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Pages of laws (books 7 - 12)



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laws (books 7 - 12)   


knowledge, and does not admit of being made a secondary occupation;
and hardly any human being is capable of pursuing two professions or
two arts rightly, or of practising one art himself, and superintending
some one else who is practising another. Let this, then, be our
first principle in the state:-No one who is a smith shall also be a
carpenter, and if he be a carpenter, he shall not superintend the
smith's art rather than his own, under the pretext that in
superintending many servants who are working for him, he is likely
to superintend them better, because more revenue will accrue to him
from them than from his own art; but let every man in the state have
one art, and get his living by that. Let the wardens of the city
labour to maintain this law, and if any citizen incline to any other
art than the study of virtue, let them punish him with disgrace and
infamy, until they bring him back into his own right course; and if
any stranger profess two arts, let them chastise him with bonds and
money penalties, and expulsion from the state, until they compel him
to be one only and not many.
But as touching payments for hire, and contracts of work, or in case
any one does wrong to any of the citizens or they do wrong to any
other, up to fifty drachmae, let the wardens of the city decide the
case; but if greater amount be involved, then let the public courts
decide according to law. Let no one pay any duty either on the
importation or exportation of goods; and as to frankincense and
similar perfumes, used in the service of the Gods, which come from
abroad, and purple and other dyes which are not produced in the
country, or the materials of any art which have to be imported, and
which are not necessary-no one should import them; nor again, should
any one export anything which is wanted in the country. Of all these
things let there be inspectors and superintendents, taken from the
guardians of the law; and they shall be the twelve next in order to
the five seniors. Concerning arms, and all implements which are for
military purposes, if there be need of introducing any art, or
plant, or metal, or chains of any kind, or animals for use in war, let
the commanders of the horse and the generals have authority over their
importation and exportation; the city shall send them out and also
receive them, and the guardians of the law shall make fit and proper
laws about them. But let there be no retail trade for the sake of
money-making, either in these or any other articles, in the city or
country at all.
With respect to food and the distribution of the produce of the
country, the right and proper way seems to be nearly that which is the
custom of Crete; for all should be required to distribute the fruits
of the soil into twelve parts, and in this way consume them. Let the
twelfth portion of each (as for instance of wheat and barley, to which
the rest of the fruits of the earth shall be added, as well as the
animals which are for sale in each of the twelve divisions) be divided
in due proportion into three parts; one part for freemen, another
for their servants, and a third for craftsmen and in general for
strangers, whether sojourners who may be dwelling in the city, and
like other men must live, or those who come on some business which
they have with the state, or with some individual. Let only this third
part of all necessaries be required to be sold; out of the other
two-thirds no one shall be compelled to sell. And how will they be
best distributed? In the first place, we see clearly that the
distribution will be of equals in one point of view, and in another
point of view of unequals.
Cle. What do you mean?
Ath. I mean that the earth of necessity produces and nourishes the
various articles of food, sometimes better and sometimes worse.
Cle. Of course.
Ath. Such being the case, let no one of the three portions be
greater than either of the other two-neither that which is assigned to
masters or to slaves, nor again that of the stranger; but let the
distribution to all be equal and alike, and let every citizen take his

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