Now Zaleucus was by birth a Locrian of Italy
a man of noble family, admired for his education, and a pupil of
the philosopher Pythagoras. Having been accorded high favour in his native city, he was chosen
lawmaker and committed to writing a thoroughly novel system of law, making his beginning, first
of all, with the gods of the heavens.
For at the outset in the
introduction to his legislation as a whole he declared it to be necessary that the inhabitants
of the city should first of all assume as an article of their creed that gods exist, and that,
as their minds survey the heavens and its orderly scheme and arrangement, they should judge
that these creations are not the result of Chance or the work of men's hands; that they should
revere the gods as the cause of all that is noble and good in the life of mankind; and that
they should keep the soul pure from every kind of evil, in the belief that the gods take no
pleasure in either the sacrifices or costly gifts of the wicked but in the just and honourable
practices of good men.
And after inviting the citizens in this
introduction to reverence and justice, he appended the further command that they should
consider no one of their fellow citizens as an enemy with whom there can be no reconciliation,
but that the quarrel be entered into with the thought that they will again come to agreement
and friendship; and that the one who acts otherwise should be considered by his fellow citizens
to be savage and untamed of soul. Also the magistrates were urged by him not to be wilful or
arrogant, and not to render judgement out of enmity or friendship. And among his several
ordinances a number were added of his own devising, which showed exceptionally great wisdom.