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[1265b] [1] because this seems to take place in the states at present. But this ought to be regulated much more in the supposed case than it is now, for now nobody is destitute, because estates are divided among any number, but then, as division of estates will not be allowed, the extra children will necessarily have nothing, whether they are fewer in number or more. And one might think that restriction ought to be put on the birth-rate rather than on property, so as not to allow more than a certain number of children to be produced, and that in fixing their number consideration should be paid to the chances of its happening that some of the children born may die, and to the absence of children in the other marriages; but for the matter to be left alone, as it is in most states, is bound to lead to poverty among the citizens, and poverty produces sedition and crime. The Corinthian Phidon1 in fact, one of the most ancient lawgivers, thought that the house-holds and the citizen population ought to remain at the same numbers, even though at the outset the estates of all were unequal in size; but in Plato's Laws the opposite is the case.2 However, we must say later what we think would be a better system in these matters; but another question omitted in the Laws is how the rulers will be different from the classes ruled; the writer prescribes [20] that the rulers are to stand in the same relation to the ruled as the warp of cloth stands to the woof by being made of different wool.3 And inasmuch as he allows a man's total property to be increased up to five times its original value, for what reason should not an increase in his landed estate be allowed up to a certain point? Also it must be considered whether the proposed separation of homesteads is not inexpedient for household economy—for the writer allotted two homesteads separate from one another to each citizen; but it is difficult to manage two households.4 And the whole constitution is intended, it is true, to be neither a democracy nor an oligarchy, but of the form intermediate between them which is termed a republic, for the government is constituted from the class that bears arms. If therefore he introduces this constitution as the one most commonly existing of all forms of constitution in the actual states, he has perhaps made a good proposal, but if he introduces it as the next best to the first form of constitution, it is not a good proposal; for very likely one might approve the Spartan constitution more highly, or perhaps some other form nearer to an aristocracy. In fact some people assert that the best constitution must be a combination of all the forms of constitution, and therefore praise the constitution of Sparta (for some people say that it consists of oligarchy, monarchy and democracy, meaning that the kingship is monarchy and the rule of the ephors oligarchy, but that an element of democracy is introduced by the rule of the ephors because the ephors come from the common people; while others pronounce the ephorate a tyranny but find an element of democracy in the public mess-tables and in the other regulations of daily life).

1 Otherwise unknown.

2 i.e. the estates are equal, and the number of households fixed, but not the number of citizens.

3 Plat. Laws 734e ff. In weaving cloth the warp (the threads set up first) must be of strong wool, the woof (the threads woven across the warp) must be softer.

4 The object was to provide a separate establishment for a married son, Plat. Laws 776a.

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