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[1319a] [1] Hence there necessarily results the condition of affairs that is the most advantageous in the government of states—for the upper classes to govern without doing wrong, the common people not being deprived of any rights. It is manifest therefore that this is the best of the forms of democracy, and why this is so—namely, because in it the common people are of a certain kind.

For the purpose of making the people an agricultural community, not only were some of the laws that were enacted in many states in early times entirely serviceable, prohibiting the ownership of more than a certain amount of land under any conditions or else of more than a certain amount lying between a certain place and the citadel or city (and in early times at all events in many states there was even legislation prohibiting the sale of the original allotments; and there is a law said to be due to Oxylus1 with some similar provision, forbidding loans secured on a certain portion of a man's existing estate), but at the present day it would also be well to introduce reform by means of the law of the Aphytaeans, as it is serviceable for the purpose of which we are speaking; the citizens of Aphytis2 although numerous and possessing a small territory nevertheless are all engaged in agriculture, for they are assessed not on the whole of their estates, but on divisions of them so small that even the poor can exceed the required minimum in their assessments.3

After the agricultural community [20] the best kind of democracy is where the people are herdsmen and get their living from cattle; for this life has many points of resemblance to agriculture, and as regards military duties pastoral people are in a very well trained condition and serviceable in body and capable of living in the open. But almost all the other classes of populace, of which the remaining kinds of democracy are composed, are very inferior to these, for their mode of life is mean, and there is no element of virtue in any of the occupations in which the multitude of artisans and market-people and the wage-earning class take part, and also owing to their loitering about the market-place and the city almost all people of this class find it easy to attend the assembly; whereas the farmers owing to their being scattered over the country do not attend, and have not an equal desire for this opportunity of meeting. And where it also happens that the lie of the land is such that the country is widely separated from the city, it is easy to establish a good democracy and also a good constitutional government, for the multitude is forced to live at a distance on the farms; and so, even if there is a crowd that frequents the market-place, it is best in democracies not to hold assemblies without the multitude scattered over the country.4

It has then been stated how the best and first kind of democracy is to be organized, and it is clear how we ought to organize the other kinds also. For they must diverge in a corresponding order, and at each stage we must admit the next inferior class.

1 Leader of the Heraclidae in their invasion of the Peloponnese, and afterwards king of Elis.

2 Aphytis was on the Isthmus of Pallene in Macedonia.

3 No satisfactory explanation seems to have been suggested of what this means.

4 i.e. in a largely agricultural democracy, even though there may be a considerable idle population, which would attend frequent assemblies, it is best to hold them infrequently, so as to secure the attendance of the farmers.

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