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[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.1 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.2 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;

1 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.

2 See 1298b 29 n.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 6.7
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), PHYLARCHI
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