previous next
[1315a] [1] if they think that their ruler has religious scruples and pays regard to the gods, and also they plot against him less, thinking that he has even the gods as allies), though he should not display a foolish religiosity. And he must pay such honor to those who display merit in any matter that they may think that they could never be more honored by the citizens if they were in dependent; and honors of this kind he should bestow in person, but inflict his punishments by the agency of other magistrates and law-courts. And it is a protection common to every sort of monarchy to make no one man great, but if necessary to exalt several (for they will keep watch on one another), and if after all the ruler has to elevate an individual, at all events not take a man of bold spirit (for such a character is most enterprising in all undertakings); and if he thinks fit to remove somebody from his power, to do this by gradual stages and not take away the whole of his authority at once. And again he should carefully avoid all forms of outrage, and two beyond all, violent bodily punishments and outrage of the young. And this caution must especially be exercised in relation to the ambitious, for while to be slighted in regard to property annoys the lovers of wealth, slights that involve dishonor are what men of honorable ambition and high character resent. [20] Hence the tyrant should either not consort with men of this kind, or appear to inflict his punishments paternally and not because of contempt, and to indulge in the society of the young for reasons of passion, not because he has the power, and in general he should buy off what are thought to be dishonors by greater honors. And among those who make attempts upon the life of a ruler the most formidable and those against whom the greatest precaution is needed are those that are ready to sacrifice their lives if they can destroy him. Hence the greatest care must be taken to guard against those who think that insolent outrage is being done either to themselves or to those who happen to be under their care; for men attacking under the influence of anger are reckless of themselves, as Heraclitus1 also observed when he said that anger was hard to combat because it would buy revenge with a life. And since states consist of two parts, the poor people and the rich, the most important thing is for both to think that they owe their safety to the government and for it to prevent either from being wronged by the other, but whichever class is the stronger, this must be made to be entirely on the side of the government, as, if this support for the tyrant's interests is secured, there is no need for him to institute a liberation of slaves or a disarming of the citizens, for one of the two parts of the state added to his power will be enough to make him and them stronger than their attackers. But to discuss each of such matters separately is superfluous; for the thing to aim at is clear,

1 The natural philosopher of Ephesus, fl. circa 513 B.C., known as σκοτεινός for his epigrammatic obscurity.

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.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Ephesus (Turkey) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
513 BC (1)
hide References (1 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: