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Pages of laws (books 1 - 6)



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laws (books 1 - 6)   


in early days the child, as in a family, loves and is beloved; even if
there come a time later when the tie is broken, still, while he is
in want of education, he naturally loves his parents and is beloved by
them, and flies to his relatives for protection, and finds in them his
only natural allies in time of need; and this parental feeling already
exists in the Cnosians, as is shown by their care of the new city; and
there is a similar feeling on the part of the young city towards
Cnosus. And I repeat what I was saying-for there is no harm in
repeating a good thing-that the Cnosians should take a common interest
in all these matters, and choose, as far as they can, the eldest and
best of the colonists, to the number of not less than a hundred; and
let there be another hundred of the Cnosians themselves. These, I say,
on their arrival, should have a joint care that the magistrates should
be appointed according to law, and that when they are appointed they
should undergo a scrutiny. When this has been effected, the Cnosians
shall return home, and the new city do the best she can for her own
preservation and happiness. I would have the seven-and-thirty now, and
in all future time, chosen to fulfil the following duties:-Let them,
in the first place, be the guardians of the law; and, secondly, of the
registers in which each one registers before the magistrate the amount
of his property, excepting four minae which are allowed to citizens of
the first class, three allowed to the second, two to the third, and
a single mina to the fourth. And if any one, despising the laws for
the sake of gain, be found to possess anything more which has not been
registered, let all that he has in excess be confiscated, and let
him be liable to a suit which shall be the reverse of honourable or
fortunate. And let any one who will, indict him on the charge of
loving base gains, and proceed against him before the guardians of the
law. And if he be cast, let him lose his share of the public
possessions, and when there is any public distribution, let him have
nothing but his original lot; and let him be written down a
condemned man as long as he lives, in some place in which any one
who pleases can read about his onces. The guardian of the law shall
not hold office longer than twenty years, and shall not be less than
fifty years of age when he is elected; or if he is elected when he
is sixty years of age, he shall hold office for ten years only; and
upon the same principle, he must not imagine that he will be permitted
to hold such an important office as that of guardian of the laws after
he is seventy years of age, if he live so long.
These are the three first ordinances about the guardians of the law;
as the work of legislation progresses, each law in turn will assign to
them their further duties. And now we may proceed in order to speak of
the election of other officers; for generals have to be elected, and
these again must have their ministers, commanders, and colonels of
horse, and commanders of brigades of foot, who would be more rightly
called by their popular name of brigadiers. The guardians of the law
shall propose as generals men who are natives of the city, and a
selection from the candidates proposed shall be made by those who
are or have been of the age for military service. And if one who is
not proposed is thought by somebody to be better than one who is,
let him name whom he prefers in the place of whom, and make oath
that he is better, and propose him; and whichever of them is
approved by vote shall be admitted to the final selection; and the
three who have the greatest number of votes shall be appointed
generals, and superintendents of military affairs, after previously
undergoing a scrutiny, like the guardians of the law. And let the
generals thus elected propose twelve brigadiers, one for each tribe;
and there shall be a right of counterproposal as in the case of the
generals, and the voting and decision shall take place in the same
way. Until the prytanes and council are elected, the guardians of
the law shall convene the assembly in some holy spot which is suitable
to the purpose, placing the hoplites by themselves, and the cavalry by
themselves, and in a third division all the rest of the army. All
are to vote for the generals [and for the colonels of horse], but

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