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´╗┐Title: Politics: A Treatise on Government
Author: Aristotle, 384 BC-322 BC
Language: English
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By Aristotle

Translated From The Greek Of Aristotle By William Ellis, A.M.

London & Toronto Published By J M Dent & Sons Ltd. & In New York By E.
P. Dutton &. Co

First Issue Of This Edition 1912 Reprinted 1919, 1923, 1928


The Politics of Aristotle is the second part of a treatise of which
the Ethics is the first part. It looks back to the Ethics as the Ethics
looks forward to the Politics. For Aristotle did not separate, as we are
inclined to do, the spheres of the statesman and the moralist. In the
Ethics he has described the character necessary for the good life, but
that life is for him essentially to be lived in society, and when in the
last chapters of the Ethics he comes to the practical application of his
inquiries, that finds expression not in moral exhortations addressed to
the individual but in a description of the legislative opportunities
of the statesman. It is the legislator's task to frame a society which
shall make the good life possible. Politics for Aristotle is not a
struggle between individuals or classes for power, nor a device for
getting done such elementary tasks as the maintenance of order and
security without too great encroachments on individual liberty. The
state is "a community of well-being in families and aggregations
of families for the sake of a perfect and self-sufficing life." The
legislator is a craftsman whose material is society and whose aim is the
good life.

In an early dialogue of Plato's, the Protagoras, Socrates asks
Protagoras why it is not as easy to find teachers of virtue as it is to
find teachers of swordsmanship, riding, or any other art. Protagoras'
answer is that there are no special teachers of virtue, because virtue
is taught by the whole community. Plato and Aristotle both accept the
view of moral education implied in this answer. In a passage of the
Republic (492 b) Plato repudiates the notion that the sophists have a
corrupting moral influence upon young men. The public themselves,
he says, are the real sophists and the most complete and thorough
educators. No private education can hold out against the irresistible
force of public opinion and the ordinary moral standards of society.
But that makes it all the more essential that public opinion and
social environment should not be left to grow up at haphazard as they
ordinarily do, but should be made by the wise legislator the expression
of the good and be informed in all their details by his knowledge. The
legislator is the only possible teacher of virtue.

Such a programme for a treatise on government might lead us to expect in
the Politics mainly a description of a Utopia or ideal state which
might inspire poets or philosophers but have little direct effect upon
political institutions. Plato's Republic is obviously impracticable, for
its author had turned away in despair from existing politics. He has no
proposals, in that dialogue at least, for making the best of things as
they are. The first lesson his philosopher has to learn is to turn away
from this world of becoming and decay, and to look upon the unchanging
eternal world of ideas. Thus his ideal city is, as he says, a pattern
laid up in heaven by which the just man may rule his life, a pattern
therefore in the meantime for the individual and not for the statesman.
It is a city, he admits in the Laws, for gods or the children of gods,
not for men as they are.

Aristotle has none of the high enthusiasm or poetic imagination of
Plato. He is even unduly impatient of Plato's idealism, as is shown
by the criticisms in the second book. But he has a power to see the
possibilities of good in things that are imperfect, and the patience of
the true politician who has learned that if he would make men what
they ought to be, he must take them as he finds them. His ideal
is constructed not of pure reason or poetry, but from careful and
sympathetic study of a wide range of facts. His criticism of Plato in
the light of history, in Book II. chap, v., though as a criticism it is
curiously inept, reveals his own attitude admirably: "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." Aristotle in his Constitutions had made a study of one
hundred and fifty-eight constitutions of the states of his day, and the
fruits of that study are seen in the continual reference to concrete
political experience, which makes the Politics in some respects a
critical history of the workings of the institutions of the Greek city
state. In Books IV., V., and VI. the ideal state seems far away, and
we find a dispassionate survey of imperfect states, the best ways of
preserving them, and an analysis of the causes of their instability.
It is as though Aristotle were saying: "I have shown you the proper and
normal type of constitution, but if you will not have it and insist on
living under a perverted form, you may as well know how to make the best
of it." In this way the Politics, though it defines the state in the
light of its ideal, discusses states and institutions as they are.
Ostensibly it is merely a continuation of the Ethics, but it comes to
treat political questions from a purely political standpoint.

This combination of idealism and respect for the teachings of experience
constitutes in some ways the strength and value of the Politics, but it
also makes it harder to follow. The large nation states to which we are
accustomed make it difficult for us to think that the state could be
constructed and modelled to express the good life. We can appreciate
Aristotle's critical analysis of constitutions, but find it hard to take
seriously his advice to the legislator. Moreover, the idealism and the
empiricism of the Politics are never really reconciled by Aristotle

It may help to an understanding of the Politics if something is said on
those two points.

We are accustomed since the growth of the historical method to the
belief that states are "not made but grow," and are apt to be impatient
with the belief which Aristotle and Plato show in the powers of the
lawgiver. But however true the maxim may be of the modern nation state,
it was not true of the much smaller and more self-conscious Greek city.
When Aristotle talks of the legislator, he is not talking in the
air. Students of the Academy had been actually called on to give new
constitutions to Greek states. For the Greeks the constitution was not
merely as it is so often with us, a matter of political machinery. It
was regarded as a way of life. Further, the constitution within the
framework of which the ordinary process of administration and passing
of decrees went on, was always regarded as the work of a special man or
body of men, the lawgivers. If we study Greek history, we find that the
position of the legislator corresponds to that assigned to him by
Plato and Aristotle. All Greek states, except those perversions
which Aristotle criticises as being "above law," worked under rigid
constitutions, and the constitution was only changed when the whole
people gave a commission to a lawgiver to draw up a new one. Such was
the position of the AEsumnetes, whom Aristotle describes in Book III.
chap, xiv., in earlier times, and of the pupils of the Academy in the
fourth century. The lawgiver was not an ordinary politician. He was
a state doctor, called in to prescribe for an ailing constitution. So
Herodotus recounts that when the people of Cyrene asked the oracle of
Delphi to help them in their dissensions, the oracle told them to go to
Mantinea, and the Mantineans lent them Demonax, who acted as a "setter
straight" and drew up a new constitution for Cyrene. So again the
Milesians, Herodotus tells us, were long troubled by civil discord, till
they asked help from Paros, and the Parians sent ten commissioners
who gave Miletus a new constitution. So the Athenians, when they were
founding their model new colony at Thurii, employed Hippodamus of
Miletus, whom Aristotle mentions in Book II, as the best expert in
town-planning, to plan the streets of the city, and Protagoras as the
best expert in law-making, to give the city its laws. In the Laws Plato
represents one of the persons of the dialogue as having been asked
by the people of Gortyna to draw up laws for a colony which they were
founding. The situation described must have occurred frequently in
actual life. The Greeks thought administration should be democratic and
law-making the work of experts. We think more naturally of law-making
as the special right of the people and administration as necessarily
confined to experts.

Aristotle's Politics, then, is a handbook for the legislator, the expert
who is to be called in when a state wants help. We have called him a
state doctor. It is one of the most marked characteristics of Greek
political theory that Plato and Aristotle think of the statesman as one
who has knowledge of what ought to be done, and can help those who call
him in to prescribe for them, rather than one who has power to control
the forces of society. The desire of society for the statesman's
advice is taken for granted, Plato in the Republic says that a good
constitution is only possible when the ruler does not want to rule;
where men contend for power, where they have not learnt to distinguish
between the art of getting hold of the helm of state and the art of
steering, which alone is statesmanship, true politics is impossible.

With this position much that Aristotle has to say about government is in
agreement. He assumes the characteristic Platonic view that all men seek
the good, and go wrong through ignorance, not through evil will, and so
he naturally regards the state as a community which exists for the sake
of the good life. It is in the state that that common seeking after
the good which is the profoundest truth about men and nature becomes
explicit and knows itself. The state is for Aristotle prior to the
family and the village, although it succeeds them in time, for only when
the state with its conscious organisation is reached can man understand
the secret of his past struggles after something he knew not what. If
primitive society is understood in the light of the state, the state is
understood in the light of its most perfect form, when the good after
which all societies are seeking is realised in its perfection. Hence for
Aristotle as for Plato, the natural state or the state as such is the
ideal state, and the ideal state is the starting-point of political

In accordance with the same line of thought, imperfect states, although
called perversions, are regarded by Aristotle as the result rather of
misconception and ignorance than of perverse will. They all represent,
he says, some kind of justice. Oligarchs and democrats go wrong in
their conception of the good. They have come short of the perfect state
through misunderstanding of the end or through ignorance of the proper
means to the end. But if they are states at all, they embody some common
conception of the good, some common aspirations of all their members.

The Greek doctrine that the essence of the state consists in community
of purpose is the counterpart of the notion often held in modern times
that the essence of the state is force. The existence of force is for
Plato and Aristotle a sign not of the state but of the state's failure.
It comes from the struggle between conflicting misconceptions of the
good. In so far as men conceive the good rightly they are united. The
state represents their common agreement, force their failure to make
that agreement complete. The cure, therefore, of political ills is
knowledge of the good life, and the statesman is he who has such
knowledge, for that alone can give men what they are always seeking.

If the state is the organisation of men seeking a common good, power and
political position must be given to those who can forward this end. This
is the principle expressed in Aristotle's account of political justice,
the principle of "tools to those who can use them." As the aim of the
state is differently conceived, the qualifications for government
will vary. In the ideal state power will be given to the man with most
knowledge of the good; in other states to the men who are most truly
capable of achieving that end which the citizens have set themselves
to pursue. The justest distribution of political power is that in which
there is least waste of political ability.

Further, the belief that the constitution of a state is only the
outward expression of the common aspirations and beliefs of its members,
explains the paramount political importance which Aristotle assigns to
education. It is the great instrument by which the legislator can ensure
that the future citizens of his state will share those common beliefs
which make the state possible. The Greeks with their small states had
a far clearer apprehension than we can have of the dependence of a
constitution upon the people who have to work it.

Such is in brief the attitude in which Aristotle approaches political
problems, but in working out its application to men and institutions
as they are, Aristotle admits certain compromises which are not really
consistent with it.

1. Aristotle thinks of membership of a state as community in pursuit of
the good. He wishes to confine membership in it to those who are capable
of that pursuit in the highest and most explicit manner. His citizens,
therefore, must be men of leisure, capable of rational thought upon
the end of life. He does not recognise the significance of that less
conscious but deep-seated membership of the state which finds its
expression in loyalty and patriotism. His definition of citizen includes
only a small part of the population of any Greek city. He is forced to
admit that the state is not possible without the co-operation of men
whom he will not admit to membership in it, either because they are not
capable of sufficient rational appreciation of political ends, like the
barbarians whom he thought were natural slaves, or because the leisure
necessary for citizenship can only be gained by the work of the artisans
who by that very work make themselves incapable of the life which
they make possible for others. "The artisan only attains excellence
in proportion as he becomes a slave," and the slave is only a living
instrument of the good life. He exists for the state, but the state does
not exist for him.

2. Aristotle in his account of the ideal state seems to waver between
two ideals. There is the ideal of an aristocracy and the ideal of what
he calls constitutional government, a mixed constitution. The principle
of "tools to those who can use them" ought to lead him, as it does
Plato, to an aristocracy. Those who have complete knowledge of the good
must be few, and therefore Plato gave entire power in his state into
the hands of the small minority of philosopher guardians. It is in
accordance with this principle that Aristotle holds that kingship is
the proper form of government when there is in the state one man of
transcendent virtue. At the same time, Aristotle always holds that
absolute government is not properly political, that government is not
like the rule of a shepherd over his sheep, but the rule of equals
over equals. He admits that the democrats are right in insisting that
equality is a necessary element in the state, though he thinks they do
not admit the importance of other equally necessary elements. Hence he
comes to say that ruling and being ruled over by turns is an essential
feature of constitutional government, which he admits as an alternative
to aristocracy. The end of the state, which is to be the standard of the
distribution of political power, is conceived sometimes as a good for
the apprehension and attainment of which "virtue" is necessary and
sufficient (this is the principle of aristocracy), and sometimes as a
more complex good, which needs for its attainment not only "virtue" but
wealth and equality. This latter conception is the principle on which
the mixed constitution is based. This in its distribution of political
power gives some weight to "virtue," some to wealth, and some to mere
number. But the principle of "ruling and being ruled by turns" is not
really compatible with an unmodified principle of "tools to those who
can use them." Aristotle is right in seeing that political government
demands equality, not in the sense that all members of the state should
be equal in ability or should have equal power, but in the sense that
none of them can properly be regarded simply as tools with which the
legislator works, that each has a right to say what will be made of his
own life. The analogy between the legislator and the craftsman on which
Plato insists, breaks down because the legislator is dealing with men
like himself, men who can to some extent conceive their own end in life
and cannot be treated merely as means to the end of the legislator. The
sense of the value of "ruling and being ruled in turn" is derived from
the experience that the ruler may use his power to subordinate the
lives of the citizens of the state not to the common good but to his
own private purposes. In modern terms, it is a simple, rough-and-ready
attempt to solve that constant problem of politics, how efficient
government is to be combined with popular control. This problem arises
from the imperfection of human nature, apparent in rulers as well as in
ruled, and if the principle which attempts to solve it be admitted as a
principle of importance in the formation of the best constitution, then
the starting-point of politics will be man's actual imperfection, not
his ideal nature. Instead, then, of beginning with a state which would
express man's ideal nature, and adapting it as well as may be to man's
actual shortcomings from that ideal, we must recognise that the state
and all political machinery are as much the expression of man's weakness
as of his ideal possibilities. The state is possible only because
men have common aspirations, but government, and political power, the
existence of officials who are given authority to act in the name of the
whole state, are necessary because men's community is imperfect, because
man's social nature expresses itself in conflicting ways, in the clash
of interests, the rivalry of parties, and the struggle of classes,
instead of in the united seeking after a common good. Plato and
Aristotle were familiar with the legislator who was called in by the
whole people, and they tended therefore to take the general will or
common consent of the people for granted. Most political questions are
concerned with the construction and expression of the general will, and
with attempts to ensure that the political machinery made to express the
general will shall not be exploited for private or sectional ends.

Aristotle's mixed constitution springs from a recognition of sectional
interests in the state. For the proper relation between the claims of
"virtue," wealth, and numbers is to be based not upon their relative
importance in the good life, but upon the strength of the parties which
they represent. The mixed constitution is practicable in a state where
the middle class is strong, as only the middle class can mediate between
the rich and the poor. The mixed constitution will be stable if it
represents the actual balance of power between different classes in the
state. When we come to Aristotle's analysis of existing constitutions,
we find that while he regards them as imperfect approximations to the
ideal, he also thinks of them as the result of the struggle between
classes. Democracy, he explains, is the government not of the many but
of the poor; oligarchy a government not of the few but of the rich.
And each class is thought of, not as trying to express an ideal, but as
struggling to acquire power or maintain its position. If ever the class
existed in unredeemed nakedness, it was in the Greek cities of the
fourth century, and its existence is abundantly recognised by Aristotle.
His account of the causes of revolutions in Book V. shows how far were
the existing states of Greece from the ideal with which he starts.
His analysis of the facts forces him to look upon them as the scene
of struggling factions. The causes of revolutions are not described as
primarily changes in the conception of the common good, but changes in
the military or economic power of the several classes in the state. The
aim which he sets before oligarchs or democracies is not the good life,
but simple stability or permanence of the existing constitution.

With this spirit of realism which pervades Books IV., V., and VI.
the idealism of Books I., II., VII., and VIII. is never reconciled.
Aristotle is content to call existing constitutions perversions of
the true form. But we cannot read the Politics without recognising
and profiting from the insight into the nature of the state which is
revealed throughout. Aristotle's failure does not lie in this, that he
is both idealist and realist, but that he keeps these two tendencies
too far apart. He thinks too much of his ideal state, as something to
be reached once for all by knowledge, as a fixed type to which actual
states approximate or from which they are perversions. But if we are to
think of actual politics as intelligible in the light of the ideal, we
must think of that ideal as progressively revealed in history, not as
something to be discovered by turning our back on experience and having
recourse to abstract reasoning. If we stretch forward from what exists
to an ideal, it is to a better which may be in its turn transcended, not
to a single immutable best. Aristotle found in the society of his
time men who were not capable of political reflection, and who, as he
thought, did their best work under superintendence. He therefore called
them natural slaves. For, according to Aristotle, that is a man's
natural condition in which he does his best work. But Aristotle also
thinks of nature as something fixed and immutable; and therefore
sanctions the institution of slavery, which assumes that what men are
that they will always be, and sets up an artificial barrier to their
ever becoming anything else. We see in Aristotle's defence of slavery
how the conception of nature as the ideal can have a debasing influence
upon views of practical politics. His high ideal of citizenship offers
to those who can satisfy its claims the prospect of a fair life;
those who fall short are deemed to be different in nature and shut out
entirely from approach to the ideal.



First edition of works (with omission of Rhetorica, Poetica, and
second book of OEconomica), 5 vols. by Aldus Manutius, Venice, 1495-8;
re-impression supervised by Erasmus and with certain corrections by
Grynaeus (including Rhetorica and Poetica), 1531, 1539, revised 1550;
later editions were followed by that of Immanuel Bekker and Brandis
(Greek and Latin), 5 vols. The 5th vol. contains the Index by Bonitz,
1831-70; Didot edition (Greek and Latin), 5 vols. 1848-74.

ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS: Edited by T. Taylor, with Porphyry's Introduction,
9 vols., 1812; under editorship of J. A. Smith and W. D. Ross, 1908.

Later editions of separate works:

De Anima: Torstrik, 1862; Trendelenburg, 2nd edition, 1877, with English
translation, E. Wallace, 1882; Biehl, 1884, 1896; with English, R. D.
Hicks, 1907.

Ethica: J. S. Brewer (Nicomachean), 1836; W. E. Jelf, 1856; J. E. T.
Rogers, 1865; A. Grant, 1857-8, 1866, 1874, 1885; E. Moore, 1871, 1878,
4th edition, 1890; Ramsauer (Nicomachean), 1878, Susemihl, 1878, 1880,
revised by O. Apelt, 1903; A. Grant, 1885; I. Bywater (Nicomachean),
1890; J. Burnet, 1900.

Historia Animalium: Schneider, 1812; Aubert and Wimmer, 1860, Dittmeyer,

Metaphysica: Schwegler, 1848; W. Christ, 1899.

Organon: Waitz, 1844-6.

Poetica: Vahlen, 1867, 1874, with Notes by E. Moore, 1875; with English
translation by E. R. Wharton, 1883, 1885; Uberweg, 1870, 1875; with
German translation, Susemihl, 1874; Schmidt, 1875; Christ, 1878; I.
Bywater, 1898; T. G. Tucker, 1899.

De Republics, Atheniensium: Text and facsimile of Papyrus, F. G. Kenyon,
1891, 3rd edition, 1892; Kaibel and Wilamowitz--Moel-lendorf, 1891, 3rd
edition, 1898; Van Herwerden and Leeuwen (from Kenyon's text), 1891;
Blass, 1892, 1895, 1898, 1903; J. E. Sandys, 1893.

Politica: Susemihl, 1872; with German, 1878, 3rd edition, 1882; Susemihl
and Hicks, 1894, etc.; O. Immisch, 1909.

Physica: C. Prantl, 1879.

Rhetorica: Stahr, 1862; Sprengel (with Latin text), 1867; Cope and
Sandys, 1877; Roemer, 1885, 1898.

Naturalia), by W. A. Hammond, 1902. Ethica: Of Morals to Nicomachus, by
E. Pargiter, 1745; with Politica, by J. Gillies, 1797, 1804, 1813;
with Rhetorica and Poetica, by T. Taylor, 1818, and later editions.
Nicomachean Ethics, 1819; mainly from text of Bekker, by D. P. Chase,
1847; revised 1861, and later editions with an introductory essay by
G. H. Lewes (Camelot Classics), 1890; re-edited by J. M. Mitchell (New
Universal Library), 1906, 1910; with an introductory essay by Prof.
J.H. Smith (Everyman's Library), 1911; by R.W.Browne (Bohn's Classical
Library), 1848, etc.; by R. Williams, 1869, 1876; by W. M. Hatch and
others (with translation of paraphrase attributed to Andronicus of
Rhodes), edited by E. Hatch, 1879; by F, H. Peters, 1881; J. E. C.
Welldon, 1892; J. Gillies (Lubbock's Hundred Books), 1893. Historia
Animalium, by R. Creswell (Bohn's Classical Library), 1848; with
Treatise on Physiognomy, by T. Taylor, 1809. Metaphysica, by T. Taylor,
1801; by J. H. M'Mahon (Bohn's Classical Library), 1848. Organon, with
Porphyry's Introduction, by O. F. Owen (Bohn's Classical Library),
1848. Posterior Analytics, E. Poste, 1850; E. S. Bourchier, 1901; On
Fallacies, E. Poste, 1866. Parva Naturalia (Greek and English), by G. R.
T. Ross, 1906; with De Anima, by W. A. Hammond, 1902. Youth and Old Age,
Life and Death and Respiration, W. Ogle, 1897. Poetica, with Notes
from the French of D'Acier, 1705; by H. J. Pye, 1788, 1792; T. Twining,
1789,1812, with Preface and Notes by H. Hamilton, 1851; Treatise on
Rhetorica and Poetica, by T. Hobbes (Bohn's Classical Library), 1850;
by Wharton, 1883 (see Greek version), S. H. Butcher, 1895, 1898, 3rd
edition, 1902; E. S. Bourchier, 1907; by Ingram Bywater, 1909. De
Partibus Animalium, W. Ogle, 1882. De Republica Athenientium, by E.
Poste, 1891; F. G. Kenyon, 1891; T. J. Dymes, 1891. De Virtutibus et
Vitiis, by W. Bridgman, 1804. Politica, from the French of Regius,
1598; by W. Ellis, 1776, 1778, 1888 (Morley's Universal Library), 1893
(Lubbock's Hundred Books); by E. Walford (with AEconomics, and Life by
Dr. Gillies) (Bohn's Classical Library), 1848; J. E. C. Welldon, 1883;
B. Jowett, 1885; with Introduction and Index by H. W. C. Davis, 1905;
Books i. iii. iv. (vii.) from Bekker's text by W. E. Bolland, with
Introduction by A. Lang, 1877. Problemata (with writings of other
philosophers), 1597, 1607, 1680, 1684, etc. Rhetorica: A summary by T.
Hobbes, 1655 (?), new edition, 1759; by the translators of the Art of
Thinking, 1686, 1816; by D. M. Crimmin, 1812; J. Gillies, 1823;
Anon. 1847; J. E. C. Welldon, 1886; R. C. Jebb, with Introduction
and Supplementary Notes by J. E. Sandys, 1909 (see under Poetica and
Ethica). Secreta Secretorum (supposititious work), Anon. 1702; from the
Hebrew version by M. Gaster, 1907, 1908. Version by Lydgate and Burgh,
edited by R. Steele (E.E.T.S.), 1894, 1898.

LIFE, ETC.: J. W. Blakesley, 1839; A Crichton (Jardine's Naturalist's
Library), 1843; J. S. Blackie, Four Phases of Morals, Socrates,
Aristotle, etc., 1871; G. Grote, Aristotle, edited by A. Bain and G.
C. Robertson, 1872, 1880; E. Wallace, Outlines of the Philosophy of
Aristotle, 1875, 1880; A. Grant (Ancient Classics for English readers),
1877; T. Davidson, Aristotle and Ancient Educational Ideals (Great
Educators), 1892.




As we see that every city is a society, and every society Ed. is
established for some good purpose; for an apparent [Bekker 1252a] good
is the spring of all human actions; it is evident that this is the
principle upon which they are every one founded, and this is more
especially true of that which has for its object the best possible, and
is itself the most excellent, and comprehends all the rest. Now this is
called a city, and the society thereof a political society; for those
who think that the principles of a political, a regal, a family, and
a herile government are the same are mistaken, while they suppose that
each of these differ in the numbers to whom their power extends, but
not in their constitution: so that with them a herile government is one
composed of a very few, a domestic of more, a civil and a regal of still
more, as if there was no difference between a large family and a small
city, or that a regal government and a political one are the same, only
that in the one a single person is continually at the head of public
affairs; in the other, that each member of the state has in his turn a
share in the government, and is at one time a magistrate, at another
a private person, according to the rules of political science. But now
this is not true, as will be evident to any one who will consider this
question in the most approved method. As, in an inquiry into every other
subject, it is necessary to separate the different parts of which it is
compounded, till we arrive at their first elements, which are the most
minute parts thereof; so by the same proceeding we shall acquire a
knowledge of the primary parts of a city and see wherein they differ
from each other, and whether the rules of art will give us any
assistance in examining into each of these things which are mentioned.


Now if in this particular science any one would attend to its original
seeds, and their first shoot, he would then as in others have the
subject perfectly before him; and perceive, in the first place, that it
is requisite that those should be joined together whose species cannot
exist without each other, as the male and the female, for the business
of propagation; and this not through choice, but by that natural impulse
which acts both upon plants and animals also, for the purpose of their
leaving behind them others like themselves. It is also from natural
causes that some beings command and others obey, that each may obtain
their mutual safety; for a being who is endowed with a mind capable
of reflection and forethought is by nature the superior and governor,
whereas he whose excellence is merely corporeal is formect to be a
slave; whence it follows that the different state of master [1252b] and
slave is equally advantageous to both. But there is a natural difference
between a female and a slave: for nature is not like the artists
who make the Delphic swords for the use of the poor, but for every
particular purpose she has her separate instruments, and thus her ends
are most complete, for whatsoever is employed on one subject only,
brings that one to much greater perfection than when employed on many;
and yet among the barbarians, a female and a slave are upon a level in
the community, the reason for which is, that amongst them there are none
qualified by nature to govern, therefore their society can be nothing
but between slaves of different sexes. For which reason the poets say,
it is proper for the Greeks to govern the barbarians, as if a barbarian
and a slave were by nature one. Now of these two societies the domestic
is the first, and Hesiod is right when he says, "First a house, then
a wife, then an ox for the plough," for the poor man has always an ox
before a household slave. That society then which nature has established
for daily support is the domestic, and those who compose it are called
by Charondas _homosipuoi_, and by Epimenides the Cretan _homokapnoi_;
but the society of many families, which was first instituted for their
lasting, mutual advantage, is called a village, and a village is most
naturally composed of the descendants of one family, whom some persons
call homogalaktes, the children and the children's children thereof: for
which reason cities were originally governed by kings, as the barbarian
states now are, which are composed of those who had before submitted to
kingly government; for every family is governed by the elder, as are the
branches thereof, on account of their relationship thereunto, which
is what Homer says, "Each one ruled his wife and child;" and in this
scattered manner they formerly lived. And the opinion which universally
prevails, that the gods themselves are subject to kingly government,
arises from hence, that all men formerly were, and many are so now; and
as they imagined themselves to be made in the likeness of the gods, so
they supposed their manner of life must needs be the same. And when many
villages so entirely join themselves together as in every respect to
form but one society, that society is a city, and contains in itself, if
I may so speak, the end and perfection of government: first founded that
we might live, but continued that we may live happily. For which reason
every city must be allowed to be the work of nature, if we admit that
the original society between male and female is; for to this as their
end all subordinate societies tend, and the end of everything is the
nature of it. For what every being is in its most perfect state, that
certainly is the nature of that being, whether it be a man, a horse, or
a house: besides, whatsoever produces the final cause and the end which
we [1253a] desire, must be best; but a government complete in itself is
that final cause and what is best. Hence it is evident that a city is
a natural production, and that man is naturally a political animal, and
that whosoever is naturally and not accidentally unfit for society, must
be either inferior or superior to man: thus the man in Homer, who is
reviled for being "without society, without law, without family." Such
a one must naturally be of a quarrelsome disposition, and as solitary as
the birds. The gift of speech also evidently proves that man is a more
social animal than the bees, or any of the herding cattle: for nature,
as we say, does nothing in vain, and man is the only animal who enjoys
it. Voice indeed, as being the token of pleasure and pain, is imparted
to others also, and thus much their nature is capable of, to perceive
pleasure and pain, and to impart these sensations to others; but it is
by speech that we are enabled to express what is useful for us, and what
is hurtful, and of course what is just and what is unjust: for in
this particular man differs from other animals, that he alone has
a perception of good and evil, of just and unjust, and it is a
participation of these common sentiments which forms a family and a
city. Besides, the notion of a city naturally precedes that of a family
or an individual, for the whole must necessarily be prior to the parts,
for if you take away the whole man, you cannot say a foot or a hand
remains, unless by equivocation, as supposing a hand of stone to be
made, but that would only be a dead one; but everything is understood to
be this or that by its energic qualities and powers, so that when these
no longer remain, neither can that be said to be the same, but something
of the same name. That a city then precedes an individual is plain,
for if an individual is not in himself sufficient to compose a perfect
government, he is to a city as other parts are to a whole; but he that
is incapable of society, or so complete in himself as not to want it,
makes no part of a city, as a beast or a god. There is then in all
persons a natural impetus to associate with each other in this manner,
and he who first founded civil society was the cause of the greatest
good; for as by the completion of it man is the most excellent of all
living beings, so without law and justice he would be the worst of all,
for nothing is so difficult to subdue as injustice in arms: but these
arms man is born with, namely, prudence and valour, which he may apply
to the most opposite purposes, for he who abuses them will be the most
wicked, the most cruel, the most lustful, and most gluttonous being
imaginable; for justice is a political virtue, by the rules of it the
state is regulated, and these rules are the criterion of what is right.


SINCE it is now evident of what parts a city is composed, it will be
necessary to treat first of family government, for every city is made
up of families, and every family [1253b] has again its separate parts of
which it is composed. When a family is complete, it consists of freemen
and slaves; but as in every subject we should begin with examining into
the smallest parts of which it consists, and as the first and smallest
parts of a family are the master and slave, the husband and wife, the
father and child, let us first inquire into these three, what each of
them may be, and what they ought to be; that is to say, the herile, the
nuptial, and the paternal. Let these then be considered as the three
distinct parts of a family: some think that the providing what is
necessary for the family is something different from the government of
it, others that this is the greatest part of it; it shall be considered
separately; but we will first speak of a master and a slave, that we
may both understand the nature of those things which are absolutely
necessary, and also try if we can learn anything better on this subject
than what is already known. Some persons have thought that the power of
the master over his slave originates from his superior knowledge, and
that this knowledge is the same in the master, the magistrate, and the
king, as we have already said; but others think that herile government
is contrary to nature, and that it is the law which makes one man a
slave and another free, but that in nature there is no difference; for
which reason that power cannot be founded in justice, but in force.


Since then a subsistence is necessary in every family, the means of
procuring it certainly makes up part of the management of a family, for
without necessaries it is impossible to live, and to live well. As
in all arts which are brought to perfection it is necessary that they
should have their proper instruments if they would complete their works,
so is it in the art of managing a family: now of instruments some of
them are alive, others inanimate; thus with respect to the pilot of the
ship, the tiller is without life, the sailor is alive; for a servant
is as an instrument in many arts. Thus property is as an instrument
to living; an estate is a multitude of instruments; so a slave is an
animated instrument, but every one that can minister of himself is more
valuable than any other instrument; for if every instrument, at command,
or from a preconception of its master's will, could accomplish its work
(as the story goes of the statues of Daedalus; or what the poet tells us
of the tripods of Vulcan, "that they moved of their own accord into the
assembly of the gods "), the shuttle would then weave, and the lyre play
of itself; nor would the architect want servants, or the [1254a] master
slaves. Now what are generally called instruments are the efficients
of something else, but possessions are what we simply use: thus with a
shuttle we make something else for our use; but we only use a coat, or a
bed: since then making and using differ from each other in species, and
they both require their instruments, it is necessary that these should
be different from each other. Now life is itself what we use, and not
what we employ as the efficient of something else; for which reason the
services of a slave are for use. A possession may be considered in the
same nature as a part of anything; now a part is not only a part of
something, but also is nothing else; so is a possession; therefore a
master is only the master of the slave, but no part of him; but the
slave is not only the slave of the master, but nothing else but that.
This fully explains what is the nature of a slave, and what are his
capacities; for that being who by nature is nothing of himself, but
totally another's, and is a man, is a slave by nature; and that man who
is the property of another, is his mere chattel, though he continues a
man; but a chattel is an instrument for use, separate from the body.


But whether any person is such by nature, and whether it is advantageous
and just for any one to be a slave or no, or whether all slavery is
contrary to nature, shall be considered hereafter; not that it is
difficult to determine it upon general principles, or to understand
it from matters of fact; for that some should govern, and others be
governed, is not only necessary but useful, and from the hour of their
birth some are marked out for those purposes, and others for the other,
and there are many species of both sorts. And the better those are who
are governed the better also is the government, as for instance of man,
rather than the brute creation: for the more excellent the materials
are with which the work is finished, the more excellent certainly is the
work; and wherever there is a governor and a governed, there certainly
is some work produced; for whatsoever is composed of many parts, which
jointly become one, whether conjunct or separate, evidently show the
marks of governing and governed; and this is true of every living thing
in all nature; nay, even in some things which partake not of life, as
in music; but this probably would be a disquisition too foreign to our
present purpose. Every living thing in the first place is composed of
soul and body, of these the one is by nature the governor, the other the
governed; now if we would know what is natural, we ought to search for
it in those subjects in which nature appears most perfect, and not in
those which are corrupted; we should therefore examine into a man who
is most perfectly formed both in soul and body, in whom this is evident,
for in the depraved and vicious the body seems [1254b] to rule rather
than the soul, on account of their being corrupt and contrary to nature.
We may then, as we affirm, perceive in an animal the first principles
of herile and political government; for the soul governs the body as the
master governs his slave; the mind governs the appetite with a political
or a kingly power, which shows that it is both natural and advantageous
that the body should be governed by the soul, and the pathetic part by
the mind, and that part which is possessed of reason; but to have no
ruling power, or an improper one, is hurtful to all; and this holds
true not only of man, but of other animals also, for tame animals are
naturally better than wild ones, and it is advantageous that both should
be under subjection to man; for this is productive of their common
safety: so is it naturally with the male and the female; the one is
superior, the other inferior; the one governs, the other is governed;
and the same rule must necessarily hold good with respect to all
mankind. Those men therefore who are as much inferior to others as the
body is to the soul, are to be thus disposed of, as the proper use of
them is their bodies, in which their excellence consists; and if what I
have said be true, they are slaves by nature, and it is advantageous to
them to be always under government. He then is by nature formed a slave
who is qualified to become the chattel of another person, and on that
account is so, and who has just reason enough to know that there is such
a faculty, without being indued with the use of it; for other animals
have no perception of reason, but are entirely guided by appetite,
and indeed they vary very little in their use from each other; for the
advantage which we receive, both from slaves and tame animals, arises
from their bodily strength administering to our necessities; for it
is the intention of nature to make the bodies of slaves and freemen
different from each other, that the one should be robust for their
necessary purposes, the others erect, useless indeed for what slaves are
employed in, but fit for civil life, which is divided into the duties of
war and peace; though these rules do not always take place, for slaves
have sometimes the bodies of freemen, sometimes the souls; if then it
is evident that if some bodies are as much more excellent than others as
the statues of the gods excel the human form, every one will allow that
the inferior ought to be slaves to the superior; and if this is true
with respect to the body, it is still juster to determine in the same
manner, when we consider the soul; though it is not so easy to perceive
the beauty of [1255a] the soul as it is of the body. Since then some
men are slaves by nature, and others are freemen, it is clear that where
slavery is advantageous to any one, then it is just to make him a slave.


But it is not difficult to perceive that those who maintain the contrary
opinion have some reason on their side; for a man may become a slave two
different ways; for he may be so by law also, and this law is a certain
compact, by which whatsoever is taken in battle is adjudged to be the
property of the conquerors: but many persons who are conversant in law
call in question this pretended right, and say that it would be hard
that a man should be compelled by violence to be the slave and subject
of another who had the power to compel him, and was his superior in
strength; and upon this subject, even of those who are wise, some think
one way and some another; but the cause of this doubt and variety of
opinions arises from hence, that great abilities, when accompanied with
proper means, are generally able to succeed by force: for victory is
always owing to a superiority in some advantageous circumstances; so
that it seems that force never prevails but in consequence of great
abilities. But still the dispute concerning the justice of it remains;
for some persons think, that justice consists in benevolence, others
think it just that the powerful should govern: in the midst of these
contrary opinions, there are no reasons sufficient to convince us, that
the right of being master and governor ought not to be placed with those
who have the greatest abilities. Some persons, entirely resting upon the
right which the law gives (for that which is legal is in some respects
just), insist upon it that slavery occasioned by war is just, not that
they say it is wholly so, for it may happen that the principle upon
which the wars were commenced is unjust; moreover no one will say that a
man who is unworthily in slavery is therefore a slave; for if so, men of
the noblest families might happen to be slaves, and the descendants of
slaves, if they should chance to be taken prisoners in war and sold: to
avoid this difficulty they say that such persons should not be called
slaves, but barbarians only should; but when they say this, they do
nothing more than inquire who is a slave by nature, which was what we
at first said; for we must acknowledge that there are some persons
who, wherever they are, must necessarily be slaves, but others in no
situation; thus also it is with those of noble descent: it is not only
in their own country that they are Esteemed as such, but everywhere,
but the barbarians are respected on this account at home only; as if
nobility and freedom were of two sorts, the one universal, the other not
so. Thus says the Helen of Theodectes:

  "Who dares reproach me with the name of slave? When from the
immortal gods, on either side, I draw my lineage."

Those who express sentiments like these, shew only that they distinguish
the slave and the freeman, the noble and the ignoble from each other
by their virtues and their [1255b] vices; for they think it reasonable,
that as a man begets a man, and a beast a beast, so from a good man, a
good man should be descended; and this is what nature desires to do, but
frequently cannot accomplish it. It is evident then that this doubt
has some reason in it, and that these persons are not slaves, and those
freemen, by the appointment of nature; and also that in some instances
it is sufficiently clear, that it is advantageous to both parties for
this man to be a slave, and that to be a master, and that it is right
and just, that some should be governed, and others govern, in the manner
that nature intended; of which sort of government is that which a master
exercises over a slave. But to govern ill is disadvantageous to both;
for the same thing is useful to the part and to the whole, to the body
and to the soul; but the slave is as it were a part of the master, as if
he were an animated part of his body, though separate. For which reason
a mutual utility and friendship may subsist between the master and the
slave, I mean when they are placed by nature in that relation to each
other, for the contrary takes place amongst those who are reduced to
slavery by the law, or by conquest.


It is evident from what has been said, that a herile and a political
government are not the same, or that all governments are alike to each
other, as some affirm; for one is adapted to the nature of freemen, the
other to that of slaves. Domestic government is a monarchy, for that is
what prevails in every house; but a political state is the government of
free men and equals. The master is not so called from his knowing how to
manage his slave, but because he is so; for the same reason a slave and
a freeman have their respective appellations. There is also one sort of
knowledge proper for a master, another for a slave; the slave's is of
the nature of that which was taught by a slave at Syracuse; for he for
a stipulated sum instructed the boys in all the business of a household
slave, of which there are various sorts to be learnt, as the art of
cookery, and other such-like services, of which some are allotted to
some, and others to others; some employments being more honourable,
others more necessary; according to the proverb, "One slave excels
another, one master excels another:" in such-like things the knowledge
of a slave consists. The knowledge of the master is to be able properly
to employ his slaves, for the mastership of slaves is the employment,
not the mere possession of them; not that this knowledge contains
anything great or respectable; for what a slave ought to know how to do,
that a master ought to know how to order; for which reason, those who
have it in their power to be free from these low attentions, employ a
steward for this business, and apply themselves either to public affairs
or philosophy: the knowledge of procuring what is necessary for a family
is different from that which belongs either to the master or the slave:
and to do this justly must be either by war or hunting. And thus much of
the difference between a master and a slave.


[1256a] As a slave is a particular species of property, let us by
all means inquire into the nature of property in general, and the
acquisition of money, according to the manner we have proposed. In the
first place then, some one may doubt whether the getting of money is
the same thing as economy, or whether it is a part of it, or something
subservient to it; and if so, whether it is as the art of making
shuttles is to the art of weaving, or the art of making brass to that
of statue founding, for they are not of the same service; for the one
supplies the tools, the other the matter: by the matter I mean the
subject out of which the work is finished, as wool for the cloth and
brass for the statue. It is evident then that the getting of money is
not the same thing as economy, for the business of the one is to furnish
the means of the other to use them; and what art is there employed in
the management of a family but economy, but whether this is a part of
it, or something of a different species, is a doubt; for if it is
the business of him who is to get money to find out how riches and
possessions may be procured, and both these arise from various
causes, we must first inquire whether the art of husbandry is part of
money-getting or something different, and in general, whether the same
is not true of every acquisition and every attention which relates to
provision. But as there are many sorts of provision, so are the methods
of living both of man and the brute creation very various; and as it is
impossible to live without food, the difference in that particular makes
the lives of animals so different from each other. Of beasts, some
live in herds, others separate, as is most convenient for procuring
themselves food; as some of them live upon flesh, others on fruit, and
others on whatsoever they light on, nature having so distinguished
their course of life, that they can very easily procure themselves
subsistence; and as the same things are not agreeable to all, but one
animal likes one thing and another another, it follows that the lives
of those beasts who live upon flesh must be different from the lives of
those who live on fruits; so is it with men, their lives differ greatly
from each other; and of all these the shepherd's is the idlest, for they
live upon the flesh of tame animals, without any trouble, while they are
obliged to change their habitations on account of their flocks, which
they are compelled to follow, cultivating, as it were, a living farm.
Others live exercising violence over living creatures, one pursuing this
thing, another that, these preying upon men; those who live near lakes
and marshes and rivers, or the sea itself, on fishing, while others are
fowlers, or hunters of wild beasts; but the greater part of mankind live
upon the produce of the earth and its cultivated fruits; and the manner
in which all those live who follow the direction of nature, and labour
for their own subsistence, is nearly the same, without ever thinking
to procure any provision by way of exchange or merchandise, such are
shepherds, husband-men, [1256b] robbers, fishermen, and hunters: some
join different employments together, and thus live very agreeably;
supplying those deficiencies which were wanting to make their
subsistence depend upon themselves only: thus, for instance, the same
person shall be a shepherd and a robber, or a husbandman and a hunter;
and so with respect to the rest, they pursue that mode of life which
necessity points out. This provision then nature herself seems to have
furnished all animals with, as well immediately upon their first origin
as also when they are arrived at a state of maturity; for at the first
of these periods some of them are provided in the womb with proper
nourishment, which continues till that which is born can get food for
itself, as is the case with worms and birds; and as to those which bring
forth their young alive, they have the means for their subsistence for a
certain time within themselves, namely milk. It is evident then that we
may conclude of those things that are, that plants are created for the
sake of animals, and animals for the sake of men; the tame for our use
and provision; the wild, at least the greater part, for our provision
also, or for some other advantageous purpose, as furnishing us with
clothes, and the like. As nature therefore makes nothing either
imperfect or in vain, it necessarily follows that she has made all these
things for men: for which reason what we gain in war is in a certain
degree a natural acquisition; for hunting is a part of it, which it is
necessary for us to employ against wild beasts; and those men who being
intended by nature for slavery are unwilling to submit to it, on which
occasion such a. war is by nature just: that species of acquisition then
only which is according to nature is part of economy; and this ought to
be at hand, or if not, immediately procured, namely, what is necessary
to be kept in store to live upon, and which are useful as well for the
state as the family. And true riches seem to consist in these; and the
acquisition of those possessions which are necessary for a happy life is
not infinite; though Solon says otherwise in this verse:

  "No bounds to riches can be fixed for man;"

for they may be fixed as in other arts; for the instruments of no art
whatsoever are infinite, either in their number or their magnitude; but
riches are a number of instruments in domestic and civil economy; it is
therefore evident that the acquisition of certain things according
to nature is a part both of domestic and civil economy, and for what


There is also another species of acquisition which they [1257a]
particularly call pecuniary, and with great propriety; and by this
indeed it seems that there are no bounds to riches and wealth. Now many
persons suppose, from their near relation to each other, that this is
one and the same with that we have just mentioned, but it is not the
same as that, though not very different; one of these is natural, the
other is not, but rather owing to some art and skill; we will enter into
a particular examination of this subject. The uses of every possession
are two, both dependent upon the thing itself, but not in the same
manner, the one supposing an inseparable connection with it, the other
not; as a shoe, for instance, which may be either worn, or exchanged
for something else, both these are the uses of the shoe; for he who
exchanges a shoe with some man who wants one, for money or provisions,
uses the shoe as a shoe, but not according to the original intention,
for shoes were not at first made to be exchanged. The same thing holds
true of all other possessions; for barter, in general, had its original
beginning in nature, some men having a surplus, others too little of
what was necessary for them: hence it is evident, that the selling
provisions for money is not according to the natural use of things; for
they were obliged to use barter for those things which they wanted; but
it is plain that barter could have no place in the first, that is to
say, in family society; but must have begun when the number of those
who composed the community was enlarged: for the first of these had all
things in common; but when they came to be separated they were obliged
to exchange with each other many different things which both parties
wanted. Which custom of barter is still preserved amongst many barbarous
nations, who procure one necessary with another, but never sell
anything; as giving and receiving wine for corn and the like. This
sort of barter is not contradictory to nature, nor is it any species of
money-getting; but is necessary in procuring that subsistence which is
so consonant thereunto. But this barter introduced the use of money, as
might be expected; for a convenient place from whence to import what you
wanted, or to export what you had a surplus of, being often at a great
distance, money necessarily made its way into commerce; for it is not
everything which is naturally most useful that is easiest of carriage;
for which reason they invented something to exchange with each other
which they should mutually give and take, that being really valuable
itself, should have the additional advantage of being of easy
conveyance, for the purposes of life, as iron and silver, or anything
else of the same nature: and this at first passed in value simply
according to its weight or size; but in process of time it had a certain
stamp, to save the trouble of weighing, which stamp expressed its value.

Money then being established as the necessary medium of exchange,
another species of money-getting soon took place, namely, by buying
and selling, at probably first in a simple manner, afterwards with more
skill and experience, where and how the greatest profits might be made.
For which reason the art of money-getting seems to be chiefly conversant
about trade, and the business of it to be able to tell where the
greatest profits can be made, being the means of procuring abundance
of wealth and possessions: and thus wealth is very often supposed to
consist in the quantity of money which any one possesses, as this is the
medium by which all trade is conducted and a fortune made, others again
regard it as of no value, as being of none by nature, but arbitrarily
made so by compact; so that if those who use it should alter their
sentiments, it would be worth nothing, as being of no service for
any necessary purpose. Besides, he who abounds in money often wants
necessary food; and it is impossible to say that any person is in good
circumstances when with all his possessions he may perish with hunger.

Like Midas in the fable, who from his insatiable wish had everything he
touched turned into gold. For which reason others endeavour to procure
other riches and other property, and rightly, for there are other riches
and property in nature; and these are the proper objects of economy:
while trade only procures money, not by all means, but by the exchange
of it, and for that purpose it is this which it is chiefly employed
about, for money is the first principle and the end of trade; nor are
there any bounds to be set to what is thereby acquired. Thus also there
are no limits to the art of medicine, with respect to the health which
it attempts to procure; the same also is true of all other arts; no line
can be drawn to terminate their bounds, the several professors of them
being desirous to extend them as far as possible. (But still the means
to be employed for that purpose are limited; and these are the limits
beyond which the art cannot proceed.) Thus in the art of acquiring
riches there are no limits, for the object of that is money and
possessions; but economy has a boundary, though this has not: for
acquiring riches is not the business of that, for which reason it should
seem that some boundary should be set to riches, though we see the
contrary to this is what is practised; for all those who get riches add
to their money without end; the cause of which is the near connection
of these two arts with each other, which sometimes occasions the one to
change employments with the other, as getting of money is their common
object: for economy requires the possession of wealth, but not on
its own account but with another view, to purchase things necessary
therewith; but the other procures it merely to increase it: so that some
persons are confirmed in their belief, that this is the proper object
of economy, and think that for this purpose money should be saved and
hoarded up without end; the reason for which disposition is, that they
are intent upon living, but not upon living well; and this desire being
boundless in its extent, the means which they aim at for that purpose
are boundless also; and those who propose to live well, often confine
that to the enjoyment of the pleasures of sense; so that as this also
seems to depend upon what a man has, all their care is to get money,
and hence arises the other cause for this art; for as this enjoyment is
excessive in its degree, they endeavour to procure means proportionate
to supply it; and if they cannot do this merely by the art of dealing in
money, they will endeavour to do it by other ways, and apply all their
powers to a purpose they were not by nature intended for. Thus, for
instance, courage was intended to inspire fortitude, not to get money
by; neither is this the end of the soldier's or the physician's art,
but victory and health. But such persons make everything subservient to
money-getting, as if this was the only end; and to the end everything
ought to refer.

We have now considered that art of money-getting which is not necessary,
and have seen in what manner we became in want of it; and also that
which is necessary, which is different from it; for that economy which
is natural, and whose object is to provide food, is not like this
unlimited in its extent, but has its bounds.


We have now determined what was before doubtful, whether or no the art
of getting money is his business who is at the head of a family or a
state, and though not strictly so, it is however very necessary; for
as a politician does not make men, but receiving them from the hand of
nature employs them to proper purposes; thus the earth, or the sea, or
something else ought to supply them with provisions, and this it is the
business of the master of the family to manage properly; for it is not
the weaver's business to make yarn, but to use it, and to distinguish
what is good and useful from what is bad and of no service; and indeed
some one may inquire why getting money should be a part of economy when
the art of healing is not, as it is as requisite that the family should
be in health as that they should eat, or have anything else which is
necessary; and as it is indeed in some particulars the business both of
the master of the family, and he to whom the government of the state
is entrusted, to see after the health of those under their care, but in
others not, but the physician's; so also as to money; in some respects
it is the business of the master of the family, in others not, but of
the servant; but as we have already said, it is chiefly nature's, for
it is her part to supply her offspring with food; for everything finds
nourishment left for it in what produced it; for which reason
the natural riches of all men arise from fruits and animals. Now
money-making, as we say, being twofold, it may be applied to two
purposes, the service of the house or retail trade; of which the first
is necessary and commendable, the other justly censurable; for it has
not its origin in [1258b] nature, but by it men gain from each other;
for usury is most reasonably detested, as it is increasing our fortune
by money itself, and not employing it for the purpose it was originally
intended, namely exchange.

And this is the explanation of the name (TOKOS), which means the
breeding of money. For as offspring resemble their parents, so usury
is money bred of money. Whence of all forms of money-making it is most
against nature.


Having already sufficiently considered the general principles of this
subject, let us now go into the practical part thereof; the one is a
liberal employment for the mind, the other necessary. These things are
useful in the management of one's affairs; to be skilful in the nature
of cattle, which are most profitable, and where, and how; as for
instance, what advantage will arise from keeping horses, or oxen, or
sheep, or any other live stock; it is also necessary to be acquainted
with the comparative value of these things, and which of them in
particular places are worth most; for some do better in one place, some
in another. Agriculture also should be understood, and the management
of arable grounds and orchards; and also the care of bees, and fish, and
birds, from whence any profit may arise; these are the first and most
proper parts of domestic management.

With respect to gaining money by exchange, the principal method of doing
this is by merchandise, which is carried on in three different ways,
either by sending the commodity for sale by sea or by land, or else
selling it on the place where it grows; and these differ from each other
in this, that the one is more profitable, the other safer. The second
method is by usury. The third by receiving wages for work done, and
this either by being employed in some mean art, or else in mere bodily
labour. There is also a third species of improving a fortune, that is
something between this and the first; for it partly depends upon
nature, partly upon exchange; the subject of which is, things that are
immediately from the earth, or their produce, which, though they bear
no fruit, are yet useful, such as selling of timber and the whole art of
metallurgy, which includes many different species, for there are various
sorts of things dug out of the earth.

These we have now mentioned in general, but to enter into particulars
concerning each of them, though it might be useful to the artist, would
be tiresome to dwell on. Now of all the works of art, those are the most
excellent wherein chance has the least to do, and those are the meanest
which deprave the body, those the most servile in which bodily strength
alone is chiefly wanted, those most illiberal which require least skill;
but as there are books written on these subjects by some persons, as
by Chares the Panian, and Apollodorus the Lemnian, upon husbandry and
planting; and by others on other matters, [1259b] let those who have
occasion consult them thereon; besides, every person should collect
together whatsoever he hears occasionally mentioned, by means of which
many of those who aimed at making a fortune have succeeded in their
intentions; for all these are useful to those who make a point of
getting money, as in the contrivance of Thales the Milesian (which was
certainly a gainful one, but as it was his it was attributed to
his wisdom, though the method he used was a general one, and would
universally succeed), when they reviled him for his poverty, as if the
study of philosophy was useless: for they say that he, perceiving by his
skill in astrology that there would be great plenty of olives that year,
while it was yet winter, having got a little money, he gave earnest for
all the oil works that were in Miletus and Chios, which he hired at a
low price, there being no one to bid against him; but when the season
came for making oil, many persons wanting them, he all at once let them
upon what terms he pleased; and raising a large sum of money by that
means, convinced them that it was easy for philosophers to be rich if
they chose it, but that that was not what they aimed at; in this manner
is Thales said to have shown his wisdom. It indeed is, as we have
said, generally gainful for a person to contrive to make a monopoly of
anything; for which reason some cities also take this method when they
want money, and monopolise their commodities. There was a certain person
in Sicily who laid out a sum of money which was deposited in his hand in
buying up all the iron from the iron merchants; so that when the dealers
came from the markets to purchase, there was no one had any to sell but
himself; and though he put no great advance upon it, yet by laying out
fifty talents he made an hundred. When Dionysius heard this he permitted
him to take his money with him, but forbid him to continue any longer in
Sicily, as being one who contrived means for getting money inconsistent
with his affairs. This man's view and Thales's was exactly the same;
both of them contrived to procure a monopoly for themselves: it is
useful also for politicians to understand these things, for many states
want to raise money and by such means, as well as private families,
nay more so; for which reason some persons who are employed in the
management of public affairs confine themselves to this province only.


There are then three parts of domestic government, the masters, of
which we have already treated, the fathers, and the husbands; now the
government of the wife and children should both be that of free persons,
but not the [I259b] same; for the wife should be treated as a citizen of
a free state, the children should be under kingly power; for the male is
by nature superior to the female, except when something happens contrary
to the usual course of nature, as is the elder and perfect to the
younger and imperfect. Now in the generality of free states, the
governors and the governed alternately change place; for an equality
without any preference is what nature chooses; however, when one
governs and another is governed, she endeavours that there should be a
distinction between them in forms, expressions, and honours; according
to what Amasis said of his laver. This then should be the established
rule between the man and the woman. The government of children should
be kingly; for the power of the father over the child is founded in
affection and seniority, which is a species of kingly government; for
which reason Homer very properly calls Jupiter "the father of gods and
men," who was king of both these; for nature requires that a king should
be of the same species with those whom he governs, though superior in
some particulars, as is the case between the elder and the younger, the
father and the son.


It is evident then that in the due government of a family, greater
attention should be paid to the several members of it and their virtues
than to the possessions or riches of it; and greater to the freemen
than the slaves: but here some one may doubt whether there is any other
virtue in a slave than his organic services, and of higher estimation
than these, as temperance, fortitude, justice, and such-like habits, or
whether they possess only bodily qualities: each side of the question
has its difficulties; for if they possess these virtues, wherein do
they differ from freemen? and that they do not, since they are men,
and partakers of reason, is absurd. Nearly the same inquiry may be made
concerning a woman and a child, whether these also have their proper
virtues; whether a woman ought to be temperate, brave, and just, and
whether a child is temperate or no; and indeed this inquiry ought to be
general, whether the virtues of those who, by nature, either govern or
are governed, are the same or different; for if it is necessary that
both of them should partake of the fair and good, why is it also
necessary that, without exception, the one should govern, the other
always be governed? for this cannot arise from their possessing these
qualities in different degrees; for to govern, and to be governed, are
things different in species, but more or less are not. And yet it is
wonderful that one party ought to have them, and the other not; for if
he who is to govern should not be temperate and just, how can he govern
well? or if he is to be governed, how can he be governed well? for he
who is intemperate [1260a] and a coward will never do what he ought: it
is evident then that both parties ought to be virtuous; but there is a
difference between them, as there is between those who by nature command
and who by nature obey, and this originates in the soul; for in this
nature has planted the governing and submitting principle, the virtues
of which we say are different, as are those of a rational and an
irrational being. It is plain then that the same principle may be
extended farther, and that there are in nature a variety of things which
govern and are governed; for a freeman is governed in a different manner
from a slave, a male from a female, and a man from a child: and all
these have parts of mind within them, but in a different manner. Thus
a slave can have no power of determination, a woman but a weak one, a
child an imperfect one. Thus also must it necessarily be with respect to
moral virtues; all must be supposed to possess them, but not in the
same manner, but as is best suited to every one's employment; on which
account he who is to govern ought to be perfect in moral virtue, for his
business is entirely that of an architect, and reason is the architect;
while others want only that portion of it which may be sufficient for
their station; from whence it is evident, that although moral virtue is
common to all those we have spoken of, yet the temperance of a man and
a woman are not the same, nor their courage, nor their justice, though
Socrates thought otherwise; for the courage of the man consists in
commanding, the woman's in obeying; and the same is true in other
particulars: and this will be evident to those who will examine
different virtues separately; for those who use general terms deceive
themselves when they say, that virtue consists in a good disposition of
mind, or doing what is right, or something of this sort. They do much
better who enumerate the different virtues as Georgias did, than those
who thus define them; and as Sophocles speaks of a woman, we think
of all persons, that their 'virtues should be applicable to their
characters, for says he,

  "Silence is a woman's ornament,"

but it is not a man's; and as a child is incomplete, it is evident that
his virtue is not to be referred to himself in his present situation,
but to that in which he will be complete, and his preceptor. In like
manner the virtue of a slave is to be referred to his master; for we
laid it down as a maxim, that the use of a slave was to employ him in
what you wanted; so that it is clear enough that few virtues are wanted
in his station, only that he may not neglect his work through idleness
or fear: some person may question if what I have said is true, whether
virtue is not necessary for artificers in their calling, for they often
through idleness neglect their work, but the difference between them
is very great; for a slave is connected with you for life, but the
artificer not so nearly: as near therefore as the artificer approaches
to the situation of a slave, just so much ought he to have of the
virtues of one; for a mean artificer is to a certain point a slave; but
then a slave is one of those things which are by nature what they are,
but this is not true [1260b] of a shoemaker, or any other artist. It is
evident then that a slave ought to be trained to those virtues which are
proper for his situation by his master; and not by him who has the power
of a master, to teach him any particular art. Those therefore are in the
wrong who would deprive slaves of reason, and say that they have only to
follow their orders; for slaves want more instruction than children, and
thus we determine this matter. It is necessary, I am sensible, for every
one who treats upon government, to enter particularly into the relations
of husband and wife, and of parent and child, and to show what are the
virtues of each and their respective connections with each other; what
is right and what is wrong; and how the one ought to be followed, and
the other avoided. Since then every family is part of a city, and each
of those individuals is part of a family, and the virtue of the parts
ought to correspond to the virtue of the whole; it is necessary, that
both the wives and children of the community should be instructed
correspondent to the nature thereof, if it is of consequence to the
virtue of the state, that the wives and children therein should be
virtuous, and of consequence it certainly is, for the wives are one half
of the free persons; and of the children the succeeding citizens are to
be formed. As then we have determined these points, we will leave
the rest to be spoken to in another place, as if the subject was now
finished; and beginning again anew, first consider the sentiments of
those who have treated of the most perfect forms of government.



Since then we propose to inquire what civil society is of all others
best for those who have it in their power to live entirely as they wish,
it is necessary to examine into the polity of those states which are
allowed to be well governed; and if there should be any others which
some persons have described, and which appear properly regulated, to
note what is right and useful in them; and when we point out wherein
they have failed, let not this be imputed to an affectation of wisdom,
for it is because there are great defects in all those which are already
established, that I have been induced to undertake this work. We will
begin with that part of the subject which naturally presents itself
first to our consideration. The members of every state must of necessity
have all things in common, or some things common, and not others,
or nothing at all common. To have nothing in common is evidently
impossible, for society itself is one species of [1261a] community; and
the first thing necessary thereunto is a common place of habitation,
namely the city, which must be one, and this every citizen must have a
share in. But in a government which is to be well founded, will it be
best to admit of a community in everything which is capable thereof, or
only in some particulars, but in others not? for it is possible that the
citizens may have their wives, and children, and goods in common, as
in Plato's Commonwealth; for in that Socrates affirms that all these
particulars ought to be so. Which then shall we prefer? the custom which
is already established, or the laws which are proposed in that treatise?


Now as a community of wives is attended with many other difficulties, so
neither does the cause for which he would frame his government in this
manner seem agreeable to reason, nor is it capable of producing that end
which he has proposed, and for which he says it ought to take place; nor
has he given any particular directions for putting it in practice. Now
I also am willing to agree with Socrates in the principle which he
proceeds upon, and admit that the city ought to be one as much as
possible; and yet it is evident that if it is contracted too much, it
will be no longer a city, for that necessarily supposes a multitude; so
that if we proceed in this manner, we shall reduce a city to a family,
and a family to a single person: for we admit that a family is one in a
greater degree than a city, and a single person than a family; so that
if this end could be obtained, it should never be put in practice, as it
would annihilate the city; for a city does not only consist of a large
number of inhabitants, but there must also be different sorts; for were
they all alike, there could be no city; for a confederacy and a city are
two different things; for a confederacy is valuable from its numbers,
although all those who compose it are men of the same calling; for this
is entered into for the sake of mutual defence, as we add an additional
weight to make the scale go down. The same distinction prevails between
a city and a nation when the people are not collected into separate
villages, but live as the Arcadians. Now those things in which a city
should be one are of different sorts, and in preserving an alternate
reciprocation of power between these, the safety thereof consists (as
I have already mentioned in my treatise on Morals), for amongst freemen
and equals this is absolutely necessary; for all cannot govern at the
same time, but either by the year, or according to some other regulation
or time, by which means every one in his turn will be in office; as
if the shoemakers and carpenters should exchange occupations, and not
always be employed in the same calling. But as it is evidently better,
that these should continue to exercise their respective trades; so also
in civil society, where it is possible, it would be better that the
government should continue in the same hands; but where it [1261b] is
not (as nature has made all men equal, and therefore it is just, be the
administration good or bad, that all should partake of it), there it is
best to observe a rotation, and let those who are their equals by turns
submit to those who are at that time magistrates, as they will, in their
turns, alternately be governors and governed, as if they were different
men: by the same method different persons will execute different
offices. From hence it is evident, that a city cannot be one in the
manner that some persons propose; and that what has been said to be the
greatest good which it could enjoy, is absolutely its destruction, which
cannot be: for the good of anything is that which preserves it.
For another reason also it is clear, that it is not for the best
to endeavour to make a city too much one, because a family is more
sufficient in itself than a single person, a city than a family; and
indeed Plato supposes that a city owes its existence to that sufficiency
in themselves which the members of it enjoy. If then this sufficiency is
so desirable, the less the city is one the better.


But admitting that it is most advantageous for a city to be one as much
as possible, it does not seem to follow that this will take place by
permitting all at once to say this is mine, and this is not mine (though
this is what Socrates regards as a proof that a city is entirely one),
for the word All is used in two senses; if it means each individual,
what Socrates proposes will nearly take place; for each person will
say, this is his own son, and his own wife, and his own property, and
of everything else that may happen to belong to him, that it is his own.
But those who have their wives and children in common will not say so,
but all will say so, though not as individuals; therefore, to use the
word all is evidently a fallacious mode of speech; for this word is
sometimes used distributively, and sometimes collectively, on account
of its double meaning, and is the cause of inconclusive syllogisms in
reasoning. Therefore for all persons to say the same thing was their
own, using the word all in its distributive sense, would be well, but is
impossible: in its collective sense it would by no means contribute to
the concord of the state. Besides, there would be another inconvenience
attending this proposal, for what is common to many is taken least care
of; for all men regard more what is their own than what others share
with them in, to which they pay less attention than is incumbent on
every one: let me add also, that every one is more negligent of what
another is to see to, as well as himself, than of his own private
business; as in a family one is often worse served by many servants than
by a few. Let each citizen then in the state have a thousand children,
but let none of them be considered as the children of that individual,
but let the relation of father and child be common to them all, and they
will all be neglected. Besides, in consequence of this, [1262a] whenever
any citizen behaved well or ill, every person, be the number what it
would, might say, this is my son, or this man's or that; and in
this manner would they speak, and thus would they doubt of the whole
thousand, or of whatever number the city consisted; and it would be
uncertain to whom each child belonged, and when it was born, who was to
take care of it: and which do you think is better, for every one to say
this is mine, while they may apply it equally to two thousand or ten
thousand; or as we say, this is mine in our present forms of government,
where one man calls another his son, another calls that same person
his brother, another nephew, or some other relation, either by blood
or marriage, and first extends his care to him and his, while another
regards him as one of the same parish and the same tribe; and it is
better for any one to be a nephew in his private capacity than a son
after that manner. Besides, it will be impossible to prevent some
persons from suspecting that they are brothers and sisters, fathers and
mothers to each other; for, from the mutual likeness there is between
the sire and the offspring, they will necessarily conclude in what
relation they stand to each other, which circumstance, we are informed
by those writers who describe different parts of the world, does
sometimes happen; for in Upper Africa there are wives in common who
yet deliver their children to their respective fathers, being guided
by their likeness to them. There are also some mares and cows which
naturally bring forth their young so like the male, that we can easily
distinguish by which of them they were impregnated: such was the mare
called Just, in Pharsalia.


Besides, those who contrive this plan of community cannot easily avoid
the following evils; namely, blows, murders involuntary or voluntary,
quarrels, and reproaches, all which it would be impious indeed to be
guilty of towards our fathers and mothers, or those who are nearly
related to us; though not to those who are not connected to us by any
tie of affinity: and certainly these mischiefs must necessarily happen
oftener amongst those who do not know how they are connected to each
other than those who do; and when they do happen, if it is among the
first of these, they admit of a legal expiation, but amongst the latter
that cannot be done. It is also absurd for those who promote a
community of children to forbid those who love each other from indulging
themselves in the last excesses of that passion, while they do not
restrain them from the passion itself, or those intercourses which are
of all things most improper, between a Father and a son, a brother and
a brother, and indeed the thing itself is most absurd. It is also
ridiculous to prevent this intercourse between the nearest relations,
for no other reason than the violence of the pleasure, while they think
that the relation of father and daughter, the brother and sister, is of
no consequence at all. It seems also more advantageous for the state,
that the husbandmen should have their wives and children in common than
the military, for there will be less affection [1262b] among them
in that case than when otherwise; for such persons ought to be under
subjection, that they may obey the laws, and not seek after innovations.
Upon the whole, the consequences of such a law as this would be directly
contrary to those things which good laws ought to establish, and which
Socrates endeavoured to establish by his regulations concerning women
and children: for we think that friendship is the greatest good which
can happen to any city, as nothing so much prevents seditions: and amity
in a city is what Socrates commends above all things, which appears
to be, as indeed he says, the effect of friendship; as we learn from
Aristophanes in the Erotics, who says, that those who love one another
from the excess of that passion, desire to breathe the same soul, and
from being two to be blended into one: from whence it would necessarily
follow, that both or one of them must be destroyed. But now in a city
which admits of this community, the tie of friendship must, from that
very cause, be extremely weak, when no father can say, this is my son;
or son, this is my father; for as a very little of what is sweet, being
mixed with a great deal of water is imperceptible after the mixture, so
must all family connections, and the names they go by, be necessarily
disregarded in such a community, it being then by no means necessary
that the father should have any regard for him he called a son, or
the brothers for those they call brothers. There are two things which
principally inspire mankind with care and love of their offspring,
knowing it is their own, and what ought to be the object of their
affection, neither of which can take place in this sort of community. As
for exchanging the children of the artificers and husbandmen with those
of the military, and theirs reciprocally with these, it will occasion
great confusion in whatever manner it shall be done; for of necessity,
those who carry the children must know from whom they took and to whom
they gave them; and by this means those evils which I have already
mentioned will necessarily be the more likely to happen, as blows,
incestuous love, murders, and the like; for those who are given from
their own parents to other citizens, the military, for instance, will
not call them brothers, sons, fathers, or mothers. The same thing
would happen to those of the military who were placed among the other
citizens; so that by this means every one would be in fear how to act
in consequence of consanguinity. And thus let us determine concerning a
community of wives and children.


We proceed next to consider in what manner property should be regulated
in a state which is formed after the most perfect mode of government,
whether it should be common or not; for this may be considered as a
separate question from what had been determined concerning [1263a] wives
and children; I mean, whether it is better that these should be held
separate, as they now everywhere are, or that not only possessions but
also the usufruct of them should be in common; or that the soil should
have a particular owner, but that the produce should be brought together
and used as one common stock, as some nations at present do; or on the
contrary, should the soil be common, and should it also be cultivated in
common, while the produce is divided amongst the individuals for their
particular use, which is said to be practised by some barbarians; or
shall both the soil and the fruit be common? When the business of
the husbandman devolves not on the citizen, the matter is much easier
settled; but when those labour together who have a common right of
possession, this may occasion several difficulties; for there may not
be an equal proportion between their labour and what they consume; and
those who labour hard and have but a small proportion of the produce,
will certainly complain of those who take a large share of it and do but
little for that. Upon the whole, as a community between man and man so
entire as to include everything possible, and thus to have all things
that man can possess in common, is very difficult, so is it particularly
so with respect to property; and this is evident from that community
which takes place between those who go out to settle a colony; for they
frequently have disputes with each other upon the most common occasions,
and come to blows upon trifles: we find, too, that we oftenest correct
those slaves who are generally employed in the common offices of the
family: a community of property then has these and other inconveniences
attending it.

But the manner of life which is now established, more particularly when
embellished with good morals and a system of equal laws, is far superior
to it, for it will have the advantage of both; by both I mean properties
being common, and divided also; for in some respects it ought to be in
a manner common, but upon the whole private: for every man's attention
being employed on his own particular concerns, will prevent mutual
complaints against each other; nay, by this means industry will be
increased, as each person will labour to improve his own private
property; and it will then be, that from a principle of virtue they will
mutually perform good offices to each other, according to the proverb,
"All things are common amongst friends;" and in some cities there are
traces of this custom to be seen, so that it is not impracticable, and
particularly in those which are best governed; some things are by this
means in a manner common, and others might be so; for there, every
person enjoying his own private property, some things he assists his
friend with, others are considered as in common; as in Lacedaemon, where
they use each other's slaves, as if they were, so to speak, their own,
as they do their horses and dogs, or even any provision they may want in
a journey.

It is evident then that it is best to have property private, but to make
the use of it common; but how the citizens are to be brought to it is
the particular [1263b] business of the legislator. And also with respect
to pleasure, it is unspeakable how advantageous it is, that a man should
think he has something which he may call his own; for it is by no means
to no purpose, that each person should have an affection for himself,
for that is natural, and yet to be a self-lover is justly censured; for
we mean by that, not one that simply loves himself, but one that loves
himself more than he ought; in like manner we blame a money-lover,
and yet both money and self is what all men love. Besides, it is very
pleasing to us to oblige and assist our friends and companions, as well
as those whom we are connected with by the rights of hospitality; and
this cannot be done without the establishment of private property, which
cannot take place with those who make a city too much one; besides, they
prevent every opportunity of exercising two principal virtues, modesty
and liberality. Modesty with respect to the female sex, for this virtue
requires you to abstain from her who is another's; liberality, which
depends upon private property, for without that no one can appear
liberal, or do any generous action; for liberality consists in imparting
to others what is our own.

This system of polity does indeed recommend itself by its good
appearance and specious pretences to humanity; and when first proposed
to any one, must give him great pleasure, as he will conclude it to be
a wonderful bond of friendship, connecting all to all; particularly
when any one censures the evils which are now to be found in society,
as arising from properties not being common, I mean the disputes which
happen between man and man, upon their different contracts with each
other; those judgments which are passed in court in consequence of
fraud, and perjury, and flattering the rich, none of which arise from
properties being private, but from the vices of mankind. Besides,
those who live in one general community, and have all things in common,
oftener dispute with each other than those who have their property
separate; from the very small number indeed of those who have their
property in common, compared with those where it is appropriated,
the instances of their quarrels are but few. It is also but right to
mention, not only the inconveniences they are preserved from who live in
a communion of goods, but also the advantages they are deprived of; for
when the whole comes to be considered, this manner of life will be found

We must suppose, then, that Socrates's mistake arose from the principle
he set out with being false; we admit, indeed, that both a family and a
city ought to be one in some particulars, but not entirely; for there
is a point beyond which if a city proceeds in reducing itself to one, it
will be no longer a city.

There is also another point at which it will still continue to be a
city, but it will approach so near to not being one, that it will be
worse than none; as if any one should reduce the voices of those who
sing in concert to one, or a verse to a foot. But the people ought to
be made one, and a community, as I have already said, by education;
as property at Lacedaemon, and their public tables at Crete, were made
common by their legislators. But yet, whosoever shall introduce any
education, and think thereby to make his city excellent and respectable,
will be absurd, while he expects to form it by such regulations, and not
by manners, philosophy, and laws. And whoever [1264a] would establish
a government upon a community of goods, ought to know that he should
consult the experience of many years, which would plainly enough inform
him whether such a scheme is useful; for almost all things have already
been found out, but some have been neglected, and others which have been
known have not been put in practice. But this would be most evident, if
any one could see such a government really established: for it would be
impossible to frame such a city without dividing and separating it into
its distinct parts, as public tables, wards, and tribes; so that here
the laws will do nothing more than forbid the military to engage
in agriculture, which is what the Lacedaemonians are at present
endeavouring to do.

Nor has Socrates told us (nor is it easy to say) what plan of government
should be pursued with respect to the individuals in the state where
there is a community of goods established; for though the majority
of his citizens will in general consist of a multitude of persons of
different occupations, of those he has determined nothing; whether the
property of the husbandman ought to be in common, or whether each person
should have his share to himself; and also, whether their wives and
children ought to be in common: for if all things are to be alike common
to all, where will be the difference between them and the military, or
what would they get by submitting to their government? and upon what
principles would they do it, unless they should establish the wise
practice of the Cretans? for they, allowing everything else to their
slaves, forbid them only gymnastic exercises and the use of arms. And if
they are not, but these should be in the same situation with respect to
their property which they are in other cities, what sort of a community
will there be? in one city there must of necessity be two, and those
contrary to each other; for he makes the military the guardians of the
state, and the husbandman, artisans, and others, citizens; and all those
quarrels, accusations, and things of the like sort, which he says are
the bane of other cities, will be found in his also: notwithstanding
Socrates says they will not want many laws in consequence of their
education, but such only as may be necessary for regulating the streets,
the markets, and the like, while at the same time it is the education of
the military only that he has taken any care of. Besides, he makes the
husbandmen masters of property upon paying a tribute; but this would
be likely to make them far more troublesome and high-spirited than the
Helots, the Penestise, or the slaves which others employ; nor has he
ever determined whether it is necessary to give any attention to them
in these particulars, nor thought of what is connected therewith,
their polity, their education, their laws; besides, it is of no little
consequence, nor is it easy to determine, how these should be framed so
as to preserve the community of the military.

Besides, if he makes the wives common, while the property [1264b]
continues separate, who shall manage the domestic concerns with the same
care which the man bestows upon his fields? nor will the inconvenience
be remedied by making property as well as wives common; and it is absurd
to draw a comparison from the brute creation, and say, that the same
principle should regulate the connection of a man and a woman which
regulates theirs amongst whom there is no family association.

It is also very hazardous to settle the magistracy as Socrates has
done; for he would have persons of the same rank always in office, which
becomes the cause of sedition even amongst those who are of no account,
but more particularly amongst those who are of a courageous and warlike
disposition; it is indeed evidently necessary that he should frame his
community in this manner; for that golden particle which God has mixed
up in the soul of man flies not from one to the other, but always
continues with the same; for he says, that some of our species have
gold, and others silver, blended in their composition from the moment of
their birth: but those who are to be husbandmen and artists, brass and
iron; besides, though he deprives the military of happiness, he says,
that the legislator ought to make all the citizens happy; but it
is impossible that the whole city can be happy, without all, or the
greater, or some part of it be happy. For happiness is not like
that numerical equality which arises from certain numbers when added
together, although neither of them may separately contain it; for
happiness cannot be thus added together, but must exist in every
individual, as some properties belong to every integral; and if the
military are not happy, who else are so? for the artisans are not, nor
the multitude of those who are employed in inferior offices. The state
which Socrates has described has all these defects, and others which are
not of less consequence.


It is also nearly the same in the treatise upon Laws which was writ
afterwards, for which reason it will be proper in this place to consider
briefly what he has there said upon government, for Socrates has
thoroughly settled but very few parts of it; as for instance, in what
manner the community of wives and children ought to be regulated, how
property should be established, and government conducted.

Now he divides the inhabitants into two parts, husbandmen and soldiers,
and from these he select a third part who are to be senators and govern
the city; but he has not said whether or no the husbandman and artificer
shall have any or what share in the government, or whether they shall
have arms, and join with the others in war, or not. He thinks also
that the women ought to go to war, and have the same education as the
soldiers; as to other particulars, he has filled his treatise with
matter foreign to the purpose; and with respect to education, he has
only said what that of the guards ought to be.

[1265a] As to his book of Laws, laws are the principal thing which that
contains, for he has there said but little concerning government; and
this government, which he was so desirous of framing in such a manner as
to impart to its members a more entire community of goods than is to be
found in other cities, he almost brings round again to be the same
as that other government which he had first proposed; for except the
community of wives and goods, he has framed both his governments alike,
for the education of the citizens is to be the same in both; they are in
both to live without any servile employ, and their common tables are to
be the same, excepting that in that he says the women should have common
tables, and that there should be a thousand men-at-arms, in this, that
there should be five thousand.

All the discourses of Socrates are masterly, noble, new, and
inquisitive; but that they are all true it may probably be too much
to say. For now with respect to the number just spoken of, it must be
acknowledged that he would want the country of Babylonia for them, or
some one like it, of an immeasurable extent, to support five thousand
idle persons, besides a much greater number of women and servants. Every
one, it is true, may frame an hypothesis as he pleases, but yet it ought
to be possible. It has been said, that a legislator should have two
things in view when he frames his laws, the country and the people. He
will also do well, if he has some regard to the neighbouring states, if
he intends that his community should maintain any political intercourse
with them, for it is not only necessary that they should understand that
practice of war which is adapted to their own country, but to others
also; for admitting that any one chooses not this life either in
public or private, yet there is not the less occasion for their being
formidable to their enemies, not only when they invade their country,
but also when they retire out of it.

It may also be considered whether the quantity of each person's property
may not be settled in a different manner from what he has done it in,
by making it more determinate; for he says, that every one ought to have
enough whereon to live moderately, as if any one had said to live well,
which is the most comprehensive expression. Besides, a man may live
moderately and miserably at the same time; he had therefore better
have proposed, that they should live both moderately and liberally;
for unless these two conspire, luxury will come in on the one hand, or
wretchedness on the other, since these two modes of living are the only
ones applicable to the employment of our substance; for we cannot say
with respect to a man's fortune, that he is mild or courageous, but we
may say that he is prudent and liberal, which are the only qualities
connected therewith.

It is also absurd to render property equal, and not to provide for
the increasing number of the citizens; but to leave that circumstance
uncertain, as if it would regulate itself according to the number of
women who [1265b] should happen to be childless, let that be what it
would because this seems to take place in other cities; but the case
would not be the same in such a state which he proposes and those which
now actually unite; for in these no one actually wants, as the property
is divided amongst the whole community, be their numbers what they will;
but as it could not then be divided, the supernumeraries, whether they
were many or few, would have nothing at all. But it is more necessary
than even to regulate property, to take care that the increase of the
people should not exceed a certain number; and in determining that,
to take into consideration those children who will die, and also those
women who will be barren; and to neglect this, as is done in several
cities, is to bring certain poverty on the citizens; and poverty is the
cause of sedition and evil. Now Phidon the Corinthian, one of the oldest
legislators, thought the families and the number of the citizens should
continue the same; although it should happen that all should have
allotments at the first, disproportionate to their numbers.

In Plato's Laws it is however different; we shall mention hereafter what
we think would be best in these particulars. He has also neglected in
that treatise to point out how the governors are to be distinguished
from the governed; for he says, that as of one sort of wool the warp
ought to be made, and of another the woof, so ought some to govern, and
others to be governed. But since he admits, that all their property may
be increased fivefold, why should he not allow the same increase to the
country? he ought also to consider whether his allotment of the houses
will be useful to the community, for he appoints two houses to each
person, separate from each other; but it is inconvenient for a person
to inhabit two houses. Now he is desirous to have his whole plan of
government neither a democracy nor an oligarchy, but something between
both, which he calls a polity, for it is to be composed of men-at-arms.
If Plato intended to frame a state in which more than in any other
everything should be common, he has certainly given it a right name;
but if he intended it to be the next in perfection to that which he had
already framed, it is not so; for perhaps some persons will give the
preference to the Lacedaemonian form of government, or some other which
may more completely have attained to the aristocratic form.

Some persons say, that the most perfect government should be composed
of all others blended together, for which reason they commend that
of Lacedaemon; for they say, that this is composed of an oligarchy,
a monarchy, and a democracy, their kings representing the monarchical
part, the senate the oligarchical; and, that in the ephori may be found
the democratical, as these are taken from the people. But some say, that
in the ephori is absolute power, and that it is their common meal and
daily course of life, in which the democratical form is represented.
It is also said in this treatise of [1266a] Laws, that the best form of
government must, be one composed of a democracy and a tyranny; though
such a mixture no one else would ever allow to be any government at all,
or if it is, the worst possible; those propose what is much better who
blend many governments together; for the most perfect is that which is
formed of many parts. But now in this government of Plato's there are
no traces of a monarchy, only of an oligarchy and democracy; though he
seems to choose that it should rather incline to an oligarchy, as is
evident from the appointment of the magistrates; for to choose them by
lot is common to both; but that a man of fortune must necessarily be a
member of the assembly, or to elect the magistrates, or take part in the
management of public affairs, while others are passed over, makes the
state incline to an oligarchy; as does the endeavouring that the
greater part of the rich may be in office, and that the rank of their
appointments may correspond with their fortunes.

The same principle prevails also in the choice of their senate; the
manner of electing which is favourable also to an oligarchy; for all
are obliged to vote for those who are senators of the first class,
afterwards they vote for the same number out of the second, and then out
of the third; but this compulsion to vote at the election of senators
does not extend to the third and fourth classes and the first and second
class only are obliged to vote for the fourth. By this means he says
he shall necessarily have an equal number of each rank, but he is
mistaken--for the majority will always consist of those of the first
rank, and the most considerable people; and for this reason, that
many of the commonalty not being obliged to it, will not attend the
elections. From hence it is evident, that such a state will not consist
of a democracy and a monarchy, and this will be further proved by
what we shall say when we come particularly to consider this form of

There will also great danger arise from the manner of electing the
senate, when those who are elected themselves are afterwards to elect
others; for by this means, if a certain number choose to combine
together, though not very considerable, the election will always fall
according to their pleasure. Such are the things which Plato proposes
concerning government in his book of Laws.


There are also some other forms of government, which have been proposed
either by private persons, or philosophers, or politicians, all of which
come much nearer to those which have been really established, or now
exist, than these two of Plato's; for neither have they introduced the
innovation of a community of wives and children, and public tables for
the women, but have been contented to set out with establishing such
rules as are absolutely necessary.

There are some persons who think, that the first object of government
should be to regulate well everything relating to private property;
for they say, that a neglect herein is the source of all seditions
whatsoever. For this reason, Phaleas the Chalcedonian first proposed,
that the fortunes of the citizens should be equal, which he thought was
not difficult to accomplish when a community was first settled, but
that it was a work of greater difficulty in one that had been long
established; but yet that it might be effected, and an equality of
circumstances introduced by these means, that the rich should give
marriage portions, but never receive any, while the poor should always
receive, but never give.

But Plato, in his treatise of Laws, thinks that a difference in
circumstances should be permitted to a certain degree; but that no
citizen should be allowed to possess more than five times as much as the
lowest census, as we have already mentioned. But legislators who
would establish this principle are apt to overlook what they ought to
consider; that while they regulate the quantity of provisions which each
individual shall possess, they ought also to regulate the number of his
children; for if these exceed the allotted quantity of provision, the
law must necessarily be repealed; and yet, in spite of the repeal, it
will have the bad effect of reducing many from wealth to poverty, so
difficult is it for innovators not to fall into such mistakes. That an
equality of goods was in some degree serviceable to strengthen the bands
of society, seems to have been known to some of the ancients; for Solon
made a law, as did some others also, to restrain persons from possessing
as much land as they pleased. And upon the same principle there are laws
which forbid men to sell their property, as among the Locrians, unless
they can prove that some notorious misfortune has befallen them. They
were also to preserve their ancient patrimony, which custom being broken
through by the Leucadians, made their government too democratic; for
by that means it was no longer necessary to be possessed of a certain
fortune to be qualified to be a magistrate. But if an equality of goods
is established, this may be either too much, when it enables the people
to live luxuriously, or too little, when it obliges them to live
hard. Hence it is evident, that it is not proper for the legislator
to establish an equality of circumstances, but to fix a proper medium.
Besides, if any one should regulate the division of property in such a
manner that there should be a moderate sufficiency for all, it would
be of no use; for it is of more consequence that the citizen should
entertain a similarity of sentiments than an equality of circumstances;
but this can never be attained unless they are properly educated under
the direction of the law. But probably Phaleas may say, that this in
what he himself mentions; for he both proposes a equality of property
and one plan of education in his city. But he should have said
particularly what education he intended, nor is it of any service to
have this to much one; for this education may be one, and yet such as
will make the citizens over-greedy, to grasp after honours, or riches,
or both. Besides, not only an inequality of possessions, but also
of honours, will occasion [1267a] seditions, but this upon contrary
grounds; for the vulgar will be seditious if there be an inequality of
goods, by those of more elevated sentiments, if there is an equality of

  "When good and bad do equal honours share."

For men are not guilty of crimes for necessaries only (for which he
thinks an equality of goods would be a sufficient remedy, as they would
then have no occasion to steal cold or hunger), but that they may enjoy
what they desire, and not wish for it in vain; for if their desire extend
beyond the common necessaries of life, they were be wicked to gratify
them; and not only so, but if their wishes point that way, they will do
the same to enjoy those pleasures which are free from the alloy of pain.
What remedy then shall we find for these three disorders? And first,
to prevent stealing from necessity, let every one be supplied with a
moderate subsistence, which may make the addition of his own industry
necessary; second to prevent stealing to procure the luxuries of life,
temperance be enjoined; and thirdly, let those who wish for pleasure in
itself seek for it only in philosophy, all others want the assistance of

Since then men are guilty of the greatest crimes from ambition, and not
from necessity, no one, for instance aims at being a tyrant to keep him
from the cold, hence great honour is due to him who kills not a thief,
but tyrant; so that polity which Phaleas establishes would only be
salutary to prevent little crimes. He has also been very desirous to
establish such rules as will conduce to perfect the internal policy of
his state, and he ought also to have done the same with respect to
its neighbours and all foreign nations; for the considerations of the
military establishment should take place in planning every government,
that it may not be unprovided in case of a war, of which he has said
nothing; so also with respect to property, it ought not only to be
adapted to the exigencies of the state, but also to such dangers as may
arise from without.

Thus it should not be so much as to tempt those who are near, and more
powerful to invade it, while those who possess it are not able to drive
out the invaders, nor so little as that the state should not be able to
go to war with those who are quite equal to itself, and of this he has
determined nothing; it must indeed be allowed that it is advantageous to
a community to be rather rich than poor; probably the proper boundary is
this, not to possess enough to make it worth while for a more powerful
neighbour to attack you, any more than he would those who had not so
much as yourself; thus when Autophradatus proposed to besiege Atarneus,
Eubulus advised him to consider what time it would require to take the
city, and then would have him determine whether it would answer, for
that he should choose, if it would even take less than he proposed,
to quit the place; his saying this made Autophradatus reflect upon the
business and give over the siege. There is, indeed, some advantage in an
equality of goods amongst the citizens to prevent seditions; and yet,
to say truth, no very great one; for men of great abilities will stomach
their being put upon a level with the rest of the community. For
which reason they will very often appear ready for every commotion and
sedition; for the wickedness of mankind is insatiable. For though
at first two oboli might be sufficient, yet when once it is become
customary, they continually want something more, until they set no
limits to their expectations; for it is the nature of our desires to be
boundless, and many live only to gratify them. But for this purpose the
first object is, not so much to establish an equality of fortune, as
to prevent those who are of a good disposition from desiring more than
their own, and those who are of a bad one from being able to acquire it;
and this may be done if they are kept in an inferior station, and not
exposed to injustice. Nor has he treated well the equality of goods, for
he has extended his regulation only to land; whereas a man's substance
consists not only in this, but also in slaves, cattle, money, and all
that variety of things which fall under the name of chattels; now there
must be either an equality established in all these, or some certain
rule, or they must be left entirely at large. It appears too by his
laws, that he intends to establish only a small state, as all the
artificers are to belong to the public, and add nothing to the
complement of citizens; but if all those who are to be employed in
public works are to be the slaves of the public, it should be done
in the same manner as it is at Epidamnum, and as Diophantus formerly
regulated it at Athens. From these particulars any one may nearly judge
whether Phaleas's community is well or ill established.


Hippodamus, the son of Euruphon a Milesian, contrived the art of laying
out towns, and separated the Pireus. This man was in other respects
too eager after notice, and seemed to many to live in a very affected
manner, with his flowing locks and his expensive ornaments, and a coarse
warm vest which he wore, not only in the winter, but also in the
hot weather. As he was very desirous of the character of a universal
scholar, he was the first who, not being actually engaged in the
management of public affairs, sat himself to inquire what sort of
government was best; and he planned a state, consisting of ten thousand
persons, divided into three parts, one consisting of artisans, another
of husbandmen, and the third of soldiers; he also divided the lands into
three parts, and allotted one to sacred purposes, another to the public,
and the third to individuals. The first of these was to supply what was
necessary for the established worship of the gods; the second was to
be allotted to the support of the soldiery; and the third was to be
the property of the husbandman. He thought also that there need only be
three sorts of laws, corresponding to the three sorts of actions which
can be brought, namely, for assault, trespasses, or death. He ordered
also that there should be a particular court of appeal, into which
all causes might be removed which were supposed to have been unjustly
determined elsewhere; which court should be composed of old men chosen
for that purpose. He thought also [1268a] that they should not pass
sentence by votes; but that every one should bring with him a tablet, on
which he should write, that he found the party guilty, if it was so, but
if not, he should bring a plain tablet; but if he acquitted him of one
part of the indictment but not of the other, he should express that
also on the tablet; for he disapproved of that general custom already
established, as it obliges the judges to be guilty of perjury if they
determined positively either on the one side or the other. He also made
a law, that those should be rewarded who found out anything for the good
of the city, and that the children of those who fell in battle should be
educated at the public expense; which law had never been proposed by any
other legislator, though it is at present in use at Athens as well as in
other cities, he would have the magistrates chosen out of the people
in general, by whom he meant the three parts before spoken of; and that
those who were so elected should be the particular guardians of what
belonged to the public, to strangers, and to orphans.

These are the principal parts and most worthy of notice in Hippodamus's
plan. But some persons might doubt the propriety of his division of the
citizens into three parts; for the artisans, the husbandmen, and the
soldiers are to compose one community, where the husbandmen are to have
no arms, and the artisans neither arms nor land, which would in a manner
render them slaves to the soldiery. It is also impossible that the whole
community should partake of all the honourable employments in it--for
the generals and the guardians of the state must necessarily be
appointed out of the soldiery, and indeed the most honourable
magistrates; but as the two other parts will not have their share in the
government, how can they be expected to have any affection for it? But
it is necessary that the soldiery should be superior to the other two
parts, and this superiority will not be easily gained without they are
very numerous; and if they are so, why should the community consist
of any other members? why should any others have a right to elect the
magistrates? Besides, of what use are the husbandmen to this community?
Artisans, 'tis true, are necessary, for these every city wants, and they
can live upon their business. If the husbandmen indeed furnished the
soldiers with provisions, they would be properly part of the community;
but these are supposed to have their private property, and to cultivate
it for their own use. Moreover, if the soldiers themselves are to
cultivate that common land which is appropriated for their support,
there will be no distinction between the soldier and the husbandman,
which the legislator intended there should be; and if there should be
any others who are to cultivate the private property of the husbandman
and the common lands of the military, there will be a fourth order in
the state which will have no share in it, and always entertain hostile
sentiments towards it. If any one should propose that the same persons
should cultivate their own lands and the public ones also, then there
would be a deficiency [1268b] of provisions to supply two families,
as the lands would not immediately yield enough for themselves and the
soldiers also; and all these things would occasion great confusion.

Nor do I approve of his method of determining causes, when he would
have the judge split the case which comes simply before him; and thus,
instead of being a judge, become an arbitrator. Now when any matter
is brought to arbitration, it is customary for many persons to confer
together upon the business that is before them; but when a cause is
brought before judges it is not so; and many legislators take care
that the judges shall not have it in their power to communicate their
sentiments to each other. Besides, what can prevent confusion on the
bench when one judge thinks a fine should be different from what another
has set it at; one proposing twenty minae, another ten, or be it more
or less, another four, and another five; and it is evident, that in this
manner they will differ from each other, while some will give the whole
damages sued for, and others nothing; in this situation, how shall their
determinations be settled? Besides, a judge cannot be obliged to perjure
himself who simply acquits or condemns, if the action is fairly and
justly brought; for he who acquits the party does not say that he ought
not to pay any fine at all, but that he ought not to pay a fine of
twenty minae. But he that condemns him is guilty of perjury if he
sentences him to pay twenty minae while he believes the damages ought
not to be so much.

Now with respect to these honours which he proposes to bestow on those
who can give any information useful to the community, this, though very
pleasing in speculation, is what the legislator should not settle, for
it would encourage informers, and probably occasion commotions in the
state. And this proposal of his gives rise also to further conjectures
and inquiries; for some persons have doubted whether it is useful or
hurtful to alter the established law of any country, if even for the
better; for which reason one cannot immediately determine upon what he
here says, whether it is advantageous to alter the law or not. We know,
indeed, that it is possible to propose to new model both the laws and
government as a common good; and since we have mentioned this subject,
it may be very proper to enter into a few particulars concerning it, for
it contains some difficulties, as I have already said, and it may appear
better to alter them, since it has been found useful in other sciences.

Thus the science of physic is extended beyond its ancient bounds; so is
the gymnastic, and indeed all other arts and powers; so that one may lay
it down for certain that the same thing will necessarily hold good in
the art of government. And it may also be affirmed, that experience
itself gives a proof of this; for the ancient laws are too simple and
barbarous; which allowed the Greeks to wear swords in the city, and to
buy their wives of each [1269a]. other. And indeed all the remains of
old laws which we have are very simple; for instance, a law in Cuma
relative to murder. If any person who prosecutes another for murder can
produce a certain number of witnesses to it of his own relations, the
accused person shall be held guilty. Upon the whole, all persons ought
to endeavour to follow what is right, and not what is established; and
it is probable that the first men, whether they sprung out of the earth,
or were saved from some general calamity, had very little understanding
or knowledge, as is affirmed of these aborigines; so that it would be
absurd to continue in the practice of their rules. Nor is it, moreover,
right to permit written laws always to remain without alteration; for
as in all other sciences, so in politics, it is impossible to express
everything in writing with perfect exactness; for when we commit
anything to writing we must use general terms, but in every action there
is something particular to itself, which these may not comprehend; from
whence it is evident, that certain laws will at certain times admit of
alterations. But if we consider this matter in another point of view, it
will appear to require great caution; for when the advantage proposed is
trifling, as the accustoming the people easily to abolish their laws
is of bad consequence, it is evidently better to pass over some faults
which either the legislator or the magistrates may have committed; for
the alterations will not be of so much service as a habit of disobeying
the magistrates will be of disservice. Besides, the instance brought
from the arts is fallacious; for it is not the same thing to alter the
one as the other. For a law derives all its strength from custom, and
this requires long time to establish; so that, to make it an easy matter
to pass from the established laws to other new ones, is to weaken the
power of laws. Besides, here is another question; if the laws are to be
altered, are they all to be altered, and in every government or not, and
whether at the pleasure of one person or many? all which particulars
will make a great difference; for which reason we will at present drop
the inquiry, to pursue it at some other time.


There are two considerations which offer themselves with respect to the
government established at Lacedaemon and Crete, and indeed in almost all
other states whatsoever; one is whether their laws do or do not promote
the best establishment possible? the other is whether there is anything,
if we consider either the principles upon which it is founded or the
executive part of it, which prevents the form of government that they
had proposed to follow from being observed; now it is allowed that in
every well-regulated state the members of it should be free from servile
labour; but in what manner this shall be effected is not so easy to
determine; for the Penestse have very often attacked the Thessalians,
and the Helots the Lacedaemonians, for they in a manner continually
watch an opportunity for some misfortune befalling them. But no such
thing has ever happened to the Cretans; the [1269b] reason for which
probably is, that although they are engaged in frequent wars with the
neighbouring cities, yet none of these would enter into an alliance with
the revolters, as it would be disadvantageous for them, who themselves
also have their villains. But now there is perpetual enmity between the
Lacedaemonians and all their neighbours, the Argives, the Messenians,
and the Arcadians. Their slaves also first revolted from the Thessalians
while they were engaged in wars with their neighbours the Acheans, the
Perrabeans, and the Magnesians. It seems to me indeed, if nothing else,
yet something very troublesome to keep upon proper terms with them;
for if you are remiss in your discipline they grow insolent, and think
themselves upon an equality with their masters; and if they are hardly
used they are continually plotting against you and hate you. It is
evident, then, that those who employ slaves have not as yet hit upon the
right way of managing them.

As to the indulging of women in any particular liberties, it is hurtful
to the end of government and the prosperity of the city; for as a man
and his wife are the two parts of a family, if we suppose a city to be
divided into two parts, we must allow that the number of men and women
will be equal.

In whatever city then the women are not under good regulations, we must
look upon one half of it as not under the restraint of law, as it
there happened; for the legislator, desiring to make his whole city
a collection of warriors with respect to the men, he most evidently
accomplished his design; but in the meantime the women were quite
neglected, for they live without restraint in every improper indulgence
and luxury. So that in such a state riches will necessarily be in
general esteem, particularly if the men are governed by their wives,
which has been the case with many a brave and warlike people except
the Celts, and those other nations, if there are any such, who openly
practise pederasty. And the first mythologists seem not improperly to
have joined Mars and Venus together; for all nations of this character
are greatly addicted either to the love of women or of boys, for which
reason it was thus at Lacedaemon; and many things in their state were
done by the authority of the women. For what is the difference, if the
power is in the hands of the women, or in the hands of those whom they
themselves govern? it must turn to the same account. As this boldness of
the women can be of no use in any common occurrences, if it was ever so,
it must be in war; but even here we find that the Lacedaemonian women
were of the greatest disservice, as was proved at the time of the Theban
invasion, when they were of no use at all, as they are in other cities,
but made more disturbance than even the enemy.

The origin of this indulgence which the Lacedaemonian women enjoy is
easily accounted for, from the long time the men were absent from home
upon foreign expeditions [1270a] against the Argives, and afterwards the
Arcadians and Messenians, so that, when these wars were at an end, their
military life, in which there is no little virtue, prepared them to obey
the precepts of their law-giver; but we are told, that when Lycurgus
endeavoured also to reduce the women to an obedience to his laws, upon
their refusal he declined it. It may indeed be said that the women were
the causes of these things, and of course all the fault was theirs. But
we are not now considering where the fault lies, or where it does not
lie, but what is right and what is wrong; and when the manners of the
women are not well regulated, as I have already said, it must not only
occasion faults which are disgraceful to the state, but also increase
the love of money. In the next place, fault may be found with his
unequal division of property, for some will have far too much, others
too little; by which means the land will come into few hands, which
business is badly regulated by his laws. For he made it infamous for any
one either to buy or sell their possessions, in which he did right; but
he permitted any one that chose it to give them away, or bequeath them,
although nearly the same consequences will arise from one practice as
from the other. It is supposed that near two parts in five of the whole
country is the property of women, owing to their being so often sole
heirs, and having such large fortunes in marriage; though it would
be better to allow them none, or a little, or a certain regulated
proportion. Now every one is permitted to make a woman his heir if he
pleases; and if he dies intestate, he who succeeds as heir at law gives
it to whom he pleases. From whence it happens that although the country
is able to support fifteen hundred horse and thirty thousand foot, the
number does not amount to one thousand.

And from these facts it is evident, that this particular is badly
regulated; for the city could not support one shock, but was ruined for
want of men. They say, that during the reigns of their ancient kings
they used to present foreigners with the freedom of their city, to
prevent there being a want of men while they carried on long wars; it is
also affirmed that the number of Spartans was formerly ten thousand; but
be that as it will, an equality of property conduces much to increase
the number of the people. The law, too, which he made to encourage
population was by no means calculated to correct this inequality;
for being willing that the Spartans should be as numerous as [1270b]
possible, to make them desirous of having large families he ordered that
he who had three children should be excused the night-watch, and that he
who had four should pay no taxes: though it is very evident, that while
the land was divided in this manner, that if the people increased there
must many of them be very poor.

Nor was he less blamable for the manner in which he constituted the
ephori; for these magistrates take cognisance of things of the last
importance, and yet they are chosen out of the people in general; so
that it often happens that a very poor person is elected to that office,
who, from that circumstance, is easily bought. There have been many
instances of this formerly, as well as in the late affair at Andros. And
these men, being corrupted with money, went as far as they could to ruin
the city: and, because their power was too great and nearly tyrannical,
their kings were obliged to natter them, which contributed greatly to
hurt the state; so that it altered from an aristocracy to a democracy.
This magistracy is indeed the great support of the state; for the people
are easy, knowing that they are eligible to the first office in it;
so that, whether it took place by the intention of the legislator,
or whether it happened by chance, this is of great service to their
affairs; for it is necessary that every member of the state should
endeavour that each part of the government should be preserved, and
continue the same. And upon this principle their kings have always
acted, out of regard to their honour; the wise and good from their
attachment to the senate, a seat wherein they consider as the reward of
virtue; and the common people, that they may support the ephori, of whom
they consist. And it is proper that these magistrates should be chosen
out of the whole community, not as the custom is at present, which is
very ridiculous. The ephori are the supreme judges in causes of the last
consequence; but as it is quite accidental what sort of persons they may
be, it is not right that they should determine according to their own
opinion, but by a written law or established custom. Their way of life
also is not consistent with the manners of the city, for it is too
indulgent; whereas that of others is too severe; so that they cannot
support it, but are obliged privately to act contrary to law, that they
may enjoy some of the pleasures of sense. There are also great defects
in the institution of their senators. If indeed they were fitly trained
to the practice of every human virtue, every one would readily admit
that they would be useful to the government; but still it might be
debated whether they should be continued judges for life, to determine
points of the greatest moment, since the mind has its old age as well
as the body; but as they are so brought up, [1271a] that even the
legislator could not depend upon them as good men, their power must
be inconsistent with the safety of the state: for it is known that the
members of that body have been guilty both of bribery and partiality in
many public affairs; for which reason it had been much better if they
had been made answerable for their conduct, which they are not. But it
may be said the ephori seem to have a check upon all the magistrates.
They have indeed in this particular very great power; but I affirm that
they should not be entrusted with this control in the manner they are.
Moreover, the mode of choice which they make use of at the election of
their senators is very childish. Nor is it right for any one to solicit
for a place he is desirous of; for every person, whether he chooses it
or not, ought to execute any office he is fit for. But his intention was
evidently the same in this as in the other parts of his government.
For making his citizens ambitious after honours, with men of that
disposition he has filled his senate, since no others will solicit for
that office; and yet the principal part of those crimes which men are
deliberately guilty of arise from ambition and avarice.

We will inquire at another time whether the office of a king is useful
to the state: thus much is certain, that they should be chosen from a
consideration of their conduct and not as they are now. But that the
legislator himself did not expect to make all his citizens honourable
and completely virtuous is evident from this, that he distrusts them as
not being good men; for he sent those upon the same embassy that were at
variance with each other; and thought, that in the dispute of the kings
the safety of the state consisted. Neither were their common meals at
first well established: for these should rather have been provided at
the public expense, as at Crete, where, as at Lacedaemon, every one was
obliged to buy his portion, although he might be very poor, and could by
no means bear the expense, by which means the contrary happened to what
the legislator desired: for he intended that those public meals should
strengthen the democratic part of his government: but this regulation
had quite the contrary effect, for those who were very poor could not
take part in them; and it was an observation of their forefathers, that
the not allowing those who could not contribute their proportion to the
common tables to partake of them, would be the ruin of the state. Other
persons have censured his laws concerning naval affairs, and not without
reason, as it gave rise to disputes. For the commander of the fleet is
in a manner set up in opposition to the kings, who are generals of the
army for life.

[1271b] There is also another defect in his laws worthy of censure,
which Plato has given in his book of Laws; that the whole constitution
was calculated only for the business of war: it is indeed excellent to
make them conquerors; for which reason the preservation of the state
depended thereon. The destruction of it commenced with their victories:
for they knew not how to be idle, or engage in any other employment
than war. In this particular also they were mistaken, that though they
rightly thought, that those things which are the objects of contention
amongst mankind are better procured by virtue than vice, yet they
wrongfully preferred the things themselves to virtue. Nor was the public
revenue well managed at Sparta, for the state was worth nothing while
they were obliged to carry on the most extensive wars, and the subsidies
were very badly raised; for as the Spartans possessed a large extent of
country, they were not exact upon each other as to what they paid in.
And thus an event contrary to the legislator's intention took place;
for the state was poor, the individuals avaricious. Enough of the
Lacedaemonian government; for these seem the chief defects in it.


The government of Crete bears a near resemblance to this, in some few
particulars it is not worse, but in general it is far inferior in its
contrivance. For it appears and is allowed in many particulars the
constitution of Lacedaemon was formed in imitation of that of Crete;
and in general most new things are an improvement upon the old. For they
say, that when Lycurgus ceased to be guardian to King Charilles he
went abroad and spent a long time with his relations in Crete, for the
Lycians are a colony of the Lacedaemonians; and those who first settled
there adopted that body of laws which they found already established by
the inhabitants; in like manner also those who now live near them have
the very laws which Minos first drew up.

This island seems formed by nature to be the mistress of Greece, for it
is entirely surrounded by a navigable ocean which washes almost all the
maritime parts of that country, and is not far distant on the one side
from Peloponnesus, on the other, which looks towards Asia, from Triopium
and Rhodes. By means of this situation Minos acquired the empire of
the sea and the islands; some of which he subdued, in others planted
colonies: at last he died at Camicus while he was attacking Sicily.
There is this analogy between the customs of the Lacedaemonians and
the Cretans, the Helots cultivate the grounds [1272a] for the one, the
domestic slaves for the other. Both states have their common meals, and
the Lacedaemonians called these formerly not _psiditia_ but _andpia_,
as the Cretans do; which proves from whence the custom arose. In this
particular their governments are also alike: the ephori have the same
power with those of Crete, who are called _kosmoi_; with this difference
only, that the number of the one is five, of the other ten. The senators
are the same as those whom the Cretans call the council. There was
formerly also a kingly power in Crete; but it was afterwards dissolved,
and the command of their armies was given to the _kosmoi_. Every one
also has a vote in their public assembly; but this has only the power of
confirming what has already passed the council and the _kosmoi_.

The Cretans conducted their public meals better than the Lacedaemonians,
for at Lacedaemon each individual was obliged to furnish what was
assessed upon him; which if he could not do, there was a law which
deprived him of the rights of a citizen, as has been already mentioned:
but in Crete they were furnished by the community; for all the corn and
cattle, taxes and contributions, which the domestic slaves were obliged
to furnish, were divided into parts and allotted to the gods, the
exigencies of the state, and these public meals; so that all the men,
women, and children were maintained from a common stock. The legislator
gave great attention to encourage a habit of eating sparingly, as very
useful to the citizens. He also endeavoured, that his community might
not be too populous, to lessen the connection with women, by introducing
the love of boys: whether in this he did well or ill we shall have some
other opportunity of considering. But that the public meals were better
ordered at Crete than at Lacedaemon is very evident.

The institution of the _kosmoi_, was still worse than that of the
ephori: for it contained all the faults incident to that magistracy and
some peculiar to itself; for in both cases it is uncertain who will be
elected: but the Lacedaemonians have this advantage which the others
have not, that as all are eligible, the whole community have a share
in the highest honours, and therefore all desire to preserve the state:
whereas among the Cretans the _kosmoi_ are not chosen out of the people
in general, but out of some certain families, and the senate out of the
_kosmoi_. And the same observations which may be made on the senate at
Lacedaemon may be applied to these; for their being under no control,
and their continuing for life, is an honour greater than they merit; and
to have their proceedings not regulated by a written law, but left to
their own discretion, is dangerous. (As to there being no insurrections,
although the people share not in the management of public affairs, this
is no proof of a well-constituted government, as the _kosmoi_ have no
opportunity of being bribed like the ephori, as they live in an [1272b]
island far from those who would corrupt them.) But the method they take
to correct that fault is absurd, impolitic, and tyrannical: for very
often either their fellow-magistrates or some private persons conspire
together and turn out the _kosmoi_. They are also permitted to resign
their office before their time is elapsed, and if all this was done by
law it would be well, and not at the pleasure of the individuals, which
is a bad rule to follow. But what is worst of all is, that general
confusion which those who are in power introduce to impede the ordinary
course of justice; which sufficiently shows what is the nature of the
government, or rather lawless force: for it is usual with the principal
persons amongst them to collect together some of the common people and
their friends, and then revolt and set up for themselves, and come
to blows with each other. And what is the difference, if a state is
dissolved at once by such violent means, or if it gradually so alters in
process of time as to be no longer the same constitution? A state like
this would ever be exposed to the invasions of those who were powerful
and inclined to attack it; but, as has been already mentioned, its
situation preserves it, as it is free from the inroads of foreigners;
and for this reason the family slaves still remain quiet at Crete, while
the Helots are perpetually revolting: for the Cretans take no part in
foreign affairs, and it is but lately that any foreign troops have
made an attack upon the island; and their ravages soon proved the
ineffectualness of their laws. And thus much for the government of


The government of Carthage seems well established, and in many respects
superior to others; in some particulars it bears a near resemblance
to the Lacedaemonians; and indeed these three states, the Cretans, the
Lacedaemonians and the Carthaginians are in some things very like
each other, in others they differ greatly. Amongst many excellent
constitutions this may show how well their government is framed, that
although the people are admitted to a share in the administration, the
form of it remains unaltered, without any popular insurrections, worth
notice, on the one hand, or degenerating into a tyranny on the
other. Now the Carthaginians have these things in common with the
Lacedaemonians: public tables for those who are connected together by
the tie of mutual friendship, after the manner of their Phiditia; they
have also a magistracy, consisting of an hundred and four persons,
similar to the ephori, or rather selected with more judgment; for
amongst the Lacedaemonians, all the citizens are eligible, but amongst
the Carthaginians, they are chosen out of those of the better sort:
there is also some analogy between the king and the senate in both these
governments, though the Carthaginian method of appointing their kings
is best, for they do not confine themselves to one family; nor do
they permit the election to be at large, nor have they any regard to
seniority; for if amongst the candidates there are any of greater merit
than the rest, these they prefer to those who may be older; for as their
power is very extensive, if they are [1273a] persons of no account,
they may be very hurtful to the state, as they have always been to
the Lacedaemonians; also the greater part of those things which become
reprehensible by their excess are common to all those governments which
we have described.

Now of those principles on which the Carthaginians have established
their mixed form of government, composed of an aristocracy and
democracy, some incline to produce a democracy, others an oligarchy: for
instance, if the kings and the senate are unanimous upon any point in
debate, they can choose whether they will bring it before the people or
no; but if they disagree, it is to these they must appeal, who are not
only to hear what has been approved of by the senate, but are finally
to determine upon it; and whosoever chooses it, has a right to speak
against any matter whatsoever that may be proposed, which is not
permitted in other cases. The five, who elect each other, have very
great and extensive powers; and these choose the hundred, who are
magistrates of the highest rank: their power also continues longer than
any other magistrates, for it commences before they come into office,
and is prolonged after they are out of it; and in this particular the
state inclines to an oligarchy: but as they are not elected by lot, but
by suffrage, and are not permitted to take money, they are the greatest
supporters imaginable of an aristocracy.

The determining all causes by the same magistrates, and not orae in one
court and another in another, as at Lacedaemon, has the same influence.
The constitution of Carthage is now shifting from an aristocracy to an
oligarchy, in consequence of an opinion which is favourably entertained
by many, who think that the magistrates in the community ought not to
be persons of family only, but of fortune also; as it is impossible
for those who are in bad circumstances to support the dignity of their
office, or to be at leisure to apply to public business. As choosing men
of fortune to be magistrates make a state incline to an oligarchy,
and men of abilities to an aristocracy, so is there a third method of
proceeding which took place in the polity of Carthage; for they have
an eye to these two particulars when they elect their officers,
particularly those of the highest rank, their kings and their generals.
It must be admitted, that it was a great fault in their legislator not
to guard against the constitution's degenerating from an aristocracy;
for this is a most necessary thing to provide for at first, that those
citizens who have the best abilities should never be obliged to do
anything unworthy their character, but be always at leisure to serve the
public, not only when in office, but also when private persons; for if
once you are obliged to look among the wealthy, that you may have men at
leisure to serve you, your greatest offices, of king and general,
will soon become venal; in consequence of which, riches will be more
honourable than virtue and a love of money be the ruling principle in
the city-for what those who have the chief power regard as honourable
will necessarily be the object which the [1273b] citizens in general
will aim at; and where the first honours are not paid to virtue,
there the aristocratic form of government cannot flourish: for it
is reasonable to conclude, that those who bought their places should
generally make an advantage of what they laid out their money for; as
it is absurd to suppose, that if a man of probity who is poor should be
desirous of gaining something, a bad man should not endeavour to do the
same, especially to reimburse himself; for which reason the magistracy
should be formed of those who are most able to support an aristocracy.
It would have been better for the legislature to have passed over the
poverty of men of merit, and only to have taken care to have ensured
them sufficient leisure, when in office, to attend to public affairs.

It seems also improper, that one person should execute several offices,
which was approved of at Carthage; for one business is best done by one
person; and it is the duty of the legislator to look to this, and not
make the same person a musician and a shoemaker: so that where the state
is not small it is more politic and more popular to admit many persons
to have a share in the government; for, as I just now said, it is not
only more usual, but everything is better and sooner done, when one
thing only is allotted to one person: and this is evident both in the
army and navy, where almost every one, in his turn, both commands and
is under command. But as their government inclines to an oligarchy, they
avoid the ill effects of it by always appointing some of the popular
party to the government of cities to make their fortunes. Thus they
consult this fault in their constitution and render it stable; but
this is depending on chance; whereas the legislator ought to frame his
government, that there the no room for insurrections. But now, if there
should be any general calamity, and the people should revolt from their
rulers, there is no remedy for reducing them to obedience by the laws.
And these are the particulars of the Lacedaemonian, the Cretan, and the
Carthaginian governments which seem worthy of commendation.


Some of those persons who have written upon government had never any
share in public affairs, but always led a private life. Everything
worthy of notice in their works we have already spoke to. Others
were legislators, some in their own cities, others were employed in
regulating the governments of foreign states. Some of them only composed
a body of laws; others formed the constitution also, as Lycurgus; and
Solon, who did both. The Lacedaemonians have been already mentioned.
Some persons think that Solon was an excellent legislator, who could
dissolve a pure oligarchy, and save the people from that slavery which
hung over them, and establish the ancient democratic form of government
in his country; wherein every part of it was so framed as to be well
adapted to the whole. In the senate of Areopagus an oligarchy was
preserved; by the manner of electing their [1274a] magistrates, an
aristocracy; and in their courts of justice, a democracy.

Solon seems not to have altered the established form of government,
either with respect to the senate or the mode of electing their
magistrates; but to have raised the people to great consideration in the
state by allotting the supreme judicial department to them; and for this
some persons blame him, as having done what would soon overturn that
balance of power he intended to establish; for by trying all causes
whatsoever before the people, who were chosen by lot to determine them,
it was necessary to flatter a tyrannical populace who had got this
power; which contributed to bring the government to that pure democracy
it now is.

Both Ephialtes and Pericles abridged the power of the Areopagites, the
latter of whom introduced the method of paying those who attended
the courts of justice: and thus every one who aimed at being popular
proceeded increasing the power of the people to what we now see it. But
it is evident that this was not Solon's intention, but that it arose
from accident; for the people being the cause of the naval victory
over the Medes, assumed greatly upon it, and enlisted themselves
under factious demagogues, although opposed by the better part of the
citizens. He thought it indeed most necessary to entrust the people
with the choice of their magistrates and the power of calling them to
account; for without that they must have been slaves and enemies to the
other citizens: but he ordered them to elect those only who were persons
of good account and property, either out of those who were worth five
hundred medimns, or those who were called xeugitai, or those of the
third census, who were called horsemen.

As for those of the fourth, which consisted of mechanics, they were
incapable of any office. Zaleucus was the legislator of the Western
Locrians, as was Charondas, the Catanean, of his own cities, and those
also in Italy and Sicily which belonged to the Calcidians. Some persons
endeavour to prove that Onomacritus, the Locrian, was the first person
of note who drew up laws; and that he employed himself in that business
while he was at Crete, where he continued some time to learn the
prophetic art: and they say, that Thales was his companion; and that
Lycurgus and Zaleucus were the scholars of Thales, and Charondas of
Zaleucus; but those who advance this, advance what is repugnant to
chronology. Philolaus also, of the family of the Bacchiades, was a
Theban legislator. This man was very fond of Diocles, a victor in
the Olympic games, and when he left his country from a disgust at an
improper passion which his mother Alithoe had entertained for him, and
settled at Thebes, Philolaus followed him, where they both died, and
where they still show their tombs placed in view of each other, but so
disposed, that one of them looks towards Corinth, the other does not;
the reason they give for this is, that Diodes, from his detestation of
his mother's passion, would have his tomb so placed that no one could
see Corinth from it; but Philolaus chose that it might be seen from his:
and this was the cause of their living at Thebes. [1274b]

As Philolaus gave them laws concerning many other things, so did he upon
adoption, which they call adoptive laws; and this he in particular did
to preserve the number of families. Charondas did nothing new, except
in actions for perjury, which he was the first person who took into
particular consideration. He also drew up his laws with greater elegance
and accuracy than even any of our present legislators. Philolaus
introduced the law for the equal distribution of goods; Plato that for
the community of women, children, and goods, and also for public tables
for the women; and one concerning drunkenness, that they might observe
sobriety in their symposiums. He also made a law concerning their
warlike exercises; that they should acquire a habit of using both hands
alike, as it was necessary that one hand should be as useful as the

As for Draco's laws, they were published when the government was already
established, and they have nothing particular in them worth mentioning,
except their severity on account of the enormity of their punishments.
Pittacus was the author of some laws, but never drew up any form of
government; one of which was this, that if a drunken man beat any person
he should be punished more than if he did it when sober; for as
people are more apt to be abusive when drunk than sober, he paid no
consideration to the excuse which drunkenness might claim, but regarded
only the common benefit. Andromadas Regmus was also a lawgiver to the
Thracian talcidians. There are some laws of his concerning murders and
heiresses extant, but these contain nothing that any one can say is new
and his own. And thus much for different sorts of governments, as well
those which really exist as those which different persons have proposed.



Every one who inquires into the nature of government, and what are its
different forms, should make this almost his first question, What is a
city? For upon this there is a dispute: for some persons say the city
did this or that, while others say, not the city, but the oligarchy,
or the tyranny. We see that the city is the only object which both the
politician and legislator have in view in all they do: but government
is a certain ordering of those who inhabit a city. As a city is a
collective body, and, like other wholes, composed of many parts, it is
evident our first inquiry must be, what a citizen is: for a city is a
certain number of citizens. So that we must consider whom we ought to
call citizen, and who is one; for this is often doubtful: for every one
will not allow that this character is applicable to the same person; for
that man who would be a citizen in a republic would very often not be
one in an oligarchy. We do not include in this inquiry many of those who
acquire this appellation out of the ordinary way, as honorary persons,
for instance, but those only who have a natural right to it.

Now it is not residence which constitutes a man a citizen; for in this
sojourners and slaves are upon an equality with him; nor will it be
sufficient for this purpose, that you have the privilege of the laws,
and may plead or be impleaded, for this all those of different nations,
between whom there is a mutual agreement for that purpose, are allowed;
although it very often happens, that sojourners have not a perfect right
therein without the protection of a patron, to whom they are obliged to
apply, which shows that their share in the community is incomplete. In
like manner, with respect to boys who are not yet enrolled, or old men
who are past war, we admit that they are in some respects citizens,
but not completely so, but with some exceptions, for these are not yet
arrived to years of maturity, and those are past service; nor is
there any difference between them. But what we mean is sufficiently
intelligible and clear, we want a complete citizen, one in whom there
is no deficiency to be corrected to make him so. As to those who are
banished, or infamous, there may be the same objections made and the
same answer given. There is nothing that more characterises a complete
citizen than having a share in the judicial and executive part of the

With respect to offices, some are fixed to a particular time, so that
no person is, on any account, permitted to fill them twice; or else
not till some certain period has intervened; others are not fixed, as a
juryman's, and a member of the general assembly: but probably some one
may say these are not offices, nor have the citizens in these capacities
any share in the government; though surely it is ridiculous to say that
those who have the principal power in the state bear no office in it.
But this objection is of no weight, for it is only a dispute about
words; as there is no general term which can be applied both to the
office of a juryman and a member of the assembly. For the sake of
distinction, suppose we call it an indeterminate office: but I lay it
down as a maxim, that those are citizens who could exercise it. Such
then is the description of a citizen who comes nearest to what all those
who are called citizens are. Every one also should know, that of the
component parts of those things which differ from each other in species,
after the first or second remove, those which follow have either nothing
at all or very little common to each.

Now we see that governments differ from each other in their form,
and that some of them are defective, others [1275b] as excellent as
possible: for it is evident, that those which have many deficiencies
and degeneracies in them must be far inferior to those which are without
such faults. What I mean by degeneracies will be hereafter explained.
Hence it is clear that the office of a citizen must differ as
governments do from each other: for which reason he who is called
a citizen has, in a democracy, every privilege which that station
supposes. In other forms of government he may enjoy them; but not
necessarily: for in some states the people have no power; nor have they
any general assembly, but a few select men.

The trial also of different causes is allotted to different persons; as
at Lacedaemon all disputes concerning contracts are brought before some
of the ephori: the senate are the judges in cases of murder, and so on;
some being to be heard by one magistrate, others by another: and thus
at Carthage certain magistrates determine all causes. But our former
description of a citizen will admit of correction; for in some
governments the office of a juryman and a member of the general assembly
is not an indeterminate one; but there are particular persons appointed
for these purposes, some or all of the citizens being appointed jurymen
or members of the general assembly, and this either for all causes and
all public business whatsoever, or else for some particular one: and
this may be sufficient to show what a citizen is; for he who has a right
to a share in the judicial and executive part of government in any
city, him we call a citizen of that place; and a city, in one word, is
a collective body of such persons sufficient in themselves to all the
purposes of life.


In common use they define a citizen to be one who is sprung from
citizens on both sides, not on the father's or the mother's only. Others
carry the matter still further, and inquire how many of his ancestors
have been citizens, as his grandfather, great-grandfather, etc., but
some persons have questioned how the first of the family could prove
themselves citizens, according to this popular and careless definition.
Gorgias of Leontium, partly entertaining the same doubt, and partly in
jest, says, that as a mortar is made by a mortar-maker, so a citizen is
made by a citizen-maker, and a Larisssean by a Larisssean-maker. This
is indeed a very simple account of the matter; for if citizens are so,
according to this definition, it will be impossible to apply it to the
first founders or first inhabitants of states, who cannot possibly claim
in right either of their father or mother. It is probably a matter of
still more difficulty to determine their rights as citizens who are
admitted to their freedom after any revolution in the state. As, for
instance, at Athens, after the expulsion of the tyrants, when Clisthenes
enrolled many foreigners and city-slaves amongst the tribes; and the
doubt with respect to them was, not whether they were citizens or no,
but whether they were legally so or not. Though indeed some persons may
have this further [1276a] doubt, whether a citizen can be a citizen
when he is illegally made; as if an illegal citizen, and one who is
no citizen at all, were in the same predicament: but since we see some
persons govern unjustly, whom yet we admit to govern, though not justly,
and the definition of a citizen is one who exercises certain offices,
for such a one we have defined a citizen to be, it is evident, that a
citizen illegally created yet continues to be a citizen, but whether
justly or unjustly so belongs to the former inquiry.


It has also been doubted what was and what was not the act of the city;
as, for instance, when a democracy arises out of an aristocracy or a
tyranny; for some persons then refuse to fulfil their contracts; as if
the right to receive the money was in the tyrant and not in the state,
and many other things of the same nature; as if any covenant was founded
for violence and not for the common good. So in like manner, if anything
is done by those who have the management of public affairs where a
democracy is established, their actions are to be considered as the
actions of the state, as well as in the oligarchy or tyranny.

And here it seems very proper to consider this question, When shall we
say that a city is the same, and when shall we say that it is different?

It is but a superficial mode of examining into this question to begin
with the place and the people; for it may happen that these may be
divided from that, or that some one of them may live in one place, and
some in another (but this question may be regarded as no very knotty
one; for, as a city may acquire that appellation on many accounts,
it may be solved many ways); and in like manner, when men inhabit one
common place, when shall we say that they inhabit the same city, or that
the city is the same? for it does not depend upon the walls; for I can
suppose Peloponnesus itself surrounded with a wall, as Babylon was, and
every other place, which rather encircles many nations than one city,
and that they say was taken three days when some of the inhabitants
knew nothing of it: but we shall find a proper time to determine this
question; for the extent of a city, how large it should be, and whether
it should consist of more than one people, these are particulars that
the politician should by no means be unacquainted with. This, too, is a
matter of inquiry, whether we shall say that a city is the same while
it is inhabited by the same race of men, though some of them are
perpetually dying, others coming into the world, as we say that a river
or a fountain is the same, though the waters are continually changing;
or when a revolution takes place shall we [1276b] say the men are the
same, but the city is different: for if a city is a community, it is a
community of citizens; but if the mode of government should alter, and
become of another sort, it would seem a necessary consequence that the
city is not the same; as we regard the tragic chorus as different from
the comic, though it may probably consist of the same performers: thus
every other community or composition is said to be different if the
species of composition is different; as in music the same hands produce
different harmony, as the Doric and Phrygian. If this is true, it is
evident, that when we speak of a city as being the same we refer to the
government there established; and this, whether it is called by the
same name or any other, or inhabited by the same men or different.
But whether or no it is right to dissolve the community when the
constitution is altered is another question.


What has been said, it follows that we should consider whether the
same virtues which constitute a good man make a valuable citizen, or
different; and if a particular inquiry is necessary for this matter we
must first give a general description of the virtues of a good citizen;
for as a sailor is one of those who make up a community, so is a
citizen, although the province of one sailor may be different from
another's (for one is a rower, another a steersman, a third a boatswain,
and so on, each having their several appointments), it is evident that
the most accurate description of any one good sailor must refer to
his peculiar abilities, yet there are some things in which the same
description may be applied to the whole crew, as the safety of the ship
is the common business of all of them, for this is the general centre of
all their cares: so also with respect to citizens, although they may
in a few particulars be very different, yet there is one care common to
them all, the safety of the community, for the community of the citizens
composes the state; for which reason the virtue of a citizen has
necessarily a reference to the state. But if there are different sorts
of governments, it is evident that those actions which constitute the
virtue of an excellent citizen in one community will not constitute it
in another; wherefore the virtue of such a one cannot be perfect: but we
say, a man is good when his virtues are perfect; from whence it follows,
that an excellent citizen does not possess that virtue which constitutes
a good man. Those who are any ways doubtful concerning this question
may be convinced of the truth of it by examining into the best formed
states: for, if it is impossible that a city should consist entirely of
excellent citizens (while it is necessary that every one should do well
in his calling, in which consists his excellence, as it is impossible
that all the citizens should have the same [1277a] qualifications) it
is impossible that the virtue of a citizen and a good man should be the
same; for all should possess the virtue of an excellent citizen: for
from hence necessarily arise the perfection of the city: but that every
one should possess the virtue of a good man is impossible without
all the citizens in a well-regulated state were necessarily virtuous.
Besides, as a city is composed of dissimilar parts, as an animal is of
life and body; the soul of reason and appetite; a family of a man and
his wife--property of a master and a slave; in the same manner, as a
city is composed of all these and many other very different parts, it
necessarily follows that the virtue of all the citizens cannot be the
same; as the business of him who leads the band is different from the
other dancers. From all which proofs it is evident that the virtues of
a citizen cannot be one and the same. But do we never find those virtues
united which constitute a good man and excellent citizen? for we say,
such a one is an excellent magistrate and a prudent and good man; but
prudence is a necessary qualification for all those who engage in public
affairs. Nay, some persons affirm that the education of those who are
intended to command should, from the beginning, be different from other
citizens, as the children of kings are generally instructed in riding
and warlike exercises; and thus Euripides says:

  "... No showy arts Be mine, but teach me what the state requires."

As if those who are to rule were to have an education peculiar to
themselves. But if we allow, that the virtues of a good man and a
good magistrate may be the same, and a citizen is one who obeys the
magistrate, it follows that the virtue of the one cannot in general be
the same as the virtue of the other, although it may be true of some
particular citizen; for the virtue of the magistrate must be different
from the virtue of the citizen. For which reason Jason declared that
was he deprived of his kingdom he should pine away with regret, as not
knowing how to live a private man. But it is a great recommendation to
know how to command as well as to obey; and to do both these things well
is the virtue of an accomplished citizen. If then the virtue of a good
man consists only in being able to command, but the virtue of a good
citizen renders him equally fit for the one as well as the other, the
commendation of both of them is not the same. It appears, then, that
both he who commands and he who obeys should each of them learn their
separate business: but that the citizen should be master of and
take part in both these, as any one may easily perceive; in a family
government there is no occasion for the master to know how to perform
the necessary offices, but rather to enjoy the labour of others; for to
do the other is a servile part. I mean by the other, the common family
business of the slave.

There are many sorts of slaves; for their employments are various: of
these the handicraftsmen are one, who, as their name imports, get their
living by the labour of their hands, and amongst these all mechanics are
included; [1277b] for which reasons such workmen, in some states, were
not formerly admitted into any share in the government; till at length
democracies were established: it is not therefore proper for any man
of honour, or any citizen, or any one who engages in public affairs, to
learn these servile employments without they have occasion for them for
their own use; for without this was observed the distinction between a
master and a slave would be lost. But there is a government of another
sort, in which men govern those who are their equals in rank, and
freemen, which we call a political government, in which men learn to
command by first submitting to obey, as a good general of horse, or a
commander-in-chief, must acquire a knowledge of their duty by
having been long under the command of another, and the like in every
appointment in the army: for well is it said, no one knows how to
command who has not himself been under command of another. The virtues
of those are indeed different, but a good citizen must necessarily be
endowed with them; he ought also to know in what manner freemen ought
to govern, as well as be governed: and this, too, is the duty of a good
man. And if the temperance and justice of him who commands is different
from his who, though a freeman, is under command, it is evident that the
virtues of a good citizen cannot be the same as justice, for instance
but must be of a different species in these two different situations, as
the temperance and courage of a man and a woman are different from each
other; for a man would appear a coward who had only that courage which
would be graceful in a woman, and a woman would be thought a talker who
should take as large a part in the conversation as would become a man of

The domestic employments of each of them are also different; it is the
man's business to acquire subsistence, the woman's to take care of it.
But direction and knowledge of public affairs is a virtue peculiar to
those who govern, while all others seem to be equally requisite for both
parties; but with this the governed have no concern, it is theirs to
entertain just notions: they indeed are like flute-makers, while those
who govern are the musicians who play on them. And thus much to show
whether the virtue of a good man and an excellent citizen is the same,
or if it is different, and also how far it is the same, and how far


But with respect to citizens there is a doubt remaining, whether those
only are truly so who are allowed to share in the government, or whether
the mechanics also are to be considered as such? for if those who are
not permitted to rule are to be reckoned among them, it is impossible
that the virtue of all the citizens should be the same, for these also
are citizens; and if none of them are admitted to be citizens, where
shall they be ranked? for they are neither [1278a] sojourners nor
foreigners? or shall we say that there will no inconvenience arise from
their not being citizens, as they are neither slaves nor freedmen:
for this is certainly true, that all those are not citizens who are
necessary to the existence of a city, as boys are not citizens in the
same manner that men are, for those are perfectly so, the others under
some conditions; for they are citizens, though imperfect ones: for
in former times among some people the mechanics were either slaves or
foreigners, for which reason many of them are so now: and indeed the
best regulated states will not permit a mechanic to be a citizen; but
if it be allowed them, we cannot then attribute the virtue we have
described to every citizen or freeman, but to those only who are
disengaged from servile offices. Now those who are employed by one
person in them are slaves; those who do them for money are mechanics
and hired servants: hence it is evident on the least reflection what is
their situation, for what I have said is fully explained by appearances.
Since the number of communities is very great, it follows necessarily
that there will be many different sorts of citizens, particularly
of those who are governed by others, so that in one state it may be
necessary to admit mechanics and hired servants to be citizens, but in
others it may be impossible; as particularly in an aristocracy, where
honours are bestowed on virtue and dignity: for it is impossible for
one who lives the life of a mechanic or hired servant to acquire the
practice of virtue. In an oligarchy also hired servants are not admitted
to be citizens; because there a man's right to bear any office is
regulated by his fortune; but mechanics are, for many citizens are very

There was a law at Thebes that no one could have a share in the
government till he had been ten years out of trade. In many states the
law invites strangers to accept the freedom of the city; and in some
democracies the son of a free-woman is himself free. The same is also
observed in many others with respect to natural children; but it is
through want of citizens regularly born that they admit such: for these
laws are always made in consequence of a scarcity of inhabitants; so,
as their numbers increase, they first deprive the children of a male or
female slave of this privilege, next the child of a free-woman, and last
of all they will admit none but those whose fathers and mothers were
both free.

That there are many sorts of citizens, and that he may be said to be as
completely who shares the honours of the state, is evident from what
has been already said. Thus Achilles, in Homer, complains of Agamemnon's
treating him like an unhonoured stranger; for a stranger or sojourner is
one who does not partake of the honours of the state: and whenever the
right to the freedom of the city is kept obscure, it is for the sake of
the inhabitants. [1278b] From what has been said it is plain whether the
virtue of a good man and an excellent citizen is the same or different:
and we find that in some states it is the same, in others not; and also
that this is not true of each citizen, but of those only who take the
lead, or are capable of taking the lead, in public affairs, either alone
or in conjunction with others.


Having established these points, we proceed next to consider whether one
form of government only should be established, or more than one; and if
more, how many, and of what sort, and what are the differences between
them. The form of government is the ordering and regulating of the city,
and all the offices in it, particularly those wherein the supreme power
is lodged; and this power is always possessed by the administration; but
the administration itself is that particular form of government which
is established in any state: thus in a democracy the supreme power is
lodged in the whole people; on the contrary, in an oligarchy it is in
the hands of a few. We say then, that the form of government in these
states is different, and we shall find the same thing hold good in
others. Let us first determine for whose sake a city is established;
and point out the different species of rule which man may submit to in
social life.

I have already mentioned in my treatise on the management of a family,
and the power of the master, that man is an animal naturally formed
for society, and that therefore, when he does not want any foreign
assistance, he will of his own accord desire to live with others; not
but that mutual advantage induces them to it, as far as it enables each
person to live more agreeably; and this is indeed the great object
not only to all in general, but also to each individual: but it is not
merely matter of choice, but they join in society also, even that they
may be able to live, which probably is not without some share of merit,
and they also support civil society, even for the sake of preserving
life, without they are grievously overwhelmed with the miseries of it:
for it is very evident that men will endure many calamities for the sake
of living, as being something naturally sweet and desirable. It is easy
to point out the different modes of government, and we have already
settled them in our exoteric discourses. The power of the master, though
by nature equally serviceable, both to the master and to the slave, yet
nevertheless has for its object the benefit of the master, while the
benefit of the slave arises accidentally; for if the slave is destroyed,
the power of the master is at an end: but the authority which a man
has over his wife, and children, and his family, which we call domestic
government, is either for the benefit of those who are under subjection,
or else for the common benefit of the whole: but its particular object
is the benefit of the governed, as we see in other arts; in physic, for
instance, and the gymnastic exercises, wherein, if any benefit [1279a]
arise to the master, it is accidental; for nothing forbids the master of
the exercises from sometimes being himself one of those who exercises,
as the steersman is always one of the sailors; but both the master of
the exercises and the steersman consider the good of those who are under
their government. Whatever good may happen to the steersman when he is
a sailor, or to the master of the exercises when he himself makes one at
the games, is not intentional, or the object of their power; thus in all
political governments which are established to preserve and defend the
equality of the citizens it is held right to rule by turns. Formerly, as
was natural, every one expected that each of his fellow-citizens should
in his turn serve the public, and thus administer to his private good,
as he himself when in office had done for others; but now every one is
desirous of being continually in power, that he may enjoy the advantage
which he makes of public business and being in office; as if places were
a never-failing remedy for every complaint, and were on that account so
eagerly sought after.

It is evident, then, that all those governments which have a common good
in view are rightly established and strictly just, but those who have
in view only the good of the rulers are all founded on wrong principles,
and are widely different from what a government ought to be, for they
are tyranny over slaves, whereas a city is a community of freemen.


Having established these particulars, we come to consider next the
different number of governments which there are, and what they are; and
first, what are their excellencies: for when we have determined this,
their defects will be evident enough.

It is evident that every form of government or administration, for the
words are of the same import, must contain a supreme power over the
whole state, and this supreme power must necessarily be in the hands
of one person, or a few, or many; and when either of these apply their
power for the common good, such states are well governed; but when the
interest of the one, the few, or the many who enjoy this power is alone
consulted, then ill; for you must either affirm that those who make
up the community are not citizens, or else let these share in the
advantages of government. We usually call a state which is governed by
one person for the common good, a kingdom; one that is governed by
more than one, but by a few only, an aristocracy; either because the
government is in the hands of the most worthy citizens, or because it
is the best form for the city and its inhabitants. When the citizens at
large govern for the public good, it is called a state; which is also
a common name for all other governments, and these distinctions are
consonant to reason; for it will not be difficult to find one person,
or a very few, of very distinguished abilities, but almost impossible to
meet with the majority [1279b] of a people eminent for every virtue;
but if there is one common to a whole nation it is valour; for this is
created and supported by numbers: for which reason in such a state
the profession of arms will always have the greatest share in the

Now the corruptions attending each of these governments are these; a
kingdom may degenerate into a tyranny, an aristocracy into an oligarchy,
and a state into a democracy. Now a tyranny is a monarchy where the good
of one man only is the object of government, an oligarchy considers
only the rich, and a democracy only the poor; but neither of them have a
common good in view.


It will be necessary to enlarge a little more upon the nature of each
of these states, which is not without some difficulty, for he who would
enter into a philosophical inquiry into the principles of them, and not
content himself with a superficial view of their outward conduct, must
pass over and omit nothing, but explain the true spirit of each of them.
A tyranny then is, as has been said, a monarchy, where one person has
an absolute and despotic power over the whole community and every member
therein: an oligarchy, where the supreme power of the state is lodged
with the rich: a democracy, on the contrary, is where those have it who
are worth little or nothing. But the first difficulty that arises from
the distinctions which we have laid down is this, should it happen that
the majority of the inhabitants who possess the power of the state (for
this is a democracy) should be rich, the question is, how does this
agree with what we have said? The same difficulty occurs, should it ever
happen that the poor compose a smaller part of the people than the rich,
but from their superior abilities acquire the supreme power; for this is
what they call an oligarchy; it should seem then that our definition
of the different states was not correct: nay, moreover, could any one
suppose that the majority of the people were poor, and the minority
rich, and then describe the state in this manner, that an oligarchy
was a government in which the rich, being few in number, possessed the
supreme power, and that a democracy was a state in which the poor, being
many in number, possessed it, still there will be another difficulty;
for what name shall we give to those states we have been describing? I
mean, that in which the greater number are rich, and that in which the
lesser number are poor (where each of these possess the supreme power),
if there are no other states than those we have described. It seems
therefore evident to reason, that whether the supreme power is vested
in the hands of many or few may be a matter of accident; but that it
is clear enough, that when it is in the hands of the few, it will be
a government of the rich; when in the hands of the many, it will be a
government of the poor; since in all countries there are many poor and
few rich: it is not therefore the cause that has been already assigned
(namely, the number of people in power) that makes the difference
between the two governments; but an oligarchy and democracy differ in
this from each other, in the poverty of those who govern in the one,
and the riches I28oa of those who govern in the other; for when the
government is in the hands of the rich, be they few or be they more, it
is an oligarchy; when it is in the hands of the poor, it is a democracy:
but, as we have already said, the one will be always few, the other
numerous, but both will enjoy liberty; and from the claims of wealth and
liberty will arise continual disputes with each other for the lead in
public affairs.


Let us first determine what are the proper limits of an oligarchy and
a democracy, and what is just in each of these states; for all men have
some natural inclination to justice; but they proceed therein only to
a certain degree; nor can they universally point out what is absolutely
just; as, for instance, what is equal appears just, and is so; but not
to all; only among those who are equals: and what is unequal appears
just, and is so; but not to all, only amongst those who are unequals;
which circumstance some people neglect, and therefore judge ill; the
reason for which is, they judge for themselves, and every one almost is
the worst judge in his own cause. Since then justice has reference to
persons, the same distinctions must be made with respect to persons
which are made with respect to things, in the manner that I have already
described in my Ethics.

As to the equality of the things, these they agree in; but their dispute
is concerning the equality of the persons, and chiefly for the reason
above assigned; because they judge ill in their own cause; and also
because each party thinks, that if they admit what is right in some
particulars, they have done justice on the whole: thus, for instance,
if some persons are unequal in riches, they suppose them unequal in the
whole; or, on the contrary, if they are equal in liberty, they suppose
them equal in the whole: but what is absolutely just they omit; for
if civil society was founded for the sake of preserving and increasing
property, every one's right in the city would be equal to his fortune;
and then the reasoning of those who insist upon an oligarchy would be
valid; for it would not be right that he who contributed one mina should
have an equal share in the hundred along with him who brought in all the
rest, either of the original money or what was afterwards acquired.

Nor was civil society founded merely to preserve the lives of its
members; but that they might live well: for otherwise a state might
be composed of slaves, or the animal creation: but this is not so; for
these have no share in the happiness of it; nor do they live after their
own choice; nor is it an alliance mutually to defend each other from
injuries, or for a commercial intercourse: for then the Tyrrhenians and
Carthaginians, and all other nations between whom treaties of commerce
subsist, would be citizens of one city; for they have articles
to regulate their exports and imports, and engagements for mutual
protection, and alliances for mutual defence; but [1280b] yet they
have not all the same magistrates established among them, but they are
different among the different people; nor does the one take any care,
that the morals of the other should be as they ought, or that none of
those who have entered into the common agreements should be unjust, or
in any degree vicious, only that they do not injure any member of the
confederacy. But whosoever endeavours to establish wholesome laws in
a state, attends to the virtues and the vices of each individual who
composes it; from whence it is evident, that the first care of him who
would found a city, truly deserving that name, and not nominally so,
must be to have his citizens virtuous; for otherwise it is merely an
alliance for self-defence; differing from those of the same cast which
are made between different people only in place: for law is an agreement
and a pledge, as the sophist Lycophron says, between the citizens of
their intending to do justice to each other, though not sufficient to
make all the citizens just and good: and that this is fact is evident,
for could any one bring different places together, as, for instance,
enclose Megara and Corinth in a wall, yet they would not be one city,
not even if the inhabitants intermarried with each other, though this
inter-community contributes much to make a place one city. Besides,
could we suppose a set of people to live separate from each other, but
within such a distance as would admit of an intercourse, and that there
were laws subsisting between each party, to prevent their injuring one
another in their mutual dealings, supposing one a carpenter, another
a husbandman, shoemaker, and the like, and that their numbers were ten
thousand, still all that they would have together in common would be a
tariff for trade, or an alliance for mutual defence, but not the same
city. And why? not because their mutual intercourse is not near enough,
for even if persons so situated should come to one place, and every one
should live in his own house as in his native city, and there should be
alliances subsisting between each party to mutually assist and prevent
any injury being done to the other, still they would not be admitted
to be a city by those who think correctly, if they preserved the same
customs when they were together as when they were separate.

It is evident, then, that a city is not a community of place; nor
established for the sake of mutual safety or traffic with each other;
but that these things are the necessary consequences of a city, although
they may all exist where there is no city: but a city is a society of
people joining together with their families and their children to live
agreeably for the sake of having their lives as happy and as independent
as possible: and for this purpose it is necessary that they should live
in one place and intermarry with each other: hence in all cities there
are family-meetings, clubs, sacrifices, and public entertainments to
promote friendship; for a love of sociability is friendship itself;
so that the end then for which a city is established is, that the
inhabitants of it may live happy, and these things are conducive to that
end: for it is a community of families and villages for the sake of a
perfect independent life; that is, as we have already said, for the sake
of living well and happily. It is not therefore founded for the purpose
of men's merely [1281a] living together, but for their living as men
ought; for which reason those who contribute most to this end deserve to
have greater power in the city than those who are their equals in family
and freedom, but their inferiors in civil virtue, or those who excel
them in wealth but are below them in worth. It is evident from what
has been said, that in all disputes upon government each party says
something that is just.


It may also be a doubt where the supreme power ought to be lodged.
Shall it be with the majority, or the wealthy, with a number of proper
persons, or one better than the rest, or with a tyrant? But whichever
of these we prefer some difficulty will arise. For what? shall the
poor have it because they are the majority? they may then divide among
themselves, what belongs to the rich: nor is this unjust; because truly
it has been so judged by the supreme power. But what avails it to point
out what is the height of injustice if this is not? Again, if the many
seize into their own hands everything which belongs to the few, it is
evident that the city will be at an end. But virtue will never destroy
what is virtuous; nor can what is right be the ruin of the state:
therefore such a law can never be right, nor can the acts of a tyrant
ever be wrong, for of necessity they must all be just; for he, from his
unlimited power, compels every one to obey his command, as the multitude
oppress the rich. Is it right then that the rich, the few, should have
the supreme power? and what if they be guilty of the same rapine and
plunder the possessions of the majority, that will be as right as the
other: but that all things of this sort are wrong and unjust is evident.
Well then, these of the better sort shall have it: but must not then all
the other citizens live unhonoured, without sharing the offices of the
city; for the offices of a city are its honours, and if one set of men
are always in power, it is evident that the rest must be without honour.
Well then, let it be with one person of all others the fittest for it:
but by this means the power will be still more contracted, and a greater
number than before continue unhonoured. But some one may say, that it is
wrong to let man have the supreme power and not the law, as his soul is
subject to so many passions. But if this law appoints an aristocracy, or
a democracy, how will it help us in our present doubts? for those things
will happen which we have already mentioned.


Other particulars we will consider separately; but it seems proper to
prove, that the supreme power ought to be lodged with the many, rather
than with those of the better sort, who are few; and also to explain
what doubts (and probably just ones) may arise: now, though not one
individual of the many may himself be fit for the supreme power, yet
when these many are joined together, it does not follow but they may be
better qualified for it than those; and this not separately, but as a
collective body; as the public suppers exceed those which are given at
one person's private expense: for, as they are many, each person brings
in his share of virtue and wisdom; and thus, coming together, they are
like one man made up of a multitude, with many feet, many hands,
and many intelligences: thus is it with respect to the manners and
understandings of the multitude taken together; for which reason the
public are the best judges of music and poetry; for some understand
one part, some another, and all collectively the whole; and in this
particular men of consequence differ from each of the many; as they
say those who are beautiful do from those who are not so, and as fine
pictures excel any natural objects, by collecting the several beautiful
parts which were dispersed among different originals into one, although
the separate parts, as the eye or any other, might be handsomer than in
the picture.

But if this distinction is to be made between every people and every
general assembly, and some few men of consequence, it may be doubtful
whether it is true; nay, it is clear enough that, with respect to a few,
it is not; since the same conclusion might be applied even to brutes:
and indeed wherein do some men differ from brutes? Not but that nothing
prevents what I have said being true of the people in some states. The
doubt then which we have lately proposed, with all its consequences, may
be settled in this manner; it is necessary that the freemen who compose
the bulk of the people should have absolute power in some things; but as
they are neither men of property, nor act uniformly upon principles
of virtue, it is not safe to trust them with the first offices in the
state, both on account of their iniquity and their ignorance; from
the one of which they will do what is wrong, from the other they will
mistake: and yet it is dangerous to allow them no power or share in the
government; for when there are many poor people who are incapable of
acquiring the honours of their country, the state must necessarily have
many enemies in it; let them then be permitted to vote in the public
assemblies and to determine causes; for which reason Socrates, and some
other legislators, gave them the power of electing the officers of the
state, and also of inquiring into their conduct when they came out of
office, and only prevented their being magistrates by themselves;
for the multitude when they are collected together have all of them
sufficient understanding for these purposes, and, mixing among those of
higher rank, are serviceable to the city, as some things, which alone
are improper for food, when mixed with others make the whole more
wholesome than a few of them would be.

But there is a difficulty attending this form of government, for it
seems, that the person who himself was capable of curing any one who
was then sick, must be the best judge whom to employ as a physician; but
such a one must be himself a physician; and the same holds true in every
other practice and art: and as a physician ought [1282a] to give an
account of his practice to a physician, so ought it to be in other arts:
those whose business is physic may be divided into three sorts, the
first of these is he who makes up the medicines; the second prescribes,
and is to the other as the architect is to the mason; the third is he
who understands the science, but never practises it: now these three
distinctions may be found in those who understand all other arts; nor
have we less opinion of their judgment who are only instructed in the
principles of the art than of those who practise it: and with respect
to elections the same method of proceeding seems right; for to elect a
proper person in any science is the business of those who are skilful
therein; as in geometry, of geometricians; in steering, of steersmen:
but if some individuals should know something of particular arts and
works, they do not know more than the professors of them: so that even
upon this principle neither the election of magistrates, nor the censure
of their conduct, should be entrusted to the many.

But probably all that has been here said may not be right; for, to
resume the argument I lately used, if the people are not very brutal
indeed, although we allow that each individual knows less of these
affairs than those who have given particular attention to them, yet when
they come together they will know them better, or at least not worse;
besides, in some particular arts it is not the workman only who is the
best judge; namely, in those the works of which are understood by those
who do not profess them: thus he who builds a house is not the only
judge of it, for the master of the family who inhabits it is a better;
thus also a steersman is a better judge of a tiller than he who made
it; and he who gives an entertainment than the cook. What has been said
seems a sufficient solution of this difficulty; but there is another
that follows: for it seems absurd that the power of the state should be
lodged with those who are but of indifferent morals, instead of those
who are of excellent characters. Now the power of election and censure
are of the utmost consequence, and this, as has been said, in some
states they entrust to the people; for the general assembly is the
supreme court of all, and they have a voice in this, and deliberate in
all public affairs, and try all causes, without any objection to the
meanness of their circumstances, and at any age: but their treasurers,
generals, and other great officers of state are taken from men of great
fortune and worth. This difficulty also may be solved upon the same
principle; and here too they may be right, for the power is not in the
man who is member of the assembly, or council, but the assembly itself,
and the council, and the people, of which each individual of the whole
community are the parts, I mean as senator, adviser, or judge; for which
reason it is very right, that the many should have the greatest powers
in their own hands; for the people, the council, and the judges are
composed of them, and the property of all these collectively is more
than the property of any person or a few who fill the great offices of
the state: and thus I determine these points.

The first question that we stated shows plainly, that the supreme
power should be lodged in laws duly made and that the magistrate or
magistrates, either one or more, should be authorised to determine those
cases which the laws cannot particularly speak to, as it is impossible
for them, in general language, to explain themselves upon everything
that may arise: but what these laws are which are established upon the
best foundations has not been yet explained, but still remains a matter
of some question: but the laws of every state will necessarily be like
every state, either trifling or excellent, just or unjust; for it is
evident, that the laws must be framed correspondent to the constitution
of the government; and, if so, it is plain, that a well-formed
government will have good laws, a bad one, bad ones.


Since in every art and science the end aimed at is always good, so
particularly in this, which is the most excellent of all, the founding
of civil society, the good wherein aimed at is justice; for it is this
which is for the benefit of all. Now, it is the common opinion, that
justice is a certain equality; and in this point all the philosophers
are agreed when they treat of morals: for they say what is just, and to
whom; and that equals ought to receive equal: but we should know how
we are to determine what things are equal and what unequal; and in
this there is some difficulty, which calls for the philosophy of the
politician. Some persons will probably say, that the employments of the
state ought to be given according to every particular excellence of each
citizen, if there is no other difference between them and the rest of
the community, but they are in every respect else alike: for justice
attributes different things to persons differing from each other in
their character, according to their respective merits. But if this is
admitted to be true, complexion, or height, or any such advantage will
be a claim for a greater share of the public rights. But that this is
evidently absurd is clear from other arts and sciences; for with respect
to musicians who play on the flute together, the best flute is not given
to him who is of the best family, for he will play never the better for
that, but the best instrument ought to be given to him who is the best

If what is now said does not make this clear, we will explain it still
further: if there should be any one, a very excellent player on the
flute, but very deficient in family and beauty, though each of them are
more valuable endowments than a skill in music, and excel this art in a
higher degree than that player excels others, yet the best flutes ought
to be given to him; for the superiority [1283a] in beauty and fortune
should have a reference to the business in hand; but these have none.
Moreover, according to this reasoning, every possible excellence might
come in comparison with every other; for if bodily strength might
dispute the point with riches or liberty, even any bodily strength might
do it; so that if one person excelled in size more than another did in
virtue, and his size was to qualify him to take place of the other's
virtue, everything must then admit of a comparison with each other; for
if such a size is greater than virtue by so much, it is evident another
must be equal to it: but, since this is impossible, it is plain that it
would be contrary to common sense to dispute a right to any office in
the state from every superiority whatsoever: for if one person is slow
and the other swift, neither is the one better qualified nor the other
worse on that account, though in the gymnastic races a difference in
these particulars would gain the prize; but a pretension to the offices
of the state should be founded on a superiority in those qualifications
which are useful to it: for which reason those of family, independency,
and fortune, with great propriety, contend with each other for them; for
these are the fit persons to fill them: for a city can no more consist
of all poor men than it can of all slaves But if such persons are
requisite, it is evident that those also who are just and valiant are
equally so; for without justice and valour no state can be supported,
the former being necessary for its existence, the latter for its


It seems, then, requisite for the establishment of a state, that all, or
at least many of these particulars should be well canvassed and inquired
into; and that virtue and education may most justly claim the right of
being considered as the necessary means of making the citizens happy, as
we have already said. As those who are equal in one particular are not
therefore equal in all, and those who are unequal in one particular
are not therefore unequal in all, it follows that all those governments
which are established upon a principle which supposes they are, are

We have already said, that all the members of the community will dispute
with each other for the offices of the state; and in some particulars
justly, but not so in general; the rich, for instance, because they
have the greatest landed property, and the ultimate right to the soil is
vested in the community; and also because their fidelity is in general
most to be depended on. The freemen and men of family will dispute the
point with each other, as nearly on an equality; for these latter have
a right to a higher regard as citizens than obscure persons, for
honourable descent is everywhere of great esteem: nor is it an improper
conclusion, that the descendants of men of worth will be men of worth
themselves; for noble birth is the fountain of virtue to men of family:
for the same reason also we justly say, that virtue has a right to put
in her pretensions. Justice, for instance, is a virtue, and so necessary
to society, that all others must yield her the precedence.

Let us now see what the many have to urge on their side against the few;
and they may say, that if, when collectively taken, they are compared
with them, they are stronger, richer, and better than they are. But
should it ever happen that all these should inhabit the [1283b] same
city, I mean the good, the rich, the noble, as well as the many, such as
usually make up the community, I ask, will there then be any reason to
dispute concerning who shall govern, or will there not? for in every
community which we have mentioned there is no dispute where the supreme
power should be placed; for as these differ from each other, so do those
in whom that is placed; for in one state the rich enjoy it, in others
the meritorious, and thus each according to their separate manners. Let
us however consider what is to be done when all these happen at the same
time to inhabit the same city. If the virtuous should be very few in
number, how then shall we act? shall we prefer the virtuous on account
of their abilities, if they are capable of governing the city? or should
they be so many as almost entirely to compose the state?

There is also a doubt concerning the pretensions of all those who claim
the honours of government: for those who found them either on fortune or
family have nothing which they can justly say in their defence; since
it is evident upon their principle, that if any one person can be found
richer than all the rest, the right of governing all these will be
justly vested in this one person. In the same manner, one man who is
of the best family will claim it from those who dispute the point upon
family merit: and probably in an aristocracy the same dispute might
arise on the score of virtue, if there is one man better than all the
other men of worth who are in the same community; it seems just, by the
same reasoning, that he should enjoy the supreme power. And upon this
principle also, while the many suppose they ought to have the supreme
command, as being more powerful than the few, if one or more than one,
though a small number should be found stronger than themselves, these
ought rather to have it than they.

All these things seem to make it plain, that none of these principles
are justly founded on which these persons would establish their right to
the supreme power; and that all men whatsoever ought to obey them:
for with respect to those who claim it as due to their virtue or their
fortune, they might have justly some objection to make; for nothing
hinders but that it may sometimes happen, that the many may be better
or richer than the few, not as individuals, but in their collective

As to the doubt which some persons have proposed and objected, we may
answer it in this manner; it is this, whether a legislator, who would
establish the most perfect system of laws, should calculate them for
the use of the better part of the citizens, or the many, in the
circumstances we have already mentioned? The rectitude of anything
consists in its equality; that therefore which is equally right will be
advantageous to the whole state, and to every member of it in common.

Now, in general, a citizen is one who both shares in the government and
also in his turn submits to be governed; [1284a] their condition, it is
true, is different in different states: the best is that in which a man
is enabled to choose and to persevere in a course of virtue during his
whole life, both in his public and private state. But should there be
one person, or a very few, eminent for an uncommon degree of virtue,
though not enough to make up a civil state, so that the virtue of the
many, or their political abilities, should be too inferior to come in
comparison with theirs, if more than one; or if but one, with his only;
such are not to be considered as part of the city; for it would be doing
them injustice to rate them on a level with those who are so far their
inferiors in virtue and political abilities, that they appear to them
like a god amongst men. From whence it is evident, that a system of laws
must be calculated for those who are equal to each other in nature and
power. Such men, therefore, are not the object of law; for they are
themselves a law: and it would be ridiculous in any one to endeavour to
include them in the penalties of a law: for probably they might say what
Antisthenes tells us the lions did to the hares when they demanded to
be admitted to an equal share with them in the government. And it is on
this account that democratic states have established the ostracism; for
an equality seems the principal object of their government. For which
reason they compel all those who are very eminent for their power, their
fortune, their friendships, or any other cause which may give them too
great weight in the government, to submit to the ostracism, and leave
the city for a stated time; as the fabulous histories relate the
Argonauts served Hercules, for they refused to take him with them in the
ship Argo on account of his superior valour. For which reason those who
hate a tyranny and find fault with the advice which Periander gave to
Thrasybulus, must not think there was nothing to be said in its defence;
for the story goes, that Periander said nothing to the messenger in
answer to the business he was consulted about, but striking off those
ears of corn which were higher than the rest, reduced the whole crop to
a level; so that the messenger, without knowing the cause of what was
done, related the fact to Thrasybulus, who understood by it that he must
take off all the principal men in the city. Nor is this serviceable to
tyrants only; nor is it tyrants only who do it; for the same thing is
practised both in oligarchies and democracies: for the ostracism has in
a manner nearly the same power, by restraining and banishing those who
are too great; and what is done in one city is done also by those who
have the supreme power in separate states; as the Athenians with respect
to the Samians, the Chians, and the Lesbians; for when they suddenly
acquired the superiority over all Greece, they brought the other states
into subjection, contrary to the treaties which subsisted between them.
The King of Persia also very often reduces the Medes and Babylonians
when they assume upon their former power: [1284b] and this is a
principle which all governments whatsoever keep in their eye; even those
which are best administered, as well as those which are not, do it;
these for the sake of private utility, the others for the public good.

The same thing is to be perceived in the other arts and sciences; for
a painter would not represent an animal with a foot disproportionally
large, though he had drawn it remarkably beautiful; nor would the
shipwright make the prow or any other part of the vessel larger than it
ought to be; nor will the master of the band permit any who sings
louder and better than the rest to sing in concert with them. There is
therefore no reason that a monarch should not act in agreement with
free states, to support his own power, if they do the same thing for the
benefit of their respective communities; upon which account when there
is any acknowledged difference in the power of the citizens, the reason
upon which the ostracism is founded will be politically just; but it is
better for the legislator so to establish his state at the beginning as
not to want this remedy: but if in course of time such an inconvenience
should arise, to endeavour to amend it by some such correction. Not that
this was the use it was put to: for many did not regard the benefit of
their respective communities, but made the ostracism a weapon in the
hand of sedition.

It is evident, then, that in corrupt governments it is partly just and
useful to the individual, though probably it is as clear that it is not
entirely just: for in a well-governed state there may be great doubts
about the use of it, not on account of the pre-eminence which one may
have in strength, riches, or connection: but when the pre-eminence is
virtue, what then is to be done? for it seems not right to turn out and
banish such a one; neither does it seem right to govern him, for that
would be like desiring to share the power with Jupiter and to govern
him: nothing then remains but what indeed seems natural, and that is for
all persons quietly to submit to the government of those who are thus
eminently virtuous, and let them be perpetually kings in the separate


What has been now said, it seems proper to change our subject and to
inquire into the nature of monarchies; for we have already admitted them
to be one of those species of government which are properly founded. And
here let us consider whether a kingly government is proper for a city or
a country whose principal object is the happiness of the inhabitants,
or rather some other. But let us first determine whether this is of one
kind only, or more; [1285a] and it is easy to know that it consists of
many different species, and that the forms of government are not the
same in all: for at Sparta the kingly power seems chiefly regulated by
the laws; for it is not supreme in all circumstances; but when the king
quits the territories of the state he is their general in war; and all
religious affairs are entrusted to him: indeed the kingly power with
them is chiefly that of a general who cannot be called to an account for
his conduct, and whose command is for life: for he has not the power
of life and death, except as a general; as they frequently had in
their expeditions by martial law, which we learn from Homer; for when
Agamemnon is affronted in council, he restrains his resentment, but when
he is in the field and armed with this power, he tells the Greeks:

  "Whoe'er I know shall shun th' impending fight,
   To dogs and vultures soon shall be a prey; For death is mine...."

This, then, is one species of monarchical government in which the kingly
power is in a general for life; and is sometimes hereditary, sometimes
elective: besides, there is also another, which is to be met with among
some of the barbarians, in which the kings are invested with powers
nearly equal to a tyranny, yet are, in some respects, bound by the laws
and the customs of their country; for as the barbarians are by nature
more prone to slavery than the Greeks, and those in Asia more than those
in Europe, they endure without murmuring a despotic government; for
this reason their governments are tyrannies; but yet not liable to be
overthrown, as being customary and according to law. Their guards also
are such as are used in a kingly government, not a despotic one; for the
guards of their kings are his citizens, but a tyrant's are foreigners.
The one commands, in the manner the law directs, those who willingly
obey; the other, arbitrarily, those who consent not. The one, therefore,
is guarded by the citizens, the other against them.

These, then, are the two different sorts of these monarchies, and
another is that which in ancient Greece they called _aesumnetes_; which
is nothing more than an elective tyranny; and its difference from that
which is to be found amongst the barbarians consists not in its not
being according to law, but only in its not being according to the
ancient customs of the country. Some persons possessed this power for
life, others only for a particular time or particular purpose, as the
people of Mitylene elected Pittacus to oppose the exiles, who were
headed by Antimenides and Alcaeus the poet, as we learn from a poem
of his; for he upbraids the Mitylenians for having chosen Pittacus for
their tyrant, and with one [1285b] voice extolling him to the skies who
was the ruin of a rash and devoted people. These sorts of government
then are, and ever were, despotic, on account of their being tyrannies;
but inasmuch as they are elective, and over a free people, they are also

A fourth species of kingly government is that which was in use in the
heroic times, when a free people submitted to a kingly government,
according to the laws and customs of their country. For those who were
at first of benefit to mankind, either in arts or arms, or by collecting
them into civil society, or procuring them an establishment, became the
kings of a willing people, and established an hereditary monarchy.
They were particularly their generals in war, and presided over their
sacrifices, excepting such only as belonged to the priests: they were
also the supreme judges over the people; and in this case some of them
took an oath, others did not; they did, the form of swearing was by
their sceptre held out.

In ancient times the power of the kings extended to everything
whatsoever, both civil, domestic, and foreign; but in after-times they
relinquished some of their privileges, and others the people assumed, so
that, in some states, they left their kings only the right of presiding
over the sacrifices; and even those whom it were worth while to call
by that name had only the right of being commander-in-chief in their
foreign wars.

These, then, are the four sorts of kingdoms: the first is that of the
heroic times; which was a government over a free people, with its rights
in some particulars marked out; for the king was their general, their
judge, and their high priest. The second, that of the barbarians; which
is an hereditary despotic government regulated by laws: the third is
that which they call aesumnetic, which is an elective tyranny. The
fourth is the Lacedaemonian; and this, in few words, is nothing more
than an hereditary generalship: and in these particulars they differ
from each other. There is a fifth species of kingly government, which is
when one person has a supreme power over all things whatsoever, in
the manner that every state and every city has over those things which
belong to the public: for as the master of a family is king in his own
house, so such a king is master of a family in his own city or state.


But the different sorts of kingly governments may, if I may so say,
be reduced to two; which we will consider more particularly. The last
spoken of, and the Lacedaemonian, for the chief of the others are placed
between these, which are as it were at the extremities, they having less
power than an absolute government, and yet more than the Lacedaemonians;
so that the whole matter in question may be reduced to these two points;
the one is, whether it is advantageous to the citizens to have the
office of general continue in one person for life, and whether it should
be confined to any particular families or whether every one should be
eligible: the other, whether [1286a] it is advantageous for one person
to have the supreme power over everything or not. But to enter into the
particulars concerning the office of a Lacedaemonian general would be
rather to frame laws for a state than to consider the nature and utility
of its constitution, since we know that the appointing of a general is
what is done in every state. Passing over this question then, we will
proceed to consider the other part of their government, which is
the polity of the state; and this it will be necessary to examine
particularly into, and to go through such questions as may arise.

Now the first thing which presents itself to our consideration is this,
whether it is best to be governed by a good man, or by good laws? Those
who prefer a kingly government think that laws can only speak a general
language, but cannot adapt themselves to particular circumstances; for
which reason it is absurd in any science to follow written rule; and
even in Egypt the physician was allowed to alter the mode of cure which
the law prescribed to him, after the fourth day; but if he did it sooner
it was at his own peril: from whence it is evident, on the very same
account, that a government of written laws is not the best; and yet
general reasoning is necessary to all those who are to govern, and it
will be much more perfect in those who are entirely free from passions
than in those to whom they are natural. But now this is a quality which
laws possess; while the other is natural to the human soul. But some
one will say in answer to this, that man will be a better judge of
particulars. It will be necessary, then, for a king to be a lawgiver,
and that his laws should be published, but that those should have no
authority which are absurd, as those which are not, should. But whether
is it better for the community that those things which cannot possibly
come under the cognisance of the law either at all or properly should be
under the government of every worthy citizen, as the present method is,
when the public community, in their general assemblies, act as judges
and counsellors, where all their determinations are upon particular
cases, for one individual, be he who he will, will be found, upon
comparison, inferior to a whole people taken collectively: but this
is what a city is, as a public entertainment is better than one man's
portion: for this reason the multitude judge of many things better than
any one single person. They are also less liable to corruption from
their numbers, as water is from its quantity: besides, the judgment of
an individual must necessarily be perverted if he is overcome by anger
or any other passion; but it would be hard indeed if the whole community
should be misled by anger. Moreover, let the people be free, and they
will do nothing but in conformity to the law, except only in those cases
which the law cannot speak to. But though what I am going to propose may
not easily be met with, yet if the majority of the state should happen
to be good men, should they prefer one uncorrupt governor or many
equally good, is it not evident that they should choose the many? But
there may be divisions among [1286b] these which cannot happen when
there is but one. In answer to this it may be replied that all their
souls will be as much animated with virtue as this one man's.

If then a government of many, and all of them good men, compose an
aristocracy, and the government of one a kingly power, it is evident
that the people should rather choose the first than the last; and this
whether the state is powerful or not, if many such persons so alike
can be met with: and for this reason probable it was, that the first
governments were generally monarchies; because it was difficult to find
a number of persons eminently virtuous, more particularly as the world
was then divided into small communities; besides, kings were appointed
in return for the benefits they had conferred on mankind; but such
actions are peculiar to good men: but when many persons equal in virtue
appeared at the time, they brooked not a superiority, but sought after
an equality and established a free state; but after this, when they
degenerated, they made a property of the public; which probably gave
rise to oligarchies; for they made wealth meritorious, and the honours
of government were reserved for the rich: and these afterwards turned
to tyrannies and these in their turn gave rise to democracies; for
the power of the tyrants continually decreasing, on account of their
rapacious avarice, the people grew powerful enough to frame and
establish democracies: and as cities after that happened to increase,
probably it was not easy for them to be under any other government than
a democracy. But if any person prefers a kingly government in a state,
what is to be done with the king's children? Is the family also to
reign? But should they have such children as some persons usually have,
it will be very detrimental. It may be said, that then the king who
has it in his power will never permit such children to succeed to his
kingdom. But it is not easy to trust to that; for it is very hard and
requires greater virtue than is to be met with in human nature. There is
also a doubt concerning the power with which a king should be entrusted:
whether he should be allowed force sufficient to compel those who do
not choose to be obedient to the laws, and how he is to support his
government? for if he is to govern according to law and do nothing of
his own will which is contrary thereunto, at the same time it will
be necessary to protect that power with which he guards the law, This
matter however may not be very difficult to determine; for he ought to
have a proper power, and such a one is that which will be sufficient
to make the king superior to any one person or even a large part of the
community, but inferior to the whole, as the ancients always appointed
guards for that person whom they created aesumnetes or tyrant; and some
one advised the Syracusians, when Dionysius asked for guards, to allow
him such.


[1287a] We will next consider the absolute monarch that we have just
mentioned, who does everything according to his own will: for a king
governing under the direction of laws which he is obliged to follow does
not of himself create any particular species of government, as we have
already said: for in every state whatsoever, either aristocracy or
democracy, it is easy to appoint a general for life; and there are many
who entrust the administration of affairs to one person only; such is
the government at Dyrrachium, and nearly the same at Opus. As for an
absolute monarchy as it is called, that is to say, when the whole state
is wholly subject to the will of one person, namely the king, it seems
to many that it is unnatural that one man should have the entire rule
over his fellow-citizens when the state consists of equals: for nature
requires that the same right and the same rank should necessarily take
place amongst all those who are equal by nature: for as it would be
hurtful to the body for those who are of different constitutions to
observe the same regimen, either of diet or clothing, so is it with
respect to the honours of the state as hurtful, that those who are equal
in merit should be unequal in rank; for which reason it is as much
a man's duty to submit to command as to assume it, and this also by
rotation; for this is law, for order is law; and it is more proper that
law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle,
if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular
persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants
of the laws, for the supreme power must be placed somewhere; but they
say, that it is unjust that where all are equal one person should
continually enjoy it. But it seems unlikely that man should be able to
adjust that which the law cannot determine; it may be replied, that the
law having laid down the best rules possible, leaves the adjustment and
application of particulars to the discretion of the magistrate; besides,
it allows anything to be altered which experience proves may be better
established. Moreover, he who would place the supreme power in mind,
would place it in God and the laws; but he who entrusts man with it,
gives it to a wild beast, for such his appetites sometimes make him; for
passion influences those who are in power, even the very best of men:
for which reason law is reason without desire.

The instance taken from the arts seems fallacious: wherein it is said to
be wrong for a sick person to apply for a remedy to books, but that it
would be far more eligible to employ those who are skilful in physic;
for these do nothing contrary to reason from motives of friendship
but earn their money by curing the sick, whereas those who have the
management of public affairs do many things through hatred or favour.
And, as a proof of what we have advanced, it may be observed, that
whenever a sick person suspects that his physician has been persuaded by
his enemies to be guilty of any foul practice to him in his profession,
he then rather chooses to apply to books for his cure: and not only this
[1287b] but even physicians themselves when they are ill call in other
physicians: and those who teach others the gymnastic exercises,
exercise with those of the same profession, as being incapable from
self-partiality to form a proper judgment of what concerns themselves.
From whence it is evident, that those who seek for what is just, seek
for a mean; now law is a mean. Moreover; the moral law is far superior
and conversant with far superior objects than the written law; for the
supreme magistrate is safer to be trusted to than the one, though he is
inferior to the other. But as it is impossible that one person should
have an eye to everything himself, it will be necessary that the supreme
magistrate should employ several subordinate ones under him; why then
should not this be done at first, instead of appointing one person in
this manner? Besides, if, according to what has been already said, the
man of worth is on that account fit to govern, two men of worth are
certainly better than one: as, for instance, in Homer, "Let two together
go:" and also Agamemnon's wish; "Were ten such faithful counsel mine!"
Not but that there are even now some particular magistrates invested
with supreme power to decide, as judges, those things which the law
cannot, as being one of those cases which comes not properly under its
jurisdiction; for of those which can there is no doubt: since then laws
comprehend some things, but not all, it is necessary to enquire and
consider which of the two is preferable, that the best man or the best
law should govern; for to reduce every subject which can come under the
deliberation of man into a law is impossible.

No one then denies, that it is necessary that there should be some
person to decide those cases which cannot come under the cognisance of
a written law: but we say, that it is better to have many than one;
for though every one who decides according to the principles of the law
decides justly; yet surely it seems absurd to suppose, that one person
can see better with two eyes, and hear better with two ears, or do
better with two hands and two feet, than many can do with many: for we
see that absolute monarchs now furnish themselves with many eyes and
ears and hands and feet; for they entrust those who are friends to
them and their government with part of their power; for if they are not
friends to the monarch, they will not do what he chooses; but if they
are friends to him, they are friends also to his government: but a
friend is an equal and like his friend: if then he thinks that such
should govern, he thinks that his equal also should govern. These are
nearly the objections which are usually made to a kingly power.


Probably what we have said may be true of some persons, but not of
others; for some men are by nature formed to be under the government of
a master; others, of a king; others, to be the citizens of a free state,
just and useful; but a tyranny is not according to nature, nor the other
perverted forms of government; for they are contrary to it. But it
is evident from what has been said, that among equals it is neither
advantageous nor [1288a] right that one person should be lord over all
where there are no established laws, but his will is the law; or where
there are; nor is it right that one who is good should have it over
those who are good; or one who is not good over those who are not good;
nor one who is superior to the rest in worth, except in a particular
manner, which shall be described, though indeed it has been already
mentioned. But let us next determine what people are best qualified
for a kingly government, what for an aristocratic, and what for a
democratic. And, first, for a kingly; and it should be those who are
accustomed by nature to submit the civil government of themselves to a
family eminent for virtue: for an aristocracy, those who are naturally
framed to bear the rule of free men, whose superior virtue makes them
worthy of the management of others: for a free state, a war-like people,
formed by nature both to govern and be governed by laws which admit the
poorest citizen to share the honours of the commonwealth according
to his worth. But whenever a whole family or any one of another shall
happen so far to excel in virtue as to exceed all other persons in the
community, then it is right that the kingly power should be in them, or
if it is an individual who does so, that he should be king and lord of
all; for this, as we have just mentioned, is not only correspondent
to that principle of right which all founders of all states, whether
aristocracies, oligarchies, or democracies, have a regard to (for
in placing the supreme power they all think it right to fix it to
excellence, though not the same); but it is also agreeable to what
has been already said; as it would not be right to kill, or banish, or
ostracise such a one for his superior merit. Nor would it be proper
to let him have the supreme power only in turn; for it is contrary to
nature that what is highest should ever be lowest: but this would be
the case should such a one ever be governed by others. So that there can
nothing else be done but to submit, and permit him continually to
enjoy the supreme power. And thus much with respect to kingly power in
different states, and whether it is or is not advantageous to them, and
to what, and in what manner.


Since then we have said that there are three sorts of regular
governments, and of these the best must necessarily be that which is
administered by the best men (and this must be that which happens to
have one man, or one family, or a number of persons excelling all the
rest in virtue, who are able to govern and be governed in such a manner
as will make life most agreeable, and we have already shown that the
virtue of a good man and of a citizen in the most perfect government
will be the same), it is evident, that in the same manner, and for those
very qualities which would procure a man the character of good, any
one would say, that the government of a state was a well-established
aristocracy or kingdom; so that it will be found to be education and
[1288b] morals that are almost the whole which go to make a good man,
and the same qualities will make a good citizen or good king.

These particulars being treated of, we will now proceed to consider
what sort of government is best, how it naturally arises, and how it
is established; for it is necessary to make a proper inquiry concerning



In every art and science which is not conversant in parts but in some
one genus in which it is complete, it is the business of that art alone
to determine what is fitted to its particular genus; as what particular
exercise is fitted to a certain particular body, and suits it best: for
that body which is formed by nature the most perfect and superior to
others necessarily requires the best exercise-and also of what one kind
that must be which will suit the generality; and this is the business of
the gymnastic arts: and although any one should not desire to acquire
an exact knowledge and skill in these exercises, yet it is not, on that
account, the less necessary that he who professes to be a master and
instruct the youth in them should be perfect therein: and we see that
this is what equally befalls the healing, shipbuilding, cloth-making,
and indeed all other arts; so that it evidently belongs to the same art
to find out what kind of government is best, and would of all others be
most correspondent to our wish, while it received no molestation from
without: and what particular species of it is adapted to particular
persons; for there are many who probably are incapable of enjoying the
best form: so that the legislator, and he who is truly a politician,
ought to be acquainted not only with that which is most perfect
imaginable, but also that which is the best suited to any given
circumstances. There is, moreover, a third sort, an imaginary one, and
he ought, if such a one should be presented to his consideration, to be
able to discern what sort of one it would be at the beginning; and, when
once established, what would be the proper means to preserve it a long
time. I mean, for instance, if a state should happen not to have the
best form of government, or be deficient in what was necessary, or not
receive every advantage possible, but something less. And, besides all
this, it is necessary to know what sort of government is best fitting
for all cities: for most of those writers who have treated this subject,
however speciously they may handle other parts of it, have failed in
describing the practical parts: for it is not enough to be able to
perceive what is best without it is what can be put in practice. It
should also be simple, and easy for all to attain to. But some seek only
the most subtile forms of government. Others again, choosing [1289a]
rather to treat of what is common, censure those under which they live,
and extol the excellence of a particular state, as the Lacedaemonian,
or some other: but every legislator ought to establish such a form of
government as from the present state and disposition of the people who
are to receive it they will most readily submit to and persuade the
community to partake of: for it is not a business of less trouble to
correct the mistakes of an established government than to form a new
one; as it is as difficult to recover what we have forgot as to learn
anything afresh. He, therefore, who aspires to the character of a
legislator, ought, besides all we have already said, to be able to
correct the mistakes of a government already established, as we have
before mentioned. But this is impossible to be done by him who does
not know how many different forms of government there are: some persons
think that there is only one species both of democracy and oligarchy;
but this is not true: so that every one should be acquainted with the
difference of these governments, how great they are, and whence they
arise; and should have equal knowledge to perceive what laws are best,
and what are most suitable to each particular government: for all
laws are, and ought to be, framed agreeable to the state that is to be
governed by them, and not the state to the laws: for government is a
certain ordering in a state which particularly respects the magistrates
in what manner they shall be regulated, and where the supreme power
shall be placed; and what shall be the final object which each community
shall have in view; but the laws are something different from what
regulates and expresses the form of the constitution-it is their office
to direct the conduct of the magistrate in the execution of his office
and the punishment of offenders. From whence it is evident, that the
founders of laws should attend both to the number and the different
sorts of government; for it is impossible that the same laws should be
calculated for all sorts of oligarchies and all sorts of democracies,
for of both these governments there are many species, not one only.


Since, then, according to our first method in treating of the different
forms of government, we have divided those which are regular into three
sorts, the kingly, the aristocratical, the free states, and shown
the three excesses which these are liable to: the kingly, of becoming
tyrannical; the aristocratical, oligarchical; and the free state,
democratical: and as we have already treated of the aristocratical and
kingly; for to enter into an inquiry what sort of government is best
is the same thing as to treat of these two expressly; for each of
them desires to be established upon the principles of virtue: and as,
moreover, we have already determined wherein a kingly power and an
aristocracy differ from each other, and when a state may be said to be
governed by a king, it now remains that we examine into a free state,
and also these other governments, an oligarchy, a democracy, and a
[1289b] tyranny; and it is evident of these three excesses which must be
the worst of all, and which next to it; for, of course, the excesses of
the best and most holy must be the worst; for it must necessarily happen
either that the name of king only will remain, or else that the king
will assume more power than belongs to him, from whence tyranny will
arise, the worst excess imaginable, a government the most contrary
possible to a free state. The excess next hurtful is an oligarchy; for
an aristocracy differs much from this sort of government: that which is
least so is a democracy. This subject has been already treated of by one
of those writers who have gone before me, though his sentiments are not
the same as mine: for he thought, that of all excellent constitutions,
as a good oligarchy or the like, a democracy was the worst, but of all
bad ones, the best.

Now I affirm, that all these states have, without exception, fallen into
excess; and also that he should not have said that one oligarchy was
better than another, but that it was not quite so bad. But this question
we shall not enter into at present. We shall first inquire how many
different sorts of free states there are; since there are many
species of democracies and oligarchies; and which of them is the most
comprehensive, and most desirable after the best form of government; or
if there is any other like an aristocracy, well established; and also
which of these is best adapted to most cities, and which of them is
preferable for particular persons: for, probably, some may suit better
with an oligarchy than a democracy, and others better with a democracy
than an oligarchy; and afterwards in what manner any one ought to
proceed who desires to establish either of these states, I mean every
species of democracy, and also of oligarchy. And to conclude, when we
shall have briefly gone through everything that is necessary, we will
endeavour to point out the sources of corruption, and stability, in
government, as well those which are common to all as those which are
peculiar to each state, and from what causes they chiefly arise.


The reason for there being many different sorts of governments is this,
that each state consists of a great number of parts; for, in the first
place, we see that all cities are made up of families: and again, of
the multitude of these some must be rich, some poor, and others in the
middle station; and that, both of the rich and poor, some will be used
to arms, others not. We see also, that some of the common people are
husbandmen, others attend the market, and others are artificers. There
is also a difference between the nobles in their wealth, and the dignity
in which they live: for instance, in the number of horses they breed;
for this cannot be supported without a large fortune: for which reason,
in former times, those cities whose strength consisted in horse became
by that means oligarchies; and they used horse in their expeditions
against the neighbouring cities; as the Eretrians the Chalcidians, the
Magnetians, who lived near the river Meander, and many others in Asia.
Moreover, besides the difference of fortune, there is that which arises
from family and merit; or, if there are any other distinctions [1290a]
which make part of the city, they have been already mentioned in
treating of an aristocracy, for there we considered how many parts each
city must necessarily be composed of; and sometimes each of these have a
share in the government, sometimes a few, sometimes more.

It is evident then, that there must be many forms of government,
differing from each other in their particular constitution: for the
parts of which they are composed each differ from the other. For
government is the ordering of the magistracies of the state; and these
the community share between themselves, either as they can attain them
by force, or according to some common equality which there is amongst
them, as poverty, wealth, or something which they both partake of. There
must therefore necessarily be as many different forms of governments as
there are different ranks in the society, arising from the superiority
of some over others, and their different situations. And these seem
chiefly to be two, as they say, of the winds: namely, the north and
the south; and all the others are declinations from these. And thus in
politics, there is the government of the many and the government of
the few; or a democracy and an oligarchy: for an aristocracy may be
considered as a species of oligarchy, as being also a government of the
few; and what we call a free state may be considered as a democracy: as
in the winds they consider the west as part of the north, and the east
as part of the south: and thus it is in music, according to some, who
say there are only two species of it, the Doric and the Phrygian, and
all other species of composition they call after one of these names; and
many people are accustomed to consider the nature of government in the
same light; but it is both more convenient and more correspondent to
truth to distinguish governments as I have done, into two species: one,
of those which are established upon proper principles; of which there
may be one or two sorts: the other, which includes all the different
excesses of these; so that we may compare the best form of government to
the most harmonious piece of music; the oligarchic and despotic to the
more violent tunes; and the democratic to the soft and gentle airs.


We ought not to define a democracy as some do, who say simply, that it
is a government where the supreme power is lodged in the people; for
even in oligarchies the supreme power is in the majority. Nor should
they define an oligarchy a government where the supreme power is in the
hands of a few: for let us suppose the number of a people to be thirteen
hundred, and that of these one thousand were rich, who would not permit
the three hundred poor to have any share in the government, although
they were free, and their equal in everything else; no one would say,
that this government was a democracy. In like manner, if the poor, when
few in number, should acquire the power over the rich, though more than
themselves, no one would say, that this was an oligarchy; nor this, when
the rest who are rich have no share in the administration. We should
rather say, that a democracy is when the supreme power is in the [1290b]
hands of the freemen; an oligarchy, when it is in the hands of the rich:
it happens indeed that in the one case the many will possess it, in
the other the few; because there are many poor and few rich. And if the
power of the state was to be distributed according to the size of the
citizens, as they say it is in Ethiopia, or according to their beauty,
it would be an oligarchy: for the number of those who are large and
beautiful is small.

Nor are those things which we have already mentioned alone sufficient
to describe these states; for since there are many species both of a
democracy and an oligarchy, the matter requires further consideration;
as we cannot admit, that if a few persons who are free possess the
supreme power over the many who are not free, that this government is a
democracy: as in Apollonia, in Ionia, and in Thera: for in each of these
cities the honours of the state belong to some few particular families,
who first founded the colonies. Nor would the rich, because they are
superior in numbers, form a democracy, as formerly at Colophon; for
there the majority had large possessions before the Lydian war: but a
democracy is a state where the freemen and the poor, being the majority,
are invested with the power of the state. An oligarchy is a state where
the rich and those of noble families, being few, possess it.

We have now proved that there are various forms of government and have
assigned a reason for it; and shall proceed to show that there are
even more than these, and what they are, and why; setting out with the
principle we have already laid down. We admit that every city consists
not of one, but many parts: thus, if we should endeavour to comprehend
the different species of animals we should first of all note those parts
which every animal must have, as a certain sensorium, and also what is
necessary to acquire and retain food, as a mouth and a belly; besides
certain parts to enable it to move from place to place. If, then, these
are the only parts of an animal and there are differences between them;
namely, in their various sorts of stomachs, bellies, and sensoriums: to
which we must add their motive powers; the number of the combinations of
all these must necessarily make up the different species of animals.
For it is not possible that the same kind of animal should have any
very great difference in its mouth or ears; so that when all these are
collected, who happen to have these things similar in all, they make up
a species of animals of which there are as many as there are of these
general combinations of necessary parts.

The same thing is true of what are called states; for a city is not made
of one but many parts, as has already been often said; one of which is
those who supply it with provisions, called husbandmen, another called
mechanics, [1291a] whose employment is in the manual arts, without which
the city could not be inhabited; of these some are busied about what is
absolutely necessary, others in what contribute to the elegancies and
pleasures of life; the third sort are your exchange-men, I mean by these
your buyers, sellers, merchants, and victuallers; the fourth are your
hired labourers or workmen; the fifth are the men-at-arms, a rank not
less useful than the other, without you would have the community slaves
to every invader; but what cannot defend itself is unworthy of the name
of a city; for a city is self-sufficient, a slave not. So that when
Socrates, in Plato's Republic, says that a city is necessarily composed
of four sorts of people, he speaks elegantly but not correctly, and
these are, according to him, weavers, husbandmen, shoe-makers, and
builders; he then adds, as if these were not sufficient, smiths,
herdsmen for what cattle are necessary, and also merchants and
victuallers, and these are by way of appendix to his first list; as if
a city was established for necessity, and not happiness, or as if a
shoe-maker and a husbandman were equally useful. He reckons not the
military a part before the increase of territory and joining to the
borders of the neighbouring powers will make war necessary: and even
amongst them who compose his four divisions, or whoever have any
connection with each other, it will be necessary to have some one to
distribute justice, and determine between man and man. If, then, the
mind is a more valuable part of man than the body, every one would
wish to have those things more regarded in his city which tend to the
advantage of these than common matters, such are war and justice; to
which may be added council, which is the business of civil wisdom (nor
is it of any consequence whether these different employments are filled
by different persons or one, as the same man is oftentimes both a
soldier and a husbandman): so that if both the judge and the senator are
parts of the city, it necessarily follows that the soldier must be
so also. The seventh sort are those who serve the public in expensive
employments at their own charge: these are called the rich. The eighth
are those who execute the different offices of the state, and without
these it could not possibly subsist: it is therefore necessary that
there should be some persons capable of governing and filling the places
in the city; and this either for life or in rotation: the office of
senator, and judge, of which we have already sufficiently treated, are
the only ones remaining. If, then, these things are necessary for a
state, that it may be happy and just, it follows that the citizens who
engage in public affairs should be men of abilities therein. [1291b]
Several persons think, that different employments may be allotted to the
same person; as a soldier's, a husbandman's, and an artificer's; as also
that others may be both senators and judges.

Besides, every one supposes himself a man of political abilities, and
that he is qualified for almost every department in the state. But the
same person cannot at once be poor and rich: for which reason the most
obvious division of the city is into two parts, the poor and rich;
moreover, since for the generality the one are few, the other many, they
seem of all the parts of a city most contrary to each other; so that as
the one or the other prevail they form different states; and these are
the democracy and the oligarchy.

But that there are many different states, and from what causes they
arise, has been already mentioned: and that there are also different
species both of democracies and oligarchies we will now show. Though
this indeed is evident from what we have already said: there are also
many different sorts of common people, and also of those who are
called gentlemen. Of the different sorts of the first are husbandmen,
artificers, exchange-men, who are employed in buying and selling,
seamen, of which some are engaged in war, some in traffic, some in
carrying goods and passengers from place to place, others in fishing,
and of each of these there are often many, as fishermen at Tarentum and
Byzantium, masters of galleys at Athens, merchants at AEgina and Chios,
those who let ships on freight at Tenedos; we may add to these those who
live by their manual labour and have but little property; so that they
cannot live without some employ: and also those who are not free-born
on both sides, and whatever other sort of common people there may be.
As for gentlemen, they are such as are distinguished either by their
fortune, their birth, their abilities, or their education, or any
such-like excellence which is attributed to them.

The most pure democracy is that which is so called principally from that
equality which prevails in it: for this is what the law in that state
directs; that the poor shall be in no greater subjection than the rich;
nor that the supreme power shall be lodged with either of these, but
that both shall share it. For if liberty and equality, as some persons
suppose, are chiefly to be found in a democracy, it must be most so
by every department of government being alike open to all; but as the
people are the majority, and what they vote is law, it follows that such
a state must be a democracy. This, then, is one species thereof. Another
is, when the magistrates are elected by a certain census; but this
should be but small, and every one who was included in it should be
eligible, but as soon as he was below it should lose that right. [1292a]
Another sort is, in which every citizen who is not infamous has a share
in the government, but where the government is in the laws. Another,
where every citizen without exception has this right. Another is like
these in other particulars, but there the people govern, and not the
law: and this takes place when everything is determined by a majority of
votes, and not by a law; which happens when the people are influenced by
the demagogues: for where a democracy is governed by stated laws there
is no room for them, but men of worth fill the first offices in the
state: but where the power is not vested in the laws, there demagogues
abound: for there the people rule with kingly power: the whole composing
one body; for they are supreme, not as individuals but in their
collective capacity.

Homer also discommends the government of many; but whether he means this
we are speaking of, or where each person exercises his power separately,
is uncertain. When the people possess this power they desire to be
altogether absolute, that they may not be under the control of the law,
and this is the time when flatterers are held in repute. Nor is there
any difference between such a people and monarchs in a tyranny: for
their manners are the same, and they both hold a despotic power over
better persons than themselves. For their decrees are like the others'
edicts; their demagogues like the others' flatterers: but their greatest
resemblance consists in the mutual support they give to each other, the
flatterer to the tyrant, the demagogue to the people: and to them it is
owing that the supreme power is lodged in the votes of the people,
and not in the laws; for they bring everything before them, as their
influence is owing to their being supreme whose opinions they entirely
direct; for these are they whom the multitude obey. Besides, those who
accuse the magistrates insist upon it, that the right of determining on
their conduct lies in the people, who gladly receive their complaints as
the means of destroying all their offices.

Any one, therefore, may with great justice blame such a government as
being a democracy, and not a free state; for where the government is
not in the laws, then there is no free state, for the law ought to be
supreme over all things; and particular incidents which arise should be
determined by the magistrates or the state. If, therefore, a
democracy is to be reckoned a free state, it is evident that any such
establishment which centres all power in the votes of the people cannot,
properly speaking, be a democracy: for their decrees cannot be general
in their extent. Thus, then, we may describe the several species of


Of the different species of oligarchies one is, when the right to the
offices is regulated by a certain census; so that the poor, although the
majority, have no share in it; while all those who are included therein
take part in the management of public affairs. Another sort is, when
[1292b] the magistrates are men of very small fortune, who upon any
vacancy do themselves fill it up: and if they do this out of the
community at large, the state approaches to an aristocracy; if out of
any particular class of people, it will be an oligarchy. Another sort of
oligarchy is, when the power is an hereditary nobility. The fourth is,
when the power is in the same hands as the other, but not under the
control of law; and this sort of oligarchy exactly corresponds to a
tyranny in monarchies, and to that particular species of democracies
which I last mentioned in treating of that state: this has the
particular name of a dynasty. These are the different sorts of
oligarchies and democracies.

It should also be known, that it often happens that a free state, where
the supreme power is in the laws, may not be democratic, and yet in
consequence of the established manners and customs of the people, may
be governed as if it was; so, on the other hand, where the laws may
countenance a more democratic form of government, these may make the
state inclining to an oligarchy; and this chiefly happens when there
has been any alteration in the government; for the people do not easily
change, but love their own ancient customs; and it is by small degrees
only that one thing takes place of another; so that the ancient laws
will remain, while the power will be in the hands of those who have
brought about a revolution in the state.


It is evident from what has been said, that there are as many different
sorts of democracies and oligarchies as I have reckoned up: for, of
necessity, either all ranks of the people which I have enumerated must
have a share in the government, or some only, and others not; for when
the husbandmen, and those only who possess moderate fortunes, have the
supreme power, they will govern according to law; for as they must get
their livings by their employs, they have but little leisure for public
business: they will therefore establish proper laws, and never call
public assemblies but when there is a necessity for them; and they will
readily let every one partake with them in the administration of public
affairs as soon as they possess that fortune which the law requires for
their qualification: every one, therefore, who is qualified will have
his share in the government: for to exclude any would be to make the
government an oligarchy, and for all to have leisure to attend
without they had a subsistence would be impossible: for these reasons,
therefore, this government is a species of democracy. Another species is
distinguished by the mode of electing their magistrates, in which every
one is eligible, to whose birth there are no objections, provided he is
supposed to have leisure to attend: for which reason in such a democracy
the supreme power will be vested in the laws, as there will be nothing
paid to those who go to the public assemblies. A third species is where
every freeman has a right to a share in the government, which he will
not accept for the cause already assigned; for which reason here also
the supreme power will be in the law. The fourth species [1293a] of
democracy, the last which was established in order of time, arose when
cities were greatly enlarged to what they were at first, and when the
public revenue became something considerable; for then the populace, on
account of their numbers, were admitted to share in the management of
public affairs, for then even the poorest people were at leisure to
attend to them, as they received wages for so doing; nay, they were more
so than others, as they were not hindered by having anything of their
own to mind, as the rich had; for which reason these last very often did
not frequent the public assemblies and the courts of justice: thus the
supreme power was lodged in the poor, and not in the laws. These are
the different sorts of democracies, and such are the causes which
necessarily gave birth to them.

The first species of oligarchy is, when the generality of the state are
men of moderate and not too large property; for this gives them leisure
for the management of public affairs: and, as they are a numerous body,
it necessarily follows that the supreme power must be in the laws, and
not in men; for as they are far removed from a monarchical government,
and have not sufficient fortune to neglect their private affairs, while
they are too many to be supported by the public, they will of course
determine to be governed by the laws, and not by each other. But if the
men of property in the state are but few, and their property is large,
then an oligarchy of the second sort will take place; for those who have
most power will think that they have a right to lord it over the others;
and, to accomplish this, they will associate to themselves some who have
an inclination for public affairs, and as they are not powerful enough
to govern without law, they will make a law for that purpose. And if
those few who have large fortunes should acquire still greater power,
the oligarchy will then alter into one of the third sort; for they will
get all the offices of the state into their own hands by a law which
directs the son to succeed upon the death of his father; and,
after that, when, by means of their increasing wealth and powerful
connections, they extend still further their oppression, a monarchical
dynasty will directly succeed wherein men will be supreme, and not the
law; and this is the fourth species of an oligarchy correspondent to the
last-mentioned class of democracies.


There are besides two other states, a democracy and an oligarchy, one
of which all speak of, and it is always esteemed a species of the
four sorts; and thus they reckon them up; a monarchy, an oligarchy, a
democracy, and this fourth which they call an aristocracy. There is
also a fifth, which bears a name that is also common to the other four,
namely, a state: but as this is seldom to be met with, it has escaped
those who have endeavoured to enumerate the different sorts of
governments, which [1293b] they fix at four only, as does Plato in his

An aristocracy, of which I have already treated in the first book, is
rightly called so; for a state governed by the best men, upon the most
virtuous principles, and not upon any hypothesis, which even good men
may propose, has alone a right to be called an aristocracy, for it is
there only that a man is at once a good man and a good citizen; while in
other states men are good only relative to those states. Moreover, there
are some other states which are called by the same name, that differ
both from oligarchies and free states, wherein not only the rich but
also the virtuous have a share in the administration; and have therefore
acquired the name of aristocracies; for in those governments wherein
virtue is not their common care, there are still men of worth and
approved goodness. Whatever state, then, like the Carthaginians,
favours the rich, the virtuous, and the citizens at large, is a sort
of aristocracy: when only the two latter are held in esteem, as at
Lacedaemon, and the state is jointly composed of these, it is a virtuous
democracy. These are the two species of aristocracies after the first,
which is the best of all governments. There is also a third, which is,
whenever a free state inclines to the dominion of a few.


It now remains for us to treat of that government which is particularly
called a free state, and also of a tyranny; and the reason for my
choosing to place that free state here is, because this, as well
as those aristocracies already mentioned, although they do not seem
excesses, yet, to speak true, they have all departed from what a perfect
government is. Nay, they are deviations both of them equally from other
forms, as I said at the beginning. It is proper to mention a tyranny the
last of all governments, for it is of all others the least like one:
but as my intention is to treat of all governments in general, for this
reason that also, as I have said, will be taken into consideration in
its proper place.

I shall now inquire into a free state and show what it is; and we shall
the better understand its positive nature as we have already described
an oligarchy and a democracy; for a free state is indeed nothing more
than a mixture of them, and it has been usual to call those which
incline most to a democracy, a free state; those which incline most to
an oligarchy, an aristocracy, because those who are rich are generally
men of family and education; besides, they enjoy those things which
others are often guilty of crimes to procure: for which reason they are
regarded as men of worth and honour and note.

Since, then, it is the genius of an aristocracy to allot the larger
part of the government to the best citizens, they therefore say, that
an oligarchy is chiefly composed of those men who are worthy and
honourable: now it [1294a] seems impossible that where the government
is in the hands of the good, there the laws should not be good, but bad;
or, on the contrary, that where the government is in the hands of the
bad, there the laws should be good; nor is a government well constituted
because the laws are, without at the same time care is taken that they
are observed; for to enforce obedience to the laws which it makes is one
proof of a good constitution in the state-another is, to have laws well
calculated for those who are to abide by them; for if they are improper
they must be obeyed: and this may be done two ways, either by their
being the best relative to the particular state, or the best absolutely.
An aristocracy seems most likely to confer the honours of the state on
the virtuous; for virtue is the object of an aristocracy, riches of an
oligarchy, and liberty of a democracy; for what is approved of by the
majority will prevail in all or in each of these three different states;
and that which seems good to most of those who compose the community
will prevail: for what is called a state prevails in many communities,
which aim at a mixture of rich and poor, riches and liberty: as for
the rich, they are usually supposed to take the place of the worthy and
honourable. As there are three things which claim an equal rank in the
state, freedom, riches, and virtue (for as for the fourth, rank, it is
an attendant on two of the others, for virtue and riches are the origin
of family), it is evident, that the conjuncture of the rich and the poor
make up a free state; but that all three tend to an aristocracy more
than any other, except that which is truly so, which holds the first

We have already seen that there are governments different from a
monarchy, a democracy, and an oligarchy; and what they are, and wherein
they differ from each other; and also aristocracies and states properly
so called, which are derived from them; and it is evident that these are
not much unlike each other.


We shall next proceed to show how that government which is peculiarly
called a state arises alongside of democracy and oligarchy, and how it
ought to be established; and this will at the same time show what are
the proper boundaries of both these governments, for we must mark out
wherein they differ from one another, and then from both these compose
a state of such parts of each of them as will show from whence they were

There are three different ways in which two states may be blended and
joined together; for, in the first place, all those rules may be adopted
which the laws of each of them have ordered; as for instance in the
judicial department, for in an oligarchy the rich are fined if they do
not come to the court as jurymen, but the poor are not paid for their
attendance; but in democracies they are, while the rich are not fined
for their neglect. Now these things, as being common to both, are fit
to be observed in a free [1294b] state which is composed of both. This,
then, is one way in which they may be joined together. In the second
place, a medium may be taken between the different methods which each
state observes; for instance, in a democracy the right to vote in the
public assembly is either confined by no census at all, or limited by a
very small one; in an oligarchy none enjoy it but those whose census is
high: therefore, as these two practices are contrary to each other, a
census between each may be established in such a state. In the third
place, different laws of each community may be adopted; as, for
instance, as it seems correspondent to the nature of a democracy, that
the magistrates should be chosen by lot, but an aristocracy by vote, and
in the one state according to a census, but not in the other: let, then,
an aristocracy and a free state copy something from each of them; let
them follow an oligarchy in choosing their magistrates by vote, but a
democracy in not admitting of any census, and thus blend together the
different customs of the two governments. But the best proof of a happy
mixture of a democracy and an oligarchy is this, when a person may
properly call the same state a democracy and an oligarchy. It is evident
that those who speak of it in this manner are induced to it because both
these governments are there well blended together: and indeed this
is common to all mediums, that the extremes of each side should be
discerned therein, as at Lacedaemon; for many affirm that it is a
democracy from the many particulars in which it follows that form of
government; as for instance, in the first place, in the bringing up of
their children, for the rich and poor are brought up in the same manner;
and their education is such that the children of the poor may partake of
it; and the same rules are observed when they are youths and men, there
is no distinction between a rich person and a poor one; and in their
public tables the same provision is served to all. The rich also wear
only such clothes as the poorest man is able to purchase. Moreover, with
respect to two magistracies of the highest rank, one they have a right
to elect to, the other to fill; namely, the senate and the ephori.
Others consider it as an oligarchy, the principles of which it follows
in many things, as in choosing all their officers by vote, and not by
lot; in there being but a few who have a right to sit in judgment on
capital causes and the like. Indeed, a state which is well composed of
two others ought to resemble them both, and neither, Such a state ought
to have its means of preservation in itself, and not without; and when I
say in itself, I do not mean that it should owe this to the forbearance
of their neighbours, for this may happen to a bad government, but to
every member of the community's not being willing that there should be
the least alteration in their constitution. Such is the method in which
a free state or aristocracy ought to be established.


It now remains to treat of a tyranny; not that there is [1295a] much
to be said on that subject, but as it makes part of our plan, since
we enumerated it amongst our different sorts of governments. In the
beginning of this work we inquired into the nature of kingly government,
and entered into a particular examination of what was most properly
called so, and whether it was advantageous to a state or not, and what
it should be, and how established; and we divided a tyranny into two
pieces when we were upon this subject, because there is something
analogous between this and a kingly government, for they are both of
them established by law; for among some of the barbarians they elect a
monarch with absolute power, and formerly among the Greeks there were
some such, whom they called sesumnetes. Now these differ from each
other; for some possess only kingly power regulated by law, and
rule those who voluntarily submit to their government; others rule
despotically according to their own will. There is a third species of
tyranny, most properly so called, which is the very opposite to kingly
power; for this is the government of one who rules over his equals and
superiors without being accountable for his conduct, and whose object is
his own advantage, and not the advantage of those he governs; for which
reason he rules by compulsion, for no freemen will ever willingly submit
to such a government. These are the different species of tyrannies,
their principles, and their causes.


We proceed now to inquire what form of government and what manner
of life is best for communities in general, not adapting it to that
superior virtue which is above the reach of the vulgar, or that
education which every advantage of nature and fortune only can furnish,
nor to those imaginary plans which may be formed at pleasure; but to
that mode of life which the greater part of mankind can attain to,
and that government which most cities may establish: for as to those
aristocracies which we have now mentioned, they are either too perfect
for a state to support, or one so nearly alike to that state we now
going to inquire into, that we shall treat of them both as one.

The opinions which we form upon these subjects must depend upon one
common principle: for if what I have said in my treatise on Morals is
true, a happy life must arise from an uninterrupted course of virtue;
and if virtue consists in a certain medium, the middle life must
certainly be the happiest; which medium is attainable [1295b] by
every one. The boundaries of virtue and vice in the state must also
necessarily be the same as in a private person; for the form of
government is the life of the city. In every city the people are divided
into three sorts; the very rich, the very poor, and those who are
between them. If this is universally admitted, that the mean is best, it
is evident that even in point of fortune mediocrity is to be preferred;
for that state is most submissive to reason; for those who are very
handsome, or very strong, or very noble, or very rich; or, on the
contrary; those who are very poor, or very weak, or very mean, with
difficulty obey it; for the one are capricious and greatly flagitious,
the other rascally and mean, the crimes of each arising from their
different excesses: nor will they go through the different offices
of the state; which is detrimental to it: besides, those who excel in
strength, in riches, or friends, or the like, neither know how nor are
willing to submit to command: and this begins at home when they are
boys; for there they are brought up too delicately to be accustomed to
obey their preceptors: as for the very poor, their general and excessive
want of what the rich enjoy reduces them to a state too mean: so that
the one know not how to command, but to be commanded as slaves, the
others know not how to submit to any command, nor to command themselves
but with despotic power.

A city composed of such men must therefore consist of slaves and
masters, not freemen; where one party must hate, and the other
despise, where there could be no possibility of friendship or political
community: for community supposes affection; for we do not even on the
road associate with our enemies. It is also the genius of a city to be
composed as much as possible of equals; which will be most so when the
inhabitants are in the middle state: from whence it follows, that that
city must be best framed which is composed of those whom we say are
naturally its proper members. It is men of this station also who will be
best assured of safety and protection; for they will neither covet what
belongs to others, as the poor do; nor will others covet what is theirs,
as the poor do what belongs to the rich; and thus, without plotting
against any one, or having any one plot against them, they will live
free from danger: for which reason Phocylides wisely wishes for the
middle state, as being most productive of happiness. It is plain, then,
that the most perfect political community must be amongst those who are
in the middle rank, and those states are best instituted wherein these
are a larger and more respectable part, if possible, than both the
other; or, if that cannot be, at least than either of them separate;
so that being thrown into the balance it may prevent either scale from

It is therefore the greatest happiness which the citizens can enjoy to
possess a moderate and convenient fortune; for when some possess too
much, and others nothing at [1296a] all, the government must either be
in the hands of the meanest rabble or else a pure oligarchy; or, from
the excesses of both, a tyranny; for this arises from a headstrong
democracy or an oligarchy, but very seldom when the members of the
community are nearly on an equality with each other. We will assign a
reason for this when we come to treat of the alterations which different
states are likely to undergo. The middle state is therefore best, as
being least liable to those seditions and insurrections which disturb
the community; and for the same reason extensive governments are least
liable to these inconveniences; for there those in a middle state are
very numerous, whereas in small ones it is easy to pass to the two
extremes, so as hardly to have any in a medium remaining, but the
one half rich, the other poor: and from the same principle it is that
democracies are more firmly established and of longer continuance than
oligarchies; but even in those when there is a want of a proper number
of men of middling fortune, the poor extend their power too far, abuses
arise, and the government is soon at an end.

We ought to consider as a proof of what I now advance, that the best
lawgivers themselves were those in the middle rank of life, amongst whom
was Solon, as is evident from his poems, and Lycurgus, for he was not
a king, and Charondas, and indeed most others. What has been said will
show us why of so many free states some have changed to democracies,
others to oligarchies: for whenever the number of those in the middle
state has been too small, those who were the more numerous, whether the
rich or the poor, always overpowered them and assumed to themselves the
administration of public affairs; from hence arose either a democracy
or an oligarchy. Moreover, when in consequence of their disputes and
quarrels with each other, either the rich get the better of the poor, or
the poor of the rich, neither of them will establish a free state;
but, as the record of their victory, one which inclines to their own
principles, and form either a democracy or an oligarchy.

Those who made conquests in Greece, having all of them an eye to the
respective forms of government in their own cities, established either
democracies or oligarchies, not considering what was serviceable to the
state, but what was similar to their own; for which reason a government
has never been established where the supreme power has been placed
amongst those of the middling rank, or very seldom; and, amongst a few,
one man only of those who have yet been conquerors has been persuaded
to give the preference to this order of [1296b] men: it is indeed an
established custom with the inhabitants of most cities not to desire an
equality, but either to aspire to govern, or when they are conquered, to

Thus we have shown what the best state is, and why. It will not be
difficult to perceive of the many states which there are, for we have
seen that there are various forms both of democracies and oligarchies,
to which we should give the first place, to which the second, and in
the same manner the next also; and to observe what are the particular
excellences and defects of each, after we have first described the best
possible; for that must be the best which is nearest to this, that worst
which is most distant from the medium, without any one has a particular
plan of his own which he judges by. I mean by this, that it may happen,
that although one form of government may be better than another, yet
there is no reason to prevent another from being preferable thereunto in
particular circumstances and for particular purposes.


After what has been said, it follows that we should now show what
particular form of government is most suitable for particular persons;
first laying this down as a general maxim, that that party which desires
to support the actual administration of the state ought always to be
superior to that which would alter it. Every city is made up of quality
and quantity: by quality I mean liberty, riches, education, and family,
and by quantity its relative populousness: now it may happen that
quality may exist in one of those parts of which the city is composed,
and quantity in another; thus the number of the ignoble may be greater
than the number of those of family, the number of the poor than that of
the rich; but not so that the quantity of the one shall overbalance the
quality of the other; those must be properly adjusted to each other; for
where the number of the poor exceeds the proportion we have mentioned,
there a democracy will rise up, and if the husbandry should have
more power than others, it will be a democracy of husbandmen; and the
democracy will be a particular species according to that class of
men which may happen to be most numerous: thus, should these be the
husbandmen, it will be of these, and the best; if of mechanics and those
who hire themselves out, the worst possible: in the same manner it may
be of any other set between these two. But when the rich and the noble
prevail more by their quality than they are deficient in quantity, there
an oligarchy ensues; and this oligarchy may be of different species,
according to the nature of the prevailing party. Every legislator in
framing his constitution ought to have a particular regard to those in
the middle rank of life; and if he intends an oligarchy, these should
be the object of his laws; if a democracy, to these they should be
entrusted; and whenever their number exceeds that of the two others, or
at least one of them, they give [1297a] stability to the constitution;
for there is no fear that the rich and the poor should agree to conspire
together against them, for neither of these will choose to serve the
other. If any one would choose to fix the administration on the widest
basis, he will find none preferable to this; for to rule by turns is
what the rich and the poor will not submit to, on account of their
hatred to each other. It is, moreover, allowed that an arbitrator is the
most proper person for both parties to trust to; now this arbitrator is
the middle rank.

Those who would establish aristocratical governments are mistaken not
only in giving too much power to the rich, but also in deceiving the
common people; for at last, instead of an imaginary good, they must feel
a real evil, for the encroachments of the rich are more destructive to
the state than those of the poor.


There are five particulars in which, under fair pretences, the rich
craftily endeavour to undermine the rights of the people, these are
their public assemblies, their offices of state, their courts of
justice, their military power, and their gymnastic exercises. With
respect to their public assemblies, in having them open to all, but in
fining the rich only, or others very little, for not attending; with
respect to offices, in permitting the poor to swear off, but not
granting this indulgence to those who are within the census;
with respect to their courts of justice, in fining the rich for
non-attendance, but the poor not at all, or those a great deal, and
these very little, as was done by the laws of Charondas. In some
places every citizen who was enrolled had a right to attend the public
assemblies and to try causes; which if they did not do, a very heavy
fine was laid upon them; that through fear of the fine they might avoid
being enrolled, as they were then obliged to do neither the one nor the
other. The same spirit of legislation prevailed with respect to their
bearing arms and their gymnastic exercises; for the poor are excused if
they have no arms, but the rich are fined; the same method takes place
if they do not attend their gymnastic exercises, there is no penalty on
one, but there is on the other: the consequence of which is, that the
fear of this penalty induces the rich to keep the one and attend the
other, while the poor do neither. These are the deceitful contrivances
of oligarchical legislators.

The contrary prevails in a democracy; for there they make the poor a
proper allowance for attending the assemblies and the courts, but give
the rich nothing for doing it: whence it is evident, that if any one
would properly blend these customs together, they must extend both the
pay and the fine to every member of the community, and then every one
would share in it, whereas part only now do. The citizens of a free
state ought to [1297b] consist of those only who bear arms: with respect
to their census it is not easy to determine exactly what it ought to be,
but the rule that should direct upon this subject should be to make it
as extensive as possible, so that those who are enrolled in it make up
a greater part of the people than those who are not; for those who are
poor, although they partake not of the offices of the state, are willing
to live quiet, provided that no one disturbs them in their property: but
this is not an easy matter; for it may not always happen, that those who
are at the head of public affairs are of a humane behaviour. In time
of war the poor are accustomed to show no alacrity without they have
provisions found them; when they have, then indeed they are willing to

In some governments the power is vested not only in those who bear arms,
but also in those who have borne them. Among the Malienses the state was
composed of these latter only, for all the officers were soldiers who
had served their time. And the first states in Greece which succeeded
those where kingly power was established, were governed by the military.
First of all the horse, for at that time the strength and excellence of
the army depended on the horse, for as to the heavy-armed foot they were
useless without proper discipline; but the art of tactics was not known
to the ancients, for which reason their strength lay in their horse: but
when cities grew larger, and they depended more on their foot, greater
numbers partook of the freedom of the city; for which reason what we
call republics were formerly called democracies. The ancient governments
were properly oligarchies or kingdoms; for on account of the few persons
in each state, it would have been impossible to have found a sufficient
number of the middle rank; so these being but few, and those used to
subordination, they more easily submitted to be governed.

We have now shown why there are many sorts of governments, and others
different from those we have treated of: for there are more species of
democracies than one, and the like is true of other forms, and what are
their differences, and whence they arise; and also of all others
which is the best, at least in general; and which is best suited for
particular people.


We will now proceed to make some general reflections upon the
governments next in order, and also to consider each of them in
particular; beginning with those principles which appertain to each: now
there are three things in all states which a careful legislator ought
well to consider, which are of great consequence to all, and which
properly attended to the state must necessarily be happy; and according
to the variation of which the one will differ from the other. The first
of these is the [1298a] public assembly; the second the officers of the
state, that is, who they ought to be, and with what power they should be
entrusted, and in what manner they should be appointed; the third, the
judicial department.

Now it is the proper business of the public assembly to determine
concerning war and peace, making or breaking off alliances, to enact
laws, to sentence to death, banishment, or confiscation of goods, and to
call the magistrates to account for their behaviour when in office. Now
these powers must necessarily be entrusted to the citizens in general,
or all of them to some; either to one magistrate or more; or some to
one, and some to another, or some to all, but others to some: to entrust
all to all is in the spirit of a democracy, for the people aim at
equality. There are many methods of delegating these powers to the
citizens at large, one of which is to let them execute them by turn, and
not altogether, as was done by Tellecles, the Milesian, in his state. In
others the supreme council is composed of the different magistrates,
and they succeed to the offices of the community by proper divisions of
tribes, wards, and other very small proportions, till every one in his
turn goes through them: nor does the whole community ever meet together,
without it is when new laws are enacted, or some national affair is
debated, or to hear what the magistrates have to propose to them.
Another method is for the people to meet in a collective body, but
only for the purpose of holding the comitia, making laws, determining
concerning war or peace, and inquiring into the conduct of their
magistrates, while the remaining part of the public business is
conducted by the magistrates, who have their separate departments, and
are chosen out of the whole community either by vote or ballot. Another
method is for the people in general to meet for the choice of the
magistrates, and to examine into their conduct; and also to deliberate
concerning war and alliances, and to leave other things to the
magistrates, whoever happen to be chosen, whose particular employments
are such as necessarily require persons well skilled therein. A fourth
method is for every person to deliberate upon every subject in public
assembly, where the magistrates can determine nothing of themselves, and
have only the privilege of giving their opinions first; and this is the
method of the most pure democracy, which is analogous to the proceedings
in a dynastic oligarchy and a tyrannic monarchy.

These, then, are the methods in which public business is conducted in a
democracy. When the power is in the hands of part of the community
only, it is an oligarchy and this also admits of different customs; for
whenever the officers of the state are chosen out of those who have a
moderate fortune, and these from that circumstance are many, and
when they depart not from that line which the law has laid down, but
carefully follow it, and when all within the census are eligible,
certainly it is then an oligarchy, but founded on true principles of
government [1298b] from its moderation. When the people in general do
not partake of the deliberative power, but certain persons chosen for
that purpose, who govern according to law; this also, like the first,
is an oligarchy. When those who have the deliberative power elect each
other, and the son succeeds to the father, and when they can supersede
the laws, such a government is of necessity a strict oligarchy. When
some persons determine on one thing, and others on another, as war and
peace, and when all inquire into the conduct of their magistrates, and
other things are left to different officers, elected either by vote or
lot, then the government is an aristocracy or a free state. When some
are chosen by vote and others by lot, and these either from the people
in general, or from a certain number elected for that purpose, or if
both the votes and the lots are open to all, such a state is partly an
aristocracy, partly a free government itself. These are the different
methods in which the deliberative power is vested in different states,
all of whom follow some regulation here laid down. It is advantageous to
a democracy, in the present sense of the word, by which I mean a state
wherein the people at large have a supreme power, even over the laws, to
hold frequent public assemblies; and it will be best in this particular
to imitate the example of oligarchies in their courts of justice; for
they fine those who are appointed to try causes if they do not attend,
so should they reward the poor for coming to the public assemblies:
and their counsels will be best when all advise with each other, the
citizens with the nobles, the nobles with the citizens. It is also
advisable when the council is to be composed of part of the citizens, to
elect, either by vote or lot, an equal number of both ranks. It is also
proper, if the common people in the state are very numerous, either not
to pay every one for his attendance, but such a number only as will make
them equal to the nobles, or to reject many of them by lot.

In an oligarchy they should either call up some of the common people to
the council, or else establish a court, as is done in some other states,
whom they call pre-advisers or guardians of the laws, whose business
should be to propose first what they should afterwards enact. By this
means the people would have a place in the administration of public
affairs, without having it in their power to occasion any disorder in
the government. Moreover, the people may be allowed to have a vote
in whatever bill is proposed, but may not themselves propose anything
contrary thereto; or they may give their advice, while the power of
determining may be with the magistrates only. It is also necessary to
follow a contrary practice to what is established in democracies,
for the people should be allowed the power of pardoning, but not
of condemning, for the cause should be referred back again to the
magistrates: whereas the contrary takes place in republics; for the
power of pardoning is with the few, but not of condemning, which is
always referred [1299a] to the people at large. And thus we determine
concerning the deliberative power in any state, and in whose hands it
shall be.


We now proceed to consider the choice of magistrates; for this branch of
public business contains many different Parts, as how many there shall
be, what shall be their particular office, and with respect to time how
long each of them shall continue in place; for some make it six months,
others shorter, others for a year, others for a much longer time; or
whether they should be perpetual or for a long time, or neither; for
the same person may fill the same office several times, or he may not be
allowed to enjoy it even twice, but only once: and also with respect to
the appointment of magistrates, who are to be eligible, who is to choose
them, and in what manner; for in all these particulars we ought properly
to distinguish the different ways which may be followed; and then to
show which of these is best suited to such and such governments.

Now it is not easy to determine to whom we ought properly to give the
name of magistrate, for a government requires many persons in office;
but every one of those who is either chosen by vote or lot is not to be
reckoned a magistrate. The priests, for instance, in the first place;
for these are to be considered as very different from civil magistrates:
to these we may add the choregi and heralds; nay, even ambassadors are
elected: there are some civil employments which belong to the citizens;
and these are either when they are all engaged in one thing, as when as
soldiers they obey their general, or when part of them only are, as in
governing the women or educating the youth; and also some economic, for
they often elect corn-meters: others are servile, and in which, if they
are rich, they employ slaves. But indeed they are most properly called
magistrates, who are members of the deliberative council, or decide
causes, or are in some command, the last more especially, for to command
is peculiar to magistrates. But to speak truth, this question is of
no great consequence, nor is it the province of the judges to decide
between those who dispute about words; it may indeed be an object of
speculative inquiry; but to inquire what officers are necessary in a
state, and how many, and what, though not most necessary, may yet be
advantageous in a well-established government, is a much more useful
employment, and this with respect to all states in general, as well as
to small cities.

In extensive governments it is proper to allot one employment to one
person, as there are many to serve the public in so numerous a society,
where some may be passed over for a long time, and others never be in
office but once; and indeed everything is better done which has the
whole attention of one person, than when that [1299b] attention is
divided amongst many; but in small states it is necessary that a few of
the citizens should execute many employments; for their numbers are so
small it will not be convenient to have many of them in office at the
same time; for where shall we find others to succeed them in turn? Small
states will sometimes want the same magistrates and the same laws as
large ones; but the one will not want to employ them so often as the
other; so that different charges may be intrusted to the same person
without any inconvenience, for they will not interfere with each
other, and for want of sufficient members in the community it will be
necessary. If we could tell how many magistrates are necessary in every
city, and how many, though not necessary, it is yet proper to have, we
could then the better know how many different offices one might assign
to one magistrate. It is also necessary to know what tribunals in
different places should have different things under their jurisdiction,
and also what things should always come under the cognisance of the same
magistrate; as, for instance, decency of manners, shall the clerk of the
market take cognisance of that if the cause arises in the market, and
another magistrate in another place, or the same magistrate everywhere:
or shall there be a distinction made of the fact, or the parties? as,
for instance, in decency of manners, shall it be one cause when it
relates to a man, another when it relates to a woman?

In different states shall the magistrates be different or the same?
I mean, whether in a democracy, an oligarchy, an aristocracy, and a
monarchy, the same persons shall have the same power? or shall it
vary according to the different formation of the government? as in an
aristocracy the offices of the state are allotted to those who are well
educated; in an oligarchy to those who are rich; in a democracy to the
freemen? Or shall the magistrates differ as the communities differ?
For it may happen that the very same may be sometimes proper, sometimes
otherwise: in this state it may be necessary that the magistrate have
great powers, in that but small. There are also certain magistrates
peculiar to certain states--as the pre-advisers are not proper in a
democracy, but a senate is; for one such order is necessary, whose
business shall be to consider beforehand and prepare those bills which
shall be brought before the people that they may have leisure to
attend to their own affairs; and when these are few in number the state
inclines to an oligarchy. The pre-advisers indeed must always be few
for they are peculiar to an oligarchy: and where there are both
these offices in the same state, the pre-adviser's is superior to
the senator's, the one having only a democratical power, the other an
oligarchical: and indeed the [1300a] power of the senate is lost in
those democracies, in which the people, meeting in one public assembly,
take all the business into their own hands; and this is likely to happen
either when the community in general are in easy circumstances, or when
they are paid for their attendance; for they are then at leisure often
to meet together and determine everything for themselves. A magistrate
whose business is to control the manners of the boys, or women, or who
takes any department similar to this, is to be found in an aristocracy,
not in a democracy; for who can forbid the wives of the poor from
appearing in public? neither is such a one to be met with in an
oligarchy; for the women there are too delicate to bear control. And
thus much for this subject. Let us endeavour to treat at large of the
establishment of magistrates, beginning from first principles. Now, they
differ from each other in three ways, from which, blended together,
all the varieties which can be imagined arise. The first of these
differences is in those who appoint the magistrates, the second consists
in those who are appointed, the third in the mode of appointment; and
each of these three differ in three manners; for either all the citizens
may appoint collectively, or some out of their whole body, or some out
of a particular order in it, according to fortune, family, or virtue, or
some other rule (as at Megara, where the right of election was amongst
those who had returned together to their country, and had reinstated
themselves by force of arms) and this either by vote or lot. Again,
these several modes may be differently formed together, as some
magistrates may be chosen by part of the community, others by the whole;
some out of part, others out of the whole; some by vote, others by lot:
and each of these different modes admit of a four-fold subdivision; for
either all may elect all by vote or by lot; and when all elect, they may
either proceed without any distinction, or they may elect by a certain
division of tribes, wards, or companies, till they have gone through the
whole community: and some magistrates may be elected one way, and others
another. Again, if some magistrates are elected either by vote or lot
of all the citizens, or by the vote of some and the lot of some, or
some one way and some another; that is to say, some by the vote of all,
others by the lot of all, there will then be twelve different methods
of electing the magistrates, without blending the two together. Of
these there are two adapted to a democracy; namely, to have all the
magistrates chosen out of all the people, either by vote or lot, or
both; that is to say, some of them by lot, some by vote. In a free state
the whole community should not elect at the same time, but some out of
the whole, or out of some particular rank; and this either by lot, or
vote, or both: and they should elect either out of the whole community,
or out of some particular persons in it, and this both by lot and vote.
In an oligarchy it is proper to choose some magistrates out of the whole
body of the citizens, some by vote, some by lot, others by both: by lot
is most correspondent to that form of government. In a free aristocracy,
some magistrates [1300b] should be chosen out of the community in
general, others out of a particular rank, or these by choice, those
by lot. In a pure oligarchy, the magistrates should be chosen out of
certain ranks, and by certain persons, and some of those by lot, others
by both methods; but to choose them out of the whole community is not
correspondent to the nature of this government. It is proper in an
aristocracy for the whole community to elect their magistrates out of
particular persons, and this by vote. These then are all the different
ways of electing of magistrates; and they have been allotted according
to the nature of the different communities; but what mode of proceeding
is proper for different communities, or how the offices ought to be
established, or with what powers shall be particularly explained. I mean
by the powers of a magistrate, what should be his particular province,
as the management of the finances or the laws of the state; for
different magistrates have different powers, as that of the general of
the army differs from the clerk of the market.


Of the three parts of which a government is formed, we now come to
consider the judicial; and this also we shall divide in the same manner
as we did the magisterial, into three parts. Of whom the judges shall
consist, and for what causes, and how. When I say of whom, I mean
whether they shall be the whole people, or some particulars; by for what
causes I mean, how many different courts shall be appointed; by how,
whether they shall be elected by vote or lot. Let us first determine how
many different courts there ought to be. Now these are eight. The
first of these is the court of inspection over the behaviour of the
magistrates when they have quitted their office; the second is to punish
those who have injured the public; the third is to take cognisance of
those causes in which the state is a party; the fourth is to decide
between magistrates and private persons, who appeal from a fine laid
upon them; the fifth is to determine disputes which may arise concerning
contracts of great value; the sixth is to judge between foreigners, and
of murders, of which there are different species; and these may all be
tried by the same judges or by different ones; for there are murders
of malice prepense and of chance-medley; there is also justifiable
homicide, where the fact is admitted, and the legality of it disputed.

There is also another court called at Athens the Court of Phreattae,
which determines points relating to a murder committed by one who has
run away, to decide whether he shall return; though such an affair
happens but seldom, and in very large cities; the seventh, to determine
causes wherein strangers are concerned, and this whether they are
between stranger and stranger or between a stranger and a citizen. The
eighth and last is for small actions, from one to five drachma's, or a
little more; for these ought also to be legally determined, but not to
be brought before the whole body of the judges. But without entering
into any particulars concerning actions for murder, and those wherein
strangers are the parties, let us particularly treat of those courts
which have the jurisdiction of those matters which more particularly
relate to the affairs of the community and which if not well conducted
occasion seditions and commotions in the state. Now, of necessity,
either all persons must have a right to judge of all these different
causes, appointed for that purpose, either by vote or lot, or all of
all, some of them by vote, and others by lot, or in some causes by vote,
in others by lot. Thus there will be four sorts of judges. There [1301a]
will be just the same number also if they are chosen out of part of the
people only; for either all the judges must be chosen out of that part
either by vote or lot, or some by lot and some by vote, or the judges in
particular causes must be chosen some by vote, others by lot; by which
means there will be the same number of them also as was mentioned.
Besides, different judges may be joined together; I mean those who are
chosen out of the whole people or part of them or both; so that all
three may sit together in the same court, and this either by vote,
lot, or both. And thus much for the different sorts of judges. Of these
appointments that which admits all the community to be judges in all
causes is most suitable to a democracy; the second, which appoints that
certain persons shall judge all causes, to an oligarchy; the third,
which appoints the whole community to be judges in some causes, but
particular persons in others, to an aristocracy or free state.



We have now gone through those particulars we proposed to speak of; it
remains that we next consider from what causes and how alterations
in government arise, and of what nature they are, and to what the
destruction of each state is owing; and also to what form any form of
polity is most likely to shift into, and what are the means to be
used for the general preservation of governments, as well as what are
applicable to any particular state; and also of the remedies which
are to be applied either to all in general, or to any one considered
separately, when they are in a state of corruption: and here we ought
first to lay down this principle, that there are many governments, all
of which approve of what is just and what is analogically equal; and yet
have failed from attaining thereunto, as we have already mentioned; thus
democracies have arisen from supposing that those who are equal in one
thing are so in every other circumstance; as, because they are equal
in liberty, they are equal in everything else; and oligarchies, from
supposing that those who are unequal in one thing are unequal in all;
that when men are so in point of fortune, that inequality extends to
everything else. Hence it follows, that those who in some respects are
equal with others think it right to endeavour to partake of an equality
with them in everything; and those who are superior to others endeavour
to get still more; and it is this more which is the inequality: thus
most states, though they have some notion of what is just, yet are
almost totally wrong; and, upon this account, when either party has not
that share in the administration which answers to his expectations, he
becomes seditious: but those who of all others have the greatest right
to be so are the last that are; namely, those who excel in virtue;
for they alone can be called generally superior. There are, too, some
persons of distinguished families who, because they are so, disdain to
be on an equality with others, for those esteem themselves noble who
boast of their ancestors' merit and fortune: these, to speak truth, are
the origin and fountain from whence seditions arise. The alterations
which men may propose to make in governments are two; for either they
may change the state already established into some other, as when
they propose to erect an oligarchy where there is a democracy; or a
democracy, or free state, where there is an oligarchy, or an aristocracy
from these, or those from that; or else, when they have no objection
to the established government, which they like very well, but choose to
have the sole management in it themselves; either in the hands of a few
or one only. They will also raise commotions concerning the degree in
which they would have the established power; as if, for instance, the
government is an oligarchy, to have it more purely so, and in the same
manner if it is a democracy, or else to have it less so; and, in like
manner, whatever may be the nature of the government, either to extend
or contract its powers; or else to make some alterations in some parts
of it; as to establish or abolish a particular magistracy, as some
persons say Lysander endeavoured to abolish the kingly power in Sparta;
and Pausanias that of the ephori. Thus in Epidamnus there was an
alteration in one part of the constitution, for instead of the philarchi
they established a senate. It is also necessary for all the magistrates
at Athens; to attend in the court of the Helisea when any new magistrate
is created: the power of the archon also in that state partakes of the
nature of an oligarchy: inequality is always the occasion of sedition,
but not when those who are unequal are treated in a different manner
correspondent to that inequality. Thus kingly power is unequal when
exercised over equals. Upon the whole, those who aim after an equality
are the cause of seditions. Equality is twofold, either in number or
value. Equality in number is when two things contain the same parts or
the same quantity; equality in value is by proportion as two exceeds
one, and three two by the same number-thus by proportion four exceeds
two, and two one in the same degree, for two is the same part of four
that one is of two; that is to say, half. Now, all agree in what is
absolutely and simply just; but, as we have already said they dispute
concerning proportionate value; for some persons, if they are equal in
one respect, think themselves equal in all; others, if they are superior
in one thing, think they may claim the superiority in all; from whence
chiefly arise two sorts of governments, a democracy and an oligarchy;
for nobility and virtue are to be found only [1302a] amongst a few;
the contrary amongst the many; there being in no place a hundred of
the first to be met with, but enough of the last everywhere. But to
establish a government entirely upon either of these equalities is
wrong, and this the example of those so established makes evident,
for none of them have been stable; and for this reason, that it is
impossible that whatever is wrong at the first and in its principles
should not at last meet with a bad end: for which reason in some things
an equality of numbers ought to take place, in others an equality in
value. However, a democracy is safer and less liable to sedition than an
oligarchy; for in this latter it may arise from two causes, for either
the few in power may conspire against each other or against the
people; but in a democracy only one; namely, against the few who aim
at exclusive power; but there is no instance worth speaking of, of
a sedition of the people against themselves. Moreover, a government
composed of men of moderate fortunes comes much nearer to a democracy
than an oligarchy, and is the safest of all such states.


Since we are inquiring into the causes of seditions and revolutions
in governments, we must begin entirely with the first principles from
whence they arise. Now these, so to speak, are nearly three in number;
which we must first distinguish in general from each other, and
endeavour to show in what situation people are who begin a sedition;
and for what causes; and thirdly, what are the beginnings of political
troubles and mutual quarrels with each other. Now that cause which of
all others most universally inclines men to desire to bring about a
change in government is that which I have already mentioned; for those
who aim at equality will be ever ready for sedition, if they see those
whom they esteem their equals possess more than they do, as well as
those also who are not content with equality but aim at superiority, if
they think that while they deserve more than, they have only equal with,
or less than, their inferiors. Now, what they aim at may be either just
or unjust; just, when those who are inferior are seditious, that they
may be equal; unjust, when those who are equal are so, that they may
be superior. These, then, are the situations in which men will be
seditious: the causes for which they will be so are profit and honour;
and their contrary: for, to avoid dishonour or loss of fortune by
mulcts, either on their own account or their friends, they will raise
a commotion in the state. The original causes which dispose men to the
things which I have mentioned are, taken in one manner, seven in number,
in another they are more; two of which are the same with those that
have been already mentioned: but influencing in a different manner;
for profit and honour sharpen men against each other; not to get the
possession of them for themselves (which was what I just now supposed),
but when they see others, some justly, others [1302b] unjustly,
engrossing them. The other causes are haughtiness, fear, eminence,
contempt, disproportionate increase in some part of the state. There are
also other things which in a different manner will occasion revolutions
in governments; as election intrigues, neglect, want of numbers, a too
great dissimilarity of circumstances.


What influence ill-treatment and profit have for this purpose, and how
they may be the causes of sedition, is almost self-evident; for when the
magistrates are haughty and endeavour to make greater profits than their
office gives them, they not only occasion seditions amongst each other,
but against the state also who gave them their power; and this their
avarice has two objects, either private property or the property of the
state. What influence honours have, and how they may occasion sedition,
is evident enough; for those who are themselves unhonoured while they
see others honoured, will be ready for any disturbance: and these things
are done unjustly when any one is either honoured or discarded contrary
to their deserts, justly when they are according to them. Excessive
honours are also a cause of sedition when one person or more are greater
than the state and the power of the government can permit; for then
a monarchy or a dynasty is usually established: on which account the
ostracism was introduced in some places, as at Argos and Athens: though
it is better to guard against such excesses in the founding of a state,
than when they have been permitted to take place, to correct them
afterward. Those who have been guilty of crimes will be the cause of
sedition, through fear of punishment; as will those also who expect an
injury, that they may prevent it; as was the case at Rhodes, when the
nobles conspired against the people on account of the decrees they
expected would pass against them. Contempt also is a cause of sedition
and conspiracies; as in oligarchies, where there are many who have
no share in the administration. The rich also even in democracies,
despising the disorder and anarchy which will arise, hope to better
themselves by the same means which happened at Thebes after the battle
of Oenophyta, where, in consequence of bad administration, the democracy
was destroyed; as it was at Megara, where the power of the people was
lost through anarchy and disorder; the same thing happened at Syracuse
before the tyranny of Gelon; and at Rhodes there was the same sedition
before the popular government was overthrown. Revolutions in state will
also arise from a disproportionate increase; for as the body consists
of many parts, it ought to increase proportion-ably to preserve its
symmetry, which would otherwise be destroyed; as if the foot was to
be four cubits long, and the rest of the body but two palms; it might
otherwise [1303a] be changed into an animal of a different form, if it
increase beyond proportion not only in quantity, but also in disposition
of parts; so also a city consists of parts, some of which may often
increase without notice, as the number of poor in democracies and free
states. They will also sometimes happen by accident, as at Tarentum, a
little after the Median war, where so many of the nobles were killed in
a battle by the lapygi, that from a free state the government was turned
into a democracy; and at Argos, where so many of the citizens were
killed by Cleomenes the Spartan, that they were obliged to admit several
husbandmen to the freedom of the state: and at Athens, through the
unfortunate event of the infantry battles, the number of the nobles was
reduced by the soldiers being chosen from the list of citizens in
the Lacedaemonian wars. Revolutions also sometimes take place in
a democracy, though seldomer; for where the rich grow numerous or
properties increase, they become oligarchies or dynasties. Governments
also sometimes alter without seditions by a combination of the meaner
people; as at Hersea: for which purpose they changed the mode of
election from votes to lots, and thus got themselves chosen: and by
negligence, as when the citizens admit those who are not friends to
the constitution into the chief offices of the state, which happened
at Orus, when the oligarchy of the archons was put an end to at the
election of Heracleodorus, who changed that form of government into a
democratic free state. By little and little, I mean by this, that very
often great alterations silently take place in the form of government
from people's overlooking small matters; as at Ambracia, where the
census was originally small, but at last became nothing at all, as if a
little and nothing at all were nearly or entirely alike. That state
also is liable to seditions which is composed of different nations, till
their differences are blended together and undistinguishable; for as a
city cannot be composed of every multitude, so neither can it in every
given time; for which reason all those republics which have hitherto
been originally composed of different people or afterwards admitted
their neighbours to the freedom of their city, have been most liable
to revolutions; as when the Achaeans joined with the Traezenians
in founding Sybaris; for soon after, growing more powerful than the
Traezenians, they expelled them from the city; from whence came the
proverb of Sybarite wickedness: and again, disputes from a like cause
happened at Thurium between the Sybarites and those who had joined with
them in building the city; for they assuming upon these, on account of
the country being their own, were driven out. And at Byzantium the new
citizens, being detected in plots against the state, were driven out of
the city by force of arms. The Antisseans also, having taken in those
who were banished from Chios, afterwards did the same thing; and
also the Zancleans, after having taken in the people of Samos. The
Appolloniats, in the Euxine Sea, having admitted their sojourners to
the freedom of their city, were troubled with seditions: and the
Syracusians, after the expulsion of their tyrants, having enrolled
[1303b] strangers and mercenaries amongst their citizens, quarrelled
with each other and came to an open rupture: and the people of
Amphipolis, having taken in a colony of Chalcidians, were the greater
part of them driven out of the city by them. Many persons occasion
seditions in oligarchies because they think themselves ill-used in not
sharing the honours of the state with their equals, as I have already
mentioned; but in democracies the principal people do the same because
they have not more than an equal share with others who are not equal
to them. The situation of the place will also sometimes occasion
disturbances in the state when the ground is not well adapted for one
city; as at Clazomene, where the people who lived in that part of the
town called Chytrum quarrelled with them who lived in the island, and
the Colophonians with the Notians. At Athens too the disposition of the
citizens is not the same, for those who live in the Piraeus are more
attached to a popular government than those who live in the city
properly so called; for as the interposition of a rivulet, however
small, will occasion the line of the phalanx to fluctuate, so any
trifling disagreement will be the cause of seditions; but they will not
so soon flow from anything else as from the disagreement between virtue
and vice, and next to that between poverty and riches, and so on in
order, one cause having more influence than another; one of which that I
last mentioned.


But seditions in government do not arise for little things, but from
them; for their immediate cause is something of moment. Now, trifling
quarrels are attended with the greatest consequences when they arise
between persons of the first distinction in the state, as was the
case with the Syracusians in a remote period; for a revolution in the
government was brought about by a quarrel between two young men who were
in office, upon a love affair; for one of them being absent, the other
seduced his mistress; he in his turn, offended with this, persuaded his
friend's wife to come and live with him; and upon this the whole city
took part either with the one or the other, and the government was
overturned: therefore every one at the beginning of such disputes ought
to take care to avoid the consequences; and to smother up all quarrels
which may happen to arise amongst those in power, for the mischief lies
in the beginning; for the beginning is said to be half of the business,
so that what was then but a little fault will be found afterwards to
bear its full proportion to what follows. Moreover, disputes between men
of note involve the whole city in their consequences; in Hestiaea,
after the Median war: two brothers having a dispute about their paternal
estate; he who was the poorer, from the other's having concealed part
of the effects, and some money which his father had found, engaged the
popular party on his side, while the other, who was rich, the men of
fashion. And at Delphos, [1304a] a quarrel about a wedding was the
beginning of all the seditions that afterwards arose amongst them; for
the bridegroom, being terrified by some unlucky omen upon waiting
upon the bride, went away without marrying her; which her relations
resenting, contrived secretly to convey some sacred money into his
pocket while he was sacrificing, and then killed him as an impious
person. At Mitylene also, a dispute, which arose concerning a right
of heritage, was the beginning of great evils, and a war with the
Athenians, in which Paches took their city, for Timophanes, a man
of fortune, leaving two daughters, Doxander, who was circumvented in
procuring them in marriage for his two sons, began a sedition, and
excited the Athenians to attack them, being the host of that state.
There was also a dispute at Phocea, concerning a right of inheritance,
between Mnasis, the father of Mnasis, and Euthucrates, the father of
Onomarchus, which brought on the Phoceans the sacred war. The government
too of Epidamnus was changed from a quarrel that arose from an intended
marriage; for a certain man having contracted his daughter in marriage,
the father of the young person to whom she was contracted, being archon,
punishes him, upon which account he, resenting the affront, associated
himself with those who were excluded from any share in the government,
and brought about a revolution. A government may be changed either into
an oligarchy, democracy, or a free state; when the magistrates, or any
part of the city acquire great credit, or are increased in power, as the
court of Areopagus at Athens, having procured great credit during the
Median war, added firmness to their administration; and, on the other
hand, the maritime force, composed of the commonalty, having gained the
victory at Salamis, by their power at sea, got the lead in the state,
and strengthened the popular party: and at Argos, the nobles,
having gained great credit by the battle of Mantinea against the
Lacedaemonians, endeavoured to dissolve the democracy. And at Syracuse,
the victory in their war with the Athenians being owing to the common
people, they changed their free state into a democracy: and at Chalcis,
the people having taken off the tyrant Phocis, together with the nobles,
immediately seized the government: and at Ambracia also the people,
having expelled the tyrant Periander, with his party, placed the
supreme power in themselves. And this in general ought to be known,
that whosoever has been the occasion of a state being powerful, whether
private persons, or magistrates, a certain tribe, or any particular part
of the citizens, or the multitude, be they who they will, will be the
cause of disputes in the state. For either some persons, who envy them
the honours they have acquired, will begin to be seditious, or they,
on account of the dignity they have acquired, will not be content with
their former equality. A state is also liable to commotions when those
parts of it which seem to be opposite to each other approach to an
[1304b] equality, as the rich and the common people; so that the part
which is between them both is either nothing at all, or too little to be
noticed; for if one party is so much more powerful than the other, as
to be evidently stronger, that other will not be willing to hazard the
danger: for which reason those who are superior in excellence and virtue
will never be the cause of seditions; for they will be too few for that
purpose when compared to the many. In general, the beginning and the
causes of seditions in all states are such as I have now described, and
revolutions therein are brought about in two ways, either by violence or
fraud: if by violence, either at first by compelling them to submit to
the change when it is made. It may also be brought about by fraud in
two different ways, either when the people, being at first deceived,
willingly consent to an alteration in their government, and are
afterwards obliged by force to abide by it: as, for instance, when the
four hundred imposed upon the people by telling them that the king
of Persia would supply them with money for the war against the
Lacedaemonians; and after they had been guilty of this falsity, they
endeavoured to keep possession of the supreme power; or when they are
at first persuaded and afterwards consent to be governed: and by one of
these methods which I have mentioned are all revolutions in governments
brought about.


We ought now to inquire into those events which will arise from these
causes in every species of government. Democracies will be most subject
to revolutions from the dishonesty of their demagogues; for partly, by
informing against men of property, they induce them to join together
through self-defence, for a common fear will make the greatest enemies
unite; and partly by setting the common people against them: and this is
what any one may continually see practised in many states. In the island
of Cos, for instance, the democracy was subverted by the wickedness
of the demagogues, for the nobles entered into a combination with
each other. And at Rhodes the demagogues, by distributing of bribes,
prevented the people from paying the trierarchs what was owing to them,
who were obliged by the number of actions they were harassed with to
conspire together and destroy the popular state. The same thing was
brought about at Heraclea, soon after the settlement of the city, by
the same persons; for the citizens of note, being ill treated by them,
quitted the city, but afterwards joining together they returned and
overthrew the popular state. Just in the same manner the democracy
was destroyed in Megara; for there the demagogues, to procure money by
confiscations, drove out the nobles, till the number of those who were
banished was considerable, who, [1305a] returning, got the better of the
people in a battle, and established an oligarchy. The like happened at
Cume, during the time of the democracy, which Thrasymachus destroyed;
and whoever considers what has happened in other states may perceive the
same revolutions to have arisen from the same causes. The demagogues,
to curry favour with the people, drive the nobles to conspire together,
either by dividing their estates, or obliging them to spend them on
public services, or by banishing them, that they may confiscate the
fortunes of the wealthy. In former times, when the same person was both
demagogue and general, the democracies were changed into tyrannies; and
indeed most of the ancient tyrannies arose from those states: a reason
for which then subsisted, but not now; for at that time the demagogues
were of the soldiery; for they were not then powerful by their
eloquence; but, now the art of oratory is cultivated, the able speakers
are at present the demagogues; but, as they are unqualified to act in
a military capacity, they cannot impose themselves on the people as
tyrants, if we except in one or two trifling instances. Formerly, too,
tyrannies were more common than now, on account of the very extensive
powers with which some magistrates were entrusted: as the prytanes at
Miletus; for they were supreme in many things of the last consequence;
and also because at that time the cities were not of that very great
extent, the people in general living in the country, and being employed
in husbandry, which gave them, who took the lead in public affairs, an
opportunity, if they had a turn for war, to make themselves tyrants;
which they all did when they had gained the confidence of the people;
and this confidence was their hatred to the rich. This was the case of
Pisistratus at Athens, when he opposed the Pediaci: and of Theagenes in
Megara, who slaughtered the cattle belonging to the rich, after he
had seized those who kept them by the riverside. Dionysius also, for
accusing Daphnseus and the rich, was thought worthy of being raised to a
tyranny, from the confidence which the people had of his being a popular
man in consequence of these enmities. A government shall also alter from
its ancient and approved democratic form into one entirely new, if
there is no census to regulate the election of magistrates; for, as the
election is with the people, the demagogues who are desirous of being in
office, to flatter them, will endeavour with all their power to make the
people superior even to the laws. To prevent this entirely, or at least
in a great measure, the magistrates should be elected by the tribes, and
not by the people at large. These are nearly the revolutions to which
democracies are liable, and also the causes from whence they arise.


There are two things which of all others most evidently occasion a
revolution in an oligarchy; one is, when the people are ill used, for
then every individual is ripe for [1305b] sedition; more particularly if
one of the oligarchy should happen to be their leader; as Lygdamis, at
Naxus, who was afterwards tyrant of that island. Seditions also which
arise from different causes will differ from each other; for sometimes
a revolution is brought about by the rich who have no share in the
administration, which is in the hands of a very few indeed: and this
happened at Massilia, Ister, Heraclea, and other cities; for those who
had no share in the government ceased not to raise disputes till they
were admitted to it: first the elder brothers, and then the younger
also: for in some places the father and son are never in office at the
same time; in others the elder and younger brother: and where this is
observed the oligarchy partakes something of a free state. At Ister it
was changed into a democracy; in Heraclea, instead of being in the
hands of a few, it consisted of six hundred. At Cnidus the oligarchy
was destroyed by the nobles quarrelling with each other, because the
government was in the hands of so few: for there, as we have just
mentioned, if the father was in office, the son could not; or, if there
were many brothers, the eldest only; for the people, taking advantage of
their disputes, elected one of the nobles for their general, and got the
victory: for where there are seditions government is weak. And formerly
at Erithria, during the oligarchy of the Basilides, although the state
flourished greatly under their excellent management, yet because the
people were displeased that the power should be in the hands of so
few, they changed the government. Oligarchies also are subject to
revolutions, from those who are in office therein, from the quarrels of
the demagogues with each other. The demagogues are of two sorts; one
who flatter the few when they are in power: for even these have their
demagogues; such was Charicles at Athens, who had great influence over
the thirty; and, in the same manner, Phrynichus over the four hundred.
The others are those demagogues who have a share in the oligarchy,
and flatter the people: such were the state-guardians at Larissa, who
flattered the people because they were elected by them. And this will
always happen in every oligarchy where the magistrates do not elect
themselves, but are chosen out of men either of great fortune or certain
ranks, by the soldiers or by the people; as was the custom at Abydos.
And when the judicial department is not in the hands of the supreme
power, the demagogues, favouring the people in their causes, overturn
the government; which happened at Heraclea in Pontus: and also when
some desire to contract the power of the oligarchy into fewer hands; for
those who endeavour to support an equality are obliged to apply to the
people for assistance. An oligarchy is also subject to revolutions
when the nobility spend their fortunes by luxury; for such persons are
desirous of innovations, and either endeavour to be tyrants themselves
or to support others in being so, as [1306a] Hypparinus supported
Dionysius of Syracuse. And at Amphipolis one Cleotimus collected a
colony of Chalcidians, and when they came set them to quarrel with
the rich: and at AEgina a certain person who brought an action against
Chares attempted on that account to alter the government. Sometimes they
will try to raise commotions, sometimes they will rob the public, and
then quarrel with each other, or else fight with those who endeavour
to detect them; which was the case at Apollonia in Pontus. But if the
members of an oligarchy agree among themselves the state is not very
easily destroyed without some external force. Pharsalus is a proof of
this, where, though the place is small, yet the citizens have great
power, from the prudent use they make of it. An oligarchy also will be
destroyed when they create another oligarchy under it; that is, when the
management of public affairs is in the hands of a few, and not equally,
but when all of them do not partake of the supreme power, as happened
once at Elis, where the supreme power in general was in the hands of a
very few out of whom a senate was chosen, consisting but of ninety, who
held their places for life; and their mode of election was calculated to
preserve the power amongst each other's families, like the senators at
Lacedaemon. An oligarchy is liable to a revolution both in time of
war and peace; in war, because through a distrust in the citizens the
government is obliged to employ mercenary troops, and he to whom they
give the command of the army will very often assume the tyranny, as
Timophanes did at Corinth; and if they appoint more than one general,
they will very probably establish a dynasty: and sometimes, through fear
of this, they are forced to let the people in general have some share in
the government, because they are obliged to employ them. In peace,
from their want of confidence in each other, they will entrust the
guardianship of the state to mercenaries and their general, who will
be an arbiter between them, and sometimes become master of both, which
happened at Larissa, when Simos and the Aleuadae had the chief power.
The same thing happened at Abydos, during the time of the political
clubs, of which Iphiades' was one. Commotions also will happen in an
oligarchy from one party's overbearing and insulting another, or
from their quarrelling about their law-suits or marriages. How their
marriages, for instance, will have that effect has been already shown:
and in Eretria, Diagoras destroyed the oligarchy of the knights upon the
same account. A sedition also arose at Heraclea, from a certain person
being condemned by the court; and at Thebes, in consequence of a man's
being guilty of adultery; [1306b] the punishment indeed which Eurytion
suffered at Heraclea was just, yet it was illegally executed: as was
that at Thebes upon Archias; for their enemies endeavoured to have them
publicly bound in the pillory. Many revolutions also have been brought
about in oligarchies by those who could not brook the despotism which
those persons assumed who were in power, as at Cnidus and Chios. Changes
also may happen by accident in what we call a free state and in an
oligarchy; wheresoever the senators, judges, and magistrates are chosen
according to a certain census; for it often happens that the highest
census is fixed at first; so that a few only could have a share in
the government, in an oligarchy, or in a free state those of moderate
fortunes only; when the city grows rich, through peace or some other
happy cause, it becomes so little that every one's fortune is equal to
the census, so that the whole community may partake of all the honours
of government; and this change sometimes happens by little and little,
and insensible approaches, sometimes quicker. These are the revolutions
and seditions that arise in oligarchies, and the causes to which they
are owing: and indeed both democracies and oligarchies sometimes alter,
not into governments of a contrary form, but into those of the same
government; as, for instance, from having the supreme power in the law
to vest it in the ruling party, or the contrariwise.


Commotions also arise in aristocracies, from there being so few persons
in power (as we have already observed they do in oligarchies, for in
this particular an aristocracy is most near an oligarchy, for in both
these states the administration of public affairs is in the hands of
a few; not that this arises from the same cause in both, though herein
they chiefly seem alike): and these will necessarily be most likely to
happen when the generality of the people are high-spirited and think
themselves equal to each other in merit; such were those at Lacedasmon,
called the Partheniae (for these were, as well as others, descendants
of citizens), who being detected in a conspiracy against the state, were
sent to found Tarentum. They will happen also when some great men are
disgraced by those who have received higher honours than themselves, to
whom they are no ways inferior in abilities, as Lysander by the kings:
or when an ambitious man cannot get into power, as Cinadon, who, in the
reign of Agesilaus, was chief in a conspiracy against the Spartans:
and also when some are too poor and others too rich, which will most
frequently happen in time of war; as at Lacedaemon during the Messenian
war, which is proved by a poem of Tyrtaeus, [1307a] called "Eunomia;"
for some persons being reduced thereby, desired that the lands might
be divided: and also when some person of very high rank might still be
higher if he could rule alone, which seemed to be Pausanias's intention
at Lacedaemon, when he was their general in the Median war, and Anno's
at Carthage. But free states and aristocracies are mostly destroyed from
want of a fixed administration of public affairs; the cause of which
evil arises at first from want of a due mixture of the democratic and
the oligarchic parts in a free state; and in an aristocracy from the
same causes, and also from virtue not being properly joined to power;
but chiefly from the two first, I mean the undue mixture of the
democratic and oligarchic parts; for these two are what all free
states endeavour to blend together, and many of those which we call
aristocracies, in this particular these states differ from each other,
and on this account the one of them is less stable than the other, for
that state which inclines most to an oligarchy is called an aristocracy,
and that which inclines most to a democracy is called a free state; on
which account this latter is more secure than the former, for the wider
the foundation the securer the building, and it is ever best to live
where equality prevails. But the rich, if the community gives them rank,
very often endeavour to insult and tyrannise over others. On the whole,
whichever way a government inclines, in that it will settle, each party
supporting their own. Thus a free state will become a democracy; an
aristocracy an oligarchy; or the contrary, an aristocracy may change
into a democracy (for the poor, if they think themselves injured,
directly take part with the contrary side) and a free state into an
oligarchy. The only firm state is that where every one enjoys that
equality he has a right to and fully possesses what is his own. And what
I have been speaking of happened to the Thurians; for the magistrates
being elected according to a very high census, it was altered to a
lower, and they were subdivided into more courts, but in consequence of
the nobles possessing all the land, contrary to law; the state was too
much of an oligarchy, which gave them an opportunity of encroaching
greatly on the rest of the people; but these, after they had been well
inured to war, so far got the better of their guards as to expel every
one out of the country who possessed more than he ought. Moreover, as
all aristocracies are free oligarchies, the nobles therein endeavour to
have rather too much power, as at Lacedaemon, where property is now in
the hands of a few, and the nobles have too much liberty to do as they
please and make such alliances as they please. Thus the city of the
Locrians was ruined from an alliance with Dionysius; which state was
neither a democracy nor well-tempered aristocracy. But an aristocracy
chiefly approaches to a secret change by its being destroyed by degrees,
as we [1307b] have already said of all governments in general; and this
happens from the cause of the alteration being trifling; for whenever
anything which in the least regards the state is treated with contempt,
after that something else, and this of a little more consequence, will
be more easily altered, until the whole fabric of government is entirely
subverted, which happened in the government of Thurium; for the law
being that they should continue soldiers for five years, some young
men of a martial disposition, who were in great esteem amongst their
officers, despising those who had the management of public affairs,
and imagining they could easily accomplish their intention, first
endeavoured to abolish this law, with a view of having it lawful to
continue the same person perpetually in the military, perceiving that
the people would readily appoint them. Upon this, the magistrates who
are called counselors first joined together with an intention to oppose
it but were afterwards induced to agree to it, from a belief that if
that law was not repealed they would permit the management of all other
public affairs to remain in their hands; but afterwards, when they
endeavoured to restrain some fresh alterations that were making, they
found that they could do nothing, for the whole form of government was
altered into a dynasty of those who first introduced the innovations. In
short, all governments are liable to be destroyed either from within or
from without; from without when they have for their neighbour a state
whose policy is contrary to theirs, and indeed if it has great power the
same thing will happen if it is not their neighbour; of which both
the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians are a proof; for the one,
when conquerors everywhere destroyed the oligarchies; the other the
democracies. These are the chief causes of revolutions and dissensions
in governments.


We are now to consider upon what the preservation of governments in
general and of each state in particular depends; and, in the first
place, it is evident that if we are right in the causes we have assigned
for their destruction, we know also the means of their preservation; for
things contrary produce contraries: but destruction and preservation are
contrary to each other. In well-tempered governments it requires as much
care as anything whatsoever, that nothing be done contrary to law: and
this ought chiefly to be attended to in matters of small consequence;
for an illegality that approaches insensibly, approaches secretly, as in
a family small expenses continually repeated consume a man's income;
for the understanding is deceived thereby, as by this false argument; if
every part is little, then the whole is little: now, this in one sense
is true, in another is false, for the whole and all the parts together
are large, though made up of small parts. The first therefore of
anything is what the state ought to guard against. In the next place,
no credit ought to be given to those who endeavour to deceive the people
with false pretences; for they will be [1308a] confuted by facts. The
different ways in which they will attempt to do this have been already
mentioned. You may often perceive both aristocracies and oligarchies
continuing firm, not from the stability of their forms of government,
but from the wise conduct of the magistrates, both towards those who
have a part in the management of public affairs, and those also who
have not: towards those who have not, by never injuring them; and also
introducing those who are of most consequence amongst them into office;
nor disgracing those who are desirous of honour; or encroaching on the
property of individuals; towards those who have, by behaving to each
other upon an equality; for that equality which the favourers of a
democracy desire to have established in the state is not only just,
but convenient also, amongst those who are of the same rank: for which
reason, if the administration is in the hands of many, those rules which
are established in democracies will be very useful; as to let no one
continue in office longer than six months: that all those who are of
the same rank may have their turn; for between these there is a sort
of democracy: for which reason demagogues are most likely to arise up
amongst them, as we have already mentioned: besides, by this means both
aristocracies and democracies will be the less liable to be corrupted
into dynasties, because it will not be so easy for those who are
magistrates for a little to do as much mischief as they could in a
long time: for it is from hence that tyrannies arise in democracies
and oligarchies; for either those who are most powerful in each state
establish a tyranny, as the demagogues in the one, the dynasties in the
other, or the chief magistrates who have been long in power. Governments
are sometimes preserved not only by having the means of their corruption
at a great distance, but also by its being very near them; for those who
are alarmed at some impending evil keep a stricter hand over the state;
for which reason it is necessary for those who have the guardianship of
the constitution to be able to awaken the fears of the people, that they
may preserve it, and not like a night-guard to be remiss in protecting
the state, but to make the distant danger appear at hand. Great care
ought also to be used to endeavour to restrain the quarrels and disputes
of the nobles by laws, as well as to prevent those who are not already
engaged in them from taking a part therein; for to perceive an evil
at its very first approach is not the lot of every one, but of the
politician. To prevent any alteration taking place in an oligarchy or
free state on account of the census, if that happens to continue the
same while the quantity of money is increased, it will be useful to take
a general account of the whole amount of it in former times, to compare
it with the present, and to do this every year in those cities where the
census is yearly, [1308b] in larger communities once in three or five
years; and if the whole should be found much larger or much less than it
was at the time when the census was first established in the state,
let there be a law either to extend or contract it, doing both these
according to its increase or decrease; if it increases making the census
larger, if it decreases smaller: and if this latter is not done in
oligarchies and free states, you will have a dynasty arise in the one,
an oligarchy in the other: if the former is not, free states will
be changed into democracies, and oligarchies into free states or
democracies. It is a general maxim in democracies, oligarchies,
monarchies, and indeed in all governments, not to let any one acquire a
rank far superior to the rest of the community, but rather to endeavour
to confer moderate honours for a continuance than great ones for a short
time; for these latter spoil men, for it is not every one who can bear
prosperity: but if this rule is not observed, let not those honours
which were conferred all at once be all at once taken away, but rather
by degrees. But, above all things, let this regulation be made by the
law, that no one shall have too much power, either by means of his
fortune or friends; but if he has, for his excess therein, let it be
contrived that he shall quit the country. Now, as many persons promote
innovations, that they may enjoy their own particular manner of living,
there ought to be a particular officer to inspect the manners of every
one, and see that these are not contrary to the genius of the state
in which he lives, whether it may be an oligarchy, a democracy, or any
other form of government; and, for the same reason, those should be
guarded against who are most prosperous in the city: the means of doing
which is by appointing those who are otherwise to the business and the
offices of the state. I mean, to oppose men of account to the common
people, the poor to the rich, and to blend both these into one body, and
to increase the numbers of those who are in the middle rank; and
this will prevent those seditions which arise from an inequality of
condition. But above all, in every state it is necessary, both by the
laws and every other method possible, to prevent those who are employed
by the public from being venal, and this particularly in an oligarchy;
for then the people will not be so much displeased from seeing
themselves excluded from a share in the government (nay, they will
rather be glad to have leisure to attend their private affairs) as at
suspecting that the officers of the state steal the public money, then
indeed they are afflicted with double concern, both because they are
deprived of the honours of the state, and pillaged by those who enjoy
them. There is one method of blending together a democracy and an
aristocracy, [1309a] if office brought no profit; by which means both
the rich and the poor will enjoy what they desire; for to admit all to
a share in the government is democratical; that the rich should be
in office is aristocratical. This must be done by letting no public
employment whatsoever be attended with any emolument; for the poor will
not desire to be in office when they can get nothing by it, but had
rather attend to their own affairs: but the rich will choose it, as
they want nothing of the community. Thus the poor will increase their
fortunes by being wholly employed in their own concerns; and the
principal part of the people will not be governed by the lower sort.
To prevent the exchequer from being defrauded, let all public money be
delivered out openly in the face of the whole city, and let copies of
the accounts be deposited in the different wards tribes, and divisions.
But, as the magistrates are to execute their offices without any
advantages, the law ought to provide proper honours for those who
execute them well. In democracies also it is necessary that the rich
should be protected, by not permitting their lands to be divided, nor
even the produce of them, which in some states is done unperceivably. It
would be also better if the people would prevent them when they offer to
exhibit a number of unnecessary and yet expensive public entertainments
of plays, music, processions, and the like. In an oligarchy it is
necessary to take great care of the poor, and allot them public
employments which are gainful; and, if any of the rich insult them, to
let their punishment be severer than if they insulted one of their own
rank; and to let estates pass by affinity, and not gift: nor to permit
any person to have more than one; for by this means property will be
more equally divided, and the greater part of the poor get into better
circumstances. It is also serviceable in a democracy and an oligarchy
to allot those who take no part in public affairs an equality or a
preference in other things; the rich in a democracy, to the poor in an
oligarchy: but still all the principal offices in the state to be filled
only by those who are best qualified to discharge them.


There are three qualifications necessary for those who fill the
first departments in government; first of all, an affection for the
established constitution; second place, abilities every way completely
equal to the business of their office; in the third, virtue and justice
correspondent to the nature of that particular state they are placed in;
for if justice is not the same in all states, it is evident that there
must be different species thereof. There may be some doubt, when all
these qualifications do not in the same persons, in what manner the
choice shall be made; as for instance, suppose that one person is
an accomplished general, but a bad man and no friend to the [1309b]
constitution; another is just and a friend to it, which shall one
prefer? we should then consider of two qualities, which of them the
generality possess in a greater degree, which in a less; for which
reason in the choice of a general we should regard his courage more than
his virtue as the more uncommon quality; as there are fewer capable of
conducting an army than there are good men: but, to protect the state
or manage the finances, the contrary rule should be followed; for these
require greater virtue than the generality are possessed of, but only
that knowledge which is common to all. It may be asked, if a man has
abilities equal to his appointment in the state, and is affectionate to
the constitution, what occasion is there for being virtuous, since
these two things alone are sufficient to enable him to be useful to
the public? it is, because those who possess those qualities are often
deficient in prudence; for, as they often neglect their own affairs,
though they know them and love themselves, so nothing will prevent their
serving the public in the same manner. In short, whatsoever the laws
contain which we allow to be useful to the state contributes to its
preservation: but its first and principal support is (as has been often
insisted upon) to have the number of those who desire to preserve it
greater than those who wish to destroy it. Above all things that ought
not to be forgotten which many governments now corrupted neglect;
namely, to preserve a mean. For many things seemingly favourable to a
democracy destroy a democracy, and many things seemingly favourable to
an oligarchy destroy an oligarchy. Those who think this the only virtue
extend it to excess, not considering that as a nose which varies a
little from perfect straightness, either towards a hook nose or a
flat one, may yet be beautiful and agreeable to look at; but if this
particularity is extended beyond measure, first of all the properties of
the part is lost, but at last it can hardly be admitted to be a nose at
all, on account of the excess of the rise or sinking: thus it is with
other parts of the human body; so also the same thing is true with
respect to states; for both an oligarchy and a democracy may something
vary from their most perfect form and yet be well constituted; but if
any one endeavours to extend either of them too far, at first he will
make the government the worse for it, but at last there will be no
government at all remaining. The lawgiver and the politician therefore
should know well what preserves and what destroys a democracy or an
oligarchy, for neither the one nor the other can possibly continue
without rich and poor: but that whenever an entire equality of
circumstances [1310a] prevails, the state must necessarily become of
another form; so that those who destroy these laws, which authorise an
inequality in property, destroy the government. It is also an error in
democracies for the demagogues to endeavour to make the common people
superior to the laws; and thus by setting them at variance with the
rich, dividing one city into two; whereas they ought rather to speak
in favour of the rich. In oligarchies, on the contrary, it is wrong to
support those who are in administration against the people. The oaths
also which they take in an oligarchy ought to be contrary to what they
now are; for, at present, in some places they swear, "I will be adverse
to the common people, and contrive all I can against them;" whereas they
ought rather to suppose and pretend the contrary; expressing in their
oaths, that they will not injure the people. But of all things which I
have mentioned, that which contributes most to preserve the state is,
what is now most despised, to educate your children for the state; for
the most useful laws, and most approved by every statesman, will be of
no service if the citizens are not accustomed to and brought up in
the principles of the constitution; of a democracy, if that is by law
established; of an oligarchy, if that is; for if there are bad morals
in one man, there are in the city. But to educate a child fit for the
state, it must not be done in the manner which would please either those
who have the power in an oligarchy or those who desire a democracy, but
so as they may be able to conduct either of these forms of governments.
But now the children of the magistrates in an oligarchy are brought up
too delicately, and the children of the poor hardy with exercise
and labour; so that they are both desirous of and able to promote
innovations. In democracies of the purest form they pursue a method
which is contrary to their welfare; the reason of which is, that they
define liberty wrong: now, there are two things which seem to be the
objects of a democracy, that the people in general should possess the
supreme power, and all enjoy freedom; for that which is just seems to
be equal, and what the people think equal, that is a law: now, their
freedom and equality consists in every one's doing what they please:
that is in such a democracy every one may live as he likes; "as his
inclination guides," in the words of Euripides: but this is wrong, for
no one ought to think it slavery to live in subjection to government,
but protection. Thus I have mentioned the causes of corruption in
different states, and the means of their preservation.


It now remains that we speak of monarchies, their causes of corruption,
and means of preservation; and indeed almost the same things which have
been said of other governments happen to kingdoms and tyrannies; for a
kingdom partakes of an aristocracy, a tyranny of the worst species of an
oligarchy and democracy; for which reason it is the worst that man
can submit to, as being composed of two, both of which are bad, and
collectively retains all the corruptions and all the defects of both
these states. These two species of monarchies arise from principles
contrary to each other: a kingdom is formed to protect the better sort
of people against the multitude, and kings are appointed out of those,
who are chosen either for their superior virtue and actions flowing from
virtuous principles, or else from their noble descent; but a tyrant is
chosen out of the meanest populace; an enemy to the better sort, that
the common people may not be oppressed by them. That this is true
experience convinces us; for the generality of tyrants were indeed mere
demagogues, who gained credit with the people by oppressing the nobles.
Some tyrannies were established in this manner after the cities were
considerably enlarged--others before that time, by kings who exceeded
the power which their country allowed them, from a desire of governing
despotically: others were founded by those who were elected to the
superior offices in the state; for formerly the people appointed
officers for life, who came to be at the head of civil and religious
affairs, and these chose one out of their body in whom the supreme power
over all the magistrates was placed. By all these means it was easy
to establish a tyranny, if they chose it; for their power was ready at
hand, either by their being kings, or else by enjoying the honours of
the state; thus Phidon at Argos and other tyrants enjoyed originally the
kingly power; Phalaris and others in Ionia, the honours of the state.
Pansetius at Leontium, Cypselus at Corinth, Pisistratus at Athens,
Dionysius at Syracuse, and others, acquired theirs by having been
demagogues. A kingdom, as we have said, partakes much of the nature of
an aristocracy, and is bestowed according to worth, as either virtue,
family, beneficent actions, or these joined with power; for those who
have been benefactors to cities and states, or have it in their powers
to be so, have acquired this honour, and those who have prevented a
people from falling into slavery by war, as Codrus, or those who have
freed them from it, as Cyrus, or the founders of cities, or settlers of
colonies, as the kings of Sparta, Macedon, and Molossus. A king desires
to be the guardian of his people, that those who have property may be
secure in the possession of it, and that the people in general meet with
no injury; but a tyrant, as has been often said, has no regard to the
common good, except for his own advantage; his only object is pleasure,
but a king's is virtue: what a tyrant therefore is ambitious of
engrossing is wealth, but a king rather honour. The guards too of a king
are citizens, a tyrant's foreigners.

That a tyranny contains all that is bad both in a democracy and an
oligarchy is evident; with an oligarchy it has for its end gain, as the
only means of providing the tyrant with guards and the luxuries of life;
like that it places no confidence in the people; and therefore deprives
them of the use of arms: it is also common to them both to persecute the
populace, to drive them out of the city and their own habitations. With
a democracy it quarrels with the nobles, and destroys them both
publicly and privately, or drives them into banishment, as rivals and
an impediment to the government; hence naturally arise conspiracies
both amongst those who desire to govern and those who desire not to be
slaves; hence arose Periander's advice to Thrasybulus to take off the
tallest stalks, hinting thereby, that it was necessary to make away with
the eminent citizens. We ought then in reason, as has been already
said, to account for the changes which arise in a monarchy from the
same causes which produce them in other states: for, through injustice
received, fear, and contempt, many of those who are under a monarchical
government conspire against it; but of all species of injustice,
injurious contempt has most influence on them for that purpose:
sometimes it is owing to their being deprived of their private fortunes.
The dissolution too of a kingdom and a tyranny are generally the same;
for monarchs abound in wealth and honour, which all are desirous to
obtain. Of plots: some aim at the life of those who govern, others at
their government; the first arises from hatred to their persons; which
hatred may be owing to many causes, either of which will be sufficient
to excite their anger, and the generality of those who are under the
influence of that passion will join in a conspiracy, not for the sake
of their own advancement, but for revenge. Thus the plot against
the children of Pisistratus arose from their injurious treatment of
Harmodius's sister, and insulting him also; for Harmodius resenting the
injury done to his sister, and Aristogiton the injury done to Harmodius.
Periander the tyrant of Ambracia also lost his life by a conspiracy, for
some improper liberties he took with a boy in his cups: and Philip was
slain by Pausanias for neglecting to revenge him of the affront he had
received from Attains; as was Amintas the Little by Darda, for insulting
him on account of his age; and the eunuch by Evagoras the Cyprian in
revenge for having taken his son's wife away from him....

Many also who have had their bodies scourged with stripes have, through
resentment, either killed those who caused them to be inflicted or
conspired against them, even when they had kingly power, as at Mitylene
Megacles, joining with his friends, killed the Penthelidee, who used
to go about striking those they met with clubs. Thus, in later times,
Smendes killed Penthilus for whipping him and dragging him away from
his wife. Decamnichus also was the chief cause of the conspiracy against
Archelaus, for he urged others on: the occasion of his resentment was
his having delivered him to Euripides the poet to be scourged; for
Euripides was greatly offended with him for having said something of the
foulness of his breath. And many others have been killed or conspired
against on the same account. Fear too is a cause which produces the
same effects, as well in monarchies as in other states: thus Artabanes
conspired against Xerxes through fear of punishment for having hanged
Darius according to his orders, whom he supposed he intended to pardon,
as the order was given at supper-time. Some kings also have been [1312a]
dethroned and killed in consequence of the contempt they were held in by
the people; as some one conspired against Sardanapalus, having seen him
spinning with his wife, if what is related of him is true, or if not of
him, it may very probably be true of some one else. Dion also conspired
against Dionysius the Younger, seeing his subjects desirous of a
conspiracy, and that he himself was always drunk: and even a man's
friends will do this if they despise him; for from the confidence he
places in them, they think that they shall not be found out. Those
also who think they shall gain his throne will conspire against a king
through contempt; for as they are powerful themselves, and despise the
danger, on account of their own strength, they will readily attempt it.
Thus a general at the head of his army will endeavour to dethrone the
monarch, as Cyrus did Astyages, despising both his manner of life and
his forces; his forces for want of action, his life for its effeminacy:
thus Suthes, the Thracian, who was general to Amadocus, conspired
against him. Sometimes more than one of these causes will excite men
to enter into conspiracies, as contempt and desire of gain; as in the
instance of Mithridates against Ariobarzanes. Those also who are of a
bold disposition, and have gained military honours amongst kings, will
of all others be most like to engage in sedition; for strength and
courage united inspire great bravery: whenever, therefore, these join
in one person, he will be very ready for conspiracies, as he will easily
conquer. Those who conspire against a tyrant through love of glory
and honour have a different motive in view from what I have already
mentioned; for, like all others who embrace danger, they have only glory
and honour in view, and think, not as some do, of the wealth and pomp
they may acquire, but engage in this as they would in any other noble
action, that they may be illustrious and distinguished, and destroy a
tyrant, not to succeed in his tyranny, but to acquire renown. No doubt
but the number of those who act upon this principle is small, for we
must suppose they regard their own safety as nothing in case they should
not succeed, and must embrace the opinion of Dion (which few can do)
when he made war upon Dionysius with a very few troops; for he said,
that let the advantage he made be ever so little it would satisfy him to
have gained it; and that, should it be his lot to die the moment he had
gained footing in his country, he should think his death sufficiently
glorious. A tyranny also is exposed to the same destruction as all other
states are, from too powerful neighbours: for it is evident, that an
opposition of principles will make them desirous of subverting it;
and what they desire, all who can, do: and there is a principle of
opposition in one state to another, as a democracy against a tyranny, as
says Hesiod, "a potter against a potter;" for the extreme of a democracy
is a tyranny; a kingly power against an aristocracy, from their
different forms of government--for which reason the Lacedaemonians
destroyed many tyrannies; as did the Syracusians during the prosperity
of their state. Nor are they only destroyed from without, but also
from within, when those who have no share in the power bring about a
revolution, as happened to Gelon, and lately to Dionysius; to the first,
by means of Thrasybulus, the brother of Hiero, who nattered Gelon's
son, and induced him to lead a life of pleasure, that he himself might
govern; but the family joined together and endeavoured to support the
tyranny and expel Thrasybulus; but those whom they made of their party
seized the opportunity and expelled the whole family. Dion made war
against his relation Dionysius, and being assisted by the people, first
expelled and then killed him. As there are two causes which chiefly
induce men to conspire against tyrants, hatred and contempt, one of
these, namely hatred, seems inseparable from them. Contempt also is
often the cause of their destruction: for though, for instance, those
who raised themselves to the supreme power generally preserved it; but
those who received it from them have, to speak truth, almost immediately
all of them lost it; for, falling into an effeminate way of life, they
soon grew despicable, and generally fell victims to conspiracies. Part
of their hatred may be very fitly ascribed to anger; for in some cases
this is their motive to action: for it is often a cause which impels
them to act more powerfully than hatred, and they proceed with greater
obstinacy against those whom they attack, as this passion is not under
the direction of reason. Many persons also indulge this passion through
contempt; which occasioned the fall of the Pisistratidae and many
others. But hatred is more powerful than anger; for anger is accompanied
with grief, which prevents the entrance of reason; but hatred is free
from it. In short, whatever causes may be assigned as the destruction
of a pure oligarchy unmixed with any other government and an extreme
democracy, the same may be applied to a tyranny; for these are divided

Kingdoms are seldom destroyed by any outward attack; for which reason
they are generally very stable; but they have many causes of subversion
within; of which two are the principal; one is when those who are
in power [1313a] excite a sedition, the other when they endeavour to
establish a tyranny by assuming greater power than the law gives them.
A kingdom, indeed, is not what we ever see erected in our times, but
rather monarchies and tyrannies; for a kingly government is one that
is voluntarily submitted to, and its supreme power admitted upon great
occasions: but where many are equal, and there are none in any respect
so much better than another as to be qualified for the greatness and
dignity of government over them, then these equals will not willingly
submit to be commanded; but if any one assumes the government, either by
force or fraud, this is a tyranny. To what we have already said we shall
add, the causes of revolutions in an hereditary kingdom. One of these
is, that many of those who enjoy it are naturally proper objects of
contempt only: another is, that they are insolent while their power is
not despotic; but they possess kingly honours only. Such a state is soon
destroyed; for a king exists but while the people are willing to obey,
as their submission to him is voluntary, but to a tyrant involuntary.
These and such-like are the causes of the destruction of monarchies.


Monarchies, in a word, are preserved by means contrary to what I have
already mentioned as the cause of their destruction; but to speak to
each separately: the stability of a kingdom will depend upon the power
of the king's being kept within moderate bounds; for by how much the
less extensive his power is, by so much the longer will his government
continue; for he will be less despotic and more upon an equality of
condition with those he governs; who, on that account, will envy him the

It was on this account that the kingdom of the Molossi continued so
long; and the Lacedaemonians from their government's being from the
beginning divided into two parts, and also by the moderation introduced
into the other parts of it by Theopompus, and his establishment of the
ephori; for by taking something from the power he increased the duration
of the kingdom, so that in some measure he made it not less, but bigger;
as they say he replied to his wife, who asked him if he was not ashamed
to deliver down his kingdom to his children reduced from what he
received it from his ancestors? No, says he, I give it him more lasting.
Tyrannies are preserved two ways most opposite to each other, one of
which is when the power is delegated from one to the other, and in this
manner many tyrants govern in their states. Report says that Periander
founded many of these. There are also many of them to be met with
amongst the Persians. What has been already mentioned is as conducive
as anything can be to preserve a tyranny; namely, to keep down those who
are of an aspiring disposition, to take off those who will not submit,
to allow no public meals, no clubs, no education, nothing at all, but
to guard against everything that gives rise to high spirits or mutual
confidence; nor to suffer the learned meetings of those who are at
leisure to hold conversation with each other; and to endeavour by every
means possible to keep all the people strangers to each other; for
knowledge increases mutual confidence; and to oblige all strangers to
appear in public, and to live near the city-gate, that all their actions
may be sufficiently seen; for those who are kept like slaves seldom
entertain any noble thoughts: in short, to imitate everything which the
Persians and barbarians do, for they all contribute to support slavery;
and to endeavour to know what every one who is under their power does
and says; and for this purpose to employ spies: such were those women
whom the Syracusians called potagogides Hiero also used to send out
listeners wherever there was any meeting or conversation; for the people
dare not speak with freedom for fear of such persons; and if any one
does, there is the less chance of its being concealed; and to endeavour
that the whole community should mutually accuse and come to blows with
each other, friend with friend, the commons with the nobles, and the
rich with each other. It is also advantageous for a tyranny that all
those who are under it should be oppressed with poverty, that they may
not be able to compose a guard; and that, being employed in procuring
their daily bread, they may have no leisure to conspire against their
tyrants. The Pyramids of Egypt are a proof of this, and the votive
edifices of the Cyposelidse, and the temple of Jupiter Olympus, built by
the Pisistratidae, and the works of Polycrates at Samos; for all these
produced one end, the keeping the people poor. It is necessary also to
multiply taxes, as at Syracuse; where Dionysius in the space of five
years collected all the private property of his subjects into his own
coffers. A tyrant also should endeavour to engage his subjects in a war,
that they may have employment and continually depend upon their general.
A king is preserved by his friends, but a tyrant is of all persons the
man who can place no confidence in friends, as every one has it in his
desire and these chiefly in their power to destroy him. All these things
also which are done in an extreme democracy should be done in a tyranny,
as permitting great licentiousness to the women in the house, that they
may reveal their husbands' secrets; and showing great indulgence to
slaves also for the same reason; for slaves and women conspire not
against tyrants: but when they are treated with kindness, both of them
are abettors of tyrants, and extreme democracies also; and the people
too in such a state desire to be despotic. For which reason flatterers
are in repute in both these: the demagogue in the democracy, for he is
the proper flatterer of the people; among tyrants, he who will servilely
adapt himself to their humours; for this is the business of [1314a]
flatterers. And for this reason tyrants always love the worst of
wretches, for they rejoice in being flattered, which no man of a liberal
spirit will submit to; for they love the virtuous, but flatter none. Bad
men too are fit for bad purposes; "like to like," as the proverb says. A
tyrant also should show no favour to a man of worth or a freeman; for he
should think, that no one deserved to be thought these but himself; for
he who supports his dignity, and is a friend to freedom, encroaches upon
the superiority and the despotism of the tyrant: such men, therefore,
they naturally hate, as destructive to their government. A tyrant
also should rather admit strangers to his table and familiarity than
citizens, as these are his enemies, but the others have no design
against him. These and such-like are the supports of a tyranny, for
it comprehends whatsoever is wicked. But all these things may be
comprehended in three divisions, for there are three objects which a
tyranny has in view; one of which is, that the citizens should be of
poor abject dispositions; for such men never propose to conspire against
any one. The second is, that they should have no confidence in each
other; for while they have not this, the tyrant is safe enough from
destruction. For which reason they are always at enmity with those of
merit, as hurtful to their government; not only as they scorn to be
governed despotically, but also because they can rely upon each other's
fidelity, and others can rely upon theirs, and because they will not
inform against their associates, nor any one else. The third is, that
they shall be totally without the means of doing anything; for no one
undertakes what is impossible for him to perform: so that without power
a tyranny can never be destroyed. These, then, are the three objects
which the inclinations of tyrants desire to see accomplished; for all
their tyrannical plans tend to promote one of these three ends, that
their people may neither have mutual confidence, power, nor spirit.
This, then, is one of the two methods of preserving tyrannies: the other
proceeds in a way quite contrary to what has been already described,
and which may be discerned from considering to what the destruction of
a kingdom is owing; for as one cause of that is, making the government
approach near to a tyranny, so the safety of a tyranny consists in
making the government nearly kingly; preserving only one thing, namely
power, that not only the willing, but the unwilling also, must be
obliged to submit; for if this is once lost, the tyranny is at an end.
This, then, as the foundation, must be preserved: in other particulars
carefully do and affect to seem like a king; first, appear to pay a
great attention [1314b] to what belongs to the public; nor make such
profuse presents as will offend the people; while they are to supply
the money out of the hard labour of their own hands, and see it given
in profusion to mistresses, foreigners, and fiddlers; keeping an exact
account both of what you receive and pay; which is a practice some
tyrants do actually follow, by which means they seem rather fathers of
families than tyrants: nor need you ever fear the want of money while
you have the supreme power of the state in your own hands. It is also
much better for those tyrants who quit their kingdom to do this than to
leave behind them money they have hoarded up; for their regents will
be much less desirous of making innovations, and they are more to be
dreaded by absent tyrants than the citizens; for such of them as he
suspects he takes with him, but these regents must be left behind. He
should also endeavour to appear to collect such taxes and require such
services as the exigencies of the state demand, that whenever they are
wanted they may be ready in time of war; and particularly to take care
that he appear to collect and keep them not as his own property, but the
public's. His appearance also should not be severe, but respectable, so
that he should inspire those who approach him with veneration and not
fear; but this will not be easily accomplished if he is despised. If,
therefore, he will not take the pains to acquire any other, he ought to
endeavour to be a man of political abilities, and to fix that opinion of
himself in the judgment of his subjects. He should also take care not to
appear to be guilty of the least offence against modesty, nor to suffer
it in those under him: nor to permit the women of his family to treat
others haughtily; for the haughtiness of women has been the ruin of many
tyrants. With respect to the pleasures of sense, he ought to do directly
contrary to the practice of some tyrants at present; for they do not
only continually indulge themselves in them for many days together, but
they seem also to desire to have other witnesses of it, that they may
wonder at their happiness; whereas he ought really to be moderate in
these, and, if not, to appear to others to avoid them-for it is not the
sober man who is exposed either to plots or contempt, but the drunkard;
not the early riser, but the sluggard. His conduct in general should
also be contrary to what is reported of former tyrants; for he ought to
improve and adorn his city, so as to seem a guardian and not a tyrant;
and, moreover., always to [1315a] seem particularly attentive to the
worship of the gods; for from persons of such a character men entertain
less fears of suffering anything illegal while they suppose that he who
governs them is religious and reverences the gods; and they will be less
inclined to raise insinuations against such a one, as being peculiarly
under their protection: but this must be so done as to give no occasion
for any suspicion of hypocrisy. He should also take care to show such
respect to men of merit in every particular, that they should not think
they could be treated with greater distinction by their fellow-citizens
in a free state. He should also let all honours flow immediately from
himself, but every censure from his subordinate officers and judges. It
is also a common protection of all monarchies not to make one person too
great, or, certainly, not many; for they will support each other: but,
if it is necessary to entrust any large powers to one person, to take
care that it is not one of an ardent spirit; for this disposition is
upon every opportunity most ready for a revolution: and, if it should
seem necessary to deprive any one of his power, to do it by degrees,
and not reduce him all at once. It is also necessary to abstain from all
kinds of insolence; more particularly from corporal punishment; which
you must be most cautious never to exercise over those who have a
delicate sense of honour; for, as those who love money are touched to
the quick when anything affects their property, so are men of honour and
principle when they receive any disgrace: therefore, either never employ
personal punishment, or, if you do, let it be only in the manner in
which a father would correct his son, and not with contempt; and, upon
the whole, make amends for any seeming disgrace by bestowing greater
honours. But of all persons who are most likely to entertain designs
against the person of a tyrant, those are chiefly to be feared and
guarded against who regard as nothing the loss of their own lives, so
that they can but accomplish their purpose: be very careful therefore
of those who either think themselves affronted, or those who are dear
to them; for those who are excited by anger to revenge regard as nothing
their own persons: for, as Heraclitus says, it is dangerous to fight
with an angry man who will purchase with his life the thing he aims at.
As all cities are composed of two sorts of persons, the rich and the
poor, it is necessary that both these should find equal protection from
him who governs them, and that the one party should not have it in their
power to injure the other; but that the tyrant should attach to himself
that party which is the most powerful; which, if he does, he will have
no occasion either to make his slaves free, or to deprive citizens of
their arms; for the strength of either of the parties added to his
own forces will render him superior to any conspiracy. It would be
superfluous to go through all particulars; for the rule of conduct which
the tyrant ought to pursue is evident enough, and that is, to affect to
appear not the tyrant, but the king; the guardian of those he governs,
not their plunderer, [1315b] but their protector, and to affect
the middle rank in life, not one superior to all others: he should,
therefore, associate his nobles with him and soothe his people; for his
government will not only be necessarily more honourable and worthy of
imitation, as it will be over men of worth, and not abject wretches who
perpetually both hate and fear him; but it will be also more durable.
Let him also frame his life so that his manners may be consentaneous
to virtue, or at least let half of them be so, that he may not be
altogether wicked, but only so in part.


Indeed an oligarchy and a tyranny are of all governments of the shortest
duration. The tyranny of Orthagoras and his family at Sicyon, it is
true, continued longer than any other: the reason for which was, that
they used their power with moderation, and were in many particulars
obedient to the laws; and, as Clisthenes was an able general, he never
fell into contempt, and by the care he took that in many particulars his
government should be popular. He is reported also to have presented a
person with a crown who adjudged the victory to another; and some say
that it is the statue of that judge which is placed in the forum.

They say also, that Pisistratus submitted to be summoned into the court
of the Areopagites. The second that we shall mention is the tyranny of
the Cypselidse, at Corinth, which continued seventy-seven years and
six months; for Cypselus was tyrant there thirty years, Periander
forty-four, and Psammetichus, the son of Georgias, three years; the
reason for which was, that Cypselus was a popular man, and governed
without guards. Periander indeed ruled like a tyrant, but then he was an
able general. The third was that of the Pisistradidae at Athens; but it
was not continual: for Pisistratus himself was twice expelled; so that
out of thirty-three years he was only fifteen in power, and his son
eighteen; so that the whole time was thirty-three years. Of the rest
we shall mention that of Hiero, and Gelo at Syracuse; and this did not
continue long, for both their reigns were only eighteen years; for
Gelo died in the eighth year of his tyranny, and Hiero in his tenth.
Thrasybulus fell in his eleventh month, and many other tyrannies have
continued a very short time. We have now gone through the general cases
of corruption and [1316a] means of preservation both in free states and
monarchies. In Plato's Republic, Socrates is introduced treating upon
the changes which different governments are liable to: but his discourse
is faulty; for he does not particularly mention what changes the best
and first governments are liable to; for he only assigns the general
cause, of nothing being immutable, but that in time everything will
alter [***tr.: text is unintelligible here***] he conceives that nature
will then produce bad men, who will not submit to education, and in
this, probably, he is not wrong; for it is certain that there are some
persons whom it is impossible by any education to make good men; but
why should this change be more peculiar to what he calls the best-formed
government, than to all other forms, and indeed to all other things
that exist? and in respect to his assigned time, as the cause of the
alteration of all things, we find that those which did not begin
to exist at the same time cease to be at the same time; so that, if
anything came into beginning the day before the solstice, it must alter
at the same time. Besides, why should such a form of government be
changed into the Lacedaemonian? for, in general, when governments alter,
they alter into the contrary species to what they before were, and
not into one like their former. And this reasoning holds true of other
changes; for he says, that from the Lacedaemonian form it changes into
an oligarchy, and from thence into a democracy, and from a democracy
into a tyranny: and sometimes a contrary change takes place, as from a
democracy into an oligarchy, rather than into a monarchy. With respect
to a tyranny he neither says whether there will be any change in it; or
if not, to what cause it will be owing; or if there is, into what other
state it will alter: but the reason of this is, that a tyranny is an
indeterminate government; and, according to him, every state ought to
alter into the first, and most perfect, thus the continuity and circle
would be preserved. But one tyranny often changed into another; as
at Syria, from Myron's to Clisthenes'; or into an oligarchy, as was
Antileo's at Chalcas; or into a democracy, as was Gelo's at Syracuse; or
into an aristocracy, as was Charilaus's at Lacedaemon, and at Carthage.
An oligarchy is also changed into a tyranny; such was the rise of most
of the ancient tyrannies in Sicily; at Leontini, into the tyranny of
Panaetius; at Gela, into that of Cleander; at Rhegium into that of
Anaxilaus; and the like in many other cities. It is absurd also to
suppose, that a state is changed into an oligarchy because those who are
in power are avaricious and greedy of money, and not because those who
are by far richer than their fellow citizens think it unfair that those
who have nothing should have an equal share in the rule of the state
with themselves, who possess so much-for in many oligarchies it is not
allowable to be employed in money-getting, and there are many laws to
prevent it. But in Carthage, which is a democracy, money-getting is
creditable, and yet their form of government remains unaltered. It is
also absurd to say, that in an oligarchy there are two cities, one of
the poor and another of the rich; for why should this happen to them
more than to the Lacedaemonians, or any other state where all possess
not equal property, or where all are not equally good? for though no
one member of the community should be poorer than he was before, yet
a democracy might nevertheless change into an oligarchy; if the rich
should be more powerful than the poor, and the one too negligent, and
the other attentive: and though these changes are owing to many causes,
yet he mentions but one only, that the citizens become poor by luxury,
and paying interest-money; as if at first they were all rich, or the
greater part of them: but this is not so, but when some of those who
have the principal management of public affairs lose their fortunes,
they will endeavour to bring about a revolution; but when others do,
nothing of consequence will follow, nor when such states do alter is
there any more reason for their altering into a democracy than any
other. Besides, though some of the members of the community may not have
spent their fortunes, yet if they share not in the honours of the state,
or if they are ill-used and insulted, they will endeavour to raise
seditions, and bring about a revolution, that they may be allowed to do
as they like; which, Plato says, arises from too much liberty. Although
there are many oligarchies and democracies, yet Socrates, when he is
treating of the changes they may undergo, speaks of them as if there was
but one of each sort.



We have already shown what is the nature of the supreme council in the
state, and wherein one may differ from another, and how the different
magistrates should be regulated; and also the judicial department, and
what is best suited to what state; and also to what causes both the
destruction and preservation of governments are owing.

As there are very many species of democracies, as well as of other
states, it will not be amiss to consider at the same time anything which
we may have omitted to mention concerning either of them, and to allot
to each that mode of conduct which is peculiar to and advantageous for
them; and also to inquire into the combinations of all these different
modes of government which we [1317a] have mentioned; for as these are
blended together the government is altered, as from an aristocracy to
be an oligarchy, and from a free state to be a democracy. Now, I mean
by those combinations of government (which I ought to examine into, but
have not yet done), namely, whether the deliberative department and the
election of magistrates is regulated in a manner correspondent to an
oligarchy, or the judicial to an aristocracy, or the deliberative part
only to an oligarchy, and the election of magistrates to an aristocracy,
or whether, in any other manner, everything is not regulated according
to the nature of the government. But we will first consider what
particular sort of democracy is fitted to a particular city, and also
what particular oligarchy to a particular people; and of other states,
what is advantageous to what. It is also necessary to show clearly, not
only which of these governments is best for a state, but also how
it ought to be established there, and other things we will treat of

And first, we will speak of a democracy; and this will at the same
time show clearly the nature of its opposite which some persons call
an oligarchy; and in doing this we must examine into all the parts of
a democracy, and everything that is connected therewith; for from the
manner in which these are compounded together different species of
democracies arise: and hence it is that they are more than one, and of
various natures. Now, there are two causes which occasion there being so
many democracies; one of which is that which we have already mentioned;
namely, there being different sorts of people; for in one country the
majority are husbandmen, in another mechanics, and hired servants; if
the first of these is added to the second, and the third to both of
them, the democracy will not only differ in the particular of better or
worse, but in this, that it will be no longer the same government; the
other is that which we will now speak of. The different things which are
connected with democracies and seem to make part of these states, do,
from their being joined to them, render them different from others: this
attending a few, that more, and another all. It is necessary that he who
would found any state which he may happen to approve of, or correct one,
should be acquainted with all these particulars. All founders of states
endeavour to comprehend within their own plan everything of nearly the
same kind with it; but in doing this they err, in the manner I have
already described in treating of the preservation and destruction of
governments. I will now speak of these first principles and manners, and
whatever else a democratical state requires.


Now the foundation of a democratical state is liberty, and people have
been accustomed to say this as if here only liberty was to be found; for
they affirm that this is the end proposed by every democracy. But one
part of liberty is to govern and be governed alternately; for, according
to democratical justice, equality is measured by numbers, and not by
worth: and this being just, it is necessary that the supreme power
should be vested in the people at large; and that what the majority
determine should be final: so that in a democracy the poor ought to have
more power than the rich, as being the greater number; for this is one
mark of liberty which all framers of a democracy lay down as a criterion
of that state; another is, to live as every one likes; for this, they
say, is a right which liberty gives, since he is a slave who must live
as he likes not. This, then, is another criterion of a democracy. Hence
arises the claim to be under no command whatsoever to any one, upon any
account, any otherwise than by rotation, and that just as far only as
that person is, in his turn, under his also. This also is conducive to
that equality which liberty demands. These things being premised, and
such being the government, it follows that such rules as the following
should be observed in it, that all the magistrates should be chosen out
of all the people, and all to command each, and each in his turn all:
that all the magistrates should be chosen by lot, except to those
offices only which required some particular knowledge and skill: that no
census, or a very small one, should be required to qualify a man for any
office: that none should be in the same employment twice, or very few,
and very seldom, except in the army: that all their appointments should
be limited to a very short time, or at least as many as possible:
that the whole community should be qualified to judge in all causes
whatsoever, let the object be ever so extensive, ever so interesting, or
of ever so high a nature; as at Athens, where the people at large judge
the magistrates when they come out of office, and decide concerning
public affairs as well as private contracts: that the supreme power
should be in the public assembly; and that no magistrate should be
allowed any discretionary power but in a few instances, and of no
consequence to public business. Of all magistrates a senate is best
suited to a democracy, where the whole community is not paid for giving
their attendance; for in that case it loses its power; for then the
people will bring all causes before them, by appeal, as we have
already mentioned in a former book. In the next place, there should, if
possible, be a fund to pay all the citizens--who have any share in the
management of public affairs, either as members of the assembly, judges,
and magistrates; but if this cannot be done, at least the magistrates,
the judges the senators, and members of the supreme assembly, and also
those officers who are obliged to eat at a common table ought to be
paid. Moreover, as an oligarchy is said to be a government of men of
family, fortune, and education; so, on the contrary, a democracy is a
government in the hands of men of no birth, indigent circumstances, and
mechanical employments. In this state also no office [1318a] should be
for life; and, if any such should remain after the government has been
long changed into a democracy, they should endeavour by degrees to
diminish the power; and also elect by lot instead of vote. These things,
then, appertain to all democracies; namely, to be established on that
principle of justice which is homogeneous to those governments; that is,
that all the members of the state, by number, should enjoy an equality,
which seems chiefly to constitute a democracy, or government of the
people: for it seems perfectly equal that the rich should have no more
share in the government than the poor, nor be alone in power; but that
all should be equal, according to number; for thus, they think, the
equality and liberty of the state best preserved.


In the next place we must inquire how this equality is to be procured.
Shall the qualifications be divided so that five hundred rich should be
equal to a thousand poor, or shall the thousand have equal power with
the five hundred? or shall we not establish our equality in this manner?
but divide indeed thus, and afterwards taking an equal number both out
of the five hundred and the thousand, invest them with the power of
creating the magistrates and judges. Is this state then established
according to perfect democratical justice, or rather that which is
guided by numbers only? For the defenders of a democracy say, that that
is just which the majority approve of: but the favourers of an oligarchy
say, that that is just which those who have most approve of; and that we
ought to be directed by the value of property. Both the propositions are
unjust; for if we agree with what the few propose we erect a tyranny:
for if it should happen that an individual should have more than the
rest who are rich, according to oligarchical justice, this man alone
has a right to the supreme power; but if superiority of numbers is to
prevail, injustice will then be done by confiscating the property of the
rich, who are few, as we have already said. What then that equality is,
which both parties will admit, must be collected from the definition
of right which is common to them both; for they both say that what the
majority of the state approves of ought to be established. Be it so; but
not entirely: but since a city happens to be made up of two different
ranks of people, the rich and the poor, let that be established which
is approved of by both these, or the greater part: but should there be
opposite sentiments, let that be established which shall be approved
of by the greater part: but let this be according to the census; for
instance, if there should be ten of the rich and twenty of the poor, and
six of the first and fifteen of the last should agree upon any measure,
and the remaining four of the rich should join with the remaining five
of the poor in opposing it, that party whose census when added together
should determine which opinion should be law, and should these happen
to be equal, it should be regarded as a case similar to an assembly or
court of justice dividing equally upon any question that comes before
them, who either determine it by lot or some such method. But although,
with [1318b] respect to what is equal and just, it may be very difficult
to establish the truth, yet it is much easier to do than to persuade
those who have it in their power to encroach upon others to be guided
thereby; for the weak always desire what is equal and just, but the
powerful pay no regard thereunto.


There are four kinds of democracies. The best is that which is composed
of those first in order, as we have already said, and this also is the
most ancient of any. I call that the first which every one would place
so, was he to divide the people; for the best part of these are the
husbandmen. We see, then, that a democracy may be framed where the
majority live by tillage or pasturage; for, as their property is
but small, they will not be at leisure perpetually to hold public
assemblies, but will be continually employed in following their own
business, not having otherwise the means of living; nor will they be
desirous of what another enjoys, but will rather like to follow their
own business than meddle with state affairs and accept the offices of
government, which will be attended with no great profit; for the major
part of mankind are rather desirous of riches than honour (a proof of
this is, that they submitted to the tyrannies in ancient times, and do
now submit to the oligarchies, if no one hinders them in their usual
occupations, or deprives them of their property; for some of them soon
get rich, others are removed from poverty); besides, their having the
right of election and calling their magistrates to account for their
conduct when they come out of office, will satisfy their desire of
honours, if any of them entertain that passion: for in some states,
though the commonalty have not the right of electing the magistrates,
yet it is vested in part of that body chosen to represent them: and it
is sufficient for the people at large to possess the deliberative power:
and this ought to be considered as a species of democracy; such was that
formerly at Mantinsea: for which reason it is proper for the democracy
we have been now treating of to have a power (and it has been usual for
them to have it) of censuring their magistrates when out of office,
and sitting in judgment upon all causes: but that the chief magistrates
should be elected, and according to a certain census, which should vary
with the rank of their office, or else not by a census, but according
to their abilities for their respective appointments. A state thus
constituted must be well constituted; for the magistracies will be
always filled with the best men with the approbation of the people;
who will not envy their superiors: and these and the nobles should
be content with this part in the administration; for they will not be
governed by their inferiors. They will be also careful to use their
power with moderation, as there are others to whom full power is
delegated to censure their conduct; for it is very serviceable to the
state to have them dependent upon others, and not to be permitted to do
whatsoever they choose; for with such a liberty there would be no check
to that evil particle there is in every one: therefore it is [1319a]
necessary and most for the benefit of the state that the offices thereof
should be filled by the principal persons in it, whose characters are
unblemished, and that the people are not oppressed. It is now evident
that this is the best species of democracy, and on what account; because
the people are such and have such powers as they ought to have. To
establish a democracy of husbandmen some of those laws which were
observed in many ancient states are universally useful; as, for
instance, on no account to permit any one to possess more than a certain
quantity of land, or within a certain distance from the city. Formerly
also, in some states, no one was allowed to sell their original lot of
land. They also mention a law of one Oxylus, which forbade any one to
add to their patrimony by usury. We ought also to follow the law of
the Aphutaeans, as useful to direct us in this particular we are now
speaking of; for they having but very little ground, while they were
a numerous people, and at the same time were all husbandmen, did not
include all their lands within the census, but divided them in such a
manner that, according to the census, the poor had more power than
the rich. Next to the commonalty of husbandmen is one of shepherds and
herdsmen; for they have many things in common with them, and, by their
way of life, are excellently qualified to make good soldiers, stout in
body, and able to continue in the open air all night. The generality of
the people of whom other democracies are composed are much worse than
these; for their lives are wretched nor have they any business with
virtue in anything they do; these are your mechanics, your exchange-men,
and hired servants; as all these sorts of men frequent the exchange and
the citadel, they can readily attend the public assembly; whereas the
husbandmen, being more dispersed in the country, cannot so easily meet
together; nor are they equally desirous of doing it with these others!
When a country happens to be so situated that a great part of the land
lies at a distance from the city, there it is easy to establish a good
democracy or a free state for the people in general will be obliged to
live in the country; so that it will be necessary in such a democracy,
though there may be an exchange-mob at hand, never to allow a legal
assembly without the inhabitants of the country attend. We have shown in
what manner the first and best democracy ought to be established, and it
will be equally evident as to the rest, for from these we [1319b] should
proceed as a guide, and always separate the meanest of the people from
the rest. But the last and worst, which gives to every citizen without
distinction a share in every part of the administration, is what few
citizens can bear, nor is it easy to preserve for any long time, unless
well supported by laws and manners. We have already noticed almost every
cause that can destroy either this or any other state. Those who have
taken the lead in such a democracy have endeavoured to support it, and
make the people powerful by collecting together as many persons as they
could and giving them their freedom, not only legitimately but naturally
born, and also if either of their parents were citizens, that is to say,
if either their father or mother; and this method is better suited to
this state than any other: and thus the demagogues have usually managed.
They ought, however, to take care, and do this no longer than the common
people are superior to the nobles and those of the middle rank, and
then stop; for, if they proceed still further, they will make the
state disorderly, and the nobles will ill brook the power of the common
people, and be full of resentment against it; which was the cause of
an insurrection at Cyrene: for a little evil is overlooked, but when it
becomes a great one it strikes the eye. It is, moreover, very-useful in
such a state to do as Clisthenes did at Athens, when he was desirous of
increasing the power of the people, and as those did who established the
democracy in Cyrene; that is, to institute many tribes and fraternities,
and to make the religious rites of private persons few, and those
common; and every means is to be contrived to associate and blend the
people together as much as possible; and that all former customs be
broken through. Moreover, whatsoever is practised in a tyranny
seems adapted to a democracy of this species; as, for instance, the
licentiousness of the slaves, the women, and the children; for this to
a certain degree is useful in such a state; and also to overlook every
one's living as they choose; for many will support such a government:
for it is more agreeable to many to live without any control than as
prudence would direct.


It is also the business of the legislator and all those who would
support a government of this sort not to make it too great a work, or
too perfect; but to aim only to render it stable: for, let a state be
constituted ever so badly, there is no difficulty in its continuing a
few days: they should therefore endeavour to procure its safety by
all those ways which we have described in assigning the causes of the
preservation and destruction of governments; avoiding what is hurtful,
and by framing such laws, written and unwritten, as contain those things
which chiefly tend to the preservation of the state; nor to suppose that
that is useful either for a democratic or [1320a] an oligarchic form of
government which contributes to make them more purely so, but what will
contribute to their duration: but our demagogues at present, to flatter
the people, occasion frequent confiscations in the courts; for which
reason those who have the welfare of the state really at heart should
act directly opposite to what they do, and enact a law to prevent
forfeitures from being divided amongst the people or paid into the
treasury, but to have them set apart for sacred uses: for those who
are of a bad disposition would not then be the less cautious, as their
punishment would be the same; and the community would not be so ready to
condemn those whom they sat in judgment on when they were to get nothing
by it: they should also take care that the causes which are brought
before the public should be as few as possible, and punish with the
utmost severity those who rashly brought an action against any one; for
it is not the commons but the nobles who are generally prosecuted: for
in all things the citizens of the same state ought to be affectionate to
each other, at least not to treat those who have the chief power in
it as their enemies. Now, as the democracies which have been lately
established are very numerous, and it is difficult to get the common
people to attend the public assemblies without they are paid for it,
this, when there is not a sufficient public revenue, is fatal to the
nobles; for the deficiencies therein must be necessarily made up by
taxes, confiscations, and fines imposed by corrupt courts of justice:
which things have already destroyed many democracies. Whenever, then,
the revenues of the state are small, there should be but few public
assemblies and but few courts of justice: these, however, should have
very extensive jurisdictions, but should continue sitting a few days
only, for by this means the rich would not fear the expense, although
they should receive nothing for their attendance, though the poor did;
and judgment also would be given much better; for the rich will not
choose to be long absent from their own affairs, but will willingly
be so for a short time: and, when there are sufficient revenues, a
different conduct ought to be pursued from what the demagogues at
present follow; for now they divide the surplus of the public money
amongst the poor; these receive it and again want the same supply, while
the giving it is like pouring water into a sieve: but the true patriot
in a democracy ought to take care that the majority of the community are
not too poor, for this is the cause of rapacity in that government; he
therefore should endeavour that they may enjoy perpetual plenty; and
as this also is advantageous to the rich, what can be saved out of the
public money should be put by, and then divided at once amongst the
poor, if possible, in such a quantity as may enable every one of them to
purchase a little field, and, if that cannot be done, at least to give
each of them enough to procure the implements [1320b] of trade and
husbandry; and if there is not enough for all to receive so much at
once, then to divide it according to tribes or any other allotment. In
the meantime let the rich pay them for necessary services, but not be
obliged to find them in useless amusements. And something like this
was the manner in which they managed at Carthage, and preserved the
affections of the people; for by continually sending some of their
community into colonies they procured plenty. It is also worthy of a
sensible and generous nobility to divide the poor amongst them, and
supplying them with what is necessary, induce them to work; or to
imitate the conduct of the people at Tarentum: for they, permitting the
poor to partake in common of everything which is needful for them, gain
the affections of the commonalty. They have also two different ways of
electing their magistrates; for some are chosen by vote, others by
lot; by the last, that the people at large may have some share in the
administration; by the former, that the state may be well governed: the
same may be accomplished if of the same magistrates you choose some by
vote, others by lot. And thus much for the manner in which democracies
ought to be established.


What has been already said will almost of itself sufficiently show how
an oligarchy ought to be founded; for he who would frame such a state
should have in his view a democracy to oppose it; for every species of
oligarchy should be founded on principles diametrically opposite to some
species of democracy.

The first and best-framed oligarchy is that which approaches near to
what we call a free state; in which there ought to be two different
census, the one high, the other low: from those who are within the
latter the ordinary officers of the state ought to be chosen; from the
former the supreme magistrates: nor should any one be excluded from a
part of the administration who was within the census; which should be
so regulated that the commonalty who are included in it should by means
thereof be superior to those who have no share in the government; for
those who are to have the management of public affairs ought always to
be chosen out of the better sort of the people. Much in the same manner
ought that oligarchy to be established which is next in order: but as to
that which is most opposite to a pure democracy, and approaches nearest
to a dynasty and a tyranny, as it is of all others the worst, so it
requires the greatest care and caution to preserve it: for as bodies of
sound and healthy constitutions and ships which are well manned and
well found for sailing can bear many injuries without perishing, while
a diseased body or a leaky ship with an indifferent crew cannot support
the [1321a] least shock; so the worst-established governments want most
looking after. A number of citizens is the preservation of a democracy;
for these are opposed to those rights which are founded in rank: on
the contrary, the preservation of an oligarchy depends upon the due
regulation of the different orders in the society.


As the greater part of the community are divided into four sorts of
people; husbandmen, mechanics, traders, and hired servants; and as those
who are employed in war may likewise be divided into four; the horsemen,
the heavy-armed soldier, the light-armed, and the sailor, where the
nature of the country can admit a great number of horse; there a
powerful oligarchy may be easily established: for the safety of the
inhabitants depends upon a force of that sort; but those who can support
the expense of horsemen must be persons of some considerable fortune.
Where the troops are chiefly heavy-armed, there an oligarchy, inferior
in power to the other, may be established; for the heavy-armed are
rather made up of men of substance than the poor: but the light-armed
and the sailors always contribute to support a democracy: but where the
number of these is very great and a sedition arises, the other parts of
the community fight at a disadvantage; but a remedy for this evil is
to be learned from skilful generals, who always mix a proper number of
light-armed soldiers with their horse and heavy-armed: for it is with
those that the populace get the better of the men of fortune in an
insurrection; for these being lighter are easily a match for the horse
and the heavy-armed: so that for an oligarchy to form a body of troops
from these is to form it against itself: but as a city is composed of
persons of different ages, some young and some old, the fathers should
teach their sons, while they were very young, a light and easy exercise;
but, when they are grown up, they should be perfect in every warlike
exercise. Now, the admission of the people to any share in the
government should either be (as I said before) regulated by a census, or
else, as at Thebes, allowed to those who for a certain time have ceased
from any mechanic employment, or as at Massalia, where they are chosen
according to their worth, whether citizens or foreigners. With respect
to the magistrates of the highest rank which it may be necessary to
have in a state, the services they are bound to do the public should be
expressly laid down, to prevent the common people from being desirous
of accepting their employments, and also to induce them to regard their
magistrates with favour when they know what a price they pay for their
honours. It is also necessary that the magistrates, upon entering into
their offices, should make magnificent sacrifices and erect some public
structure, that the people partaking of the entertainment, and seeing
the city ornamented with votive gifts in their temples and public
structures, may see with pleasure the stability of the government: add
to this also, that the nobles will have their generosity recorded: but
now this is not the conduct which those who are at present at the head
of an oligarchy pursue, but the contrary; for they are not more desirous
of honour than of gain; for which reason such oligarchies may more
properly be called little democracies. Thus [1321b] we have explained on
what principles a democracy and an oligarchy ought to be established.


After what has been said I proceed next to treat particularly of the
magistrates; of what nature they should be, how many, and for what
purpose, as I have already mentioned: for without necessary magistrates
no state can exist, nor without those which contribute to its dignity
and good order can exist happily: now it is necessary that in small
states the magistrates should be few; in a large one, many: also to
know well what offices may be joined together, and what ought to be
separated. The first thing necessary is to establish proper regulators
in the markets; for which purpose a certain magistrate should be
appointed to inspect their contracts and preserve good order; for of
necessity, in almost every city there must be both buyers and sellers to
supply each other's mutual wants: and this is what is most productive
of the comforts of life; for the sake of which men seem to have joined
together in one community. A second care, and nearly related to the
first, is to have an eye both to the public and private edifices in
the city, that they may be an ornament; and also to take care of all
buildings which are likely to fall: and to see that the highways are
kept in proper repair; and also that the landmarks between different
estates are preserved, that there may be no disputes on that account;
and all other business of the same nature. Now, this business may be
divided into several branches, over each of which in populous cities
they appoint a separate person; one to inspect the buildings, another
the fountains, another the harbours; and they are called the inspectors
of the city. A third, which is very like the last, and conversant nearly
about the same objects, only in the country, is to take care of what
is done out of the city. The officers who have this employment we call
inspectors of the lands, or inspectors of the woods; but the business
of all three of them is the same. There must also be other officers
appointed to receive the public revenue and to deliver it out to those
who are in the different departments of the state: these are called
receivers or quaestors. There must also be another, before whom all
private contracts and sentences of courts should be enrolled, as well
as proceedings and declarations. Sometimes this employment is divided
amongst many, but there is one supreme over the rest; these are called
proctors, notaries, and the like. Next to these is an officer whose
business is of all others the most necessary, and yet most difficult;
namely, to take care that sentence is executed upon those who are
condemned; and that every one pays the fines laid on him; and also to
have the charge of those who are in prison. [1322a] This office is very
disagreeable on account of the odium attending it, so that no one will
engage therein without it is made very profitable, or, if they do,
will they be willing to execute it according to law; but it is most
necessary, as it is of no service to pass judgment in any cause without
that judgment is carried into execution: for without this human society
could not subsist: for which reason it is best that this office should
not be executed by one person, but by some of the magistrates of the
other courts. In like manner, the taking care that those fines which
are ordered by the judges are levied should be divided amongst different
persons. And as different magistrates judge different causes, let the
causes of the young be heard by the young: and as to those which are
already brought to a hearing, let one person pass sentence, and another
see it executed: as, for instance, let the magistrates who have the care
of the public buildings execute the sentence which the inspectors of
the markets have passed, and the like in other cases: for by so much the
less odium attends those who carry the laws into execution, by so much
the easier will they be properly put in force: therefore for the same
persons to pass the sentence and to execute it will subject them to
general hatred; and if they pass it upon all, they will be considered
as the enemies of all. Thus one person has often the custody of the
prisoner's body, while another sees the sentence against him executed,
as the eleven did at Athens: for which reason it is prudent to separate
these offices, and to give great attention thereunto as equally
necessary with anything we have already mentioned; for it will certainly
happen that men of character will decline accepting this office, and
worthless persons cannot properly be entrusted with it, as having
themselves rather an occasion for a guard than being qualified to guard
others. This, therefore, ought by no means to be a separate office from
others; nor should it be continually allotted to any individuals, but
the young men; where there is a city-guard, the youths ought in turns
to take these offices upon them. These, then, as the most necessary
magistrates, ought to be first mentioned: next to these are others no
less necessary, but of much higher rank, for they ought to be men of
great skill and fidelity. These are they who have the guard of the city,
and provide everything that is necessary for war; whose business it is,
both in war and peace, to defend the walls and the gates, and to take
care to muster and marshal the citizens. Over all these there are
sometimes more officers, sometimes fewer: thus in little cities there is
only one whom they call either general or polemarch; but where there are
horse and light-armed troops, and bowmen, and sailors, they sometimes
put distinct commanders over each of these; who again have others under
them, according to their different divisions; all of which join together
to make one military body: and thus much for this department. Since some
of the magistrates, if not all, have business with the public money,
it is necessary that there should be other officers, whose employment
should be nothing else than to take an account of what they have, and
correct any mismanagement therein. But besides all these magistrates
there is one who is supreme over them all, who very often has in his own
power the disposal of the public revenue and taxes; who presides over
the people when the supreme power is in them; for there must be some
magistrate who has a power to summon them together, and to preside as
head of the state. These are sometimes called preadvisers; but where
there are many, more properly a council. These are nearly the civil
magistrates which are requisite to a government: but there are other
persons whose business is confined to religion; as the priests, and
those who are to take care of the temples, that they are kept in proper
repair, or, if they fall down, that they may be rebuilt; and whatever
else belongs to public worship. This charge is sometimes entrusted to
one person, as in very small cities: in others it is delegated to many,
and these distinct from the priesthood, as the builders or keepers of
holy places, and officers of the sacred revenue. Next to these are
those who are appointed to have the general care of all those public
sacrifices to the tutelar god of the state, which the laws do not
entrust to the priests: and these in different states have different
appellations. To enumerate in few words the different departments of
all those magistrates who are necessary: these are either religion,
war, taxes, expenditures, markets, public buildings, harbours, highways.
Belonging to the courts of justice there are scribes to enroll private
contracts; and there must also be guards set over the prisoners, others
to see the law is executed, council on either side, and also others to
watch over the conduct of those who are to decide the causes. Amongst
the magistrates also may finally be reckoned those who are to give their
advice in public affairs. But separate states, who are peculiarly happy
and have leisure to attend to more minute particulars, and are very
attentive to good order, require particular magistrates for themselves;
such as those who have the government of the women; who are to see the
laws are executed; who take care of the boys and preside over their
education. To these may be added those who have the care of their
gymnastic exercises, [1323a] their theatres, and every other public
spectacle which there may happen to be. Some of these, however, are not
of general use; as the governors of the women: for the poor are obliged
to employ their wives and children in servile offices for want of
slaves. As there are three magistrates to whom some states entrust the
supreme power; namely, guardians of the laws, preadvisers, and senators;
guardians of the laws suit best to an aristocracy, preadvisers to an
oligarchy, and a senate to a democracy. And thus much briefly concerning
all magistrates.



He who proposes to make that inquiry which is necessary concerning what
government is best, ought first to determine what manner of living is
most eligible; for while this remains uncertain it will also be equally
uncertain what government is best: for, provided no unexpected accidents
interfere, it is highly probable, that those who enjoy the best
government will live the most happily according to their circumstances;
he ought, therefore, first to know what manner of life is most desirable
for all; and afterwards whether this life is the same to the man and
the citizen, or different. As I imagine that I have already sufficiently
shown what sort of life is best in my popular discourses on that
subject, I think I may very properly repeat the same here; as most
certainly no one ever called in question the propriety of one of the
divisions; namely, that as what is good, relative to man, may be divided
into three sorts, what is external, what appertains to the body, and
what to the soul, it is evident that all these must conspire to make
a man happy: for no one would say that a man was happy who had no
fortitude, no temperance, no justice, no prudence; but was afraid of the
flies that flew round him: nor would abstain from the meanest theft if
he was either hungry or dry, or would murder his dearest friend for
a farthing; and also was in every particular as wanting in his
understanding as an infant or an idiot. These truths are so evident that
all must agree to them; though some may dispute about the quantity and
the degree: for they may think, that a very little virtue is sufficient
for happiness; but for riches, property, power, honour, and all such
things, they endeavour to increase them without bounds: but to such we
reply, that it is easy to prove from what experience teaches us in these
cases, that these external goods produce not virtue, but virtue them.
As to a happy life, whether it is to be found in pleasure or virtue or
both, certain it is, that those whose morals are most pure, and whose
understandings are best cultivated, will enjoy more of it, although
their fortune is but moderate than those do who own an exuberance of
wealth, are deficient in those; and this utility any one who reflects
may easily convince himself of; for whatsoever is external has its
boundary, as a machine, and whatsoever is useful in its excess is either
necessarily hurtful, or at best useless to the possessor; but every good
quality of the soul the higher it is in degree, so much the more useful
it is, if it is permitted on this subject to use the word useful as well
as noble. It is also very evident, that the accidents of each subject
take place of each other, as the subjects themselves, of which we allow
they are accidents, differ from each other in value; so that if the soul
is more noble than any outward possession, as the body, both in itself
and with respect to us, it must be admitted of course that the best
accidents of each must follow the same analogy. Besides, it is for the
sake of the soul that these things are desirable; and it is on this
account that wise men should desire them, not the soul for them. Let us
therefore be well assured, that every one enjoys as much happiness as he
possesses virtue and wisdom, and acts according to their dictates; since
for this we have the example of GOD Himself, _who is completely happy,
not from any external good, but in Himself, and because such is His
nature_. For good fortune is something different from happiness, as every
good which depends not on the mind is owing to chance or fortune; but
it is not from fortune that any one is wise and just: hence it follows,
that that city is happiest which is the best and acts best: for no one
can do well who acts not well; nor can the deeds either of man or city
be praiseworthy without virtue and wisdom; for whatsoever is just, or
wise, or prudent in a man, the same things are just, wise, and prudent
in a city.

Thus much by way of introduction; for I could not but just touch upon
this subject, though I could not go through a complete investigation
of it, as it properly belongs to another question: let us at present
suppose so much, that a man's happiest life, both as an individual and
as a citizen, is a life of virtue, accompanied with those enjoyments
which virtue usually procures. If [1324a] there are any who are not
convinced by what I have said, their doubts shall be answered hereafter,
at present we shall proceed according to our intended method.


It now remains for us to say whether the happiness of any individual
man and the city is the same or different: but this also is evident; for
whosoever supposes that riches will make a person happy, must place the
happiness of the city in riches if it possesses them; those who prefer a
life which enjoys a tyrannic power over others will also think, that the
city which has many others under its command is most happy: thus also
if any one approves a man for his virtue, he will think the most worthy
city the happiest: but here there are two particulars which require
consideration, one of which is, whether it is the most eligible life
to be a member of the community and enjoy the rights of a citizen, or
whether to live as a stranger, without interfering in public affairs;
and also what form of government is to be preferred, and what
disposition of the state is best; whether the whole community should be
eligible to a share in the administration, or only the greater part, and
some only: as this, therefore, is a subject of political examination
and speculation, and not what concerns the individual, and the first of
these is what we are at present engaged in, the one of these I am not
obliged to speak to, the other is the proper business of my present
design. It is evident that government must be the best which is so
established, that every one therein may have it in his power to act
virtuously and live happily: but some, who admit that a life of virtue
is most eligible, still doubt which is preferable a public life of
active virtue, or one entirely disengaged from what is without and
spent in contemplation; which some say is the only one worthy of a
philosopher; and one of these two different modes of life both now
and formerly seem to have been chosen by all those who were the most
virtuous men; I mean the public or philosophic. And yet it is of no
little consequence on which side the truth lies; for a man of sense
must naturally incline to the better choice; both as an individual and a
citizen. Some think that a tyrannic government over those near us is
the greatest injustice; but that a political one is not unjust: but that
still is a restraint on the pleasures and tranquillity of life. Others
hold the quite contrary opinion, and think that a public and active life
is the only life for man: for that private persons have no opportunity
of practising any one virtue, more than they have who are engaged
in public life the management of the [1324b] state. These are their
sentiments; others say, that a tyrannical and despotical mode of
government is the only happy one; for even amongst some free states the
object of their laws seems to be to tyrannise over their neighbours: so
that the generality of political institutions, wheresoever dispersed,
if they have any one common object in view, have all of them this,
to conquer and govern. It is evident, both from the laws of the
Lacedaemonians and Cretans, as well as by the manner in which they
educated their children, that all which they had in view was to make
them soldiers: besides, among all nations, those who have power enough
and reduce others to servitude are honoured on that account; as were the
Scythians, Persians, Thracians, and Gauls: with some there are laws to
heighten the virtue of courage; thus they tell us that at Carthage they
allowed every person to wear as many rings for distinction as he had
served campaigns. There was also a law in Macedonia, that a man who had
not himself killed an enemy should be obliged to wear a halter; among
the Scythians, at a festival, none were permitted to drink out of
the cup was carried about who had not done the same thing. Among the
Iberians, a warlike nation, they fixed as many columns upon a man's tomb
as he had slain enemies: and among different nations different things
of this sort prevail, some of them established by law, others by custom.
Probably it may seem too absurd to those who are willing to take this
subject into their consideration to inquire whether it is the business
of a legislator to be able to point out by what means a state may govern
and tyrannise over its neighbours, whether they will, or will not: for
how can that belong either to the politician or legislator which is
unlawful? for that cannot be lawful which is done not only justly, but
unjustly also: for a conquest may be unjustly made. But we see nothing
of this in the arts: for it is the business neither of the physician nor
the pilot to use either persuasion or force, the one to his patients,
the other to his passengers: and yet many seem to think a despotic
government is a political one, and what they would not allow to be just
or proper, if exercised over themselves, they will not blush to exercise
over others; for they endeavour to be wisely governed themselves, but
think it of no consequence whether others are so or not: but a despotic
power is absurd, except only where nature has framed the one party for
dominion, the other for subordination; and therefore no one ought to
assume it over all in general, but those only which are the proper
objects thereof: thus no one should hunt men either for food or
sacrifice, but what is fit for those purposes, and these are wild
animals which are eatable.

Now a city which is well governed might be very [1325a] happy in itself
while it enjoyed a good system of laws, although it should happen to be
so situated as to have no connection with any other state, though its
constitution should not be framed for war or conquest; for it would then
have no occasion for these. It is evident therefore that the business of
war is to be considered as commendable, not as a final end, but as the
means of procuring it. It is the duty of a good legislator to examine
carefully into his state; and the nature of the people, and how they may
partake of every intercourse, of a good life, and of the happiness which
results from it: and in this respect some laws and customs differ from
others. It is also the duty of a legislator, if he has any neighbouring
states to consider in what manner he shall oppose each of them, or what
good offices he shall show them. But what should be the final end of the
best governments will be considered hereafter.


We will now speak to those who, while they agree that a life of virtue
is most eligible, yet differ in the use of it addressing ourselves to
both these parties; for there are some who disapprove of all political
governments, and think that the life of one who is really free is
different from the life of a citizen, and of all others most eligible:
others again think that the citizen is the best; and that it is
impossible for him who does nothing to be well employed; but that
virtuous activity and happiness are the same thing. Now both parties in
some particulars say what is right, in others what is wrong, thus, that
the life of a freeman is better than the life of a slave is true, for
a slave, as a slave, is employed in nothing honourable; for the common
servile employments which he is commanded to perform have nothing
virtuous in them; but, on the other hand, it is not true that a
submission to all sorts of governments is slavery; for the government of
freemen differs not more from the government of slaves than slavery and
freedom differ from each other in their nature; and how they do has been
already mentioned. To prefer doing of nothing to virtuous activity is
also wrong, for happiness consists in action, and many noble ends are
produced by the actions of the just and wise. From what we have already
determined on this subject, some one probably may think, that supreme
power is of all things best, as that will enable a man to command very
many useful services from others; so that he who can obtain this ought
not to give it up to another, but rather to seize it: and, for this
purpose, the father should have no attention or regard for the son, or
the son for the father, or friend for friend; for what is best is most
eligible: but to be a member of the community and be in felicity is
best. What these persons advance might probably be true, if the supreme
good was certainly theirs who plunder and use violence to others: but
it is [1325b] most unlikely that it should be so; for it is a mere
supposition: for it does not follow that their actions are honourable
who thus assume the supreme power over others, without they were by
nature as superior to them as a man to a woman, a father to a child, a
master to a slave: so that he who so far forsakes the paths of virtue
can never return back from whence he departed from them: for amongst
equals whatever is fair and just ought to be reciprocal; for this is
equal and right; but that equals should not partake of what is equal, or
like to like, is contrary to nature: but whatever is contrary to nature
is not right; therefore, if there is any one superior to the rest of the
community in virtue and abilities for active life, him it is proper to
follow, him it is right to obey, but the one alone will not do, but must
be joined to the other also: and, if we are right in what we have now
said, it follows that happiness consists in virtuous activity, and that
both with respect to the community as well as the individual an active
life is the happiest: not that an active life must necessarily refer to
other persons, as some think, or that those studies alone are practical
which are pursued to teach others what to do; for those are much more
so whose final object is in themselves, and to improve the judgment and
understanding of the man; for virtuous activity has an end, therefore
is something practical; nay, those who contrive the plan which others
follow are more particularly said to act, and are superior to the
workmen who execute their designs. But it is not necessary that states
which choose to have no intercourse with others should remain inactive;
for the several members thereof may have mutual intercourse with each
other; for there are many opportunities for this among the different
citizens; the same thing is true of every individual: for, was it
otherwise, neither could the Deity nor the universe be perfect; to
neither of whom can anything external separately exist. Hence it is
evident that that very same life which is happy for each individual is
happy also for the state and every member of it.


As I have now finished what was introductory to this subject, and
considered at large the nature of other states, it now remains that I
should first say what ought to be the establishment of a city which one
should form according to one's wish; for no good state can exist without
a moderate proportion of what is necessary. Many things therefore
ought to be forethought of as desirable, but none of them such as are
impossible: I mean relative to the number of citizens and the extent
of the territory: for as other artificers, such as the weaver and the
shipwright, ought to have such materials as are fit for their work,
since so much the better they are, by so much [1326a] superior will the
work itself necessarily be; so also ought the legislator and politician
endeavour to procure proper materials for the business they have in
hand. Now the first and principal instrument of the politician is the
number of the people; he should therefore know how many, and what they
naturally ought to be: in like manner the country, how large, and what
it is. Most persons think that it is necessary for a city to be large to
be happy: but, should this be true, they cannot tell what is a large one
and what a small one; for according to the multitude of the inhabitants
they estimate the greatness of it; but they ought rather to consider its
strength than its numbers; for a state has a certain object in view, and
from the power which it has in itself of accomplishing it, its greatness
ought to be estimated; as a person might say, that Hippocrates was a
greater physician, though not a greater man, than one that exceeded him
in the size of his body: but if it was proper to determine the strength
of the city from the number of the inhabitants, it should never be
collected from the multitude in general who may happen to be in it;
for in a city there must necessarily be many slaves, sojourners, and
foreigners; but from those who are really part of the city and properly
constitute its members; a multitude of these is indeed a proof of a
large city, but in a state where a large number of mechanics inhabit,
and but few soldiers, such a state cannot be great; for the greatness of
the city, and the number of men in it, are not the same thing. This too
is evident from fact, that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to
govern properly a very numerous body of men; for of all the states which
appear well governed we find not one where the rights of a citizen are
open to an indiscriminate multitude. And this is also evident from the
nature of the thing; for as law is a certain order, so good law is of
course a certain good order: but too large a multitude are incapable of
this, unless under the government of that DIVINE POWER which comprehends
the universe. Not but that, as quantity and variety are usually
essential to beauty, the perfection of a city consists in the largeness
of it as far as that largeness is consistent with that order already
mentioned: but still there is a determinate size to all cities, as well
as everything else, whether animals, plants, or machines, for each of
these, if they are neither too little nor too big, have their
proper powers; but when they have not their due growth, or are badly
constructed, as a ship a span long is not properly a ship, nor one of
two furlongs length, but when it is of a fit size; for either from its
smallness or from its largeness it may be quite useless: so is it with
a city; one that is too small has not [1326b] in itself the power of
self-defence, but this is essential to a city: one that is too large is
capable of self-defence in what is necessary; but then it is a nation
and not a city: for it will be very difficult to accommodate a form
of government to it: for who would choose to be the general of such
an unwieldy multitude, or who could be their herald but a stentor? The
first thing therefore necessary is, that a city should consist of such
numbers as will be sufficient to enable the inhabitants to live
happily in their political community: and it follows, that the more the
inhabitants exceed that necessary number the greater will the city be:
but this must not be, as we have already said, without bounds; but what
is its proper limit experience will easily show, and this experience is
to be collected from the actions both of the governors and the governed.
Now, as it belongs to the first to direct the inferior magistrates and
to act as judges, it follows that they can neither determine causes
with justice nor issue their orders with propriety without they know the
characters of their fellow-citizens: so that whenever this happens not
to be done in these two particulars, the state must of necessity be
badly managed; for in both of them it is not right to determine too
hastily and without proper knowledge, which must evidently be the case
where the number of the citizens is too many: besides, it is more easy
for strangers and sojourners to assume the rights of citizens, as they
will easily escape detection in so great a multitude. It is evident,
then, that the best boundary for a city is that wherein the numbers are
the greatest possible, that they may be the better able to be sufficient
in themselves, while at the same time they are not too large to be under
the eye and government of the magistrates. And thus let us determine the
extent of a city.


What we have said concerning a city may nearly be applied to a country;
for as to what soil it should be, every one evidently will commend it
if it is such as is sufficient in itself to furnish what will make the
inhabitants happy; for which purpose it must be able to supply them
with all the necessaries of life; for it is the having these in plenty,
without any want, which makes them content. As to its extent, it should
be such as may enable the inhabitants to live at their ease with freedom
and temperance. Whether we have done right or wrong in fixing this limit
to the territory shall be considered more minutely hereafter, when
we come particularly to inquire into property, and what fortune is
requisite for a man to live on, and how and in what manner they ought
to employ it; for there are many doubts upon this question, while each
party insists upon their own plan of life being carried to an excess,
the one of severity, the other of indulgence. What the situation of the
country should be it is not difficult to determine, in some particulars
respecting that we ought to be advised by those who are skilful in
military affairs. It should be difficult of access to an enemy, but
easy to the inhabitants: and as we said, that the number of [1327a]
inhabitants ought to be such as can come under the eye of the
magistrate, so should it be with the country; for then it is easily
defended. As to the position of the city, if one could place it to one's
wish, it is convenient to fix it on the seaside: with respect to
the country, one situation which it ought to have has been already
mentioned, namely, that it should be so placed as easily to give
assistance to all places, and also to receive the necessaries of life
from all parts, and also wood, or any other materials which may happen
to be in the country.


But with respect to placing a city in the neighbourhood of the sea,
there are some who have many doubts whether it is serviceable or hurtful
to a well-regulated state; for they say, that the resort of persons
brought up under a different system of government is disserviceable
to the state, as well by impeding the laws as by their numbers; for a
multitude of merchants must necessarily arise from their trafficking
backward and forward upon the seas, which will hinder the well-governing
of the city: but if this inconvenience should not arise, it is evident
that it is better, both on account of safety and also for the easier
acquisition of the necessaries of life, that both the city and the
country should be near the sea; for it is necessary that those who are
to sustain the attack of the enemy should be ready with their assistance
both by land and by sea, and to oppose any inroad, both ways if possible
but if not, at least where they are most powerful, which they may
do while they possess both. A maritime situation is also useful for
receiving from others what your own country will not produce, and
exporting those necessaries of your own growth which are more than you
have occasion for; but a city ought to traffic to supply its own wants,
and not the wants of others; for those who themselves furnish an open
market for every one, do it for the sake of gain; which it is not proper
for a well-established state to do, neither should they encourage such
a commerce. Now, as we see that many places and cities have docks and
harbours lying very convenient for the city, while those who frequent
them have no communication with the citadel, and yet they are not too
far off, but are surrounded by walls and such-like fortifications, it is
evident, that if any good arises from such an intercourse the city will
receive it, but if anything hurtful, it will be easy to restrain it by
a law declaring and deputing whom the state will allow to have an
intercourse with each other, and whom not. As to a naval power, it is by
no means doubtful that it is necessary to have one to a certain degree;
and this not only for the sake of the [1327b] city itself, but also
because it may be necessary to appear formidable to some of the
neighbouring states, or to be able to assist them as well by sea as
by land; but to know how great that force should be, the health of the
state should be inquired into, and if that appears vigorous and enables
her to take the lead of other communities, it is necessary that her
force should correspond with her actions. As for that multitude of
people which a maritime power creates, they are by no means necessary to
a state, nor ought they to make a part of the citizens; for the mariners
and infantry, who have the command, are freemen, and upon these depends
a naval engagement: but when there are many servants and husbandmen,
there they will always have a number of sailors, as we now see happens
to some states, as in Heraclea, where they man many triremes, though
the extent of their city is much inferior to some others. And thus we
determine concerning the country, the port, the city, the sea, and a
maritime power: as to the number of the citizens, what that ought to be
we have already said.


We now proceed to point out what natural disposition the members of the
community ought to be of: but this any one will easily perceive who
will cast his eye over the states of Greece, of all others the most
celebrated, and also the other different nations of this habitable
world. Those who live in cold countries, as the north of Europe, are
full of courage, but wanting in understanding and the arts: therefore
they are very tenacious of their liberty; but, not being politicians,
they cannot reduce their neighbours under their power: but the Asiatics,
whose understandings are quick, and who are conversant in the arts, are
deficient in courage; and therefore are always conquered and the
slaves of others: but the Grecians, placed as it were between these
two boundaries, so partake of them both as to be at the same time both
courageous and sensible; for which reason Greece continues free, and
governed in the best manner possible, and capable of commanding the
whole world, could they agree upon one system of policy. Now this is the
difference between the Grecians and other nations, that the latter have
but one of these qualities, whereas in the former they are both happily
blended together. Hence it is evident, that those persons ought to be
both sensible and courageous who will readily obey a legislator, the
object of whose laws is virtue. As to what some persons say, that the
military must be mild and tender to those they know, but severe and
cruel to those they know not, it is courage which [1328a] makes any one
lovely; for that is the faculty of the soul which we most admire: as
a proof of this, our resentment rises higher against our friends and
acquaintance than against those we know not: for which reason Archilaus
accusing his friends says very properly to himself, Shall my friends
insult me? The spirit of freedom and command also is what all inherit
who are of this disposition for courage is commanding and invincible. It
also is not right for any one to say, that you should be severe to those
you know not; for this behaviour is proper for no one: nor are those who
are of a noble disposition harsh in their manners, excepting only to the
wicked; and when they are particularly so, it is, as has been already
said, against their friends, when they think they have injured them;
which is agreeable to reason: for when those who think they ought to
receive a favour from any one do not receive it, beside the injury done
them, they consider what they are deprived of: hence the saying, "Cruel
are the wars of brothers;" and this, "Those who have greatly loved
do greatly hate." And thus we have nearly determined how many the
inhabitants of a city ought to be, and what their natural disposition,
and also the country how large, and of what sort is necessary; I say
nearly, because it is needless to endeavour at as great accuracy in
those things which are the objects of the senses as in those which are
inquired into by the understanding only.


As in natural bodies those things are not admitted to be parts of them
without which the whole would not exist, so also it is evident that in
a political state everything that is necessary thereunto is not to be
considered as a part of it, nor any other community from whence one
whole is made; for one thing ought to be common and the same to the
community, whether they partake of it equally or unequally, as, for
instance, food, land, or the like; but when one thing is for the benefit
of one person, and another for the benefit of another, in this there is
nothing like a community, excepting that one makes it and the other
uses it; as, for instance, between any instrument employed in making any
work, and the workmen, as there is nothing common between the house and
the builder, but the art of the builder is employed on the house. Thus
property is necessary for states, but property is no part of the state,
though many species of it have life; but a city is a community of
equals, for the purpose of enjoying the best life possible: but the
happiest life is the best which consists in the perfect practice of
virtuous energies: as therefore some persons have great, others little
or no opportunity of being employed in these, it is evident that this
is the cause of the difference there is between the different cities and
communities there are to be found; for while each of these endeavour to
acquire what is best by various and different means, they give [1328b]
rise to different modes of living and different forms of government. We
are now to consider what those things are without which a city cannot
possibly exist; for what we call parts of the city must of necessity
inhere in it: and this we shall plainly understand, if we know the
number of things necessary to a city: first, the inhabitants must
have food: secondly, arts, for many instruments are necessary in life:
thirdly, arms, for it is necessary that the community should have an
armed force within themselves, both to support their government against
those of their own body who might refuse obedience to it, and also
to defend it from those who might attempt to attack it from without:
fourthly, a certain revenue, as well for the internal necessities of
the state as for the business of war: fifthly, which is indeed the chief
concern, a religious establishment: sixthly in order, but first of all
in necessity, a court to determine both criminal and civil causes. These
things are absolutely necessary, so to speak, in every state; for a city
is a number of people not accidentally met together, but with a purpose
of ensuring to themselves sufficient independency and self-protection;
and if anything necessary for these purposes is wanting, it is
impossible that in such a situation these ends can be obtained. It is
necessary therefore that a city should be capable of acquiring all these
things: for this purpose a proper number of husbandmen are necessary to
procure food, also artificers and soldiers, and rich men, and priests
and judges, to determine what is right and proper.


Having determined thus far, it remains that we consider whether all
these different employments shall be open to all; for it is possible
to continue the same persons always husbandmen, artificers, judges,
or counsellors; or shall we appoint different persons to each of those
employments which we have already mentioned; or shall some of them be
appropriated to particulars, and others of course common to all? but
this does not take place in every state, for, as we have already said,
it is possible that all may be common to all, or not, but only common to
some; and this is the difference between one government and another:
for in democracies the whole community partakes of everything, but in
oligarchies it is different.

Since we are inquiring what is the best government possible, and it is
admitted to be that in which the citizens are happy; and that, as we
have already said, it is impossible to obtain happiness without virtue;
it follows, that in the best-governed states, where the citizens are
really men of intrinsic and not relative goodness, none of them should
be permitted to exercise any mechanic employment or follow merchandise,
as being ignoble and destructive to virtue; neither should they be
husband-[1329a] men, that they may be at leisure to improve in virtue
and perform the duty they owe to the state. With respect to the
employments of a soldier, a senator, and a judge, which are evidently
necessary to the community, shall they be allotted to different persons,
or shall the same person execute both? This question, too, is easily
answered: for in some cases the same persons may execute them, in
others they should be different, where the different employments require
different abilities, as when courage is wanting for one, judgment for
the other, there they should be allotted to different persons; but when
it is evident, that it is impossible to oblige those who have arms
in their hands, and can insist on their own terms, to be always under
command; there these different employments should be trusted to one
person; for those who have arms in their hands have it in their option
whether they will or will not assume the supreme power: to these two
(namely, those who have courage and judgment) the government must be
entrusted; but not in the same manner, but as nature directs; what
requires courage to the young, what requires judgment to the old; for
with the young is courage, with the old is wisdom: thus each will be
allotted the part they are fit for according to their different merits.
It is also necessary that the landed property should belong to these
men; for it is necessary that the citizens should be rich, and these are
the men proper for citizens; for no mechanic ought to be admitted to the
rights of a citizen, nor any other sort of people whose employment is
not entirely noble, honourable, and virtuous; this is evident from the
principle we at first set out with; for to be happy it is necessary
to be virtuous; and no one should say that a city is happy while he
considers only one part of its citizens, but for that purpose he ought
to examine into all of them. It is evident, therefore, that the landed
property should belong to these, though it may be necessary for them to
have husbandmen, either slaves, barbarians, or servants. There remains
of the different classes of the people whom we have enumerated, the
priests, for these evidently compose a rank by themselves; for neither
are they to be reckoned amongst the husbandmen nor the mechanics; for
reverence to the gods is highly becoming every state: and since the
citizens have been divided into orders, the military and the council,
and it is proper to offer due worship to the gods, and since it is
necessary that those who are employed in their service should have
nothing else to do, let the business of the priesthood be allotted
to those who are in years. We have now shown what is necessary to the
existence of a city, and of what parts it consists, and that husbandmen,
mechanic, and mercenary servants are necessary to a city; but that
the parts of it are soldiers and sailors, and that these are always
different from those, but from each other only occasionally.


It seems neither now nor very lately to have been known [1329b] to those
philosophers who have made politics their study, that a city ought to
be divided by families into different orders of men; and that the
husbandmen and soldiers should be kept separate from each other;
which custom is even to this day preserved in Egypt and in Crete; also
Sesostris having founded it in Egypt, Minos in Crete. Common meals seem
also to have been an ancient regulation, and to have been established
in Crete during the reign of Minos, and in a still more remote period
in Italy; for those who are the best judges in that country say that
one Italus being king of AEnotria., from whom the people, changing their
names, were called Italians instead of AEnotrians, and that part of
Europe was called Italy which is bounded by the Scylletic Gulf on the
one side and the Lametic on the other, the distance between which
is about half a day's journey. This Italus, they relate, made the
AEnotrians, who were formerly shepherds, husbandmen, and gave them
different laws from what they had before, and to have been the first who
established common meals, for which reason some of his descendants still
use them, and observe some of his laws. The Opici inhabit that part
which lies towards the Tyrrhenian Sea, who both now are and formerly
were called Ausonians. The Chones inhabited the part toward Iapigia and
the Ionian Sea which is called Syrtis. These Chones were descended
from the AEnotrians. Hence arose the custom of common meals, but the
separation of the citizens into different families from Egypt: for the
reign of Sesostris is of much higher antiquity than that of Minos. As
we ought to think that most other things were found out in a long, nay,
even in a boundless time (reason teaching us that want would make us
first invent that which was necessary, and, when that was obtained, then
those things which were requisite for the conveniences and ornament of
life), so should we conclude the same with respect to a political state;
now everything in Egypt bears the marks of the most remote antiquity,
for these people seem to be the most ancient of all others, and to have
acquired laws and political order; we should therefore make a proper
use of what is told us of them, and endeavour to find out what they have
omitted. We have already said, that the landed property ought to belong
to the military and those who partake of the government of the state;
and that therefore the husbandmen should be a separate order of people;
and how large and of what nature the country ought to be: we will first
treat of the division of the land, and of the husbandmen, how many and
of what sort they ought to be; since we by no means hold that property
ought to be common, as some persons have said, only thus far, in
friendship, it [1330a] should be their custom to let no citizen want
subsistence. As to common meals, it is in general agreed that they are
proper in well-regulated cities; my reasons for approving of them shall
be mentioned hereafter: they are what all the citizens ought to partake
of; but it will not be easy for the poor, out of what is their own, to
furnish as much as they are ordered to do, and supply their own house
besides. The expense also of religious worship should be defrayed by the
whole state. Of necessity therefore the land ought to be divided into
two parts, one of which should belong to the community in general, the
other to the individuals separately; and each of these parts should
again be subdivided into two: half of that which belongs to the public
should be appropriated to maintain the worship of the gods, the other
half to support the common meals. Half of that which belongs to the
individuals should be at the extremity of the country, the other half
near the city, so that these two portions being allotted to each person,
all would partake of land in both places, which would be both equal and
right; and induce them to act in concert with greater harmony in any war
with their neighbours: for when the land is not divided in this manner,
one party neglects the inroads of the enemy on the borders, the other
makes it a matter of too much consequence and more than is necessary;
for which reason in some places there is a law which forbids the
inhabitants of the borders to have any vote in the council when they are
debating upon a war which is made against them as their private interest
might prevent their voting impartially. Thus therefore the country ought
to be divided and for the reasons before mentioned. Could one have one's
choice, the husbandmen should by all means be slaves, not of the same
nation, or men of any spirit; for thus they would be laborious in
their business, and safe from attempting any novelties: next to these
barbarian servants are to be preferred, similar in natural disposition
to these we have already mentioned. Of these, let those who are
to cultivate the private property of the individual belong to that
individual, and those who are to cultivate the public territory belong
to the public. In what manner these slaves ought to be used, and for
what reason it is very proper that they should have the promise of their
liberty made them, as a reward for their services, shall be mentioned


We have already mentioned, that both the city and all the country should
communicate both with the sea and the continent as much as possible.
There are these four things which we should be particularly desirous of
in the position of the city with respect to itself: in the first place,
health is to be consulted as the first thing necessary: now a city
which fronts the east and receives the winds which blow from thence is
esteemed most healthful; next to this that which has a northern position
is to be preferred, as best in winter. It should next be contrived that
it may have a proper situation for the business of government and for
defence in war: that in war the citizens may [1330b] have easy access
to it; but that it may be difficult of access to, and hardly to be taken
by, the enemy. In the next place particularly, that there may be plenty
of water, and rivers near at hand: but if those cannot be found, very
large cisterns must be prepared to save rain-water, so that there may
be no want of it in case they should be driven into the town in time of
war. And as great care should be taken of the health of the inhabitants,
the first thing to be attended to is, that the city should have a good
situation and a good position; the second is, that they may have good
water to drink; and this not be negligently taken care of; for what
we chiefly and most frequently use for the support of the body must
principally influence the health of it; and this influence is what the
air and water naturally have: for which reason in all wise governments
the waters ought to be appropriated to different purposes, and if they
are not equally good, and if there is not a plenty of necessary water,
that which is to drink should be separated from that which is for other
uses. As to fortified places, what is proper for some governments is
not proper for all; as, for instance, a lofty citadel is proper for a
monarchy and an oligarchy; a city built upon a plain suits a democracy;
neither of these for an aristocracy, but rather many strong places. As
to the form of private houses, those are thought to be best and most
useful for their different purposes which are distinct and separate
from each other, and built in the modern manner, after the plan of
Hippodamus: but for safety in time of war, on the contrary, they should
be built as they formerly were; for they were such that strangers could
not easily find their way out of them, and the method of access to
them such as an enemy could with difficulty find out if he proposed
to besiege them. A city therefore should have both these sorts of
buildings, which may easily be contrived if any one will so regulate
them as the planters do their rows of vines; not that the buildings
throughout the city should be detached from each other, only in some
parts of it; thus elegance and safety will be equally consulted. With
respect to walls, those who say that a courageous people ought not to
have any, pay too much respect to obsolete notions; particularly as
we may see those who pride themselves therein continually confuted by
facts. It is indeed disreputable for those who are equal, or nearly so,
to the enemy, to endeavour to take refuge within their walls--but since
it very often happens, that those who make the attack are too powerful
for the bravery and courage of those few who oppose them to resist,
if you would not suffer the calamities of war and the insolence of the
enemy, it must be thought the part of a good soldier to seek for safety
under the shelter and protection of walls more especially since so many
missile weapons and machines have been most ingeniously invented to
besiege cities with. Indeed to neglect surrounding a city with a wall
would be similar to choosing a country which is easy of access to an
enemy, or levelling the eminences of it; or as if an individual should
not have a wall to his house lest it should be thought that the owner
of it was a coward: nor should this be left unconsidered, that those who
have a city surrounded with walls may act both ways, either as if it had
or as if it had not; but where it has not they cannot do this. If this
is true, it is not only necessary to have walls, but care must be taken
that they may be a proper ornament to the city, as well as a defence
in time of war; not only according to the old methods, but the modern
improvements also: for as those who make offensive war endeavour by
every way possible to gain advantages over their adversaries, so should
those who are upon the defensive employ all the means already known, and
such new ones as philosophy can invent, to defend themselves: for those
who are well prepared are seldom first attacked.


As the citizens in general are to eat at public tables in certain
companies, and it is necessary that the walls should have bulwarks and
towers in proper places and at proper distances, it is evident that
it will be very necessary to have some of these in the towers; let the
buildings for this purpose be made the ornaments of the walls. As to
temples for public worship, and the hall for the public tables of
the chief magistrates, they ought to be built in proper places, and
contiguous to each other, except those temples which the law or the
oracle orders to be separate from all other buildings; and let these be
in such a conspicuous eminence, that they may have every advantage of
situation, and in the neighbourhood of that part of the city which
is best fortified. Adjoining to this place there ought to be a large
square, like that which they call in Thessaly The Square of Freedom, in
which nothing is permitted to be bought or sold; into which no mechanic
nor husbandman, nor any such person, should be permitted to enter,
unless commanded by the magistrates. It will also be an ornament to this
place if the gymnastic exercises of the elders are performed in it. It
is also proper, that for performing these exercises the citizens should
be divided into distinct classes, according to their ages, and that the
young persons should have proper officers to be with them, and that the
seniors should be with the magistrates; for having them before their
eyes would greatly inspire true modesty and ingenuous fear. There ought
to be another square [1331b] separate from this for buying and selling,
which should be so situated as to be commodious for the reception
of goods both by sea and land. As the citizens may be divided into
magistrates and priests, it is proper that the public tables of
the priests should be in buildings near the temples. Those of the
magistrates who preside over contracts, indictments, and such-like, and
also over the markets, and the public streets near the square, or some
public way, I mean the square where things are bought and sold; for I
intended the other for those who are at leisure, and this for necessary
business. The same order which I have directed here should be observed
also in the country; for there also their magistrates such as the
surveyors of the woods and overseers of the grounds, must necessarily
have their common tables and their towers, for the purpose of protection
against an enemy. There ought also to be temples erected at proper
places, both to the gods and the heroes; but it is unnecessary to dwell
longer and most minutely on these particulars--for it is by no means
difficult to plan these things, it is rather so to carry them into
execution; for the theory is the child of our wishes, but the practical
part must depend upon fortune; for which reason we shall decline saying
anything farther upon these subjects.


We will now show of what numbers and of what sort of people a government
ought to consist, that the state may be happy and well administered.
As there are two particulars on which the excellence and perfection of
everything depend, one of these is, that the object and end proposed
should be proper; the other, that the means to accomplish it should be
adapted to that purpose; for it may happen that these may either agree
or disagree with each other; for the end we propose may be good, but in
taking the means to obtain it we may err; at other times we may have
the right and proper means in our power, but the end may be bad,
and sometimes we may mistake in both; as in the art of medicine the
physician does not sometimes know in what situation the body ought to
be, to be healthy; nor what to do to procure the end he aims at. In
every art and science, therefore, we should be master of this knowledge,
namely, the proper end, and the means to obtain it. Now it is evident
that all persons are desirous to live well and be happy; but that some
have the means thereof in their own power, others not; and this either
through nature [1332a] or fortune; for many ingredients are necessary to
a happy life; but fewer to those who are of a good than to those who are
of a bad disposition. There are others who continually have the means
of happiness in their own power, but do not rightly apply them. Since
we propose to inquire what government is best, namely, that by which
a state may be best administered, and that state is best administered
where the people are the happiest, it is evident that happiness is a
thing we should not be unacquainted with. Now, I have already said in
my treatise on Morals (if I may here make any use of what I have there
shown), that happiness consists in the energy and perfect practice of
virtue; and this not relatively, but simply; I mean by relatively, what
is necessary in some certain circumstances; by simply, what is good and
fair in itself: of the first sort are just punishments, and restraints
in a just cause; for they arise from virtue and are necessary, and on
that account are virtuous; though it is more desirable that neither any
state nor any individual should stand in need of them; but those actions
which are intended either to procure honour or wealth are simply good;
the others eligible only to remove an evil; these, on the contrary, are
the foundation and means of relative good. A worthy man indeed will bear
poverty, disease, and other unfortunate accidents with a noble mind;
but happiness consists in the contrary to these (now we have already
determined in our treatise on Morals, that he is a man of worth who
considers what is good because it is virtuous as what is simply good; it
is evident, therefore, that all the actions of such a one must be worthy
and simply good): this has led some persons to conclude, that the cause
of happiness was external goods; which would be as if any one should
suppose that the playing well upon the lyre was owing to the instrument,
and not to the art. It necessarily follows from what has been said,
that some things should be ready at hand and others procured by the
legislator; for which reason in founding a city we earnestly wish that
there may be plenty of those things which are supposed to be under the
dominion of fortune (for some things we admit her to be mistress over);
but for a state to be worthy and great is not only the work of fortune
but of knowledge and judgment also. But for a state to be worthy it is
necessary that those citizens which are in the administration should
be worthy also; but as in our city every citizen is to be so, we must
consider how this may be accomplished; for if this is what every one
could be, and not some individuals only, it would be more desirable; for
then it would follow, that what might be done by one might be done
by all. Men are worthy and good three ways; by nature, by custom, by
reason. In the first place, a man ought to be born a man, and not any
other animal; that is to say, he ought to have both a body and soul; but
it avails not to be only born [1332b] with some things, for custom
makes great alterations; for there are some things in nature capable of
alteration either way which are fixed by custom, either for the better
or the worse. Now, other animals live chiefly a life of nature; and in
very few things according to custom; but man lives according to reason
also, which he alone is endowed with; wherefore he ought to make all
these accord with each other; for if men followed reason, and were
persuaded that it was best to obey her, they would act in many respects
contrary to nature and custom. What men ought naturally to be, to make
good members of a community, I have already determined; the rest of
this discourse therefore shall be upon education; for some things are
acquired by habit, others by hearing them.


As every political community consists of those who govern and of those
who are governed, let us consider whether during the continuance of
their lives they ought to be the same persons or different; for it
is evident that the mode of education should be adapted to this
distinction. Now, if one man differed from another as much, as we
believe, the gods and heroes differ from men: in the first place, being
far their superiors in body; and, secondly, in the soul: so that the
superiority of the governors over the governed might be evident beyond
a doubt, it is certain that it would be better for the one always to
govern, the other always to be governed: but, as this is not easy to
obtain, and kings are not so superior to those they govern as Scylax
informs us they are in India, it is evident that for many reasons it is
necessary that all in their turns should both govern and be governed:
for it is just that those who are equal should have everything alike;
and it is difficult for a state to continue which is founded in
injustice; for all those in the country who are desirous of innovation
will apply themselves to those who are under the government of the rest,
and such will be their numbers in the state, that it will be impossible
for the magistrates to get the better of them. But that the governors
ought to excel the governed is beyond a doubt; the legislator therefore
ought to consider how this shall be, and how it may be contrived that
all shall have their equal share in the administration. Now, with
respect to this it will be first said, that nature herself has directed
us in our choice, laying down the selfsame thing when she has made some
young, others old: the first of whom it becomes to obey, the latter
to command; for no one when he is young is offended at his being under
government, or thinks himself too good for it; more especially when he
considers that he himself shall receive the same honours which he
pays when he shall arrive at a proper age. In some respects it must be
acknowledged that the governors and the governed are the same, in others
they are different; it is therefore necessary that their education
should be in [1333a] some respect the same, in others different: as they
say, that he will be a good governor who has first learnt to obey. Now
of governments, as we have already said, some are instituted for the
sake of him who commands; others for him who obeys: of the first sort is
that of the master over the servant; of the latter, that of freemen over
each other. Now some things which are commanded differ from others; not
in the business, but in the end proposed thereby: for which reason many
works, even of a servile nature, are not disgraceful for young freemen
to perform; for many things which are ordered to be done are not
honourable or dishonourable so much in their own nature as in the end
which is proposed, and the reason for which they are undertaken. Since
then we have determined, that the virtue of a good citizen and good
governor is the same as of a good man; and that every one before he
commands should have first obeyed, it is the business of the legislator
to consider how his citizens may be good men, what education is
necessary to that purpose, and what is the final object of a good life.
The soul of man may be divided into two parts; that which has reason in
itself, and that which hath not, but is capable of obeying its dictates:
and according to the virtues of these two parts a man is said to be
good: but of those virtues which are the ends, it will not be difficult
for those to determine who adopt the division I have already given; for
the inferior is always for the sake of the superior; and this is equally
evident both in the works of art as well as in those of nature; but that
is superior which has reason. Reason itself also is divided into
two parts, in the manner we usually divide it; the theoretic and the
practical; which division therefore seems necessary for this part also:
the same analogy holds good with respect to actions; of which those
which are of a superior nature ought always to be chosen by those who
have it in their power; for that is always most eligible to every one
which will procure the best ends. Now life is divided into labour and
rest, war and peace; and of what we do the objects are partly necessary
and useful, partly noble: and we should give the same preference to
these that we do to the different parts of the soul and its actions,
as war to procure peace; labour, rest; and the useful, the noble. The
politician, therefore, who composes a body of laws ought to extend his
views to everything; the different parts of the soul and their actions;
more particularly to those things which are of a superior nature and
ends; and, in the same manner, to the lives of men and their different

They ought to be fitted both for labour and war, but rather [1333b] for
rest and peace; and also to do what is necessary and useful, but rather
what is fair and noble. It is to those objects that the education of the
children ought to tend, and of all the youths who want instruction. All
the Grecian states which now seem best governed, and the legislators who
founded those states, appear not to have framed their polity with a view
to the best end, or to every virtue, in their laws and education; but
eagerly to have attended to what is useful and productive of gain: and
nearly of the same opinion with these are some persons who have written
lately, who, by praising the Lacedaemonian state, show they approve of
the intention of the legislator in making war and victory the end of
his government. But how contrary to reason this is, is easily proved by
argument, and has already been proved by facts (but as the generality of
men desire to have an extensive command, that they may have everything
desirable in the greater abundance; so Thibron and others who have
written on that state seem to approve of their legislator for having
procured them an extensive command by continually enuring them to
all sorts of dangers and hardships): for it is evident, since the
Lacedemonians have now no hope that the supreme power will be in their
own hand, that neither are they happy nor was their legislator wise.
This also is ridiculous, that while they preserved an obedience to their
laws, and no one opposed their being governed by them, they lost the
means of being honourable: but these people understand not rightly
what sort of government it is which ought to reflect honour on the
legislator; for a government of freemen is nobler than despotic power,
and more consonant to virtue. Moreover, neither should a city be thought
happy, nor should a legislator be commended, because he has so trained
the people as to conquer their neighbours; for in this there is a
great inconvenience: since it is evident that upon this principle every
citizen who can will endeavour to procure the supreme power in his own
city; which crime the Lacedaemonians accuse Pausanias of, though he
enjoyed such great honours.

Such reasoning and such laws are neither political, useful nor true: but
a legislator ought to instil those laws on the minds of men which are
most useful for them, both in their public and private capacities. The
rendering a people fit for war, that they may enslave their inferiors
ought not to be the care of the legislator; but that they may not
themselves be reduced to slavery by others. In [1334a] the next place,
he should take care that the object of his government is the safety
of those who are under it, and not a despotism over all: in the third
place, that those only are slaves who are fit to be only so. Reason
indeed concurs with experience in showing that all the attention which
the legislator pays to the business of war, and all other rules which
he lays down, should have for their object rest and peace; since most
of those states (which we usually see) are preserved by war; but, after
they have acquired a supreme power over those around them, are ruined;
for during peace, like a sword, they lose their brightness: the fault of
which lies in the legislator, who never taught them how to be at rest.


As there is one end common to a man both as an individual and a citizen,
it is evident that a good man and a good citizen must have the same
object in view; it is evident that all the virtues which lead to rest
are necessary; for, as we have often said, the end of war is peace, of
labour, rest; but those virtues whose object is rest, and those also
whose object is labour, are necessary for a liberal life and rest; for
we want a supply of many necessary things that we may be at rest. A city
therefore ought to be temperate, brave, and patient; for, according to
the proverb, "Rest is not for slaves;" but those who cannot bravely face
danger are the slaves of those who attack them. Bravery, therefore, and
patience are necessary for labour, philosophy for rest, and temperance
and justice in both; but these chiefly in time of peace and rest; for
war obliges men to be just and temperate; but the enjoyment of pleasure,
with the rest of peace, is more apt to produce insolence; those indeed
who are easy in their circumstances, and enjoy everything that can
make them happy, have great occasion for the virtues of temperance and
justice. Thus if there are, as the poets tell us, any inhabitants in
the happy isles, to these a higher degree of philosophy, temperance, and
justice will be necessary, as they live at their ease in the full plenty
of every sensual pleasure. It is evident, therefore, that these virtues
are necessary in every state that would be happy or worthy; for he who
is worthless can never enjoy real good, much less is he qualified to
be at rest; but can appear good only by labour and being at war, but
in peace and at rest the meanest of creatures. For which reason virtue
should not be cultivated as the Lacedaemonians did; for they did not
differ from others in their opinion concerning the supreme good, but in
[1334b] imagining this good was to be procured by a particular virtue;
but since there are greater goods than those of war, it is evident
that the enjoyment of those which are valuable in themselves should be
desired, rather than those virtues which are useful in war; but how and
by what means this is to be acquired is now to be considered. We have
already assigned three causes on which it will depend; nature, custom,
and reason, arid shown what sort of men nature must produce for this
purpose; it remains then that we determine which we shall first begin by
in education, reason or custom, for these ought always to preserve the
most entire harmony with each other; for it may happen that reason may
err from the end proposed, and be corrected by custom. In the first
place, it is evident that in this as in other things, its beginning
or production arises from some principle, and its end also arises from
another principle, which is itself an end. Now, with us, reason and
intelligence are the end of nature; our production, therefore, and our
manners ought to be accommodated to both these. In the next place, as
the soul and the body are two distinct things, so also we see that the
soul is divided into two parts, the reasoning and not-reasoning, with
their habits which are two in number, one belonging to each, namely
appetite and intelligence; and as the body is in production before the
soul, so is the not-reasoning part of the soul before the reasoning; and
this is evident; for anger, will and desire are to be seen in children
nearly as soon as they are born; but reason and intelligence spring up
as they grow to maturity. The body, therefore, necessarily demands our
care before the soul; next the appetites for the sake of the mind; the
body for the sake of the soul.


If then the legislator ought to take care that the bodies of the
children are as perfect as possible, his first attention ought to be
given to matrimony; at what time and in what situation it is proper that
the citizens should engage in the nuptial contract. Now, with respect
to this alliance, the legislator ought both to consider the parties and
their time of life, that they may grow old at the same part of time, and
that their bodily powers may not be different; that is to say, the man
being able to have children, but the woman too old to bear them; or, on
the contrary, the woman be young enough to produce children, but the man
too old to be a father; for from such a situation discords and disputes
continually arise. In the next place, with respect to the succession of
children, there ought not to be too great an interval of time between
them and their parents; for when there is, the parent can receive no
benefit from his child's affection, or the child any advantage from his
father's protection; [1335a] neither should the difference in years be
too little, as great inconveniences may arise from it; as it prevents
that proper reverence being shown to a father by a boy who considers him
as nearly his equal in age, and also from the disputes it occasions in
the economy of the family. But, to return from this digression, care
ought to be taken that the bodies of the children may be such as will
answer the expectations of the legislator; this also will be affected
by the same means. Since season for the production of children is
determined (not exactly, but to speak in general), namely, for the man
till seventy years, and the woman till fifty, the entering into the
marriage state, as far as time is concerned, should be regulated by
these periods. It is extremely bad for the children when the father
is too young; for in all animals whatsoever the parts of the young are
imperfect, and are more likely to be productive of females than males,
and diminutive also in size; the same thing of course necessarily holds
true in men; as a proof of this you may see in those cities where the
men and women usually marry very young, the people in general are very
small and ill framed; in child-birth also the women suffer more, and
many of them die. And thus some persons tell us the oracle of Traezenium
should be explained, as if it referred to the many women who were
destroyed by too early marriages, and not their gathering their fruits
too soon. It is also conducive to temperance not to marry too soon; for
women who do so are apt to be intemperate. It also prevents the bodies
of men from acquiring their full size if they marry before their growth
is completed; for this is the determinate period, which prevents any
further increase; for which reason the proper time for a woman to marry
is eighteen, for a man thirty-seven, a little more or less; for when
they marry at that time their bodies are in perfection, and they will
also cease to have children at a proper time; and moreover with respect
to the succession of the children, if they have them at the time which
may reasonably be expected, they will be just arriving into perfection
when their parents are sinking down under the load of seventy years.
And thus much for the time which is proper for marriage; but moreover
a proper season of the year should be observed, as many persons do now,
and appropriate the winter for this business. The married couple ought
also to regard the precepts of physicians and naturalists, each of whom
have treated on these [1335b] subjects. What is the fit disposition of
the body will be better mentioned when we come to speak of the education
of the child; we will just slightly mention a few particulars. Now,
there is no occasion that any one should have the habit of body of a
wrestler to be either a good citizen, or to enjoy a good constitution,
or to be the father of healthy children; neither should he be infirm or
too much dispirited by misfortunes, but between both these. He ought to
have a habit of labour, but not of too violent labour; nor should that
be confined to one object only, as the wrestler's is; but to such things
as are proper for freemen. These things are equally necessary both for
men and women. Women with child should also take care that their diet is
not too sparing, and that they use sufficient exercise; which it will be
easy for the legislator to effect if he commands them once every day
to repair to the worship of the gods who are supposed to preside over
matrimony. But, contrary to what is proper for the body, the mind ought
to be kept as tranquil as possible; for as plants partake of the nature
of the soil, so does the child receive much of the disposition of the
mother. With respect to the exposing or bringing up of children, let
it be a law, that nothing imperfect or maimed shall be brought
up,.......... As the proper time has been pointed out for a man and a
woman to enter into the marriage state, so also let us determine
how long it is advantageous for the community that they should have
children; for as the children of those who are too young are imperfect
both in body and mind, so also those whose parents are too old are weak
in both: while therefore the body continues in perfection, which (as
some poets say, who reckon the different periods of life by sevens)
is till fifty years, or four or five more, the children may be equally
perfect; but when the parents are past that age it is better they should
have no more. With respect to any connection between a man and a woman,
or a woman and a man, when either of the parties are betrothed, let
it be held in utter detestation [1336a] on any pretext whatsoever;
but should any one be guilty of such a thing after the marriage is
consummated, let his infamy be as great as his guilt deserves.


When a child is born it must be supposed that the strength of its body
will depend greatly upon the quality of its food. Now whoever will
examine into the nature of animals, and also observe those people who
are very desirous their children should acquire a warlike habit, will
find that they feed them chiefly with milk, as being best accommodated
to their bodies, but without wine, to prevent any distempers: those
motions also which are natural to their age are very serviceable; and
to prevent any of their limbs from being crooked, on account of their
extreme ductility, some people even now use particular machines that
their bodies may not be distorted. It is also useful to enure them to
the cold when they are very little; for this is very serviceable for
their health; and also to enure them to the business of war; for which
reason it is customary with many of the barbarians to dip their children
in rivers when the water is cold; with others to clothe them very
slightly, as among the Celts; for whatever it is possible to accustom
children to, it is best to accustom them to it at first, but to do it
by degrees: besides, boys have naturally a habit of loving the cold, on
account of the heat. These, then, and such-like things ought to be the
first object of our attention: the next age to this continues till
the child is five years old; during which time it is best to teach him
nothing at all, not even necessary labour, lest it should hinder his
growth; but he should be accustomed to use so much motion as not to
acquire a lazy habit of body; which he will get by various means and by
play also: his play also ought to be neither illiberal nor too laborious
nor lazy. Their governors and preceptors also should take care what sort
of tales and stories it may be proper for them to hear; for all these
ought to pave the way for their future instruction: for which reason
the generality of their play should be imitations of what they are
afterwards to do seriously. They too do wrong who forbid by laws
the disputes between boys and their quarrels, for they contribute to
increase their growth--as they are a sort of exercise to the body:
for the struggles of the heart and the compression of the spirits give
strength to those who labour, which happens to boys in their disputes.
The preceptors also ought to have an eye upon their manner of life, and
those with whom they converse; and to take care that they are never
in the company of slaves. At this time and till they are seven [1336b]
years old it is necessary that they should be educated at home. It
is also very proper to banish, both from their hearing and sight,
everything which is illiberal and the like. Indeed it is as much the
business of the legislator as anything else, to banish every indecent
expression out of the state: for from a permission to speak whatever is
shameful, very quickly arises the doing it, and this particularly with
young people: for which reason let them never speak nor hear any such
thing: but if it appears that any freeman has done or said anything that
is forbidden before he is of age to be thought fit to partake of the
common meals, let him be punished by disgrace and stripes; but if a
person above that age does so, let him be treated as you would a
slave, on account of his being infamous. Since we forbid his speaking
everything which is forbidden, it is necessary that he neither sees
obscene stories nor pictures; the magistrates therefore are to take care
that there are no statues or pictures of anything of this nature, except
only to those gods to whom the law permits them, and to which the law
allows persons of a certain age to pay their devotions, for themselves,
their wives, and children. It should also be illegal for young persons
to be present either at iambics or comedies before they are arrived at
that age when they are allowed to partake of the pleasures of the table:
indeed a good education will preserve them from all the evils which
attend on these things. We have at present just touched upon this
subject; it will be our business hereafter, when we properly come to
it, to determine whether this care of children is unnecessary, or,
if necessary, in what manner it must be done; at present we have only
mentioned it as necessary. Probably the saying of Theodoras, the tragic
actor, was not a bad one: That he would permit no one, not even the
meanest actor, to go upon the stage before him, that he might first
engage the ear of the audience. The same thing happens both in our
connections with men and things: what we meet with first pleases best;
for which reason children should be kept strangers to everything which
is bad, more particularly whatsoever is loose and offensive to good
manners. When five years are accomplished, the two next may be very
properly employed in being spectators of those exercises they will
afterwards have to learn. There are two periods into which education
ought to be divided, according to the age of the child; the one is from
his being seven years of age to the time of puberty; the other from
thence till he is one-and-twenty: for those who divide ages by the
number seven [1337a] are in general wrong: it is much better to follow
the division of nature; for every art and every instruction is intended
to complete what nature has left defective: we must first consider if
any regulation whatsoever is requisite for children; in the next place,
if it is advantageous to make it a common care, or that every one should
act therein as he pleases, which is the general practice in most cities;
in the third place, what it ought to be.



No one can doubt that the magistrate ought greatly to interest himself
in the care of youth; for where it is neglected it is hurtful to the
city, for every state ought to be governed according to its particular
nature; for the form and manners of each government are peculiar to
itself; and these, as they originally established it, so they usually
still preserve it. For instance, democratic forms and manners a
democracy; oligarchic, an oligarchy: but, universally, the best manners
produce the best government. Besides, as in every business and art there
are some things which men are to learn first and be made accustomed to,
which are necessary to perform their several works; so it is evident
that the same thing is necessary in the practice of virtue. As there is
one end in view in every city, it is evident that education ought to be
one and the same in each; and that this should be a common care, and
not the individual's, as it now is, when every one takes care of his own
children separately; and their instructions are particular also, each
person teaching them as they please; but what ought to be engaged in
ought to be common to all. Besides, no one ought to think that any
citizen belongs to him in particular, but to the state in general; for
each one is a part of the state, and it is the natural duty of each part
to regard the good of the whole: and for this the Lacedaemonians may be
praised; for they give the greatest attention to education, and make
it public. It is evident, then, that there should be laws concerning
education, and that it should be public.


What education is, and how children ought to be instructed, is what
should be well known; for there are doubts concerning the business of
it, as all people do not agree in those things they would have a child
taught, both with respect to their improvement in virtue and a happy
life: nor is it clear whether the object of it should be to improve
the reason or rectify the morals. From the present mode of education
we cannot determine with certainty to which men incline, whether to
instruct a child in what will be useful to him in life; or what tends to
virtue, and what is excellent: for all these things have their separate
defenders. As to virtue, there is no particular [1337b] in which they
all agree: for as all do not equally esteem all virtues, it reasonably
follows that they will not cultivate the same. It is evident that what
is necessary ought to be taught to all: but that which is necessary
for one is not necessary for all; for there ought to be a distinction
between the employment of a freeman and a slave. The first of these
should be taught everything useful which will not make those who know
it mean. Every work is to be esteemed mean, and every art and every
discipline which renders the body, the mind, or the understanding of
freemen unfit for the habit and practice of virtue: for which reason all
those arts which tend to deform the body are called mean, and all those
employments which are exercised for gain; for they take off from the
freedom of the mind and render it sordid. There are also some liberal
arts which are not improper for freemen to apply to in a certain degree;
but to endeavour to acquire a perfect skill in them is exposed to the
faults I have just mentioned; for there is a great deal of difference
in the reason for which any one does or learns anything: for it is not
illiberal to engage in it for one's self, one's friend, or in the cause
of virtue; while, at the same time, to do it for the sake of another
may seem to be acting the part of a servant and a slave. The mode of
instruction which now prevails seems to partake of both parts.


There are four things which it is usual to teach children--reading,
gymnastic exercises, and music, to which (in the fourth place) some add
painting. Reading and painting are both of them of singular use in life,
and gymnastic exercises, as productive of courage. As to music, some
persons may doubt, as most persons now use it for the sake of pleasure:
but those who originally made it part of education did it because,
as has been already said, nature requires that we should not only be
properly employed, but to be able to enjoy leisure honourably: for this
(to repeat what I have already said) is of all things the principal.
But, though both labour and rest are necessary, yet the latter is
preferable to the first; and by all means we ought to learn what we
should do when at rest: for we ought not to employ that time at play;
for then play would be the necessary business of our lives. But if this
cannot be, play is more necessary for those who labour than those who
are at rest: for he who labours requires relaxation; which play will
supply: for as labour is attended with pain and continued exertion, it
is necessary that play should be introduced, under proper regulations,
as a medicine: for such an employment of the mind is a relaxation to
it, and eases with pleasure. [1338a] Now rest itself seems to partake of
pleasure, of happiness, and an agreeable life: but this cannot be theirs
who labour, but theirs who are at rest; for he who labours, labours for
the sake of some end which he has not: but happiness is an end which
all persons think is attended with pleasure and not with pain: but all
persons do not agree in making this pleasure consist in the same thing;
for each one has his particular standard, correspondent to his own
habits; but the best man proposes the best pleasure, and that which
arises from the noblest actions. But it is evident, that to live a life
of rest there are some things which a man must learn and be instructed
in; and that the object of this learning and this instruction centres in
their acquisition: but the learning and instruction which is given for
labour has for its object other things; for which reason the ancients
made music a part of education; not as a thing necessary, for it is not
of that nature, nor as a thing useful, as reading, in the common course
of life, or for managing of a family, or for learning anything as useful
in public life. Painting also seems useful to enable a man to judge
more accurately of the productions of the finer arts: nor is it like
the gymnastic exercises, which contribute to health and strength; for
neither of these things do we see produced by music; there remains for
it then to be the employment of our rest, which they had in view who
introduced it; and, thinking it a proper employment for freemen, to them
they allotted it; as Homer sings:

   "How right to call Thalia to the feast:" 

and of some others he says:

   "The bard was call'd, to ravish every ear:"

and, in another place, he makes Ulysses say the happiest part of man's
life is

   "When at the festal board, in order plac'd, They hear the song."

It is evident, then, that there is a certain education in which a child
may be instructed, not as useful nor as necessary, but as noble and
liberal: but whether this is one or more than one, and of what sort they
are, and how to be taught, shall be considered hereafter: we are now got
so far on our way as to show that we have the testimony of the ancients
in our favour, by what they have delivered down upon education--for
music makes this plain. Moreover, it is necessary to instruct children
in what is useful, not only on account of its being useful in itself,
as, for instance, to learn to read, but also as the means of acquiring
other different sorts of instruction: thus they should be instructed
in painting, not only to prevent their being mistaken in purchasing
pictures, or in buying or selling of vases, but rather as it makes
[1338b] them judges of the beauties of the human form; for to be always
hunting after the profitable ill agrees with great and freeborn
souls. As it is evident whether a boy should be first taught morals or
reasoning, and whether his body or his understanding should be first
cultivated, it is plain that boys should be first put under the care of
the different masters of the gymnastic arts, both to form their bodies
and teach them their exercises.


Now those states which seem to take the greatest care of their
children's education, bestow their chief attention on wrestling, though
it both prevents the increase of the body and hurts the form of it. This
fault the Lacedaemonians did not fall into, for they made their children
fierce by painful labour, as chiefly useful to inspire them with
courage: though, as we have already often said, this is neither the
only thing nor the principal thing necessary to attend to; and even with
respect to this they may not thus attain their end; for we do not find
either in other animals, or other nations, that courage necessarily
attends the most cruel, but rather the milder, and those who have the
dispositions of lions: for there are many people who are eager both
to kill men and to devour human flesh, as the Achaeans and Heniochi in
Pontus, and many others in Asia, some of whom are as bad, others worse
than these, who indeed live by tyranny, but are men of no courage. Nay,
we know that the Lacedaemonians themselves, while they continued those
painful labours, and were superior to all others (though now they are
inferior to many, both in war and gymnastic exercises), did not acquire
their superiority by training their youth to these exercises,
but because those who were disciplined opposed those who were not
disciplined at all. What is fair and honourable ought then to take place
in education of what is fierce and cruel: for it is not a wolf, nor any
other wild beast, which will brave any noble danger, but rather a good
man. So that those who permit boys to engage too earnestly in these
exercises, while they do not take care to instruct them in what is
necessary to do, to speak the real truth, render them mean and vile,
accomplished only in one duty of a citizen, and in every other respect,
as reason evinces, good for nothing. Nor should we form our judgments
from past events, but from what we see at present: for now they have
rivals in their mode of education, whereas formerly they had not. That
gymnastic exercises are useful, and in what manner, is admitted; for
during youth it is very proper to go through a course of those which
are most gentle, omitting that violent diet and those painful exercises
which are prescribed as necessary; that they may not prevent the growth
of the body: and it is no small proof that they have this effect, that
amongst the Olympic candidates we can scarce find two or three who have
gained a victory both when boys and men: because the necessary exercises
they went through when young deprived them of their strength. When they
have allotted three years from the time of puberty to other parts of
education, they are then of a proper age to submit to labour and a
regulated diet; for it is impossible for the mind and body both to
labour at the same time, as they are productive of contrary evils to
each other; the labour of the body preventing the progress of the mind,
and the mind of the body.


With respect to music we have already spoken a little in a doubtful
manner upon this subject. It will be proper to go over again more
particularly what we then said, which may serve as an introduction to
what any other person may choose to offer thereon; for it is no easy
matter to distinctly point out what power it has, nor on what accounts
one should apply it, whether as an amusement and refreshment, as sleep
or wine; as these are nothing serious, but pleasing, and the killers of
care, as Euripides says; for which reason they class in the same order
and use for the same purpose all these, namely, sleep, wine, and music,
to which some add dancing; or shall we rather suppose that music tends
to be productive of virtue, having a power, as the gymnastic exercises
have to form the body in a certain way, to influence the manners so as
to accustom its professors to rejoice rightly? or shall we say, that it
is of any service in the conduct of life, and an assistant to prudence?
for this also is a third property which has been attributed to it. Now
that boys are not to be instructed in it as play is evident; for those
who learn don't play, for to learn is rather troublesome; neither is
it proper to permit boys at their age to enjoy perfect leisure; for to
cease to improve is by no means fit for what is as yet imperfect; but it
may be thought that the earnest attention of boys in this art is for
the sake of that amusement they will enjoy when they come to be men and
completely formed; but, if this is the case, why are they themselves
to learn it, and not follow the practice of the kings of the Medes and
Persians, who enjoy the pleasure of music by hearing others play, and
being shown its beauties by them; for of necessity those must be
better skilled therein who make this science their particular study
and business, than those who have only spent so much time at it as was
sufficient just to learn the principles of it. But if this is a reason
for a child's being taught anything, they ought also to learn the art of
cookery, but this is absurd. The same doubt occurs if music has a power
of improving the manners; for why should they on this account themselves
learn it, and not reap every advantage of regulating the passions or
forming a judgment [1339b] on the merits of the performance by hearing
others, as the Lacedaemonians; for they, without having ever learnt
music, are yet able to judge accurately what is good and what is
bad; the same reasoning may be applied if music is supposed to be the
amusement of those who live an elegant and easy life, why should they
learn themselves, and not rather enjoy the benefit of others' skill.
Let us here consider what is our belief of the immortal gods in this
particular. Now we find the poets never represent Jupiter himself as
singing and playing; nay, we ourselves treat the professors of these
arts as mean people, and say that no one would practise them but a
drunkard or a buffoon. But probably we may consider this subject more
at large hereafter. The first question is, whether music is or is not
to make a part of education? and of those three things which have
been assigned as its proper employment, which is the right? Is it to
instruct, to amuse, or to employ the vacant hours of those who live at
rest? or may not all three be properly allotted to it? for it appears
to partake of them all; for play is necessary for relaxation, and
relaxation pleasant, as it is a medicine for that uneasiness which
arises from labour. It is admitted also that a happy life must be an
honourable one, and a pleasant one too, since happiness consists in both
these; and we all agree that music is one of the most pleasing things,
whether alone or accompanied with a voice; as Musseus says, "Music's the
sweetest joy of man;" for which reason it is justly admitted into every
company and every happy life, as having the power of inspiring joy.
So that from this any one may suppose that it is necessary to instruct
young persons in it; for all those pleasures which are harmless are not
only conducive to the final end of life, but serve also as relaxations;
and, as men are but rarely in the attainment of that final end, they
often cease from their labour and apply to amusement, with no further
view than to acquire the pleasure attending it. It is therefore useful
to enjoy such pleasures as these. There are some persons who make play
and amusement their end, and probably that end has some pleasure annexed
to it, but not what should be; but while men seek the one they accept
the other for it; because there is some likeness in human actions to the
end; for the end is pursued for the sake of nothing else that attends
it; but for itself only; and pleasures like these are sought for, not
on account of what follows them, but on account of what has gone before
them, as labour and grief; for which reason they seek for happiness in
these sort of pleasures; and that this is the reason any one may easily
perceive. That music should be pursued, not on this account only, but
also as it is very serviceable during the hours of relaxation from
labour, probably no [1340a] one doubts; we should also inquire whether
besides this use it may not also have another of nobler nature--and we
ought not only to partake of the common pleasure arising from it (which
all have the sensation of, for music naturally gives pleasure, therefore
the use of it is agreeable to all ages and all dispositions); but also
to examine if it tends anything to improve our manners and our souls.
And this will be easily known if we feel our dispositions any way
influenced thereby; and that they are so is evident from many other
instances, as well as the music at the Olympic games; and this
confessedly fills the soul with enthusiasm; but enthusiasm is an
affection of the soul which strongly agitates the disposition. Besides,
all those who hear any imitations sympathise therewith; and this when
they are conveyed even without rhythm or verse. Moreover, as music is
one of those things which are pleasant, and as virtue itself consists in
rightly enjoying, loving, and hating, it is evident that we ought not
to learn or accustom ourselves to anything so much as to judge right and
rejoice in honourable manners and noble actions. But anger and mildness,
courage and modesty, and their contraries, as well as all other
dispositions of the mind, are most naturally imitated by music and
poetry; which is plain by experience, for when we hear these our very
soul is altered; and he who is affected either with joy or grief by the
imitation of any objects, is in very nearly the same situation as if he
was affected by the objects themselves; thus, if any person is pleased
with seeing a statue of any one on no other account but its beauty, it
is evident that the sight of the original from whence it was taken
would also be pleasing; now it happens in the other senses there is no
imitation of manners; that is to say, in the touch and the taste; in the
objects of sight, a very little; for these are merely representations of
things, and the perceptions which they excite are in a manner common
to all. Besides, statues and paintings are not properly imitations of
manners, but rather signs and marks which show the body is affected by
some passion. However, the difference is not great, yet young men ought
not to view the paintings of Pauso, but of Polygnotus, or any other
painter or statuary who expresses manners. But in poetry and music there
are imitations of manners; and this is evident, for different harmonies
differ from each other so much by nature, that those who hear them are
differently affected, and are not in the same disposition of mind when
one is performed as when another is; the one, for instance, occasions
grief 13406 and contracts the soul, as the mixed Lydian: others soften
the mind, and as it were dissolve the heart: others fix it in a firm
and settled state, such is the power of the Doric music only; while the
Phrygian fills the soul with enthusiasm, as has been well described by
those who have written philosophically upon this part of education; for
they bring examples of what they advance from the things themselves. The
same holds true with respect to rhythm; some fix the disposition, others
occasion a change in it; some act more violently, others more liberally.
From what has been said it is evident what an influence music has over
the disposition of the mind, and how variously it can fascinate it:
and if it can do this, most certainly it is what youth ought to be
instructed in. And indeed the learning of music is particularly adapted
to their disposition; for at their time of life they do not willingly
attend to anything which is not agreeable; but music is naturally one
of the most agreeable things; and there seems to be a certain connection
between harmony and rhythm; for which reason some wise men held the soul
itself to be harmony; others, that it contains it.


We will now determine whether it is proper that children should be
taught to sing, and play upon any instrument, which we have before made
a matter of doubt. Now, it is well known that it makes a great deal of
difference when you would qualify any one in any art, for the person
himself to learn the practical part of it; for it is a thing very
difficult, if not impossible, for a man to be a good judge of what he
himself cannot do. It is also very necessary that children should have
some employment which will amuse them; for which reason the rattle of
Archytas seems well contrived, which they give children to play with,
to prevent their breaking those things which are about the house; for
at their age they cannot sit still: this therefore is well adapted to
infants, as instruction ought to be their rattle as they grow up; hence
it is evident that they should be so taught music as to be able to
practise it. Nor is it difficult to say what is becoming or unbecoming
of their age, or to answer the objections which some make to this
employment as mean and low. In the first place, it is necessary for them
to practise, that they may be judges of the art: for which reason this
should be done when they are young; but when they are grown older the
practical part may be dropped; while they will still continue judges of
what is excellent in the art, and take a proper pleasure therein, from
the knowledge they acquired of it in their youth. As to the censure
which some persons throw upon music, as something mean and low, it is
not difficult to answer that, if we will but consider how far we propose
those who are to be educated so as to become good citizens should be
instructed in this art, [1341a] and what music and what rhythms they
should be acquainted with; and also what instruments they should play
upon; for in these there is probably a difference. Such then is the
proper answer to that censure: for it must be admitted, that in some
cases nothing can prevent music being attended, to a certain degree,
with the bad effects which are ascribed to it; it is therefore clear
that the learning of it should never prevent the business of riper
years; nor render the body effeminate, and unfit for the business of war
or the state; but it should be practised by the young, judged of by the
old. That children may learn music properly, it is necessary that they
should not be employed in those parts of it which are the objects of
dispute between the masters in that science; nor should they perform
such pieces as are wondered at from the difficulty of their execution;
and which, from being first exhibited in the public games, are now
become a part of education; but let them learn so much of it as to be
able to receive proper pleasure from excellent music and rhythms; and
not that only which music must make all animals feel, and also slaves
and boys, but more. It is therefore plain what instruments they should
use; thus, they should never be taught to play upon the flute, or any
other instrument which requires great skill, as the harp or the like,
but on such as will make them good judges of music, or any other
instruction: besides, the flute is not a moral instrument, but rather
one that will inflame the passions, and is therefore rather to be used
when the soul is to be animated than when instruction is intended. Let
me add also, that there is something therein which is quite contrary to
what education requires; as the player on the flute is prevented from
speaking: for which reason our forefathers very properly forbade the use
of it to youth and freemen, though they themselves at first used it; for
when their riches procured them greater leisure, they grew more animated
in the cause of virtue; and both before and after the Median war their
noble actions so exalted their minds that they attended to every part of
education; selecting no one in particular, but endeavouring to collect
the whole: for which reason they introduced the flute also, as one
of the instruments they were to learn to play on. At Lacedaemon the
choregus himself played on the flute; and it was so common at Athens
that almost every freeman understood it, as is evident from the tablet
which Thrasippus dedicated when he was choregus; but afterwards they
rejected it as dangerous; having become better judges of what tended to
promote virtue and what did not. For the same reason many of the ancient
instruments were thrown aside, as the dulcimer and the lyre; as also
those which were to inspire those who played on them with pleasure, and
which required a nice finger and great skill to play well on. What the
ancients tell us, by way of fable, of the flute is indeed very rational;
namely, that after Minerva had found it, she threw it away: nor are they
wrong who say that the goddess disliked it for deforming the face of him
who played thereon: not but that it is more probable that she rejected
it as the knowledge thereof contributed nothing to the improvement of
the mind. Now, we regard Minerva as the inventress of arts and sciences.
As we disapprove of a child's being taught to understand instruments,
and to play like a master (which we would have confined to those who are
candidates for the prize in that science; for they play not to improve
themselves in virtue, but to please those who hear them, and gratify
their importunity); therefore we think the practice of it unfit for
freemen; but then it should be confined to those who are paid for doing
it; for it usually gives people sordid notions, for the end they have
in view is bad: for the impertinent spectator is accustomed to make them
change their music; so that the artists who attend to him regulate their
bodies according to his motions.


We are now to enter into an inquiry concerning harmony and rhythm;
whether all sorts of these are to be employed in education, or whether
some peculiar ones are to be selected; and also whether we should
give the same directions to those who are engaged in music as part of
education, or whether there is something different from these two.
Now, as all music consists in melody and rhythm, we ought not to be
unacquainted with the power which each of these has in education; and
whether we should rather choose music in which melody prevails, or
rhythm: but when I consider how many things have been well written upon
these subjects, not only by some musicians of the present age, but also
by some philosophers who are perfectly skilled in that part of music
which belongs to education; we will refer those who desire a very
particular knowledge therein to those writers, and shall only treat
of it in general terms, without descending to particulars. Melody is
divided by some philosophers, whose notions we approve of, into moral,
practical, and that which fills the mind with enthusiasm: they also
allot to each of these a particular kind of harmony which naturally
corresponds therewith: and we say that music should not be applied to
one purpose only, but many; both for instruction and purifying the soul
(now I use the word purifying at present without any explanation, but
shall speak more at large of it in my Poetics); and, in the third place,
as an agreeable manner of spending the time and a relaxation from the
uneasiness of the mind. [1342a] It is evident that all harmonies are to
be used; but not for all purposes; but the most moral in education: but
to please the ear, when others play, the most active and enthusiastic;
for that passion which is to be found very strong in some souls is to be
met with also in all; but the difference in different persons consists
in its being in a less or greater degree, as pity, fear, and enthusiasm
also; which latter is so powerful in some as to overpower the soul: and
yet we see those persons, by the application of sacred music to soothe
their mind, rendered as sedate and composed as if they had employed
the art of the physician: and this must necessarily happen to the
compassionate, the fearful, and all those who are subdued by their
passions: nay, all persons, as far as they are affected with those
passions, admit of the same cure, and are restored to tranquillity with
pleasure. In the same manner, all music which has the power of purifying
the soul affords a harmless pleasure to man. Such, therefore, should be
the harmony and such the music which those who contend with each other
in the theatre should exhibit: but as the audience is composed of two
sorts of people, the free and the well-instructed, the rude the mean
mechanics, and hired servants, and a long collection of the like, there
must be some music and some spectacles to please and soothe them; for as
their minds are as it were perverted from their natural habits, so
also is there an unnatural harmony, and overcharged music which is
accommodated to their taste: but what is according to nature gives
pleasure to every one, therefore those who are to contend upon the
theatre should be allowed to use this species of music. But in education
ethic melody and ethic harmony should be used, which is the Doric, as we
have already said, or any other which those philosophers who are skilful
in that music which is to be employed in education shall approve of.
But Socrates, in Plato's Republic, is very wrong when he [1342b] permits
only the Phrygian music to be used as well as the Doric, particularly as
amongst other instruments he banishes the flute; for the Phrygian music
has the same power in harmony as the flute has amongst the instruments;
for they are both pathetic and raise the mind: and this the practice
of the poets proves; for in their bacchanal songs, or whenever they
describe any violent emotions of the mind, the flute is the instrument
they chiefly use: and the Phrygian harmony is most suitable to these
subjects. Now, that the dithyrambic measure is Phrygian is allowed by
general consent; and those who are conversant in studies of this sort
bring many proofs of it; as, for instance, when Philoxenus endeavoured
to compose dithyrambic music for Doric harmony, he naturally fell back
again into Phrygian, as being fittest for that purpose; as every one
indeed agrees, that the Doric music is most serious, and fittest to
inspire courage: and, as we always commend the middle as being between
the two extremes, and the Doric has this relation with respect to other
harmonies, it is evident that is what the youth ought to be instructed
in. There are two things to be taken into consideration, both what is
possible and what is proper; every one then should chiefly endeavour to
attain those things which contain both these qualities: but this is to
be regulated by different times of life; for instance, it is not easy
for those who are advanced in years to sing such pieces of music as
require very high notes, for nature points out to them those which are
gentle and require little strength of voice (for which reason some who
are skilful in music justly find fault with Socrates for forbidding the
youth to be instructed in gentle harmony; as if, like wine, it would
make them drunk, whereas the effect of that is to render men bacchanals,
and not make them languid): these therefore are what should employ those
who are grown old. Moreover, if there is any harmony which is proper for
a child's age, as being at the same time elegant and instructive, as the
Lydian of all others seems chiefly to be-These then are as it were the
three boundaries of education, moderation, possibility, and decorum.



  Act of the city, what, 69

  Actions, their original spring, i

  Administration, 76;
      whether to be shared by the whole community, 203

  AEsumnetes, 96

  AEthiopia, in what manner the power of the state is there regulated, 112

  Alterations in government, whence they arise, 142;
      what they are, 143

  Ambractia, the government of, changed, 151

  Andromadas Reginus, a lawgiver to the Thracian Calcidians, 65

  Animals, their different provisions by nature, 14;
      intended by nature for the benefit of man, 14;
      what constitutes their different species, 113

  Animals, tame, why better than wild, 8

  Arbitrator and judge, their difference, 49

  Architas his rattle, 248

  Areopagus, senate of, 63

  Argonauts refuse to take Hercules with them, 93

  Aristocracies, causes of commotions in them, 157;
      chief cause of their alteration, 158;
      may degenerate into an oligarchy, 79

  Aristocracy, what, 78;
      treated of, 120;
      its object, 121

  Art, works of, which most excellent, 20

  Artificers and slaves, their difference, 24

  Assemblies, public, advantageous to a democracy, 134

  Assembly, public, its proper business, 133

  Athens, different dispositions of the citizens of, 149

  Barter, its original, 15

  Being, what the nature of every one is, 3

  Beings, why some command, others obey, 2

  Body by nature to be governed, 8;
      requires our care before the soul, 232

  Calchis, the government of, changed, 151

  Calcidians, 65

  Carthaginian government described, 60

  Census in a free state should be as extensive as possible, 131;
      how to be altered, 162

  Charondas supposed to be the scholar of Zaleucus, 64

  Child, how to be managed when first born, 235;
      should be taught nothing till he is five years old, 235;
      how then to be educated, 236

  Children, the proper government of, 22;
      what their proper virtues, 23;
      what they are usually taught, 240

  Cities, how governed at first, 3;
      what, 3;
      the work of nature, 3;
      prior in contemplation to a family, or an individual, 4

  Citizen, who is one? 66, 68;
      should know both how to command and obey, 73

  Citizens must have some things in common, 26;
      should be exempted from servile labour, 51;
      privileges different in different governments, 68;
      if illegally made, whether illegal, 69;
      who admitted to be, 75;
      in the best states ought not to follow merchandise, 216

  City, may be too much one, 27, 35;
      what, 66, 82;
      when it continues the same, 70;
      for whose sake established, 76;
      its end, 83;
      of what parts made up, 113;
      best composed of equals, 126

  City of the best form, what its establishment ought to be, 149;
      wherein its greatness consists, 149;
      may be either too large or too small, 209;
      what should be its situation, 211;
      whether proper near the sea, 211;
      ought to be divided by families into different sorts of men, 218

  City and confederacy, their difference, 37;
      wherein it should be one, 27

  Command amongst equals should be in rotation, 101

  Common meals not well established at Lacedaemon-well at Crete, 56;
      the model from whence the Lacedaemonian was taken, 56;
      inferior to it in some respects, 56

  Community, its recommendations deceitful, 34;
      into what people it may be divided, 194

  Community of children, 29, 30;
      inconveniences attending it, 31

  Community of goods, its inconveniences, 28;
      destructive of modesty and liberality, 34

  Community of wives, its inconveniences, 27

  Contempt a cause of sedition, 146

  Courage of a man different from a woman's, 74

  Courts, how many there ought to be, 140

  Courts of justice should be few in a small state, 192

  Cretan customs similar to the Lacedasmonian, 57;
      assembly open to every citizen, 58

  Cretans, their power, 58;
      their public meals, how conducted 58

  Crete, the government of, 57;
      description of the island of 57

  Customs at Carthage, Lacedaemon, and amongst the Scythians and
  Iberians, concerning those who had killed an enemy, 204, 205

  Dadalus's statues, 6.

  Delphos, an account of a sedition there, 150

  Demagogues, their influence in a democracy, 116.

  Democracies, arose out of tyrannies, 100;
      whence they arose, 142;
      when changed into tyrannies, 153;
      their different sorts, 184, 188;
      general rules for their establishment, 185;
      should not be made too perfect, 191

  Democracy, what, 79, 80;
      its definition, 112, 113;
      different sorts of, 115, 118;
      its object, 122;
      how subverted in the Isle of Cos, 152

  Democracy and aristocracy, how they may be blended together, 163

  Democratical state, its foundation, 184

  Despotic power absurd, 205

  Dion, his noble resolution, 171

  Dionysius, his taxes, 175

  Dissolution of kingdoms and tyrannies, 169

  Domestic employments of men and women different, 74

  Domestic government, its object, 77

  Domestic society the first, 3

  Draco, 65

  Dyrrachium, government of, 101

  Economy and money-getting, difference, 17

  Education necessary for the happiness of the city, 90;
      of all things most necessary to preserve the state, 166;
      what it ought to be, 166;
      the objects of it, 228, 229;
      should be taken care of by the magistrate, and correspond to
          the nature of government, 238;
      should be a common care, and regulated by laws, 238

  Employment, one to be allotted to one person in an extensive government, 136

  Employments in the state, how to be disposed of, 88-90;
      whether all should be open to all, 216

  Ephialtes abridges the power of the senate of Areopagus, 63

  Ephori, at Sparta, their power too great, 54;
      improperly chosen, 54;
      flattered by their kings, 54;
      the supreme judges, 55;
      manner of life too indulgent, 55

  Epidamnus, an account of a revolution there, 150

  Equality, how twofold, 143;
      in a democracy, how to be procured, 186

  Euripides quoted, 72

  Family government, of what it consists, 5

  Father should not be too young, 232

  Females and slaves, wherein they differ, 2;
      why upon a level amongst barbarians, 3

  Forfeitures, how to be applied, 192

  Fortune improper pretension for power, 91

  Freemen in general, what power they ought to have, 86

  Free state treated of, 121;
      how it arises out of a democracy and oligarchy, 122, 123

  Friendship weakened by a community of children, 31

  General, the office of, how to be disposed of, 98

  Gods, why supposed subject to kingly government, 3

  Good, relative to man, how divided, 201

  Good and evil, the perception of, necessary to form a family and a city, 4

  Good fortune something different from happiness, 202

  Government should continue as much as possible in the same hands, 28;
      in what manner it should be in rotation, 28;
      what, 66;
      which best, of a good man or good laws, 98;
      good, to what it should owe its preservation, 124;
      what the best, 225

  Government of the master over the slave sometimes reciprocally useful, ii

  Governments, how different from each other, 67;
      whether more than one form should be established, 76;
      should endeavour to prevent others from being too powerful--
      instances of it, 93;
      how compared to music, in;
      in general, to what they owe their preservation, 160

  Governments, political, regal, family, and servile, their difference
  from each other, i

  Governors and governed, whether their virtues are the same or different, 23;
      whether they should be the same persons or different, 227

  Grecians, their superiority over other people, 213

  Guards of a king natives, 96,168;
      of a tyrant foreigners, 96, 168

  Gymnastic exercises, when to be performed, 223;
      how far they should be made a part of education, 242, 243

  Happiness, wherein it consists, 207

  Happy life, where most likely to be found, 202

  Harmony, whether all kinds of it are to be used in education, 251

  Helots troublesome to the Lacedaemonians, 87

  Herdsmen compose the second-best democracy, 189

  Hippodamus, an account of, 46;
      his plan of government, 46, 47:
      objected to, 47, 48

  Homer quoted, 95, 116

  Honours, an inequality of, occasions seditions, 44

  Horse most suitable to an oligarchy, 195

  Houses, private, their best form, 221

  Human flesh devoured by some nations, 242

  Husbandmen compose the best democracy, 189;
      will choose to govern according to law, 118

  Husbandry, art of, whether part of money-getting, 13

  Instruments, their difference from each other, 6;
      wherein they differ from possessions, 6

  Italy, its ancient boundary, 218

  Jason's declaration, 72

  Judge should not act as an arbitrator, 48, 49;
      which is best for an individual, or the people in general, 98, 99

  Judges, many better than one, 102;
      of whom to consist, 102;
      how many different sorts are necessary, 141

  Judicial part of government, how to be divided, 140

  Jurymen, particular powers sometimes appointed to that office, 68

  Justice, what, 88;
      the course of, impeded in Crete, 59;
      different in different situations, 74

  King, from whom to be chosen 60;
      the guardian of his people 168

  King's children, what to be done with, 100

  King's power, what it should be 100;
      when unequal, 143

  Kingdom, what, 78

  Kingdoms, their object, 167;
      how bestowed, 168;
      causes of their dissolution, 173;
      how preserved, 173

  Kingly government in the heroic times, what, 96

  Kingly power regulated by the laws at Sparta in peace, 95;
      absolute in war, 95

  Kings formerly in Crete, 58;
      their power afterwards devolved to the kosmoi, 58;
      method of electing them at Carthage, 60

  Knowledge of the master and slave different from each other, ii

  Kosmoi, the power of, 58;
      their number, 58;
      wherein inferior to the ephori, 58;
      allowed to resign their office before their time is elapsed, 59

  Lacedamonian customs similar to the Cretan, 57

  Lacedaemonian government much esteemed, 41;
      the faults of it, 53-56;
      calculated only for war, 56;
      how composed of a democracy and oligarchy, 124

  Lacedaemonian revenue badly raised, 56, 57

  Lacedaemonians, wherein they admit things to be common, 33

  Land should be divided into two parts, 219

  Law makes one man a slave, another free, 6;
      whether just or not, 9;
      at Thebes respecting tradesmen, 75;
      nothing should be done contrary to it, 160

  Law and government, their difference, 107, 108

  Laws, when advantageous
  to alter them, 49,50, 52;
      of every state will be like the state, 88;
      whom they should be calculated for, 92;
      decide better than men, 101;
      moral preferable to written, 102;
      must sometimes bend to ancient customs, 117;
      should be framed to the state, 107;
      the same suit not all governments, 108

  Legislator ought to know not only what is best, but what is practical, n

  Legislators should fix a proper medium in property, 46

  Liberty, wherein it partly consists, 184, 185

  Life, happy, owing to a course of virtue, 125;
      how divided, 228

  Locrians forbid men to sell their property, 43

  Lycophron's account of law, 82

  Lycurgus gave over reducing the women to obedience, 53;
      made it infamous for any one to sell his possessions, 53;
      some of his laws censured, 54;
      spent much time at Crete, 57;
      supposed to be the scholar of Thales, 64

  Lysander wanted to abolish the kingly power in Sparta, 143

  Magistrate, to whom that name is properly given, 136

  Magistrates, when they make the state incline to an oligarchy, 61;
      when to an aristocracy, 61;
      at Athens, from whom to be chosen, 64;
      to determine those causes which the law cannot be applied to, 88;
      whether their power is to be the same, or different
          in different communities, 137;
      how they differ from each other, 138;
          in those who appoint them, 138;
      should be continued but a short time in democracies, 161;
      how to be chosen in a democracy, 185;
      different sorts and employments, 196

  Making and using, their difference, 6

  Malienses, their form of government, 131

  Man proved to be a political animal, 4;
      has alone a perception of good and evil, 4;
      without law and justice the worst of beings, 5

  Master, power of, whence it arises, as some think, 5

  Matrimony, when to be engaged in, 232

  Meals, common, established in Crete and Italy, 218;
      expense of, should be defrayed by the whole state, 219

  Mechanic employments useful for citizens, 73

  Mechanics, whether they should be allowed to be citizens, 74, 75;
      cannot acquire the practice of virtue, 75;
      admitted to be citizens in an oligarchy, 75

  Medium of circumstances best, 126

  Members of the community, their different pretences to the employments
  of the state, 90;
      what natural dispositions they ought to be of, 213

  Men, some distinguished by nature for governors, others to be governed, 7;
      their different modes of living, 13;
      worthy three ways, 226

  Merchandise, three different ways of carrying it on, 20

  Middle rank of men make the best citizens, 127;
      most conducive to the preservation of the state, 128;
      should be particularly attended to by the legislators, 130

  Military, how divided, 194

  Mitylene, an account of a dispute there, 150

  Monarch, absolute, 100

  Monarchies, their nature, 95, 96;
      sometimes elective, 95;
      sometimes hereditary, 95;
      whence they sometimes arise, 146;
      causes of corruption in them, 167;
      how preserved, 173

  Money, how it made its way into commerce, 16;
      first weighed, 16;
      afterwards stamped, 16;
      its value dependent on agreement, 16;
      how gained by exchange, 19

  Money--getting considered at large, 17, 18

  Monopolising gainful, 21; sometimes practised by cities, 21

  Monopoly of iron in Sicily, a remarkable instance of the profit of it, 21

  Music, how many species of it, in;
      why a part of education, 240;
      how far it should be taught, 242, 243;
      professors of it considered as mean people, 244;
      imitates the disposition of the mind, 246;
      improves our manners, 246;
      Lydian, softens the mind, 247;
      pieces of, difficult in their execution, not to be taught to children, 249

  Nature requires equality amongst equals, 101

  Naval power should be regulated by the strength of the city, 212

  Necessary parts of a city, what, 215

  Nobles, the difference between them, no;
      should take care of the poor, 193

  Oath, an improper one in an oligarchy, 166

  Officers of state, who they ought to be, 135;
      how long to continue, 135;
      who to choose them, 136

  Offices, distinction between them, 67;
      when subversive of the rights of the people, 130

  Offspring, an instance of the likeness of, to the sire, 30

  Oligarchies arise where the strength of the state consists in horse, no;
      whence they arose, 142

  Oligarchy admits not hired servants to be citizens, 75;
      its object, 79;
      what, 79, 81;
      its definition, 112;
      different sorts of, 117, 119;
      its object, 122;
      how it ought to be founded, 195

  Onomacritus supposed to have drawn up laws, 64

  Ostracism, why established, 93, 146;
      its power, 93;
      a weapon in the hand of sedition, 94

  Painting, why it should be made a part of education, 241

  Particulars, five, in which the rights of the people will be undermined, 130

  Pausanias wanted to abolish the ephori, 143

  People, how they should be made one, 35;
      of Athens assume upon their victory over the Medes, 64;
      what best to submit to a kingly government, 104;
      to an aristocratic, 104;
      to a free state, 104;
      should be allowed the power of pardoning, not of condemning, 135

  Periander's advice to Thrasy-bulus, 93, 169

  Pericles introduces the paying of those who attended the court of justice, 64

  Philolaus, a Theban legislator, quits his native country, 64

  Phocea, an account of a dispute there, 150

  Physician, his business, 86

  Physicians, their mode of practice in Egypt, 98;
      when ill consult others, 102

  Pittacus, 65

  Plato censured, 180

  Poor excused from bearing arms and from gymnastic exercises in
  an oligarchy, 131;
      paid for attending the public assemblies in a democracy, 131

  Power of the master, its object, 77

  Power, supreme, where it ought to be lodged, 84;
      why with the many, 85, 87

  Powers of a state, different methods of delegating them to the citizens,

  Preadvisers, court of, 135

  Priesthood, to whom to be allotted, 217

  Prisoners of war, whether they may be justly made slaves, 9

  Private property not regulated the source of sedition, 42;
      Phaleas would have it equal, 42;
      how Phaleas would correct the irregularities of it, 43;
      Plato would allow a certain difference in it, 43

  Property, its nature, 12;
      how it should be regulated, 32, 33;
      the advantages of having it private, 34;
      what quantity the public ought to have, 44;
      ought not to be common, 219

  Public assemblies, when subversive of the liberties of the people, 130

  Public money, how to be divided, 193

  Qualifications necessary for those who are to fill the first departments
  in government, 164

  Quality of a city, what meant by it, 129

  Quantity, 129

  Rest and peace the proper objects of the legislator, 230

  Revolutions in a democracy, whence they arise, 152;
      in an oligarchy, 156

  Rich fined in an oligarchy for not bearing arms and attending the
  gymnastic exercises, 131;
      receive nothing for attending the public assemblies in a democracy, 131

  Rights of a citizen, whether advantageous or not, 203

  Seditions sometimes prevented by equality, 45;
      their causes, 144-146;
      how to be prevented, 163

  Senate suits a democracy, 185

  Shepherds compose the second-best democracy, 189

  Slave, his nature and use, 6;
      a chattel, 7;
      by law, how, 9

  Slavery not founded in nature but law, as some think, 6

  Slaves, an inquiry into the virtues they are capable of, 23;
      difficult to manage properly, 51;
      their different sorts, 73

  Society necessary to man, 77

  Society, civil, the greatest blessing to man, 4;
      different from a commercial intercourse, 82

  Socrates, his mistakes on government, Book II. passim;
      his division of the inhabitants, 38;
      would have the women go to war, 38;
      Aristotle's opinion of his discourses, 38;
      his city would require a country of immeasurable extent, 39;
      his comparison of the human species to different kinds of metals, 40;
      his account of the different orders of men in a city imperfect, 3

  Sojourners, their situation, 66

  Solon's opinion of riches, 14;
      law for restraining property, 43;
      alters the Athenian government, 63

  Soul by nature the governor over the body, and in what manner, 8;
      of man how divided, 228, 231

  Speech a proof that man was formed for society, 4

  State, each, consists of a great number of parts, 109;
      its disproportionate increase the cause of revolutions, 147;
      firm, what, 159

  Stealing, how to be prevented, 44

  Submission to government, when it is slavery, 206

  Supreme power should be ultimately vested in the laws, 101

  Syracuse, the government of, languid, 151

  Temperance in a man different from a woman, 74

  Temples, how to be built, 223

  Thales, his contrivance to get money, 21;
      supposed to be the companion of Onomacritus, 64

  Things necessary to be known for the management of domestic affairs, 19, 20;
      necessary in the position of a city, 220

  Tribunals, what different things they should have under their
  jurisdictions, 137

  Tyrannies, how established, 168;
      how preserved, 174, 176;
      of short duration, 180;
      instances thereof, 180

  Tyranny, what, 79;
      not natural, 103;
      whence it arises, 108;
      treated of, 124;
      contains all that is bad in all governments, 125

  Tyrant, from whom usually chosen, 167;
      his object, 168;
      his guards, 168

  Tyrants, many of them originally enjoyed only kingly power, 168;
      the causes of their being conspired against, 169, 170;
      always love the worst of men, 175

  Uses of possessions, two, 15

  Usury detested, 19

  Venality to be guarded against, IDS

  Village, what, 3

  Virtue of a citizen has reference to the state, 71;
      different in different governments, 71

  Virtues different in different persons, 23, 24;
      whether the same constitute a good man and a valuable citizen, 71

  Walls necessary for a city, 222

  War, what is gained by it in some degree a natural acquisition, 14;
      not a final end, 205, 229

  Wife, the proper government of, 22

  Women, what their proper virtue, 23;
      not to be indulged in improper liberties, 52;
      had great influence at Lacedaemon, 52;
      of great disservice to the Lacedemonians, 52;
      why indulged by them, 53;
      their proper time of marrying, 233;
      how to be managed when with child, 234

  Zaleucus, legislator of the Western Locrians, 64;
      supposed to be the scholar of Thales, 64

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