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[945a] or post him to any rank; otherwise, the examiner shall fine the officer who posts the coward 1000 drachmae, if he be of the highest property-class,—if of the second class, five minas,—if of the third, three minas,—if of the fourth, one mina. And the soldier who is convicted of the charge, in addition to being debarred, as his own nature requires, from manly risks, shall also pay back his wage—1000 drachmae, if he be of the highest class,—if of the second, five minas,— [945b] if of the third, three,—and if of the fourth, one mina, just as in the previous cases. Respecting examiners,1 what would be a proper statement for us to make, seeing that some of the magistrates are appointed by the hazard of the lot and for a year, while others are appointed for several years and chosen out of a number of selected persons? Of such, who will be a competent examiner, in the event of any one of them acting at all crookedly through being burdened by the weight of his office and his own inability to support it worthily? [945c] It is by no means easy to find an officer of officers, who surpasses them in excellence, but still one must try to find some examiners of a divine quality. In fact, the case stands thus:—The dissolution of a polity, like that of a ship's frame, depends upon many critical factors: these (in the case of a ship) though one in nature are separated into many parts, and we call them by many names—such as stays, under-girders, bracing-ropes. For the preservation, or dissolution and disappearance, of a polity the office of examiner is such a critical factor, and that of the gravest kind. [945d] For if those who act as examiners of the magistrates are better men than they, and if they act blamelessly with blameless justice, then the whole of the State and country flourishes and is happy; but if the examination of the magistrates is carried out otherwise, then the bond of justice which binds all political elements into one is dissolved, and in consequence every office is torn apart from every other, and they no longer tend all to the same end; and thus out of one State they make many,2 and by filling it with civil strife they speedily bring it to ruin. [945e] Wherefore it is most necessary that the examiners should be men of admirably complete virtue. Let us contrive to bring them into being in some such way as this:—Every year, after the summer solstice,3 the whole State must assemble at the common precincts of Helios and Apollo, there to present before the god the names of three out of their own number,—

1 i.e. persons appointed to audit the accounts and scrutinize the conduct of public officials at the expiry of their term of office. Note the play on the literal sense of εὐθυντής, “straightener” (of “crooked” actions).

2 Cp. Plat. Rep. 422e.

3 Cp. Plat. Laws 767c, Plat. Laws 767d.

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