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Pages of laws (books 1 - 6)



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laws (books 1 - 6)   


burden and the labourers whom they find on the spot: these will be
their instruments whom they will superintend, taking them, as far as
possible, at the times when they are not engaged in their regular
business. They shall make every part of the country inaccessible to
enemies, and as accessible as possible to friends; there shall be ways
for man and beasts of burden and for cattle, and they shall take
care to have them always as smooth as they can; and shall provide
against the rains doing harm instead of good to the land, when they
come down from the mountains into the hollow dells; and shall keep
in the overflow by the help of works and ditches, in order that the
valleys, receiving and drinking up the rain from heaven, and providing
fountains and streams in the fields and regions which lie
underneath, may furnish even to the dry places plenty of good water.
The fountains of water, whether of rivers or of springs, shall be
ornamented with plantations and buildings for beauty; and let them
bring together the streams in subterraneous channels, and make all
things plenteous; and if there be a sacred grove or dedicated precinct
in the neighbourhood, they shall conduct the water to the actual
temples of the Gods, and so beautify them at all seasons of the
year. Everywhere in such places the youth shall make gymnasia for
themselves, and warm baths for the aged, placing by them abundance
of dry wood, for the benefit of those labouring under disease-there
the weary frame of the rustic, worn with toil, will receive a kindly
welcome, far better than he would at the hands of a not over-wise
doctor.
The building of these and the like works will be useful and
ornamental; they will provide a pleasing amusement, but they will be a
serious employment too; for the sixty wardens will have to guard their
several divisions, not only with a view to enemies, but also with an
eye to professing friends. When a quarrel arises among neighbours or
citizens, and any one, whether slave or freeman wrongs another, let
the five wardens decide small matters on their own authority; but
where the charge against another relates to greater matters, the
seventeen composed of the fives and twelves, shall determine any
charges which one man brings against another, not involving more
than three minae. Every judge and magistrate shall be liable to give
an account of his conduct in office, except those who, like kings,
have the final decision. Moreover, as regards the aforesaid wardens of
the country, if they do any wrong to those of whom they have the care,
whether by imposing upon them unequal tasks, or by taking the
produce of the soil or implements of husbandry without their
consent; also if they receive anything in the way of a bribe, or
decide suits unjustly, or if they yield to the influences of flattery,
let them be publicly dishonoured; and in regard to any other wrong
which they do to the inhabitants of the country, if the question be of
a mina, let them submit to the decision of the villagers in the
neighbourhood; but in suits of greater amount, or in case of lesser,
if they refuse to submit, trusting that their monthly removal into
another part of the country will enable them to escape-in such cases
the injured party may bring his suit in the common court, and if he
obtain a verdict he may exact from the defendant, who refused to
submit, a double penalty.
The wardens and the overseers of the country, while on their two
years service, shall have common meals at their several stations,
and shall all live together; and he who is absent from the common
meal, or sleeps out, if only for one day or night, unless by order
of his commanders, or by reason of absolute necessity, if the five
denounce him and inscribe his name the agora as not having kept his
guard, let him be deemed to have betrayed the city, as far as lay in
his power, and let him be disgraced and beaten with impunity by any
one who meets him and is willing to punish him. If any of the
commanders is guilty of such an irregularity, the whole company of
sixty shall see to it, and he who is cognizant of the offence, and
does not bring the offender to trial, shall be amenable to the same

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