This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
” implying that barbarian and slave are the same in nature. From these two partnerships then is first composed the household, and Hesiod3 was right when he wrote “ First and foremost a house and a wife and an ox for the ploughing—
” for the ox serves instead of a servant for the poor. The partnership therefore that comes about in the course of nature for everyday purposes is the ‘house,’ the persons whom Charondas4 speaks of as ‘meal-tub-fellows’ and the Cretan Epimenides5 as ‘manger-fellows.’6 On the other hand the primary partnership made up of several households for the satisfaction of not mere daily needs is the village. The village according to the most natural account seems to be a colony from7 a household, formed of those whom some people speak of as ‘fellow-sucklings,’ sons and sons' sons.8 It is owing to this that our cities were at first under royal sway and that foreign races are so still,  because they were made up of parts that were under royal rule; for every household is under the royal rule of its eldest member, so that the colonies from the household were so too, because of the kinship of their members. And this is what Homer9 means: “ And each one giveth law
To sons and eke to spouses—
” for his Cyclopes live in scattered families; and that is the way in which people used to live in early times. Also this explains why all races speak of the gods as ruled by a king, because they themselves too are some of them actually now so ruled and in other cases used to be of old; and as men imagine the gods in human form, so also they suppose their manner of life to be like their own. The partnership finally composed of several villages is the city-state; it has at last attained the limit of virtually complete self-sufficiency, and thus, while it comes into existence for the sake of life, it exists for the good life. Hence every city-state exists by nature, inasmuch as the first partnerships so exist; for the city-state is the end of the other partnerships, and nature is an end, since that which each thing is when its growth is completed we speak of as being the nature of each thing, for instance of a man, a horse, a household. Again, the object for which a thing exists, its end, is its chief good;
1 Uncertain: possibly a dagger and a carving-knife in one.
7 Perhaps the Greek should be altered to give ‘consists of colonies from.’
8 The words ‘sons and sons' sons’ are probably an interpolated note.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.