This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
And those to whom it is unprofitable to waste their time in waiting for the trial or payment of the fine or penalty, such as strangers and farmers (who live in the country, and are so completely occupied in the cultivation of their land, that they cannot afford to waste time in attending the law-courts in the city); such as these are inclined to settle their differences on easy terms (διαλύεσθαι, to dissolve, break off, put an end to, and so make up, a quarrel), and readily leave off (drop) the prose cution. ‘Strangers’, who are merely passing through Athens, and incessantly occupied either with business or sight-seeing, have of course no time to spare in dancing attendance at the law-courts; and ‘farmers’, ‘cultivators of their own land’, just as little, for the reason already mentioned. These αὐτουργοί, ‘independent cultivators’, constitute the δῆμος γεωργικός, and are the best sort of democratical population, Pol. VII (VI) 4, init. βέλτιστος δῆμος ὁ γεωργικός ἐστιν, a statement often repeated. One of the reasons for this is, 1318 a 12, διὰ μὲν γὰρ τὸ πολλὴν οὐσίαν ἔχειν ἄσχολος, ὥστε μὴ πολλάκις ἐκκλησιάζειν, and the same would prevent them from waiting at the courts of law. This is confirmed by Eurip. Orest. 919, ὀλιγάκις ἄστυ κἀγορᾶς χραίνων κύκλον, αὐτουργός, οἵπερ καὶ μόνοι σώζουσι γῆν. To the same effect, Pol. VI (IV) 6, sub init., the γεωργοί, ἔχουσιν ἐργαζόμενοι ζῇν, οὐ δύνανται δὲ σχολάζειν. Comp. Eur. Suppl. 420, γαπόνος δ᾽ ἀνὴρ πένης ...ἔργων ὕπο οὐκ ἂν δύναιτο πρὸς τὰ κοίν̓ ἀποβλέπειν. The praises of agriculture and agriculturists are sung by Xenophon, Oecon. VI §§ 8, 9, 10, XV 9, and elsewhere. In Rhet. II 4. 9, the αὐτουργοί are distinguished from the γεωργικοί, the latter being confined to farmers and agricultural labourers, αὐτουργοί being extended to all that work with their own hands. See Thuc. I 141. 3, and Arnold's note. Thucydides does not observe Aristotle's distinction, the αὐτουργοί here are γεωργοί in the next chapter.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.