, as their enjoyment is in excess,Jowett1885v1: 17 they seek an art which produces the excess of enjoyment; and, if they are not able to supply their pleasures by the art of money-making, they try other arts, using in turn every faculty in a manner contrary to nature. The quality of courage, for example, is not intended to make money, but to inspire confidence; neither is this the aim of the general’s or of the physician’s art; but the one aims at victory and the other at health. Nevertheless, some men turn every quality or art intoJowett1885v1: 18 a means of making money; this they conceive to be the end, and to the promotion of the end all things must contribute.

Thus, then, we have considered the art of money-making, which is unnecessary, and why men want it; and also the necessary art of money-making, which we have seen to be different from the other, and to be a natural part of the art of managing a household, concerned with the provision of food, not, however, like the former kind, unlimited, but having a limit.

Relation of money-making to the art of household management.

And we have found the answer to our original questiona,Jowett1885v1: I. 10. Whether the art of money-making is the business of the manager of a household and of the statesman or not their business?—viz. that it is an art which is presupposed by them. For political science does not make Edition: current; Page: [19]men, but takes them from nature and uses them; and nature provides them with food from the element of earth, air, or sea. At this stage begins the duty of the manager of a household, who has to order the things which nature supplies;—he may be compared to theJowett1885v1: 2 weaver who has not to make but to use wool, and to know what sort of wool is good and serviceable or bad and unserviceable. Were this otherwise, it would be difficult to see why the art of money-making is a part of the management of a household and the art of medicine not; for surely the members of a household must have health just as they must have life or any other necessary. And as from one point of view the master of the houseJowett1885v1: 3 and the ruler of the state have to consider about health, from another point of view not they but the physician; so in one way the art of household management, in another way the subordinate art, has to consider about money. But, strictly speaking, as I have already said, the means of life must be provided beforehand by nature; for the business of nature is to furnish food to that which is born, and the food of the offspring always remains over in the parenta. Wherefore the art of makingJowett1885v1: 4 money out of fruits and animals is always natural.

1258 b. Retail trade. Usury the breeding of money from money.

Of the two sorts of money-making one, as I have just said, is a part of household management, the other is retail trade: the former necessary and honourable, the latter a kind of exchange which is justly censured; for it is unnatural, and a mode by which men gain from one another. The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural use of it. For money was intendedJowett1885v1: 5 to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term usury [τόκος], which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of all modes of making money this is the most unnatural.

Edition: current; Page: [20]
Practical classification of money-making. (1) The natural kind. (2) Exchange. (3) The intermediate kind.

Enough has been said about the theory of money-making;Jowett1885v1: I. 11. we will now proceed to the practical part. aThe discussion of such matters is not unworthy of philosophy, but to be engaged in them practically is illiberal and irksomea. The useful parts of money-making are, first, the knowledge of live-stock,—which are most profitable, and where, and how,—as, for example, what sort of horses or sheep or oxen or any other animals are most likely to give a return. A man ought to know which ofJowett1885v1: 2 these pay better than others, and which pay best in particular places, for some do better in one place and some in another. Secondly, husbandry, which may be either tillage or planting, and the keeping of bees and of fish, or fowl, or of any animals which may be useful to man. These are the divisions of the true or proper art ofJowett1885v1: 3 money-making and come first. Of the other, which consists in exchange, the first and most important division is commerce (of which there are three kinds — commerce by sea, commerce by land, selling in shops—these again differing as they are safer or more profitable), the second is usury, the third, service for hire—of this, oneJowett1885v1: 4 kind is employed in the mechanical arts, the other in unskilled and bodily labour. There is still a third sort of money-making intermediate between this and the first or natural mode which is partly natural, but is also concerned with exchange of the fruits and other products of the earth. Some of these latter, although they bear no fruit, are nevertheless profitable; for example, wood and minerals. The art of mining, by which minerals areJowett1885v1: 5 obtained, has many branches, for there are various kinds of things dug out of the earth. Of the several divisions of money-making I now speak generally; a minute consideration of them might be useful in practice, but it would be tiresome to dwell upon them at greater length now.

Those occupations are most truly arts in which thereJowett1885v1: 6 Edition: current; Page: [21]is the least element of chance; they are the meanest in which the body is most deteriorated, the most servile in which there is the greatest use of the body, and the most illiberal in which there is the least need of excellence.

1259 a. Works on economic subjects. Story about Thales. How a philosopher once made a fortune. Monopoly.

Works have been written upon these subjects byJowett1885v1: 7 various persons; for example, by Chares the Parian, and Apollodorus the Lemnian, who have treated of Tillage and Planting, while others have treated of other branches; any one who cares for such matters may refer to their writings. It would be well also to collect the scattered stories of the ways in which individuals have succeeded in amassing a fortune; for all this is useful to persons whoJowett1885v1: 8 value the art of making money. There is the anecdote of Thales the Milesian and his financial device, which involves a principle of universal application, but is attributed to him on account of his reputation for wisdom. He was reproached for his poverty, which was supposedJowett1885v1: 9 to show that philosophy was of no use. According to the story, he knew by his skill in the stars while it was yet winter that there would be a great harvest of olives in the coming year; so, having a little money, he gave deposits for the use of all the olive-presses in Chios and Miletus, which he hired at a low price because no one bid against him. When the harvest-time came, and many wanted them all at once and of a sudden, he let them out at any rate which he pleased, and made a quantity of money. Thus he showed the world that philosophers can easily be rich if they like, but that their ambition is of another sort. He is supposed to have given aJowett1885v1: 10 striking proof of his wisdom, but, as I was saying, his device for getting money is of universal application, and is nothing but the creation of a monopoly. It is an art often practised by cities when they are in want of money; they make a monopoly of provisions.

Story about a man of Sicily. Monopoly applied to finance.

There was a man of Sicily, who, having money depositedJowett1885v1: 11 with him, bought up all the iron from the iron mines; afterwards, when the merchants from their various Edition: current; Page: [22]markets came to buy, he was the only seller, and without much increasing the price he gained 200 per cent. Which when Dionysius heard, he told him that he mightJowett1885v1: 12 take away his money, but that he must not remain at Syracuse, for he thought that the man had discovered a way of making money which was injurious to his own interests. He had the same ideaa as Thales; they both contrived to create a monopoly for themselves. AndJowett1885v1: 13 statesmen ought to know these things; for a state is often as much in want of money and of such devices for obtaining it as a household, or even more so; hence some public men devote themselves entirely to finance.

Different kinds of rule within the household: (1) rule of master over slaves; (2) of father over children; (3) of husband over wife. 1259 b.

Of household management we have seenb that thereJowett1885v1: I. 12. are three parts—one is the rule of a master over slaves, which has been discussed alreadyc, another of a father, and the third of a husband. A husband and father rules over wife and children, both free, but the rule differs, the rule over his children being a royal, over his wife a constitutional rule. For although there may be exceptions to the order of nature, the male is by nature fitter for command than the female, just as the elder and full-grown is superior to the younger and more immature. But in most constitutional states the citizensJowett1885v1: 2 rule and are ruled by turns, for the idea of a constitutional state implies that the natures of the citizens are equal, and do not differ at alld. Nevertheless, when one rules and the other is ruled we endeavour to create a difference of outward forms and names and titles of respect, which may be illustrated by the saying of Amasis about his foot-pane. The relation of the maleJowett1885v1: 3 to the female is of this kind, but there the inequality is permanent. The rule of a father over his children is royal, for he receives both love and the respect due to age, exercising a kind of royal power. And therefore Homer has appropriately called Zeus ‘father of Gods and men,’ because he is the king of them all. For a king Edition: current; Page: [23]is the natural superior of his subjects, but he should be of the same kin or kind with them, and such is the relation of elder and younger, of father and son.

1260 a. Has a slave virtue? How far have women and children virtues? The virtues of ruler and subject different. Psychological parallel. Different degrees of virtue. Plato criticised.

Thus it is clear that household management attendsJowett1885v1: I. 13. more to men than to the acquisition of inanimate things, and to human excellence more than to the excellence of property which we call wealth, and to the virtue of freemen more than to the virtue of slaves. A questionJowett1885v1: 2 may indeed be raised, whether there is any excellence at all in a slave beyond merely instrumental and ministerial qualities — whether he can have the virtues of temperance, courage, justice, and the like; or whether slaves possess only bodily and ministerial qualities. And, whichever way we answer the question, a difficulty arises; for, ifJowett1885v1: 3 they have virtue, in what will they differ from freemen? On the other hand, since they are men and share in reason, it seems absurd to say that they have no virtue. A similar question may be raised about women and children, whether they too have virtues: ought a woman to be temperate and brave and just, and is a child to be called temperate, and intemperate, or not? So in general we may ask about the natural ruler, and theJowett1885v1: 4 natural subject, whether they have the same or different virtues. For a noble nature is equally required in both, but if so, why should one of them always rule, and the other always be ruled? Nor can we say that this is a question of degree, for the difference between ruler and subject is a difference of kind, and therefore not of degree; yet how strange is the supposition that the one ought, and that the other ought not, to have virtue! For if the ruler is intemperate and unjust, howJowett1885v1: 5 can he rule well? if the subject, how can he obey well? If he be licentious and cowardly, he will certainly not do his duty. It is evident, therefore, that both of them must have a share of virtue, but varying according to their various natures. And this is at once indicatedJowett1885v1: 6 by the soul, in which one part naturally rules, and the other is subject, and the virtue of the ruler we maintain Edition: current; Page: [24]to be different from that of the subject; — the one being the virtue of the rational, and the other of the irrational part. Now, it is obvious that the same principle applies generally, and therefore almost all things rule and are ruled according to nature. But the kind of rule differs;Jowett1885v1: 7 — the freeman rules over the slave after another manner from that in which the male rules over the female, or the man over the child; although the parts of the soul are present in all of them, they are present in different degrees. For the slave has no deliberative faculty at all; the woman has, but it is awithout authoritya, and the child has, but it is immature. So it must necessarily beJowett1885v1: 8 with the moral virtues also; all may be supposed to partake of them, but only in such manner and degree as is required by each for the fulfilment of his duty. Hence the ruler ought to have moral virtue in perfection, for his duty is entirely that of a master artificer, and the master artificer is reason; the subjects, on the other hand, require only that measure of virtue which is proper to each of them. Clearly, then, moral virtue belongs toJowett1885v1: 9 all of them; but the temperance of a man and of a woman, or the courage and justice of a man and of a woman, are not, as Socrates maintainedJowett1885v1: 10b, the same; the courage of a man is shown in commanding, of a woman in obeying. And this holds of all other virtues, as will be more clearly seen if we look at them in detail, for those who say generally that virtue consists in a good disposition of the soul, or in doing rightly, or the like, only deceive themselves. Far better than such definitions is their mode of speaking, who, like Gorgiasb, enumerate the virtues. All classes must be deemed toJowett1885v1: 11 have their special attributes; as the poet says of women,

‘Silence is a woman’s gloryc,’

1260 b. Has the artisan virtue? Mechanic and slave. Plato criticised.

but this is not equally the glory of man. The child is imperfect, and therefore obviously his virtue is not relative Edition: current; Page: [25]to himself alone, but to the perfect man and to his teachera, and in like manner the virtue of the slave isJowett1885v1: 12 relative to a master. Now we determined that a slave is useful for the wants of life, and therefore he will obviously require only so much virtue as will prevent him from failing in his duty through cowardice and intemperance. Some one will ask whether, if what we are saying is true, virtue will not be required also in the artisans, for they often fail in their work through misconduct? But is there not a great difference in the twoJowett1885v1: 13 cases? For the slave shares in his master’s life; the artisan is less closely connected with him, and only attains excellence in proportion as he becomes a slave, [i. e. is under the direction of a master]. The meaner sort of mechanic has a special and separate slavery; and whereas the slave exists by nature, not so the shoemaker or other artisan. It is manifest, then, that the masterJowett1885v1: 14 ought to be the source of excellence in the slave; but not merely because he possesses the art which trains him in his dutiesb. Wherefore they are mistaken who forbid us to converse with slaves and say that we should employ command onlyc, for slaves stand even more in need of admonition than children.

Virtues in the family relations.

The relations of husband and wife, parent and child,Jowett1885v1: 15 their several virtues, what in their intercourse with one another is good, and what is evil, and how we may pursue the good and escape the evil, will have to be discussed when we speak of the different forms of government. For, inasmuch as every family is a part of a state, and these relationships are the parts of a family, the virtue of the part must have regard to the virtue of the whole. And therefore women and children must be trained by education with an eye to the stated, if the virtues of either of them are supposed to make any difference in the virtues of the state. And they must make a difference: for the children grow up to beJowett1885v1: 16 Edition: current; Page: [26]citizens, and half the free persons in a state are womena.

Of these matters, enough has been said; of what remains, let us speak at another time. Regarding, then, our present enquiry as complete, we will make a new beginning. And, first, let us examine the various theories of a perfect state.

Edition: current; Page: [27]


Reasons for examining model forms of government actual or ideal.

Our purpose is to consider what form of politicalJowett1885v1: II. 1. community is best of all for those who are most able to realise their ideal of life. We must therefore examine not only this but other constitutions, both such as actually exist in well-governed states, and any theoretical forms which are held in esteem; that what is good and useful may be brought to light. And let no one suppose that in seeking for something beyond them awe at all want to philosophise at the expense of trutha; we only undertake this enquiry because all the constitutions with which we are acquainted are faulty.

1261 a. What should be common in a state? The logical alternatives. The communism of Plato.

We will begin with the natural beginning of the subject.Jowett1885v1: 2 Three alternatives are conceivable: The members of a state must either have (1) all things or (2) nothing in common, or (3) some things in common and some not. That they should have nothing in common is clearly impossible, for the state is a community, and must at any rate have a common place—one city will be in one place, and the citizens are those who share in that one city. But should a well-ordered state have all things,Jowett1885v1: 3 as far as may be, in common, or some only and not others? For the citizens might conceivably have wives and children and property in common, as Socrates proposes in the Republic of Platob. Which is better, our present condition, or the proposed new order of society?

The community of women. (1) Plato is wrong in making the greatest unity the end of the state. The state is a unity in difference.

There are many difficulties in the community ofJowett1885v1: II. 2. women. And the principle on which Socrates rests the necessity of such an institution does not appear to be established by his arguments. The end which he ascribes Edition: current; Page: [28]to the state, taken literally, is impossible, and how weare to interpret it is nowhere precisely stated. I amJowett1885v1: 2 speaking of the premiss from which the argument of Socrates proceeds, ‘that the greater the unity of the state the better.’ Is it not obvious that a state may at length attain such a degree of unity as to be no longer a state?—since the nature of a state is to be a plurality, and in tending to greater unity, from being a state, it becomes a family, and from being a family, an individual; for the family may be said to be more one than the state, and the individual than the family. So that we ought not to attain this greatest unity even if we could, for it would be the destruction of the state. Again, a state is not madeJowett1885v1: 3 up only of so many men, but of different kinds of men; for similars do not constitute a state. It is not like a military alliance, of which the usefulness depends upon its quantity even where there is no difference in quality. For in that mutual protection is the end aimed at; and the question is the same as about the scales of a balance: which is the heavier?

A state, unlike a nation, is composed of different elements; and freedom is preserved by the interchange of them. 1261 b. Excessive unity would ruin the state.

In like manner, a state differs from a nation; for in a nation the people are not adistributed into villages, but live scattered about, like the Arcadiansa; whereas in a state the elements out of which the unity is to be formed differ in kind. Wherefore the principle of compensationb,Jowett1885v1: 4 as I have already remarked in the Ethicsc, is the salvation of states. And among freemen and equals this is a principle which must be maintained, for they cannot all rule together, but must change at the end of a year or some other period of time or in some order of succession. The result is that upon this plan they allJowett1885v1: 5 govern; [but the manner of government is] just as if shoemakers and carpenters were to exchange their occupations, and the same persons did not always continue shoemakers and carpenters. And it is clearly betterJowett1885v1: 6 Edition: current; Page: [29]that, as in business, so also in politics there should be continuance of the same persons where this is possible. But where this is not possible by reason of the natural equality of the citizens, and it would be unjust that any one should be excluded from the government (whether to govern be a good thing or a bada), then it is better, instead of all holding power, to adopt a principle of rotation, equals giving place to equals, as the original rulers gave place to themb. Thus the one party rule and theJowett1885v1: 7 others are ruled in turn, as if they were no longer the same persons. In like manner there is a variety in the offices held by them. Hence it is evident that a city is not by nature one in that sense which some persons affirm; and that what is said to be the greatest good of cities is in reality their destruction; but surely the good of things must be that which preserves themc. Again, in another point of view, this extreme unificationJowett1885v1: 8 of the state is clearly not good; for a family is more self-sufficing than an individual, and a city than a family, and a city only comes into being when the community is large enough to be self-sufficing. If then self-sufficiency is to be desired, the lesser degree of unity is more desirable than the greater.

(2) Communism will not be the means by which unity is to be attained. Fallacy in the word ‘all.’ What is common least cared for. Present arrangements better. 1262 a. The real relationship will often be discovered.

But, even supposing that it were best for the communityJowett1885v1: II. 3. to have the greatest degree of unity, this unity is by no means proved to follow from the fact ‘of all men saying “mine” and “not mine” at the same instant of time,’ which, according to Socratesd, is the sign of perfect unity in a state. For the word ‘all’ is ambiguous.Jowett1885v1: 2 If the meaning be that every individual says ‘mine’ and ‘not mine’ at the same time, then perhaps the result at which Socrates aims may be in some degree accomplished; each man will call the same person his own son and his own wife, and so of his property and of all that belongs to him. This, however, is not the way in which people would speak who had their wives and children in Edition: current; Page: [30]common; they would say ‘all’ but not ‘each.’ In likeJowett1885v1: 3 manner their property would be described as belonging to them, not severally but collectively. There is an obvious fallacy in the term ‘all’: like some other words, ‘both,’ ‘odd,’ ‘even,’ it is ambiguous, and in argument becomes a source of logical puzzles. That all persons call the same thing mine in the sense in which each does so may be a fine thing, but it is impracticable; or if the words are taken in the other sense [i.e. the sense which distinguishes ‘all’ from ‘each’], such an unity in no way conduces to harmony. And there is another objectionJowett1885v1: 4 to the proposal. For that which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it. Every one thinks chiefly of his own, hardly at all of the common interest; and only when he is himself concerned as an individual. For besides other considerations, everybody is more inclined to neglect the duty which he expects another to fulfil; as in families many attendants are often less useful than a few. Each citizen will have a thousandJowett1885v1: 5 sons who will not be his sons individually, but anybody will be equally the son of anybody, and will therefore be neglected by all alike. Further, upon this principle, every one will call another ‘mine’ or ‘not mine’ according as he is prosperous or the reverse;—however small a fraction he may be of the whole number, he will say of every individual of the thousand, or whatever be the number of the city, ‘such an one is mine,’ ‘such an one his’; and even about this he will not be positive; for it is impossible to know who chanced to have a child, or whether, if one came into existence, it has survived. ButJowett1885v1: 6 which is better—to be able to say ‘mine’ about every one of the two thousand or the ten thousand citizens, or to use the word ‘mine’ in the ordinary and more restricted sense? For usually the same person is called byJowett1885v1: 7 one man his son whom another calls his brother or cousin or kinsman or blood-relation or connexion by marriage either of himself or of some relation of his, and these relationships he distinguishes from the tie which binds Edition: current; Page: [31]him to his tribe or ward; and how much better is it to be the real cousin of somebody than to be a son after Plato’s fashion! Nor is there any way of preventing brothersJowett1885v1: 8 and children and fathers and mothers from sometimes recognizing one another; for children are born like their parents, and they will necessarily be finding indications of their relationship to one another. Geographers declareJowett1885v1: 9 such to be the fact; they say that in Upper Libya, where the women are common, nevertheless the children who are born are assigned to their respective fathers on the ground of their likenessa. And some women, like the females of other animals — for example mares and cows — have a strong tendency to produce offspring resembling their parents, as was the case with the Pharsalian mare called Dicaea (the Just)b.

Evils of concealment.

Other evils, against which it is not easy for the authorsJowett1885v1: II. 4. of such a community to guard, will be assaults and homicides, voluntary as well as involuntary, quarrels and slanders, all which are most unholy acts when committed against fathers and mothers and near relations, but not equally unholy when there is no relationship. Moreover, they are much more likely to occur if the relationship is unknown, and, when they have occurred, the customary expiations of them cannot be made. Again, howJowett1885v1: 2 strange it is that Socrates, after having made the children common, should hinder lovers from carnal intercourse only, but should permit familiarities between father and son or between brother and brother, than which nothing can be more unseemly, since even without them, love of this sort is improper. How strange, too, to forbidJowett1885v1: 3 intercourse for no other reason than the violence of the pleasure, as though the relationship of father and son or of brothers with one another made no difference.

1262 b. Communism a source of weakness. Instead of self-destroying unity there will be watery friendship.

This community of wives and children seems betterJowett1885v1: 4 suited to the husbandmen than to the guardians, for if they have wives and children in common, they will be bound to one another by weaker ties, as a subject class Edition: current; Page: [32]should be, and they will remain obedient and not rebela. In a word, the result of such a law would be just theJowett1885v1: 5 opposite of that which good laws ought to have, and the intention of Socrates in making these regulations about women and children would defeat itself. For friendshipJowett1885v1: 6 we believe to be the greatest good of statesb and the preservative of them against revolutions; neither is there anything which Socrates so greatly lauds as the unity of the state which he and all the world declare to be created by friendship. But the unity which he commendsc would be like that of the lovers in the Symposiumd, who, as Aristophanes says, desire to grow together in the excess of their affection, and from being two to become one, in which case one or both would certainlyJowett1885v1: 7 perish. Whereas [the very opposite will really happen;] in a state having women and children common, love will be watery; and the father will certainly not say ‘my son,’ or the son ‘my fathere.’ As a little sweet wine mingled withJowett1885v1: 8 a great deal of water is imperceptible in the mixture, so, in this sort of community, the idea of relationship which is based upon these names will be lost; there is no reason why the so-called father should care about the son, or the son about the father, or brothers about one another. Of the two qualities which chiefly inspire regard andJowett1885v1: 9 affection—that a thing is your own and that you love it—neither can exist in such a state as this.

Difficulties in the transfer of children from one rank to another.

Again, the transfer of children as soon as they are born from the rank of husbandmen or of artisans to that of guardians, and from the rank of guardians into a lower rankf, will be very difficult to arrange; the givers or transferrers cannot but know whom they are giving and transferring, and to whom. And the previously mentionedJowett1885v1: 10 evils, such as assaults, unlawful loves, homicides, will happen more often amongst those who are transferred to the lower classes, or who have a place assigned to them among the guardians; for they will no longer call Edition: current; Page: [33]the members of any other class brothers, and children, and fathers, and mothers, and will not, therefore, be afraid of committing any crimes by reason of consanguinity. Touching the community of wives and children, let this be our conclusion.

1263 a. Should property be common? Possible modes of common property.

Next let us consider what should be our arrangementsJowett1885v1: II. 5. about property: should the citizens of the perfect state have their possessions in common or not? This questionJowett1885v1: 2 may be discussed separately from the enactments about women and children. Even supposing that the women and children belong to individuals, according to the custom which is at present universal, may there not be an advantage in having and using possessions in common? Three cases are possible: (1) the soil may be appropriated, but the produce may be thrown for consumption into the common stock; and this is the practice of some nations. Or (2), the soil may be common, and may be cultivated in common, but the produce divided among individuals for their private use; this is a form of common property which is said to exist among certain barbarians. Or (3), the soil and the produce may be alike common.


When the husbandmen are not the owners, the caseJowett1885v1: 3 will be different and easier to deal with; but when they till the ground themselves the question of ownership will give a world of trouble. If they do not share equally in enjoyments and toils, those who labour much and get little will necessarily complain of those who labour little and receive or consume much. There isJowett1885v1: 4 always a difficulty in men living together and having things in common, but especially in their having common property. The partnerships of fellow-travellers are an example to the point; for they generally fall out by the way and quarrel about any trifle which turns up. So with servants: we are most liable to take offence at those with whom we most frequently come into contact in daily life.

Better private possession and friendly use. Illustration from Sparta. The magic of property. Communism destroys the two virtues of liberality and of temperance. 1263 b.

These are only some of the disadvantages whichJowett1885v1: 5 attend the community of property; the present arrangement, if improved as it might be by good customs and Edition: current; Page: [34]laws, would be far better, and would have the advantages of both systems. Property should be in a certain sense common, but, as a general rule, private; for, when everyJowett1885v1: 6 one has a distinct interesta, men will not complain of one another, and they will make more progress, because every one will be attending to his own business. And yet among the good, and in respect of use, ‘Friends,’ as the proverb says, ‘will have all things commonb.’ Even now there are traces of such a principle, showing that it is not impracticable, but, in well-ordered states, exists already to a certain extent and may be carried further. For, although every man has his own property,Jowett1885v1: 7 some things he will place at the disposal of his friends, while of others he shares the use with them. The Lacedaemonians, for example, use one another’s slaves, and horses, and dogs, as if they were their own; and when they happen to be in the country, they appropriate in the fields whatever provisions they want. It is clearlyJowett1885v1: 8 better that property should be private, but the use of it common; and the special business of the legislator is to create in men this benevolent disposition. Again, how immeasurably greater is the pleasure, when a man feels a thing to be his own; for the love of selfc is a feeling implanted by nature and not given in vain, although selfishness is rightly censured; this, however, is not the mereJowett1885v1: 9 love of self, but the love of self in excess, like the miser’s love of money; for all, or almost all, men love money, and other such objects in a measure. And further, there is the greatest pleasure in doing a kindness or service to friends or guests or companions, which can only be rendered when a man has private property. The advantageJowett1885v1: 10 is lost by the excessive unification of the state. Two virtues are annihilated in such a state: first, temperance towards women (for it is an honourable action to abstain from another’s wife for temperance sake); secondly, liberality in the matter of property. No one, when men have all things in common, will any longer set an Edition: current; Page: [35]example of liberality or do any liberal action; for liberality consists in the use which is made of propertya.

The speciousness of universal friendship. The real cause of existing evils, not private property, but the wickedness of men.

Such legislation may have a specious appearance ofJowett1885v1: 11 benevolence; men readily listen to it, and are easily induced to believe that in some wonderful manner everybody will become everybody’s friend, especially when some oneb is heard denouncing the evils now existing in states, suits about contracts, convictions for perjury, flatteries of rich men and the like, which are said to arise out of the possession of private property. TheseJowett1885v1: 12 evils, however, are due to a very different cause—the wickedness of human nature. Indeed, we see that there is much more quarrelling among those who have all things in common, though there are not many of them when compared with the vast numbers who have private property.

1264 a. Plato’s false ideal of unity. The true unity can only be given by education. All experience against men.

Again, we ought to reckon, not only the evils fromJowett1885v1: 13 which the citizens will be saved, but also the advantages which they will lose. The life which they are to lead appears to be quite impracticable. The error of Socrates must be attributed to the false notion of unity from which he starts. Unity there should be, both of theJowett1885v1: 14 family and of the state, but in some respects only. For there is a point at which a state may attain such a degree of unity as to be no longer a state, or at which, without actually ceasing to exist, it will become an inferior state, like harmony passing into unison, or rhythm which has been reduced to a single foot. The state, asJowett1885v1: 15 I was saying, is a pluralityc, which should be united and made into a community by education; and it is strange that the author of a system of education which he thinks will make the state virtuous, should expect to improve his citizens by regulations of this sort, and not by philosophy or by customs and laws, like those which prevail at Sparta and Crete respecting common meals, whereby the legislator has [to a certain degree] made property common. Let us remember that we should not disregardJowett1885v1: 16 Edition: current; Page: [36]the experience of ages; in the multitude of years these things, if they were good, would certainly not have been unknown; for almost everything has been found out, although sometimes they are not put together; in other cases men do not use the knowledge which they have. Great light would be thrown on this subject if weJowett1885v1: 17 could see such a form of government in the actual process of construction; for the legislator could not form a state at all without distributing and dividing the citizens into associations for common meals, and into phratries and tribes. But all this legislation ends only in forbidding agriculture to the guardians, a prohibition which the Lacedaemonians try to enforce already.

Difficulties. How about the dependent classes? are they to be educated and to have wives in common? If not, there will be two states in one. Omissions.

Again, Socrates has not said, nor is it easy to decide,Jowett1885v1: 18 what in such a community will be the general form of the state. The citizens who are not guardians are the majority, and about them nothing has been determined: are the husbandmen, too, to have their property in common? Or, besides the common land which he tills, is each individual to have his own? and are their wives and children to be individual or common? If, like theJowett1885v1: 19 guardians, they are to have all things in common, in what do they differ from them, or what will they gain by submitting to their government? Or, upon what principle would they submit, unless indeed the governing class adopt the ingenious policy of the Cretans, who give their slaves the same institutions as their own, but forbid them gymnastic exercises and the possession of arms. If, on the other hand, the inferior classes areJowett1885v1: 20 to be like other cities in respect of marriage and property, what will be the form of the community? Must it not contain two states in onea, each hostile to the other? bOne class will consist of the guardians, who are a sort of watchmen; another, of the husbandmen, and Edition: current; Page: [37]there will be the artisans and the other citizensb. ButJowett1885v1: 21 [if so] the suits and quarrels, and all the evils which Socrates affirmsa to exist in other states, will exist equally among them. He says indeed that, having so good an education, the citizens will not need many laws, for example laws about the city or about the marketsb; but then he confines his education to the guardians. Again, he makes the husbandmen owners of the landJowett1885v1: 22 upon condition of their paying a tributec. But in that case they are likely to be much more unmanageable and conceited than the Helots, or Penestae, or slaves in generald. And whether community of wives and propertyJowett1885v1: 23 be necessary for the lower equally with the higher class or not, and the questions akin to this, what will be the education, form of government, laws of the lower class, Socrates has nowhere determined: neither is it easy, though very important, to discover what should be the character of the inferior classes, if the common life of the guardians is to be maintained.

1264 b. More difficulties. Who will look after the house? Danger from the rulers being always the same. How can the whole state be happy if happiness is denied to the guardians?

Again, if Socrates makes the women common, aand retains private property, the men will see to the fields, butJowett1885v1: 24 who will see to the house?e And what will happen if the agricultural class have both their property and their wives in commone? Once more; it is absurd to argue, from the analogy of the animals, that men and women should follow the same pursuitsf; for animals have not to manage a household. The government, too, as constitutedJowett1885v1: 25 by Socrates, contains elements of danger; for he makes the same persons always rule. And if this is often a cause of disturbance among the meaner sort, how much more among high-spirited warriors? ButJowett1885v1: 26 that the persons whom he makes rulers must be the same is evident; for the gold which the God mingles in the souls of men is not at one time given to one, at another time to another, but always to the same: as he Edition: current; Page: [38]says, ‘God mingles gold in some, and silver in others, from their very birth; but brass and iron in those who are meant to be artisans and husbandmena.’ Again, heJowett1885v1: 27 deprives the guardians of happiness, and says that the legislator ought to make the whole state happyb. But the whole cannot be happy unless most, or all, or some of its parts enjoy happinessc. In this respect happiness is not like the even principle in numbers, which may exist only in the whole, but in none of the parts; not so happiness. And if the guardians are not happy, whoJowett1885v1: 28 are? Surely not the artisans, or the common people. The Republic of which Socrates discourses has all these difficulties, and others quite as great.

The Laws a later work. Brief summary of questions not settled in the Republic, and they are not settled in the Laws, which 1265 a. begins with a more ordinary type of constitution, but soon reverts to the ideal.

The same, or nearly the same, objections apply toJowett1885v1: II. 6. Plato’s later work, the Laws, and therefore we had better examine briefly the constitution which is therein described. In the Republic, Socrates has definitely settled in all a few questions only; such as the community of women and children, the community of property, and the constitution of the state. The population is dividedJowett1885v1: 2 into two classes—one of husbandmen, and the other of warriors; from this latter is taken a third class of counsellors and rulers of the state. But Socrates has notJowett1885v1: 3 determined whether the husbandmen and artisans are to have a share in the government, and whether they, too, are to carry arms and share in military service, or not. He certainly thinks that the women ought to share in the education of the guardians, and to fight by their side. The remainder of the work is filled up with digressions foreign to the main subject, and with discussions about the education of the guardians. In the Laws there is hardly anything but laws; not much is saidJowett1885v1: 4 about the constitution. This, which he had intended to make more of the ordinary type, he gradually brings round to the other or ideal form. For with the exceptionJowett1885v1: 5 of the community of women and property, he supposes everything to be the same in both states; there is to be the Edition: current; Page: [39]same education; the citizens of both are to live free from servile occupations, and there are to be common meals in both. The only difference is that in the Laws, the common meals are extended to womena, and the warriors number about 5000b, but in the Republic only 1000c.

Plato, with all his genius, has sinned against probability in creating so large a state.

The discourses of Socrates are never commonplace;Jowett1885v1: 6 they always exhibit grace and originality and thought; but perfection in everything can hardly be expected. We must not overlook the fact that the number of 5000 citizens, just now mentioned, will require a territory as large as Babylonia, or some other huge country, if so many persons are to be supported in idleness, together with their women and attendants, who will be a multitude many times as great. [In framing an ideal] we mayJowett1885v1: 7 assume what we wish, but should avoid impossibilitiesd.

Foreign relations neglected.

It is said [in the Laws] that the legislator ought to have his eye directed to two points,—the people and the countrye. But neighbouring countries also must not be forgotten by himf, if the state for which he legislates is to have a true political lifeg. For a state must have such a military force as will be serviceable against her neighbours, and not merely useful at home. Even if theJowett1885v1: 8 life of action is not admitted to be the best, either for individuals or statesh, still a city should be formidable to enemies, whether invading or retreating.

How much property should a citizen hold? So much as will enable a man to live temperately and also liberally. Necessity of a limit to population. 1265 b.

There is another point: Should not the amount of property be defined in some clearer way? For Socrates says that a man should have so much property as will enable him to live temperatelyi, which is only a way of saying ‘to live well;’ this would be the higher or more general conception. But a man may live temperatelyJowett1885v1: 9 and yet miserably. A better definition would be that a man must have so much property as will enable him to live not only temperately but liberallyj; if the Edition: current; Page: [40]two are parted, liberality will combine with luxury; toil will be associated with temperance. For liberality and temperance are the only virtuesa which have to do with the use of property. A man cannot use property with mildness or courage, but temperately and liberally he may; and therefore the practice of these virtues is inseparable from property. There is an inconsistency,Jowett1885v1: 10 too, in equalizing the property and not regulating the number of the citizensb; the population is to remain unlimited, and he thinks that it will be sufficiently equalized by a certain number of marriages being unfruitful, however many are born to others, because he finds this to be the case in existing states. But [inJowett1885v1: 11 Plato’s imaginary state] greater care will be required than now; for among ourselves, whatever may be the number of citizens, the property is always distributed among them, and therefore no one is in want; but, if the property were incapable of division [as in the Laws], the supernumeraries, whether few or many, would get nothing. One would have thought that it was evenJowett1885v1: 12 more necessary to limit population than property; and that the limit should be fixed by calculating the chances of mortality in the children, and of sterility in married persons. The neglect of this subject, which in existingJowett1885v1: 13 states is so common, is a never-failing cause of poverty among the citizens; and poverty is the parent of revolution and crime. Pheidon the Corinthian, who was one of the most ancient legislators, thought that the families and the number of citizens ought to remain the same, although originally all the lots may have been of different sizes; but in the Laws, the opposite principle is maintained. What in our opinion is the right arrangementJowett1885v1: 14 will have to be explained hereafterc.

How do the rulers differ from their subjects? The two households.

There is another omission in the Laws; Socrates does Edition: current; Page: [41]not tell us how the rulers differ from their subjects; he only says that they should be related as the warp and the woof, which are made out of different woolsa. HeJowett1885v1: 15 allows that a man’s whole property may be increased five-foldb, but why should not his land also increase to a certain extent? Again, will the good management of a household be promoted by his arrangement of homesteads? for he assigns to each individual two homesteads in separate placesc, and it is difficult to live in two houses.Jowett1885v1: 16

1266 a. The constitution a mixture of democracy and oilgarchy. Sparta, also a mixture, is praised and blamed. The best constitution is said to be that which includes most elements. Election of magistrates. Election to the Council. Danger in double election.

The whole system of government tends to be neither democracy nor oligarchy, but something in a mean between them, which is usually called a polity, and is composed of the heavy armed soldiers. Now, if he intended to frame a constitution which would suit the greatest number of states, he was very likely right, but not if he meant to say that this constitutional form came nearest to his first or ideal state; for many would prefer the Lacedaemonian, or, possibly, some other more aristocratic government. Some, indeed, say that the bestJowett1885v1: 17 constitution is a combination of all existing forms, and they praise the Lacedaemoniand because it is made up of oligarchy, monarchy, and democracy, the king forming the monarchy, and the council of elders the oligarchy, while the democratic element is represented by the Ephors; for the Ephors are selected from the people. Others, however, declare the Ephoralty to be a tyranny, and find the element of democracy in the common meals and in the habits of daily life. In the Lawse, it isJowett1885v1: 18 maintained that the best state is made up of democracy and tyranny, which are either not constitutions at all, or are the worst of all. But they are nearer the truth who combine many forms; for the state is better which is made up of more numerous elements. The constitution proposed in the Laws has no element of monarchy at all; it is nothing but oligarchy and democracy, leaning Edition: current; Page: [42]rather to oligarchy. This is seen in the mode of appointingJowett1885v1: 19 magistratesa; for although the appointment of them by lot from among those who have been already selected combines both elements, the way in which the rich are compelled by law to attend the assemblyb and vote for magistrates or discharge other political duties, while the rest may do as they like, and the endeavour to have the greater number of the magistrates appointed out of the richest classes and the highest officers selected from those who have the greatest incomes, both these are oligarchical features. The oligarchical principle prevailsJowett1885v1: 20 also in the choice of the councilc; for all are compelled to choose, but the compulsion extends only to the choice out of the first class, and of an equal number out of the second class and out of the third class, but not in this latter case to all the voters of the third and fourth class; and the selection of candidates out of the fourth classd is only compulsory on the first and second. Then, he says that there ought to be an equal numberJowett1885v1: 21 of each class selected. Thus a preponderance will be given to the better sort of people, who have the larger incomes, because many of the lower classes, not being compelled, will not vote. These considerations, andJowett1885v1: 22 others which will be adduced when the time comes for examining similar polities, tend to show that states like Plato’s should not be composed of democracy and monarchy. There is also a danger in electing the magistrates out of a body who are themselves elected; for, if but a small number choose to combine, the elections will always go as they desire. Such is the constitution which is described in the Laws.

1266 b. Phaleas first proposed the equalization of property.

Other constitutions have been proposed; some byJowett1885v1: II. 7. private persons, others by philosophers and statesmen, which all come nearer to established or existing ones than either of Plato’s. No one else has introduced such novelties as the community of women and children, or Edition: current; Page: [43]public tables for women: other legislators begin with what is necessary. In the opinion of some, the regulationJowett1885v1: 2 of property is the chief point of all, that being the question upon which all revolutions turn. This danger was recognized by Phaleas of Chalcedon, who was the first to affirm that the citizens of a state ought to have equal possessions. He thought that inJowett1885v1: 3 a new colony the equalization might be accomplished without difficulty, not so easily when a state was already established; and that then the shortest way of compassing the desired end would be for the rich to give and not to receive marriage portions, and for the poor not to give but to receive them.

But population must be equalized as well as property. The acquisition or sale of land should be limited. Evils arise not merely from inequality of property but from inequality of honour 1267 a.

Plato in the Laws was of opinion that, to a certainJowett1885v1: 4 extent, accumulation should be allowed, forbidding, as I have already observeda, any citizen to possess more than five times the minimum qualification. But thoseJowett1885v1: 5 who make such laws should remember what they are apt to forget,—that the legislator who fixes the amount of property should also fix the number of children; for, if the children are too many for the property, the law must be broken. And, besides the violation of the law, it is a bad thing that many from being rich should become poor; for men of ruined fortunes are sure to stir up revolutions. That the equalization of propertyJowett1885v1: 6 exercises an influence on political society was clearly understood even by some of the old legislators. Laws were made by Solon and others prohibiting an individual from possessing as much land as he pleased; and there are other laws in states which forbid the sale of property: among the Locrians, for example, there is a law that a man is not to sell his property unless he can prove unmistakably that some misfortune has befallen him. Again, there have been laws which enjoin the preservationJowett1885v1: 7 of the original lots. Such a law existed in the island of Leucas, and the abrogation of it made the constitution too democratic, for the rulers no longer had the Edition: current; Page: [44]prescribed qualification. Again, where there is equality of property, the amount may be either too large or too small, and the possessor may be living either in luxury or penury. Clearly, then, the legislator ought not only to aim at the equalization of properties, but at moderation in their amount. And yet, if he prescribe this moderateJowett1885v1: 8 amount equally to all, he will be no nearer the mark; for it is not the possessions but the desires of mankind which require to be equalizeda, and this is impossible, unless a sufficient education is provided by the state. But Phaleas will probably reply that this is precisely what he means; and that, in his opinion, there ought to be in states, not only equal property, but equal education. Still he should tell us what will be the character of hisJowett1885v1: 9 education; there is no use in having one and the same for all, if it is of a sort that predisposes men to avarice, or ambition, or both. Moreover, civil troubles arise, notJowett1885v1: 10 only out of the inequality of property, but out of the inequality of honour, though in opposite ways. For the common people quarrel about the inequality of property, the higher class about the equality of honour; as the poet says,—

‘The bad and good alike in honour shareb.’

and from the desires of men.

There are crimes of which the motive is want; andJowett1885v1: 11 for these Phaleas expects to find a cure in the equalization of property, which will take away from a man the temptation to be a highwayman, because he is hungry or cold. But want is not the sole incentive to crime; menJowett1885v1: 12 desire to gratify some passion which preys upon them, or they are eager to enjoy the pleasures which are unaccompanied with pain, and therefore they commit crimes.

The real cure moral.

Now what is the cure of these three disorders? Of the first, moderate possessions and occupation; of the second, habits of temperance; as to the third, if any desire pleasures which depend on themselves, they will find the satisfaction of their desires nowhere but in philosophy; for all other pleasures we are dependent Edition: current; Page: [45]on others. The fact is that the greatest crimes areJowett1885v1: 13 caused by excess and not by necessity. Men do not become tyrants in order that they may not suffer cold; and hence great is the honour bestowed, not on him who kills a thief, but on him who kills a tyrant. Thus we see that the institutions of Phaleas avail only against petty crimes.

Foreign relations not considered.

There is another objection to them. They are chieflyJowett1885v1: 14 designed to promote the internal welfare of the state. But the legislator should consider also its relation to neighbouring nations, and to all who are outside of ita. The government must be organized with a view to military strength; and of this he has said not a word. And so with respect to property: there should not onlyJowett1885v1: 15 be enough to supply the internal wants of the state, but also to meet dangers coming from without. The property of the state should not be so large that more powerful neighbours may be tempted by it, while the owners are unable to repel the invaders; nor yet so small that the state is unable to maintain a war even against states of equal power, and of the same character. PhaleasJowett1885v1: 16 has not laid down any rule; and we should bear in mindb that a certain amount of wealthb is an advantage. The best limit will probably be, not so much as will tempt a more powerful neighbour, or make it his interest to go to war with you. There is a story that Eubulus, whenJowett1885v1: 17 Autophradates was going to besiege Atarneus, told him to consider how long the operation would take, and then reckon up the cost which would be incurred in the time. ‘For,’ said he, ‘I am willing for a smaller sum than that to leave Atarneus at once.’ These words of Eubulus made an impression on Autophradates, and he desisted from the siege.

Equal property has some advantages, but they are not great. 1267 b.

One advantage gained by the equalization of propertyJowett1885v1: 18 is that it prevents the citizens from quarrelling. Not that the gain in this direction is very great. For the nobles will be dissatisfied because they do not receive Edition: current; Page: [46]the honours which they think their due; and this is often found to be a cause of sedition and revolutiona. And the avarice of mankind is insatiable; at one timeJowett1885v1: 19 two obols was pay enough; but now, when this sum has become customary, men always want more and more without end; for it is of the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most men live only for the gratification of it. bbThe beginning of reformb is not so much toJowett1885v1: 20 equalize property as to train the nobler sort of natures not to desire more, and to prevent the lower from getting more; that is to say, they must be kept down, but not ill-treated. Besides, the equalization proposed by PhaleasJowett1885v1: 21 is imperfect; for he only equalizes land, whereas a man may be rich also in slaves, and cattle, and money, and in the abundance of what are called his moveables. Now either all these things must be equalized, or some limit must be imposed on them, or they must all be let alone. It would appear that Phaleas is legislating forJowett1885v1: 22 a small city only, if, as he supposes, all the artisans are to be public slaves and not to form a part of the population of the city. But if there is a law that artisansJowett1885v1: 23 are to be public slaves, it should only apply to those engaged on public worksc, as at Epidamnus, or at Athens on the plan which Diophantus once introduced.

From these observations any one may judge how far Phaleas was wrong or right in his ideas.

Hippodamus the first political philosopher.

Hippodamus, the son of Euryphon, a native of Miletus,Jowett1885v1: II. 8. the same who invented the art of planning cities, and who also laid out the Piraeus,—a strange man, whose fondness for distinction led him into a general eccentricity of life, which made some think him affected (for he would wear flowing hair and expensive ornaments; and yet he dressed himself in the same cheap warm garment both in winter and summer); he, besides Edition: current; Page: [47]aspiring to be an adept in the knowledge of nature, was the first person not a statesman who made enquiries about the best form of government.

1268 a. His three-fold division of the citizens, of the land, and of the laws. Court of appeal. Verdicts not to be limited to a simple ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty.’ Rewards for inventions. Maintenance of children of citizens slain in battle. Magistrates, how to be elected:

The city of Hippodamus was composed of 10,000Jowett1885v1: 2 citizens divided into three parts,—one of artisans, one of husbandmen, and a third of armed defenders of the state. He also divided the land into three parts, oneJowett1885v1: 3 sacred, one public, the third private:—the first was set apart to maintain the customary worship of the gods, the second was to support the warriors, the third was the property of the husbandmen. He also divided his lawsJowett1885v1: 4 into three classes, and no more, for he maintained that there are three subjects of lawsuits,—insult, injury, and homicide. He likewise instituted a single final court of appeal, to which all causes seeming to have been improperly decided might be referred; this court he formed of elders chosen for the purpose. He was further ofJowett1885v1: 5 opinion that the decisions of the courts ought not to be given by the use of a voting pebble, but that every one should have a tablet on which he might not only write a simple condemnation, or leave the tablet blank for a simple acquittal; but, if he partly acquitted and partly condemned, he was to distinguish accordingly. To the existing law he objected that it obliged the judges to be guilty of perjury, whichever way they voted. He alsoJowett1885v1: 6 enacted that those who discovered anything for the good of the state should be rewarded; and he provided that the children of citizens who died in battle should be maintained at the public expense, as if such an enactment had never been heard of before, yet it actually exists at Athensa and in other places. As to the magistrates,Jowett1885v1: 7 he would have them all elected by the people, that is, by the three classes already mentioned, and those who were elected were to watch over the interests of the public, of strangers, and of orphans. These are the most striking points in the constitution of Hippodamus. There is not much else.

Edition: current; Page: [48]
(1) Threefold division of the citizens criticised. 1268 b.

The first of these proposals to which objection may be taken, is the threefold division of the citizens. TheJowett1885v1: 8 artisans, and the husbandmen, and the warriors, all have a share in the government. But the husbandmen have no arms, and the artisans neither arms nor land, and therefore they become all but slaves of the warrior class. That they should share in all the offices is an impossibility;Jowett1885v1: 9 for generals and guardians of the citizens, and nearly all the principal magistrates, must be taken from the class of those who carry arms. Yet, if the two other classes have no share in the government, how can they be loyal citizens? It may be said that those who have arms must necessarily be masters of both the other classes, but this is not so easily accomplished unless they are numerous; and if they are, why should theJowett1885v1: 10 other classes share in the government at all, or have power to appoint magistrates? Artisans there must be, for these are wanted in every city, and they can live by their craft, as elsewhere; and the husbandmen, too, if they really provided the warriors with food, might fairly have a share in the government. But in the republic of Hippodamus they are supposed to have land of their own, which they cultivate for their private benefit. Again, asJowett1885v1: 11 to this common land out of which the soldiers are maintained, if they are themselves to be the cultivators of it, the warrior class will be identical with the husbandmen, although the legislator intended to make a distinction between them. If, again, there are to be other cultivators distinct both from the husbandmen, who have land of their own, and from the warriors, they will make a fourth class, which has no place in the state and no share in anything. Or, if the same persons are to cultivateJowett1885v1: 12 their own lands and those of the public as well, they will have a difficulty in supplying the quantity of produce which will maintain two households: and why, in this case, should there be any division, for they might find food themselves and give to the warriors from the same lots? There is surely a great confusion in all this.

Edition: current; Page: [49]
(2) Proposed verdict in detail condemned.

Neither is the law to be commended which says thatJowett1885v1: 13 the judges, when a simple issue is laid before them, should distinguish in their judgment; for the judge is thus converted into an arbitrator. Now, in an arbitration, although the arbitrators are many, they confer with one another about the decision, and therefore they can distinguish; but in courts of law this is impossible, and, indeed, most legislators take pains to prevent the judges from holding any communication with one another. Again, will there not be confusion if the judge thinks thatJowett1885v1: 14 damages should be given, but not so much as the suitor demands? He asks, say, for twenty minae, and the judge allows him ten minae, or one judge more and another less; one five, another four minae. In this way they will go on apportioning the damages, and some will grant the whole and others nothing: how is the final reckoningJowett1885v1: 15 to be taken? Again, no one who votes for a simple acquittal or condemnation is compelled to perjure himself, if the indictment is quite simple and in right form; for the judge who acquits does not decide that the defendant owes nothing, but that he does not owe the twenty minae. He only is guilty of perjury who thinks that the defendant ought not to pay twenty minae, and yet condemns him.

(3) To reward political information dangerous. Should laws be changed at all? Changes in the arts beneficial, but the case of laws is not quite analogous to that of the arts. 1269

To reward those who discover anything which is usefulJowett1885v1: 16 to the state is a proposal which has a specious sound, but cannot safely be enacted by law, for it may encourage informers, and perhaps even lead to political commotions. This question involves another. It has been doubted whether it is or is not expedient to make any changes in the laws of a country, even if another law be better. Now,Jowett1885v1: 17 if all changes are inexpedient, we can hardly assent to the proposal of Hippodamus; for, under pretence of doing a public service, a man may introduce measures which are really destructive to the laws or to the constitution. But, since we have touched upon this subject, perhaps we had better go a little into detail, for, as I was saying, thereJowett1885v1: 18 is a difference of opinion, and it may sometimes seem desirable Edition: current; Page: [50]to make changes. Such changes in the other arts and sciences have certainly been beneficial; medicine, for example, and gymnastic, and every other art and science have departed from traditional usage. And, if politics be an art, change must be necessary in this as in any other art. The need of improvement is shown by the factJowett1885v1: 19 that old customs are exceedingly simple and barbarous. For the ancient Hellenes went about armeda and bought their wives of each other. The remains of ancient lawsJowett1885v1: 20 which have come down to us are quite absurd; for example, at Cumae there is a law about murder, to the effect that if the accuser produce a certain number of witnesses from among his own kinsmen, the accused shall be held guilty. Again, men in general desire the good,Jowett1885v1: 21 and not merely what their fathers had. But the primeval inhabitantsb, whether they were born of the earth or were the survivors of some destruction, may be supposed to have been no better than ordinary foolish people among ourselvesb (such is certainly the traditionc concerning the earth-born men); and it would be ridiculous to rest contented with their notions. Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered. As in other sciences, so in politics, it is impossibleJowett1885v1: 22 that all things should be precisely set down in writing; for enactments must be universal, but actions are concerned with particularsd. Hence we infer that sometimes and in certain cases laws may be changed; but when we look at the matter from another point of view, great caution would seem to be required. ForJowett1885v1: 23 the habit of lightly changing the laws is an evil, and, when the advantage is small, some errors both of law-givers and rulers had better be left; the citizen will not Edition: current; Page: [51]gain so much by the change as he will lose by the habit of disobedience. The analogy of the arts is false; aJowett1885v1: 24 change in a law is a very different thing from a change in an art. For the law has no power to command obedience except that of habit, which can only be given by time, so that a readiness to change from old to new laws enfeebles the power of the law. Even if we admit that theJowett1885v1: 25 laws are to be changed, are they all to be changed, and in every state? And are they to be changed by anybody who likes, or only by certain persons? These are very important questions; and therefore we had better reserve the discussion of them to a more suitable occasion.

1269 b. Two questions to be asked about governments: (1) Is the end which they propose good? and (2) do they fulfil it? Defects of Lacedaemonian state. (1) The Helots a constant trouble.

In the governments of Lacedaemon and Crete, andJowett1885v1: II. 9. indeed in all governments, two points have to be considered; first, whether any particular law is good or bad, when compared with the perfect state; secondly, whether it is or is not consistent with the idea and character which the lawgiver has set before his citizensa. That inJowett1885v1: 2 a well-ordered state the citizens should have leisure and not have to provide for their daily wants is generally acknowledged, but there is a difficulty in seeing how this leisure is to be attained. [For, if you employ slaves, they are liable to rebel.] The Thessalian Penestae have often risen against their masters, and the Helots in like manner against the Lacedaemonians, for whose misfortunes they are always lying in wait. Nothing,Jowett1885v1: 3 however, of this kind has as yet happened to the Cretans; the reason probably is that the neighbouring cities, even when at war with one another, never form an alliance with rebellious serfs, rebellions not being for their interest, since they themselves have a dependent populationb. Whereas all the neighbours of the Lacedaemonians, whether Argives, Messenians, or Arcadians, are their enemies [and the Helots are always revolting to them]. In Thessaly, again, the original revolt of the slaves occurred at a time when the Thessalians were still at war with the neighbouring Achaeans, Perrhaebians, and Edition: current; Page: [52]Magnesians. Besides, if there were no other difficulty,Jowett1885v1: 4 the treatment or management of slaves is a troublesome affair; for, if not kept in hand, they are insolent, and think that they are as good as their masters, and, if harshly treated, they hate and conspire against them. Now it is clear that when these are the results the citizens of a state have not found out the secret of managing their subject population.

(2) The women: their disorder and pernicious influence. 1270 a. The licence allowed to them fosters avarice.

Again, the licence of the Lacedaemonian women defeatsJowett1885v1: 5 the intention of the Spartan constitution, and is adverse to the good order of the state. For a husband and a wife, being each a part of every family, the state may be considered as about equally divided into men and women; and, therefore, in those states in which the condition of the women is bad, half the citya may be regarded as having no laws. And this is what hasJowett1885v1: 6 actually happened at Sparta; the legislator wanted to make the whole state hardy and temperate, and he has carried out his intention in the case of the men, but he has neglected the women, who live in every sort of intemperance and luxury. The consequence is that inJowett1885v1: 7 such a state wealth is too highly valued, especially if the citizens fall under the dominion of their wives, after the manner of all warlike races, except the Celts and a few others who openly approve of male loves. The oldJowett1885v1: 8 mythologer would seem to have been right in uniting Ares and Aphrodite, for all warlike races are prone to the love either of men or of women. This was exemplified among the Spartans in the days of their greatness; many things were managed by their women. But whatJowett1885v1: 9 difference does it make whether women rule, or the rulers are ruled by women? The result is the same. Even in regard to courage, which is of no use in daily life, and is needed only in war, the influence of the Lacedaemonian women has been most mischievous. The evil showedJowett1885v1: 10 itself in the Theban invasion, when, unlike the women in Edition: current; Page: [53]other cities, they were utterly useless and caused more confusion than the enemy. This licence of the Lacedaemonian women existed from the earliest times, and was only what might be expected. For, during the wars ofJowett1885v1: 11 the Lacedaemonians, first against the Argives, and afterwards against the Arcadians and Messenians, the men were long away from home, and, on the return of peace, they gave themselves into the legislator’s hand, already prepared by the discipline of a soldier’s life (in which there are many elements of virtue), to receive his enactments. But, when Lycurgus, as tradition says, wanted to bring the women under his laws, they resisted, and he gave up the attempt. They, and not he, are to blame forJowett1885v1: 12 what then happened, and this defect in the constitution is clearly to be attributed to them. We are not, however, considering what is or is not to be excused, but what is right or wrong, and the disorder of the women, as I haveJowett1885v1: 13 already said, not only of itself gives an air of indecorum to the state, but tends in a measure to foster avarice.

(3) Accumulation of property in a few hands; an evil aggravated by the number of heiresses. ‘Thus wealth accumulates and men decay.’ 1270 b.

The mention of avarice naturally suggests a criticism on the inequality of property. While some of theJowett1885v1: 14 Spartan citizens have quite small properties, others have very large ones; hence the land has passed into the hands of a few. And here is another fault in their laws; for, although the legislator rightly holds up to shame the sale or purchase of an inheritance, he allows any body who likes to give and bequeath it. Yet both practices lead to the same result. And nearly two-fifths of theJowett1885v1: 15 whole country are held by women; this is owing to the number of heiresses and to the large dowries which are customary. It would surely have been better to have given no dowries at all, or, if any, but small or moderate ones. As the law now stands, a man may bestow his heiress on any one whom he pleases, and, if he die intestate, the privilege of giving her away descends to his heir. Hence, although the country is able toJowett1885v1: 16 maintain 1500 cavalry and 30,000 hoplites, the whole number of Spartan citizens [at the time of the Theban Edition: current; Page: [54]invasion] fell below 1000. The result proves the faulty nature of their laws respecting property; for the city sank under a single defeat; the want of men was their ruin. There is a tradition that, in the days of theirJowett1885v1: 17 ancient kings, they were in the habit of giving the rights of citizenship to strangers, and therefore, in spite of their long wars, no lack of population was experienced by them; indeed, at one time Sparta is said to have numbered not less than 10,000 citizens. Whether this statement is true or not, it would certainly have been better to have maintained their numbers by the equalization of property. Again, the law which relates to the procreationJowett1885v1: 18 of children is adverse to the correction of this inequality. For the legislator, wanting to have as many Spartans as he could, encouraged the citizens to have large families; and there is a law at Sparta that the father of three sons shall be exempt from military service, and he who has four from all the burdens of the state. Yet it is obvious that,Jowett1885v1: 19 if there were many children, the land being distributed as it is, many of them must necessarily fall into poverty.

(4) The Ephors chosen from the people and often corrupt; they have too much power. Yet the office keeps the state together. Childish mode of electing them. They are above the laws.

The Lacedaemonian constitution is defective in another point; I mean the Ephoralty. This magistracy has authority in the highest matters, but the Ephors are all chosen from the people, and so the office is apt to fall into the hands of very poor men, who, being badly off, are open to bribes. There have been many examples atJowett1885v1: 20 Sparta of this evil in former times; and quite recently, in the matter of the Andrians, certain of the Ephors who were bribed did their best to ruin the state. And so great and tyrannical is their power, that even the kings have been compelled to court them; through their influence the constitution has deteriorated, and from being an aristocracy has turned into a democracy. TheJowett1885v1: 21 Ephoralty certainly does keep the state together; for the people are contented when they have a share in the highest office, and the result, whether due to the legislator or to chance, has been advantageous. For if aJowett1885v1: 22 constitution is to be permanent, all the parts of the state Edition: current; Page: [55]must wish that it should exist and be maintaineda. This is the case at Sparta, where the kings desire permanence because they have due honour in their own persons; the nobles are represented in the council of elders (for the office of elder is a reward of virtue); and the people in the Ephoralty, for all are eligible to it. The election ofJowett1885v1: 23 Ephors out of the whole people is perfectly right, but ought not to be carried on in the present fashion, which is too childish. Again, they have the decision of great causes, although they are quite ordinary men, and therefore they should not determine them merely on their own judgment, but according to written rules, and to the laws. Their way of life, too, is not in accordance with the spiritJowett1885v1: 24 of the constitution—they have a deal too much licence; whereas, in the case of the other citizens, the excess of strictness is so intolerable that they run away from the law into the secret indulgence of sensual pleasures.

1271 a. (5) Council of elders. Life tenure of judges bad. The elders corrupt and imperfectly controlled. Childish mode of electing them.

Again, the council of elders is not free from defects. It may be said that the elders are good men and wellJowett1885v1: 25 trained in manly virtue; and that, therefore, there is an advantage to the state in having them. But that judges of important causes should hold office for life is not a good thing, for the mind grows old as well as the body. And when men have been educated in such a manner that even the legislator himself cannot trust them, there is real danger. Many of the elders are well known toJowett1885v1: 26 have taken bribes and to have been guilty of partiality in public affairs. And therefore they ought not to be irresponsible; yet at Sparta they are so. But (it may be replied), ‘All magistracies are accountable to the Ephors.’ Yes, but this prerogative is too great for them, and we maintain that the control should be exercised in some other manner. Further, the mode in which theJowett1885v1: 27 Spartans elect their elders is childish; and it is improper thatb the person to be elected should canvass Edition: current; Page: [56]for the office; the worthiest should be appointed, whether he chooses or not. And here the legislator clearly indicatesJowett1885v1: 28 the same intention which appears in other parts of his constitution; he would have his citizens ambitious, and he has reckoned upon this quality in the election of the elders; for no one would ask to be elected if he were not. Yet ambition and avarice, almost more than any other passions, are the motives of crime.

(6) Mistrust of the kings. They should be appointed by merit.

Whether kings are or are not an advantage to states,Jowett1885v1: 29 I will consider at another timea; they should at any rate be chosen, not as they are now, but with regard to their personal life and conduct. The legislator himself obviouslyJowett1885v1: 30 did not suppose that he could make them really good men; at least he shows a great distrust of their virtue. For this reason the Spartans used to join enemies in the same embassy, and the quarrels between the kings were held to be conservative of the state.

(7) The common meals ill arranged.

Neither did the first introducer of the common meals, called ‘phiditia,’ regulate them well. The entertainmentJowett1885v1: 31 ought to have been provided at the public cost, as in Creteb; but among the Lacedaemonians every one is expected to contribute, and some of them are too poor to afford the expense; thus the intention of the legislator is frustrated. The common meals were meant to be aJowett1885v1: 32 popular institution, but the existing manner of regulating them is the reverse of popular. For the very poor can scarcely take part in them; and, according to ancient custom, those who cannot contribute are not allowed to retain their rights of citizenship.

(8) The admiral another king.

The law about the Spartan admirals has often beenJowett1885v1: 33 censured, and with justice; it is a source of dissension, for the kings are perpetual generalsc, and this office of admiral is but the setting up of another king.

(9) The end of Spartan legislation a part of virtue only. 1271 b.

The charge which Plato brings, in the Lawsd, against the intention of the legislator, is likewise justified; theJowett1885v1: 34 whole constitution has regard to one part of virtue only,—the Edition: current; Page: [57]virtue of the soldier, which gives victory in war. And so long as they were at war, their power was preserved, but when they had attained empire they fella, for of the arts of peace they knew nothing, and had never engaged in any employment higher than war. There isJowett1885v1: 35 another error, equally great, into which they have fallen. Although they truly think that the goods for which they contend are to be acquired by virtue rather than by vice, they err in supposing that these goods are to be preferred to the virtue which gains them.

(10)Finance. Impatience of taxes and laxity in collecting them.

Once more: the revenues of the state are ill-managed;Jowett1885v1: 36 there is no money in the treasury, although they are obliged to carry on great wars, and they are unwilling to pay taxes. The greater part of the land being in the hands of the Spartans, they do not look closely into one another’s contributions. The result which the legislatorJowett1885v1: 37 has produced is the reverse of beneficial; for he has made his city poor, and his citizens greedy.

Enough respecting the Spartan constitution, of which these are the principal defects.

Cretan institutions older than Spartan.

The Cretan constitution nearly resembles the Spartan,Jowett1885v1: II. 10. and in some few points is quite as good; but for the most part less perfect in form. The older constitutions are generally less elaborate than the later, and the Lacedaemonian is said to be, and probably is, in a very great measure, a copy of the Cretan. According to tradition,Jowett1885v1: 2 Lycurgus, when he ceased to be the guardian of King Charilaus, went abroad and spent a long time in Crete. For the two countries are nearly connected; the Lyctians are a colony of the Lacedaemonians, and the colonists, when they came to Crete, adopted the constitution which they found existing among the inhabitants. Even toJowett1885v1: 3 this day the Perioeci, or subject population of Crete, are governed by the original laws which Minos enacted. The island seems to be intended by nature for dominion in Hellas, and to be well situated; it extends right across Edition: current; Page: [58]the sea, around which nearly all the Hellenes are settled; and while one end is not far from the Peloponnese, the other almost reaches to the region of Asia about Triopium and Rhodes. Hence Minos acquired theJowett1885v1: 4 empire of the sea, subduing some of the islands and colonizing others; at last he invaded Sicily, where he died near Camicus.

Cretan and Spartan institutions compared. 1272 a.

The Cretan institutions resemble the Lacedaemonian. The Helots are the husbandmen of the one, the PerioeciJowett1885v1: 5 of the other, and both Cretans and Lacedaemonians have common meals, which were anciently called by the Lacedaemonians not ‘phiditia’ but ‘andria;’ and the Cretans have the same word, the use of which proves that the common meals [or syssitia] originally came from Crete. Further, the two constitutions are similar [in many particulars];Jowett1885v1: 6 for the office of the Ephors is the same as that of the Cretan Cosmi, the only difference being that whereas the Ephors are five, the Cosmi are ten in number. The elders, too, answer to the elders in Crete, who are termed by the Cretans the council. And the kingly office once existed in Crete, but was abolished, and the Cosmi have now the duty of leading them in war. All classes share in the ecclesia, but it can onlyJowett1885v1: 7 ratify the decrees of the elders and the Cosmi.

The Cretan common meals better managed than the Spartan.

The common meals of Crete are certainly better managed than the Lacedaemonian; for in Lacedaemon every one pays so much per head, or, if he fails, the law, as I have already explained, forbids him to exercise the rights of citizenship. But in Crete they are of a moreJowett1885v1: 8 popular character. There, of all the fruits of the earth, of cattle, of the public revenues, and of the tribute which is paid by the Perioeci, one portion is assigned to the gods and to the service of the state, and another to the common meals, so that men, women, and children are all supported out of a common stocka. The legislator hasJowett1885v1: 9 many ingenious ways of securing moderation in eating which he conceives to be a gain; he likewise encourages Edition: current; Page: [59]the separation of men from women, lest they should have too many children, and the companionship of men with one another—whether this is a good or bad thing I shall have an opportunity of considering at another timea. But that the Cretan common meals are better ordered than the Lacedaemonian there can be no doubt.

But the Cosmi a worse institution than the Ephors.

On the other hand, the Cosmi are even a worse institution than the Ephors, of which they have all the evilsJowett1885v1: 10 without the good. Like the Ephors, they are any chance persons, but in Crete this is not counterbalanced by a corresponding political advantage. At Sparta every one is eligible, and the body of the people, having a share in the highest office, want the state to be permanentb. But in Crete the Cosmi are elected out of certain families, and not out of the whole people, and the elders out of those who have been Cosmi.

1272 b. The elders.

The same criticism may be made about the Cretan,Jowett1885v1: 11 which has been already made about the Lacedaemonian elders. Their irresponsibility and life tenure is too great a privilege, and their arbitrary power of acting upon their own judgment, and dispensing with written law, is dangerous. It is no proof of the goodness of the institutionJowett1885v1: 12 that the people are not discontented at being excluded from it. For there is no profit to be made out of the office; and, unlike the Ephors, the Cosmi, being in an island, are removed from temptation.

Injudicious remedies of political evils.

The remedy by which they correct the evil of this institutionJowett1885v1: 13 is an extraordinary one, suited rather to a close oligarchy than to a constitutional state. For the Cosmi are often expelled by a conspiracy of their own colleagues, or of private individuals; and they are allowed also to resign before their term of office has expired. Surely all matters of this kind are better regulated by law than by the will of man, which is a very unsafe rule. Worst of all is the suspension of the office of Cosmi, aJowett1885v1: 14 device to which the nobles often have recourse when they will not submit to justice. This shows that the Cretan Edition: current; Page: [60]government, although possessing some of the characteristics of a constitutional state, is really a close oligarchy.

Crete saved from revolution by her insular position.

The Cretans have a habit, too, of setting up a chief; they get together a party among the common people and gather their friends and then quarrel and fight with one another. What is this but the temporary destructionJowett1885v1: 15 of the state and dissolution of society? A city is in a dangerous condition when those who are willing are also able to attack her. But, as I have already said, the island of Crete is saved by her situation; distance has the same effect as the Lacedaemonian prohibition of strangers; and the Cretans have no foreign dominions.Jowett1885v1: 16 This is the reason why the Perioeci are contented in Crete, whereas the Helots are perpetually revolting. But when lately foreign invaders found their way into the island, the weakness of the Cretan constitution was revealed. Enough of the government of Crete.

Merits of Carthaginian institutions:

The Carthaginians are also considered to have an excellentJowett1885v1: II. 11. form of government, which differs from that of any other state in several respects, though it is in some very like the Lacedaemonian. Indeed, all three states—the Lacedaemonian, the Cretan, and the Carthaginian—nearly resemble one another, and are very different from any others. Many of the Carthaginian institutions are excellent. The superiority of their constitution is proved byJowett1885v1: 2 the fact that, although containing an element of democracy, it has been lasting; the Carthaginians have never had any rebellion worth speaking of, and have never been under the rule of a tyrant.

wherein they resemble the Spartan. 1273 a.

Among the points in which the Carthaginian constitutionJowett1885v1: 3 resembles the Lacedaemonian are the following:— The common tables of the clubs answer to the Spartan phiditia, and their magistracy of the 104 to the Ephors; but, whereas the Ephors are any chance persons, the magistrates of the Carthaginians are elected according to merit — this is an improvement. They have also their kings and their gerusia, or council of elders, who correspond to the kings and elders of Sparta. Their kings, unlike theJowett1885v1: 4 Edition: current; Page: [61]Spartan, are not always of the same family, whatever that may happen to be, but if there is some distinguished family they are selected out of it and not appointed by seniority — this is far better. Such officers have great power, and therefore, if they are persons of little worth, do a great deal of harm, and they have already done harm at Lacedaemon.

The constitution has (1) some democratical, (2) some oligarchical features.

Most of the defects or deviations from the perfect state,Jowett1885v1: 5 for which the Carthaginian constitution would be censured, apply equally to all the forms of government which we have mentioned. But of the deflections from aristocracy and constitutional government, some incline more to democracy and some to oligarchy. The kings and elders, if unanimous, may determine whether they will or will not bring a matter before the people, but when they are not unanimous, the people may decide whether or not the matter shall be brought forward. And whateverJowett1885v1: 6 the kings and elders bring before the people is not only heard but also determined by them, and any one who likes may oppose it; now this is not permitted in Sparta and Crete. That the magistracies of five whoJowett1885v1: 7 have under them many important matters should be coopted, that they should choose the supreme council of 100, and should hold office longer than other magistrates (for they are virtually rulers both before and after they hold office)—these are oligarchical features; their being without salary and not elected by lot, and any similar points, such as the practice of having all suits tried by the magistratesa, and not some by one class of judges or jurors and some by another, as at Lacedaemon, are characteristic of aristocracy. The Carthaginian constitutionJowett1885v1: 8 deviates from aristocracy and inclines to oligarchy, chiefly on a point where popular opinion is on their side. For men in general think that magistrates should be chosen not only for their merit, but for their wealth: a man, they say, who is poor cannot rule well,—he has not the leisure. If, then, election of magistrates for their wealthJowett1885v1: 9 Edition: current; Page: [62]be characteristic of oligarchy, and election for merit of aristocracy, there will be a third form under which the constitution of Carthage is comprehended; for the Carthaginians choose their magistrates, and particularly the highest of them — their kings and generals — with an eye both to merit and to wealth.

Need of leisure and therefore of wealth in the official class; but the sale of offices a gross abuse and a bad example. 1273 b.

But we must acknowledge that, in thus deviating fromJowett1885v1: 10 aristocracy, the legislator has committed an error. Nothing is more absolutely necessary than to provide that the highest class, not only when in office, but when out of office, should have leisure and not demean themselves in any way; and to this his attention should be first directed. Even if you must have regard to wealth, in order to secure leisure, yet it is surely a bad thing that the greatest offices, such as those of kings and generals, should be bought. The law which allows this abuseJowett1885v1: 11 makes wealth of more account than virtue, and the whole state becomes avaricious. For, whenever the chiefs of the state deem anything honourable, the other citizens are sure to follow their example; and, where virtue has not the first place, there aristocracy cannot be firmly established. Those who have been at the expense ofJowett1885v1: 12 purchasing their places will be in the habit of repaying themselves; and it is absurd to suppose that a poor and honest man will be wanting to make gains, and that a lower stamp of man who has incurred a great expense will not. Wherefore they should rule who are able to rule best [ἀρισταρχεɩ̂ν]. And even if the legislator does not care to protect the good from poverty, he should at any rate secure leisure for those in officea.

Pluralism among the Carthaginians.

It would seem also to be a bad principle that the sameJowett1885v1: 13 person should hold many offices, which is a favourite practice among the Carthaginians, for one business is better done by one manb. The legislator should see to this and should not appoint the same person to be a flute-player and a shoemaker. Hence, where the stateJowett1885v1: 14 Edition: current; Page: [63]is large, it is more in accordance both with constitutional and with democratic principles that the offices of state should be distributed among many persons. For, as I was saying, this arrangement is more popular, and any action familiarised by repetition is better and sooner performed. We have a proof in military and naval matters; the duties of command and of obedience in both these services extend to all.

Emigration a panacea against revolution.

The government of the Carthaginians is oligarchical,Jowett1885v1: 15 but they successfully escape the evils of oligarchy by their wealth, which enables them from time to time to send out some portion of the peoplea to their colonies. This is their panacea and the means by which they give stability to the state. Accident favours them, but the legislator should be able to provide against revolution without trusting to accidents. As things are, if anyJowett1885v1: 16 misfortune occurred, and the people revolted from their rulers, there would be no way of restoring peace by legal methods.

Such is the character of the Lacedaemonian, Cretan, and Carthaginian constitutions, which are justly celebrated.

Political writers and law-givers. Solon praised by some because he broke up the oligarchy, blamed by others because he founded the democracy. In reality he only established the law courts. Things afterwards grew worse and worse, but this was not his fault. 1274 a.

Of those who have treated of governments, someJowett1885v1: II. 12. have never taken any part at all in public affairs, but have passed their lives in a private station; about most of them, what was worth telling has been already told. Others have been lawgivers, either in their own or in foreign cities, whose affairs they have administered; and of these some have only made laws, others have framed constitutions; for example, Lycurgus and Solon did both. Of the Lacedaemonian constitution I haveJowett1885v1: 2 already spoken. As to Solon, he is thought by some to have been a good legislator, who put an end to the exclusiveness of the oligarchy, emancipated the people, Edition: current; Page: [64]established the ancient Athenian democracy, and harmonized the different elements of the state. According to their view, the council of Areopagus was an oligarchical element, the elected magistracy, aristocratical, and the courts of law, democratical. The truth seems to be that the council and the elected magistracy existed before theJowett1885v1: 3 time of Solon, and were retained by him, but that he formed the courts of law out of all the citizens, thus creating the democracy, which is the very reason why he is sometimes blamed. For in giving the supreme power to the law courts, which are elected by lot, he is thought to have destroyed the non-democratic element. WhenJowett1885v1: 4 the law courts grew powerful, to please the people, who were now playing the tyrant, the old constitution was changed into the existing democracy. Ephialtes and Pericles curtailed the power of the Areopagus; they also instituted the payment of the juries, and thus every demagogue in turn increased the power of the democracy until it became what we now see. All this is true;Jowett1885v1: 5 it seems however to be the result of circumstances, and not to have been intended by Solon. For the people having been instrumental in gaining the empire of the sea in the Persian Wara, began to get a notion of itself, and followed worthless demagogues, whom the better class opposed. Solon, himself, appears to have given the Athenians only that power of electing to offices and calling to account the magistrates, which was absolutely necessaryb; for without it they would have been in a state of slavery and enmity to the government. All theJowett1885v1: 6 magistrates he appointed from the notables and the men of wealth, that is to say, from the pentacosio-medimni, or from the class called zeugitae (because they kept a yoke of oxen), or from a third class of so-called knights or cavalry. The fourth class were labourers who had no share in any magistracy.

Charondas. Onomacritus.

Mere legislators were Zaleucus, who gave laws to the Edition: current; Page: [65]Epizephyrian Locrians, and Charondas, who legislated for his own city of Catana, and for the other Chalcidian cities in Italy and Sicily. Some persons attempt Jowett1885v1: 7ato make out that Onomacritus was the first person who had any special skill in legislationa, and that he, although a Locrian by birth, was trained in Crete, where he lived in the exercise of his prophetic art; that Thales was his companion, and that Lycurgus and Zaleucus were disciples of Thales, as Charondas was of Zaleucus. But theirJowett1885v1: 8 account is quite inconsistent with chronology.

1274 b. Philolaus, a Corinthian who settled at Thebes, gave laws to the Thebans.

There was also a Theban legislator, whose name was Philolaus, the Corinthian. This Philolaus was one of the family of the Bacchiadae, and a lover of Diocles, the Olympic victor, who left Corinth in horror of the incestuous passion which his mother Halcyone had conceived for him, and retired to Thebes, where the two friends together ended their days. The inhabitants still point outJowett1885v1: 9 their tombs, which are in full view of one another, but one looks towards Corinth, the other not. Tradition says that the two friends arranged them in this way, Diocles out of horror at his misfortunes, so that the land of Corinth might not be visible from his tomb; Philolaus that it might. This is the reason why they settled at Thebes, and so Philolaus legislated for the Thebans,Jowett1885v1: 10 and, besides some other enactments, gave them laws about the procreation of children, which they call the ‘Laws of Adoption.’ These laws were peculiar to him, and were intended to preserve the number of the lots.


In the legislation of Charondas there is nothing remarkable,Jowett1885v1: 11 except the laws about false witnesses. He is the first who instituted actions for perjury. His laws are more exact and more precisely expressed than even those of our modern legislators.

Stray reremarks about Phaleas and Plato.

Characteristic of Phaleas is the equalization of property;Jowett1885v1: 12 of Plato, the community of women, children, and property, the common meals of women, and the law Edition: current; Page: [66]about drinking, that the sober shall be masters of the feasta; also the training of soldiers to acquire by practice equal skill with both hands, so that one should be as useful as the otherb.


Draco has left laws, but he adapted them to a constitutionJowett1885v1: 13 which already existed, and there is no peculiarity in them which is worth mentioning, except the greatness and severity of the punishments.


Pittacus, too, was only a lawgiver, and not the author of a constitution; he has a law which is peculiar to him, that, if a drunken man strike another, he shall be more heavily punished than if he were soberc; he looked not to the excuse which might be offered for the drunkard, but only to expediency, for drunken more often than sober people commit acts of violence.


Androdamas of Rhegium gave laws to the ChalcidiansJowett1885v1: 14 of Thrace. Some of them relate to homicide, and to heiresses; but there is nothing remarkable in them.

And here let us conclude our enquiry into the various constitutions which either actually exist, or have been devised by theorists.

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1275 a. What is a state? A question which leads to another, who is a citizen? Neither residence nor merely legal rights are sufficient to constitute perfect citizenship. The citizen is he who shares in ‘indefinite office.’

He who would enquire into the nature and variousJowett1885v1: III. 1. kinds of government must first of all determine ‘What is a state?’ At present this is a disputed question. Some say that the state has done a certain act; others, no, not the statea, but the oligarchy or the tyrant. And the legislator or statesman is concerned entirely with the state; a constitution or government being an arrangement of the inhabitants of a state. But a state is composite, and,Jowett1885v1: 2 like any other whole, made up of many parts;—these are the citizens, who compose it. It is evident, therefore, that we must begin by asking, Who is the citizen, and what is the meaning of the term? For here again there may be a difference of opinion. He who is a citizen in a democracy will often not be a citizen in an oligarchy. Leaving out of consideration those who have been madeJowett1885v1: 3 citizens, or who have obtained the name of citizen in any other accidental manner, we may say, first, that a citizen is not a citizen because he lives in a certain place,Jowett1885v1: 4 for resident aliens and slaves share in the place; nor is he a citizen who has no legal right except that of suing and being sued; for this right may be enjoyed under the provisions of a treaty. Even resident aliens in many places possess such rights, although in an imperfect form; for they are obliged to have a patron. HenceJowett1885v1: 5 they do but imperfectly participate in citizenship, and we call them citizens only in a qualified sense, as we might apply the term to children who are too young to be on the register, or to old men who have been relieved from state duties. Of these we do not say simply that they are citizens, but add in the one case that they are Edition: current; Page: [68]not of age, and in the other, that they are past the age, or something of that sort; the precise expression is immaterial, for our meaning is clear. Similar difficulties to those which I have mentioned may be raised and answered about deprived citizens and about exiles. But the citizen, whom we are seeking to define, is a citizen in the strictest sense, against whom no such exception can be taken, and his special characteristic is that he shares in the administration of justice, and in offices. Now ofJowett1885v1: 6 offices some have a limit of time, and the same persons are not allowed to hold them twice, or can only hold them after a fixed interval; others have no limit of time,—for example, the office of dicast or ecclesiasta. It may,Jowett1885v1: 7 indeed, be argued that these are not magistrates at all, and that their functions give them no share in the government. But surely it is ridiculous to say that those who have the supreme power do not govern. Not to dwell further upon this, which is a purely verbal question, what we want is a common term including both dicast and ecclesiast. Let us, for the sake of distinction, call it ‘indefinite office,’ and we will assume that those who share in such office are citizens. This is the most comprehensiveJowett1885v1: 8 definition of a citizen, and best suits all those who are generally so called.

This definition, strictly taken, suits only democratic states, 1275 b. and must be modified when extended to others.

But we must not forget that things of which the underlying notions differ in kind, one of them being first, another second, another third, have, when regarded in this relation, nothing, or hardly anything, worth mentioning in common. Now we see that governmentsJowett1885v1: 9 differ in kind, and that some of them are prior and that others are posterior; those which are faulty or perverted are necessarily posterior to those which are perfect. (What we mean by perversion will be hereafter explainedb.) The citizen then of necessity differs under each form of government; and our definition is bestJowett1885v1: 10 adapted to the citizen of a democracy; but not necessarily Edition: current; Page: [69]to other states. For in some states the people are not acknowledged, nor have they any regular assembly, but only extraordinary ones; and suits are distributed in turn among the magistrates. At Lacedaemon, for instance, the Ephors determine suits about contracts, which they distribute among themselves, while the elders are judges of homicide, and other causes are decided by other magistrates. A similar principle prevails atJowett1885v1: 11 Carthagea; there certain magistrates decide all causes. We may, indeed, modify our definition of the citizen so as to include these states. [But strictly taken it only applies in democracies.] In other states it is the holder of a definite, not of an indefinite office, who legislates and judges, and to some or all such holders of definite offices is reserved the right of deliberating or judging about some things or about all things. The conceptionJowett1885v1: 12 of the citizen now begins to clear up.

He who has the power to take part in the deliberative or judicial administration of any state is said by us to be a citizen of that state; and speaking generally, a state is a body of citizens sufficing for the purposes of life.

Practically the citizen is the son of a citizen. But how about the first citizen?

But in practice a citizen is defined to be one of whomJowett1885v1: III. 2. both the parents are citizens; others insist on going further back; say to two or three or more grandparents. This is a short and practical definition; but there are some who raise the further question: How this third or fourth ancestor came to be a citizen? Gorgias of Leontini,Jowett1885v1: 2 partly because he was in a difficulty, partly in irony, said — ‘Mortars are made by the mortar-makers, and the citizens of Larissa are also a manufactured article, made, like the kettles which bear their name [λαρισαɩ̂οι], by the magistratesb.’ Yet the question is really simple,Jowett1885v1: 3 for, if according to the definition just given they shared in the governmentc, they were citizens. [This is a better definition than the other.] For the words, ‘born of a Edition: current; Page: [70]father or mother, who is a citizen,’ cannot possibly apply to the first inhabitants or founders of a state.

Is the citizen de facto also citizen de jure? 1276 a.

There is a greater difficulty in the case of those who have been made citizens after a revolution, as by Cleisthenes at Athens after the expulsion of the tyrants, for he enrolled in tribes a number of strangers and slaves anda resident aliens. The doubt in these cases is, notJowett1885v1: 4 who is, but whether he, who is, ought to be a citizen; and there will still be a further doubt, whether he who ought not to be a citizen, is one in fact, for what ought not to be is what is false and is not. Now, there areJowett1885v1: 5 some who hold office, and yet ought not to hold office, whom we call rulers, although they rule unjustly. And the citizen was defined by the fact of his holding some kind of rule or office,—he who holds a judicial or legislative office fulfils our definition of a citizen. It is evident, therefore, that the citizens about whom the doubt has arisen must be called citizens; whether they ought to be so or not is a question which is bound up with the previous enquiryb.

When is an act the act of the state? The identity

A parallel question is raised respecting the stateJowett1885v1: III. 3. whether a certain act is or is not an act of the state; for example, in the transition from an oligarchy or a tyranny to a democracy. In such cases persons refuseJowett1885v1: 2 to fulfil their contracts or any other obligations, on the ground that the tyrant, and not the state, contracted them; they argue that some constitutions are established by force, and not for the sake of the common good. But this would apply equally to democracies, for they too may be founded on violence, and then the acts of the democracy will be neither more nor less legitimate than those of an oligarchy or of a tyranny. This question runsJowett1885v1: 3 up into another:—when shall we say that the state is the Edition: current; Page: [71]same, and when different? It would be a very superficial view which considered only the place and the inhabitants; for the soil and the population may be separated, and some of the inhabitants may live in one place and some in another. This, however, is not a very serious difficulty;Jowett1885v1: 4 we need only remark that the word ‘state’ is ambiguous, meaning both state and city.

and the unity of a state depend not so much on place,

It is further asked: When are men, living in the same place, to be regarded as a single city—what is the limit? Certainly not the wall of the city, for you might surroundJowett1885v1: 5 all Peloponnesus with a wall. But a city, having such vast circuit, would contain a nation rather than a state, like Babylona, which, as they say, had been taken for three days before some part of the inhabitants became aware of the fact. This difficulty may, however, withJowett1885v1: 6 advantage be deferredb to another occasion; the statesman has to consider the size of the state, and whether it should consist of more than one nation or not.

1276 b. nor yet on race, but mainly on the sameness of the constitution.

Again, shall we say that while the race of inhabitants, as well as their place of abode, remain the same, the city is also the same, although the citizens are always dying and being born, as we call rivers and fountains the same, although the water is always flowing away and coming again? Or shall we say that the generations of men, like the rivers, are the same, but that the state changes? For,Jowett1885v1: 7 since the state is a community and a community is made up of citizens, when the form of the government changes and becomes different, then it may be supposed that the state is no longer the same, just as a tragic differs from a comic chorus, although the members of both may be identical. And in this manner we speak of every unionJowett1885v1: 8 or composition of elements, when the form of their composition alters; for example, harmony of the same sounds is said to be different, accordingly as the Dorian or the Phrygian mode is employed. And if this is true it isJowett1885v1: 9 evident that the sameness of the state consists chiefly in the sameness of the constitution, and may be called or Edition: current; Page: [72]not called by the same name, whether the inhabitants are the same or entirely different. It is quite another question, whether a state ought or ought not to fulfil engagements when the form of government changes.

Is the virtue of the good man the same as that of the good citizen? The virtue of the citizen differs in different states, and therefore cannot always be the same as that of the good man.

There is a point nearly allied to the preceding:Jowett1885v1: III. 4. Whether the virtue of a good man and a good citizen is the same or nota. But, before entering on this discussion, we must first obtain some general notion of the virtue of the citizen. Like the sailor, the citizen is a member of a community. Now, sailors have differentJowett1885v1: 2 functions, for one of them is a rower, another a pilot, and a third a look-out-man, a fourth is described by some similar term; and while the precise definition of each individual’s virtue applies exclusively to him, there is, at the same time, a common definition applicable to them all. For they have all of them a common object, which is safety in navigation. Similarly, one citizen differs fromJowett1885v1: 3 another, but the salvation of the community is the common business of them all. This community is the state; the virtue of the citizen must therefore be relative to the constitution of which he is a member. If, then, there are many forms of government, it is evident that the virtue of the good citizen cannot be the one perfect virtue. But we say that the good man is he who has perfect virtue. Hence it is evident that the good citizenJowett1885v1: 4 need not of necessity possess the virtue which makes a good man.

Even in the perfect state, though all are good citizens, they are not necessarily good men. 1277 a.

The same question may also be approached by another road, from a consideration of the perfect state. If theJowett1885v1: 5 state cannot be entirely composed of good men, and each citizen is expected to do his own business well, and must therefore have virtue, inasmuch as all the citizens cannot be alike, the virtue of the citizen and of the good man cannot coincide. All must have the virtue of the good citizen—thus, and thus only, can the state be perfect; but they will not have the virtue of a good man, unless we assume that in the good state all the citizens must be good.

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The citizens differ among themselves, and therefore cannot all have the same virtue.

Again, the state may be compared to the living being:Jowett1885v1: 6 as the first elements into which the living being is resolved are soul and body, as the soul is made up of reason and appetite, the family of husband and wife, property of master and slave, so out of all these, as well as other dissimilar elements, the state is composed; and, therefore, the virtue of all the citizens cannot possibly be the same, any more than the excellence of the leader of a chorus is the same as that of the performer who stands by his side. I have said enough to show why the two kindsJowett1885v1: 7 of virtue cannot be absolutely and always the same.

The good ruler is the good man.

But will there then be no case in which the virtue of the good citizen and the virtue of the good man coincide? To this we answer [not that the good citizen, but] that the good ruler is a good and wise man, and that he who would be a statesman must be a wise man. And some persons say that even the education of theJowett1885v1: 8 ruler should be of a special kind; for are not the children of kings instructed in riding and military exercises? As Euripides says:

‘No subtle arts for me, but what the state requires.’a

But are not all the citizens rulers in turn? Yes; by obedience they learn to rule. The obedience is not such as that of slaves or mechanics, 1277 b.

As though there were a special education needed by a ruler. If then the virtue of a good ruler is the same asJowett1885v1: 9 that of a good man, and we assume further that the subject is a citizen as well as the ruler, the virtue of the good citizen and the virtue of the good man cannot be always the same, although in some cases [i.e. in the perfect state] they may; for the virtue of a ruler differs from that of a citizen. It was the sense of this difference which made Jason say that ‘he felt hungry when he was not a tyrant,’ meaning that he could not endure to live in a private station. But, on the other hand, it may beJowett1885v1: 10 argued that men are praised for knowing both how to rule and how to obey, and he is said to be a citizen of approved virtue who is able to do both. Now if we suppose the virtue of a good man to be that which rules, Edition: current; Page: [74]and the virtue of the citizen to include ruling and obeying, it cannot be said that they are equally worthy of praise. Seeing, then, that according to common opinion the rulerJowett1885v1: 11 and the ruled must at some time or other learn the duties of both, but that what they learn is different, and that the citizen must know and share in them both; the inference is obviousa. There is, indeed, the rule of a master which is concerned with menial officesb,—the master need not know how to perform these, but may employ others in the execution of them: anything else would be degrading; and by anything else I mean theJowett1885v1: 12 menial duties which vary much in character and are executed by various classes of slaves, such, for example, as handicraftsmen, who, as their name signifies, live by the labour of their hands:—under these the mechanic is included. Hence in ancient times, and among some nations, the working classes had no share in the government—a privilege which they only acquired under the extreme democracy. Certainly the good man and theJowett1885v1: 13 statesman and the good citizen ought not to learn the crafts of inferiors except for their own occasional usec; if they habitually practise them, there will cease to be a distinction between master and slave.

but the obedience of freemen in a constitutional state. Practical wisdom is the virtue of the ruler.

This is not the rule of which we are speaking; butJowett1885v1: 14 there is a rule of another kind, which is exercised over freemen and equals by birth — a constitutional rule, which the ruler must learn by obeying, as he would learn the duties of a general of cavalry by being under the orders of a general of cavalry, or the duties of a general of infantry by being under the orders of a general of infantry, or by having had the command of a company or brigade. It has been well said that ‘he who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander.’ TheJowett1885v1: 15 two are not the same, but the good citizen ought to be capable of both; he should know how to govern like a Edition: current; Page: [75]freeman, and how to obey like a freeman—these are the virtues of a citizen. And, although the temperance andJowett1885v1: 16 justice of a ruler are distinct from those of a subject, the virtue of a good man will include both; for the good man, who is free and also a subject, will not have one virtue only, say justice,—but he will have distinct kinds of virtue, the one qualifying him to rule, the other to obey, and differing as the temperance and courage of men and women differa. For a man would be thought a coward if he hadJowett1885v1: 17 no more courage than a courageous woman, and a woman would be thought loquacious if she imposed no more restraint on her conversation than the good man; and indeed their part in the management of the household is different, for the duty of the one is to acquire, and of the other to preserve. Practical wisdom only is characteristic of the rulerb: it would seem that all other virtues must equally belong to ruler and subject. The virtue of theJowett1885v1: 18 subject is certainly not wisdom, but only true opinion; he may be compared to the maker of the flute, while his master is like the flute-player or user of the flutec.

From these considerations may be gathered the answer to the question, whether the virtue of the good man is the same as that of the good citizen, or different, and how far the same, and how far differentd.

Is the mechanic a citizen? He is necessary to the existence of a state, but not a part of it, and therefore in the best state not a citizen at all. 1278 a.

There still remains one more question about theJowett1885v1: III. 5. citizen: Is he only a true citizen who has a share of office, or is the mechanic to be included? If they who hold no office are to be deemed citizens, not every citizen can have this virtue of ruling and obeyinge which makes a citizene. And if none of the lower class are citizens, in which part of the state are they to be placed? For they are not resident aliens, and they are not foreigners. Edition: current; Page: [76]To this objection may we not reply, that there is no more absurdity in excluding them than in excludingJowett1885v1: 2 slaves and freedmen from any of the above-mentioned classes? It must be admitted that we cannot consider all those to be citizens who are necessary to the existence of the state; for example, children are not citizens equally with grown up men, who are citizens absolutely, but children, not being grown up, are only citizens in a qualified sense. Doubtless in ancient times, and amongJowett1885v1: 3 some nations, the artisan class were slaves or foreigners, and therefore the majority of them are so now. The best form of state will not admit them to citizenship; but if they are admitted, then our definition of the virtue of a citizen will apply to some citizens and freemen only, and not to those who work for their living. The latter class, to whom toil is a necessity, are eitherJowett1885v1: 4 slaves who minister to the wants of individuals, or mechanics and labourers who are the servants of the community. These reflections carried a little further will explain their position; and indeed what has been said already is of itself explanation enough.

Citizenship relative to the constitution.

Since there are many forms of government there mustJowett1885v1: 5 be many varieties of citizens, and especially of citizens who are subjects; so that under some governments the mechanic and the labourer will be citizens, but not in others, as, for example, in aristocracy or the so-called government of the best (if there be such an one), in which honours are given according to virtue and merit; for no man can practise virtue who is living the life of a mechanic or labourer. In oligarchies the qualificationJowett1885v1: 6 for office is high, and therefore no labourer can ever be a citizen; but a mechanic may, for many of them are rich. At Thebesa there was a law that no man couldJowett1885v1: 7 hold office who had not retired from business for ten years. In many states the law goes to the length of admitting aliens; for in some democracies a man is a citizen though his mother only be a citizen [and his Edition: current; Page: [77]father an alien]; and a similar principle is applied to illegitimate children; the law is relaxed when there is aJowett1885v1: 8 dearth of population. But when the number of citizens increases, first the children of a male or a female slave are excluded; then those whose mothers only are citizens; and at last the right of citizenship is confined to those whose fathers and mothers are both citizens.a

The true citizen shares in the honours of state.

Hence, as is evident, there are different kinds ofJowett1885v1: 9 citizens; and he is a citizen in the highest sense who shares in the honours of the state. In the poems of Homer [Achilles complains of Agamemnon treating him] ‘like some dishonoured strangerb;’ for he who is excluded from the honours of the state is no better than an alien. But when this exclusion is concealed, then the object is to deceive the inhabitants.

1278 b. Final answer to the question ‘whether the good citizen is the good man.’

As to the question whether the virtue of the good manJowett1885v1: 10 is the same as that of the good citizen, the considerations already adduced prove that in some states the two are the same, and in others different. When they are the same it is not the virtue of every citizen which is the same as that of the good man, but only the virtue of the statesman and of those who have or may have, alone or in conjunction with others, the conduct of public affairs.

Having determined these questions, we have next toJowett1885v1: III. 6 consider whether there is only one form of government or many, and if many, what they are, and how many, and what are the differences between them.

Constitutions vary with the governing power and in relation to the end.

A constitution is the arrangement of magistracies in a statec, especially of the highest of all. The government is everywhere sovereign in the state, and the constitution is in fact the government. For example, in democraciesJowett1885v1: 2 the people are supreme, but in oligarchies, the few; and, therefore, we say that these two forms of government are different: and so in other cases.

What is the end of the state?

First, let us consider what is the purpose of a state, and how many forms of government there are by which human society is regulated. We have already said, inJowett1885v1: 3 Edition: current; Page: [78]the former part of this treatisea, when drawing a distinction between household-management and the rule of a master, that man is by nature a political animal. And therefore, men, even when they do not require one another’s help, desire to live together all the same, and are in fact brought together by their common interests in proportion as they severally attain to any measure of well-being. This is certainly the chief end, both ofJowett1885v1: 4 individuals and of states. And also for the sake of mere life (in which there is possibly some noble element) mankind meet together and maintain the political community, so long as the evils of existence do not greatly overbalance the goodb. And we all see that men clingJowett1885v1: 5 to life even in the midst of misfortune, seeming to find in it a natural sweetness and happiness.

The various kinds of rule. Rule is primarily intended for the good of the governed, 1279 a. and is perverted when exercised in the interests of the ruler.

There is no difficulty in distinguishing the various kinds of authority; they have been often defined already in popular worksc. The rule of a master, althoughJowett1885v1: 6 the slave by nature and the master by nature have in reality the same interests, is nevertheless exercised primarily with a view to the interest of the master, but accidentally considers the slave, since, if the slave perish, the rule of the master perishes with him. On the otherJowett1885v1: 7 hand, the government of a wife and children and of a household, which we have called household-management, is exercised in the first instance for the good of the governed or for the common good of both parties, but essentially for the good of the governed, as we see to be the case in medicine, gymnastic, and the arts in general, which are only accidentally concerned with the good of the artists themselvesd. (For there is no reason why the trainer may not sometimes practise gymnastics, and the pilot is always one of the crew.) TheJowett1885v1: 8 trainer or the pilot considers the good of those committed to his care. But, when he is one of the persons taken care of, he accidentally participates in the advantage, Edition: current; Page: [79]for the pilot is also a sailor, and the trainer becomes one of those in training. And so in politics:Jowett1885v1: 9 when the state is framed upon the principle of equality and likeness, the citizens think that they ought to hold office by turns. In the order of nature every one would take his turn of service; and then again, somebody else would look after his interest, just as he, while in office, had looked after theirsa. [That was originally the way.] But now-a-days, for the sake of the advantageJowett1885v1: 10 which is to be gained from the public revenues and from office, men want to be always in office. One might imagine that the rulers, being sickly, were only kept in health while they continued in office; in that case we may be sure that they would be hunting after places. The conclusion is evident: that governments, whichJowett1885v1: 11 have a regard to the common interest, are constituted in accordance with strict principles of justice, and are therefore true forms; but those which regard only the interest of the rulers are all defective and perverted forms, for they are despotic, whereas a state is a community of freemen.

Forms of government, true and perverted. (a) The true forms. (1) Royalty, or the rule of one. (2) Aristocracy of a few. (3) ‘Polity’ of the citizens at large. (But all for the sake of the governed.) 1279 b.

Having determined these points, we have next to considerJowett1885v1: III. 7. how many forms of government there are, and what they are; and in the first place what are the true forms, for when they are determined the perversions of them will at once be apparent. The words constitutionJowett1885v1: 2 and government have the same meaning, and the government, which is the supreme authority in states, must be in the hands of one, or of a few, or of many. The true forms of government, therefore, are those in which the one, or the few, or the many, govern with a view to the common interest; but governments which rule with a view to the private interest, whether of the one, or of the few, or of the many, are perversionsb. For citizens, if they are truly citizens, ought to participate in the advantages of a state. Of forms of government in which one rules, we call that which regards the common interests,Jowett1885v1: 3 Edition: current; Page: [80]kingship or royalty; that in which more than one, but not many, rule, aristocracy [the rule of the best]; and it is so called, either because the rulers are the best men, or because they have at heart the best interests of the state and of the citizens. But when the citizens at large administer the state for the common interest, the government is called by the generic name,—a constitution [πολιτεία]. And there is a reason for this use of language. One man or a few may excel in virtue; but of virtueJowett1885v1: 4 there are many kinds: and as the number increases it becomes more difficult for them to attain perfection in every kind, though they may in military virtue, for this is found in the masses. Hence, in a constitutional government the fighting-men have the supreme power, and those who possess arms are the citizens.

(b) The perversions. (1) tyranny, (2) oligarchy, (3) democracy.

Of the above-mentioned forms, the perversions are asJowett1885v1: 5 follows:—of royalty, tyranny; of aristocracy, oligarchy; of constitutional government, democracy. For tyranny is a kind of monarchy which has in view the interest of the monarch only; oligarchy has in view the interest of the wealthy; democracy, of the needy: none of them the common good of all.

The division however must not be made to depend merely on a principle of number (quantity).

But there are difficulties about these forms of government,Jowett1885v1: III. 8. and it will therefore be necessary to state a little more at length the nature of each of them. For he who would make a philosophical study of the various sciences, and does not regard practice only, ought not to overlook or omit anything, but to set forth the truth in every particular. Tyranny, as I was saying, is monarchyJowett1885v1: 2 exercising the rule of a master over political society; oligarchy is when men of property have the government in their hands; democracy, the opposite, when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers. And here arises the first of our difficulties, and it relatesJowett1885v1: 3 to the definition just given. For democracy is said to be the government of the many. But what if the many are men of property and have the power in their hands? In like manner oligarchy is said to be the government Edition: current; Page: [81]of the few; but what if the poor are fewer than the rich, and have the power in their hands because they are stronger? In these cases the distinction which we have drawn between these different forms of government would no longer hold good.

Wealth and poverty (quantity) must also be considered.

Suppose, once more, that we add wealth to the fewJowett1885v1: 4 and poverty to the many, and name the governments accordingly—an oligarchy is said to be that in which the few and the wealthy, and a democracy that in which the many and the poor are the rulers—there will still be a difficulty. For, if the only forms of government areJowett1885v1: 5 the ones already mentioned, how shall we describe those other governments also just mentioned by us, in which the rich are the more numerous and the poor are the fewer, and both govern in their respective states?

1280 a. The qualitative is the essential and the quantitative the accidental difference, though in fact they generally coincide.

The argument seems to show that, whether in oligarchiesJowett1885v1: 6 or in democracies, the number of the governing body, whether the greater number, as in a democracy, or the smaller number, as in an oligarchy, is an accident due to the fact that the rich everywhere are few, and the poor numerous. But if so, there is a misapprehension of the causes of the difference between them. ForJowett1885v1: 7 the real difference between democracy and oligarchy is poverty and wealth. Wherever men rule by reason of their wealth, whether they be few or many, that is an oligarchy, and where the poor rule, that is a democracy. But as a fact the rich are few and the poor many: for few are well-to-do, whereas freedom is enjoyed by all, and wealth and freedom are the grounds on which the oligarchical and democratical parties respectively claim power in the state.

Justice is equality to equals, inequality to unequals, but people in general leave out of sight the persons, and put relative in the place of absolute justice. The state exists not for the sake of wealth or security or society, but for the sake of a good life. 1280 b. It is more than a mere alliance designed for the protection of life and property.

Let us begin by considering the common definitionsJowett1885v1: III. 9. of oligarchy and democracy, and what is justice oligarchical and democratical. For all men cling to justice of some kind, but their conceptions are imperfect and they do not express the whole idea. For example, justice is thought by them to be, and is, equality, not, however, for all, but only for equals. And inequality isJowett1885v1: 2 Edition: current; Page: [82]thought to be, and is, justice; neither is this for all, but only for unequals. When the persons are omitted, then men judge erroneously. The reason is that they are passing judgment on themselves, and most people are bad judges in their own case. And whereas justiceJowett1885v1: 3 implies a relation to persons as well as to things, and a just distribution, as I have already said in the Ethicsa, embraces alike persons and things, they acknowledge the equality of the things, but dispute about the merit of the persons, chiefly for the reason which I have just given,—because they are bad judges in their own affairs; and secondly, because both the parties to the argument are speaking of a limited and partial justice, but imagine themselves to be speaking of absolute justice. For thoseJowett1885v1: 4 who are unequal in one respect, for example wealth, consider themselves to be unequal in all; and any who are equal in one respect, for example freedom, consider themselves to be equal in all. But they leave out the capital point. For if men met and associated out ofJowett1885v1: 5 regard to wealth only, their share in the state would be proportioned to their property, and the oligarchical doctrine would then seem to carry the day. It would not be just that he who paid one mina should have the same share of a hundred minae, bwhether of the principal or of the profitsb, as he who paid the remaining ninety-nine. But a state exists for the sake of a good life, andJowett1885v1: 6 not for the sake of life only: if life only were the object, slaves and brute animals might form a state, but they cannot, for they have no share in happiness or in a life of free choice. Nor does a state exist for the sake of alliance and security from injusticec, nor yet for the sake of exchange and mutual intercourse; for then the Tyrrhenians and the Carthaginians, and all who have commercial treaties with one another, would be the citizens of one state. True, they have agreements aboutJowett1885v1: 7 Edition: current; Page: [83]imports, and engagements that they will do no wrong to one another, and written articles of alliance. But there are no magistracies common to the contracting parties who will enforce their engagements; different states have each their own magistracies. Nor does one state take care that the citizens of the other are such as they ought to be, nor see that those who come under the terms of the treaty do no wrong or wickedness at all, but only that they do no injustice to one another. Whereas, those who care for good government take intoJowett1885v1: 8 consideration [the larger question of] virtue and vice in states. Whence it may be further inferred that avirtue must be the serious care of a state which truly deserves the namea: for [without this ethical end] the community becomes a mere alliance which differs only in place from alliances of which the members live apart; and law is only a convention, ‘a surety to one another of justice,’ as the sophist Lycophron says, and has no real power to make the citizens good and just.

It implies not only intermarriage, intercourse, exchange, a common locality, but much more than these, viz. a community of well-being. 1281 a.

This is obvious; for suppose distinct places, such asJowett1885v1: 9 Corinth and Megara, to be united by a wall, still they would not be one city, not even if the citizens had theJowett1885v1: 10 right to intermarry, which is one of the rights peculiarly characteristic of states. Again, if men dwelt at a distance from one another, but not so far off as to have no intercourse, and there were laws among them that they should not wrong each other in their exchanges, neither would this be a state. Let us suppose that one man is a carpenter, another a husbandman, another a shoemaker, and so on, and that their number is ten thousand: nevertheless, if they have nothing in common but exchange, alliance, and the like, that would not constitute a state. Why is this? Surely not becauseJowett1885v1: 11 they are at a distance from one another: for even supposing that such a community were to meet in one place, and that each man had a house of his own, which was Edition: current; Page: [84]in a manner his state, and that they made alliance with one another, but only against evil-doers; still an accurate thinker would not deem this to be a state, if their intercourse with one another was of the same character after as before their union. It is clear then that a state is notJowett1885v1: 12 a mere society, having a common place, established for the prevention of crime and for the sake of exchange. These are conditions without which a state cannot exist; but all of them together do not constitute a state, which is a community of well-being in families and aggregations of families, for the sake of a perfect and self-sufficing life. Such a community can only be establishedJowett1885v1: 13 among those who live in the same place and intermarry. Hence arise in cities family connexions, brotherhoods, common sacrifices, amusements which draw men together. They are created by friendship, for friendship is the motive of society. The end is the good life, and these are the means towards it. And the state is the unionJowett1885v1: 14 of families and villages having for an end a perfect and self-sufficing life, by which we mean a happy and honourable lifea.

Those who contribute most to such a society have the greatest claim to power.

Our conclusion, then, is that political society exists for the sake of noble actions, and not of mere companionship. And they who contribute most to suchJowett1885v1: 15 a society have a greater share in it than those who have the same or a greater freedom or nobility of birth but are inferior to them in political virtue; or than those who exceed them in wealth but are surpassed by them in virtue.

From what has been said it will be clearly seen that all the partisans of different forms of government speak of a part of justice only.

Who are to have supreme power? Difficulties: any class having the power may act unjustly, is its authority to be deemed just?

There is also a doubt as to what is to be theJowett1885v1: III. 10. supreme power in the state:—Is it the multitude? Or the wealthy? Or the good? Or the one best man? Or a tyrant? Any of these alternatives seems to involve disagreeable consequences. If the poor, for example, Edition: current; Page: [85]because they are more in number, divide among themselves the property of the rich,—is not this unjust? No, by heaven (will be the reply), for the lawful authority [i. e. the people] willed it. But if this is not injustice, prayJowett1885v1: 2 what is? Again, when [in the first division] all has been taken, and the majority divide anew the property of the minority, is it not evident, if this goes on, that they will ruin the state? Yet surely, virtue is not the ruin of those who possess her, nor is justice destructive of a statea; and therefore this law of confiscation clearly cannot be just. If it were, all the acts of a tyrant must of necessityJowett1885v1: 3 be just; for he only coerces other men by superior power, just as the multitude coerce the rich. But is it just then that the few and the wealthy should be the rulers? And what if they, in like manner, rob and plunder the people,—is this just? If so, the other case [i. e. the case of the majority plundering the minority] will likewise be just. But there can be no doubt that allJowett1885v1: 4 these things are wrong and unjust.

The rule of the good men will exclude the other citizens. Even the rule of the law may only represent a party.

Then ought the good to rule and have supreme power? But in that case everybody else, being excluded from power, will be dishonoured. For the offices of a state are posts of honour; and if one set of men always hold them, the rest must be deprived of them. ThenJowett1885v1: 5 will it be well that the one best man should rule? Nay, that is still more oligarchical, for the number of those who are dishonoured is thereby increased. Some one may say that it is bad for a man, subject as he is to all the accidents of human passion, to have the supreme power, rather than the law. But what if the law itself be democratical or oligarchical, how will that help us out of our difficultiesb? Not at all; the same consequences will follow.

Why the many should have power. They are wiser than any one man, in many cases, though not always. 1281 b. 1282 a. Their wisdom collective. But should not the expert be chosen by the expert? Answer: the people may be able to judge though they have no special knowledge.

Most of these questions may be reserved for anotherJowett1885v1: III. 11. occasion. The principle that the multitude ought to be supreme rather than the few best is capable of a satisfactory Edition: current; Page: [86]explanation, and, though not free from difficulty, yet seems to contain an element of truth. For theJowett1885v1: 2 many, of whom each individual is but an ordinary person, when they meet together may very likely be better than the few good, if regarded not individually but collectively, just as a feast to which many contribute is better than a dinner provided out of a single purse. For each individual among the many has a share of virtue and prudence, and when they meet together they become in a manner one man, who has many feet, and hands, and senses; that is a figure of their mind and disposition. Hence the many are better judges than aJowett1885v1: 3 single man of music and poetry; for some understand one part, and some another, and among them, they understand the whole. There is a similar combination ofJowett1885v1: 4 qualities in good men, who differ from any individual of the many, as the beautiful are said to differ from those who are not beautiful, and works of art from realities, because in them the scattered elements are combined, although, if taken separately, the eye of one person or some other feature in another person would be fairer than in the picture. Whether this principle can apply toJowett1885v1: 5 every democracy, and to all bodies of men, is not clear. Or rather, by heaven, in some cases it is impossible of application; for the argument would equally hold about brutes; and wherein, it will be asked, do some men differ from brutes? But there may be bodies of men about whom our statement is nevertheless true. And if so, theJowett1885v1: 6 difficulty which has been already raised, and also another which is akin to it—viz. what power should be assigned to the mass of freemen and citizens, who are not rich and have no personal merit—are both solved. There is stillJowett1885v1: 7 a danger in allowing them to share the great offices of state, for their folly will lead them into error, and their dishonesty into crime. But there is a danger also in not letting them share, for a state in which many poor men are excluded from office will necessarily be full of enemies. The only way of escape is to assign to themJowett1885v1: 8 Edition: current; Page: [87]some deliberative and judicial functions. For this reason Solona and certain other legislators give them the power of electing to offices, and of calling the magistrates to account, but they do not allow them to hold office singly. When they meet together their perceptionsJowett1885v1: 9 are quite good enough, and combined with the better class they are useful to the state (just as impure food when mixed with what is pure sometimes makes the entire mass more wholesome than a small quantity of the pure would be), but each individual, left to himself, forms an imperfect judgment. On the other hand, theJowett1885v1: 10 popular form of government involves certain difficulties. In the first place, it might be objected that he who can judge of the healing of a sick man would be one who could himself heal his disease, and make him whole—that is, in other words, the physician; and so in all professions and arts. As, then, the physician ought to be called to account by physicians, so ought men in general to be called to account by their peers. But physiciansJowett1885v1: 11 are of three kinds:—there is the apothecary, and there is the physician of the higher class, and thirdly the intelligent man who has studied the art: in all arts there is such a class; and we attribute the power of judging to them quite as much as to professors of the art. Now, does notJowett1885v1: 12 the same principle apply to elections? For a right election can only be made by those who have knowledge; a geometrician, for example, will choose rightly in matters of geometry, or a pilot in matters of steering; and, even if there be some occupations and arts with which private persons are familiar, they certainly cannot judge better than those who know. So that, according to thisJowett1885v1: 13 argument, neither the election of magistrates, nor the calling of them to account, should be intrusted to theJowett1885v1: 14 many. Yet possibly these objections are to a great extent met by our old answer, that if the people are not utterly degraded, although individually they may be worse Edition: current; Page: [88]judges than those who have special knowledge—as a body they are as good or better. Moreover, there are some artists whose works are judged of solely, or in the best manner, not by themselves, but by those who do not possess the art; for example, the knowledge of the house is not limited to the builder only; the user, or, in other words, the master, of the house will even be a better judge than the builder, just as the pilot will judge better of a rudder than the carpenter, and the guest will judge better of a feast than the cook.

Sovereignty of the people means not volonté de tous but volonté générale.

This difficulty seems now to be sufficiently answered,Jowett1885v1: 15 but there is another akin to it. That inferior persons should have authority in greater matters than the good would appear to be a strange thing, yet the election and calling to account of the magistrates is the greatest of all. And these, as I was saying, are functions which in some states are assigned to the people, for the assembly is supreme in all such matters. Yet persons of any age,Jowett1885v1: 16 and having but a small property qualification, sit in the assembly and deliberate and judge, although for the great officers of state, such as controllers and generals, a high qualification is required. This difficulty may be solved in the same manner as the preceding, and the present practice of democracies may be really defensible.Jowett1885v1: 17 For the power does not reside in the dicast, or senator, or ecclesiast, but in the court and the senate, and the assembly, of which individual senators, or ecclesiasts, or dicasts, are only parts or members. And for thisJowett1885v1: 18 reason the many may claim to have a higher authority than the few; for the people, and the senate, and the courts consist of many persons, and their property collectively is greater than the property of one or of a few individuals holding great offices. But enough of this.

The laws when good supreme. But what are good laws? 1282 b.

The discussion of the first questiona shows nothing soJowett1885v1: 19 clearly as that laws, when good, should be supreme; and that the magistrate or magistrates should regulate those matters only on which the laws are unable to speak with Edition: current; Page: [89]precision owing to the difficulty of any general principle embracing all particularsa. But what are good laws hasJowett1885v1: 20 not yet been clearly explained; the old difficulty remainsb. The goodness or badness, justice or injustice, of laws is of necessity relative to the constitutions of states. But if so, true forms of government will of necessityJowett1885v1: 21 have just laws, and perverted forms of government will have unjust laws.

Justice is equality. But equality in what? Not in anything and everything. Differences of quality have no common measure. What kinds of superiority give a claim to political power? 1283 a.

In all sciences and arts the end is a good, and especiallyJowett1885v1: III. 12. and above all in the highest of allc — this is the political science of which the good is justice, in other words, the common interest. All men think justice to be a sort of equality; and to a certain extentd they agree in the philosophical distinctions which have been laid down by us about Ethicse. For they admit that justice is a thing having relation to persons, and that equals ought to have equality. But there still remains a question;Jowett1885v1: 2 equality or inequality of what? here is a difficulty which the political philosopher has to resolve. For very likely some persons will say that offices of state ought to be unequally distributed according to superior excellence, in whatever respect, of the citizen, although there is no other difference between him and the rest of the community; for that those who differ in any one respect have different rights and claims. But, surely, ifJowett1885v1: 3 this is true, the complexion or height of a man, or any other advantage, will be a reason for his obtaining a greater share of political rights. The error here liesJowett1885v1: 4 upon the surface, and may be illustrated from the other arts and sciences. When a number of flute-players are equal in their art, there is no reason why those of them who are better born should have better flutes given to them; for they will not play any better on the flute, and the superior instrument should be reserved for him who is the superior artist. If what I am saying is still obscure, it will be made clearer as we proceed. For if there wereJowett1885v1: 5 Edition: current; Page: [90]a superior flute-player who was far inferior in birth and beauty, although either of these may be a greater good than the art of flute-playing, and persons gifted with these qualities may excel the flute-player in a greater ratio than he excels them in his art, still he ought to have the best flutes given to him, unless the advantages of wealth and birth contribute to excellence in flute-playing, which they do not. Moreover upon this principle any goodJowett1885v1: 6 may be compared with any other. For if a given height, then height in general may be measured either against height or against freedom. Thus if A excels in height more than B in virtue, and height in general is more excellent than virtue, all things will be commensurable [which is absurd]; for if a certain magnitude is greater than some other, it is clear that some other will be equal. But since no such comparison can be made, it is evidentJowett1885v1: 7 that there is good reason why in politics men do not ground their claim to office on every sort of inequality any more than in the arts. For if some be slow, and others swift, that is no reason why the one should have little and the others much; it is in gymnastic contests that such excellence is rewarded. Whereas the rivalJowett1885v1: 8 claims of candidates for office can only be based on the possession of elements which enter into the composition of a state, [such as wealth, virtue, etc.] And therefore the noble, or free-born, or rich, may with good reason claim office; for holders of offices must be freemen and tax-payers: a state can be no more composed entirely of poor men than entirely of slaves. But if wealth andJowett1885v1: 9 freedom are necessary elements, justice and valour are equally soa; for without the former a state cannot exist at all, without the latter not well.

1283 b. The claims of wealth, of birth, of virtue, of numbers. Concurrent claims.

If the existence of the state is alone to be considered,Jowett1885v1: III. 13. then it would seem that all, or some at least, of these claims are just; but, if we take into account a good life, as I have already saidb, education and virtue have Edition: current; Page: [91]superior claims. As, however, those who are equal in one thing ought not to be equal in all, nor those who are unequal in one thing to be unequal in all, it is certain that all forms of government which rest on either of these principles are perversions. All men have a claimJowett1885v1: 2 in a certain sense, as I have already admitted, but they have not an absolute claim. The rich claim because they have a greater share in the land, and land is the common element of the state; also they are generally more trustworthy in contracts. The free claim under the same title as the noble; for they are nearly akin. And the noble are citizens in a truer sense than the ignoble, since good birth is always valued in a man’s own home and countrya. Another reason is, that those who areJowett1885v1: 3 sprung from better ancestors are likely to be better men, for nobility is excellence of race. Virtue, too, may be truly said to have a claim, for justice has been acknowledged by us to be a socialb virtue, and it implies all othersc. Again, the many may urge their claimJowett1885v1: 4 against the few; for, when taken collectively, and compared with the few, they are stronger and richer and better. But, what if the good, the rich, the noble, and the other classes who make up a state, are all living together in the same city, will there, or will there not, be any doubt who shall rule?—No doubt at allJowett1885v1: 5 in determining who ought to rule in each of the above-mentioned forms of government. For states are characterized by differences in their governing bodies—one of them has a government of the rich, another of the virtuous, and so on. But a difficulty arises when all these elements coexist. How are we to decide? Suppose theJowett1885v1: 6 virtuous to be very few in number: may we consider their numbers in relation to their duties, and ask whether they are enough to administer the state, or must they be so many as will make up a state? Objections may be urged against all the aspirants to political power. ForJowett1885v1: 7 those who found their claims on wealth or family have Edition: current; Page: [92]no basis of justice; on this principle, if any one person were richer than all the rest, it is clear that he ought to be the ruler of them. In like manner he who is very distinguished by his birth ought to have the superiority over all those who claim on the ground that they are freeborn. In an aristocracy, or government of the best, aJowett1885v1: 8 like difficulty occurs about virtue; for if one citizen be better than the other members of the government, however good they may be, he too, upon the same principle of justice, should rule over them. And if the people are to be supreme because they are stronger than the few, then if one man, or more than one, but not a majority, is stronger than the many, they ought to rule, and not the many.

None of these claims to power strictly just. The many may be better or richer than the few. The equal is limited by the common good. 1284 a.

All these considerations appear to show that none ofJowett1885v1: 9 the principles on which men claim to rule, and hold all other men in subjection to them, are strictly right. ToJowett1885v1: 10 those who claim to be masters of the state on the ground of their virtue or their wealth, the many might fairly answer that they themselves are often better and richer than the few—I do not say individually, but collectively. And another ingenious objection which is sometimes putJowett1885v1: 11 forward may be met in a similar manner. Some persons doubt whether the legislator who desires to make the justest laws ought to legislate with a view to the good of the higher classes or of the many, when the case which we have mentioned occurs [i. e. when all the elements coexista]. Now what is just or right is to be interpretedJowett1885v1: 12 in the sense of ‘what is equal;’ and that which is right in the sense of being equal is to be considered with reference to the advantage of the state, and the common good of the citizens. And a citizen is one who shares in governing and being governed. He differs under different forms of government, but in the best state he is one who is able and willing to be governed and to govern with a view to the life of virtue.

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The true king or hero an anomalous person who is not part of a state: such persons are ostracised in democracies which, like tyrannies, act on the advice of Periander to Thrasybulus. Imperial states ostracise dependent states. 1284 b.

If, however, there be some one person, or more thanJowett1885v1: 13 one, although not enough to make up the full complement of a state, whose virtue is so preeminent that the virtues or the political power of all the rest admit of no comparison with his or theirs, he or they can be no longer regarded as part of a state; for justice will not be done to the superior, if he is reckoned only as the equal of those who are so far inferior to him in virtue and in political power. Such an one may truly be deemed a God among men. Hence we see thatJowett1885v1: 14 legislation is necessarily concerned only with those who are equal in birth and in power; and that for men of preeminent virtue there is no law — they are themselves a law. Any one would be ridiculous who attempted to make laws for them: they would probably retort what, in the fable of Antisthenes, the lions said to the hares [‘where are your claws?’], when in the council of the beasts the latter began haranguing and claiming equality for all. And for this reason democraticJowett1885v1: 15 states have instituted ostracism; equality is above all things their aim, and therefore they ostracise and banish from the city for a time those who seem to predominate too much through their wealth, or the number of their friends, or through any other political influence. Mythology tellsJowett1885v1: 16 us that the Argonauts left Heracles behind for a similar reason; the ship Argo would not take him because she feared that he would have been too much for the rest of the crew. Wherefore those who denounce tyranny and blame the counsel which Periander gave to Thrasybulus cannot be held altogether just in their censure. TheJowett1885v1: 17 story is that Periander, when the herald was sent to ask counsel of him, said nothing, but only cut off the tallest ears of corn till he had brought the field to a level. The herald did not know the meaning of the action, but came and reported what he had seen to Thrasybulus, who understood that he was to cut off the principal men in the statea; and this is a policy not only expedient forJowett1885v1: 18 Edition: current; Page: [94]tyrants or in practice confined to them, but equally necessary in oligarchies and democracies. Ostracisma is a measure of the same kind, which acts by disabling and banishing the most prominent citizens. Great powersJowett1885v1: 19 do the same to whole cities and nations, as the Athenians did to the Samians, Chians, and Lesbians; no sooner had they obtained a firm grasp of the empire, than they humbled their allies contrary to treaty; and the Persian king has repeatedly crushed the Medes, Babylonians, and other nations, when their spirit has been stirred by the recollection of their former greatness.

Illustration taken from the arts. Ostracism when applied a sad necessity, but it should not be necessary. Can we ostracise the one best man? No: Then he must be king.

The problem is a universal one, and equally concernsJowett1885v1: 20 all forms of government, true as well as false; for, although perverted forms with a view to their own interests may adopt this policy, those which seek the common interest do so likewise. The same thing mayJowett1885v1: 21 be observed in the arts and sciencesb; for the painter will not allow the figure to have a foot which, however beautiful, is not in proportion, nor will the ship-builder allow the stern or any other part of the vessel to be unduly large, any more than who sings louder or better than all the rest to sing in the choir. Jowett1885v1: 22cMonarchs, too, may practise compulsion and still live in harmony with their cities, if their government is for the interest of the statec. Hence where there is an acknowledged superiority the argument in favour of ostracism is based upon a kind of political justice. It would certainly be better that the legislator shouldJowett1885v1: 23 from the first so order his state as to have no need of such a remedy. But if the need arises, the next best thing is that he should endeavour to correct the evil by this or some similar measure. The principle, however, has not been fairly applied in states; for, instead of looking to the public good, they have used ostracism for Edition: current; Page: [95]factious purposes. It is true that under perverted formsJowett1885v1: 24 of government, and from their special point of view, such a measure is just and expedient, but it is also clear that it is not absolutely just. In the perfect state there would be great doubts about the use of it, not when applied to excess in strength, wealth, popularity, or the like, but when used against some one who is preeminent in virtue, — what is to be done with him? Mankind willJowett1885v1: 25 not say that such an one is to be expelled and exiled; on the other hand, he ought not to be a subject—that would be aas if in the division of the empire of the Gods the other Godsa should claim to rule over Zeus. The only alternative is that all should joyfully obey such a ruler, according to what seems to be the order of nature, and that men like him should be kings in their state for life.

1285 a. Royalty, kinds of.

The preceding discussion, by a natural transition, leadsJowett1885v1: III. 14. to the consideration of royalty, which we admit to be one of the true forms of governmentb. Let us see whether in order to be well governed a state or country should be under the rule of a king or under some other form of government; and whether monarchy, although good for some, may not be bad for others. But first weJowett1885v1: 2 must determine whether there is one species of royalty or many. It is easy to see that there are many, and that the manner of government is not the same in all of them.

(1) The Lacedaemonian kings not sovereigns, but generals for life.

Of royalties according to law, the Lacedaemonian isJowett1885v1: 3 thought to answer best to the true pattern; but there the royal power is not absolute, except when the kings go on an expedition, and then they take the command. Matters of religion are likewise committed to them. The kingly office is in truth a kind of generalship, irresponsibleJowett1885v1: 4 and perpetual. The king has not the power of life and death, exceptc when upon a campaign and in Edition: current; Page: [96]the field; after the manner of the ancients which is described in Homer. For Agamemnon is patient when he is attacked in the assembly, but when the army goes out to battle he has the power even of life and death. Does he not say?—Jowett1885v1: 5

‘When I find a man skulking apart from the battle, nothing shall save him from the dogs and vultures, for in my hands is deatha.’

This, then, is one form of royalty — a generalship for life: and of such royalties some are hereditary and others elective.

(2) Barbarian kings have despotic power, but are legal and hereditary.

(2) There is another sort of monarchy not uncommonJowett1885v1: 6 among the barbarians, which nearly resembles tyranny. But even this is legal and hereditary. For barbarians, being more servile in character than Hellenes, and Asiatics than Europeans, do not rebel against a despotic government. Such royalties have the nature of tyranniesJowett1885v1: 7 because the people are by nature slavesb; but there is no danger of their being overthrown, for they are hereditary and legal. Wherefore also their guards are such as a king and not such as a tyrant would employ, that is to say, they are composed of citizens, whereas the guards of tyrants are mercenariesc. For kings rule according to law over voluntary subjects, but tyrants over involuntary; and the one are guarded by their fellow-citizens, the others are guarded against them.

(3) Aesymnetes or dictators.

These are two forms of monarchy, and there was aJowett1885v1: 8 third (3) which existed in ancient Hellas, called an Aesymnetia or dictatorship. This may be defined generally as an elective tyranny, which, like the barbarian monarchy, is legal, but differs from it in not being hereditary. Sometimes the office is held for life, sometimesJowett1885v1: 9 for a term of years, or until certain duties have been performed. For example, the Mitylenaeans elected Pittacus leader against the exiles, who were headed by Antimenides and Alcaeus the poet. And Alcaeus himself saysJowett1885v1: 10 Edition: current; Page: [97]in one of his airregular songsa, ‘They chose Pittacus tyrant,’ and he reproaches his fellow-citizens for

1285 b.

‘having made the low-born Pittacus tyrant of the spiritless and ill-fated city, with one voice shouting his praises.’

These forms of government have always had theJowett1885v1: 11 character of despotism, because they possess tyrannical power; but inasmuch as they are elective and acquiesced in by their subjects, they are kingly.

(4) The hereditary ruler over willing subjects. The king’s power gradually declined, the office of priest or general alone remaining to him.

(4) There is a fourth species of kingly rule—that of the heroic times—which was hereditary and legal, and was exercised over willing subjects. For the first chiefsJowett1885v1: 12 were benefactors of the peopleb in arts or arms; they either gathered them into a community, or procured land for them; and thus they became kings of voluntary subjects, and their power was inherited by their descendants. They took the command in war and presided over the sacrifices, except those which required a priest. They also decided causes either with or without an oath; and when they swore, the form of the oath was the stretching out of their sceptre. In ancient timesJowett1885v1: 13 their power extended to all things whatsoever, in city and country, as well as in foreign parts; but at a later date they relinquished several of these privileges, and others the people took from them, until in some states nothing was left to them but the sacrifices; and where they retained more of the reality they had only the right of leadership in war beyond the border.

Re-enumeration of the kinds of royalty. To the four above-mentioned

These, then, are the four kinds of royalty. First theJowett1885v1: 14 monarchy of the heroic ages; this was exercised over voluntary subjects, but limited to certain functions; the king was a general and a judge, and had the control of religion. The second is that of the barbarians, which is an hereditary despotic government in accordance with law. A third is the power of the so-called Aesymnete or Dictator; this is an elective tyranny. The fourth is the Lacedaemonian, which is in fact a generalship, Edition: current; Page: [98]hereditary and perpetual. These four forms differ fromJowett1885v1: 15 one another in the manner which I have described.

is added (5) absolute royalty.

There is a fifth form of kingly rule in which one has the disposal of all, just as each tribe or each state has the disposal of the public property; this form corresponds to the control of a household. For as household management is the kingly rule of a house, so kingly rule is the household management of a city, or of a nation, or of many nations.

Only the two extreme forms need be considered. The Lacedaemonian royalty is an office, not a constitution; the absolute royalty raises many questions. Should the best laws or the best man rule? 1286 a.

Of these forms we need only consider two, the LacedaemonianJowett1885v1: III. 15. and the absolute royalty; for most of the others lie in a region between them, having less power than the last, and more than the first. Thus the enquiryJowett1885v1: 2 is reduced to two points: first, is it advantageous to the state that there should be a perpetual general, and if so, should the office be confined to one family, or open to the citizens in turn? Secondly, is it well that a single man should have the supreme power in all things? The first question falls under the head of laws rather than of constitutions; for perpetual generalship might equally exist under any form of government, so thatJowett1885v1: 3 this matter may be dismissed for the present. The other kind of royalty is a sort of constitution; this we have now to consider, and briefly to run over the difficulties involved in it. We will begin by enquiring whether it is more advantageous to be ruled by the best man or by the best lawsa.

Laws are general, but they are passionless, and the rules too must have general principles.

The advocates of royalty maintain that the lawsJowett1885v1: 4 speak only in general terms, and cannot provide for circumstances; and that for any science to abide by written rules is absurd. Even in Egypt the physician is allowed to alter his treatment after the fourth day, but if sooner, he takes the risk. Hence it is argued that a government acting according to written laws is plainly not the best. Yet surely the ruler cannot dispense with theJowett1885v1: 5 general principle which exists in law; and he is a better Edition: current; Page: [99]ruler who is free from passion than he who is passionate. Whereas the law is passionless, passion must ever sway the heart of man.

But how about particular cases which cannot be determined by law? Should the one best man or the many decide them? The many are collectively wiser,

Yes, some one will answer, but then on the otherJowett1885v1: 6 hand an individual will be better able to advise in particular cases. [To whom we in turn make reply:] A king must legislate, and laws must be passed, but these laws will have no authority when they miss the mark, though in all other cases retaining their authority. [Yet a further question remains behind:] When the law cannot determine a point at all, or not well, should the one best man or should all decide? According to our presentJowett1885v1: 7 practice assemblies meet, sit in judgment, deliberate and decide, and their judgments all relate to individual cases. Now any member of the assembly, taken separately, is certainly inferior to the wise man. But the state is made up of many individuals. And as a feast to which all the guests contribute is better than a banquet furnished by a single mana, so a multitude is a better judge of many things than any individual.

1286 b. less corruptible, freer from passion, and not more subject to faction.

Again, the many are more incorruptible than the few;Jowett1885v1: 8 they are like the greater quantity of water which is less easily corrupted than a little. The individual is liable to be overcome by anger or by some other passion, and then his judgment is necessarily perverted; but it is hardly to be supposed that a great number of persons would all get into a passion and go wrong at the same moment. Let us assume that they are freemen, never acting inJowett1885v1: 9 violation of the law, but filling up the gaps which the law is obliged to leave. Or, if such virtue is scarcely attainable by the multitude, we need only suppose that the majority are good men and good citizens, and ask which will be the more incorruptible, the one good ruler, or the many who are all good? Will not the many? But, you will say, there may be parties among them, whereas the one man is not divided against himself. ToJowett1885v1: 10 Edition: current; Page: [100]which we may answer that their character is as good as his. If we call the rule of many men, who are all of them good, aristocracy, and the rule of one man royalty, then aristocracy will be better for states than royalty, whether the government is supported by force or nota, provided only that a number of men equal in virtue can be found.

Ancient monarchies passed into aristocracies, these into oligarchies; then came tyrannies, lastly, democracies.

The first governments were kingships, probably forJowett1885v1: 11 this reason, because of old, when cities were small, men of eminent virtue were few. They were made kings because they were benefactorsb, and benefits can only be bestowed by good men. But when many persons equal in merit arose, no longer enduring the pre-eminence of one, they desired to have a commonwealth, andJowett1885v1: 12 set up a constitution. The ruling class soon deteriorated and enriched themselves out of the public treasury; riches became the path to honour, and so oligarchies naturally grew up. These passed into tyrannies and tyrannies into democracies; for love of gain in the ruling classes was always tending to diminish their number, and so to strengthen the masses, who in the end set upon their masters and established democracies. Since cities have increased in size, no other form of governmentJowett1885v1: 13 appears to be any longer possiblec.

Should monarchy be hereditary? Should the monarch have a military force? Yes; but he must not be too powerful.

Even supposing the principle to be maintained that kingly power is the best thing for states, how about the family of the king? Are his children to succeed him? If they are no better than anybody else, that will be mischievous. But [says the lover of royalty] the king,Jowett1885v1: 14 though he might, will not hand on his power to his children. That, however, is hardly to be expected, and is too much to ask of human nature. There is also a difficulty about the force which he is to employ; should a king have guards about him by whose aid he may be able to coerce the refractory? but if not, how will heJowett1885v1: 15 administer his kingdom? Even if he be the lawful Edition: current; Page: [101]sovereign who does nothing arbitrarily or contrary to law, still he must have some force wherewith to maintain the law. In the case of a limited monarchy thereJowett1885v1: 16 is not much difficulty in answering this question; the king must have such force as will be more than a match for one or more individuals, but not so great as that of the people. The ancients observed this principle when they gave the guards to any one whom they appointed dictator or tyrant. Thus, when Dionysius asked the Syracusans to allow him guards, somebody advised that they should give him only a certain number.

1287 a. The royalty of Sparta is only a life generalship, which may be found in any kind of state. But absolute monarchy is often thought to be contrary to nature. Equals should be under the impersonal rule of law. Law is passionless Reason. The analogy of medicine is adduced in support of personal government, but the cases are not parallel. 1287 b.

At this place in the discussion naturally follows theJowett1885v1: III. 16. enquiry respecting the king who acts solely according to his own will; he has now to be considered. The so-called limited monarchy, or kingship according to law, as I have already remarkeda, is not a distinct form of government, for under all governments, as, for example, in a democracy or aristocracy, there may be a general holding office for life, and one person is often made supreme over the administration of a state. A magistracy of this kind exists at Epidamnusb, and also at Opus, but in the latter city has a more limited power. Now, absoluteJowett1885v1: 2 monarchy, or the arbitrary rule of a sovereign over all the citizens, in a city which consists of equals, is thought by some to be quite contrary to nature; it is argued that those who are by nature equals must have the same natural right and worth, and that for unequals to have an equal share, or for equals to have an unequal share, in the offices of state, is as bad as for different bodily constitutions to have the same food and clothing or the same different. Wherefore it is thought to be just thatJowett1885v1: 3 among equals every one be ruled as well as rule, and that all should have their turn. We thus arrive at law; for an order of succession implies law. And the rule of the law is preferable to that of any individual. On the sameJowett1885v1: 4 principle, even if it be better for certain individuals to govern, they should be made only guardians and ministers Edition: current; Page: [102]of the law. For magistrates there must be, — this is admitted; but then men say that to give authority to any one man when all are equal is unjust. There may indeed be cases which the law seems unable to determine, but in such cases can a man? Nay, it will be replied,Jowett1885v1: 5 the law trains officers for this express purpose, and appoints them to determine matters which are left undecided by it to the best of their judgment. Further it permits them to make any amendment of the existing laws which experience suggests. [But still they are only the ministers of the law.] He who bids the law rule, may be deemed to bid God and Reason alone rule, but he who bids man rule adds an element of the beast; for desire is a wild beast, and passion perverts the minds of rulers, even when they are the best of men. The law is reason unaffected by desire. We areJowett1885v1: 6 told that a patient should call in a physician; he will not get better if he is doctored out of a book. But theJowett1885v1: 7 parallel of the arts is clearly not in point; for the physician does nothing contrary to reason from motives of friendship; he only cures a patient and takes a fee; whereas magistrates do many things from spite and partiality. And, indeed, if a man suspected the physician of being in league with his enemies to destroy him for a bribe, he would rather have recourse to the book. Even physiciansJowett1885v1: 8 when they are sick, call in other physicians, and training-masters when they are in training, other training-masters, as if they could not judge truly about their own case and might be influenced by their feelings. Hence it is evident that in seeking for justice men seek for the mean or neutrala, and the law is the mean. Again, customaryJowett1885v1: 9 laws have more weight, and relate to more important matters, than written laws, and a man may be a safer ruler than the written law, but not safer than the customary law.

The one must always have the assistance of many: then is it not better that the many should rule from the first?

Again, it is by no means easy for one man to superintend Edition: current; Page: [103]many things; he will have to appoint a number of subordinates, and what difference does it make whether these subordinates always existed or were appointed by him because he needed them? If, as I said beforea, theJowett1885v1: 10 good man has a right to rule because he is better, then two good men are better than one: this is the old saying,—

‘two going togetherb;’

and the prayer of Agamemnon,—

‘would that I had ten such counsellorsc!’

And at this day there are some magistrates, for example judgesd, who have authority to decide matters which the law is unable to determine, since no one doubts that the law would command and decide in the best manner whatever it could. But some things can, and other thingsJowett1885v1: 11 cannot, be comprehended under the law, and this is the origin of the vexed question whether the best law or the best man should rule. For matters of detail about which men deliberate cannot be included in legislation. Nor does any one deny that the decision of such matters must be left to man, but it is argued that there should be many judges, and not one only. For every rulere who has beenJowett1885v1: 12 trained by the law judges well; and it would surely seem strange that a person should see better with two eyes, or hear better with two ears, or act better with two hands or feet, than many with many; indeed, it is already the practice of kings to make to themselves many eyes and ears and hands and feet. For they make colleagues of those who are the friends of themselves and their governments. They must be friends of the monarch and of hisJowett1885v1: 13 government; if not his friends, they will not do what he wants; but friendship implies likeness and equality; and, therefore, if he thinks that friends ought to rule, he must think that those who are equal to himself and Edition: current; Page: [104]like himself ought to rule. These are the principal controversies relating to monarchy.

But monarchy may be preferable, when in accordance with the character of a people. Natural fitness of constitutions. 1288 a.

But may not all this be true in some cases and not inJowett1885v1: III. 17. others? afor there is a natural justice and expediency in the relation of a master to his servants, or, again, of a king to his subjects, as also in the relation of free citizens to one another; whereas there is no such justice or expediency in a tyrannya, or in any other perverted form of government, which comes into being contrary to nature. Now, from what has been said, it is manifest that, where men are alike and equal, it is neither expedient nor justJowett1885v1: 2 that one man should be lord of all, whether there are laws, or whether there are no laws, but he himself is in the place of law. Neither should a good man be lord over good men, or a bad man over bad; nor, even if he excels in virtue, should he have a right to rule, unless in a particular case, which I have already mentioned, and to which I will once more recurb. But first of all, IJowett1885v1: 3 must determine what natures are suited for royalties, and what for an aristocracy, and what for a constitutional government.

When one man is pre-eminent in virtue he ought to rule.

A people who are by nature capable of producing aJowett1885v1: 4 race superior in virtue and political talent are fitted for kingly government; and a peoplec submitting to be ruled as freemen by men whose virtue renders them capable of political command are adapted for an aristocracy: while the people who are suited for constitutional freedom, are those among whom there naturally existsd a warlike multitudee able to rule and to obey in turn by a law which gives office to the well-to-do according to their Edition: current; Page: [105]desert. But when a whole family, or some individual,Jowett1885v1: 5 happens to be so pre-eminent in virtue as to surpass all others, then it is just that they should be the royal family and supreme over all, or that this one citizen should be king of the whole nation. For, as I said beforea, to giveJowett1885v1: 6 them authority is not only agreeable to that ground of right which the founders of all states, whether aristocratical, or oligarchical, or again democratical, are accustomed to put forward; (for these all recognize the claim of excellence, although not the same excellence), bbut accords with the principle already laid downb. ForJowett1885v1: 7 it would not be right to kill, or ostracise, or exile such a person, or require that he should take his turn in being governed. The whole is naturally superior to the part, and he who has this pre-eminence is in the relation of a whole to a part. But if so, the only alternative is that heJowett1885v1: 8 should have the supreme power, and that mankind should obey him, not in turn, but always. These are the conclusions at which we arrive respecting royalty and its various forms, and this is the answer to the question, whether it is or is not advantageous to states, and to whom, and how.

The best government may be either the rule of the one, or of the many virtuous. State and individual both become virtuous in the same manner. 1288 b.

We maintain that the true forms of government areJowett1885v1: III. 18. three, and that the best must be that which is administered by the best, and in which there is one man, or a whole family, or many persons, excelling in virtue, and both rulers and subjects are fitted, the one to rule, the others to be ruledc, in such a manner as to attain the most eligible life. We showed at the commencement of our enquiryd that the virtue of the good man is necessarily the same as the virtue of the citizen of the perfect state. Clearly then in the same manner, and by the same means through which a man becomes truly good, he will frame a state [which will be truly good] whether aristocratical, Edition: current; Page: [106]or under kingly rule, and the same education and the same habits will be found to make a good man and a good statesman and king.

Having arrived at these conclusions, we must proceedJowett1885v1: 2 to speak of the perfect state, and describe how it comes into being and is established. He who would proceed with the enquiry in due manner. . . . .a

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The problems of the gymnastic art

In all arts and sciences which embrace the whole ofJowett1885v1: IV. 1. any subject, and are not restricted to a part only, it is the province of a single art or science to consider all that appertains to a single subject. For example, the art of gymnastic considers not only the suitableness of different modes of training to different bodies (2), but what sort is absolutely the best (1); (for the absolutely best must suit that which is by nature best and best furnished with the means of life), and also what common form of training is adapted to the great majority of men (4). And if a manJowett1885v1: 2 does not desire the best habit of body or the greatest skill in gymnastics, which might be attained by him, still the trainer or the teacher of gymnastic should be able to impart any lower degree of either (3). The same principle equally holds in medicine and ship-building, and the making of clothes, and in the arts generallya.

illustrate the problems of politics for the statesman.

Hence it is obvious that government too is the subjectJowett1885v1: 3 of a single science, which has to consider what kind of government would be best and most in accordance with our aspirations, if there were no external impediment, and also what kind of government is adapted to particular states. For the best is often unattainable, and therefore the true legislator and statesman ought to be acquainted, not only with (1) that which is best in the abstract, but also with (2) that which is best relatively to circumstances. We should be able further to say how aJowett1885v1: 4 state may be constituted under any given conditions (3); both how it is originally formed and, when formed, how it may be longest preserved; the supposed state being so far from the very best that it is unprovided even with the conditions necessary for the very best; neither is it the best under the circumstances, but of an inferior type.

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The best state for the majority. The reformation of the old as hard as the creation of the new. The ‘pathology’ of states. 1289 a.

He ought, moreover, to know (4) the form of governmentJowett1885v1: 5 which is best suited to states in general; for political writers, although they have excellent ideas, are often unpractical. We should consider, not only what formJowett1885v1: 6 of government is best, but also what is possible and what is easily attainable by all. There are some who would have none but the most perfect; for this many natural advantages are required. Others, again, speak of a more attainable form, and, although they reject the constitution under which they are living, they extol some one in particular, for example the Lacedaemoniana. Any change of government which has to be introducedJowett1885v1: 7 should be one which men will be both willing and able to adopt, since there is quite as much trouble in the reformation of an old constitution as in the establishment of a new one, just as to unlearn is as hard as to learn. And therefore, in addition to the qualifications of the statesman already mentioned, he should be able to find remedies for the defects of existing constitutionsb. This he cannot do unless he knows how many forms ofJowett1885v1: 8 a government there are. It is often supposed that there is only one kind of democracy and one of oligarchy. But this is a mistake; and, in order to avoid such mistakes, we must ascertain what differences there are in the constitutions of states, and in how many ways they are combined. The same political insight will enable a manJowett1885v1: 9 to know which laws are the best, and which are suited to different constitutions; for the laws are, and ought to be, relative to the constitution, and not the constitution to the laws. A constitution is the organization of officesJowett1885v1: 10 in a state, and determines what is to be the governing body, and what is the end of each community. But claws are not to be confounded with the principles of the constitutionc: they are the rules according to which the magistrates should administer the state, and proceed Edition: current; Page: [109]against offenders. So that we must know the numberJowett1885v1: 11 and varieties of the several forms of government, if only with a view to making laws. For the same laws cannot be equally suited to all oligarchies and to all democracies, and there is certainly more than one form both of democracy and of oligarchy.

Royalty and aristocracy have been already discussed. Polity, democracy, oligarchy, tyranny, remain.

In our original discussiona about governments weJowett1885v1: IV. 2. divided them into three true forms: kingly rule, aristocracy, and constitutional government, and three corresponding perversions—tyranny, oligarchy, and democracy. Of kingly rule and of aristocracy we have already spoken, for the enquiry into the perfect state is the same thing with the discussion of the two forms thus named, since both imply a principle of virtue provided with external means. We have already determined in what aristocracy and kingly rule differ from one another, and when the latter should be establishedb. In what follows we have to describe the so-called constitutional government, which bears the common name of all constitutions, and the other forms, tyranny, oligarchy, and democracy.

1289 b. ‘Corruptio optimi pessima.’

It is obvious which of the three perversions is theJowett1885v1: 2 worst, and which is the next in badness. That which is the perversion of the first and most divine is necessarily the worst. And just as a royal rule, if not a mere name, must exist by virtue of some great personal superiority in the king, so tyranny, which is the worst of governments, is necessarily the farthest removed from a well-constituted form; oligarchy is a little better, but a long way from aristocracy, and democracy is the most tolerable of the three.

A criticism on Plato.

A writerc who preceded me has already made theseJowett1885v1: 3 distinctions, but his point of view is not the same as mine. For he lays down the principle that of all good constitutions (under which he would include a virtuous oligarchy and the like) democracy is the worst, but the best of bad ones. Whereas we maintain that they are Edition: current; Page: [110]all defective, and that one oligarchy is not to be accounted better than another, but only less bad.

A new beginning: Questions to be discussed.

Not to pursue this question further at present, let usJowett1885v1: 4 begin by determining (1)a how many varieties of states there are (since of democracy and oligarchy there are several); (2)b what constitution is the most generally acceptable, and what is eligible in the next degree cafter the perfect or any other aristocratical and well-constituted form of government—if any other there be—which is at the same time adapted to states in generalc; (3)d of the other forms of government to whom is each suited. For democracy may meet the needs of some better thanJowett1885v1: 5 oligarchy, and conversely. In the next place (4)e we have to consider in what manner a man ought to proceed who desires to establish some one among these various forms, whether of democracy or of oligarchy; and lastly,Jowett1885v1: 6 (5)f having briefly discussed these subjects to the best of our power, we will endeavour to ascertain whence arise the ruin and preservation of states, both generally and in individual cases, and to what causes they are to be attributed.

Forms of government differ because states are made up of various elements. There are differences of occupation, wealth, 1290 a. rank, merit.

The reason why there are many forms of governmentJowett1885v1: IV. 3. is that every state contains many elements. In the first place we see that all states are made up of families, and in the multitude of citizens there must be some rich and some poor, and some in a middle condition; gthe rich are heavy-armed, and the poor notg. Of theJowett1885v1: 2 common people, some are husbandmen, and some traders, and some artisans. There are also among the notables differences of wealth and property—for example, in the number of horses which they keep, for they cannot afford to keep them unless they are rich. And thereforeJowett1885v1: 3 in old times the cities whose strength lay in their cavalry Edition: current; Page: [111]were oligarchies, and they used cavalry in warsa against their neighbours; as was the practice of the Eretrians and Chalcidians, and also of the Magnesians on the river Mæander, and of other peoples in Asia. Besides differencesJowett1885v1: 4 of wealth there are differences of rank and merit, and there are some other elements which were mentioned by us when in treating of aristocracy we enumerated the essentials of a stateb. Of these elements, sometimes all, sometimes the lesser and sometimes the greater number, have a share in the government. It is evidentJowett1885v1: 5 then that there must be many forms of government, differing in kind, since the parts of which they are composed differ from each other in kind. For a constitution is an organization of offices which all the citizens distribute among themselves, according to the power which different classes possess, for example the rich or the poor, or according to some principle of compensation which includes both. There must therefore be as manyJowett1885v1: 6 forms of government as there are modes of arranging the offices, according to the superiorities and other inequalities of the different parts of the state.

Two generally reputed types, oligarchy and democracy. But our classification is more precise.

There are generally thought to be two principal forms: as men say of the winds that there are but two—north and south, and that the rest of them are only variations of these, so of governments there are said to be only two forms—democracy and oligarchy. For aristocracy is consideredJowett1885v1: 7 to be a kind of oligarchy, as being the rule of a few, and the so-called constitutional government to be really a democracy, just as among the winds we make the west a variation of the north, and the east of the south wind. Similarly of harmonies there are said to be two kinds, the Dorian and the Phrygian; the other arrangements of the scale are comprehended under one of these two. About forms of government this is a veryJowett1885v1: 8 favourite notion. But in either case the better and more Edition: current; Page: [112]exact way is to distinguish, as I have done, the one or two which are true forms, and to regard the others as perversions, whether of the most perfectly attempered harmony or of the best form of government: we may compare the oligarchical forms to the severer and more overpowering modes, and the democratic to the more relaxed and gentler ones.

A democracy not simply the rule of the many but of the free; oligarchy not merely of the few but of the rich. 1290 b. The qualitative and quantitative elements must both be present.

It must not be assumed, as some are fond of saying,Jowett1885v1: IV. 4. that democracy is simply that form of government in which the greater number are sovereigna, for in oligarchies, and indeed in every government, the majority rules; nor again is oligarchy that form of government in which a few are sovereign. Suppose the whole population of aJowett1885v1: 2 city to be 1300, and that of these 1000 are rich, and do not allow the remaining 300 who are poor, but free, and in all other respects their equals, a share of the government—no one will say that this is a democracy. In likeJowett1885v1: 3 manner, if the poor were few and the masters of the rich who outnumber them, no one would ever call such a government, in which the rich majority have no share of office, an oligarchy. Therefore we should rather say that democracy is the form of government in which the free are rulers, and oligarchy in which the rich; it isJowett1885v1: 4 only an accident that the free are the many and the rich are the few. Otherwise a government in which the offices were given according to stature, as is said to be the case in Ethiopia, or according to beauty, would be an oligarchy; for the number of tall or good-looking men is small. And yet oligarchy and democracy areJowett1885v1: 5 not sufficiently distinguished merely by these two characteristics of wealth and freedom. Both of them contain many other elements, and therefore we must carry our analysis further, and say that the government is not a democracy in which the freemen, being few in number, rule over the many who are not free, as at Apollonia, on the Ionian Gulf, and at Thera; (for in each of these states the nobles, who were also the earliest settlers, were held in chief honour, although they were but a few Edition: current; Page: [113]out of many). Neither is it a democracy when the rich have the government, because they exceed in number; as was the case formerly at Colophon, where the bulk of the inhabitants were possessed of large property before the Lydian War. But the form of government is aJowett1885v1: 6 democracy when the free, who are also poor and the majority, govern, and oligarchy when the rich and the noble govern, they being at the same time few in number.

1291 a. Every animal has certain organs which take different forms. The various combinations of these differing forms make different species. So the kinds of states depend on the various combinations of the elements of a state, such as (1) husbandmen, (2) mechanics, (3) traders, (4) labourers, (5) soldiers. A criticism on Plato. The higher classes more truly parts than the lower. (6) The class which exercises judicial and deliberative functions. 1291 b. (7) The wealthy. (8) Magistrates. Different functions may sometimes be united in the same person, but poverty and riches are always antagonistic.

I have said that there are many forms of government,Jowett1885v1: 7 and have explained to what causes the variety is due. Why there are more than those already mentioned, and what they are, and whence they arise, I will now proceed to consider, starting from the principle already admitteda, which is that every state consists, not of one, but of many parts. If we were going to speak of theJowett1885v1: 8 different species of animals, we should first of all determine the organs which are indispensable to every animal, as for example some organs of sense and instruments of receiving and digesting food, such as the mouth and the stomach, besides organs of locomotion. Assuming now that there are only so many kinds of organs, but that there may be differences in them—I mean different kinds of mouths, and stomachs, and perceptive and locomotive organs—the possible combinations of these differences will necessarily furnish many varieties of animals. (For animals cannot be the same which have different kinds of mouths or of ears.) And when all the combinations are exhausted, there will be as many sorts of animals as there are combinations of the necessary organs. In like manner the forms of government whichJowett1885v1: 9 have been described, as I have repeatedly said, are composed, not of one, but of many elements. One element is the food-producing class, who are called husbandmen; a second, the class of mechanics, who practise the arts without which a city cannot exist;—of these arts some are absolutely necessary, others contribute to luxury or to the grace of life. The third classJowett1885v1: 10 Edition: current; Page: [114]is that of traders, and by traders I mean those who are engaged in buying and selling, whether in commerce or in retail trade. A fourth class is that of the serfs or labourers. The warriors make up the fifth class, and they are as necessary as any of the others, if the country is not to be the slave of every invader. For how can aJowett1885v1: 11 state which has any title to the name be of a slavish nature? The state is independent and self-sufficing, but a slave is the reverse of independent. Hence we see that this subject, though ingeniously, has not been satisfactorily treated in the Republica. Socrates saysJowett1885v1: 12 that a state is made up of four sorts of people who are absolutely necessary; these are a weaver, a husbandman, a shoemaker, and a builder; afterwards, finding that they are not enough, he adds a smith, and again a herdsman, to look after the necessary animals; then a merchant, and then a retail trader. All these together form the complement of the first state, as if a state were established merely to supply the necessaries of life, rather than for the sake of the good, or stood equally in need of shoemakers and of husbandmen. But he does notJowett1885v1: 13 admit into the state a military class until the country has increased in size, and is beginning to encroach on its neighbour’s land, whereupon they go to war. Yet even amongst his four original citizens, or whatever be the number of those whom he associates in the state, there must be some one who will dispense justice and determine what is just. And as the soul may be said to beJowett1885v1: 14 more truly part of an animal than the body, so the higher parts of states, that is to say, the warrior class, the class engaged in the administration of justice, and in deliberation, which is the special business of political common sense,—these are more essential to the state than the parts which minister to the necessaries of life. WhetherJowett1885v1: 15 their several functions are the functions of different citizens, or of the same,—for it may often happen that the same persons are both warriors and husbandmen,—is immaterial Edition: current; Page: [115]to the argument. The higher as well as the lower elements are to be equally considered parts of the state, and if so, the military element must be included. There are also the wealthy who minister to the state with their property; these form the seventh class. The eighth classJowett1885v1: 16 is that of magistrates and of officers; for the state cannot exist without rulers. And therefore some must be able to take office and to serve the state, either always or in turn. There only remains the class of those whoJowett1885v1: 17 deliberate and who judge between disputants; we were just now distinguishing them. If the fair and equitable organization of all these elements is necessary to states, then there must also be persons who have the ability of statesmen. Jowett1885v1: 18aMany are of opinion that different functions can be combined in the same individuala; for example, the warrior may also be a husbandman, or an artisan; or, again, the counsellor a judge. And all claim to possess political ability, and think that they are quite competent to fill most offices. But the same persons cannot be rich and poor at the same time. For this reason the rich andJowett1885v1: 19 the poor are regarded in an especial sense as parts of a state. Again, because the rich are generally few in number, while the poor are many, they appear to be antagonistic, and as the one or the other prevails they form the government. Hence arises the common opinion that there are two kinds of government—democracy and oligarchy.

Democracy and oligarchy subdivided according to the differences among the common people, and among the notables respectively.

I have already explainedb that there are many differencesJowett1885v1: 20 of constitutions, and to what causes the variety is due. Let me now show that there are different forms both of democracy and oligarchy, as will indeed be evident from what has preceded. For both in the commonJowett1885v1: 21 people and in the notables various classes are included; of the common people, one class are husbandmen, another artisans; another traders, who are employed in buying and selling; another are the seafaring Edition: current; Page: [116]class, whether engaged in war or in trade, as ferrymen or as fishermen. (In many places any one of these classes forms quite a large population; for example, fishermen at Tarentum and Byzantium, crews of triremes at Athens, merchant seamen at Aegina and Chios, ferrymen at Tenedos.) To the classes already mentioned may be added day-labourers, and those who, owing to their needy circumstances, have no leisure, or those who are not of free birth on both sides; and there may be other classes as well. The notables again mayJowett1885v1: 22 be divided according to their wealth, birth, virtue, education, and similar differences.

(1) First form of democracy. (2) Second. (3) Third. (4) Fourth. (5) Fifth, or extreme democracy, 1292 a. in which the tyrant people, flattered by their leaders, set aside the law, until the government ceases to be a constitution.

Of forms of democracy first comes that which is said to be based strictly on equality. In such a democracy the law says that it is just for nobody to be poor, and for nobody to be richa; and that neither should be masters, but both equal. For if liberty and equality, as isJowett1885v1: 23 thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost. And since the people are the majority, and the opinion of the majority is decisive, such a government must necessarily be a democracy. Here then is one sort of democracy. There is another,Jowett1885v1: 24 in which the magistrates are elected according to a certain property qualification, but a low one; he who has the required amount of property has a share in the government, but he who loses his property loses his rights. Another kind is that in which all the citizens who are under no disqualification share in the government, but still the law is supreme. In another, everybody,Jowett1885v1: 25 if he be only a citizen, is admitted to the government, but the law is supreme as before. A fifth form of democracy, in other respects the same, is that in which, not Edition: current; Page: [117]the law, but the multitude, have the supreme power, and supersede the law by their decrees. This is a state ofJowett1885v1: 26 affairs brought about by the demagogues. For in democracies which are subject to the law the best citizens hold the first place, and there are no demagogues; but where the laws are not supreme, there demagogues spring up. For the people becomes a monarch, and is many in one; and the many have the power in their hands, not as individuals, but collectively. Homer says that ‘it isJowett1885v1: 27 not good to have a rule of manya,’ but whether he means this corporate rule, or the rule of many individuals, is uncertain. And the people, who is now a monarch, and no longer under the control of law, seeks to exercise monarchical sway, and grows into a despot; the flatterer is held in honour; this sort of democracy being relatively to other democracies what tyranny is to other forms of monarchy. The spirit of both is the same, and theyJowett1885v1: 28 alike exercise a despotic rule over the better citizens. The decrees of the demos correspond to the edicts of the tyrant; and the demagogue is to the one what the flatterer is to the other. Both have great power;—the flatterer with the tyrant, the demagogue with democracies of the kind which we are describing. The demagoguesJowett1885v1: 29 make the decrees of the people override the laws, and refer all things to the popular assembly. And therefore they grow great, because the people have all things in their hands, and they hold in their hands the votes of the people, who are too ready to listen to them. Further,Jowett1885v1: 30 those who have any complaint to bring against the magistrates say, ‘let the people be judges;’ the people are too happy to accept the invitation; and so the authority of every office is undermined. Such a democracy is fairly open to the objection that it is not a constitution at all; for where the laws have no authority, there is no constitution. The law ought to be supreme over all, andJowett1885v1: 31 the magistracies and the government should judge of Edition: current; Page: [118]particulars. So that if democracy be a real form of government, the sort of constitution in which all things are regulated by decrees is clearly not a democracy in the true sense of the word, for decrees relate only to particularsa.

(1) First form of oligarchy. (2) (3) (4) Dynastia. 1292 b.

These then are the different kinds of democracy. OfJowett1885v1: IV. 5. oligarchies, too, there are different kinds:—one where the property qualification for office is so high that the poor, although they form the majority, have no share in the government, yet he who acquires a qualification may obtain a share. Another sort is when there is a qualification for office, but a high one, and the vacancies in the governing body are filled by co-optation. If the election is made out of all the qualified persons, a constitution of this kind inclines to an aristocracy, if out of a privileged class, to an oligarchy. Another sort ofJowett1885v1: 2 oligarchy is when the son succeeds the father. There is a fourth form, likewise hereditary, in which the magistrates are supreme and not the law. Among oligarchies this is what tyranny is among monarchies, and the last-mentioned form of democracy among democracies; and in fact this sort of oligarchy receives the name of a dynasty (or rule of powerful families).

Governments which are not democracies or oligarchies may be administered in a democratical or oligarchical spirit.

These are the different sorts of oligarchies and democracies.Jowett1885v1: 3 It should however be remembered that in many statesb the constitution which is established by law, although not democratic, owing to the character and habits of the people, may be administered democratically, and conversely in other states the established constitution may incline to democracy, but may be administered in an oligarchical spirit. This most oftenJowett1885v1: 4 happens after a revolution: for governments do not change at once; at first the dominant party are content with encroaching a little upon their opponents. The laws which existed previously continue in force, but the authors of the revolution have the power in their hands.

1293 a. (1) The first form—rural democracy. (2) Second form, in which every one whose parents are citizens shares, but there is no pay given; (3) in which all free men share, and still no pay; (4) in which pay is given. The democracy of large cities.

From what has been already said we may safely inferJowett1885v1: IV. 6. Edition: current; Page: [119]that there are so many different kinds of democracies and of oligarchies. For it is evident that either all the classesJowett1885v1: 2 whom we mentioned must share in the government, or some only and not others. When the class of husbandmen and of those who possess moderate fortunes have the supreme power, the government is administered according to law. For the citizens being compelled to live by their labour have no leisure; and so they set up the authority of the law, and attend assemblies only when necessary. Since they all obtain a share in the governmentJowett1885v1: 3 when they have acquired the qualification which is fixed by the law, nobody is excluded—the absolute exclusion of any class would be a step towards oligarchy. But leisure cannot be provided for them unless there are revenues to support them. This is one sort of democracy, and these are the causes which give birth to it. Another kind is based on the mode of election,a which naturally comes next in ordera; in this, every one to whose birth there is no objection is eligible, and may share in the government if he can find leisure. And inJowett1885v1: 4 such a democracy the supreme power is vested in the laws, because the state has no means of paying the citizens. A third kind is when all freemen have a right to share in the government, but do not actually share, for the reason which has been already given; so that in this form again the law must rule. A fourth kind ofJowett1885v1: 5 democracy is that which comes latest in the history of states. In our own day, when cities have far outgrown their original size, and their revenues have increased, all the citizens have a place in the government, through the great preponderance of their numbers; and they all, including the poor who receive pay, and therefore have leisure to exercise their rights, share in the administration. Indeed, when they are paid, the commonJowett1885v1: 6 people have the most leisure, for they are not hindered by the care of their property, which often fetters the Edition: current; Page: [120]rich, who are thereby prevented from taking part in the assembly or in the courts, and so the state is governed by the poor, who are a majority, and not by the laws. So many kinds of democracies there are, andJowett1885v1: 7 they grow out of these necessary causes.

Oligarchies, (1) first form based upon moderate property; (2) in which properties are larger and the owners fewer; (3) narrowed to families, (4) who set aside the law.

Of oligarchies, one form is that in which the majority of the citizens have some property, but not very much; and this is the first form, which allows to any one who obtains the required amount the right of sharing in the government. The sharers in the government beingJowett1885v1: 8 a numerous body, it follows that the law must govern, and not individuals. For in proportion as they are further removed from a monarchical form of government, and in respect of property have neither so much as to be able to live without attending to business, nor so little as to need state support, they must admit the rule of law and not claim to rule themselves. But if the menJowett1885v1: 9 of property in the state are fewer than in the former case, and own more property, there arises a second form of oligarchy. For the stronger they are, the more power they claim, and having this object in view, they themselves select those of the other classes who are to be admitted to the government; but, not being as yet strong enough to rule without the law, they make the law represent their wishes. When this power is intensifiedJowett1885v1: 10 by a further diminution of their numbers and increase of their property, there arises a third and further stage of oligarchy, in which the governing class keep the offices in their own hands, and the law ordains that the son shall succeed the father. When, again, the rulers have greatJowett1885v1: 11 wealth and numerous friends, this sort of dynastia or family despotism approaches a monarchy; individuals rule and not the law. This is the fourth sort of oligarchy, and is analogous to the last sort of democracy.

Two other forms, (1) aristocracy, and (2) polity. 1293 b. (1) Aristocracy not the perfect state, but a mixed government taking three forms.

There are still two forms besides democracy andJowett1885v1: IV. 7. oligarchy; one of them is universally recognized and included among the four principal forms of government which are said to be (1) monarchy, (2) oligarchy, Edition: current; Page: [121](3) democracy, and (4) the so-called aristocracy or government of the best. But there is also a fifth, which retains the generic name of polity or constitutional government; this is not common, and therefore has not been noticed by writers who attempt to enumerate the different kinds of government; like Plato in his books about the state, they recognize four only. The termJowett1885v1: 2 ‘aristocracy’ is rightly applied to the form of government which is described in the first part of our treatise; for that only can be rightly called aristocracy [the government of the best] which is a government formed of the best men absolutely, and not merely of men who are good when tried by any given standard. In the perfect state the good man is absolutely the same as the good citizen; whereas in other states the good citizen is only good relatively to his own form of government. ButJowett1885v1: 3 there are some states differing from oligarchies and also differing from the so-called polity or constitutional government; these are termed aristocracies, and in them magistrates are certainly chosen, both according to their wealth and according to their merit. Such a form of government is not the same with the two just now mentioned, and is termed an aristocracy. For indeedJowett1885v1: 4 in states which do not make virtue the aim of the community, men of merit and reputation for virtue may be found. And so where a government has regard to wealth, virtue, and numbers, as at Carthagea, that is aristocracy; and also where it has regard only to two out of the three, as at Lacedaemon, to virtue and numbers, and the two principles of democracy and virtue temper each other. There are these two forms of aristocracyJowett1885v1: 5 in addition to the first and perfect state, and there is a third form, viz. the polities which incline towards oligarchy.

Polity and tyranny remain.

I have yet to speak of the so-called polity and ofJowett1885v1: IV. 8. tyranny. I put them in this order, not because a polity or constitutional government is to be regarded as a Edition: current; Page: [122]perversion any more than the above-mentioned aristocracies. The truth is, that they all fall short of the most perfect form of government, and so they are reckoned among perversions, and other forms (sc. the really perverted forms) are perversions of these, as I said beforea. Last of all I will speak of tyranny, which IJowett1885v1: 2 place last in the series because I am enquiring into the constitutions of states, and this is the very reverse of a constitution.

Polity or constitutional government is a fusion of democracy and oligarchy, but inclining to democracy, as aristocracy to oligarchy. 1294 a.

Having explained why I have adopted this order, I will proceed to consider constitutional government; of which the nature will be clearer now that oligarchy and democracy have been defined. For polity or constitutionalJowett1885v1: 3 government may be described generally as a fusion of oligarchy and democracy; but the term is usually applied to those forms of government which incline towards democracy, and the term aristocracy to those which incline towards oligarchy, because birth and education are commonly the accompaniments of wealth. Moreover, the rich already possess the external advantagesJowett1885v1: 4 the want of which is a temptation to crime, and hence they are called noblemen and gentlemen. And inasmuch as aristocracy seeks to give predominance to the best of the citizens, people say also of oligarchies that they are composed of noblemen and gentlemen. Now it appears to be an impossible thing that the state which is governed by the best citizens should be ill-governedb,Jowett1885v1: 5 and equally impossible that the state which is ill-governed should be governed by the best. But we must remember that good laws, if they are not obeyed, do not constitute good government. For there are twoJowett1885v1: 6 parts of good government; one is the actual obedience of citizens to the laws, the other part is the goodness of the laws which they obey; they may obey bad laws as well as good. And there may be a further subdivision; they may obey either the best laws which are attainable to them, or the best absolutely.

Edition: current; Page: [123]
Polity a union of freedom and wealth. Aristocracy adds to these virtue.

The distribution of offices according to merit is aJowett1885v1: 7 special characteristic of aristocracy, for the principle of an aristocracy is virtue, as wealth is of an oligarchy, and freedom of a democracy. In all of them there of course exists the right of the majority, and whatever seems good to the majority of those who share in the government has authority. Generally, however, a state of thisJowett1885v1: 8 kind is called a constitutional government [not an aristocracy], for the fusion goes no further than the attempt to unite the freedom of the poor and the wealth of the rich, who commonly take the place of the noble. AndJowett1885v1: 9 as there are three grounds on which men claim an equal share in the government, freedom, wealth, and virtue (for the fourth or good birth is the result of the two last, being only ancient wealth and virtue), it is clear that the admixture of the two elements, that is to say, of the rich and poor, is to be called a polity or constitutional government; and the union of the three is to be called aristocracy or the government of the best, and more than any other form of government, except the true and ideal, has a right to this name.

Thus far I have described the different forms of statesJowett1885v1: 10 which exist besides monarchy, democracy, and oligarchy, and what they are, and in what aristocracies differ from one another, and polities from aristocracies—that the two latter are not very unlike is obvious.

Polity, how formed out of democracy and oligarchy. Three modes of combination. First mode: Syncretism of oligarchy and democracy (?). Second mode: a mean between the enactments of the two. Third mode: something borrowed from each. 1294 b.

Next we have to consider how by the side of oligarchyJowett1885v1: IV. 9. and democracy the so-called polity or constitutional government springs up, and how it should be organized. The nature of it will be at once understood from a comparison of oligarchy and democracy; we must ascertain their different characteristics, and taking a portion from each, put the two together, like the parts of an indenture. Now there are three modes in which fusions of governmentJowett1885v1: 2 may be effected. The nature of the fusion will be made intelligible by an example of the manner in which different governments legislate, say concerning the administration of justice. In oligarchies they impose a fine on Edition: current; Page: [124]the rich if they do not serve as judges, and to the poor they give no pay; but in democracies they give pay to the poor and do not fine the rich. Now (1) the union ofJowett1885v1: 3 these two modesa is a common or middle term between them, and is therefore characteristic of a constitutional government, for it is a combination of both. This is one mode of uniting the two elements. Or (2) a mean may be taken between the enactments of the two: thus democracies require no property qualification, or only a small one, from members of the assembly, oligarchies a high one; here neither of these is the common term, but a mean between them. (3) There is a third mode, inJowett1885v1: 4 which something is borrowed from the oligarchical and something from the democratical principle. For example, the appointment of magistrates by lot is democratical, and the election of them oligarchical; democratical again when there is no property qualification, oligarchical when there is. In the aristocratical or constitutionalJowett1885v1: 5 state, one element will be taken from each—from oligarchy the mode of electing to offices, from democracy the disregard of qualification. Such are the variousJowett1885v1: 6 modes of combination.

The fusion is most complete when the mixed government may be called either democracy or oligarchy. Sparta such a mixed government because it has both democratical and oligarchical elements.

There is a true union of oligarchy and democracy when the same state may be termed either a democracy or an oligarchy; those who use both names evidently feel that the fusion is complete. Such a fusion there is also in the mean; for both extremes appear in it. TheJowett1885v1: 7 Lacedaemonian constitution, for example, is often described as a democracy, because it has many democratical features. In the first place the youth receive a democratical education. For the sons of the poor are brought up with the sons of the rich, who are educated in such a manner as to make it possible for the sons of the poor to be educated like them. A similar equality prevails inJowett1885v1: 8 the following period of life, and when the citizens are grown up to manhood the same rule is observed; there is no distinction between the rich and poor. In like Edition: current; Page: [125]manner they all have the same food at their public tables, and the rich wear only such clothing as any poor man can afford. Again, the people elect to one of theJowett1885v1: 9 two greatest offices of state, and in the other they sharea; for they elect the Senators and share in the Ephoralty. By others the Spartan constitution is said to be an oligarchy, because it has many oligarchical elements. That all offices are filled by election and none by lot, is one of these oligarchical characteristics; that the power of inflicting death of banishment rests with a few persons is another; and there are others. In a well attemperedJowett1885v1: 10 polity there should appear to be both elements and yet neither; also the government should rely on itself, and not on foreign aid, nor on the good will of a majority of foreign states—they might be equally well-disposed when there is a vicious form of government—but on the general willingness of all classes in the state to maintain the constitution.

Enough of the manner in which a constitutional government, and in which the so-called aristocracies ought to be framed.

1295 a. Tyranny.

Of the nature of tyranny I have still to speak, in orderJowett1885v1: IV. 10. that it may have its place in our enquiry, since even tyranny is reckoned by us to be a form of government, although there is not much to be said about it. I have already in the former part of this treatiseb discussed royalty or kingship according to the most usual meaning of the term, and considered whether it is or is not advantageous to states, and what kind of royalty should be established, and whence, and how it arises.

The two legal forms of tyranny already discussed under royalty, viz. (1) Barbarian monarchies, (2) Dictatorships. (3) Tyranny proper.

When speaking of royalty we also spoke of two formsJowett1885v1: 2 of tyranny, which are both according to law, and therefore easily pass into royalty. Among Barbarians there are elected monarchs who exercise a despotic power; despotic rulers were also elected in ancient Hellas, called Aesymnetes or dictators. These monarchies, when comparedJowett1885v1: 3 with one another, exhibit certain differences. And Edition: current; Page: [126]they are, as I said before, royal, in so far as the monarch rules according to law and over willing subjects; but they are tyrannical in so far as he is despotic and rules according to his own fancy. There is also a third kind of tyranny, which is the most typical form, and is the counterpart of the perfect monarchy. This tyranny is just that arbitraryJowett1885v1: 4 power of an individual which is responsible to no one, and governs all alike, whether equals or betters, with a view to its own advantage, not to that of its subjects, and therefore against their will. No freeman, if he can escape from it, will endure such a government.

The kinds of tyranny are such and so many, and for the reasons which I have given.

What is the best state for men in general? Virtue is a mean. 1295 b.

We have now to enquire what is the best constitutionJowett1885v1: IV. 11. for most states, and the best life for most men, neither assuming a standard of virtue which is above ordinary persons, nor an education which is exceptionally favoured by nature and circumstances, nor yet an ideal state which is an aspiration only, but having regard to the life in which the majority are able to share, and to the form of government which states in general can attain. As toJowett1885v1: 2 those aristocracies, as they are called, of which we were just now speaking, they either lie beyond the possibilities of the greater number of states, or they approximate to the so-called constitutional government, and therefore need no separate discussion. And in fact the conclusion at which we arrive respecting all these forms rests upon the same grounds. For if it has been trulyJowett1885v1: 3 said in the Ethicsa that the happy life is the life according to unimpeded virtue, and that virtue is a mean, then the life which is in a mean, and in a mean attainable by every one, must be the best. And the same principles of virtue and vice are characteristic of cities and of constitutions; for the constitution is in a figure the life of the cityb.

The state should be in a mean, and should therefore be ruled neither by the very rich nor by the very poor, but by the middle class. The middle class: their virtues.

Now in all states there are three elements; one class isJowett1885v1: 4 very rich, another very poor, and a third in a mean. It Edition: current; Page: [127]is admitted that moderation and the mean are best, and therefore it will clearly be best to possess the gifts of fortune in moderation; for in that condition of life men are most ready to listen to reason. But he who greatlyJowett1885v1: 5 excels in beauty, strength, birth or wealth, or on the other hand who is very poor, or very weak, or very much disgraced, finds it difficult to follow reasona. Of these two the one sort grow into violent and great criminals, the others into rogues and petty rascals. And two sorts of offences correspond to themb, the one committed from violence, the other from roguery. The petty rogues are disinclined to hold office, whether military or civil, and their aversion to these two duties is as great an injury to the state as their tendency to crime. Again, those whoJowett1885v1: 6 have too much of the goods of fortune, strength, wealth, friends, and the like, are neither willing nor able to submit to authority. The evil begins at home: for when they are boys, by reason of the luxury in which they are brought upc, they never learn, even at school, the habit of obedience. On the other hand, the very poor, who are in the opposite extreme, are too degraded.Jowett1885v1: 7 So that the one class cannot obey, and can only rule despotically; the other knows not how to command and must be ruled like slaves. Thus arises a city, not of freemen, but of masters and slaves, the one despising, the other envying; and nothing can be more fatal to friendship and good fellowship in states than this: for good fellowship tends to friendship; when men are at enmity with one another, they would rather not even share the same path. But a city ought to be composed, as farJowett1885v1: 8 as possible, of equals and similars; and these are generally the middle classes. Wherefore the city which is composed of middle-class citizens is necessarily best governed; they are, as we say, the natural elements of a state. And this is the class of citizens which is most secure in a state, for they do not, like the poor, covet their neighbours’Jowett1885v1: 9 Edition: current; Page: [128]goods; nor do others covet theirs, as the poor covet the goods of the rich; and as they neither plot against others, nor are themselves plotted against, they pass through life safely. Wisely then did Phocylides pray,—

‘Many things are best in the mean; I desire to be of a middle condition in my city.’

They balance the state, and keep it from extremes and factions. The greater safety of democracies due to them. The best legislators of a middle class. 1296 a.

Thus it is manifest that the best political communityJowett1885v1: 10 is formed by citizens of the middle class, and that those states are likely to be well-administered, in which the middle class is large, and larger if possible than both the other classes, or at any rate than either singly; for the addition of the middle class turns the scale, and prevents either of the extremes from being dominant. Great thenJowett1885v1: 11 is the good fortune of a state in which the citizens have a moderate and sufficient property; for where some possess much, and the others nothing, there may arise an extreme democracy, or a pure oligarchy; or a tyranny may grow out of either extreme,—either out of the most rampant democracy, or out of an oligarchy; but it is not so likely to arise out of a middle and nearly equal condition. I will explain the reason of this hereafter, whenJowett1885v1: 12 I speak of the revolutions of statesa. The mean condition of states is clearly best, for no other is free from faction; and where the middle class is large, there are least likely to be factions and dissensions. For a similarJowett1885v1: 13 reason large states are less liable to faction than small ones, because in them the middle class is large; whereas in small states it is easy to divide all the citizens into two classes who are either rich or poor, and to leave nothing in the middle. And democracies are saferb and moreJowett1885v1: 14 permanent than oligarchies, because they have a middle class which is more numerous and has a greater share in the government; for when there is no middle class, and the poor greatly exceed in number, troubles arise, and the state soon comes to an end. A proof of the superiorityJowett1885v1: 15 of the middle class is that the best legislators have been of a middle condition; for example, Solon, as Edition: current; Page: [129]his own verses testify; and Lycurgus, for he was not a king; and Charondas, and almost all legislators.

1296 b. The middle class is generally small: rich and poor contend with each other for supremacy. Once only a middle constitution existed in Hellas.

These considerations will help us to understand whyJowett1885v1: 16 most governments are either democratical or oligarchical. The reason is that the middle class is seldom numerous in them, and whichever party, whether the rich or the common people, transgresses the mean and predominates, draws the government to itself, and thus arises either oligarchy or democracy. There is another reason—theJowett1885v1: 17 poor and the rich quarrel with one another, and whichever side gets the better, instead of establishing a just or popular government, regards political supremacy as the prize of victory, and the one party sets up a democracy and the other an oligarchy. Both the partiesJowett1885v1: 18 which had the supremacy in Hellas looked only to the interest of their own form of government, and established in states, the one, democracies, and the other, oligarchies; they thought of their own advantage, of the public not at all. For these reasons the middle form of government hasJowett1885v1: 19 rarely, if ever, existed, and among a very few only. One man alone of all who ever ruled in Hellas was induced to give this middle constitution to states. But it has now become a habit among the citizens of states, not even to care about equality; all men are seeking for dominion, or, if conquered, are willing to submit.

Of other states, that which is nearest to the best is best.

What then is the best form of government, and whatJowett1885v1: 20 makes it the best is evident; and of other states, since we say that there are many kinds of democracy and many of oligarchy, it is not difficult to see which has the first and which the second or any other place in the order of excellence, now that we have determined which is the best. For that which is nearest to the best must of necessity beJowett1885v1: 21 better, and that which is furthest from it worse, if we are judging absolutely and not relatively to given conditions: I say ‘relatively to given conditions,’ since a particular government may be preferable for some, but another form may be better for others.

What governments suit what men? We begin by asking which element is the stronger. If quantity, democracy; if quality, oligarchy.

We have now to consider what and what kind ofJowett1885v1: IV. 12. Edition: current; Page: [130]government is suitable to what and what kind of men. I may begin by assuming, as a general principle common to all governments, that the portion of the state which desires permanence ought to be stronger than that which desires the reverse. Now every city is composed of quality and quantity. By quality I mean freedom, wealth, education, good birth, and by quantity, superiority of numbers. Quality may exist in one of the classes whichJowett1885v1: 2 make up the state, and quantity in the other. For example, the meanly-born may be more in number than the well-born, or the poor than the rich, yet they may not so much exceed in quantity as they fall short in quality; and therefore there must be a comparison ofJowett1885v1: 3 quantity and quality. Where the number of the poor is more than proportioned to the wealth of the rich, there will naturally be a democracy, varying in form with the sort of people who compose it in each case. If, for example, the husbandmen exceed in number, the first form of democracy will then arise; if the artisans and labouring class, the last; and so with the intermediate forms. But where the rich and the notables exceed in quality more than they fall short in quantity, there oligarchy arises, similarly assuming various forms according to the kind of superiority possessed by the oligarchs.

The middle class the mediator. 1297 a. Permanence due to harmony and moderation, not to the exaggeration of a single principle.

The legislator should always include the middle classJowett1885v1: 4 in his government; if he makes his laws oligarchical, to the middle class let him look; if he makes them democratical, he should equally by his laws try ato attach this class to the statea. There only can the government ever be stable where the middle class exceeds one or both of the others, and in that case there will be no fear that the rich will unite with the poor against the rulers. ForJowett1885v1: 5 neither of them will ever be willing to serve the other, and if they look for some form of government more suitable to both, they will find none better than this, for the rich and the poor will never consent to rule in turn, Edition: current; Page: [131]because they mistrust one another. The arbiter is always the one trusted, and he who is in the middle is an arbiter. The more perfect the admixture of the politicalJowett1885v1: 6 elements, the more lasting will be the state. Many even of those who desire to form aristocratical governments make a mistake, not only in giving too much power to the rich, but in attempting to overreach the people. There comes a time when out of a false good there arises a true evil, since the encroachments of the rich are more destructive to the state than those of the people.

Oligarchical devices in respect of (1) the assemblies; (2) the magistracies; (3) the law-courts; (4) the possession of arms, and (5) gymnastic exercises.

The devices by which oligarchies deceive the peopleJowett1885v1: IV. 13. are five in number; they relate to (1) the assembly; (2) the magistracies; (3) the courts of law; (4) the use of arms; (5) gymnastic exercises. (1) The assemblies are thrown open to all, but either the rich only are fined for non-attendance, or a much larger fine is inflicted upon them. (2) As to the magistracies, those who areJowett1885v1: 2 qualified by property cannot decline office upon oath, but the poor may. (3) In the law-courts the rich, and the rich only, are fined if they do not serve, the poor are let off with impunity, or, as in the laws of Charondas, a large fine is inflicted on the rich, and a smaller one on the poor. In some states all citizens who have registeredJowett1885v1: 3 themselves are allowed to attend the assembly and to try causes; but if after registration they do not attend in the assembly or at the courts, heavy fines are imposed upon them. The intention is that through fear of the fines they may avoid registering themselves, and then they cannot sit in the law-courts or in the assembly. (4) Concerning the possession of arms, and (5) gymnasticJowett1885v1: 4 exercises, they legislate in a similar spirit. For the poor are not obliged to have arms, but the rich are fined for not having them; and in like manner no penalty is inflicted on the poor for non-attendance at the gymnasium, and consequently, having nothing to fear, they do not attend, whereas the rich are liable to a fine, and therefore they take care to attend.

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Democracies have their counter devices, but moderation and a mixture of principles is better. The heavy-armed should be the governing class, and those who share in the government should exceed in number those who are excluded. 1297 b.

These are the devices of oligarchical legislators, and inJowett1885v1: 5 democracies they have counter devices. They pay the poor for attending the assemblies and the law-courts, and they inflict no penalty on the rich for non-attendance. It is obvious that he who would duly mix theJowett1885v1: 6 two principles should combine the practice of both, and provide that the poor should be paid to attend, and the rich fined if they do not attend, for then all will take part; if there is no such combination, power will be in the hands of one party only. The government should be confined to those who carry arms. As to the propertyJowett1885v1: 7 qualification, no absolute rule can be laid down, but we must see what is the highest qualification sufficiently comprehensive to secure that the number of those who have the rights of citizens exceeds the number of those excluded. Even if they have no share in office, theJowett1885v1: 8 poor, provided only that they are not outraged or deprived of their property, will be quiet enough.

The poor should be well treated. Relation of political to military power. Cavalry the strength of an oligarchy, the heavy-armed of a polity or moderate democracy.

But to secure gentle treatment for the poor is not an easy thing, since a ruling class is not always humane. And in time of war the poor are apt to hesitate unlessJowett1885v1: 9 they are fed; when fed, they are willing enough to fight. In some states the government is vested, not only in those who are actually serving, but also in those who have served; among the Malians, for example, the governing body consisted of the latter, while the magistrates were chosen from those actually on service. AndJowett1885v1: 10 the earliest government which existed among the Hellenes, after the overthrow of the kingly power, grew up out of the warrior class, and was originally taken from the knights (for strength and superiority in war at that time depended on cavalrya); indeed, without discipline, infantry are useless, and in ancient times there was no military knowledge or tactics, and therefore the strength of armies lay in their cavalry. But when cities increased and the heavy armed grew in strength, more had a share in the government; and this is the reason whyJowett1885v1: 11 Edition: current; Page: [133]the states, which we call constitutional governments, have been hitherto called democracies. Ancient constitutions, as might be expected, were oligarchical and royal; their population being small they had no considerable middle class; the people were weak in numbers and organization, and were therefore more contented to be governed.

Summary of questions already discussed.

I have explained why there are various forms ofJowett1885v1: 12 government, and why there are more than is generally supposed; for democracy, as well as other constitutions, has more than one form: also what their differences are, and whence they arise, and what is the best form of government, speaking generally, and to whom the various forms of government are best suited; all this has now been explained.

1298 a. A new subject: the distribution of (1) deliberative, (2) executive, (3) judicial, powers in different states.

Having thus gained an appropriate basis of discussionJowett1885v1: IV. 14. we will proceed to speak of the points which follow next in order. We will consider the subject not only in general but with reference to particular states. All states have three elements, and the good law-giver has to regard what is expedient for each state. When they are well-ordered, the state is well-ordered, and as they differ from one another, constitutions differ. What is theJowett1885v1: 2 elements first (1) which deliberates about public affairs; secondly (2) which is concerned with the magistrates and determines what they should be, over whom they should exercise authority, and what should be the mode of electing them; and thirdly (3) which has judicial power?Jowett1885v1: 3

1. The deliberative element. In democracies either (1) all share in the government by turns, but the magistrates have the chief power; or (2) there is an assembly, but it rarely meets; and the magistrates retain their power; (3) [? a repetition of 2]; (4) the assembly supreme.

The deliberative element has authority in matters of war and peace, in making and unmaking alliances; it passes laws, inflicts death, exile, confiscation, audits the accounts of magistrates. All these powers must be assigned either to all the citizens or to some of them, for example, to one or more magistracies; or different causes to different magistracies, or some of them to all, and others of them only to some. That all things should be decided by allJowett1885v1: 4 is characteristic of democracy; this is the sort of equality which the people desire. But there are various ways in Edition: current; Page: [134]which all may share in the government; they may deliberate, not all in one body, but by turns, as in the constitution of Telecles the Milesian. There are other states in which the boards of magistrates meet and deliberate, but come into office by turns, and are elected out of the tribes and the very smallest divisions of the state, until every one has obtained office in his turn. The citizens, on the other hand, are assembled only for the purposes of legislation, and to consult about the constitution, and to hear the edicts of the magistrates. In another varietyJowett1885v1: 5 of democracy the citizens form one assembly, but meet only to elect magistrates, to pass laws, to advise about war and peace, and to make scrutinies. Other matters are referred severally to special magistrates, who are elected by vote or by lot out of all the citizens. Or again, the citizensJowett1885v1: 6 meet about election to offices and about scrutinies, and deliberate concerning war or alliances, while other matters are administered by the magistrates, who, as far as is possible, are elected by votea. I am speaking of those magistracies in which special knowledge is required. AJowett1885v1: 7 fourth form of democracy is when all the citizens meet to deliberate about everything, and the magistrates decide nothing, but only make the preliminary enquiries; and that is the way in which the last and worst form of democracy, corresponding, as we maintain, to the close family oligarchy and to tyranny, is at present administered. All these modes are democratical.

In oligarchies (1) Moderate qualification and rule of law. (2) Select representatives and rule of law. 1298 b. (3) Some oligarchies cooptative and hereditary. (4) Containing also nonoligarchical elements.

On the other hand, that some should deliberate about all is oligarchical. This again is a mode which, like theJowett1885v1: 8 democratical, has many forms. When the deliberative class being elected out of those who have a moderate qualification are numerous and they respect and obey the law without altering it, and any one who has the required qualification shares in the government, then, just because of this moderation, the oligarchy inclines towards polity. But when only selected individuals and not the whole people share in the deliberations of the state, then, Edition: current; Page: [135]although, as in the former case, they observe the law, the government is a pure oligarchy. Or, again, whenJowett1885v1: 9 those who have the power of deliberation are self-elected, and son succeeds father, and they and not the laws are supreme—the government is of necessity oligarchical. Where, again, particular persons have authority in particularJowett1885v1: 10 matters;—for example, when the whole people decide about peace and war and hold scrutinies, but the magistrates regulate everything else, and they are elected either by vote or by lot—there athe form of government is an aristocracy or politya. And if some questions are decided by magistrates elected by vote, and others by magistrates elected by lot, either absolutely or out of select candidates, or elected both by vote and by lot—these practices are partly characteristic of an aristocratical government, and partly of a pure constitutional government.

A democracy should have some oligarchical features, and an oligarchy some democratical features. 1299 a.

These are the various forms of the deliberative body;Jowett1885v1: 11 they correspond to the various forms of government. And the government of each state is administered according to one or other of the principles which have been laid down. Now it is for the interest of democracy,Jowett1885v1: 12 according to the most prevalent notion of it (I am speaking of that extreme form of democracy, in which the people are supreme even over the laws), with a view to better deliberation to adopt the custom of oligarchies respecting courts of law. For in oligarchies the rich who are wanted to be judges are compelled to attend under pain of a fine, whereas in democracies the poor are paid to attend. And this practice of oligarchies should be adopted by democracies in their public assemblies, for they will advise better if they all deliberate together,—the people with the notables and the notables with the people. It is also a good plan that those who deliberateJowett1885v1: 13 should be elected by vote or by lot in equal numbers out Edition: current; Page: [136]of the different classes; and that if the people greatly exceed in number those who have political training, pay should not be given to all, but only to as many as would balance the number of the notables, or that the number in excess should be eliminated by lot. But in oligarchiesJowett1885v1: 14 either certain persons should be chosen out of the mass, or a class of officers should be appointed such as exist in some states, who are termed probuli and guardians of the law; and the citizens should occupy themselves exclusively with matters on which these have previously deliberated; for so the people will have a share in the deliberations of the state, but will not be able to disturb the principles of the constitution. Again, in oligarchiesJowett1885v1: 15 either the people ought to accept the measures of the government, or not to pass anything contrary to them; or, if all are allowed to share in counsel, the decision should rest with the magistrates. The opposite of what is done in constitutional governments should be the rule in oligarchies; the veto of the majority should be final, their assent not final, but the proposal should be referred back to the magistrates. Whereas in constitutionalJowett1885v1: 16 governments they take the contrary course; the few have the negative not the affirmative power; the affirmation of everything rests with the multitude.

These, then, are our conclusions respecting the deliberative, that is, the supreme element in states.

2. The distribution of offices; their number, tenure. Mode of appointment. Magistracies. Definition of political office. Office implies command.

Next we will proceed to consider the distribution ofJowett1885v1: IV. 15. offices; this, too, being a part of politics concerning which many questions arise:—What shall their number be? Over what shall they preside, and what shall be their duration? Sometimes they last for six months, sometimes for less; sometimes they are annual, whilst in other cases offices are held for still longer periods. Shall they be for life or for a long term of years; or, if for a short term only, shall the same persons hold them over and over again, or once only? Also about the appointment to them,—from whom are they to be chosen, by whom, and how? We should first be in a position to say what areJowett1885v1: 2 Edition: current; Page: [137]the possible varieties of them, and then we may proceed to determine which are suited to different forms of government. But what are to be included under the term ‘offices’? That is a question not quite so easily answered. For a political community requires many officers; and not every one who is chosen by vote or by lot is to be regarded as a ruler. In the first place there are the priests, who must be distinguished from political officers; masters of choruses and heralds, even ambassadors, areJowett1885v1: 3 elected by vote [but still they are not political officers]. Some duties of superintendence again are political, extending either to all the citizens in a single sphere of action, like the office of the general who superintends them when they are in the field, or to a section of them only, like the inspectorships of women or of youth. Other offices are concerned with household management, like that of the corn measurers who exist in many states and are elected officers. There are also menial offices which the rich have executed by their slaves. Speaking generally,Jowett1885v1: 4 they are to be called offices to which the duties are assigned of deliberating about certain measures and of judging and commanding, especially the last; for to command is the especial duty of a magistrate. But the question is not of any importance in practice; no one has ever brought into court the meaning of the word, although such problems have a speculative interest.

1299 b. In large states offices should be numerous and special. In small states they must be combined. What combinations of offices are desirable? Should they differ under different constitutions? In some cases. 1300 a. E. g. the probuli an oligarchic office, the bule democratic, a censorship aristocratic.

What kinds of offices, and how many, are necessary toJowett1885v1: 5 the existence of a state, and which, if not necessary, yet conduce to its well-being, are much more important considerations, affecting all states, but more especially small ones. For in great states it is possible, and indeedJowett1885v1: 6 necessary, that every office should have a special function; where the citizens are numerous, many may hold office. And so it happens that vacancies occur in some offices only after long intervals, or the office is held once only; and certainly every work is better done which receives the solea, and not the divided attention of the Edition: current; Page: [138]worker. But in small states it is necessary to combineJowett1885v1: 7 many offices in a few handsa, since the small number of citizens does not admit of many holding office:—for who will there be to succeed them? And yet small states at times require the same offices and laws as large ones; the difference is that the one want them often, the others only after long intervals. Hence there is no reason whyJowett1885v1: 8 the care of many offices should not be imposed on the same person, for they will not interfere with each other. When the population is small, offices should be like the spits which also serve to hold a lampb. We must first ascertain how many magistrates are necessary in every state, and also how many are not exactly necessary, but are nevertheless useful, and then there will be no difficulty in judging what offices can be combined in one. WeJowett1885v1: 9 should also know when local tribunals are to have jurisdiction over many different matters, and when authority should be centralized: for example, should one person keep order in the market and another in some other place, or should the same person be responsible everywhere? Again, should offices be divided according to the subjects with which they deal, or according to the persons with whom they deal: I mean to say, should one person see to good order in general, or one look after the boys, another after the women, and so on? Further, under different constitutions,Jowett1885v1: 10 should the magistrates be the same or different? For example, in democracy, oligarchy, aristocracy, monarchy, should there be the same magistrates, although they are elected, not out of equal or similar classes of citizens, but differently under different constitutions — in aristocracies, for example, they are chosen from the educated, in oligarchies from the wealthy, and in democracies from the free,—or are there different offices proper to different constitutionsc, and may the same be suitable to some, but unsuitable to others? For in some states it may be convenient that the same office Edition: current; Page: [139]should have a more extensive, in other states a narrower sphere. Special offices are peculiar to certain forms ofJowett1885v1: 11 government: — for example [to oligarchies] that of probuli, which is not a democratic office, although a bule or council is. There must be some body of men whose duty is to prepare measures for the people in order that they may not be diverted from their business; when these are few in number, the state inclines to an oligarchy: or rather the probuli must always be few, and are therefore an oligarchical element. But when bothJowett1885v1: 12 institutions exist in a state, the probuli are a check on the council; for the counsellor is a democratic element, but the probuli are oligarchical. Even the power of the council disappears when democracy has taken that extreme form, in which the people themselves are always meeting and deliberating about everything. This is the case when the members of the assembly areJowett1885v1: 13 wealthy or receive pay; for they have nothing to do and are always holding assemblies and deciding everything for themselves. A magistracy which controls the boys or the women, or any similar office, is suited to an aristocracy rather than to a democracy; for how can the magistrates prevent the wives of the poor from going out of doors? Neither is it an oligarchical office; for the wives of the oligarchs are too fine to be controlled.

The appointment of offices. (1) By whom? by all or by some. (2) Out of whom? out of all or out of some. (3) How? by vote or by lot. Or by a combination of both. Possible varieties. Democratical, oligarchical and other modes of appointment. 1300 b.

Enough of these matters. I will now enquire into theJowett1885v1: 14 appointment of offices. There are three questions to be answered, and the combinations of answers give all possible differences: first, who appoints? secondly, from whom? and thirdly, how? Each of these three mayJowett1885v1: 15 further differ in three ways: (1) All the citizens, or only some, appoint; (2) Either the magistrates are chosen out of all or out of some who are distinguished either by a property qualification, or by birth, or merit, or for some special reason, as at Megara only those were eligible who had returned from exile and fought together against the democracy; (3) They may be appointed either by vote or by lot. Again, these several modes may beJowett1885v1: 16 Edition: current; Page: [140]combined, I mean that some officers may be elected by some, others by all, and some again out of some, and others out of all, and some by vote and others by lot. Each of these differences admits of four variations.Jowett1885v1: 17 (1) Either all may elect out of all by vote, or all out of all by lot; and either out of all collectively or by sections, as, for example, by tribes, and wards, and phratries, until all the citizens have been gone through; or the citizens may be in all cases eligible indiscriminately, and in some cases they may be elected by vote, and in some by lot. Again (2), if only some appoint,Jowett1885v1: 18 they may appoint out of all by vote, or out of all by lot; or out of some by vote, out of some by lot, and some offices may be appointed in one way and some in another, I mean if they are appointed by all they may be appointed partly by vote and partly by lota. Thus there will be twelve forms of appointment without including the two combinations in the mode of election. Of these varieties two are democratic forms, namely,Jowett1885v1: 19 when the choice is made by all the people out of all by vote or by lot, or by both, that is to say, some by lot and some by vote. The cases in which they do not all appoint at one time, but some appoint out of all or out of some by vote or by lot or by both, (I mean some by lot and some by vote,) or some out of all and others out of some both by lot and vote, are characteristic of a polity or constitutional government. That some should be appointed outJowett1885v1: 20 of all by vote or by lot or by both, is oligarchical, and still more oligarchical when some are elected from all and some from some. That some should be elected out of all and some out of some, or again some by vote and others by lot, is characteristic of a constitutional government, which inclines to an aristocracy. That someJowett1885v1: 21 should be chosen out of some, and some taken by lot out of some, is oligarchical bthough not equally oligarchicalb; Edition: current; Page: [141]oligarchical, too, is the appointment of some out of some in both ways, and of some out of all. But that all should elect by vote out of some is aristocratical.

Powers of magistrates different in kind.

These are the different ways of constituting magistrates,Jowett1885v1: 22 and in this manner officers correspond to different forms of government:—which are proper to which, or how they ought to be established, will be evident when we determine the nature of their powersa. By powers I mean such power as a magistrate exercises over the revenue or in defence of the country; for there are various kinds of power: the power of the general, for example, is not the same with that which regulates contracts in the market.

3. Law-courts: (1) How many? (2) Who are to be judges? (3) How appointed?

Of the three parts of government, the judicial remainsJowett1885v1: IV. 16. to be considered, and this we shall divide on the same principle. There are three points on which the varieties of law-courts depend: — The persons from whom they are appointed, the matters with which they are concerned, and the manner of their appointment. I mean, (1) are the judges taken from all, or from some only? (2) how many kinds of law-courts are there? (3) are the judges chosen by vote or by lot?

(1) There are eight law-courts.

First, let me determine how many kinds of law-courtsJowett1885v1: 2 there are. They are eight in number: One is the court of audits or scrutinies; a second takes cognizance of [ordinary] offences against the state; a third is concerned with treason against the government; the fourth determines disputes respecting penalties, whether raised by magistrates or by private persons; the fifth decides the more important civil cases; the sixth tries cases of homicide, which are of various kinds, (1) premeditated,Jowett1885v1: 3 (2) unpremeditated, (3) cases in which the guilt is confessed but the justice is disputed; and there may be a fourth court (4) in which murderers who have fled from justice are tried after their return; such as the Court of Phreatto is said to be at Athens. But cases of this sort Edition: current; Page: [142]rarely happen at all even in large cities. The different kinds of homicide may be tried either by the same or by different courts. (7) There are courts for strangers:—ofJowett1885v1: 4 these there are two subdivisions, (1) for the settlement of their disputes with one another, (2) for the settlement of disputes between them and the citizens. And besides all these there must be (8) courts for small suits about sums of a drachma up to five drachmas, or a little more, which have to be determined, but they do not require many judges.

Nothing more need be said of these small suits, norJowett1885v1: 5 of the courts for homicide and for strangers:—I would rather speak of political cases, which, when mismanaged, create division and disturbances in states.

(2) The judges may be taken wholly or partly out of all or out of some; (3) by vote or by lot. 1301 a.

Now if all the citizens judge, in all the different cases which I have distinguished, they may be appointed by vote or by lot, or sometimes by lot and sometimes by vote. Or when a certain class of causes are tried, the judges who decide them may be appointed, some by vote, and some by lot. These then are the four modesJowett1885v1: 6 of appointing judges from the whole people, and there will be likewise four modes, if they are elected from a part only; for they may be appointed from some by vote and judge in all causes; or they may be appointed from some by lot and judge in all causes; or they may be elected in some cases by vote, and in some cases taken by lot, or some courts, even when judging the same causes, may be composed of members some appointed by vote and some by lot. These then are the ways in which the aforesaid judges may be appointed.

Once more, the modes of appointment may be combined,Jowett1885v1: 7 I mean, that some may be chosen out of the whole people, others out of some, some out of both; for example, the same tribunal may be composed of some who were elected out of all, and of others who were elected out of some, either by vote or by lot or by both.

Which modes democratical, which oligarchical, which aristocratical.

In how many forms law-courts can be established hasJowett1885v1: 8 now been considered. The first form, viz. that in which Edition: current; Page: [143]the judges are taken from all the citizens, and in which all causes are tried, is democratical; the second, which is composed of a few only who try all causes, oligarchical; the third, in which some courts are taken from all classes, and some from certain classes only, aristocratical and constitutional.

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What causes preserve and destroy states.

The design which we proposed to ourselves is nowJowett1885v1: V. 1. nearly completeda. Next in order follow the causes of revolution in states, how many, and of what nature they are; what elements work ruin in particular states, and out of what, and into what they mostly change; also what are the elements of preservation in states generally, or in a particular state, and by what means each state may be best preserved: these questions remain to be considered.

Government is always based on some kind of justice. Those who think they have not 1301 b. got their rights, make revolutions. Revolution of two kinds: (1) when the constitution is changed, (2) when the persons only are changed. The change may be one of degree, or partial; illustrations from Sparta and Epidamnus.

In the first place we must assume as our starting-pointJowett1885v1: 2 that in the many forms of government which have sprung up there has always been an acknowledgment of justice andb proportionate equality, although mankind fail in attaining them, as indeed I have already explainedc. Democracy, for example, arises out of the notion thatJowett1885v1: 3 those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal. Oligarchy is based on the notion that those who are unequal in one respect are in all respects unequal; being unequal, that is, in property, they suppose themselves to be unequal absolutely. TheJowett1885v1: 4 democrats think that as they are equal they ought to be equal in all things; while the oligarchs, under the idea that they are unequal, claim too much, which is one form of inequality. All these forms of government have aJowett1885v1: 5 kind of justice, but, tried by an absolute standard, they are faulty; and, therefore, both parties, whenever their share in the government does not accord with their preconceived Edition: current; Page: [145]ideas, stir up revolution. Those who excel inJowett1885v1: 6 virtue have the best right of all to rebel (for they alone can with reason be deemed absolutely unequal)a, but then they are of all men the least inclined to do sob. ThereJowett1885v1: 7 is also a superiority which is claimed by men of rank; for they are thought noble because they spring from wealthy and virtuous ancestorsc. Here then, so to speak, are opened the very springs and fountains of revolution;Jowett1885v1: 8 and hence arise two sorts of changes in governments; the one affecting the constitution, when men seek to change from an existing form into some other, for example, from democracy into oligarchy, and from oligarchy into democracy, or from either of them into constitutional government or aristocracy, and conversely; the other not affecting the constitution, when, without disturbing the form of government, whether oligarchy, or monarchy, or any other, they try to get the administration into their own handsd. Further, there is a question of degree; anJowett1885v1: 9 oligarchy, for example, may become more or less oligarchical, and a democracy more or less democratical; and in like manner the characteristics of the other forms of government may be more or less strictly maintained. Or, the revolution may be directed against a portion ofJowett1885v1: 10 the constitution only, e. g. the establishment or overthrow of a particular office: as at Sparta it is said that Lysander attempted to overthrow the monarchy, and king Pausaniase, the ephoralty. At Epidamnus, too, the change was partial. For instead of phylarchs or heads of tribes, a council was appointed; but to this day the magistratesJowett1885v1: 11 are the only members of the ruling class who are compelled to go to the Heliaea when an election takes place, and the office of the single archonf [survives, which] is another oligarchical feature. Everywhere inequality is a cause of revolution, but an inequality in which there is no proportion, for instance, a perpetual monarchy among Edition: current; Page: [146]equals; and always it is the desire of equality which rises in rebellion.

Equality of two kinds, numerical and proportional. 1302 a.

Now equality is of two kinds, numerical and proportional;Jowett1885v1: 12 by the first I mean sameness or equality in number or size; by the second, equality of ratios. For example, the excess of three over two is equal to the excess of two over one; whereas four exceeds two in the same ratio in which two exceeds one, for two is the same part of four that one is of two, namely, the half. As I wasJowett1885v1: 13 saying beforea, men agree about justice in the abstract, but they differ about proportionb; some think that if they are equal in any respect they are equal absolutely, others that if they are unequal in any respect they are unequal in all. Hence there are two principal forms of government,Jowett1885v1: 14 democracy and oligarchy; for good birth and virtue are rare, but wealth and numbers are more common. In what city shall we find a hundred persons of good birth and of virtue? whereas the poor everywhere abound. That a state should be ordered, simply and wholly, according to either kind of equality, is not a good thing; the proof is the fact that such forms of government never last. They are originally based on a mistake, and,Jowett1885v1: 15 as they begin badly, cannot fail to end badly. The inference is that both kinds of equality should be employed; numerical in some cases, and proportionate in others.

Democracy safer than oligarchy.

Still democracy appears to be safer and less liable to revolution than oligarchyc. For in oligarchiesd there isJowett1885v1: 16 the double danger of the oligarchs falling out among themselves and also with the people; but in democraciese there is only the danger of a quarrel with the oligarchs. No dissension worth mentioning arises among the people themselves. And we may further remark that a government which is composed of the Edition: current; Page: [147]middle class more nearly approximates to democracy than to oligarchya, and is the safest of the imperfect forms of government.

1302 b. The causes of revolutions; their general character; enumeration of them; including the love of gain and honour already mentioned, they are 7+4 in number.

In considering how dissensions and political revolutionsJowett1885v1: V. 2. arise, we must first of all ascertain the beginnings and causes of them which affect constitutions generally. They may be said to be three in number; and we have now to give an outline of each. We want to know (1) what is the feeling? and (2) what are the motives of those who make them? (3) whence arise political disturbances and quarrels? The universal and chief cause of this revolutionaryJowett1885v1: 2 feeling has been already mentioned; viz. the desire of equality, when men think that they are equal to others who have more than themselves; or, again, the desire of inequality and superiority, when conceiving themselves to be superior they think that they have not more but the same or less than their inferiors; pretensionsJowett1885v1: 3 which may and may not be just. Inferiors revolt in order that they may be equal, and equals that they may be superior. Such is the state of mind which creates revolutions. The motives for making them are the desire of gain and honour, or the fear of dishonour and loss; the authors of them want to divert punishment or dishonour from themselves or their friends. The causes and reasonsJowett1885v1: 4 of these motives and dispositions which are excited in men, about the things which I have mentioned, viewed in one way, may be regarded as seven, and in another as more than seven. Two of them have been already noticedb;Jowett1885v1: 5 but they act in a different manner, for men are excited against one another by the love of gain and honour—not, as in the case which I have just supposed, in order to obtain them for themselves, but at seeing others, justly or unjustly, engrossing them. Other causes are insolence, fear, love of superiority, contempt, disproportionate increase in some part of the state; causes of another sort are election intrigues, carelessness, neglect about trifles, dissimilarity of elements.

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(1, 2) Insolence and avarice; (3) unequal distribution of honours; (4) predominance of individuals;

What share insolence and avarice have in creatingJowett1885v1: V. 3. revolutions, and how they work, is plain enough. When the magistrates are insolent and grasping they conspire against one another and also against the constitution from which they derive their power, making their gains either at the expense of individuals or of the public. ItJowett1885v1: 2 is evident, again, what an influence honour exerts and how it is a cause of revolution. Men who are themselves dishonoured and who see others obtaining honours rise in rebellion; the honour or dishonour when undeserved is unjust; and just when awarded according to merit. Again, superiority is a cause of revolution whenJowett1885v1: 3 one or more persons have a power which is too much for the state and the power of the government; this is a condition of affairs out of which there arises a monarchy, or a family oligarchy. And, therefore, in some places, as at Athens and Argos, they have recourse to ostracisma. But how much better to provide from the first that there should be no such preeminent individuals instead of letting them come into existence and then finding a remedy.

(5) fear; (6) contempt;

Another cause of revolution is fear. Either men haveJowett1885v1: 4 committed wrong, and are afraid of punishment, or they are expecting to suffer wrong and are desirous of anticipating their enemyb. Thus at Rhodes the notables conspired against the people through fear of the suits that were brought against them. Contempt is also aJowett1885v1: 5 cause of insurrection and revolution; for example, in oligarchies—when those who have no share in the state are the majority, they revolt, because they think that they are the stronger. Or, again, in democracies, the rich despise the disorder and anarchy of the state; at Thebes, for example, where, after the battle of Oenophyta, the bad administration of the democracy led to its ruin. At Megara the fall of the democracy was due to a defeat occasioned by disorder and anarchy. And at Syracuse the democracy was overthrown before the tyranny of Gelo arose; at Rhodes before the insurrection.

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1303 a. (7) disproportionate increase; (8) election intrigues; (9) carelessness;

Political revolutions also spring from a disproportionateJowett1885v1: 6 increase in any part of the state. For as a body is made up of many members, and every member ought to grow in proportiona, that symmetry may be preserved; but loses its nature if the foot be four cubits long and the rest of the body two spans; and, should the abnormal increase be one of quality as well as of quantity, may even take the form of another animal: even so a state has many parts, of which some one may often grow imperceptibly; for example, the number of poor in democracies and in constitutional states. And this disproportion may sometimesJowett1885v1: 7 happen by an accident, as at Tarentum, from a defeat in which many of the notables were slain in a battle with the Iapygians just after the Persian War, the constitutional government in consequence becoming a democracy; or, as was the case at Argos, where, after the battle at Hebdomè, the Argives, having been cut to pieces by Cleomenes the Lacedaemonian, were compelled to admit to citizenship some of their perioeci; and at Athens, when, after frequent defeats of their infantry in the times of the Peloponnesian War, the notables were reduced in number, because the soldiers had to be taken from the roll of citizens. Revolutions arise from this cause in democraciesJowett1885v1: 8 as well as in other forms of government, but not to so great an extent. When the richb grow numerous or properties increase, the form of government changes into an oligarchy or a government of families. Forms of governmentJowett1885v1: 9 also change — sometimes even without revolution, owing to election contests, as at Heraea (where, instead of electing their magistrates, they took them by lot, because the electors were in the habit of choosing their own partisans); or owing to carelessness, when disloyal persons are allowed to find their way into the highest offices, as at Oreum, where, upon the accession of Heracleodorus to office, the oligarchy was overthrown, and changed by him into a constitutional and democratical government.

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(10) neglect of trifles;

Again, the revolution may be accomplished by smallJowett1885v1: 10 degrees; I mean that a great change may sometimes slip into the constitution through neglect of a small matter; at Ambracia, for instance, the qualification for office, small at first, was eventually reduced to nothing. For the Ambraciots thought that a small qualification was much the same as none at all.

(11) incompatible elements, differences, e.g. (a) of race, especially in colonies: 1303 b.

Another cause of revolution is difference of racesJowett1885v1: 11 which do not at once acquire a common spirit; for a state is not the growth of a day, neither is it a multitude brought together by accident. Hence the reception of strangers in colonies, either at the time of their foundation or afterwards, has generally produced revolution; for example, the Achaeans who joined the Troezenians in the foundation of Sybaris, being the more numerous, afterwards expelled them; hence the curse fell upon Sybaris. At Thurii the Sybarites quarrelled with theirJowett1885v1: 12 fellow-colonists; thinking that the land belonged to them, they wanted too much of it and were driven out. At Byzantium the new colonists were detected in a conspiracy, and were expelled by force of arms; the people of Antissa, who had received the Chian exiles, fought with them, and drove them out; and the Zancleans, after having received the Samians, were driven by them out of their own city. The citizens of Apollonia on the Euxine,Jowett1885v1: 13 after the introduction of a fresh body of colonists, had a revolution; the Syracusans, after the expulsion of their tyrants, having admitted strangers and mercenaries to the rights of citizenship, quarrelled and came to blows; the people of Amphipolis, having received Chalcidian colonists, were nearly all expelled by them.

Now, in oligarchies the masses make revolution underJowett1885v1: 14 the idea that they are unjustly treated, because, as I said before, they are equals, and have not an equal share, and in democracies the notables revolt, because they are not equals, and yet have only an equal share.

(b) of place; (c) of virtue and vice; (d) of wealth and poverty.

Again, the situation of cities is a cause of revolutionJowett1885v1: 15 when the country is not naturally adapted to preserve Edition: current; Page: [151]the unity of the state. For example, the Chytrians at Clazomenae did not agree with the people of the island; and the people of Colophon quarrelled with the Notians; at Athens, too, the inhabitants of the Piraeus are more democratic than those who live in the city. For just asJowett1885v1: 16 in war, the impediment of a ditch, though ever so small, may break a regiment, so every cause of difference, however slight, makes a breach in a city. The greatest opposition is confessedly that of virtue and vice; next comes that of wealth and poverty; and there are other antagonistic elements, greater or less, of which one is this difference of place.

The occasions may be trifling, but ‘hae nugae in seria ducunt.’ Private quarrels have caused revolutions at Syracuse, Hestiaea,

In revolutions the occasions may be trifling, but greatJowett1885v1: V. 4. interests are at stake. Trifles are most important when they concern the rulers, as was the case of old at Syracuse; for the Syracusan constitution was once changed by a love-quarrel of two young men, who were in the government. The story is that while one of them wasJowett1885v1: 2 away from home his beloved was gained over by his companion, and he to revenge himself seduced the other’s wife. They then drew all the members of the ruling class into their quarrel and made a revolution. We learnJowett1885v1: 3 from this story that we should be on our guard against the beginnings of such evils, and should put an end to the quarrels of chiefs and mighty men. The mistake lies in the beginning—as the proverb says—‘Well begun is half done;’ so an error at the beginning, though quite small, has the proportion of a half to the whole matter.Jowett1885v1: 4 In general, when the notables quarrel, the whole city is involved, as happened in Hestiaea after the Persian War. The occasion was the division of an inheritance; one of two brothers refused to give an account of their father’s property and the treasure which he had found: so the poorer of the two quarrelled with him and enlisted in his cause the popular party, the other, who was very rich, the wealthy classes.

1304 a. Delphi, Mitylene, Phocis, Epidamnus.

At Delphi, again, a quarrel about a marriage was theJowett1885v1: 5 beginning of all the troubles which followed. In this Edition: current; Page: [152]case the bridegroom, fancying some occurrence to be of evil omen, came to the bride, and went away without taking her. Whereupon her relations, thinking that they were insulted by him, put some of the sacred treasure [among his offerings] while he was sacrificing, and then slew him, pretending that he had been robbing the temple. At Mitylene, too, a dispute about heiressesJowett1885v1: 6 was the beginning of many misfortunes, and led to the war with the Athenians in which Paches took their city. A wealthy citizen, named Timophanes, left two daughters; Doxander, another citizen, wanted to obtain them for his sons; but he was rejected in his suit, whereupon he stirred up a revolution, and instigated the Athenians (of whom he was proxenus) to interfere. A similar quarrelJowett1885v1: 7 about an heiress arose at Phocis between Mnaseas the father of Mnason, and Euthycrates the father of Onomarchus; this was the beginning of the Sacred War. A marriage-quarrel was also the cause of a change in the government of Epidamnus. A certain man betrothed his daughter secretly to a person whose father, having been made a magistrate, fined the father of the girl, and the latter, stung by the insult, conspired with the unenfranchised classes to overthrow the state.

Revolutions occur when some section of the state unduly increases. Illustrations from Athens, Argos, Syracuse, Chalcis, Ambracia,

Governments also change into oligarchy or into democracyJowett1885v1: 8 or into a constitutional government because the magistrates, or some other section of the state, increase in power or renown. Thus at Athens the reputation gained by the court of the Areopagus, in the Persian War, seemed to tighten the reins of government. On the other hand, the victory of Salamisa, which was gained by the common people who served in the fleet, and won for the Athenians the empire of the sea, strengthened the democracy. At Argos, the notables, having distinguishedJowett1885v1: 9 themselves against the Lacedaemonians in the battle of Mantinea, attempted to put down the democracy. At Syracuse, the people having been the chief authors of the victory in the war with the Athenians, Edition: current; Page: [153]changed the constitutional government into democracy. At Chalcis, the people, uniting with the notables, killed Phoxus the tyrant, and then seized the government. At Ambraciaa, the people, in like manner, having joined with the conspirators in expelling the tyrant Periander, transferred the government to themselves. And generally,Jowett1885v1: 10 it should be remembered that those who have secured power to the state, whether private citizens, or magistrates, or tribes, or any other part or section of the state, are apt to cause revolutions. For either envy of their greatness draws others into rebellion, or they themselves, in their pride of superiority, are unwilling to remain on a level with others.

1304 b. Unstable equilibrium of parties.

Revolutions break out when opposite parties, e.g. theJowett1885v1: 11 rich and the poor, are equally balanced, and there is little or nothing between them; for, if either party were manifestly superior, the other would not risk an attack upon them. And, for this reason, those who are eminent inJowett1885v1: 12 virtue do not stir up insurrections, being always a minority. Such are the beginnings and causes of the disturbances and revolutions to which every form of government is liable.

Revolutions are effected either by force or fraud.

Revolutions are effected in two ways, by force and by fraud. Force may be applied either at the time of making the revolution or afterwards. Fraud, again, isJowett1885v1: 13 of two kinds; for (1) sometimes the citizens are deceived into a change of government, and afterwards they are held in subjection against their will. This was what happened in the case of the Four Hundred, who deceived the people by telling them that the king would provide money for the war against the Lacedaemonians, and when the deception was over, still endeavoured to retain the government. (2) In other cases the people are persuaded at first, and afterwards, by a repetition of the persuasion, their goodwill and allegiance are retained. The revolutions which affect constitutions generally spring from the above-mentioned causesb.

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And now, taking each constitution separately, we mustJowett1885v1: V. 5. see what follows from the principles already laid down.

Revolutions in democracies are caused by demagogues, as at Cos, Rhodes, Heraclea, Megara, Cyme. 1305 a.

Revolutions in democracies are generally caused by the intemperance of demagogues, who either in their private capacity lay information against rich men until they compel them to combine (for a common danger unites even the bitterest enemies), or coming forward in public they stir up the people against them. The truth of this remark is proved by a variety of examples. AtJowett1885v1: 2 Cos the democracy was overthrown because wicked demagogues arose, and the notables combined. At Rhodes the demagogues not only provided pay for the multitude, but prevented them from making good to the trierarchs the sums which had been expended by them; and they, in consequence of the suits which were brought against them, were compelled to combine and put down the democracya. The democracy at HeracleaJowett1885v1: 3 was overthrown shortly after the foundation of the colony by the injustice of the demagogues, which drove out the notables, who came back in a body and put an end to the democracy. Much in the same manner the democracyJowett1885v1: 4 at Megarab was overturned; there the demagogues drove out many of the notables in order that they might be able to confiscate their property. At length the exiles, becoming numerous, returned, and engaging and defeating the people, established an oligarchy. The same thing happened with the democracy of Cyme which was overthrown by Thrasymachus. And we may observeJowett1885v1: 5 that in most states the changes have been of this character. For sometimes the demagogues, in order to curry favour with the people, wrong the notables and so force them to combine;—either they make a division of their property, or diminish their incomes by the imposition of public services, and sometimes they bring accusations against the rich that they may have their wealth to confiscatec.

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Demagogues old and new. Of old, great magistrates became tyrants, as at Miletus; military leaders, like Peisistratus, Theagenes, Dionysius,

Of old, the demagogue was also a general, and thenJowett1885v1: 6 democracies changed into tyrannies. Most of the ancient tyrants were originally demagoguesa. They are not soJowett1885v1: 7 now, but they were then; and the reason is that they were generals and not orators, for oratory had not yet come into fashion. Whereas in our day, when the art of rhetoric has made such progress, the orators lead the people, but their ignorance of military matters prevents them from usurping power; at any rate instances to the contrary are few and slight. Formerly tyrannies wereJowett1885v1: 8 more common than they now are, because great power was often placed in the hands of individuals; thus a tyranny arose at Miletus out of the office of the Prytanis, who had supreme authority in many important mattersb. Moreover, in those days, when cities were not large, the people dwelt in the fields, busy at their work; and their chiefs, if they possessed any military talent, seized theJowett1885v1: 9 opportunity, and winning the confidence of the masses by professing their hatred of the wealthy, they succeeded in obtaining the tyranny. Thus at Athens Peisistratus led a faction against the men of the plainc, and Theagenes at Megara slaughtered the cattle of the wealthy, which he found by the river side where they had put them to graze. Dionysius, again, was thoughtJowett1885v1: 10 worthy of the tyranny because he denounced Daphnaeus and the rich; his enmity to the notables won for him the confidence of the people. Changes also take place from the ancient to the latest form of democracy; for where there is a popular election of the magistrates and no property qualification, the aspirants for office get hold of the people, and contrive at last even to set them above the laws. A more or less complete cure for this state ofJowett1885v1: 11 things is for the separate tribes, and not the whole people, to elect the magistrates.

These are the principal causes of revolutions in democracies.

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Revolutions in oligarchies arise (1) outside the governing class when they are (a) oppressive, (b) exclusive, 1305 b.

There are two patent causes of revolutions in oligarchiesJowett1885v1: V. 6. [one coming from without, the other from within the government]: (1) First, when the oligarchs oppress the people, for then anybody is good enough to be their champion, especially if he be himself a member of the oligarchy, as Lygdamis at Naxos, who afterwards came to be tyrant. But revolutions which commence outside the governingJowett1885v1: 2 class may be further subdivided. Sometimes, when the government is very exclusive, the revolution is brought about by persons of the wealthy class who are excluded, as happened at Massalia and Istros and Heraclea, and other cities. Those who had no share in the governmentJowett1885v1: 3 created a disturbance, until first the elder brothers, and then the younger, were admitted; for in some places father and son, in others elder and younger brothers, do not hold office together. At Massalia the oligarchy became more like a constitutional government, but at Istros ended in a democracy, and at Heraclea was enlarged to 600. At Cnidos, again, the oligarchy underwentJowett1885v1: 4 a considerable change. For the notables fell out among themselves, because only a few shared in the government; there existed among them the rule already mentioned, that father and son could not hold office together, and, if there were several brothers, only the eldest was admitted. The people took advantage of the quarrel, and choosing one of the notables to be their leader, attacked and conquered the oligarchs, who were divided, and division is always a source of weakness. The city of Erythrae, too, in old times was ruled, andJowett1885v1: 5 ruled well, by the Basilidae, but the people took offence at the narrowness of the oligarchy and changed the government.

(2) within the governing class from several causes. (a) Demagogues who practise either upon 1306 a. the oligarchy or upon the people. (b) Attempts to narrow the oligarchy. (c) Extravagance of the rich. (d) Faction.

(2) Of internal causes of revolutions in oligarchies one is the personal rivalry of the oligarchs, which leads them to play the demagogue. Now, the oligarchical demagogueJowett1885v1: 6 is of two sorts: either (1) he practises upon the oligarchs themselves (for, although the oligarchy are quite a small number, there may be a demagogue among them, as at Edition: current; Page: [157]Athens the party of Charicles predominated among the Thirty, that of Phrynichus in the Four Hundred); or (2) the oligarchs may play the demagogue with the people. This was the case at Larissa, where the guardians of the citizens endeavoured to gain over the people because they were elected by them; and such is the fate of all oligarchies in which the magistrates are elected, as at Abydos, not by the class to which they belong, but by the heavy-armed or by the people, although they may be required to have a high qualification, or to be members of a political club; or, again, where the law-courtsJowett1885v1: 7 are independent of the government, the oligarchs flatter the people in order to obtain a decision in their own favour, and so they change the constitution; this happened at Heraclea in Pontus. Again, oligarchies change whenever any attempt is made to narrow them; for then those who desire equal rights are compelled to call in the people. Changes in the oligarchy also occur when theJowett1885v1: 8 oligarchs waste their private property by extravagant living; for then they want to innovate, and either try to make themselves tyrants, or install some one else in the tyranny, as Hipparinus did Dionysius at Syracuse, and as at Amphipolisa a man named Cleotimus introduced Chalcidian colonists, and when they arrived, stirred them up against the rich. For a like reason in Aegina theJowett1885v1: 9 person who carried on the negotiation with Chares endeavoured to revolutionize the state. Sometimes a party among the oligarchs try to create a political change; sometimes they rob the treasury, and then, either the other oligarchs quarrel with the thieves, as happened at Apollonia in Pontus, or they with the other oligarchs. But an oligarchy which is at unity with itself is not easily destroyed from within; of this we may see an exampleJowett1885v1: 10 at Pharsalus, for there, although the rulers are few in number, they govern a large city, because they have a good understanding among themselves.

Dangers from mercenaries; from faction, which leaves the state at the mercy of the army; from private quarrels; and excessive despotism. 1306 b.

Oligarchies, again, are overthrown when another oligarchy Edition: current; Page: [158]is created within the original one, that is toJowett1885v1: 11 say, when the whole governing body is small and yet they do not all share in the highest offices. Thus at Elis the governing body was a small senate; and very few ever found their way into it, because, although in number ninety, the senators were elected for life and out of certain families in a manner similar to the Lacedaemonian elders. Oligarchy is liable to revolutions alike in war and in peace;Jowett1885v1: 12 in war because, not being able to trust the people, the oligarchs are compelled to hire mercenaries, and the general who is in command of them often ends in becoming a tyrant, as Timophanes did at Corinth; or if there are more generals than one they make themselves into a company of tyrantsa. Sometimes the oligarchs, fearing this danger, give the people a share in the government because their services are necessary to them. And in timeJowett1885v1: 13 of peace, from mutual distrust, the two parties hand over the defence of the state to the army and to an arbiter between the two factions who often ends the master of both. This happened at Larissa when Simos and the Aleuadae had the government, and at Abydos in the days of Iphiades and the political clubs. RevolutionsJowett1885v1: 14 also arise out of marriages or lawsuits which lead to the overthrow of one party among the oligarchs by another. Of quarrels about marriages I have already mentionedb some instances; another occurred at Eretria, where Diagoras overturned the oligarchy of the knights because he had been wronged about a marriage. A revolutionJowett1885v1: 15 at Heraclea, and another at Thebes, both arose out of decisions of law-courts upon a charge of adultery; in both cases the punishment was just, but executed in the spirit of party, at Heraclea upon Eurytion, and at Thebes upon Archias; for their enemies were jealous of them and so had them pilloried in the agora. Many oligarchiesJowett1885v1: 16 have been destroyed by some members of the ruling class taking offence at their excessive despotism; for example, the oligarchy at Cnidus and at Chios.

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Accidental change of qualification.

Changes of constitutional governments, and also of oligarchies which limit the office of counsellor, judge, or other magistrate to persons having a certain money qualification, often occur by accident. The qualification mayJowett1885v1: 17 have been originally fixed according to the circumstances of the time, in such a manner as to include in an oligarchy a few only, or in a constitutional government the middle class. But after a time of prosperity, whether arising from peace or some other good fortune, the same property becomes many times as large, and then everybody participates in every office; this happens sometimes gradually and insensibly, and sometimes quickly. These are the causes of changes and revolutions inJowett1885v1: 18 oligarchies.

Changes in states may be of degree as well as of kind.

We must remark generally, both of democracies and oligarchies, that they sometimes change, not into the opposite forms of government, but only into another variety of the same class; I mean to say, from those forms of democracy and oligarchy which are regulated by law into those which are arbitrary, and conversely.

Causes of revolution in aristocracies: (1) jealousy, (2) pride of a class, (3) dishonour to high-spirited men, (4) extremes of wealth and poverty, (5) ambition of great men, 1307 a.

In aristocracies revolutions are stirred up when a fewJowett1885v1: V. 7. only share in the honours of the state; a cause which has been already shown to affect oligarchies; for an aristocracy is a sort of oligarchy, and, like an oligarchy, is the government of a few, although the few are the virtuous and not the wealthy; hence the two are often confounded. And revolutions will be most likely toJowett1885v1: 2 happen, and must happen, when the majority of the people are high-spirited, and have a notion that they are as good as their rulers. Thus at Lacedaemon the so-called Partheniae, who were the [illegitimate] sons of the Spartan peers, attempted a revolution, and, being detected, were sent away to colonize Tarentum. Again, revolutions occur when great men who are at least of equal merit are dishonoured by those higher in office, as Lysander was by the kings of Sparta: or, when aJowett1885v1: 3 brave man is excluded from the honours of the state, like Cinadon, who conspired against the Spartans under Edition: current; Page: [160]Agesilaus; or, again, when some are very poor and others very rich, a state of society which is most often the result of war, as at Lacedaemon in the days of the Messenian War; this is proved from the poem of Tyrtaeus, entitledJowett1885v1: 4 ‘Good Order;’ for he speaks of certain citizens who were ruined by the war and wanted to have a redistribution of the land. Again, revolutions arise when an individual who is great, and might be greater, wants to rule alone, as at Lacedaemon, Pausanias, who was general in the Persian War, or like Hanno at Carthage.

(6) when the elements of the state are ill-compounded. Constitutional governments safer than aristocracies, because they rest on a broader basis. The change may be in either direction.

Constitutional governments and aristocracies are commonlyJowett1885v1: 5 overthrown owing to some deviation from justice in the constitution itself; the cause of the downfall is, in the former, the ill-mingling of the two elements democracy and oligarchy; in the latter, of the three elements, democracy, oligarchy, and virtue, but especially democracy and oligarchy. For to combine these is the endeavour of constitutional governments; and most of the so-called aristocracies have a like aima, but differJowett1885v1: 6 from polities by the addition of virtue; hence some of them are more and some less permanent. Those which incline more to oligarchy are called aristocracies, and those which incline to democracy constitutional governments. And therefore the latter are the safer of the two; for the greater the number, the greater the strength, and when men are equal they are contented. But the rich, if the government gives them power, areJowett1885v1: 7 apt to be insolent and avaricious; and, in general, whichever way the constitution inclines, in that direction it changes as either party gains strength, a constitutional government becoming a democracy, an aristocracy, an oligarchy. But the process may be reversed, and aristocracyJowett1885v1: 8 may change into democracy. This happens when the poor, under the idea that they are being wronged, force the constitution to take an opposite form. Edition: current; Page: [161]In like manner constitutional governments change into oligarchies. The only stable principle of government is equality according to proportion, and for every man to enjoy his own.

Encroachments of the notables at Thurii;

What I have just mentioned actually happened atJowett1885v1: 9 Thuriia, where the qualification for office, though at first high, was reduced, and the magistrates increased in number. The notables had previously acquired the whole of the land contrary to law; for the government tended to oligarchy, and they were able to encroach. But the people, who had been trained by war, soon got the better of the guards kept by the oligarchs, until those who had too much gave up their land.

and at Lacedaemon.

Again, since all aristocratical governments incline toJowett1885v1: 10 oligarchy, the notables are apt to be grasping; thus at Lacedaemon, where property has passed into few handsb, the notables can do too much as they like, and are allowed to marry whom they please. The city of Locri was ruined by a marriage connexion with Dionysius, but such a thing could never have happened in a democracy, or in a well-balanced aristocracy.

1307 b. Revolutions are occasioned by trifles and begin imperceptibly. Illustration from Thurii.

I have already remarked that in all states revolutionsJowett1885v1: 11 are occasioned by triflesc. In aristocracies, above all, they are of a gradual and imperceptible nature. The citizens begin by giving up some part of the constitution, and so with greater ease the governmetn change something else which is a little more important, until they have undermined the whole fabric of the state. At Thurii thereJowett1885v1: 12 was a law that generals should only be re-elected after an interval of five years, and some high-spirited young men who were popular with the soldiers of the guard, despising the magistrates and thinking that they would easily gain their purpose, wanted to abolish this law and allow their generals to hold perpetual commands; for they well knew that the people would be glad enough to elect them. Whereupon the magistrates who had chargeJowett1885v1: 13 Edition: current; Page: [162]of these matters, and who are called councillors, at first determined to resist, but they afterwards consented, thinking that, if only this one law was changed, no further inroad would be made on the constitution. But other changes soon followed which they in vain attempted to oppose; and the state passed into the hands of the revolutionists who established a dynastic oligarchy.

Revolutions caused by foreign interference.

All constitutions are overthrown either from within orJowett1885v1: 14 from without; the latter, when there is some government close at hand having an opposite interest, or at a distance, but powerful. This was exemplified in the old times of the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians; the Athenians everywhere put down the oligarchies, and the Lacedaemonians the democraciesa.

I have now explained what are the chief causes of revolutions and dissensions in states.

Revolutions how to be avoided. The knowledge of opposites is one.

We have next to consider what means there are ofJowett1885v1: V. 8. preserving states in general, and also in particular cases. In the first place it is evident that if we know the causes which destroy states, we shall also know the causes which preserve them; for opposites produce opposites, and destruction is the opposite of preservationb.

The importance of small matters.

In all well-attempered governments there is nothingJowett1885v1: 2 which should be more jealously maintained than the spirit of obedience to law, more especially in small matters; for transgression creeps in unperceived and at last ruins the state, just as the constant recurrence of small expenses in time eats up a fortune. The changeJowett1885v1: 3 does not take place all at once, and therefore is not observed; the mind is deceived, as in the fallacy which says that ‘if each part is little, then the whole is little.’ And this is true in one way, but not in another, for the whole and the all are not little, although they are made up of littles.

The statesman should watch the 1308 a. beginnings of change and not trust to political tricks. The people should be well treated. Among equals there should be equality and therefore offices should be held by many persons for a short time only.

In the first place, then, men should guard against theJowett1885v1: 4 beginning of change, and in the second place they should Edition: current; Page: [163]not rely upon the political devices of which I have already spokena, invented only to deceive the people, for they are proved by experience to be useless. FurtherJowett1885v1: 5 we note that oligarchies as well as aristocracies may last, not from any inherent stability in such forms of government, but because the rulers are on good terms both with the unenfranchised and with the governing classes, not maltreating any who are excluded from the government, but introducing into it the leading spirits among themb. They should never wrong the ambitious in a matter of honour, or the common people in a matter of money; and they should treat one another and their fellow-citizens in a spirit of equality. The equality whichJowett1885v1: 6 the friends of democracy seek to establish for the multitude is not only just but likewise expedient among equals. Hence, if the governing class are numerous, many democratic institutions are useful; for example, the restriction of the tenure of offices to six months, that all those who are of equal rank may share in them. Indeed, equals or peers when they are numerous become a kind of democracy, and therefore demagogues are very likely to arise among them, as I have already remarkedc. The short tenure of office prevents oligarchiesJowett1885v1: 7 and aristocracies from falling into the hands of families; it is not easy for a person to do any great harm when his tenure of office is short, whereas long possession begets tyranny in oligarchies and democracies. For the aspirants to tyranny are either the principalmen of the state, who in democracies are demagogues and in oligarchies members of ruling houses, or those who hold great offices, and have a long tenure of themd.

A common fear may unite a state. The quarrels of the notables are to be repressed.

States are preserved when their destroyers are at a distance,Jowett1885v1: 8 and sometimes also because they are near, for the fear of them makes the government keep in hand the state. Wherefore the ruler who has a care of the state should invent terrors, and bring distant dangers near, in order Edition: current; Page: [164]that the citizens may be on their guard, and, like sentinels in a night-watch, never relax their attention. HeJowett1885v1: 9 should endeavour too by help of the laws to control the contentions and quarrels of the notables, and to prevent those who have not hitherto taken part in them from being drawn in. No ordinary man can discern the beginning of evila, but only the true statesman.

The census should be periodically revised. 1308 b.

As to the change produced in oligarchies and constitutionalJowett1885v1: 10 governmentsb by the alteration of the qualification, when this arises, not out of any variation in the census but only out of the increase of money, it is well to compare the general valuation of property with that of past years, annually in those cities in which the census is taken annually, and in larger cities every third or fifth year. If the whole is many times greater or many times less than when the rates were fixed at the previous census, there should be power given by law to raise or lower the qualification as the amount is greater or less. Where inJowett1885v1: 11 the absence of any such provision the standard is raised, a constitutional government passes into an oligarchy, and an oligarchy is narrowed to a rule of families; where the standard is lowered, constitutional government becomes democracy, and oligarchy either constitutional government or democracy.

No individual should be too powerful. Opposite elements should be combined and extremes avoided.

It is a principle common to democracy, oligarchyc, andJowett1885v1: 12 every other form of government not to allow the disproportionate increase of any citizen, but to give moderate honour for a long time rather than great honour for a short time. For men are easily spoilt; not every one can bear prosperity. But if this rule is not observed, at any rate the honours which are given all at once should be taken away by degrees and not all at once. Especially should the laws provide against any one having too much power, whether derived from friends or money; if he has, he and his followers should be sent out of the Edition: current; Page: [165]countrya. And since innovations creep in through theJowett1885v1: 13 private life of individuals, there ought to be a magistracy which will have an eye to those whose life is not in harmony with the government, whether oligarchy or democracy or any other. And for a like reason an increase of prosperity in any part of the state should be carefully watched. The proper remedy for this evil isJowett1885v1: 14 always to give the management of affairs and offices of state to opposite elements; such opposites are the virtuous and the many, or the rich and the poor. Another way is to combine the poor and the rich in one body, or to increase the middle class: thus an end will be put to the revolutions which arise from inequality.

1309 a. Office should not be lucrative, especially in oligarchies. An unpaid magistracy, to which all are eligible, the only way of combining aristocracy and democracy. Financial corruption should be prevented. In democracies the rich should be spared. In oligarchies the poor. Limitation of gift and of inheritance. All but the highest offices should be open to those who have less share in the government.

But above all every state should be so administeredJowett1885v1: 15 and so regulated by law that its magistrates cannot possibly make moneyb. In oligarchies special precautions should be used against this evil. For the people do notJowett1885v1: 16 take any great offence at being kept out of the government—indeed they are rather pleased than otherwise at having leisure for their private business—but what irritates them is to think that their rulers are stealing the public money; then they are doubly annoyed; for they lose both honour and profit. If office brought no profit,Jowett1885v1: 17 then and then only could democracy and aristocracy be combined; for both notables and people might have their wishes gratified. All would be able to hold office, which is the aim of democracy, and the notables would be magistrates, which is the aim of aristocracy. AndJowett1885v1: 18 this result may be accomplished when there is no possibility of making money out of the offices; for the poor will not want to have them when there is nothing to be gained from them—they would rather be attending to their own concerns; and the rich, who do not want money from the public treasury, will be able to take them; and so the poor will keep to their work and grow rich, and the notables will not be governed by the lower class. In order to avoid peculation of the public money,Jowett1885v1: 19 Edition: current; Page: [166]the transfer of the revenue should be made at a general assembly of the citizens, and duplicates of the accounts deposited with the different brotherhoods, companies, and tribes. And honours should be given by law to magistrates who have the reputation of being incorruptible. In democracies the rich should be spared; notJowett1885v1: 20 only should their property not be divided, but their incomes also, which in some states are taken from them imperceptibly, should be protected. It is a good thing to prevent the wealthy citizens, even if they are willing, from undertaking expensive and useless public services, such as the giving of choruses, torch-races, and the like. In an oligarchy, on the other hand, great care should be taken of the poor, and lucrative offices should go to them; if any of the wealthy classes insult them, the offender should be punished more severely athan one of their own class for a like offencea. Provision should be made that estates pass by inheritance and not by gift, and no person should have more than one inheritance; for in this way properties will be equalised, and more of the poor rise to competency. It is also expedient both in aJowett1885v1: 21 democracy and in an oligarchy to assign to those who have less share in the government (for example, to the rich in a democracy and to the poor in an oligarchy) an equality or preference in all but the principal offices of state. The latter should be entrusted chiefly or only to members of the governing class.

The qualifications for great offices. The good general is not always the good man. 1309 b. When virtue and when skill is to be preferred.

There are three qualifications required in those whoJowett1885v1: V. 9. have to fill the highest offices,—(1) first of all, loyalty to the established constitution; (2) the greatest administrative capacity; (3) virtue and justice of the kind proper to each form of government; for, if what is just is not the same in all governments, the quality of justice must also differ. There may be a doubt however, when all theseJowett1885v1: 2 qualities do not meet in the same person, how the selection is to be made; suppose, for example, a good general Edition: current; Page: [167]is a bad man and not a friend to the constitution, and another man is loyal and just, which should we choose? In making the election ought we not to consider two points? what qualities are common, and what are rare. Thus in the choice of a general, we should regard hisJowett1885v1: 3 skill rather than his virtue; for few have military skill, but many have virtue. In keeping watch or in any office of stewardship, on the other hand, the opposite rule should be observed; for more virtue than ordinary is required in the holder of such an office, but the necessary knowledge is of a sort which all men possess.

Why virtue is needed.

It may, however, be asked what a man wants withJowett1885v1: 4 virtue if he have political ability and is loyal, since these two qualities alone will make him do what is for the public interest. But may not men have both of them and yet be deficient in self-control? If, knowing and loving their own interests, they do not always attend to them, may they not be equally negligent of the interests of the public?

The loyal should outnumber the disloyal. The mean should be observed. Proportion in states like proportion in the human form. Neither oligarchy nor democracy should be pushed to extremes. 1310 a.

Speaking generally, we may say that whatever legalJowett1885v1: 5 enactments are held to be for the interest of states, all these preserve states. And the great preserving principle is the one which has been repeatedly mentioneda,—to have a care that the loyal citizens should outnumber the disloyal. Neither should we forget the mean, which at theJowett1885v1: 6 present day is lost sight of in perverted forms of government; for many practices which appear to be democratical are the ruin of democracies, and many which appear to be oligarchical are the ruin of oligarchies. Those who think that all virtue is to be found in theirJowett1885v1: 7 own party principles push matters to extremes; they do not consider that disproportion destroys a state. A nose which varies from the ideal of straightness to a hook or snub may still be of good shape and agreeable to the eye; but if the excess be very great, all symmetry is lost, and the nose at last ceases to be a nose at all Edition: current; Page: [168]on account of some excess in one direction or defect in the other; and this is true of every other part of the human body. The same law of proportion equally holdsJowett1885v1: 8 in states. Oligarchy or democracy, although a departure from the most perfect form, may yet be a good enough government, but if any one attempts to push the principles of either to an extreme, he will begin by spoiling the government and end by having none at all. Wherefore the legislator and the statesman ought toJowett1885v1: 9 know what democratical measures save and what destroy a democracy, and what oligarchical measures save or destroy an oligarchy. For neither the one nor the other can exist or continue to exist unless both rich and poor are included in it. If equality of property is introduced, the state must of necessity take another form; for when by laws carried to excess one or other element in the state is ruined, the constitution is ruined.

The oligarchical oath should be reversed.

There is an error common both to oligarchies and toJowett1885v1: 10 democracies:—in the latter the demagogues, when the multitude are above the law, are always cutting the city in two by quarrels with the rich, whereas they should always profess to be maintaining their cause; just as in oligarchies, the oligarchs should profess to maintain the cause of the people, and should take oaths the opposite of those which they now take. For there are cities inJowett1885v1: 11 which they swear—‘I will be an enemy to the people, and will devise all the harm against them which I can;’ but they ought to exhibit and to entertain the very opposite feeling; in the form of their oath there should be an express declaration—‘I will do no wrong to the people.’

The young should be trained in ‘the spirit of the constitution.’ What this phrase means. Liberty is not licence.

But of all the things which I have mentioned that which most contributes to the permanence of constitutions is the adaptation of education to the form of governmenta, and yet in our own day this principle is universally neglected. The best laws, though sanctioned by every citizen of theJowett1885v1: 12 state, will be of no avail unless the young are trained by Edition: current; Page: [169]habit and education in the spirit of the constitution, if the laws are democratical, democratically, or oligarchically, if the laws are oligarchical. For there may be a want of self-discipline in states as well as in individuals. Now, to have been educated in the spiritJowett1885v1: 13 of the constitution is not to perform the actions in which oligarchs or democrats delight, but those by which the existence of an oligarchy or of a democracy is made possible. Whereas among ourselves the sons of the ruling class in an oligarchy live in luxurya, but the sons of the poor are hardened by exercise and toil, and hence they are both more inclined and better able to make a revolutionb. And in democracies of the more extremeJowett1885v1: 14 type there has arisen a false idea of freedom which is contradictory to the true interests of the state. For two principles are characteristic of democracy, the government of the majority and freedom. Men think thatJowett1885v1: 15 what is just is equal; and that equality is the supremacy of the popular will; and that freedom and equality mean the doing what a man likes. In such democracies every one lives as he pleases, or in the words of Euripides, ‘according to his fancy.’ But this is all wrong; men should not think it slavery to live according to the rule of the constitution; for it is their salvation.

I have now discussed generally the causes of the revolution and destruction of states, and the means of their preservation and continuance.

1310 b. Royal and tyrannical rule, how differing. Tyrannies established, (1) by demagogues; (2) by ambitious kings; (3) by great magistrates; Examples.

I have still to speak of monarchy, and the causes of itsJowett1885v1: V. 10. destruction and preservation. What I have said already respecting other forms of government applies almost equally to royal and to tyrannical rule. For royal ruleJowett1885v1: 2 is of the nature of an aristocracy, and a tyranny is a compound of oligarchy and democracy in their most extreme forms; it is therefore most injurious to its subjects, being made up of two evil forms of government, and having the perversions and errors of both. TheseJowett1885v1: 3 two forms of monarchy differ in their very origin. The Edition: current; Page: [170]appointment of a king is the resource of the better classes against the people, and he is elected by them out of their own number, because either he himself or his family excel in virtue and virtuous actions; whereas a tyrant is chosen from the people to be their protector against the notables, and in order to prevent them from being injured. History shows that almost all tyrantsJowett1885v1: 4 have been demagogues who gained the favour of the people by their accusation of the notablesa. At any rateJowett1885v1: 5 this was the manner in which the tyrannies arose in the days when cities had increased in power. Others which were older originated in the ambition of kings wanting to overstep the limits of their hereditary power and become despots. Others again grew out of the class which were chosen to be chief magistrates; for in ancient times the people who elected them gave the magistrates, whether civil or religious, a long tenure. Others arose out of the custom which oligarchies had of making some individual supreme over the highest offices. In any ofJowett1885v1: 6 theseb ways an ambitious man had no difficulty, if he desired, in creating a tyranny, since he had the power in his hands already, either as king or as one of the officers of statec. Thus Pheidon at Argos and several others were originally kings, and ended by becoming tyrants; Phalaris, on the other hand, and the Ionian tyrants, acquired the tyranny by holding great offices. Whereas Panaetius at Leontini, Cypselus at Corinth, Peisistratus at Athens, Dionysius at Syracuse, and several others who afterwards became tyrants, were at first demagogues.

Royalty like aristocracy based on merit. 1311 a.

And so, as I was saying, royalty ranks with aristocracy,Jowett1885v1: 7 for it is based upon merit, whether of the individual or of his family, or on benefits conferredd, or on these claims with power added to them. For all whoJowett1885v1: 8 have obtained this honour have benefitted, or had in Edition: current; Page: [171]their power to benefit, states and nations; some, like Codrus, have prevented the state from being enslaved in war; others, like Cyrus, have given their country freedom, or have settled or gained a territory, like the Lacedaemonian, Macedonian, and Molossian kingsa. TheJowett1885v1: 9 idea of a king is to be a protector of the rich against unjust treatment, of the people against insult and oppression. Whereas a tyrant, as has often been repeated, has no regard to any public interest, but only to his private ends; his aim is pleasure, the aim of a king, honour. Wherefore also in their desires they differ; theJowett1885v1: 10 tyrant is desirous of riches, the king, of what brings honour. And the guards of a king are citizens, but of a tyrant mercenariesb.

Tyranny like oligarchy in the love of wealth, like democracy in hatred of the nobles. Causes of conspiracies against monarchs.

That tyranny has all the vices both of democracyJowett1885v1: 11 and oligarchy is evident. As of oligarchy so of tyranny, the end is wealth; (for by wealth only can the tyrant maintain either his guard or his luxury). Both mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms. Both agree too in injuring the people and driving them out of the city and dispersing them. From democracyJowett1885v1: 12 tyrants have borrowed the art of making war upon the notables and destroying them secretly or openly, or of exiling them because they are rivals and stand in the way of their power; and also because plots against them are contrived by men of this class, who either want to rule or to escape subjection. Hence Periander advisedJowett1885v1: 13 Thrasybulusc to cut off the tops of the tallest ears of corn, meaning that he must always put out of the way the citizens who overtop the rest. And so, as I have already intimated, the beginnings of change are the same in monarchies as in other forms of government; subjects attack their sovereigns out of fear or contempt, or because they have been unjustly treated by them. And of injustice, the most common form is insult, another is confiscation of property.

Sometimes the office is attacked, sometimes the life of the monarch. The latter when insult has been offered, as by the Peisistratidae, Periander, Philip, Amyntas, Evagoras, Archelaus, 1311 b. Cotys.

The ends sought by conspiracies against monarchies,Jowett1885v1: 14 Edition: current; Page: [172]whether tyrannies or royalties, are the same as the ends sought by conspiracies against other forms of government. Monarchs have great wealth and honour which are objects of desire to all mankind. The attacks are made sometimes against their lives, sometimes against the office; where the sense of insult is the motive, against their lives. Any sort of insult (and there are many)Jowett1885v1: 15 may stir up anger, and when men are angry, they commonly act out of revenge, and not from ambition. For example, the attempt made upon the Peisistratidae arose out of the public dishonour offered to the sister of Harmodius and the insult to himself. He attacked the tyrant for his sister’s sake, and Aristogeiton joined in the attack for the sake of Harmodius. A conspiracyJowett1885v1: 16 was also formed against Periander, the tyrant of Ambracia, because, when drinking with a favourite youth, he asked him whether by this time he was not with child by him. Philip, too, was attacked by Pausanias because he permitted him to be insulted by Attalus and his friends, and Amyntas the little, by Derdas, because he boasted of having enjoyed his youth. Evagoras of Cyprus, again, was slain by the eunuch to revenge an insult; for his wife had been carried off by Evagoras’ son. ManyJowett1885v1: 17 conspiracies have originated in shameful attempts made by sovereigns on the persons of their subjects. Such was the attack of Crataeus upon Archelaus; he had always hated the connexion with him, and so, when Archelaus, having promised him one of his two daughters in marriage, did not give him either of them, but broke his word and married the elder to the king of Elymaea, when he was hard pressed in a war against Sirrhas and Arrhibaeus, and the younger to his own son Amyntas, under the idea that he would then be less likely to quarrel with the son of Cleopatra—Crataeus made this slight a pretext for attacking Archelaus, though even a less reason would have sufficed, for the real cause of the estrangement was the disgust which he felt at his connexion with the king. And from a like motive HellanocratesJowett1885v1: 18 Edition: current; Page: [173]of Larissa conspired with him; for when Archelaus, who was his lover, did not fulfil his promise of restoring him to his country, he thought that the connexion between them had originated, not in affection, but in the wantonness of power. Parrhon, too, and Heracleides of Aenos, slew Cotys in order to avenge their father, and Adamas revolted from Cotys in revenge for the wanton outrage which he had committed in mutilating him when a child.

The Penthalidae. Penthilus. Archelaus.

Jowett1885v1: 19aMany, too, irritated at blows inflicted on the person which they deemed an insult, have either killed or attempted to kill officers of state and royal princes by whom they have been injureda. Thus, at Mitylene, Megacles and his friends attacked and slew the Penthalidae, as they were going about and striking people with clubs. At a later date Smerdis, who had been beaten and torn away from his wife by Penthilus, slew him. In the conspiracy against Archelaus, DecamnichusJowett1885v1: 20 stimulated the fury of the assassins and led the attack; he was enraged because Archelaus had delivered him to Euripides to be scourged; for the poet had been irritated at some remark made by Decamnichus on the foulness of his breath. Many other examples might be cited of murders and conspiracies which have arisen from similar causes.

Other causes. Fear.

Fear is another motive which has caused conspiraciesJowett1885v1: 21 as well in monarchies as in more popular forms of government. Thus Artapanes conspired against Xerxes and slew him, fearing that he would be accused of hanging Darius against his orders,—he being under the impression that Xerxes would forget what he had said in the middle of a meal, and that the offence would be forgiven.

1312 a. Contempt, including expectation of success.

Another motive is contempt, as in the case of Sardanapalus,Jowett1885v1: 22 whom some one saw carding wool with his women, if the story-tellers say truly; and the tale may Edition: current; Page: [174]be true, if not of him, of some one elsea. Dion attackedJowett1885v1: 23 the younger Dionysius because he despised him, and saw that he was equally despised by his own subjects, and that he was always drunk. Even the friends of a tyrant will sometimes attack him out of contempt; for the confidence which he reposes in them breeds contempt, and they think that they will not be found out. The expectation of success is likewise a sort of contempt;Jowett1885v1: 24 the assailants are ready to strike, and think nothing of the danger, because they seem to have the power in their hands. Thus generals of armies attack monarchs; as, for example, Cyrus attacked Astyages, despising the effeminacy of his life, and believing that his power was worn out. Thus, again, Seuthes the Thracian conspired against Amadocus, whose general he was.

Mixed motives.

And sometimes men are actuated by more than oneJowett1885v1: 25 motive, like Mithridates, who conspired against Ariobarzanes, partly out of contempt and partly from the love of gain.

Bold natures, placed by their sovereigns in a high military position, are most likely to make the attempt in the expectation of success; for courage is emboldened by power, and the union of the two inspires them with the hope of an easy victory.

The glory of tyrannicide.

Attempts of which the motive is ambition arise from other causes. There are men who will not risk theirJowett1885v1: 26 lives in the hope of gains and rewards however great, but who nevertheless regard the killing of a tyrant simply as an extraordinary action which will make them famous and honourable in the world; they wish to acquire, not a kingdom, but a name. It is rare, however, to find suchJowett1885v1: 27 men; he who would kill a tyrant must be prepared to lose his life if he fail. He must have the resolution ofJowett1885v1: 28 Dion, who, when he made war upon Dionysius, took with him very few troops, saying ‘that whatever measure of success he might attain would be enough for him, even if he were to die the moment he landed; such a death Edition: current; Page: [175]would be welcome to him.’ But this is a temper to which few can attain.

1312 b. Tyrannies destroyed from without by some opposite form of government;

Once more, tyrannies, like all other governments, areJowett1885v1: 29 destroyed from without by some opposite and more powerful form of government. That such a government will have the will to attack them is clear; for the two are opposed in principle; and all men, if they can, do whatJowett1885v1: 30 they will. Democracy is also antagonistic to tyranny, on the principle of Hesiod, ‘Potter hates Potter,’ because they are nearly akin, for the extreme form of democracy is tyranny; and royalty and aristocracy are both alike opposed to tyranny, because they are constitutions of a different type. And therefore the Lacedaemonians put down most of the tyrannies, and so did the Syracusans during the time when they were well-governed.

and from within.

Again, tyrannies are destroyed from within, when theJowett1885v1: 31 reigning family are divided among themselves, as that of Gelo was, and more recently that of Dionysius; in the case of Gelo because Thrasybulus, the brother of Hiero, flattered the son of Gelo and led him into excesses in order that he might rule in his name. Whereupon the family conspired to get rid of Thrasybulus and save the tyranny; but the party who conspireda with them seized the opportunity and drove them all out. In the case ofJowett1885v1: 32 Dionysius, Dion, his own relative, attacked and expelled him with the assistance of the people; he afterwards perished himself.

Chiefly through hatred and contempt, hatred including anger.

There are two chief motives which induce men to attack tyrannies — hatred and contempt. Hatred of tyrants is inevitable, and contempt is also a frequent cause of their destruction. Thus we see that most ofJowett1885v1: 33 those who have acquired, have retained their power, but those who have inheritedb, have lost it, almost at once; for living in luxurious ease, they have become contemptible, and offer many opportunities to their assailants. Anger, too, must be included under hatred, Edition: current; Page: [176]and produces the same effects. It is oftentimes evenJowett1885v1: 34 more ready to strike—the angry are more impetuous in making an attack, for they do not listen to reason. And men are very apt to give way to their passions when they are insulted. To this cause is to be attributed the fall of the Peisistratidae and of many others. HatredJowett1885v1: 35 is more reasonable, but anger is accompanied by pain, which is an impediment to reason, whereas hatred is painlessa.

Royalty, generally lasting, but may be destroyed from within. Decline of kingly rule in Hellas. Danger of hereditary monarchy. 1313 a.

In a word, all the causes which I have mentioned as destroying the last and most unmixed form of oligarchy, and the extreme form of democracy, may be assumed to affect tyranny; indeed the extreme forms of both are only tyrannies distributed among several persons. KinglyJowett1885v1: 36 rule is little affected by external causes, and is, therefore, lasting; it is generally destroyed from within. And there are two ways in which the destruction may come about; (1) when the members of the royal family quarrel among themselves, and (2) when the kings attempt to administer the state too much after the fashion of a tyranny, and to extend their authority contrary to the law.Jowett1885v1: 37 There are now no royalties; monarchies, where they exist, areb tyrannies. For the rule of a king is over voluntary subjects, and he is supreme in all important matters; but in our own day men are more upon an equality, and no one is so immeasurably superior to others as to represent adequately the greatness and dignity of the office. Hence mankind will not, if they can help, endure it, and any one who obtains power by force or fraud is at once thought to be a tyrant. In hereditary monarchies aJowett1885v1: 38 further cause of destruction is the fact that kings often fall into contempt, and, although possessing not tyrannical but only royal power, are apt to outrage others. Their overthrow is then readily effected; for there is an end to the king when his subjects do not want to have him, but the tyrant lasts, whether they like him or not.

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The destruction of monarchies is to be attributed to these and the like causes.

Royalty preserved by limitation, as at Lacedaemon. Story of Theopompus.

And they are preserved, to speak generally, by theJowett1885v1: V. 11. opposite causes; or, if we consider them separately, (1) royalty is preserved by the limitation of its powers. The more restricted the functions of kings, the longer their power will last unimpaired; for then they are more moderate and not so despotic in their ways; and they are less envied by their subjects. This is the reason whyJowett1885v1: 2 the kingly office has lasted so long among the Molossians. And for a similar reason it has continued among the Lacedaemonians, because there it was always divided between two, and afterwards further limited by Theopompus in various respects, more particularly by the establishment of the Ephoralty. He diminished the power of the kings, but established on a more lasting basis the kingly office, which was thus made in a certain sense not less, but greater. There is a story that whenJowett1885v1: 3 his wife once asked him whether he was not ashamed to leave to his sons a royal power which was less than he had inherited from his father, ‘No indeed,’ he replied, ‘for the power which I leave to them will be more lasting.’

1313 b. Tyrannies preserved, by arts such as those of Periander and of the Persians. Men of spirit should be cut off; confidence destroyed; publicity of life enforced. The people should be terrified by informers, weakened by quarrels among themselves, oppressed by great works, heavy taxes, wars.

As to (2) tyrannies, they are preserved in two mostJowett1885v1: 4 opposite ways. One of them is the old traditional method in which most tyrants administer their government. Of such arts Periander of Corinth is said to have been the great master, and many similar devices may be gathered from the Persians in the administration of their government. There are also the ancient prescriptions forJowett1885v1: 5 the preservation of a tyranny, in so far as this is possible; viz. that the tyrant should lop off those who are too high; he must put to death men of spirit; he must not allow common meals, clubs, education, and the like; he must be upon his guard against anything which is likely to inspire either courage or confidence among his subjects; he must prohibit literary assemblies or other meetings for discussion, and he must take every means to prevent people from knowing one another (for acquaintance Edition: current; Page: [178]begets mutual confidence). Further he must compel theJowett1885v1: 6 inhabitants to appear in public and live aat his gatesa; then he will know what they are doing: if they are always kept under, they will learn to be humble. In short he should practise these and the like Persian and barbaric arts which all have the same object. A tyrantJowett1885v1: 7 should also endeavour to know what each of his subjects says or does, and should employ spies, like the ‘female detectives’ at Syracuse, and the eavesdroppers whom Hiero was in the habit of sending to any place of resort or meeting; for the fear of informers prevents people from speaking their minds, and if they do, they are more easily found out. Another art of the tyrant is to sowJowett1885v1: 8 quarrels among the citizens; friends should be embroiled with friends, the people with the notables, and the rich with one another. Also he should impoverish his subjects; he thus provides money for the support of his guardsb, and the people, having to keep hard at work, are prevented from conspiring. The Pyramids of Egypt afford an exampleJowett1885v1: 9 of this policy; also the offerings of the family of Cypselus, and the building of the temple of Olympian Zeus by the Peisistratidae, and the great Polycratean monuments at Samos; all these works were alike intended to occupy the people and keep them poor. AnotherJowett1885v1: 10 practice of tyrants is to multiply taxes, after the manner of Dionysius at Syracuse, who contrived that within five years his subjects should bring into the treasury their whole property. The tyrant is also fond of making war in order that his subjects may have something to do and be always in want of a leader. And whereas the power of a king is preserved by his friends, the characteristic of a tyrant is to distrust his friends, because he knows that all men want to overthrow him, and they above all have the powerc.

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1314 a. Licence allowed by tyranny and by extreme democracy to women and slaves.

Again, the evil practices of the last and worst form ofJowett1885v1: 11 democracy are all found in tyrannies. Such are the power given to women in their families in the hope that they will inform against their husbands, and the licence which is allowed to slaves in order that they may betray their masters; for slaves and women do not conspire against tyrants; and they are of course friendly to tyrannies and also to democracies, since under them they have a good time. For the people too would fain be a monarch, and therefore by them, as well as by theJowett1885v1: 12 tyrant, the flatterer is held in honour; in democracies he is the demagogue; and the tyrant also has his humble companions who flatter him.

The tyrant loves flatterers; dislikes men of independent spirit; favours foreigners.

Hence tyrants are always fond of bad men, because they love to be flattered, but no man who has the spirit of a freeman in him will demean himself by flattery; good men love others, but they do not flatter anybody. Moreover the bad are useful for bad purposes; ‘nailJowett1885v1: 13 knocks out nail,’ as the proverb says. It is characteristic of a tyrant to dislike every one who has dignity or independence; he wants to be alone in his glory, but any one who claims a like dignity or asserts his independence encroaches upon his prerogative, and is hated by him as an enemy to his power. Another mark of a tyrant isJowett1885v1: 14 that he likes foreigners better than citizens, and lives with them and invites them to his table; for the one are enemies, but the others enter into no rivalry with him.

Summary. The three aims of the tyrant.

Such are the notes of the tyrant and the arts by which he preserves his power; there is no wickedness too great for him. All that we have said may be summed up under three heads, which answer to the three aims of the tyrant. These are, (1) the humiliationJowett1885v1: 15 of his subjects; he knows that a mean-spirited man will not conspire against anybody: (2) the creation of mistrust among them; for a tyrant is not overthrown until men begin to have confidence in one another; and this Edition: current; Page: [180]is the reason why tyrants are at war with the good; they are under the idea that their power is endangered by them, not only because they will not be ruled despotically, but also because they are loyal to one another, and to other men, and do not inform against one another or against other men: (3) the tyrant desiresJowett1885v1: 16 that his subjects shall be incapable of action, for no one attempts what is impossible, and they will not attempt to overthrow a tyranny, if they are powerless. Under these three heads the whole policy of a tyrant may be summed up, and to one or other of them all his ideas may be referred: (1) he sows distrust among his subjects; (2) he takes away their power; (3) he humbles them.

Tyranny may also be preserved in an opposite way. The tyrant should be like a king, but he must preserve his power. He should save the public money; keep accounts; 1314 b. 1315 a. he should levy taxes only for state purposes; he should assume the character of a statesman even if he has it not; should avoid immodesty and sensuality, and keep up appearances, should adorn the city, reverence the Gods, honour men of merit, but not make any one man great. He should be modest, considerate, lenient, affectionate.

This then is one of the two methods by which tyranniesJowett1885v1: 17 are preserved; and there is another which proceeds upon a different principle of action. The nature of this latterJowett1885v1: 18 method may be gathered from a comparison of the causes which destroy kingdoms, for as one mode of destroying kingly power is to make the office of king more tyrannical, so the salvation of a tyranny is to make it more like the rule of a king. But of one thing the tyrant must be careful; he must keep power enough to rule over his subjects, whether they like him or not, for if he once gives this up he gives up his tyranny. But though power mustJowett1885v1: 19 be retained as the foundation, in all else the tyrant should act or appear to act in the character of a king. In the first place he should pretend a care of the public revenues, and not waste money in making presents of a sort at which the common people get excited when they see their miserable earnings taken from them and lavished on courtezans and strangers and artists. He should give an account of what he receives and of what he spends (a practice which has been adopted by some tyrants); for then he will seem to be the manager of a household rather than a tyrant; nor need he fear that, while he isJowett1885v1: 20 the lord of the city, he will ever be in want of money. Such a policy is much more advantageous for the tyrant Edition: current; Page: [181]when he goes from home, than to leave behind him a hoard, for then the garrison who remain in the city will be less likely to attack his power; and a tyrant, when he is absent from home, has more reason to fear the guardians of his treasure than the citizens, for the one accompany him, but the others remain behind. In theJowett1885v1: 21 second place, he should appear to collect taxes and to require public services only for state purposes, and that he may form a fund in case of war, he ought to make himself the guardian and treasurer of them, as if they belonged, not to him, but to the public. He should appear, not harsh, but dignified, and when men meet him they should look upon him with reverence, and not with fear. Yet it is hard for him to be respected if heJowett1885v1: 22 inspires no respect, and therefore whatever virtues he may neglect, at least he should maintain the character of a statesman, and produce the impression that he is one. Neither he nor any of his associates should ever be guilty of the least offence against modesty towards the young of either sex who are his subjects, and theJowett1885v1: 23 women of his family should observe a like self-control towards other women; the insolence of women has ruined many tyrannies. In the indulgence of pleasures he should be the opposite of our modern tyrants, who not only begin at dawn and pass whole days in sensuality, but want other men to see them, that they may admire their happy and blessed lot. In these things a tyrant shouldJowett1885v1: 24 be especially moderate, or at any rate should not parade his vices to the world; for a drunken and drowsy tyrant is soon despised and attacked; not so he who is temperate and wide awake. His conduct should be the very reverse of nearly everything which has been said before about tyrants. He ought to adorn and improve his city, as though he were not a tyrant, but the guardian of the state. Also he should appear to be particularly earnestJowett1885v1: 25 in the service of the Gods; for if men think that a ruler is religious and has a reverence for the Gods, they are less afraid of suffering injustice at his hands, and they are less Edition: current; Page: [182]disposed to conspire against him, because they believe him to have the very Gods fighting on his side. At theJowett1885v1: 26 same time his religion must not be thought foolish. And he should honour men of merit, and make them think that they would not be held in more honour by the citizens if they had a free government. The honour he should distribute himself, but the punishment should be inflicted by officers and courts of law. It is a precautionJowett1885v1: 27 which is taken by all monarchs not to make one person great; but if one, then two or more should be raised, that they may look sharply after one another. If after all some one has to be made great, he should not be a man of bold spirit; for such dispositions are ever most inclined to strike. And if any one is to be deprived of his power, let it be diminished gradually, not taken from him all at oncea. The tyrant should abstain from all outrage; inJowett1885v1: 28 particular from personal violence and from wanton conduct towards the young. He should be especially careful of his behaviour to men who are lovers of honour; for as the lovers of money are offended when their property is touched, so are the lovers of honour and the virtuous when their honour is affected. Therefore a tyrant oughtJowett1885v1: 29 either not to use force at all; or he should be thought only to employ fatherly correction, and not to trample upon others, — and his acquaintance with youth should be supposed to arise from affection, and not from the insolence of power, and in general he should compensate the appearance of dishonour by the increase of honour.

He should guard against the desperate assassin.

Of those who attempt assassination they are the mostJowett1885v1: 30 dangerous, and require to be most carefully watched who do not care to survive, if they effect their purpose. Therefore special precaution should be taken about anyJowett1885v1: 31 who think that either they or their relatives have been insulted; for when men are led away by passion to assault others they are regardless of themselves. As Edition: current; Page: [183]Heracleitus says, ‘It is difficult to fight against anger; for a man will buy revenge with lifea.’

He should conciliate the poor or the rich, whichever is the stronger party.

And whereas states consist of two classes, of poor menJowett1885v1: 32 and of rich, the tyrant should lead both to imagine that they are preserved and prevented from harming one another by his rule, and whichever of the two is stronger he should attach to his government; for, having this advantage, he has no need either to emancipate slaves or to disarm the citizens; either party added to the force which he already has, will make him stronger than his assailants.

1315 b. ‘The father of his people.’

But enough of these details;—what should be theJowett1885v1: 33 general policy of the tyrant is obvious. He ought to show himself to his subjects in the light, not of a tyrant, but of the master of a household and of a king. He should not appropriate what is theirs, but should be their guardian; he should be moderate, not extravagant in his way of life; he should be the companion of the notables, and the hero of the multitude. For then his rule will ofJowett1885v1: 34 necessity be nobler and happier, because he will rule over better menb whose spirits are not crushed, over men to whom he himself is not an object of hatred, and of whom he is not afraid. His power too will be more lasting. Let his disposition be virtuous, or at least half virtuous; and if he must be wicked, let him be half wicked only.

Tyrannies short-lived, except (1) that of Orthagoras and his sons;

Yet no forms of government are so short-lived asJowett1885v1: V. 12. oligarchy and tyranny. The tyranny which lasted longest was that of Orthagoras and his sons at Sicyon; this continued for a hundred years. The reason was that they treated their subjects with moderation, and to a great extent observed the laws; and in various ways gained the favour of the people by the care which they took of them. Cleisthenes, in particular, was respected for his military ability. If report may be believed, heJowett1885v1: 2 crowned the judge who decided against him in the games; Edition: current; Page: [184]and, as some say, the sitting statue in the Agora of Sicyon is the likeness of this person. (A similar story is told of Peisistratus, who is said on one occasion to have allowed himself to be summoned and tried before the Areopagus.)

(2) of the Cypselidae; (3) of the Peisistratidae; (4) of Hiero and Gelo.

Next in duration to the tyranny of Orthagoras wasJowett1885v1: 3 that of the Cypselidae at Corinth, which lasted seventy-three years and six months: Cypselus reigned thirty years, Periander forty-four, and Psammetichus the son of Gordius three. Their continuance was due to similarJowett1885v1: 4 causes: Cypselus was a popular man, who during the whole time of his rule never had a body-guard; and Periander, although he was a tyrant, was a great soldier. Third in duration was the rule of the Peisistratidae atJowett1885v1: 5 Athens, but it was interrupted; for Peisistratus was twice driven out, so that during three and thirty years he reigned only seventeen; and his sons reigned eighteen—altogether thirty-five years. Of other tyrannies, that of Hiero and Gelo at Syracuse was the most lasting. Even this, however, was short, not more than eighteenJowett1885v1: 6 years in all; for Gelo continued tyrant for seven years, and died in the eighth; Hiero reigned for ten years, and Thrasybulus was driven out in the eleventh month. In fact, tyrannies generally have been of quite short duration.

1316 a.

I have now gone through all the causes by whichJowett1885v1: 7 constitutional governments and monarchies are either destroyed or preserved.

Plato’s treatment of revolutions criticized. (1) The number of the state will not explain the first decline; (2) Why is this decline peculiar to the ideal state? (3) Why should time be a special cause? (4) What is the principle of his cycle? (5) What form succeeds tyranny? The perfect state? Nay, but this is refuted by facts. (6) Plato misunderstands the causes of the change into oligarchy, (7) which, in consisting of rich and poor, good and bad, is only like other states. (8) Out of many causes of revolutions he mentions one only, 1316 b.

In the Republic of Platoa, Socrates treats of revolutions, but not well, for he mentions no cause of change which peculiarly affects the first or perfect state. He onlyJowett1885v1: 8 says that nothing is abiding, but that all things change in a certain cycle; and that the origin of the change is a base of numbers which are in the ratio of four to three, and this when combined with a figure of five gives two harmonies,—(he means when the number of this figure becomes solid); he conceives that nature will then produce Edition: current; Page: [185]bad men who will not submit to education; in which latter particular he may very likely be not far wrong, for there may well be some men who cannot be educated and made virtuous. But why is such a cause ofJowett1885v1: 9 change peculiar to his ideal state, and not rather common to all states, nay, to everything which comes into being at all? aOr how is the state specially changed by the agency of time, which, as he declares, makes all things change? And things which did not begin together, change togethera, for example, if something has come into being the day before the completion of the cycle, it will change with it. Further, why should the perfect state changeJowett1885v1: 10 into the Spartan? For governments more often take an opposite form than one akin to them. The same remark is applicable to the other changes; he says that the Spartan constitution changes into an oligarchy, and this into a democracy, and this again into a tyranny. AndJowett1885v1: 11 yet the contrary happens quite as often; for a democracy is even more likely to change into an oligarchy than into a monarchy. Further, he never says whether tyranny is, or is not, liable to revolutions, and if it is, what is the cause of them, or into what form it changes. And the reason is, that he could not very well have told: for there is no rule; according to him it should revert to the first and best, and then there would be a complete cycle. But in point of fact a tyranny often changes into aJowett1885v1: 12 tyranny, as that at Sicyon changed from the tyranny of Myron into that of Cleisthenes; into oligarchy, as the tyranny of Antileon did at Chalcis; into democracy, as that of Gelo did at Syracuse; into aristocracy, as at Carthage, and the tyranny of Charilaus at Lacedaemon. Often an oligarchy changes into a tyranny, like mostJowett1885v1: 13 Edition: current; Page: [186]of the ancient oligarchies in Sicily; for example, the oligarchy at Leontini changed into the tyranny of Panaetius; that at Gela into the tyranny of Cleander; that at Rhegium into the tyranny of Anaxilaus; the same thing has happened in many other states. AndJowett1885v1: 14 it is absurd to suppose that the state changes into oligarchy merely because, [as Plato saysa,] the ruling class are lovers and makers of money, and not because the very rich think it unfair that the very poor should have an equal share in the government with themselves. Moreover in many oligarchies there are laws against making money in trade. But at Carthage, which is a democracy, there is no such prohibition; and yet to this day the Carthaginians have never had a revolution. ItJowett1885v1: 15 is absurd too for him to say that an oligarchy is two cities, one of the rich, and the other of the poorb. Is not this just as much the case in the Spartan constitution, or in any other in which either all do not possess equal property, or in which all are not equally good men? Nobody need be any poorer than he wasJowett1885v1: 16 before, and yet the oligarchy may change all the same into a democracy, if the poor form the majority; and a democracy may change into an oligarchy, if the wealthy class are stronger than the people, and the one are energetic, the other indifferent. Once more, althoughJowett1885v1: 17 the causes of revolutions are very numerous, he mentions only onec, which is, that the citizens become poor through dissipation and debt, as though he thought that all, or the majority of them, were originally rich. This is not true: though it is true that when any of the leaders lose their property they are ripe for revolution; but, when anybody else, it is no great matter. And an oligarchyJowett1885v1: 18 does not more often pass into a democracy than into any other form of government. Again, if men are deprived of the honours of state, and are wronged, and insulted, Edition: current; Page: [187]they make revolutions, and change forms of government, even although they have not wasted their substance because they might do what they liked—of which extravagance he declares excessive freedom to be the causea.

(9) and he does not recognize the different forms either of oligarchies or of democracies.

Finally, although there are many forms of oligarchies and democracies, Socrates speaks of their revolutions as though there were only one form of either of them.

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Subjects already discussed.

We have now considered the varieties of the deliberativeJowett1885v1: VI. 1. or supreme power in states, and the various arrangements of law-courts and state offices, and which of them are adapted to different forms of governmenta. We have also spoken of the destruction and preservation of states, how and from what causes they ariseb.

How the several kinds of government are constructed. 1317 a.

Of democracy and all other forms of government thereJowett1885v1: 2 are many kinds; and it will be well to assign to them severally the modes of organization which are proper and advantageous to each, adding what remains to be said about them. Moreover, we ought to consider the variousJowett1885v1: 3 combinations of these modes themselvesc; for such combinations make constitutions overlap one another, so that aristocracies have an oligarchical character, and constitutional governments incline to democraciesd.

Various combinations.

When I speak of the combinations which remain to beJowett1885v1: 4 considered, and thus far have not been considered by us, I mean such as these:—when the deliberative part of the government and the election of officers is constituted oligarchically, and the law-courts aristocratically, or when the courts and the deliberative part of the state are oligarchical, and the election to offices aristocratical, or when in any other way there is a want of harmony in the composition of a state.

I have shown already what forms of democracy areJowett1885v1: 5 suited to particular cities, and what of oligarchy to particular peoples, and to whom each of the other forms of government is suited. Further, we must not onlyJowett1885v1: 6 show which of these governments is the best for each Edition: current; Page: [189]state, but also briefly proceed to considera how these and other forms of government are to be established.

The varieties of democracy depend on (1) differences of population; (2) different combinations of the democratic elements.

First of all let us speak of democracy, which will also bring to light the opposite form of government commonly called oligarchy. For the purposes of this enquiry weJowett1885v1: 7 need to ascertain all the elements and characteristics of democracy, since from the combinations of these the varieties of democratic government arise. There are several of these differing from each other, and theJowett1885v1: 8 difference is due to two causes. One (1) has been already mentionedb,—differences of population; for the popular element may consist of husbandmen, or of mechanics, or of labourers, and if the first of these be added to the second, or the third to the two others, not only does the democracy become better or worse, but its very nature is changed. A second cause (2) remains to be mentioned:Jowett1885v1: 9 the various properties and characteristics of democracy, when variously combined, make a difference. For one democracy will have less and another will have more, and another will have all of these characteristics. There is an advantage in knowing them all, whether a man wishes to establish some new form of democracy, or only to remodel an existing onec. Founders of states try to bringJowett1885v1: 10 together all the elements which accord with the ideas of the several constitutions; but this is a mistake of theirs, as I have already remarkedd when speaking of the destruction and preservation of states. We will now set forth the principles, characteristics, and aims of such states.

1317 b. Liberty, the great end of democracy, means (1) numerical equality; (2) absence of control.

The basis of a democratic state is liberty; which,Jowett1885v1: VI. 2. according to the common opinion of men, can only be enjoyed in such a state;—this they affirm to be the great end of every democracye. One principle of liberty is for all to rule and be ruled in turn, and indeed democraticJowett1885v1: 2 justice is the application of numerical not proportionate equality; whence it follows that the majority Edition: current; Page: [190]must be supreme, and that whatever the majority approve must be the end and the just. Every citizen, it is said, must have equality, and therefore in a democracy the poor have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme.Jowett1885v1: 3 This, then, is one note of liberty which all democrats affirm to be the principle of their state. Another is that a man should live as he likesa. This, they say, is the privilege of a freeman, and, on the other hand, not to live as a man likes is the mark of a slave. This is the secondJowett1885v1: 4 characteristic of democracy, whence has arisen the claim of men to be ruled by none, if possible, or, if this is impossible, to rule and be ruled in turns; and so it coincides with the freedom based upon equality [which was the first characteristic].

Characteristics of democracy. All out of all, all over each, each in turn over all, in person or by deputy. 1318 a. Pay. Vestiges of antiquity in a democracy. Lot. ‘Everybody to count for one and nobody for more than one.’

Jowett1885v1: 5bSuch being our foundation and such the nature of democracy, its characteristics are as followsb:—the election of officers by all out of all; and that all should rule over each, and each in his turn over all; that the appointment to all offices, or to all but those which require experience and skillc, should be made by lot; that no property qualification should be required for offices, or only a very low one; that no one should hold the same office twice, or not often, except in the case of military offices; that the tenure of all offices, or of as many as possible, should be brief; that all men should sit in judgment, or that judges selected out of all should judge in all matters, or in most, or in the greatest and most important,—such as the scrutiny of accounts, the constitution, and private contracts; that the assembly should be supreme over all causes, or at any rate over the most important, and the magistrates over none or only over a very fewd. Of all institutions, a council is the most democraticeJowett1885v1: 6 Edition: current; Page: [191]when there is not the means of paying all the citizens, but when they are paid even this is robbed of its power; for the people then draw all cases to themselves, as I said in the previous discussiona. The next characteristic ofJowett1885v1: 7 democracy is payment for services; assembly, law-courts, magistrates, everybody receives pay, when it is to be had; or when it is not to be had for all, then it is given to the law-courts and to the stated assemblies, to the council and to the magistrates, or at least to any of them who are compelled to have their meals together. And whereas oligarchy is characterised by birth, wealth, and education, the notes of democracy appear to be the opposite of these, — low birth, poverty, mean employment.Jowett1885v1: 8 Another note is that no magistracy is perpetual, but if any such have survived some ancient change in the constitution it should be stripped of its power, and the holders should be elected by lot and no longer by vote.Jowett1885v1: 9 These are points common to all democracies; but democracy and demos in their truest form are based upon the recognized principle of democratic justice, that all should count equally; for equality implies that the rich should have no more share in the government than the poorb, and should not be the only rulers, but that all should rule equally according to their numbersc. And in this way men think that they will secure equality and freedom in their state.

By what arrangement of the qualification is equality to be secured?

Next comes the question, how is this equality to beJowett1885v1: VI. 3. obtained? Is the qualification to be so distributed that five hundred rich shall be equal to a thousand poor? and shall we give the thousand a power equal to that of the five hundred? or, if this is not to be the mode, ought we, still retaining the same ratio, to take equal numbers from each and give them the control of the electionsd and of Edition: current; Page: [192]the courts? — Which, according to the democratical notion,Jowett1885v1: 2 is the juster form of the constitution,—this or one based on numbers only? Democrats say that justice is that to which the majority agree, oligarchs that to which the wealthier class; in their opinion the decision should be given according to the amount of property. In bothJowett1885v1: 3 principles there is some inequality and injustice. For if justice is the will of the few, any one person who has more wealth than all the rest of his class put together, ought, upon the oligarchical principle, to have the sole power—but this would be tyranny; or if justice is the will of the majority, as I was before sayinga, they will unjustly confiscate the property of the wealthy minority. To find a principle of equality in which they both agreeJowett1885v1: 4 we must enquire into their respective ideas of justice.

In what sense is the will of the majority law? 1318 b.

Now they agree in saying that whatever is decided by the majority of the citizens is to be deemed law. Granted:—but not without some reserve; since there are two classes out of which a state is composed,—the poor and the rich, — that is to be deemed law, on which both or the greater part of both agree; and if they disagree, that which is approved by the greater number, and by those who have the higher qualification. For example,Jowett1885v1: 5 suppose that there are ten rich and twenty poor, and some measure is approved by six of the rich and is disapproved by fifteen of the poor, and the remaining four of the rich join with the party of the poor, and the remaining five of the poor with that of the rich; in such a case the will of those whose qualifications, when both sides are added up, are the greatest, should prevail. If they turnJowett1885v1: 6 out to be equal, there is no greater difficulty than at present, when, if the assembly or the courts are divided, recourse is had to the lot, or to some similar expedient. But, although it may be difficult in theory to know what is just and equal, the practical difficulty of inducing those to forbear who can, if they like, encroach, is far greater, Edition: current; Page: [193]for the weaker are always asking for equality and justice, but the stronger acare for none of these thingsa.

(1) The best material of democracy an agricultural population, dwelling far away from the town, and always at work. In such a democracy the magistrates are elected by all out of the educated and wealthy, and are responsible to all. There is good government and everybody is satisfied. Various modes of encouraging small land-owners. 1319 a.

Of the four kinds of democracy, as was said in theJowett1885v1: VI. 4. previous discussionb, the best is that which comes first in order; it is also the oldest of them all. I am speaking of them according to the natural classification of their inhabitants. For the best material of democracy is an agricultural populationc; there is no difficulty in forming a democracy where the mass of the people live by agriculture or tending of cattle. Being poor, they have noJowett1885v1: 2 leisure, and therefore do not often attend the assembly, and not having the necessaries of life they are always at work, and do not covet the property of others. Indeed, they find their employment pleasanter than the cares of government or office where no great gains can be made out of them, for the many are more desirous of gain thanJowett1885v1: 3 of honourd. A proof is that even the ancient tyrannies were patiently endured by them, as they still endure oligarchies, if they are allowed to work and are not deprived of their property; for some of them grow quickly rich and the others are well enough off. Moreover they have theJowett1885v1: 4 power of electing the magistrates and calling them to accounte; their ambition, if they have any, is thus satisfied; and in some democracies, although they do not all share in the appointment of offices, except through representatives elected in turn out of the whole people, as at Mantinea;—yet, if they have the power of deliberating, the many are contented. Even this form of governmentJowett1885v1: 5 may be regarded as a democracy, and was such at Mantinea. Hence it is both expedient and customary in such a democracy that all should elect to offices, and conduct scrutinies, and sit in the law-courts, but that the great offices should be filled up by election and from persons having a qualification; the greater requiring a greater qualification, or, if there be no offices for which a qualification is required, then those who are marked out Edition: current; Page: [194]by special ability should be appointed. Under such aJowett1885v1: 6 form of government the citizens are sure to be governed well, (for the offices will always be held by the best persons; the people are willing enough to elect them and are not jealous of the good). The good and the notables will then be satisfied, for they will not be governed by men who are their inferiors, and the persons elected will rule justly, because others will call them to account. Every man should be responsible to others, nor shouldJowett1885v1: 7 any one be allowed to do just as he pleases; for where absolute freedom is allowed there is nothing to restrain the evil which is inherent in every man. But the principle of responsibility secures that which is the greatest good in states; the right persons rule and are prevented from doing wrong, and the people have their due. It is evidentJowett1885v1: 8 that this is the best kind of democracy, and why? because the people are drawn from a certain class. The ancient laws of many states which aimed at making the people husbandmen were excellent. They provided either that no one should possess more than a certain quantity of land, or that, if he did, the land should not be within a certain distance from the town or the acropolis. Formerly in many states there was a law forbidding anyJowett1885v1: 9 one to sell his original allotment of landa. There is a similar law attributed to Oxylus, which is to the effect that there should be a certain portion of every man’s property on which he could not borrow money. A useful corrective to the evil of which I am speaking wouldJowett1885v1: 10 be the law of the Aphytaeans, who, although they are numerous, and do not possess much land, are all of them husbandmen. For their properties are reckoned in the census, not entire, but only in such small portions bthat even the poor may have more than the amount requiredb.

(2) A pastoral democracy 1319 b. is also good. (3) The democracy of towns far inferior.

Next best to an agricultural, and in many respectsJowett1885v1: 11 similar, are a pastoral people, who live by their flocks; Edition: current; Page: [195]they are the best trained of any for war, robust in body and able to camp out. The people of whom otherJowett1885v1: 12 democracies consist are far inferior to them, for their life is inferior; there is no room for moral excellence in any of their employments, whether they be mechanics or traders or labourers. Besides, people of this class canJowett1885v1: 13 readily come to the assembly, because they are continually moving about in the city and in the agora; whereas husbandmen are scattered over the country and do not meet, or equally feel the want of assembling together. Where the territory extends to a distance from the city,Jowett1885v1: 14 there is no difficulty in making an excellent democracy or constitutional government; for the people are compelled to settle in the country, and even if there is a town population the assembly ought not to meet when the country people cannot come. We have thus explainedJowett1885v1: 15 how the first and best form of democracy should be constituted; it is clear that the other or inferior sorts will deviate in a regular order, and the population which is excluded will at each stage be of a lower kind.

(4) Extreme democracy has a precarious existence. How constituted. Where it should stop. Often preserved by reorganization. Licence granted in the extreme democracy to slaves and women.

The last form of democracy, that in which all share alike, is one which cannot be borne by all states, and will not last long unless well regulated by laws and customs. The more general causes which tend to destroy this or other kinds of government have now been pretty fully considereda. In order to constitute such aJowett1885v1: 16 democracy and strengthen the people, the leaders have been in the habit of including as many as they can, and making citizens not only of those who are legitimate, but even of the illegitimate, and of those who have only one parent a citizen, whether father or motherb; for nothing of this sort comes amiss to such a democracy. This isJowett1885v1: 17 the way in which demagogues proceed. Whereas the right thing would be to make no more additions when the number of the commonalty exceeds that of the notables or of the middle class,—beyond this not to go. Edition: current; Page: [196]When in excess of this point the state becomes disorderly, and the notables grow excited and impatient of the democracy, as in the insurrection at Cyrene; for no notice is taken of a little evil, but when it increases it strikes the eye. Measures like those which CleisthenesaJowett1885v1: 18 passed when he wanted to increase the power of the democracy at Athens, or such as were taken by the founders of popular government at Cyrene, are useful in the extreme form of democracy. Fresh tribes andJowett1885v1: 19 brotherhoods should be established; the private rites of families should be restricted and converted into public ones; in short, every contrivance should be adopted which will mingle the citizens with one another and get rid of old connections. Again, the measures which areJowett1885v1: 20 taken by tyrants appear all of them to be democratic; such, for instance, as the licence permitted to slaves (which may be to a certain extent advantageous) and also that of women and children, and the allowing everybody to live as he likesb. Such a government will have many supporters, for most persons would rather live in a disorderly than in a sober manner.

To preserve a democracy more difficult than to create one. Moderation safer than excess. 1320 a. The rich should be spared, confiscation discouraged. The false accuser punished.

The mere establishment of a democracy is not theJowett1885v1: VI. 5. only or principal business of the legislator, or of those who wish to create such a state, for any state, however badly constituted, may last one, two, or three days; a far greater difficulty is the preservation of it. The legislatorJowett1885v1: 2 should therefore endeavour to have a firm foundation according to the principles already laid down concerning the preservation and destruction of statesc; he should guard against the destructive elements, and should make laws, whether written or unwritten, which will contain all the preservatives of states. He must not think the truly democratical or oligarchical measure to be that which will give the greatest amount of democracy or oligarchy, but that which will make them last longestd. The demagogues of our own day often get propertyJowett1885v1: 3 Edition: current; Page: [197]confiscateda in the law-courts in order to please the people. But those who have the welfare of the state at heart should counteract them, and make a law that the property of the condemned which goes into the treasury should not be public but sacred. Thus offenders will be as much afraid, for they will be punished all the same, and the people, having nothing to gain, will not be so ready to condemn the accused. Care should also beJowett1885v1: 4 taken that state trials are as few as possible, and heavy penalties should be inflicted on those who bring groundless accusations; for it is the practice to indict, not members of the popular party, but the notables, although the citizens ought to be all equally attached to the state, or at any rate should not regard their rulers as enemies.

Few meetings and short sittings should be the rule. The surplus revenue should not be thrown away in largesses to the poor, but should be saved and employed to start them in life. Good example of the Carthaginians, and Tarentines. In elections vote and lot should be combined. 1320 b.

Now, since in the last and worst form of democracyJowett1885v1: 5 the citizens are very numerous, and can hardly be made to assemble unless they are paid, and to pay them when there are no revenues presses hardly upon the notables (for the money must be obtained by a property-tax and confiscations and corrupt practices of the courts, things which have before now overthrown many democracies); where, I say, there are no revenues, the government should hold few assemblies, and the law-courts should consist of many persons, but sit for a few days only. This system hasJowett1885v1: 6 two advantages: first, the rich do not fear the expense, even although they are unpaid themselves when the poor are paid; and secondly, causes are better tried, for wealthy persons, although they do not like to be long absent from their own affairs, do not mind going for a few days to the law-courts. Where there areJowett1885v1: 7 revenues the demagogues should not be allowed after their manner to distribute the surplus; the poor are always receiving and always wanting more and more, for such help is like water poured into a leaky cask. Yet the true friend of the people should see that they Edition: current; Page: [198]be not too poor, for extreme poverty lowers the character of the democracy; measures also should be takenJowett1885v1: 8 which will give them lasting prosperity; and as this is equally the interest of all classes, the proceeds of the public revenues should be accumulated and distributed among them, if possible, in such quantities as may enable them to purchase a little farm, or, at any rate, make a beginning in trade and husbandry. And if thisJowett1885v1: 9 benevolence cannot be extended to all, money should be distributed in turn according to tribes or other divisions, and in the meantime the rich should pay the fee for the attendance of the poor at the necessary assemblies; and should in return be excused from useless public services. By administering the state in this spirit the Carthaginians retain the affections of the people; their policy is from time to time to send some of them into their dependent towns, where they grow richa. It is also worthyJowett1885v1: 10 of a generous and sensible nobility to divide the poor amongst them, and give them the means of going to work. The example of the people of Tarentum is also well deserving of imitation, for, by sharing the use of their own property with the poor, they gain their good willb. Moreover, they divide all their offices into twoJowett1885v1: 11 classes, one-half of them being elected by vote, the other by lot; the latter, that the people may participate in them, and the former, that the state may be better administered. A like result may be gained by dividing the same officesc, so as to have two classes of magistrates, one chosen by vote, the other by lot.

Enough has been said of the manner in which democraciesJowett1885v1: VI. 6. ought to be constituted.

How to construct an oligarchy.

From these considerations there will be no difficulty in seeing what should be the constitution of oligarchies. We have only to reason from opposites and compare each form of oligarchy with the corresponding form of democracy.

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1321 a. The best kind of oligarchy should include the best. The worst and most precarious is the dynastic.

The first and best attempered of oligarchies is akin toJowett1885v1: 2 a constitutional government. In this there ought to be two standards of qualification; the one high, the other low—the lower qualifying for the humbler yet indispensable offices and the higher for the superior ones. He who acquires the prescribed qualification should have the rights of citizenship. The nature of those admitted should be such as will make the entire governing body strongerJowett1885v1: 3 than those who are excluded, and the new citizen should be always taken out of the better class of the people. The principle, narrowed a little, gives another form of oligarchy; until at length we reach the most cliquish and tyrannical of them all, answering to the extreme democracy, which, being the worst, requires vigilance in proportionJowett1885v1: 4 to its badness. For as healthy bodies and ships well provided with sailors may undergo many mishaps and survive them, whereas sickly constitutions and rotten ill-manned ships are ruined by the very least mistake, so do the worst forms of government require the greatest care. The populousness of democracies generally preservesJowett1885v1: 5 them (for number is to democracy in the place of justice based on proportion); whereas the preservation of an oligarchy clearly depends on an opposite principle, viz. good order.

The preservation of oligarchies. Cavalry and heavy infantry oligarchical forces. Light infantry and the naval element democratical. The younger citizens should be trained in light infantry exercises. Deserving persons should be taken into the government. Magistracies should be made expensive and the magistrates should be munificent. 1321 b.

As there are four chief divisions of the common people,—husbandmen,Jowett1885v1: VI. 7. mechanics, retail traders, labourers; so also there are four kinds of military forces,— the cavalry, the heavy infantry, the light-armed troops, the navya. When the country is adapted for cavalry, then a strong oligarchy is likely to be established. For the security of the inhabitants depends upon a force of this sort, and only rich men can afford to keep horses. The second form of oligarchy prevails when there are heavy infantryb; for this service is better suited to the rich than to the poor. But the light-armed and the naval element areJowett1885v1: 2 wholly democratic; and nowadays, when they are so numerous, if the two parties quarrel, the oligarchy are Edition: current; Page: [200]often worsted by them in the struggle. A remedy for this state of things may be found in the practice of generals who combine a proper contingent of light-armed troops, with cavalry and heavy-armed. And thisJowett1885v1: 3 is the way in which the poor get the better of the rich in civil contests; being lightly armed, they fight with advantage against cavalry and heavy infantry. An oligarchy which raises such a force out of the lower classes raises a power against itself. And therefore, since the ages of the citizens vary and some are older and some younger, the fathers should have their own sons, while they are still young, taught the agile movements of light-armed troops; and some, when they grow up, should be selected out of the youth, and become light-armed warriors in reality. The oligarchy should also yield a share in the governmentJowett1885v1: 4 to the people, either, as I said before, to those who have a property qualificationa, or, as in the case of Thebesb, to those who have abstained for a certain number of years from mean employments, or, as at Massalia, to men of merit who are selected for their worthiness, whether [previously] citizens or not. The magistracies of theJowett1885v1: 5 highest rank, which ought to be in the hands of the governing body, should have expensive duties attached to them, and then the people will not desire them and will take no offence at the privileges of their rulers when they see that they pay a heavy fine for their dignity. It is fitting also that the magistrates on entering officeJowett1885v1: 6 should offer magnificent sacrifices or erect some public edifice, and then the people who participate in the entertainments, and like to see the city decorated with votive offerings and buildings, will not desire an alteration in the government, and the notables will have memorials of their munificence. This, however, is anything but theJowett1885v1: 7 fashion of our modern oligarchs, who are as covetous of gain as they are of honour; oligarchies like theirs may be well described as petty democracies. Enough of the Edition: current; Page: [201]manner in which democracies and oligarchies should be organized.

How to arrange the offices in a state.

Next in order follows the right distribution of offices,Jowett1885v1: VI. 8. their number, their nature, their duties, of which indeed we have already spokena. No state can exist not having the necessary offices, and no state can be well administered not having the offices which tend to preserve harmony and good order. In small states, as weJowett1885v1: 2 have already remarkedb, there need not be many of them, but in larger there must be a larger number, and we should carefully consider which offices may properly be united and which separated.

(1) The warden of the market. (2) The warden of the city. (3) The warden of the country. (4) The Treasurer. (5) Registrar.

First among necessary offices is that which has the careJowett1885v1: 3 of the market; a magistrate should be appointed to inspect contracts and to maintain order. For in every state there must inevitably be buyers and sellers who will supply one another’s wants; this is the readiest way to make a state self-sufficing and so fulfil the purpose for which men come together into one statec. A secondJowett1885v1: 4 office of a similar kind undertakes the supervision and embellishment of public and private buildings, the maintaining and repairing of houses and roads, the prevention of disputes about boundaries and other concerns of a like nature. This is commonly called the office of Citywarden,Jowett1885v1: 5 and has various departments, which, in more populous towns, are shared among different persons, one, for example, taking charge of the walls, another of the fountains, a third of harbours. There is another equallyJowett1885v1: 6 necessary office, and of a similar kind, having to do with the same matters without the walls and in the country:—the magistrates who hold this office are called Wardens of the country, or Inspectors of the woods. Besides these three there is a fourth office of receivers of taxes, who have under their charge the revenue which they distribute among the various departments; these are called Receivers or Treasurers. Another officer registers allJowett1885v1: 7 Edition: current; Page: [202]private contracts, and decisions of the courts, all public indictments, and also all preliminary proceedings. This office again is sometimes subdivided, in which case one officer is appointed over all the rest. These officers are called Recorders or Sacred Recorders, Presidents, and the like.

(6) Executioner, 1322 a.

Next to these comes an office of which the duties areJowett1885v1: 8 the most necessary and also the most difficult, viz. that to which is committed the execution of punishments, or the exaction of fines from those who are posted up according to the registers; and also the custody of prisoners. The difficulty of this office arises out of the odium whichJowett1885v1: 9 is attached to it; no one will undertake it unless great profits are to be made, and any one who does is loth to execute the law. Still the office is necessary; for judicial decisions are useless if they take no effect; and if society cannot exist without them, neither can it exist without the execution of them. It is an office which, being soJowett1885v1: 10 unpopular, should not be entrusted to one person, but divided among several taken from different courts. In like manner an effort should be made to distribute among different persons the writing up of those who are on the register of the condemned. Some sentences should be executed by officers who have other functions; penalties for new offences should be exacted by new offices; and as regards those which are not new, when one court has given judgment, another should exact the penalty; for example, the wardens of the city should exact the fines imposed by the wardens of the agora, and others again should exact the fines imposed by them. For penaltiesJowett1885v1: 11 are more likely to be exacted when less odium attaches to the exaction of them; but a double odium is incurred when the judges who have passed also execute the sentence, and if they are always the executioners, they will be the enemies of all.

and jailor. How their functions may be rendered less odious.

In many places one magistracy has the custody of the prisoners, while another executes the sentence, as, for example, ‘the Eleven’ at Athens. It is well to separateJowett1885v1: 12 Edition: current; Page: [203]off the jailorship, and try by some device to render the office less unpopular. For it is quite as necessary as that of the executioner; but good men do all they can to avoid it, and worthless persons cannot safely be trusted with it; for they themselves require a guard, and are not fit to guard others. There ought not therefore to beJowett1885v1: 13 a single or permanent officer set apart for this duty; but it should be entrusted to the young, wherever they are organized into a band or guard, and different magistrates acting in turn should take charge of it.

1322 b (7) Military offices.

These are the indispensable officers, and should be ranked first: — next in order follow others, equally necessary, but of higher rank, and requiring great experience and fidelity. Such are the offices to which ar