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Title: A Treatise on Government

Author: Aristotle

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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 thee 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 himself.

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

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 inquiry.

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.

A. D.


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, 1907.

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
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Welldon, 1892; J. Gillies (Lubbock's Hundred Books), 1893. Historia
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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
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1902. Youth and Old Age, Life and Death and Respiration, W. Ogle,
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Bridgman, 1804. Politica, from the French of Regius, 1598; by W.
Ellis, 1776, 1778, 1888 (Morley's Universal Library), 1893 (Lubbock's
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Gillies) (Bohn's Classical Library), 1848; J. E. C. Welldon, 1883; B.
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(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


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 reason.


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. [1257b]

Money then being established as the necessary medium of exchange,
another species of money-getting spon 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 reaton 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 impracticable.

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 Lacedsemon, 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

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
Lacedsemon; 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 government.

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 misfortuue 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 in equality 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 honours.

"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 the 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 disorder; 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 men.

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 commation 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


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
goverment 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 Lacedsemon 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 Lacedsemon 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 Lacedae-monians 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 Crete.


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

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

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 other.

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 government.

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

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

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 different.


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 rich.

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


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 government.

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 b 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 fiact 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 ail 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 artist.

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 happiness.


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 erroneous.

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

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

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 states.


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 kingly.

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


[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, the n 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


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 this.



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

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 democracies.


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


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


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 rank.

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 taken.

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


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 preponderating.

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 submit.

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


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 fight.

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

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


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 Chal-cidians, 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 Lace-daemon, 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 counsellers 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 tyrannies.

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 less.

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 Lacedsemon, 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
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


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 o! 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 hereafter.


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


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 actions.

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 maigstrate 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


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

"How right to call Thalia to the feast:" and of some others he

"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


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,

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

Ambractia, the government of, changed, 151

Andromadas Reginus, a lawgiver to the Thracian Cal-cidians, 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, Lacedse-mon, 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,

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,

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,

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,


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,

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 K.oa-fj.01, 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

100 , ^+ 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,


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,

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

Mitylen^, 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, 132-134

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,


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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