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[1309a] [1] for it would then be possible for the notables and also the multitude both to have what they want; for it is the democratic principle for all to have the right to hold office and the aristocratic one for the offices to be filled by the notables, and this will be the case when it is impossible to make money from office; for the poor will not want to hold office because of making nothing out of it, but rather to attend to their own affairs, while the wealthy will be able to hold office because they have no need to add to their resources from the public funds; so that the result will be that the poor will become well-off through spending their time upon their work, and the notables will not be governed by any casual persons. Therefore to prevent peculation of the public property, let the transfer of the funds take place in the presence of all the citizens, and let copies of the lists be deposited for each brotherhood,1 company2 and tribe; and to get men to hold office without profit there must be honors assigned by law to officials of good repute. And in democracies it is necessary to be sparing of the wealthy not only by not causing properties to be divided up, but not incomes either (which under some constitutions takes place unnoticed), and it is better to prevent men from undertaking costly but useless public services like equipping choruses and torch-races3 and all other similar services, even if they wish to; [20] in an oligarchy on the other hand it is necessary to take much care of the poor, and to allot to them the offices of profit, and the penalty if one of the rich commits an outrage against them must be greater than if it is done by one of themselves,4 and inheritance must not go by bequest but by family, and the same man must not inherit more than one estate, for so estates would be more on a level, and more of the poor would establish themselves as prosperous. And it is expedient both in a democracy and in an oligarchy to assign to those who have a smaller share in the government—in a democracy to the wealthy and in an oligarchy to the poor—either equality or precedence in all other things excepting the supreme offices of state; but these should be entrusted to those prescribed by the constitution exclusively, or to them for the most part.

There are some three qualities which those who are to hold the supreme magistracies ought to possess, first, loyalty to the established constitution, next, very great capacity to do the duties of the office, and third, virtue and justice—in each constitution the sort of justice suited to the constitution (for if the rules of justice are not the same under all constitutions, it follows that there must be differences in the nature of justice also). It is a difficult question how the choice ought to be made when it happens that all these qualities are not found in the same person;

1 Groups of citizens normally three to a tribe, supposed to be based on relationship.

2 Originally a military, later a civil classification.

3 Equipping the chorus and actors for tragedies and comedies and providing for the ceremonial torch-races were public services borne by individuals at Athens.

4 Or possibly ‘than if he does it against one of his own class.’

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hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), LAMPADEDRO´MIA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), LEITU´RGIA
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