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[1268b] [1] and moreover why are they not both to take food for themselves and to supply it to the soldiers direct from the land and from the same allotments? All these points therefore involve much confusion. Also the law about trials is unsatisfactory—the requirement that the verdict shall be given on separate counts when the charge in the indictment is single, and the conversion of the juror into an arbitrator. A qualified verdict is practicable in an arbitration even when there are several arbitrators (for they confer with one another about their verdict), but it is not practicable in the law-courts, but the contrary to this is actually provided for by most lawgivers, who prohibit consultation between the jurymen. Then the verdict will inevitably be a confused one when the juror thinks that the defendant is liable for damages but not in so large an amount as the plaintiff claims; for the plaintiff will sue for twenty minae1 and the juror will adjudge ten minae (or the former some larger and the latter some smaller sum), and another juror five minae, and yet another four (and so they will obviously go on making fractions), while others will award the whole sum, and others nothing; what then will be the method of counting the votes? Again, nobody compels the juror to commit perjury who, if the indictment has been drawn in simple form, gives a simple verdict of acquittal or condemnation, and gives it justly; for the juror [20] who gives a verdict of acquittal does not give judgement that the defendant owes nothing, but that he does not owe the twenty minae for which he is sued; it is only the juror who gives a verdict condemning the defendant when he does not think that he owes twenty minae who commits perjury. As for the view that an honor ought to be awarded to those who invent something advantageous to the state, legislation to this effect is not safe, but only specious to the ear; for it involves malicious prosecutions and, it may even happen, constitutional upheavals. And the matter leads to another problem and a different inquiry: some persons raise the question whether to alter the ancestral laws, supposing another law is better, is harmful or advantageous to states. Hence it is not easy to give a speedy agreement to the above proposal to honor reformers, if really it is disadvantageous to alter the laws; yet it is possible that persons may bring forward the repeal of laws or of the constitution as a benefit to the community. And since we have made mention of this question, it will be better if we set out a few further observations about it, for, as we said, it involves difficulty. And it might be thought that it would be better for alteration to take place; at all events in the other fields of knowledge this has proved beneficial—for example, medicine has been improved by being altered from the ancestral system, and gymnastic training, and in general all the arts and faculties so that since statesmanship also is to be counted as one of these, it is clear that the same thing necessarily holds good in regard to it as well. And it might be said that a sign of this has occurred in the actual events of history, for (one might argue) the laws of ancient times were too simple and uncivilized: the Hellenes, for instance, used both to carry arms and to purchase their wives from one another, and all the survivals of the customs of antiquity existing anywhere are utterly foolish,

1 The mina, 100 drachmas, may be put at 4 pounds (gold).

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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 9.146
    • E.C. Marchant, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, 1.5
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