previous next
[1330a] [1] but community in it brought about in a friendly way by the use of it,1 and we hold that no citizen should be ill supplied with means of subsistence. As to common meals, all agree that this is an institution advantageous for well-organized states to possess; our own reasons for sharing this view we will state later.2 But the common meals must be shared by all the citizens, and it is not easy for the poor to contribute their assessed share from their private means and also to maintain their household as well. And moreover the expenses connected with religion are the common concern of the whole state. It is necessary therefore for the land to be divided into two parts, of which one must be common and the other the private property of individuals; and each of these two divisions must again be divided in two. Of the common land one portion should be assigned to the services of religion, and the other to defray the cost of the common meals; of the land in private ownership one part should be the district near the frontiers, and another the district near the city, in order that two plots may be assigned to each citizen and all may have a share in both districts. This arrangement satisfies equity and justice, and also conduces to greater unanimity in facing border warfare. Where this system is not followed, one set of people are reckless about quarrelling with the neighboring states, [20] and the other set are too cautious and neglect considerations of honor. Hence some people have a law that the citizens whose land is near the frontier are not to take part in deliberation as to wars against neighboring states, on the ground that private interest would prevent them from being able to take counsel wisely. The land must therefore be divided up in this manner because of the reasons aforesaid.

Those who are to cultivate the soil should best of all, if the ideal system is to be stated, be slaves, not drawn from people all of one tribe nor of a spirited character (for thus they would be both serviceable for their work and safe to abstain from insurrection), but as a second best they should be alien serfs of a similar nature. Of these laborers those in private employment must be among the private possessions of the owners of the estates, and those working on the common land common property. How slaves should be employed, and why it is advantageous that all slaves should have their freedom set before them as a reward, we will say later.3

It has been said before that the city should so far as circumstances permit be in communication alike with the mainland, the sea and the whole of its territory. The site of the city itself we must pray that fortune may place on sloping ground, having regard to four considerations4: first, as a thing essential, the consideration of health (for cities whose site slopes east or towards the breezes that blow from the sunrise are more healthy, and in the second degree those that face away from the north wind,5 for these are milder in winter);

1 This vague phrase (based on the proverb κοινὰ τὰ τῶν φίλων, ‘friends' goods are common property’) seems to denote some sort of customary communism in the cultivation of the land and enjoyment of the produce, combined with private ownership of the freehold.

2 This promise is not fulfilled.

3 This promise is not fulfilled.

4 Apparently (1) fresh air, (2) water supply, (3) administration, (4) military requirements.

5 Literally, ‘in the direction in which the north wind blows.’

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1957)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (1 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), THESSA´LIA
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: