This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Let us state, then, that for the temples there must be temple-keepers and priests and priestesses; and for roads and buildings and the due ordering thereof, and for men, and beasts too, to prevent their doing wrong, and to secure that the order proper to States is observed both within the city bounds and in the suburbs, we must select three kinds of officers: those who deal with the matters just mentioned we shall call “city-stewards,” and those dealing with the ordering of the market, “market-stewards.” Priests of temples, or priestesses, who hold hereditary priesthoods [759b] should not be disturbed; but if,—as is likely to be the case in such matters with a people who are being organized for the first time,—few or none have them already established, then we must establish priests and priestesses to be temple-keepers for the gods. In establishing all these offices, we must make the appointments partly by election and partly by lot,1 mingling democratic with non-democratic methods, to secure mutual friendliness, in every rural and urban district, so that all may be as unanimous as possible.2 As to the priests, [759c] we shall entrust it to the god himself to ensure his own good pleasure, by committing their appointment to the divine chance of the lot; but each person who gains the lot we shall test, first, as to whether he is sound and true-born, and secondly, as to whether he comes from houses that are as pure as possible, being himself clean from murder and all such offences against religion, and of parents that have lived by the same rule. They ought to bring from Delphi laws about all matters of religion, and appoint interpreters3 thereof, and make use of those laws. [759d] Each priestly office should last for one year and no longer; and the person who is to officiate in sacred matters efficiently according to the laws of religion should be not less than sixty years old: and the same rules shall hold good also for priestesses. For the interpreters the tribes shall vote four at a time, by three votings, for four men, one from each tribe;4 and when the three men for whom most votes are cast have been tested, they shall send the other nine to Delphi for the oracle to select one from each triad; [759e] and the rules as to their age and testing shall be the same as for the priests. These men shall hold office for life as interpreters; and when one falls out, the four tribes5 shall elect a substitute from the tribe he belonged to. As treasurers to control the sacred funds in each of the temples, and the sacred glebes, with their produce
4 The 12 tribes are divided into 3 groups of 4 each: each group appoints 3, making 9 in all: the other 3 required to make up the full number (12) are selected by the Oracle from the 9 candidates next on the list.
5 i.e. the tribal group by which he was elected.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.