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Pages of laws (books 1 - 6)



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laws (books 1 - 6)   


city, that the state may be as far as possible of one mind. The
officers of the temples shall be appointed by lot; in this way their
election will be committed to God, that he may do what is agreeable to
him. And he who obtains a lot shall undergo a scrutiny, first, as to
whether he is sound of body and of legitimate birth; and in the second
place, in order to show that he is of a perfectly pure family, not
stained with homicide or any similar impiety in his own person, and
also that his father and mother have led a similar unstained life. Now
the laws about all divine things should be brought from Delphi, and
interpreters appointed, under whose direction they should be used. The
tenure of the priesthood should always be for a year and no longer;
and he who will duly execute the sacred office, according to the
laws of religion, must be not less than sixty years of age-the laws
shall be the same about priestesses. As for the interpreters, they
shall be appointed thus:-Let the twelve tribes be distributed into
groups of four, and let each group select four, one out of each
tribe within the group, three times; and let the three who have the
greatest number of votes [out of the twelve appointed by each
group], after undergoing a scrutiny, nine in all, be sent to Delphi,
in order that the God may return one out of each triad; their age
shall be the same as that of the priests, and the scrutiny of them
shall be conducted in the same manner; let them be interpreters for
life, and when any one dies let the four tribes select another from
the tribe of the deceased. Moreover, besides priests and interpreters,
there must be treasurers, who will take charge of the property of
the several temples, and of the sacred domains, and shall have
authority over the produce and the letting of them; and three of
them shall be chosen from the highest classes for the greater temples,
and two for the lesser, and one for the least of all; the manner of
their election and the scrutiny of them shall be the same as that of
the generals. This shall be the order of the temples.
Let everything have a guard as far as possible. Let the defence of
the city be commited to the generals, and taxiarchs, and hipparchs,
and phylarchs, and prytanes, and the wardens of the city, and of the
agora, when the election of them has been completed. The defence of
the country shall be provided for as follows:-The entire land has been
already distributed into twelve as nearly as possible equal parts, and
let the tribe allotted to a division provide annually for it five
wardens of the country and commanders of the watch; and let each
body of five have the power of selecting twelve others out of the
youth of their own tribe-these shall be not less than twenty-five
years of age, and not more than thirty. And let there be allotted to
them severally every month the various districts, in order that they
may all acquire knowledge and experience of the whole country. The
term of service for commanders and for watchers shall continue
during two years. After having had their stations allotted to them,
they will go from place to place in regular order, making their
round from left to right as their commanders direct them; (when I
speak of going to the right, I mean that they are to go to the
east). And at the commencement of the second year, in order that as
many as possible of the guards may not only get a knowledge of the
country at any one season of the year, but may also have experience of
the manner in which different places are affected at different seasons
of the year, their then commanders shall lead them again towards the
left, from place to place in succession, until they have completed the
second year. In the third year other wardens of the country shall be
chosen and commanders of the watch, five for each division, who are to
be the superintendents of the bands of twelve. While on service at
each station, their attention shall be directed to the following
points:-In the first place, they shall see that the country is well
protected against enemies; they shall trench and dig wherever this
is required, and, as far as they can, they shall by fortifications
keep off the evil-disposed, in order to prevent them from doing any
harm to the country or the property; they shall use the beasts of

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