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‘And both of these feelings are indicative of good character (i. e. of a good disposition of mind shewing itself outwardly in the character): for it is our duty to sympathise with unmerited misfortune and pity it, and to feel indignant at unmerited prosperity: because all that happens to a man’ (τὸ γιγνόμενον, Victorius, ‘quod fit’, ‘all that is done’; meaning I suppose ‘whenever the rule of justice is violated’, in any case, generally. But I think ‘happens’, which includes the injustices of nature and fortune, as well as those of man, is more to the purpose here) ‘not in conformity with his deserts is unjust, and this is why we ascribe (or assign, render as a due; see note on I 1. 7) righteous indignation to the gods as well as to men (καὶ τοῖς θεοῖς）’. παρὰ τὴν ἀξίαν] i. e. in violation of the principles of distributive justice. ἀξία is the ‘value’ of anything, by which its worth or merits or deserts are measured. It is the principle and basis of distributive justice, and should determine the assignment of power and property in the state. It does in fact regulate the distribution of them; only the standard of a citizen's value, his ἀξία, varies with the constitution under which he lives; for in a democracy the principle of distribution is founded upon liberty, in an oligarchy upon wealth or birth, in an aristocracy upon virtue. See the passage of Eth. N. V 6, 1131 a 24 seq. from which I have been quoting. Quarrels and factions and complaints always arise out of the undue apportionment of civil rights and power in the state, ὅταν ἢ ἴσοι μὴ ἴσα ἢ μὴ ἴσοι ἴσα ἔχωσι καὶ νέμωνται. But the true standard by which the share of the individual citizen should be measured is virtue or merit and the power of doing the state service, Pol. III 9 ult. Justice in this sense is a proportion. ἔτι ἐκ τοῦ κατ᾽ ἀξίαν τοῦτο δῆλον: τὸ γὰρ δίκαιον ἐν ταῖς διανομαῖς ὁμολογοῦσι πάντες κατ̓ ἀξίαν τινὰ δεῖν εἶναι, τὴν μέντοι οὐ τὴν αὐτὴν λέγουσι πάντες ὑπάρχειν. Compare Ib. VIII 12 on the three forms of constitution, 1160 b 13, the change from aristocracy to oligarchy is due κακίᾳ τῶν ἀρχόντων, οἳ νέμουσι τὰ τῆς πόλεως παρὰ τὴν ἀξίαν; and in family life κατ᾽ ἀξίαν ὁ ἀνὴρ ἄρχει, καὶ περὶ ταῦτα ἃ δεῖ τὸν ἄνδρα. If he encroaches on his wife's rights his government becomes an oligarchy, παρὰ τὴν ἀξίαν γὰρ αὐτὸ ποιεῖ, καὶ οὐχ ᾗ ἀμείνων. On the same subject of political justice see Pol. III 9, from the beginning.
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