Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Plato
Pages of laws (books 7 - 12)

Previous | Next

laws (books 7 - 12)   

"choice" autumnal fruit, and then, if he pleases, he may gather it;
but if a stranger is passing along the road, and desires to eat, let
him take of the "choice" grapes for himself and a single follower
without payment, as a tribute of hospitality. The law however
forbids strangers from sharing in the sort which is not used for
eating; and if any one, whether he be master or slave, takes of them
in ignorance, let the slave be beaten, and the freeman dismissed
with admonitions, and instructed to take of the other autumnal
fruits which are unfit for making raisins and wine, or for laying by
as dried figs. As to pears, and apples, and pomegranates, and
similar fruits, there shall be no disgrace in taking them secretly;
but he who is caught, if he be of less than thirty years of age, shall
be struck and beaten off, but not wounded; and no freeman shall have
any right of satisfaction for such blows. Of these fruits the stranger
may partake, just as he may of the fruits of autumn. And if an
elder, who is more than thirty years of age, eat of them on the
spot, let him, like the stranger, be allowed to partake of all such
fruits, but he must carry away nothing. If, however, he will not
obey the law, let him run risk of failing in the competition of
virtue, in case any one takes notice of his actions before the
judges at the time.
Water is the greatest element of nutrition in gardens, but is easily
polluted. You cannot poison the soil, or the soil, or the sun, or
the air, which are other elements of nutrition in plants, or divert
them, or steal them; but all these things may very likely happen in
regard to water, which must therefore be protected by law. And let
this be the law:-If any one intentionally pollutes the water of
another, whether the water of a spring, or collected in reservoirs,
either by poisonous substances, or by digging or by theft, let the
injured party bring the cause before the wardens of the city, and
claim in writing the value of the loss; if the accused be found guilty
of injuring the water by deleterious substances, let him not only
pay damages, but purify the stream or the cistern which contains the
water, in such manner as the laws of the interpreters order the
purification to be made by the offender in each case.
With respect to the gathering in of the fruits of the soil, let a
man, if he pleases, carry his own fruits through any place in which he
either does no harm to any one, or himself gains three times as much
as his neighbour loses. Now of these things the magistrates should
be cognisant, as of all other things in which a man intentionally does
injury to another or to the property of another, by fraud or force, in
the use which he makes of his own property. All these matters a man
should lay before the magistrates, and receive damages, supposing
the injury to be not more than three minae; or if he have a charge
against another which involves a larger amount, let him bring his suit
into the public courts and have the evil-doer punished. But if any
of the magistrates appear to adjudge the penalties which he imposes in
an unjust spirit, let him be liable to pay double to the injured
party. Any one may bring the offences of magistrates, in any
particular case, before the public courts. There are innumerable
little matters relating to the modes of punishment, and applications
for suits, and summonses and the witnesses to summonses-for example,
whether two witnesses should be required for a summons, or how
many-and all such details, which cannot be omitted in legislation, but
are beneath the wisdom of an aged legislator. These lesser matters, as
they indeed are in comparison with the greater ones, let a younger
generation regulate by law, after the patterns which have preceded,
and according to their own experience of the usefulness and
necessity of such laws; and when they are duly regulated let there
be no alteration, but let the citizens live in the observance of them.
Now of artisans, let the regulations be as follows:-In the first
place, let no citizen or servant of a citizen be occupied in
handicraft arts; for he who is to secure and preserve the public order
of the state, has an art which requires much study and many kinds of

Previous | Next
Site Search