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[1324b] [1] Some people then hold the former view, while others declare that the despotic and tyrannical form of constitution alone achieves happiness; and in some states it is also the distinctive aim of the constitution and the laws to enable them to exercise despotic rule over their neighbors. Hence even though with most peoples most of the legal ordinances have been laid down virtually at random, nevertheless if there are places where the laws aim at one definite object, that object is in all cases power, as in Sparta and Crete both the system of education and the mass of the laws are framed in the main with a view to war; and also among all the non-Hellenic nations that are strong enough to expand at the expense of others, military strength has been held in honor, for example, among the Scythians, Persians, Thracians and Celts. Indeed among some peoples there are even certain laws stimulating military valor; for instance at Carthage, we are told, warriors receive the decoration of armlets of the same number as the campaigns on which they have served; and at one time there was also a law in Macedonia that a man who had never killed an enemy must wear his halter instead of a belt. Among Scythian tribes at a certain festival a cup was carried round from which a man that had not killed an enemy was not allowed to drink. Among the Iberians, a warlike race, they fix small spits1 [20] in the earth round a man's grave corresponding in number to the enemies he has killed. So with other races there are many other practices of a similar kind, some established by law and others by custom.

Nevertheless those who wish to examine the matter closely might perhaps think it exceedingly strange that it should be the business of a statesman to be able to devise means of holding empire and mastery over the neighboring peoples whether they desire it or not. How can that be worthy of a statesman or lawgiver which is not even lawful? and government is not lawful when it is carried on not only justly but also unjustly—and superior strength may be unjustly exercised. Moreover we do not see this in the other sciences either: it is no part of a physician's or ship-captain's business to use either persuasion or compulsion upon the patients in the one case and the crew2 in the other. Yet most peoples seem to think that despotic rule is statesmanship, and are not ashamed to practise towards others treatment which they declare to be unjust and detrimental for themselves; for in their own internal affairs they demand just government, yet in their relations with other peoples they pay no attention to justice. Yet it is strange if there is not a natural distinction between peoples suited to be despotically ruled and those not suited; so that if this is so, it is not proper to attempt to exercise despotic government over all people, but only over those suited for it, just as it is not right to hunt human beings for food or sacrifice, but only the game suitable for this purpose, that is, such wild creatures as are good to eat. And moreover it is possible even for a single state in isolation to be happy,

1 Or perhaps ‘pointed stones.’

2 Or perhaps ‘the passengers.’

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