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The distinctions of the four forms of government are determined, like everything else, by the object or end proposed to itself by each of them; this is the ὅρος, the characteristic mark, or determining principle, of each, that which severally ‘characterizes’ them; and this is in each case a special conception of political justice, τὸ δίκαιον. Pol. III 9, init.

Democracy is a form of government that is distinguished from the rest, (is characterised), by the distribution of offices amongst the people by themselves (διανέμονται, mid.) and by lot, each member of the entire body of citizens having an equal chance of obtaining them: this is equivalent to saying that the ὅρος of a democracy, its determining principle, that which gives its special character is ‘equality’, ἰσότης, which is the foundation of the ἐλευθερία (usually assigned as its ὅρος), and therefore its proper τέλος. This is laid down in Pol. VI (IV) 4, 1291 b 30 seq. ‘Liberty’ and ‘equality’ are the catchwords of a democracy. δύο γάρ ἐστιν οἷς δημοκρατία δοκεῖ ὡρίσθαι, τῷ τὸ πλεῖον εἶναι κύριον καὶ τῇ ἐλευθερίᾳ. τὸ μὲν γὰρ δίκαιον ἴσον δοκεῖ εἶναι, ἴσον δ᾽ τι ἂν δόξῃ τῷ πλήθει τοῦτ̓ εἶναι κύριον, ἐλεύθερον δὲ καὶ ἴσον τὸ τι ἂν βούληταί τις ποιεῖν (Pol. VIII (V) 9, sub fin.). Liberty alone is not sufficient in the way of a distinction, (Ib. 1290 b 7 seq.), though it is commonly assigned as such, Ib. c. 8, 1294 a 10, ἀριστοκρατίας μὲν γὰρ ὅρος ἀρετή, ὀλιγαρχίαι δὲ πλοῦτος, δήμου δ᾽ ἐλευθερία. Another current ὅρος of democracy is the will of the majority: where that is sovereign the state is democratical. Ib. VII (VI) 3, 1318 a 18, φασὶ γὰρ οἱ δημοτικοὶ τοῦτο δίκαιον ὅτι ἂν δόξῃ τοῖς πλείοσιν1. But this again rests upon the notion of equality, because it implies that as all the citizens are individually equal, and have equal rights, the greater number has the higher right, and therefore prevails over the minority. The theory of democracy is, that all citizens are equal; not that all men are born equal, because all barbarians are naturally inferior to Greeks. The use of the ‘lot’, which leaves the choice of the candidate to chance, is an exemplification of this, because it assumes the equality of the claims of all citizens to office. On the different kinds of democracy, see Pol. VI (IV) 4, 1291 b 14 seq.

The ὅρος of oligarchy is πλοῦτος: and therefore property, a census, τίμημα (estimated value of property), is necessary as a qualification for office, for that which confers authority or sovereignty, ἐν οἱ ἀπὸ τιμημάτων (διανέμονται τὰς ἀρχάς, they likewise distribute amongst themselves, keep to themselves, all offices of state, all the powers of government). Pol. VI (IV) 4, 1290 b 1: the different kinds of oligarchy, Ibid. c. 5, the first is τὸ ἀπὸ τιμημάτων. The oligarchical theory of ‘justice’ is therefore ὅτι ἂν δόξῃ τῇ πλείονι οὐσίᾳ: κατὰ πλῆθος γὰρ οὐσίας φασὶ κρίνεσθαι δεῖν, VII (VI) 8, 1318 a 19. A complete definition of δημοκρατία and ὀλιγαρχία is given, VI (IV) 4, 1290 b 17. In the popular Rhetoric οἱ ἀπὸ τιμημάτων is the general designation of the privileged class: but in the exacter Politics VI (IV) 5, two kinds of τιμήματα are distinguished which characterise two different kinds of oligarchies; one in which the property qualification is only so high as to exclude the poor, and acquired property procures admission into the privileged class: the other in which the qualification is high, and the governing class, which is therefore small, fill up themselves the vacancies as they occur. Again, ἀπὸ τιμημάτων is too wide a term, and therefore not properly characteristic: it includes more than oligarchies, one form of democracy, τὸ τὰς ἀρχὰς ἀπὸ τιμημάτων εἶναι, βραχέων δὲ τούτων ὄντων, Pol. VI (IV) 4, 1291 b 39. Plato has the same phrase to describe an oligarchy, ἀπὸ τιμημάτων πολιτεία, Rep. VIII 550 C. Legg. III 698 B, πολιτεία καὶ ἐκ τιμημάτων ἀρχαὶ τεττάρων, of the Solonian constitution.

The ὅρος of aristocracy is in the Politics ἀρετή and not παιδεία. The two following observations are added in the way of notes to explain the apparent discrepancy. ‘Aristocracy is a kind of polity in which education is the qualification for a share in the government. By education, I mean that which is established by the law of the land: for it is those who have lived in constant obedience to the state institutions that bear rule in the aristocracy’. The virtue of a citizen is not one and the same; it varies under different forms of government. The system of education must therefore be fixed and controlled by the government and conformed to its established institutions. This is the ‘education established by the law’ of the text. On the absolute necessity of this kind of training in virtue under state direction for grown men as well as children, see Eth. N. X 10, 1179 b 32 seq., and the unfinished treatise on education in Bk. V (VIII) of the Politics. “Such men as these must necessarily appear ‘best’, and it is from them that this (form of constitution) has derived its name”. Since παιδεία therefore is the necessary preparation for ἀρετή, either of them may be represented as the object of the state. Definitions of ἀριστοκρατία are to be found, Pol. III 7, 1279 a 34, where two explanations of the ἀριστο- in the name are given: either διὰ τὸ τοὺς ἀρίστους ἄρχειν (which is adopted here), or διὰ τὸ πρὸς τὸ ἄριστον τῇ πόλει καὶ τοῖς κοινωνοῦσιν αὐτῆς: c. 15, 1286 b 4, τῶν πλειόνων ἀρχὴν ἀγαθῶν δ᾽ ἀνδρῶν, Ib. VI (IV) 8, 1294 a 9, δοκεῖ δὲ ἀριστοκρατία μὲν εἶναι μάλιστα τὸ τὰς τιμὰς νενε- μῆσθαι κατ᾽ ἀρετήν: ἀριστοκρατίας μὲν γὰρ ὅρος ἀρετή. But, c. 15, 1299 b 25, ἐν ταῖς ἀριστοκρατίαις (αἱ ἀρχαὶ) ἐκ πεπαιδευμένων.

μοναρχία] the sole government of one, includes βασιλεία κατὰ τάξιν τινά, a monarchy under certain fixed regulations or conditions, a limited, constitutional monarchy, ἐπὶ ῥητοῖς γέρασιν πατρικὴ βασιλεία, Thuc. I 13, and the ‘indefinite’, unrestricted, unlimited tyranny. The distinction between the two here rests upon the limitation of the sovereign power or the absence of it. So in Pol. III 14, 1285 a 27, οἱ μὲν γὰρ (βασιλεῖς) κατὰ νόμον καὶ ἑκόντων, οἱ δ᾽ ἀκόντων ἄρχουσιν. The second of these two distinctions of the voluntary and involuntary obedience is repeated 1285 b 2 (βασιλεῖαι) διὰ μὲν τὸ τυραννικαὶ εἶναι δεσποτικαί, διὰ δὲ τὸ αἱρεταὶ καὶ ἑκόντων βασιλικαί. ‘Usurpation’, as the distinctive difference of tyranny as opposed to monarchy (Eth. N. VIII 12), is insufficient. The government of the hereditary monarchs of Persia is ‘tyrannous’ in respect of the nature and mode of exercise of their power, though these and other barbarian monarchies are κατὰ νόμον καὶ πατρικαί, Pol. III 14, 1285 a 18 and 22, μοχθηρὸς βασιλεὺς τύραννος γίνεται, Eth. N. VIII 12. Lastly, the tyrant has a mercenary ‘body-guard’, φυλακή (this is distinctive of ‘tyranny’; see Rhet. I 2. 19). The regular constitutional sovereign is protected, if at all, by a national guard of citizens, III 14, 1285 a 24. But the true distinction between them is determined by the end of the government of each: with the one it is his own interest, τὸ αὑτοῦ συμφέρον: with the other it is the interest of the governed, πρὸς τὸ κοινὸν συμφέρον, III 7, 1279 a 27—31, VIII (V) 10, 1311 a 2, δὲ τυραννὶς...πρὸς οὐδὲν ἀποβλέπει κοινόν, εἰ μὴ τῆς ἰδίας ὠφελείας χάριν. ἔστι δὲ σκοπὸς τυραννικὸς τὸ ἡδύ, βασιλικὸς δὲ τὸ καλόν.

1 This however is common to all three, democracy, oligarchy, aristocracy; in all of them alike, ὅτι ἂν δόξῃ τῷ πλείονι μέρει τῶν μετεχόντων τῆς πολιτείας, τοῦτ᾽ ἐστὶ κύριον. Pol. VI (IV) 8, 1294 a 13.

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