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[22] and preferring rather that which rewards and punishes every man according to his deserts, they governed the city on this principle, not filling the offices by lot from all the citizens,1 but selecting the best and the ablest for each function of the state; for they believed that the rest of the people would reflect the character of those who were placed in charge of their affairs.

1 The method of electing the various magistrates changed from time to time, and is much less simple than Isocrates here represents it to be. For example, election of the chief magistrates, the archons, by lot (though from a previously selected group) is at least as old as Solon. On the other hand, in Isocrates' day officers who had supervision over military and financial affairs were elected by show of hands in the General Assembly. See Gilbert, Greek Constitutional Antiquities(English translation) pp. 216 ff. It seems clear, however, that after Cleisthenes all classes of citizens, the poor as well as the rich, became eligible to the offices (Plut. Arist. 22) and that election by lot became increasingly a device to further pure democracy.

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