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[948a] The court shall be composed first of Law-wardens, next of the living1 members of the body of examiners themselves, and, in addition to these, of the Bench of select judges;2 and he who indicts anyone shall state in his indictment that the person in question is unworthy of his distinctions and of his office; and if the defendant be convicted, he shall be deprived of his office and of his tomb, and of the other privileges granted to him; but if the prosecutor fails to gain one-fifth of the votes, he shall pay twelve minas if he be of the highest class,— [948b] if of the second, eight,—if of the third, six,—and if of the fourth, two minas. Rhadamanthys deserves admiration for the way in which, as we are told, he judged cases of law, in that he perceived that the men of his time had a clear belief in the existence of gods,—and naturally so, seeing that most men at that time were the offspring of gods, he himself among others, as the story declares. Probably he thought that he ought not to entrust lawsuits to any man, but only to gods, from whom he obtained verdicts that were both simple and speedy; for he administered an oath [948c] to the disputants regarding each matter in dispute, and thus secured a speedy and safe settlement. But nowadays, when, as we say,3 a certain section of mankind totally disbelieve in gods, and others hold that they pay no regard to us men, while a third party, consisting of the most and worst of men, suppose that in return for small offerings and flatteries the gods lend them aid in committing large robberies, and often set them free from great penalties,—under such conditions, for men as they now are, the device of Rhadamanthys would no longer be appropriate in actions at law. [948d] Since, therefore, the opinions of men about the gods have changed, so also must their laws change. In legal actions laws that are framed intelligently ought to debar both litigants from taking oaths; he that is bringing an action against anyone ought to write down his charges, but swear no oath, and the defendant in like manner ought to write down his denial and hand it to the magistrates without an oath. For truly it is a horrible thing to know full well that, inasmuch as lawsuits are frequent in a State, well-nigh half the citizens are perjurers, [948e] although they have no scruple in associating with one another at common meals and at other public and private gatherings. So it shall be laid down by law that a judge shall take an oath when he is about to give judgment, and likewise oaths shall be taken by him who is appointing public officials

1 i.e. after superannuation.

2 Cp. Plat. Laws 855c.

3 Cp. Plat. Laws 886d ff., Plat. Laws 891b.

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