previous next
[1344b] [1] If they are made to work, and are chastised, but stinted of their food, such treatment is oppressive, and saps their strength. The remaining alternative, therefore, is to give them work, and a sufficiency of food. Unless we pay men, we cannot control them; and food is a slave's pay.

Slaves, again, are no exception to the rule that men become worse when better conduct is not followed by better treatment, but virtue and vice remain alike unrewarded. Accordingly we must keep watch over our workers, suiting our dispensations and indulgences to their desert; whether it be food or clothing, leisure or chastisement that we are apportioning. Both in theory and in practice we must take for our model a physician's freedom in prescribing his medicines; observing at the same time that food differs from medicine in that it requires to be constantly administered.

The best laborers will be furnished by those races of mankind which are neither wholly spiritless nor yet overbold. Each extreme has its vice; the spiritless cannot endure hard labor, and the high-spirited will not readily brook control.

Every slave should have before his eyes a definite goal or term of his labor. To set the prize of freedom before him is both just and expedient; since having a prize to work for, and a time defined for its attainment, he will put his heart into his labors. We should, moreover, take hostages <for our slaves' fidelity> by allowing them to beget children; and avoid the practice of purchasing many slaves of the same nationality, as men avoid doing in towns. We should also keep festivals and give treats, more on the slaves account than on that of the freemen; [20] since the free have a fuller share in those enjoyments for the sake of which these institutions exist.

There are four qualities which the head of a household must possess in dealing with his property. Firstly, he must have the faculty of acquiring, and secondly that of preserving what he has acquired; otherwise there is no more benefit in acquiring than in baling with a colander, or in the proverbial wine-jar with a hole in the bottom. Thirdly and fourthly, he must know how to improve his property, and how to make use of it; since these are the ends for which the powers of acquisition and of preservation are sought.

Everything we possess should be duly classified ; and the amount of our productive property exceed that of the unproductive. Produce should be so employed that we do not risk all our possessions at once. For the safe keeping of our property, we shall do well to adopt the Persian and Laconian systems. Athenian housecraft has, however, some advantages. The Athenian buys immediately with the produce of his sales, and the smaller households keep no idle deposits in store.

Under the Persian system, the master himself undertook the entire disposition and supervision of the household, following the practice which Dion used to remark in Dionysius. No one, indeed, takes the same care of another's property as of his own; so that, as far as is possible,

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1935)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: