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[1273b] [1] cannot be securely governed by an aristocracy. And it is probable that those who purchase office will learn by degrees to make a profit out of it, when they hold office for money spent; for it would be odd if a man of small means but respectable should want to make a profit but an inferior person when he has spent money to get elected should not want to. Hence the persons who should be in office are those most capable of holding office. And even if the lawgiver neglected to secure comfortable means for respectable people, it would at all events be better that he should provide for their leisure while in office.

And it might also be thought a bad thing for the same person to hold several offices, which is considered a distinction at Carthage. One man one job is the best rule for efficiency, and the lawgiver ought to see that this may be secured, and not appoint the same man to play the flute and make shoes. Hence except in a small city it is more statesmanlike for a larger number to share in the offices and more democratic, for it is fairer to all, as we said, and also functions are performed better and more quickly when separate than by the same people. This is clear in military and naval matters; for in both of these departments command and subordination penetrate throughout almost the whole body.1

But the constitution being oligarchical they best escape the dangers by being wealthy, as they constantly send out a portion of the common people to [20] appointments in the cities; by this means they heal the social sore and make the constitution stable. However, this is the achievement of fortune, whereas freedom from civil strife ought to be secured by the lawgiver; but as it is, suppose some misfortune occurs and the multitude of the subject class revolts, there is no remedy provided by the laws to restore tranquillity.

This then is the character of the Spartan, Cretan and Carthaginian constitutions, which are justly famous.

Of those that have put forward views about politics, some have taken no part in any political activities whatever but have passed their whole life as private citizens; and something has been said about almost all the writers of this class about whom there is anything noteworthy. Some on the other hand have been lawgivers, either for their native cities or even for certain foreign peoples, after having themselves been actively engaged in government; and of these some have been framers of laws only, and others of a constitution also, for instance Solon and Lycurgus, who instituted both laws and constitutions. The Spartan constitution has been discussed. As for Solon, he is considered by some people to have been a good lawgiver, as having put an end to oligarchy when it was too unqualified and having liberated the people from slavery and restored the ancestral democracy with a skilful blending of the constitution: the Council on the Areopagus being an oligarchic element, the elective magistracies aristocratic and the law-courts democratic. And although really in regard to certain of these features, the Council and the election of magistrates,

1 i.e. everyone in command (except the commander-in-chief) has someone of higher rank over him.

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