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[1273a] [1] and they have already injured the Spartan State.

Most of the points therefore in the Carthaginian system that would be criticized on the ground of their divergences happen to be common to all the constitutions of which we have spoken; but the features open to criticism as judged by the principle of an aristocracy or republic are some of them departures in the direction of democracy and others in the direction of oligarchy. The reference of some matters and not of others to the popular assembly rests with the kings in consultation with the Elders in case they agree1 unanimously, but failing that, these matters also lie with the people2; and when the kings introduce business in the assembly, they do not merely let the people sit and listen to the decisions that have been taken by their rulers, but the people have the sovereign decision, and anybody who wishes may speak against the proposals introduced, a right that does not exist under the other constitutions. The appointment by co-optation of the Boards of Five which control many important matters, and the election by these boards of the supreme magistracy of the Hundred, and also their longer tenure of authority than that of any other officers (for they are in power after they have gone out of office and before they have actually entered upon it) are oligarchical features; their receiving no pay and not being chosen by lot and other similar regulations must be set down as aristocratic, and so must the fact that the members of the Boards are the judges in all lawsuits, [20] instead of different suits being tried by different courts as at Sparta. But the Carthaginian system diverges from aristocracy in the direction of oligarchy most signally in respect of a certain idea that is shared by the mass of mankind; they think that the rulers should be chosen not only for their merit but also for their wealth, as it is not possible for a poor man to govern well or to have leisure for his duties. If therefore election by wealth is oligarchical and election by merit aristocratic, this will be a third system exhibited in the organization of the constitution of Carthage, for there elections are made with an eye to these two qualifications, and especially elections to the most important offices, those of the kings and of the generals. But it must be held that this divergence from aristocracy is an error on the part of a lawgiver; for one of the most important points to keep in view from the outset is that the best citizens may be able to have leisure and may not have to engage in any unseemly occupation, not only when in office but also when living in private life. And if it is necessary to look to the question of means for the sake of leisure, it is a bad thing that the greatest offices of state, the kingship and the generalship, should be for sale. For this law makes wealth more honored than worth, and renders the whole state avaricious; and whatever the holders of supreme power deem honorable, the opinion of the other citizens also is certain to follow them, and a state in which virtue is not held in the highest honor

1 i.e. agree to refer or not to refer

2 i.e. even when the Kings only or the Elders only desire reference, it takes place

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