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[1288b] [10]

1In all the arts and the sciences that are not merely sectional but that in relation to some one class of subject are complete, it is the function of a single art or science to study what is suited to each class,2 for instance what sort of gymnastic exercise is beneficial for what sort of bodily frame, and what is the best sort (for the best must naturally suit the person of the finest natural endowment and equipment), and also what one exercise taken by all is the best for the largest number (for this is also a question for gymnastic science), and in addition, in case someone desires a habit of body and a knowledge of athletic exercises that are not the ones adapted to him, it is clearly just as much the task of the trainer and gymnastic master to produce this capacity3 also; [20] and we notice this also happening similarly in regard to medicine, and shipbuilding, and the making of clothes, and every other craft. Hence it is clear that in the case of the constitution as well it is the business of the same science to study which is the best constitution and what character it must have to be the most ideal if no external circumstance stands in the way, and what constitution is adapted to what people (since for many it is doubtless impossible to attain the best one, so that the good lawgiver and the true statesman must be acquainted with both the form of constitution that is the highest absolutely and that which is best under assumed conditions), and also thirdly the form of constitution based on a certain supposition (for he must be also capable of considering both how some given constitution could be brought into existence originally and also in what way having been brought into existence it could be preserved for the longest time: I mean for example if it has befallen some state not only not to possess the best constitution and to be unprovided even with the things necessary for it, but also not to have the constitution that is practicable under the circumstances but an inferior one); and beside all these matters he must ascertain the form of constitution most suited to all states, since most of those who make pronouncements about the constitution, even if the rest of what they say is good, entirely miss the points of practical utility. For it is proper to consider4 not only what is the best constitution but also what is the one possible of achievement, and likewise also what is the one that is easier and more generally shared by all states. But as it is, some students inquire which is the highest form of all even though requiring much material equipment,5 while those who rather state some general form sweep aside the constitutions actually existing and praise that of Sparta or some other; [1289a] [1] but the proper course is to bring forward an organization of such a sort that men will easily be persuaded and be able in the existing circumstances to take part in it, since to reform a constitution is no less a task than to frame one from the beginning, just as to re-learn a science is just as hard as to learn it originally; in addition therefore to the things mentioned the student of politics must also be able to render aid to the constitutions that exist already, as was also said before.6 But this is impossible if he does not know how many kinds of constitution there are; but at present some people think that there is only one kind of democracy and one kind of oligarchy, but this is not true. Hence he must take in view the different varieties of the constitutions, and know how many there are and how many are their combinations. And after this it needs this same discrimination also to discern the laws that are the best, and those that are suited to each of the forms of constitution. For the laws should be laid down, and all people lay them down, to suit the constitutions—the constitutions must not be made to suit the laws; for a constitution is the regulation of the offices of the state in regard to the mode of their distribution and to the question what is the sovereign power in the state and what is the object of each community, but laws are distinct from the principles of the constitution, and regulate how the magistrates are to govern and to guard against those [20] who transgress them. So that clearly it is necessary to be in possession of the different varieties of each form of constitution, and the number of these, even for the purpose of legislation; for it is impossible for the same laws to be expedient for all oligarchies or democracies if there are really several kinds of them, and not one sort of democracy or oligarchy only.

And inasmuch as in our first inquiry7 about the forms of the constitution we classified the right constitutions as three, kingship, aristocracy and constitutional government, and the deviations from these as three, tyranny from kingship, oligarchy from aristocracy and democracy from constitutional government, and about aristocracy and kingship we have spoken (for to study the best constitution is the same thing as to speak about the forms that bear those names, since each of them means a system based on the qualification of virtue equipped with means), and as also the question what constitutes the difference between aristocracy and kingship and when a royal government is to be adopted has been decided before, it remains to discuss the form of constitution designated by the name8 common to them all, and the other forms, oligarchy, democracy and tyranny. Now it is manifest also which of these deviations9 is the worst and which the second worst. For necessarily the deviation from the first and most divine must be the worst,10 and kingship must of necessity either possess the name only, without really being kingship, [1289b] [1] or be based on the outstanding superiority of the man who is king; so that tyranny being the worst form must be the one farthest removed from constitutional government, and oligarchy must be the second farthest (for aristocracy is widely separated from that constitution), while democracy must be the most moderate. An account of their relative merits has indeed already been given also by one of the former writers,11 though not on the same principle as ours; for he inclined to judge that there were good varieties of all the forms, for instance a good sort of oligarchy and so on, and that democracy was the worst among these, but the best among the bad varieties, whereas we say that the deviations are wholly wrong, and that it is not right to speak of one form of oligarchy as better than another, but only as less bad. But let us for the present dismiss the question of a classification of this nature. Our business is first to distinguish how many different forms of the constitutions there are, assuming that there do exist several kinds of democracy and of oligarchy; next, which form is most general, and which most desirable after the best constitution, and also if there exists some other form that is aristocratic in nature and well constructed but not fitted to the largest number of cities, which this is; next, which of the other forms too is desirable for what people (since probably for some democracy is necessary more than oligarchy, and for others oligarchy more than democracy); [20] and after this, in what way should one proceed who wishes to set up these constitutions, I mean the various forms of democracy and of oligarchy; and finally, when as far as possible we have concisely touched upon all these questions, we must endeavor to review what are the agencies that destroy and what are those that preserve constitutions generally and each variety of constitution in particular, and what are the causes by which it is most natural for these events to be brought about.

Now the reason of there being several forms of constitution is that every city has a considerable number of parts. For in the first place we see that all the cities are composed of households, and then again that of this multitude some must necessarily be rich and some poor and some between the two, and also of the rich and the poor the former class is heavy-armed and the latter without armor. And we see that one portion of the common people is agricultural, another engaged in trade and another mechanic. And the upper classes have distinctions also corresponding to their wealth and the amounts of their property (for example in a stud of horses—for it is not easy to rear horses without being rich, and this is why in ancient times there were oligarchies in all the states whose strength lay in their cavalry, and they used to use horses for their wars against their neighbors, as for instance did the Eretrians and Chalcidians and the people of Magnesia on the Maeander and many of the other Asiatic peoples). Moreover in addition to differences in wealth there is the difference of birth, and that in regard to virtue, [1290a] [1] and indeed any other similar distinction that in the discussion of aristocracy has been stated to constitute a part of the state (for there we distinguished how many necessary parts there are of which every state must consist); for sometimes all of these parts participate in the constitution and sometimes a smaller or a larger number of them. It is clear therefore that there must necessarily be several forms of constitution differing in kind from one another, inasmuch as these parts differ in kind among themselves. For a constitution means the arrangement of the magistracies, and this all people plan out either according to the power of those who share political rights, or according to some common equality between them, I mean for example between the poor or between the rich, or some equality common to them both.12 It follows therefore that there are as many forms of constitution as there are modes of arrangement according to the superiorities and the differences of the sections. But the forms mostly are thought to be two—just as in the case of the winds we speak of some as north and some as south and regard the rest as deviations from these,13 so also of constitutions there are held to be two forms, democracy and oligarchy; for men reckon aristocracy as a kind of oligarchy because it is oligarchy of a sort, and what is called constitutional government as democracy, just as in the case of the winds they reckon the west wind as a kind of north wind and the east wind as a kind of south wind. [20] And the case is similar with musical modes, as some people say: for there too they posit two kinds, the Dorian mode and the Phrygian, and call the other scales some of them Dorian and the others Phrygian. For the most part therefore they are accustomed to think in this way about the constitutions; but it is truer and better to class them as we did, and assuming that there are two well-constructed forms, or else one, to say that the others are deviations, some from the well-blended constitution and the others from the best one, the more tense and masterful constitutions being oligarchic and the relaxed and soft ones demotic.

But it is not right to define democracy, as some people are in the custom of doing now, merely as the constitution in which the multitude is sovereign (for even in oligarchies and everywhere the majority is sovereign) nor oligarchy as the constitution in which a few are sovereign over the government. For if the whole number were thirteen hundred, and a thousand of these were rich and did not give the three hundred poor a share in the government although they were free-born and like themselves in all other respects, no one would say that this people was governed democratically; and similarly also if there were few poor, but these more powerful than the rich who were more numerous, no one would call such a government a democracy either, if the other citizens being rich had no share in the honors. Rather therefore ought we to say that it is a democracy [1290b] [1] when the free are sovereign and an oligarchy when the rich are, but that it comes about that the sovereign class in a democracy is numerous and that in an oligarchy small because there are many men of free birth and few rich. For otherwise, suppose people assigned the offices by height, as some persons14 say is done in Ethiopia, or by beauty, that would be an oligarchy, because both the handsome and the tall are few in number. Nevertheless it is not enough to define these constitutions even by wealth and free birth only; but inasmuch as there are more elements than one both in democracy and in oligarchy, we must add the further distinction that neither is it a democracy if the free15 being few govern the majority who are not of free birth, as for instance at Apollonia on the Ionian Gulf and at Thera (for in each of these cities the offices of honor were filled by the specially noble families who had been the first settlers of the colonies, and these were few out of many), nor is it a democracy16 if the rich rule because they are in a majority, as in ancient times at Colophon (for there the majority of the population owned large property before the war against the Lydians took place), but it is a democracy when those who are free are in the majority and have sovereignty over the government, and an oligarchy when the rich and more well born [20] are few and sovereign.

It has then been stated that there are several forms of constitution, and what is the cause of this; but let us take the starting-point that was laid down before17 and say that there are more forms than those mentioned, and what these forms are, and why they vary. For we agree that every state possesses not one part but several. Therefore just as, in case we intended to obtain a classification of animals, we should first define the properties necessarily belonging to every animal (for instance some of the sense organs, and the machinery for masticating and for receiving food, such as a mouth and a stomach, and in addition to these the locomotive organs of the various species), and if there were only so many necessary parts, but there were different varieties of these (I mean for instance certain various kinds of mouth and stomach and sensory organs, and also of the locomotive parts as well), the number of possible combinations of these variations will necessarily produce a variety of kinds of animals (for it is not possible for the same animal to have several different sorts of mouth, nor similarly of ears either), so that when all the possible combinations of these are taken they will all produce animal species, and there will be as many species of the animal as there are combinations of the necessary parts:—so in the same way also we shall classify the varieties of the constitutions that have been mentioned. For states also are composed not of one but of several parts, as has been said often. One of these parts therefore is the mass of persons concerned with food who are called farmers, [1291a] [1] and second is what is called the mechanic class (and this is the group engaged in the arts without which it is impossible for a city to be inhabited, and some of these arts are indispensably necessary, while others contribute to luxury or noble living), and third is a commercial class (by which I mean the class that is engaged in selling and buying and in wholesale and retail trade), and fourth is the class of manual laborers, and the fifth class is the one to defend the state in war, which is no less indispensable than the others if the people are not to become the slaves of those who come against them; for surely it is quite out of the question that it should be proper to give the name of state to a community that is by nature a slave, for a state is self-sufficient, but that which is a slave is not self-sufficient. Therefore the statement made in the Republic18 is witty but not adequate. For Socrates says that the most necessary elements of which a state is composed are four, and he specifies these as a weaver, a farmer, a shoemaker and a builder; and then again he adds, on the ground that these are not self-sufficient, a copper-smith and the people to look after the necessary live-stock, and in addition a merchant and a retail trader. These elements together constitute the full complement of his first city,19 implying that every city is formed for the sake of the necessaries of life and not rather for the sake of what is noble, and that it has equal need of both shoemakers and farmers; but the warrior class [20] he does not assign to it until as the territory is increased and comes into contact with that of the neighbors they are brought into war. But yet even among the four partners or whatever their number be there must necessarily be somebody to assign justice and to judge their claims; inasmuch therefore as one would count the soul of an animal to be more a part of it than the body, so also the factors in states corresponding to the soul must be deemed to be parts of them more than those factors which contribute to necessary utility,—the former being the military class and the class that plays a part in judicial justice, and in addition to these the deliberative class, deliberation being a function of political intelligence. And it makes no difference to the argument whether these functions are held by special classes separately or by the same persons; for it often happens for the same men to be both soldiers and farmers. Hence inasmuch as both groups20 of classes must be counted parts of the state, it is clear that the heavy-armed soldiery at any rate21 must be a part of the state. And a seventh class is the one that serves the community by means of its property, the class that we call the rich. And an eighth is the class of public servants, that is, those who serve in the magistracies, inasmuch as without rulers it is impossible for a city to exist; it is therefore necessary that there should be some men who are able to govern and who render this service to the state either continuously or in turn. And there remain the classes which we happen to have defined just before, the deliberative class and the one that judges the claims of litigants. If therefore it is proper for the states to have these functions performed, and well and justly performed, [1291b] [1] it is necessary for there also to be some men possessing virtue in the form of political excellence. Now as to the other capacities many people think that it is possible for them to be possessed in combination, for example, for the same men to be the soldiers that defend the state in war and the farmers that till the land and the artisans, and also the councillors and judges, and indeed all men claim to possess virtue and think themselves capable of filling most of the offices of state; but it is not possible for the same men to be poor and rich. Hence these seem to be in the fullest sense the parts of the state, the rich and the poor. And also the fact that the rich are usually few and the poor many makes these two among the parts of the state appear as opposite sections; so that the superior claims22 of these classes are even made the guiding principles upon which constitutions are constructed, and it is thought that there are two forms of constitution, democracy and oligarchy.

That there are then several forms of constitution, and what are the reasons for this, has been stated before; let us now say that there are several varieties both of democracy and of oligarchy. And this is clear even from what has been said already. For there are several classes both of the people and of those called the notables; for instance classes of the people are, one the farmers, another the class dealing with the arts and crafts, another the commercial class [20] occupied in buying and selling and another the one occupied with the sea—and this is divided into the classes concerned with naval warfare, with trade, with ferrying passengers and with fishing (for each of these classes is extremely numerous in various places, for instance fishermen at Tarentum and Byzantium, navy men at Athens, the mercantile class at Aegina and Chios, and the ferryman-class at Tenedos), and in addition to these the hand-working class and the people possessing little substance so that they cannot live a life of leisure, also those that are not free men of citizen parentage on both sides, and any other similar class of common people; while among the notables wealth, birth, virtue, education, and the distinctions that are spoken of in the same group as these, form the classes.

The first kind of democracy therefore is the one which receives the name chiefly in respect of equality. For the law of this sort of democracy ascribes equality to the state of things in which the poor have no more prominence than the rich, and neither class is sovereign, but both are alike; for assuming that freedom is chiefly found in a democracy, as some persons suppose, and also equality, this would be so most fully when to the fullest extent all alike share equally in the government. And since the people are in the majority, and a resolution passed by a majority is paramount, this must necessarily be a democracy. This therefore is one kind of democracy, where the offices are held on property qualifications, but these low ones, although it is essential that the man who acquires the specified amount should have the right to hold office, and the man who loses it should not hold office. [1292a] [1] And another kind of democracy is for all the citizens that are not open to challenge23 to have a share in office, but for the law to rule; and another kind of democracy is for all to share in the offices on the mere qualification of being a citizen, but for the law to rule. Another kind of democracy is where all the other regulations are the same, but the multitude is sovereign and not the law; and this comes about when the decrees of the assembly over-ride the law. This state of things is brought about by the demagogues; for in the states under democratic government guided by law a demagogue does not arise, but the best classes of citizens are in the most prominent position; but where the laws are not sovereign, then demagogues arise; for the common people become a single composite monarch, since the many are sovereign not as individuals but collectively. Yet what kind of democracy Homer24 means by the words ‘no blessing is the lordship of the many’—whether he means this kind or when those who rule as individuals are more numerous, is not clear. However, a people of this sort, as being monarch, seeks to exercise monarchic rule through not being ruled by the law, and becomes despotic, so that flatterers are held in honor. And a democracy of this nature is comparable to the tyrannical form of monarchy, because their spirit is the same, and both exercise despotic control over the better classes, and the decrees voted by the assembly [20] are like the commands issued in a tyranny, and the demagogues and the flatterers are the same people or a corresponding class, and either set has the very strongest influence with the respective ruling power, the flatterers with the tyrants and the demagogues with democracies of this kind. And these men cause the resolutions of the assembly to be supreme and not the laws, by referring all things to the people; for they owe their rise to greatness to the fact that the people is sovereign over all things while they are sovereign over the opinion of the people, for the multitude believes them. Moreover those who bring charges against the magistrates say that the people ought to judge the suits, and the people receive the invitation gladly, so that all the magistracies are put down. And it would seem to be a reasonable criticism to say that such a democracy is not a constitution at all; for where the laws do not govern there is no constitution, as the law ought to govern all things while the magistrates control particulars, and we ought to judge this to be constitutional government; if then democracy really is one of the forms of constitution, it is manifest that an organization of this kind, in which all things are administered by resolutions of the assembly, is not even a democracy in the proper sense, for it is impossible for a voted resolution to be a universal rule.

Let this be our discussion of the different kinds of democracy.

Of the kinds of oligarchy, one is for the magistracies to be appointed from property-assessments so high that the poor who are the majority have no share in the government, but for the man who acquires the requisite amount of property to be allowed to take part in it; [1292b] [1] another is when the magistracies are filled from high assessments and the magistrates themselves elect to fill vacancies (so that if they do so from all the citizens of this assessment, this appears rather to be of the nature of an aristocracy, but if from a particular section of them, it is oligarchical); another variety of oligarchy is when son succeeds father in office; and a fourth kind is when the hereditary system just mentioned exists and also the magistrates govern and not the law. This among oligarchies is the form corresponding to tyranny among monarchies and to the form of democracy about which we spoke last among democracies, and indeed oligarchy of this sort has the special name of dynasty.25

So many therefore are the kinds of oligarchy and of democracy; but it must not escape notice that in many places it has come about that although the constitution as framed by the laws is not democratic, yet owing to custom and the social system it is democratically administered, and similarly by a reverse process in other states although the legal constitution is more democratic, yet by means of the social system and customs it is carried on rather as an oligarchy. This occurs chiefly after alterations of the constitutions have taken place; for the people do not change over to the new system immediately but are content at the first stages to gain small advantages from the other party, [20] so that the previously existing laws continue although power is in the hands of the party that is changing the constitution.

And that these various kinds of democracy and oligarchy exist is manifest from the actual things that have been said. For necessarily either all the parts of the population that have been mentioned must have a share in the government, or some and not others. When therefore the farmer class and the class possessed of moderate property is sovereign over the government, they govern according to laws; for they have a livelihood if they work, but are not able to be at leisure, so that they put the law in control and hold the minimum of assemblies necessary; and the other persons have the right to take part when they have acquired the property-assessment fixed by the laws, so that to take part in the government is open to all who have got that amount of property; since for it not to be open to everybody on any terms at all is a characteristic of oligarchy, but then on the other hand it is impossible for it to be open to them to have leisure if there are no revenues.26 This then is one kind of democracy for these reasons. Another kind is due to the distinction that comes next: it is possible that all the citizens not liable to objection on the score of birth may have the right to take part in the assembly, but may actually take part only when they are able to be at leisure; hence in a democracy of this nature the laws govern because there is no revenue. A third kind is when all those who are free men have the right to take part in the government yet do not do so because of the aforesaid reason, so that it follows that in this form of democracy also the law governs. [1293a] [1] And a fourth kind of democracy is the one that has been the last in point of time to come into existence in the states. Because the states have become much greater than the original ones and possess large supplies of revenue, while all the citizens have a share in the government because of the superiority27 of the multitude, all actually take part in it and exercise their citizenship because even the poor are enabled to be at leisure by receiving pay. Indeed the multitude in this kind of state has a very great deal of leisure, for they are not hampered at all by the care of their private affairs, but the rich are, so that often they take no part in the assembly nor in judging lawsuits. Owing to this the multitude of the poor becomes sovereign over the government, instead of the laws. Such in number and in nature are the kinds of democracy that these causes necessarily bring into existence. To turn to the varieties and of oligarchy, when more men possess property, but less of it and not a very large amount, this is the first form of oligarchy; for they allow the man that acquires property the right to participate, and because there is a large number of persons participating in the government it necessarily follows that not the men but the law is sovereign (for the farther removed they are from monarchy, and as they have not so much property as to be idle and neglect it, nor yet so little as to be kept at the expense of the state, [20] they are compelled to call upon the law to rule instead of ruling themselves). But then if the owners of the properties are fewer than those who owned them previously, and own more, the second form of oligarchy comes into being; for as they become stronger they claim to have a larger share, and therefore they themselves select those from among the rest of the citizens who go into the government, but as they are not yet strong enough to rule without law they make the law conform with this.28 And if they carry matters further by becoming fewer and holding larger properties, there comes about the third advance in oligarchy, which consists in their keeping the offices in their own hands, but under a law enacting that they are to be hereditary. And when finally they attain very great pre-eminence by their wealth and their multitude of friends, a dynasty of this nature is near to monarchy, and men become supreme instead of the law; and this is the fourth kind of oligarchy, the counterpart of the last kind of democracy.

Furthermore29 there are two constitutions by the side of democracy and oligarchy, one30 of which is counted by everybody and has been referred to as one of the four forms of constitution (and the four meant are monarchy, oligarchy, democracy and fourth the form called aristocracy), but there is a fifth, entitled by the common name of them all (for it is called constitutional government), but as it does not often occur it is overlooked by those who try to enumerate the forms of constitution, and they use the four names only (as does Plato) in the list of constitutions. [1293b] [1] Now the name of aristocracy is indeed properly given to the constitution that we discussed in our first discourses31 (for it is right to apply the name ‘aristocracy’—‘government of the best’—only to the constitution of which the citizens are best in virtue absolutely and not merely good men in relation to some arbitrary standard, for under it alone the same person is a good man and a good citizen absolutely, whereas those who are good under the other constitutions are good relatively to their own form of constitution); nevertheless there are also some constitutions that have differences both in comparison with oligarchically governed states and with what is termed constitutional government, inasmuch as in them they elect the officials not only by wealth but also by goodness; this form of constitution differs from both and is called aristocratic. For even in the states that do not pay any public attention to virtue there are nevertheless some men that are held in high esteem and are thought worthy of respect. Where then the constitution takes in view wealth and virtue as well as the common people, as for instance at Carthage, this is of the nature of an aristocracy; and so also are the states, in which the constitution, like that of Sparta, takes in view two of these things only, virtue and the common people, and there is a mingling of these two factors, democracy and virtue. These then are two kinds of aristocracy beside the first, which is the best constitution, [20] and a third kind is those instances of what is called constitutional government that incline more in the direction of oligarchy.

It remains for us to speak about what is termed constitutional government and also about tyranny. Though neither the former nor the aristocracies spoken of just now are really deviations, we have classed them thus because in actual truth they have all fallen away from the most correct constitution, and consequently are counted with the deviation-forms, and those are deviations from them, as we said in our remarks at the beginning.32 Tyranny is reasonably mentioned last because it is the least constitutional of all governments, whereas our investigation is about constitutional government.

Having then stated the reason for this mode of classification, we have now to set forth our view about constitutional government. For its meaning is clearer now that the characteristics of oligarchy and democracy have been defined; since constitutional government is, to put it simply, a mixture of oligarchy and democracy. But people customarily give the name of constitutional government only to those among such mixed constitutions that incline towards democracy, and entitle those that incline more towards oligarchy aristocracies, because education and good birth go more with the wealthier classes, and also the wealthy are thought to have already the things to get which wrongdoers commit wrong; owing to which people apply the terms ‘gentry’ and ‘notabilities’ to the rich. Since therefore aristocracy means the assignment of the highest place to the best of the citizens, oligarchies also are said to be drawn rather from the gentry. [1294a] [1] And it seems an impossibility for a city governed not by the aristocracy but by the base to have well-ordered government, and similarly also for a city that has not a well-ordered government to be governed aristocratically. But to have good laws enacted but not obey them does not constitute well-ordered government. Hence one form of good government must be understood to consist in the laws enacted being obeyed, and another form in the laws which the citizens keep being well enacted (for it is possible to obey badly enacted laws). And for laws to be well enacted is possible in two ways: they must either be the best laws possible for the given people or the best absolutely. But aristocracy in the fullest sense seems to consist in the distribution of the honors according to virtue; for virtue is the defining factor of aristocracy, as wealth is of oligarchy, and freedom of democracy (while the principle that a decision of the majority is supreme is found in them all: for in both oligarchy and aristocracy and democracies whatever the larger part of those who have a share in the government decides is supreme). In most states33 then the name of aristocracy is given to that form of constitutional government,34 for the combination aims only at the well-off and the poor, wealth and freedom (since in almost the largest number of states the rich seem to occupy the place of the gentry); but as there are three things that claim equal participation [20] in the constitution, freedom, wealth and virtue (for the fourth, what is called nobility, accompanies the two latter—nobility means ancient wealth and virtue), it is manifest that the mixture of the two factors, the rich and the poor,35 ought to be termed constitutional government, while the mixture of the three factors deserves the name of aristocracy most of all the various forms of aristocracy beside the true and best form.

It has then been stated that other forms of constitution also exist besides monarchy, democracy and oligarchy, and what their characteristics are, and how the various sorts of aristocracy and of constitutional government differ from one another; and it is manifest that aristocracy and constitutional government are not widely apart from one another.

Next to what has been said let us state the way in which what is called constitutional government comes into existence by the side of democracy and oligarchy, and how it is proper to establish it. At the same time the defining characteristics of democracy and oligarchy will also be clear; for we must grasp the distinction between these and then make a combination out of them, taking, so to say, a contribution from each. And there are three principles determining this combination or mixture. Under one plan we must adopt both features from the legislative schemes of the two different constitutions: for example, in regard to the administration of justice, in oligarchies they institute a fine for the rich if they do not serve on juries but no pay for the poor for serving, while in democracies they assign pay for the poor but no fine for the rich, but a common and intermediate principle is to have both payment and fine, and therefore this is a mark of a constitutional government, since it is a mixture of elements from both oligarchy and democracy. [1294b] [1] This then is one mode of combining the two. Another is to take the middle course between the regulations of each: for example, democracies permit membership of the assembly on no property-qualification at all or a quite small one, oligarchies on a large property-qualification, but the combination clearly is to have neither principle, but one which lies in the middle between either of these two qualifications. In the third place is a combination of the two systems, taking some features from the oligarchical law and some from the democratic; I mean, for example, that it is thought to be democratic for the offices to be assigned by lot, for them to be elected oligarchic, and democratic for them not to have a property-qualification, oligarchic to have one; therefore it is aristocratic and constitutional to take one feature from one form and the other from the other, from oligarchy that offices are to be elected, and from democracy that this is not to be on a property-qualification. This then is the mode of the mixture; and the mark of a good mixture of democracy and oligarchy is when it is possible to speak of the same constitution as a democracy and as an oligarchy; for manifestly this is so when it is said because they have been mixed well, and this is the case with the form that lies in the middle, for each of the two extreme forms can be seen in it. This is the case with the constitution of Sparta. For many people [20] endeavor to describe it as being a democracy, because its system has many democratic features, for instance first of all its regulation for the rearing of boys, since the sons of the rich are brought up in the same way as those of the poor, and are educated in a manner in which the sons of the poor also could be educated, and they are also treated similarly at the next age, and in the same manner when they are grown up, for there is nothing that distinguishes the rich man from the poor man—thus the arrangements for food are the same for all at the common messes, and the rich wear clothes such as even any poor man could procure, and also because of the two greatest offices the common people elect to one and share in the other (they elect the Elders and share in the Ephorate); but others call it an oligarchy, because it has many oligarchical features, for instance that all the offices are elective and none appointed by lot and few persons have the power to sentence to death and exile, and a number of other such matters. But in a well-constructed mixed constitution both of the two factors, and neither of them,36 should seem to be present, and it should be kept safe by its own means and not by outside aid, and by its own means not because those who desire its security are more numerous outside it37 (for even a bad constitution might possess this quality), but because no section of the state whatever would even wish for another constitution.

The proper way therefore to establish a constitutional government, and similarly also the governments named aristocracies, has now been stated. [1295a] [1]

It remained for us to speak of tyranny, not because there is much that can be said about it, but in order that it may receive its part in our inquiry, since we rank this also as one among the kinds of constitution. The nature of kingship we have defined in our first discourses,38 in which we examined the question in relation to the constitution most commonly denoted by the term ‘kingship,’ whether it is disadvantageous or an advantage to states, and what person ought to be set up as king, and from what source, and by what procedure; and in the passage in which we were considering kingship we distinguished two kinds of tyranny, because their power in a manner borders upon royalty, because both these forms of rule are in accordance with law (for among some of the barbarians they elect monarchic rulers with autocratic powers, and also in old times among the ancient Greeks some men used to become monarchs of this sort, the rulers called aesymnetae), but these two forms of tyranny have certain differences from one another, although they were on the one hand of the nature of royalty because they were in accordance with law and because they exercised monarchic rule over willing subjects, and on the other hand of the nature of a tyranny because they ruled despotically and according to their own judgement. But there is a third kind of tyranny which is thought to be tyranny in the fullest degree, being the counterpart of universal kingship; to this sort of tyranny must necessarily belong a monarchy [20] that exercises irresponsible rule over subjects all of the same or of a higher class with a view to its own private interest and not in the interest of the persons ruled. Hence it is held against the will of the subjects, since no free man willingly endures such rule.

These then are the kinds of tyranny and such is their number, for the reasons stated

But what is the best constitution and what is the best mode of life for most cities and most of mankind, if we do not judge by the standard of a virtue that is above the level of private citizens or of an education that needs natural gifts and means supplied by fortune, nor by the standard of the ideal constitution, but of a mode of life able to be shared by most men and a constitution possible for most states to attain? For the constitutions called aristocracies, of which we spoke just now,39 in some cases fall somewhat out of the scope of most states, and in others approximate to what is called constitutional government, so that it is proper to speak of these two forms as if they were one. And indeed the decision in regard to all these questions is based on the same elementary principles. For if it has been rightly said in theEthics40 that the happy life is the life that is lived without impediment in accordance with virtue, and that virtue is a middle course, it necessarily follows that the middle course of life is the best—such a middle course as it is possible for each class of men to attain. And these same criteria must also necessarily apply to the goodness and badness of a state, and of a constitution—for a constitution is a certain mode of life of a state. [1295b] [1] In all states therefore there exist three divisions of the state, the very rich, the very poor, and thirdly those who are between the two. Since then it is admitted that what is moderate or in the middle is best, it is manifest that the middle amount of all of the good things of fortune is the best amount to possess. For this degree of wealth is the readiest to obey reason, whereas for a person who is exceedingly beautiful or strong or nobly born or rich, or the opposite—exceedingly poor or weak or of very mean station, it is difficult to follow the bidding of reason; for the former turn more to insolence and grand wickedness, and the latter overmuch to malice and petty wickedness, and the motive of all wrongdoing is either insolence or malice. And moreover the middle class are the least inclined to shun office and to covet office,41 and both these tendencies are injurious to states. And in addition to these points, those who have an excess of fortune's goods, strength, wealth, friends and the like, are not willing to be governed and do not know how to be (and they have acquired this quality even in their boyhood from their homelife, which was so luxurious that they have not got used to submitting to authority even in school), while those who are excessively in need of these things are too humble. Hence the latter class do not know how to govern but know how to submit to [20] government of a servile kind, while the former class do not know how to submit to any government, and only know how to govern in the manner of a master. The result is a state consisting of slaves and masters, not of free men, and of one class envious and another contemptuous of their fellows. This condition of affairs is very far removed from friendliness, and from political partnership—for friendliness is an element of partnership, since men are not willing to be partners with their enemies even on a journey. But surely the ideal of the state is to consist as much as possible of persons that are equal and alike, and this similarity is most found in the middle classes; therefore the middle-class state will necessarily be best constituted in respect of those elements42 of which we say that the state is by nature composed. And also this class of citizens have the greatest security in the states; for they do not themselves covet other men's goods as do the poor, nor do the other classes covet their substance as the poor covet that of the rich; and because they are neither plotted against nor plotting they live free from danger. Because of this it was a good prayer of Phocylides43— “ In many things the middle have the best;
Be mine a middle station.
” It is clear therefore also that the political community administered by the middle class is the best, and that it is possible for those states to be well governed that are of the kind in which the middle class is numerous, and preferably stronger than both the other two classes, or at all events than one of them, for by throwing in its weight it sways the balance and prevents the opposite extremes44 from coming into existence. Hence it is the greatest good fortune if the men that have political power possess a moderate and sufficient substance, [1296a] [1] since where some own a very great deal of property and others none there comes about either an extreme democracy or an unmixed oligarchy, or a tyranny may result from both of the two extremes, for tyranny springs from both democracy and oligarchy of the most unbridled kind, but much less often from the middle forms of constitution and those near to them. The cause of this we will speak of later in our treatment of political revolutions. That the middle form of constitution is the best is evident; for it alone is free from faction, since where the middle class is numerous, factions and party divisions among the citizens are least likely to occur. And the great states are more free from faction for the same reason, because the middle class is numerous, whereas in the small states it is easy to divide the whole people into two parties leaving nothing in between, and also almost everybody is needy or wealthy. Also democracies are more secure and more long-lived than oligarchies owing to the citizens of the middle class (for they are more numerous and have a larger share of the honors in democracies than in oligarchies), since when the poor are in a majority without the middle class, adversity sets in and they are soon ruined. And it must be deemed a significant fact that the best lawgivers are from among the middle citizens; for Solon was of that class, [20] as appears from his poetry, and so was Lycurgus (for he was not a king) and Charondas and almost the greatest number of the other lawgivers.

And these considerations also show the reason why the constitutions of most states are either democratic or oligarchical; owing to the middle class in these states being often a small one, the classes diverging from the middle status—whichever of the two, the owners of the estates or the people, from time to time has the upper hand—conduct the government on their own lines, so that it becomes either a democracy or an oligarchy. And in addition to this, because factions occur and fights between the people and the wealthy, whichever party happens to gain the upper hand over its opponents does not establish a common or equal government, but takes the superior share in the government as a prize of victory, and makes it a democracy in the one case and an oligarchy in the other. Moreover each of the two states that in the past held the leadership of Greece took as a pattern the form of government that existed among themselves and set up in the one case democracies and in the other oligarchies in the cities, not considering the interest of the cities but their own advantage. Hence owing to these causes the middle form of constitution either never comes into existence or seldom and in few places; for one man45 only among the states that have formerly held the leadership was induced to grant this form of organization, and by this time it has become a fixed habit with the people of the separate cities also not even to desire equality, [1296b] [1] but either to seek to rule or to endure being under a master.

These considerations therefore make it clear which is the best constitution, and why it is the best; and now that the best has been defined, it is not difficult to see, among the other forms of constitution (inasmuch as we pronounce that there are various forms of democracy and various oligarchies), what kind is to be placed first, what second, and what next in this order, by reason of one being better and another worse. For at each stage the form nearest to the best one must necessarily be superior, and the form that is more remote from the middle must be inferior—unless one is judging relatively to given conditions: I make this reservation because it is quite possible that although one form of constitution is preferable it may often be more advantageous for certain people to have another form.

The next thing after what has been said is to discuss which constitution is advantageous for which people, and what sort of constitution for what sort of people. Now we must first grasp a general principle that applies equally to all sorts of constitution: it is essential that the part of the state that wishes the constitution to remain should be stronger than the part that does not wish it. But every state consists of both quality and quantity: by quality I mean freedom, wealth, education, good birth, and by quantity the superior numbers of the multitude. And it is possible that, [20] while the quality of the state belongs to one among the parts of which the state consists and its quantity to another part—for example the low-born may be more numerous than the noble or the poor than the rich, yet the more numerous class may not exceed in quantity as much as they fall behind in quality. Hence these two factors have to be judged in comparison with one another.

Where therefore the multitude of the poor exceeds in the proportion stated,46 here it is natural for there to be democracy, and each kind of democracy in accordance with the superior number of the common people of each sort, for example if the number of the farming class exceeds, the first sort of democracy, but if that of the common laborers and wage-earners, the last sort, and similarly also with the other sorts that lie between these two; but where the class of the well-to-do and notable exceeds in quality more than it falls behind in quantity, here it is natural for there to be an oligarchy, and likewise the various kinds of oligarchy according to the degree of superiority47 of the oligarchical multitude.48 But the lawgiver in his constitution must always take in the middle class; if he is making the laws of an oligarchical character he must keep the middle class in view, and if democratic, he must legislate so as to bring them in. And where the number of the middle class exceeds both the extreme classes together, or even one of them only, here it is possible for a constitutional government to be lasting; [1297a] [1] for there is no fear of the rich ever coming to terms with the poor against this numerous middle class; for neither class will ever wish to be subject to the other, and if they look for another constitution fairer to both than this they will not find one, for they would not endure to take turns to govern because they distrust each other: everywhere it is the arbitrator that is most trusted, and the man in the middle is an arbitrator. And the better the constitution is mixed, the more permanent it is; and many even of those who want to establish aristocratic forms of constitution make a great mistake not only in giving too large a share to the well-to-do but also in cheating the people; for false benefits inevitably result ultimately in true evil, as the encroachments of the rich ruin the constitution more than those of the people.

The artifices employed in constitutions as a pretext in regard to the people are five in number, and are concerned with the assembly, the magistracies, the law-courts, the bearing of heavy arms, and gymnastic exercises; in relation to the assembly, the granting to all of the right to attend but the imposition of a fine for non-attendance on the well-to-do only, or a much larger fine on them than others; in relation to the magistracies, [20] the denial to the owners of rated property of the right to swear off serving, while the poor have this right; in relation to the law-courts, the imposition of a fine on the well-to-do if they do not serve on a jury, but no penalty for the poor, or else a large fine for the one class and a small one for the others, as in the laws of Charondas. In some places all have the right to serve in the assembly and on juries after having their names put on a register, but large fines are imposed on those who after so registering fail to attend in either capacity, in order that the fine may cause them to avoid registration and that owing to their not registering they may not serve on juries or in the assembly. They also legislate in the same manner about owning heavy arms and engaging in gymnastic exercises: the poor are not allowed to possess arms, but the well-to-do are liable to a fine if they have not got them, and there is no fine for the former class if they abstain from gymnastics, but the well-to-do are liable to a fine, in order that the one class because of the fine may take part in them and the other because they have no penalty to fear may not. These artifices of legislation then are of an oligarchic nature; in democracies they introduce contrary devices in regard to these matters: they provide pay for the poor for serving in the assembly and on juries and impose no fine upon the well-to-do for abstaining. Hence it is manifest that if anybody wishes to make a just blend, he must bring together the regulations existing in each of the two forms of constitution, and provide pay for attendance and a fine for non-attendance; for thus all would participate, whereas in the other way the government comes to be in the hands of only one of the two classes. [1297b] [1] And although it is proper that the government should be drawn only from those who possess heavy armor, yet it is not possible to define the amount of the property-qualification absolutely and to say that they must possess so much, but only to consider what sort of amount is the highest that is compatible with making those who have a share in the constitution more numerous than those who have not, and to fix that limit. For those who are poor and have no share in the honors are willing to keep quiet if no one insults them or takes away any part of their substance; but this is not easy to secure, for it does not always happen that those who are in the governing class are gentlemen. Also people have a way of being reluctant to serve when there is a war if they do not get rations and are poor men but; if somebody provides food they want to fight. In some states the citizen-body consists not only of those who are serving as heavy-armed soldiers, but also of those who have so served; and at Malea the citizen-body consisted of these, while the magistrates were elected from those who were actually on service. And indeed the earliest form of constitution among the Greeks after the kingships consisted of those who were actually soldiers, the original form consisting of the cavalry (for war had its strength and its pre-eminence in cavalry, since without orderly formation heavy-armed infantry [20] is useless, and the sciences and systems dealing with tactics did not exist among the men of old times, so that their strength lay in their cavalry); but as the states grew and the wearers of heavy armor had become stronger, more persons came to have a part in the government. Hence what we now call constitutional governments the men of former times called democracies; but the constitutional governments of early days were naturally oligarchical and royal, for owing to the smallness of the populations their middle class was not numerous, so that because of their small numbers as well as in conformity with the structure of the state the middle class more readily endured being in a subject position.

It has then been said what is the reason of there being several forms of constitution, and why there are others besides those designated by name (for there is not one single democracy only, and similarly there are more than one of the other forms), and also what are the differences between them and what is the reason why these differences occur, and in addition to these points, which is the best of the constitutions speaking generally, and of the other constitutions which sort is suited to which sort of people.

And again, let us speak about the points that come next, both generally and with reference to each constitution separately, taking their appropriate starting-point. All forms of constitution then have three factors in reference to which the good lawgiver has to consider what is expedient for each constitution; and if these factors are well-ordered the constitution must of necessity be well-ordered, and the superiority of one constitution over another necessarily consists in the superiority of each of these factors. Of these three factors one is, what is to be the body that deliberates about the common interests, [1298a] [1] second the one connected with the magistracies, that is, what there are to be and what matters they are to control, and what is to be the method of their election, and a third is, what is to be the judiciary.

The deliberative factor is sovereign about war and peace and the formation and dissolution of alliances, and about laws, and about sentences of death and exile and confiscation of property, and about the audits of magistrates. And necessarily either all these decisions must be assigned to all the citizens, or all to some of them (for instance to some one magistracy or to several), or different ones to different magistracies, or some of them to all the citizens and some to certain persons.

For all the citizens to be members of the deliberative body and to decide all these matters is a mark of a popular government, for the common people seek for equality of this nature. But there are several modes of such universal membership. One is for the citizens to serve in rotation and not all in a body (as is enacted in the constitution of the Milesian Telecles,49 and in other constitutions also the boards of magistrates deliberate in joint assemblies but all the citizens enter into the magistracies from the tribes or from the very smallest sections of the citizen-body in rotation until office has gone through the whole body), and for there to be joint assemblies only to consider legislation and reforms of the constitution and to hear the reports submitted by the magistrates. Another mode is [20] for all to assemble in a body, but only for the purpose of electing magistrates, enacting laws, considering the declaration of war and the conclusion of peace and holding the audit of magistrates, but for all other matters to be considered by the magistrates appointed to deal with each respectively and elected by suffrage or by lot from all the citizens. Another mode is for the citizens to meet about the magistracies and the audits and in order to deliberate about declaring war and concluding an alliance, but for all other matters to be dealt with by the magistrates, elected by suffrage in as many cases as circumstances allow,50 and such magistracies are all those which must of necessity be filled by experts. A fourth mode is for all to meet in council about all matters, and for the magistracies to decide about nothing but only to make preliminary decisions; this is the mode in which democracy in its last form is administered at the present day—the form of democracy which we pronounce to correspond to dynastic oligarchy and to tyrannical monarchy. These modes then are all of them democratic. On the other hand for some persons to deliberate upon all matters is oligarchic. But this also has several variations. For when the members of the deliberative body are elected on comparatively moderate property-qualifications, and the eligible persons are comparatively numerous because of the moderateness of the qualification, and when they do not make changes in things in which the law forbids it but follow the law, and when anybody acquiring the property-qualification is allowed to become a member, a constitution of this sort is indeed an oligarchy, but one of the nature of constitutional government, because of its moderation. When on the other hand not everybody thus qualified participates in deliberation but only certain persons previously chosen by election, [1298b] [1] and these govern in accordance with law as in the former case, this is oligarchical; and also when the deliberative officials are elected by co-optation, and when the office is hereditary and has supreme control over the laws, this system is bound to be oligarchical. But when certain persons control certain matters, for instance when all the citizens control decisions as to war and peace and the audit of officials while everything else is controlled by magistrates and these are elected by vote, not by lot,51 the constitution is an aristocracy; while if some matters are controlled by magistrates elected by vote and others by magistrates chosen by lot, and this either directly or from a list previously selected by vote, or if magistrates elected by vote and by lot sit in a joint body, some of these regulations are features of an aristocratic constitution and others of constitutional government itself.

We have then in this way distinguished the different kinds of deliberative body in relation to the forms of constitution, and each form of constitution carries on the administration in accordance with the distinction stated. But for a democracy of the form that at the present day is considered to be democracy in the fullest degree (and I mean one of the sort in which the people is sovereign even over the laws) it is advantageous for the improvement of its deliberative function for it to do the same as is done in oligarchies in the matter of the law-courts (for they enact a fine to compel the attendance on juries of those whom they want to attend, whereas democratic states institute payment for attendance for the benefit of the poor), and also to do this in respect of the assemblies [20] (for they will deliberate better when all are deliberating jointly, the common people when with the notables and these when with the masses), and it is also advantageous for those who deliberate to be elected by vote or by lot equally from the different sections, and, if the men of the people far exceed the political class in number, it is advantageous either not to give pay to all but only to as many as are commensurate with the number of the notables, or to discard by lot those who exceed this number. In oligarchies on the other hand it is advantageous either to co-opt some persons from the multitude, or to institute an office like the one that exists in certain constitutional governments under the flame of Preliminary Councillors or Guardians of the Law,52 and deal with the matters about which these officials have held a preliminary deliberation (for thus the common people will have a share in deliberation and will not have the power to abolish any part of the constitution), and then for the people by their vote either to confirm or at all events not to pass anything contrary to the resolutions brought before them, or to allow all to take part in debate but only the magistrates to frame resolutions; and in fact it is proper to do just the opposite of what takes place in constitutionally governed states; for the common people ought to be given power to vote the rejection of a measure, but not to vote its ratification, but it should be referred back to the magistrates. In constitutional governments the procedure is the reverse; the few are competent to vote the rejection of a resolution but are not competent to vote its ratification, this being always referred back to the most numerous body. [1299a] [1]

Let us then decide in this manner about the deliberative body, which in fact is the sovereign power in the constitution.

Connected with this subject is the determination in regard to the magistracies (for this part of the constitution also has many varieties), how many magistracies there are to be, and what are to be their powers, and what their various periods of tenure (for some people make their magistracies tenable for six months, others for less, others for a year and others for a longer period)—shall the magistracies be for life or for a long period, or if for a shorter term shall the same people be allowed to hold them several times or not the same man twice but once only? and also as to the appointment of magistrates, who shall be eligible, who the electors, and what the mode of election? For on all these points it is needful to be able to determine how many modes of procedure are possible, and then to settle what modes are expedient for what sorts of constitution. Nor is it easy to decide to what kinds of office the name of magistracy ought to be applied; for the political community requires a great many officials, owing to which it is not proper to reckon all of them magistrates, whether elected by vote or by lot,—for instance first the priests (for this office must be considered as something different from the political magistracies), and again there are leaders of choruses, and heralds, and persons are also elected as ambassadors. [20] And of the offices exercising superintendence some are political, and are exercised either over the whole of the citizens in regard to some operation—for instance a general superintends them when serving as soldiers, or over a section—for instance the superintendent of women or of children; while others are economic (for states often elect officers to dole out corn53); and others are subordinate, and are the sort of services to which people when well off appoint slaves. But the title of magistracy, to put it simply, is chiefly to be applied to all those offices to which have been assigned the duties of deliberating about certain matters and of acting as judges and of issuing orders, and especially the last, for to give orders is most characteristic of authority. But this question is of virtually no practical importance (for no decision has yet been given, our discussion being merely about the name), although it does admit of some further inquiry of a speculative kind. On the other hand the questions what kinds and what number of magistracies are necessary to constitute a state at all, and what kinds although not necessary are advantageous for a good constitution, are questions that might preferably be discussed, both indeed as regards every form of constitution and particularly in regard to the small states. For it is true that in the large states it is possible and proper for one magistracy to be assigned to one function (for the large number of the citizens makes it possible for many people to enter on an official career, so as to intermit their tenure of some offices for a long time and to hold others only once, and also every task is better attended to if the attention is directed to one thing only than if it is busy with many); [1299b] [1] but in the small states it is inevitable that many offices must be gathered into few hands (for owing to shortage of manpower it is not easy for many people to be in office, since who will take over the posts as their successors?). But sometimes small states require the same magistracies and laws as large ones except that the latter require the same persons to serve often, but in the former this only occurs after a long interval. Hence it is possible to assign several duties to one man at the same time (since they will not interfere with one another), and to meet the shortage of man-power it is necessary to make the magistracies like spit-lampholders.54 If therefore we are able to say how many magistracies every state must necessarily possess and how many, though not absolutely necessary, it ought to possess, knowing these points one might more easily make a combination of those magistracies which are of a suitable nature to be combined into a single office. And it is suitable for the further question not to be overlooked, what kinds of matters ought to be attended to by a number of officials locally distributed and what ought to be under the authority of one magistrate for all localities, for example should good order be seen to in the market-place by a Controller of the Market and elsewhere by another official, or everywhere by the same one? and ought the offices to be divided according to the function or according to the persons concerned—I mean, for instance, should there be a single official in control of good order, or a different one [20] for children and for women? and also under the various constitutions does the nature of the magistracies vary in accordance with each or does it not vary at all—for example in democracy, oligarchy, aristocracy and monarchy are the magistracies the same in their powers, although they are not filled from equal ranks nor from similar classes but are different in different constitutions (for example in aristocracies drawn from the educated, in oligarchies from the wealthy, and in democracies from the free), or although some constitutions happen to be correspondent with the actual differences of their magistracies, yet in other cases are the same magistracies advantageous even where the constitutions differ (for in some places it is suitable for the same magistracies to have large functions and in other places small ones)? Not but what there are also some offices peculiar to special forms of constitution, for instance the office of Preliminary Councillors.55 This is undemocratic, although a Council is a popular body, for there is bound to be some body of this nature to have the duty of preparing measures for the popular assembly, in order that it may be able to attend to its business; but a preparatory committee, if small, is oligarchical, and Preliminary Councillors must necessarily be few in number, so that they are an oligarchical element. But where both of these magistracies exist, the Preliminary Councillors are in authority over the Councillors, since a councillor is a democratic official, but a preliminary councillor is an oligarchic one. Also the power of the Council is weakened in democracies of the sort in which the people in assembly deals with everything itself; [1300a] [1] and this usually happens when there is a plentiful supply of pay for those who attend the assembly, for being at leisure they meet frequently and decide all things themselves. But a Superintendent of Children and a Superintendent of Women, and any other magistrates that exercise a similar sort of supervision, are an aristocratic feature, and not democratic (for how is it possible to prevent the wives of the poor from going out of doors56?) nor yet oligarchic (for the wives of oligarchic rulers are luxurious). But let the discussion of these matters go no further at present, and let us attempt to go through from the beginning the question of the ways of appointing the magistrates. The varieties here depend on three determinants, the combinations of which must give all the possible modes. One of these three determining points is, who are the persons who appoint the magistrates? the second is, from whom? and last, in what manner? And of each of these three determinants there are three variations: either all the citizens appoint or some, and either from all or from a certain class (defined for instance by property-assessment or birth or virtue or some other such qualification, as at Megara only those were eligible who returned in a body from exile and fought together against the common people),57 and the mode of appointment may be either by vote or by lot; again, these systems may be coupled together— [20] I mean that some citizens may appoint to some offices but all to others, and to some offices all citizens may be eligible but to others only a certain class, and to some appointment may be by vote but to others by lot. And of each variation of these determinants there will be four modes: either all citizens may appoint from all by vote, or all from all by lot—and from all either section by section, for instance by tribes or demes or brotherhoods until the procedure has gone through all the citizens, or from the whole number every time,—or else partly in one way and partly in the other. Again, if the electors are some of the citizens, they must either appoint from all by vote, or from all by lot, or from some by vote, or from some by lot, or partly in one way and partly in the other—I mean partly by vote and partly by lot. Hence the modes prove to be twelve, apart from the two combinations. And among these, two ways of appointment are democratic—for all to appoint from all by vote, or by lot, or by both—some offices by lot and others by vote; but for not all to be the electors and for them to appoint simultaneously, and either from all or from some either by lot or by vote or by both, or some offices from all and others from some by both (by which I mean some by lot and others by vote) is constitutional. And for some to appoint from all, to some offices by vote and to others by lot or by both58 (to some by lot and to others by vote) is oligarchical; and it is even more oligarchical to appoint from both classes. But to appoint some offices from all and the others from a certain class is constitutional with an aristocratic bias; [1300b] [1] or to appoint some by vote and others by lot. And for a certain class to appoint from a certain class <by vote>59 is oligarchical, and so it is for a certain class to appoint from a certain class by lot (although not working out in the same way), and for a certain class to appoint from a certain class by both methods. And for a certain class to make a preliminary selection from the whole body and then for all to appoint from among certain persons (thus selected) is aristocratic.

So many in number therefore are the modes of appointing to the magistracies, and this is how the modes are classified according to the different constitutions; and what regulations are advantageous for what people and how the appointments ought to be conducted will be made clear at the same time as we consider what are the powers of the offices. By the power of an office I mean for instance the control of the revenues and the control of the guard; since a different sort of power belongs for example to a generalship and to the office that controls market contracts.

Of the three factors of a constitution it remains to speak of the judiciary, and of judicial bodies also we must consider the various modes, in accordance with the same plan. And a difference among judicial courts rests upon three determinants—constituents, sphere of action, and mode of appointment. As to their constituents I mean are the courts drawn from all the citizens or from a certain class? as to sphere of action, how many kinds of courts are there? and as to mode of appointment, are they appointed by lot or by vote? First then let us distinguish how many kinds of courts there are. They are eight in number, one a court of audit, [20] another to deal with offenders against any public interest, another with matters that bear on the constitution, a fourth for both magistrates and private persons in disputes about penalties, fifth the court dealing with private contracts that are on an important scale, and beside these there is (6) the court that tries homicide, and (7) that which hears alien suits (of courts of homicide there are four kinds, whether the jury is the same or different—namely, for cases of deliberate homicide, of involuntary homicide, of homicide admitted but claimed to be justifiable, and fourth to deal with charges of homicide brought against men that have fled from the country for homicide, upon their return,60 such as at Athens for instance the Court at Phreatto is said to be, although such cases are of rare occurrence in the whole course of history, even in the great states and of the aliens' court one branch hears suits of aliens against aliens and another of aliens against citizens); and also beside all of these there are (8) courts to try cases of petty contracts, involving sums of one drachma, five drachmas or a little more—for even these cases have to be tried, though they are not suitable for a numerous jury. But let us dismiss the subject of these petty suits, and the courts for homicide and those for aliens, and let us speak about political trials, which when not well conducted cause party divisions and revolutionary disturbances. And necessarily either all the judges of all the cases that have been classified will be appointed by vote, or by lot, or all in all cases partly by lot and partly by vote, or in some cases some judges will be appointed by lot and others by vote for the same case. [1301a] [1] These modes then are four in number, and the sectional modes also make as many others; for here again the judges for all cases may be drawn by vote from a certain class, or for all cases by lot from a certain class, or some courts may be appointed by lot and others by vote, or some courts may be composed of judges chosen by lot and by vote for the same cases. These then are the modes, as was said, corresponding to those mentioned. And there are also the same courts in combination—I mean for example some drawn from the whole body and some from a class and some from both, as for instance if the same court contained some members from the whole body and others from a class, and appointed either by lot or by vote or both. We have then stated all the modes in which it is possible for the courts to be composed; and of these the first set, drawn from all the citizens and dealing with all cases, are popular, the second, drawn from a certain class to deal with all cases, are oligarchic, and the third, drawn partly from all and partly from a certain class, are suited to an aristocracy and to a constitutional government.

1 Transposed as Book 6 by some editors; see Book 3 fin., note.

2 Perhaps the Greek should be altered to give ‘to each individual.’

3 i.e. a bodily bearing and athletic skill that are not the ones most suited to the pupil's particular physique.

4 The fourfold classification given just before is repeated in rather loose terms in this sentence.

5 The word originally denoted the duty of the wealthy citizen holding office of Choregus to supply dresses, etc., for the chorus and actors in a drama.

6 Book 3.5.

7 Book 3.5.

8 i.e. πολιτεία, ‘polity,’ which denotes not only a constitution of any form, but also (like our term ‘constitutional government’) a particular form, viz., a republic, cf. Book 3.5.2.

9 The three forms of constitution last mentioned.

10 Corruptio optimi pessima, a Socratic notion: ‘the men of the best natural gifts, when educated, are the worst,’ Xen. Mem. 4.1.3.

11 Plat. Stat. 302a ff.

12 This clause looks like an interpolation.

13 Aristotle refers to this view in Aristot. Meteor. 364a 19, saying that west winds are classed with north and east winds with south, because wind from the setting sun is cooler and from the rising sun warmer. He notes that north and south winds are the most frequent, Aristot. Meteor. 361a 6; this may have suggested the idea that they were the typical winds.

14 e.g. Hdt. 3.20.

15 i.e. those of citizen birth.

16 Perhaps the Greek should be altered here to give ‘an oligarchy.’

17 See 3.1.

18 Plat. Rep. 369b-371e

19 i.e. the first sketch of the City-state, loc. cit.

20 The first four classes and the fifth and sixth (the military and judicial).

21 Lower grades of the forces may be excluded from citizenship, e.g. the rowers of the triremes (see below, 1376b 15).

22 Cf. 3.11, 12 fin.

23 i.e. on the score of birth, cf. 5.4.

24 Hom. Il. 2.204

25 Government controlled by a few powerful families. Cf. Thuc. 3.62.4, where the Thebans say, ‘In those days our state was not governed by an oligarchy that granted equal justice to all, nor yet by a democracy; the power was in the hands of a small cabal ( δυναστεία ὀλίγων ἀνδρῶν), than which nothing is more opposed to law or to true political order, or more nearly resembles a tyranny’ (Jowett).

26 i.e. revenues from abroad; the poor can only attend often if paid for attendance, and this can only be financed if the state has income from tribute or foreign property.

27 Cf. 1288a 20 ff.

28 i.e. they legalize the recruiting of the ruling class by co-optation; or the words may mean ‘they make the law ruler.’

29 We now pass from the varieties of Oligarchy and of Democracy to those of the other actually existing constitutions, Aristocracy so-called and Constitutional Government.

30 i.e. aristocracy.

31 Book 3. 1279a 35 ff., 1286b 3 ff.

32 See 1279b 4 ff. Actual aristocracies are a falling-off from the Aristocracy and Polity is a decline from Monarchy and Aristocracy; but they are not deviations in the technical sense.

33 i.e. in most states that are considered aristocracies.

34 i.e. the more oligarchical form, 1293b 36.

35 Loosely put for ‘wealth and free birth.’

36 A conjectural emendation removes this mysterious epigram, giving ‘and not one of the two (only).’

37 Or, if ἔξωθεν is an interpolation, ‘not merely because those (citizens) who wish it to survive are more numerous (than those who do not).’

38 Book 3.9-12.

39 See 1293b 7-21, cf. 1293b 36-1294a 25.

40 Aristot. Nic. Eth. 1101a 14.

41 The text is an emendation; some MSS. give ‘to rule the tribe and to rule the council,’ but most have ‘to love office and rule the council,’ apparently thinking that the verb translated ‘rule the council’ meant ‘wish office.’

42 Probably Lambinus's alteration of the Greek should be accepted, giving ‘hence that state will necessarily be best governed which consists of those elements—.’

43 A gnomic poet of Miletus, born 560 B.C.

44 i.e. extreme democracy and very limited oligarchy.

45 It is quite uncertain who is meant, possibly Solon or Theramenes.

46 i.e. so as to outbalance their inferiority in quality.

47 i.e. superiority in quality.

48 The word is loosely used of this small class.

49 Otherwise unknown

50 i.e. in an advanced democracy.

51 The MSS. give ‘or by lot.’

52 There were πρόβουλοι at Corinth as well as a βουλή and an ἐκκλησία; and νομοφύλακες at Sparta, Athens and elsewhere: at Athens they sat with the presidents of the βουλή and ἐκκλησία to check illegal procedure.

53 Distributions of corn were made at times of scarcity, or when the state had received a present of corn.

54 An implement (its exact shape does not appear to be known) used by soldiers on campaign, here mentioned as an illustration of one tool serving two purposes, cf. 1252b 1.

55 See 1298b 29 n.

56 Or possibly ‘from going in processions’: Solon made regulations ταῖς ἐξόδοις τῶν γυναικῶν καὶ τοῖς πένθεσι καὶ ταῖς ἑορταῖςPlut. Sol. 21).

57 It is quite uncertain when this event took place and whether it is the same as those referred to at 1302b 30 f. and l304b 34 ff.

58 Perhaps the Greek should be rewritten to give ‘for some to appoint from all either by vote or by lot or by both.’

59 This insertion by Lambinus seems certain.

60 i.e. men that had been allowed to flee the country when charged with accidental homicide, and on their return were accused of another homicide, a willful murder.

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