The mutual rights of parents
and children are not the same as those between brothers; the obligations of members of a
comradeship not the same as those of fellow-citizens; and similarly with the other forms
Injustice therefore also is differently
constituted in each of these relationships: wrong is increasingly serious in proportion as
it is done to a nearer friend. For example, it is more shocking to defraud a comrade of
money than a fellow-citizen; or to refuse aid to a brother than to do so to a stranger; or
to strike one's father than to strike anybody else. Similarly it is natural that the
claims of justice also should increase with the nearness of the friendship, since
friendship and justice exist between the same persons and are co-extensive in range.
But all associations are parts as it were of the association of the State. Travellers for
instance associate together for some advantage, namely to procure some of their necessary
supplies. But the political association too, it is believed, was originally formed, and
continues to be maintained, for the advantage of its members: the aim of lawgivers is the
good of the community, and justice is sometimes defined as that which is to the common
Thus the other associations aim at some
particular advantage; for example sailors combine to seek the profits of seafaring in the
way of trade or the like, comrades in arms the gains of warfare, their aim being either
plunder, or victory over the enemy or the capture of a city1
; and similarly the members of a
tribe or parish2
[And some associations appear to be formed for the sake of pleasure, for example religious guilds and dining-clubs, which are
unions for sacrifice and social intercourse. But all these associations seem to be
subordinate to the association of the State, which aims not at a temporary advantage but
at one covering the whole of life.] combine to perform sacrifices and hold
festivals in connection with them, thereby both paying honor to the gods and providing
pleasant holidays for themselves. For it may be noticed that the sacrifices and festivals
of ancient origin take place after harvest, being in fact harvest-festivals; this is
because that was the season of the year at which people had most leisure.
All these associations then appear to be parts of the association of the
State; and the limited friendships which we reviewed will correspond to the limited
associations from which they spring. 10.
Now there are three forms of constitution, and also an equal number of perversions or
corruptions of those forms. The constitutions are Kingship, Aristocracy, and thirdly, a
constitution based on a property classification, which it seems appropriate to describe as
timocratic, although most people are accustomed to speak of it merely as a constitutional
government or Republic.
The best of these constitutions
is Kingship, and the worst Timocracy. The perversion of Kingship is Tyranny.