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[735a] whereas the woof is softer and shows a due degree of flexibility1—from this we may see that in some such way we must mark out those who are to hold high offices in the State and those who are to hold low offices,2 after applying in each case an adequate educational test. For of State organization there are two divisions, of which the one is the appointment of individuals to office, the other the assignment of laws to the offices. But, in truth, before we deal with all these matters we must observe the following. [735b] In dealing with a flock of any kind, the shepherd or cowherd, or the keeper of horses or any such animals, will never attempt to look after it until he has first applied to each group of animals the appropriate purge—which is to separate the sound from the unsound, and the well-bred from the ill-bred,3 and to send off the latter to other herds, while keeping the former under his own care; for he reckons that his labor would be fruitless and unending if it were spent on bodies and souls which nature and [735c] ill-nurture have combined to ruin, and which themselves bring ruin on a stock that is sound and clean both in habit and in body,—whatever the class of beast,—unless a thorough purge be made in the existing herd. This is a matter of minor importance in the case of other animals, and deserves mention only by way of illustration; but in the case of man it is of the highest importance for the lawgiver to search out and to declare what is proper for each class both as regards purging out and all other modes of treatment. For instance, in respect of civic purgings, [735d] this would be the way of it. Of the many possible modes of purging, some are milder, some more severe; those that are severest and best a lawgiver who was also a despot4 might be able to effect, but a lawgiver without despotic power might be well content if, in establishing a new polity and laws, he could effect even the mildest of purgations. The best purge is painful, like all medicines of a drastic nature,— [735e] the purge which hales to punishments by means of justice linked with vengeance, crowning the vengeance with exile or death: it, as a rule, clears out the greatest criminals when they are incurable and cause serious damage to the State. A milder form of purge is one of the following kind:—when, owing to scarcity of food, people are in want, and display a readiness

1 In weaving the ancients used an upright loom, in which the fixed, vertical threads of the “warp” were of coarser fiber than the transverse threads of the “woof.”

2 Cp. Aristot. Pol. 1265b 18 ff.

3 Cp. Plat. Rep. 410a.

4 Cp. Plat. Laws 709e.

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