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[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 corn1); 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);

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

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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), HYPE´RETES
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