Mnesiphilus the Athenian, a friend and favorite of
Solon's, said: O Periander, our discourse, as our wine,
ought to be distributed not according to our power or priority, but freely and equally, as in a popular state; for what
hath been already discoursed concerning kingdoms and
empires signifies little to us who live in a democracy.
Wherefore I judge it convenient that every one of you
beginning with Solon, should freely and impartially declare
his sense of a popular state. The motion pleased all the
company; then saith Solon: My friend Mnesiphilus, you
heard, together with the rest of this good company, my
opinion concerning republics; but since you are willing to
hear it again, I hold that city or state happy and most likely
to remain democratic, in which those that are not personally injured are yet as forward to question and correct wrongdoers as that person who is more immediately wronged.
Bias added, Where all fear the law as they fear a tyrant.
Thirdly, Thales said, Where the citizens are neither too
rich nor too poor. Fourthly, Anacharsis said, Where,
though in all other respects they are equal, yet virtuous
men are advanced and vicious persons degraded. Fifthly,
Cleobulus said, Where the rulers fear reproof and shame
more than the law. Sixthly, Pittacus said, Where bad
men are prohibited from ruling, and good men from not ruling. Chilo, pausing a little while, determined that the best
and most durable state was where the subject minded the
law most and the orators least. Periander concluded with
his opinion, that all of them would best approve that democracy which came next and was likest to an arisocracy.