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[1310b] [1] And the things that happen about royal governments and tyrannies are almost similar to those that have been narrated about constitutional governments. For royal government corresponds with aristocracy, while tyranny is a combination of the last form of oligarchy1 and of democracy; and for that very reason it is most harmful to its subjects, inasmuch as it is a combination of two bad things, and is liable to the deviations and errors that spring from both forms of constitution. And these two different sorts of monarchy have their origins from directly opposite sources; royalty has come into existence for the assistance of the distinguished against the people, and a king is appointed from those distinguished by superiority in virtue or the actions that spring from virtue, or by superiority in coming from a family of that character, while a tyrant is set up from among the people and the multitude to oppose the notables, in order that the people may suffer no injustice from them. And this is manifest from the facts of history. For almost the greatest number of tyrants have risen, it may be said, from being demagogues, having won the people's confidence by slandering the notables. For some tyrannies were set up in this manner when the states had already grown great, but others that came before them arose from kings departing from the ancestral customs and aiming at a more despotic rule, [20] and others from the men elected to fill the supreme magistracies (for in old times the peoples used to appoint the popular officials2 and the sacred embassies3 for long terms of office), and others from oligarchies electing some one supreme official for the greatest magistracies. For in all these methods they had it in their power to effect their purpose easily, if only they wished, because they already possessed the power of royal rule in the one set of cases and of their honorable office in the other, for example Phidon in Argos4 and others became tyrants when they possessed royal power already, while the Ionian tyrants5 and Phalaris6 arose from offices of honor, and Panaetius at Leontini and Cypselus at Corinth and Pisistratus7 at Athens and Dionysius8 at Syracuse and others in the same manner from the position of demagogue. Therefore, as we said, royalty is ranged in correspondence with aristocracy, for it goes by merit, either by private virtue or by family or by services or by a combination of these things and ability. For in every instance this honor fell to men after they had conferred benefit or because they had the ability to confer benefit on their cities or their nations, some having prevented their enslavement in war, for instance Codrus,9 others having set them free, for instance Cyrus,10 or having settled or acquired territory, for instance the kings of Sparta and Macedon and the Molossians.11 And a king wishes to be a guardian,

1 Cf. 1296a 3, 1312b 35.

2 Here δημιουργία means ‘magistracy’ generally; δημιουργός was the title of a special officer in some Peloponnesian states.

3 Official missions to religious games and to oracles.

4 Perhaps circa 750 B.C.

5 e.g. Thrasybulus, tyrant of Miletus, 612 B.C.

6 Tyrant of Agrigentum 572 B.C.

7 See 1305a 23 n.

8 See 1259a 28 n.

9 The usual tradition was that Codrus was already king when he saved Athens by sacrificing his life.

10 Cyrus liberated Persia from the Median empire 559 B.C.

11 Neoptolemus, son of Achilles, conquered the Molossi and became their king.

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