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39. 'I shall be told that democracy is neither a wise nor a just thing, and that those who have1 the money are most likely to govern well. To which I answer, first of all, that the people is the name of the whole, the oligarchy of a part; secondly, that the rich are the best guardians of the public purse, the wise the best counsellors, and the many, when they have heard a matter discussed, the best judges2; [2] and that each and all of these classes have in a democracy equal privileges. Whereas an oligarchy, while giving the people the full share of danger, not merely takes too much of the good things, but absolutely monopolises them. And this is what the powerful among you and the young would like to have, and what in a great city they will never obtain.

1 The true state is composed of various elements; while an oligarchy takes all the good and gives the people their full share of the evil.

2 Cp. 2.40 med.

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hide References (17 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (9):
    • C.E. Graves, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 5, 5.82
    • C.E. Graves, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 5, 5.89
    • E.C. Marchant, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, 1.3
    • E.C. Marchant, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, 1.74
    • Harold North Fowler, Commentary on Thucydides Book 5, 5.71
    • Charles D. Morris, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, 1.38
    • Charles D. Morris, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, 1.85
    • Charles D. Morris, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, Introduction
    • Charles F. Smith, Commentary on Thucydides Book 7, 7.48
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 1.3.1
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (1):
    • Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, Thuc. 6.89
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.40
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (5):
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