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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, [p. 21] 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.

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load focus English (Frank Cole Babbitt, 1928)
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