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Pages of laws (books 1 - 6)



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laws (books 1 - 6)   


the brigadiers are to be voted for only by those who carry shields
[i.e. the hoplites]. Let the body of cavalry choose phylarchs for
the generals; but captains of light troops, or archers, or any other
division of the army, shall be appointed by the generals for
themselves. There only remains the appointment of officers of cavalry:
these shall be proposed by the same persons who proposed the generals,
and the election and the counter-proposal of other candidates shall be
arranged in the same way as in the case of the generals, and let the
cavalry vote and the infantry look on at the election; the two who
have the greatest number of votes shall be the leaders of all the
horse. Disputes about the voting may be raised once or twice; but if
the dispute be raised a third time, the officers who preside at the
several elections shall decide.
The council shall consist of 30 x 12 members-360 will be a
convenient number for sub-division. If we divide the whole number into
four parts of ninety each, we get ninety counsellors for each class.
First, all the citizens shall select candidates from the first
class; they shall be compelled to vote, and, if they do not, shall
be duly fined. When the candidates have been selected, some one
shall mark them down; this shall be the business of the first day. And
on the following day, candidates shall be selected from the second
class in the same manner and under the same conditions as on the
previous day; and on the third day a selection shall be made from
the third class, at which every one may, if he likes, vote, and the
three first classes shall be compelled to vote; but the fourth and
lowest class shall be under no compulsion, and any member of this
class who does not vote shall not be punished. On the fourth day
candidates shall be selected from the fourth and smallest class;
they shall be selected by all, but he who is of the fourth class shall
suffer no penalty, nor he who is of the third, if he be not willing to
vote; but he who is of the first or second class, if he does not
vote shall be punished;-he who is of the second class shall pay a fine
of triple the amount which was exacted at first, and he who is of
the first class quadruple. On the fifth day the rulers shall bring out
the names noted down, for all the citizens to see, and every man shall
choose out of them, under pain, if he do not, of suffering the first
penalty; and when they have chosen out of each of the classes, they
shall choose one-half of them by lot, who shall undergo a
scrutiny:-These are to form the council for the year.
The mode of election which has been described is in a mean between
monarchy and democracy, and such a mean the state ought always to
observe; for servants and masters never can be friends, nor good and
bad, merely because they are declared to have equal privileges. For to
unequals equals become unequal, if they are not harmonized by measure;
and both by reason of equality, and by reason of inequality, cities
are filled with seditions. The old saying, that "equality makes
friendship," is happy and also true; but there is obscurity and
confusion as to what sort of equality is meant. For there are two
equalities which are called by the same name, but are in reality in
many ways almost the opposite of one another; one of them may be
introduced without difficulty, by any state or any legislator in the
distribution of honours: this is the rule of measure, weight, and
number, which regulates and apportions them. But there is another
equality, of a better and higher kind, which is not so easily
recognized. This is the judgment of Zeus; among men it avails but
little; that little, however, is the source of the greatest good to
individuals and states. For it gives to the greater more, and to the
inferior less and in proportion to the nature of each; and, above all,
greater honour always to the greater virtue, and to the less less; and
to either in proportion to their respective measure of virtue and
education. And this is justice, and is ever the true principle of
states, at which we ought to aim, and according to this rule order the
new city which is now being founded, and any other city which may be
hereafter founded. To this the legislator should look-not to the

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