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Degeneration of Constitutions

But as soon as the people got leaders, they cooperated with them against the dynasty for
Tyranny is then displaced by aristocracy
the reasons I have mentioned; and then kingship and despotism were alike entirely abolished, and aristocracy once more began to revive and start afresh. For in their immediate gratitude to those who had deposed the despots, the people employed them as leaders, and entrusted their interests to them; who, looking upon this charge at first as a great privilege, made the public advantage their chief concern, and conducted all kinds of business, public or private, with diligence and caution. But when the sons of these men received the same position of authority from their fathers,—having had no experience of misfortunes, and none at all of civil equality and freedom of speech, but having been bred up from the first under the shadow of their fathers' authority and lofty position,—some of them gave themselves up with passion to avarice and unscrupulous love of money, others to drinking and the boundless debaucheries which accompanies it, and others to the violation of women or the forcible appropriation of boys; and so they turned an aristocracy into an oligarchy.
Aristocracy degenerates into oligarchy
But it was not long before they roused in the minds of the people the same feelings as before; and their fall therefore was very like the disaster which befell the tyrants.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (3):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), EXE´RCITUS
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), O´CREA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), TRIUMPHUS
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