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Pages of laws (books 7 - 12)



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laws (books 7 - 12)   


Cle. How can they?
Ath. Then our herald, in accordance with the prevailing practice,
will first summon the runner;-he will appear armed, for to an
unarmed competitor we will not give a prize. And he shall enter
first who is to run the single course bearing arms; next, he who is to
run the double course; third, he who is to run the horse-course; and
fourthly, he who is to run the long course; the fifth whom we start,
shall be the first sent forth in heavy armour, and shall run a
course of sixty stadia to some temple of Ares-and we will send forth
another, whom we will style the more heavily armed, to run over
smoother ground. There remains the archer; and he shall run in the
full equipments of an archer a distance of 100 stadia over
mountains, and across every sort of country, to a temple of Apollo and
Artemis; this shall be the order of the contest, and we will wait
for them until they return, and will give a prize to the conqueror
in each.
Cle. Very good.
Ath. Let us suppose that there are three kinds of contests-one of
boys, another of beardless youths, and a third of men. For the
youths we will fix the length of the contest at two-thirds, and for
the boys at half of the entire course, whether they contend as archers
or as heavy armed. Touching the women, let the girls who are not grown
up compete naked in the stadium and the double course, and the
horse-course and the long course, and let them run on the
race-ground itself; those who are thirteen years of age and upwards
until their marriage shall continue to share in contests if they are
not more than twenty, and shall be compelled to run up to eighteen;
and they shall descend into the arena in suitable dresses. Let these
be the regulations about contests in running both for men and women.
Respecting contests of strength, instead of wrestling and similar
contests of the heavier sort, we will institute conflicts in armour of
one against one, and two against two, and so on up to ten against ten.
As to what a man ought not to suffer or do, and to what extent, in
order to gain the victory-as in wrestling, the masters of the art have
laid down what is fair and what is not fair, so in fighting in
armour-we ought to call in skilful persons, who shall judge for us and
be our assessors in the work of legislation; they shall say who
deserves to be victor in combats of this sort, and what he is not to
do or have done to him, and in like manner what rule determines who is
defeated; and let these ordinances apply to women until they married
as well as to men. The pancration shall have a counterpart in a combat
of the light armed; they shall contend with bows and with light
shields and with javelins and in the throwing of stones by slings
and by hand: and laws shall be made about it, and rewards and prizes
given to him who best fulfils the ordinances of the law.
Next in order we shall have to legislate about the horse contests.
Now we do not need many horses, for they cannot be of much use in a
country like Crete, and hence we naturally do not take great pains
about the rearing of them or about horse races. There is no one who
keeps a chariot among us, and any rivalry in such matters would be
altogether out of place; there would be no sense nor any shadow of
sense in instituting contests which are not after the manner of our
country. And therefore we give our prizes for single horses-for
colts who have not yet cast their teeth, and for those who are
intermediate, and for the full-grown horses themselves; and thus our
equestrian games will accord with the nature of the country. Let
them have conflict and rivalry in these matters in accordance with the
law, and let the colonels and generals of horse decide together
about all courses and about the armed competitors in them. But we have
nothing to say to the unarmed either in gymnastic exercises or in
these contests. On the other hand, the Cretan bowman or javelin-man
who fights in armour on horseback is useful, and therefore we may as
well place a competition of this sort among amusements. Women are
not to be forced to compete by laws and ordinances; but if from

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