previous next
[1308a] [1] for they are refuted by the facts (and what sort of constitutional sophistries we refer to has been said before). And again we must observe that not only some aristocracies but also some oligarchies endure not because the constitutions are secure but because those who get in the offices treat both those outside the constitution and those in the government well, on the one hand by not treating those who are not members of it unjustly and by bringing their leading men into the constitution and not wronging the ambitious ones in the matter of dishonor or the multitude in the matter of gain, and on the other hand, in relation to themselves and those who are members, by treating one another in a democratic spirit. For that equality which men of democratic spirit seek for in the case of the multitude is not only just but also expedient in the case of their compeers. Hence if there are a greater number in the governing class, many of the legislative enactments of a democratic nature are advantageous, for example for the offices to be tenable for six months, to enable all the compeers to participate in them; for the compeers in this case are as it were the people (owing to which demagogues often arise even among them, as has been said already), and also oligarchies and aristocracies fall into dynasties less (for it is not so easy to do wrongs [20] when in office for a short time as when in for a long time, since it is long tenure of office that causes tyrannies to spring up in oligarchies and democracies; for either those who are the greatest men in either sort of state aim at tyranny, in the one sort the demagogues and in the other the dynasts, or those who hold the greatest offices, when they are in office for along time). And constitutions are kept secure not only through being at a distance from destroyers but sometimes also through being near them,1 for when they are afraid the citizens keep a closer hold on the government; hence those who take thought for the constitution must contrive causes of fear, in order that the citizens may keep guard and not relax their vigilance for the constitution like a watch in the night, and they must make the distant near. Again, they must also endeavor to guard against the quarrels and party struggles of the notables by means of legislation, and to keep out those who are outside the quarrel before they too have taken it over; since to discern a growing evil at the commencement is not any ordinary person's work but needs a statesman. And to deal with the revolution from oligarchy and constitutional government that arises because of the property-qualifications, when this occurs while the rates of qualification remain the same but money is becoming plentiful, it is advantageous to examine the total amount of the rated value of the community as compared with the past amount, in states where the assessment is made yearly, over that period,

1 This modifies 1207a 31.

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 (1957)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

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

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (1 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), CENSUS
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: