Now there are two kinds of laws, particular
and general. By particular laws I mean those established by each people in
reference to themselves, which again are divided into written and unwritten; by
general laws I mean those based upon nature. In fact, there is a general idea of
just and unjust in accordance with nature, as all men in a manner divine, even
if there is neither communication nor agreement between them. This is what
Antigone in Sophocles1
evidently means, when she declares that
it is just, though forbidden, to bury Polynices, as being naturally just: “
For neither to-day nor yesterday, but from all eternity, these
statutes live and no man knoweth whence they came.
” And as Empedocles says in regard to not killing that which has life,
for this is not right for some and wrong for others, “
But a universal precept, which extends without a break throughout the
wide-ruling sky and the boundless earth.
also speaks of this precept in his Messeniacus
. . . .