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[1331a] [1] particularly in view of the inventions that have now been made in the direction of precision with missiles and artillery for sieges. To claim not to encompass cities with walls is like desiring1 the country to be easy to invade and stripping it of hilly regions, and similarly not surrounding even private dwellings with house-walls on the ground that the inhabitants will be cowardly. Another point moreover that must not be forgotten is that those who have walls round the city can use their cities in both ways, both as walled cities and as open ones, whereas cities not possessing walls cannot be used in both ways. If then this is so, not only must walls be put round a city, but also attention must be paid to them in order that they may be suitable both in regard to the adornment of the city and in respect of military requirements, especially the new devices recently invented. For just as the attackers of a city are concerned to study the means by which they can gain the advantage, so also for the defenders some devices have already been invented and others they must discover and think out; for people do not even start attempting to attack those who are well prepared.

And since the multitude of citizens must be distributed [20] in separate messes, and the city walls must be divided up by guard-posts and towers in suitable places, it is clear that these facts themselves call for some of the messes to be organized at these guard-posts. These things then might be arranged in this manner. But it is fitting that the dwellings assigned to the gods and the most important of the official messes should have a suitable site, and the same for all, excepting those temples which are assigned a special place apart by the law or else by some utterance of the Pythian oracle. And the site would be suitable if it is one that is sufficiently conspicuous in regard to the excellence of its position, and also of superior strength in regard to the adjacent parts of the city. It is convenient that below this site should be laid out an agora of the kind customary in Thessaly which they call a free agora, that is, one which has to be kept clear of all merchandise and into which no artisan or farmer or any other such person may intrude unless summoned by the magistrates. It would give amenity to the site if the gymnasia of the older men were also situated here—for it is proper to have this institution also divided according to ages,2 and for certain magistrates to pass their time among the youths while the older men spend theirs with the magistrates; for the presence of the magistrates before men's eyes most engenders true respect and a freeman's awe.

1 Perhaps a word should be added to the Greek giving ‘desiring to make the country easy to invade, and to strip it—’.

2 Or ‘for in this noble practice different ages should be separated’ (Jowett).

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 1-150
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