These proposals are open to many objections. But the first two will be the slaves of the last, for they have no arms; and for the same reason they are not fit to be magistrates: on the other hand, if excluded from the government, how can they be loyal citizens? And if the warriors are the stronger, why should the two other classes have any share in the government at all? The artisans have a natural place in the state, and the husbandmen, if they provided the warriors with food, might have a claim. The anomaly is that they have land of their own.
Now if they cultivate the land of the warriors as well as their own, they will have too much to do: and the warriors, if they are engaged in cultivating their own lands, will become husbandmen; or if there are yet other cultivators, these will be a fourth class in the state for which no place is allowed. But should laws be improved? The example of the arts and the general experience of mankind is in favour of improvement.
Men in general desire good and not merely what their fathers had. On the other hand, the authority of laws is derived from custom, and the habit of lightly altering them impairs their force. There must sometimes be changes, but great caution should be observed; else the evil of change may outweigh the gain of reform. The analogy of the arts is misleading. Aristotle regards Phaleas and Hippodamus as he regards Plato, from the point of view of an adversary: he is their critic, after the manner of his age, and tells us, not what he approves, but what he disapproves in their writings.
Yet it is evident that some of their political ideas had great merit. Phaleas attempted to deal with the evils of property, which he thought could most easily be remedied in an old country by a clever arrangement of dowries: we should say, probably, by restricting the power of settlement or bequest. A difficulty which pressed upon ancient legislators more than ourselves owing to the stationary character of the arts of production was the increase of population; of this difficulty Aristotle is very sensible.
When men begin to feel the struggle for existence they are apt to be discontented with the government under which they live. Yet mere equality of property, even if it could be maintained, would not always content them. For all men cannot be reduced to the same dead level, even if there were enough for all. The ambitious will still commit crimes on a great scale; the possession of a competence takes away only the temptation to petty larceny. Nor can it be denied that great inequalities of property by giving a stimulus to increased production may give a larger share of the goods of life to the poor than could be obtained by any system of distribution however just.
It is an interesting question which Aristotle raises in his criticism of Phaleas. What amount of wealth may with advantage be possessed by a state? To which we may reply, That the value of Edition: current; Page: [ xl ] wealth in a state depends not on the amount, but on the use and distribution of it.
Men may talk about the meannesses and miseries which are caused by a highly artificial state of society. They may seek to throw off the restraints of law. This is the spirit which Aristotle here expresses, though an opposite thesis might be maintained with equal truth. For the miseries which arise from bad, and the blessings of good government, in which the blessings of peace are generally included, can hardly be exaggerated.
He also expresses the feeling which is familiar to us in modern times, that want of morality, which is in fact weakness, lies at the root of the corruption in a state. Men are always crying out, Give, give, and are for dividing and subdividing the property of the rich. But while Aristotle acknowledges the inequalities of society to be natural and necessary, he insists on justice being done to the lower classes. Foreign relations are ever present to his mind. They could hardly be otherwise, since in the fourth and fifth centuries before Christ nearly every state in Hellas had become the friend and enemy of every other several times over.
The number 3 exercises a great influence on the constitution of Hippodamus. He built the streets of cities at right angles, and also gave an arithmetical or mathematical form to the fabric of his ideal state. Number and figure naturally became in his age guiding principles of the human mind. Yet he was also an original thinker, and already before the time of Plato had treated of a best or perfect state.
His classification of offences, his institution of a court of appeal and a qualified verdict for he was apparently the first author of them , are great legal inventions. The court of appeal was probably intended to amend the decisions of the popular assembly or of the ordinary law courts by the judgment of a court of elders. Whether Aristotle approved of the proposal or not, he does not say. The argument of Hippodamus against the unqualified verdict is really untenable. The difficulty is inherent in the nature of the case, and cannot be removed by the several jurors or judges giving their verdicts in different forms.
We are also surprised at his digressing from the Laws of Hippodamus to the general question whether laws should or should not be changed. The commonplaces of conservative and reformer are arrayed against one another for the first time in the Politics. Aristotle anticipates by his great power of reflection the lessons which the experience of ages has taught the modern world. All governments may be criticised from two points of view: Jowettv1: c.
Under these two aspects we will now examine, first the Lacedaemonian, secondly the Cretan state. This symmetrical plan is immediately forgotten. But slaves are apt to rebel: the Spartan Helots and the Thessalian Penestae have constantly risen against their masters, though the Cretans have succeeded better in the management of their slaves, because they are islanders, and because when at war with one another, all having slaves, they do not encourage them to revolt. They are half the city, and the other half has fallen under their dominion; in the language of mythology, Ares has been overcome by Aphrodite.
They are disorderly and cowardly; in the Theban invasion they were utterly useless and caused more confusion than the enemy. Their way of life tends also to foster avarice in their husbands. The evil is of old standing.
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Lycurgus long ago wanted to control them, but they were too much for him. He found them more impracticable than the men, who had been schooled into obedience by their long wars against their neighbours, and he gave up the attempt.
To their resistance this defect in the constitution is to be attributed. This inequality is caused by the unlimited right of bequest, and is aggravated by the practice of giving large dowries; two-fifths of the land has passed into the hands of women. And so the population has diminished. The country was once capable of maintaining knights and 30, heavy-armed troops, and although at one time the Spartans themselves were as many as 10,, the total number has now fallen below On the other hand, the office is popular; the common people are pleased because they share in it.
They have a right idea of the means, but a wrong idea of the end. The citizens are impatient of taxation, and the greater part of the land being in their own hands, they allow one another to cheat. Instead of the citizens being poor and the state rich, the citizens are too fond of money, and the state is impoverished. The constitutions of Sparta, Crete, and Carthage are said by Aristotle to be excellent, but against each of the three he brings rather a heavy indictment.
Of all three the accounts are warped by the desire to compare them, and are not always consistent with themselves. The Lacedaemonian government did not aim at the best end, and did not succeed in attaining the end at which it aimed. The Spartans had not found out the secret of managing their slaves; the men were hardy and temperate; but they fell under the influence of their women, who were licentious and disorderly.
Valerie, I think the ratio is higher if they are also signing the kids up for their SO contracts. This brought about a wonderful change. The light thrown upon the subject by old Hebrew writers is slight. It is not therefore likely that any one other than a madman mocks such things. To the east lies the Isthmus of Suez—the pathway to Asia, and the Red Sea—separated by a range of mountains from the Valley of the Nile. To see how temporary is their interest one needs only to examine journals three or four years old. That hobbles up the steep rough road?
Equality had been the aim of the legislator, but inequality had been the result. Their administration of justice, their common meals, their finances were ill-managed. Their great magistrates received bribes from foreign states; the Ephors were very ordinary men invested with tyrannical powers; the elders were corrupt and often superannuated. The spirit of suspicion and distrust reigned in their government; they regarded virtue as a means only and not as the great end of life.
The inefficiency of the Spartan government, in almost every particular, is severely commented upon by Aristotle. To what form of government the Spartan constitution is to be referred is a question which greatly exercises ancient writers; Aristotle inclines to think that it is three in one, a combination of royalty, aristocracy, and democracy.
For a fuller consideration of the criticism of Sparta in the Politics, see vol. The Cretan constitution resembles the Spartan, and in some Jowettv1: c. Lycurgus is said to have taken it as his model. The Cretan town of Lyctus is a Lacedaemonian colony, and he appears to have been attracted to Crete by the connection between the two countries. The situation of the island between Asia Minor and Hellas was favourable to the growth of a maritime power; and hence Minos acquired the dominion of the sea.
There are many similarities in the Cretan and Lacedaemonian constitutions. The Cretan Perioeci correspond to the Helots, and like the Spartans, the Cretans have common meals; the ten Cosmi answer to the five Ephors. There is a council of Elders which corresponds to the Lacedaemonian; and the Cretans formerly had kings. There is also an assembly, but it can only ratify the decrees of the Cosmi and of the Elders [as at Lacedaemon].
There is a common stock, in which the women and children share. The legislator has many ingenious ways of preventing his citizens from eating and drinking too much; and in order to check the increase of population, he separates men from women, lest there should be too many mouths to feed.