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Pages of laws (books 7 - 12)



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laws (books 7 - 12)   


easily do harm, but not every man can do good to another. He who
encroaches on his neighbour's land, and transgresses his boundaries,
shall make good the damage, and, to cure him of his impudence and also
of his meanness, he shall pay a double penalty to the injured party.
Of these and the like matters the wardens of the country shall take
cognizance, and be the judges of them and assessors of the damage;
in the more important cases, as has been already said, the whole
number of them belonging to any one of the twelve divisions shall
decide, and in the lesser cases the commanders: or, again, if any
one pastures his cattle on his neighbour's land, they shall see the
injury, and adjudge the penalty. And if any one, by decoying the bees,
gets possession of another's swarms, and draws them to himself by
making noises, he shall pay the damage; or if anyone sets fire to
his own wood and takes no care of his neighbour's property, he shall
be fined at the discretion of the magistrates. And if in planting he
does not leave a fair distance between his own and his neighbour's
land, he shall be punished, in accordance with the enactments of
many law givers, which we may use, not deeming it necessary that the
great legislator of our state should determine all the trifles which
might be decided by any body; for example, husbandmen have had of
old excellent laws about waters, and there is no reason why we
should propose to divert their course: who likes may draw water from
the fountain-head of the common stream on to his own land, if he do
not cut off the spring which clearly belongs to some other owner;
and he may take the water in any direction which he pleases, except
through a house or temple or sepulchre, but he must be careful to do
no harm beyond the channel. And if there be in any place a natural
dryness of the earth, which keeps in the rain from heaven, and
causes a deficiency in the supply of water, let him dig down on his
own land as far as the clay, and if at this depth he finds no water,
let him obtain water from his neighbours, as much, as is required
for his servants' drinking, and if his neighbours, too, are limited in
their supply, let him have a fixed measure, which shall be
determined by the wardens of the country. This he shall receive each
day, and on these terms have a share of his neighbours' water. If
there be heavy rain, and one of those on the lower ground injures some
tiller of the upper ground, or some one who has a common wall, by
refusing to give the man outlet for water; or, again, if some one
living on the higher ground recklessly lets off the water on his lower
neighbour, and they cannot come to terms with one another, let him who
will call in a warden of the city, if he be in the city, or if he be
in the country, warden of the country, and let him obtain a decision
determining what each of them is to do. And he who will not abide by
the decision shall suffer for his malignant and morose temper, and pay
a fine to the injured party, equivalent to double the value of the
injury, because he was unwilling to submit to the magistrates.
Now the participation of fruits shall be ordered on this wise. The
goddess of Autumn has two gracious gifts: one, the joy of Dionysus
which is not treasured up; the other, which nature intends to be
stored. Let this be the law, then, concerning the fruits of autumn: He
who tastes the common or storing fruits of autumn, whether grapes or
figs, before the season of vintage which coincides with Arcturus,
either on his own land or on that of others-let him pay fifty
drachmae, which shall be sacred to Dionysus, if he pluck them from his
own land; and if from his neighbour's land, a mina, and if from any
others', two-thirds of a mina. And he who would gather the "choice"
grapes or the "choice" figs, as they are now termed, if he take them
off his own land, let him pluck them how and when he likes; but if
he take them from the ground of others without their leave, let him in
that case be always punished in accordance with the law which
ordains that he should not move what he has not laid down. And if a
slave touches any fruit of this sort, without the consent of the owner
of the land, he shall be beaten with as many blows as there are grapes
on the bunch, or figs on the fig-tree. Let a metic purchase the

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