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In the next place our business transactions one with another will require proper regulation. The following will serve for a comprehensive rule:—as far as possible, no one shall touch my goods nor move them in the slightest degree, if he has in no wise at all got my consent; and I must act in like manner regarding the goods of all other men, keeping prudent mind. As the first of such things let us mention treasure: that which a man has laid by in store for himself and his family (he not being one of my parents), I must never pray to the gods to find, [913b] nor, if I do find it, may I move it, nor may I ever tell of it to the soothsayers (so-called), who are certain to counsel me to take up what is laid down in the ground. For never should I gain so much pecuniary profit by its removal, as I should win increase in virtue of soul and in justice by not removing it; and by preferring to gain justice in my soul rather than money in my purse, I should be winning a greater in place of a lesser gain, and that too in a better part of me. The rule,1 “Thou shalt not move the immovable,” is rightly applicable to many cases; and the case before us is one of them. [913c] And men ought also to believe the stories told about these matters,—how that such conduct is injurious to the getting of children. But if any man proves to be both regardless of children and neglectful of the legislator, and, without the consent of the depositor, takes up a treasure which neither he himself nor any of his forefathers has deposited, and thus breaks a law most fair, and that most comprehensive ordinance of the noble man2 who said, [913d] “Take not up what you laid not down,”—the man who despises these two lawgivers and takes up what he has not laid down himself, it being no small thing but sometimes a vast quantity of treasure,—what penalty should such a man suffer? God knows what, at the hands of gods; but the man that first notices an act of this kind shall report it, if it occur in the city, to the city-stewards, or if in a public market, [914a] to the market-stewards; and if it occur in the country outside, he shall declare it to the rural stewards and their officers. And when such declarations are made, the State shall send to Delphi;3 and whatever the god pronounces concerning the goods and him that moved them, that the State shall execute, acting as agent on behalf of the oracles of the god. And if the informer be a free man, he shall win a reputation for virtue, but for vice if he fail to inform; and if he be a slave, as a reward for informing it will be right that he should be set free, by the State offering his price to his master, whereas he shall be punished by death if he fail to give information. [914b] Following on this there should come next a similar rule about matters great and small, to reinforce it. If a man, whether willingly or unwillingly, leaves any of his goods behind, he that happens on them shall let them lie, believing that the Goddess of the Wayside4 guards them, as things dedicated to her divinity by the law. Should anyone transgress this rule and disobediently take such things and carry them home, he being a slave and the article of small value, then the man who meets with him, being over thirty years old, shall scourge him with many stripes; [914c] but if he be a free man, he shall not only be accounted illiberal and a rebel against the laws, but he shall in addition buy back ten times the value of the article moved to the man who left it behind. And if one man charges another with possessing any of his goods, be it great or small, and the man so charged allows that he has the article, but denies that it is the other man's,—then, if the article in question has been registered5 with the magistrates according to law, the plaintiff shall summon the man who possesses it before the magistrate, and he shall produce it in court. And the article being thus exhibited, if it be clearly recorded in the records to which of the disputants it belongs, [914d] he shall take it and depart; but should it belong to another third party, not then present, whichever of the two claimants produces a sufficient guarantor shall take it away on behalf of the absent party, in pursuance of his right of removal, to hand it over to him. But if the article in dispute be not registered with the magistrates, it will be kept in charge of the three senior magistrates up to the time of the trial; and if the article in pledge be a beast, the man that loses the case concerning it shall pay the magistrates for its keep; and the magistrates shall decide the case within three days. [914e] Any person—provided that he be in his senses—may lay hands, if he wishes, on his own slave, to employ him for any lawful purpose; and on behalf of another man (one of his relatives or friends) he may lay hands on the runaway slave, to secure his safe-keeping. And if a man tries to remove to freedom anyone who is being carried off as a slave, the man who is carrying him off shall let him go, and he that is removing him shall do so on the production of three substantial sureties, but not otherwise; and if anyone removes a slave contrary to these conditions, [915a] he shall be liable for assault, and if convicted he shall pay double his registered due to the man deprived. And a man may arrest also a freedman, if in any case he fails to attend, or to attend sufficiently, on those who have freed him; and such tendance shall consist in the coming of the freedman three times a month to the home of the man that freed him, and there undertaking to do those duties which are both just and feasible, and in regard to marriage also to act as may seem good also to his former master. The freedman shall not be permitted to be more wealthy than the man who freed him; [915b] and, if he is, the excess shall be made to his master. He that is let go free shall not remain in the country more than twenty years, but shall depart, like all other foreigners,6 taking with him all the property he owns, unless he gains the consent of the magistrates and also of the man who freed him. And if a freedman, or any other foreigner, acquired property exceeding in amount the third evaluation,7 within thirty days from the day on which he acquires this excess he shall take his own property and depart, [915c] and he shall have no further right to request from the magistrates permission to remain; and if he disobeys these rules and is summoned before the court and convicted, he shall be punished by death, and his goods shall be confiscated. Such cases shall be tried before the tribal courts, unless the parties first get a settlement of their charges against one another before neighbors or chosen jurors. If anyone claims as his own the beast of any other man, or any other [915d] of his chattels, the man who holds it shall refer the matter to the person who, as being its substantial and lawful owner, sold it, or gave it, or made it over to him in some other way; and this he shall do within thirty days, if the reference be made to a citizen or metic in the city, or, in the case of a foreign delivery, within three months, of which the middle month shall be at which includes the summer solstice.8 And when the man makes an exchange with another by an act buying or selling, the exchange shall be made by transfer of the article in the place appointed therefore in the market, and nowhere else, and by payment the price on the spot, and no purchase or sale shall be made [915e] on credit;9 and if anyone makes an exchange with another otherwise or in other places, trusting the man with whom he is dealing, he shall do so on the understanding that there are no suits by law touching things not sold according to the laws now prescribed.10 As regards club-collections,11 whoso wishes may collect as a friend among friends; but if any dispute arises concerning the collection, they must act on the understanding that in regard to these matters no legal actions are possible. If any man receives for the sale of any article a price not less than fifty drachmae, he shall be compelled to remain in the city for ten days, and the seller's residence shall be made known to the buyer, [916a] because of the charges which are commonly brought in connection with such transactions, and because of the acts of restitution permitted by law. Such legal restitution, or non-restitution, shall be on this wise:—If a man sell a slave who is suffering from phthisis or stone or strangury or the “sacred disease”12 (as it is called), or from any other complaint, mental or physical, which most men would fail to notice, although it be prolonged and hard to cure,—in case the purchaser be a doctor or a trainer, it shall not be possible for him to gain restitution for such a case, nor yet if the seller warned the purchaser of the facts. [916b] But if any professional person sell any such slave to a lay person, the buyer shall claim restitution within six months, saving only in the case of epilepsy, for which disease he shall be permitted to claim within twelve months. The action shall be tried before a bench of doctors nominated and chosen by both the parties; and the party that loses his case shall pay double the selling price of the slave. [916c] If a lay person sells to a lay person, there shall be the same right of restitution and trial as in the cases just mentioned; but the losing party shall pay the selling price only. If a man wittingly sells a murderer, if the buyer is aware of the fact, he shall have no claim to restitution for the purchase of such an one; but if the buyer be ignorant, he shall have right of restitution as soon as the fact is perceived, and the trial shall take place before a court of the five youngest Law-wardens, and if it be decided that the seller acted wittingly, he shall purify the houses of the buyer as ordained by the interpreters,13 and he shall pay three times the selling price to the buyer. [916d] He that exchanges for money either money or anything else, living or not living, shall give and receive every such article unadulterated, conforming to the law; and touching all knavery of this sort, as in the case of other laws, let us hearken to a prelude. Adulteration should be regarded by every man as coming under the same head as falsehood and fraud—a class of actions concerning which the mob are wont to say, wrongly, that any such action will generally be right if it be done opportunely: [916e] but the proper “opportunity,” the when and the where, they leave unprescribed and undefined, so that by this saying they often bring loss both to themselves and to others. But it is not fitting for the lawgiver to leave this matter undefined; he must always declare clearly the limitations, great or small, and this shall now be, done:—No man, calling the gods to witness, shall commit, either by word or deed, any falsehood, fraud or adulteration, if he does not mean to be most hateful to the gods; [917a] and such an one is he who without regard of the gods swears oaths falsely, and also who lies in the presence of his superiors. Now the better are the superiors of the worse, and the older in general of the younger; wherefore also parents are superior to their offspring, men to women and children, rulers to ruled.14 And it will be proper for all to revere all these classes of superiors, whether they be in other positions of authority or in offices of State above all; and to enforce this is just the purpose of our present discourse. For everyone [917b] who adulterates any market commodity, lies and deceives and, calling Heaven to witness, takes an oath in front of the laws and cautions of the market-stewards, neither regarding men nor revering gods. Certainly it is a good practice to refrain from sullying lightly divine names, and to behave with such purity and holiness as most of us generally exhibit in matters of religion; if however this rule is disobeyed, the law runs thus:—He that sells any article in the market shall never name two prices for what he is selling; [917c] he shall name one price only, and if he fails to get this, he will be entitled to take the article away; but he shall not put any other price, greater or less, upon it on that day; and there shall be no puffing or taking of oaths about anything put up for sale. If any man disobeys these rules, any townsman who is present, not being under thirty years of age, shall punish with a beating the seller who swears, and he shall do so with impunity; but if he is disobedient and neglects to do so, he shall be liable to reprobation for betraying the laws. And if a man is selling an adulterated article, [917d] and is incapable of obeying our present rules, any person who is present and aware of the fact and able to expose him shall take for himself the adulterated article, if he expose him before a magistrate, he being himself a slave or a metic,—but if he be a citizen, he shall be declared to be wicked, as a robber of the gods, if he fail to expose the guilty man; while if he does expose him, he shall offer the article to the gods who preside over the market. He that is found out in selling any such article, in addition to being deprived of the adulterated article, shall be beaten in the market-place with stripes—one stripe for every drachma in the price he asks for the article— [917e] after that the herald has first proclaimed the crimes for which the seller is to be beaten. Touching acts of fraud and wrongful acts done by sellers, the market-stewards and the Law-wardens, after making enquiry from experts in each trade, shall write out rules as to what the seller ought to do or avoid doing, and shall post them up on a pillar in front of the stewards office, to serve as written laws and clear instructors [918a] for those engaged in business in the market. The duties of the city-stewards have been fully stated already;15 in case any addition seems to be required, they shall inform the Law-wardens, and write out what seems to be wanting; and they shall post up on the pillar at the city-stewards office both the primary and the secondary regulations pertaining to their office. Following close upon practices of adulteration follow practices of retail trading; concerning which, as a whole, we shall first offer counsel and argument, [918b] and then impose on it a law. The natural purpose for which all retail trading comes into existence in a State is not loss, but precisely the opposite; for how can any man be anything but a benefactor if he renders even and symmetrical the distribution of any kind of goods which before was unsymmetrical and uneven? And this is, we must say, the effect produced by the power of money, and we must declare that the merchant is ordained for this purpose. And the hireling and the innkeeper and the rest—some more and some [918c] less respectable trades,—all have this function, namely, to provide all men with full satisfaction of their needs and with evenness in their properties.16 Let us see then wherein trade is reputed to be a thing not noble nor even respectable, and what has caused it to be disparaged, in order that we may remedy by law parts of it at least, if not the whole. This is an undertaking, it would seem, of no slight importance, and one that calls for no little virtue.Clinias
How do you mean?Athenian
My dear Clinias, small is the class of men—rare by nature and trained, too, with a superlative training—who, when they fall into diverse needs and lusts, [918d] are able to stand out firmly for moderation, and who, when they have the power of taking much wealth, are sober, and choose what is of due measure rather than what is large. The disposition of the mass of mankind is exactly the opposite of this; when they desire, they desire without limit, and when they can make moderate gains, they prefer to gain insatiably; and it is because of this that all the classes concerned with retail trade, commerce, and inn-keeping are disparaged and subjected to violent abuse. Now if anyone were to do what never will be done (Heaven forbid !)—but I shall make the supposition, ridiculous though it is— [918e] namely, compel the best men everywhere for a certain period to keep inns or to peddle or to carry on any such trade, or even to compel women by some necessity of fate to take part in such a mode of life,—then we should learn how that each of these callings is friendly and desirable; and if all these callings were carried on according to a rule free from corruption, they would be honored [919a] with the honor which one pays to a mother or a nurse. But as things are now, whenever a man has planted his house, with a view to retail trade, in a desert place and with all the roads from it lengthy, if in this welcome lodging he receives travellers in distress, providing tranquillity and calm to those buffeted by fierce storms or restful coolness after torrid heat,—the next thing is that, instead of treating them as comrades and providing friendly gifts as well as entertainment, he holds them ransom, as if they were captive foemen in his hands, demanding very high sums of unjust and unclean ransom-money; [919b] it is criminal practices such as this, in the case of all these trades, that afford grounds of complaint against this way of succoring distress. For these evils, then, the lawgiver must in each case provide a medicine. It is an old and true saying that it is hard to fight against the attack of two foes17 of opposite quarters, as in the case of diseases and many other things; and indeed our present fight in this matter is against two foes, poverty and plenty,18 of which the one corrupts the soul of men with luxury, [919c] while the other by means of pain plunges it into shamelessness. What remedy, then, is to be found for this disease in a State gifted with understanding? The first is to employ the trading class as little as possible; the second, to assign to that class those men whose corruption would prove no great loss to the State; the third, to find a means whereby the dispositions of those engaged in these callings may not quite so easily become infected [919d] by shamelessness and meanness of soul. After the declarations now made, let our law on these matters (Heaven prosper it!) run in this wise:—Amongst the Magnesians,19 whom the god is restoring and founding afresh, none of all the landholders who belong to the houses shall, either willingly or unwillingly, become a retail trader or a merchant, or engage in any menial service for private persons who do not make an equal return to himself, save only for his father and mother [919e] and those of a still earlier generation, and all that are elder than himself, they being gentlemen20 and his a gentleman's service. What is becoming, what unbecoming a gentleman it is not easy to fix by law; it shall, however, be decided by those persons who have achieved public distinction21 for their aversion to the one and their devotion to the other. If any citizen in any craft engages in ungentlemanly peddling, whoso will shall indict him for shaming his family before a bench of those adjudged to be the first in virtue, and if it be held that he is sullying his paternal hearth by an unworthy calling, he shall be imprisoned for a year and so restrained therefrom; [920a] if he repeats the offence, he shall get two years' imprisonment, and for each subsequent conviction the period of imprisonment shall go on being doubled. Now comes a second law:—Whosoever intends to engage in retail trade must be a resident alien or a foreigner. And thirdly, this third law:—In order that such an one may be as good as possible, or as little as possible bad, he being a resident in our State, the Law-wardens must bear in mind that they are guardians not only of those who, being well-trained both by birth and nurture, are easy to guard from lawless and evil ways, but also of those who are otherwise, [920b] and who follow pursuits which greatly to urge them on the road to vice; and these must regard the more. Accordingly, with respect to retail trading, which is a multifarious occupation, embracing many callings of a similar nature,—with respect (I mean) to so many branches as are allowed to exist, as being deemed absolutely necessary to the State, concerning these the procedure shall be the same as that previously described [920c] in the case of the kindred matter of adulteration:22 the Law-wardens must meet in consultation with experts in every branch of retail trade, and at their meetings they must consider what standard of profits and expenses produces a moderate for the trader, and the standard of profits and expenses thus arrived at they must prescribe in writing; and this they must insist on—the market-stewards, the city-stewards, and the rural stewards, each in their own sphere. So possibly, by this means, retail trade would be of benefit to all classes, and would do but little damage to those in the States who practise it. [920d] Touching agreements, whenever a man undertakes and fails to fulfil his agreement—unless it be such as is forbidden by the laws or by a decree, or one made under forcible and unjust compulsion, or when the man is involuntarily prevented from fulfilling it owing to some unforeseen accident,—in all other cases of unfulfilled agreements, actions may be brought before the tribal courts, if the parties are unable to come to a previous settlement before arbitrators or neighbors. Sacred to Hephaestus and Athena is the class of craftsmen who have furnished our life with the arts, [920e] and to Ares and Athena belong those who safeguard the products of these craftsmen by other defensive arts; rightly is this class also sacred to these deities. These all continually serve both the country and the people: the one class are leaders in the contests of war, the others produce for pay instruments and works; and it would be unseemly for these men to lie concerning their crafts, because of their reverence for their ancestors. [921a] If any craftsman fail to execute his work within the time named, owing to baseness—he not revering the god who gives him his livelihood, but deeming him (in his blindness of mind) to be merciful because of his kinship,—he shall, in the first place, pay a penalty to the god, and, secondly, there shall be a law enacted to suit his case:—He shall owe the price of the works regarding which he has lied to the person who gave him the order, and within the stated time he shall execute them all over again gratis. And as it counselled the seller, [921b] so the law counsels the contractor who undertakes a work not to give in too high an estimate for it, but to estimate it simply at its real worth; this same charge the law gives, I say, to the contractor, for he as a craftsman certainly knows what its worth is. In States composed of gentlemen it is wrong for a craftsman to try by his art (which is essentially truthful and sincere) to impose artfully upon lay persons; and in such cases the wronged shall be entitled to prosecute the wrongdoer. If, on the other hand, a man who has given an order to a craftsman [921c] fails to pay him his wage duly according to the legal agreement, and sets at naught Zeus, the Patron of the State, and Athena, who are partners in the constitution,—thereby dissolving great partnerships through love of a little gain,—then, with the help of the gods, this law shall lend aid to the bonds that unite the State:—Whosoever has previously received the work ordered and fails to pay the price within the period agreed shall be bound to pay double the price; and if a year have elapsed, although all other [921d] monies on loan are barren,23 this man shall pay as interest one obol on each drachma for every month24 of arrears; and actions for these cases shall take place before the tribal courts. And now that we have made mention of craftsmen in general, it is right to allude in passing to those whose craft is military security, that is to say, military commanders and all experts in such matters. As to the former craftsmen, so to these men, as craftsmen of another sort,—whenever any of them, either voluntarily or under orders, [921e] undertakes any public work and executes it well,—whosoever shall duly pay to these men those honors which are the soldier's wages, him the law will never weary of lauding; but if he has previously received some noble work of a military kind and fails to pay for it, the law will blame him. So, touching this matter, let there be laid down this law, coupled with laudation,—a law which counsels rather than compels [922a] the mass of citizens to honor as second in merit those brave men who, either by bold deeds or by military devices, are protectors of the State; for first in merit come those on whom the greatest reward must be bestowed—namely, those who have proved themselves able pre-eminently to honor the written code of the good lawgivers.25 We have now made regulations for most of the more important business dealings between man and man, excepting those regarding orphans and the care of orphans by their guardians; so, after those now dealt with, these matters must necessarily receive some kind of regulation. [922b] All these have their starting-points either in the desire of those at the point of death to devise their property, or in the accidental cases of those who die without making a testament; and it was in view of the complex and difficult nature of these cases, Clinias, that I made use of the word “necessarily.” And it is, indeed, impossible to leave them without regulation; for individuals might set down many wishes both at variance with one another and contrary to the laws as well as to the dispositions of the living, and also to their own former dispositions in the days before they proposed making a will, [922c] if any will that a man makes were to be granted absolute and unconditional validity, no matter what his state of mind at the end of his life. For most of us are more or less in a dull and enfeebled state of mind, when we imagine that we are nearly at the point of death.Clinias
What do you mean by this, Stranger?Athenian
A man at the point of death, Clinias, is a difficult subject, and overflowing with speech that is most alarming and vexatious to a lawgiver.Clinias
Since he claims to be lord of all he has, he is wont [922d] to speak angrily.Clinias
What will he say?Athenian
“Good heavens!” he cries, “what a monstrous shame it is, if I am not to be allowed at all to give, or not give, my own things to whomsoever I will—and more to one, less to another, according as they have proved themselves good to me or bad, when fully tested in times of sickness, or else in old age and in other happenings of every kind.”Clinias
And do you not think, Stranger, that what they say is right? [922e] Athenian
What I think, Clinias, is this—that the old lawgivers were cowardly, and gave laws with a short view and a slight consideration of human affairs.Clinias
How do you mean?Athenian
It was through fear, my dear sir, of that angry speech that they made the law allowing a man unconditionally to dispose by will of his goods exactly how he pleases. [923a] But you and I will make a more suitable answer to those in your State who are at the point of death.Clinias
In what way?Athenian
O friends, we will say, for you, who are literally but creatures of a day, it is hard at present to know your own possessions and, as the Pythian oracle declares,26 your own selves, to boot. So I, as lawgiver, make this ruling—that both yourself and this your property are not your own, but belong to the whole of your race, both past and future, and that still more truly does all your race and its property belong to the State; [923b] and this being so, I will not willingly consent if anyone persuades you to make a will contrary to what is best, by fawning on you and helping you when afflicted by disease or age; rather will I legislate with a general view to what is best for your whole race and State, justly accounting of minor importance the interest of the individual. May it be that you will feel kindly disposed and at peace with us as you journey towards that bourne whither, by the natural law of our human life, you now are traveling: the rest of your affairs [923c] shall be our care, and we will watch over them all, without exception, to the best of our power. This shall serve, Clinias, alike for consolation and for prelude for both the living and the dying, and the law shall run as follows:— Whosoever writes a will disposing of his property, if he be the father of children, he shall first write down the name of whichever of his sons he deems worthy to be his heir, and if he offers any one of his other children to another man to be adopted by him, this also he shall write down; and if he has any son besides that is not adopted for any lot,27 [923d] of whom he has hopes that he will be sent out by law to a colony, to him the father shall be allowed to give so much of his other property as he wishes, saving only the ancestral lot and all the equipment of that lot; and if there be several more sons, the father shall divide among them the surplus, over and above the lot, in whatever way he chooses. And if a son already possesses a house, he shall not assign him goods, and so likewise in the case of a daughter, if she is betrothed to a husband, [923e] he shall not assign goods, but if not so betrothed, he shall assign. And if, after the will is made, it is discovered that one of the sons or daughters owns a lot in the district, then that person shall resign his legacy in favor of the heir of him that made the will. If the testator leave no male children, but females, he shall bequeath to whichever daughter he chooses a husband, and to himself a son, and write him down as his heir;28 and if a man has a son, whether his own or adopted, who dies in childhood before reaching man's estate, in this case also, [924a] when making his will, he shall state in writing who is to be his son's successor, and with happier luck. If any testator be wholly childless, he shall take out a tenth part of his surplus property and shall give it to any person, if he so chooses; but all the rest he shall hand over to his adopted heir, and him he shall make his son with mutual good-will and the blessing of the law. When a man's children need guardians, if he die after making a will and naming what persons and how many he desires to act as guardians to his children, [924b] and if they are willing and consent act, then the choice of guardians in this document shall be final; but if a man dies either wholly intestate or having omitted from his will the choice of guardians, then the nearest of kin on both the father's and the mother's side, two from each side, together with one of the friends of the deceased, shall act as official guardians, and these the Law-wardens shall appoint in the case of each orphan that requires them. [924c] All that appertains to guardianship and the orphans shall be supervised by fifteen of the Law-wardens, who shall be the eldest of the whole body, and shall divide themselves into threes according to seniority, three acting one year and another three a second year, until five yearly periods have passed in rotation; and this process shall go on, so far as possible, without a break. And if any man die wholly intestate, leaving children that require guardianship, his unfriended children shall share in these same laws. [924d] And if a man meets with some unforeseen mischance and leaves daughters, he shall pardon the lawgiver if he regulates the betrothal of the daughters with an eye to two points out of three—namely, nearness of kinship and the security of the lot—and omits the third point, which a father would take into consideration,—namely, the selecting out of all the citizens of a person suited by character and conduct to be a son to himself and a spouse for daughter,—if, I say, the lawgiver passes this over owing to the impossibility of taking it into consideration. [924e] Accordingly, the law that we shall enact, as the best in our power touching such matters, will be this:—If a man dies intestate and leaves daughters, that brother who is born of the same father or of the same mother and who is without a lot shall take the daughter29 and the lot of the deceased; failing a brother, if there be a brother's son, the procedure shall be the same, provided that the parties be of an age suited the one to the other; failing one of these, the same rule shall hold for a sister's son; then, fourthly, for a father's brother; and, fifthly, for his son; and, sixthly, for the son of a father's sister. [925a] In like manner, if a man leaves female children, the right of kinship shall proceed always by degrees of consanguinity, going up through brothers and brother's children, first the males, and secondly the females in one line. The suitability or otherwise of the time of marriage the judge shall decide by inspection, viewing the males naked and the females naked down to the navel. And if there be in the family a lack of kinsmen as far as brother's grandchildren, and likewise as far as grandfather's children, whomsoever of the other citizens the girl, aided by her guardians, shall choose, that man (if both he and the girl are willing) [925b] shall become the heir of the deceased and the spouse of his daughter. But obstacles often occur, and there might be times when there was an unusual dearth of such men in the city itself: so if any girl, being at a loss to find a spouse on the spot, sees one that has emigrated to a colony and desires that he should become heir to her father's property, if so be that he is related, he shall proceed to the lot, according to the ordinance of the law; but if he be outside the kin, and there be no one of near kin in the State, [925c] then by the choice of the guardians and of the daughter of the deceased he shall be entitled to marry and to take the lot of the intestate man on his return home. Whosoever dies intestate, being without any issue, male or female, in his case all other matters shall be governed by the previous law; and a man and woman from the family shall in each such instance go into the deserted house as joint assignees, and their claim to the lot shall be made valid; [925d] and the female claims to inheritance shall come in this order—first, a sister; second, a brother's daughter; third, a sister's daughter; fourth, a father's sister; fifth, a father's brother's daughter; sixth, a father's sister's daughter; and these shall share the home with the male kinsmen according to the degree of relationship and right, as we previously enacted. Now we must not fail to notice how burdensome such a law may prove, in that sometimes it harshly orders the next of kin to the deceased to marry his kinswoman, and that it appears to overlook the thousands of impediments which in human life [925e] prevent men from being willing to obey such orders and cause them to prefer any other alternative, however painful, in cases where either of the parties ordered to marry is suffering from diseases or defects of mind or body. Some might suppose that the lawgiver is paying no heed to these considerations, but they would be wrong. On behalf, therefore, of the lawgiver as well as of him to whom the law applies let a kind of general prelude be uttered, requesting those to the order is given to pardon the lawgiver because it is impossible for him, in his care for the public interests, to control also the private misfortunes which befall individuals, [926a] and requesting pardon also for the subjects of the law, inasmuch as they are naturally unable at times to carry out ordinances of the lawgiver laid down by him in ignorance.Clinias
As regards this, Stranger, what would be the most rational course of action to adopt?Athenian
It is necessary, Clinias, that for laws of this kind, and those whom they affect, arbitrators should be chosen.Clinias
How do you mean?Athenian
It might happen that a nephew, who has a rich father, would be loth to take to wife his uncle's daughter, [926b] giving himself airs and being minded to make a grander match. Or again, when what the lawgiver enjoins would be a fearful calamity, a man might be compelled to disobey the law—for instance, when the law would force him to enter into an alliance with madness or some other dire affliction of body or soul, such as makes life intolerable for the person so allied. This statement of ours shall now be laid down as a law in the following terms:—If any man have a complaint against the ordained laws concerning testaments in respect of any detail, and especially [926c] of those relating to marriage; and if he affirms on oath that of a truth the lawgiver himself, were he alive and present, would never have compelled the parties to act as they are now being compelled to act in respect of marrying and giving in marriage; and if, on the other hand, some relative or guardian supports the compulsion of the law; what we declare is that the lawgiver has left us the fifteen Law-wardens to act for the orphans, male and female, as both arbitrators and parents, and to these [926d] all who dispute about any such matters shall go for judgment, and their verdict shall be carried out as final. If, however, anyone maintains that this is to confer too much power on the Law-wardens, he shall summon his opponents before the court of select judges30 and secure a decision regarding the points in dispute. On him that is defeated there shall be imposed by the lawgiver censure and disgrace,—a penalty heavier than a large fine in the eyes of a man of right mind. Accordingly, orphan children will undergo a kind of second birth.31 How in each case they should be reared and trained [926e] after their first birth we have already described;32 and now we must contrive some means whereby, after their second birth in which they are destitute of parents, their orphan condition may be as free as possible from piteous misery for those who have become orphans. In the first place, to act in the room of their begetters, as parents of no inferior kind, we must legally appoint the Law-wardens; and we charge three of these, year by year33, to care for the orphans as their own, having already given both to these men and to the guardians a suitable prelude of directions concerning the nurture of orphans. Opportune, indeed, as I think, was the account we previously gave34 [927a] of how the souls of the dead have a certain power of caring for human affairs after death. The tales which contain this doctrine are true, though long; and while it is right to believe the other traditions about such matters, which are so numerous and exceeding old, we must so believe those who lay it down by law that these are facts, unless it is plain that they are utter fools. So if this is really the state of the case, the guardians shall fear, first, the gods above who [927b] pay regard to the solitude of orphans; and, secondly, the souls of the dead, whose natural instinct it is to care especially for their own offspring, and to be kindly disposed those who respect them and hostile to those who disrespect them; and, thirdly, they shall fear the souls of the living who are old and who are held in most high esteem; since where the State flourishes under good laws, their children's children revere the aged with affection and live in happiness. These old people [927c] are keen of eye and keen of ear to mark such matters, and while they are gracious towards those who deal justly therein, they are very wroth with those who despitefully entreat orphans and waifs, regarding these as a trust most solemn and sacred. To all these authorities the guardian and official—if he has a spark of sense—must pay attention; he must show as much care regarding the nurture and training of the orphans as if he were contributing to his own support and that of his own children, and he must do them good in every way to the utmost of his power. He, then, that obeys the tale prefixed to the law [927d] and in no wise misuses the orphan will have no direct experience of the anger of the lawgiver against such offences; but the disobedient and he that wrongs any who has lost father or mother shall in every case pay a penalty double of that due from the man who offends against a child with both parents living. As regards further legal directions either to guardians concerning orphans or to magistrates concerning the supervision of the guardians,—if they did not already possess a pattern of the way to nurture free children in the way they themselves nurture their own children and supervise their household goods, [927e] and if they did not also possess laws regulating these same affairs in detail, then it would have been reasonable enough to lay down laws concerning guardianship, as a peculiar and distinct branch of law, marking out with special regulations of its own the life of the orphan as contrasted with the non-orphan; but, as the matter stands, the condition of orphanhood in all these respects does not differ greatly with us from the condition of parental control, although as a rule in respect of public estimation and of the care bestowed on the children they are on quite a different level. [928a] Consequently, in its regulations concerning orphans the law has emphasized this very point both by admonition and by threat. A threat, moreover, of the following kind will be extremely opportune:—Whosoever is guardian of a male or female child, and whosoever of the Law-wardens is appointed supervisor of a guardian, shall show as much affection for the child whom Fate has made an orphan as for his own children, and he shall zealously care for the goods of his nursling as much as for his own goods—or rather, more. [928b] Every guardian shall observe this one law in the discharge of his office; and if any act in such matters contrary to this law, the magistrate shall punish him if he be a guardian, and, if he be a magistrate, the guardian shall summon him before the court of the select judges, and fine him double the penalty adjudged by the court. And if a guardian be held by the child's relatives, or by any other citizen, to be guilty of neglecting or maltreating his ward, they shall bring him before the same court, [928c] and he shall pay four times the damages assessed, and of this amount one half shall go to the child, the other half to the successful prosecutor. When an orphan has reached full age, if he thinks that he has been badly cared for, he shall be allowed to bring an action concerning the guardianship within a period of five years after the date of its expiration; and if the guardian lose his case, the court shall assess the amount of his penalty or fine; and if it be a magistrate that is held to have injured the orphan by neglect, the court shall assess [928d] what sum he shall pay to the child, but if the injury be due to unjust dealing, in addition to the fine he shall be removed from his office of Law-warden, and the public authority of the State shall appoint another in his place to act as Law-warden for the country and the State. Between fathers and their children, and children and their fathers, there arise differences greater than is right, in the course of which fathers, on the one hand, are liable to suppose that the lawgiver should give them legal permission to proclaim publicly by herald, if they so wish, that their sons have legally [928e] ceased to be their sons; while the sons, on the other hand, claim permission to indict their fathers for insanity when they are in a shameful condition owing to illness or old age. These results are wont to occur among men who are wholly evil of character, since where only half of them are evil—the son being evil and the father not, or vice versa—such enmity does not issue in calamitous consequences. Now, whereas under another polity a son when disinherited would not necessarily cease to be a citizen, it is necessary in our State (of which these are to be the laws) that the fatherless man should emigrate to another State, [929a] since it is impossible that a single household should be added to our 5040; consequently it is necessary that the person upon whom this punishment is to be inflicted legally should be disinherited, not by his father only, but by the whole family. Such cases should be dealt with according to a law such as this:—If any man is urged by a most unhappy impulse of anger to desire, rightly or wrongly, to expel from his own kindred one whom he has begotten and reared, he shall not be permitted [929b] to do this informally and immediately, but he shall, first of all, assemble his own kinsfolk as far as cousins and likewise his son's kinsfolk on the mother's side, and in the presence of these he shall accuse his son, showing how he deserves at the hands of all to be expelled from the family, and he shall grant to the son an equal length of time for arguing that he does not deserve to suffer any such treatment; and if the father convinces them and gains the votes of more than half the family (votes being given by all the other adults of both sexes, [929c] save only the father, the mother, and the son who is defendant), in this way and on these conditions, but not otherwise, the father shall be permitted to disinherit his son. And as regards the man disinherited, if any citizen desires to adopt him as his son, no law shall prevent him from doing so, (for the characters of the young naturally undergo many changes during their life); but if within ten years no one offers to adopt the disinherited man, [929d] then the controllers of the surplus children designed for emigration shall take control of these persons also, in order that they may be duly included in the same scheme of emigration. And if a man becomes unusually demented owing to illness or old age or crabbedness, or a combination of these complaints, but his condition remains unnoticed by all except those who are living with him, and if he regards himself as master of his own property and wastes his goods, while his son feels at a loss and scruples to indict him for insanity,—in such a case a law shall be enacted [929e] on behalf of the son whereby he shall, in the first instance, go to the eldest of the Law-wardens and report to them his father's condition, and they, after full enquiry, shall advise whether or not he ought to bring an indictment; and if they advise him to bring an indictment, they shall act for him, when he brings it, both as witnesses and advocates; and the father that is convicted shall thenceforward have no power to administer even the smallest tittle of his property, and shall be counted as a child in the house for the rest of his life. If a man and his wife, being of unhappy dispositions, in no wise agree together, it is right that they should be under the constant control of ten members of the Board of Law-wardens, of middle age, [930a] together with ten of the women in charge of marriage.35 If these officials are able to bring about a reconciliation, this arrangement shall hold good; but if their passions rage too high for harmony, the officials shall, so far as possible, seek out other suitable unions for each of them. And since it is probable that such persons are not of a gentle disposition, they must endeavor to yoke with them dispositions that are more gentle and sedate36. If those who quarrel are childless, or have but few children, [930b] they must form unions with a view to children; but if they have children enough, then the object both of the separation and of the new union should be to obtain companionship and mutual assistance in old age. If a man's wife dies, leaving both male and female children, there shall be a law, advisory rather than compulsory, directing the husband to rear the children without introducing a step-mother; but if there be no children, the widower must of necessity marry, until he has begotten children sufficient alike for his household and the State. [930c] And if the husband dies, leaving sufficient children, the mother of the children shall remain there and rear them; but if it be deemed that she is unduly young to be able to live healthfully without a husband, the relatives shall report the case to the women in charge of marriage, and shall take such action as may seem good to them and to themselves; and if there be a lack of children, they shall also act with a view to the supply of children; [930d] and the number which constitutes a bare sufficiency of children shall be fixed by the law at one of each sex. Whenever, in spite of agreement as to who a child's parents are, a decision is required as to which parent the child should follow, the rule is this37: in all cases where a slave-woman has been mated with a slave or with a free man or a freedman, the child shall belong to the slave-woman's master; but if a free woman mates with a slave, the issue shall belong to the slave's master; and if the child be a master's by his own slave-woman, or a mistress's by her own slave, and the facts of the case are quite clear, then the women officials shall send away the woman's child, together with its father, [930e] to another country, and the Law-wardens shall send away the man's child, together with its mother. Neglect of parents is a thing that no god nor any right-minded man would ever recommend to anyone; and one ought to recognize how fitly a prelude of the following kind, dealing with worship paid to the gods, would apply to the honors and dishonors paid to parents:—The ancient laws [931a] of all men concerning the gods are two-fold: some of the gods whom we honor we see clearly38, but of others we set up statues as images, and we believe that when we worship these, lifeless though they be, the living gods beyond feel great good-will towards us and gratitude. So if any man has a father or a mother, or one of their fathers or mothers, in his house laid up bed-ridden with age, let him never suppose that, while he has such a figure as this upon his hearth, any statue could be more potent, if so be that its owner tends it duly and rightly. [931b] Clinias
And what do you say is the right way?Athenian
I will tell you: for in truth, my friends, matters of this sort deserve a hearing.Clinias
Oedipus, when he was dishonored (so our story runs), invoked upon his children curses39 which, as all men allege, were granted by Heaven and fulfilled; and we tell how Amyntor in his wrath cursed his son Phoenix,40 and Theseus cursed Hippolytus,41 and countless other parents cursed countless other sons, which curses of parents upon sons it is clearly proved that the gods grant; [931c] for a parent's curse laid upon his children is more potent than any other man's curse against any other, and most justly so. Let no man suppose, then, that when a father or a mother is dishonored by the children, in that case it is natural for God to hearken especially to their prayers, whereas when the parent is honored and is highly pleased and earnestly prays the gods, in consequence, to bless his children—are we not to suppose that they hearken equally to prayers of this kind, and grant them to us? For if not, they could never be just dispensers of blessings; and that, as we assert, would be [931d] most unbecoming in gods.Clinias
Let us maintain, then,—as we said a moment ago—that in the eyes of the gods we can possess no image more worthy of honor, than a father or forefather laid up with old age, or a mother in the same condition; whom when a man worships with gifts of honor, God is well pleased, for otherwise He would not grant their prayers. For the shrine which is an ancestor is marvellous in our eyes, [931e] far beyond that which is a lifeless thing; for while those which are alive pray for us when tended by us and pray against us when dishonored, the lifeless images do neither; so that if a man rightly treats his father and forefather and all such ancestors, he will possess images potent above all others to win for him a heaven-blest lot.42Clinias
Every right-minded man fears and respects the prayers of parents, knowing that many times in many cases they have proved effective. And since this is the ordinance of nature, to good men aged forefathers are a heavenly treasure [932a] while they live, up to the very last hours of life, and when they depart they are sorely regretted; but to the bad are truly fearsome. Therefore let every man, in obedience to these counsels, honor his own parents with all the due legal honors. If however, “report convicts”43 any of deafness to such preludes, the following law will be enacted rightly to deal with them:—If any person in this State be unduly neglectful of his parents,44 and fail to consider them in all things more than [932b] his sons or any of his offspring, or even himself, and to fulfil their wishes, let the parent who suffers any such neglect report it, either in person or by a messenger, to the three eldest Law-wardens, and to three of the women in charge of marriage; and these shall take the matter in hand, and shall punish the wrongdoers with stripes and imprisonment if they are still young—up to the age of thirty [932c] if they are men, while if they are women they shall suffer similar punishment up to the age of forty. And if, when they have passed these limits of age, they do not desist from the same acts of neglect towards their parents, but in some cases maltreat them, they shall be summoned before a court of 101 citizens, who shall be the oldest citizens all; and if a man be convicted, the court shall assess what his fine or punishment must be, regarding no penalty as excluded which man can suffer or pay. [932d] If any parent when maltreated is unable to report the fact, that free man who hears of it shall inform the magistrate, failing which he shall be esteemed base, and shall be liable to an action for damage at the hands of anyone who chooses. If a slave gives information he shall be set free: he shall be set free by the Board of Magistrates if he be a slave of either the injured party or the injurers; but if he belong to any other citizen, the State Treasury shall pay his owner a price for him; and the magistrates shall take care that no one does injury to such a man in revenge for his giving information. [932e] We have already45 dealt fully with cases where one man injures another by poisons so that death is the result; but we have not as yet dealt fully with any of the minor cases in which willful and deliberate injury is caused by means of potions, foods, and unguents. A division in our treatment of poisoning cases is required by the fact that, following the nature of mankind, they are of two distinct types. The type [933a] that we have now expressly mentioned is that in which injury is done to bodies by bodies according to nature's laws. Distinct from this is the type which, by means of sorceries and incantations and spells (as they are called), not only convinces those who attempt to cause injury that they really can do so, but convinces also their victims that they certainly are being injured by those who possess the power of bewitchment. In respect of all such matters it is neither easy to perceive what is the real truth, nor, if one does perceive it, is it easy to convince others. And it is futile to approach the souls of men [933b] who view one another with dark suspicion if they happen to see images of molded wax at doorways, or at points where three ways meet, or it may be at the tomb of some ancestor, to bid them make light of all such portents, when we ourselves hold no clear opinion concerning them. Consequently, we shall divide the law about poisoning under two heads, according to the modes in which the attempt is made,46 and, as a preliminary, we shall entreat, exhort, and advise that no one must attempt [933c] to commit such an act, or to frighten the mass of men, like children, with bogeys, and so compel the legislator and the judge to cure men of such fears, inasmuch as, first, the man who attempts poisoning knows not what he is doing either in regard to bodies (unless he be a medical expert) or in respect of sorceries (unless he be a prophet or diviner). So this statement shall stand [933d] as the law about poisoning:—Whosoever shall poison any person so as to cause an injury not fatal either to the person himself or to his employes, or so as to cause an injury fatal or not fatal to his flocks or to his hives,—if the agent be a doctor, and if he be convicted of poisoning, he shall be punished by death; but if he be a lay person, the court shall assess in his case what he shall suffer or pay. And if it be held that a man is acting like an injurer by the use of spells, incantations, [933e] or any such mode of poisoning, if he be a prophet or diviner, he shall be put to death; but if he be ignorant of the prophetic art, he shall be dealt with in the same way as a layman convicted of poisoning,—that is to say, the court shall assess in his case also what shall seem to them right for him to suffer or pay. In all cases where one man causes damage to another by acts of robbery47 or violence, if the damage be great, he shall pay a large sum as compensation to the damaged party, and a small sum if the damage be small; and as a general rule, every man shall in every case pay a sum equal to the damage done, until the loss is made good; and, in addition to this, every man shall pay the penalty which is attached to his crime [934a] by way of corrective. The penalty shall be lighter in the case of one who has done wrong owing to another's folly—the wrong-doer being over-persuaded because of his youth or for some such reason; and it shall be heavier when man has done wrong owing to his own folly, because of his incontinence in respect of pleasures and pains and the overpowering influence of craven fears or of incurable desires, envies and rages. And he shall pay the penalty, not because of the wrongdoing,—for what is done can never be undone,—but in order that for the future both he himself and those who behold his punishment may either utterly loathe his sin [934b] or at least renounce48 to a great extent such lamentable conduct. For all these reasons and with a view to all these objects, the law, like a good archer, must aim in each case at the amount of the punishment, and above all at its fitting amount; and the judge must assist the lawgiver in carrying out this same task, whenever the law entrusts to him the assessment of what the defendant is to suffer or pay, [934c] while the lawgiver, like a draughtsman, must give a sketch in outline of cases which illustrate the rules of the written code. And that, O Megillus and Clinias, is the task which we must now execute as fairly and well as we can: we must state what penalties should be ordained for all cases of robbery and violence, in so far as the gods and sons of gods may suffer us to ordain them by law. If any be a madman, he shall not appear openly in the city; the relatives of such persons shall keep them indoors, employing whatever means they know of, [934d] or else they shall pay a penalty; a person belonging to the highest property-class shall pay a hundred drachmae, whether the man he is neglecting be a free man or a slave,—one belonging to the second class shall pay four-fifths of a mina—one of the third class, three-fifths,—and one of the fourth class, two-fifths. There are many and various forms of madness: in the cases now mentioned it is caused by disease, but cases also occur where it is due to the natural growth and fostering of an evil temper, by which men in the course of a trifling quarrel abuse one another slanderously with loud cries— [934e] a thing which is unseemly and totally out of place in a well-regulated State. Concerning abuse there shall be this one law to cover all cases:—No one shall abuse anyone. If one is disputing with another in argument, he shall either speak or listen, and he shall wholly refrain from abusing either the disputant or the bystanders. For from those light things, words, there spring in deed things most heavy to bear, even hatreds and feuds, [935a] when men begin by cursing one another and foully abusing one another in the manner of fish-wives; and the man who utters such words is gratifying a thing most ungracious and sating his passion with foul foods, and by thus brutalizing afresh that part of his soul which once was humanized by education, he makes a wild beast of himself through his rancorous life, and wins only gall for gratitude from his passion. In such disputes all men are commonly wont to proceed to indulge in ridicule [935b] of their opponent; but everyone who has ever yet indulged in this practice has either failed to achieve a virtuous disposition, or else has lost in great measure his former high-mindedness. No man, therefore, shall ever in any wise utter such words in any holy place or at any public sacrifice or public games, or in the market or the court or any public assembly; in every such case the magistrate concerned shall punish the offender; or, if he fail to do so, he shall be disqualified for any public distinction [935c] because of his neglect of the laws and his failure to execute the injunctions of the lawgiver. And if in other places a man abstains not from such language—whether he be the aggressor or acting in self-defence—whosoever meets with him, if he be an older man, shall vindicate the law by driving off with stripes the man who pamper passion, that evil comrade; or, if he fail to do so, he shall be liable to the appointed penalty. We are now asserting that a man who is gripped by the habit of abuse cannot avoid trying to indulge in ridicule; and this is a thing we abuse when it is uttered in passion. [935d] What then? Are we to countenance the readiness to ridicule people which is shown by comic writers,49 provided that in their comedies they employ this sort of language about citizens without any show of passion? Or shall we divide ridicule under the two heads of jest and earnest, and allow anyone to ridicule any other in jest and without passion,50 [935e] but forbid anyone (as we have already said) to do so in real earnest and with passion? We must by no means go back on what we said; but we must determine by law who is to be granted this permission, and who refused. A composer of a comedy or of any iambic or lyric song shall be strictly forbidden to ridicule any of the citizens either by word or by mimicry,51 whether with or without passion; and if anyone disobeys, the Presidents of the Games [936a] shall on the same day banish him wholly from the country, failing which they shall be fined three minas, dedicated to the god whose festival is being held. Those to whom permission has been given, as we previously said,52 to write songs about one another shall be allowed to ridicule others in jest and without passion; but they shall not be allowed to do so with passion and in earnest. The task of making this distinction shall be entrusted to the minister in charge of the general education of the young: whatever he shall approve, the composer shall be allowed to produce in public, but whatever he shall disapprove, the composer shall be forbidden either personally to exhibit to anyone or to be found teaching to any other person, free man or slave; [936b] and if he does so, he shall be held to be a base man and disobedient to the laws. The man who suffers from hunger or the like is not the man who deserves pity, but he who, while possessing temperance or virtue of some sort, or a share thereof gains in addition evil fortune; wherefore it would be a strange thing indeed if in a polity and State that is even moderately well organized, a man of this kind (be he slave or free man) should be so entirely neglected as to come to utter beggary. Wherefore the Lawgiver will be safe in enacting for such cases some such law as this:— [936c] There shall be no beggar in our State; and if anyone attempts to beg, and to collect a livelihood by ceaseless prayers, the market-stewards shall expel him from the market, and the Board of city-stewards from the city, and from any other district he shall be driven across the border by the country-stewards, to the end that the land may be wholly purged of such a creature. If a slave, male or female, do any injury to another man's goods, [936d] when the injured man himself has had no share in causing the injury through his own clumsy or careless handling, then the master of him that has done the injury shall fully make good the damage, or else shall hand over the person of the injurer: but if the master brings a charge affirming that the claim is made in order to rob him of his slave by a privy agreement between the injurer and the injured party, then he shall prosecute the man who claims that he has been injured on the charge of conspiracy; and if he wins his case, he shall receive double the price at which the court shall assess the slave, [936e] but if he loses he shall not only make good the damage, but he shall also hand over the slave. And if it be a mule or horse or dog any other animal that causes damage to any property belonging to a neighbor, its master shall in like manner pay compensation. If anyone is unwilling to act as witness, the man who requires his evidence shall summon him, and the man so summoned shall attend the trial, and if he knows the facts and is willing to give evidence, he shall give it; but in case he denies knowledge, he shall take an oath by the three gods, Zeus, Apollo, and Themis, that of a truth he has no knowledge, [937a] and this done, he shall be dismissed from the suit. And if a man summoned as witness does not attend with his summoner, he shall be legally liable to be sued for damages. And if one of the judges be summoned as a witness, he shall not vote at the trial after giving evidence. A free woman, if she be over forty years old, shall be allowed to give evidence to support a plea, and if she have no husband, she shall be allowed to bring an action; but if she have a husband alive, [937b] she shall only be allowed to give evidence. A male or female slave and a child shall be allowed to give evidence and support a plea in murder cases only, provided that they furnish a substantial security that, if their evidence be denounced as false, they will remain until the trial. Either of the opposing parties in a suit may denounce all or part of the evidence, provided that he claims that false witness has been given before the action is finally decided; and the magistrates shall keep the denunciations, when they have been sealed by both parties, and shall produce them at the trial for false witness. [937c] If any person be twice convicted of false witness, no law shall compel him any longer to bear witness, and if thrice, he shall not be allowed to bear witness any longer; and if after three convictions, a man dare to bear witness, whoso wishes shall report him to the magistrates, and they shall hand him over to the court, and if he be found guilty, he shall be punished with death. In the case of all those whose evidence is condemned at the trial,—they being adjudged to have given false witness and thus to have caused the victory of the winner,—if more than the half of their evidence be condemned, [937d] the action that was lost because of them shall be annulled, and there shall be a disputation and a trial as to whether the action was or was not decided on the evidence in question; and by the verdict then given, whichever way it goes, the result of the previous actions shall be finally determined. Although there are many fair things in human life, yet to most of them there clings a kind of canker which poisons and corrupts them. [937e] None would deny that justice between men is a fair thing, and that it has civilized all human affairs. And if justice be fair, how can we deny that pleading is also a fair thing? But these fair things are in disrepute owing to a kind of foul art, which, cloaking itself under a fair name,53 claims, first, that there exists a device for dealing with lawsuits, and further, that it is the one which is able, by pleading and helping another to plead, to win the victory, whether the pleas concerned [938a] be just or unjust; and it also asserts that both this art itself and the arguments which proceed from it are a gift offered to any man who gives money in exchange. This art—whether it be really an art or merely an artless trick got by habit and practice54—must never, if possible, arise in our State; and when the lawgiver demands compliance and no contradiction of justice, or the removal of such artists to another country,—if they comply, the law for its part shall keep silence, but if they fail to comply, its pronouncement shall be this:—If anyone be held to be [938b] trying to reverse the force of just pleas in the minds of the judges, or to be multiplying suits unduly or aiding others to do so, whoso wishes shall indict him for perverse procedure or aiding in perverse procedure, and he shall be tried before the court of select judges; and if he be convicted, the court shall determine whether he seems to be acting from avarice or from ambition; and if from the latter, the court shall determine for how long a period such an one shall be precluded from bringing action against anyone, or aiding anyone to do so; while if avarice be his motive, if he be an alien he shall be sent out of the country [938c] and forbidden to return on pain of death, but if he be a citizen he shall be put to death because of his unscrupulous devotion to the pursuit of gain. And anyone who has twice been pronounced guilty of committing such an act from ambition shall be put to death.
4 Hecate (=Artemis)
11 i.e. of subscriptions due from members of a (dining) club, or of money raised as a loan to a member in time of need.
12 i.e. epilepsy.
20 Literally “free men,”—the Greek word connoting generosity, culture and dignity, like our “gentle.”
24 As a drachma = 6 obols, the interest would amount to 200 p.c. per annum.
28 i.e. he shall select a citizen to become his heir by marrying one of his daughters.
31 i.e. be “born again” as children of the State, with the Law-wardens as their new official parents, as explained below.
32 In Books II. and VII.
37 The object of this rule dealing with irregular connections between free citizens and slaves is to prevent any of slave descent acquiring rights of property in the State.
46 i.e. attacking the mind or body.
53 i.e. “Rhetoric.”
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