POLITICS by Aristotle – 350 BC

                                     350 BC
                                  by Aristotle
                         Translated by Benjamin Jowett
                                 BOOK ONE

  EVERY STATE is a community of some kind, and every 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 at good in a
greater degree than any other, and at the highest good.
  Some people think that the qualifications of a statesman, 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 rules of the political science, the
citizens rule and are ruled in turn, then he is called a statesman.
  But all this is a mistake; for governments differ in kind, as will
be evident to any one who considers the matter according to the method
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 therefore look at the
elements of which the state is composed, in order that we may see in
what the different kinds of rule differ from one another, and
whether any scientific result can be attained about each one of them.

  He who thus considers things in their first growth and origin,
whether a state or anything else, will obtain the clearest view of
them. In the first place there must be a union of those who cannot
exist without each other; namely, 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 of natural ruler and subject, that both may be
preserved. For that which can foresee by the exercise of mind is by
nature intended to be lord and master, and that which can with its
body give effect to such foresight is a subject, and by nature a
slave; hence master and slave have the same interest. Now nature 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 distinction 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 barbarians;

as if they thought that the barbarian and the slave were by nature
  Out of these two relationships between man and woman, master and
slave, the first thing to arise is the family, and Hesiod is right
when he says,

     First house and wife and an ox for the plough,

for the ox is the poor man's slave. The family is the association
established by nature for the supply of men's everyday wants, and
the members of it are called by Charondas 'companions of the
cupboard,' and by Epimenides the Cretan, 'companions of the manger.'
But when several families are united, and the association aims at
something more than the supply of daily needs, the first society to be
formed is the village. And the most natural form of the village
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 says:

     Each one gives law to his children and to his wives.

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.
  When several villages are united in a single complete community,
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 nature of a thing is its 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. Besides, the final cause
and end of a thing is the best, and to be self-sufficing is the end
and the best.
  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 a bad man or above
humanity; he is like the

     Tribeless, lawless, hearthless one,

whom Homer denounces- the natural outcast is forthwith a lover of war;
he may be compared to an isolated piece at draughts.
  Now, that man is more of a political animal than bees or any other
gregarious animals is evident. Nature, as we often say, makes
nothing in vain, and man is the only animal whom she has endowed
with the gift of speech. And whereas mere voice 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
therefore likewise the just and the unjust. And it is a characteristic
of man that he alone has any sense of good and evil, of just and
unjust, and the like, and the association of living beings who have
this sense makes a family and a state.
  Further, the state is by nature clearly prior to the family and to
the individual, since the whole is of necessity 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 than that. But things
are defined by their working and power; and we ought not to say that
they are the same when they no longer have their proper quality, but
only that they have the same name. The 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
be either a beast or a god: he is no part of a state. A 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 more
dangerous, and he is equipped at birth with arms, meant to be used
by intelligence and virtue, 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, for the administration of justice, which
is the determination of what is just, is the principle of order in
political society.

  Seeing then that the state is made up of households, before speaking
of the state we must speak of the management of the household. The
parts of household management correspond to the persons who compose
the household, and a complete household consists of slaves and
freemen. Now we should begin by examining everything in its fewest
possible elements; and the first and fewest possible 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 of master and servant, the marriage
relation (the conjunction of man and wife has no name of its own), and
thirdly, the procreative relation (this also has no proper name).
And there is another element of a household, the so-called art of
getting wealth, 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.
  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. For some are of opinion that
the rule of a master is a science, and that the management of a
household, and the mastership of slaves, and the political and royal
rule, as I was saying at the outset, 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

  Property is a part of the household, and the 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; 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
accomplish its own work, obeying or anticipating the will of others,
like the statues of Daedalus, or the tripods of Hephaestus, which,
says the poet,

     of their own accord entered the assembly of the Gods;

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 instruments 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 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 in kind. But life is action and not production, and therefore
the slave is the minister of action. 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 and
office of a slave; he who is by nature not his own but another's
man, is by nature a slave; and he may be said to be another's man who,
being a human being, is also a possession. And a possession may be
defined as an instrument of action, separable from the possessor.

  But is there any one thus intended by nature to be 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, on 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.
  And there are many kinds both of rulers and subjects (and 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; for
the work is better which is executed by better workmen, and where
one man rules and another is ruled, they may be said to have a
work); for 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 fight. Such a
duality exists in living creatures, but not in them only; it
originates in the constitution of the universe; even in things which
have no life there is a ruling principle, as in a musical mode. 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 then 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. At all events we may firstly observe
in living creatures 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 in relation to
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 such 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 is, another's and he who participates in rational
principle enough to apprehend, but not to have, such a principle, is a
slave by nature. Whereas the lower animals cannot even apprehend a
principle; 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 of freemen and slaves, making the one
strong for servile labor, the other upright, and although useless
for such services, useful for political life in the arts both of war
and peace. But the opposite often happens- that some 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 this is true
of the body, how much more just that a similar distinction should
exist 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.

  But that those who take the opposite view have in a 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-
the law by which whatever is taken in war is supposed to belong to the
victors. But this right many jurists impeach, 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 what makes the views invade each other's
territory, is as follows: in some sense virtue, when furnished with
means, has actually the greatest power of exercising force; and as
superior power is only found where there is superior excellence of
some kind, power seems to imply virtue, and the dispute to be simply
one about justice (for it is due to one party identifying justice with
goodwill while the other identifies it with the mere rule of the
stronger). If these views are thus set out separately, the other views
have no force or plausibility against the view that the superior in
virtue ought to rule, or be master. Others, clinging, as they think,
simply to a principle of justice (for law and custom are a sort of
justice), assume that slavery in accordance with the custom of war
is justified by law, but at the same moment they deny this. For what
if the cause of the war be unjust? And again, no one would ever say 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 Hellenes 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. The 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?

What does this mean but that they distinguish freedom 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 this 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 practicing
obedience, the others exercising the authority and lordship which
nature intended them to have. The abuse of this authority is injurious
to both; for the interests of part and whole, 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. Hence, where the relation of
master and slave 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 previous remarks are quite enough to show that the rule of a
master is not a constitutional rule, and that all the different
kinds of rule are not, as some affirm, the same with each other. 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 called 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
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, so
as to include cookery and similar menial arts. For some duties are
of the more necessary, others of the more honorable sort; as the
proverb says, 'slave before slave, master before master.' But all such
branches of knowledge are servile. There is likewise a science of
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 position 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 war. Enough of the distinction between master and slave.

  Let us now inquire into property generally, and into the art of
getting wealth, in accordance with our usual method, for a slave has
been shown to be a part of property. The first question is whether the
art of getting wealth 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 the 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 getting wealth, for the one uses the material which
the other provides. For 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 getting wealth is a part of household
management or a distinct art. If the getter of wealth has to
consider whence wealth and property can be procured, but there are
many sorts of property and riches, then are husbandry, and the care
and provision of food in general, parts of the wealth-getting art or
distinct arts? Again, there are many sorts of food, 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, others
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 species 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 lives 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, which is of different kinds. Some, for example,
are brigands, 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 cultivated fruits of the soil. Such are the modes of
subsistence which prevail among those whose industry springs up of
itself, and whose food is not acquired by exchange and retail trade-
there is the shepherd, the husbandman, the brigand, 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 shepherd may be combined with that of a brigand, the life of a
farmer with that of a hunter. Other modes of life are similarly
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
some 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 may
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 if nature makes nothing incomplete, and nothing in vain, the
inference must be that she has made all animals for the sake of man.
And so, in one point of view, the art of war is a natural art of
acquisition, for the art of acquisition includes hunting, an art which
we ought to practice 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 just.
  Of the art of acquisition then there is one kind which by nature
is a part of the management of a household, in so far as the art of
household management must either find ready to hand, or itself
provide, such things necessary to life, and useful for the community
of the family or state, as can be stored. They are the elements of
true riches; 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 man.

But there is a boundary fixed, just as there is in the other arts; for
the instruments of any art are never unlimited, either in number or
size, and riches 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 practiced by managers of
households and by statesmen, and what is the reason of this.

  There is another variety of the art of acquisition which is commonly
and rightly called an art of wealth-getting, and has in fact suggested
the notion that riches 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 the following
  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 money 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 exchange extends to all of them, and it arises at first from what
is natural, 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 getting wealth; had it been so, men would have ceased to
exchange when they had enough. In the first community, indeed, which
is the family, this art is obviously of no use, but it begins to be
useful when the society increases. For the members of the family
originally had all things in common; later, when the family divided
into parts, the parts shared in many things, and different parts in
different things, which they had to give in exchange for what they
wanted, a kind of barter which is still practiced among barbarous
nations who exchange with one another the necessaries of life and
nothing more; giving and receiving wine, for example, in exchange
for coin, and the like. This sort of barter is not part of the
wealth-getting art and is not contrary to nature, but is needed for
the satisfaction of men's natural wants. The other or more complex
form of exchange grew, as might have been inferred, 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 what they had too much of, money necessarily came into use.
For the various necessaries 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 simply 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.
  When the use of coin had once been discovered, out of the barter
of necessary articles arose the other art of wealth getting, 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 getting wealth is generally thought
to be chiefly concerned with it, and to be the art which produces
riches and wealth; having to consider how they may be accumulated.
Indeed, riches is assumed by many to be only a quantity of coin,
because the arts of getting wealth and retail trade are concerned with
coin. Others maintain that coined money is a mere sham, a thing not
natural, but conventional only, because, if the users substitute
another commodity for it, it is worthless, and because it is not
useful as a means to any of the necessities of life, 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?
  Hence men seek after a better notion of riches and of the art of
getting wealth than the mere acquisition of coin, and they are
right. For natural riches and the natural art of wealth-getting 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 is thought
to be concerned with coin; for coin is the unit of exchange and the
measure or limit of it. And there is no bound to the riches which
spring from this art of wealth getting. 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 wealth-getting there is no limit of the end, which is riches of the
spurious kind, and the acquisition of wealth. But the art of
wealth-getting which consists in household management, on the other
hand, has a limit; the unlimited acquisition of wealth is not its
business. And, therefore, in one point of view, all riches must have a
limit; nevertheless, as a matter of fact, we find the opposite to be
the case; for all getters of wealth increase their hoard of coin
without limit. The source of the confusion is the near connection
between the two kinds of wealth-getting; in either, the instrument
is the same, although the use is different, and so they pass into
one another; for each is a use of the same property, but with a
difference: accumulation is the end in the one case, but there is a
further end in the other. Hence some persons are led to believe that
getting wealth 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 they 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. Those who
do 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 getting wealth: and so there arises the second
species of wealth-getting. For, as their enjoyment is in excess,
they seek an art which produces the excess of enjoyment; and, if
they are not able to supply their pleasures by the art of getting
wealth, 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 wealth, 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 into a means of getting wealth; this they
conceive to be the end, and to the promotion of the end they think all
things must contribute.
  Thus, then, we have considered the art of wealth-getting which is
unnecessary, and why men want it; and also the necessary art of
wealth-getting, 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.

  And we have found the answer to our original question, Whether the
art of getting wealth is the business of the manager of a household
and of the statesman or not their business? viz., that wealth is
presupposed by them. For as political science does not make men, but
takes them from nature and uses them, so too nature provides them with
earth or sea or the like as a source of food. 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 the weaver who has not to
make but to use wool, and to know, too, 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 getting wealth 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. The answer is that as from one point
of view the master of the house 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 wealth. 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 is always what
remains over of that from which it is produced. Wherefore the art of
getting wealth out of fruits and animals is always natural.
  There are two sorts of wealth-getting, as I have said; one is a part
of household management, the other is retail trade: the former
necessary and honorable, while that which consists in exchange 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 object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange,
but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means
the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money
because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of
getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

  Enough has been said about the theory of wealth-getting; we will now
proceed to the practical part. The discussion of such matters is not
unworthy of philosophy, but to be engaged in them practically is
illiberal and irksome. The useful parts of wealth-getting are,
first, the knowledge of livestock- 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 of 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 of wealth-getting and come first. Of the other, which
consists in exchange, the first and most important division is
commerce (of which there are three kinds- the provision of a ship, the
conveyance of goods, exposure for sale- these again differing as
they are safer or more profitable), the second is usury, the third,
service for hire- of this, one kind is employed in the mechanical
arts, the other in unskilled and bodily labor. There is still a
third sort of wealth getting intermediate between this and the first
or natural mode which is partly natural, but is also concerned with
exchange, viz., the industries that make their profit from the
earth, and from things growing from the earth which, although they
bear no fruit, are nevertheless profitable; for example, the cutting
of timber and all mining. The art of mining, by which minerals are
obtained, itself has many branches, for there are various kinds of
things dug out of the earth. Of the several divisions of
wealth-getting 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 there 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
  Works have been written upon these subjects by 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 who value the art of getting wealth.
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 supposed 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 were wanted 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 a striking proof of his wisdom, but, as I was
saying, his device for getting wealth is of universal application, and
is nothing but the creation of a monopoly. It is an art often
practiced by cities when they are want of money; they make a
monopoly of provisions.
  There was a man of Sicily, who, having money deposited with him,
bought up an the iron from the iron mines; afterwards, when the
merchants from their various 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 might 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 made the same discovery as
Thales; they both contrived to create a monopoly for themselves. And
statesmen as well 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.

  Of household management we have seen that there are three parts- one
is the rule of a master over slaves, which has been discussed already,
another of a father, and the third of a husband. A husband and father,
we saw, 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 citizens 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
all. Nevertheless, when one rules and the other is ruled we endeavor
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-pan. The relation of the male 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 rules by virtue both of love and of 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 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.

  Thus it is clear that household management attends 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 question
may indeed be raised, whether there is any excellence at all in a
slave beyond and higher than 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, if they have virtue, in what will they
differ from freemen? On the other hand, since they are men and share
in rational principle, 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
note So in general we may ask about the natural ruler, and the natural
subject, whether they have the same or different virtues. For if a
noble nature is equally required in both, 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, which the difference of more and less
never is. 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, how 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 as natural subjects also vary
among themselves. Here the very constitution of the soul has shown
us the way; in it one part naturally rules, and the other is
subject, and the virtue of the ruler we in maintain 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; 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 an of them, they are present in
different degrees. For the slave has no deliberative faculty at all;
the woman has, but it is without authority, and the child has, but
it is immature. So it must necessarily be supposed to be with the
moral virtues also; all should partake of them, but only in such
manner and degree as is required by each for the fulfillment of his
duty. Hence the ruler ought to have moral virtue in perfection, for
his function, taken absolutely, demands a master artificer, and
rational principle is such an artificer; the subjects, oil the other
hand, require only that measure of virtue which is proper to each of
them. Clearly, then, moral virtue belongs to 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 maintained, 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 Gorgias, enumerate the virtues.
All classes must be deemed to have their special attributes; as the
poet says of women,

     Silence is a woman's glory,

but this is not equally the glory of man. The child is imperfect,
and therefore obviously his virtue is not relative to himself alone,
but to the perfect man and to his teacher, and in like manner the
virtue of the slave is 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 or lack of self-control. 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 the lack of self control? But is there not a great
difference in the two 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. 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 master ought to be the source of such
excellence in the slave, and not a mere possessor of the art of
mastership which trains the slave in his duties. Wherefore they are
mistaken who forbid us to converse with slaves and say that we
should employ command only, for slaves stand even more in need of
admonition than children.
  So much for this subject; the relations of husband and wife,
parent and child, their several virtues, what in their intercourse
with one another is good, and what is evil, and how we may pursue
the good and 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, and the virtue of the part must have regard to
the virtue of the whole, women and children must be trained by
education with an eye to the constitution, 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 be
citizens, and half the free persons in a state are women.
  Of these matters, enough has been said; of what remains, let us
speak at another time. Regarding, then, our present inquiry as
complete, we will make a new beginning. And, first, let us examine the
various theories of a perfect state.
                                 BOOK TWO

  OUR PURPOSE is to consider what form of political community is
best of all for those who are most able to realize 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 we are anxious to make a sophistical display
at any cost; we only undertake this inquiry because all the
constitutions with which we are acquainted are faulty.
  We will begin with the natural beginning of the subject. 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 constitution 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, 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 Plato. Which is better, our present condition, or the
proposed new order of society.

  There are many difficulties in the community of women. And the
principle on which Socrates rests the necessity of such an institution
evidently is not established by his arguments. Further, as a means
to the end which he ascribes to the state, the scheme, taken literally
is impracticable, and how we are to interpret it is nowhere
precisely stated. I am speaking of the premise 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 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 made 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 The
usefulness of the latter depends upon its quantity even where there is
no difference in quality (for mutual protection is the end aimed
at), just as a greater weight of anything is more useful than a less
(in like manner, a state differs from a nation, when the nation has
not its population organized in villages, but lives an Arcadian sort
of life); but the elements out of which a unity is to be formed differ
in kind. Wherefore the principle of compensation, as I have already
remarked in the Ethics, is the salvation of states. Even among freemen
and equals this is a principle which must be maintained, for they
cannot an 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 all govern; just as if shoemakers and
carpenters were to exchange their occupations, and the same persons
did not always continue shoemakers and carpenters. And since it is
better that this should be so in politics as well, it is clear that
while there should be continuance of the same persons in power where
this is possible, yet where this is not possible by reason of the
natural equality of the citizens, and at the same time it is just that
an should share in the government (whether to govern be a good thing
or a bad), an approximation to this is that equals should in turn
retire from office and should, apart from official position, be
treated alike. Thus the one party rule and the others are ruled in
turn, as if they were no longer the same persons. In like manner
when they hold office there is a variety in the offices held. 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 them. Again, in another point of
view, this extreme unification 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

  But, even supposing that it were best for the community 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 Socrates, is the sign of
perfect unity in a state. For the word 'all' is ambiguous. 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 the same person his wife, and so of his property and of all
that falls to his lot. This, however, is not the way in which people
would speak who had their had their wives and children in common; they
would say 'all' but not 'each.' In like 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 even in abstract
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, such a unity in no way conduces to harmony. And there is
another objection 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 fulfill; as in families many attendants
are often less useful than a few. Each citizen will have a thousand
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 use the word 'mine' of
one who is prospering or the reverse, however small a fraction he
may himself be of the whole number; the same boy will be 'so and
so's son,' the son of each of the thousand, or whatever be the
number of the citizens; 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. But which is
better- for each to say 'mine' in this way, making a man the same
relation to two thousand or ten thousand citizens, or to use the
word 'mine' in the ordinary and more restricted sense? For usually the
same person is called by one man his own son whom another calls his
own brother or cousin or kinsman- blood relation or connection by
marriage either of himself or of some relation of his, and yet another
his clansman or tribesman; 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 brothers 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
declare such to be the fact; they say that in part of Upper Libya,
where the women are common, nevertheless the children who are born are
assigned to their respective fathers on the ground of their
likeness. 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 Honest.

  Other evils, against which it is not easy for the authors 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, how strange it is that Socrates, after
having made the children common, should hinder lovers from carnal
intercourse only, but should permit love and 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 forbid 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.
  This community of wives and children seems better 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 should be, and they will remain obedient
and not rebel. In a word, the result of such a law would be just the
opposite of which good laws ought to have, and the intention of
Socrates in making these regulations about women and children would
defeat itself. For friendship we believe to be the greatest good of
states 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 commends would be like that of
the lovers in the Symposium, 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 certainly perish.
Whereas 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
father.' As a little sweet wine mingled with 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 and affection- that a thing
is your own and that it is your only one-neither can exist in such a
state as this.
  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 rank, 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 mentioned
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 the members of the class they have left 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.

  Next let us consider what should be our arrangements about property:
should the citizens of the perfect state have their possessions in
common or not? This question 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 case will be different
and easier to deal with; but when they till the ground for
themselves the question of ownership will give a world of trouble.
If they do not share equally enjoyments and toils, those who labor
much and get little will necessarily complain of those who labor
little and receive or consume much. But indeed there is always a
difficulty in men living together and having all human relations in
common, but especially in their having common property. The
partnerships of fellow-travelers are an example to the point; for they
generally fall out over everyday matters and quarrel about any
trifle which turns up. So with servants: we are most able to take
offense at those with whom we most we most frequently come into
contact in daily life.
  These are only some of the disadvantages which attend the
community of property; the present arrangement, if improved as it
might be by good customs and 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 everyone
has a distinct interest, 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 by reason of goodness, and in respect of
use, 'Friends,' as the proverb says, 'will have all things common.'
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, 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 lack provisions on a
journey, they appropriate what they find in the fields throughout
the country. It is clearly 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
surely the love of self is a feeling implanted by nature and not given
in vain, although selfishness is rightly censured; this, however, is
not the mere 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. These advantages are lost by excessive unification of the
state. The exhibition of two virtues, besides, is visibly
annihilated in such a state: first, temperance towards women (for it
is an honorable 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
example of liberality or do any liberal action; for liberality
consists in the use which is made of property.
  Such legislation may have a specious appearance of 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 one 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. These 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.
  Again, we ought to reckon, not only the evils from 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
the 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, as I was
saying, is a plurality 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 made property common. Let us remember that we should not disregard
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 we 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 its constituents 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.
  But, indeed, Socrates has not said, nor is it easy to decide, 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 is each individual to have his own? And are the
wives and children to be individual or common. If, like the guardians,
they are to have all things in common, 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 are 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 one, each hostile to the other He makes the
guardians into a mere occupying garrison, while the husbandmen and
artisans and the rest are the real citizens. But if so the suits and
quarrels, and all the evils which Socrates affirms 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 markets; but then he confines
his education to the guardians. Again, he makes the husbandmen
owners of the property upon condition of their paying a tribute. But
in that case they are likely to be much more unmanageable and
conceited than the Helots, or Penestae, or slaves in general. And
whether community of wives and property 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 to
discover this, nor is their character of small importance if the
common life of the guardians is to be maintained.
  Again, if Socrates makes the women common, and retains private
property, the men will see to the fields, but who will see to the
house? And who will do so if the agricultural class have both their
property and their wives in common? Once more: it is absurd to
argue, from the analogy of the animals, that men and women should
follow the same pursuits, for animals have not to manage a
household. The government, too, as constituted 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? But 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 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
husbandmen.' Again, he deprives the guardians even of happiness, and
says that the legislator ought to make the whole state happy. But
the whole cannot be happy unless most, or all, or some of its parts
enjoy happiness. In this respect happiness is not like the even
principle in numbers, which may exist only in the whole, but in
neither of the parts; not so happiness. And if the guardians are not
happy, who 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 same, or nearly the same, objections apply to 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 divided into two classes-
one of husbandmen, and the other of warriors; from this latter is
taken a third class of counselors and rulers of the state. But
Socrates has not 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 said 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 exception of the
community of women and property, he supposes everything to be the same
in both states; there is to be the 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 women, and the warriors number 5000,
but in the Republic only 1000.
  The discourses of Socrates are never commonplace; 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 Babylon, or some other huge site, 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 may assume what we wish, but should avoid impossibilities.
  It is said that the legislator ought to have his eye directed to two
points- the people and the country. But neighboring countries also
must not be forgotten by him, firstly because the state for which he
legislates is to have a political and not an isolated life. For a
state must have such a military force as will be serviceable against
her neighbors, and not merely useful at home. Even if the life of
action is not admitted to be the best, either for individuals or
states, still a city should be formidable to enemies, whether invading
or retreating.
  There is another point: Should not the amount of property be defined
in some way which differs from this by being clearer? For Socrates
says that a man should have so much property as will enable him to
live temperately, which is only a way of saying 'to live well'; this
is too general a conception. Further, a man may live temperately 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
liberally; if the two are parted, liberally will combine with
luxury; temperance will be associated with toil. For liberality and
temperance are the only eligible qualities 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,
too, in too, in equalizing the property and not regulating the
number of the citizens; 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 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 even
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 existing 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 ardent 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
arrangement will have to be explained hereafter.
  There is another omission in the Laws: Socrates does 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
wools. He allows that a man's whole property may be increased
fivefold, 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 places, and it is difficult to live in
two houses.
  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 best
constitution is a combination of all existing forms, and they praise
the Lacedaemonian 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 Laws it is maintained that the best constitution 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 constitution 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 rather to oligarchy. This is seen in the mode of appointing
magistrates; 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 assembly and vote
for magistrates or discharge other political duties, while the rest
may do as they like, and the endeavor to have the greater number of
the magistrates appointed out of the richer classes and the highest
officers selected from those who have the greatest incomes, both these
are oligarchical features. The oligarchical principle prevails also in
the choice of the council, 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 but to those of the
first three classes; and the selection of candidates out of the fourth
class is only compulsory on the first and second. Then, from the
persons so chosen, he says that there ought to be an equal number 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, and 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.

  Other constitutions have been proposed; some by 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
public tables for women: other legislators begin with what is
necessary. In the opinion of some, the regulation 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 in 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.
  Plato in the Laws was of opinion that, to a certain extent,
accumulation should be allowed, forbidding, as I have already
observed, any citizen to possess more than five times the minimum
qualification But those 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 property 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
preservation 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 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.
Further, if he prescribe this moderate 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 equalized, and this is
impossible, unless a sufficient education is provided by the laws. 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 precisely
what he means; and that, in his opinion, there ought to be in be 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, not only out of the inequality of property, but out of the
inequality of honor, though in opposite ways. For the common people
quarrel about the inequality of property, the higher class about the
equality of honor; as the poet says,

     The bad and good alike in honor share.

  There are crimes of which the motive is want; and 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; men also wish to enjoy themselves and not to be in a state of
desire- they wish to cure some desire, going beyond the necessities of
life, which preys upon them; nay, this is not the only reason- they
may desire superfluities in order to enjoy pleasures unaccompanied
with pain, and therefore they commit crimes.
  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 on others.
The fact is that the greatest crimes are 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 honor 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.
  There is another objection to them. They are chiefly designed to
promote the internal welfare of the state. But the legislator should
consider also its relation to neighboring nations, and to all who
are outside of it. 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 only 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 neighbors 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. Phaleas has not laid down any rule; but we should bear in
mind that abundance of wealth is an advantage. The best limit will
probably be, that a more powerful neighbor must have no inducement
to go to war with you by reason of the excess of your wealth, but only
such as he would have had if you had possessed less. There is a
story that Eubulus, when 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.
  The equalization of property is one of the things that tend to
prevent the citizens from quarrelling. Not that the gain in this
direction is very great. For the nobles will be dissatisfied because
they think themselves worthy of more than an equal share of honors;
and this is often found to be a cause of sedition and revolution.
And the avarice of mankind is insatiable; at one time 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. The beginning of reform is not so much to 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 Phaleas
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 movables. Now either all these things must be
equalized, or some limit must be imposed on them, or they must an be
let alone. It would appear that Phaleas is legislating for a small
city only, if, as he supposes, all the artisans are to be public
slaves and not to form a supplementary part of the body of citizens.
But if there is a law that artisans are to be public slaves, it should
only apply to those engaged on public works, 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 son of Euryphon, a native of Miletus, 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; but these
were worn on a cheap but warm garment both in winter and summer);
he, besides aspiring to be an adept in the knowledge of nature, was
the first person not a statesman who made inquiries about the best
form of government.
  The city of Hippodamus was composed of 10,000 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, one 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 laws 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 of 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 also enacted that
those who discovered anything for the good of the state should be
honored; 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
Athens and in other places. As to the magistrates, 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.
  The first of these proposals to which objection may be taken is
the threefold division of the citizens. The 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; 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 the other classes share in the government at all, or have power
to appoint magistrates? Further, what use are farmers to the city?
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, as 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 cultivate their own lands,
and those of the public as well, they will have 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
land and the same lots? There is surely a great confusion in all this.
  Neither is the law to commended which says that the judges, when a
simple issue is laid before them, should distinguish in their
judgement; 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
that 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
in general the suitor asks for more and the judge allows less),
while another judge allows five, another four minae. In this way
they will go on splitting up the damages, and some will grant the
whole and others nothing: how is the final reckoning to be taken?
Again, no one contends that he who votes for a simple acquittal or
condemnation perjures himself, if the indictment has been laid in an
unqualified form; and this is just, 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.
  To honor those who discover anything which is useful 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, if an changes
are inexpedient, we can hardly assent to the proposal of Hippodamus;
for, under pretense 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, there is a
difference of opinion, and it may sometimes seem desirable 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 craft have departed from traditional usage. And, if politics
be an art, change must be necessary in this as in any other art.
That improvement has occurred is shown by the fact that old customs
are exceedingly simple and barbarous. For the ancient Hellenes went
about armed and bought their brides of each other. The remains of
ancient laws 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, and not merely what their fathers had. But the
primeval inhabitants, whether they were born of the earth or were
the survivors of some destruction, may be supposed to have been no
better than ordinary or even foolish people among ourselves (such is
certainly the tradition 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 impossible that all things
should be precisely set down in writing; for enactments must be
universal, but actions are concerned with particulars. 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. For the habit of lightly changing the
laws is an evil, and, when the advantage is small, some errors both of
lawgivers and rulers had better be left; the citizen will not gain
so much by making the change as he will lose by the habit of
disobedience. The analogy of the arts is false; a 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 the 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.

  In the governments of Lacedaemon and Crete, and 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 citizens. That in 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. 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, however, of this
kind has as yet happened to the Cretans; the reason probably is that
the neighboring 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 population. Whereas
all the neighbors of the Lacedaemonians, whether Argives,
Messenians, or Arcadians, were their enemies. In Thessaly, again,
the original revolt of the slaves occurred because the Thessalians
were still at war with the neighboring Achaeans, Perrhaebians, and
Magnesians. Besides, if there were no other difficulty, 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
  Again, the license of the Lacedaemonian women defeats the
intention of the Spartan constitution, and is adverse to the happiness
of the state. For, a husband and 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 city may be regarded as having
no laws. And this is what has 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 in such a state wealth is too highly
valued, especially if the citizen fall under the dominion of their
wives, after the manner of most warlike races, except the Celts and
a few others who openly approve of male loves. The old 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 what 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 showed
itself in the Theban invasion, when, unlike the women other cities,
they were utterly useless and caused more confusion than the enemy.
This license of the Lacedaemonian women existed from the earliest
times, and was only what might be expected. For, during the wars of
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. These
then are the causes of 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 have already said, not only
gives an air of indecorum to the constitution considered in itself,
but tends in a measure to foster avarice.
  The mention of avarice naturally suggests a criticism on the
inequality of property. While some of the Spartan citizen have quite
small properties, others have very large ones; hence the land has
passed into the hands of a few. And this is due also to faulty laws;
for, although the legislator rightly holds up to shame the sale or
purchase of an inheritance, he allows anybody who likes to give or
bequeath it. Yet both practices lead to the same result. And nearly
two-fifths of the 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 to maintain 1500 cavalry and
30,000 hoplites, the whole number of Spartan citizens 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 their 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 procreation 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, if
there were many children, the land being distributed as it is, many of
them must necessarily fall into poverty.
  The Lacedaemonian constitution is defective in another point; I mean
the Ephoralty. This magistracy has authority in the highest matters,
but the Ephors are chosen from the whole 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 at 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, so that, in this way as
well together with the royal office, the whole constitution has
deteriorated, and from being an aristocracy has turned into a
democracy. The 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 a constitution is to be permanent, all the
parts of the state must wish that it should exist and the same
arrangements be maintained. This is the case at Sparta, where the
kings desire its permanence because they have due honor in their own
persons; the nobles because they are represented in the council of
elders (for the office of elder is a reward of virtue); and the
people, because all are eligible to the Ephoralty. The election of
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 spirit of the
constitution- they have a deal too much license; 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.
  Again, the council of elders is not free from defects. It may be
said that the elders are good men and well 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 a disputable 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 to 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
the Spartans elect their elders is childish; and it is improper that
the person to be elected should canvass for the office; the
worthiest should be appointed, whether he chooses or not. And here the
legislator clearly indicates 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
  Whether kings are or are not an advantage to states, I will consider
at another time; they should at any rate be chosen, not as they are
now, but with regard to their personal life and conduct. The
legislator himself obviously 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 with them in the
same embassy, and the quarrels between the kings were held to be
conservative of the state.
  Neither did the first introducer of the common meals, called
'phiditia,' regulate them well. The entertainment ought to have been
provided at the public cost, as in Crete; 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 a 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.
  The law about the Spartan admirals has often been censured, and with
justice; it is a source of dissension, for the kings are perpetual
generals, and this office of admiral is but the setting up of
another king.
  The charge which Plato brings, in the Laws, against the intention of
the legislator, is likewise justified; the whole constitution has
regard to one part of virtue only- the virtue of the soldier, which
gives victory in war. So long as they were at war, therefore, their
power was preserved, but when they had attained empire they fell for
of the arts of peace they knew nothing, and had never engaged in any
employment higher than war. There is another error, equally great,
into which they have fallen. Although they truly think that the
goods for which men 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.
  Once more: the revenues of the state are ill-managed; 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 legislator 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.

  The Cretan constitution nearly resembles the Spartan, 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, Lycurgus,
when he ceased to be the guardian of King Charillus, went abroad and
spent most of his 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 to this day the
Perioeci, or subject population of Crete, are governed by the original
laws which Minos is supposed to have enacted. The island seems to be
intended by nature for dominion in Hellas, and to be well situated; it
extends right across 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 the empire of the sea, subduing some of
the islands and colonizing others; at last he invaded Sicily, where he
died near Camicus.
  The Cretan institutions resemble the Lacedaemonian. The Helots are
the husbandmen of the one, the Perioeci 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
originally came from Crete. Further, the two constitutions are
similar; 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 only ratify the decrees of the elders and the
  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 more
popular character. There, of all the fruits of the earth and cattle
raised on the public lands, 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 stock. The legislator has
many ingenious ways of securing moderation in eating, which he
conceives to be a gain; he likewise encourages 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 time.
But that the Cretan common meals are better ordered than the
Lacedaemonian there can be no doubt.
  On the other hand, the Cosmi are even a worse institution than the
Ephors, of which they have all the evils 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 constitution to be permanent. 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.
  The same criticism may be made about the Cretan, 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 institution that
the people are not discontented at being excluded from it. For there
is no profit to be made out of the office as out of the Ephoralty,
since, unlike the Ephors, the Cosmi, being in an island, are removed
from temptation.
  The remedy by which they correct the evil of this institution 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, a device to which the nobles
often have recourse when they will not submit to justice. This shows
that the Cretan government, although possessing some of the
characteristics of a constitutional state, is really a close
  The nobles have a habit, too, of setting up a chief; they get
together a party among the common people and their own friends and
then quarrel and fight with one another. What is this but the
temporary destruction 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. 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.

  The Carthaginians are also considered to have an excellent 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 by the fact that the common people remain
loyal to the constitution the Carthaginians have never had any
rebellion worth speaking of, and have never been under the rule of a
  Among the points in which the Carthaginian constitution 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 the Spartan, are not always of
the same family, nor that an ordinary one, but if there is some
distinguished family they are selected out of it and not appointed
by senority- 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.
  Most of the defects or deviations from the perfect state, 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 decide on such matters as well. And whatever 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 magistrates of five who have
under them many important matters should be co-opted, 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 magistrates, and
not some by one class of judges or jurors and some by another, as at
Lacedaemon, are characteristic of aristocracy. The Carthaginian
constitution 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 wealth 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.
  But we must acknowledge that, in thus deviating from 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 disgrace
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 abuse makes wealth of more account than virtue, and the
whole state becomes avaricious. For, whenever the chiefs of the
state deem anything honorable, the other citizens are sure to follow
their example; and, where virtue has not the first place, their
aristocracy cannot be firmly established. Those who have been at the
expense of 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. And even if the legislator does not care to
protect the good from poverty, he should at any rate secure leisure
for them when in office.
  It would seem also to be a bad principle that the same person should
hold many offices, which is a favorite practice among the
Carthaginians, for one business is better done by one man. The
legislator should see to this and should not appoint the same person
to be a flute-player and a shoemaker. Hence, where the state 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 said, this arrangement is fairer to all, and any
action familiarized 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.
  The government of the Carthaginians is oligarchical, but they
successfully escape the evils of oligarchy by enriching one portion of
the people after another by sending them to their colonies. This is
their panacea and the means by which they give stability to the state.
Accident favors them, but the legislator should be able to provide
against revolution without trusting to accidents. As things are, if
any misfortune occurred, and the bulk of the subjects revolted,
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.

  Of those who have treated of governments, some 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 have 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, 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 the time of Solon,
and were retained by him, but that he formed the courts of law out
of an 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. When 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; Pericles 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; 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 War, 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 necessary; for
without it they would have been in a state of slavery and enmity to
the government. All the 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, or from a third class of so-called
knights or cavalry. The fourth class were laborers who had no share in
any magistracy.
  Mere legislators were Zaleucus, who gave laws to the Epizephyrian
Locrians, and Charondas, who legislated for his own city of Catana,
and for the other Chalcidian cities in Italy and Sicily. Some people
attempt to make out that Onomacritus was the first person who had
any special skill in legislation, 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
their account is quite inconsistent with chronology.
  There was also Philolaus, the Corinthian, who gave laws to the
Thebans. 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 out their tombs, which are in full
view of one another, but one is visible from the Corinthian territory,
the other not. Tradition says the two friends arranged them thus,
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, 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,
except the suits against false witnesses. He is the first who
instituted denunciation for perjury. His laws are more exact and
more precisely expressed than even those of our modern legislators.
  (Characteristic of Phaleas is the equalization of property; of
Plato, the community of women, children, and property, the common
meals of women, and the law about drinking, that the sober shall be
masters of the feast; also the training of soldiers to acquire by
practice equal skill with both hands, so that one should be as
useful as the other.)
  Draco has left laws, but he adapted them to a constitution 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 do something wrong, he shall be more heavily punished than
if he were sober; 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 Chalcidians of Thrace. Some
of them relate to homicide, and to heiresses; but there is nothing
remarkable in them.
  And here let us conclude our inquiry into the various
constitutions which either actually exist, or have been devised by
                                BOOK THREE

  HE who would inquire into the essence and attributes of various
kinds of governments 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 state, 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, 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 made citizens, or who have obtained the name of
citizen any other accidental manner, we may say, first, that a citizen
is not a citizen because he lives in a certain place, 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. Nay, resident aliens in many
places do not possess even such rights completely, for they are
obliged to have a patron, so that 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 quite simply that they are
citizens, but add in the one case that they are 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 of offices some are discontinuous, 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 a dicast or ecclesiast. It may, 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 power do not govern. Let us not 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
comprehensive definition of a citizen, and best suits all those who
are generally so called.
  But we must not forget that things of which the underlying
principles 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
governments 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 explained.) The citizen then of necessity
differs under each form of government; and our definition is best
adapted to the citizen of a democracy; but not necessarily 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 by sections 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 at Carthage; there certain magistrates decide all
causes. We may, indeed, modify our definition of the citizen so as
to include these states. In them 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 conception 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 citizens of that
state; and, speaking generally, a state is a body of citizens
sufficing for the purposes of life.

  But in practice a citizen is defined to be one of whom both the
parents are citizens; others insist on going further back; say to
two or three or more ancestors. 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,
partly because he was in a difficulty, partly in irony, said- 'Mortars
are what is made by the mortar-makers, and the citizens of Larissa are
those who are made by the magistrates; for it is their trade to make
Larissaeans.' Yet the question is really simple, for, if according
to the definition just given they shared in the government, they
were citizens. This is a better definition than the other. For the
words, 'born of a father or mother who is a citizen,' cannot
possibly apply to the first inhabitants or founders of a state.
  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 many metics,
both strangers and slaves. The doubt in these cases is, not who is,
but whether he who is ought to be a citizen; and there will still be a
furthering the state, whether a certain act is or is not an act of the
state; for what ought not to be is what is false. Now, there are
some who hold office, and yet ought not to hold office, whom we
describe as ruling, but ruling 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 fulfills 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 inquiry. For a parallel question is raised
respecting the state, 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 refuse to fulfill 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 acts of the state in question than those of an oligarchy or
of a tyranny. This question runs up into another: on what principle
shall we ever say that the state is the same, or 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; we need only remark
that the word 'state' is ambiguous.
  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 surround all Peloponnesus with a wall. Like
this, we may say, is Babylon, and every city that has the compass of a
nation rather than a city; Babylon, they say, had been taken for three
days before some part of the inhabitants became aware of the fact.
This difficulty may, however, with advantage be deferred 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.
  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,
since the state is a partnership, and is a partnership of citizens
in a constitution, when the form of 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
union or composition of elements as different when the form of their
composition alters; for example, a scale containing the same sounds is
said to be different, accordingly as the Dorian or the Phrygian mode
is employed. And if this is true it is evident that the sameness of
the state consists chiefly in the sameness of the constitution, and it
may be called or 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 fulfill engagements
when the form of government changes.

  There is a point nearly allied to the preceding: Whether the
virtue of a good man and a good citizen is the same or not. But,
before entering on this discussion, we must certainly 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 different
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 from
another, but the salvation of the community is the common business
of them all. This community is the constitution; 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 there is not one single virtue of the good citizen
which is perfect virtue. But we say that the good man is he who has
one single virtue which is perfect virtue. Hence it is evident that
the good citizen need not of necessity possess the virtue which
makes a good man.
  The same question may also be approached by another road, from a
consideration of the best constitution. If the state cannot be
entirely composed of good men, and yet each citizen is expected to
do his own business well, and must therefore have virtue, still
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.
  Again, the state, as composed of unlikes, may be compared to the
living being: as the first elements into which a living being is
resolved are soul and body, as soul is made up of rational principle
and appetite, the family of husband and wife, property of master and
slave, so 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 kinds of virtue
cannot be absolutely and always the same.
  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
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 the 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.

As though there were a special education needed by a ruler. If then
the virtue of a good ruler is the same as 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
absolutely the same, although in some cases 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 be 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, and the virtue of the
citizen to include ruling and obeying, it cannot be said that they are
equally worthy of praise. Since, then, it is sometimes thought that
the ruler and the ruled must learn different things and not the
same, but that the citizen must know and share in them both, the
inference is obvious. There is, indeed, the rule of a master, which is
concerned with menial offices- the master need not know how to perform
these, but may employ others in the execution of them: the other would
be degrading; and by the other I mean the power actually to do
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 labor 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 the statesman and the good
citizen ought not to learn the crafts of inferiors except for their
own occasional use; if they habitually practice them, there will cease
to be a distinction between master and slave.
  This is not the rule of which we are speaking; but 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, and by having
had the command of a regiment and of a company. It has been well
said that 'he who has never learned to obey cannot be a good
commander.' The two are not the same, but the good citizen ought to be
capable of both; he should know how to govern like a freeman, and
how to obey like a freeman- these are the virtues of a citizen. And,
although the temperance and justice of a ruler are distinct from those
of a subject, the virtue of a good man will include both; for the
virtue of the good man who is free and also a subject, e.g., his
justice, will not be one but will comprise distinct kinds, the one
qualifying him to rule, the other to obey, and differing as the
temperance and courage of men and women differ. For a man would be
thought a coward if he had 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 ruler: it would seem that all other virtues
must equally belong to ruler and subject. The virtue of the 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 flute.
  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

  There still remains one more question about the 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 obeying; for this man
is a citizen 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. May we not reply, that as far
as this objection goes there is no more absurdity in excluding them
than in excluding 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 citizen equally with grown-up
men, who are citizens absolutely, but children, not being grown up,
are only citizens on a certain assumption. Nay, in ancient times,
and among 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 not apply to every
citizen nor to every free man as such, but only to those who are freed
from necessary services. The necessary people are either slaves who
minister to the wants of individuals, or mechanics and laborers 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, when understood, explanation enough.
  Since there are many forms of government there must be many
varieties of citizen and especially of citizens who are subjects; so
that under some governments the mechanic and the laborer 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
honors are given according to virtue and merit; for no man can
practice virtue who is living the life of a mechanic or laborer. In
oligarchies the qualification for office is high, and therefore no
laborer can ever be a citizen; but a mechanic may, for an actual
majority of them are rich. At Thebes there was a law that no man could
hold office who had not retired from business for ten years. But 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 a similar principle is applied to illegitimate
children; the law is relaxed when there is a 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.
  Hence, as is evident, there are different kinds of citizens; and
he is a citizen in the highest sense who shares in the honors of the
state. Compare Homer's words, 'like some dishonored stranger'; he
who is excluded from the honors of the state is no better than an
alien. But when his exclusion is concealed, then the object is that
the privileged class may deceive their fellow inhabitants.
  As to the question whether the virtue of the good man is the same as
that of the good citizen, the considerations already adduced prove that
in some states the good man and the good citizen are the same, and in
others different. When they are the same it is not every citizen who
is a good man, but only the statesman and those who have or may have,
alone or in conjunction with others, the conduct of public affairs.

  Having determined these questions, we have next to 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
  A constitution is the arrangement of magistracies in a state,
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 democracies the people are supreme, but in
oligarchies, the few; and, therefore, we say that these two forms of
government also are different: and so in other cases.
  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, in the first part of this treatise,
when discussing 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; not
but that they are also 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 of individuals and of states. And
also for the sake of mere life (in which there is possibly some
noble element so long as the evils of existence do not greatly
overbalance the good) mankind meet together and maintain the political
community. And we all see that men cling to life even at the cost of
enduring great misfortune, seeming to find in life a natural sweetness
and happiness.
  There is no difficulty in distinguishing the various kinds of
authority; they have been often defined already in discussions outside
the school. The rule of a master, although 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 other 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 themselves. For
there is no reason why the trainer may not sometimes practice
gymnastics, and the helmsman is always one of the crew. The trainer or
the helmsman 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, for the helmsman is also a sailor,
and the trainer becomes one of those in training. And so in
politics: when the state is framed upon the principle of equality
and likeness, the citizens think that they ought to hold office by
turns. Formerly, as is natural, 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 theirs. But
nowadays, for the sake of the advantage 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 which 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.

  Having determined these points, we have next to consider 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 constitution
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 the 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
perversions. For the members of a state, if they are truly citizens,
ought to participate in its advantages. Of forms of government in
which one rules, we call that which regards the common interests,
kingship or royalty; that in which more than one, but not many,
rule, aristocracy; 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. And there is a reason for this
use of language. One man or a few may excel in virtue; but as the
number increases it becomes more difficult for them to attain
perfection in every kind of virtue, 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.
  Of the above-mentioned forms, the perversions are as 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.

  But there are difficulties about these forms of government, 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 monarchy exercising the
rule of a master over the 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
relates to the distinction drawn. 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 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.
  Suppose, once more, that we add wealth to the few 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 are 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?
  The argument seems to show that, whether in oligarchies 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. For 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 an, and wealth and freedom are the
grounds on which the oligarchical and democratical parties
respectively claim power in the state.

  Let us begin by considering the common definitions 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 however,
for but only for equals. And inequality is 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 justice implies a relation to
persons as well as to things, and a just distribution, as I have
already said in the Ethics, implies the same ratio between the persons
and between the things, they agree about the equality of the things,
but dispute about the equality 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 the one party, if
they are unequal in one respect, for example wealth, consider
themselves to be unequal in all; and the other party, if they are
equal in one respect, for example free birth, consider themselves to
be equal in all. But they leave out the capital point. For if men
met and associated out of 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,
whether of the principal or of the profits, as he who paid the
remaining ninety-nine. But a state exists for the sake of a good life,
and 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 injustice,
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 about imports, and engagements that they will
do no wrong to one another, and written articles of alliance. But
there are no magistrates 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 an, but
only that they do no injustice to one another. Whereas, those who care
for good government take into consideration virtue and vice in states.
Whence it may be further inferred that virtue must be the care of a
state which is truly so called, and not merely enjoys the name: for
without this 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
  This is obvious; for suppose distinct places, such as Corinth and
Megara, to be brought together so that their walls touched, still they
would not be one city, not even if the citizens had the 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 because they are at a distance from one
another: for even supposing that such a community were to meet in
one place, but that each man had a house of his own, which was 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 not a mere society, having a common place, established for the
prevention of mutual 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 families
and aggregations of families in well-being, for the sake of a
perfect and self-sufficing life. Such a community can only be
established among those who live in the same place and intermarry.
Hence arise in cities family connections, brotherhoods, common
sacrifices, amusements which draw men together. But these are
created by friendship, for the will to live together is friendship.
The end of the state is the good life, and these are the means towards
it. And the state is the union of families and villages in a perfect
and self-sufficing life, by which we mean a happy and honorable life.
  Our conclusion, then, is that political society exists for the
sake of noble actions, and not of mere companionship. Hence they who
contribute most to such 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.

  There is also a doubt as to what is to be the 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, 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
supreme authority justly willed it. But if this is not injustice, pray
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 state; and therefore this law of confiscation clearly
cannot be just. If it were, all the acts of a tyrant must of necessity
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 will
likewise be just. But there can be no doubt that all these things
are wrong and unjust.
  Then ought the good to rule and have supreme power? But in that case
everybody else, being excluded from power, will be dishonored. For the
offices of a state are posts of honor; and if one set of men always
holds them, the rest must be deprived of them. Then will it be well
that the one best man should rule? Nay, that is still more
oligarchical, for the number of those who are dishonored is thereby
increased. Some one may say that it is bad in any case 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
difficulties? Not at all; the same consequences will follow.

  Most of these questions may be reserved for another occasion. The
principle that the multitude ought to be supreme rather than the few
best is one that is maintained, and, though not free from
difficulty, yet seems to contain an element of truth. For the 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 a 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 of 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 to
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, the
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 still a danger in aflowing 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 them some deliberative and judicial functions. For
this reason Solon 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 perceptions 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, the 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 physicians are of three kinds:
there is the ordinary practitioner, 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.
Secondly, does not the same principle apply to elections? For a
right election can only be made by those who have knowledge; those who
know geometry, for example, will choose a geometrician rightly, and
those who know how to steer, a pilot; and, even if there be some
occupations and arts in which private persons share in the ability
to choose, they certainly cannot choose better than those who know. So
that, according to this argument, neither the election of magistrates,
nor the calling of them to account, should be entrusted to the 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 judges than those who have special
knowledge- as a body they are as good or better. Moreover, there are
some arts whose products are not judged of solely, or best, by the
artists themselves, namely those arts whose products are recognized
even 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 be even 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
  This difficulty seems now to be sufficiently answered, 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, and having but a small
property qualification, sit in the assembly and deliberate and
judge, although for the great officers of state, such as treasurers
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. 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 this
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 discussion of the first question shows nothing so 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 precision owing to the difficulty of any
general principle embracing all particulars. But what are good laws
has not yet been clearly explained; the old difficulty remains. The
goodness or badness, justice or injustice, of laws varies of necessity
with the constitutions of states. This, however, is clear, that the
laws must be adapted to the constitutions. But if so, true forms of
government will of necessity have just laws, and perverted forms of
government will have unjust laws.

  In all sciences and arts the end is a good, and the greatest good
and in the highest degree a good in the most authoritative of all-
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 extent they agree in the philosophical
distinctions which have been laid down by us about Ethics. For they
admit that justice is a thing and has a relation to persons, and
that equals ought to have equality. But there still remains a
question: equality or inequality of what? Here is a difficulty which
calls for political speculation. 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, if 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 lies
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 were 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
may excel flute-playing in a greater ratio than he excels the others
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
good may be compared with any other. For if a given height may be
measured wealth and against freedom, height in general may be so
measured. Thus if A excels in height more than B in virtue, even if
virtue in general excels height still more, all goods will be
commensurable; for if a certain amount is better than some other, it
is clear that some other will be equal. But since no such comparison
can be made, it is evident 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 gymnastics contests that such excellence is rewarded. Whereas the
rival claims of candidates for office can only be based on the
possession of elements which enter into the composition of a state.
And therefore the noble, or free-born, or rich, may with good reason
claim office; for holders of offices must be freemen and taxpayers:
a state can be no more composed entirely of poor men than entirely
of slaves. But if wealth and freedom are necessary elements, justice
and valor are equally so; for without the former qualities a state
cannot exist at all, without the latter not well.

  If the existence of the state is alone to be considered, then it
would seem that all, or some at least, of these claims are just;
but, if we take into account a good life, then, as I have already
said, education and virtue have superior claims. As, however, those
who are equal in one thing ought not to have an equal share in all,
nor those who are unequal in one thing to have an unequal share in
all, it is certain that all forms of government which rest on either
of these principles are perversions. All men have a claim in a certain
sense, as I have already admitted, but all 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 tide as the
noble; for they are nearly akin. For the noble are citizens in a truer
sense than the ignoble, and good birth is always valued in a man's own
home and country. Another reason is, that those who are 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 social virtue, and
it implies all others. Again, the many may urge their claim 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 all 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 co-exist. How are we to
decide? Suppose the 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 so many as will make up a state?
Objections may be urged against all the aspirants to political
power. For those who found their claims on wealth or family might be
thought to have 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 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, a 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.
  All these considerations appear to show that none of the
principles on which men claim to rule and to hold all other men in
subjection to them are strictly right. To those who claim to be
masters of the government 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 put
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. Now what is just or right is to
be interpreted 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.
  If, however, there be some one person, or more than one, although
not enough to make up the full complement of a state, whose virtue
is so pre-eminent that the virtues or the political capacity 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 capacity. Such
an one may truly be deemed a God among men. Hence we see that
legislation is necessarily concerned only with those who are equal
in birth and in capacity; and that for men of pre-eminent virtue there
is no law- they are themselves a law. Any 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, when in the
council of the beasts the latter began haranguing and claiming
equality for all. And for this reason democratic states have
instituted ostracism; equality is above all things their aim, and
therefore they ostracized and banished from the city for a time
those who seemed to predominate too much through their wealth, or
the number of their friends, or through any other political influence.
Mythology tells 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.
The 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 state; and this is a policy not only expedient for tyrants or
in practice confined to them, but equally necessary in oligarchies and
democracies. Ostracism is a measure of the same kind, which acts by
disabling and banishing the most prominent citizens. Great powers 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.
  The problem is a universal one, and equally concerns 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 may be
observed in the arts and sciences; for the painter will not allow
the figure to have a foot which, however beautiful, is not in
proportion, nor will the shipbuilder allow the stem or any other
part of the vessel to be unduly large, any more than the chorus-master
will allow any one who sings louder or better than all the rest to
sing in the choir. Monarchs, too, may practice compulsion and still
live in harmony with their cities, if their own government is for
the interest of the state. Hence where there is an acknowledged
superiority the argument in favor of ostracism is based upon a kind of
political justice. It would certainly be better that the legislator
should 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 endeavor 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 good of their own constitution, they have
used ostracism for factious purposes. It is true that under
perverted forms 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
pre-eminent in virtue- what is to be done with him? Mankind will 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 as if mankind should
claim to rule over Zeus, dividing his offices among them. 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.

  The preceding discussion, by a natural transition, leads to the
consideration of royalty, which we admit to be one of the true forms
of government. 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 we 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.
  Of royalties according to law, (1) the Lacedaemonian is 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,
irresponsible and perpetual. The king has not the power of life and
death, except in a specified case, as for instance, in ancient
times, he had it when upon a campaign, by right of force. This
custom 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- 'When I find
a man skulking apart from the battle, nothing shall save him from
the dogs and vultures, for in my hands is death'?
  This, then, is one form of royalty-a generalship for life: and of
such royalties some are hereditary and others elective.
  (2) There is another sort of monarchy not uncommon among the
barbarians, which nearly resembles tyranny. But this is both legal and
hereditary. For barbarians, being more servile in character than
Hellenes, and Asiadics than Europeans, do not rebel against a despotic
government. Such royalties have the nature of tyrannies because the
people are by nature slaves; 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 mercenaries. 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.
  These are two forms of monarchy, and there was a 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 was held for life, sometimes for a
term of years, or until certain duties had been performed. For
example, the Mytilenaeans elected Pittacus leader against the
exiles, who were headed by Antimenides and Alcaeus the poet. And
Alcaeus himself shows in one of his banquet odes that they chose
Pittacus tyrant, for he reproaches his fellow-citizens for '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 the character of
tyrannies, because they possess despotic power; but inasmuch as they
are elective and acquiesced in by their subjects, they are kingly.
  (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 chiefs were benefactors of the
people 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 times their power extended
continuously 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.
  These, then, are the four kinds of royalty. First the 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 a hereditary despotic government in accordance
with law. A third is the power of the so-called Aesynmete or Dictator;
this is an elective tyranny. The fourth is the Lacedaemonian, which is
in fact a generalship, hereditary and perpetual. These four forms
differ from one another in the manner which I have described.
  (5) There is a fifth form of kingly rule in which one has the
disposal of all, just as each nation or each state has the disposal of
public matters; 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

  Of these forms we need only consider two, the Lacedaemonian and
the absolute royalty; for most of the others he in a region between
them, having less power than the last, and more than the first. Thus
the inquiry 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 that 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 inquiring whether it
is more advantageous to be ruled by the best man or by the best laws.
  The advocates of royalty maintain that the laws speak only in
general terms, and cannot provide for circumstances; and that for
any science to abide by written rules is absurd. In Egypt the
physician is allowed to alter his treatment after the fourth day,
but if sooner, he takes the risk. Hence it is clear that a
government acting according to written laws is plainly not the best.
Yet surely the ruler cannot dispense with the general principle
which exists in law; and this is a better ruler which is free from
passion than that in which it is innate. Whereas the law is
passionless, passion must ever sway the heart of man. Yes, it may be
replied, but then on the other hand an individual will be better
able to deliberate in particular cases.
  The best man, then, 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. But when the law cannot
determine a point at all, or not well, should the one best man or
should all decide? According to our present practice assemblies
meet, sit in judgment, deliberate, and decide, and their judgments
an 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 man, so a
multitude is a better judge of many things than any individual.
  Again, the many are more incorruptible than the few; 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 the freemen, and that they never act in violation of the law,
but fill 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. To 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 not,
provided only that a number of men equal in virtue can be found.
  The first governments were kingships, probably for this reason,
because of old, when cities were small, men of eminent virtue were
few. Further, they were made kings because they were benefactors,
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, and set up a constitution. The
ruling class soon deteriorated and enriched themselves out of the
public treasury; riches became the path to honor, 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 government appears
to be any longer even easy to establish.
  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,
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? If not, how will he administer his
kingdom? Even if he be the lawful 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 there
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
observe this principle when they have 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 such a number.

  At this place in the discussion there impends the inquiry 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 remarked, 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 Epidamnus, and also at Opus, but
in the latter city has a more limited power. Now, absolute monarchy,
or the arbitrary rule of a sovereign over an 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 uneven share, in the offices of state,
is as bad as for different bodily constitutions to have the same
food and clothing. Wherefore it is thought to be just that among
equals every one be ruled as well as rule, and therefore that an
should have their turn. We thus arrive at law; for an order of
succession implies law. And the rule of the law, it is argued, is
preferable to that of any individual. On the same principle, even if
it be better for certain individuals to govern, they should be made
only guardians and ministers 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. Nay, there may indeed be cases
which the law seems unable to determine, but in such cases can a
man? Nay, it will be replied, 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. Therefore 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 are told that a patient should call in a
physician; he will not get better if he is doctored out of a book. But
the parallel of the arts is clearly not in point; for the physician
does nothing contrary to rule 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. But certainly
physicians, 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 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 neutral, for the law is
the mean. Again, customary 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.
  Again, it is by no means easy for one man to superintend 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 theme If, as I said before,
the good man has a right to rule because he is better, still two
good men are better than one: this is the old saying, two going
together, and the prayer of Agamemnon,

     Would that I had ten such councillors!

And at this day there are magistrates, for example judges, who have
authority to decide some 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 things
cannot, be comprehended under the law, and this is the origin of the
nexted 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 ruler who has been 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 his government; if not his friends, they will not
do what he wants; but friendship implies likeness and equality; and,
therefore, if he thinks that his friends ought to rule, he must
think that those who are equal to himself and like himself ought to
rule equally with himself. These are the principal controversies
relating to monarchy.

  But may not all this be true in some cases and not in others? for
there is by nature both a justice and an advantage appropriate to
the rule of a master, another to kingly rule, another to
constitutional rule; but there is none naturally appropriate to
tyranny, or to any other perverted form of government; for these
come into being contrary to nature. Now, to judge at least from what
has been said, it is manifest that, where men are alike and equal,
it is neither expedient nor just 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, nor a bad man over bad; nor, even if he excels in virtue,
should he have a right to rule, unless in a particular case, at
which I have already hinted, and to which I will once more recur.
But first of all, I must determine what natures are suited for
government by a king, and what for an aristocracy, and what for a
constitutional government.
  A people who are by nature capable of producing a race superior in
the virtue needed for political rule are fitted for kingly government;
and a people 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 exists a warlike
multitude able to rule and to obey in turn by a law which gives office
to the well-to-do according to their desert. But when a whole family
or some individual, 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 before, to give 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), but
accords with the principle already laid down. For surely it would
not be right to kill, or ostracize, 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
he 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 which, and how.

  We maintain that the true forms of government are 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 all the others together in virtue, and both rulers and
subjects are fitted, the one to rule, the others to be ruled, in
such a manner as to attain the most eligible life. We showed at the
commencement of our inquiry 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 that
is to be ruled by an aristocracy or by a king, and the same
education and the same habits will be found to make a good man and a
man fit to be a statesman or a king.
  Having arrived at these conclusions, we must proceed to speak of the
perfect state, and describe how it comes into being and is
                                BOOK FOUR

  IN all arts and sciences which embrace the whole of any subject, and
do not come into being in a fragmentary way, 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 man 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 shipbuilding, and the making
of clothes, and in the arts generally.
  Hence it is obvious that government too is the subject of a single
science, which has to consider what government is best and of what
sort it must be, to be 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 a 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 having the best constitution that it is unprovided even
with the conditions necessary for the best; neither is it the best
under the circumstances, but of an inferior type.
  He ought, moreover, to know (4) the form of government 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 form 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 Lacedaemonian. Any change of government
which has to be introduced should be one which men, starting from
their existing constitutions, 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 constitutions, as has
been said before. This he cannot do unless he knows how many forms
of 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 man 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 offices in a state, and determines what is to be the governing
body, and what is the end of each community. But laws are not to be
confounded with the principles of the constitution; they are the rules
according to which the magistrates should administer the state, and
proceed against offenders. So that we must know the varieties, and the
number of varieties, of each form of government, if only with a view
to making laws. For the same laws cannot be equally suited to all
oligarchies or to all democracies, since there is certainly more
than one form both of democracy and of oligarchy.

  In our original discussion about governments we 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 inquiry 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 established. 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.
  It is obvious which of the three perversions is the 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 little better, for it is a long
way from aristocracy, and democracy is the most tolerable of the
  A writer who preceded me has already made these distinctions, but
his point of view is not the same as mine. For he lays down the
principle that when all the constitutions are good (the oligarchy
and the rest being virtuous), democracy is the worst, but the best
when all are bad. Whereas we maintain that they are in any case
defective, and that one oligarchy is not to be accounted better than
another, but only less bad.
  Not to pursue this question further at present, let us begin by
determining (1) how many varieties of constitution there are (since of
democracy and oligarchy there are several): (2) what constitution is
the most generally acceptable, and what is eligible in the next degree
after the perfect state; and besides this what other there is which is
aristocratical and well-constituted, and at the same time adapted to
states in general; (3) of the other forms of government to whom each
is suited. For democracy may meet the needs of some better than
oligarchy, and conversely. In the next place (4) 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, (5) having briefly discussed these subjects to the best of
our power, we will endeavor to ascertain the modes of ruin and
preservation both of constitutions generally and of each separately,
and to what causes they are to be attributed.

  The reason why there are many forms of government 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 citizen
there must be some rich and some poor, and some in a middle condition;
the rich are heavy-armed, and the poor not. Of the 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 therefore in old times the cities whose
strength lay in their cavalry were oligarchies, and they used
cavalry in wars against their neighbors; as was the practice of the
Eretrians and Chalcidians, and also of the Magnesians on the river
Maeander, and of other peoples in Asia. Besides differences 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 state. Of these
elements, sometimes all, sometimes the lesser and sometimes the
greater number, have a share in the government. It is evident 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 equality which includes both. There
must therefore be as many forms of government as there are modes of
arranging the offices, according to the superiorities and
differences of the parts of the state.
  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
considered 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 musical modes
there are said to be two kinds, the Dorian and the Phrygian; the other
arrangements of the scale are comprehended under one or other of these
two. About forms of government this is a very favorite notion. But
in either case the better and more 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 mode
or of the best form of government: we may compare the severer and more
overpowering modes to the oligarchical forms, and the more relaxed and
gentler ones to the democratic.

  It must not be assumed, as some are fond of saying, that democracy
is simply that form of government in which the greater number are
sovereign, 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 a 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 an other respects their
equals, a share of the government- no one will say that this is a
democracy. In like 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 is 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 are
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 honor,
although they were but a few 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 a democracy when the free, who are also poor and
the majority, govern, and an oligarchy when the rich and the noble
govern, they being at the same time few in number.
  I have said that there are many forms of government, 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
admitted, which is that every state consists, not of one, but of
many parts. If we were going to speak of the 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
the 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 variedes 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. The same, then, is true of the forms of government which
have been described; states, 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 practice 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 class 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 laborers. 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 a 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 Republic. Socrates says 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 not admit
into the state a military class until the country has increased in
size, and is beginning to encroach on its neighbor'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 be 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 that
engaged 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. Whether 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 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 at any rate must be included. There are
also the wealthy who minister to the state with their property;
these form the seventh class. The eighth class 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 who deliberate and who judge between disputants; we were just
now distinguishing them. If presence of all these elements, and
their fair and equitable organization, is necessary to states, then
there must also be persons who have the ability of statesmen.
Different functions appear to be often combined in the same
individual; for example, the warrior may also be a husbandman, or an
artisan; or, again, the councillor 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 and 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.
  I have already explained that there are many forms of
constitution, 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
common 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 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-laborers, 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 may be
divided according to their wealth, birth, virtue, education, and
similar differences.
  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 the poor to have no more advantage than the rich; and that neither
should be masters, but both equal. For if liberty and equality, as
is 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, 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, 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 the law, but the multitude, have the supreme power,
and supersede the law by their decrees. This is a state of 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 is not good to have a rule of
many,' but whether he means this corporate rule, or the rule of many
individuals, is uncertain. At all events this sort of democracy, which
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 honor; 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 they 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 demagogues make the decrees of the people override the laws, by
referring all things to the popular assembly. And therefore they
grow great, because the people have an things in their hands, and they
hold in their hands the votes of the people, who are too ready to
listen to them. Further, 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, and
the magistracies should judge of particulars, and only this should
be considered a constitution. So that if democracy be a real form of
government, the sort of system in which all things are regulated by
decrees is clearly not even a democracy in the true sense of the word,
for decrees relate only to particulars.
  These then are the different kinds of democracy.

  Of oligarchies, too, there are different kinds: one where the
property qualification for office is such 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 fired 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 of 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).
  These are the different sorts of oligarchies and democracies. It
should, however, be remembered that in many states the constitution
which is established by law, although not democratic, owing to the
education 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 often 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.

  From what has been already said we may safely infer that there are
so many different kinds of democracies and of oligarchies. For it is
evident that either all the classes 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 labor have no leisure; and
so they set up the authority of the law, and attend assemblies only
when necessary. They all obtain a share in the government when they
have acquired the qualification which is fixed by the law- the
absolute exclusion of any class would be a step towards oligarchy;
hence all who have acquired the property qualification are admitted to
a share in the constitution. 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 distinction which naturally comes next in
order; in this, every one to whose birth there is no objection is
eligible, but actually shares in the government only if he can find
leisure. Hence in 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 of 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 the
multitude; 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 common people have the
most leisure, for they are not hindered by the care of their property,
which often fetters the 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, and they grow out of these
necessary causes.
  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 being 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 men 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 intensified 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 great wealth and numerous
friends, this sort of 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.

  There are still two forms besides democracy and 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,
(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 their books about the state,
they recognize four only. The term '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 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. But 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
the magistrates are certainly chosen, both according to their wealth
and according to their merit. Such a form of government differs from
each of the two just now mentioned, and is termed an aristocracy.
For indeed 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
Carthage, 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 aristocracy in addition to the first and perfect
state, and there is a third form, viz., the constitutions which
incline more than the so-called polity towards oligarchy.

  I have yet to speak of the so-called polity and of tyranny. I put
them in this order, not because a polity or constitutional
government is to be regarded as a perversion any more than the above
mentioned aristocracies. The truth is, that they an fall short of
the most perfect form of government, and so they are reckoned among
perversions, and the really perverted forms are perversions of
these, as I said in the original discussion. Last of all I will
speak of tyranny, which I place last in the series because I am
inquiring into the constitutions of states, and this is the very
reverse of a constitution
  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 constitutional 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 advantages 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 not by the best citizens but by the
worst should be well-governed, 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. Hence there are two 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
  The distribution of offices according to merit is a 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. Now in most states the form called polity
exists, 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. But 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 shown the existence of forms of states other than
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.

  Next we have to consider how by the side of oligarchy 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 government may be
affected. In the first mode we must combine the laws made by both
governments, say concerning the administration of justice. In
oligarchies they impose a fine on 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 of these
two modes 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,
in which something is borrowed from the oligarchical and something
from the democratical principle. For example, the appointment of
magistrates by lot is thought to be democratical, and the election
of them oligarchical; democratical again when there is no property
qualification, oligarchical when there is. In the aristocratical or
constitutional state, one element will be taken from each- from
oligarchy the principle of electing to offices, from democracy the
disregard of qualification. Such are the various modes of combination.
  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. The 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
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 by them. A similar
equality prevails in 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 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 the two greatest offices of state, and in the other they share;
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 or banishment rests with a few persons is
another; and there are others. In a well attempted polity there should
appear to be both elements and yet neither; also the government should
rely on itself, and not on foreign aid, and on itself not through the
good will of a majority- they might be equally well-disposed when
there is a vicious form of government- but through 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.

  Of the nature of tyranny I have still to speak, in order that it may
have its place in our inquiry (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 treatise 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 from what source,
and how.
  When speaking of royalty we also spoke of two forms 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 compared with
one another, exhibit certain differences. And they are, as I said
before, royal, in so far as the monarch rules according to law 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
arbitrary power of an individual which is responsible to no one, and
governs all alike, whether equals or better, 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
  The kinds of tyranny are such and so many, and for the reasons which
I have given.

  We have now to inquire what is the best constitution 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 favored 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 to 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 what
was said in the Ethics is true, that the happy life is the life
according to virtue lived without impediment, 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 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 city.
  Now in all states there are three elements: one class is very
rich, another very poor, and a third in a mean. It 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 follow rational principle. But
he who greatly 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 rational principle. Of these two the
one sort grow into violent and great criminals, the others into rogues
and petty rascals. And two sorts of offenses correspond to them, the
one committed from violence, the other from roguery. Again, the middle
class is least likely to shrink from rule, or to be over-ambitious for
it; both of which are injuries to the state. Again, those who 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 up, 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. 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 springs from 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 far 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 constituted in respect of the elements of which we
say the fabric of the state naturally consists. And this is the
class of citizens which is most secure in a state, for they do not,
like the poor, covet their neighbors' 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.'
  Thus it is manifest that the best political community 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 stronger
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 then 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 the middle constitutions and those akin to them. I
will explain the reason of this hereafter, when I speak of the
revolutions of states. 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
similar 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 safer and more 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 superiority of the middle dass is that
the best legislators have been of a middle condition; for example,
Solon, as his own verses testify; and Lycurgus, for he was not a king;
and Charondas, and almost all legislators.
  These considerations will help us to understand why 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 constitution its own way, and thus arises either oligarchy
or democracy. There is another reason- the 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. Further, both the parties 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 has
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.
  What then is the best form of government, and what makes it the
best, is evident; and of other constitutions, 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 be
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,
but another form may be better for some people.

  We have now to consider what and what kind of 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 the permanence of the constitution 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 which 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 of 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 laboring 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 legislator should always include the middle class 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 to attach this class to the state. 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. For 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,
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 political elements, the more lasting will be
the constitution. 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 constitution
than those of the people.

  The devices by which oligarchies deceive the people 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) to the magistracies, those who are 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
larger fine is inflicted on the rich, and a smaller one on the poor.
In some states all citizen who have registered themselves are
allowed to attend the assembly and to try causes; but if after
registration they do not attend either 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.
concerning (4) the possession of arms, and (5) gymnastic 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.
  These are the devices of oligarchical legislators, and in
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 the 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
property 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, the poor, provided only that they are not outraged or deprived
of their property, will be quiet enough.
  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 unless 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. And 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 cavalry;
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 why 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.
  I have explained why there are various forms of 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.

  Having thus gained an appropriate basis of discussion, 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 constitutions. All constitutions have three elements,
concerning which the good lawgiver has to regard what is expedient for
each constitution. When they are well-ordered, the constitution is
well-ordered, and as they differ from one another, constitutions
differ. There is (1) one element which deliberates about public
affairs; secondly (2) that concerned with the magistrates- the
question being, what they should be, over what they should exercise
authority, and what should be the mode of electing to them; and
thirdly (3) that which has judicial power.
  The deliberative element has authority in matters of war and
peace, in making and unmaking alliances; it passes laws, inflicts
death, exile, confiscation, elects magistrates and audits their
accounts. These powers must be assigned either all to all the citizens
or an 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 all is characteristic of democracy; this is the sort of equality
which the people desire. But there are various ways in 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 constitutions 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 variety of democracy the citizen 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 citizens 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 vote. I am
speaking of those magistracies in which special knowledge is required.
A fourth form of democracy is when all the citizens meet to deliberate
about everything, and the magistrates decide nothing, but only make
the preliminary inquiries; 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.
  On the other hand, that some should deliberate about all is
oligarchical. This again is a mode which, like the 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 prohibitions of 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, although, as in the former case,
they observe the law, the government is a pure oligarchy. Or, again,
when 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 particular 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 by vote-
there the government is an aristocracy. 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 partly by vote, partly by lot- these practices are partly
characteristic of an aristocratical government, and party of a pure
constitutional government.
  These are the various forms of the deliberative body; 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,
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 deinocracies 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 deliberate
should be elected by vote or by lot in equal numbers out 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 oligarchies
either certain persons should be co-opted from 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 oligarchies 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 constitutional 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.

  Next we will proceed to consider the distribution of 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, while 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 are 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, are elected by vote. 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, those are to be called offices to
which the duties are assigned of deliberating about certain measures
and ofjudging 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.
  What kinds of offices, and how many, are necessary to the
existence of a state, and which, if not necessary, yet conduce to
its well being are much more important considerations, affecting all
constitutions, but more especially small states. For in great states
it is possible, and indeed necessary, that every office should have
a special function; where the citizens are numerous, many may hold
office. And so it happens that some offices a man holds a second
time only after a long interval, and others he holds once only; and
certainly every work is better done which receives the sole, and not
the divided attention of the worker. But in small states it is
necessary to combine many offices in a few hands, 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 why 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 lamp. 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
seeing what offices can be combined in one. We should also know over
which matters several local tribunals are to have jurisdiction, and in
which 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, 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 citizen 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 certain differences in the offices answering to
them as well, and may the same be suitable to some, but different
offices to others? For in some states it may be convenient that the
same office should have a more extensive, in other states a narrower
sphere. Special offices are peculiar to certain forms of government:
for example 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 both
institutions exist in a state, the probuli are a check on the council;
for the counselors 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 receive abundant 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.
  Enough of these matters. I will now inquire into appointments to
offices. The varieties depend on three terms, and the combinations
of these give all possible modes: first, who appoints? secondly,
from whom? and thirdly, how? Each of these three admits of three
varieties: (A) All the citizens, or (B) only some, appoint. Either (1)
the magistrates are chosen out of all or (2) 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. They may be appointed either (a) by vote or (b) by lot.
Again, these several varieties may be coupled, I mean that (C) some
officers may be elected by some, others by all, and (3) some again out
of some, and others out of all, and (c) some by vote and others by
lot. Each variety of these terms admits of four modes.
  For either (A 1 a) all may appoint from all by vote, or (A 1 b)
all from all by lot, or (A 2 a) all from some by vote, or (A 2 b)
all from some by lot (and from all, either 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); or again (A 1 c, A 2 c) to some offices in the
one way, to some in the other. Again, if it is only some that appoint,
they may do so either (B 1 a) from all by vote, or (B 1 b) from all by
lot, or (B 2 a) from some by vote, or (B 2 b) from some by lot, or
to some offices in the one way, to others in the other, i.e., (B 1
c) from all, to some offices by vote, to some by lot, and (B 2 C) from
some, to some offices by vote, to some by lot. Thus the modes that
arise, apart from two (C, 3) out of the three couplings, number
twelve. Of these systems two are popular, that all should appoint from
all (A 1 a) by vote or (A 1 b) by lot- or (A 1 c) by both. That all
should not appoint at once, but should appoint from all or from some
either by lot or by vote or by both, or appoint to some offices from
all and to others from some ('by both' meaning to some offices by lot,
to others by vote), is characteristic of a polity. And (B 1 c) that
some should appoint from all, to some offices by vote, to others by
lot, is also characteristic of a polity, but more oligarchical than
the former method. And (A 3 a, b, c, B 3 a, b, c) to appoint from
both, to some offices from all, to others from some, is characteristic
of a polity with a leaning towards aristocracy. That (B 2) some should
appoint from some is oligarchical- even (B 2 b) that some should
appoint from some by lot (and if this does not actually occur, it is
none the less oligarchical in character), or (B 2 C) that some
should appoint from some by both. (B 1 a) that some should appoint
from all, and (A 2 a) that all should appoint from some, by vote, is
  These are the different modes of constituting magistrates, and these
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 powers. By powers I mean such powers
as a magistrate exercises over the revenue or in defense 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.

  Of the three parts of government, the judicial remains to be
considered, and this we shall divide on the same principle. There
are three points on which the variedes 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?
  First, let me determine how many kinds of law-courts there are.
There are eight in number: One is the court of audits or scrutinies; a
second takes cognizance of ordinary offenses against the state; a
third is concerned with treason against the constitution; 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,
(a) premeditated, (b) involuntary, (c) cases in which the guilt is
confessed but the justice is disputed; and there may be a fourth court
(d) 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 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: of these
there are two subdivisions, (a) for the settlement of their disputes
with one another, (b) 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, nor of the courts
for homicide and for strangers: I would rather speak of political
cases, which, when mismanaged, create division and disturbances in
  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 single 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 modes 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 modes, then, as was said,
answer to those previously mentioned.
  Once more, the modes of appointment may be combined; 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.
  In how many forms law-courts can be established has now been
considered. The first form, viz., that in which 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.
                                BOOK FIVE

  THE DESIGN which we proposed to ourselves is now nearly completed.
Next in order follow the causes of revolution in states, how many, and
of what nature they are; what modes of destruction apply to particular
states, and out of what, and into what they mostly change; also what
are the modes 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.
  In the first place we must assume as our starting-point that in
the many forms of government which have sprung up there has always
been an acknowledgment of justice and proportionate equality, although
mankind fail attaining them, as I have already explained. Democracy,
for example, arises out of the notion that 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. The 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 a 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 ideas, stir up revolution. Those who excel in
virtue have the best right of all to rebel (for they alone can with
reason be deemed absolutely unequal), but then they are of all men the
least inclined to do so. There is also a superiority which is
claimed by men of rank; for they are thought noble because they spring
from wealthy and virtuous ancestors. Here then, so to speak, are
opened the very springs and fountains of revolution; 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 hands. Further, there is a question of
degree; an 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 of 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 Pausanias,
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 magistrates 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 archon was 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 equals; and always it is the desire of
equality which rises in rebellion.
  Now equality is of two kinds, numerical and proportional; 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
numerically 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 was
saying before, men agree that justice in the abstract is proportion,
but they differ in that some think that if they are equal in any
respect they are equal absolutely, others that if they are unequal
in any respect they should be unequal in all. Hence there are two
principal forms of government, 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 rich 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, as they begin badly,
cannot fall to end badly. The inference is that both kinds of equality
should be employed; numerical in some cases, and proportionate in
  Still democracy appears to be safer and less liable to revolution
than oligarchy. For in oligarchies there is the double danger of the
oligarchs falling out among themselves and also with the people; but
in democracies 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 middle class more nearly approximates to democracy
than to oligarchy, and is the safest of the imperfect forms of

  In considering how dissensions and poltical revolutions 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? (2) what are the motives of those who make
them? (3) whence arise political disturbances and quarrels? The
universal and chief cause of this revolutionary 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; pretensions 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
honor, or the fear of dishonor and loss; the authors of them want to
divert punishment or dishonor from themselves or their friends. The
causes and reasons of revolutions, whereby men are themselves affected
in the way described, and 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 noticed; but they act in a
different manner, for men are excited against one another by the
love of gain and honor- 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, excessive predominance, contempt, disproportionate
increase in some part of the state; causes of another sort are
election intrigues, carelessness, neglect about trifles, dissimilarity
of elements.

  What share insolence and avarice have in creating 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. It is
evident, again, what an influence honor exerts and how it is a cause
of revolution. Men who are themselves dishonored and who see others
obtaining honors rise in rebellion; the honor or dishonor when
undeserved is unjust; and just when awarded according to merit.
  Again, superiority is a cause of revolution when 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 ostracism. But how much
better to provide from the first that there should be no such
pre-eminent individuals instead of letting them come into existence
and then finding a remedy.
  Another cause of revolution is fear. Either men have committed
wrong, and are afraid of punishment, or they are expecting to suffer
wrong and are desirous of anticipating their enemy. Thus at Rhodes the
notables conspired against the people through fear of the suits that
were brought against them. Contempt is also a 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 aroused contempt before the tyranny of Gelo arose; at
Rhodes, before the insurrection.
  Political revolutions also spring from a disproportionate increase
in any part of the state. For as a body is made up of many members,
and every member ought to grow in proportion, 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
sometimes 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
the Argives, after their army had been cut to pieces on the seventh
day of the month by Cleomenes the Lacedaemonian, were compelled to
admit to citizen some of their Perioeci; and at Athens, when, after
frequent defeats of their infantry at the time 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 as well, in democracies as in other forms of government, but not
to so great an extent. When the rich grow numerous or properties
increase, the form of government changes into an oligarchy or a
government of families. Forms of government 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.
  Again, the revolution may be facilitated by the slightness of the
change; 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.
  Another cause of revolution is difference of races which do not at
once acquire a common spirit; for a state is not the growth of a
day, any more than it grows out of 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, becoming later the more numerous,
expelled them; hence the curse fell upon Sybaris. At Thurii the
Sybarites quarrelled with their 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, 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 under 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.
  Again, the situation of cities is a cause of revolution when the
country is not naturally adapted to preserve the unity of the state.
For example, the Chytians 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 as 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.

  In revolutions the occasions may be trifling, but great interests
are at stake. Even 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 was
away from home his beloved was gained over by his companion, and he to
revenge himself seduced the other's wife. They then drew the members
of the ruling class into their quarrel and so split all the people
into portions. We learn 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, bears the same ratio to the
errors in the other parts. In general, when the notables quarrel,
the whole city is involved, as happened in Hesdaea 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.
  At Delphi, again, a quarrel about a marriage was the beginning of
all the troubles which followed. In this 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 Mytilene, too, a dispute about heiresses
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; Dexander, 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 quarrel 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 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.
  Governments also change into oligarchy or into democracy 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 Salamis, which was gained by the common people who served
in the fleet, and won for the Athenians the empire due to command of
the sea, strengthened the democracy. At Argos, the notables, having
distinguished 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, changed the constitutional government into democracy.
At Chalcis, the people, uniting with the notables, killed Phoxus the
tyrant, and then seized the government. At Ambracia, the people, in
like manner, having joined with the conspirators in expelling the
tyrant Periander, transferred the government to themselves. And
generally 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.
  Revolutions also break out when opposite parties, e.g., the rich and
the people, are equally balanced, and there is little or no middle
class; for, if either party were manifestly superior, the other
would not risk an attack upon them. And, for this reason, those who
are eminent in virtue usually do not stir up insurrections, always
being a minority. Such are the beginnings and causes of the
disturbances and revolutions to which every form of government is
  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, is of two kinds; for (1) sometimes the
citizens are deceived into acquiescing in 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, having cheated the people, still
endeavored 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
effect constitutions generally spring from the above-mentioned causes.

  And now, taking each constitution separately, we must see what
follows from the principles already laid down.
  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 stir up the people against them. The truth of this
remark is proved by a variety of examples. At 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 democracy. The democracy at Heraclea 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 democracy at Megara
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 the oligarchy. The same thing
happened with the democracy of Cyme, which was overthrown by
Thrasymachus. And we may observe that in most states the changes
have been of this character. For sometimes the demagogues, in order to
curry favor 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 confiscate.
  Of old, the demagogue was also a general, and then democracies
changed into tyrannies. Most of the ancient tyrants were originally
demagogues. They are not so 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. Tyrannies were more
common formerly than now, for this reason also, that great power was
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 matters. 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 the 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 plain, and Theagenes
at Megara slaughtered the cattle of the wealthy, which he found by the
river side, where they had put them to graze in land not their own.
Dionysius, again, was thought 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 of things is for the separate tribes, and not the whole
people, to elect the magistrates.
  These are the principal causes of revolutions in democracies.

  There are two patent causes of revolutions in oligarchies: (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 governing 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 government
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 underwent 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 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, and ruled well, by the Basilidae, but the
people took offense at the narrowness of the oligarchy and changed the
  (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 demagogue is of two sorts: either (a)
he practices upon the oligarchs themselves (for, although the
oligarchy are quite a small number, there may be a demagogue among
them, as at Athens Charicles' party won power by courting the
Thirty, that of Phrynichus by courting the Four Hundred); or (b) the
oligarchs may play the demagogue with the people. This was the case at
Larissa, where the guardians of the citizens endeavored 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-courts are composed of persons outside the government,
the oligarchs flatter the people in order to obtain a decision in
their own favor, 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 the 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 Amphipolis a man named Cleotimus
introduced Chalcidian colonists, and when they arrived, stirred them
up against the rich. For a like reason in Aegina the person who
carried on the negotiation with Chares endeavored to revolutionize the
state. Sometimes a party among the oligarchs try directly to create
a political change; sometimes they rob the treasury, and then either
the thieves or, as happened at Apollonia in Pontus, those who resist
them in their thieving quarrel with the rulers. But an oligarchy which
is at unity with itself is not easily destroyed from within; of this
we may see an example at Pharsalus, for there, although the rulers are
few in number, they govern a large city, because they have a good
understanding among themselves.
  Oligarchies, again, are overthrown when another oligarchy is created
within the original one, that is to 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 the senators were only ninety in number,
and 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; 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 tyrants.
Sometimes the oligarchs, fearing this danger, give the people a
share in the government because their services are necessary to
them. And in time of peace, from mutual distrust, the two parties hand
over the defense 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 the Aleuad had the government, and at Abydos
in the days of Iphiades and the political clubs. Revolutions 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 mentioned some instances; another occurred at
Eretria, where Diagoras overturned the oligarchy of the knights
because he had been wronged about a marriage. A revolution 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 oligarchies
have been destroyed by some members of the ruling class taking offense
at their excessive despotism; for example, the oligarchy at Cnidus and
at Chios.
  Changes of constitutional governments, and also of oligarchies which
limit the office of counselor, judge, or other magistrate to persons
having a certain money qualification, often occur by accident. The
qualification may 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
valuable, and then everybody participates in every office; this
happens sometimes gradually and insensibly, and sometimes quickly.
These are the causes of changes and revolutions in oligarchies.
  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.

  In aristocracies revolutions are stirred up when a few only share in
the honors 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 few not for
the same reason; hence the two are often confounded. And revolutions
will be most likely to happen, and must happen, when the mass of the
people are of the high-spirited kind, 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 dishonored by those higher in office, as
Lysander was by the kings of Sparta; or, when a brave man is
excluded from the honors of the state, like Cinadon, who conspired
against the Spartans in the reign of 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, entitled '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.
  Constitutional governments and aristocracies are commonly 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 endeavor of
constitutional governments; and most of the so-called aristocracies
have a like aim, but differ from polities in the mode of
combination; 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 constitution gives them power, are 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
aristocracy 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. 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.
  What I have just mentioned actually happened at Thurii, where the
qualification for office, at first high, was therefore 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
  Again, since all aristocratical governments incline to oligarchy,
the notables are apt to be grasping; thus at Lacedaemon, where
property tends to pass into few hands, 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 connection with Dionysius, but such a
thing could never have happened in a democracy, or in a wellbalanced
  I have already remarked that in all states revolutions are
occasioned by trifles. 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 government
change something else which is a little more important, until they
have undermined the whole fabric of the state. At Thurii there was a
law that generals should only be re-elected after an interval of
five years, and some young men who were popular with the soldiers of
the guard for their military prowess, 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 charge 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.
  All constitutions are overthrown either from within or 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 democracies.
  I have now explained what are the chief causes of revolutions and
dissensions in states.

  We have next to consider what means there are of preserving
constitutions in general, and in particular cases. In the first
place it is evident that if we know the causes which destroy
constitutions, we also know the causes which preserve them; for
opposites produce opposites, and destruction is the opposite of
  In all well-attempered governments there is nothing 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 expense does not take
place 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.' 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.
  In the first place, then, men should guard against the beginning
of change, and in the second place they should not rely upon the
political devices of which I have already spoken invented only to
deceive the people, for they are proved by experience to be useless.
Further, 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
them. They should never wrong the ambitious in a matter of honor, or
the common people in a matter of money; and they should treat one
another and their fellow citizen in a spirit of equality. The equality
which 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 remarked. The short tenure of office prevents oligarchies
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 principal men
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 them.
  Constitutions are preserved when their destroyers are at a distance,
and sometimes also because they are near, for the fear of them makes
the government keep in hand the constitution. Wherefore the ruler
who has a care of the constitution should invent terrors, and bring
distant dangers near, in order that the citizens may be on their
guard, and, like sentinels in a night watch, never relax their
attention. He should endeavor 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 catching the spirit of
contention. No ordinary man can discern the beginning of evil, but
only the true statesman.
  As to the change produced in oligarchies and constitutional
governments by the alteration of the qualification, when this
arises, not out of any variation in the qualification 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 ratings recognized by the constitution
were fixed, there should be power given by law to raise or lower the
qualification as the amount is greater or less. Where this is not done
a constitutional government passes into an oligarchy, and an oligarchy
is narrowed to a rule of families; or in the opposite case
constitutional government becomes democracy, and oligarchy either
constitutional government or democracy.
  It is a principle common to democracy, oligarchy, and every other
form of government not to allow the disproportionate increase of any
citizen but to give moderate honor for a long time rather than great
honor 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
honors 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 should be sent clean out of the country. And since innovations
creep in through the private life of individuals also, 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 is 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.
  But above all every state should be so administered and so regulated
by law that its magistrates cannot possibly make money. In oligarchies
special precautions should be used against this evil. For the people
do not take any great offense 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 honor and profit. If office brought no profit, 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. And 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, 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 honors should be given by law to magistrates who have the
reputation of being incorruptible. In democracies the rich should be
spared; not 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 than if he had wronged one of his own class.
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 equalized, and more of the poor rise to
competency. It is also expedient both in a democracy and in an
oligarchy to assign to those who have less share in the government
(i.e., 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.

  There are three qualifications required in those who 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 these qualities
do not meet in the same person, how the selection is to be made;
suppose, for example, a good general 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 his skill rather than his virtue; for
few have military skill, but many have virtue. In any office of
trust or 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
  It may, however, be asked what a man wants with 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?
  Speaking generally, we may say that whatever legal enactments are
held to be for the interest of various constitutions, all these
preserve them. And the great preserving principle is the one which has
been repeatedly mentioned- to have a care that the loyal citizen
should be stronger than the disloyal. Neither should we forget the
mean, which at the 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 their 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 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 holds 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 to 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.
  There is an error common both to oligarchies and to 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 maintaining the
cause of the people, and should take oaths the opposite of those which
they now take. For there are cities in 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.'
  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 government, and yet in our own day this
principle is universally neglected. The best laws, though sanctioned
by every citizen of the state, will be of no avail unless the young
are trained by 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 spirit 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 luxury, 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 revolution. And in democracies of the more extreme 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
that what is just is equal; and that equality is the supremacy of
the popular will; and that freedom means 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

  I have still to speak of monarchy, and the causes of its destruction
and preservation. What I have said already respecting forms of
constitutional government applies almost equally to royal and to
tyrannical rule. For royal rule 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. These two forms of monarchy are contrary in
their very origin. The 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 tyrants
have been demagogues who gained the favor of the people by their
accusation of the notables. At any rate 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 of these 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 state. 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.
  And so, as I was saying, royalty ranks with aristocracy, for it is
based upon merit, whether of the individual or of his family, or on
benefits conferred, or on these claims with power added to them. For
all who have obtained this honor have benefited, or had in 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 kings. The 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, except as
conducive to his private ends; his aim is pleasure, the aim of a king,
honor. Wherefore also in their desires they differ; the tyrant is
desirous of riches, the king, of what brings honor. And the guards
of a king are citizens, but of a tyrant mercenaries.
  That tyranny has all the vices both of democracy 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 democracy 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 dass, who either want to rule or to escape subjection.
Hence Periander advised Thrasybulus by cutting 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
forms of constitutional 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.
  The ends sought by conspiracies against monarchies, whether
tyrannies or royalties, are the same as the ends sought by
conspiracies against other forms of government. Monarchs have great
wealth and honor, 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) 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 dishonor 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 conspiracy was also formed against Periander, the tyrant of
Ambracia, because, when drinking with a favorite 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's son. Many conspiracies have originated in
shameful attempts made by sovereigns on the persons of their subjects.
Such was the attack of Crataeas upon Archelaus; he had always hated
the connection 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 Elymeia,
when he was hard pressed in a war against Sirrhas and Arrhabaeus,
and the younger to his own son Amyntas, under the idea that Amyntas
would then be less likely to quarrel with his son by Cleopatra-
Crataeas 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 connection with
the king. And from a like motive Hellonocrates of Larissa conspired
with him; for when Archelaus, who was his lover, did not fulfill his
promise of restoring him to his country, he thought that the
connection between them had originated, not in affection, but in the
wantonness of power. Pytho, 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.
  Many, 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 injured. Thus, at
Mytilene, Megacles and his friends attacked and slew the
Penthilidae, 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, Decamnichus 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.
  Fear is another motive which, as we have said, has caused
conspiracies 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 having been under the impression that Xerxes would forget
what he had said in the middle of a meal, and that the offense would
be forgiven.
  Another motive is contempt, as in the case of Sardanapalus, whom
some one saw carding wool with his women, if the storytellers say
truly; and the tale may be true, if not of him, of some one else. Dion
attacked 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; 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.
  And sometimes men are actuated by more than one 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.
  Attempts of which the motive is ambition arise in a different way as
well as in those already mentioned. There are men who will not risk
their lives in the hope of gains and honors however great, but who
nevertheless regard the killing of a tyrant simply as an extraordinary
action which will make them famous and honorable in the world; they
wish to acquire, not a kingdom, but a name. It is rare, however, to
find such men; he who would kill a tyrant must be prepared to lose his
life if he fail. He must have the resolution of 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 would be
welcome to him.' this is a temper to which few can attain.
  Once more, tyrannies, like all other governments, are 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 what
they will. Democracy is 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.
  Again, tyrannies are destroyed from within, when the 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
got together a party to get rid of Thrasybulus and save the tyranny;
but those of the people who conspired with them seized the opportunity
and drove them all out. In the case of Dionysius, Dion, his own
relative, attacked and expelled him with the assistance of the people;
he afterwards perished himself.
  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
of those who have acquired, have retained their power, but those who
have inherited, 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, and
produces the same effects. It is often times even more ready to
strike- the angry are more impetuous in making an attack, for they
do not follow rational principle. 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. Hatred
is more reasonable, for anger is accompanied by pain, which is an
impediment to reason, whereas hatred is painless.
  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.
Kingly 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.
Royalties do not now come into existence; where such forms of
government arise, they are rather monarchies or 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 a further cause of destruction is the fact that kings often
fall into contempt, and, although possessing not tyrannical power, but
only royal dignity, 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
  The destruction of monarchies is to be attributed to these and the
like causes.

  And they are preserved, to speak generally, by the 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 why 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 when 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.'
  As to (2) tyrannies, they are preserved in two most 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 firstly the prescriptions mentioned some
distance back, for 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 begets mutual confidence).
Further, he must compel all persons staying in the city to appear in
public and live at his gates; then he will know what they are doing:
if they are always kept under, they will learn to be humble. In short,
he should practice these and the like Persian and barbaric arts, which
all have the same object. A tyrant should also endeavor 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 sow 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
against the maintenance of a guard by the citizen and the people,
having to keep hard at work, are prevented from conspiring. The
Pyramids of Egypt afford an example 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. Another 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 power.
  Again, the evil practices of the last and worst form of 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 license 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
the tyrant, the flatterer is held in honor; in democracies he is the
demagogue; and the tyrant also has those who associate with him in a
humble spirit, which is a work of flattery.
  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
lower himself by flattery; good men love others, or at any rate do not
flatter them. Moreover, the bad are useful for bad purposes; 'nail
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
is 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.
  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 humiliation 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 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 would 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 desires 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.
  This then is one of the two methods by which tyrannies are
preserved; and there is another which proceeds upon an almost opposite
principle of action. The nature of this latter 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 must 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 hard-won earnings snatched from
them and lavished on courtesans 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 a steward of the public rather than a tyrant; nor need he
fear that, while he is the lord of the city, he will ever be in want
of money. Such a policy is at all events much more advantageous for
the tyrant 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 the second
place, he should be seen to collect taxes and to require public
services only for state purposes, and that he may form a fund in
case of war, and generally 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 he inspires no respect, and therefore
whatever virtues he may neglect, at least he should maintain the
character of a great soldier, and produce the impression that he is
one. Neither he nor any of his associates should ever be guilty of the
least offense against modesty towards the young of either sex who
are his subjects, and the 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
should if possible be 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 earnest 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 disposed to conspire against him, because they believe
him to have the very Gods fighting on his side. At the same time his
religion must not be thought foolish. And he should honor men of
merit, and make them think that they would not be held in more honor
by the citizens if they had a free government. The honor he should
distribute himself, but the punishment should be inflicted by officers
and courts of law. It is a precaution 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 once. The tyrant should abstain
from all outrage; in particular from personal violence and from wanton
conduct towards the young. He should be especially careful of his
behavior to men who are lovers of honor; for as the lovers of money
are offended when their property is touched, so are the lovers of
honor and the virtuous when their honor is affected. Therefore a
tyrant ought either not to commit such acts 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 dishonor by the increase of honor.
  Of those who attempt assassination they are the most 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 any who think that either they or those for whom
they care have been insulted; for when men are led away by passion
to assault others they are regardless of themselves. As Heracleitus
says, 'It is difficult to fight against anger; for a man will buy
revenge with his soul.'
  And whereas states consist of two classes, of poor men 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.
  But enough of these details; what should be the general policy of
the tyrant is obvious. He ought to show himself to his subjects in the
light, not of a tyrant, but of a steward and 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 win the
notables by companionship, and the multitude by flattery. For then his
rule will of necessity be nobler and happier, because he will rule
over better men 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. His disposition will be
virtuous, or at least half virtuous; and he will not be wicked, but
half wicked only.

  Yet no forms of government are so short-lived as 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 favor 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, he crowned the judge who decided against him in the games;
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.)
  Next in duration to the tyranny of Orthagoras was that of the
Cypselidae at Corinth, which lasted seventy-three years and six
months: Cypselus reigned thirty years, Periander forty and a half, and
Psammetichus the son of Gorgus three. Their continuance was due to
similar causes: Cypselus was a popular man, who during the whole
time of his rule never had a bodyguard; and Periander, although he was
a tyrant, was a great soldier. Third in duration was the rule of the
Peisistratidae at 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
eighteen 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.
  I have now gone through almost all the causes by which
constitutional governments and monarchies are either destroyed or
  In the Republic of Plato, Socrates treats of revolutions, but not
well, for he mentions no cause of change which peculiarly affects
the first, or perfect state. He only says that the cause is that
nothing is abiding, but all things change in a certain cycle; and that
the origin of the change consists in those numbers 'of which 4 and
3, married with 5, furnish two harmonies' (he means when the number of
this figure becomes solid); he conceives that nature at certain
times produces 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 of change peculiar to his ideal state, and not
rather common to all states, nay, to everything which comes into being
at all? And is it by the agency of time, which, as he declares,
makes all things change, that things which did not begin together,
change together? For example, if something has come into being the day
before the completion of the cycle, will it change with things that
came into being before? Further, why should the perfect state change
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.
And 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 a 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's family did at Syracuse; into aristocracy, as at Carthage, and
the tyranny of Charilaus at Lacedaemon. Often an oligarchy changes
into a tyranny, like most 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. And it is absurd to suppose that the state
changes into oligarchy merely because 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. It is absurd too for him to say that an
oligarchy is two cities, one of the rich, and the other of the poor.
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 all
are not equally good men? Nobody need be any poorer than he was
before, and yet the oligarchy may change an 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, although
the causes of the change are very numerous, he mentions only one,
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 oligarchy does
not even then more often pass into a democracy than into any other
form of government. Again, if men are deprived of the honors of state,
and are wronged, and insulted, 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 cause.
  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.
                                 BOOK SIX

  WE have now considered the varieties of the deliberative 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
government. We have also spoken of the destruction and preservation of
constitutions, how and from what causes they arise.
  Of democracy and all other forms of government there 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
various combinations of these modes themselves; for such
combinations make constitutions overlap one another, so that
aristocracies have an oligarchical character, and constitutional
governments incline to democracies.
  When I speak of the combinations which remain to be 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 office 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 are 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 only show which of these governments is the best for each state,
but also briefly proceed to consider how these and other forms of
government are to be established.
  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 inquiry we 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 the difference is due to two causes.
One (1) has been already mentioned- differences of population; for the
popular element may consist of husbandmen, or of mechanics, or of
laborers, 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: 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 one. Founders of states
try to bring together all the elements which accord with the ideas
of the several constitutions; but this is a mistake of theirs, as I
have already remarked when speaking of the destruction and
preservation of states. We will now set forth the principles,
characteristics, and aims of such states.

  The basis of a democratic state is liberty; which, 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 democracy. One principle of
liberty is for all to rule and be ruled in turn, and indeed democratic
justice is the application of numerical not proportionate equality;
whence it follows that the majority 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. 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 likes. This, they say, is the
privilege of a freeman, since, on the other hand, not to live as a man
likes is the mark of a slave. This is the second 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 contributes to the freedom based upon equality.
  Such being our foundation and such the principle from which we
start, the characteristics of democracy are as follows 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 skill, should be made by
lot; that no property qualification should be required for offices, or
only a very low one; that a man should not hold the same office twice,
or not often, or in the case of few except 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 and 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 few. Of all magistracies, a council is
the most democratic 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 discussion. The next characteristic of 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
characterized by birth, wealth, and education, the notes of
democracy appear to be the opposite of these- low birth, poverty, mean
employment. 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. These are the 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 poor should have no
more share in the government than the rich, and should not be the only
rulers, but that all should rule equally according to their numbers.
And in this way men think that they will secure equality and freedom
in their state.

  Next comes the question, how is this equality to be obtained? Are we
to assign to a thousand poor men the property qualifications of five
hundred rich men? 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 elections and of the courts?- Which,
according to the democratical notion, 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 both 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 the
rich 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 saying, they will unjustly confiscate
the property of the wealthy minority. To find a principle of
equality which they both agree we must inquire into their respective
ideas of justice.
  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, 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 turn 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, for the weaker are always
asking for equality and justice, but the stronger care for none of
these things.

  Of the four kinds of democracy, as was said in the in the previous
discussion, 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 population; 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 no 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 than of honor. 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 the power of
electing the magistrates and calling them to account; 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 government may
be regarded as a democracy, and was such at Mantinea. Hence it is both
expedient and customary in the aforementioned type of 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 by special
ability should be appointed. Under such a 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 should 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 evident that this is the best kind of
democracy, and why? Because the people are drawn from a certain class.
Some of the ancient laws of most states were, all of them, useful with
a view to making the people husbandmen. 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
any one to sell his original allotment of land. There is a similar law
attributed to Oxylus, which is to the effect that there should be a
certain portion of every man's land on which he could not borrow
money. A useful corrective to the evil of which I am speaking would 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 that even the poor may have more than the amount required.
  Next best to an agricultural, and in many respects similar, are a
pastoral people, who live by their flocks; they are the best trained
of any for war, robust in body and able to camp out. The people of
whom other 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 laborers.
Besides, people of this class can 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 also happens to extend to a distance from the city, 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,
in democracies, when the country people cannot come. We have thus
explained 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.
  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 been pretty fully
considered. In order to constitute such a democracy and strengthen the
people, the leaders have been in the habit 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 mother; for nothing of this sort comes
amiss to such a democracy. This is 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 and
of the middle class- beyond this not to go. When in excess of this
point, the constitution 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 Cleisthenes 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 and
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 are taken by tyrants appear all of them to be democratic;
such, for instance, as the license permitted to slaves (which may be
to a certain extent advantageous) and also that of women and children,
and the aflowing everybody to live as he likes. Such a government will
have many supporters, for most persons would rather live in a
disorderly than in a sober manner.

  The mere establishment of a democracy is not the 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
legislator should therefore endeavor to have a firm foundation
according to the principles already laid down concerning the
preservation and destruction of states; 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 longest. The demagogues of our own
day often get property confiscated 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 should not be public and go into the treasury but be
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 be 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 attached to the
constitution as well, or at any rate should not regard their rulers as
  Now, since in the last and worst form of democracy 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 has 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 are 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 be not too poor, for extreme poverty lowers the character of
the democracy; measures therefore should be taken 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 its poor, if possible, in such quantities as may
enable them to purchase a little farm, or, at any rate, make a
beginning in trade or husbandry. And if this 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 rich. It is
also worthy 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 will. Moreover, they divide all their offices into two classes,
some of them being elected by vote, the others 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 offices, 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 democracies ought to
be constituted.

  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.
  The first and best attempered of oligarchies is akin to 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 number of those admitted should be
such as will make the entire governing body stronger 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 proportion 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 preserves them (for
e state need not be much increased,since there is no necessity tha
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.

  As there are four chief divisions of the common people-
husbandmen, mechanics, retail traders, laborers; so also there are
four kinds of military forces- the cavalry, the heavy infantry, the
light armed troops, the navy. 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 the country is adapted to heavy infantry;
for this service is better suited to the rich than to the poor. But
the light-armed and the naval element are wholly democratic; and
nowadays, where they are numerous, if the two parties quarrel, the
oligarchy are 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 this 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 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 these, when they have been taken out of the
ranks of the youth, should become light-armed warriors in reality. The
oligarchy should also yield a share in the government to the people,
either, as I said before, to those who have a property
qualification, or, as in the case of Thebes, 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 the 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 offense 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 office should offer
magnificent sacrifices or erect some public edifice, and then the
people who participate in the entertainments, and 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 the fashion of
our modern oligarchs, who are as covetous of gain as they are of
honor; oligarchies like theirs may be well described as petty
democracies. Enough of the manner in which democracies and oligarchies
should be organized.

  Next in order follows the right distribution of offices, their
number, their nature, their duties, of which indeed we have already
spoken. 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 we have already
remarked, there must 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.
  First among necessary offices is that which has the care 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 fulfill the purpose for
which men come together into one state. A second 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 City Warden,
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 harbors. There is another equally
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 is distributed
among the various departments; these are called Receivers or
Treasurers. Another officer registers all 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
  Next to these comes an office of which the duties are 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 which is attached to it; no one will undertake it
unless great profits are to be made, and any one who does is loath
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 so 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 public debtors. Some sentences should be executed
by the magistrates also, and in particular penalties due to the
outgoing magistrates should be exacted by the incoming ones; and as
regards those due to magistrates already in office, when one court has
given judgement, 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 penalties 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.
  In many places, while one magistracy executes the sentence,
another has the custody of the prisoners, as, for example, 'the
Eleven' at Athens. It is well to separate off the jailorship also, and
try by some device to render the office less unpopular. For it is
quite as necessary as that of the executioners; 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 be 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.
  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 officers
to which are committed the guard of the city, and other military
functions. Not only in time of war but of peace their duty will be
to defend the walls and gates, and to muster and marshal the citizens.
In some states there are many such offices; in others there are a
few only, while small states are content with one; these officers
are called generals or commanders. Again, if a state has cavalry or
light-armed troops or archers or a naval force, it will sometimes
happen that each of these departments has separate officers, who are
called admirals, or generals of cavalry or of light-armed troops.
And there are subordinate officers called naval captains, and captains
of light-armed troops and of horse; having others under them: all
these are included in the department of war. Thus much of military
  But since many, not to say all, of these offices handle the public
money, there must of necessity be another office which examines and
audits them, and has no other functions. Such officers are called by
various names- Scrutineers, Auditors, Accountants, Controllers.
Besides all these offices there is another which is supreme over them,
and to this is often entrusted both the introduction and the
ratification of measures, or at all events it presides, in a
democracy, over the assembly. For there must be a body which
convenes the supreme authority in the state. In some places they are
called 'probuli,' because they hold previous deliberations, but in a
democracy more commonly 'councillors.' These are the chief political
  Another set of officers is concerned with the maintenance of
religion priests and guardians see to the preservation and repair of
the temples of the Gods and to other matters of religion. One office
of this sort may be enough in small places, but in larger ones there
are a great many besides the priesthood; for example,
superintendents of public worship, guardians of shrines, treasurers of
the sacred revenues. Nearly connected with these there are also the
officers appointed for the performance of the public sacrifices,
except any which the law assigns to the priests; such sacrifices
derive their dignity from the public hearth of the city. They are
sometimes called archons, sometimes kings, and sometimes prytanes.
  These, then, are the necessary offices, which may be summed up as
follows: offices concerned with matters of religion, with war, with
the revenue and expenditure, with the market, with the city, with
the harbors, with the country; also with the courts of law, with the
records of contracts, with execution of sentences, with custody of
prisoners, with audits and scrutinies and accounts of magistrates;
lastly, there are those which preside over the public deliberations of
the state. There are likewise magistracies characteristic of states
which are peaceful and prosperous, and at the same time have a
regard to good order: such as the offices of guardians of women,
guardians of the law, guardians of children, and directors of
gymnastics; also superintendents of gymnastic and Dionysiac
contests, and of other similar spectacles. Some of these are clearly
not democratic offices; for example, the guardianships of women and
children- the poor, not having any slaves, must employ both their
women and children as servants.
  Once more: there are three offices according to whose directions the
highest magistrates are chosen in certain states- guardians of the
law, probuli, councillors- of these, the guardians of the law are an
aristocratical, the probuli an oligarchical, the council a
democratical institution. Enough of the different kinds of offices.
                                BOOK SEVEN

  HE who would duly inquire about the best form of a state ought first
to determine which is the most eligible life; while this remains
uncertain the best form of the state must also be uncertain; for, in
the natural order of things, those may be expected to lead the best
life who are governed in the best manner of which their
circumstances admit. We ought therefore to ascertain, first of all,
which is the most generally eligible life, and then whether the same
life is or is not best for the state and for individuals.
  Assuming that enough has been already said in discussions outside
the school concerning the best life, we will now only repeat what is
contained in them. Certainly no one will dispute the propriety of that
partition of goods which separates them into three classes, viz.,
external goods, goods of the body, and goods of the soul, or deny that
the happy man must have all three. For no one would maintain that he
is happy who has not in him a particle of courage or temperance or
justice or prudence, who is afraid of every insect which flutters past
him, and will commit any crime, however great, in order to gratify his
lust of meat or drink, who will sacrifice his dearest friend for the
sake of half-a-farthing, and is as feeble and false in mind as a child
or a madman. These propositions are almost universally acknowledged as
soon as they are uttered, but men differ about the degree or
relative superiority of this or that good. Some think that a very
moderate amount of virtue is enough, but set no limit to their desires
of wealth, property, power, reputation, and the like. To whom we reply
by an appeal to facts, which easily prove that mankind do not
acquire or preserve virtue by the help of external goods, but external
goods by the help of virtue, and that happiness, whether consisting in
pleasure or virtue, or both, is more often found with those who are
most highly cultivated in their mind and in their character, and
have only a moderate share of external goods, than among those who
possess external goods to a useless extent but are deficient in higher
qualities; and this is not only matter of experience, but, if
reflected upon, will easily appear to be in accordance with reason.
For, whereas external goods have a limit, like any other instrument,
and all things useful are of such a nature that where there is too
much of them they must either do harm, or at any rate be of no use, to
their possessors, every good of the soul, the greater it is, is also
of greater use, if the epithet useful as well as noble is
appropriate to such subjects. No proof is required to show that the
best state of one thing in relation to another corresponds in degree
of excellence to the interval between the natures of which we say that
these very states are states: so that, if the soul is more noble
than our possessions or our bodies, both absolutely and in relation to
us, it must be admitted that the best state of either has a similar
ratio to the other. Again, it is for the sake of the soul that goods
external and goods of the body are eligible at all, and all wise men
ought to choose them for the sake of the soul, and not the soul for
the sake of them.
  Let us acknowledge then that each one has just so much of
happiness as he has of virtue and wisdom, and of virtuous and wise
action. God is a witness to us of this truth, for he is happy and
blessed, not by reason of any external good, but in himself and by
reason of his own nature. And herein of necessity lies the
difference between good fortune and happiness; for external goods come
of themselves, and chance is the author of them, but no one is just or
temperate by or through chance. In like manner, and by a similar train
of argument, the happy state may be shown to be that which is best and
which acts rightly; and rightly it cannot act without doing right
actions, and neither individual nor state can do right actions without
virtue and wisdom. Thus the courage, justice, and wisdom of a state
have the same form and nature as the qualities which give the
individual who possesses them the name of just, wise, or temperate.
  Thus much may suffice by way of preface: for I could not avoid
touching upon these questions, neither could I go through all the
arguments affecting them; these are the business of another science.
  Let us assume then that the best life, both for individuals and
states, is the life of virtue, when virtue has external goods enough
for the performance of good actions. If there are any who controvert
our assertion, we will in this treatise pass them over, and consider
their objections hereafter.

  There remains to be discussed the question whether the happiness
of the individual is the same as that of the state, or different. Here
again there can be no doubt- no one denies that they are the same. For
those who hold that the well-being of the individual consists in his
wealth, also think that riches make the happiness of the whole
state, and those who value most highly the life of a tyrant deem
that city the happiest which rules over the greatest number; while
they who approve an individual for his virtue say that the more
virtuous a city is, the happier it is. Two points here present
themselves for consideration: first (1), which is the more eligible
life, that of a citizen who is a member of a state, or that of an
alien who has no political ties; and again (2), which is the best form
of constitution or the best condition of a state, either on the
supposition that political privileges are desirable for all, or for
a majority only? Since the good of the state and not of the individual
is the proper subject of political thought and speculation, and we are
engaged in a political discussion, while the first of these two points
has a secondary interest for us, the latter will be the main subject
of our inquiry.
  Now it is evident that the form of government is best in which every
man, whoever he is, can act best and live happily. But even those
who agree in thinking that the life of virtue is the most eligible
raise a question, whether the life of business and politics is or is
not more eligible than one which is wholly independent of external
goods, I mean than a contemplative life, which by some is maintained
to be the only one worthy of a philosopher. For these two lives- the
life of the philosopher and the life of the statesman- appear to
have been preferred by those who have been most keen in the pursuit of
virtue, both in our own and in other ages. Which is the better is a
question of no small moment; for the wise man, like the wise state,
will necessarily regulate his life according to the best end. There
are some who think that while a despotic rule over others is the
greatest injustice, to exercise a constitutional rule over them,
even though not unjust, is a great impediment to a man's individual
wellbeing. Others take an opposite view; they maintain that the true
life of man is the practical and political, and that every virtue
admits of being practiced, quite as much by statesmen and rulers as by
private individuals. Others, again, are of opinion that arbitrary
and tyrannical rule alone consists with happiness; indeed, in some
states the entire aim both of the laws and of the constitution is to
give men despotic power over their neighbors. And, therefore, although
in most cities the laws may be said generally to be in a chaotic
state, still, if they aim at anything, they aim at the maintenance
of power: thus in Lacedaemon and Crete the system of education and the
greater part of the of the laws are framed with a view to war. And
in all nations which are able to gratify their ambition military power
is held in esteem, for example among the Scythians and Persians and
Thracians and Celts.
  In some nations there are even laws tending to stimulate the warlike
virtues, as at Carthage, where we are told that men obtain the honor
of wearing as many armlets as they have served campaigns. There was
once a law in Macedonia that he who had not killed an enemy should
wear a halter, and among the Scythians no one who had not slain his
man was allowed to drink out of the cup which was handed round at a
certain feast. Among the Iberians, a warlike nation, the number of
enemies whom a man has slain is indicated by the number of obelisks
which are fixed in the earth round his tomb; and there are numerous
practices among other nations of a like kind, some of them established
by law and others by custom. Yet to a reflecting mind it must appear
very strange that the statesman should be always considering how he
can dominate and tyrannize over others, whether they will or not.
How can that which is not even lawful be the business of the statesman
or the legislator? Unlawful it certainly is to rule without regard
to justice, for there may be might where there is no right. The
other arts and sciences offer no parallel a physician is not
expected to persuade or coerce his patients, nor a pilot the
passengers in his ship. Yet most men appear to think that the art of
despotic government is statesmanship, and what men affirm to be unjust
and inexpedient in their own case they are not ashamed of practicing
towards others; they demand just rule for themselves, but where
other men are concerned they care nothing about it. Such behavior is
irrational; unless the one party is, and the other is not, born to
serve, in which case men have a right to command, not indeed all their
fellows, but only those who are intended to be subjects; just as we
ought not to hunt mankind, whether for food or sacrifice, but only the
animals which may be hunted for food or sacrifice, this is to say,
such wild animals as are eatable. And surely there may be a city happy
in isolation, which we will assume to be well-governed (for it is
quite possible that a city thus isolated might be well-administered
and have good laws); but such a city would not be constituted with any
view to war or the conquest of enemies- all that sort of thing must be
excluded. Hence we see very plainly that warlike pursuits, although
generally to be deemed honorable, are not the supreme end of all
things, but only means. And the good lawgiver should inquire how
states and races of men and communities may participate in a good
life, and in the happiness which is attainable by them. His enactments
will not be always the same; and where there are neighbors he will
have to see what sort of studies should be practiced in relation to
their several characters, or how the measures appropriate in
relation to each are to be adopted. The end at which the best form
of government should aim may be properly made a matter of future

  Let us now address those who, while they agree that the life of
virtue is the most eligible, differ about the manner of practicing it.
For some renounce political power, and think that the life of the
freeman is different from the life of the statesman and the best of
all; but others think the life of the statesman best. The argument
of the latter is that he who does nothing cannot do well, and that
virtuous activity is identical with happiness. To both we say: 'you
are partly right and partly wrong.' first class are right in affirming
that the life of the freeman is better than the life of the despot;
for there is nothing grand or noble in having the use of a slave, in
so far as he is a slave; or in issuing commands about necessary
things. But it is an error to suppose that every sort of rule is
despotic like that of a master over slaves, for there is as great a
difference between the rule over freemen and the rule over slaves as
there is between slavery by nature and freedom by nature, about
which I have said enough at the commencement of this treatise. And
it is equally a mistake to place inactivity above action, for
happiness is activity, and the actions of the just and wise are the
realization of much that is noble.
  But perhaps some one, accepting these premises, may still maintain
that supreme power is the best of all things, because the possessors
of it are able to perform the greatest number of noble actions. if so,
the man who is able to rule, instead of giving up anything to his
neighbor, ought rather to take away his power; and the father should
make no account of his son, nor the son of his father, nor friend of
friend; they should not bestow a thought on one another in
comparison with this higher object, for the best is the most
eligible and 'doing eligible' and 'doing well' is the best. There
might be some truth in such a view if we assume that robbers and
plunderers attain the chief good. But this can never be; their
hypothesis is false. For the actions of a ruler cannot really be
honorable, unless he is as much superior to other men as a husband
is to a wife, or a father to his children, or a master to his
slaves. And therefore he who violates the law can never recover by any
success, however great, what he has already lost in departing from
virtue. For equals the honorable and the just consist in sharing
alike, as is just and equal. But that the unequal should be given to
equals, and the unlike to those who are like, is contrary to nature,
and nothing which is contrary to nature is good. If, therefore,
there is any one superior in virtue and in the power of performing the
best actions, him we ought to follow and obey, but he must have the
capacity for action as well as virtue.
  If we are right in our view, and happiness is assumed to be virtuous
activity, the active life will be the best, both for every city
collectively, and for individuals. Not that a life of action must
necessarily have relation to others, as some persons think, nor are
those ideas only to be regarded as practical which are pursued for the
sake of practical results, but much more the thoughts and
contemplations which are independent and complete in themselves; since
virtuous activity, and therefore a certain kind of action, is an
end, and even in the case of external actions the directing mind is
most truly said to act. Neither, again, is it necessary that states
which are cut off from others and choose to live alone should be
inactive; for activity, as well as other things, may take place by
sections; there are many ways in which the sections of a state act
upon one another. The same thing is equally true of every
individual. If this were otherwise, God and the universe, who have
no external actions over and above their own energies, would be far
enough from perfection. Hence it is evident that the same life is best
for each individual, and for states and for mankind collectively

  Thus far by way of introduction. In what has preceded I have
discussed other forms of government; in what remains the first point
to be considered is what should be the conditions of the ideal or
perfect state; for the perfect state cannot exist without a due supply
of the means of life. And therefore we must presuppose many purely
imaginary conditions, but nothing impossible. There will be a
certain number of citizens, a country in which to place them, and
the like. As the weaver or shipbuilder or any other artisan must
have the material proper for his work (and in proportion as this is
better prepared, so will the result of his art be nobler), so the
statesman or legislator must also have the materials suited to him.
  First among the materials required by the statesman is population:
he will consider what should be the number and character of the
citizens, and then what should be the size and character of the
country. Most persons think that a state in order to be happy ought to
be large; but even if they are right, they have no idea what is a
large and what a small state. For they judge of the size of the city
by the number of the inhabitants; whereas they ought to regard, not
their number, but their power. A city too, like an individual, has a
work to do; and that city which is best adapted to the fulfillment
of its work is to be deemed greatest, in the same sense of the word
great in which Hippocrates might be called greater, not as a man,
but as a physician, than some one else who was taller And even if we
reckon greatness by numbers, we ought not to include everybody, for
there must always be in cities a multitude of slaves and sojourners
and foreigners; but we should include those only who are members of
the state, and who form an essential part of it. The number of the
latter is a proof of the greatness of a city; but a city which
produces numerous artisans and comparatively few soldiers cannot be
great, for a great city is not to be confounded with a populous one.
Moreover, experience shows that a very populous city can rarely, if
ever, be well governed; since all cities which have a reputation for
good government have a limit of population. We may argue on grounds of
reason, and the same result will follow. For law is order, and good
law is good order; but a very great multitude cannot be orderly: to
introduce order into the unlimited is the work of a divine power- of
such a power as holds together the universe. Beauty is realized in
number and magnitude, and the state which combines magnitude with good
order must necessarily be the most beautiful. To the size of states
there is a limit, as there is to other things, plants, animals,
implements; for none of these retain their natural power when they are
too large or too small, but they either wholly lose their nature, or
are spoiled. For example, a ship which is only a span long will not be
a ship at all, nor a ship a quarter of a mile long; yet there may be a
ship of a certain size, either too large or too small, which will
still be a ship, but bad for sailing. In like manner a state when
composed of too few is not, as a state ought to be, self-sufficing;
when of too many, though self-sufficing in all mere necessaries, as
a nation may be, it is not a state, being almost incapable of
constitutional government. For who can be the general of such a vast
multitude, or who the herald, unless he have the voice of a Stentor?
  A state, then, only begins to exist when it has attained a
population sufficient for a good life in the political community: it
may indeed, if it somewhat exceed this number, be a greater state.
But, as I was saying, there must be a limit. What should be the
limit will be easily ascertained by experience. For both governors and
governed have duties to perform; the special functions of a governor
to command and to judge. But if the citizens of a state are to judge
and to distribute offices according to merit, then they must know each
other's characters; where they do not possess this knowledge, both the
election to offices and the decision of lawsuits will go wrong. When
the population is very large they are manifestly settled at haphazard,
which clearly ought not to be. Besides, in an over-populous state
foreigners and metics will readily acquire the rights of citizens, for
who will find them out? Clearly then the best limit of the
population of a state is the largest number which suffices for the
purposes of life, and can be taken in at a single view. Enough
concerning the size of a state.

  Much the same principle will apply to the territory of the state:
every one would agree in praising the territory which is most entirely
self-sufficing; and that must be the territory which is all-producing,
for to have all things and to want nothing is sufficiency. In size and
extent it should be such as may enable the inhabitants to live at once
temperately and liberally in the enjoyment of leisure. Whether we
are right or wrong in laying down this limit we will inquire more
precisely hereafter, when we have occasion to consider what is the
right use of property and wealth: a matter which is much disputed,
because men are inclined to rush into one of two extremes, some into
meanness, others into luxury.
  It is not difficult to determine the general character of the
territory which is required (there are, however, some points on
which military authorities should be heard); it should be difficult of
access to the enemy, and easy of egress to the inhabitants. Further,
we require that the land as well as the inhabitants of whom we were
just now speaking should be taken in at a single view, for a country
which is easily seen can be easily protected. As to the position of
the city, if we could have what we wish, it should be well situated in
regard both to sea and land. This then is one principle, that it
should be a convenient center for the protection of the whole country:
the other is, that it should be suitable for receiving the fruits of
the soil, and also for the bringing in of timber and any other
products that are easily transported.

  Whether a communication with the sea is beneficial to a well-ordered
state or not is a question which has often been asked. It is argued
that the introduction of strangers brought up under other laws, and
the increase of population, will be adverse to good order; the
increase arises from their using the sea and having a crowd of
merchants coming and going, and is inimical to good government.
Apart from these considerations, it would be undoubtedly better,
both with a view to safety and to the provision of necessaries, that
the city and territory should be connected with the sea; the defenders
of a country, if they are to maintain themselves against an enemy,
should be easily relieved both by land and by sea; and even if they
are not able to attack by sea and land at once, they will have less
difficulty in doing mischief to their assailants on one element, if
they themselves can use both. Moreover, it is necessary that they
should import from abroad what is not found in their own country,
and that they should export what they have in excess; for a city ought
to be a market, not indeed for others, but for herself.
  Those who make themselves a market for the world only do so for
the sake of revenue, and if a state ought not to desire profit of this
kind it ought not to have such an emporium. Nowadays we often see in
countries and cities dockyards and harbors very conveniently placed
outside the city, but not too far off; and they are kept in dependence
by walls and similar fortifications. Cities thus situated manifestly
reap the benefit of intercourse with their ports; and any harm which
is likely to accrue may be easily guarded against by the laws, which
will pronounce and determine who may hold communication with one
another, and who may not.
  There can be no doubt that the possession of a moderate naval
force is advantageous to a city; the city should be formidable not
only to its own citizens but to some of its neighbors, or, if
necessary, able to assist them by sea as well as by land. The proper
number or magnitude of this naval force is relative to the character
of the state; for if her function is to take a leading part in
politics, her naval power should be commensurate with the scale of her
enterprises. The population of the state need not be much increased,
since there is no necessity that the sailors should be citizens: the
marines who have the control and command will be freemen, and belong
also to the infantry; and wherever there is a dense population of
Perioeci and husbandmen, there will always be sailors more than
enough. Of this we see instances at the present day. The city of
Heraclea, for example, although small in comparison with many
others, can man a considerable fleet. Such are our conclusions
respecting the territory of the state, its harbors, its towns, its
relations to the sea, and its maritime power.

  Having spoken of the number of the citizens, we will proceed to
speak of what should be their character. This is a subject which can
be easily understood by any one who casts his eye on the more
celebrated states of Hellas, and generally on the distribution of
races in the habitable world. Those who live in a cold climate and
in Europe are full of spirit, but wanting in intelligence and skill;
and therefore they retain comparative freedom, but have no political
organization, and are incapable of ruling over others. Whereas the
natives of Asia are intelligent and inventive, but they are wanting in
spirit, and therefore they are always in a state of subjection and
slavery. But the Hellenic race, which is situated between them, is
likewise intermediate in character, being high-spirited and also
intelligent. Hence it continues free, and is the best-governed of
any nation, and, if it could be formed into one state, would be able
to rule the world. There are also similar differences in the different
tribes of Hellas; for some of them are of a one-sided nature, and
are intelligent or courageous only, while in others there is a happy
combination of both qualities. And clearly those whom the legislator
will most easily lead to virtue may be expected to be both intelligent
and courageous. Some say that the guardians should be friendly towards
those whom they know, fierce towards those whom they do not know. Now,
passion is the quality of the soul which begets friendship and enables
us to love; notably the spirit within us is more stirred against our
friends and acquaintances than against those who are unknown to us,
when we think that we are despised by them; for which reason
Archilochus, complaining of his friends, very naturally addresses
his soul in these words:

     For surely thou art plagued on account of friends.

  The power of command and the love of freedom are in all men based
upon this quality, for passion is commanding and invincible. Nor is it
right to say that the guardians should be fierce towards those whom
they do not know, for we ought not to be out of temper with any one;
and a lofty spirit is not fierce by nature, but only when excited
against evil-doers. And this, as I was saying before, is a feeling
which men show most strongly towards their friends if they think
they have received a wrong at their hands: as indeed is reasonable;
for, besides the actual injury, they seem to be deprived of a
benefit by those who owe them one. Hence the saying:

     Cruel is the strife of brethren,

and again:

     They who love in excess also hate in excess.

  Thus we have nearly determined the number and character of the
citizens of our state, and also the size and nature of their
territory. I say 'nearly,' for we ought not to require the same
minuteness in theory as in the facts given by perception.

  As in other natural compounds the conditions of a composite whole
are not necessarily organic parts of it, so in a state or in any other
combination forming a unity not everything is a part, which is a
necessary condition. The members of an association have necessarily
some one thing the same and common to all, in which they share equally
or unequally for example, food or land or any other thing. But where
there are two things of which one is a means and the other an end,
they have nothing in common except that the one receives what the
other produces. Such, for example, is the relation which workmen and
tools stand to their work; the house and the builder have nothing in
common, but the art of the builder is for the sake of the house. And
so states require property, but property, even though living beings
are included in it, is no part of a state; for a state is not a
community of living beings only, but a community of equals, aiming
at the best life possible. Now, whereas happiness is the highest good,
being a realization and perfect practice of virtue, which some can
attain, while others have little or none of it, the various
qualities of men are clearly the reason why there are various kinds of
states and many forms of government; for different men seek after
happiness in different ways and by different means, and so make for
themselves different modes of life and forms of government. We must
see also how many things are indispensable to the existence of a
state, for what we call the parts of a state will be found among the
indispensables. Let us then enumerate the functions of a state, and we
shall easily elicit what we want:
  First, there must be food; secondly, arts, for life requires many
instruments; thirdly, there must be arms, for the members of a
community have need of them, and in their own hands, too, in order
to maintain authority both against disobedient subjects and against
external assailants; fourthly, there must be a certain amount of
revenue, both for internal needs, and for the purposes of war;
fifthly, or rather first, there must be a care of religion which is
commonly called worship; sixthly, and most necessary of all there must
be a power of deciding what is for the public interest, and what is
just in men's dealings with one another.
  These are the services which every state may be said to need. For
a state is not a mere aggregate of persons, but a union of them
sufficing for the purposes of life; and if any of these things be
wanting, it is as we maintain impossible that the community can be
absolutely self-sufficing. A state then should be framed with a view
to the fulfillment of these functions. There must be husbandmen to
procure food, and artisans, and a warlike and a wealthy class, and
priests, and judges to decide what is necessary and expedient.

  Having determined these points, we have in the next place to
consider whether all ought to share in every sort of occupation. Shall
every man be at once husbandman, artisan, councillor, judge, or
shall we suppose the several occupations just mentioned assigned to
different persons? or, thirdly, shall some employments be assigned
to individuals and others common to all? The same arrangement,
however, does not occur in every constitution; as we were saying,
all may be shared by all, or not all by all, but only by some; and
hence arise the differences of constitutions, for in democracies all
share in all, in oligarchies the opposite practice prevails. Now,
since we are here speaking of the best form of government, i.e.,
that under which the state will be most happy (and happiness, as has
been already said, cannot exist without virtue), it clearly follows
that in the state which is best governed and possesses men who are
just absolutely, and not merely relatively to the principle of the
constitution, the citizens must not lead the life of mechanics or
tradesmen, for such a life is ignoble, and inimical to virtue. Neither
must they be husbandmen, since leisure is necessary both for the
development of virtue and the performance of political duties.
  Again, there is in a state a class of warriors, and another of
councillors, who advise about the expedient and determine matters of
law, and these seem in an especial manner parts of a state. Now,
should these two classes be distinguished, or are both functions to be
assigned to the same persons? Here again there is no difficulty in
seeing that both functions will in one way belong to the same, in
another, to different persons. To different persons in so far as these
i.e., the physical and the employments are suited to different
primes of life, for the one requires mental wisdom and the other
strength. But on the other hand, since it is an impossible thing
that those who are able to use or to resist force should be willing to
remain always in subjection, from this point of view the persons are
the same; for those who carry arms can always determine the fate of
the constitution. It remains therefore that both functions should be
entrusted by the ideal constitution to the same persons, not, however,
at the same time, but in the order prescribed by nature, who has given
to young men strength and to older men wisdom. Such a distribution
of duties will be expedient and also just, and is founded upon a
principle of conformity to merit. Besides, the ruling class should
be the owners of property, for they are citizens, and the citizens
of a state should be in good circumstances; whereas mechanics or any
other class which is not a producer of virtue have no share in the
state. This follows from our first principle, for happiness cannot
exist without virtue, and a city is not to be termed happy in regard
to a portion of the citizens, but in regard to them all. And clearly
property should be in their hands, since the husbandmen will of
necessity be slaves or barbarian Perioeci.
  Of the classes enumerated there remain only the priests, and the
manner in which their office is to be regulated is obvious. No
husbandman or mechanic should be appointed to it; for the Gods
should receive honor from the citizens only. Now since the body of the
citizen is divided into two classes, the warriors and the
councillors and it is beseeming that the worship of the Gods should be
duly performed, and also a rest provided in their service for those
who from age have given up active life, to the old men of these two
classes should be assigned the duties of the priesthood.
  We have shown what are the necessary conditions, and what the
parts of a state: husbandmen, craftsmen, and laborers of an kinds
are necessary to the existence of states, but the parts of the state
are the warriors and councillors. And these are distinguished
severally from one another, the distinction being in some cases
permanent, in others not.

  It is not a new or recent discovery of political philosophers that
the state ought to be divided into classes, and that the warriors
should be separated from the husbandmen. The system has continued in
Egypt and in Crete to this day, and was established, as tradition
says, by a law of Sesostris in Egypt and of Minos in Crete. The
institution of common tables also appears to be of ancient date, being
in Crete as old as the reign of Minos, and in Italy far older. The
Italian historians say that there was a certain Italus, king of
Oenotria, from whom the Oenotrians were called Italians, and who
gave the name of Italy to the promontory of Europe lying within the
Scylletic and Lametic Gulfs, which are distant from one another only
half a day's journey. They say that this Italus converted the
Oenotrians from shepherds into husbandmen, and besides other laws
which he gave them, was the founder of their common meals; even in our
day some who are derived from him retain this institution and
certain other laws of his. On the side of Italy towards Tyrrhenia
dwelt the Opici, who are now, as of old, called Ausones; and on the
side towards Iapygia and the Ionian Gulf, in the district called
Siritis, the Chones, who are likewise of Oenotrian race. From this
part of the world originally came the institution of common tables;
the separation into castes from Egypt, for the reign of Sesostris is
of far greater antiquity than that of Minos. It is true indeed that
these and many other things have been invented several times over in
the course of ages, or rather times without number; for necessity
may be supposed to have taught men the inventions which were
absolutely required, and when these were provided, it was natural that
other things which would adorn and enrich life should grow up by
degrees. And we may infer that in political institutions the same rule
holds. Egypt witnesses to the antiquity of all these things, for the
Egyptians appear to be of all people the most ancient; and they have
laws and a regular constitution existing from time immemorial. We
should therefore make the best use of what has been already
discovered, and try to supply defects.
  I have already remarked that the land ought to belong to those who
possess arms and have a share in the government, and that the
husbandmen ought to be a class distinct from them; and I have
determined what should be the extent and nature of the territory.
Let me proceed to discuss the distribution of the land, and the
character of the agricultural class; for I do not think that
property ought to be common, as some maintain, but only that by
friendly consent there should be a common use of it; and that no
citizen should be in want of subsistence.
  As to common meals, there is a general agreement that a well ordered
city should have them; and we will hereafter explain what are our
own reasons for taking this view. They ought, however, to be open to
all the citizens. And yet it is not easy for the poor to contribute
the requisite sum out of their private means, and to provide also
for their household. The expense of religious worship should
likewise be a public charge. The land must therefore be divided into
two parts, one public and the other private, and each part should be
subdivided, part of the public land being appropriated to the
service of the Gods, and the other part used to defray the cost of the
common meals; while of the private land, part should be near the
border, and the other near the city, so that, each citizen having
two lots, they may all of them have land in both places; there is
justice and fairness in such a division, and it tends to inspire
unanimity among the people in their border wars. Where there is not
this arrangement some of them are too ready to come to blows with
their neighbors, while others are so cautious that they quite lose the
sense of honor. Wherefore there is a law in some places which
forbids those who dwell near the border to take part in public
deliberations about wars with neighbors, on the ground that their
interests will pervert their judgment. For the reasons already
mentioned, then, the land should be divided in the manner described.
The very best thing of all would be that the husbandmen should be
slaves taken from among men who are not all of the same race and not
spirited, for if they have no spirit they will be better suited for
their work, and there will be no danger of their making a
revolution. The next best thing would be that they should be
Perioeci of foreign race, and of a like inferior nature; some of
them should be the slaves of individuals, and employed in the
private estates of men of property, the remainder should be the
property of the state and employed on the common land. I will
hereafter explain what is the proper treatment of slaves, and why it
is expedient that liberty should be always held out to them as the
reward of their services.

  We have already said that the city should be open to the land and to
the sea, and to the whole country as far as possible. In respect of
the place itself our wish would be that its situation should be
fortunate in four things. The first, health- this is a necessity:
cities which lie towards the east, and are blown upon by winds
coming from the east, are the healthiest; next in healthfulness are
those which are sheltered from the north wind, for they have a
milder winter. The site of the city should likewise be convenient both
for political administration and for war. With a view to the latter it
should afford easy egress to the citizens, and at the same time be
inaccessible and difficult of capture to enemies. There should be a
natural abundance of springs and fountains in the town, or, if there
is a deficiency of them, great reservoirs may be established for the
collection of rainwater, such as will not fail when the inhabitants
are cut off from the country by by war. Special care should be taken
of the health of the inhabitants, which will depend chiefly on the
healthiness of the locality and of the quarter to which they are
exposed, and secondly, on the use of pure water; this latter point
is by no means a secondary consideration. For the elements which we
use most and oftenest for the support of the body contribute most to
health, and among these are water and air. Wherefore, in all wise
states, if there is a want of pure water, and the supply is not all
equally good, the drinking water ought to be separated from that which
is used for other purposes.
  As to strongholds, what is suitable to different forms of government
varies: thus an acropolis is suited to an oligarchy or a monarchy, but
a plain to a democracy; neither to an aristocracy, but rather a number
of strong places. The arrangement of private houses is considered to
be more agreeable and generally more convenient, if the streets are
regularly laid out after the modern fashion which Hippodamus
introduced, but for security in war the antiquated mode of building,
which made it difficult for strangers to get out of a town and for
assailants to find their way in, is preferable. A city should
therefore adopt both plans of building: it is possible to arrange
the houses irregularly, as husbandmen plant their vines in what are
called 'clumps.' The whole town should not be laid out in straight
lines, but only certain quarters and regions; thus security and beauty
will be combined.
  As to walls, those who say that cities making any pretension to
military virtue should not have them, are quite out of date in their
notions; and they may see the cities which prided themselves on this
fancy confuted by facts. True, there is little courage shown in
seeking for safety behind a rampart when an enemy is similar in
character and not much superior in number; but the superiority of
the besiegers may be and often is too much both for ordinary human
valor and for that which is found only in a few; and if they are to be
saved and to escape defeat and outrage, the strongest wall will be the
truest soldierly precaution, more especially now that missiles and
siege engines have been brought to such perfection. To have no walls
would be as foolish as to choose a site for a town in an exposed
country, and to level the heights; or as if an individual were to
leave his house unwalled, lest the inmates should become cowards.
Nor must we forget that those who have their cities surrounded by
walls may either take advantage of them or not, but cities which are
unwalled have no choice.
  If our conclusions are just, not only should cities have walls,
but care should be taken to make them ornamental, as well as useful
for warlike purposes, and adapted to resist modern inventions. For
as the assailants of a city do all they can to gain an advantage, so
the defenders should make use of any means of defense which have
been already discovered, and should devise and invent others, for when
men are well prepared no enemy even thinks of attacking them.

  As the walls are to be divided by guardhouses and towers built at
suitable intervals, and the body of citizens must be distributed at
common tables, the idea will naturally occur that we should
establish some of the common tables in the guardhouses. These might be
arranged as has been suggested; while the principal common tables of
the magistrates will occupy a suitable place, and there also will be
the buildings appropriated to religious worship except in the case
of those rites which the law or the Pythian oracle has restricted to a
special locality. The site should be a spot seen far and wide, which
gives due elevation to virtue and towers over the neighborhood.
Below this spot should be established an agora, such as that which the
Thessalians call the 'freemen's agora'; from this all trade should
be excluded, and no mechanic, husbandman, or any such person allowed
to enter, unless he be summoned by the magistrates. It would be a
charming use of the place, if the gymnastic exercises of the elder men
were performed there. For in this noble practice different ages should
be separated, and some of the magistrates should stay with the boys,
while the grown-up men remain with the magistrates; for the presence
of the magistrates is the best mode of inspiring true modesty and
ingenuous fear. There should also be a traders' agora, distinct and
apart from the other, in a situation which is convenient for the
reception of goods both by sea and land.
  But in speaking of the magistrates we must not forget another
section of the citizens, viz., the priests, for whom public tables
should likewise be provided in their proper place near the temples.
The magistrates who deal with contracts, indictments, summonses, and
the like, and those who have the care of the agora and of the city,
respectively, ought to be established near an agora and some public
place of meeting; the neighborhood of the traders' agora will be a
suitable spot; the upper agora we devote to the life of leisure, the
other is intended for the necessities of trade.
  The same order should prevail in the country, for there too the
magistrates, called by some 'Inspectors of Forests' and by others
'Wardens of the Country,' must have guardhouses and common tables
while they are on duty; temples should also be scattered throughout
the country, dedicated, some to Gods, and some to heroes.
  But it would be a waste of time for us to linger over details like
these. The difficulty is not in imagining but in carrying them out. We
may talk about them as much as we like, but the execution of them will
depend upon fortune. Wherefore let us say no more about these
matters for the present.

  Returning to the constitution itself, let us seek to determine out
of what and what sort of elements the state which is to be happy and
well-governed should be composed. There are two things in which all
which all well-being consists: one of them is the choice of a right
end and aim of action, and the other the discovery of the actions
which are means towards it; for the means and the end may agree or
disagree. Sometimes the right end is set before men, but in practice
they fail to attain it; in other cases they are successful in all
the means, but they propose to themselves a bad end; and sometimes
they fail in both. Take, for example, the art of medicine;
physicians do not always understand the nature of health, and also the
means which they use may not effect the desired end. In all arts and
sciences both the end and the means should be equally within our
  The happiness and well-being which all men manifestly desire, some
have the power of attaining, but to others, from some accident or
defect of nature, the attainment of them is not granted; for a good
life requires a supply of external goods, in a less degree when men
are in a good state, in a greater degree when they are in a lower
state. Others again, who possess the conditions of happiness, go
utterly wrong from the first in the pursuit of it. But since our
object is to discover the best form of government, that, namely, under
which a city will be best governed, and since the city is best
governed which has the greatest opportunity of obtaining happiness, it
is evident that we must clearly ascertain the nature of happiness.
  We maintain, and have said in the Ethics, if the arguments there
adduced are of any value, that happiness is the realization and
perfect exercise of virtue, and this not conditional, but absolute.
And I used the term 'conditional' to express that which is
indispensable, and 'absolute' to express that which is good in itself.
Take the case of just actions; just punishments and chastisements do
indeed spring from a good principle, but they are good only because we
cannot do without them- it would be better that neither individuals
nor states should need anything of the sort- but actions which aim
at honor and advantage are absolutely the best. The conditional action
is only the choice of a lesser evil; whereas these are the
foundation and creation of good. A good man may make the best even
of poverty and disease, and the other ills of life; but he can only
attain happiness under the opposite conditions (for this also has been
determined in accordance with ethical arguments, that the good man
is he for whom, because he is virtuous, the things that are absolutely
good are good; it is also plain that his use of these goods must be
virtuous and in the absolute sense good). This makes men fancy that
external goods are the cause of happiness, yet we might as well say
that a brilliant performance on the lyre was to be attributed to the
instrument and not to the skill of the performer.
  It follows then from what has been said that some things the
legislator must find ready to his hand in a state, others he must
provide. And therefore we can only say: May our state be constituted
in such a manner as to be blessed with the goods of which fortune
disposes (for we acknowledge her power): whereas virtue and goodness
in the state are not a matter of chance but the result of knowledge
and purpose. A city can be virtuous only when the citizens who have
a share in the government are virtuous, and in our state all the
citizens share in the government; let us then inquire how a man
becomes virtuous. For even if we could suppose the citizen body to
be virtuous, without each of them being so, yet the latter would be
better, for in the virtue of each the virtue of all is involved.
  There are three things which make men good and virtuous; these are
nature, habit, rational principle. In the first place, every one
must be born a man and not some other animal; so, too, he must have
a certain character, both of body and soul. But some qualities there
is no use in having at birth, for they are altered by habit, and there
are some gifts which by nature are made to be turned by habit to
good or bad. Animals lead for the most part a life of nature, although
in lesser particulars some are influenced by habit as well. Man has
rational principle, in addition, and man only. Wherefore nature,
habit, rational principle must be in harmony with one another; for
they do not always agree; men do many things against habit and nature,
if rational principle persuades them that they ought. We have
already determined what natures are likely to be most easily molded by
the hands of the legislator. An else is the work of education; we
learn some things by habit and some by instruction.

  Since every political society is composed of rulers and subjects let
us consider whether the relations of one to the other should
interchange or be permanent. For the education of the citizens will
necessarily vary with the answer given to this question. Now, if
some men excelled others in the same degree in which gods and heroes
are supposed to excel mankind in general (having in the first place
a great advantage even in their bodies, and secondly in their
minds), so that the superiority of the governors was undisputed and
patent to their subjects, it would clearly be better that once for
an the one class should rule and the other serve. But since this is
unattainable, and kings have no marked superiority over their
subjects, such as Scylax affirms to be found among the Indians, it
is obviously necessary on many grounds that all the citizens alike
should take their turn of governing and being governed. Equality
consists in the same treatment of similar persons, and no government
can stand which is not founded upon justice. For if the government
be unjust every one in the country unites with the governed in the
desire to have a revolution, and it is an impossibility that the
members of the government can be so numerous as to be stronger than
all their enemies put together. Yet that governors should excel
their subjects is undeniable. How all this is to be effected, and in
what way they will respectively share in the government, the
legislator has to consider. The subject has been already mentioned.
Nature herself has provided the distinction when she made a difference
between old and young within the same species, of whom she fitted
the one to govern and the other to be governed. No one takes offense
at being governed when he is young, nor does he think himself better
than his governors, especially if he will enjoy the same privilege
when he reaches the required age.
  We conclude that from one point of view governors and governed are
identical, and from another different. And therefore their education
must be the same and also different. For he who would learn to command
well must, as men say, first of all learn to obey. As I observed in
the first part of this treatise, there is one rule which is for the
sake of the rulers and another rule which is for the sake of the
ruled; the former is a despotic, the latter a free government. Some
commands differ not in the thing commanded, but in the intention with
which they are imposed. Wherefore, many apparently menial offices are
an honor to the free youth by whom they are performed; for actions do
not differ as honorable or dishonorable in themselves so much as in
the end and intention of them. But since we say that the virtue of
the citizen and ruler is the same as that of the good man, and that
the same person must first be a subject and then a ruler, the
legislator has to see that they become good men, and by what means
this may be accomplished, and what is the end of the perfect life.
  Now the soul of man is divided into two parts, one of which has a
rational principle in itself, and the other, not having a rational
principle in itself, is able to obey such a principle. And we call a
man in any way good because he has the virtues of these two parts.
In which of them the end is more likely to be found is no matter of
doubt to those who adopt our division; for in the world both of nature
and of art the inferior always exists for the sake of the better or
superior, and the better or superior is that which has a rational
principle. This principle, too, in our ordinary way of speaking, is
divided into two kinds, for there is a practical and a speculative
principle. This part, then, must evidently be similarly divided. And
there must be a corresponding division of actions; the actions of
the naturally better part are to be preferred by those who have it
in their power to attain to two out of the three or to all, for that
is always to every one the most eligible which is the highest
attainable by him. The whole of life is further divided into two
parts, business and leisure, war and peace, and of actions some aim at
what is necessary and useful, and some at what is honorable. And the
preference given to one or the other class of actions must necessarily
be like the preference given to one or other part of the soul and
its actions over the other; there must be war for the sake of peace,
business for the sake of leisure, things useful and necessary for
the sake of things honorable. All these points the statesman should
keep in view when he frames his laws; he should consider the parts
of the soul and their functions, and above all the better and the end;
he should also remember the diversities of human lives and actions.
For men must be able to engage in business and go to war, but
leisure and peace are better; they must do what is necessary and
indeed what is useful, but what is honorable is better. On such
principles children and persons of every age which requires
education should be trained. Whereas even the Hellenes of the
present day who are reputed to be best governed, and the legislators
who gave them their constitutions, do not appear to have framed
their governments with a regard to the best end, or to have given them
laws and education with a view to all the virtues, but in a vulgar
spirit have fallen back on those which promised to be more useful
and profitable. Many modern writers have taken a similar view: they
commend the Lacedaemonian constitution, and praise the legislator
for making conquest and war his sole aim, a doctrine which may be
refuted by argument and has long ago been refuted by facts. For most
men desire empire in the hope of accumulating the goods of fortune;
and on this ground Thibron and all those who have written about the
Lacedaemonian constitution have praised their legislator, because
the Lacedaemonians, by being trained to meet dangers, gained great
power. But surely they are not a happy people now that their empire
has passed away, nor was their legislator right. How ridiculous is the
result, if, when they are continuing in the observance of his laws and
no one interferes with them, they have lost the better part of life!
These writers further err about the sort of government which the
legislator should approve, for the government of freemen is nobler and
implies more virtue than despotic government. Neither is a city to
be deemed happy or a legislator to be praised because he trains his
citizens to conquer and obtain dominion over their neighbors, for
there is great evil in this. On a similar principle any citizen who
could, should obviously try to obtain the power in his own state-
the crime which the Lacedaemonians accuse king Pausanias of
attempting, although he had so great honor already. No such
principle and no law having this object is either statesmanlike or
useful or right. For the same things are best both for individuals and
for states, and these are the things which the legislator ought to
implant in the minds of his citizens.
  Neither should men study war with a view to the enslavement of those
who do not deserve to be enslaved; but first of all they should
provide against their own enslavement, and in the second place
obtain empire for the good of the governed, and not for the sake of
exercising a general despotism, and in the third place they should
seek to be masters only over those who deserve to be slaves. Facts, as
well as arguments, prove that the legislator should direct all his
military and other measures to the provision of leisure and the
establishment of peace. For most of these military states are safe
only while they are at war, but fall when they have acquired their
empire; like unused iron they lose their temper in time of peace.
And for this the legislator is to blame, he never having taught them
how to lead the life of peace.

  Since the end of individuals and of states is the same, the end of
the best man and of the best constitution must also be the same; it is
therefore evident that there ought to exist in both of them the
virtues of leisure; for peace, as has been often repeated, is the
end of war, and leisure of toil. But leisure and cultivation may be
promoted, not only by those virtues which are practiced in leisure,
but also by some of those which are useful to business. For many
necessaries of life have to be supplied before we can have leisure.
Therefore a city must be temperate and brave, and able to endure:
for truly, as the proverb says, 'There is no leisure for slaves,'
and those who cannot face danger like men are the slaves of any
invader. Courage and endurance are required for business and
philosophy for leisure, temperance and justice for both, and more
especially in times of peace and leisure, for war compels men to be
just and temperate, whereas the enjoyment of good fortune and the
leisure which comes with peace tend to make them insolent. Those
then who seem to be the best-off and to be in the possession of
every good, have special need of justice and temperance- for
example, those (if such there be, as the poets say) who dwell in the
Islands of the Blest; they above all will need philosophy and
temperance and justice, and all the more the more leisure they have,
living in the midst of abundance. There is no difficulty in seeing why
the state that would be happy and good ought to have these virtues. If
it be disgraceful in men not to be able to use the goods of life, it
is peculiarly disgraceful not to be able to use them in time of
leisure- to show excellent qualities in action and war, and when
they have peace and leisure to be no better than slaves. Wherefore
we should not practice virtue after the manner of the
Lacedaemonians. For they, while agreeing with other men in their
conception of the highest goods, differ from the rest of mankind in
thinking that they are to be obtained by the practice of a single
virtue. And since they think these goods and the enjoyment of them
greater than the enjoyment derived from the virtues ... and that it
should be practiced for its own sake, is evident from what has been
said; we must now consider how and by what means it is to be attained.
  We have already determined that nature and habit and rational
principle are required, and, of these, the proper nature of the
citizens has also been defined by us. But we have still to consider
whether the training of early life is to be that of rational principle
or habit, for these two must accord, and when in accord they will then
form the best of harmonies. The rational principle may be mistaken and
fail in attaining the highest ideal of life, and there may be a like
evil influence of habit. Thus much is clear in the first place,
that, as in all other things, birth implies an antecedent beginning,
and that there are beginnings whose end is relative to a further
end. Now, in men rational principle and mind are the end towards which
nature strives, so that the birth and moral discipline of the citizens
ought to be ordered with a view to them. In the second place, as the
soul and body are two, we see also that there are two parts of the
soul, the rational and the irrational, and two corresponding states-
reason and appetite. And as the body is prior in order of generation
to the soul, so the irrational is prior to the rational. The proof
is that anger and wishing and desire are implanted in children from
their very birth, but reason and understanding are developed as they
grow older. Wherefore, the care of the body ought to precede that of
the soul, and the training of the appetitive part should follow:
none the less our care of it must be for the sake of the reason, and
our care of the body for the sake of the soul.

  Since the legislator should begin by considering how the frames of
the children whom he is rearing may be as good as possible, his
first care will be about marriage- at what age should his citizens
marry, and who are fit to marry? In legislating on this subject he
ought to consider the persons and the length of their life, that their
procreative life may terminate at the same period, and that they may
not differ in their bodily powers, as will be the case if the man is
still able to beget children while the woman is unable to bear them,
or the woman able to bear while the man is unable to beget, for from
these causes arise quarrels and differences between married persons.
Secondly, he must consider the time at which the children will succeed
to their parents; there ought not to be too great an interval of
age, for then the parents will be too old to derive any pleasure
from their affection, or to be of any use to them. Nor ought they to
be too nearly of an age; to youthful marriages there are many
objections- the children will be wanting in respect to the parents,
who will seem to be their contemporaries, and disputes will arise in
the management of the household. Thirdly, and this is the point from
which we digressed, the legislator must mold to his will the frames of
newly-born children. Almost all these objects may be secured by
attention to one point. Since the time of generation is commonly
limited within the age of seventy years in the case of a man, and of
fifty in the case of a woman, the commencement of the union should
conform to these periods. The union of male and female when too
young is bad for the procreation of children; in all other animals the
offspring of the young are small and in-developed, and with a tendency
to produce female children, and therefore also in man, as is proved by
the fact that in those cities in which men and women are accustomed to
marry young, the people are small and weak; in childbirth also younger
women suffer more, and more of them die; some persons say that this
was the meaning of the response once given to the Troezenians- the
oracle really meant that many died because they married too young;
it had nothing to do with the ingathering of the harvest. It also
conduces to temperance not to marry too soon; for women who marry
early are apt to be wanton; and in men too the bodily frame is stunted
if they marry while the seed is growing (for there is a time when
the growth of the seed, also, ceases, or continues to but a slight
extent). Women should marry when they are about eighteen years of age,
and men at seven and thirty; then they are in the prime of life, and
the decline in the powers of both will coincide. Further, the
children, if their birth takes place soon, as may reasonably be
expected, will succeed in the beginning of their prime, when the
fathers are already in the decline of life, and have nearly reached
their term of three-score years and ten.
  Thus much of the age proper for marriage: the season of the year
should also be considered; according to our present custom, people
generally limit marriage to the season of winter, and they are right.
The precepts of physicians and natural philosophers about generation
should also be studied by the parents themselves; the physicians give
good advice about the favorable conditions of the body, and the
natural philosophers about the winds; of which they prefer the north
to the south.
  What constitution in the parent is most advantageous to the
offspring is a subject which we will consider more carefully when we
speak of the education of children, and we will only make a few
general remarks at present. The constitution of an athlete is not
suited to the life of a citizen, or to health, or to the procreation
of children, any more than the valetudinarian or exhausted
constitution, but one which is in a mean between them. A man's
constitution should be inured to labor, but not to labor which is
excessive or of one sort only, such as is practiced by athletes; he
should be capable of all the actions of a freeman. These remarks apply
equally to both parents.
  Women who are with child should be careful of themselves; they
should take exercise and have a nourishing diet. The first of these
prescriptions the legislator will easily carry into effect by
requiring that they shall take a walk daily to some temple, where they
can worship the gods who preside over birth. Their minds, however,
unlike their bodies, they ought to keep quiet, for the offspring
derive their natures from their mothers as plants do from the earth.
  As to the exposure and rearing of children, let there be a law that
no deformed child shall live, but that on the ground of an excess in
the number of children, if the established customs of the state forbid
this (for in our state population has a limit), no child is to be
exposed, but when couples have children in excess, let abortion be
procured before sense and life have begun; what may or may not be
lawfully done in these cases depends on the question of life and
  And now, having determined at what ages men and women are to begin
their union, let us also determine how long they shall continue to
beget and bear offspring for the state; men who are too old, like men
who are too young, produce children who are defective in body and
mind; the children of very old men are weakly. The limit then, should
be the age which is the prime of their intelligence, and this in most
persons, according to the notion of some poets who measure life by
periods of seven years, is about fifty; at four or five years or
later, they should cease from having families; and from that time
forward only cohabit with one another for the sake of health; or for
some similar reason.
  As to adultery, let it be held disgraceful, in general, for any
man or woman to be found in any way unfaithful when they are
married, and called husband and wife. If during the time of bearing
children anything of the sort occur, let the guilty person be punished
with a loss of privileges in proportion to the offense.

  After the children have been born, the manner of rearing them may be
supposed to have a great effect on their bodily strength. It would
appear from the example of animals, and of those nations who desire to
create the military habit, that the food which has most milk in it
is best suited to human beings; but the less wine the better, if
they would escape diseases. Also all the motions to which children can
be subjected at their early age are very useful. But in order to
preserve their tender limbs from distortion, some nations have had
recourse to mechanical appliances which straighten their bodies. To
accustom children to the cold from their earliest years is also an
excellent practice, which greatly conduces to health, and hardens them
for military service. Hence many barbarians have a custom of
plunging their children at birth into a cold stream; others, like
the Celts, clothe them in a light wrapper only. For human nature
should be early habituated to endure all which by habit it can be made
to endure; but the process must be gradual. And children, from their
natural warmth, may be easily trained to bear cold. Such care should
attend them in the first stage of life.
  The next period lasts to the age of five; during this no demand
should be made upon the child for study or labor, lest its growth be
impeded; and there should be sufficient motion to prevent the limbs
from being inactive. This can be secured, among other ways, by
amusement, but the amusement should not be vulgar or tiring or
effeminate. The Directors of Education, as they are termed, should
be careful what tales or stories the children hear, for all such
things are designed to prepare the way for the business of later life,
and should be for the most part imitations of the occupations which
they will hereafter pursue in earnest. Those are wrong who in their
laws attempt to check the loud crying and screaming of children, for
these contribute towards their growth, and, in a manner, exercise
their bodies. Straining the voice has a strengthening effect similar
to that produced by the retention of the breath in violent
exertions. The Directors of Education should have an eye to their
bringing up, and in particular should take care that they are left
as little as possible with slaves. For until they are seven years
old they must five at home; and therefore, even at this early age,
it is to be expected that they should acquire a taint of meanness from
what they hear and see. Indeed, there is nothing which the
legislator should be more careful to drive away than indecency of
speech; for the light utterance of shameful words leads soon to
shameful actions. The young especially should never be allowed to
repeat or hear anything of the sort. A freeman who is found saying
or doing what is forbidden, if he be too young as yet to have the
privilege of reclining at the public tables, should be disgraced and
beaten, and an elder person degraded as his slavish conduct
deserves. And since we do not allow improper language, clearly we
should also banish pictures or speeches from the stage which are
indecent. Let the rulers take care that there be no image or picture
representing unseemly actions, except in the temples of those Gods
at whose festivals the law permits even ribaldry, and whom the law
also permits to be worshipped by persons of mature age on behalf of
themselves, their children, and their wives. But the legislator should
not allow youth to be spectators of iambi or of comedy until they
are of an age to sit at the public tables and to drink strong wine; by
that time education will have armed them against the evil influences
of such representations.
  We have made these remarks in a cursory manner- they are enough
for the present occasion; but hereafter we will return to the
subject and after a fuller discussion determine whether such liberty
should or should not be granted, and in what way granted, if at all.
Theodorus, the tragic actor, was quite right in saying that he would
not allow any other actor, not even if he were quite second-rate, to
enter before himself, because the spectators grew fond of the voices
which they first heard. And the same principle applies universally
to association with things as well as with persons, for we always like
best whatever comes first. And therefore youth should be kept
strangers to all that is bad, and especially to things which suggest
vice or hate. When the five years have passed away, during the two
following years they must look on at the pursuits which they are
hereafter to learn. There are two periods of life with reference to
which education has to be divided, from seven to the age of puberty,
and onwards to the age of one and twenty. The poets who divide ages by
sevens are in the main right: but we should observe the divisions
actually made by nature; for the deficiencies of nature are what art
and education seek to fill up.
  Let us then first inquire if any regulations are to be laid down
about children, and secondly, whether the care of them should be the
concern of the state or of private individuals, which latter is in our
own day the common custom, and in the third place, what these
regulations should be.
                                BOOK EIGHT

  NO ONE will doubt that the legislator should direct his attention
above all to the education of youth; for the neglect of education does
harm to the constitution The citizen should be molded to suit the form
of government under which he lives. For each government has a peculiar
character which originally formed and which continues to preserve
it. The character of democracy creates democracy, and the character of
oligarchy creates oligarchy; and always the better the character,
the better the government.
  Again, for the exercise of any faculty or art a previous training
and habituation are required; clearly therefore for the practice of
virtue. And since the whole city has one end, it is manifest that
education should be one and the same for all, and that it should be
public, and not private- not as at present, when every one looks after
his own children separately, and gives them separate instruction of
the sort which he thinks best; the training in things which are of
common interest should be the same for all. Neither must we suppose
that any one of the citizens belongs to himself, for they all belong
to the state, and are each of them a part of the state, and the care
of each part is inseparable from the care of the whole. In this
particular as in some others the Lacedaemonians are to be praised, for
they take the greatest pains about their children, and make
education the business of the state.

  That education should be regulated by law and should be an affair of
state is not to be denied, but what should be the character of this
public education, and how young persons should be educated, are
questions which remain to be considered. As things are, there is
disagreement about the subjects. For mankind are by no means agreed
about the things to be taught, whether we look to virtue or the best
life. Neither is it clear whether education is more concerned with
intellectual or with moral virtue. The existing practice is
perplexing; no one knows on what principle we should proceed- should
the useful in life, or should virtue, or should the higher
knowledge, be the aim of our training; all three opinions have been
entertained. Again, about the means there is no agreement; for
different persons, starting with different ideas about the nature of
virtue, naturally disagree about the practice of it. There can be no
doubt that children should be taught those useful things which are
really necessary, but not all useful things; for occupations are
divided into liberal and illiberal; and to young children should be
imparted only such kinds of knowledge as will be useful to them
without vulgarizing them. And any occupation, art, or science, which
makes the body or soul or mind of the freeman less fit for the
practice or exercise of virtue, is vulgar; wherefore we call those
arts vulgar which tend to deform the body, and likewise all paid
employments, for they absorb and degrade the mind. There are also some
liberal arts quite proper for a freeman to acquire, but only in a
certain degree, and if he attend to them too closely, in order to
attain perfection in them, the same evil effects will follow. The
object also which a man sets before him makes a great difference; if
he does or learns anything for his own sake or for the sake of his
friends, or with a view to excellence the action will not appear
illiberal; but if done for the sake of others, the very same action
will be thought menial and servile. The received subjects of
instruction, as I have already remarked, are partly of a liberal and
party of an illiberal character.

  The customary branches of education are in number four; they are-
(1) reading and writing, (2) gymnastic exercises, (3) music, to
which is sometimes added (4) drawing. Of these, reading and writing
and drawing are regarded as useful for the purposes of life in a
variety of ways, and gymnastic exercises are thought to infuse
courage. concerning music a doubt may be raised- in our own day most
men cultivate it for the sake of pleasure, but originally it was
included in education, because nature herself, as has been often said,
requires that we should be able, not only to work well, but to use
leisure well; for, as I must repeat once again, the first principle of
all action is leisure. Both are required, but leisure is better than
occupation and is its end; and therefore the question must be asked,
what ought we to do when at leisure? Clearly we ought not to be
amusing ourselves, for then amusement would be the end of life. But if
this is inconceivable, and amusement is needed more amid serious
occupations than at other times (for he who is hard at work has need
of relaxation, and amusement gives relaxation, whereas occupation is
always accompanied with exertion and effort), we should introduce
amusements only at suitable times, and they should be our medicines,
for the emotion which they create in the soul is a relaxation, and
from the pleasure we obtain rest. But leisure of itself gives pleasure
and happiness and enjoyment of life, which are experienced, not by the
busy man, but by those who have leisure. For he who is occupied has in
view some end which he has not attained; but happiness is an end,
since all men deem it to be accompanied with pleasure and not with
pain. This pleasure, however, is regarded differently by different
persons, and varies according to the habit of individuals; the
pleasure of the best man is the best, and springs from the noblest
sources. It is clear then that there are branches of learning and
education which we must study merely with a view to leisure spent in
intellectual activity, and these are to be valued for their own
sake; whereas those kinds of knowledge which are useful in business
are to be deemed necessary, and exist for the sake of other things.
And therefore our fathers admitted music into education, not on the
ground either of its necessity or utility, for it is not necessary,
nor indeed useful in the same manner as reading and writing, which are
useful in money-making, in the management of a household, in the
acquisition of knowledge and in political life, nor like drawing,
useful for a more correct judgment of the works of artists, nor
again like gymnastic, which gives health and strength; for neither
of these is to be gained from music. There remains, then, the use of
music for intellectual enjoyment in leisure; which is in fact
evidently the reason of its introduction, this being one of the ways
in which it is thought that a freeman should pass his leisure; as
Homer says,

     But he who alone should be called to the pleasant feast,

and afterwards he speaks of others whom he describes as inviting

     The bard who would delight them all.

And in another place Odysseus says there is no better way of passing
life than when men's hearts are merry and

  The banqueters in the hall, sitting in order, hear the voice of
the minstrel.

  It is evident, then, that there is a sort of education in which
parents should train their sons, not as being useful or necessary, but
because it is liberal or noble. Whether this is of one kind only, or
of more than one, and if so, what they are, and how they are to be
imparted, must hereafter be determined. Thus much we are now in a
position to say, that the ancients witness to us; for their opinion
may be gathered from the fact that music is one of the received and
traditional branches of education. Further, it is clear that
children should be instructed in some useful things- for example, in
reading and writing- not only for their usefulness, but also because
many other sorts of knowledge are acquired through them. With a like
view they may be taught drawing, not to prevent their making
mistakes in their own purchases, or in order that they may not be
imposed upon in the buying or selling of articles, but perhaps
rather because it makes them judges of the beauty of the human form.
To be always seeking after the useful does not become free and exalted
souls. Now it is clear that in education practice must be used
before theory, and the body be trained before the mind; and
therefore boys should be handed over to the trainer, who creates in
them the roper habit of body, and to the wrestling-master, who teaches
them their exercises.

  Of those states which in our own day seem to take the greatest
care of children, some aim at producing in them an athletic habit, but
they only injure their forms and stunt their growth. Although the
Lacedaemonians have not fallen into this mistake, yet they brutalize
their children by laborious exercises which they think will make
them courageous. But in truth, as we have often repeated, education
should not be exclusively, or principally, directed to this end. And
even if we suppose the Lacedaemonians to be right in their end, they
do not attain it. For among barbarians and among animals courage is
found associated, not with the greatest ferocity, but with a gentle
and lion like temper. There are many races who are ready enough to
kill and eat men, such as the Achaeans and Heniochi, who both live
about the Black Sea; and there are other mainland tribes, as bad or
worse, who all live by plunder, but have no courage. It is notorious
that the Lacedaemonians themselves, while they alone were assiduous in
their laborious drill, were superior to others, but now they are
beaten both in war and gymnastic exercises. For their ancient
superiority did not depend on their mode of training their youth,
but only on the circumstance that they trained them when their only
rivals did not. Hence we may infer that what is noble, not what is
brutal, should have the first place; no wolf or other wild animal will
face a really noble danger; such dangers are for the brave man. And
parents who devote their children to gymnastics while they neglect
their necessary education, in reality vulgarize them; for they make
them useful to the art of statesmanship in one quality only, and
even in this the argument proves them to be inferior to others. We
should judge the Lacedaemonians not from what they have been, but from
what they are; for now they have rivals who compete with their
education; formerly they had none.
  It is an admitted principle, that gymnastic exercises should be
employed in education, and that for children they should be of a
lighter kind, avoiding severe diet or painful toil, lest the growth of
the body be impaired. The evil of excessive training in early years is
strikingly 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 as
men; their early training and severe gymnastic exercises exhausted
their constitutions. When boyhood is over, three years should be spent
in other studies; the period of life which follows may then be devoted
to hard exercise and strict diet. Men ought not to labor at the same
time with their minds and with their bodies; for the two kinds of
labor are opposed to one another; the labor of the body impedes the
mind, and the labor of the mind the body.

  Concerning music there are some questions which we have already
raised; these we may now resume and carry further; and our remarks
will serve as a prelude to this or any other discussion of the
subject. It is not easy to determine the nature of music, or why any
one should have a knowledge of it. Shall we say, for the sake of
amusement and relaxation, like sleep or drinking, which are not good
in themselves, but are pleasant, and at the same time 'care to cease,'
as Euripides says? And for this end men also appoint music, and make
use of all three alike- sleep, drinking, music- to which some add
dancing. Or shall we argue that music conduces to virtue, on the
ground that it can form our minds and habituate us to true pleasures
as our bodies are made by gymnastic to be of a certain character? Or
shall we say that it contributes to the enjoyment of leisure and
mental cultivation, which is a third alternative? Now obviously youths
are not to be instructed with a view to their amusement, for
learning is no amusement, but is accompanied with pain. Neither is
intellectual enjoyment suitable to boys of that age, for it is the
end, and that which is imperfect cannot attain the perfect or end. But
perhaps it may be said that boys learn music for the sake of the
amusement which they will have when they are grown up. If so, why
should they learn themselves, and not, like the Persian and Median
kings, enjoy the pleasure and instruction which is derived from
hearing others? (for surely persons who have made music the business
and profession of their lives will be better performers than those who
practice only long enough to learn). If they must learn music, on
the same principle they should learn cookery, which is absurd. And
even granting that music may form the character, the objection still
holds: why should we learn ourselves? Why cannot we attain true
pleasure and form a correct judgment from hearing others, like the
Lacedaemonians?- for they, without learning music, nevertheless can
correctly judge, as they say, of good and bad melodies. Or again, if
music should be used to promote cheerfulness and refined
intellectual enjoyment, the objection still remains- why should we
learn ourselves instead of enjoying the performances of others? We may
illustrate what we are saying by our conception of the Gods; for in
the poets Zeus does not himself sing or play on the lyre. Nay, we call
professional performers vulgar; no freeman would play or sing unless
he were intoxicated or in jest. But these matters may be left for
the present.
  The first question is whether music is or is not to be a part of
education. Of the three things mentioned in our discussion, which does
it produce?- education or amusement or intellectual enjoyment, for
it may be reckoned under all three, and seems to share in the nature
of all of them. Amusement is for the sake of relaxation, and
relaxation is of necessity sweet, for it is the remedy of pain
caused by toil; and intellectual enjoyment is universally acknowledged
to contain an element not only of the noble but of the pleasant, for
happiness is made up of both. All men agree that music is one of the
pleasantest things, whether with or without songs; as Musaeus says:

     Song to mortals of all things the sweetest.

Hence and with good reason it is introduced into social gatherings and
entertainments, because it makes the hearts of men glad: so that on
this ground alone we may assume that the young ought to be trained
in it. For innocent pleasures are not only in harmony with the perfect
end of life, but they also provide relaxation. And whereas men
rarely attain the end, but often rest by the way and amuse themselves,
not only with a view to a further end, but also for the pleasure's
sake, it may be well at times to let them find a refreshment in music.
It sometimes happens that men make amusement the end, for the end
probably contains some element of pleasure, though not any ordinary or
lower pleasure; but they mistake the lower for the higher, and in
seeking for the one find the other, since every pleasure has a
likeness to the end of action. For the end is not eligible for the
sake of any future good, nor do the pleasures which we have
described exist for the sake of any future good but of the past,
that is to say, they are the alleviation of past toils and pains.
And we may infer this to be the reason why men seek happiness from
these pleasures.
  But music is pursued, not only as an alleviation of past toil, but
also as providing recreation. And who can say whether, having this
use, it may not also have a nobler one? In addition to this common
pleasure, felt and shared in by all (for the pleasure given by music
is natural, and therefore adapted to all ages and characters), may
it not have also some influence over the character and the soul? It
must have such an influence if characters are affected by it. And that
they are so affected is proved in many ways, and not least by the
power which the songs of Olympus exercise; for beyond question they
inspire enthusiasm, and enthusiasm is an emotion of the ethical part
of the soul. Besides, when men hear imitations, even apart from the
rhythms and tunes themselves, their feelings move in sympathy. Since
then music is a pleasure, and virtue consists in rejoicing and
loving and hating aright, there is clearly nothing which we are so
much concerned to acquire and to cultivate as the power of forming
right judgments, and of taking delight in good dispositions and
noble actions. Rhythm and melody supply imitations of anger and
gentleness, and also of courage and temperance, and of all the
qualities contrary to these, and of the other qualities of
character, which hardly fall short of the actual affections, as we
know from our own experience, for in listening to such strains our
souls undergo a change. The habit of feeling pleasure or pain at
mere representations is not far removed from the same feeling about
realities; for example, if any one delights in the sight of a statue
for its beauty only, it necessarily follows that the sight of the
original will be pleasant to him. The objects of no other sense,
such as taste or touch, have any resemblance to moral qualities; in
visible objects there is only a little, for there are figures which
are of a moral character, but only to a slight extent, and all do
not participate in the feeling about them. Again, figures and colors
are not imitations, but signs, of moral habits, indications which
the body gives of states of feeling. The connection of them with
morals is slight, but in so far as there is any, young men should be
taught to look, not at the works of Pauson, but at those of
Polygnotus, or any other painter or sculptor who expresses moral
ideas. On the other hand, even in mere melodies there is an
imitation of character, for the musical modes differ essentially
from one another, and those who hear them are differently affected
by each. Some of them make men sad and grave, like the so-called
Mixolydian, others enfeeble the mind, like the relaxed modes, another,
again, produces a moderate and settled temper, which appears to be the
peculiar effect of the Dorian; the Phrygian inspires enthusiasm. The
whole subject has been well treated by philosophical writers on this
branch of education, and they confirm their arguments by facts. The
same principles apply to rhythms; some have a character of rest,
others of motion, and of these latter again, some have a more
vulgar, others a nobler movement. Enough has been said to show that
music has a power of forming the character, and should therefore be
introduced into the education of the young. The study is suited to the
stage of youth, for young persons will not, if they can help, endure
anything which is not sweetened by pleasure, and music has a natural
sweetness. There seems to be in us a sort of affinity to musical modes
and rhythms, which makes some philosophers say that the soul is a
tuning, others, that it possesses tuning.

  And now we have to determine the question which has been already
raised, whether children should be themselves taught to sing and
play or not. Clearly there is a considerable difference made in the
character by the actual practice of the art. It is difficult, if not
impossible, for those who do not perform to be good judges of the
performance of others. Besides, children should have something to
do, and the rattle of Archytas, which people give to their children in
order to amuse them and prevent them from breaking anything in the
house, was a capital invention, for a young thing cannot be quiet. The
rattle is a toy suited to the infant mind, and education is a rattle
or toy for children of a larger growth. We conclude then that they
should be taught music in such a way as to become not only critics but
  The question what is or is not suitable for different ages may be
easily answered; nor is there any difficulty in meeting the
objection of those who say that the study of music is vulgar. We reply
(1) in the first place, that they who are to be judges must also be
performers, and that they should begin to practice early, although
when they are older they may be spared the execution; they must have
learned to appreciate what is good and to delight in it, thanks to the
knowledge which they acquired in their youth. As to (2) the
vulgarizing effect which music is supposed to exercise, this is a
question which we shall have no difficulty in determining, when we
have considered to what extent freemen who are being trained to
political virtue should pursue the art, what melodies and what rhythms
they should be allowed to use, and what instruments should be employed
in teaching them to play; for even the instrument makes a
difference. The answer to the objection turns upon these distinctions;
for it is quite possible that certain methods of teaching and learning
music do really have a degrading effect. It is evident then that the
learning of music ought not to impede the business of riper years,
or to degrade the body or render it unfit for civil or military
training, whether for bodily exercises at the time or for later
  The right measure will be attained if students of music stop short
of the arts which are practiced in professional contests, and do not
seek to acquire those fantastic marvels of execution which are now the
fashion in such contests, and from these have passed into education.
Let the young practice even such music as we have prescribed, only
until they are able to feel delight in noble melodies and rhythms, and
not merely in that common part of music in which every slave or
child and even some animals find pleasure.
  From these principles we may also infer what instruments should be
used. The flute, or any other instrument which requires great skill,
as for example the harp, ought not to be admitted into education,
but only such as will make intelligent students of music or of the
other parts of education. Besides, the flute is not an instrument
which is expressive of moral character; it is too exciting. The proper
time for using it is when the performance aims not at instruction, but
at the relief of the passions. And there is a further objection; the
impediment which the flute presents to the use of the voice detracts
from its educational value. The ancients therefore were right in
forbidding the flute to youths and freemen, although they had once
allowed it. For when their wealth gave them a greater inclination to
leisure, and they had loftier notions of excellence, being also elated
with their success, both before and after the Persian War, with more
zeal than discernment they pursued every kind of knowledge, and so
they introduced the flute into education. At Lacedaemon there was a
choragus who led the chorus with a flute, and at Athens the instrument
became so popular that most freemen could play upon it. The popularity
is shown by the tablet which Thrasippus dedicated when he furnished
the chorus to Ecphantides. Later experience enabled men to judge
what was or was not really conducive to virtue, and they rejected both
the flute and several other old-fashioned instruments, such as the
Lydian harp, the many-stringed lyre, the 'heptagon,' 'triangle,'
'sambuca,' the like- which are intended only to give pleasure to the
hearer, and require extraordinary skill of hand. There is a meaning
also in the myth of the ancients, which tells how Athene invented
the flute and then threw it away. It was not a bad idea of theirs,
that the Goddess disliked the instrument because it made the face
ugly; but with still more reason may we say that she rejected it
because the acquirement of flute-playing contributes nothing to the
mind, since to Athene we ascribe both knowledge and art.
  Thus then we reject the professional instruments and also the
professional mode of education in music (and by professional we mean
that which is adopted in contests), for in this the performer
practices the art, not for the sake of his own improvement, but in
order to give pleasure, and that of a vulgar sort, to his hearers. For
this reason the execution of such music is not the part of a freeman
but of a paid performer, and the result is that the performers are
vulgarized, for the end at which they aim is bad. The vulgarity of the
spectator tends to lower the character of the music and therefore of
the performers; they look to him- he makes them what they are, and
fashions even their bodies by the movements which he expects them to

  We have also to consider rhythms and modes, and their use in
education. Shall we use them all or make a distinction? and shall
the same distinction be made for those who practice music with a
view to education, or shall it be some other? Now we see that music is
produced by melody and rhythm, and we ought to know what influence
these have respectively on education, and whether we should prefer
excellence in melody or excellence in rhythm. But as the subject has
been very well treated by many musicians of the present day, and
also by philosophers who have had considerable experience of musical
education, to these we would refer the more exact student of the
subject; we shall only speak of it now after the manner of the
legislator, stating the general principles.
  We accept the division of melodies proposed by certain
philosophers into ethical melodies, melodies of action, and passionate
or inspiring melodies, each having, as they say, a mode
corresponding to it. But we maintain further that music should be
studied, not for the sake of one, but of many benefits, that is to
say, with a view to (1) education, (2) purgation (the word 'purgation'
we use at present without explanation, but when hereafter we speak
of poetry, we will treat the subject with more precision); music may
also serve (3) for for enjoyment, for relaxation, and for recreation
after exertion. It is clear, therefore, that all the modes must be
employed by us, but not all of them in the same manner. In education
the most ethical modes are to be preferred, but in listening to the
performances of others we may admit the modes of action and passion
also. For feelings such as pity and fear, or, again, enthusiasm, exist
very strongly in some souls, and have more or less influence over all.
Some persons fall into a religious frenzy, whom we see as a result
of the sacred melodies- when they have used the melodies that excite
the soul to mystic frenzy- restored as though they had found healing
and purgation. Those who are influenced by pity or fear, and every
emotional nature, must have a like experience, and others in so far as
each is susceptible to such emotions, and all are in a manner purged
and their souls lightened and delighted. The purgative melodies
likewise give an innocent pleasure to mankind. Such are the modes
and the melodies in which those who perform music at the theater
should be invited to compete. But since the spectators are of two
kinds- the one free and educated, and the other a vulgar crowd
composed of mechanics, laborers, and the like- there ought to be
contests and exhibitions instituted for the relaxation of the second
class also. And the music will correspond to their minds; for as their
minds are perverted from the natural state, so there are perverted
modes and highly strung and unnaturally colored melodies. A man
receives pleasure from what is natural to him, and therefore
professional musicians may be allowed to practice this lower sort of
music before an audience of a lower type. But, for the purposes of
education, as I have already said, those modes and melodies should
be employed which are ethical, such as the Dorian, as we said
before; though we may include any others which are approved by
philosophers who have had a musical education. The Socrates of the
Republic is wrong in retaining only the Phrygian mode along with the
Dorian, and the more so because he rejects the flute; for the Phrygian
is to the modes what the flute is to musical instruments- both of them
are exciting and emotional. Poetry proves this, for Bacchic frenzy and
all similar emotions are most suitably expressed by the flute, and are
better set to the Phrygian than to any other mode. The dithyramb,
for example, is acknowledged to be Phrygian, a fact of which the
connoisseurs of music offer many proofs, saying, among other things,
that Philoxenus, having attempted to compose his Mysians as a
dithyramb in the Dorian mode, found it impossible, and fell back by
the very nature of things into the more appropriate Phrygian. All
men agree that the Dorian music is the gravest and manliest. And
whereas we say that the extremes should be avoided and the mean
followed, and whereas the Dorian is a mean between the other modes, it
is evident that our youth should be taught the Dorian music.
  Two principles have to be kept in view, what is possible, what is
becoming: at these every man ought to aim. But even these are relative
to age; the old, who have lost their powers, cannot very well sing the
high-strung modes, and nature herself seems to suggest that their
songs should be of the more relaxed kind. Wherefore the musicians
likewise blame Socrates, and with justice, for rejecting the relaxed
modes in education under the idea that they are intoxicating, not in
the ordinary sense of intoxication (for wine rather tends to excite
men), but because they have no strength in them. And so, with a view
also to the time of life when men begin to grow old, they ought to
practice the gentler modes and melodies as well as the others, and,
further, any mode, such as the Lydian above all others appears to
be, which is suited to children of tender age, and possesses the
elements both of order and of education. Thus it is clear that
education should be based upon three principles- the mean, the
possible, the becoming, these three.

                           -THE END-

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