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[1329b] [1] does not seem to be a discovery of political philosophers of today or one made recently.1 In Egypt this arrangement still exists even now, as also in Crete; it is said to have been established in Egypt by the legislation of Sesostris and in Crete by that of Minos. Common meals also seem to be an ancient institution, those in Crete having begun in the reign of Minos, while those in Italy are much older than these. According to the historians one of the settlers there, a certain Italus, became king of Oenotria, and from him they took the name of Italians instead of that of Oenotrians, and the name of Italy was given to all that promontory2 of Europe lying between the Gulfs of Scylletium and of Lametus,3 which are half a day's journey apart. It was this Italus then who according to tradition converted the Oenotrians from a pastoral life to one of agriculture and gave them various ordinances, being the first to institute their system of common meals; hence the common meals and some of his laws are still observed by certain of his successors even today. The settlers in the direction of Tyrrhenia4 were Opicans, who today as in former times bear the surname of [20] Ausonians; the region towards Iapygia5 and the Ionian Gulf, called Syrtis, was inhabited by the Chones, who also were Oenotrians by race. It is from this country that the system of common meals has its origin, while the division of the citizen-body by hereditary caste came from Egypt, for the reign of Sesostris long antedates that of Minos. We may almost take it therefore that all other political devices also have been discovered repeatedly, or rather an infinite number of times over, in the lapse of ages; for the discoveries of a necessary kind are probably taught by need itself, and when the necessaries have been provided it is reasonable that things contributing to refinement and luxury should find their development; so that we must assume that this is the way with political institutions also. The antiquity of all of them is indicated by the history of Egypt; for the Egyptians are reputed to be the oldest of nations, but they have always had laws and a political system. Hence we should use the results of previous discovery when adequate, while endeavoring to investigate matters hitherto passed over.

It has been stated before that the land ought to be owned by those who possess arms and those who share the rights of the constitution, and why the cultivators ought to be a different caste from these, and what is the proper extent and conformation of the country. We have now to discuss first the allotment of the land, and the proper class and character of its cultivators; since we advocate not common ownership of land, as some have done,

1 Perhaps to be read as denying the originality of Plato'sRepublic.

2 i.e. the south-west peninsula or toe of Italy.

3 i.e. the Gulfs of Squillace and Eufemia.

4 The modern Tuscany, i.e. the people of Lucania, Campania and Latium.

5 The south-east promontory or heel of Italy.

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    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 2.2
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