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,
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
in the case of the kindred matter of adulteration:1
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.
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,
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.