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[1320b] [1] and if this is not possible for all, at all events to distribute the money by tribes or some other division of the population in turn, while in the meantime the well-to-do must contribute pay for attendance at the necessary assemblies, being themselves excused from useless public services. By following some such policy as this the Carthaginians have won the friendship of the common people; for they constantly send out some of the people to the surrounding territories and so make them well-off. And if the notables are men of good feeling and sense they may also divide the needy among them in groups and supply them with capital to start them in businesses. It is also a good plan to imitate the policy1 of the Tarentines. They get the goodwill of the multitude by making property communal for the purpose of use by the needy2; also they have divided the whole number of their magistracies into two classes, one elected by vote and the other filled by lot,—the latter to ensure that the people may have a share in them, and the former to improve the conduct of public affairs. And it is also possible to effect this by dividing the holders of the same magistracy into two groups, one appointed by lot and the other by vote.

We have then said how democracies should be organized.

It is also fairly clear from these considerations how oligarchies ought to be organized. We must infer them from their opposites, reasoning out each form of oligarchy [20] with reference to the form of democracy opposite to it, starting with the most well-blended and first form of oligarchy3—and this is the one near to what is called a constitutional government, and for it the property-qualifications must be divided into one group of smaller properties and another of larger ones, smaller properties qualifying their owners for the indispensable offices and larger ones for the more important; and a person owning the qualifying property must be allowed to take a share in the government,—introducing by the assessment a large enough number of the common people to secure that with them the governing class will have a majority over those excluded; and persons to share in the government must constantly be brought in from the better class of the common people. And the next form of oligarchy also must be constructed in a similar way with a slight tightening up of the qualification. But the form of oligarchy that stands opposite to the last form of democracy, the most autocratic and tyrannical of the oligarchies, in as far as it is the worst requires a correspondingly great amount of safe-guarding. For just as human bodies in a good state of health and ships well equipped with their crews for a voyage admit of more mistakes without being destroyed thereby, but bodies of a morbid habit and vessels strained in their timbers and manned with bad crews cannot endure even the smallest mistakes, so also the worst constitutions need the most safe-guarding.

1 Cf. 1263a 35.

2 This seems to mean that the land was in private ownership, but that there was some system of poor-relief, to provide for the destitute out of the produce.

3 In contrast with the first and best form of democracy, 2 init.

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    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), TARENTUM
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