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Who then are they who in the lawgiver's opinion are not to be permitted to speak? Those who have lived a shameful life; these men he forbids to address the people. Where does he show this? Under the heading “Scrutiny of public men”1 he says, “If any one attempts to speak before the people who beats his father or mother, or fails to support them or to provide a home for them.” Such a man, then, he forbids to speak. And right he is, by Zeus, say I! Why? Because if a man is mean toward those whom he ought to honor as the gods, how, pray, he asks, will such a man treat the members of another household, and how will he treat the whole city? Whom did he, in the second place, forbid to speak?
1 The Athenian ῥήτωρ was both public speaker and political leader. The profession was definite and well recognised. No one English word covers both the political and the oratorical activity of the profession.All public officials were required to submit to a fomal scrutiny （δοκιμασία） before taking office. The examining body was usually a law-court; in the case of the archons it was a court, after a preliminary hearing by the senate; senators elect appeared before the outgoing senate. From our passage it appears that a sort of “scrutiny” might be applied to the men who made politics their profession, without regard to any office for which they might be candidates.
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